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´╗┐Title: Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue in the Sunny South
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 in the Sunny South" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

THE SUNNY SOUTH***


BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE IN THE SUNNY SOUTH

by

LAURA LEE HOPE

          Author of
          The Bunny Brown Series, The Bobbsey
          Twins Series, The Outdoor Girls
          Series, The Six Little Bunkers
          Series, The Make-Believe
          Stories, Etc.

Illustrated by Walter S. Rodgers



New York
Grosset & Dunlap
Publishers
Made in the United States of America



       *       *       *       *       *


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
          BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE AT CHRISTMAS TREE COVE
          BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE IN THE SUNNY SOUTH


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 BOBBSEY TWINS IN THE GREAT WEST
          THE BOBBSEY TWINS AT CEDAR CAMP


THE SIX LITTLE BUNKERS SERIES


THE MAKE-BELIEVE STORIES


THE OUTDOOR GIRLS SERIES


       *       *       *       *       *


Grosset & Dunlap
Publishers       New York
Copyright, 1921, by
Grosset & Dunlap



Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue in the Sunny South


[Illustration: WITH DELIGHT AND WONDER, THE CHILDREN PICKED ORANGES.

_Frontispiece_--(_Page 203_)

_Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue in the Sunny South._]



CONTENTS


          CHAPTER                                 PAGE
              I THE SNOW MAN                         1
             II BUNNY'S TRICK                       10
            III ORANGE BLOSSOMS                     19
             IV A RUNAWAY                           31
              V OUT OF A DUSTPAN                    43
             VI OFF FOR GEORGIA                     50
            VII THE PLANTATION                      60
           VIII AMONG THE COTTON PICKERS            73
             IX GATHERING PEANUTS                   84
              X ON TO FLORIDA                       93
             XI THE POOR CAT                       104
            XII A STRANGE RIDE                     115
           XIII NUTTY, THE TRAMP                   123
            XIV A QUEER PICNIC                     134
             XV LEFT ALONE                         144
            XVI THE JOLLY SWITCHMAN                154
           XVII A WORRIED MOTHER                   164
          XVIII THE TRICK DOG                      171
            XIX A HAPPY REUNION                    180
             XX AT ORANGE BEACH                    191
            XXI GOLDEN APPLES                      198
           XXII THE RAFT                           207
          XXIII ON THE ISLAND                      216
           XXIV THE ALLIGATORS                     225
            XXV MR. BUNN                           234



BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE IN THE SUNNY SOUTH



CHAPTER I

THE SNOW MAN


"Oh, Bunny! what you making such a big nose for?"

"So I can hit it easier, Sue, when I peg snowballs at it."

Bunny Brown and his sister Sue were in the backyard of their home,
making a big man of snow. There had been quite a storm the day before,
and many white flakes had fallen. As soon as the storm stopped and the
weather grew warm enough, Mrs. Brown let Bunny and Sue go out to play.
And of course one of the first things they did, after running about in
the clean white snow, making "tracks," was to start a snow man.

Bunny was working away at the face of the white chap when Sue asked him
about the big nose he was making.

"What'd you say you were going to do, Bunny?" asked Sue, who was digging
away in the snow about where the man's legs would be when he was
finished.

"I said--" replied her brother, as he pressed some snow in his
red-mittened hand, getting ready to plaster it on the man's funny
face--"I said I was making his nose big so I could hit it easier with a
snowball."

"Oh, Bunny!" cried Sue, "are you going to throw snowballs at our nice
snow man?"

"Of course!" replied Bunny. "That's what we're making him for! I'm going
to put a hat on him, too. Course a hat's easier to hit than a nose,
'specially a tall hat like the one I'm going to make. You can throw at
the hat if you want to and I'll throw at the nose."

"Oh, Bunny!" exclaimed Sue, and from her voice you might have thought
Bunny had said he was going to throw a snowball at Wango, the pet monkey
of Mr. Jed Winkler, an animal of which Bunny Brown and his sister Sue
were very fond. "Bunny, don't hurt him!"

"Pooh! You don't s'pose a snow man can feel, do you?" asked Bunny,
turning to look at his sister. He had just begun to understand why it
was that Sue did not want him to throw snowballs at the big white fellow
when he was finished.

"Well, maybe he can't feel," said Sue, for she was really too old to
have such a little child's belief. At least she felt she was too old to
confess to such a feeling. "But what's the fun of making a nice snow man
and then hitting him all over with snowballs? I'm not going to throw at
his tall hat, even if you make one. Why can't you throw balls at
something else, Bunny, like a tree or a telegraph pole?"

"'Cause I can peg at them any time," Bunny answered, with a laugh. "It's
more fun to throw snowballs at a snow man and make believe he's real. He
can't chase you then."

"Well, I'm not going to throw anything at our nice snow man," decided
Sue, digging away with her little shovel to carve out the legs.

"You don't have to," said Bunny, fairly enough. "I'll do it all, Sue."

"Well," said his sister, with a shake of her head, "you can throw at
your part of the snow man, if you like, but you can't throw at my part!"

"Which--which is your part?" asked Bunny, and he spoke as though greatly
surprised.

"The legs," answered Sue. "I wish you wouldn't throw any snowballs at
the legs, Bunny Brown."

"All right, I won't," he promised kindly. For Bunny was a year older
than his sister, and, at most times, was kind and good to her.

"You can throw at your own part as much as you like," went on Sue, "but
I'm not going to have my part spoiled."

"All right," her brother agreed again. "I'll throw at his nose and high
hat--after I make it--and I won't touch his legs."

This seemed to satisfy Sue, and for some time the children played in the
yard, where the big snow man was being made. He was as large as Sue and
Bunny could build him. First they had rolled a snowball around the yard,
and, as the snow was soft and packed well, the ball grew larger and
larger.

Then, when it was about the size Bunny thought was right, it was left at
the place where the man was to stand.

"Now we have to roll another ball," Bunny had said.

"What for?" asked Sue, who, though she had often seen snow men, had
perhaps forgotten just how they were made.

"This second ball is for his stomach," Bunny said.

"What good is a stomach?" asked Sue. "He can't eat."

"He could maybe eat icicles if he wanted to," Bunny had answered.
"Anyhow, the second snowball has to go on top of the bottom one and make
the body. Then you cut legs out of the bottom snowball. You can cut the
legs, 'cause I'm taller 'n you and I can reach up and make the face."

Sue was digging away with her little shovel at the bottom snowball to
make the man's legs, and Bunny was just finishing the big nose when,
suddenly, a snowball came sailing into the Brown yard and fell with a
thud between Bunny and his sister.

They both started, and Bunny cried:

"Did you throw that, Sue? If you did you mustn't, for 'tisn't time to
start throwing yet!"

"Ha! Ha!" laughed a voice around the corner of the Brown home, and down
the path came running Charlie Star, one of Bunny's playmates, followed
by Helen Newton, a little girl with whom Sue was very fond of playing.
It was Charlie who had laughed.

"I threw the snowball," he said. "But I only did it to make you jump. I
wasn't trying to hit you, Bunny and Sue."

"All right," replied Bunny. "Want to help make the snow man?"

"Sure!" answered Charlie.

"Oh, what fun!" added Helen. "May I help?"

"You may help me make the legs," replied Sue. "Bunny says he's going to
throw snowballs at his part--that's the head," she explained.

"That'll be fun!" decided Charlie Star. "Come on, let's hurry up and get
it finished and then we'll see who's the best shot."

"I've got to get a hat made first," Bunny stated. "It'll be a lot more
fun pegging at a tall hat."

"If you could get a real one--one of the shiny black kind--it would be
dandy," said Charlie.

"Well, I can make one just as good of snow," Bunny said. "Come on,
Charlie!"

Together the four children played around the snow man, who was slowly
coming to look more and more like himself.

"Oh, isn't he a big fellow!" cried Helen, walking off a little way to
get a better view.

"Wait till I make his hat," suggested Bunny. "Then he'll look bigger,
and we can hit him easier, Charlie."

"Sure, Bunny!"

"All but his legs!" cried Sue. "You mustn't hit his legs, Bunny Brown.
They're my part."

"No, we won't hit the legs," agreed Bunny. "Charlie, you look for some
pieces of coal for the eyes. I'm going to roll another snowball to make
the tall hat."

Bunny walked over toward the side of his house to find some snow that
had not been trampled on, so he would have a good place to start to roll
the ball that could be cut into the shape of a tall hat. Sue and Helen
had about finished work on the snow man's legs, and Charlie had fitted
in two chunks of black coal for eyes.

"Shall I put some of the red paper on for ears?" asked Charlie, as he
was about to make the mouth.

"Snow men don't have red ears!" laughed Helen.

"My ears get red when they're cold," said Sue.

"We'll make the ears out of snow," called Bunny, who was rolling the
snowball near the house. "I forgot about them. But I guess we don't need
'em, anyhow."

All of a sudden, as Bunny was bending over to give the hat snowball a
final roll, which would make it about the right size, a queer noise
sounded. It seemed to come from the roof of the Brown house.

Charlie, Sue, and Helen looked up. They saw, sliding down the sloping
roof of the house, a big mass of snow, like a great drift. It was just
above Bunny's head, and the other children could see that it would slide
right down on top of him.

"Look out, Bunny!" screamed Sue.

Her brother glanced up from the ball he was rolling.

"Look out for the slide from the roof!" shouted Charlie.

Bunny started to run, but it was too late. In another second down came
the big mass of snow with a rush, covering Bunny Brown from sight!



CHAPTER II

BUNNY'S TRICK


For a moment after the rush and fall of the snow from the roof, the mass
of white flakes coming down with a swish and a thud, there was silence.
Sue, Helen, and Charlie were so frightened and surprised that they did
not know what to do. Then, after two or three seconds, Sue seemed to
find her voice, and she exclaimed:

"Where's Bunny?"

"He--he's gone!" gasped Helen.

But Charlie understood.

"Bunny's covered up under that snow!" he cried. "We've got to dig him
out. You'd better run in and tell your mother, Sue!"

This was something Sue understood. Mother was the one to tell in times
of trouble, especially when daddy wasn't there.

"Oh, Mother! Mother!" cried Sue, running toward the house, "Bunny is
under the snow--a big pile of it!"

"And we must dig him out!" screamed Helen, remembering what Charlie had
said.

Charlie, while the girls ran screaming toward the house, leaped toward
the pile of snow that had slid from the roof and began digging in it
with his hands.

And while Bunny is under the snow heap, from which he doubtless hoped
soon to be rescued, I will take just a moment or two to tell my new
readers something about Bunny Brown and his sister Sue.

Those were the names of the children. Their father, Mr. Walter Brown,
kept a boat and fish dock in the town of Bellemere on Sandport Bay, near
the ocean. Helping Mr. Brown at the dock was Bunker Blue, a big, strong
boy, very fond of Bunny and Sue. The first book of the series is called
"Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue," and in that you may read of the many
adventures the children had together, and with their friends, who,
besides Charlie and Helen, were George and Mary Watson, Harry Bentley,
Sadie West, and a number of other children.

In the town of Bellemere were other persons, more or less friendly to
Bunny and Sue. I have mentioned Jed Winkler, an old sailor who owned a
monkey named Wango. His sister, Miss Euphemia, was not as fond of
monkeys or children as was her brother.

Uncle Tad was an old soldier, who lived in the Brown home. He was really
an uncle to Mr. Brown, but Bunny and Sue claimed him as their own. In a
distant city lived Aunt Lu, whom the children had once visited.

Bunny Brown and his sister Sue had many adventures besides those told of
in the first book. They went to Grandpa's farm, they played circus, they
visited at Aunt Lu's city home, they camped in the woods at "Camp
Rest-a-While," journeyed to the big woods, took an auto tour, had rides
on a Shetland pony, gave a show in the town hall, and just before this
story opens they had been to Christmas Tree Cove, where they took part
in many strange happenings and solved a queer mystery.

They had been back from Christmas Tree Cove for some time, and now
winter had set in. Then came the big storm, the making of the snow man
and the slide of snow from the roof, covering Bunny Brown from sight.

"Oh, Mother! Mother! come and get Bunny out," cried Sue, as she raced
toward the house.

"And bring a shovel!" added Helen, glancing back to see where Charlie
was trying to get to the bottom of the pile by using his hands.

"What's the matter?" asked Mrs. Brown, as she came to the door in answer
to the cries of the two girls.

"Oh, Bunny--Bunny--a--a--" Then Sue had to stop, for she was breathless.

"He's under the snow!" cried Helen, able to finish the sad news Sue had
started.

Mrs. Brown, who had been sewing in the house, had heard the slide of
snow from the roof, and had also heard the thud it made as it landed in
the yard. Now she understood what Sue and Helen meant. Bunny, somehow or
other, was under that snowslide.

"Oh, Uncle Tad!" cried Mrs. Brown. "Come quick! Bunny is under a
snowslide from the roof! We'll have to get him out!"

Mrs. Brown hurried from the house, followed by the two little girls. But
Helen paused long enough to shout:

"Bring a shovel! That's what Charlie said!"

"Is Charlie under the snow, too?" asked Mrs. Brown, as she hurried
around the corner of the house.

"No'm. But he's digging with his hands," Helen answered. "I guess the
shovels Bunny and Sue were making the snow man with are too small to dig
with."

This was so, and Mrs. Brown was thinking of turning back into the house
to get the large shovel when she saw Uncle Tad coming with it.

"I'll soon dig him out," said the old soldier, as he began to work with
the shovel.

"Poor Bunny!" exclaimed Mrs. Brown. "I can't even see him."

"The snow came down from on top," explained Charlie. "It went right over
his head and everything!"

"I hope he isn't hurt," said Mrs. Brown, picking up one of the small
shovels the children had been using and beginning to help Uncle Tad dig.

"I guess it won't hurt him much," Charlie said. "The snow's soft. Once I
was in a snow house and the roof fell in on me and I was all covered up,
but I wasn't hurt."

"That's good," remarked Mrs. Brown. "We're digging you out, Bunny," she
called.

"I don't guess he can hear you," said Helen, when no answer came from
beneath the snow.

"I couldn't hear when I was in the snow house," said Charlie. "My ears
were all stopped up."

"We'll soon have him out," declared Uncle Tad, tossing aside big
shovelfuls of the damp snow. "It's a deep pile, though."

There were now three of them digging away at the pile of snow which hid
Bunny Brown from sight. Of course Uncle Tad was doing the most work, as
his shovel was so large. Pile after pile he tossed aside, and he was
fast getting to the bottom, when, all of a sudden there was a cracking
sound, and the handle of Uncle Tad's shovel broke in the middle.

"Oh, dear!" cried the old soldier. "This is too bad!"

"And we haven't another large shovel!" said Mrs. Brown. "Walter took our
second one down to the dock with him this morning!"

"Well, perhaps I can make this do," said Uncle Tad. "Though I can't work
as fast as I could if the handle wasn't broken."

"Sue, and Helen, run next door and see if you can borrow a large snow
shovel," called Mrs. Brown. "Don't stop to tell them what it's for, or
Bunny may smother."

"Oh, no'm, I guess he won't," Charlie said, as he dug away with the
little shovel that Sue had been using. "When I was under the snow I
could breathe all I wanted to."

Mrs. Brown said she was glad to hear this, but, for all that, she dug as
fast as she could with the other small shovel, and Uncle Tad, using the
one with the broken handle, did the best he could.

Helen and Sue hurried next door to see if they could borrow a broad
wooden shovel, but before they returned Uncle Tad had managed to dig
down through the pile of snow until he reached the ground and the side
of the house foundation--the upper part of the cellar wall.

"Why, Bunny isn't here!" cried Uncle Tad, in great surprise.

"Isn't he?" asked the little boy's mother, looking over Uncle Tad's
shoulder down into the hole in the snow pile.

"There isn't a sign of him," went on the soldier. "Are you sure you saw
him get covered from sight here?" he asked Charlie.

"It was right here," answered Bunny's chum. "He was rolling a snowball
to make a hat for the man when down the snow slid off the roof. It
covered Bunny and the snowball he was rolling."

"Oh, we must hurry!" exclaimed Mrs. Brown, now growing very anxious. "He
surely will be smothered, under the snow all this while!"

She began to dig again with the small shovel, and Uncle Tad was doing
his best with the broken one when Sue and Helen, coming around the
corner with a large shovel which they had borrowed next door, gave a
sudden cry.

"What is it?" asked Mrs. Brown.

"There's Bunny now!" exclaimed Sue. "Look!"

They all looked, and, surely enough, Bunny was coming up the outside
steps of the cellar. He walked up as if nothing had happened.

"Bunny Brown! what trick is this?" exclaimed his mother. "What made you
pretend to be buried under all that snow and give us such a fright for,
when you weren't there at all?"

"But I was there, Mother," Bunny said. "I was under the snow."

"Then how did you get out?" Uncle Tad asked. "It surely looks like a
trick, Bunny Brown."



CHAPTER III

ORANGE BLOSSOMS


Bunny Brown walked from the cellarway over to where his mother, Uncle
Tad, his sister, and his playmates stood. Uncle Tad and Mother Brown
looked rather reproachfully at the little boy. They really thought he
had played a joke on them, or at least that he had caused the other
children to do so, sending them to cry that he was buried under the
snow.

But Sue, Charlie, and Helen knew that Bunny had really been covered from
sight under the snow. They knew there was no trick about it, though they
did not know how it was Bunny appeared as if coming out of the cellar
when he should have been under the snow.

"I didn't play any trick, Mother. Really I didn't," said Bunny
earnestly. He had played tricks in times past, but his mother knew he
always told the truth.

"Were you really under that pile of snow?" asked the old soldier.

"Yes, Uncle Tad, I was," Bunny answered. "The snow came down off the
roof and covered me all up."

"Then why didn't I find you there when I dug all the way down to the
ground and the cellar wall?" asked Uncle Tad.

"Because," answered Bunny, with a queer little smile on his rosy face,
"when the snow piled on top of me, and knocked me down, I was right
close by a cellar window. First I didn't know what to do. Then I saw the
window, and I pushed on it, and it opened.

"I went through the window into the cellar. There was a box under the
window inside the cellar, and I got on that and then I jumped off down
to the floor.

"First I couldn't see anything, 'cause it was so dark there, but I could
after a while, and I come out by the door."

"Oh, Bunny!" exclaimed his mother. "We never thought of the cellar
windows! Of course I see how it could happen," she said to Uncle Tad.
"The pile of snow does cover a window."

She pointed toward one end of the big pile under which Bunny had been
hidden. This end did, indeed, cover one of the low cellar windows, and
when the snow was shoveled away it could be seen where the little boy
had scrambled through.

"Say, it was lucky the cellar window wasn't fastened," said Charlie.

"It surely was!" agreed Bunny. "I was glad when it opened."

"I didn't know we had left any of them unbolted," Mrs. Brown said.
"We'll fasten it now. But don't get under any more snowslides, Bunny."

"Now we can finish making our snow man!" Bunny said, as his mother and
uncle turned to go into the house.

"Yes, I guess there's no more danger of snow sliding off the roof,"
remarked Uncle Tad. "All that could fall has slid off."

"Don't forget to take Mr. Snyder's shovel back," Mother Brown called to
the children.

They promised to return it, and then began an hour of fun with the snow
man. Bunny finished making the tall white hat, and then he and Charlie
threw snowballs at it and at the nose of the snow man until he was so
battered and plastered that he did not look at all like himself.

Sue and Helen threw a few snowballs at the legs of the man, but they
soon tired of this, for Charlie and Bunny grew so excited with their
sport that there was not much chance for the girls.

"Let's go and slide downhill," proposed Sue.

"That'll be fun," agreed Helen. So, taking their sleds, the girls went
to a little hill not far away, where, meeting Mary Watson and Sadie
West, they had good times riding down the snowy slope.

"Well, he doesn't look much like a snow man now," laughed Charlie Star,
after many balls had been thrown at the white image.

"No; his face is all gone," Bunny agreed. "What'll we do now?"

"Let's go over on the hill," proposed Charlie. "It's getting so warm
that maybe the snow won't last much longer, and we don't want to miss
the fun."

"It is getting warmer," Bunny agreed. "The wind's coming from the
south," he added as he looked at the weather vane on the barn and saw
that it was pointed to the south. "I guess they don't ever have snow
down south; do they, Charlie?"

"They don't where my aunt lives," Charlie answered. "She's down in
Florida--away down in the end, near Key West. She sends me letters
sometimes, and she says they never have snow there. She has all the
oranges she wants, too!"

"I'd like to live there!" Bunny said, smacking his lips. "I love
oranges. But I'd like a little snow once in a while, wouldn't you,
Charlie?"

"Oh, yes! You couldn't have any fun in winter without snow."

"I'd like to see such a place--just once, anyhow," went on Bunny Brown.
And he little knew how soon he was to get his desire.

The two boys, having pelted the snow man all they wished, got their
sleds and soon joined Sue and the other girls on the hill. There they
had races, and coasted down in as many different ways as they could
think of. Finally Bunny cried:

"Let's make a bob, Charlie!"

"No, you mustn't do that!" exclaimed Sue.

"Who said so?" demanded Bunny.

"Daddy," Sue answered. "He said I wasn't to make any bobs on the hill."

"Well, he didn't tell me not to," declared her brother.

"I guess he meant you," answered Sue. "You'd better not make a bob,
Bunny Brown! You might get hurt!"

Making a bob, it might be explained, meant that two or three boys and
sometimes the older girls would lie flat on their sleds. Then one
coaster would take hold of the rear of the sled in front of him, and
twine his feet around the front runners of the sled behind him. In this
way half a dozen boys or girls could lock themselves and their sleds
together and go down the hill that way.

There was danger in it because sometimes the hands or legs of some one
in the middle would lose their grip, and the "bob" would come apart.
Then sleds would crash together, and often the children were hurt. Sue's
father had told her never to do this, for he had more than once seen
children hurt at this game.

Whether he had told Bunny not to make a bob I do not know. I think if
Bunny had been forbidden this fun he would not have taken part in it.
But perhaps he forgot.

Anyhow, he and Charlie and some of the other lads stretched out on their
sleds, making a bob as I have told you it was done, and down the hill
they coasted.

All went well for some distance, and then suddenly Harry Bentley, who
was in the middle, lost his hold of Bunny's sled.

"Hold on to me! Hold on to me!" cried Bunny, as he saw that he was
slipping sideways.

"I can't!" Harry answered.

A few seconds later the bob came apart, some boys rolling off their
sleds and others coasting down backwards or sideways. Bunny went on by
himself for some little distance, and then, all of a sudden, the two
last boys, who were still locked together, crashed right into the side
of Bunny's sled, knocking him off and coasting on right over him!

"Oh! Oh!" cried Sue, who saw what had happened. "Look at Bunny!"

For a moment it seemed that her brother must be severely hurt, but when
some of the older boys ran to pick him up, Bunny arose by himself. On
his face was a spot of blood.

"Oh, you're hurt!" cried Charlie Star.

Bunny put his hand to his nose. It was bleeding, and at first he was
frightened. But he did not cry.

"I--I don't care!" he said bravely. "I've had nose-bleed before. It
don't hurt much!"

"Hold some snow on it," advised one boy. "That'll stop the bleeding."

Bunny did this, but as the cold snow hurt worse than the pain of his
bumped nose, he soon tossed the red ball away.

"Come on, I'll take you home," said Jack Denson, one of the older boys.
"Don't cry, Sue," he said, as Bunny's sister began to whimper. "He's
all right."

Jack was very kind, wiping the blood off Bunny's face at times with a
handkerchief, so that when the Brown home was almost reached the
bleeding had nearly stopped. Sue, who had been very much frightened at
first, was growing calmer, and Bunny was feeling better. As they neared
their house they saw their father coming home from his work at the boat
and fish dock.

"There's my father," Bunny said.

"Oh, then you'll be all right," remarked Jack. "I'll skip back then, for
I've got to go to the store for my mother."

Mr. Brown stood at the gate waiting for his two children, who came along
dragging their sleds.

"Why, Bunny! what's the matter?" asked Mr. Brown, when he saw the blood
on his son's face.

"He played bob; and didn't you tell him not to?" broke out Sue. "An' the
bob busted and he got bumped into and he was run over and he was under
a drift and he crawled through the cellar window an' Uncle Tad couldn't
find him an'--an'--everything!" gasped Sue, now quite out of breath.

"My, you're telling all the bad news at once!" laughed her father, for
he saw that Bunny was not seriously hurt and he knew that sometimes
accidents will happen on coasting hills.

Mr. Brown had a box under his arm. It was a box that had come through
the mail, as Bunny and Sue could see by the stamps. It looked very
interesting and mysterious, this box did, and the children regarded it
curiously as they walked up the path to the front door of the house with
their father.

"Didn't you tell Bunny never to make a bob?" asked Sue, as Daddy Brown
took his key from his pocket to open the door.

"I don't know that I did," was the answer. "Still if it is dangerous to
make bobs I wish neither you nor Bunny to do it."

"Oh, it's lots of fun," Bunny said. "And my nose doesn't hurt much now.
What's in the box, Daddy?" he asked.

"I'll show you in a minute," Mr. Brown promised. "It is something very
nice."

"Candy?" cried Sue, who had more than one "sweet tooth," I think.

"No, not candy," her father teased. "You'll soon see."

He went into the house with the children, and as soon as Mrs. Brown saw
Bunny she knew what had happened; at least she knew his nose had bled.

"Did you have a tumble?" she asked.

"He was in a bob and it broke and he was run over!" cried Sue, who
seemed anxious to do all the telling.

"Well, I'm glad it was no worse," said Mother Brown. "What's this?" she
asked, as her husband handed her the box. "For me?"

"Yes," he answered. "Orange blossoms."

"Orange blossoms! How lovely!" cried the children's mother. "Where
from?"

"Florida. Mr. Halliday sent them. He's down there on an orange farm, and
I may have to go down myself."

"Down where?" cried Bunny.

