BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE AT CHRISTMAS TREE COVE
LAURA LEE HOPE
Author of The Bunny Brown Series, The Bobbsey Twins Series, The Outdoor Girls Series, The Six Little Bunkers Series, The Make-Believe Series, Etc.
New York Grosset & Dunlap Publishers Made in the United States of America
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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 BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE IN THE BIG WOODS BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE ON AN AUTO TOUR BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE AND THEIR SHETLAND PONY BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE GIVING A SHOW BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE AT CHRISTMAS TREE COVE
THE BOBBSEY TWINS SERIES
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 BOBBSEY TWINS IN A GREAT CITY THE BOBBSEY TWINS ON BLUEBERRY ISLAND THE BOBBSEY TWINS ON THE DEEP BLUE SEA THE BOBBSEY TWINS IN WASHINGTON THE BOBBSEY TWINS IN THE GREAT WEST
THE SIX LITTLE BUNKERS SERIES
THE MAKE-BELIEVE SERIES
THE OUTDOOR GIRLS SERIES
GROSSET & DUNLAP PUBLISHERS NEW YORK
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Copyright, 1920, by Grosset & Dunlap
Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue at Christmas Tree Cove
I. THE BIG DOG 1
II. IN THE CARPENTER SHOP 12
III. THE DIAMOND RING 23
IV. DADDY BRINGS NEWS 38
V. ADRIFT 47
VI. THE STRANGE DOG 59
VII. THE SLEEP-WALKER 68
VIII. A COLLISION 78
IX. THE MERRY GOAT 89
X. IN THE STORM 103
XI. WHERE IS BUNNY? 114
XII. CHRISTMAS TREE COVE 121
XIII. A CRASH 133
XIV. IN THE DARK 140
XV. BUNNY'S TOE 152
XVI. OVERBOARD 161
XVII. THE NEW BOY 170
XVIII. HELD FAST 178
XIX. ANOTHER STORM 187
XX. THE FLOATING BOX 198
XXI. MR. RAVENWOOD 205
XXII. THE SURPRISING LETTER 213
XXIII. "THAT'S THE DOG!" 221
XXIV. IN THE BOAT 228
XXV. WHAT STOPPED THE ENGINE 238
BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE AT CHRISTMAS TREE COVE
THE BIG DOG
"Come on, Bunny, let's just have one more teeter-tauter!" cried Sue, dancing around on the grass of the yard. "Just one more!" and she raced over toward a board, put across a sawhorse, swaying up and down as though inviting children to have a seesaw.
"We can't teeter-tauter any more, Sue," objected Bunny Brown. "We have to go to the store for mother."
"Yes, I know we have to go; but we can go after we've had another seesaw just the same, can't we?"
Bunny Brown, who was carrying by the leather handle a black handbag his mother had given him, looked first at his sister and then at the board on the sawhorse, gently moving up and down in the summer breeze.
"Come on!" cried Sue again, "and this time she danced off toward the swaying board, singing as she did so:
"Teeter-tauter Bread and water, First your son and Then your daughter."
Bunny Brown stood still for a moment, looking back toward the house, out of which he and Sue had come a little while before.
"Mother told us to go to the store," said Bunny slowly.
"Yes, and we're going. I'll go with you in a minute—just as soon as I have a seesaw," said Sue. "And, besides, mother didn't say we were not to. If she had told us not to teeter-tauter I wouldn't do it, of course. But she didn't, Bunny! You know she didn't!"
"No, that's so; she didn't," agreed Bunny. "Well, I'll play it with you a little while."
"That's nice," laughed Sue. "'Cause it isn't any fun teetering and tautering all by yourself. You stay down on the ground all the while, lessen you jump yourself up, and then you don't stay—you just bump."
"Yes," agreed Bunny. "I've been bumped lots of times all alone."
He was getting on the end of the seesaw, opposite that on which Sue had taken her place, when the little girl noticed that her brother still carried the small, black bag. Mother Brown called it a pocketbook, but it would have taken a larger pocket than she ever had to hold the bag. It was, however, a sort of large purse, and she had given it to Bunny Brown and his sister Sue a little while before to carry to the store.
"Put that on the bench," called Sue, when she saw that her brother had the purse, holding it by the leather handle. "You can't teeter-tauter and hold on with that in your hand."
There was a bench not far away from the seesaw—a bench under a shady tree—and Mrs. Brown often sat there with the children on warm summer afternoons and told them stories or read to them from a book.
"Yes, I guess I can teeter better if I don't have this," agreed Bunny. "Hold on, Sue, I'm going to get off."
"All right, I'm ready," his sister answered. You know if you get off a seesaw without telling the boy or girl on the other end what you are going to do, somebody is going to be bumped hard. Bunny Brown didn't want that.
Sue put her fat, chubby little legs down on the ground and held herself up, while Bunny ran across the grass and laid the pocketbook on the bench. I suppose I had better call it, as Mrs. Brown did, a pocketbook, and then we shall not get mixed up. But, as I said before, you couldn't really put it in a pocket.
"Seesaw, Margery Daw!" sang Sue, as Bunny came back to play with her. "Now we'll have some fun!"
And the children did. Up and down they went on the board their father had sent up from his boat dock for them to play with. He had also sent up the sawhorse. A sawhorse, you know, is made of wood, and, though it has legs, it can't run. It's just a sort of thin bench, and a seesaw board can easily be put across it.
Bunny Brown and his sister Sue were gaily swaying up and down on the seesaw, and, for the time, they had forgotten all about the fact that their mother had sent them to the store to pay a bill, and also to get some groceries. They had not meant to stay so long, but you know how it is when you get to seesawing.
"It's just the finest fun ever!" cried Sue.
"I'm sorry for boys and girls that ain't got any seesaws," said her brother.
"Oh, I guess a lot of boys and girls have 'em, Bunny. Daddy said so, once."
"Did he? I didn't hear him."
Up and down, up and down went the children, laughing and having a splendid time. Sue felt so happy she began to sing a little song and Bunny joined in. It was the old ditty of the Cow that Jumped Over the Moon.
"We'd better go now, Sue!" called Bunny, after a while. "We can seesaw when we get back."
"Oh, just five more times up and down!" pleaded the little girl, shaking her curls and fairly laughing out of her eyes. "Just five more!"
"All right!" agreed Bunny. "Just five—that's all!"
Again the board swayed up and down, and when Sue was just sorrowfully counting the last of the five, shouting and laughter were heard in the street in front of the Brown house.
"Oh, there's Mary Watson and Sadie West!" cried Sue.
"Yes, and Charlie Star and Harry Bentley!" added Bunny. "Come on in and have a lot of fun!" he called, as two boys and two girls came past the gate. "We can take turns seesawing."
"That'll be fun!" said Charlie.
"Can't we get another board and make another seesaw?" asked Harry. "We can't all get on that one. It'll break."
"I guess we can find another board," said Bunny. "I'll go and ask my mother."
"No!" said Sue quickly. "You'd better not, Bunny!"
"Why?" asked her brother, in surprise.
"'Cause if you go in now mother will know we didn't go to the store, and she might not like it. We'd better go now and let Charlie and Harry and Sadie and Mary have the teeter-tauter until we come back," suggested Sue. "It'll hold four, our board will, but not six."
Bunny Brown thought this over a minute.
"Yes, I guess we had better do that," he said. Then, speaking to his playmates, he added: "We have to go to the store, Charlie, Sue and I. You can play on the seesaw until we come back. And then, maybe, we can find another board, and make two teeters."
"I have a board over in my yard. I'll get that," offered Charlie, "if we can get another sawhorse."
"We'll look when we come back," suggested Sue. "Come on, Bunny."
Sue got off the seesaw, as did her brother, and their places were taken by Charlie, Harry, Mary and Sadie. Though Sue was a little younger than Bunny, she often led him when there was something to do, either in work or play. And just now there was work to do.
It was not hard work, only going to the store for their mother with the pocketbook to pay a bill at the grocer's and get some things for supper. And it was work Bunny Brown and his sister Sue liked, for often when they went to the grocer's he gave each a sweet cracker to eat on the way home.
Bunny, followed by Sue, started for the bench where the pocketbook had been left. But, before they reached it, and all of a sudden, a big yellow dog bounced into the yard from the street. It leaped the fence and stood for a moment looking at the children.
"Oh, what a dandy dog!" cried Charlie.
"Is that your dog, Splash, come back?" asked Harry, for Bunny and his sister had once owned a dog of that name. Splash had run away or been stolen in the winter and had never come back.
"No, that isn't Splash," said Bunny. "He's a nice dog, though. Here, boy!" he called.
The dog, that had come to a stop, turned suddenly on hearing himself spoken to. He gave one bound over toward the bench, and a moment later caught in his mouth the leather handle of Mrs. Brown's black pocketbook and darted away.
Over the fence he jumped, out into the street, so quickly that the children could hardly follow him with their eyes. But it was only an instant that Bunny Brown remained still, watching the dog. Then he gave a cry:
"Oh, Sue! The dog has mother's pocketbook and the money! Come on! We've got to get it away from him!"
"Oh, yes!" echoed Sue.
Bunny ran out of the yard and into the street, following the dog. Sue followed her brother. The four other children, being on the seesaw, could not move so quickly, and by the time they did get off the board, taking turns carefully, so no one would get bounced, Bunny Brown and his sister Sue were out of sight, down the street and around a corner, chasing after the dog that had snatched up their mother's pocketbook.
"We've got to get him!" cried Bunny, looking back at his sister. "Come on!"
"I am a-comin' on!" she panted, half out of breath.
The big yellow dog was in plain sight, bounding along and still holding in his mouth, as Bunny could see, the dangling pocketbook.
Suddenly the animal turned into some building, and was at once out of sight.
"Where'd he go?" asked Sue.
"Into Mr. Foswick's carpenter shop," her brother answered. "I saw him go in. We can get him easy now."
On they ran, Bunny Brown and his sister Sue. A few seconds later they stood in front of the open door of a carpenter shop built near the sidewalk. Within they could see piles of lumber and boards and heaps of sawdust and shavings. The dog was not in sight, but Bunny and Sue knew he must be somewhere in the shop. They scurried through the piles of sawdust and shavings toward the back of the shop, looking eagerly on all sides for a sight of the dog.
"Where is he?" asked Sue. "Oh, Bunny, if that pocketbook and the money are lost!"
