The Bobbsey Twins at Home/Chapter 10

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From all sorts of hiding places came running the boys and girls who had been playing hide-and-seek. Freddie's voice told every one that he was in trouble.

"Oh, Freddie!" cried Flossie, who had hidden under the couch in the dining room. "What's the matter? Where's your head?" For she saw only her brother's little fat legs and plump body near the piano. "Where's your head, Freddie?" she cried.

"It's in behind here!" the chubby little fellow replied. "I can't get it out from behind the piano! My ears stick out so far they catch on the edge of the piano."

By this time Nan had come from her hiding place, and she made her way through the crowd of children who were looking in wonder at the sight of Freddie so caught.

"Oh, Freddie, how did it happen?" asked Nan.

"Don't ask him how it happened," said Bert. "Let's get him out, and he'll tell us afterward."

"Yes, do get me out!" begged Freddie.

Bert and Nan took hold of their little brother and tried to pull him out backward. But he seemed stuck quite fast.

"Can't you push yourself out?" asked Bert.

"I'll try," said Freddie bravely. So he pushed backward as hard as he could, while Bert and Nan pulled.

"Let me help, too!" begged Flossie. "I want to get Freddie out!"

But there was no room for Flossie to get hold of her brother. Nan and Bert pulled once more, while Freddie himself pushed, but his head was still held fast between the back of the piano and the wall of the room.

"Oh! Oh! Can't you get me loose?" wailed the little "fireman."

"We'd better call mother!" cried Nan.

But there was no need of this for Mrs. Bobbsey came hurrying into the room just then. She had heard Freddie's cries while she was upstairs, and, guessing that something was wrong, she had come to see what it was.

"Oh Freddie!" she exclaimed as soon as she saw what had happened. "You poor little boy!"

"Oh, please get me out, Mamma!" he begged.

"I will, in just a minute. Now stand still, and don't push or squirm any more, or you'll hurt yourself."

Then Mrs. Bobbsey, instead of trying to pull or push Freddie out, just shoved on the piano, moving it a little way out from the wall, for it had little wheels under it, and, as the floor was smooth, it rolled easily.

"There, now you can pull your head out," said Mrs. Bobbsey, and, surely enough, Freddie could. The trouble had been, just as he had said, his ears. His head went in between the piano and wall all right, but when he went to pull himself loose, after seeing that no one was hiding there, his ears sort of bent forward and caught him.

"I—I'll never do that again!" Freddie said, his face very red, as he straightened up.

"No, I wouldn't if I were you," returned his mother with a smile. "Never put your head or your arm in any place unless you are sure you can get it out again. Sometimes a cat will put her head in a tin can to get whatever there may be in it to eat. And the edges of the tin catch on her ears just as yours were caught, Freddie. So be careful after this."

Freddie promised that he would, and then the hiding game went on. Only Freddie, you may be sure, did not look behind the piano again, and no one hid there.

"Oh, your party was perfectly lovely, Nan!" said the girls and boys when they had finished their games, and had eaten the good things Mrs. Bobbsey set on the table.

"Wasn't the cake good?" asked Freddie, looking as though he wanted a second piece.

"Indeed it was, dear," said Ellen Moore.

"We helped Nan make it," declared Flossie. "Didn't we, Nan?"

"Oh, yes, you helped some—by cleaning out the dishes."

"And Snap nearly made Nan spill the cake when she was putting it in the oven," went on Freddie. "Only we helped hold him; didn't we, Nan?"

"Yes, you certainly helped there."

At last the party was over, and Nan's cake, as well as the other good things, was all eaten up. Then the children went home.

About a week after this the postman left some letters at the home of the Bobbsey twins. Mrs. Bobbsey smiled when she read one, and when Bert and Nan, Flossie and Freddie came home from school their mother said to them:

"I have a surprise for you. See if you can guess what it is."

"Freddie and I are going to have a party!" guessed Flossie.

"No, dear. No more parties right away."

"We're going on a visit!" guessed Nan.

"No indeed. We just came back from one."

"Then some one is coming here," guessed Bert.

"That's it," his mother answered. "Uncle William Minturn and Aunt Emily, from Ocean Cliff, are coming to pay us a little visit."

"And is Cousin Dorothy coming, too?" Nan asked.