"South," answered his father.

"To Florida where the orange blossoms grow?" asked Sue eagerly, as her
mother was opening the box.

"Well, we may get to Florida. But first I shall have to go to Georgia,"
answered Mr. Brown.

"Oh, take us!" cried Bunny and Sue. "Please take us!"

"We'll see," said Mr. Brown, with a look at his wife. "We'll talk it
over after supper. Let's look at the orange blossoms now."

While Mother Brown was opening the box there came a noise at the side
door as though some one were trying to break it open by pounding on it.



CHAPTER IV

A RUNAWAY


Bunny Brown and his sister Sue, who were standing on their tiptoes to
look at the orange blossoms in the box, turned quickly and glanced at
the door as the pounding sounded again.

"I wonder who that can be," said Mother Brown, pausing with the box
cover in her hand.

"I'll go and see," offered Mr. Brown. "It's queer they didn't go to the
front door."

"Maybe it's somebody from the post-office come to take our orange
blossoms away," suggested Bunny.

"What would they do that for?" Sue wanted to know.

"'Cause," answered Bunny, "maybe the orange blossoms came to the wrong
place and have to go to somebody else, like that letter one day." He
was speaking of a time when the letter carrier left a wrong missive at
Mr. Brown's home, and came later to get it.

"Oh, these are daddy's orange blossoms all right!" said Mrs. Brown, as
she looked at the address on the box. "They came to him at his office on
the dock."

"Then who can it be?" asked Bunny, as the knock sounded again.

There came the sound of a bark as Mr. Brown opened the door, and next
the children heard their father exclaim:

"Well, you poor half-frozen fellow! Come in and get warm! Go on away,
dog!" exclaimed Mr. Brown. "Let Wango alone!"

"Oh, it's Wango!" cried Sue, running to the door.

"Mr. Winkler's monkey!" added Bunny. "Did he bring him over to play with
us?"

"No, Wango seems to have come by himself," answered Mr. Brown, and as
soon as the door was opened wider in scrambled the monkey, a stick of
wood in one paw probably being what he had been pounding on the door
with. From the light of the lamp, which streamed out on the side porch,
the children could see a big black dog that, very likely, had been
chasing and barking at poor Wango.

"Go on away, dog!" cried Mr. Brown, and, stooping, he gathered up a
handful of snow from a corner of the side porch and threw it at the
barking animal, which then ran away.

Meanwhile Wango, the pet monkey that was a great favorite with Bunny and
Sue, came shivering into the room to get warm.

"Oh, you poor thing!" cried Sue. "I'll get you my coat to put on! You're
all shivery!" She started for the hall to get her garment, while Bunny
petted the wet head of the long-tailed animal.

"No, Sue! Don't take your coat," called her mother. "You'll get it
covered with monkey hairs. Wrap a floor rug around Wango if you like."

"I'll do that!" cried Bunny, taking a small carpet rug up from the
floor. This he draped around Wango's shoulders, and the cold, shivering
monkey seemed to like it.

"Well, Wango, what made you come out this kind of weather?" asked Mr.
Brown, coming back to the table on which was standing the box of orange
blossoms.

"Maybe Mr. Winkler left the window open and he got out," said Sue.

"Don't monkeys like cold, Daddy?" asked Bunny.

"No, they come from warm, tropical countries," answered his father.
"They cannot stand the cold."

"Florida is warm, isn't it, Daddy?" asked Sue, as she helped wrap the
rug about Wango.

"Oh, yes, Florida, especially the southern part where oranges grow, is
quite warm," Mr. Brown answered. "There is no snow there."

"Then maybe we can find some monkeys when we go down!" Sue said. "Won't
that be nice, Bunny? We'll each have a monkey of our own."

"I'm going to teach mine to do circus tricks!" cried Bunny.

"Hold on! Hold on!" laughed Mr. Brown. "In the first place, there aren't
any monkeys in Florida--at least none running around wild as there are
in the South American jungles. And in the second place, what makes you
children so sure you are going to Florida?"

"You said you'd take us!" replied Bunny.

"I said I'd _see_," remarked his father. "Anyway, I have to go on
business to Georgia, not Florida, though your mother and I may take a
trip to the orange country later on."

"But if you went you'd take us, wouldn't you?" pleaded Sue.

"Oh, of course he would! Don't tease the children so!" exclaimed Mrs.
Brown. "And what are we going to do with Wango?" she asked, for the
monkey seemed quite contented now that he was in a warm, light room with
his two special friends, Bunny and Sue.

"I think Jed will be after him as soon as he finds his monkey is
missing," said Mr. Brown. "But let's get those orange blossoms in water,
to freshen them up. Mr. Halliday said he would send me some packed in
damp moss, so they would keep pretty well, but he told me to put them in
a bathtub full of water as soon as I got them and they would freshen
up."

"These seem quite fresh now," remarked Mother Brown, as she lifted from
the box, lined with moss, the fragrant orange blossoms. Their perfume
filled the whole room, and even Wango sniffed in delight, at least so
Bunny said.

The children were allowed to look at the beautiful waxlike white
blossoms, with their glossy green leaves, and then Mother Brown carried
them upstairs to immerse them in the bathtub full of water. When they
had freshened up they would be put in vases.

"Oh, I'd just love to see orange blossoms growing on a tree!" sighed
Sue, as she drew in a deep breath of the fragrance.

"I'd rather see oranges and eat 'em!" exclaimed Bunny. "Can I pick
oranges off a tree?" he asked his father.

"Well, yes. I suppose I might as well say I'll take you and then you'll
stop teasing," said Mr. Brown laughingly, as his wife came back, having
left the orange blossoms upstairs. "We'll all go to Florida!"

"When?" cried Bunny and Sue, eagerly.

"In about a week, I think," their father answered. "I shall have to go
to Georgia then, and after I get through my business there we can run
down to Florida for a few weeks."

There came a knock on the door just then, and when it was opened there
stood the old sailor, Jed Winkler.

"Is my monkey here?" he asked. "Yes, I see he is," he added, as he
caught sight of his pet near Bunny and Sue. "Come here, you rascal!" he
went on, pretending to be cross. "What did you want to run away for?"

"Is that what he did?" asked Bunny.

"Yes," answered Mr. Winkler, as he came in. "My sister opened the
windows to-day when she was sweeping or dusting or doing something like
that, and she must have forgotten to lock one. Wango found it and got
out. I didn't miss him until a little while ago. I hope he hasn't been
into any mischief."

"Oh, no," answered Mr. Brown. "It looks as though a strange dog might
have chased him after he left your house. We heard a pounding on our
door a few minutes ago, and when I opened it Wango rushed in.

"There was a big, strange dog near the porch, but I drove it away. Your
monkey had a stick in his hand. He probably picked it up to hit the dog
with, and he used it to pound on our door."

"He pounded hard, too," said Sue. "Wango pounded very hard."

"Hope he didn't hurt the door," said the old sailor.

"Oh, I think not," Mr. Brown answered. "But he was cold and shivery, so
the children wrapped him up."

"Well, I'm much obliged," said Mr. Winkler. "Come along home, Wango!" he
called, and the monkey leaped into his master's arms, dropping the
stick, which he no longer needed. "What's that nice smell?" asked Mr.
Winkler, as he started for home. "Did somebody break a bottle of
perfume?"

"It's orange blossoms," explained Bunny.

"And we're going to Florida and pick oranges," added Sue. "But there
aren't any monkeys there."

"Then that's the place where my sister ought to go," laughed the old
man. "She hates monkeys, and I think sometimes she leaves the windows
open or unlocked on purpose so Wango'll get lost. But I wouldn't want to
tell her that," he went on. For Miss Winkler was of rather a sour
disposition, not at all as jolly and happy as her brother.

When the old sailor and his pet had gone and supper was over, Bunny and
Sue sat near their father and mother, talking happily about the coming
trip to the sunny South where the orange blossoms grow. The flowers had
been brought downstairs and filled the rooms with fragrance.

"You'll be sure to take us now, won't you, Daddy?" asked Bunny, as he
and Sue started for bed a little later.

"Oh, yes, we shall all go South," promised Mr. Brown. "But you can't
make snow men or go coasting there, Bunny."

"Picking oranges will be more fun," decided the little boy.

He and Sue had happy dreams that night, and there were no visions of
alligators mingled with those of orange flowers.

In the night it snowed, so the next day there was more of the white
flaky substance on the ground.

"This'll make good sleighing," said Uncle Tad at the breakfast table.
"You children want to come for a ride with me?"

Did they? You should have heard Bunny Brown and his sister Sue exclaim
in delight at this!

"Where are you going?" asked Mrs. Brown, as Uncle Tad went out to
harness the horse to the small sleigh.

"Walter wanted me to go to the railroad depot and get some freight that
came in for him," answered the old soldier. "There are some small boxes
of things he needs for his motor boat. There'll be plenty of room for
the youngsters."

"All right--take them along," said Mrs. Brown. And a little later Bunny
and Sue were in the sleigh with Uncle Tad.

"Whoa there now! Steady, Prince!" called the soldier to the horse, for
the animal seemed rather more frisky than usual.

"What makes him go so fast?" asked Bunny, for he could tell that Uncle
Tad was having hard work to hold in the horse.

"Oh, he hasn't been out for two or three days and he feels frisky," the
soldier answered. "But I guess I can manage him all right. Sit tight,
you two!"

There were many other sleighs and cutters out around Bellemere, and the
air was filled with the jingle of merry bells. Bunny and Sue saw many of
their friends and waved to them.

"I guess all the boys and girls'll wish they were us when we go to
Florida, won't they?" asked Sue of Bunny.

"I guess they will!" he declared.

They were nearing the railroad now, on their way to the freight depot to
get the boxes for Mr. Brown. There were several tracks to cross before
the depot could be reached.

Suddenly, as the sleigh containing Bunny and Sue was about to cross the
rails, a distant locomotive gave a loud whistle. Prince gave a jump and,
a moment later, began to trot very fast.

"Whoa! Whoa there! Steady, Prince!" cried Uncle Tad, taking a firm hold
of the reins. But Prince did not settle down. Instead he ran the faster,
and straight for the tracks. And as the whistle of the locomotive
sounded louder, Bunny and Sue knew a train was coming!

"Oh, Uncle Tad!" cried Sue, clinging to Bunny.

"Keep quiet, children!" begged the old soldier. "I guess we'll be all
right!"

"Is he running away?" asked Bunny.

"I'm afraid he is," answered Uncle Tad. "But I'll pull him down in a
minute. Sit tight and hold fast!"



CHAPTER V

OUT OF A DUSTPAN


Prince was certainly a frisky horse that morning. In spite of all Uncle
Tad could do by pulling on the reins and calling soothingly to the
animal, he raced with the sleigh over the railroad tracks. And the train
was coming nearer and nearer. Bunny and Sue well knew what would happen
if it hit them.

"Whoa there, Prince! Be a good horse!" called Uncle Tad. He pulled
harder on the reins, and when he saw that unless turned, the animal
might dash across the tracks right in front of the rushing train, the
old soldier gave such a pull that he swung the head of the runaway horse
around and guided him alongside of the tracks instead of across them.

"Look out, Uncle Tad! You're going into a big drift!" cried Bunny.

"That's just where I want to go!" said the soldier. "If I head Prince
into the drift he can't run any more."

And this is just what Uncle Tad did. By a hard pull on the reins he
swung the horse to one side, and not any too soon, either. For as Prince
dragged the sled along the tracks and into a big drift that was almost
as high as the head of the animal himself, the train dashed by--the
train with the locomotive that had whistled and set Prince to running
away.

"Whoa, there now! Quiet! Steady, old fellow!" called Uncle Tad
soothingly, as Prince saw the big drift in front of him and seemed to
know that he could neither go through it nor jump over it, especially
when harnessed to the sleigh.

[Illustration: WITH A WHIZZ AND A ROAR THE TRAIN SPED PAST.

_Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue in the Sunny South._ _Page 44_]

With a whizz and a roar the train sped past Bunny and Sue in the sleigh.
They were quite near it, being alongside the tracks.

Prince stamped and reared a little, but he seemed to have gotten over
his first fright, and was more like himself. Usually he was not skittish
nor afraid of trains or engines. But not having been out of the stable
for some time and having had no exercise, he was, like many other
horses, ready to run away at the first loud noise. But Uncle Tad had
pulled him down to a walk and guided him into the snowdrift just in
time.

"My, that train was going fast!" exclaimed Sue, as it roared on its way.

"If it had hit us it would--it would have busted us all to pieces,
wouldn't it, Uncle Tad?" asked Bunny, who, being a little older than his
sister, knew more about the danger they had been in.

"Yes, indeed!" exclaimed the soldier, as he again spoke soothingly to
Prince. "Getting in the way of railroad trains is dangerous. But we're
all right now."

"Then let's go on," begged Sue. "I don't like it here. Let's get daddy's
boxes and go for a nice ride where there aren't any trains, Uncle Tad."

"All right, we will," promised the old gentleman. But as he looked up
and down the track, to make sure all was clear, he heard the whistle of
another engine and the roar of an approaching train.

"We'll wait until this one goes past," he said, little guessing what a
strange thing was to happen.

Prince pranced a little as he heard another locomotive coming toward
him, but he did not try to run away again nor jump through the
snowdrift.

With a roar the second train approached, gliding swiftly past Bunny,
Sue, and Uncle Tad seated in the sleigh alongside of the tracks. And as
the children watched for the last car they saw the rear door of it open,
and a colored porter, with his white jacket on, stood on the platform.

It was a chair car, and the porter had evidently been doing some
sweeping, for he held in his hands a dustpan. This dustpan he had taken
to the back door to empty, and, just as his car came near the sleigh in
the snowdrift, the porter threw the dust, dirt, and other things from
the pan into the air.

The train was going so fast that it made quite a breeze, and this wind
carried the stuff from the dustpan into the very faces of Uncle Tad and
Sue. Bunny, being on the outside of the seat, did not get any dust in
his face.

"Oh!" cried Sue, as she felt the swirling wind and dust.

"That porter certainly was a careless fellow!" exclaimed Uncle Tad.
"That dust nearly blinded me!" The old soldier held the reins in one
hand, for Prince seemed ready to bolt again, and with the other hand
Uncle Tad wiped the dust from the porter's pan out of his eyes.

Bunny had a glimpse of torn papers and other refuse from the car falling
into the snowdrift near the sleigh.

"I guess he didn't mean to do it, Uncle Tad," the little boy said. "He
wasn't looking this way when he emptied that dustpan."

"I wish he had been!" exclaimed the old soldier. "Did you get a lot of
dust in your eyes, Sue?"

"Yes," answered the little girl. "But it's most gone now."

"How about you, Bunny?" asked Uncle Tad.

"Oh, I'm all right," Sue's brother answered. "Look, Uncle Tad, there
are some papers the porter threw out, too," and he pointed to the heap
of refuse on the snow.

"All trash, I suppose," said the soldier. "People in parlor cars throw
on the floor things they don't want, and the porter has to sweep it up.
Well, we'll get along now."

"Wait a minute, Uncle Tad!" cried Bunny, as the soldier was about to
swing Prince around to go on to the freight depot.

"Eh? What's that, Bunny? What's the matter?" asked Uncle Tad.

"There's a nice green and gold piece of paper down there," Bunny
answered. "Maybe it's some good."

"No, I don't believe so, else the porter wouldn't have thrown it out,"
Uncle Tad answered, as he looked at the train now a mile or more away
down the track.

"Maybe it's some good," Bunny insisted. "Please let me get it, Uncle
Tad. Maybe it's some old railroad ticket and Sue and I can play
conductor on the train when we go to Florida."

"Well, all right, get it if you want to," agreed the old soldier.
"Whoa, Prince! Whoa!"

He steadied the horse while Bunny got down out of the sled, and ran to
the scattered refuse from the porter's dustpan. Bunny picked up the
paper. It was printed in green and gold, as he had said, and was not
torn as were the other scraps of paper that had come from the chair car.

"Look, Uncle Tad!" called Bunny, holding up what he had found. "Is this
a railroad ticket?"

The old soldier put on his glasses and looked carefully at the paper.

"Why, Bunny boy!" he exclaimed, "you've found something worth a lot of
money--a whole lot of money. I must put this away in my pocket and show
it to your father. Whoa there! Steady, Prince! Bunny has just found,
what may be worth a lot of money!"



CHAPTER VI

OFF FOR GEORGIA


Uncle Tad slipped into his coat pocket the paper printed in green and
gold that Bunny had picked up from the refuse tossed out by the Pullman
car porter. Then the old soldier turned Prince around so the horse could
pull the sleigh out of the drift.

"How much money did I find, Uncle Tad?" asked Bunny.

"Well, I don't know just how much it may amount to," was the answer.
"'Tisn't exactly money, you understand. That paper, Bunny, is what is
called a certificate, or something like that, and it's for some stock in
an oil well made out to bearer, as nearly as I can tell."

"Can I have some of the money to spend?" Bunny asked. "I want to get
some candy for Sue and me."

"You can't exactly _spend_ this money," said the old soldier. "In the
first place, it isn't yours, Bunny. You just found it, you know, and
finding isn't always keeping. This oil stock certificate must belong to
some one on the train. They very likely dropped it in the car, and when
the colored porter was cleaning up he swept it into his dustpan and
never noticed it when he threw the dirt in our faces. That certificate
may be worth a lot of money, but it would have to be sold before you
could get cash for it, and, besides, it isn't yours."

"Whose is it?" Bunny wanted to know. "I found it, didn't I?"

"Yes, but we must try to learn to whom it belongs, and give it back,"
Uncle Tad went on. "They may give a reward for it, and then you would
have real money."

Bunny could not understand this, nor could Sue. If you found a thing why
couldn't you keep it? the little boy wondered. Also when something
looked so much like money, as this gold and green paper looked like nice
new bills from the bank, why couldn't some of it be spent for candy?
Bunny and Sue wondered about this.

But when Prince was driven across the tracks to the freight depot, and
when Bunny Brown and his sister Sue were given some pennies by Uncle Tad
and allowed to go to a near-by store while the boxes of motor boat parts
were being loaded into the sleigh, the two children forgot all about the
oil stock paper. They were more interested in getting the kind of candy
they wanted.

"Wouldn't it be nice, Bunny," said Sue, as she chewed a red gumdrop, "if
you'd get a lot of money so we could spend it in Florida?"

"Course it would be nice," her brother agreed. "But where shall I get a
lot of money?" and he bit the end off a stick of cocoanut candy.

"You might get it from that stiff thing you found," went on Sue. "But I
don't think it's very stiff. I saw Uncle Tad bend it when he put it in
his pocket."

"Oh, you mean that stiff cut," laughed Bunny, as he remembered the paper
he had picked up in the snow. "Isn't it a funny name, Sue--_stiff cut_?
I s'pose somebody cut the paper. But it isn't very stiff if you can
bend it."

Of course Bunny and Sue did not get the name just right, but then, as
they didn't understand about certificates and oil stock, there is no use
in worrying over the matter.

Uncle Tad and the freight man finished putting into the sleigh the
different boxes for Daddy Brown's motor boat in which Bunker Blue often
went out after fish in the summer, sometimes taking Bunny and Sue with
him. By this time the two children came back from the candy store and
got in the sleigh.

"Well, did you find any more valuable papers, Bunny?" asked Uncle Tad,
with a joking laugh as he started Prince down the road.

"Nope, I didn't," answered the little boy. "But maybe I'll find some in
Florida."

"You're going to the state of Georgia first, I heard your father say,"
remarked the old soldier.

"Are there any oranges in Georgia?" asked Sue.

"Or alligators?" Bunny wanted to know, for he had heard that there were
plenty of the big, scaly and long-tailed creatures in Florida.

"I don't know much about Georgia," answered Uncle Tad, "except I've
heard that peaches grow there. But, of course, you won't find any of
them now, as it isn't summer."

"Isn't Georgia nice and warm in winter, like Florida?" asked Sue. "And
can't we get some orange blossoms there?"

"I don't believe you'll find any oranges in Georgia," answered Uncle
Tad, "and it isn't as warm as the southern part of Florida, though of
course Florida and Georgia, being close together, are a good deal alike.
They grow lots of cotton in Georgia, and peanuts."

"Peanuts!" cried Bunny, in delight. "Oh, I'm glad! Peanuts are most as
good as oranges, aren't they, Sue?"

"Yes," agreed the little girl. "But it would be nice if we had peanuts
_and_ oranges. 'Cause then when we got thirsty from eating peanuts off a
tree we could go and pick an orange off another tree and suck the juice,
and we wouldn't be thirsty any more, would we, Uncle Tad?"

"No, I presume not," answered the old soldier, with a laugh. "But
peanuts don't grow on trees, Sue."

"They don't?" cried the little girl. "Why not? Hickory nuts do."

"I don't know why, but they don't," said Uncle Tad. "Peanuts grow on
vines, under the ground. In some places down South peanuts are called
'goobers.'"

"What a funny name!" said Bunny. "We'll have some fun in Georgia when we
get there."

"Yes, you two seem to have fun wherever you go, like the lady with rings
on her fingers and bells on her toes, so she had music 'wherever she
goes,'" said Uncle Tad.

Prince had now quieted down, and he drew the sled along without trying
to run away. A little later Bunny and Sue reached home, and Mrs. Brown
was quite excited when she heard how near they had been to the rushing
train.

Bunny and Sue told about the porter and his dustpan, and Uncle Tad took
from his pocket the green and gold oil stock certificate.

"We'll show it to daddy when he comes home," said Mrs. Brown. "He will
know what to do with it."

But though Mr. Brown telephoned to the railroad office, telling about
the finding of the valuable paper, which was thought to be worth much
money, the owner of it could not be found.

After several days, during which Bunny and Sue had more fun in the snow,
Mr. Brown told his wife that the railroad people had not even yet been
able to find the person who owned the oil stock paper.

"It must have been dropped by some one who was riding in that Pullman
car," said Mr. Brown. "Perhaps he dropped it and didn't know it until he
got off the train. Then he may have thought he lost it somewhere else,
and so didn't come back to the railroad office."

"Can't you find out who owns it by writing to the oil company?" Mrs.
Brown asked.

"I could if the certificate were made out in somebody's name," her
husband answered. "But it is made out to 'bearer'--that is, anybody who
holds it can get the permanent certificates. This is a temporary one."

"Could Bunny or Sue?"

"Yes, and if this isn't claimed and we can't find to whom it belongs,
they can sell it and get the money. But the owner may write to the oil
company, even though his name isn't on the paper. In that way I may find
out to whom it belongs. I'll write to the oil company myself in a few
days."

But Mr. Brown had so much to do, getting ready to leave for the sunny
South with Bunny and Sue that, for a time, he forgot about the oil stock
certificate.

As for Bunny and Sue, they talked so much about their coming trip to the
South, mentioning oranges, peanuts, and alligators--it was Bunny who
spoke of the last, you may be sure--that all their little boy and girl
friends were interested.

"I wish you'd send me back some oranges, Sue," begged Mary Watson. "And
some orange blossoms, too. Then I could put them on one of my dolls and
pretend to have a wedding."

"I'll send you lots of oranges and blossoms," promised Sue.

"And will you send me some peanuts from Georgia?" asked Sadie West.

"Lots of 'em!" promised Sue.

At last the day came when the start was to be made. Bunny Brown and his
sister Sue thought it never would arrive, but finally it did, and after
trunks and valises had been packed the party started for the station.
The weather was cold, more snow had fallen, and it seemed that another
storm would soon come.

"But in a little while we'll be where they never have any snow," said
Daddy Brown.

The last good-byes were called back and forth. Bunny and Sue took their
places in the parlor car--the same kind of car as that from which the
porter had tossed the oil stock certificate--and the train began to
move. They were at last off for Georgia and from there would go to
Florida--two states of the sunny South.

As the train began to roll more rapidly out of the station there came
the sound of some excitement from the narrow passageway at one end--the
passage where the porter keeps his towels and soap.

"Oh, there goes Dickie!" cried a woman's voice. "Oh, Dickie, come back!
You'll be hurt, I know you will! Oh, porter! don't let Dickie jump off
and be killed!"

"No'm, I won't," answered the colored man. "Ah'll get yo' Dickie fo'
you!"

"Maybe it's a little child!" exclaimed Mrs. Brown to her husband. "You'd
better go and help her, Walter! That porter is so slow! Go and save
Dickie!"



CHAPTER VII

THE PLANTATION


Mr. Brown knew how he and his wife would worry if anything should happen
to Bunny or Sue, so, with this thought in mind, he hurried to the end of
the car to do what he could in the rescue of Dickie.

Mrs. Brown stayed with the two children, but she was so anxious to help
the woman who had called out about Dickie that she made up her mind to
go to the aid of her husband as soon as Bunny and Sue were settled in
their seats.

As for Mr. Brown, as he hastened toward that end of the parlor car where
some one was begging the porter not to let Dickie be harmed, he saw the
woman who was so excited. She was a large woman, wearing a wide-brimmed
hat trimmed with many ostrich feathers which nodded and swayed as she
moved about.

"Oh, Dickie! Dickie! Where did you go?" this woman cried, clasping her
hands. "Why didn't you stay with me? Now you'll be killed, I'm sure you
will! Or else you'll jump off the train and be left behind! Oh, porter,
close the door so Dickie can't get off!"

"Yes'm. De do' am done closed!" said the colored man. "Ah'll git yo'
Dickie fo' you ef you-all jest waits a minute!"

"Perhaps I can help," suggested Mr. Brown, coming up at that moment, and
looking about in the narrow passageway and in the men's smoking room for
a sight of some little child who might have wandered away from his
mother.

"Oh, if you only can get him!" exclaimed the large woman with the big
hat. "I had him in my arms, but he jumped out--"

"Jumped out of your arms!" exclaimed Mr. Brown. "I should think he would
have been hurt."

"Oh, no, he often does that," said the woman. "He always lands on his
feet."

