Chapter IX. Off to the Woods
 

Whether Danny Rugg was afraid the principal had seen him trying to force a fight on Bert, or whether the unexpected fall that came to him, caused it, no one knew, but certainly, for the next few days, Danny let Bert alone. When he passed him he scowled, or shook his fist, or muttered something about "getting even," but this was all.

Perhaps it was the thought of what Bert had seen fall from Danny's pocket that made the bully less anxious to keep up the quarrel. At any rate, Bert was left alone and he was glad of it. He was not afraid, but he liked peace.

The school days went on, and the classes settled down to their work for the long Winter term. And the thought of the snow and ice that would comparatively soon be with them, made the Bobbsey twins rejoice.

"Charley Mason and I are going to make a dandy big bob this year," said Bert one day. "It's going to carry ten fellows."

"And no girls?" asked Nan with a smile. She was walking along behind her brother, with Grace and Nellie.

"Sure, we'll let you girls ride once in a while," said Charley, as he caught up to his chum. "But you can't steer."

"I steered a bob once," said Grace, who was quite athletic for her age. "It was Danny Rugg's, too."

"Pooh! His is a little one alongside the one Charley and I are going to make!" exclaimed Bert. "Ours will be hard to steer, and it's going to have a gong on it to tell folks to get out of the way."

"That's right," agreed Charley. "And we'd better start it right away, Bert. It may soon snow."

"It doesn't feel so now," spoke Nan. "It is very warm. It feels more like ice cream cones."

"And if you'll come with me I'll treat you all to some," exclaimed Nellie Parks, whose father was quite well off. "I have some of my birthday money left."

"Oh, but there are five of us!" cried Nan, counting. "That is too much - twenty-five cents, Nellie."

"I've got fifty, and really it is very hot today."

It was warm, being the end of September, with Indian Summer near at hand.

"Well, let's go to Johnson's," suggested Nellie. "They have the best cream."

"Oh, here comes Flossie and Freddie!" exclaimed Nan. "We don't want to take them, Nellie. That means -"

"Of course I'll take them!" exclaimed Nellie, generously. "I've got fifty cents, I told you."

"I'll give them each a penny and let them run along home," offered Bert.

"No, I'm going to treat them, too," insisted Nellie. "Come on!" she called to the little twins, "we're going to get ice cream cones, it's so warm."

"Oh, goodie! " cried Flossie. "I was just wishing for one."

"So was I," added her brother.

"And I'll ask you to my party next week," the little girl went on. "I'm going to have one on my birthday."

"Oh, are you really, Flossie?" asked Nan. "I hadn't heard about it."

"Yep - I am. Mamma said I could, but she told me not to tell. I don't care, I wanted Nellie to know, as she's going to treat us to cones."

"And it's half my party, 'cause my birthday's the same day," explained Freddie. "So you can come to my party at the same time, Nellie."

"Thank you, dear, I shall. Now let's hurry to the store, for it's getting warmer all the while."

The ice cream in the funny little cones was much enjoyed by all. Bert and Charley walked on together eating, and talking of the bob sled they were going to make. They passed Danny Rugg, who looked rather enviously at them.

"Hey, Charley," called Danny, "come here, I want to speak to you."

"I'm busy now," answered Charley. "Bert and I have something to do."

"So have I. I've got a dandy plan."

"Well, I'll see you later," spoke Charley.

He had once been quite friendly with Danny, but he grew not to like his ways, and so became more chummy with Bert, who was very glad, for he liked Charley.

The two boys went on to Bert's barn, where they were going to build the bob sled. The girls, with Flossie and Freddie, went on the Bobbsey lawn, where there were some easy chairs. They sat in the shade of the trees, and Freddie had Snap do some of his tricks for the visitors.

"Can he jump through a hoop, covered with paper as they do in the circus?" asked Nellie.

"Oh, we never thought to try that," said Freddie. "I'm going to make one," and, filled with this new idea, he hurried into the house.

"Dinah," he said, "I want some paper and paste."

"Land sakes, chile! what yo' gwine t' do now?" asked the colored cook.

"Make a kite, an' take Snoop up in de air laik yo' brother Bert done once?"

"No, we're not going to do that," answered the little boy. " We're going to cover a hoop with paper, and make Snap jump through it, like in a circus."

"Mah goodness mustard pot!" cried Dinah. What will yo' all be up to next?"

"I don't know," answered Freddie. "But will you make me some paste, Dinah? And you know we haven't got Snoop, anyhow, so we couldn't send him up on a kite tail," added Freddie.

"Deah me! Yo' chilluns done make me do de mostest wuk!" complained Dinah, but she laughed, which showed that she did not really mean it, and set at mixing some flour and water for the paste.

