Chapter XIII. The Sawmill
 

When Bert, who was the first of the Bobbsey twins to awaken, looked from the car window he had hard work to tell whether or not he was dreaming. For he seemed to be traveling through a scene from a moving picture. There were trees, trees, trees on both sides of the track. Nothing could be seen but trees. The railroad was cut through a dense forest, and at times the trees seemed so near that it appeared all Bert would have to do would be to stretch out his hand to touch the branches.

Then Nan awakened, and she, too, saw the great numbers of trees on both sides of the train. Quickly she and Bert dressed, and, finding a place where a sleeping berth had been folded up and the seats made ready for use again, the two children took their places there and looked out.

"What makes so many trees?" asked Nan. "Is this a camping place?"

"It would be a dandy place for us Boy Scouts to camp," said Bert. "But I guess this must be where they get lumber from, isn't it, Daddy?" he asked, as his father came through the car just then, having been to the wash-room to shave.

"Yes, this is the place of big trees and lumber," said Mr. Bobbsey. "We are coming to Lumberville soon, and half our journey will be over."

"Is this the West?" asked Nan.

"Yes, this is the West," her father told her, "though it is not as far West as we are going. The cattle ranch is still farther on. It will take us some time to get there, but we are going to stay in Lumberville nearly a week."

By this time Flossie and Freddie had awakened and their mother had helped them to dress. The two smaller Bobbsey twins came to sit with Nan and Bert and look out of the windows.

"My, what a lot of trees!" exclaimed Freddie.

"You couldn't climb all them, could you?" asked Flossie.

"Not all at once, but I could climb one at a time," Freddie answered, as the train puffed on through the forest. "Can't we stop in the woods?" he wanted to know. "These are terrible big woods."

"Yes, this is a large forest," said Mr. Bobbsey. "It is one of the largest in the United States, and some of my lumber and boards come from here. But we can't stop here. If we did we would have no nice hot breakfast."

"Oh, then I don't want to stop!" exclaimed Freddie. "I'm hungry."

"We'll soon have breakfast," said his mother. "It is wonderful among the trees," she said. "And to think that I will really own a tract of woodland like this!"

"Yes," replied Mr. Bobbsey. "Your lumber tract will be much like this, except there will be places where trees have been cut down to be made into boards and planks. I suppose there are such places in these woods, but we cannot see them from the train."

Once, just before they went into the dining car to breakfast, the Bobbsey twins saw in a clearing a big wagon loaded with logs and drawn by eight horses.

"Oh, look!" cried Bert, pointing to it. "Will you have teams like that, Mother?"

"Well, I suppose so," she answered. "I don't really know what is on my lumber tract, as yet."

"We'll soon see," said Mr. Bobbsey, looking at his watch. "We'll be at Lumberville in about two hours."

They went to breakfast while the train was still puffing along through the woods. The scenery was quite different from that on the first part of their journey, where they had scarcely ever been out of sight of houses and cities, with only now and then a patch of wooded land. Here there were hardly any houses to be seen--only trees, trees, and more trees.

Freddie was not the only one of the Bobbsey twins who was hungry, for Flossie, Nan, and Bert also had good appetites. But, to tell you the truth, the children were more interested in looking out of the window than in eating, though they did not miss much that was on the table.

Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey were glad they had brought the twins along, for they felt the trip would do them good and let the children see things they never would have seen but for the travel.

After they had gone back into the sleeping car, where the berths had all been folded up against the roof by this time, Mr. Bobbsey said they had better begin getting their baggage ready.

"The train does not stop long at Lumberville, and we must hurry out," he said. "Lumberville isn't a big, city station, like the one in Chicago."

"Are there any moving pictures there?" Freddie wanted to know.

"No, not a one," his mother answered. "But there will be plenty of other things for you to see."

Soon after the satchels, baskets, and bundles belonging to the Bobbsey twins had been gathered together by the car porter and put at the end, near the door, the train began to run more slowly.

"Is this Lumberville?" asked Bert, who had noticed that the trees were not quite so thick now.

"Lumberville--Lumber-ville!" called the porter, smiling back at the Bobbsey twins as he stood near their pile of baggage. "All out for Lumberville."

"That's us!" cried Bert, with a laugh.

Slowly the train came to a stop. Bert and Nan, standing near the window from which they had been looking all the morning, saw a small, rough building flash into view. Near it were flatcars piled high with lumber and logs. But there was no sign of a city or a town.

