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The Bobbsey Twins at Meadow Brook(Chapter6)

2006-08-22 18:58

  Chapter VI. At Meadow Brook

  The train was not going very fast when Snap leaped from the baggage car, but, even if it had been moving at greater speed, it is not likely that Snap would have been hurt.

  As it was, when the dog leaped from the open door, he did a somersault in the air, for he had learned to do that while in the circus, when he jumped from a high place.

  "Snap! Snap!" called Bert again.

  But Snap landed lightly on his feet, and raced across the depot platform toward the dog he had seen.

  "Say, that's a fine dog of yours!" cried the baggage man admiringly to Bert. "He must be a trick one."

  "He is!" answered Bert. "But can I get him back again? Oh, I must get him!" and he looked about for some way to do this.

  "Don't jump out, whatever you do!" warned the brakeman who had brought Bert to the baggage car. The man stood in front of the open door, out of which trunks were taken. But Bert had no idea of doing what Snap had done. Besides, the train was moving quite rapidly now.

  "Oh, how can I get my dog back?" Bert wanted to know.

  "You can telegraph back, from the next station we stop at, and have the agent there send him on, wherever you are going," explained the baggage man.

  "Oh, but we're going a long way," Bert said. "I'm afraid Snap would be lost, traveling alone. Oh, what will Nan say!"

  Nan was as fond of Snap as was Bert himself, though perhaps the smaller twins, Flossie and Freddie cared more for Snoop, the black cat. But of course they loved Snap very much.

  Poor Bert did not know what to do. Just then his father came running into the car.

  "Did Snap get away?" cried Mr. Bobbsey. "Your mother saw a dog on the station platform that looked like him," went on the lumber man to Bert. "Is Snap——"

  "He's gone!" interrupted Bert. "He jumped out of the car just now, and——"

  "We must stop the train!" Mr. Bobbsey explained.

  "All right, I guess we can make up any time we lose," the brakeman said. He reached up and pulled the cord that ran overhead in the car. There was a hissing of air, the locomotive whistle blew sharply, and the train came slowly to a stop. The brakeman had pulled an air whistle in the engine cab, and the engineer, hearing it, and knowing the train ought to stop, had turned off the steam.

  Mr. Bobbsey then went to the door of the baggage car, and, leaning out, whistled in a way Snap well knew. He could see the dog, back on the depot platform, "wagging tails" with another dog.

  "Here, Snap! Snap!" called Mr. Bobbsey, as the train slowly came to a stop. "Here Snap!"

  Bert leaned out beside his father, and also whistled and called. Then Snap knew he had done wrong to jump out, and back he came, racing as hard as he could.

  "I'll open the end door of the car if you wish, so he can come up the steps," offered the brakeman.

  "You don't need to, thank you," replied Mr. Bobbsey. "I guess Snap can jump up here, though it is pretty high."

  By this time a number of persons from the train had either gotten out, or thrust their heads from the windows, to learn the reason for the sudden stop. But when they saw the dog they understood.

  "Up, Snap! Up!" called Mr. Bobbsey, as the children's pet came leaping along beside the track. Snap gave one look up at the high sill of the baggage car door, and then, with a loud bark, he gave a great leap and landed right beside Bert.

  "Say, that dog's a fine jumper!" cried several railroad men who had come up to see what the trouble was.

  "Yes, he is a pretty good dog, nearly always," Mr. Bobbsey said, "but he made trouble for us to-day. Now, Snap, you'll have to stay chained up the rest of the trip, until we get to Meadow Brook."

  Snap would not like that, Bert knew, but nothing else could be done. The train soon started off again, and when Bert and his father went back to the parlor car where the rest of the family were riding they told all that had happened.

  "Snoop is better than Snap," said Freddie as he listened to the story.

  "Yes, indeed," agreed his sister Flossie. "Snoop wouldn't jump out of a train and make a lot of trouble."

  "Well, he did run away, once," declared Nan, who did not like to hear Snap talked about.

  "Besides, Snoop is fast in a box, and he wouldn't get out if he wanted to," added Bert, with a laugh.

