Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue at Camp Rest-a-While/Chapter 1
AND HIS SISTER SUE
AT CAMP REST-A-WHILE
"Bunny! Bunny Brown! There's a wagon stoppin' in front of our house!"
"Is there? What kind of a wagon is it, Sue?"
The little girl, who had called to her brother about the wagon, stood with her nose pressed fiat against the glass of the window, looking out to where the rain was beating down on the green grass of the front yard. Bunny Brown, who had been playing with a tin locomotive that ran on a tiny tin track, put his toy back in its box.
"What kind of a wagon is it, Sue?" he asked his sister again.
"It isn't a grocery wagon," Sue answered slowly. "Not a grocery wagon, like the one we rode in once, when we gave all those things to Old Miss Hollyhock."
"Has it got any letters on it?" Bunny wanted to know. He was on his way to the window now, having taken up the toy railroad track, with which he was tired playing.
"Yes, it's got a E on it," Sue said, "and next comes the funny letter, Bunny, that looks like when you cross your legs or fingers."
"That's a X," said Bunny. He knew his letters better than did Sue, for Bunny could even read a little. "What's the next letter, Sue?"
Bunny could have run to the window himself, and looked out, but he wanted to pick up all the things with which he had been playing. His mother had always made him do this—put away his toys when he was through.
"What's the next letter, Sue?" Bunny Brown asked.
Sue was not quite sure of it. She put her little head to one side so she might see better. Just then a man jumped off the seat, and splashed through a muddy puddle as he walked around to the end of the wagon.
"Oh, Bunny!" Sue cried. "The man's going to bring something here, I guess. He's taking out a big bundle."
"Maybe it's a wagon from the store," said Bunny. And, as he looked out through the window glass, pressing his nose flat against it, as his sister Sue had done, he spelled out the word:
"That's an express wagon, Sue," said Bunny.
"What's express?" Sue wanted to know.
"That means when you're in a hurry," Bunny said. "You know, when we're playing train, sometimes I'm an express train, and I go awful fast."
"Yes, I 'member that," said Sue. "Once, when we hitched our dog. Splash, up to our express wagon, he went so fast he spilled me out."
"Well, that's express," Bunny went on. "When you went out of the wagon so fast you were an express."
"I don't like express, then," said Sue. "I like to go slower. But that can't be an express wagon, then, Bunny."
"'Cause that's not goin' fast. It's jest standin' still."
"Oh, well, when it does go, it goes fast. That's an express wagon, all right. Somebody's sent us something by express. Oh, Sue, I wonder what it is?"
Sue shook her head. She did not know, and she could not guess. She was watching the man out in the rain—the expressman who was trying to get something out of the back of his wagon. It was a big bundle, that was sure, because Bunny and Sue could see the end of it.
"I wonder if it's a present for us?" Sue asked.
"It can't be a present," answered Bunny. "It isn't Christmas. Don't you remember, Sue, we had Christmas at Aunt Lu's city home."
"So we did. Bunny. But it's something, anyhow."
That was certain, for now the man was pulling a very large bundle out of his wagon. It was so large that he could not carry it all alone, and he called for Sam, the stable man, to come and help him. With the help of Sam, the expressman carried the package back into the barn.
"Oh, I wonder what it is?" said Sue.
"We'll go and ask mother," suggested Bunny. "She'll know."
Together, the children fairly ran upstairs to their mother's sitting room, where she was sewing.
"Oh, Mother!" cried Sue. "There's a fast wagon out in front—a fast wagon and——"
"A fast wagon, Sue? What do you mean? Is it stuck fast in the mud?" Mrs. Brown asked.
"No, she means an express wagon," said Bunny, with a laugh. "I told her express was fast, Mother."
"Oh, I see," and Mrs. Brown smiled.
"But the express wagon did stop," went on the little boy. "It stopped here, and Sam and the man took out a big bundle. It's up in our barn. What is it, Mother?"
"I don't know. Bunny. Something your father sent for, perhaps. He may tell us what it is when he comes."
"May we go out and look at it?" Sue asked.
"No, dear, not in this rain. Can't you wait until daddy comes home?"
"Yes, but I—I don't want to. Mother."
"Oh, well, we have to do many things in this world that we don't want to. Now go and play with your dolls, or something. I think daddy will be home early to-night, on account of the storm. Then he'll tell you what's in the bundle."
"Does Sam know?" asked Bunny, as he watched the express wagon drive away.
