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´╗┐Title: The Bobbsey Twins at School
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 at School" ***

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[Illustration: FLOSSIE AND FREDDIE RAISED THE HOOP JUST IN TIME.]

The Bobbsey Twins at School

By LAURA LEE HOPE



CONTENTS

CHAPTER



  I.      A CIRCUS TRAIN
  II.     SNOOP Is GONE
  III.    A QUEER DOG
  IV.     HOME IN AN AUTO
  V.      SNAP DOES TRICKS
  VI.     DANNY RUGG IS MEAN
  VII.    AT SCHOOL
  VIII.   BERT SEES SOMETHING
  IX.     OFF TO THE WOODS
  X.      A SCARE
  XI.     DANNY'S TRICK
  XII.    THE CHILDREN'S PARTY
  XIII.   AN UNPLEASANT SURPRISE
  XIV.    A COAT BUTTON
  XV.     THANKSGIVING
  XVI.    MR TETLOW ASKS QUESTIONS
  XVII.   THE FIRST SNOW
  XVIII.  A NIGHT ALARM
  XIX.    WHO WAS SMOKING?
  XX.     A CONFESSION
  XXI.    THE FAT LADY'S LETTER
  XXII.   SNAP AND SNOOP



THE BOBBSEY TWINS AT SCHOOL



CHAPTER I

A CIRCUS TRAIN


"Mamma, how much longer have we got to ride?" asked Nan Bobbsey,
turning in her seat in the railroad car, to look at her parents,
who sat behind her.

"Are you getting tired?" asked Nan's brother Bert. "If you are I'll
sit next to the window, and watch the telegraph poles and trees
go by. Maybe that's what tires you, Nan," he added, and his father
smiled, for he saw that Bert had two thoughts for himself, and one
for his sister.

"No, I'm not tired of the scenery," answered the brown-haired and
brown-eyed girl, "but you may sit next the window, Bert, if you
like."

"Thanks!" he exclaimed as he scrambled over to the place his sister
gave up.

"Are you tired, dearie?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey,  leaning forward and
smoothing out her daughter's hair with her hand. "If you would like
to sit with me and put your head in my lap, papa can go to another
seat and--"

"Oh, no, mamma, I'm not as tired as that," and Nan laughed. "I was
just wondering how soon we'd be home."

"I'd rather be back at the seashore," said Bert, not turning his
gaze from the window, for the train was passing along some fields
just then, and in one a boy was driving home some cows to be
milked, as evening was coming on Bert was wondering if one of the
cows might not chase the boy. Bert didn't really want to see the
boy hurt by a cow, of course, but he thought that if the cow was
going to take after the boy, anyhow, he might just as well see it.
But the cows were very well-behaved, and went along slowly.

"Yes, the seashore was nice," murmured Nan, as she leaned her head
back on the cushioned seat, "but I'm glad to be going home again.
I want to see some of the girls,  and--"

"Yes, and I'll be looking for some of the boys, too," put in Bert.
"But school will soon begin, and that's no fun!"

Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey smiled at each other, and Mr. Bobbsey, taking
out a time-table, looked to see how much longer they would be on
the train.

"It's about an hour yet," he said to Nan, and she sighed. Really
she was more tired than she cared to let her mother know.

Just ahead of the two Bobbsey children were another set of them.
I say "set" for the Bobbsey children came "in sets."

There were two pairs of twins, Bert and Nan, nearly nine years of
age, and Flossie and Freddie, almost five. And, whereas the two
older children were rather tall and slim, with dark brown hair and
eyes, the littler twins were short and fat, and had light hair and
blue eyes. The two pairs of twins were quite a contrast, and many
persons stopped to look at them as they passed along the street
together.


"No, sir," went on Bert musingly, "school's no fun, and it starts
about a week  after we get home. No chance to have a good time!"

"We've had fun all summer," replied his sister. "I rather like
school."

"Mamma, are we going to school this year?" asked Flossie, as she
looked back with a quick turning of her head that set her yellow
curls to dancing.

"If we are, I'm going to sit with Flossie--can't I?" asked Freddie,
kneeling in the seat so that he could face back to his father and
mother.

Indeed his request was not strange, since the two younger twins
were always together, even more so than their brother and sister.

"Yes, I think you and Freddie will start school regularly this
term," said Mrs. Bobbsey, "and, if it can be arranged, you may sit
together. We'll see about that. Be careful Freddie, don't put your
head out of the window," she cautioned quickly, for the little
chap had turned in his seat again, and was leaning forward to see
a horse galloping about a field, kicking up its heels at the sound
of the puffing engine.

"It's my turn to sit by the window, anyhow," said Flossie.

"It is not! We haven't passed a station yet," disputed Freddie.

"Oh, we have so!" cried his little sister.  "Freddie Bobbsey!" and
she pointed her finger at him.

"Children--children," said Mrs. Bobbsey reprovingly.

"Are you two taking turns?" asked Bert, smiling with an older
brother's superior wisdom.

"Yes," answered Flossie, "he was to have the seat next to the window
until we came to a station, and then it's to be my turn until we
pass another station, and we have passed one, but he won't change
over."

"Well, it was only a little station, anyhow," asserted Freddie,
"and it come awful quick after the last one. It isn't fair!"

"There's a seat up ahead for you, Bert," suggested Mr. Bobbsey, as
a gentleman got up, when the train approached a station. "You can
sit there, and let Flossie or Freddie take your place."

"All right," answered Bert good-naturedly, as he got up.

The train rolled on, the two younger twins each having a window
now, and Nan occupying  the seat with her little brother. For a
time there was quietness, until Mrs. Bobbsey said to her husband:

"Hadn't you better get some of the satchels together, Richard, and
tell Dinah what she is to carry?"

"I think I will," he answered, as he went up the car aisle a
little way to where a very fat colored woman sat. She was Dinah,
the Bobbsey cook, and they took her with them always when going away
for the summer.  Now they were on their way to their city house,
and of course Dinah came back, too.

"Mamma, I'm thirsty," said Flossie, after a bit. "Please may I get
a drink?"

"I want one, too," said Freddie quickly, "Come on, Flossie, we'll
both go down to the end of the car where the water cooler is."

"There's no cup," Nan said. "I went a little while ago, but a lady
let me take her glass."

"And if there was a cup, I would rather they didn't use it," said
Mrs. Bobbsey. "One never knows who has last handled a public cup."

"But I want a drink," insisted Flossie, a bit fretfully, for she
was tired from the long journey.

"I know it, dear," said her mamma gently, "and I'm getting out the
silver cup for you.  Only you must be very careful of it, and not
drop it, for it is solid silver and will dent, or mar, easily." She
was searching in her bags and presently took out a very valuable
drinking cup, gold lined and with much engraving on it. The cup
had been presented to Flossie and Freddie on their first birthday,
and bore each of their names. They were very proud of it.

"Now be careful," warned Mrs. Bobbsey, as she held out the cup.
"Hold on to the seats as you walk along."

"I'll carry the cup," said Freddie. "I'm the biggest."

"You are not!" declared his sister quickly.  "I'm just as big."

"Well, anyhow, I'm a boy," went on Freddie,  and Flossie could not
deny this. "And boys always carries things," her brother went on.
"I'll carry the cup."

"Very well, but be careful of it," said his mother with a smile,
as she handed it to him.  The two children went down the aisle of
the car. They stopped for a moment at the seat where Dinah was.

"Is Snoop all right?" asked Freddie, peering  into a box that was
made of slats, with spaces between them for air.

"'Deed an' he am, honey," said Dinah with a smile, laughing so that
she shook all over her big, fleshy body.

"I 'spect he's lonesome; aren't you, Snoop?" asked Flossie, poking
her finger in one of the cracks, to caress, as well as she could,
a fat, black cat. The cat, like Dinah the cook, went with the
Bobbseys on all their summer outings.

"Well, maybe he am lonesome," admitted Dinah, with another laugh,
"but he's been real good. He hain't yowled once--not once!"

"He'll soon be out of his cage; won't you,  snoop?" said Freddie,
and then he and his sister went on to the water cooler Near by they
saw something else to look at This was the sight of a very, very
fat lady who occupied nearly all of one seat in the end of the car.
She was so large that only a very little baby could have found room
beside her.

"Look--look at her." whispered Flossie to Freddie, as they paused.
The fat woman's back was toward them, and she seemed to be much
interested in looking out of the window.

"She is fat," admitted Freddie. "Did you ever see one so big before?"

"Only in a circus," said Flossie "She'd make--make two of Dinah,"
went on her brother.

"She would not," contradicted Flossie quickly. "Cause Dinah's black,
and this lady is white."

"That's so," admitted Freddie, with a smile. "I didn't think of
that."

A sway of the train nearly made Flossie fall, and she caught quickly
at her brother.

"Look out!" he cried. "You 'most knocked the cup down."

"I didn't mean to," spoke Flossie. "Oh, there goes my hat! Get it,
Freddie, before someone steps on it!"

Her brother managed to get the hat just as it was sliding under
the seat where the fat lady sat.

After some confusion the hat was placed on Flossie's head, and once
more she and her brother moved on toward the water cooler.  It was
getting dusk now, and some of the lamps in the car had been lighted.

Freddie, carrying the cup, filled it with water at the little faucet,
and, very politely, offered it to his sister first. Freddie was no
better than most boys of his age, but he did not forget some of the
little polite ways his mamma was continually teaching him. One of
these was "ladies first," though Freddie did not always carry it
out, especially when he was in a hurry.

"Do you want any more?" he asked, before he would get himself a
drink.

"Just a little," said Flossie. "The silver cup doesn't hold much."

"No, I guess it's 'cause there's so much   silver in it," replied
her brother. "It's worth a lot of money, mamma said."

"Yes, and it's all ours. When I grow up I'm going to have my half
made into a bracelet."

"You are?" said Freddie slowly. "If you do there won't be enough
left for me to drink out of."

"Well, you can have your share of it made into a watch, and drink
out of a glass."

"That's so," agreed Freddie, his face brightening. He gave his sister
more water, and then took some himself. As he drank his eyes were
constantly looking at the very fat lady who filled so much of her
seat. She turned from the window and looked at the two children,
smiling broadly. Freddie was somewhat confused, and looked down
quickly.  Just then the train gave another lurch and Freddie suddenly
spilled some of the water on his coat.

"Oh, look what you did!" cried Flossie "And that's your best coat!"

"I--I couldn't help it," stammered Freddie.

"Never mind, little boy," said the fat lady.  "It's only clean water.
Come here and I'll wipe it off with my handkerchief. I'd come to
you, only I'm so stout it's hard enough for me to walk anyhow, and
when the train is moving I simply can't do it."

Freddie and Flossie went to her seat, and with a handkerchief, that
Flossie said afterward was almost as big as a table cloth, the fat
lady wiped the water off Freddie's coat.

The little boy held the silver cup in his hand, and feeling, somehow,
that he ought to repay the fat lady's kindness in some way after
thanking her, he asked:

"Would you like a drink of water? I can bring it to you if you
would."

"Thank you," she answered. "What a kind little boy you are! I saw
you give your sister a drink first, too. Yes, I would like a drink.
I've been wanting one some time, but I didn't dare get up to go
after it."

"I'll get it!" cried Freddie, eager to show what a little man
he was. He made his way to the cooler without accident, and then,
moving slowly, taking hold of the seat on the way  back, so as not
to spill the water, he brought the silver cup brimful to the fat
lady.

"Oh, what a beautiful cup," she said, as she took it.

"And it cost a lot of money, too," said Flossie. "It's ours--our
birthday cup, and when I grow up I'm going to have a bracelet made
from my half."

"That will be nice," said the fat lady, as she prepared to drink.

But she never got more than a sip of the water Freddie had so kindly
brought her, for, no sooner did her lips touch the cup than there
was a grinding, shrieking sound, a jar to the railway coach, and the
train came to such a sudden stop that many passengers were thrown
from their seats.

Flossie and Freddie sat down suddenly in the aisle, but they were
so fat that they did not mind it in the least. As surprised as he
was, Freddie noticed that the fat lady was so large that she could
not be thrown out of her seat no matter how suddenly the train
stopped The little Bobbsey boy saw the water from the cup spill
all over the fat lady, and she held the  silver vessel in her big,
pudgy hand, looking curiously at it, as though wondering what had
so quickly become of the water.

"It's a wreck--the train's off the track!" a man exclaimed.

"We've hit something!" cried another.

"It's an accident, anyhow," said still a third, and then every one
seemed to be talking at once.

Mr. Bobbsey came running down the aisle to where Flossie and Freddie
still sat, dazed.

"Are you hurt?" he cried, picking them both up together, which was
rather hard to do.

"No--no," said Freddie slowly.

"Oh, papa, what is it?" asked Flossie, wondering whether she was
going to cry.

"I don't know, my dear. Nothing serious, I guess. The engineer must
have put the brakes on too quickly. I'll look out and see."

Knowing that his children were safe, Mr.  Bobbsey put them down
and led them back to where his wife was anxiously waiting.

"They're all right," he called. "No one seems to be hurt."

Bert Bobbsey looked out of the window.  Though darkness had fallen
there seemed to be many lights up ahead of the stopped train.  And
in the light Bert could see some camels, an elephant or two, a
number of horses, and cages containing lions and tigers strung out
along the track.

"Why--why, what's this--a circus?" he asked. "Look, Nan! See those
monkeys!"

"Why, it is a circus--and the train must have been wrecked!"
exclaimed his sister.  "Oh mamma, what can it be?"

A brakeman came into the car where the Bobbseys were.

"There's no danger," he said. "Please keep your seats. A circus
train that was running ahead of us got off the track, and some of
the animals are loose. Our train nearly ran into an elephant, and
that's why the engineer had to stop so suddenly. We will go on
soon."

"A circus; eh?" said Mr. Bobbsey. "Well, well! This is an adventure,
children. We've run into a circus train! Let's watch them catch
the animals."



CHAPTER II

SNOOP IS GONE


"Papa, do you think a tiger would come in here?" asked Freddie,
remembering all the stories of wild animals he had heard in his
four years.

"Or a lion?" asked Flossie.

"Of course not!" exclaimed Nan. "Can't you see that all the wild
animals are still in their cages?"

"Maybe some of 'em are loose," suggested Freddie, and he almost
hoped so, as long as his father was there to protect him.

"I guess the circus men can look after them," said Bert. "May I
get off, father, and look around?"

"I'd rather you wouldn't, son. You can't tell what may happen."

"Oh, look at that man after the monkey!" cried Nan.

"Yes, and the monkey's gone up on top of the tiger's cage," added
Bert. "Say, this is  as good as a circus, anyhow!"

Some of the big, flaring lights, used in the tents at night, had
been set going so the circus and railroad men could see to work,
and this glare gave the Bobbseys and other passengers on the train
a chance to see what was going on.

"There's a big elephant!" cried Freddie.  "See him push the lion's
cage around. Elephants are awful strong!"

"They couldn't push a railroad train," said Flossie.

"They could too!" cried her little brother, quickly.

"They could not. Could they, papa?"

"What?" asked Mr. Bobbsey, absent-mindedly.

"Could an elephant push a railroad train?" asked Flossie.

"I know they could," declared Freddie. "Couldn't they, papa?"

"Now, children, don't argue. Look out of the windows," advised
their mother.

And while the circus men are trying to catch the escaped animals
I will tell you something  more about the Bobbseys, and about the
other books, before this one, relating to their doings.

Mr. Richard Bobbsey, and his wife Mary, the parents of the Bobbsey
twins, lived in an Eastern city called Lakeport, on Lake Metoka.
Mr. Bobbsey was in the lumber business, and  the yard, with its
great piles of logs and boards, was near the lake, on which the
twins often went in boats. There was also a river running into the
lake, not far from the saw mill.

Their house was about a quarter of a mile away from the lumber yard,
on a fashionable street, and about it was a large lawn, while in
the back Sam Johnson, the colored man of all work, and the husband
of Dinah, had a fine garden. The Bobbseys had many vegetables from
this garden.

There was also a barn near the house, and in this the children had
many good times.  Flossie and Freddie played there more than did
Nan and Bert, who were growing too old for games of that sort.

As I have said, Bert and Nan were rather tall and thin, while
Flossie and Freddie were short and fat. Mr. Bobbsey used often
to call Flossie his "Fat Fairy," which always made her laugh. And
Freddie had a pet name, too.  It was "Fat Fireman," for he often
played that he was a fireman; putting out make-believe fires, and
pretending he was a fire engine.  Once or twice his father had
taken him to see a real fire, and this pleased Freddie very much.

In the first book of this series, called "The Bobbsey Twins," I
told you something of the fun the four children had in their home
town.  They had troubles, too, and Danny Rugg, one of the few bad
boys in Lakeport, was the cause of some. Also about a certain broken
window; what happened when the twins went coasting, how they had
a good time, in an ice boat, and how they did many other things.

Snoop, the fat, black kitten, played a part in the story also. The
Bobbsey twins were very fond of Snoop, and had kept him so many
years that I suppose he ought to be called a cat, instead of a
kitten, now.

After the first winter's fun, told of in the book that began an
account of the doings of the Bobbseys, the twins and their parents
went to the home of Uncle Daniel Bobbsey, and his wife, Aunt Sarah,
in Meadow Brook.

In the book called "The Bobbsey Twins in the Country," I wrote down
many of the things that happened during the summer.

If they had fun going off to the country, taking Snoop with them,
of course, they had many more good times on arriving at the farm.
There was a picnic, jolly times in the woods, a Fourth of July
celebration, and though a midnight scare alarmed them for a time,
still they did not mind that.

But, though the twins liked the country very much, they soon had
a chance to see something  of the ocean, and in the third book of
the series, called "The Bobbsey Twins at the Seashore," my readers
will find out what happened there.

There was fun on the sand, and more fun in the water, and once
the little ones got lost an an island. A great storm came up, and
a ship was wrecked, and this gave the twins a chance to see the
life savers, those brave men who risk their lives to help others.

Then came closing days at Ocean Cliff, the home of Uncle William
and Aunt Emily Minturn at Sunset Beach. School was soon to open,
and Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey were anxious to get back to their town
home, for Flossie and Freddie were to start regular lessons now,
even though it was but in the kindergarten  class.

Sa good-byes were said to the ocean, and though Dorothy Minturn cried
a little when her cousins Nan and Flossie, and Bert and Freddie,
had to leave, still she said she hoped they would come again. And
so the Bobbseys were on their way home in the train when the circus
accident happened that brought them to a stop.

"And so we nearly ran into an elephant; eh?" said Mr. Bobbsey to
the brakeman, who had brought in the news.

"Yes, sir. Our engineer stopped just in time."

"If we had hit him we'd gone off the  track," said Freddie.

"No, we wouldn't," declared Flossie, who seemed bound to start a
dispute. Perhaps she was so tired that she was fretful.

"Say, can't you two stop disputing all the while?" asked Bert, in
a low voice. "You make papa and mamma nervous."

"Well, an elephant is big, anyhow," said Freddie.

"So he is, little Fat Fireman," said Nan, "Come and sit with me,
and we can see the men catch the monkeys."

The work of getting the escaped animals back into their cages was
going on rapidly.  Some of the passengers went out to watch, but
the Bobbseys stayed in their seats, Mr. Bobbsey thinking this best.
The catching of the monkeys was the hardest work, but soon even
this was accomplished.

The wait seemed very tiresome when there was nothing more to watch,
and Mr. Bobbsey looked about for some railroad man of whom he could
inquire how much longer delay there would be. The conductor came
through the car.

"When will we start?" asked Mr. Bobbsey.

"Not for some time, I'm afraid," spoke the ticket-taker. "The wreck
is a worse one than I thought at first, and some of the cars of
the circus train are across the track so we can't get by. We may
be here two hours yet."

"That's too bad. Where are we?"

"Just outside of Whitewood."

"Oh, that's near home!" exclaimed Mrs.  Bobbsey. "Why can't we get
out, Richard, walk across the fields to the trolley line, and take
that home? It won't be far, and we'll be there ever so much quicker."

"Well, we could do that, I suppose," said her husband, slowly.

"That's what a number of passengers did," said the conductor.
"There's no danger in going out now--all the animals are back in
their cages."

"Then that's what we'll do, children," said their father. "Gather
up your things, and we'll take the trolley home. The moon is coming
up,  and it will soon be light."

"I'm hungry," said Freddie, fretfully.

"So am I," added his twin sister.

"Well, I have some crackers and cookie in  my bag," replied Mrs.
Bobbsey. "You can eat those on the way. Nan, go tell Dinah that
we're going to take a trolley. We can each carry something."

"I'll carry Snoop," exclaimed Freddie. He hurried down the aisle to
where the cook was now standing, intending to get the box containing
his pet cat "Where's Snoop, Dinah?" he asked.

"Heah he am!" she said, lifting up the slat-box. "He ain't made a
sound in all dis confusion, nuther."

The next moment Freddie gave a cry of dismay:

"Snoop's gone!" he wailed. "He broke open the box and he's gone!
Oh, where is Snoop?"

"Ma sakes alive!" cried Dinah. The box was empty!

A hurried search of the car did not bring forth the black pet. Mr.
and Mrs. Bobbsey, and some of the passengers, joined in the hunt.
But there was no Snoop, and a slat that had pulled loose from one
side of the box showed how he had gotten out.

"Most likely Snoop got frightened when the train stopped so suddenly,
and broke loose," said Mr. Bobbsey. "We may find him outside."

"I--I hope an elephant didn't step on him," said Flossie, with a
catch in her breath.

"Oh--o--o--o! Maybe a tiger or a lion has him!" wailed Freddie.
"Oh, Snoop!"

"Be quiet, dear, we'll find him for you," said Mrs. Bobbsey, as
she opened her satchel to get out some cookies. Then she remembered
something.

"Freddie, where is that silver cup?" she asked. "You had it to get
a drink. Did you give it back to me?"

"No, mamma, I--I--"

"He gave the fat lady a drink from it," spoke Flossie, "and she
didn't give it back."

"The train stopped just as she was drinking," went on Freddie. "I
sat down on the floor--hard, and I saw the water spill on her.  The
fat lady has our silver cup! Oh, dear!"

