Mr. Bobbsey opened it and a lady came in, saying:
"I am so glad to see you! I am traveling to Chicago all alone, and I saw you get on as I looked from my window in the next car. I came back to speak to you."
"Why, it's Mrs. Powendon!" exclaimed Mrs. Bobbsey as she saw a lady whom she had first met at a Red Cross meeting. Mrs. Powendon lived in a village near Lakeport, and often came over to see Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey and other friends. "I am very glad you saw us and came in to see us," went on Mrs. Bobbsey. "Do sit down! So you are going to Chicago?"
"Yes. But what takes you away from Lakeport?"
"I don't suppose you heard the news, but an old uncle of mine, whom I had not seen for years, died and left me a western lumber tract and a cattle ranch. Mr. Bobbsey and I are on our way there now to look after matters, and we had to take the children with us."
"And I suppose they were very sorry about that," said Mrs. Powendon with a smile, as she looked at Nan and Bert.
"Oh, no!" exclaimed Bert "Indeed we weren't sorry! We're going to have fine times!"
Then Mrs. Powendon sat down and began talking to Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey, while Nan and Bert looked at magazines their father had bought for them from the train boy.
No one paid much attention to Flossie and Freddie, and it was not until some little time later that Mrs. Bobbsey, looking around the drawing room, exclaimed:
"Where are they?"
"Who?" asked her husband.
"Flossie and Freddie. They aren't here!"
That was very evident. There was no place in the little room for them to hide, and yet the children could not be seen.
"Oh!" exclaimed Mrs. Bobbsey, "can they have fallen off the train?"
"Of course not!" answered her husband "They must just have gone outside in the car. I'll look."
Mr. Bobbsey was about to open the door when a knock came on it, and, as the door swung back, the face of a colored porter looked in. The man wore a white jacket.
"'Scuse me, sah," he said, talking just as Sam Johnson did, "but did you-all only want dinnah for two?"
"Dinner for two? What do you mean?" asked Mr. Bobbsey.
"Why, dey's two li'l children in de dinin' car. Dey says as how dey belongs back yeah, an' dey's done gone an' ordered dinnah for two— jest fo' der own selves—jest two! I was wonderin' ef you-all folks wasn't goin' to eat!"
FREDDIE, AS USUAL
"Dinner for two! Little children!" exclaimed Mr. Bobbsey.
"It is Flossie and Freddie!" cried his wife. "Where is the dining car?"
The waiter from the dining car, who had come back to the sleeping car where the Bobbseys had their places, smiled as he finished telling about the two children.
"Dey's right up forward in my dinin' car," he said to Mrs. Bobbsey. "An' dey is all right, too, lady! I tooked good keer ob 'em. Dey jest walked right in, laik dey owned de place, an' I says to 'em, what will dey hab?
"Dey tells me dat dey done want dinnah fo' two, an' I starts to gib it to 'em, but de conductor says as how dey belonged to a party back heah, an' mebby de odder folks would want somethin' to eat, too. An', as anyhow, dey had bettah be tol'."
"I'm hungry!" exclaimed Bert.
"So'm I!" added Nan.
"Dear me!" exclaimed Mrs. Bobbsey. "I must go and see about them."
"We will all go," said Mr. Bobbsey. "I did not know it was so near lunch time. But I suppose Freddie and Flossie never forget anything so important as that."
"Trust children to remember their meals!" said Mrs. Powendon. "I fear I am to blame for your two little ones running away."
"Oh, no," murmured Mr. Bobbsey.
"How?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey.
"By coming in here, and talking to you. Probably I left the door of your drawing room open. Flossie and Freddie must have slipped out that way."
"Very likely they did," said their father. "But no great harm is done. We will all go to lunch now. Won't you come with us, Mrs. Powendon?"
"Thank you, I will," answered the lady who had come visiting, and so the rest of the Bobbseys and their friend went to the dining car.
There, surely enough, seated at a little table all by themselves, were Flossie and Freddie. The two tots looked up as their father and mother, with Nan and Bert and Mrs. Powendon, came into the car.
"I'm going to have a piece of pie!" shouted Freddie so loudly that every one in the car must have heard, for nearly every one laughed.
"So am I going to have pie!" echoed Flossie, and there was another laugh.
"Well, what have you children to say for yourselves?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey, in the voice she used when she was going to scold just a little bit. "What have you to say, Freddie?"
"I like it in here!" he said. "It's a nice place to eat."
"And I like it, too!" added Flossie.
Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey tried not to laugh.
"But you shouldn't have slipped away while we were talking and come in here all alone," went on Mother Bobbsey. "Why did you do it?"
"I was hungry," said Freddie, and that seemed to be all there was to it.
"Our cookies were all in crumbs," explained Flossie. "They wasn't a one left in my basket. I was hungry, too."
"I presume that's as good an excuse as any," said Mr. Bobbsey, with a laugh. "And so we'll all sit down and have lunch."
And while they were eating Flossie and Freddie told how they had slipped out, when their mother and father were busy talking to Mrs. Powendon, and while Bert and Nan were looking out of the window. They had been in dining cars on railroad trains before, and so they knew pretty nearly what to do.
But when they ordered dinner for themselves, or at least told the smiling, black waiter to bring them something to eat, the Pullman conductor, who had seen the children in the sleeping coach, suspected that all was not right, so he sent the waiter back to tell Mrs. Bobbsey about Flossie and Freddie.
"And you mustn't do it again," said Mrs. Bobbsey, when the story had been told.
"No'm, we won't!" promised Freddie.
"No, he won't do just this again," said Bert with a laugh to Nan. "But he'll do something else just as queer."
And of course Freddie did.
After lunch Mrs. Powendon went back to her car, and the Bobbseys took their seats in the drawing room which they occupied. The meal and the riding made Flossie and Freddie sleepy, so their mother fixed a little bed for them on the long seat, and soon they were dreaming away, perhaps of cowboys and Indians and big trees being cut down in the forest to make lumber for playhouses.
The train rumbled on, stopping now and then at different stations, and, after a while, even Bert and Nan began to get tired of it, though they liked traveling.
"How much farther do we have to go?" asked Bert, as the afternoon sun began to go down in the west.
"Oh, quite a long way," his father answered. "We are not even in Chicago yet. We shall get there to-morrow morning, and stay there two days. Then we will go on to Lumberville. How long we shall stay there I do not know. But as soon as we can attend to the business and get matters in shape, we will go on to Cowdon."
"That's the place I want to get to!" exclaimed Bert. "I want to see some Indians and cowboys."
"There may not be any there," said his mother.
"What! No cowboys on a ranch?" cried the boy.
"Why, Mother!" exclaimed Nan.
"I meant Indians," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "Of course there'll be cowboys to look after the cattle, but Indians are not as plentiful as they once were, even out West."
"I only want to see an Indian baby and get an Indian doll," put in Nan. "I don't like grown-up Indians. They have a lot of feathers on, like turkeys."
"That's what I like!" Bert declared. "If I wasn't going to be a cowboy I'd be an Indian, I guess."
Night came, and when the electric lights in the cars were turned on Freddie and Flossie awakened from their nap.
"How do you feel?" asked his mother, as she smoothed her little boy's rumpled hair.
"I—I guess I feel hungry!" he said, though he was still not quite awake.
"So'm I!" added Flossie. You could, nearly always, depend on her to say and do about the same things Freddie did and said.
"Well, this is a good time to be hungry," said Mr. Bobbsey with a laugh. "I just heard them say that dinner was being served in the dining car. We'll go up and eat again."
After dinner the porter made up the funny little beds, or "berths," as they are called, and soon the Bobbsey twins had crawled into them and were asleep.
It must have been about the middle of the night that Mrs. Bobbsey, who was sleeping with Flossie on one side of the aisle, heard a noise just outside her berth. It was as if something had fallen to the floor with a thud. She opened the curtains and looked out. Freddie and his father had gone to sleep in the berth just across from her, but now she saw a little white bundle lying on the carpeted floor of the car.
"What is that? Who is it?" the mother of the twins exclaimed.
Mr. Bobbsey poked his head out from between his curtains.
"What's the matter?" he asked. "Anything gone wrong?" he added sleepily.
"Look!" exclaimed his wife. "What's that?" and she pointed to the bundle lying on the floor.
"That? Oh, that must be Freddie," answered Mr. Bobbsey. "As usual he's done something we didn't expect. He's fallen out of his car bed."
Surely enough Freddie Bobbsey had fallen out of bed, or his "berth," as beds are called in sleeping cars. The little fellow had been resting with his father, and on the inside, too, But he must have become restless in his sleep, and have crawled over Mr. Bobbsey.
At any rate, when Freddie fell out he made a thud that his mother, in her berth across the aisle, had heard.
But the carpet on the floor of the car was so soft, and Freddie was such a fat, chubby little fellow, and he was so sound asleep, that he was not at all hurt in his tumble, and he never even awakened. He just went on sleeping, right there on the floor.
"Yes," said Mr. Bobbsey with a smile at his wife as he picked Freddie up, "you can generally depend on his doing something unusual, or different. Well, he's a nice little boy," he murmured softly, as he picked up the "fireman" and put him back in the berth.
