BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE AT CAMP REST-A-WHILE
LAURA LEE HOPE
THE BUNNY BROWN SERIES, THE BOBBSEY TWINS SERIES, THE OUTDOOR GIRLS SERIES, ETC.
Illustrated by Florence England Nosworthy
NEW YORK GROSSET & DUNLAP PUBLISHERS
Made in the United States of America
BOOKS By LAURA LEE HOPE
12mo. Cloth. Illustrated.
THE BUNNY BROWN SERIES
BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE ON GRANDPA'S FARM BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE PLAYING CIRCUS BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE AT AUNT LU'S CITY HOME BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE AT CAMP REST-A-WHILE
THE BOBBSEY TWINS SERIES For Little Men and Women
THE BOBBSEY TWINS THE BOBBSEY TWINS IN THE COUNTRY THE BOBBSEY TWINS AT THE SEASHORE THE BOBBSEY TWINS AT SCHOOL THE BOBBSEY TWINS AT SNOW LODGE THE BOBBSEY TWINS ON A HOUSEBOAT THE BOBBSEY TWINS AT MEADOW BROOK THE BOBBSEY TWINS AT HOME
THE OUTDOOR GIRLS SERIES
THE OUTDOOR GIRLS OF DEEPDALE THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE THE OUTDOOR GIRLS IN A MOTOR CAR THE OUTDOOR GIRLS IN A WINTER CAMP THE OUTDOOR GIRLS IN FLORIDA THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT OCEAN VIEW THE OUTDOOR GIRLS ON PINE ISLAND
GROSSET & DUNLAP PUBLISHERS NEW YORK
Copyright, 1916, by GROSSET & DUNLAP
Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue at Camp Rest-A-While
CHAPTER PAGE I. GRANDPA'S TENT 1 II. GRAND SURPRISE 12 III. BUNNY AND SUE SLEEP OUT 23 IV. SPLASH COMES, TOO 35 V. OFF TO CAMP 44 VI. PUTTING UP THE TENTS 55 VII. A BIG BLACK BEAR 68 VIII. THE RAGGED BOY 78 IX. TOM HEARS A NOISE 89 X. OUT IN THE BOAT 100 XI. TOM SEES A MAN 108 XII. THE CROSS MAN 119 XIII. A BAD STORM 128 XIV. TOM IS GONE 140 XV. LOOKING FOR TOM 150 XVI. "WHO TOOK THE PIE?" 157 XVII. A NOISE AT NIGHT 166 XVIII. SPLASH ACTS QUEERLY 176 XIX. IN THE SMOKE-HOUSE 184 XX. IN BUNNY'S TRAP 193 XXI. BUNKER GOES ASHORE 203 XXII. IN THE WOODS 210 XXIII. IN THE CAVE 220 XXIV. "WHO IS THERE?" 228 XXV. BACK IN CAMP 237
BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE AT CAMP REST-A-WHILE
"Bunny! Bunny Brown! There's a wagon stoppin' in front of our house!"
"Is there? What kind of a wagon is it, Sue?"
The little girl, who had called to her brother about the wagon, stood with her nose pressed flat against the glass of the window, looking out to where the rain was beating down on the green grass of the front yard. Bunny Brown, who had been playing with a tin locomotive that ran on a tiny tin track, put his toy back in its box.
"What kind of a wagon is it Sue?" he asked his sister again.
"It isn't a grocery wagon," Sue answered slowly. "Not a grocery wagon, like the one we rode in once, when we gave all those things to Old Miss Hollyhock."
"Has it got any letters on it?" Bunny wanted to know. He was on his way to the window now, having taken up the toy railroad track, with which he was tired playing.
"Yes, it's got a E on it," Sue said, "and next comes the funny letter, Bunny, that looks like when you cross your legs or fingers."
"That's a X," said Bunny. He knew his letters better than did Sue, for Bunny could even read a little. "What's the next letter, Sue?"
Bunny could have run to the window himself, and looked out, but he wanted to pick up all the things with which he had been playing. His mother had always made him do this—put away his toys when he was through.
"What's the next letter, Sue?" Bunny Brown asked.
Sue was not quite sure of it. She put her little head to one side so she might see better. Just then a man jumped off the seat, and splashed through a muddy puddle as he walked around to the end of the wagon.
"Oh, Bunny!" Sue cried. "The man's going to bring something here, I guess. He's taking out a big bundle."
"Maybe it's a wagon from the store," said Bunny. And, as he looked out through the window glass, pressing his nose flat against it, as his sister Sue had done, he spelled out the word:
"That's an express wagon, Sue," said Bunny.
"What's express?" Sue wanted to know.
"That means when you're in a hurry," Bunny said. "You know, when we're playing train, sometimes I'm an express train, and I go awful fast."
"Yes, I 'member that," said Sue. "Once, when we hitched our dog, Splash, up to our express wagon, he went so fast he spilled me out."
"Well, that's express," Bunny went on. "When you went out of the wagon so fast you were an express."
"I don't like express, then," said Sue. "I like to go slower. But that can't be an express wagon, then, Bunny."
"'Cause that's not goin' fast. It's jest standin' still."
"Oh, well, when it does go, it goes fast. That's an express wagon, all right. Somebody's sent us something by express. Oh, Sue, I wonder what it is?"
Sue shook her head. She did not know, and she could not guess. She was watching the man out in the rain—the expressman who was trying to get something out of the back of his wagon. It was a big bundle, that was sure, because Bunny and Sue could see the end of it.
"I wonder if it's a present for us?" Sue asked.
"It can't be a present," answered Bunny. "It isn't Christmas. Don't you remember, Sue, we had Christmas at Aunt Lu's city home."
"So we did, Bunny. But it's something, anyhow."
That was certain, for now the man was pulling a very large bundle out of his wagon. It was so large that he could not carry it all alone, and he called for Sam, the stable man, to come and help him. With the help of Sam, the expressman carried the package back into the barn.
"Oh, I wonder what it is?" said Sue.
"We'll go and ask mother," suggested Bunny. "She'll know."
Together, the children fairly ran upstairs to their mother's sitting room, where she was sewing.
"Oh, Mother!" cried Sue. "There's a fast wagon out in front—a fast wagon and——"
"A fast wagon, Sue? What do you mean? Is it stuck fast in the mud?" Mrs. Brown asked.
"No, she means an express wagon," said Bunny, with a laugh. "I told her express was fast, Mother."
"Oh, I see," and Mrs. Brown smiled.
"But the express wagon did stop," went on the little boy. "It stopped here, and Sam and the man took out a big bundle. It's up in our barn. What is it, Mother?"
"I don't know, Bunny. Something your father sent for, perhaps. He may tell us what it is when he comes."
"May we go out and look at it?" Sue asked.
"No, dear, not in this rain. Can't you wait until daddy comes home?"
"Yes, but I—I don't want to, Mother."
"Oh, well, we have to do many things in this world that we don't want to. Now go and play with your dolls, or something. I think daddy will be home early to-night, on account of the storm. Then he'll tell you what's in the bundle."
"Does Sam know?" asked Bunny, as he watched the express wagon drive away.
"Perhaps he does," answered Mrs. Brown.
"Then we can ask him!" exclaimed Sue. "Come on, Bunny!"
"No, dears, you mustn't go out to the barn in this rain. You'd get all wet."
"I could put on my rubber coat," suggested Bunny.
"And so could I—and my rubber boots," said Sue.
Both children seemed to want very much to know what was in the express package. But when Mrs. Brown said they could not go out she meant it, and the more Bunny Brown and his sister Sue teased, the oftener Mrs. Brown shook her head.
"No, you can't go out and open that bundle," she said. "And if you tease much more daddy won't even tell you what's in it when he comes home. Be good children now."
Bunny and Sue did not often tease this way, for they were good children. But this day was an unpleasant, rainy one. They could not go out to have fun, because of the rain, and they had played with all their toys, getting tired of them, one after another.
"Mother, if we can't go out to the barn, could we have our dog, Splash, in here to play with us?" asked Bunny, after a while. "We could hitch him to a chair, and make believe it was an express wagon."
"Oh, yes!" cried Sue. "And you could be the driver, Bunny, and you could leave a package at my house—make believe, you know—and then I wouldn't know what was in it, and I could guess, and you could guess. We could play a guessing game; will you, Bunny?"
"Yes, I'll play that. May we have Splash in, Mother?"
"Oh, why not?"
"Because I just saw Splash splashing through a puddle of muddy water. If he came in now he'd get you all dirty and he would spoil my carpet."
"But what can we do, Mother?" Sue asked, and her voice sounded almost as if she were going to cry.
"We want to do something," added Bunny.
"Oh, dear!" sighed Mrs. Brown, yet she could not help smiling. Rainy days were hard when two children had to stay in the house all the while.
"We can play 'spress wagon without Splash!" exclaimed Sue, for she was a good little girl, and did not want to make her mother worry.
"All right," agreed Bunny. "We'll just make believe we have Splash with us to pull the pretend wagon."
He and Sue often played pretend, and make-believe, games, and they had much fun this way. Now they turned one chair on the side, and put another in front. The turned-over chair was to be the wagon, and the other chair, standing on its four legs, was the horse. Bunny got some string for reins, and the stick the washerwoman used to punch the clothes down in the boiler made a good whip, when another piece of string was tied on the end of that.
"Giddap!" cried Bunny, sitting on a stool behind the chair-horse. "Giddap! This is an express wagon, and we've got to hurry."
"You must leave a package for me!" cried Sue. "This is my house, over on the couch," and she curled up in a lump. "And this is my little girl," she went on, pointing to one of her dolls, which she had taken into her "house" with her. "If I'm asleep—make-believe, you know," said Sue to Bunny, "you tell my little girl to wake me up."
"Pooh! I can't talk to a doll!" cried Bunny.
"Yes, you can, too," said his sister. "Just pretend, you know."
"Well, even if I do, how can your doll talk to you, and wake you up?"
"Oh, Bunny! I'm only going to be make-believe asleep, and of course a doll, who can pretend to talk, can make-believe wake me up as easy as anything, when I'm only make-believe asleep."
"Oh, all right, if it's only make-believe," agreed Bunny. "Giddap, Splash! I've named the make-believe chair-horse the same as our dog," he explained to Sue.
Then the game began, and the children played nicely for some time, giving Mrs. Brown a chance to finish her sewing. Bunny and Sue took turns driving the "express wagon," and they had left many pretend bundles at each other's houses, when a step was heard in the front hall, and Bunny and Sue cried:
"Daddy! Daddy! Oh, daddy's come home!"
