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The Bobbsey Twins at Snow Lodge by Laura Lee Hope

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[ILLUSTRATION: "You have made a fine shelter," said the hunter.]




Author of the Bobbsey Twins.




























"Will Snap pull us, do you think, Freddie?" asked little Flossie
Bobbsey, as she anxiously looked at her small brother, who was
fastening a big, shaggy dog to his sled by means of a home-made
harness. "Do you think he'll give us a good ride?"

"Sure he will, Flossie," answered Freddie with an air of wisdom. "I
explained it all to him, and I've tried him a little bit. He pulled
fine, and you won't be much heavier. I'll have the harness all fixed
in a minute, and then we'll have a grand ride."

"Do you think Snap will be strong enough to pull both of us?" asked
the little girl.

"Of course he will!" exclaimed Freddie firmly. "He's as good as an
Esquimo dog, and we saw some pictures of them pulling sleds bigger
than ours."

"That's so," admitted Flossie. "Well, hurry up, please, Freddie 'cause
I'm cold standing here, and I want to get under the blankets on the
sled and have a nice ride."

"I'll hurry all right, Flossie. You go up there by Snap's head and pat
him. Then he'll stand stiller, and I can fix the harness on him

Flossie, with a shake of her light curls, and a stamp of her little
feet to rid them of the snow from the drift in which she had been
standing, went closer to the fine-looking and intelligent dog, who did
not seem to mind being all tied up with ropes and leather straps to
Freddie's sled.

"Good old Snap!" exclaimed Flossie, patting his head. "You're going to
give Freddie and me a fine ride; aren't you, old fellow?"

Snap barked and wagged his tail violently.

"Hey! Stop that!" cried Freddie. "He's flopping his tail right in my
face!" the little boy added. "I can't see to fasten this strap. Hold
his tail, Flossie."

Snap, hearing the voice of his young master--one of his two masters by
the way--wagged his tail harder than ever. Freddie made a grab for it,
but missed. Flossie, seeing this, laughed and Snap, thinking it was a
great joke, leaped about and barked with delight. He sprang out of the
harness, which was only partly fastened on, and began leaping about in
the snow. Finally he stood up on his hind legs and marched about, for
Snap was a trick dog, and had once belonged to a circus.

"There now! Look at that!" cried Freddie. "He's spoiled everything!
We'll never get him hitched up now."

"It--it wasn't my fault," said Flossie, a tear or two coming into her

"I know it wasn't, Flossie," replied Freddie, speaking more quietly.
"It's always just that way with Snap when he gets excited. Come here!"
he called to the dog, "and let me harness you. Come here Snap!"

The dog was well enough trained so that he knew when the time for fun
was over and when he had to settle down. Still wagging his tail
joyously, however, Snap came up to Freddie, who started over again the
work of harnessing the animal to the sled.

"I guess you'd better stand at his tail instead of at his head," said
Freddie. "So when he wags it you can grab it, Flossie, and hold it
still. Then it won't slap me in the face, and I can see what I'm
doing. Hold his tail, Flossie."

"Then he can't wag it," objected the little girl.

"I know he can't. I don't want him to."

"But it may make him angry."

"Snap never gets mad; do you, Snap?" asked Freddie, and the dog's bark
seemed to say "No, never!"

So Flossie held the dog's tail, while Freddie put on the harness
again. This time he succeeded in getting it all arranged to suit him,
and the frisky Snap was soon made fast to the sled.

"Now get on, Flossie," called her brother, "and we'll see how fast
Snap can pull us."

"But don't make him go too fast, Freddie," begged the little girl.
"For it's hard pulling in the snow."

"No, I'll let him go slow," promised Freddie. "But it won't be hard
work pulling us. My sled goes awfully easy, anyhow."

Freddie tucked Flossie in amid the robes and rugs which the children
had taken from the house, near which they had started to harness the
dog. Then Freddie took his place in front of his sister, holding to
two reins that were fastened to the dog's head. Freddie had made no
bit, such as is used for horses and goats, but he thought by making
straps fast to a sort of muzzle by which he could guide Snap, by
pulling his head to one side or the other.

"All ready, Flossie?" called Freddie, when he himself was comfortable
on the sled.

"All ready," she answered.

"Giddap, Snap!" cried Freddie, and, with a bark, off the dog started,
pulling the sled and the two children after him.

"Oh, he's going! He's giving us a ride! It's as real as anything!"
cried Flossie in delight, holding fast to the sled. "Oh, Freddie!"

"Of course it's real!" said Freddie. "Bert and Nan said Snap wouldn't
pull us, but I knew he would. I just wish they could see us now."

As if in answer to this wish a little later, when the two smaller
twins had turned a corner, they saw coming toward them their brother
and sister Nan and Bert, also twins, but four years older.

"Look, look!" cried Flossie to Nan. "See what a nice ride we're

"Oh, look, Bert!" exclaimed Nan, "Snap really is pulling them," and
she grasped her brother's arm. Bert was pulling his own sled and that
of his twin sister.

"Yes, he'll pull them a little way," admitted Bert, as if he knew all
about it, "and then, the first thing they know, Snap will turn around
short and tip them into a snowdrift. He hasn't been trained to pull a
sled, no matter how many other tricks he can do."

"I trained him myself!" declared Freddie, as he pulled on the lines to
bring the dog to a stop. But Snap, seeing Nan and Bert, was eager to
reach them to be patted and made much of, so he did not obey the
command given by the reins, but kept on.

"Whoa there!" cried Freddie, holding back with all his little

"See, I told you he wouldn't mind," said Bert, with a laugh.

"Oh, but isn't it cute!" exclaimed Nan, flapping her hands. "I didn't
think they'd get any ride at all."

"We'll show you! We'll have a fine ride!" panted Freddie, vainly
trying to make Snap halt.

Then just what Bert said would happen seemed about to take place. The
dog leaped around, and turned short to get nearer to the older Bobbsey

"Look out!" cried Bert, but his warning came too late.

Over went the sled, and Flossie and Freddie were pitched from it into
a big, fluffy bank of snow, falling into it deeply, but with no more
harm to them than if they had landed on a bed of feathers.

"Oh dear!" cried Flossie, as she felt herself shooting toward the

"Whoa there! Whoa! Don't you run away, Snap!" shouted Freddie. Then
his mouth was filled with snow and he could say nothing more.

"Oh, Bert! They'll be smothered!" cried Nan. "Help me get them out!"

Bert was laughing, and trying to defend himself against the jumping up
of Snap, who seemed to want to hug the boy with his paws.

"Stop laughing! Help me!" ordered Nan, who was already trying to lift
Flossie from her snowy bed.

"I can't help laughing--Freddie looked so funny when he went over,"
said Bert.

"There's no danger of smothering, though. That snow is as dry as sand.
Here you go, Freddie. Give me your hand and I'll pull you out."

In a few seconds the smaller Bobbsey twins stood beside their larger
brother and sister, while Snap capered about them, barking loudly and
wagging his tail.

"Oh, he's got loose, and the harness is all broken," said Freddie, and
tears of disappointment stood in his blue eyes.

"Never mind," said Bert. "I'll help you make a better harness to-
morrow, Freddie. That one wasn't strong enough for Snap, anyhow. I'll
fix it differently."

"Oh, but we were going to have such a fine ride!" said Flossie, who
was also ready to cry. The smaller twins were only about five years
old, so it might have been expected.

"Well, come on and go coasting with Bert and me," said Nan, as she
patted her little sister's head. "We're going over on the long hill.
It's fine there, and you'll have just as much fun as if you had Snap
to pull you."

"Shall we go, Freddie?" asked Flossie, who generally depended on him
to start their amusements.

"I guess so," he answered. "This harness is all busted, anyhow."

Sadly he looked at the tangled strings and straps fast to the sled,
where Snap had broken away from them. The harness Freddie had made
with such care was all broken now.

"Never mind," said Bert again. "I'll make you a better one to-morrow,
Freddie. Come along now, and we'll have some fun. And when we get
through coasting I'll buy everybody a hot chocolate soda."

"Really?" asked Flossie, her sorrow forgotten now.

"Sure thing," promised Bert.

"Come on, then, Freddie," said his little sister. "We can harness Snap
up to-morrow."

The useless harness was taken to the Bobbsey home, not far away, and
then the four twins--the two sets of them, as it were--started for the
coasting hill, Flossie and Freddie having one sled between them, and
Nan and Bert each having one of their own.

On the way to the hill they met many of their friends, also bound for
the same place. School was just out and the boys and girls were eager
to have a good time in the snow.

"There's Charley Mason!" exclaimed Bert, seeing a boy he knew. "Hello,
Charley!" he called. "Going coasting?"

"Sure. Where's the big bob?" For some time before this Bert and
Charley had made, in partnership, a large bob sled.

