Copyright
Laura Lee Hope.

The Bobbsey Twins at Cedar Camp online

. (page 8 of 10)
Online LibraryLaura Lee HopeThe Bobbsey Twins at Cedar Camp → online text (page 8 of 10)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


"But my tea is 'most gone, and I need it strong on account of my nerves.
If it wasn't for my rheumatiz I'd put on my things and go with Bert. I'd
take you along, though I fear it's going to snow more."

"I hope it doesn't before Bert gets back to camp," Nan said. "I
shouldn't want him lost all alone."

"Nor I, dearie," crooned Mrs. Bimby. "But he's a brave lad, and I trust
he gets along all right. Though it has been a bad storm - a bad storm!"
she muttered.

She put more wood on the fire, for, though the wind had gone down a
little and the snow was not falling so rapidly, it was still cold. But
the blazing wood threw out a grateful heat, and Nan and Mrs. Bimby sat
about the stove, waiting for the help Bert was to send.

Bert felt a little lonely as he plunged into the woods and lost sight of
the cabin. Though it was daylight, and the woods were not dark because
of the white snow, still Bert felt a little lonesome. He wished Nan had
come with him.

"But I guess a girl couldn't get along," he said to himself, as he
plunged through drift after drift. Indeed it was hard work for Bert,
sturdy as he was, to wade along, especially as he had on no boots, not
having expected a storm when he and Nan started after chestnuts.

"Now let me see," said Bert Bobbsey, talking to himself half aloud, to
make his trip seem less lonesome. "The first thing I want to do is to
find the brook. I can follow that back to camp, I'm pretty sure. But
it's a good way from here, I guess."

He remembered having seen the brook just before he and Nan reached the
first chestnut grove, where they found the squirrels and chipmunks had
taken most of the supply, making the children go farther on. And then
the Bobbsey twins had rather lost sight of the stream of water.

Bert knew it might be almost hidden from sight under overhanging banks
of snow, but he knew if he could come upon the water course it would be
the surest thing to follow to get back to camp. So as he trudged along,
into and out of drifts, he looked eagerly about for a sign of the brook,
which, as it went on, widened and ran into the mill pond near Cedar
Camp.

Bert was all by himself in the snowy woods. The cabin, where his sister
and Mrs. Bimby waited for him to bring help, was lost to sight amid the
trees. For the first time since leaving Cedar Camp Bert began to feel
lonesome and afraid.

It was so still and quiet in the woods! Not a sound! No birds fluttered
through the trees or called aloud. The birds that had not flown south
were, doubtless, keeping under shelter until they dared venture out to
look for food, which some of them would never find.

"There isn't even a crow!" said Bert aloud, and his voice, in that white
stillness, almost startled him by its loudness.

He reached the top of a little hill, where there was not quite so much
snow, the wind having blown it off, and there Bert stopped for a moment,
looking about. It was a lonesome and dreary scene that lay before him.
Not a house in sight, only a stretch of snow and trees, and the wind
howled mournfully through the bare, leafless branches.

"Well, there's no use standing here," murmured Bert to himself. "I've
got to travel on and bring help to Nan and the old lady. I'm glad Nan
has some shelter, anyhow. And I s'pose mother will be worrying about us.
But we couldn't help it. Nobody would guess a storm would come up so
quickly."

Throwing back his shoulders as he had seen men do when they had some
hard task before them, Bert started off again. Through the snow he
trudged, tossing the white flakes aside with his small but sturdy legs.

All at once, on the white expanse in front of him, Bert saw a movement.
At first he thought it was just some loose snow, blown about by the
wind, which came in fitful gusts. But as he looked a second time he saw
that it was not the wind.

"It's some animal!" exclaimed the boy, speaking aloud, for he wanted
company, and, like the men of the desert or wilderness, he fell
naturally into the habit of talking to himself. "It's some animal."

Having said this Bert came to a stop, for he knew there might be many
sorts of animals in the woods.

"I wonder what it is," he whispered. Somehow or other a whisper seemed
more the sort of voice to use in that lonesome place.

A moment later he saw a patch of brown, and then two big ears appeared
to be thrust out of a hole in the snow.

"It's a rabbit - a bunny!" cried Bert, and he did not whisper this time.

As he shouted Bert sprang forward through the snow and toward the brown
rabbit that had so unexpectedly appeared. Whether it was the boy's shout
or his quick movement, or both, was not certain, but the rabbit was
frightened and dashed away over the snow, sometimes sinking down almost
out of sight, and again, by some means, keeping on the surface of the
snow, which was packed harder in some places than in others.