They made a rush for their father, and both together cried out:
"Oh, Daddy, a express package came! What's in it?"
"Did a package come?" asked Mr. Brown, as he took off his wet coat, for it was still raining.
"Yep! It's out in the barn," said Bunny Brown.
"Oh, please tell us the secret!" begged Sue. "I know it must be a secret, or mother would have told us."
Mrs. Brown smiled.
"The children have teased all afternoon to know what was in the bundle," she said.
"Well, I'll tell them," said Daddy Brown. "The package, that came by express, has in it grandpa's tent."
"Grandpa's tent!" cried Bunny.
"The one we played circus in, out in the country?" Sue demanded.
"The same one," answered Daddy Brown, with a laugh.
"Oh, are we going to have another circus?" cried Bunny, joyously.
"Now sit down and I'll tell you all about it," said Daddy Brown, and he took Bunny up on one knee, and Sue on the other.
A GRAND SURPRISE
"Don't you want to have supper first?" asked Mrs. Brown, as she saw her husband sit down in the easy chair, with Bunny and Sue.
"Oh, I'm in no hurry," he said. "I came home early to-night, because there were only a few boats out, on account of the storm. I might just as well tell the children about the surprise before we eat."
"Oh, then it's a surprise!" cried Sue, clapping her hands.
"Why, yes, I rather think you'll be surprised when you hear about it," answered Daddy Brown.
"And is it a secret, too?" Bunny wanted to know.
"Well, you don't know what it is yet; do you?" inquired his father.
Bunny shook his head.
"Well, then," went on Daddy Brown with a smile, "if there is something nice you don't know, and someone is going to tell you, I guess that's a surprise; isn't it?"
"Oh, yes!" cried Sue. "And now, Daddy, don't tease us any more. Just tell us what it is? Will we like it?"
"Can we play with it?" Bunny wanted to know.
Mr. Brown laughed so hard that Sue nearly fell off one knee, and Bunny off the other.
"What is it, Daddy?" asked the little boy. "What's so funny?"
"Oh, just you—and Sue," said Mr. Brown, still shaking up and down and sideways with laughter. "You are in a great hurry to have me tell you the surprise, and yet you keep on asking questions, so I have to answer them before I tell you."
"You asted the most questions, Bunny," said Sue, shaking her finger at him.
"No, I didn't. You did!"
"Well, we'll each just ask one question," went on Sue, "and then you can tell us, Daddy. I want to try and guess what it is—I mean what the tent is for. Shall we each take one guess, Bunny?"
"Yep. You guess first, Sue. What do you say the tent is for?"
Sue thought for half a minute, shutting her brown eyes and wrinkling up her little nose. She was thinking very hard.
"I—I guess the tent is for a house for our dog Splash," she said, after a bit. "Is it, Daddy?"
"No," and Mr. Brown shook his head. "It's your turn, Bunny."
Bunny looked up at the ceiling. Then he said:
"I guess grandpa's tent is going to be for us to play in when it rains. Is it, Daddy?"
"Well, that's pretty nearly right," Mr. Brown answered. "And now sit quiet and I'll tell you the surprise."
But before I let Mr. Brown tell the children the secret, I just want to say a few words to the boys and girls who are reading this as their first book of the Bunny and Sue series. There are four other books that come ahead of this, and I'll tell you their names so you may read them, and find out all about Bunny and Sue.
Of course those of you who have read the first, and all the other books in the series, do not need to stop to read this. You have already been introduced to the Brown children. But to those who have not, I would say that Bunny Brown and his sister Sue lived with their father and mother, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Brown, in the town of Bellemere, which was on Sandport Bay, near the ocean.
Mr. Brown was in the boat business—that is, he hired out boats to fishermen and others who wanted to go on the ocean or bay, sailing, rowing or in motor boats. Mr. Brown had men to help him, and also several big boys, almost as large as men. One of these last was Bunker Blue, a red-haired, good-natured lad, who was very fond of the two children.
In the first book of the series, named "Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue," I told you the story of the little boy and girl, and what fun they had getting up a Punch and Judy show, and finding Aunt Lu's diamond ring in the queerest way. In the second book, "Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue on Grandpa's Farm," I told you how they went off to the country, in a great big moving van automobile, fitted up like a little house, in which they could eat and sleep.
Bunker Blue went with them to steer the automobile, and they also took along the children's dog, Splash, who was named that because he once splashed in the water and pulled out Sue. On Grandpa's farm Bunny and Sue had lots of fun. They got up a little show, which they held in the barn.
After the little show had been given, Bunker Blue, and some larger boys, thought they could get up a sort of circus. They did, holding it in two tents, a big one and a smaller one. The smaller tent belonged to Grandpa Brown, when he was in the army. And it was this tent that had just come by express to the Brown home in Bellemere.
"Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue Playing Circus" is the name of the third book, and in that you may read all about the show that Bunny and Sue took part in—how the tents were washed away, how Ben Hall did his queer tricks, and what happened to him after that.
When the two Brown children came back from grandpa's farm they received an invitation from Aunt Lu, to spend the fall and winter at her city home in New York.
"Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue at Aunt Lu's City Home" is the name of the book telling all that happened when the two children went to New York. They met a little colored girl, named Wopsie, they were lost in a monkey store, Bunny flew his kite from the roof of Aunt Lu's house, and toward the end Bunny and Sue were run away with when in a pony cart in Central Park.
At first they did not like being run away with, but after they were spilled out, and Aunt Sallie picked them up, and she and Wopsie found out that they—but there! I mustn't put so much of that book in this book. You would much rather read it yourself, I am sure.
So I'll just say that at Aunt Lu's city home Bunny and Sue had many good times, and enjoyed themselves very much. They were almost sorry when it was time to come home, but of course they could not always stay in New York.
But now it was spring, and Bunny and Sue were once more back in Bellemere. They had met all their old friends again, and had played with them, until this day, when, as I have told you, it was raining too hard to go out.
Before I go on with this story, I might say that Bunny was about six years old, and Sue a year younger. The two children were always together, and whatever Bunny did Sue thought was just right. It was not always, though, for often Bunny did things that got him and Sue into trouble.
Bunny did not mean this, but he was a brave, smart little chap, always wanting to do something to have fun, or to find out something new. He would often take chances in doing something new, when he did not know what would happen, or what the ending would be. And Sue liked fun so much, also, that she always followed Bunny.
The children knew everyone in the village of Bellemere, and everyone knew them, from Old Miss Hollyhock (a poor woman to whom Bunny and Sue were often kind) to Wango, the queer little monkey, owned by Jed Winkler, the old sailor. Wango did many funny tricks, and he, too, got into mischief. Sometimes it was hard to say who got oftener into trouble—Bunny Brown and his sister Sue, or Wango, the queer little monkey.
Now that I have told you all this, so my newest little children-reader-friends will feel that they know Bunny and Sue as well as everyone else, I will go back to the story.
Bunny and Sue were still sitting on their father's knee.
"Well, tell us the surprise!" begged Sue, reaching over and kissing her daddy.
"And make it like a story," begged Bunny.
"I haven't time to make it like a story now, my dears," said Mr. Brown. "But the bundle you saw the expressman bring to the barn this afternoon was the tent from grandpa's farm."
"The same one we played circus in?" Bunny wanted to know.
"The same one," answered his father. "I asked grandpa to send it to me."
"What are we going to do with it, Daddy?" Sue asked. "I've tried and tried, but I can't guess."
"Well, this is the surprise," replied Daddy Brown, "and I hope you'll like it. We are going off into the woods camping—that means living in a tent. We'll cook in a tent—that is when it rains so we can't have a campfire out of doors—we'll eat in the tent and we'll sleep in it."
"Oh, Daddy! Shall we—really?" cried Bunny, almost falling off his father's knee he was so excited.
"Yes, that's what we're going to do," said Mr. Brown. "We are going to spend the summer in camp, under a tent instead of in a cottage, as we sometimes do. Will you like that?"
"Oh, I just guess we will!" cried Bunny Brown.
"And can I take my dolls along—will there be room for 'em?" asked Sue.
"Oh, yes, plenty of room," answered Daddy Brown.
"And will Splash come?" Bunny wanted to know.
"Oh, yes, we'll take your dog along, of course. It wouldn't be like a real camp without Splash. So now you know what the tent is for."
"May we go out and look at it?" asked Bunny.
"Oh, no, son. Not to-night. It's still raining, and the tent is all wet. It will dry out in a few days. Besides, you've seen the tent up."
"It's just like when we had it for the circus," explained Sue. "I don't want to go out to the barn and see it, Bunny. I'm hungry, and I want my supper."
"It's almost ready," said Mother Brown. "Then we really are going camping?" She looked at her husband as she asked the question.
"Yes, I thought that would be a nice way to spend the summer vacation," said Mr. Brown. "Grandpa's tent is very large. We can sleep in that one. I also have a smaller tent, in which we can set a table, and next to that will be one, still smaller, where we can cook on an oil stove in wet weather. We'll have a real camp!"
"Oh, fine!" cried Bunny.
"How nice!" exclaimed Sue.
"And where are we going to camp?" Mother Brown questioned.
"Up in the woods, about ten miles from here, near Lake Wanda," answered Mr. Brown. "And, now that I've told you all about the surprise, I think, we'll have supper."
BUNNY AND SUE SLEEP OUT
After supper the two children, and their father and mother, as well, found so much to talk over, about camping out, that it was bed-time for Bunny and Sue almost before they knew it.
"Oh, can't we stay up just a little longer?" begged Bunny, when his mother told him it was time for him and Sue to get undressed.
"Just let's hear daddy tell, once more, how he cooks eggs over a campfire," added Sue.
"Not to-night; some other time," said Mr. Brown. "That's one of the things you must learn when going to camp—to obey orders."
Daddy Brown set Bunny and Sue down on the floor—they had climbed up into his lap again after supper. He stood up tall and straight, like a soldier, and touched his hand to his head.
"Order Number One!" he said. "Time to go to bed. Good-night!"
"Aye, aye, sir!" answered Bunny, putting his hand to his head, as he had seen his father do. That was saluting, you know, just as a gentleman lifts his hat to a lady, or a private soldier salutes his officer.
Mr. Brown laughed, for, though Bunny had saluted as a soldier does, the little boy had answered like a sailor. You see, he knew more about sailors than he did about soldiers, living near the sea as he had all his life.
Whenever Mr. Brown wanted Bunny to do anything, without asking too many questions about it, or talking too much, Bunny's father would pretend he was a captain, and the little boy a soldier, who must mind, or obey, at the first order. This pleased Bunny.
