The Bobbsey Twins at Meadow Brook
Laura Lee Hope
Part 3 out of 3
see the fat lady, or the strong man. I'll have those places searched
The ring-master did send some of his men to look in the side-show
tents, but they came back to say that no one like Freddie had been
seen. By this time Mrs. Bobbsey and Aunt Sarah were almost frantic
with fright. Nan was crying, and even Bert, brave as he was, looked
worried. A number of persons who had come to the circus offered to
help look for Freddie, but, though they searched all over, the little
fat fellow could not be found.
"Oh, dear! What shall we do!" cried Mrs. Bobbsey.
"Dat ugly ole lion--" began Dinah, when Nan gave a scream.
"Oh, what is it, child?" asked Aunt Sarah.
"Look. There's Freddie!" cried Nan. "There he comes!" and she pointed
to her little brother being led toward them by a boy about Bert's age.
They all gazed in the direction in which Nan pointed. The crowd of
visitors to the circus was thinning out now, and down toward the edge
of a little creek could be seen the missing Freddie walking along, his
hand thrust trustingly into that of the strange boy.
"Why--why!" began Bert. "That fellow--that boy--he--" and then he
stopped. Bert was not exactly sure of what he was going to say.
"Oh, Freddie!" cried Mrs. Bobbsey, running forward. "Where have you
been! Such a start as you've given us! Where were you?"
But Freddie himself did not seem as anxious to rush into his mother's
arms as she was to clasp him. He plodded along with the strange boy,
looking quite content, and as if he wondered what all the fuss was
"Dere de honey lamb am!" exclaimed black
Dinah, a grin spreading over her face. "De ole lion didn't cotch him
after all. Dere's mah honey lamb!"
"Freddie! Freddie!" cried Flossie, who had been resting in Uncle
Daniel's arms, "did a lion eat you, Freddie? Did he?"
"A lion eat him? Of course not!" laughed Bert. And Bert was doing some
hard thinking as he stared at the strange boy who had Freddie by the
"I thought we should find him," said Uncle Daniel. "I knew he couldn't
be lost with all these circus people around. I say!" called Mr.
Bobbsey's brother to one of the men who had been helping hunt for the
missing boy. "Just tell them that we found him, will you, please?
"Yes, sir, I'll tell 'em," said the man. "I'm glad he's all right.
I'll tell 'em!"
"But where were you, Freddie?" asked his mother, who by this time had
him safely in her arms. "Oh, where were you?"
"I found him down by the edge of the creek, watching 'em water the
elephants," explained the strange boy, who, Mrs. Bobbsey thought, had
a good, kind face. "You see, we water the elephants every afternoon
when the show is over," the boy went on, "and it was down there I
"Oh, I can't thank you enough for bringing him back to us," said Mrs.
Bobbsey. "You were so good!"
"I didn't know just where he belonged," the strange boy explained.
"But he told me his name, and where he lived, and of course I knew I
could send word to his folks, though I didn't see, at first, how he
got here all the way from Lakeport."
"Oh, we are visiting at his uncle's farm at Meadow Brook," explained
"So he said," went on the boy. "I was bringing him to the lost tent,
when he spied you and said you were his folks."
"And I saw 'em water the elephants!" cried Freddie, struggling to get
loose from his mother's arms. "The elephant sucked the water up into
his nose, ma, and then he squirted it down his throat just like my
fire engine squirts water. Only, 'course an elephant squirts lots more
water than my engine. But I'm goin' to get a bigger one that squirts
as much as a elephant, that's what I goin' to do. And I saw one
elephant, ma, he went right out in the water and laid down in it. What
do you think of that!"
"The elephants often do that, ma'am," explained the strange boy. "They
like to get a bath now and then, but we don't often have time to give
it to them."
"You speak as though you belonged to the circus," said Uncle Daniel.
"I do," answered the boy. "That is, I'm with one of the side-shows,
and I help around when there's nothing else to do."
"Well, it was very kind of you to bring back my little boy," went on
Mrs. Bobbsey. Freddie was busy telling Flossie all the wonderful
things he had seen.
"Oh, I didn't do anything, ma'am," the boy said. "I sort of knew this
"You knew him?" questioned Uncle Daniel.
"Well, that is I'd seen him before."
"But I can't understand how Freddie became lost," said Mrs. Bobbsey,
while Uncle Daniel was wondering where the strange boy had seen Freddie
before. "How did you get lost, Freddie?" his mother asked him.
"Lost! I wasn't lost!" he exclaimed. "I knew where I was all the time.
I was with the elephants. It was you who got lost, mamma--you and Nan
and Flossie and Bert--"
"Well, we called you lost," laughed Uncle Daniel. "But you're all
right now, thanks to this boy. Do you live around here?" he asked. "I
don't seem to remember you, though I know most of the folks in this
section. But if you have seen Freddie before you must live around
"Oh, no, sir," was the answer. "I'm with the circus. But I used to
"I know you now!" interrupted Bert. "You're Frank Kennedy, and I was
with my father, calling on Mr. Mason, when I saw you. Freddie was with
me then. Don't you remember, Freddie?" asked Bert. "This is the boy we
saw--the boy we saw getting a--"
And Bert stopped. He did not want to say "shaking," for it was when
Frank Kennedy was being severely shaken by Mr. Mason, on account of
the bad twenty dollar bill, that the strange boy had last been seen by
the Bobbsey lads. And on that occasion Frank had run away.
"Oh, now I know you!" cried Freddie, laughing.
"Yes, I am the boy you saw getting a shaking, for something that
wasn't my fault!" exclaimed Frank, and his voice was hard and bitter.
"I made up my mind I wouldn't stand Mr. Mason's cruel treatment any
longer, so I ran away. I did see you two boys that time I got a
shaking," Frank admitted. "You were in an automobile then," he went
on, "and Mr. Bobbsey was with you." He looked around as though in
search of the twins' father.
"Mr. Bobbsey had to go back to Lakeport on business," explained Mrs.
Bobbsey. "We came over from Meadow Brook to the circus here to-day.
And I remember Mr. Bobbsey speaking of you. So you ran away?"
"Yes'm, I ran away. I couldn't stand it in that lumber office any
longer the way Mr. Mason treated me. It wasn't fair. And I'm never
going back again, either. I don't like him, and he doesn't like me.
I'll never let him be my guardian again."
"Poor boy!" murmured Mrs. Bobbsey. "You must have had a hard time. Did
you come with this circus as soon as you ran away?"
"No'm, I had a pretty bad spell first along. When I ran away I had
only the clothes I wore, and only a little money. It was my own!" he
said, quickly, lest they think he might have taken it from Mr. Mason's
lumber office. But one look at Frank's face showed that he was honest.
"What did you do?" asked Uncle Daniel.
"Well, I walked as far as I could the first night," Frank said, going
on with his story. "Then I crawled in a barn to sleep."
"Didn't you have anything to eat?" asked Nan softly. She felt very
sorry for the boy.
"Well, I had a couple of crackers I had saved from my lunch that day,"
he explained. "Then near the barn was a cow, and I milked her. That
and the crackers was all I had for supper. But I slept good in the
"I had a good sleep in some hay!" exclaimed Freddie, as he remembered
the time they had played hide-and-go-seek in the barn.
"It makes a good bed when you're tired," said Frank.
