BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE
LAURA LEE HOPE AUTHOR OF THE BUNNY BROWN SERIES, THE BOBBSEY TWINS SERIES, THE OUTDOOR GIRLS SERIES, ETC.
Illustrated by Florence England Nosworthy
NEW YORK 1916
I. AUNT LU ARRIVES II. THE LOST RING III. WANGO, THE MONKEY IV. THE EMPTY HOUSE V. LOCKED IN VI. ADRIFT IN A BOAT VII. BUNNY GOES FISHING VIII. SUE FALLS IN IX. THE RESCUE DOG X. A TROLLEY RIDE XI. LOST XII. FOUND XIII. SUE AND THE GOAT XIV. A LITTLE PARTY XV. GEORGE WATSON'S TRICK XVI. THE LEMONADE STAND XVII. THE MOVING PICTURES XVIII. WANGO AND THE CANDY XIX. BUNNY IN A QUEER PLACE XX. SPLASH RUNS AWAY XXI. HOW SUE FOUND THE EGGS XXII. AUNT LU IS SAD XXIII. AN AUTOMOBILE RIDE XXIV. THE PUNCH AND JUDY SHOW XXV. THE LOBSTER CLAW
AUNT LU ARRIVES
"Bunny! Bunny! Wake up! It's time!"
"Wha—what's matter?" sleepily mumbled little Bunny Brown, making his words all run together, like molasses candy that has been out in the hot sun. "What's the matter, Sue?" Bunny asked, now that he had his eyes open. He looked over the side of his small bed to see his sister standing beside it. She had left her own little room and had run into her brother's.
"What's the matter, Sue?" Bunny asked again.
"Why, it's time to get up, Bunny," and Sue opened her brown eyes more widely, as she tried to get the "sleepy feeling" out of them. "It's time to get up!"
"Time to get up—so early? Oh, Sue! It isn't Christmas morning; is it, Sue?" and with that thought Bunny sat up suddenly in his bed.
"Christmas? No, of course not!" said Sue, who, though only a little over five years of age (a year younger than was Bunny), sometimes acted as though older than the blue-eyed little chap, who was now as widely awake as his sister.
"Well, if it isn't Christmas, and we don't have to go to the kindergarten school, 'cause it's closed, why do I have to get up so early?" Bunny wanted to know.
Bunny Brown was a great one for asking questions. So was his sister Sue; but Sue would often wait a while and find things out for herself, instead of asking strangers what certain things meant. Bunny always seemed in a hurry, and his mother used to say he could ask more questions than several grown folks could answer.
"Why do you want me to get up so early?" Bunny asked again. He was wide awake now.
"Why, Bunny Brown! Have you forgotten?" asked Sue, with a queer look in her brown eyes. "Don't you remember Aunt Lu is coming to visit us to- day, and we're going down to the station to meet her?"
"Oh yes! That's so! I did forget all about it!" Bunny said. "I guess it was because I dreamed so hard in the night, Sue. I dreamed I had a new rocking-horse, and he ran away with me, up-hill—"
"Rocking-horses can't run away," Sue said, shaking her head, the hair of which needed brushing, as it had become "tousled" in her sleep.
"Well, mine ran away, in my dream, anyhow!" declared Bunny.
"They can't run up hill, even in dreams," insisted Sue. "Horses have to walk up hill. Grandpa's always do."
"Maybe not in dreams," Bunny said. "And I really did dream that, Sue. And I'm glad you woke me up, for I want to meet Aunt Lu."
"Then let's hurry and get dressed," Sue went on. "Maybe we can run down to the station before breakfast. Aunt Lu will be hungry, and we can show her the way to our house."
"That's so," agreed Bunny. "But maybe we'd better take a piece of bread and butter down to the station for her," he added, after thinking about it for a few seconds.
"Or a piece of cake," added his sister.
"We'll take both!" exclaimed the blue-eyed, chubby little chap. Then he began to dress. Sue, who had gone back into her own little room, had almost finished putting on her clothes, but, as her dress buttoned up the back, she had to come in and ask Bunny to fasten it for her. This he was ready to do as soon as he had pulled on his stockings and little knickerbockers.
"Shall I start at the top button, or the bottom one, Sue?" he asked, as he stood behind his sister.
"It doesn't matter," said Sue, "as long as you get it buttoned. But hurry, Bunny. We don't want the train to get in, and Aunt Lu get off, with us not there to meet her. Hurry!"
"All right—I will," and Bunny began buttoning the dress. But soon a queer look came over his face. "Aren't you done?" asked Sue, as he stopped using his fingers.
"Yes, I'm done, Sue, but I've got two buttons left over, and there's only one buttonhole to put 'em in! What'll I do?" Bunny was quite puzzled.
"Oh, you must have buttoned me wrong, Bunny," Sue said. "But never mind. Nobody will notice so early in the morning. Now come on down stairs, and we'll get the bread and cake."
The children went to the dining room, where the table was set for breakfast, and Sue was cutting off a rather large slice from a cake she had found in the pantry, while Bunny was putting twice as much butter on a slice of bread as was needed, when their mother's voice exclaimed:
"Why, Bunny Brown! Sue! What in the world are you children doing? Up so early, too, and not properly dressed! Why did you get up? The idea!"
"We're going to the station," Sue said. It really was her idea. She had thought of it the night before, when their mother had told them her sister (the children's Aunt Lu) would arrive in the morning. "We're going to the station," said Sue.
"To meet Aunt Lu," added Bunny.
"And we're taking her some cake so she won't be hungry for breakfast," went on Sue.
"And bread," Bunny continued. "Maybe she don't like cake, so I'm taking bread."
"If she doesn't eat the cake, we can," Sue said, as if that was the easiest way out.
"Of course," Bunny echoed.
Mrs. Brown sat down in a chair and began to laugh. She had to sit down, for she laughed very hard indeed, and when she did that she used to shake in such a jolly fashion that, perhaps, she would have fallen if she had not been sitting in a chair.
"Oh, you children!" she said, when she had wiped the tears from her eyes with the corner of her apron. She was not exactly crying, you know. Only she laughed so hard that tears came into her eyes. "You queer, dear little children!" she said. "What are you going to do next?"
"Why, we're going to the station as soon as I get the bread buttered, and Sue puts the cake in a bag," Bunny said. He did not seem to feel that anything was wrong.
"Oh, my dears, Aunt Lu's train won't be in for some time—two or three hours," said Mrs. Brown. "And you know I've told you never to go down to the station alone."
"Couldn't you come with us?" asked Sue, eating a few of the cake crumbs.
"Or maybe papa," added Bunny. "If he can't Bunker can. Bunker knows the way to the station."
"And Bunker likes cake, too," Sue said. "We might give him a piece, if Aunt Lu doesn't want it."
"No, no! You musn't give away my cake like that," said Mrs. Brown. "Now listen to me. It will be hours before Aunt Lu will get here. Then, perhaps, I may take you to the station to meet her. But now I must dress you right and give you your breakfast. Papa had his some time ago, as he had to go down to the bay to see about some boats. I wondered why you were getting up so early. Now put back the bread and cake and wait until I give you something to eat."
A little later, rather disappointed at not being allowed to go off alone to meet their aunt, Bunny and Sue sat at the breakfast table.
"I wish the time would hurry up and come for Aunt Lu to be here," Bunny said.
"So do I," chimed in Sue. "What fun we'll have when Aunt Lu comes."
"Indeed we will!" Bunny exclaimed.
Bunny Brown and his sister Sue lived with their father and mother, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Brown, in the town of Bellemere. That town was on Sandport Bay, which was part of the Atlantic Ocean, and the bay was a good place to catch fish, lobsters, crabs and other things that live in salt water.
Mr. Brown was in the boat business. That is he owned many boats, some that sailed, some that went by steam or gasoline, and some that had to be rowed with oars. These boats he hired out, or rented, to fishermen, and others who had to go on the bay, or even out on the ocean, when it was not too rough.
Mr. Brown had a number of men to help him in his boat business; and one of the men, or, rather, an extra-large size boy, was Bunker Blue, of whom Bunny and Sue were very fond. And Bunker liked the two children' fully as much as they liked him. He often took them out in a boat, or went on little land-trips with them. Mr. and Mrs. Brown did not worry when Bunny and Sue were with Bunker.
The two Brown children were good company for each other. You seldom saw Bunny without seeing Sue not far away. They played together nearly all the while, though often they would bring other children to their yard, or would go to theirs, to play games, and have jolly times. Bunny was a boy full of fun and one who sometimes took chances of getting into mischief, just to have a "good time." And Sue was not far behind him. But they never meant to do wrong, and everyone loved them.
Uncle Tad lived with the Browns. He was an old soldier, rather stiff with the rheumatism at times, but still often able to take walks with the children. He was their father's uncle, but Bunny and Sue thought of Uncle Tad as more their relation than their father's.
In the distant city of New York lived Miss Lulu Baker, who was Mrs. Brown's maiden sister, and the Aunt Lu whom the children were so eagerly expecting this morning. She had written that she was coming to spend a few weeks at the seashore place, and, later on, she intended to have Bunny and Sue and their mother visit her in the big city. Bunny and Sue looked eagerly forward to this. But just now they wanted most to go to the depot, and watch for the train to come in, bringing dear Aunt Lu to them.
"Isn't it most time to go?" asked Sue, as she pushed back her chair from the breakfast table.
"Oh, no, not for a long while," said their mother. "You run out and play, and when it's time, I'll call you."
"And can't we take Aunt Lu anything to eat?" asked Bunny.
"Oh dear me, no!" laughed Mrs. Brown. "She won't want anything until she gets here. Run along now."
Bunny and Sue went out in the yard, where they had a little play-tent, made of some old pieces of sails from one of Mr. Brown's boats. It was a warm spring day, and, as Bunny had said, there was no kindergarten school for them to go to, as it had closed, to allow a new roof to be put on the school building.
"Let's go down and see Wango," suggested Sue, after a bit.
"No, because it's so far away that mother couldn't call to us," objected Bunny. "We'll stay here in the yard until it's time to go to the train."
"All right," agreed Sue.
Wango was a queer little monkey, belonging to Jed Winkler, an old sailor of the town. I'll tell you more about Wango later.
Bunny and Sue played a number of games, and, after a while, a boy named Charlie Star, and a girl, named Sadie West, came over from across the street and joined Bunny and Sue in their fun. Then, a little later, Mrs. Brown came to the door and said:
"Come now, Bunny—Sue! It's almost train time. I can't go with you, but I'll let Bunker take you. I telephoned down to the dock, and daddy is sending him up with the pony cart. You may drive down to meet Aunt Lu. But come in and wash first!"
"Oh, goodie!" cried Bunny, and he was so pleased at the idea of going to the depot in the pony cart that he did not make a fuss when his mother washed his hands and face.
"Hello, Bunker!" cried Sue, as the big, red-haired lad drove up.
"Hello, Sue! Hello, Bunny!" he greeted them. "Hop in and away we'll go!"
Off they started to the station. It was not far from the Brown home, and soon, with the pony safely tied, so he would not run away, Bunny, Sue and Bunker waited on the platform for the cars to arrive.
