“We will keep watch for him on our way back to Bellemere,” Mr. Brown said in his letter. “We are returning by a different route from that by which we came. Every chance we get we will look for your boy.”
Then the “Ark” was taken from the garage, to the delight of the dogs no less than that of the children, and once more the Browns were on their tour.
As Mr. Brown had said, they were going back a different way from the one they had taken on coming to Portland. This was to give his family a chance to see new towns and villages. And, as the weather still promised to be fine, all looked forward to a jolly auto tour.
Every time he came to a good-sized city, and whenever he met a traveling show, Mr. Brown inquired for Fred, but it seemed that the missing boy was well hidden. Undoubtedly he did not want to be found.
Bunny and Sue had great fun on the homeward trip, which lasted even longer than the outgoing one.
The party had ridden on for several days, each one marked by sunshine, when one evening they came to a little clump of trees beside the road. It was not far from a good-sized village.
“We’ll stay here over night,” said Mr. Brown, “and in the morning we’ll take a little side trip to a waterfall not far away.”
“Oh, that will be fun!” cried Bunny. “Maybe I can make a wooden water wheel, and have it splash in the falls and go around.”
“No indeed you can’t!” cried his father. “The falls are too big for that. They are seventy feet high.”
But, as it happened, when morning came and Mr. Brown was about to start the automobile after breakfast, there was a sudden crash, and the big car settled down on one side, like a lame duck.
“Oh, my!” cried Mrs. Brown. “What has happened now?”
“It sounded as if one of the big springs had broken,” said her husband, getting down off the seat to look. “Yes,” he added, “that’s it. This means we’ll have to stay here three or four days until I can get a new spring put in.”
For a moment Bunny and Sue looked a trifle sad. Then Bunny cried:
“Oh, that will be fun. We can camp out in a tent in the woods.”
“Yes, you and Sue can play at camping, if you like,” said their father. “But I think you’ll want to sleep in the auto at night.”
“Oh, no! We won’t!” laughed Sue. “Now for some fun camping out!” she added.
AT THE LAKE
While Mr. Brown and Uncle Tad looked again at the spring of the auto, to see just how badly it was broken, Bunny and Sue, with Mrs. Brown, went over to the clump of trees, which was not far from the road.
“Oh, this will be a grand place!” cried Sue.
“Yes,” agreed her brother. “We can put up the tent here,” and he pointed to a little knoll amid a circle of trees, “and then if it rains the water will not come in.”