"Come on!" called Daddy Bobbsey to his family.

The porter carried out their baggage, and the children jumped down the car steps. They found themselves on the platform of a small station--a station that looked more like a shanty in the woods than a place for railroad trains to stop.

"Good-bye! An' good luck to yo' all!" called the smiling porter, as he climbed up the car steps, carrying the rubber-covered stool he had put down for the passengers to alight on.

Then the train puffed away and the Bobbsey twins, with their father and mother, and with their baggage around them, stood on the platform of the station which, as Bert could see, was marked "Lumberville."

"But where's the place? Where's the town? Where's the men cutting down trees and all that?" Bert asked. He was beginning to feel disappointed.

"Oh, this is only where the trains stop," his father said. "Lumberville isn't a city, or even a town. It's just a settlement for the lumber-men. Our timber tract is about seven miles from here."

"Have we got to walk?" asked Nan, as she looked down at her dainty, new shoes which her mother had bought in Chicago.

"No, we don't have to walk. I think this is our automobile coming now," replied Mr. Bobbsey, and he smiled at his wife.

Bert and Nan heard a rumbling sound back of the rough, wooden railroad station. Flossie and Freddie were too busy watching and listening to some blue jays in a tree overhead to pay attention to much else. But as the rumbling sound grew louder Bert saw a big wagon approaching, drawn by two powerful horses.

"Where's the automobile?" asked the boy, with a look at his father.

"I was just joking," said Mr. Bobbsey. "The roads here are too rough for autos. Lumber wagons are about all that can get through."

"Are we going in that wagon?" Nan demanded.

Before her father could answer the man driving the big horses called to them to stop, and when they did he spoke to Mr. Bobbsey.

"Are you the folks I'm expected to take out to the Watson timber tract?" the driver asked,

"Well, we are the Bobbseys," said Bert's father.

"Then you're the folks I want!" was the good-natured answer. "Just pile in and make yourselves comfortable. I'll get your baggage in."

"I'd better help you," said Mr. Bobbsey. "There's quite a lot of it."

"Oh, we're going to have a ride!" cried Freddie as he ran over to the lumber wagon, followed by Flossie, "This is better than an automobile."

"Well, it's more sure, over the roads we've got to travel," said the driver, who was carrying two valises while Mr. Bobbsey took two more to put in the wagon.

"Pile in!" invited the driver again, and when the Bobbsey twins reached the wagon they found it was half-filled with pine tree branches, over which horse blankets had been spread.

"Why, it's as soft as a sleeping car!" exclaimed Nan. "Oh, how nice this is!" and she sank down with a sigh of contentment.

Bert helped Flossie and Freddie in, and Mr. Bobbsey helped in his wife.

"Got everything?" asked the driver, as he climbed up on his seat, which was made of two boards with springs between them.

"Yes, we're all ready," Mr. Bobbsey answered.

"Gid-dap!" called the man to his big, strong horses, and they started off.

The Bobbsey twins soon knew why it was that no automobile could have traveled over the roads through the woods to the lumber camp. There were so many holes that the wagon lurched about as the boat had when the Bobbseys were on the deep blue sea.

But rough as was the road, and tossed about as they were in the wagon, the Bobbsey twins were not hurt a bit, as the blankets spread over the spicy-smelling pine branches made a couch almost as soft as a feather bed for them.

Through the same sort of forest they had seen from the car windows the children rode. The day was a sunny, pleasant one, and it was just warm enough to be comfortable.

"Are we going to stop at a hotel?" asked Nan, when they had ridden for what seemed to her a long time.

"No," her father answered. "They don't have hotels off here in the woods. We are going to stay in the lumber camp."

"And camp out?" asked Bert.

"Yes, it will be like camping out."

"Oh, that's dandy!" exclaimed the boy.

And as he said that there sounded, as if from the woods just ahead of them, a loud shrieking sound. Flossie at once turned to her mother, and clasped Mrs. Bobbsey by the arm. Freddie turned to his father, and looked up at him.

"What was that?" asked Nan.

"Sounded like a wild animal," replied Bert, in a hushed voice.

"That's the sawmill!" said the driver of the lumber wagon, with a laugh. "We're coming to your place," he added. "That's the sawmill you heard. The saw must have struck a hard knot in a log and it let out a screech. There's the sawmill!"