"And she's gone--and Snoop is gone!" cried Flossie. "Oh! oh!"

"Is that so--did you let her take your cup,  Freddie?" asked his
papa. Freddie only nodded.  He could not speak.

"That fat lady was with the circus," said one of the men passengers.
"Maybe you can  see her outside."

"I'll look," said Mr. Bobbsey, quickly "That cup is too valuable
to lose. Come, children, we'll see if we can't find Snoop also,
and then we'll take a trolley car for home."



CHAPTER III

A QUEER DOG


Papa Bobbsey first looked for some of the circus men of whom he
might inquire about the fat lady. There was much confusion, for
a circus wreck is about as bad a kind as can happen, and for some
time Mr. Bobbsey could find no one who could tell him what he wanted
to know.

Meanwhile Mrs. Bobbsey kept the four children and Dinah with her,
surrounding their little pile of baggage off to one side of the
tracks. Some of the big torches were still burning, and the full
moon was coming up, so that there was plenty of light, even if it
was night.

"Oh, but if we could only find Snoop!" cried Freddie. "Here, Snoop!
Snoop!" he called.

"I had much rather find the fat lady, and  get back your lovely
silver cup," said Mrs.  Bobbsey. "I hope she hasn't taken it away
with her."

"She had it in her hand when the train stopped with such a jerk,"
explained Flossie.  "Oh, but mamma, don't you want us to find
Snoop--dear Snoop?"

"Of course I do. But I want that silver cup very much, too. I hope
your father finds it."

"But there never could be another Snoop," cried Flossie. "Could
there, Freddie? And we _could_ get another silver cup."

"Don't be silly," advised Bert, rather shortly.

"Oh, don't talk that way to them," said Nan. "They do love that
cat so. Never mind, Flossie and Freddie. I'm sure we'll find him
soon. Here comes papa."

Mr. Bobbsey came back, looking somewhat worried.

"Did you find her?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey anxiously.

"No," he replied, with a shake of his head.  "She was the circus
fat lady all right. It  seems she missed the show-train, and came
on in ours. And, when we stopped she got out, and went up ahead.
Part of the circus train, carrying the performers, was not damaged
and that has gone on. The fat lady is with that, so one of the men
said."

"And, very likely, she has carried off our silver cup," exclaimed
Mrs. Bobbsey. "Oh dear! Can you find her later, Richard?"

"I think so. But it will take some time.  The circus is going to
Danville--that's a hundred miles from here. But I will write to
the managers there, and ask them to get our cup from the fat lady."

"But where is Snoop?" asked Freddie, with much anxiety.

"I don't know, my dear," answered Mr.  Bobbsey. "I asked the circus
men if they had seen him, but they were too busy to  remember. He
may be running around some where. But we can't wait any longer. We
must get home. I'll speak to one of the switchmen, who stay around
here, and if they see Snoop I'll have them keep him for us. We'll
come back to-morrow and inquire."

"But we want Snoop now!" exclaimed Freddie, fretfully.

"I'm afraid we can't get him," said Mrs.  Bobbsey, gently. "Come,
children, let's go home now, and leave it to papa. Oh, to think of
your lovely silver cup being gone!"

"Snoop is worse," said Flossie, almost crying.

"I--I'm sorry I let the fat lady take the cup," spoke Freddie.

"Oh, you meant all right, my dear," said his mamma, "and it was very
kind of you.  But we really ought to start. We may miss a trolley.
Come, Dinah, can you carry all you have?"

"'Deed an' I can, Mrs. Bobbsey. But I suah am sorry 'bout dat ar'
Snoop."

"Oh, it wasn't your fault, Dinah," said Nan quickly. "He is getting
to be such a big cat that he can easily push the slats off his box,
now. We must make it stronger next time."

Flossie and Freddie wondered if there would be a "next time," for
they feared Snoop was gone forever. They did not worry so much
about the silver cup, valuable as it was.

With everyone in the little party carrying something, the Bobbsey
family set off across the fields toward the distant trolley line
that would take them nearly home. The moon was well up now, and
there was a good path across the fields. Nan and Bert were talking
about the wreck, and recalling some of the funny incidents of
catching the circus animals.

Flossie and Freddie were wondering whether they would ever see
their pet cat again. They had had him so long that he seemed like
one of the family.

"Maybe he ran off and joined the circus," said Flossie.

"Maybe," spoke her brother. "But he can't do any tricks, so they
won't want him in a show."

"He can so do tricks! He can chase his tail and almost grab it."

"That isn't a trick."

"It is so--as much as standing on your head."

"Children--children--I don't know what  I'll do with you if you
don't stop that constant bickering," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "You must
not dispute so."

"Well, mamma, but isn't chasing your tail a trick?" asked Flossie.
"Freddie says it isn't."

"Well, it isn't a circus trick, anyhow," declared her brother. "I
meant a circus trick."

"Well, Snoop is a good cat, anyhow," went on Flossie, "and I wish
we had him back."

"Oh, so do I!" exclaimed Freddie, and thus that little dispute
ended.

They were walking along through a little patch of woods now, when
Bert, who was the last one in line, suddenly called out:

"Something is coming after us!"

"Coming after us? What do you mean?" asked Nan quickly, as she
hurried to her father's side.

"I mean I've been listening for two or three minutes now, to some
animal following after us along the path. Some big animal, too."

Flossie and Freddie both ran back and took hold of their mother's
hands.

"Don't scare the children, Bert," said Mr.  Bobbsey, a bit sternly.
"Did you really hear something?"

"Yes, father. It's some animal walking, behind us. Listen and you
can hear it yourself."

They all listened. It was very quiet. Then from down the hard dirt
path they all heard the "pit-pat, pit-pat" of the footsteps of some
animal. It was coming on slowly.

For a moment Mr. Bobbsey thought of the wild animals of the circus.
In spite of what the men had said perhaps one of the beasts might
have escaped from its cage. The others in the little party evidently
thought the same thing. Mrs. Bobbsey drew her children more closely
about her.

"'Deed an' if it's one ob dem elephants," said Dinah, "an' if he
comes fo' me I'll jab mah hat pin in his long nose--dat's what I
will!"

"It can't be an elephant," said Mr. Bobbsey.  "One of the big beasts
would make more noise than that. It may be one of the monkeys--I
don't see how they could catch  them all--they were so lively and
full of mischief."

"Oh, if it's a monkey, may we keep it?" begged Flossie. "I just
love a monkey."

"Mercy, child! What would we do with it around the house?" cried
Mrs. Bobbsey.  "Richard, can you see what it is?"

Mr. Bobbsey peered down the road.

"I can see something," he said. "It's coming nearer."

"Oh dear!" cried Nan, trembling with fear.

Just then a bark sounded--a friendly bark.

"It's a dog!" said Mrs. Bobbsey. "Oh, I'm so glad it wasn't--an
elephant," and she hugged Freddie and Flossie.

"Pooh! I wasn't afraid!" cried Freddie.  "If it had been an elephant
I--I'd give him a cookie, and maybe he'd let me ride home on his
back."

The animal barked louder now, and a moment later he came into sight
on a moonlit part of the path. The children could see that it was
a big, shaggy white dog, who wagged his tail in greeting as he
walked up to them.

"Oh, what a lovely dog!" cried Nan, "I wonder where he belongs?"

The fine animal came on. Bert snapped his fingers, boy-fashion.

Instantly the dog stood up on his hind legs and began marching
about in a circle on the path.

"Oh, what a queer dog!" cried Flossie.  "Oh I wish he was ours!"



CHAPTER IV

HOME IN AN AUTO


Down on his four legs dropped the big white dog, and with another
wag of his fluffy tail he came straight for Flossie.

"Be careful!" warned Mamma Bobbsey.

"He won't hurt her!" declared Bert.  "That's a good dog, anyone
can tell that.  Here, doggie; come here!" he called.

But the dog still advanced toward Flossie, who shrank back a bit
timidly.

"You never can tell what dogs will do," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "It is
best to be careful."

"I guess he knew what Flossie said to him," spoke up Freddie. "He
knows we like dogs."

The dog barked a little, and, coming up to where Flossie was, again
stood on his hind legs.

"That's a queer trick," said Mr. Bobbsey.  "I guess this dog has
been trained. He probably belongs around here."

"I wish he belonged to us," sighed Nan.  Like Flossie and Freddie
she, too, loved animals.

"Maybe we can keep him if we don't find Snoop," suggested Freddie.
"Oh, papa, will you get Snoop back?" and Freddie's voice sounded
as though he was going to cry.

"Yes, yes, of course I will," said Mr.  Bobbsey quickly. He did not
want the children to fret now, with still quite a distance yet to
go home, and that in a trolley car. There were bundles to carry,
weary children to look after, and Mrs. Bobbsey was rather tired
also.  No wonder Papa Bobbsey thought he had many things to do that
night.

"Come along, children," called Mrs. Bobbsey, "it is getting late,
and we are only about half way to the trolley. Oh dear! if that
circus had to be wrecked I wish it could have waited until our
train passed."

"Are you very tired?" asked her husband.  "I can take that valise."

"Indeed you'll not. You have enough."

"Lemme hab it, Massa Bobbsey," pleaded Dinah. "I ain't carryin'
half enough. I's pow'ful strong, I is."

"Nonsense, Dinah!" said Mr. Bobbsey.  "I can manage, and your arms
are full."

"I--I wish she had Snoop," said Freddie, but he was so interested
in watching the queer dog that he half forgot his sorrow over the
lost cat.

The dog seemed to have made great friends with Flossie. She was
patting him on the head now, for the animal, after marching about
on his hind legs, was down on all fours again.

"Oh, mamma, he's awful nice!" exclaimed Flossie. "He's just as
gentle, and he's soft, like the little toy lamb I used to have."

"Indeed he does seem to be a gentle dog," said Mrs. Bobbsey.
"But come along now.  Don't pet him any more, or he may follow us,
Flossie, and whoever owns him would not like it. Come on."

"Forward--march!" called Freddie, strutting along the moonlit path
as much like a soldier  as he could imitate, tired as he was.

The Bobbseys and their faithful Dinah started off again toward the
distant trolley that would take them to their home. The dog sat
down and looked after them.

"I--I wish he was ours," said Flossie wistfully, waving her hand
to the dog.

The Bobbseys had not gone on very far before Nan, looking back,
called out:

"Oh, papa, that dog is following us!"

"He is?" exclaimed Mr. Bobbsey. "That's queer. He must have taken
a sudden liking to us. But I guess he'll go back where he belongs
pretty soon. Are you getting tired, little Fat Fireman? And you,
my Fat Fairy?"

"Oh, no, papa," laughed Flossie. "I sat down so much in the train
that I'm glad to stand up now."

"So am I," said Freddie, who made up his mind that he would not
say he was tired if his little sister did not. And yet, truth to
tell, the little Fat Fireman was very weary.

On and on went the Bobbsey family, and soon Bert happened to look
back, and gave a whistle of surprise.

"That dog isn't going home, papa," he  said. "He's still after us,
and look! now he's running."

They all glanced back on hearing this.  Surely enough the big white
dog was running after them, wagging his tail joyfully, and barking
from time to time.

"This will never do!" exclaimed Mr. Bobbsey.  "Whoever owns him
may think we are trying to take him away. I'll drive him back.  Go
home! Go back, sir!" exclaimed Papa Bobbsey in stern tones.

The dog stopped wagging his tail. Then he sat down on the path,
and calmly waited. Mr.  Bobbsey walked toward him.

"Oh, don't--don't whip him, papa!" exclaimed Flossie.

"I don't intend to," said Mr. Bobbsey.  "But I must be stern with
him or he will think I'm only playing. Go back!" he cried.

The dog stretched out on the path, his head down between his fore
paws.

"He--he looks--sad," said Freddie.  "Maybe he hasn't any home,
papa."

"Oh, of course a valuable dog like that has a home," declared Bert.

"But maybe they didn't treat him kindly, and he is looking for a
new one," suggested Nan, hopefully.

"He doesn't seem ill-treated," spoke Mrs.  Bobbsey. "Oh, I do wish
he'd go back, so we could go on."

Mr. Bobbsey pretended to pick up a stone and throw it at the dog,
as masters sometimes do when they do not want their dogs to follow
them. This dog only wagged his tail, as though he thought it the
best joke he had ever known.

"Go back! Go back, I say!" cried Papa Bobbsey in a loud voice. The
dog did not move.

"I guess he won't follow us any more," went on Mr. Bobbsey. "Hurry
along now, children. We are almost at the trolley." He turned away
from the dog, who seemed to be asleep now, and the family went on.
For a minute or two, as Nan could tell by looking back, the dog
did not follow, but just as the Bobbseys were about to make a turn
in the path, up jumped the animal and came trotting on after the
children and their parents, wagging his tail so fast that it seemed
as if it would come loose.

"Is he coming?" asked Flossie.

"He certainly is," answered Bert, who was in the rear. "I guess he
wants us to take him home with us."

"Oh, let's do it!" begged Flossie.

"Please, papa," pleaded Freddie. "We haven't got Snoop now, so let
us have a dog.  And I'm sure we could teach him to do tricks--he's
so smart."

"And so he's coming after us still!"  exclaimed Mr. Bobbsey. "Well,
well, I don't know what to do," and he came to a stop on the path.

"Couldn't we take him home just for  tonight?" asked Nan, "and then
in the morning we could find out who owns him and return  him."

"Oh, please do," begged Freddie and Flossie, impulsively.

"But how can we take him on a trolley car?" asked Mr. Bobbsey. "The
conductor would not let us."

"Maybe he would--if he was a kind man," suggested Freddie. "We
could tell him how it was, and how we lost our cat--"

"And our silver cup," added Flossie.

"Well, certainly the dog doesn't seem to want to go home," said
Mr. Bobbsey, after he had tried two or three times more to drive
the animal back. But it would not go.

"Go on a little farther," suggested Mrs.  Bobbsey. "By the time we
get to the trolley he may get tired, and go back. And if we want
to lose him I think we can, by getting on the car quickly."

"But we don't want to lose him!" cried Freddie.

"No, no!" said Flossie. "We want to keep him. He can run along
behind the trolley car. I'll ask the motorman to go slow, papa."

"My! This has been a mixed-up day!" sighed Mr. Bobbsey. "I really
don't know what to do."

The dog seemed to think that he was one of the family, now. He
came up to Flossie and Freddie and let them pat him. His tail kept
wagging all the while.

"Well, we'll see what happens when we get to the trolley," decided
Mr. Bobbsey, thinking that there would be the best and only place
to get rid of the dog. "Come along, children."

Freddie and Flossie came on, the dog between them, and this seemed
to suit the fine animal. He had found friends, now, he evidently
thought. Mr. Bobbsey wondered why so valuable a dog would leave
its home. And he was very much puzzled as to what he should do if
the children insisted on keeping the animal, and if it came aboard
the trolley car.

"There's the car!" exclaimed Bert, as they went around another turn
in the path and came to a road. Down it could be seen the headlight
of an approaching trolley, and also the twin lamps of an oncoming
automobile.

"Look out for the auto, children!" cried Mrs. Bobbsey.

They stood at the side of the road, and as the auto came up the man
in it slowed down his machine. It was a big car and he was alone
in it.

"Well, I declare!" exclaimed the autoist, as his engine stopped.
"If it isn't the  Bobbsey family--twins and all! What are you doing
here, Mr. Bobbsey?"

"Why, it's Mr. Blake!" exclaimed Mr.  Bobbsey, seeing that the
autoist was a neighbor, and a business friend of his. "Oh, our train
was held back by a circus wreck, so we walked across the lots to
the car. We're homeward bound from the seashore."

"Well, well! A circus wreck, eh? Where did you get the dog?"

"Oh, he followed us," said Mrs. Bobbsey.

"And we're going to keep him, too!" exclaimed Flossie.

"And take him in the trolley with us," added her little brother.

"Well, well!" exclaimed Mr. Blake. "Say, now, I have a better plan
than that," he went on. "Why should you folks go home in a trolley,
when I have this big empty auto here?  Pile in, all of you, and
I'll get you there in a jiffy. Come, Dinah, I see you, too."

"Yes, sah, Massa Blake, I'se heah! Can't lose ole Dinah!"

"But we lost our cat, Snoop!" said Flossie, regretfully.

"And we nearly ran over an elephant," added Freddie, bound that
his sister should not tell all the news.

"Well, get in the auto," invited Mr. Blake.

"Do you really mean it?" asked Mr. Bobbsey.  "Perhaps we are keeping
you from going somewhere."

"Indeed not. Pile in, and you'll soon be home."

"Can we bring the dog, too?" asked Flossie.

"Yes, there's plenty of room for the dog," laughed Mr. Blake. "Lift
him in."

But the strange dog did not need lifting.  He sprang into the tonneau
of the auto as soon as the door was opened. Mr. and Mrs.  Bobbsey
lifted in Flossie and Freddie, and Nan and Bert followed. Then in
got Papa and Mamma Bobbsey and Mr. Blake started off.

"This is lovely," said Mrs. Bobbsey with a sigh of relief. She was
more tired than she had thought.

"It certainly is kind of you, Mr. Blake," said Papa Bobbsey.

"I'm only too glad I happened to meet you.  Are you children
comfortable?"

"Yep!" chorused Freddie and Flossie.

"And the dog?"

"We're holding him so he won't fall out," explained Flossie. She
and her little brother had the dog between them.

On went the auto, and with the telling of the adventures of the day
the journey seemed very short. Soon the Bobbsey home was reached.
There were lights in it, for Sam, the colored man, had been telephoned
to, to have the place opened for the family. Sam came out on the
stoop to greet them and his wife Dinah.

"Here we are!" cried Papa Bobbsey.  "Come, Flossie--Freddie--we're
home."

Flossie and Freddie did not answer. They were fast asleep, their
heads on the shaggy back of the big dog.



CHAPTER V

SNAP DOES TRICKS


"We'll have to carry them in," said Mr. Bobbsey, as he looked in
the rear of the auto, and saw his two little twins fast asleep on
the dog's back.

"I'll take 'em," said Sam kindly. "Many a time I'se carried 'em in
offen de porch when dey falled asleep. I'll carry 'em in."

And he did, first taking Flossie, and then Freddie. Then he and
Dinah brought in the bundles and valises, while Nan and Bert and Mr.
and Mrs. Bobbsey followed, having bidden good-night to Mr. Blake,
and thanking him for the ride.

"Where--where are we?" asked Flossie, rubbing her eyes and looking
around the room which she had not seen in some months.

"An'--an' where's our dog?" demanded Freddie.

"Oh, bless your hearts--that dog!" cried Mamma Bobbsey. "Sam took
him out in the barn. You may see him in the morning, if he doesn't
run away in the night."

The twins looked worried over this suggestion,  until Sam said:

"Oh, I locked him up good an' proper in a box stall; 'deed an' I
did, Mrs. Bobbsey. He won't get away to-night."

"That's--good," murmured Freddie, and then he fell asleep again.

Soon the little twins were undressed and put to bed. Nan and Bert
soon followed, but Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey stayed up a little later
to talk over certain matters.

"It's good to be home again," said Mr.  Bobbsey, as he looked about
the rooms of the town house.

"Yes, but we had a delightful summer,"  spoke his wife, "and the
children are so well.  The country was delightful, and so was the
seashore. But I think I, too, am glad to be back. It will be quite
a task, though, to get the children ready for school. Flossie and
Freddie will go regularly now, I suppose, and   with Nan and Bert
in a higher class, it means plenty of work."

"I suppose so," said her husband.

"But Dinah is a great help," went on Mrs.  Bobbsey, for she did not
mean to complain.  Flossie and Freddie had tried a few days in the
kindergarten class at school, but Flossie said she did not like it,
and, as Freddie would not go without her, their parents had taken
them both out in the Spring.

"There will be plenty of time to start them in the Fall," said Mrs.
Bobbsey, and so it had been arranged. And now the four twins were
all to attend the same school, which would open in about a week.

Flossie and Freddie were both up early the next morning, and,
scarcely half-dressed, they hurried out to the barn.

"Whar yo' chillens gwine?" demanded Dinah, as she prepared to get
breakfast.

"Out to see our dog," answered Freddie.  "Is Sam around?"

"Yes, he's out dere somewheres, washin' de  carriage. But don't
yo' let 'at dog bite yo'."

"We won't," said Freddie.

"He wouldn't bite anyhow," declared Flossie.

Sam opened the box stall for them, and out bounced the big white
dog, barking in delight, and almost knocking down the twins, so
glad was he to see them.

"What shall we call him?" asked Freddie.  "Maybe we'd better name
him Snoop, like our cat. I guess Snoop is gone forever."

"No, we mustn't call him Snoop," said Flossie, "for some day our
cat might come back, and he'd want his own name again.  We'll call
our dog Snap, 'cause see how bright his eyes snap. Then if our cat
comes back we'll have Snoop and Snap."

"That's a good name," decided Freddie, after thinking it over.
"Snoop and Snap. I wonder how we can make this dog stand on his
hind legs like he did before?"

"Bert snapped his fingers and he did it,"  suggested Flossie. "But
maybe he'll do it now if you just ask him to."

Freddie tried to snap his fingers, but they were too short and fat.
Then he patted the dog on the head and said:

"Stand up!"

At once the dog, with a bark, did so. He sat up on his hind legs
and then walked around. Both the children laughed.

"I wonder if he can do any other tricks?" asked Flossie.

"I'm going to try," said her brother.  "What trick do you want him
to do?"

"Make him lie down and roll over."

"All right," spoke Freddie "Now, Snap, lie down and roll over!" he
called. At once the fine animal did so, and then sprang up with a
bark, and a wag of his tail, as much as to ask:

"What shall I do next?"

"Oh, isn't he a fine dog!" cried Flossie.  "I wonder who taught
him those tricks?"

"Let's see if he can do any more," said Freddie. "There's a barrel
hoop over there.  Maybe he'll jump through it if we hold it up."

"Oh, let's do it!" cried Flossie, as she ran to get the hoop. Snap
barked at the sight of it, and capered about as though he knew
just what it was for, and was pleased at the chance to do more of
his tricks. The hoop was a   large one, and Freddie alone could not
hold it very steady. So Flossie took hold of one side.  As soon as
they were in position. Freddie called:

"Come on now, Snap. Jump!"

