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HOME > Children's Novel > The Curlytops in the Woods > CHAPTER II THE MISSING DIAMOND
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 Three or four men, half a dozen boys and a policeman were running toward the two automobiles2 that, as Ted3 had said, were in a “smash-up.” The accident had happened directly in front of the home of the Curlytops, and they were anxious to know if anyone had been hurt. They also wanted to know how it had happened.  
“My, that one car is all smashed!” cried Janet.
“They’re both smashed!” said Ted.
“It’s like when my toy train ran into the stove!” said Trouble, trying to wiggle his way between his brother and sister so that he might first get out of the front gate and nearer to the scene of the accident.
Just then Skyrocket, the Curlytops’ dog, came rushing, barking, out of the house. He, too, had heard the excitement.
[15]“Look out, Trouble! Look out!” cried Janet, as she saw what was about to happen. But it was too late. Skyrocket tried to dash between the legs of little William, but the opening was not wide enough, and Trouble stumbled and fell in a heap on the dog.
Dog and boy howled together, though neither of them was much hurt. At the same time Janet saw the policeman lift a man from one of the wrecked5 cars.
“Oh, I guess they’ll have to take him to the hospital!” she exclaimed.
“Maybe,” agreed Ted, as he stopped to pick Trouble up, finding that his small brother was more frightened than hurt.
Then the three Martin children proceeded on out into the street to look at the accident, about which had gathered a crowd of men and boys, with a few girls and women.
And while the policeman is trying to find out how it all happened, and look after the two injured men—for there were two—this will be a chance to let my new readers know a little something about the Curlytops—who they were, where they lived, and what they had done up to this time. I will not take very long in telling it, as I think you want to keep on with the story part.
[16]Ted, or Teddy, whose real name was Theodore, and Janet, or “Jan,” as she was called for short, were the children of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Martin, who owned a large store in Cresco, in an eastern state. Because of their ringlets of golden hair, Ted and Janet were called Curlytops, and under that name I have written several books about them. The first volume is called “The Curlytops at Cherry Farm,” and while there the children, including small William Anthony Martin, otherwise known as “Trouble,” had many adventures.
Following that the Curlytops went to Star Island, they were snowed in, they visited at Uncle Frank’s ranch6, and spent a vacation at Silver Lake. Then they helped take care of some animal pets belonging to Uncle Toby, and just before the present story I told of the adventures of Ted, Janet and Trouble in the book named “The Curlytops and Their Playmates.”
The Curlytops—and I include Trouble with them, though his hair did not curl as did that of Ted and Janet—were always playing and having adventures, just as you have read about them starting to play house in this book.
[17]As I have mentioned, Trouble was always in mischief7 of some sort or other, and often it might not be his fault—it was more of an accident, as when Skyrocket the dog tried to run between the legs of the little fellow.
For a time all was forgotten about playing house. Janet gave no more heed8 to being dressed like a lady to get Daddy Ted’s supper. Ted forgot all about playing conductor in the tree airship, and while Trouble was with his brother and sister looking at the auto1 accident, all the worms he had dug crawled out of the shallow can into which he had put them, and away they wiggled.
The accident was rather a serious one. Two cars had come together with a loud crash right in front of the Curlytops’ house, and both were badly damaged. The driver of each one was hurt and Policeman Kelly had to call the ambulance to take them both to the hospital.
“How did it happen?” asked Ted of Harry9 Kent, one of his chums.
“I didn’t see it,” Harry answered; “but I heard a man say one car tried to turn the corner and the man in it didn’t put his hand out.”
“You ought always to put your hand out[18] when you’re going to turn a corner,” said Ted.
“Sure you ought,” agreed Harry. “I guess he’ll do it after this.”
“Here comes the ambulance!” cried Janet, as a loudly clanging bell was heard down the street. Up dashed the vehicle and soon the doctor was attending to the two men, who had been laid on the grass near the curb10.
After putting some bandages on the injured men the doctor had some bystanders help him lift them into the ambulance and away they were taken, leaving the two smashed cars for the crowd to stare at.
The Curlytops met many of their friends at the accident, for boys and girls, hearing of it, came from the near-by houses. And Ted, Janet and Trouble knew most of the girls and boys for several blocks around.
The excitement of the accident drove all thoughts of playing house from the minds of the Curlytops and they remained out in front of their house so long, talking with their playmates, that it was time for Mr. Martin to come home from the store for supper before Ted and Janet thought of what they had been doing. Mrs. Martin had also[19] come out to look at the wrecked automobiles, but had gone inside again, to tell the cook about the meal.
“Well, Curlytops, did you do this?” asked Daddy Martin, with a laugh, as he stopped in front of his house to watch men from a garage starting to take away the wrecked cars. “I suppose Trouble did the most of it,” added Mr. Martin.
“I not mash4 those autos!” cried Trouble, evidently thinking his father was in earnest. “They did mash up theirselves!”
“And a pretty good piece of work they made of it,” said Mr. Martin. “Anyone hurt, Curlytops?” he asked.
“The two drivers,” said Ted.
There was a rustling11 in the tree under which the children stood talking with their father, and, looking up, Janet cried:
“It’s Jim, Mr. Jenk’s crow!”
“He’s flying home,” added Ted
“Well, what have you been doing all day, children?” asked Mr. Martin. “Don’t take that, Trouble!” he quickly cried, as the little boy pulled some papers from the side pocket of his father’s coat. “I need those. I’ll have to use them if I go to Mount Major to open a store for the lumber12 camp.”
[20]“Oh, are you going away?” cried Janet.