"What did you have for breakfast?" asked Flossie. "I like an orange
and oatmeal for mine."
"Well, I didn't have anything like that for mine," explained Frank
with a smile. "I didn't have much of anything the first morning. I
tramped on, and finally I found a place where I could chop some wood,
and a lady gave me some bread and milk. It tasted very good."
"How did you get with the circus?" asked Bert. That part interested
him more than how Frank got something to eat.
"Well, I just happened to come to the town where the circus was giving
a show," explained Frank. "I was around when the men were watering the
horses and other animals, and I helped carry water. Then one of the
men asked me if I didn't want work, and I said I did. I was hungry
then, too, and I could smell the things cooking in the circus kitchen
tent. So I went to work for this show, and I've been here ever since.
It's better than working in a lumber office when you get shook up
every now and then," he added with a smile.
"And do you still help water the elephants?" asked Uncle Daniel.
"Oh, no, I help take tickets at one of the side shows," explained
Frank. "The one where the fat lady and snakes are. I like it, though
sometimes I help water the animals when I have nothing else to do. The
circus people are good to me. I've earned enough money to get some
clothes, and I'm never hungry any more. I was pretty ragged when I
came to the circus, for I had been tramping around sleeping in barns,
or wherever I could."
"Wouldn't it have been better to have gone back to Mr. Mason, your
guardian?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey, for she had heard her husband tell of
the time he, Bert and Freddie had seen the boy shaken before he ran
"Oh, no'm!" Frank exclaimed. "I'm never going back to that lumber
office. Mr. Mason accused me of losing twenty dollars for him. Well
perhaps I did, but it wasn't my fault that the man gave me bad money
that looked like good. I'm never going back!"
"Well, I don't know as I blame you," said Uncle Daniel softly, "but a
circus is no place for a young boy. It's a hard life."
"Are you going to stay with this show?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey.
"Until I can get something better to do," answered Frank. "I know it
isn't a good business, but I'll stay here until I can save some money,
and then I'll look for something better. But I'll have to stay here
for a while."
"Maybe you could give him work on the farm," suggested Aunt Sarah to
her husband in a whisper. "I don't like him to be with a circus. And
he was so good to Freddie that we ought to do something for him."
"He's too young to work on a farm," replied Uncle Daniel. "And he
might be in a worse place than this circus. But we must be starting
back home. It's getting late."
Freddie was hugged and kissed by his sisters, mother and aunt, and
Mrs. Bobbsey insisted on making Frank a little present of money, for
his kindness to Freddie. Frank did not want to take it, but finally he
"I'll buy some new shoes with it," he said.
"I shall tell my husband how good you were to find Freddie," said Mrs.
Bobbsey, "and I am sure he will want to do something for you. I wish
you would write to me once in a while. We should like to keep track of
"I will," promised the boy, as he put down the Bobbsey address. "I
expect to be with this circus all summer," he said, as Freddie and the
other children bade him good-bye.
A WILD ANIMAL SCARE
Back to the shed where they had left the horses, went the Bobbsey
party, the children talking on the way of the wonderful things they
had seen in the circus, while the older folks spoke of Freddie being
lost, and found again, by Frank Kennedy.
"But I wasn't lost!" the little chap insisted. "I knew where I was all
the time. Besides, the elephants were with me, and so was Frank, the
boy who was shooked. I saw him shooked and so did Bert, didn't you?"
and Freddie looked at his older brother.
"Well, we won't talk about that part of it," said his mother with a
smile. "It isn't nice to think about, and I am glad Frank is in a
place now where he will be kindly treated. Though perhaps Mr. Mason
did not mean to be cruel. He was probably very sorry at losing so much
"I like Frank," said Freddie. "He let me, take hold of one of the
"Oh, Freddie!" exclaimed Dinah. "It's a wonder he didn't cotch an'
bite yo, honey lamb!"
"Oh, I didn't take hold of one of his tooths away back in his mouth,"
explained Freddie, "it was the long tooth-pick tooth that stuck out
under his nose."
"He means the elephant's tusk," explained Bert with a laugh.
"Oh, Freddie! I hope you weren't in any danger!" his mother cried.
"What an escape he had!" sighed Aunt Sarah. "Suppose an elephant had
"Pooh! Elephants don't eat anything but hay," said Freddie, who, of
course, did not mean to be impolite, speaking to his aunt that way.
"Frank told me so," he went on, "and I saw them eat hay. They eat a
awful lot, and one of them took all my peanuts."
"Well, I'll buy you some more," said Uncle Daniel with a laugh. "You
deserve it after the trouble you have had--getting lost and all that."
"I--I wasn't losted!" declared Freddie again. "I knew--"
"Oh, look at the balloons!" cried Flossie, as she saw a man outside
the circus grounds selling the red, green and yellow gas-bags. "I want
one, mamma!" cried the little girl.
"And so do I!" added Freddie, forgetting what he was going to say
about not being lost "I want a balloon!"
They each had one, and then the children and older folks took their
places in the wagon, and soon were on their way to Meadow Brook farm
again, talking over the wonderful good time they had had.
"I'm coming to the circus to-morrow," announced Freddie, as though
going to circuses was all there was to do in this world.
"The circus won't be there," said Bert.
"Won't be there? Where will it go?" asked Freddie, wonderingly.
"It will travel to the next town," Bert went on. "A circus stays in a
town only one day, unless it's a very big place. This show will be far
away by this time to-morrow."
"And will Frank be away, too?" asked
[Illustration: UP, UP, UP, WENT THE RED AND BLUE BALLOONS]
Flossie. "I like Frank, 'cause he found Freddie."
"Yes, Frank will be away, too, poor boy," said Mrs. Bobbsey, "that is,
if he stays with the circus. I wish Richard could do something for
him," she went on to Uncle Daniel and Aunt Sarah. "I feel sure that
boy ought to be back in his guardian's home."
"But he said Mr. Mason was cruel to him," declared Aunt Sarah.
"Perhaps he wouldn't be any more," remarked Mrs. Bobbsey, wondering
how anyone could be really cruel to children. She loved her twins very
"Well, I'se glad mah honey lamb am safe!" murmured Dinah, as she
cuddled Freddie up in her big arms.
"Oh--oh, Dinah!" cried the little fellow with a laugh. "You squeeze me
like an elephant's trunk!"
"Dat's 'cause I lubs yo', honey lamb!" went on the dear old colored
Back to Meadow Brook in the cool of the evening came the Bobbseys and
their friends. Tom and Mabel declared they had never had such a good
time, and as for Freddie and Flossie they were too busy playing with
their toy balloons to say much. But you may be sure they had enjoyed
themselves, and Freddie forgot all about being lost.
On their way home the Bobbseys had met Mr. Weston with his moving
picture camera. He said he had made several fine views of the circus.
"What about _our_ pictures?" asked Nan. "The ones you took of us
children near the school?"
"They will soon be finished," said Mr. Weston. "And when they are
ready to be shown, I shall send your father word, so he may bring you,
and let you look at yourselves on the white screen in our moving
picture theatre. Won't you like that?"
"That will be great!" cried Bert. "I never saw myself in moving
"Nor I," said Nan.
Back in the pleasant farmhouse that evening all the happenings of the
day were gone over again, until Mrs. Bobbsey, noticing that Flossie
and Freddie were nodding their heads, and blinking their eyes real
"Come now, little tots, time you were in bed. To-morrow is another
"I'm going to take my balloon to bed with me," said Freddie.
