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hard about it. Only this time it happened to be an accident, and the two
boys were enemies and not friends.

Freddie was so surprised at the sudden and unexpected coast that he just
had to hold fast to Nick and he could say nothing more. But when the
bottom of the hill was reached, Freddie, being on top, began to pound
Nick's back with his two sturdy fists.

"Hey! Quit! Let me up!" begged the bad boy.

"Not till you give me my sister's sled!" insisted Freddie.

"Well, how can I give it to her when you're sittin' on me?" yelled Nick.

With that Freddie got off the other lad's back, allowing him to get up.
The other boys gathered around, thinking there might be a fight. But
Nick had had enough. He found Freddie braver than he had thought, and
turned away, muttering:

"Aw, I only wanted a ride an' I got it!"

"Yes, and Freddie had one too!" laughed Sam Miller.

Nick walked away, and then the younger Bobbsey twins again started
coasting, Freddie taking Flossie's sled back to her.

It was still snowing when noon came, and Flossie and Freddie had to go
home to lunch. They found Bert and Charlie busy making a bobsled in the
back yard. The older boys were fastening together their sleds by a long
plank, and Nan was helping by tacking some strips of carpet on the
plank.

"Oh, can we ride on that?" asked Freddie.

"Maybe," said his brother. "How's the little hill?"

"Nice," Freddie answered.

"An' you ought to've seen Nick Malone take my sled and Freddie jump on
his back!" cried Flossie.

"Is that fellow bothering you two again?" demanded Bert, looking up with
a hammer in his hand. "I'll get after him, that's what I will!"

"Freddie got after him," explained Flossie. "Oh, I'm so glad it snows!
We're going coasting some more after dinner."

"Sure!" added Freddie.

At the dinner table Bert and Nan noticed that their father seemed
worried over something. He went to the window several times to look out
at the storm.

"If this keeps up the shipment will never arrive," he said to his wife.

"You mean the Christmas trees?" she asked.

"Yes," answered Mr. Bobbsey. "They are late now, and something seems to
be wrong up there in the woods."

"Shan't we have any Christmas tree?" asked Freddie, who did not know
just what was being talked about.

"Oh, I guess so," his father said, and again he went to look at the
snow.

"Are you going to sell Christmas trees?" Bert asked. He had caught the
word "shipment," and knew it had to do with some part of his father's
lumber business.

"Yes, I am going into the Christmas tree business this year," said Mr.
Bobbsey. "That is, I have bought a large shipment of them to be sent
here to me from the North Woods. If they get here in time I can sell
them and make some money. But if this snow keeps up, the carloads of
trees, or the shipment, will be delayed, and if they don't get here at
least a week before Christmas they will be of little use to me. But
perhaps the snow will not be as heavy as I fear."

"I didn't know you sold Christmas trees," remarked Nan.

[Illustration: THE CHILDREN HAD GREAT FUN COASTING.]

"I never did before," her father said. "It's a new business for me, and
I may make a failure of it."

Then the older Bobbsey twins began to understand how it is that snow can
bring pleasure to boys and girls, but may often mean trouble for older
people in business.

"Well, we'll hope for the best," said Mr. Bobbsey, as he started back to
the office after dinner, when the white flakes were still falling
steadily. "I may have to go up to the North Woods to see about that
shipment of trees if they don't get here soon."

"Could we go?" asked Bert, having a joyful vision of a mid-winter trip
to one of his father's lumber camps.

"Well, I'll see," answered Mr. Bobbsey, and Nan and Bert looked at each
other in delight.

Some strange adventures were ahead of them, though they did not know it.




CHAPTER VI - OFF TO CEDAR CAMP


Bert and Charlie, with Nan's help, finished the bobsled in time to use
on the coasting hill that afternoon and early in the evening. And it is
a good thing they had hurried with it, for the next day there came a
thaw and the snow began to melt. It melted so fast that by noon there
was scarcely enough for Flossie and Freddie to have any fun on even the
small hill, and what snow there was had mostly turned to slush.

"Oh, dear," sighed Nan, when she found that she and her brothers and
sister had to give up their pleasure, "this isn't any fun!"

"That's right," agreed Bert. "But the winter isn't over. We always have
a lot of snow after Christmas."

"And I suppose we ought to be glad there isn't a big storm," went on
Nan, when it had been decided to give up coasting and the older Bobbsey
twins were dragging home the new bobsled.

"Why ought we be glad?" Bert wanted to know.

