IN THE BIG CITY
RAMY ALLISON WHITE
"SUNNY BOY IN THE COUNTRY," "SUNNY BOY AT THE SEASHORE," ETC.
CHARLES L. WRENN
BARSE & HOPKINS
NEW YORK, N. Y. NEWARK, N. J.
* * * * *
BARSE & HOPKINS
SUNNY BOY IN THE BIG CITY
* * * * *
I THE PARADE 9
II OLIVER'S LESSON 23
III OFF FOR NEW YORK 36
IV GOING SHOPPING 52
V SUNNY BOY LOSES HIS ROOM 67
VI ON TOP OF THE BUS 82
VII IN CENTRAL PARK 97
VIII THE FERRYBOAT RIDE 110
IX WHEN MAKE-BELIEVE IS REAL 125
X MORE SIGHTSEEING 139
XI SUNNY BOY GETS LOST 154
XII SUNNY BOY IS FOUND 169
XIII HELPING THE HARRITYS 182
XIV JOE BROWN GOES BACK 195
XV HOME AGAIN 208
* * * * *
"Sunny Boy was speaking to the tall policeman who directed traffic from the center of the street" Frontispiece
"He had not supposed that a moving stairway went further than one story" 63
"Sunny Boy was just the least little bit afraid when they went under the elevator tracks" 91
"Sunny Boy sat down sociably on an old soap box" 165
* * * * *
SUNNY BOY IN THE BIG CITY
"Fall in!" said Sunny Boy sharply.
The army, six small boys distributed comfortably over the front steps, scrambled to obey. That is, all except one, who remained seated, a sea shell held over each ear.
"I said 'Fall in,'" repeated Sunny Boy patiently, as a general should speak.
"I heard you the first time," admitted the small soldier. "Did you know these shells made a noise, Sunny?"
"Of course," answered Sunny Boy scornfully. "Any shell sounds like that if you hold it up to your ear. Come on, Bobbie, we're going to parade."
But Private Robert Henderson, it seemed, didn't feel like parading just that minute.
"Let's take this stuff out to the sand-box," he suggested. "We can make a real beach, with shells and everything. Gee, you must have had fun at the seashore."
"Did," said Sunny Boy briefly.
He was exasperated. As general of his army he tried not to be cross, but Bobbie was famous for always spoiling other people's plans. He never by any chance wanted to do what the other boys wanted to do.
"You can play with the sand-box after we parade," announced Sunny Boy now. "Come on, Bobbie."
Bobbie remained obstinately absorbed in the shells.
"Let me!" Down the steps tumbled a pink gingham frock and a fluff of yellow bobbed hair that proved to be four-year-old Ruth Baker. She lived next door to Sunny Boy, and her brother, Nelson, was already marking time with the waiting army.
"Let me march, Sunny Boy," Ruth begged. "I can mark time, an' everything!"
Sunny Boy decided swiftly.
"All right," he assented. "I don't think much of girls in an army, but I s'pose it's better than being one short. Get in next to David."
Ruth's feelings were not easily hurt, and she didn't mind if her enlistment was not accepted with enthusiasm as long as she was accepted. She slipped happily into line back of David Spellman, a freckle-faced boy with smiling dark eyes.
"Forward, march!" Sunny Boy beat a lively quick-step on his drum and the army moved down the quiet street, leaving Bobbie Henderson playing with the shells.
Sunny Boy's drum, of all his toys, was probably his favorite. He had let it roll into the street once and a horse had nearly stepped on it, but his mother had mended it neatly with court-plaster, and it seemed good for many more days.
"Rub-a-dub, dub! Rub-a-dub, dub!" he pounded gaily now as he swung along at the head of his gallant forces.
"I don't think generals play drums," David Spellman had said doubtfully, when Sunny Boy first organized his army.
"Well, I'm going to play mine," Sunny Boy had retorted firmly. "Daddy says when you're short of help a man has to do two people's work. I can play my drum and be general, too."
Sunny Boy issued his order so quickly that the army was startled and stepped on one another's heels as they came to a standstill.
"This square's a good place to drill," he explained. "I'll see how well you know the man'l of arms."
Sunny Boy meant the manual of arms, and his idea of army drill, gleaned from the talk of his father and one or two older cousins, wasn't very clear; but then, his army didn't know much about it either, so his authority wasn't questioned.
"Column right!" said Sunny Boy.
The army obediently turned to the right.
"Ruth, don't you know which is your right?" demanded Sunny Boy severely.
A general must keep up discipline, you know, and when a girl is in an army she must do just as the others do.
"I get mixed 'bout right and left," admitted Ruth Baker cheerfully. "But I'm all right now, Sunny. See?"
"All right," approved Sunny Boy graciously. "Column left!"
The army swung to the left.
"Look here, I don't intend to have you children making a noise like this in front of my house!" The handsome glass-paneled door of the house before which the army was drilling had opened suddenly. A woman whom Sunny Boy afterward described to his mother as "awful big and tall" came out on the steps and frowned down at the children. "Why on earth do all the children in the neighborhood pick out my house to play around?" she continued fretfully.
Sunny Boy's army wanted very much to run home, but he showed no signs of running himself so they waited, huddled together in a frightened little group.
"Why don't you stay at your own homes to play?" persisted the woman.
The woman really wasn't very tall, not taller than Sunny Boy's own mother. She came out so unexpectedly and stared down at the children so crossly that she seemed taller than she was. She had near-sighted eyes, and wore big, thick-rimmed glasses, and these, too, made her look more severe.
"Well?" she demanded.
Sunny Boy stood at the foot of the steps and smiled at her. He knew she wasn't always upset like this.
"You have such a nice sidewalk," he explained, putting down his drum and removing his cap as Mother had taught him. "It's so wide and smooth. I should think it would be great for roller-skating."
"I won't let 'em!" the woman answered quickly. "In the summer I just about spend my whole day chasing children off this walk. I didn't have it put down for a roller-skating rink. What are you young ones doing, anyhow?"
"This is my army," Sunny Boy indicated the column with a backward sweep of his hand. "We were marching, and we stopped to drill. But we'll go, if you'd rather."
"That's a cunning little girl," said the woman, looking at Ruth. "Is she a soldier, too? I thought only boys could join the army."
Sunny Boy explained that Ruth was taking the place of a private who didn't want to do his duty.
"We'll be going now," he added politely.
"Wait a minute," said the woman, who didn't seem cross at all now. "I've been bothered to death this morning—company telephoning they were coming to spend the afternoon and then changing their minds after I had the lemonade all made and on the ice. I have a lot to bother me."
She looked a little wistfully at Sunny Boy. He didn't know it, but she was trying to say she was sorry she had been impatient and testy. Grown-ups frequently find it as difficult to say "I'm sorry" as boys and girls do.
"I wonder if your army would like some nice ice-cold lemonade?" said the woman abruptly. "Would your mothers mind, do you think?"
"Not lemonade," Sunny Boy assured her promptly. "'Sides, it is a long time to lunch, and Mother doesn't mind if you don't eat just before lunch."
"Well, all right, then. But how shall I give it to you?" asked their would-be hostess. "If I bring it out here all the neighborhood will come and want some. And I do hate to have so many children tramping in over my clean rugs."
Not without reason was Sunny Boy a general.
"I can march 'em in the basement door," he suggested. "They'll stay in a row and not muss anything."
So it was decided. The woman went in and closed the door, promising to open the iron basement gate for them, and Sunny Boy turned to his army.
"Forward march!" he ordered.
A little fearfully the army marched down the area steps and into a dark hall. They each had a feeling that the woman might change her mind after all, and scold them again. But she was smiling as they tramped into her old-fashioned kitchen.
"Halt!" commanded Sunny Boy, and the army ranged itself against the wall without further orders.
"I'll give each one a glass, and then I'll pour the lemonade," said the hostess pleasantly.
She went down the line, filling a tall crystal glass for each child. Then, after that, she brought out a plate of brown and white cookies and insisted that they must each take three.
"Sugar cookies don't hurt any one," she declared, patting Ruth on the head as she passed her. "Do they, General?"
"I guess not," agreed Sunny Boy contentedly, munching a cake.
When they had finished, they put the glasses carefully on the table, and said "Thank you" politely.
"My name is Miss Lyons, Miss Edith Lyons," announced their hostess, following them to the door. "I'm going to watch you march off, and I hope you'll come to see me again."
"We didn't muss anything, did we?" asked Sunny Boy anxiously. He felt responsible for all the rest.
Miss Lyons stooped down and kissed him.
"Bless your heart, for a thoughtful little boy," she said warmly. "You haven't hurt a thing. Good-bye, Soldier, and good luck!"
"Fall in!" Sunny Boy commanded as they reached the walk. "Forward, march!"
The drum sounding merrily, the army fell into step and marched down the street, Miss Lyons waving her handkerchief in good-bye.
"Those were good cookies," chuckled Harold Wallace, who marched beside Sunny Boy. "Gee, I wanted to run when she opened the door. Did you know her, Sunny?"
"My, no," Sunny Boy assured him. "I guess she was just glad to have somebody come and drink up all that lemonade."
When they reached Sunny's house, a familiar touring car was drawn up at the curb.
"Daddy's home!" cried Sunny Boy. "P'haps he'll give us a ride. Where's Bobbie?"
Bobbie was not in sight, but his shells lay scattered on the top step where he had left them.
"Well, well, who wants a little ride?" Mr. Horton came smiling down the steps. "Sunny Boy, Mother wants you to pick up this stuff and put it in the hall. Any one's likely to fall over it out here. And then I'll take you round the park and back."
"All of us?" asked Sunny Boy, beginning to pick up the shells and sea-weed. "Where's Bobbie, Daddy?"
"All of you," assented Mr. Horton. "Bobbie Henderson? Oh, his mother sent for him. Ready now, children?"
Mr. Horton put Ruth Baker in the front seat because she was the only girl, and the seven boys piled happily into the tonneau. They were all ready to start when Sunny Boy, turning around, saw a grinning little colored boy holding on at the back of the car. Mr. Horton saw him, too.
"Hey, get down from there!" Sunny Boy's father called crisply. "You'll be hurt, taking a chance like that. Get off now, before I start the car."