Even then Freddie did not completely wake up. But he murmured something in his dreams, though Mr. Bobbsey heard only a few words about Indians and cowboys and sugar cookies.
"He's hungry even in his sleep!" said the father, with a silent laugh.
The other Bobbsey twins knew nothing of what had happened until morning, when they were told of Freddie's little accident.
"And did I really fall out of bed?" asked Freddie, himself as much surprised as any one.
"You certainly did!" laughed his mother. "At first I was startled, being aroused so suddenly, but I saw that you were still sleeping and I knew you couldn't be hurt very much."
"I didn't even feel it!" laughed Freddie. "And now I want my breakfast!"
"Dear me! You want to eat again, after dreaming about sugar cookies?" cried Mr. Bobbsey, and he told his little boy what he had heard him say in his sleep. "Well, we had all better go to the dining car again. It will be our last meal there."
"Our last meal!" cried Bert. "Aren't we going to eat again?"
"Not on this train," his father answered. "We'll be in Chicago in time for dinner."
Breakfast over, the Bobbseys began gathering up their different things to be ready to get out at Chicago when the train should reach that big and busy city.
It was about ten o'clock when the station was reached, and the Bobbsey twins thought they had never been in such a noisy place, nor one in which there were more people.
But Daddy Bobbsey had traveled to Chicago before, and he knew just what to do and where to go. He called an automobile, and in that the whole family rode to the hotel where they were to stay while they were in the city.
Two days were to be spent in Chicago, which Mrs. Bobbsey had not visited for some time. She wanted to look around a little, and show the children the various sights. Mr. Bobbsey planned to attend to some business in the "Windy City," as Chicago is sometimes called.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey wanted their children to see all there was to be seen.
"Travel will broaden their minds," Mrs. Bobbsey had said to her husband when they had talked the matter over one night after the twins had gone to bed. "Just see how much they learned when we took them to Washington."
"They not only learned something, but they brought back something—I mean Miss Pompret's china pieces," said Mr. Bobbsey. "Yes, traveling is good for children if they do not do too much of it."
So when the Bobbsey twins reached the big Chicago hotel they were not as strange and surprised as they would have been if they had never been at a hotel before.
"I like this better than the hotel we stayed at in Washington," said Nan to Bert, as they were shown to their rooms, after riding up in an elevator.
"Yes, you can see lots farther," agreed Bert, as he glanced from one of the windows.
"I didn't mean that," his sister said. "I mean the curtains and chairs and such things are ever so much nicer."
"You can't eat curtains!" exclaimed Bert. "And I'm hungry. I hope they have good things to eat."
"I think they will," his father remarked with a laugh.
And when, a little later, they went down to the dining room, the Bobbsey twins found that it was a very good hotel, indeed, as far as things to eat were concerned.
Though Mrs. Bobbsey was very much interested in Chicago, and though Mr. Bobbsey was glad to get there to look after some matters of his lumber business, I must admit that none of the Bobbsey twins thought a great deal of the big city.
"'Tisn't any different from New York!" declared Bert, as he looked at the big buildings, the elevated roads, the street cars and the hurrying crowds. "I wouldn't know but what I was in New York."
"Yes, in some ways it is much like New York," his mother agreed.
"But there isn't any big lake in New York, such as there is here," said Nan.
"Well, I guess the New York Atlantic Ocean is bigger than Lake Michigan," returned Bert. "And the ocean has salt water in it, too, and Lake Michigan is fresh!"
"That makes it better!" declared Nan, who decided then and there to "stick up" for Chicago. "If you're thirsty you can't drink the salty ocean water, but you could drink the lake water."
"Well, maybe that's better," admitted Bert. "I didn't think of that."
And when he and the other children had been taken by their father out to the city lake front, and had seen the bathing beach, Bert had to admit that, after all, Chicago was just as good as New York. But he would not say it was better.
As for Flossie and Freddie, any place was nice to them if they had Bert and Nan and daddy and mother along. The smaller twins seemed to have fun over everything; even riding up and down in the hotel elevator amused them.
After a day of sight-seeing about Chicago, Mrs. Bobbsey was rather tired, and she thought the children were, too, for she told them they had better go to bed early, as they would still have another day to- morrow to see things.
"Oh, I don't want to go to bed!" exclaimed Bert. "There's a nice moving picture in the theater near this hotel! It's all about Indians and cowboys, and daddy said he'd take us after supper. Anyhow, he said he'd take Nan and me."
"If he said so I suppose he will," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "But I can't let Flossie and Freddie go, and I am too tired to go myself."
"Oh, I want to see the Indians!" cried Freddie when he heard what was being talked about.
"No, dear. You and Flossie stay here with me in the hotel, and I'll read you a story," promised his mother. She knew by his tired little legs and his sleepy eyes that she would not have to read more than one story before he and Flossie would be fast asleep.
And so it proved. Mr. Bobbsey took Nan and Bert to the moving picture theater a few doors from the hotel, promising to bring them back early, so they would not lose too much sleep. Then Mrs. Bobbsey sat down to read to Flossie and Freddie.
Just as she had expected, before she reached the end of the story two little heads were nodding and four sleepy eyes could hardly keep open.
"Bed is the place for my tots!" said Mrs. Bobbsey softly, and soon Flossie and Freddie were slumbering together.
Mr. Bobbsey came in with Nan and Bert about an hour later, the pictures having been enjoyed very much.
"I surely am going to be a cowboy!" declared Bert. "I can easily be one on the ranch you are going to own, can't I, Mother?"
"We'll see," replied Mrs. Bobbsey, with a quiet smile at her husband.
Then Nan and Bert went to bed and were soon asleep.
"Well, I hope Freddie doesn't fall out of bed again to-night, and wake me up," said the children's mother.
"So do I," echoed her husband. "I think we shall all rest well to- night."
But trying to sleep in a big city hotel is quite different from trying to sleep in one's own, quiet home. There seemed to be even more noises than on the railroad train, where the motion of the cars, and the clickety-click of the wheels, appears to sing a sort of slumber song. So it was that in the Chicago hotel Mrs. Bobbsey did not get to sleep as soon as she wished.
However, after a while, she did close her eyes, and then she knew nothing of what happened until she heard a loud whistle, something like that of a steam locomotive outside. She also heard some shouting, and then she felt some one shaking her and a voice saying:
"Mother! Mother! Come and see 'em!"
Quickly Mrs. Bobbsey opened her eyes, and, in the dim light that came from the hall, she saw Freddie standing beside her bed.
"What is it?" she asked, sitting up and taking her little boy by the arm.
"They're here! Come and see 'em!" exclaimed Freddie again. "I heard 'em, and I saw 'em! There's a whole lot of 'em!"
"What in the world is the child talking about?" said Mrs. Bobbsey, and then her husband awakened.
"What's the matter now?" he asked sleepily. "Oh, is that you, Freddie?" he went on, as he saw the little Bobbsey twin. "What's the matter? Did you fall out of bed again?"
"No Daddy. But there's a whole lot of fire engines down in the street. I saw 'em!"
"Fire engines!" cried Mrs. Bobbsey. "Oh, Dick! do you suppose—"
What Mrs. Bobbsey feared was that the hotel was on fire, but she did not want to say this in Freddie's hearing.
"There's a great big engine, and it's puffing and blowing out sparks," said the little fellow.
"Freddie ought to know a fire engine by this time when he sees one," Mr. Bobbsey said. "I'll get up and have a look. There may be a small fire next door. Don't get frightened."
Mrs. Bobbsey got up too and slipped on a bath robe then, taking Freddie by the hand, she went with him to the window in his room where he had said he had looked out and had seen the fire engine.
But as Mr. Bobbsey took a look he laughed and said:
"This is the time you were fooled, little fireman! That isn't a fire engine at all. That's some sort of engine they use for fixing the streets. They have to work on the streets here after dark, as there are too many automobiles and wagons on them in the day time. There isn't any fire, Freddie!"
"Maybe there'll be a fire to-morrow," returned Freddie, rather hopefully, though of course he did not really want any one's house to be burned.
"Well, there isn't a fire to-night—at least not around here," said Mr. Bobbsey. "Now we can go back to bed."
Bert nor Nan nor Flossie had been awakened by the noise which roused Freddie. And really it had sounded like a fire engine. A gang of men with a big steam roller was at work in the street just below the little Bobbsey twins' window. And smoke and sparks were spouting from the boiler of the steam roller just as they often spouted from a fire engine.
Freddie slept soundly after that little excitement, and the Bobbsey family did not get up very early the next morning, as they were all tired from their travel.
"Do we go on to Lumberville to-day, Daddy?" asked Bert after breakfast in the hotel.
"Yes, we start this evening and travel all night again," his father answered. "In the morning, or rather, about noon to-morrow, we ought to be at the lumber tract."
"And shall I see 'em cut down trees?" asked Freddie.
"They don't do much cutting down of trees in the summer," said Mr. Bobbsey. "Winter is the time for that. Still there may be some cutting going on, and I hope you can see it."
"I'd rather see cowboys," put in Bert. "That was a dandy picture of cowboys lassoing wild steers last night."
"I wish I could go and see that!" exclaimed Freddie.