"So am I!" exclaimed Flossie, who wanted to do as many things as did
"Oh, I wouldn't," their mother said. "Leave the balloons here until
"And then we'll have a balloon race," proposed Bert.
"What's a balloon race?" Freddie wanted to know.
"No more talk to-night, little fat fireman!" said his mother. "Off to
bed you go!" and he and Flossie were "packed off," the other children
coming soon after.
Freddie and Flossie were up bright and early next morning, out playing
with their balloons before breakfast. They tied long threads to them,
and let them float above the trees.
"When will we have the balloon race?" asked Freddie.
"Whenever you like," Bert answered. "Only to have a race you have to
let your balloon sail off, without any string fast to it, and you will
not get it back again."
At first Freddie would not hear of that, but finally he and Flossie
became tired of the toy circus balloons, and came to Bert to beg him
to make a race for them.
Bert cut the string off both balloons. Freddie's was red and Flossie's
"Now we'll let go of both balloons at the same time," Bert explained,
"and the balloon that goes up highest will win the race. Now watch,
They all watched, as Bert let go the toys, one from either hand. Up,
up, up, went the red and blue balloons.
"Oh, mine's going faster!" cried Freddie.
"No, mine is!" exclaimed Flossie.
And, for a time first the red balloon would be ahead, and then the
blue one. But finally they both were at exactly the same height, and
in that way they sailed onward and upward until they were only little
specks in the blue sky, so no one could tell which one was ahead in
It was while the children were out in the yard in front of the Meadow
Brook farmhouse, watching the disappearing balloons, that Bert heard a
stranger's voice calling.
"I say, do you children know where there is a circus around here?" was
the question, and, turning, Nan, Bert and the others saw a man in a
carriage, on the road just outside the fence.
"A circus?" repeated Bert.
"Yes, I heard there was one showing around here," the man went on,
"and I'd like to find it."
"There was a circus over at Rosedale yesterday," spoke Bert, "but it
has traveled on by this time. If you inquired there you could find out
where it went."
"I'll do that," the man said. "I'm much obliged to you," and he was
about to drive on, when Bert asked:
"Aren't you Mr. Mason, who has a lumber yard near my father's?"
"Whoa!" called the man to his horse. "Yes, I'm Mr. Mason," he went on,
"and I have a lumber yard. But I don't seem to know you."
"I'm Bert Bobbsey," the lad said, "and my father--"
"Oh, yes, to be sure! Of course I know you!" the man exclaimed. "Why,
you were the boy in the automobile the day my ward, Frank Kennedy, ran
away from me."
"Yes, I was there," said Bert.
"Well, it's about Frank that I came on here," said Mr. Mason. "I have
been tracing him. I heard he joined a circus when he ran away from me,
and I want to find him and take him back. I came on here by train, and
hired this horse and carriage to drive about the country. But now,
when I am almost up to the circus, you tell me it has moved. That's
too bad, and I'm not sure, when I find it, that Frank will be with
"I think he will be, Mr. Mason," said Bert, quietly.
"What's that?" cried Mr. Mason. "You think Frank will be with the
circus? What makes you think so?"
"Because we saw him with it yesterday," said Nan, taking part in the
talk, "and he said he was going to travel with it."
"Yes, that's right," agreed Bert. He thought it only fair to give
information about Frank, since Mrs. Bobbsey had said she thought it
would be best for the runaway boy to go back to his guardian.
"Hum!" exclaimed Mr. Mason. "If Frank is with the circus, I'll soon
get him. I'll drive over to Rosedale, and inquire where the show went
from there. I can easily trace it. Much obliged to you for your
information," he called over his shoulder, as he drove off. He did not
stop to inquire how Frank was, nor how he had fared since running
away. Perhaps Mr. Mason did not think of this.
"Oh, I hope he--I hope he doesn't shake Frank, when he finds him,"
said Nan, as the lumber man drove on.
"I don't believe he will," remarked Bert. "I fancy Frank will make his
guardian promise to treat him better if he goes back to the lumber
Nan and Bert went in the house to tell their mother of meeting the man
who was looking for Frank. She said they had done right to tell what
"Poor boy," she sighed, "he hasn't had a very happy life, but perhaps
this will be all for the good, and he may be better treated now."
That afternoon, as Harry and the Bobbsey children, with Tom Mason and
Mabel Herold were going down the road to pick some blackberries, they
met a farmer boy driving an empty hay wagon. This boy knew Bert, Harry
"Hello!" he called to them, "did you hear the news about the circus?"
"What news?" asked Bert, wondering if the boy meant that Mr. Mason had
reached the show and taken away Frank.
"News about the wild animals escaping from the circus," went on the
boy on the hay-wagon.
"Wild animals escaping!" exclaimed Nan, with a frightened look over
her shoulder, while Flossie came over closer to her sister.
"That's it!" said the boy. "When the show was moving out of Rosedale
last night, some tigers and lions got loose, and ran off in the woods.
They looked for 'em, but couldn't find 'em. Some of the farmers around
here are out now with guns."
"Oh, Nan!" exclaimed Flossie. "Let's go back home! I don't like wild
WHAT FREDDIE SAW
For a few seconds Bert and Harry, his cousin, stared at the boy on the
hay-wagon. Then Harry, who knew him well, asked:
"Say, Jim Bates, are you joking or did you really hear about some wild
animals escaping from the circus?"
"Indeed I'm not joking!" cried Jim. "I did hear it! Bill Snowden told
me. You know he lives over on the road that runs from Rosedale to
Blaisdell and the circus went there. It went right past his house in
the night, and he looked out of his window and saw the camels and
elephants and wild animal cages."
"I saw the elephants, too!" exclaimed Freddie. "I took hold of one's
big toothpick tooth. Elephants eat hay. Were they eating any hay when
that boy saw 'em? I wish elephants would go past our house."
"Quiet, Freddie dear, please," said Nan. "We want to hear about the
wild animals. Did they really get loose?" she asked, and she looked
over her shoulder, as did Flossie and Mabel Herold.
"Well, that's what Bill Snowden said," replied Jim Bates. "Of course I
didn't see 'em run away myself, but I'm all ready for 'em, if I meet
any bears, or lions or tigers," he added.
"Ready for 'em--how do you mean?" asked Bert.
"I've got a big club, and some stones," answered Jim, and he took up
from the seat beside him a stout stick, and showed where he had made a
little pile of stones in the wagon.
"They wouldn't hurt a lion," said Freddie. "Lions or tigers aren't
afraid of sticks or stones. I'm going to get my fire engine. It
squirts water, and wild animals is afraid of water."
"Yes, we've heard that story before," said Bert, with a laugh. "But
don't you go out hunting for wild animals with that toy engine of
yours, Freddie!" his older brother advised.
"No, indeed," added Nan. "Oh, I think we ought to go home, Bert."
"I'm going home," said the boy on the wagon, "and if I meet any
animals on the way; I'm going to throw stones at 'em."
"Pooh! They won't be afraid of stones," declared Freddie.
"Yes, they will, too!" declared Jim Bates. "I read in a book that a
bear's nose is very soft and tender, and if you hit him on it he'll
howl, and run away."
"I heard that, too," said Harry. "I hope it's true."
