“Let’s see where he’s going, and whom he belongs to,” Mr. Carter said. “I’ll have to make a note of this, and so will Jim, the baggage-man. You want to take good care of this little tyke, for the railroad is responsible for him while he is in transit.”
He stooped down and brought his light to bear upon the tag wired to the top of the crate. “Ravell Bulson, Jr., Owneyville, Illinois,” he read aloud, making a note of it in his book.
“Oh!” ejaculated Nan.
“Oh!” repeated Bess.
Then both together the chums gasped: “That fat man!”
“Hullo!” observed the conductor, slipping the toggles out of the hasp, which kept the door of the dog crate closed. “Do you girls know the owner of this pup? You seem to know everybody.”
“We know a Mr. Ravell Bulson by sight, Mr. Carter,” Nan said quietly.
“And he’s just the meanest man!” began impulsive Bess; but her chum stopped her with a glance.
“Well! Mr. Ravell Bulson, Jr., has a fine pup here,” declared the conductor, releasing the agitated little creature.
The spaniel could not show his delight sufficiently when he was out of the crate. He capered about them, licking the girl’s shoes, tumbling down in his haste and weakness, and uttering his funny little bark in excited staccato.
Bess finally grabbed him up and, after kissing her, suddenly, right under the ear, and making her squeal, he snuggled down in her arms, his little pink tongue hanging out and his eyes shining (so Bess declared) like “two brown stars.”
“‘Brown stars’ is good,” chuckled Nan. “You’ll be talking about a cerise sky next, with a pea-green sun.”
“Such a carping critic!” returned Bess. “But what care I? His eyes are brown stars, so now! And if you’re not very good, Nan Sherwood, I’ll make him bite you.”
Mr. Carter was leading the way to the forward car, and the girls followed with the spaniel. It seemed a little lighter under the tunneled snow-bank between the two cars, and the conductor said, with some satisfaction:
“I believe it has stopped snowing and will clear up. I do surely hope that is the weather programme. We want to get out of here.”
“And walk to Tillbury?” cried Nan.
“It would be one good, long walk,” responded the conductor, grimly. “Hi, Jim!” he added to the baggage-man, whose face appeared through the tobacco smoke that filled the forward baggage car. “Jim, these young ladies are going to take care of the pup. Belongs to Ravell Bulson, Jr., Owneyville, Illinois. Make a note of it.”
“Sure!” Jim said.
“Say! that’s a funny thing,” put in another man, who wore the lettered cap of the express company. “I’ve been looking over my way-bill, Carter, and a man named Ravell Bulson of that same address has shipped a package to himself from the Bancroft Creamery siding, up above Freeling. Package marked ‘Glass—handle with care.’”