"We'll find it!" exclaimed Bunny. "We'll make the dog give it back!"
As he spoke there was a noise at the door by which the children had entered the carpenter shop. The door was quickly slammed shut, and a key was turned. Then a harsh voice cried:
"Now I've got you! You sha'n't play tricks on me any more! I've got you locked up now!"
IN THE CARPENTER SHOP
Bunny Brown and his sister Sue were so surprised at hearing that harsh voice, and at hearing the door slammed shut and locked behind them, that they just stood and looked at each other in the carpenter shop. They forgot, for the moment, all about the big yellow dog and the pocketbook he had carried away. Then Bunny managed to find his voice and he cried:
"Who was that, Sue?"
"I—I guess it was Mr. Foswick," she answered. "I'm almost sure it was."
"Yes," agreed Bunny, "I guess it was. But what did he want to lock us in for? We didn't do anything. We just came in to get mother's pocketbook and the grocery money away from the dog."
"I p'sume he made a mistake," said Sue. "He must have thought we were the bad boys that tease him. I saw some of 'em come in once and scatter the sawdust all over. And I heard Mr. Foswick say he'd fix 'em if he caught 'em. He must have thought we was them," she added, letting her English get badly tangled in her excitement.
"I guess so," agreed Bunny. "Well, we'll tell him we aren't. Come on, Sue!"
Giving up, for the time being, their search in the carpenter shop for the strange, big yellow dog, Bunny and Sue walked back toward the front door, which had been slammed shut. And while they are seeking to make Mr. Foswick understand that he had made a mistake, and had punished the wrong children, I shall have a moment or two to tell my new readers something about the characters whose adventures I hope to relate to you in this story.
The town of Bellemere, which was on the seacoast and near a small river, was the home of Bunny Brown and his sister Sue. Their father, Walter Brown, was in the boat and fish business, owning a wharf, where he had his office. Men and boys worked for him, and one big boy, Bunker Blue, was a great friend of Bunny and his sister. In the Brown home was also Uncle Tad, an old soldier.
In the first book of this series, called "Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue," I told you many of the things that happened to the children. After that they went to Grandpa's farm, and played circus, and there are books about both those happy times. Next the children paid a visit to Aunt Lu's city home, and from there they went to Camp Rest-a-While.
In the big woods Bunny and Sue had many adventures, and they had so much fun on their auto tour that I could hardly get it all in one book.
When Mr. Brown bought a Shetland pony for the children they were delighted, and they had as much fun with it as they did in giving a show. That is the name of the book just before the present one you are reading—"Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue Giving a Show." In that volume you may learn how a stranded company of players came to Bellemere, and what happened. Bunny and Sue, as well as some of their playmates, were actors and actresses in the show, and Splash, the dog, did a trick also. But Splash had run away, or been taken away, during the winter that had just passed, and Bunny and Sue no longer had a dog.
Perhaps they thought they might induce the big one that had jumped into the yard to come and live with them, after they had taken the pocketbook away from him. He was not quite the same sort of dog as Splash, but he seemed very nice. Bunny and Sue kept hoping Splash would return or be brought back, but, up to the time this story opens, that had not come about.
The show the two Brown children gave was talked about for a long time in Bellemere. Of course, Bunny and Sue had had help in giving it, and the show was also a means of helping others. Now winter had passed, spring had come and gone, and it was early summer. Bunny and Sue had been playing in the yard before going to the store for their mother when the strange dog had sprung over the fence, snatched up the pocketbook, and had run off with it, darting into the carpenter shop.
"I don't see anything of him," said Sue, as she and Bunny made their way amid the piles of boards and lumber and over piles of sawdust and shavings toward the door.
"You don't see anything of who?" asked Bunny. "Mr. Foswick or the big dog?"
"The dog," answered Sue. "I couldn't see Mr. Foswick, 'cause he's outside. He shut the door on us."
"Yes," agreed Bunny, "so he did. Well, maybe we can open it."
But, alas! when Bunny and Sue tried the door they found it locked tight. Bunny had been afraid of that, for he thought he had heard a key turned in the lock. But he had not wanted to say anything to Sue until he made sure.
Rattle and pull at the door as the children did, and turn the knob, which they also did several times, the door remained shut.
"We—we're locked in!" said Sue in a sort of gasping voice, looking at Bunny.
"Yes," agreed her brother, and he tried to speak cheerfully, for he was a year older than Sue, and, besides, boys oughtn't to be frightened as easily as girls, Bunny thought. "But I guess we can get out," Bunny went on. "Mr. Foswick thinks we're some of the bad boys that bother him. We'll just yell and tell him we aren't."
"All right—you yell," suggested Sue.
So Bunny shouted as loudly as he could:
"Mr. Foswick! We didn't do anything! We didn't scatter your sawdust! You locked us in by mistake! Let us out, please!"
Then he waited and listened, and so did Sue. There was no answer.
"I guess you didn't yell loud enough," said Sue. "Try again, Bunny."
Bunny did so. Once more he shouted through the closed door, or at least at the closed door. He shouted loudly, hoping the carpenter would hear him and open the door.
"Mr. Foswick! We didn't do anything!" yelled Bunny Brown.
Still there was silence. No one came to let the children out.
"I guess we'd better both yell," suggested Sue. "You can shout louder than I can, Bunny, but it isn't loud enough. We've both got to yell."
"Yes, I better guess we had," agreed the small boy.
Standing close to one another near the door, they lifted their voices in a shout, saying:
"Mr. Foswick! Mr. Foswick! We—didn't—do—anything!"
They called this several times, but no answer came to them.
"I guess he's gone away," said Sue, after a bit.
"Yes, I guess so," agreed Bunny. "Well, we've got to get out by ourselves, then."
"How can we?" his sister wanted to know. "The door's locked, and we can't break it down. It's a big door, Bunny."
"Yes, I know it is," he answered. "But there's windows. I'll open a window and we can get out of one of them. They aren't high from the ground. We got out of a window once when Bunker Blue, by mistake, locked us in the shed on the dock, and we can get out a window now."
"Oh, I hope we can!" cried Sue. "And can we get the dog out of the window, too, Bunny?"
"The dog!" exclaimed Bunny, forgetting for the moment about the animal. "Oh, I guess we won't have to get him out. He isn't here."
"But he ran in here," insisted Sue. "We saw him come into this carpenter shop."
"Yes," agreed Bunny. "But he isn't here now. If he was we'd see him or hear him."
"Maybe he's hiding," suggested Sue. "Maybe he's afraid 'cause he took mother's pocketbook and the money in it, and he's hiding in the sawdust or shavings."
"Maybe," Bunny admitted. "Well, I'll call to him to come out. He only took the pocketbook in fun, I guess. Here, Splash, come on out! We won't hurt you!" he cried, moving back toward the center of the shop and away from the locked front door. "Come on, Splash!"
"His name isn't Splash!" objected Sue. "This isn't our nice dog Splash that ran away, and I wish he'd come back."
"I know he isn't Splash," agreed Bunny. "But it might be. And Splash is a dog's name, and if this dog hears me call it he may come out. Come on, old fellow!" he called again coaxingly. But no dog crawled out from under the shavings, sawdust, or piles of boards.
"Where can he be?" asked Sue.
"I guess he ran out the back door," suggested Bunny.
"Then maybe we can get out there, too!" cried the little girl, and she and her brother, with the same thought, ran to the rear of the shop.
"Here is the door," said Bunny, as he pointed it out.
It was a large affair that slid back from the middle of the wall to one corner. It was tight shut.
"And it's locked, too," cried Sue, pointing to a big padlock.
To make sure, her brother tried the padlock. Sure enough, it was locked, and the key was nowhere in sight.
"I can slide the door a little bit," said Bunny, and by hard work he managed to move it about an inch. This allowed a little of the breeze to come into the carpenter shop but that was all.
"We can't get out through that crack," protested Sue, pouting. "Nobody could. Oh, dear! I don't see why this old carpenter shop has got to have all the doors locked."
"Hum, that's funny!" said Bunny Brown.
"How do you s'pose that dog got out with both doors locked?" asked Sue of her brother.
Bunny paused to think. Then an idea came to him.
"He must have jumped out a window, that dog did," he said. "There must be a window open, and he got out that way. And that's how we can get out, Sue. We'll crawl out a window just like that dog jumped out. Now we're all right. Mr. Foswick locked us in his carpenter shop by mistake, but we can get out a window."
"Oh, yes!" agreed Sue, and she felt happier now.
But again came disappointment. When the children made the rounds of the shop, looking on both sides, they not only saw that not a window was open, but when Bunny tried to raise one he could not.
"Are they stuck?" asked Sue.
"No," replied Bunny. "They're nailed shut! Every window in this shop is nailed shut, Sue, and the doors are both locked!"
"Oh!" exclaimed Sue in a faint voice, and she looked at her brother in a way he felt sure meant she was going to cry.
THE DIAMOND RING
Whistling as cheerfully as he could, Bunny Brown glanced all around the carpenter shop.
"Are you whistling for the dog?" asked Sue.
"No, not zactly," Bunny answered. "I'm just whistlin' for myself. I'm going to do something."
"What?" asked Sue.
She knew that whenever Bunny was making anything, such as a boat out of a piece of wood or a sidewalk scooter from an old roller skate, he always whistled. The more he worked the louder he whistled.
"What are you going to make now?" asked Sue.
"Oh, I'm not going zactly to make anything," Bunny explained. "I'm just going to do something. I'm going to open one of these windows so we can get out, same as the dog did."
"But he didn't get out of a window," objected Sue. "How could he, if they were nailed shut before we came in? And they must 'a' been, 'cause we didn't hear Mr. Foswick hammering."
"Yes, I guess the windows have been nailed shut maybe a long time," agreed Bunny. "But, anyhow, the dog got out and we can get out."
"But how could he get out if both doors are locked and the windows nailed shut?" Sue wanted to know.
Bunny could not answer that. Besides, he had other things to look after. He wanted to get himself and his sister out of the carpenter shop before Sue began to cry. Bunny didn't like crying girls, even his sister, though he felt sorry for them.
"I can take a hammer and pull the nails out of a window where it's nailed shut, and then I can raise it and we can crawl out," explained Bunny to his sister. "There's sure to be a hammer in a carpenter shop."
