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´╗┐Title: Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue Giving a Show
Author: Hope, Laura Lee
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue Giving a Show" ***

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BUNNY BROWN
AND HIS SISTER SUE
GIVING A SHOW

BY
LAURA LEE HOPE

AUTHOR OF
THE BUNNY BROWN SERIES, THE BOBBSEY
TWINS SERIES, THE OUTDOOR GIRLS
SERIES, ETC.

Illustrated

NEW YORK
GROSSET & DUNLAP
PUBLISHERS

  [Illustration: BUNNY BEGAN TURNING OVER AND OVER.
    _Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue Giving a Show_. _Frontispiece_
    (_Page 222_)]



BOOKS

By LAURA LEE HOPE

_12mo. Cloth. Illustrated._


=THE BUNNY BROWN SERIES=

          BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE
          BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE ON GRANDPA'S FARM
          BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE PLAYING CIRCUS
          BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE AT AUNT LU'S CITY HOME
          BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE AT CAMP REST-A-WHILE
          BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE IN THE BIG WOODS
          BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE ON AN AUTO TOUR
          BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE AND THEIR SHETLAND PONY
          BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE GIVING A SHOW


=THE BOBBSEY TWINS SERIES=

          THE BOBBSEY TWINS
          THE BOBBSEY TWINS IN THE COUNTRY
          THE BOBBSEY TWINS AT THE SEASHORE
          THE BOBBSEY TWINS AT SCHOOL
          THE BOBBSEY TWINS AT SNOW LODGE
          THE BOBBSEY TWINS ON A HOUSEBOAT
          THE BOBBSEY TWINS AT MEADOW BROOK
          THE BOBBSEY TWINS AT HOME
          THE BOBBSEY TWINS IN A GREAT CITY
          THE BOBBSEY TWINS ON BLUEBERRY ISLAND
          THE BOBBSEY TWINS ON THE DEEP BLUE SEA
          THE BOBBSEY TWINS IN WASHINGTON


=THE OUTDOOR GIRLS SERIES=

          THE OUTDOOR GIRLS OF DEEPDALE
          THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE
          THE OUTDOOR GIRLS IN A MOTOR CAR
          THE OUTDOOR GIRLS IN A WINTER CAMP
          THE OUTDOOR GIRLS IN FLORIDA
          THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT OCEAN VIEW
          THE OUTDOOR GIRLS ON PINE ISLAND
          THE OUTDOOR GIRLS IN WAR SERVICE
          THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT THE HOSTESS HOUSE

=GROSSET & DUNLAP=
PUBLISHERS           NEW YORK

Copyright, 1919, by
GROSSET & DUNLAP

_Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue Giving a Show_



CONTENTS


CHAPTER                          PAGE

    I. "LOOK AT THE SKYLIGHT!"      1

   II. "LET'S GIVE A SHOW!"        13

  III. TALKING IT OVER             24

   IV. THE CLIMBING BOY            33

    V. A COLD LITTLE SINGER        45

   VI. GENERAL WASHINGTON          55

  VII. "DOWN ON THE FARM"          64

 VIII. THE SCENERY                 74

   IX. BUNNY DOES A TRICK          83

    X. GETTING READY               93

   XI. THE STRANGE VOICE          108

  XII. A SURPRISE                 116

 XIII. "THEY'RE GONE"             124

  XIV. SPLASH HANGS ON            131

   XV. TICKETS FOR THE SHOW       137

  XVI. UPSIDE DOWNSIDE BUNNY      145

 XVII. SUE'S QUEER SLIDE          154

XVIII. MR. TREADWELL'S WIG        162

  XIX. UNCLE BILL                 171

   XX. THE DRESS REHEARSAL        181

  XXI. "WHERE IS BUNNY?"          197

 XXII. ACT I                      206

XXIII. ACT II                     220

 XXIV. ACT III                    231

  XXV. THE FINAL CURTAIN          239



BUNNY BROWN

AND HIS SISTER SUE

GIVING A SHOW



CHAPTER I

"LOOK AT THE SKYLIGHT!"


With a joyful laugh, her curls dancing about her head, while her brown
eyes sparkled with fun, a little girl danced through the hall and into
the dining room where her brother was eating a rather late breakfast of
buckwheat cakes and syrup.

"Oh, Bunny, it's doing it! It's come! Oh, won't we have fun!" cried the
little girl.

Bunny Brown looked up at his sister Sue, holding a bit of syrup-covered
cake on his fork.

"What's come?" he asked. "Has Aunt Lu come to visit us, or did Wango,
the monkey, come up on our front steps?"

"No, it isn't Mr. Jed Winkler's monkey and Aunt Lu didn't come, but I
wish she had," answered Sue. "But it's come--a lot of it, and I'm so
glad! Hurray!"

Bunny Brown put down his fork and looked more carefully at his sister.

"What are you playing?" he asked, thinking perhaps it was some new game.

"I'm not playing anything!" declared Sue. "I'm so glad it's come! Now we
can have some fun! Just look out the window, Bunny Brown!"

"But what has come?" asked the little boy, who was a year older than his
sister Sue. He was a bright chap, with merry blue eyes and they opened
wide now, trying to see what Sue was so excited about.

"What is it?" asked Bunny Brown once more.

"It's snow!" cried Sue. "It's the first snow, and it's soon going to be
Thanksgiving and Christmas and all like that! And we can get out our
sleds, and we can go skating and make snow men and--and--and----"

But she just had to stop. She was all out of breath, and she didn't seem
to have any words left with which to talk to Bunny.

"Oh! Snow!" exclaimed Bunny, and he said; it in such a funny way that
Sue laughed.

Just then in came her mother from the kitchen where she had been baking
more cakes for her little boy.

"Oh, it's you, is it, Sue?" asked Mrs. Brown. "Do you want some more
breakfast?"

"No, thank you, Mother. I had mine. I just came in to tell Bunny it's
snowing. And we can have a lot of fun, can't we?"

"Well, you children do manage to have a lot of fun, one way or another,"
said Mrs. Brown, with a smile.

"Is it snowing, Mother?" asked Bunny, too excited now to want to finish
his breakfast.

"Yes, it really is," answered Mrs. Brown. "I was so busy getting enough
cakes baked for you that I didn't notice the snow much. But, as Sue
says, it is coming down quite fast."

"Hurray!" cried Bunny, even as Sue had done. "Do you think there will be
lots of the snow?"

"Well, it looks as though there might be quite a storm for the first
snow of the season," replied the mother of Bunny Brown and his sister
Sue. "It's a bit early this year, too. It's almost two weeks until
Thanksgiving and here it is snowing. I'm afraid we're going to have a
hard winter."

"With lots of snow and ice, Mother?" asked Bunny.

"Yes. And with cold weather that isn't good for poor folks."

"Oh, I'm glad!" cried Bunny. "Not about the poor folks, though," he
added quickly, as he saw his mother look at him in surprise. "But I'm
glad there'll be lots of ice. Sue and I can go skating."

"And there'll be lots of ice for ice-cream next summer," added Sue.

Mrs. Brown laughed. Then, as she saw Bunny racing to the window with
Sue, to push aside the curtains and look out at the falling white
flakes, she said:

"Come back and finish your breakfast, Bunny. I want to clear off the
table."

"I want to see the snow, first," replied the little boy. "Anyhow, I
guess I've had enough cakes."

"Oh, and I just brought in some nice, hot, brown ones!" exclaimed Mrs.
Brown.

"I'll help eat 'em!" offered Sue, and though she had had her breakfast
a little while before, she now ate part of a second one, helping her
brother.

It was Saturday, and, as there was no school, Mrs. Brown had allowed
both children to sleep a little later than usual. Sue had been up first,
and, after eating her breakfast and playing around the house, she had
gone to the window to look out and wish that Bunny would get up to play
and have fun with her.

Then she had seen the first snow of the season and had run into the
dining room to find her brother there eating his late meal.

"May we go out in the snow and play?" asked Bunny, when he had finished
the last of the brown cakes and the sweet syrup.

"Yes, if you put on your boots and your warm coats. You don't want to
get cold, you know, or you can't go to the play in the Opera House this
afternoon."

"Oh, we've got to see that!" cried Bunny. "I 'most forgot; didn't you,
Sue?"

"Yes," replied the little girl, "I did. Maybe it will snow so hard that
they can't have the show, like once it rained so hard we couldn't play
circus in the tent Grandpa put up for us in the lot."

"Yes, it did rain hard," agreed Bunny. "And it's snowing hard," he
added, as he squirmed into his coat and again looked out of the window.
"Will it snow so hard they can't give the show, Mother?" he asked.

"Oh, I think not," answered Mrs. Brown. "This play isn't going to be in
a tent, you know. It's in the Opera House, and they give shows there
whether it rains or snows. I think you may both count on going to the
show this afternoon."

"Oh, what fun!" cried Bunny.

"Lots of fun!" echoed Sue.

Then out they ran to play amid the swirling, white flakes; and it is
hard to say whether they had more fun in the first snow or in thinking
about the play they were to see in the Opera House that afternoon.

At any rate Bunny Brown and his sister Sue certainly had fun playing out
in the yard of their house and in the street in front. At first there
was not snow enough to do more than make slides on the sidewalk, and the
little boy and girl did this for a time. They made two long slides, and
men and women coming along smiled to see the brother and sister at play.
But these same men and women were careful not to step on the slippery
slides made by Bunny Brown and his sister Sue, for they did not want to
slip and fall.

As for Bunny and Sue, they did not mind whether they fell or not. Half
the time they were tumbling down and the other half getting up again.
But they managed to do some sliding, too.

"Come on!" cried Bunny, after a bit. "There's enough now to make
snowballs!"

"Could we make a snow house, too?" asked his sister.

"No, there isn't enough for that. But we can make snowballs and throw
'em!"

"Don't throw any at me!" begged Sue. "'Cause if you did, an' the snow
went down my neck, it would melt and I'd get wet an' then I couldn't go
to the show an' you'd be sorry!"

This was rather a long sentence for Sue, and she was a bit out of breath
when she had finished.

"No, I won't throw any snowballs at you," promised Bunny.

"Oh, here come Harry Bentley and Charlie Star!" exclaimed Sue.

"I'll throw snowballs at them!" decided Bunny. "Hi!" he called to two of
his boy chums. "Let's throw snowballs!"

"We're with you!" answered Charlie.

"I'm not going to play snowball fight," decided Sue. "I see Mary Watson
and Sadie West. I'm going to play with them."

So she trotted off to make little snow dolls with her girl friends,
while Bunny, with Charlie and Harry, threw soft snowballs at one
another. The children were having such fun that it seemed only a few
minutes since breakfast when Mrs. Brown called:

"Bunny! Sue! Come in and get washed for lunch. And you have to get
dressed if you're going to the play!"

"Oh, we're going, sure!" exclaimed Bunny. "Are you?" he asked Charlie
and Harry.

"Yes," they replied, and when Sue ran toward her house with Bunny she
told her brother that Sadie and Mary were also going to the play that
afternoon in the town Opera House.

"Oh, we'll have a lot of fun!" cried Bunny. "Will it be a funny play?"
he asked Uncle Tad, who had promised to take the two children.

"Well, I guess it'll be funny for you two youngsters," was the answer of
the old soldier. "But I guess it isn't much of a theatrical company that
would come to Bellemere to give a show so near the beginning of winter.
But it will be all right for boys and girls."

"It's a show for the benefit of our Red Cross Chapter," said Mrs. Brown.
"That's why I asked you to take the children, Uncle Tad. I have to be
with the other ladies of the committee, to help take tickets and look
after things."

"Oh, I'll look after Bunny and Sue!" exclaimed Uncle Tad. "I'll see that
they have a good time!"

Bunny Brown and his sister Sue were so excited because of the first snow
storm and because of thinking of the play they were to see, that they
could hardly dress. But at last they were ready, and they set off in the
family automobile, which Uncle Tad drove. Mrs. Brown went along also,
but Mr. Brown had to stay at the office. The office was at the dock
where he owned a fish and boat business.

It was still snowing, and the ground was now quite white, when the
automobile drew up at the Opera House, which was where all sorts of
shows and entertainments were given in Bellemere, the home of the Brown
family.

"We can have a lot more fun in the snow to-morrow!" whispered Sue, as
she and her brother passed in, Uncle Tad handing the tickets to Mrs.
Gordon, who smiled at them. She was one of the committee of ladies who,
like Mrs. Brown, were helping with the entertainment. There were to be
speeches by some of the men of Bellemere, but what would be more
enjoyable to the young folks was the performance of a number of
vaudeville actors and actresses, said to come all the way from New York.

"There's a jiggler who holds a cannon ball on his neck," whispered
Charlie Star to Bunny, when the Brown children had found their seats,
which were near those of some of their friends.

"He means a juggler," said George Watson.

"Yes, that's it--a juggler," agreed Charlie.

"And there are a little boy and girl who do tricks and sing," added
Mary Watson. "I saw their pictures."

"Oh, it'll be lovely!" sighed Sue. "I wish it would begin!"

The boys, girls and grown folks were still coming in and taking their
seats. The curtain hid the stage. And how the children did wonder what
was going on behind that piece of painted canvas! The musicians were
just beginning to "tune up," as Uncle Tad said. The ushers were hurrying
to and fro, seating the late-comers. One of the men who worked in the
Opera House, sweeping it out, attending to the fires in winter, and
sometimes selling tickets, got a long pole to open a skylight
ventilator, to let in some fresh air.

Just how it happened no one seemed to know, but suddenly the long pole
slipped and there was a crash and tinkle of glass. Nearly every one
jumped in his or her seat, and some one cried:

"Look at the skylight! It's going to fall!"

Bunny Brown, his sister Sue, and every one else looked up. True enough,
something had gone wrong with the skylight the man had tried to open.
It seemed to have slipped from its place in the frame where it was
fastened in the roof, and the big window of metal and glass looked as
though about to fall on the heads of the audience directly under it.

"Oh, Bunny, let's run!" cried Sue. "It's going to drop right on us!"

And truly it did seem so. Slowly the big skylight was slipping from its
fastenings, and several in the audience screamed.



CHAPTER II

"LET'S GIVE A SHOW!"


Just when it seemed as if a bad accident would happen and that some one
would be hurt by the fall of the roof-window, the man who had been using
the long pole thrust it under the edge of the sliding skylight and held
it there. Then he called:

"I have it! I can keep it from falling until somebody gets up on the
roof and fixes it. Hurry up, though!"

"I'll go up and fix it!" said another usher. "Guess the first snow was
too heavy for the skylight! Keep still, everybody!" he added. "There's
no danger now!"

The man had to shout to be heard above the screams of the frightened and
excited people, but he made his voice carry to all parts of the Opera
House, and finally it became more quiet. Then a man stepped from behind
the curtain and stood on the front part of the stage. He held up his
hand to make the people know he wanted them to be quiet, and when his
voice could be heard he said:

"There is no danger now. There was some, but it has passed. The man will
hold the skylight in place until it can be fastened. And while he is
doing that I wish those who are sitting under it would move quietly out
into the aisles. Don't crowd or rush. You children can pretend it is
like the fire drill you have at school."

"Oh, we do have fire drill at our school, don't we, Bunny?" cried Sue,
in a rather loud voice. Her words carried to all parts of the theater
and many laughed. This laugh was just what was needed to make the people
forget their fright, and soon the place directly under the loosened
skylight was clear. Bunny and Sue, with Uncle Tad and their boy and girl
chums, moved out into the aisle, and soon the men began the work of
fastening the skylight back in place. And you may be sure they fastened
it tight.

While this is being done I will take a few moments to tell my new
readers something about the two Brown children. As you may have guessed,
there are other volumes which come before this one. The first is called
"Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue."

Bunny and Sue lived with their father and mother in a pretty house in
the town of Bellemere. Bellemere was on the seacoast and also near a
small river. Mr. Brown was in the boat and fish business, and he owned a
dock, or wharf, on the bay and had his office there. He had many men to
help, and also a big boy, who was almost a man. The big boy's name was
Bunker Blue, and he was very good to Bunny and Sue. Living in the same
house with the Browns was Uncle Tad. He was Mr. Brown's uncle, but Bunny
and Sue thought they owned just as much of the dear old soldier as did
their father. Besides Uncle Tad, the children had other relations. They
had a grandfather and a grandmother, and also an aunt, Miss Lulu Baker,
who lived in a big city.

Bunny and Sue Brown had many friends in Bellemere. Besides the few boys
and girls I have mentioned there were many others. And there was also
Jed Winkler, an old sailor who owned a monkey, and, lately, he had
bought a green parrot from an old shipmate of his. Jed Winkler had a
sister, a rather cross maiden lady who did not like the monkey very
much. And the monkey, whose name was Wango, seemed to know this, for he
was always playing tricks on Miss Winkler.

The second volume of the series is called "Bunny Brown and His Sister
Sue on Grandpa's Farm." There, you can easily imagine, the little boy
and girl had lots of fun. During their visit to the farm they got up a
circus, and there is a book telling all about it. They had a real tent,
which their grandfather got for them, and in it they and some of their
friends gave a very funny performance.

When Bunny and Sue went to Aunt Lu's city home they had many wonderful
times, and when they went on a vacation to Camp Rest-a-While so many
things happened near the beautiful lake that the children never tired
talking about them.

It was after the children had spent such a happy time in the camp that
they went to the "Big Woods," as Bunny and Sue called them, and, after
that, their father and mother took them on an auto tour, when many
strange things happened. "Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue and Their
Shetland Pony" is the name of the book just before the one you are
reading now, and after many adventures with the little horse the two
children planned for winter fun. Going to the show in the Opera House
was part of this fun.

It did not take very long for the man who had gone up to the roof to fix
the broken skylight. The children could see him away up above their
heads as they sat in the theater, or stood there, for those who had
places directly under the skylight would not use the seats until the
roof-window was fixed.

"There! It's all right now," said the man on the stage. "There is no
more danger. Take your seats and the show will begin."

From all over the Opera House you could have heard delighted "Ohs!" and
"Ahs!" from the children. There was a rustling of programs, a swish of
skirts, several coughs, and one or two sneezes. Then the fiddles
squeaked, there was rumble and boom of the drums, and the orchestra
played the Star-Spangled Banner.

Every one stood up until the national air was ended and then the
musicians began to play a dance tune which was so lively that the feet
of every one, old and young, seemed to be tapping the floor.

Then came a pause, the lights in the Opera House were turned low, and at
last the curtain went up. Bunny Brown and his sister Sue held tightly to
the arms of their seats, lest they might slip out during the excitement
that was to follow. And it was exciting for the children, as you may
easily guess.

The first act was the juggler, or the "jiggler," as one of the boys had
called him. He placed a pole on his chin, and on top of the pole a glass
of water. Then with three balls he did a number of odd tricks.

"And all the while, mind you!" exclaimed Bunny, telling his father about
it afterward, "the man held the water, on the pole on his chin and he
didn't drop it once."

"Yes, that must have been wonderful," said Daddy Brown. "If he had
dropped the pole he'd have broken the glass, wouldn't he?"

"And he would have spilled the water, too!" exclaimed Bunny's sister.
"And it was real water!"

"No!" cried Mr. Brown, in fun, making believe he didn't believe this.

"Yes it was, really!" declared Sue, and Bunny nodded his head also.

The juggler did many other tricks, even tossing balls up into the air
and letting them fall in a tall silk hat he wore. The hat had no crown
to it, but it had a funny little door, or opening, cut in front, and as
fast as the juggler would toss the rubber balls into his hat, they would
roll out of the little door in front. My, how the children did laugh!
But the juggler never even smiled.

The next act was that of an old man who, on the programme, was called an
"Impersonator."

"What's that mean?" asked Bunny of Uncle Tad. "Does he do juggles too?"

"No, he dresses up like some persons you may have seen in pictures. He
pretends he's General Washington, or the President, or some great
soldier. He tries to look as much like these persons as he can, so they
call him an impersonator. Watch, and you'll see."

When the "Impersonator" came out on the stage he did not look like any
one but himself. He made a few remarks, but Bunny and Sue did not pay
much attention. They were more interested in what he was going to do.
The man, who wore a black suit, "like the minister's," as Mary Watson
whispered to Sue, suddenly stepped over to a little table, on which were
two electric lights and a looking glass.

The children could not see exactly what the man did. They noticed that
his hands were working very quickly, but he had his back toward them.
All at once his black hair seemed to turn white, and in a moment he
caught up from a chair a coat of blue and gold; he slipped this on. Then
he turned suddenly and faced the audience.

"Oh, it's George Washington!" cried a boy, and the audience laughed.
And, to tell the truth, the man on the stage did look a great deal like
our first president, as you see him in pictures. The man had put a white
wig on over his black hair, and had put on the kind of coat George
Washington used to wear.

I wish I had time to tell you all the different persons this actor made
up to appear like, but I can mention only a few. From Washington he
turned himself into Lincoln, and then into Roosevelt. Then he made up
like some of the French and English generals, and afterward he made
himself look like General Grant, smoking a cigar.

Every one applauded as the man bowed himself off the stage. There was a
thrill of excitement when the next number was announced. A little girl
was shown on the stage. She did not seem much older than Sue, but of
course she was. She began to sing in a sweet, childish voice, and in the
midst of her song a boy dressed in a suit of bright spangles suddenly
appeared from the side. Without a word the boy began turning handsprings
and somersaults and doing flipflops in front of the girl.

Suddenly she stopped her song, stamped her little foot, and in pretended
anger cried:

"What do you mean by coming out here and spoiling my singing act?"

"Why, the man back there," said the boy, pointing behind the scenes,
"told me to come out here and amuse the people," and he seemed, to smile
right at Bunny Brown and Sue.

"He told you to come out and amuse the people, did he? Well, what does
he think I'm doing?" demanded the girl.

"I don't know. I guess he thinks maybe you're making 'em cry!" was the
boy acrobat's grinning answer.

"Well, I like that! The idea!" exclaimed the girl. "I'm going right back
and tell him I won't sing another song in this show! The idea!" and she
hurried off the stage.

"Oh, won't she sing any more?" whispered Sue to Uncle Tad.

"Yes," answered the soldier with a smile. "That's just part of the
act--to make it more interesting."

"Now that she is out of the way I'll have more room to do my flipflops,"
said the boy acrobat, and he started to do all sorts of tricks. But,
just as Uncle Tad had said, the girl was only pretending, for pretty
soon she came back again with a prettier dress on, and she danced and
sang while the boy did handsprings to the delight of Bunny Brown, his
sister Sue, and all the others in the audience.

I haven't room to tell you all that happened at the show that afternoon,
for this story is to be about a show Bunny and Sue gave. But I will
just say every one liked the entertainment, and when Bunny was coming
out, walking behind Sue, he suddenly said:

"I know what we can do!"

"What?" asked the little girl.

"Let's give a show ourselves--like this!" Bunny pointed toward the
stage.

Sue looked at Bunny to make sure he was not joking. Then she answered
and said:

"We will! We'll give a show ourselves!"



CHAPTER III

TALKING IT OVER


One evening two or three days after the performance in the Opera House,
where Bunny and Sue had so much enjoyed the impersonator, the juggler,
the boy acrobat, and the girl singer, a number of ladies called at the
home of Mrs. Brown. As it was early Bunny and Sue had not yet gone to
bed so they could hear the talk that went on.

"I think we did very well, Mrs. Brown," said Mrs. West, the mother of
Sue's playmate, Sadie. "We cleared nearly two hundred dollars for our
Red Cross Chapter from the Opera House show."

"That's splendid!" exclaimed Mrs. Brown. "I didn't think we would make
quite so much. But we could use still more money."

"Yes, if we had more money we could do more good," said Mrs. Bentley. "I
don't suppose we could have another performance soon. The people would
not come."

Bunny and Sue, who were in another room looking at picture books,
glanced at one another. Then they smiled. Bunny slid down off his chair,
followed by Sue.

"Shall we tell 'em?" asked Bunny.

"Yes," nodded Sue.

So the two children walked slowly into the room where their mother and
the other ladies were talking about the Red Cross Society. Mrs. Brown
was just saying something.

"No," she remarked, "I hardly believe we could arrange to give another
show right away. It would be too much like----"

"Mother!" interrupted Bunny, speaking in a low voice.

"Yes, Son!" answered Mrs. Brown. "But run away now, dear. Mother is very
busy. I'll speak to you in just a minute."

"But we want to talk about the show, Mother," persisted Bunny.

"Oh, but I haven't time," said Mrs. Brown with a smile. "You saw the
show, and that's enough. Now run away, like a good boy. And you and Sue
must soon get ready for bed."

"But it's about another show, Mother!" insisted Bunny. "We heard what
you said, Sue and I did--and we want to help you get more money."

"Isn't that sweet of them!" exclaimed Mrs. Bentley.

"Well, our Red Cross Chapter certainly needs money," remarked Mrs.
Brown, with a sigh; "but I'm afraid you can't help us any, Bunny."

"Oh, yes we can!" said Sue.

"Why, what are you children thinking of?" asked Mrs. Brown, in some
surprise. "How can you help us get money for the Red Cross?"

"By a show!" cried Bunny, and he almost shouted the words he was so
excited. "That's what we're going to do, Mother--give a show--me and
Sue--I mean Sue and I," he added quickly, as he saw his mother look
strangely at him, for she had often told him he must learn to speak
correctly.

"What do the children mean?" asked Mrs. Newton.

"I'll tell you!" went on Bunny, speaking very fast, for he feared he and
Sue would be sent to bed before they had a chance to explain. "We
thought of it after we saw the show in the Opera House. We boys and
girls can get up a show, and we can charge money to come in. We had a
circus once, in a tent, didn't we, Mother?" and Bunny appealed to Mrs.
Brown.

"Yes, they once gave a show in a tent at their Grandpa's farm," said
Mrs. Brown. "And it was quite good, too, for children. But I'm afraid a
show like that, given in town here, wouldn't bring in much money for the
Red Cross, my dears," and she smiled at Bunny and Sue.

"Oh, we weren't going to give a show like the circus one!" declared
Bunny. "This will be different! We'll have some singing, like the girl
did in the Opera House--I guess Sue can sing. And I can do some
somersaults, like those the boy did."

"And maybe we could get Uncle Tad to dress up like General Grant or
Washington," added Sue.

"They have it all thought out!" exclaimed Mrs. West, with a smile.

"Oh, but that isn't all!" said Bunny. "There's lots of other things we
can do. We told some of the boys and girls about it and they want to be
in it. Please, Mother, couldn't Sue and I get up a show?"

"No, my dears, I don't believe you could," Mrs. Brown answered with
another smile. "It is very good of you to want to help the Red Cross,
but getting up a show is very hard work. I hardly think little boys and
girls could do it."

"If ever we big folks get up another show we'll let you children have
part in it," promised Mrs. Star.

"Oh, but we want to give a show of our own!" said Bunny. "And I guess we
can, too. How much does it cost to buy the Opera House?" he asked.

"Oh, you don't have to buy it to give a show," said Mrs. West. "It can
be hired for one or two nights. But when are you going to give your
show?" she asked Bunny.

"Maybe 'bout Christmas," he said. "Folks have more money then, and we
could get more for your Red Cross. Please, Mother, mayn't we give a
show?"

"Oh, well, I'll see about it," said Mrs. Brown, more with the idea of
getting Bunny and his sister off to bed than because she really thought
they could ever give a show. She had an idea they would forget all
about it by morning.

