Copyright
Laura Lee Hope.

The Bobbsey Twins at Cedar Camp online

. (page 9 of 10)
Online LibraryLaura Lee HopeThe Bobbsey Twins at Cedar Camp → online text (page 9 of 10)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


were, with brave old Rover beside them, I am sure he would have wished
to join them. For Bert, about this time, was running away from the
wildcat that had suddenly burst through the bushes.

"You're not going to get me!" said Bert to himself, as he clutched his
package of lunch and raced on as well as he could.

The pain in his leg bothered him, but he was not going to stop for a
thing like that and let a wildcat maul him. On he ran through the snow,
taking the easiest path he could find. He looked back over his shoulder
once or twice, to find the wildcat bounding lightly along after him.

And after he had looked back and had seen the size of the animal and
noticed that there was only one, somehow or other Bert became braver,
and he had an idea that perhaps he might drive this beast away.

Wildcats, or bobcats as they are sometimes called, being also known as
the bay lynx, are not as large as a good-sized dog. They weigh about
thirty pounds, and though they have sharp teeth and claws they very
seldom attack persons. Only when they are disturbed, or fear that
someone is going to harm their little ones or take away their food, do
bobcats run after persons.

And this one must have thought Bert was going to do it some harm, for
the animal certainly chased the lad.

"Ho!" said Bert to himself, as he looked back, "you're not so big! Maybe
you have got sharp teeth and claws, but if you don't get near me you
can't hurt me! I'm going to make you go back!"

Bert had a sudden idea of how he might do this - with snowball bullets.
All about him was snow - piles of it - and Bert had often taken part in
snowball fights at home. He was a good thrower, and once he had
snowballed a savage dog that had run at Flossie and Freddie and had
caused the animal to run yelping away.

"I'm going to snowball this wildcat!" decided Bert.

He ran on a little farther until he came to a small clearing where the
trees stood in an irregular ring around an open place. There Bert
decided to make a stand and see if he could not drive the chasing
wildcat away.

"And if he won't go, and comes after me," thought Bert, "I can climb a
tree."

He did not know, or else had forgotten, that wildcats themselves are
very good tree-climbers.

Reaching the other side of the clearing, Bert laid his package of lunch
down on a firm place in the snow, and then rapidly began to make some
hard, round balls. He packed them with all his might between his
mittened hands, for he knew a soft snowball would not be of much use
against a wildcat.

He had been some distance ahead of the animal, and when it ran up to the
edge of the clearing Bert had several snowballs ready.

"Come on now! See how you like that!" cried the boy. He threw one
snowball "bullet," but he was so excited that it went high over the head
of the bobcat. The next one struck in the snow at the feet of the
animal. But the third one hit it right on the nose!

"Good shot!" cried Bert.

The wildcat uttered a snarl and a growl, and stopped for a moment.
Perhaps it had never before chased anyone who threw snowballs.

"Have another!" cried Bert, and the next white bullet struck it on the
side. The bobcat leaped up in the air, and then Bert threw another ball
which hit it on the head.

This was too much for the creature. With a loud howl it turned and ran
back into the woods, and Bert breathed easier.

"Well, I guess as long as I can throw snowballs you won't get me," he
said to himself, as he picked up the package of lunch and hurried on.




CHAPTER XXI - ON THE ROCK


Bert Bobbsey felt very proud of himself after he had driven away the
wildcat with snowballs. And I think he had a right to be proud. Not many
boys of his age would have dared to stand and await the oncoming of a
beast that is quite dangerous once it starts to claw and bite. But Bert
had spent so much time in the woods and out in the open that he was very
self-reliant.

And so, after looking back once or twice as he left the clearing, and
finding that the bobcat did not follow, Bert began to feel much better.

"I'll soon be at Cedar Camp," he said to himself, "and then I'll be all
right. I'll send 'em back to get Nan and take something to eat to Mrs.
Bimby. I'll be glad to see Flossie and Freddie again."

Had Bert only known it, Flossie and Freddie were nearer to him than if
they had been in Cedar Camp, though the small Bobbsey twins were still
some distance from their brother.

And while Mr. Bobbsey was forging ahead through the snow with Old Jim
Bimby and Tom Case, knowing nothing, of course, about his little boy and
girl having followed him, Mrs. Bobbsey was having worries of her own
about the absence of the small children from the cabin.