"What a strange child!" thought Mr. Brown. "He must be training for a
circus performer."

"He jumped out of my arms and ran in there," went on the woman, and she
pointed to the smoking room, which, just then, was empty. It was a room
containing several leather chairs, a leather settee across one end, and
a wash basin in one corner.

"Ah'll git him in jest a minute," said the porter, who was putting some
clean towels in a rack over the basin. "He must be under the long seat."

"I'll bring him out," offered Mr. Brown, getting down on his hands and
knees to look under the long leather seat at one end of the smoking
compartment. He remembered a time when Sue had thus crawled under a sofa
at home and what a time he had to get her to come out.

"Oh, Dickie, why did you do it?" wailed the woman. "Are you sure he
didn't fall off the train?" she asked.

"No'm," answered the porter. "Nobody, man, woman or chile, got off dish
yeah car after it started. I shet de do' too quick for dat! But I didn't
see anybody come in heah!"

"This is where he came," said the woman, following Mr. Brown into the
smoking room. "Oh, I do hope he is under the seat."

By this time the father of Bunny Brown and his sister Sue was able to
see under the leather seat. But, to his surprise, he saw no little boy
or girl there. All he caught sight of was a white poodle dog, cowering
back in the corner.

"There's no Dickie here--only a dog," said Mr. Brown.

"That's Dickie!" cried the woman. "Oh, dear Dickie! are you there? I was
afraid my precious was lost forever! Oh, Dickie, come out!"

Mr. Brown was so surprised that he did not know what to say. He had
thought he was coming to the rescue of a little child, and it had turned
out to be--a dog! And while Mr. Brown loved animals, he was a little
angry to think that anybody would make as much fuss over a poodle that
had crawled under a couch as would be made over a missing little boy or
girl.

Still Mr. Brown was too polite to say all that he felt, and so he
reached his hand under the long seat, and tried to get hold of the dog's
fuzzy coat.

The dog growled and barked, and snapped at Mr. Brown's hand.

"Does he bite?" the children's father asked the woman.

"Not very hard," she answered.

"Hum!" mused Mr. Brown, as he drew back and arose. "Perhaps you'd better
coax him out," he said, for he had no desire to be bitten even by a
little dog, as sometimes their teeth inflict a poisonous wound.

"Oh, Dickie! you wouldn't bite the nice, kind man, would you?" the lady
exclaimed, stooping down and trying to peer under the seat.

"Ah'll put on mah gloves an' git him," offered the porter, who perhaps
felt that the woman might give him a large tip. And, of course, Mr.
Brown was very willing to let the colored man have any reward there
might be.

Putting on a pair of heavy gloves he used when he did rough work in
cleaning the Pullman car, the porter reached under the seat and dragged
forth the growling, snapping little white poodle.

By this time Mrs. Brown, hearing the loud talking out in the smoking
room, thought something serious had happened. She hastened to that end
of the car, followed by Bunny and Sue, who did not want to be left
behind. They arrived in time to see the porter handing the woman her
pet.

"Oh, Dickie!" exclaimed the wearer of the big hat, as she clasped the
poodle in her arms, "oo bad 'ittle snookums!"

"Where's the child?" asked Mrs. Brown.

In answer Mr. Brown pointed to the dog, and his wife understood.

"Oh, isn't he nice!" exclaimed Sue.

"May I see him?" asked Bunny.

"In a little while," the woman answered. "Dickie is so fussed up now his
'ittle heart is beating too hard! I must cuddle him!"

She turned and walked into the next car for, it seemed, she had got
into the wrong one, or, rather, her dog had leaped from her arms and had
gone into the one in which the Browns had seats and the woman had
followed her pet.

"Come in and see me when I get 'ittle Dickie quiet," said the woman, but
even Bunny and Sue, much as they loved pets, did not like the silly fuss
this woman made over her dog. So they did not go into the other car.

Mr. Brown turned and went with his wife and children up to the middle of
the car, where they had their seats. As they left, the porter, with a
queer grin which showed his white teeth, said:

"Golly, she suah did make a fuss ober dat dog!"

"Yes," agreed Mr. Brown with a laugh, "she did!"

"He was a nice little dog," observed Sue, "but I like a big dog
better--you can have more fun with it."

"Sure!" agreed Bunny. "And poodles are so snappy."

"I'm glad you didn't pull him out, Walter," Mrs. Brown said. "I'd be
anxious if he had bitten you."

"I didn't give him the chance," her husband said. "Well, now that Dickie
is safe we can settle down."

And so the travelers made themselves as comfortable as possible, for
they had rather a long trip ahead of them. They would be on the train
all night and a large part of the next day.

"I'm glad that woman with the dog isn't in our car," said Mrs. Brown to
her husband, when Bunny and Sue were contentedly looking from the
windows. "She probably makes a fuss over the animal all the while."

"Yes, it's just as well for us she isn't here," agreed the children's
father. "Though if it were the kind of dog they could play with it would
make the time pass more quickly for Bunny and Sue."

"Oh, I think they'll manage to keep themselves amused," said their
mother. "They like traveling."

Bunny and Sue certainly did, and it was a pleasure for them to look
from the windows at the scenery.

No very remarkable adventures happened on the journey to Georgia. To be
sure, Sue did fall out of the berth once, and her mother had to pick her
up. But the little girl scarcely awakened, and as the carpet on the
floor of the sleeping car was soft and thick she was not hurt in the
least.

Bunny had a little accident, too. During the day he went to the end of
the car to get Sue a drink, taking a folding silver cup his mother
carried in her handbag. But when the little boy was half way down the
aisle the train gave a swing around a curve, Bunny almost fell, and the
cup closed, spilling the water all over him.

However, it was not a great deal, and as the car was warm no harm
resulted. Bunny himself laughed at the happening, and insisted on going
back and filling the cup for Sue. This time he brought it to her nearly
full of water.

And so, with looking out of the windows, reading some of their
best-loved books which they had brought with them, eating and sleeping,
the time passed most happily for Bunny Brown and his sister Sue.

As mile after mile was reeled off by the train, the children began to
notice a difference in the scenery.

The weather was cold, and there was much snow on the ground when they
left Bellemere, and the snow continued to cover the ground for some
distance. But as the train went farther and farther south the snow
seemed to disappear--melting away until, when the children looked from
the windows of their car toward the end of their journey, they saw green
leaves on the trees.

"Oh, are we down South now, Daddy?" called Sue.

"Yes, we are in the southern part of Georgia," was the answer. "We have
left winter behind us. In a little while, especially when we get into
Florida, you will be in the sunny South."

"Oh, what fun we'll have!" cried Sue.

"Where are the oranges?" demanded Bunny. "I don't see any," and he
looked at the trees.

"Oranges don't grow in Georgia, at least not in the open," said Mr.
Brown. "Some may be raised in hothouses, but to grow them in the open
air warmer weather than Georgia has in winter is needed. We shall have
to wait until we get to Florida to gather oranges."

"What about peanuts?" asked Bunny.

"Oh, I think I can promise you plenty of peanuts," answered his father.

"And shall we see cotton growing?" asked Mrs. Brown. "I have always
wanted to see a cotton field, with the darkies singing and picking the
white, fluffy stuff."

"There is plenty of cotton in Georgia," her husband answered, "but there
may be none where we are going. However, I hope you will have your wish.
If we can't have oranges we may have peanuts and cotton."

"We'll not eat the cotton though, shall we, Daddy?" asked Sue.

"You won't have to unless you want to," he laughed in answer.

A little later, when Mr. and Mrs. Brown had got together their baggage,
for they were near their destination, Bunny, who was looking from the
window, suddenly called:

"Oh, look! Here they are, picking cotton!"

Sue rushed to her window and Mrs. Brown turned to gaze out on the scene.
As Bunny had said, the train was then passing through a cotton section,
and in the fields on either side of the track a number of colored men,
women, and children were picking the big white clumps of cotton from the
bushes which grew in long, straight rows. It was a late crop.

"Oh, it's a cotton plantation!" cried Mrs. Brown. "I'm glad, for I've
always wanted to see one."

As they looked out at the sight, which was a new one to Bunny and Sue,
the train began to slow up. In a very few moments they could see painted
in very large letters on the end of the station the word "Seedville."

"This is our station," announced Daddy Brown.

"Oh, we're going to get out right near the cotton plantation!"
exclaimed Mrs. Brown. "I'm glad! Why didn't you tell us we were going to
be so near where they pick cotton?" she asked her husband.

"I didn't really know it myself," he said. "Mr. Morton, whom I am going
to see, said he owned cotton land, but I did not know it was a
plantation. However, we'll get out here." And Bunny and Sue were wild
with delight at the new adventures which might be in store for them.



CHAPTER VIII

AMONG THE COTTON PICKERS


When the train reached the station of Seedville the cotton fields with
the colored pickers were out of sight around a bend in the road. But
Bunny and Sue were glad they were going to stop not far away from this
new and interesting sight.

As the Brown family alighted from the train at the small station, a
gentleman with a broad-brimmed hat, under which his pleasant smiling
face could be seen, came forward.

"Hello, Jim!" called Mr. Brown. "Well, here we are!"

"So I see, and I'm glad of it!" Mr. Morton answered. Then he was
introduced to Mrs. Brown and the children. Mr. Morton was the man Daddy
Brown had come to Georgia to see on business. Later Mr. Brown would
have to visit Mr. Halliday at Orange Beach, Florida.

"Give me your checks and I'll look after your baggage," went on the
Southerner. "I have my auto right behind the station, and it's only a
short ride over to my place."

"Have you any peanuts?" asked Sue.

"Yes, I grow a few," answered Mr. Morton.

"Course you don't have any oranges?" Bunny added, feeling pretty sure,
from what his father had said, there would be none; but still he could
not help hoping.

"No, I'm sorry to say I haven't any orange grove," Mr. Morton replied,
smiling.

"Is that your cotton field we passed?" asked Mrs. Brown, pointing back
toward the scene through which they had come a little while before.

"That's part of my plantation, yes," answered the Southerner. "It's
quite interesting if you haven't seen it as often as I have."

A little later the family was riding toward Mr. Morton's home, where the
Browns were to stay while Daddy and Mr. Morton finished their business,
which would take about a week. Mrs. Morton welcomed the family, and
Bunny and Sue were delighted to find that there were two children, a boy
and a girl, not much older than they were--Sam and Grace Morton.

"Oh, now we can have a lot of fun!" cried Bunny, when he saw these
playmates. "Will you show me how to pick cotton?" he asked Sam.

"Sure," was the answer. "I help pick it myself, sometimes."

"And will you show me how to dig peanuts?" asked Sue of Grace.

"You don't have to do much digging," answered the little Southern girl,
laughing. "You just pull up the vines and the peanuts stick to 'em, same
as potatoes do. Course you sometimes have to dig out some that don't
come up on the vine."

While Mr. and Mrs. Brown and Mr. and Mrs. Morton were talking together,
the children were allowed to go to one of the near-by cotton fields.
Cotton, as you know, grows on low bushes, which are planted in long
rows, so the pickers may easily walk between them. In some countries the
cotton bushes, or plants, last from one year to the next, but in
Georgia most of the cotton grows from new bushes each year. The seeds
are planted in the spring, but the picking is not finished until
sometimes late in what is the winter season of the North.

Of course in some parts of Georgia there are frosts which kill the
bushes, and in these parts of the state the cotton must be picked
earlier than in the southern part, where the Browns were.

So, though there was cold weather and snow in Bellemere, there were
warm, blue skies in Georgia, and the colored men, women and children
were out in the fields picking the cotton.

As Bunny Brown and his sister Sue, with Sam and Grace, reached the field
of cotton, they could hear the darkies singing. Some one would start a
tune, and then others would join in.

"It's jolly!" laughed Bunny, as they stopped to listen to a funny song
about a mule.

"Yes, the darkies always seem to be happy," said Sam.

The children from the North watched as the colored pickers pulled off
the great, fluffy balls of white, stuffing them into bags or baskets
which were later taken from the field on two-wheeled mule carts.

"What are all those brown things in the cotton?" asked Sue, as she
looked at a fluffy clump on a near-by bush.

"Seeds," answered Grace. "The cotton clump, or boll, is full of seeds,
and these have to be taken out before the cotton is baled up for the
mill."

"Oh, I 'member about that!" cried Bunny. "We learned it in school. A man
named Eli Whitney made a machine for taking seeds out of the cotton."

"That's right," admitted Sam. "I'll take you to the gin, as it is
called, where the seeds are taken from the cotton and the white stuff is
pressed into bales. You ought to see the big presses! It squeezes the
cotton all up!"

"I hope it doesn't squeeze us!" laughed Sue.

"I'll keep you back out of danger," promised Grace.

The children walked through the cotton field of the plantation and were
greeted by broad grins and smiles on the part of the colored folk. There
seemed to be more children than grown people working in the field, and
Sam said it was sometimes hard to get old pickers, so children had to be
used.

The darkies did not work very fast, and often, as Bunny and his sister
walked along with their new friends, the hands would stop working to
look at the children. This, with their habit of stopping to sing every
now and then, slowed up the cotton picking.

"I'd like to go to the mill and see the cotton pressed into bales," said
Bunny after a while.

"All right, we'll go," said Sam. "You've seen about all there is to see
here."

As they turned away Sue suddenly called:

"Hark!"

They all listened, and Grace said:

"That's one of their banjos! They bring them to the field and play and
dance."

"Oh, let's see that!" cried Sue. "It'll be more fun than going to the
cotton factory!"

Bunny, too, wanted to listen to the music, so they turned aside into a
part of the field where most of the cotton had been picked from the
bushes. The darkies, who had finished this part of their work, were
celebrating after a fashion.

Some boards had been laid down, and an awning placed over them to make a
place where bags of cotton were tied up to be taken to the gin. Gathered
around this platform were a number of negro men, women and children. One
of the men had an old banjo, and though the instrument seemed battered
and broken, he managed to get some lively music from it.

"Golly, dat suah mek me want to shuffle mah feet!" exclaimed one
bright-eyed colored lad.

"Why doan you shuffle 'em den, Rastus?" some one called. "Show de white
folks how you kin cut de pigeon wing!"

"Oh, landy, banjo music suah am sweet!" cried an old white-wooled
colored woman, with a jolly laugh.

Then the man with the banjo "cut loose," as one of his friends called
it, and played such a lively tune that even Bunny and Sue said they
felt like dancing. But they wanted to see what the cotton pickers did,
and so they watched. Out on the wooden platform shuffled Rastus, and the
way he kicked up, turned cartwheels, stood on his hands and danced
around made Bunny and Sue laugh in delight.

Others of the pickers, men and women, girls and boys, danced, and then
along came the driver of one of the mule carts who had a mouth organ. He
added this music to that of the banjo, until quite a crowd had
collected.

"My goodness!" exclaimed a voice behind Bunny and Sue when there came a
lull in the fun. "Cotton picking can't be such very hard work after
all!" The children turned around to see their mother and Mrs. Morton,
who had come to the field.

"Oh, the darkies have to have their fun, and if we didn't let them we
wouldn't get as much work done as now takes place," said the wife of the
cotton planter. "Life is rather slow and easy down here."

Indeed it seemed so. After more banjo and mouth organ music, the pickers
gradually went to another part of the field, and Bunny and Sue, with
the two Morton children, were allowed to go to the place where the loose
cotton was pressed into big bales.

Cotton, as you have doubtless noticed, is very light and fluffy. A pound
of it, loose, takes up much room, and it is to save room that it is
pressed into bales, or bundles. Each one weighs about five hundred
pounds, and the bales are somewhat larger than a barrel, though of
square shape and not round. But if the cotton were allowed to fluff out,
it would take up four or five times this room.

Guided by Sam and Grace, Bunny and his sister were taken to the cotton
gin and baling place. First the seeds must be taken out of the cotton.
To do this the fluffy mass, as it is taken from the bags or baskets in
which it is carted from the field, is fed into a machine.

The machine is like a big clothes wringer, but the rolls, instead of
being made of smooth rubber, are rough, and covered with sharp iron
teeth.

As the cotton passes between these toothed rollers they tear it apart,
loosening the seeds, which drop down while the cleaned cotton goes to
the other side of the machine ready to be baled.

The cotton seeds are used for many things, being sometimes fed to cattle
in the form of meal, or from them oil may be squeezed which is almost as
good to eat as olive oil.

"I want to see the cotton pushed into bales," said Bunny, and his
Southern friends led the way into the factory. There were white wisps of
cotton all about, clinging to the walls and ceiling of the pressing
room, as well as to the colored men who were working there. Bunny and
Sue did not understand much about the machinery. But they could see how
the cotton was put into a sort of iron box. A big plunger then pressed
down what might be called the "lid" of the box. This squeezed the big,
fluffy mass of cotton into a bale, and iron straps, or wires, were put
around the outside of the burlap bagging that kept the cotton clean.

Sue was standing with Sam and Grace, watching the cotton being pressed
into bales, when suddenly behind them came a noise as of something
falling, and a voice cried:

"Oh, dear!"

"That's Bunny!" exclaimed Sue, turning around.

She did not see her brother, but she saw some men gathered around a big
heap of cotton on the floor of the gin. And, not seeing Bunny, his
sister Sue had the most dreadful scare.

"Oh, Bunny's in a cotton press! He's being put into one of the bales!"
she cried. "Oh, Bunny! Bunny!" and she broke away from the holding hand
of Grace and rushed toward the heap of cotton on the floor, which was
tumbling about in the queerest fashion.



CHAPTER IX

GATHERING PEANUTS


Sam and Grace Morton were somewhat older than Bunny Brown and his sister
Sue, and they knew more about cotton gins. So when Sue cried that Bunny
was being pressed into one of the white bales neither Sam nor Grace
thought this could be so.

For they had been standing near the big press all the while, and they
would have seen if Bunny had fallen in. But the little boy was not in
sight, and something must have happened to him, or why did he cry out as
he had? Sue had certainly heard Bunny's voice.

"Bunny! Bunny! where are you?" shouted Sue, as she broke away from the
Morton children.

"Who yo' all lookin' fo'?" asked a big colored man, who had been rolling
bales of cotton about the floor.

"My--my bro-brother!" stammered Sue, almost ready to cry. "He's in a
bale of cotton!"

"Oh, nopey! Nopey, he ain't, li'l girl!" said the kind colored man. "I
done see dat li'l boy jest a minute ago. He was climbin' up on a basket
ob loose cotton, an' he done pulled it over on top ob him! He's under
dat pile right yeah!" and he pointed to the mass of white, fluffy stuff
on the floor.

"I see what happened!" exclaimed Sam, hurrying over with his sister to
Sue, who stood near the pile of cotton. "Bunny's all right. You can't
get hurt when loose cotton falls on you," and he laughed.

"Is--is Bu-Bunny under there?" asked Sue.

There was no need for any one to answer her, for a moment later out from
under the fluffy pile crawled Bunny himself. Lumps of cotton clung to
him all over, and his clothes were covered, but he was not in the least
harmed.

"I--I was under there!" gasped the little fellow.

"You don't need to tell us that!" laughed Sam. "We can see for
ourselves. You sure have been under the cotton."

"What happened to you, Bunny?" his sister asked, happy, now that nothing
had occurred to harm her brother.

"I saw a big basket of loose cotton," he explained, "and I wanted to see
how heavy it was and to find out if I could lift it. I pushed on it, and
it fell over on top of me. Then I yelled."

"We heard you," said Grace.

"And I thought you were being pressed in a bale," added Sue.

"I'm glad I wasn't," remarked Bunny, as he noticed how very hard the
press squeezed the loose cotton.

The colored workers picked up the fluffy stuff Bunny had spilled from
the big basket, which he had pulled over on him. He had been hidden from
sight in the white mass that had toppled out on the floor.

"It was just like the time when I was under the snowdrift, only it
wasn't so cold," Bunny said, telling about his accident afterward. "And
it was awfully ticklish!"

"Better that than a cotton press," his mother said. "You must be careful
around the gin, children."

"It's all right to go to the peanut fields though, isn't it, Mother?"
asked Sue. She had been eager, ever since hearing that peanuts grew in
Georgia, to see how they clung to the ends of the vines, like little
potatoes.

"Yes, I think visiting the peanuts will be all right, if you don't eat
too many," Mrs. Brown said.

"They won't want to eat too many," said Sam Morton. "When the peanuts
come out of the ground they are raw, and they have to be roasted before
they are good to eat. They won't eat too many."

"Can't we roast some?" Sue wanted to know, and her mother promised that
this would be done.

When the children came away from Mr. Morton's cotton press and gin,
after the little happening to Bunny, the visitors could hear the darkies
singing there, as they had sung in the fields.

Most of Mr. Morton's peanut crop had been gathered, as it was almost
the close of the season, but some late vines were growing in one of the
fields, and this was visited by the children a day or so after their
arrival in Seedville.

Bunny Brown and Sue had been rather disappointed when they heard that
peanuts did not grow on trees, as did chestnuts and hickory nuts, but
they soon forgot this when Sam told them something about this crop, by
which his father made money.

"We don't call 'em peanuts down here," Sam said.

"What do you call 'em?" asked Bunny.

"Ground nuts and sometimes goobers," answered the Southern boy. "Over in
England, my father says, they call 'em monkey nuts."

"What for?" Bunny wanted to know.

"I s'pose it's because the first peanuts came from Africa, and there are
so many monkeys in Africa," answered Sam.

"I wish there was a monkey here!" exclaimed Sue. "I'd like to see him
eat peanuts--I mean goobers!" she added, with a laugh at the funny
word.

"There's a monkey near our house at home," explained Bunny. "We could
send Wango some peanuts, couldn't we, Sue?" he asked.

"Oh, yes, let's!" cried the little girl.

"Well, come on first and pick some, or dig 'em, which is what you'll
have to do," suggested Sam.

What had not been gathered of Mr. Morton's peanut crop was growing in a
field not far from the plantation buildings. There were no darkies
gathering the goobers, as it was more important now to pick the cotton.

"Pull up one of the vines," suggested Sam to the children from the
North.

You can imagine how delighted Bunny and Sue were when they pulled up by
the roots one of the vines and saw, dangling on the end, some of the
peanuts they knew so well.

"Oh, wouldn't Mrs. Redden like it here?" cried Bunny, as he pulled off
some of the peanuts.

"Who's she?" asked Grace.

"She keeps a peanut and candy store where we live," explained Sue. "And
she sells lots of peanuts. If she was here she could get all she
wanted."

"But she'd have to roast them, or get them roasted," said Sam. "About
the only things unroasted peanuts are good for is to make peanut oil and
to feed to horses. We'll take some to the house and roast them. We have
a little roaster in the kitchen."

"And can we make some peanut molasses candy?" asked Bunny. "Don't you
have molasses down here?"

"Oh, yes, plenty of molasses," said Grace. "We don't raise any sugar
cane, which molasses come from, but they do farther South. We'll make
some peanut candy."

The prospect of this delighted Bunny and Sue almost as much as did the
gathering of the nuts. The children from the North looked curiously at
the "goobers" they had pulled up on the vine. As Sam had said, they were
not at all good to eat, needing to be dried and roasted before they
would be enjoyable.

For several days Bunny and Sue enjoyed themselves on the Southern
plantation. One day Mr. Morton took them over a grove where a friend of
his was growing pecans. These were nuts which grew on trees, and Bunny
and Sue were allowed to gather and eat as many as they wished, for these
nuts did not need to be baked or roasted before being eaten.

There were busy times on the cotton plantation. Much work yet remained
to finish, and one day, after his business with Mr. Morton was almost at
an end, Daddy Brown went with his wife and Bunny and Sue to watch the
gathering of cotton by the negroes. Up to now he had not had much time
to see this.

"What are they all so jolly about?" he asked Mr. Morton, as they walked
through the field, the bushes of which were now almost stripped of their
white tufts.

"Oh, they expect to finish work to-night and they're going to have a
jubilee dance later on," was the answer. "You must come to it, for it
will be great fun for the children."

"Oh, yes, they must see that," said Mother Brown.

Indeed the darkies were much more musical than on the occasion of the
first visit of Bunny and Sue. Several banjos were playing and also a
mouth organ here and there, while snatches of songs could be heard all
about the field.

Suddenly, over in the place where a number of pickers had gathered to
empty their baskets into the big bin, whence the cotton was carted to
the gin, there arose a great shouting.

"Whoa now! Whoa dere, Sambo! Steady now!" called a man's voice.

Then there was the shrill shrieking of women and girls, and a moment
later a big mule hitched to a cart rushed toward Bunny, Sue and their
friends, and on the mule's back, clinging for dear life, was a little
colored boy, frightened almost out of his wits.

"Oh, look out, Bunny! Sue! Look out for the runaway!" cried Mrs. Brown.



CHAPTER X

ON TO FLORIDA


The clatter of the mule's hoofs, the rattle of the cart, and the yells
of the little colored boy on the animal's back made plenty of excitement
in the roadway of the cotton field. But besides all this there were the
calls of Mrs. Brown, the shouts and yells of the frightened colored men,
women and children, and the screams of Bunny Brown and his sister Sue.

"Good lan' ob massy!" exclaimed one big, fat, colored woman, as she
dropped her basket of cotton and rushed for a place of safety. "Dat
frisky li'l nigger suah will be splatter-dashed ef he fall offen dat
mule's back!"

And indeed it did look bad for the small colored boy.

"Over here, Sue! Come to me, Bunny!" cried Mrs. Brown. "Walter," she
called to her husband, "look out for Sam and Grace," for the Morton
children were with their friends from the North.

Mr. Brown, with a quick motion, pulled Sam and Grace out of danger as
the runaway mule, hauling the load of cotton, came nearer.

"Maybe Sam and I can stop him, Mother!" cried Bunny.

"Indeed and you'll do nothing of the sort!" exclaimed Mrs. Brown,
hurrying the children behind a row of cotton plants.