There were, several of them, lying around on the benches and sawhorses that seemed to fill the place. There were other tools, also; sharp chisels and planes, but Bunny and Sue knew enough not to touch these. The children might have been cut if they had handled the sharp tools. Mr. Brown kept sharp tools at his dock for mending old boats and making new ones, so Bunny and his sister knew something about carpentry.
"I guess this hammer will be a good one," said Bunny, picking up one with a claw on the end for pulling out nails. He had often seen Bunker Blue at the boat dock use just such a hammer as this.
Bunny climbed up on a workbench near a window which, as he could look out and see, was only a short distance from the ground. If that window could be opened, the little boy and his sister could easily drop out and not be hurt in the least.
"Can you get it open?" asked Sue anxiously, as she watched Bunny climb upon the dusty carpenter bench.
"Oh, sure!" he answered. "We'll be out in a little while now; and then we can go and hunt that big dog that has our mother's pocketbook."
"And the money, too," added Sue. "We've got to get the money and go to the store, Bunny."
"Yes, that's right," he agreed.
With the hammer in his hand, he began looking over the window. He wanted to see where the heads of the nails were sticking out, so he could slip the claw of the hammer under them and pull them out by prying on the handle. Bunny had not only pulled out nails himself before this, but he had watched his father and Bunker Blue do it.
Bunny Brown also knew how windows were nailed shut. Once the Browns owned a little cottage on an island in the river. They sometimes spent their summer vacations in the cottage, and in the fall, when winter was approaching and the cottage was to be closed, the windows were nailed shut from the inside.
Once Bunny had helped his father nail the windows shut, and once he had helped pull the nails out the next summer when the cottage was to be opened. So Bunny was now looking for the heads of nails in the window of Mr. Foswick's carpenter shop.
The first window he looked at was so tightly nailed, with all the heads driven so far into the wood, that Bunny could get the claw of the hammer under none of them. He made his way along the bench to the next window. This window was nearer the street.
"Can you open that one?" asked Sue.
"Yes, I guess so!" exclaimed Bunny.
The little boy saw a nail head sticking out. He slipped the claw of the hammer under it and pressed hard on the handle.
Whether Bunny had not put the claw far enough under the nail, or whether the head was so small that the claw slipped off, neither of the children knew. But what happened was that Bunny's hand slipped, the hammer also slipped away from his grasp, and the next moment, with a crash and tinkle of glass, the hammer broke through the window and fell outside.
"Oh, Bunny! are you hurt?" cried Sue, for once she had seen her mother cut her hand trying to open a window that stuck.
"No, I'm not hurt," answered her brother. "But the hammer's gone out."
"You can get another. There's lots here," said Sue.
"But I can't fix the window," said Bunny, rather sadly. "It's all busted!"
"It wasn't your fault!" said Sue stormily. "Mr. Foswick ought never to have locked us in, and then you wouldn't have to try to unnail a window to get out! It's his fault!"
"Maybe it is," said Bunny, leaning forward to look out of the broken window.
"Don't try to crawl out!" exclaimed Sue. "You might get cut!"
"I'm not going to," said Bunny. "I was just seeing how far it was and where the hammer went. It's on the grass, and it isn't far out of the window at all. If we could only crawl out——"
"And get all cut on the glass? I guess not!" cried Sue. "Oh, Bunny!" she suddenly exclaimed. "Look! There goes Mr. Reinberg, who keeps the drygoods store. Call to him through the broken window, and he'll get us out!"
Through the window, which he had broken with the hammer, Bunny had a glimpse of the street. As Sue had said, the drygoods merchant was just then passing.
"Hi!" suddenly called Bunny. "Let us out, please! Help us out, Mr. Reinberg!"
The merchant looked up, down, and sideways. He could not at first tell where the voice was coming from.
"Who are you and where are you?" he demanded.
"I'm Bunny Brown, and my sister Sue is with me," came the answer from the little boy. "And we're locked in Mr. Foswick's carpenter shop."
"Oh, now I see you!" said the drygoods store man, glancing toward Bunny, who could be seen through the window. "So you're locked in, are you? How did it happen?"
"Mr. Foswick locked us in," said Bunny.
"He did! What for?"
"Oh, I guess he thought we were bad boys. But Sue isn't a boy; she's a girl," explained Bunny. "If you could only open a door, or pull the nails out of one of the windows, we could get out. I was trying to pull out a nail and I broke the glass."
"Well, I don't believe I can get you out either way," said Mr. Reinberg, and Bunny and Sue felt much disappointed. "I haven't a key to the door, and I can't reach in and pull out the nails," went on the drygoods merchant, as he came down the side alley and talked to Bunny through the hole in the glass.
"But I'll go over to Mr. Foswick's house, which isn't far away, and get him to come and let you out," went on Mr. Reinberg. "I'll go right away, Bunny. Don't be afraid."
"Thank you; we're not," Bunny answered, as cheerfully as he could.
After the man had gone away it seemed more lonely in the old carpenter shop than ever to Bunny Brown and his sister Sue. They walked away from the window and Sue sat down on a bench.
"Do you suppose he'll be long?" she asked.
"Maybe not—Mr. Foswick doesn't live far."
To amuse himself and his sister Bunny picked up a handful of nails and laid out a long railroad track. Then he got a big bolt and pretended that was a locomotive and shoved it along the track.
"Where does the train run to?" asked the little girl.
"New York, Chicago and—and Camp Rest-A-While," said Bunny—the last name being that of a place where they had once had a delightful vacation.
He and Sue did not have long to wait. Soon along came the old carpenter and Mr. Reinberg.
"Dear me! I didn't know I'd locked Bunny and Sue in," said Mr. Foswick, as he opened the front door, unlocking it with a big key. "I thought it was some of those pesky boys. They run in when I have the door open, and when I'm away in the back part of the shop, and busy, they scatter the shavings and sawdust all about.
"They came in once this afternoon," said Mr. Foswick, "and I made up my mind if they did it again I'd teach 'em a lesson. So I locked my back door, and I went into the alley near my front door. I knew all the windows were nailed shut.
"Then, when I was in the alley, I heard somebody run into my shop, and, quick as I could, I ran out, pulled the door shut, and locked 'em in. I supposed it was some of those pesky boys, and I was going to keep 'em locked up until I could go get their fathers and tell 'em how they pester me. I didn't have a notion, Bunny, that it was you and Sue, or I'd never have done such a thing—never!"
Mr. Brown often hired Mr. Foswick to do carpentry, and the rather crabbed and cross old man did not want to offend a good customer.
"I'm very sorry about this thing I did, Bunny and Sue," went on Mr. Foswick. "I'd no idea it was you I'd locked up. I supposed it was those pesky boys. Both doors were locked—I made sure of that—and the windows were nailed shut. I keep 'em shut so nobody can get in at night."
"Bunny tried to open one of the windows with a hammer," said Sue.
"And I—I guess I broke it—I mean the window," said Bunny. "I didn't mean to."
"Oh, broke a window, did you?" exclaimed Mr. Foswick, and he seemed surprised.
"If they hadn't broken the glass I might not have heard them calling," said the drygoods merchant.
"Oh, well, I guess you couldn't help it; and a broken window won't cost much to fix," said the old carpenter. "I'm sorry you had all that trouble, and I'm glad you're neither of you cut. Tell your pa and ma I'm real sorry."
"We will," promised Bunny.
And then, after Bunny and Sue had started home on the run, for it was getting late and toward supper time, Sue suddenly thought of something. She turned back.
"Oh, Bunny!" she cried. "We forgot to ask Mr. Foswick about the dog!"
"So we did! The dog that has mother's pocketbook. Maybe he saw him run out of the carpenter shop, and noticed which way he went. Let's go back and ask him."
Back they turned, to find Mr. Foswick nailing a board over the broken pane of glass.
"Well, you haven't come back to stay the rest of the night, have you?" asked the old carpenter, smiling at them over his dusty spectacles.
"No, sir. We came back about the dog," said Bunny. "We were chasing a strange dog that had mother's pocketbook, and he ran in here. That's why we came in," the boy explained, and he told how they had been playing with the seesaw when the strange animal jumped into the Brown yard.
"Did you see him come out of your shop?" asked Sue. "'Cause he wasn't in there when we were."
"No, I didn't see any dog," said Mr. Foswick. "But there are some holes at the back where he could have crawled out. That's what he must have done. He didn't come out the front door. But we'll take a look."
It did not take the carpenter and the children long to search through the shop and make sure there was no dog there. As Mr. Foswick had said, there were several holes in the back wall of his shop, out of which a dog might have crawled.
"What can we do?" asked Sue, looking at her brother after the unsuccessful search.
"We've got to go home and tell mother," said Bunny. "Then we can maybe find the dog and the pocketbook somewhere else. It isn't here."
"No, I don't see anything of it," remarked Mr. Foswick, looking around his little shop. "You'd better go and tell your folks. They may be worried about you. And tell 'em I'm sorry for locking you in."
Bunny and Sue hurried home. They found Mrs. Brown looking up and down the street for them. The other children had gone away.
"Where have you been?" asked Mother Brown. "It is very late for little people to be out alone. And where is my pocketbook and the groceries I sent you for? Where is my pocketbook?" She looked at Bunny and then at his sister, noting their empty hands.
"A big dog ran off with your pocketbook, Mother," explained Bunny. "He jumped into the yard and picked it up off the bench when Sue was teeter-tautering with me. Then he ran into Mr. Foswick's shop, and we ran after him, and we got locked in, and I broke a window, and we couldn't find the dog nor your pocketbook."
"Nor the money, either," added Sue. "There was money in the pocketbook, wasn't there, Mother?"
Mrs. Brown did not answer that question at once.
"Do you mean to say a strange dog ran off with the pocketbook and everything in it?" she asked Bunny.
"Yes, Mother," he answered.
"Oh, dear!" exclaimed Mrs. Brown in a faint voice, and she sank with white face into a chair. Mr. Brown, who had just come in, sprang to his wife's side.
"Oh, don't take on so!" he exclaimed. "The loss of the pocketbook isn't much. Was there a great amount of money in it?"
"A five-dollar bill," his wife answered.
"Oh, well, we shall not worry over that if we never find it," he went on. "And you can get another purse." Daddy Brown was smiling.
