The Bobbsey Twins on Blueberry Island
by Laura Lee Hope
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Author of "The Bobbsey Twins," "The Bunny Brown Series," "The Outdoor Girls Series," Etc.


New York Grosset & Dunlap Publishers Made in the United States of America

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Grosset & Dunlap, Publishers, New York. Copyright, 1917, by Grosset & Dunlap.








"Oh, dear! I wish we weren't going home!"

"So do I! Can't we stay out a little while longer?"

"Why, Flossie and Freddie Bobbsey!" cried Nan, the older sister of the two small twins who had spoken. "A few minutes ago you were in a hurry to get home."

"Yes; they said they were so hungry they couldn't wait to see what Dinah was going to have for supper," said Bert Bobbsey. "How about that, Freddie?"

"Well, I'm hungry yet," said the little boy, who was sitting beside his sister Flossie in a boat that was being rowed over the blue waters of Lake Metoka. "I am hungry, and I want some of Dinah's pie, but I'd like to stay out longer."

"So would I," added Flossie. "It's so nice on the lake, and maybe to-morrow it will rain."

"Well, what if it does?" asked Nan. "You didn't expect to come out on the lake again to-morrow, did you?"

"Maybe," answered Flossie, as she smoothed out the dress of a doll she was holding in her lap.

"I'd like to come out on the lake and have a picnic every day," said Freddie, leaning over the edge of the boat to see if a small ship, to which he had fastened a string, was being pulled safely along.

"Don't do that!" cried Nan quickly. "Do you want to fall in?"

"No," answered Freddie slowly, as though he had been thinking that perhaps a wetting in the lake might not be so bad after all. "No, I don't want to fall in now, 'cause whenever I go in swimming I get terrible hungry, and I don't want to be any hungrier than I am now."

"Oh, so that's the only reason, is it?" asked Bert with a laugh. "Well, just keep inside the boat until we get on shore, and then you can fall out if you want to."

"How am I going to fall out when the boat's on shore?" asked Freddie. "Boats can't go on land anyhow, Bert Bobbsey!"

"That will be something for you to think about, and then maybe you won't lean over and scare Nan," said Bert, smiling.

"Do you want I should land you at your father's lumber dock, or shall I row on down near the house, Bert?" asked a man who was pulling at the oars of the boat. "It won't make any difference to me. I've got lots of time."

"Then, Jack, row us down near the house, if you don't mind," begged Nan. "I want to get these two fat twins ashore as soon as I can; Freddie especially, if he's going to almost fall overboard when I'm not looking."

"I'm not going to fall overboard!" cried the little fat fellow. "Can't I row, Jack?"

"Not now, Freddie. I'm in a hurry," answered the man, one of the workers from Mr. Bobbsey's lumberyard.

"But you told Bert, just now, that you had lots of time," insisted Freddie.

"Well—er—ahem—I haven't time to let you row, Freddie. Maybe I will some other day," and Jack looked at Bert and smiled, while he said to himself: "You've got to get up early in the morning to match a smart chap like him," meaning Freddie, of course.

A short time before, the Bobbsey twins had returned from the city of New York where they had spent a part of the winter. Now it was spring and would soon be summer, and, as the day was a fine, warm one, they had gone on a little picnic, taking their lunch with them and pretending to camp on one of the many islands in the lake. Now they were on their way home.

"Well, here you are, safe on shore!" announced Jack, as the twins called Mr. Henderson, the man whom their father had sent with them to manage the boat.

"Yes, and there goes Freddie—falling overboard!" cried Bert with a laugh, as his little fat brother stumbled over a coil of rope on the dock and tumbled down. "It's a good thing you didn't do that in the boat, little fat fireman."

"I didn't hurt myself, anyhow," said Freddie, as he got up. "Come on, Flossie, let's run home. I'm terrible hungry."

"So'm I," added his sister, who was as fat as he, and just the same size. The two smaller Bobbsey twins started on ahead, while Bert, after seeing that the boat was well tied, followed on more slowly with his sister Nan.

"It was a nice ride we had," Nan said, "wasn't it, Bert?"

"Yes, it's great out on the lake. I wonder if we'll ever go camping as we talked of when we were in New York?"

"Maybe. Let's tease mother to let us!"

"All right. You ask her and I'll ask father. There's one island in the lake where——"

But Bert did not have a chance to finish what he was going to say, for just then Flossie and Freddie, who had hurried on ahead, came running back, surprise showing on their faces.

"Oh, Bert!" cried Freddie. "It's here! It's come!"

"Can we go to see it?" added Flossie. "Oh, I just want to!"

"What's here? What do you want to see? What is it?" asked Bert and Nan together, taking turns at the questions.

"The circus is here!" answered Freddie.

"Circus?" asked Bert in surprise.

"Yep! We saw the wagons!" went on Flossie. "They're all red and yellow, and they've got lookin' glasses all over the sides, and they have rumbly wheels, like thunder, and horses with bells on and—and——"

"You'd better save a little of your breath to eat some of the good things you think Dinah is going to cook for you," said Nan with a laugh, as she put her arms around her small sister. "Now what is it all about?"

"It's a circus!" cried Freddie.

"We saw the wagons going along the street where our house is," added Flossie. "All red and yellow and—— Oh, look!" she suddenly cried. "There they are now!"

She pointed excitedly down the side street, on which the Bobbsey twins then were, toward the main street of Lakeport, where the Bobbsey family lived. Nan and Bert, as well as Flossie and Freddie, saw three or four big wagons, gaily painted red and yellow, and with glittering pieces of looking glass on their sides. The prancing horses drawing the wagons had bells around their necks and a merry, tinkling jingle sounded, making music wherever the horses went.

Bert and Nan gave one look at the wagons, and then they both laughed. Flossie and Freddie glanced up in surprise at their older brother and sister.

"Look what they thought was a circus!" chuckled Bert.

"Isn't it?" asked Flossie. "Isn't that a circus?"

"No, dear," answered Nan. "Don't laugh so much," she said to Bert, as she saw that the two small twins felt hurt. "They do look something like circus wagons."

"They are circus wagons!" declared Freddie. "And pretty soon the elephants will come past. I like elephants."

"You won't see any elephants to-day," said Bert. "That isn't a circus procession."

"What is it?" Flossie demanded.

"Those are gypsy wagons," explained Nan. "Gypsies, you know, are those queer people, who are dark-skinned. They wear rings in their ears and live in wagons like those. They ride all over the country and tell fortunes. I wanted to have my fortune told by a gypsy once, but mother wouldn't let me," she added.

"It's silly!" declared Bert. "Just as if a gypsy could tell you what's going to happen!"

"Well, Lillie Kent had hers told," went on Nan, "and the gypsy looked at her hand and said she was going to have trouble, and she did."

"What?" asked Flossie eagerly.

"She lost a nickel a week after that—a nickel she was going to buy a lead pencil with."

"Pooh!" laughed Bert, "she'd have lost the nickel anyhow. But say, there are lots of gypsies in this band! I've counted five wagons so far."

"Maybe they're going to have a circus," insisted Freddie, who did not like to give up the idea of seeing a show.

"Course they're going to have a circus," said Flossie. "Look at all the horses," for behind the last two wagons were trotting a number of horses, being led along by men seated in the ends of the bright-colored wagons. The men had straps which were fastened to the heads of the animals.

"No; gypsies don't give shows. They buy and sell horses," said Bert. "I've seen 'em here in Lakeport before, but not so many as this. I guess they're going to make a camp somewhere on Lake Metoka."

"Maybe we'll see 'em when we go camping," said Freddie.

"It isn't yet sure that we're going," returned Nan. "But, come on. There are no more gypsy wagons to see, and we must get home."

Flossie and Freddie, somewhat disappointed that, after all, it was not a circus procession they had seen, started off again. They wished they could have seen more of the gypsies, but the gay wagons rumbled on out of sight, though this was not the last the Bobbsey twins were to see of them. In fact, they were to meet the gypsies again, and to have quite an adventure with them before the summer was over.

"Well, we had a good time, anyhow," said Freddie to Flossie. "And we almost saw a circus, didn't we?"

"Yep," answered his sister. "I'm going to be a gypsy when I grow up."

"Why?" asked Freddie.

"'Cause they've got so many looking glasses on their wagons."

"I'm going to be a gypsy, too," decided Freddie, after thinking it over a bit. "'Cause they've got so many horses. I'm going to ride horseback, and you can ride in one of the wagons, Flossie."

"No. I'm going to ride horseback, too," declared the little girl. "I'm going to have a spangly thing in my hair and wear a dress all glittery and stand on the horse's back and ride——"

"Gypsies don't do that," protested Bert. "It's the people in circuses that ride standing up."

"Gypsies do too," declared Freddie, not knowing a thing about it but feeling he must back up anything Flossie said.

"No, they don't, either."

"Well, maybe they have gypsies in a circus. They have Indians, you know."

"I don't believe they do," put in Nan. "Gypsies wouldn't like to be in a tent and work every afternoon and every evening. They want to live in their wagons and be more out of doors."

"Well, maybe we'll be gypsies and maybe we'll be in a circus," said Freddie. "We'll see, won't we, Flossie?"


By this time the Bobbsey twins had reached their house, or rather, they had turned the corner of the street leading out from the lake, and were in sight of their home. What they saw caused Bert, Nan, Flossie and Freddie to set out on a run. In front of their house was a crowd of people. There were men, women and children, and among them the twins could see their mother, fat Dinah, the cook, and Sam Johnson, her husband, who attended to the Bobbsey furnace in winter and the lawn in summer.

