Chapter XIII. The Circus
 

"There you are, my little man! Not hurt a bit! Up again! Out again!" and Mr. Weston picked little Freddie out of the brook, and set him on his feet. "All right, aren't you?" asked the moving picture man.

"Ye--yes, I--I guess so," stammered the "little fat fireman," as he looked down at his dripping knickerbockers. "But I--I'm terrible wet! I'm awful wet--ma--mamma!" he stammered.

"Never mind, Freddie," Mrs. Bobbsey answered with a smile. "You'll dry."

"I say!" called one of the men who had been turning the crank of the moving picture camera. "I say, Mr. Weston, I got the picture of the boy falling in the water on this film. I couldn't help it."

"That's all right," said the manager. "If won't spoil the picture any. It will only make it look more natural."

"And it's natural for Freddie to be wet;" said Bert, with a laugh." He's always playing with that toy fire engine of his, and getting soaked,"

"But I didn't have the fire engine this time, Bert," said the chubby little chap. "I--I fell in!"

"You poor little dear!" exclaimed the actress-schoolteacher, putting her arms around him. "It was all my fault, too!"

"No, it was mine," said Freddie, generously. "I don't mind. I like being wet!"

They all laughed at this. Mrs. Bobbsey said Freddie wanted to be polite.

A few more pictures were made of the village children, the Bobbsey twins, with the exception of Freddie, taking part. Freddie was hurried off by his mother to the farmhouse to be put into dry clothes.

Then, with thanks to those who had helped make the scenes, Mr. Weston, Miss Burns and the camera man went back to the village hotel where they were stopping.

"Wasn't it great, Bert!" exclaimed Harry, as he and his cousin strolled over the fields.

"It certainly was," agreed Bert.

"If we could only see the pictures when they are finished," suggested Mabel Herold. "It must be queer to see yourself in the movies."

"I think so, too," said Nan. "I'm going to find out where this play will be shown, in some theatre, and maybe mamma will take us to it."

"I hope she does," Bert said. "It will be fun to see Freddie falling in."

"Poor little fellow!" murmured Nan.

"But he was real brave," Mabel added.

For several days the Bobbsey twins, their cousin and their country friends talked of the moving pictures in which they had had a part. They went again to the valley, where more scenes were being made, but none were as exciting as the sham-battle.

"Aren't they going to shoot any more guns?" asked Freddie, his eyes big and shining with the hope of excitement.

"I guess that's all over," spoke Bert.

"And I'm glad of it," Nan declared.

"So am I," exclaimed Flossie, looking around as though she would hear a boom from a cannon.

One day Bert and Harry went alone to the place where the moving picture company had erected tents and log cabins in the valley. They found the men packing things up, taking down the tents and knocking apart the wooden cabins.

"Are you all through?" Bert asked Mr. Weston."

"All through, my lad," was the answer. "We are going to another place soon, to get different moving pictures. But we'll be here for a day or two yet, at least some of the camera men will. They have to take pictures of a circus parade."

"Circus parade!" exclaimed Harry. "Is a circus coming here?"

"Well, not exactly here," replied Mr. Weston. "But it is coming to Rosedale--that's the next town--and I am going to have some moving pictures made of it."

"The circus coming to Rosedale!" cried Bert, looking at Harry. The same thought came to both of them.

"Let's go!" exclaimed Harry, eagerly.

"If our folks will let us," added Bert.

"Oh, I guess mine will," spoke the country boy. "Circuses don't come around here very often, and when they do, we generally go. I do hope they'll let you come, Bert."

"It's going to be a large circus," said Mr. Weston. "They have a good collection of wild animals."

"I don't believe they can beat our combination of a wild cat, Snoop, and a crazy turkey gobbler," said Bert to Harry with a laugh, when the two boys were on their way back to the farmhouse.

Passing along a country road Bert saw something that caused him to cry out:

"Look, there it is, Harry!"

"What?"

"The circus! See it!" and Bert pointed to a barn.

"Oh, you mean the circus posters," went on Harry, for Bert had pointed to the bright-colored pictures advertising the performance. There were shown men jumping through paper hoops or hanging from dizzy heights on trapeze bars, ladies riding galloping horses, and all sorts of wild animals, from the long-necked giraffe to the hippopotamus, who appeared to have no neck at all, and from the big elephant to the little monkey.

"Oh, I do hope we can see it!" cried Bert, as he and his cousin stood before the gay pictures.

"I'm going to do my best to go!" declared Harry.

The two boys hurried home, talking on the way of the circus posters they had seen, and wondering if there really would be shown all the wild animals pictured on the side of the barn.

Bert saw his father and mother sitting out in the side yard under a shady tree, and, running up to them he asked:

"Oh, can't we go? We want to so much! Nan, you ask, too!" he cried.

Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey looked at him rather surprised.

"What's it all about?" asked Mr. Bobbsey, with a smile.

"And what am I to ask?"