"Some other time, maybe," his mother promised. "I am going to take you all shopping now, and buy you each something."
Nan's eyes shone in delight at this, for she liked, very much, to go shopping with her mother.
Mr. Bobbsey still had some business to look after, and when he had left the hotel, promising to come back at lunch time, Mrs. Bobbsey gathered her four "chickens" as she sometimes called them, about her, and made ready to go shopping. No, I am wrong. She only gathered three "chickens." Freddie was missing.
"Where can he be?" asked his mother. "He was right by that window a moment ago!"
"Oh, I hope he hasn't fallen out!" shrieked Nan.
Bert Bobbsey was the first to spring to the window and look down when his sister said this. As the rooms Mr. Bobbsey had taken were on the tenth floor it would have been quite a fall for Freddie if he had tumbled out. But after one look Bert said:
"Freddie couldn't have fallen from here. There's an iron railing all around the outside of the window, and even Freddie couldn't get through."
"I wonder where he is!" exclaimed Mrs. Bobbsey. "I'm sure I saw him here a moment ago!"
"Yes, he was here," said Nan. "I washed a speck of dirt off his chin, and then Flossie wanted me to wash her hands."
"But I washed my own hands, I did!" exclaimed Flossie, looking at her pink palms.
"And the soap slid all over the floor and every time I picked it up it slid some more; didn't it, Nan?" she asked with a laugh.
"Yes," answered the older girl. "But where can Freddie be?"
"That's what I'm wondering," added Mrs. Bobbsey. "We must find him."
"I guess he went out into the hall," said Bert. "There's a boy in the rooms next door about as old as Freddie, and I saw them talking together yesterday."
Mrs. Bobbsey hurried into the hall outside their apartment in the hotel. Bert, Nan and Flossie followed, Flossie still laughing at the funny way the cake of soap had slid around the bathroom when she washed her hands.
Mrs. Bobbsey looked up and down the corridor, but she saw nothing of her little boy. She was hurrying toward the elevators, where the red light burned at night, when she met one of the chambermaids who looked after the rooms and made up the beds.
"Are you looking for your little boy?" asked the maid, smiling pleasantly at Mrs. Bobbsey and the children.
"Yes, I am," answered Freddie's mother. "Have you seen him?"
"Yes," was the answer. "You needn't look for him, I gave him the money."
"You gave him the money! What money?" exclaimed Mrs. Bobbsey. "I didn't send him for any money."
"Why, I saw him come out of your room and start for the elevator," the maid went on. "I was working across the hall. I heard your little boy saying that he couldn't get in without money and then he looked at me. He asked me if I had eleven cents and I gave it to him."
"You gave my little boy Freddie eleven cents?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey wondering if it were all a joke. "Why did you do that?"
"Because he said he wanted it to get into the moving picture place just down the street," the chambermaid said. "I thought you had let him go, and that he had forgotten the money. It's ten cents for children to get in afternoons, you know, and a penny for war tax. I gave it to him."
"Dear me!" exclaimed Mrs. Bobbsey. "The idea of his doing that! Which moving picture place was it?"
"I know!" broke in Bert. "It must be the one we were in yesterday where they had the cowboy and Indian scenes. Freddie has gone there again."
"He did want to see an Indian," added Nan.
"But would they let such a little boy in all alone?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey.
"Oh, lots of the children get grown-ups to take them in," the chambermaid explained. "I've often seen 'em do it."
"But I don't want Freddie going by himself or with people he doesn't know!" said the little boy's mother. "But it was kind of you to give him the money, and here is your change back," she said to the hotel maid. "But now we must get Freddie."
"I'll get him," offered Bert. "I know just where the place is."
"I wish you would," returned Mrs. Bobbsey. "Bring him right back here. I shall have to scold him a little."
Bert went down in the elevator. The man running the big wire cage, which lifted people up and down instead of having them go by the stairs, nodded and smiled at Bert.
"I took yo' little brother down awhile ago," said the elevator man, who was colored like Sam Johnson.
"Yes, he ran away," replied Bert.
"Guess you'll find him at de movies!" laughed the elevator man. "He had 'leven cents, an' he was talkin' 'bout Indians an' cowboys."
"Yes, he's crazy about 'em," answered Bert. "We're going out West you know."
"Is you?" asked the man, as the elevator went down. "Well, de West am a mighty big place. I suah hopes yo' l'il brother doan git lost in de big West."
"We'll have to keep watch over him," returned Bert, as he got out of the car and hurried down the street toward the moving picture theater. On the way he was wondering as to the best way of getting Freddie out of the show. It would be dark inside, Bert knew, though the picture on the screen made it light at times. But it would be too dark to pick Freddie out of the crowd, especially as the theater was a large place and Bert did not know where his small brother would be sitting.
"I guess I'll have to speak to the girl that sells tickets, and maybe she can tell me how to find Freddie," thought Bert.
But when he reached the moving picture theater he had no trouble at all. For Freddie was there, and he was outside, and not inside at all. And the reason Freddie had not gone in was for the same reason that a number of other boys and girls were standing outside the theater.
In the lobby, or the open place near the ticket window, stood a tall man, wearing a red shirt, a big hat with a leather band on it, and, around his neck, a large purple handkerchief. The man wore big boots, and his trousers, instead of being of cloth as were those of Bert's father, were made of sheepskin.
"Oh, he's a cowboy!" exclaimed Bert. And so the man was. At least he was dressed as some cowboys dress, especially in moving pictures, and this man was standing in front of the theater to advertise the photoplay and draw a crowd.
The crowd was there, and Freddie was right up in front, looking with open eyes and open mouth at the cowboy, who was walking back and forth, letting himself be looked at.
"Freddie! Freddie!" called Bert, when he had worked his way close to his little brother. "What you doing here?"
"I'm going to the show!" declared Freddie. "I want to see the wild cows again. And look, Bert! Here's a cowboy like those we're going to see a lot of when we get out West!"
Freddie spoke so loudly that many in the crowd laughed, as did the cowboy himself. Then as the big man in the red shirt and sheepskin trousers happened to remember that he was there to advertise the show he began saying:
"Step right inside, ladies and gentlemen, and boys and girls. See the big cattle round-up and the Indian raid! Step in and see the cowboys taming the wild horses!"
"Come on in!" called Freddie to Bert. "I want to see it! I want to see the show! I've 'leven cents! The lady in the hotel gave it to me!"
"No, you can't go in now!" said Bert firmly, as he kept hold of his little brother's hand. "Mother want you. She didn't like it because you ran away. We thought maybe you fell out the window."
"But I didn't!" cried Freddie. "I came down in the levelator, and I want to see the show."
"Not now," said Bert kindly, as he led Freddie out of the crowd. "Mother is going to take us all down town to buy things."
"But I want to see the show!" insisted Freddie, and he was going to cry, Bert feared, when there appeared, out in front of the hotel, an Italian with a hurdy-gurdy.
Freddie was always ready to look at something like this, and soon he was in the crowd listening to the man grind out the tunes.
"I'm going to give him this penny," said Freddie, showing the coins the chambermaid had given him. "I'll keep the ten cents, and maybe I can get another penny to go to the movies. But I'll give the man this one."
"All right," agreed Bert, glad enough to get Freddie away from the cowboy. And then Freddie seemed to forget all about wanting to go to the movies in listening to the music.
By this time Mrs. Bobbsey, Nan and Flossie had come down from their rooms. They saw Bert and Freddie in the crowd around the hurdy-gurdy man.
"Oh, I'm glad you have found him!" exclaimed Freddie's mother, as she saw her little son. "You did very wrong to run away," she added.
Freddie looked sorry, for he knew he was being scolded.
"I—I didn't go into the movies," he said, "and I have ten cents left. I gave a penny to the man," and he showed his mother the ten-cent piece in his chubby fist.
"You must never do such a thing again, Freddie," went on Mrs. Bobbsey. "Now I'm going to take that ten cents away from you, and when you want to go to the movies you must ask me."
"Will you take me to see the cowboy after we go shopping?" the little fellow wanted to know.
"I don't believe we'll have time," Mrs. Bobbsey answered, trying not to smile. "We must get ready to leave for Lumberville then."
"Oh, that'll be fun!" cried Freddie. "I want to see the big trees. Maybe I'll climb one."
"And that's something else you must not do!" went on his mother. "You must not go out in the woods nor climb trees alone."
"I won't. Bert will come with me," said Freddie.
Then the Bobbsey twins went shopping with their mother, and that night they again got aboard a sleeping car and started for Lumberville, which was reached the next morning.
And when Flossie and Freddie and Bert and Nan opened their eyes and looked from the car window they saw a strange sight.
When Bert, who was the first of the Bobbsey twins to awaken, looked from the car window he had hard work to tell whether or not he was dreaming. For he seemed to be traveling through a scene from a moving picture. There were trees, trees, trees on both sides of the track. Nothing could be seen but trees. The railroad was cut through a dense forest, and at times the trees seemed so near that it appeared all Bert would have to do would be to stretch out his hand to touch the branches.