She and Mrs. Baxter had missed Flossie and Freddie soon after the men
had started on the searching trip, but, for a time, the mother of the
two small twins was not at all worried. She thought Flossie and Freddie
had merely run out to play a little, as it was the first chance they had
had since the big storm began.

But when, after a while, they had not come back to the cabin, and she
could see nothing of them, Mrs. Bobbsey said:

"Mrs. Baxter, have you seen Flossie and Freddie?"

"No, Mrs. Bobbsey, I haven't," answered the cook. "But it looks as if
they had been in the pantry, for things there are all upset."

Mrs. Bobbsey looked around the kitchen and pantry, and she at once
guessed part of what had happened.

"They've packed up lunch for themselves," she said to the housekeeper,
"and they've gone out to play. Well, they'll be all right as long as
they stay around here and it doesn't storm again. I'll go and look for
them in a few minutes."

But when she did look and call Flossie and Freddie, they were not to be
found. Indeed, they were more than a mile away by this time, and they
had just met Rover, as I have told you.

"I'm glad Rover's with us, aren't you, Freddie?" asked Flossie, as they
made ready to set off again, after having eaten their lunch.

"Lots glad," answered the little boy. "Mrs. Bimby will be glad to see
him, I guess."

Indeed Mrs. Bimby, left alone with Nan after Bert had gone out, would
have been glad to see almost anyone. For she was worried because her
husband was away and because there was so little left in the house to
eat, only she did not want to tell Nan so. And she did not think she
could shoot another rabbit, as Bert had done.

"I do hope that boy will find my Jim or someone and bring help," thought
Mrs. Bimby.

And of course Mr. Bobbsey with Old Jim and Tom Case were on their way to
the cabin, but they had to go slowly on account of so much snow.

The snow was worse for Flossie and Freddie than for any of the others in
the woods, because the legs of the small twins were so short. It was
hard work for them to wade through the drifts. But they felt a little
better after their rest under the "Christmas tree," as Flossie called
it, and after they had eaten some of their lunch. So on they trudged
again.

"Maybe we can find daddy's lost Christmas trees," suggested Freddie,
after a while.

"Wouldn't he be glad if we did?" cried Flossie. "Here, Rover! Come
back!" she called, for the dog was running too far ahead to please her
and Freddie.

The dog came racing back, scattering the snow about as he plunged
through it, and Flossie patted his shaggy head.

"Don't you think we'll find daddy pretty soon?" asked Flossie, after she
and Freddie had trudged on for perhaps half an hour longer. "I'm getting
tired in my legs."

"So'm I," her brother admitted. "I wish we could find 'em. But if we
don't, pretty soon, we'll go back, 'cause I think it's going to snow
some more."

Indeed, the sky seemed to be getting darker behind the veil of snow
clouds that hung over it, and some swirling flakes of white began
sifting down.

Freddie came to a stop and looked about him. He was tired, and so was
Flossie. The only one of the party who seemed to enjoy racing about in
the drifts was Rover. He never appeared to get tired.

"I guess maybe we'd better go back," said Freddie, after thinking it
over. "We haven't much left to eat, and I guess daddy can tell Mrs.
Bimby about the bear skin to keep her warm."

"I guess so," agreed Flossie. "It's going to be night pretty soon."

It would be some hours until night, however, and the darkness was caused
by gathering storm clouds, but Flossie and Freddie did not know that.
They turned about, and began to go back along the way they had come. At
least they thought they were doing that, but they had not gone far
before Flossie said:

"Freddie, we've come the wrong way."

"How do you know?" he asked.

"'Cause we aren't stepping in our own tracks like we would be if we went
back straight."

Freddie looked at the snow. It was true. There was no sign of the tracks
they must have made in walking along. Before this they had known which
way they were going. Now they didn't.

"We - we're lost!" faltered Flossie.

"Oh, maybe not," said Freddie as cheerfully as he could. But still, when
he realized that they had not walked along their back track, he knew
they must be going farther into the woods, or at least away from Cedar
Camp.

"Oh, I don't like to be lost!" wailed Flossie. "I want to go home!"

Freddie did too, but he hoped he wouldn't cry about it. Boys must be
brave and not cry, he thought.

But as the little Bobbsey twins stood there, not knowing what to do, it
suddenly became colder, the wind sprang up, and down came a blinding
storm of snow, so thick that they could not see Rover, who, a moment
before, had been tumbling about in the drifts near them.

