The Bobbsey Twins at Meadow Brook by Laura Lee Hope
Chapter XV. Found Again
"Where can he be?" asked Bert.
"I saw him but a moment ago," said Aunt Sarah.
"An' he jest had hold ob mah hand!" cried Dinah. "Oh, mah honey lamb am done et up by de ragin' lion what goes about seekin' who he kin devouer! Oh landy!"
"Quiet, Dinah, please," said Uncle Daniel. For Dinah had called out so loudly that many in the crowd turned to look at her.
"But I wants Freddie--mah honey lamb!" the loving colored woman went on. "I wants him an' he's losted!"
"We'll find him," said Uncle Daniel. "Now whom was he with when we came out of the tent?"
"He had hold of my hand," said Bert, "but he pulled away and said he wanted to walk with Dinah."
"De lubbin honey lamb!" crooned Dinah.
"Did he come with you, Dinah?" went on Uncle Daniel, trying to find out exactly who had seen Freddie last.
"Yais, sah, he done comed wif me fo' a little while in de crowd, an' den he slid away--he just seem t' melt away laik," explained the cook.
"Which way did he go?" Uncle Daniel wanted to know.
"Which way? I dunno," Dinah answered.
"Oh, perhaps he went back to the animal tent," suggested Mrs. Bobbsey. She was not really frightened as yet. Often before Freddie had been lost, but he had generally been found within a few minutes. But he had never before been lost at a circus. This time he seemed to have melted away in the big crowd.
"Let's go back to the animal tent," suggested Uncle Daniel. "Freddie was so taken with feeding the elephants peanuts that he may have gone back to do that. We'll look."
"Oh, if only dem ugly lions or tigers habn't got him!" sighed Dinah.
"The wild animals couldn't get him, 'cause they're shut up in cages, aren't they?" asked Flossie.
"Yes, dear," Nan said to her, not wanting her little sister to be frightened. "No wild animals could get Freddie."
"We'll soon find him," declared Bert.
"We'll help you look," spoke Tom Mason. "Come on, Harry."
The three boys started to push their way back through the crowd toward the animal tent.
"Now don't you three get lost," said Uncle Daniel.
"We won't!" answered Bert, "but we're going to find Freddie!"
"Oh, where can the darling be?" gasped Aunt Sarah, looking around at the crowd all about her.
"What is it? What's the matter?" asked several ladies.
"A little boy is lost--my nephew," Aunt Sarah explained.
"Oh, isn't that too bad!" cried the sympathetic ladies. "We hope you find him!"
Back into the animal tent the Bobbseys and their relatives and friends pushed their way. It was not easy to work back through the crowd that was anxious to get away, now that the afternoon performance of the circus was over.
"He must be in there," said Uncle Daniel. "We'll find him."
Carefully he looked through the crowd of persons who were still in the animal tent. A number had remained, with their children, to get another look at the elephants, lions and tigers. Men were feeding some of the animals, now that there was a little quiet spell, and this was interesting to the youngsters.
"He doesn't seem to be here," said Aunt Sarah, as she peered through her spectacles.
"Oh, he must be!" exclaimed Mrs. Bobbsey. "He can't have gone on ahead of us, and if he turned back he would have to come into this tent."
"Oh, isn't it too bad!" exclaimed Nan, looking at her brother Bert, as though he could help. But Bert, Harry and Tom, though they had quickly made a round of the circle of animal cages, had come back to say that they found no trace of Freddie.
"I know what to do, mamma," spoke up Flossie.
"What, dear?" asked her mother, hardly knowing what she was saying.
"We ought to get a policeman," went on Flossie. "Policemans can find losted people. One found me once."
"That isn't a bad idea," spoke Uncle Daniel. "I think perhaps I had better speak to some of the town constables who are on duty here."
"Suppose we look in the big main tent," said Tom Mason. "Freddie may have wandered back in there to try and turn a somersault on one of the trapezes."
"Yes, it wouldn't do any harm to take a look," agreed Uncle Daniel. "We'll go in the big tent."
Into that large canvas house they went. Men were busy putting away some of the articles used for the animal tricks, and the balls, hoops knives and things the Japanese jugglers had used.
"Oh, where can he be?" murmured Mrs. Bobbsey.
"Something the matter, ma'am?" asked the ring-master, in his shiny tall hat, as he cracked his long whip. "Is someone lost?"
"Yes, my little boy Freddie, and we are so worried about him!"
"Well, don't worry," said the ring-master kindly. "Boys, and girls too, are lost every day at our circus performances, but they are always found all right. Don't worry. I'll have some of the men hunt for him. And you folks come with me. It's just possible he has been found and taken to the lost tent."
"The lost tent!" exclaimed Uncle Daniel. "Have you lost a tent, too?"
"No, but we have a sort of headquarters tent, or office, where all lost children are taken as soon as the circus men find them. A woman in the tent takes care of the little ones until their folks come for them. Your boy may be there waiting for you."
To the lost tent went the Bobbseys. They found two or three youngsters there, crying for their fathers or mothers, but Freddie was not among them.
"Oh, he isn't here!" cried Mrs. Bobbsey, and tears were in her eyes now. "I wish his father were here," she went on. "He would know what to do."
"Now don't you worry, ma'am," said the ring-master again. "We'll surely find him for you. He may have gone in one of the side shows, to see the fat lady, or the strong man. I'll have those places searched for you."
The ring-master did send some of his men to look in the side-show tents, but they came back to say that no one like Freddie had been seen. By this time Mrs. Bobbsey and Aunt Sarah were almost frantic with fright. Nan was crying, and even Bert, brave as he was, looked worried. A number of persons who had come to the circus offered to help look for Freddie, but, though they searched all over, the little fat fellow could not be found.
"Oh, dear! What shall we do!" cried Mrs. Bobbsey.
"Dat ugly ole lion--" began Dinah, when Nan gave a scream.
"Oh, what is it, child?" asked Aunt Sarah.
"Look. There's Freddie!" cried Nan. "There he comes!" and she pointed to her little brother being led toward them by a boy about Bert's age.