  So the children talked about their pets, now and then looking out of the windows at the scenery, while Dinah dozed off in her chair, and Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey spoke of different matters.

  Bert heard something of what his father and mother were saying, and once he heard mentioned the name of Frank Kennedy.

  "That's the boy who ran away from Mr. Mason, the lumber man," said Bert to himself. "I wonder what became of him, and if we'll ever see poor Frank again?"

  And he little thought how soon, and under what circumstances, he was to meet the unfortunate lad again.

  One of the porters, wearing a white cap, jacket and apron walked through the chair car about noon, calling out:

  "First call fo' dinner in de dinin' car! First call fo' dinner!"

  "Do they eat on trains?" asked Flossie.

  "Yes, and at cute little tables," said Nan.

  "Did we eat at them the last time we went to Meadow Brook?" Freddie wanted to know.

  "No, you were too little then," said Mrs. Bobbsey, "and we brought our lunch with us. But this time we shall go to the diner."

  "Oh, what fun!" cried Flossie.

  Mr. Bobbsey led the way for his family into the dining-coach. As Nan had said, there were cute little tables against the side of the car, and on each table was a little dish of ferns, and other green plants, making a pretty decoration.

  Dinah would not come. She said she would rather eat some chicken sandwiches she had in her bag, and Mr. Bobbsey let the dear old colored cook do as she pleased.

  The Bobbsey twins found it so strange to eat in a car, at a real table, while rushing along, that I think they did not eat as much as they would have done at home. But they enjoyed it just the same, though Freddie did splash some water from his finger bowl on the table cloth.

  "Oh! Oh!" he exclaimed when he saw what he had done. He looked anxiously at his mother.

  "Dat's all right, little man," said the colored waiter with a smile that showed all his white teeth. "Got t' put a clean cloth on anyhow, an' watah doesn't matter."

  Freddie felt better then.

  The afternoon passed slowly enough. Mr. Bobbsey and Bert went to the baggage car once more, to see about Snap, but they found he was all right, having made friends with one of the men who looked after the travelers' trunks.

  Nan read a story book which her mother bought from the train boy, and Flossie and Freddie did what Dinah was doing——took a little nap.

  The train was due to arrive at Meadow Brook about five o'clock, and Mr. Bobbsey's brother, Uncle Daniel, was to meet the family at the station.

  "Ours is the next stop," said the twins' papa, after a while. "Get your things together now."

  "Oh, I had a fine sleep!" cried Freddie, stretching his chubby little arms.

  "So did I," added Flossie. "I wonder if Snoop slept any?"

  "I guess that's all he has been doing since we started," Mrs. Bobbsey answered. "He's all curled up into a black ball."

  Flossie and Freddie looked at their pet, and Snoop stretched, and opened his mouth very wide, sticking out his red tongue.

  "My! What a lot of teeth Snoop has!" cried Flossie.

  "Did we bring his tooth brush?" asked Freddie.

  "Cats don't have tooth brushes!" said Flossie.

  "Their tongue is their tooth brush," explained Mrs. Bobbsey. "Did you ever feel how rough a cat's tongue is?"

  "I never did!" said Flossie. "I'm going to feel now," and she knelt down on the carpeted floor of the car, and tried to get Snoop to put his red tongue out between the bars of the box.

  "Oh, we haven't time for that now," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "Get ready to leave the train, Flossie."

  Bundles and valises were gotten together, and, a little later, with a screeching of the brakes on the wheels, the train pulled slowly into the Meadow Brook station.

  "I see Uncle Daniel!" cried Nan, looking from a window.

  "Yes, and there's Harry!" cried Bert, as he spied his country cousin. "Oh, how glad I am!"

  "Well, well! How are you all!" laughed Uncle Daniel as he hugged and kissed the two sets of twins. "My, but I'm glad to see you all!" he cried. "Welcome to Meadow Brook!"

  "And we're glad to be here!" said Mrs. Bobbsey. "How is Aunt Sarah?"

  "Just as fine as can be!" said her husband. "Now I have the same big wagon I had when you were here before. There's room for everybody in it, and all your baggage, too. Where's Dinah? You didn't leave her home, I hope!"

