Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue on Grandpa's Farm/5
OFF TO GRANDPA'S FARM
"Bunny! Bunny!" cried Sue, as she slid along. "Oh, Bunny! I can't stop!"
"I—I can't, either," answered her brother. "But don't be afraid! You won't get hurt, Sue!"
"No, but, Bunny, if I go into the water I'll get all—all wet!"
"Well, I'll get wet too, and then mamma will know it was an accident. Say, we're sliding fast. Sue! Aren't we?"
Bunny Brown and his sister Sue were certainly sliding fast. The clay-hill was wet with rain that had come down in the night, and the clay was as slippery as glass. The little boy and girl dug their heels in, or they tried to, but the clay was hard, as well as slippery.
Down and down they went, faster and faster. Sue tried to dig her fingers into the clay, but she could not, any more than Bunny, neither of them could stick the heels of their shoes in. On and on they slid, faster and faster.
"Oh, dear!" cried Sue. "I wish our dog Splash were here!"
"He couldn't stop us!" replied Bunny. "He'd slide too, same as we're sliding."
"Well—well, anyhow!" said Sue, almost ready to cry, "he—he could pull me out when I fall in the water—an'—an' I'm goin' to fall in, Bunny! I know I am! I'm goin' to fall in! Oh, dear!"
"Never mind. Sue. I'll fall in with you, and I'll pull you out. It isn't deep."
"No, but it's aw—awful muddy, Bunny!"
Bunny did not have time to answer. He only had time to yell:
"Look out, Sue! Here we go in!"
And—"splash!" in went Bunny Brown and his sister Sue. Right in the shallow pond of muddy water they slid, sitting down. It did not hurt them for the clay was soft and smooth where the water covered it. But, though the two children were not hurt—oh, so dirty and muddy as they were! They had made such a hard splash into the puddle that the water was sprinkled all over them, like a shower from a fountain.
For a moment, after sliding in, and coming to a stop, Bunny and Sue looked at one another, not saying a word.
"Well," said Bunny, after a bit, with a long breath, "you didn't get hurt; did you, Sue?"
"No, not hurt, Bunny—but—but look at my—my dress!"
Sue's lips quivered, and her eyes filled with tears.
"Don't care," said Bunny kindly. "I'm all mud, too."
"Le—let's go home," Sue went on. "I must get a clean dress. And I don't want any more frogs. Bunny."
"I guess I don't, either. We'll let 'em go."
Bunny tried to get up from where he was sitting in the puddle of muddy water and clay, but it was so slippery that, almost as soon as he stood on his feet, he went down again.
"Oh! Oh!" cried Sue. "You're splashing me more, Bunny!"
"I—I couldn't help it," he said. He looked at Sue and laughed.
"What are you laughin' at?" she asked.
"At you. You do look so funny! There's a lump of clay right on the end of your nose!"
"Oh, is there?" Sue reached for her pocket handkerchief to wipe off the mud, for she did not like a dirty face. But she found that her pocket was under water, and of course her handkerchief was wet through.
"Lend me yours. Bunny," she begged. And Bunny, who had his handkerchief in his waist pocket, up above the wetness, wiped the clay from his sister's nose. Then, by being careful, he managed to stand up. He helped Sue to her feet, and the children waded to shore. The water was not more than a few inches deep, but it was very muddy.
Bunny and Sue emptied the frogs out of the can. The little green fellows seemed glad to hop back into the pond again. Then the two children started for home.
"Oh my goodness me! what has happened to you?" cried their mother when she saw them coming through the gate.
"We—we fell in," said Sue.
"No, we slid in," Bunny said.
"Oh, dear! Well, however it happened, you are perfect sights!" gasped Mrs. Brown. "I never saw such children!"
Bunny and Sue told how it had happened—their sudden slide down the clay-hill—and, as they had not meant to get in the mud puddle, Mrs. Brown did not scold very much. It was an accident.
"But you must be more careful next time," She said.