"Hi! Hi! Hi!" was all the little colored boy on the back of the runaway
mule could shout. "Hi! Hi!"

"Oh, can't some one save him?" cried Mrs. Brown.

"I'll try," answered her husband, who, having seen to it that Sam and
Grace were safe with Bunny and Sue, started out to try to head off the
mule. At the same time the shrieks of the colored women had called from
a distant part of the field several strong colored men, and one of these
ran toward the mule about the same time that Mr. Brown did.

But there was no need of any one getting worried. Before the mule could
be caught he stopped, and stopped so suddenly that the colored boy was
pitched off the animal's back. Down to the ground the dusky-skinned
child slipped, but, luckily enough, there was a pile of cotton here, and
it was on top of the fluffy stuff that he landed.

There he sat, a splotch of black in a heap of white, and he presented
such a funny picture that Sue and her brother burst out laughing. So did
Sam and Grace. And then Jim, the colored boy, finding that he was not
hurt, opened his mouth and shrieked in delight.

Some of the colored men came up and took charge of the mule, which they
led back to the shed whence he had run away. And one of the fat black
women waddled toward Jim on the heap of cotton.

"Look yeah, yo' li'l hunk ob sticky black 'lasses!" she cried. "Whut fo'
you want to git on dat mule's back an' scare yo' po' mammy 'most into a
conniption fit? Whut fo' you do dat, Jim St. Clair Breckinridge? Whut
fo', huh?"

"Ah didn't go fo' to do it, 'deed an' Ah didn't, Mammy!" said Jim, as he
arose. "Ah wuz jest leanin' ober to knock a fly often dat mule's back
an' Ah slipped an' fell on him. Den he started up, an' Ah couldn't nohow
git offen him!"

And this, it appeared, was how it had happened. The little colored boy
was playing around the shed where the darkies emptied their baskets of
cotton into a bin. There it was piled into the cart to be taken to the
gin. The boy had climbed up on a pile of boxes to make himself higher,
and in this position had seen a fly on the mule's back. Or at least that
is what Jim said.

At any rate, whether he tried to do the mule a kindness, or whether he
really intended to use the boxes as a stepping block to get up and take
a ride, Jim got on the animal's back, and this so alarmed the mule that
it started off, causing much excitement.

But no real harm had resulted, and no one was hurt, for the fluffy
cotton was even softer to fall on than a pile of hay. Jim was taken in
charge by his mother and made to help pick cotton the rest of the day.

Bunny and Sue liked it so much on the plantation, watching the
cotton-pickers and occasionally pulling up a few peanuts for themselves,
that I think they would have been willing to spend the rest of the
winter in that part of the sunny South.

"But my business here is almost finished," said Mr. Brown to his family
one evening as they sat in Mr. Morton's pleasant home. "We will soon go
on to Florida."

"And eat oranges!" added Sue, for she had often been thinking of that
juicy fruit.

"And catch alligators!" exclaimed Bunny. The chance of at least seeing
some of these scaly creatures seemed to give Bunny pleasure.

"Oh, my!" exclaimed his mother. "Now look here!" she went on, as she
thought of what might happen. "I don't want you two tots going off by
yourselves trying to catch alligators! Mind that!" and she shook a
warning finger at them.

In the evening, while the older folks were talking in the sitting room
and the children were playing games, Bunny heard his father say:

"There's the oil stock certificate Bunny found, Mr. Morton."

"Oh, yes, your wife was telling us about that," remarked the cotton
planter. "Let me see it."

Bunny looked up in time to see his father show Mr. Morton a stiff,
crinkly green and gold paper, which the little boy well remembered.

"Didn't you yet find out to whom that oil stock belongs?" asked Mrs.
Brown of her husband, while Bunny entertained Sam and Grace by telling
them in a low voice how, while they were in the sleigh that day with
Uncle Tad, the porter of the Pullman car had tossed the valuable paper
out in a pan of dirt.

"No, so far I haven't found the owner," Mr. Brown answered. "I brought
the certificate with me, for I thought perhaps the oil company might
have been notified by the loser. But they write me that no one has yet
notified them of the loss. So I'll have to hold the stock a while
longer. It is quite valuable, the oil company says, and I must take good
care of it."

He put the temporary certificate back in his pocket, and Bunny and his
sister, after telling about the runaway, went on playing games with Sam
and Grace.

"Well," said Mr. Brown at last, after he and Mr. Morton had looked over
several business books and papers, "I think we'll be traveling on to
Florida in a few days."

"We shall miss having you here," Mrs. Morton said. "I'm sure it has done
the children good."

"Yes," agreed Mrs. Brown. "They never before saw cotton or peanuts
growing, and they have learned something."

"I want to learn about oranges!" exclaimed Sue.

"And maybe I could grow up to be an alligator hunter," added Bunny.

"I hope not that!" his mother exclaimed, laughing. "And I think it is
almost time for you children to go to bed."

But just then there came a knock on the door and the colored servant,
having answered it, came back to say that the plantation hands were
having a sort of jubilee among themselves and had sent to know if the
"white folks" didn't want to see the fun.

"Oh, yes," said Mr. Morton, as he heard this message. "I was telling you
that at the end of the cotton-picking season the darkies have a great
time among themselves, playing and singing songs. They make hoe cakes
and if they can get a 'possum they roast that with sweet potatoes. Let's
go down for a little while."

"Can we come?" cried all four children, almost in one voice.

"Yes, let them come!" said Mr. Morton.

It was not really very late, though it was dark. But once Bunny and Sue,
with Sam and Grace were outside, they saw, down in the direction of the
darkies' cabins, some flickering lights which told of bonfires and
torches.

"It looks just like a picture," said Mrs. Brown, as she walked along
with her husband.

They could hear the strumming of banjos, the blowing of mouth organs,
and the singing of the colored folk, whose full, soft voices made most
pleasant tunes.

[Illustration: BUNNY AND SUE WERE DELIGHTED WITH THE "JUBILEE."

_Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue in the Sunny South._ _Page 101_]

Bunny and Sue were delighted with the "jubilee," as it was called. Of
course Sam and Grace had seen it before, but they always enjoyed it.
There was dancing, too, and some of the capers cut by the men and boys
were very funny.

"What's hoe cake?" asked Bunny, remembering that Mr. Morton had spoken
of this.

"In the old days, before the war, it was a cornmeal cake baked on the
clean blade of a field hoe," was the answer. "But now they are generally
made in a pan or skillet, I think. A hoe cake is a sort of Johnnie cake
up North."

"Here comes Mammy Jackson with some now," said Mrs. Morton, as a fat,
jolly-looking colored woman approached the visitors with a large tray.

"White folks come to visit an' we got to treat 'em quality like!"
chuckled the old negress. "Here you is, li'l white folks," and she
presented the tray to Bunny and Sue.

It was laden with all sorts of good things that the darkies like to eat,
but as some of the food was rather rich, especially for eating just
before going to bed, Mrs. Brown looked at what Bunny and Sue took,
allowing them only a little of each dainty. It was all clean and well
cooked, and Bunny and Sue thought they had never before tasted anything
so good. They did not get any 'possum meat, and perhaps they would not
have liked that. It takes a real Southerner to care for that dainty.

After the eating, the singing, playing and dancing went on more wild and
noisy than before, but Bunny and Sue were not allowed to stay up very
late. And so, rather wishing they might remain longer, they were led
away, and a little while afterwards were snug in bed, listening to the
faint and far-off sounds of the colored jubilee.

Two days later Mr. Brown, having finished his business in Georgia,
started with his family for Orange Beach, Florida.

"We had a lovely time here!" said Sue to Grace, as they parted.

"Most fun I ever had in my life!" added Bunny. But then as he said that
about nearly every place he had visited, I am beginning to think he had
a very happy disposition.

"Don't eat too many oranges!" Grace called to Sue, as the Southern
children watched their little guests climb aboard the train that was to
take them to Florida.

"I won't," Sue promised.

"And don't let an alligator catch you!" begged Sam of Bunny.

"I'll catch _them_!" declared the little fellow.

"Good-by! Good-by!" was echoed back and forth.

Then the train pulled out of the small station of Seedville, and once
more Bunny Brown and his sister Sue were on their journey. And many
things were to happen before they reached home again.



CHAPTER XI

THE POOR CAT


Bunny Brown and his sister Sue were now going farther down into the
sunny South. They had left far behind the bleak and cold of the North
where there was ice and snow when they had come away. In Georgia they
had found soft winds and balmy skies, but now, as they were headed into
Florida, they were to find it even warmer.

Orange Beach, where Mr. Brown expected to meet Mr. Halliday and attend
to some business, was in the southern part of Florida, somewhat inland
from the ocean and on a river which Bunny, at least, hoped would be
filled with alligators.

As for Sue, all she hoped for was to gather oranges and orange blossoms.
Both children, in a way, were to have their wishes gratified.

As the train went farther south, the scenery grew more and more green,
for Bunny and Sue were getting into the land where there is never any
snow or ice, and only occasionally a little frost, which all orange
growers dread. Sometimes, to keep a frost from hurting the orange trees,
great bonfires are built in the groves and kept going all night.

"Oh, look what a funny tree!" cried Sue, as the train was passing
through a swampy bit of forest. "It looks as if it had whiskers!"

"Oh, isn't it funny!" echoed Bunny. "What is it, Daddy?"

Daddy Brown leaned toward the car window and looked out. Several trees
were now seen, each one festooned with what Sue had called "whiskers."

"That is Spanish moss, also called long moss," explained Mr. Brown. "It
is common in Florida and other parts of the South, especially in trees
that grow in the swamps, or everglades."

"What are the everglades?" Bunny wanted to know. "Are they like
alligators?"

"Oh, no!" laughed his mother. "About all you think of, Bunny, is
alligators."

"I don't; do I, Mother?" asked Sue. "I keep thinking of oranges!"

Mr. and Mrs. Brown laughed at this, and Mr. Brown, after explaining how
the Spanish moss grew on trees, sometimes hanging down like the gray
beard of a very old man, told the children about the everglades.

"The everglades are the great swamps in the southern part of Florida,"
Mr. Brown said. "The land there is very low in some places, and the sea
water covers it at times. The everglades are lonely places, part forest
and partly covered with tall grass."

"Alligators, too?" asked Bunny, with wide-open eyes.

"Yes, I think alligators are there," Mr. Brown said. "But no oranges,"
he added, before Sue could ask that question. "It is too swampy to raise
oranges, though now an effort is being made to drain the swampy
everglades and make them of some use. We aren't going to that part of
Florida, however; at least not on this journey."

There was so much of interest to see on this trip to the sunny South,
and so much to ask questions about, that Bunny and Sue thought the
journey one of the most delightful they had ever taken.

While Mr. Brown looked over some business papers, among which Bunny had
a glimpse of the valuable oil certificate, and while Mrs. Brown read a
magazine, the children looked from the windows of their car at the
scenes and landscapes that flitted past so rapidly.

"We're going to change cars in a little while," said Mr. Brown to his
wife and children, as he put his papers back in his pocket.

"Are we at Orange Beach?" Bunny asked, ready to start out and hunt
alligators at a moment's notice if need be.

"Oh, no," his father answered. "Orange Beach is another day's travel.
But this is as far as this railroad runs and we have to get off and take
another train. The place where we will get off is only a small station
in a little town, but there is a man there I want to see on business."

"Will you stay there long?" asked Mrs. Brown.

"No, only a few hours, while waiting for the next train to take us on to
Orange Beach. You will have time to get something to eat--you and the
children, while I see Mr. Parker. The name of the place is Clayton, and
it is the next station," said Mr. Brown, looking at a timetable he
carried.

Bunny and Sue were delighted to ride in railroad trains and look out at
the scenery, but they were also glad to get out once in a while, to
"stretch their legs," as Bunny said. In fact, the children were always
glad of a change, and now that they heard they were to alight from one
train, get lunch in Clayton, and proceed in another car they welcomed
whatever might happen during that time.

"Clayton! Clay-ton!" called the trainman, as the cars began to go more
slowly when the brakes were put on, and Bunny and Sue, with their father
and mother, began to gather up their hand baggage in readiness to
alight.

Clayton was a small town in Florida, and except that everything was as
green and sunny as it would have been in Bellemere in the middle of
summer, the village was not very different from many country towns of
the North. Yes, there was a difference, too. There were a large number
of colored people about--children and men and women--and many of the
animals seen drawing carts and wagons were mules instead of horses. One
or two small automobiles were to be noticed, but there was not such a
busy scene as would have been noticed in a Northern town.

"Now," said Mr. Brown to his wife, when she and the children were
gathered about him on the station platform, "I think this will be the
best plan. You and the children get lunch in that restaurant over there,
while I go uptown and see Mr. Parker. By the time you finish your lunch
and I get back, you will not have long to wait for the train that will
take us to Orange Beach. It comes in here at this station."

"But where will you get lunch?" asked Mrs. Brown.

"With Mr. Parker," was the answer. "I can eat and talk business at the
same time, and get through sooner. That looks like a nice enough little
restaurant over there. I hope they will have something you and the
children can eat."

"I am not very hungry," Mrs. Brown said. "We ate so many good things at
Mrs. Morton's that I must have gained several pounds."

"I'm hungry!" exclaimed Bunny, anxious lest there be no lunch.

"So'm I!" echoed his sister.

"I guess there'll be enough for you," his father said, with a laugh.
"Take them over, Mother, while I see if I can hire one of these
easy-going colored boys to drive me uptown."

There were one or two ramshackle old carriages with bony horses
harnessed to them standing about the station, and in one of these Mr.
Brown was soon on his way up the street toward the main part of the
village.

"Come on, children. We'll see what there is for lunch," Mrs. Brown said.

She led the way over to the small restaurant near the railroad. She
found that it was clean and neat, something of which she had been a
little doubtful from the outside.

A white man kept the restaurant, but he said he had an old colored
"mammy" for a cook, and then Mrs. Brown knew she and the children would
get something good to eat.

They had chicken and waffles, as well as other good things, and in spite
of the fact that she had said she was not hungry, Mrs. Brown managed to
eat a good lunch. As for Bunny Brown and his sister Sue, I really am
ashamed to tell you how much they ate and how many things they passed
their plates for "more."

But traveling always makes children hungry, doesn't it?

"May we walk up and down the street a little while?" asked Bunny of his
mother, as she went back to the station with him and Sue after lunch.
"We want to see things while we're waiting for daddy."

"Yes, but don't go far away," Mrs. Brown answered, as she took her seat
on the bench in the shade. "I don't know just what time the train for
Orange Beach is due."

Bunny and Sue promised not to stray away, and then, hand in hand, while
their father was off uptown on business and while their mother was
dozing sleepily on the station bench, the children wandered along the
street which extended beside the railroad tracks.

On the rails were a number of freight cars, several of the kind called
"box," because they look like big boxes on wheels. Bunny and Sue crossed
the street and walked along the string of boxcars, looking into those
the doors of which were open.

"I wouldn't like to ride in one of those cars," said Sue to Bunny. "They
aren't nice, and they have no windows in to see out of."

"And no seats, either," Bunny added. "They're only for freight, anyhow."

"What's freight?" asked Sue.

"Oh, it's different things they put in cars," Bunny answered. "It's
boxes and barrels and bales of cotton, I guess, for I heard Mr. Morton
say he had to pay a lot of freight money to have his cotton taken away."

"Is that freight?" asked Sue, pointing to some broken boxes on the
ground near a boxcar, the door of which stood open.

"I guess it was once, maybe," Bunny answered. "Those boxes come in a
freight car, but they took the stuff out. Let's go and see if there's
anything left in the freight car."

Forgetting that they had promised their mother not to go far away, Bunny
and Sue wandered down the track and soon stood beside a car out of which
some empty boxes and barrels had been thrown. And as they neared the car
they heard, coming from within it, the mewing of a cat.

"Oh, there's a pussy!" cried Sue, who heard it first.

"Where?" asked Bunny.

"In that freight car, I think," his sister went on. "Oh, there it is!"
she cried, pointing.

Bunny looked in time to see a small cat peering from the door of the
car. The door was about four feet from the ground, and the little pussy
seemed to think this was too far to jump down.

"Poor little pussy!" said Sue kindly. "I guess it's hungry and lonesome,
Bunny! Let's get it and take it to mother."

"All right," Bunny agreed. "But we'll have to get up on a box or barrel
to reach it."

Neither Bunny nor Sue was tall enough to lift the poor cat down from
the open door of the freight car. And it did seem to be the kind of cat
one would call "poor," for it was very thin, and was crying as if hungry
or perhaps lonesome.

"Maybe it's been shut up in the car a long time," Sue said.

"We'll get it down and feed it," said Bunny, pulling a box from the pile
over toward the freight car, so he could climb up through the wide,
sliding door.



CHAPTER XII

A STRANGE RIDE


"Let me help you!" begged Sue, when she saw what her brother was doing.
"I'll help you move the box."

Bunny Brown was glad to have his sister's help, and the two children
half carried, half dragged the empty packing box over to the freight
car.

"Oh, it's gone!" cried Sue in disappointed tones, as Bunny shoved the
box under the wide, open door.

"What's gone?" asked the little boy.

"The poor, hungry pussy! It ran away and now we can't feed it!"

"Hum!" exclaimed Bunny, who was also disappointed. "I guess--"

"Oh, there it is!" suddenly cried Sue, pointing, as the little cat--for
it was only half grown--thrust his head around the edge of the door.

"Keep still now, pussy, and we'll get you," begged Sue, as if the cat
knew what she was saying. The cat certainly heard, and perhaps it did
understand something of what the children were trying to do, for they
spoke very kindly. And let me tell you that dogs and cats can easily
tell the difference between kind and cross speaking.

While the little pussy looked down from the door of the freight car at
the two children, Bunny managed to scramble up on top of the wooden box.
From there he could easily get inside the car. He did not think he would
have to do this, however, and he did not want to, for the inside of the
car looked very dark and "scary." Bunny could not see to either end, for
the car was rather long.

But as the little boy climbed up on the box and reached out his hand to
grasp the kitten, the little cat, with a sad "mew!" backed farther
inside the big car.

"Come on, pussy!" called Bunny gently. "I won't hurt you!"

"We'll give you some nice milk," added Sue, standing on the ground near
the box. "Let Bunny get you!"

But this the strange cat did not want to do. Back into the car it ran,
just as you have very often, I suppose, seen a strange cat or dog run
away from you, until it made sure you were going to be kind.

By this time Bunny had leaned far enough inside the car to be able to
notice that it was not quite so black and "scary" as he had at first
thought. He could see each end easily now, and in one far corner was the
little cat, rubbing up against the sides of the car, as if it wanted to
be petted, but was afraid to let the children do it.

"I guess I'll have to go in after it," said Bunny.

"All right," agreed Sue. "I'll come and help you," and she scrambled up
on the box just as Bunny drew his legs up over the edge of the car and
went inside.

Mrs. Brown, from her place on the station platform, could look down the
tracks and see the line of freight cars which extended alongside the
street. She had seen Bunny and Sue walking in this direction, but she
did not imagine they would get inside a car. If she had seen Bunny
scrambling in after the cat she would have run down to make him come
out.

But she did not see this, for she had closed her eyes and was dozing a
little in the warm air of the sunny South. Nor did Mrs. Brown see Sue
climb up on the box after her brother.

As soon as Bunny went inside the car to get the cat Sue followed, and
there the two children were, inside the big boxcar, while pussy was
mewing sadly at one end, wanting to be petted and fed, but just a little
afraid.

"We'll get it now," said Bunny, as he saw Sue in the car with him. "You
go one side and I'll go the other. Then we'll catch it and take it to
mother."

"Maybe it'll scratch me," suggested Sue, for she had been scratched by
pet kittens more than once.

"No, I don't think it will," said Bunny. "Come up easy, so you won't
scare it."

Walking a little way apart down the length of the freight car, in which
they could now see very well, Bunny Brown and his sister Sue approached
the pussy. They held out their hands and hissed through their lips, for
they thought cats liked that sound. If it had been a little dog in the
freight car the children would have whistled, and the dog, very likely,
would have run to them, wagging its tail.

If Bunny and Sue had whistled they might have frightened the little
pussy, so they just made soft sounds through their lips, and walked
toward the small cat.

But when Bunny and his sister did this the pussy ran and hid as far back
as it could in one end of the car, as if afraid.

"Oh, we won't hurt you!" exclaimed Sue.

"We just want to get you and take you out so we can feed you," explained
Bunny.

But the pussy did not seem to understand.

"You go one way and I'll go the other," suggested Bunny. "We can catch
it between us."

"Like we did chickens at grandpa's farm once," agreed the little girl.
She remembered how she and her brother had once thus closed in on some
hens and a rooster that had got out of the chicken yard.

"That'll be a good way," Bunny said.

But when they tried it, he coming in toward the pussy from the right and
Sue from the left, the little cat just scampered between the children
with a "mew!" and there it was at the other end of the car!

"Oh, it's playing tag!" laughed Sue.

"I guess it is," agreed Bunny. "Come on, little cat!" called the boy.
"We have to go home pretty soon. We can't stay here all the afternoon."

"Oh, Bunny, how funny!" laughed Sue. "We aren't going _home_!"

"Well, we're going on to Florida, and that'll be home for a while," said
the little fellow. "Anyhow we've got to be going pretty soon or mother
will be looking for us. Come on now, we'll try again."

Once more they walked carefully toward the other end of the freight car,
whither the pussy had gone. But again the furry animal dashed between
Bunny and his sister, keeping out of reach of their eager hands.

"I don't b'lieve it wants us to catch him," said Sue.

"I don't b'lieve so, either," agreed Bunny.

But they did not give up trying, though the more they raced after the
little pussy the livelier that animal seemed to become, until Bunny and
Sue were getting quite tired.

Then, suddenly, when they were in one end of the car trying to corner
the lively little cat, there came a jar and a jolt to the car.

"What's that?" asked Sue, a bit frightened.

"Something bumped into us," Bunny answered. "I guess maybe it was the
engine." Then, as the children felt another bump, which shook the whole
car and them also, and as they heard a banging noise and the tooting of
a whistle, Bunny exclaimed: "Oh, an engine is hitching on our car! We're
going to have a ride!"

Before Sue could say anything the car suddenly became dark, for the
sliding door on the side, by which Bunny and his sister had entered,
slid shut with another bang.

"Oh, Bunny!" cried Sue, this time in great fright. "We're shut in here!"

"Yes," agreed Bunny, trying hard to be brave and not cry as he felt Sue
was going to do. "I guess we are!"

"Oh, Bunny!" exclaimed his sister, "what'll we do?"

Bunny did not know just what to answer.

"Mew!" cried the little kitten, somewhere in the dark car. In fact, it
was so dark that neither Bunny nor Sue could see the other, and they
could not tell where pussy was.

There came another bang and rattle, a loud noise, and then Bunny Brown
and his sister Sue felt the car rolling away. A locomotive was pulling
it, giving the children a strange ride.



CHAPTER XIII

NUTTY, THE TRAMP


Bunny and Sue were so surprised when they found that they were being
hauled away in the closed and dark freight car that for a time after
their first startled cries they said nothing. They remained standing
hand in hand in the middle of the dark, empty space, swaying to and fro
as the train bumped over the uneven rails.

"Oh, Bunny!" gasped Sue in a little whisper, "where do you s'pose we're
going?"

"I don't know," he answered. "But it's somewhere. We're having a ride,
anyhow."

This was true enough. They were moving along quite swiftly now, but not
nearly so smoothly or so comfortably as when they had ridden in the
parlor car or the sleeping car.

"Will mother and daddy come?" asked Sue, her voice a bit shaky because
she was half crying.

"I--I don't guess they will," her brother answered. "Daddy is uptown,
seeing a man, and mother was on the station bench when we crawled in
this car to get the cat."

"Oh!" exclaimed Sue, and then she tried to peer through the gloom to see
Bunny. At first, after the door had slid shut, she could only dimly see
where her brother stood, even though she had hold of his hand. But now,
as her eyes became used to the darkness, she could make out that Bunny
was standing close beside her.

What had happened was this. The children had climbed into an empty
freight car that was standing on a siding, as the extra tracks around a
railroad station are called. The freight had been taken from the car
some days before, and, being empty, it was needed to be loaded again.

A switch engine, which was "picking up empties," as the railroad men
call it, had backed down the track and had been fastened to several cars
in addition to the one containing Bunny Brown and his sister Sue. The
railroad men, of course, did not know that the children were in the car.
And they knew nothing about the pussy cat. They supposed the freight car
was empty.

The freight engine, in backing down the track to be coupled, or
fastened, to the cars, had banged into them rather hard. This hard bang
had slid shut the sliding door, making Bunny, Sue, and the cat
prisoners.

"Oh!" suddenly exclaimed Sue after a period of silence.

"What's the matter?" asked Bunny, for, having hold of his sister's hand,
he could feel her jump.

"Something rubbed up against my legs," she answered.

"It's the cat!" exclaimed Bunny.

"Oh!" cried Sue again, and this time there was happiness in her voice.
She leaned down and felt around her legs. Her hand touched a warm, furry
back. "It is pussy!" she cried. "And kitty let me pick him up! Oh,
Bunny, it's purring like anything!" Sue exclaimed.

"I guess it's lonesome, too, and maybe don't like to ride in a freight
car, so it's getting tame," Bunny said. And perhaps this did explain it.

"I can pick him up!" cried Sue in delight. And, a moment later, she had
the pussy in her arms. Surely enough the little fluffy fellow was no
longer afraid of the children. It wanted to be near them for company,
and it snuggled down in Sue's arms, while Bunny reached over in the dark
and softly stroked the animal.

All this while the freight car was being hauled farther and farther away
from the railroad station.

"I'm going to sit down," said Sue, and she did, taking her place on the
floor of the car with her legs stretched out, making a lap for the cat.
Bunny, whose eyes were also becoming used to the dark, could see what
Sue was doing, and he sat down beside her, reaching over now and then
and petting pussy. The little cat seemed quite content now, and if it
was hungry it did not cry.

