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CHAPTER X


OUT IN THE BOAT


Bunker Blue turned sleepily over on his cot.

"What—what's that?" he asked of Tom.

"Listen," Tom answered. "Don't you hear that, Bunker? First someone is hollering about Katy's doing something, and then somebody else yells that she didn't do it. Say, I don't like it here."

Bunker Blue laughed aloud.

"What's the matter out there?" asked Daddy Brown.

"Oh, it's only Tom," said the red-haired boy. "He doesn't like the song of the katydids."

"Song! Is that a song?" asked Tom.

"Some people call it that," said Mr. Brown, for he knew that a city boy might be just as frightened of sounds in the country as a country boy might of sounds in the city.

"That noise is made by a little green bug, called a katydid," Mr. Brown explained. "It looks something like a grasshopper."

"But they don't all say 'Katy did,'" objected Tom.

"No, some of them seem to say 'Katy didn't,'" agreed Mr. Brown. "Of course they don't really say those words. It only sounds as if they did. Now go to sleep. In the morning I'll show you a katydid."

Tom was not frightened any longer. He turned over and was soon sound asleep. Mr. Brown and Bunker also closed their eyes and the tent in Camp Rest-a-While was quiet once more. Bunny and Sue had not awakened.

Early the next morning, before breakfast, Tom was seen walking about among the trees of the camp. He seemed to be looking for something.

"What are you looking for?" asked Bunny.

"For Katy," Tom answered.

"There isn't any Katy with us," said Sue. "We have a cook, but her name is Mary, and she isn't here with us, anyhow. She's at home."

"No, I'm looking for a Katy bug," explained Tom, and then he told about the noises he had heard in the night.

"I'll help you look," said Bunny.

"So will I," added Sue. "I'd like to see a Katy bug."

But, though the children and Tom looked all over, they could not find a katydid until Mr. Brown helped them. Then on a tree he found one of the queer, light-green grasshopper-like bugs and showed it to the children.

"Why doesn't it cry now?" Sue wanted to know. "Make it cry, Daddy, so I can hear it!"

"Oh, I can't do that," Mr. Brown said with a laugh. "The katydid cries, or sings, mostly at night. I guess they don't want anyone to see them. Besides, I don't just know how they make the noises, whether they rub their rough legs together, or make a sound somewhere inside them. So I guess we'll have to let them do as they please."

Tom and the children stood for some little time, watching the pretty, green bug, and then came the sound of a bell.

"There!" cried Mr. Brown, with a laugh. "I guess you all know who made that noise, and what it means."

"It means breakfast!" cried Bunny.

"And mother rang the bell!" added Sue.

"That's right," said Bunker Blue, coming along just then. "And your mother doesn't want you to be late, either, for she's baking cakes, and you know how you like them!"

"Oh, cakes!" cried Bunny, clapping his hands. "I just love them!"

Soon the little party, including the new boy, Tom Vine, were seated around the table under the dining tent, eating pancakes that Mrs. Brown cooked over the oil stove.

Bunny and Sue said nothing for several minutes. They were too busy eating. Then Bunny, looking at Tom, asked:

"Can you jump over an elephant?"

"Jump over elephants? I guess not!" the new boy cried. "I never saw an elephant, except in a picture."

"We did," said Sue. "We saw a real elephant in a real circus, and we had a make-believe circus with a pretend elephant in it."

"And we knowed a boy named Ben Hall, who used to be in a real circus," went on Bunny. "He could jump over an elephant, and I thought maybe you could, too."

"No," said Tom, with a shake of his head. "I'm sorry, but I can't do that. About the only thing I can do is wash and dry the dishes."

"Well, it's a good thing to be able to do even one thing well," said Mrs. Brown, "and I'm glad you're here to wash and dry the dishes. There are plenty of them."

"I know something else you can do," said Bunny, smiling at Tom.

"What is it?"

"You can eat."

"Yes," and Tom laughed. "I like to eat, and I'm hungry three times a day."

"Bunny and Sue are hungry oftener than that," said Uncle Tad. "At least they say they are, and they come in and get bread and jam."

Bunny and Sue looked at each other and laughed.

After breakfast, just as he had said he would do, Tom Vine picked up the dishes, and got ready to wash them. Mrs. Brown watched him for a few minutes, until she was sure that he knew just how to go about it. Then she left him to himself.

"He is a very nice, neat and clean boy," she said to her husband. "I'm glad he came to us. But what are we going to do with him? We can't keep him always."

"Well, we'll let him stay with us while we are in camp here in the woods," said Mr. Brown, "and when we go back home, well, I can find something for him to do at the boatdock, perhaps—that is, if he doesn't want to go back to the city."

While Tom was doing the dishes Bunny and Sue lad gone off into the wood a little way, to where they had made for themselves a little play-house of branches of trees, stuck in the ground. It was a sort of green tent, and in it Sue had put some of her dolls, while Bunny had taken to it some of his toys. The children often played there.

But they did not do anything for very long at a time, getting tired of one thing after another as all children do. So when Sue had undressed and dressed her two dolls, combing and braiding their hair, she said to Bunny:

"Oh, let's do something else now."

"All right," replied her brother. "What shall we do?"

"Can't you think of some fun?" Sue wanted to know.

Bunny rubbed his nose. He often did that when he was thinking. Then he cried:

"Let's ask mother to let Bunker Blue take us out in the boat. I want to go fishing."

"That will be nice," Sue said. "I'd like a boat ride, too."

Back to the camp went the children, but when they reached the tents they saw neither their father nor mother, nor was Uncle Tad or Bunker Blue in sight.

"They've gone away!" said Sue.

"Yes, so they have," agreed Bunny. "But I guess they didn't go far, or they'd have told us. Mother knew where we were."

"Let's go find them," said Sue. "Maybe they went out in the boat."

"We'll look," agreed Bunny.

The two children went to the edge of the lake, where a big willow tree overhung the Water. The boat was kept tied to this tree.

"Oh, the boat's gone!" exclaimed Sue, as she reached the place and did not see it. "The boat's gone, Bunny!"

"Then they must have gone for a row, and they didn't take us!" and Bunny was much disappointed. He looked across the lake, up and down, as did Sue, and then both children cried out:

"Oh, look!" said Sue.

"There's the boat," added Bunny. "And Tom Vine is in it all alone! He hasn't got any oars, either. Look, Sue!"

Surely enough, there was the boat, some distance out in the lake, and Tom, the city boy, who knew nothing at all about boats, was in it. As he saw Bunny and Sue he waved his hands to them, and cried:

"Come and get me! I can't get back! I'm afraid! Come and get me!"