With a toot, a whistle and a clanging of the bell, in puffed the train. Several passengers got off.
"Oh, there she is! I see Aunt Lu!" cried Sue, darting off toward a lady in a brown dress.
"Here, come back!" cried Bunker, reaching out a hand to catch Sue. He was afraid she might go too near the train. But he was too late. Sue raced forward, and then, suddenly, she slipped and fell right into a puddle of water, left from a rain-storm the night before. Down into the muddy pool went Sue, all in her clean white dress.
"Oh—Oh!" gasped Bunny.
"I might a'knowed suthin' like that would happen," complained Bunker. "Now her ma'll blame me!"
Aunt Lu saw what had happened, and, before any one else could reach Sue, she had picked up the little girl, in whose eyes were tears all ready to fall. And with her handkerchief Aunt Lu wiped the tears away. As she did this Bunny saw a ring on his aunt's hand—a ring with a stone that sparkled like snow in the sun—red, green, golden and purple colors.
"There, Sue! Don't cry!" murmured Aunt Lu. "You're not hurt, and the mud will wash off."
"Oh, I—I'm not crying for that," said Sue. bravely keeping back her sobs. "I—I'm crying just—just because I'm—I'm so glad to see you!"
THE LOST RING
Aunt Lu laughed when she heard Sue say that. And it was such a nice, kind, jolly laugh that Sue could not help joining in. So she was really laughing and crying at the same time, which is funny, I suppose you think.
"Well, I'm glad you are so happy to see me, dear," said Aunt Lu. "Oh, don't mind about your dress," she went on, as she saw Sue trying to rub away some of the muddy spots with her tiny handkerchief. "Your mother will know you couldn't help it."
"I'll tell her it wasn't Sue's fault," cried Bunny. "The railroad oughtn't to have puddles where people will fall into 'em!"
"That's right," chimed in Bunker Blue. "It ought to be filled up with dirt, and then it wouldn't hold water. You're to ride back with us in the pony cart, Miss Baker."
"Oh, so you drove over for me; did you? That's very nice," said Aunt Lu with a smile. "My! How large Bunny has grown!" she went on, as she bent over and kissed him, having already done that to Sue, when she wiped away the little girl's tears.
"I'll go and get the cart," Bunker said.
"Yes, and I think I'll take Sue inside the station, and see if I can get a towel to clean off the worst of the mud stains," said Miss Baker.
"She can sit away back in the pony cart, and I'll sit in front of her, so nobody will see the dirt on her dress," offered Bunny.
"That's very kind of you," his aunt remarked. "We'll be all right soon. Bunker, will you see after my trunk, please?" she asked as she gave him the brass check. "It can be sent up later," she went on, "as I guess there is hardly room for it in the pony cart."
"No'm, not scarcely," answered Bunker with a smile that showed his big, white teeth. "I'll have the expressman bring it up, or I can come down for it later," and he went away to the baggage room.
The ticket agent in the station gave Aunt Lu a towel, with which she took some of the dirt from Sue's dress. The little girl was smiling now.
"I like you, Aunt Lu," she said. "We're awful glad you came, and you'll play with us; won't you?"
"Oh, yes, of course, dear. Well, what is it, Bunny?" she went on, as she saw the little boy looking closely at her hands. "Do you see something?" Aunt Lu asked.
"It—it's that," and Bunny pointed to the shining ring.
Aunt Lu's eyes sparkled, almost as brightly as the glittering stone in the ring, and her cheeks became red.
"I know what it is—it's a diamond!" exclaimed Sue. "Isn't it, Aunt Lu?"
"Did you find it?" asked Bunny. "Or did you dig it out of a gold mine?"
"Diamonds don't come from gold mines; they make 'em out of glass!" said Sue.
"Yes they do dig 'em; don't they, Aunt Lu?" insisted Bunny.
"Yes, dear, they do dig them."
"Where did you dig it?" Sue wanted to know. Perhaps she hoped she could dig one for herself.
"I did not dig it," their aunt said. "It was given me by a very dear friend. I love it very much," and she held up the diamond ring, so that it sparkled more than ever in the sun.
"Well, Sue," she went on, as she finished scrubbing away at the muddy dress. "I think that is the best I can do. It will need washing to make it clean again. But here comes Bunker with the pony cart, so we will start for your house. Your mother will be wondering what has become of us."
Aunt Lu had been on a visit to the Brown's several times before, and as she sat in the pony cart with the children, with Bunker driving, she bowed to several persons whom she knew and who knew her. There was Mr. Sam Gordon, who kept the grocery, Jacob Reinberg, who sold drygoods and notions, and little Mrs. Redden, who kept a candy and toy store.
"Stop here a minute, Bunker," said Miss Baker, when the pony cart reached the toy store. "I want to get something for Bunny and Sue."
"Candy?" asked Bunny eagerly.
"Yes, just a little," his aunt answered, and soon Bunny and Sue were nibbling the sweets Mrs. Redden brought out to them.
Just as he had said he would do, Bunny sat in front of his sister, so no one would see her soiled dress. But Sue did not much mind about it now. Her mother only said she was sorry, when she heard about the accident, and did not blame her little daughter.
Mrs. Brown and her sister were glad to see one another, and after Aunt Lu had taken off her hat, and was seated In the cool dining room, sipping a cup of tea, Bunny called to her:
"Aunt Lu, won't you come out and play with us?"
"Please do!" begged Sue. "I have a new doll."
"And I have a new top," added Bunny. "It hums and whistles. I'll let you spin it, Aunt Lu."
"Oh, dears, your aunt can't come out now," said Mrs. Brown. "She must rest. Some other time she may. She and I want to sit and talk now. You run off and play by yourselves."
"Don't you want to come down and see the fish boat come in?" went on Bunny, wondering why it was that grown folks would rather sit and talk than play out of doors and have fun.
"Oh, yes, let's take her down to the dock and see the fish boats come in!" exclaimed Sue, for this was one of their delights. Some of the boats were those which the fishermen hired from Mr. Brown, and it was at his dock, where he had an office, that the boats landed, the fish being taken out, put in barrels, with ice, and sent to the city.
"No, Aunt Lu can't go to the dock with you now," Mrs. Brown said. "Some other time, my dears."
"Then may we go?" asked Bunny.
Mrs. Brown hesitated. Then, as she saw Bunker Blue coming in with Aunt Lu's trunk, which he had gone down to get, instead of sending it up by an expressman, the children's mother said:
"Yes, Bunny, you and Sue may go down to the dock with Bunker. But stay with him, and don't fall in; you especially, Sue, as I don't want to put another clean dress on you."
"Oh, I'll be careful, Mother," Sue promised, and away she and her brother hurried, calling to Bunker to wait for them. Bunker was very glad to do this, because he liked to be with Bunny and Sue.
"Have the fish boats come in yet, Bunker?" asked Bunny, as he trudged along, holding one of the red-haired lad's hands, while Sue had the other.
"No, Bunny, they're not in yet, but maybe they will be coming soon after we get to the dock," Bunker answered. And so it happened. Bunny and Sue went into their father's office for a moment, to tell him that Aunt Lu had arrived, and then, with Bunker to look after them, they went out on the end of the dock.
Soon one of the big fish boats came in. It was loaded with several kinds of fish, some big flat ones, white on one side, and black on the other. These were flounders. There were some blue fish, large and small, and some long-legged "fiddler" crabs. But they were not the kind that is good to eat.
"Oh, look at that big lobster!" exclaimed Bunny, pointing to a dark green fellow, with big claws, and a tail curled up underneath.
"Isn't he big!" Sue said. She and her brother often saw many strange fish, but they never failed to be interested in them, and this lobster was a fine one.
"Yes," said a fisherman, "he was in our nets, and we brought him in with us. Your father, the other day, said he'd like to have one, and maybe he will want this."
"I'll go and ask him," said the little chap.
"And maybe Aunt Lu likes lobsters, too," Sue said. Neither she nor Bunny cared for lobster, as they did for other fish. But grown folks are very fond of the big, clawy creatures.
Perhaps some of you children have never seen a lobster. They are a sort of fish, though they have no scales. They live inside a shell that is dark green when the lobster is alive. But when he is cooked it turns a bright red.
Lobsters have two big claws, and a number of little ones, and with these claws they walk around, backward, on the bottom of the ocean or bay, and pick up things to eat. In some inland rivers and streams there are what are called crayfish, or crabs. They are very much like lobsters, only, of course, a lobster is much larger.
Mr. Brown came out of his office when the fish were being unloaded from the boat, into barrels of ice. He saw the big lobster and said he would buy it, to take home to cook for supper.
"We'll have a fine salad from him," said Bunny's father to the fisherman.
The lobster was still alive and the fisherman picked it up just back of the big, pinching claws, so he would not get nipped, and put the lobster in a basket for Mr. Brown to carry. Bunny and Sue leaned over, looking at the green shellfish, when a voice behind them asked:
"What is it?"
The children turned to see George Watson, a boy older than Bunny, who lived near him. George often played little tricks on Bunny and Sue.
"What is it?" he asked again. "A whale?"
"A big lobster," Bunny answered.
"I guess he could almost pinch your nose off in one of his claws," Sue said, not going too close to the basket.
"Pooh! I'm not afraid of him," George declared. "I'll let him pinch this stick," he went on, picking up one, and holding it out toward the lobster, which was slowly waving its "feelers" to and fro, and moving its big eyes, that looked like shoe buttons sticking out from its head.
"Better look out!" was Bunker's warning, seeing what George was doing. "He'll nip you!"
"I'm not afraid!" boasted George. "I can——"
And just then something happened. George got his finger too near the lobster's claw and was at once caught.
"Ouch!" cried George. "Oh dear! He's got me! Make him let go, Bunker! Oh, dear!"
Bunker did not stop to say: "I told you so!" He took out his big knife, and put the blade between the teeth of the lobster's claw, forcing it open so George could pull out his finger. Then, with a howl of pain and fright, the boy ran home. He was not much hurt, as a lobster can not shut his claws very tightly when out of water. Just as does a fish, a lobster soon dies when taken from the ocean.
"What's the matter?" cried Mr. Brown, running up when he heard George's cries. "Are you hurt, Bunny—Sue?"
"No, it was George," Bunker explained. "He thought he could fool the lobster, but the lobster fooled him."
"I guess I'd better take it home and have mother cook it," said the children's father, and home they started, Mr. Brown carrying the big lobster in the basket.
"Oh, what a fine large one!" Aunt Lu cried, when she saw it. "And what a fine salad it will make."
"May I have one of the claws—the big one?" begged Bunny.
"What for?" asked his mother.
"I want to put a string in it and tie it on my face, over my own nose," the little boy explained. "Then I'll look just like Mr. Punch, in Punch and Judy. May I have the claw?"
"I guess so," replied Mrs. Brown.
"And when you clean it out, and put it on your nose, I'll be Mrs. Judy," said Sue. "We'll have fun."
A lobster's claw, I might say, is filled with meat that is very good to eat. When the lobster is boiled and the meat picked out with a fork, the claw is hollow. It is shaped just like the nose of Mr. Punch, with a sort of hook on the end of it, where the claw curves downward. Bunny and Sue often played with empty lobster claws.