"Because if it doesn't storm so much daddy can get his shipment of
Christmas trees here and make some money."

"Oh, that's so - I forgot!" exclaimed Bert. "But if the trees do come we
can't make that trip with him to the North Woods to see what the matter
is. And I wanted to go on a trip like that, for we don't have much
school now, on account of the holidays."

"It would be nice to go off somewhere in the winter," agreed Nan.
"Remember what fun we had at Snow Lodge?"

"I should say so!" cried Bert. "But there isn't much use talking about
snow when it thaws like this," and he stepped into a puddle of slush.

"Oh, be careful!" cried Nan. "You'll get your feet wet!"

"I have rubbers on," said Bert.

There was nothing to do but to leave the bobsled and the other sleds in
the shed attached to the garage. There they would stay until more snow
came. When Bert went into the house, after putting away the bobsled and
helping Flossie and Freddie store away their smaller sleds, he found his
mother waiting for him.

"Bert," said Mrs. Bobbsey, "here is a special delivery letter that just
came for your father. It should have been delivered at the office, but
they sent it here by mistake, and Dinah took it in before I could call
to the boy to take it back with him. I called your father up about it on
the telephone and he said, if you came in, to have you bring it down."

"I'll go," replied Bert cheerfully.

"Oh, may we go along?" begged Flossie.

"We'll be good!" promised Freddie.

"Shall I take them?" asked Bert of his mother.

"If you want to," she answered. "Does Nan want to go?"

But Nan, as it happened, had some sewing she wanted to do on a Christmas
gift for one of her girl friends, so she said she would stay in the
house and busy herself with needle and thread. Thus it came about that
Bert took the smaller Bobbsey twins down to his father's office.

They went in a trolley car, and, as they always did, Freddie and Flossie
became very much interested in everything that happened, from the fat
lady who could hardly get on to the scenes in the streets.

There were many trucks and wagons in one street, as the car came nearer
that part of Lakeport in which Mr. Bobbsey's lumberyard and office were
situated. Finally the street became so crowded with wagons and
automobiles that the car had to proceed slowly.

"Oh, Freddie, look!" suddenly called Flossie, pointing out of the
window. A big auto-truck, piled high with crates, in which were chickens
and ducks, had come to a stop alongside of the trolley car, and so close
that, had the window been open, the Bobbsey twins could have reached out
their hands and touched some of the fowls.

"I guess they're getting in big shipments of ducks, turkeys and chickens
ready for Christmas," said Bert. "Look out there, Freddie!" he suddenly
called, and, leaping from his place beside Flossie, Bert made a grab and
pulled Freddie off the seat.

Only just in time, too, for at that moment the auto-truck, which had
started off after being stalled, lurched to one side, and a corner of
one of the chicken crates crashed through a car window, breaking the
glass.

Bert had seen the crate of chickens shifting around as the truck
started, and had guessed that it was going to slide over and crash
against the trolley car, just as it did. So he pulled Freddie away in
time.

Some of the passengers in the car screamed, and there was a shout by the
conductor and motorman as the glass crashed in the electric vehicle.

And then a funny thing happened. One of the slats of the chicken crate
on the auto-truck came loose, and in through the broken window fluttered
a hen and a rooster. Right into the trolley they flew, the hen cackling
and the rooster crowing!

"Oh, look! Look!" cried Flossie.

"Catch 'em!" shouted Freddie, pulling away from Bert and grabbing for
the rooster.

But the rooster did not intend to be caught. Half running and half
flying, he "scooted," as Freddie called it, down to the end of the car,
and, as the conductor had just opened the door to look out and see what
was causing the blockade, the rooster made his escape.

The hen, however, did not seem to know how to get out. She fluttered
around, cackling and making a great fuss. The men in the car laughed,
and the women held their hands over their hats so the chicken would not
light on them.

"Maybe she came in here to lay an egg!" suggested Flossie, laughing.

"I'm goin' to catch her!" shouted Freddie.

"Get her and have a chicken dinner," said the motorman.

By this time the car was in an uproar, most of the passengers enjoying
the queer excitement. As for the hen, I do not think she liked it at
all, though she had more room than in the crate.

The driver of the auto-truck was talking to a policeman about whose
fault it was that the trolley window had become broken, and the motorman
and conductor now joined in.

"I've got to get that chicken and rooster back," said the truck driver.
"I'll be blamed for letting them get away."

"And we'll be blamed for having a window in our car broken," said the
conductor. "It was your fault."

