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making things with his pocket knife. Shouldn't wonder but what he could
cut you out a doll, Flossie."

"Can he make boats?" asked Freddie.

"Sure he can!" said the sawmill foreman.

"Where you going to sail a boat in the snow, Freddie Bobbsey?" asked
Flossie.

"I - I'll have him make me a snow-boat!" the little fellow said.

"Pooh!" laughed Flossie. "There are ice-boats, 'cause we rode in one
once, but there aren't any snow-boats, are there, Daddy?"

"Well, perhaps Old Jim can make one," her father said. "Bring him over,
Tom. I want to talk to him and find out where would be the most likely
place for Nan and Bert to have found shelter."

The old logger, who seemed to have gotten over his exposure to the
storm, came to the Bobbsey cabin, and he somewhat relieved the worries
of Bert's father and mother by saying there were a number of cabins of
loggers and trappers scattered through the woods, and he had an idea
that Bert and his sister might have reached one of these.

"Well, we'll start out and look for them as soon as the storm lets up a
little," said Mr. Bobbsey.

Freddie and Flossie made great friends with Old Jim. They took to him at
once, and when he cut out of a piece of wood a queer doll for Flossie,
and made for Freddie a thin wooden wheel, which would turn around in the
waves of heat arising from the hot stove, the children were delighted.

They climbed all over Old Jim, and laughed and shouted as though they
had no cares in the world. And, as a matter of fact, they were not old
enough to worry about Bert and Nan. They thought their older brother and
sister would come along sooner or later.

Slowly the day of storm passed, but with no let-up in the falling snow.
The wind, while it did not blow as violently as at first, was high and
cold, so that the little Bobbsey twins could not go out.

And it was about the time that Flossie and Freddie were having such fun
with Old Jim that, back in this same logger's lonely cabin, Bert and Nan
were wondering whether they would have anything to eat for supper.

As Nan had said, she did see two large rabbits when she looked from the
window. And she called to her brother to get the gun from its place over
the mantel.

"Land sakes!" exclaimed Mrs. Bimby, "there _are_ two right in plain
sight. Now Bert, if you're any kind of a shot, maybe we'll have rabbit
stew for supper. Here, take the gun, but be careful!"

Bert knew a little about firearms, and he was not at all afraid as Mrs.
Bimby put the shotgun into his hands. Then she opened the door for him,
very carefully, so as not to frighten the rabbits.

"They're still there, right on top of the snow!" called Nan, as she
peered from the window on her side of the cabin. "I'm not going to watch
you shoot them, Bert, though I am terribly hungry. And I'm going to hold
my hands over my ears so I won't hear the gun."

Bert was quite excited, and did not pay much attention to what his
sister was saying, but he was not so excited that he could not hold the
gun fairly steady.

"Hold it close against your shoulder, then it won't kick so hard," Mrs.
Bimby whispered in his ear, as she helped him get the shotgun in place,
and pointed it for him out of the open door.

The rabbits were in plain sight now, two wild, gray bunnies, fat and
plump. Bert took sight over the little point on the end of the gun. He
held this sight as steadily as he could in line with one of the rabbits.

"Better shoot quick!" whispered Mrs. Bimby. "I think they see us and
they'll scoot away in a minute!"

Bert gave a steady pull on the trigger, not a sudden pull, which is not
the right way to shoot. A sudden pull spoils your aim.

"Bang!" went the shotgun.

"Oh!" screamed Nan, who, in spite of having held her hands over her
ears, heard the report.

"I got one! I got one!" excitedly cried Bert, as he saw one of the
bunnies lying on the snow. The other had scampered off.

"Yes, you did get one, child!" said Mrs. Bimby, as she ran out into the
storm and came back with the game. "Now we shan't starve. I'll make a
potpie."

This she did, stewing the rabbit with some dumplings she made from a
little flour she had left in the bottom of the barrel. Bert and Nan
thought nothing had ever tasted so good as that rabbit potpie.

"You'll be quite a hunter when you grow up," said Mrs. Bimby, when the
meal was over. "You shot straight and true, Bert!"

"But you helped me," said the Bobbsey boy. "I couldn't have aimed the
gun straight if you hadn't helped me."

"But I saw the rabbits, didn't I?" asked Nan.

"Yes, dearie, you surely did," said the kind old woman. "Now we shan't
starve for a couple of days, anyhow."

"And then I can shoot more rabbits, or maybe some squirrels," Bert
declared.

"I hope by that time the storm'll be over," remarked Mrs. Bimby, "and
that my Jim will come back."

