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´╗┐Title: The Bobbsey Twins in the Great West
Author: Hope, Laura Lee
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Bobbsey Twins in the Great West" ***

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THE BOBBSEY TWINS IN THE GREAT WEST

BY

LAURA LEE HOPE


Author of "The Bobbsey Twins Series," "The
Bunny Brown Series," "The Outdoor
Girls Series," "The Six Little
Bunkers Series," Etc.

ILLUSTRATED

NEW YORK
1920



BOOKS BY LAURA LEE HOPE
12mo. Cloth, Illustrated.

THE BOBBSEY TWINS SERIES

THE BOBBSEY TWINS

THE BOBBSEY TWINS IN THE COUNTRY

THE BOBBSEY TWINS AT THE SEASHORE

THE BOBBSEY TWINS AT SCHOOL

THE BOBBSEY TWINS AT SNOW LODGE

THE BOBBSEY TWINS ON A HOUSEBOAT

THE BOBBSEY TWINS AT MEADOW BROOK

THE BOBBSEY TWINS AT HOME

THE BOBBSEY TWINS IN A GREAT CITY

THE BOBBSEY TWINS ON BLUEBERRY ISLAND

THE BOBBSEY TWINS ON THE DEEP BLUE SEA

THE BOBBSEY TWINS IN WASHINGTON

THE BOBBSEY TWINS IN THE GREAT WEST

THE BUNNY BROWN SERIES

BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE

BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE ON GRANDPA'S FARM

BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER. SUE PLAYING CIRCUS

BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE AT AUNT LU'S CITY HOME

BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE AT CAMP REST-A-WHILE

BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE IN THE BIG WOODS

BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE ON AN AUTO TOUR

BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE AND THEIR SHETLAND PONY

BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE GIVING A SHOW

BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE AT CHRISTMAS TREE COVE

THE SIX LITTLE BUNKERS SERIES

SIX LITTLE BUNKERS AT GRANDMA BELL'S

SIX LITTLE BUNKERS AT AUNT JO'S

SIX LITTLE BUNKERS AT COUSIN TOM'S

SIX LITTLE BUNKERS AT GRANDPA FORD'S

SIX LITTLE BUNKERS AT UNCLE FRED'S

SIX LITTLE BUNKERS AT CAPTAIN BEN'S

THE OUTDOOR GIRLS SERIES

(Ten Titles)



CONTENTS

CHAPTER


I.     THE TRAIN WRECK

II.    THE QUEER OLD MAN

III.   MR. BOBBSEY REMEMBERS

IV.    THE OLD MAN'S STORY

V.     NEWS FROM THE WEST

VI.    AUNT EMELINE

VII.   HAPPY DAYS

VIII.  OFF FOR THE WEST

IX.    DINNER FOR TWO

X.     FREDDIE, AS USUAL

XI.    IN CHICAGO

XII.   NEARING LUMBERVILLE

XIII.  THE SAWMILL

XIV.   THE BIG TREE

XV.    BILL DAYTON

XVI.   THE TRAIN CRASH

XVII.  AT THE RANCH

XVIII. A RUNAWAY PONY

XIX.   THE WILD STEER

XX.    THE ROUND-UP

XXI.   IN THE STORM

XXII.  NEW NAMES



CHAPTER I

THE TRAIN WRECK


"Come on, let's make a snow man!" cried Bert Bobbsey, as he ran about
in the white drifts of snow that were piled high in the yard in front
of the house.

"That'll be lots of fun!" chimed in Freddie Bobbsey, who was Bert's
small brother. "We can make a man, and then throw snowballs at him,
and he won't care a bit; will he, Bert?"

"No, I guess a snow man doesn't care how many times you hit him with
snowballs," laughed the older boy, as he tried to catch a dog that was
leaping about in the drifts, barking for joy. "The more snowballs you
throw at a snow man the bigger he gets," said Bert.

"Oh, Bert Bobbsey, he does not!" cried a girl with dark hair and
sparkling brown eyes, as she ran along with a smaller girl holding her
red-mittened hand. "A snow man can't grow any bigger! What makes you
tell Freddie so?"

"Course a snow man can grow bigger!" declared Bert. "A snowball grows
bigger the more you roll it in the snow, doesn't it?"

"Yes," admitted Nan--Nan being the name of the brown-eyed girl, Bert's
twin sister. "I know a snowball grows bigger the more you roll it, but
you don't roll a snow man!" went on the brown-eyed girl.

"Ho, ho! wouldn't that be funny?" laughed the little girl, whose hand
Nan held.

"What would be funny, Flossie?" asked Freddie, and one look at the two
smaller Bobbsey children would have told you that they, too, were
twins. In fact the four Bobbseys were twins--that is there were two
sets of them--Bert and Nan, and Flossie and Freddie. "What would be
funny?" Freddie wanted to know. "Tell me! I want to laugh."

"Yes, you generally do want to laugh, little fireman!" and Bert
Bobbsey laughed himself as he gave his small brother the pet name that
Daddy Bobbsey had thought up some time ago. "But, as Flossie says, it
would be funny to see a snow man rolling around in the drifts to make
himself bigger," went on Bert.

"But you said he'd get bigger if we threw snowballs at him," insisted
Nan.

"And he will," went on Bert. "You see, a snowball gets bigger when you
roll it around the yard, because more snow keeps sticking to it all
the while. And if we make a snow man and then throw little snowballs
at him, these snowballs will stick to him and he'll grow bigger, won't
he?"

"Oh, I didn't know you meant _that_ way!" and now Nan, herself,
began to laugh. Of course Flossie and Freddie joined in, though I am
not sure that they knew what the joke was all about, but they were
having fun in the snow and that was all they cared for.

It was a fine snow storm, at least for the Bobbsey twins and the other
children of Lakeport. It was not too cold, and the white flakes had
come down so fast that there was now enough snow to make many snow men
and snowballs, and leave plenty for coasting down hill.

The Bobbsey twins had hurried out to play in the snow as soon as they
got home from school, and now they were having fine fun. Snap, their
dog, was playing with them, leaping about in the drifts, diving
through them, as the Bobbsey twins had seen swimmers dive through
waves down at the seashore and Snap would come out on the other side
of the drift all covered with white flakes, as though he were a snow
dog.

Dear old Dinah, the fat, jolly, good-natured colored cook, who had
been with the Bobbseys many years, stood at the window looking at the
children having fun in the snow.

"Why doesn't yo' go out an' jine 'em?" she asked, as she looked at a
sleek cat that was curled up asleep near the stove. "Why doesn't yo'
go out in de snow? Dat's whut I asks yo', Snoop," went on Dinah. "Dar
dey is--Flossie an' Freddie an' Nan an' Bert. An' Snap's out wif 'em,
too. Why don't yo' go out an' jine de party?"

But Snoop seemed to like it better by the warm fire. He didn't want to
"jine" any party, as Dinah called it. Snoop didn't like snow or water.

"Well, shall we make a snow man?" asked Bert, as he raced about with
Snap, making the dog chase after sticks which would become buried deep
under the snow, where Snap had to dig them out. But the dog liked
this.

"Let's make a snow house. I think that would be more fun," said Nan.

"Oh, yes, and I can get my doll, and we can have a play party in the
snow house," cried Flossie.

"Can't we take the snow man into the snow house?" Freddie wanted to
know. "That'll be more fun than dolls. And we can make believe the
snow house gets on fire, and I'll be a fireman and put it out. Oh,
let's play that!" he cried, his eyes shining in fun.

"Yes, anything like playing fireman suits you," returned Bert. "But it
would be pretty hard even to _pretend_ a snow house was burning.
Snow can't catch fire, Freddie!"

"Well, we could make believe!" said the little fellow. "Anyhow, I'm
going to start to make a snow man, and you can make the snow house."

"And I'll get my doll!" added Flossie, starting toward the house, her
little fat legs and feet making holes in the snow drifts as she tried
to hurry along.

"Wait, I'll carry you," offered Nan. "You're getting so fat, little
fairy, that you'll look like a snow man yourself, if you keep on."

"Are snow mans always fat?" asked Flossie.

"They always seem to be," Nan said, as she lifted up her little sister
in her arms. Snap, the dog, came flurrying through the snow after
them. "My, I can hardly carry you!" panted Nan, for Flossie was indeed
growing fast, and was heavy.

However, Nan managed to carry Flossie over to a path Mr. Bobbsey had
told Sam, who was Dinah's husband, to shovel through the snow that
morning. It was easier for Flossie to walk on the shoveled path, so
Nan put her down.

The two girls went into the house, Flossie to get her doll, while Nan
went to the kitchen and said something to Dinah, the fat, jolly cook.

"Suah, I gibs 'em to yo'!" exclaimed Dinah, laughing all over at Nan's
question. "I'll put 'em in a bag, so's yo'all won't spill 'em!"

And when Flossie was ready to go out again with her doll, Nan went
with her, carrying a bag, at which Snap sniffed hungrily.

"What you got?" asked the little girl.

"Oh, you'll see pretty soon," Nan answered,

"Is it a secret?" Flossie kept on teasing.

"Sort of secret," Nan answered.

When the two girls reached the place where they had left the two boys,
Bert was beginning to make a snow house and Freddie was rolling a
snowball as the start of a snow man. You know how they are made; a
small snowball for the man's head, and a larger one for his body, with
legs underneath. Freddie hoped Bert would help him when it came to the
big snowball part of it.

"Is the snow house ready?" asked Flossie, who had gone in especially
to get her doll, so she might have a "play party."

"Oh, no, it takes a good while to make a snow house," Bert said. "I
don't believe I'll get it done before night if you don't help me."

"I'll help," offered Flossie. "Can I make the chimbley?"

"They don't have chimbleys on a snow house!" declared Freddie, pausing
in his rolling of the snowball. "They don't have chimbleys on snow
houses, 'cause they don't have fires in 'em; do they Bert?"

"That's right, Freddie," agreed the older boy. "But maybe, if Flossie
wants it, we could put a make-believe chimney on the snow house."

"Oh, I do want it--awful much!" cried Flossie. "Come on, Nan, you help
Bert make the snow house, and then we can all play in it.

"And you've got to let my snow man come in!" cried Freddie.

"Yes, we'll let him come in if you don't make him too big," agreed
Bert, with a laugh.

Bert and Nan, the older Bobbsey twins, generally did what they could
to please Flossie and Freddie, who sometimes wanted their own way too
much.

"I guess I'll help make the snow house first," went on Freddie,
walking away from the snowball he had partly rolled. "After that I'll
make the man. It's better to make the house first, and then I'll know
how big I can make the man."

"Yes, that would be a good idea, little fireman!" returned Bert, with
a laugh and a look at Nan. And then Bert caught sight of the bag in
his sister's hand--the bag around which Snap was sniffing so hungrily.

"What have you, Nan?" asked Bert, pausing in the midst of shoveling
snow in a heap for the start of the snow house.

"Oh--something!" and Nan smiled.

"Something good?" Bert went on.

"I guess they're good," Nan said, smiling. "I haven't tasted 'em yet,
but Dinah nearly always makes good cookies!"

"Oh, have you got some of Dinah's cookies?" cried Bert, dropping the
shovel, and running toward Nan. "Give me some! Please!"

"I want some, too!" cried Flossie.

"So do I!" chimed in Freddie.

Snap didn't say anything, but from the way he barked and leaped about
I am sure he, too, wanted some of the cookies.

"Dinah gave me enough for all of us," said Nan, as she opened the bag.
"Yes, and there's a broken piece off one that you can have," she went
on to Snap, the dog.

Beginning with Flossie, then handing one to Freddie, next passing a
cookie to Bert and helping herself last, as was polite, Nan gave out
the cookies. Forgotten, now, were snow houses, snow men, snowballs,
and even Flossie's doll. The Bobbsey twins were eating Dinah's
cookies.

They had each begun on the second helping, when suddenly a loud crash
sounded, which seemed to come from the direction of the railroad
tracks which ran not far from the Bobbsey home. The crash was followed
by loud shouting.

"I wonder what that was?" cried Bert.

"Sounded like thunder," returned Nan.

"Let's go and see," said Bert.

Just as they were starting from the yard, Charley Mason, a boy who
lived farther up the street, on the hill, came running along.

"Oh, you ought to see it!" he cried, his eyes big with wonder.

"See what?" asked Bert.

"Smash-up on the railroad, down in the rocky cut!" answered Charlie.
"Two engines smashed together, and the cars are all busted! I saw it
from the top of the hill! I'm going down! Come on!"



CHAPTER II

THE QUEER OLD MAN


The first impulse of Bert and Nan Bobbsey was, of course, to rush out
of the yard and go with Charley Mason to see the train wreck. And,
naturally, as soon as Bert and Nan began to run, Flossie and Freddie,
forgetting snow men, snow houses, and even Dinah's cookies, started
after their older brother and sister.

"Go on back!" cried Bert to the two smaller children. "You can't come
with us!"

"We want to see the wreck!" declared Freddie. "Maybe it's on fire, an'
if I'm goin' to be a fireman I must see fires!"

He always declared he was going to be a fireman when he grew up, and
he was eager to see the engines every time they went out in answer to
an alarm of fire.

"Come on, Bert, if you're coming!" called Charley Mason, from the
street in front of the Bobbsey home. "It's a terrible wreck--cars off
the track--engines all smashed up--everything!"

"Here, Nan, you take Flossie and Freddie into the house! I'm going
with Charley!" said Bert.

"I want to see the wreck, too!" objected Nan. "You go into the house,
Freddie, and I'll bring you a lollypop when I come back," she added.
"Don't want a lollypop! I want to see the busted engines!" declared
Freddie almost ready to cry.

"So do I!" chimed in Flossie. She generally did want to see the same
things Freddie saw.

"Oh, dear! what shall we do?" exclaimed Nan.

Just then, from the door, Mrs. Bobbsey called:

"Children, children, what's the matter? What was that loud noise that
seemed to shake the house?"

"It's a train wreck and I want to go down with Charley Mason to see
it!" answered Bert. "But Flossie and Freddie want to come, and they're
too little and--and--"

Then Flossie and Freddie began to talk, and so did Nan and so did
Charley, and there was so much talking that I will wait a few minutes
for every one to get quiet, and then go on with the story. And, while
I am waiting, I will tell my new readers something about the Bobbsey
twins as they have been written about in the books that come before
this one in the series.

The four children lived in the eastern city of Lakeport, at the head
of Lake Metoka. Mr. Bobbsey was in the lumber business, and boats on
the lake in summer and trains on the railroad in winter brought piles
of boards to his yard.

"The Bobbsey Twins" is the name of the first book of this series, and
in it you may read of the fun Bert and Nan and Flossie and Freddie had
together, playing with Charley Mason, Danny Rugg, Nellie Parks and
other children of the neighborhood. Sometimes the children had little
quarrels, as all boys and girls do, and, once in a while, Bert and Nan
would be "mad at" Charley Mason or Danny Rugg. But they soon became
friends again, and had jolly times together. Just at present Charley
and Bert were on good terms.

The second book is called "The Bobbsey Twins in the Country," and
those who have read it remember the summer spent on the farm of Uncle
Daniel Bobbsey and his wife Sarah, who lived at Meadow Brook.

Another uncle, named William Minturn, a brother-in-law of Mrs.
Bobbsey's, lived at Ocean Cliff; and in the third book, called "The
Bobbsey Twins at the Seashore," you may learn of the good times Bert
and the others had playing on the beach and having adventures.

After that the Bobbsey twins went to school, and they spent part of a
winter at Snow Lodge. Some time later they made a trip on a houseboat,
and stopped again at Meadow Brook. The next adventures of the children
took place at home, and from there they went to a great city where
many wonderful things happened. Blueberry Island was as nice a place
as the name sounds, and Bert, Nan, Flossie, and Freddie never forgot
the fun they had there. It was almost as exciting as when they
traveled on the deep, blue sea. But you can imagine how happy the
Bobbsey twins were when their father told them he was going to take
them to Washington!

The book about the Washington trip, telling of the mystery of Miss
Pompret's china, comes just before the one you are now reading, and it
was on their return from that capital city that the children were
having fun in the snow.

Christmas had come and gone, bringing much happiness, and it was
because they had discovered some of Miss Pompret's missing china in a
very strange way that the Bobbsey twins had a much nicer Christmas
than usual.

After the holidays winter set in hard and fast, but of course it could
not last forever, and there were some who said this snow storm, which
gave the Bobbsey twins such a fine chance to have fun, would be the
last of the season.