The children went out in the yard while Mrs. Brown cooked the lobster. Then, when it was cool, Aunt Lu helped pick out the meat which was to be mixed up into a salad.
"Is my big lobster claw ready now?" asked Bunny, coming up just before the supper bell was to ring.
"Yes, here it is," his aunt told him. "I cleaned it out nicely for you."
Bunny held it over his own nose and went toward the mirror to see how he would look.
"Oh, you're just exactly like Mr. Punch!" Sue cried, clapping her hands.
"Isn't he!" agreed Aunt Lu. And then she gave a sudden cry.
"Oh dear!" she gasped. "Oh dear! It's gone! I've lost it!"
"What?" asked Bunny.
"My ring! My beautiful diamond ring is lost!" And Aunt Lu's cheeks turned pale.
WANGO, THE MONKEY
Aunt Lu hurried over to the kitchen table, at which she had been helping Mrs. Brown make the lobster salad. She looked among the dishes, and knives and forks, but shook her head.
"No, it isn't there," she said, quite sadly.
"What isn't? What is the matter?" asked Mrs. Brown, who came in from the dining room just then. "Can't you find the big lobster claw that Bunny wanted? I laid it——"
"Oh, I have it, Mother, thank you," the little boy said. "But Aunt Lu has lost——"
"It's my diamond ring—Jack's engagement ring," said Mrs. Brown's sister. "It must have slipped off my finger, and——"
"Oh dear! That's too bad!" said Mrs. Brown. "But it must be around here somewhere. We'll find it!"
Bunny and Sue hardly knew what to make of it all. They had never seen their Aunt Lu so worried.
"Mother, what's an engagement ring?" asked Sue, in a whisper, as Aunt Lu kept on looking among the things on the table, hoping her diamond might have dropped off there. Then she looked on the floor.
"An engagement ring, my dear," said Sue's mother, "is a ring that means a promise. A very dear friend of Aunt Lu's has promised to marry her, and he gave her the diamond ring to be a sort of reminder—a most beautiful present. Now we must help her find it."
"It can't be far away," Mrs. Brown said to her sister. "You were not out of this room, were you?"
"No, I've been here ever since I began to pick the meat out of the lobster, and I had my ring on then."
"Oh, then we'll find it," said Bunny's mother.
But it was not so easy to do that as it was to say it. They looked all over the kitchen—on the floor, under the table, among the dishes, the pots and pans—but no diamond ring could be found. Papa Brown came in from the front porch, where he had been reading the evening paper, and he helped search, but it seemed of no use.
"Oh, where can my beautiful ring have dropped?" asked Aunt Lu, and Sue thought she saw signs of tears in her aunt's eyes.
"Perhaps it fell into the lobster salad," suggested Mr. Brown.
"Then you can find it when you eat," called Bunny. "Only don't bite on the diamond. It might break."
"We'll look in the salad now," Mrs. Brown said.
They did so, looking in the dish that held the chopped-up bits of lobster meat, but no diamond ring was to be found. Then the floor was looked over again, most carefully, the empty dishes were turned upside down in the hope that the ring might drop out of one of them. But it did not.
Aunt Lu looked sad and worried, and so did Mr. and Mrs. Brown. The cook, who had been out for the afternoon, came in and she helped search for the diamond ring, but it could not be found.
"I'm sure I had it, when I began making the lobster salad," said Aunt Lu, "but when I handed Bunny the empty claw I looked on my finger, and the ring was gone."
"Perhaps it dropped out of doors," suggested Papa Brown.
They looked near the side porch where Bunny had been standing when his aunt gave him the claw with which he was going to play Punch, but the ring was not found there.
"Oh dear! I feel so sorry!" Aunt Lu said, "If only I could find my lovely ring. Bunny—Sue, you must help me. To whomever finds it I'll give a nice present—-anything he wants. That will be a reward, children."
"Yes, you must help Aunt Lu look for her ring," said Mrs. Brown. "Come now, we will have supper, and look afterward. We may find it when we least expect it."
But even after supper, the ring was not found. The whole family searched. Aunt Lu did not eat much supper, much as she liked lobster salad. She was too worried, I guess. Even Bunny did not feel like playing Mr. Punch with the big hollow lobster claw that fitted over his nose in such a funny way. Neither he nor Sue felt like making jokes when their aunt felt so unhappy.
That night, when he and Sue went to bed, Bunny put the lobster claw away.
"We'll play with it some other time," he said to his sister.
"Yes," she agreed. "Some day when Aunt Lu finds her ring, and then she'll play with us, and be the audience. You will be Mr. Punch, and I'll be Mrs. Judy. Only I don't want to wear a lobster claw on my nose."
"No, I'll be the only one to wear a claw," said Bunny in a sleepy voice, and then he dreamed of sailing off to "by-low land."
Aunt Lu was up early the next morning, down in the kitchen, and out in the yard, looking for her lost ring. But it was not found, and Aunt Lu's face seemed to grow more sad. But she smiled at Bunny and Sue, and said:
"Oh, well, perhaps some day I shall find it."
"We'll look all over for it," said Bunny.
"Indeed we will," added Sue. "Let's look out in the yard now, Bunny."
The children looked, but had no luck Then, as it was not time for dinner, they wandered down the street.
"Don't go too far away," their mother called after them. "Don't go down to the fish dock unless some one is with you."
"No, Mother, we won't!" Bunny promised.
They had each a penny that Aunt Lu had given them the day before, and now they wandered toward the little candy store kept by Mrs. Redden. She smiled at Bunny and Sue as they entered. Nearly every one did smile at the two children, who wandered about, hand in hand.
"Well, what is it to-day?" asked the store-lady. "Lollypops or caramels?"
"I want a penny's worth of peanuts," said Bunny.
"And I'll take some little chocolate drops," said Sue.
Soon, with their little treat, the brother and sister walked on toward the corner, the candy store being half way between that and their house.
As they passed a little dark red cottage, in front of which was an old boat, filled with flowers and vines, Bunny and Sue heard some one inside screaming and crying:
"Oh dear! Stop it I tell you! Let go my hair! Oh, if I get hold of you I'll make you stop! Oh dear! Jed! Jed! Where are you?"
Bunny and Sue looked at one another.
"That's Miss Winkler yelling!" said Bunny.
"But what makes her?" asked Sue.
"I don't know. We'll go and see," suggested Bunny.
Into the yard of the little red house ran the two children. Around to the kitchen they went, and, looking in through the open door they saw a strange sight.
Standing in front of a window was an elderly woman, wearing glasses which, just now, hung down over one ear. But, stranger still, there was a monkey, perched up on the pole over the window. One of the monkey's brown, hairy paws was entangled in the lady's hair, and the monkey seemed to be pulling hard, while the lady was screaming and trying to reach the fuzzy creature.
"Oh, it's Wango, the monkey, and he's up to some of his tricks!" cried Bunny.
"He'll pull out all her hair!" Sue exclaimed.
"Oh, Bunny—Sue—run for my brother! Go get Jed!" begged Miss Winkler. "Tell him Wango is terrible! He must come at once. Wango is such a bad monkey he won't mind me!"
And Wango kept on pulling her hair!
THE EMPTY HOUSE
Bunny Brown and his sister Sue hardly knew what to do. They just stood there, looking at the monkey pulling and tugging on the rather thin hair of Miss Winkler, and she, poor lady, could not reach up high enough to get hold of Wango, who was perched quite high up, on the window pole.
"Oh, Bunny!" cried Sue. "We must do something—but what?"
Sue felt that her brother, as he was a whole year older than she, ought to know what to do.
"I—I'll get him down!" cried Bunny, who, as had Sue, had, some time before, made friends with the old sailor's queer pet.
"How can you get him down?" Sue wanted to know.
"I—I can stand on a chair and reach up to him," went on the small, blue-eyed boy, looking around for one to step on.
"No, no!" exclaimed Miss Winkler, as she heard what Bunny said. "You musn't go near him, Bunny. He might bite or scratch you. He is very bad and ugly to-day. I don't know what ails him. Stop it, Wango!" she ordered. "Stop it at once! Come down from there, and stop pulling my hair!"
But the monkey did nothing of the sort. He neither came down, nor did he stop pulling the lady's hair, as Sue and Bunny could easily tell. For they could see Wango give it a yank now and then, and, when he did, poor Miss Winkler would cry out in pain.
"Oh, go for my brother! He's down on the fish dock I think," Miss Winkler begged.
"No, we can't go there," replied Bunny slowly. "Our mother told us not to go there unless Bunker Blue or Aunt Lu was with us."
"Then the monkey will never let go of my hair," sighed Miss Winkler.
"Yes, he will," Bunny said. "I'll make him."
"How?" Sue wanted to know.
"This way!" exclaimed her brother, as he held out some of the peanuts he had bought at Miss Redden's store. "Here, Wango!" he called. "Come and get some peanuts!"
"And I'll give him some caramels," cried Sue, as she held out some of her candy.
I do not know whether or not Wango understood what Bunny and Sue said, but I am sure he knew that the candy and peanuts were good to eat. For, with a chatter of delight, he suddenly let go of Miss Winkler's hair and scrambled down to the floor near Bunny.
"Look out that he doesn't bite you," Miss Winkler said. "Be careful, Sue!"
"I'm not afraid," said Bunny Brown.
"Nor I," added Sue.
Wango was very tame, however. The way he acted, after he saw the good things to eat, would have made anyone think he was always kind and gentle. For he carefully took the peanuts from Bunny in one paw, and a caramel from Sue in another, and then, making a bow, as the old sailor had taught him, the mischievous monkey scrambled into his cage in one corner of the room.
The next minute Miss Winkler had shut the cage door and fastened it.
"There!" she exclaimed, "the next time I let you out of your cage you'll know it, Wango!"
"What happened?" asked Bunny.
"I don't know, child," the elderly lady answered, as she began to coil up her hair. "He is usually good, though he minds my brother better than he does me. When Jed was here, a while ago, he was playing with Wango out in the room, and, I suppose, when he put the saucy creature back in the cage, the door did not fasten well.
"Anyhow, when I was making some cookies awhile ago I suddenly felt something behind me, and, as I tumid around, I saw the monkey. He made a grab for a cookie, and I had to slap his paws for I won't have him doing tricks like that.
"Then he got mad, snatched my comb out of my hair, and, when I ran after him, he got up on the window pole, grabbed my hair and stayed up there where I couldn't reach him. Oh, what a time I've had!"
"It's too bad," said Sue kindly.
"I don't know what I would have done if you children hadn't come along," went on Miss Winkler, "for I had called and called, and no one heard me. I'll make Jed put a good lock on the monkey-cage after this. Now come out to the kitchen and I'll give you each a cookie."
Wango seemed to want a cookie also, for he chattered and made queer faces as he shook the door of his cage.
"No, indeed! You sha'n't have a bit!" scolded Miss Winkler. "You were very bad."
Wango chattered louder than ever. Perhaps he was saying he was sorry for what he had done, but he got no cookie.
Bunny and Sue each had a nice brown one, though, with a raisin in the centre, and, after Miss Winkler had thanked them again, they kept on with their walk down the street.
"Wasn't Wango funny?" asked Sue, as she nibbled her cookie.