Then Nan awakened, and she, too, saw the great numbers of trees on both sides of the train. Quickly she and Bert dressed, and, finding a place where a sleeping berth had been folded up and the seats made ready for use again, the two children took their places there and looked out.
"What makes so many trees?" asked Nan. "Is this a camping place?"
"It would be a dandy place for us Boy Scouts to camp," said Bert. "But I guess this must be where they get lumber from, isn't it, Daddy?" he asked, as his father came through the car just then, having been to the wash-room to shave.
"Yes, this is the place of big trees and lumber," said Mr. Bobbsey. "We are coming to Lumberville soon, and half our journey will be over."
"Is this the West?" asked Nan.
"Yes, this is the West," her father told her, "though it is not as far West as we are going. The cattle ranch is still farther on. It will take us some time to get there, but we are going to stay in Lumberville nearly a week."
By this time Flossie and Freddie had awakened and their mother had helped them to dress. The two smaller Bobbsey twins came to sit with Nan and Bert and look out of the windows.
"My, what a lot of trees!" exclaimed Freddie.
"You couldn't climb all them, could you?" asked Flossie.
"Not all at once, but I could climb one at a time," Freddie answered, as the train puffed on through the forest. "Can't we stop in the woods?" he wanted to know. "These are terrible big woods."
"Yes, this is a large forest," said Mr. Bobbsey. "It is one of the largest in the United States, and some of my lumber and boards come from here. But we can't stop here. If we did we would have no nice hot breakfast."
"Oh, then I don't want to stop!" exclaimed Freddie. "I'm hungry."
"We'll soon have breakfast," said his mother. "It is wonderful among the trees," she said. "And to think that I will really own a tract of woodland like this!"
"Yes," replied Mr. Bobbsey. "Your lumber tract will be much like this, except there will be places where trees have been cut down to be made into boards and planks. I suppose there are such places in these woods, but we cannot see them from the train."
Once, just before they went into the dining car to breakfast, the Bobbsey twins saw in a clearing a big wagon loaded with logs and drawn by eight horses.
"Oh, look!" cried Bert, pointing to it. "Will you have teams like that, Mother?"
"Well, I suppose so," she answered. "I don't really know what is on my lumber tract, as yet."
"We'll soon see," said Mr. Bobbsey, looking at his watch. "We'll be at Lumberville in about two hours."
They went to breakfast while the train was still puffing along through the woods. The scenery was quite different from that on the first part of their journey, where they had scarcely ever been out of sight of houses and cities, with only now and then a patch of wooded land. Here there were hardly any houses to be seen—only trees, trees, and more trees.
Freddie was not the only one of the Bobbsey twins who was hungry, for Flossie, Nan, and Bert also had good appetites. But, to tell you the truth, the children were more interested in looking out of the window than in eating, though they did not miss much that was on the table.
Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey were glad they had brought the twins along, for they felt the trip would do them good and let the children see things they never would have seen but for the travel.
After they had gone back into the sleeping car, where the berths had all been folded up against the roof by this time, Mr. Bobbsey said they had better begin getting their baggage ready.
"The train does not stop long at Lumberville, and we must hurry out," he said. "Lumberville isn't a big, city station, like the one in Chicago."
"Are there any moving pictures there?" Freddie wanted to know.
"No, not a one," his mother answered. "But there will be plenty of other things for you to see."
Soon after the satchels, baskets, and bundles belonging to the Bobbsey twins had been gathered together by the car porter and put at the end, near the door, the train began to run more slowly.
"Is this Lumberville?" asked Bert, who had noticed that the trees were not quite so thick now.
"Lumberville—Lumber-ville!" called the porter, smiling back at the Bobbsey twins as he stood near their pile of baggage. "All out for Lumberville."
"That's us!" cried Bert, with a laugh.
Slowly the train came to a stop. Bert and Nan, standing near the window from which they had been looking all the morning, saw a small, rough building flash into view. Near it were flatcars piled high with lumber and logs. But there was no sign of a city or a town.
"Come on!" called Daddy Bobbsey to his family.
The porter carried out their baggage, and the children jumped down the car steps. They found themselves on the platform of a small station—a station that looked more like a shanty in the woods than a place for railroad trains to stop.
"Good-bye! An' good luck to yo' all!" called the smiling porter, as he climbed up the car steps, carrying the rubber-covered stool he had put down for the passengers to alight on.
Then the train puffed away and the Bobbsey twins, with their father and mother, and with their baggage around them, stood on the platform of the station which, as Bert could see, was marked "Lumberville."
"But where's the place? Where's the town? Where's the men cutting down trees and all that?" Bert asked. He was beginning to feel disappointed.
"Oh, this is only where the trains stop," his father said. "Lumberville isn't a city, or even a town. It's just a settlement for the lumber-men. Our timber tract is about seven miles from here."
"Have we got to walk?" asked Nan, as she looked down at her dainty, new shoes which her mother had bought in Chicago.
"No, we don't have to walk. I think this is our automobile coming now," replied Mr. Bobbsey, and he smiled at his wife.
Bert and Nan heard a rumbling sound back of the rough, wooden railroad station. Flossie and Freddie were too busy watching and listening to some blue jays in a tree overhead to pay attention to much else. But as the rumbling sound grew louder Bert saw a big wagon approaching, drawn by two powerful horses.
"Where's the automobile?" asked the boy, with a look at his father.
"I was just joking," said Mr. Bobbsey. "The roads here are too rough for autos. Lumber wagons are about all that can get through."
"Are we going in that wagon?" Nan demanded.
Before her father could answer the man driving the big horses called to them to stop, and when they did he spoke to Mr. Bobbsey.
"Are you the folks I'm expected to take out to the Watson timber tract?" the driver asked,
"Well, we are the Bobbseys," said Bert's father.
"Then you're the folks I want!" was the good-natured answer. "Just pile in and make yourselves comfortable. I'll get your baggage in."
"I'd better help you," said Mr. Bobbsey. "There's quite a lot of it."
"Oh, we're going to have a ride!" cried Freddie as he ran over to the lumber wagon, followed by Flossie, "This is better than an automobile."
"Well, it's more sure, over the roads we've got to travel," said the driver, who was carrying two valises while Mr. Bobbsey took two more to put in the wagon.
"Pile in!" invited the driver again, and when the Bobbsey twins reached the wagon they found it was half-filled with pine tree branches, over which horse blankets had been spread.
"Why, it's as soft as a sleeping car!" exclaimed Nan. "Oh, how nice this is!" and she sank down with a sigh of contentment.
Bert helped Flossie and Freddie in, and Mr. Bobbsey helped in his wife.
"Got everything?" asked the driver, as he climbed up on his seat, which was made of two boards with springs between them.
"Yes, we're all ready," Mr. Bobbsey answered.
"Gid-dap!" called the man to his big, strong horses, and they started off.
The Bobbsey twins soon knew why it was that no automobile could have traveled over the roads through the woods to the lumber camp. There were so many holes that the wagon lurched about as the boat had when the Bobbseys were on the deep blue sea.
But rough as was the road, and tossed about as they were in the wagon, the Bobbsey twins were not hurt a bit, as the blankets spread over the spicy-smelling pine branches made a couch almost as soft as a feather bed for them.
Through the same sort of forest they had seen from the car windows the children rode. The day was a sunny, pleasant one, and it was just warm enough to be comfortable.
"Are we going to stop at a hotel?" asked Nan, when they had ridden for what seemed to her a long time.
"No," her father answered. "They don't have hotels off here in the woods. We are going to stay in the lumber camp."
"And camp out?" asked Bert.
"Yes, it will be like camping out."
"Oh, that's dandy!" exclaimed the boy.
And as he said that there sounded, as if from the woods just ahead of them, a loud shrieking sound. Flossie at once turned to her mother, and clasped Mrs. Bobbsey by the arm. Freddie turned to his father, and looked up at him.
"What was that?" asked Nan.
"Sounded like a wild animal," replied Bert, in a hushed voice.
"That's the sawmill!" said the driver of the lumber wagon, with a laugh. "We're coming to your place," he added. "That's the sawmill you heard. The saw must have struck a hard knot in a log and it let out a screech. There's the sawmill!"
THE BIG TREE
The Bobbsey twins saw, just ahead of them, a stream of water sparkling in the sun. They also saw a place that had been cleared of trees, which had been cut down, making a vacant place in the woods. And in this clearing, or vacant place, near the small river, were a number of rough-looking buildings. It was from one of these "shacks," as Bert afterward called them, that the screeching sound came. And puffs of steam coming from a pipe sticking out of the roof of this shack showed that there was an engine there.
"Is this the lumber camp that I am to own?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey, as she looked ahead and saw the buildings, the piles of logs, and the stacks of boards.
"This is the place," said Mr. Bobbsey. "It is bigger than I thought. We will have to get some one to look after it for you, Mother. You and I can't be running out here to see that the men cut down the trees right, and make them into boards. Yes, we shall have to get some one to help us."
"Couldn't I help?" asked Bert. "Maybe I'd rather be a lumberman than a cowboy."
"You'll have to grow some before you'll be of much use around a lumber camp," said the driver of the wagon. "It's hard work chopping down trees."
"Do you ever have a fire here?" Freddie demanded suddenly.