It was, as I have told you, while Bert, Nan, Flossie, and Freddie were
making a snow house and a snow man that they had heard the loud crash
and Charley Mason had called out about the wreck.

"Has there really been an accident?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey, when the talk
had somewhat quieted down.

"Oh, yes'm!" exclaimed Charley. "From my house up on the hill I can
look right down into the railroad cut. I was out feeding my dog, and I
heard the noise and I looked and I saw the two engines all smashed
together and cars off the track and a lot of people running around
and--and--everything!"

Charley had to stop to catch his breath.

Mrs. Bobbsey looked down the street and saw a number of men and women
and some girls and boys hurrying to the railroad tracks.

"We want to go to see it!" begged Bert.

"And we want to go, too!" pleaded Freddie.

Sam Johnson, the husband of Dinah, the cook, came around the corner of
the house.

"There's somethin' must 'a' happened down by the railroad," he said to
Mrs. Bobbsey.

"Yes, it's a wreck," she answered. "The children want to go, but I
can't have them going alone. You may take them down, Sam, but if it is
too bad--you know what I mean, too many people hurt--bring them right
back."

"Yassum, I'll do that there!" agreed Sam, glad himself to get the
chance to see what all the excitement was about. "Come along,
chilluns!" he added, with a smile.

"Oh, now we can go!" cried Flossie, as she raced over and took one of
Sam's hands. "Now we can go!"

"Yep! Sam'll take care of us. Won't you, Sam?" asked Freddie as he
took the other hand. "And if there's a fire I can go near tie firemen,
can't I?" he begged.

"We'll see," said the colored man, with a nod to Mrs. Bobbsey to show
that he understood how to look after the smaller twins.

"Come on!" cried Charley. "I want to see that wreck!"

"So do I!" added Bert, as he hurried on ahead with Nan and Charley.
Sam, leading Flossie and Freddie by the hands, followed more slowly
out into the street, where the sidewalks had been cleared of snow so
the walking was easier. Snap, the dog, tried to follow, but fearing
that he might get hurt, Bert drove him back.

The railroad ran at the foot of the street on which the Bobbsey house
stood. The street went downhill to the tracks, and the railroad passed
through what Charley had called a "cut."

That is, a cut had been made through the side of the hill so the
tracks would be as nearly level as possible. Sometimes, when a hill is
too high the railroad has to go through it in a tunnel. And a "cut" is
a tunnel with the top taken off.

As Bert, Nan, and the others hurried along the street they saw many
other persons hastening in the direction of the wreck. In a cutter,
drawn by a horse that had a string of jingling bells on, Dr. Brown
passed, waving to the Bobbsey twins.

"I guess there must be somebody hurt, or Dr. Brown wouldn't be going,"
said Charley Mason.

"I guess so," agreed Bert. "I never saw a big wreck."

"Well, this is a big one!" cried Charley. "I saw the two engines all
smashed up."

A little later the Bobbsey twins, in charge of Sam, came to the edge
of the cut. They could look down to the railroad tracks and see the
wreck. Surely enough, two trains had come together, one engine
smashing into the other. Both trains were on the same track, and had
been going in opposite directions. There was a curve in the cut, and
neither engineer had seen the other train coming until it was too late
to stop.

"Why--why, they just bunketed right together, didn't they?" cried
Freddie. "They just bunketed right together, like my express wagon
when it ran into Henry Watson's push-o-mobile the other day."

"That's just what happened," said Bert.

For a moment the Bobbsey twins stood and looked down at the wreck.
Just as Charley had said, the two engines were smashed and there were
some cars knocked off the track. But the wreck was not as bad as it
had seemed at first, and I am glad to say no one was killed, though a
number of people were hurt.

The Bobbsey twins could see these persons, who had been passengers on
one or the other of the trains, moving about down in the railroad cut.
Some of them did not seem to know just what had happened. The accident
had so frightened them that they were in a daze.

Trainmen, policemen, and even some firemen, were helping the injured
persons away from the wreck. There had been no fire, and, much as
Freddie liked to see the engines, he was glad there was no blaze to
make matters worse for the poor people who were hurt.

"Dat suah is a smash!" declared Sam, as he stood on the bank, holding
the hands of Freddie and Flossie. "Dey suah did bump togedder
lickity-smash!"

"Let's go down closer!" suggested Charley Mason.

Bert looked at Sam, as if asking if this might be done.

"No, indeedy!" exclaimed the faithful colored man. "Yo'all jest stay
right yeah! Yo'all's ma tole me to look after yo', an' I'se gwine to
do it! Yo'all kin see whut dey is to see right yeah! If you goes any
closter one ob dem bullgines might blow up!"

"I don't want to be blowed up; do I, Sam?" put in Flossie.

"No, indeedy!" he answered.

"Well, I'm going down!" declared Charley.

And, not having any one with him to make him mind, he slid down the
snow-covered bank to the tracks, where there was quite a large crowd
now gathered.

The railroad men were starting to work to get the wreck off the
tracks, so other trains might pass. The injured persons were being
cared for by Dr. Brown and others, and the worst of the wreck seemed
over. Still there was much for the Bobbsey twins to look at.

Flossie and Freddie kept tight hold of Sam's hand, and Bert and Nan
stood a little way off, gazing down into the cut. As the Bobbsey twins
stood there they saw, climbing up a narrow foot-path on the side of
the railroad hill, a queer old man. He was dressed somewhat as the
children had seen Uncle Daniel Bobbsey dress on a cold day at the
farm, with a red scarf about his neck. And this man was carrying his
hat in one hand while in the other he held a banana half-pealed and
eaten.

The queer man seemed very much frightened, and he was hurrying up the
hill path as though trying to run away from something. Bert had just
time to see that there was a cut on the man's head, which was
bleeding, when, all at once, the queer character cried:

"There! I forgot my satchel! I thought this was it!" and he looked at
the banana he was carrying. He turned, as though to hurry back down
toward the wreck, and then he slipped and fell in the snow.

"Mah goodness!" cried Sam, as he dropped the hands of the smaller
Bobbsey twins and sprang toward the man. "You's gwine to slide right
down on de tracks ag'in ef you don't be keerful!" And Sam caught the
queer man just in time.



CHAPTER III

MR. BOBBSEY REMEMBERS


The Bobbsey twins at first did not know what to think of the queer man
who had fallen down in the snow just as he reached the top of the
hill, at the bottom of which was the train wreck. But when Bert
noticed the bleeding cut on the head he guessed what had happened.

"I guess he was one of the passengers, and got hurt," said the boy to
Nan.

"I guess so, too." she said.

Flossie and Freddie, not having Sam's hand to take hold of now, were
holding each other's and watching the colored man help the stranger.

"Hold on now! Jest take it easy!" advised Sam, in, a soothing voice.
"Yo's gwine to feel better soon. Is you much hurted?"

The man seemed more dazed than ever. He put his hand to his head,
letting go of the banana he had been holding, and when he saw that his
fingers were red, because they had touched the bloody cut, he
exclaimed:

"Oh, now I remember what happened! I was in the train wreck!"

"That's right! I guess you was," said Sam, "You come up de hill from
down by de railroad tracks, an' you done slipped back down ag'in
almost! I jest caught you in time!"

"Thank you," said the man. "I really didn't know what I was doing. All
I wanted to do was to get away from the wreck, and I took the first
path I saw. I must have got out of breath, for when I reached the top
of the hill I couldn't go any more, and I just slipped down."

"I saw you!" exclaimed Sam. "Maybe dat whack you got on top ob yo'
haid makes you feel funny."

"I rather think it does," said the man. "But I'm feeling better now.
When the crash came I jumped out of my seat--as soon as I could get up
after being knocked down--and rushed out of the car. I must have been
wandering around for some time. Then I saw this path leading up the
hill and I took it."

"Why didn't you put your hat on?" asked Bert, who, with the other
Bobbsey twins, had been looking closely at the stranger.

"My hat? That's so, I did forget to put it on," he said, and, for the
first time, he seemed to remember that he was carrying his hat in his
hand.

"You might catch cold," remarked Nan.

"That's right, little girl--so I might," he said, and he smiled at
her. He had a kind smile, had the man, though his face looked weary
and sad.

"Did you get much hurt in the wreck?" asked Bert.

"No, I think not," was the answer, and again he put his hand to his
head. "It's only a cut, I'm thankful to say. I'll be all right in a
little while. I'll hold a little snow to it. That will wash the blood
off, as well as water would."

With Sam's help, he now managed to stand up. The colored man took up a
handful of snow and gave it to the stranger, who held it to the cut on
his head. The cold snow seemed to make him feel better, and when he
had wiped away the blood he put on his hat, shook the snow from his
overcoat, and looked at the banana which he had dropped in a drift.

"Well, I do declare!" cried the stranger.

"What's de mattah?" asked Sam.

"Why, all the while I thought that banana was my satchel," was the
answer. "I was eating it when the crash came--eating the banana I
mean, not my satchel," and he smiled at Bert and Nan, who smiled back
at this little joke. Flossie and Freddie stood there looking on.

"I was sitting in my seat, eating this banana," went on the man,
"when, all of a sudden, there was a terrible crash, and I was so
shaken up, together with a lot of other passengers, that I fell out of
my seat. That's how my head was cut, I suppose. I thought I was
grabbing up my satchel, so I could run out and be safe, but I must
have kept hold of the banana instead.

"I know I got my hat down from the rack overhead, where I had put it,
and then out I rushed. My! it was a terrible sight, though I heard it
said that nobody was killed, and I'm glad of that. But it was a
terrific crash, and it made me feel dizzy. I evidently didn't know
what I was doing."

"I should think so, sah!" exclaimed Sam with a smile. "When a body
takes a banana for a satchel he's jest natchully out ob his mind I
say!"

"I didn't seem to come to myself until I got up here on top of the
hill," went on the man "But I'm feeling better now. I'm not really
hurt at all, except this cut on my head, and that's only a scratch.
I'm going down and get my satchel. I can see the car I was in. It
isn't smashed at all. I'll go for my valise."

"I'll go with you," offered Sam. "You chilluns stay heah till I come
back," he went on. "Don't move away. I got to he'p dis gen'man find
his baggage."

"It will be a great help to me," said the man.

"I might get dizzy again and fall. It's rather steep going down that
hill. Will the children be all right if you leave them?"

"Yes, we'll stay right here," promised Nan.

"And we'll look after Flossie and Freddie," added Bert

With this promise, Sam thought it would be all right to go down to the
wreck and help the stranger look for the valise he had left near his
seat in the car. While the two men were gone, the colored servant
helping the other, the Bobbsey twins watched the railroad men starting
to clear away the wreck. A big derrick had been brought up on another
train, and with this the engines and cars that had left the tracks
could be lifted back on to them.

In a short time Sam came back with the man, and the colored helper at
the Bobbsey home was carrying a large valise.

"We found it all right," said the stranger. "It was right near my
seat. I might have stayed there, but I was so excited I didn't know
what I was doing. What place is this, anyhow?"

"This is Lakeport," answered Bert. "The station's down the track a
little way. Your train hadn't got to it yet."

"No, the other train got in the way," said the man with a smile.
"Well, accidents will happen, I suppose. So this is Lakeport! Well,
this is the very place I was coming to, but I didn't expect to reach
it amid so much excitement."

"You were coming here?" repeated Nan.

"To Lakeport, yes. I want to find a Mr. Richard Bobbsey. Maybe you
children can tell me where he lives."

The Bobbsey twins looked so surprised on hearing this that the man
gazed at them in astonishment.

"Do you know Mr. Bobbsey?" he asked. "I hope he hasn't moved away from
here. I want to see him most particularly. Do you know him?"

"Does dey _know_ him!" exclaimed Sam, his eyes opening wide.
"Does dey _know_ him? Well I should say dey _does!_"

"He's our father!" exclaimed Nan and Bert together.

"Mr. Bobbsey your father! Well, I do declare!" cried the strange man,
and he smiled at the children. They were beginning to like him very
much. "Just think of that now!" he went on. "My railroad train gets in
a wreck right near Lakeport, where I want to get off, and first I know
I run into Mr. Bobbsey's children! Well, well! To think of that!"

"Here comes daddy now!" cried Flossie, pointing to a figure walking
over the snow toward them.

"Oh, Daddy, I saw the train wreck!" yelled Freddie. "And I saw the
firemans, I did, but they didn't have any engines, and I--I--I saw--"
But Freddie was too much out of breath from running to meet his father
to tell any more just then.

It was indeed Mr. Bobbsey who had come along just then. He had come
home earlier than usual from the lumberyard office, and his wife had
told him that the children had gone down the street with Sam to look
at the railroad wreck.

"I'll go down and bring them back," said Mr. Bobbsey, "I heard about
the wreck. It isn't as bad as at first they thought it was. No one was
killed."

"I'm glad of that," replied his wife. "I told Sam to bring the
children back if it was too bad."

So it had come about that Mr. Bobbsey reached the top of the cut, down
in which the railroad wreck was, just as the strange man was asking
the Bobbsey children about their father.

"Well, little fireman and little fat fairy," asked Mr. Bobbsey of
Flossie and Freddie, "did you see all there was to see?"

"I saw the engines all smashed together," answered Flossie.

"And I saw a fireman help get a lady out of a car," added Freddie.

"Is this Mr. Bobbsey?" asked the voice of the man, as he stepped
forward and stood near the children's father.

"Yes, that is my name," was the answer. "Did you wish to see me?"

"I came all the way to Lakeport for that," the stranger went on; "but
I didn't mean to come in just this exciting way."

"Were you in the wreck?" asked Mr. Bobbsey.

"Oh, yes, he was in it, and he thought a banana was his satchel!"
exclaimed Flossie, "Wasn't that funny, Daddy?"

Mr. Bobbsey did not quite know what to make of this.

"Your little girl is quite right," said the man. "I was so excited,
from being in the wreck, where I got a cut on the head, that I rushed
from the car carrying a banana instead of my valise.

"However, I'm all right now, and Sam here, as the children call him,
was good enough to help me get back my satchel," went on the man. "I
was just telling the children that I came here to find Mr. Bobbsey,
when, to my great surprise, they let me know that he is their father,
and along you came."

"Yes, these are my youngsters," said Mr. Bobbsey, smiling at Bert and
Nan and Flossie and Freddie. "Sam Johnson helps us look after them,
and his wife, Dinah, cooks for us. But what did you want to see me
about?" and he looked at the man.

"Don't you remember me?" came the question.

Mr. Bobbsey looked more closely at the stranger. He did not recognize
him.

"Hickson is my name," said the man.

"Hiram Hickson. I used to know you when--"

"Oh, now I remember! Now I know you!" cried Mr. Bobbsey. "Hiram
Hickson! Of course! I remember you well now! Well, well! This is a
surprise! How did you come--"

But just then a loud shouting in the railroad cut below caused Mr.
Bobbsey to stop speaking.

"Look out! Look out!" came the cry, and people began rushing away from
the cars, some of which were almost overturned, while others were
completely on their side. "Look out!" cried the warning voice again.



CHAPTER IV

THE OLD MAN'S STORY


Mr. Bobbsey caught Flossie and Freddie up in his arms and started to
run with them. At the same time Sam Johnson pulled Nan to one side,
catching hold of her hand, and the strange man, who had said he was
Hiram Hickson, took hold of Bert.

"We'd better get out of harm's way!" said Mr. Hickson.

As the Bobbsey twins were thus hurried out of any possible danger the
two older children looked back over their shoulders, down to where the
railroad wreck was strewed about along the tracks. They saw the
railroad men and other persons running away after the warning shout
had been given, and Bert and Nan wondered what was going to happen.

They saw a big puff of steam shoot out from one of the engines that
was partly overturned, and then came a loud noise, as of an explosion.

A few moments later, however, the cloud of steam was blown away by the
wind, the noise stopped, and the people no longer ran away.

"I guess the danger is over," said Mr. Bobbsey, as he stopped and set
Flossie and Freddie down on the ground a little way back from the edge
of the cliff, from which they had been looking at the train wreck. "In
fact," went on Mr. Bobbsey, "I don't believe we would have been hurt
if we had stayed where we were. But when I heard that shouting I
didn't know what was going to happen."

"That's right," returned Mr. Hickson, who had let go of Bert. "You
never know what is going to happen in a railroad wreck. I didn't have
any idea, when I was riding so easily in my seat, that, a minute
later, I'd be thrown out with my head cut and a banana in my hand."

"What happened down there, Daddy?" asked Nan.