Snap barked, ran back a little way, turned around and came racing
straight for the twins.  At that moment Sam Johnson came up running,
a stick in his hand.

"Heah! heah!" shouted the colored man.  "You let dem chillens alone,
dog! Go 'way,  I tells yo'!"

"That's all right, Sam," said Freddie.  "Don't scare him. He's
our new dog Snap,  and he's going to do a trick," for the colored
gardener had supposed the dog was running at Flossie and Freddie
to bite them.

Snap paid no attention to Sam, but raced on. When a short distance
from where Flossie and Freddie held the hoop, Snap jumped up into
the air, and shot straight through the wooden circle, landing quite
a way off.

"Mah gracious sakes alive!" gasped Sam, "Dat's a reg'lar circus
trick--dat's what it am!"

He scratched his head in surprise, and the stick he had picked
up, intending to drive away the dog with, stuck straight out. In
a moment Snap raced up, and jumped over the stick.

"Oh, look!" cried Flossie.

"Another trick!" exclaimed Freddie.

"Mah gracious goodness!" cried Sam.  "Dat suah am wonderful!"

Snap ran about barking in delight. He seemed happy to be doing
tricks.

"Let's go tell papa," said Freddie. "He'll want to know about this."

"Oh, I do hope he lets us keep him," said Flossie.

Mr. Bobbsey had not yet gone to his lumber office. He listened to
what the little twins had to tell them about Snap, who lay on the
lawn, seeming to listen to his own praises.

"A trick dog; eh?" exclaimed Mr. Bobbsey.  "I wonder who owns him?"

"Maybe he escaped from the circus," suggested Bert, who came out
just then to see how his pigeons were getting along.

"That's it!" cried Mr. Bobbsey. "I wonder I did not think of it
before. The dog must have escaped from the wrecked circus train,
and he followed us, not knowing what else to do. That accounts for
his tricks."

"But we can keep him; can't we?" begged Flossie.

"Hum! I'll have to see about that," said Mr. Bobbsey slowly.
"I suppose the circus  people will want him back, for he must be
valuable.  Perhaps some clown trained him."

"But if we can't have Snoop, our cat, we ought to have a dog,"
asserted Freddie.

"I'll try to get Snoop back," said Mr.  Bobbsey. "I'll have one
of my men go down to the place where the wreck was, to-day, and
inquire of the railroad men. He may be wandering about there."

"Poor Snoop!" said Nan, coming out to feed some of her pet chickens,
that Sam had looked after all summer.

"And while you are about it," suggested Mrs. Bobbsey, who was on
the front porch, "I wish, Richard, that you would see if you can
locate that fat lady, and get back the children's  silver cup."

"I will," replied Mr. Bobbsey. "I will have to write to them anyhow,
about the dog, and at the same time I'll ask about the cup. Though
I don't believe the fat lady meant to keep it."

"Oh, no," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "Probably she just held it, in the
excitement over the wreck, and she may have left it in the car.
But please write about it."

"I will," promised Mr. Bobbsey, as he started for the office, while
the twins gathered about the new dog, who seemed ready to do more
tricks.



CHAPTER VI

DANNY RUGG IS MEAN


That afternoon a small fire broke out in Mr. Bobbsey's lumber yard.
The alarm bell rang, and Mrs. Bobbsey, hearing it, and knowing
by the number that the blaze must be near her husband's place of
business, came hurrying down stairs.

"Oh, I must go and see how dangerous it is," she said to Dinah.
"It is too bad to have it happen just after Mr. Bobbsey comes back
from his summer vacation."

"'Deed it am!" cried the fat, colored cook.  "But maybe it am only
a little fire, Mrs.  Bobbsey."

"I'm sure I hope so," was the answer.

As Mrs. Bobbsey was hurrying down the front walk Flossie and Freddie
saw her.

"Where are you going, mamma?" they called.

"Down to papa's office," she answered "There's a fire near his
place, and--"

"Oh, a fire! Then I'm going!" cried Freddie.  "Fire! Fire! Ding,
dong! Turn on the water!" and he raced about quite excitedly.

"Oh, I don't know," said Mrs. Bobbsey, in  doubt. "Where are Nan
and Bert?" she asked.

"They went down to the lake," said Flossie.  "Oh, mamma, do take
us to the fire with you. We'll bring Snap along."

"Sure," said Freddie. "Hi, Snap!" he called.

The trick dog came rushing from the stable, barking and wagging
his tail.

"Well, I suppose I might as well take you," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "But
you must stay near me. We'll leave Snap home, though."

"Oh, no!" cried Freddie.

"He might get lost," said Mrs. Bobbsey.

That was enough for Freddie. He did not want the new pet to get
lost, so he did not make  a fuss when Sam came hurrying up to lock
Snap in the stable. Poor Snap howled, for he wanted very much to
go with the children.

The fire was, as I have said, a small one, in part of the planing
mill. But the engines puffed away, and spurted water, and this
pleased Freddie. Flossie stayed close to her mother, and Mrs.
Bobbsey, once she found out that the main lumber yard was not in
danger, was ready to come back home. But Freddie wanted to stay
until the fire was wholly out.

Mr. Bobbsey came from his office to give some directions to the
firemen, and saw his wife and the two twins. Then he took charge
of them, and led them as close to the blaze as was safe.

"It will soon be out," he said. "It was only some sawdust that got
on fire."

"I wish I could squirt some water!" sighed Freddie.

"What's that? Do you want to be a fireman?"  asked one of the men
in a rubber coat and a big helmet. He smiled at Mr. Bobbsey, whom
he knew quite well.

"Yes, I do," said Freddie.

"Then come with me, and I'll let you help hold the hose," said the
fireman. "I'll look after him," he went on, to Mrs. Bobbsey, and
she nodded to show that Freddie could go.

What a good time the little fellow had, standing beside a real
fireman, and helping throw real water on a real fire! Freddie never
forgot that. Of course the fire was almost out, and it was only
one of the small hose lines that the fireman let the little fellow
help hold, but, for all that, Freddie was very happy.

"Did you write to the circus people to-day about our silver cup,
and that trick dog?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey of her husband that night.

"I declare, I didn't!" he exclaimed. "The fire upset me so that it
slipped my mind. I'll do it the first thing to-morrow. There is no
special hurry. How is the dog, by the way?"

"Oh, he's just lovely!" cried Flossie.

"And I do hope we can keep him forever!"  exclaimed Freddie.
"'Specially since Snoop is gone."

"Did you hear anything about our cat?" asked Nan, of her father.

"No. I sent a man to the railroad company, but no stray cat had
been found. I am afraid Snoop is lost, children."

"Oh dear!" cried Flossie.

The next day, having learned from the railroad company where the
circus had gone after the wreck, Mr. Bobbsey sent a letter to the
manager, explaining about the lost silver cup, and the found circus
dog. He asked that the fat lady be requested to write to him, to
let him know if she had taken the cup by accident, and Mr. Bobbsey
also wanted to know if the circus had lost a trick dog.

"There!" he exclaimed as he sent the letter  to be mailed, "now
we'll just have to wait for an answer."

Nan and Bert, and Flossie and Freddie were soon having almost as
much fun as they had had at the seashore and in the country. Their
town playmates, who had come back from their vacations, called at
the Bobbsey home, and made up games and all sorts of sports.

"For," said Grace Lavine, with whom Nan sometimes played, "school
will soon begin, and we want to have all the fun we can until then."

"Let's jump rope," proposed Nan.

"All right," agreed Grace. "Here comes Nellie Parks, and we'll see
who can jump the most."

"No, you mustn't do that," said Nan, "Don't you remember how you
once tried to jump a hundred, and you fainted?"

"Indeed I do," said Grace. "I'm not going to be so silly as to try
that again. We'll only jump a little."

Soon Nan and her chums were having a good time in the yard.

Charley Mason, with whom Bert sometimes played, came over, and the
two boys went for a row on the lake, in Bert's boat. Some little
friends of Flossie and Freddie came over, and they had fun watching
Snap do tricks.

For the circus dog, as he had come to be called, seemed to be able
to do some new trick each day. He could "play dead," and "say his
prayers," besides turning a back somersault.  The little twins,
who seemed to claim more share in Snap than did Nan and Bert, did
not really know how many tricks their pet could do.

"Maybe you'll have to give him back to the circus," said Willie
Flood, one of Freddie's chums.

"Well, if we do, papa may buy him, or get another dog like him,"
spoke Flossie.

A few days after this, when Bert was out in the front yard,
watering the grass with a hose, along came Danny Rugg. Now Danny
went to the same school that Bert did, but few of the boys and none
of the girls, liked Danny, because he was often rough, and would
hit them or want to fight, or would play mean tricks on them. Still,
sometimes Danny behaved  himself, and then the boys were glad to
have him on their baseball nine as he was a good hitter and thrower,
and he could run fast.

"Hello, Bert!" exclaimed Danny, leaning on the fence. "I hear you
have a trick circus dog here."

"Who told you?" asked Bert, wondering what Danny would say next.

"Oh, Jack Parker. He says you found him."

"I didn't," spoke Bert, spraying a bed of   geranium flowers. "He
followed us the night of the circus wreck."

"Well, you took him all the same. I know who owns him, too; and
I'm going to tell that you've got him."

"Oh, are you?" asked Bert. "Well, we think he belongs to the circus,
and my father has written about it, so you needn't trouble yourself."

"He doesn't belong to any circus," went on  Danny. "That dog belongs
to Mr. Peterson, who lives over in Millville. He lost a trick dog,
and he advertised for it. He's going to give a reward. I'm going
to tell him, and get the money."

"You can't take our dog away!" cried Freddie, coming up just then.
"Don't you dare do it, Danny Rugg."

"Yes, I will!" exclaimed the mean boy, who often teased the smaller
Bobbsey twins.  "You won't have that dog after to-day."

"Don't mind him, Freddie," said Bert in a low voice. "He's trying
to scare you."

"Oh, I am eh?" cried Danny. "I'll show you what I'm trying to do.
I'll tell on you   for keeping a dog that don't belong to you,  and
you'll be arrested--all of you."

Freddie looked worried, and tears came into his eyes. Bert saw
this, and was angry at Danny for being so mean.

"Don't be afraid, Freddie," said Bert.  "Look, I'll let you squirt
the hose, and you can pretend to be a fireman."

"Oh, fine!" cried Freddie, in delight, as he took the nozzle from
his older brother.

Just how it happened neither of them could tell, but the stream of
water shot right at Danny Rugg, and wet him all over in a second.

"Hi there!" he cried. "Stop that! I'll pay you back for that, Fred
Bobbsey," and he jumped over the fence and ran toward the little
fellow.



CHAPTER VII

AT SCHOOL


Freddie saw Danny coming, and did the most natural thing in the
world. He dropped the hose and ran. And you know what a hose, with
water bursting from the nozzle will sometimes do if you don't hold
it just right.  Well, this hose did that. It seemed to aim itself
straight at Danny, and again the rough boy received a charge of
water full in the face.

"Ha--ha--here! You quit that!" he gasped. "I'll fix you for that!"

The water got in his eyes and mouth, and for a moment he could not
see. But with his handkerchief he soon had his eyes cleared, and
then he came running toward Bert.

Danny Rugg was larger than Bert, and stronger, and, in addition,
was a bullying sort of chap, almost always ready to fight someone
smaller than himself.

But what Bert lacked in size and strength   he made up in a bold
spirit. He was not at all afraid of Danny, even when the bully came
rushing at him. Bert stood his ground manfully.  He had taken up
the hose where Freddie  had dropped it, and the water was spurting
out in a solid stream. Freddie, having gotten a safe distance away,
now turned and stood looking at Danny.

Danny, too, had halted and was fairly glaring  at Bert, who looked
at him a bit anxiously.  More than once he and the bully had come
to blows, and sometimes Bert had gotten the best of it. Still he
did not like a fight.

"I'll get you yet, Freddie Bobbsey!" cried Danny, shaking his fist
at the little fellow.  Whereupon Freddie turned and ran toward the
house. Danny saw that he could not catch him in time, and so he
turned to Bert.

"You put him up to do that--to douse me with water!" cried Danny
angrily.

"I did not," said Bert quietly. "It was just an accident. I'm
sorry---"

"You are not! I say you did that on purpose--or  you told Freddie
to, and I'm going to pay you back!"

"I tell you it was an accident," insisted Bert. "But if you want
to think Freddie did it on purpose I can't stop you."

"Well, I'm going to hit you just the same," growled Danny, and he
stepped toward Bert.

"You'd better look out," said Bert, with  just a little smile.
"There's still a lot of water in this hose," and he brought the
nozzle  around in front, ready to squirt on Danny if the bad boy
should come too near.

Danny came to a stop.

"Don't you dare put any more water on  me!" cried the bully. "If
you do, I'll----"  He doubled up his fists and glared at Bert.

"Then don't you come any nearer if you don't want to get wet,"
said Bert. "This hose might sprinkle you by accident, the same as
it did when Freddie had it," he added.

"Huh! I know what kind of an accident that was!" spoke Danny, with
a sneer.

"You'd better get out of the way," went on Bert quietly. "I want to
sprinkle that flower bed near where you are, and if you'll   there
you might get wet, and it wouldn't be my fault."

"I'll fix you!" growled Danny, springing forward. Bert got ready
with the hose, and there might have been more trouble, except that
Sam, the colored man, came out on the lawn. He saw that something
out of the ordinary was going on, and breaking into a run he called
out:

"Am anyt'ing de mattah, Massa Bert? Am yo' habin' trouble wif
anybody?"

"Well, I guess it's all over now," said Bert,  as he saw Danny turn
and walk toward the gate.

"If yo' need any help, jest remembah dat I'm around," spoke Sam,
with a wide grin that showed his white teeth in his black, but
kindly face. "I'll be right handy by, Massa Bert, yes, I will!"

"All right," said Bert, as he went on watering  the flowers.

"Huh! You needn't think I'm afraid of  you!" boasted Danny, but he
kept on out of the gate just the same. Sam went back to his work,
of weeding the vegetable garden   and Bert watered the flowers.
Pretty soon Freddie came back.

"Did--did Danny do anything to you?" the little fellow wanted to
know.

"No, Freddie, but the hose did something to him," said Bert.

"Oh, did it wet him again?"

"That's what it did."

"Ha! Ha!" laughed Freddie. "I wish I'd been here to see it, Bert."

"Well, why did you run?"

"Oh, I--I thought maybe--mamma might want me," answered Freddie,
but Bert understood, and smiled. Then he let Freddie finish watering
the flowers, after which Freddie played he was a fireman, saving
houses from burning by means of the hose.

Snap, the trick dog came running out, followed by Flossie, who had
just been washed and combed, her mother having put a clean dress
on her.

"Oh, Freddie," said the little girl, "let's make Snap do some
tricks. See if he will jump over the stream of water from the hose."

"All right," agreed her little brother. "I'll   squirt the water
out straight, and you stand on one side of it and call Snap over.
Then he'll jump."

Flossie tried this, but at first the dog did  not seem to want to
do this particular trick.  He played soldier, said his prayers,
stood on  his hind legs, and turned a somersault. But  he would
not jump over the water.

"Come, Snap, Snap!" called Flossie.  "Jump!"

Snap raced about and barked, and seemed to be having all sorts of
fun, but jump he would not until he got ready. Then, when he did,
Freddie accidentally lowered the nozzle and Snap was soaked.

But the dog did not mind the water in the least. In fact he seemed
to like it, for the day was warm, and he stood still and let Freddie
wet him all over. Then Snap rolled about on the lawn, Freddie and
Flossie taking turns sprinkling.

And, as might be expected, considerable water got on the two children,
and when Snap shook himself, as he often did, to get some of the
drops off his shaggy coat, he gave   Flossie and her clean dress
a regular shower bath.

Nan, coming from the house saw this.  She ran up to Flossie, who
had the hose just then, crying:

"Flossie Bobbsey! Oh, you'll get it when mamma sees you! She cleaned
you all up, and now look at yourself!"

"She can't see--there's no looking glass here," said Freddie, with
a laugh.

"And you're just as bad!" cried Nan.  "You'd both better go in the
house right away, and stop playing with the hose."

"We're through, anyhow," said Freddie.  "You ought to see Snap jump
over the water."

"Oh, you children!" cried Nan, with a shake of her head. She seemed
like a little mother to them at times, though she was only four
years older.

Mrs. Bobbsey was very sorry to see Flossie so wet and bedraggled,
and said:

"You should have known better than to play with water with a clean
dress on, Flossie.  Now I must punish you. You will have to   stay
in the house for an hour, and so will Freddie."

Poor little Bobbsey twins! But then it was not a very severe
punishment, and really some was needed. It was hard when two of
their little playmates came and called for them to come out. But
Mrs. Bobbsey insisted on the two remaining in until the hour was
at an end.

Then, when they had on dry garments, and could go out, there was
no one with whom to play.

"I'm not going to squirt the hose ever again," said Freddie.

"Neither am I," said his sister. "Never, never!"

Snap didn't say anything. He lay on the porch asleep, being cooled
off after his sport with the water.

"I--I wish we had our cat, Snoop, back," said Flossie. "Then we
wouldn't have played in the water."

"That's so," agreed Freddie. "I wonder where he can be?"

They asked their father that night if any   of the railroad men
had seen their pet, but he said none had, and added:

"I'm afraid you'll have to get along without  Snoop. He seems to
have disappeared.  But, anyhow, you have Snap."

"But some one may come along and claim him," said Freddie. "That
Danny Rugg says he belongs to Mr. Peterson in Millville, father,"
said Bert.

"Well, I'll call Mr. Peterson up on the telephone to-morrow, and
find out," spoke Mr.  Bobbsey. "That much will be settled, at any
rate."

"Did you hear anything from the circus people about the fat lady?"
asked Mrs. Bobbsey.

"Yes, but no news," was her husband's answer. "The circus has gone
to Cuba and Porto Rico for the winter, and I will have to write
there. It will be some time before we can expect an answer, though,
as I suppose the show will be traveling from place to place and
mail down there is not like it is up here.  But we may find the
fat lady and the cup some day."

"And Snoop, too," put in Nan.

"Yes, Snoop too."

One fact consoled the Bobbseys in their trouble over their lost
pet and cup. This was the answer received by Mr. Bobbsey from Mr.
Peterson. That gentleman had lost a valuable dog, but it was a
small poodle, and unlike big Snap. So far no one had claimed the
trick dog, and it seemed likely that the children could keep him.
They were very glad about this.

"Oh dear!" exclaimed Bert, one afternoon  a few days following the
fun with the hose, "school begins Monday. Only three more days of
vacation!"

"I think you have had a long vacation,"  returned Mrs. Bobbsey,
"and if Freddie and  Flossie are going to do such tricks as they
did the other day, with the hose, I, for one, shall be glad that
you are in school."

"I like school," said Nan, "There are a lot of new girls coming
this term, I hear."

"Any new fellows?" asked Bert, more interested.

"I don't know. There is a new teacher in  the kindergarten, though,
where Flossie and Freddie will go. Nellie Parks has met her, and
says she's awfully nice."

"That's good," spoke Flossie. "I like nice teachers."

"Well, I hope you and Freddie will get along well," said Mamma
Bobbsey. "You are getting older you know, and you must soon begin
to study hard."

"We will," they promised.

The school bell, next Monday morning, called to many rather unwilling
children. The long vacation was over and class days had begun once
more. The four Bobbseys went off together to the building, which
was only a few blocks from their home. Mr. Tetlow was the principal,
and there were half a dozen lady teachers.

"Hello, Nan," greeted Grace Lavine.  "May I sit with you this term?"

"Oh, I was going to ask her," said Nellie Parks.

"Well, I was first," spoke Grace, with a pout.

"We'll be in the room where there are   three seated desks." said
Nan with a smile.  "Maybe we three can be together."

"Oh, we'll ask teacher!" cried Nellie.  "That will be lovely!"

"I'm going to sit with Freddie," declared Flossie. "We're to be
together--mamma said so."

"Of course, dear," agreed Nan. "I'll speak to your teacher about
it."

Bert was walking in the rear with Charley Mason, when Danny Rugg
came around a corner.

"I know what I'm going to do to you after school, Bert Bobbsey!"
called the bully. "You just wait and see."

"All right--I'll wait," spoke Bert quietly.  "I'm not afraid."

By this time they were at the school, and it was nearly time for the
last bell to ring.  Danny went off to join some of his particular
chums, shaking his fist at Bert as he went.



CHAPTER VIII

BERT SEES SOMETHING


Lessons were not very well learned that first day in school, but
this is generally the case when the Fall term opens after the Summer
vacation.

Just as were the Bobbsey twins, nearly all the other pupils were
thinking of what good times they had had in the country, or at the
seashore, and in consequence little attention was paid to reading,
spelling, arithmetic and geography.

But Principal Tetlow and his teachers were prepared for this,
and they were sure that, in another day or so, the boys and girls
would settle down and do good work. Many of the children were in
new rooms and different classes, and this did not make them feel
so much "at home" as before vacation.

Nan Bobbsey's first duty, after reporting to her new teacher, was
to go to the kindergarten room, and ask the teacher there if Flossie
and Freddie might sit together.

"You see," Nan explained, "this is really their first real school
work. They attended a few times before, but did not stay long."

"I see," spoke the pretty kindergarten instructor  with a laugh,
"and we must make it as pleasant for them this time as we can, so
they will want to stay. Yes, my dear, Flossie and Freddie may sit
together, and I'll look after them as much as I can. But, oh, there
are such a lot of little tots!" and she looked about the room that
seemed overflowing  with small boys and girls.

Some were playing and talking, telling of their summer experiences.
Others seemed frightened, and stood against the wall bashfully,
little girls holding to the hands of their little brothers.

Nan looked for Freddie and Flossie. She saw her little sister
trying to comfort a small girl who was almost ready to cry, while
Freddie,  like the manly little fellow he was, had charge of a small
chap in whose eyes   were two large tears, just ready to fall. It
was his first day at school.

