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saw how dark it was getting and how fast the snow still came down and
heard how the wind howled, it is no wonder the mother of the older
Bobbsey twins was worried. So was Mr. Bobbsey.

"I'll go right away and get Jim and some of the men, and we'll start out
on the search," said Mr. Bobbsey, having warmed himself at the stove.
"We must not wait!"

"No," agreed Mrs. Bobbsey. "I'll stay and amuse Flossie and Freddie."

The smaller Bobbsey twins, of course, did not worry because Bert and Nan
had not yet come home. Flossie and Freddie were having too much fun
playing a little game on the foot of Flossie's bed. Mrs. Baxter, the
housekeeper, had started the game for the children by bringing in some
funny wooden blocks her husband had cut out on one of the long winter
evenings that were sometimes so dreary in Cedar Camp.

The blocks could be fitted together to make a house, a bridge, a boat
and many other play objects, and Flossie and Freddie enjoyed playing
with them, for which their mother was glad. She really was so worried
that she could not very well talk to them or tell them stories.

Telling his wife to keep up her courage and not to worry too much, Mr.
Bobbsey went out into the storm again.

"Where is daddy going?" asked Flossie, hearing the door shut.

"He's going to bring back Bert and Nan - and the chestnuts," said Mrs.
Bobbsey, quickly. She knew the smaller twins would think more of the
chestnuts than anything else, just at present.

"Oh, I like chestnuts!" cried Freddie. "I'm going to boast 'em an' roil
'em!" he exclaimed.

"Listen to him, Mother!" laughed Flossie. "He said 'boast an' roil,' an'
he meant roast an' boil 'em, didn't he?"

"I think he did," said Mrs. Bobbsey, trying not to let the small twins
see how worried she was.

"Oh, Freddie Bobbsey, look what you did!" suddenly cried Flossie. "You
knocked over my steamboat!" For Freddie had toppled over the pile of
blocks that Flossie had erected on the foot of her bed.

"Never mind. He didn't mean to," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "You can make
another boat, Flossie."

"An' I'll help," offered Freddie.

Thus the two smaller Bobbsey twins amused themselves, with little
thought of Bert and Nan except, perhaps, to wonder when they would come
home with the chestnuts.

Meanwhile Mr. Bobbsey hurried through the fast-gathering darkness and
the storm to the cabin of Jim Denton. Like the other men in the
Christmas tree and lumber camp, the foreman had stopped work when the
storm came with such blinding snow and a wind that turned bitter cold
toward night.

"What's that?" cried Jim Denton, when Mr. Bobbsey called at his cabin.
"Bert and Nan not back from chestnutting yet? Why, I s'posed they were
back hours ago!"

"So did I, and I wish they were," said Mr. Bobbsey.

"Oh, shucks now! don't worry," said the jolly foreman. "We'll find 'em
all right. We'll start right out."

He put on his big boots and warm coat and went with Mr. Bobbsey to the
cabins of some of the lumbermen. Soon a searching party was organized,
and away they started through the storm along the path that earlier in
the day Bert and Nan had taken to go to the chestnut grove.

"They took their lunch with them," said Mr. Bobbsey, "so they wouldn't
be hungry until now. But they may be lost or have fallen into some hole
and be half snowed over."

"Or they may have found some logger's or hunter's cabin, and have gone
in," said Jim Denton. "There are plenty of cabins scattered through
these woods."

"I hope they have found shelter," said Mr. Bobbsey anxiously.

On through the storm went the father of the Bobbsey twins and his
lumbermen searchers. They stopped now and then and shouted, but no
answers came back.

They had been out about an hour, and had gone more than a mile along the
path that it was supposed Bert and Nan had taken, when one of the men
called:

"Wait a minute! I think I heard someone call."

They all stopped and listened. Above the blowing of the wind and the
swishing of the fast-falling snowflakes, a faint and far-off voice could
be heard.

"Help! Help!" it called.

"There they are!" shouted one of the lumbermen.

"That doesn't sound like either Bert or Nan," said Mr. Bobbsey. "But it
may be someone who started to bring them back to camp and he, too,
became lost."

They all listened again, and once more came the call, but still faint
and far away.

"Help! Help!"

"It's over here!" cried Jim Denton. "Over to the right!"

Through the storm and darkness the rescue party hurried, sending out
calls to tell that they were on the way. Now and again they heard the
cry in answer, and it sounded nearer now.

At last Mr. Bobbsey saw a dark figure huddled in a heap near a pile of
snow, which had drifted around a large rock.

"Here's someone!" cried Mr. Bobbsey.