"Order Number One!" said Mr. Brown again. "Bunny Brown report to bed. Order Number Two, so must Sister Sue!"
Then everyone laughed, and off to bed and dreamland went the two children. They lay awake a little while, talking back and forth through the door between their rooms, but soon their eyes closed, and stayed closed until morning.
Mr. and Mrs. Brown sat up about an hour longer, talking about going to camp, and then they, too, went to bed.
"I think the children will like it—living in a tent near the lake," said Daddy Brown, as he turned out the light.
"Yes," said Mrs. Brown. "They'll be sure to like it. I only hope they'll not fall in."
"Well, if they do, Splash will pull them out," said Daddy Brown.
Bunny and Sue were up early the next morning. Even before breakfast they had thought of the good times they were going to have in camp at Lake Wanda.
"Daddy, may we go out and see the tent now?" asked Bunny.
"After a bit," answered Mr. Brown. "The tent got rather wet, coming by express through the rain, and I'm going to send Bunker Blue and some of the fishermen around to-day to put it up so it will dry out. Then we'll roll the tent up again, tie it with ropes, and it will be ready to take with us to Lake Wanda."
"When are you going?" asked Mrs. Brown.
"Oh, in about two weeks—as soon as the weather gets a little more settled."
It was May now, and the flowers were beginning to bloom. Soon it would be June, and that is the nicest month in all the year to go camping in the woods, for the days are so long that it doesn't get dark until after eight o'clock at night, and one has that much longer to have fun.
When breakfast was over Bunny and Sue went out to the barn to look at the big express bundle which held the tent. It was too heavy for them to lift, or they themselves might have tried to put it up out on the lawn. Bunny Brown was that kind of boy. And Sue would have helped him. But, as it was, they waited for Bunker and some of the strong fishermen to come up from Mr. Brown's boat dock. In a little while the tent was put up on the lawn, and Bunny and Sue were allowed to play in it.
"The dining room tent will come in a few days," said Mr. Brown, "and also the cooking tent. I bought them in New York."
Then he told Bunny and Sue how they would go camping. The tents and cots, with bed clothes, and dishes, pots, pans, an oil stove and good things to eat, would all be put in the big moving van automobile, in which they had traveled to Grandpa Brown's farm in the country.
"We'll ride in that up to Lake Wanda," said Daddy Brown. "When we get to the woods, on the shore of the beautiful lake, we'll put up the tent, and make our camp. Then we'll have good times."
"Oh, I can hardly wait; can you?" asked Sue, speaking to her wax doll.
"I wish the time would hurry up," said Bunny. "But who is going to help you put up the tents, Daddy? You can't do them all alone."
"Oh, Bunker Blue is going camping with us."
"Goodie!" cried Bunny.
"And we'll also take Uncle Tad along," went on Daddy Brown.
"That's nice!" exclaimed Sue, clapping her hands. She and Bunny loved Uncle Tad. He was an old soldier, who had fought in the war. He was really Mr. Brown's uncle, but the children called him uncle too, and Uncle Tad loved Bunny Brown and his sister Sue very much.
The tent was not very wet from the rain, and Bunny and Sue had fun playing in it that day. Splash, their dog, played in the tent too. Splash asked nothing better than to be with Bunny and Sue.
"Bunny, are we going to sleep on the ground when we go camping?" Sue wanted to know, as she and her brother sat in the tent that afternoon.
"Well, maybe we will," the little boy said. "But I think I heard daddy say we would take some cot beds with us. You can sleep on the ground, though. Mother read me a story about some hunters who cut off some branches from an evergreen tree, and put their blankets over them to sleep on. They slept fine, too."
"Could we do that?" asked Sue.
"Yes," answered Bunny. And then a queer look came on the face of Bunny Brown. Sue saw it and asked:
"Oh, Bunny, is you got an idea?"
"Yes," Bunny answered slowly, "I has got an idea."
"Oh, goodie!" cried Sue. "Tell me about it, Bunny, and we'll do it!"
Bunny often had ideas. That is, he thought of things to do, and nothing pleased Sue more than to do things with her brother. They were not always the right things to do, but then the children couldn't be expected to do right all the while; could they?
So, whenever Bunny said he had an idea, which meant he was going to do something to have fun, Sue was anxious to know what his idea was.
"Tell me, Bunny!" she begged.
Bunny went over closer to his sister, looked all around the tent, as if to make sure no one was listening, and when he saw only Splash, the big dog, he whispered:
"Sue, how would you like to practice sleeping out?"
"Sleeping out?" said Sue. She did not just know what Bunny meant.
"Yes, sleeping out," said the little boy again. "Sleeping out in this tent, I mean. We'll have to do it, if we go to camp, and we might as well have some practice, you know."
Bunny and Sue knew what "practice" meant, for a girl whom they knew took music lessons, and she had to go in and practice playing on the piano every day.
Bunny thought that if you had to practice, or try over and over again, before you could play the piano, you might have to practice, or try, sleeping out of doors in a tent.
"How can we do it?" asked Sue.
"It's easy," Bunny answered. "We'll bring our blankets out here and sleep in the tent to-night."
"Maybe daddy and mother won't let us, Bunny."
"They won't care," said the little boy. "'Sides, they won't know it. We won't tell 'em. We'll just come out at night, when they've gone to sleep. We can slip down, out of our rooms, with our blankets, and sleep in the tent on the ground, just as we'll have to do in camp. 'Cause we mayn't always have cot beds there. Will you do it, Sue?"
"Course I will, Bunny Brown!"
Sue nearly always did what Bunny wanted her to. This time she was sure it would be lots of fun.
"All right," Bunny went on. "To-night, after it gets all dark, we'll come down, and sleep here."
"S'pose—s'posin' I get to sleep in my own bed in the house, Bunny?"
"Oh, I'll wake you up," said Bunny. "I won't go to sleep, and I'll come in and tickle your feet."
Sue laughed. She always laughed when anyone tickled her feet, and even the thought of it made her giggle.
"Don't tickle 'em too hard, Bunny," she said. "'Cause if you do I'll sneeze and that will wake up daddy and mother."
"I won't tickle you too hard," Bunny said.
That night, after supper, Mrs. Brown said to her husband:
"Bunny and Sue are up to some trick, I know they are!"
"What makes you think so?" asked Mr. Brown.
"Oh, I can always tell. They are so quiet now, they haven't teased for anything all afternoon, and now they are getting ready to go to bed, though it isn't within a half-hour of their time."
"Oh, maybe they're sleepy," said Mr. Brown, who was reading the paper.
"No, I'm sure they are up to some trick," said Mother Brown.
And now, if you please, just you wait and see whether or not she was right.
Bunny Brown and his sister Sue did go to bed earlier than usual that night. Bunny, after supper, had whispered to his sister:
"If we go to bed sooner we can be awake quicker and go down to the tent."
"Can you open the door?" asked Sue.
"Yes, the back door opens easy."
"But has you got the branches from the evergreen tree cut so we can spread our blankets over them?" Sue wanted to know.
Bunny shook his head.
"I didn't dast do it," he said. "They might see me cutting 'em, and then they'd guess what we were going to do. We can each take two blankets off our beds, Sue, and that will make the ground soft enough. 'Sides, if we're going to be campers, and sleep in the woods, we mustn't mind a hard bed. Soldiers don't—for daddy said so."
"Girls aren't soldiers!" said Sue. "But I'll come with you and we'll sleep on two blankets."
"To practice for when we go camping," added Bunny.
Sue nodded her head, and, with her doll, went up to bed in the room next to Bunny's.
"I just know those children are up to something," said Mother Brown, as she came down after tucking in Bunny and Sue. "I wish I knew what it was."
"Oh, I guess it isn't anything," laughed daddy.
Sue and her brother found it hard to keep awake. They had played hard all day, and that always makes children sleepy.
In fact, Bunny and Sue did fall asleep, but Bunny awakened sometime in the night, I suppose because he was thinking so much about going out into the tent.
The little fellow sat up in bed. A light was burning out in the hall, so he could see plainly enough. He remembered what he had promised to do—wake up Sue by tickling her feet.
Softly he stole into her room, after putting on his bath robe. He dragged after him two blankets from his bed.
Reaching under the covers he gently tickled Sue's pink toes.
"What—What's matter?" murmured Sue, sleepily.
"Hush!" whispered Bunny close to her ear. "Wake up, Sue! I don't want to tickle you any more, and make you sneeze. We're going to sleep out in the tent, you know."
Sue was soon wide awake. Softly she crawled out of bed, slipped on her bath robe, which was on a chair near her bed, and then, dragging two blankets after her, she and Bunny went softly down the stairs.
Carefully Bunny opened the door, and he and Sue went out on the side porch, and down across the lawn to where, in the moonlight, stood grandpa's tent.
SPLASH COMES, TOO
The camping tent, which had been put up by Daddy Brown, so it would be well dried out, stood wide open. Bunny and Sue, with their bed-blankets trailing after them, slipped in through the "front door."
Of course, there was not really a "front door" to a tent. There are just two pieces of canvas, called "flaps," that come together and make a sort of front door. Between these white flaps Bunny Brown and his sister Sue went, and they found themselves inside the tent.
"It—it's awful dark, isn't it, Bunny?" whispered Sue, softly.
"Hush!" returned her brother. "We don't want them to see us. It will be light pretty soon, Sue."
"I—I don't like it dark," she said.
"Shut your eyes and you won't see the dark," Bunny went on. His mother had often told him that when she wanted him to go to sleep in a dark room, or when only the hall light was dimly burning. So Bunny thought that would be a good thing to tell Sue. "Shut your eyes, and you won't see the dark," said Bunny Brown.
But, really, it was not very dark in the tent, after the two children had stood there awhile. The moon was brightly shining outside, and, as the tent was of white canvas, some of the light came through. So as Sue looked around she could begin to see things a little better now. There was not much to see. Just the ground, and a box or two in the tent. During the day Bunny and Sue had been playing with the boxes, and had left them in the tent.
"Come on, now," said Bunny. "We'll spread our blankets out on the ground, Sue, and go to sleep. Then we'll make believe we're camping out, just as we're going to do up at the lake."
As he spoke Bunny spread his two blankets out on the ground under the tent. He folded them so he could crawl in between the folds, and cover himself up, for it was rather chilly that spring night.
"I—I want a pillow, Bunny," said Sue. "I want something to put my head on when I go to sleep."
"Hush!" cried Bunny in a whisper. "If you speak out loud that way, Sue, mother or daddy will hear us. Then they'll come and get us and make us sleep in our beds."