"Oh, I am sure your little twin brother and sister will get along
all right," said the kindergarten teacher, with a smile to Nan, as
she saw what Flossie and Freddie were doing.  "They are too cute
for anything--the little dears!"

"And they are very good," said Nan, "only of course they
do--things--sometimes."

"They wouldn't be real children if they didn't," answered the
teacher.

This was during a recess that had come after  the classes were first
formed. On her way back to her room, to see if she could arrange
to sit with Grace and Nellie at one of the new big desks, Nan saw
her brother Bert.  He looked a little worried, and Nan asked at
once:

"What is the matter, Bert? Haven't you got a nice teacher?"

"Oh, yes, she's fine!" exclaimed Bert.  "There's nothing the matter
at all."

"Yes there is," insisted Nan. "I can tell  by your face. It's that
Danny Rugg; I'm   sure. Oh, Bert, is he bothering you again?"

"Well, he said he was going to."

"Then why don't you go straight and tell Mr. Tetlow? He'll make
Danny behave. I'll go tell him myself!"

"Don't you dare, Nan!" cried Bert. "All the fellows would call me
'sissy,' if I let you do that. Never mind, I can look out for my
self. I'm not afraid of Danny."

"Oh, Bert, I hope you don't get into a fight."

"I won't, Nan--if I can help it. At least I won't hit first, but
if he hits me---"

Bert looked as though he knew what he would do in that case.

"Oh dear!" cried Nan, "aren't you boys just awful!"

However, she made up her mind that if Danny got too bad she would
speak to the principal about him, whether her brother wanted her
to or not.

"He won't know it," thought Nan.

She had no trouble in getting permission from her teacher for
herself and her two friends to sit together, and soon they had
moved their books and other things to one of the long desks that
had room for three pupils.

Meanwhile Flossie and Freddie got along very well in the kindergarten.
At first, just as the others did, they gave very little attention
to what the teacher wanted them to learn, but she was very patient,
and soon all the class was gathered about the sand table, in the
little low chairs, making fairy cities, caves, and even make-believe
seashore places.

"This is like the one where we were this Summer," said Flossie, as
she made a hole in her sand pile to take the place of the ocean.
"If I had water and a piece of wood I could show you where there
was a shipwreck," she said to the girl next to her.

"That isn't the way it was," spoke Freddie, from the other side of
the room. "There was more sand at the seashore than on this whole
table--yes, on ten tables like this."

"There was not!" cried Flossie.

"There was too!" insisted her brother.

"Children--children!" called the teacher.  "You must not argue
like that--ever--in   school, or out of it. Now we will sing our
work-song, and after that we will march with the flags," and she
went to the piano to play.  All the little ones liked this, and
the dispute of Flossie and Freddie was soon forgotten.

Bert kept thinking of what might happen between himself and Danny
Rugg when school was out, and when his teacher asked him what the
Pilgrim Fathers did when they first came to settle in New England
Bert looked up in surprise, and said:

"They fought."

"Fought!" exclaimed the teacher. "The book says they gave thanks."

"Well, I meant they fought the--er--the Indians," stammered Bert.

Poor Bert was thinking of what might take place between himself
and the bully.

"Well, yes, they did fight the Indians," admitted the teacher, "but
that wasn't what I was thinking of. I will ask you another question
in history."

But I am not going to tire you with an account of what went on in
the classrooms.  There were mostly lessons there, such as you   have
yourselves, and I know you don't care  to read about them.

Bert did not see Danny Rugg at the noon recess, when the Bobbsey
twins and the other children went home for lunch. But when school
was let out in the afternoon, and when Bert was talking to Charley
Mason about a new way of making a kite, Danny Rugg, accompanied
by several of his chums, walked up to Bert. It was in a field some
distance from the school, and no houses were near.

"Now I've got you, Bert Bobbsey!" taunted Danny, as he advanced
with doubled-up fists.  "What did you want to squirt the hose on
me that time for?"

"I told you it was an accident," said Bert quietly.

"And I say you did it on purpose. I said I'd get even with you,
and now I'm going to."

"I don't want to fight, Danny," said Bert quietly.

"Huh! he's afraid!" sneered Jack Westly, one of Danny's friends.

"Yes, he's a coward!" taunted Danny.

"I'm not!" cried Bert stoutly.

"Then take that!" exclaimed Danny, and he gave Bert a push that
nearly knocked him down. Bert put out a hand to save himself and
struck Danny, not really meaning to.

"There! He hit you back!" cried one boy.

"Yes, go on in, now, Dan, and beat him!" said another

"Oh, I'll fix him now," boasted Danny, circling around Bert. Bert
was carefully watching.  He did not mean to let Danny get the best
of him if he could help it, much as he did not like to fight.

Danny struck Bert on the chest, and Bert hit the bully on the
cheek. Then Danny jumped forward swiftly and tried to give Bert a
blow on the head. But Bert stepped to one side, and Danny slipped
down to the ground.

As he did so a white box fell from his pocket. Bert knew what kind
of a box it was, and what was in it, and he knew now, what had
stained Danny's fingers so yellow, and what made his clothes have
such a queer smell.  For the box had in it cigarettes.

Danny saw where it had fallen, and picked   it up quickly. Then he
came running at Bert again, but a boy called:

"Look out! Here comes Mr. Tetlow, the principal!"

This was a signal for all the boys, even Bert, to run, for, though
school was out, they still did not want to be caught at a fight by
one of the teachers, or Mr. Tetlow.

"Anyhow, you knocked him down, Bert," said Charley Mason, as he
ran on with Bert.  "You beat!"

"He did not--I slipped," said Danny. "I can fight him, and I will,
too, some day."

"I'm not afraid of you," answered Bert.

Mr. Tetlow did not appear to have seen the fight that amounted to
so little. Perhaps he pretended not to.



CHAPTER IX

OFF TO THE WOODS


Whether Danny Rugg was afraid the principal had seen him trying to
force a fight on Bert, or whether the unexpected fall that came to
him, caused it, no one knew, but certainly, for the next few days,
Danny let Bert alone. When he passed him he scowled, or shook his
fist, or muttered something about "getting even," but this was all.

Perhaps it was the thought of what Bert had seen fall from Danny's
pocket that made the bully less anxious to keep up the quarrel.
At any rate, Bert was left alone and he was glad of it. He was not
afraid, but he liked peace.

The school days went on, and the classes settled down to their work
for the long Winter term. And the thought of the snow and   ice
that would comparatively soon be with them, made the Bobbsey twins
rejoice.

"Charley Mason and I are going to make a dandy big bob this year,"
said Bert one day.  "It's going to carry ten fellows."

"And no girls?" asked Nan with a smile.  She was walking along
behind her brother with Grace and Nellie.

"Sure, we'll let you girls ride once in a while," said Charley, as
he caught up to his chum. "But you can't steer."

"I steered a bob once," said Grace, who was quite athletic for her
age. "It was Danny Rugg's, too."

"Pooh! His is a little one alongside the one Charley and I are
going to make!" exclaimed Bert. "Ours will be hard to steer, and
it's going to have a gong on it to tell folks to get out of the
way."

"That's right," agreed Charley. "And we'd better start it right
away, Bert. It may soon snow."

"It doesn't feel so now," spoke Nan. "It is very warm. It feels
more like ice cream cones."

"And if you'll come with me I'll treat you all to some," exclaimed
Nellie Parks, whose father was quite well off. "I have some of my
birthday money left."

"Oh, but there are five of us!" cried Nan, counting. "That is too
much--twenty-five cents, Nellie."

"I've got fifty, and really it is very hot to-day."

It was warm, being the end of September, with Indian Summer near
at hand.

"Well, let's go to Johnson's," suggested Nellie. "They have the
best cream."

"Oh, here comes Flossie and Freddie!" exclaimed Nan. "We don't want
to take them, Nellie. That means---"

"Of course I'll take them!" exclaimed Nellie, generously. "I've
got fifty cents, I told you."

"I'll give them each a penny and let them run along home," offered
Bert.

"No, I'm going to treat them, too," insisted Nellie. "Come on!" she
called to the little twins, "we're going to get ice cream cones,
it's so warm."

"Oh, goodie!" cried Flossie. "I was just wishing for one."

"So was I," added her brother.

"And I'll ask you to my party next week," the little girl went on.
"I'm going to have one on my birthday."

"Oh, are you really, Flossie?" asked Nan.  "I hadn't heard about
it."

"Yep--I am. Mamma said I could, but she told me not to tell. I don't
care, I wanted Nellie to know, as she's going to treat us to cones."

"And it's half my party, 'cause my birthday's the same day,"
explained Freddie. "So you can come to my party at the same time,
Nellie."

"Thank you, dear, I shall. Now let's hurry to the store, for it's
getting warmer all the while."

The ice cream in the funny little cones was much enjoyed by all.
Bert and Charley walked on together eating, and talking of the bob
sled they were going to make. They passed Danny Rugg, who looked
rather enviously  at them.

"Hey, Charley," called Danny, "come here, I want to speak to you."

"I'm busy now," answered Charley. "Bert and I have something to
do."

"So have I. I've got a dandy plan."

"Well, I'll see you later," spoke Charley,

He had once been quite friendly with Danny, but he grew not to like
his ways, and so became more chummy with Bert, who was very glad,
for he liked Charley.

The two boys went on to Bert's barn, where they were going to
build the bob sled. The girls, with Flossie and Freddie, went on
the Bobbsey lawn, where there were some easy chairs. They sat in
the shade of the trees,  and Freddie had Snap do some of his tricks
for the visitors.

"Can he jump through a hoop, covered with paper as they do in the
circus?" asked Nellie.

"Oh, we never thought to try that," said Freddie. "I'm going to make
one," and, filled with this new idea, he hurried into the house.

"Dinah," he said, "I want some paper and paste."

"Land sakes, chile! what yo' gwine t' do now?" asked the colored
cook. "Make a kite, an' take Snoop up in de air laik yo' brother
Bert done once?"

"No, we're not going to do that," answered the little boy. "We're
going to cover a hoop with paper, and make Snap jump through it,
like in a circus."

"Mah goodness mustard pot!" cried Dinah.  "What will yo' all be up
to next?"

"I don't know," answered Freddie. "But will you make me some paste,
Dinah? And you know we haven't got Snoop, anyhow, so we couldn't
send him up on a kite tail," added Freddie.

"Deah me! Yo' chilluns done make me do de mostest wuk!" complained
Dinah, but she laughed, which showed that she did not really mean
it, and set at mixing some flour and water for the paste.

Flossie and Freddie insisted on making the paper covered hoop
themselves. They started, but they got so much of the sticky stuff
on their hands and faces that Nan feared they would soil their
clothes, so she insisted on   being allowed to do the pasting for
them.

"But we can help, can't we?" asked Freddie.

"Yes," said Nan.

Even for Nan covering a hoop with paper was not as easy as she
thought it would be.  Grace and Nellie helped, but sometimes the
wind would blow the paper away just as they were ready to fold it
around the rim of the hoop. Then the paste would get on the girls'
hands.

"What are you doing?" asked Bert, as he and Charley came from the
barn. They had to stop work on their job, as they could not find a
long enough plank. The decided to get one from Mr. Bobbsey's lumber
yard, later.

"We're going to have Snap do the circus trick of jumping through
a paper hoop," explained Nan. "Only we can't seem to get the hoop
made."

"I'll do it," offered Bert, and as he and Charley had often pasted
paper on their kite frames they had better luck, and soon the hoop
was ready.

"Come, Snap!" called Freddie, it having   been settled that he and
Flossie were to hold the hoop for the dog to leap through. Snap,
always ready for fun, jumped up from the grass where he had been
sleeping, and frisked about, barking loudly.

"Now you hold him there, Charley," directed Bert, pointing to a spot
back of where Freddie and Flossie stood. "Then I'll go over here
and call him. He'll come running, and when he gets near enough,
Freddie, you and Flossie hold up the paper hoop. He'll go right
through it."

It worked out just as the children had planned. Snap raced away from
Charley, when he heard Bert calling. He ran right between Flossie
and Freddie, who raised the hoop just in time.

"Rip! Tear!" burst the paper, and Snap sailed through the hoop just
as he probably had often done in the circus, perhaps from the back
of a horse.

"Oh, that was fine!" cried Flossie. "Let's make another hoop!"

"Let's make a lot of 'em, and have a circus with Snap, and charge
money to see him, and   then we can buy a lot of ice cream for our
party!" said Freddie.

"Oh, yes!" agreed his sister.

Well, they did make more hoops, and Snap seemed to enjoy jumping
through them. But when Mrs. Bobbsey heard about the circus plans
she decided it would make too much confusion.

"Besides, you have to help me get ready for your party," she said
to the two little twins.

This took their mind off the proposed circus, but for several days
after that they had much fun making hoops for Snap to jump through.

Bert and Charley got a long plank from the lumber yard, and spent
much time after school in the Bobbsey barn, working over their bob
sled. It was harder than they had thought it would be, and they
had to call in some other boys to help them. Mr. Bobbsey, too, gave
his son some advice about how to build it.

Flossie and Freddie liked it very much in school. The kindergarten
teacher was very   kind, and took an interest in all her pupils.

"Oh, mamma!" cried Flossie, coming in one day from school, "I've
learned how to make a house."

"And I can make a lantern, and a chain to hang it on, and I can put
it in front of Flossie's house!" exclaimed Freddie. "And, please,
mother, may I have some bread and jam. I'm awful hungry."

"Yes, dear, go ask Dinah," said Mrs. Bobbsey, with a smile. "And
then you may show me how you make houses and lanterns and a chain.
Are they real?"

"No," said Flossie, "they're only paper, but they look nice."

"I'm sure they must," said their mother.

After each of the twins had been given a large slice of bread and
butter and jam, they showed the latest thing they had learned at
school. Flossie did manage to cut out a house, that had a chimney
on it, and a door, besides two windows.

Freddie took several little narrow strips of paper, and pasting the
ends together, made a lot of rings. Each ring before being pasted,
was slipped into another, and soon he had a paper chain. To make
the lantern he used a piece of paper made into a roll, with slits
all around the middle of it where the light would have come out
had there been a candle in it.  And the handle was a narrow slip
of paper pasted over the top of the lantern.

"Very fine indeed," said Mamma Bobbsey.  "Run out now to play. If
you stay in the house too much you will soon lose all the lovely
tan you got in the country, and at the seashore."

"Children," said the principal to the Bobbseys  and all the others
in school the next day, "I have a little treat for you. To-morrow
will be a holiday, and, as the weather is very warm, we will close
the school at noon, and go off in the woods for a little picnic."

"Oh, good!" cried a number of the boys and girls, and, though it
was against the rules to speak aloud during the school hours, none
of the teachers objected.

"But I expect you all to have perfect marks from now until Friday,"
Mr. Tetlow went on.  "You may bring your lunches to school with
you Friday morning, if your parents will let you, and we will leave
here at noon, and go to Ward's woods."

It was rather hard work to study after such good news, but, somehow,
the pupils managed it. Finally Friday came, and nearly every boy
and girl came to school with a basket or bundle holding his or
her lunch. Mrs.  Bobbsey put up two baskets for her children, Nan
taking one and Bert the other.

"Oh, we'll have a lovely time!" cried Freddie, dancing about on
his little fat legs.

Twelve o'clock came, and with each teacher at the head of her class,
and Mr. Tetlow marching in front of all, the whole school started
off for the woods.



CHAPTER X

A SCARE


The way to the woods where the little school outing was to be held
ran close to the road on which the Bobbsey house stood. As Freddie
and Flossie, with Nan and Bert, marched along with the others,
Freddie cried out:

"Oh, I hope we see mamma, and then we can wave to her."

"Yes, and maybe she'll come with us," suggested Flossie. "Wouldn't
that be nice?"

"Pooh!" exclaimed Bert "Mamma's too busy to come to a picnic to-day.
She's expecting company."

"Yes," added Nan, "the minister and his wife are coming, and mamma's
cooking a lot of things."

"Why, does a minister eat more than other folks?" asked Freddie.
"If they does, I'm going to be a minister when I grow up."

"I thought you were going to be a fireman," said Bert.

"Well, I can be a fireman week days and a minister on Sundays,"
said the little fellow, thus solving the problem. "But do they eat
so much, Nan?"

"No, of course not, only mamma wants to be polite to them, so she
has a lot of things cooked up, so that if they don't like one thing
they can have another. Folks always give their best to the minister."

"Then I'm surely going to be one, too," declared Flossie. "I like
good things to eat.  I hope our minister isn't very hungry, 'cause
then there'll be some left for us when we come home from this
picnic."

"Why, Flossie!" cried Nan. "We have a lovely lunch with us; plenty,
I'm sure."

"Well, I'm awful hungry, Nan," said the little girl. "Besides,
Sammie Jones, and his sister Julia, haven't any lunch at all. I
saw them, and they looked terrible hungry.  Couldn't we give them
some of ours; if we have so much at home?"

"Of course we could, and it is very kind   of you to think of them,"
said Nan, as she patted her little sister on her head. "I'll look
after Sammie and Julia when we get to the grove."

In spite of what Nan and Bert had said about Mrs. Bobbsey being
very busy, Flossie and Freddie looked anxiously in the direction
of their house as they walked along. But no sight of their mother
greeted them. They did see a friend, however, and this was none
other than Snap, their new dog, who, with many barks and wags of
his fluffy tail, ran out to meet his little masters and mistresses.

"Here, Snap! Snap!" called Freddie.  "Come on, old fellow!" and
the dog leaped all about him.

"Let's take him to the picnic with us," suggested Flossie. "We can
have lots of fun."

"And he can eat the scraps," said Nan.  "Shall we, Bert?"

"I don't care. But maybe Mr. Tetlow wouldn't like it."

"You ask him, Bert," pleaded Flossie.  "Tell him Snap will do tricks
to amuse us."

Bert good-naturedly started ahead to speak   to the principal,
who was talking with some of the teachers, planning games for the
little folk. Flossie and Freddie were patting their pet, when Danny
Rugg, and one of his friends came along.

"That dog can't come to our picnic!" said Danny, with a scowl. "He
might bite some of us."

"Snap never bites!" cried Freddie.

"Of course not," said Flossie.

"Well, he can't come to this picnic!" spoke Danny, angrily. "Go on
home!" he cried, sharply, stooping to pick up a stone. Snap growled
and showed his teeth.

"There!" cried Danny. "I told you he'd bite."

"He will not, Danny Rugg!" exclaimed Nan, who had gone up front
for a minute to speak to some of the older girls. "He only growled
because you acted mean to him. Now you leave him alone, or I'll
tell Mr. Tetlow on you."

"Pooh! Think I care? I say no dog can come to our picnic. Go on
home!" and with raised hand Danny approached Snap. Again   the dog
growled angrily. He was not used to being treated in this way.

"Look out, Danny Rugg," said Nan, severely, "or he may jump on you,
and knock you down. He wouldn't bite you, though, mean as you are,
unless I told him to do so."

"I'm not afraid of you!" cried Danny, more angry than before. "I'll
get a stick and then we'll see what will happen," and he looked
about for one.

"Don't let Danny beat Snap!" pleaded Flossie, tears coming into
her eyes.

"I won't," said Nan, looking about anxiously  for Bert. She saw
him coming back, and felt better. By this time Danny had found a
club, and was coming back to where Flossie, Freddie and Nan, with
some of their friends, were walking along, Snap in their midst.

"I'll make that dog go home now!" cried Danny. "I'm not going to
get bitten, and have hyperfobia, or whatever you call it. I'll tell
Mr. Tetlow if you don't make him go home."

"Oh, don't be so smart!" exclaimed Bert, stepping out from behind
a group of girls.  "I've told Mr. Tetlow myself that Snap is
following us, and he said to let him come along. So you needn't
take the trouble, Danny Rugg. And if you try to hit our dog I'll
have something more to say," and Bert stepped boldly forth.

"Huh! I'm not afraid of you," sneered Danny, but he let the club
drop, and walked off with his own particular chums.

"Did Mr. Tetlow say Snap could come?" asked Freddie, anxiously.

"Yes. He said he'd be good to drive away  the cows if they bothered
us," answered Bert, with a smile.

After this little trouble, the Bobbseys and their friends went
on toward the grove in the woods where the picnic was to be held.
There was laughing and shouting, and much fun on the way, in which
Snap shared.

Boys and girls would run to one side or the other of the path to
gather late flowers. Some  would pick up odd stones, or pine cones,
and others would find curious little creeping or   crawling things
which they called their friends to see.

Each teacher had charge of her special class, but she did not look
too closely after them, for it was a day to be happy and free from
care, with no thought of school or lessons.

"We'll make Snap do some tricks when we get to the grove," said
Flossie.

"Yes, we'll have a little circus," added her brother.

"Can he stand on his head?" one girl wanted to know.

"Well, he can turn a somersault, and he's on his head for a second
while he's doing that," explained Freddie, proudly.

"Can he roll over and over?" a boy wanted to know. "We had a dog,
once, that could."

"Snap can, too," said Flossie. "Roll over, Snap!" she ordered, and
the dog, with a bark, did so. The children laughed and some clapped
their hands. They thought Snap was about the best dog they had ever
seen.

No accidents happened on the way to the grove, except that one
little boy tried to cross a brook on some stones, instead of the
plank   which the others used. He slipped in and got his feet wet,
but as the day was warm no one worried much.

Finally the grove was reached. It was in a wooded valley, with
hills on either side, and a cold, clear spring of water at one end,
where everyone could get a drink. And that always seems to be what
is most wanted at a picnic--a drink of water.

Mr. Tetlow called all the children together, before letting them go
off to play, and told them at what time the start for home would be
made, so that they would not be late in coming back to the meeting
place.

"And now," he said, "have the best fun you can. Play anything you
wish--school games if you like--but don't get too warm or excited.
And don't go too far away. You may eat your luncheon when you like."

"Then let's eat ours now," suggested Flossie.  "I'm awful hungry."

"So am I," said Freddie. So Nan and Bert decided that the little
ones might at least have a sandwich and a piece of cake. Nor did
they forget the two little Jones children, who had no lunch. The
Bobbseys were well provided   and soon Sammie and Julia were smiling
and  happy as they sat beneath a tree, eating.