"Oh, goodie!" cried Sue, for when her mother said: "I'll see about it,"
it generally meant that something would happen. But of course giving a
show was different, even though Bunny and Sue had once held a circus.
You may read about that in the book of which I have spoken.

"Well, trot along to bed now, my dears," said Mrs. Brown. "We ladies
have business to attend to. We'll talk about your show to-morrow."

"It's going to be a fine one," declared Bunny. "I'm going to learn how
to do some back somersaults like that boy's on the stage."

"Well, be careful you don't get hurt," begged Mrs. West.

"Cute little dears, aren't they," said Mrs. Bentley, as Bunny and his
sister Sue went out of the room.

"I should think they would keep you busy trying to guess what they will
do next, Mrs. Brown," remarked Mrs. Star.

"They do," sighed the mother of Bunny Brown and his sister Sue. But she
smiled as she sighed, for her little boy and girl never made her any
real trouble.

"Do you think they really will give a show?" asked Mrs. Bentley.

"You never can tell," was Mrs. Brown's answer. "We didn't think they'd
actually give a circus performance, but they did. However, a show in a
real theater is quite different, and I hardly believe Bunny and Sue will
go on with the idea."

But Bunny and Sue did--at least they started talking it over the first
thing next day, and when school was over quite a gathering of boys and
girls assembled in a room over the Brown garage.

"Now, girls and fellows," said Bunny, as he stood in front of the crowd
of his playmates, who were seated on old boxes, broken chairs, and other
things stored away in the garage, "we're going to get up a show to make
money for the Red Cross."

"Do you mean a make-believe show, and charge five pins to come in?"
asked Harry Bentley.

"No, I mean a real show, like in a theater, and charge real money,"
went on Bunny. "Pins aren't any good for the Red Cross. They get all the
pins they want. They need money--my mother said so. Now we could get up
a regular acting play--like that one we saw at the Opera House. We could
have some singing in it, and some jiggling and some of us could do
tricks and stand on our heads."

"Going to have any animals in it?" one boy wanted to know.

"Yes, we could," answered Bunny. "They have animals on the stage just
like in a circus, only it's different, of course. We could have our dog
and cat in it."

"I've got a goat!" cried another boy. "He butts you with his horns, only
maybe I could cure him of that."

"We could use Toby, our Shetland pony," added Sue. "He eats sugar out of
my hand."

"And we could have my trained white mice," said Charlie Star.

"If you have mice in it I'm not going to play!" exclaimed Sadie West. "I
don't like mice at all!"

"Neither do I!" added Jennie Harris.

"Well, we could get Mr. Jed Winkler's parrot, maybe," suggested Bunny.

"And his monkey!" some one added.

"Oh, yes!" cried all the children.

Suddenly the door of the room opened and in burst Tom Milton.

"Say!" he cried, "Mr. Jed Winkler's monkey is loose in Mr. Raymond's
hardware store, and you ought to see the place! Come on! Mr. Jed
Winkler's monkey is loose again!" and he jumped up and down he was so
excited.



CHAPTER IV

THE CLIMBING BOY


Tom Milton had been invited by Bunny Brown to come to the meeting in the
room over the garage and talk about the play which Bunny and his sister
wanted to give. But, for some reason or other, Tom had not come with the
other children. Many, including Bunny, had wondered what kept Tom away,
but now, when Tom rushed in with the news that Mr. Jed Winkler's monkey
was loose, none of the children thought of anything but the long-tailed
animal with his funny, wrinkled face.

"How'd he get loose?" asked Bunny Brown, as he jumped down off a box on
which he had been standing.

"Did he hurt any one?" asked Sue.

"Is he smashing everything in Mr. Raymond's store?" Charlie Star wanted
to know.

"I should say so! You ought to see!" cried Tom. "I was coming past on my
way here when I heard a lot of yells and saw a big crowd in front of the
store. I looked in, and the monkey was banging a frying pan on a coffee
grinder and making a big racket. Mr. Raymond was trying to get him down
off a high shelf, but Wango wouldn't come. Then I ran on here to tell
you about it."

"I'm glad you did," said Bunny Brown.

"We'll have this meeting again after we see the monkey," he said. "The
meeting is--it's--er--well, I don't know what it is my mother says when
her meetings are stopped, but this meeting about the show we're going to
give, is stopped while we go to see Mr. Jed Winkler's monkey."

"Oh, won't it be fun to see him drum with a frying pan!" exclaimed Sue.

"Maybe he won't be doing that when we get there," said Tom Milton. "But
I guess he'll be doing something just as good."

"That monkey is always doing something," declared Charlie Star. "How'd
he get loose, Tom?"

"Don't know!"

"Maybe Miss Winkler let him loose," suggested Sadie West. "She doesn't
like Jed's monkey."

"And I guess she doesn't like his parrot very much, either. It makes a
lot more noise than her canary bird," said Mary Watson. "I was in there
the other day, and the parrot screeched like anything!"

"Well, come on, we'll go see the monkey!" called Sue.

There was a scramble among the children for hats and coats, for the
weather was cold, though there had been no more snow storms since the
first one. As Bunny, Sue, and the others passed along the side of the
house on their way out of the yard, Mrs. Brown called to them.

"Where are you going, children?" she asked.

"To see Mr. Jed Winkler's monkey," answered Bunny.

"Are you going to have him in your show?" Mrs. Brown wanted to know, for
she had not forgotten the circus the children once gave.

"We were talking about it," explained Sue, "when Tom Milton come and
told us the monkey was loose."

"And he is in the hardware store," added Bunny. "We're going to see
him!" he cried, his eyes shining.

"Well, button up your coats, for it's cold," warned Mrs. Brown. "I
guess this will be the end of the show business," she added to Mrs.
Watson who had stopped in for a few minutes' talk. "The children will
forget all about their play after they see the monkey. And I shall be
just as well pleased. Their circus was fun, but it meant a lot of work,
and if they give a show, as Bunny and Sue talk of doing, it will mean
more work."

"I don't believe they'll do it," answered Mrs. Watson.

But she hardly knew Bunny Brown and his sister Sue.

On to the hardware store hurried the group of children. As soon as they
turned the corner of the street leading to Mr. Raymond's place they saw
a crowd in front of the store.

"Oh, come on! Hurry!" cried Bunny. "Maybe he'll be all through doing
things when we get there! Hurry!"

The boys and girls began to run, and when they reached the store they
heard, from inside, a clanging and crashing sound.

"I guess Wango is doing things yet!" cried Sue.

"I guess so," agreed Tom Milton. "Come on, let's go in the side door and
we can see better," he proposed.

Tom seemed to know the best way to this "free show," and he led the
others. Bunny, his sister, and their boy and girl friends went down a
little alley, and thus into the store by a side entrance.

As they stepped into the hardware place there was another crash of pots
and pans, and Sue cried:

"Oh, I see him! He's got an egg beater now in one paw!"

"And some pie pans in the other!" exclaimed Bunny.

"Where is he? I don't see him!" said Mary Watson.

"Right up on the shelf by the cans of paint," replied Bunny, pointing.
"Say, if he opens any cans of paint and splashes that around won't it be
fun!" he laughed.

"Hi there, Bunny Brown!" called Mr. Raymond, the hardware man, when he
heard the little boy say this. "Don't be suggesting such things! That
monkey might hear you and try it. I don't want my store all splashed up
with red and green paint. Come on down now, Wango!" he called, snapping
his fingers at the old sailor's queer pet. "Come on down, and I'll give
you a cookie."

"I guess he'd rather have a cocoanut," suggested Sue. "My mother has
some cocoanut for a cake, and there's a picture of a monkey on the
paper, and he's eating cocoanuts."

"But I haven't any cocoanut to offer him," said Mr. Raymond. "I wish Jed
Winkler would come and get his old monkey down! Wango would come to
him."

"How'd the monkey get in here?" asked Bunny.

"I don't know," confessed Mr. Raymond. "First I knew, I heard the lady I
was selling a coffee strainer to exclaim, and I looked up and there was
Wango skipping around on the shelves. I guess Jed must have left a
window open and the monkey got out, though he doesn't generally skip
around outdoors in cold weather. Then he must have come along the street
until he got to my place, and, when he saw the door open, in he popped.
Jed's house is only a few steps from here. But I wish Jed would come
and get his Wango."

"Here he is now!" cried a chorus of children's voices, and, looking
toward the front of his store, Mr. Raymond saw the old sailor coming in.

"What's all the trouble here?" asked Mr. Winkler.

"It's your monkey again, Jed," answered Mr. Raymond. "Lucky my place
isn't a china store, or you'd have a lot of damages to pay for broken
dishes. As it is, Wango can't break any of my pots and pans, though he
certainly is mussing them up a lot!"

Well might this be said, for, as the hardware man spoke, the monkey
leaped from one shelf to another and, in so doing, knocked down a lot of
tin pans which fell to the floor with a clatter and a bang.

"Can't you do something to stop him?" cried Mr. Raymond.

"Well, yes, I suppose I can," said Mr. Winkler slowly. "I didn't know he
was loose till a minute ago, when some one came and told me. I was down
on the fish dock, talking with Bunker Blue. But I'll get Wango down. I'm
real glad he isn't in a china store, for he surely would break things!
Here, Wango!" he called, holding out his hand to the monkey, now perched
on a high shelf. "Come on down, that's a good chap! Come on down!"

"He doesn't seem to want to come," suggested a man with a red moustache.

"Oh, I'll get him. He needs a little coaxing," returned the old sailor.
"Come on down, Wango!" he went on.

Wango looked at the egg beater he held in one paw, and then, seeing the
little handle which turned the wheel, he began to twist it. To do this
he dropped the pie pans he held in the other paw and they fell to the
floor with a crash.

"Land goodness, he certainly makes noise enough!" said one of the women
in the store, covering her ears with her hands.

Perched above the heads of the crowd, and paying no attention to the
calls of Jed Winkler, the monkey began turning the egg beater. He seemed
to like that most of all.

"Maybe he thinks it's a hand organ," suggested Bunny Brown, and the
people in the store laughed.

"Come on, Wango! Come down!" cried Mr. Winkler, but the monkey would not
leap down from the high shelf.

"Guess you'll have to climb up and get him yourself, Jed," suggested Mr.
Reinberg, who kept the drygoods store next door. He had run in, together
with other neighboring shopkeepers, to see what the excitement was
about.

"I could get him down if I had something to coax him with," returned the
old sailor.

"I promised him a cookie," said Mr. Raymond.

"He'd rather have a piece of cake--cocoanut cake would be best," went on
Mr. Winkler.

"I'll go home and get some," offered Bunny Brown. "My mother baked a
cocoanut cake yesterday, and I guess there's some left."

"You don't need to go all the way back to your house after the cake,"
said Mrs. Nesham, who kept a bakery across the street from the hardware
store. "I'll get one from my shelves."

She hurried across the way, and soon came back with a large piece of
cocoanut cake.

"If the monkey doesn't take it I wish she'd give it to me," said Tom
Milton.

"Oh, Wango will take this all right," said Jed Winkler. "Here you are,
you little rascal!" he called to his pet. "Come down and see what I have
for you." He held up the piece of cake. Wango saw it and this seemed to
be just what he wanted. He dropped the egg beater, which fell to the
floor with another clatter and clang, and then the monkey began climbing
down the shelves.

He had almost reached the old sailor, his master, when the front door of
the hardware store opened to allow a new customer to come in. Whether
this frightened Wango, or whether he thought he had not yet had enough
fun, no one knew. But instantly he snatched the piece of cake from Mr.
Winkler's hand, and, holding it in his paw, skipped out the door.

"There he goes!" cried Bunny Brown. "He's loose again!"

"And he's up in a tree out in front!" added Tom Milton, who had rushed
out ahead of the others in the store.

Surely enough, when the crowd got outside, there was Wango perched high
in a big, leafless tree, eating cake.

  [Illustration: THERE WAS WANGO PERCHED HIGH ON A BIG TREE.
    _Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue Giving a Show._ _Page 42_]

"Well, how are you going to get him down out of there?" asked Mr.
Snowden.

"Looks as if I'd have to climb after him," said Mr. Winkler. "When I was
a sailor on a ship, and had Wango for a pet, he used to climb up the
mast and rigging and I'd go after him. That was when I was younger. I
don't believe I could climb that tree and get him now."

"Do you want me to do it for you, mister?" asked a new voice.

Bunny, Sue, and the other children turned to see who had spoken. They
saw a boy about twelve years old, with bright, shining eyes standing
beside Mr. Winkler and pointing up at the monkey in the tree. The
strange boy seemed to have arrived on the scene very suddenly.

"Do you want me to climb the tree and get your monkey for you?" asked
the boy. "I'll do it, if he doesn't bite."

"Oh, he doesn't bite--Wango is very gentle," said Mr. Winkler. "But can
you climb that high tree?"

"I've climbed higher ones than that," was the answer. "And ropes and
poles and the sides of buildings. I can climb almost anything if I can
get a hold. I'll go up and get the monkey for you!"

As he spoke he took off his coat; and though the day was cold Bunny
noticed that the strange boy wore no overcoat. Hanging his jacket on a
low limb of the tree which held Wango, the boy began to climb. And, as
he did so, Sue pulled her brother's sleeve.

"Do you know who that is?" she whispered.

"Who?" asked Bunny Brown.

"That boy climbing the tree. Don't you 'member him?"

"No. Who is he?"

"Why, he's the boy who turned somersaults in the Opera House show!"



CHAPTER V

A COLD LITTLE SINGER


Bunny Brown was so excited in watching to see how the strange boy would
climb up and get the monkey that, at first, he paid little attention to
what Sue said. The boy by this time was beginning to scramble up the
trunk of the tree. Sitting on a branch, high above the lad's head, was
Wango the monkey, eating the piece of cake.

"It's the very same boy, I know it is!" declared Sue.

"What same boy?" asked Sadie West, while the other boys and girls
watched the climber.

"The same one who was with the little girl that sang songs in the Opera
House show. Don't you remember, Bunny?" asked Sue.

This time Bunny not only heard what his sister said, but he paid some
attention to her. And, noting that the climbing boy was half way up the
tree now, Bunny turned to Sue and asked her what she had said.

"This is the number three time I told you," she answered, shaking her
head. "That's the boy from the show in the Opera House!"

Bunny looked closely at the climbing lad.

"Why, so it is!" he cried. "Look, Charlie--Harry--that's the acrobat
from the show!"

The boy in the tree was in plain sight now, over the heads of the crowd,
as he made his way upward from limb to limb, and several of Bunny's
chums were sure he was the same lad they had seen in the show.

"But what's he doing here?" asked Bunny. "Mother read in the paper that
the same show we saw here was traveling around and was in Wayville last
night. I wonder why that boy is here?"

"And where's his sister that sang such funny little songs?" inquired
Sadie West.

"We'll ask him when he comes down," suggested George Watson, who used to
be a mean, tricky boy, making a lot of trouble for Bunny and Sue. But,
of late, George had been kinder.

Higher and higher, up into the tree went the "show boy," as the children
called him. Wango still was perched on the limb of the tree, eating his
cake. He did not climb higher or try to leap to another tree, as Jed
Winkler said he was afraid his pet might do.

Up and up went the boy, and a moment later he was calling in a kind and
gentle voice to the monkey and holding out his hands.

"Come on, old fellow! Come on down with me!" invited the climbing boy.
"They want you down below! Come on!"

Whether Wango was tired of his tricks, or whether he had eaten all his
cake and thought the only way he could get more was by coming down as he
was invited, no one stopped to figure out. At any rate the old sailor's
pet gave a friendly little chatter and then advanced until he could
perch on the boy's shoulder, which he did, clasping his paws around the
lad's neck.

"That's the way! Now we'll go down!" said the boy.

"He's got him! He's got your monkey, Mr. Winkler!" cried the children
standing beneath the tree.

"He's a good climber--that boy!" said the old sailor. "He's as good a
climber as I used to be when I was on a ship."

Down came the boy with the monkey on his shoulder. Of course Wango
himself could have climbed down alone had he wished to, but he didn't
seem to want to do this--that was the trouble.

"There you are!" exclaimed the boy, as he slid to the ground, and walked
over to Mr. Winkler, with Wango still perched on his shoulder. "Here's
your monkey!"

"Much obliged, my boy," said the old sailor. "It was very good of you.
Do you--er--do I owe you anything?" and he began to fumble in his pocket
as if for money, while Wango jumped from the lad's back to the shoulder
of his master.

"No, not anything. I did it for fun," was the laughing answer. "I'm used
to climbing and that sort of thing. I like it!"

"Didn't you used to be in the show that was in the Opera House here last
week?" asked Harry Bentley.

"Yes," answered the boy, as he put on his coat. "I was with the show."

"Why aren't you with it now?" asked Bunny.

"And where's your sister--the one that sang?" added Sue.

The boy's face turned red, and he seemed to be confused.

"Well, we--er--I--that is we left the show," he said. "Maybe I ought to
say that the show left us. It 'busted up,' as we say. There wasn't
enough money to pay the actors, and so we all had to quit."

"That's too bad," said Jed Winkler. "It was a pretty good show, too. But
say, my boy, I feel that I owe you something for having gotten my monkey
down out of the tree. If you haven't been paid by the show people,
perhaps--maybe----"

"Oh, no, thank you! I don't take pay for doing things like climbing
trees after pet monkeys," was the answer. The boy started to laugh, but
he did not get very far with it. "You don't owe me anything. And now I
must go and get my sister," he added.

"Where did you leave her?" asked Mrs. Newton, one of the ladies who had
been in the store when the monkey began "cutting up."

"I left her sitting on a bench in the little park down near the river
front," answered the boy.

"That's a cold place!" exclaimed Mrs. Newton. "Why don't you take her
where it's warm?"

"Well, to tell you the truth, I don't know where to take her," said the
boy. "We just had money enough left to pay our trolley fare from a place
called Wayville, where we played last night, to this town. We thought
we'd come back here."

"To give another show?" asked the hardware man.

"No, I guess our show is gone for good," was the boy's answer. "But I
sort of liked this place, and so did my sister. I thought I might get
work here, at least until I could make money enough to go back to New
York."

"Got any folks in New York?" asked Mr. Winkler, as he stroked the head
of his pet monkey.

"Well, no, not exactly folks," replied the show boy, as he brushed some
bits of bark from his trousers. "But it's easier to get a place with a
show if you're in New York. They all start out from there."

"That boy looks to me as though the best place for him, right now, would
be at a table with a good meal on it," said Mrs. Newton. "He looks
hungry and cold."

"He does that," agreed Mrs. Brown, who had followed Bunny and Sue to see
that they did not get into mischief. "I'm going to invite him to our
house." She stepped up closer to the lad who had got the monkey down out
of the tree, and asked: "Wouldn't you like to come home with me and have
something to eat?"

The boy's face flushed and his eyes brightened.

"Thank you," he said. "I really am hungry. I'll be glad to work for a
meal. There wasn't money enough for breakfast and car fare too, but I
thought there was a better chance for work here than in Wayville, and so
my sister and I came on."

"And where did you say she was?" asked Mrs. Brown.

"I left her sitting in the little park down by the water front, while I
came up into the town to look for work. Then I saw the crowd around the
tree and----"

"Poor little girl!" exclaimed Mrs. Brown. "Now, you two are coming home
with me!" she went on. "We'll talk about work later. Come along, my
boy. I've got children of my own, and I know what's good for 'em. Take
me to where you left your sister. And don't all of you come, or you
might bother the poor child," she added, as she saw the crowd about to
follow. "I'll tell you all about it later."

"Can't we come, Mother?" asked Bunny Brown.

"Yes, you and Sue come with me. Mrs. Newton," she went on, turning to a
fat lady, "I wish you'd go to my house and start to get something ready
for these starved ones to eat. I'll be right along with them."

"And I'll take my monkey back home," said Jed Winkler. "My sister might
be worried about him," and he smiled as the crowd laughed, for it was
well known that Miss Winkler did not like Wango, though she was not
unkind to him.

"Now show me where your sister is," said Mrs. Brown to the boy, as she
walked along with him and her own two children. "By the way, what's your
name?"

"Mart Clayton," he answered. "That's my real name, but my sister and I
sometimes have stage names. Her real one is Lucile."

"That's a nice name," said Sue. "I like it better'n mine. Your sister
sings, doesn't she?"

"Yes," answered the boy. "There she is, now!" he added, pointing to a
bench in a little park that was not far from Mr. Brown's boat and fish
dock.

"The poor, cold little singer!" murmured Mrs. Brown. "I must take care
of them both!"

When they approached the bench the girl, who was about a year younger
than her brother, looked up in surprise.

"Did you find any work?" she asked Mart eagerly.

"Well, no, not exactly," he answered.

The girl seemed much disappointed.

"But we're going to eat!" he added. "This lady has invited us to her
house. After that I'll have a chance to look around and get a job to
earn money to pay her and take us back to New York."

"Oh, you are the guests of Bunny and Sue for the meal. Guests don't
pay," Mrs. Brown said, smiling at the strangers.

"Oh!" exclaimed Lucile. "That is--it's very kind of you," she said.

"You poor thing! You're cold!" exclaimed Bunny's mother. "No wonder,
sitting here without a jacket! Where's your cloak?"

"I--I guess it's with our other baggage," was the girl's answer. "The
boarding house kept it because we couldn't pay the bill when the show
failed!" and tears came into her eyes.

"Never mind! We'll look after you," said motherly Mrs. Brown. "Come
along, Bunny and Sue. Mrs. Newton will be at our house by this time."

As the five of them started down the street Bunny stopped suddenly.

"What's the matter?" asked his mother.

"I--I forgot something," he said. "I've got to see Mr. Winkler!" and he
started off on a run.



CHAPTER VI

GENERAL WASHINGTON


Mart Clayton, the boy who had climbed the tree to get down Mr. Winkler's
monkey, looked first at funny Bunny Brown, who was trotting downstreet,
and then he looked at Bunny's mother.

"Shall I run after him and bring him back?" asked Mart.

"O, no. Bunny will come back if I call him," was the answer. "But I
wonder why he is in such a hurry to see Mr. Winkler? I'll find out," she
went on. Then, making her voice louder, she called: "Bunny, come back
here, please, come back."

"But, Mother, I've got to see Mr. Winkler!" exclaimed Bunny, as he
paused and turned around. "It's about our show."

"That will keep until later," said Mrs. Brown with a smile. "I want you
to come back with me now and help entertain the company," and she smiled
and nodded to Mart and Lucile Clayton.

"Oh, yes. I--I didn't mean to be impolite," said Bunny, as he walked
slowly back. "But I wanted to ask Mr. Winkler if we could have his
monkey in our show."

"Oh, are you going to have a show?" asked Lucile, as she walked along
with Sue, while Mrs. Brown, Bunny and Mart followed.

"Yes!" exclaimed Bunny, who heard the question. "We had a circus once,
and we made some money. And after we saw the Opera House show you were
in, we wanted to have one ourselves. So we're going to get one up. Sue
can sing and I can turn somersaults. Not as good as you, of course," he
said to Mart. "And one boy has some trained white mice and if we could
get Mr. Winkler's monkey and----"

"And his parrot! He's got a parrot, too!" exclaimed Sue.

"Yes, if he'll let us have the parrot we could have a dandy show!"
agreed Bunny.

"I hope it will be a better show than the one we were in," said Mart,
with a sad little smile. "It isn't any fun to go traveling with a troupe
and then have it 'bust up' on the road as ours did."

"Aren't you children very young to be traveling alone?" asked Mrs.
Brown. "Haven't you any--well, any folks at all?"

She did not like to mention "father or mother," for fear both parents
might be dead and to speak of them might cause sorrow to Mart and
Lucile. But surely, Mrs. Brown thought, the boy and girl ought to have
some one to look after them.

"Oh, we weren't exactly alone," said Lucile, who was not as old as her
brother. "We were like one big family until the show failed. Mr. and
Mrs. Jackson were in charge, and Mrs. Jackson was very good to us. But
people didn't seem to like our performance, and we didn't make enough
money to keep on playing."

"I liked your show," said Bunny.

"So did I!" exclaimed his sister Sue. "It was grand."

"Yes, if we had done as well everywhere as we did in this town I guess
we'd have been all right," said Mart. "But we didn't. We got stranded in
Wayville--that's the next largest town to this, I heard some one say,
and we couldn't go any farther. Some of our baggage had to go to pay
bills. Mr. and Mrs. Jackson left us at a boarding house while they went
to New York to see if they could raise money."

"But I guess they couldn't," added his sister. "Anyhow they didn't come
back, and we didn't have any money. So the boarding house lady kept what
few things we had left, and Mart and I came away."

"I made up my mind I'd have to do something," went on the climbing boy,
as Bunny and Sue thought of him. "I'm strong, and if I could get work
I'd soon earn enough money to take me and my sister back to New York.
Perhaps you could tell me where I could get a job," he added to Mrs.
Brown.

"We'll talk about that after you get warm and have had something to
eat," said she.

"Yes, maybe that would be better," agreed Mart. "It makes you feel sort
of funny not to eat."

"I know it does," put in Bunny. "Once Sue and I went to Camp
Rest-a-While, and we got lost in the woods, and we didn't have anything
to eat for a terrible long while."

"It was 'most all day," sighed Sue. "And we were terrible glad when
daddy and mother found us!"

"I should say you were--well, very glad," laughed her mother. "But here
we are at our house. Now come in, Lucile and Mart, and make yourselves
at home."

"And after you get warm, and have had something to eat, maybe you'll
tell us about how to get up a show in a theater--not one in a tent like
a circus," suggested Bunny.

"Yes, we'll help you all we can," promised Lucile.

Mrs. Newton, coming to the Brown house ahead of the others, had got a
nice lunch ready, and from the way Mart and his sister sat down to it
and ate it was evident that they were very hungry. It was nice and warm
in the Brown house, too, and the children from the vaudeville troupe
seemed to like to be near the fire.

"Now if you have had enough to eat, perhaps you will tell me a little
bit more about yourselves," suggested Mrs. Brown, when the two visitors
were ready to leave the table. "I want to help you," she went on, "and I
can best do that if I know more about you. My husband is in the boat
and fish business here in Bellemere," she said, "and though he is not as
busy in winter as he is in summer, he may find work for you," she added
to Mart.

"I hope he can!" said the boy. "Well, I'll tell you about myself and my
sister. You see we come of a theatrical family. Our father and mother
were in the show business up to the time they died."

"Oh, then your father and mother are dead?" asked Mrs. Brown kindly.

"Yes," went on Lucile. "We hardly remember them as they died when we
were little. We were brought up by our uncle Simon and Aunt Sallie. They
were in the show business, too, and they traveled under several
different names.

"Sometimes we traveled with them, and again we'd be off on the road by
ourselves. But whenever we went alone that way Uncle Simon would always
get some one, like Mr. and Mrs. Jackson, to look after us and take
charge of us. So we didn't have it so hard until Uncle Simon and Aunt
Sallie went away."

"Went away!" exclaimed Mrs. Brown. "Where did they go?"

"That's what we can't find out," answered Mart "They left their address
for us with Mr. Jackson, but he lost it, and now we don't know where our
uncle and aunt are."

"But surely some one knows!" said Mrs. Newton.

"Well, yes, I guess Uncle Bill knows, but we can't find him," said Mart.

"You seem to belong to a lost family!" exclaimed Mrs. Brown, with a
smile. "Who is Uncle Bill, and where is he?"