"That's what he was," Bunny said. "'Member the time when he pulled the cat's tail?"
"Yes," agreed Sue. "And when he sat down in the fly paper! That was funnier than this time."
"I guess Miss Winkler didn't think this was funny," commented Bunny. "I guess the monkey doesn't like her."
"But he minds Mr. Winkler," Sue said. "I've seen him make the monkey stand on his head."
The old sailor, who had brought Wango home, after one of his many ocean voyages, had taught the furry little creature many tricks. But though Wango minded Mr. Winkler very well, he did not always do what Miss Winkler told him to do.
As Sue walked on, still nibbling her cookie, she kept looking down at the ground, until at last Bunny asked her:
"What are you looking at Sue—trying not to step on ants?" For this was a game the children often played.
"Not this time," Sue answered. "I was looking to see if I could find Aunt Lu's ring."
"Why, she didn't lose it down here!" Bunny said, in surprise.
"Maybe she did," returned Sue. "She thought she lost it around our house, but she looked, and we all looked, and we didn't find it, so maybe it was lost down here. I'm going to look, and if we find it we'll get a present."
"I'll help you look," said Bunny kindly, "but I don't believe it's down here."
The two children walked along a little farther, with their eyes searching the ground, but they saw no golden ring.
"Oh, I tell you what let's do!" suddenly exclaimed Bunny.
"What?" asked Sue, eager to have some fun.
"Let's go back home, and I'll put the lobster claw on my nose, and we'll play Punch and Judy. We haven't done that yet."
"All right, we'll do it!" Sue agreed. "And I'll let you take my sawdust doll. You have to hit her with a stick you know, if you're Mr. Punch, and it won't hurt a sawdust doll."
"All right," Bunny cried. "And when I hit her I'll call out, the way Mr. Punch does: 'That's the way to do it! That's the way I do it!'"
He said this in the funny, squeaky voice which is always heard at Punch and Judy shows, and Sue laughed. She thought her brother was very funny.
Bunny and Sue were about to turn around and go back home, but, as they came to a stop in front of the last house on their block Bunny said:
"Oh, Sue, look! They're painting this house, and maybe we can get some red or blue paint, to put on my face, when I play Mr. Punch."
"Oh, Bunny Brown! You wouldn't put paint on your face; would you?" demanded Sue.
"Just a little," said Bunny. "Why not?"
"S'posin' you couldn't get it off again?" Sue wanted to know.
"Oh, I could wash it off when I got through playing," Bunny replied. "Come on in, and we'll see if the men will give us a little paint; red, or blue or green."
Outside the house, in front of which the children then stood, were a number of pots of differently colored paint, and some ladders. But there was no paint yet on the outside of the house.
"I guess they're painting inside," Bunny said. "I don't see any of the men out here. Come on, we'll go in; the door is open, Sue."
The front door was open a little way, as the two children could see as they went up the walk. Bunny and Sue knew every house in that part of town, and also knew the persons who lived in them. All the neighbors knew the children, making them welcome every time they saw them.
"There's no one in this house, I 'member now," Sue said. "Miss Duncan used to live here, but she moved away."
"Then I guess the men are painting it over all nice inside to get it ready for someone else to live in," remarked Bunny. "There isn't anyone here, Sue," he added, as his voice echoed through the empty house. "Even the painters have gone."
"We'd better go out," said Sue. "Maybe they wouldn't like us to be in here."
"Pooh! Nobody will care!" exclaimed Bunny, who was rather a daring little fellow. "Besides, I want to get some paint. Come on, we'll go upstairs. Maybe they're painting up there, or pasting new paper on the walls."
Bunny started up the front hall stairs, and, as Sue did not want to be left alone on the first floor of the empty house, and as she did not want to go out, and leave Bunny there, she followed him.
Their footsteps sounded loud and queer in the big, vacant rooms. As they reached the top of the stairs they heard behind them a loud banging noise.
"What—what was that?" asked Sue, looking quickly over her shoulder.
"I—I guess the front door blew shut," said Bunny. "Never mind, we can open it again. I want to get some red paint for my face, so I can play Mr. Punch."
But if Bunny and Sue knew what had happened when that banging noise sounded, they would not have felt like walking on through the empty rooms, even to get red paint.
"On, say, Bunny!" suddenly called Sue, as she followed her brother through the upstairs rooms, "wouldn't it be fun for us to live here?"
"Do you mean just us two?" the little boy asked.
"Yes," answered Sue.
Bunny shook his head.
"I'd like mother, and daddy, and Aunt Lu, too," he said. "It would be nicer, then."
"Oh, but sometimes they don't want us to make a noise," went on Sue. "And if we were here all alone we could yell and holler, and slide down the banister, all we wanted to. Let's slide down now," she said, as she went to the head of the stairs, and looked at the long, smooth hand- rail.
"Say, that will be fun," Bunny cried. "I'll go first, Sue, but don't come after me too close, or you might bump into me and knock me over."
"I won't," promised the little girl.
It did not take much to cause Bunny to change his mind or his plans when there was any fun to be had. For a while he forgot about looking for red paint to put on his face to make him look funny when he played Mr. Punch, with the hollow lobster claw on his nose. Just now the joy of sliding down the banister rail seemed to be the best in the world.
"Here I go!" cried Bunny, and down the rail he went, ending with a little bump on the big, round post at the bottom.
"Now it's my turn," Sue said, and down she came. Though she was a girl Sue could slide down a rail almost as well as could Bunny. In fact, she had played with her brother so much that she could do many of the things that small boys do. And Bunny surely thought that Sue was as good a chum as any of his boy playmates.
"Now it's my turn again!" exclaimed the little blue-eyed chap, as he went up the stairs, his feet making a loud noise in the empty house. For some time Bunny and Sue played at sliding down the banister rail, and then Bunny remembered what they had first come into the house for.
"Let's go to look for that red paint," he said.
"All right," agreed Sue. Her little legs were beginning to get tired from running up the stairs so often.
Back up to the second floor went the children, looking through the vacant rooms. But no paint pots did they see.
"I guess all the paint is outside," said Bunny. "We'll go down and get some."
"Maybe the man wouldn't like us to take it," said Sue.
"We'll pay him for it, if he wants money," Bunny replied, as though he had plenty. "Mother or Aunt Lu will give us pennies soon," he said, "and I can give the man mine. I only want about a penny's worth of red paint Come on, we'll go out, Sue, and get some."
"Yes, and then we'd better go home," Sue went on. "I guess it's going to be dark pretty soon," and she looked out of a window. It was getting on toward evening, but the children had been having so much fun that they had not noticed this.
Bunny and Sue walked through all the upstairs rooms of the empty house. In one Bunny saw something that made him call out:
"Oh, Sue, look! A lot of picture books! Let's sit down and read them!"
Of course Bunny and Sue could not read, though the little boy knew some of his letters. So when he said "read" he meant look at the pictures. The books were some old magazines that the family, in moving away from the house, had left behind. Bunny and Sue made each a little pile of the paper books for seats and then they sat there looking at the pictures in another pile of magazines on the floor beside them.
"Oh, look at this dog, riding on a horse's back!" exclaimed Bunny, showing Sue a picture he had found in his book.
"Yes, it's like in a circus," Sue agreed. "And see, here's a colored picture of a cow. Oh, I wish I had a drink of milk, Bunny. I'm hungry! It must be pretty near supper time."
"I guess it is," the little fellow agreed, as he patted his own stomach. "We'll go home, Sue. I wonder if we couldn't take some of those books with us?"
"I guess so," Sue said. "Nobody wants 'em."
"And, anyhow, we didn't get any red paint, though maybe I can find some outside," Bunny said. "We'll each take a book."
It took a little time for Bunny and Sue each to pick out the book, with the pictures in it, that was most liked. But finally, each with a magazine held tightly, the children started to go down stairs.
"Here I go!" cried Bunny again, as he straddled the banister railing. Down he slid, but this time Sue did not wait until her brother had reached the bottom post.
She put her own fat little legs over the rail, and down she went, bumping right into Bunny and knocking him off the post on to the floor. And, that was not all, for she fell right on top of him.
"Ugh!" grunted Bunny, for Sue was rather heavy and she took his breath away.
"Oh, Bunny, did I hurt you?" asked the little girl, as she got up. "Did I, Bunny?"
"Nope, you didn't hurt me, Sue. Falling down did—a little, but I fell on something soft, I guess."
Bunny stood up and looked. He had fallen on a pile of cloth bags which the painters had left inside the house. It was lucky for Bunny that the bags were there, or he might have been badly bruised. As it was he and Sue were not hurt, and, having picked themselves up, and brushed off their clothes, they were ready to go back home.
And it was quite time, too, for the shadows were getting longer and longer out in the street, as the sun went down.
"It was the front door that blew shut with such a bang," Bunny said, as he and Sue went down the long, front hall. "It was open when we came in, but it's shut now."
"The wind blew it, I guess," said Sue. "I wonder if you can get it open, Bunny?"
"Sure!" her brother said.
But when Bunny tried to open the front door he could not. Either it was too tightly shut, or else some spring lock had snapped shut. There was no key in the hole, but Bunny turned and twisted the knob, this way and that. But the door would not open.
"Let me try," said Sue, seeing that Bunny was not getting the door to swing open so they could get out. "Let me try."
"Pooh! If I can't do it, you can't," Bunny said. He did not exactly mean to be impolite, but he meant that he was stronger than his little sister and so she could hardly hope to do what he could not.
"Oh, but Bunny, what will we do if we can't get the door open?" Sue asked, and she seemed almost as frightened as the day when she had fallen down in the mud puddle when she and Bunny went to meet Aunt Lu.
"Well, if I can't get the front door open, maybe I can get the back one or the side one open," Bunny said. "Come on, we'll try them."
But the back door was also locked and there was no key in that to turn. Neither was there a side door. Both the front and back doors were locked.
Bunny looked at Sue, and Sue looked at her little brother. Her eyes were bright and shiny, as though she were going to cry. Bunny tried to speak bravely.
"Sue—we—we're locked in!" he said.
"Oh, Bunny!" she exclaimed. "What are we going to do? Oh! Oh! Oh dear!"
ADRIFT IN A BOAT
Bunny Brown was a brave little chap, even though he was only a bit over six years old, "going on seven," as he always proudly said. And one of the matters in which he was braver than anything else was about his sister Sue.
His mother had often spoken to him about his sister when he and Sue were allowed to walk up and down in the street, but not to go off the home block.
"Now, Bunny," Mrs. Brown would say, "take good care of little Sue!"
And Bunny would answer:
"I will, Mother!"
Now was a time when he must look after her and take special care of her. The first thing he said to Sue was:
"Don't cry, Sister!" Sometimes he called her that instead of Sue.
"I—I'm not going to cry," Sue answered, but, even then, there were tears in her eyes. "I'm not going to cry, but oh, Bunny, we're locked in, and there's nobody here——"
"I'm here!" said Bunny quickly.
"Yes, of course," answered Sue. "But you can't get the doors open, Bunny, and we can't get out when the doors are shut."
Bunny thought for a moment. What Sue said was very true. One could not go through a locked door.