Then came all sorts of games, from tag and  jumping rope, to
blind-man's bluff and  hide-and-seek. Snap was made to do a number
of tricks, much to the amusement of the teachers  and children.
Danny Rugg, and some of the older boys, got up a small baseball
game, and then Danny, with one or two chums, went off in a deeper
part of the woods. Bert heard one of the boys ask another if he
had any matches.

"I know what they're going to do," whispered  Bert to Nan.

"What?" she asked.

"Smoke cigarettes. I saw Danny have a  pack."

Nan was much shocked, but she did not say anything. She was glad
Bert did not smoke.

Bert went off with some boys to see if they could catch any fish
in the deeper part of the brook, about half a mile from the picnic
grove, and Nan, with one or two girls about  her own age, took
a little walk with Flossie and Freddie to gather some late wild
flowers  that grew on the side of one of the hills.

They found a number of the blossoms, and were making pretty bouquets
of them, when Freddie, who had gone on a little ahead of the rest,
came running back so fast that he nearly rolled to the bottom of
the hill, so fat and chubby was he.

"What's the matter? What is it?" asked Nan, catching her brother
just in time.

"Up there!" he gasped. "It's up there!  A great big black one!"

"A big black what--bug?" asked Nan, ready to laugh.

"No, a big black snake! I almost stepped on it."

"A snake! Oh, dear!" screamed the girls.

"Call Mr. Tetlow!" said Flossie. "He's got a book about snakes,
and he'll know what to do."

"Come on!" cried Nellie Parks. "I'm going to run!"

"So am I!" added Grace Lavine. "Oh, it may chase us!"

In fright the children turned, Freddie looking back at the spot
where he thought he had seen the snake.



CHAPTER XI

DANNY'S TRICK


Nan Bobbsey stood for a moment, she hardly knew why. Perhaps she
wanted to see the big snake of which Freddie spoke. It certainly
was not because she liked reptiles.

Then she thought she saw something long and black wiggling toward
her, and, with a little exclamation of fright, she, too, turned
to follow the others. But, as she did so, she saw their dog Snap
come running up the hill, barking and wagging his tail. He seemed
to have lost the children for a moment and to be telling them how
glad he was that he had found them again.

Straight up the hill, toward where Freddie had said the snake was,
rushed Snap.

"Here! Come back! Don't go there!" cried Nan.

"No, don't let him--he may be bitten!" added Flossie. "Come here,
Snap!"

But Snap evidently did not want to mind.  On up the hill he rushed,
pausing now and then to dig in the earth. Nearer and nearer he came
to where the little Bobbsey boy had said the snake was hiding in
the grass and bushes.

"Oh, Snap! Snap!" cried Freddie. "Don't go there!" But Snap kept on,
and Freddie, afraid lest his pet dog be bitten, caught up a stone
and threw it at the place. His aim was pretty good, but instead
of scaring away the snake, or driving back Snap, the fall of the
stone only made Snap more eager to see what was there that his
friends did not want him to get.

With a loud bark he rushed on, and the children, turning to look,
saw something long and black, and seemingly wiggling, come toward
them.

"Oh, the snake! The snake!" cried Nan.

"Run! Run!" shouted Grace.

"Come on!" exclaimed Nellie Parks, in loud tones.

"Freddie! Freddie!" called Flossie, afraid lest her little brother
be bitten.

Snap rushed at the black thing so fiercely that he turned a somersault
down the hill, and rolled over and over. But he did not mind this,
and in an instant was up again. Once more he rushed at the black
object, but the children did not watch to see what happened, for
they were running away as fast as they could.

Then Freddie, anxious as to what would become of Snap if he fought
a snake, looked back. He saw a strange sight. The dog had in his
mouth the long, black thing, and was running with it toward the
Bobbseys and their friends.

"Oh, Nan! Nan! Look! Look!" cried Freddie. "Snap has the snake!
He's bringing it to us!"

"Oh, he mustn't do that!" shouted Nan.  "It may bite him or us."

"Run! Run faster!" shrieked Grace.

But even though it was down hill the children could not run as fast
as Snap, and he soon caught up to them. Running on a little   way
ahead he dropped the black thing. But instead of wiggling or trying
to bite, if was very still.

"It--it's dead," said Nan. "Snap has killed it."

Freddie was braver now. He went closer.

"Why--why!" he exclaimed. "It isn't a snake at all! It's only an old
black root of a tree, all twisted up like a snake! Look, Nan--Flossie!"

Taking courage, the girls went up to look.  Snap stood over it,
wagging his tail as proudly as though he had captured a real snake.
As Freddie had said, it was only a tree root.

"But it did look a lot like a snake in the grass," said the little
fellow.

"It must have," agreed Nan. "It looked like one even when Snap had
it. But I'm glad it wasn't."

"So am I," spoke Grace, and Nellie made a like remark.

Snap frisked about, barking as though to ask praise for what he
had done.

"He is a good dog," observed Freddie, hearing which the animal almost
wagged his   tail off. "And if it had been a real snake he'd have
gotten it; wouldn't you?" went on the little boy.

If barks meant anything, Snap said, with all his heart, that he
certainly would--that not even a dozen snakes could frighten a big
dog like him.

The children soon got over the little scare, and went back up the
hill again to gather more flowers. Snap went with them this time,
running about here and there.

"If there are any real snakes," said Freddie, "he'll scare them
away. But I guess there aren't any."

"I hope not," said Nan, but she and the others kept a sharp lookout.
However, there was no further fright for them, and soon, with their
hands filled with blossoms the Bobbseys and the others went back
to the main party.

Some of the teachers were arranging games with their pupils, and
Nan, Flossie and Freddie joined in, having a good time. Then, when
it was almost time to start for home, Mr. Tetlow blew loudly on a
whistle he carried to call in the stragglers.

"Where's Bert?" asked Flossie, looking about for her older brother.

"I guess he hasn't come back from fishing yet," said Nan. "Come,
Flossie and Freddie, I have a little bit of lunch left, and you
might as well eat it, so you won't be hungry on the way home."

The littler Bobbsey twins were glad enough to do this. Then they
had to have a drink, and Nan went with them to the spring, carrying
a glass tumbler she had brought.

"This isn't like our nice silver cup that the fat lady took in the
train," said Freddie, as he passed the glass of water very carefully
to Flossie.

"No," she said, after she had taken het drink. "I wonder if papa
will ever get that back?"

"He said, the other day," remarked Nan, as she got some water for
Freddie, "that he hadn't heard from the circus yet. But I think
he will. It isn't like Snoop, our cat. We don't know where he is,
but we're pretty sure the fat lady has the cup."

"Poor Snoop!" cried Freddie, as he   thought of the fine black cat.
"Maybe some of the railroad men have him."

"Maybe," agreed Flossie.

When they got back to where the teachers and principal were, Bert
and the boys who had gone fishing had returned. They had one or
two small fish.

"I'm going to have mamma cook them for my supper," said Bert,
proudly holding up those he had caught.

"They're too small--there won't be anything  left of them after
they're cleaned," said Nan, who was quite a little housekeeper.

"Oh, yes, there will," declared her brother "I'm going fishing
again to-morrow, and  catch more."

Mr. Tetlow was going about among the teachers, asking if all their
pupils were on hand, ready for the march back. Danny Rugg and some
of his close friends were missing.

"They ought not to have gone off so far." said Mr. Tetlow, as he
blew several times on the whistle. Soon Danny and the other boys
were seen coming from a distant part of the   grove. One of the
boys, Harry White, looked very pale, and not at all well.

"What is the matter?" asked Mr. Tetlow, and he looked curiously
at Danny and the others, and sniffed the air as though he smelled
something.

"I--I guess I ate too many--apples," said Harry, in a faint voice.
"We found an orchard, and---"

"I told you not to go into orchards, and take fruit," said Mr.
Tetlow, severely.

"The man said we could," remarked Danny.  "We asked him."

"Then you should not have eaten so many," said Mr. Tetlow. "I can't
see how ripe apples which are the only kind there are this time of
year--could make you ill unless you ate too many," and he looked
at Danny and Harry sharply. But they did not answer.

The march home was not as joyful as the one to the grove had been,
for most of the children were tired. But they all had had a fine
time, and there were many requests of the teachers to have another
picnic the next week.

"Oh, we can't have them every week, my dears," said Miss Franklin,
who had charge of Flossie, Freddie and some others in the  kindergarten
class. "Besides, it will soon be too cool to go out in the woods.
In a little while we will have ice and snow, and Thanksgiving and
Christmas."

"That will be better than picnics," said Freddie. "I'm going to
have a new sled."

"I'm going to get a new doll, that can walk," declared Flossie,
and then she and the others talked about the coming holidays.

At school several days in the following week little was talked
of except the picnic, the snake scare from the old tree root, the
catching of the fish, and the illness of Harry White, for that boy
was quite sick by the time town was reached, and Mr. Tetlow called
a carriage to send him home.

"And I can guess what made him sick too," said Bert to Nan, privately.

"What?" she asked.

"Smoking cigarettes."

"How do you know?"

"Because when I and some of the other   fellows were fishing we
saw Danny and his crowd smoking in the woods. They offered us some,
but we wouldn't take any. Harry said he was sick then, but Danny
only laughed at him."

"That Danny Rugg is a bad boy," said Nan, severely. But she was
soon to see how much meaner Danny could be.

Workmen had recently finished putting some new water pipes, and
a place for the children to drink, in the school yard, and one
morning, speaking to the whole school, Mr.  Tetlow made a little
speech, warning the children not to play with the faucets, and
spray the water about, as some had done, in fun.

"Whoever is caught playing with the faucets in the yard after this
will be severely punished," he said.

As it happened, Flossie and Freddie were not at school that day,
Freddie having a slight sore throat. His mother kept him home, and
Flossie would not go without him. So they did not hear the warning,
and Bert and Nan did not think to tell the smaller children of it.

Two days later Freddie was well enough to   go back to class, and
Flossie accompanied him.  It was at the morning recess when, as
Freddie went to get a drink at one of the new faucets, Danny saw
him. A gleam of mischief came into the eyes of the school bully.

"Want to see the water squirt, Freddie?" asked Danny. "That's a
new kind of faucet.  It squirts awful far."

"Does it?" asked Freddie, innocently.  "How do you make it?" He
had no idea it was forbidden fun.

"Just put your thumb over the hole, and turn the water on," directed
Danny. "You, too, Flossie. It won't hurt you."

Danny looked all around, thinking he was unobserved as he gave
this bad advice. Naturally, Freddie and Flossie, being so young,
suspected nothing. They covered the opening of the faucet with
their thumbs, and turned on the water. It spurted in a fine spray,
and they laughed in glee. That they wet each other did not matter.

Danny, seeing the success of his trick, walked off as he saw Mr.
Tetlow coming.  The Bobbsey twins were so intent on spurting   the
water that they did not observe the principal until he was close
to them. Then they started as he called out sharply:

"Freddie! Flossie! Stop that! You know that it is forbidden! Go to
my office at once and I will come and see you later, You will be
punished for this!"

With tears in their eyes the little twins obeyed. They could not
understand it.



CHAPTER XII

THE CHILDREN'S PARTY


When Mr. Tetlow, a little later, entered his office he found
Flossie and Freddie standing by one of the windows, looking out on
the other children marching to their classrooms.  They had cried
a little, but had  stopped now.

"I am very sorry to have to punish you two twins," said the
principal, "but I had given strict orders that no one was to play
with that water. Why did you do it?"

"Because," answered Flossie.

"Danny Rugg told us to," added Freddle.  "He said it was a new kind
of faucet."

"Now be careful," warned Mr. Tetlow.  Often before he had heard
pupils say that someone else told them to break certain rules.
"Are you sure about this?" he asked.

"Yes, sir," said Freddie, eagerly, "Danny told us to do it."

"But didn't you know it was forbidden?"

"No, sir," answered Flossie.

"Why, I spoke of it in all the rooms."

"We wasn't here yesterday or the day before," said Flossie. "Freddie
was sick."

Mr. Tetlow began to understand.

"I will look this up," he said, "and if I find---"

He was interrupted by a boy from one of the higher classes coming
in with a note from his teacher. She wanted a new box of chalk.

"When you go back, George," said the principal to the boy, as he
gave him what the teacher had sent for, "go to Miss Hegan's class,
and have her send Danny Rugg to me.  Flossie and Freddie say he
told them to spray water with one of the new faucets."

"Yes, sir, he did!" exclaimed George. "I heard him, but I didn't
think they would do it. He did tell them."

At this unexpected information Mr. Tetlow was much surprised.

"If that is the case, Danny is the one to be punished," he said.
"I am sorry, Flossie and Freddie, that I suspected you. You may go
back to your class, and I will write your teacher a note, saying you
may go out half an hour ahead of the others to make up for coming
to my office. But, after this, no matter whether anyone tells you
or not, don't spray the water."

"No, sir, we won't!" exclaimed the Bobbsey twins,  now happy again.

Danny Rugg was punished by being kept in after school for several
days, and Mr. Tetlow sent home a note to his father, explaining
what a mean trick the bully had played.

"I wish I had heard Danny telling you that--just to get you in
trouble," said Bert, when he was told of what had happened. "I'd
have fixed him."

"Oh, don't get into any more fights," begged Nan.

Bert did not come to blows with Danny over this latest trouble,
but he did tell the bully, very plainly, what he thought of him,
and said if Danny ever did a thing like that again that he would
not get off so easily.

"Oh. I'm not afraid of you," sneered Danny.

Lessons and fun made up many school days   for the Bobbsey twins.
And, as the Fall went on, lessons grew a little harder. Even Freddie
and Flossie, young as they were, had little tasks to do that kept
them busy. But they liked their school and the teacher, and many
were the queer stories they brought home of the happenings in the
classroom.

It was now toward the end of October, and the weather was getting
cooler, though during the day it was still very warm at times. The
twins, as did their friends, looked forward to the coming of Winter
and the Christmas holidays.

Thanksgiving, too, would be a time of rejoicing and of good things
to eat, and this occasion was to be made more of than usual this
time, for some boys and girls the Bobbseys  had met in the country
and at the seashore  were to be invited to spend a few days in
Lakeport.

But before this there was another event down on the program. This
was to be a party for Flossie and Freddie, the occasion being their
joint birthdays.

"And we're going to have candy!" cried   Freddie, when the arrangements
were talked over.

"And ice cream"--added Flossie--"a whole freezer full; aren't we,
mamma?"

"Well, I guess a small freezer full won't be any too much," said
Mrs. Bbbbsey, smiling.  "But I hope none of you eat enough to make
yourselves ill."

"We won't," promised Freddie and Flossie.

There were busy times in the home of the twins the next few days,
for though Nan and Bert's birthdays were not to be observed, still
they were to have their part in the jolly  celebration.

Invitations were sent out, on little sheets of note paper, adorned
with flowers, and in cute little envelopes. Flossie and Freddie
took them to the post-office themselves.

"My! what a lot of mail!" exclaimed the clerk at the stamp window,
as he saw the children dropping the invitations into the slot.
"Uncle Sam will have to get some extra men to carry that around,
I guess. What's it all about?"

"We're going to have a party," said Flossie, proudly.

Just then Danny Rugg came into the post office.

"A party; eh?" he sneered. "I'm coming to it, I am; and I'm going
to have two plates of ice cream."

"You are not!" cried Freddie. "Our mamma wouldn't let a boy like
you come to our party."

"'Specially not after what you did--telling us to play in the
water," added Freddie. "You can't come!"

"Yes, I can," insisted Danny, just to tease the children.

For a moment Flossie and Freddie almost believed him, he seemed so
much in earnest about it.

"You can't come--you haven't any invitation," said Flossie, suddenly.

"I'll take one of those you put in the box," went on the mean boy.

"He won't dare--will he?" and Freddie appealed to the mail clerk.

"I should say not!" said the man at the   stamp window. "If he does
Uncle Sam will be after him."

"Well, I'm coming to that party all the same!" insisted Danny, with
a grin on his freckled face.

Flossie and Freddie were so worried about him that they told their
mother, but she assured them that Danny would not come to spoil
their fun.

Finally the afternoon and evening of the party arrived, for the
little folks were to come just before supper, play some games, eat,
and then stay until about nine o'clock.

Flossie and Freddie had been dressed in their prettiest clothes,
and Nan and Bert also attired for the affair. The ice cream had
come from the store, all packed in ice and salt, and Dinah had set
it out on the back stoop, where it would be cooler.

Dinah was very busy that day. She hurried about here and there,
helping Mrs. Bobbsey.  Sam, her husband, also had plenty to do.

"I 'clar t' gracious goodness!" Dinah exclaimed, "I suah will get
thin ef dish yeah keeps up! I ain't set down a minute dis' blessed
day. My feet'll drop off soon I 'spect."

"Will they, really, Dinah?" asked Freddie.  "And can we watch 'em
fall?"

"Bress yo' hearts, honeys!" exclaimed the colored cook, "I didn't
mean it jest dat way.  But suffin's suah gwine t' happen--I feels
it in mah bones!"

And something was to happen, though not exactly what Dinah expected.

Finally all was in readiness for the guests.  The good things to
eat were in the kitchen, all but the ice cream, which, as I have
said, was out on the back porch. Flossie and Freddie had gone to
the front door nearly a dozen times to see if any of the guests
were in sight.  Snap, as a special favor, had been allowed to stay
in the house that afternoon, for the twins were going to make him
do tricks for their friends.

There came a ring at the door bell.

"Here they come! Here they come!" cried Flossie.

"Let me answer, too," cried Freddie, and they both hurried through
the front hall to greet the first guest at their party.



CHAPTER XIII

AN UNPLEASANT SURPRISE


Quickly, after the first guests had arrived came the others. Nellie
Parks, Grace Lavine friends of Nan, and Willie Porter and his sister
Sadie, came first, and Freddie and Flossie let them in, the Porter
children being some of their best-liked playmates.

All the children wore their best clothes, and for a time they were
a bit stiff and unnatural, standing shyly about in corners, against
the walls, or sitting on chairs.

The boys seemed to all crowd together in one part of the room, and
the girls in another.  Flossie and Freddie, Nan and Bert, were so
busy answering the door that they did not notice this at first.

But Aunt Sarah, their mother's sister, who had come over to help
Mrs. Bobbsey, looking   in the parlor and library, saw what the
trouble was.

"My!" she cried, with a good-natured laugh, as she noticed how
"stiff" the children were. "This will never do. You're not that way
at school, I don't believe. Come, be lively. Mix up--play games.
Pretend this is recess at school, and make as much noise as you
like."

For a moment the boys and girls did not know what to think of this
invitation. But just then Snap, the circus dog, came in the room,
and, with a bark of welcome, he turned a somersault, and then
marched around on his hind legs, carrying a broomstick like a
gun--pretending he was a soldier. Bert had given it to him.

Then how the children laughed and clapped their hands! And Snap barked
so loudly--for he liked applause--that there was noise enough for
even jolly Aunt Sarah. After that there was no trouble. The boys
and girls talked together and soon they were playing games, and
having the best kind of fun.

For some of the games simple prizes had   been offered and it was
quite exciting toward the end to see who would win. Flossie and
Freddie thought they had never had such a good time in all their
lives. Nan and Bert were enjoying themselves, too, with their
friends, who were slightly older than those who had been asked for
the younger Bobbsey twins.

"Going to Jerusalem," was one game that created lots of enjoyment.
A number of chairs were placed in the centre of the room,  and the
boys and girls marched around them while Mrs. Bobbsey played the
piano. But there was one less chair than there were players,  so
that when the music would suddenly stop, which was a signal for
each one who could, to sit down, someone was sure to be left. Then
this one had to stay out of the game.

Then a chair would be taken away, so as always to have one less
than the number of players, and the game went on. It was great fun,
scrambling to see who would get a seat, and not be left without
one, and finally there but one chair left, while Grace Lavine and
John Blake marched about. Mrs. Bobbsey kept playing quite some
time, as the two went around and around that one chair. Everyone
was laughing, wondering who would get a seat and so win the game,
when, all at once, Mrs. Bobbsey stopped the music. She had her back
turned so it would be perfectly fair.

Grace and John made a rush for the one chair, but Grace got to it
first, and so she won.

"Well, I'm glad you did, anyhow," said John, politely.

Other games were "peanut races" and "potato scrambles." In the
first each player had a certain number of peanuts and they had to
start at one end of the room, and lay the nuts at equal distances
apart across to the other side, coming back each time to their pile
of peanuts to get one.

Sometimes a boy would slip, he was in such a hurry, or a girl would
drop her peanuts, and this made fun and confusion.

Nan won this race easily.

In the potato scramble several rows of potatoes were made across
the room. Each player was given a large spoon, and whoever first
took up all his or her potatoes in the spoon, one at a time, and
piled them up at the far end of the room, won the game. In this
Charley Mason was successful, and won the prize--a pretty little
pin for his tie.

The afternoon wore on, and, almost before the children realized it
the hour for supper had arrived. They were not sorry, either, for
they all had good appetites.

"Come into the dining room, children," invited Mrs. Bobbsey.

And Oh! such gasps of pleased surprise as were heard when the children
saw what had been prepared for them! For Mr. and Mrs Bobbsey, while
not going to any great expense, and not making the children's party
too fanciful, had made it beautiful and simple.

The long table was set with dishes and pretty glasses. There were
flowers in the centre, and at each end, and also blooms in vases about
the room. Then, from the centre chandelier to the four corners of
the table, were strings of green smilax in which had been entwined
carnations of various colors.

The lights were softly glowing on the pretty   scene, and there
were prettily shaded candles to add to the effect. But what caught
the eyes of all the children more than anything else were two large
cakes--one at either end of the table.

On each cake burned five candles, and on one cake was the name
"Flossie," while the other was marked "Freddie." The names were in
pink icing on top of the white frosting that covered the birthday
cakes.

"Oh! Oh! Oh!" could be heard all about the room. "Isn't that too
sweet for anything!"


"I guess they are sweet!" piped up Freddie in his shrill little
voice, "'cause Dinah put lots of sugar in 'em; didn't you, Dinah?"
and he looked at Dinah, who had thrust her laughing, black,
good-natured face into the dining room door.