"Oh, I didn't know you'd be out, or I'd have brought it," replied
Bert. "Anyhow, I promised Nan I'd coast with her."

"Oh, that's all right. I guess the hill will be too crowded for a bob,
anyhow. Danny Rugg was taking his over, though, for I saw him and some
of his crowd hauling it from his barn a little while ago."

"Well, let 'em. We can get ours later. Got a new sled?" and Bert
looked admiringly at the one Charley was pulling.

"No, it's only my old one painted over. But it makes it look like

"We had Snap hitched up, but he broke loose," said Freddie. "But we're
going to have a stronger harness to-morrow."

"That's good," said Charley, with a broad smile.

Soon the children were on the hill. There was a large crowd of
coasters there, and fun was at its height. There was merry shouting
and laughter, and several spills and upsets. As Bert had said, the
hill was very much crowded.

"I thought it would be no good for a bob," he remarked.

"There goes Danny Rugg now!" exclaimed Charley. "He's giving orders to

"He'd better not give any to me," said Bert, in a quiet voice, but
with determination in his tones.

"Oh, Bert!" exclaimed Nan. "Please don't have any fuss; will you?"

"Not on my part," said Bert "But if Danny Rugg thinks he can boss me
he is mistaken."

It was evident that Danny liked to play master. He could be heard
giving orders to this one and the other one to get out of the way, to
pull his bob around in place, and then to shove it off with its load
of boys and girls.

Now, though Danny was a bully, some of the children were friendly with
him for the sake of getting a ride on his sled, which was a large and
expensive one.

Bert and Nan, and Flossie and Freddie, soon were coasting with their
friends, having a good time on the hill. The two smaller twins went
down together.

As Freddie came up the long slope, pulling his sled in readiness for
another trip, Danny Rugg with his bob reached the head of the slope at
the same time.

"Say, Danny, give me a ride this trip; won't you?" begged a small boy,
who had no sled, but who often did errands for the bully, and played
mean tricks for him that, Danny was too lazy to play himself. "Let me
go on your bob?"

"Not this time, Sim," said Danny. "The bob is going to be filled. But
here, you can take Freddie Bobbsey's sled. He doesn't want it," and
without giving Freddie time to say whether he did or not Danny
snatched the sled rope from him and held it out to Sim Watson.

For a moment Freddie was too surprised to utter a protest and then, as
he realized what had happened, he cried out:

"Here, Danny Rugg, you let my sled alone! I do want it! Give it back
to me!"

"Aw, go on!" said Danny. "You've had rides enough. Let Sim take your
sled, or I'll punch you!" and Danny gave Freddie a shove, and held out
the rope of the sled to Sim.

"Stop it!" cried Freddie. "I'll tell Bert on you."

"Pooh! Think I'm afraid of your brother. I can handle him with one
hand tied behind my back."

"Then it's time you started in!" exclaimed a voice just back of Danny,
and the bully turned suddenly to see Bert standing near him, Danny's
face flushed, and then grew pale. Before he could make a move Bert
grabbed away from him the rope of Freddie's sled, which Sim had not
yet taken, and passed it back to his small brother.

"Don't you try that again," warned Bert.

"I will if I want to," said Danny, meanly, "I'm not afraid of you."

"Maybe not," said Bert, quietly, "and I'm not afraid of you, either.
But if you take my brother's sled for some of your friends you'll have
to settle with me. You leave Freddie alone; do you hear?"

"I don't have to mind you!"

"We'll see about that. Go ahead, Freddie. You and Flossie coast as
much as you like, and if Danny bothers you any more let me know."

Danny, with an uneasy laugh, turned aside. Some of his particular
chums gathered about him, and one murmured:

"Why don't you fight him?"

For a moment it looked as though there might be trouble, but an
instant later all thoughts of it passed, for a series of girls'
screams came from midway down the long hill.

All eyes were turned in that direction, and those at the top of the
slope saw a team of runaway horses, attached to a heavy bobsled,
plunging madly up the hill.

And, right in the path of the frightened animals was Nan Bobbsey, and
one or two other girls, on their sleds, coasting straight for the

A cry of fear came from Bert Bobbsey as he noticed his sister's



"Stop the horses!"

"Yes, grab them, somebody, or they'll run into the girls!"

"Look out, everybody, they're coming right this way!"

"I'm going to get my bob to a safe place!"

It was Danny Rugg who called out this last, and the other boys had
shouted the previous expressions, as they watched the oncoming,
runaway horses.

Bert Bobbsey had thrown himself on his sled and was coasting toward
the group of girls, of whom his sister Nan was one. They were on their
sleds in the very path of the team. It seemed that nothing could save
them. But Bert had a plan in his mind.

And, while he was preparing to carry it out, I will take just a moment
to tell my new readers something about the characters of this story,
and the books that have gone before in the series.

Bert and Nan, Freddie and Flossie Bobbsey were the twin children of
Mr. and Mrs. Richard Bobbsey, who lived in an Eastern city called
Lakeport, at the head of Lake Metoka. Mr. Bobbsey was a prosperous
lumber merchant. Other members of the household were Dinah and Sam
Johnson. Dinah was the cook, fat and good-natured. Sam was her
husband, slim and also good-natured. He did all sorts of work about
the place, from making garden to shoveling snow.

Then there was Downy, a pet duck; Snoop, a pet black cat, and, of
late, Snap, the fine trick dog, who had come into the possession of
the Bobbseys in a peculiar manner.

In the first book of this series, entitled "The Bobbsey Twins," I told
of the good times the four children had in their home. How they played
in the snow, went coasting, helped to discover what they thought was a
"ghost," and did many other things. Bert even went for a sail in an
ice boat he and Charley Mason had made, though it was almost more than
the boys could manage at times.

The second volume, called "The Bobbsey Twins in the Country," told of
the good times the four had when they went to the farm of Uncle Daniel
Bobbsey and his wife, Aunt Sarah, who lived at Meadow Brook.

Such fun as there was!

There was a country picnic, sport in the woods, and a great Fourth of
July celebration. A circus gave a chance to have other good times, and
though once there was a midnight scare, it all turned out happily.

But though the twins had much happiness in the country they were
destined to have still more fun when they went to the ocean shore, and
in the third book, called "The Bobbsey Twins at the Seashore," I
related all that happened to them there.

They went on a visit to their uncle, William Minturn, who lived at
Ocean Cliff, and their cousin Dorothy showed them many strange scenes
and sights. They had most delightful times, and toward the close of
their visit there was a great storm at sea, and a shipwreck. The life
savers were on hand, however, and did such good work that no one was
drowned. And if you want to learn how a certain little girl was made
very happy, when she found that her father was among those saved, you
must read the book.

Then, after the storm ceased, there were more happy days at the shore.
The time for the Bobbseys to leave came all too soon. School was about
to open, and even the smaller twins must now settle down to regular

In the fourth book of the series, called "The Bobbsey Twins at
School," there is told of the start for home.

But many things happened before the family arrived. There was the
wreck of the circus train, the escape of the animals, the meeting with
the very fat lady, and the loss of Snoop, the pet cat. Then, too, a
valuable cup the smaller Bobbsey twins had been drinking from, seemed
to be lost, and they were very sorry about it.

On the way home something else occurred. They were followed in the
dark by some strange animal. At first they feared it was some wild
beast from the circus but it proved to be only a friendly dog.

How Flossie and Freddie insisted on keeping the dog, now that their
pet cat Snoop was gone, how they named him Snap, and how it was
discovered that he could do tricks, are all part of the story.

There were many more happenings after the twins started in at school.
Mr. Bobbsey's boathouse caught fire in a mysterious manner. Snap was
found to be a circus dog, and it was pretty certain that the fat lady
in the train had also belonged to the show, and that it was she who
had the valuable silver cup.

In time all was straightened out, and how Snoop came back from the
circus in far-off Cuba, how Snap was allowed to stay with the
Bobbseys, and how even the cup was finally recovered--all this you
will find set down in the fourth book of this series.

And now winter had come in earnest, though even before this story
opens the Bobbsey twins had had a taste of snow and ice. The accident
on the coasting hill now occupied the attention of all.

"Oh, Nan! Nan will be killed!" cried Flossie, as she stood with
Freddie gazing down the slope.

"No, she won't!" exclaimed Freddie, "Bert is going to save her--you'll

"Oh, if he only can!" murmured Nellie Parks, one of Nan's friends.

"I think he will! See, he is coming nearer to them," added Grace
Lavine, another friend.

Danny Rugg, mean as he was, was not quite so mean as to discourage
this hope. Some of the girls on the sleds that were coming nearer to
the rushing horses seemed about to roll off, rather than take chances
of steering out of the way of the steeds.

"What can Bert be going to do?" asked Grace. "How can he save them?"