The woolly black head and grinning brown face disappeared, but Sunny Boy set up a loud wail.
"Daddy, he took my hat! See him! He's got it! Let me get out and chase him!"
"Stay where you are," commanded Mr. Horton. "You can't catch him now. Perhaps we can find him later. If not, Mother will have to get you another hat to-morrow."
"It was brand-new," Sunny Boy explained mournfully to David, as the car started. "Mother bought it for me to wear to New York. And now that colored boy went and stole it!"
"You going to New York?" Harold Wallace asked curiously. "When? My cousin lives there. He's coming to see me next summer."
Sunny Boy bounced around excitedly on the seat. That is, he bounced as much as he could in the rather crowded space.
"Yes, we're going to New York," he announced. "To-morrow—no, the next day—when is it, Daddy?"
"Soon," said Mr. Horton.
"Send me a post-card for my album," begged Ruth.
"Me, too," chimed in Nelson.
All the boys, it seemed, wanted post-cards from New York.
"Well, maybe, if Mother will write 'em," agreed Sunny Boy dubiously. "I can print A's and B's, but not a real letter writing. Are you going to get out, Daddy?"
The car had circled a large green that made attractive the center of the city, and Mr. Horton had parked before a busy grocery store.
"I'm going in here to do an errand for Mother," he said. "Now, youngsters, I won't be long, and every one of you stay in the car till I come back. I don't want to have to hunt up missing boys when it's time to go home."
Ruth Baker turned so she faced the back of the car.
"You never stay at home, Sunny Horton!" she declared accusingly. "I think it's mean. You were going to play Indian braves and sleep out in the tent, and pretty soon it will be so cold Mother won't let us."
"You have been away a lot, haven't you?" suggested David.
Sunny Boy considered.
"I had to go to see my Grandpa Horton," he urged. "And then I had to go to see my Aunt Bessie. And Daddy would be lonesome in New York without Mother and me. He said so."
You see, Sunny Boy had had a busy summer. First he and his mother had gone into the country to visit his grandfather who lived on a farm. Sunny Boy was named for this grandfather, "Arthur Bradford Horton," though Daddy and Mother called him Sunny Boy, and many people thought he had no other name. Grandfather Horton's farm was known as "Brookside," and Sunny Boy learned to love the place dearly in the month he spent there. You may have read what he did there and the friends he made in the first book about him, called "Sunny Boy in the Country."
After Sunny Boy and his mother came home from "Brookside," they went almost immediately to visit Mrs. Horton's sister, Sunny's Aunt Bessie, in her bungalow at Nestle Cove. Mr. Horton took them down to the seashore in the automobile, and Sunny Boy had a delightful time playing in the sand and learning to swim. He found a little lost dog, too, as you may remember if you have read the book about him called "Sunny Boy at the Seashore."
Now he was at home again in Centronia, the city where he and his daddy and mother lived, and they were getting ready to make a trip to the great city of New York.
"Where 'bouts does your cousin live?" Sunny Boy asked Harold Wallace, hoping his friends understood that all this traveling he was experiencing was truly necessary. "P'haps Mother and I'll see him."
"I don't know exactly where he lives," answered Harold cautiously. "But I know it is in a brick row. Aunt Lucy wrote my mother when they moved."
"I'll tell Daddy," promised Sunny Boy confidently. "He'll know what street. Don't get out, Oliver."
Oliver Dunlap, red-haired and blue-eyed, grinned provokingly.
"Wait till you see me," he retorted. "Can't I put just one foot out of the car?"
Of course, having one foot out, Oliver in another moment had both feet on the running board and from there jumped to the sidewalk.
"Daddy said to stay in the car," insisted Sunny Boy.
"He only meant not to go away," said Oliver. "Oh, look at the crowd coming!"
The children stood up in the car and stared in the direction Oliver was pointing. On the next block they could see a man running swiftly, followed by a crowd of people, and back of them two policemen.
"Come back, Oliver!" screamed Ruth, jumping up and down with excitement. "Make him come back, Sunny."
But before Oliver could run over to the car, if he had wanted to, the man, the crowd close upon his heels, had reached the spot where Oliver stood. He caught hold of him, whirled him about, and dropped something into his hands, all without stopping his headlong flight. The crowd immediately closed in around Oliver just as Mr. Horton, attracted by the noise and the shouting, came out of the store. One of the policemen continued to run after the man.
"Oh, Daddy, get Oliver," Sunny Boy almost sobbed, as his father came over to the car.
"Why, where is he?" asked Mr. Horton, surprised. "Aren't you all here?"
"Oliver isn't. He's in there." Sunny Boy pointed to the crowd which was growing larger every minute as more and more people pressed in, eager to know what the excitement was about. "Oh, gee!"
Sunny Boy's eyes grew wide with wonder and terror. The other boys in the car looked frightened. Ruth began to cry.
A policeman had come out from the center of the crowd, and he had Oliver by the arm. Oliver was crying, and looked very small and miserable.
"Why, Oliver Dunlap!" Mr. Horton walked up to him, and put his arm protectingly around the frightened child. "What is the matter, Officer?"
"Do you know him?" asked the policeman politely. "Maybe that's different then. That pickpocket stole a lady's purse, and here's the empty bag he left in the kid's hands. We thought they were together—using the boy to cover up his tracks, you see."
"I left him in my car ten minutes ago with these other children," said Mr. Horton calmly. "He's Henry Dunlap's son. Your chief knows his father."
"If you say it's all right, it is," pronounced the policeman. "Don't cry, kid, you're all right now. Sorry to make you any trouble, sir."
He turned to push back the crowd, which was surging about the automobile now, and Mr. Horton lifted in Oliver. Then slowly, so as not to injure any one, he steered the car out of the mass of people and turned it around.
"Guess you'll stay in the car the next time, Oliver," jeered Harold Wallace.
"That'll do, Harold," said Mr. Horton sharply. "I'm going to take you all around the park twice now and then we'll scoot home for lunch. It is twelve o'clock. I don't want to take home such solemn faces. See if you can't smile a bit."
By the time they had circled the park twice every one felt decidedly more cheerful. Even Oliver had managed a smile, though it would be some time before he could see a policeman and not want to run.
Sunny Boy had so much to tell Mother at lunch that he almost forgot to inform her of the loss of his hat. Seeing her trying on a new hat before the hall mirror after lunch reminded him.
"And how can I go to New York without a hat?" he finished sadly, when he had described to her how the colored boy had run off with his beautiful new, round, blue hat.
"You can't, of course," said Mother. "I'll have to take you down town again to-morrow and buy you another. Harriet, here's Sunny Boy losing his new hat before he's had it three days."
"Dear, dear! Do tell!" said Harriet, who was passing through the hall on her way upstairs. She sat down to listen.
"I might take Sunny down through the River Section," she suggested to Mrs. Horton. "We could go this afternoon. All the colored folks live there, you know, and Sunny might see the boy. I'd make him give the hat back, drat him!"
Mrs. Horton had little faith in their finding boy or hat, but she was willing they should go, and so Harriet and Sunny Boy set out half an hour later, bound for the River Section, which was over on the other side of the city from where the Hortons lived.
They decided to walk there and then ride home if they were tired, and Sunny Boy found much to interest him along the way. They passed a horse that had lost his nosebag before he had eaten all his oats and who was regarding it hungrily as it lay on the ground at his feet.
"Fix it, Harriet," implored Sunny. "He hasn't had all his dinner."
So Harriet stopped and picked up the nosebag and fixed it nicely on the horse's nose. He went right to eating the moment she had it in place, but Sunny Boy was sure his wise brown eyes thanked them gratefully.
"Look, Harriet!" they were crossing another street when Sunny Boy's quick eyes spied something else that interested him. "See, little desks."
A man was carrying desks into a brown stone house, and a large number of similar desks were propped up on the walk.
"'Miss May Ford's School for Boys and Girls.'" Harriet read the shining brass plate on the side of the house as they walked slowly past. "Why, Sunny, that must be the Miss May your mother talks about. I guess that's where you'll be going to school this winter."
Sunny Boy stared at the building with interest. He was very eager to learn what school was like, and he hoped that as soon as they came back from New York he would go to school every day as Nelson Baker did.
Two or three blocks further on Harriet turned suddenly down a side street.
"Now begin to look, Sunny," she admonished him. "See if you see a boy that looks like the one who took your hat this morning. How old would you say he was?"
"'Bout 'leven," returned Sunny Boy wisely. "He acted 'bout that, anyway. Isn't that a cunning baby, Harriet?"
Harriet wasn't interested in babies just then. She was determined to find that missing hat.
"That looks like him," Sunny pointed an accusing finger at a colored boy leaning against a rickety porch railing.
At the same moment the boy saw them and started to run.
"We can't chase him," said Harriet. "He'll run up some alley. You stay here on the sidewalk, and I'll ask if he lives in this house."
A little girl answered Harriet's knock. "Yes'm," she said, she knew the boy.
"He don't live here—don't live nowhere," she volunteered. "He just hangs around. His name is Pete."
"Well, there's no use in looking any further," announced Harriet, rejoining Sunny Boy on the pavement. "Pete, if that's his name, won't show up around here for several days now. And before that you'll be on your way to New York."
OFF FOR NEW YORK
"Sunny Boy and I will go ahead and get the trunk checked," said Mr. Horton, picking up the two suitcases that stood in the hall. "Where's your hat? You haven't lost it again, have you?"
Sunny Boy dashed under the table and picked up his new hat.
"It's all right," he assured his father anxiously. "It just fell off when I wasn't looking. Mother bought it yesterday. Does it do for New York, Daddy?"
"I don't see why not," replied Mr. Horton, smiling. "All through, Olive? Sure you and Harriet can lock up all right?"
Mrs. Horton came into the hall, pencil and pad in hand. It was the day for leaving—Sunny Boy had been afraid that it would never come—and they were almost on the way to New York. The train would leave Centronia Union Station in an hour.
"I'm finishing the list of things I want Harriet to remember," explained Mrs. Horton. "Sunny, dear, did you say good-bye to her? All right then, run along with Daddy. And I'll meet you at the south entrance not later than a quarter of ten."