"Yes, they will all be here in a few days now."

"Oh, I'm so glad!" cried Nan, clapping her hands. "We shall have such fun!"

"And can I have fun with you, too?" asked Flossie.

"Yes, dear," Nan promised.

"I wish Dorothy were a boy," put in Bert. "Of course I like her, but I can't have any fun with her. I wish Cousin Harry would come on from Meadow Brook. Then we could have a good time."

"You had a good time with Harry this Summer," suggested Mrs. Bobbsey.

"I like Dorothy," said Freddie, "and I'm glad she's coming 'cause I want to ask her something very much."

"What is it?" inquired Bert

"It's a secret," and Freddie looked very wise and important.

A few days later Mr. and Mrs. Minturn and their daughter Dorothy came from the seashore to pay a visit to the Bobbsey family.

Of course Bert was glad to see Dorothy, and was very nice to her, taking his cousin and Nan down to the store to buy some ice cream. But as Bert was a boy, and liked to play boys' games, Dorothy was better suited to Nan and Flossie than she was to Bert.

Freddie, however, seemed to be especially pleased that his cousin from the seashore had come on a visit. He watched his chance to have a talk with her alone, and the first thing he asked was:

"Dorothy, do you know where I can get a ship to go sailing on the ocean?"

"Go sailing on the ocean!" cried Dorothy. "What for, Freddie?"

"To find Tommy Todd's shipwrecked father. He wants to find him awful bad, and I promised to help. I was going to save up to buy a ship, but Daddy says it takes a long time. And I thought maybe as you lived near the ocean you could get a ship for us.

"It needn't be very large, 'cause only Tommy and Flossie and Dinah, our cook, and I will go in it. But we'd like to go soon, for Tommy's grandmother is poor, and if we could find his father he might bring her some money."

"Oh, you funny little boy!" cried Dorothy. "To think of going off in a ship! I never heard of such a thing!"

"Well, we're going!" said Freddie. "So if you hear of a ship we can get you tell me; will you, Dorothy?"

"Yes, my dear, I will. Is that what you've been trying to ask me ever since we got here?"

"Yes. I didn't want Nan and Bert to hear. You won't tell them; will you?"

"No, Freddie. I'll keep your secret."

But of course Dorothy knew there was no ship which so little a boy as Freddie could get in order to go sailing across the sea. But she did not want him to feel disappointed, and she knew better than to laugh at him. Freddie was very much in earnest.

Dorothy Minturn spent two happy weeks with the Bobbsey twins. She and they had many good times, and more than once Freddie asked the seashore cousin if she had yet found a ship for him and Tommy.

At last Dorothy thought it best to tell Freddie that there were no ships which she could get for him.

"Well, that's too bad," said Freddie, after thinking about it for several seconds. "If I can't buy a ship, and if you can't get one for me, Dorothy, I know what I can do."

"What?" she asked.

"I can make one. My papa has lots of boards in his lumber yard. I'll go down there and make a ship for Tommy and me."

The next day Freddie asked his mother if he might not go down to his father's yard. As the way was safe, and as he had often gone before, Mrs. Bobbsey said he might go this time. Off trudged Freddie, with some nails in one pocket and pieces of string in another.

"I can use a stone for a hammer," he said, "and nail some boards together to make a ship. That's what I'll do."

Freddie first went to his father's office, which he always did, so Mr. Bobbsey would know his son was at the yard. This time it happened that Mr. Bobbsey was very busy. He looked at Freddie for a moment, and then said:

"Now Freddie, do you see where James is sitting by that pile of shingles?" and he pointed across the yard.

"Yes, I see," Freddie answered. He knew James very well. He was the day watchman in the lumber yard, and he walked around here and there, seeing that everything was all right.

"Well, you go over to James and tell him I said he was to look after you," went on Mr. Bobbsey. "You may play about, but keep near James, and you'll be all right. When you get tired come back here."

"All right," said Freddie.

He and the other Bobbsey children often came to their father's yard to have good times, and James, or some of the men, was always told to look after the twins, if Mr. Bobbsey happened to be busy.

"Hello, James," called Freddie, as he walked over to the watchman.

"Hello!" answered the man cheerfully. "What are you doing here?"

"I've come to have some fun and play with you."

"All right," answered James. "What shall we play first?"