"It was not!" insisted the driver.

Cackling and fluttering, the hen raced about inside the trolley car, and
Freddie tried to catch her, but could not. Several of the men made grabs
for the lively fowl, but finally she saw the same open door by which the
rooster had gotten out, and away she flew.

"She didn't like it in here," observed Flossie.

"I don't blame her," said a woman passenger, laughing. "Poor thing! Her
nerves must be all on an edge."

"Let's go and see if they catch 'em," suggested Freddie. But Bert said
they had no time for that.

The slipping crate, which had broken the window, was finally pulled back
on the truck. The slat was nailed fast so no other fowls could get out,
and then the trolley car moved along. The conductor picked up the larger
pieces of broken glass and pulled the curtain down over the window to
keep out the cold air.

"My, you must have had some excitement," said Mr. Bobbsey, when the
children finally reached his office and told him of the accident. "I'm
glad Freddie wasn't cut by the broken glass."

"I'm glad, too," said the little Bobbsey boy.

Mr. Bobbsey read the letter Bert had brought him, and then the same
worried look Bert had seen before came over his father's face.

"Do you want me to tell mother anything?" asked Bert.

"No, except to thank her for sending me down this letter. Still, you
might say to her that I think I shall have to go to Cedar Camp in a day
or two."

"Where's Cedar Camp?" asked Bert.

"Where the Christmas trees grow," his father answered, with a smile.
"It's where the Christmas trees grow that I hope to have to sell. I
haven't got them yet, and I'm going there to see what the trouble is.
This letter is about the trees."

"Oh, can't we go and see where the Christmas trees grow?" begged
Flossie.

"We like it in the woods," said Freddie.

"I suppose you do," his father answered, smiling. "But the woods in
winter are very different from in summer. However, we shall not have any
bad storms or severe weather for another month, I think. Perhaps I might
be able to take my Bobbsey twins to Cedar Camp," and he playfully
pinched Flossie's fat cheek.

"It would be nifty to go!" said Bert. "Do you really think you'll take
us?"

"We'll talk it over to-night at home," said his father. "Here, take
Flossie and Freddie to the store and get them some hot chocolate," he
added, giving Bert some money.

The little Bobbsey twins liked the chocolate very much, but they were so
excited, thinking about a possible trip to the North Woods, that they
talked of nothing else.

"Do you really think you will have to go?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey of her
husband that evening.

"Yes," he answered. "Those Christmas trees have been lost somewhere
between Cedar Camp and here, and I must find them, or I shall lose a lot
on them. I will go to Cedar Camp in a few days."

"And take us?" asked Bert.

"All of us!" cried Freddie.

Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey looked at one another.

"Would you like to go?" asked Mr. Bobbsey of his wife.

"Where could we stay?" she inquired.

"There is a large log cabin that one of my foremen used to live in," Mr.
Bobbsey answered. "The cabin is empty, and we could stay there as long
as the weather did not get too cold, and as long as there were no bad
storms. I really ought to go right to the woods, so that if I cannot get
on the track of the lost shipment of Christmas trees I can start the men
to cutting others. So we might as well all go."

"Oh, what fun!" cried the Bobbsey twins.

Since that first fall of snow, which did not last very long, there had
been no storms in the region of Lakeport, and Mr. Bobbsey thought he
could get to Cedar Camp and return with his family before the really
severe winter weather set in. He did not believe it would take long to
look up the matter of the delayed shipment of the Christmas trees and
straighten it out.

So it was settled, and a few days later, when plans had been completed,
the Bobbsey family started for Cedar Camp.




CHAPTER VII - IN THE NORTH WOODS


"It's just lovely to take a trip like this," said Nan, as she leaned
back in the automobile.

"Swell, I call it," declared Bert.

Flossie and Freddie said nothing just then. They were too busy looking
from the windows.

Mr. Bobbsey owned a large, closed automobile, which even had an
arrangement for heating, and it was just the proper vehicle for a trip
like this. It easily held all the Bobbseys and their baggage, which had
been piled in to go with them.

It had not taken long to make preparations for the trip. Dinah and Sam
would be left in charge of the Lakeport house, and would care for Snoop
and Snap.

"I wish we could take our cat along," sighed Flossie.

"And Snap would be just right for the woods," said Freddie. "Everybody
has a dog in the woods."

"We haven't time to bother with Snoop and Snap now," said Mrs. Bobbsey,
so the dog and cat had been left at home, as much to their sorrow as to
that of the Bobbsey twins.

