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CHAPTER III ON TO THE FARM
Despite the excitement and hard work caused by the wreck, many of the trainmen had time to look for the missing dog. This was after the conductor had been appealed to by Mrs. Delamont, the owner of the prize animal.

And it appeared, from the deferential attitude of the conductor, that Mrs. Delamont was a person of some importance. Her husband was one of the directors of the railroad, and she was much interested in prize dogs.

But a careful search failed to disclose the missing Rex III. An examination of the car revealed nothing, and the baggage man was sure he had tied such a knot in the dog's leash that the animal could not have worked it loose.

"Besides," said Mrs. Delamont, "Rex would not leave me. Someone must have taken him."

"That's what I think," agreed the baggageman.

And this was very possible, as many strangers had been attracted to the scene of the wreck. Mrs. Delamont offered a reward of a hundred dollars for the return of her prize dog, and this spurred a number of volunteer searchers to work.

They scurried about the fields near the scene of the accident, but in spite of enticing calls and whistles no Rex answered.

"I'm afraid he is gone," said Alice, who had taken quite a liking to Mrs. Delamont, in spite of the lady's rather "loud" dress and manners.

"Oh, I must find him!" exclaimed Mrs. Delamont. "I shall have to advertise," she went on. "This is not the first time he has been taken. He is such a fine-looking dog that many are attracted to him. And he is so friendly! Oh, Rex, where are you?"

But Rex III was not to be found, and the trainmen could no longer delay. A last search was made in the surrounding fields, and then the passengers went back to their cars. A substitute engineer and fireman had come with the wrecking crew.

Mrs. Delamont made many inquiries as to whether anyone had seen her dog being led away, but no one had, and lamenting over her loss, and dwelling on the fine qualities and value of her pet, she resumed her seat in the parlor car.

"Well, I sure did get some fine pictures," remarked Russ, as he came back to the others of the film company. "It will be something for our newspaper service, all right."

"We'll send them back to New York from the next station," said Mr. Pertell, "and wire that they're on the way. They can develop and print them there."

In the first book of this series I have described the mechanical part of moving pictures, how they are made and prepared for projection on the screen. To briefly sum it up, I might say that the pictures, or negatives, are taken on a continuous strip of celluloid film in a specially prepared camera, which takes views at the rate of sixteen per second. Then, after this long strip of negative is developed, a positive, as it is called, is made, and this is run through the projecting machine in the theatre. Thus, by means of powerful lenses, and intense lights, the miniature pictures, less than an inch in width, are enlarged to life size.

In order to make sure that the passengers should reach their destinations the train that had been in the wreck was stopped at the next important station. There a new baggage car was put on, and another engine. Russ took advantage of the delay to send back, by express, the film he had made of the collision, at the same time telegraphing the manager of the film studio to expect the reel.

The journey to Beatonville was then taken up again, and proceeded without further accident. The train was somewhat delayed, and when it drew up at the small station Ruth, Alice and the others looked out eagerly to see what sort of place it was.

"It isn't as bad as you said, Russ!" exclaimed Ruth. "I see two houses, anyhow."

"Not many more, though," he answered, with a laugh.

Beatonville was a typical country railroad town, and quite a crowd of depot loungers gathered around as the theatrical company alighted.

As the train went on its way again Alice caught a glimpse of Mrs. Delamont at one of the windows in the parlor car. The owner of the missing Rex III waved her hand in friendly farewell to the girl.

"I wish I could find her dog," thought Alice. "It's too bad to have a pet and lose him."

"I don't like dogs!" exclaimed Ruth. "I'm always afraid they'll bite me."

Alice laughed at her sister's nervousness.

"There's Sandy!" exclaimed Russ, pointing to a young farmer who was holding the heads of two horses attached to a large "carryall."

"Come on!" called Mr. Pertell to his players. "I expect you're all hungry, on account of the delay. Have you anything to eat out at your place?" he called to Sandy.

"Yep. Ma's been bakin' an' cookin' for th' last week!" was the comforting answer. "We're all ready for you. I'm going to take you over in this rig, and I've got another wagon for your trunks and stuff. Have a good journey?"

"Good! Bah! A smash-up!" growled Mr. Sneed. "But we might have expected it—starting out on track thirteen."

"Yah! But ve are all right now, alretty yet!" laughed Mr. Switzer.

Ruth, Alice and the others looked about them with interest. It was a typical country landscape—a little valley nestling amid the green hills.

"Oh, I know I'm going to like it here," murmured Ruth. "It is so restful!"

