The Bobbsey Twins in the Great West by Laura Lee Hope
Chapter XI. In Chicago
Surely enough Freddie Bobbsey had fallen out of bed, or his "berth," as beds are called in sleeping cars. The little fellow had been resting with his father, and on the inside, too, But he must have become restless in his sleep, and have crawled over Mr. Bobbsey.
At any rate, when Freddie fell out he made a thud that his mother, in her berth across the aisle, had heard.
But the carpet on the floor of the car was so soft, and Freddie was such a fat, chubby little fellow, and he was so sound asleep, that he was not at all hurt in his tumble, and he never even awakened. He just went on sleeping, right there on the floor.
"Yes," said Mr. Bobbsey with a smile at his wife as he picked Freddie up, "you can generally depend on his doing something unusual, or different. Well, he's a nice little boy," he murmured softly, as he picked up the "fireman" and put him back in the berth.
Even then Freddie did not completely wake up. But he murmured something in his dreams, though Mr. Bobbsey heard only a few words about Indians and cowboys and sugar cookies.
"He's hungry even in his sleep!" said the father, with a silent laugh.
The other Bobbsey twins knew nothing of what had happened until morning, when they were told of Freddie's little accident.
"And did I really fall out of bed?" asked Freddie, himself as much surprised as any one.
"You certainly did!" laughed his mother. "At first I was startled, being aroused so suddenly, but I saw that you were still sleeping and I knew you couldn't be hurt very much."
"I didn't even feel it!" laughed Freddie. "And now I want my breakfast!"
"Dear me! You want to eat again, after dreaming about sugar cookies?" cried Mr. Bobbsey, and he told his little boy what he had heard him say in his sleep. "Well, we had all better go to the dining car again. It will be our last meal there."
"Our last meal!" cried Bert. "Aren't we going to eat again?"
"Not on this train," his father answered. "We'll be in Chicago in time for dinner."
Breakfast over, the Bobbseys began gathering up their different things to be ready to get out at Chicago when the train should reach that big and busy city.
It was about ten o'clock when the station was reached, and the Bobbsey twins thought they had never been in such a noisy place, nor one in which there were more people.
But Daddy Bobbsey had traveled to Chicago before, and he knew just what to do and where to go. He called an automobile, and in that the whole family rode to the hotel where they were to stay while they were in the city.
Two days were to be spent in Chicago, which Mrs. Bobbsey had not visited for some time. She wanted to look around a little, and show the children the various sights. Mr. Bobbsey planned to attend to some business in the "Windy City," as Chicago is sometimes called.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey wanted their children to see all there was to be seen.
"Travel will broaden their minds," Mrs. Bobbsey had said to her husband when they had talked the matter over one night after the twins had gone to bed. "Just see how much they learned when we took them to Washington."
"They not only learned something, but they brought back something--I mean Miss Pompret's china pieces," said Mr. Bobbsey. "Yes, traveling is good for children if they do not do too much of it."
So when the Bobbsey twins reached the big Chicago hotel they were not as strange and surprised as they would have been if they had never been at a hotel before.
"I like this better than the hotel we stayed at in Washington," said Nan to Bert, as they were shown to their rooms, after riding up in an elevator.
"Yes, you can see lots farther," agreed Bert, as he glanced from one of the windows.
"I didn't mean that," his sister said. "I mean the curtains and chairs and such things are ever so much nicer."
"You can't eat curtains!" exclaimed Bert. "And I'm hungry. I hope they have good things to eat."
"I think they will," his father remarked with a laugh.
And when, a little later, they went down to the dining room, the Bobbsey twins found that it was a very good hotel, indeed, as far as things to eat were concerned.
Though Mrs. Bobbsey was very much interested in Chicago, and though Mr. Bobbsey was glad to get there to look after some matters of his lumber business, I must admit that none of the Bobbsey twins thought a great deal of the big city.
"'Tisn't any different from New York!" declared Bert, as he looked at the big buildings, the elevated roads, the street cars and the hurrying crowds. "I wouldn't know but what I was in New York."
"Yes, in some ways it is much like New York," his mother agreed.
"But there isn't any big lake in New York, such as there is here," said Nan.
"Well, I guess the New York Atlantic Ocean is bigger than Lake Michigan," returned Bert. "And the ocean has salt water in it, too, and Lake Michigan is fresh!"
"That makes it better!" declared Nan, who decided then and there to "stick up" for Chicago. "If you're thirsty you can't drink the salty ocean water, but you could drink the lake water."
"Well, maybe that's better," admitted Bert. "I didn't think of that."
And when he and the other children had been taken by their father out to the city lake front, and had seen the bathing beach, Bert had to admit that, after all, Chicago was just as good as New York. But he would not say it was better.
As for Flossie and Freddie, any place was nice to them if they had Bert and Nan and daddy and mother along. The smaller twins seemed to have fun over everything; even riding up and down in the hotel elevator amused them.
After a day of sight-seeing about Chicago, Mrs. Bobbsey was rather tired, and she thought the children were, too, for she told them they had better go to bed early, as they would still have another day to- morrow to see things.
"Oh, I don't want to go to bed!" exclaimed Bert. "There's a nice moving picture in the theater near this hotel! It's all about Indians and cowboys, and daddy said he'd take us after supper. Anyhow, he said he'd take Nan and me."
"If he said so I suppose he will," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "But I can't let Flossie and Freddie go, and I am too tired to go myself."