"Will he take us home, or bring our father here?" Nan questioned.

"I guess so," Mrs. Bimby answered.

But as the snow kept up all the remainder of that day, and as it was
still storming hard when night came, there did not seem much chance of
the two older Bobbsey twins being rescued.

Again Bert and Nan spent the night in the little rooms of the cabin, but
they slept better this time, Nan not even awakening for a drink of
water. And in the morning Bert looked from a window and cried:

"Hurray! The snow's stopping! I'm going to start out and go back to
camp!"

"You are?" asked Nan. "Are you going to take me?"

"No," said Bert. "You'd better stay here. I'll go to camp and send daddy
back in a sled for you. He can hitch a horse to one of the lumber sleds
now that the snow is stopping, and he can ride you home. And if I find
your husband I'll send him back with a lot of things to eat," he told
Mrs. Bimby.

"I wish you would, dearie," said the old woman. "But are you really
going to start out, Bert?"

"Yes'm! My father and mother will be worried about us. I can get to camp
now, I'm sure, as the storm is almost over."

Mrs. Bimby, who, though not very wise, was kind, made him take a little
lunch with him, packing up some cold boiled chestnuts and part of the
cold rabbit meat. It was all there was.

"But maybe I'll get to camp before I have to eat," said Bert. "And I'll
send back help to you."

So Bert started out, Mrs. Bimby showing him the direction he was to
take. It was still snowing a little, but he hoped it would soon stop.

[Illustration: OLD JIM DELIGHTED THE TWINS.]




CHAPTER XVII - TRYING AGAIN


Though Flossie and Freddie had what they called "good times" in the log
cabin at Cedar Camp, and though Old Jim played with them, making boats
and dolls of wood, still the small Bobbsey twins wished for the time to
come when they might go out of doors. They also began to wish for the
return of Bert and Nan.

"When _will_ they come, Mother?" Flossie asked over and over again.

"And bring us chestnuts!" teased Freddie.

"Oh, they'll come soon now," Mrs. Bobbsey said, as she looked out of the
window at the flakes of snow, still falling, and listened to the whistle
of the cold wind around the cabin.

And in her heart how very much Mrs. Bobbsey wished that Bert and Nan
would come back soon! Mr. Bobbsey wished the same thing, and the only
comfort the father and mother had in those worrisome days was the
thought that their older twins _must_ have found shelter somewhere in
the woods.

Old Jim declared that this was so, as, likewise, did Tom Case and Jim
Denton. But it was still storming too much for another searching party
to set out and look for Nan and Bert. Those who searched might
themselves become lost in the blizzard. For that is what the storm now
was - a regular blizzard.

Mr. Bobbsey could do nothing toward searching for the lost shipment of
Christmas trees. The lumbermen could not work at cutting down trees,
floating or sledding them to the mill or carting them to the railroad.
Even the sawmill was shut down, and all there was to do was to wait.

Flossie and Freddie were not used to staying in the house so long at a
time. They wanted to go out and play even if there was snow, but their
mother would not let them in such an unusual storm.

"It's like when we were at Snow Lodge," sighed Flossie, as she stood
with her little nose pressed flat against the window, thereby making her
face cold.

"We could go out a little there," sighed Freddie.

"I think you children are very lucky," said their mother. "You have a
warm place to stay. Think of poor Nan and Bert. They may - - "

She stopped suddenly. She dared not think of what her older son and
daughter might be suffering. She glanced quickly at Flossie and Freddie.
She was afraid lest she should make them worry, too.

But, fortunately, Flossie and Freddie were not that sort. They did not
believe in worrying, unless it was over not having fun enough. However,
the log cabin was of good size, and with Old Jim to come over now and
then to amuse them with cutting out wooden toys, the two Bobbsey twins
did not have such a sad time as might be imagined.

To-day, however, when the storm had kept up so long, and when they had
not had a chance to go out, they felt rather lonesome and as if they
wanted to "do something." So, presently, when Flossie had grown tired of
pressing her nose against the glass, making it cold, and then holding it
on Freddie's cheek to hear him exclaim in surprise, the little girl
wandered about looking for something to do. Freddie joined her, and
while their mother was in another room, talking to Mr. Bobbsey, and
saying he ought, soon, to make another trip and search for Bert and Nan,
Flossie and Freddie went up in the top story of the log cabin.

The log cabin was the largest in that part of the woods, and was higher
than most, so that in addition to the bedrooms on the second floor,
there was, above them, an open attic, reached by a short flight of
steps, and in it were stored all sorts of odds and ends.