"Well—well," answered Sue, and Bunny could tell by her voice that she was trying hard not to cry, "well, Bunny Brown, I—I guess I'd better like sleepin' in my bed, than out here without no pillow. I want a pillow, an' it's dark an' cold, an'—an'——"
Sue was just ready to cry, but Bunny said:
"Oh, come on now, Sue! This is fun! You know we're making-believe camp out!"
"All right," Sue answered, after thinking it over a bit. "But can I—can I sleep over by you, Bunny?"
"Yes. Put your blankets right down here by mine, and we'll both go to sleep. Won't daddy and mother be s'prised when they find we've camped out all night?"
"I—I guess they will," Sue said. "It kinder s'prises me, too!"
Sue was dragging her blankets over toward the place when Bunny had his spread out on the ground, and she was just going to lie down, when the flaps of the tent were suddenly shoved to one side, and something came in.
"Oh! oh!" cried Sue, as she threw herself down in her blankets, and wrapped herself up in them, even covering her head. "Oh, Bunny! Bunny! What is it? What's after us?"
"I—I don't know," said Bunny, and his voice trembled a little.
Then Sue raised her head and peeped out from under her blanket. She saw something standing in the front door of the tent, half way in, and half way out. The moon was still shining brightly, and Sue cried:
"Oh, Bunny! It's a bear! It's a bear!"
Just then there came a loud:
Bunny and Sue both laughed then. Then were frightened no longer.
"Oh, it's our dog, Splash!" cried Sue. "It's only Splash!"
"Here, Splash!" called Bunny. Then with a joyous bark the dog sprang inside the tent, and snuggled close up to his two little play-mates.
"Now I isn't afraid," said Sue, as she put her arms around the big shaggy neck of her pet. "Now I isn't afraid any more. Splash can sleep with us; can't he, Bunny?"
"Yes, Sue. Now go to sleep. Isn't this fun?"
"Yes, it is when Splash is here," Sue said.
Though Bunny did not say so, he, too, was glad their dog had come to spend the rest of the night with them. Not that there was anything to be afraid of, oh, dear no! There were no bears, or wolves, or anything like that in Bellemere. There were big fish in the bay and in the ocean, but of course they never came up on land.
"And, even if they did," said Sue sleepily to Bunny when they were talking about this, as they lay close to the big dog in their blankets, "even if any fish did flop up, Bunny, Splash would catch them; wouldn't he?"
"Sure!" answered Bunny.
"You would; wouldn't you, Splash?" asked the little girl, her chubby arm around the dog's neck.
Splash whined softly, and rubbed his cold nose first against the warm cheek of Sue, and then against Bunny's. That was his way of kissing them, I think.
And so, strange as it may seem, Bunny and Sue went to sleep in the camping tent that night. They were well wrapped up in the warm blankets they had brought from their beds, and after the first few shivers they were not cold. And so they slept, and Splash slept with them. All this while Daddy Brown and Mother Brown knew nothing about their children having gone out in the night.
But Mother Brown soon found it out. I'll tell you about it.
About two o'clock every morning (when it was still quite dark, and when it was yet night, though you could call it morning), Mrs. Brown used to get up, and slip into the rooms of the children to see if they were covered up. For little folk often kick off the bed clothes in the night, and so get cold. Mother Brown did not want this to happen to Bunny and Sue.
This time, though, when Mother Brown went softly into Sue's room, to see if her little girl was all right, she did not find Sue in her bed.
"Why, this is queer," thought Mrs. Brown. "Where can Sue have gone? Perhaps she slipped out and went in with Bunny."
Sometimes Sue used to do this, when she would awaken and become a little frightened. But when Mother Brown went into Bunny's room Sue was not there, nor was Bunny. Mrs. Brown felt all over the bed, but there was not a sign of either of the children.
"Why—why!" exclaimed Mother Brown. "What can have happened to them? Where can they be? Bunny! Sue!" she called, and she spoke out loudly now.
"What is it? What's the matter?" asked Daddy Brown, as he awakened on hearing his wife call. "What has happened?"
"Why, I can't find Bunny or Sue! They're not in their beds! I came in to cover them up, as I always do, but they're not here. Oh dear! I hope nothing has happened to them!"
"Of course nothing has happened!" said Daddy Brown. He sprang out of bed and lighted a light in Bunny's room. As he took one look at the tumbled bed, and saw that two of the blankets were gone, Mr. Brown laughed.
"What are you laughing at?" his wife asked him. "I don't see anything very funny to laugh at!"
"It's those children!" said Daddy Brown, "I know where they are!"
"Where?" cried Mother Brown, eagerly. "Where?"
"Out in the tent. They've taken their blankets and gone out there to sleep. They're playing camping out, I'm sure. We'll find them in the tent."
And, surely enough, as you well know, there they found Bunny Brown and his sister Sue, fast asleep on their blankets in the tent, with Splash sleeping between them.
Splash looked up and wagged his tail as Mr. and Mrs. Brown, wearing their bath robes and slippers, came softly into the little canvas house. Splash seemed to say:
"Hush! Don't wake up the children! They're sound asleep!"
And Bunny and Sue were sound asleep. Mr. and Mrs. Brown looked at one another, smiled, and then daddy picked up Bunny, blankets and all, while Mrs. Brown did the same with Sue.
"We'll put them right in their own beds, in the house, without waking them up," whispered Daddy Brown.
"Yes," nodded Mother Brown.
"What—what's matter?" sleepily murmured Bunny as he felt himself being carried into the house. But that was all he said, and he did not even open his eyes.
Sue never said anything as her mother carried her. And as for Splash, once he saw that the children were being taken care of, he curled up in a corner of the tent, and went to sleep again.
OFF TO CAMP
Bunny Brown opened his eyes, and sat up in bed. Then he blinked his eyes. Next he rubbed them. Then he looked all around the bed.
Yes, there was no doubt about it, he was in his own little room, with the pictures he so well knew hanging on the walls, with his toys on the box in the corner. It was his own room, and he had awakened in his own bed, and yet——
"Sue! Sue!" called Bunny in a whisper, looking toward the open door of the room in which his sister slept. "Sue, is you there!"
"Yes, Bunny, I'm here."
"And are you in your own bed?"
"Yes, I is."
Sometimes Bunny and Sue did not speak just right, as perhaps you have noticed.
"But, Sue—Sue," Bunny went on, "didn't we go to sleep in the tent; or did we? Did I dream it?"
"I—I don't know, Bunny," answered Sue. "I 'members about being in the tent. And Splash was there, too. But I'm in my bed now."
"So'm I, Sue. I—I wonder how we got here?"
Bunny looked all around his room again, as if trying to solve the puzzle. But he could not guess what had happened. He remembered how he and Sue had gotten up in the middle of the night, and how they had crept inside the tent. Then Splash had come; and how funny it was when Sue thought their dog was a bear. Then they had all gone to sleep in the tent, and now——
Well, Bunny was certainly in his bed, and so was Sue in hers.
"How—how did it happen?" asked Bunny.
He heard a laugh out in the hall. Running to the door he saw his father and mother standing there. Then Bunny understood.
"Oh, you carried us in from the tent when we were asleep; didn't you, Daddy?" asked Bunny, pointing a finger at his father.
"Yes, that's what I did."
"Oh, Bunny, what made you and Sue do a thing like that?" asked Mother Brown. "I was so frightened when I came in to cover you and Sue up, and couldn't find my little ones. What made you do it?"
"Why—why," said Bunny slowly, "we wanted to get some practice at camping out, Sue and I did—just like they practice piano lessons. So we went to sleep in the tent."
"Well, don't do it again until we really go camping," said Daddy Brown. "When we are in the woods, at Lake Wanda, you can sleep in the tent as much as you like, for then we'll have cot beds and everything right. Anyhow, I'm going to take down the tent to-day and get it ready to pack up for camp."
"When are we going?" asked Bunny.
"Oh, in about a week, I guess," answered his father.
"Then I'm going to pack up," declared the little boy. "I've got lots of things I want to take to camp."
"And so have I," called Sue, who had run out of her own room. "I'm going to take two of my best dolls, and all their clothes."
"You can take some of your toys and play-things but not too many," said Mrs. Brown. "You must remember that you'll be out in the woods a good part of the time, having fun among the trees, or perhaps on the lake. So you won't want too many home-toys."
"Are we going to have a boat on the lake?" asked Bunny eagerly.
"Yes, but you're not to go out in it alone. Bunker Blue is coming with us, and he will look after you on the water, and Uncle Tad will look after you in the woods—that is when either daddy or myself is not with you children. Now you'd better get dressed for breakfast, and don't go out in the middle of the night any more and sleep in a tent."
"We won't," promised Bunny Brown and his sister Sue.
That week began the work of getting ready to go to camp. One of the first things Daddy Brown did was to get two other tents. One of these was to be the dining-room tent, where the table would be set for eating when in camp. Another tent, smaller than either of the two, would do to cook in.
Besides the tents they must take with them things to eat, knives, forks, spoons, dishes, pots and pans, an oil stove and bed clothing.
All these things Daddy Brown, or Mother Brown, with the help of Uncle Tad or Bunker Blue, packed. The big automobile, in which the Brown family had eaten and slept when on their trip to grandpa's farm, was once more made ready for a journey.
In this were packed the tents, the bedding, the stove, the good things to eat, and all that would be needed in camp. Of course, they could not take with them all they would want to eat through the summer, for they expected to stay in camp until fall. But there were stores not far from Lake Wanda, and in them could be bought bread, butter, sugar, tea, coffee, or whatever else was needed.
"Are we going to sleep in the automobile this time?" asked Bunny, as he looked inside the big moving van. "I don't see where we can make a bed," Bunny went on, for the van was quite filled with the tents, cot-beds, chairs, tables, the oil stove and other things.
"No, we're not going to sleep in the auto this time," said Mr. Brown. "It will only take us a day to get from here to Lake Wanda where we are going to camp. So we will get up here, in our own home in the morning, ride to camp, put up the tents, and that same night we will sleep in them."
"Oh, what fun it will be!" cried Sue, joyfully.
"It will be dandy!" exclaimed Bunny. "And I'll catch fish for our supper in the lake."
"I hope you won't catch them as you caught the turtle in the New York aquarium, the time we went to Aunt Lu's city home," said Mother Brown with a laugh.
"No, I won't catch any mud turtles," promised Bunny.
In the book before this one I've told you about Bunny catching the turtle on a bent pin hook with a piece of rag for bait. He had quite an exciting time.
Everyone at the Brown house was busy now. There was much to be done to get ready to go to camp. Bunny and Sue were each given a box, and told that this must hold all their toys and playthings.