"I don't know," answered Nellie. "Let's watch him. Maybe he's going to
stop the horses."

"He'd never dare!" murmured Grace.

"Oh, Bert is brave," was the answer.

But Bert had no intention of leaping for the horses' heads just now.
His first idea was to get his sister and the other girls to a place of
safety. As he came near to them, his sled going much faster than
theirs, he called out:

"Steer to the right! Go to the right! I'll see if I can't make the
horses go over to one side."

"All right!" cried Nan, who understood what her brother meant. "Keep
to the right, girls," she called to her frightened chums, "and don't
any of you fall off!"

Those who had been about to roll from their sleds now held on with
firmer clasps. They were close to the runaway team now. Bert was near
to them also, and, while wondering to whom they belonged, and whether
they had injured their driver or anyone else in their mad rush, he
caught up a handful of snow as his sled glided onward.

It was hard work to throw the snow ball at the horses, going down hill
as he was, but Bert managed to do it. He had the good luck to hit one
of the animals with the wad of snow, and this sent the horse over to
one side, its mate following. This was just what Bert wanted, as it
gave Nan and the others more room to coast past them.

And this is just what the girls did. Their sleds whizzed past the
runaways, one sled, on which Hattie Jenson rode, almost grazing a

"Now you're safe!" cried Bert. "Keep on to the foot of the hill!
You're all right!"

He gathered up another handful of snow, and threw it at the steeds,
making them swerve more than ever towards the side of the hill. Then
one of the animals slipped and stumbled. This caused them both to slow
up, and Bert, seeing this, left his sled, rolling off, and letting it
go down without him.

Hardly thinking of what he was doing, he ran for the heads of the
horses. Perhaps it was not just wise, for Bert was not very tall, but
he was brave. However, he was not to stop the runaways all alone, for
just then some of the larger boys, who had been rushing down the hill,
came up, and before the horses could start off again several lads had
grasped them by the bridles and were quieting them.

"That was a good idea of yours, Bert Bobbsey," said Frank Miller. "A
fine idea, lo throw snowballs at them. It made them go to one side all
right, and slowed them up."

"I wanted to save the girls," said Bert, who was panting from his
little run.

"Whose team is it?" asked another boy.

"I don't know," answered Bert. "I can't say that I ever saw them
before. There's no one in the sled, anyhow, though it is pretty well
loaded with stuff."

He and the other boys looked into the vehicle. It contained a number
of boxes and bags. Then the boys looked down the hill and saw that the
girls who had been in danger were now safe. Nan and the others were
walking up, dragging their sleds.

The boys then noticed a man half running up the slope. He was waving
his arms in an excited fashion.

"I guess that's the man who owns the horses," said Charley Mason.

There was no doubt of it a few minutes later, when the man came close
enough to make himself heard.

"Are they all right, boys?" he asked. "Are my horses hurt?"

"They don't seem to be," answered Frank.

"That's good. Are my things all right?"

"Everything seems to be here," said Charley Mason, who was standing
beside Bert. "I know who he is now," went on Charley in a low tone to
his chum. "He's Mr. James Carford, of Newton."

"He's lame," observed Bert, for the man limped slightly.

"Yes, he was in the war," went on Charley. "He's real rich, too, but
peculiar, they say."

By this time aged Mr. Carford was looking over the team and the sled
and its contents. He seemed weary and out of breath.

"Yes, everything is all right," he said slowly. "I hope no one was
hurt by my runaways, I never knew 'em to do that before. I left 'em
outside the store a minute while I went in to get something, and they
must have taken fright. I hope no one was hurt."

"No, everyone got out of the way in time," said Bert.

"That's good. Who stopped the horses?" the old man asked.

"Bert Bobbsey," answered Frank Miller. "He warned his sister and the
other girls to steer to one side, and then he threw snow at the horses
and made them fall down. Then they slowed up so we could grab 'em."

"Ha! Bert Bobbsey did that, eh?" exclaimed aged Mr. Carford. "So this
is the second time a Bobbsey has mixed up in my family affairs. The
second time," and Mr. Carford looked at Bert in a peculiar manner.

"Did you fall out of the sled, Mr. Carford?" asked another boy, coming
up just then.

"No, they started off when I was in the store. Funny, too, that they
should. Well, I'm glad there's no one hurt and no damage done. I
couldn't walk home to Newton. I'm much obliged to you boys. And to you
too, Bert Bobbsey.

"Are you Richard Bobbsey's son?" he suddenly asked, peering at Bert
from beneath his shaggy eyebrows.

"Yes, sir."

"Ha! I thought so. You look like him. You do things like him, too,
without stopping to be asked. Yes, this is the second time a Bobbsey
has meddled with my family affairs. Trying to do me a good turn, I
suppose. Well, well!" and he seemed lost in thought.

"What is it? What is the matter?" asked Nan, in a low voice of her
brother, as she came to stand beside him. "Is he finding fault because
you helped stop his runaway horses?"

"No, Nan. I don't exactly understand what he does mean," answered
Bert. "There seems to be some mystery about it."



For a time Mr. Carford seemed more worried about the possible injury
to his team, and the loss of some of his goods in the sled, than he
was concerned about thanking the boys who had stopped the runaways.
Then, as he found by looking them over, that the horses were all
right, and that nothing was missing, he approached Bert and the
others, saying:

"Well, boys, I'm much obliged to you. I can't tell you how much. No
telling what damage the horses might have done if you hadn't stopped
'em. And I'm glad no one was hurt.

"Now I reckon you boys aren't much different than I was, when I was a
youngster, and I guess you like sweets about the same. Here are a
couple of dollars, Bert Bobbsey. I wish you'd treat all your friends
to hot chocolate soda or candy or whatever you like best. It isn't
exactly pay for what you did, but it just shows I'm not forgetful."

"Oh, we didn't stop the horses for money!" cried Bert, drawing back.

"I know you didn't," answered Mr. Carford, with a smile, "and I'm not
paying you either. You stopped the horses, or you tried to stop them,
Bert, to save your sister and the other girls. I understand that all
right. But the horses were stopped just the same, and please take this
as a little thank offering, if nothing else. Please do."

He held out the two-dollar bill, and Bert did not feel like refusing.
He accepted the money with murmured thanks, and as Mr. Carford climbed
into the sled, limping more than ever after his run up the hill, the
aged man muttered:

"The second time a Bobbsey has been mixed up in my affairs. I wonder
what will happen when the third time comes?"

Calling good-byes to the boys and girls, and again thanking them for
what they had done, Mr. Carford drove off amid a jingle of bells.

"What do you s'pose he meant by saying this was the second time a
Bobbsey had been mixed up in his family affairs?" asked Charley Mason
of Bert.

"I haven't the least idea. I never knew Mr. Carford before this. I'll
ask my father."

"Is that bill real?" asked one boy, referring to the money.

"It sure is," answered Bert, looking at it. "Come on to the drugstore
and well spend it. That's what it's for."

"Going to treat Danny Rugg, and his crowd, too?" asked Frank Miller.

"Well, I guess Mr. Carford wanted this money to be spent on everyone
on the hill, so it includes Danny," answered Bert slowly.

But Danny and his particular friends held back from Bert, and did not
share in the treat. Probably Danny did not want to come to too close
quarters with Bert after the attempt made to get Freddie's sled.

The excitement caused by the runaway was over now. Bert got back his
sled and, as interest in coasting had waned at the prospect of hot
chocolate sodas, the crowd of boys and girls trooped from the hill and
started toward town, where there was a favorite drug store.

Standing about the soda counter the boys and girls discussed the
recent happening.

"What did you think, Nan, when you saw the team coming?" asked Grace

"I really don't know what I did think," answered Nan.

"Weren't you awfully frightened?" inquired Nellie Parks.

"Oh, I suppose I was. But I hoped I could steer out of the way, and I
remember hoping that Flossie and Freddie were in a safe place."

"Oh,--we were all right," said Freddie quickly. "Flossie and I were
watching the horses. This chocolate is awful good!" he added with a
sigh. "Is there any money left, Bert?"

"Yes, a little," answered his brother "But you have had your share."

"Oh, if there is any left let him and Flossie have it," suggested
Grace. "They're the smallest ones here."

"Yes, do," urged Nellie, and as several others agreed that this was
the thing to do, the two little Bobbsey twins each had another cup of

"Though Freddie has almost as much outside his mouth as inside it,"
said Nan, with a laugh.

Then the merry party of boys and girls trooped homeward, Bert and Nan
thinking on the way of the strange words of Mr. Carford and wondering
what he meant by them.

Several of the older boys, who knew the old gentleman, told something
of him. He was a strange character, living in a fine old homestead. He
was said to be queer on certain matters, but kind and good, and quite
charitable, especially at Christmas time, to the poor of that country

"We'll ask papa about him when we get home," said Bert. "Maybe he can
explain it."

