Chapter X. Freddie, as Usual

"Dinner for two! Little children!" exclaimed Mr. Bobbsey.

"It is Flossie and Freddie!" cried his wife. "Where is the dining car?"

The waiter from the dining car, who had come back to the sleeping car where the Bobbseys had their places, smiled as he finished telling about the two children.

"Dey's right up forward in my dinin' car," he said to Mrs. Bobbsey. "An' dey is all right, too, lady! I tooked good keer ob 'em. Dey jest walked right in, laik dey owned de place, an' I says to 'em, what will dey hab?

"Dey tells me dat dey done want dinnah fo' two, an' I starts to gib it to 'em, but de conductor says as how dey belonged to a party back heah, an' mebby de odder folks would want somethin' to eat, too. An', as anyhow, dey had bettah be tol'."

"I'm hungry!" exclaimed Bert.

"So'm I!" added Nan.

"Dear me!" exclaimed Mrs. Bobbsey. "I must go and see about them."

"We will all go," said Mr. Bobbsey. "I did not know it was so near lunch time. But I suppose Freddie and Flossie never forget anything so important as that."

"Trust children to remember their meals!" said Mrs. Powendon. "I fear I am to blame for your two little ones running away."

"Oh, no," murmured Mr. Bobbsey.

"How?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey.

"By coming in here, and talking to you. Probably I left the door of your drawing room open. Flossie and Freddie must have slipped out that way."

"Very likely they did," said their father. "But no great harm is done. We will all go to lunch now. Won't you come with us, Mrs. Powendon?"

"Thank you, I will," answered the lady who had come visiting, and so the rest of the Bobbseys and their friend went to the dining car.

There, surely enough, seated at a little table all by themselves, were Flossie and Freddie. The two tots looked up as their father and mother, with Nan and Bert and Mrs. Powendon, came into the car.

"I'm going to have a piece of pie!" shouted Freddie so loudly that every one in the car must have heard, for nearly every one laughed.

"So am I going to have pie!" echoed Flossie, and there was another laugh.

"Well, what have you children to say for yourselves?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey, in the voice she used when she was going to scold just a little bit. "What have you to say, Freddie?"

"I like it in here!" he said. "It's a nice place to eat."

"And I like it, too!" added Flossie.

Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey tried not to laugh.

"But you shouldn't have slipped away while we were talking and come in here all alone," went on Mother Bobbsey. "Why did you do it?"

"I was hungry," said Freddie, and that seemed to be all there was to it.

"Our cookies were all in crumbs," explained Flossie. "They wasn't a one left in my basket. I was hungry, too."

"I presume that's as good an excuse as any," said Mr. Bobbsey, with a laugh. "And so we'll all sit down and have lunch."

And while they were eating Flossie and Freddie told how they had slipped out, when their mother and father were busy talking to Mrs. Powendon, and while Bert and Nan were looking out of the window. They had been in dining cars on railroad trains before, and so they knew pretty nearly what to do.

But when they ordered dinner for themselves, or at least told the smiling, black waiter to bring them something to eat, the Pullman conductor, who had seen the children in the sleeping coach, suspected that all was not right, so he sent the waiter back to tell Mrs. Bobbsey about Flossie and Freddie.

"And you mustn't do it again," said Mrs. Bobbsey, when the story had been told.

"No'm, we won't!" promised Freddie.

"No, he won't do just this again," said Bert with a laugh to Nan. "But he'll do something else just as queer."

And of course Freddie did.

After lunch Mrs. Powendon went back to her car, and the Bobbseys took their seats in the drawing room which they occupied. The meal and the riding made Flossie and Freddie sleepy, so their mother fixed a little bed for them on the long seat, and soon they were dreaming away, perhaps of cowboys and Indians and big trees being cut down in the forest to make lumber for playhouses.

The train rumbled on, stopping now and then at different stations, and, after a while, even Bert and Nan began to get tired of it, though they liked traveling.

"How much farther do we have to go?" asked Bert, as the afternoon sun began to go down in the west.

"Oh, quite a long way," his father answered. "We are not even in Chicago yet. We shall get there to-morrow morning, and stay there two days. Then we will go on to Lumberville. How long we shall stay there I do not know. But as soon as we can attend to the business and get matters in shape, we will go on to Cowdon."

"That's the place I want to get to!" exclaimed Bert. "I want to see some Indians and cowboys."

"There may not be any there," said his mother.

"What! No cowboys on a ranch?" cried the boy.

"Why, Mother!" exclaimed Nan.

"I meant Indians," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "Of course there'll be cowboys to look after the cattle, but Indians are not as plentiful as they once were, even out West."

"I only want to see an Indian baby and get an Indian doll," put in Nan. "I don't like grown-up Indians. They have a lot of feathers on, like turkeys."

"That's what I like!" Bert declared. "If I wasn't going to be a cowboy I'd be an Indian, I guess."

Night came, and when the electric lights in the cars were turned on Freddie and Flossie awakened from their nap.

"How do you feel?" asked his mother, as she smoothed her little boy's rumpled hair.

"I--I guess I feel hungry!" he said, though he was still not quite awake.

"So'm I!" added Flossie. You could, nearly always, depend on her to say and do about the same things Freddie did and said.

"Well, this is a good time to be hungry," said Mr. Bobbsey with a laugh. "I just heard them say that dinner was being served in the dining car. We'll go up and eat again."

After dinner the porter made up the funny little beds, or "berths," as they are called, and soon the Bobbsey twins had crawled into them and were asleep.

It must have been about the middle of the night that Mrs. Bobbsey, who was sleeping with Flossie on one side of the aisle, heard a noise just outside her berth. It was as if something had fallen to the floor with a thud. She opened the curtains and looked out. Freddie and his father had gone to sleep in the berth just across from her, but now she saw a little white bundle lying on the carpeted floor of the car.

"What is that? Who is it?" the mother of the twins exclaimed.

Mr. Bobbsey poked his head out from between his curtains.

"What's the matter?" he asked. "Anything gone wrong?" he added sleepily.

"Look!" exclaimed his wife. "What's that?" and she pointed to the bundle lying on the floor.

"That? Oh, that must be Freddie," answered Mr. Bobbsey. "As usual he's done something we didn't expect. He's fallen out of his car bed."