"Well, if a bear's nose is tender, a lion's or a tiger's must be
tender also," went on Jim, "and if I meet any wild animals I'm going
to hit 'em on the nose."
"That's a good idea," Bert said, with a laugh. "But how can you be
sure you'll hit 'em on the nose?"
"Oh, I can't be sure," admitted Jim, "but I'm a pretty good shot
throwing stones, and I've got plenty, so if I miss the first time I'll
hit 'em on the nose later. There isn't any wild animal going to get
me. No sir!" and he looked at the stones and his stout club.
"I should think," said Mabel Herold, "that if you had a good team of
horses you could drive fast and get away from any wild animals you
"Well, I could do that, too," replied the boy On the hay-wagon. "And
if I throw all my stones, and don't hit a lion or a bear on the nose,
I'll whip up and get away."
"Well, I'm going to get away now," decided Nan. "Come on, Flossie and
Mabel. We won't go berrying to-day. Bears like blackberries, so I've
read, and no one can tell but that there might be one in the berry
patch where we are going."
"Oh, I don't think so!" exclaimed Bert. "Maybe there isn't any truth
in that story after all, about the wild animals escaping. That other
boy didn't see 'em get away, did he?" asked Bert of Jim.
"No, he didn't exactly see 'em," admitted the boy on the hay-wagon,
"but he heard the circus men talking in the night about how the lion
and the bear and the tiger got out of their cages."
"Oh, come on home, Nan! Come on home!" begged Flossie. "This is worse
than the shooting in the moving pictures. Let's go home."
Nan was very willing to go, and so was Mabel. Freddie, too, after
thinking it over, decided that he had better go back with the girls,
and get his toy fire engine ready for any possible danger.
"What do you say, Bert, shall we go back?" inquired Harry.
"Well, I don't know," slowly replied the older Bobbsey lad. "I don't
really believe in the least that any wild animals are loose, but if
the girls aren't going berrying there's no use in us going."
"I guess that's right," agreed Tom. "No use going on alone."
And, though none of the older boys would admit it, I think they, too,
were rather glad to turn back after having heard the story of the
escape of the wild circus animals.
"Well, I'm all ready for 'em, if I meet any," declared Jim, as he
drove on, having told the news.
On the way back Bert and the others met several farmers who knew Harry
or Tom, and each of these men said they had also heard the story of
the escape of a lion, tiger and bear.
"And if they are loose, some of us may miss some cattle or sheep,"
declared Mr. Ames, who lived not far from Uncle Daniel. "I think we
farmers will have to get up a hunting party."
"I'd like to come," broke in Freddie. "I've got a fire engine, and
wild animals is afraid--"
"That will do, dear," said Nan, gently putting her finger across his
lips. "Little boys can't go hunting wild animals."
By the time the Bobbsey twins and their friends had almost reached
Meadow Brook, on their way back, they had met several persons--men or
boys--who spoke of having heard of the escape of the circus animals.
When the children came up the gravel walk of the farmhouse, Mrs.
Bobbsey, seeing them from the side porch, where she was sitting,
stringing beans for supper, called out:
"Well you are back early. Did you get many berries?"
"We didn't get any, mother," said Nan. "We--"
"It's wild animals!" burst out Freddie, unable to keep quiet any
longer. "A lion, a tiger and a bear! They got away from the circus,
"What's all this?" interrupted Aunt Sarah, coming out with her sewing
in her hands.
Then, by turns, with many interruptions from Freddie, the story was
told. Dinah listened with wide-opened eyes, and if she could have
turned pale I think she would have done so. But of course she could
not, for she was the color of a chocolate cake, and had to stay that
"Oh, I don't believe a word of it!" exclaimed Uncle Daniel, when he
heard the tale. "Every time a circus comes to town there is a story of
wild animals escaping, but I've never seen any yet. I don't believe it
But the children did, and later, when Uncle Daniel came back from a
visit to the village store that evening, he had to admit that several
persons had spoken to him about the wild beasts being loose.
"Hadn't you better see if your shot gun is loaded?" his wife asked
"Well, I will, if it will make you feel any easier," he agreed. "But
there's no danger of any of them coming near here, even if they have
escaped, which I don't believe."
The children were rather frightened that night, and would not go far
from the porch to play in the moonlight, which they usually did before
going to bed.
Of course Bert and Harry were not as frightened as were Flossie and
Freddie, but they looked nervously over their shoulders at the dark
places under the bushes as they passed them.
Freddie, true to his promise, got out his toy fire engine, and filled
the tank with water, winding up the spring that worked the pump and
sent out the stream from the little rubber hose.
"Now I'm ready for a lion or a tiger or a bear," he said.
"Well, don't dream of them," said his mother. "Now it's time for bed."
Whether the talk of the circus animals had made Freddie nervous, or
whether he did dream of them, he could not clearly tell afterward. All
he knew was that he did not sleep well, and, some time after going to
bed he awakened with a start.
There was no light in his room, but the moon shone in. He could look
across to where Flossie was asleep in her crib.
Then Freddie heard a noise. It came from outside and sounded like:
"Oh! Oh!" whispered Freddie to himself. "That's him! That's one of the
wild animals! It's a bear! That's how bears go--'wuff!' Oh, it's come,
and what shall I do!"
He sat up in bed listening. He heard the noise again!
Then Freddie decided he must be brave. Without waking Flossie, the
little fellow slid from bed, and crossed to the window. The bear, if
such it was, could not be in his room. He was sure of that, for the
place was made bright by the moonlight that streamed in the window.
Over to this window Freddie went. He looked out, and as he did so, he
saw something shaggy and black walk under the lilac bush in front of
"There he is!" whispered Freddie to himself. Then in his shrill
childish voice he called loud:
"Mamma! Bert! Nan! It's come! The bear! He's out in front under the
bush! Oh! Oh! Oh!"
Freddie's cries roused the whole house at Meadow Brook, for the little
Bobbsey boy had a strong, ringing voice.
His mother was suddenly awakened from her sleep in the next room. Aunt
Sarah and Uncle Daniel heard him in their apartment. Nan, Bert and
Harry also heard him.
"Oh, Freddie!" cried Flossie, who slept in the same room with her
little brother. "What is it? What is it, Freddie?" and she sat up in
"It's a bear--out in front--under a bush. The circus bear!" answered
Freddie. "I didn't see the lion or tiger, but they must be out there
too, unless the bear ate them up!"
"Oh! Oh!" cried Flossie. "Oh, dear!"
"Mamma! Nan! Bert!" cried Nan. "Come, oh, come here! Dinah!"
"I'se comin', honey lamb! I'se comin'!" cried the colored cook, as she
heard Freddie's wild cry. "What am de mattah, honey lamb?"
Others were asking this question now.
"What's it all about?" called Bert.
"A bear!" answered Freddie.
"Lions and tigers," added Flossie, half sobbing.
"Gracious! Freddie's been dreaming, or else he's talking in his
sleep," said Bert to Harry, who was also awakened by the shouts of the
By this time Mrs. Bobbsey was up, and had put on a dressing gown and
slippers. She hurried out into the hall, to meet Aunt Sarah.
"Oh, something dreadful must have happened," said Freddie's mother.
But when she went in his room, she found him and Flossie safe, with
the little boy standing in the moonlight, near the open window.
"What is it, little man?" asked Aunt Sarah.