"You may take with you only as much as your two boxes will hold," said Daddy Brown to Bunny and Sue. "So pick out the play-toys you like best, as the two boxes are all you may have. And when you get to camp I want you always, when you have finished playing, to put back in the boxes the toys you have finished with.
"In that way you will always know where they are, when you want them again, and you won't have to be looking for them, or asking your mother or me to help you find them. Besides, we must keep our camp looking nice, and a camp can't look nice if toys and play-things are scattered all about.
"So pick out the things you want to take with you, pack them in your boxes and, after you get to camp, keep your toys in the boxes. That is one of our rules."
"Aye, aye, sir!" answered Bunny making a funny little bob with his head as he had seen some of the old sailors, at his father's dock, do when they answered.
"I'm just going to take my dolls, and some picture books for them to look at," said Sue.
"Pooh! Dolls can't look at picture books!" exclaimed Bunny.
"Yes, they can too!" cried Sue.
"No, they can't!"
"Well, I mean make-believe, Bunny Brown!"
"Oh, well, yes; make-believe! I thought you meant real."
"Well, I can look at them real," said Sue, "and make believe I'm reading to my dolls."
"Oh, yes," agreed Bunny.
"What are you going to take?" asked Sue of her brother.
"Oh, I'm going to take my fish pole, and my pop gun——"
"That only shoots a cork!" cried Sue. "You can't hit any bears with that."
"I can scare 'em with it when it pops!" cried Bunny. "That's all I want to do. I don't want to kill a bear, anyhow. I just want to scare 'em. And maybe when I scare a little bear I can grab it and bring it home and tame it."
"Oh, if you only could!" cried Sue. "Then we could make it do tricks, and we could get a hand-organ and go around with a trained bear instead of a monkey."
"Yes," said Bunny. "We could until the bear got too big. I guess I wouldn't want a big bear, Sue."
"No, little ones is the nicest. Maybe we'd better get a monkey, anyhow, 'cause they never grow big."
"I don't believe any monkeys grow in the woods where we're going to camp," observed Bunny. "But we'll look, anyhow, and maybe I can scare one of them with my pop gun."
Then the two children talked of what fun they would have in camp. They put things in their two boxes, took them out again and tried to crowd in more, for they found they did not want to leave any of their toys or play-things behind. But they could not get them all in two small boxes, so finally they picked out what they liked best, and these were put in the automobile.
Mr. and Mrs. Brown had done most of the other packing. The auto-moving van was quite full, there being just room enough for Mrs. Brown, Uncle Tad and the two children to ride in the back, while Daddy Brown and Bunker Blue sat on the front seat.
At last everything was ready. The last things had been put in the automobile, and tied fast. The children took their places, and called to Splash. Of course he was to go with them. He would run along the road, until he grew tired, and then he could ride in the automobile.
"All aboard!" called Bunker Blue as he sat at the steering wheel. "Is everybody ready?"
"I am!" answered Bunny Brown. "I've got my fishing pole, and I can dig some worms when I get to camp."
"Are you going to fish with worms?" asked Sue.
"Sure I am! Fishes love worms."
"I don't!" Sue said. "Worms is so squiggily." She always said that when Bunny spoke of worms.
"Well, I guess we're all ready," remarked Daddy Brown. "Start off, Bunker Blue."
"Chug-chug!" went the automobile.
"Bow-wow!" barked the dog Splash.
"Good-bye!" called Bunny and Sue to some of their little boy and girl friends who had gathered to wave farewell. "Good-bye! Good-bye!"
Then the big automobile rolled out into the road. The Browns were off to camp.
PUTTING UP THE TENTS
"How long will it take us to get to Lake Wanda, Mother?" asked Bunny Brown, as, with Sue and Uncle Tad, he and his mother sat in the back of the big car that rumbled along the road.
"Oh, we ought to get there about noon," she answered.
"Just in time to eat," said Uncle Tad. "I suppose you children will be good and hungry, too."
"I'm hungry now," said Sue, "I wish I had a jam tart, Mother."
"So do I!" put in Bunny.
"I'll give you one in a few minutes," Mrs. Brown said. "We did have an early breakfast, and I suppose you are hungry now."
"Will we have to cook dinner as soon as we get to camp?" Bunny wanted to know.
"If we do I'll help," said Uncle Tad with a smile. "I can build a campfire. When I was a soldier, in the army, down South, we used to build campfires, and roast potatoes when we couldn't find anything else to eat."
"Did they taste good, Uncle Tad?" asked Sue.
"Indeed they did, little girl. And we had roast ears of corn, too. They were even better than the potatoes."
"I guess we'll have to make Uncle Tad the camp cook," said Mother Brown with a smile, as she brought out a basket of lunch for Bunny and Sue. In the basket were some cakes, sandwiches and a few of the jam and jelly tarts that Aunt Lu used to make. Only, as Aunt Lu had gone back to her city home, Mrs. Brown had learned to make the tarts, and Bunny and Sue were very fond of them.
As they rode along in the big automobile the children ate the little lunch, and enjoyed it very much. Uncle Tad took some too, for he had gotten up early, with the others, and he was hungry.
"I wonder if Daddy and Bunker Blue wouldn't like a tart," murmured Sue, after a bit, as she picked up the last crumbs of hers.
"Perhaps they would," said Mother Brown. "But they are away up on the front seat, and I don't see how we can pass them any. There is too much in the auto, or I could hand it to them out of the little window back of the seat. But I can't reach the window."
"I know how we could pass them a tart," said Bunny.
"How?" asked his mother.
"Climb up on the roof of the auto, and lower the lunch basket down to them with a string."
"Bunny Brown! Don't you dare think of such a thing!" cried his mother. "The idea of climbing onto the roof of this big automobile when it's moving!"
"Oh, I didn't mean when it was moving," Bunny said. "I wouldn't do that, for fear I'd be jiggled off. I meant to wait until we stopped. Then I could get up on the roof."
"No need to do that," said Uncle Tad. "For when we stop, then one of you can get down, and run up ahead with something for daddy and Bunker Blue."
And, a little later, the automobile did stop.
"What's the matter?" called Mrs. Brown to her husband, who was up on the front seat. "Did anything happen?"
"No, only the automobile needs a drink of water," answered Mr. Brown. I have told you how automobiles need water, as much as horses do, or as you do, when you get warm. Of course the automobile does not exactly drink the water. But some must be poured in, from time to time, to keep the engine cool. And this was why Bunker Blue stopped the automobile now.
While he was pouring water in, dipping it up with a pail from a cold spring beside the road, Bunny and Sue got out and took their father and the red-haired boy some jam and jelly tarts, and also some sandwiches.
"My! This is fine!" cried Mr. Brown, as he ate the good things Sue handed him. "I'm glad we're going camping; aren't you, children?"
"Oh, I should say we were glad!" cried Bunny, as he took a drink from the spring. There was half a brown cocoanut shell for a dipper, and Bunny thought he had never drunk such cool, sweet water.
Then, when Bunker Blue had eaten his sandwiches and tarts, they started off once more, rumbling along the country roads toward Lake Wanda.
"I wish we'd hurry up and get there," said Sue. "I want to see what camping is like."
"Oh, we'll soon be there," promised Daddy Brown, "and there'll be work enough for all of us. We'll have three tents to put up, and many other things to do."
On and on went the big automobile. Splash ran along the road, some time at the side of the car, sometimes behind it, and, once in a while, away up ahead, as if he were looking to see that the road was safe.
After a bit the dog came back to the automobile, and walked along so slowly, with his red tongue hanging out, that Sue said:
"Oh, poor Splash must be tired! Let's give him a ride, Mother!"
"All right. Call him up here."
"Come on, Splash!" called Bunny and Sue, for they each owned half the dog. They had pretended to divide him down the middle, so each one might have part of the wagging tail, and part of the barking head. It was more fun owning a dog that way.
Up jumped Splash into the back of the auto-moving van. He stretched out on a roll of carpet that was to be spread over the board floor of the big tent, and went to sleep. But first Bunny had given him some sweet crackers to eat. Splash was very fond of these crackers.
The automobile was going down hill now, and when it reached the bottom it came to a stop again.
"What's the matter now?" asked Mother Brown. "Does the auto want another drink?"
"No, not just now," answered daddy. "Something has happened this time."
"Oh, I hope nothing is broken!" said Mrs. Brown.
"Not with us," answered her husband. "But there is an automobile just ahead of us that seems to be in trouble. They are stuck in the mud, I think."
Bunny Brown and his sister Sue, their mother, Uncle Tad and even Splash got out to see what the matter was. I don't really believe Splash cared what had happened, but he always went where Bunny and Sue went, and when he saw them go this time he went with them.
Walking up toward the front part of the big automobile, where Bunker Blue and Daddy Brown sat, Mrs. Brown, Uncle Tad and the children saw, just ahead, a small automobile, off to one side of the road. The wheels were away down in the soft mud, and a man at the steering wheel was trying to make the car move up onto the hard road, but he could not do it.
"You seem to be in trouble," said Daddy Brown. There were two ladies out on the road, watching the man trying to start the car.
"I am in trouble," said the man down in the mud. "I turned off the road to pass a hay wagon, but I did not think the mud was so soft down here, or I never would have done it. Now I am stuck and I can't seem to get out."
"Perhaps I can help you," said Daddy Brown. "I have a very strong automobile here. I'll go on ahead, keeping to the road, and I'll tie a rope to your car, and fasten the other end to mine. Then I'll pull you out of the mud."
"I'd be very thankful to you if you would."
"Yes, we'd be ever so much obliged," echoed the two ladies, whose shoes were all muddy from having jumped out of the automobile down into the ditch.
It did not take Daddy Brown and Bunker Blue long to fasten a rope from their automobile to the one stuck in the mud. Then when the big auto-moving van, in which the Browns were going to camp, started off down the road, it pulled the small car from the mud as easily as anything.
"Thank you, very much," said the man when he saw that he and the ladies could go on again. "The next time I get behind a hay wagon I'll wait until I have room to turn out, without getting into a mud hole. I'm very much obliged to you, Mr. Brown, and if ever you get stuck in the mud I hope I can pull you out."
"I'm afraid you couldn't do it with your small car, when my auto is such a large one." Mr. Brown answered, "but thank you just the same."
Then the man in his small automobile, rode off with the two women, and, a little later, the Browns were once more on their way.
It was a little before noon when they came in sight of a big lake, which they could see through the trees. It was not far from the road.
"Oh, what lake is that?" asked Mrs. Brown.
"That is Lake Wanda, where we are going to camp," said Mr. Brown. "We'll turn in toward it, pretty soon, and begin putting up the tents."