"Oh! Oh!" cried Flossie. "Let's go home, Freddie!"

But where was "home" or camp? How were they to get there?

And so, soon after Bert had driven off the wildcat and had run on, this
Bobbsey lad, too, was caught in the same snow storm that had frightened
Flossie and Freddie. But of course Bert did not know that.

"Say, we've had enough snow for a winter and a half already," thought
Bert, as he saw more white flakes coming down. "And it isn't Christmas
yet! I hope I'm not going to be snowed in out here all alone! I'd better
hurry!"

As Bert trudged along through the storm he found himself becoming
thirsty. If you have ever walked a long distance, even in a snowstorm,
you may have felt the same way yourself. And perhaps you have tried to
quench your thirst and cool your mouth by eating snow. If you have, you
doubtless remember that instead of getting less thirsty you were only
made more so. This is what always happens when a person eats snow. Ice
is different, if you hold pieces of it in your mouth until it melts.

"My! I wish I had a drink," exclaimed Bert, speaking aloud, as he had
done a number of times since setting out alone to bring help to Nan and
Mrs. Bimby. "I wish I had a drink of water!"

Now Bert Bobbsey knew better than to eat dry snow. Once when he was a
small boy, smaller even than Freddie, he had been playing out in the
snow and had eaten it whenever he felt thirsty. As a result he had been
made ill.

"Never eat snow again, Bert," his father had told him at the time. And
to make Bert remember Mr. Bobbsey had read the boy a story of travelers
in the Arctic regions searching for the North Pole. The story told how,
no matter how tired or cold these travelers were, they always stopped to
melt the snow and make water or tea of it when they were thirsty. They
never ate dry snow.

"I've either got to find a spring to get a drink, or melt some of this
snow," said Bert to himself, as he walked on, limping a little, though
his leg was feeling better than at first. "But I guess if I did find a
spring it would be frozen over. Now how can I melt some snow?"

Bert had been on camping trips with his father, and he had often seen
Mr. Bobbsey make use of things he found beside the road or in the woods
to help out in a time of some little trouble. With this in mind, the boy
began to look around for something that would help him get a drink of
water, or to melt some snow into water which he could drink after it had
cooled.

But to melt snow needed a fire, he knew, and also something that would
hold the snow before and after it was melted.

"I need a pan or a can and a fire," decided Bert. "I wonder if I have
any matches?"

He felt in his pockets and found some, though he did not usually carry
them, for they are rather dangerous for children. But Bert felt that he
was now getting to be quite a boy.

"Well, here's a start," he said to himself as he felt the matches in his
pocket. But he did not take them out, for the snow was blowing about,
and Bert knew that a wet match was as bad as none at all. He must keep
his matches dry as the old settlers were advised to "keep their powder
dry."

"If I could only make a fire," thought Bert, coming to a stop and
looking about him at a spot that looked as if it might once have been a
camp. All he could see was a waste of snow and some trees. But wood for
fires, he knew, grew on trees, though any wood which could be made to
burn must be dry.

"Maybe I could scrape away some snow and make a fire," thought Bert.
"The thing I need most, though, is a tin can to hold snow and water.
Ouch! My leg hurts!" he exclaimed.

His leg, just then, seemed to get a "kink" in it, as he said afterward.
He kicked out, as football players do sometimes when their legs get
twisted.

As it happened, Bert kicked his foot into a little pile of snow, and
next he was surprised to find that he had kicked something out. At first
it seemed to be a lump of ice, but as it rolled a few feet and the snow
fell away, the boy found that he had kicked into view an empty tin
tomato can!

"Here's luck!" cried Bert, as he sprang after the can before it could be
covered from sight in the snow again. "This sure is luck! I can melt
some snow in this now!"

Taking the can in his hand he knocked it against his shoe, thus getting
rid of the snow that filled it. The can was opened half way, and the tin
top was bent back, making a sort of handle to it, which Bert was glad to
see. It would enable him without burning his fingers to lift the can off
the fire he intended to build.

"All I need now is some dry wood, and I can make a fire and melt snow to
make water," he said aloud. "If I had some tea I could make a regular
hot drink, like they have up at the North Pole. But I guess water will
be all right. Now for some wood!"

He made his way over to a clump of trees and, by kicking away the snow,
he managed to find some dead sticks. As the snow was dry they were not
very wet, but Bert feared they were not dry enough to kindle quickly.
And he had only a few matches.