Sunny Boy and Daddy took the street car, and Sunny was so blissfully happy to be beginning the journey at last that a white-haired gentleman next to him asked him if he was thinking about Christmas.
Sunny Boy shook his head. He hadn't begun to think of Christmas. That was months and months away.
"I'm going to New York," he informed the white-haired gentleman proudly. "Daddy and Mother and me. And I can ride on top of the busses, Daddy said so."
"Dear me," said the gentleman, "that is a long trip for a chap of your age. I have a little grandson who lives in New York. He's counting the days now till he can come to see me."
This was a new idea to Sunny Boy.
"Do you s'pose folks who live in New York like to come to see Centronia?" he asked doubtfully.
"Just as much as you count on going to New York," said the white-haired gentleman promptly. "It's new to them, you see. Here's my corner now. Good-bye. I hope you will have all the good times you are looking forward to."
"Isn't it funny, Daddy?" said Sunny Boy, watching the gentleman go out the door. "Most everybody has relations living in New York. Harold Wallace's cousin lives there. Have we any 'lations to go to see?"
"Not in New York," answered Mr. Horton, pressing the button to tell the motor-man to let them off. "You and Mother will have to amuse each other, because you may find it lonesome at first with no friends to talk to."
They were opposite the station now, and the car stopped. Sunny Boy hopped off blithely, but his thoughts were busy with what Daddy had said. How could one be lonely in New York?
"'Member the time the baggage man thought the alarm clock was a 'fernal machine?" asked Sunny Boy, as he followed his father into the station and over to the baggage room.
"Indeed I do," Mr. Horton laughed.
You see, when Sunny Boy and his mother had been going to see Grandpa Horton, Sunny, as his part in the packing, tucked in the family alarm clock so that he would be sure to get up early in the country. And he forgot the clock might be set, as it was. The station people had held the trunk and it took a great deal of explaining, and the Hortons nearly missed their train before they were allowed to check the trunk.
The baggage man remembered Sunny Boy.
"How's the alarm clock?" he grinned cheerfully. "Any more infernal machines in your baggage this time?"
Sunny Boy smiled shyly.
"We didn't have a finger in packing this trunk," Daddy answered for him. "All right, Son, we're fixed. Now we'll see if we can get some parlor car seats."
But, it seemed, the parlor car seats were all sold.
"All the way through. Convention going to-day on your train," announced the man behind the brass-barred window. "Sorry, but you'll have to go in the day coach."
"You and I don't mind, Sunny," said Mr. Horton, as they walked over to the south entrance to wait for Mrs. Horton. "It is rather hard on Mother, but perhaps she won't mind. It isn't so warm to-day."
"And we can put the window up," suggested Sunny Boy helpfully. "Oh, there's Mother!"
He ran to meet her and brought her over triumphantly to the seat saved for her.
"Am I in time?" she asked a little anxiously. "Ten minutes yet? That's fine. There was a block on the cars."
"Get your breath, and then I think we'd better go through the gate," counseled Mr. Horton. "Couldn't get parlor car seats, so the earlier we get on, the better chance we have of getting a good seat. I'll take the grips, Sunny, you take care of Mother."
Sunny Boy felt that he was an experienced traveler when he handed the tickets to the man at the gate, Daddy's hands being occupied with the suitcases. The long gray train shed was filled with shining dark cars and snorting, puffing engines, but Daddy seemed to know where to go, and he led the way.
"This is all right," he decided, coming to a stop before a coach.
He put down the heavy suitcases and took the tickets from Sunny.
"They'll be safer in my wallet," he explained. "But you may give them to the conductor if you wish. Up you go—there!"
Sunny Boy found himself on the platform beside Mother, who had gone first. He followed her into the nearly dark car, and they found two nice seats near the center and on what Daddy said would be the shady side as soon as they pulled out of the shed.
"If a crowd comes in we must give up one of these seats," Mr. Horton said, turning back one so that it faced the other. "But until then let's be as comfortable as we can."
He put the suitcases in the racks overhead, put Mother's light dust coat up with them, and raised both windows. Sunny Boy and his mother sat facing Daddy.
"Now we're off," announced Mr. Horton, smiling at Sunny Boy, who was watching everything.
A few more people came into the car, but not many, and after what seemed a long wait to Sunny, they heard the conductor's long-drawn-out "All a-bo-ard!"
The train groaned and started slowly.
"And now we're going!" declared Sunny Boy, with satisfaction.
"Now we're going," echoed Mother. "Don't put your head out, Sunny. If the wind blows too strongly we'll have to put the window down."
Sunny Boy hoped it wouldn't blow too much. He loved to feel it rumpling his hair and cutting gently across his cheek.
"There's Haver's grocery," he cried, as they passed the red-brick store on a street corner. "And the market! There's where we punctured a tire, Daddy. And, look! There's where Harriet took her shoes to be mended!"
"Not so loud," cautioned Mr. Horton. Indeed, Sunny had unconsciously raised his voice, and several people were smiling at him.
So Sunny Boy made up a little song to amuse himself as the train went slowly through the city streets, streets he knew fairly well because he had ridden through them with his father in the automobile.
"Bicycle shop, gasoline station, fresh egg store," sang Sunny softly. "Mr. French's ice-cream—wonder if he'll know I've gone to New York."
Soon the train began to go faster, and Sunny Boy did not know the little towns they were passing through. Almost before he knew it, the waiter came through announcing lunch, and the Hortons went into the dining-car. This was the third time Sunny Boy had eaten on the train, and he was, as he said, "'Most used to it."
When they came back into their own coach, and had settled down, Mr. Horton to read his paper and Mrs. Horton with a book to read aloud to Sunny, a tall, thin, rather odd looking man who had sat huddled up in a corner seat suddenly clapped his hand to his eye and began to act strangely.
"Ow!" he cried. "Ow! I told you not to have that window opened. Oh! Oh, my! What shall I do?"
"He must be in a fit," said the woman in the seat behind the Hortons.
"Appendicitis, probably," declared the man across the aisle.
"Nonsense," said Mr. Horton briskly. "He has a cinder in his eye. I wonder if he would let me take it out for him?"
There was a crowd about the man now, and as Mr. Horton went down the aisle to help him, Sunny Boy slipped out of his seat, too, and tagged along after.
"I know something about first-aid," he heard his father say. "Let me look at your eye. Stand back, neighbors, we need a little room."
Watching, Sunny Boy managed to see his father take out a clean white handkerchief and a lead pencil. He seemed only to look at the man's eye, and then the cinder was out and the excitement over.
"If that boy hadn't opened his window, this never would have happened," declared the man, who was grateful to Mr. Horton for relieving his pain, but determined to lay his misfortune to some one. "I'm going into the smoker. Perhaps a man can have a little less fresh air and a bit more common sense in there."
He tramped angrily away. Sunny Boy looked for the first time at the boy in the seat ahead, who had been leaning over the back apologetically, fearful that his open window really had caused the trouble.
"Why, Joe Brown!" said Sunny Boy.
Joe turned a dull red. He was a boy whom Sunny did not know very well, and he was a number of years older, twelve or thirteen years old at least. His mother often did sewing for Mrs. Horton, and Sunny sometimes saw Joe at Sunday school and at the grocery store where he sometimes worked after school.
"Hullo, Sunny," said Joe Brown awkwardly. "Where you goin'?"
"To New York," announced Sunny Boy importantly. "Where you going?"
"To New York," was the answer.
"How do you do, Joe?" asked Mr. Horton kindly, coming up to him. "Taking a trip, too, are you?"
"Yes, sir," mumbled Joe. "Going to see my Aunt Annabell in New York."
"Where does she live?" said Mr. Horton with interest. "Perhaps we can drop you there on our way from the station. Do you plan to stay long?"
Joe Brown fumbled with his cap.
"I don't know just how long I'll stay," he blurted out. "Maybe all winter. I've got Auntie's address somewhere in my satchel. I know how to get there all right."
Mr. Horton went back to his seat, but Sunny Boy lingered.
"You're another with 'lations in New York," he observed. "Harold Wallace has a cousin, and the gentleman on the street car had a grandson. I wish my Aunt Bessie lived in New York. Have you been there before?"
"No, I haven't," admitted Joe Brown. "But I guess one city's pretty much like another. I went to Chicago when I was six. I'm going to see all the big places when I'm grown up."
"There's Mother motioning to me," said Sunny Boy. "Come on and see her."
But Joe Brown wouldn't.
"I have to write a letter," he protested hastily.
Sunny Boy went back to his parents. He had an odd feeling that Joe Brown was not looking forward to seeing New York as much as he, Sunny Boy, was.
"Is he sick, do you think, Daddy?" he urged, his troubled eyes resting on Joe, now huddled moodily in his seat and making no pretense of letter-writing.
"No, he's all right," said Mr. Horton easily. "Come, laddie, we're almost at the end of our trip. Sit down by Mother and see your first glimpse of one of the largest cities in the world."
Sunny Boy scrambled into his place again, but Joe Brown was still in his thoughts. Presently he heard his father speaking in a low voice to his mother.
"Olive, I believe that young scamp, the Brown boy, is running away from home. He has it written all over him. I wish we could keep an eye on him."
"But Mrs. Brown has a sister who lives in New York," said Sunny Boy's mother. "He may really be going to visit her."
"Perhaps," admitted Mr. Horton doubtfully.
There was no time to say more just then for the train rushed down from daylight into what was next to darkness.
"Oh!" cried Sunny Boy, "where are we going, Mother? Are we in a cellar?"
"We are going down under the Hudson River into New York," explained Mrs. Horton. "That will save us the trouble of going over on a ferryboat."
Sunny Boy was very much interested in the ride under the river and asked many questions.
"I should think the river would leak in on us," he remarked. "And we haven't any umbrellas along."
"We are perfectly safe," his father assured him.
Then in a few minutes the bustle of getting ready to leave the train began.
"We'll take a taxi," announced Mr. Horton, holding his wife's coat for her. "Take Mother's hand, Sunny. Careful, now."
Down the steps on to the platform, where Mr. Horton gave the suitcases to a porter, and they joined a steady stream of people all going in one direction.