Cedar Camp was in what was called the "North Woods," about forty or
fifty miles from Lakeport. It was a wild, desolate region, especially in
the winter. In summer many camping parties made the place more lively.

Mr. Bobbsey owned some timberland there, from which was cut some of the
lumber he used in his business. And it was only this year that he had
decided to go into the Christmas tree trade. He had ordered many
hundreds of the small cedars, spruce, and hemlocks cut and shipped to
him, some to Lakeport and others to a more distant and larger city.

But something had gone wrong with the carloads of trees. They had
started from Cedar Camp all right, but that was the last heard of them.

"I can trace them from the North Woods end better than from down here,"
Mr. Bobbsey had said, as a reason for making the trip.

The men who went into the woods to cut timber and Christmas trees had to
stay in winter camps. They lived in log or slab cabins, and there were
many of them scattered through the North Woods. It was in one of these
cabins, which had formerly been used by a foreman and his family, that
Mr. Bobbsey planned to have his wife and children stay for about a week.
It would take him that long, he thought, to locate the missing Christmas
trees.

And so now the Bobbsey twins were on the first part of their journey in
the large, closed automobile. It was almost as comfortable as traveling
in a Pullman railroad car, and it was much more fun, the children
thought.

They had brought with them plenty of lunch, some extra wraps, and some
blankets and bed-clothes.

"What shall we eat when we get to the North Woods?" asked Freddie, as he
munched some cookies his mother passed to him and Flossie. "Shall we
have any - chicken?"

"If we could 'a' brought the one in the trolley car we could," suggested
Flossie. "Wasn't she funny, an' the rooster, too?"

"I wish we could 'a' caught them," Freddie murmured.

"Oh, I think we'll have enough to eat without those fowls," said their
mother.

"They will if they like baked beans," said Mr. Bobbsey. "The lumbermen
have plenty of those. They bake big pans of them."

"I'll help mother cook," offered Nan.

"There will be a woman at the camp to cook," Mr. Bobbsey explained. "I
wrote up and engaged the wife of one of the lumbermen," he said. "I
thought you'd like a little rest from looking after housework even in
camp," he said to his wife.

"Thank you, I will," she said. "It will be quite nice to be in the woods
in winter; especially the Christmas tree woods, where there is so much
greenery."

On went the automobile, driven by Mr. Bobbsey. Lakeport was left behind
and they were on a country road. The weather was fine, with hardly a
cloud in the sky, and Mr. Bobbsey was glad that he had taken his family
on this little trip.

It looked as though they were going to have good luck all the way. Noon
came and saw them more than half over their journey, and as yet no
mishaps had befallen them. There was no tire trouble and the engine of
the big automobile seemed glad to work as hard as it could going up hill
and on the level with the Bobbsey twins.

Mr. Bobbsey planned to get to Cedar Camp before dark, and he would have
done so but for a little accident. They had left the town of Bunkport,
which was the last village before the North Woods was reached, when the
motor began to chug in a queer manner.

"What's that?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey. "One of the cylinders seems to be
missing."

The Bobbsey twins knew what this meant. That one of the parts of the
automobile engine was not working properly.

"Oh, Daddy!" exclaimed Freddie.

"I guess the spark plug needs cleaning," said Mr. Bobbsey. "But we won't
stop for that now. I think we can reach Cedar Camp, and then I'll have
plenty of time to take it out and look at it."

But the automobile continued to go more and more slowly, and once, on a
hill, it almost stopped.

"If we can get over the top we can coast down and soon be in Cedar
Camp," said Mr. Bobbsey, in answer to an anxious look from his wife.

The car did manage to climb the hill, and then it was easy to go down
the other side. But there was still a farther distance to go than Mr.
Bobbsey had thought. The night settled down, it became dark, and then,
suddenly, when the car was on a rough road in a sort of lane cut through
the evergreen trees, the engine, with a sort of cough and chug, stopped
altogether.

"Oh, dear!" exclaimed Mrs. Bobbsey. "We're stalled!"

"Looks like it," said Mr. Bobbsey, preparing to get out and see what the
trouble was.

"Where are we?" asked Bert, getting ready to follow his father and help
if he could.

"We're in the North Woods," answered Mr. Bobbsey. "Several miles from
Cedar Camp, I'm afraid."

"It - it's awful dark!" whispered Flossie. "Aren't they going to turn on
the lights?"