"There must have been a blow-out, or an explosion, in the locomotive,"
answered Mr. Bobbsey. "The fire got too hot after the wreck, and the
steam burst out at one side of the boiler. But no one seems to be
hurt, and I'm glad of that. The wreck was bad enough."

The railroad men and others who had run out of danger when some one,
who saw the boiler about to explode, had given the warning, now came
back. They started again to clear the tracks so that waiting trains
could pass.

"Well, I don't believe there's much more to see," said Mr. Bobbsey.
"We'd better be getting back home, children, or your mother will worry
about you."

"Can't I stay and see the firemen just a little longer?" begged
Freddie.

"I don't believe they are going to do much more," answered his father.
"Their work is nearly done. All the people who were hurt have been
taken away."

This was true. The scene of the wreck was now being cleared, and in a
little while the damaged engine and cars would be hauled away to the
shops to be mended.

"Did you get everything belonging to you, Mr. Hickson?" asked Mr.
Bobbsey of the man who had been slightly hurt in the wreck.

"Yes, I have my satchel," he answered. "And as I was going to get out
at the Lakeport station I'm right at the place where I was going, even
if there had been no wreck." "And so you were coming to see me, were
you?" asked Mr. Bobbsey. "Well, I don't know what your plans are, but
I would be very glad to have you come to supper with me."

"Maybe your wife mightn't like it," said Mr. Hickson. "She might not
be ready for company, and I'd better tell you that I'm quite hungry."

"So'm I!" exclaimed Freddie. "I'm hungry, and I eat a lot. But
Dinah--she's our cook--has lots to eat in her kitchen!"

"Well, then maybe she'd have enough for me," replied Mr. Hickson, with
a laugh. "If you're sure it won't put your wife out I'll come," he
said to Mr. Bobbsey. "I want to see you, anyhow, and have a talk with
you. I want to ask your advice."

"Very well, come along, then," returned the children's father.

"We can talk after supper," went on Mr. Bobbsey, as the little party
walked along the Lakeport street away from the railroad wreck. "That
is, if you feel able, Mr. Hickson."

"Oh, I'm beginning to feel all right again," said Mr. Hickson. "I was
pretty well shaken up and knocked around when the cars stopped so
suddenly, and I was a bit dazed, so I didn't know what I was
doing--taking a banana for my satchel, for instance!" And he smiled at
Flossie and Freddie, who laughed as they remembered how queer this had
seemed to them.

"Yes, I'm all right now, Dick," went on the old man, and Bert and Nan
wondered how it was that this stranger called their father by the name
their mother used in speaking to her husband.

Mr. Bobbsey saw that Bert and Nan were wondering about this, and he
explained by saying that he and Mr. Hickson had known each other for
many years.

"We used to know one another," said Mr. Bobbsey to his children. "But
it's been a good many years since I have seen him."

"Yes, it has been a good many years," said Mr. Hickson, in rather a
sad voice. "And they haven't been altogether happy years for me,
either; I can tell you that, Dick."

"I'm sorry to hear you say so," replied Mr. Bobbsey.

"Were you in lots of railroad wrecks, and did the firemans have to
come and get you out?" asked Freddie. To him railroad wrecks seemed
very bad things, indeed, though having the firemen come was something
he always liked to watch.

"No, this is the only railroad wreck I have ever been in," said Mr.
Hickson. "I don't want to be in another, either. No, my bad luck
didn't have anything to do with wrecks or firemen. I'll tell you my
story after supper," he said to Mr. Bobbsey.

"Will you tell us a story, too?" begged Flossie.

"I'm afraid my kind of story isn't the kind you want to hear," said
the man, smiling rather sadly.

"Daddy will tell you a story, little fat fairy!" said Mr. Bobbsey as
he gently pinched the chubby cheek of his little girl. "I'll tell you
and my little fireman a story after supper."

Flossie and Freddie clapped their hands and danced along the sidewalk
in glee at hearing this.

The little party was soon at the Bobbsey home, and you can imagine how
surprised Mrs. Bobbsey was when she saw, not only her husband, the
children, and Sam coming in the gate, but a strange man. She must have
shown the surprise she felt, for Mr. Bobbsey said:

"Mary, you remember Hiram Hickson, don't you? He and I used to know
each other when I was a boy in Cedarville."

"Why, of course I remember you!" said the children's mother. "Though I
don't know that I should have known you if I had met you in the
street."

"No, I've changed a lot, I suppose," said the old man.

"And you have been in the wreck! You are hurt!" exclaimed Mrs.
Bobbsey. "Shall I get a doctor?"

"Oh, I'm not hurt anything to speak of," said the man. "Just shaken up
a bit and scratched. I'll be all right once I get a cup of tea."

After supper Flossie and Freddie, as had been promised, were taken up
on their father's lap, and they listened to one of daddy's wonderful
make-believe stories.

"Please put a fairy in it!" Flossie had begged.

"And I want a fireman in it!" exclaimed Freddie.

"Very well then, I'll tell about a fairy fireman who used to put out
fires by squirting magical water on them from a morning glory flower,"
said Mr. Bobbsey.

This pleased both the little children, and when they had listened to
the very end, with eyes that were almost closed in sleep, they were
taken off to bed.

"Now, if you'll come with me to the library I'll let you tell me your
story," said Mr. Bobbsey to Hiram Hickson.

Bert and Nan, who did not have to go to bed as early as did Flossie
and Freddie, rather hoped they might sit up and hear the queer man's
story. But in this they were disappointed.

However, Mr. Bobbsey let them hear, the next morning, the reason why
Mr. Hickson had traveled to Lakeport.

"He really was coming to see me," said Mr. Bobbsey. "He wants work, he
says, and, as he knows something of the lumber trade and as he knew I
had a lumberyard, he came to me."

"But hasn't he any folks of his own?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey who, like the
children, was listening to her husband.

"He has two sons, but he doesn't know where they are," answered Mr.
Bobbsey.

"Did they get hurt in railroad wrecks?" asked Freddie.

"No, I don't believe so," replied his father. "It is rather a sad
story. Hiram Hickson is a strange man. He is kind, but he is queer,
and once, many years ago, while his two boys were living with him,
there was a quarrel. Mr. Hickson says, now, that it was his fault.
Anyhow, his two boys ran away, and he has never seen them since."

"Doesn't he know where they are?" asked Bert.

"No, he hasn't the least idea. At first he didn't try to find them,
for he was angry with them, and he thinks they were angry with him.
But, as the years passed, and he felt that he had not done exactly
right toward his boys, he began to wish he could find them.

"But he could not, though he wrote to many places. His wife was dead,
and he was left all alone in the world. He has a little money, but not
much, and, as he is strong and healthy, he felt that he wanted to go
to work. He has about given up, now, trying to find his two boys,
William--or Bill, as he usually called him--and Charles, and what he
wants is a home and some work by which he can make a living."

"Where is he going to work?" asked Nan

"He is going to work in my lumberyard," answered her father. "I need a
good, honest man, and though Hiram Hickson is a bit queer, I know he
is good and honest. I am going to give him work."

"And where is he going to live?" asked Bert.

"Here, with us, for a while," answered Mr. Bobbsey. "We have room for
him, and, as he is an old friend, and as he was once very kind to me,
I want to do all I can for him.

"I said he could have a room in the house but he says he is used to
living alone of late and so he is going to take one of the rooms over
the stable, or what used to be the stable, before we got the
automobile. Dinah and Sam have their rooms there, but there is another
room for Mr. Hickson. So he will be like part of the family, and I
want you children to be kind to him, as he has had trouble."

"I like him!" declared Bert.

"So do I," said Nan.

"Come, children," said their mother, "it is time to go to school; and
there goes Mr. Hickson to work in daddy's lumberyard!"



CHAPTER V

NEWS FROM THE WEST


The Bobbsey twins looked from the window and saw Hiram Hickson walking
through the yard on his way from the garage. He had slept all night in
the comfortable room in the former stable, where Dinah and Sam also
lived.

As the old man passed he saw Flossie and Freddie and Bert and Nan
looking from the window at him. He smiled up at the children, and
waved his hand to them.

"He looks a little like Uncle Daniel, doesn't he?" remarked Bert.

"Yes," agreed Nan. "Only his hair is whiter. I guess he's had lots of
troubles."

"Maybe about his two sons," Bert went on, as the old man passed from
sight toward the lumberyard. "I wish we could help him find them."

"I don't see how we could ever do that," returned Nan.

Flossie and Freddie stood with their noses pressed against the window
glass, looking at Mr. Hickson until he was out of sight down the
street. Then they got down off the chairs on which they had been
kneeling, and Freddie asked:

"May I have an apple dumpling to take to school, Mother?"

"An apple dumpling to take to school!" she exclaimed. "Why, what in
the world do you want to do that for?"

"I want it to eat at recess," explained the little fellow. "All the
boys bring something to eat."

"And so do the girls," added Flossie. "I want something to eat, too.
And Dinah is baking apple dumplings this morning--I smelled 'em when
she opened the oven door."

"Well, I'm afraid apple dumplings are too big to take to school for a
recess lunch," said Mrs. Bobbsey with a laugh. "I'll get Dinah to give
you some cookies, though."

And Dinah not only gave some to Flossie and Freddie, but to Bert and
Nan. Then, happy and laughing, the Bobbsey twins started for school.

"Did you go down and see the big railroad wreck yesterday?" asked
Danny Rugg of Bert at the school-yard gate.

"Sure I saw it," was the answer.

"And we got a man out of it, too," said Nan.

"You got a man out of the wreck! What do you mean?" exclaimed Danny.
"Did you go down and pull him out?"

"No," Nan went on. "But we saw him, and he's at our house now."

"He works for my father," said Bert, and he told the story of Hiram
Hickson, not speaking, however, about the two sons of the old man who
had run away from him because of a quarrel. Bert did not think his
father would like to have him tell this outside the family.

"I was right close to the engine when it puffed out a lot of steam,"
said Danny Rugg. "And I ran away like anything!"

"So did we!" said Bert.

All the boys and girls were talking about the wreck that morning, and
because they had had such a curious part in it--having at their home
one of the passengers who had been hurt--Bert and Nan were the center
of a little throng that wanted to hear, over and over again, about it.
So the older Bobbsey twins told all they knew concerning it from the
time of having first heard about the wreck from Charley Mason until
they came home accompanied by Hiram Hickson, who had been slightly
hurt in the accident.

"Is he all right now?" Danny Rugg wanted to know.

"Oh, yes. He's gone to work in my father's lumberyard," explained
Bert. "I'm going to stop in to see him this afternoon."

"Can't we go, too?" asked Danny, as he and Charley Mason walked back
into the school with Bert, some of the talk having taken place at
recess.

"Yes, I guess so," was the answer.

Bert often stopped at the lumberyard on his way home from school. He
liked to play among the piles of logs and sawed boards, as did the
other boys. Flossie and Freddie liked this, too, but they were not
allowed to climb around on the lumber piles unless their father or
some other older person was with them. Often Bert and Nan made
"sea-saws" on a lumber pile, but to-day Nan wanted to hurry home with
Grace Lavine and Nellie Parks, for they had a new story book they were
reading together, and over which they were very much excited, each
pretending she was one of the principal characters.

So, after school was out, and the cookies which Dinah had given the
children had been eaten down to the last crumbs, Nan took Flossie and
Freddie home with her, and Bert and some of his boy chums went to the
lumberyard. On the way they made snowballs and threw them at trees and
fences.

"There he is!" said Bert to Charley and Danny, as they saw Mr. Hickson
measuring a pile of boards and marking the lengths down in a book.
"There's the man that came out of the railroad wreck!"

"Pooh, he isn't hurt a bit!" exclaimed Danny Rugg. "I thought you said
his head was cut, Bert Bobbsey!"

"'Tis cut!" declared Bert. "Isn't your head cut, and weren't you hurt
in the railroad wreck?" cried Bert, as Mr. Hickson waved his hand in
greeting.

"Well, it isn't cut much--you can see where it is," and, taking off
his hat, the old man showed the boys a piece of sticking plaster which
had been put over the cut.

"There! What'd I tell you?" cried Bert.

Danny and Charley said nothing. They were satisfied now that they had
actually seen the man himself and the cut he had got in the wreck.

The three boys played about on the lumber piles until it was time for
them to go home, and Bert promised to bring his chums next day to have
more fun on the masses of lumber. Some of the boards were so stacked
up that there were spaces between, and these the boys played were
"robber-caves."

It was nearing the end of winter when the railroad wreck had taken
place. There was still plenty of snow and ice, but the sun was slowly
working his way back from the south, where he had stayed so long, and
each day brought spring nearer.

Mr. Hickson continued to live in his room over the Bobbsey garage. He
liked it there, and he liked his work in the lumberyard. Mr. Bobbsey
said the former Cedarville man was a good helper, and he was glad he
had been able to hire him.

"And do you think he'll ever find his two boys?" asked Bert one day,
when he and Nan had been talking to their father about Mr. Hickson.

"I'm afraid he'll never find them now, it has been so many years since
they went away," explained Mr. Bobbsey. "They were boys then, sixteen
or seventeen years old, and now they would be grown men. No, I don't
believe Mr. Hickson will ever find his sons, though I wish he might,
for I think it would make him much happier."

Bert and Nan wished they might help their father's friend to find his
sons, but they did not see how it could be done. They even talked
about it to Miss Pompret, the woman whose rare china they had so
strangely discovered.

"Well, you Bobbsey twins are very lucky," said Miss Pompret, when Nan
and Bert were at her house one early spring day. "You were very lucky
about my china, and maybe you will be lucky about Mr. Hickson's sons.
I hope he finds them. It is very sad to be old and to have no one in
the world who really belongs to you. I hope you may be able to help
him."

As has been said, the spring had come. The Bobbsey twins and the other
children of Lakeport had made the most of winter while it lasted. They
had built snow houses, snow men and had had snowball battles--at
least--Bert, Charley Mason and Danny Rugg and the bigger boys, as well
as Nan and her particular girl friends, had. The smaller ones, like
Freddie, had coasted downhill on their sleds. This was fun in which
Flossie also shared.

April came with plenty of showers, but the showers brought the May
flowers, just as it says in the little verse. And then came June,
which seemed the best month of all.

"Aren't you glad?" asked Bert of Nan, as four Bobbsey twins were on
their way to school one beautiful June morning, when the birds were
singing and the flowers in the yards along the way were all in
blossom.

"Glad? What for?" asked Nan.

"'Cause school will soon be over and we'll have a long vacation,"
answered Bert.

"Oh, that's so!" agreed Nan. "We have only a few more weeks of school.
I hope I pass my examinations."

"I hope so, too," agreed Bert. "I'm going to study real hard."

"So'm I!" murmured Nan. "Oh, look! There goes Mr. Hickson on a pile of
daddy's lumber!" she cried. "Maybe he'll give us a ride to school."

They shouted to the old man, who was now one of the best of Mr.
Bobbsey's helpers in the lumberyard.

"Whoa, Esmeralda!" called Mr. Hickson to the horse he was driving.
"What is it?" he asked of the Bobbsey twins, who were on the sidewalk.
"Did you want me?" he asked. "The boards rattle so I couldn't hear
what you said. There hasn't been another railroad wreck, has there?"
and he smiled.

"No," answered Bert. "But could you give us a ride to school, if
you're going down that way?"

"I am and I will," answered Mr. Hickson. "Wait a minute, Flossie and
Freddie," he called to the smaller children. "I'll help you up. Now
don't run away, Esmeralda!" he called to the horse.

"Oh, she won't run! She's the slowest horse daddy has!" laughed Nan.

"She's a good horse, though," said Mr. Hickson, as he carefully put
Flossie and Freddie up on the boards on the wagon. "Yes, she's a good
horse, but she's getting old like me. Now are you up, Bert and Nan?"
he asked, as he saw Bert helping his sister to her place.

"All ready!" Bert answered.

"Get along, Esmeralda!" called the man to the horse, and so the
Bobbsey twins had a ride to school.

"Let's go down and play on your father's lumber piles to-day," said
Danny Rugg to Bert, when school was out in the afternoon.

"Yes, we had a dandy time the other day!" chimed in Charley Mason.
"Let's go again."

"All right, we'll go!" agreed Bert.

But when he and the two boys reached the yard where the sweet-smelling
boards were piled in great heaps, Bert saw his father coming from the
office.

"May we play on the lumber?" asked Bert.

"Yes, but come home early," Mr. Bobbsey answered. "I'm going home now,
Bert, and I think you'd better come soon."

"Is anything the matter?" asked the boy, for he knew it was early for
his father to leave his office unless something had happened.