A moment later he and the lumbermen were standing over the figure of a
man, partly buried in the snow.

"Why, it's Jim! Old Jim Bimby!" exclaimed Jim Denton. "I know him. He
lives several miles from here. He must have been lost in the storm, too.
Jim! Jim!" he cried. "What you doing here?"

"I - I started to town for victuals," said old Jim Bimby, in faint tones.
"The storm was too much for me. I was about giving up."

"We heard you call," said Tom Case.

"Did you see anything of two small children?" eagerly asked Mr. Bobbsey.
"Twins, a boy and a girl! Did you see them?"

Anxiously he bent over to catch the old logger's answer.




CHAPTER XIV - SNOWED IN


Having been out in the cold and storm so long, Jim Bimby seemed to have
become half frozen. He did not appear to understand what Mr. Bobbsey
asked him. The old logger staggered to his feet, helped by some of the
men from Cedar Camp, and looked about him.

"What's the matter?" asked Old Jim in a faint voice. "Did something
happen? I remember startin' off to get - to get something to eat for my
wife and me. Then I fell down, tired out, I guess."

"I guess you did!" exclaimed Tom Case. "And if we hadn't found you,
you'd have been done for. We must get you to shelter."

"Take him around behind this big pine tree a minute," suggested Jim
Denton. "He'll be out of the wind there, and we can give him a drink of
the hot tea we brought along."

Some hot tea, mixed with milk, had been put in a thermos bottle and
taken with the party to have ready for Nan and Bert, should the Bobbsey
twins be found. Now this hot drink would do for poor old Jim Bimby.

Some of the men managed to light lanterns they carried, though it was
hard work on account of the wind and snow, and the whole party,
including the rescued man, went to the side of the big pine tree, which
kept off some of the storm.

"There! I feel better," said Old Jim, as he swallowed the warm drink.

"And now can you tell us whether or not you saw my two children, Nan and
Bert - the Bobbsey twins?" again asked their father anxiously.

Old Jim shook his head.

"No," he answered. "I didn't see any children. I came straight from my
cabin, over the hill trail, to go to the village to get some food. The
cupboard is almost bare at my house. I didn't think it was goin' to
storm, and I was all taken aback when it did. I kept on, but I must have
lost my way."

"Guess you did," said Mr. Peterson. "And you're not likely to get back
on it in this storm, either."

"What!" cried Old Jim. "You mean to say I can't keep on to the store and
take some food back to my wife?"

"Not in this storm!" said Tom Case. "You're miles from the store now,
and more miles from your cabin. You'd best come to Cedar Camp with us,
and in the morning, when the storm is over, you can go on again. Your
wife has enough food to last until morning, hasn't she?"

"Yes, I guess so," answered Mr. Bimby.

"But what has become of Bert and Nan?" asked Mr. Bobbsey.

"Now look here, Mr. Bobbsey," said Tom Case, "don't go to worrying about
those children. They're all right. Bert and Nan are smart, and when they
saw this storm coming on they went to some shelter, you can depend on
that. They'd know better than to try to make their way back to camp."

"Well, perhaps they would," admitted the father of the missing twins.
"And perhaps, when we get back to camp, we'll find them there. Some
logger or hunter may have found them and taken them to our cabin."

"Of course," agreed Mr. Peterson.

By this time "Old Jim," as he was called, to distinguish him from Jim
Denton, the lumber foreman, was feeling much better. He was still weak,
and he leaned on the arm of one of the lumbermen as they turned back.
The storm was still fierce, and it was now night, but lanterns gave
light enough to see the way through the forest.

Had it not been that the lumber and Christmas tree men knew their way
through the woods, the party might never have reached Cedar Camp. As it
was they lost the trail once, and had hard work to find it again. But
finally they plunged through several drifts of snow that had formed, and
broke out into the clearing around the sawmill.

"Did you find them?" cried Mrs. Bobbsey, when her husband came to the
cabin, knocking the snow off his feet.

"No," he answered, and he tried to make his voice as cheerful as
possible. "We didn't find them, but they're all right. They were
probably taken in by some hunter or logger."

Even as he said this Mr. Bobbsey was disappointed that Bert and Nan had
not been brought back to camp during his absence, for he had half hoped
that he would find them there on his own return.

"Oh, I do hope they're all right!" said Mrs. Bobbsey.

"Of course they are!" her husband told her. "They'll be here in the
morning."

"With chestnuts?" asked Flossie, who, with Freddie, had been awakened
from an early evening sleep by the return of their father.

"Yes, they'll bring chestnuts," replied Mr. Bobbsey, trying to smile,
though it was hard work, for he was really very much worried, as was his
wife.