"Dat's what I did, honey! Dat's what I did!" she exclaimed. "If
anybody's got a toofache he'd better not eat any ob dem cakes,
'cause dey suah am sweet."

How the children laughed at that!

"All ready, now, children, sit down," said   Mrs. Bobbsey. "Your
names are at your plates."

There was a little confusion getting them all seated, as those on
one side of the table found that their name cards were on the other
side. But Flossie and Freddie, and Nan and Bert, helped the guests
to find their proper places and soon everyone was in his or her
chair.

"Can't Snap sit with us, too?" asked Freddie, looking about for
his pet, who had done all his tricks well that evening.

"No, dear," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "Snap is a good dog, but we don't
want him in the dining room when we are eating. It gives him bad
habits."

"Then can't I send him out some cakes?" asked Flossie, for Snap
had almost as large a "sweet tooth" as the children themselves.

"Yes, as it is your birthday, I suppose you can give him some of
your good things," said Mamma Bobbsey.

"Here, Dinah!" called Freddie to the cook, as he piled a plate full
of cakes. "Please give these to Snap."

"Land sakes goodness me alive!" cried Dinah. "Dat suah am queer.
Feedin' a dog jest laik a human at a party. I can't bring mahself
to it, nohow."

"I'll take 'em out to him," said her husband.

Then the feast began, and such a feast at it was! Mrs. Bobbsey,
knowing how easily the delicate stomachs of children can be upset,
had wisely selected the food and sweets, and she saw to it that no
one ate too much, though she was gently suggestive about it instead
of ordering.

"Don't eat too much," advised Freddie to some of the friends who
sat near him.  "We've got a lot of ice cream coming. Save room for
that."

"That's so--I almost forgot," spoke Jimmie Black.

A little later Mrs. Bobbsey said to Dinah:

"I think you may bring in the cream now, and I will help you serve
it."

"Yes, ma'am."

"Oh, goodie!" cried Freddie. "Ice cream's coming!" and he waved
his spoon above his head.

"Freddie--Freddie" said his mother, in gentle reproof.

Dinah went out on the back stoop, looked around and came running
back to the dining room, where Mrs. Bobbsey was. Dinah's eyes were
big with wonder and surprise.

"Mrs. Bobbsey! Mrs. Bobbsey!" she cried.  "Suffin's done gone an'
happened!"

"What is it?" asked Mamma Bobbsey, quickly. "Is anyone hurt?"

"No'm, but dat ice cream freezer hab jest gone and walked right
off de back stoop, an' it ain't dere at all, nohow! De ice cream
is all gone!"

The children looked at one another with pained surprise showing on
their faces.

The ice cream was gone!



CHAPTER XIV

A COAT BUTTON


Astonishment, surprise and disappointment  were so great for a few
seconds after  the discovery that the best part of the party--the
ice cream--was gone, that no one knew  what to say. Then Flossie
burst out with:

"Are you sure, Dinah? Maybe it fell off the porch."

"Deed an' it didn't, honey gal. I done looked eberywhar fo' dat
freezer, an' it's jest gone complete."

"Maybe Snap took it," suggested Freddie, as a last hope. "Once he
took my book and hid it. Snap, did you take the ice cream?"

Snap barked and wagged his tail, looking rather pained at being
asked such a question.

"No, indeedy, Snap couldn't take off a big freezer like dat,"
declared Dinah. "It wasn't Snap."

"Then who could it have been?" asked Nan. Everyone had stopped eating
while this talk went on. "Who could have taken our ice cream?"

"Dat's what I don't know, honey," answered the colored cook. "Dat's
why I comed in heah to tell yo' mamma. I 'spects, Mrs. Bobbsey,
dat we'd better phonograph fo' de police."

"Phonograph--I guess you mean telephone;  don't you, Dinah?" asked
Mrs. Bobbsey, with a smile.

"Yes'm, dat's what I done mean. Or else maybe we kin send mah man
Sam down to de Station house fo' 'em."

"No, I had better telephone, in case it is necessary. But perhaps
I had better take a look out there. Perhaps the man from the store
may have set the cream off to one side."

"No'm, he didn't do dat. I took p'ticlar notice where he set it.
Dere's a wet ring-mark on de porch where de freezer was, 'count
of de salty water leakin' out. An' dat wet ring-mark am all dat's
left ob de cream, dar now!"  and Dinah, standing with her hands
on her   hips, looked at the startled children, whose mouths were
just ready for the ice cream.

"Well, I'm going to have a look, anyhow," said Bert. "Come on,
Charley. Maybe, after all, that Danny Rugg is up to some of his
tricks."

"I'm with you, Bert!" cried Charley.  "But we ought to have some
sort of a light.  It's dark out."

"I'll get my little pocket electric light," said Bert. He had one,
and it gave a good light.  He went to his room for it.

Flossie and Freddie did not know what to do. That their lovely
party should be spoiled by the missing ice cream seemed too bad to
be true.

"Mamma, if we can't find this ice cream, can't we buy more?" Flossie
wanted to know "The girls just want some--so bad!"

"And the boys, too," added Freddie.

"Oh, I guess we'll manage to get some for you, if we can't find
this," answered Mrs.  Bobbsey. "We may have to wait a little while
for it, though."

"Well, we'll have a look," said Bert, as he   came down with his
little electric lamp. Some of his own particular chums, including
Charley Mason, followed him out to the back porch.  Dinah was in
her kitchen, looking behind tables, under the sink, in the pantry
and all about, hoping that, somehow or other, the freezer might
have gotten in there. But it was not to be found.

"Well, here's where it stood," said Bert, as he looked at the
round, wet mark on the porch where the freezer had set. He flashed
his torch on it, and then cried out:

"And look, boys, here are some spots of water that must have leaked
from the wooden tub that holds the tin freezer. See, the water has
dripped down on each step! This is the way they carried off our
ice cream."

The others could see a trail of water drops leading from the stoop
down the steps and along the stone walk at the side of the Bobbsey
house.

"Now we can follow and see just where they took our cream!" cried
Bert. "This is the way Indians used to trail the white settlers."

"Let me come!" cried Freddie, hearing this. "I want to help hunt
whoever took our ice cream."

"No, you'd better stay back there," said Bert.

"Why?" his little brother wanted to know.

"Because it might be--tramps--who have it, and there'd be trouble,"
said Bert.

"Wait until I get my cap pistol!" cried Freddie. "I can scare a
tramp with that."

"No, you go back there, and stay in the house," went on Bert. "If
we find tramps have it, we'll get a policeman."

"It might be that a tramp did steal up on the steps, and lift off
the freezer," said Mrs.  Bobbsey. "Bert, be careful," she called
to her son, who set off in the darkness with his chums, flashing
his electric light from time to time.

"I'll look out!" he called back.

For some distance it was easy to see which way the ice cream freezer
had been carried, for there were the marks of the dripping water.
Then these stopped about the middle of the sidewalk, and seemed to
go over in the grass.

"We can't see 'em now," spoke Charley.  "That's too bad."

"Well, we'll keep on this way in a straight line," suggested Bert.
"Maybe they took the freezer down back of our berry bushes to eat
the cream."

"I hope they left some," said John Anderson, in a mournful sort of
voice.

Hurrying on after Bert, the boys looked eagerly about in the
darkness for a sign of the missing ice cream. There were not many
chances of them finding it, for though Bert's electric torch gave
a brilliant light for a short distance, it was not very large.

"What's over there?" asked Charley, pausing and pointing to a patch
of blackness.

"An old barn, that we used to use before we had our new one built,"
answered Bert. "Why?"

"Well, maybe they took the ice cream in there to eat it," went on
Charley. "Is it open?"

"Yes, it's never locked. Say, we'll take a look in there, anyhow!"
exclaimed Bert "Come on, fellows!"

He led the way, the others following. As they approached the big,
deserted barn Frank Black exclaimed in a whisper:

"I see a light!"

"So do I!" added Will Evans.

"And it's moving around," spoke Mason.

"It's them, all right," decided Bert. "The tramps who took our ice
cream are in there, all right!"

"What makes you think they are tramps?" asked Will.

"Well, I'm not sure, of course," admitted Bert. "But we can soon
tell. Come on!"

"Are you--are you going up there?" asked Charley.

"Sure! Why not? I think we can scare 'em away."

The other boys hesitated. Some of them were older than Bert, and
when they saw that he was determined to go on, they made up their
minds that they would not let him go alone.

"All right--go ahead--we're with you," said Charley.

Bert and the others advanced. As they walked on they could see the
light in the barn more plainly. And, as they stopped for a moment
they could hear voices talking in low tones.

"More than one," whispered Charley.

"Yes, three or four," said Bert.

They walked ahead again, when suddenly Charley stepped on a stick
that broke with a loud snap. In an instant the light in the barn
went out, and then could be heard the footsteps of several persons
running away.

"There they are!" shouted Bert, dashing forward. "Come on, fellows!
We'll get 'em now!"

"That's right!" cried Charley. "Come on, surround 'em!"

Of course this was all said for effect, as the boys had no idea
of trying to capture the tramps, or whoever it was that had taken
the ice cream. But Bert thought that they could scare the thieves
away, for the latter could not tell, in the darkness, how many,
nor who were after them.

Flashing his light, Bert dashed ahead, followed by the others. Into
the big barn they went, and, just as they entered the main part,
they had a glimpse of someone running out of a side door.

"There they go!" cried Charley. "We can catch 'em!"

"No, let 'em go," advised Bert. "Here's our ice cream. Let's see
if there's any left.  If there is we'll take it back to the party.
We might get into trouble if we went after those fellows."

By the gleam of the electric light they could all see the freezer
of cream in the middle of the barn floor, near some upturned boxes.
A hasty look showed that only a little had been taken out.

"There's plenty left!" said Bert. "We surprised 'em just in time.
Now let's get back to the house."

It was rather a triumphant procession that went back to the home
of the Bobbsey twins, carrying the recovered ice cream freezer.
And such a shout of delight from Flossie, Freddie and the others
as greeted the boys!

"Is there any left?" asked Freddie.

"Plenty," said Bert.

"And did you catch the bad tramps?" Flossie wanted to know.

"They got away," her brother said. "But never mind, we scared them
before they had a chance to eat much."

"I 'clar t' goodness sakes alive!" gasped Dinah, when she saw the
ice cream freezer carried into her kitchen, "yo' am suttinly a
smart boy, Massa Bert--dat's what yo' suah am!"

"Oh, well, the others helped me find it," said Bert, modestly.

As Dinah and Mrs. Bobbsey were dishing out the cream, the colored
cook uttered a cry.

"Look out!" she exclaimed. "Dere's suffin black in dere, Mrs.
Bobbsey. Maybe it's a stone dem careless tramps put in. Wait 'till
I gits it out."

With a long-handled spoon. Dinah fished for the black thing, and got
it. She put it in a dish, with a small portion of the ice cream,
and when the latter had melted, Bert, who was inspecting the object,
gave a cry of surprise.

"Why, it's a button--a coat button!" he exclaimed.

"A button? How in the world could that get in there?" asked his
mother. "Unless you boys dropped it in when you were carrying the
cream."

Bert and the other boys quickly looked at their coats. There were
no buttons missing.

"An' it suah wasn't in when de cream come heah," said Dinah. "I
knows, fo I took off de kiver an' looked in t' see how hard it were
froze. Dat button got in since!"

"Yes, and I think I know how, too!" exclaimed Bert.

"How?" asked Freddie.

"It was dropped in by whoever took the freezer. They must have been
eating the cream right out of the can, and maybe they dropped the
button in. I'll save it."

"What for?" asked Nan, wonderingly.

"I may be able to find out by it, who took the freezer," went on
Bert. "I'm going to look at the coats of all the fellows in school
next week, and if I find one with the button like this missing,
I'll know what to think."

"Be careful not to accuse anyone wrongly," cautioned his mother.

Bert put the button carefully away, and the party guests were soon
eating their ice cream, and discussing the disappearance of the
freezer and the finding of it by the boys. Then with the playing of
more games, and the singing of songs, the affair came to a close,
and good-nights were said.

"We've had a lovely time!" said the boys and girls to Flossie and
Freddie, as they left.

"Glad you did--come again," invited the small Bobbsey twins.

Even Snap seemed to have enjoyed himself.  And when the house was
settling down to quietness for the night, and when Dinah and Mrs.
Bobbsey were picking up the dishes, the circus dog marched around
like a soldier, with a stick for a gun, and one of the fancy caps,
that came in the "surprise" packets, on his head.

When Bert went to bed that night he laid the button found in the
ice cream where he would be sure to see it in the morning.

"I'm going to find out whose coat that came off of," he said to
himself.

The little Bobbsey twins slept late the next   morning, and so did
Nan, but Bert was up early.

"I'm going over to the barn, and see if I can tell by looking around
it, how many were at our freezer," he said.

But there was nothing there to help him in his search. Some old
boxes, placed in a sort of circle, showed where the ones who had
taken the ice cream, had rested to eat it.

"They must have had spoons with them," said Bert to himself, as he
looked about.  "That shows they came all prepared to take our ice
cream. So they must have known it was going to be here. Well, I'll
see whose coat has a button missing."

It took Bert some days to look carefully at the coats of the various
boys in school, who might have been guilty of taking the cream.
For a time he had no luck, and then, one afternoon, as he noticed
Danny Rugg wearing a coat he seldom had on, Bert walked slowly up
to him, clasping the button, with his hand, in  his pocket.

His heart beast fast as he noticed that from the middle of Danny's
coat a button was gone.  And a glance at the others showed Bert
that they were just like the one found in the ice cream freezer.

"I see you've lost a button, Danny," said Bert, slowly.

"Hey?" exclaimed the bully, with a start.

"I see you've lost a button," repeated Bert.

"Yes, I guess it dropped off. Maybe it's home somewhere," said
Danny.

"No, it isn't--it's here!" exclaimed Bert, suddenly holding the
button out to him.



CHAPTER XV

THANKSGIVING


For a moment Danny Rugg just stared at Bert. Then the bully swallowed
a sort of lump that came in his throat, and said:

"That isn't my button."

"Isn't it?" asked Bert, politely. "Why, it just matches the others
on your coat, and it's got a few threads in the holes, and there
are some threads in your coat, just where the button was pulled
off. I guess it's your button, all right, Danny."

Danny did not say anything. He looked from the button to Bert, and
then at the space on his coat where a button should have been, but
where one was missing.

"Well--well," he stammered. "Maybe it is off my coat, but--but how
did you get it, Bert Bobbsey?"

"I found it," was the answer. "Don't you want it back?"

He held it out to Danny, who took it slowly.

"Well," went on Bert, with a queer little smile at his enemy, "why
don't you ask me _where_ I found it, Danny?"

"Huh! I don't care where you found it.  I s'pose you picked it
up around the school yard, where I lost it, playing tag with the
fellows."

"No, you didn't lose it there," went on Bert, still smiling. "You
have another guess coming, Danny."

"Pooh! I don't care where you found it," and Danny was about to
turn away.

"Wait a minute," said Bert. "Suppose I say that this button was
found in our freezer of ice cream, that you and some other boys took
off our stoop the night of Flossie's and Freddie's party, Danny?
What about that?"

"It isn't--I didn't--you can't prove anything about me, Bert Bobbsey,
and if you go  around telling that I took your ice cream, I--I---"

But Danny did not know what else to say.  He was confused and his
face was white and red by turns, for he realized that Bert had good
proof of what he said.

"Better go slow," advised Bert, calmly. "I don't intend to go around
telling what you did.  I just want to let you know that I am sure
you took our ice cream."

"I--I---" began Danny. "You're only trying to fool me!" he exclaimed.
"That button wasn't in it at all!"

"Wasn't it?" asked Bert, quietly. "Well, you just ask Charley Mason,
or any of the fellows who were at the party, what we found in the
freezer, and see what they say."

Danny had nothing to reply to this. Thrusting the button in his
pocket he walked off.  Bert was sure he had found the boy who had
taken the ice cream.

Later, from a boy who had been friends with Danny for some time,
but whose father, afterward, decided that his son was getting into
bad company, and made him cease playing with the school bully,
Bert learned that Danny had planned to take the ice cream freezer
off the porch.

He and several boys did this, carrying it to the old barn. They
had provided themselves with large spoons, and were having a good
time, eating the cream, when they heard the approach of Bert and
his friends, and fled, leaving the cream behind.

It was during a dispute as to who should have the right to first
dip into the freezer that Danny and a boy named Jake Harkness had
a struggle, and in this Danny lost a button which fell into the ice
cream without anyone knowing it. The coat Danny wore that night he
did not put on again for some time, but when he did Bert saw the
missing button.

Danny knew that he had been found out, and for a time he had little
to say. But Bert was boy enough not to be able to keep altogether
quiet over his discovery. From time to time he would ask Danny:

"Lost any more buttons, lately?"

"You let me alone!" Danny would reply,  surlily.

Of course this made talk, the boys wanting to know what it meant,
and at last the story came out. This made Danny so angry that he
picked several quarrels with Bert. On his part Bert tried to avoid
them, but at last he could stand it no longer, and he and Danny
came to blows again, Danny striking first.

Bert had been brought up with the idea that fighting, unless it
could absolutely be avoided, was not gentlemanly, but in this case
he could not get out of it.

He and Danny went at each other with their fists clenched, a crowd
of other boys looking on, and urging one or the other to do their
best, for both Danny and Bert had friends, though Bert was the best
liked.

Danny struck Bert several times, and Bert hit back, once hitting
Danny in the eye. Bert's lip was cut, and when the fight was over
both  boys did not look very nice. But everyone said Bert had the
best of it.

"Oh, Bert!" exclaimed his mother, when he came home after the
trouble with Danny.  "You've been fighting!"

"Yes, mother, I have," he admitted. "I'm sorry, but I couldn't help
it. Danny Rugg hit me first. I couldn't run away, could I?"

It was a hard question for a mother to answer. No mother likes to
think her son a coward, and that was what the boys would have called
Bert had he not stood up to Danny.

"I--I just had to!" continued Bert. "And  I beat him, anyhow,
mother."

Mrs. Bobbsey cried a little, and then she  made the best of it, and
bathed Bert's cut lip  and bruised forehead. She told his father
about it, too, and Mr. Bobbsey, after hearing  the account, asked:

"Who won?"

"Well, Bert says he did?"

"Um. Well, I've no doubt but what he did.  He's getting quite
strong."

"Oh, Richard!" exclaimed Mrs. Bobbsey,  in dismay.

"Well, boys will--er--have their little  troubles," said her husband.
"I'm sorry Bert  had to fight, but I'm glad he wasn't a coward.
But he mustn't fight any more."

Then Mr. Bobbsey sat down to read the evening paper.

The weather was getting cooler. Several nights there had been heavy
frosts, and for some time the papers had been saying that it   was
going to snow, but the white flakes did not sift down from the sky.

Thanksgiving was approaching. It was the end of the Fall term of
school, and there were to be examinations to see who would pass
into the next higher classes for the Winter season.

Of course in the case of Freddie and Flossie, who were still in the
kindergarten, the examinations were not very hard, but they were
soon to go into the regular primary class, where they would learn
to read. And both the twins were very anxious for this. Bert and
Nan had somewhat harder lessons to do, and they had to answer more
difficult questions in the examinations.

But I am glad to say that all of the Bobbsey twins were promoted,
and Freddie and Flossie came home very proud to tell that when
they went back again, after the Thanksgiving holidays, they would
be in the primer reading book.

And such preparations as went on for  Thanksgiving! Dinah was busy
from morning  until night, and when the little twins made  inquiries
about the turkey they were to have.  Mr. Bobbsey said it would be
the biggest he could buy.

"An' I'se gwine t' stuff him wif chestnuts an' oysters," said Dinah.
"I tells you what, chilluns, yo' all am suttinly gwine to hab one
grand feed."

"I wish everybody was," said Flossie, a bit wistfully. "I hope our
cat Snoop, wherever he is, has plenty of milk, and some nice turkey
bones."

"I guess he will have," said Mamma Bobbsey, gently.

"I hope all the poor children in our school have enough to eat,"
said Freddie. "Mr. Tetlow  said for us to bring what we could for
them."

"And you never told me!" exclaimed Mrs.  Bobbsey. "Why didn't you?
I would have sent something."

Neither Bert nor Nan had thought to mention at home that a collection
would be taken it the school for the poor families in the town.
But as soon as Mrs. Bobbsey heard what Freddie said she telephoned
to her husband. Mr.  Bobbsey went to see Mr. Tetlow, and from   him
learned that there were a number of families  who would not have
a very happy Thanksgiving.

Then the lumber merchant gave certain orders to his grocer and
butcher, and if a number of poor people were not well supplied with
food that gladsome season, it was not the fault of Mr. Bobbsey.

But I am getting a little ahead of my story.  A few days before
Thanksgiving Mrs. Bobbsey,  with a letter in her hand, came to
where the four twins were in the sitting room, talking over what
they wanted for Christmas.

"Guess who are coming to spend Thanksgiving with us!" cried Mamma
Bobbsey, as she waved the letter in the air.

"Uncle Bobbsey!" guessed Nan.

"Uncle Minturn," said Bert.

The little twins guessed other friends and relatives, and finally
Mrs. Bobbsey said:

"Yes, your Uncle Bobbsey and Uncle Minturn are coming, and so are
your aunts, and Cousin Harry, Cousin Dorothy and also Hal Bingham,
whom you met at the seashore."

"Oh, what a jolly Thanksgiving it will be!" cried the Bobbsey twins.



CHAPTER XVI

MR. TETLOW ASKS QUESTIONS


Thanksgiving was celebrated in the Bobbsey  home as it never had
been before. I am afraid if I told you all that went on, of the
big, brown-roasted turkey, of the piles of crisp celery, of the
pumpkin and mince pies, of the nuts and candies, of the big dishes
of cranberry  sauce, and the plum pudding that Dinah carried in
high above her head--I am afraid if I told you of all these things
there would be trouble.

For I am sure you would all be writing to me to ask where the
Bobbseys lived, so that you might go and see them, and perhaps spend
Christmas with them. Not that they would not be glad to have you,
but they have so many friends that their house is sure to be filled
over the holidays.

