The Bobbsey Twins in a Great City by Laura Lee Hope
Chapter XXII. Reunited
The Bobbsey twins were not as much surprised at what their father said, after reading the telegram, as was Mr. Whipple. He fairly jumped up from his chair, on hearing what Mr. Bobbsey answered, and reached out his hand for the message.
"His name is Whipple!" cried the department store owner. "Are you sure his name is John Whipple?"
"That's what the telegram says," went on Mr. Bobbsey. "You may read it. It seems he asked to have it sent to me as soon as he knew he was getting better, and when he remembered who he was. He says he remembers he had a brother and a sister."
Mr. Whipple seemed very much excited. Even Flossie and Freddie, young as they were, could tell that. He took the telegram from Mr. Bobbsey, but he did not read it. Instead he looked at the children's father and asked:
"Do you know this old woodchopper very well?"
"I have seen him a number of times," said Mr. Bobbsey, "and he often comes to my house with loads of wood. The children know him, too. I have told you how he helped Freddie and Flossie out of the snow bank and took them to his cabin."
"What sort of looking man is he?" the store owner questioned eagerly.
Mr. Bobbsey described Uncle Jack's looks, and also told of his having come to Lakeport a number of years before, from where, no one knew. He made friends and lived in the woods. That was all that was known about him. Few, if any, had known his name until now.
"And so he is John Whipple," said Mr. Bobbsey, rather talking to himself than to any one else. "Strange that he should have forgotten it all these years, I wonder if I can find his folks. Why, your name is Whipple!" he said to Laddie's uncle. "Do you know who Uncle Jack might be?"
"I think I do," said Mr. Whipple slowly, and his voice trembled. "I think he is my long-lost brother, and the brother of my sister--he is Laddie's other uncle! Oh, if it only turns out that way!"
"Is Uncle John found?" asked Laddie, who, with his playmates, Flossie and Freddie, began to understand a little of what was going on. "Is Uncle John found?"
"We hope so, my dear," said his aunt gently. "How can we make sure?" she asked her husband.
"There is only one way," he said.
"You mean to go to Lakeport?"
"That's it. Where can I find him?" asked Mr. Whipple of Mr. Bobbsey. "Uncle Jack, I will call him, until I make sure he is my long-lost brother," he added.
"He was taken to a private hospital, not far out of town. I'll be very glad if you and your wife, and Laddie, as well, will come back to Lakeport with us. Then you can see Uncle Jack and make sure whether or not he is your brother."
"I'll be glad to do that. But I thought you were going to stay in New York for some time yet."
"We can go back to-morrow if need be," said Mr. Bobbsey. "My business is now in good shape, and I can come back here if there is any call for me."
"Oh, let's all go back to Lakeport!" cried Freddie. "Maybe then we can have a goat, Flossie."
"Oh, may we, Mother?" the little girl demanded.
"I'll buy 'em a goat--two goats--if this news proves true," said Mr. Whipple. "Oh, I do hope I have found my brother!"
"How did he get lost?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey.
"It happened when my sister and I were very little children. John was somewhat older. Our parents died, and distant relatives, living far away from our home, took charge of my sister and me. John, who was a half-grown boy, stayed with the family of a neighboring farmer, who had been friends of our parents, and the relatives took my sister and me away with them.
"Shortly after this the farmer lost his money, his farm, everything, and soon after moved away, taking John with them. News of this did not come for some time to our relatives, and when it did and they began a search for John, all trace of him was lost. They learned that the farmer had died in a public hospital in a strange city, and all trace of his widow and John was lost right there.
"When I became old enough, I started to look for John, but could not find him. My sister could not, either, though lately she heard he was in California, but it was not true. And so, for many years, we have been trying to find John Whipple. And at last I know where he is!"
"Let us hope Uncle Jack is your brother," said Mr. Bobbsey gently.
"We will soon know," said Mrs. Whipple.
The stay of the Bobbseys in the great city of New York came to a sudden end, but they had had a good time, and might come again some time. Besides, Mr. and Mrs. Whipple were going back with them, to see if the old woodchopper were really the long-lost man, and Flossie and Freddie thought that almost as good as if they had stayed in the city.
"And Laddie is coming, too!" cried Freddie. "We'll have heaps of good times."
"And maybe we'll get a goat," said Flossie. "If we do, I'm going to drive him sometimes."
"Yes, you can," agreed Freddie.
Mr. Bobbsey closed up most of his New York business matters, and Mr. Whipple, with his wife and Laddie, got ready to go to Lakeport with the Bobbseys. Word was sent to Dinah, the fat cook, and her husband, Sam, to get the Lakeport house ready for the family and for the Whipples, who would stay with them for a short time.
Another telegram came from the hospital about Uncle Jack. It said he was doing well, and that his mind was clear. He was certain he was John Whipple, and that he had relations somewhere. But, for fear there might be a disappointment, after all, no word was sent him about Mr. Daniel Whipple's coming on. Nor was Laddie's mother, in California, told. They wanted to make sure there would be no mistake.