"Hush! Not so loud!" cautioned Flossie. "It's bears and lions and
tigers. Freddie saw 'em!" She was not so frightened now.
"I did not see 'em!" cried Freddie. "I only saw a bear!"
"Oh, yes, the bear ate the lion and tiger," went on Flossie, "and if
Snap or Snoop would only eat the bear now, it would be all right."
"What does it all mean?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey. "Did you really see
something, Freddie, or were you dreaming?"
"I did see something, mamma, and it went: 'Wuff! Wuff!'" Freddie
explained. "Then it went and hid under the lilac bush. I'll show you,"
and, taking his mother's hand, he led her to the window, out of which
Now Nan, Bert and Harry came into the small twins' room.
"What is it?" they asked.
By turns Flossie and Freddie told their story, Freddie doing the
"Wuff! Wuff!" part very earnestly, until Flossie begged him to stop,
as he "skeered" her.
Dinah, too, came waddling into the room, bringing a candle which
dripped grease down on her bare feet. The grease was hot, and as Dinah
felt it, she gave a yell which was almost as startling as was
"Oh, what is it?" cried Mrs. Bobbsey.
"Candle grease done splashed on mah toe, an' burnt me," Dinah
explained, as she stood on one foot, and held the other on top of it
to ease the pain.
"There it is! There it is!" suddenly cried Freddie. "There's the
bear!" and he leaned so far out of the window that Bert had to catch
his little brother by his night gown to save him from a possible fall.
Mrs. Bobbsey and Aunt Sarah looked out, and saw a big black object
come into the moonlight.
"Oh, it _is_ a bear!" declared Mrs. Bobbsey.
"It does look like some strange beast," agreed Aunt Sarah.
"I wish Mr. Bobbsey were here," said the lumber merchant's wife.
"Uncle Daniel will fix him!" declared Freddie. "Uncle Daniel's got a
gun. Mamma, can't I take my fire engine and squirt water on that
"No, indeed!" answered Mrs. Bobbsey. "Get back to bed right away."
"Dan, you'd better see what it is," said Aunt
Sarah, as her husband, half dressed, was heard out in the hall. "There
_is_ some animal under the lilac bush."
"I'll soon have him out of that," said the farmer. He had his gun with
him, and while the children watched from the window, they saw him step
out of the kitchen door.
"Oh, he's going to shoot!" cried Freddie in a shrill whisper, as he
watched his uncle.
"I don't want to hear him!" murmured Flossie, as she got into her
crib, and pulled the bed clothes over her ears.
But Bert, Nan and the others watched. Then, just as Uncle Daniel
raised the gun, to shoot at something black which he saw beneath the
lilac bush, an animal rushed out, and gave a howl.
Hardly had that died away than there sounded a loud:
"Bow! Wow! Wow!" This was repeated several times.
"Oh, it's only a dog!" cried Bert.
"Is it Snap?" Freddie wanted to know.
"No, it's a big black stray dog," answered Bert.
"No wonder Freddie thought it was a bear," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "Now
it's all over, go back to bed, and sleep in peace."
And it was only a dog that had caused all the excitement. The animal
ran out into the moonlight, stood a moment looking at Uncle Daniel
with the gun, and then gave more barks.
It was as if he said he did not like to be chased away in that
"Well, it's a good thing I didn't shoot him," said Uncle Daniel as he
came back into the house.
"Whose dog was it?" asked his wife.
"Snook's big black one. He was hunting for a bone, I guess, and he
must have sniffed and snuffed when the dirt got up his nose. That woke
Freddie. It was only a dog."
"Only a dog!" murmured Freddie. "I thought it was a bear!"
"Well, I'm glad it wasn't, or a tiger or lion, either," said Flossie,
as she curled up in her cot.
Soon the house was quiet again, and everyone went to sleep. In the
morning Freddie and Flossie went out to look at the place under the
lilac bush where the dog had been seen. They found a hole where he had
been digging up a bone he had hidden there.
And, a little later that day, the dog himself came over, to make
friends with Snap. He let Freddie pat him.
"He isn't half as big as he looked in the night," said the little
"No, daylight often makes many things seem smaller--even troubles,
that look very big at night," said Mrs. Bobbsey, with a smile.
"But maybe we'll see some wild animals that got away from the circus,"
hopefully said Freddie at dinner.
"No, you won't!" exclaimed his uncle with a laugh.
"Why not?" asked Bert.
"Because none got away," was the answer. "I met one of the circus men
in the village this morning. He stayed behind to settle up some bills,
and he said not a single animal got away. It was all a false alarm; no
truth in it."
"Well, I'm glad of it!" declared Mrs. Bobbsey, and I think everyone
felt better on hearing that news.
Mr. Bobbsey came back to Meadow Brook the next day, and heard all
about the wild animal scare, and also about Freddie being lost at the
circus, and Frank Kennedy finding him.
"And Mr. Mason is looking for Frank at the circus, wherever the show
is now," said Bert.
"Yes, so I heard," remarked Mr. Bobbsey. "Well, I hope he treats the
poor boy kindly if he takes him back."
It was a hot, quiet summer afternoon, a few days later, that Bert and
Harry, with Tom Mason, sat under the trees in front of the farmhouse.
Mrs. Bobbsey and Aunt Sarah had gone calling, Flossie and Freddie were
asleep in the house, and Nan had gone over to see Mabel Herold.
"What can we do?" asked Bert, stretching his arms.
"I don't want to do much except keep cool," spoke Harry.
"That's what I say!" exclaimed Tom. "And I know a good way to get that
"What way?" asked Bert, closing his eyes.
"Cool. Let's go swimming. It's just right for that!"
"All right!" agreed Harry.
"Fine!" cried Bert. "Let's do it."
A little later they were on their way to the old swimming hole, near
the willow tree that grew on the edge of the brook, or little river.
FRANK COMES BACK
"Watch me dive in!"
"I can swim under water!"
"Let's see who can first swim across to the other side of the big
Bert Bobbsey, his cousin Harry, Tom Mason and some other boys were
standing on the bank of the little brook, or river, as it was
sometimes called, all ready for a cool bath that hot summer day. The
water of the "old swimming hole," as it was called, was not deep
enough to be dangerous, and Mrs. Bobbsey was not afraid to have Bert
go there without his father. Bert's father had taught him to swim.
"All ready now?" asked Harry, as the boys stood in line on the edge of
the little pool, waiting for the dive.
"All ready!" answered Bert.
"Then go!" cried the farm-boy.
Into the water they splashed, head first, disappearing under the
waves. Up they bounced again, like corks, and then they began swimming
for the other side.
"A race! A race!" cried Bert, shaking his head to get the water out of
his eyes and nose. He had held his mouth tightly shut when diving, so
no water had been able to get between his lips.
"I'll race you!" exclaimed Tom Mason, and soon the boys were swimming
as hard as they could toward the other bank. Some of them could not
swim very well, but they paddled, or swam "dog-fashion."
"Tom's going to win!" cried one of the boys who could not swim fast.
He was now standing up in the water, looking at the three boys in the
"No, I think Bert will get to the other side first!" said another boy,
who stood on the bank, not yet having dived in.
"You're all wrong, Harry will beat!" exclaimed a third boy, and so it
proved. Harry soon passed Bert and Tom, and reached the farther bank
first. Then Tom came next, while poor Bert was last.