But when the Bobbsey twins reached their house they found that their
father had suddenly been called away on a business trip to last for
some days, and so they did not see him.

"I haven't the least idea what Mr. Carford meant," said Mrs. Bobbsey,
when they had asked her. "I did not even know that your father knew
him. I am sorry you children were in danger on the hill."

"Oh, it wasn't much, mother," said Bert quickly, for he feared if his
parent grew too worried she might put a stop to the winter fun.

Supper was soon ready and then came a happy period before bedtime--
that is happy after lessons had been learned. Snoop the black cat, and
Snap, the smart circus dog, were allowed in the living room, to do
some of their tricks, Snoop having been taught a number while with the
fat lady in the circus.

Bert fell asleep vainly wondering about the queer words of Mr.
Carford, and he dreamed that he was sliding down hill on the back of a
horse who turned somersaults, every now and then, into a bag of

Coasting came to an end the next day, for there was a big snow storm,
and the hill would not be in good condition until the white flakes
were packed hard on the slope. But there were other forms of sport--
snowballing, the making of forts, snow houses and snow men, so that
the Bobbseys and their friends were kept busy.

Then came a little thaw, and the snow was just soft enough to roll
into big balls.

"It's just right for making a large fort!" exclaimed Danny Rugg one
day, after school was out. "We'll roll up a lot of big balls, put them
in lines on four sides and make a square fort. Then, we'll choose
sides and have a snow fight."

The other boys agreed to this, and soon Bert and the others, including
Danny and his friends, were busily engaged. For the time being the
hard feeling between Danny and Bert was forgotten.

The fort was finished, and there was a spirited snow battle about it,
one side trying to capture it and the other trying to stop them.
Bert's side managed to get into the fort, driving the others out.

"Oh, we'll beat you to-morrow!" taunted Danny, when the battle was

The next morning, when the children assembled at school, they saw a
strange sight. On the front steps of the building was a great
snowball, so large that it almost hid the door from sight. And working
at it, trying to cut it away so that the entrance could be used, was
the janitor. He was having hard work it seemed.

"Who did it?"

"Who put it there?"

"Say, it's frozen fast, too!"

"Somebody will get into trouble about this."

These were only a few of the things said when the children saw the big
snowball on the school steps.

"It's frozen fast all right enough," said the janitor, grimly.
"Whoever put it there poured water over it, and it's frozen so fast
that I'll have to chop it away piece by piece. All day it will take
me, too, and me with all the paths to clean!"

When the classes were assembled for the morning exercises Mr. Tetlow,
the school principal, stepped to the edge of the platform, and said:

"I presume you have all seen the big snow ball on the front steps.
Whoever put it there did a very wrong thing. I know several boys must
have had a hand in it, for one could not do it alone. I will now give
those who did it a chance to confess. If they will admit it, and
apologize, I will let the matter drop. If not I will punish them
severely. Now are you ready to tell, boys? I may say that I have a
clue to at least one boy who had a hand in the trick."

Mr. Tetlow paused. There was silence in the room, and the boys looked
one at the other. Who was guilty?



For what seemed a long time Mr. Tetlow stood looking over the room
full of pupils. One could have heard a pin drop, so quiet was it. The
hard breathing of the boys and girls could be heard. From over in a
corner where Danny Rugg sat, came a sound of whispering.

"Quiet!" commanded the principal sharply. "There must be no talking. I
will wait one minute more for the guilty ones to acknowledge that they
rolled the big snowball on the steps. Then, if they do not speak, I
shall have something else to say."

The minute ticked slowly off on the big clock. No one spoke. Bert
glanced from side to side as he sat in his seat, wondering what would
come next. Many others had the same thought.

"I see no one wishes to take advantage of my offer," said Mr. Tetlow
slowly. "Very well. You may all go to your class-rooms, with the
exception of Bert Bobbsey. I wish to see him in my office at once. Do
you hear, Bert?"

There was a gasp of astonishment, and all eyes were turned on Bert. He
grew red in the face, and then pale. He could see Nan looking at him
curiously, as did other girls. Bert was glad Flossie and Freddie were
not in the room, for the kindergarten children did not assemble for
morning exercises with the larger boys and girls. Flossie and Freddie
might have been frightened at the solemn talk.

For a moment Bert could hardly believe what he had heard. He was
wanted in Mr. Tetlow's office! It did not seem possible. And there
was but one explanation of it. It must be in connection with the big
snowball. And Bert knew he had had no hand in putting it on the school

There was a buzz of talk, many whisperings, and some one spoke aloud.
It sounded like Danny Rugg, but poor Bert was so confused at his own
plight that he could not be sure.

"Silence!" commanded Mr. Tetlow, as the boys and girls marched to
their various rooms. "Bert, you will wait for me in my office," he
added. Poor Bert looked all around. He met many glances that were
kind, and others, from Danny Rugg's friends, that were not. Nan waved
her hand at her brother as she passed him, and Bert smiled at her. He
made up his mind to be brave. Bert went to the principal's office, and
sat in a chair. There was another boy there, who looked at Bert in a
questioning manner.

"Are you here to get some writing paper, Bert?" asked the other boy.
"Miss Kennedy sent me for some."

"No," answered Bert. "I only wish I was. I guess Mr. Tetlow thinks I
had something to do with the big snowball."

"Did you?"

"I did not!" exclaimed Bert quickly.

The principal entered a little later, gave to the other boy the
package of writing paper Miss Kennedy had sent for, and then sat down
beside Bert.

"I am sorry to have to do this, Bert," he said, "but this is a serious
matter and I must treat it seriously. Now again, I ask if you have
anything to say to me? Perhaps you were too worried to stand up before
the whole school."

"No, sir," answered Bert, "I don't know that I have anything to say,
if you mean about the big snowball."

"Then you deny that you had anything to do with it?"

"Yes, sir. I never helped roll it on the steps."

"Do you know who did?"

"No, sir. I haven't the least idea."

"And you were not anywhere near it?"

"No, sir."

"Ahem! Let me ask you, have you a knife, Bert?"

Without thinking Bert's hand went to his pocket, and then, as he
recalled something, his face turned red, and he said:

"I have one, but I haven't got it now."

"Is this it?" asked Mr. Tetlow, suddenly holding out one.

Bert did not need to give more than a single glance at it to know that
it was his knife. It had his name on the handle and had been given him
by his father at Christmas.

"Yes, that's mine," he said slowly.

"So I thought. And do you know where it was found, Bert?"

"No, Mr. Tetlow, I haven't any idea."

"Suppose I told you the janitor picked it up on the steps almost under
the big snowball? If I tell you that what have you to say?"

"Well, Mr. Tetlow, I'll have to say that I don't know anything about
it. I didn't drop my knife there, I'm sure."

"Then someone else must have done it. Be careful now, Bert. I don't
want to be hasty, but it looks to me very much as though you were one
of the boys who had played this trick--a trick that has made
considerable trouble. I am sure there must have been others concerned
with you, and I am almost positive that you had a hand in it.

"Now I am not going to ask you to tell tales against your companions.
I don't believe in that sort of thing. But I am very sorry that you
did not admit at first that you had a share in rolling the big ball.
Very sorry, Bert."

"But, Mr. Tetlow, I didn't do it!" cried poor Bert, the tears coming
into his eyes. "I don't know how my knife got there, but I do know I
didn't help roll that ball. Please believe me; won't you?"

For a moment the principal was silent. Then he said slowly:

"Bert, I would very much like to believe you, for I have always found
you a good, manly and upright boy. But the evidence is strong against
you I am sorry to say. And this trick was one I can not easily
overlook. Rolling the snowball on the steps was bad enough, but when
water was poured over it, to freeze, and become ice, making it so much
harder to clean off, it made matters so much worse.

"Besides making a lot of work for the janitor, there was danger that
some of the teachers might slip on the icy path and be injured. If
your knife had only been found lying on top of the ice I might think
you had come up merely to look at the big ball, and had dropped your
property there. But the knife was found frozen fast, showing that it
must have been dropped during the time the water was poured on the
steps. So you see whoever left it there must have been on hand when
the trick was played."

"That may be true, Mr. Tetlow!" cried Bert, "but I did not leave my
knife there. I remember now--I can explain it! I couldn't think, at
first, but I see it now."

"Very well," said Mr. Tetlow quietly, "I'll hear what you have to say,



Bert Bobbsey was thinking rapidly. Something that he had nearly
forgotten came suddenly to his mind, and he hoped it would clear him
of the accusation.

And what he had seen, that brought back to his mind something that he
had nearly forgotten, was the sight of an elderly gentleman driving
past the school in a sled. It was aged Mr. Carford, whose runaway team
Bert had helped stop that day on the hill.