"I've got some paper, though," he told himself, as lie felt in his
pockets. "A little soft, dry wood, and that, will start a fire and the
other wood will burn, even if it is a little damp."

One of the lessons Bert's father had taught him was to make a campfire,
and Bert put some of this instruction to use now. He hunted about until
he found a fallen log, and by clearing away the snow at one end he
revealed a rotten end. This soft wood made very good tinder, to start a
fire.

The outer end of the rotten log was rather damp. But by kicking away
this latter, Bert got at some wood that was quite dry - just what he
wanted.

He swung his foot that was not lame from side to side, clearing a place
on the ground at one side of the log, and there he laid his paper and
the wood to start his fire.

You may be sure Bert was very anxious as he struck one of his few
matches and held it to the paper. He hardly breathed as he watched the
tiny flame. And then, all at once, the blaze flickered out after it had
caught one edge of the paper!

"This is bad luck!" murmured Bert. "I've got a few more chances,
though."

He crumpled up the paper in a different shape, arranged it carefully
under the pile of splinters and rotten wood, and struck another match.
This time he made sure to hold in his breath completely, for it was his
breath before, he feared, that had blown out the match.

This time the paper caught and blazed up merrily. Bert wanted to shout
and cry "hurrah!" but he did not. The fire was not really going yet, and
he was getting more and more thirsty all the while. It was all he could
do not to scoop up some of the dry snow and cram it into his mouth. But
he held back.

"I'll have some water melted in a little while," he told himself. "My
fire is going now."

And, indeed, the tiny flame had caught the soft wood and was beginning
to ignite the twigs. From them the larger and heavier pieces of wood
would catch, and then he could set the can of snow on to melt into
water.

Still hardly daring to breathe, Bert fed his fire in the shelter of the
half snow-covered log. It was beginning to melt the snow all around it
now, but of course this melted snow ran away and was lost. Bert could
not drink that.

When the fire was going well, Bert kicked around on the ground under the
log until he found some stones. With these he made a little fireplace,
enclosing the blaze, and when he had some embers there, with more wood
at hand to pile on, he brought the can to the fire and scooped the tin
full of snow.

"This is going to be my teakettle," said Bert, with a little smile.
"Mother and Nan would laugh if they could see me now."

If you have ever melted a pan of snow on even so good a fire as is in
your mother's kitchen range, you know that snow melts very slowly. It
was this way with Bert. He thought the snow in the can would never melt
down into water, and when it did, and was fairly boiling, he took hold
of the top and threw all the water out!

Why did he do that? you ask. Well, because he wanted to be sure the can
was clean, and his mother had told him that boiling water would destroy
almost any kind of germ. The can might have had germs in it, having lain
outdoors a long time.

"But now I guess it's clean," Bert said, as he again filled it with snow
after he had rinsed it out. Then he waited for the second quantity of
snow to melt, and when this had cooled, which did not take very long,
Bert took a drink. The snow water did not taste very good - boiled water
very seldom does - but it was safer than eating dry snow.

"Well, now I must travel on," said Bert, as he scattered snow over the
fire to put it out. "I'll carry a little water with me in the can, for I
may get thirsty again. It won't freeze for a while."

He walked along as fast as he could, with the pain in his leg, but the
snow came down harder and faster and the wind blew colder. Bert looked
about for some place of shelter and saw where one tree had blown over
against another, making a sort of little den, or cave, near the side of
a high rock, which was so steep that the snow had not clung to it,
leaving the big stone bare.

"I'll go in there and stay awhile," thought Bert, as he caught sight of
this shelter. "Maybe the storm won't last long."

But as he started to enter the place he heard a growl! There was a
scurrying in the dried leaves that formed a carpet for the den, and
then, in the half-darkness, Bert saw two green eyes staring at him! He
smelled a wild odor, too, that told him some beast of the forest dwelt
in this den.

"Oh! A wildcat!" cried Bert, as, a moment later, there sprang out at him
the same animal, or one very like it, that he had snowballed a little
while before. Probably it was another lynx, but Bert did not stop to
think of this.

[Illustration: "OH, BERT!" CRIED FREDDIE, "WE'RE LOST!"]

Forgetting his plan of using snowball bullets, Bert dropped his little
bundle of lunch, part of which he had eaten, and began to climb the
nearest tree.

He learned then, if he did not know it before, that a wildcat, which was
the animal he had surprised in its den, is a good tree-climber; as good
as your house cat, or even better.