"But you don't understand!" cried Mother Brown. "Just before I sent the children to the store I was doing something in the kitchen. I took off the beautiful diamond engagement ring you gave me, and put it in the pocketbook. I meant to take it out in a moment, but Mrs. Newton came over, and I forgot it. Then I slipped a five-dollar bill in the purse and gave it to the children to go to the store. Oh, dear! what shall I do?"
Mr. Brown looked serious.
"Are you sure the diamond ring was in the pocketbook?" he asked.
"Yes," replied his wife, and there were tears in her eyes. "The dog ran away with the five-dollar bill, the pocketbook and my beautiful diamond ring! Oh, what shall I do? What a terrible loss!"
DADDY BRINGS NEWS
Bunny Brown and his sister Sue did not know what to do or what to say when they saw how bad their mother felt. There were tears in her eyes as she looked at the finger which had held the diamond ring.
The little boy and girl well knew the "sparkler," as they sometimes called it. Daddy had given it to mother before their wedding, and Mrs. Brown prized it very much.
"It was very careless of me to put my lovely ring in the pocketbook, and then to forget all about it and let you children take it to the store," said Mother Brown.
"But are you sure you did put it in the pocketbook?" asked Mr. Brown again. "You may have done that, my dear, and then have taken it out again and carried the diamond ring into the house before Bunny and Sue went to the store. Try to think." And he sat down beside his wife while the little boy and his sister looked on wonderingly.
"I know I left the ring in the pocketbook," replied Mrs. Brown, wiping her eyes on her handkerchief. "I didn't think of it until a little while ago, and then I thought Bunny and Sue would bring it back with the change from the five-dollar bill. The ring was inside the middle part of the pocketbook, and they wouldn't have to open that to get at the money. Oh, children, did a dog really run away with the pocketbook?"
"Yes, he really did," said Bunny.
"And he run into the carpenter shop, and we ran after him, and Mr. Foswick locked us in, and he was sorry, and Bunny broke a window, and he was sorry, too," explained Sue, almost in one long breath.
"Well, that's quite a story," said Mr. Brown. "Let's hear it all over again."
So Bunny and Sue told all that had happened, from the time they had been teetering until they were let out of the carpenter shop after Mr. Reinberg had heard them calling through the broken window.
"Oh, what shall I do?" asked Mrs. Brown once more, when the story was finished.
"There is only one thing to do," said Mr. Brown. "I'll go back to the carpenter shop, and Mr. Foswick and I will look for the pocketbook. The dog probably dropped it among the shavings."
"Let us come, too," said Bunny. "We can show you where the dog ran in the front door that was open."
"I think I can see that place all right myself," answered Mr. Brown. "You children get your supper. I'll be back in a little while."
It was not a very joyful supper for Bunny Brown and his sister Sue. Every once in a while they would see tears in their mother's eyes, and they could not help but feel it was partly their fault that the diamond ring was lost.
For if Bunny and Sue had gone to the store as soon as their mother had told them to go, and had not stopped to play on the seesaw, and had not put the pocketbook down on the bench where the dog so easily reached it, all this trouble would not have come upon their mother.
Mrs. Brown must have known that Bunny and Sue were thinking this, for she very kindly said to them:
"Now, don't worry, my dears. Perhaps daddy will find the pocketbook, and the money and ring safely in it. I know you wanted to play, and that is why you did not go to the store at once. But never mind. Mother should not have left the ring in the pocketbook. It is largely mother's own fault. Anyway, daddy will come back with the ring."
But Daddy Brown did not. Bunny and Sue had finished their supper, Mrs. Brown taking only a cup of tea, when their father came in. It needed only a look at his face to show that he had found nothing.
"Wasn't it there?" his wife asked, as he sat up to the table, though, to tell the truth, he did not feel much like eating. He felt bad because his wife was so unhappy about her lost diamond ring.
"Mr. Foswick and I searched the carpenter shop as well as we could," said Mr. Brown. "It was rather dark in there, and we could not see much. But we found no pocketbook."
"Did you find the dog?" asked Sue eagerly.
"No, he had run out," said Mr. Brown. "We saw where he had scattered the sawdust and shavings, though. Was it a dog you ever saw before, Bunny?"
"No, Daddy," answered the little boy. "He was a big, strange, new dog. I wish we had him, 'cause we haven't any dog, now that Splash has run away."
"I guess this dog has run away, also," said Mr. Brown. "There wasn't a trace of him; nor of the pocketbook, either. But Mr. Foswick and I are going to look in the shop again to-morrow by daylight. It may be the dog dropped the pocketbook, and it got kicked under a pile of sawdust or shavings."
"Did you see the place where I broke the window with the hammer?" asked Bunny.
"Yes, the window was still broken," answered his father, who began to eat his supper.
It was not at all a cheerful evening in the Brown home. Never before had Bunny and Sue felt so unhappy—at least, they could not remember such a time. They did not feel like playing as they generally did, though it was a warm early summer night, and lovely to be out of doors.
"Never mind, dears," said Mrs. Brown, when she was putting them to bed. "Perhaps we shall find the ring to-morrow."
"And the money, too," added Bunny. "Five dollars is a lot to lose."
"Maybe the dog ate it," suggested Sue.
"How could he?" asked her brother.
"Well, didn't Splash once chew up my picture-book? He ate one of the paper leaves that had on it about Bo Peep and her sheep," said Sue. "A five-dollar bill is paper, and so was my Mother Goose book, and Splash ate that."
"No, I don't believe the dog ate the money," said Mrs. Brown. "It is probably still in the pocketbook with my ring wherever the dog dropped it. I should not mind the loss of the money if I could only get back my lovely diamond ring. But go to sleep, dears. To-morrow we may have good news."
And so Bunny and Sue went to sleep. They were up early the next morning, but not so early as Mr. Brown, who, their mother said, had gone to the carpenter shop to help Mr. Foswick look among the sawdust and shavings.
After a while Bunny and Sue went out in the yard to play with some of the boys and girls who lived near by. And to them Bunny and his sister told the story of what the strange dog had done.
"I am sure I saw that big yellow dog," cried Lulu Dare, one of the girls. "It was down near Bradley's livery stable."
"Oh, maybe he's down by the livery stable now!" exclaimed Bunny.
"Let us go and see," added his sister Sue.
"No, I don't think the dog is there now," said Lulu. "He wasn't standing still. He was running along."
"Did he have anything in his mouth?"
"Only his tongue and that was hanging out at first. Then he stopped to get a drink at that box where Mr. Bradley waters his horses, and then his tongue didn't hang out any more."
"Say, did that dog have a spot on his left leg?" asked one of the boys.
"Yes—a long, up-and-down spot."
"Then he wasn't the dog who took the pocketbook. That old dog belongs at the hotel and he never comes up this way at all."
"Let us make sure," said Bunny; and a little later all of the boys and girls visited the hotel. One of the boys was a nephew of the proprietor so they had little trouble in getting the man's attention.
"No, my dog wouldn't do such a thing," said the hotel man. "He hasn't been up your way. It must have been some other dog." And then the boys and girls went home.
A little later Bunny went into the house to get some cookies, and then he asked his mother if his father had come back with the ring.
"No, he telephoned that he and Mr. Foswick went all over the shop, but they could not find the pocketbook," she said. "The dog must have carried it farther off."
"Oh, dear!" sighed Bunny Brown. "What are you going to do, Mother?"
"I don't know just what daddy is going to do," she answered. "He said he would talk it over when he came home to lunch. But don't worry. Run out and play. Here are your cookies."
Bunny wanted to help his mother, but he soon forgot all about the ring, the pocketbook, and the five dollars in the jolly times he and Sue and their playmates had in the yard.
Soon after the twelve o'clock whistles blew, Bunny saw his father coming along the street on his way home to lunch.
"Oh, Daddy! did you find mother's ring?" called the little boy, as he ran to meet his father.
"No, not yet," was the answer. "But I have some good news for all of you."
"Oh, maybe he's found Splash or the other dog!" cried Sue, as she, also, ran to meet her father.
The faces of Bunny and Sue shone with delight as they hurried along, one on one side and one on the other of their father, each having hold of a hand. Mr. Brown, too, was more joyful than he had been the night before when the story of the lost ring had been told.
"Did you find Splash?" asked Sue, as she tripped along.
"No, I am sorry to say I did not," replied Mr. Brown. "I guess you will have to give Splash up as lost. Though he may run back again some day as suddenly as he ran off."
"And didn't you find the other dog—the one that took mother's ring in the pocketbook?" asked Bunny.
His father shook his head.
"There was no sign of the other dog, either," Mr. Brown answered. "He must have been a stray dog that just ran through the town. A sort of tramp dog, I fancy."
"Then there isn't any good news," remarked Bunny, and he grew a little sad and unhappy again.
"Yes, there is good news; though it isn't about mother's ring," said Mr. Brown.
"Nor about a dog?" asked Sue.
"No, it isn't about a dog, either," her father said. "Come along, and we'll tell mother. Perhaps it will cheer her up."
Mrs. Brown looked sharply at her husband when he entered the house with the two children. She wanted to see if she could tell, by his face, whether he had any better word than that which he had telephoned after his visit to the carpenter shop.
"No," he said, in answer to her look, "we didn't find the pocketbook. But Mr. Foswick is going to have a regular house-cleaning in his shop. He is going to get the sawdust and shavings out of the way, and then we can make a better search."
"I hope he will be careful when he takes them out," said Mrs. Brown. "My pocketbook was not very large, and it might easily be thrown away in a shovelful of shavings or sawdust."
"He will be very careful," her husband promised. "He is very sorry he locked Bunny and Sue in his shop, very sorry indeed."
"Oh, we didn't mind!" exclaimed Bunny. "We were scared a little, at first, but not much. Only I broke the window."
"Mr. Foswick didn't seem to mind that much," went on Mr. Brown. "The 'pesky' boys, as he calls them, certainly do bother him a lot by running in the open front door when he is busy in the back of his shop. They scatter the sawdust and shavings all about."
"Maybe some of those boys ran in and took my pocketbook and ring," suggested Mrs. Brown.
"Oh, no," explained Bunny. "We ran right in after the dog, and there were no big boys around. We didn't see the dog run out, but Mr. Foswick said there were holes in the back of his shop and he could get out that way."
"Yes," agreed Mr. Brown, "he could. And he may have done so. We are going to look around in the back of the shop as soon as the inside is cleaned out."