"Will you let me call in Mr. Carford?" asked Bert of the principal.

"Call in Mr. Carford?" repeated Mr. Tetlow in some surprise. "What

"Because, sir," said Bert eagerly, "he saw me lend my knife to Jimmie
Belton last night, and he can tell you that I went on home, leaving my
knife with Jimmie."

"Ha! Do you mean to say that Jimmie dropped it in the ice on the
school steps?"

"No, Mr. Tetlow, I don't mean to say that. But I can prove by Mr.
Carford that I went home last night without my knife. Please call him

Bert thought of the strange old man, who had made such an odd remark
concerning the Bobbsey family. And Bert was determined to find out
what it meant, but, as yet, he had had no chance, as his father was
still away on a business trip.

"Very well, we shall see what Mr. Carford has to say," spoke the
principal. "And I will have Jimmie Belton in also."

Mr. Tetlow pressed a bell button that called the janitor, and the
latter, who was still chopping away at the frozen steps, came to see
what was wanted.

"Just call to that old gentleman going past in the bob sled to come in
here," said Mr. Tetlow. "He is Mr. Carford."

"Tell him Bert Bobbsey wants to see him," added the boy, amazed at his
own boldness.

"Yes, you may do that," said Mr. Tetlow, as the janitor looked toward
him. Somehow the principal was beginning to doubt Bert's guilt now.

From the office window Bert watched the janitor hail the aged man, who
paused for a minute, and then, tying his team, came on toward the
school. Bert's heart was lighter now. He was sure the old gentleman
would bear out what he had said, and Bert felt he would be glad to do
him a good turn in part payment for what Bert and his chums had done
in catching the runaways.

"Mr. Carford," began Mr. Tetlow, who knew the aged man slightly,
"there has been trouble here, and Bert Bobbsey thinks perhaps you can
help clear it up. So I have asked you to step in for a moment." Then
he told about the big snowball, and mentioned how he had come to
suspect Bert.

"But Bert tells me," went on Mr. Tetlow, "that you saw him lending his
knife to Jimmie Belton last night. May I ask you, is that so?"

"Why, yes, it is," said the aged man slowly. "I'll tell you how it
was." He nodded at Bert in a friendly way, and there was a twinkle in
his deep-set eyes.

"It was just toward dusk last evening," went on Mr. Carford, "and I
was on my way home to Newton. I'd been in town buying some supplies,
and near the cross roads I met Bert and another boy."

"That was Jimmie," said Bert eagerly.

"Well, I heard you call him Jimmie--that's all I know," said Mr.
Carford. "Bert was cutting a branch from a tree, and when I came up to
them I offered them a ride as far as I was going. They got in, and
Bert here was whittling away with his knife as he sat beside me. Yes,
that's the knife," said Mr. Carford, as the principal showed it to

"I was making a ramrod for a toy spring gun I have," explained Bert.
"It shoots long sticks, like arrows, and I had lost one of my best
ones, so on the way home I cut another. Then just before Mr. Carford
gave us the ride, Jimmie came along and asked me to lend him my knife.
I said I would as soon as I had finished making my arrow. I did finish
it in the sled and I gave him my knife just before we got out."

Mr. Tetlow looked inquiringly at Mr. Carford, who nodded in answer.

"Yes," said the aged man, "that was the way of it. Bert did lend that
other boy--Jimmie he called him--his knife. I saw the two boys
separate and Jimmie carried off Bert's knife. But that's all I do
know. The snowball business I have nothing to do with."

"No, I suppose not," said the principal slowly. "I am sorry now that I
said what I did, Bert. But there still remains the question of how
your knife got on the steps. Do you think Jimmie had a hand in putting
the snowball there?"

"I don't know, Mr. Tetlow. I wouldn't like to say."

"No, of course not. I'll have Jimmie here." The principal called a
messenger and sent him for Jimmie, who came to the office wondering
what it was all about.

Without telling him what was wanted Mr. Tetlow asked Jimmie this
question quickly: "What did you do with Bert's knife fie lent it to
you last night?"

For a moment Jimmie was confused. A strange look came over his face.
He clapped his hand to his pocket and exclaimed:

"I--I lent it to Danny Rugg."

"Danny Rugg!" cried Bert.

"No, I didn't exactly lend it to Danny," explained Jimmie, "for I
knew, Bert, that you and he weren't very friendly. But after you let
me take it last night, to start making that sailboat I was telling you
about, I forgot all about promising you that I'd bring it back after
supper. Then Danny came over, and he helped me with the boat. When he
saw I had your knife, and when he heard me say I must take it back, he
offered to leave it for you when he came past your house the next

"And did you give it to him?" asked the principal.

"Yes, I did," answered Jimmie. "I thought he would do as he said. He
took the knife when he went home from my house."

"But he never gave it to me!" said Bert quickly.

"I am beginning to believe he did not," said the principal. "I think
we will have Danny in here."

The bully came in rather defiant, and stared boldly around at those in
the office. Mr. Tetlow resolved on a surprising plan.

"Danny," he said suddenly, "why did you put Bert's knife on the step,
and let it freeze there to make it look as though Bert had helped
place the snowball in front of the door? Why did you?"

"I--I--" stammered Danny, "I didn't--"

"Be careful now," warned the principal. "We have heard the whole
story. Jimmie has told how you promised to leave the knife with Bert,
but you did not."

Danny swallowed a lump in his throat. He was much confused, and
finally he broke down and admitted that he had been present and had
helped roll the snowball on the steps.

"But I wasn't the only one!" he exclaimed. "There was--"

"Tut Tut!" exclaimed the principal. "I want no tale-bearing. I think
those who did the trick will confess now, after I tell them what has
happened. Danny, it was very wrong of you to play such a joke, but it
was much worse to try to throw the blame on Bert by leaving his knife

"I--I didn't do it on purpose," said Danny. "The knife must have
slipped out of my pocket." But no one believed that, for Danny was
known to have a grudge against Bert, and that was reason enough for
trying to throw the blame on our little hero.

But Bert was soon cleared, for, a little later, when Mr. Tetlow called
the school together, saying that he had been mistaken in regard to
Bert, and relating what had come out about the knife, several of the
boys who, with Danny had placed the big ball on the steps, admitted
their part in it.

They were all punished, but Danny most of all, for his mean act in
trying to make it look as though Bert had done it.

"Well," said Mr. Carford, as he took his leave, having helped to prove
Bert's innocence "this time I have had a chance to do a Bobbsey a
favor, in return for one you did me, Bert."

"Yes, sir," answered Bert, not knowing what else to say. He was
puzzling over what strange connection there might be between his
family and Mr. Carford.

"Come up and see me sometime," said the aged man. "And bring your
brother and sisters, Bert. I'll be glad to see them at my place. I'm
going to stay home all this winter. I'm getting too old to go to Snow
Lodge anymore."

Bert wondered what Snow Lodge was, but he did not like to ask.

Thus was cleared up the mystery of the big snowball, and Bert's many
friends were as glad as he was himself that he had been found

There came more snow storms, followed by freezing weather after a
thaw, and the boys and girls had much fun on the ice, a number of
skating races having been arranged among the school pupils.

The end of the mid-winter term was approaching, and the Christmas
holidays would soon be at hand. Then would come a three week's
vacation, and the Bobbsey twins were talking about how they could
spend it.

"It's too cold to go to the seashore," said Nan with a shiver, as she
looked out of the window over the snowy yard.

"And the country would be about the same," added Bert.

"Oh, it's lovely in the country during the winter, I think," said Nan.

"We could get up a circus in the barn, with Snoop and Snap," said
Flossie, who was busy over a picture book.

"Then I'm going to be the ring-master and crack a big whip and wear
big boots!" cried Freddie.

"I do hope papa will be home for Christmas," sighed Nan, for Mr.
Bobbsey's business trip, in relation to lumber matters, had kept him
away from home longer than expected.

"I have good news for you, children," said Mrs. Bobbsey, coming into
the room just then with a letter. "Your father is coming home to-

"Oh, how nice!" cried Nan.

"I hope he brings us something," said Freddie.

"I'll have a chance to ask him about Mr. Carford," thought Bert. "I
wonder what that old man meant by his strange words?"



"Freddie, what in the world are you doing?"

"Flossie! Oh dear! You children! You have the place all upset!"

Mrs. Bobbsey, who had come into the big living room, to see the two
younger twins engaged in some strange proceedings, paused at the
doorway to look on. Indeed the place was upset, for the chairs had
been dragged out from against the walls and from corners to be placed
in a row before a large sofa. From one corner of this to a side wall
was stretched a sheet, and in another corner, in a pen made of chairs,
could be seen the wagging tail of Snap, the trick dog.