  "No, indeedy! I'se heah!" exclaimed the fat, colored cook, who was carrying many bundles.

  "Oh, we must get Snap out of the baggage car, before the train carries him away," said Mr. Bobbsey, and he hurried to do that, while his brother, Uncle Daniel, helped the boys and girls and Mrs. Bobbsey into the big wagon from the Bobbsey farm. The wagon had seats running along the side and was very comfortable to ride in.

  Mr. Bobbsey soon came back with Snap, who was bouncing about, barking and wagging his tail, so glad was he to be among his friends again.

  "Well, are you all ready to start?" asked

  Uncle Daniel, as I shall call him, to distinguish him from Mr. Bobbsey, who was the farmer's brother.

  "All ready, I think," answered Mrs. Bobbsey. And off they started for Meadow Brook farm, the horses prancing through the village streets.

  "We'll have a lot of fun," said Harry to Bert, the two boys sitting next each other. "Maybe not as much fun as we had on your houseboat, Bert, but some, anyhow."

  "I'm sure we shall," Bert said. "I like a farm just as much as I do a houseboat," he added politely.

  "Have you got any little calves, Uncle Daniel?" asked Freddie.

  "Yes," answered the farmer.

  "And are there any little lambs?" Flossie Ranted to know.

  "Yes, but there's an old ram, too, and you want to look out that he doesn't chase you, and knock you down," Mr. Bobbsey's brother went on.

  "Oh, is the ram dangerous?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey, quickly.

  "Oh, no!" her brother-in-law informed her. "His horns are so curved that he can't use the sharp points, but he just does love to come up behind and butt you down. He did it to me the other day. But I keep the ram in a pasture by himself."

  The wagon rolled along the shady road, under the green trees, which made a grateful shade, for it was hot even though it was late in the afternoon.

  "Oh, there is Tom Mason!" cried Bert, as he saw a country boy he had met when on a visit to Meadow Brook some time before. He waved his hand to Tom who was in his front yard, his house not being far from Mr. Bobbsey's.

  "And there's Mabel Herold!" added Nan, as she saw a country girl she knew. "My, how she has grown!" Nan went on. "She didn't use to be up to my shoulder, and now she is taller than I am."

  "Oh, the country is a great place for growing," Uncle Daniel said, with a chuckle.

  "Mabel and Tom have been counting on your coming," said Harry. "I told them we expected you. We'll have some fine times together!"

  "I'm sure of it," agreed Bert.

  "Here we are!" called Uncle Daniel a little later, as the horses turned up a driveway in front of the Bobbsey country home. Lines of boxwood hedge grew along the graveled drive, and back of this hedge were beds of beautiful flowers, the perfume of which could be smelled this warm, August day.

  "Oh, how lovely it is here," sighed Nan, turning around from having waved a welcome to Mabel Herold.

  "Yes, I always like to come to Meadow Brook," said Mrs. Bobbsey.

  "Whoa!" called Uncle Daniel.

  The door of the house opened, and in it stood Aunt Sarah, and behind her Martha, the smiling servant.

  "Oh, how glad I am to see you!" cried Aunt Sarah, as the children piled down from the wagon to hug and kiss her. "Now get your things off, and we'll have supper," she went on.

  "I'm hungry!" announced Freddie.

  "So am I!" added Flossie. "There was so much to look at in that eating car, I didn't eat half enough.

  "Well, we have plenty here, my dear," said her aunt.

  "We must let Snoop out. I guess she's hungry, too," said Freddie, who never forgot the black cat. Snap, the dog, had raced along beside the wagon, and was now cooling his thirst at the spring near the side door.

  The Bobbsey visitors were out on the shady porch, having laid aside their traveling wraps, and Uncle Daniel was coming down from the barn, having put away the horses, when a man rushed up the gravel drive, crying:

  "Oh, Mr. Bobbsey! Mr. Bobbsey! He's out! He's loose!"

  "Who's out? Who's loose?" the twins' uncle wanted to know.

  "That old big ram! He's loose, and he's coming this way!" was the answer.

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