"What's the matter?" asked Nan.

"Something has happened!" cried Bert.

"The house is on fire!" shouted Freddie. "I must get my fire engine that squirts real water!" and he raced on ahead.

"Wait a minute!" called Bert.

The Bobbsey twins saw their mother coming quickly toward them. She held out her arms and cried:

"Oh, I'm so glad you're safe!"

"Why, what's the matter?" asked Flossie.

"I can't just say," answered her mother; "but Helen Porter can't be found. Her mother has looked everywhere for her, but can't find her."

"She's been carried off by the gypsies!" exclaimed John Marsh, an excited boy about Bert's age. "The gypsies took her! I saw 'em!"

"You did?" asked Bert.

"Sure I did! A man! Dark, with a red sash on, and gold rings in his ears! He picked Helen up in his arms and went off with her! She's in one of the gypsy wagons now!"

When John told this Flossie and Freddie huddled closer to their mother.



"What's all this? What's the matter?" asked a voice on the outside fringe of the crowd that had gathered in front of the Bobbsey home, and, looking up, Bert saw his father coming down the street from the direction of his lumberyard. "Has anything happened?" asked Mr. Bobbsey, after a glance had shown him that his own little family was safe and sound.

"Dere suah has lots done gone an' happened, Mistah Bobbsey," answered fat Dinah. "Oh, de pore honey lamb! Jest t' think ob it!"

"But who is it? What has happened?" asked Mr. Bobbsey, looking about for some one to answer him. Flossie and Freddie decided they would do this.

"It's gypsies," said the little "fat fireman," as his father sometimes called Freddie.

"And they carried off Helen Porter," added the little "fat fairy," which was Flossie's pet name. "An' I saw the wagons, all lookin' glasses, an' Freddie an' I are goin' to be gypsies when we grow up." Flossie was so excited that she dropped a lot of "g" letters from the ends of words where they belonged.

"You don't mean to say that the gypsies have carried off Helen Porter—the little girl who lives next door?" asked Mr. Bobbsey in great surprise.

"Yep! They did! I saw 'em!" exclaimed John Marsh. "She had curly hair, and when the gypsy man tooked her in his arms she cried, Helen did!"

"Oh!" exclaimed Flossie, Freddie and other children in the crowd.

"There must be some mistake," said Mr. Bobbsey. "Those gypsies would never take away a child, even in fun, in broad daylight. It must be a mistake. Let me hear more about it."

And while the father of the Bobbsey twins is trying to find out just what had happened, I will take a few minutes to let my readers know something of the twins themselves, for this book is about them.

It may be that some boy or girl is reading this as his or her first venture into the volumes of the "Bobbsey Twins Series." If so, I will state that there are a number of books which come before this, though this story is complete in itself.

To begin with there were four Bobbsey twins, as you have guessed before this. Nan and Bert were about ten years old, tall and dark, with eyes and hair to match.

Flossie and Freddie were short and fat, and had light hair and blue eyes. So, now that you know them you will have no trouble in telling the twins, one from the other.

With their mother and their father, who owned a large lumberyard, the twins lived in the eastern city of Lakeport near the head of Lake Metoka. There were others in the family besides the twins and their parents. There was dear old, black, fat Dinah, the cook, who made such good pies, and there was Sam, her husband. And I must not forget Snoop, the black cat, nor Snap, the big dog, who once did tricks in a circus. You will hear more about them later.

"The Bobbsey Twins," is the name of the first book, and in that you may read of many adventures that befell the children. They had more adventures in the country, and there is a book telling all about that happy time, and also one about the seashore.

When the Bobbsey twins went to school there was more fun and excitement "than you could shake a stick at," as Dinah used to say, though why any one would want to shake a stick at fun I can't tell. Then came jolly times at "Snow Lodge," and on a houseboat. From there the twins went to "Meadow Brook," and afterward came home, there to have more fun.

The book just before this one you are reading is called "The Bobbsey Twins in a Great City." In that you may learn how Bert, Nan, Flossie and Freddie went to New York where Mr. Bobbsey had some business to look after. While there the twins helped to solve a mystery about a poor old man. I think, however, that I had better not tell you any more about it, but let you read it for yourself.

And now we find the twins back in Lakeport, ready for a good time during the summer that would soon be at hand. Only the gypsy scare had rather alarmed every one for the time being.

"But now let me hear what it is all about," said Mr. Bobbsey, who had come home from the office of his lumberyard to find an excited crowd in front of his house. "Were there really any gypsies?" he asked his wife. "And did they take away Helen Porter?"

"I don't know about that last part," said Mrs. Bobbsey; "but a caravan of gypsies did pass by the house a little while ago. I heard Dinah say something about the gaily painted wagons, and I looked out in time to see them rumbling along the street. Then, a little later, I heard Mrs. Porter calling for Helen, and, on seeing the crowd, I ran out. I was worried about our children until I saw them coming from the lake, where they had gone for a row in the boat."

"I can't believe that gypsies took Helen," said Mr. Bobbsey.

"Oh, but she's gone!" several neighbors told him. "We can't find her anywhere, and her mother is crying and taking on terribly!"

"Well, it may be that Helen is lost, or has even strayed away after the gypsies, thinking their wagons were part of a circus, as Nan says Flossie thought," said Mr. Bobbsey. "But gypsies wouldn't dare take a little girl away in broad daylight."

As he said this he looked at his own little children and at others in the crowd, for he did not want them to be frightened.

"Years ago, maybe, gypsies did take little folks," he said, "but they don't do it any more, I'm sure."

"But where is Helen?" asked John Marsh. "A gypsy man has her, I know, 'cause I saw him take her."

"Are you sure?" asked Mr. Bobbsey, for John was an excitable boy, sometimes given to imagining things that never happened.

"Course I'm sure," he said. "Cross my heart!" and he did so, while the other children looked on wonderingly.

"Suppose you go over to Mrs. Porter's house," said Mrs. Bobbsey to the children's father. "She's worried, I guess, and her husband isn't home yet. Maybe you can help her. I was just going in when you came along."

"All right, I'll go," said Mr. Bobbsey.

"Can't we come?" asked Freddie, and as he had hold of his little sister's hand, it was Flossie, of course, whom he included in his question.

"No, you must go with your mother," said his father, and when the little fat fireman seemed disappointed Mr. Bobbsey went on: "I guess supper is almost ready, isn't it, Dinah?"

"Deed it am. An' dere's puddin' wif shaved-up maple sugar scattered ober de top an'——"

"Oh, I want some of that!" cried Flossie. "Come on, Freddie! We can look for the gypsies after supper."

"And we'll get Helen out of the shiny wagons," added Freddie, as he hurried toward the Bobbsey home with Flossie, fat Dinah waddling along after them.

"I'll go with you," offered Bert to his father. "Maybe you would want me to go on an errand."

"Yes, take Bert with you," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "I'll look after Nan, Flossie and Freddie. And be sure to tell Mrs. Porter that if I can do anything for her I will."

"I'll tell her," and then Mr. Bobbsey, with Bert, walked to the Porter house next door.

The crowd in the street grew larger, and there was much talk about the gypsies. Some said that several little boys and girls had been carried off, but, of course, this was not so.

As Flossie and Freddie tore on toward the house in front of fat Dinah, they continued to chatter about the gypsies.

"If gypsies take little girls we don't want to be them—the gypsies, I mean—Freddie."

"Humph-umph; that's so. Well, I guess we'll be in a circus anyhow. That'll be more fun. You can ride a horse in the ring, and sometimes I can ride with you and sometimes I can be a clown. When I'm a clown I can squirt water from my fire engine over the other clowns. That'll make the folks holler and laugh."

When Nan and Mrs. Bobbsey reached the house each of the little twins was munching on a piece of maple sugar, given them by Dinah to keep them from nibbling at the pudding before the time to serve it came.

"My, Momsie! aren't you glad the gypsies came and got Helen Porter? It gives us something to think about," remarked Freddie coolly.

"Freddie Bobbsey!" gasped his mother. "No, I am not glad the gypsies got Helen—if they did. And you and Flossie find enough to think about, as it is. And give the rest of us enough to think about, what is more."

"There go daddy and Bert into Mrs. Porter's house now," said Nan.

"Now tell me just what happened, and I'll do all I can to help you," said Mr. Bobbsey to Mrs. Porter, when he got to her house and found her half crying in the sitting-room where there were a number of other women.

"Oh, Helen is gone, I'm sure she is!" cried the mother. "The gypsies have taken her! I'll never see her again!"

"Oh, yes you will," said Mr. Bobbsey in mild tones. "I'm sure it's all a mistake. The gypsies haven't taken her at all. What makes you think so?"

"Johnnie Marsh saw them carry her away."

"Then let's have Johnnie in here where we can talk to him. Bert, suppose you do one of those errands you spoke of," said his father with a smile, "and bring Johnnie in out of the crowd where I can talk to him quietly."

John, or Johnnie, as he was often called, was very ready to come when Bert found him outside the Porter house, telling over and over again to a crowd of boys what he had seen, or what he thought he had seen.

"Now tell us just what happened," said Mr. Bobbsey, when the small boy was seated in a chair in the Porter parlor.

"Well, I was coming from the store for my mother," said Johnnie, "and I saw the gypsy wagons. I thought it was a circus."

"That's what Flossie and Freddie thought," said Bert to his father.