However, they did not let Flossie and Freddie know this. And as Mr.
Bobbsey ate the warm supper which Mrs. Baxter set out for him, he told
about the finding of Mr. Bimby, who had been taken to the cabin of Tom
Case, there to spend the night.

"Can we see him?" cried Flossie, who did not seem any the worse for
having fallen into the water.

"Maybe he can tell us a story about a real bear," added Freddie, for he
had been rather disappointed, since coming to Cedar Camp, because no one
could tell him where to find a bear.

"Maybe he can," said his father. "You shall see Old Jim, as the boys
call him, in the morning."

Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey did not pass a very happy night. They were much
worried about the missing Nan and Bert, and though he tried to sleep,
after Flossie and Freddie had gone to Slumberland, Mr. Bobbsey found it
hard work. So did his wife.

More than once during the night, as they awakened after fitful naps and
heard the wind howling around the cabin and the snow rattling against
the windows, one or the other would say:

"Oh, I hope Bert and Nan are all right!"

And the other would say:

"I hope so!"

Morning came at last, but it was not such a morning as all in Cedar Camp
had hoped for. They had expected the storm to be over, so that a
searching party could again set out to find Bert and Nan.

But instead of the storm being over, it was even worse than the night
before. A regular blizzard had set in, the snow coming out of the north
on the wings of a cold wind. Great drifts were piled high here and there
through the camp clearing, and when Freddie and Flossie looked from the
window they could hardly see the sawmill.

"Oh, oh!" squealed Freddie. "Look, Flossie! Just look!"

"We're snowed in!" cried Flossie. "Oh, what fun we'll have!"

"It's just like Snow Lodge!" added Freddie, remembering a time spent
there, when several adventurous happenings had taken place.

"Yes, I'm afraid we are snowed in," said Mr. Bobbsey, with an anxious
look out of the window. "But I hope it will not last long. Well, here
come Tom Case and Old Jim. I must see what they want," and he went to
the door to let them in.

Meanwhile the snow came down steadily, and as Flossie had said, that
part of the Bobbsey family at Cedar Camp was fairly snowed in. As for
the other members of the family, Bert and Nan, we must now try to find
out what had happened to them.




CHAPTER XV - A BARE CUPBOARD


Having finished drinking the weak tea which Mrs. Bimby brewed for them,
eating with it some of the lunch they had brought along, Bert and Nan
sat in the lonely cabin in the woods wondering what would happen next.
There was no other cabin or house near them, and as they heard the wind
howl down the chimney and moan around the corners, and heard the rattle
of hard snow against the window, the older Bobbsey twins were glad they
had found this shelter.

"Do you think we'll be able to start back soon, Mrs. Bimby?" asked Nan,
as she helped the old woman clear the tea things off the table.

"Back where, dearie?"

"Back to our camp."

"Oh, not to-night, surely," said Mrs. Bimby. "You won't dare venture out
in this storm. It's getting worse, and black night is coming on. You
just stay here with me. I can make up beds for you, and I'll be glad to
have you, since my Jim isn't coming back, I reckon."

"What do you think has become of him?" asked Bert, who was interested in
looking at a gun that hung over the mantel.

"Well, I reckon he got to the village, but found the storm so bad he
didn't dare to start back," answered Mrs. Bimby.

Of course she did not know what had happened to Old Jim any more than
Jim knew that the older Bobbsey twins were in his own cabin.

"But Jim'll be here in the morning," said his wife. "And I do hope he'll
bring in something to eat. If he doesn't - - "

She did not finish what she started to say, and Nan asked:

"Will you starve, Mrs. Bimby?"

"Well, not exactly _starve_, for I s'pose a body could keep alive on tea
and condensed milk for a while. But we'll be pretty hungry. There'll be
three to feed instead of just one," the old woman went on.

"We've some food left," said Bert. "And we can cook our chestnuts. We
got quite a few before the storm came."

"Bless your hearts, dearies!" exclaimed Mrs. Bimby. "You may be able to
eat chestnuts, but _my_ old teeth are too poor for that. But I dare say
we'll get along somehow, even if the cupboard is almost bare. Don't you
want to go to bed?"

"Oh, it's too early," objected Bert.

"Have you any games we could play?" asked Nan.

She and her brother were in the habit of playing simple games at home
before going to bed, and it seemed natural to do it now. After the first
shock of feeling that they were lost in the snow storm had passed, the
Bobbsey twins were quite content. They felt that their father and mother
must realize that they were safe.

