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Nan Sherwood's Winter Holidays; Or, Rescuing the Runaways By Annie Roe Carr Characters: 6886

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02

"Do let's get out of here before he sees us," whispered Nan to her chum.

"No, I won't," returned Bess, in the same tone. "I want to hear how it comes out."

"Of course that horrid man won't let them use the milk for the poor little children on the train. And, goodness, Bess! you've got his dog right in your arms this moment."

"Well," said the stubborn Bess, "if that fat man takes a jar of condensed milk out of that box for himself, I'll make him give this poor little puppy some of it. Now you see if I don't!"

At first it did not look as though the fat man was going to get any of the milk even for his own consumption. The expressman said gruffly: "I can't let you open the package. It's against the rules of the company."

"Say! I shipped this package to myself. Here's the receipt," blustered

Mr. Bulson. "I guess I can withdraw it from your care if I like."

"Guess again, mister," returned the expressman. "You've got three guesses, anyway."

The fat man was so assertive and over-bearing that it amused the chums from Tillbury to hear him thus flouted.

"I guess you don't know who I am?" cried the choleric fat man.

"You say your name is Bullhead-"

"Bulson!" roared the other. "Ravell Bulson. I own that milk."

"So it is condensed milk in that box, Mr. Bulson?" here interposed Mr.

Carter, the conductor.

"Yes, it is," said Bulson, shortly. "I had business up near the Bancroft Creamery, and I stepped in there and bought a case of milk in glass, and shipped it home. I saw it being put aboard the express car of the other train and I had an idea it would be transferred at the Junction to this train. And here it is, and I want it."

"You're a public spirited citizen, Mr. Bulson," the conductor said suavely. "I expect you want to get this milk to divide among your fellow passengers? Especially among the children on the train?"

"What's that?" exclaimed Bulson, his eyes fairly bulging out with surprise.

"You are going to open the case of canned milk for the benefit of all hands?" said Mr. Carter, sternly.

"Wha-what do you take me for?" blurted out the fat man, indignantly. "Why, that's my milk! I'm not going to give it to anybody. What do you take me for?" he repeated.

The disgust and indignation with which Mr. Carter eyed him must have plainly shown a less thick-skinned mortal just what the conductor's opinion was. But Mr. Ravell Bulson, like most utterly selfish men, saw nothing.

"You must think I'm silly," pursued Bulson. "I shall want but a can or two for myself. Of course they'll come and plow us out before long. And I promised my wife to send that milk home."

"Wouldn't you even give any of that milk to this poor little puppy?" suddenly demanded Bess, whose anger at the fat man had been gradually rising until now, before Nan could stop her, it boiled over.

"Heh? Who are you, Miss, if I may inquire?" snapped the fat man.

"It doesn't matter who I am," proclaimed Bess. "I wouldn't take a drop of that milk from you, anyway. But this poor little puppy is starving."

"Why, I declare!" interrupted Bulson. "That's the little dog I shipped to Junior."

"It's your own dog, Mr. Bulson," Bess declared. "And he's almost starved."

"And what are you doing with him?" demanded the fat man, rage suddenly narrowing his eyes again. "What kind of actions are these?" and he swung on the members of the train crew once more. "My dog is given to an

y Tom, Dick, and Harry that comes along, while I can't get at my own case of milk. Preposterous!"

The express messenger had received a signal from Mr. Carter, and now said:

"I tell you what it is, Mr. Bulson; I can't help you out. The matter is entirely out of my hands. Just before you came in the conductor levied on all my goods in transit and claimed the right to seize your case of milk for the benefit of the passengers. You'll have to send in your claim to our company, and it will get the value of the milk from the railroad people for you. That's all there is to it."

"What?" roared Mr. Bulson, aghast at these words.

"You heard me," responded the expressman, handing Mr. Carter a hammer and nail puller.

The conductor kneeled down and proceeded to open the box. The fat man would have torn his hair only he was bald and there was none he could spare.

"Get away from that box! get away!" he commanded, fairly dancing about the car. "Do you know what I'll do? I'll sue the company."

"All right. Begin suit at once," growled Mr. Carter. "Get out an injunction right away. Don't fret; you'll get your share of the milk with the rest of us."

"Why, it's all mine," croaked the fat man, hoarse with wrath. "I'll show you-"

"Go 'way," ordered a burly brakeman, pushing him aside, and stooping to help pull off the cover of the box. "You ought to be taken out and dumped in the snow, mister. It would cool you off."

"Come, Bess!" urged Nan, anxiously. "Let's go away. We'll get the milk for the puppy afterward. I'm afraid there will be trouble."

"I wish they would throw that mean old Bulson into the snow. He deserves it," Bess returned bitterly.

"Do let's go away," Nan said again, as the men's voices became louder.

"Oh, dear me! you never will let me have any fun," declared Bess, her eyes sparkling.

"Do you call a public brawl, fun?" demanded Nan, as they opened the door of the car.

At that moment, just as the two girls with the squirming, shivering puppy, were about to step out upon the platform between the baggage cars, they were startled by a muffled shout from overhead.

"Oh! what's that?" gasped Bess.

Both she and Nan looked up. Lumps of snow from the roof of the tunnel began to fall. Then came a louder shout and a pair of booted legs burst through the roof.

"Goodness-gracious-me!" cried Nan. "Here comes-"

"An angelic visitor!" squealed Bess.

With another shout of alarm, a snow-covered figure plunged to the platform. The cowhide boots landed first, so the man remained upright. He carried a can in each hand, and all around the covers was frozen milk, betraying at once the nature of his load.

He was a slim, wiry man, in a ragged greatcoat, a cap pulled over his ears, sparkling, little, light-blue eyes of phenomenal shrewdness, and a sparse, strawcolor chin-whisker.

"Wall, I vow to Maria!" gasped the newcomer. "What's this I've dropped into?"

Bess was now laughing so that she could not speak, and the puppy was barking as hard as he could bark. Nan managed to ask:

"Who are you, sir, and where did you come from?"

"Si Snubbras is my name," declared the "heavenly visitor." "And I reckon I'm nearer home than you be, Miss, for I live right east of the railroad-cut, here. I was jest goin' across to Peleg Morton's haouse with this yere milk, when I-I sorter dropped in," and Farmer Snubbins went off into a fit of laughter at his own joke.

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