"But it wasn't," went on Johnnie. "Then I saw Helen playing in Grace Lavine's yard down the street when I came past. And a little while after that, when I had to go to the store for my mother again, 'cause I forgot a yeast cake, I saw a gypsy man running along the street and he had Helen in his arms and she was crying."

"What made you think it was Helen?" asked Mr. Bobbsey.

"'Cause I saw her light hair. Helen's got fluffy hair like your Flossie's."

"Yes, I know she has," said Mr. Bobbsey. "What did you do when you thought you saw the gypsy man carrying Helen away?" and they all waited anxiously for Johnnie's answer.

"I ran home," said Johnnie. "I didn't want to be carried off in one of those looking-glass wagons."

"Quite right," said Mr. Bobbsey. "Then you really didn't see the gypsy man pick Helen up in his arms?"

"No," slowly answered the little boy, "he only just ran past me. But he must have picked her up in Grace's yard, for that's where Helen was playing."

"Then we'd better go down to where Grace Lavine lives and see what she can tell us," said Mr. Bobbsey.

"You don't need to," put in Bert. "I see Grace out in front now with some other girls. Shall I call her in?"

"Oh, please do!" exclaimed Mrs. Porter. "My poor Helen! Oh, what has happened to her?"

"We'll get your little girl back, even if the gypsies have her," said Mr. Bobbsey. "But I don't believe they have taken her away. Call in Grace, Bert."

Grace was not as excited as Johnnie, and told what she knew.

"Helen and Mary Benson and I were playing in my yard," said Grace. "We had our dolls and were having a tea party. Mary and I went into the house to get some sugar cookies, to play they were strawberry shortcake, and we left Helen out under the trees with her doll. When we came back she wasn't there, nor her doll either, and down the street we saw the gypsy wagons."

"Did you see any gypsy man come into the yard and get Helen?" asked Mr. Bobbsey.

"No," said Grace, shaking her head, "I didn't. But the gypsies must have taken her, 'cause she was gone."

"Oh, please some one go after the gypsies, and make a search among them, at any rate!" cried Mrs. Porter.

"We'll get right after them," said Mr. Bobbsey. "I don't really believe the gypsies took Helen, but they may have seen her. They can't have gone on very far. I'll call some policemen and we'll get after them."

"I'll come with you," said Bert. "Maybe we'd better get an automobile."

"It would be a good idea," said his father. "Let me see now. I think——"

But before Mr. Bobbsey could say what he thought there was the sound of shouts in the street, and when those in the Porter home rushed to the windows and doors they were surprised to see, coming up the front walk, the missing little girl herself!

There was Helen Porter, not carried off by the gypsies at all, but safe at home; though something had happened, that was sure, for she was crying.

"Here she is! Here she is!" cried several in the crowd, and Mrs. Porter rushed out to hug her little girl close in her arms.



"Oh, Helen! how glad I am to have you back!" cried Mrs. Porter. "How did you get away from the gypsies? Or did they really have you?"

The little girl stopped crying, and all about her the men, women and children waited anxiously to hear what she would say.

"Did the gypsies take you away?" asked Mr. Bobbsey.

"No, the gypsies didn't get me," said Helen, her voice now and then broken by sobs. "But they took Mollie!"

"Took Mollie!" cried Mr. Bobbsey. "Do you mean to say they really did take a little girl away?"

"They—they took Mollie!" half-sobbed Helen, "and I—I tried to get her back, but I couldn't run fast enough and—and——"

"Well, if they really have Mollie," went on Mr. Bobbsey, "we must get right after them and——"

"Mollie is the name of Helen's big doll—almost as large as she is," explained Mrs. Porter, who was now smiling through her tears. "Mollie isn't a little girl, though probably there are several in Lakeport named that. But the Mollie whom Helen means is a doll."

"Oh, I see," said Mr. Bobbsey. "But did the gypsies really take your doll, Helen?"

"Yes, they did," answered the little girl. "A bad gypsy man took her away. I was playing with Mollie in Grace Lavine's yard, and Grace and Mary went into the house to get some cookies. I stayed out in the yard with my doll, 'cause I wanted her to get tanned nice and brown. I laid her down in a sunny place, and I went over under a tree to set the tea table, and when I looked around I saw the gypsy man."

"Where was he?" asked Mr. Bobbsey.

"He was just getting out of one of the red wagons. And there was a little gypsy girl in the wagon. She was pointing to my doll, and then the man jumped down off the wagon steps, ran into the yard, picked up my doll, and then he jumped into the wagon again and rode away. And he's got my nice doll Mollie, and I want her back, and—oh, dear!" and Helen began to cry again.

"Never mind," said Mr. Bobbsey quietly. "I'll try to get your doll back again. How large was it?"

"Nearly as large as Helen herself," said Mrs. Porter. "I didn't want her to play with it to-day but she took it."

"Yes, but now the gypsy man with rings in his ears—he took it," explained Helen. "He carried my doll off in his arms."

"Then it must have been the doll which Johnnie saw the gypsy man carrying, and not Helen!" exclaimed Bert. "Did it look like a doll, Johnnie?"

"Well, it might have been. It had light hair like Helen's, though."

"Helen's doll had light hair," said Mrs. Porter. "And probably if a gypsy put the doll under his arm, and ran past any one it would look as though he were carrying off a little girl. Especially as the doll really had on a dress Helen used to wear when she was a baby."

"That is probably what happened," said Mr. Bobbsey. "The gypsy man's little girl saw, from the wagon, the doll lying in the Lavine yard. Gypsies are not as careful about taking what does not belong to them as they might be. They often steal things, I'm afraid. And, seeing the big doll lying under the tree——"

"Where I put her so she'd get tanned nice and brown," interrupted Helen.

"Just so," agreed Mr. Bobbsey. "Seeing the doll under the tree, with no one near, the gypsy man made up his mind to take her for his little girl. This he did, and when he ran off with Mollie, Johnnie saw what happened and thought Helen was being kidnapped.

"But I'm glad that wasn't so, though it's too bad Mollie has been taken away. However, we'll try to get her back for you, Helen. Maybe the gypsies took other things. If they did we'll send the police after them. Now don't cry any more and I'll see what I can do."

"And will you get Mollie back?"

"I'll do my best," promised the Bobbsey twins' father.

There being nothing more he could do just then at the Porter home, Mr. Bobbsey went back to his own family, and told his wife, Flossie, Freddie and Nan what had happened.

"Oh, I'm so glad Helen is all right," said Mrs. Bobbsey.

"But it's too bad about her doll," sighed Nan. She had a doll of her own—a fine one—and she knew how she would feel if that had been taken.

"Helen's doll could talk," said Flossie. "I know, 'cause she let me make it talk one day. You wind up a winder thing in her back, and then you push on a shoe button thing in her front and she says 'Mamma' and 'Papa' and other things."

"Yes, that's right," said Nan. "Mollie is a talking doll. I guess she has a little phonograph inside her. Maybe that's the noise Johnnie heard when the gypsy man carried the doll past him, and Johnnie thought it was Helen crying."

"I guess that was it," agreed Mr. Bobbsey.

"Well, it's too bad to lose a big talking doll. I must see what I can do to help get it back. I'll call up the chief of police."

"It would be worse to lose your toy fire engine," declared Freddie.

"Why, Freddie Bobbsey!" exclaimed his little sister, "nothing could be worse than to lose your very best doll—your very own child!"

Mr. Bobbsey, being one of the most prominent business men in the town, had considerable business at times with the police and the fire departments, and the officers would do almost anything to help him or his friends.

So, after supper—at which Dinah had served the pudding with the shaved-up maple sugar over the top, Flossie and Freddie each having had two helpings—Mr. Bobbsey called up the police station and asked if anything more had been heard of the gypsies.

"Well, yes, we did hear something of them," answered Chief Branford, over the telephone wire. "They've gone into camp, where they always do, on the western shore of the lake, and as I've had several reports of small things having been stolen around town, I'm going to send on officer out there to the gypsy camp, and have him see what he can find. You say they took your little girl's doll?"

"No, not my little girl's," answered Mr. Bobbsey, "but the talking doll belonging to a friend of hers."

"Her name is Molly, Daddy," said Flossie, who, with the other Bobbsey twins, was listening to her father talk over the telephone. "I mean the doll's name is Mollie, not Helen's name."

"I understand," said Mr. Bobbsey with a laugh, and he told the chief the name of the doll and also the name of the little girl who owned it.

"Well, what is to be done?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey, as her husband hung up the receiver.

"I think I'll go with the policeman and see what I can find out about the gypsies," said Mr. Bobbsey. "If they are going to take things that do not belong to them they may pay a visit to my lumberyard, if they have not done so already. I think I'll go out to the gypsy camp."

"Oh, let me come!" begged Bert, always ready for an adventure.

"I wouldn't go—not at night, anyhow," remarked Nan.

"Nor I," added Freddie, while Flossie crept up into her mother's lap.

"Oh, I'm not going until morning," said Mr. Bobbsey. "Then I'll take you, Bert, if you'd like to go. We'll see if we can find Helen's big, talking doll."

"She must feel bad at losing it," said Nan.

"She does," said Bert. "Though how any one can get to like a doll, with such stupid eyes as they have, I can't see."

"They're as good as nasty old knives that cut you, and kite strings that are always getting tangled," said Nan with a laugh.

"Yes, I guess we like different things," agreed her brother. "Well, I'm glad it wasn't Flossie or Freddie the gypsies took away with them."

