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The Bobbsey Twins in the Country(Chapter18)

2006-08-22 19:41

  Chapter XVIII. The Fresh-Air Camp

  Quiet had settled down once more upon the little village of Meadow Brook. The excitement of the flood had died away, and now when the month of July was almost gone, and a good part of vacation had gone with it, the children turned their attention to a matter of new interest - the fresh-air camp.

  "Mildred Manners was over to the camp yesterday," Nan told her mother, "and she says whole lot of little girls have come out from the city, and they have such poor clothes. There is no sickness there that anyone could catch, she says (for her uncle is the doctor, you know), but Mildred says her mother is going to show her how to make some aprons for the little girls."

  "Why, that would be nice for all you little girls to do," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "Suppose you start a sewing school, and all see what you can make!"

  "Oh, that would be lovely!" exclaimed Nan. "When can we start?"

  "As soon as we get the materials," the mother replied. "We will ask Aunt Sarah to drive over to the camp this afternoon; then we can see what the children need."

  "Can I go?" asked Flossie, much interested in the fresh-air work.

  "I guess so," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "If we take the depot wagon there will be room for you and Freddie."

  So that was how it came about that our little friends became interested in the fresh-air camp. Nan and Mildred, Flossie and Freddie, with Aunt Sarah and Mrs. Bobbsey, visited the camp in the afternoon.

  "What a queer place it is!" whispered Flossie, as they drove up to the tents on the mountain-side.

  "Hush," said Nan; "they might hear you."

  "Oh, these are war-camps!" exclaimed Freddie when he saw the white tents. "They're just like the war-pictures in my story book!"

  The matron who had charge of the camp came up, and when Mrs. Bobbsey explained her business, the matron was pleased and glad to show them through the place.

  "Oh, it was your boys who brought us all that money from the circus?" said the woman. "That's why we have all the extra children here - the circus money has paid for them, and they are to have two weeks on this beautiful mountain."

  "I'm glad the boys were able to help," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "It really was quite a circus."

  "It must have been, when they made so much money," the other answered.

  "And we are going to help now," spoke up Nan. "We are starting a sewing school."

  "Oh, I'm so glad somebody has thought of clothes," said the matron. "We often get gifts of food, but we need clothes so badly."

  "There is no sickness?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey, as they started on a tour of the camp.

  "No; we cannot take sick children here now," said the matron. "We had some early in the season, but this is such a fine place for romping we decided to keep this camp for the healthy children and have another for those who are sick."

  By this time numbers of little girls and boys crowded around the visitors. They were quite different from the children of Meadow Brook or Lakeport. Somehow they were smaller, but looked older. Poor children begin to worry so young that they soon look much older than they really are.

  Nan and Mildred spoke kindly to the girls, while Freddie and Flossie soon made friends with the little boys. One small boy, smaller than Freddie, with sandy hair and beautiful blue eyes, was particularly happy with Freddie. He looked better than the others, was almost as fat as Freddie, and he had such lovely clear skin, as if somebody loved to wash it.

  "Where do you lib?" he lisped to Freddie.

  "At Uncle Daniel's," Freddie answered. "Where do you live?"

  "With mamma," replied the little boy. Then he stopped a minute. "Oh, no; I don't live with mamma now," he corrected himself, "'cause she's gone to heaven, so I live with Mrs. Manily."

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