"If I can only get you!" gasped Bert, for his speed through the snow was
making him pant and his breath come short. "I'll get you and take you
back to Nan and Mrs. Bimby! They won't have enough to eat unless I do,
maybe, for it may take me a long while to get back to camp."

Bert had no weapon - he could not even pick up a stone, for they were all
covered from sight by the mass of white. But the boy had an idea that he
could catch the rabbit alive.

Bert was not a cruel boy, and under other circumstances he never would
have dreamed of trying to hurt or catch a bunny. But now he felt that
the lives of his sister and Mrs. Bimby might depend on this game.

"I'll get you! I'll run you down!" muttered Bert.

Now a rabbit is a very fast-moving animal. Out West there is a kind
called jackrabbits, and they can go faster than the average dog. Only a
greyhound or other long-legged dog can beat a jackrabbit running. But
though this bunny was not a jackrabbit, being the common wild rabbit of
the woods and fields, still it could go faster than could Bert - and in
the snow at that.

Every now and again Bert would get so near the bunny that he felt sure
that the next moment he would be able to get hold of the long ears. But
every time the rabbit would give a desperate jump and get beyond the
boy's reach.

"Whew!" exclaimed Bert, as he was forced to stop, because his legs were
so tired and because his breath was so short. "I don't wonder hunters
have to use guns! They never could get much game just by chasing after
it. It wouldn't be any use to set a trap, for I haven't time and I
haven't anything to bait it with. Besides, I guess you're so smart you'd
never be caught in it."

As Bert came to a stop on top of another little hill where the snow was
partly blown away, the rabbit also halted. It looked back at the boy.
Probably the bunny was as tired as was Bert.

"If I only had something to throw at you!" murmured the boy. "I can't
find any stones, but I can take a stick."

There were trees near at hand, and from the low branches of one of these
Bert broke off a number of pieces of dead wood. They cracked like pistol
shots, and, turning around to look at the rabbit, Bert saw it scooting
away over the snow. Probably the little furry creature thought some
hunter was shooting at it.

"Well, I guess I'll have to give up," said the boy, half aloud. "I'll
only get lost chasing after you. As it is, I guess I've come 'most a
mile out of my way."

He threw the sticks he had broken off, but he did not come anywhere near
hitting the brown bunny.

"Oh, well, you're safe! I won't chase you any farther," said Bert. "And
I wouldn't have chased you now, and scared you 'most to death, if the
folks back in the shack weren't so low on food. Maybe I can find
something else."

Bert floundered about in the snow, following his tracks back before they
should be filled and so hidden from sight. He was about half way to the
place where he had surprised the rabbit when he heard a chattering in a
tree over his head.

"A squirrel!" exclaimed the boy. "And a grey one, too, or I miss my
guess."

He kept very still, listening. Again, above the noise of the storm was
heard the sharp, squealing chatter of a squirrel, and, looking up over
his head, Bert saw the animal. It was a large, grey squirrel, with a
tail almost as big as its whole body.

The squirrel sat up on a limb and looked down at the boy. It may have
been angry or frightened, and it seemed to be scolding Bert as it
chattered at him. Grey squirrels are not such excited scolders as the
little red chaps are, but this one did very well.

"If you know what's good for you, you'll go back into your nest and stay
there," Bert said. "I can't get you, and you ought to know it, for I
haven't a gun and I never could throw up a stick and knock you down.
You'd be good eating if I could," Bert went on, for he had often heard
his father tell of broiled squirrels.

Bert could see a hole in the tree half way up the trunk, and he guessed
that here the squirrel had his winter nest. It would be well lined with
dried leaves, soft grass, and perhaps some cotton from the milkweed
pods. Thus the squirrels keep warm, wrapping their big bushy tails about
them.

"Well, I guess I'll say good-bye to you," went on Bert, as he turned
aside from the squirrel in the tree and resumed his trudging through the
snow. The weather was cold, and Bert was cold likewise. Also he was
tired. His legs ached and his shoulders pained him, for walking through
the snow is not easy work, as you who have tried it know.

However, he knew that he must keep bravely on, and so, after turning
once or twice, making sure he could not see the cabin, he went along
faster.

It was because of his speed that an accident happened to Bert which
might have been a very serious one. He was traveling with his head held
down, to keep the falling snow out of his face, when he suddenly felt
himself falling.