When half way up the tree, Bert looked down and saw the yellow wildcat
coming after him. Probably the animal thought that Bert had no right
near its den.

"This is bad!" thought Bert, as he climbed higher and higher. Then, as
he saw the beast still coming, he realized that he must, somehow, get
away. He saw the big rock not far from the tree. The rock had a small
flat top, covered with snow, but the sides were smooth and almost
straight up and down, and had no snow on them.

"If I could get there the wildcat couldn't get me," thought Bert. "And
if it tries to jump after me I can snowball it. I'm going to get on the
rock!"

It was the best plan he could think of, and a moment later, having got
in good position, he gave a jump, left the tree, and landed in the soft
snow on top of the big rock.

With a snarl and a growl the wildcat stopped climbing up as it saw what
the boy had done. Then it began climbing down the tree while Bert, from
his place of safety, watched. He wondered what the bobcat would do.

The animal walked over to where Bert had dropped his package of lunch
and began tearing at the paper.

"Maybe if he eats that he won't want to get me," thought Bert. "But how
long shall I have to stay here?"

The wildcat, having eaten Bert's lunch, which did not take long, looked
up at the boy on the rock. It sniffed at the base of the big stone, and
reared up with its forepaws against it.

"You can't climb here!" called Bert aloud. "If you do I'll hit you on
the nose with snowballs!"

And then, as though to add to the boy's troubles, it began to snow hard,
a wall of white flakes falling around the lone laddie on the big rock.




CHAPTER XXII - FOUND AT LAST


Bert Bobbsey was really frightened and alarmed, caught as he was in the
storm on the big rock, with a wildcat sniffing around at the bottom. He
could not even see well enough to throw snowballs at the creature, and,
even if he could have driven it away, he felt that it would not be safe
for him to come down off the big stone.

"He can't get me while I'm up here, I don't believe," said Bert to
himself. "But I can't stay here very long, or I'll be snowed under. What
shall I do?"

Indeed he was in what he said afterward was a "regular pickle." And then
Bert thought of calling for help. He wondered why he had not done that
before.

Standing up on the high rock Bert sent his voice shouting out into the
storm.

"Help! Help! Help!" he shouted.

Bert did not know just whom he expected to help him. He did not know how
far he was from Mrs. Bimby's cabin, nor how far he was away from Cedar
Camp. All he knew was that he was in trouble and needed help. The only
way was to shout as loudly as he could.

At his first call the wildcat at the foot of the rock snarled, growled,
and tried to leap up. But the sides were too steep and smooth. Bert
could catch glimpses of the animal when the snow came down a little less
heavily now and again, making a sort of opening in the white curtain.

"Help! Help! Help!" cried Bert again and again.

Curiously enough it was Flossie and Freddie, who in the blizzard had
wandered near to the rock, who heard Bert's cry. Through the storm the
voice came to them, though of course they did not know it was their
brother calling.

"Hark!" exclaimed Freddie, who, with his sister, had been floundering
about in the drifts, the small Bobbsey twins trying to find their former
tracks in the snow so they could work their way back. But the flakes had
fallen into their footprints, and had been blown over them so deeply
that the prints were blotted out.

"Do you hear that?" asked Freddie of Flossie.

"Yes," she answered, as the voice came to her ears. "It's somebody
saying he'll help us."

That is what she thought it was - someone wanting to help her and
Freddie, not someone in need of help.

Again came the call, and it sounded so close that the two small Bobbsey
twins knew which way to go to reach it.

"We're coming! We're coming!" shouted Freddie. "Come on, Rover! I guess
that's daddy coming to help us! We're coming!"

With a bark the dog bounded through the storm after the two children,
and you can imagine how surprised Bert Bobbsey on the rock was when he
heard shouts in answer to his own. He did not know, of course, that
Freddie and Flossie were anywhere near him. He thought it was his father
and some of the men from Cedar Camp.

A little later the small Bobbsey twins came within sight of the big
rock. They could not see Bert on it on account of the blinding snow. But
Rover caught the smell of the wildcat, and with a savage bark he sprang
to drive the creature away.

"Good old Rover! Good dog!" cried Bert, as the snow stopped for a moment
and he caught sight of the dog that he knew. "Sic him, Rover!"


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 9

Online LibraryLaura Lee HopeThe Bobbsey Twins at Cedar Camp → online text (page 9 of 10)