The Bobbsey Twins at School by Laura Lee Hope
Chapter X. A Scare
The way to the woods where the little school outing was to be held ran close to the road on which the Bobbsey house stood. As Freddie and Flossie, with Nan and Bert, marched along with the others, Freddie cried out:
"0h, I hope we see mamma, and then we can wave to her."
"Yes, and maybe she'll come with us," suggested Flossie. "Wouldn't that be nice?"
"Pooh!" exclaimed Bert. "Mamma's too busy to come to a picnic today. She's expecting company."
"Yes," added Nan, "the minister and his wife are coming, and mamma's cooking a lot of things."
"Why, does a minister eat more than other folks?" asked Freddie. "If they does, I'm going to be a minister when I grow up."
"I thought you were going to be a fireman," said Bert.
"Well, I can be a fireman week days and a minister on Sundays," said the little fellow, thus solving the problem. "But do they eat so much, Nan?"
"No, of course not, only mamma wants to be polite to them, so she has a lot of things cooked up, so that if they don't like one thing they can have another. Folks always give their best to the minister."
"Then I'm surely going to be one, too," declared Flossie. "I like good things to eat. I hope our minister isn't very hungry, 'cause then there'll be some left for us when we come home from this picnic."
"Why, Flossie!" cried Nan. "We have a lovely lunch with us; plenty, I'm sure."
"Well, I'm awful hungry, Nan," said the little girl. "Besides, Sammie Jones, and his sister Julia, haven't any lunch at all. I saw them, and they looked terrible hungry. Couldn't we give them some of ours; if we have so much at home?"
"Of course we could, and it is very kind of you to think of them," said Nan, as she patted her little sister on her head. "I'll look after Sammie and Julia when we get to the grove."
In spite of what Nan and Bert had said about Mrs. Bobbsey being very busy, Flossie and Freddie looked anxiously in the direction of their house as they walked along. But no sight of their mother greeted them. They did see a friend, however, and this was none other than Snap, their new dog, who, with many barks and wags of his fluffy tail, ran out to meet his little masters and mistresses.
"Here, Snap! Snap!" called Freddie. "Come on, old fellow!" and the dog leaped all about him.
"Let's take him to the picnic with us," suggested Flossie. "We can have lots of fun."
"And he can eat the scraps," said Nan. "Shall we, Bert?"
"I don't care. But maybe Mr. Tetlow wouldn't like it."
"You ask him, Bert," pleaded Flossie.
"Tell him Snap will do tricks to amuse us."
Bert goodnaturedly started ahead to speak to the principal, who was talking with some of the teachers, planning games for the little folk. Flossie and Freddie were patting their pet, when Danny Rugg, and one of his friends came along.
"That dog can't come to our picnic!" said Danny, with a scowl. "He might bite some of us."
"Snap never bites!" cried Freddie.
"Of course not," said Flossie.
"Well, he can't come to this picnic!" spoke Danny, angrily. "Go on home!" he cried, sharply, stooping to pick up a stone. Snap growled and showed his teeth.
"There!" cried Danny. "I told you he'd bite."
"He will not, Danny Rugg!" exclaimed Nan, who had gone up front for a minute to speak to some of the older girls. "He only growled because you acted mean to him. Now you leave him alone, or I'll tell Mr. Tetlow on you."
"Pooh! Think I care? I say no dog can come to our picnic. Go on home!" and with raised hand Danny approached Snap. Again the dog growled angrily. He was not used to being treated in this way.
"Look out, Danny Rugg," said Nan, severely, "or he may jump on you, and knock you down. He wouldn't bite you, though, mean as you are, unless I told him to do so."
"I'm not afraid of you!" cried Danny, more angry than before. "I'll get a stick and then we'll see what will happen," and he looked about for one.
"Don't let Danny beat Snap!" pleaded Flossie, tears coming into her eyes.
"I won't," said Nan, looking about anxiously for Bert. She saw him coming back, and felt better. By this time Danny had found a club, and was coming back to where Flossie, Freddie and Nan, with some of their friends, were walking along, Snap in their midst.
"I'll make that dog go home now!" cried Danny. "I'm not going to get bitten, and have hyperfobia, or whatever you call it. I'll tell Mr. Tetlow if you don't make him go home."