"We will," promised Bunny.
He is always ready to promise.
"Anyhow," said Sue. "If we'e going to grandpa's we can't go to play near the frog pond any more."
"That's so," agreed Bunny. "Or even if we go for a ride in the big automobile. We won't get muddy any more. Mother."
Mrs. Brown and the cook took the muddy clothes off the children, and then Bunny and Sue each had a fine bath in the clean, white tub. Soon they were as nice and neat as ever.
"Now don't go away from the house," said their mother. "Stay in the yard and play. It will soon be time for your father to come home to supper, and then—"
"Then he'll tell us about the big automobile!" cried Bunny.
"And about the secret!" said Sue.
Sue played with her dolls, while Bunny spun a musical top his Aunt Lu had sent him from New York, and, almost before they knew it, the children heard some one at the front gate ask:
"Well, how do you like it?"
"Oh, Daddy!" they cried, and they raced down the walk to meet their father.
"What's it for?"
"Is it for us?"
"Are we to live in it?"
"When are we going to grandpa's farm?"
"Can we take the auto with us?"
Bunny and Sue asked so many questions of their father, and they asked them so fast, that he could not answer them. He could only laugh. Then, catching Sue up in one arm, and Bunny in the other, Mr. Brown carried them into the house.
"Well, Mother;" he asked his wife, "how do you like it?"
"I think it's fine," said Mrs. Brown.
"And do you think you could live in it, and sleep in it, for three or four days on a trip to grandpa's farm?"
"Why, yes, I think it would be very nice."
"Oh, Daddy I are we going to grandpa's in the big auto?" asked Bunny.
"Yes, I think we shall."
"And is that the secret?" Sue asked.
"It is," her father answered. "I'll tell you about it. This automobile is an old moving van. I bought it from a man, and I thought it would be nice if it could be fixed up like a Gypsy wagon, so we could travel in it, and eat and sleep in it. I had it made into a sort of little house, you see, with beds, a table, chairs and an oil stove. I thought we would take a little vacation in it this Summer.
"Then, after grandpa sent us the invitation to spend the Summer at his farm, I thought how nice it would be if we could go there in our big auto, instead of in the train. Would you like that?" he asked Bunny and Sue.
"Oh, of course," Bunny replied. Sue clapped her hands and nodded her head. She liked it, too.
"Well, then, that's what we'll do," Mr. Brown went on. "We will make the trip to grandpa's in the big auto. We'll live in it just as the Gypsies live in their wagons, that are drawn by horses, and we can camp out if we want to."
"But we won't take anybody's horses, and not bring 'em back, the way the Gypsies did to grandpa," said Bunny. "Will we?"
"Oh, no, of course not!" echoed Sue.
"Well, then, if it's all settled, we'll have supper, and talk more about our trip afterward," said Mr. Brown.
That night, when the table was cleared, the little family gathered about it talked about what fun they would have.
"Can I steer?" Bunny wanted to know.
"Oh, no. I'm going to let Bunker Blue do that," his father said. Bunker was a big, strong young man, with red hair, who helped Mr. Brown in the boat business.
Bunny and Sue could hardly sleep that night, thinking of the fun they were going to have in the big automobile, and on grandpa's farm. The next morning they helped their mother get ready to start.
Bed clothes were put on the four bunks, the oil lamps and the stove were filled, and things to eat were put in the cupboard. On the way they could stop at stores along the road, and buy more things, when they were hungry.
Very soon all was in readiness. Two days later, the house having been locked up for the Summer, Bunny Brown and his sister Sue, with their father and their mother, took their places in the little house that was made inside the big automobile. Bunker Blue was out on the front seat to steer, and make the automobile go.
"Are you all ready?" asked Bunker of Mr. Brown.
"All ready, Bunker. You may start now!"
"Chug! Chug!" went the automobile, and away it rolled, out of the yard and into the street.
"Hurrah!" cried Bunny Brown. "We're off for grandpa's farm!"