Chapter XI. Moving Pictures
 

The man on the black horse continued to ride toward the two boys, Uncle Daniel and Mr. Bobbsey. Behind him more men on horses rushed forward, but they were going toward some soldiers on foot, who were firing their rifles at the "cavalry," as Harry called them, that being the name for horse-soldiers.

"Oh, look, some of the men are falling off their horses!" cried Bert

"Maybe they are hurt," Harry said.

"No, I guess it's only making believe, if this is a sham battle," went on Bert.

By this time the man on the black horse was near Mr. Bobbsey.

"You had better stand farther back, if you don't mind," he said.

"Why, are we in danger here?" asked Uncle Daniel.

"Well, not exactly danger, for we are using only blank cartridges. But you are too near the camera. You'll have your pictures taken if you don't look out," and he smiled, while his horse pawed the ground, making the soldier's sword rattle against his spurs.

"Camera!" exclaimed Mr. Bobbsey. "Is someone taking pictures of this sham battle?"

"Yes, we are taking moving pictures," replied the soldier. "The man with the camera is right over there," and he pointed to a little hill, on top of which stood a man with what looked like a little box on three legs. The man was turning a crank.

"Moving pictures!" repeated Uncle Daniel, looking in the direction indicated.

"That's what this sham battle is for," went on the soldier who sat astride the black horse. "We are pretending to have a hard battle, to make an exciting picture. Soon the camera will be pointed over this way, and as it wouldn't look well to have you gentlemen and boys in the picture, I'll be obliged to you if you'll move back a little."

"Of course we will," agreed Mr. Bobbsey.

"Especially as it looks as though the soldiers were coming our way."

"Yes, part of the sham battle will soon take place here," the cavalryman went on.

"Come on back, boys!" cried Uncle Daniel, "We can watch just as well behind those trees, and we won't be in the way, and have our pictures taken without knowing it"

"Yes, and we won't be in any danger of having some of the paper wadding from a blank cartridge blown into our eyes," added Mr. Bobbsey.

"Say, this is great!" cried Harry. "I'm glad we came."

"So am I," said Bert

The boys looked on eagerly while the battle kept up. They saw the soldiers charge back and forth. The cannon shot out puffs of white smoke, but no cannon balls, of course, for no one wanted to be hurt. Back and forth rushed the soldiers on horses, and others on foot, firing with their rifles.

Of course they were not real soldiers, but were dressed in soldiers' uniforms to make the picture seem real. I suppose you have often seen in moving picture theatres pictures of a battle.

It was well that Mr. Bobbsey and the others had gotten out of the way, for shortly afterward the men rushed right across the spot where Bert and Harry had been standing.

"If we were there, then we'd have been walked on," said Bert.

"Yes, and we'd have had our pictures taken, too," said Harry, pointing to the man with the camera who had taken a new position.

"I wouldn't mind that, would you?" asked Bert.

"No, I don't know as I would," replied the country cousin. "It would be fun to see yourself in moving pictures, I think. Oh, look! That horse went down, and the soldier shot right over his head."

A horse had stumbled and fallen, bringing down the rider with him. But whether this was an accident, or whether it was done on purpose, to make the moving picture look more natural, the boys could not tell.

The firing was now louder than ever. A number of cannon were being used, horses drawing them up with loud rumblings, while the men wheeled the guns into place, loaded and fired them.

On all sides men were falling down, pretending to be shot, for those who took the moving pictures wanted them to seem as nearly like real war as possible.

"Oh, here they are!" suddenly exclaimed a voice back of Mr. Bobbsey and the others.

Turning, Bert saw his mother, with Aunt Sarah, Flossie, Freddie and Nan. They had come up the hill to look down into the valley and see what all the excitement was about.

"Yes, here we are!" cried Mr. Bobbsey. "Isn't this great? It's a sham battle."

"What for?" asked his wife, and she had to speak loudly to be heard above the rattle and bang of the guns.

"For moving pictures," answered Mr. Bobbsey, pointing to the men with the cameras, for now three or four of them were at work, taking views of the "fight" from different places.

"Mercy! What a racket!" exclaimed Aunt Sarah.

"Oh, I don't like it!" cried Flossie, covering her ears with her chubby hands. "Take me away, mamma; I'm afraid of the guns!"

"Pooh! There's nothing to be scared of!" exclaimed Freddie. "I'm going to be a soldier when I grow up, and shoot a gun."

"You can't play with me if you do," declared Flossie, when the bang of the cannon stopped for a moment, leaving the air quiet.

"I don't want to play with girls--I'm going to be a fighting soldier!" declared Freddie. "Hi! Hark to the guns! Boom! Boom!" and he jumped up and down as the cannon thundered again.

"Oh, I don't like it! I want to go home and play with my doll!" half- sobbed Flossie. "I don't like fighting."

"And I don't, either," said Nan, though she was not afraid. It was the noise for which she did not care.

"Hi! That was a fine one!" cried Freddie, as one of the largest cannon fired a blank shot at a group of horse soldiers.

"Please take me home!" sobbed Flossie, land there were tears in her blue eyes now.

"Yes, we'll go home," said Mrs. Bobbsey.

"You can play you are a nurse, Flossie, and take care of your doll. We'll leave the battle to the boys and men."

"I can stay, can't I?" asked Freddie, who was delighted at the lively scene down below, and he jumped about in delight as cannon after cannon went off.

"Yes, you may stay," said his father.

"We'll look after him," he added to his wife.

Freddie crowded up to where Bert and Harry were eagerly watching the sham battle, and stood between his brother and cousin.

"Boom! Boom!" he cried. "I like this!"

But little Flossie covered her ears with her hands and went on down the hill, toward the farmhouse, with her mother and aunt. Nan went with them also, as she said the firing made her head ache.