So I will simply say that there was the grandest time ever, and
let it go at that.  Uncle and Aunt Bobbsey--Uncle and Aunt Minturn,
from the country and seashore, came, with Cousin Dorothy and Cousin
Harry.  Then, also, Hal Bingham arrived, and the Bobbsey twins took
great delight in showing their former playmates about Lakeport.

"Isn't it lonesome at the seashore now?" asked Nan of Dorothy, as
she walked with her cousin about the busy streets of the town.

"Not at all," answered Dorothy. "The sea is never lonesome for me.
It always seems to be telling me something, Winter or Summer."


"I love it in the Summer," said Nan, "but in the Winter it seems
so cold and cruel."

"That is because you do not know it as well as I do," said Dorothy.

Hal, Harry, and Bert had fine times together.  There was no skating,
and the little flurry of snow there had been was not enough for
coasting, but they had other fun.

"Do your ducks miss our duck Downy?" asked Freddie of his cousin
Harry.

"Well, I guess they do," was the laughing answer, for Freddie and
Flossie had a pet duck   which they took about with them almost as
faithfully as they did Snoop. "How is Downy, anyhow?" asked Harry.

"He's fine," answered the little fellow.  "Want to see him?" and he
took his cousin out to the barn where Downy had a pen all to himself.

"Snoop's gone," said Freddie, "and so is our silver cup, but maybe
we'll get that back.  It's in a circus."

"In a circus!" cried Harry. "I should think your cat might be in
a circus, but not a silver cup."

"We don't know where Snoop is," went on Freddie, "'cause he got
away at the time of the circus wreck," and he explained about it.
"But we are almost sure the circus fat lady has our cup."

The Thanksgiving holidays came to an end at last and, much to the
regret of the Bobbseys, their visitors, old and young, had to go
back to their homes.

"But you'll come again at Christmas; won't you?" asked Flossie as
she said good-bye.

"We'll try," said her Uncle Bobbsey. "But   maybe there won't be
room, with Santa Claus and all his reindeers."

"Oh, we'll make room for you," spoke Freddie. "Santa Claus won't
stay long."

With a merry peal of laughter the visitors went off to the station,
waving farewells.  Then came rather a quiet time at the Bobbsey
house, as there always is when visitors go.  There seems to be a
sort of loneliness, when company leaves, no matter how many there
are in the family, nor what fun there is. But the feeling soon
passes.

"Well, we'll soon be at school again," said Bert, a day or so before
the opening of the Winter term. "I wish we'd get some snow.  Then
it would be more fun."

"Yes," said Freddie. "We could build snow forts and have snowball
fights. I wish it would snow hard."

"So do I, so we could ride down hill," said Nan, "Is your big bob
nearly done, Bert?"

"No, Charley and I have quite a lot of things to do on it yet, but
we're going to work every night after school now, and it will soon
be finished."

"I'm going to have skates for Christmas," announced Freddie. "I
hope the lake will be frozen over by then."

"I guess it will be," returned Bert. "It's getting colder every
night."

The Bobbseys were back at school. For a time Nan and Bert, who were
in a higher grade, did not like it so well, as they had a strange
teacher, and lessons, too, were more difficult. But they were not
children who gave up easily, and soon they were at the head of
their class as usual. Their teacher, too, was much nicer than they
had thought at first.  They had considered her stern, but it was
only her way, and soon wore off.

As for Freddie and Flossie, they had advanced but little except in
reading, and this opened a new world to them.

"We'll soon be reading books," boasted Freddie, on his way home one
day. "And I'm going to read all about firemen, soldiers and Indians."

"Oh, I'm not," said Flossie. "I'm going to read how to be a nurse,
so I can take care of you when you're hurt."

"That will be nice," said Freddie.

One day, at recess, Bert saw Jim Osborne motioning to him in a
secret sort of fashion.

"Come on with us," said Jim, who was a new boy in school. "Danny
Rugg and some of the rest of us are going to have some sport."

"What doing?" asked Bert.

"Smoking cigarettes back of the coal house.  I've got a whole pack."

"No; I don't smoke," said Bert quietly.

"Bah! You're afraid!" sneered Jim.  "Cigarettes can't hurt you.
It's only cigars and pipes that do."

"Yes, I admit I am afraid," said Bert "I'm afraid of getting
sick. Besides, I promised  my mother I wouldn't smoke until I was
twenty-one, and I'm not going to tell a story.  Anyhow, I've got
an uncle who smokes, and he says cigarettes are worse than a pipe
or cigars, and he ought to know."

"Aw, come on!" urged Jim.

"No," said Bert firmly, and he would not go. Jim went off with
Danny and some of the other boys, and they were laughing among
themselves. Bert felt that they were laughing at him, but he did
not mind.

There was to be an examination of the school by some of the members
of the Board of Education late that afternoon, and, directly after
recess, Mr. Tetlow went to each room to tell the pupils and teachers
to get ready for it, and to put certain work on the blackboards,
so it could be seen.

When the principal got to the room where Danny Rugg and his particular
chums sat, Mr Tetlow, sniffing the air suspiciously, said:

"I smell smoke!"

"I have been noticing it, too," said the lady teacher. "Perhaps
the furnace does not work properly."

"It isn't that kind of smoke," went on Mr.  Tetlow. "It is tobacco
smoke. Have any of you boys been smoking during recess?" he asked
sternly, looking across the room.

No one answered. Danny, Jim, and some of the others seemed to be
studying their geography lessons very hard.

"I just want to say a word about cigarette smoking," went on
Mr. Tetlow, "for that is  usually how a boy begins. Of smoking in
general, when a boy gets to be a man, I have nothing to say. Some
say it is injurious, and others not, in moderation. But there can
be no doubt that for a growing boy to smoke is very harmful. Again
I ask if anyone here has been smoking?"

No one replied. The guilty boys bent deep over their books and did
not look up.

"Well, I am sure someone here has," said Mr. Tetlow. "I can smell
it plainly." He walked down the aisles, looking sharply from one
boy to another. If he was sure who were the guilty ones he gave
no sign. "And I want to add," said Mr. Tetlow, "that not only is
cigarette smoking harmful to the smoker, but it is dangerous. Many
fires have been caused in that way. If I find out who of my pupils
have been smoking around the school they will be severely punished."



CHAPTER XVII

THE FIRST SNOW


There was considerable talk among the boys in Danny's room after
Mr. Tetlow departed.  And it was noticed that Danny and some of
his particular friends looked around with rather frightened faces,
over their shoulders, as they talked among themselves. What they
said could not be heard, for they spoke in whispers.

"I hope you weren't one of those boys, Bert," said Nan, as she
passed her brother on the way home from school that afternoon.  "If
you were--"

"You needn't worry," he said, with a smile.  "I'm not ready to
smoke yet."

"Nor ever, I hope," said Nan, as she turned up her little nose.
"It--it smells so."

Nothing more was heard of the smoking matter for several days,
and it was about forgotten, when something else came to claim the
attention of the Bobbsey twins and their friends.

It was toward the close of school one afternoon,  when all the
pupils were wishing the hands of the clock would point to letting-out
time, that Nan, looking from the window, and away from her arithmetic
book, saw a few white flakes of snow sifting lazily down. At once
she was all attention, and her lesson was forgotten.

"Oh!" she thought, "it's snowing! And it looks as if it would be
a big storm! Oh, I'm so glad!"

Nan did not know all the trouble and misery a big snow storm can
cause, so she may be forgiven for wishing for one. She only saw
the side of it that meant fun for her and her friends.

The flakes were coming down faster now, and there was about them
something which seemed to tell that this storm would be more than
a mere flurry or squall, and that it would keep up for some time,
making big drifts.

But now a number of other pupils in the  room had noticed the
storm, and eyes were out of doors rather than on books. The teacher
saw that she was not getting the attention of her class, and she
understood the reason.

"Now, boys and girls," she said gently, "you can have a good time
in the snow after you get out of here. So please give attention
to your lessons for a few minutes more. Then you will be finished.
Nan Bobbsey, you may go to the board and do the third example."

But Nan was thinking so much of the fun she might have riding down
hill, or snowballing with her friends, that she got the example
wrong, and had to go to her seat. Nor was Bert any more successful.

Bert was busy thinking about putting a bell and a steering wheel
on the new bob he and Charley had made, and when he was asked how
many times two and a half went into ten he answered: "Three." He
was thinking how many times he would ring the bell on the bob when
he came to a street crossing.

When the Bobbsey twins, little and big, came out of school the snow
was coming down more thickly. The flakes were not so large,  but
there were more of them, and they blew here and there in the wind,
drifting into piles that would make the shoveling off of walks hard
the next day.

There were just about enough of the white crystals on the ground,
when the school children came out to make a few snowballs, and this
they at once proceeded to do.

Danny Rugg, who had not forgiven Bert for the many times the Bobbsey
lad had gotten the best of him, threw a ball at Freddie. But Bert
was on the watch, and managed to jump up and catch the white missile
in his hand.  Then he threw it at Danny, striking him on the neck.

"Here! Where you throwin'?" demanded Danny, in angry tones.

"The same place you are," replied Bert, not a bit afraid. "Good
weather for ice cream, Danny," he added, and Danny went off in an
angry fashion.

Other boys and girls too, threw the snowballs, but it was
in good-natured fun, and no one was hurt. Some rough boys did use
hard snowballs, but they were soon left to play  among themselves,
while the others amused themselves with soft and fluffy missiles,
which, breaking as they hit, scattered the white stuff all over,
harming no one.

The girls, while they played at this sport, also indulged in washing
the faces of each other. With handsful of snow they rubbed the ears
and cheeks of their chums so that there came a healthy glow to the
skin.

One or two children, who lived near the school, ran in their yards
as soon as the classes were dismissed, and brought out their sleds.
But the snow was too thin to pack well, and at best the coasting
was not good.

"But it soon will be," declared Bert, as he and Charley walked
along. "We must finish our bob in a hurry."

"All right. We'll work on it late to-night."

And so the sound of hammer, plane and saw was heard in the old
barn, where the sled was being built, until nearly ten o'clock.

"She ought to go very fast!" exclaimed Charley, as they paused to
look at their sled.

"I'm sure she will," agreed Bert. "And we'll put some carpet on
the top of the main  board, for a cushion for some of the girls."
His chum agreed that this would be a good plan, and so the bob was
made very attractive for the girls.

Bert and Charley took the big sled out for a private trial on a
little hill behind the barn without telling anyone about it. They
slid down very swiftly, and as they were walking up again Bert
said:

"I think we have a fast one all right, Charley."


"I'm sure we have," was the answer.

"It will pass anything on the main hill," went on Bert, and his
friend believed him.

The storm kept up all night, and in the morning there was snow
enough to suit anyone.  Bert laughed as he looked out of the window
and saw it.

"There'll be coasting now all right!" he cried, as he saw the big
stretch of white over the fields and on the hills. "We can have
bob sled races, too."

"Can't we come?" asked Flossie.

"We like sled rides," added Freddie.

"You may come part of the time,"  answered Bert. "But big sleds
aren't for little folks like you."

Not far from the Bobbsey home was a long hill that was most excellent
for coasting. It was on this that Charley and Bert had decided to
test their new sled on a long stretch.

As they hauled it from the barn where it had been made, and started
to pull it to the hill, there were many laughs at the odd homemade
affair. For Bert and Charley had done most of the work themselves,
and it was rather rough.

"She'll never coast!" cried one boy, with a laugh. He was quite a
friend of Danny's.

"Here comes the sled that can, though!" cried another, and Danny
himself came into view, pulling a fine, new, big bob after him.

"That's the fastest one on the hill," boasted another lad who was
helping Danny pull his sled.

"Well, I think ours is fast, too," said Bert calmly.

"Do you want to race?" asked Danny with a sharp glance at Bert.

"I don't mind," was the answer. It  after school, following the
first snow, and the hill was just right for coasting.

"Come on! Come on!" cried a number of boys and girls, as they heard
what went on between Danny and Bert. "There's going to be a race
on the big hill between the big bobs."

There was much excitement. The sleds were the two largest owned
by anyone in the neighborhood, and both were fine ones. Danny had
bought his, but Bert and Charley had made theirs, and so, though
it was not so fancy, it was stronger. Most eyes were on Danny's
sled, for it was painted in bright colors, and brightly varnished.
It had a red cushion of carpet on the top, and places at the side
to rest one's feet.

The bob of Bert and Charley was built just the same, but it was
painted in home-made fashion, and the carpet seat was an old and
faded one. But it had a new gong and a fine big steering wheel.

"All ready for the race," cried Danny, as he got his sled in
position. "Who's going down with me?"

A number of boys came forward.

"Who's going with Bert and me?" asked Charley, and several others
stepped forward.

"Go ahead, if you want to come in last!" sneered Danny, as he got
his sled in place "I'll tell 'em you're coming, Bert."

"All right," was the cool answer. "Get on, boys!"

Soon both sleds were filled, and all was ready for the big race--the
first of the season.



CHAPTER XVIII

A NIGHT ALARM


"Are you all ready?" called Danny to Bert, looking over at the
home-made bob, and there was something like contempt in his tone.

"All ready," answered Bert. "I'll start as soon as you give the
word."

"We ought to have someone to shove us off," suggested Danny. "It
won't be fair if one or the other gets a head-start."

"Hi! He's afraid already!" cried Charley Mason. "He knows we're
going to beat!"

"I am not!" retorted Danny. "It will be a walk-over for me once
I start. But I don't want Bert Bobbsey saying I took advantage of
him, after the race is over."

"You needn't be afraid--I won't say so--I won't have to," replied
Bert. "All the same I think it would be better if we each had a
push. I want to be fair, too."

"Hey, Bert!" called a shrill voice, as the elder Bobbsey lad was
looking about for some on the hill to whom he might appeal. "Can't
I ride down with you, Bert?"

It was Freddie who called, and he came running up, anxious to take
part in the exciting race.

"No, Freddie, not this time," explained Bert kindly. "I want only
large boys with me in the race. I'll give you a ride afterward."

"After I beat him, he means," sneered Danny.

"Come on, let's race if we're going to," called some of the boys
on Danny's sled.

"Yes; don't stay here all day."

"Get a move on!"

"We'll beat, anyhow, what's the use of racing?"

There were only a few of things that those on the big new sled of
Danny's, called to those on Bert's bob. On their part Bert's friends
voiced such remarks as:

"We're not so strong on looks, but we'll get there first!"

"We're going to give Danny a tow to the bottom of the hill!"

"He won't know he's moving, once Bert's sled gets started going!"

"Well, what are we going to do?" asked Danny at last. "Shall we
shove off ourselves?"

Just then there came along two large boys, Frank Cobb, and his
particular chum, Irving Knight.

"What's going on here; a race?" asked Frank.

"It looks that way," said Irving.

"Oh, will you push us off?" begged Bert, appealing to Frank, whose
father worked in Mr. Bobbsey's lumber yard.

"Sure we will," answered Frank good-naturedly.  "Take the other
sled, Irving," he said to his chum, "and we'll give 'em an even
start. Then we'll see which beats, and may the best sled win!"

"That's what I say!" cried Irving.

The two larger boys took their places behind the bobs. They slowly
shoved them to the edge of the hill, held them there a moment,
and, at a nod to each other, shoved them down evenly.

"Hurray!" cried the crowd of other coasters.  "There they go!"

"And Danny's ahead!" said some of his friends.

"No, Bert's sled is!" shouted his admirers.  As a matter of fact,
though, both sleds were even at the start. On and on they went very
swiftly, for the hill had been worn smooth.  Then Bert saw his bob
getting ahead a little, and he felt that he was going to win easily.

But he was glad too soon, for, a little later, Danny's sled shot
ahead, and for some distance was in the lead.

"Can't you beat him, Bert?" whispered  Charley Mason, who sat just
behind his chum.

"I hope so," was the answer. "But I can't  really do anything. We
just have to depend  on the sled, you know."

"Steer a little more over to the left," suggested another boy. "It
looks smoother there."

"I will," said Bert, and he turned the steering wheel of his bob,
while Luke Morton, in  the rear, pulled hard on the bell, making
it clang out a loud warning.

"Look out where you're going, Bert Bobbsey!" warned Danny, looking
back. "You're coming over on my side of the hill!"

"No I'm not. I'm away from the middle, even," said Bert, "Besides,
I'm behind you."

"I know you are, and you're going to stay there; but I don't want
you to run into me."

Bert thought of the time, the winter before, when Danny had run
into him, and broken his sled, but he said nothing. He did not want
that kind of an accident to be repeated if he could help it.

On, on and on dashed the big bobs, with the crowd on the hill, and
a number of coasters scattered along the way, watching anxiously.
As soon as Bert had steered over to the left his sled began to go
faster, as the snow was packed better there. He was fast catching
up to Danny, when one of the boys on that bob, looking back, saw
it, and warned the steersman.

"He's coming, Danny," he cried.

"Oh, he is; eh? Well, he won't pass me," and Danny steered his sled
over directly in  front of Bert's, almost causing Bert to collide
with him.

"Shame!" cried some watchers. "That wasn't fair!"

"Let him keep on his own side then," warned Danny.

But this mean trick did Danny little good for, though Bert was
forced to go to the right, to avoid crashing into Danny, he, most
unexpectedly, found good coasting there, and he shot ahead until
his sled was even with that of the bully's.

"Better look out, Danny," warned the boy sitting directly back of
him. "He's crowding us fast."

"Oh, it's only a spurt. We'll soon be at the bottom of the hill
and win."

On and on came Bert's bob, the _Flier_. It was a little ahead
of Danny's now, and the latter, seeing this, steered over, thinking
the going was better there.

"Look out!" warned Bert "Who's crowding over now?"

"Well, I've got a right here!" snarled Danny.

But Bert knew his rights also, and would not give away. He held to
his place, and Danny dared not come too close. Then, as Bert found
himself on smooth, hard-packed snow, he steered as straight as he
could. More and more ahead of Danny he went, until he was fully in
front of him.

"We're going to win! We're going to win!" cried Bert's friends.
"We're going to win the race!"

Danny was wild with anger. He steered his sled over sharply, hoping
to get on the same track as was Bert and so pass him. But it was
not to be. Danny took too sudden a turn, and the next instant his
bob overturned, spilling everyone off.

There was a cry of surprise at the accident, and some of those on
Bert's sled looked back.  Bert himself looked straight ahead as a
steersman always should.

"Danny's upset!" cried Charley.

"I'm sorry!" said Bert "Now he'll claim the race wasn't fair."

And that is what Danny did when he picked himself up, and walked
down to meet Bert,  whose bob got safely to the foot of the hill,
and so won the race.

"Aw, I'd have beaten if you hadn't gotten in my way so I had to
steer over," cried Danny.

"Don't talk that way now," said Irving, who, with Frank Cobb had
come to the end of the hill. "Bert beat you fair and square."

"Aw, well--" grumbled Danny.

"I'll race over again, if you like," offered Bert.

"Yes, and do the same thing," grumbled Danny. "I will not. I know
my sled is the best."

But few others, save those who hoped for a ride on it, agreed with
the bully, and Bert's home-made bob was held to be champion of the
hill.

Then came many more coasts, Bert giving Nan and Flossie and Freddie,
and a number of their little girl and boy friends, several rides.

Until late that evening the coasting kept up, and Bert and Charley
were congratulated on all sides for the fine bob they had made. And
what fun Bert had home after supper, telling of how he had won the
race!

It was in the middle of the night, when the Bobbsey household was
awakened by the ringing of fire bells. They all heard the alarm,
and as Papa Bobbsey counted the number, he said to his wife:

"That must be near here. Guess I'll look.  It's a windy night and
a fire in my lumber yard would be very bad."

As he went to the window he saw a glare on the sky in the direction
of the lake.

"It _is_ near here!" he said. "The engines are going past our
house! I'd better take a look."

"Can I come?" asked the little "Fat Fireman" from his cot. "Take
me, papa!"



CHAPTER XIX

WHO WAS SMOKING?


Mr. Bobbsey laughed, though he was worried about the fire. It seemed
so odd for Freddie to want to go out in the cold, dark  night.

"Not this time, my Fat Fireman!" said Freddie's papa, "It may be
only a pile of rubbish on fire. I'll tell you about it when I come
back."

"Where does it seem to be?" asked Mrs.  Bobbsey.

"Down near the lake," answered her husband.  "I'm afraid," he added
in a lower voice, "that it may be our boathouse. It seems to be
about there."

"Oh, I hope not!" she exclaimed. "Still, better that than our own
house."

"If it's near the lake, papa," said Flossie, who heard part of
what her father said, "it  will be easy to put it out, for there
is plenty of water."

"Pooh! engines have their own water!" exclaimed Freddie, who had
rather hazy notions as to how fire engines work. He was getting over
his disappointment about not being allowed to go with his father,
and had again cuddled down in his warm crib.

Another engine dashed by the Bobbsey house, and the ringing of the
alarm bell increased.  The voices and footsteps of many persons,
as they rushed on to the blaze, could also be heard, and there
resounded the cry of:

"_Fire! Fire! Fire!_"

Bert, who had been aroused with the others of the household, was
dressing in his room.  He felt that his father would let him go
to the fire. At any rate he intended to be all ready when he made
his request, so as not to cause delay.

"Are you going, Bert?" asked Nan, as from her room, next to that
of her brother, she heard him moving around.

"I am, if father will take me," he said,

"It's too cold for me!" Nan exclaimed with  a shiver, as she went
back in bed again. She bad gotten up to peer from the window at
the red glare in the sky.

From the third floor, where Dinah slept, the colored cook now called
down:

"Am anybody sick, Mrs. Bobbsey? What am de mattah down dere?"

"It's a fire, Dinah!" answered her mistress.

"Oh good land a'massy! Don't tell me  dat!" she cried. "Sam! Sam!
Wake up.  De house is on fire an' you'se got t' sabe me!"

"No, no, Dinah!" cried Mrs. Bobbsey, to  calm the cook. "It isn't
this house. It's  down by the lake. If you look out of your  window
you can see it."

