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| Home | Reading Room The Bobbsey Twins in the Country

The Bobbsey Twins in the Country
by Laura Lee Hope

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Tom's costume was a splendid imitation of a cowboy. He wore tan-colored

overalls and a jumper, the jumper being slashed up at the sides like an

Indian's coat. On his head was a very broad sombrero, this hat having

really come from the plains, as it belonged to a Western farmer who had

lately moved to Meadow Brook.

Presently Tom appeared again, this time riding the fiery Sable.

"Hurrah! hurrah!" shouted the boys, as Tom drove into the ring like a major.

Bert now stepped into the middle of the ring alongside of some soap boxes

that were piled up there.

"Now you see ladies and gentlemen," began Bert, laughing a little at the

show in broad daylight, "you see this (the soap boxes) is a mail coach.

Our cowboy will rob the mail coach from his horse just as they used to do in

the mountains of Arizona."

Snap went the whip, and away went Sable around the ring at a nice even

canter. After a few turns around Tom urged his horse on a little until he

was going on a steady run. Every one kept quiet, for most of Meadow Brook

people had heard how Sable had run away some days before.

"There ought to be music," whispered Jack to Harry, for indeed the circus

was so real it only lacked a brass band.

Now Bert put on top of the soap boxes Harry's canvas schoolbag stuffed full

of papers.

"This is the United States mail," he said. "We will understand that the

coach has stopped for a few minutes."

Sable was going along splendidly by this time, and everybody said what a

pretty little horse he was.

"He's goin' to steal the mail box now!" whispered Flossie to Freddie. "I

hope Sable won't fall or anything."

Snap! snap! went the whip as the horse ran faster and faster.

All of a sudden Tom got a good tight hold on the reins, then he pulled up

alongside of the mail coach, leaned over, grabbed the mail bag, and spurred

his horse at full speed around the ring.

"Hurrah! hurrah!" shouted everybody.

"Well done!" called Uncle Daniel.

"Couldn't be better!" exclaimed Mr. Bobbsey.

Tom waved his hat now and patted Sable affectionately, as all good riders do

when their horses have done well in the ring.

The men admired the little horse so much they came up and asked the "cowboy"

a lot of questions about him, how old he was and who broke him in.

"One more number," called Bert. "The chariot race."

At this all took their seats again, and out trotted two clowns, Jack and

August, each riding in a little goat wagon.

The goats were decorated with the Fourth of July buntings and the wagons had

the tailboards out and were tipped up like circus chariots.

The clowns pulled up in line.

"One, two, three!" called Bert, with a really big revolver up in the air.

"Ready! Set! Go!" Bang! went the revolver (a blank cartridge, of course) and

away started the chariots.

Jack wore a broad green belt and August had yellow. Jack darted ahead!

"Go it, green!" shouted one group of boys.

"Pass him, orange!" called another crowd.

Now August passed Jack just as they crossed the line.

"One!" called Bert. "We will have ten rounds."

In the next the wagons kept almost even until just within a few feet of the

line, then Jack crossed first.

"Two!" called Bert, while all the boys shouted for their favorite.

In the next three or four turns the riders divided even. Finally the last

round was reached and the boys had tied; that is, both were even when the

round started. This of course made the race very interesting, as both had

equal chances of winning.

"I'll put a dollar on green," called Mr. Bobbsey. "For the fresh-air fund."

"I'll put one on orange," called Uncle Daniel, "for the same charity."

Then the ladies all wanted to bet, but Bert said it was against the rules to

allow betting.

"We will take all the money you want to give us," said Bert, "but we cannot

allow betting on the races."

"All ready!" called the ringmaster, holding his revolver high in the air


Bang went the gun!

Off went the chariots!

My, how those little goats did run!

"Go it, green!"

"Go it, orange!"

Shout after shout greeted the riders as they urged their steeds around the


Suddenly Jack's chariot crossed in front of August.

"Foul!" called Bert, while Jack tried his best to get on his own side again.

"Back! back!" yelled Jack to his horse (goat), but the little animal was too

excited to obey.

Finally fat August Stout, the funniest clown: dashed home first and won the


"Hurrah for Nero!" called everybody. "Hurrah! hurrah! hurrah!" shouted the

boys long and loud.

The circus was over!

The money was counted, and there was exactly twenty-three dollars to be

given the poor children in the Meadow Brook Fresh-Air Camp.

Wasn't that splendid? And to think everybody had such a good time too!

Freddie and Roy were allowed to ride home in the goat wagons, and they tried

to race along the way.

A committee of five boys, Bert, Harry, Jack, Tom, and August, took the money

over to the fresh-air camp the next day, and the managers said it was a very

welcome gift, for new coats were needed for some sick children that were

expected to come out from the city as soon as provision could be made for


Somebody dropped a two-dollar bill in the ticket box," August told his

companions. "Then there were the other two dollars from the race, besides

some fifty-cent pieces I don't know who gave. Of course we couldn't make

all that just on five- and ten-cent seats. And I took in two dollars on the

peanuts besides."