"There aren't ever any lights in the woods 'ceptin' fireflies, are
there, Daddy?" asked Freddie.

"Only our auto lights," answered his father. "Well, we may be able to
travel soon."

As he was getting out of the car into the dark road, a mournful, shrill
cry that echoed all about sounded through the forest.

"What's that?" gasped Nan, shrinking close to her mother. "Oh, what is
it?"




CHAPTER VIII - A NUTTING PARTY


Mrs. Bobbsey was rather alarmed at what had happened to the automobile
to cause it to stop. She was also worried, thinking perhaps they all
might have to stay out in the woods all night, if they could not go on
to camp. So when Nan asked the cause of the strange noise her mother did
not at first answer.

The sound came again, just as Bert was getting down out of the car to go
to his father, who had lifted the hood over the motor to see what was
wrong, and the strange sound so startled this Bobbsey twin lad that he
let go his hold of the side of the car and slid with a bump to the
ground.

"Ugh!" grunted Bert, as he fell.

He grunted in such a funny way, and he looked so odd sitting there in
the dusk, as if he did not know what had happened, that Flossie and
Freddie laughed. And this laughter seemed to make them less afraid of
the queer call of the woods.

"Hurt yourself, Bert?" asked his father, looking up from his task of
throwing the gleams of a flashlight in among the parts of the automobile
motor.

"No, sir," Bert answered. "I just sat down sudden, that's all. But what
was that noise, Daddy? Is it - - "

As if finding fault because the Bobbsey twins had come to Cedar Camp,
once more the warning call came.

"There it goes again!" exclaimed Nan.

Flossie and Freddie shrank closer to their mother, and even Nan seemed a
little afraid, but Mr. Bobbsey only laughed.

"That's a hoot owl - or a screech owl, I don't know which," he said.
"Anyhow, it's only a bird with feathers and big, staring eyes. And, very
likely, it's looking down at us now and wondering what we're doing in
his woods."

"Is the owl looking at us now?" asked Freddie, climbing away from his
mother and venturing to the door of the car.

"Very likely," his father said. "But the chances are you can't see it.
Owls keep pretty well hidden when there's any daylight left."

"Well, the light is fast fading," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "It's getting dark
very fast, Dick. And unless we get to camp soon - well, you know what may
happen," she said to her husband. "Do you think you can get the motor to
going?"

"I think so," he answered. "Bert, please come here and hold the light
for me."

Glad to be of help to his father, Bert arose from the ground, to which
he had slipped when the sudden noise of the owl startled him, and went
to hold the flash lamp. As he sent the beam moving about, in order to
direct it just where his father wished it, there was a whirr and a
flutter in the almost leafless branches of the trees overhead, and
Flossie cried:

"There it is!"

"Yes, that's Mr. Owl," laughed her father. "He came up to look at us,
but he doesn't like our bright light, because it hurts his eyes. So he
flew away. Now come on, Bert, and we'll get the motor to running again.
They'll be anxious at Cedar Camp if we don't get there soon."

"Do they expect us?" asked Nan.

"Oh, surely," said her father. "Hold the light steady, Bert."

The Bobbsey twin lad did as requested, and after a little examination,
his father exclaimed:

"I see what the trouble is - a loose wire on a spark plug! That's easily
fixed. We'll be traveling on again in a few minutes."

And so they were. Once the wire was fastened in place, the automobile
could go again. Bert and his father got back in, there was a chugging
and throb of the motor, and off they went through the woods, the two
headlights gleaming along the dark road in the midst of the trees.

"I wish we could have arrived by daylight," said Mr. Bobbsey, as he
carefully steered the car. "Cedar Camp looks ever so much better then."

"I'm glad to get here at all - so we don't have to stay out in the woods
all night," said Mrs. Bobbsey.

"It would be fun to be out in the woods all night - if owls didn't bite
you - wouldn't it, Flossie?" asked Freddie.

"Yes, I guess maybe," answered the little girl. "But I'd rather be in
our camp an' have something to eat."

"I guess I would, too," agreed Freddie.

"Well, here we are, then. Cedar Camp!" suddenly cried Mr. Bobbsey, and,
almost before the twins knew it, the car had turned from the dense woods
and was in a clearing, or place where many trees were chopped down.

Around the clearing were many log cabins, and inside some of them, and
outside others, lanterns were glowing, so the place was quite light,
compared to the darkness of the forest.

"Cedar Camp!" cried Bert. "Is this it?"


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