“For a while, maybe,” her father answered, as he looked to make sure Trouble had taken none of his papers.
“When are you going?” asked Ted. “Mount Major is where they cut lumber, isn’t it, Dad?”
“Yes, they cut a great deal of lumber there,” said Mr. Martin, as he watched the lame13, tame crow of his neighbor fly down into a tree in Mr. Jenk’s yard. “And they are starting work for the summer now, felling a lot of trees to get ready to saw up into lumber this fall. They want me to go up there and start a store, so the lumbermen may be able to buy things to eat without having to travel so far.”
“Are you going?” asked Janet.
“When?” inquired Ted once more.
“Oh, it’s too early to talk about that now,” laughed Mr. Martin. “But tell me what you Curlytops did all day. I suppose you studied your lessons, didn’t you?”
“Lessons? On Saturday!” cried Janet, not seeing the funny twinkle in her father’s eyes.
“He’s only joking!” declared Ted, and[21] this was true. Mr. Martin liked to tease his children a little.
“Well, what were you doing?” he asked. “It looks as though Trouble had been digging in the garden,” he added.
“I was diggin’ worms for to go fishin’ with,” said the little boy.
“And he fell down when Skyrocket tried to run between his legs,” added Teddy.
“That was when we heard the auto crash and all ran out to see what it was,” explained Janet. “Before that we were playing house, and Trouble was going to be a miner, and Ted was a conductor on an airship up in a tree, and I was—Oh, I was——”
Janet suddenly stopped speaking, clapped her hand over her mouth and started to run around to the back porch.
“I forgot all about it!” she cried.
“What is it?” asked Mr. Martin, for he could tell by Janet’s face that it was something important. “What did she forget about?” asked Mr. Martin of Ted and Trouble.
The two boys shook their heads. Their father followed Janet around to the back door and the brothers went with him. They saw Janet eagerly searching about the playhouse,[22] looking on and in boxes and around the chairs and pieces of wood. Just then Mrs. Martin came to the back door. She greeted her husband with a kiss and then, turning to Janet, she said:
“Please give me back my diamond locket, my dear. You have played with it long enough.”
“Oh, Mother!” gasped14 Janet. “Haven’t you—didn’t you come out and take it? Haven’t you your locket?”
“Why, no, Janet, I haven’t it,” was the surprised answer. “I let you take it and you said you would bring it back to me.”
“I know I did, and I meant to. I took it off my neck to wash the dishes after our play dinner, and Trouble asked me to let him look at it and—Oh, Trouble, you have mother’s locket, haven’t you? That’s right, I let you take it. What did you do with it? Where is mother’s shiny gold and diamond locket, Trouble?”
Trouble looked surprised.
“I no have got it,” he said.
“But I let you take it!” insisted Janet. “You wanted to hold it in your hand because it sparkled so nice, and I let you. Didn’t you have the locket, Trouble?”
[23]“Yes, I did have,” gravely admitted the small boy. “An’ it was pretty. It shined like the sun. But I gived it back to you, Jan. You put it on the box in the play kitchen. Don’t you ’member? I gived it back to you out of mine own hand!”
Janet gave a start and looked at the box. She remembered now.
“Yes, that’s right, Trouble. You did give it back to me after I let you take it,” she said slowly. “You gave it back to me and I put it on the box so I wouldn’t catch anything in the chain when I unset the play table and washed the dishes. Ted, you didn’t take the locket, did you?” she asked, turning to her older brother.
“No,” he answered. “But I saw you put it on the box. It ought to be there now.”
“Well, it isn’t,” and there were tears in Janet’s eyes. “Oh, Mother,” she half-sobbed, “I can’t find your lovely diamond locket! I’m afraid it’s lost!”
Mrs. Martin looked anxious, for the locket was one she prized very highly. She did not want to lose it.
“Perhaps it may have been knocked off the box when you all ran out to see the auto accident,” suggested Mr. Martin. “Be careful[24] where you step, and we’ll look around the porch.”
This was done, but with all the searching no diamond locket was found. Mrs. Martin helped, and after all the boxes, boards and toy furniture had been cleared from the rear porch the place was carefully swept.
“Well, I guess it’s gone,” said Mr. Martin, looking at his wife. “I shall have to buy you another.”
“I don’t want any other!” exclaimed Mrs. Martin, with tears in her eyes. “I want my own dear little diamond locket! Oh, Janet, why did you lose it?”
“I—I didn’t mean to,” and Janet began to sob15.
“Oh, I know you didn’t, child,” said her mother, patting the curly head. “I shouldn’t have given in to you and let you take it. Are you sure Trouble didn’t drop it somewhere?”
“I no take it!” stoutly16 cried William. “I did hab locket but I gived it back to Jan and she losted it. I not lost everything!” and he was quite indignant about it, for Trouble knew that he had no very good reputation about losing things.
“Yes, Trouble gave it back to me,” declared[25] Janet. “And I put it on the box. Maybe I picked it up again and was going to put it on my neck when the auto crash happened. I don’t exactly remember what I did with it. Oh, dear, I wish I could find it!”
“Never mind,” consoled Mrs. Martin. “If it’s gone it can’t be helped. We’ll look around the yard to-morrow.”
But before the next day came something else happened.
It was after supper in the home of the Curlytops. They had been talking over the events of the day, including the tricks of Jim, the black crow, the loss of the locket, and the auto crash, when the telephone bell jingled17. Mr. Martin answered, but at almost the first words he heard over the wire he cried:
“What’s that? My store on fire? I’ll be right down!”

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