"Oh, look! There's a bus! Let's ride on top," cried Sunny Boy, pointing out toward the street as one of the Fifth Avenue busses lumbered into sight.
"But our taxi is here," reasoned Mr. Horton, helping in Sunny Boy's mother as he spoke. "And I couldn't go up on top with these heavy bags. Come, Son, and you shall have your ride to-morrow."
Sunny Boy climbed into the taxi cab, Mr. Horton followed, and they were on the way to their hotel.
It was a brief ride, but in those few moments Sunny Boy was sure he had seen more automobiles than he had ever seen in his life. He probably had, for it was the time of day when the city traffic is heaviest, and never-ending streams of motor-cars and trucks and wagons were being driven on the cross streets, as well as on the avenues.
"I feel as if I wasn't here," said Sunny Boy slowly, watching the crowds from the open window.
Mr. Horton glanced down at him and smiled.
"You do look rather small in all this," he admitted; "but I should say you were very much here. And here's our hotel, and I think you are ready for supper."
The taxi cab stopped before the McAlpin Hotel, and Sunny Boy, holding fast to Daddy's hand, went into a beautiful high-ceilinged room ablaze with light. He and his mother sat down in one of the big chairs while Mr. Horton registered and arranged for their room. Then a severe-faced boy took the suitcases and led them into an elevator.
"I wonder if he's cross," thought Sunny Boy to himself, studying the face of the boy as he stood stiffly, his eyes fixed grimly on the wire grating of the elevator.
He was staring at him so hard that when the boy turned and caught him Sunny Boy blushed. The boy stuck out his tongue and immediately resumed his stern expression.
"He wears such a lot of buttons," thought Sunny Boy, who in all his life had never been in a hotel to stay over night. "I wonder did he really stick out his tongue—"
The elevator stopped while Sunny Boy was trying to decide, and the Hortons followed the boy along a silent corridor till he stopped before a door and, unlocking it, ushered them into a large, pleasant room.
"Well, dear, hungry?" asked Mrs. Horton.
"He did it again," said Sunny Boy.
"Who did what?" laughed Mrs. Horton. "Sunny, don't let New York addle you like this. I asked if you were hungry."
"That boy did stick out his tongue," explained Sunny Boy. "I don't guess he is cross at all. When he closed the door he winked at me. And I am hungry, Mother."
Supper, as Sunny Boy insisted on calling it, or dinner, was rather a vague affair to him, for he was not only hungry but very sleepy after the long train ride. He liked riding down in the elevator and up again, but he was glad enough to go to bed.
"It's just like the three bears," he said to Mother as she helped him to undress. "Big Bear, Middle-sized Bear, and Little Bear," he added, pointing to the three beds in the room. "Did they know I was coming and put a little bed in for me?"
"Daddy asked them to," said Mother. "Now a little wash, precious, and you'll be in Dreamland in two seconds."
There was a pretty white bathroom opening into the room, and Sunny Boy enjoyed a splash, and then tumbled into bed.
In the morning he had a hard time to get dressed, because he found it so interesting to stare out of the window down at the busy streets.
"Such lots of people and trolley cars and automobiles—and everything!" he reported to his mother, who insisted that he really must finish dressing. "Do you suppose they know I'm looking at 'em?"
"I doubt it," said Mother, brushing his hair smooth. "Now don't put your nose on the screen again, Sunny. We're going downstairs in just a minute. Daddy is almost through shaving."
"You look dressed up, Mother," announced Sunny Boy critically. "And aren't we going to eat breakfast first?"
"First?" repeated Mrs. Horton, puzzled. "Oh, you mean I have my hat and veil on. Well, dear, I believe you and I are going out right after breakfast, and I won't have to come upstairs again. Ready, Daddy?"
Soon they were in the dining room.
"Where are we going?" asked Sunny Boy, at the table and trying not to feel queer when the waiter brought him his cantaloupe with the same flourish with which he served Daddy sitting opposite.
"Why, I'm going to be very busy this morning," explained Mr. Horton, "and I thought you and Mother might enjoy a little shopping trip. I'll meet you here for lunch. Anything you specially want to buy, Sunny?"
"Some post cards," replied Sunny Boy promptly. "Ruth Nelson wants one for her collection. And I could get Aunt Bessie a present."
"I'd wait till we're almost ready to go home for Aunt Bessie's present," said Mr. Horton kindly. "You'll know better what you want then. But get the post cards by all means this morning."
He gave Sunny Boy a bright new fifty-cent piece.
"I think we'll walk," decided Mrs. Horton, serving the golden brown omelet carefully. "Put your money in your new purse, dear. Harry, have you heard from Mr. Vernon yet?"
Left to himself while his parents talked business matters, Sunny Boy looked about the dining room. He saw several children, little girls and boys here and there, and a little girl across the room nodded and smiled at him. Sunny Boy wondered where the boy who had carried up their suitcases was.
"I didn't bring my hat," he mourned when breakfast was over. "Can I go and get it, Mother?"
"I brought it down, dear," was the answer. "We're going right away. Daddy has some telephoning to do, and we'll go on."
In the hotel lobby Sunny Boy saw the suitcase boy, as he had named him, again. He didn't seem quite so severe as he had at night, and when Sunny smiled at him he actually returned it with a grin that showed a set of very white teeth.
"What a funny carriage," said Sunny Boy, calling Mother's attention to a queer looking vehicle on two wheels and drawn by a bob-tailed horse, which was the first thing he saw when they got out on the street. "Look where the coachman is."
The driver was perched up on a little seat behind and held the reins over the roof of the coach.
"That's a hansom cab," explained Mrs. Horton. "They were very popular and stylish before the automobile came."
Privately Sunny Boy thought it wasn't very handsome, and the poor old horse was no longer stylish if he had ever been, but there was little time to think about hansom cabs, for just then Mother remarked:
"Here's the big store where they have such a wonderful toy department."
It was a big store, much larger than any Sunny Boy had ever seen in Centronia, and it seemed filled with people to him.
"Oh, Mother!" he stopped so short that several people nearly fell over him, "what's that?"
"That" was a long shining moving thing on which people were being wafted gently upward. It reminded Sunny Boy of the fairy tale he had seen in the motion picture where the Wishing Girl who wanted to fly was suddenly granted her wish.
"Where do they go?" Sunny Boy asked so loudly that a floor-man heard and answered him.
"That's an escalator," he announced, much as one might say: "That's a strawberry."
"It's a moving stairway, precious," added his mother. "I suppose you want to ride on it. Well, first I must get Daddy some handkerchiefs, for we never packed him a one. And we'll find out on which floor the toys are, too."
Sunny Boy waited patiently while the handkerchiefs were bought, and then while Mother chose a new veil, a pretty white one with black dots.
"Here are the post-cards, Sunny," she said, turning into another aisle. "See which ones you want for Ruth and Nelson."
"What do they say, Mother?" asked Sunny Boy, wishing he could read. "May I send all the boys some?"
Mrs. Horton said he could, and she helped him select a dozen views of New York, promising that he should print his name on each one and that she would write whatever messages he wanted sent.
"You can look them over this afternoon," she suggested, "and see what places you want to see first. That will be nice, won't it?"
"Yes, Mother," agreed Sunny Boy. "And now can we ride on the alligator?"
"The escalator?" corrected Mother, laughing heartily. "Why yes, I think we are about ready to do that. The girl at the handkerchief counter told me the toys were on the sixth floor. Do you think you want to ride that far on such a queer thing?"
Sunny Boy was enraptured. He had not supposed that a moving stairway went further than one story, and the thought of riding to the sixth floor was bliss. He felt decidedly odd when he put his foot on the moving platform at first, but ahead of him and behind him people were serenely moving up, so he knew everything must be all right. When he reached the top he slid off with such an unexpected bump that he gave a startled cry and the girl who was there to see that no one was hurt laughed at him.
"You said we could go to the sixth floor!" exclaimed Sunny Boy, turning aggrievedly to Mother who had followed him.
"And so we can, dear, but not without stopping," explained Mrs. Horton. "See, we turn here and there is another escalator. At every floor we get off one and then on another."
Sunny Boy thought this was absolutely the most delightful way of going upstairs he had ever tried. He wondered why the stores at home didn't have moving stairways, and he resolved to come down the whole six flights the same way. He was astonished when the time came to go home and he found that the escalators didn't carry people down, but only up.
"I see a horse!" he shouted, when they were half way up the last stairway.
They stepped off onto a floorful of toys that reminded Sunny Boy of Christmas and birthdays and Santa Claus all rolled into one. A tank of water in which boats were sailing caught his eye.
"I wish I'd brought my boat," he remarked, standing on tiptoe to see over the edge. "See the motor-boat, Mother? It's just like Captain Franklin's."
Captain Franklin was the man who had found Sunny Boy when he was drifting out to sea in a rowboat that summer, as related in the book called "Sunny Boy at the Seashore."
"If you want to see them race," said the young man in charge of the boats, "I'll wind another up for you."
SUNNY BOY LOSES HIS ROOM
Of course Sunny Boy wanted to see the boats race, and he hung breathlessly over the edge of the tank while the good-natured clerk wound up the motor-boats and sent them racing across several times.
"Come, dear," Mrs. Horton urged at last. "You haven't seen the trains yet, nor the rocking-horses. And Daddy will be waiting for us at one, you know."
So Sunny Boy, very reluctantly, thanked the man in charge of the boats and walked down the aisle to see the mechanical trains.
Goodness! the trains were more fascinating than the boats. There were miles and miles of track, and little colored signal lights, and stations and tunnels and freight and coal and passenger trains, with freight and coal and passengers to go in them.
"All running!" marveled Sunny Boy. "Just like Christmas!"
Mrs. Horton was trying to pull him past this absorbing counter, for they really had a great deal more to see and the time was getting short, when Sunny gave a shout.
"Mother, look! There's a runaway engine! Whee, a wreck!"
Sure enough, an engine with no cars attached was coming rapidly down grade toward a passenger train stopped at one of the stations. Sunny Boy's voice had drawn a number of the shoppers, and a small crowd gathered to see what would happen. The clerk had left the counter and gone out to an aisle table to have a floor-man sign his book, and there was no one about to prevent the wreck.