"Nothing serious," was the answer. "But I have just had some strange
news from the West, and I want to tell your mother about it. The news
came in a letter, and it may make a big change in our plans for the
summer."



CHAPTER VI

AUNT EMELINE


When Bert Bobbsey reached home that afternoon, having stopped his play
on the lumber piles with Charley and Danny earlier than usual, the
small boy saw his father and mother talking together on the side
porch. Nan, Nellie Parks, and Grace Lavine were down in the yard under
the shady grapevine playing.

"Well, I don't see anything for us to do except to go out West," Bert
heard his father saying.

"Oh, do you really mean that?" cried the boy. "Are we going out West
where there are Indians and cowboys and ponies and mountains and--and
everything?"

His eyes were wide open with excitement.

"I didn't think you were around, or I wouldn't have spoken so loudly,"
said Mr. Bobbsey, with a laugh.

"But, tell me, Daddy! Are we really going out West?" asked Bert. "I've
always wanted to go there, and I guess Nan has, too."

"Oh, you can depend upon it, Nan will always want to go where you go,
and so will Flossie and Freddie, for that matter!" said Mrs. Bobbsey,
with a laugh.

Bert had passed his small brother and sister as he entered the yard.
They were playing with a little cart of Freddie's, and, as you can
easily guess, Freddie was pretending he was a fireman.

"When are we going?" asked Bert. "Can't we go right away? School is
almost over, and I know I'm going to pass 'cause the teacher said so.
Nan is, too!"

"My, but you are getting in a hurry!" said Mr. Bobbsey. "We have only
just begun to talk of the West and here you are stopping school to
go."

"But what is it all about?" Bert went on. "Why do you have to go out
West, Daddy? Aren't you going to have the lumberyard any more?"

"Oh, indeed I am, and perhaps a larger one than before if things turn
out the way I expect," answered Mr. Bobbsey. "But here comes Nan," he
went on. "I think we might as well tell her and Bert all about it," he
said to his wife. "If we go out West Bert and Nan will have to make
believe they are almost grown up."

"What's it all about?" asked Nan, as she sat down on the steps beside
her brother. Grace and Nellie had gone home to help their mothers get
supper.

"Well, to begin at the beginning," said Mr. Bobbsey, "I had a letter
to-day from some lawyers out West. Children, your mother has been left
a cattle ranch and a lumber tract by a relative who died and made his
will in your mother's favor."

"A cattle ranch?" cried Nan. "Oh, I know what that is! We have a
picture of one in our geography! There's a lot of cattle in the
picture, and cowboys are catching them with lassos."

"Yes, that's one of the things that happen on a ranch," said Mr.
Bobbsey. "Well, your mother now owns one of those."

"She does?" cried Nan with wide-open eyes. "Oh, what are you going to
do with it?"

"I'm going to be a cowboy on it!" decided Bert, as quickly as that.
"I've always wanted to be a cowboy, and now I'm going to. When can I
go on your ranch, Mother?" and jumping up eagerly he stood beside her,
waiting for her answer.

"Oh, but, dear boy! I don't know anything about it yet," said Mrs.
Bobbsey. "The letter has just come, and your father and I were talking
over the news when you came. Poor Uncle Watson! I never knew him very
well, though I had heard he was quite rich. But I never expected he
would leave me his fine ranch, to say nothing of a lumber tract."

"What's a lumber tract?" Nan asked. "Is it a lumberyard like yours,
Daddy?"

"No, my dear," answered Mr. Bobbsey. "A lumber tract is what you
children would call big woods. It is a place where trees grow that may
be cut down and made into lumber. All the boards and planks in my
lumberyard were once big trees, growing out West, or up North, or down
South. Now it seems that your mother's uncle owned a big forest of
trees where lumber is cut, as well as owning a cattle ranch."

"And has he left them both to you?" asked Bert.

"Yes," his mother answered. "And the letter from the lawyers who made
Uncle Watson's will tells me that I had better come out to look after
the property that has been left to me."

"Are you going?" Nan wanted to know.

"I think I must," Mrs. Bobbsey replied. "It isn't every day I have so
much property given me. I must go out West to look after it. But daddy
is coming with me, so I'll be all right."

"Hurray!" cried Bert, tossing his hat into the air.

"What are you 'hurrahing' about?" asked his father.

"'Cause I'm going to be a cowboy on mother's ranch!" answered Bert.
"Whoop-la! I'll be a lumberman, too, part of the time!"

"Now wait a minute, Son," said Mr. Bobbsey gently. "I don't want to
spoil your fun, but we can't take you out West with us."

"You can't?" cried Bert. "Why, I thought we could all go--Nan,
Flossie, Freddie, everybody!"

"No, I don't see how we can take you children," said Mr. Bobbsey,
while his wife also shook her head. "You see we have to leave in a
hurry, and it would not do to take you youngsters out of school. We
will not be gone longer than we can help."

"And have we got to stay here all alone?" asked Nan, and there was a
suspicion of tears in her voice.

"You won't mind staying here," said her mother. "There will be Dinah
to cook for you and to look after Freddie and Flossie. Sam will be
around the house all the while, and there will be Mr. Hickson, too.
Besides this we have a surprise for you."

"What is it?" cried Bert. "Are you going to take us after all? Oh, say
you are! Tell me you were only fooling when you said we would have to
stay here all alone!"

"No, I wasn't fooling," replied his mother. "I don't really see how we
can take you children West with us. But the surprise is this. I am
going to ask Aunt Emeline to come and stay with you, to keep house for
you while your father and I are away. Aunt Emeline will come."

"Oh, Aunt Emeline!" gasped Nan.

"Aunt Emeline!" cried Bert. "Why she--she--"

Then he stopped short. He knew what he had been going to say was not
polite.

"Aunt Emeline will be very kind to you," went on Mrs. Bobbsey. "I will
go in and write to her now, asking her to come."

"And I must go in and telephone," said Mr. Bobbsey. "If I am to go
West I shall have a lot of work to do to get ready."

Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey entered the house, leaving Nan and Bert sitting
out on the steps. For a moment or two the Bobbsey twins said nothing.
They could hear Flossie and Freddie in the front yard laughing
together as they played their games. Then Bert looked at Nan.

"Aunt Emeline!" he said, in a strange voice.

"Aunt Emeline!" responded Nan, and she sighed.

"I'll have to wipe my feet three times every time I come into the
house once!" went on Bert, in a grumbly voice. "She'll always be
looking at my hands to see if they're clean and--and--Oh, I don't want
Aunt Emeline to come!" he exclaimed.

"She never likes to have me run," said Nan, and her voice was gloomy.
"She won't want me to have the other girls in here to play up in the
attic, and she doesn't believe in eating cookies between meals!"

"It's going to be awful--terrible!" exclaimed Bert. "I know what I'm
going to do!" he declared desperately.

"What?" asked Nan, in a frightened sort of voice.

"I'm going to run away, like Mr. Hickson's boys did!" Bert went on.
"You can run away with me if you want to, Nan!" he added. "I'm going
to be a cowboy and you can be the cook at the ranch."

"What ranch?" asked Nan.

"The one mother is going to get by Uncle Watson's will," explained her
brother. "That's where I'm going to run to. I wouldn't run away to
just any old place, but mother and father won't mind if I run off to
our own ranch. They'll be glad to see me. Will you come, Nan?"

His sister shook her head.

"No," she answered. "Aunt Emeline is terrible, but she isn't bad
enough to run away from, and maybe she'll be different now."

"She can't ever be any different," declared Bert. "I guess she means
to be kind and good, but, say, a fellow can't be always washing his
hands and wiping his feet!"

"And a girl's got to run and romp sometimes," added Nan. "But we'll
have to do as father and mother want us to, I guess."

"Oh, I s'pose so!" agreed Bert. "Well, maybe I won't run away if you
aren't coming with me. But I'd like to!" he said.

Flossie and Freddie heard something of the plans. They did not
remember Aunt Emeline very well, though Bert and Nan easily recalled
the queer old lady, who really was very particular when it came to
children. She never had had any of her own, and perhaps this made a
difference.

At first Flossie and Freddie had clamored to be taken out West with
their father and mother, as Bert and Nan had done. But when told they
must stay at home and help Bert and Nan keep house, they seemed to be
satisfied. They were some years younger than the older Bobbsey twins.

"I'll put out the fire if our house starts to burn while you're away,"
Freddie promised.

"There'll not be much danger of fire with Aunt Emeline here to look
after things," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "I wouldn't leave my children with
every one, but I know they'll be safe with Aunt Emeline," she said to
Dinah.

"Yassum, dey's suah gwine to be _safe!_" declared the fat, jolly
colored cook. "She suah will look after 'em! But will dey gets enough
to _eat?_ Dat's whut I'se askin' yo'!" and she looked earnestly
at Mrs. Bobbsey.

"Well, you'll be doing the cooking as usual. Dinah," said the
children's mother. "I depend on you to feed them well."

"Dat's all right, den!" exclaimed Dinah, with a satisfied air. "I
knows she won't starve 'em at de table, even ef she suah has terrible
'tickler manners. But ef she says dey shan't eat 'tween meals, den
I'll says to her as how dey can. I ain't gwine to hab mah honey lambs
starvin', dat's whut I ain't!" and Dinah shook her woolly head.

"Oh, Aunt Emeline isn't as bad as all that," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "She
is strict, I know, but it is for the children's good. I expect a
letter from her very soon, saying when she can come. As soon as she
can Mr. Bobbsey and I will start for the West."

Bert and Nan tried to be cheerful as the days passed, and they thought
more and more of their father and mother going away from them. Flossie
and Freddie had fretted a little at first, but, being younger, they
were over it more quickly.

At last the letter came from Aunt Emeline. Bert and Nan were home when
their mother read it to their father. A look of surprise came over
Mrs. Bobbsey's face as she read.

"Dear me," she exclaimed, "this is quite surprising!"

"What is it?" asked her husband.

"Aunt Emeline can't come to stay with the children while we go West,"
was the answer. "She says she is too old to take charge of a house and
four children now, and she begs to be excused. Aunt Emeline isn't
coming after all!"

Bert and Nan had hard work not to shout: Hurrah!

Mr. Bobbsey took the letter to read for himself.

"Then I'm sure I don't know what we're going to do," he said. "All our
plans are made for going out West to look after the lumber tract and
the cattle ranch. If Aunt Emeline can't come to stay with the
children, what are we going to do?"



CHAPTER VII

HAPPY DAYS


Mr. Bobbsey sat looking at Aunt Emeline's letter, reading parts of it
over again. Mrs. Bobbsey watched her husband. The Bobbsey twins looked
at their father and mother. A great hope was beginning to come into
the hearts of Bert and Nan.

As for Flossie and Freddie, they were rather too small to know what it
was all about, but they realized that something had happened that did
not happen every day.

"What's the matter, Mommie?" asked Freddie, slipping down out of his
chair and going over to her. He saw that she was worried. "Have you
got the toothache?" he wanted to know. Once Freddie's tooth had ached
and he knew how it hurt.

"No, dear," answered Mrs. Bobbsey. "I haven't the toothache. But I
have a letter from Aunt Emeline and she can't come to stay with you
children while daddy and I go out West."

"Aunt Emeline not come?" repeated Freddie.

"No, dear. She thinks she is too old to look after you four lively
youngsters. And perhaps she is right. I wouldn't want to make too much
work for her."

"Aunt Emeline not coming!" said Freddie again in a thoughtful voice.
"Ho! Then I go and get a cookie!"

Nan and Bert burst out laughing.

"What's the matter?" asked their father and mother, as Freddie slipped
down out of his mother's lap, into which he had climbed, and started
for the kitchen to find Dinah. "What made you laugh, Bert?" asked his
mother.

"Oh, I guess Freddie must have heard Nan and me talking about Aunt
Emeline not letting us have anything to eat except at meal time,"
replied Bert. "And, now she isn't coming, he thinks he can have a
cookie whenever he wants it."

"Oh, I see!" and Mr. Bobbsey smiled. "Well, Aunt Emeline may be
strict, but she is a very good housekeeper. I am sorry she can not
come to stay while we are in the West. I really don't know what we are
going to do."

"Nor I," sighed Mrs. Bobbsey. "We counted on Aunt Emeline all the
while, and now I don't know whom else I can get on such short notice.
Can't we wait a while about going West?" she asked her husband.

"I don't very well see how we can wait," answered Mr. Bobbsey. "The
tickets are bought, and all my plans are made. I have hired a man to
come to the lumber office while I am away. I have written the men at
the timber tract and at the cattle ranch that we are coming. Now, what
are we to do?"

"We can't leave the children here alone," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "That is
certain."

"No, we couldn't do that," agreed Mr. Bobbsey. "As good a cook as
Dinah is, and careful as Sam is, we couldn't leave the children with
them."

"Dinah gave me a cookie, an' she says she'll give you one, too, if you
want it, Flossie," announced Freddie, coming into the room then,
munching a sweet cake.

"Course I want it!" exclaimed the little "fat fairy," as her father
called her, and she slipped out of her mother's lap, where she had
climbed after Freddie got down, and, like her brother, hurried to the
kitchen.

"Well, since we can't leave the children here at home by themselves,
or only with Dinah and Sam," said Mr. Bobbsey, after a pause, "there
is only one thing to do."

"You mean we must stay at home?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey, and the hearts of
Bert and Nan felt very sad indeed.

"Stay at home? No, indeed!" exclaimed Mr. Bobbsey. "We must take the
children with us!"

"Out West?" cried Mrs. Bobbsey.

"Yes, out West!" her husband said. "We'll take the children with us
since Aunt Emeline can't come to stay with them."

"Hurray!" cried Bert.

"Oh, I'm so glad!" echoed Nan.

"Yes, that will be the best way out of it," went on Mr. Bobbsey to his
wife, after Bert and Nan had stopped dancing around the room, hands
joined, with Flossie and Freddie in the ring they made, the two
younger twins each eating one of Dinah's cookies. "We'll take the
Bobbsey twins out West."

"But what about school?" asked his wife, who just happened to think
that the summer term would not end for about three weeks.

"Oh we don't need to go to school!" said Bert.

"We can take our books with us and study on the train," suggested Nan.

"I fear there wouldn't be much studying done," laughed Mrs. Bobbsey.
"But do you really think we might take the children out of school?"
she asked.

"That is something we will have to find out about," her husband
answered. "Of course it will not be much loss to Flossie and Freddie,
as they are not as far along in their studies as are Nan and Bert. But
I wouldn't like to have them lose much of their lessons."

"Teacher said I was at the head of my class, and I'd pass easy!"
declared Bert.

"And my teacher said I was one of her best students," added Nan. She
and Bert were in the same grade but in different classes.

"Well, since we really have to go out West to look after the lumber
and cattle properties that are to be your mother's," said Mr. Bobbsey,
"and since we must take you children with us, I'll see your teachers,
Bert and Nan, and ask them if it will put you back much to lose the
last two weeks of the term."

"Oh, goodie! Goodie!" shrieked Nan, jumping up and down.

"Hurray!" cried Bert. "Now I'm going to be a cowboy. Whoop!"

"Mercy me!" exclaimed their mother, covering her ears with her hands
as Bert and Nan shouted loudly.

"Come on, Flossie!" called Freddie to his small sister. "Let's go and
ask Dinah for more cookies."

That was Freddie's way of celebrating the good news.

Then came happy days.

Mr. Bobbsey, once he had made up his mind that the children were to go
out West with him and his wife, went to the school and saw the
teachers who had charge of Bert and Nan. He found that the older
Bobbsey twins were so well along in their studies that it would not
hold them back in the fall to stop now. So they were given permission
to leave school before the regular time.

There was no trouble at all about Flossie and Freddie. They had simple
lessons, and they could easily be taught at home to make up for the
time they would lose.

It was arranged that Dinah and Sam should stay at home in the Bobbsey
house to look after it during the summer, while Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey
and the twins went out West.

"And be sure to feed Snap!" said Bert to Sam, as the colored man was
cutting the grass on the lawn one day, while the dog frisked about
chasing sticks that Bert and Freddie tossed here and there for him.

"Oh, I won't forget Snap!" promised Sam.

"And you must give Snoop a saucer of milk every day, Dinah!" said Nan,
as she rubbed the black cat which was purring around her legs.

"Oh, indeedy Snoop and I am mighty good friends!" declared Dinah. "I
suah won't forget to feed Snoop!"