"I do hope he will be careful," murmured Mrs. Brown.
"Why, the dog won't bite him!" exclaimed Bunny. "He ran away, that dog did!"
"Oh, I mean I hope Mr. Foswick will be careful about looking in the shavings and sawdust for my pocketbook," said Mother Brown.
"I will send Bunker Blue over to help him look," promised Mr. Brown. "Bunker is a very careful lad."
"But what story are you going to tell us, Daddy?" asked Sue, as she climbed up in her father's lap.
"A story! This time of day?" exclaimed Mrs. Brown, in surprise.
"She means the news," said Mr. Brown. "I have some for you, and I hope you will think it is good, though it isn't about your lost diamond ring. Did you children ever hear of Christmas Tree Cove?" he asked.
"Christmas Tree Cove!" exclaimed Bunny. "Oh, I know where that is! It's up the river back of the bay. Is the dog there, Daddy?"
"Oh, no!" laughed his father. "Can't you think of anything but dogs, Bunny boy? Well, as long as you know where Christmas Tree Cove is, how would you like to go there to spend the summer?" As he spoke he looked at his wife.
"Do you really mean it?" she inquired, her face brightening.
"Oh, won't that be fun!" cried Bunny and Sue together, almost like twins, though Bunny was a year older than his sister.
"Well, I hope you will have some fun there," said their father. "Now let's have lunch, and while we are eating I can tell you all about it."
"Is this the news you meant, Daddy?" asked Bunny.
"Yes," was the answer.
Christmas Tree Cove, as I may as well explain to you, was a sort of bay, or wide place, in Turtle River, which ran into Sandport Bay. The town of Bellemere, where Bunny and his sister lived, was partly on Sandport Bay and partly on the ocean. The bay extended back of the town, and if one sailed up the bay or went up in a motor boat one would come, after a while, to Turtle River. I suppose it was called that because it had so many turtles in it, and sometimes Bunny and Sue had caught them.
Christmas Tree Cove was so named because on the banks of it were many evergreen trees, called Christmas trees by the children, and also by some of the grown folk. And the cove had in it a few little islands. It was a place where camping parties sometimes went, and often there were picnics held there.
"What is going on at Christmas Tree Cove that you should want to take us there?" asked Mrs. Brown, as she passed her husband some sliced peaches.
"I have been trying to think of a nice place where you and the children might spend the summer," he answered, "and when I heard that Captain Ross had his motor boat Fairy to hire for trips, I thought it would be just the chance for us.
"There is a bungalow at Christmas Tree Cove I can hire for the summer, and, if you want to go, we can all pile on board the Fairy and make the trip."
"Would you come, too?" asked Bunny.
"Yes, I would be with you part of the time," said Mr. Brown. "Of course I should also have to be at my dock down here in Bellemere part of the time to look after business, but I could come up and down. Christmas Tree Cove is not far away, and there are boats going up and down the river and the bay each week. So, if you think you will like it, we will spend the summer in a bungalow at Christmas Tree Cove."
"Oh, we'll just love it!" cried Sue, dancing around and clapping her fat hands.
"Will you like it, Mother?" asked Bunny. "Even if you don't find your diamond ring?"
"Yes, my dear, I think I shall like it there," said Mrs. Brown, with a smile. "Though, of course, I want to find my diamond ring that the dog carried away. I hope Bunker Blue finds it in the shavings or the sawdust of Mr. Foswick's shop before we go."
"I hope so, too," said Bunny.
"Then it's decided. We shall go to Christmas Tree Cove," said Mr. Brown. "I am sure you will have a nice summer. I'll tell Captain Ross that we will hire his boat for the trip and the voyage back."
"Is he the funny Captain Ross who is always cracking jokes or asking riddles?" Mrs. Brown asked.
"Yes, that's Captain Dick Ross," her husband replied. "He's very jolly, and I'm sure the children will like him. In fact, they may see him and his boat this afternoon if they wish."
"How?" asked Bunny eagerly. And Sue waited for the answer.
"He is down at my dock, with his boat Fairy," was the answer. "He is having some repairs made to it. The boat is a sailing boat with a motor in it, so it can travel both ways. If you like, Bunny and Sue, you may come down to the dock with me and see Cap'n Dick!"
"Oh! Oh!" exclaimed the children in delight, and they hurried through their meal that they might go with their father.
On the way to the boat and the fish dock, where Mr. Brown carried on his business, the children and their father stopped at Mr. Foswick's carpenter shop to ask if anything had been found.
"No, not yet," answered the old man, looking at Bunny and Sue through his spectacles all dim and dusty with wood dust. "But I haven't got all the sawdust and shavings out yet. I hope to find your wife's ring."
"So do I," said Mr. Brown. "She feels quite bad over the loss, and I'm afraid she will not have a happy summer even at Christmas Tree Cove."
"It is too bad," agreed Mr. Foswick. "Well, when Bunker Blue comes this afternoon, he and I will go all over the place. You haven't seen anything of the dog since, have you?" he asked.
"No," answered Bunny, while Sue shook her head.
"I'll send Bunker Blue back as soon as I get to the dock," promised Mr. Brown, and then he and the children went on.
Tied up at the end of the wharf was the boat Fairy, of which jolly Mr. Ross was captain.
"May we go on board?" asked Bunny, as they ran down the pier while their father was telling Bunker Blue to make a good search in the sawdust and shavings for the pocketbook containing the diamond ring.
"Yes," answered Mr. Brown. "I think Captain Ross is on board himself, puttering away in the cabin."
But he was not, though that did not matter to Bunny and Sue. They knew a great deal about boats, having lived near water all their lives and their father having been in the boat business for years.
"Come on!" called Bunny to his sister, and they easily jumped from the dock to the deck of the Fairy. No one was on board, it seemed, and Bunny and Sue enjoyed themselves by running about. They thought what fun it would be to make the trip to Christmas Tree Cove in such a craft.
"Let's make-believe I'm the captain and you're the cook," said Bunny to his sister after a while. "I'll go down in the cabin, and you must bring me my dinner, and we'll pretend there's a storm."
"All right," agreed Sue, and then began this little game, one of many with which the children amused themselves.
"Now, you know, I'm a reg'lar captain," said Bunny, putting on his most important manner. "So you must serve me real nice."
"Real captains have uniforms," said Sue. "You ought to have a uniform—and if I am to be the cook I ought to have a big white apron."
"I'll look for a uniform," said Bunny, and after hunting around a bit found a storm coat and a rubber hat. "I'll put these on."
The coat was much too big for him and so was the hat. But he did not mind this. Then Sue hunted around and at last found a white apron a good deal soiled.
"Oh, I don't like that," she pouted. "It's not a bit clean. Good cooks always have real clean aprons."
"There is a clean towel—you pin that on for an apron," suggested Bunny. And then he did the pinning himself.
They were both down in the cabin, and Bunny was making believe he was very hungry and he was asking Sue to bring him some more "plum duff" when the little girl gave a sudden cry.
"What's the matter?" asked Bunny, as he sat at Captain Ross's cabin table.
"We're moving!" cried Sue. "The Fairy is moving away! She isn't fast to the wharf any more!"
With a cry, Bunny scrambled up on deck.
Surely enough, the boat was adrift and he and Sue were alone on board!
THE STRANGE DOG
Sue followed her brother Bunny up on the deck of the Fairy. They were quite a distance out from the dock now, and were drifting farther and farther each minute, for the tide was running out. Sandport Bay connected with the ocean, and twice every day there is a great movement of the water in the ocean, called the tide. The tides make the water high twice each twenty-four hours, and then the tides get low, or run out. The moon and sun are thought to cause the tides, as you will learn when you get a little older and have to study about such things.
And the tide, after having run up into Sandport Bay, was now running out, or ebbing, and in some way it was taking the Fairy with it, floating the boat along as the rain water in the gutter floats chips along.
"How do you s'pose we got loose?" asked Sue.
"I don't know, lessen the rope came unhitched," Bunny answered. "But if Cap'n Ross tied his boat to the dock, I don't see how it could come unhitched."
Bunny was enough of a sailor to know that no boat captain ever tied such a knot as could easily come loose. And yet this is what seemed to have happened. For when Bunny and Sue ran to the side of the Fairy to look over, they saw, trailing in the water, the long rope, or cable, by which the boat had been made fast to the dock. As Bunny had said, it had come "unhitched." The children did not know how this had happened.
But there they were, alone on rather a large sailing boat, which also had a gasolene motor, like that in a motor boat, to make it travel when there was no wind to blow on the sails. And each moment they were being carried by the tide farther and farther away from their father's dock.
Bunny and Sue looked across the water toward the wharf whereon Mr. Brown had his office. They could not see their father, nor any one else. The dock was deserted.
"What are we going to do?" asked Sue; and there was a catch in her voice, as though she was frightened; and she was.
"Well," said Bunny slowly, "I guess maybe we'd better call."
"Call!" exclaimed Sue. "What for?"
"So daddy or Cap'n Ross will hear us and come and get us."
"How are they going to come and get us?" asked Sue. "They can't swim that far."
"Oh, yes, they could!" declared Bunny. "But I don't s'pose they'll have to swim. They can come and get us in a boat."
"Oh, yes!" cried Sue, more joyfully. "So they can. And I wish they would. Let's call, Bunny!"
Together the two children raised their voices in a shout. They were healthy and strong and had excellent voices. And, as sound carries a long distance over open water, the shouts of Bunny and Sue were heard on Mr. Brown's dock.
As it happened, the children's father was in the office talking with Captain Ross about the coming trip to Christmas Tree Cove when they heard the cries of distress.
"That's Bunny and Sue!" exclaimed Mr. Brown, leaping from his chair.
"Gracious sakes alive! I hope they haven't fallen overboard!" shouted Captain Ross.
"I think they know enough not to do that," Mr. Brown answered.
He ran out on the wharf, followed by the captain and some of the men who worked for Mr. Brown. There they saw the Fairy drifting out into the bay, and they could see the figures of Bunny and Sue at the boat rail.
"Stay there! We'll send a boat for you!" called Mr. Brown, making a sort of trumpet of his hands. "Stay on board! You'll be all right."