Once more the Bobbsey twins were in the big Pennsylvania station, and Freddie almost made the whole party miss the train by stopping in the arcade to show Laddie where the bugs, that went "around and around and around," had been bought.
"See what beautiful colors they are!" exclaimed Freddie. "Green and blue and red and brown and pink and yellow and--and--oh, every kind!"
"And you ought to see how fast some of 'em go around!" exclaimed Flossie. "They just keep on going around and around and around till sometimes you can't most see 'em go!"
"And you wind 'em just like this----" explained Freddie, making a queer little movement with his chubby hand.
"Oh, I know just how they go," said Laddie. "Didn't I see yours run?"
"Come, children, we'll have to hurry," said Mr. Bobbsey. "We don't want to miss the train."
"I want some of those bugs," said Laddie wistfully.
"We can get some later," replied his aunt.
"But they may be all gone when we come back!"
"I don't think so," his aunt replied. "See! They have a whole store full of them." And then the crowd hurried off to catch the train.
In due time they arrived in Lakeport, and when Flossie and Freddie rushed into the house, almost knocking down dear old fat Dinah, they found Splash, the big dog, waiting for them. And Splash did really knock Flossie down, he was so glad to see her. But she was so fat that, really, falling just to the floor did not hurt her at all. And, anyhow, she sat down on the tail of Splash, so it was like a cushion, only, of course, he could not wag it until Flossie got up.
"Oh, chilluns! how glad I is t' see yo' all!" cried Dinah, trying to hug all four of them at once.
"And here's Laddie," said Flossie. "Aren't you glad to see him?"
"Co'se I is, chile! I lubs yo' all!" and she hugged Laddie, too.
Leaving his wife at the Bobbsey home, Mr. Whipple went with Mr. Bobbsey to the hospital where Uncle Jack (as they still called him) had been taken.
The old woodchopper was much better, though still weak and ill. One of the doctors had told him some one was coming to see him, and had said it might prove to be some one who knew about his brother and sister. Poor Uncle Jack's eyes filled with tears.
"Oh, I only hope it is true," he said.
Mr. Whipple walked softly into the hospital room. After a short talk with the old woodchopper, Mr. Daniel Whipple cried:
"It is true! I am your brother! Oh, John, I have found you at last!"
There was no doubt of it. After further talking it over between them, Mr. Daniel Whipple and Mr. John Whipple made sure they were brothers. And when Uncle Jack (as many still kept on calling him) got better, every one could see that he and Mr. Whipple, the department store owner, looked very much alike, except that the woodchopper was older.
But I must not call him a woodchopper, for he was that no longer.
"You are coming to live with me," said his brother Dan. "I have enough to look after you. No more hard work for you!"
"I am very happy," said Uncle Jack. "Bless the dear children; they helped you to find me as much as any one did."
"Yes," said Uncle Dan, as the Bobbsey twins called Laddie's uncle, "if Flossie and Freddie hadn't fallen off the ice-boat I might still be looking for you, John."
And so, as you have read, everything came out all right. Uncle Jack, in a few weeks, was able to leave the hospital, quite well again, though he was very weak, and he was old. He grew stronger in time, but of course no younger, though he lived for a number of happy years with his brother.
Laddie stayed in Lakeport over two weeks, and he had many good times with the Bobbsey twins. His mother, as soon as the weather became warm, came on from California and said she had never seen Laddie play with two children he liked more than he did Flossie and Freddie. Bert and Tommy Todd sailed the ice-boat, and it did not upset again, though once it came very near it. Flossie and Freddie were given the cart and goat they so much wanted, but I shall have no room here to tell about the fun they had with them.
"Well, it certainly was a dandy Winter," remarked Bert one day, when the air felt like Spring.
The Whipples, taking Uncle Jack with them, had gone back to New York, and the Bobbseys were alone.
"It will soon be Summer," said Nan. "I wonder what we shall do then. Where are we going to spend our vacation, Mother?"
"Oh, I think Daddy has some nice place picked out."
"Let's try to guess!" said Nan to Bert.
But they did not easily do that, and as I do not want to keep you guessing, I will say that the children did have a fine time that Summer.
Where they went, and what they did while there, you may find out by reading the next book of this series, to be called, "The Bobbsey Twins on Blueberry Island." There they went camping, and----But I will let you read it for yourselves.
"Freddie! oh, Freddie!" called Flossie, coming into the house one day about a month after they had come back from New York. "Where are you, Freddie?"
"I'm out in the kitchen gettin' some bread an' jam," he answered. "What d'you want?"
"Lucy Turner is with me," went on Flossie. "She says we haven't got any bugs that go around and around and around, and I want to show her. We have got 'em, haven't we, Freddie?"
"Course we have. I've got one now going around and around and around my plate that had bread and jam on it--but there isn't any on it now, 'cause I ate it all up!"
"Oh, come on and we'll get some, too!" cried Flossie, and she and her little girl playmate were soon having fun with Freddie. And there we will take leave of them.