"We don't know where he is, but he's blind," put in Lucile. "The last we
heard of him he was going to some Home for the Blind, or to some
hospital to be cured. But we don't know where he is. If we could find
him he'd have Uncle Simon's address, for Uncle Simon used to always
write to Uncle Bill. Of course Uncle Bill had to get some one to read
the letters to him. But we haven't seen either of our uncles for a long
time."

"You poor children!" exclaimed Mrs. Brown. "This is too bad! We must see
what we can do to help you. Where do you think your Uncle Simon and Aunt
Sallie went to?" she asked.

"It was over to England or France, or some place like that," answered
Mart. "It was just before the war started, and maybe their ship was
sunk. Anyhow, we haven't heard from them since then, and Mr. Jackson
lost their address," he added.

"But your Uncle Simon knew where Mr. Jackson was, didn't he?" asked Mrs.
Newton with interest.

"Well, maybe he did and maybe he didn't," answered Mart. "You see Mr.
Jackson and his wife travel about a lot. Lots of times letters get lost,
so Uncle Simon may have written about us, and Mr. Jackson might never
have got the letter."

"Yes, that's so," agreed Mrs. Brown. "Well, when my husband comes home
we'll talk with him and see what is best to do. You had better stay here
until then and make yourselves at home. Hark! There's the doorbell."

"Who do you suppose that is, Mother?" asked Sue.

"I can't tell that, Sue, from here."

"I'll go and see who it is, Mother," offered Bunny, as he ran through
the hall. The others heard the front door open and the sound of a man's
voice mingling with that of Bunny's. In a moment the little fellow came
running back.

"Who is it?" asked his mother.

"General Washington," was the surprising answer.



CHAPTER VII

"DOWN ON THE FARM"


For a moment Mrs. Brown did not know whether to laugh at Bunny for
playing a joke or to tell him he must not do such things when there were
visitors at the house. But Bunny looked so serious that his mother
thought perhaps he did not mean to be funny.

"Who is it?" she asked again.

"General Washington," replied the little boy.

"Bunny Brown!" cried Mrs. Newton, "what do you mean?"

"Well, it's the man who made believe he was General Washington in the
Opera House show, anyhow!" declared Bunny. "'Course he doesn't look like
General Washington now, but----"

Lucile and Mart did not wait for Bunny to finish. Together they ran to
the front door.

"Bunny Brown, you aren't playing any jokes, are you?" asked his mother.

"No'm! Honest I mean it!" cried Bunny, his eyes shining with excitement.
"It's the same man who was General Washington and General Grant and a
lot of other people at the show in the Opera House! He's at our front
door now, and he wants to know if the Happy Day Twins are here."

"The Happy Day Twins?" exclaimed Mrs. Brown.

"That's the name the boy and girl went under on the programme, you
know," explained Mrs. Newton. "The same children you have been so kind
to--Lucile and Mart Clayton. They took the name of the 'Happy Day Twins'
on the stage you know. Did the impersonator want them, Bunny?" she
asked.

"I didn't see any 'personator," answered the little boy. "He was General
Washington, I tell you, only he wasn't dressed up."

"I must go and see," declared Mrs. Brown.

As she went down the hall she met the brother and sister coming back.
They seemed much excited.

"It's our friend, Mr. Treadwell," explained Mart. "He heard we had
started for this town, and he followed us. He heard about my climbing
the tree after the monkey, and some one told him my sister and I had
come to your house, Mrs. Brown. May I ask him in? It's Mr. Samuel
Treadwell, and he's a good friend of ours."

"Certainly, ask him in," said Mrs. Brown, with a smile. "Perhaps he is
hungry, too," she said to her friend Mrs. Newton, Mart having gone back
to the front door. "I've heard that actors are often hungry."

"But he's General Washington, too, isn't he?" demanded Bunny, following
Mart.

"Yes, he pretends to be all sorts of famous people--on the stage,"
kindly explained Mart to Bunny. "You'll like him, he can do lots of
tricks."

"Can he jiggle--I mean juggle?"

"Yes, but not as good as the other man in the play."

By this time Mrs. Brown had reached the door. On the steps stood an
elderly man, with a pleasant smile on his face. Mrs. Brown recognized
him at once as the impersonator, though of course he had on no wig or
costume now. He looked just like an ordinary man, except that his face
was rather more wrinkled.

"I'm sorry to trouble you, madam," said the man, "but I have been
looking for my little friends, the 'Happy Day Twins,' as they are
billed. Their real names are--well, I suppose they have told you," and
he smiled at Lucile and Mart, who were standing in the hall.

"Yes, we have been learning something about them, but we would be glad
to know more, so we could help them," said Mrs. Brown. "Won't you come
in? We have just been giving the children a little lunch, and perhaps,
if you have not eaten lately, you will be glad to do so now."

"More glad than you can guess, madam," said the man with a bow. "I am,
indeed, hungry. We have had bad luck, as perhaps Lucile and Mart have
told you."

"Yes, they spoke of it," said Bunny's mother. "And now please come in,
and while you are eating we can talk."

"Say, we could have a regular show here now!" whispered Bunny Brown to
his sister Sue. "We have three actors now, and you and I would make two
more."

"Oh, I don't want to be in a show now," said Sue. "I want to hear what
they're going to tell mother."

Bunny did also, and when Mr. Treadwell had seated himself at the table
the children listened to what followed.

"When you rang I was just telling Mart that perhaps my husband could
give him some work, so enough money could be earned for the trip to New
York," said Mrs. Brown. "Is it true that no one knows where these
children's uncle and aunt can be found?"

"Well, I guess it's true enough," said Mr. Treadwell. "There are two
uncles and one aunt, according to the story. William Clayton, who is a
brother of Mart's father, is blind, and in some home or hospital--I
don't know where, and I guess the children don't either," he added.

Lucile and Mart shook their heads.

"Simon Weatherby and his wife, Sallie, are brother and sister-in-law of
Mrs. Clayton's," went on the impersonator. "The last heard of them was
that they sailed for the other side--England, France or maybe Australia
for all I know. We theatrical folk travel around a good bit. Anyhow,
Simon Weatherby and his wife left in a hurry, and they gave the care of
the children over to Mr. and Mrs. Jackson.

"Now Mr. Jackson is all right, and a nice man, but he is careless, else
he wouldn't get into so much trouble, and he wouldn't have lost the
address of Mart's Uncle Simon. But that's how it happened. So the
children have some relations if we can only find them, and what they are
to do in the meanwhile, now that the show is scattered, is more than I
know."

"Well, I know one thing they're going to do, and that is stay right here
with me until they are sure of a home somewhere else," said Mrs. Brown.

"I'm glad to hear you say that!" exclaimed Mr. Treadwell, as he finished
his lunch. "I heard they left the boarding house, and that they had no
money. Well, I haven't any too much myself, but I followed them, hoping
I could find 'em and help 'em. Now I've found my little friends all
right," he said, looking kindly at Lucile and Mart, "but some one else
has helped them."

"They helped some one else first," said Mrs. Newton, with a smile. "Mart
got Mr. Winkler's monkey down out of a tree."

"I heard about that," returned Mr. Treadwell, with a laugh. "Well, now
that I have located you, I suppose I'd better travel on, though where to
go or what to do I don't know," he added with a sigh. "I'm not as young
as I once was," he added, "and there isn't the demand for impersonators
there once was. If I could get back to New York----"

He paused and shook his head sadly.

"Why don't you stay here and look for work, just as I'm going to do?"
asked Mart. "If you get to New York there won't be much chance. All the
theater places are filled now for the winter season."

"That's so!" agreed the impersonator. "But I don't know what sort of
work I could do here."

"You--you could be in our show!" interrupted Bunny, who, with Sue, had
been listening eagerly to all the talk. "We're going to have a show, and
you three could be in it!"

"Going to have a show, are you?" asked Mr. Treadwell, with a smile.

"Yes, a real one," declared Sue. "Once we had a circus, but this show is
going to be in the Opera House, maybe, and we'll give all the money we
make to our mother's Red Cross."

"That will be nice," said Mr. Treadwell, with a smile. "But I'm afraid
I'd be too big to fit into your show."

"Oh, no!" exclaimed Bunny. "We're going to have Bobbie Boomer in it, and
he's a big fat boy."

Mr. Treadwell laughed and Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Newton joined in.

"What sort of play are you going to have?" asked Mr. Treadwell.

"Well, we were just talking about it, in our garage, when Tom Milton
told us that Mr. Winkler's monkey was loose," explained Bunny, "and we
didn't talk any more about it until just now. But the show is going to
be different from the circus."

"Where are you going to have it?" asked Mrs. Newton.

"I don't know," confessed Bunny. "Maybe my father will let us have it in
the boat shop. That's a big place."

A step was heard in the hall, and Bunny and Sue cried:

"There's our daddy now!"

Mr. Brown walked in, kissed the children and seemed quite surprised to
see three strangers present. Matters were quickly explained to him,
however, and he welcomed Mr. Treadwell, Lucile and Mart.

"Do you think you could find work for them?" asked Mrs. Brown, when the
stories had been told.

"Well, I might," slowly answered Mr. Brown. "I need some help down at
the dock and office to get things ready for winter."

"Don't make 'em work so hard they can't help in our show," begged Bunny.

"Oh, you're going to have another circus, are you?" asked his father,
with a smile.

"No, it isn't going to be a circus, it's going to be a regular Opera
House show!" cried Sue.

"What about?" her father wanted to know, as he caught her up in his
arms.

"We don't know yet," Bunny said. "But maybe the play will be about
pirates or Indians or soldiers."

"Why don't you have some nice quiet play that would be good for
Christmas?" asked Mr. Brown. "Why not have a play with a farm scene in
it? You have been down to Grandpa's farm, and you know a lot about the
country. Why not have a farm play and call it 'Down on the Farm'?"

"That's the very thing!" suddenly cried Mr. Treadwell. "Excuse me for
getting so excited," he said, "but when you spoke about a farm play I
remembered that we have some farm scenery in our show that failed. I
believe you could buy that scenery cheap for the children," he said to
Mr. Brown. "There are three scenes, one meadow, a barnyard with a barn
and an orchard; and the last had a house with it."

"Oh, Daddy! get us the farm theater things for our new play!" cried
Bunny Brown.



CHAPTER VIII

THE SCENERY


Daddy Brown looked at his two children, and then, as he glanced across
the table at the actor who made believe he was George Washington and
other great men, Daddy Brown laughed.

"These youngsters of mine will be giving a real show before I know it,
with scenery and everything," he said.

"Well, a show isn't much fun unless you have some scenery in it," said
Mr. Treadwell, "and the scenery I spoke of, which was part of our show,
can be bought cheap, I think."

"Say, Daddy, is the sheenery in a show like the sheenery in a automobile
or one of your motor boats?" asked Sue.

"Oh, she's thinking of wheels and things that go around!" laughed Bunny.
"That's _ma_-chinery, Sue, and _scenery_ is what we saw in the Opera
House--make-believe trees, and the brook, you know."

"Oh!" exclaimed Sue. "Well, can we have that--that _sheenery_ for our
play?" she asked her father.

"I'll see about it," he answered, and Bunny and Sue looked happy, for,
like their mother, whenever their father said "I'll see," it almost
always meant that he would do as they wanted him to.

"I'm afraid, though," said Mr. Brown, "that getting up a show in town
will be harder, Bunny and Sue, than getting up a circus. In the circus
you could use your dog Splash and some of the animals from Grandpa's
farm. But a theater show, or one like it, hasn't many animals in it. You
ought to do more acting than you do trapeze work."

"Oh, we can do it!" cried Bunny Brown. "They're going to help, aren't
you?" and he looked over at Lucile and Mart.

"We'll help all we can," Mart promised. "That is, if we're here, and I
don't see how we can get away, for we haven't any money to pay our fare
on the train."

"That's my trouble, too," said Mr. Treadwell, with a smile. "I'd offer
to help too, if I thought I was going to be here."

"Oh, then we'll be sure to have a show!" declared Bunny. "You can be
General Washington and maybe some soldier, and we'll pretend you came
down to the farm to see us. Then I'll turn somersaults and Sue can bring
me out some cookies to eat, 'cause I get hungry when I turn somersaults.
And you can do tricks like those you did in the Opera House," he added
to Mart.

"What do you want me to do?" asked Lucile, with a smile.

"Oh, you--you can help Sue bring out the cookies for Mart and me,"
decided Bunny. "And--oh yes--you can sing--those songs you sang in the
show we went to see, you know."

"All right, I'll help all I can--if I'm here," said Lucile.

"Well, suppose we talk a little about the trouble you good theater folks
are in," suggested Mr. Brown. "The show Bunny and Sue are going to give
can wait for a while. Now what do you want to do--get back to New York,
all three of you?"

"Well, New York is the place almost all show people start from," said
Mr. Treadwell, "but I don't know that there's much use going back there
now. All the places in other shows will be taken. If I could get some
sort of work here for the winter I'd stay."

"So would I!" declared Mart. "I like to stay in a place two or three
weeks at a time, and not have to move to a new town every night, like a
circus. Have you any work you could let me do?" he asked Mr. Brown.

"I was going to speak of that," replied the father of Bunny and Sue.
"One of the young men in my office is going on leave, and I could hire
you in his place. The wages aren't very big," he said, "but it would be
enough for you to live on and take care of your sister."

"I suppose I could board here in Bellemere," suggested Mart.

"You can stay right here--you and Lucile!" cried Mrs. Brown. "Our house
is plenty large enough, and there's lots of room. Do stay here--at least
until you locate your uncle and your aunt."

"That's very kind of you," said Lucile softly, and she reached over and
stroked Sue's curls.

"Oh, goodie!" cried Bunny, when he understood that his father was going
to hire Mart Clayton to work in the office at the dock. "Then you can
help us get up the show."

"Well, I'll do all I can," promised Mart.

"And I'll help, too," added Lucile.

"If you can find a place for me, Mr. Brown, I'll make the same promise,"
said Mr. Treadwell. "I don't care much about going back to New York, and
if Mart and Lucile stay here I'd like to stay, too, and sort of look
after them. I'll try to help them find their missing folks."

"I guess I can find work for you," said Mr. Brown. "Do you know anything
about the fish or boat business?"

"Very little, I'm afraid. I once worked as a bookkeeper in a piano
factory, though, if that would help any," he said.

"Keeping books is just what I want done," said Mr. Brown. "So you can
have a place in my office. The man I have is going to leave, and you may
take his place. He also has a room with Mr. Winkler and his sister, and
you could get board there."

"That suits me all right, and thank you very much," said Mr. Treadwell.
"I'll send over to Wayville and get what little baggage I have. But
will it be all right for me to board at Mr. Winkler's?" he asked.

"Oh, yes. They'll be glad to have you."

"And you can see Mr. Winkler's monkey Wango and the parrot all the
while!" cried Bunny Brown.

"That will be a treat!" laughed Mr. Treadwell.

So it was settled that both Mr. Treadwell and Mart would work for Mr.
Brown. The man who pretended to be George Washington and other great men
would board with the old sailor and his sister, while Mart and Lucile
would live with the Browns.

"And we'll have lots of fun!" said Sue to Lucile.

"And will you show me how to make flipflops?" asked Bunny of Mart.

"Yes," answered the boy actor and acrobat, "I will."

While Lucile remained at Mrs. Brown's house, Mart, with Mr. Brown and
the impersonator went over to Wayville to get the baggage of the
theatrical folk. Mr. Brown was going to pay the board bills. Bunny and
Sue wanted to go also, but their father said:

"I'll take you along when we go to look at the scenery. You'd only be in
the way now, and wouldn't have a good time."

That night Lucile and Mart stayed at the Brown house, which was to be
their home for some time, and Mr. Treadwell went to board with the
Winklers.

"And when you come over in the morning tell us all about the monkey and
parrot!" begged Bunny, as the actor started for his boarding place that
evening.

"I will," was the promise.

"When are we going to get the scenery for our play, Daddy?" asked Bunny
Brown, as he and his sister Sue were getting ready for bed that night.

"I'll take you over to-morrow after school," was the promise. And you
can well imagine that the two children could hardly wait for the time to
come.

The air was clear and cold, and it seemed as if there would be more snow
when Mr. Brown brought around the automobile in which the trip to
Wayville was to be made. Bunny and Sue, Lucile and Mart were to sit in
the back, while Mr. Brown and Mr. Treadwell sat in front. They were
going to the place where the theatrical scenery had been stored since
the time the vaudeville troupe had got into trouble.

"I'm glad winter is coming, aren't you?" asked Bunny of Mart, as they
rode along the roads which were still covered with snow from the first
storm.

"Well, yes, I like winter," was the answer. "It's always the best time
for the show business--'tisn't like a circus--that does best in the
summer time."

"We had our circus in summer," said Sue. "Now we're going to have a real
theater show in the winter."

The automobile was going down a snowy hill into Wayville, and Mr. Brown
had put on the brakes, for, once or twice, the machine had slid from
side to side.

"I ought to have chains on the back wheels," said the fish merchant to
Mr. Treadwell. "But if I go slowly I guess I'll be all right. Do you
think we need any more scenery than the three sets you spoke of--the
barnyard, the orchard and the meadow?"

"No, I think that will be enough," said the actor. "The children only
want something simple. You can tell when you see it."

"Can we pick apples in the orchard?" asked Sue.

Before Mr. Treadwell could answer something happened. Mr. Brown turned
out to one side of the road to let another automobile pass, and, a
moment later, his machine began sliding to one side at a place where
there was a deep gully.

"Oh!" screamed Lucile. "We're going to upset!"



CHAPTER IX

BUNNY DOES A TRICK


Nearer and nearer to the side of the deep gully, across the road that
was slippery with snow, slid Mr. Brown's automobile. Bunny and Sue's
father's hands held tightly to the steering wheel, and he pressed his
foot down hard on the brake pedal.

"Oh! Oh!" cried the children.

"Sit still! It will be all right!" exclaimed Mr. Brown. "We won't be
hurt!"

And so well did he steer the automobile that in a few seconds more it
was back in the middle of the road and going safely down the hill. The
dangerous gully was passed. It had all happened so quickly that Bunny
and Sue had had no chance to get really frightened. But they were so
sure their father could do everything all right that I hardly believe
they would have worried even if the auto had started to roll over
sideways. Bunny would probably have thought it only a trick, and he and
Sue were very fond of tricks.

"The man in the other automobile didn't give you enough room to pass,
did he, Mr. Brown?" asked the actor, when the danger was over.

"Not quite," was the answer. "We'll go home by another road that is
wider, but I took this one because it is the shortest way."

"I hope I didn't do wrong to cry out that way," Lucile said, when they
were on their way again.

"No, you didn't do any harm," said Mr. Brown. "I was a bit alarmed
myself at first. But we're all right now."

"We were in a railroad wreck once," went on Lucile.

"Did the trains all smash up?" asked Bunny, his eyes wide open.

"Yes, they were badly smashed," answered Lucile. "I don't like to think
about it. Mart was hurt, too!"

"Was you?" cried Bunny, forgetting, in his excitement, to speak
correctly. "Say, you've had lots of things happen to you, haven't you?"

"Quite a few," answered the boy actor. "I've traveled around a good bit.
But I think I like it here better than anywhere I've been."

"I do too," said Lucile. "Traveling everyday makes one tired."

A little later they reached Wayville, and Mr. Treadwell told Mr. Brown
where to go in the automobile to look at the scenery. It was stored
away, for the company that had "busted up," as Mart sometimes called it,
had no further use for it.

"Oh, look! Here's a little house!" cried Bunny, when with their father
and the others he and Sue had entered the big room where the scenery was
stored.

"It's got a door to it," said Sue, "but the window is only make
believe," and she found this out when she tried to stick her fat little
hand out of what looked like a window in the side of the small house.

"Most things on a stage in a theater are make believe," said the man who
pretended to be different persons. "You'll find the scenery isn't as
pretty when you get close to it as it is when you see it from the other
side of the footlights."

This the children noticed was true. The scenery was made of painted
canvas stretched over a framework of wood. And the colors were put on
with a coarse brush and was very thick, as Bunny and Sue saw when they
went up close.

"But it looked so pretty in the Opera House," complained Bunny.

"That's because you were farther off, and because the lights were made
to shine on it in a certain way," explained Mart. "It will look just as
pretty again when you use it in your show."

Bunny and Sue were not so sure of this, but they were willing to wait
and see. Mr. Brown and Mr. Treadwell looked over the scenery.

As the actor had said, there were three "sets" as they are called. One
was a scene painted to look like a meadow, with a big green field, a
stream of water and, in the distance, cows eating grass. Of course the
cows were only pictured ones as was the grass and stream.

The barnyard scene showed more cows and the end of a barn, and in this
barn there was a real door that opened and shut. Mr. Treadwell explained
that the boy and girl actors could go through this door to enter upon or
leave the stage during the play.

"There's a pump and a watering trough that goes with this scene," said
the actor. "In the play as we used to give it the trough was filled with
water and one of the actors had to fall into it."

"And does the pump pump real water?" cried Bunny.

"Yes, about a pail full," was the answer.

"Then we'll have it in our show!" cried the little boy. "I'll fall into
the trough and get all wet, Sue, and you can pump more water on me from
the pump."

"That'll be fun!" laughed Sue.

"We'll have to see about that act first," laughed Mr. Brown. "Now let's
find out what else we have for the great play 'Down on the Farm.'
Where's that orchard I heard you speak of, Mr. Treadwell?"

"I guess the orchard is behind the barn," laughed the old actor. And
when some of the men in the storage place had lifted away the painted
canvas that represented the barn, a pretty orchard scene was shown.

"There's the rest of the little house!" cried Bunny, for at first he had
only noticed one side of it.

"Yes, there is one end of a house shown in this scene, as one end of the
barn is shown in the other," explained the actor. "And there is a real
door, too, that opens and shuts. The orchard, as you see, is only
painted."

And so it was, but in such a way as to appear very pretty when set up
and lighted.

"Here's a real tree!" cried Bunny, who was rummaging about back of the
stacked-up scenery.

"Well, it's meant to look like a real tree," said Mr. Treadwell, "but it
isn't, really. It's a pretty good imitation of a peach tree, and I
suppose you could use it in your show, children."

"Peaches don't grow in the winter," objected Bunny, who had been on his
grandfather's farm often enough to know this.

"We could make believe our show was in summer," said Sue.

"Yes, or you could make believe your play took place down south, where
it's always warm," added Mart, "and you could have this for an orange
tree."

"Oh, no! That wouldn't do!" laughed Mr. Treadwell. "The leaves aren't
anything like those of an orange tree. I remember once when we gave an
act with this tree it was supposed to be on a tropic island, and one of
the actors fastened a cocoanut on it, to make the audience think it
really grew there."

"What happened?" asked Mr. Brown, as he saw the actor laugh.

"Well, the cocoanut wasn't fastened on very well," was the answer, "and
when the leading lady was standing under the tree, singing a sad song,
the cocoanut fell off and dropped on her foot. She stopped singing right
there, and the play was nearly spoiled. So don't have oranges grow on
peach trees," he advised.

"We could have peanuts," suggested Bunny. "They wouldn't hurt if they
fell on you."

Mr. Brown and Mr. Treadwell laughed at that, and Bunny wondered why they
did.

The children were delighted with the scenery, once they had got over
their surprise at how coarse the paint looked when they were close to
it. The barn and the house, with their real doors that opened and shut,
were quite wonderful to Bunny Brown and his sister Sue, and so was the
tree.

This was made of wood with what seemed to be real bark on it, and had
limbs, branches, and twigs that seemed very natural. But Mr. Treadwell
explained that it was all artificial, like the palms you see in some
hotels and moving picture theaters.

While Bunny and Sue waited, Mr. Brown talked with the man who had charge
of the scenery, and in a little while the children's father said he
would buy the set, which was offered at a low price.

"And can we give our show with it?" Bunny wanted to know when told what
his father had done.

"Yes," said Mr. Brown. "It will be delivered in Bellemere day after
to-morrow, and stored away in our garage until you decide when and where
you are going to give your show. There is a lot to be done before your
first performance, children. I guess you know that, from the work you
had getting up your circus."

"We'll have a lot of fun!" declared Bunny, not thinking of the hard
work. "When we get back home I'll tell the boys and girls about the
scenery and they can come over to see it. Then we'll begin to practice
for the show play."

"You'll have to have a play written for you, bringing in all the scenery
I've bought," said Mr. Brown.

"I guess I can manage that part for them," suggested Mr. Treadwell. "I
have written two or three little plays, and I guess I can do one more.
I'll write out a little sketch and have parts to fit as many boys and
girls as Bunny and Sue can get to act."

"Oh, I can get a lot of 'em!" cried Bunny. "And will you make it so Sue
can pump water and I can fall in the trough and get all wet?"

"It's pretty cold to fall into the water," said the actor. "But we'll
talk of that later."

You can imagine how excited the little friends of Bunny Brown and his
sister Sue were when they heard that Mr. Brown had bought some real
scenery for the children's play. As soon as the house, the barn, the
meadow, the barnyard, and the orchard had been brought to the garage a
crowd of boys and girls was on hand to look at them.

Sue led a number of her girl friends up in the loft to look over the
painted canvas, and Bunny took charge of a throng of boys. Sue was
explaining about the make-believe tree, that once had had a cocoanut on
it, when suddenly there came a cry of pain from behind the painted
canvas barn.

"Oh! Oh!" exclaimed a voice. "I'm stuck fast!"

"That's Bunny!" shouted Sue. "What's the matter?" she asked.

"Bunny tried to do a trick and he's caught!" answered Charlie Star.
"You'd better go and get your father or mother!"



CHAPTER X

GETTING READY


Sue Brown was too curious when she heard Charlie say this to do as she
had been told.

"Oh, Bunny!" she called out, as she heard her brother's cries, "what's
the matter, and where are you?"

"He's stuck in the watering trough," explained Harry Bentley. "Come on
back here and you can see him!"

"Get me out! Get me out!" begged Bunny. "Please get me out!"

"Better go get your father or mother," advised Charlie again. "I've
pulled and pulled, and I can't get Bunny loose. His trick didn't work
out right."

But Sue made up her mind that she would see what was the matter with
Bunny before she called on her father and mother to come and help. She
and Bunny had often been in little troublesome scrapes before, and often
they got out by themselves. They might do it this time. So Sue darted
around the piled-up scenery, and there she saw a group of boys around
the stage watering trough.

This was made to look like the watering troughs you may have seen in the
country, made from a big, hollowed-out log. Only this one was made of
sheet tin, and painted to look like wood.

Down in the trough was Bunny Brown. He was stretched out at full length
and he seemed to be caught. In fact he was caught, and the reason for it
was that Bunny was a little too big to fit in the stage trough--that is
his shoulders were too large. But his legs and feet were free, and with
his shoes he was drumming a tattoo on the inside of the tin trough,
which was somewhat like a bathtub.

"Oh, Bunny Brown, what have you done now?" cried Sue, when she saw her
brother in the trough and the crowd of boys standing around him.

"I--I'm stuck fast!" Bunny replied. "I was practising a trick, like the
one I'm going to do on the stage when we give our play. I got in the
trough, and now I can't get out."

"It's a good thing we didn't put the water in as he wanted us to do,"
said George Watson, "else he'd be soaking wet now."

"Yes, I'm glad you didn't put the water in," agreed Bunny. "But say, I
wish I could get out!"

He wiggled and squirmed, but still he was held fast.