"Sometimes, my little man," the driver answered. "Why? Do you like to see fires? I don't, myself, for they burn up a lot of good lumber."
"I don't like to see fires, but I like fire engines," said Freddie. "And I have a fire engine at home, and it squirts real water. But I couldn't bring it with me 'cause it was too heavy to carry. But if there was a fire here maybe I could watch the engines—I mean the big ones."
"We don't have fire engines in lumber camps," said the driver, whose name was Harvey Hallock. "When it starts to burn we just have to let her burn. But I guess—"
However, no one heard what he said, for at that moment the saw must have come to another hard knot in a log, for there was that same loud screeching sound like a wild animal yelling.
Nan covered her ears with her hands, but Bert and Freddie and Flossie seemed to like the noise.
"Mercy me!" exclaimed Mrs. Bobbsey, "I hope that doesn't happen very often."
"Well, I might as well tell you it does," said Mr. Hallock. "We keep the sawmill going all day, but of course we shut down at night. It won't keep you awake, anyhow."
"That's good," said Mrs. Bobbsey, with a laugh. "I don't believe I'd want to own a lumber saw if it kept me awake with a noise like that."
Certainly this sawmill in the midst of the big lumber tract was very different from the small one in Mr. Bobbsey's place at Lakeport. The children often watched the men sawing up boards at the yard their father owned, but the work there was nothing like this.
The saw cut through the hard knot and the screeching sound came to an end, at least for a time.
"This is where you folks are going to stay," said Mr. Hallock, as he stopped his team in front of a building, at the sight of which Bert and Nan gave shouts of joy.
"It's a regular log cabin! Oh, it's a regular log cabin!" cried Bert, as he saw where they were to live during their stay in the lumber camp.
"So this is to be our cabin, is it?" said Mr. Bobbsey as he got down and helped his wife, while the driver lifted out the children and then the baggage.
"Yes, the boys fixed this up for you," answered Mr. Hallock. "We hope you'll like it."
"I'm sure I shall," said Mrs. Bobbsey, as she looked inside the log cabin, for it really was that, the sides being made of logs piled one on the other, the ends being notched so they would not slip out.
"Isn't it cute!" exclaimed Nan, as she followed her mother inside the cabin. "It has tables and chairs and a cupboard and everything!"
"And it's all made of wood!" cried Bert. "Say, the Boy Scouts would like this all right."
"I believe they would," agreed his father. "As for everything being made of wood, it generally is in a lumber camp. Now we must get settled. Where can I find the foreman?" he asked of the driver of the wagon who had brought the Bobbseys over from the railroad station.
"He's outside somewhere in the woods," was the answer. "I'll find him and tell him you're here. I'll send the cook over to see if he can get you anything to eat. Are you hungry?" he asked the children.
"I am!" admitted Bert.
"And so am I!"
"And I!" echoed Flossie and Freddie.
"Well, that's the way to be!" said Mr. Hallock. "Children wouldn't be children unless they were hungry. We've got plenty to eat here, such as it is. Not much pie and cake, perhaps, but other things."
"We don't want pie and cake when we're camping in the woods," declared Bert. "We didn't have it at Blueberry Island—that is, not every day."
"All right! I guess you'll get along!" laughed the driver, as he went off through the trees to find the cook and some of the men of the lumber camp.
Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey were looking about the log cabin that was to be their home for about a week, and the children were playing about outside, watching some squirrels and chipmunks that were frisking about in the trees, when a voice called:
"Well, I see you got here all right!"
Mr. Bobbsey and his wife, who were putting some of their baggage in one of the inner rooms, came to the outside door. They saw a big bearded man, wearing heavy boots, with his trousers tucked in the tops of them, smiling at them.
"Are you the foreman?" asked Mr. Bobbsey.
"No, I'm Tom Jackson, his helper," was the answer. "Mr. Dayton will be over in a few minutes. He's seeing about some big trees that are being cut down."
"I don't want to take him away from his work," said Mr. Bobbsey.
"Oh, he's coming over, anyhow, to see how you stood the trip out to this rough place," said Mr. Jackson. "Of course it isn't as rough as it is in the winter time, when we do most of our tree-cutting, but it's rough enough, even now."
"We are used to roughing it," said Mrs. Bobbsey, with a smile. "We like it, and the children think there is no better fun than camping out."
"Well, that's what this is—camping out," said the foreman's helper. "But here comes the cook, and he looks as if he had something for you to eat."
A little bald-headed man, with a white apron draped in front of him, was coming along a woodland path with some covered dishes on a tray held on one hand, while in the other he carried what seemed to be a coffee pot.
"Just brought you folks some sandwiches and a pot of tea," he said, as he set the things down on the table in the log cabin. "This is tea even if it's made in the coffee pot. But I washed it out good first," he said to Mrs. Bobbsey. "Mostly the lumber men like coffee, though in winter they're fond of a hot cup of tea. I give 'em both, and generally I have a teapot, but I can't find it just this minute. I brought some fried cakes for the children, too."
"I thought he said there wasn't any cake in a lumber camp," said Bert, looking out toward the driver who was going off with his team.
"Well, generally I don't get much time to make fried cakes," said the little bald-headed man who acted as cook. "But I made some specially for you youngsters to-day," and he lifted off the cover of one dish and showed some crisp, brown doughnuts, which he called "fried cakes."
"Oh, I want some!" cried Freddie.
"So do I!" echoed Flossie.
"There's enough for all of you," remarked the cook. "Now, then, Mrs. Bobbsey, you'll have a cup of tea, I know," and he poured out a hot, steaming cup that smelled very good.
Mr. Bobbsey ate some of the sandwiches and had a cup of tea, and, after they had taken the edge off their hunger on the doughnuts, the children also ate some of the bread and meat.
While their father and mother were talking to the assistant foreman and the cook, who said his name was Jed Prenty, the four Bobbsey twins wandered outside the log cabin. It stood on the edge of a clearing in the forest, and not far away there were other log buildings, most of them larger than the one where the Bobbseys were to live. These other buildings were where the lumbermen slept and ate, and one was where Jed Prenty did his cooking. In another building, farther off, the horses were stabled.
"Let's take a walk in the woods," said Bert to Nan. "I want to see 'em cut down trees."
"So do I," she said. "We can take Flossie and Freddie with us. We won't go far."
"Are there any cowboys here?" Freddie wanted to know.
"Not any, I guess," laughed Bert. "We'll find them when we get to Cowdon, where mother's ranch is."
Before they knew it the Bobbsey twins had walked quite a little way along a path into the woods. They heard the sound of axes being used to chop down trees, and they were eager to see the lumbermen at work.
"Oh, look at this big tree!" called Freddie to Bert. "Some one cut it almost down!" He and Flossie had, for the moment, wandered away from Bert and Nan, though they were still within sight. At Freddie's call Bert looked up and toward his small brother.
Bert saw the two small Bobbsey twins standing beside a big tree which, as Freddie had said, was partly cut down. Just then came a puff of wind. The big tree slowly swayed and began to fall over. And Flossie and Freddie were standing near it, right where it would crash down on them!
"Look out there! Look out!"
Bert and Nan Bobbsey, standing near a big stump, heard some one shout this to Flossie and Freddie as the two small Bobbsey twins looked up at the great tree which was slowly falling toward them. And then Bert and Nan added their voices to the shout which came from they knew not whom.
"Oh, Flossie! Run! Run!" cried Nan.
"Come here, Freddie! Come here!" yelled Bert.
The two small children did not really know they were in danger. There was so much to see in the woods, and they were so interested in watching the big tree fall, that they did not know it might fall right on them and crush them.
"Oh, what shall we do? What shall we do?" sobbed Nan, for she was crying now, for fear her little brother and sister would be hurt.
"I'll get 'em!" exclaimed Bert.
He started to run toward Flossie and Freddie, but he never could have reached them in time to snatch them out of the way of the falling tree.
However, there was some one else in the forest who knew just what to do and when to do it. There was another cry from some unseen man.
"Stand still! Don't move!" he shouted.
Then there was a crackling in the underbrush, and some one rushed out at Flossie and Freddie, who were standing under the tree looking up at the tottering trunk which was slowly falling toward them.
If the two little children had been alone in the woods they might have thought that the crackling and crashing in the underbrush was made by a bear breaking his way toward them. But they were not thinking of bears, just then.
In another instant Bert and Nan saw a man, dressed as were nearly all the "lumberjacks," spring down a little hill and rush at Flossie and Freddie. As for the two small Bobbsey twins themselves, they had no time to see anything very clearly. The first they knew they were caught up in the man's arms, Freddie on one side and Flossie on the other. That big, strong lumberman just tucked Freddie under his left arm and Flossie under his right and then he gave a jump and a leap that carried them all out of danger.
And only just in time, too! For no sooner had the lumberman picked up the two children and leaped off the path with them into a little cleared space than down crashed the big tree!
It made a sound like the boom of a big gun, or like the pounding of the giant waves in a storm at the seashore, where once the Bobbsey twins had spent a vacation.
Down crashed the big tree, breaking off smaller trees and bushes that were in its way. Down it fell, raising a big cloud of dust, and Flossie and Freddie, still held in the arms of the big man, saw it fall. But they were far enough away to escape getting hurt, though some pieces of bark and a shower of leaves scattered over them. The lumbermen had snatched them out of danger just in time.