"Maybe I could open the door so we could get out," suggested Bunny,
after a bit.

"You couldn't get off this car while it was moving, even if you could
open the door," Sue stated. "Don't you 'member mother said we should
never get on a trolley car when it was moving, or get off?"

"Yes," admitted Bunny. "I 'member that. But I'm not going to get off
till the car stops. Only I'll see if I can get the door open, so we'll
be all ready to get off when it does stop."

With this in mind Bunny arose from his place on the floor of the swaying
freight car beside Sue and the kitten in her lap, and tried to make his
way over to where some cracks of light showed around the door. There
were two sliding doors to the car, one by which the children had
entered, and another opposite. But this last showed no light around the
edges, and Bunny rightly guessed that this one was fastened more tightly
than the one that had slid shut.

It was one thing for Bunny to say he would open the door, but it was
quite another thing to do it. For by this time the engine was puffing
away down the track at good speed, and the little fellow soon found that
it was very hard to walk across the empty freight car. It swayed from
side to side, much more so than an ordinary railroad coach, and a great
deal more than a Pullman car.

But if it was difficult for him to walk in a regular passenger car, it
was much harder in the swaying freight car. And when he tried to make
his way to the door he was nearly thrown off his feet.

"Oh, Bunny, look out! You'll be hurt! What are you going to do?" asked
Sue, for she could see her brother fairly well now.

"I'm going to open that door!" grunted Bunny. The reason he grunted was
because he sat down suddenly. He had been swayed right off his feet.

"You can't do it!" Sue said. "Don't get hurt, Bunny!"

"I won't," he answered. "But we've got to get out of this car, and I've
got to get that door open! I know what I can do," he went on. "If I
can't walk over I can crawl. I did that when I was a baby."

Bunny Brown was a smart and brave little fellow, and, as he said, when
he found he could not walk upright, because the car swayed so, he made
up his mind to crawl. And crawl he did, across the rough, splintery
floor of the old car. Once he stuck a sliver into the palm of his hand.
He cried "Ouch!" but the rumble of the wheels was so loud that Sue did
not hear him, and Bunny was glad of it.

He stopped, pulled the splinter from his hand, and then bravely went on
again, crawling over the swaying car. At last he reached the door, and
as there were projections on the side, by which he could hold himself,
Bunny managed to stand up.

"Now I'm going to open the door, Sue!" he called to his sister. "And
when the train stops we can get off and go back to mother and daddy."

"Yes, I guess we'd better do that," Sue answered. "They'll get worried
about us."

Holding to a wooden brace on the side of the car with one hand, Bunny
tried to push back the heavy, sliding door with the other. It went a few
inches, letting more light inside the car, but there the door stuck. And
it was, perhaps, a good thing that it did. For if the door had opened
suddenly the little boy might have been pitched out, for the train of
empty freight cars was now moving swiftly.

Bunny pulled and tugged so hard that he fairly grunted.

"What's the matter?" asked Sue, hearing him.

"I--I can't get this door--open!" gasped her brother.

"Oh, well, never mind," she said. "Maybe some of the trainmen will come
along and let us out."

"How can they come along when the train is moving?" Bunny wanted to
know.

"Didn't you ever see 'em run along on top of the freight cars?" asked
Sue.

"Yes. But this door is on the _side_--not on _top_," her brother
answered. "I've got to get it open if we want to get out!"

He pulled and tugged again, but it was of no use. The door had opened a
little way, making a crack through which Bunny could see the sunny
fields, the trees, the telegraph poles, and the fences gliding past.
But the crack was all too small for him or Sue to squeeze through.

"I guess we'll have to wait," Bunny said at length, as he crawled back
to the side of his sister.

"You can hold pussy a little while," she said to him. Bunny was very
glad to do this, and the little cat snuggled down on his legs, while he
gently stroked the soft fur.

On and on rumbled the freight train, clicking and clacking over the
rails, and making a roaring sound when it crossed a bridge. Suddenly,
above the other creaking, jolting sounds another noise sounded. It was
like a groan.

"What's that?" asked Sue, reaching over and grasping Bunny by the arm.
She could see him plainly now, because the door was open a wider crack.

"What's what?" asked Bunny, who had been trying to make the pussy stand
up on its hind legs.

"That noise," went on Sue. "Didn't you hear it?"

Both children listened, and above the noise made by the clacking wheels
they did hear a groan! Or was it a grunt?

"Oh!" cried Sue, almost crawling into Bunny's lap. "What is it?"

"I don't know," the little boy answered, and he was beginning to feel as
frightened as was Sue.

Again a noise, somewhere between a grunt and a groan, sounded through
the car, and the children also heard a movement. Bunny glanced in the
direction of it, and saw what at first he had taken to be a bundle of
rags moving in one dark corner.

"Who's there?" boldly cried Bunny, holding Sue's hand.

"Why, I'm here," was the answer. "I'm Nutty, the tramp. Who are you? My,
I've had a fine sleep!" the voice went on, and it was rather a jolly,
good-natured voice Bunny thought. "Such a fine sleep as I've had!"

There was the sound of grunting, yawning, and stretching. Then the voice
cried in surprise:

"Why, we're moving!"

"Yes," answered Bunny, wondering who in the world Nutty, the tramp,
might be. "The train is going!"

"Well, well! And to think I slept through it!"

Bunny and Sue could see the ragged bundle in the corner getting up. It
came toward them, and in the light that came through the crack in the
freight car door the children saw that their fellow traveler was a very
ragged man--a regular tramp in fact.

On his part Nutty, as he called himself, stared with surprised eyes at
Bunny Brown and his sister Sue.

"Two kids!" cried the tramp. "Bless my ragged gloves! Two kids!"



CHAPTER XIV

A QUEER PICNIC


Bunny and Sue did not know just what to make of this ragged tramp who
was traveling in the freight car with them. It was not, of course, the
first time they had seen a tramp--they were plentiful enough around
Bellemere at times, and often they had come begging for food at the back
door of the Brown house. Bunny and Sue had often seen their mother feed
the poor men, and some of them were quite jolly, and joked about their
bad luck.

This tramp, "Nutty," he had called himself, was one of the jolly kind,
the two children decided. Nutty now came from the corner where he had
been sleeping and stood in the light that came through the door Bunny
had slid back a little way.

"What in the world are you doing here?" asked Nutty, as he again
stretched out his arms, showing the rags and patches of his torn coat.

"We came in to get the kitten," answered Sue.

"What, my kitten? My Toddle?" cried the tramp. "You wouldn't take little
Toddle away from me, would you?"

"Oh, is that your kitten?" asked Bunny Brown. "We didn't know. We
thought it was a stray pussy that had got up in the freight car and
couldn't get out. We climbed up in to take it to our mother so it could
have some milk, and then the train started."

"Oh, ho! So that's how it happened?" asked Nutty. "I wondered how you
two kids got here. I knew you couldn't be tramps. But Toddle is my
kitten all right. I call him Toddle because that's about all he can do
in the way of a walk. He toddles on his four little legs," and Nutty
laughed, which made Bunny and Sue feel better.

"Yes, Toddle is my kitten," the queer tramp went on. "I picked him up
the other day in the fields. I guess he was lost--a tramp like myself. I
put him in my pocket--it's got some holes in it, but none of them quite
big enough for Toddle to fall through--and I've kept him ever since. He
was with me when I crawled into this car to go to sleep."

"Were you in this car when we got in after the cat?" asked Bunny. "We
didn't see you."

"For a good reason," the tramp answered. "I didn't want any one to see
me. The railroad men don't like us tramps, and when they find us in the
cars they put us out. I crawled away back in the darkest corner I could
find and curled up. I must have looked like a bundle of rags."

"You did," Bunny answered. "That's what I thought you were."

"It's the safest way to look when a railroad man is searching for you,"
Nutty answered, with a laugh. "Well, I'm on my way again," he added.
"The engine must have backed down, coupled on to the freight cars, and
hauled them off while I slept. Where are you children going?"

"We--we don't know," answered Bunny Brown, and then he and Sue felt a
wave of lonesomeness coming over them. They wanted their father and
mother, and the children knew they were being carried farther and
farther away from their parents as the train jolted along. They knew
daddy and mother would be much frightened, too.

"Where is your mother?" asked Nutty, the tramp.

"She was sitting on a bench at the station when we climbed into the car
to get the kitten," explained Sue.

"She didn't see us," added her brother.

"And where is your father?" Nutty wanted to know.

"He's up in the village seeing a man," said Bunny. "We're going to
Florida to get alligators--"

"And oranges!" broke in Sue.

"Yes, and oranges," admitted Bunny. "And we stopped off here to change
trains and get something to eat."

"Hum!" mused Nutty. "Speaking of something to eat, where's Toddle? That
kitten must be hungry."

"Here it is!" exclaimed Sue, stooping down and picking up the little cat
which was purring around her legs.

"Come on, Toddle, I'll give you some milk," said Nutty, holding out his
hands for his pet.

"Oh, have you got milk here?" eagerly asked Bunny.

"Well, I've a little in a bottle that I have been saving for Toddle,"
the tramp answered. "But if you are thirsty I can give you a drink of
water. I've got some nice, clean water in a bottle."

"I'm thirsty," said Sue, in a low voice.

"And I'm hungry!" exclaimed Bunny Brown. "But I don't s'pose you have
anything to eat, have you?" he asked, hopefully.

"Ha! That's just what I have!" exclaimed the tramp. "If you'll come with
me, back to my corner where I left my things, we'll have a little
picnic. I don't want to make a light so near this crack in the door.
Some railroad men at the stations we pass might see us, and then I'd be
arrested."

"What for?" Bunny wanted to know.

"Oh, for being a tramp!" laughed the ragged man. "But come to my corner
and we'll light up."

"How can you make a light?" Sue asked, for she did not exactly like the
looks of the dark corner.

"I have some ends of candles," answered Nutty. "Come, we'll have a
little picnic--I'll invite you kids and Toddle to the feast!"

Bunny and his sister wondered what the tramp could give them to eat, but
they were both hungry and thirsty, though it was not so very long since
lunch. So, with the tramp carrying Toddle, the children followed to the
corner where Bunny had first seen what he thought was a bundle of rags.

"Stand still a minute now, kiddies," said Nutty kindly, as Bunny and Sue
reached the dark corner. "I'll make a light." He put Toddle down on the
floor, and the end of a candle, stuck on top of an old tomato can, soon
made the place fairly light. On the floor in the corner were some tin
boxes and a few bottles, one of which held a little milk, as the
children could see. The other seemed to have water in it, but what was
in the tin boxes the little boy and girl could only guess.

"We'll feed Toddle first," said Nutty. "He's so little, and he doesn't
know how to wait. Here you are, pussy!" he called, and then into a tin
box, that once had held sardines, Nutty poured some milk from the
bottle. Eagerly the little cat lapped it up, while Bunny and Sue watched
in the flickering light of the candle.

"Well, now I guess he feels better," the tramp remarked, as Toddle began
to clean his face with his red tongue, using his paws for a washrag. "Do
you kiddies like nuts?" the ragged man asked.

"Do you mean peanuts?" asked Sue.

"Those and pecans," went on the tramp. "I've got lots of nut meats.
That's why they call me Nutty--because I eat so many nuts. But they are
good and make a fine meal. Besides, they don't cost anything, for the
nut growers don't mind if I take a few nuts. Sometimes I do a little
work for them, but mostly I'm a tramp. Anyhow, that's all I've got for
you to eat now--plenty of nuts. We'll have a picnic on them."

It surely was a strange scene! Bunny Brown and his sister Sue in that
freight car with Nutty, the tramp, and Toddle, the kitten, a flickering
candle giving light as the ragged man set out his store of nuts. That is
what the tin boxes held--a goodly store of nut meats.

"I crack 'em with stones and pick 'em out in my spare time," said Nutty,
as he opened the tin boxes. "I have plenty of spare time," he added,
with a laugh. "Now, children, I haven't any chairs to invite you to sit
on, but I guess it will be safer on the floor. The car rocks so. Sit
down and eat. Nutty provides the nuts!"

"Could I please have a drink?" asked Sue.

"Oh, yes! I forgot about that!" exclaimed Nutty. "Nuts make you thirsty,
too. Well, I filled my bottle of water at the railroad tank just before
I got into this car, so it's fresh. I'll give you a drink."

From a large bottle he poured water into a battered tin cup which was
among his possessions.

"It's clean," said Nutty, as he passed the cup to Sue. "Your mother
would not be afraid to let you drink it. I'm a ragged tramp, but I keep
clean."

And indeed the water in the cup was clean and fresh, and Sue drank
eagerly, as did Bunny. Then, their thirst satisfied for a time, the
children sat down to the strange picnic. They called it at the time and
afterward--the "Freight Car Picnic."

Nutty was kind and good to the children, though he was a ragged tramp,
and after their first feeling of fright was over, Bunny and Sue had
quite a jolly time.

And when you are hungry nuts make a very good meal. In fact, nuts are a
form of food. Squirrels and other animals can live on nothing but nuts
and fruits, and though growing boys and girls need more than this, they
could live for some time on nuts alone.

"I'm a great nut eater," explained Nutty, as he helped Bunny to more
pecans from the tin box. "I tramp around this part of the South, and
gather nuts wherever I can. That's why the other tramps call me Nutty.
When I was young I used to eat a lot of meat and potatoes with bread
and butter. But now I eat nuts."

"Did you ever eat cake?" asked Sue, as she munched some brown peanuts,
for Nutty had roasted peanuts among his store.

"Cake? I haven't heard that word for years!" laughed Nutty. "I don't
believe I'd know a piece of cake if I saw it hopping up the road to meet
me. Nuts are about all I need, now I'm getting old. Have some more!"

He did have a lot of nuts, and Bunny and Sue had good appetites for
them. Toddle, the pussy, nestled in Sue's lap and purred. And the
freight train rumbled on and on.

Where were Bunny and Sue going?



CHAPTER XV

LEFT ALONE


Some thought of where the train might be taking them must have come into
the minds of Bunny and Sue for, after they had eaten as many of the nuts
as they wanted and had had another drink of water from Nutty's bottle,
Bunny asked the tramp:

"Do you know where we are going, Mr. Nutty?"

"Why, no, I can't exactly say I do," answered the old tramp, with a
smile on his face. Bunny and Sue could see him smile, for the candle
gave a good light. "Where do you want to go?" he asked.

"I want to go to my mother and daddy," answered Sue. "I want to go with
them to Florida so I can pick oranges."

"And I want to see alligators," added Bunny. "Do you think daddy and
mother will come along on the next train?" he asked.

Nutty, the tramp, shook his head.

"I don't know what to think about you children," he said. "It's plain to
me that your mother doesn't know where you are, or your father, either.
And by this time your mother must be worried because you haven't come
back to her where she's waiting on the station platform. About how long
ago was it you climbed into the freight car to get my kitten?"

"About an hour," answered Bunny, after a little thought.

"Oh, it was five hours," said Sue, who did not have so good an idea of
time as had her brother. "It was maybe six hours and I want my mother!"

She seemed on the verge of tears, and Nutty, understanding this, quickly
said:

"Let's give Toddle some more milk!"

"Oh, let me feed him!" begged Sue. And as she poured some milk from the
bottle into the sardine tin and watched pussy lap it up, the little girl
forgot her tears.

"When do you think the train will stop?" asked Bunny, after he had
watched Sue feed the little kitten.

"Oh, pretty soon now, I guess," answered the old man. "Are you getting
tired?"

"A little," Bunny answered. "I don't like this car."

"I don't, either!" joined in Sue. "It hasn't any nice seats, and there
isn't any carpet on the floor."

"And you can't look out any windows," added her brother.

"No," agreed Nutty, with a laugh. "Freight cars aren't very good places
from which to see scenery when you travel. But I'm glad there aren't any
windows. If there were the railroad men could look in and see us, and
then they'd put me off."

"What for?" Bunny wanted to know.

"Well, because I'm a tramp, for one thing. And because I haven't any
ticket for another. I'm sort of stealing a ride, you know, and the
railroad men don't like that. If they saw me they'd put me off."

Without saying anything Bunny arose and started across the swaying car
toward the partly opened door--the door which showed a crack of light,
though the crack was not big enough to let Bunny or Sue squeeze through.

"Where are you going, Bunny?" asked Nutty.

"I'm going to stand by this door," answered the little boy, "and maybe a
railroad man will see me and put me off. That's what I want to do--I
want to get off this train!"

"Yes," said Nutty, in a kind voice, "I suppose that is what you want to
do--get off. And you ought to be sent back to your mother. I wish I
could help you. But I'm afraid."

"What you 'fraid of?" asked Sue, petting Toddle.

"Well, I'm afraid of what the railroad men, and maybe a policeman, might
do to me if they found me in here with you two children," went on the
tramp. "They'd think I was trying to kidnap you, and they might send me
to jail."

"We could tell them you were good to us," said Bunny. "And that you gave
us nuts and water to eat."

"And I'd tell the men about how you took care of the pussy," said Sue.

"Yes, I know you would be kind," the old man remarked. "But, for all
that, the railroad men might think I was a bad man and arrest me. You'd
better come away from that door, Bunny. You might fall out. And besides,
I'd rather a railroad man wouldn't see you--just yet."

"But can't we ever go back to our mother and daddy?" asked Bunny, as he
walked over and sat down beside his sister and Nutty.

"Oh, yes, I'm just trying to think of a way to help you," the old tramp
answered. "Let me think a minute."

Bunny and Sue had often heard their mother say this, and they knew she
wanted to be quiet and not have them talk when she was trying to make up
her mind about something they had asked her. Thinking Nutty would want
the same silence, Bunny and Sue talked only in whispers while Nutty was
"thinking."

At last Nutty said:

"I think I have it now. This train ought to stop pretty soon at a water
tank to give the engine a drink. When it does then you children can get
off."

"That'll be nice!" exclaimed Sue.

"Will our mother be there?" Bunny wanted to know.

"Well, yes, maybe," answered Nutty, though, really, he did not think so.
Still it might be that Mrs. Brown had seen the children climb into the
freight car, and she may have had a glimpse of the engine backing down,
coupling to the string of cars and starting off with them.

From the station agent Mrs. Brown could find out where the freight train
would first stop, and, by taking a fast express train, she could arrive
ahead of the freight. So it was possible for her to be waiting to greet
Bunny and Sue when they got off the freight. But, for all that, Nutty
did not believe this. He just said it to make Bunny and Sue feel better.
And while this was not just right and honest, Nutty, who was only a poor
tramp, probably did not know any better.

"I wish the train would stop pretty soon," sighed Sue. "I'm getting
tired and I want my mother. But you have been good," she quickly said.
"And I like Toddle."

"And the nuts were dandy!" exclaimed Bunny.

"I'm glad I had plenty," said the old man. "Now," he went on, "you
children sit here quietly with Toddle, and I'll go to that door and look
out. When I see a place where I think the train's going to stop I'll
call you. But don't come until I do, and keep well back away from the
crack in the door, so no train men will see you."

Bunny and Sue did not want to get their friend in trouble, so moved back
into the corner, taking the kitten with them. The little animal seemed
to like Sue very much, and purred contentedly in her lap.

Nutty arose and walked over to the partly opened door of the freight
car. Bunny and Sue, seated in a distant corner, could not see the tramp
very well, but, if they could have watched him they would have seen
Nutty opening the door wider, inch by inch.

It had slid shut, as I have told you, when the engine suddenly pulled
the freight car along, and though a small crack remained open Bunny was
not strong enough to slide the door all the way back and make the
opening wider. But Nutty, being stronger, had no trouble in making the
door slide.

The old tramp had made up his mind to run away from the children. He was
really afraid of being arrested and having it said that he had tried to
kidnap them, and as he knew he had no such idea he did not care to be
punished for something he had not done.

So he had made up his mind to jump off the train when it slowed up,
leaving Bunny and Sue alone. And that is why he sent the children to the
dark corner, so they could not see him open the door. He thought if they
saw him they would want to follow.

"If I can get away," said Nutty to himself, "I'll tell some of the
railroad men that I saw two kids in one of the empty cars, and the
railroad men will look after them. But I don't want them to find _me_
here."

Slowly and carefully Nutty slid back the door, inch by inch, in order to
make the crack wide enough for him to jump out when the train slowed
up. He glanced toward the dark corner where Bunny and Sue were sitting,
playing with the cat. The candle was still burning, but the children
were some distance from it.

"I'll have to leave all my things behind," thought Nutty, as he got the
door open as wide as he needed. "I'll leave 'em my store of nuts and the
water to drink. I'll have to leave Toddle, too."

The thought of leaving behind his little kitten made the old tramp feel
rather sad. But he knew that if he picked Toddle up and gathered
together his tin boxes and the bottles Bunny and Sue would guess that he
intended to go away from them.

"I'll just leave everything--even the pussy," thought Nutty. "I can
easily get more nuts and bottles of water. I'll jump off as soon as the
train slows up a little more. I don't want to be arrested as a
kidnapper."

Watching his chance, and noticing that the train was moving quite slowly
now, Nutty thrust himself half way out of the crack. He glanced toward
Bunny and Sue. They were trying to make the kitten stand up on his hind
legs, and did not see the tramp.

"This is my chance!" thought the ragged man, with a last, kind look
toward the children. "I'm sorry to leave you all alone," he went on,
"but it's better so. And I'll send help to you if I can."

A moment later he jumped from the moving freight car and landed on the
ground, running along a little way, and then darting into some bushes
beside the track so no railroad men would see him.

"There! I'm safe!" thought Nutty. "Bunny and Sue will be all right, too,
I hope!"

And the little boy and girl, left alone in the freight car, were being
carried farther and farther away, for the train did not stop. As soon as
Nutty had leaped off it started up again.



CHAPTER XVI

THE JOLLY SWITCHMAN


For some time Bunny Brown and his sister Sue did not know that they had
been left alone. They were playing with the kitten and they supposed
their tramp friend Nutty was looking out of the partly opened door,
watching for a chance to get them off the train. It was not until Sue
grew tired of setting Toddle up on his hind legs, only to have the
kitten slump over in a heap, that she looked up and saw the door opened
wider and Nutty gone.

"Oh, Bunny!" cried Sue. "Look!"

Bunny, who was taking some more nuts from one of the tin boxes the tramp
had left in the corner, glanced at his sister.

"What's the matter?" he asked.

"Nutty is gone!" exclaimed Sue. "Oh, Bunny! I guess he fell out of the
door! It's open wider! Oh, poor Nutty has falled out!"

Bunny made his way to the crack, and, holding to the edge of the door,
he looked out. He could see that it was late afternoon, and as the sun
was setting Bunny knew it would soon be night. He began to wish, more
than ever, that he and Sue were with their father and mother.

"Do you see him?" asked Sue, after Bunny had had time to look up and
down the railroad.

"No," was the answer. "Nutty isn't here. I guess he fell all the way
out."

Sue scrambled to her feet to walk over and stand beside Bunny. She was
tired of the dark car and of not being able to look from a window. That
was half the fun of traveling--looking from windows.

Sue was half way across the car on her way to join Bunny when the train
went around a curve, and so sudden it was that the freight car swayed
and jolted, and Sue lost her balance. Down she sat on the floor, rather
hard. She was not hurt, but she was surprised and she lost her breath
for the moment. If Bunny had not held tightly to the edge of the door
he might have been tossed out.

"I guess I'd better not stand there," Bunny said, as he thought of what
might have happened if he had been tossed out. He could not have got
back in again when the train was moving, and Sue would have been left
all alone.

"Come and stay with me," begged Sue, giving up the idea of going to the
partly opened door. "We'll have to light another candle pretty soon,
'cause this one is 'most gone."

This was true. The candle-end which Nutty had lighted was burned almost
to the bottom of the tin can to which it was fastened by some of the
melted grease.

"Maybe there are more candles," suggested Bunny. "Let's look."

Nutty, as has been said, had left all his things behind him in a corner
of the freight car. Delving in among the old bags, in which he always
carried his "baggage," the children found some more nuts. There was so
much of this food that they would not be hungry for another day at
least, and there was another bottle of water.

"But there's no more milk for pussy," said Sue.

"Well, he's got a little left in his bottle," Bunny answered. "And he
can have some of our water."

"Water isn't good to eat--it's only good to drink," declared Sue.

"Maybe Toddle will eat nuts," suggested her brother.

But when they put some down in front of the cat it only smelled of them,
played with them by knocking them about with its paw, and rubbed up
against Sue.

"Oh, well, maybe he won't be hungry," Bunny said.

Night was now coming on, and Bunny and Sue were alone in the freight
car--that is, except for Toddle, and while the children loved the kitten
he was not as much company as a big dog would have been.

On and on rumbled the train. Where they were now Bunny and Sue had not
the least idea. Bunny was still looking among Nutty's things for
another candle-end to light when the first one should burn out, which
seemed likely to happen very soon, when the children suddenly became
aware that the train was slowing up.

"Oh, maybe it's going to stop!" exclaimed Sue.

And then, just as the candle burned down and went out in a splutter of
grease, leaving the car in darkness, the train came to a slow stop, with
a creaking and squealing of brakes.

"Oh, Bunny! Bunny!" cried Sue, "now we can get off."

"Yes," said Bunny, "I guess we can."

It was easy to cross the car now, for it was not moving. Bunny hurried
to the door which Nutty had left open, and the little boy looked out. In
the early evening twilight he and Sue could see a patch of woods and
some fields. They did not know what the place was. The freight car in
which they had ridden had stopped along the way at a place where a high
bank was close to the track. From the freight car to the bank was only
a few feet--a distance that Bunny and Sue could easily jump.

"I'll go first!" offered Bunny, and he leaped to the ground.

"I'm coming!" cried Sue, as she followed her brother, landing beside him
with a thud. And then Bunny gave a little cry of surprise.

"Why!" he exclaimed. "You--you brought Toddle with you!"