"Oh, if he has to stay stuck in there all the while Bunny can't be in
the show!" said Sadie West.

"We'll get him out!" declared Charlie Star. "Come on, Harry, you and
George each take hold of him on one side, and Bobby Boomer and I'll pull
his legs."

"My legs aren't caught!" said Bunny. "It's my shoulders!"

"Well, if I pull on your legs it'll help get your shoulders loose, I
guess," returned Charlie. "Come on now, fellows!"

"Can't we girls help too?" asked Sue.

"Well, maybe you could," Charlie agreed. "All pull."

"Don't tear my clothes," protested Bunny. "If I tear my clothes maybe my
mother won't let me be in the show."

"Come on now, let's all pull together!" suggested Charlie.

  [Illustration: "COME ON NOW, LET'S ALL PULL TOGETHER!"
    _Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue Giving a Show._ _Page 96_]

As many of the boys and girls as could, gathered around the trough and
tried to pull Bunny loose. But he stuck fast in spite of all they could
do. Then Sue said:

"I'm going to tell mother. She'll know how to get him loose. Once he was
stuck in the rain water barrel, when it was empty, and my mother got him
out. She can do 'most everything. I'll go for her."

"Yes, I guess you'd better," agreed Bunny. "We've got a lot to do to get
ready for the play, and I can't do anything while I'm stuck fast here."

"It's a good thing this isn't in the play, or everybody in the audience
would be laughing at us," said Harry Bentley.

"I--I guess I won't get in the trough when we give our play real,"
decided Bunny. "I might get stuck then. I'll think up some other trick
to do."

Sue was about to hurry away, intending to call her mother, when some one
was heard coming up the stairs that led to the loft over the garage. A
moment later the head and shoulders of Mart Clayton came into view.

"Oh, Mart!" cried Sue, for she and Bunny felt quite well acquainted with
the boy and girl performers, "Bunny is stuck in the trough and he can't
get out!"

"Is there water in it?" asked Lucile's brother quickly, as he jumped up
the rest of the stairs.

"No!" answered a chorus of boys and girls. "Not a drop."

"Oh, then he's all right," said Mart. "I'll soon have him out."

And he did. It was very simple. Mart simply pulled Bunny's coat off,
over the little fellow's head, and then Bunny was small enough to slip
out of the trough himself. He had so wiggled and squirmed after getting
into the tin thing like a bath tub that his coat was all hunched up in
bunches. This kept his shoulders from slipping out, but when the coat
was off everything was all right.

"What did you get in there for?" asked Mart, when Bunny was on his feet
once more.

"I was practising my act," was the answer. "I'm going to be a farmer boy
in the play, and then I hide in the trough so I can scare an old tramp
that comes to get a drink of water. Only there isn't going to be any
water in the trough when I do my act," said Bunny. "I wanted there to be
some, but mother won't let me."

"I guess we can do that act just as well without water as with it," said
Mart with a smile. "An audience likes to see real water on the stage,
but we can use some in the pump, I guess. Now then, boys and girls, are
you all going to be in the new play, 'Down on the Farm?'"

"Yes, I am! I am! So'm I!" came the answers, and Mart laughed and put
his hands over his ears.

"I guess we'll have plenty of actors and actresses," he said. "Mr.
Treadwell will be out here this afternoon and tell you something of the
little play he is going to write for you--for all of us, in fact, for my
sister and I are going to be in it with you. But now suppose I tell you
a little about a stage, and how to come on and go off."

"Is Bunny going to get stuck again?" asked Sue. "If he is I'm going to
tell mother so she can help get him out."

"No, I won't get in the trough again," said Bunny. "I only did it now to
see if I'd fit. And I don't--very well," he added.

Then Mart told Bunny, Sue, and the others something about how a stage in
a theater is set, and something about the proper way to come on and go
off. A little later Lucile also came out to the garage and she drilled
the girls in a little dance they were to give.

Then the two young performers showed the others how the stage scenery
was set up to look as real as possible from the front.

"Where are you going to give your play?" asked Mart, as they all sat
down to rest.

"Oh, we don't know, yet," said Bunny. "I guess we won't have it until
around Christmas, and by then my father will think up some place for
us."

"Couldn't we have it up here?" asked Sadie West. "All the scenery is
here."

"Oh, there isn't room," said Lucile. "We have to have a stage, and then
there is no place up here for the audience to sit. And there isn't any
use in giving a play unless you have an audience. That's half the fun.
What are you going to do with all the money you make, Bunny Brown?" she
asked the little chap.

"Oh, I--I guess we'll give it to mother's Red Cross," he answered. "But
first we've got to find out what sort of acts we can give. Our dog
Splash is a good actor--he was in our circus."

"I guess Mr. Treadwell can work Splash into the play in some way," said
Mart. "We'll ask him."

That afternoon the actor gathered the children around him, out in the
loft over the garage, and, by questioning them, he found out what each
one could do best. Some could recite little verses, others could sing
and some could dance.

"Can't I have my trained white mice in the play?" asked Will Laydon.
"They twirl around on a wire wheel and one of 'em stands up on his hind
legs."

"Well, perhaps we can use them," said the actor. "Now I'll tell you a
little about the play I am going to write for you. It will be in three
acts. One act will be in the meadow, as we have the scenery for that and
must use what we have. Another act will be in the barnyard, and we can
use as many animals there as we can get. Then we'll have the last act
in the orchard, and you children can be in swings, in the trees, or
playing around."

"We've got only one tree and not many of us can get in that," objected
Charlie Star.

"Well, perhaps I can rig up another tree--or something that will do,"
said Mr. Treadwell. "We'll decide about that later. Now as to the play.
I thought I'd have it very simple. It's about an old man and two
children who have lived in the city all their lives. They are in the
show business and they get tired of it. One day while traveling about
they miss their train, and they are left in a lonely country town.

"At first they don't like it, but when they see how quiet and peaceful
it is, after the hot, noisy city, they decide to stay. They reach a
farmhouse and find some children who are tired of the country and want
to go to the city. The old man and the city children tell the country
children about how hot it is in town, and advise them to stay in the
fields and meadows.

"Then the old man and the children with him do some of the things they
used to do in a city theater, and the country children do some of the
things they do Friday afternoons at school. And they all have a good
time. Then they hear about some poor people who live in a hospital, or
some place like that, and they decide to get up a show to make money to
give to the poor folks who haven't had much joy in life. So they give a
little show, make some money and all ends happily. How do you like
that?"

No one spoke for a moment, and then Bunny cried:

"Why--why that's just like you and--and us, Mr. Treadwell! It's almost
real--like it is here."

"Yes," agreed the actor, "I thought I'd make it as real as possible, and
as natural. It will go better that way. Do you like it?"

"Oh, it's lovely!" said Sue. "I hope Sadie West will speak the piece
about a Dolly's Prayer."

"Yes, she speaks that very nicely," said Mary Watson.

"Then we'll have her do it in our little play," decided Mr. Treadwell.
"And now I'll start to work writing the play and we can soon begin to
practice."

"And we really can give the money to the Blind Home here, instead of to
the Red Cross, maybe," said Bunny. "Once mother and some ladies got up
an entertainment and they made 'most fifty dollars for the Blind Home."

"I hope we can make as much," said Lucile. "It's dreadful to be blind. I
feel so sorry for our Uncle Bill. I wish we could find him."

"And I wish we could find Uncle Simon and Aunt Sallie," added Mart. "But
still we like it here," he hastened to add, lest Bunny and Sue might
think he and his sister did not care for all that Mr. and Mrs. Brown had
done for them.

In the week that followed Mr. Treadwell, when he was not working in Mr.
Brown's office, keeping books, wrote away at the little play. Mart, too,
when he was not busy at the dock, helping Bunker Blue, did what he could
to get ready for the show. The children did not tell any one except
their fathers and mothers what it was to be about.

"It must be a secret," said Bunny Brown. "Then everybody will buy a
ticket to come and see it."

"But where are we going to have the show?" asked Sue of Bunny one night.

"I don't know," Bunny answered.

"I must begin to look around for a place for you," said Mr. Brown. "I
did think we could use the old moving picture theater, but that has been
sold and is being torn down. But we'll find some place. How are you
coming on with the children's play?" he asked the impersonator.

"Very well, I think," was the answer. "We'll soon be ready for a trial,
or rehearsal, as it is called. Have you heard anything about the uncle
and aunt of Mart and Lucile?" he asked.

"No," replied Mr. Brown, "I haven't. I have written several letters
hoping to get some word, but I haven't as yet. I can't even find out
where Mr. and Mrs. Jackson are. They might have found the address of the
children's Aunt Sallie and Uncle Simon. But Jackson seems to have
vanished after his show failed."

"Yes, that often happens," said Mr. Treadwell.

"If we could only find our Uncle Bill he could tell us just what we want
to know," said Mart. "But I don't know where he is."

"Could he, by any chance, be in this Blind Home just outside of your
town?" asked the actor.

"No, I thought of that, and inquired," said Mr. Brown. "There is no
person named Clayton in the place. Well, we'll just keep on hoping."

The weather was now getting colder. Thanksgiving came, and there were
jolly good times in the Brown home. Mart and Lucile said they had never
had such a happy holiday since their own folks were with them, and Mr.
Treadwell, who was invited to dinner, told such funny jokes and stories,
making believe he was a colored man, or an Irishman, at times, that he
had every one laughing. Bunker Blue came to dinner also, and he said he
had had as much fun as if he had been to the theater.

"You'll come to our show, won't you, Bunker?" asked Bunny, when he could
eat no more.

"Oh, sure, I'll come!" said the fish boy. "And I'll clap as loud as I
can when you get in the water trough."

"I'm not going to get in," decided Bunny. "I'm going to let Charlie
Star do that--he's smaller 'n I am."

The children were given their parts for the farm play, and they
practiced whenever they had a chance over the garage. The scenery was
still stored there, and Mr. Brown was trying to find a place in town
large enough for the show to be given.

It was one evening after a day of practice, and while Bunny, Sue, and
the others in the Brown house were talking about the play, that a ring
came at the front door.

"Oh, maybe that's a special delivery letter to say our uncle and aunt
have been heard from!" exclaimed Lucile.

"Oh, if it should be!" murmured Sue, hopefully.

But it was Mr. Raymond, the hardware store keeper, in whose place Wango
the monkey had once got loose.

"Good evening, Mr. Brown," was Mr. Raymond's greeting as he came in. "I
heard you were looking for a place for the children to give some sort of
entertainment--is that so?"

"Yes," was the answer. "I did hope we might get the old moving picture
theater, but that's been sold, and I really don't know what to do. We
have the scenery, the children have nearly learned their parts, but we
have no place to give the show."

"Well, I've come to tell you where you can find a place," said the
hardware man, and Bunny and Sue clapped their hands in delight.



CHAPTER XI

THE STRANGE VOICE


"This is very kind of you, I'm sure, Mr. Raymond," said Mr. Brown. "I
didn't know there was any place in town I hadn't thought of. The church
will hardly do, and the Opera House costs too much to hire for a simple
little play. The town meeting hall is too small, and I was thinking we'd
have to get a tent, perhaps.

"No, you won't have to do that," said the merchant. "You know there's a
big loft over my store, don't you?"

"Yes, but I thought you had that piled full of things," said Mr. Brown.

"Well, it was, but it's partly cleaned out now," was the answer. "I'm
going to clean out the rest, and you can have that place for your show,
and welcome. It won't cost you a penny for rent."

"Oh! Oh!" Bunny Brown and his sister Sue fairly squealed in delight.

"I'm glad you like it," said Mr. Raymond with a smile. "I was up in my
attic, as I call it, the other day, and after I got to thinking about
cleaning it out I thought of you children and your show. I heard some
one say that Mr. Brown couldn't get just the place that would suit, so
began to measure around, and I think mine will do."

"I'm sure it will," said Mrs. Brown.

"But is there a stage and are there seats for the audience?" asked Mart,
who was the first to think of these things.

"No, there isn't a stage, nor yet any seats," said Mr. Raymond, and at
hearing this Bunny and Sue looked disappointed. But they brightened up
when Mr. Raymond went on with a smile:

"I'm going to build a stage in the place, and also put in seats. It's
about time we had, in this town, some place where little shows and
entertainments can be given. The town hall is too small, and the Opera
House is too big. I'm going to make mine in-between."

"Like the big bear and the little bear and the middle-sized bear!"
laughed Sue.

"That's it," said Mr. Raymond. "I expect to make some money by renting
out my hall after I get it fixed up. But I'm going to let you folks
have it for nothing this time," he was quick to say. "It will advertise
the place, and people will know about it. So now if you'd like it I'll
go ahead and fix up the stage and the seats, and as soon as it's ready
you can move your scenery in and have your show, Bunny Brown."

"Will it be ready in time for a Christmas entertainment?" asked Lucile.

"Oh, yes, I'll see to that!" promised Mr. Raymond.

"Well, I'm sure we can't thank you enough," said Mr. Brown. "I had
promised the children a place for their show, but I was just beginning
to think I couldn't find one. This will be just the thing."

"And Mr. Raymond can come to our play for nothing!" cried Bunny.

"Yes, I think that's the least we can offer him," laughed Mrs. Brown.

There was great excitement in town the next day, especially among the
boys and girls, when it became known that a new hall was to be built
over the hardware store, and it can be easily believed that Bunny, Sue,
and their friends who were to be in the play, "Down on the Farm," were
more excited than any one else.

While they waited for Mr. Raymond to have his "attic," as he called it,
cleaned out and the stage built and seats put in, Bunny and Sue, with
Mart and Lucile, had plenty of fun, as well as some work. For it was
work to get up a play, as the children soon found out. Mr. Treadwell did
his part, in writing the different parts the boy and girl actors were to
speak, but the boys and girls themselves had to learn them by heart, and
it was not as easy as learning to speak a "single piece" for Friday
afternoon at school.

But every one did his or her best, and soon it was felt that the play
was coming on "in fine shape," as the actor said. It was easier for Mart
and Lucile to learn their parts, as they were used to appearing on the
stage.

When the children were not practicing they had fun on the snow and ice,
for winter had set in early that year, and there was plenty of coasting
and skating.

One day Mart and his sister came back to the Brown house, having been
downtown to see how the new hall for the play was coming on--Raymond
Hall it was to be called.

"Is it 'most ready?" asked Bunny, who opened the door for the boy
acrobat and his singing sister.

"Yes," was the answer. "Mr. Raymond has had the stage built and they are
putting in the seats to-day. Was there any mail for us, Bunny?" Mart
asked.

"No," answered the little boy.

"Oh dear!" sighed Lucile. "I don't believe we'll ever hear from our
folks. I guess they've forgotten us!"

"Maybe you'll hear at Christmas," said Sue softly. "You get things at
Christmas you don't get in all the year, and maybe you'll get the letter
you want, Lucile."

"I hope so," was the answer. "It's lonesome not to have any folks
writing to you. But of course we love it here!" she made haste to add,
for indeed the Browns were very kind to the boy and the girl, and also
to Mr. Treadwell, who seemed to like it in Bellemere.

At last the new hall was finished, the farm scenery Mr. Brown had
bought was moved in, and one bright, sunny day, with the sparkling white
snow on the ground outside, the boys and girls gathered over the
hardware store for practice.

"Now we will try the first act," said Mr. Treadwell, when the meadow
scene had been set up on the stage, and it "looked as real as anything!"
as Sue whispered to Sadie West.

"Take your places!" said the actor. "Remember now, Bunny and Sue are
supposed to be picking daisies in the meadow, and you other children are
picking buttercups. All at once an old tramp comes along the road--which
is the front of the stage, as I've told you."

"Oh, I don't want to play if there's going to be an old twamp in it!"
exclaimed little Belle Hanson. "I don't like twamps! They's awful
dirty!"

"It isn't a real tramp," said Mr. Treadwell. "I dress up like one,
Belle," for he had arranged to have a number of costumes for himself so
he could take different parts in the little play.

"Well, if it's just a play twamp all wight," said Belle. "They's wagged
maybe, but not dirty."

The children were told what they must do and say for the first act. They
had practiced it over and over again, but even then some of them would
forget at times.

"Now we're all ready," said Mr. Treadwell, at length. "Start to pick
daisies, Bunny and Sue, and the rest of you pick buttercups. Then I'll
make believe I'm a tramp and come along the road."

As this was not what is called a "dress rehearsal" neither Mr. Treadwell
nor the children had on any special costumes. They were wearing their
everyday clothes.

Bunny, Sue, and the others took their places, and spoke their proper
lines.

"Oh, here comes a tramp!" suddenly cried Sue to her brother, as she was
supposed to do in the play when Mr. Treadwell appeared on the stage.
"Here comes a tramp!"

Now Bunny was supposed to have a speech at this point, but no sooner had
Sue cried out just as she had been taught to do, than a strange voice
answered her, saying:

"A tramp is it! Set the dog on him! Here, Towser! Get after the tramp!
No tramps allowed around here! Bow! Wow! Wow!" and then came a shrill
whistle as of some one calling a dog.



CHAPTER XII

A SURPRISE


Mr. Treadwell, who was closely watching Bunny Brown and his sister Sue,
to see that they did their first part in the play all right, looked up
in surprise as he heard the strange voice speaking about the tramp,
calling the dog and whistling.

"Please don't do that," said the actor. "That isn't in the play. Who
said it?"

"No--nobody--I guess," replied Charlie Star.

"Well, somebody must have said it, for I heard it," replied Mr.
Treadwell, with a smile. "Don't do it again! Now Bunny and Sue try it
again. Make believe, Sue, that you see a tramp coming down the road. I'm
to be the tramp, you know, and on the night of the show I'll really
dress up like one. Now go on."

Bunny looked at Sue and Sue looked at Bunny. The other children in the
play also looked at one another. They were sure none of them had spoken,
and yet Mr. Treadwell seemed to think the voice had been one of theirs.

"Oh, here comes a tramp!" cried Sue once more, and Bunny was just about
to repeat his part, when, again, came the strange, shrill voice, saying:

"No tramps allowed! No tramps wanted! Give him a cold potato and let him
go!"

"Oh, I'm not going to stay here!" suddenly cried Sadie West.

"There is something funny here," said Bunny Brown. "None of us is
talking and yet we hear a voice."

Mr. Treadwell, who had been looking over the papers on which he had
written down the different parts of the play, looked up quickly when he
again heard the strange voice. He was just about to ask who had called
out when something fluttered down out of the stage tree which was to be
set up in the orchard scene. The tree was off to one side, in what are
called in theater talk, the "wings." Out of the tree fluttered something
with flapping wings.

"It's a big owl!" cried George Watson.

"Don't let it get hold of your hair or it'll pull it all out!" called
Sue. "Owls feets gets tangled in your hair," and she put her hands over
her head.

"Pooh! They don't either!" cried Helen Newton.

The children were rushing here and there about the stage, and Mr.
Treadwell was trying to see where the strange bird was going to light,
when Bunny Brown cried out:

"'Tisn't an owl at all! It's Mr. Jed Winkler's parrot!"

And when the fluttering bird had come to rest on top of the stage barn,
it was seen that it was just what Bunny said--a big, green parrot. There
it perched, picking at a make believe shingle with its hooked bill, and
calling in its shrill voice:

"No tramps allowed! No tramps allowed! Call the dog! Here, Towser! Give
him a cold potato and let him go! Bow wow!"

Then how all the children laughed!

"Why, it surely is Mr. Winkler's parrot!" exclaimed Mr. Treadwell, as he
looked at the green bird. "He was safe in his cage when I came out this
morning, but he must have got loose. I'd better go and tell Miss
Winkler, for she likes the parrot as much as she doesn't like Jed's
monkey. She told me she was teaching the parrot to say some new words,
but I didn't know they were about tramps or I would have known right
away it wasn't any of you children speaking during the play. Come on
down, Polly!" called the actor to the green bird.

But Polly seemed to like it up on top of the stage barn, and from the
top of the roof it cried again:

"No tramps! No tramps allowed! Towser, get after the tramps!"

The children laughed again, and Mr. Treadwell said:

"It wouldn't do to have the parrot in the play, or he'd spoil the first
scene. Now I'd better go and tell Miss Winkler where she can find the
bird."

But he was saved this trouble, for just then Miss Winkler herself came
up the stairs leading from the hall at one side of the hardware store.

"Is my parrot here, Mr. Treadwell?" she asked the actor who boarded at
her house. "I let him out of his cage when I was cleaning it a while
ago, and when I looked for him, to put him back, he was gone. One of my
windows was open and he must have flown out. Some of my neighbors said
they saw a big bird flying toward the hardware store, so I came over.
Mr. Raymond and I couldn't find him downstairs, and he told me to look
up here. Have you seen Polly?"

The big, green bird answered for himself then, for he cried out:

"Look out for tramps!"

"Oh, there you are!" exclaimed Miss Winkler. "Aren't you ashamed of
yourself, Polly, to fly off like that? You'll catch your death of cold;
too, coming out this wintry weather! Here, come to me!"

She held out her hand, and the parrot fluttered down to one finger. Miss
Winkler scratched the green bird's head, and the parrot seemed to like
this.

"No tramps allowed!" he cried.

"I taught him to say that!" said Miss Winkler. "I thought it would be a
good thing for a parrot to say. Often tramps come around when Jed isn't
at home, and if they hear Polly speaking they'll think it's a man and
go away. Now, Polly, we'll go home!"

"No tramps allowed!" said the bird again.

"I hope my parrot didn't spoil the play," said Miss Winkler to Mr.
Treadwell and the children.

"Oh, no," answered the actor. "We didn't know he was in here, and when
he began talking I thought it was one of the boys or girls speaking out
of turn. But he did no harm."

"I'm glad of that," said the elderly woman. "A parrot is a heap sight
better than a monkey, I tell Jed. He ought to teach Wango to talk, and
then he'd be of some use!"

The children laughed as she went downstairs with the parrot on her
finger, and Sue said:

"A monkey would be funny if he could talk, wouldn't he?"

"I should say so!" exclaimed Mr. Treadwell. "But now, children, we'll
get on with the play."

Miss Winkler took her parrot home and shut him, or her, up in a cage.
Sometimes "Polly" was called "him," and again "her." It didn't seem to
matter which. The bird had got out of an open window when Miss Winkler
was busy in another room, and, like the monkey, had gone to the store
of Mr. Raymond, not far away.

I need not tell you about the practice for the play, as it took so long
for each boy and girl to learn his or her part, and how to come on and
go off the stage at the right time. At the proper place I'll tell you
all about the play, but just now I'll say that for several days there
was hard practice with Mr. Treadwell, Mart, and Lucile to help, or
"coach," as it is called, the children.

"Do you think we'll be ready by Christmas?" asked Bunny one day.

"Oh, surely," answered the actor. It was planned to have the play, "Down
on the Farm," given Christmas afternoon, and the money was to go to the
Home for the Blind in Bellemere, and not the Red Cross.

"Oh, it's snowing again!" cried Bunny Brown, as he ran into the house
one afternoon, when he and Sue came home from school. "May we take our
sleds out, Mother?"

"Yes, I think so," answered Mrs. Brown.

"Where's Lucile?" asked Sue. "Can't she come and sleigh ride with us?"

"She and Mart are out in the pony stable," answered Sue's mother. "Your
father let Mart come home early from the office, and he and his sister
have been out in the barn ever since. I can't say what they're doing.
Maybe you'd better go and see."

"Come on, Sue!" cried Bunny Brown. "Maybe they're practicing some new
acts for the play."

But when Bunny and his sister entered the stable where the Shetland pony
was kept, a sound of hammering was heard.

"Are you here, Mart?" called Bunny.

"Yes," was the answer. "Come and see what Lucile and I have made for you
and Sue!"

Bunny and his sister hurried into the room where the little pony cart
stood, and there they saw something that made them open their eyes in
delight.



CHAPTER XIII

"THEY'RE GONE"


The pony cart, which generally stood in the middle of the barn floor
next to the stall of Toby, the little Shetland, had been rolled back out
of the way, and in its place stood what first seemed to Sue and Bunny to
be a large box. But when they looked a second time, they saw that the
box was fastened on a large sled--larger than either of their small
ones.

"What are you makin'?" asked Sue.

"Oh, something to give you and Bunny a pony ride," answered Mart.

"Oh, it's a pony sled, isn't it?" cried Bunny.

"Well, yes, something like that," was the answer, given with a smile.
"There wasn't much to do down at the dock to-day, so your father let me
off early. On my way home I saw this large sled at Mr. Raymond's store.
It was broken, so he let me buy it cheap. I brought it here, mended it,
and fastened on it this drygoods box. Lucile helped me, and she lined it
with an old blanket your mother gave us. Now what do you think of your
sled?" and Mart stepped back out of the way so Bunny and Sue could see
what he had made.

"Oh, it's just--just dandy!" cried the little boy.

"And it's a real seat in it!" exclaimed Sue.

"Yes, we took a smaller box and put it inside the large one for a seat,"
explained Lucile. "Now don't you want to go for a ride?"

"I--I--oh, it's dandy," cried Bunny, his eyes round with pleasure.

"See," went on Mart, "I am going to take the thills off the pony cart
and fasten them on this sled. Then you can hitch up the Shetland and go
for a ride."

"Oh! Oh!" squealed Sue, in delight, as she jumped up and down on the
barn floor.

"Say, this is more than dandy!" cried Bunny. "It's _Jim Dandy_!"

He went closer to look at the home-made sled while Mart took the shafts
from the pony cart and fastened them on the dry goods box at a place he
had made for that purpose.

"Why, there's room for all four of us in the sled!" said Bunny, as he
noticed how large the box was. "And our pony can pull four. He's done
it lots of times."

"Well, then I guess he can do it on the slippery snow," said Mart.
"We'll come if you want us to, Bunny."

"Of course I want you!" said the little boy.

"And Lucile, too!" added Sue, for she was very fond of the singing girl
actress.

"Yes, I'll come," said Lucile. "But if you drive, Bunny, you must
promise not to go too fast."

"Oh, I'll go slow," he agreed.

"Maybe the snow'll stop and then we can't go riding," Sue said.

"Oh, go and look and see if it has!" cried her brother. "That would be
too bad, wouldn't it, to have the snow stop after Mart had made such a
fine sled?"

But a look out the window of the barn showed the white flakes still
swirling down, and Bunny and Sue laughed and clapped their hands in
delight as Mart brought the pony from his stall.

Everything was just right. The pony backed in between the shafts, and
soon drew the new sled outside where the newly fallen snow let it slip
easily along.

"It will look nicer when it's painted," said Mart.

"I think it's nice now!" said Bunny.

"Terrible nice!" agreed Sue.

"Well, get in, and we'll have a ride," suggested Lucile. "Can you drive,
Bunny?"

"Oh, yes!" was the answer; and Bunny soon showed that he could by taking
the reins and guiding the pony around to the front of the house.

"Come on out, Mother, and see what we have!" cried Sue, as Bunny stopped
the little horse.

"Oh, isn't that just fine!" laughed Mrs. Brown, as she came to the door.
"What a nice surprise for you children! Did you thank Mart and Lucile
for making it?"

"I--I guess we forgot," said Bunny. "But we're glad you live with us,"
he said to the boy actor and his sister.

"So are we!" laughed Lucile. "This is more fun than going about from one
place to another, and traveling half the night."

"I'm glad, too," said Sue. "Now let's go for a ride."

And they did, down the village street, stopping now and then to let some
of their boy or girl friends look at the new pony sled Mart had made
from an old drygoods box and the broken "bob" from the hardware store.