"Maybe we can find something here to play with," suggested Flossie.

"Maybe," agreed Freddie.

They rummaged around in the half-dark place, back in corners where the
roof came down slanting and making little "cubby-holes," and it was
after a glance into one of these places that Flossie drew back and
whispered to Freddie:

"There's a bear in here!"

"A bear! Where?" and Freddie moved over closer to Flossie and looked
where she pointed.

"There," said the little girl, and, glancing along the line of her
outstretched finger, Freddie saw a big, furry heap in a dark corner. "I
touched it first with my foot," said Flossie, "and it was soft, just
like the bear I touched that the Italian had once, leading around by a
string in his nose. And then I put out my hand and I felt his fur!"

"Oh!" exclaimed Freddie. "Did he - did he bite you?" He had been looking
for something to play with on the other side of the attic, and,
therefore, had not seen all that Flossie had.

"Course he didn't bite me!" the little girl answered. "You didn't hear
me holler, did you?"

"No," said Freddie, "I didn't. I'm going to touch him!"

"Come over here," advised Flossie, moving to one side so Freddie could
thrust his hand forward and touch that mysterious heap of fur. "I - I
guess maybe he's asleep, that's why he didn't growl or nothin'!"

"I guess maybe," agreed Freddie. Neither of the Bobbsey twins felt
surprised because they had an idea a bear might be in the attic with
them. Nor were they afraid. A sleeping bear is not dangerous, of course.
Any little boy or girl knows that!

Freddie crawled a little way farther under the sloping roof and, by
stretching out his hand, managed to touch the fur. It felt warm and soft
to his fingers.

"Oh, it _is_ a bear!" he whispered, and he was delighted. "Let's go and
tell mother, and we can bring it downstairs and play with it. I guess
it's a little bear!"

"Yes, we'd better tell mother," agreed Flossie. Somehow, the more she
thought of a bear being up in the attic the more she thought it better
to have some of the older folks know about it.

Down the stairs went the two Bobbsey twins, walking softly so as not to
awaken the bear. They didn't want him suddenly aroused from his sleep
and made cross. Who would?

"Where have you children been?" cried Mrs. Bobbsey, as she saw the two
twins. They were covered with dust and cobwebs from having crawled so
far under the sloping roof in the attic. The floor was dirty, too, not
having been swept in many months, and they had sat right down in the
worst of the dust.

"Oh, Mother!" gasped Flossie, "we've been up in the attic, and what do
you think's up there? It's a - - "

"_Bear!_" burst out Freddie, not wanting his sister to tell all the
wonderful news. "He's asleep, an' I touched him!"

"Nonsense!" exclaimed Mrs. Bobbsey. "A bear? It can't be!"

And yet she knew there were bears in the North Woods, and it might be
possible that one had crawled into the cabin before they had come, and
had gone to the attic to have his long winter sleep.

"Yes, it is a bear!" insisted Flossie, and both children were so certain
about the heap of fur that Mrs. Bobbsey called her husband, who was out
in the woodshed with Tom Case and Jim Bimby.

"A bear!" cried the mill foreman. "Well, there are some around these
woods, but I never knew of one coming into a cabin. I'll take a look."

"Hadn't you better take a gun?" asked Mr. Bobbsey, as he and Old Jim
followed the foreman upstairs. "There's one here."

"Well, you might hand it to me," said Mr. Case. "But I reckon if it is a
bear that's crawled in to go to sleep, he'll be so lazy I can take him
by the back of the neck and throw him out."

Freddie and Flossie waited with their mother while their father and the
two men went to the attic. They could hear the three moving around up
overhead, and soon there was a shout of laughter.

"Maybe it's a circus bear, and he's doing tricks!" exclaimed Flossie.

"Oh, I hope it is!" added Freddie, feeling quite excited.

Their father and the two men came downstairs. Tom Case carried
something - something brown and shaggy, just like the fur of some animal.

"There's your 'bear!'" he said, laughing, as he tossed the furry object
over a chair. "A bear skin! Ha! Ha!"

And that is what it was. The skin of a big bear, made into a lap robe
for use in cold weather. The fur was warm, thick and soft, and when the
skin was huddled up in a heap in a corner no wonder the Bobbsey twins
mistook it for a real bear, especially in the dark.

"That's a good warm fur robe," said Old Jim. "If it was made into a fur
coat it would keep out the cold."

"Maybe that's what the man who used to live here was going to use it
for," said Mr. Bobbsey. "He moved away and forgot it. Well, you children
can play with it," he said to Flossie and Freddie. "It was a bear once."