"Too bad you couldn't win," said Harry kindly.
"Oh, you two are better swimmers than I am," said Bert. "I don't mind
being beaten that way. I guess I need more practice."
"That's it," his cousin said. "I have had more chances to swim than
you do, so of course I ought to be better."
"You can beat me, and I swim as much as you do," said Tom, who had
lived in the country all his life, and near the little river. "I used
to beat Harry every time," said Tom to Bert, "but now he goes ahead of
"Well, maybe you'll beat him next time," remarked Bert, with a laugh.
After the little race the boys swam about as they pleased, now jumping
in, or diving head first from the bank near the deeper part of the
pool, sometimes swimming under water, and then jumping out to lie in
the warm sand, or on the green grass.
"Oh, this is great fun!" exclaimed Bert, as he sat on the edge of the
bank, swinging his bare feet to and fro. "I'm glad we came!"
"Look out!" suddenly called Tom, but he spoke too late. Just then
Harry slipped quietly up behind Bert and pushed him into the water.
"Whoop!" yelled Bert, as he splashed in. He went under, but soon came
up again, and, swimming to shore, crawled out.
"You wait until I get hold of you!" he cried laughingly to Harry.
"I'll toss you in! Just wait!"
"You've got to get me first!" replied Harry, keeping out of Bert's
way. Bert raced after Harry but did not catch him. However, Bert
waited his chance and a little later, when he saw Harry sitting on the
edge of the hole, talking to one of the other boys, Bert stole softly
up behind his cousin, and pushed him into the water.
"Wow!" cried Harry as he splashed in.
"Now we're even," Bert said with a laugh.
After this the boys played some games in the water, swimming about,
"ducking" one another, and having lots of fun.
"Well, I guess it's about time we started for home," said Harry, after
a bit, as he noticed the sun, like a ball of fire, sinking to rest in
the western sky. "I'll have to go after the cows soon."
"I'll go with you," offered Bert, as the boys came out of the water,
and began to dress.
They were almost ready to start back home when Bert noticed a boy
walking along the path that extended on one side of the river.
At first Bert did not pay much attention to the boy, after giving him
one glance, but as the strange lad came nearer Bert looked at him more
"I wonder where I've seen that boy before?" he said aloud.
"Over there," replied Bert, pointing.
Harry gave one look, and exclaimed:
"Why, don't you remember? That's the boy who found Freddie when he was
lost at the circus!"
"Oh, so it is!" exclaimed Bert. "But what is he doing here? Why isn't
he with the show?"
"I don't know," answered Harry, who was trying to untangle a hard knot
in his shoe lace. "Better ask him."
"I will, if he comes near enough," decided Bert, as he finished
dressing. Then he "ruffled" up his hair, so it would dry more quickly.
By this time they had on their clothes, and the other boy had noticed
the lads who had just finished swimming. He gave them one look, and
then turned hurriedly away, as if he did not want them to see him.
"Hold on wait a minute--Frank!" called Bert.
The boy stopped as he heard his name mentioned.
"Who wants me?" he asked.
"I do--Bert Bobbsey," was the answer. "You know me. You found my
little brother Freddie, when he was lost at the circus. Don't you
"Oh--yes," was the answer.
The boy walked slowly forward, and as he came nearer Bert could see
that he looked tired and hungry.
"What's the matter?" Harry asked. "Why aren't you with the circus any
more? Did you lose your place?"
"Well, no, not exactly," replied Frank, "but the side show I worked
for busted up--I mean it failed, and I was out of a place. There was
nothing else for me to do in the circus, so I had to leave it. I
haven't any work now, and I don't know what to do."
"That's too bad," said Bert kindly. "What are you going to do?"
"I don't know," and Frank's voice was sad.
"Are you going back to the lumber office?" asked Harry, for he had
heard his cousin tell how Frank had run away from his guardian, Mr.
Mason, who punished the boy for taking in a Confederate twenty dollar
bill, that was worthless.
"No, I'll never go back there!" exclaimed Frank, with flashing eyes.
"Mr. Mason was looking for you, the day after the circus showed in
Rosedale," said Bert. "Did he see you?"
"No, he didn't, and I don't want to see him," Frank said. "After I
lost my place in the side show, where I took in tickets at the tent
entrance, I started to tramp, and look for work. But I haven't found
any yet. So I thought I'd come back to Meadow Brook. I heard there
were some farms around here, and I thought maybe I could get work on
one of them. If I can't--I don't know what to do," and it sounded as
if Frank was trying to keep from crying.
Bert, Harry and their chums hardly knew what to do. They felt sorry
for Frank, and wanted to help him, but they did not know just how to
go about it.
"Do you know how to work on a farm?" asked Harry.
"Well, no, not exactly," replied Frank. "But I know something about
the lumber business, and I guess I could chop wood. They have to do
that on farms, don't they?" he asked, and he was smiling a little now.
"Oh, yes, wood has to be chopped," said Harry. "Entirely too much of
it, I think. It makes my back ache."
"Say, why can't we ask him to come back with us?" whispered Bert to
Harry, as Frank picked up a stone and tossed it into the water.
"I guess we could," said Harry, slowly.
"Then I'm going to do it," went on Bert. "I say," he spoke to Frank,
"wouldn't you like to come back to my uncle's house, and get something
to eat? Maybe he could give you work. I know Harry and I have plenty
"I would like to come, very much," replied Frank, a brighter look
coming over his face. "I'll do all the work I can, too," he added,
"Come along then," invited Harry, and as Bert and Frank walked along
together, ahead of the others, Harry told his chums how he had first
met Frank at the circus, the time Freddie was lost. He also explained
to the boys what Bert had told him about Frank running away.
Leaving their chums with whom they had gone swimming, Bert and Harry
led Frank down toward the pleasant farmhouse. Freddie was out in
front, playing with his toy fire engine as usual. As soon as the
little Bobbsey twin saw the circus lad, he exclaimed:
"Oh, there's my boy--my elephant-boy that found me when everybody was
lost but me. Oh, I'm glad to see you!" he cried, and he ran to Frank,
who caught Freddie up in his arms, and kissed him.
Nan and Flossie came down off the porch to see what all the excitement
"Oh, it's the circus-boy!" Flossie cried. "Did you bring any trained
monkeys or elephants with you?" she asked.
"No, not this time, I'm sorry to say," replied Frank. "They wouldn't
let me take any of the animals with me when I came away."
"Well, did you bring any--any peanuts?" asked Freddie. "Peanuts are
good, even if you haven't any elephants to eat 'em."
"No peanuts, either," went on Frank. Poor lad! He looked so hungry
that if he had had any peanuts he probably would have eaten them
"Well, did you bring any--any balloons?" Flossie wanted to know.
"Well, yes, I have some toy balloons," said Frank, and he pulled some
pieces of rubber from his pocket. "These are circus balloons before
they are blown up," explained Frank. "You can use a hollow goose quill
to blow them full of air, and then tie a string, or thread, around the
bottom, so the air won't come out. They won't go up like circus
balloons, though," Frank said.
"Why not?" Freddie wanted to know.
"Because they have only air in them, instead of gas," Frank
explained. "Gas is lighter than air, and that makes it lift the
balloon. But you can have some fun with these," and he gave two each
to Flossie and Freddie. "One of the circus men gave them to me," he
went on. The children were soon playing with the balloons.