"Oh! Oh! They're all right! They're saved!" gasped Nan, no longer crying now that she saw Flossie and Freddie were not hurt.
"Whew! That was pretty near a bad accident," said Bert, who had stopped running toward his brother and sister when he saw that the lumberman was going to get them.
As for the two little children themselves, they were so surprised at first that they did not know what to think. One moment they had been looking up at a big tree, wondering why it was toppling over toward them as they had sometimes seen their tall towers of building blocks fall. The next instant they had heard somebody rushing toward them out of the woods, they had felt themselves caught up in strong arms, and now they were being set down at a safe distance away from the fallen tree by a big man.
Flossie and Freddie looked at the big trunk which had crashed down. Then they saw Bert and Nan coming toward them. Next they looked up at the big lumberman.
"Who are you?" asked Freddie.
"That's just what I was going to ask you," replied the big man, with a laugh. "I think I can guess, though. You are the Bobbsey twins, aren't you? That is you're half of them, and the other half is over there," and he pointed to Bert and Nan who were walking toward Flossie and Freddie.
"Yes, we're the Bobbsey twins," answered Freddie. "We've come to the lumber camp. My mother—she owns it."
"So I've heard," the man said. "Well, if I were you I wouldn't go off by myself among the trees again. You never can tell when one is going to fall down. The man who cut this one should have stayed and finished it, and not have left it to fall with the first puff of wind. I must speak to him about it. And now I had better take you to your father and mother. Where are they?"
"We'll take them back, thank you," said Nan, who, with Bert, came up just then.
"Yes, we want to thank you a lot for getting them out of the way of the falling tree," went on Bert.
"It was the only way to save them," replied the lumberman. "I couldn't make them understand they must step back out of danger, so I had to rush to them and grab them. I'm afraid I did it pretty roughly, but I didn't mean to."
"You pinched me a little," said Flossie, speaking for the first time. "But I don't care. I wouldn't want that tree to hit me."
"I should say not!" exclaimed the lumberman. "We don't want the Bobbsey twins to get hurt."
"How'd you know our names are Bobbsey?" asked Freddie. "Are you a policeman? If you are, where's your brass buttons?"
"No, I'm not a policeman," answered the lumberman. "I suppose, in the city where you came from, all the policemen know you. But I guessed who you were because I sent a man to the depot to-day to meet the Bobbsey family, and you must belong to it."
"We do," explained Bert. "Our father and mother are back in the camp— at the log cabin, you know."
"Yes, I know where it is very well," said the man, with a smile. "And, just to make sure you children won't go near any other trees that are ready to fall, I'll go back with you. I want to see Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey, anyhow."
"Do you work here?" asked Bert.
"Yes, I think you could call it that," answered the man, with a smile.
He took Flossie and Freddie by the hands, and they walked along with him, while Bert and Nan followed. On the way back to the camp, or place where the log cabins and other shacks were built, they met a man coming along with an axe on his shoulder.
"That big tree fell down," said the man who had saved the Bobbsey twins. "After this don't go away and leave a trunk nearly chopped through. These children might have been hurt."
"I'm sorry," said the man with the axe. "I won't do it again. But, just as I was going to finish chopping it down, one of the boys needed help with his team, and I ran to him. I forgot all about the big tree."
"Well, don't forget again," said the man who had saved Flossie and Freddie.
As the Bobbseys walked along with their new friend they saw their father and mother coming toward them.
"Bert, Nan, where have you been?" asked their mother.
"Off in the woods," Bert answered.
"And we saw a big tree fall down and it 'most falled on us!" added Flossie.
"But he pulled us out from under it! Didn't you?" went on Freddie, and he looked up at the big man in the big boots, who wore a red shirt like the other lumbermen.
"What's that?" asked Mr. Bobbsey. "Were you children near a falling tree?"
"That's what they were—too near for comfort," said the man as he let go of the hands of Flossie and Freddie, so the small Bobbsey twins might run to their mother. "It was careless of one of the men to leave a tree half chopped through. But no harm is done. I managed to get the kiddies out of the way in time."
Mr. Bobbsey must have guessed how it happened, for he shook hands heartily with the lumberman.
"I can't thank you enough," said the children's father. "You saved Flossie and Freddie from being hurt, if not killed! Do you work here?"
"I'm the foreman," answered the man quietly.
"Oh, we have been looking for you," said Bert's mother. "I am Mrs. Bobbsey."
"That's what I guessed, lady," answered the man. "I am glad to meet you. I've been expecting you."
"So you are the foreman," said Mr. Bobbsey slowly. "May I ask your name?"
The man seemed to wait a few seconds before answering. Then he looked away over the tops of the trees and said:
And his voice sounded rather strange, Mrs. Bobbsey thought.
THE TRAIN CRASH
"Well, Mr. Dayton," said Mr. Bobbsey, after a moment's pause, "as I said before, I do not know how to thank you for what you did to save Flossie and Freddie. I hope, some day, I may be able to do you as great a service as you did me."
And the time was nearer than Mr. Bobbsey supposed when he could do a kindness to the lumber foreman.
They all walked back to the log cabin near the other buildings, all of which made what was called the "lumber camp." The story was told of the falling tree, and how nearly Flossie and Freddie had been caught under it.
"That foreman of ours sure is quick on his feet!" said Harvey Hallock, the driver who had brought the Bobbseys from the station. Mr. Hallock was speaking to Mr. Bobbsey, outside the log cabin. "Yes, Bill Dayton is sure a quick man," went on the driver.
"Has he been foreman here long?" asked Mr. Bobbsey.
"No, not very long," was the answer. "He came here when your wife's uncle owned the tract, just before the uncle died. But we don't know much about Bill Dayton. He's a quiet man, and he doesn't talk much."
"I thought there was something queer about him," said Mr. Bobbsey. "But I shall always be his friend, for he saved my two children."
The Bobbsey twins thought they never had eaten such a jolly meal as the one served a little later in the log cabin. Even though it was in the midst of a great forest and in a lumber camp, the food was very good. The little bald-headed cook seemed to know almost as much as did black Dinah about making things taste good.
"The children have good appetites up here," said Mr. Bobbsey, as he filled Bert's plate for the second time.
"I want some, too!" called Freddie. "I'm hungry like a bear!"
"But you mustn't eat like a bear!" said his mother, laughing. "You must wait your turn," and she served Flossie first, for that little "fairy" was as hungry as the others.
"What funny little beds!" exclaimed Nan, when she saw where they were to sleep in the log cabin.
"They're almost like the berths in the sleeping car," said Bert.
"They are called 'bunks,'" his father told him. "Lumbermen move about so, from camp to camp, that they could not take regular beds with them. So they build bunks against the wall, spreading their blankets over pine or, hemlock boughs, as the driver did in the wagon we rode over in from the station."
But the bunks in the log cabin had mattresses stuffed with straw, and though they were not like the beds in the Pullman car, nor like those in the Bobbsey home, all the children slept well.
They did not awaken all night, nor did Freddie fall out of bed, as sometimes happened.
"I never slept so well in all my life!" exclaimed Mother Bobbsey, when she was getting ready for breakfast the next morning. "The sweet air of the lumber camp seems to agree with all of us."
Bert and Nan, as well as Flossie and Freddie, also felt fine, and they were ready for a day of fun. They had it, too, for there were so many things to do in the big tract of trees their mother now owned that the children did not know what to start first.
Of course Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey had business to look after—the business of taking over the lumber camp, since Mrs. Bobbsey was now the owner. But she made no changes. She said she wanted Bill Dayton still to act as foreman, and she wished to keep the same men he had hired from the first, as he said they were all good workers.
But while their father and mother were in the office of the lumber camp, looking over books and papers, Bert and Nan and Flossie and Freddie roamed about. They did not go alone, as that would not have been safe. Harvey Hallock, the good-natured driver of the wagon, went with them, and foreman Bill Dayton told him to be especially careful not to let Flossie and Freddie stray away.
"I guess he thinks I'll get lost," said Freddie, when the little "fireman" heard this order given to the driver.
"Do you often get lost?" asked Harvey Hallock.
"Oh, lots of times!" exclaimed Freddie. "I can get lost as easy as anything! But I always get found again!"
"Well, that's good!" laughed the driver.
He took the children to the sawmill, and, at a safe distance from the big saw, they watched to see how logs were turned into boards, planks, and beams.
They saw the rumbling wagons drive up, loaded with logs that were fastened on with chains so they would not roll off. The men, with big hooks fastened on handles of wood; turned the logs over, and slid them this way and that until they could be shoved up to the saw.
The logs were put on what was called a "carriage," to be sawed. This carriage moved slowly along on a little track, and the Bobbsey twins were allowed to ride on the end of the log farthest from the saw. When the end came too close to the big, whirring teeth that ripped through the hard knots with such a screeching sound, Bert and Nan and Flossie and Freddie were lifted off by the driver.
The children saw the place where the jolly, bald-headed cook made the meals ready for the hungry men. There was a big stove, and on it a pot of soup was cooking, and when Jed Prenty opened the oven door a most delicious smell came out.