Smash! with a truly thrilling noise the engine crashed into the train and the passengers must have, as the newspapers say, "received a severe shaking up."
"Oh, gee!" breathed Sunny Boy, and his sigh was echoed by the grown-ups.
People looked at one another and smiled.
"Nobody hurt!" announced the clerk, who had hurried back when he heard the noise of the collision. "I said that switch needed overhauling yesterday. Guess I'll shut off the current and get a repair man to come up."
As there would be no more moving trains for the present, Sunny Boy was willing to go to see the rocking-horses. He had a fine time, too, for the clerk lifted him up on the largest one, and very high from the ground Sunny felt.
But it was the tin automobile that captured his heart.
"Oh, Mother!" he said when he found it, "it's just like our car, two lamps and all."
"It is pretty nice," admitted Mrs. Horton. "We'll have to see what Daddy says about one when we go home. You are getting too old for the kiddie car, aren't you? How does this one run, dear?"
Sunny Boy showed her, and explained how the brakes worked, and they had an interesting half-hour comparing the different kinds of cars and learning how much they cost. Then Mother discovered that it was time to go back to the hotel if they were to meet Daddy promptly.
"I could stay here," suggested Sunny Boy, his arm about a stuffed camel that was almost large enough for him to ride. His jaw went up and down if you poked it right, and he had two most realistic humps. "You could go and see Daddy and then come back and get me."
"But, precious, what would Daddy say? He'll want to see you. And there will be many other times for you to come over and visit the toys. Besides, think, Sunny—suppose he wanted to take you riding on the Fifth Avenue bus?"
That settled it. Sunny Boy was ready to go immediately. Anyway, he realized that he had a queer feeling he couldn't just name, but he suspected that maybe he was hungry.
They found Mr. Horton waiting for them in their room, and Mrs. Horton had so much to tell him that Sunny Boy had to wait his chance to ask a most important question.
"Daddy," he began when his father finished telling the waiter what to bring, and after they were in the dining room and seated at the table, "Daddy, do you think p'haps we could go riding on the bus?"
Mr. Horton smiled.
"Well, I'll tell you," he said, glancing at his watch. "Mother wants to lie down and rest a bit this afternoon and I have to meet some men within an hour. But if you are a good boy, I'll take you when I come back. That will be about three o'clock. How'll that do?"
Sunny Boy thought that would be very nice, and he ate his luncheon contentedly. Afterward he and Mother went upstairs, and Daddy had to go and keep his appointment.
"Now you see how much company we are for each other," said Mother, as she changed her dress and put on a pretty blue dressing gown. "With such a busy Daddy, wouldn't we be lonesome here in New York all alone?"
Sunny Boy nodded solemnly.
"Could I paint pictures?" he asked hopefully.
"Of course. You'll find your paint box and a pad of paper in that grey box in the trunk tray. Mother's going to lie down just a second. Pull the little table over to the light, dear, and you'll have a nice, quiet time," directed Mrs. Horton.
Sunny Boy dragged the table over nearer to the window, found his water color paints and the paper and set to work to paint a picture. He talked a steady stream to Mother at first but, as he grew interested in his work, he forgot to talk.
"There now!" he said softly, when he had finished three pictures. "I think they're good. I'll show 'em to Mother."
But Mother was fast asleep. Sunny Boy tiptoed carefully around the bed, but she did not wake up.
"I don't want to paint any more," decided Sunny Boy. "What'll I do?"
He remembered the bell-boy they had seen first the night before. He would go and visit him.
Sunny Boy opened the door into the corridor carefully, so as not to disturb Mother, and closed it carefully behind him. The halls were lighted, though it was daytime, and the thick carpet was so soft that Sunny couldn't hear the noise of his own feet.
"Where 'bouts," he speculated aloud, "do they have the stairs in this house?"
He hunted for several minutes, but no stairs could he find. Then he decided to go back to Mother, and he couldn't find the room! He had made so many turnings in the halls that he was hopelessly lost.
"Oh, dear!" sighed poor Sunny Boy. "New York is such a big place!"
A light down the corridor attracted his attention now. The elevator, of course! Why hadn't he thought of that? He would find the bell-boy downstairs. He remembered that was where he had seen him at breakfast time.
The elevator boy took him downstairs without asking any questions and let him off at the first floor.
"This looks somehow different," puzzled Sunny Boy, standing where the elevator left him.
He didn't know it, but it was another elevator, in a different part of the building from the one his father and mother took down to the dining room. Sunny Boy had never been downstairs alone, and he felt decidedly shy.
"Hello, kid, what you lost?" asked one of the bell boys, swinging past him.
"Nothing," murmured Sunny Boy.
"Are you lost, dear?" asked a lady, stopping on her way to the elevator. She was old and lame and walked with a cane. A maid, with a curly black dog under her arm, walked beside her.
Sunny shook his head. How could he be lost with a mother in the same building with him? Of course he wasn't lost!
He sat down in a leather chair to consider. He didn't know the name of the bell boy he wanted to see, and at any minute his father might come back and want to take him for a ride on the bus. Sunny Boy made up his mind that he would try to find his room and look for the bell boy another time. He waited till a friendly-looking man came hurrying by where he sat.
"Please," he stuttered nervously, "how do you find—"
"Ask the clerk at the desk!" snapped the man, who wasn't cross, but only in a hurry to make a train.
Sunny Boy looked about for the desk.
"Go 'round there," directed the elevator boy when he ventured to ask him. Then he clashed his door shut with a bang and went sailing up in his little car.
Sunny obediently wandered around a turn in the corridor. He saw only a counter, but he guessed that to be the desk. He remembered it was where his father had gone to arrange for their rooms the night before.
"Please," he began, standing on tiptoes and grasping the edge of the counter with both hands. "Please, where is our room?"
"Eh, what?" demanded the startled clerk, bending down to see the small person speaking to him. "Your room? Have you lost your key?"
"Haven't any key," explained Sunny Boy gravely. "I came out, and when I went to go back I couldn't find our door."
"All right, we'll fix you up," promised the clerk. "Jack, lift this young man up so I won't have to strain my voice."
A bell-boy lifted Sunny to the counter, and he sat there comfortably, sure that the clerk would solve his troubles for him.
"What floor are you on?" asked the clerk capably.
"I don't know," confessed Sunny Boy.
"Well, then, give us your name."
"Sunny Boy," announced Sunny cheerfully.
The clerk laughed, and the bell-boys standing about snickered.
"No Sunny Boy registered," announced the clerk, running his finger down the register, where hotel guests write their names. "Haven't you any other name you use when you're traveling around?"
"Oh, no," insisted Sunny Boy. "Daddy and Mother always call me that—just Sunny Boy."
"But you have to have a regular name," protested the clerk. "When you go to school—Oh, you don't go to school! Well, what is Daddy's name? Your last name must be the same as his."
Then Sunny Boy understood.
"Daddy's name is Harry Horton, and I am named for Grandpa, Arthur Bradford Horton," he announced rapidly. "An' we live in Centronia."
"Now you're talking," said the clerk approvingly. "Here you are." He read from the big register: "'Mr. and Mrs. Harry Horton and son'. You're son. And your room is 1038. Jack, you take him up, will you? Is any one there, or have they gone out and left you alone?"
Sunny Boy explained that his mother was lying down, and Jack lifted him from the counter and went over with him to the elevator.
"He lost his room," he told the elevator boy as they shot up. "Didn't you bring him down?"
"Must have come down in one of the other cars," said the elevator boy. "I don't remember him. Here's your floor."
Jack showed Sunny Boy which was the door to his room, and, still grinning at the idea of losing one's way in a hotel, he went back.
"Why, Sunny dear, where have you been?" Mrs. Horton was sitting up in bed as Sunny Boy came in. "I woke up a minute ago and thought you were still painting. Then I spoke to you and found you weren't in the room. Where did you go?"
"I got lost," said Sunny Boy placidly.
He told his mother what had happened and she laughed.
"Here's Daddy," she announced, as some one rapped on the door. "Come in, Harry. Sunny Boy's adventures in New York have already begun."
So Mr. Horton heard the story.
"Well, well, we'll have to go out for our ride, or there's no knowing what will happen next," he said jokingly. "Want to come, Olive?"
Mrs. Horton answered that she didn't want to dress hurriedly and that she would rather wait for them and write a letter or two, perhaps.
"I'll help you write your post cards in the morning," she promised Sunny Boy. "Harriet will be expecting a card from you every day till it comes."
Sunny Boy and his father went out of the hotel and walked over toward Fifth Avenue. The trolley cars and automobiles and crowds of people seemed to Sunny Boy to be hopelessly mixed. He held tightly to Daddy's hand when they crossed the street, and he was very grateful to the tall policeman that made the traffic stop while the people surged safely across.
"Up top, you know, Daddy," he urged, trotting along, trying to keep step with his father's long stride.
"All right, up top we'll go," said Mr. Horton, smiling. "I thought we'd walk around to the Pennsylvania station and get a bus there. We may want to go home from there instead of the way we came."
ON TOP OF THE BUS
The Pennsylvania Station is a beautiful building, but Sunny Boy hardly saw it, so eager was he to climb up the winding stairs on one of the busses.
"Are we going up, or down?" he chattered to Daddy, as they stood on the curb.
"Over first," explained Mr. Horton, "and then up. I thought we might go as far as Grant's Tomb; then you can see the river, and to-morrow, if Mother likes to, we will go down and through the Arch at Washington Square."
A bus came up and stopped presently, and Sunny Boy was afraid there would be no room left for him, so many people seemed to want to ride outside and enjoy the fine September afternoon.
"Careful, now," cautioned Mr. Horton, as he guided Sunny Boy up the narrow, steep stairs. "They will start before you get to the top."
Sure enough, the bus did start, but Sunny Boy had a firm grip on the iron railing. He thought it great fun to be going upstairs on a moving automobile, and when he reached the top, the very first seat, away up front, was vacant!
"P'haps I'd better take my hat off," he suggested, as he snuggled into the seat next the railing and Daddy sat down beside him. "The colored boy took my first one, you know, and if I lost this one Mother might not like it."
"Indeed she might not," agreed Mr. Horton. "Neither should I, because new hats cost money. You'll be more comfortable holding it, anyway."