"Well, we're all satisfied," said Harry. "And I guess everybody had a good


"Sure they did," spoke up Tom, "and I hope Bert will come out here next year

to help us with another big circus. They're the best fun we ever had."

For some days every boy and girl in Meadow Brook talked about the circus,

which had really been a greater success than even the boys themselves had


It was a warm afternoon quite late in July - one of those days that make a

boy feel lazy and inclined to stretch himself.

Bert and Harry were down back of the barn sitting on the fresh stack of hay

that had just been piled up by John the stableman.

"Did you ever try smoking?" Harry asked Bert suddenly, as if he had

discovered something new and interesting.

"No!" answered Bert in surprise. "Father wouldn't let me smoke."

"Neither would pa," said Harry, "but I suppose every fellow has to try it

some time. I've seen them make cigarettes out of corn silk."

"I suppose that is not as bad as tobacco," replied Bert.

"No," answered Harry, "there's no harm in corn silk. Guess I'll try to roll

a cigarette."

At this Harry slid down off the hay and pulled from the fast withering corn

some dry silk.

With a good handful he went back to Bert.

"I've got some soft paper," he said, sitting down again and beginning the


Bert watched with interest, but really had no idea of doing wrong.

"There!" exclaimed Harry, giving the ends of the cigarette a twist. "How is


"Pretty good," answered Bert; "looks like a real one."

"Let's try it!" went on Harry.

"Not in the hay," exclaimed Bert; "you might drop the match."

At this Harry slid down along the side of the stack, and Bert followed.

It did seem wrong as soon as Harry struck the match, but the cigarette being

only corn silk made the boys forget all the warnings never to smoke.

Harry gave a puff or two. Then he choked a little.

"Kinder strong," he spluttered. "You try it!"

Bert put the cigarette in his mouth. He drew it once or twice, then quickly

tossed it aside.

"Ouch!" he exclaimed. "Tastes like old shoes!"

At that time John came up and piled on some more hay. The boys of course

had to act as if nothing had happened, and dared not look around to find the

lighted cigarette even though they wanted to very much.

"I hope it went out," Bert said, as John walked away again.

"If it didn't it's under the hay," said Harry, somewhat alarmed. "But I

guess it's out."

"My, look at the storm coming!" Bert exclaimed suddenly. "We ought to help

John with that load of hay."

"All right," said Harry, "come along!" and with this the two boys started on

a run down through the fields into the open meadow, where the dry hay was

being packed up ready to put on the hay rick.

John, of course, was very glad of the help, for it spoils hay to get it wet,

so all three worked hard to load up before the heavy shower should come up.

"All ready!" called John, "and no time to lose."

At this the boys jumped up and all started for the barn.

"There's smoke!" exclaimed Harry in terror as they neared the barn.

"The barn is afire!" screamed John the next minute, almost falling from his

seat on the wagon in his haste to get down.

"Quick! quick!" yelled the boys, so frightened they could hardly move.

"The hose!" called John, seeing flames now shoot out of the barn windows,

"Get the hose, Harry; it's in the coach house. I'll get a bucket while you

attach the hose."

By this time everybody was out from the house.

"Oh, mercy!" cried Aunt Sarah. "Our whole barn will be burned."

Uncle Daniel was with John now, pouring water on the flames, that were

gaining in spite of all efforts to put them out.

"Where's the firemen!" cried little Freddie, in real tears this time, for

he, like all the others, was awfully frightened.

The boys had a stream from the hose now, but this too was of no account, for

the flames had shot up from the big pile of dry hay!

"The firemen!" called Freddie again.

"There are no firemen in the country, Freddie," Nan told him. "We have to

put the fire out ourselves."

"We can't then," he went on, "and all the other barns will burn too."

There was indeed great danger, for the flames were getting ahead rapidly.

All this time the terrific thunderstorm was coming up.

Clap after clap of thunder rolled over the hills and made the fire look more

terrible against the black sky.

"The rain!" exclaimed Uncle Daniel at last, "The rain may put it out; we


At this one terrific clap of thunder came. Then the downpour of rain. It

came like a very deluge, and as it fell on the flames it sent out steam and

smoke but quickly subdued the cracking and flashing of the fire.

Everybody ran to the back porch now but John and Uncle Daniel. They went in

the coach house at the side of the barn.

"How could it have caught fire?" Aunt Sarah said. But Harry and Bert were

both very pale, and never said a word.

How heavily the rain did pour down, just like a cloudburst! And as it

struck the fire even the smoke began to die out.

"It's going out!" exclaimed Harry. "Oh, I hope it keeps on raining!"

Soon there was even no more smoke!

"It's out!" called John, a little later. "That was a lucky storm for us."



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