Mr. Bobbsey bought other tickets, so he could take the children on the
Western trip. He made all the arrangements, trunks were packed, and
finally, one day, Bert and Nan and Flossie and Freddie said good-bye
to their school chums.

"I'm going out West to learn to be a cowboy!" said Bert.

"I wish I was going!" exclaimed Danny Rugg.

"So do I," said Charley Mason.

"I'll see some Indians, too," Bert went on.

"And will you see those darling little papooses they carry on their
backs?" asked Nellie Parks.

"I guess I'll see them," Nan said. "I don't like Indian men and women,
but the babies must be cute."

"Wouldn't it be great if you could get an Indian doll?" asked Grace.

"Indians don't have dolls!" declared Danny.

"Indian girls do!" exclaimed Nellie. "I saw a picture in one of my
books of an Indian girl, and she had a doll made of corn silk and a
corncob and some tree bark."

"What a funny doll!" exclaimed Grace. "Do try and bring one home,
Nan!"

"I will," she promised.

Bert and Nan were so excited at the prospect of going West that if
their father and mother had expected the children to pack the trunks
and valises it never would have been done. But Mrs. Bobbsey knew
better than to expect this. She and Dinah looked after the packing.

Flossie and Freddie, of course, were too small to do any of this,
though one day Mrs. Bobbsey saw the little boy stuffing something into
an old stocking.

"Freddie Bobbsey, what are you doing?" asked his mother.

"Dinah gave me some cookies," was the answer, "and I'm goin' to take
'em out West with me. Maybe I'll get hungry, an' maybe I'll get lost,
or carried off by the Indians, an' then I'll have cookies to eat!"

"Oh, dear me! you can't take a lot of cookies in a stocking," laughed
Mrs. Bobbsey.

"There'll be plenty to eat out West. As for getting lost, I suppose
you will do that; you always have, but we manage to find you. However,
I hope you won't get lost too often. And I don't think you'll be
carried off by the Indians. Or, if so, they'd return you quickly."

The happy days seemed to grow happier as the time came nearer to take
the train for the great West. One afternoon, the day before the
Bobbsey twins were to start, Bert and Nan went down to their father's
lumberyard office with a message sent by their mother.

"What's all this I hear about you?" asked Mr. Hickson, the old man who
had been in the railroad wreck. He was out loading a wagon with
boards. "What are you children going to do out West?" he asked them.

"I'm going to learn to be a cowboy," declared Bert.

"And I'm going to get an Indian doll!" said Nan.

"My goodness!" exclaimed the old man, smiling at the Bobbsey twins,
for he liked them very much. "I hope you have a good time. That's what
makes children happy--to have a good time. I wish I could find my
children. I haven't seen my boys, Charley and Bill, for a long while.
They must be grown-up men now. Yes, I certainly wish I could find
Charley and Bill. It was all a mistake when they ran away from home. I
wish I had them back," and slowly and sadly shaking his head he went
on loading the lumber wagon.

Bert and Nan felt sorry for Mr. Hickson, and they wished they might
help him find his "boys," as he called Bill and Charley, though, as he
said, they must be grown men now. But Bert and Nan had too many things
to think about in getting ready to go out West to feel sorry very
long. They took the message to their father and then hurried home.



CHAPTER VIII

OFF FOR THE WEST


Monday morning was the day set for the start of the Bobbsey twins for
the great West. They had said good-bye to their school friends the
Friday before, and now, while the bells were ringing to call the other
boys and girls to their classes, Bert, Nan, Flossie and Freddie stood
on their front porch and watched their friends go past. "Oh, but you
are lucky!" called Danny Rugg to Bert, as the Bobbseys waved their
hands to him.

"I wish I could be you!" added Charley Mason, as he swung his strap of
books over his head. "I'm going out West to be a cowboy when I grow
up."

"I'll tell you all about it when I come back," promised Bert.

Nan's girl friends, as they went past on their way to school, blew
kisses to her from their hands, and wished her all sorts of good luck.

Flossie and Freddie were too busy running around and playing
hide-and-go-seek among the trunks to pay much attention to their
little school friends who went past the house.

The trunks and valises had been stacked on the front porch, and in a
little while Mr. Hickson was to come with his lumber wagon to take
them to the station. Later the Bobbseys would go down in the
automobile, one of the men from Mr. Bobbsey's office bringing it back.
Sam Johnson, though he used to drive the Bobbsey horse when they had
one, never could get used to an automobile, he said.

Snap, the jolly dog, seemed to know that something out of the ordinary
was going on. He did not run about and play as he nearly always did,
but stayed close to Bert and Nan. He seemed to know they were going
away from him.

"You'll have to watch Snap," said Mrs. Bobbsey to Sam. "He may try to
sneak after us and get on the train, as he did once before. Mr.
Bobbsey had to get off at the next station and bring him back."

"Yassum, I'll watch Snap," promised Sam. "But he suah does want to go
wif yo' all pow'ful bad!"

"I wish we could take Snap and Snoop!" said Bert.

"Oh, dear boy, we couldn't think of it!" exclaimed his mother. "We
have a long way to travel to get to the West, and we couldn't look
after a cat and a dog. They'll be much better off here at home."

"Snoop maybe will," argued Bert, "'cause he doesn't like to have rough
fun the way Snap does. But I guess my dog would like to see an Indian
and some cowboys!"

However, the older Bobbsey twins knew it was out of the question to
take their pets with them, so they made the best of it, Bert petting
Snap and talking kindly to him. Snoop had gone out to the barn where
he knew he might catch a mouse.

In a little while Mr. Hickson drove up for the trunks which were
loaded on the lumber wagon.

"You're going to have a fine day to start for the West," said the old
man, who had entirely got over his hurt got in the railroad wreck. "A
very fine day!"

The June sun was shining, there was just enough wind to stir the
leaves of the trees, and, as Mr. Hickson said, it was indeed a fine
day for going out West, or anywhere else. Very happy were the Bobbsey
twins.

With rattles and bangs, the trunks were piled on the lumber wagon,
such valises as were not to be carried by Mr. or Mrs. Bobbsey, or Bert
or Nan, were put in among the trunks. Flossie and Freddie were each to
carry a basket which contained some things their mother thought might
be needed on the trip.

"All aboard!" called Mr. Hickson, as he took his seat and gathered up
the reins.

"That's what the conductor on the train says!" laughed Freddie, as he
and Flossie had to stop playing hide-and-go-seek among the trunks.

"Well, I'm making believe this lumber wagon is a train," went on the
old man. "I wish it was a train, and that I was going out West to find
my two boys, Charley and Bill." Then he drove off with his head bowed.

"When do we start?" asked Bert. It was about the tenth time he had
asked that same question that morning.

"We're going to leave soon now," his mother told him. "Don't go away,
any of you. Nan, you look after Flossie and Freddie. It wouldn't
surprise me in the least if Freddie were to get lost at the last
minute."

Just then Freddie and his little sister were running around in the
yard, playing tag, and neither of the smaller Bobbsey twins showed any
signs of getting lost. But one never could tell what would happen to
them--never!

Finally everything seemed to be in readiness for the start. The last
words about looking after the house while the Bobbseys were in the
West had been said to Sam and Dinah, and Mr. Bobbsey had telephoned
his final message to his office to say that he was about to start. The
automobile had been brought around, and Harry Truesdell, who was to
drive it back from the station, was waiting.

"Come, children, we'll start now!" called Mother Bobbsey. "Get the
satchels you are to carry, Nan and Bert. Where are Flossie and
Freddie?" she asked. "I want them to take their baskets."

"They were here a minute ago," replied Nan, looking around the yard
for her smaller brother and Flossie.

"But they're not here now!" exclaimed Mrs. Bobbsey. "See if you can
find them, Nan. Tell them we must leave now."

Nan set down the valise she had taken up and was about to go around to
the back yard when some excited cries were heard. Dinah's voice
sounded above the others.

"Heah, now, you stop dat, Freddie Bobbsey!" called the colored cook.
"Whut are yo' doin'? Heah, Freddie, yo' let mah clothes line alone!"

There was a moment of silence, and then Dinah's voice went on.

"Oh, land o' massy! Oh, I 'clare to goodness, yo' suah has gone an'
done it now! Oh, mah po' li'l honey lamb! Oh, Freddie, look what you
has gone an' done!"

At this moment the crying voice of Flossie was heard. The little girl
seemed to be in trouble.

"I didn't mean to! I didn't mean to!" shouted Freddie.

"Something has happened!" exclaimed Mrs. Bobbsey. "I knew it would,
just at the last minute!"

"It does seem so," said Mr. Bobbsey, coming out on the porch. "I'll go
and see what it is!" he added, as he ran around the side path.

"I'll come, too," said Mrs. Bobbsey. And Nan and Bert thought they had
better follow.

They could hear Flossie crying, while Dinah was saying:

"Oh, mah po' li'l honey lamb! Freddie Bobbsey, look whut you gone an'
done!"

And Freddie kept saying:

"I didn't mean to! I didn't mean to! I didn't know it was going to
come down!"

"I wonder what it was that came down," thought Mrs. Bobbsey, as she
hurried after her husband, with Bert and Nan bringing up the rear and
Snap barking as hard as he could bark.

When Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey got around to the back yard they saw at a
glance what had happened. One of the clothes lines, on which Dinah had
hung the sheets she had just washed, had come down. And two or three
sheets had fallen right over Flossie.

Of course the little girl was not hurt, for the sheets were not heavy.
But they were damp from the tub, and Flossie was all tangled up in
them and in the line. In fact, Flossie could not be seen, for she was
between the two sides of a sheet, and only that Dinah was there,
trying to get her out, told Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey what had happened to
their little girl. Oh, yes! I forgot! Flossie was crying, and that was
a sign she was there, even though she could not be seen.

Freddie was standing near a clothes post with the kitchen bread knife
in his hand.

"What happened, Dinah?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey, as she helped the fat,
colored cook get Flossie out from under the sheets. "What is it all
about?"

"Oh, dat Freddie boy he done cut mah clothes line an' let mah clean
wash down on da ground!" exclaimed Dinah. "I didn't minded DAT so
much!" she said, as she wiped away the tears from the face of the
frightened Flossie. "I kin wash de sheets ober ag'in. But I'm so
s'prised dat Freddie done scared his li'l sister, dat's whut I am.
Freddie done scared honey lamb mos' to pieces!"

"I--I didn't mean to," repeated Freddie.

"But did you really cut down Dinah's wash line?" his mother asked him,
when it had been found that Flossie was only frightened and not hurt.

"I--I cut off a little piece," said Freddie, showing a dangling end in
his hand. "I didn't think it would fall down. I didn't mean to make
it."

"But what made you cut any of it?" asked his father, tying the cut
ends together while Dinah took up the sheets which had fallen to the
ground and had some black spots on them. "Why did you cut the clothes
line, Freddie?"

Mr. Bobbsey did not call his little boy "fireman" now. That was a pet
name, and used only when Freddie had been good, and he had been a
little bad now, though perhaps he did not mean to.

"I--I cut the line to get a piece of rope," said Freddie.

"What did you want a piece of rope for?" asked his father.

"I wanted to make a lasso to lasso Indians as Bert's going to do,"
Freddie answered. "I wanted a piece of clothes line for a lasso. But I
didn't mean to make the clothes come down."

"No, I don't guess you did," said Dinah, as she came out of the
laundry with the sheets which she had rinsed clean. "Ole Dinah done
gwine to forgib her honey lamb 'cause he's gwine away far off from
her. An' Dinah's other honey lamb didn't get hurted any. It was only
two sheets an' Dinah's done washed 'em clean again. But don't you go
lassoin' any Injuns, Freddie! Dey mightn't like it."

"No, I won't!" promised the little fellow.

"And don't cut any more clothes lines," added his father.

"No, sir, I won't!"

Freddie was ready to promise anything, now that he found nothing
serious had happened. At first, after he had cut the rope and let the
sheets down on Flossie's head as she was running through the yard,
Freddie had been very much frightened.

"Well, I'm glad it was no worse," said Mrs. Bobbsey, as she
straightened Flossie's hat, which had been knocked to one side. "Now
we must hurry, or we'll be late for the train."

"Yes, come along!" called Mr. Bobbsey.

Freddie gave up the bread knife to Dinah, the last good-byes were
said, and the children started for the automobile. Snap leaped around
Bert, barking and whining.

"Better tie up the dog, Sam, or he'll follow us," said Mr. Bobbsey.

"Yes, sah. I'll do dat."

Poor Snap was led away whining. He did not want to be left behind, but
it had to be.

"Good-bye!" called Bert to his pet. "Good-bye, Snap!"

Flossie took up her basket, and Freddie had his. Each one had
something to carry. Into the automobile they hurried and soon they
were on the way to the station to take the train for the West.

They did not have many minutes to wait. Harry Truesdell sat in the
automobile, until Mr. Bobbsey and the family should be aboard the
train before he went back to the garage.

The Bobbsey twins were standing on the station platform. Mr. Bobbsey
was talking to a man he knew, and Mrs. Bobbsey was speaking to two
friends. Bert and Nan were putting pennies in a weighing machine to
see how heavy they had grown, and Freddie was looking at the pictures
on the magazine covers at the news stand.

Suddenly Flossie, who had set her basket down on one of the outside
seats, gave a cry.

"What's the matter?" asked her mother, turning quickly. "What is it,
Flossie?"

"Oh, my basket! My basket!" cried the little girl. "There's something
in it! Something alive! Look, it's wriggling!"

And, surely enough, the basket she had carried, was "wriggling." It
was swaying from side to side on the station seat.



CHAPTER IX

DINNER FOR TWO


Freddie Bobbsey, called away from looking at the magazine pictures on
the news stand, came running over when he heard Flossie shout.

"What's the matter?" asked the little boy. "Did something else fall on
you, Flossie, like the sheets flopping over your head?"

"No, nothing falled on me!" exclaimed Flossie. "But look! Look at my
basket! It's wriggling!"

"There's something in it!" exclaimed Mrs. Bobbsey, while her husband
quickly hurried away from the man to whom he was talking, and prepared
to see what the matter was. "There's something in your basket,
Flossie! Did you put anything in?"

"No, Mother!" answered the little girl. "I Just put in the things you
gave me. And just before I came away I took off the cover to put in
some cookies Dinah handed me."

"I think I can guess what happened," said Mr. Bobbsey. "While the
cover was off the basket something jumped in, Flossie."

"Oh, I see what it is! A little black squirrel!" cried Nan.

"Squirrels aren't black!" Bert said. There were some squirrels in the
trees near the Bobbsey house, but all Bert had ever seen were gray or
reddish brown.

"It's something furry, anyhow," Nan went on. "I can see it through the
cracks in the basket."

And just then, to the surprise of every one looking on, including the
Bobbsey twins, of course, the cover of the basket was raised by
whatever was wriggling inside, and something larger than a squirrel,
but black and furry, looked out.

"Gee!" exclaimed Bert.

"Oh, it's Snoop!" cried Nan.

"It's our cat!" added Freddie.

"In my basket!" exclaimed Flossie. "How did you get there, Snoop?" she
asked, as Bert took the cat up in his arms, while the other passengers
at the station laughed.

"Perhaps Snoop felt lonesome when he knew you were going to leave
him," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "And when you took off the cover of your
basket, Flossie, to put in the cookies Dinah gave you, Snoop must have
seen his chance and crawled in."

"He kept still all the way in the auto, so we wouldn't know he was
there," added Nan.

"Maybe he thought we'd take him with us," said Bert. "Did you, Snoop?"
he asked. But the big black cat, who must have found it rather hard
work to curl up in the basket, snuggled close to Bert, who was always
kind to animals.

Just then the whistle of the train was heard down the track.

"Dear me! what shall we do?" cried Mrs. Bobbsey. "We can't possibly
take Snoop with us, and we can't leave him here at the depot."

"Harry will take Snoop back home in the auto," said Mr. Bobbsey.

"Yes, give him to me--I'll be careful of him," promised the young man
from the lumberyard office, and Bert carried his pet over to the
waiting automobile.

Snoop mewed a little as Bert put the big, black cat into Harry's arms.

"Good-bye, Snoop!" Bert said, patting his pet on the head.

"Come, Bert, hurry!" called his father.

Then, as the train pulled into the station, Bert ran back and caught
up his valise. The other Bobbsey twins took up their things, Flossie
put back on her basket the cover the cat had knocked off in getting
out, and soon they were all on the train.

"All aboard!" called the conductor, and, as the engine whistled and
the cars began to move, Bert and Nan looked from the windows of their
seats and had a last glimpse of Snoop being held in Harry's arms, as
he sat in the automobile.