Sunny Boy took it off then, and held it in his lap. When the conductor came for their fares, he held out a funny-looking thing and said they were to put the money in that.
"Let me," begged Sunny Boy.
Daddy gave him two ten-cent pieces, and he put them in the little slit and heard the bell ring twice.
Sunny Boy had never been so happy. He liked to look down from the high top of the bus and watch the motors and the people in the street. At nearly every cross street they had to stop while traffic went the other way, and often there would be four or five automobiles abreast. Once Sunny, looking down, saw a little boy in a beautiful car looking up at him. Sunny Boy waved, and the little boy smiled delightedly and waved back. Then the whistle blew and the car shot far ahead of the slow-running bus.
"Where are we going now?" demanded Sunny, as their bus turned.
"Wait and see," smiled Mr. Horton.
And in a minute Sunny Boy saw on one side of him a row of handsome houses, on the other a strip of cement walk and a green park, and beyond that water that sparkled in the sun.
"This is Riverside Drive," said Mr. Horton. "See, Son, those are battleships anchored out there."
Sunny Boy stood up to see better, while Daddy steadied him. He had never seen a battleship before except in pictures.
"What funny wire cages," he puzzled. "And see the little boat going out to them, Daddy."
"Those wire 'cages' as you call them, are masts," explained his father. "And the little boat is probably carrying some officers or sailors out to their ship. That is as near as the battleships can come to the land, you see."
Sunny Boy wanted to know why, and Mr. Horton told him that the water wasn't deep enough close in shore.
"If you want to see a battleship better, perhaps go aboard one, we must visit the Navy Yard before we go home," he remarked.
Sunny Boy was sure he would like that.
The battleships were left far behind now, and a man and woman riding horseback attracted Sunny's attention. He thought it must be fun to have a horse and go riding along such a beautiful drive.
"I could roller skate and Harriet could knit like that," he suggested, pointing to a boy skating merrily up and down while a white-capped nurse sat on a bench and knitted comfortably.
"Yes, you could," said his father. "But since Harriet isn't here, you'll have to write her about what you've seen instead. We get off at the next corner, Sunny; press the little black button there by your hand."
Sunny Boy pressed the button which rang the bell to tell the bus driver to stop, and he and Mr. Horton walked to the stairs. Sunny was very glad to have his father go first, because he discovered that coming downstairs was more ticklish than going up. He had a feeling that he was going to pitch forward on his yellow head.
However, they both reached the ground safely, and, his hand in Daddy's, Sunny Boy crossed over and stood at the flight of broad steps that led to Grant's Tomb.
"Do you know who General Grant was, dear?" asked Daddy.
Sunny Boy nodded his head.
"Grandpa told me," he said confidently. "He was in the Civil War."
"Yes, he was a general in the Civil War, and later president of the United States," assented Mr. Horton. "And this beautiful building was given by the people who loved and admired him, as a memorial."
They went up the wide steps and entered the rotunda. The light was subdued, and at first Sunny Boy could see nothing. Then he saw several people, the men with their hats in their hands, looking down what he thought was a deep well.
Daddy lifted him up so that he might look over, and there, down on the marble floor, he saw two American flags draped over two oblong stone slabs and a wreath on each.
"Mrs. Grant is buried here, too," said Mr. Horton.
The old, battle-stained flags and war mementos in the two little alcoves off the rotunda would have interested Sunny's Grandpa Horton, who had seen some of those same flags carried on the battle fields, but one couldn't expect Sunny Boy to care much about them. When they came out and stood once more on the steps in the sunshine, he saw something that interested him more.
"Daddy!" he raised his voice in excitement. "What are those funny boats'? Over there—see? There's two of 'em!"
A young man standing near heard and turned with a grin.
"Where did you hail from, kid?" he asked curiously. "Haven't you ever seen a ferryboat before?"
Sunny Boy hated to be laughed at, so he said nothing.
"We're inland folks," explained Mr. Horton, who didn't seem to mind the young man's smile. "Out where we live no rivers connect our cities. My little boy has seen his first ferryboat to-day."
"I've seen boats," said Sunny Boy with dignity. "I saw them down at the seashore. But not like those. What do they use 'em for?"
The young man laughed again.
"Excuse me," he apologized. "But I've crossed the river every morning for ten years on the ferry, and it strikes me as funny to find some one who doesn't know what a ferryboat is. They carry people and horses and automobiles, kid."
"Horses?" repeated Sunny Boy incredulously. "Come on, Daddy, let's go ride on one."
"That's the Fort Lee Ferry. Nothing much to see," advised the young man, who was good-natured if he did laugh at folks. "Better go down town and take the Twenty-third Street, if you want a nice sail."
"Thank you, we will, when we do go," replied Mr. Horton. "But, Sunny, you and I must be getting back to Mother. She will be wondering what has become of us. See if you can signal a bus."
Sunny Boy stopped a bus very nicely, and again they found a seat on the top. Sunny Boy was just the least little bit afraid when they went under the elevated tracks—they didn't have elevated trains in Centronia—and he hoped nothing would drop on him.
"What a lot of things there are to ride on in New York," he confided to Daddy. "Busses, an' trains up high, and ferryboats, and automobiles and trolley cars like at home."
"And another kind of train you don't know about yet," said Mr. Horton. "What is it? Oh, I'm going to let you find out for yourself. You seem to be developing a liking for riding about on all kinds of transportation."
"Well, I would like to go on a ferryboat," admitted Sunny Boy, "an' maybe on the elevated. An' the other kind of train that I don't know about. And that's all."
They found Mrs. Horton dressed for dinner and awaiting them, and while she helped Sunny to put on a clean suit and brush his hair, he told her about their trip and what they had seen on Riverside Drive.
"And Daddy says if you want to, we can ride on the bus to-morrow," he finished. "We can go and see an arch."
Mr. Horton, who had been reading some letters that had come for him while he and Sunny were out, looked up from the little book in which he wrote the things he wanted to remember.
"I'm sorry, but you and Mother will have to amuse each other to-morrow," he announced. "I shall be busy all day. But I think you can manage to have a pleasant time, and perhaps the next day I can go about with you."
"Of course we'll have a happy day," promised Mrs. Horton. "Don't worry about us, Daddy Horton. We know you are on a business trip. I think Sunny Boy and I will plan to spend the day in Central Park."
"Yes, let's," agreed Sunny Boy enthusiastically.
He had not the smallest idea what Central Park was like, but he was very sure that he would like it. He liked everything that he had seen in New York so far.
As the Hortons came out of the dining room, and Mr. Horton stopped to buy a paper, Sunny Boy saw the bell-boy he had tried to visit that afternoon.
"Hello," he remarked conversationally. "I was looking for you this afternoon."
"Were you the kid that got lost?" chuckled the bell-boy. "Jack said to me: 'Frank, there was a boy couldn't find his own room this afternoon, can you believe it?' And what have you been doing with yourself all day?"
Sunny Boy recounted his adventures, and announced that the next day he and Mother were going to Central Park.
"Be sure you go in the Monkey House," counseled Frank. "I tell you those monkeys are the cutest things you ever saw. Almost human, I'll say. Like monkeys?"
"Yes in pictures," said Sunny Boy. "And those the organ grinders have. Here comes Daddy."
Before he went to sleep that night Sunny Boy thought of something he wanted to ask Frank.
"I will the next time I see him," he muttered drowsily.
He was wondering why he never put his cap on straight, but always wore it a little over one ear.
IN CENTRAL PARK
The next morning Sunny Boy and Mother started early for Central Park. Much to Sunny's delight they took a bus, and though they did not have very far to go, Mother climbed up to the top with him. When they got off at the Park gate they found carriages waiting for those who wanted to drive around the park.
"I think we should like that, don't you?" asked Mrs. Horton. "I'm sure we can not hope to walk all over this great place in one day. Shall we drive, dear?"
"Let's," nodded Sunny Boy. "I like that fat, black horse, Mother."
So they got into the carriage pulled by the fat, black horse and driven by a young man so tall that he couldn't sit up straight in the seat or his head would have hit the roof of the carriage.
"Is Central Park bigger than Brookside?" Sunny Boy asked, as they drove over a well-kept road past the greenest of green lawns and bright flower beds. Brookside was the name of Grandpa Horton's farm.
"How big is Brookside?" asked the driver, slapping the reins to make his horse go faster.
"Oh, ever so big," Sunny Boy assured him. "Seventy-nine acres, Daddy said."
"Well, you could put Brookside right down in Central Park and never see it," announced the driver complacently. "This park has eight hundred and seventy-nine acres."
"Gee!" murmured Sunny Boy.
He was silent for a few moments, trying to imagine how large the park must be.
"What a funny way to hay," he remarked, as they came up to a horse tramping steadily over the grass pulling a machine that looked something like a mower. "Grandpa didn't do it that way."
"They're cutting the grass," explained the driver of the carriage. "Guess you haven't seen one of those machines. If they had only a lawn mower like the one your father uses on your lawn at home, you know, the grass would never get cut in one summer."
"Can't we get out?" Mrs. Horton asked next. "I'd like to go up and see the reservoirs."
"Sure you can," was the quick response. "I'll wait right here for you. Suppose you'll want to go in the snake house, too, and see the menagerie and the monkeys."
"Frank said to see the monkeys, didn't he, Mother?" said Sunny Boy. "But he didn't say anything about snakes."
They were out of the carriage now and walking toward the reservoirs.
"No, and I don't believe we want to see the snakes," returned Mrs. Horton. "I don't like them very much, and if you don't care I'd much rather see the monkeys. They can do so many funny tricks."
Sunny Boy didn't care about snakes, and he forgot them right away when he saw the gallons of water, spread out like a smooth lake.
"Is it all to drink?" he wanted to know. "Can't they go swimming in it, Mother? Where does it come from?"
"I'm afraid I don't know where the water comes from," admitted Mrs. Horton, "but we know it must be piped from miles and miles away. Think of all the thirsty people in New York who are glad to get a cool, clean drink this warm day."
"Wouldn't they like to swim in it?" insisted Sunny Boy.
"My, no, precious! No one must swim in water that is to be drunk, you must know that. Now we'll go back to our carriage, or the driver will be tired of waiting."