"Course I did!" answered Sue. "Think I'd leave that little pussy behind
in the car all alone?"

"No," agreed Bunny. "I guess it's good you brought him."

"What made the train stop?" asked Sue, as she snuggled the kitten down
in her arms and stood beside Bunny. "Did Nutty make it stop, and is
mother or daddy here?"

"I don't know," Bunny answered, looking up and down the track. "I don't
b'lieve mother is here--or father either," he went on. "And I don't see
Nutty."

"But what made the train stop?" Sue asked again.

"The engine is getting a drink of water," Bunny answered, pointing down
the track to a water tower, opposite which the engine had stopped. A man
was standing on the pile of coal in the tender, or back part of the
engine, and from the wayside tank a big iron pipe had been pulled over
the opening in the tank tender. Through this pipe a stream of water was
flowing.

Bunny and Sue both knew, of course, that the engine did not exactly
"drink" water. But they had been told this when quite young and they
still said it just in fun. Their father had told them that water was put
in an engine just as water was put in the tea kettle--to boil and make
steam.

"That's what the train stopped for," Bunny went on; "so the engine could
get some water. And I'm glad it stopped, so we could get off. I was
tired of riding in that old car."

"So was I," Sue agreed. "It's lots nicer out here. But, Bunny," she
said, "it's going to be night--how are we going to get back?" and she
hugged Toddle closer to her.

Bunny, too, was beginning to wonder about this. He could see that it was
getting dark. He looked down the track, and the engine whistled twice.
This meant that it was going to start off again and pull the train. The
man on the pile of coal in the tender pushed back the iron water pipe,
and then the freight car wheels began to squeak and turn.

As Bunny and Sue stood beside the track the train started to move, and
soon it was pulling away, leaving the two children alone. It was a
rather desolate place, with fields on one side and a patch of woods on
the other. But as the train clacked on down the track, out of sight,
Bunny caught a view of a small shanty, or little house, near the water
tank. And as he pointed this out to Sue a man came from the little brown
house and looked up and down.

"Oh, there's somebody," Sue cried, almost dropping the kitten in her
excitement. "Maybe he can tell us how to get back to mother, Bunny
Brown!"

"Maybe he can," the little boy agreed. "Let's go and ask him."

"Do you know who he is?" Sue asked.

"I guess he's the switchman, and he tends to the water tower," Bunny
answered. At home they knew a switchman who lived in a little shanty
just like this. He lowered and raised gates as trains came and went. But
there were no gates here in this lonely place.

But Bunny and Sue knew this person was a switchman, and as he saw them
coming down the track he stared in wonder at the children.

"Well, what are you two little ones doing here?" asked the jolly
switchman as he greeted Bunny and Sue. His smile was jolly, his voice
was jolly, and he seemed quite a jolly person all over. "Where did you
come from?" he asked.

"Off that train," answered Bunny.

"What? That freight train?" asked the switchman, who was also the
water-tender. He had charge of the pump that filled the tank alongside
of the track.

"Yes, we were on that freight train," Bunny answered, "and we jumped off
when it stopped."

"Well, of all things!" cried the jolly switchman. "And was the cat with
you, too?" he wanted to know.

"Yes," answered Sue. "This was Nutty's cat."

"What, Nutty, the tramp?" cried the switchman. "Did he have you two
tots?"

Bunny shook his head.

"Nutty was very good to us," answered the little boy. "He was in the car
when we crawled in to get the pussy, but we didn't know it. Then the
train started up and we couldn't get off. Nutty jumped off a while ago,
'cause he was afraid he'd be arrested. But we couldn't jump off until
just now."

"My! My! That's quite a story!" cried the jolly switchman. "You had
better come home with me, and my wife will give you something to eat.
You two children must be lost! Come, I'll take you to my wife."

"Does she live there?" asked Sue, pointing to the shanty.

The jolly switchman burst into a loud laugh.



CHAPTER XVII

A WORRIED MOTHER


While Bunny Brown and his sister Sue were traveling in the freight car
with the pussy and with Nutty, the tramp, Mrs. Brown was left alone on
the station platform, where she had sat down to rest after lunch and to
wait for her husband. Mr. Brown had some business to attend to uptown,
and he had to see not one man, as he thought at first, but several.

Mrs. Brown watched Bunny and Sue walk down the street alongside of the
freight tracks, but she did not see the children cross to look into the
open car.

Then Mrs. Brown went to sleep, or, if she did not exactly go to sleep,
she closed her eyes, so she saw nothing of what went on.

Mrs. Brown was suddenly awakened from her mid-day doze on the railroad
station bench by hearing a loud banging noise. The noise was caused
when the engine backed down the track, bumped into the train of freight
cars and was coupled to them. Then the engine started off, pulling the
cars with it.

"My, I thought that was a clap of thunder!" said Mrs. Brown, sitting up
and rubbing her eyes. "I'm glad it isn't," she went on, as she saw the
warm, southern sun shining.

"Where did Bunny and Sue go?" she asked herself, speaking aloud, as she
arose from the bench. Then she heard some voices of children on the
other side of the station, and, thinking her two might be there, she
walked around to the farther platform.

But there were only some colored boys playing with their marbles and
tops.

"Dear me!" exclaimed Mrs. Brown, "I hope those two haven't wandered
away. I hope they haven't gone toward the town, thinking they can find
their father. I must look for them."

She went back to the place where she had been sitting on the bench and
looked down the street where she had last seen Bunny and Sue. But the
children were not there. And the freight train was almost out of sight
now down the track.

"Perhaps they are in talking to the station agent," thought Mother
Brown. "Surely they wouldn't wander away without telling me."

But as this was between the time for trains the office of the station
agent was closed. He had gone home and would not be back until it was
time for the arrival of the train Mr. Brown intended taking, to go on to
Orange Beach.

The door of the office was locked and the glass ticket window was
closed. Inside the office could be heard the clicking of the telegraph
sounders, and this, with the voices of the colored boys playing with
their tops, were the only noises to be heard.

"Where can Bunny and Sue have gone?" exclaimed Mrs. Brown, getting more
and more worried. "They must have wandered off. If there had been an
accident on the track, I'd see something of it." She was glad there was
no sign of a train having hurt any little boy or girl. In fact, except
for the freight train having pulled away, there had been no other
trains moving around the station since the Browns had arrived.

"I'll go ask those colored boys if they have seen Bunny and Sue," said
Mrs. Brown to herself.

She walked around the corner of the station, and was just in time to see
one little colored boy trip another, sending him sprawling in the dust.

"Heah, yo' li'l sinnah!" cried the boy who had sent the other sprawling.
"What fo' yo' tuck mah top!"

"Ah didn't tek yo' top, Sam!" answered the other, as he arose from the
dust.

"Yes, yo' did!" declared the other. "Now yo' go on 'way from heah or
Ah'll cuff yo' ears!"

In answer the other colored boy, the one who had been tripped, rushed at
his enemy and struck him with clenched fist. In an instant the other hit
back, and soon there was a lively fight. The colored boys fell down and
rolled over and over in the dust.

"Here! Here! You boys mustn't fight!" cried Mrs. Brown, hastening
toward them and trying to pull off the one on top, who was pounding the
bottom lad with his fists. "Stop it!"

"You best let 'em alone, lady," said an older colored boy, with a grin.
"Dem two am always fightin', but dey don't do no harm nohow!"

"But it isn't nice to fight," said the mother of Bunny and Sue. "Get up,
please, I want to ask you boys something."

Hearing this, and seeing that Mrs. Brown was well dressed and was a
"white lady of quality" carrying a pocketbook out of which pennies might
be handed, the fighting boys stopped. The top one got off the other, and
both stood up, dusting off their ragged clothes. Neither seemed much
hurt, and both were broadly grinning.

"You mustn't fight!" declared Mrs. Brown.

"Oh, we was only in fun, lady," laughed the one who had first tripped
the other.

"Have you seen a little boy and girl?" went on Mrs. Brown.

"White chilluns?" asked one of the black boys.

"Co'se she done mean white chilluns!" exclaimed another. "I done seen
'em get offen de train!"

"Have you seen them since?" asked Mrs. Brown. "We had lunch, and my
husband went uptown. I sat down on the bench, and Bunny and Sue walked
down the street. I haven't seen them since, and they aren't in sight. Do
you know where they are?"

None of the colored boys did, it appeared, though hearing that two white
children were missing there were soon eager volunteers to search for
them.

Out and around the station scattered the colored boys, Mrs. Brown having
said she would give fifty cents to the one first bringing news of Bunny
and Sue.

"Oh, golly! I'se gwine to earn dat money, suah!" cried one lad.

But though the boys looked up and down the different streets, and though
some even went into near-by stores, not a trace of Bunny or Sue could
they find. And for a good reason--because Bunny and Sue were traveling
far away in the freight car with Nutty, the tramp.

Mrs. Brown became more and more worried as nearly an hour passed and
Bunny and Sue were not found. The station agent came back, for it was
nearly time for the other train to arrive. But he could tell nothing of
the missing children.

"I must find my husband!" Mrs. Brown exclaimed, and she was just
starting uptown when Mr. Brown came riding to the station in an
automobile. One of the business men, on whom he had called, had brought
him back in the car.

"Oh, Walter," cried Mrs. Brown, "Bunny and Sue are lost! I can't find
them anywhere! What shall we do?"



CHAPTER XVIII

THE TRICK DOG


We left Bunny and Sue Brown standing beside the track with the jolly
switchman, who laughed at the little girl's question as to whether his
wife lived in the small brown shanty.

"My wife live in that little shanty?" he cried, his face all wrinkled
with smiles like a last year's apple. "Why, that shack is hardly big
enough for me, and when my dog comes to see me he has to stick his tail
outside if he wants to wag it!"

"Oh, have you a dog?" cried Bunny.

"That I have, and a fine dog he is, too. He's at home with my wife now,
in the cottage. But I'll soon take you there. My, my! but you're little
children to have come alone in a freight car."

"We weren't alone," explained Sue. "Nutty was with us."

"Oh, yes, I know that queer tramp," said the water-tank switchman with
another laugh. "There's no harm in him, though some of the trainmen put
him off when they find him stealing a ride."

"This is his cat," went on Sue, showing the pussy. "Will your dog bite
it?"

"Oh, no, indeed!" exclaimed the switchman. "My dog likes cats. In fact,
my wife has a cat and I have a dog, and the two animals get along very
nicely together. But come along--let's see--what shall I call you?" he
asked.

"I'm Bunny and this is my sister Sue," answered the little boy. "Our
last name is Brown."

"Hum! That's funny!" laughed the jolly switchman. "My last name is
Black, though I'm a white man."

"What's your dog's name?" asked Bunny, as he and his sister trudged
along with the switchman, one on either side of him, Sue carrying
Nutty's pussy cat.

"His name is Bruno," was the answer. "He's a good dog and likes
children. But I'm thinking your mother and father will be worried about
you. Night's coming on. They can hardly get here after you before
to-morrow, and I don't believe they know where to look for you. Did they
see you get into the freight car and come away?"

"No," said Bunny. "Daddy wasn't there and mother was asleep."

"If I knew where your mother was I could go into town and send her a
telegram, I suppose," went on the switchman. "What station was it you
got off at?"

But Bunny and Sue had either forgotten or they had never heard it. It
was all the same as far as telling the switchman was concerned. He did
not know how to reach Mrs. Brown and she did not know where to come to
get Bunny and Sue.

"I guess you'll have to stay with me all night," said the railroad man.
"Lucky I've got a spare bed. My wife will be glad to see you, for she
doesn't see much white company. There's lots of colored folks in the
village, though."

"Do you live in a village?" asked Bunny.

"Yes, it's a little town about half a mile away over the hill. I leave
there every morning and come to the shanty by the water tank to stay
until dark. Then I go home as I'm doing now. Sometimes my dog comes to
keep me company, but he didn't come to-day."

"I hope he doesn't bother my kittie," said Sue. She was beginning to
think of Nutty's cat as hers now.

"Oh, Bruno loves cats!" declared the switchman.

He led the children up a hill and away from the railroad. Looking down
the road from the top of the hill Bunny and Sue could see through the
gathering twilight a small village.

"Here's my house," said the switchman a little later, as he turned into
a path that led through a yard and up to a white cottage. A dog ran out,
barking.

"Down, Bruno! Down!" cried the switchman, who had said his name was
Black. "These are friends, and you must be good to them and to the
pussy."

Bruno sniffed around the legs of Bunny and Sue, and he sniffed toward
the cat, though he could not put his nose on her because Sue held her
new pet high in her arms. Then Bruno wagged his tail to show that he
would be friends.

"Hello, Mrs. Black!" called the switchman in a jolly voice to his wife,
who just then came to the side door to look out. "I've brought you
company for supper!"

"Company!" cried Mrs. Black, in surprise.

"Yes, two children and a cat!" laughed her husband. "Guess we'll have to
put 'em up over night!"

Quickly he told of the ride of Bunny and Sue in the freight car, and
Mrs. Black came out, followed by a large maltese cat, and soon made the
Brown children welcome.

"Of course they shall have supper and stay all night," she said in kind
tones which matched the jolly ones of her husband. "And I'll give your
pussy some milk, Sue," she added.

"Thank you," replied Sue. "And do you think my mother will be here after
supper?" she asked.

Mrs. Black did not answer the little girl's question, but talked about
the cat. She did not want to tell Sue that it would be almost impossible
for Mrs. Brown to get there before the next day.

The freight car had not been a very clean place, and if you can get
dirty and grimy traveling in a regular passenger coach, you can imagine
how much more grimy Bunny and Sue got on their trip.

"Come in and wash," went on Mrs. Black, while her husband tossed sticks
for Bruno to race after and bring back to him. It was almost too dark
for the children to see the sticks as they were thrown, but the dog
seemed to know where to find them.

Bunny and Sue washed in a basin, there being no bathroom in the humble
cottage of the switchman. As for Mr. Black, his hands and face got so
dirty from working around the pumping engine that he had to scrub
himself out back of the woodshed in a tin basin.

"I like to splash a lot of water when I wash," he said. "And I need lots
of room. I can't wash in the house."

"I should say not!" laughed his wife, as she got some clean towels for
Bunny and Sue. "You'd spoil all the wall paper!"

Mr. Black looked a very different person when his face and hands were
clean and his hair nicely combed. Bunny and Sue also felt better after
getting off some of the grime of their trip. A little later they all sat
down to the supper table.

There was plenty to eat, and enough left over for Bruno, the dog, and
for Waffles, the big cat. Toddle also had supper.

"We call our cat Waffles because he is so fond of waffles," explained
Mrs. Black.

"What are waffles?" asked Bunny.

"Oh, they're a sort of pancake, but baked on an iron that makes them
full of little squares," said the switchman's wife. "I'll make you some
to-morrow."

"Maybe my pussy will like waffles," suggested Sue.

"Maybe," answered the switchman's wife. "Now, any time you children want
to go to bed let me know. You must be tired and sleepy."

Bunny and Sue, however, were wide enough awake for the present. It was
new and strange, this stopping at the cottage of a switchman whom they
had never before seen. But they were beginning to feel at home. Of
course they were lonesome for their father and mother, and Bunny was
afraid Sue would cry in the night. But for the time being the two
children were so interested in being at a new place that they did not
worry much. Not half as much as Mr. and Mrs. Brown, back at the station,
worried about the children.

"Bruno," suddenly called Mr. Black, "go see if my paper has come!"

With a short bark, the dog, having finished eating, ran out of the room.
In a few minutes he came walking back on his hind feet with the folded
evening paper in his mouth.

"Oh, look!" cried Bunny.

"He's a trick dog, isn't he?" squealed Sue.

"Well, yes, I have taught him a few tricks," the switchman answered.
"I'll show you what else he can do. Bruno, play soldier!" he called.

Mr. Black got a broom from a corner, and as Bruno stood upright on his
hind legs the switchman put the broom over the dog's shoulder and under
one paw.

[Illustration: BRUNO MARCHED AROUND THE ROOM.

_Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue in the Sunny South._ _Page 179_]

"March!" cried Mr. Black, and while he hummed a tune Bruno marched
around the room, with the broom for a gun.

"Oh, that's a dandy trick!" cried Bunny. "Can he do any more?"

"Yes," answered Mr. Black. "He'll go for the milk. Here's the bucket.
I'll put the money in it and he'll carry it down the street to the house
where we get our milk and bring back the full bucket. Come, Bruno!" he
called. "Get the milk!"

With a bark, the trick dog dropped the broom and sprang to do this new
trick.



CHAPTER XIX

A HAPPY REUNION


Mr. Black took the pail his wife gave him, and in the bottom, wrapped in
a piece of clean paper, he put some money. Then the cover was put on the
pail and the handle was slipped into Bruno's mouth.

"Milk, Bruno!" called the switchman again, and he opened the door and
out ran the dog.

"Will he go for it all alone?" asked Bunny.

"Yes," answered the switchman. "And he'll bring it back without spilling
a drop--that is, unless some other dog chases him or unless some bad
boys throw stones at him and make him run. Just wait a few minutes and
you'll see Bruno coming back with the milk."

"Take the children out on the porch where it's cooler," said Mrs. Black.
"I'll clear away the supper things."

"Can I help?" asked Sue, for she was used to helping her mother at home.

"Oh, no, thank you, dear," Mrs. Black answered. "You go out and see
Bruno do his tricks. He is quite a clever dog."

Bunny and Sue certainly thought so when a little later, as they sat on
the porch with Mr. Black, they saw the dog come along with the handle of
the milk pail in his mouth.

"He walks carefully so he won't spill it, doesn't he?" asked Sue.

"Yes, he is a very good dog," the switchman answered. "I don't remember
of his spilling the milk more than once or twice. He did it the first
time when he was just learning, and again it happened when another dog
chased him when Bruno was almost home with the bucket."

"Do the people that sell milk know Bruno is going to come for it?" Sue
asked, as Mrs. Black came out of the kitchen and took the pail from
Bruno, who stood carefully holding it. He had not spilled a drop.

"Yes, we get our milk at Mr. Hasting's place," answered the switchman.
"He keeps a cow, and they watch for Bruno every night."

"Can he do any more tricks?" asked Bunny. He and his sister were so
interested in the dog that they forgot about being far from their daddy
and mother.

"Yes, he can dance when I play the mouth organ," answered Mr. Black.

"Oh!" exclaimed Sue. "We heard the darkies on the cotton plantation play
the mouth organ and banjo and we saw 'em dance!" she went on.

"Well, I don't claim that my dog can dance as well as a plantation
darky," laughed the switchman. "But Bruno does pretty well. I'll get my
mouth organ."

Bruno barked and leaped about when he saw his master come out with the
mouth organ, and no sooner had the first few notes been blown than the
dog, without being told, stood up on his hind legs and pranced around.
He almost kept time to the music, and for a dog, he danced very well.

"Oh, I wish we had a dog like that!" sighed Bunny, when the dancing
animal, wagging his tail, came to Mr. Black to be petted after the
switchman stopped playing the mouth organ.

"Maybe I can teach Nutty's cat to dance," Sue said.

"I'm afraid not," said Mr. Black. "It is very hard to teach cats to do
tricks. I've tried more than once, but I never had any luck. But Bruno
is one of the smartest dogs I ever saw."

The children thought so, too, and after Bruno had done a few more
tricks, such as turning somersaults, and lying down and rolling over,
Mrs. Black came to say she thought it time for Bunny and Sue to go to
bed.

"I only have one spare room," said the switchman's wife. "That has a
large bed in it big enough for both of you. Don't you want to go to
sleep now?"

Bunny looked at Sue and Sue whispered something to her brother.

"What is it?" asked Mrs. Black, seeing that something was "in the wind,"
as she remarked afterward.

"Sue says we can't go to bed without saying our prayers," replied Bunny,
"and mother isn't here--and--"

He faltered a moment, and it sounded as if he might be going to cry.
There was a trace of tears, too, in Sue's eyes, and Mrs. Black, guessing
that the children were beginning to feel lonesome and homesick, laughed
and said:

"Bless your hearts! I can hear you say your prayers as well as your
mother could. I used to have children of my own, but they are grown up
now. When they were your size I heard them say their prayers every
night. And I've got some night dresses for you, too!"

"You have?" exclaimed Bunny. He wondered where Mrs. Black could get
those, when she had no small children of her own.

"I have," said Mrs. Black. "While you were on the porch, watching Bruno
do tricks, I went next door and borrowed two clean night dresses for
you. They have five children at Mr. Sweeney's."

"Then if we can say our prayers and have night gowns, let's go to bed,"
proposed Sue. "Mother will come and get us in the morning," she went on.

"Yes, mother will come to-morrow," said Mrs. Black gently.

Soon Bunny and Sue were falling asleep in the big, clean bed, and they
did not have to fall very far to get to Slumberland, either, for they
were so tired they could hardly hold their eyes open to get undressed.

"I wonder if their mother will come in the morning?" asked Mrs. Black of
her husband, as she came out of the spare bedroom and softly closed the
door.

"Well, if she doesn't I have thought of a way to get word to her and the
father, too," the switchman said.

"How?" asked his wife.

"In the morning I'll have Mr. Sweeney telephone to the ticket agent at
the railroad station here. The agent can tell the main office."

"Oh, yes," agreed Mrs. Black. "And then word can be telegraphed all up
and down the line, and whatever station it was these children got into
the freight car, there Mrs. Brown will be waiting and she'll get the
word."

"That's it," Mr. Black said.

But before he could put his kind plan into operation Mr. and Mrs. Brown
had already started a movement of their own looking to the finding of
the lost children.

Mr. Brown was very much surprised and not a little frightened when he
met his wife on the station platform, where they had alighted to change
cars, and was told that Bunny and Sue were missing.

"Where did you last see them?" asked Mr. Brown.

"Down by the line of freight cars," Mrs. Brown answered. And then she
thought of something that she had not thought of before. "Why," she
exclaimed, "the freight cars are gone! I remember now that the noise the
engine made when it coupled on woke me from my doze. Oh, do you think
Bunny and Sue are on the freight train?"

"I'm beginning to think so," answered Mr. Brown. "You say the colored
boys couldn't find them around here, there has been no accident and
neither Bunny nor Sue came up to the village after me. They must be in
one of the freight cars and are being hauled away."

"But how could they get into one of those high cars?" asked his wife.

"Oh, Bunny can do almost anything, and Sue isn't far behind him.
Probably he found a box to stand on."

"Suppose we take a look," suggested Mr. Parker, the gentleman who had
brought Mr. Brown to the station in the automobile. The three of them
walked down the tracks where the freight cars had stood before being
hauled away.

"There's a box!" exclaimed Mr. Brown, pointing to one near the track.
"It's just about high enough for a person to get from it into an open
boxcar."

"And here are the marks of their feet!" cried Mrs. Brown, pointing to
the very footprints of Bunny Brown and his sister Sue, made by the
children in the soft dirt between the tracks. "Oh, they are in that
train! How shall we get them?" she cried.

"Well, now that we know this much, it will be an easy matter to
telegraph on ahead and have the train searched," said Mr. Parker. "I'll
go and see the train dispatcher here."

It was now getting late, and soon the train arrived on which the Brown
family should have made the remainder of their trip to Florida. But of
course daddy and mother would not travel on until they had found Bunny
and Sue. So they let the train go, and went to the ticket office to find
the name of the first station where the freight train might stop, in
order that a telegram could be sent to have it searched.

It was quite dark when the telegram had been sent, and Mr. and Mrs.
Brown were invited to stay at the home of Mr. Parker for supper, and to
remain there all night, if necessary.

There were some hours of anxious waiting, and at last a telegram came
back to Mr. Brown saying that the train crew of the freight had looked
into every empty car, but the children had not been found. In one car,
however, were some empty nut boxes and pieces of candles.

"That's the car they were in!" declared Mr. Parker.

"But where are they now?" asked the distracted mother. "Oh, where are
Bunny and Sue?"

"They must have got out when the train stopped," said Daddy Brown.

"Then the thing to do," went on Mr. Parker, "is to find out the names of
all the stations and water tanks where stops, were made, and telegraph
there."

So after some work the railroad people found out the different regular
stops the freight train had made, but at none of these places were there
any traces of Bunny or Sue.

"Then a water tank stop is our only hope," Mr. Parker said. "Some of the
tanks are in lonely places, and if the children got out there they would
be taken in charge by the pumpman or switchman. He would have no way of
telegraphing back. We shall have to wait until morning."

You can imagine that Mrs. Brown did not sleep much that night. She did
not sleep as well as did Bunny and Sue. But in the morning a telegram,
sent by Mr. Black through Mr. Sweeney, was received, telling just where
the missing children were.

"They're found!" cried Daddy Brown, as he came upstairs to his wife's
room, waving the telegram over his head. "They're all right!"

And a little later he and his wife were on the first train going to the
village where Bunny and Sue had been so kindly cared for all night.

"Oh, Momsie!" cried Sue, as she rushed into the dear arms. "Oh, Momsie!"

"Well, Bunny boy, you had quite an adventure!" said his father, as he
clasped the little chap close to him.



CHAPTER XX

AT ORANGE BEACH


The happy reunion had taken place on the platform of the little railroad
station just outside the village where Mr. Black, the switchman, lived.
As soon as telegrams had been sent and received, Mr. Black took Bunny
and Sue to the station to wait for the arrival of the train carrying
their father and mother to them.

Coming in a passenger car, and not on a freight train in which the
children had ridden, Mr. and Mrs. Brown soon arrived at the place. And
then you can imagine how happy every one was.

"But whatever possessed you two children to climb into a freight car and
let yourselves be carried away?" asked Mrs. Brown, as she hugged Bunny,
while Mr. Brown took Sue in his arms.

"We wanted to get the kitten, Mother," Sue explained. "And he's at Mrs.
Black's now, and please can't we take him with us to Florida?"

"It's Nutty's cat," objected Bunny.