"I wouldn't go!" declared Freddie. "And if they took Flossie, I'd get my fire engine and squirt water on those men with rings in their ears till they let my sister go!"

"That's my little fat fireman!" laughed Mr. Bobbsey. "But now I think you're getting sleepy. Your row on the lake made the sandman come around earlier than usual I guess. Off to bed with you."

Flossie and Freddie went to bed earlier than Nan and Bert, who were allowed to sit up a little later. There was much talk about the gypsies, and what they might have taken, and Nan and Bert were getting ready for bed when a pattering of bare feet was heard on the stairs, and a voice called:

"Where's Snoop?"

"Why, it's Flossie and Freddie!" cried Mrs. Bobbsey, as she saw the two small twins. "Why are you out of bed?" she asked.

"Freddie thought maybe the gypsies would take our cat Snoop," explained Flossie, "so we got up to tell you to bring him in."

"And bring in Snap, our dog," added Freddie. "The gypsies might take him, 'cause he does tricks and was once in a circus."

"Oh, don't worry about that!" laughed Mr. Bobbsey. "Get back to bed before you take cold."

"But you won't let the gypsies take them, will you?" asked Flossie anxiously.

"No, indeed!" promised her mother. "Snoop is safely curled up in his basket, and I guess Snap wouldn't let a gypsy come near him."

But Flossie and Freddie were not satisfied until they had looked and had seen the big black cat cosily asleep, and had heard Snap bark outside when Bert called to him from a window.

"The gypsies won't take your pets," their father told the small twins, and then, hand in hand, they went upstairs again to bed.



"Can't we come, too?"

"We're not afraid of the gypsies—not in daytime."

Flossie and Freddie thus called after their father and Bert, as the two latter started the next morning to go to find the gypsy camp. The night had passed quietly, Snap and Snoop were found safe when day dawned, and after breakfast Mr. Bobbsey and his older son were to go to Lake Metoka and find where the gypsies had stopped with the gay red and yellow wagons. They were going to see if they could find any trace of Helen's doll, and also things belonging to other people in town, which it was thought the dark-skinned visitors might have taken.

"Please let us go?" begged the little Bobbsey twins.

"Oh, my dears, no!" said Mrs. Bobbsey. "It's too far; and besides——"

"Are you afraid the gypsies will carry us off?" asked Freddie. "'Cause if you are I'll take my fire engine, and some of the funny bugs that go around and around and around that we got in New York, and I'll scare the gypsies with 'em and squirt water on 'em."

"No, I'm not afraid of you or Flossie's being carried off—especially when your father is with you," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "But there is no telling where the gypsies are camped, and it may be a long walk before they are found. So you stay with me, and I'll get Dinah to let you have a party."

"Oh, that will be fun!" cried Flossie.

"I'd rather play hunt gypsies," said her brother, but when he saw Dinah come out of the kitchen with a tiny little cake she had baked especially for him and his sister to have a play-party with, Freddie thought, after all, there was some fun in staying at home.

"But take Snap with you," he said to Bert. "He'll growl at the gypsy men, and maybe he'll scare 'em so they'll give back Helen's doll."

"Well, Snap can growl hard when he wants to," said Bert with a laugh. "But still I think it wouldn't be a good thing to take him to the gypsy camp. They nearly always have dogs in their camp—the gypsies do—and those dogs might get into a fight with Snap."

"Snap could beat 'em!" declared Freddie.

"No, don't take him!" ordered Flossie. "I don't want Snap to get bit."

"I don't either," agreed Bert, "so I'll leave him at home I guess. Well, there's daddy calling me. I'll have to run. I'll tell you all about it when I come back."

So, while Flossie and Freddie, with the little cake Dinah had baked for them, went to have a good time playing party, Mr. Bobbsey, with a policeman and Bert, went to the gypsy camp. The policeman did not have on his uniform with brass buttons—in fact, he was dressed almost like Mr. Bobbsey.

"For," said this policeman, whose name was Joseph Carr, "if the gypsy men were to see me coming along in my helmet, with my coat covered with brass buttons, and a club in my hand, they would know right away who I was. They could see me a long way off, on account of the sun shining on the brass buttons, and they would have time to hide away that little girl's doll, or anything else they may have taken. So I'll go in plain clothes."

"Like a detective," said Bert.

"Yes, something like a detective," agreed Mr. Carr. "Now let's step along lively."

Several persons had seen the gypsy caravan of gay yellow and red wagons going through Lakeport, and had noticed them turn up along the farther shore of Lake Metoka. There was a patch of wood several miles away from the town, and in years past these same gypsies, or others like them, had camped there. It was to these woods that Bert and his father were going.

"Do you think we'll find Helen's doll?" asked the boy.

"Well, maybe, Bert," answered his father. "And yet it may be that the gypsies have it, but will not give it up. We'll just have to wait and see what happens."

"If I get sight of it they'll give it up soon enough," said Policeman Carr.

After about a two-hours' walk Bert, his father and Mr. Carr came to the woods. Through the trees they looked and saw the red and yellow wagons standing in a circle. Near them were tied a number of horses, eating what little grass grew under the trees, while dogs roamed about here and there.

"I'm glad we didn't bring Snap," said Bert. "There'd have been a dog fight as sure as fate."

"Yes, I guess so," agreed his father.

By this time they had entered the gypsy camp, and some of the dark-faced men, with dangling gold rings in their ears, came walking slowly forward as if to ask the two visitors with the little boy what was wanted.

"We're after a big doll," said Mr. Bobbsey. "One was taken from a little girl in our town yesterday. Perhaps you gypsies took it by mistake; and, if so, we'd be glad to have it back."

"We haven't any doll," growled one big gypsy. "We have only what is our own."

"I'm not so sure about that," said Mr. Carr. "We'll have a look about the camp and see what we can find."

The gypsy growled and said something else, though what it was Bert could not hear. The gypsies did not seem pleased to have visitors, nor did the dogs who sniffed about the feet of Bert, his father and the policeman. One dog growled, while others barked, and then the gypsy man who had first spoken made them go away.

"You are wasting your time here," said this gypsy, who seemed to be the leader, or "king," as he is sometimes called. "We have nothing but what is our own. We have no little girl's doll."

"We'll have a look about," said Mr. Carr again.

But though the policeman and Mr. Bobbsey, to say nothing of Bert, who had very sharp eyes, looked all about the gypsy camp, there was no sign of the missing doll. If a gypsy man had taken it, of which Helen, at least, was very sure, he had either hidden it well or, possibly, had gone off by himself to some other camp in another part of the woods.

"If the doll would only talk now and tell us where she is, we could get her," said Bert with a laugh to his father, when they had walked through the camp and come out on the other side.

"That's right," agreed Mr. Bobbsey; "but I'm afraid the doll isn't smart enough for that. Do you see anything else that the gypsies may have taken?" asked the twins' father of the policeman.

"I'm not sure," answered Mr. Carr. "We had a report of two horses missing, and they may be here, but most horses look so much alike to me that I can't tell them apart. I guess I'll have to get the men who own them to come here and see if they can pick them out."

For half an hour Bert, his father and Mr. Carr roamed through the gypsy camp, the dark-faced men and women scowling at them, and the dogs now and then barking. If there were any boys or girls in the camp Bert did not see them, and he thought they might be hiding away in some of the many wagons.

"Well, we didn't find the doll," said Mr. Carr when they were on their way back to Lakeport. "But I'm sure some of the horses the gypsies have don't belong to them. The chief of police is going to make them move away from that camp anyhow, for the man who owns the land doesn't like the gypsies there. He says they take his neighbors' chickens."

Flossie and Freddie, as well as Helen Porter, were much disappointed when Mr. Bobbsey and Bert came back without the doll. Helen was sure some gypsy had it, but as it could not be found, nothing could be done about it.

"We'll help you look for your doll this afternoon," said Freddie to the little girl, into whose eyes came tears whenever she thought of her lost pet. "Maybe you left Mollie under some bush in Grace's yard."

"I looked under all the bushes," said Helen.

"Well, we'll look again," promised Freddie, and they did, but no doll was found.

The next day the gypsies were made to move on with their gaily colored wagons, their horses and dogs, and though they went (for they had no right to camp on the land near the lake), they were very angry about it.

"They said they had camped there for many years," reported Mr. Carr, telling about the police having driven the dark-faced men and women away, "and that they would make whoever it was that drove them away sorry that he had done such a thing."

"I suppose that means," said Mr. Bobbsey, "that they'll help themselves from somebody's chicken coop."

"We haven't got any chickens," said Freddie.

"But we've got a dog and a cat," put in Flossie. "If those gypsies take Snap or Snoop I—I'll go after 'em, I will!"

"So'll I!" declared her little fat brother.

"What'll you do when you get to where the gypsies are?" asked Bert.

"Why, I—I'll——" began Freddie.

"Oh, I'll just pick Snoop up in my arms and tell Snap to come with me and we'll run home," answered Flossie.

"But maybe the gypsies——"

"Don't, Bert," admonished his father. "I do not believe that you little twins need worry about your cat and your dog," he continued.

But for several days and nights after that Flossie and Freddie were very much worried lest their pets should be taken away. But the gypsies did not come back again—at least for a time, and though the small Bobbsey twins again helped Helen hunt under many bushes for her talking doll it could not be found.

"I just know the gypsy man took my Mollie!" declared Helen.

"I'll help you get it back if ever I see those gypsies," declared Freddie, but at that time neither he, Flossie nor Helen realized what strange things were going to happen about that same talking doll.