Flossie and Freddie forgot all about their cat, dog, and nearly
everything in Lakeport in their joy at going out West. For they were
really started on their way now, after several little upsets and
troubles, such as the clothes line coming down on Flossie, and the cat
hiding himself away in the basket.

"Well, now I can sit back and rest," said Mrs. Bobbsey, with a sigh of
relief. "I know the children are all here, and they can't get lost for
a while, at least, and I don't see what mischief they can get into
here."

Now, indeed, the children were all right for a time. Freddie sat with
his father, next to the window, and Flossie was in the seat with her
mother pressing her little nose close against the glass, so she would
not miss seeing anything, as the train flew along.

Bert and Nan were sitting together, Nan being next to the window. Bert
had, very politely, let his sister have that place, though he wanted
it himself. However, before the first part of the journey was over
there was a seat vacant on the other side of the car, and Bert took
that. Then he, too, had a window.

Bert and Nan noticed, as the train passed Mr. Bobbsey's lumberyard,
Mr. Hickson standing amid a pile of boards. The old man did not see
the children, of course, for the train was going rather swiftly, but
they saw him.

"I wish we could help him find his two sons," said Nan to Bert.

"Yes, I wish we could," Bert answered. "But it's so long ago maybe Mr.
Hickson wouldn't know his boys even if he saw them again."

"He'd know their names, wouldn't he?" Nan asked.

"Yes, I s'pose he would," Bert replied.

Then the older Bobbsey twins forgot about Mr. Hickson in the joys and
novelty of traveling.

The Bobbseys were going to travel in this train only as far as a
junction station. There they would change to a through train for
Chicago, and in that big western city they would again make a change.
On this through train Mr. Bobbsey had had reserved for him a drawing
room. That is part of the sleeping car built off from the rest at one
end.

On arriving at the junction the Bobbseys left the train they had been
on since leaving Lakeport and got on the through train, which drew
into the junction almost as soon as they did. They went into the
little room at the end of the sleeping coach which Mr. Bobbsey had had
reserved for them. In there the twins had plenty of room to look from
the windows, as no other passengers were in with them.

"It's just like being in our own big automobile," said Nan, and so it
was. The children liked it very much.

The trip to Chicago would take a day and a night, and Flossie and
Freddie, as well as Bert and Nan, were interested in going to sleep on
a train in the queer little beds the porter makes up from what are
seats in the daytime.

It was not the first time the children had traveled in a sleeping car,
but they were always interested. It did seem queer to them to be
traveling along in their sleep.

"Almost like a dream," Nan said, and I think she was quite right.

"Where's my basket?" Flossie asked, after they had ridden on for about
an hour.

"Do you want to see if Snap is in it this time?" her father jokingly
inquired.

"Snap's too big to get in my basket," Flossie answered. "He's a big
dog. But I want to get some of the cookies Dinah gave me. I'm hungry."

"So'm I!" cried Freddie, who had been looking from the window. "I want
a cookie too!"

"Dinah gave me some for you," Flossie said, and, when her basket had
been handed down from the brass rack over the seat, she searched
around in it until she had found what she was looking for--a bag of
molasses and sugar cookies.

"Oh, Dinah does make such good cookies!" said Flossie, with her mouth
half full, though, really, to be polite, I suppose, she should not
have talked that way.

"Shall we get any cookies out on the cattle ranch?" asked Nan. "If we
don't, Flossie and Freddie will miss them."

"Oh, they have cooks on ranches, same as they do in lumber camps,"
Bert declared. "I saw a picture once of a Chinese cook on a cattle
ranch."

"Can a Chinaman cook?" asked Nan, in surprise. "I thought they could
only iron shirts and collars."

"Some Chinese are very good cooks," explained Mr. Bobbsey. "And Bert
is right when he says that on some ranches in the West a Chinese man
does the cooking. I don't know whether we shall find one where we are
going or not."

"Are we going to the lumber tract first, or to the ranch?" asked Bert.

"To where the big trees grow," answered his father. "The tract your
mother is going to own is near a place called Lumberville. It is
several hundred miles north and west of Chicago. We will stop off
there, and go on later to the ranch. That is near a place called
Cowdon."

"What funny names," laughed Bert. "Lumberville and Cowdon. You would
think they were named after the trees and the cows."

"I think they were," his father said. "Out West they take names that
mean something, and Lumberville and Cowdon just describe the places
they are named after."

While Flossie and Freddie were looking from the window of the coach in
which they were riding, while Bert and Nan were telling one another
what good times they would have on the ranch and in the lumber camp,
and while Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey were discussing matters about the trip,
there came a knock on the door.

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!"



CHAPTER X

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."



CHAPTER XI

IN CHICAGO


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.



CHAPTER XII

NEARING LUMBERVILLE


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.



CHAPTER XIII

THE SAWMILL


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!"



CHAPTER XIV

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!



CHAPTER XV

BILL DAYTON


"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:

"Bill Dayton."

And his voice sounded rather strange, Mrs. Bobbsey thought.



CHAPTER XVI

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.



CHAPTER XVII

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."



CHAPTER XVIII

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."

"I shall be sorry to see you go, Mr. Weston," said the children's
mother. "Do you know where I can get another foreman?"

"Well, I'm sort of sorry to go myself, after I've seen these twins,"
replied the driver. "We don't very often see children out here. It's
too lonesome for 'em. But I just have to go. As for another foreman,
why, I guess you won't have any trouble picking one up. Any of the
cowboys will act as foreman until you get a regular one."

"I am glad to know that," said Mrs. Bobbsey.

"Is that the ranch?" asked Bert as the party of cowboys, riding around
the carriage, suddenly started off down a little hill, and Bert
pointed to several buildings clustered together at the foot of the
slope almost like the buildings at the lumber camp.

"Well, all this is Three Star ranch," answered the foreman, and he
swept his arm in a big circle across the prairie fields. "But those
are the ranch houses and corrals."

"I don't see any cows," said Nan, and this seemed to puzzle her,

"The cattle are mostly out on the different fields, or 'ranges', as we
call 'em, feeding," said Mr. Weston. "We drive them from place to
place as they eat the grass. We don't generally keep many head of
cattle right around the ranch buildings. We have a cow or two for
milk, and maybe a calf or so."

"Oh, may I have a little calf?" cried Freddie. "If I'm going to be a
cowboy I want a little calf."

"I guess we can get you one," said Mr. Weston, with a smile. "Well,
here we are," he went on, as he drove the wagon up in front of a
one-story red building, with a low, broad porch. "This is the main ranch
house where your uncle used to live part of the time, Mrs. Bobbsey,"
he said. "I think you'll find it big enough for your family. We fixed
it up as best we could when we heard you were coming."

"Oh, I'm sure you have made it just like a home!" said Mrs. Bobbsey in
delight, as she went into the house with her husband and the children.
"Oh, how lovely!"

There were some bright-colored rugs on the floor, and in vases on the
table and mantel were some prairie flowers. On the walls of the one
big room, which seemed to take up most of the house, were oddly
colored cow skins, mounted horns, and the furry pelt of some animal
that Bert thought was a wolf.

"I'm sure we shall like it here," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "I am glad we
came to Three Star ranch."

"So'm I!" said Bert.

"And can I get an Indian doll?" asked Nan.

"Well, there are a few Indians around here," said the foreman slowly.
"They come to the ranch now and then to get something to eat, or trade
a pony. I don't know that I've ever seen any of 'em with a doll,
though maybe they do have some."

"Will any Indian come soon?" Nan wanted to know.

"I hope they do--real wild ones!" cried Bert.

"We don't have that kind here," said the foreman. "All the Indians
around here are tame. And I can't say when they will come."

"Well, anyhow, there's cowboys," said Bert hopefully.

The baggage was brought in and then the foreman said to Mr. Bobbsey:

"When do you want to eat?"

"Right now!" exclaimed Bert, before any one else had a chance to
speak.

"I thought so!" laughed the foreman. "Tell Sing Foo to rustle in the
grub," he went on to one of the cowboys on the outside porch.

"Oh, do you have a Chinese laundryman for a cook?" asked Nan, as she
heard the name.

"Well, I guess Sing Foo can wash, bake, iron, mend clothes, or do
anything around the ranch except ride a cow pony or brand a steer,"
said Dick Weston. "He draws the line on that. But he surely is a good
cook with the grub," said the foreman.

"I don't want any grub," put in Freddie anxiously. "I want something
to eat."

"Excuse me, little man. I guess I oughtn't to use slang before you."
said the foreman. "When I say 'grub' I mean something to eat And here
comes Sing Foo with it now!"

As he spoke a smiling Chinese, dressed just as the Bobbsey twins had
seen them in pictures, with his shirt outside his trousers, came
shuffling along, carrying big trays from which came delicious
appetizing odors.

"Dlinna all leddy!" said Sing Foo. "All leddy numbla one top side
pletty quick."

"He means dinner is all ready and that everything is cooked just right
and in a hurry," explained the foreman. "He can't say any words well
that have the letter "r" in 'em," he went on in a whisper.

The Chinese was busy setting the table, and the Bobbseys soon sat down
to a fine meal, Dick Weston ate with them and explained things about
the ranch to Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey. The twins were too busy looking
around the room and out of the windows through which now and then they
could see some of the cowboys, to pay much attention to the talk of
the grown-ups.

As Mr. Weston had said, he was going to give up being foreman of Three
Star ranch to take charge of a place he and another man had bought. He
was only staying until Mrs. Bobbsey could come and take charge of her
property. But Mr. Weston said she would have no trouble, with her
husband and the cowboys to help her."

"But I don't know anything about cows or cowboys," said Mr. Bobbsey.
"When it comes to lumber and trees I'm all right. But I'll be of no
use here, We must get another foreman, my dear," he said to his wife.

"Yes, undoubtedly," she agreed. "Oh, look at the children," she went
on, pointing out of the window. Bert and Nan and Flossie and Freddie
had left the table after the meal, and were now out near one of the
cattle yards, or corrals, standing beside a little cart to which a
pony was hitched.

"They mustn't get into that pony cart," said Mrs. Bobbsey, for she saw
Bert lifting Freddie up into the small wagon, while Nan was doing the
same for Flossie.

"They won't hurt it, ma'am," said the foreman. "I brought that pony
cart around on purpose, so you could give it to the children. It's
been here some time, but as there weren't any children it hasn't been
used much. The boys got the cart out and mended it when they heard the
Bobbsey twins were coming."

"That is very kind of them, I'm sure," said Mr. Bobbsey. "Is the pony
safe to drive?"

"Oh, yes, your older boy or girl can manage him all right. Look,
they're all in now. We can go out and I'll tell them what to do."

But before Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey and the foreman could reach the pony
cart, in which the Bobbsey twins were now seated, something happened.
There was the report of a shot, and a moment later the pony started
off at a fast gallop, dragging the cart and the children after him.

"Oh, he's running away!" cried Mrs. Bobbsey. "Stop the runaway pony!"



CHAPTER XIX

THE WILD STEER


Ponies can not run as fast as can horses, not being as large. But the
pony drawing the small cart into which the Bobbsey twins had climbed
seemed to go very swiftly indeed. Before Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey and Dick
Weston, the foreman, could hurry outside the ranch house, the pony and
cart were quite a distance down the road which led over the prairies
to the distant cattle ranges.

"Oh, the children! What will happen to them?" cried Mrs. Bobbsey, as
she saw the twins being carried away.

"Perhaps Bert can get hold of the reins and stop the pony," said Mr.
Bobbsey, as he hurried along with his wife.

"If he can do that they'll be all right," said the foreman. "The pony
is a good one, and I never knew him to run away before. That shot must
have frightened him."

But whatever had caused the pony to run away, the little horse
certainly was going fast. Sitting in the cart, the Bobbsey twins had
been too frightened at first to know what was going on. As soon as
Bert and Nan had followed Flossie and Freddie up into the small cart
the shot had sounded and away the pony galloped, the reins almost
slipping over the dashboard.

"Oh, Bert!" cried Nan, grasping Flossie and Freddie around their
waists so the small twins would not fall out, "what shall we do?"

Bert did not answer just then. For one thing he had to hold on to the
side of the cart so he would not be jostled out. And another reason he
did not answer Nan was because he was trying to think what was the
best thing to do.

He looked ahead down the ranch road, and did not see anything into
which the pony might crash, and so hurt them all. The road was clear.
Behind him Bert could hear his mother, his father, and the foreman
shouting. Bert hoped some of the cowboys might be there also, and that
they would run after and stop the pony. But when he looked back he did
not see any of the big, jolly, rough men on their speedy little cow
ponies.

Bert saw his father and mother, and also Mr. Weston running after the
pony cart, and Bert wondered why the foreman did not get on his horse
and gallop down the road. Afterward Bert learned that the foreman had
loaned his horse to another cowboy, who had ridden on it to a distant
part of the ranch. And none of the cowboys was near by when the pony
ran away.

"Oh, Bert! what will happen?" asked Nan, still holding Flossie and
Freddie to keep them from falling out of the swaying cart. "What are
we going to do?"

"I'm going to try to stop this pony!" answered Bert. He saw where the
reins had nearly slipped over the dashboard. The reins were buckled
together, and the loop had caught on one of the ends of the
nickle-plated rail on top of the dashboard. Bert leaned forward to get
hold of the reins, so he might bring the pony to a stop, but the little
horse gave a sudden jump just then, as a bird flew in front of him.
The reins slipped down and dragged along the ground. Bert could not
reach them, and the pony seemed to go faster than ever.

"Oh, dear!" cried Nan. "We'll all be hurt!"

Flossie and Freddie were very much frightened, and clung closely to
Sister Nan.

But presently Freddie plucked up courage and then grew excited, and
after a minute or two he called out:

"We're havin' a fast ride, we are!"

"Too fast!" exclaimed Bert. "But maybe he'll get tired pretty soon and
stop!"

However, the pony did not seem to be going to stop very soon. On and
on he ran, with Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey and the ranch foreman being left
farther and farther behind.

Suddenly, along a side path that joined the main road on which the
pony was running away, appeared the figure of a man on a horse. He was
trotting along slowly, at first, but as soon as he caught sight of the
pony cart and the children in it, this man made his horse go much
faster.

"Sit still! Sit still! I'll stop your pony for you!" called the man.

Bert and Nan heard. They looked up and saw the stranger waving his
hand to them. He was guiding his galloping horse so as to cut across
in front of their trotting pony.

In a few moments the man on the big horse was closer. Then began a
race between the horse and the pony, and because the horse was bigger
and had longer legs it won. The man galloped up beside the pony cart,
leaped down from his saddle and caught the pony by the bridle. It was
easy for the man to halt the little horse, and bring the pony to a
stop.

"There you are, children!" said the man. "Not hurt, I hope?"

"No, sir," answered Bert. "We're all right."

"Thank you," added Nan, for she noticed that Bert was forgetting this
very important part.

"Oh, yes. Thank you!" said Bert.

"You are quite welcome," the man said, "But you shouldn't try to make
your pony go so fast."

"We didn't make him go fast," replied Bert "We'd just got in the cart,
to see if we would all fit, and somebody shot a gun and the pony ran
away."

"Did he run far?" asked the man.

"Yes, he gave us a long ride," answered Freddie.

"Oh, it wasn't so very far," added Nan. "Though it seemed like a good
way because we went so fast."

"We're from Three Star ranch," explained Bert.

"Oh, so you live on a ranch," said the man. "Well, I'm looking for a
ranch myself."

"We don't exactly live on a ranch," went on Bert. "But it's my
mother's, and we came out West to see it. Before that we were at a
lumber camp."

"My! you are doing some traveling," exclaimed the man, who was rubbing
the velvet nose of the pony. "Are these some of your friends coming?"
he asked, looking down the road.

The Bobbsey twins turned and looked, and saw their father and mother
and the foreman hurrying along. When the father and mother saw that
the pony had been stopped and that the children were safe, they were
no longer frightened.

"He stopped the pony for us," explained Bert, pointing to the stranger
who had mounted his horse as Mr. Weston took hold of the pony's
bridle, so it would not try to run away again.

"You appeared just in time," said Mr. Bobbsey to the strange man. "The
children might have been hurt, only for you."

"Well, I'm glad I could stop the runaway," was the answer. "They said
they lived on a ranch around here."

"Yes, the Three Star," said Mr. Weston. "You look like a cattleman
yourself," he added.

"I am," said the man. "My name is Charles Dayton, and I am looking for
a place to work. I was foreman at the Bar X ranch until that outfit
was sold. I've been looking for a place ever since."