"If we were only fairies now," said Bunny slowly, "it would be all right."
"How would it be?" Sue asked, opening her eyes wide.
"Why, if we were fairies," Bunny explained, "all we would have to do would be to change ourselves into smoke and we could float right out through the keyhole."
"Oh, but I wouldn't like to be smoke!" cried Sue. "That wouldn't be any fun. Why we couldn't play tag, or eat ice cream cones or—or anything. And the wind would blow us all away, if we were smoke."
"Oh, we wouldn't be smoke all the while," Bunny said. "Only just while we were going through the keyhole. Once we were on the other side we could change back into our own selves again."
"Oh, that would be all right," Sue said. She went up close to the keyhole of the front door and peeped through. Maybe she was trying to wish herself small enough to crawl out of the locked, empty house, without changing into smoke.
But of course Bunny and Sue were not fairies, and of course they could not turn into smoke, so there they had to stay, locked in.
"But, Bunny, what are we going to do?" asked Sue, as they went back and forth from the front to the back door.
"Maybe I can open a window," Bunny said. But he was not tall enough to reach more than past the window sill. The middle of the sash was far away, and he could see that the catch was on. If there had been a chair in the house, perhaps Bunny might have stood on it and opened a window, but there was none.
In one of the rooms Bunny did find an empty box. Moving this up to the window to stand on he found he could reach the middle of the sash, and turn the fastener.
"Now if I can only push up the window, Sue!" he cried.
"I'll help you," the little girl said. "Here's a stick, I can push with that."
So with Bunny standing on the box, and Sue, on the floor, pushing with the stick, they tried to put up the window in order to get out of the empty house.
But the window would not go up, and all of a sudden Sue's stick slipped and banged against the glass.
"Oh! Look out!" cried Bunny. "You nearly broke it."
"I didn't mean to."
"No. But I guess we'd better not try to raise the window. We might break the glass."
Bunny knew a boy who, when playing ball, broke a window, and he had to save up all his pennies for a month to pay for the new glass. Bunny did not want to do that.
So the children went away from the window.
"Say, Sue," said Bunny, after a bit, "we can play we are camping out here. That would be fun, and we can make a bed of the pieces of bags that I fell on off the banister, and—"
"But I'm hungry, and there's nothing to eat!" Sue exclaimed. "When we camp out, or go on a picnic, there are things to eat."
"That's so," agreed Bunny. "This isn't as much fun as I thought it was. I wish I hadn't tried to get any red paint."
"So do I," Sue said, but she was not blaming her brother. She had been just as anxious to go into the vacant house as he had been.
The children did not know what to do. They were both ready to cry, but neither Wanted to. It was getting dark now.
"Let's holler!" exclaimed Sue. "Maybe somebody will hear us and come and let us out."
"All right," said Bunny. They both called together. But the vacant house was not near any other, and none of the neighbors heard the childish voices.
"I—I guess I'd better get the bags and make a bed, for we'll have to stay here all night," said Bunny, when they were quite tired from calling aloud.
"Then make my bed near yours, Bunny," said Sue. "I—I don't want to be alone."
"I'll take care of you," promised the little blue-eyed chap, as he remembered what his mother had told him.
Bunny went to the front hall to get the cloth bags. Sue went with him, for she did not want to be left alone in the room that was now getting quite dark.
But Bunny and Sue did not have to stay all night in the empty house. Just as they were picking up the bags, they heard a noise at the front door and a voice called:
"Bunny! Sue! Are you in there?"
For a moment they did not answer, they were so surprised with joy. Then Bunny cried:
"Oh, it's Uncle Tad! It's Uncle Tad!"
While Sue exclaimed:
"We're here! Yes, we're here, Uncle Tad! Oh, please let us out!"
There was a squeaking noise and the front door was pushed open. In came the old soldier, and Bunny and Sue made a jump for his arms. He caught them up and kissed them.
"Well, little ones, I've found you!" he cried. "I thought maybe you were in here. My, but what a fright you've given your mother and all of us!"
"We came in for some red paint," explained Bunny, "and we got locked in."
"No, the door wasn't locked," Uncle Tad explained. "It was just stuck real hard. You weren't strong enough to pull it open, I suppose. But don't ever do anything like this again."
"We won't," promised Bunny. He was always pretty good at making promises, was Bunny Brown. "We just wanted to get some red paint so I could play Mr. Punch with the lobster claw," he went on.
"And we slid down the banister," added Sue, "and I bumped Bunny off the post."
"But she didn't hurt me," Bunny said.
"How did you find us, Uncle Tad?" asked Sue, as their uncle led them along the now almost dark street toward their home.
"Why, when you didn't come back your mother was worried," the old soldier said. "So your Aunt Lu started out one way after you, and I went the other. As I passed this old house I saw a blue ribbon down by the gate and I thought it looked like yours, Sue. So I thought you might have come in here."
"Oh, did I lose my hair ribbon?" Sue asked, putting her hand to her head. The big, pretty bow was gone, but Uncle Tad had found it.
"It's a good thing you lost it," said Bunny. "If you hadn't, Uncle Tad wouldn't have known where to look for us."
"Oh, I guess I should have found you after a bit," Uncle Tad said, with a smile. "But now we must hurry home, so the folks will know you are all right."
And my, how Bunny and Sue were kissed and cuddled by their mother and Aunt Lu when Uncle Tad brought them back! "I was beginning to be afraid," said Mrs. Brown, "that you had gone down to the boat-dock, after I told you not to, and I was going to have your father and Bunker Blue look for you."
"We didn't mean to get locked in. Mother," explained Bunny. "It was the wind."
"Well, don't go in empty houses again," Aunt Lu said.
"Nope—never!" promised Sue, "But we were looking for your ring, Aunt Lu, though we didn't find it."
"No, I'm afraid it's gone forever," said Miss Baker with a sigh, and a sad look. "But it was very good of you to try to find it for me."
The children sat down to supper, telling the big folks all about the adventure, and how they had become fastened in, and were afraid they would have to make a bed on the bags and stay all night.
"And if we had I'd have taken good care of Sue," Bunny remarked.
"I know you would, my dear," his mother answered, as she kissed him and his sister, before putting them to bed.
For a few days after this Bunny and Sue did nothing to make any trouble. They went on little trips with Aunt Lu, showing her the many wonderful sights at the seaside. With her they watched the fish boats come in, and once they went sailing with her and their mother, Bunker Blue taking charge of the boat. They gathered pretty shells and pebbles on the beach and had many good times.
One day Bunny and Sue played Punch and Judy, Bunny wearing the big red lobster claw on his nose. Aunt Lu laughed at the funny tricks of the children.
"Some day we'll get up a real show, and charge money," said Bunny, as he put away the lobster claw to use another time.
Not far from the Brown's house was a small river that flowed into the bay. Part of the Brown land was right on the edge of this river and at a small dock Mr. Brown kept, tied up, a rowboat which he sometimes used to go fishing in, or to go after crabs, which are something like lobsters, only smaller. They are just as good to eat when they are cooked, and they turn red when you boil them.
One day Bunny and Sue went down to the edge of the river. They asked Aunt Lu to go with them, but she said she had a headache, and wanted to lie down.
"Don't go far away, children," called Mrs. Brown after the two tots, as they wandered down near the little stream.
"We won't," promised Bunny, and he really meant it. But neither he nor Sue knew what was going to happen.
It was quite warm that day, and, as Bunny and Sue sat in the shade of a tree on the bank of the river, the little boy said:
"Oh, Sue, wouldn't it be nice if we could go on the river in the boat?"
"Yes," said his sister, "but mother said we weren't to."
"I guess she meant we weren't to go ROWING in a boat—I mean a loose boat—one that isn't tied fast," said Bunny. "I guess it would be all right if we sat in the boat while it was tied fast to shore."
"Maybe," said Sue. She wanted, as much as did Bunny, to sit in the boat, for it was cooler down there.
"Let's do it!" proposed Bunny. "The boat is tied fast, but we can make believe we are rowing. We'll pretend we are taking a long trip."
Neither of the children meant to do wrong, for they thought it would be all right to sit in the boat as long as it was tied fast. So into it they climbed. Then such fun as they had! They took sticks and made believe to row. They tied their handkerchiefs on other sticks and pretended to be sailing. They rocked the boat gently to and fro, and Bunny called this "being out in a storm."
Then they lay down on the broad seats and made believe it was night and that, when they awakened, they would be in a far-off land where coconuts grew on trees and where there were monkeys to toss them down.
And, before they knew it, both children were fast asleep, for the sun was shining warmly down on them. Bunny awoke first. He felt the boat tossing to and fro:
"Don't do that, Sue!" he called. "You'll tip us over."
"Don't do what?" asked Sue, sleepily.
"Don't jiggle the boat," said Bunny. Then he opened his eyes wider and looked all about. The boat was far from shore and was drifting down the river. It had become untied while the children slept.
BUNNY GOES FISHING
"On, Bunny! Bunny!" cried Sue, clapping her hands. "We're having a sail! We're sailing!"
"Yes," answered her brother, "that's what we are, but—"
He looked toward the shore and wondered if it were too far away for him to wade to it. The river looked quite deep, though, and Bunny decided he had better not try it.
"Don't you like sailing," asked his sister Sue.
"Oh, yes, I like it all right," was the reply, "but mother told us not to go out in the boat and we've done it."
"But we didn't mean to," came from the little girl. "The boat did it all by itself, and it isn't our fault at all."
"That's so," and Bunny smiled now and seemed happier.
"I wonder how it happened?" asked Sue.
"I guess we jiggled it so much, making believe we were sailing, that the rope got loose," Bunny explained. "And now we're sailing!"
Bunny Brown and his sister Sue really were sailing down the river and the boat was bobbing up and down and swinging from side to side, for it was not steered. And it was not exactly "sailing" either, for it was only a row-boat and there was no sail to hoist.
But the river was flowing down hill to the sea and it was the river that was carrying the boat along.
"I like it; don't you?" asked Sue, after a bit.
"Yes," answered Bunny. "Only we musn't go too far away. Mother wouldn't like that even if it wasn't our fault that the boat got loose. I wonder if there's anything to eat here."
"Let's look," proposed Sue, so the two children looked under the boat seats and lifted the oars over to one side. Sometimes they were allowed to go with their father or mother for a row or sail, and, once in a while, Mrs. Brown would take with her some sandwiches or cake for a little lunch. Bunny and Sue thought something to eat might have been left over since the last time, but there was nothing.
"Oh dear!" sighed Sue. "I'm terrible hungry, Bunny!"
"So am I!"
"Don't you s'pose you could catch a fish, so we could eat that?"
"I might,' Bunny answered, "if I had a fish line."
"I have a piece of string," and Sue put her chubby hand in her pocket. She had had her mother sew two pockets in her dress, almost like the ones Bunny had in his little trousers. For Sue said she wanted to carry things in her pockets, just as her brother and the other boys did.
She now pulled out a tangled bit of string, white cord that had come off some bundles from the grocery.
"There's a fish line, Bunny," said Sue.
"Yes, if I only had a hook," and the little fellow pulled the tangles out of the cord, "You can't catch fish without a hook, Sue."