When they came to the menagerie and the monkey house, Mrs. Horton decided not to keep the carriage standing. She did not know how long they would be, and she knew that they could easily get back to the street and car lines again. She paid the driver and he drove off, whistling merrily.
"Let's see the bears, first," suggested Sunny Boy.
And they did. Sunny Boy pressed so close to the cages of the animals that his mother pulled him back repeatedly. They saw lions and tigers and bears and elephants and more queer and curious animals than Sunny Boy dreamed existed.
"I like the bears best," he told Mother, as they came away. "The polar bear looked just like our fur rug at home. And he had cakes of ice to sleep on."
"That is because he is used to cold weather," explained Mrs. Horton. "The polar bear isn't well or happy unless his den is nice and cold."
In the monkey house Sunny Boy was fascinated by one little black-faced monkey that kept running up to the top of his cage, swinging across, and then hanging by his tail at the other end before he dropped with a bang that would shake any one else's teeth loose.
"Doesn't he get a headache?" asked Sunny Boy aloud.
A boy who had been standing with his nose pressed against the cage bars, a rather shabby-looking boy with big holes in his tan stockings, answered without turning around.
"He's been doing that for the last hour," said the boy. "I think some one was mean to him early this morning and he is just mad."
Sunny moved closer to the other boy.
"You are Joe Brown, aren't you?" he asked, puzzled.
The boy turned sharply, and they saw that it was Joe Brown. A shabbier Joe Brown than he had been on the train, and with a pinched hungry look on his face that went to Mrs. Horton's heart.
"Did you find your aunt, Joe?" she asked kindly. "And do you like New York?"
Joe snatched off his cap awkwardly when Mrs. Horton spoke to him, and he tried to stuff it into his pocket now as he shuffled his feet and mumbled that he liked New York pretty well. Plainly he was not comfortable.
"Aunt Annabell moved away," he explained. "I went to the house, but Italians were living in it and they didn't know where she'd moved to. But I guess I can find her. Folks don't drop out of sight in New York."
"But where are you staying?" said Mrs. Horton. "What do you do? Can't I or Mr. Horton help you, Joe? A boy alone in a great city like this might need a friend, you know."
Joe Brown scuffled his feet uneasily.
"I'm all right," he insisted.
"Well, at least come and have some lunch with Sunny and me," invited Mrs. Horton. "Perhaps you can tell us some place to go? And then come up to the hotel with us this afternoon and we'll see if Mr. Horton can't find out something about your aunt."
Joe knew of a place where lunch could be had, and he and Mrs. Horton and Sunny Boy were soon seated at a white-topped little table eating sandwiches and milk. Joe ate as though he were half-starved, and Mrs. Horton pretended to be hungrier than she was so that he would not be afraid to eat all the sandwiches he wanted.
"Has Sunny seen the carrousel?" Joe demanded, when the ice-cream had been brought and Sunny was deep in the blissful employment of scooping spoonfuls out of the white mound before him.
"No, I haven't," answered Sunny quickly.
"Well you'll like it—it's like a big playground," explained Joe. "Swings, merry-go-rounds, all that kind of stuff, you know. And it's pretty around there, too. I'll take you if you want to see it."
After they had finished lunch he did take them, and he was very good and patient, too, about swinging Sunny Boy and giving him rides on all the contrivances that make small people happy.
"Let the old cat die," called Sunny Boy, as he was being swung for the third time.
Slower and slower went the swing, and finally it stopped. Sunny Boy sat still, expecting Joe to come and lift him out, but no Joe came. Mrs. Horton was quietly reading on one of the benches. Sunny Boy turned his head. Where was Joe?
"Looking for the boy that was swinging you?" demanded a girl in the next swing. "He ran off. I saw him going across the park after he gave you that one good push. Was he your brother? Did he get mad at you?"
Sunny Boy shook his head. He got out of the swing with some difficulty and trotted over to his mother.
"Joe Brown's gone," he announced mournfully. "Maybe he was mad 'cause I didn't swing him."
Mrs. Horton closed her magazine.
"Joe gone?" she echoed. "Oh, I'm so sorry! No, precious, I don't think he was hurt because you didn't swing him. I'm afraid he didn't want to go up to the hotel with us and see Daddy. I hate to think of a boy his age all alone in New York."
However, Joe had gone, and they could not hope to find him. Sunny Boy and Mother walked a bit about the pretty rocky paths and peeped into one or two of the little rustic cabins they found perched in unexpected places, and then Mother glanced at her watch and said it was time to go home.
"Are you tired, dear?" she asked as they started to walk to the nearest entrance.
"I guess my feet are," confided Sunny Boy. "They trip."
They saw one other thing that interested them very much before they left the park.
"What's that mon'ment?" Sunny Boy asked suddenly, pointing to a tall shaft that ended in a point at the top.
"That's the Egyptian obelisk," returned Mrs. Horton. "Come and look at it, dear. It is called 'Cleopatra's Needle,' and was brought all the way from Egypt. It is very, very old."
"How old?" demanded Sunny Boy practically. "It looks all right, Mother."
"Well, I've read that it was erected in Cairo, Egypt, sixteen hundred years before the birth of Christ," said Mrs. Horton. "So you see, dear, we are looking at a stone that is more than three thousand years old."
They took a surface car down to the hotel, and Sunny Boy, who did not like to say he was tired, was glad to curl up in a chair and look at a book till Daddy and Mother were ready to go to dinner.
Everyone went to bed early that night, for Mr. Horton had had a busy day, too, and was tired. He was not able to go about with them the next day, but on the following Monday he took them over to the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Sunny Boy actually went on board a battleship. The afternoon of the same day they crossed the wonderful Brooklyn Bridge and, getting out of the trolley car half way over, saw New York City from the middle of the river.
"See the ferryboats!" cried Sunny Boy, peering down into the water. "And there are, too, horses on 'em, just like the man said. Daddy, when can we go on a ferryboat?"
"That isn't so much to do," teased Mr. Horton. "I suppose we might go to-morrow. Olive, had you anything else planned?"
Mrs. Horton smiled and said that she had nothing in view more important than the ferryboat trip, so Sunny Boy went to bed that night to dream of riding a horse about the roof of a ferryboat while the Navy Yard band played and Joe Brown kept time like the band master.
THE FERRYBOAT RIDE
"Let's go away up front, Daddy, right up near the gate, so's I can see everything," suggested Sunny Boy eagerly, as he and Mother and Daddy entered the Twenty-third Street ferry house.
"All right. But let me get the tickets," said Mr. Horton, feeling in his pocket for change.
Sunny Boy was so short that he walked under the turnstile instead of through it, and the ticket man laughed when he saw him do it.
"Look out one of the sea gulls doesn't take you for a bite of breakfast," he called jokingly after him.
"Huh," Sunny Boy said resentfully to Mother, "I'm not so little. I know lots of children littler than I am. Wonder what he'd say if he saw Lottie Saunders going through his gate."
Lottie Saunders was a little friend of Sunny Boy's at home. She was not quite three years old.
There was a crowd of people waiting to get on the ferryboat and for a few minutes the Hortons had to stand at the closed door while the people on the boat walked off. There were a great many automobiles and horses and wagons and trucks coming off, too, and the drivers did a deal of shouting.
"Everybody's in a hurry," observed Sunny Boy, when the door was at last slid back and the crowd started to jostle its way on board.
Crowds are always in a hurry, if you have noticed it. They run and push and scramble to get somewhere, and then, when they are there, they sit down and rest or stand about contentedly, quite as though they did not know what hurrying meant.
"What do they do with the ropes?" asked Sunny Boy, as they went down the inclined plank and stepped on the ferryboat deck.
"They're what hold the boat in the slip," explained Mr. Horton. "If we stay on this back deck till the boat moves, you'll see the men take out those great hooks and wind the ropes on those wheels. Do you want to see them do it?"
Sunny Boy did, of course, and he waited till the gates were closed and the ropes loosened. Then two men, one on either side of the wharf, or slip, as they call the docks built for this kind of boat, gave a large spiked wheel one long, powerful turn, and it spun round rapidly, coiling up the ropes.
"Now we'll go up to the front," announced Mr. Horton, "and see what ails that noisy little tugboat we hear."
But Sunny Boy had made a discovery.
"Oh, Daddy!" he shouted. "There's a top! Let's go up!"
Mrs. Horton laughed.
"I'm sure Sunny will be an aviator when he grows up," she declared, smiling at her little boy. "He always wants to get as near to the sky as he can."
Sunny Boy was eager to climb the stairs to the second deck of the ferryboat, and he promised to help Mother up the stairs. So they went into the wide, pleasant cabin and up the broad staircase and came out on the sunny deck. There was a roof over it, and a cabin where people who did not like so much fresh air might sit, but Sunny Boy, of course, wanted to stand by the railing, and since it was a pleasant day, so did almost every one else.
"See the birds!" exclaimed Mrs. Horton, to whom a ferry trip was new too. "What do you suppose they find to eat?"
The gulls were flying gracefully above the water, sometimes coming close to the boat and now and then one would make a sudden dash down to the water, just dip his head in it and skim it with his wings, then soar up into the air again.
"I suppose they find bits of fruit and other refuse they can eat," replied Mr. Horton.
"That boat is going to run into the little flat one," said Sunny Boy positively, pointing an excited little forefinger at a fussy little tugboat making straight for a lazily floating barge loaded with coal.
"You watch," counseled Mr. Horton. "You can not see the rope because it is in the water, but that other tug up ahead is towing the barge. She'll have it out of the way before the other boat gets there."
And the towing tug did just that, apparently without hurrying, and before the noisy tugboat reached the coal barge it drifted safely out of the way.
"Now you can see where we are going in," said Mr. Horton, pointing out a dark opening just ahead of them.
The slips were made like stalls, with piling driven down on either side, and beams nailed across them. As the ferryboat turned into her slip she bumped smartly against the sides of the slip two or three times. It swayed, and Sunny Boy thought that there had been an accident.
"Oh, that often happens," his father assured them, as they stood a little to one side watching the people streaming off. "Sometimes, when it is very foggy, the boats have great difficulty in getting in, and sometimes an unusually high tide makes it hard for them, too."