"What in the world are you doing?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey. "Oh, dear, how
I do dread a rainy day!" for it was pouring outside, and the older, as
well as the younger twins had to stay in doors.

"We're playing circus," explained Freddie gravely, as he peered
between the "bars" of the cage made of chairs. "Snap is a lion," went
on the little fellow. "Growl, Snap!"

And Snap, always ready to have fun, growled and barked to satisfy the
most exacting circus lover.

"Oh dear!" cried Mrs. Bobbsey. "I'll never get this room straightened
out again."

"Oh, we'll fix it, mamma, after the circus," said Flossie sweetly.
"Sit down and see the show. I'll make Snoop do some of the tricks the
fat circus lady taught her," and Flossie lifting up one corner of the
sheet, showed the black cat curled up on a cushion, while back of her,
tied by one leg, was Downy the pet duck.

"This was going to be the happy family cage," explained Flossie, "only
when we had Snap in here he kept playing with Downy, and Downy quacked
and that made Snoop nervous so we couldn't do it very well."

"So we made Snap the lion, and part of the time he's going to be the
tiger," said Freddie. "Dinah is going to give us some blueing that she
uses on the clothes, and I'm going to paint stripes on Snap."

"Don't you dare do it," said Mrs. Bobbsey, "The idea of painting blue
stripes on poor Snap! Whoever heard of a blue-striped tiger?" and she
tried hard not to laugh.

"Well, this is a new kind," said Freddie. "Sit down, mamma, and we'll
make Snoop do a trick for you. Make her chase her tail, Flossie."

"No, I'll make her walk a tight rope," said the little girl. "That's
more of a trick."

Flossie got her jumping rope, which she had little use for now, and
tied it from the back of one chair to the back of another, placed some
distance away. Then she pulled the rope tight between them, and,
taking Snoop up in her arms, placed the cat carefully on the stretched

Snoop stood still for a minute, meowing a little and waving her tail
back and forth. Poor Snoop! The black cat did not like to do tricks as
well as did Snap. No cats do. But Snap, when he saw what was going on,
was eager to show off what he could do.

He leaped about in his chair "cage," barking loudly, much to the
delight of Freddie who liked to hear the "lion" roar.

"Go on, Snoop!" called the twins, and gave the cat a gentle shove.
Then Snoop did really walk across the rope, for it was almost as easy
as walking the back fence, which Snoop had often done. Only the rope
was not as steady as the fence. But the fat circus lady had trained
the black cat well, and Snoop performed the trick to the delight of
the children.

"That is very good," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "Oh, see! Snap is turning a
somersault in his cage. Poor dog, let him out, Freddie; won't you?"

"He isn't a dog--he's a lion," insisted the little boy. "I dassen't
let out a lion, or he might bite you."

But Snap had no idea of playing the lion all the while. Suddenly
Downy, the duck, with a loud quack, got her leg loose from the string
and flew out across the room. This so surprised Snoop, who had started
back over the tight rope, that he fell off with a cry of alarm.

This was too much for Snap, who evidently did not think he was having
his share of the fun. With a loud bark and a rush he burst from his
cage of chairs, intent on playing with Snoop, for he and the cat were
great friends.

Just at that moment fat Dinah, the colored cook, came into the room to
ask Mrs. Bobbsey something. Snoop, seeing the open door, and being
tired of doing tricks for the children, made a dash to get out,
darting under Dinah's skirts.

Snap, thinking this was part of the game, rushed after his friend the
cat, but when he tried to dive underneath Dinah's dress there was an

He knocked the feet from under the fat cook, and she sat down on the
floor with a force that jarred the whole house, just missing sitting
on Snap.

"Fo' de lub ob goodness what am de mattah?" cried Dinah. "Am it an
earfquake Mrs. Bobbsey?"

"I don't know, Dinah!" exclaimed Mrs. Bobbsey, wanting to laugh, and
yet not wishing to hurt Dinah's feelings. "The children said it was a
circus, I believe. Here, Snap!" she called, as the dog rushed on after

Just then Downy, the duck, sailed back across the room, and lighted
squarely on Dinah's black and kinky head, where the fowl perched
"honking" loudly,

"Good land ob massy!" murmured Dinah over and over again. "Mo'

Flossie and Freddie were so surprised at the sudden ending of their
circus that they did not know what to do. Then they both raced to
capture the duck.

"One of the dining-room windows is open!" called Freddie. "If Downy
flies out he'll freeze. Grab him, Dinah!"

"Chile!" cried the colored cook slowly, "I ain't got bref enough lef
to ketch eben a mosquito. But yo'-all don't need to worry none about
dish yeah duck gittin loose. His feet am all tangled up in mah wool,
an' I guess you'l hab t' help git 'em loose, chilluns!"

It was indeed so. Downy's webbed feet were fast in Dinah's kinky hair,
and it took some time to disentangle them. Then the cook could get up,
which she did with many a sigh and groan.

"Are you hurt, Dinah?" asked Flossie. "If you are you can come to
our circus for nothing; can't she, Freddie?"

"Yes," he answered, "only we haven't got a circus now. It's all gone
except Downy."

"Well, I think you have played enough circus for today," said Mrs.
Bobbsey "Straighten up the room now, and have some other kind of fun."

The dog and cat, satisfied to get out of their cages, had gone to the
kitchen, where they could generally find something good to eat. Then
Flossie and Freddie were kept busy putting back the chairs, and
setting the room in order.

It was a day or so after the return of Mr. Bobbsey from his business
trip, and though Bert had asked his father about Mr. Carford, the
lumber dealer had not yet had time to give any explanation.

"It is quite a little story," he said. "I'll tell you about it some
time, Bert. But now I have a lot of back work to catch up with, on
account of being away so long, and I'll have to go to the office
early, and I'll be late getting home."

So the little incident had not yet been explained. The Christmas
holidays were drawing nearer, and there were busy times in the Bobbsey
household. Flossie and Freddie were expecting a visit from Santa
Claus, and they wrote many letters to the dear old saint, telling what
they wished to receive.

"But have you thought of what you are going to _give?_" asked Mrs.
Bobbsey one day, a short time before Christmas. "It is more fun to
give things than it is to get them, you know."

"Is it?" asked Flossie, who had never heard of it in that way before.

"Indeed it is," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "You just try it. If you have any
toys you don't care for any more, or even some that you do, and wish
to give away, or books or other playthings, and if you will gather
them up, I'll see that they are given to some poor children who may
not have a very good Christmas."

The smaller twins thought this would be very nice, and they were soon
busy over their possessions. Bert and Nan heard what was going on, and
they insisted on giving their share also, so that quite a box full of
really good toys were collected.

A day or so later, when the weather had cleared, Bert came in from
coasting, and said,

"Mother, couldn't Nan and I take a ride over to Mr. Carford's house?
He is out in front in his sled, and he says he'll bring us back before
dark. May we go?"

"Why, I guess so," said Mrs. Bobbsey, slowly. "I don't believe your
father would object. But wrap up well, for it is chilly."

"And can't we go, too?" begged Flossie

"Yes, we want to," added Freddie. "Please, Mamma!"

"Well, I guess so," agreed Mrs. Bobbsey, "Will you look after them,
Bert and Nan?"

"Oh, yes," promised the two older twins, while Bert explained that he
had met Mr. Carford, who was on his way home from the store, and had
been given a ride. The invitation had followed.

"I'll take good care of them, Mrs. Bobbsey," said the elderly
gentleman, as Mrs. Bobbsey went out to tuck in Flossie and Freddie
"I've got to run into Newton and back again this afternoon, so I
thought they'd like the ride."

"Indeed it is very kind of you," said the children's mother. "I hope
they will be no trouble."

"Of course they won't. Remember me to Mr. Bobbsey when he comes home.
Ask him to come and see me when he has time. I want to talk to him
about a certain matter."

"All right," said Mrs. Bobbsey, and Bert wondered if it had to do with
the secret.

The drive out to Newton, which was a few miles from Lakeport, was much
enjoyed by the Bobbsey twins. The speedy horses pulled the sled over
the white snow, the jingle of the strings of bells around them
mingling with other musical chimes on sleds that they met, or passed.

They saw Danny Rugg out driving with his mother in a stylish cutter,
and Danny rather "turned up his nose" at the old bob sled in which the
Bobbseys were riding. But Bert and his sisters and brother did not
mind that. They were having a good time.

"Here we are!" called Mr. Carford after a fine ride. "Come in and get
warm. I guess my sister has a few cookies left," for a maiden sister
kept house for the old gentleman.

Into the big old-fashioned farmhouse the children tramped, to be met
by a motherly-looking woman, who helped them brush the snow from their
feet. Then she bustled about, and brought in a big pitcher of milk, a
plateful of molasses cookies, and some glasses. The children's eyes
sparkled at the sight of this fine lunch.