It was about a week after this (and summer seemed to have come all of a sudden) that, when the mail came one morning, Mrs. Bobbsey saw a postal card that made her smile as she read it.

"What's it about, Momsie?" asked Freddie, when he noticed his mother's happy face. "Are we going back to New York?"

"No, but this postal has something to do with something that happened in New York," was Mrs. Bobbsey's answer. "It is from the express company to your father, and it says there is, at the express office, a——"

Just then Mrs. Bobbsey dropped the postal, and as Nan picked it up to hand to her mother the little girl saw one word.

"Oh!" cried Nan, "it's a postal about a goat!"

"A—a goat?" gasped Flossie.

"A goat!" shouted Freddie. "A live goat?"

"Why—er—yes—I guess so," and Nan looked at the postal again.

"Oh, I know!" cried Freddie. "It's that goat I almost bought in New York—Mike's goat! Oh, did daddy get a goat for us as he promised?" asked the little boy of his mother.



The Bobbsey twins—all four of them—stood in a circle about their mother, looking eagerly at her and at the postal card which Nan had handed to her. Freddie and Flossie were smiling expectantly while Nan and Bert looked as though they were not quite sure whether or not it was a joke.

"Is it really a goat, Mother?" asked Bert.

"Well, that's what this postal says," answered Mrs. Bobbsey. "A goat and cart have arrived at the express office, and your father is asked to come to get them and take them away."

"Course he's got to take 'em away," said Freddie. "The goat'll be hungry there, for he can't get anything to eat."

"And he might butt somebody with his horns," added Flossie.

"Daddy wouldn't buy a butting goat," Freddie declared. "Anyhow, let's go and get him. I want to have a ride."

"If there really is a goat outfit at the express office for us," said Bert, "we'd better get it I think. I'll take the postal down to the lumberyard office and ask daddy——"

"I'm going with you!" cried Freddie.

"I'm comin', too!" added Flossie.

"Suppose you all go," suggested Mrs. Bobbsey. "Your father will tell you what to do, for I'm sure I don't know what to say. I never had a goat. Four twins, a dog and a cat are about all I can manage," she said laughingly, as fat Dinah came waddling into the room to ask what to order from the grocery.

"A goat! Good lan' ob massy!" exclaimed the colored cook. "Dere suah will be trouble if de honey lambs takes t' playin' wif goats! Um! Um! Um! A goat! Oh, landy!"

"I know how to drive a goat!" declared Freddie. "Mike, the red-haired boy in New York, showed me. Flossie and I had a ride in his wagon for two cents apiece. It was fun, wasn't it, Flossie?"

"Yep. I liked it. We had lots of fun in New York. Freddie rode on a mud turtle's back and we had bugs that went around and around and around."

"Maybe the goat will go around and around and around," said Nan, half laughing.

"Well, hurry down to your father's office with the postal," advised Mrs. Bobbsey. "He'll know what to do."

And when the four excited Bobbsey twins—for even Bert was excited over the chance of owning a goat—reached their father's office he told them all about it.

"You remember," he said, "that when Freddie and Flossie 'almost' bought the goat in New York I promised that if I could find a good one for sale, with a harness and wagon I'd buy it for you this summer. Well, I heard of one the other day, and I got it, having it sent on here by express. Now we'll go down and see what it looks like."

"It's going to be my goat—Flossie's and mine, isn't it?" asked Freddie, as they started for the express office down near the railroad station.

"No more yours than it will be Nan's and Bert's, my little fat fireman," said Mr. Bobbsey with a laugh. "You must all be kind to the goat and take turns riding in the wagon."

"Can't we all ride at once?" asked Nan.

"Well I don't know how large the wagon is," answered Mr. Bobbsey, as he started from his lumberyard for the express office with the children. "Maybe you can all get in at once if the goat is strong enough to pull you."

"I hope he's a big goat," said Freddie. "Then me and Bert will drive him and ride you and Flossie, Nan."

"Don't let him run away with me, that's all I ask!" begged Nan, laughing.

They found the goat in a crate on the express platform. Near him was a good-sized wagon, like those the children had seen in Central Park when on their visit to New York.

"Oh, we can all get in it!" cried Freddie, as he ran from the wagon over to where the goat was bleating in his crate. The animal was a large white one, and he seemed gentle when Flossie and Freddie put their hands in through the slats of the crate and patted him.

"I think he'd like to get out where he can walk around and have something to eat and drink," said Mr. Bobbsey. "We must take him out of his crate."

This was soon done with the help of the express agent, and, when the last piece of wood was taken off, the goat stepped out of his crate in which he had traveled from a distant city, and gave a loud,


Then he stamped his forefeet on the platform, and shook his head, on which were two horns.

"Oh, look out! He'll run away!" cried Freddie, who was afraid of losing his goat before there was a chance for a ride.

But the goat seemed tame, kind and gentle, and after walking about a little, stood still beside the crate and let the children pat him, while Mr. Bobbsey paid the express agent.

There was a piece of paper pasted on the crate in which the goat had traveled. One end of the paper was flapping loose, and, seeing it, the white animal nibbled at it, and finally ate it, chewing it up as though he liked it; as indeed he did, not so much for the paper as for the dried paste by which it had been stuck on.

"Oh, look!" cried Nan. "The goat's eating the label off his crate so we can't send him back. He likes us, I guess."

"We like him, anyhow," said Freddie, laughing and patting the billy. "Come on, Bert. Hitch him up and give us a ride."

"Shall I?" asked Bert of his father.

"Why, yes, I guess so. Might as well start now as any time. The man I bought him from said he was kind and gentle and liked children. Harness him up, Bert."

A complete harness had come with the goat and wagon, and when the white animal had been given a drink of water and fed some grass which Flossie and Freddie pulled for him, Bert, helped by his father and the express agent, put the harness on.

"What are we going to call him?" asked Nan. "We'll have to have a name for our goat. We don't want to call him 'it,' or 'Billy.'"

"Name him Whisker," said Bert. "See, he has whiskers just like an old man."

"Oh, that's a nice, funny name!" laughed Flossie, and Freddie thought so too. So the goat was named Whisker, and he seemed to like that as well as any. What he had been called before they got him, the children did not know.

Whisker did not seem to mind being hitched to the wagon, and when Mr. Bobbsey had made sure that all the straps were well fastened, Bert took the front seat, with Nan beside him, while Flossie and Freddie sat in the back. They set off, Mr. Bobbsey walking beside the goat to make sure he did not run away.

But Whisker seemed to be a very good goat indeed, and went along nicely, and so slowly and carefully that Freddie, several times, begged to be allowed to drive.

"I will let you after a while," promised Bert. "Let me get used to him first."

When the Bobbsey twins came riding down their street in the goat wagon you can imagine how surprised all the other children were. They gathered in front of the house and rushed into the yard when Bert turned Whisker up the driveway.

"Oh, give us a ride! Give us a ride!" cried the playmates of the Bobbsey twins.

"Yes, I'll give you all rides," promised Bert good-naturedly.

Then began a jolly time for the Bobbsey twins and their friends. Whisker did not seem to mind how many children he hauled around the smooth level yard at the side of the house, and sometimes the wagon was as full as it could hold. Nor did the goat try to butt any one with his horns, letting the boys and girls pet him as much as they pleased.

"He's almost as nice as my doll the gypsies took," said Helen Porter, after she had had a ride. "I like Whisker."

"Did you find your doll?" asked Flossie.

"No. I can't find Mollie anywhere. I just know she's been turned into a gypsy. Oh, dear!"

"Flossie and I'll help you find her," promised Freddie once again. "Some day I'm going to drive the goat all alone, and I'll give you and Flossie a long ride, Helen. Then we'll go off and find your doll."

"That'll be nice," said Helen.

The Bobbsey twins never knew how many friends they had until they got the goat wagon. For a time Snoop and Snap were forgotten, because there was so much fun to be had with Whisker. Bert gave many rides to his little sister and brother and to their playmates, and in a few days Freddie was allowed to drive the goat, so gentle was the white animal.

One day, soon after Bert had hitched Whisker to the wagon, and was going to give his two sisters and brother a ride, a telephone message came from Mr. Bobbsey, asking Bert to come to the lumber office to get something Mr. Bobbsey had to send home to his wife.

"I'll give you a ride when I come back," promised Bert, hurrying down the street.

"We'll leave Whisker hitched up," said Nan. "I'll go in and finish sewing up that hole in my stocking I was mending."

"And I'll stay out here in the goat wagon," said Freddie, while Flossie nodded her head to say she would do the same thing.

A little later, and before Bert had come back from his father's office, Helen Porter came walking past the Bobbsey house. Looking in the yard, she saw Flossie and Freddie seated in the goat wagon.

"Come on in," invited Flossie. "We're having a make-believe ride, and you can ride too. Can't she, Freddie?"

"Yep. An' I'm going to drive—make-believe. Come on, Helen. When Bert comes I'll ask him to take us to help find the gypsies and get back your doll."

Helen hurried in and took her place in the wagon, and the three children had lots of fun pretending they were going on a long trip. They did not really go, for the goat was tied to a post.

"I wish Bert would hurry back," said Flossie, after a bit. "I'm tired of staying in one place so long."

"So'm I," said Freddie. Then he got out of the wagon and began loosening the strap by which the goat was fastened to the post.

"What're you doing?" Flossie asked.

"I—I just want to see what Whisker'll do," answered the little boy. "Maybe he's tired of standing still."

