Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue on Grandpa's Farm/1

BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER ON GRANDPA'S FARM


CHAPTER I


A LETTER FROM GRANDPA


"Bunny! Bunny Brown! Where are you?"

Bunny's mother stood on the front porch, looking first in the yard, then up and down the street in front of the house. But she did not see her little boy.

"Sue! Sue, dear! Where are you, and where is Bunny?"

Again Mrs. Brown called. This time she had an answer.

"Here I am, Mother. On the side porch."

A little girl, with brown eyes, came around the corner of the house. By one arm she carried a doll, and the doll was "leaking" sawdust on the porch. Mrs. Brown smiled when she saw this.

"Why, Sue, my dear!" she exclaimed, "What is the matter with your doll? She is 'bleeding' sawdust, as you used to call it."

"Oh, well, Mother, this is just my old doll," Sue answered. "It's the one I let Bunny take to play Punch and Judy show with, and he hit her with a stick, and made her sawdust come out. Did you want me, Mother?"

"Yes, Sue, and I want Bunny, too. Where is he?"

"He was here a little while ago," the brown-eyed girl answered. "But oh, Mother! you're all dressed up. Where are you going? Can't I go with you?"

"Yes. That is what I called you for. And I want Bunny, too. Have you seen him?"

"No, Mother. But shall I go in and wash my face, if I'm going with you? Where are we going?"

"Just down to the store, and then I'm going to stop in the post-office and see if there are any letters for us. Yes, run in and wash your face and hands. Your dress is clean enough. I'll look for Bunny."

Mrs. Brown walked out to the front gate and again called:

"Bunny! Bunny Brown! Where are you?"

No one answered, but a nice old man, limping a little, and leaning on a stick, came around from the back yard. He looked like a soldier, and he had been in the war, many years ago.

"Oh, Uncle Tad!" Mrs. Brown asked, "have you seen Bunny?"

The nice old man laughed.

"Yes, I'e seen him," he replied. "He went off down the street in his express wagon. That dog, Splash, was pulling him."

"I hope he hasn't gone too far," observed Mrs. Brown. "When Bunny gets to riding with his dog he doesn't think how far away he goes."

"I'll see if I can find him for you," offered Uncle Tad, with another laugh. "That Bunny Brown is surely a great boy," he murmured, as he limped off down the street.

He did not have far to go, nor did Mrs. Brown have long to wait, for, in about a minute, a barking was heard. Then came a rattle of wheels on the sidewalk, and a boy's voice called out:

"Gid-dap, Splash! Gid-dapl Go fast now! Go as fast as you can! Hurrah! That's the way to do it!"

Up dashed a small express wagon, drawn by a big, fine shaggy dog, that seemed to be having almost as much fun as was the blue-eyed, curly-haired boy who rode in the cart.

"Oh, Bunny! Bunny! Don't go so fast!" cried his mother. "You'll spill out and hurt yourself! Don't go so fast!"

"Have to go fast, Mother!" said Bunny Brown. "We have to go fast; don't we, Splash?"

The dog barked, but he slowed up, for Uncle Tad held out his hand to pat the big fellow, and Splash dearly loved Uncle Tad.

"We're a fire engine, and we're going to a fire," Bunny Brown explained. "Fire engines always have to go fast; don't they. Splash? Old Miss Hollyhock's house is on fire, and we're going to put it out.

"Only make-believe, of course!" cried Bunny quickly, for he saw that his mother looked a bit frightened when she heard him speak of a fire. "We're just pretending there's a blaze. Here we go ! Got to put out the fire! See, I've got a can of water all ready for it!"

Bunny turned to show his mother and Uncle Tad where, in the back of his express wagon, he had set the garden sprinkling-can full of water.

Just as Bunny did that Splash, his big dog, started to run. Bunny fell over backward off the seat, out fell the sprinkling-can full of water, splashing all over Uncle Tad's feet. Then Bunny himself fell out of the wagon, but he landed on some soft grass at the edge of the sidewalk, so he was not in the least hurt.

Splash ran on a little way, pulling the empty wagon, but Bunny, jumping to his feet, called out: "Whoa, Splash!" and the dog stopped.

For a few seconds they all stood there, Uncle Tad looking down at his wet feet. Bunny looking rather surprised at having fallen over backward, and Mrs. Brown hardly knowing whether to laugh or scold. As for Splash he just stood still, his long red tongue hanging out of his mouth, while his breath came fast. For it was a hot day, and he had been running with Bunny.

"Oh dear, Bunny!" said Mrs. Brown at last, "see what you've done! You've made Uncle Tad all wet!"

"I didn't do it, Mother. It was Splash," said the little boy. "He started before I was ready. I———I'm sorry, Uncle Tad. Will it hurt your rheumatism?"

"No, I guess not, Bunny boy. It's a hot day, and a little water won't do me any harm. But it's all spilled now, and how are you going to put out the fire?"

"Oh, I guess we'll make believe the fire's out," said Bunny, I was going to stop playing, anyhow. Where are you going, Mother?" he asked, for he saw that his mother was dressed as she usually was when she went down town.

"I am going to the store," she said, "and I was looking for you and Sue to go with me. Sue is getting washed."

"If that water had splashed on Bunny, instead of on me, he would have been washed too!" said Uncle Tad with a laugh.

"Oh, Mother! I'll go and wash myself right away!" Bunny cried. Going down town with their mother was a treat that he and Sue liked very much. "May Splash come, too?" Bunny asked.

"Not this time, dear. Now hurry. I'll wait for you on the porch."

"And I guess I'd better go and put on dry shoes," said Uncle Tad. "I didn't know I was going to be the make-believe fire, and get put out, Bunny."

Bunny laughed. Then he drove Splash into the yard, put away the sprinkling-can, unhitched tihe dog from the express wagon, and put the wagon in the barn, where it was kept.

Splash went off by himself to lie down and rest in the shade, while Bunny hurried into the house to wash his hands and face. Soon he and Sue were walking down the village street with their mother.

As the children passed a little toy and candy shop, kept by Mrs. Redden, Bunny looked in the window, and said:

"Oh, Mother! She's got a new kind of candy in there!"

"So she has!" cried Sue, pressing her little nose flat against the glass.

Mrs. Brown sniiled.

"Perhaps we may stop and get some on our way back," she said. "We haven't time for candy now. I want to see if we have any letters in the post-office."

A little later they passed a house, in the side yard of which was a lady, weeding the flower garden.

"Good-morning, Miss Winkler!" called Mrs. Brown.

"Oh, good-morning!" was the answer. "Won't you come in?"

"No, thank you. We haven't time now."

"Oh, Mother, do go in!" begged Bunny. "Sue and I want to see Wango!"

Wango was a little pet monkey, which Mr. Winkler, an old sailor, had brought home with him from one of his many ocean voyages."

The monkey did a number of tricks, and Bunny and Sue liked him very much, and often petted him.

"No, dears. We can't stop to see Wango now. Some other time," Mrs. Brown said.

And so she and the children went on to the stores. When they reached the post-office, Mrs. Brown found three letters in her box. She opened one, and read it, she called to Bunny and Sue:

"Oh, my dears! I have good news for you. Here is a letter from Grandpa Brown, who lives away out in the country, on a farm. He wants us to come and stay all Summer with him!"

"Oh, goodie!" cried Sue, clapping her fat little hands.

"May we go, Mother?" asked Bunny. "Oh, let's go to grandpa's farm!"

"Perhaps we may go," said Mrs. Brown. "We'll keep right on down to papa's office now, and ask him."