By this time Mrs. Bobbsey had come out of the house, and when she saw
Frank she remembered him at once.
"Oh, it is very good to see you again," she exclaimed, and she looked
sorry when he told her he had lost his place with the circus.
"Well, perhaps it is all for the best," said Mr. Bobbsey, when he
heard the news. "A circus is not the nicest place in the world for a
growing boy, though many good men and women are in circuses."
"I think I'd like to work on a farm for a change," said Frank.
"Well, you won't find farm work very easy," spoke Uncle Daniel, as he
came out to listen to the runaway's story. "And I think you had better
go back to your guardian," he added. "He has been looking for you."
"So Bert said," remarked Frank, "but I'll never go back to that lumber
office to be treated as I was before. Mr. Mason really wasn't fair to
"Perhaps he meant to be," said Mr. Bobbsey.
"Well, didn't he punish me for something that wasn't my fault--taking
that bad twenty dollar bill?" asked Frank.
"He did punish you, yes," admitted Mr. Bobbsey, "and I am not saying
he did right in that. But you were put in his charge by the courts,
and he has authority to look after you, the same as a father would
look after his children."
"I think it is best that you go back to him," went on Uncle Daniel.
"I never will!" exclaimed Frank.
"Would you if I saw Mr. Mason and got him to promise to treat you more
kindly, and overlook the loss of the twenty dollars?" asked the
"Well, I might," replied Frank, slowly.
"That's better!" exclaimed Uncle Daniel. "I like a young lad to have a
real home," he went on, "and not be traveling about with a circus, no
matter how good a show it is. What happened to the side-show you were
with?" he asked Frank.
"Oh, our biggest snake died," said the boy, "and the fat lady was
taken sick, and got so thin she wasn't a curiosity any more, so the
show 'busted up,' as the circus people called it."
"Well, maybe it's just as well," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "I never did like
snakes, anyhow, and it can't be healthful to be as fat as that lady
was. I hope she gets better, and is thin enough to be comfortable. And
now we must look after you, Frank. You will stay with us a few days,
until Mr. Bobbsey and Uncle Daniel can arrange about your going back
to your guardian."
"Yes," said Mr. Bobbsey. "Now that you have promised, Frank, I shall
write to Mr. Mason, telling him you are here. He is probably
searching for you, wondering what has happened to you since you lost
your place with the circus."
"You are very kind to me," murmured the homeless boy.
"Yes, and I think Mr. Mason will be kind to you, too, after we have
had a talk with him," said Mr. Bobbsey. "Now, Frank, make yourself at
home here, and have a good time."
Frank certainly needed a good time if anyone did, for he had not had
much fun thus far in life.
Aunt Sarah took Frank to the dining-room, and soon Dinah had served a
meal that would make any hungry boy feel very much at home, Frank
"He shore hab got some appetite!" exclaimed Dinah, as she looked in
through a crack in the kitchen door, and watched Frank eat.
"Well, I guess anyone would have an appetite if they had to live on
hay and oats," said Martha.
"Hay an' oats!" cried Dinah. "Did he hab t' eat hay an' oats?"
"He must have," Martha replied. "That's about all they have in
"Pore boy!" sighed Dinah. "I'se gwine t' bake him a whole chocolate
cake fo' his ownse'f; dat's what I am!"
And she did, too, though Frank shared his treat with the others, a day
or so later, when it was given to him.
Meanwhile Frank was taken in almost as one of the family by the
Bobbseys and their relatives and friends. Freddie never wanted to be
away from his "circus-boy," as he called Frank, and Flossie, too, was
quite in love with the wanderer.
"It makes me homesick for Mrs. Mason's two little girls," said Frank
to Mrs. Bobbsey, as he came in one day from having taken Freddie and
Flossie for a walk.
"Well, it's a good sign to be homesick," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "It shows
you like your home, in spite of some bad times there. You will soon be
Mr. Mason had been written to, and told that his ward was at Meadow
Brook, and would go back with him if he called. But no answer had yet
"I suppose he is trying to find you by following up the circus," said
Mr. Bobbsey to Frank.
A few days after this Bert, Harry and Frank were on their way to the
village store to get some groceries for Aunt Sarah. As they came near
the place, in front of which was a large porch, a man was seen peering
around the corner of the building. At the sight of him Frank started
and pulled Bert by the sleeve.
"What's the matter?" asked Harry's cousin.
"That man!" whispered Frank. "See him! That's the one who gave me the
bad money--the Confederate twenty dollar bill. What can he be doing
here? Oh, if I could only get Mr. Mason's money back from that man!"
"Let's wait and see what he is doing," suggested Harry. The man had
not yet seen them. The boys could watch him as he seemed to be hiding
back of the corner of the country store.
"He's up to some trick, I'm sure," said Bert.
A few seconds later Mr. Mack, the owner of the store, came out and
walked down the village street. Hardly had he started off than the
strange man quickly went into the store.
"He's going to take the money!" exclaimed Bert. "There's no one in the
store now. He waited for Mr. Mack to come out, so he could go in and
get the money."
"No, I don't think that," spoke Harry. "George Smith, a boy I know,
works for Mr. Mack, and attends to the store when Mr. Mack goes out.
George must be in there now."
"Well, that man is up to some trick, I'm sure!" exclaimed Frank. "How
can we find out what it is?"
"We can go in the store through the back door," said Harry. "Come on,
we'll do it, and sneak in quietly! Then we can see what's going on."
Quietly the three boys went into the store through the rear entrance.
No one up front could see them because of the piles of boxes and
barrels in front of the counters.
"Well, what can I do for you to-day?" the three heard George Smith ask
"I want two pounds of the best butter," was the man's answer. "And I
suppose you can change a twenty dollar bill, can't you?"
"Oh, yes," said George. "We've got that much change."
"You were sure of that?" asked the man, glancing around the store
"Yes, sir, we always keep plenty of change on hand."
"Very well then, go and weigh out the butter and be sure and give me
"We always give full weight, sir," answered George.
Bert and the others could hear, but could not see George as he weighed
out the butter. Then Frank whispered:
"I want to get near enough so I can see what kind of a twenty dollar
bill that man gives this boy. Maybe it will be no good, just as he
"Come over here," whispered Harry. "You can look through this crack
between two boxes. It's right near the cash drawer, and you can see
the bill when George makes change for it."
Frank crept up to make an observation, and as the store boy took the
bill from the man, and began making change, Frank could not hold back
any longer. He saw that the bill was the same kind that had fooled
him. It was Confederate money, and utterly worthless.
"Don't give that man any change!" cried Frank. "That's bad money!"
Bert and Harry were so surprised at Frank's sudden call, that, for a
few seconds, they did not know what to do or say. George Smith, the
boy in the store, was also startled. He stood with the bad twenty
dollar bill in his hand, wondering where the warning voice had come
from. And then Frank showed how quick he could be.
"Hurry up!" he whispered to Bert and Harry. "One of you slip around
and lock the front door, and the other one lock the back. Then we'll
have this man trapped, and maybe I can make him pay back the money he
got from me. Quick!"
"I'll go to the front door!" exclaimed Harry.
"And I'll lock the back one!" said Bert.
The man, who had heard Frank's call from behind the pile of boxes,
must have known something had gone wrong with his plan to cheat.