"For a circus--wild animals--moving pictures--the parade--an elephant --lions, tigers--everything!" cried Bert, stopping because he ran out of breath.

"Ask for all that?" exclaimed Nan, wonderingly.

"No, Bert means the circus is coming," explained Harry, with a laugh. "The moving picture people are going to get views of the parade. The posters are up on the barns and fences. It's coming to Rosedale, the circus is, and--"

"Oh, do let us go!" broke in Bert Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey looked at one another, questioningly.

"Oh, wouldn't it be just grand!" sighed Nan.

"What is it?" demanded Freddie, toddling up just then. "Is there going to be a fire? Can I squirt with my engine?"

"Always thinking of that, little fat fireman!" laughed his father. "No, it isn't a fire, Freddie."

"It's a circus coming!" cried Bert "Can't you take us, father?"

"I'm afraid not, son," he said. "I have just had a letter calling me back to Lakeport on business."

"Oh!" cried Nan and Bert in a chorus.

"Do we have to go back to the city, too?" asked Bert, after a pause.

"No, I am going to let you and mamma stay here," said Mr. Bobbsey, "but I have to go. I'll come back, of course, but not in time to take you to the circus, I'm afraid."

"Mamma can take us," said Freddie.

"Hardly," said Mrs. Bobbsey with a smile. "I want papa along when I have four children to take to a circus."

"My father will take us," said Harry. "He always goes to a circus when one comes around here."

"Oh, fine!" cried Bert. "Uncle Daniel will take us! Uncle Daniel will take us!" and he caught Nan around the waist and went dancing over the lawn with her.

"Now may we go, papa?" asked Nan, when Bert let her go.

"Well, I guess so," answered Mr. Bobbsey. "Uncle Daniel can look after you as well as I could."

"If Uncle Daniel goes, it will be all right," Mrs. Bobbsey said.

"And will you go, too, mamma?" asked Bert, slipping up to her, and giving her a kiss.

"Oh, yes, I suppose I'll have to help feed the elephant peanuts," she laughed.

"Hurray! Hurrah!" cried Bert, swinging his cap in the air. "We're going to the circus! We're going to the circus!"

The children were delighted with the pleasure in store for them. They talked of little else, and when they found that Tom Mason and Mabel Herold were also going to the show, they were more than delighted.

"Oh, what fun we'll have!" cried Nan.

"I--I hope none of the wild animals get loose," said Flossie, with rather a serious face.

"Nonsense! Of course they won't!" cried Bert.

"If they do, I--I'll squirt my fire engine on them!" cried Freddie. "Lions and tigers are afraid of water."

"But elephants aren't, are they, mamma?" asked Flossie. "I saw a picture of an elephant squirting water through his nose-trunk just like your fire engine, Freddie. Elephants aren't afraid of water."

"Well, elephants won't hurt you, anyhow," spoke the little fat fellow. "And if a lion or tiger gets loose, I'll play the hose on him, just as I did at The Five-Pin Show."

Mr. Bobbsey was obliged to go back to the city next day, but he said he would return to Meadow Brook as soon as he could.

"And if you see that poor boy, bring him back with you, and we'll take him to the circus with us," said Freddie.

"What poor boy?" asked Mr. Bobbsey.

"You know, the one who had the no-good money, and who ran away when we were out with you in the auto that time, and the two girls in the boat--don't you remember?" asked Freddie, ending somewhat breathlessly, for that was rather a long sentence for him.

"Oh, you mean Frank Kennedy, who worked for Mr. Mason," said the lumber merchant.

"Yes, that's the boy," went on Freddie. "If you see him, tell him to run this way, and we'll take him to the circus with us."

"Poor boy," sighed Mrs. Bobbsey. "I wonder what has become of him?"

"I don't know," answered her husband. "I'll ask Mr. Mason, if I see him. He said Frank was sure to come back. It is a hard life for a boy to lead. Well, take care of yourselves, children, and I'll come back as soon as I can. Have a good time at the circus."

"We will, papa!" chorused the Bobbsey twins.

Uncle Daniel readily promised to take the whole family to the circus. Rosedale, where the show would be held, in the big tents, was not far from Meadow Brook.

"I'll just hitch up the team to the big wagon," said the farmer, "put plenty of soft straw in the bottom, and we'll go over in style. We'll take our lunch with us, and have a good time."

"Is Dinah going?" asked Flossie.

"Yes, I think we'll take her and Martha, too," said Mrs. Bobbsey, but when Flossie went to tell the colored cook the treat in store for her, Dinah cried:

"'Deed an' I ain't gwine t' no circus. I doan't want t' be et up by no ragin' lion who goeth about seekin' what he may devour, laik it says in de Good Book. Dere's enough wild animiles right yeah on dish year farm--wild bulls, wild rams an' turkey gobblers, what pulls cats by dere tails. No, sah! honey lamb--I ain't gwine t' no circus!"