Bunny and Sue heard him and felt better. They had no notion, of course, of jumping overboard and trying to swim to shore. They knew they were safe on the Fairy while it was in the rather quiet water of Sandport Bay. Out on the rough ocean it would be a different matter, though they had sailed on the open sea with their father and mother, of course in a larger boat.
"How are we going to get 'em back?" asked one of Mr. Brown's men.
"Oh, we'll do that easily enough," was the answer. "Bring around the big motor boat. We'll have to tow the Fairy back here. I don't see how she ever got adrift," went on Mr. Brown. "I'm sure neither Bunny nor Sue loosened the cable."
"I'm positive they didn't," said Captain Ross. "It must have been that greenhorn cabin boy I had. I hired him yesterday, and let him go this morning because he didn't know one end of a rope from the other. I told him to make the Fairy fast to your dock while I came up here to talk to you. But he must have tied a grannie's or a landlubber's knot, and she pulled loose. I'm glad I'm rid of that boy!"
"Yes," agreed Mr. Brown, "a boy who doesn't know enough to tie a safe knot isn't of much use around boats. But there's no great harm done. She isn't drifting fast, and the motor boat will soon pick her up."
"I'll go along with you," offered Captain Ross, and soon he and Mr. Brown, with one of the dock men, were racing after the drifting Fairy.
On deck Bunny Brown and his sister Sue watched the rescue.
"It's just like being shipwrecked, isn't it, Bunny?" suggested Sue, as they sat down on deck to wait.
"Yes. It's fun when you know daddy is coming," said the little boy.
In a short time the motor boat reached the drifting Fairy. Mr. Brown and Captain Ross went on board, and you can just imagine how glad Bunny and Sue were to see them.
"Guess you'll have to tow us back," said Captain Ross to Mr. Brown. "The motor of my boat needs fixing. That's one reason why I tied up at your dock. There isn't enough wind to blow us back against the tide that's running out now."
"My motor boat will tow you back all right," said Mr. Brown.
And while this was being done Bunny and Sue sat on the deck of the Fairy with their father and Captain Ross.
"Well, you had quite an adventure, didn't you?" laughed Captain Ross, taking Sue up on his knees. "And it reminds me of a riddle. When is a boat not a boat?"
"When is a boat not a boat?" repeated Bunny. "Why, a boat is always a boat, Cap'n Ross, lessen you mean it's like a house 'cause people sometimes live in it."
"No, I don't mean that," chuckled Captain Ross. "I'll ask you again. When is a boat not a boat? Can you guess?"
Bunny and Sue shook their heads sideways to say "No."
"Do you give up?" asked Captain Ross.
Bunny and Sue shook their heads up and down to say "Yes."
"When is a boat not a boat?" asked the Captain again. "When she's a drift, of course, like this one of mine was! Ho! Ho!" and he laughed heartily. "You see a boat's not a boat when she's adrift—a sort of snow drift! Ha! Ha! That's a riddle," and he laughed so heartily that Sue slipped from his lap.
Bunny and Sue laughed also, and they liked Captain Ross.
"Here we are now, all shipshape and Bristol fashion!" went on the captain as the motor boat towed the Fairy back to the wharf. This time Captain Ross tied the rope himself to make sure it would not come loose again.
"May we stay on the boat?" asked Bunny, as his father started back up to his office with Captain Ross.
"Yes, you may play on board until it's time to go home to supper," promised Mr. Brown. "But don't fall overboard and don't go adrift again."
"No, we won't!" said Bunny.
"If you do I'll never tell you any more riddles," laughed Captain Ross.
"Oh, what fun we'll have when the boat goes to Christmas Tree Cove and takes us there!" shouted Sue, as she and Bunny played about the deck.
The children had almost forgotten about their mother's lost ring and pocketbook, to say nothing of the five-dollar bill. But that afternoon, when they were going home with their father, they saw something that brought the loss back to their minds.
They were walking along the street with Daddy Brown when, all of a sudden, Bunny cried:
"There he is! There! There!"
"Who?" asked his father.
"That big dog that took mother's pocketbook in his mouth and bounced away with it!" was the answer. "There he goes!"
Bunny pointed out a large, yellowish-brown dog just running around the corner of the next street. Then Bunny pulled his hand from his father's and raced after the strange animal.
"I'll make him show me where mother's ring and pocketbook are!" cried Bunny as he ran down the street.
So quickly did Bunny Brown pull away from his father to run after the strange dog that Mr. Brown had no chance to call to the little boy to be careful. Sue, however, who had hold of her father's other hand, seemed anxious.
"Maybe the dog will bite Bunny!" exclaimed the little girl. "Sometimes Splash used to growl if you took a bone away from him, and maybe this dog will growl if Bunny takes the pocketbook away from him."
"That might happen if the dog had mother's pocketbook," replied Mr. Brown. "But I didn't see him have it, and I don't believe Bunny knows, for sure, whether or not this is the same dog."
"Maybe if he hasn't the pocketbook in his mouth he has it hid somewhere, and he's going to dig it up just as Splash used to dig up the bones he hid," went on Sue. "Let's go and look, Daddy!"
This was just what Mr. Brown wanted to do—to see what happened to Bunny, who had turned the corner running after the strange dog. So, taking a firmer hold of Sue's hand, daddy started to run. When they turned the corner they could see the chubby legs of Bunny working to and fro as he ran along some distance ahead of them. Ahead of him the big, yellow dog was also racing along and Bunny could be heard calling:
"Stop! Hold on there! Come back with my mother's pocketbook and her diamond ring!"
Several persons in the street were attracted by the shouts of the boy and his race after the dog.
"There'll be more excitement here in a little while than I want," thought Mr. Brown. "People will think there has been a theft, and they will join in the chase. Then the dog may get excited and bite some one. I must catch Bunny and stop him from shouting."
Now Sue could not, of course, run as fast as could her father, and, though her legs worked to and fro in her very best style, Bunny was getting far ahead of them.
"I'll have to pick you up and carry you, Sue," said her father. And, stooping, he caught her up in his arms. It was easier for him to run fast this way, and he knew he would soon catch up to Bunny. As for the small boy, he was still chasing the dog. And the dog seemed to know he was being chased, for he ran on, looking back now and then, but never stopping.
"What's the matter, Mr. Brown?" asked a man who knew the fish dealer, as he saw Sue's father hurrying down the street, carrying her and racing after Bunny. "Has anything happened?"
"Oh, not much," was the answer. "My boy is trying to catch that strange dog, and I don't want him to—the dog might bite him."
"That's so," said the man.
"Stop, Bunny! Stop!" cried Mr. Brown, getting within calling distance of his little son. "Don't run after the dog any more!"
"But I want to get mother's pocketbook and ring," Sue's brother answered, as he slowed up and looked back.
"That dog hasn't it," went on Mr. Brown. "He has nothing in his mouth, and——"
"Oh, he has something in his mouth. It's red and I can see it sticking out!" interrupted Sue eagerly. "Maybe it's mother's pocketbook, Bunny."
"It's his tongue!" declared Bunny. "It's the dog's red tongue you see. Mother's pocketbook was black."
"Well, this dog hasn't it, at any rate," went on Mr. Brown with a smile, as he put Sue down on the sidewalk beside Bunny, with whom he had now caught up. "And even if this were the same dog, we could not make him understand that we wanted him to take us to the place where he dropped the purse."
"I'm sure it's the same dog," insisted Bunny. "But he's gone now, anyhow."
This was true. Just as Bunny stopped after his father called to him the dog ran into an alley between two buildings, and though Mr. Brown, again holding his two children by the hands, looked in, there was no sight of the animal.
"Yes, he's gone," agreed Mr. Brown.
"You scared him, chasing after him like that, you did," went on Sue to her brother. "Didn't he, Daddy?" she asked her father.
"I guess the dog didn't need much scaring," said Mr. Brown. "Are you sure he's the same one, Bunny?"
Of this Bunny was quite positive, though Sue was not so much so. The animal looked like the one that had snatched the pocketbook off the bench and had run into Mr. Foswick's carpenter shop with it. But that was as far as Sue could go.
The crowd which had started to gather when it saw the chase, now began to separate when it found there was to be no more excitement, and Mr. Brown took a short cut through the back streets home with Bunny and Sue.
"We had a lot of adventures, Mother!" said Bunny, when they reached the house. "We got adrift on a boat, and we had a tow back, and I saw the dog that had your pocketbook, and I chased him and—and——"
"And I know a riddle about when is a snowdrift like a boat," broke in Sue, not wanting Bunny to receive all the attention.
"Gracious!" exclaimed Mrs. Brown. "What does all this mean?" she asked her husband. "Did you really get back my pocketbook? Oh, if my ring has been found——"
"I'm sorry to say it hasn't," her husband said. "Bunny did think he saw the dog that took it, but I very much doubt that."
"And what's that about being adrift?"
"They were on the Fairy, and she floated out a little way from the dock."
"That's rather dangerous," said Mother Brown. "If such things are going to happen it will not be safe for us to go to Christmas Tree Cove."
"Oh, can't we go?" cried Bunny and Sue, thinking their mother was going to call off the trip.
"There was no danger," their father said, and he explained how it had happened. "It was not the fault of Bunny and Sue," he added. "The boat might have drifted off with any one on board."
"But it is strange if that dog should still be around here, after running off with my pocketbook," went on Mrs. Brown.
"I am not at all sure it was the same dog," her husband said. "Though Bunny may have thought it looked the same. But did you have any report from Mr. Foswick or Bunker Blue about their search in the carpenter shop for the pocketbook?" he asked his wife.
"Yes," she answered. "Bunker Blue and Mr. Foswick looked carefully. They swept out the shop, which hasn't happened in over a year, I imagine; but all they found was an old pair of spectacles Mr. Foswick lost six months back. Bunker was here a little while ago, and said there was no use of searching any further. He went back to the dock, as you told him to."
"It's too bad," said Mr. Brown. "Still, it can't be helped, and it shall not spoil our trip to Christmas Tree Cove. Can you be ready to start day after to-morrow?" he asked his wife.
"I think so," she answered. "How many of us are going?"
"The children, of course, and you and Uncle Tad; and I'll send Bunker along to help when I am not there."
"Oh, aren't you going, Daddy?" asked Bunny.
"Yes, I'll start with you," Mr. Brown promised. "But I can't always be with you. I shall have to spend part of each week here at my boat and fish dock. But Bunker will be with you all summer, and so will Uncle Tad."