"Never mind about the butter," he said quickly. "I guess I won't buy
any after all. Just give me back my twenty dollar bill, and I'll get
"Oh, no, you won't!" exclaimed Harry, as he slipped around some
barrels. Quickly running to the front door, the country boy locked it,
and stood in front of it.
"Hurry! Give me my money back, I tell you!" cried the man to George,
who stood near the cash drawer, not knowing what to do.
"Don't you give it to him!" advised Frank, stepping out. "Lock the
back door, Bert," he called.
"I have!" cried the older Bobbsey boy.
The man started to run behind the counter, to find a way out, but he
was too late. Bert had locked the door, and taken out the key.
"Let me out of here!" cried the stranger. "Let me out!"
Bert and Harry were somewhat frightened, but Frank was brave.
"You don't get out of here until you pay back the twenty dollars you
cheated out of Mr. Mason," he said.
"I don't know anything about any Mr. Mason!" the stranger said. "I
want my twenty dollar bill back, I won't need any butter to-day!"
"Don't give him that money!" cried Frank to George. "It's bad, and if
you give it to him, he'll try to cheat someone else with it."
"I'll fix you!" cried the man. But at that instant there was a
rattling sound at the front door, and Harry, looking through the glass
panels, saw Mr. Mack, the store owner, and two or three other men
"What's the matter? What has happened? Why am I locked out of my own
store?" cried Mr. Mack, rattling the knob.
"There's a cheat in here!" cried Harry, unlocking the door. "There he
is!" he went on, as Mr. Mack rushed in. "That man tried to pass a bad
twenty dollar bill on your boy," went on Harry.
"He did, eh?" cried Mr. Mack. "Well, I'll see about that!"
"You let me go!" exclaimed the strange man. "I haven't done anything.
I wanted some butter, but I changed my mind. There isn't anything
wrong in that. Give me my twenty dollar bill and I'll go!"
"Oh, no, you'll not--not until you explain," said Mr. Mack, and he
caught the man by the arm. Then the man tried to break away.
"Here, help me hold him!" Mr. Mack called to some of his friends who
had come in with him. "We'll see what this is all about. Who can
explain?" he asked, looking at Bert, Harry and Frank, in turn.
"He can," said Bert, pointing to the former circus boy.
At this the stranger took a good look at Frank, and he seemed much
"I see you know me," said Frank with a smile.
The man muttered something to himself.
In a few words Frank told how he had been cheated by the old twenty
dollar Confederate bill the man had passed on him some time ago, in
the lumber office.
"And when I saw that man, to-day, for the first time since, hiding
around your store," went on Frank to Mr. Mack, "I thought perhaps he
was up to some of his old tricks. He went in as soon as you went out,
and I saw him give your clerk the same kind of a bad bill he gave me.
Only I gave him eighteen good dollars in change."
"But I didn't," said George Smith with a grateful look at Frank. "I
was warned in time."
"I tell you it is all a mistake," said the man. "You had better let me
"The only place you will go to is prison," cried Mr. Mack. "Take him
away, Constable Sprigg," he said to one of the men who had come into
the store with him. "Take him away!"
So the man who had cheated Frank, and who had nearly cheated Mr.
Mack, was locked up in jail. It was found that he had many
Confederate bills with him. That money was once good in the Southern
States, during war-times, but now it is of no value, and will not buy
even a stick of candy.
Of course grown persons could not be fooled by the Confederate bills,
but boys, who had never seen any of that money, might be easily
deceived. And it was on boys that the man played his tricks, giving
them bad twenty dollar bills for some small purchase, and getting good
money in change.
"He just waited until Mr. Mack went out of his store," explained
Frank, "and he knew only a boy was left in charge. That's how he
tricked me, waiting until Mr. Mason was out of the office."
"Well, you did me a good service," said Mr. Mack, "and if ever you are
in need of work, I'll give you a place in my store to help George when
I am out."
"I guess Frank is going back in the lumber business," said Bert.
The next day Mr. Mason came in answer to the letter he had received
about Frank. He brought with him the bad twenty dollar bill the man
had cheated Frank with, and a little later the dishonest man was taken
away by a policeman, and put in a place where he would have to work
hard as a punishment for cheating honest persons. The Bobbseys never
saw him again.
Everyone said Frank was very smart to catch the cheat as he had done.
Mr. Mason received back his twenty dollars, for the man had some good
money in his pockets when arrested.
"And now are you ready to come back with me, Frank?" asked Mr. Mason,
when everything had come out right.
"I--I guess so," was the rather slow answer.
"My girls are anxious to see you again," the lumber merchant went on.
"They have missed you very much. And I want to say I am sorry I was so
cross and severe with you," he added. "I was provoked that you should
be cheated, but I realize now that it was not your fault. That man
made it his business to fool boys with his bad bills. Will you come
back, Frank? I promise to treat you better from now on."
"Yes, he will go back," said Uncle Daniel, "but he hasn't had much fun
this summer. Suppose you leave him here at Meadow Brook for a while. I
think it will do Frank good."
"All right," agreed Mr. Mason. "But my wife and the girls are anxious
to have him home. But let him stay here for a time."
And so happy days began for Frank Kennedy, and the happy days
continued for the Bobbsey twins, and their friends and relatives. The
long summer days on the farm were filled with good times.
One morning Freddie and Flossie went out in the kitchen where Dinah
and Martha were busy making sandwiches and wrapping cakes in waxed
"Are we going to have company?" asked Flossie.
"We's gwine t' hab annuder picnic!" exclaimed Dinah. "A big one!"
"Oh, goodie!" cried Freddie. "And I'm going to take my fire engine to
the woods and squirt water on snakes."
"Well, don't pump any fire engine watah on ole Dinah, honey lamb!"
begged the fat cook.
"Oh, a picnic! What fun!" cried Nan, when she heard about it.
And such good times as the Bobbseys had when they went to the cool
green woods, with well-filled lunch baskets! Mr. Mack, the store
keeper, was so grateful to Frank, for having saved the twenty dollars
for him, that he sent a large bag of cakes and oranges for the
Frank went with the others, and a number of country boys and girls
were invited. They played games and sat about in the long grass under
shady trees to eat the good things Dinah and Martha had cooked.
Freddie played with his fire engine to his heart's content, and,
though he managed to get pretty wet himself, no one else suffered
And, a few days before Frank was to go back to his guardian Mr.
Bobbsey gave the children another treat. They were taken to a nice
moving picture show at Rosedale where the circus had been.
After some funny reels had been shown, there was flashed on the screen
a schoolhouse, with the children clustering about the teacher.
"Oh, it's us! It's us!" whispered Nan. "Those are our pictures!"
"So they are!" agreed Bert. And they were. Views of the sham battle
the children had witnessed were thrown on the screen, and then came a
scene showing Freddie. No sooner had he noticed himself in the
pictures than he cried out loud:
"Oh, that's me! Now watch me fall in the brook!"
And he did, amid the laughter of the audience.
I wish I had space to tell you of all the other things the Bobbseys
did at Meadow Brook, but this book is as full as it will hold. So I
will just say that when the time came Frank went back to Mr. Mason's
home, and, a little later, the Bobbseys taking Snoop and Snap, went
back to Lakeport, there to spend some weeks at home, until it was time
to go on another vacation. And so, having enjoyed the company of the
twins, we will say goodbye to them.
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