Flossie and Freddie insisted on making the paper covered hoop themselves. They started, but they got so much of the sticky stuff on their hands and faces that Nan feared they would soil their clothes, so she insisted on being allowed to do the pasting for them.

"But we can help, can't we?" asked Freddie.

"Yes," said Nan.

Even for Nan covering a hoop with paper was not as easy as she thought it would be. Grace and Nellie helped, but sometimes the wind would blow the paper away just as they were ready to fold it around the rim of the hoop. Then the paste would get on the girls' hands.

"What are you doing? " asked Bert, as he and Charley came from the barn. They had to stop work on their job, as they could not find a long enough plank. The [sic] decided to get one from Mr. Bobbsey's lumber yard, later.

"We're going to have Snap do the circus trick of jumping through a paper hoop," explained Nan. "Only we can't seem to get the hoop made."

"I'll do it," offered Bert, and as he and Charley had often pasted paper on their kite frames they had better luck, and soon the hoop was ready.

"Come, Snap!" called Freddie, it having been settled that he and Flossie were to hold the hoop for the dog to leap through. Snap, always ready for fun, jumped up from the grass where he had been sleeping, and frisked about, barking loudly.

"Now you hold him there, Charley," directed Bert, pointing to a spot back of where Freddie and Flossie stood. "Then I'll go over here and call him. He'll come running, and when he gets near enough, Freddie, you and Flossie hold up the paper hoop. He'll go right through it."

It worked out just as the children had planned. Snap raced away from Charley, when he heard Bert calling. He ran right between Flossie and Freddie, who raised the hoop just in time.

"Rip! Tear!" burst the paper, and Snap sailed through the hoop just as he probably had often done in the circus, perhaps from the back of a horse.

"Oh, that was fine!" cried Flossie. "Let's make another hoop!"

"Let's make a lot of 'em, and have a circus with Snap, and charge money to see him, and then we can buy a lot of ice cream for our party!" said Freddie.

"Oh, yes!" agreed his sister.

Well, they did make more hoops, and Snap seemed to enjoy jumping through them. But when Mrs. Bobbsey heard about the circus plans she decided it would make too much confusion.

"Besides, you have to help me get ready for your party," she said to the two little twins.

This took their mind off the proposed circus, but for several days after that they had much fun making hoops for Snap to jump through.

Bert and Charley got a long plank from the lumber yard, and spent much time after school in the Bobbsey barn, working over their bob sled. It was harder than they had thought it would be, and they had to call in some other boys to help them. Mr. Bobbsey, too, gave his son some advice about how to build it.

Flossie and Freddie liked it very much in school. The kindergarten teacher was very kind, and took an interest in all her pupils. "Oh, mamma!" cried Flossie, coming in one day from school, "I've learned how to make a house."

"And I can make a lantern, and a chain to hang it on, and I can put it in front of Flossie's house!" exclaimed Freddie. "And, please, mother, may I have some bread and jam. I'm awful hungry."

"Yes, dear, go ask Dinah," said Mrs. Bobbsey, with a smile. "And then you may show me how you make houses and lanterns and a chain. Are they real?"

"No," said Flossie, "they're only paper, but they look nice."

"I'm sure they must," said their mother.

After each of the twins had been given a large slice of bread and butter and jam, they showed the latest thing they had learned at school. Flossie did manage to cut out a house, that had a chimney on it, and a door, besides two windows.

Freddie took several little narrow strips of paper, and pasting the ends together, made a lot of rings. Each ring before being pasted, was slipped into another, and soon he had A paper chain. To make the lantern he used a piece of paper made into a roll, with slits all around the middle of it where the light would have come out had there been a candle in it. And the handle was a narrow slip of paper pasted over the top of the lantern.

"Very fine Indeed," said Mamma BobbSey. "Run out now to play. If you stay in the house too much you will soon lose all the lovely tan you got in the country, and at the seashore."

"Children," said the principal to the Bobbseys and all the others in school the next day, "I have a little treat for you. Tomorrow will be a holiday, and, as the weather is very warm, we will close the school at noon, and go off in the woods for a little picnic."

"Oh, good!" cried a number of the boys and girls, and, though it was against the rules to speak aloud during the school hours, none of the teachers objected.

"But I expect you all to have perfect marks from now until Friday," Mr. Tetlow went on. "You may bring your lunches to school with you Friday morning, if your parents will let you, and we will leave here at noon, and go to Ward's woods."

It was rather hard work to study after such good news, but, somehow, the pupils managed it. Finally Friday came, and nearly every boy and girl came to school with a basket or bundle holding his or her lunch. Mrs. Bobbsey put up two baskets for her children, Nan taking one and Bert the other.

"Oh, we'll have a lovely time!" cried Freddie, dancing about on his little fat legs.

Twelve o'clock came, and with each teacher at the head of her class, and Mr. Tetlow marching in front of all, the whole school started off for the woods.