"Oh, don't be so smart!" exclaimed Bert, stepping out from behind a group of girls. "I've told Mr. Tetlow myself that Snap is following us, and he said to let him come along. So you needn't take the trouble, Danny Rugg. And if you try to hit our dog I'll have something more to say," and Bert stepped boldly forth.
"Huh! I'm not afraid of you," sneered Danny, but he let the club drop, and walked off with his own particular chums.
"Did Mr. Tetlow say Snap could come?" asked Freddie, anxiously.
"Yes. He said he'd be good to drive away the cows if they bothered us," answered Bert, with a smile.
After this little trouble, the Bobbseys and their friends went on toward the grove in the woods where the picnic was to be held. There was laughing and shouting, and much fun on the way, in which Snap shared.
Boys and girls would run to one side or the other of the path to gather late flowers. Some would pick up odd stones, or pine cones, and others would find curious little creeping or crawling things which they called their friends to see.
Each teacher had charge of her special class, but she did not look too closely after them, for it was a day to be happy and free from care, with no thought of school or lessons.
"We'll make Snap do some tricks when we get to the grove," said Flossie.
"Yes, we'll have a little circus," added her brother.
"Can he stand on his head?" one girl wanted to know.
"Well, he can turn a somersault, and he's on his head for a second while he's doing that," explained Freddie, proudly.
"Can he roll over and over?" a boy wanted to know. "We had a dog, once, that could."
"Snap can, too," said Flossie. "Roll over, Snap!" she ordered, and the dog, with a bark, did so. The children laughed and some clapped their hands. They thought Snap was about the best dog they had ever seen.
No accidents happened on the way to the grove, except that one little boy tried to cross a brook on some stones, instead of the plank which the others used. He slipped in and got his feet wet, but as the day was warm no one worried much.
Finally the grove was reached. It was in a wooded valley, with hills on either side, and a cold, clear spring of water at one end, where everyone could get a drink. And that always seems to be what is most wanted at a picnic - a drink of water.
Mr. Tetlow called all the children together, before letting them go off to play, and told them at what time the start for home would be made, so that they would not be late in coming back to the meeting place.
"And now," he said, "have the best fun you can. Play anything you wish - school games if you like - but don't get too warm or excited. And don't go too far away. You may eat your luncheon when you like."
"Then let's eat ours now," suggested Flosssie. "I'm awful hungry."
"So am I," said Freddie. So Nan and Bert decided that the little ones might at least have a sandwich and a piece of cake. Nor did they forget the two little Jones children, who had no lunch. The Bobbseys were well provided and soon Sammie and Julia were smiling and happy as they sat beneath a tree, eating.
Then came all sorts of games, from tag and jumping rope, to blindman's bluff and hide-and-seek. Snap was made to do a number of tricks, much to the amusement of the teachers and children. Danny Rugg, and some of the older boys, got up a small baseball game, and then Danny, with one or two chums, went off in a deeper part of the woods. Bert heard one of the boys ask another if he had any matches.
"I know what they're going to do," whispered Bert to Nan.
"What?" she asked.
"Smoke cigarettes. I saw Danny have a pack."
Nan was much shocked, but she did not see anything. She was glad Bert did not smoke.
Bert went off with some boys to see if they could catch any fish in the deeper part of the brook, about half a mile from the picnic grove, and Nan, with one or two girls about her own age, took a little walk with Flossie and Freddie to gather some late wild flowers that grew on the side of one of the hills.
They found a number of the blossoms, and were making pretty bouquets of them, when Freddie, who had gone on a little ahead of the rest, came running back so fast that he nearly rolled to the bottom of the hill, so fat and chubby was he.
"What's the matter? What is it?" asked Nan, catching her brother just in time.
"Up there!" he gasped. "It's up there! A great big black one!"
"A big black what - bug?" asked Nan, ready to laugh.
"No! a big black snake! I almost stepped on it."
"A snake! Oh, dear!" screamed the girls.
"Call Mr. Tetlow!" said Flossie. "He's got a book about snakes, and he'll know what to do."
"Come on!" cried Nellie Parks. "I'm going to run!"
"So am I!" added Grace Lavine. "Oh, it may chase us!"
In fright the children turned, Freddie looking back at the spot where he thought he had seen the snake.