Down, down he went, as though he had stepped into some big hole, or off
some high cliff. He gave a cry of alarm, and threw out both hands to
grasp something to save himself, but there was nothing to grasp. Down,
down went poor Bert!

It was a good thing there was so much snow on the ground. The piles and
drifts of white flakes were like so many heaps of feathers, and Bert was
thankful when at last, after sliding, slipping, falling and tumbling, he
came to a stop, half buried in a deep drift. He was somewhat shaken up,
and he had dropped his package of lunch, but at first he did not think
he was much hurt until he tried to move his left leg.

Then such a pain shot through the boy that he had to cry aloud. He shut
his eyes and leaned back against the pile of snow into which he had
fallen. The first flash of pain passed, and he began to feel a little
better. But a terrible thought came to him.

"What if my leg is broken?" said Bert, half aloud. "I can't walk, I
can't go for help, and I'll have to stay here. Daddy or nobody will know
where to find me - not even Nan or Mrs. Bimby! Oh, this is terrible!"

But he knew he must be brave, for he had to help not only himself but
his sister and the old woman in the cabin. Clenching his teeth to keep
back the cry of pain which he felt would come when he moved his leg
again, Bert shifted it a little to one side. The spasm of pain came, but
not so bad as at first.

"Maybe it's only broken a little," thought the boy. "And I can crawl, if
I can't walk." He had read of hunters and trappers who, with a broken or
badly cut leg, had crawled miles over the snow to get help. Bert wanted
to be as brave as these heroes.

But when he moved his leg for the third time and found the pain not
quite so bad, he began to take heart. He brushed away the snow from both
legs and looked at them. They appeared to be all right, but the left one
felt a little queer. And it was not until he had managed to pull himself
up, by means of a stunted bush showing through the snow, that Bert knew
his leg was not broken.

It was strained a little, and it hurt some when he bore his weight on
it, but he found that he could at least walk, if he could not run, and
he was thankful for this. He looked up toward the place from where he
had fallen, and saw that, without knowing it, he had stepped over the
edge of a steep hill. The snow had hidden the edge from Bert, and he had
plunged right over it.

"Where's my lunch?" he asked aloud, and then he saw the package, which
had fallen to one side of the place where he had plunged into the drift.
Bert picked it up, and then, thankful that his accident was no worse, he
went on again.

"I guess maybe the brook is here," he said, for he noticed that he was
down in a valley, and he knew that water always sought low levels. "I'll
walk along here," said Bert.

He was so frightened, thinking of what might have happened if he had
been crippled and unable to walk, that he did not feel hungry, though it
was some time since breakfast. On he trudged through the snow, looking
for signs of the brook, which he hoped would lead him to Cedar Camp.

It was while he was passing through a clump of woods that Bert received
another fright - one that caused him to run on as fast as he could, in
spite of his aching leg.

He had gone half way through the clump of trees, and he was wondering if
he would ever come to the brook, when suddenly he heard a noise in a
clump of bushes. The noise sounded louder than usual, because it was all
so still and quiet near him.

Before Bert could guess what caused the sound, he saw, pushing its way
through the underbrush, a tawny animal, with black spots underneath and
with little tufts of hair on its ears. At once Bert knew what this
was - a wildcat, or lynx!

For a moment Bert was so frightened that he just stood still, looking at
the wildcat. And then, as the animal gave a sort of snarl and growl, the
boy turned with a yell of fright and ran off through the snow as fast as
he could go!




CHAPTER XX - SNOWBALL BULLETS


About the time that Bert Bobbsey was running through the snow, to get
away from the wildcat, Flossie and Freddie were having a scare of their
own, some miles distant from him, though in the same woods around Cedar
Camp.

The two smaller Bobbsey twins had gone off without letting their father
or mother know, taking with them a lunch. They tramped through the
forest until they came to a lonely place and had not yet caught sight of
their father, who had started off ahead with Old Jim Bimby and Tom Case.
Right here the small twins heard a growl and saw a movement in the
bushes.

"What's that?" asked Flossie, shrinking closer to Freddie.

"I - I don't know," Freddie answered, trying to think of something to
make him brave. "Maybe it's a bear!"

"A bear?" questioned his sister.

"Yep!" Freddie went on, his eyes never moving from the bush that seemed
to hide some animal. "Maybe it's a bear like the one we found the skin
of in the attic."

"It - it can't be the _same one_ coming back for his skin, can it?" asked
Flossie.