"Oh, I want to see the Indians!" cried Freddie when he heard what was being talked about.
"No, dear. You and Flossie stay here with me in the hotel, and I'll read you a story," promised his mother. She knew by his tired little legs and his sleepy eyes that she would not have to read more than one story before he and Flossie would be fast asleep.
And so it proved. Mr. Bobbsey took Nan and Bert to the moving picture theater a few doors from the hotel, promising to bring them back early, so they would not lose too much sleep. Then Mrs. Bobbsey sat down to read to Flossie and Freddie.
Just as she had expected, before she reached the end of the story two little heads were nodding and four sleepy eyes could hardly keep open.
"Bed is the place for my tots!" said Mrs. Bobbsey softly, and soon Flossie and Freddie were slumbering together.
Mr. Bobbsey came in with Nan and Bert about an hour later, the pictures having been enjoyed very much.
"I surely am going to be a cowboy!" declared Bert. "I can easily be one on the ranch you are going to own, can't I, Mother?"
"We'll see," replied Mrs. Bobbsey, with a quiet smile at her husband.
Then Nan and Bert went to bed and were soon asleep.
"Well, I hope Freddie doesn't fall out of bed again to-night, and wake me up," said the children's mother.
"So do I," echoed her husband. "I think we shall all rest well to- night."
But trying to sleep in a big city hotel is quite different from trying to sleep in one's own, quiet home. There seemed to be even more noises than on the railroad train, where the motion of the cars, and the clickety-click of the wheels, appears to sing a sort of slumber song. So it was that in the Chicago hotel Mrs. Bobbsey did not get to sleep as soon as she wished.
However, after a while, she did close her eyes, and then she knew nothing of what happened until she heard a loud whistle, something like that of a steam locomotive outside. She also heard some shouting, and then she felt some one shaking her and a voice saying:
"Mother! Mother! Come and see 'em!"
Quickly Mrs. Bobbsey opened her eyes, and, in the dim light that came from the hall, she saw Freddie standing beside her bed.
"What is it?" she asked, sitting up and taking her little boy by the arm.
"They're here! Come and see 'em!" exclaimed Freddie again. "I heard 'em, and I saw 'em! There's a whole lot of 'em!"
"What in the world is the child talking about?" said Mrs. Bobbsey, and then her husband awakened.
"What's the matter now?" he asked sleepily. "Oh, is that you, Freddie?" he went on, as he saw the little Bobbsey twin. "What's the matter? Did you fall out of bed again?"
"No Daddy. But there's a whole lot of fire engines down in the street. I saw 'em!"
"Fire engines!" cried Mrs. Bobbsey. "Oh, Dick! do you suppose--"
What Mrs. Bobbsey feared was that the hotel was on fire, hut she did not want to say this in Freddie's hearing.
"There's a great big engine, and it's puffing and blowing out sparks," said the little fellow.
"Freddie ought to know a fire engine by this time when he sees one," Mr. Bobbsey said. "I'll get up and have a look. There may be a small fire next door. Don't get frightened."
Mrs. Bobbsey got up too and slipped on a bath robe then, taking Freddie by the hand, she went with him to the window in his room where he had said he had looked out and had seen the fire engine.
But as Mr. Bobbsey took a look he laughed and said:
"This is the time you were fooled, little fireman! That isn't a fire engine at all. That's some sort of engine they use for fixing the streets. They have to work on the streets here after dark, as there are too many automobiles and wagons on them in the day time. There isn't any fire, Freddie!"
"Maybe there'll be a fire to-morrow," returned Freddie, rather hopefully, though of course he did not really want any one's house to be burned.
"Well, there isn't a fire to-night--at least not around here," said Mr. Bobbsey. "Now we can go back to bed."
Bert nor Nan nor Flossie had been awakened by the noise which roused Freddie. And really it had sounded like a fire engine. A gang of men with a big steam roller was at work in the street just below the little Bobbsey twins' window. And smoke and sparks were spouting from the boiler of the steam roller just as they often spouted from a fire engine.
Freddie slept soundly after that little excitement, and the Bobbsey family did not get up very early the next morning, as they were all tired from their travel.
"Do we go on to Lumberville to-day, Daddy?" asked Bert after breakfast in the hotel.
"Yes, we start this evening and travel all night again," his father answered. "In the morning, or rather, about noon to-morrow, we ought to be at the lumber tract."
"And shall I see 'em cut down trees?" asked Freddie.
"They don't do much cutting down of trees in the summer," said Mr. Bobbsey. "Winter is the time for that. Still there may be some cutting going on, and I hope you can see it."
"I'd rather see cowboys," put in Bert. "That was a dandy picture of cowboys lassoing wild steers last night."
"I wish I could go and see that!" exclaimed Freddie.
"Some other time, maybe," his mother promised. "I am going to take you all shopping now, and buy you each something."
Nan's eyes shone in delight at this, for she liked, very much, to go shopping with her mother.
Mr. Bobbsey still had some business to look after, and when he had left the hotel, promising to come back at lunch time, Mrs. Bobbsey gathered her four "chickens" as she sometimes called them, about her, and made ready to go shopping. No, I am wrong. She only gathered three "chickens." Freddie was missing.
"Where can he be?" asked his mother. "He was right by that window a moment ago!"
"Oh, I hope he hasn't fallen out!" shrieked Nan.