"There you are!" cried Mr. Carford heartily, as he passed around the
good things. "Eat as much as is good for you. I've got to go out to
the barn for a while. Emma," he asked his sister, "have you got any
more packages made up?"

"James Carford, are you going to give away more stuff?" demanded his
sister. "Why, you'll be in the poorhouse first thing you know."

"Oh, I guess not," he said with a laugh, "We can afford it, and
there's many who can't. It's going to be a hard winter on the poor.
Put up a few more packages, and I'll tie up some bags of potatoes!"

"I never saw such a man--never in all my born days!" exclaimed Miss
Carford, shaking her head. "He'd give away the roof over us if I
didn't watch him."

"What is he doing?" asked Bert.

"Oh, the same as he does every Christmas," said the sister-
housekeeper. "He makes up packages, bundles, baskets and bags of
things to eat, and gives them to all the poor families he can hear of.
He was poor once himself, you know, and he never can forget it."

"He is very kind," said Nan, in a low voice.

"Yes, he is that," agreed Miss Carford, "and I suppose I oughtn't to
find fault. But he does give away an awful lot."

She went out to look after matters in the kitchen, leaving the
children to eat their lunch of milk and cookies alone for a few
minutes. Presently Mr. Carford came back, stamping the snow from his

"Ha!" he cried, as he went close to the stove to warm his hands. "This
reminds me of the winters I used to spend at Snow Lodge on Lake
Metoka. Were you ever up there?" and he looked at Bert.

"No, sir."

"Ha! I thought not. It's a fine place. But I don't go there any more--
never any more," and he shook his head sadly.

"Did it burn down?" asked Freddie, who was always interested in fires
and firemen. "Couldn't they put it out?"

"No, Freddie, it didn't burn down," said Mr. Carford. "Sometimes I
almost wish it had--before my trouble happened," he added slowly.
"Yes, I almost wish it had. But Snow Lodge still stands, though I
haven't been near it for some years. I couldn't go. No, I couldn't
go," and he shook his head sadly. "I just couldn't go."

The Bobbsey children did not know what to think. Mr. Carford seemed
very sad. Suddenly he turned away from the fire that blazed on the
hearth, and asked:

"Did I ever tell you about Snow Lodge?"

"No," said Bert, softly.

"Then I will," went on the aged man. "I don't tell many, but I will
you. And maybe you could make some use of the place now that the
holidays are here. I used to spend all my Christmas holidays there,
but I don't any more. Never any more. But I'll tell you about it," and
he settled himself more comfortably in the big chair.



"When I was a boy," began Mr. Carford after a pause, during which he
looked into the blazing fire, "I lived on a farm, and I had to work
very hard."

"We were on a farm once, weren't we, Flossie?" interrupted Freddie.

"Hush, dear," said Nan in a low voice "Listen to Mr. Carford's story."

"That isn't a story," insisted Flossie. "He didn't begin it right. He
must say: 'Once upon a time, a good many years ago--!'"

Mr. Carford laughed.

"So I should, my dear!" he exclaimed. "It's been so long since I've
told a story to little folks that I've forgotten how, I guess.

"So I'll begin over again. Once upon a time, a good many years ago, I
was a little boy, and I lived on a farm. I guess it must have been the
same sort of a farm you and Flossie went to, Freddie, for we had cows
and horses and pigs and chickens and sheep. There was lots of work,
and, as my father was not rich, I had to help as soon as I got old

"But, for all that, I had good times. I thought so then and, though
I'm an old man now, I still think so. But the good times did not last
long enough. I wish I could go back to them.

"But I stayed on the farm a good many years, with my brothers and
sisters, and finally when I grew up, and thought I was big enough to
start to work for myself, I ran away."

"Did you--did you get lost?" asked Flossie, with her eyes wide open,
staring at Mr. Carford.

"No, my dear, I didn't exactly get lost. But I thought there was
easier work than living on a farm, so, instead of staying and helping
my father, as I think now I should have done, I ran away to a big
city. I wanted to be dressed up, and wear a white collar instead of
overalls and a jumper.

"But I found that life in the city, instead of being easier than on
the farm, was harder, especially as I didn't know much about it. Many
a time I wished I was back with my father, but I was too proud to
admit that I had made a mistake. So I kept on working in the city, and
finally I began to forget all about the farm.

"I won't make this story too long, for you might get tired of it,"
said Mr. Carford, as he got up to put a log on the fire.

"Oh, we like stories; don't we, Freddie?" said Flossie.

"Yes," said Freddie softly.

"I know, my dear," said the old man kindly, "but I am afraid you
wouldn't like my kind. Anyhow I kept on working in the city--in one
city after another--until I became successful and then, in time, I got

"Rich!" cried Freddie. "Very rich?" and his big eyes opened wide.

"Freddie!" cautioned Nan, with a sharp look.

"Oh, I don't mind!" laughed Mr. Carford "Yes, I got quite rich, and
then I thought it was time to go back to the old farm, and see my
father. My mother had died before I went away. Maybe if she had lived
I wouldn't have gone. And then I began to find out that life wasn't
all happiness just because you had money.

"My father had died too, and the old farm had been sold. My brother
and sisters had gone--some were married and some had died. I found I
was a lonesome old man, with few friends, and hardly any relatives,
left. I had been too busy getting rich, you see, to take time to make

"Well, I didn't know what to do. All the while, you understand, I had
been counting on going back to the farm, with a lot of money, and
saying to my father: 'Now, daddy, you've worked hard enough. You can
stop now, and have happiness the rest of your life.' But you see my
father wasn't there. I was too late.

"So I made up my mind the best thing I could do was to buy back the
old farm, and spend the rest of my days there, for the sake of old
times. Well, I did buy the place, and I named it 'Snow Lodge,' for
there used to be lots of snow there in the winter time. I fixed the
old house all over new, put in a furnace, and other things to make it
comfortable, and I lived there for some time.

"I heard from some of my brothers and sisters who had also gone away
from the farm, and one of my sisters, who had married a man named
Burdock, had become very poor. Her husband had died, and she was very
sick. I brought her to Snow Lodge to live with me, and her son, Harry,
a fine lad, came along.

"My poor sister did not live very long, and when she died I took Henry
Burdock to live with me. I felt toward him as toward a son, and for
years we stayed in Snow Lodge together.

"Then I bought this place, and we used to spend part of the year here
and part of it at Snow Lodge. It was a fine place winter or summer,
Snow Lodge was."

Mr. Carford became silent and looked again into the glowing logs on
the hearth.

"Don't you go to Snow Lodge any more?" asked Nan in a low voice.

"No," replied the old man. "Never any more. Not--not since Henry went
away," and he seemed to be in pain. "I have never gone there since
Henry went away," he added, "though the place is well kept up, and it
is ready to live in this minute."

"Did your nephew Henry run away, as you did?" asked Bert.

"No--not exactly," was the reply. "I don't like to talk about that
part of it. I like to think of Snow Lodge on the shore of the lake as
a place where I lived when I was a boy.

"Oh, it's just fine there!" went on Mr. Carford. "In summer the grass
is so green, and you can sit on the porch and look down at the lake.
In the winter, when the lake is frozen over, there is skating and ice
boating on it, and you can fish through the ice. And such hills as
there are to coast down! and such valleys filled with snow! Sometimes
it seems as if the whole house would be covered with the white flakes.

"But you can always keep warm in Snow Lodge, for there are big
fireplaces, as well as the furnace, and there is plenty of wood. Many
times I've had a notion to go back there, but somehow I couldn't,
since--since Henry went away. So I came here to live with my other
sister, and here I guess I'll stay the rest of my life. Snow Lodge is
shut up, and I guess it always will be."

Mr. Carford sighed, and kept looking at the fire. Nan thought what a
pity it was that Snow Lodge could not be used, while Bert wondered
what had happened between Henry Burdock and his uncle, Mr. Carford,
that caused Henry to go away. Also Bert wondered if Mr. Carford would
explain his strange remark, made at the time the runaway horses were
caught. But the aged man seemed to have forgotten it.

"Yes, Snow Lodge is closed up," said Mr. Carford. "I don't suppose it
will ever be used again. But I've told you the story of it, and I'm
afraid I've tired you."

"No you haven't," said Nan. "We enjoyed it very much."

"That's right!" exclaimed Bert.

"Did--did you ever see any bears there?" asked Freddie, "any real big

"Or tigers--or--or elephants?" asked Flossie, not to let her brother
get ahead of her in asking questions.

"Huh! Elephants don't grow here--only bears," said Freddie.

"No, I never saw anything bigger than foxes," said Mr. Carford with a
laugh. "Snow Lodge isn't very far from here, you know, so you have the
same kind of animals there that you have here. Only there are more
woods at Snow Lodge.