"What's that?" asked Bert.
"Baked beans," the cook answered. "They're 'most done, too! Want some?"
"Oh, I do!" cried Freddie. "And I want a fried cake, too!"
"So do I!" echoed Flossie.
"Well, you shall have some," answered the good-natured cook. So he gave the children a little lunch on one end of the big, long table where the lumbermen would soon crowd in to dinner.
The Bobbsey twins had no fear of "spoiling their appetites" by eating thus before their regular lunch was ready. Walking about in the woods seemed to make them hungry all the while.
As the days passed Mrs. Bobbsey found she would have to stay in Lumberville longer than she had at first thought. There was much business to be done in taking over the property her uncle had left her.
"The longer we stay the better I like it!" said Nan to Bert. "There are so many birds here, and squirrels and chipmunks. And the squirrels are so tame that they come right up to me."
"Yes, they are nice," said Bert. "But I want to get out West on the ranch, and see the cowboys and the Indians."
"I want to be an Indian, too!" exclaimed Freddie, who did not quite catch what Bert said.
"What else do you want to be?" laughed the older brother. "First you're going to be a fireman, and now you want to be an Indian!"
"Couldn't I be both?" Freddie wanted to know.
"Hardly," said Nan, with a laugh. "You'd better just stay what you are—Freddie Bobbsey!"
Day after day the twins were taken around the woods by the driver or some of the lumbermen who were not busy. They saw big trees cut down, but were careful not to get in the way of the great, swaying trunks. They played in the piles of sawdust, jumping off powdery wood.
"This is as nice as Blueberry Island!" cried Nan one day, when they were all playing on the sawdust heap.
"Yes, and we're having as much fun as we did in Washington, where we found Miss Pompret's china," added Bert. "I wonder if we'll discover any mystery on this trip."
"I don't believe so," returned Nan.
However, the Bobbsey twins were to help in solving something which you will read about before this book is finished.
But all things have an end, even the happy days in the lumber camp, and one morning, after the little bald-headed cook had served breakfast in the log cabin, Mr. Bobbsey said to the children:
"Well, we are going to travel on."
"Where are we going?" asked Bert.
"To Cowdon; to the cattle ranch," answered Mrs. Bobbsey. "I have settled all the business here, and now we must go farther out West."
"I'll be sorry to see you go," said the foreman, Bill Dayton, when told that the Bobbseys were going to leave. "I've enjoyed the children very much."
"Did you ever have any of your own?" asked Mr. Bobbsey.
"No—never did," was the answer. "I'm not much of a family man. Used to be, when I was a boy and lived at home," he went on, "But that's a good many years ago."
"Haven't you any family—any relatives?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey, for she thought the foreman spoke as if he were very lonesome.
"Well, yes, I've got some folks," answered Bill Dayton slowly. "I've got a brother somewhere out West. He's a cowboy, I believe. Haven't seen him for some years."
"Are your father and mother dead?" asked Mr. Bobbsey gently.
"My mother is," was the answer. "She died when my brother and I were boys. As for my father—well, I don't talk much about him," and the foreman turned away as if that ended it.
"Why doesn't he want to talk about his father?" asked Bert of Mr. Bobbsey a little later, when they were packing the valises.
"I don't know," was the answer. "Perhaps he and his father quarreled, or something like that. We had better not ask too many questions. Bill Dayton is a queer man."
Bert thought so himself, but he did as his father had suggested, and did not ask the foreman any more questions.
The packing was soon finished, and then the Bobbsey twins said good- bye to their friends in the lumber camp. The bald-headed cook gave them a bag of "fried cakes" to take with them. They were to ride to the station in the same lumber wagon that had brought them to the camp, and Harvey Hallock was to drive them.
"Good-bye!" said Bill Dayton to Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey, after he had talked to the Bobbsey twins. "If you stop off here on your way home from your ranch, we'll all be glad to see you."
"Perhaps we may stop off," Mrs. Bobbsey answered. "Now that I own a lumber tract I must look after it, though I am going to leave the management of it to you."
"I'll do my best with it," promised the foreman. "And if you should happen to meet my brother out among the cowboys tell him I was asking for him. I don't s'pose you will meet him, but you might."
And then the Bobbsey twins started off on another part of their trip to the great West. They did not have long to wait for the train in the Lumberville station, and, as they got aboard and began their travels once more, they could see Harvey Hallock waving to them from his wagon.
"And one of the horses shook his head good-bye to me!" exclaimed Flossie, who pressed her chubby nose against the window to catch the last view of the lumber team.
"I hope we have as good a time on the cattle ranch as we had in the lumber camp," said Nan, as she and the other children settled down for the long ride.
"We'll have more fun!" declared Bert. "We can ride ponies out on the ranch!"
"Oh, may we?" asked Nan with shining eyes, turning to her mother.
"I guess so," was the answer.
"I want a pony, too!" cried Freddie. "If Bert and Nan ride pony-back Flossie and I want to ride, too."
"We'll ride you in a little cart," said Mr. Bobbsey, with a laugh. "That will be safer—you won't fall so easily."
They were to ride all that day, all night, and part of the next day before they would reach the cattle ranch which Mrs. Bobbsey's uncle had left her. The railroad trip was enjoyed by the Bobbseys, but the children were eager to get to the new place they were going to visit. Bert wanted to see the cowboys and the Indians, Nan wanted to ride a pony and get an Indian doll, and as for Flossie and Freddie, they just wanted to have a good time in any way possible.
Supper was served on the train, and then came the making up of the berths in the sleeping car. This was nothing new to the Bobbseys now, and soon they were all in bed.
It was dark and about the middle of the night when all in the sleeping car were suddenly awakened by a loud crash. The train stopped with a jerk, there was a shrieking of whistles, and then loud shouts.
"What is it?" called Mrs. Bobbsey from her berth.
"Probably there has been a wreck," said Mr. Bobbsey, as he quickly got out of his berth and into the aisle. "But no one here seems to be hurt, though I think the car is off the track."
Flossie and Freddie and Bert and Nan stuck their heads out between the curtains hanging in front of their berths. They wondered what had happened.
AT THE RANCH
After the first crash in the night, and the rattling and bumping of the sleeping car in which they were riding, the Bobbsey twins heard nothing more that was exciting except the whistling of the locomotive and the shouting of men outside the train.
But though the sleeping car no longer bumped unevenly over the wooden ties of the road bed, and though it had come to a stop, the people in it were all very much excited. Men and women quickly dressed, and came out in the aisle where Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey were now standing.
"What is it?"
"What's the matter?"
"Are we off the track?"
These and many other questions were being asked by every one it seemed.
"I was dreamin' that I fell out of bed and I got a big bump!" said Freddie Bobbsey, and, hearing that, many of the passengers laughed.
This seemed to make them feel better, and when it was seen that the sleeping car was not broken and that no one in it was hurt, the men and women began to talk about what had best be done.
"We're off the track, that's sure," said one man who had a berth next to Mr. Bobbsey. "You can tell we're off the track by the way this car is tipped to one side."
"Yes, I believe we are," said the children's father. "Well, if it isn't anything worse than being off the track we will not worry much. But there was a pretty hard crash, and I'm afraid some of the passengers in the other cars are hurt."
"You're right—it was a hard crash," said a woman to whom Mrs. Bobbsey was speaking. "It awakened me from a sound sleep. If we are off the track I wonder how long it will take us to get back on?"
"I have a train of cars," said Freddie, who, with the other Bobbsey children, was now partly dressed. "I have a train of cars, and when they get off the track Flossie and I put 'em back on."
"Well, I wish you could do that with this train, my little engineer!" laughed the man who had talked to Freddie's father.
"I'm not an engineer!" exclaimed the little fellow, smiling.
"No?" asked the man.
"Nope! I'm a fireman, and my sister's a fairy!" went on Freddie, pointing to Flossie so every one would know he did not mean Nan.
"Well, if she is a fairy maybe she can wave her magic wand and put us all back on the track again," went on the man. "Can you do that, little fairy?" he asked. "Where is your magic wand?"
"I—I hasn't any," answered Flossie, who was feeling a bit shy and bashful because so many persons were looking at her and smiling.
"Well, here comes the conductor," said some one. "Perhaps he can tell us what the matter is, even if he can't put the train back on the rails. What's wrong, conductor?" asked a man whose hair was all tousled from having gotten out of his berth in such a hurry.
"There has been an accident," explained the train conductor. "It isn't a bad one, but it will hold us here for an hour or two."
"Is any one hurt?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey.
"No, I'm glad to say no one is," the conductor said. "Our train ran into a freight car that stuck too far over the edge of its own track out on our track. Our engine smashed the freight car, some damage was done to the locomotive itself, and the crash threw some of our cars off the rails. But no one was hurt more than being shaken up."
"That's good," said Mr. Bobbsey. "Then had we better stay right in our car?" he asked.
"Oh, yes," answered the conductor. "That's what I came in to tell you— stay right here. We have sent for the wrecking crew, and we will go on again as soon as we can. There is no danger. You need not be afraid, even if you get shaken up again."
"Are you going to shake us up?" asked Bert.