"But he ran away and left him," went on Sue. "Please, Mother, can't we
take Toddle with us?"

"Who is Nutty?" asked Mr. Brown.

Then, by turns, the children told the whole story, which included how
they had met the queer old tramp in the boxcar.

"And you ought to see Bruno do tricks!" cried Bunny, when it came his
turn to tell something.

"Who is Bruno, another tramp?" asked Mrs. Brown.

"He's a dog!" exclaimed Bunny. "And you ought to see him dance!"

"You children seem to have had a better time than your mother or I had,"
said Mr. Brown, after he had thanked the kind switchman for the care he
and his wife had given Bunny and Sue. "We were certainly worried about
you."

Mr. and Mrs. Brown paid a little visit to Mrs. Black to thank her, and
then it was time for the travelers to resume their journey to Orange
Beach, where they expected to spend some time with Mr. Halliday, with
whom Daddy Brown had business to talk over.

"Can't we take Toddle?" begged Sue again, as she held Nutty's little cat
in her arms.

"No, my dear," answered her mother. "We could not take him to Florida
with us."

"I'll keep him here with my dog and cat," offered Mrs. Black.

"And when I see Nutty, as I often do," added the switchman, "I'll tell
him where he can get his cat again."

"Well, I s'pose he will want Toddle," sighed Sue. So the pussy was left
behind.

Once more Bunny Brown and his sister Sue were on the train traveling.
This time they were in a sleeping car, in which, at night, beds were
made from the seats.

"This is better than riding in a freight car, isn't it?" asked Sue's
mother.

"Yes," answered the little girl, turning away from the window, out of
which she was looking at the scenery. "But we had a pretty good time
with Nutty; didn't we, Bunny?"

"Yes, we did," answered the little boy. "And the nuts were good."

There was still for the party an all night ride before the Brown family
would arrive at Orange Beach, which was in the southwestern part of
Florida.

"Do the orange trees grow right near the ocean, Mother?" asked Bunny,
when they had been talking for some time about the place to which they
were going.

"Not exactly," his father answered. "I believe oranges do not grow so
well too close to salt water. At any rate Mr. Halliday's orange grove is
inland a few miles. It is on the banks of a river, but the river flows
into the ocean, or rather, into the Gulf of Mexico, which is part of the
ocean."

"Can we go swimming?" Sue wanted to know.

"You can't if there's any alligators there," Bunny said. "Anyhow, you
can't go in the water till I catch all the alligators."

"If there's alligators I'm not going in," declared Sue.

"Oh, I don't believe there will be any," Mrs. Brown said, with a laugh.

And so with talk and laughter over what they might find at Orange Beach,
the time passed until it was time to go to bed.

The colored porter made up the clean, white beds, and Bunny and Sue were
glad enough to get in theirs when the time came. They had slept pretty
well at Mrs. Black's home, but they were still tired from their bumping,
jolting journey in the rough freight car.

So soundly did Bunny and Sue sleep that even when there was a little
accident they did not awaken. During the night the train on which they
rode had a little collision with an empty freight car which was standing
on a side track. The freight car was smashed, but hardly any damage was
done to the passenger train, except that the passengers were awakened by
being jolted. That is, all but Bunny and Sue. They slept through it.

"Is any one hurt?" asked Mr. Brown, as soon as quiet was restored and
it was found that the express train could go on.

"A couple of tramps who were sleeping in the empty freight car were
hurt," the conductor said. "We've sent them to the hospital."

"Oh! Tramps!" exclaimed Mrs. Brown, who heard the talk. "I hope one of
them wasn't Nutty, who was so kind to the children, even though he did
jump off and leave them alone. I hope Nutty wasn't hurt!"

"Nutty could hardly have got so far south as this since he left the
children," Mr. Brown said. "I don't believe he was one of the tramps
hurt in this collision."

Next morning, when Bunny and Sue awakened, they were told of the
collision in the night, but nothing was said to them of the two tramps
who were hurt for fear they might think one was Nutty. But neither was.

There was enough else to take the attention of the little boy and girl,
for they were now in the real South, and they began to notice palm trees
for the first time.

"They look just like pictures of cocoanut trees!" exclaimed Bunny,
gazing from the car window.

"Wouldn't Nutty be glad if he was here and could gather cocoanuts!"
cried Sue. "Can we pick cocoanuts, Daddy?"

"I hardly think so, where we are going," Mr. Brown answered. "I think
oranges will be enough for you to pick for a while."

"That and catching alligators," added Bunny, who never seemed to stop
thinking of these scaly creatures, which Sue did not like at all.

On and on went the train, and the children were just about getting tired
of so much travel when they saw their father and mother beginning to
gather up the hand baggage.

"Are we there?" asked Bunny excitedly.

"Almost," his father answered.

A little later a trainman called:

"Orange Beach! Orange Beach!"

"Hurray! We're here!" cried Bunny.

"And I'm going to pick orange blossoms!" echoed Sue.



CHAPTER XXI

GOLDEN APPLES


Orange Beach, where Mr. Halliday owned many fruit groves, was the name
of a small village. It was almost as small a town as the one in which
Mr. Black, the switchman, lived. But Bunny and Sue liked small places.
They had seen enough of cities, having passed through many on their
railroad journey.

Alighting from the train, the Brown family found Mr. Halliday waiting
for them in his motor car, Daddy Brown having telegraphed to tell the
time of their arrival.

"Well, you got here at last, I see!" the orange grower exclaimed, as he
came up to welcome his guests.

"If Bunny and Sue could have had their way perhaps we wouldn't have
come," said Mrs. Brown, with a smile.

"Why not?" asked Mr. Halliday, with a smile.

"Oh, they went for a ride on a freight train," laughed their mother, and
then she told of the adventure.

"I guess they have had enough nuts for a time," the fruit grower said,
at the end of the little story. "I'll try them on oranges."

"May I pick some for myself?" Sue asked eagerly.

"All you want!" was the answer. "We have a big crop this year."

"And will you please show me where to catch alligators?" asked Bunny
Brown.

"Oh ho! So that's what you came here for, is it?" exclaimed Mr.
Halliday, with a wink at Mr. Brown. "Well, I'm sorry to say we are all
out of alligators!"

"Aren't there any?" inquired Bunny, in disappointed tones.

"Not right around here," went on the orange grower. "But there are some
farther down Squaw River. I'll take you down some day and show them to
you."

"Hurray!" cried Bunny Brown.

"My grove and house are a few miles from here," the orange grower said.
"You'll soon be there, and I hope you'll have lots of fun."

Bunny Brown and his sister Sue felt sure that they would. They liked the
sunny South very much, as a change from the cold northland where they
had been coasting a few days before.

Everything was lovely and green in Florida now, though it was the middle
of what is called winter in the North. Trees and bushes glowed in soft
green tints, and had been washed clean in a recent rain. As the
automobile bearing the Brown family and their host along a pleasant road
chugged on and on, Sue suddenly exclaimed:

"What's that nice smell?"

"I hear it, too--I mean I smell it!" said Bunny.

"Those are orange blossoms you smell," said Mr. Halliday. "In some of my
groves you will find both blossoms and fruit. We get so used to the
sweet smell that we don't notice it, but I suppose a stranger, coming in
from another place, finds it very nice."

"I just love it!" exclaimed Sue, taking long deep breaths.

"So do I!" added Bunny, sniffing hard.

They had left the small village behind some time before, and were now on
a pleasant country road, lined with trees on either side. The road
twisted and turned, and in about an hour, after making a sudden turn in
the highway, Mr. Halliday called out:

"There's my place!"

Bunny and Sue looked and saw a white house, surrounded by a few barns
and other outbuildings set in a green landscape. All about were rows of
green trees, and the sweet smell of the orange blossoms was stronger
than ever.

"Oh, look at the golden apples!" cried Sue, pointing to some trees quite
near the road.

"Those golden apples, as you call them," said Mr. Halliday, "are yellow
oranges. I'll stop and let you pick some."

It was the first time the Brown children had ever seen the wonderful
fruit growing, and they were delighted when Mr. Halliday stopped the car
and they were allowed to get out. Then they saw that in between the
rows of trees were men picking the oranges.

Some of the men were up on high stepladders, so they might reach the top
branches of the trees. Other men stood on the ground, from which they
could easily reach up to the low limbs and pull off the ripe fruit.

The men had big cloth bags slung over their shoulders or tied around
their waists, and as fast as they picked the "golden apples," as Sue
called them, they were dropped into the bags. When the bags were filled
the men took them to empty boxes, placed here and there amid the trees,
and placed the oranges into them. Other men took the boxes away as fast
as they were filled, leaving more empty ones in their places.

"Do you ship the fruit right from here?" asked Mrs. Brown.

"First it has to be sorted, graded, as we call it," Mr. Halliday
answered. "Then it is carefully packed and sent up North."

Bunny and Sue had been standing quietly to one side, listening to the
talk of their parents and Mr. Halliday and watching the men pick the
fruit. The grove owner now turned to the children and said:

"Go ahead! Pick as many as you like. Here, these are the best and
ripest," and he led them to a tree, the lower branches of which were
easily within the reach of Bunny and Sue.

With delight and wonder showing on their faces, the children picked
their first oranges and ate them there in the grove, while the wind
brought to them the sweet smell of distant blossoms.

"Oh, how good!" murmured Sue, as she finished her fruit.

"Best I ever ate," declared Bunny.

"Try some," said Mr. Halliday to Mr. and Mrs. Brown. "You will find
oranges picked ripe from a tree taste very different from those you get
up North."

"I should say so!" exclaimed Mother Brown. "They are delicious."

"Guess we didn't make any mistake coming to Florida," laughed Mr. Brown,
as he, too, ate not one, but two ripe oranges.

"Well, let's go on to the house," suggested Mr. Halliday, as he walked
back toward the road where the automobile had been left standing. "My
wife will be eager to see you, and the orange groves aren't going to run
away as Nutty, the tramp, did," and the Southerner laughed at the
remembrance of the story of the travels of Bunny Brown and his sister
Sue.

Mrs. Halliday made her guests welcome, and when she and Mrs. Brown were
chatting over a cup of tea, and while Daddy Brown and Mr. Halliday were
talking business, Bunny and Sue changed into some of their every-day
clothes and asked if they might walk around and see things.

"Yes," their mother told them. "Only don't get into mischief."

"And keep away from the river," added their father, for the stream which
went by the name of Squaw River was not far from the house.

"Can't we just stand on the bank and look for alligators?" asked Bunny.

"Yes, let them," Mr. Halliday advised. "The river is not as big nor deep
as it sounds. In fact up here it is only a shallow creek, though down
below it widens and deepens. And there aren't any alligators in it."

"Well, anyhow, we can look," said Bunny, hoping against hope that there
would be some of the scaly lizards in the water.

So, having been cautioned not to fall in, a promise the children readily
gave, Bunny and Sue started off down through an orange grove near the
house to go to Squaw River. They paused only a little while to watch the
men picking oranges, and then hastened on. Soon they were at the edge of
a slow-moving stream which flowed this way and that between banks of
overhanging palm trees, some of which were festooned with Spanish moss
that hung down in clusters like the ragged beard of a very old man.

It was very quiet and still beside the river. It was shady and cool,
too, after the hot sun of the open places and the orange groves, and
Bunny and Sue rather liked it.

Bunny picked up a stone and tossed it into the river. It fell with a
splash.

"What you doing?" Sue wanted to know.

"Maybe I can scare up an alligator," Bunny answered.

"Mr. Halliday said there wasn't any," Sue responded.

Bunny tossed in another stone, and hardly had it sunk beneath the
surface than Sue grasped her brother's arm, and, pointing to the river,
whispered:

"Look! There's an alligator!"

Something like the long, black snout, as Bunny remembered once to have
seen it on an alligator in a zoological park tank, rose into view. And
there was a swirl of the water as though the reptile had switched its
tail.

"Oh!" exclaimed Sue. "It's an alligator! I'm going to run!"



CHAPTER XXII

THE RAFT


Bunny Brown wanted to be called a brave little boy, so when he heard his
sister say she was going to run because she thought he had scared up an
alligator in the river by throwing stones, Bunny thought it was time to
show his bravery.

"Don't be afraid!" he called to Sue, catching her by the hand before she
had time to run very far. "I won't let him hurt you!"

"How are you going to stop him?" Sue asked.

"I--I'll bang him on the nose with a stick," Bunny said, and he let go
of Sue's hand as he turned around to search for the proper kind of club
with which to beat an alligator.

As he did this Sue looked once more toward the river. Then she gave a
cry of delight.

"Oh, Bunny!" she exclaimed, "it isn't an alligator at all!"

"What is it?"

"It's just an old black log floating down," Sue answered. And that is
what it was. Either the stones Bunny had thrown or some swirl of the
current had loosed from the mud where it was held on the bottom of Squaw
River the long black log which was shaped like the snout of an
alligator. Floating half in and half out of the muddy water as it did,
the log looked exactly like one of the big, scaly reptiles.

"This is no good!" declared Bunny, who was rather disappointed at not
having a chance to do some hunting. "I'd like to see a real, live
alligator."

"Well, I wouldn't--not until mother and daddy are with me," remarked
Sue. She was no longer afraid and took turns with her brother throwing
stones at the floating log.

"Let's go down a little farther where the river is wider, and maybe
we'll see some alligators," suggested Bunny.

"All right," agreed Sue. "But I'm going to run if I see any."

She need not have been worried, however, for not an alligator did they
see, though Bunny threw many stones into the muddy water. Nor did they
see another log shaped so nearly like one of the reptiles.

But the children had a good time wandering around among the palm trees
and smelling the orange blossoms. They could hardly believe that about a
week before they were wearing mittens and playing in the snow.

"We'd better go back now," Sue said, after a while. "Mother will be
looking for us."

"Let's go just a little farther," proposed Bunny. "I'd like to see a
little alligator. You wouldn't be afraid of a baby 'gator, would you,
Sue?"

"Not if it was a little baby one, I don't guess I would," she answered.

So she followed Bunny down the bank of the slow-flowing river, where it
widened out and grew deeper. And in a place where the bank curved in,
making a still pool, or "eddy," as it is called, Bunny saw something
which was the cause of quite an adventure which came to him and Sue a
few days later.

Bunny caught sight of some boards and logs piled together on shore, and
no sooner had he seen them than he exclaimed:

"Oh, Sue! I know what we can do."

"What?" she asked.

"We can make a raft and go sailing down the river. Here's a lot of
boards and logs, and I can easy make a raft. Bunker Blue showed me how,
and you and I have been in daddy's boats lots of times. Let's make a
raft!"

"Not now," replied Sue, holding back as Bunny ran forward. "It's time we
went back. Mother told us not to stay too long."

"Well, I'll just look at the boards and see if I could make a raft of
'em, and then I'll go back with you," Bunny said.

On this promise Sue waited, and after looking at the tangled pile of
boards, which seemed to have been left on shore by a flood of high
water, the little fellow went back to where he had left his sister.

"It'll make a dandy raft!" Bunny reported. "To-morrow we'll make it and
go sailing down the river."

However, this was not to be, for the next day Mr. and Mrs. Brown were
taken by Mr. Halliday on an excursion to a distant orange grove, and
Bunny and Sue went along.

"We'll make the raft to-morrow," Bunny said.

But for one reason or another this fun had to be put off, and it was not
until they had been at Orange Beach nearly a week that Bunny got the
chance he wanted.

During this time the Brown family had very much enjoyed their stay in
Florida. The weather was lovely, and there was much that was new to
visit. While there was not the variety in an orange grove that there was
on the cotton and peanut plantation, still there was much work to be
done.

The children saw how the oranges, when brought in from the trees, were
sorted over, the best being packed for one class of trade, and those
that were not so good for another. The golden yellow fruit was wrapped
in tissue paper and then the thin wooden crates were packed full, to be
shipped North.

Sometimes Bunny and Sue were allowed to ride to the railroad freight
depot on the load of oranges, and this trip they liked very much.

One night, just before a strange adventure that happened to Bunny and
Sue, the children were in the sitting room with their parents and Mr.
and Mrs. Halliday. It was almost bedtime for Bunny and Sue.

"Did you ever hear anything more about that oil stock Bunny found?"
asked Mrs. Brown of her husband.

"No, not a word," he answered. "The oil company wrote me that they had
no notice from any one of the loss of a certificate. They advised me to
hold it until some one claimed it."

"If you ever get any money--or a reward for it--Bunny must have the cash
put in a bank for him, to keep until he grows up," said Mother Brown.

"Yes," agreed Daddy. "And I think Bunny ought to share the reward with
Sue. She was with him when the certificate was found."

"Uncle Tad ought to have some, too!" exclaimed Bunny, rousing up when he
heard this talk. "He gave us the ride in the sleigh."

"Yes, I think Uncle Tad ought to have his share of the reward--if we
ever get any," agreed Mr. Brown. "And if some one doesn't soon claim the
oil stock I shall sell it and put the money in the bank."

"What's all this--about oil stock?" asked Mr. Halliday.

Then Daddy Brown told how the valuable green and gold paper had been
thrown out of the Pullman car by the porter in his pan filled with dust.

After breakfast the next morning Bunny called Sue out on the side porch
and showed his sister a cloth bag partly filled with pieces of bread,
crackers and some chunks of dried cake.

"This is our lunch," Bunny said to Sue.

"What lunch?" asked the little girl.

"To take on the raft," Bunny went on. "I found the things in the pantry.
They're stale, so I guess Mrs. Halliday won't mind if we take 'em. And I
picked up this little orange bag. You carry that and I'll get the sharp
stick."

"What sharp stick?" asked Sue, as she accepted the bag of dried bread
and cake Bunny held out.

"The sharp stick I'm going to jab at alligators if any chase us," he
answered.

Sue dropped the bag of "lunch."

"No, sir!" she exclaimed. "I'm not going on that raft with you if you're
going to hunt alligators, so there, Bunny Brown!"

"All right, then I won't hunt any," agreed Bunny, who did not want to go
voyaging alone. "But if any come after us you'll want me to jab 'em with
a sharp stick and drive 'em away, won't you, Sue?"

"Yes--yes, I guess I will," she answered. "But you mustn't hunt 'em on
purpose."

This Bunny promised not to do, and then he went on to tell Sue what his
plans were.

"Daddy is going riding with Mr. Halliday," said the little fellow, "and
I heard mother say she and Mrs. Halliday were going to make orange
shortcake to-day, so they won't want us around. We can go down and make
the raft and have a sail. Won't that be fun?"

"It will be if the alligators don't come," agreed Sue.

"I don't b'lieve any will come," Bunny answered, though in his heart he
hoped they would, so he could scare them away with the sharp stick.

So Sue took up the bag of lunch and Bunny ran and got the sharp stick
where he had hidden it under the porch. Bunny also had a hammer and some
nails he had taken from the shop where Mr. Halliday's men put together
the orange crates.

"We'll make a big raft and sail away off," Bunny said, as he and Sue,
telling their mother nothing about their plans, went down to the river.
They found the pile of boards and small logs in the same place they had
first seen them, and Bunny, with Sue's help, began to make a raft.



CHAPTER XXIII

ON THE ISLAND


The two children had been around boats enough to know more about water
craft than most boys and girls of their age. Bunny's father, owning a
boat and fish dock, where Sue and her brother often played, had taught
the youngsters something about how boats are steered. A raft, as Bunny
knew, was the simplest and safest form of a boat. He also knew that a
raft was only a lot of logs and boards fastened together. On it one
could float or push down a little river or across a pond.

"This is nice smooth water, isn't it?" asked Sue, as she looked out over
Squaw River which, as has been said, was a sluggish stream. It hardly
seemed to flow at all.

"Yes, it's nice here," Bunny said. "We won't go very fast. There aren't
any waves like in the ocean or our bay."

Bunny and Sue had often been out with their father, Uncle Tad, or Bunker
Blue on Sandport Bay at home, and sometimes on the real ocean when it
was not too rough. So Squaw River seemed very small and smooth to them.

It was harder work than Bunny had thought it would be to make the raft,
but he had right at hand everything he needed, from boards and small
logs to hammer and nails. The hammer and nails he had brought with him.
Putting the cloth bag of lunch in a safe place on the bank, Bunny began
work.

He laid some logs down on the sandy shore as close to the water as he
could. On top of the logs he placed boards, and these he nailed on, so
they would not float away.

On top of the first layer of boards he placed others, crossing them to
and fro, as he had once seen his father and Uncle Tad making a float
near the dock. The float was like a raft, only it was anchored in the
bay and used for getting in and out of the fishing boats.

"How far you going to sail on the raft, Bunny?" asked Sue, as she helped
her brother lay in place the boards to be nailed. Sue did none of the
nailing. She tried it once, but she hit her fingers and thumb instead of
the nail, and she threw the hammer aside.

"Oh, we'll sail down until we get hungry, and then we'll go on an island
like the pirates and eat our lunch," Bunny answered.

By "sail" he meant pushing the raft along with a pole he had brought
from the orange grove.

"S'posin' there isn't any island?" asked Sue.

"Oh, I guess there is one," Bunny said, looking at the raft to see if it
needed any more boards to make it strong enough. "Anyhow, if we don't
find an island we can go on shore. Course an island would be more fun,
but we can have a good time anyhow."

"To be sure we can!" laughed Sue. "We've had lots of fun since we've
come down South, haven't we, Bunny?"

"Yes!" answered the little boy. He was too busy to talk much, for he was
thinking of the best plan to get his raft into the water. For the boards
and logs, now nailed together, must be shoved from the shore into the
river, else there could be no wonderful voyage down-stream to the
"pirate island."

Bunny had often seen his father move heavy boards from the shore into
the waters of the bay by means of rollers. Rollers are round pieces of
wood, like the rolling pin in mother's kitchen. Rollers placed under a
boat make it easy to launch into the water. If you have ever seen men
moving a house from one street to another you may have noticed that they
used rollers. Or they may have slid the house along on big beams which
were made slippery with grease or soap.

"I'll roll my raft into the water," said Bunny.

"And I'll help!" offered Sue, for she knew what rolling a boat into the
water meant--she had often seen her father do it.

Getting the raft into Squaw River was not quite as hard as putting the
craft together. By using a long pole Bunny managed to raise up one edge
of his nailed-together boards and logs, and under it Sue slipped a round
roller, which was a short piece of round tree trunk. Then when Bunny
raised up the other side of the raft his sister slipped under it
another roller.

"Now she'll slide!" cried Bunny, as he had often heard his father or
Bunker Blue say.

With his long pole Bunny now pried up on the rear of the raft. At first
it did not move, and Bunny began to be afraid he and Sue would not,
after all, have a voyage down the river.

But at last it slid a little bit, and then more and more, until finally
it was rolling along quite rapidly. As the bank sloped down to the river
like a little hill, Bunny hardly had to push or pry at all now, and a
minute later the raft was floating in the water.

It would have floated away, but Bunny had tied a rope to one edge, and
the other end of the rope he had fastened to a tree stump on shore, so
the raft was "made fast," as a sailor would say. Bunny had been around
his father's dock enough to know that when one puts a boat into the
water one must make it fast or it will be lost.

"Isn't our raft nice, Bunny?" exclaimed Sue, as she saw it floating in
the water.

"Yes," Bunny agreed, "we'll have lots of fun! Wait till I get the lunch
and we'll start."

"I want a pole so I can help push," said Sue.

"All right. You bring the bag of lunch and I'll get you a pole,"
promised Bunny.

Soon the two children were on the raft, each one thrusting with a pole
on the bottom of the river, which was not very deep, and so shoving
themselves along. In the middle of the raft was the bag of lunch--the
dried bread, pieces of cake and a very much flattened piece of pie that
Bunny had found on the pantry shelf.

"Oh, this is lots of fun!" exclaimed Sue, as they floated along.

"Yep!" agreed Bunny, shoving hard on his pole. "I'm glad we came to
Florida."

It was very pleasant on this part of Squaw River, where it ran through
the orange groves of Mr. Halliday. On either side were growing palms and
other trees, some of which met overhead in a green arch, making it very
shady. Only for this the sun would have been very warm--quite different
from the sun in Bellemere, where there was now snow on the ground.

"Our snow man wouldn't last very long down here, would he, Bunny?" asked
Sue, as she began to feel quite warm from poling the raft.

"Nope! A snow house wouldn't either," Bunny answered. "But I like it
here."

"So do I," said Sue. "There's lots of birds, too."

There were. Bunny and Sue could hear them flitting through the tree
branches overhead, and could listen to their songs. Sometimes birds with
brilliant feathers flashed into view, disappearing in the thick, leafy
trees on either side of the river.

Bunny had made his raft rather strong and heavy, so that it floated well
up out of the water. In fact, the top part was quite dry, and if the
children had worn shoes and stockings they would have been perfectly
safe. But Bunny knew that, sooner or later, water generally washes over
the top of a raft, for one side or the other is likely to tip down. So
he and Sue were barefooted. They had left their shoes and stockings on
shore at the spot where they had launched the raft. It did not matter
now whether the water washed over the top of their craft or not.

On and on, down the river floated the two children. For a time nothing
happened. It was as calm and peaceful as even Mrs. Brown could have
wished. But Bunny and Sue wanted something to happen, and pretty soon
Bunny said:

"Let's eat!"

"Oh, yes, let's!" agreed Sue, always willing to do what Bunny did.

"We'll make believe it's dinner time," Bunny went on, "and we'll let the
raft float."

There was enough current in the river to carry the raft gently down, and
Bunny and Sue were in no hurry.

Bunny had thought the time would come when he and his sister might want
to sit down on their raft, and to keep them up out of the water he had
put two empty orange crates on the craft. These made fine seats, and on
one the lunch bag had been placed.

Laying their pushing poles down on top of the raft, in the middle,
Bunny and Sue sat down on the orange crates and began to eat what they
had brought with them. It did not matter that the cake and the bread
were stale. To the children the food tasted as good as anything they had
ever eaten at a party.

