Chapter VI. Danny Rugg is Mean
 

That afternoon a small fire broke out in Mr. Bobbsey's lumber yard. The alarm bell rang, and Mrs. Bobbsey, hearing it, and knowing by the number that the blaze must be near her husband's place of business, came hurrying down stairs.

"Oh, I must go and see how dangerous it is," she said to Dinah. "It is too bad to have it happen just after Mr. Bobbsey comes back from his summer vacation."

"'Deed it am!" cried the fat, colored cook. "But maybe it am only a little fire, Mrs. Bobbsey."

"I'm sure I hope so," was the answer.

As Mrs. Bobbsey was hurrying down the front walk Flossie and Freddie saw her.

"Where are you going, mamma?" they called.

"Down to papa's office," she answered. "There's a fire near his place, and - "

"Oh, a fire! Then I'm going!" cried Freddie. "Fire! Fire! Ding, dong"! Turn on the water!" and he raced about quite excitedly.

"Oh, I don't know," said Mrs. Bobbsey, in doubt. "Where are Nan and Bert?" she asked.

"They went down to the lake," said Flossie. "Oh, mamma, do take us to the fire with you. We'll bring Snap along."

"Sure," said Freddie. "Hi, Snap!" he called.

The trick dog came rushing from the stable, barking and wagging his tail.

"Well, I suppose I might as well take you," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "But you must stay near me. We'll leave Snap home, though."

"Oh, no!" cried Freddie.

"He might get lost," said Mrs. Bobbsey.

That was enough for Freddie. He did not want the new pet to get lost, so he did not make a fuss when Sam came hurrying up to lock Snap in the stable. Poor Snap howled, for he wanted very much to go with the children.

The fire was, as I have said, a small one, in part of the planing mill. But the engines puffed away, and spurted water, and this pleased Freddie. Flossie stayed close to her mother, and Mrs. Bobbsey, once she found out that the main lumber yard was not in danger, was ready to come back home. But Freddie wanted to stay until the fire was wholly out.

Mr. Bobbsey came from his office to give some directions to the firemen, and saw his wife and the two twins. Then he took charge of them, and led them as close to the blaze as was safe.

"It will soon be out," he said. "It was only some sawdust that got on fire."

"I wish I could squirt some water!" sighed Freddie.

"What's that? Do you want to be a fireman?" asked one of the men in a rubber coat and a big helmet. He smiled at Mr. Bobbsey, whom he knew quite well.

"Yes, I do," said Freddie.

"Then come with me, and I'll let you help hold the hose," said the fireman. "I'll look after him," he went on, to Mrs. Bobbsey, and she nodded to show that Freddie could go.

What a good time the little fellow had, standing beside a real fireman, and helping throw real water on a real fire! Freddie never forgot that. Of course the fire was almost out, and it was only one of the small hose lines that the fireman let the little fellow help hold, but, for all that, Freddie was very happy.

"Did you write to the circus people today about our silver cup, and that trick dog?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey of her husband, that night.

"I declare, I didn't!" he exclaimed. "The fire upset me so that it slipped my mind. I'll do it the first thing tomorrow. There is no special hurry. How is the dog, by the way?"

"Oh, he's just lovely!" cried Flossie.

"And I do hope we can keep him forever!" exclaimed Freddie. "'Specially since Snoop is gone."

"Did you hear anything about our cat?" asked Nan, of her father.

"No. I sent a man to the railroad company, but no stray cat had been found. I am afraid Snoop is lost, children."

"Oh dear!" cried Flossie.

The next day, having learned from the railroad company where the circus had gone after the wreck, Mr. Bobbsey sent a letter to the manager, explaining about the lost silver cup, and the found circus dog. He asked that the fat lady be requested to write to him, to let him know if she had taken the cup by accident, and Mr. Bobbsey also wanted to know if the circus had lost a trick dog.

"There!" he exclaimed as he sent the letter to be mailed, "now we'll just have to wait for an answer."

Nan and Bert, and Flossie and Freddie were soon having almost as much fun as they had had at the seashore and in the country. Their town playmates, who had come back from their vacations, called at the Bobbsey home, and made up games and all sorts of sports.

"For," said Grace Lavine, with whom Nan sometimes played, "school will soon begin, and we want to have all the fun we can until then."

"Let's jump rope," proposed Nan.

"All right," agreed Grace. "Here comes Nellie Parks, and we'll see who can jump the most."

"No, you mustn't do that," said Nan. "Don't you remember how you once tried to jump a hundred, and you fainted?"

"Indeed I do," said Grace. "I'm not going to be so silly as to try that again. We'll only jump a little."

Soon Nan and her chums were having good time in the yard.

Charley Mason, with whom Bert sometimes played, came over, and the two boys went for a row on the lake, in Bert's boat. Some little friends of Flossie and Freddie came over, and they had fun watching Snap do tricks.

For the circus dog, as he had come to be called, seemed to be able to do some new trick each day. He could "play dead," and "say his prayers," besides turning a back somersault. The little twins, who seemed to claim more share in Snap than did Nan and Bert, did not really know how many tricks their pet could do.

"Maybe you'll have to give him back to the circus," said Willie Flood, one of Freddie's chums.

"Well, if we do, papa may buy him, or get another dog like him," spoke Flossie.

A few days after this, when Bert was out in the front yard, watering the grass with a hose, along came Danny Rugg. Now Danny went to the same school that Bert did, but few of the boys and none of the girls, liked Danny, because he was often rough, and would hit them or want to fight, or would play mean tricks on them. Still, sometimes Danny behaved himself, and then the boys were glad to have him on their baseball nine as he was a good hitter and thrower, and he could run fast.

"Hello, Bert!" exclaimed Danny, leaning on the fence. "I hear you have a trick circus dog here."

"Who told you?" asked Bert, wondering what Danny would say next.

"Oh, Jack Parker. He says you found him."

"I didn't," spoke Bert, spraying a bed of geranium flowers. "He followed us the night of the circus wreck."

"Well, you took him all the same. I know who owns him, too; and I'm going to tell that you've got him."

"Oh, are you?" asked Bert. "Well, we think he belongs to the circus, and my father has written about it, so you needn't trouble yourself."

"He doesn't belong to any circus," went on Danny. "That dog belongs to Mr. Peterson, who lives over in Millville. He lost a trick dog, and he adverstised for it. He's going to give a reward. I'm going to tell him, and get the money."

"You can't take our dog away!" cried Freddie, coming up just then. "Don't you dare do it, Danny Rugg."

"Yes, I will!" exclaimed the mean boy, who often teased the smaller Bobbsey twins. "You won't have that dog after today."

"Don't mind him, Freddie," said Bert in a low voice. "He's trying to scare you."

"Oh, I am eh?" cried Danny. "I'll show you what I'm trying to do. I'll tell on you for keeping a dog that don't belong to you, and you'll be arrested - all of you."

Freddie looked worried, and tears came into his eyes. Bert saw this, and was angry at Danny for being so mean.

"Don't be afraid, Freddie," said Bert, "Look, I'll let you squirt the hose, and you can pretend to be a fireman."

"Oh, fine!" cried Freddie, in delight, as he took the nozzle from his older brother.

Just how it happened neither of them could tell, but the stream of water shot right at Danny Rugg, and wet him all over in a second.

"Hi there!" he cried. "Stop that! I'll pay you back for that, Fred Bobbsey," and he jumped over the fence and ran toward the little fellow.