"You said we'd have dinner first!" cried Bunny Brown.
"Are you hungry again?" asked his mother.
"I guess riding and being out in the air make them hungry," said Uncle Tad. "Well, children must eat to grow big and strong."
"Then Bunny and Sue ought to be regular giants!" laughed Mrs. Brown, "for they are eating all the while."
A little later the big automobile turned off the main road into a smaller one, that led to the lake. And when the children and Mrs. Brown had a good view of the large sheet of water they thought it one of the most beautiful they had ever seen.
The lake was deep blue in color, and all around it were hills, and little mountains, with many trees on them. The trees were covered with beautiful, green leaves.
"Oh, this is a lovely place," cried Mother Brown. "Just lovely!"
"I'm glad you like it," said her husband.
"I like it, too," echoed Bunny.
"So do I," added Sue.
"Well, shall we begin putting up the tents?" asked Mr. Brown. "It will be night almost before you know it here. You see the hills are so high that the sun seems to go to bed sooner here than he does at home."
"Oh, let's rest awhile before we do anything," said Mother Brown. "Just rest awhile and look at the lake."
"Hurrah!" suddenly cried Daddy Brown. "That's it! I've been trying to think what to call it, but you've done it for me. That's just what we'll call it! There couldn't be a better name!"
"Why, what are you talking about?" asked Mrs. Brown, in surprise.
"The name of our camp," explained Daddy Brown, laughing. "I have been trying, ever since we started, to think of a good name for it. 'Rest-a-While,' will be the very thing. That's just what you said a moment ago you know. 'Let's rest awhile and look at the lake.' So we will call this Camp Rest-a-While! Isn't that a good name?"
"Why, yes, it does sound very nice," said Mother Brown. "Camp Rest-a-While! That's what we'll call it then, though I didn't know I was naming a camp. Well, children—Uncle Tad—Bunker—and all of us—Welcome to Camp Rest-a-While!"
"Hurrah!" cried Bunny and Sue, clapping their hands.
And so the camp was named.
Mrs. Brown set out a little lunch, and they gathered about one of the boxes, in which the bed clothes were packed, to eat. The box was set on the ground, under a big chestnut tree.
"Where are you going to put up the tents?" asked Mother Brown.
"Right where we are now," said Daddy Brown. "I think we could not find a nicer spot. Here is a good place for our boat, when we get it. It is nice and dry here, and we can see all over the lake. Yes, this is where we will put up the tents for Camp Rest-a-While."
And, after they had all eaten lunch, including Splash, who was as hungry as Bunny or Sue, the work of putting up the tents was begun. The canvas houses were unrolled, and spread out on the ground. Then Daddy Brown, with Bunker Blue and Uncle Tad to help, put up the tent poles, and spread the canvas over them. By pulling on certain ropes, raising the poles, and then tying the poles fast so they would not fall over, the tents were put up.
There was the big one, that could be made into two or even three rooms, for them all to sleep in, Bunny, Daddy Brown, Uncle Tad and Bunker Blue in one part, and Mother Brown and Sue in the other, with a third part for company.
The big tent was almost up. Only one more rope needed to be made fast. Bunker Blue was pulling on this when Bunny and Sue, who were helping, heard Splash give a sudden bark. Then the dog jumped into the lake, and the children, looking, saw a great commotion going on in the water near shore. Splash seemed either to have caught something, or to have been caught himself. He was barking, howling and whining.
"Oh, a big fish has caught Splash! A big fish has caught our dog!" cried Sue, and, dropping the tent rope, of which she had hold, down to the edge of the lake she ran.
A BIG BLACK BEAR
Something certainly seemed to be the matter with Splash. Bunny and Sue had never seen their dog act in such a funny way. He would dash into the water, not going far from shore, though, and then he would jump back, barking all the while.
Once or twice he tried to grab, in his sharp teeth, something that seemed to be swimming in the water. But either Splash could not get it, or he was afraid to come too close to it.
"Oh, Daddy! What is it? What is it?" asked Bunny and Sue.
Mr. Brown, who with Bunker Blue and Uncle Tad, was fastening the last ropes of the tent, hurried down to the shore of the lake.
"What is it? What's the matter, Splash? What is it?" asked Mr. Brown.
Splash never turned around to look at daddy. He again rushed into the water, barking and snapping his sharp teeth. Then Mr. Brown, taking up a stick, ran toward the dog.
"Let it alone, Splash! Let it alone!" cried Daddy Brown. "That's a big muskrat, and if it bites you it will make a bad sore. Let it alone!"
Daddy Brown struck at something in the water, and Bunny and Sue, running down to the edge of the lake, saw a large, brown animal, with long hair, swimming out toward the middle. Splash started to follow but Mr. Brown caught the dog by the collar.
"No you don't!" cried Bunny's father, "You let that muskrat alone, Splash. He's so big, and such a good swimmer, that he might pull you under the water and drown you. Let him alone."
Bunker Blue, who had come down to the edge of the lake, threw a stone at the swimming muskrat. The queer animal at once made a dive and went under the water, for muskrats can swim under the water as well as on top, and Bunny and Sue saw it no more.
Splash rushed around, up and down the shore, barking loudly, but he did not try to swim out. I think he knew Mr. Brown was right in what he said—that it was not good to be bitten by a muskrat.
"Is that what it was, Daddy—a rat?" asked Bunny.
"Yes," answered his father. "Splash must have seen the muskrat swimming in the water, and tried to get it. The muskrat didn't want to be caught, so it fought back. But I'm glad it got away without being hurt, and I'm glad Splash wasn't bitten."
"What's a muskrat?" Sue wanted to know.
"Well, it's a big rat that lives in the water," said Daddy Brown. "It is much larger than the kind of rat that is around houses and barns, and it has fine, soft fur which trappers sell, to make fur-lined overcoats, and cloaks, for men and women. The fur is very good, and some persons say the muskrat is good to eat, but I would not like to try eating it. But this muskrat was a big one, and as they have sharp teeth, and can bite hard when they are angry, it is a good thing we drove it away."
Bunny and Sue looked out over the lake. They could see the muskrat no longer, though there was a little ripple in the water where it had dived down to get away.
"Now we must finish putting up the tents," said Daddy Brown. "It will be night before we know it, and we want a good place to sleep in at Camp Rest-a-While."
"And are we going to have a fire, where we can cook something?" asked Bunny.
"Yes, we'll have the oil stove set up."
"I thought we would have a campfire," said the little boy.
"So we shall!" exclaimed Uncle Tad. "I'll make a campfire for you, children, and we'll bake some potatoes in it. We'll have them for supper, with whatever else mother cooks on the oil stove."
"I'll get some sticks of wood for the fire!" cried Sue.
"So will I!" added Bunny.
And while the older folk were finishing putting up the tents, and while Mother Brown was getting out the bed clothes, Bunny and Sue made a pile of sticks and twigs for the fire their uncle had promised to make.
Soon the big sleeping tent was put up, and divided into two parts, one for Sue and her mother, and the other for Bunny and the men folk. Cot-beds were put up in the tent, and blankets, sheets and pillows put on them, so the tent was really like a big bedroom.
"It will be nicer sleeping here than on the ground, like we did in the tent at home that night," said Bunny to Sue.
"Yes, I guess it will," she answered. "My dollie won't catch cold in a nice bed."
"Did she catch cold before?" Bunny wanted to know.
"Well, she had the sniffle-snuffles, and that's almost like a cold," Sue answered.
In the second-sized tent the dining table had been set up, and the chairs put around ready for the first meal, which would be supper. Mother Brown got the dishes out of the box, and called:
"Now, Bunny and Sue, let me see you set the table."
She had taught them at home how to put on the plates, knives, forks, spoons, cups, saucers and whatever was needed, and now Bunny and Sue did this, as their share of the work, while Bunker Blue, and the older folk, were busy doing different things.
In the cooking tent the oil stove was set up and lighted, to make sure it burned well. Then Camp Rest-a-While looked just like its name—a place where boys and girls, as well as men and women could come and have a nice rest, near the beautiful lake.
When everything was nearly finished, and it was about time to start getting supper, a man came rowing along the shore of the lake in a boat. He called to Mr. Brown:
"Hey, there! Is this where you want your boat left?"
"Yes, thank you. Tie it right there," answered Daddy Brown.
"Oh, is that going to be our boat?" asked Bunny, in delight.
"Yes," answered his father, "I wrote to a man up here that has boats to let, to bring us a nice one. We'll use it while we are in camp. But you children must never get in the boat without asking me, or your mother. You mustn't get in even when it's tied to the shore."
"We won't!" promised Bunny and Sue. Once they had gotten in a boat that they thought was tied fast, but it had floated away with them. They landed on an island in the river, and had some adventures, of which I have told you in the first book of this series.
Bunny and Sue remembered this, so they knew that sometimes it was not even safe to get in a boat which was tied fast, unless some older person was with them.
The man left the boat he had brought for Mr. Brown. It was a large one and would easily hold Bunny and Sue, as well as all the others at Camp Rest-a-While.
"Now for the roast potatoes!" cried Uncle Tad. "Come on, children! We'll start our campfire, for I see your mother getting the meat ready to cook, and it takes quite a while to roast potatoes out of doors."
The campfire was built between two big stones, Bunny and Sue bringing up the wood they had gathered. Uncle Tad lighted the fire, for it is not safe for children to handle matches, or even be near an open fire, unless some older person is with them. Bunny and Sue had often been told this, so they were very careful.
When the fire had blazed up good and hot, Uncle Tad let it cool down a bit. Then he raked away the red hot embers and put in them some nice, big, round potatoes. These he covered up in the hot ashes, and put on more wood.
"Now the potatoes are baking," he said. "They will be done in time for supper."
And what a fine supper it was—that first one in camp! Bunny and Sue thought they had never tasted anything so good. They all sat in the dining tent, and Mother Brown put the things on the table.
"Now where are your potatoes, Uncle Tad?" she asked.
"Here they are!" cried the old soldier, as he went to the campfire. He raked away the ashes and embers with a stick, and on a platter, made from a large piece of bark, off a tree, the old soldier poked out a number of round, black, smoking things.
"Why—why!" exclaimed Sue, in surprise. "I thought you baked potatoes, Uncle Tad!"
"So I did, Sue."
"They look like black stones," said Bunny.
"You wait—I'll show you," laughed Uncle Tad. He brought the bark platter to the table. Taking up a fork he opened one of the round, black, smoking things. Though the outside was burned black from the fire, the inside was almost as white as snow.