As they ate and floated along, the raft swung this way and that,
sometimes turning completely around, so, at times, the children were
going backward down the stream. It was at one of these times that they
felt a sudden bump and jar--almost like the time when the engine had
hitched itself to the freight car.

"Oh!" cried Sue. "What's that?"

Bunny turned, gave one look and cried:

"Hurray! We're here!"

"Where?" Sue asked.

"On the pirate island! Come on! All ashore!"



CHAPTER XXIV

THE ALLIGATORS


Bunny and Sue had, indeed, landed on an island in Squaw River. Or if
they had not exactly landed as yet, they were soon going to. For their
raft, floating downstream, had, as Sue expressed it, "bunked" on the
shore of a patch of land in the middle of the stream, forming an island.

As you learned in school, an island is a "body of land entirely
surrounded by water." That's what the place was where Bunny and Sue had
come. Water was all around the little patch of land, on which grew
several trees.

"All ashore!" cried Bunny again, as he had often heard his father or
Bunker Blue call when the fishing boats reached the dock. "All ashore!"

"Are we going to stay here long?" asked Sue, as she got up and brushed
the crumbs of bread and cake from her lap.

"Yes," Bunny answered, "we'll stay here all day and all night. We'll
make believe we're regular pirates!"

"Oh, we can't stay all _night_!" objected Sue.

"Well, we'll stay all day, anyhow," Bunny said. "And we'll go home when
it gets dark, and to-morrow we'll come back and stay all night."

"That'll be fun," agreed Sue. "Now we'll go on the island."

As yet the children were not off the raft. Their make-believe boat had
grounded on one of the sandy stretches that marked the shore of the
island, and there it stayed. Bunny took the mooring rope and made it
fast to a tree stump on shore. He did not want the raft to float away
as, more than once, some of his father's boats had floated off from the
dock.

Then Bunny and Sue, taking the bag of lunch with them, went on
shore--that is on the island. It was a pleasant place, with trees and
bushes to make shade, and with birds to sing to them.

"There doesn't anybody live here, I guess," Sue said, as they walked
about, looking on every side.

"Nobody ever lives on an island 'cepting pirates," Bunny said; "and
we're them."

"Maybe there are other pirates here," suggested Sue.

"If there are we'll fight 'em!" Bunny said.

"Oh!" exclaimed his sister, "mother wouldn't like to have us fight."

"Only make-believe," explained Bunny.

"Oh, make-believe is all right," Sue agreed.

Carrying their bag of lunch, the children wandered here and there over
the island. It was larger than they at first supposed, and Bunny was
glad of this. It was very still and quiet there, the ripple of the
water, the wind in the trees, and the birds making the only sounds.

"I guess daddy and mother are away off, aren't they?" asked Sue, after a
while.

"Miles and miles," Bunny answered. "Aren't you glad, Sue?"

"Ye--yes, I--I guess so," she answered, and her voice sounded so strange
that Bunny was afraid his sister might be going to cry. This would
never do! A crying pirate! Never!

Bunny must think of a way so his sister would not be lonesome. That was
the trouble now, he decided--she was getting lonesome because it was so
still and quiet on the island, far away from the orange groves.

The little boy ran back to the raft and brought off the sharp stick he
had placed there at the start of the voyage.

"What's that for?" asked Sue.

"For alligators," answered her brother. "I've got to have a sharp stick
to drive the alligators away, you know."

"Oh, Bunny!" gasped Sue, moving closer to him, "are there alligators
here--on our island?"

"I don't know," he answered. "I'm going to look for some."

"You're going to look for alligators?" cried Sue in surprise.

"Sure!" Bunny answered. "So they won't crawl up behind our backs and
bite us when we're eating some more lunch."

"Oh!" exclaimed Sue. "Well, I'll help you look for some then, so we can
drive 'em away!"

That was one thing Bunny liked about Sue. After you had told her about a
thing she was always ready to join in with you. And she was pretty brave
after all.

"Shall I get you a sharp stick, too?" asked Bunny of his sister. "Then
you can help drive the alligators away."

"No, I don't guess I want to," she answered. "I'll just help you look
for 'em and help you drive 'em away."

"All right," said Bunny Brown.

So he and Sue began walking along the edge of the island, looking for
alligators. They were in their bare feet, but the wet sand was smooth to
walk on. Sue, however, made up her mind as soon as she saw an alligator
to run back as far as she could. She did not want one to nip her bare
toes, she decided. If she had had on shoes it might be different.

For a time no alligators were seen, though Bunny looked eagerly for
them. I can not say that Sue looked as eagerly as did her brother.
Perhaps she wished that no alligators would be found.

But, all of a sudden, as they were walking along Sue grasped Bunny by
the arm and exclaimed:

"Look!"

"Where?" whispered Bunny, for he was filled with excitement.

"Right over by that stone!" and Sue pointed ahead a little way and down
the island shore. "Isn't that an alligator?" she asked.

Bunny looked long and carefully. Then he showed much disappointment as
he answered:

"No, that isn't an alligator, Sue. It's just an old floating log, like
the one we pegged stones at the other day. It isn't an alligator at
all."

She was glad of it, but she did not say so.

"It looked like an alligator, anyhow," she remarked.

"Yes," agreed Bunny, as he tossed a stone near the black object, hitting
it and thus making sure it was not alive. "It did look like an
alligator. But we'll find some--come on."

However, this did not seem to be a very good day for alligators, and the
children had reached the most distant end of the island without seeing
any when suddenly Sue, who had wandered a little ahead of her brother,
called out:

"Look, there's another island!"

And, surely enough, there was a smaller one a short distance from the
larger one on which the children had first landed.

"Come on! We'll go there!" cried Bunny. "Maybe there's alligators
there!"

He hurried down to the strip of water that separated the two islands.
Then he began to roll up his trousers as far above his knees as he
could.

"What you going to do?" asked Sue.

"I'm going to wade over to that other island," Bunny answered.

"Maybe the water's deep," suggested his sister.

"Well, if it is I won't go," Bunny replied. "But I don't guess it is."

"And maybe there's alligators in the water," went on Sue.

Bunny paused and looked at the strip between the two islands, one
large, on which they then were, the other smaller. Nothing seemed to be
in the strip of water.

"I guess it's all right," said Bunny Brown, as he finished rolling up
his trousers.

Into the water he waded, and as Sue did not want to be left behind she
followed, holding up her dress and skirt to keep them dry. She hurried
over the strip of water, which was quite shallow, only coming to the
knees of the children.

"Now maybe we'll find some alligators here," Bunny said hopefully, as he
started along the shore of the second island, Sue following.

Again Sue hoped Bunny would not have any luck finding the scaly
creatures, but she did not say so.

"How long you going to stay here, Bunny?" asked Sue, when they had
walked almost around the small island. "I'm getting hungry again."

"Well, we'll go back pretty soon and eat the rest of the lunch," agreed
Bunny. "But I wish--"

He suddenly stopped what he was saying and looked sharply ahead. Sue
looked also, and what she saw made her rush to the side of her brother,
cling to his arm and cry:

"There they are! There are the alligators!"

"Yes!" exclaimed Bunny. "They're sure enough alligators!"

There could be no mistake about it this time. Crawling up out of the
river to the shore of the small island were a number of the long-tailed,
scaly creatures with the big snouts. And as one of the alligators
crawled up he opened his mouth, showing rows of sharp teeth.

"Oh, I don't want to stay here!" cried Sue, in alarm.

Bunny Brown grasped more firmly his sharp stick.

"Don't be afraid!" he said. "I won't let the alligators hurt you!"



CHAPTER XXV

MR. BUNN


Sue Brown thought a great deal of her brother Bunny, and she knew he was
brave and good to her. But whether he could save her from the alligators
she was not quite so certain.

"Oh, Bunny, Bunny! where you going?" cried Sue, as she felt her brother
pull away from her.

"I'm going down there to drive those alligators away with my sharp
stick!" he answered.

"Oh, Bunny, don't!" begged Sue. "There's such a lot of 'em!"

Bunny began to think this himself. As he and his sister watched, they
saw more alligators crawling up out of the water to the warm sunny bank
of the little island.

"There's hundreds of 'em!" cried Sue.

More and more alligators kept coming out of the water. Some were
large--fully fifteen feet long perhaps, with big, sharp claws, a long,
rough tail, and such big mouths! Others of the alligators were small,
but there were no babies among them.

The sun shone warm on the mud and sand shores of the little island and
that is why the alligators climbed out there. Alligators spend about
half their time under water, getting things to eat, but when the sun
shines hot they like to bask in it. That is what the scaly creatures
were now doing.

"Let's don't hurt alligators," begged Sue of her brother. "Let's go back
to our own island."

Bunny looked at the big, glistening, black creatures, as they crawled
over one another, sometimes giving flips with their tails and opening
their mouths. And though Bunny was a brave little chap he knew it would
never do for him to go anywhere near the alligators. As it was, he and
his sister were some distance back from the shore, up near the center of
the little island. The alligators did not seem to have noticed them.

"All right," Bunny answered. "I won't hurt any of the alligators. We'll
go home and I'll tell daddy and Mr. Halliday and they can come and hunt
them."

"That'll be better," Sue said, with a sigh of relief.

For a little while longer the two children remained looking at the great
water lizards. Then they started for the place where they had waded from
one island to the other.

But when they reached this place, Sue keeping hold of her brother's hand
all the way, they saw a new trouble.

"Oh, look!" cried Sue, pointing. "We can't get away, Bunny! The wading
place is full of alligators!"

And so it was! While the children had been at the center of the little
island, the alligators had crawled up out of the river, and many were
now sunning themselves on the sand near the ford. One or two were even
on the end of the larger island. And as Bunny and Sue watched, they saw
some swimming around in the shallow water through which the children
had waded a little while before.

"We--we can't get back across!" Sue cried.

"No," agreed Bunny. "I don't b'lieve we can. Not in our bare feet."

Clearly it would have been dangerous to go in among those alligators.
Even Bunny, brave as he was, would not dare to do this.

"Oh, how are we going to get home?" wailed Sue.

Bunny did not know what to answer.

"I want mother!" sobbed Sue. This time she was really crying. Bunny felt
he must do something. He dropped the pointed stick he had intended to
use on the alligators and, putting his arm around Sue, said:

"Don't cry! I'll holler for help and somebody will hear us and come and
get us."

"Will they?" asked Sue.

"Sure!" Bunny answered. "Come on, we'll both call!"

The children united their voices in loud calls of:

"Help! Help! Help!"

For a moment there was no answer. Some of the alligators seemed alarmed
by the noise and scrambled back into the river. But others of the big,
scaly creatures seemed to be crawling up toward Bunny Brown and his
sister Sue.

"Oh, help! Help!" screamed the little girl, and Bunny joined his voice
with hers.

Then, to their delight, they heard a call in answer.

"What's the matter? Who are you? Where are you?" asked a man, who, as
yet, neither Bunny nor Sue could see.

"We're on the island! The alligators are after us!" Bunny answered.

"Don't be afraid! I'll be with you in a minute. They're my alligators
and they got out of the pens," the man went on. This time Bunny and Sue
knew where his voice came from. They looked down the stream and saw an
elderly man, with white hair and a pleasant face, rowing toward them in
a boat.

"Oh, take us away! Take us away!" begged Sue.

"I will," the man said. "How in the world did you children ever get
here, anyhow? But don't be afraid. The 'gators won't hurt you. They'll
all jump into the river!"

And, surely enough, no sooner had the man pulled his boat close to the
island, so that the keel grated on the sand, than, with great splashes,
the alligators all plunged into the river.

"What made 'em go away?" asked Sue, as she and Bunny went down to the
shore.

"Oh, alligators are timid," said the man, with a laugh. "Did they scare
you? Well, if you had only run at them or thrown something at them, they
would all have crawled into the water. But who are you, anyhow?"

"I'm Bunny Brown and this is my sister, Sue," said the little fellow.

"Well, I'm Mr. Bunn," was the man's reply, and he smiled at the
children. "I raise alligators a few miles down the river. Some of 'em
got away last night, and I've rowed up here to see if I could find 'em.
I did."

"But they all got away!" exclaimed Bunny, for now not one of the scaly
creatures was in sight.

"Oh, I'll get 'em again," said Mr. Bunn. "They won't go very much
farther up Squaw River. It's too shallow. They'll soon turn and swim
down, and they can't get past my place for I have a net stretched across
the river to hold 'em back. Well, I'm glad I have found my 'gators. I
was afraid some one had taken them. Now shall I put you children in my
boat and row you home? Where do you live?"

"We're staying at Mr. Halliday's," Bunny answered.

"Oh, at Orange Beach. Yes, I know him and I know his place. You're quite
a way from there. How'd you get here?"

"On a raft," Bunny replied. "It's over on that other island," and he
pointed to the larger one.

"Our shoes and stockings are away back near the orange trees," said Sue.

"Oh," laughed Mr. Bunn. "Well, I'll let you come in my boat without any
shoes or stockings on. Get aboard!"

A little later he was rowing the children up the river. Sue was no
longer afraid, even though she could see some alligators swimming around
in the water. She felt safe in the big boat, and so did Bunny.

"What do you keep 'gators for?" asked Bunny, when the boat was near the
place where he and Sue had started out in the raft, some hours before.

"For their hides," answered Mr. Bunn. "I sell the hides, and pocketbooks
and valises are made from them. But I guess there are your folks looking
for you," and he nodded toward shore.

And there, on the bank stood Daddy and Mother Brown and Mr. Halliday,
looking anxiously up and down the stream. Daddy Brown had the children's
shoes and stockings in his hand.

"Oh, Bunny! where have you been?" cried his mother.

"We went down on a raft, and we landed on a pirate island, and then we
got on an alligator island," Bunny explained.

"Alligators!" cried Daddy Brown.

"Some of mine got away," explained Mr. Bunn. And then he told how he had
found Bunny and Sue.

"Well, you had quite an adventure!" exclaimed the orange grower. "I knew
Mr. Bunn had 'gators on his place, but I never thought any of 'em would
get away and come up here."

"Well, I'm glad we saw some," said Bunny.

Mr. Brown thanked Mr. Bunn for having saved Bunny and Sue, and as it was
near meal time the alligator farmer was invited to stay to supper.
Washed and combed, with clean clothes on, Bunny and Sue sat at the table
and related their adventures, while Mr. Bunn told about raising
alligators.

"Do you make much money?" asked Mr. Brown.

"Well, yes, some years I do," was the answer. "But I'd like to make an
extra lot this year. I've had some bad luck."

"Do you mean your alligators getting away?" asked Mr. Brown.

"No, though that's bad enough," Mr. Bunn replied. "But I was up North a
few weeks ago on business, and I lost a valuable paper belonging to my
nephew. It was for some stock in an oil well, and was made out to
'bearer.' If it had had his name on it I might have got it back. But as
it is, I guess it's gone forever. He gave me the stock certificate to
keep for him, but I guess I'm not very good at keeping things. I haven't
told my nephew about it yet, but when he finds out I have lost his oil
stock temporary certificate he'll be angry with me, I'm afraid."

Bunny Brown and his sister Sue looked at one another curiously. Daddy
Brown went over to a desk where he and Mr. Halliday had been looking at
some papers before they missed the children.

"Did you lose that certificate in a parlor car up near Bellemere, Mr.
Bunn?" asked the children's father, as he took a green and gold piece of
paper from an envelope.

"Well, I remember going through a place called Bellemere," was the
answer. "But where I lost the paper I don't know. I may have dropped it
from my pocket in the parlor car, or somewhere else. Anyhow, I lost it,
and I don't suppose I'll ever see my nephew's certificate again. He'll
be angry with me."

"Oh, no, I guess he won't," said Mr. Brown with a smile. "What company
was that stock in?"

"The Great Bonanza," was Mr. Bunn's answer.

"Then here it is back again," said Mr. Brown, and he gave to the
alligator farmer the paper Bunny had picked out of the snow some weeks
before.

Then the whole story was told, and you can imagine how glad and
surprised Mr. Bunn was. He had never expected to see his nephew's
property again, and he had not told about the loss nor notified the oil
company, for fear his nephew would hear of it and be angry.

"I was just going to let it go and say nothing," said Mr. Bunn. "I
thought I could make enough extra on my alligators to pay my nephew back
for the loss. But now I don't have to! I'm so glad I met you children!"
he added. "But for that I would never have this back," and he put into
his pocket the green and gold certificate. He wanted to give Mr. Brown a
reward for the children, but their mother said rescuing them from the
alligators was reward enough.

"But they were my own 'gators, and, really, Bunny and Sue were in no
great danger," said Mr. Bunn. "They could have scared the 'gators away."

But Mr. Brown would accept no reward, though later Mr. Bunn did send
Bunny and Sue a tiny live alligator for a pet, and they kept it for some
time, for it grew quite tame and would eat bits of meat from their
fingers--at least from Bunny's, for Sue never learned to like their
scaly pet.

Meanwhile Mr. Bunn had gone back down the river to his alligator farm.
He said he would get his men together and capture the big lizards that
had got away.

Bunny and Sue had many more days of fun in the sunny South, and they ate
all the oranges they wanted.

But what Bunny talked about most when he and Sue reached their Northern
home was the adventure with the alligators on the little island.

Before they went home, however, Bunny and Sue went to Mr. Bunn's queer
"farm," and saw hundreds of alligators where they were kept in pens.
Most of those that broke away had been captured again. Mr. Bunn's nephew
came down to help his uncle, and was given his oil stock certificate,
never knowing how nearly it had been lost.

"Well, we must soon think of going back North again," said Mr. Brown one
day, as he saw Bunny and Sue playing out under the orange trees.

"Oh, not just yet!" begged the children. "We want to have a little more
fun!"

And so, while Bunny Brown and his sister Sue are having fun, we will
take leave of them.


THE END



       *       *       *       *       *



THE BUNNY BROWN SERIES

By LAURA LEE HOPE

Author of the Popular "Bobbsey Twins" Books, Etc.

Durably Bound. Illustrated. Uniform Style of Binding.

Every Volume Complete in Itself.

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 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
          BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE IN THE SUNNY SOUTH
          BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE KEEPING STORE
          BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE AND THEIR TRICK DOG
          BUNNY BROWN AND HIS SISTER SUE AT A SUGAR CAMP


GROSSET & DUNLAP, PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK



THE BOBBSEY TWINS BOOKS

For Little Men and Women

By LAURA LEE HOPE

Author of "The Bunny Brown Series," Etc.

Durably Bound. Illustrated. Uniform Style of Binding.

Every Volume Complete in Itself.

These books for boys and girls between the ages of three and ten stands
among children and their parents of this generation where the books of
Louisa May Alcott stood in former days. The haps and mishaps of this
inimitable pair of twins, their many adventures and experiences are a
source of keen delight to imaginative children everywhere.

          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 THE GREAT WEST
          THE BOBBSEY TWINS AT CEDAR CAMP
          THE BOBBSEY TWINS AT THE COUNTY FAIR
          THE BOBBSEY TWINS CAMPING OUT
          THE BOBBSEY TWINS AND BABY MAY


GROSSET & DUNLAP, PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK



THE HONEY BUNCH BOOKS

By HELEN LOUISE THORNDYKE

Individual Colored Wrappers and Text Illustrations Drawn by

WALTER S. ROGERS

A new line of fascinating tales for little girls. Honey Bunch is a
dainty, thoughtful little girl, and to know her is to take her to your
heart at once.


HONEY BUNCH: JUST A LITTLE GIRL

          Happy days at home, helping mamma and the
          washerlady. And Honey Bunch helped the house
          painters too--or thought she did.


HONEY BUNCH: HER FIRST VISIT TO THE CITY

          What wonderful sights Honey Bunch saw when she
          went to visit her cousins in New York! And she got
          lost in a big hotel and wandered into a men's
          convention!


HONEY BUNCH: HER FIRST DAYS ON THE FARM

          Can you remember how the farm looked the first
          time you visited it? How big the cows and horses
          were, and what a roomy place to play in the barn
          proved to be?


HONEY BUNCH: HER FIRST VISIT TO THE SEASHORE

          Honey Bunch soon got used to the big waves and
          thought playing in the sand great fun. And she
          visited a merry-go-round, and took part in a
          seaside pageant.


HONEY BUNCH: HER FIRST LITTLE GARDEN

          It was great sport to dig and to plant with one's
          own little garden tools. But best of all was when
          Honey Bunch won a prize at the flower show.


HONEY BUNCH: HER FIRST DAYS IN CAMP

          It was a great adventure for Honey Bunch when she
          journeyed to Camp Snapdragon. It was wonderful to
          watch the men erect the tent, and more wonderful
          to live in it and have good times on the shore and
          in the water.


GROSSET & DUNLAP, PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK



SIX LITTLE BUNKERS SERIES

By LAURA LEE HOPE

Author of The Bobbsey Twins Books, The Bunny Brown Series, The
Make-Believe Series, Etc.

Durably Bound. Illustrated. Uniform Style of Binding.

Every Volume Complete in Itself.

Delightful stories for little boys and girls which sprung into immediate
popularity. To know the six little Bunkers is to take them at once to
your heart, they are so intensely human, so full of fun and cute
sayings. Each story has a little plot of its own--one that can be easily
followed--and all are written in Miss Hope's most entertaining manner.
Clean, wholesome volumes which ought to be on the bookshelf of every
child in the land.

          SIX LITTLE BUNKERS AT GRANDMA BELL'S
          SIX LITTLE BUNKERS AT AUNT JO'S
          SIX LITTLE BUNKERS AT COUSIN TOM'S
          SIX LITTLE BUNKERS AT GRANDPA FORD'S
          SIX LITTLE BUNKERS AT UNCLE FRED'S
          SIX LITTLE BUNKERS AT CAPTAIN BEN'S
          SIX LITTLE BUNKERS AT COWBOY JACK'S
          SIX LITTLE BUNKERS AT MAMMY JUNE'S
          SIX LITTLE BUNKERS AT FARMER JOEL'S
          SIX LITTLE BUNKERS AT MILLER NED'S


GROSSET & DUNLAP, PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK



THE OUTDOOR GIRLS SERIES

By LAURA LEE HOPE

Author of the "Bobbsey Twins," "Bunny Brown" Series, Etc.

Uniform Style of Binding. Individual Colored Wrappers.

Every Volume Complete in Itself.

These tales take in the various adventures participated in by several
bright, up-to-date girls who love outdoor life.

          THE OUTDOOR GIRLS OF DEEPDALE;
          Or, Camping and Tramping for Fun and Health.

          THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE;
          Or, The Stirring Cruise of the Motor Boat Gem.

          THE OUTDOOR GIRLS IN A MOTOR CAR;
          Or, The Haunted Mansion of Shadow Valley.

          THE OUTDOOR GIRLS IN A WINTER CAMP;
          Or, Glorious Days on Skates and Ice Boats.

          THE OUTDOOR GIRLS IN FLORIDA;
          Or, Wintering in the Sunny South.

          THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT OCEAN VIEW;
          Or, The Box That Was Found in the Sand.

          THE OUTDOOR GIRLS ON PINE ISLAND;
          Or, A Cave and What it Contained.

          THE OUTDOOR GIRLS IN ARMY SERVICE;
          Or, Doing Their Bit for Uncle Sam.

          THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT THE HOSTESS HOUSE;
          Or, Doing Their Best For the Soldiers.

          THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT BLUFF POINT;
          Or, A Wreck and A Rescue.

          THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT WILD ROSE LODGE;
          Or, The Hermit of Moonlight Falls.

          THE OUTDOOR GIRLS IN THE SADDLE;
          Or, The Girl Miner of Gold Run.

          THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AROUND THE CAMPFIRE;
          Or, The Old Maid of the Mountains.

          THE OUTDOOR GIRLS ON CAPE COD;
          Or, Sally Ann of Lighthouse Rock.


GROSSET & DUNLAP, PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK



THE FLYAWAYS STORIES

By ALICE DALE HARDY

Author of The Riddle Club Books

Individual Colored Jackets and Colored Illustrations by

WALTER S. ROGERS

A splendid new line of interesting tales for the little ones,
introducing many of the well known characters of fairyland in a series
of novel adventures. The Flyaways are a happy family and every little
girl and boy will want to know all about them.


THE FLYAWAYS AND CINDERELLA

          How the Flyaways went to visit Cinderella only to
          find that Cinderella's Prince had been carried off
          by the Three Robbers, Rumbo, Hibo and Jobo. "I'll
          rescue him!" cried Pa Flyaway and then set out for
          the stronghold of the robbers. A splendid
          continuation of the original story of Cinderella.


THE FLYAWAYS AND LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD

          On their way to visit Little Red Riding Hood the
          Flyaways fell in with Tommy Tucker and The Old
          Woman Who Lived in a Shoe. They told Tommy about
          the Magic Button on Red Riding Hood's cloak. How
          the wicked Wolf stole the Magic Button and how the
          wolves plotted to eat up Little Red Riding Hood
          and all her family, and how the Flyaways and King
          Cole sent the wolves flying, makes a story no
          children will want to miss.


THE FLYAWAYS AND GOLDILOCKS

          The Flyaways wanted to see not only Goldilocks but
          also the Three Bears and they took a remarkable
          journey through the air to do so. Tommy even rode
          on a Rocket and met the monstrous Blue Frog. When
          they arrived at Goldilocks' house they found that
          the Three Bears had been there before them and
          mussed everything up, much to Goldilocks' despair.
          "We must drive those bears out of the country!"
          said Pa Flyaway. Then they journeyed underground
          to the Yellow Palace, and oh! so many things
          happened after that!


GROSSET & DUNLAP, PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK



       *       *       *       *       *



Transcriber's Notes:

   Obvious punctuation errors repaired.

   Page 177, "out" changed to "our". (called our cat)

   Advertisement for The Flyaways and Goldilocks, "Goldilock's"
   changed to "Goldilocks'" twice. (at Goldilocks' house) (to
   Goldilocks' despair)





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