The Bobbsey Twins at School/Chapter 4
HOME IN AN AUTO
Down on his four legs dropped the big white dog, and with another wag of his fluffy tail he came straight for Flossie.
"Be careful!" warned Mamma Bobbsey.
"He won't hurt her!" declared Bert "That's a good dog, anyone can tell that. Here, doggie; come here!" he called.
But the dog still advanced toward Flossie, who shrank back a bit timidly.
"You never can tell what dogs will do," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "It is best to be careful."
"I guess he knew what Flossie said to him," spoke up Freddie. "He knows we like dogs."
The dog barked a little, and, coming up to where Flossie was, again stood on his hind legs.
"That's a queer trick," said Mr. Bobbsey. "I guess this dog has been trained. He probably belongs around here."
"I wish he belonged to us," sighed Nan. Like Flossie and Freddie she, too, loved animals.
"Maybe we can keep him if we don't find Snoop," suggested Freddie. "Oh, papa, will you get Snoop back?" and Freddie's voice sounded as though he was going to cry.
"Yes, yes, of course I will," said Mr. Bobbsey quickly. He did not want the children to fret now, with still quite a distance yet to go home, and that in a trolley car. There were bundles to carry, weary children to look after, and Mrs. Bobbsey was rather tired also. No wonder Papa Bobbsey thought he had many things to do that night.
"Come along, children," called Mrs. Bobbsey, "it is getting late, and we are only about half way to the trolley. Oh dear! if that circus had to be wrecked I wish it could have waited until our train passed."
"Are you very tired?" asked her husband. "I can take that valise."
"Indeed you'll not. You have enough."
"Lemme hab it, Massa Bobbsey," pleaded Dinah. "I ain't carryin' half enough. I's pow'ful strong, I is."
"Nonsense, Dinah!" said Mr. Bobbsey. "I can manage, and your arms are full."
"I—I wish she had Snoop," said Freddie, but he was so interested in watching the queer dog that he half forgot his sorrow over the lost cat.
The dog seemed to have made great friends with Flossie. She was patting him on the head now, for the animal, after marching about on his hind legs, was down on all fours again.
"Oh, mamma, he's awful nice!" exclaimed Flossie. "He's just as gentle, and he's soft, like the little toy lamb I used to have."
"Indeed he does seem to be a gentle dog," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "But come along now. Don't pet him any more, or he may follow us. Flossie, and whoever owns him would not like it. Come on."
"Forward—march!" called Freddie, strutting along the moonlit path as much like a soldier as he could imitate, tired as he was.
The Bobbseys and their faithful Dinah started off again toward the distant trolley that would take them to their home. The dog sat down and looked after them.
"I—I wish he was ours," said Flossie wistfully, waving her hand to the dog.
The Bobbseys had not gone on very far before Nan, looking back, called out:
"Oh, papa, that dog is following us!"
"He is?" exclaimed Mr. Bobbsey. "That's queer. He must have taken a sudden liking to us. But I guess he'll go back where he belongs pretty soon. Are you getting tired, little Fat Fireman? And you, my Fat Fairy?"
"Oh, no, papa," laughed Flossie. "I sat down so much in the train that I'm glad to stand up now."
"So am I," said Freddie, who made up his mind that he would not say he was tired if his little sister did not. And yet, truth to tell, the little Fat Fireman was very weary.
On and on went the Bobbsey family, and soon Bert happened to look back, and gave a whistle of surprise.
"That dog isn't going home, papa," he said. "He's still after us, and look! now he's running."
They all glanced back on hearing this. Surely enough the big white dog was running after them, wagging his tail joyfully, and barking from time to time.
"This will never do!" exclaimed Mr. Bobbsey. "Whoever owns him may think we are trying to take him away. I'll drive him back. Go home! Go back, sir!" exclaimed Papa Bobbsey in stern tones.
The dog stopped wagging his tail. Then he sat down on the path, and calmly waited. Mr. Bobbsey walked toward him.
"Oh, don't—don't whip him, papa!" exclaimed Flossie.
"I don't intend to," said Mr. Bobbsey. "But I must be stern with him or he will think I'm only playing. Go back!" he cried.
The dog stretched out on the path, his head down between his fore paws.
"He—he looks—sad," said Freddie. "Maybe he hasn't any home, papa."
"Oh, of course a valuable dog like that has a home," declared Bert.
"But maybe they didn't treat him kindly, and he is looking for a new one," suggested Nan, hopefully.
"He doesn't seem ill-treated," spoke Mrs. Bobbsey. "Oh, I do wish he'd go back, so we could go on."
Mr. Bobbsey pretended to pick up a stone and throw it at the dog, as masters sometimes do when they do not want their dogs to follow them. This dog only wagged his tail, as though he thought it the best joke he had ever known.
"Go back! Go back, I say!" cried Papa Bobbsey in a loud voice. The dog did not move.
"I guess he won't follow us any more," went on Mr. Bobbsey. "Hurry along now, children. We are almost at the trolley." He turned away from the dog, who seemed to be asleep now, and the family went on. For a minute or two, as Nan could tell by looking back, the dog did not follow, but just as the Bobbseys were about to make a turn in the path, up jumped the animal and came trotting on after the children and their parents, wagging his tail so fast that it seemed as if it would come loose.