The Hortons did not get off the ferryboat, and it was not long before more people were crowding on the decks again.
"Are they the same ones?" asked Sunny, puzzled.
"My no," answered Daddy quickly. "There are large cities on this side of the river, and people go back and forth between New York and New Jersey all day long. But I thought we were taking this trip because you wanted to see the horses enjoying a boat ride. Don't you want to go downstairs and look around?"
Sunny Boy said he did, and they went down.
"He looks like one of Grandpa's horses," said Sunny Boy, indicating a bay horse attached to a light delivery wagon. "Do you suppose he likes to go on a boat, Mother?"
"Sure he does," replied the driver, who had overheard. "He likes to go anywhere he doesn't have to use his own feet. That's what makes him so fat."
Sunny Boy laughed, and a colored man driving a team of horses harnessed to a wagon-load of empty barrels, rolled his eyes in delight.
"You've said it," he cackled joyously. "Dat horse sure look like he wished he was a automobile."
As the ferryboat drew near the New York side, Sunny Boy saw the wonderful "sky line" which is famous all over the world—the outline made by the tall buildings against the sky. Even a little boy could appreciate the picture the tall skyscrapers made, some buildings white, some gray, with here and there a gleaming gold dome against the fleecy September clouds.
"What makes the boat go?" Sunny Boy thought to ask, as the gates were opened and they were moving off with the crowd.
"Engines and steam," answered Mr. Horton. "And turn around and you'll see who steered us."
Sunny Boy turned and saw a white-bearded, blue-capped man in a small round pilot house above the deck. There was a wheel beside him which he turned as he wanted the boat to go.
"We've been sailing on the what is its name, Daddy?" asked Sunny, noticing for the first time large gold lettering below the pilot house which he guessed to be the name of the boat.
"The 'Lansdowne'," answered Mr. Horton. "And a nice old ferryboat she is. I don't know how you feel, Sunny, but I've had enough traveling for a few hours. Can't we have lunch down town, Olive?"
"And not go up to the hotel?" said Mrs. Horton. "Why, I'm willing. I know where I want to take Sunny Boy this afternoon, if you are going up to Yonkers to meet that buyer from Chicago."
"Where?" demanded Sunny Boy eagerly. "Where are we going, Mother?"
Mrs. Horton smiled mysteriously.
"Let it be a surprise," she suggested. "You're having so many good times, Sunny, that I'm afraid you'll find it hard to settle down and go to school when we are home again."
"School!" That made Sunny Boy jump. But just then Daddy hailed a street car, which they got on, and Sunny forgot everything else.
They found a clean, comfortable restaurant after a short ride on the street car, and Sunny Boy was quiet and good while Daddy looked over some papers and Mother read a letter from Aunt Bessie she had been carrying in her purse since breakfast time that morning.
"Bessie says," Mrs. Horton announced, "that some boy threw a ball through the front window and she's had it fixed. And Ruth and Nelson Baker send their love to you, Sunny. This is a very short letter because Aunt Bessie wants us to try to match the sample of silk she encloses and she hurried the letter to catch the next mail."
"I wonder if Nelson got the postal I sent him?" speculated Sunny Boy. "It was a picture of Central Park."
"He probably received it, and you'll see it in Ruth's album when you get home," said Mrs. Horton. "And now, Daddy, how about going uptown?"
Sunny Boy was excited, and wouldn't you be, if you were going somewhere you didn't know about, to see something no one had told you you would see? He wondered if they could be going to another menagerie, or if they were going shopping again.
"Wait and see," was all Mrs. Horton would answer, when he teased her.
They took the surface car, and after a few blocks Mr. Horton left them to get a train for Yonkers, which is a suburb of New York. Sunny Boy and his mother continued some half dozen blocks further and then left the car. They walked over a busy street, and suddenly Mrs. Horton stopped in front of a building with many entrances, and people crowding into them all.
"I know!" shouted Sunny Boy, as he saw a red and yellow poster. "It's a theater!"
"Yes, it is," admitted Mrs. Horton smiling. "I read in the paper last night that there was a children's matinee to-day, and Daddy 'phoned downstairs after you were asleep and bought our tickets. Can you tell what the play is, dear, from the pictures? See, here is a case of photographs."
Sunny Boy plunged his hands deep into his pockets, spread his feet sturdily apart, and studied the pictures seriously.
"There's a girl," he murmured aloud. "An' an old lady—she's a witch, I guess. Do I know it, Mother?"
"I've read you the story," said Mrs. Horton. "Don't you remember Snow White and the dwarfs?"
Sunny Boy remembered the story, and he would have liked to look at the photographs again, but Mrs. Horton thought it was time to go in and find their seats. An usher, a pretty girl, took them easily and quickly to the right row, and Sunny Boy found himself seated next to an elderly lady, with two children, a boy and a girl, evidently her grandchildren, in two seats directly in front of her.
"Why don't they sit next to her?" Sunny Boy whispered, watching the lady standing up to smooth out the little girl's hair-ribbon.
"They probably couldn't get three seats together," explained Mrs. Horton. "Better let me hold your hat, precious; you might drop it and some one would walk on it."
The orchestra was playing a gay bit of music, and Sunny's feet kept time to it merrily. He had been to the theater once or twice at home, generally at Christmas time, but this was decidedly different.
"I like New York," he confided to Mother.
The grandmotherly lady smiled.
"So you don't live here?" she asked pleasantly. "I have lived here so many years that no other place would seem like home. But Louise and David, my grandchildren, are, like you, visitors. They come from Georgia."
Mrs. Horton leaned forward.
"We're from Centronia," she volunteered, for Sunny Boy was too shy to do more than smile at the two children who had turned around when they heard their names spoken, and now grinned at him politely over the backs of their seats. "I don't believe Sunny Boy knows where Georgia is—do you, dear?"
"It's down South," said the little girl. "We slept on the train. And David was sick. I wasn't. Grandmother said he prob'ly ate too much ice-cream for his supper."
"Sh!" cautioned their grandmother. "The curtain's going up in a minute."
The lights went out, the music stopped, and Sunny Boy snuggled close to Mother. Slowly, oh, very slowly, the big blue curtain began to roll up, and the play began.
"Such a mean old stepmother," scolded Sunny Boy, at the end of the first act. "Poor little Snow White! I hope they never find out where she went when she ran away."
The orchestra played again, and then stopped as the lights were turned off for the second act. Sunny Boy gave a nervous little squeak as the curtain rose and he saw the dwarfs in their house.
WHEN MAKE-BELIEVE IS REAL
The dwarfs trotted gaily about the stage and finally went off to their work of chopping wood in the forest, leaving Snow White singing happily and brushing up the hearth.
"Isn't she pretty?" whispered Sunny Boy to Mother, who nodded and handed him the opera glasses.
Sunny Boy couldn't make the glasses work very well, but he loved to try, and he never felt that he was really at the theater unless he spent some minutes trying to look through the end that brought the stage nearer to him. He pretended that he had seen Snow White by the aid of the dainty pearl-handled glasses that were a gift from Daddy to Mother, and gave them back.
"Oh, look!" he nudged Mother sharply.
A queer old beggar woman had thrust her face close to the window in the dwarf's house and was watching Snow White.
"Sh!" whispered Mother, as Sunny Boy bounced in his seat. "You must keep still, dear. Don't make a noise."
The play went on, and Snow White let the old beggar woman in. She was selling apples, and right away, if you had been in the audience, you would have known she wasn't a beggar woman at all, but the wicked stepmother, who was also a witch.
"What did she say?" whispered Sunny Boy, who couldn't hear every word that was said on the stage.
"She wants to sell Snow White an apple, and Snow White says she has no money," explained Mother, in a low voice so that the people sitting near them would not be disturbed. "Now listen, and you'll hear what they say next."
Snow White had picked up her broom again and was going to work.
"I'll give you this beautiful apple," smiled the crafty old beggar woman. "See, my dear, I have it for you as a gift. Isn't it beautiful?"
She put it on the table, and went limping out of the door, pretty little Snow White running after her to thank her. At the window she stopped once, waved her hand, and vanished.
Snow White picked up the apple, and admired it. It was very red, and large and shining.
This was too much for Sunny Boy. He had kept still when Snow White let the witch in the door—"after the dwarfs told her not to let any one in the house, too," he grumbled as he watched her do it—and he had kept still while the witch tried to persuade her to buy an apple; but it was altogether too much to expect him to sit quietly there and watch Snow White eat that apple. Not for nothing had Harriet read him his book of fairy tales!
Snow White shook back her curly black hair and raised the apple to her rosy mouth for a bite.
"Don't eat it!" shouted Sunny Boy "at the top of his lungs" Harriet would have said. "Don't bite it! Throw it away! The witch poisoned it!"
He stood up on the seat, waving his hands frantically, a conspicuous little figure in a blue and white sailor suit.
How the people about him laughed! The lady sitting next to him had to wipe her eyes because she laughed so hard the tears came. Mother pulled Sunny Boy down into the seat beside her, and Snow White went on eating her apple, because, of course, the play had to go on.
"It's only make-believe, dear," whispered Mother, smoothing Sunny Boy's tousled hair. "You know she won't really die."
Sunny Boy smiled, a faint little smile.
"I guess I forgot it wasn't real," he said sheepishly. "Anyway, the little girl from Georgia is crying. I guess she forgot, too."
The little girl from Georgia was crying, the big tears rolling slowly and silently down her cheeks. Many of the children all over the house were crying, or if not actually crying, sniffling a bit. Snow White had eaten her apple and fallen asleep and the poor little brown dwarfs came home to find her, as they supposed, dead.
But the third and last act had a happy ending. Snow White came to life again, and the big curtain came down and the lights flared up to show a houseful of happy, smiling children being buttoned into coats and gloves, and having their caps and hats and bonnets put on for them by mothers and grandmothers and aunts and big sisters.
Sunny Boy walked soberly up the aisle beside his mother, thinking about a great many things. He thought about the dwarfs, and how he would like to know some to play with. He thought about the big theater, and wondered if it was fun to be an actor. And then he thought what a lot of children had come to see the play, and whether they all lived in New York. He put this last thought into words.