"I'm glad he's going!" exclaimed Bunny. "He'll be lots of fun!"
"So will Captain Ross!" added Sue. "He can ask awful funny riddles."
During supper the plans for the summer vacation at Christmas Tree Cove were talked over, the children becoming more and more jolly and excited as they thought of the fun ahead of them. After the meal Bunny and Sue went out in the yard to play. George Watson, Harry Bentley and Charlie Star had a race with Bunny, while Mary Watson, Sadie West and Helen Newton brought their jumping ropes and the four little girls had a great game. Of course Bunny and Sue told about the coming trip and, naturally, all the other children wished they could go.
"Maybe we can come up on a picnic and see you," said Harry.
"Oh, I hope you can!" exclaimed Sue.
Mr. and Mrs. Brown sat on the porch in the evening glow, watching the children at play and talking over what it would be necessary to take on the little voyage which would start aboard the Fairy. Every once in a while Mrs. Brown would give a sigh.
"Are you thinking of your lost pocketbook?" her husband asked.
"I am thinking more of my lovely engagement ring," she answered.
"It is too bad," he agreed. "But never mind. Perhaps it may be found."
"No, I am afraid it never will be," she went on. "You had better come into the house now," she called to Bunny and Sue. "It is getting late, and you'll have plenty to do to-morrow to get ready for the trip to Christmas Tree Cove."
Bunny and Sue said good-night to their playmates, and were soon ready for bed. Their father and mother sat up a little later. They were about to retire when a noise on the stairs caused them to look out into the hall.
There was Bunny, in his blue pajamas, coming down the stairs. His eyes were wide open, but they had a funny look in them.
"I know where it is!" he said. "That dog has it on his tail."
"What?" asked Mr. Brown. "What do you mean, Bunny? What has the dog on his tail?"
"Mother's diamond ring," was the answer. "I'm going to get it. The dog is asleep on the shavings in the carpenter shop."
Bunny came down a few more stairs, and his mother, looking at him, exclaimed:
"He's walking in his sleep!"
Mr. Brown caught the little boy up in his arms. Somehow, Bunny seemed much smaller in his pajamas.
"Wake up, Bunny! Wake up!" his father said, gently shaking him. "What's the matter?"
"I've got to find it. I know where it is—on the end of the dog's tail. And Sue——" Bunny stopped suddenly. A change came over his face, and a different look flashed into his eyes.
"What—what's the matter? What am I down here for?" he asked wonderingly. And then his parents knew he was fully awake.
"You have been walking in your sleep, dear," said his mother. "That's something you haven't done for a long time. The day had too much excitement in it for you. Are you all right now?" and she patted his cheeks as he nestled in his father's arms.
"Oh, yes. I'm all right now," Bunny said. "I had a funny dream. I thought the dog came to me and said the diamond ring was on the end of his tail, and I was going to get one of Mr. Foswick's hammers and knock it off. The dog was on a bed of shavings in the carpenter shop and—and——"
"Yes, and then you got out of bed and walked in your sleep," finished his father, with a laugh. "I must see if Sue is all right."
She was. In her little bed she was slumbering peacefully, and Bunny was soon back with his head on the pillow.
"Poor little dears!" said their mother, as the lights were put out and the house locked for the night. "They are thinking too hard about the lost ring. I mustn't let them see that I care so much, or it will spoil their summer at Christmas Tree Cove."
"Yes, forget your loss if you can," suggested her husband.
There was much to do the next day—so much that only once in a while did Bunny and Sue think of the strange dog that had run away with their mother's pocketbook and diamond ring. Bunker Blue was busy, also, and so was Uncle Tad, helping to get ready for the trip.
Bunny and Sue wanted to help pack, but their mother said they could best help by running on errands. One of these took them to the carpenter shop of Mr. Foswick for a piece of wood Bunker wanted to nail across certain shutters in the house, which was to be closed for the summer.
"Well, have you come to take another look for the ring?" asked the carpenter. "It isn't here. Bunker Blue and I looked all over."
"I don't see what that dog could have done with it," said Bunny, as he glanced around the newly-swept shop. "He surely came in here with the pocketbook."
"Yes, I saw the dog running around my yard," admitted the carpenter. "But I didn't see him have anything. Well, it's one of those things that never will be found, I s'pose. Here's the wood you want, and I'll not lock you in this time," and he smiled at Bunny and Sue as he thought of what had happened the other night.
Another errand took the children down to their father's dock, and there they saw Bunker Blue and Captain Ross working aboard the Fairy.
"I'm getting her in good shape for you, messmates!" called the jolly sailor. "And it reminds me of a riddle. Do you see that barrel of water there?" he asked, pointing to one on deck.
"Yes, I see it," admitted Bunny.
"Well, here's a riddle about it," went on the captain. "That barrel, we'll say, weighs ten pounds when it is empty. Now, what could I fill it with so it would weigh only seven pounds?"
"Why, Captain Ross, if that barrel weighs ten pounds when it hasn't got anything in it, you couldn't fill it with anything to make it weigh seven pounds. It would weigh more than ten pounds if you filled it with anything."
"Oh, no, it wouldn't!" the sailor said. "If I filled it full of holes, boring 'em in with one of Mr. Foswick's augers, then the barrel wouldn't weigh so much, would it? I'd cut a lot of wood out of the sides when I made the holes. Ha! Ha!"
Bunny thought it over for a minute. Then he laughed.
"That's a pretty good riddle," he said.
"I'm glad you like it," went on Captain Ross. "After this, when anybody asks what you can fill a barrel or a box with to make it weigh less, just tell 'em to fill it full of holes! Ha! Ha!" and he clapped his big hand down on his bigger leg and laughed heartily.
Bunny and Sue laughed also, and they knew they were going to have a jolly time on the trip to Christmas Tree Cove with Captain Ross to sail the Fairy, or, if there was no wind, to send the craft through the water by her gasolene engine.
This engine Bunker Blue was working on to mend, as it had been broken just before the two Bunker children went adrift from their father's dock.
"Will it be ready to sail to-morrow?" asked Bunny, as he watched Bunker hammering away at the motor.
"Oh, yes," was the answer. "There isn't much the matter with her. We'll be able to pull out in the morning."
And by hard work everything was finished that night on board the Fairy. Uncle Tad, the jolly old soldier, announced that he had his "knapsack" packed and enough "rations" to last him for a week, anyhow.
As they were to make an early morning start, Bunny and Sue had said good-bye to their boy and girl friends the evening before. As they walked past Mr. Foswick's carpenter shop with Uncle Tad, who went down the street with them at the last minute to buy something Mrs. Brown wanted, the children looked at the wood-working place.
"Wouldn't it be funny if that dog should be hiding around here?" asked Sue of her brother.
"Yes," he agreed, "it would be. But I don't see him."
"I guess if he is here he's hiding," Sue went on. "Maybe there's a hole under the floor of the shop and he's there, just as once at Grandpa's farm in the country we found where a hen had her nest under the floor in the barn. And it had eggs in it!"
"Dogs don't make nests like hens," said Bunny.
"Oh, I know that!" retorted Sue. "But maybe this dog hid the pocketbook under the boards in the shop floor."
"I hardly think so," put in Uncle Tad. "He probably dropped that pocketbook in the street, and either some one picked it up and kept it, or else it was dropped down a sewer."
"But if anybody found it, wouldn't we have got it back?" asked Bunny. "Daddy put an advertisement in the paper."
"Maybe we would and maybe we wouldn't," said Uncle Tad. "Anyhow, it's gone."
Bright and early the next morning Bunny Brown and his sister Sue went aboard the Fairy, which was tied at their father's dock. The Brown home had been shut up, the things that were needed had been put on board the boat, Mrs. Brown was keeping an eye on the children to see that they did not stray away, and Uncle Tad was stowing away the baggage in the cabin.
Soon Mr. Brown, Bunker Blue, and Captain Ross would come on board and the voyage would start.
The Fairy was large enough for the whole family, as well as the "crew," to sleep on board. The crew generally was made up of Captain Ross and a man and a boy. But this time Mr. Brown was going to take the place of the man, and Bunker Blue would be the "boy," so that it was more of a family party. Mr. Brown had known Captain Ross for many years, and the children felt as though he were as nearly related to them as was Uncle Tad.
"All aboard!" called the captain, as he came down the wharf from Mr. Brown's office, accompanied by Mr. Brown and Bunker Blue. "Are you all aboard?" and he smiled at Bunny and Sue.
"Yes, we're here," Bunny answered.
"Isn't he funny, Mother?" whispered Sue. "He can look right at us, and yet he wants to know if we're here!"
"It's just his joking way," said Mrs. Brown.
"I've got another good riddle for you, youngsters," called Captain Ross, as he made his way along the deck. "What kind of tree would scare a cat?"
"There wouldn't any tree scare a cat," declared Bunny. "I've seen a cat climb up a tree lots of times. Cats aren't scared of trees!"
"Well, wouldn't a dogwood tree scare a cat?" chuckled the sailor. "Ha! Ha! I'm sure it would. I don't believe you could get a cat to climb a dogwood tree!" he went on.
"That is a funny riddle!" declared Bunny. "I'm going to tell it to Charlie Star when we come back from Christmas Tree Cove."
"We'd better get there first," went on Captain Ross, still chuckling at his riddle. "Cast off, Bunker Blue!"
Bunker loosed the ropes that held the Fairy to the wharf, and the boat slowly drifted away.
"Oh, we've really started!" cried Sue, as she saw the open water between the rail and the string-piece of the wharf.
"We'll go faster than this!" exclaimed Bunny. "Wait till Bunker Blue starts the motor."
As there was not enough wind to allow the sails to be used, it was needful to start the motor, and soon it was chugging away, sending the Fairy swiftly along through the water.
Bunny and Sue were delighted with the trip. They sat in camp-chairs on deck and watched the different sights. They expected to cruise about on the boat for perhaps three days before going to the Cove. They could sleep in the little bunks with which the boat was provided.
"It's a funny way to go to bed," said Sue, after looking at the bunks for the tenth time.
"Well, I guess you can sleep here just as well as at home," answered her brother.
"You'd better not walk in your sleep, Bunny, 'cause you might walk overboard."
"I ain't going to walk in my sleep any more," answered Bunny. "I told daddy I wasn't."
"Maybe you can't help it."