"I know that. And here's a pin. You can bend that into a hook. Sadie West and I did that one day up at the frog pond."
"Did you get any fish?" Bunny asked.
"No," answered Sue slowly. "But there wasn't any fish in the pond. Mr. Winkler came along and told us so, and we didn't fish any more. We caught frogs."
"In a tin can."
"We haven't any tin can now," went on Bunny, looking about the boat, as if he would, perhaps, rather catch frogs than fishes.
"Don't try to get any frogs," Sue begged him. "They aren't any good to eat."
"Their legs are!"
"Oh, they are not! I wouldn't eat frogs' legs. I'd eat chickens' legs though, if they were cooked."
"So would I. But some folks do eat frogs legs. I heard Aunt Lu telling mother so the other day."
"They must be funny people to eat frogs' legs," Sue exclaimed.
"But I won't catch any now," Bunny promised. "Where's the pin, Sue? So I can make a hook."
"I'll take one out of my dress where a button's off," offered the little girl. "Only you'll have to give the pin back to me after you stop fishing, 'cause I'll have to pin my dress up again."
"S'posin' a fish swallers it?" Bunny asked.
"Swallers the hook!" Bunny explained. "If a fish eats the bent pin hook I can't give it back to you; can I?"
"No," said Sue slowly. "But we could get it out when we cook the fish," she said, after thinking about it a little while.
"Yes," agreed Bunny. "But I guess they don't cook pins in fish. Anyhow we haven't got a fire to cook with."
"Oh, well, then we'll pretend. Here's the pin, Bunny," and Sue took it from a place on her dress where, as she had said, a button was off. "Try and catch a big fish with it."
Bunny had the piece of string untangled now and he bent the pin into a sort of hook. All this while the boat was slowly drifting down the river, but Bunny Brown and his sister Sue had talked so much about fishing that they had not noticed where they were going. They were not so frightened as they had been at first.
Bunny tied the bent pin on the end of his piece of string and was about to toss it over the side of the boat into the water when he happened to think.
"I'll have to have a sinker," he said to Sue. "You can't catch fish if you don't have a sinker to take the hook down to the bottom of the water. Fish only bite near the bottom. I must have a sinker."
"Oh, dear!" exclaimed Sue. "Fishing is a lot of work; isn't it, Bunny?"
"It's fun," said the little boy. "I like it, but I have to have a sinker."
"I could give you a button from my dress," Sue said. "One's almost off, and I could pull it the rest of the way. Only I haven't another pin to fasten me up with. This is an old dress, anyhow. That's what makes it have one button gone and another almost off," she explained.
"Never mind. Don't pull off the button, Sue," Bunny said. "I guess it wouldn't be heavy enough to sink. Maybe I can find a regular sinker. Oh, yes, here's one!" he cried, as he picked up from the bottom of the boat a piece of lead. It had been dropped there when Mr. Brown, or perhaps Bunker Blue, had used the boat for fishing a few days before.
"This will be just the thing!" cried Bunny, as he fastened it to his line. "Now I can fish real," and he tossed the bent pin over the side of the drifting boat into the water. The bent pin sank out of sight, and both children watched eagerly, wondering how long it would be before they would catch a fish.
But suddenly their boat bumped against something, and stopped moving. The bump was so hard that Bunny was knocked over against Sue.
"Oh, Bunny, don't!" she exclaimed. "You hurt my arm!"
"I—I couldn't help it," Bunny said.
"Was it a fish?" asked Sue, hopefully, "Did he pull you over?"
Bunny shook his head. Nothing had taken hold of the pin-hook. Then he turned his head and looked around.
"Oh, Sue!" he cried. "We've run ashore on an island. Now we can get out and have some fun! This is great!"
SUE FALLS IN
The boat, in which Bunny Brown and his sister Sue had gone adrift, had really "bunked into an island," as Bunny told about it afterward. He said "bunked," and he meant bumped, for that is what the boat had done.
There were a number of islands in the river, some small and some larger, and it was at one of the larger ones that Bunny and Sue now found themselves. Their boat swung around in the shallow water, and did not move any more. It was fast aground on the edge of the island.
"Let's get out," suggested Bunny, and he did so, followed by Sue. As Bunny pulled his fish line from the water, his sister saw the dangling bent-pin hook, and cried out:
"Oh, Bunny, you didn't get a fish after all!"
"No," the little fellow answered. "I guess I can fish better from the island, anyhow. We'll fish here now, and if we catch anything we can build a fire and cook it. That is, we could if we had any matches."
"Mother told us we musn't play with fire," remarked Sue.
"That's so," her brother agreed. "Well, we can wait till we get home to cook the fish. But we've got to fasten the boat, or it may go away and leave us."
Bunny's father was in the boat business and the little fellow had often heard how needful it was to tie boats fast so they would not drift away or be taken out by the tide. So it was one of the first things he thought of when he and Sue landed on the island.
There was a rope in the front part, or bow of the rowboat, and Bunny tied one end of this rope to a tree that grew near the edge of the island.
"Now I can fish," he said.
"What can I do?" asked Sue. "I wish I had one of my dolls with me—even the old sawdust one, with the sawdust coming out. I could play house with her. What can I do, Bunny?"
"Well, you can watch me fish, and then I'll let you have a turn. If you had another pin I could make you a hook."
"Nope, I haven't anymore," and Sue looked carefully over her dress, thinking she might find another pin. But there was none.
Bunny was about to cast in the line from the shore of the island, near the boat, where he and Sue were standing, when he suddenly thought of something.
"Oh, I forgot! I haven't any bait on my hook!" he said. "No wonder I didn't get a bite. I'll have to get a worm, or something the fish like to eat. Come on, Sue, you can help at that—hunting for worms."
"I—I don't want to," and Sue gave a little shiver.
"You don't like to hunt worms?" asked Bunny, as if very much surprised. "I like it—it's fun!"
"Oh, but worms—worms are so—so squiggily!" stammered Sue. "They make me feel so ticklish in my toes."
"You don't pick up worms in your toes!" cried Bunny. "You pick 'em up in your hands!"
"I know," and Sue smiled at her brother, "but they are so squiggily that they make me feel ticklish away down to my toes, anyhow."
"All right," Bunny agreed. "I'll pick up the worms, but you can have a turn fishing just the same."
"Thank you," answered Sue.
Mrs. Brown had taught the children to be kind and polite to each other, just as well as to strangers and to "company." Though of course Bunny Brown and his sister Sue had little troubles and "spats" and differences, now and then, just like other children.
Bunny began looking for worms, and he dug in the soft dirt of the island, near the edge of the water, with a stick. But either there were no worms there, or Bunny did not dig deep enough for them, for he found none.
"Guess I'll have to fish without any bait," he said, after a while. But, as I suppose you all know, fish hardly ever bite on an empty hook, especially when it is made from a bent pin; so, after he had dangled the line in the water for quite a while, Bunny said:
"Here, Sue. It's your turn now. Maybe you'll have better luck than I had."
"Maybe there aren't any fish in this river."
"Oh, yes there are. Bunker Blue caught a lot one day. But he had worms for bait."
However Sue did not mind fishing without any worms on the pin-hook, and she sat down on a log, near the water and let the line dangle in it, while Bunny walked about the island. He had never been on this one before, though there was a larger one, farther down the river, where he and his sister Sue had often gone on little picnics with their mother and father.
Walking back a little way from the edge of the water, Bunny saw a place where a tangle of vines, growing over an old stump, had made a place like a little tent, or bower. All at once Bunny remembered a story his mother had read to him. Back he ran to where Sue was fishing.
"Oh, Sue! Sue!" he exclaimed. "I know what we can do!"
"We can play Robinson Crusoe!" cried Bunny.
"Is that like tag, or hide-and-go-to-seek?" the little girl wanted to know.
"Neither one," answered her brother. "Robinson Crusoe was a man who was shipwrecked on an island, and he lived there a long time with his man Friday. We can play that."
"But we aren't shipwrecked," Sue said. Living near the sea the children had often heard of shipwrecks, and had once seen one, when a big sail boat had beep blown up on the beach and broken to pieces by the heavy waves. The sailors were taken off by the life-savers. "We're not shipwrecked," said Sue. "There's our boat all right," and she pointed to the one in which they had gone adrift.
"Oh, well, we can pretend we've been shipwrecked," Bunny said.
"Oh, yes!" and Sue understood now. "What is the rest of the game?" she asked.
"Well, mother read the story to me out of a book," explained Bunny. "Robinson Crusoe was wrecked, and he had to live on this island, and he had a man named Friday."
"What a funny name! Who named him that?" asked Sue.
"Robinson Crusoe did. You see, Friday was a colored man, very nice, too, and he helped Robinson a lot. Robinson called him that name because he found him on Friday."
"But this isn't Friday," objected Sue. "It's Thursday."
"Well, it's only pretend," went on Bunny.
"Oh, yes. I forgot. So Robinson had a colored man named Friday to help him,"
"Yes," Bunny said, "and we'll play that game. I'll be Robinson."
"But who is going to be Friday?" Sue wanted to know.
"You can be."
"But I'm not a man, and I'm not colored, Bunny."
"We'll have to pretend that, too. You'll be my man Friday, and we'll go to live in the little tent over there," and Bunny pointed toward the leafy bower he had found. "And you can be colored, too, if you want, Sue," he said. "You could rub some mud on your face and hands."
"Oh, let's! That's what I'll do!" and Sue laid aside the stick to which Bunny had tied the fishline and the bent pin. "That will be fun!" Sue said. "It will be better than the Punch and Judy show with the lobster claw on your nose."
"But you mustn't get your dress muddy," Bunny cautioned his sister. "Mother wouldn't like that."
"I won't," promised Sue. "And when we get through playing I can wash the mud off my face and hands."
"Yes," said Bunny. "Now I'll go over to my cave—we'll call the place where the vines grow over the stump a cave," he went on, "and I'll be there just like Robinson Crusoe Was in the cave on his island. Then I'll come out and find you, all blacked up with mud, and I'll call you Friday."
Sue clapped her hands in delight, and, when Bunny went off to the cave, which, he remembered, was the sort of place where the real Robinson Crusoe lived, in the story book, Sue found a place where there was some soft, black mud.
Very carefully, so as not to soil her dress, the little girl blackened her hands and face, rubbing on the dirt as well as she could.
"Bunny! Bunny!" she called after a bit.
"Well, what is it?" asked her brother, as he was sitting in his make- believe cave.
"Come and look at me," said Sue, "and see if I'm black enough to be Friday."
Bunny came and looked.
"You need a little more mud around behind your ears," he said. "I'll put it on for you," and he did so.
Then the two children played the Robinson Crusoe game; that is, as much of it as Bunny could remember, which was not a great deal. But they had good fun, walking about the island, and going into the green vine-bower now and then to get out of the sun, which was very hot.
But even as much fun as it was playing at being shipwrecked on an island, like Robinson, in the story book, the children soon tired of it.
"I guess we'd better go home," said Sue after awhile. "I'm terribly hungry, Bunny."
"And if we can't catch any fish, and can't find any place to get things to eat from, we'd better go home."
"Yes, I guess we had. I wonder if I can row the boat?"