And the Bobbsey twins had fun taking turns wrapping the bear skin about
them and pretending to be different kinds of wild animals.

It was when the storm began to grow less severe, the wind not blowing so
hard and the snow not coming down so thickly, that Mr. Bobbsey, looking
from the window when Flossie and Freddie were playing "bear," said:

"I think I'll start out again."

"Where?" asked his wife.

"To find Bert and Nan," he answered. "I think the blizzard is about
over, and they will probably be starting for home. I'll go to meet
them."

"Oh, take us!" cried Flossie and Freddie. "We want to see Bert and Nan."

"Oh, no, I couldn't take you," said their father. "The snow is piled
deep in drifts, and you'd sink away down in - over your heads. I'll take
some of the men and start," he said to his wife.

And so, a little later, another searching party started away from Cedar
Camp to find the missing Bobbsey twins.

"I'll go along," said Old Jim, who was now able to travel. "I must take
some food to my wife. She'll be 'most starved."

"Yes, come with us," said Mr. Bobbsey. "We'll take some food to Mrs.
Bimby."




CHAPTER XVIII - A LITTLE SEARCHING PARTY


Flossie and Freddie Bobbsey were two of the kindest children in the
world. They were fond of fun and of having a good time, but whenever
their mother did work for the church at home, helping poor families,
taking food to people who had but little, Freddie and Flossie always
wanted to do their share. So did Bert and Nan; but as the older twins
had to spend more time in school than did Flossie and Freddie, the two
latter had more chances to help their mother.

More than once they had gone with her when she carried a basket of food
or a bundle of clothing to some poor family in Lakeport. And now, in
Cedar Camp, having heard their father say he was going to take food to
Mrs. Bimby, Flossie and Freddie at once had an idea.

While Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey were out of the room, talking over the coming
trip through the woods to look for Bert and Nan, as well as to take food
to Mrs. Bimby, Freddie said to Flossie:

"Let's go, too!"

"Daddy won't let us," Flossie answered.

"We - we'll tag after him," said Freddie in a whisper. "We can put on our
rubber boots and our coats and mittens, and we can go behind him. He
can't hear us, 'cause there's so much snow our boots won't make any
noise."

"That's so," agreed Flossie. "And, oh, Freddie! I know what we can do."

"What?"

"We can take Mrs. Bimby that bear robe. It'll keep her warm, 'cause it's
so nice and soft!"

"So 'tis!" agreed Freddie. "We'll take it, and something to eat, too."

"We'll not have to do that, Daddy and the other men are going to take
her something to eat."

"I meant something to eat for us," Freddie said. "We ought to take a
lunch with us, 'cause maybe we'll get hungry in the woods."

The younger Bobbsey twins had a feeling that if they were seen packing
up a lunch for themselves, putting on their boots and outdoor garments,
and taking the bear skin, they would be stopped. They felt sure they
would not be allowed to go in search of Nan and Bert. And they were
probably right.

So, as they had done more than once before, they said nothing of their
plans, but went about them secretly and quietly. While their mother and
Mrs. Baxter were packing two large baskets with food for Old Jim's wife,
and while Daddy Bobbsey was talking to the men about the coming trip
through the snow-filled woods, Flossie and Freddie took their boots,
coats, caps and mittens to the back door of the log cabin.

"We can slip out and put 'em on there when nobody is looking," said
Freddie.

"We've got to take the bear skin out, too," Flossie remarked.

But when they tried to bundle the skin of the bear up so they could
carry it, they found it so heavy and slippery to lift that they had to
give it up.

"What'll we do?" asked Flossie, as, after several trials she had to
admit that the skin could not be carried. "Mrs. Bimby'll be so
disappointed!"

"We can tell her it's here, and Mr. Jim can come and get it," suggested
Freddie.

"Oh, that'll be nice!" his sister agreed. "We'll leave the skin."

How to pack up a lunch for themselves was also a hard matter. But, as it
happened, Mrs. Bobbsey was so busy getting things ready for her husband
and the other men that she did not pay much attention to what Flossie
and Freddie did. She saw them moving about, now in the pantry and now in
the kitchen and again stepping to the back door, but she did not dream
they were getting ready to set off on a search by themselves.

However, this is just what Flossie and Freddie were going to do, and,
after a while, they managed to pack into a pasteboard box what they
thought would be lunch enough for them until they came back with Bert
and Nan.