"Course not!" declared Freddie. "How could a bear go 'round without his
skin on?"

"Well, a bear's skin is just the same to him as our clothes are to us,"
Flossie went on. "An' sometimes, when we go swimming, we don't have very
many clothes on."

"Well, a bear is different," said Freddie.

"Oh, look!" suddenly cried the little girl, and, pointing to the bush
with one hand, she clung to Freddie's arm with the other. "He's coming
out! He's coming out!" she exclaimed.

A shaggy head could be seen thrusting itself from the bushes, and the
children were wondering what sort of animal it could be, for it did not
look like a bear, when, with a joyful bark, there burst out in front of
them - the shaggy dog belonging to Tom Case!

Rover - Rover was the name of the dog - rushed toward Flossie and Freddie,
leaping joyfully and wagging his tail. He had made friends with the
children as soon as they came to Cedar Camp, and they loved Rover.

"Oh, hello!" cried Flossie, as if greeting an old friend.

"He's glad to see us and we're glad to see him," said Freddie.

This seemed to be true, though I think Flossie and Freddie were more
pleased to see Rover than he was to see them, for the dog knew how to
find his way home, and even trace and find his master if need be, while,
to tell you the truth, Flossie and Freddie were lost, though they did
not yet know it. But they were soon to find this out.

"Did you come looking for us?" asked Flossie, as she patted the shaggy
animal.

"I guess he did," Freddie said. "I guess he'd rather come with us than
with daddy and the others. Though we'll take Rover to 'em, won't we?"

"Yes," agreed Flossie. "But we must hurry up and catch 'em, Freddie. We
want to see Mrs. Bimby and tell her about the nice warm bear robe."

"Sush! Don't speak so loud," cautioned Freddie, looking over his
shoulder.

"Why not?" Flossie wanted to know.

"I mean about the bear robe," her brother went on. "There might be some
bears in the woods, and if they heard there was the skin of one of 'em
at the cabin, maybe they wouldn't like it."

"Maybe that's so," agreed Flossie, also looking around. "But, anyhow,
Rover'd drive the bears away; wouldn't you, Rover?"

The dog barked and wagged his tail, which was the only answer he could
give. It satisfied the children, and soon they started off again, making
their way through the snow, hoping they would soon catch up with their
father, Mr. Case and Mr. Bimby. Rover accompanied Flossie and Freddie,
sometimes ahead of them and sometimes behind.

The dog had started out, as he often did, to follow his master, but had
lagged behind, perhaps to run after a rabbit or squirrel. Then he had
come across the tracks of the children and had gone to them, knowing
they were friends of his.

"I'm hungry," said Flossie, after a while. "Let's sit under a Christmas
tree and eat, Freddie."

"All right," agreed her brother, always willing to do this.

They were, just then, in a clump of evergreen trees, and under some the
snow was not as deep as it was in the open. In fact the children found
one tree with no snow under it at all, so thick were the branches, and
so close to the ground did they come. Crawling into this little nest,
where the ground was covered with the dry needles from the pines and
other trees, Flossie and Freddie opened the packages of lunch they had
brought with them.

Rover, smelling the food, crawled into the shelter after them, and
Flossie and Freddie shared their lunch with the dog, who even ate the
crumbs off the ground.

"But we mustn't eat everything," said Freddie, when part of the lunch
had been disposed of, Rover getting his share.

"Why not?" asked Flossie. "Can't you eat all you want to when you're
hungry?"

"It's best to save some," Freddie answered. "Maybe we'll get stuck in
the snow and can't get anything more to eat for a while, and then we'll
be glad to have this."

"That's so," agreed Flossie, after thinking it over. "I guess I'm not so
very hungry. But Rover is. He's terrible hungry, Freddie. See him look
at the lunch."

Indeed the dog seemed to be following, with hungry eyes, every motion of
the little boy who was wrapping up again that part of the lunch not
eaten by him and his sister. They saved about half of it.

Rover sniffed and snuffed as only a dog can, but he made no effort to
take the lunch that Freddie placed in a crotch of the evergreen tree
which made such a nice shelter for him and his sister.

"Don't you take it, Rover!" cautioned Flossie, shaking her finger at
him.

Rover thumped his tail on the ground, perhaps to show that he would be
good and mind.

"It's nice and warm in here," Freddie remarked, after a while. "I wish
we could stay here longer, Flossie."

"Can't we?"

"Not if we want to go to Mrs. Bimby's," Freddie answered. "We have to
get out and walk some more. And it's snowing again, too."