The white flakes sifted down, like feathers from a big goose flying high
in the air, the bells on the Shetland pony jingled, and Bunny and Sue
thought that never had they been so happy.

The snow lasted several days, and each day after school Bunny Brown and
his sister Sue went for a pony ride in the jolly sled. Mart had painted
it a bright red, and it really looked very nice.

"That boy is handy with tools," said Mr. Brown to his wife one day, when
they were talking about Mart and wondering if he and Lucile would ever
find their relatives. "If he'd like to stay with me he would be good
help around the boats in the summer. He and Bunker Blue are good
friends, and one helps the other."

"Lucile is good help around the house," said Mrs. Brown. "I'd love to
have them with me always, but of course if they have relatives it would
be better for them to live in their own home. Do you think the
children's play will be nice?"

"Oh, I'm sure it will. Mr. Treadwell says they are doing nicely. I don't
suppose they will make much money, but they'll have the fun of it, and
it is good for children to try to help others, as Bunny, Sue, and their
friends are hoping to help the Home for the Blind."

"It's too bad about Mart's blind uncle, isn't it? Do you think he'll
ever be found?"

"Well, we can only hope," said Mr. Brown.

Though Bunny and Sue had fun in the snow and on the ice they did not
forget to practice for the new play, nor did the other children. One
afternoon all the little actors and actresses were assembled in the new
hall over the hardware store. A rehearsal was going on, and nearly all
the mothers of the children were there, as Mr. Treadwell had asked them
to come so he might talk to them about the costumes that had to be made
for the little girls and boys.

Just after the second scene, which took place partly in the barnyard,
and partly in the barn itself, Will Laydon came walking out to the
middle of the stage where Mr. Treadwell stood.

"They--they're gone!" exclaimed Will, seemingly much excited.

"Just a moment," said the actor, who was talking to Mrs. Brown. "I'll
attend to you in a minute, Will."

"But they're gone!" exclaimed the boy, and Mrs. Brown and the other
ladies turned to look at him in some surprise. "My white mice got out of
their cage just now," said Will, "and they're running all over. My white
mice are loose!"



CHAPTER XIV

SPLASH HANGS ON


For a while there was a good deal of excitement and wild scampering
about. Mice ran here and mice ran there. Children scrambled after them
or scrambled to get out of their way. There were cries and shrieks and
laughter.

One little white mouse, frightened and not knowing where to go, ran up
the dress skirt and into the lap of the mother of Bunny Brown and his
sister Sue.

"Come here, Will, and come quick," called Mrs. Brown to the owner of the
white mice. "I do not like your sort of pet, come and take it away--and
come quick, I say!"

"All right, I'll come," answered Will.

"Don't be frightened," called out Mr. Treadwell. "I'm sure Will's white
mice are too well-trained to harm any one."

"Oh, we're not afraid!"

"They won't hurt anybody," said the boy who owned the white pets, and
who was going to have them do little tricks during the show. "Why,
they're so tame they'll crawl all over you and go to sleep in your
pocket!"

"Oh, take 'em away! Take 'em away!" cried one girl. "I wouldn't have
come if I had known there were to be any mice!"

"But they're white mice," said Will, "and I didn't know they were out of
the cage. Somebody must have opened the door."

"I'll help you hunt for the white mice," offered Bunny Brown. "I'm not
afraid of 'em!"

"I aren't, either," added Sue.

"I'm not zactly 'fraid of 'em," said Helen Newton, "but they make you
feel so _ticklish_ when they crawl on you!"

"They're nice," said Bunny Brown, as he crawled under a chair to coax a
white mouse that was trying to hide behind a paper bag. "And they'll do
some nice tricks in our show."

It took some little time to catch all the white mice. Will made sure, by
counting twice, that he had every one of his pets back in their wire
cage.

Then Mr. Treadwell told the mothers of the little girls what sort of
costumes the young actresses and actors must have for the different
parts in the play. Everything was very simple, and no costly costumes
need be bought.

"You see we want to make all the money we can for the Home for the
Blind," explained Bunny.

"That's a good idea," said Mrs. West. "I think the children are just
perfectly fine to do things like this. It teaches them to be kind."

After the talk about the dresses and suits, Mr. Treadwell went on with,
the rehearsal, or practice. I have told you something of what the play
was to be about, but changes were made in it from time to time, during
practice, just as changes are made in real plays. It was found that one
boy could speak a piece better than another boy, so he was allowed to do
this, while the first boy, perhaps, was given a funny dance to do. The
same with the girls--some could sing better than others. Most of the
solo singing in the play was to be done by Lucile Clayton. She had a
very sweet, clear voice, and of course she had had more practice than
any of the others.

Of course all the boys wished they could do some of the acrobatic work
that Mart was to do on the stage. But though some of the lads of
Bellemere, like Bunny Brown, were pretty good at turning somersaults or
flipflops, none of them was equal to Mart, who had been on the stage for
several years. But he was training Bunny, Harry Bentley, Charlie Star
and George Watson to do a leap-frog dance which Mr. Treadwell said would
be very funny.

Mr. Treadwell was not only the author of the little play, but he was
also the stage director; that is, he told the boys and girls what to do
and when to do it. In this he was helped by Lucile and Mart. These three
performers, who had been in such bad luck when the vaudeville troupe
broke up, were now quite happy again. Mr. Treadwell and Mart were
working for Mr. Brown, and though they did not make as much money as
when they had been acting in theaters, still they had an easier time.
Lucile, too, liked it at Mrs. Brown's.

Of course the two "waifs" as they were sometimes called, wished they
could find out where there uncle and aunt were. They also wanted to find
their blind uncle. But, so far, no trace of any of them was to be had,
though many letters were written by Mr. Brown and Mr. Treadwell.

Mr. Treadwell was a very busy man. After he finished work at Mr. Brown's
office he would help the children rehearse for the farm play. In the
play Mr. Treadwell was to take several parts. In one act he was a tramp,
and in another a farmer. Then, too, he took the character of a man from
the city, and later he did a number of impersonations, using the
costumes he had made use of in the various theaters.

"Don't you think we could have our dog Splash in the play?" asked Bunny
of Mr. Treadwell one afternoon when the rehearsal was finished.

"Why, yes, I think so," was the answer. "I'll be thinking up a part for
him. Has he good, strong teeth?"

"Oh, yes!" exclaimed Sue, who was standing beside Bunny. "He has
terrible strong teeth! You ought to see him bite a bone!"

"Well, I don't know that I want him to bite a bone on the stage," said
Mr. Treadwell, with a laugh. "But we'll see about it."

Some days after that, during which time Mr. Treadwell spent many hours
with Splash alone in the stable, Bunny and Sue were quite surprised on
coming from school to hear loud barking in their yard.

"Maybe Splash is chasing a cat!" exclaimed Bunny.

"It must be a strange cat," said Sue; "'cause he likes all the other
cats around here."

The children ran around the corner of the house and there saw a strange
sight. Mr. Treadwell was running about the yard. After him ran Splash,
and the dog was holding tightly to Mr. Treadwell's coat, shaking the
tails as if trying to tear it off the actor.

"Oh! Oh!" screamed Sue. "Our Splash is mad at Mr. Treadwell!"



CHAPTER XV

TICKETS FOR THE SHOW


Back and forth across the snow-covered yard ran Mr. Treadwell, and after
him went Splash, the dog, holding to the flying coat-tails of the actor.

"Splash! Splash! Come here to me!" cried Bunny. But the dog did not
obey.

"Oh, Mother, come quick!" called Sue. "Our dog is going to eat Mr.
Treadwell all up!"

Splash, indeed, did seem very angry, for he barked and growled. He
growled more than he barked, for he could not open his mouth wide enough
to bark when he was holding to the coat.

Mrs. Brown rushed to the kitchen door, and she was as much surprised as
the children were at what she saw.

"Oh, call some one! Get some man to make Splash let Mr. Treadwell
alone!" cried Sue.

The actor, with the dog still clinging to him, was running toward the
children now, and, to his surprise, Bunny saw that Mr. Treadwell was
laughing.

"Is he--is he hurting you?" asked the little boy.

"Not a bit," was the answer. "Is Splash holding fast?"

"He's holding tight!" said Sue. "Oh, is he mad at you?"

Before Mr. Treadwell could answer there was a ripping sound, and a piece
of cloth came loose from his coat. The piece of cloth stayed in Splash's
teeth and the children's dog at once began to shake and worry it, as he
might a big rat he had caught. And as Splash shook the piece of cloth he
growled louder than before.

"Oh, has he torn your coat?" asked Mrs. Brown. "I never knew Splash to
act that way before. He is always kind and gentle."

"He's all right now," answered Mr. Treadwell, with a laugh. "This is
only in fun and part of the play."

"Part of the play!" exclaimed Bunny. "Didn't he really tear your coat?"

"No," answered the actor, and, turning around, he showed that his coat
was not ripped a bit. Yet Splash certainly had a piece of cloth in his
jaws.

"It's just a trick I have been teaching Splash during the last few
days," explained Mr. Treadwell. "You see, I'm to take the part of a
tramp in the first act. Now, most dogs don't like tramps, so I thought
I'd have that sort of dog in the farm play.

"Splash will make a good actor dog, I think. First I found a bit of old
cloth that he was used to playing with and shaking as he might shake a
rat. Then I sewed this piece of cloth to my coat, so it would not pull
off too easily. Then I took Splash out to the barn to train him. As soon
as he saw his own private piece of cloth sewed on my coat he chased
after me and wanted to get it. I ran away and we played at that game
until Splash did just what I wanted him to.

"That is, he will run after me, grab hold of the piece of cloth sewed
fast to my coat, and he'll hold on while I drag him about until the
cloth tears loose just as you saw it. Though Splash barks and growls, it
is all done in fun, and he likes the play very much."

"Is he going to do that on the stage?" asked Bunny.

"I hope that's what he'll do," said the actor, as he patted the dog, who
came up to him, having given up, for the time, the teasing of the bit of
cloth. "You see I'm to be a tramp in the first act of the play. I'll
come walking down the road, and then, Bunny, you'll let Splash loose
after me.

"He'll run out from the wings--that is from the side, you know--and
chase me, for I'll be dressed in a ragged suit and on my coat-tails will
be fastened the piece of cloth your dog likes so to tease. He'll grab
hold of that, hang on, and I'll drag him across the stage. That ought to
make the people laugh."

"I think it will," said Bunny. "And they'll think Splash is really mad
at you, won't they?"

"I think they will, if we don't let them know any different," said the
actor, with a laugh. "We must keep this part of our play a secret."

"Oh, yes! I love a secret!" said Sue. "We won't tell anybody."

"Splash is a smart dog," said Bunny, as he patted his pet.

"Indeed he is!" declared Mr. Treadwell. "He learned this hanging on
trick much sooner than I thought he would. He likes to chase after me
and let me drag him by my coat-tails."

After Splash had had a little rest the actor put him through the trick
again, and Bunny and Sue laughed as they saw their dog swinging about
the yard, making believe to chase a tramp. Of course, Mr. Treadwell was
not dressed like a tramp now, though he would be in the first act of the
play.

If Bunny and Sue could have had their way they would not have gone to
school at all during the days when they were getting ready to give the
play, "Down on the Farm." All the other boys and girls who were to be in
it, also, would have been glad to stay at home from lessons, but, of
course, that would never do. But all the time they had to spare from
their books, Bunny, Sue, and the others spent either in practicing their
parts or going to the hall over the hardware store where the performance
was to be given.

Bunny and Sue had about learned their parts now, and so had most of the
other children. Some were slower than others, and had to be told over
and over again what to do. But, on the whole, Mr. Treadwell said he was
well pleased.

School would close for the holidays a week before Christmas, and then
there would be more time to rehearse. Meanwhile Bunny, Sue, and their
friends had fun on the snow and ice as well as in practicing for the
show.

Each day Mart and Lucile anxiously waited for the mail, to see if there
were any replies to the letters sent out, seeking news of their uncles
and their aunt. But no word came.

"I don't believe we'll ever hear," said Lucile with a sigh.

"It doesn't seem so," agreed her brother. "I guess we'll soon have to
begin looking for another place with some show company on the road. I
have almost enough money saved to take us to New York."

"Oh, but we can't let you go yet a while," said; Mr. Brown. "I'm sure
we'll get some word of your relatives some day. Meanwhile, we are glad
to have you stay with us. I like to have you work for me, Mart."

"Well, I'm glad to work, of course. But I feel that the theater is the
place where I belong. Of course, it's harder work than in your office,
but it's what my sister and I have been brought up to."

"I'm not going to hold you back," said Mr. Brown, to the boy and girl
performers. "But stay here until after the holidays anyhow. By that time
the little play will be over and you can decide what you want to do. Who
knows? Perhaps by then we may find not only your blind Uncle Bill, but
your Uncle Simon and Aunt Sallie as well."

But Mart and Lucile shook their heads. They did not have much hope.
However, they were glad to help the children get ready for the farm
play.

One afternoon, when Bunny and Sue came in from school and were getting
ready to go to the hall to practice, they heard their doorbell ring loud
and long.

"Oh, maybe that's a telegram for us!" exclaimed Lucile. She was always
hoping for sudden good news.

"No, it's Charlie Star," said Bunny, who had gone to the door. "Oh, come
down and see what he's got!" he cried, and Sue, Mart, and Lucile
hastened down the stairs.

"What is it?" asked Sue, as she saw her brother and Charlie looking at
something which Charlie held. "Is it a mud turtle?"

"It's tickets!" exclaimed Bunny. "Tickets for our show! Charlie printed
'em on his printing press!"

He held up for all to see a small square of pasteboard on which
appeared:

              GRA TE SHOW
                  BY
          BUNNY BWOWN aND HiS
              SisTEER S*UE
           CoMe 1 comE All and
                  sEE
           "DO$N onTHE farn!!
          ADMISHION        $25



CHAPTER XVI

UPSIDE DOWNSIDE BUNNY


For a few seconds Bunny, Sue, Mart and Lucile looked over the shoulders
of one another at the ticket which Charlie Star had brought to show
them.

"I didn't know we were going to have real tickets!" exclaimed Bunny.
"This is lots more fun than I thought."

"It's just like a real show, with real tickets an' everything!"
exclaimed Sue.

"'Course that isn't a very good ticket, yet," explained Charlie. "I just
got it set up and there's a couple mistakes in it. I'll have them fixed
before the show."

"Yes, I guess it would be better to have the mistakes fixed before you
print the tickets for the show," replied Mart, with a smile. He knew
something about show tickets, and he could see more mistakes in the one
Charlie had made than could the young printer himself.

"But it's very nice," said Lucile, not wanting Charlie's feelings to be
hurt. "Only you aren't going to charge twenty-five dollars to come to
the show, are you?" she asked with a smile.

"Oh, no, that ought to be twenty-five cents," said Charlie, "only I made
a mistake. Or else Harry Bentley did. He helped me set the type."

"Where did you get the printing press?" asked Mart.

"It's one my father had when he was a little boy," answered Charlie. "He
had it put away in the attic, and he always said I could take it when I
got old enough. So I asked him for it to-day.

"He said I wasn't quite old enough, but when I told him about the show
we're going to have for the Blind Home he said he guessed I could print
the tickets. So I set up the type. Harry helped me, and when we get it
fixed right I'll print all the tickets for nothing."

"That will be very nice," said Mrs. Brown, who came in to look at what
Charlie had brought over. "You did very well for the first time, I
think."

I suppose you children can see where Charlie made the mistakes in
setting up the type. But with the help of his father he corrected them,
and when the tickets were printed for the show they were all right,
even to the price to get in, which was twenty-five cents.

But of course I haven't really reached the show part of this story yet.
I just thought I'd mention the tickets. There was still much to be done
before Bunny, Sue, and the other children were ready for the first act
of the play, "Down on the Farm."

Mr. Treadwell gave a great deal of his time to telling the boys and
girls what to do, and in going over the little farm play. All the time
he could spare away from Mr. Brown's office the actor gave to the show.
If you have ever been in a play you know how often you must do the same
thing over. Finally the time comes when you are as nearly perfect as
possible. It was that way with Bunny and Sue. Sometimes they were tired
of saying over and over again such things as: "Here come a tramp!" or
"Let's call Snap, he'll make the tramp go away!"

Those were only two "lines" in the play, but these, as well as others,
had to be said over and over again, until Mr. Treadwell was sure the
children would not forget.

Mart and Lucile, also, had to practice their parts, but as the boy and
girl actor and actress had been in plays before, it was not so hard for
them. And though the two little strangers gave much of their time to
getting ready for the performance they still had hours when they thought
of their missing relations--Uncle Bill, Uncle Simon and Aunt Sallie.

For, though many letters had been written by Mr. Brown and Mr.
Treadwell, no answers had come, and at times Lucile and Mart were very
sad.

But no one could be sad very long when they were near Bunny Brown and
his sister Sue. These two were always doing such funny things and saying
such funny things that Mart and Lucile laughed more often than they were
sad.

"Do you think, we can have Mr. Winkler's monkey and Miss Winkler's
parrot in the show?" asked Bunny of Mart one day.

"I guess we can if Mr. Treadwell will write parts for them," answered
Mart. "But the trouble is, you can't be sure that Wango and the parrot
will do the things you want them to. The parrot might speak at the wrong
time, and Wango might cut up by chasing his tail or hanging by his
hind paws from the ceiling, and so make the audience laugh when we
didn't want them to."

"That's so," agreed Bunny. "Then I guess we'll only just have our dog
Splash in the play. He'll do whatever you tell him."

"He certainly chases after the tramp in a funny way," laughed Lucile. "I
should think Mr. Treadwell would be afraid the dog would tear his coat."

"Oh, Splash only bites the old piece of cloth," said Mart. "It's a good
trick."

A little while after this Bunny saw Mart going out to the garage with
some ropes and straps under his arm. The garage was partly a barn, for
the Shetland pony was kept in it and some hay for Toby, the pony, to eat
was also stored in the same place.

"What are you going to do?" Bunny asked the boy acrobat.

"Practice a few of my new tricks that I'm going to do in the play," Mart
answered. "There's a new kind of back somersault I want to turn, and a
new kind of flipflop I want to make. You know in the play I do some
tricks in front of the stage barn to make the farmers laugh. I'm
supposed to be a boy who has run away from a circus."

"We knew a boy who really ran away from a circus once," said Bunny. "And
he was in our show when we had one down at grandpa's farm."

"Well, I'm going to do a few circus tricks, as well as I can, though I
never was in a tent show," said Mart.

"Please, may I come and watch you?" asked Bunny.

"Yes," answered Mart kindly.

So the acrobat and Bunny went out to the little barn, and there, with
ropes and straps, Mart made a trapeze, such as you have often seen on
the stage or in a circus. On the floor of the barn Mart spread a pile of
hay.

"Is that for our pony to come out and eat?" Bunny wanted to know.

"Oh, no," answered Mart. "That's to make something soft for me to fall
on, in case I slip. In the circus the performers have nets under them to
catch them in case they slip. But you can't have nets in a garage very
well, so I use the hay."

Bunny watched his friend swing to and fro, sometimes by his hands and
sometimes by his toes, on the trapeze in the barn. And Mart was so sure
and careful that he didn't slip once. So he didn't fall down on the hay.

"Did you ever fall?" asked Bunny, as he watched the young acrobat swing
to and fro, with his head down.

"Oh, yes indeed! More than once. And once I broke my leg so I couldn't
go on the stage for over a month."

"I don't want to break my leg," said Bunny.

"I hope you never do," answered Mart. "But, of course, as you aren't
going on a trapeze you won't fall and break anything."

"I wish I could go on a trapeze," murmured Bunny. "I could do some of
the things you do I guess."

"I'm afraid not," laughed Mart, with a shake of his head. "It isn't as
easy as it looks, and you are not big enough. If you do your somersaults
and part of a flipflop in the play, as you are going to do, you'll make
a hit, Bunny."

"Do you mean I'll hit the floor?" asked the little boy.

"No," laughed Mart. "Though if you aren't careful that may happen. But
when I say you'll make a 'hit' I mean that the audience will like the
tricks you do and they'll clap."

"Like they did in the circus?" asked Bunny.

"Just like that," said Mart.

Bunny sat and watched his friend. It looked so easy when Mart swung to
and fro on the rope, twisting and turning this way and that.

"I could do it," said Bunny to himself.

When Mart was called to the house by his sister he forgot to take down
the ropes and straps that made the trapeze in the barn. They hung right
before Bunny Brown's eyes.

"I believe I can do it!" said Bunny to himself, as he looked at the
swinging trapeze. "Anyhow, if I do fall, there's some soft hay."

And then Bunny did what he should not have done. He pulled some boxes
and rolled a barrel over to the middle of the barn floor until he had a
sort of platform under the trapeze Mart had put up to practice on. Then
Bunny climbed up, got hold of the swinging bar and swung his legs over.
Then something queer happened, for the first thing Bunny Brown knew,
there he was, hanging upside down with his legs over the trapeze and his
head pointing to the pile of hay in the middle of the barn floor.



CHAPTER XVII

SUE'S QUEER SLIDE


Bunny Brown was at first so frightened, when he found himself swinging
upside downside from Mart's trapeze, that he did not know what to do. He
was too frightened even to call out, as he nearly always did when he
found himself in trouble. Nearly always his first thought was of his
father or mother. But this time he hardly knew what to do.

It had all happened so suddenly. He had not meant to get upside downside
this way. All he wanted to do was to sit on the trapeze, as he had often
sat in a swing, and sway to and fro. But something had gone wrong,
something had slipped, and there Bunny was, hanging by his knees with
his head toward the floor.

Then Bunny had a thought that he might let go with his clinging legs and
drop to the pile of hay. That was what the hay was for--to fall on. It
was a thick, soft pile, but, somehow or other, Bunny did not like to
think of falling on it head first.

"If I could only land on it with my hands or feet it wouldn't be so
bad," thought the little fellow to himself. "But if I hit on my
head----"

And when he thought of that he clung with all his force to the wooden
bar. He was still swinging to and fro, and on this first swing Bunny had
knocked to one side the pile of boxes and the barrel with which he had
made himself a sort of ladder so he could reach Mart's trapeze, which
was several feet above the barn floor. So, now that the boxes by which
he had climbed up were out of reach, Bunny could not get down by using
them.

And he wanted, very much, to get down. He tried to wiggle around in such
a way that he could reach the wooden bar with his hands, but he could
not, and the more he wiggled the more it felt as though he might fall.

Then Bunny decided that he must call for help. He had hoped that Mart
might come back, but the acrobatic boy was in the house helping his
sister learn a new song Lucile was going to sing in the play. So Mart
knew nothing of what was happening to Bunny.

"Mother! Daddy! Come and get me!" cried Bunny as he swung to and fro on
the trapeze, head downward. "Come and get me! Mother! Daddy!"

Bunny might have called like this for some time, and neither his father
nor his mother would have heard him. For Mr. Brown was down at his
office on the dock, and Mrs. Brown was making a cake, beating up eggs
with the egg beater.

An egg beater, you know, makes a lot of noise, and even if Bunny had
been in the kitchen Mrs. Brown might not have heard him call out. And
away out in the barn as he was, of course she couldn't hear him. I don't
believe she could have heard him even if she hadn't been using the egg
beater.

So poor little Bunny Brown swung by his legs on the trapeze in the upper
part of the garage and he did not know how to get down nor how to stop
himself.

"Daddy! Mother!" he called again, but no one heard him.

On a summer day, when the windows were open, Bunny's voice might have
been heard from the barn to the house, but now no one heard him.

But, as it also happened, Sue was the means by which Bunny's trouble was
discovered, though Sue, too, had an accident. Soon after Mart came to
the house to help his sister, Sue heard the doorbell ring, and when she
went to see who was there she saw Helen Newton, one of her little
playmates who was to act in the show with Sue.

"Oh, Sue!" exclaimed Helen, "have you got a doll you could lend me? I
have to have one in the play, and the only one I had isn't any good any
more."

"Is your doll sick?" Sue wanted to know.

"She's worse than sick," said Helen. "Our puppy dog got hold of her the
other day, and he dragged my doll all around the kitchen and all her
clothes were torn off and she's chewed and she isn't fit to be seen. I
can't have her in the play with me, though I did at first, before the
puppy chewed her."

"I guess Sue can let you take one of her dolls," said Mrs. Brown, with a
smile, as she came in from the kitchen where she had been doing her
baking. "What one do you think would be best for Helen, Sue?"

"Oh, I guess my unbreakable doll, Jane Anna, would be best for in the
play," Sue answered. "If you drop her, Helen, it won't hurt."

"No, and it won't hurt much if our puppy dog gets hold of her," added
Helen. "Course our dog won't come to the play and chew up any dolls, but
he might get hold of one again when I'm practicing at home. I think the
Jane Anna will be best."

"I'll get her for you," offered Sue. But when she went to look for the
doll for Helen, Jane Anna could not be found.

"I wonder where it is!" exclaimed Sue.

"Maybe your dog Splash chewed her up," said Helen.

"No, he doesn't chew dolls," replied Sue. "He chews up my school books,
and Bunny's, but he doesn't chew dolls."

"I wish my dog would chew books," went on Helen. "Then I wouldn't have
to study. Maybe he will chew them after he finds there isn't any of my
old doll left to bite."

Sue looked in different places in the house for her unbreakable doll,
but could not find it. She asked Lucile and Mart about it, when the
brother and sister took a rest from the song which Lucile was to sing,
though her brother had a part in it.

"Lost your doll, have you, Sue?" asked Mart. "Well, maybe she is hiding
under the umbrella plant!"

"Oh, you're teasing me!" said Sue, and that's just what Mart was doing.
For though Mrs. Brown did have an umbrella plant, and a rubber plant
also, Sue's doll was not under either one.

"The last time I saw you have your unbreakable doll was out in the
hayloft of the barn," said Lucile. "Don't you remember? You were playing
house with Sadie West."

"O, now I remember!" cried Sue. "I left Jane Anna asleep in the hay in
the corner of the loft. I'll go out and get her for you, Helen. You wait
here."

So Helen sat down in a chair in the dining room while Sue ran out to the
barn to look for her doll. Mart and Lucile began practicing the song
again.

Now all this while Bunny Brown was swinging by his legs, upside
downside on the trapeze. It seems to him a long while since he had
started to hang head downward, but, really, it was not very long. For
though it takes me quite a little while to tell you about it, really it
all happened in a short while.

So Bunny Brown had not been swinging very long, head downward, before
Sue ran out to the barn, or garage, whichever you like to call it, to
look for her doll. Up the stairs into the loft, where Mart had fastened
the trapeze, went Sue. She had just reached the top step and was
wondering if her doll were really there when, all at once, Sue heard
some one cry:

"Help me down! Help me down!"

"Oh, my!" was the little girl's first thought, "can that by my doll?"

Then she knew it couldn't be. For, though some dolls have inside them a
little phonograph that can say words, Sue's Jane Anna had nothing like
this.

"But somebody yelled!" said Sue to herself.

Just then the voice shouted again.

"Help me down! Help me down!"

"Oh, it's Bunny!" exclaimed Sue, as she heard her brother's voice.
"Where are you, and what's the matter, Bunny?" she asked.

A moment later she looked toward the middle of the hayloft and saw the
little boy swinging by his legs from the trapeze.