Bunny had often seen his father, or Bunker Blue, or sometimes his mother, row a boat, so he knew how it was done. But he knew the oars in the boat in which he and Sue had gone adrift were heavy, and he was not very strong, though a sturdy little chap for his years.
"I'll help you," Sue said. "But first I'll have to un-Friday myself. I must wash off this mud."
"I'll help you—around behind your ears where you can't see," offered Bunny.
Sue went to a place near the water, where there was a flat rock, and leaned over to dip her handkerchief in. She was going to use it as a washcloth.
But, whether she slipped, or leaned over too far, Sue never knew. At any rate, soon after she had washed off the first bit of mud from her hands and wrists, she suddenly toppled, head first, right into the river!
"Oh! Oh! Bunny!" Sue cried, as she found herself in the water.
THE RESCUE DOG
Bunny Brown and his sister Sue had often been in the water bathing. They had even been allowed to go in the ocean, a little way, when their father or mother was with them, and they were just beginning to learn to swim.
But to fall suddenly into the water, with all one's clothes on, is enough to frighten anybody, even someone older than Sue; so it is no wonder she began splashing about, instead of trying to swim, as her father had told her to do,
Bunny, for a moment, did not know what to do, but he had one great thought, and that was that he must help his sister. He was a little distance away from her, and he called out:
"I'm coming, Sue! I'll get you out! Don't be afraid!"
But Sue was afraid. Her head went under water, and she had swallowed some, for she had forgotten another thing her father had told her, and this was:
"When your head goes under water, hold your breath—don't breathe—and then the water won't get in your mouth and nose."
But Sue forgot this, and she was choking and gasping in the river. Luckily it was not deep, and he might easily have stood up at the place where she had fallen in. The water would not have been quite up to her waist.
"I'll get you out, Sue! I'll get you!" cried Bunny.
He ran toward Sue, but before he reached her there was heard a loud barking, and a big, shaggy dog rushed down to the edge of the island. Right into the water the dog jumped, and, getting hold of Sue's dress, he pulled her up on the shore.
For a moment Sue lay there, still choking and gasping, while the dog stood over her, wagging his tail, and barking as hard as he could bark. He seemed to know that everything was all right now.
"Oh, Sue! Sue!" cried Bunny, rushing up to his sister, and putting his arms around her. "You aren't drowned now; are you, Sue?"
"I—I don't—don't know—Bun-Bunny!" she stammered. "I—I guess I'm 'most drowned, anyhow. Oh, take me home! I want my mamma!"
"I'll take you home right away!" Bunny promised. "But wasn't the dog good to pull you out?"
The dog shook the water from himself, and wagged his tail harder than ever. He jumped about, barking, and then, with his big red tongue, he licked first Sue's face, and then Bunny's.
Sue was much better now. She could sit up, and, as the river water was not salty, as is the water of the ocean, what she had swallowed of it did not hurt her.
"I guess the dog will lick all the Friday-mud off my face," she said, smiling at Bunny through her tears.
"The mud's all off anyhow," said her brother. "Falling in the river washed you clean."
"But it got my dress all wet. I don't care, it's an old one."
"That's good," said her brother. "Now we'll go home. Maybe you will be all dry when we get there," he added hopefully, "and your dress won't show any wet at all."
"But I'll have to tell mother I fell in."
"Oh, of course!"
"But it was a—a accident," Sue said, speaking the big word slowly. "Now take me home, Bunny. I don't want to play Friday any more, and I'm hungry."
The dog jumped about the children, but he kept nearer to Sue. Maybe he thought she belonged to him, now that he had pulled her from the water. Perhaps he had saved Sue's life, though the little girl might have gotten out herself, or Bunny might have pulled her from the water.
"He's a nice dog," said Sue. "I wish we could keep him."
"Maybe we can. He doesn't seem to belong to anybody, and nobody lives on this island."
"He was shipwrecked too," said Sue. "Or maybe he wanted to play Robinson Crusoe with us."
"Robinson didn't have a dog—anyhow, mother didn't read about any in the story," replied Bunny. ''But he had a goat."
"We can pretend this dog is a goat," remarked Sue, as she patted the big shaggy fellow, who barked in delight, and wagged his tail.
"We'll take him home in the boat with us," decided Bunny. "I hope mother lets us keep him."
Getting into the boat was easy enough for Bunny and Sue, for they only had to step over the side, the boat being partly on shore. And the dog jumped in after them. He seemed very glad Indeed that he had found two such nice children to love, and who would love him.
But when Bunny tried to push the boat away from the island, as he had seen his father and Bunker Blue often do, he found it was not easy. The boat was stuck fast in the soft mud of the edge of the island.
"I—I can't do it," Bunny said, puffing, as he pushed on the oar, with which he was trying to shove off the boat. "I can't do it, Sue."
"Will we have to stay here forever?"
"No, not forever. Maybe papa, or somebody will come for us. But I can't push off the boat."
"I'll help you," offered Sue. The oar was too heavy for her, however, so Bunny got her a long stick. But, even with what little help Sue could give, the boat would not move.
"Oh, dear!" sighed Bunny, sitting down on a seat. He looked worried, and so did Sue.
"If we had a harness for our new dog we could hitch him to the boat, and maybe he could pull it into the water," remarked Bunny, after a bit.
"Oh, that would be fine!" cried the little girl. "And maybe he could swim, and pull us all the way home."
"But we haven't any harness," said Bunny with another sigh.
"Couldn't we use the fish line? I've got another piece of string."
"We can try."
With the string, which he knotted together, Bunny made a sort of "harness," putting one end around the dog's neck, and tying the other end to the bow, or front of the boat.
"Now pull us, Towser!" Bunny cried.
"Is his name Towser?" Sue wanted to know.
"Well, we'll call him that until we can think of a better name. Go on, pull!" ordered Bunny.
But the dog only barked and stood still. He did not seem to mind being "hitched up." It seemed as though he had often had children play with him.
"Oh, I know how to make him pull us!" Sue exclaimed.
"Throw a stick in the water, and he'll chase after it."
"Fine!" cried Bunny, and he tossed a chip out into the river. With a bark the dog rushed after it. But I think you can guess what happened. Instead of the dog's pulling the boat, the string broke, and, of course, that was the end of the harness.
"Oh, dear!" exclaimed Sue. "We'll never get home, Bunny!"
The little boy did not know what to do next. But, all at once, as he and his sister looked at each other, quite worried and anxious, they heard a voice shouting:
"Bunny! Sue! Are you there? Where are you? Bunny! Sue!"
A TROLLEY RIDE
"Who—who is that?" asked Sue of her brother in a whisper. "Oh, it's papa come for us!"
"That isn't papa," Bunny answered, for well he knew his father's voice.
"Well, it's SOMEBODY, anyhow," and Sue smiled now, through her tears. "It's somebody, and I'm so glad!"
"Bunny! Sue!" called the voice again, and the big dog barked. Perhaps he was also glad that "somebody" had come for him, as glad as were the children. But, though Bunny Brown and his sister Sue looked all about, they could see no one. Then, all of a sudden, Sue thought of something.
"Oh, Bunny!" she cried. "Do you s'pose it could be him?"
"Robinson Crusoe's man Friday. Here on the island, you know. Maybe he heard we were here, and came to help us catch fish, or make a fire. Oh, Bunny, if it should be Mr. Friday!"
"Pooh! It couldn't be," said Bunny. "Mr. Friday was only make-believe, and we were only pretending, anyhow. It couldn't be!"
"No, I 'spose not," and Sue sighed. "Anyhow, it's somebody, and they know us, and I'm glad!"
Bunny was also glad, and a few seconds later, while the dog kept on barking, and running here and there, Bunny and Sue raw, coming around the end of the island, a boat, and in it was Jed Winkler, the old sailor who owned Wango, the monkey. Only, of course, the old sailor did not have the monkey with him this time.
"Bunny! Sue! Oh, there you are!" called Mr. Winkler as he saw the two children.
"Oh, Mr. Winkler!" cried Bunny. "We're so glad to see you!"
"Yes, and I guess your folks will be glad to see YOU!" answered the old sailor. "They've been looking all over for you, and only a little while ago I noticed that your boat was gone. I thought maybe you had gone on a voyage down the river, so I said I'd come down and look, as far as the island, anyhow. And here you are!
"I wonder what you'll do next? But there's no telling, I reckon. What have you been doing, anyhow, and whose dog is that?"
"He's mine," said Sue quickly. "He pulled me out of the water."
"He's half mine, too," said Bunny. "I saw him before you did, Sue. You couldn't see him 'cause your head was under the water," he went on, "and when a feller sees a dog first, half of it is his, anyhow; isn't it, Mr. Winkler?"
"Oh, you may have half of him," agreed Sue kindly. "Do you want the head half, or the tail hall, Bunny?"
"Well," said Bunny slowly, "I like the tail end, 'cause that wags when he's happy, but I like the head end too, because that barks, and he can wash our hands with his tongue."
Bunny did not seem to know which half of the dog to take. Then a new idea came to him.
"I'll tell you what we can do, Sue!" he exclaimed. "We can divide him down the middle the other way. Then you'll have half his head end, and half his tail end, and so will I."
"Oh, yes!" Sue agreed, "and we can take turns feeding him."
"Say, I never see two such youngsters as you!" declared the old sailor, laughing. "What happened to you, anyhow?"
"Well, we didn't mean to go off in the boat, but we did," Bunny explained. "Then we got wrecked on this island, just like Robinson Crusoe did."
"Only we didn't find Mr. Friday," put in Sue.
"But we found a cave—a make-believe one," Bunny said quickly.
"And I fell in, but we didn't get any fish," added the sister.
"And the dog did pull her out, and we're going to keep him," went on Bunny. "And will you take us home, Mr. Winkler? 'Cause we're hungry, and maybe our dog is, too, and it's getting dark, and we couldn't make our boat go, even if we did hitch the dog up to it."
"Bless your hearts, of course I'll take you home, and the dog, too!" the old sailor cried, "though I didn't expect to find a dog here. Come now, get in my boat, and I'll fasten yours to mine, and pull it along after me. Come along!"
Bunny Brown and his sister Sue were soon in the old sailor's boat, the dog following them, and, a little later, they were safely at their own dock, where their father and mother, as well as Aunt Lu and Bunker Blue, were waiting to greet them.
"Oh, Bunny! Oh, Sue!" cried Mrs. Brown, as she gathered them both into her arms. "Why did you do it? Oh, such a fright as you have given all of us!"
"We didn't mean to, Mother," said Bunny, himself a little frightened at what had happened. "The boat came untied, and floated off with us, and then we played Robinson Crusoe, just like you read to me out of the book, and—"
"But we didn't find Mr. Friday," interrupted Sue, who seemed to feel this was quite a disappointment.
"Never mind," remarked Aunt Lu, "you had plenty of other adventures, I should think. Why, Sue!" she exclaimed, "your dress is quite damp!"
"She fell in," explained Bunny, "and—"
"Mercy! Where did that dog come from?" cried Mrs. Brown, for the big shaggy animal had been lying quietly in the bottom of Mr. Winkler's boat, and now, with a bark, he suddenly sprang up, and jumped out on the dock.