"Put in lots of cake," whispered Freddie to Flossie, on one of the
little girl's trips to the pantry. "Cake tastes awful good in the
woods."

"I will," Flossie whispered back. "And I got some pie, too!"

"Oh, that's fine!" Freddie exclaimed. "Now we must slip out when they
don't see us."

This the small Bobbsey twins managed to do. While Mr. Bobbsey, with Old
Jim and Tom Case, was making ready to start on his searching expedition,
to find and bring back Bert and Nan, as well as to take food to lonely
Mrs. Bimby, Flossie and Freddie slipped quietly to the back door with
their queer package of lunch.

They soon donned their boots, coats and caps, and with their little
hands covered with warm, red mittens, they started off, keeping behind
the cabin so they would not be seen by those in front who were getting
ready to start on the main searching trip. It was snowing a little, but
not nearly so hard as at first, and the wind was not so strong or cold.

"It'll be fun!" said Flossie to Freddie.

"Lots of fun!" agreed her twin. "We'll wait until daddy and Mr. Jim and
Mr. Case get in the woods, and then we'll follow 'em. They won't send us
back!"

"No," agreed Flossie, "I don't guess they will."

The plan of the little Bobbsey twins was to follow their father on the
search. They did not want to go through the woods alone, even though it
was now daylight, though the sun did not shine because of the snow
clouds.

And so, a little while after Mr. Bobbsey and the two men started away
from the log cabin, Flossie and Freddie set out on their own little
searching party. Mrs. Bobbsey and Mrs. Baxter were so busy "cleaning up"
after the men left that they gave no thought to the children for a time.

"There they go!" whispered Flossie to Freddie, as, hiding behind a
woodpile, they saw their father, Mr. Bimby and Tom Case start off.

"Wait a little, and then we'll go after 'em," advised Freddie.

As soon as the main party had marched off along the trail that led
through the woods toward the chestnut grove that Bert and Nan had set
out to visit two days before, the small Bobbsey twins set forth. They
went around behind a clump of trees so they would not be seen from the
cabin.

Flossie and Freddie expected soon to catch up to their father, but the
snow was so deep and the men traveled so fast that, after trudging along
for half an hour, Freddie and his sister had not yet come within sight
of the others.

"Do you s'pose they ran away from us?" asked Flossie, as she stopped a
moment to rest.

"Course not," answered Freddie. "They don't even know we're comin' after
'em."

"That's so," Flossie said. "Well, anyhow, I hope we don't get lost."

"I do, too," agreed Freddie. "But we have something to eat, anyhow," and
he patted the box of lunch he carried.

The children looked around them. They were in a lonely part of the
woods, a place they had never been before, but they felt sure they would
soon catch up to their father. They had been following the tracks in the
snow left by the men who had gone to find Bert and Nan and take food to
Mrs. Bimby.

Suddenly, however, there came a harder flurry of snow, and for a time
Flossie and Freddie could not see very well. And when the little squall,
as sudden storms are called, had passed, the two Bobbsey twins found
they had wandered off to one side of the trail.

No longer could they see the footprints of their father and the others
in the snow. They had nothing to guide them!

"Freddie! Look!" cried Flossie, "Where's the path?" She called her
father's snow-track a "path."

"Why, it - it's gone!" Freddie had to admit.

And then, as the two little children stood in the lonely snow-filled
woods, they heard, near a bush, a noise that made them suddenly afraid.

It was a growl that they heard!




CHAPTER XIX - THE WILDCAT


Bert Bobbsey started off bravely enough from the cabin of Mrs. Bimby to
go for help for the old woman, so that food might be taken to her bare
cupboard.

"And I'll have daddy bring a sled or something so Nan can ride home to
camp on it," thought Bert, as he trudged along through the snow. "It's
hard walking. I wish I had a pair of snowshoes."

He had started away from the lonely cabin, as I told you two chapters
back. With him he took a little package of lunch, not very much, for he
felt sure he would soon reach Cedar Camp by following the line of the
brook, nor was there much to be got from Mrs. Bimby's bare cupboard.
Even though much snow had fallen, Bert hoped the bed of the brook could
be made out once he came to it. It lay some distance from the cabin, he
thought.

The Bobbsey twin boy turned, after trudging a little way from the cabin,
and waved his hand at Mrs. Bimby and Nan, who stood near a window
watching him.

"Your brother is a brave little chap," said Mrs. Bimby. "I do hope he
finds help and brings it back to us."

"I hope so, too; 'specially something for you to eat," said Nan.

"Oh, well, we've a little of the rabbit left yet," said the old woman.


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