"The Bar X!" cried Mr. Weston. "I know some of the cowboys over there.
And so you are looking for a place as foreman. Why, this is strange.
Mrs. Bobbsey here, the owner of Three Star, is looking for a foreman.
I'm going to leave."

"Well, I would be very glad to work for Mrs. Bobbsey at Three Star,"
said Mr. Dayton.

"Are you any relation to a Bill Dayton?" asked Mr. Bobbsey, while Bert
and Nan listened for the answer. Flossie and Freddie were out of the
cart now, gathering prairie flowers, and did not pay much attention to
the talk.

"Bill Dayton is my brother," answered Charles Dayton. "But I did not
know he was around here. The last I heard of him he was in the lumber
business."

"And he is yet!" exclaimed Mrs. Bobbsey. "He is foreman of a lumber
tract my uncle left me."

"And if you are as good a cattleman as your brother is a lumberman I
think we can find a place for you at Three Star," said Mr. Bobbsey.

"I can tell you Mr. Dayton is a good cattleman," said Mr. Weston. "He
had to be, to act as foreman at Bar X ranch. You won't make any
mistake in hiring him."

"Will you come to us?" asked Mr. Bobbsey who seemed to have taken as
much of a liking to the newcomer as had the children.

"Well, I'm looking for a place," was the answer, "and I'll do my best
to suit you. It's queer, though, that you know my brother Bill."

"He mentioned you," said Mr. Bobbsey, "but he said he had lost track
of you."

"Yes, we don't write to each other very often. Both of us have been
traveling around a lot. But now, if I settle down, I'll send Bill a
letter and tell him where I am."

There was room for Mrs. Bobbsey in the pony cart, and she rode back
with the children. There seemed to be no danger now, for the little
horse had quieted down.

"He hadn't been out of the stable for some time, and that's what made
him so frisky," said the foreman, who was soon going to leave Three
Star. "He won't run away again."

And Toby, which was the name of the pony, never did. Bert and Nan
drove him often after that, and there never was a bit of trouble. Even
Freddie and Flossie were allowed to drive, when Bert or Nan sat on the
seat near them, in case of accident.

Mr. Charles Dayton soon proved that he was a good cattleman, and he
was made foreman of Three Star ranch after Dick Weston left. The
cowboys seemed to like their new foreman.

"And, now that you are one of us here," said Mrs. Bobbsey to her new
foreman, "don't forget to write and let your brother know where you
are."

"I'll do that!" promised the cattleman.

Busy and happy days on the ranch followed. While Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey
looked after the new business of raising and selling cattle, the
Bobbsey twins had good times. The new foreman and the cowboys were
very fond of the children, and were with them as much as they could be
during the day. They took them on little picnics and excursions, and
two small ponies were trained so Bert and Nan could ride them. As for
Flossie and Freddie, they had to ride in the cart. Freddie wanted to
be a cowboy, and straddle a pony as Bert did, but his mother thought
him too small. But Freddie and Flossie had good times in the cart, so
they did not miss saddle rides.

Bert and Nan were very fond of their ponies. The little horses soon
grew very tame and gentle, though Bert and his sister did not go very
far away from the main buildings unless some of the cowboys were with
them.

One afternoon, when they had been on the ranch about a month, and were
liking it more and more every day, Bert and Nan asked their mother if
they could ride on their ponies across the fields to gather a new kind
of wild flower a cowboy had told them about.

"Yes, you may go," Mrs. Bobbsey said. "But be careful, and do not ride
too far. Be home in time for supper."

"We will," promised Bert.

He and Nan set off. It was pleasant riding over the green prairie. Now
and then the children saw little prairie dogs scurrying in and out of
their burrows. And once they saw a rattlesnake. But the serpent
crawled quickly out of the way, and Bert and Nan did not stop to see
where it went. They hurried on.

They reached the little hollow in the hills where the red flowers
grew, and, getting out of their saddles, began to pick some.

"They'll make a lovely bouquet for the living room," said Nan.

"Yes, but I guess we have enough," said Bert, "I don't want to stay
here too long. Mr. Dayton promised to show me how to throw a lasso
to-day, and I've got to learn; that is, if I'm going to be a cowboy."

"All right," agreed Nan. "We'll get in a minute. I want to get just a
few more flowers." She was gathering another handful of the red
blossoms when suddenly she looked up, and something she saw on top of
a little hill caused her to cry:

"Oh, Bert, look! Look! What's that?"

Bert glanced up. He saw a wild steer looking at him and his sister.
The big animal was lashing his tail from side to side and pawing the
earth with one hoof. Suddenly it gave a loud bellow and rushed down
the slope.



CHAPTER XX

THE ROUND-UP


Bert and Nan were really too frightened to know what to do. If they
had been more used to the ways of the West, and had known more about
cattle and ranches, they would have at once run for their ponies and
have got on the backs of the little animals. Cattle in the West are so
used to seeing men on horse back that sometimes if they see them on
foot on the wide prairie, the cattle chase the men, thinking they are
a strange enemy.

Perhaps it was this way with the wild steer. At any rate, seeing Bert
and Nan gathering flowers down in the hollow of the hills, the steer,
with loud bellows, started down toward them. The two ponies were
eating grass near by, and Bert and Nan could easily have reached their
pets if they had thought of it.

But they were so frightened that they could not think. As for the
ponies, those little horses merely looked up. They saw the steer, but,
as they saw such animals every day, the ponies were not at all
interested.

"Oh, Bert," cried Nan, "what shall we do?"

She had dropped her flowers and was running toward her brother.

"You get behind me!" cried Bert. "Maybe I can throw a stone at this
steer!"

He, too, had dropped the red blossoms he had gathered, and was looking
about for a stone. But he could not see any, and the wild steer was
coming on down the slope. I do not mean that the steer was wild, like
a wild lion or tiger, but that he was just excited by seeing two
children off their ponies. If Bert and Nan had been in the saddles
perhaps the steer never would have chased them.

But now with tail flapping in the air, and with angry shakes of his
head, he was running toward them. Nan got behind her brother, and Bert
stood ready to do what he could. The children did not realize how much
danger they were in and they might have been hurt but for something
that happened.

At first neither Bert nor Nan knew what this happening was. One moment
they saw the wild steer racing toward them, and the next minute they
saw the big animal, larger than a cow, tumbling down the hill head
over heels. The steer seemed to have fallen, and a look toward the
crest of the hill showed what had made him. For up at the top of the
slope, sitting on his big horse, was the new foreman, Charley Dayton,
and from his saddle horn a rope stretched out. The other end of the
rope was around the steer's neck, and it was a pull on this rope that
had caused the big beast to turn a somersault.

"Oh, he lassoed the steer! He lassoed him!" cried Bert, as he saw what
had happened.

And that is just what the foreman had done. He had been out riding
over the ranch, and had seen the lone steer on top of the hill which
he knew led down into a hollow filled with red flowers.

"At first," said Mr. Dayton to Nan and Bert, telling them the story
afterward, "I couldn't imagine why the steer was acting so queerly. I
thought may be he didn't like the red flowers, so I rode up to see
what the matter was. Then I saw you children down in the hollow and
saw the steer rushing at you.

"There was only one thing I could do, and I did it. I didn't even stop
to shout to you Bobbsey twins!" said the foreman. "I just swung my
lasso and caught the steer before he caught you."

"You made him turn a somersault, didn't you?" said Nan, as she and
Bert looked at the big beast which was now lying on the ground.

"Well, he sort of made himself do it," answered the foreman, with a
laugh. "He was going so fast, and the lasso rope on his neck made him
stop so quickly that he went head over heels. But you had better get
into your saddles now, and I'll let this fellow up."

Mr. Dayton had twisted some coils of his rope around the steer's legs
so the animal could not get up until the foreman was ready to let him.
But as soon as Bert and Nan had gathered the flowers they had dropped,
and had seated themselves in their saddles, and when the foreman had
mounted his horse, he shook loose the coils of the rope, or lasso, and
the steer scrambled to his feet.

"Will he chase us again?" asked Nan.

"No, I guess I taught him a lesson," answered Mr. Dayton.

The steer shook himself and looked at the three figures on the horse
and ponies. He did not seem to want to chase anybody now, and after a
shake or two of his head the steer walked away, up over the hill and
across the prairie, to join the rest of the herd from which he had
strayed.

"You want to be careful about getting off your ponies when you see a
lone steer," the foreman told Bert and Nan. "Some animals think a
person on foot is a new kind of creature and want to give chase right
away. On a cattle ranch keep in the saddle as much as you can when you
are among the steers."

Bert and his sister said they would do this, and then they rode home
with the red flowers. Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey thanked the foreman for
again saving the children from harm.

Mr. Charles Dayton seemed to fit in well at Three Star ranch. He was
as good a ranchman as his brother Bill was a lumberman. And, true to
the promise he had given Mrs. Bobbsey, the ranch foreman wrote to
Bill, giving the address of Three Star.

"I had a letter from Bill to-day, Mrs. Bobbsey," said the ranch
foreman to the children's mother one afternoon.

"Did you? That's good!" she answered.

"And he says he'd like to see me," went on Mr. Charles Dayton. "He
says he has something to tell me."

"Did he say what it was about?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey, while Bert and Nan
stood near by. They were waiting for the foreman to saddle the ponies
for them, as he always wanted to be sure the girths were made tight
enough before the twins set out for a ride.

"No, Bill didn't say what it was he wanted to tell me," went on
Charley. "And he writes rather queerly."

"Your brother seemed to me to be a bit odd," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "As if
he had some sort of a secret."

"Oh, well, I guess he has had his troubles, the same as I have," said
the ranch foreman.

"We were boys together, and we didn't have a very good time. I suppose
it was as much our fault as any one's. But you don't think of that at
the time. Well, I'll be glad to see Bill again, but I don't know when
we'll get together. Are you waiting for me, Bobbsey twins?" he asked.

"Yes, if you please," answered Nan.

"We'd like our ponies," added Bert, "and you promised to show me some
more how to lasso."

"And so I will!" promised the foreman. He had already given Bert a few
lessons in casting the rope. Of course Bert could not use a lasso of
the regulation size, so one of the cowboys had made him a little one.
With this Bert did very well. Freddie also had to have one, but his
was only a toy. Freddie wanted his father to call him "little cowboy"
now, instead of "little fireman," and, to please Freddie, Mr. Bobbsey
did so once in a while.

After Bert had been given a few more lessons in casting the lasso, the
two older Bobbsey twins went for a ride on their ponies, while Mrs.
Bobbsey took Flossie and Freddie for a ride in the pony cart.

It was about a week after this that the Bobbsey twins were awakened
one morning by a loud shouting outside the ranch house where they
slept.

"What's the matter? Have the Indians come?" asked Bert, for some of
the cowboys had said a few Indians from a neighboring reservation
usually dropped in for a visit about this time of year.

"No, I don't see any Indians," answered Nan, who had looked out of a
window, after hurriedly getting dressed. "But I see a lot of the
cowboys."

"Oh, maybe they're going after the Indians!" exclaimed Bert. "I'm going
to ask mother if I can go along!"

"I want to go, too, and get an Indian doll!" exclaimed Nan.

But when they went out into the main room, where their father and
mother were eating breakfast, and when the two Bobbsey twins had
begged to be allowed to go with the cowboys to see the Indians, Mr.
Bobbsey said: "This hasn't anything to do with Indians, Bert."

"What's it all about then?" asked the boy.

"It's the round-up," answered his father. "The cowboys are getting
ready for the half-yearly round-up, and that's what they're so excited
about."

"Oh, may I see the round-up?" begged Bert,

"What is it?" asked Nan. "What's a round-up?"

Before Mr. Bobbsey could answer Mr. Dayton, the foreman, came hurrying
into the room. He seemed quite excited.

"Excuse me for disturbing your breakfast," he said to Mr. and Mrs.
Bobbsey. "But I have some news for you. Some Indians have run off part
of your cattle!"



CHAPTER XXI

IN THE STORM


Bert Bobbsey did not pay much attention to what the foreman said,
except that one word "Indians."

"Oh, where are they?" cried the boy. "I want to see them!"

"And I'd like to see them myself!" exclaimed the foreman. "If I could
find them I'd get back the Three Star cattle."

"Did Indians really take some of the steers?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey.

"Yes," answered the foreman, "they did. You know we are getting ready
for the round-up. That is a time, twice a year, when we count the
cattle, and sell what we don't want to keep," he explained, for he saw
that Nan wanted to ask a question.

"Twice a year," went on the foreman, "once in the spring and again in
the fall, we have what is called a round-up. That is we gather
together all the cattle on the different parts of the ranch. Some
herds have been left to themselves for a long time, and it may happen
that cattle belonging to some other ranch-owner have got in with ours.
We separate, or 'cut out' as it is called, the strange cattle, give
them to the cowboys who come for them, and look after our own. That is
a round-up, and sometimes it lasts for a week or more. The cowboys
take a 'chuck', or kitchen wagon with them, and they cook their meals
out on the prairie."

"Oh, that's fun!" cried Bert. "Please, Daddy, mayn't I go on the
round-up?"

"And have the Indians catch you?" asked his mother.

"Oh, there isn't any real danger from the Indians," said the foreman.
"They are not the wild kind. Only, now and again, they run off a bunch
of cattle from some herd that is far off from the main ranch. This is
what has happened here."

"How did you find out about it?" asked Mr. Bobbsey.

"A cowboy from another ranch told me," answered the foreman. "Some of
his cattle were taken and he followed along the trail the Indians
left. He saw them, but could not catch them. But he saw some of the
cattle that had strayed away from the band of Indians, and these
steers were branded with our mark--the three stars."

"Well, maybe the poor Indians were hungry," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "And
that is why they took some of our steers."

"Yes, I reckon that's what they'd say, anyhow," remarked the foreman.
"But it won't do to let the redmen take cattle any time they feel like
it. They have money, and can buy what they want. I wouldn't mind
giving them a beef or two, but when it comes to taking part of a herd,
it must be stopped."

"How can it be stopped?" asked Mr. Bobbsey.

"That's just what I came in to talk to you about," went on Mr. Dayton.
"Shall I send some of the cowboys after the Indians to see if they can
catch them, and get back our cattle?"

"I suppose you had better," Mr. Bobbsey answered. "If we let this pass
the Indians will think we do not care, and will take more steers next
time. Yes, send the cowboys after the Indians."

"But let the Indians have a steer or two for food, if they need it,"
begged Mrs. Bobbsey, who had a kind heart even toward an Indian cattle
thief, or "rustler", as they are called.

"Well, that can be done," agreed Mr. Dayton. "Then I'll send some of
the cowboys on the round-up, and others after the Indians. They can
work together, the two bands of cowboys."

"Oh, mayn't I come?" begged Bert. "I can throw a lasso pretty good
now, and maybe I could rope an Indian."

"And maybe you could get me an Indian doll!" put in Nan.

"Oh, no! We couldn't think of letting you go, Bert," said Mr. Bobbsey.
"The cowboys will be gone several nights, and will sleep out on the
open prairie. When you get bigger you may go."

Bert looked so disappointed that the foreman said:

"I'll tell you what we can do. Toward the end of the round-up the boys
drive the cattle into the corrals not far from here. The children can
go over then and see how the cowboys cut out different steers, and how
we send some of the cattle over to the railroad to be shipped back
east. That will be seeing part of the round-up, anyhow."

And with this Bert had to be content. He and Nan, with Flossie and
Freddie, watched the cowboys riding away on their ponies, shouting,
laughing, waving their hats and firing their revolvers.

While the round-up was hard work for the cowboys, still they had
exciting times at it and they always were glad when it came. The ranch
seemed lonesome after the band of cowboys had ridden away, but Sing
Foo, the Chinese cook, was left, and one or two of the older men to
look after things around the buildings. Mr. Dayton also stayed to see
about matters for Mrs. Bobbsey.

It was well on toward fall now, though the weather was still warm. The
days spent by the Bobbsey twins in the great West had passed so
quickly that the children could hardly believe it was almost time for
them to go back to Lakeport.

"Can't we stay here all winter?" asked Bert. "If I'm going to be a
cowboy I'd better stay on a ranch all winter."

"Oh, the winters here are very cold," his father said. "We had better
go back to Lakeport for Christmas, anyhow," and he smiled at his wife.

"Maybe Santa Claus doesn't come out here so far," said Freddie.

"Then I don't want to stay," said Flossie. "I want to go where Santa
Claus is for Christmas."