"Perhaps he does," answered Mrs. Brown.
"Then, we can ask him!" exclaimed Sue. "Come on. Bunny!"
"No, dears, you mustn't go out to the barn in this rain. You'd get all wet."
"I could put on my rubber coat," suggested Bunny.
"And so could I—and my rubber boots," said Sue.
Both children seemed to want very much to know what was in the express package. But when Mrs. Brown said they could not go out she meant it, and the more Bunny Brown and his sister Sue teased, the oftener Mrs. Brown shook her head.
"No, you can't go out and open that bundle," she said. "And if you tease much more daddy won't even tell you what's in it when he comes home. Be good children now."
Bunny and Sue did not often tease this way, for they were good children. But this day was an unpleasant, rainy one. They could not go out to have fun, because of the rain, and they had played with all their toys, getting tired of them, one after another.
"Mother, if we can't go out to the barn, could we have our dog, Splash, in here to play with us?" asked Bunny, after a while. "We could hitch him to a chair, and make believe it was an express wagon."
"Oh, yes!" cried Sue. "And you could be the driver. Bunny, and you could leave a package at my house—make believe, you know—and then I wouldn't know what was in it, and I could guess, and you could guess. We could play a guessing game; will you, Bunny?"
"Yes, I'll play that. May we have Splash in, Mother?"
"Oh, why not?"
"Because I just saw Splash splashing through a puddle of muddy water. If he came in now he'd get you all dirty and he would spoil my carpet."
"But what can we do, Mother?" Sue asked, and her voice sounded almost as if she were going to cry.
"We want to do something," added Bunny.
"Oh, dear!" sighed Mrs. Brown, yet she could not help smiling. Rainy days were hard when two children had to stay in the house all the while.
"We can play 'spress wagon without Splash!" exclaimed Sue, for she was a good little girl, and did not want to make her mother worry.
"All right," agreed Bunny. "We'll just make believe we have Splash with us to pull the pretend wagon."
He and Sue often played pretend, and make-believe, games, and they had much fun this way. Now they turned one chair on the side, and put another in front. The turned-over chair was to be the wagon, and the other chair, standing on its four legs, was the horse. Bunny got some string for reins, and the stick the washerwoman used to punch the clothes down in the boiler made a good whip, when another piece of string was tied on the end of that.
"Giddap!" cried Bunny, sitting on a stool behind the chair-horse. "Giddap! This is an express wagon, and we've got to hurry."
"You must leave a package for me!" cried Sue. "This is my house, over on the couch," and she curled up in a lump. "And this is my little girl," she went on, pointing to one of her dolls, which she had taken into her "house" with her. "If I'm asleep—make-believe, you know," said Sue to Bunny, "you tell my little girl to wake me up."
"Pooh! I can't talk to a doll!" cried Bunny.
"Yes, you can, too," said his sister. "Just pretend, you know."
"Well, even if I do, how can your doll talk to you, and wake you up?"
"Oh, Bunny! I'm only going to be make-believe asleep, and of course a doll, who can pretend to talk, can make-believe wake me up as easy as anything, when I'm only make-believe asleep."
"Oh, all right, if it's only make-believe," agreed Bunny. "Giddap, Splash! I've named the make-believe chair-horse the same as our dog," he explained to Sue.
Then the game began, and the children played nicely for some time, giving Mrs. Brown a chance to finish her sewing. Bunny and Sue took turns driving the "express wagon," and they had left many pretend bundles at each other's houses, when a step was heard in the front hall, and Bunny and Sue cried:
"Daddy! Daddy! Oh, daddy's come home!"
They made a rush for their father, and both together cried out:
"Oh, Daddy, a express package came! What's in it?"
"Did a package come?" asked Mr. Brown, as he took off his wet coat, for it was still raining.
"Yep! It's out in the barn," said Bunny Brown.
"Oh, please tell us the secret!" begged Sue. "I know it must be a secret, or mother would have told us."
Mrs. Brown smiled.
"The children have teased all afternoon to know what was in the bundle," she said.
"Well, I'll tell them," said Daddy Brown. "The package, that came by express, has in it grandpa's tent."
"Grandpa's tent!" cried Bunny.
"The one we played circus in, out in the country?" Sue demanded.
"The same one," answered Daddy Brown, with a laugh.
"Oh, are we going to have another circus?" cried Bunny, joyously.
"Now sit down and I'll tell you all about it," said Daddy Brown, and he took Bunny up on one knee, and Sue on the other.