"There's baked potatoes for you!" cried Uncle Tad. "Put some salt and butter on them, and you never tasted anything better! But be careful—for they're very hot!"
Supper over, the dishes were washed and put away. Then there was nothing to do but wait until it was time to go to bed.
"And I think we're all tired enough to go early to-night," said Mother Brown.
"But, before we go," said her husband, "I think we will have a little row on the lake in our boat. It is not yet dark."
It was beautiful out on the water, and the sun, sinking down behind the hills, made the clouds look as though they were colored blue, pink, purple and golden.
Bunny and Sue were almost asleep when the boat was headed back toward shore, and their eyes were tight shut, when daddy and mother lifted them out to carry them up to Camp Rest-a-While. The children hardly awakened when they were undressed and put to bed, and soon every one was sound asleep, for it was a dark night.
Bunny Brown was sleeping in the outer part of the bedroom-tent, in a cot next to his father's. Just what made Bunny awaken he did not know. But, all at once the little fellow sat up on his cot, and looked with wide-open eyes toward the entrance. There was a lantern burning in the tent, and by the light of it Bunny Brown saw a big shaggy animal, standing on its hind legs, and sniffing with its black nose. At first Bunny could not make a sound, he was so frightened, but finally he screamed:
"Oh, Daddy! Daddy! Wake up! It's a bear! A bear! A big black bear in the tent!"
Then Bunny slipped down between the blankets and covered up his head with the bed clothes.
THE RAGGED BOY
Daddy Brown was used to being suddenly aroused in the night by either Bunny or Sue. At home the children often awakened, and called out. Sometimes they would be dreaming, or perhaps they would want a drink of water. So Daddy Brown and Mrs. Brown Were used to answering when they heard the children call out.
But it was something new to hear Bunny calling about a big, black bear. He had never done that before, though one time, when he ate too much bread and jam for supper, he screamed that there was an elephant in his room, and there wasn't at all. He had only dreamed it.
But this time Daddy Brown had plainly heard his little boy say:
"Oh, it's a bear! It's a bear!"
Mr. Brown awakened, and sat up in his cot. He looked over toward Bunny's bed, but could see nothing of the little fellow, for as I have told you, Bunny was covered up under the blankets and quilt. Even his head was covered.
Then Mr. Brown looked toward the entrance, or front door of the tent. And, to his surprise, he saw just what Bunny had seen, a big, shaggy, hairy animal, standing on its hind legs, with its black nose up in the air, sniffing and snuffing.
"Why—why!" exclaimed Mr. Brown, rubbing his eyes to make sure that he was wide awake, and that he was not dreaming, as he thought Bunny might have been. "Why—why! It is a bear!"
"Sniff! Snuff!" went the big, shaggy creature.
"Daddy—Daddy!" cried Bunny, his voice sounding faint and far off, because his head was under the covers. "Daddy, is—is he gone?"
"No, not yet," answered Mr. Brown.
"What is it? What's the matter?" called Mrs. Brown, from behind the curtain, where she slept.
"Why," said Mr. Brown slowly. "It—it seems to be a——"
Then he stopped. He did not want to scare his wife or Sue, by telling them there was a bear in the tent, and yet there was.
"Oh, what is it?" cried Mrs. Brown again. "I heard Bunny crying! Is anything the matter with him?"
"No, he's all right," answered Bunny's papa. That was true enough. There was really nothing the matter with the little boy. He was just a bit frightened, that was all.
"But something is the matter," said Mrs. Brown, "I know there is! Why don't you tell me what it is?"
Daddy Brown did not know just what to do. He sat up in bed, thinking and looking first at the bear and then at Bunny. All Mr. Brown could see of Bunny was a heap under the bedclothes. But the bear was in plain sight, standing in the doorway of the tent, sniffing and snuffing near the lighted lantern.
Mr. Brown did not want to speak about the bear. He thought the big, shaggy creature looked quite gentle, and perhaps it would go away if no one harmed it. Perhaps it was just looking for something to eat, and as it couldn't find anything in the bedroom tent it might go to the one where the cooking was done.
Bunker Blue was still sound asleep, and so was Uncle Tad. Nor had Sue, sleeping next to her mother, in the other part of the tent, been awakened. Just Bunny Brown, and his father and mother were wide awake. Oh, yes, of course the bear was not asleep. I forgot about that. His little black eyes blinked, and opened and shut, and he wrinkled up his rubber-like nose as he sniffed the air.
"Well, aren't you going to tell me what it is? What's the matter in there? What happened?" asked Mother Brown. "If you don't tell me——"
By this time Bunny Brown made up his mind that he would be brave. He uncovered one eye and peered out from beneath the bed clothes. His first sight was of the bear, who was still there.
"Oh! Oh!" cried Bunny. "It is a bear! It's a big, black bear! I didn't dream it! It's real! a real, big, black bear!"
Mrs. Brown heard what her little boy said.
"Oh, Walter!" she cried to her husband. "Throw something at it. Here's my shoe—throw that. I've got two shoes, but I can only find one. Throw that at the bear and make him go away!"
Mrs. Brown threw over the curtain, that divided the tent into two parts, one of her shoes.
She really had two shoes, but when she felt under her cot in the dark, she could only find one. You know how it is when you try to find anything in the dark, even if it's a drink of water in the chair at the head of our bed. You move your hand all over, and you think some one must have come in and taken the water away. And when you get a light you find that, all the while, your hand was about an inch away from the glass. It was that way with Mrs. Brown's other shoe.
But she threw one over the curtain, calling out again:
"Hit him with that, Walter! Hit the bear with my shoe!"
But there was no need for Mr. Brown to do anything. The shoe thrown by Bunny's mother sailed through the tent. Straight at the bear it went, and before the shaggy creature could get out of the way, the shoe hit him on the end of the nose.
"Bunk!" went the shoe.
"Wuff!" grunted the bear.
Now you know a bear's nose is his most tender part. You could hit him on his head, or on his back, or on his paw—that is if you were brave enough to hit a bear at all—but you would not hurt him, hardly any, unless you hit him right on the end of his soft and tender nose. That's the best place to hit a bear if you want to drive him away, out of your tent, or anything like that. Hit him on the nose.
"Whack!" went Mrs. Brown's shoe on the end of the bear's nose.
"Wuff!" grunted the bear, and down he dropped on all four paws.
Now Mrs. Brown really did not mean to hit the bear. She was just tossing her shoe over the curtain so her husband might have something to throw at the bear, and, as it happened, she hit the bear by accident.
Of course it might have been better if one of Mr. Brown's shoes had hit the bear. I mean it would have been better for the Brown family, but worse for the bear. Because Mr. Brown's shoes were larger and heavier than his wife's. But then, it turned out all right anyhow.
For, no sooner did the bear feel Mrs. Brown's shoe hit him on the nose, than he cried out:
Then he turned quickly around, and ran out of the tent.
"Did you throw my shoe at him? Did you make him go away?" asked Mrs. Brown. "Because if you didn't, Walter, I've found my other shoe now, and I'll throw that to you."
"You won't need to, my dear," said Mr. Brown with a laugh. "One shoe was enough. You hit the bear yourself!"
"Yes, and he's gone. It's all right, Bunny. You can put your head out now. The bear is gone."
Bunny peeped with one eye, and when he saw that the big, shaggy creature was no longer there, he put his whole head out. Then, with a bound he jumped out of bed, and ran toward the back part of the tent, where his mother and sister were sleeping.
"Where you going, Bunny?" asked his father. "There's no more danger; the bear has gone."
"I—I'm just going in here to get my pop gun, so if the bear comes back——" Bunny said, "My pop gun is in here."
"Oh," said Mr. Brown, "I thought you were going to crawl in bed with your mother."
"Oh, no—no!" Bunny quickly answered, shaking his head. "I—I just want my pop gun. But," he went on, "if mother wants me to get in bed with her, and keep the bear away, why I will. Don't be afraid. I'll get in bed with you, Mother!"
"Oh, I guess the bear won't come back," said Mr. Brown with a laugh.
"Well, I'll get in bed with mother anyhow," said Bunny. "I'll have my pop gun all ready."
By this time Uncle Tad, Bunker Blue and Sue had been awakened by the talk. Outside the tent Splash could be heard barking, and there was a noise among the trees and bushes that told that the bear was running away.
"I—I hope he doesn't bite our dog," said Bunny.
"Oh, I guess Splash will know enough to keep away from the bear," replied Mr. Brown. "Besides, I think the bear was only a tame one, anyhow."
"A tame bear?" asked Uncle Tad, as he was told all that had happened.
"Yes. He didn't act at all like a wild one. Besides, there aren't any wild bears in this part of the country. This was a tame one all right."
"Where did it come from?" asked Mrs. Brown.
"Oh, I think it got away from some man who goes about the country making the bear do tricks. Probably in the morning we'll see the man looking for his bear," answered her husband.
And that is just what happened. There was no more trouble that night. Everyone went to sleep again, Bunny in the cot with his mother; though when he was asleep and slumbering soundly, she carried him back to his own little bed near his father.
Soon after breakfast the next morning, when they were talking about the bear scare in the night, along came a man, who looked like an Italian organ-grinder. He said he had a pet, tame bear, who had broken away from where he was tied, in the night.
And it was this bear who had wandered into the tent where Bunny was sleeping. Where the bear was now no one knew, but the Italian said he would walk off through the woods, and see if he could not find his pet, which he had trained to do many tricks.
Two or three days later, Mr. Brown heard that the bear was safely found, so there was no more need to worry about his coming into the tent at night.
That day Daddy Brown, with the help of Uncle Tad and Bunker Blue printed a big cloth sign which they hung up between two trees. The sign read:
"There," said Daddy Brown, "now the postman will know where to find us when he comes with letters."
"Oh, do they have mail up here?" asked Sue.
"No, daddy is only joking," said her mother. "I guess we'll have to go to the post office for letters."
One day, when they had been in camp about a week, Bunny and Sue, with the others, returned from a walk in the woods. As they came near the "dining-room tent," as they called it, they saw a ragged boy spring up from the table with some pieces of bread and meat, and dash into the bushes.
"Hold on there! Who are you? What do you want?" cried Daddy Brown. But the ragged boy did not stop running. He wanted to hide in the bushes.
TOM HEARS A NOISE
Bunny Brown and his sister Sue, with their father, mother, Uncle Tad and Bunker Blue, hurried on toward the tent under which was set the dining table. They could see where the ragged boy had made a meal for himself, taking the bread and meat from the ice box. For a refrigerator had been brought to camp, and the iceman came on a boat, once a day, to leave ice.
"Who is he?" asked Bunny Brown, looking toward the bushes behind which the strange boy had run.