Indeed, the goat seemed to be, for no sooner had Freddie got into the wagon again than off Whisker started, walking slowly toward the back of the yard, where there was a gate to a rear street which led to the woods.

"Whoa!" cried Freddie, but he did not say it very loudly. "Whoa, Whisker! Where you going?"

"Oh, he's runnin' away!" cried Helen. "Let me out! He's runnin' away!"

"No, he's only walking," said Freddie. "It's all right. As long as he walks, you won't get hurt. I guess I'd better drive him, though."

"Can't you stop him?" asked Flossie. "Bert won't like it to have us take him away."

"We aren't taking him away; he's taking us away," said Freddie. "I can't make him stop. Look!" Again he called: "Whoa!" but the goat did not obey.

On and on went Whisker, slowly at first, then walking a little faster and pulling after him the wagon with the children in it.

"Oh, he's going to the woods!" cried Flossie, as she saw the goat heading for the patch of trees at the end of the back street. "Stop him, Freddie!"

"Maybe he wants to go there," said Freddie. "He won't stop for me."

"But it—it's such a bumpy road," said Helen, the words being fairly jarred out of her. "It's all—all bu-bu-bumps and hu-hu-humps."

"That's 'cause we're in the woods," said Freddie, for by this time the goat had drawn the wagon into the shade of the woods, not far from the Bobbsey home. It was indeed a bumpy place, Whisker pulling the children over tree roots and bits of broken wood. But the wagon was stout, and the goat was strong. Then, suddenly, Freddie had an idea.

"Oh, Helen!" he cried, "I guess Whisker is taking us to find your lost doll!"



Whisker, the big white goat, seemed to know exactly what he was doing, whether or not it was taking the two smallest Bobbsey twins and Helen Porter to the woods to find the lost doll. For the goat stepped briskly along, pulling after him the wagon in which the children rode. They were bumped about quite a bit, for the path through the woods was anything but smooth.

In some places there was no path at all, but this did not seem to worry Whisker. He went along anyhow, now and then stopping to nibble at some green leaves, and again turning to one side to crop some grass.

"Do you really think he's taking us to my doll?" asked Helen eagerly.

"I—I hope so," answered Flossie, somewhat doubtfully.

"Maybe he is," said Freddie. "Anyhow, the gypsies that took your doll Mollie came to the woods, and we're in the woods, and maybe the doll is here and maybe we'll find her."

That was as much as Freddie could think of at one time, especially as he had to hold the reins that were fast to the bit in Whisker's mouth. For the goat was driven just as a horse or pony is driven, and Freddie was doing the driving this time.

At least the little boy thought he was, and that was very near the same thing. But Whisker went along by himself pretty much as he pleased, really not needing much driving by the leather reins. And he never needed to be whipped—in fact, there was not a whip in the wagon, for the Bobbsey children never thought of using it. They were kind to their goat.

"Oh, I'm falling out!" suddenly cried Helen, as the wagon went over a very rough, bumpy place in the path.

"Hold on tight like me," said Flossie. "Anyhow," she went on, as she looked out of the wagon, "if you do fall you won't get hurted much, 'cause there's a lot of soft moss and leaves on the ground."

"But I'll get my dress dirty," said Helen.

"Then we'll go down to the lake and wash it off," said Freddie, for the woods in which they now were led down to the shore of the lake.

"Well, I don't want to fall, anyhow," said Helen. "'Most always when I fall I bump my nose, an' it hurts."

"It's smoother now, and I guess the wagon won't tip over," observed Freddie, a little later.

They had come now to a wider path in the woods, where it was not so bumpy, and the wagon rolled easily over the moss and leaves as Whisker pulled it along.

"It's nice in here," said Flossie, looking about her.

"Yes, I'm glad Whisker took us for a ride," said Freddie.

"He wouldn't have if you hadn't unhitched his strap," remarked Flossie. "What'll Bert say?"

"Well, Whisker was tired of standing still," went on her brother. "And, anyhow, Helen wanted to come for a ride to find her doll; didn't you?" he asked their little playmate.

"Yep, I did," she answered. "I want my doll Mollie awful much."

"Then we'll look for her," Freddie went on. "Whoa, Whisker!"

Whether the goat really stopped because Freddie said this word, which always makes horses stop, or whether Whisker was tired and wanted a rest, I can not say. Anyhow, he stopped in a shady place in the woods, and the children got out.

"I'll tie the goat to a tree so he can't go off and have a ride by himself," said Freddie, as he took the strap from the wagon.

But Whisker did not seem to want to go on any farther. He lay down on some soft moss and seemed to go to sleep.

"We'll leave him here until we come back," said Freddie. "And now we'll look for Helen's doll."

Perhaps the children had an idea that the gypsies may have left the talking doll behind in the woods when they were driven away by the police. For, though they were not near the place where the dark-skinned men and women had camped, Flossie, Freddie and Helen began looking under trees and bushes for a trace of the missing Mollie.

"Do you s'pose she can talk and call to tell you where she is?" asked Flossie, when they had hunted about a bit, not going too far from the goat and wagon.

"I don't know," Helen answered. "Sometimes, when I wind up the spring in her back she says 'Mamma' and 'Papa' without my pushing the button. My father says that's because something is the matter with her."

"Well, if she would only talk now, and holler out, we'd know where to look for her," added Freddie.

"Let's call to her," suggested Flossie.

"All right," agreed Helen.

So the children called:

"Mollie! Mollie! Where are you?"

Their voices echoed through the trees, but there was no other answer—at least for a while. Then, when they had walked on a little farther, and found a spring of water where they had a cool drink, they called again:

"Mollie! Mollie! Where are you?"

Then, all at once, seemingly from a long way off, came an answering call:

"Wait a minute. I'm coming!"

"Oh, did you hear that?" gasped Flossie.

"It was somebody talking to us," whispered Helen.

"And it wasn't the echo, either," went on Flossie.

"Maybe it was your doll," suggested Freddie. "Did it sound like her voice?"

"A—a little," said Helen slowly.

"We'll call again," suggested Flossie, and once more the children cried aloud:

"Mollie! Mollie! Where are you?"

"Wait a minute. Stand still so I can find you! I'm coming!" was the answer.

The three little ones looked at one another in surprise, and they were, moreover, a little frightened. Was it possible that the missing, talking doll was really in the woods and had answered them? That it could talk, because it had a phonograph inside, they all knew. But would it answer when spoken to?

"It didn't sound like Mollie," whispered Helen, after a bit. "Her voice wasn't as loud as that."

"Oh-o-o-o-o!" suddenly gasped Flossie. "Maybe it was—the gypsies!"

That was something the children had not thought of before. Suppose it should be the same gypsy man who had taken away the doll?

"It couldn't be the gypsies," said Freddie, looking around him. "They all went away. Daddy said so."

"But maybe there was one left," suggested his sister.

"Pooh! I'm not afraid of one gypsy," declared Freddie. "If he bothers me I'll sic Whisker on him."

"You can't sic a goat—they can't bite or bark like a dog," retorted Flossie.

"No, but Whisker can butt with his horns!" cried Freddie. "That's what I'll do! If it's a gypsy I'll sic Whisker on him!"

Just then the children heard the voice again, calling:

"Where are you? I want to find you!"

Once more they looked at one another rather afraid. And then came a loud "Baa-a-a-a-a!" from Whisker.

"Come on!" cried Freddie. "Maybe they're trying to take our goat away!"

He started on a run through the woods toward the place where they had left Whisker and the wagon, now out of sight behind some bushes.

"Wait! Wait for me!" cried Flossie, who was left behind with Helen. "Don't run off without us, Freddie!"

"Oh, excuse me," he said, politely enough. "But we don't want those gypsies to take Whisker."

"Whisker'll butt 'em," said Flossie. "Wait for us."

"Yes, I guess our goat won't let anybody take him," went on Freddie, walking now, instead of running. "Come on, Flossie and Helen! Maybe it's your doll talking and maybe it isn't. But we'll soon see!"

Together the three children hurried on, soon coming within sight of the goat. There was Whisker peacefully lying down, still asleep. And running toward him, along the woodland path, was Bert, who, as he caught sight of Freddie and the others, called:

"Oh, there you are! I've been looking everywhere for you. Didn't you hear me calling?"

"Was that you?" asked Freddie. "We thought maybe it was a gypsy man."

"Or Helen's doll," added Flossie. "Her doll, Mollie, can talk, you know, Bert. And Whisker gave us a ride here so we looked for the doll."

"Yes, and then I had to come looking for you," said her brother. "But never mind. I've found you and I've got jolly news."

"Do you mean jolly news because you found us?" asked Freddie.

"No, it's jolly news about something else," Bert said. "But I've got to hurry home with you so mother won't worry. Then I'll tell you."



"How did you youngsters come to run away?" asked Bert, when he was driving the goat wagon back through the woods again, taking a path that was not quite so bumpy as the first one. "My goodness! I came back from daddy's office to find mother and Nan looking everywhere for you. How did you happen to run away?"

"We didn't runned away," said Flossie, who was so excited over what had happened that she forgot to speak the way her teacher in school had told her to. "Whisker runned away with us."

"I guess he didn't go without being told, and without some one's taking off his hitching strap," said Bert, with a smile.

"Anyhow, we didn't run much, Whisker just walked most of the time," said Freddie.

"Well, it's all the same," returned Bert. "I had to chase after you to find you. Didn't you hear me calling?"