"Games, dearie?" asked Mrs. Bimby. "Well, seems to me there's some
dominoes around somewhere, and I did see a checker board the other day.
Jim used to play 'em when the loggers came in. I'll see if I can dig 'em
out."

She rummaged through an old chest and brought to light a box of battered
dominoes. But as several were missing it was hard to play a good game
with them. As for the checkers, the board was there but the pieces, or
men, were not to be found.

"But you can take kernels of corn," said Mrs. Bimby. "I've often seen my
Jim do that."

"Checker men have to be of different color," said Nan, "and corn is all
one color, isn't it?"

"There are red ears," suggested Bert. "Don't you remember we saw some
when we were in the country?"

"Oh, yes!" exclaimed Nan.

"That's what I was going to say," remarked Mrs. Bimby. "I can give you
some yellow kernels and some red ones, and you can play checkers if you
like."

This suited Nan and Bert, and though it was hard to make "kings" by
placing one grain of corn on top of another, they managed to go on with
the game, using pins to fasten two red or two yellow kernels one on top
of the other when the king row was reached.

Grains of corn or some other cereal, or perhaps colored stones, were,
very likely, the first sort of "men" used in the ancient game of
checkers, and Bert and Nan got along very well in this way. Mrs. Bimby
kept stoking the fire, putting on stick after stick of wood as it burned
away, and the cabin was kept warm and cozy.

Outside the storm raged, the wind blew, and the snow came pelting down.
But at times the older Bobbsey twins were so interested in their checker
game that they hardly heard the sounds outside the log cabin.

At last Mrs. Bimby, with a look at the clock, said:

"It's after nine, dearies; hadn't you better go to bed? My Jim won't
come to-night, that's sure, and I don't believe any of your folks will
come for you."

"They don't know where we are," said Nan.

"No more they do, dearie. Well, I'll show you where you're to sleep. I'm
glad I've got covers enough for two extra beds."

There were three rooms in the second story of the log cabin. Two of the
rooms were small, each one containing a little single cot. The other
room was larger, and had a bed in it. Mrs. Bimby slept there, and she
gave Bert and Nan each one of the smaller rooms. There was a window in
each of the bedrooms, and being above the warm downstairs room, where a
hot fire had been blazing all evening, the sleeping chambers were more
comfortable than one would have supposed.

Bert and Nan were so sleepy that they did not lie awake long after
getting to bed. As there were no pajamas for Bert and no night-gown for
Nan, the children slept in their underclothes, taking off only their
shoes and outer garments.

In spite of the fact that he fell asleep soon after going to bed,
because he was tired from the day's tramp after chestnuts, Bert was
awakened in the middle of the night by hearing Nan call:

"Mother, please give me a drink!"

It was a request Bert had often heard his sister make before, and now he
realized that she was either half awake, and did not remember where she
was, or else she was talking in her sleep. He raised up on his elbow and
listened. Again Nan said:

"I want a drink!"

Bert knew how hard it was to try to go to sleep when thirsty, so he got
up and, having noticed on coming to bed the evening before a pail of
water on a chair in the upper hall, he brought Nan a dipper full. Mrs.
Bimby had left a lantern burning, so it was not dark in the cabin.

"Oh, Bert! I dreamed I was back home," said Nan, as she took the drink
her brother handed her. "Thank you!"

"Welcome," he said, struggling to keep his sleepy eyes open.

"Is it still snowing?" asked Nan.

"Hard," answered Bert, looking out of the window, though, truth to tell,
he could see nothing, it was so pitch dark outside. But he could hear
the rattle of snow against the glass.

"I hope it stops by morning," sighed Nan.

"So do I - long enough for us to get back to camp, anyhow," added Bert.

He got himself a drink and went back to bed, there to sleep soundly
until morning, when Mrs. Bimby called him and Nan to get up.

"Come, dearies," said the kind old woman. "We'll have breakfast, such as
it is."

For a few moments after awakening Bert and Nan could not quite remember
where they were. Bert afterward said that he hoped there would be hot
buckwheat cakes for breakfast, with maple syrup, such as they had had in
the cabin where Mrs. Baxter acted as cook. But there was no such
appetizing smell as that of pancakes coming up from Mrs. Bimby's
kitchen.

"I'm sorry I haven't any more to offer you," she said to the children,
as she set before them some more weak tea and a few pieces of bread and
butter. "If my Jim had come back we'd have had enough to eat. But as it
is, I'm afraid you'll go hungry soon."

"We'll eat what's left of our lunch," said Bert.

"And cook some chestnuts," added Nan. "We'll pretend we've been
shipwrecked. Were you ever shipwrecked, Mrs. Bimby?" Nan asked, as
cheerfully as she could.