"Restful! Yes! I should say it was!" exclaimed Pearl Pennington, as she bent a stick of chewing gum, preparatory to enjoying it. "I know what I'll do, all right!"

"What, dear?" asked her friend Laura Dixon, with lazy interest. "What'll you do?"

"I'll be going back to little old New York in about a week. This place has got on my nerves already. Ugh! Isn't it quiet!"

It certainly was, after the departure of the train. There was none of the various noises of New York. Even the horses seemed ready to go to sleep as they stood lazily at the shafts or poles of the vehicles they drew.

"Come on!" cried Sandy, hospitably. "It's quite a little drive out to our farm, and I know your folks must be tired and hungry."

"Hungry! That's no name for it!" voiced Miss Dixon. "Have you any lobsters, Mr. Apgar?"

"Lobsters? No'm. They don't raise none of them birds out here. But we got chicken."

"Oh, listen to him, Pearl!" exclaimed Miss Dixon. "He thinks a lobster is a bird."

"Don't mind them," said Paul Ardite to Sandy, in a low voice. "It hasn't been many years that they could afford lobster. Chicken for mine, every time."

"Well, they do say ma cooks th' best chicken around here," spoke Sandy, proudly. "She done it in Southern style this time."

"Say no more!" exclaimed Mr. DeVere. "Sandy, you are a gentleman and a scholar. How long will it take us to get to your farm?"

"About half an hour."

"That's twenty-nine minutes too long, since you have mentioned chicken in Southern style. But do your best."

Seated in the comfortable carryall, the members of the moving picture company began their trip to Oak Farm. The way lay along a pleasant country road, and in the distance could be seen the cool, green hills.

It was early June, and, all about, the farmers were doing their work. The air was sweet with the scent of flowers and the green woods, for the road led past several forest patches where the wind swept pleasantly through the swaying trees.

"Oh, it is just lovely here!" sighed Ruth, as she removed her hat and let the gentle wind blow about her hair. "I know I shall love it. And, Daddy dear, maybe it will do your voice good."

"Perhaps it will, daughter," he agreed. "However, since we are doing so well in moving pictures, I have not the desire I had at first to get back to the boards. I am becoming content in this line."

"I'm glad," said Alice, "for I like it very much. Oh, it is lovely here, Ruth!"

"Just fine, I call it!" exclaimed Russ. "The air is so clear. I'm sure we'll get fine pictures here."

"I know we'll die of loneliness," grumbled Miss Pennington. "I wish we hadn't come, Laura."

"So do I, but there's no help for it now," replied Miss Dixon.

Rumbling behind the carryall was the farm wagon containing the trunks, and in less than the half-hour stipulated by Sandy, Oak Farm was reached. Ruth, Alice and their father fell in love with the place at first sight. Mr. Pertell and Russ had seen it before, and most of the others admired it.

There was a big, old-fashioned farmhouse, setting back from the road, and fronted by a wide stretch of green lawn. The house was white, with green shutters, and was well kept. Back of it were barns and other farm buildings, some of which were rather dilapidated.

"Welcome to Oak Farm!" cried Sandy. "There's Pa Felix and Ma Nance lookin' for ye! Here they are, Ma!" he called. "All ready for your chicken."

"Bring 'em right in!" the mother invited, cordially.

Ruth and Alice liked the farmer's wife at once. There was a stoop to her shoulders that told of many weary days of work, and she looked worn and tired, but there was a bright welcome in her eyes as she greeted the visitors. "Pa Felix," as Sandy called his father, was rather old and feeble.

"Come right in and make yourselves to home," urged Mrs. Apgar. "Your rooms is all ready for ye!"

"Where is the bell-boy?" asked Miss Pennington, with uptilted head and powdered nose. "I want him to take my valise to my room at once. And I shall want a bath before dinner."

"Isn't she horrid, to try to put on such airs here?" said Alice to Ruth, nodding in the direction of the vaudeville actress.

"Yes. She only does it to make trouble."

Sandy and his father were talking together in low tones in one corner of the big parlor.

"You didn't get any word; did you?" asked the old man.

"No, Pa. There wasn't no letter."

"Then we won't git th' money."

"It don't look so."

"And we'll have to lose th' place?"

"I—I'm afraid so," replied Sandy.

"Gosh! That—that's hard, in my old age," said the elderly farmer, softly. "I hoped your ma and I'd be able to end our days here. But I guess it ain't to be. However, this company will help us pay some of the claims. We'll do the best we can, Sandy."

"That's what we will!"

Alice wondered what secret trouble could be worrying the farmer and his son. Mrs. Apgar, too, had an anxious look on her face, but she tried to make her visitors feel at home.


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