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- Four Little Blossoms on Apple Tree Island - 1/17 -


FOUR LITTLE BLOSSOMS ON APPLE TREE ISLAND

BY

MABEL C. HAWLEY

AUTHOR OF "FOUR LITTLE BLOSSOMS AT BROOKSIDE FARM," "FOUR LITTLE BLOSSOMS AT OAK HILL SCHOOL," ETC.

ILLUSTRATED BY WALTER F. RODGERS

CONTENTS

I THE NEW CAR

II BOBBY HAS A PLAN

III HOW THE PLAN WORKED

IV TWADDLES' GRASSHOPPER

V APPLE TREE ISLAND

VI ERRANDS IN TOWN

VII BEGINNING THE JOURNEY

VIII OLD BROOKSIDE FRIENDS

IX ON THE WAY AGAIN

X ON THE ISLAND

XI A DAMP ADVENTURE

XII SUNNY SUMMER DAYS

XIII A SIGNAL FOR HELP

XIV THE RESCUE

XV BOBBY'S GREAT DISCOVERY

CHAPTER I

THE NEW CAR

Half of a small boy protruded from the oven, his stout tan shoes waving convulsively.

"Twaddles!" Nora coming into her orderly kitchen was amazed. "Glory be, child, are you making toast of yourself?"

The shoes gave a final wriggle and Twaddles deftly backed out of the oven, turning to show a flushed face and a pair of dark, dancing eyes.

"What are ye doing?" insisted Norah curiously. "The sponge cake was baked and put away hours ago."

"Oh, I don't want any of your sponge cake," Twaddles assured her loftily, forgetting, perhaps, the many times he had hung around the kitchen door during Norah's baking and teased for "just one bite." "I'm life-saving, Norah."

"You're what?" asked Norah incredulously.

Twaddles sat down comfortably on the stone hearth before the old- fashioned coal range and began to clean caked mud from the soles of his shoes.

"It's a robin," he explained. "A sick robin, Norah. I found him on the grass, and he was too cold and wet to fly. Mother used to put 'em in the oven when she was a little girl and that made 'em all well again."

"You'll scorch him," said Norah, stooping down to look. "That oven is nearly hot enough to bake biscuit in, Twaddles. Wait, I'll wrap your robin up in cotton and we'll put him on the shelf warmer; that's about the temperature he needs."

Twaddles, assured of expert attention for his patient, scrambled to his feet.

"I have to go out in front and watch for Daddy," he announced importantly. "I want to see what color the new car's painted. Sam said to be sure and write him."

Norah, working over the faintly peeping young robin, blushed very red.

"You take the brush pan and broom," she directed Twaddles, "and brush up that mud. Wasn't it only this morning your mother was telling you not to be making extra work?"

Twaddles obediently seized the dustpan and the long-handled broom. His intentions were doubtless of the best, but he was a stranger to the ways of broom handles. This one, in his hands, caught the lid of a kettle Norah had on the stove and sent it spinning across the room to land with a noisy clatter in the sink. Twaddles privately considered this a distinct feat, but Norah was unappreciative.

"Glory be!" cried the long-suffering Norah. "Be off with ye, and I'll clean up the mud. The more helpful ye try to be, Twaddles, the more work ye make."

Twaddles departed with as much dignity as he could muster, and running through the front hall found his mother and his brother Bobby looking at the window boxes on the front porch. The boxes had been put away for the winter and that morning Father Blossom had brought them down to see about painting them.

"Can I plant things?" demanded Twaddles.

Meg, who was digging contentedly in the flower bed at the foot of the steps, looked at him sympathetically. Meg's fair little face was flushed and there was a streak of dirt across her small straight nose and she was unmistakably very busy and very happy.

"Isn't it fun?" she greeted her little brother. "Mother says we may each have a garden this year; didn't you, Mother?"

"I surely did," agreed Mother Blossom, smiling. "What is Dot bringing?"

Around the corner of the house came Dot, Twaddles' twin sister. Her hair-ribbon drooped perilously on the end of a straggling lock of dark hair and her pretty dark blue frock hung in a gap below the belt where it had pulled loose at the gathers. Dot always had trouble about keeping her frocks neat.

"I got a hose!" she declared triumphantly. "Daddy won't have to buy one. The Mertons threw this out on the trash basket and I brought it home. I guess Daddy can mend it."

Bobby shouted with laughter.

"That's the old piece they used to beat rugs with," he said positively, "Nobody could mend that."

"Come see the robin I found," suggested Twaddles. "It's getting dry on the shelf warmer. Perhaps we can keep him to play with."

"That you can't," said Mother Blossom quickly. "It wouldn't be right in the first place, and in the second place it is against the law. You must put him out in the grass again, Twaddles, as soon as he is warm and dry."

"Daddy!" Meg's quick eyes had seen a car making the corner turn. "Here comes Daddy! What color is the car, Bobby?"

"Black--no, blue, dark blue!" cried Bobby.

As the comfortable touring car drew up at the curb and the smiling driver waved a gloved hand at the eager group on the porch, Dot jumped up and down with excitement.

"Take me, Daddy?" she shrieked. "Aren't you going?"

Pell-mell the children raced down the garden path and Mrs. Blossom followed more leisurely.

"Aren't you going?" Dot kept repeating. "Aren't you going?"

"You don't care much where you go, do you, Dot?" asked her father whimsically. "The main idea with you seems to be to keep moving. How about it, Mother--want to take a little drive?" Mrs. Blossom glanced toward the house.

"I'm as bad as the children," she confessed. "It must be this Spring weather. I really ought to be upstairs mending stockings, but how can I stay indoors on a day like this?"

"Get your hat," said Mr. Blossom crisply. "That settles it--we're going to take a spin. Pile in, youngsters."

Mother Blossom came back with her hat and sweaters for the children, and Norah came to the door to wave to them and see the new car. It was a very handsome, nicely finished model, painted dark blue, as Bobby had said. The seats were upholstered in dark blue rep and there was plenty of room for the Blossom family and for guests, when they had them.

"May I ride with you, Daddy?" asked Meg.

"It's my turn," insisted Twaddles. "Isn't it, Daddy?"

"That was the old car," said Bobby. "This is beginning all over.


Four Little Blossoms on Apple Tree Island - 1/17

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