"Oh, Bunny Brown, are you doing circus tricks up here?" asked Sue.
"Mamma wouldn't let you! Oh, Bunny Brown!"

"Help me down, Sue! Help me down!" shouted Bunny. "I daren't drop on the
hay, and I want to get down!"

Sue took a step forward. She did not know just what she was going to do,
but she wanted to help Bunny. And just then Sue's feet seemed to drop
out from under her, and down she went in a funny slide.

  [Illustration: DOWN WENT SUE IN A FUNNY SLIDE.
    _Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue Giving a Show._ _Page 161_]

Down and down and down, with a lot of hay all around her, and out of
sight of Bunny Brown, who was still on the trapeze, went sister Sue.



CHAPTER XVIII

MR. TREADWELL'S WIG


Bunny Brown, swinging by his knees from the trapeze, had just one little
look at his sister Sue, and then he didn't see her again. At first Bunny
thought perhaps he had fallen asleep and had dreamed that he had seen
Sue. So many things had happened since he climbed up on the funny swing
that it would not have surprised Bunny to have learned that he had
fallen asleep and dreamed.

But a moment later he heard Sue's voice, and then Bunny felt sure it was
not a dream. For as Sue slipped and fell down a deep hole, together with
a lot of hay, she called:

"Oh, oh! Oh, Bunny! Oh, Mother! Oh, Daddy!"

She wanted all three of them to help her and she didn't know which one
she wanted most.

"Oh, Sue! Sue!" cried Bunny, as soon as he felt sure it was his sister
he had seen and not a dream. "Sue! Come and help me!"

"Somebody's got to help me!" half sobbed Sue, and her voice seemed very
faint and far away.

And no wonder! For Sue had slipped down the little hole over the manger,
or feed-box, in the stall of Toby, the Shetland pony. In this barn, as
perhaps you have seen in barns at your grandpa's farm in the country,
there is a little hole cut in the floor of the loft, or upstairs part,
so hay can be pushed down from the mow into the stall of a horse or a
pony. There was a little hay covering this hole, so Sue did not see it
when she went up to look for her doll. And it was down this hole that
Sue had fallen.

Right down she went, into the manger of the pony's stall, but as the
manger was filled with hay Sue didn't get hurt a bit. But the pony was
very much surprised. It was just as if, when you were eating your bread
and milk at the table some day, the ceiling over your head should
suddenly have a hole come in it, and down through the hole, from
upstairs, should slide a little horse.

"Oh! Oh!" cried Sue, in surprise. Of course the Shetland pony didn't say
anything, but he was surprised just the same.

Sue wasn't hurt a bit, and soon she scrambled out of the manger and ran
out of the stall. As she did so the little girl heard a bump, or thud,
over her head. That bump made her think of Bunny, and how he was
swinging on the trapeze.

"Oh, Bunny!" cried Sue, running up the stairs again. "Did you see me
slide down the hay hole?"

"Yes," answered Bunny, "I did. And did you hear me fall on the pile of
hay under the trapeze?"

"I heard a bumpity-bump sound!" said Sue.

"That was me," explained Bunny. "I couldn't hold on any longer, so I had
to let go. But I fell in the hay and I didn't hurt myself at all. I
thought I would hurt myself, or I'd have let go before this. Now I'm all
right. I can do a trapeze swing almost as good as Mart. I'm all right
now!"

Certainly he seemed so to Sue, who by this time had got to the top of
the stairs and was looking across the loft at her brother. Bunny wasn't
hurt--the hay on which he had fallen was just like a feather bed.

"Well, we better go in now," said Sue. "We both falled down but we both
didn't get hurt."

Bunny stood looking up at the trapeze. He was thinking of getting on it
again, but as he remembered how frightened he was he made up his mind
that he had better let Mart do those risky tricks.

"Oh, I almost forgot!" exclaimed Sue, as she and Bunny were going out of
the barn toward the house. "I forgot my Jane Anna for Helen. I was
coming out to get her when I heard you holler."

"I yelled a lot of times before anybody heard me," said Bunny, and he
told Sue how he had climbed up on the pile of boxes, and how they had
fallen so he could not get down off the trapeze.

"Well, you're down now," said Sue.

Mrs. Brown guessed that something was the matter when she saw Bunny and
Sue coming back from the barn, looking rather excited, and she soon had
the whole story. Then she told Bunny he must not get on Mart's trapeze
again, as he was too little for that sort of play.

"Even if there's a lot of hay under it can't I get on?" asked Bunny.

"No, not even if there's a lot of hay under it," answered Mrs. Brown.

So that ended Bunny's hopes of becoming a trapeze performer in the show.
But Mart still kept on practicing, and soon he could do a number of good
tricks. Lucile, too, practiced her songs, and those who heard the
children at their rehearsals said the show, which had first been thought
of by Bunny and Sue, would be a good one.

Charlie Star fixed the mistakes in the tickets he was printing for the
farm play and soon they were ready to be sold. All the fathers and
mothers of the children who were to be in the play bought tickets, and
so did other persons in Bellemere. The tickets were put on sale in the
hardware store, in the drug store, in the grocery of Mr. Sam Gordon, and
in other places about town.

Mr. Treadwell also made some big posters, telling about the show. These
posters were hung in the window of the barber shop, and one was tacked
up in the railroad station and another on Mr. Brown's dock office.

Everything was being made ready for the show which would be given
Christmas afternoon. The children could hardly wait for the time to
come, but, of course, they had to. Meanwhile, they had as much fun as
they could when they were not at school or practicing their parts in the
new hall built over the hardware store.

"How happy we could be living here and going to take part in a nice play
if we only knew where our people were," said Lucile to her brother Mart
one day.

"Yes, that's all we need to make us quite happy," said he. "But I guess
we'll never see our uncles or Aunt Sallie again. Why, we haven't even
heard from Mr. Jackson since our vaudeville show busted up.

"Well, I'm going to write just one more letter," went on Mart, and he
got out pen, ink, and paper. "I'm going to write to that man in New York
who used to act in the same play with Uncle Simon. Mr. Treadwell found
that man's address the other day, and I'm going to write to him. He may
know where Uncle Simon and Aunt Sallie are."

"Does he know where Uncle Bill is?" asked. Lucile.

"I don't know. I'll ask him," decided Mart.

When the letter had been written Bunny and Sue came in from school. It
was snowing again, and the ground was white with the beautiful flakes.
The coats of Bunny and Sue were also covered, for they had been throwing
snowballs at one another. Their cheeks were red and their eyes
sparkling.

"Want to walk down the street with me while I mail this letter?" asked
Mart of the two children.

"Oh, yes!" cried Sue.

"Can't we go in the pony sled?" Bunny asked. "There's enough snow to
make it slip easy now."

"Yes, I guess we could go in the pony sled," agreed Mart. "And we can
stop at Mr. Winkler's and ask Mr. Treadwell, if he's at home, if he
wants us to come to rehearsal to-night."

Soon Bunny, Sue, Mart, and Lucile were riding down the street in the
pony sled, having a fine time in the snow storm. It was quite a heavy
fall of snow, but the weather was not very cold.

After mailing the letter the four children drove to the home of Mr.
Winkler.

"I hope the monkey does something queer," said Bunny.

"I wish the parrot would sing a funny song!" exclaimed Sue.

"Something seems to be the matter, anyhow," said Lucile, as they got out
of the little sled and walked toward the front door of Mr. Winkler's
house, where the actor boarded. "Look at Miss Winkler running around,"
and she pointed to the sister of the old sailor. Miss Winkler could be
seen hurrying about the room from one window to another.

"Do you want us all to come to practice to-night, Mr. Treadwell?" asked
Mart, as he and the children entered the house and saw the actor
hurrying around after Miss Winkler.

"Come to practice? Oh, I don't know!" was the answer. "I can't talk to
you right away, Mart. Something has happened!"

"What is it?" asked Lucile. "Have you heard anything about----?"

"Oh, it isn't about your kin, I'm sorry to say," was the actor's answer.
"It's just that one of my best wigs is missing--the one I wear when I
dress up like General Washington. Those wigs are scarce, and I hardly
ever let it out of my box. But now it is gone!"

"And I've searched high and low for it all over this house, but I can't
find it!" said Miss Winkler.

Bunny and Sue did not know quite what to make of all the excitement over
the lost wig which Mr. Treadwell wore on his head in certain parts of
the play. So they stood to one side while the search went on. Sue looked
in the sitting room, while Mr. Treadwell and Miss Winkler went into the
parlor that was hardly ever opened.

Something that Bunny saw in a chair in front of the kitchen stove made
him call out:

"Oh, Miss Winkler! there's a funny old man in your kitchen, and he's
trying to open the cupboard door where you keep the cookies. Come and
see the funny old man!"



CHAPTER XIX

UNCLE BILL


"What's that, Bunny Brown?" called Miss Winkler, stepping to the door of
the parlor, in which Mr. Treadwell was looking for his missing wig.
"What's that you said about an old man?"

"There's one in your kitchen now," added Sue, for she was now looking at
the funny "old man" in the kitchen.

"One what in my kitchen?" asked Miss Winkler, in surprise.

"A funny old man," said Bunny again. "And he's after some of your nice
sugar cookies." Bunny knew Miss Winkler's sugar cookies were nice
because she sometimes gave him and Sue some. Not too often, but once in
a while.

"An old man after my cookies, is there?" cried the sailor's sister.
"Well, I'll see about that!"

Down the hall she hurried, leaving Mr. Treadwell to look for the wig
himself, and this he was doing.

"I suppose it's some tramp!" exclaimed Miss Winkler. "Wait until I take
the broom stick to him! The idea of taking my cookies! I'd rather give
'em to you children than to an old tramp. I wish your dog was here,
Bunny Brown!"

"Oh, so do I!" cried Bunny. "Splash would hang on to the tramp the way
he hangs to Mr. Treadwell's coat in the play. Oh, Sue, let's go home and
get our Splash, and sic him on the tramp!"

By this time Miss Winkler had reached the kitchen door. Bunny and Sue,
with Lucile and Mart, stood to one side, so the sailor's sister could go
in and stop the funny old man from taking her cookies.

Into the kitchen hurried Miss Winkler. There, surely enough, with his
gray head just showing over the back of a hall chair on which he was
standing, was what seemed to be an old man. He had on a black coat, and
one hand appeared to be reaching up into the cookie closet.

"Hi there! Get down out of that!" cried Miss Winkler. "The idea of you
daring to take my cookies! Get out of here! You tramp!"

And the green parrot, in his cage hanging in the kitchen, cried in his
shrill voice:

"No tramps allowed! Out you go! Sic him, Towser! Bow wow!"

Bunny, Sue, Mart, and Lucile hurried into the kitchen after Miss
Winkler. They saw her quickly take a broom from a corner.

And then, as the sailor's sister ran around in front of the chair, on
which the old man tramp seemed to be standing, she gave a scream.

"Wango! You good-for-nothing monkey you!" cried Miss Winkler. "The idea
of pretending you were a tramp! I've a good notion to take this broom to
you, anyhow!"

There was a chatter from the chair and the gray head dropped down out of
sight.

"Oh, was it Wango?" cried Bunny Brown.

"Indeed it was!" said Miss Winkler. "The idea of his fooling us all like
that!"

"But he looked just like an old man with gray hair," said Sue.

"Indeed he did," chimed in Mart and Lucile Clayton.

Just then Mr. Treadwell came through the hall into the kitchen.

"It's no use, Miss Winkler," he said. "I can't find my big wig anywhere.
If I use one like if in the play I'll have to send to New York for
another. My wig is lost."

"No, it isn't, either!" exclaimed Miss Winkler. "There it is--on Wango!"

She pointed to the monkey, which, just then, ran around from behind the
chair on which he had been standing. And, surely enough Wango had on the
big, white wig for which Mr. Treadwell and Miss Winkler had been
searching so long. The wig made Wango look like an old man.

"And he has on one of my jackets, too!" exclaimed the actor. "It's one I
use in some of my stage plays, children, where I have to have a very
short, little jacket. No wonder you thought a tramp was in Miss
Winkler's kitchen! Wango, are you trying to be an impersonator, such as
I used to be?" asked Mr. Treadwell, laughing and shaking his finger at
Mr. Jed Winkler's monkey.

Wango made a funny little chattering noise, and took off the wig, which
he held out to the actor.

"See, he's saying he's sorry!" exclaimed Lucile.

Next Wango took off the jacket. It was one of the costumes Mr. Treadwell
used on the stage.

"I guess he won't dress up again," said Mart. "I didn't know he was such
a performer."

"Oh, Wango is a regular pest for playing tricks!" said Miss Winkler. "I
tell Jed, every day, that I won't have the monkey around any longer, but
I always give in and let him stay. Now if he was as nice and quiet as
the parrot it would be all right."

And just then the parrot began to screech and to cry:

"No tramps allowed! Sic 'em, Towser!"

Really the parrot made more noise than Wango, but Miss Winkler did not
seem to think so.

"Well, I'm glad to get back my wig, anyhow," said Mr. Treadwell, as he
took that and the jacket from Wango. "This little monkey must have gone
in my room, found that I left my trunk open, and then he took out what
he wanted."

"Do you really think he knew he was dressing up like a tramp?" asked
Lucile.

"You never know what Wango thinks he's doing," said Miss Winkler. "But
I'm glad I caught him in time. There wouldn't have been a cookie left if
he had got his paws in the jar."

"Are there any cookies left now, Miss Winkler?" asked Bunny, with a
funny little side look at his sister.

"Oh, yes, there's a whole jar full," answered the sailor's sister.

"Are you--aren't you going to give Wango any?" asked Bunny.

"Give Wango any? Give my good sugar cookies to that monkey? Well, I
guess not!" cried Miss Winkler. Then, as she looked at Bunny and Sue, a
more gentle look came over her face.

"But I guess I'll give you children some," she said. "If it hadn't been
that you saw Wango he might have cleaned out my cupboard. Yes, I'll give
you children some cookies."

So she brought the jar from the cupboard, and not only gave some of her
cookies--which were really very good--to Bunny and Sue, but also to
Mart and Lucile. And even Mr. Treadwell had some.

As for Wango--well, I'll tell you a little secret. He had some of the
cookies, too. For when Miss Winkler wasn't looking, Bunny and Sue fed
the jolly little monkey some bits of their cake. Wango was very fond of
sweet things.

And so the lost wig was found, and Miss Winkler didn't have to drive the
gray-haired tramp out of her kitchen with a broom, for which I suppose
she was very glad.

Mr. Treadwell had time, now, to talk to Mart and the other children
about the farm play, and he told them there would have to be a number of
rehearsals, or practices, yet, before they would be ready to give a
performance Christmas afternoon.

The children were drilled over and over again in their parts, until at
last, a few days before Christmas, the actor said:

"Well, now I am satisfied. I think we are ready for the show!"

And, oh, how glad Bunny, Sue, and the others were! All their hard work
would amount to something now.

One night, about three days before Christmas, Mr. Brown came home from
the dock office one evening with Mr. Treadwell and Mart, who had
finished their work.

"I had a letter from the Home for the Blind to-day," said Mr. Brown, as
they sat at the supper table, for Mr. Treadwell had been invited to
share the meal. "The superintendent would like to have me call, so he
can tell me something about the work of the home and the poor people who
have to stay there in the darkness. He thinks if I tell the audience
that comes to see the children's play something about the Home for the
Blind more people will be glad to help."

"I think they would," said Mrs. Brown. "Why don't you go over?"

"I will," answered Mr. Brown. "There isn't much to do to-morrow, so I'll
go and take Bunny and Sue with me. Would you like to go?" he asked Mart
and Lucile.

They said they would, and the next day the five of them went over in Mr.
Brown's automobile. Mr. Treadwell was invited, but he said he had to go
to the hall to make sure all the scenery for the play was ready.

The Home for the Blind was in a big red brick building on the side of a
hill about two miles across the valley from Bellemere. It did not take
long to get there in the automobile, for though there was snow on the
ground the roads were good.

Mr. Harrison, the superintendent of the home, welcomed Mr. Brown and the
children.

"Now please don't think this is a sad place," said Mr. Harrison. "Though
the men and women and the boys and girls here can not see, they get
along very well, considering. So don't think it's too sad.

"Of course it is sad enough, but it might be worse. That's what all our
blind folk have come to think--that it might be worse. They have ways of
'seeing,' even if they have eyes that are no longer any use to them. I
just want you to go over our place, and then you will be more glad than
ever, I hope, that you are going to help us with your little play. For
we need many things. We need books, printed in the kind of type that the
blind can read, and we need many things so that our blind men and women
can work and make articles to sell. The money you are going to give us
from your play will help to buy these things."

Then, indeed, Bunny Brown and his sister Sue were very glad they had
decided to have a play, and they saw men and women and boys and girls
who did not seem to be without their sight, for they went about almost
as quickly as Bunny and Sue did.

"That's because they have learned their way," said Mr. Harrison. "Our
blind folks know their way around here just as you can walk around some
parts of your house in the dark."

He led them toward the music room, for there was one where the blind
inmates played and sang, and as Mr. Brown and the children went through
the door Lucile uttered a low cry at the sight of a man who was just
getting up from the piano.

"Uncle Bill!" cried Lucile. "Uncle Bill! Oh, we have found you at
last!"



CHAPTER XX

THE DRESS REHEARSAL


Bunny Brown, who had been listening to the piano music of the blind man,
looked quickly at Lucile as she cried out about Uncle Bill. For Bunny
remembered how much the actress girl and her brother had wanted to find
their blind uncle, so he might tell them where their other uncle and
aunt were.

Sue just said: "O-oh!"

"Uncle Bill!" cried Mart, in the same sort of wondering voice as had his
sister. "Yes, that's our Uncle Bill!" he went on, as the blind man, who
had been playing, came over toward them. There was a strange look on his
face, and except for a queer look about his eyes, one would hardly have
known he was blind.

"Who is calling me?" he asked. "I seem to know those voices, though I
have not heard them for a long time. Who is it?"

Lucile and Mart stepped forward. Mr. Brown was right behind them, and
Bunny and Sue were near their father. Mr. Harrison, who was in charge
of the Home, looked on in surprise.

"Do you know Mr. Clayton?" he asked Lucile and Mart.

"Yes, he is our uncle," Mart answered in a low voice, but, low as it
was, the blind piano player heard. Holding out his hands toward the
young theatrical players he cried,

"Now I know those voices. Lucile! Mart! I have found you at last!"

"And we have found you!" cried Lucile. "Oh, how wonderful!"

"Can you tell us where Uncle Simon and Aunt Sallie are?" asked Mart.
"We've lost track of them, and we were stranded after the show failed.
We didn't know where to find you, and----"

"Say, your trouble all came together, didn't it?" cried the blind man.
"But now, perhaps, it is all over. Let me sit down with you, and then
we'll have a long talk."

"But do you know where Aunt Sallie Weatherby is?" asked Lucile.

"Yes, of course! I have her address," said the blind Mr. Clayton.

By this time he had managed to walk up to Mart, clasping his hands. Then
he found Lucile and kissed her. For, though he was blind, Mr. Clayton
could tell by the sound of a person's voice just where they stood in a
room, and walk over to them.

"Oh, how glad I am to find you again!" he said, as he felt around for a
chair and sat down. "I have been waiting for a letter from Mr. Jackson
so I might find you, but he has been a long time writing, and since my
last letter to him I came to this place."

"We don't know where Mr. and Mrs. Jackson are," said Lucile. "They left
us, after the company broke up, and we haven't heard from them since.
But we didn't know you were here!"

"You weren't the last time we inquired," added Mart. "We knew you were
in some such place as this, but Mr. Brown asked and no one here had
heard of you."

"That's because I only came the other day," said the blind Mr. Clayton.
"You see I am thinking of going back on the stage again, doing a funny
piano act. I can play pretty well, even if I am blind," he said,
turning toward Mr. Brown, for he seemed to know just where the
children's father sat. "And as I don't like to sit around doing nothing
I've decided to go back on the stage again."

"We're going on the stage!" cried Bunny, who, with Sue, had been waiting
for a chance to get in a word or two.

"We're going to have a real play on a farm," said Sue. "And you ought to
see our dog Splash hang on to Mr. Treadwell."

"Treadwell? Is that the impersonator?" asked Mr. Clayton.

"Yes," answered Mart. "He is helping us with the little play."

"And maybe you could be in it and play the piano!" cried Bunny. "We
heard you play the piano terrible nice!"

"Well, I'm glad you liked it," said Mr. Clayton, with a laugh, "but I'm
afraid I'm not quite ready to start a performance yet. I need more
practice. Oh, but I am glad you have found me, and that I have found
you!"

"Mr. Clayton only came to this Home a few days ago," explained Mr.
Harrison to Mr. Brown. "I had forgotten that you had asked about some
one of his name, or I would have sent you word before that the
children's blind uncle was here."

"And if I had known they were so near me, and had been looking so long
for me, I'd have sent them word," said Uncle Bill. "And now tell me all
that happened, Mart and Lucile."

Their story was soon told, just as I have written it here--how they were
"stranded" when the show broke up, and how Mr. Brown took care of them.
The story of Mr. Treadwell was also told to Mart and Lucile's Uncle
Bill, and how the impersonator had written the little play.

"And once he lost his wig and Wango the monkey had it!" cried Sue.

"Indeed! Wango must be a funny monkey!" said Mr. Clayton.

"He's funny, and so's Miss Winkler," said Bunny.

They all laughed at this, and then Mr. Clayton told his story.

He had been an actor as were many of his relatives, including Mart and
Lucile. He had been stricken blind some years before, and had been in
many Homes and hospitals, trying to get cured. But at last he had given
up hope, and settled down to make the best of life.

He often wrote to Lucile and Mart, and also to their Uncle Simon and
Aunt Sallie. But of late he had lost the address of the boy and girl
actor, and they had also lost his. They all traveled around so much that
one did not know where the other was, except that Lucile and her brother
always stayed together, of course.

"But where is Aunt Sallie?" asked Mart.

Mr. Clayton said that she and her husband were many miles away, in a far
country, traveling about and acting. But he knew their address, and he
would at once send them word that Lucile and Mart wanted to hear from
them. Mr. Clayton had not heard from the Weatherbys for several months,
he remarked.

"Very likely they've been trying as hard to find you as you have to find
them," said Mr. Clayton. "They'll be glad to know that I have found
you."

"And we're glad we've found you!" cried Lucile, as she kissed her blind
uncle again. "Oh, it's so good to have folks!"

"We would be glad to have you come over to our house and stay with us,"
said Mr. Brown to the blind man.

"Thank you," he answered, "but I must stay here and finish learning to
play the piano for the act I am to do. Of course I'll come over and see
Lucile and Mart, though. I call it 'seeing' them, but of course I can't
use my eyes," he added. "However, I've grown used to that, and I don't
seem to mind being in the dark."

"You can't ever see anybody make faces at you--if they ever do--can
you?" asked Sue, as she patted his hand.

"No indeed!" laughed Mr. Clayton. "I never thought of that. But I
suppose some bad people like to make faces at me, and, as you say, if
ever they do I sha'n't see them."

"I don't guess anybody would make faces at you when you play on the
piano," said Bunny Brown.

"I don't guess so, either," added Sue.

There was more talk, and then it was time for Mr. Brown and the children
to go back home. Mr. Clayton promised to write a telegram to Lucile's
other uncle and aunt. He could write even though he was blind, and Mr.
Harrison, at the Home for the Blind, promised to send the message.

"Then you'll hear from Uncle Simon and Aunt Sallie soon," said the blind
man.

"I hope we hear before the play!" exclaimed Lucile. "It will make me so
much happier when I sing."

"Perhaps you'll come over to the hall the night or the performance,"
suggested Mr. Brown to Mr. Clayton. "You can hear what goes on."

"I'll try to come," agreed the blind man.

Very happy, now that they had found their uncle, Mart and Lucile went
home with Mr. Brown, Bunny, and Sue, promising to come often again to
see Mr. Clayton.

"Wasn't it queer," said Mart, "that, after all, he should come to the
same Home we're going to help with the farm play?"

"Very strange, indeed," said Mr. Brown.

"And now, if we can only get word from Uncle Simon and Aunt Sallie, how
happy we'll be!" exclaimed Lucile.

"Oh, I'm sure you'll hear soon, my dear," said Mrs. Brown when they had
reached home and told her the good news.

Then followed a time of anxious waiting, with Lucile and Mart looking
almost every hour for a message from their uncle and aunt so far away.
And they and the other children were kept busy getting ready for the
play. For it was almost Christmas and time for the great performance.

The tickets had been printed, and all the mistakes corrected in the type
that Charlie Star had set up. Many tickets had been sold, and it looked
as though everything would be all right.

"I do hope we won't make any mistakes," said Bunny to his sister one
day, as they were talking about the coming play.

"I hope so, too," she answered. "Wouldn't it be terrible if we got on
the stage and forgot what we were going to say?"

"Yes, it would," agreed Bunny. "I'm going to keep on saying my lines
over and over again all the while. Then I won't forget."

"Don't be too anxious, my dears," said Mrs. Brown, as she heard the
children talking this way. "Sometimes the more you try to remember
things like that, the more easily you forget. Just do your best, put
your whole mind on it, and I'm sure you will remember the right words to
say, and the right actions to do."

"It's easier to remember what to do than what to say," declared Bunny.
"Mr. Treadwell tells us to act just as we would if we weren't on the
stage, but of course we can't say anything we happen to think of--we
have to say the right words."

"I remember once, when I was a little girl," remarked Mrs. Brown, as she
threaded her needle, for she was mending one of Sue's dresses, "I had to
speak a piece in school, and I didn't know it at all well."

"Oh, tell us about it, Mother!" begged Sue.

"Please do!" cried Bunny Brown. For there was a funny little smile on
his mother's face, and whenever the children saw that they knew there
was a story back of it.

"Well, it was this way," went on Mrs. Brown. "When I was a little girl I
lived in the country, and I went to school in a little red brick
schoolhouse about half a mile down the road from our house. We had a
very nice teacher, and one day she said we must all learn a piece to
speak for the next Friday afternoon.

"Well, of course we children were all excited. Some of us had spoken
pieces before, and some of us had not. And I was one that never had, but
I was pleased to think I should get up in front of the whole school and
speak a piece.

"When I went home that night I asked my mother what I should learn as my
recitation. She got down a book that she had used when she was a little
school girl, and in it were a number of nice pieces. There was one about
Mary and her little lamb, but I thought that was too young for me to
take, so I picked out one about a ship being wrecked at sea. There were
about ten verses to the piece, and they told how a great storm came up
and drove the vessel on the rocks."

"I'd like to see a big storm!" exclaimed Bunny.

"Please keep quiet!" begged Sue. "Mother can't tell about her speaking
in school if you're going to talk all the while."

"I won't talk any more," promised Bunny Brown. "Please go on, Mother.
I'll be quiet."

So Mrs. Brown continued:

"I began to learn this piece about the wreck. I don't remember now, how
it all went, but I know the first two lines were like this:

          "'The thunder rolls,
            The lightning flashes!'

"I remember those lines very well," said the children's mother, "and I
thought how wonderful it would be if I could get up there and speak them
in a loud voice. I practiced hard, too--as hard as you have practiced
for your play. And I thought I had the piece learned perfectly. Finally
Friday afternoon came, lessons were finished, books put away and we got
ready for the recitations in the main schoolroom.

"I forget the different pieces that were spoken. There were all kinds,
but none like mine. Some were sad and some were funny, and some of the
boys and girls got up and were so stage-struck that they couldn't think
of a single word of the pieces they had learned.