"Yes, but we thought it was gypsies or Helen's doll," answered Flossie. "We were looking for Mollie, you know."

"You'll not find her unless you find that band of gypsies," said Bert. "Anyhow, you mustn't come off to the woods alone, you little children."

"We had Whisker with us," Freddie declared. "And if any of the gypsy men had come he'd have butted 'em with his horns."

"He might, and he might not," went on Bert. "Anyhow, I guess you had a nice ride."

"We did," said Flossie. "Only we're sorry we couldn't find Helen's doll. How did you find us, Bert?"

"Oh, I could see by the wheel and hoof marks in the soft dirt which way Whisker had taken the wagon, and I just followed."

"But what is the jolly news?" Freddie demanded. "Are we going back to New York?"

"Better than that!" answered Bert. "We're going camping!"

"Camping?" cried the two little Bobbsey twins in the same breath. "Where?" asked Freddie. "When?" asked Flossie.

"It isn't all settled yet," answered Bert. "You know daddy and mother talked about it when we were in the big city. And to-day, when I was down at the lumberyard I heard daddy speaking to a man in there about some of the islands in Lake Metoka. Daddy wanted to know which one was the best to camp on."

"And did the man say which was a good one?" asked Freddie.

"I didn't hear. But I asked daddy afterward if we were going to camp this summer, and he said he guessed so, if mother wanted to."

"Does mother want to?" asked Flossie eagerly.

"She says she does," answered Bert. "So I guess we'll go to camp this summer all right. Isn't that jolly news?"

"Um," said Freddie, not opening his mouth, for in one pocket of his little jacket he had found a sweet cracker he had forgotten, and he was now chewing on it, after having given his sister and Helen some.

"Oh, I wish we could go now and take Whisker with us!" cried Flossie.

"If we go we'll take the goat cart!" decided Bert.

"And we'll take our dog Snap, and our cat Snoop, too!" announced Freddie. "They'll like to go camping."

Mrs. Bobbsey and Nan were anxiously waiting for Bert to come back with the runaways, and when he came in sight, driving the goat cart, the children's mother hurried down the back road to meet them.

"Oh, my dears! you shouldn't go away like that!" she called.

"Whisker wanted to go," said Freddie. "And we had a nice ride even if it was bumpy. And we thought we heard Mollie's doll calling, but it was Bert."

"Well, don't do it again," said Mrs. Bobbsey. She always said that, whenever either set of twins did things they ought not to do, and each time they promised to mind. But the trouble was they hardly ever did the same thing twice. And as there were so many things to do, Mrs. Bobbsey could not think of them all, so she could not tell Nan and Bert, Flossie and Freddie not to do them.

"When are we going camping?" asked Freddie, as he got out of the goat cart.

"And what island are we going on?" asked Flossie.

"Oh, my! I see you have it all settled so soon!" laughed Mrs. Bobbsey. "Your father and I have yet to talk it over.

"We'll do that to-night," she went on. "And now you children come in and get washed, and Dinah will give you something to eat. You must be hungry."

"We are," said Flossie. "And Helen's hungry, too. Aren't you, Helen?" she asked.

"Um—yes—I guess so."

"Well, we'll soon find out," laughed Mrs. Bobbsey. "I think your mother won't mind if I give you a little lunch with Flossie and Freddie. Nan can tell her that you are here and are all right. She doesn't know you had a runaway ride in the goat wagon."

"It was a bumpy ride, too," explained Flossie. "And we didn't find Mollie the talking doll."

"Well, maybe you will some day," said Mrs. Bobbsey kindly.

And while Flossie, Freddie and Helen ate the nice little lunch, fat, black Dinah got ready for them, Bert and Nan went for a ride in the goat wagon, stopping at Mrs. Porter's house to tell her that Helen was safe in the Bobbsey home.

"And now let's talk about camping!" cried Bert that night after supper when the family, twins included, were gathered in the dining-room, the table having been cleared. "When can we go?"

"I think as soon as school closes," said his father. "Summer seems to have started in early this year, and I want to get you children and your mother off to some cool place. An island in the middle of the lake is the best place I can think of."

"It will be fine!" cried Bert. "Which island are we going to camp on?"

"There are two or three that would do nicely," answered Mr. Bobbsey. "I talked to some friends who own them, but I think one called Blueberry Island would suit us best."

"It has a nice name," said Nan. "I like—Blueberry Island! It sounds just as if it were out of a book."

"Is it a fairy island?" Freddie wanted to know, for he liked to have fairy stories read to him.

"Well, maybe it will turn out to be a fairy story," said Mr. Bobbsey with a laugh. "It's the largest island in the lake, and several other parties are going there camping, so Mr. Ames, the man who owns it, told me."

"Why do they call it Blueberry Island?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey.

"Because there are many blueberries on it," answered her husband. "And if we go there I shall expect you children to pick plenty of blueberries so Dinah can make pies. I'm very fond of blueberry pie."

"I like it, too," said Freddie. "We'll take Whisker with us, and he can haul a whole wagon load of blueberries."

"I wouldn't ask you to pick as many as that," said his father with a laugh. "Two or three quarts would be enough for a pie, wouldn't they, Mother?"

"I should hope so! But do you really mean we are to go camping on Blueberry Island?"

"Surely," answered Mr. Bobbsey. "It will be a nice way to spend the summer."

"And shall we live in a tent?" asked Freddie, "and cook over a camp fire? and go fishing? and—and—and——"

"Yes, all of that and more, too," said his father, catching up the little fat fireman and bouncing him toward the ceiling.

Then followed a happy hour talking over the plans for going camping on Blueberry Island, until Mother Bobbsey said it was time for Flossie and Freddie, at least, to go to bed.

Off they went to Slumberland, to dream of living in a big white tent with a flag on top of it.

"Just like a circus!" as Freddie said the next morning at breakfast.

"Or a gypsy camp," added Flossie. "Are there any gypsies on Blueberry Island, Daddy?"

"No, not a one."

"'Cause if there was," went on the little girl, "I wouldn't take my doll with me. I wouldn't want her tooked away like Helen's was."

"We won't let any gypsies come," said Mr. Bobbsey.

One warm summer day came after another until it was nearly time to close the school, and all the boys and girls in Lakeport were thinking of vacation. The Bobbseys were getting ready to go to the Blueberry Island camp. Mr. Bobbsey had bought the tents and other things and they were to go to the island in a boat.

"And we'll take Whisker, our goat, and Snap and Snoop," said Flossie, "and my dolls and the bugs that go around and around and around and——"

"You'll have a regular menagerie!" said Nan.

"We'll have some fun, anyhow," cried Freddie. "I wonder if we could hitch Snap and Whisker up together and make a team?"

"Let's try," suggested Bert. "Come on, Freddie, we'll find our dog."

But when they called Snap he did not come running in from the yard or barn as he had always done before. Bert and Freddie called, but there was no answering bark.

"Where is Snap, Dinah?" asked Bert, when a search about the house did not show the missing dog.

"I done seed him heah about half an hour ago," said the colored cook, "an' den, all to oncet, I didn't see him ag'in. I wonder if dat ole peddler could hab took him?" she asked, speaking half to herself.

Bert and Freddie looked at one another in surprise. Where was Snap?



"This is queer," said Bert, when a more careful search about the house and barn failed to find Snap. "If he's run away, it will be about the first time he has done that since we've had him."

"Let's ask at some of the houses down the street," said Nan. "Sometimes the children coax him in to play with them, and he forgets to come home because they make such a fuss over him."

"Here's Snoop, anyhow!" cried Freddie, coming out of the barn with the big black cat in his arms. "He can go to camp with us."

"But we want Snap, too!" added Flossie. "We need a dog to keep the gypsies away."

"There won't be any gypsies on Blueberry Island!" Bert reminded them.

"You can't tell," declared Freddie.

"Maybe there'll be one or two, an' I don't want them to take my doll the way they did Helen's," added Flossie.

"Didn't Helen get her doll back?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey, coming out of the house in time to hear what the children were saying.

"No'm, and she feels awful sad," replied Flossie. "And now the gypsies has took Snap."

"The gypsies have taken Snap—really, Flossie, you must speak more correctly," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "But what do you mean about Snap's being taken?"

"He seems to be gone," reported Bert.

"We've looked everywhere for him, and now we're going to ask down the street," added Nan.

"But we've got Snoop," said Flossie, and so it was. "We"—that is, she and Freddie both—had the big black cat, one twin carrying the head and the other twin the hind legs. But Snoop was often carried that way and he did not mind.

"Snap not here? That is odd," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "Have you whistled and called to him?"

"Every way we know," replied Bert. "Listen!" and, putting his fingers in his mouth, he gave such a shrill whistle that his mother and Nan had to cover their ears, while fat Dinah, waddling to her kitchen window, cried:

"Good land ob massy! What am dat—a fire whistle?"

"I can whistle like that!" shouted Freddie, dropping his end of the black cat. As it happened to be the head end he was carrying, this left the hind legs to Flossie and poor Snoop was thus dangling head down.

"Miaou!" he cried sadly, and then he gave a wriggle, and another one, and got loose.

Freddie made a sort of hissing sound on his fingers—not at all a nice, loud whistle as Bert had done—but it was pretty good for a little fellow.

"He ought to hear that," Bert said, when he was done blowing his call, and his mother and sister had uncovered their ears. "But he doesn't come."

"Did you ask Dinah about him?" Mrs. Bobbsey questioned.