Dinah hurried across to her window, and evidently saw the reflection
of the blaze, for she exclaimed:

"Thank goodness it ain't yeah! Mah goodness, but I suah was skarit
fo' a minute!"

By this time Mr. Bobbsey had dressed, and had started downstairs.
Bert came out of his room, also ready for the street.

"May I come, father?" he asked.

"Well, I declare!" exclaimed Mr. Bobbsey,  in surprise. "So you
got dressed too, did you?"

"Yes, sir. May I come?"

Mr. Bobbsey hesitated a moment, and then with a smile, said:

"Well, I suppose so, since you are all ready.  I'm taking Bert,"
he called to his wife.  "Freddie, you'll have to be the Fat Fireman
while I'm gone, and look after the house."

"That's what I will," said Freddie, "and if any sparks fly over
here I'll throw the bathroom  sponge on 'em!"

"Good!" cried Mr. Bobbsey, and then, he and Bert hurried out.

The fire was now larger, as they could see when they got out in
the street. There was no wind and the flames went straight up in
the air. There were not many buildings down by the lake, only some
boat shelters and places like that. The Bobbsey's boathouse was
a fine large one, having recently been made bigger as Mr. Bobbsey
was thinking of buying a new motor boat.

Mr. Bobbsey and his son hurried on, following the crowd that filled
the street leading to  the lake. Several gentlemen knew the lumber
merchant, and called to him.

"I guess you're glad this isn't your lumber yard," said one.

"Yes, indeed," was the answer. "I had a little fire there once, and
I don't want another.  But I'm afraid this is some of my property
just the same."

"Is that so?"

"Yes, it looks to be my boathouse."

"So it does!" cried another man.

"Oh, father!" cried Bert. "Our nice boathouse!"

"Well, the firemen may save it," said Mr.  Bobbsey. "We will hope
so, anyhow," he added.

They had not gone on much farther before Mr. Bobbsey and Bert could
see that it was indeed their boathouse on fire. One side was all
ablaze, and the flames were slowly, but surely, eating their way
over the whole place. But two engines were now pumping streams of
water on the fire, and they might put it out before too much damage
was done.

Mr. Bobbsey rushed forward, and, as the  policemen and firemen knew
him, they let him get close to the boathouse.

"You stay here, Bert," said Mr. Bobbsey to his son.

"Where are you going?" Bert wanted to know.

"I'm going to see if we can save any of the boats."

There was a sailing craft, a number of rowboats, and a small gasoline
launch in the boat-house.  They had been stored away for the winter.

"Come on, men!" cried Mr. Bobbsey, as he saw some of his workmen
in the crowd. "Help me save the boats!"

All rushed forward willingly, and, as there was part of the place
where the flames had not yet reached, they could make their way
into the house. They began lowering the boats into the icy water,
while the firemen played the several lines of hose on the flames.

The third engine was now working, and so much water was pumped that
even a larger fire could not have stood it for very long.

The blaze began to die down, and when Mr.  Bobbsey and his men were
about to lower the gasoline launch into the icy water the chief
ran up, saying:

"You don't need to do that! We've got the fire under control now.
It will soon be out."

"Are you sure?" asked the lumber merchant.

"Yes. You can see for yourself. Leave the boat there. It will be
all right."

Mr. Bobbsey looked, and was satisfied that the larger part of the
boathouse would be saved. So he and his men stopped their work,
and went outside to cool off.

A little later the fire was practically out, but one engine continued
to throw water on the smouldering sparks. The crowd began to leave
now, for there was nothing more to see, and it was cold.

"My!" exclaimed Bert as his father came back to where he had left
his son, "it didn't take long to settle that fire."

"No, we have a good fire department," replied Mr. Bobbsey.

The fire chief came up to Mr. Bobbsey, who expressed his thanks
for the quick work of the firemen.

"Have you any idea what started the fire, Mr. Bobbsey?" asked the
chief. "Was the boathouse in use?"

"No," was the answer. "It had been closed for the winter some time
ago--in fact as soon as the carpenters finished making the changes.
No one was in it as far as I know."

"Then how do you account for this?" asked the chief, as he held
out a box partly filled with cigarettes. "I picked these up in the
living room," he went on, for the boathouse had one room carpeted,
and fitted with chairs and tables, and electric lights where the
family often spent evenings during Summer.

"You found those cigarettes in the living room of the boathouse?"
asked Mr. Bobbsey.

"I did; and the question is who was smoking?"  went on the chief.
"In my opinion the end of a cigarette thrown aside, or perhaps a
lighted match dropped in some corner, started this fire. Who was
smoking?"



CHAPTER XX

A CONFESSION


The chief handed Mr. Bobbsey the half-emptied  cigarette box. Mr.
Bobbsey turned it over and over in his hand, as though trying to
learn to whom it belonged.

"They are something I never use," he said.  "I don't suppose we
could tell, from this, who  had it?"

"No," and the chief shook his head. "It's a common kind, and a good
many of the stores sell 'em. A good many of the boys smoke 'em,
too--that's the worst of it," and he looked at Bert a bit sharply.

"Oh, you needn't be afraid for my boy!" exclaimed Mr. Bobbsey
hastily. "I have Bert's promise that he won't smoke until he's a
man, and perhaps he won't want to then."

"Good!" exclaimed the chief heartily.

"That's what I like to hear. But It's as certain  as guns is, and
nothing more certain than them, that some one was smoking in your
boat-house, and set fire to it. And I wish we could find out who
it was."

"So do I!" exclaimed Mr. Bobbsey. "If only to teach them a lesson
on how dangerous it is to be careless. Well, I suppose we can't
do anything more," and he sighed, for half the beautiful boathouse
was in ruins.

Mr. Bobbsey and Bert were soon at home, telling the news to the
folks. Freddie's eyes opened wide in surprise as he listened to
the account of how the firemen had put out the fire.

"Oh, I wish I could have been there!" he cried. "I could have
helped."

"What caused the fire?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey of her husband, when
the children had gone to bed again.

"Some boys--or some one else smoking cigarettes, the chief thinks.
We found a half-emptied box."

In her room Nan heard the word "cigarettes"  and she wondered if
her brother could  be at fault, for she remembered he had told her
how once some boys had asked him to go off in secret and smoke.

Mr. Bobbsey was up early, for he wanted to see by daylight what
damage the fire had done, and he also wanted to see the insurance
company about the loss. The beautiful boat-house looked worse in
the daylight than it had at night, and the neat living room, where
some of the Bobbseys had spent many happy hours, while others of
them were out in the boats, was in ruins.

The fire chief came down while Mr. Bobbsey was there, and they
talked matters over.  The chief said he would send one of his men
around to the different stores that sold cigarettes, to try and
learn if boys had purchased any that afternoon, for it was against
the law to sell cigarettes to anyone under sixteen years  of age.

One afternoon Danny's father, Mr. Rugg, came home unexpectedly, and,
wanting something that was out in his barn went to get it.  As he
entered the place he heard a scramble of feet, some excited whispers,
and then   silence. He was sure that some one was in the place and
had run to hide.

"Who's there?" called Mr. Rugg sharply.  There was no answer, but
he listened and was sure he heard some one in the little room where
the harness was kept.

He walked over to the door, and tried to open it. Some one on the
inside was holding it, but Mr. Rugg gave a strong pull, and the
door flew open. To the surprise of Mr. Rugg he saw his son Danny,
and a number of boys, hiding there, and the smell of cigarette
smoke was very strong.

"Danny!" exclaimed his father sternly, "what does this mean?"

"We--were--playing!" stammered Danny.  "Playing hide and seek."

"And to play that is it necessary to smoke?" Mr. Rugg asked sharply.

"We--we aren't smoking," answered Danny.

"Not now, but you have been. I can smell it plainly. Go into the
house, Danny, and these other boys must go home. If I find them
smoking in my barn again I shall punish them. You might have set
it on fire."

Danny had nothing to say, indeed, there was little he could say.
He had been caught in the act.

The other boys slunk off, and Danny went into the house, his father
following.

"Danny, I am very sorry to learn this," said Mr. Rugg. "I did not
know that you smoked--a boy of your age!"

"Well, I never smoked much. Lots of the fellows smoke more than I
do."

"That is no excuse. It is a bad habit for a boy. You may go to your
room. I will consider your case later."

From then on Mr. Rugg did some hard thinking. He began "putting
two and two together" as the old saying has it. He remembered the
Bobbsey boathouse fire. On that occasion Danny had come in late,
and there had been the smell of smoke on his clothes.

Mr. Rugg went to his son's room. A search showed a number of empty
cigarette boxes, and cigarette pictures, and the boxes were all
of the same kind--the kind that had been found in the half-burned
boathouse.

Danny was accused by his father of having been smoking in the boathouse
just before the  fire, and Danny was so miserable, and so surprised
at being caught in the barn, that he made a full confession.
Tearfully he told the story, how he and some other boys, finding
the boathouse unlocked, for some unknown reason, had gone in, and
smoked to their heart's content.

They did not mean to cause the fire, and had no idea that they
were to blame. One of the boys was made ill by too much smoking,
and they all hurried away.

But they must have left a smouldering stump of cigarette in some
corner, or a carelessly-thrown match, that started the blaze. Then,
when the fire bells sounded, and they learned what had happened,
Danny and all the boys promised each other that they would keep
the secret.

"Well, Danny, I can't tell you how sorry I am," said Mr. Rugg,
when the confession was over. "Sorry not only that Mr. Bobbsey's
boathouse was burned, but because you have deceived me, and your
good mother, and smoked in secret. I feel very badly about it."

Danny did, too, for though he was not a  very good boy, his heart
was in the right place, and with a little more care he might have
been a different character. There was, however, hope for him.

"You must be punished for this," went on Mr. Rugg, "and this punishment
will be that you are not to have the motor boat I promised you for
next Summer. Perhaps it will be a lesson to you."

Danny wept bitterly, for he had counted very much on having this
boat. But it was a good lesson to him. Mr. Rugg also told the
fathers of the other boys whom he caught with his son, and these
boys were punished in different ways.

Mr. Rugg also informed Mr. Bobbsey how the boathouse had been set
afire, and expressed his sorrow. And so the mystery was cleared
up.



CHAPTER XXI

THE FAT LADY'S LETTER


"Well," remarked Nan Bobbsey, a few days after it had become known
that Danny Rugg was to blame for the fire in the boathouse, "I wish
we could find out, as easily as we found out about Danny, who has
our cat Snoop."

"So do I," added Flossie. "Poor Snoop!  I do miss him so much."

"So do I!" exclaimed Freddie. "But Snap is a nice dog, and I guess
I like dogs better than cats, anyhow."

"Why, Freddie Bobbsey!" cried Nan, "Don't you love Snoop any more?"

"Oh, yes, 'course I do, but then he isn't here to be loved, and
Snap is."

"Yes, I guess that does make a difference,"  admitted Nan. "I
wonder if papa wouldn't  let us go down to the railroad office and
inquire  once more about him? Maybe, as it's getting  cold weather
now, Snoop will come in from the fields where he may have been
staying ever since the railroad wreck."

"Let's ask," cried Freddie, always ready for action.

It was Saturday, and there was no school.  Bert had gone off coasting
on his new bob, but Nan did not want to go, her mother having asked
her to stay and help with the dusting.  But now the little bit of
housework was over, and Nan was free.

"We'll go down to papa's office," she said to Flossie and Freddie,
"and ask him if we can go to the railroad. I know one of the ticket
agents and he can tell us of whom to ask about our cat."

Mrs. Bobbsey had no objections, and soon, with Flossie and Freddie
at her side, Nan set off for her father's office in the lumber
yard.  The smaller twins were delighted.

"And maybe we can find our silver cup, too," suggested Freddie,
as he trudged along in the snow, now and then stopping to make a
white ball which he threw at the fence or telegraph pole.

"The fat lady has our cup--I'm sure of that," said Flossie.

"Well, we can ask papa if he has heard from the circus people,"
suggested Nan.

Mr. Bobbsey was rather surprised to see his three children come
into the office, but he was glad to meet them, for it made a break
in his day's work. After a little thought he said they might go
to the railroad office to inquire about Snoop. Nan and her brother
and sister went in a trolley car, and were soon at the depot.

But to their disappointment there was no news of Snoop. The fat,
black cat seemed to have completely disappeared.

"I've had the switchmen and trackmen keep a lookout for some time
past," the agent told Nan, for Mr. Bobbsey did a large business
in shipping lumber over the railroad, and many of the men were his
friends. "One of the switchmen near where the wreck was, caught
a lot of cats, that must have been living out in the fields all
Summer," went on the agent, "but they were all sorts of colors. None
was  pure black, so I knew they could not be yours.  I'm sorry."

"Yes, so are we," replied Nan. "Well, I guess Snoop is lost for
good. He has been away a long time now."

On the way back to Mr. Bobbsey's office the trolley car got off the
track, on account of so much snow on the rails, and the children
spent some time watching the men get it back, the electricity from
the wire and rails making pretty flashes of blue fire.

"What luck?" asked Mr. Bobbsey, as the three came in his private
office, their faces shining and red with the glow of winter.

"None," said Nan sadly. "Snoop is gone."

"Have you heard from the circus fat lady yet, papa?" asked Flossie.

"Yes, we want our cup back," added her  brother.

"No word yet," answered Mr. Bobbsey.  "That circus is traveling all
over Cuba, and the letters I sent never seem to catch up to them.
However, I am sending one on ahead now, to a city where they will
soon give a  show. The fat lady will find it there waiting for her,
and she may answer then."

And with this the children had to be content.  Getting back home,
Flossie and Freddie  took out their sleds and went for a coast on
a  small hill, not far from their home. This  was where the smaller
children had their fun,  leaving the larger hill for the bigger
girls and  boys.

"Well, after this I think we all need something to cheer us up,"
said Papa Bobbsey, who came home from the office early that day.

"Oh, have you got something good?" asked Nan, for she saw a queer
little twinkle in her father's eyes, and she knew that this generally
meant a treat of some kind.

"I have some good news, if you would like to hear it," he said, as
he drew a letter from his pocket.

"Is it to tell that some of our friends are coming to see us?"
asked Bert.

"Well, yes, I think you will call it a visit from a friend--at least
part of it," said Papa Bobbsey. "Now listen. This is a letter from
the fat lady in the circus."

"What!" cried Flossie--"the one who has our cup?"

"The same," said Mr. Bobbsey with a smile. "And she has more than
your cup.  Listen," and he read the letter.

It was too long to put it all in here, but it went on to say how
the fat lady really had the valuable silver cup belonging to the
twins.

"They loaned it to me to drink from," she wrote, "and when the
train stopped so suddenly, there was so much confusion that I put
it in my valise by mistake. I have had it ever since and have been
wondering how I could send it back to you. The circus went to Cuba
soon after that, and has been traveling around that island ever
since. I have only just received your last letter asking me about
the cup, or I would have answered before. If you will send me
directions how to ship the cup to you I shall be very glad to return
it."

"Oh goodie!" cried Freddie. "We'll have our nice cup again!"

"Is that all in the letter, papa?" asked Flossie.

"No, not quite," he said. "I'll read a little more," and he read:

"'When our circus was wrecked we lost a valuable trick dog. He could
play soldier, say his prayers, turn somersaults, and do a number
of tricks. The ringmaster feels very badly about losing him, and
has tried to locate him, but without success. If you should hear
of anyone near you having such a dog we would be much obliged if
you would send him to us, as he belongs to the circus.'"

There was a moment of silence after Bobbsey read this, and then
Freddie said:

"Why that must be Snap--our pet dog!  Oh, papa you won't give him
back to the circus; will you?"



CHAPTER XXII

SNAP AND SNOOP


All of the Bobbsey twins--Nan, Bert, Flossie and Freddie--looked
so serious over the prospect of losing Snap that Mr. Bobbsey had
to laugh. He just couldn't help it.

"Well, I don't see anything to make fun over," said Nan, with a
little pout.

"Why, you all act as though you had lost your best friend--or were
going to."

"Well, Snap _is_ one of our best friends, aren't you Snap?"
said Freddie.

"Still, if he belongs to the circus I don't see but what I'll have
to send him back," went on Mr. Bobbsey, slowly.

At this Flossie burst into tears, and Mrs.  Bobbsey, putting her
arms about the little girl, said to her husband:

"Are you in earnest Richard? Don't tease  the child."

"I'm not, Mary. The fat lady wrote just that. I believe the dog we
have does belong to the circus."

"Then we'll have to give him up I suppose," and Mrs. Bobbsey sighed,
for she had grown very much attached to the fine animal.

"Well, we won't have to send him back right away," said Mr. Bobbsey.
"I will have to get more particulars. But I did not finish the fat
lady's letter."

"What! Is there more news in it?" asked Nan.

"Listen," said Mr. Bobbsey, as he went on reading:

"'We are sorry about losing our trick dog,' the fat lady wrote,
'but I picked up a big black cat when I walked out of the train.  I
brought him to Cuba with me, and I am teaching him tricks. He may
be as valuable as our dog was.'"

"A black cat!" cried Nan.

"It's our Snoop!" shouted Freddie, "yes, that's it! The fat lady
has our cat as well  as our cup! Oh, papa, make her give back our
Snoop!"

Mr. Bobbsey laughed.

"You see how it is," he said. "She has our cat, and we have their
dog. We'll have to give up our dog to get our cat."

The Bobbsey twins had not thought of this before. They looked
strangely at one another.

"Papa!" cried Freddie, jumping up and down in his excitement, "can't
we keep both--the  circus dog and our cat? Oh, do please, let us."

"But maybe Snap would fight Snoop," said Flossie. "We wouldn't want
that."

Freddie thought for a moment.

"I don't believe he would," he said at last.

"Well," said Papa Bobbsey, after a bit, "I'll see what I can do.
I'll write to the fat lady, telling her how to ship your silver
cup, and also how to send Snoop. And I'll ask if we can buy Snap.
How will that do?"

"Fine!" cried all the Bobbsey twins at once, and they made a rush
for Mr. Bobbsey, hugging and kissing him.

The letter was sent to the fat lady, and then came a time of anxious
waiting. Never before had the children seemed to care so much for
Snap.

One day a letter came, saying that the silver cup had been sent,
and also Snoop, the cat.

"But what about Snap, papa?" asked Nan.

"Does she say the circus will sell him?"

"No, the man who owns him is away for a few days. When he comes
back he will let me know. But, anyhow, you will have your cup and
cat back."

"But we want Snap, too!" said Flossie.

Several more days passed. They lengthened into a week, and still
no news came from where the circus was: All the Bobbsey twins could
hope was that their cat and cup were on the way, and that the man
who owned Snap would consent to sell him.

The twins did not feel much like having fun. There was a warm spell,
and all the snow had melted.

One day an express wagon stopped in front of the Bobbsey house.

It was a Saturday, and there was no  school, and, as it happened,
all four of the twins were in.

"Two boxes for you, Mrs. Bobbsey," said the driver, as he opened
his receipt book. "I'll bring them in while you sign."

The man came up the walk with two boxes.  One was small, and
the other larger, with slats on one end. And from this box came a
peculiar noise.

"Listen!" cried Bert.

"It's a cat!" shouted Freddie.

"It's Snoop--our Snoop!" cried Flossie.

Quickly the boxes were carried into the house. Bert got a hammer
and screw driver and soon had opened the one containing the black
cat. Snap, the dog, walked slowly into the room.

"Oh dear!" cried Flossie as she saw him, "now maybe they'll fight!"

"I'll hold Snap," volunteered Freddie.

"Come on, Snoop! Come out!" cried Bert, as he pried off the last
slat.

"Meouw!" cried Snoop, as he came slowly out of the box in which he
had ridden from Cuba.

Out walked the black cat. He looked about him strangely for a moment,
and then began to purr, and rubbed up against Flossie's legs.

They all looked anxiously at Snap. The dog glanced at the cat,
stretched lazily and wagged his tail. Snoop came over to him, and
the two animals sniffed at each other, Mrs. Bobbsey holding Snap
by the collar.  Then, to the surprise of all, Snoop rubbed against
the legs of the dog, and, on his part, Snap, wagging his tail
in friendly, welcoming fashion, put out his red tongue and licked
Snoop's fur.

"He's kissing Snoop! He's kissing Snoop!" cried Freddie.

"Yes, they love each other!" exclaimed Flossie. "They are not going
to fight! Oh, how glad I am!" and she danced in delight.

"Oh, if only we can keep Snap now," said Nan, while Mrs. Bobbsey,
satisfied that the two animals would be friends, had opened the other
express box. It contained the twins' silver cup, so long missing.

Mr. Bobbsey came home soon after that.  His face was smiling.

"Oh, papa!" Flossie greeted him, "Snoop came, and Snap kissed him!"

"May we keep Snap, papa?" asked Freddie.

"Yes," was Mr. Bobbsey's answer. "I have a letter from the circus
man, and he will sell Snap to me. I have already sent the money.
And there is another letter from the fat lady, telling about some
of the new tricks she taught Snoop, so you can make him do them."

"Oh! Oh! Oh!" cried the Bobbsey twins in delight, as they looked
at their two pets.

"What lots of things have happened since we came back from the
seashore," said Nan, a little later. "I wonder if the rest of the
Winter will be as lively as this first part has been?"

"Maybe," said Bert with a smile.

And whether it was or not you may learn by reading the next volume
of this series, to be called: "The Bobbsey Twins at Snow Lodge,"
in which we will once more hear of the doings of Flossie, Freddie,
Nan and Bert.

After reading the fat lady's second letter the  twins got Snoop to
do some of the tricks the cat had learned. He was not as smart at
them as Snap was at his, but then cats never do learn to do tricks
as well as do dogs.

Still everyone agreed that the fat lady had done her training
well. As for Snap, he and Snoop became firmer friends every day,
and often the cat went to sleep on Snap's back, or between his
forepaws as he lay stretched out in front of the fire.

And the silver cup, which, with Snoop, had gone on such a long
journey, was put back in its place on the mantle, to be admired by
all.

Now my little story has come to an end, but I hope you children
who have read it will care to hear more of the Bobbsey twins and
the things they did. So I will say good-bye for a while, trusting
to meet you all again.

THE END





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