"Then I was afraid this would happen to me, but when my name was called,
and I walked up to the platform, I was glad to find that I could
remember every single word--or at least I thought I could.

"But dear me! As soon as I opened my mouth and began to speak it was
just as though the bottom had opened and let everything fall out of
everything. All I could think of was the first two lines:

          "'The thunder rolls,
            The lightning flashes!'

"Over and over again I repeated those lines, and I could not get past
them. The teacher looked sorry for me, and some of the boys and girls
began to laugh. This made it all the worse for me, and my face grew red.
Over and over again I told about the thunder and lightning, and at last
I made up my mind I'd have to do something, or else go to my seat as
some of the other girls had done, without finishing. And I didn't want
to do that.

"So I braced my feet on the platform, and then I stood straight up in
front of the whole school and fairly shouted out this verse:

          "'The thunder rolls,
            The lightning flashes!
            It broke Grandmother's teapot
            All to smashes!'

"That's what I gave as my first recitation," went on Mrs. Brown, when
Bunny and Sue had finished laughing. "How those words about my
grandmother's teapot popped into my head I don't know. I don't even
remember my grandmother's teapot, though I suppose she had one. But
that's the verse I recited. And you should have heard the children
laugh!"

"What did the teacher say?" asked Bunny.

"At the time I thought she was rather angry," answered his mother,
"thinking I had done it on purpose, to make fun of the speaking. But
really I had not. The wrong two lines popped into my head all of a
sudden. And of course; they spoiled the piece. I know now, too, that she
was trying to keep from laughing, and that made her look stern."

"I hope that doesn't happen to us," said Sue, as she and Bunny thought
over the little story their mother had told them.

"I hope not, either," agreed her brother. "Come on--let's go up in the
attic and practice."

So they did, and for some time they went over the lines they were to
speak on the stage. After a while Lucile and Mart came in and helped
Bunny and Sue. The older boy and girl said the two little ones were
doing very well. Mr. Treadwell, too, who heard Bunny and Sue go through
their parts, said they did very well.

"We'll have a good practice to-morrow," said the impersonator.

Then Mr. Treadwell called a dress rehearsal. That is generally the last
one before the show, and it is really a complete performance in itself,
though the audience isn't allowed to come in.

The day before Christmas Bunny, Sue, Lucile, Mart, and the other girls
and boys assembled in the hall over the hardware store for the dress
rehearsal. Mr. Treadwell was there, and the men who were to help set up
the scenery were on hand.

Just before it was time for the rehearsal to begin George Watson went up
to Mr. Treadwell.

"If you please," said he, "couldn't Peter be in the play?"

"Peter? Who is Peter?" asked the impersonator. "I'm afraid it's too late
to put any one else in, George. They wouldn't have time to practice,
and, besides, we really have all the actors we need."

"Oh, Peter wouldn't need any practice," said George. "He'd be just fine
in the barnyard scene. I brought him with me!"

"Well, I'm sorry, for I'm afraid I'll have to disappoint your friend
Peter," said Mr. Treadwell. "But where is he?"

"Here in this basket," answered George, and he held up a small one in
front of the stage manager.



CHAPTER XXI

"WHERE IS BUNNY?"


Mr. Treadwell looked first at George, then at the basket, and once more
at George.

"Now look here, George," said the actor. "I don't mind your making fun
or having jokes, but I'm very busy now, for the first act of the
rehearsal is going to start. Besides, you shouldn't bring your baby
brother to the hall in a small basket like that."

"My baby brother?" cried George with a laugh. "I haven't any baby
brother! I have a sister Mary, but----"

"But you said Peter was in there," said Mr. Treadwell. "And if Peter
is----"

"Oh, Peter isn't a _baby_, and he isn't my brother," said George with
another laugh. "He's only a----"

But before he could say what Peter was a loud crow sounded from inside
the basket which George held up.

"Cock-a-doodle-doo!" sounded all through the hall, and Bunny, Sue, and
the others who were getting ready for their parts in the dress
rehearsal of the play, laughed. Mr. Treadwell looked surprised.

"Why--why--it's a rooster!" he exclaimed.

"Yes, Peter is my pet bantam rooster," said George. "I brought him with
me because I thought he could crow in the barnyard scene, and make it
more natural like."

"Well, a crowing rooster would be a good performer to have in a barnyard
scene on a stage," agreed Mr. Treadwell. "But the only thing about it is
that we couldn't be sure that he would crow at the right time. He might
crow when Lucile was singing, or when Bunny Brown was doing some of his
tricks, or when Sue was making believe run away from me when I'm dressed
up like a tramp."

"Yes," said George, "that's so. Peter crows a lot, and you can't tell
when he's going to do it. But, Mr. Treadwell, he always crows when he
flaps his wings, and if somebody could hold his wings so they couldn't
flap then he couldn't crow. I wish we could have him in the play!"

"Well, we might try him, anyhow," said Mr. Treadwell, with a laugh.
"Though I haven't anybody I could let stand near and hold the rooster's
wings so he wouldn't crow."

"I could do that," offered George. "My rooster likes me."

"Yes, I suppose he does," agreed the stage manager. "But you have to
recite a piece in the play, George, and your rooster might start to crow
when you were reciting."

"That would make me laugh," said George, with a smile, "and I couldn't
pucker up my mouth to whistle, and I have to do that in my piece."

"Then I guess we had better not have the rooster in the play," said Mr.
Treadwell. "But since you have brought him we'll let him stay for the
practice, and we'll see how he behaves. He certainly would be good in
the barnyard scene, and make it quite natural, but I'm afraid he'll crow
at the wrong time."

"And did you really think George had a little baby brother in the
basket?" asked Sue, as the rooster was being shut up again.

"Yes, I really did," said Mr. Treadwell. "But now everybody get ready!
The rehearsal will begin in a minute."

It took a little while for all the boys and girls to find their right
places. Their mothers or big sisters were, in most cases, on hand ready
to help them, to see that this little girl's dress was buttoned up the
back, that her hair ribbon was prettily tied and that the little boys
had their hair combed as it ought to be.

But at last everything was finished, and the stage was set for the first
scene, that of the meadow. Everything was to go on just as if it was the
real play--the scenery, the lights, the curtain being raised and
lowered, and everything.

Out in front were the mothers, the big sisters, with, here and there, an
occasional father of the children who were taking part. This was the
audience. Of course this audience didn't pay anything, but Bunny, Sue,
and the others who were getting up the play, hoped a large throng would
come Christmas afternoon, when the real play would be given.

I must not tell you, here, how the rehearsal went, for it was so like
the play that if I set down all that took place I wouldn't have anything
left to tell you about the main performance. All I will say is that
after the meadow scene came the one in the barnyard.

"Now if the Peter rooster will crow right this will be a good scene,"
said Mr. Treadwell.

Well, the scene was all right--at least at first. Bunny and Sue did
their parts well, and so did the other children. The people sitting in
front of the footlights--which glowed as brightly as they would in the
real performance--said the show was going on finely. And Peter crowed
just at the right time, too, without any one telling him to.

"That's great!" said Mr. Treadwell. "I think he can be in the play after
all, George. It helps out the barnyard scene."

George felt quite proud of his bantam rooster, and Bunny and Sue were
glad the feathered actor was in their show. But alas! Toward the end of
the barnyard scene, when Lucile was singing a sad little song, Peter
began to crow. He crowed and he crowed and he crowed, until Lucile could
hardly be heard, and everybody laughed instead of sitting quietly.

"I'll go and hold his wings," offered George. But even that didn't
quiet Peter. He kept on crowing louder than ever.

"I know what I'll do," said Bunny Brown. "I'll put Peter in his basket
and carry him down to the cellar. That'll be dark, and he'll think it's
night and he'll stop crowing."

"That will be just the thing!" said Mr. Treadwell.

So as Bunny Brown didn't have anything to do just then in the barnyard
scene, he put Peter in the basket and carried the bantam rooster
downstairs.

"What have you got there?" asked Mr. Raymond, the hardware man, as he
saw Bunny with the basket.

The little boy told.

"Yes, put him down in the cellar," said Mr. Raymond. "That ought to keep
him quiet. I'll turn on the electric lights down there for you, so you
can see. Otherwise you might tumble downstairs in the dark."

Bunny had been down in the hardware store cellar before, once when his
father was looking at a certain piece of iron for a boat, the iron being
stowed away down in the basement, and at other times, when he himself
wanted to buy some odds or ends from the hardware man to make some toy.
So Bunny knew his way down into the cellar.

"I'll come and get you after the play," said Bunny to Peter, as he set
the basket, with the rooster in it, on a big box.

Peter didn't answer. He didn't even crow. I guess he didn't like the
dark. He might have thought it was night, when the electric lights were
turned out after Bunny had gone upstairs, and Peter may have gone to
roost.

Bunny tramped upstairs and went on with his parts in the play.
Everything went along nicely, and every one said the last act, the one
in the orchard, was fine. Bunny and Sue did well, as did Lucile, Mart
and the others.

"I wish we could think of some way so my rooster would only crow at the
right time," said George, when talking to Bunny, after the rehearsal was
over.

Bunny Brown wished so, too, for he wanted the little play to be as real
as it could, so the people who saw it would be glad they had come to
pay money to help the Home for the Blind.

Mr. Clayton sent word from the Home that he would surely be on hand at
the performance Christmas afternoon. He also said he had not yet
received any word from the other uncle and aunt of the two vaudeville
children.

"Oh, dear," sighed Lucile on Christmas eve, as she and her brother sat
in the Brown home, "I do hope we can find Uncle Simon and Aunt Sallie!"

"So do I hope you do," said Sue. "But, oh, won't we have fun to-morrow
at the play! And to-morrow is Christmas. I'm going to hang up my
stocking. Are you going to hang up your stocking?" she asked Mart and
Lucile.

"Well, I don't know," answered the boy slowly. "I guess, seeing that we
haven't heard from Uncle Simon and Aunt Sallie yet, that maybe it
wouldn't be any use for us to hang up our stockings, Sue."

"Oh, I think it would," said Mrs. Brown, with a funny little smile. "You
tell Mart and Lucile to hang them up, Sue. I don't believe Santa Claus
will forget them."

"There!" cried Sue. "You must do as mother says. Come on, Bunny!" she
added. "Let's get our stockings ready, and we'll go to bed early.
Christmas will come sooner then. Why, where's Bunny?" she asked, as she
looked out in the kitchen where she had last seen her brother. "Bunny!"
she called. "Come on, hang up our stockings!"

But Bunny Brown did not answer.

"Bunny isn't here!" said Sue. "Where is Bunny?"



CHAPTER XXII

ACT I


"What's that? Isn't Bunny here?" asked Mr. Brown, who was busy talking
to Mr. Treadwell about the play.

"This is the first I knew he wasn't here," answered Mrs. Brown. "Did any
one see him go out?"

No one had.

"Perhaps he is upstairs," said Lucile.

"No, he wouldn't go up to bed without telling me," said Mrs. Brown.
"Besides, he's been teasing me all evening to get his stockings ready to
hang up, and he wouldn't go without them. Where can he be?"

"He isn't in the kitchen," said Sue, for she had gone out to look, and
had come back again.

"Perhaps he is hiding away from you, just for fun," said Mart.

"He sometimes does play tricks," remarked Mr. Brown. "I'll take a look."

They all looked, and they called, but Bunny could not be found. He did
not seem to be in the house. Mr. Brown even opened the back door and
shouted, thinking perhaps Bunny had gone out to see that the Shetland
pony was all right, as he sometimes did.

"Dear me!" exclaimed Mrs. Brown, "where can he be?"

"Oh, he's all right," said her husband. "It's early yet, even if it is
dark, and maybe he went out to play in the snow, though of course he
shouldn't at this hour."

"It's snowing, too," said Mrs. Brown, as she stood in the back door
beside her husband. "Snowing hard! There's going to be a big storm, and
if Bunny is out in it--I wish Bunny would not do such things!"

"Oh, will he get freezed?" cried Sue, her eyes opening big and round.

"No, dear, he'll be all right," replied her mother. "But he must be
found."

"Maybe he went out with Bunker Blue," suggested Mart.

Bunker Blue, the boy, or rather, young man, who worked for Mr. Brown at
the fish and boat dock, had been at the house shortly after supper, and
later had said he was going back to the office to make sure it was
locked, for it would not be open on Christmas Day.

"Perhaps Bunny did go back with Bunker," said Mr. Brown. "Though he
shouldn't have done that. But he was so excited about the play there is
no telling what he might do."

"Bunker ought to be at the office about this time," said Mrs. Brown,
looking at the clock. "Call him on the telephone," she begged her
husband, "and ask him if Bunny is there. I hope he is."

Bunker Blue answered the telephone a few minutes later, when Mr. Brown
had called him on the wire.

"No, Bunny didn't come out with me," said Bunker. "But I saw him in the
kitchen with his cap, coat, and rubber boots on when I left. He seemed
to be getting ready to go out."

"Then he's gone off somewhere without telling us anything about it!"
cried Mrs. Brown. "Maybe he went over to Charlie Star's house, to make
sure there would be enough tickets for the show. Oh, I wish he hadn't
gone out!"

"I can telephone to Mr. Star and ask," suggested Mr. Brown. But when he
had done this, and no Bunny Brown was there, they all began to get
quite excited.

"I'll get on my coat and rubbers and go out with you," said Mart, as Mr.
Brown began to put on his overcoat. "He might be in the barn, practicing
some of the tricks he is going to do in the play to-morrow."

"Oh, I don't believe Bunny would go out to the barn alone after dark,"
said Mrs. Brown.

Her husband and Mart were just starting out into the storm to look for
the missing Bunny when the tramp of feet was heard on the porch.

"Here comes somebody!" cried Sue. "I hope it's Bunny!"

But it was not. Instead it was Bunker Blue, and he was covered with snow
flakes. His nose was red, too, even if his name was Bunker Blue.

"Has Bunny come back yet?" asked Bunker, as he stamped his feet on the
porch, to get the snow off.

"No, he hasn't," answered Mr. Brown. "We are getting very anxious about
him, too, though the worst that can happen is that he may get cold. He
shouldn't have gone out!"

"Well, I didn't see anything of him," said Bunker Blue. "I was quite
surprised at what you told me, over the telephone, about his not being
in the house in this storm."

"Oh, maybe he'll never come back, and then we can't have our nice
Christmas play!" exclaimed Sue.

"Oh, Bunny will come back all right--don't worry about that," said her
father gently. "If he doesn't come we'll go and get him. In fact, now
that you are here, Bunker, we three might as well set out and look for
the little fellow. He's got something on his mind, or he wouldn't go out
as he did."

"I'm sure I can't see what made him go out," said Mrs. Brown. "It's
snowing very hard, too," she added, as she shaded her eyes from the
light in the room and looked out of the window.

"But it isn't very cold, that's one good thing," her husband added. "Of
course I wish Bunny hadn't gone out, but, since he has, we must go out
and find him."

"Could he, by any chance, be hiding somewhere in the house?" asked Mart.

"We'll look," decided Mr. Brown, "although we looked before."

He and Mart, as well as Bunker Blue, were dressed to go out into the
storm to look for Bunny, who was so strangely missing, but when Mart
said this Mr. Brown decided that it would be better to go over the house
once more, to make sure Bunny was not hiding away.

"We'll take Sue with us to help search," said her father, as he took off
his overcoat, for he did not know how long he would stay in the house.
"Bunny and Sue play hide-and-go-seek games in the different rooms," went
on Mr. Brown, "and Sue knows lots of hiding places; don't you, Sue?"

"Yes, we hide in lots of places," the little girl answered. "But I don't
guess Bunny is hiding now."

"Oh, well, maybe he is, just to fool us," returned her father. "Come
now, we'll begin the search."

And while the storm was getting more and more wild outside, with the
wind blowing harder and the snowflakes coming down more and more
thickly, Mr. Brown, Bunker, and Mart, with Sue and Mrs. Brown to help
them, began searching through the house after Bunny. It was a good
thing they took Sue with them, for she knew many "cubby holes" in which
she and her brother often took turns hiding. And some of these even her
mother had forgotten about, though Mrs. Brown thought she knew every
nook and cranny of the house.

But Bunny was in none of these places, and though they looked and called
his name and called again, from attic to cellar, there was no sign of
the little fellow.

"He surely must have gone out!" decided Mr. Brown. "Very likely he's
gone to see some of the boys to talk about the play."

"Then let's go and find him!" cried Bunker Blue, putting on his coat
again.

"That's what I say!" came from Mart. "This is no night for a little boy
to be out. It's snowing harder than ever."

So Mr. Brown, Bunker, and Mart started out to look for Bunny. They went
first to one house and then to another, and there were many houses where
Bunny Brown and his sister Sue were in the habit of calling. At most of
the places were boys and girls with whom Bunny and Sue played, or who
were to take part in the Christmas show. But none of these boys or
girls had seen Bunny.

"Well, this is certainly strange!" declared Mr. Brown, when they had
stopped at the last place where they thought it likely Bunny would be.
"I guess we'll have to tell the police about it and have them help hunt
for him. I don't see what else we can do."

"Maybe it would be the best way," agreed Bunker Blue. "I'll go down and
tell the chief of police."

"No, we had better telephone--that's quicker," said Mr. Brown. So they
stopped in the drug store and Mr. Brown talked to the police station on
the wire.

"All right," the chief answered back. "I'll start some of my men out on
the search. You go back home and let me know as soon as Bunny is found
or comes back."

This Mr. Brown promised to do, and soon he and Mart and Bunker were back
at the Brown home. Mrs. Brown looked very much disappointed and worried
when her husband came in without Bunny.

"Oh, where can he be?" she cried.

Just then the heavy tramp of feet was heard on the porch.

"Maybe this is Bunny!" exclaimed Mart.

And Bunny Brown it was, all covered with snow flakes, his eyes shining
and his cheeks red with the cold. He carried a small basket in one hand,
and the other was clasped in that of Mr. Raymond, the man who owned the
hardware store.

"Why Bunny Brown! where have you been?" cried his mother, as the lamp
light shone on his flushed face, and made the snowflakes sparkle.

"And what have you got in the basket?" asked Sue.

"That's Peter," was the answer, and before any one could ask who Peter
was, if they had wished to, there came a loud crow from the basket.

"A rooster!" cried Mrs. Brown.

"Yes," said Bunny. "Peter--he's George's pet bantam rooster. And he
crowed at the wrong time in the practice to-day--I mean Peter crowed--so
I took him down into Mr. Raymond's cellar. And then I forgot all about
him, and I left him there, and I thought of him after supper, and I
guessed he'd be hungry, so I went back to get him."

"Yes, that's just what he did," said the hardware man. "I was busy
waiting on late Christmas Eve customers, when in came Bunny, all covered
with snow. I didn't know what he meant when he told me he'd come back
for the rooster, for I'd forgotten about the bird myself.

"Nothing would do but he must bring Peter home, and, knowing what a bad
storm it was, I came back with him. I'd have telephoned, but my wire's
out of order, so I couldn't reach you, and I didn't want to stop to go
anywhere else. So I brought him over in my auto."

"It was very kind of you," said Mr. Brown.

"And, Bunny, it was very wrong of you to go away without telling us,"
said Mrs. Brown.

"I'm sorry," answered the little boy. "But I thought maybe Peter'd be
lonesome all alone in the dark, and on Christmas Eve too."

"That's so!" laughed Mr. Raymond. "I guess, Mrs. Brown, you'll have to
forgive Bunny on account of it's being Christmas Eve."

"Did you hang up your stocking, Mr. Raymond?" asked Sue, and they all
laughed at that, so that every one felt better, and Bunny was not
scolded, as perhaps he ought to have been.

"Well, I must get back to my store," said the hardware man. "Merry
Christmas to you, and I'll see you all at the play to-morrow!"

"Yes, we'll all be there!" cried Bunny. "You're going to have a free
ticket, you know!"

This had been decided on, because Mr. Raymond was so kind about letting
the children have the new hall he had fitted up.

"Good-nights," and more "Merry Christmas" greetings were called back and
forth, and then, as the hardware man left in his automobile, to go
chugging through the storm, Bunny Brown and his sister Sue hung up their
stockings for Santa Claus and went to bed.

"Oh, I'm so happy; aren't you, Bunny?" laughed Sue. "Christmas will be
here in the morning, and we're going to have a play an'--everything
lovely!"

"Yes," answered Bunny. "I'm glad, and I'm glad I got Peter so he won't
have to stay all alone, too."

The little rooster was taken out by Mr. Brown and put in the chicken
house near the barn for the night. Word was telephoned to George that
his pet bantam was all right. In a little while every one in the house
was in bed.

If this book had started out to be a Christmas story I could put in a
lot about what nice presents Bunny and Sue got. And also how Santa Claus
did not forget Mart and Lucile. But as this is a book about Bunny Brown
and his sister Sue giving a show, I must get to that part of my story.
I'll just say, though, that the little boy and girl thought it was the
finest Christmas they had ever known.

"I hope it won't snow so hard that nobody will come to the show," said
Sue, when, after breakfast, she stood with her nose pressed in a funny,
flat way against the window. It was snowing, but not too hard.

"O, I guess every one will come," said Mrs. Brown. "They have all bought
tickets, anyhow, so you'll make some money for the Home for the Blind."

"And I hope Uncle Bill doesn't forget to come," put in Lucile.

"I had word from him a little while ago," said Mr. Brown. "I'm going for
him in my auto. And now we must have an early dinner and get ready for
the play."

I think Bunny and Sue were so excited that they did not eat as much
roast turkey and cranberry sauce at that Christmas dinner as at others.
But they had enough, anyhow, and in due time they were at the hall,
where they met all the other children. Bunny had brought back the bantam
rooster, thinking that perhaps, after all, Peter might have some part in
the play. Will Laydon had his trained white mice with him, Splash was on
hand, ready to cling to the piece of cloth on Mr. Treadwell's coat, and
some other animal pets were ready to do their share in the play.

There was a final looking over of every one, mothers and sisters saw to
it that the dresses and suits of the girls and boys were all right, and
Mr. Treadwell was here, there, and everywhere, back of the scenes and
curtain.

"Oh, there's a terrible big crowd!" exclaimed Bunny, as he looked out at
the audience through a peep-hole in the curtain.

"Then we'll make a lot of money for the Blind Home," said Sue.

"I see Uncle Bill!" cried Mart, as he, too, looked out.

"Oh, I'm so glad!" exclaimed Lucile. "Now if we could only hear from
Aunt Sallie and Uncle Simon everything would be all right."

The musicians were in their places. The hall was well filled, not only
with boys and girls who had come to see their chums and playmates act,
but with grown folks as well.

"Are you all ready?" asked Mr. Treadwell of Bunny, Sue and the others,
as the musicians finished playing the opening piece.

"Yes," answered Bunny. "I'm all ready."

"Is my hair ribbon on right?" Sue wanted to know.

"Yes, you look sweet!" said Lucile.

"Now all ready for act one!" exclaimed the impersonator as he made sure
that Snap was in his place.

And then up went the curtain on the meadow scene!



CHAPTER XXIII

ACT II


There was a moment of silence when the curtain first went up, and then
as the audience, many of them for the first time, saw the pretty meadow
scene, there was loud clapping. For the opening act was very nicely
gotten up. The scenery Mr. Brown had bought from the stranded vaudeville
company had been so set up by Mr. Treadwell that it looked very natural.

"Why, bless me, if that don't look jest like my south meddar!" exclaimed
old Mr. Tyndell, as he looked at the stage.

"Hush, father! The people will hear you!" whispered his wife.

"Wa'al, I want 'em to!" he went on. "That's a fine piece of meddar!"

Several sitting near the old farmer laughed, but no one minded it. And
then, as the musicians began to play softly, Lucile stepped out from
behind a make-believe stone in the meadow beside a pretend brook and
began to sing her first song. Every one grew quiet to listen.

The play, "Down on the Farm," had been changed somewhat by Mr. Tread
well from what he had first planned. This had to be done as he found out
the different things the boy and girl actors could best do. And the
first act had to do with Lucile, a lost girl who wandered to a farm
meadow near the house where Bunny Brown and his sister Sue lived, only,
of course, they had different names in the play.

Lucile sang her little song, and then she pretended she was so tired,
from having walked a long way, that she must lie down and take a rest.

It was while she was lying down on some green carpet that took the place
of green grass in the meadow that Bunny and Sue were supposed to come
along and find her.

Bunny and Sue had a little act to themselves at this point. They stood
on the stage and talked about the sleeping Lucile. Bunny said she looked
sad and he was going to cheer her up.

"How are you going to make her feel happy?" asked Sue.

"I--I'm going to turn a pepper--no, I mean a somersault!" cried Bunny,
stammering a trifle and making a little mistake, for this was the first
time he had acted before such a large crowd. But no one laughed.

"Can you turn somersaults?" asked Sue.

"Yes, I'll show you!" answered Bunny. And then, on the stage, he began
turning over and over.

All this was part of the play, of course, and Bunny was loudly clapped
for the way in which he turned head over heels. He had practiced these
somersaults many times, and Mart had helped him.

"Well, if you can make her happy by doing that maybe I can make her
happier by singing a song," said Sue. "I'll practice my song while she's
asleep as you practiced your somersaults."

And so Sue began to sing, while Lucile pretended to be asleep. After
Sue's song Mart was supposed to come along, being a boy who had run away
from a circus, and he was to watch Bunny try to turn a handspring. Bunny
was to make believe he couldn't turn a handspring very well, and Mart
would then take the center of the stage.

"Here! Look at me do a flipflop!" cried Mart, and then he really did
some very good tricks for a boy acrobat.

All this while Lucile was pretending to be asleep, and when Mart's
tricks were over she was supposed to wake up suddenly. At this point Sue
was to see the pretend tramp, who, of course, was only Mr. Treadwell
dressed up in old clothes.

Everything went off very well. Along through the meadow walked the actor
tramp, and then, when Sue and Bunny called for "Snap," out rushed
Splash.

"Grab him!" cried Bunny, and his dog caught hold of the loose piece of
cloth sewed to Mr. Treadwell's coat. Then began a funny scene, with the
actor pulling one way and Splash pulling the other, until, with a rip,
the cloth came loose and Splash began shaking it as he might a rat.

Well, you should have heard the people laugh and clap at that! They
wanted that scene done over again, but of course this wasn't like a
song, with two verses. Mr. Treadwell only had one patch sewed on his
coat, and when that was torn off he didn't want Splash to pretend to
bite him again.

Finally the dog act came to an end and the little play went on with
George and Mary Watson, Harry Bentley, fat Bobbie Boomer, Sadie West,
Charlie Star and Helen Newton, besides other boys and girls, taking
part. They all did well, and the fathers and mothers and strangers, too,
applauded very loudly.

Lucile's Uncle Bill could hear all that was said, though he could see
nothing, and he seemed to enjoy it all very much. The first act came to
an end with all the children joining in singing a chorus.

"And now for act two!" exclaimed Mr. Treadwell, as the curtain went
down. "This is in the barnyard, you know."

"I hope Peter crows at the right time!" said George, for it had been
decided to try the rooster in that act.

While the audience sat in front of the lowered curtain, waiting for it
to go up again, the children behind the curtain were very busy. Most of
them had to dress in different clothes, or "costumes," as they are
called, for the next act. And, for a time, there was much hurrying to
and fro, much hunting here and there for things that had been mislaid.