"Is he coming?" asked Flossie.
"He certainly is," answered Bert, who was in the rear. "I guess he wants us to take him home with us."
"Oh, let's do it!" begged Flossie.
"Please, papa," pleaded Freddie. "We haven't got Snoop now, so let us have a dog. And I'm sure we could teach him to do tricks—he's so smart."
"And so he's coming after us still!" exclaimed Mr. Bobbsey. "Well, well, I don't know what to do," and he came to a stop on the path.
"Couldn't we take him home just for to-night?" asked Nan, "and then in the morning we could find out who owns him and return him."
"Oh, please do," begged Freddie and Flossie, impulsively.
"But how can we take him on a trolley car?" asked Mr. Bobbsey. "The conductor would not let us."
"Maybe he would—if he was a kind man," suggested Freddie. "We could tell him how it was, and how we lost our cat——"
"And our silver cup," added Flossie.
"Well, certainly the dog doesn't seem to want to go home," said Mr. Bobbsey, after he had tried two or three times more to drive the animal back. But it would not go.
"Go on a little farther," suggested Mrs, Bobbsey. "By the time we get to the trolley he may get tired, and go back. And if we want to lose him I think we can, by getting on the car quickly."
"But we don't want to lose him!" cried Freddie.
"No, no!" said Flossie. "We want to keep him. He can run along behind the trolley car. I'll ask the motorman to go slow, papa."
"My! This has been a mixed-up day!" sighed Mr. Bobbsey. "I really don't know what to do."
The dog seemed to think that he was one of the family, now. He came up to Flossie and Freddie and let them pat him. His tail kept wagging all the while.
"Well, we'll see what happens when we get to the trolley," decided Mr. Bobbsey, thinking that there would be the best and only place to get rid of the dog. "Come along, children."
Freddie and Flossie came on, the dog between them, and this seemed to suit the fine animal. He had found friends, now, he evidently thought. Mr. Bobbsey wondered why so valuable a dog would leave its home. And he was very much puzzled as to what he should do if the children insisted on keeping the animal, and if it came aboard the trolley car.
"There's the car!" exclaimed Bert, as they went around another turn in the path and came to a road. Down it could be seen the headlight of an approaching trolley, and also the twin lamps of an oncoming automobile.
"Look out for the auto, children!" cried Mrs. Bobbsey.
They stood at the side of the road, and as the auto came up the man in it slowed down his machine. It was a big car and he was alone in it.
"Well, I declare!" exclaimed the autoist, as his engine stopped. "If it isn't the Bobbsey family—twins and all! What are you doing here, Mr. Bobbsey?"
"Why, it's Mr. Blake!" exclaimed Mr. Bobbsey, seeing that the autoist was a neighbor, and a business friend of his. "Oh, our train was held back by a circus wreck, so we walked across the lots to the car. We're homeward bound from the seashore."
"Well, well! A circus wreck, eh? Where did you get the dog?"
"Oh, he followed us," said Mrs. Bobbsey.
"And we're going to keep him, too!" exclaimed Flossie.
"And take him in the trolley with us," added her little brother.
"Well, well!" exclaimed Mr. Blake. "Say, now, I have a better plan than that," he went on. "Why should you folks go home in a trolley, when I have this big empty auto here? Pile in, all of you, and I'll get you there in a jiffy. Come, Dinah, I see you, too."
"Yes, sah, Massa Blake, I'se heah! Can't lose ole Dinah!"
"But we lost our cat, Snoop!" said Flossie, regretfully.
"And we nearly ran over an elephant," added Freddie, bound that his sister should not tell all the news.
"Well, get in the auto," invited Mr. Blake.
"Do you really mean it?" asked Mr. Bobbsey. "Perhaps we are keeping you from going somewhere."
"Indeed not. Pile in, and you'll soon be home."
"Can we bring the dog, too? " asked Flossie.
"Yes, there's plenty of room for the dog," laughed Mr. Blake. "Lift him in."
But the strange dog did not need lifting. He sprang into the tonneau of the auto as soon as the door was opened. Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey lifted in Flossie and Freddie, and Nan and Bert followed. Then in got Papa and Mamma Bobbsey and Mr. Blake started off.
"This is lovely," said Mrs. Bobbsey with a sigh of relief. She was more tired than she had thought.
"It certainly is kind of you, Mr. Blake," said Papa Bobbsey.
"I'm only too glad I happened to meet you. Are you children comfortable?"
"Yep!" chorused Freddie and Flossie.
"And the dog?"
"We're holding him so he won't fall out," explained Flossie. She and her little brother had the dog between them.
On went the auto, and with the telling of the adventures of the day the journey seemed very short. Soon the Bobbsey home was reached. There were lights in it, for Sam, the colored man, had been telephoned to, to have the place opened for the family. Sam came out on the stoop to greet them and his wife Dinah.
"Here we are!" cried Papa Bobbsey. "Come, Flossie—Freddie—we're home."
Flossie and Freddie did not answer. They were fast asleep, their heads on the shaggy back of the big dog.