"It's our dog," said Sue. "He pulled me out."
"Pulled you out, child? Out of where?" Mrs. Brown wanted to know. "What happened? Tell me all about it!"
Which Bunny and Sue did, taking turns. Then they begged to be allowed to keep the dog, and Mr. Brown said they might, if no one came to claim it.
"I guess it must be a lost dog," said the old sailor. "Maybe it jumped off some boat that was going down the river, and swam to the island. I guess it's glad enough to get off, though, for there's nothing there for a dog to eat."
"We couldn't find anything, either," said Bunny, "and we're hungry now, Mother."
"And we're going to take turns feeding the dog," came from Sue. "I own one half, down the middle, and so does Bunny."
"Bless your hearts!" Mrs. Brown cried. "She was very glad the children had been found, and Mr. Brown told Bunny and Sue they must not get in the boat again, unless some older person was with them, even if the boat was tied to the dock. Then it was supper time, and the big, shaggy dog ate as much as Bunny and Sue together, which showed how hungry he was.
"What are you going to call the dog?" asked Aunt Lu.
"I called him Towser," Bunny said, "but we can take another name, if we don't like that."
"Oh, let's call him Splash!" exclaimed Sue.
"Splash? What a funny name!" her mother remarked.
"Well, he did splash in the water after me, and pulled me out. Maybe we could call him Pull, but I like Splash better," and Sue shook her curly head.
"Call him Splash, then," agreed Mr. Brown, and so the big dog was called that name. He did not seem to mind how funny it was, but wagged his tail, and barked happily whenever he was spoken to.
For two or three days after they had gone off in the boat, Bunny Brown and his sister Sue did not go far from home. They remained about the house, playing different games with some of the children who lived near them. Now and then they would go down the street with Aunt Lu, or to the dock, to see the fish boats come in. And, often, as she walked along, Aunt Lu would look down at the ground.
"Are you looking for your lost diamond ring?" Bunny or Sue would ask.
"Well, not exactly," Aunt Lu would say. "I'm afraid I shall never find it," she would add, in rather a sad voice. "I am afraid it is gone forever."
"We'll keep on looking," promised Bunny. "And maybe we'll find it."
Splash, the big dog, proved to be very gentle and kind. He seemed to love the two children very much, and went everywhere with them. No one came to claim him. There was only one place Bunny and Sue could not take him, and that was to Mr. Winkler's house, and it was on account of the monkey.
"I'm afraid Splash might scare Wango," the old sailor said. "Monkeys are easily frightened, and Wango might try to get out of his cage and hurt himself. So, much as I love your dog, children, please don't bring him where Wango is." "We won't," promised Bunny and Sue. So, whenever they paid a little visit to their friend, the old sailor, Splash was chained outside the gate, and the poor dog did not seem to understand why this was done. But he would lie down and wait until Bunny and Sue came out. Then how glad he was to see them!
One day Aunt Lu gave Bunny and Sue each five cents. They said they wanted to buy some toy balloons, which they had seen in the window of Mrs. Redden's store.
"Maybe we could tie two balloons together, and fasten them to a basket and have a ride, like in an airship," Sue said to Bunny, for they had been looking at some pictures of airships in a magazine.
"Maybe we could," Bunny agreed.
But Bunny and Sue did not buy the toy balloons. They were on their way to get them, with Splash, the dog, walking along the street behind them, when a trolley car came along. The trolley ran from Bellemere, where Bunny and Sue lived, to Wayville, the next town. In Wayville lived Uncle Henry, who was a brother of Mrs. Brown's.
"Oh, Sue! I know what let's do!" Bunny suddenly cried, as the trolley car stopped to take on some passengers at the street corner.
"What shall we do, Bunny?" Sue was always ready to follow where her brother led.
"Let's take our five cents and have a trolley ride! We can go to Wayville and see Uncle Henry. He'd like to see us."
"But if we go on the trolley it costs five cents," Sue objected, "and we can't buy the balloons."
"Maybe Uncle Henry will give us some pennies when we tell him we had to spend our five cents to come to see him," Bunny suggested.
"Maybe. All right, let's go!"
Hand in hand, never thinking that it was in the least wrong, Bunny and Sue ran for the trolley. The conductor, though perhaps he thought it strange to see two such small children traveling alone, said nothing, but helped them up the high step. Often the people of Wayville or Bellemere would put their children on the car, and ask the conductor to look out for them, and put them off at a certain place. But no one was with Bunny and Sue.
"We want to go to Wayville, to our Uncle Henry's," explained the blue- eyed little boy.
"All right," answered the conductor. "I'll let you off at Wayville, though I don't know your Uncle Henry." He rang the bell twice, and off went the trolley car, carrying Bunny and Sue to new adventures.
Bunny and Sue leaned back in the trolley car seat, and felt very happy. They loved to ride and travel, and they did not think they were doing wrong to take a trolley ride without asking their mother or father. If they had asked, of course, Mrs. Brown would not have let them go alone. But that is the way matters generally went with Bunny and Sue.
Faster and faster went the trolley car. Bunny looked at Sue and smiled, and she smiled at him. The conductor came along the step of the car, which was an open one, to collect the fares. Bunny and Sue each handed him a five cent piece, and he handed them each back two pennies.
"Oh, I didn't know we got any change!" exclaimed Bunny, in surprise
"The fare to Wayville is only three cents, for such little tots as you," the conductor said. "Are you sure you know where you are going?" he asked.
"We're going to our Uncle Henry's," replied Bunny. "And he lives near the big, white church."
"Well, I can let you off there all right. Now be careful, and don't lean over out of your seats. You're pretty small to be taking trolley rides alone."
"We went alone in a boat the other day," Bunny told the conductor, "and we got shipwrecked."
"On an island in the river," added Sue, so the conductor would know what her brother meant.
"Well, if you've been shipwrecked, I guess you are able to take a trolley ride," laughed the motorman, for Bunny and Sue were riding in the front seat.
"Hey, conductor!" called a man in the back seat of the car, "there's a dog chasing after us!"
"Why, so there is!" The conductor seemed much surprised as he looked back.
Bunny and Sue stood up and also looked behind them. There, indeed, was a big shaggy dog, running after the car, his tongue hanging out of his mouth. He seemed very tired and hot.
"Why—why!" cried Sue, "that's our dog—it's Splash, and he splashed in and pulled me out of the water when I fell in, the time Bunny and I were shipwrecked!"
"Oh, we forgot all about him, when we got on the car," Bunny cried. He felt very sorry for Splash.
"I thought he'd come right on the car with us," Sue said. "And we'd have money enough to pay his fare, too," she added, looking at the two pennies in her chubby fist. "Is it three cents for dogs, too, mister?" she asked the conductor.
The conductor laughed, and some of the passengers did also. Then Bunny, who had been looking at poor Splash, racing along after the trolley car, which was now going quite fast, called out:
"Please stop the car, Mr. Conductor. We want our dog!"
"But you can't take a dog on the car, my boy. It isn't allowed. I'm sorry."
Bunny thought for a minute. Then he said:
"Well, if we can't bring our dog on the car, We'll get off and walk; won't we, Sue?"
"Yes, that's what we will."
"All right," agreed the conductor. "I'm sorry, for I'd like to do you the favor, but I'm not allowed." He rang the bell, and the car slowed up. Splash barked joyfully, for he Was very tired from running after his little friends, who went so fast and so far ahead of him.
The conductor helped Bunny and Sue down. The car had stopped along a country road, near a patch of woods, in rather a lonesome place.
"Here, youngsters," went on the trolley man, while Splash rushed up to Bunny and Sue, barking happily, "here, youngsters, take your money back. You didn't ride three cents' worth, hardly, and I'll fix it up all right with the company. You'd better take the next car back home. Your dog can find his way all right."
And then the car rattled off again, leaving Bunny and Sue, still with five cents each, Standing in the road, with their dog Splash.
"Poor fellow," said Bunny, putting his arms around the shaggy neck of his pet, "you must be awful tired!"
"He is," Sue agreed. "We'll sit down in the shade with him, and let him rest."
They found a nice place, where the grass was green, and where some trees made a shade, and near by was a spring of cool water.
Bunny made a little cup, from an oak leaf, and gave Sue a drink. Then he took some himself, and, a little later, Splash lapped up some water where it ran in a tiny stream down the grassy side of the road.
"Now he's rested, and we can go on," Sue remarked after a bit. "Where shall we go, Bunny—to Uncle Henry's?"
"Well, it's too far to walk, and we don't want to ride in the car, and make Splash run, so maybe we'd better go back home. We can get the balloons now. The conductor was good not to take our money."
"Yes, I like him," and Sue looked down the track on which, a good way off, could be seen the trolley car they had left.
"We can walk back home," went on Bunny. "It isn't far. Come on, Sue!"
Down the country road started the two children, Splash following, or, now and then, running off to one side, to bark at a bird, or at a squirrel or chipmunk that bounded along the rail fence.
Bunny and Sue thought they would have no trouble at all in going back home, but they did not know how far away it was.
"All we'll have to do will be to keep along the trolley track," said Bunny. "If we had my express wagon now, and a harness for Splash, he could pull us."
"Oh, that would be fun!" Sue cried. "It would be just like a little trolley car of out own. You could be the motorman and I Would be the conductor."
"We'll play that when we get home," her brother decided. "Oh, look! What's Splash barking at now?"
The dog had found something beside the road, and was making quite a fuss over it. It looked like a black stone, but Bunny and Sue could see that it was moving, and stones do not move unless someone throws them.
"Oh, maybe it's a snake!" and Sue hung back as Bunny ran toward the dog.
"Snakes aren't big and round like that," her brother answered. "They're long and thin, like worms, only bigger. Oh, it's a mud-turtle!" Bunny exclaimed as he came closer, "A great big mud-turtle, Sue,"
"Will he—will he bite?'
"He might. He's got a head like a lobster's claw," replied Bunny. "But he won't bite me 'cause I won't let him get hold of my finger."
"He might bite our dog! Come away, Splash!" Sue cried.
But the dog knew better than to get too near the turtle, which really could bite very hard if he wanted to. Bunny got a stick, and poked at Mr. Turtle, who at once pulled his head and legs up inside his shell. Then he was more like a stone than ever.
And, as it was not much more fan than looking at a stone, to watch the closed-up turtle, Bunny and Sue soon grew tired of watching the slow- moving creature. Splash, too, seemed to think he was wasting time barking at such a thing, so he ran off to find something new.
Once more the two children walked along the road. The sun grew warmer and warmer, and finally Bunny spoke, saying:
"Let's walk in the woods, Sue. It will be cooler there."
"Oh, yes" agreed the little girl. "I love it in the woods."
So into the cool shade they went, Splash following. They found another spring of water, and drank some. They gathered flowers, and found some cones from a pine tree. With these they built two little houses, doll size.
Pretty soon Sue said she was hungry, and Bunny also admitted that he was.
"We'll coon be home now," he said. "And we'll stop at Mrs. Redden's, and get our balloons."
"Then we'll have lots of fun!" cried Sue, clapping her hands.
But the patch of woods through which the children had started to walk was larger than they thought. There seemed to be no end to it, the trees stretching on and on.