FOURTH OF JULY
The day following the picnic was July third, and as the Meadow Brook
children were pretty well tired out from romping in the woods, they were
glad of a day's rest before entering upon the festivities of Independence
"How much have you got?" Tom Mason asked the Bobbsey boys.
"Fifty cents together, twenty-five cents each," Harry announced.
"Well, I've got thirty-five, and we had better get our stuff early,
Stimpson sold out before noon last year," concluded Tom.
"I have to get torpedoes for Freddie and Flossie, and Chinese fire-crackers
for Nan," Bert remarked, as they started for the little country grocery
"I guess I'll buy a few snakes, they look so funny coiling out,"
"I'm going to have sky rockets and Roman candles. Everybody said they
the prettiest last year," said Harry.
"If they have red fire I must get some of it for the girls," thoughtful
But at the store the boys had to take just what they could get, as
Stimpson's supply was very limited.
"Let's make up a parade!" someone suggested, and this being agreed
boys started a canvass from house to house, to get all the boys along Meadow
Brook road to take part in the procession.
"Can the little ones come too?" August Stout asked, because he
always had to
look out for his small brother when there was any danger like fireworks
"Yes, and we're goin' to let the girls march in a division by themselves,"
Bert told him. "My sister Nan is going to be captain, and we'll leave
the girls' parts to her."
"Be sure and bring your flag," Harry cautioned Jack Hopkins.
"How would the goat wagons do?" Jack asked.
"Fine; we could let Roy and Freddie ride in them," said Bert.
"Tell any of
the other fellows who have goat teams to bring them along too."
"Eight o'clock sharp at our lane," Harry told them for the place
and time of
meeting. Then they went along to finish the arrangements.
"Don't tell the boys," Nan whispered to Mildred, as they too made
"Won't they be surprised?" exclaimed Mabel.
"Yes, and I am going to carry a real Betsy Ross flag, one with thirteen
stars, you know."
"Oh, yes, Betsy Ross made the first flag, didn't she?" remarked
trying to catch up on history.
"We'll have ten big girls," Nan counted. "Then with Flossie
as Liberty we
will want Bessie and Nettie for her assistants."
"Attendants," Mabel corrected, for she had seen a city parade
like that once.
It was a busy day for everybody, and when Mr. Bobbsey came up on the train
from Lakeport that evening he carried boxes and boxes of fireworks for the
boys and girls, and even some for the grown folks too.
The girls could hardly sleep that night, they were so excited over their
part, but the boys of course were used to that sort of thing, and only slept
sounder with the fun in prospect.
"Are you awake, Bert?" called Harry, so early the next morning
that the sun
was hardly up yet.
"Yep," replied the cousin, jumping out of bed and hastily dressing
firing of the first gun.
The boys crept through the house very quietly, then ran to the barn for
their ammunition. Three big giant fire-crackers were placed in the road
directly in front of the house.
"Be careful!" whispered Bert; "they're full of powder."
But Harry was always careful with fireworks, and when he touched the fuses
to the "cannons" he made away quickly before they exploded.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
"Hurrah!" shouted Freddie, answering the call from his window,
All the others too were aroused by the first "guns," so that in
a very short
time there were many boys in the road, firing so many kinds of fire-crackers
that Meadow Brook resounded like a real war fort under fire.
"Ouch!" yelled Tom Mason, the first one to bum his fingers. "A
me right on the thumb."
But such small accidents were not given much attention, and soon Tom was
lighting the little red crackers as merrily as before.
"Go on back, girls!" called Bert. "You'll get your dresses
burnt if you don't."
The girls were coming too near the battlements then, and Bert did well to
warn them off.
Freddie and Flossie were having a great time throwing their little torpedoes
at Mr. Bobbsey and Uncle Daniel, who were seated on the piazza watching
sport. Snoop and Fluffy too came in for a scare, for Freddie tossed a
couple of torpedoes on the kitchen hearth where the kittens were sleeping.
The boys were having such fun they could hardly be induced to come in for
breakfast, but they finally did stop long enough to eat a spare meal.
"It's time to get ready!" whispered Nan to Bert, for the parade
kept secret from the grown folks.