"Yes, I can. You wait and see."
It was toward the close of the afternoon, and Bunny and Sue were beginning to wonder how much longer it would be before supper was ready, when, as they stood near Bunker, who was steering, the children saw a canoe with two young men and two young women in it being slowly paddled across the bay.
"They'd better watch where they're going," said Bunker Blue. "They seem to be aiming to cross our bows, and if they do—— Look out there!" he suddenly cried, as the canoe turned. "Do you want to be run down?"
The next moment there was a collision. The Fairy struck the small boat, upsetting it and spilling into the water the two young men and the young women.
"Oh! Oh!" cried Sue. "We've run over 'em!"
THE MERRY GOAT
Bunny Brown, who had been sitting near his sister Sue on the deck of the Fairy, had jumped to his feet and run to the rail, or side of the boat, as the little girl cried out that their craft had run over the canoe. That was really what had happened. The two young men and the young women in the canoe had got in the way of the motor boat, and had been struck.
"Man overboard!" yelled Bunny. He had often enough heard that cry on his father's boat and on the pier, for more than once boys or men had fallen off into the water. Sometimes on warm summer days the boys pushed each other off, just for fun.
And often, at such times, the cry would be raised:
Bunny knew what that meant. It meant that somebody ought to jump to the rescue or throw into the water something the person who had fallen in could grab. There were, on his father's dock, a number of life buoys—round rings of cork covered with canvas and having a long rope attached to them. And there were some of these same things on the deck of the Fairy.
"Man overboard!" cried Bunny again, and, running to the nearest life ring, he took it off the hook and sent it spinning into the water. Bunny knew that the end of the rope was fast to the rail, so the buoy would not be lost.
Bunker Blue also acted quickly. Near the wheel by which the Fairy was steered was a wire, which, when pulled, shut off the motor down in the hold of the craft. Bunker Blue pulled this wire, and the boat began to slow up. Then Bunker leaped to the side of the Fairy near Bunny, and Bunker caught up another life ring and tossed it over the rail.
As Bunny and Sue leaned over to catch sight of the four people in the water, Captain Ross and Daddy Brown came hurrying up on deck from the little cabin, where they had been talking with Mrs. Brown.
"What's the matter?" cried Captain Ross. "Did we hit anything, Bunker?"
"Yes, a canoe with four people in it. We ran 'em down. They crossed right in front of our bows! I'll get 'em!"
The next minute Bunker peeled off his coat, slipped from his feet the loose, rubber-soled shoes he wore, and leaped over the rail.
"Oh! Oh!" gasped Sue.
"He's going to save 'em!" cried Bunny. "I wish I could jump in and——"
"Don't dare try that, Bunny Brown!" cried his mother, who heard what he started to say, and she put a hand on his shoulder to hold him.
"They're all right," reported Mr. Brown, looking over the side of the boat. "All four of them can swim, and the young men have given the young ladies the life rings. They don't seem to be much frightened. Bunker is swimming for the canoe. I guess they'll be all right."
"Yes, it looks so," said Captain Ross, also taking a look over the side. "Though the canoe may be stove in so it'll leak. Mighty foolish of 'em to try to cross in front of our bows! I expect we'll have to take 'em all on board here."
"Oh, yes, we must!" cried Mrs. Brown. "But what shall we do about dry clothes for them? Possibly I can let the young ladies have some of my extra dresses, but the young men——"
"Oh, I guess we can fit 'em out," broke in Captain Ross. "It's warm, and they won't want much. First thing to do is to get 'em on board I reckon. How about you?" he called down to the struggling people in the water. "Need any more help?"
"We're all right," answered one of the young men. "But will you take us aboard? The canoe's smashed!"
"Sure, we'll take you on board," answered the captain.
And then, as Bunny and Sue watched, they saw their father and Captain Ross help pull up to the deck of the Fairy first the two young women, dripping wet. They looked very much bedraggled, but they were laughing and did not seem to mind what had happened.
Next the two young men scrambled up, pulling themselves by means of the ropes from the life buoys. And last of all came Bunker Blue. He had the rope of the smashed and overturned canoe in one hand and was towing it along as he swam slowly. It was not easy work to drag the canoe through the water, submerged as it was, but Bunker did it, fastening the canoe rope to the rail of the Fairy.
Then he scrambled up on deck, shook the water from his face and hair, and said:
"I'll get a boat hook and fish up the paddles. They're floating around down there."
"Oh, don't bother," urged one of the young ladies. "It was all my fault. I steered the canoe right in your way. We ran into you—you didn't run into us."
"Well, I'm glad you feel that way about it," said Captain Ross, while Bunny and Sue watched the little puddles and streams of water dripping from the recent occupants of the canoe and from Bunker Blue.
"Is the canoe worth saving?" asked Mr. Brown, as he looked down to where it now floated at the side of the Fairy, held fast by the line Bunker had brought on board.
"I don't think so," said one of the young men. "It was an old one, and now the side is stove in. Let it go. It will drift ashore anyhow, and we can get it later if we want to. You might save the paddles if you can. I'll help," he offered.
"I'll help," offered the other young man, and while these two, with Bunker, sought to save the paddles with boat hooks, the broken canoe was cast loose from the Fairy and allowed to drift off.
"If you'll come down to the cabin with me," said Mrs. Brown to the young ladies, "I'll see if I can lend you some other clothes while yours are drying."
"Oh, don't bother!" said one of the young ladies. "It was all just fun. We had on old clothes, for we half expected to be upset before we got back."
But Mrs. Brown insisted on making them change, and so she led them down into the cabin. Uncle Tad helped in the work of recovering the paddles, and then he suggested that the two young men might also like to take off their wet things.
"Oh, not at all," said one. "We're used to being wet. And we'll soon dry, anyhow. It was very decent of you to jump in after us," he said to Bunker. "As it happens, we can all swim pretty well, and it isn't the first time we've been upset. But I was afraid one of the girls might have been hurt. As it is, we're all right."
"And mighty lucky you are to be that way," commented Captain Ross. "I'm glad it was no worse. Now where do you want to be set ashore?"
"We're staying at that hotel," said Mr. Watson, for such was the name of one of the young men. He pointed to a large seaside resort on the shore not far away.
"Well, we'll head for the dock," decided the captain, and soon the Fairy was moving along again, the floating paddles having been recovered.
The young ladies soon came on deck, wearing some garments belonging to Mrs. Brown. They were laughing and joking at the upset. The young men refused to change, saying it was not worth while.
"It's too bad you lost your canoe," said Bunny, as he and his sister listened to the talk of the rescued party.
"Oh, it was only an old one I owned," said Mr. Watson. "It isn't a great loss. I'm afraid you girls had some things sunk, though," he added. "There wasn't much time to save anything."
"I lost my pocketbook," said one of the young women, who was called Mildred by her companions. "There was only about a dollar in it, though," she added.
"My mother lost her pocketbook, and it had five dollars and her diamond ring in it," put in Sue.
"Did you? Do you mean to-day?" asked the other young lady, who had been addressed as Grace.
"Oh, no. It was some time ago," explained Mrs. Brown.
"A dog took it," volunteered Bunny. "And he ran into a carpenter shop, and we ran after him—Sue and I did—and we got locked in and I busted a window and——"
"He's going into all the details!" laughed Mr. Brown.
But the young men and the young women were so interested in what the children said that they had to hear the whole story.
"I'm sure I hope you get your engagement ring back," said Mildred to Mrs. Brown, and the young lady looked at her own hand, on which sparkled a diamond. Perhaps it was her engagement ring.
"It is too much to hope for," replied Mrs. Brown. "I am trying not to think of it."
"Did you see me throw the life buoy to you?" asked Bunny, changing the subject.
"I'm afraid I didn't," answered Grace with a laugh.
"And my eyes were too full of water," added Mildred.
"Well, anyhow, I threw one in to you," went on Bunny.
"And I yelled when I saw you get run over," added Sue, just as if that, too, had helped.
"I'm sure you did all you could," declared Mr. Watson. "And it was all our own fault that we got in your way. But no one is hurt, and we're little the worse for our adventure."
The Fairy slowly headed toward the dock near the big summer hotel, which was one of a number at a well-known resort on the bay. Some other boats had come up after having seen the canoe run down, but when it was found no help was needed, they sheered off again.
"How can we return your things to you?" asked the young ladies of Mrs. Brown, as they prepared to go ashore when the boat tied up at the dock.
"There is no special hurry," was the answer. "We are going to Christmas Tree Cove for the summer. You can send them there."
"I have a better plan," said Mr. Brown. "Why should we not stay here over night? We can tie up at this dock and go ashore for an evening of enjoyment. That will give the young ladies a chance to get into other dry clothes and give you back yours," he said to his wife.
"Oh, yes! Let's stay!" cried Bunny. "We can have a lot of fun on shore!"
"And there's a merry-go-round!" added Sue. "I can see it!"
She pointed to one of the popular summer attractions set up near the hotel on the beach.
"Very well, we'll stay," said Mother Brown; and so it was arranged.
The four young people went ashore, the young ladies in borrowed clothes, and the men, in their own damp garments, carrying the paddles. They attracted some little attention from the crowd on the dock. It was very evident what had happened. But as canoe upsets are very common at shore resorts in the summer, no one took it very seriously, especially as no one was drowned or hurt.
"We'll send back your things in the morning," called Mildred and Grace to Mrs. Brown, as they went up to the hotel.
"You'll find us right here," said Captain Ross. "I'm mighty glad it was no worse," he said to his friends on the Fairy. "I should hate to have your summer outing spoiled by an accident, even if it was the fault of those in the canoe. But it reminds me of a riddle. See if you can guess it, Bunny and Sue. What goes under the water and over the water and never touches the water?"
"A fish!" guessed Bunny.
"A fish is always in the water," cried Sue, laughing.
"Oh, so it is," said her brother.
"Say it again," begged Sue.
The jolly captain did so, and when Bunny and Sue gave up, after several wrong guesses, the seaman said:
"A man walking over a bridge with a pail of water on his head. He goes over the water, and he's under the water in the pail, and yet he doesn't touch the water."
"Oh, that's a good riddle!" laughed Bunny. "I'm going to fool Bunker on that."
"If the water pail upset and spilled on him then the water would touch him," said Sue, after a moment of thought. "And if he fell in the water he'd be wet."