Chapter III. Snoop on the Train
 

"I'm glad Dinah looks nice," Flossie whispered to her mother, when she saw how beautiful the parlor car was. "And isn't Freddie good?" the little girl remarked anxiously, as if fearing her brother might forget his best manners in such a grand place.

Freddie and Bert sat near their father on the big soft revolving chairs in the Pullman car, while Nan and Flossie occupied the sofa at the end near their mother. Dinah sat up straight and dignified, and, as Flossie said, really looked nice, in her very clean white waist and her soft black skirt. On her carefully parted hair she wore a neat little black turban. Bert always laughed at the number of "parts" Dinah made in her kinky hair, and declared that she ought to be a civil engineer, she could draw such splendid maps even on the back of her head.

The grandeur of the parlor car almost overcame Freddie, but he clung to Snoop in the pasteboard box and positively refused to let the kitten go into the baggage car. Dinah's lunch basket was so neatly done up the porter carried it very carefully to her seat when she entered the train, although lunch baskets are not often taken in as "Pullman car baggage."

"I'm going to let Snoop out!" whispered Freddie suddenly, and before anyone had a chance to stop him, the little black kitten jumped out of the box, and perched himself on the window sill to look out at the fine scenery.

"Oh!" exclaimed Mrs. Bobbsey, "the porter will put him off the train!" and she tried to catch the now happy little Snoop.

"No, he won't," Mr. Bobbsey assured her. "I will watch out for that."

"Here, Snoop," coaxed Nan, also alarmed. "Come, Snoop!"

But the kitten had been captive long enough to appreciate his liberty now, and so refused to be coaxed. Flossie came down between the velvet chairs very cautiously, but as soon as Snoop saw her arm stretch out for him, he just walked over the back of the highest seat and down into the lap of a sleeping lady!

"Oh, mercy me!" screamed the lady, as she awoke with Snoop's tail whisking over her face. "Goodness, gracious! what is that?" and before she had fully recovered from the shock she actually jumped up on the chair, like the funny pictures of a woman and a mouse.

The people around could not help laughing, but Freddie and the other Bobbseys were frightened.

"Oh, will they kill Snoop now?" Freddie almost cried. "Dinah, please help me get him!"

By this time the much scared lady had found out it was only a little kitten, and feeling very foolish she sat down and coaxed Snoop into her lap again. Mr. Bobbsey hurried to apologize.

"We'll have to put him back in the box," Mr. Bobbsey declared, but that was easier said than done, for no sooner would one of the Bobbseys approach the cat than Snoop would walk himself off. And not on the floor either, but up and down the velvet chairs, and in and out under the passengers' arms. Strange to say, not one of the people minded it, but all petted Snoop until, as Bert said, "He owned the car."

"Dat cat am de worst!" Dinah exclaimed. "'Pears like it was so stuck up an' fine dar ain't no place in dis 'yere Pullin' car good 'nough fer him."

"Oh, the porter! the porter!" Bert cried. "He'll surely throw Snoop out of the window."

"Snoop! Snoop!" the whole family called in chorus, but Snoop saw the porter himself and made up his mind the right thing to do under the circumstances would be to make friends.

"Cat?" exclaimed the good-looking colored man. "Scat! Well, I declare! What you think of that?"

Freddie felt as if he were going to die, he was so scared, and Flossie's tears ran down her cheeks.

"Will he eat him?" Freddie blubbered, thinking of some queer stories he had heard like that. Mr. Bobbsey, too, was a little alarmed and hurried to reach Snoop.

The porter stooped to catch the offending kitten, while Snoop walked right up to him, sniffed his uniform, and stepped upon the out- stretched black hand.

"Well, you is a nice little kitten," the porter admitted, fondling Snoop in spite of orders.

"Oh, please, Mr. Porter, give me my cat!" cried Freddie, breaking away from all restraint and reaching Snoop.

"Yours, is it? Well, I don't blame you, boy, for bringing dat cat along. An' say," and the porter leaned down to the frightened Freddie, "it's against orders, but I'd jest like to take dis yer kitten back in de kitchen and treat him, for he's - he's a star!" and he fondled Snoop closer.

"But I didn't know it was wrong, and I'll put him right back in the box," Freddie whimpered, not quite understanding the porter's intention.

"Well, say, son!" the porter exclaimed as Mr. Bobbsey came up. "What do you say if you papa let you come back in de kitchen wid me? Den you can jest see how I treat de kitty-cat!"

So Freddie started off after the porter, who proudly carried Snoop, while Mr. Bobbsey brought up the rear. Everybody along the aisle wanted to pet Snoop, who, from being a little stowaway was now the hero of the occasion. More than once Freddie stumbled against the side of the big seats as the cars swung along like a reckless automobile, but each time his father caught him by the blouse and set him on his feet again, until at last, after passing through the big dining car, the kitchen was reached.

"What you got dar? Somethin' fer soup?" laughed the good-natured cook, who was really fond of cats and wouldn't harm one for the world.

Soon the situation was explained, and as the porters and others gathered around in admiration, Snoop drank soup like a gentleman, and then took two courses, one of fish and one of meat, in splendid traveler fashion.

"Dat's de way to drink soup on a fast train," laughed the porter. "You makes sure of it dat way, and saves your clothes. Ha! ha! ha!" he laughed, remembering how many men have to have their good clothes cleaned of soup after a dinner on a fast train. Reluctantly the men gave Snoop back to Freddie, who, this time, to make sure of no further adventures, put the popular black kitten in his box in spite of protests from the admiring passengers.

"You have missed so much of the beautiful scenery," Nan told Freddie and her father when they joined the party again. "Just see those mountains over there," and then they sat at the broad windows gazing for a long time at the grand scenery as it seemed to rush by.