At the girls' place of meeting, the coach house, Nan found all her company
waiting and anxious to dress.
"Just tie your scarfs loose under your left arm," ordered Captain
the girls quickly obeyed like true cadets. The broad red-white-and-blue
bunting was very pretty over the girls' white dresses, and indeed the
"cadets" looked as if they would outdo the "regulars"
unless the boys too
had surprises in store.
"Where's Nettie?" suddenly asked Nan, missing a poor little girl
"She wouldn't come because she had no white dress," Mildred answered.
"Oh, what a shame; she'll be so disappointed! Besides, we need her
a full line," Nan said. "Just wait a minute. Lock the door after
before the others knew what she was going to do, Nan ran off to the house,
got one of her own white dresses, rolled it up neatly, and was over the
fields to Nettie's house in a few minutes. When Nan came back she brought
Nettie with her, and not one of her companions knew it was Nan's dress that
Soon all the scarfs were tied and the flags arranged. Then Flossie had to
She wore a light blue dress with gold stars on it, and on her pretty yellow
curls she had a real Liberty crown. Then she had the cleanest, brightest
flag, and what a pretty picture she made!
"Oh, isn't she sweet!" all the girls exclaimed in admiration,
and indeed she
was a little beauty in her Liberty costume.
"There go the drums!" Nan declared. "We must be careful to
get down the
lane without being seen." This was easily managed, and now the girls
boys met at the end of the lane.
"Hurrah! hurrah!" shouted the boys, beating the drums and blowing
horns to welcome the girls.
"Oh, don't you look fine!" exclaimed Harry, who was captain of
"And don't you too!" Nan answered, for indeed the boys had such
hats on and so many flags and other red-white-and-blue things, that they
made a fine appearance.
"And Freddie!" exclaimed the girls. "Isn't he a lovely Uncle
Freddie was dressed in the striped suit Uncle Sam always wears, and had
his yellow curls a tall white hat. He was to ride in Jack Hopkins' goat
"Fall in!" called Harry, and at the word all the companies fell
"Cadets first," ordered the captain.
Then Flossie walked the very first one. After her came Nan and her company.
(No one noticed that Nettie's eyes were a little red from crying. She had
been so disappointed at first when she thought she couldn't go in the
parade.) After the girls came Freddie as Uncle Sam, in the goat wagon led
by Bert (for fear the goat might run away), then fifteen boys, all with
drums or fifes or some other things with which to make a noise. Roy was
the second division with his wagon, and last of all came the funniest thing.
A boy dressed up like a bear with a big sign on him:
He had a gun under his arm and looked too comical for anything.
It was quite warm to wear a big fur robe and false face, but under this
Jack Hopkins, the bear Teddy, and he didn't mind being warm when he made
everybody laugh so.
"Right foot, left foot, right foot, forward march!" called Nan,
procession started up the path straight for the Bobbsey house.
"Goodness gracious, sakes alive! Do come see de childrens! Ha, ha!
sure am a parade!" called Dinah, running through the house to the front
to view the procession.
"Oh, isn't it just beautiful!" Martha echoed close at Dinah's
"My!" exclaimed Mrs. Bobbsey; "how did they ever get made
up so pretty!"
"And look at Flossie!" exclaimed Aunt Sarah.
"And see Freddie!" put in Uncle Daniel.
"Oh, we must get the camera!" Mr. Bobbsey declared, while the
household, all excited, stood out on the porch when the parade advanced.
Such drumming and such tooting of fifes and horns!
Freddie's chariot was now in line with the front stoop, and he raised his
tall hat to the ladies like a real Uncle Sam.
"Oh, the bear! the bear!" called everybody, as they saw "Teddy"
"That's great," continued Uncle Daniel.
By this time Mr. Bobbsey had returned with the camera.
"Halt!" called Harry, and the procession stood still.
"Look this way. There now, all ready," said Mr. Bobbsey, and snap
camera on as pretty a picture as ever covered a plate.
"Right wheel! forward march!" called Nan again, and amid drumming
tooting the procession started off to parade through the center of Meadow
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