"But I must be getting back with you youngsters. It is getting late
and your folks may worry about you. I'll bring the sled around, and my
sister Emma can tuck you in. Then I'll get you home, and see to my
Christmas packages. It's going to be a hard winter on the poor."

"We give the poor people something," said Freddie. "At school we all
brought something just before vacation, and Mr. Tetlow is going to
give it to all the poor people."

"That was at Thanksgiving, dear," said Nan.

"Well, maybe they've got some left for Christmas," said Freddie, as
the others laughed.

"That's right--try and make other people happy, little man," said Mr.
Carford, patting Freddie's head.

The big sled with the horses and their jingling bells was soon at the
door. Miss Carford had warmed some bricks to put down in the straw, to
keep the children's feet warm, and soon, cozily wrapped up, they were
on their way home.



"Nan!" called Freddie from under a big fur robe, as he sat in the warm
straw of Mr. Carford's sled next to his sister.

"Yes, what is it?" asked Nan, bending over him to look at his face in
the gathering dusk of the winter afternoon. "Are you warm enough,

"Yes, I'm as warm as the toast Dinah makes for breakfast. But say, I
want to ask you--do you think we'll meet Santa Claus before we get

"No, Freddie. The idea! What makes you think that?"

"Well, it's near Christmas, and we're out in a sled, and he goes out
in a sled, only with reindeers of course, and--"

Freddie's voice trailed off sleepily. In fact he had aroused himself
from almost a nap to ask Nan the question. Flossie, warmly wrapped up,
was already slumbering in Bert's arms.

"No, I don't believe we'll meet Santa Claus this trip," said Nan. "He
is only supposed to travel at night, you know, Freddie."

"That's so. Well, if we do meet him, and I'm asleep, you wake me up:
will you?"

"Yes, Freddie," promised his sister, and she looked across at Bert and
smiled. The two younger twins were soon both soundly slumbering, for
being out in the cold air and wind does seem to make one sleepy when,
later on, one gets warm and comfortable.

Mr. Carford sat up on the seat in front driving the sturdy horses,
while the string of bells around them jingled at every step.

"Wasn't that a queer story of Snow Lodge?" asked Nan of Bert, in a low

"It surely was," he replied. "It seems too bad to have the place all
shut up, with no one to use it this winter. It would be just great, I
think, if we could go up there for the Christmas holidays. We could go
up right after Christmas, and not come back until the middle of
January, for school doesn't open again until then. Wouldn't it be

"Fine!" agreed Nan. "But I don't s'pose we could. Mr. Carford doesn't
want Snow Lodge used, I guess. But he gave us a good time at his

"Indeed he did," agreed Bert.

On glided the sled, the bells making merry music. A light snowfall
began, and Mr. Carford urged the horses to faster speed, for he wanted
to get back home before the storm broke.

"Wake up, Freddie!"

"Wake up, Flossie!"

Nan and Bert gently shook their little brother and sister to arouse
them. The sled had stopped in front of the Bobbsey home.

"Is it--is it morning?" asked Flossie, as she rubbed her eyes.

"Did Santa Claus come?" demanded Freddie, trying to wiggle out of
Bert's arms.

"Not yet," laughed Mr. Carford. "But I think he soon will be here. Can
you manage them, Nan--Bert?" he asked.

"Oh, yes, we often carry them," replied Nan. "They'll soon be wide
awake again, and they won't want to go to sleep until late to-night,
on account of the nap they've had."

Mrs. Bobbsey was at the door waiting for the children Flossie and
Freddie soon roused up enough to walk in.

"Won't you come in?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey of Mr. Carford. "I can give
you a cup of tea. Mr. Bobbsey just came home. Perhaps you'd like to
say 'how-d'ye-do.'"

"Thanks, I'll come in for just a minute," was the answer. "Then I must
be getting back before the storm breaks. And I'll tie my horses, too.
I can't risk another runaway," Mr. Carford said with a smile at Bert.

Mr. Bobbsey greeted the caller cordially, and the children were soon
telling their parents of the nice visit they had had.

"And Miss Carford can make almost as good cookies as Dinah!" cried

"Ha! Ha!" laughed Mr. Carford. "I'll have to tell my sister that.
She'll be real proud."

Bert, looking from his father to Mr. Carford, wondered what could have
once taken place between the two men. That there was some sort of
secret he felt sure, and up to now there had been no explanation of
the strange words used by the aged man at the time Bert and the others
caught the runaways.

"I haven't seen you in some time, Mr. Bobbsey," said Mr. Carford,
after they had talked about the weather.

"No, I've been very busy, and I suppose you have also. Have you been
at Snow Lodge lately?"

"No, and I don't expect to set foot in the place again. I guess you
know why. And I want to say now, that though I was rather cross with
you when you tried to get me to change my mind about that matter, some
time ago, I want to say that I'm sorry for it. I realize that you did
it for the best."

"Yes," said Mr. Bobbsey, "I did, but I know how you felt about it. I
believed then, and I believe now, that you made a mistake about your
nephew Henry."

"No, I don't think I did," was the slow reply. "I am afraid Henry is a
bad young man. I don't want to see him again, nor Snow Lodge either.
But I'm glad you tried to help me. However, I have come about a
different matter now. How would you and your family like to spend the
winter there? How would a vacation at Snow Lodge suit you?"

No one spoke for a few seconds. All were surprised at the kind offer
made by Mr. Carford.

"A vacation at Snow Lodge!" said Mr. Bobbsey slowly.

"Do you mean it, Mr. Carford?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey.

"I certainly do," was the answer. "I have told your youngsters
something about Snow Lodge, and they seemed to like the place. I heard
them talking among themselves, on the way back here, how they'd like
to go there.

"Oh, that's all right--no harm done!" exclaimed Mr. Carford, as he
looked at the blushing faces of Nan and Bert. "I'm glad I did overhear
what you were saying. It is a shame to keep that place locked up, and
I'm just beginning to realize it.

"I don't want to go there myself, but that's no reason why others
shouldn't. So, Mr. Bobbsey, if you like, you can take your whole
family up there to Snow Lodge, near the lake, and in the woods, and
stay as long as you like. Here are the keys!" and Mr. Carford tossed a
jingling bunch on the table.



"Snow Lodge! Oh, Papa, could we go there?" cried Flossie, now wide

"What fun we could have!" exclaimed Freddie, whose eyes were now as
wide open as ever they had been.

Bert and Nan said little, but there was a look of pleased anticipation
on their faces. They, too, realized what fun they could have in a big,
old-fashioned farmhouse in winter, particularly when the building was
refitted with a furnace, and had big fireplaces in it.

And Bert was wondering, more than ever, what strange reason Mr.
Carford could have for not wanting to go back to lovely Snow Lodge.

"Say we can go, Daddy!" pleaded the two smaller twins, as they tried
to get into their father's lap.

"Well," said Mr. Bobbsey slowly, "this is certainly very kind of, you,
Mr. Carford, but I am not sure I can accept it. I am very much obliged
to you, however--"

"Accept! Of course you can accept!" exclaimed the aged man. "There's
no reason why you and your family shouldn't have a holiday vacation at
Snow Lodge. The place has been closed up a long time, but a day or so,
with a good fire in it, would make it as warm as toast. I know, for
I've been there on the coldest winter days. Now you just plan to go up
there with the wife and children, and have a good time. It might as
well be used as to stand idle and vacant, as it is."

"What do you say, Mother?" and Mr. Bobbsey looked at his wife. "Shall
we go to Snow Lodge?"

"The children would like it," said Mrs. Bobbsey slowly.

"Like it! I should say we would!" cried Nan. "I can take some pictures
of the birds with my new camera--the one I am going to get for
Christmas," she added with a smile.

"Oh ho! So you are going to have a camera for Christmas; are you?"
laughed her father.

"I--I hope so," she replied.

"And I can build a snowhouse and live in it like the Esquimos," added

"Then I'm going to live with you!" cried Freddie. "Please go to Snow
Lodge, Mamma!"

"Yes, take the youngsters up," urged Mr. Carford. "At least don't
decide against it now. I'll leave the keys with you, and you can go
any time you like. I don't suppose it will be until after Christmas,
though, for Santa Claus might not be able to get up there," and he
pinched Freddie's fat cheek.

"No, don't go until after Santa Claus has been here," urged Flossie
seriously, and her mother laughed.

"Well, I must be going, anyhow," said Mr. Carford, after a pause. "It
will be dark before I get back, and the storm seems to be coming up
quickly. Emma will worry, I'm afraid. Now you just think it over about
Snow Lodge," he concluded, "and I guess you will go, Mr. Bobbsey. You
know my reasons for not wanting to set foot in the place, so I don't
need to tell you.

"Now, good-bye. Go to Snow Lodge, and have a good time, and when you

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