Whether it was or not, the children could not be quite certain, for the
wind was blowing, and if the flakes were not falling from the sky they
were blowing up off the ground.

It was almost the same, anyhow, for there was a fine shower of the cold,
white flakes in the air, and it was much more cosy and warm under the
tree than out in the open.

"Let's stay here a little longer," begged Flossie. "Rover likes it here,
don't you?" she asked, as she reached out her hand and patted the shaggy
back of the dog.

And from the manner in which Rover thumped his tail on the ground you
could tell that he did, indeed, like to be with the little Bobbsey twins
under the shelter of the tree.

"I know what we can do," said Freddie, after thinking a moment. "I know
what we can do to have some fun!"

"What?" asked Flossie, always ready for anything of this sort.

"We'll throw a lot of these pine cones outside, and Rover will chase
after 'em and bring 'em back," went on Freddie. "He likes to run out in
the snow. And after we play that awhile maybe it will be nicer outside."

"All right," agreed Flossie. "We'll throw pine cones."

There were many of these on the pine-needle covered ground beneath the
sheltering tree. The cones were really the clusters of seeds from the
tree, and they had become hard and dry so they made excellent things to
throw for a dog to bring back.

Rover liked to race after sticks when thrown by the children, and the
pine cones were ever so much better than sticks. There were so many of
them, too.

"I'll throw first, and then it will be your turn, Flossie," Freddie
said. "Here, Rover!" he called to the dog, as he picked up several of
the cones.

Always ready for a lark of this sort, Rover leaped to his feet and stood
at "attention." Freddie bent aside some of the branches and tossed a
pine cone out of the opening.

It fell in a bank of snow some distance away, for Freddie was a good
thrower for a little boy. And the pine cone, being light, did not sink
down in the snow as a stone would have done.

"Bow-wow!" barked Rover, as he dashed out after the pine cone.

That was his way of saying he would bring it back as quickly as he
could. And as Rover rushed from under the little green tent of the pine
tree Flossie gave a cry of surprise.

"What's the matter?" asked Freddie, turning around to look at his
sister.

"Rover knocked me down!" she answered with a laugh, and, surely enough,
there she was sprawling on the brown pine needles which covered the
ground under the tree. "He just bunked into me and knocked me over!"

Rover was not used to playing with children, you see, and he was a bit
rough. But he didn't mean to be.

Flossie sat up, still laughing, for she was not in the least hurt, and
by this time Rover had brought back the pine cone that Freddie had
tossed out.

"Good dog, Rover!" cried Freddie, patting the animal as he laid down the
cone and wagged his tail. "Now it's your turn to throw one, Flossie,"
Freddie said.

"All right," Flossie answered. "But look out he doesn't knock you down,
Freddie."

"I'm looking out!" Freddie said, and he quickly moved over to one side
of the space under the tree, while Flossie threw out her cone.

Flossie was not quite so good a thrower of sticks, stones, or pine cones
as was her brother. But she did pretty well. Though her cone did not go
as far as Freddie's had, it sank farther down into the snow. Maybe the
cone was a heavier one, or it may have fallen in a softer place in the
snow. Anyhow it went quite deep into a drift and Rover had to dig with
his forepaws to get it so he could take it in his mouth.

"Oh, look at him!" cried Flossie, as the dog, digging away, made the
snow fly in a shower back of him. "He's like a snowplow on the
railroad!"

Once, in a big storm, Flossie and Freddie had seen the railroad
snowplow, pushed by two locomotives, cut through a high drift. And the
way Rover scattered the snow made the little girl think of the plow.

"Bring it here, Rover!" cried Freddie, for it would be his turn next to
throw a cone.

"Bow-wow!" barked the dog, and then, with a final dive into the drift,
he got the brown cone in his mouth and came racing back with it. Covered
with snow as he was, he crawled under the shelter to be petted and
talked kindly to by Freddie and Flossie.

Then, just as he probably did when he came out of the water in the
summer time, Rover gave himself a shake, to get rid of the snowflakes.

"Oh! Oh!" laughed Flossie, holding her hands over her face. "Stop it,
Rover! You're getting me all snow!"

But Rover kept it up until he had got off all the snow, and then he
raced out again after more cones as the children threw them.

If Bert Bobbsey could have known where his little sister and brother


1 2 3 4 5 6 8 10

Online LibraryLaura Lee HopeThe Bobbsey Twins at Cedar Camp → online text (page 8 of 10)