"I think, then, we'd better plan to go back home," said Mrs. Bobbsey.

It was rather lonesome at the ranch now, with so many of the cowboys
away, but the children managed to have good times. The two smaller
twins often went riding in the pony cart, while Bert and Nan liked
saddle-riding best.

One day as Bert and his sister started off their mother said to them:
"Don't go too far now. I think there is going to be a storm."

"We won't go far!" Bert promised.

Now the two saddle ponies were feeling pretty frisky that day. They
seemed to know cold weather was coming, when they would have to trot
along at a lively pace to keep warm. And perhaps Nan and Bert,
remembering that they were soon to leave the ranch, rode farther and
faster than they meant to.

At any rate they went on and on, and pretty soon Nan said:

"We had better go back. We never came so far away before, all alone.
And I think it's going to rain!"

"Yes, it does look so," admitted Bert. "And I guess we had better go
back. I thought maybe I could see some of the cowboys coming home from
the round-up, but I guess I can't."

The children turned their ponies about, and headed them for the ranch
house. As they did so the rain drops began to fall, and they had not
ridden a half mile more before the storm suddenly broke.

"Oh, look at the rain!" cried Nan.

"And _feel_ it!" exclaimed Bert. "This is going to be a big
storm! Let's put on our ponchos."

The children carried ponchos on their saddles. A poncho is a rubber
blanket with a hole in the middle. To wear it you just put your head
through the hole, the rubber comes down over your shoulders and you
are kept quite dry, even in a hard storm.

Bert and Nan quickly put on their ponchos and then started their
ponies again. The rain was now coming down so hard that the brother
and sister could scarcely see where they were going.

"Are we headed right for the house?" asked Nan.

"I--I guess so," answered Bert. "But I'm not sure."



CHAPTER XXII

NEW NAMES


Bert and Nan rode on through the rain which seemed to come down harder
and harder. Soon it grew so dark, because it was getting to be late
afternoon and because of the rain clouds, that the children could not
see in the least where they were going.

"Oh, Bert, maybe we are lost!" said Nan, with almost a sob as she
guided her pony up beside that of her brother.

"Oh, I don't guess we are exactly _lost_," he said. "The ponies
know their way back to the ranch houses, even if we don't."

"Do you think so?" Nan asked.

"Yes, Mr. Dayton told me if ever I didn't know which way to go, just
to let the reins rest loose on the horse's neck, and he'd take me
home."

"We'll do that!" decided Nan.

But whether the ponies did not know their way, or whether the ranch
buildings were farther off than either Bert or Nan imagined, the
children did not know. All they knew was that they were out in the
rain, and they did not seem to be able to get to any shelter. There
were no trees on the prairies about Three Star ranch, as there were in
the woods at Lumberville.

"Oh, Bert, what shall we do?" cried Nan. "It's getting terribly dark
and I'm afraid!"

Bert was a little afraid also, but he was not going to let his sister
know that. He meant to be brave and look after her. They rode along a
little farther, and suddenly Nan cried:

"Oh, Bert! Look! Indians!"

Bert, who was riding along with his head bent low to keep the rain out
of his face, glanced up through the gathering dusk. He saw, just ahead
of him and coming toward him and his sister a line of men on horses.
But Bert either looked more closely than did his sister or else he
knew more about Indians. For after a second glance he cried:

"They aren't Indians! They're cowboys! Hello, there!" cried the boy.
"Will you please show us the way to the house on Three Star ranch?"

Some of the leading cowboys pulled up their horses, and stopped on
hearing this call. They peered through the rain and darkness and saw
the two children on ponies.

"Who's asking for Three Star ranch?" cried one cowboy.

"We are!" Bert answered. "We're the Bobbsey twins!"

"Oh, ho! I thought so!" came back the answer. "Well, don't worry!
We'll take you home all right!"

With that some of the cowboys (and they really were that and not
Indians) rode closer to Nan and Bert. And as soon as Bert caught a
glimpse of the faces of some of the men he cried:

"Why, you belong to Three Star!"

"Sure!" answered one, named Pete Baldwin. "We're part of the Three
Star outfit coming back from the round-up. But where are you two
youngsters going?"

"We came out for a ride," answered Bert "but it started to rain, and
we want to go home."

"Well, you won't get home the way you are going," said Pete. "You were
traveling right away from home when we met you. Turn your ponies
around, and head them the other way. We'll ride back with you."

Bert and Nan were glad enough to do this.

"It's a good thing we met you," said Bert, as he rode beside Pete
Baldwin. "And did you catch the Indians?"

"Yes, we found them, and got back your mother's cattle--all except one
or two we gave them."

"And is the round-up all over?" asked Bert.

"Yes, except for some cattle a few of the boys will drive in to-morrow
or next day," the cowboy answered. "You can see 'em then. It's a good
thing you youngsters had those rubber ponchos, or you'd be soaked
through."

The cowboys each had on one of these rubber blankets, and they did not
mind the rain. Some of them even sang as their horses plodded through
the wet.

Bert and Nan were no longer afraid, and in about half an hour they
rode with their cowboy friends into the cluster of ranch buildings.

"Oh, my poor, dear children! where have you been?" cried Mrs. Bobbsey.
"Daddy and Mr. Dayton were just going to start hunting for you! What
happened?"

"We got lost in the rain, but the cowboys found us," said Bert.

"And first I thought they were Indians," added Nan, as she shook the
water from her hair.

"Well, it's a good thing they did find you," said Mr. Bobbsey.

The two Bobbsey twins were given some warm milk to drink, and soon
they were telling Flossie and Freddie about their ride in the rain.

"I wish I could see an Indian," sighed Freddie.

"All I want now is an Indian doll," said Nan.

Two days later the cowboys came riding in with a bunch of cattle which
they had rounded-up and cut out from a larger herd. These steers were
to be shipped away, but, for a time, were kept in a corral, or
fenced-in pen, near the ranch buildings. There Bert and the other
children went to look at the big beasts, and the Bobbsey twins watched
the cowboys at work.

It was about a week after Bert and Nan had been lost in the rain that
Mrs. Bobbsey met the foreman, Charles Dayton on the porch of the ranch
house one day.

"Oh, Mr. Dayton!" called the children's mother, "I have had a letter
from your brother Bill, who has charge of my lumber tract. He is
coming on here."

"Bill is coming here?" exclaimed the cattleman in great surprise.
"Well, I'm right happy to hear that. I'll be glad to see him. Haven't
seen him for several years. Is he coming here just to see me?"

"No," answered Mrs. Bobbsey, "he is coming here to see Mr. Bobbsey and
myself about some lumber business. After we left your brother found
there were some papers I had not signed, so, instead of my going back
to Lumberville, I asked your brother to come here. I can sign the
papers here as well as there, and this will give you two brothers a
chance to meet."

"I am glad of that!" exclaimed the cattleman. "I suppose Bill and I
are going to be kept pretty busy--he among the trees and I among the
cattle--so we might not get a chance to meet for a long time, only for
this."

"That's what I thought," said Mrs. Bobbsey, while Bert and Nan
listened to the talk, "Well, your brother will be here next week."

"Oh, I'll be glad to see him!" exclaimed Bert.

"So will I!" echoed Nan. "I like our lumberman."

During the week that followed the Bobbsey twins had good times at
Three Star ranch. The weather was fine, but getting colder, and Mr.
and Mrs. Bobbsey began to think of packing to go home. They would do
this, they said, as soon as they had signed the papers Bill Dayton was
bringing to them.

And one day, when the wagon had been sent to the same station at which
the Bobbseys left the train some months before, the ranch foreman came
into the room where Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey were talking with the
children and said:

"He's here!"

"Who?" asked Bert's father.

"My brother Bill! He just arrived! My, but he has changed!"

"And I suppose he said the same thing about you," laughed Mrs.
Bobbsey.

"Yes, he did," admitted the ranch foreman. "It's been a good while
since we were boys together. Much has happened since then."

Bill Dayton came in to see Mrs. Bobbsey. The two brothers looked very
much alike when they were together, though Bill was younger. They
appeared very glad to see one another.

Bill Dayton had brought quite a bundle of papers for Mr. and Mrs.
Bobbsey to sign in connection with the timber business, and it took
two days to finish the work. During that time the Bobbsey twins had
fun in a number of ways, from riding on ponies and in the cart, to
watching the cowboys.

One day when Nan and Bert were putting their ponies in the stable
after a ride, they saw the two Dayton brothers talking together near
the barn. Without meaning to listen, the Bobbsey twins could not help
hearing what was said.

"Don't you think we ought to tell the boss?" asked the ranch foreman
of his brother, the timber foreman.

"You mean tell Mr. Bobbsey?" asked Bill Dayton.

"Yes, tell Mrs. Bobbsey--she's the boss as far as we are concerned. We
ought to tell them that our name isn't Dayton--or at least that that
isn't the only name we have. They've been so good to us that we ought
to tell them the truth," answered Charles.

"I suppose we ought," agreed Bill. "We'll do it!"

And then they walked away, not having noticed Bert or Nan.

The two Bobbsey twins looked at one another.

"I wonder what they meant?" asked Nan.

"I don't know," answered her brother. "We'd better tell daddy or
mother."

A little later that day Bert spoke to his father, asking:

"Daddy, can a man have two names?"

"Two names? Yes, of course. His first name and his last name."

"No, I mean can he have two last names?" went on Bert.

"Not generally," Mr. Bobbsey said "I think it would be queer for a man
to have two last names."

"Well, the two foremen have two last names," said Bert. "Haven't they,
Nan?"

"What do you mean?" asked their father.

Then Bert and Nan told of having overheard Bill and Charles talking
about the need for telling Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey the truth about their
name.

"What do you suppose this means?" asked Mr. Bobbsey of his wife.

"I don't know," she replied. "But you remember we did think there was
something queer about Bill Dayton at the lumber camp."

"I know we did. I think I'll have a talk with the two foremen," Mr.
Bobbsey went on. "Maybe they would like to tell us something, but feel
a little nervous over it. I'll just ask them a few questions."

And later, when Mr. Bobbsey did this, speaking of what Nan and Bert
had overheard, Bill Dayton said:

"Yes, Mr. Bobbsey, we have a secret to tell you. We were going to some
time ago, but we couldn't make up our minds to it. Now we are glad Nan
and Bert heard what we said. I'm going to tell you all about it."

"You children had better run into the house," said Mr. Bobbsey to Nan
and Bert, who stood near by.

"Oh, let them stay," said the ranch foreman. "It isn't anything they
shouldn't hear, and it may be a lesson to them. To go to the very
bottom, Mr. Bobbsey, Dayton isn't our name at all."

"What is, then?" asked Mr. Bobbsey.

"Hickson," was the unexpected answer. "We are Bill and Charley
Hickson. We took the name of Dayton when we ran away from home, as
that was our mother's name before she was married. And we have been
called Bill and Charley Dayton ever since. But Hickson is our real
name."

Bert and Nan looked at one another. They felt that they were on the
edge of a strange secret.

"Bill and Charley Hickson!" exclaimed Nan.

"Oh, is your father's name Hiram?" Bert asked excitedly.

"Hiram? Of course it is!" cried Bill. "Hiram Hickson is the name of
our father!"

"Hurray!" shouted Bert.

"Oh, oh!" squealed Nan.

"Then we've found you!" yelled both together.

"Found us?" echoed Bill. "Why, we weren't lost! That is, we--" he
stopped and looked at his brother.

"There seems to be more of a mystery here," said Charley Hickson to
give him his right name. "Do you know what it is?" he asked Mr.
Bobbsey.

"Oh, let me tell him!" cried Bert

"And I want to help!" added Nan.

"We know where your father is!" went on Bert eagerly.

"His name is Hiram Hickson!" broke in Nan.

"And he works in our father's lumberyard," added Bert.

"He said he had two boys who--who went away from home," said Nan, not
liking to use the words "ran away."

"And the boys names were Charley and Bill," went on Bert. "He said he
wished he could find you, and we said, when we started away from home,
that maybe we could help. But I didn't ever think we could."

"I didn't either," said Nan.

"Well, you seem to have found us all right," said Bill Dayton Hickson,
to give him his complete name. "Of course I'm not sure this Hiram
Hickson who works in your lumberyard is the same Hiram Hickson who is
our father," he added to Mr. Bobbsey.

"I believe he is," answered Mr. Bobbsey. "Three such names could
hardly be alike unless the persons were the same. But I'll write to
him and find out."

"And tell him we are sorry we ran away from home," added Charles. "We
haven't had very good luck since--at least, not until we met the
Bobbsey twins," he went on. "We were two foolish boys, and we ran away
after a quarrel."

"Your father says it was largely his fault," said Mrs. Bobbsey, who
had come to join in the talk. "I think you had all better forgive each
other and start all over again," she added.

"That's what we'll do!" exclaimed Bill.

It was not long before a letter came from Mr. Hickson of Lakeport,
saying he was sure the ranch and lumber foremen were his two missing
boys. Mr. Bobbsey sent the old man money to come out to the ranch,
where Bill and his brother were still staying. And on the day when
Hiram Hickson was to arrive the Bobbsey twins were very much excited
indeed.

"Maybe, after all, these won't be his boys," said Nan.

"Oh, I guess they will," declared Bert.

And, surely enough, when Hiram Hickson met the two foremen he held out
his hands to them and cried:

"My two boys! My lost boys! Grown to be men! Oh, I'm so glad I have
found you again!"

And then the Bobbseys and the cowboys who had witnessed the happy
reunion went away and left the father and sons together.

So everything turned out as Bert and Nan hoped it would, after they
had heard the two foremen speaking of their new name. And, in a way,
the Bobbsey twins had helped bring this happy time about. If they had
not gone to the railroad accident, if they had not heard Hiram Hickson
tell about his long-missing sons, and if they had not heard the cowboy
and the lumberman talking together, perhaps the little family would
not have been so happily brought together.

Mr. Hickson and his sons told each other their stories. As the old man
had said, there had been a quarrel at home, and his two sons, then
boys, had been hot-headed and had run away. They traveled together for
a time, and then separated. They did not want to go back home.

As the years went on, the two brothers saw each other once in a while,
and then for many months they would neither see nor hear from each
other. They kept the name Dayton, which they had taken after leaving
their father. As for Mr. Hickson, at first he did not try to find his
sons, but after his anger died away he felt lonely and wanted them
back. He felt that it was because of his queerness that they had gone
away.

But, though he searched, he could not find them.

"And I might never have found you if I hadn't been in the train wreck
and met the Bobbsey twins," said Mr. Hickson. "Coming to Lakeport was
the best thing I ever did."

"How's everything back in Lakeport?" asked Bert of Mr. Hickson, after
the first greetings between father and sons were over.

"Oh, just about the same," was the answer, "We haven't had any more
train wrecks, thank goodness."

"But we were in one!" exclaimed Freddie.

"So I heard. Well, I'm glad you weren't hurt. But I must begin to
think of getting back to your lumberyard, I guess, Mr. Bobbsey."

"No, you're going to live with us," declared Charley. "Part of the
time you can spend on Three Star ranch with me, and the rest of the
time you can live with Bill in the woods."

"Well, that will suit me all right," said Mr. Hickson, and so it was
arranged. He was to spend the winter on the ranch, where he would help
his son with Mrs. Bobbsey's cattle. Bill Hickson went back to the
lumber camp, and a few days later the Bobbsey twins left for home.

Nan had her wish in getting an Indian doll. One day, just before they
were to leave the ranch, a traveling band of Indians stopped to buy
some cattle. The Indian women had papooses, and some of the Indian
children had queer dolls, made of pieces of wood with clothes of bark
and skin. Mr. Bobbsey bought four of the dolls, one each for Nan and
Flossie, and two for Nan's girl friends at home. For Bert and Freddie
were purchased some bows and arrows and some Indian moccasins, or
slippers, and head-dresses of feathers. So, after all, the Bobbsey
twins really saw some Indians.

"Good-bye, Bobbsey twins!" cried all the cowboys, and they fired their
revolvers in the air. The Bobbseys were seated in the wagon, their
baggage around them, ready to go to the station at Cowdon to take the
train for the return to Lakeport. "Come and see us again!" yelled the
cowboys.

"We will!" shouted Nan and Bert and Flossie and Freddie. They were
driven over the prairie to the railroad station, looking back now and
then to see the shouting, waving cowboys and Charles Hickson and his
father. The Bobbsey twins left happy hearts behind them.

And now, as they are on their homeward way, back to Dinah and Sam,
back to Snoop and Snap, we will take leave of the Bobbsey twins.

THE END





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