"What did he want?" Sue asked.
"I can answer you, Sue, but I can't answer Bunny," said Mr. Brown. "That boy was hungry, and wanted something to eat, but who he is I don't know."
"Poor little chap," said Mrs. Brown in a kind voice. "He didn't need to run away just because he wanted something to eat. I would be glad to give him all he wanted. I wouldn't see anyone go hungry."
"He looked like a tramp," said Bunker.
"But he was only a boy," remarked Uncle Tad.
"I wish he hadn't run away," said Mother Brown. "I don't believe he got half enough to eat. He took only a little." She could tell that by looking in the ice box.
By this time Splash, the big dog, who had not come up with the others, now rushed into camp. He sniffed around, and then, all of a sudden, he made a dash for a clump of bushes, and, standing in front of it began barking loudly.
"Oh, maybe the bear's come back and is hiding in there!" cried Bunny.
"More likely it's that ragged boy," said Uncle Tad. "That's where he made a rush for as soon as we came up."
Splash seemed about to go into the bushes himself, and drive, or drag, out whatever was hiding there.
But Mr. Brown called:
"Here, Splash! Come here, sir!"
The dog came back and then Bunny's father, going over to the bushes, looked down among them.
"You'd better come out," he said, to someone. The children could not see who it was. "Come on out," said Mr. Brown, "we won't hurt you."
Out of the bushes came the ragged boy. In his hand he still had some of the bread and meat he had taken from the ice box.
Bunny and Sue looked at him.
The boy's clothes were very ragged, but they seemed to be clean. He had on no shoes or stockings, but one foot was wrapped up in a rag, as though he had cut himself. He limped a little, too, as he came forward.
"I—I couldn't run very fast with my sore foot, or I'd a' got away from you," he said slowly.
"But why should you want to get away?" asked Mr. Brown.
"Well, I took some of your stuff—I was hungry and I went through the ice box—and I s'posed you'd be looking for a policeman to have me arrested. That's why I ran. But I couldn't go very far, so I hid in the bushes. I thought I could get away when you weren't looking. Here's your stuff," and he held out to Mrs. Brown what was left of the bread and meat. Bunny and Sue thought the ragged boy looked hungrily at the food as he offered to give it back.
"You poor boy!" said Mrs. Brown, "I don't want it! You're welcome to that and more, if you need it. You must be hungry!"
"I am, lady. I haven't had anything since morning. I started to go back to the city, but it's farther than I thought, and I lost my way. When I struck this camp, I saw the sign—'Rest-a-While,' so I sat down to rest. Then I saw the ice box, and I was hungry, and—and I—well, I just helped myself."
His face was sunburned, so it could not be told whether he was blushing or not, but he hung his head as if ashamed of what he had done. He still held out the meat to Mrs. Brown.
Splash, who, now that he knew the boy was a friend of the family, did not bark any more, slid gently up, and began nibbling at the meat and bread in the boy's hand.
"Oh, look at Splash!" laughed Sue.
"Here, Splash! That isn't for you!" cried Mr. Brown. "But you might as well give it to him now, now that he's had his tongue on it," said Mr. Brown to the ragged boy. "We'll give you some more."
"Yes, sit right up to the table," said Mrs. Brown. "I'll get you a good meal."
The boy's eyes filled with tears, and he turned his head away so they would not be seen.
"Where did you come from?" asked Daddy Brown, as Mrs. Brown was setting out some food.
"I come from Benton," the boy answered, naming a city about twenty miles away. "I've lived there all my life until about a week ago, and I wish I was back there now."
"How did you come to leave?"
"Well, all my folks died, and I couldn't make much of a living selling papers, running errands and blacking shoes, so when a farmer down in the city market, said he wanted a boy on his farm, I said I'd come and work for him.
"I rode out on his wagon, after he had sold all his stuff one day, and I came to a place called Fayetteville."
"Yes, I know where that is," said Mr. Brown. "It's on the other side of the lake."
"I went to work for the farmer," said the ragged boy, who gave his name as Tom Vine, "but it was worse than being in the city. I never had a minute's rest and I didn't get enough to eat. I wasn't used to working out in the hot sun, and my legs and arms seemed as if they'd burn off me."
"Yes, I can see you're pretty well burned," said Mr. Brown. "Then you ran away?"
"Yes, sir. I couldn't stand it any longer. The farmer and his hired man used to whip me if I made a mistake, or if I didn't get up early enough. And they used to get up before daylight. So I made up my mind to run away, and go back to the city.
"I used to think the country was nice," the ragged boy went on, "but I don't any more. I don't mind working, but I don't want to be starved and whipped all the while. So I ran off, but I guess I got lost, for I can't find the way back to the city. I don't know what to do. When I got here, and saw that sign about resting, I thought that was what I needed. So I came in."
"And I'm glad you did," said Mrs. Brown. "Now you eat this and you'll feel better. Then I'll look at your sore foot, and we'll see what to do with you."
"You—you won't have me arrested; will you?" asked the boy.
"No, indeed!" said Mr. Brown.
"And you—you won't send me back to that farmer?"
"No, I think not. He has no right to make you work for him if you don't want to. Don't be afraid," said Bunny's father. "We'll look after you."
A little later the ragged boy had eaten a good meal. Then he was given some of Bunker Blue's old clothes, for he was almost as large as the red-haired boy, and the old clothes were thrown away.
Mr. Brown looked at the boy's sore foot, and found that there was a big sharp thorn in one toe. When this thorn had been taken out, and the toe bound up with salve, the ragged boy said he felt much better. Perhaps I shouldn't call him a ragged boy any longer, for he was not, with Bunker's clothes on.
"Mother, is he going to stay with us?" asked Bunny that evening when it was nearly supper time, and the new boy—Tom Vine—had gone after a pail of water at the spring.
"Would you care to have him stay?" asked Mrs. Brown.
"Yes," said Sue. "He's nice. I like him."
"Well, we'll keep him for a while," answered Mrs. Brown. "He needs help, I think."
Tom Vine told more of his story after supper. He had never been away from the city's pavements in all his life before he went out to the country with the farmer who hired him. He had never seen the ocean, or the woods. He did not even know that cows gave milk until he saw the farmer's hired man milking one day.
"I just don't know anything about the woods or the country," the boy said to Bunny and Sue, "so you can fool me all you like."
"Oh, we won't fool you," said Bunny kindly. "We'll tell you all we know."
"Thanks," said Tom Vine.
He had offered to travel on, after supper, and try to get back to the city.
"I don't want to be a trouble to you folks," he said to Mrs. Brown. "In the city I know some fellows, and they'll lend me money enough to buy some papers, and start in business."
"You had better stay with us awhile," said Mrs. Brown. "We have enough room for you, and you can help about camp."
"I can wash and dry dishes!" cried Tom eagerly. "I worked in a restaurant for a week once, and I know how to handle dishes."
"Then we can give you plenty of work," said Mrs. Brown, with a laugh. "For if there is one thing, in camp or at home, that I don't like it is washing dishes."
"I'll do them for you!" cried Tom, "and I'll be glad of the chance, too!"
"All right then. You'll be the head dishwasher of Camp Rest-a-While," said Mr. Brown, smiling.
And that is how Tom Vine came to stay with the Browns while they lived in the woods near Lake Wanda.
Tom, indeed, knew very little about the country. As he said, he had never been away from the city pavements, winter or summer, in all his life before. The first night in camp, when he was sleeping next to Bunker Blue, in a little part of the tent that had been curtained off for them, Tom awakened Bunker, by reaching over and punching him in the ribs.
"Hey, listen to that!" cried Tom.
"To what?" asked Bunker, only half awake.
"Somebody is outside the tent, calling: 'Who? Who? Who?'" said Tom. "I didn't do anything, did you? What do they holler 'who' for?"
Bunker listened. Surely enough he heard very plainly:
"Who? Who? Too-who?"
"Hear it?" asked Tom.
"Yes, it's only an owl," Bunker answered. "There's lots of 'em in these woods."
"What's an owl?" Tom wanted to know.
"Oh, it's a bird with big eyes, and it can only see at night. It comes out to get mice and bugs. Owls won't hurt you. Go on to sleep."
Tom did not go to sleep at once. But he was no longer afraid of the owl.
Tom was just going to sleep once more, when he heard another funny noise. This time he was sure some one said:
"Katy did! Katy did! Katy did!"
Tom sat up in his cot. He reached over to punch Bunker, to ask him what this was, when all at once, another voice cried:
"Katy didn't! Katy didn't! Katy didn't!"
"Listen to that, now, would you!" exclaimed Tom. "Bunker! Bunker Blue! Wake up! There's two people outside, and one says Katy did it, and the other says she didn't—who's right?"
OUT IN THE BOAT
Bunker Blue turned sleepily over on his cot.
"What—what's that?" he asked of Tom.
"Listen," Tom answered. "Don't you hear that, Bunker? First someone is hollering about Katy's doing something, and then somebody else yells that she didn't do it. Say, I don't like it here."
Bunker Blue laughed aloud.
"What's the matter out there?" asked Daddy Brown.
"Oh, it's only Tom," said the red-haired boy. "He doesn't like the song of the katydids."
"Song! Is that a song?" asked Tom.
"Some people call it that," said Mr. Brown, for he knew that a city boy might be just as frightened of sounds in the country as a country boy might of sounds in the city.
"That noise is made by a little green bug, called a katydid," Mr. Brown explained. "It looks something like a grasshopper."
"But they don't all say 'Katy did,'" objected Tom.
"No, some of them seem to say 'Katy didn't,'" agreed Mr. Brown. "Of course they don't really say those words. It only sounds as if they did. Now go to sleep. In the morning I'll show you a katydid."
Tom was not frightened any longer. He turned over and was soon sound asleep. Mr. Brown and Bunker also closed their eyes and the tent in Camp Rest-a-While was quiet once more. Bunny and Sue had not awakened.
Early the next morning, before breakfast, Tom was seen walking about among the trees of the camp. He seemed to be looking for something.
"What are you looking for?" asked Bunny.
"For Katy," Tom answered.
"There isn't any Katy with us," said Sue. "We have a cook, but her name is Mary, and she isn't here with us, anyhow. She's at home."
"No, I'm looking for a Katy bug," explained Tom, and then he told about the noises he had heard in the night.
"I'll help you look," said Bunny.
"So will I," added Sue. "I'd like to see a Katy bug."
But, though the children and Tom looked all over, they could not find a katydid until Mr. Brown helped them. Then on a tree he found one of the queer, light-green grasshopper-like bugs and showed it to the children.