Chapter VIII. In New York

The Bobbsey twins had been to so many places, and had so often ridden in railroad trains, that this first part of their trip--journeying in the steam cars--was nothing new to them. They were quite like old travelers; at least Nan and Bert were. For Flossie and Freddie there was always sure to be something new and strange on such a long railroad trip.

The two older twins had picked out a nice seat in the center of the car, and were comfortably settled, Bert kindly letting Nan sit next to the window.

"You may sit here after a while," Nan said to Bert. "We'll take turns."

"That will be nice," replied Bert.

But Flossie and Freddie were not so easily pleased. Each of the smaller twins wanted to sit next to the window, and their father and mother knew that soon the little snub noses would be pressed close against the glass, and that the bright eyes would see everything that flashed by as the tram speeded on.

But the trouble was that there were not enough seats for Flossie and Freddie each to have one, and, for a moment, it looked as though there would be a storm, Freddie slipped into the only whole vacant seat and took his place next the window.

"Oh, I want to sit there!" cried Flossie. "Mother, make Freddie give me that place! Please do!"

"No! I was first!" exclaimed the little boy, and this was true enough.

"I want to look out the window and see the cows!" went on Flossie, and her voice sounded as though she might cry at any moment. "I want to see the cows!"

"And I want to see the horses," declared Freddie. "If I'm going to be a fireman I've got to look at horses, haven't I?" he asked his father.

"Cows are better than horses!" half-sobbed Flossie. "Mother, make Freddie let me sit where I can look out!"

"Children! Children! This isn't at all nice!" exclaimed Mrs. Bobbsey. "What shall I do?" she asked her husband in a low voice, for several of the passengers were looking at Flossie and Freddie, whose voices were rather loud.

"I'll let Flossie have my place," offered Nan. "I don't mind sitting in the outside seat. Here, Flossie, come over here and sit with Bert, and I'll sit with Freddie."

"Thank you, very much, Nan," said her mother in a low voice. "You are a good girl. I'm sure I don't know what makes Flossie and Freddie act so. They are usually pretty good on such a journey as this."

But Nan did not have to give up her place at the window, for a gentleman in the seat across the aisle arose and said to Mr. Bobbsey with a smile:

"Let your little girl take my seat near the window. I'm going into the smoking car, and I get off at the next station. I know how I liked to sit near a window, where I could see the horses and cows, when I was a little boy."

"Oh, thank you!" exclaimed Mr. Bobbsey. "That is very kind of you."

So the change was made. Flossie had a seat near one window, and Freddie near another, and Mr. Bobbsey sat with his "little fireman," while Mrs. Bobbsey took the other half of the seat with the "little fat fairy." Nan and Bert were together, and so there was peace at last. On rushed the train taking the Bobbsey twins to New York; and from there they were to go to Washington, where a strange adventure awaited them.

Nothing very much happened during the first part of the journey. Of course, Flossie and Freddie wanted many drinks of water, as they always did, and for a time they kept Bert busy going to the end of the car to fill the drinking cup. But as it was winter and the weather was not warm, the little twins did not want quite as much water as they would have wanted had the traveling been done on a hot day in summer. And at last Flossie and Freddie seemed to have had enough. They sat looking out of the window and speaking now and then of the many things they saw.

"I counted ten horses," announced Freddie after a while. "They were mostly on the road. I didn't see many horses in the fields."

"No, not very many horses are put out to graze in the fields in the winter, except perhaps on an extra warm day when there isn't any snow," said Mr. Bobbsey.

"And I saw two-sixteen cows!" exclaimed Flossie. "I saw them in a barnyard. Two-sixteen cows."

"There aren't so many cows as that; is there, Daddy?" asked Freddie.

"Well, perhaps not quite," agreed Mr. Bobbsey with a smile. "But Flossie saw a few cows, for I noticed them myself."

Then the smaller twins tried to count the telegraph poles and the trees that flashed past, and soon this made them rather drowsy. Flossie leaned back against her mother, and was soon sound asleep, while Freddie cuddled up in Daddy Bobbsey's arms and, in a little while, he, also, was in by-low land.

Bert and Nan took turns sitting next to the window, until the train boy came through with some magazines, and then the older twins were each allowed to buy one, and this kept them busy, looking at the pictures and reading the stories.

It was a rather long trip from Lakeport to New York, and it was evening when the train arrived in the big city. It was quite dark, and the smaller twins, at least, were tired and sleepy. But they roused up when they saw the crowds in the big station, and noticed the bright lights.

"I'm hungry, too!" exclaimed Freddie. "I want some supper. Oh, dear, I wish Dinah was here!"

"So do I!" added Flossie. "I guess my cat Snoop is having a good supper now."

"And I guess my dog Snap is, too!" went on Freddie. "Why can't we have supper?" he asked of his father, and several of the passengers, hurrying through the big station, turned to laugh at the chubby little fellow, who spoke very loud.

"We'll soon have supper, little fireman," said Mr. Bobbsey. "We might have eaten on the train, but I thought it best to wait until we reached our hotel, where we shall stay all night."

"How long are we going to be in New York?" asked Nan.

"Two or three days," her father replied. "I have some business to look after here. We may stay three days."