"Where's my red hat?" called Charlie Star as he looked back of a piece
of scenery that had a little brook painted on it. "Has anybody got my
red hat?"

"Is it a fireman's hat, Charlie?" asked Sue, who was looking for some
one to help her pin her dress in the back.

"No, it was a soldier's hat, but I'm going to make believe I'm a
fireman, so I guess you could call it a fireman's hat," explained
Charlie. "Has anybody seen my red hat?"

"Hush! Not so loud!" called Mr. Treadwell to Charlie. "The audience out
in front will hear you, and they'll all be laughing at us."

"Oh!" said Charlie more quietly. "But I've got to have my hat, or I
can't be in the next act."

"I'll help you hunt for it," said Bunny Brown. "I know where all my
things are for the next act and I have time to help you, Charlie, 'cause
you helped me a lot by printing the tickets for our show."

The two little boys began to hunt behind the scene, on the stage, for
the missing red hat. They searched all around for it, but it seemed to
have disappeared. Even Mr. Treadwell helped look, for he knew the play
would not go right unless Charlie was dressed as had been planned for
him.

"Did anybody see Charlie's red hat?" finally the impersonator called,
when he managed to stop all the others from talking for a moment.
"Please think, and see if you can remember seeing a red hat."

Then the buzz of talk broke out again, while the men who had been hired
to do it kept on setting up the scenes for the second act. But all the
children who had time to _do_ so helped Bunny look for the red hat.

"Maybe Splash took it," suggested Sue, when she had finally gotten her
dress pinned to suit her. "I saw him dragging something off to one
corner a while ago."

"Was it a bone?" asked Bunny.

"I couldn't see very well, 'cause I was in a hurry," Sue answered.

"Come on--we'll find Splash!" called Bunny to Charlie and some of the
others who were helping in the search.

But even the dog seemed to have hidden himself. At last, however, he was
heard growling in a dark corner, and Bunny saw that his pet was chewing
something, and tossing it up in the air, as he often tossed a bit of
cloth or an old shoe.

"Splash! What have you got?" cried Bunny. "Bring it here!"

At first the dog did not mind, but finally, when both Sue and Bunny told
him to come, out he came, dragging something after him.

"Oh, it is my red hat!" cried Charlie, when he saw it. "It's my nice red
hat that mother made for me to wear in the show!"

And that is what it was. But the red hat was nice and red no longer.
Splash had chewed all the red off it, and the hat was also very much out
of shape.

"Splash! You're a bad dog!" cried Bunny, shaking his finger at his pet,
and Splash slunk away with his tail between his legs. He always did that
whenever any one called him a bad dog.

"Oh, see how bad he feels," said Sue, in her gentle voice. "I guess he
didn't mean to be bad and chew your hat, Charlie."

"But he did chew it!" replied the little boy who was to wear it in the
next act. "Look! I can't even get it on! It isn't a hat at all!"

"Let me see," said Mr. Treadwell, coming up just then. He looked at what
Splash had left of the hat. It was torn and chewed and the color was all
gone, for the red had been only red ribbons pinned on an old cap, and
Splash had made them look very sad indeed.

"What can I do?" asked Charlie. "Have I got to stay out of the play?"

Mr. Treadwell thought for a moment.

"No," he said. "I'll tell you what we'll do. You were to be a fireman
and wear this red hat, weren't you?"

"Yes," answered Charlie.

"Well, you can still be a fireman, but instead of a red hat you can wear
a tin one. A tin hat will be just the thing for a fireman. It will keep
the make-believe hot sparks, as well as the water, off his head."

"But where can I get a tin hat?" asked Charlie.

"I'll have Mr. Raymond bring up a small tin pail from his hardware store
downstairs."

And that's what was done, and the new, shiny tin pail made a very funny
hat for Charlie. He liked it better than the red one that Splash had
chewed.

After some delay the curtain went up again, showing the barnyard scene,
and in this Bunny and Sue were to drive Toby, their Shetland pony, on
the stage. It had been decided they could do this, as the pony was a
very little one.

Up went the curtain again, and once more the big crowd clapped as they
saw how pretty and natural it was. There was part of a barn with a real
door that opened, and when it swung wide and out trotted the Shetland
pony on to the stage, drawing a little cart in which sat Bunny and Sue,
why, then you should have heard the applause!

And then something happened. Just how it came about no one knew, but,
all of a sudden, there was a loud crow, and out from his basket, which
had been hidden back of the wings, flew Peter, the rooster.

At first no one paid much attention to this, as they all knew it was
part of the play. But when Peter suddenly flew out from back of the
stage and alighted right on the pony's back, Toby was much frightened.

Up he rose on his hind legs, and then he made a dash for the edge of the
stage. Straight for the footlights he started, dragging Bunny and Sue in
the cart after him!

Men jumped to their feet and women screamed. It looked as if Bunny and
Sue would be hurt.



CHAPTER XXIV

ACT III


Lucky it was for every one that Mr. Treadwell was an old actor and stage
manager and that he was used to slight accidents happening during a
show. Just at the time Bunny and Sue, in the pony cart, were seemingly
about to be run over the footlights. Mr. Treadwell was at one side of
the stage, waiting for his turn to go on, dressed as an old soldier.
When he saw what was happening to the little boy and girl he did not
stop.

Rushing out he fairly slid across the smooth boards, in front of the
make-believe barn, and he grabbed the pony's bridle in one hand. In the
other he held the sword that he was supposed to use as a soldier.

"Halt!" cried the impersonator. "Stop right where you are, and surrender
to General Grant!"

Mr. Treadwell really was dressed up like General Grant, but Bunny and
Sue were surprised to hear him use these words, which were not in the
play at all, "General Grant" had quite a different part to perform, and
at first Bunny and Sue could not understand it. All they knew was that
Mr. Treadwell had caught the pony's bridle in time to stop the
frightened animal from walking over the edge of the stage, when Peter
the rooster crowed so loudly from his back. Perhaps the sharp claws of
the rooster may have tickled the pony. I should think they would. Anyhow
the pony was stopped just in time.

"Don't be frightened, Bunny and Sue!" whispered Mr. Treadwell, as he
motioned for the orchestra to play a little louder, so no one in the
audience could hear what he said. Then he went on: "Just pretend it is
all part of the show! Make believe I was to rush out this way, and call
on you to surrender. I'll take Peter off the pony's back. The rooster
makes him afraid. Now, Bunny, you say: All right General Grant! I'll
surrender if it takes all summer!"

Bunny had been told so many times by Mr. Treadwell just what other
things to say that this time he did not waste a second. So, almost as
soon as the impersonator, dressed as General Grant, had rushed out,
grabbed the pony's bridle, and called on Bunny and Sue to surrender,
Bunny answered:

"All right, General Grant. I'll surrender if--if it takes all summer!"

Bunny didn't know why some of the old men in the audience laughed so
hard when he said this, but later on his father told him that some of
them, like Uncle Tad, had fought under General Grant in the Civil War
and that he had said words that were a "take-off" of one of General
Grant's real speeches.

So, in less time than I have taken to tell you about it, the danger was
over, Mr. Treadwell had turned the pony around so that it was headed
back toward the make-believe barn, Peter, the crowing rooster had been
taken from the back of the little horse, and the play was going on as
usual.

Lucile came out and sang another song, Mart did some acrobatic feats,
and the other boys and girls did their parts in the play, while "General
Grant" appeared again and amused the audience.

"Dear me, Mrs. Brown!" exclaimed Mrs. Newton, who sat next to the
mother of Bunny and Sue, "I thought at first that was an accident--the
way the pony started off the stage when the rooster got on his back--but
I guess it was all part of the play."

"It was clever of them to get up something to fool us like that--almost
too real and life-like, I think, though," said the mother of one of the
little boys in the play.

Mrs. Brown knew, from the looks on the faces of Bunny and Sue, that it
was an accident, and not intended, but she said nothing, for she did not
want to spoil any one's pleasure in the show.

And so the performance went on, the boys and girls doing simple little
things they had been taught by Mr. Treadwell. There were dances and
drills, for it was a sort of mixed-up play, without very much of what
grown folks call "plot." But it was just the thing for Bunny Brown and
his sister Sue, and the only sort of play they could have given, for
they were not very old.

In one scene George Watson, Harry Bentley, and Charlie Star played
leapfrog, jumping over one another's backs. Bunny also had a part in
this.

George tried to get his rooster to do a little trick in the barnyard
scene. The boy stood near the barn door and held a piece of bread in his
hand. He wanted Peter, the rooster, to fly up, perch on his head, and
eat the crumbs of bread. But the rooster seemed to think he had done
enough by perching on the pony's back, and he wouldn't fly on top of
George's head at all. So they had to leave that trick out of the second
act.

Then the curtain went down on the second act, the barnyard scene, and
the boy and girls got ready for the last, the third act, in the orchard.
This was to be the prettiest of all, for it was supposed to be in
apple-blossom time, and the scene was a beautiful one, though it was
cold, snowy, and wintry weather outside. Mr. Treadwell had done his best
on this act.

It was hard work for some of the children, though most of them thought
of it as play, but they had spent long hours in drilling.

As I have told you, there was a real tree in the scene, and a house, and
the play was supposed to end with every one saying how happy he or she
was to be "Down on the Farm," when they all sang a song with those words
in it.

Everything went off very nicely. Bunny and Sue did even better in this
third act than in the first or second, and there was no little accident
like that with the pony and rooster.

They were coming to the climax of the third act. Sue was supposed to be
lost, and Bunny was supposed to hunt for her. He was to look everywhere,
and at last find her up in an apple tree--or what passed for an apple
tree--on the stage.

All went well until Sue slipped out of the farmhouse, ran to the apple
tree and climbed up in it to hide among the artificial branches. Then
Bunny started to pretend to look for her. He stood under the tree, but
didn't let on he knew she was there, though of course he really did
know.

"I wonder where she can be?" he said aloud, just as he was supposed to
say in the play. "Where can she have hidden herself?"

And just then little Weejie Brewster piped up from where she was sitting
with her mother:

"Dere she is, Bunny! Dere's Sue hidin' up in de apper tree! I kin see
her 'egs stickin' out! She's in de tree, she is!"

Of course everybody burst out laughing at hearing this, but the play was
so near the end that what Weejie said did not spoil it. Bunny had to
laugh himself, and so did Sue. Then Bunny looked up among the branches,
pretended to discover Sue, and on he went with the rest of his talk.

The little white mice performed once again. Splash did another trick
quite well, too. And then Peter, the rooster, as if to make up for not
behaving nicely in the second act, flew out on the head of George just
as he was handing Lucile a bouquet when she sang her "Rose Song."

Of course the rooster, coming out at that time, rather spoiled Lucile's
song, but she didn't mind, and when the audience got over laughing she
went on with it as if nothing had happened.

It was just before the last scene, where the whole company of boys and
girls was to gather around Mr. Treadwell, in front of the house, and
sing the farm song, that something else happened.

Down the aisle came Mr. Jed Winkler, and in his hand he held a yellow
telegram envelope. He marched up to Mr. Brown and said, so loud that
every one could hear him:

"This message just came! I was over at the telegraph office and the
operator gave _it to_ me to bring to you."

"Oh, thank you," said Mr. Brown.

There was a little pause in the play while the children were getting
ready to sing the last song. Mr. Brown tore open the message.

"I hope there is no bad news," some one said, and every one in the
audience hoped the same thing, for they all liked Mr. Brown.

Bunny and Sue, up on the stage, looked at their father in some
wonderment, while Lucile, who was to lead in the singing, glanced at her
brother. Could the telegram be about them?



CHAPTER XXV

THE FINAL CURTAIN


Mr. Treadwell, who was off to one side of the stage getting everything
ready for the last scene, came out now to tell Bunny, Sue, and the
others to start the singing.

"And sing good and loud," said the impersonator, who was dressed in a
funny clown suit. "Sing your best, so all the people will like the show
that Bunny and Sue started."

The piano player struck a few notes and then Mr. Brown, who had finished
reading the telegram, held up his hand and stepped out into the aisle,
walking toward the stage.

"Wait a minute!" called Mr. Brown, and the piano player stopped.

"Is there anything the matter?" asked Mr. Treadwell, and Lucile's Uncle
Bill seemed a bit uneasy, for, being blind, he could not so well take
care of himself in case of accident as could the others.

"Don't you want Bunny and me to sing any more, Daddy?" called out Sue,
from where she stood on the stage, and nearly every one in the hall
laughed.

"Oh, yes, indeed, I want you to sing," said Mr. Brown. "But I have some
good news, and I might as well tell it to those to whom it comes before
the show goes on. It will not take more than a few minute.
Lucile--Mart--the good news is for you!" And Mr. Brown waved the
telegram at the boy acrobat and his sister, the singer.

"Is it from our kin?" asked Mart.

"Yes," answered Bunny's father. "This message came to me because, I
suppose, your uncle, Mr. William Clayton, gave my address when he
telegraphed to your uncle Simon and Aunt Sallie."

"And is the message from them?" asked Lucile.

"Yes," replied Mr. Brown. "It's from your Uncle Simon, and he says he
and your aunt will be here in about a week. They have been giving a show
in a far-off country, and they did not know you had lost track of them
and your Uncle Bill. But everything is all right now. Your uncle and
aunt are coming to look after you, and they say they are sorry you had
so much trouble."

"We didn't have much trouble after we met you, and you took care of us,"
said Mart.

"Well, I'm glad you feel that way about it," replied Mr. Brown. "And
I'll be glad to have you and Lucile stay with me until your uncle and
aunt come back. It's well they telegraphed instead of waiting to send a
letter, for the good news came more quickly. They say they just received
the first letter your Uncle Bill sent, and they made haste to answer by
telegraph."

"So everything is all right, is it?" asked Mart's Uncle Bill, from where
he sat with a friend from the Home for the Blind.

"Yes," answered Mr. Brown. "Lucile and Mart have found their relatives,
and I hope they never lose them again."

"That's fine!" cried the blind man. "This will be a jolly Christmas for
everybody!"

And so it was, and no one was happier than Lucile and Mart that they had
found their missing uncle and aunt.

"Oh, I can sing my last song so much more happily now!" said Lucile
softly.

"And I'm going to turn three flipflops instead of one!" cried Mart.

"And I'll help you!" added Bunny Brown, and every one laughed again. It
was a merry, happy, jolly time, just right for Christmas.

"Well, all ready now, children!" called Mr. Treadwell when Mr. Brown had
taken his seat. "Now for the last grand chorus then the final curtain
and the play will be over!"

Once more the piano played, and then the children, led by Lucile, lifted
up their sweet voices in song. And it seemed to be a hymn of
thanksgiving for the two children who had found their lost ones.

Circling around the tree in the stage orchard marched Bunny Brown, his
sister Sue, and the other children. Then out danced Mr. Treadwell, in
another funny suit, and then, all at once, out from the wings rushed
Splash the dog. He stood up on his hind legs put his paws on Mr.
Treadwell's shoulders, and marched across the stage that way, while the
audience clapped and Bunny and Sue stared with wide-opened eyes.

"I--I didn't know my dog could do that trick!" cried Bunny.

"I taught it to him for a surprise," said the actor. "Hi, Splash! Come
on and have another dance with me!" And the dog walked across the stage
again on his hind legs.

And then, with another song, given as the children stood in a double row
facing the audience, the show of "Down on the Farm" came to a close and
the final curtain fell, while the crowd of fathers, mothers, sisters,
brothers, uncles, aunts and friends applauded as loudly as they could.
Mr. Brown gave a little talk about the Home for the Blind and many
persons said they would help it.

"Well, from what I heard of it, I'll say that was a fine show!" said
Lucile's Uncle Bill. "And one of the best parts was that telegram Mr.
Brown read."

"Yes, I think so myself," said Bunny's father.

Back on the stage the children were hurrying to get off their costumes
and into their regular garments, so they might go home and look at their
Christmas presents once more.

"Shall we ever give the show again?" asked Charlie Star.

"Well, we might, in a day or so," said Mr. Treadwell. "If the audience
would like to see it, we might give it some afternoon next week."

"Oh, yes, let's do it!" cried Bunny.

"Oh, yes!" cried Sue and the others.

While this talk was going on Mr. Raymond, the owner of the hall, came up
to where Bunny Brown stood.

"I guess you're the treasurer of this show, aren't you?" he asked, and
Sue noticed that the hardware man had something in his hand.

"No--no," said Bunny, shaking his head, "I wasn't a--a treasure. I was a
farm boy in one act and I turned somersaults in another act."

"Well, I don't exactly mean that," said Mr. Raymond, with a laugh. "I
mean you got up the show, didn't you?"

"Yes, Bunny and Sue really started it," said Mr. Treadwell.

"That's what I thought," said the hardware man. "Well, then, Bunny, this
money comes to you. It's what was taken in at the door, and what was
paid for tickets. Your father asked me to take charge of it, but, now
that the first show, at least, is over, you'd better have it."

He handed a box that seemed to be full of silver money and bills to
Bunny and Sue Brown.

"Oh! Oh!" exclaimed Sue. "It's most a thousand dollars I guess!"

"No, not quite as much as that," said Mr. Raymond. "But your show was a
great success, and there's ninety dollars and fifteen cents there. The
fifteen cents is from a boy who couldn't raise the quarter admission, so
I let him in for fifteen. I'd have let him in for nothing, but he said
he wanted to do all he could to help the Home for the Blind."

"Yes, this money's for the Blind Home," said Bunny. "I'm glad we got
such a lot. I didn't think we'd get more than ten dollars."

"Indeed, you did very well, and I want to thank you on behalf of the
blind people," said Mr. Harrison, manager of the Home, to whom Mr. Brown
handed the money, after Bunny, Sue, and the other children had all had a
look at it. "This will buy many a little comfort for my people."

Then, indeed, Bunny, Sue and the others felt repaid for all they had
done to get up the show; and some of them had worked very hard to give
the audience a pleasant and amusing time.

So everything came out well, and the finding of the uncle and aunt of
Lucile and Mart was one of the nicest parts of the little play.

Soon the hall was deserted, and the children were on their way home. Mr.
Bill Clayton--though I presume his name was William, and not just
Bill--and Mr. Harrison went to the Brown house to stay for supper, and
there the telegram from their Uncle Simon was read again by Lucile and
Mart.

"I'm going to be a show actor when I grow up," declared Bunny Brown.

"And I'm going to sing on the stage--I like it," said Sue.

"Well, it will be a good many years before you are old enough to go on
the real stage," said her mother, with a laugh. "You or Bunny either."

And so the show that Bunny and Sue gave came to an end--yet not quite an
end, either. For the play was given over again the week after, and more
money raised for the Home for the Blind. And among those in the audience
were Mart and Lucile's Uncle Simon and Aunt Sallie. They had hurried
their trip back to this country to look after Lucile and Mart, and they
were glad to find their niece and nephew in such good hands.

"And if it hadn't been for Bunny Brown, thinking of getting up a show,
maybe you'd never have found us," said Mart to his Uncle Simon.

"Maybe," agreed Mr. Weatherby. "Bunny did a lot, and so did his sister
Sue! They're just the kind of children to do things!"

And perhaps, if all goes well, you may read of other doings of Bunny
Brown and his sister Sue.

THE END.



THE BUNNY BROWN SERIES

By LAURA LEE HOPE

Author of the Popular "Bobbsey Twins" Books

       *       *       *       *       *

Wrapper and text illustrations drawn by

FLORENCE ENGLAND NOSWORTHY

       *       *       *       *       *

=12mo.   DURABLY BOUND.    ILLUSTRATED.    UNIFORM STYLE OF BINDING=

       *       *       *       *       *

These stories by the author of the "Bobbsey Twins" Books are eagerly
welcomed by the little folks from about five to ten years of age. Their
eyes fairly dance with delight at the lively doings of inquisitive
little Bunny Brown and his cunning, trustful sister Sue.

Bunny was a lively little boy, very inquisitive. When he did anything,
Sue followed his leadership. They had many adventures, some comical in
the extreme.

          BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE
          BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE ON GRANDPA'S FARM
          BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE PLAYING CIRCUS
          BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE AT CAMP REST-A-WHILE
          BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE AT AUNT LU'S CITY HOME
          BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE IN THE BIG WOODS
          BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE ON AN AUTO TOUR
          BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE AND THEIR SHETLAND PONY
          BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE GIVING A SHOW
          BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE AT CHRISTMAS TREE COVE

       *       *       *       *       *

=GROSSET & DUNLAP,      PUBLISHERS,      NEW YORK=



THE MOVING PICTURE GIRLS SERIES

By LAURA LEE HOPE

Author of "The Bobbsey Twins Series."

       *       *       *       *       *

=12mo.   DURABLY BOUND.    ILLUSTRATED.    UNIFORM STYLE OF BINDING=

       *       *       *       *       *

The adventures of Ruth and Alice DeVere. Their father, a widower, is an
actor who has taken up work for the "movies." Both girls wish to aid him
in his work and visit various localities to act in all sorts of
pictures.

THE MOVING PICTURE GIRLS
Or First Appearance in Photo Dramas.

Having lost his voice, the father of the girls goes into the movies and
the girls follow. Tells how many "parlor dramas" are filmed.


THE MOVING PICTURE GIRLS AT OAK FARM
Or Queer Happenings While Taking Rural Plays.

Full of fun in the country, the haps and mishaps of taking film plays,
and giving an account of two unusual discoveries.


THE MOVING PICTURE GIRLS SNOWBOUND
Or The Proof on the Film.

A tale of winter adventures in the wilderness, showing how the
photo-play actors sometimes suffer.


THE MOVING PICTURE GIRLS UNDER THE PALMS
Or Lost in the Wilds of Florida.

How they went to the land of palms, played many parts in dramas before
the camera; were lost, and aided others who were also lost.


THE MOVING PICTURE GIRLS AT ROCKY RANCH
Or Great Days Among the Cowboys.

All who have ever seen moving pictures of the great West will want to
know just how they are made. This volume gives every detail and is full
of clean fun and excitement.


THE MOVING PICTURE GIRLS AT SEA
Or a Pictured Shipwreck that Became Real.

A thrilling account of the girls' experiences on the water.


THE MOVING PICTURE GIRLS IN WAR PLAYS
Or The Sham Battles at Oak Farm.

The girls play important parts in big battle scenes and have plenty of
hard work along with considerable fun.

       *       *       *       *       *

=GROSSET & DUNLAP,      PUBLISHERS,      NEW YORK=



THE OUTDOOR GIRLS SERIES

By LAURA LEE HOPE

Author of the "Bobbsey Twin Books" and "Bunny Brown" Series.

       *       *       *       *       *

=12mo.   DURABLY BOUND.    ILLUSTRATED.    UNIFORM STYLE OF BINDING=

       *       *       *       *       *

These tales take in the various adventures participated in by several
bright, up-to-date girls who love outdoor life. They are clean and
wholesome, free from sensationalism, absorbing from the first chapter to
the last.

THE OUTDOOR GIRLS OF DEEPDALE
Or Camping and Tramping for Fun and Health.

Telling how the girls organized their Camping and Tramping Club, how
they went on a tour, and of various adventures which befell them.


THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE
Or Stirring Cruise of the Motor Boat Gem.

One of the girls becomes the proud possessor of a motor boat and invites
her club members to take a trip down the river to Rainbow Lake, a
beautiful sheet of water lying between the mountains.


THE OUTDOOR GIRLS IN A MOTOR CAR
Or The Haunted Mansion of Shadow Valley.

One of the girls has learned to run a big motor car, and she invites the
club to go on a tour to visit some distant relatives. On the way they
stop at a deserted mansion and make a surprising discovery.


THE OUTDOOR GIRLS IN A WINTER CAMP
Or Glorious Days on Skates and Ice Boats.

In this story, the scene is shifted to a winter season. The girls have
some jolly times skating and ice boating, and visit a hunters' camp in
the big woods.


THE OUTDOOR GIRLS IN FLORIDA.
Or Wintering in the Sunny South.

The parents of one of the girls have bought an orange grove in Florida,
and her companions are invited to visit the place. They take a trip into
the interior, where several unusual things happen.


THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT OCEAN VIEW
Or The Box that Was Found in the Sand.

The girls have great fun and solve a mystery while on an outing along
the New England coast.


THE OUTDOOR GIRLS ON PINE ISLAND
Or A Cave and What it Contained.

A bright, healthful story, full of good times at a bungalow camp on Pine
Island.

       *       *       *       *       *

=GROSSET & DUNLAP,      PUBLISHERS,      NEW YORK=



THE GIRLS OF CENTRAL

HIGH SERIES

By GERTRUDE W. MORRISON

       *       *       *       *       *

=12mo.   DURABLY BOUND.    ILLUSTRATED.    UNIFORM STYLE OF BINDING=

       *       *       *       *       *

Here is a series full of the spirit of high school life of to-day. The
girls are real flesh-and-blood characters, and we follow them with
interest in school and out. There are many contested matches on track
and field, and on the water, as well as doings in the classroom and on
the school stage. There is plenty of fun and excitement, all clean, pure
and wholesome.

THE GIRLS OF CENTRAL HIGH
Or Rivals for all Honors.

A stirring tale of high school life, full of fun, with a touch of
mystery and a strange initiation.


THE GIRLS OF CENTRAL HIGH ON LAKE LUNA
Or The Crew That Won.

Telling of water sports and fun galore, and of fine times in camp.


THE GIRLS OF CENTRAL HIGH AT BASKETBALL
Or The Great Gymnasium Mystery.

Here we have a number of thrilling contests at basketball and in
addition, the solving of a mystery which had bothered the high school
authorities for a long while.


THE GIRLS OF CENTRAL HIGH ON THE STAGE
Or The Play That Took the Prize.

How the girls went in for theatricals and how one of them wrote a play
which afterward was made over for the professional stage and brought in
some much-needed money.


THE GIRLS OF CENTRAL HIGH ON TRACK AND FIELD
Or The Girl Champions of the School League

This story takes in high school athletics in their most approved and
up-to-date fashion. Full of fun and excitement.


THE GIRLS OF CENTRAL HIGH IN CAMP
Or The Old Professor's Secret.

The girls went camping on Acorn Island and had a delightful time at
boating, swimming and picnic parties.

       *       *       *       *       *

=GROSSET & DUNLAP,      PUBLISHERS,      NEW YORK=


Transcriber's Notes:

Obvious punctuation errors repaired.

Table of Contents: Chapter XVIII. MR. TREADWELL'S WIG 161 changed to
162.

Page 57: line ends travel-
next line begins
Brown. "Haven't you any
words in between have been presumed and do not appear in the original.

Page 66: "hard" changed to "heard" (I've heard that)

Page 89: repeated word "a" removed (a cocoanut on it)

Page 127: "were're" changed to "we're" (we're glad you)

Page 157: "though" changed to "thought" (thought the little)

Page 162: "though" changed to "thought" (Bunny thought perhaps)

Page 163: "did't" changed to "didn't" (hay Sue didn't get)

Page 163: "break" changed to "bread" (bread and milk)

Page 164: "though" changed to "thought" (I thought I would)

Page 209: "yyet" changed to "yet" (come back yet)

Page 223: "Teadwell" changed to "Treadwell" (Treadwell dressed up)

Page 226: "Maye" changed to "Maybe" (Maybe Splash took)

Page 237: "aound" changed to "around" (around Mr. Treadwell)

Page 237: "boquet" changed to "bouquet" (a bouquet when she)





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