"Yes, and she said——Oh, she said something about a peddler!" cried Nan. "We forgot to ask her what she meant."

"Did Snap chase after a peddler?" asked Bert, for the colored cook was still at the window.

"No, I didn't see you all's dog chase after de peddler, honey lamb," replied Dinah. "But jest a little while ago a woman wif a red dress on, all trimmed wif yaller, real fancy like, comed to de back do' sellin' lace work. Snap was heah den, eatin' some scraps I put out fo' him, an' de woman patted him an' talked to him in a queer like way."

"She did!" cried Bert excitedly. "What'd she say?"

"Lan' goodness! You all don't s'pose I knows all de queer languages in de United States, does yo'?" asked Dinah, shaking her kinky head. "But de woman talked queer t' Snap, an' he wagged his tail, which he don't often does t' strangers."

"No," put in Flossie, shaking her head vigorously, "Snap don't often talk to strangers. He's awful dig-dignified with 'em. Isn't he, Freddie?"

"Well, he doesn't like tramps, and they're strangers," replied her brother. "Are peddlers tramps, Bert?"

"No, I guess not. But some of 'em look like tramps—pretty near, maybe."

"What happened to the woman peddler?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey.

"Oh, I soon got rid ob her," said Dinah. "I tole her we was gwine t' lib in de woods an' we didn't want no fancy lace 'cause it would git all ripped on de trees an' bushes. So she went off."

"And what happened to Snap?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey.

"Oh, he was eatin' his scraps de last I seen ob him," answered Dinah. "An' he wagged his tail ag'in at de woman in de gay dress what looked like she was gwine on a picnic."

"A dress of red and yellow," said Nan. "Isn't that the color the gypsies wear?"

"Was the woman a gypsy?" asked Bert quickly.

"She mought o' been," answered the cook. "She had gold rings in her ears, an' she was dark. Not as dark as me or Sam, but like some of them Eytalian men. I didn't pay much 'tention to her, 'cause I was makin' a cake. But maybe Snap done followed her to see to it she didn't take nuffin. 'Cause ef she was a gypsy she mought take things."

"Yes, and she's taken Snap—that's what she's done!" cried Bert. "That's what's happened to our dog. The gypsies have him! I'm going to tell daddy, and have him get a policeman."

"Now don't be too sure," advised Mrs. Bobbsey. "Perhaps that peddler may have been a gypsy, and she may have made friends with Snap—those people have a strange way with them about dogs and horses—but it isn't fair to say she took your pet. He may have followed her just to be friendly. You had better ask at some of the houses down the street first."

"Come on!" cried Bert to Nan. "We'll go and ask."

"And I'm coming, too!" added Freddie. "I can call Snap and you can whistle for him, Bert."

"And I'll take Snoop, and Snoop can miaou for him," said Flossie.

"No, you two little ones stay here," directed Mrs. Bobbsey. "I want to wash and dress you for dinner. Let Bert and Nan hunt for Snap."

"Then can't we go in the goat cart?" Freddie asked.

"We'll all have a ride when we come back," promised Bert. "We first want to find Snap, if we can, to see if he'll hitch up with Whisker," the boy told his mother.

So while Flossie and Freddie went into the house to get freshened up after their play, Nan and Bert went from house to house asking about Snap. But though the big, trick dog sometimes went to play with the neighbors' children, this time there was no sign of him. One after another of the families on the block said they had not seen Snap.

Several servants had noticed the gypsy woman "peddler," as they called her, for she had made a number of calls on the block, trying to sell her lace, but no one had seen Snap with her.

"Oh, I guess Snap just ran away for a change, as Flossie and Freddie sometimes do," said Mr. Bobbsey when he came home that evening and had been told what had happened. "He'll come back all right, I'm sure."

But Nan and Bert were not so sure of this. They knew Snap too well. He had never gone away like this before. Flossie and Freddie, being younger, did not worry so much. Besides, they had Snoop, and the cat was more their pet than was the dog, who was Bert's favorite, though, of course, every one in the Bobbsey family loved him.

Several times that evening Bert went outside to whistle and call for his pet, but there was no answering bark, and when bedtime came Bert was so worried that Mr. Bobbsey agreed to call the police and ask the officers who were on night duty to keep a lookout for the missing animal. This would be done, the chief said, since nearly all the officers in Lakeport knew Snap, who often visited at the police station.

Morning came, but no Snap was at the door waiting to be let in, though Bert was up early to look. Snoop, the big black cat, was in his usual place, getting up to stretch and rub against Bert's legs.

"But where's Snap?" asked the boy.

"Miaou," was all Snoop answered. Perhaps he knew, but could not tell.

"Well, I'm afraid your dog is lost," said Mr. Bobbsey, when at the breakfast table Bert reported that Snap was still away. "We'll put an advertisement in the paper and offer a reward if he is brought back."

"Maybe he's gone to camp on Blueberry Island and is waiting over there for us," said Flossie.

"Maybe, my little fat fairy!" agreed her father, catching her up for a good-bye kiss. "Let's hope so. And now you must soon begin to get ready to go camping."

The children heard this news with delight, and, for a time, even lost Snap was forgotten. He had often visited the neighbors before, and had always come back, so Bert hoped the same thing would happen this time.

There was much to do to get ready to go to Blueberry Island. There were clothes to pack and food to be bought, for though it was not many miles from the island back to the mainland where there were stores, still Mrs. Bobbsey did not want to have to send in too often for what was needed.

The goat wagon was very useful for going on errands during the days that it took them to get ready to go off to live in the woods. Bert and Nan, sometimes with Flossie and Freddie, rode here and there about town, and Whisker was as good as a pony, being strong and gentle.

Everywhere they went Nan and her brother looked for Snap and asked about him. But, though many in Lakeport knew the dog, and had seen him on the day he was last noticed, no one could tell where he was. No one could be found who had seen him with the gypsy woman—if he had gone with her—though a number said they had noticed the gaudy, red-and-yellow-dressed peddler strolling about with her lace.

"Our dog's gone and Helen's doll is gone," said Nan the night before they were to go to camp. "I wonder what will be taken next."

"I hope they don't get our Snoop," said Flossie, as she went to look at the big black cat who was sleeping in the box, with a handle, in which he was to be taken to the island.

"And I hope they let Whisker alone," said Freddie.

"Whisker can take care of himself, with his horns," observed Bert. "I'm not afraid of a gypsy trying to get our goat."

The tents had been sent to the island, and a man would set them up. Plenty of good things to eat were packed in boxes and baskets. Dinah and Sam had made ready to go to camp, for they were included in the family. Dinah was to do the cooking and her husband was to look after the boats and firewood.

"And, oh, what fun we'll have!" cried Flossie the next morning, when the sun rose warm and bright and they started for Blueberry Island.

"It would be better if we had Snap," said Bert. "You don't know how I miss that dog!"

"We all do," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "Perhaps we'll find him when we come back, Bert. Your father will come back from the island once or twice a week, and he'll come to the house to see if Snap has come back."

"He'll never come back," said Bert, with a sad face. "I'm sure the gypsies took him, and they'll keep him when they find out he can do circus tricks."

"Well, maybe we'll find the gypsies and, if they have Snap, we can make them give him up," said Nan.

"I hope so," murmured Bert.

There was a small steamer that made trips across the lake, and in this the Bobbseys were to go to Blueberry Island, as they had so many things to take with them that a small boat would never have held them all.



"Well, are you all ready?" asked Daddy Bobbsey, as he came out and locked the front door. On the steps in front of him, or else down the front walk, were his wife, Nan, Bert, Flossie, Freddie, Sam, Dinah, Snoop, in his traveling crate, Whisker, the goat, hitched to his wagon, and a pile of trunks, boxes and other things.

"If we're not ready we never will be," said Mrs. Bobbsey with a sigh and a laugh, as she looked over everything. "We aren't going so far, but what we can send for anything we forget, which is a good thing. But I guess we're all ready, Daddy."

"Good! Here comes the expressman for our trunks, and behind him is the automobile we're going to take down to the steamer dock. Now have you children everything you want?" and he looked at Flossie and Freddie particularly.

"I've got my best doll, and Snoop's in his cage," said Flossie. "And my other dolls are in the trunk and so are the toys I want. Is your fire engine packed, Freddie? 'Cause you might want it if the woods got on fire."

"Yep; my fire engine is all right," answered the little fellow. "An' I've got everything I want, I guess—except—maybe——" he was thinking then. "Oh, I forgot 'em! I forgot 'em!" he quickly cried. "Open the door, Daddy! I forgot 'em!"

"Forgot what?" his father asked with a smile.

"The tin bugs that go around and around and around," answered Freddie. "You know, the ones I buyed in New York. I want 'em."

"Well, it's a good thing you thought of them before we got away, for I wouldn't have wanted to come back just to get the tin bugs."

"But they go around and around and around!" cried Flossie, who liked the queer toys as much as did her brother. "They're lots of fun."

"Well, as long as we're going to camp on Blueberry Island for fun as much as for anything else," said Mr. Bobbsey, "I suppose we'll have to get the bugs. Come on, Freddie."

The little twin had wrapped his tin bugs in a paper and left them on a chair in the front hall, so it was little trouble to get them. Then the trunks, bags and bundles were piled in the wagon and taken to the steamboat dock, while the Bobbsey family, all except Bert, took their places in the automobile. Bert was to drive Whisker to the wharf, as it was found easier to ship the goat and wagon this way than by crating or boxing the animal and his cart.

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