"No, but the wrecking crew will when they pull this car back on the rails," the conductor replied. "But don't be afraid—no one will be hurt."
The passengers quieted down after hearing this, and some of them who were good sleepers went back to bed. The Bobbsey twins were too wide- awake, their mother thought, to go to sleep so soon after the excitement, so she let them sit up a while to get quiet.
Going to the end of the car, in the little passageway near the wash room, Bert and Nan could look out of the window. They saw men with flaring oil torches hurrying here and there. These were the railroad workers getting ready to put the train back on the track.
There was not so much shouting, now that it was known no one was hurt, and soon the children heard the puffing of engines and the rumble of wheels.
"The wrecking crew has arrived," said Mr. Bobbsey, who came down the aisle to see if Bert and Nan were all right.
"What's a wrecking crew, Daddy?" asked Nan.
"They are the men who clear away wrecked trains," her father answered. "Don't you remember? You saw them at the wreck in our town."
"Oh, yes!" exclaimed Nan. "There was one car with a big derrick on it, and it lifted the broken pieces of the wrecked cars out of the way."
"That's the wreck Mr. Hickson was hurt in," went on Bert. "I guess his wreck was worse than this one."
"Yes, it was," said Mr. Bobbsey. "All railroad wrecks are bad enough, but some are worse than others. But now I think you children had better get back to your berths. There isn't much more to see. You can feel the rest."
"You mean we can feel the bumping when they put us back on the rails?" asked Bert.
"Yes," his father told him.
And a little while after Bert and his sister had got back in their berths they did feel a rumbling and bumping. There were more shouts out in the darkness of the night, and, peering under the edges of their curtains, the children saw more flickering torches and moving men.
Then came an extra big bump, and the sleeping car swayed from side to side. A moment later it began to roll along smoothly.
"I guess we're back on the track now," said Bert.
"Yes," his father answered, "we are. Now we'll travel along."
And in about two hours after the wreck the train was on its journey again, not much the worse for the accident. The freight car had been smashed and so had the front part of the passenger engine. But another locomotive had come with the wrecking train, and this was used to haul the Bobbseys and other passengers where they wanted to go.
"Now we'll have something to tell Mr. Hickson when we get back home," said Bert to Nan the next morning at the breakfast table.
"You mean about the wreck?" asked Nan.
"Yes," replied Bert. "Course ours wasn't a big wreck, like his, but it was big enough."
"I don't want another," said Nan. "I like Mr. Hickson; don't you, Bert?"
"Yes, I do. And I wish we could find his two sons for him, but I don't s'pose we can."
"No," agreed Nan, "we can't ever do that."
It was about noon on the day after the night of the wreck, that Mr. Bobbsey said to his wife and children:
"We will get out soon."
"Shall we be in Cowdon?" asked Bert. "At the ranch?"
"No, not exactly at the ranch," his father told him. "But we'll reach the town of Cowdon, and from there we'll drive to the ranch, which is about ten miles from the railroad."
"Oh, may I ride a pony out to the ranch?" cried Bert.
"I don't believe they'll bring any ponies to meet us," said Mr. Bobbsey. "Later on you may ride one."
The train pulled into the little western station. Some time since the big stretches of woods and trees had been left behind, and now the Bobbseys were in the open prairie country—the land of cattle, cowboys and, at least Bert hoped, of Indians also.
"This is really the West, isn't it?" said Bert to his father, as they saw the wide, rolling fields on either side of the train.
"Yes, this is the West," was the answer.
"But where are the cowboys and the cows?" Nan asked.
"Oh, they don't come so close to the railroad," her father explained. "You'll see them when you get to the ranch."
Then the train reached the small station, as I have said. It seemed to be very lonesome. There were no other buildings near it—only a water tank, and there was not an Indian in sight. At first Bert thought there was not even a cowboy, but when he saw a man sitting on the seat of a wagon with some horses hitched in front—horses that had queer, rough marks on their flanks—Bert cried:
"Oh, say! I guess he's a cowboy!" and he pointed to the driver.
"He hasn't any cow!" exclaimed Flossie, and she wondered why the man in the wagon laughed.
"No, I haven't any cows with me," he said; "but if this is the Bobbsey family I can take you to a place where you will see lots of cattle."
"We are the Bobbseys," said the children's father, walking over to the man in the wagon, "Are you from Three Star ranch?"
"That's where I'm from. I'm in charge, for the time being, but I can't stay much longer. You'll have to get another foreman. I got your letter, saying you were coming out, so I stayed to meet you. And now, if you're ready, I'll take you all out to Three Star."
"Is Three Star the name of a city?" asked Bert.
"No, it's the name of the ranch your mother owns, my boy," said the man, who gave his name as Dick Weston. "All the cattle are marked, or branded, with three stars—like the ponies there," and he pointed to the rough marks on the flanks of the team.
"As soon as I saw those marks I knew you must be a cowboy," said Bert. "You do ride a horse, don't you?"
"That's about all I do," said Foreman Weston, with a smile. "I don't often ride in a wagon, but I knew you'd need one to-day to get to the ranch. Now, if you're ready, we'll start."
The train had gone on, after leaving the Bobbseys and their baggage. Into the wagon the twins were helped. Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey took their seats, the driver called to the horses and away they trotted.
"Is Cowdon much of a town?" asked Mr. Bobbsey, as they drove along.
"No, not much more than you can see over there," and Dick Weston pointed with his whip to a few houses and a store or two on the prairie, about a mile from the railroad station. "We don't go through it to get to Three Star ranch. We turn off to the north," and he drove along the prairie road.
"Oh, look at that snake!" suddenly cried Bert, pointing to one that wiggled and twisted across the road.
"Yes, and you want to look out for those snakes," said the driver. "That's a rattler, and poisonous. Keep away from 'em!"
"Yes indeed they must!" said Mrs. Bobbsey. "Are there any other dangers out here?"
"Well, not many, no, ma'am. And rattlers aren't to be feared if you let 'em alone. Just keep clear of 'em. They'll run away from you rather than fight."
Up and down little, rolling hills went the wagon, drawing the Bobbsey twins. They dipped down into a hollow, and for a time nothing could be seen but green fields.
"Where are the cows?" asked Nan.
"And the cowboys?" Bert wanted to know.
"You'll see 'em soon," was the promise of the driver.
All of a sudden a great noise burst out. There was the shooting of pistols and loud shouts.
"Yi! Yi! Yip!" came in shrill cries.
"Woo! Wow!" sounded, as if in answer.
"Bang! Bang!" went the firearms.
"What is that?" cried Nan, holding her hands over her ears.
"Those are the cowboys," answered Dick Weston, with a smile. "That's their way of telling you they're glad to see you. Here we are at the ranch."
A RUNAWAY PONY
Suddenly the noise of the shooting and shouting stopped. The children looked up toward the top of a little hill, for the sounds seemed to have come from the other side of that. As yet they had seen nothing that looked like a ranch, nor had they caught a glimpse of any cows or cowboys.
But, all at once Flossie cried:
"Oh, there they are! I see 'em!"
"So do I!" echoed Freddie.
And, with that, over the hill came racing about ten laughing, shouting and cheering men, each one waving his hat in one hand while the other held aloft something black, and from this black thing came spurts of smoke and banging noises.
"There are the cowboys! There are the cowboys! I'm going to be one of them!" cried Bert.
"Yes, there are the cowboys sure enough!" said Mr. Bobbsey.
"Will they shoot us?" asked Flossie.
"No they won't shoot anybody!" said the driver with a laugh. "They only keep their revolvers—guns they call 'em—to drive the wolves away from the cattle. This is only their way of having fun. They'll soon stop."
"Oh, what fun to be a cowboy and shoot a pistol!" cried Bert, as he saw the prancing horses. "I'm going to be one."
"You'll have to grow up a little bigger," said Dick Weston; "though you're pretty good-sized now."
The Bobbsey twins and the Bobbsey grown-ups watched the cowboys as they rode up on their "ponies", as the horses were called.
"Hi, there!" called the leading cowboy. "Are the Bobbsey twins there in that outfit, Dick?"
"That's what!" answered the driver. "The Bobbsey twins are here! I've got all four of 'em!"
"Hurray! Hurray! Hurray!" cheered the cowboys.
"How did they know our names?" asked Nan of her mother, as the cowboys on their horses surrounded the wagon.
"Well, I had to write to tell the man in charge of the Three Star ranch that we were coming," answered Mrs. Bobbsey. "I mentioned that I had four little Bobbsey twins, and of course the cowboys remembered. They seem glad to see us."
And, indeed, it was a most hearty welcome that was given the Bobbsey family on their trip to the great West. Not only the lumbermen, but the men at the ranch were glad to see them.
"Are these the cowboys who work for you?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey of Dick Weston as the men on the ponies put up their pistols, placed their broad-brimmed hats on their heads and rode along beside the wagon.
"Well, you might say they work for you now, as you own this Three Star ranch," the foreman said. "Of course I hire the men, or rather, I did, but after I leave you'll have to get some one else to be foremen and hire the men. I only stayed until you got here. I have a big ranch of my own that another man and I bought. I'll have to go and look after that."