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   Chapter 6 OFF FOR THE WEST

Six Little Bunkers at Uncle Fred's By Laura Lee Hope Characters: 7210

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:02

"Come on! Everybody hunt for Margy!" called Mr. Bunker. "She can't be very far away, as I saw her on the porch a little while ago."

"We haven't much time if we are to catch the train," said Mother Bunker. "Oh, dear! I wish she wouldn't run off that way. Did you see her go, Rose?"

"No, Mother, I didn't. But I'll go and look, and--"

"No, you stay here," said Daddy Bunker. "First we know you'll be getting lost, Rose. Uncle Fred and I will look for Margy. The rest of you stay here."

"I know where Margy goed!" suddenly exclaimed Mun Bun.

"Where?" asked Daddy and Mother Bunker and Uncle Fred. "Where did Margy go?"

"She goed to say good-bye to Carlo!"

"What! Carlo, the dog next door?" asked Mother Bunker.

"Yep!" and Mun Bun nodded his head.

"I wonder if she has," murmured Daddy Bunker. "And yet I wouldn't be surprised. The children think as much of Carlo as if he was their own dog," he said to Uncle Fred.

"Well, let's go and look," suggested the ranchman.

Back to the yard next door hurried the two men. In the rear was a nice, cosy dog-house into which Carlo went when it was cold or rainy.

"Look!" cried Uncle Fred, pointing toward the dog kennel. "There she is!"

Something pink and white was fluttering from Carlo's little house, and pink and white was the color of Margy's dress. Mr. Bunker ran down the yard.

"Margy!" he cried, as he took his little girl out from the kennel, where she was snuggled up to Carlo, her head pillowed on his shaggy coat. "Margy! what are you doing?"

"I was saying good-bye to Carlo, Daddy," the little girl answered. "I love him just bushels, and I'm going away from him, so I said good-bye!"

"Well, we might say good-bye to the train if you stayed here much longer," laughed her father, brushing the straw off the little girl's dress.

"Good-bye, Carlo! Good-bye!" called Margy, as her father carried her away.

"Bow-wow!" barked the big dog.

That was his way of saying good-bye, I suppose.

Out of the yard, into which she had gone when no one was watching her, Margy was carried by her father. Then along came the big automobile, and in that the six little Bunkers, with their daddy and mother and their Uncle Fred, rode to the station. Some of their neighbors came out on their steps to wave good-bye to the Bunkers, and Norah and Jerry Simms shook their hands and wished them the best of luck.

"Bring me back an Indian, Russ!" called Jerry.

"I'll lasso one for you," Russ answered.

"And I'll think up a lot of new riddles for you, Norah!" said Laddie.

"Sure, and I'll like that!" exclaimed the cook.

And so the six little Bunkers were off for the West.

It was a long journey from their home in Pennsylvania to Uncle Fred's ranch in Montana. It would take four days and nights of riding in railroad trains, but I am not going to tell you all that happened on the trip.

In fact nothing very much did happen. The children sat in their seats and looked out of the windows. Now and then they walked up and down the car, or asked for drinks of water. They looked at picture books, and played with games that Uncle Fred and Daddy Bunker bought for them from the train boy.

At night they all went to sleep in the car where beds were made out of what were seats in the daytime. It was not the first time the six little Bunkers had traveled in sleeping-cars, so they were not much surprised to see the colored porter make a bed out of a seat.

I will tell you about one funny thing that happened on the trip, and then I'll make the rest of the story about the things that took place on

Uncle Fred's ranch, for there the children had many adventures.

"This is our last night of travel," said Mother Bunker to the children one evening, as the berths were being made up.

"Shall we be at Uncle Fred's ranch in the morning?" asked Russ, who, with Laddie, had been counting the hours when they might begin to lasso something.

"No, not exactly in the morning," said Uncle Fred himself. "But when you wake up, to-morrow morning, you can say: 'We'll be there to-night.' For by this time to-morrow night, if all goes well, we'll be at Three Star."

"Then can I see the ponies?" asked Violet.

"Yes, and have a ride on one if you want to," her uncle told her. "There are some very gentle ones that will just do for you children."

"That will be lovely!" exclaimed Rose. "I'll give my doll a ride, too."

"So will I," decided Violet.

They had taken with them their Japanese dolls, that had been found in such a funny way on the beach, as I told you in the book called "Six Little Bunkers at Cousin Tom's."

"The berths are ready, sir," said the colored porter to Daddy Bunker, and soon the children were undressed and put to sleep in the queer beds for the last time on this journey.

The grown folk stayed up a bit later, talking about different things, and the queer spring on Uncle Fred's ranch.

"I hope I can find the men who have been taking my cattle," said the Westerner, as he got ready for his berth, as the beds in the sleeping-car are called.

"We'll help you find the bad chaps," said Daddy Bunker.

"And the children will want to help, too," added Mrs. Bunker. "Especially Russ and Laddie. They think they are getting to be quite big boys now. They may find out what is the matter with your spring, Fred."

"I hope they do, but I don't see how they can," answered the ranchman. "I've tried every way I know, and so have my cowboys. Well, we'll wait until we get out to the ranch, and then see what happens."

Pretty soon every one in the big sleeping-car was in bed. The Bunkers, two by two, were sleeping in the berths. Russ and Laddie were together in one, and Rose and Violet were in another. Mun Bun slept with his father, and Margy with her mother.

On and on rushed the train through the night, carrying the people farther West. The weather was fine now, and spring would soon give place to summer. Uncle Fred had said this was the nicest time of the year out on his ranch.

It must have been about the middle of the night that Mr. Bunker awakened suddenly. Just what caused him to do so he did not know, but he found himself wide awake in a moment. He reached over to see if Mun Bun was all right, and, to his surprise, he could not find his little son.

"That's queer!" exclaimed Mr. Bunker to himself. "Where can Mun Bun be? I wonder if he got up in the night to get himself a drink?"

The little fellow had never done this, but that is not saying he might not try it for the first time.

"Or perhaps he didn't like it in bed with me, and went in with his mother and Margy," thought Mr. Bunker.

Mrs. Bunker's berth was right across the aisle from the one in which Mr. Bunker had been sleeping with Mun Bun, and, putting on a bath robe, Mr. Bunker pushed back the curtains in front of his berth, and opened those of the one where his wife was sleeping.

"Amy! Amy!" he whispered, his lips close to her ear so as not to awaken the other passengers on either side. "Amy! is Mun Bun here with you?"

"What's the matter?" asked Mrs. Bunker, waking up suddenly.

"I woke up just now and I can't find Mun Bun. Is he in here?"

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