"That'll be fun!" exclaimed Bert. "There's a lot of things I want to see, and we didn't have time when we were here before."

The twins had been in New York before, as those of you know who have read the book called "The Bobbsey Twins In a Great City."

The hotel was soon reached, and, after being washed and freshened up in the bathroom of their apartment, the Bobbsey twins and their father and mother were ready to go down to supper. And not all the bright lights, nor the music which played all during the meal, could stop Flossie and Freddie from eating, nor Bert and Nan, either. The twins were very hungry.

The next day Mrs. Bobbsey took Nan and Flossie shopping with her, while Mr. Bobbsey took Bert and Freddie down town with him as the lumber merchant had to see some men on business, and he knew the two boys could wait in the different offices while he talked with his men friends.

"We will meet you in the Woolworth Building," said Mr. Bobbsey to his wife. "You bring Flossie and Nan there, and after we go up in the high tower we'll have lunch, and then go to the Bronx Park to see the animals."

"Oh, that will be fun!" cried Freddie. "I want to see a bear--two bears!"

"And I want to see ten--fifteen monkeys!" cried Flossie.

"Well, I hope you all get your wishes!" laughed Mother Bobbsey.

In one of the downtown offices where he had to stop to see a man, Mr. Bobbsey was kept rather a long time talking business, and Freddie and Bert got tired, or at least Freddie did. Bert was so interested in looking out of the high window at the crowds in the streets below, that he did not much care how long his father stayed. But Freddie wandered about the outer office, looking at the typewriter which a pretty girl was working so fast that, Bert said afterward, you could hardly see her fingers fly over the keys. The girl was too busy to pay much attention to what Freddie did until, all of a sudden, she looked down at the floor and exclaimed:

"Oh, it's raining in here! Or else a water pipe has burst!" She pointed to a little puddle of water that had formed under her desk, while another stream was running over the office floor.

"Why, it isn't raining!" declared Bert, for the sun was shining outside. "It can't be!"

"Then where did the water come from?" asked the girl.

"I--I guess I made it come!" confessed Freddie, walking out of a corner. "I got a drink from the water tank, but now I can't shut off the handle, and the water's comin' out as fast as anything!"

"Oh, my!" cried the girl, jumping up with a laugh, "I must shut it off before we have a flood here!"

"Freddie! what made you do it?" asked Bert.

"I couldn't help being thirsty, could I?" asked the little boy. "And it wasn't my fault the handle got stuck! I didn't know so much water would come out!"

And I suppose it really wasn't his fault. The girl soon shut oft the water at the faucet, and a janitor mopped up the puddle on the floor, so that when Mr. Bobbsey came out with his friend from the inner office, everything was all right again. And the business man only laughed when he heard what Freddie had done.

"Now we'll go to the Woolworth Building," said Mr. Bobbsey to Freddie and Bert, as they went out on Broadway. "I think mother and the girls will be there waiting for us, as I stayed talking business longer than I meant to."

And, surely enough, Mrs. Bobbsey, Nan, and Flossie were waiting in the lobby of the big Woolworth Building when Mr. Bobbsey came up with the two boys. This building is the tallest one in the world used for business, and from the top of the golden tower one can look for miles and miles, across New York Bay, up toward the Bronx, over to Brooklyn and can see towns in New Jersey.

"We'll go up in the tower and have a view," said Mr. Bobbsey, "and then we'll get lunch and go to the Bronx, where the animals are."

They entered one of the many elevators, with a number of other persons who also wanted to go to the Woolworth tower, and, in a moment, the sliding doors were closed.

"Oh!" suddenly exclaimed Nan.

And Flossie, Freddie and Bert all said the same thing, while Mrs. Bobbsey clasped her husband's arm and looked rather queer.

"What's the matter?" asked her husband.

"Why, we're going up so fast!" exclaimed the children's mother. "It makes me feel queer!"

"This is an express elevator," said Mr. Bobbsey. "There are so many floors in this tall building that if an elevator went slowly, and stopped at each one, it would take too long to get to the top. So they have some express elevators, that start at the bottom floor, and don't stop until they get to floor thirty, or some such number as that."

"Are there thirty floors to this building?" asked Bert, as the elevator car, like a big cage in a tunnel standing on end, rushed up.

"Yes, and more," his father answered.

"I like to ride fast," said Freddie, "I wish we had an elevator like this at home."

They had to take another, and smaller elevator, that did not go so fast, to get to the very top of the tower, and from there the view was so wonderful that it almost took away the breath of the Bobbsey twins.

"My, this is high up!" exclaimed Bert, as he looked over the edge of the railing, and down at the people in the streets below, who seemed like ants crawling around.

"Well, I guess we'd better be going now," said Mr. Bobbsey, after a bit. "Come, children! Nan--Bert--Flossie--Why, where is Freddie?" he asked, looking around.

"Isn't he here?" cried Mrs. Bobbsey, her face turning white.

"I don't see him," went on Mr. Bobbsey. "He must have gone inside." But Freddie was not there, nor was he anywhere on the outside platform that surrounded the topmost peak of the tall building.

"Oh, where is he? What has happened to Freddie?" cried his mother. "If he has fallen! Freddie!"