"No, dearie, but I've had the rheumatiz, and I reckon that's 'most as
bad. But let's eat what we've got and we'll hope for more before the day
is over."

"It's still snowing, isn't it?" remarked Nan, as she hungrily ate some
of the dry food and swallowed some of the weak, but warm, tea.

"Yes, and it's likely to keep up all day," said Mrs. Bimby. "It'll be
hip-deep by night, and we'll be completely snowed in. I declare, I don't
know what we'll do!"

"Maybe it'll stop," suggested Bert, trying to look on the bright side.

"Or maybe it won't be so bad but what we can go out," added Nan. "And if
we get back to camp we can send you something to eat by one of the men
in a sleigh, Mrs. Bimby."

"I wouldn't let you go out in this storm - not for anything!" declared
the kind old woman. "The only safe place is this cabin when it snows
this way. You can't starve to death as quickly as you can freeze to
death, that's a comfort. And we've got enough for one more meal,
anyhow."

But when noon came, after a long morning, during which the Bobbsey twins
played more checker games with grains of corn, and when almost all there
was in the cupboard had been eaten, Mrs. Bimby opened the doors, looked
at the bare shelves and said:

"I declare, I don't know what we're going to do! Almost everything is
gone!"

The cupboard, indeed, was nearly bare.

For some reason or other, Bert's eyes rested on the gun on the wall over
the mantel.

"Is that gun loaded, Mrs. Bimby?" he asked.

"Yes, I reckon 'tis," she answered. "Jim always keeps it loaded, for he
goes hunting sometimes."

"What after?" asked Bert.

"Oh, squirrels and rabbits."

"That's what I'm going to do, then!" cried Bert. "If I could shoot some
squirrels or rabbits we'd have a potpie and we wouldn't be hungry. Will
you please get that gun down for me, Mrs. Bimby?"

She looked at Bert and smiled.

"You're pretty small to handle a gun," she said. "But maybe you could
fire it if I showed you how. I've shot it more 'n once, and I brought
down a cawing crow last winter. Sometimes the rabbits come close up to
our cabin here. Wait till I take a look."

She went to the window to peer out into the storm, and Nan did likewise,
while Bert continued to gaze at the gun on the wall. It was a shotgun,
not very heavy, and he felt certain he could aim it at a rabbit and pull
the trigger.

Mrs. Bimby shook her head as she turned away from her window.

"There's no game here," she said. "Guess we'll have to go without a
potpie."

But Nan suddenly uttered an exclamation.

"Oh, I see one!" she cried. "I see a big rabbit! Two of 'em! Oh, Bert,
it's a shame to shoot the bunnies, but we can't starve! Get the gun!"




CHAPTER XVI - BERT STARTS OUT


Just about the time that Bert was getting ready to try for a rabbit
potpie by firing the gun from the door of Mrs. Bimby's cabin, in the
other and larger cabin at Cedar Camp the smaller Bobbsey twins were
having a good time. There was no danger there of starving, for the
cupboard was far from being bare.

But of course Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey were worried because, after their
long night of worry, neither Bert nor Nan had come back, and there was
no news of them.

"But we'll surely hear from them to-day," said Tom Case, as he came over
through the storm after breakfast to learn if Mr. Bobbsey had any
special plans.

"How's Old Jim?" asked Mr. Bobbsey, as the head of the sawmill workers
came in out of the storm, for it was still snowing.

"Oh, Jim's all right," was the answer. "But he's worrying about his wife
not having any food. I came over to say that if the storm lets up a
little maybe we'd better try to take something to eat to the old lady.
She's all alone in her cabin."

Of course neither he nor Old Jim knew that the two older Bobbsey twins
were at that very moment with Mrs. Bimby.

"All right, it would be a good idea," said Mr. Bobbsey. "And we must
make another search for Bert and Nan."

"I have a sort of feeling that they're safe," said Mr. Case. "And,
really, it wouldn't be wise for you to start out in this storm to look
for them. I think it may moderate a little by to-morrow."

"Let us hope so!" sighed Mrs. Bobbsey.

"Can't Old Jim come over and play with us?" asked Flossie.

"We want to have some fun," added Freddie.

The two smaller twins had been as good as possible, but they were not
used to being cooped up in the house, and there really was not much to
do in the cabin. No toys had been brought along, for Mr. Bobbsey had not
expected to stay very long in looking after his Christmas trees. And he
certainly never counted on being snowed in.

"Yes, I'll bring Old Jim over," said Mr. Case. "He's pretty good at


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