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    Chapter 2

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    Chapter 2
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    THE FRIGHTENED PONY

    Bunker Blue came whistling out of the house. He and Uncle Tad had moved the sideboard to the other end of the room, and now Mrs. Brown and the hired girl were putting the place to rights.

    "Well, I wonder where Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue have gone?" said Bunker, aloud, as he stopped whistling. "I don't see them," and he looked around. "I'd like to give them a ride in the ark," he went on, "but their father didn't say anything about it, and he might not like it. When the big auto gets fixed then I can take them for a ride."

    Then Bunker went out to the barn and took his seat at the steering wheel of the ark.

    "Well, here I go!" he said, still talking aloud to himself, as he often did, and he put his foot on the self-starter, which made the engine of the auto go without any one having to get out in front and turn the handle, like the crank of a hand organ. "Here I go, but I do wish I could give Bunny and Sue a ride."

    And back in the auto, under some blankets in the bunks, sounded two snickering noises.

    "Hello! I wonder what that is?" exclaimed Bunker, as he heard them. "Is that you, Splash?" he called, for sometimes, he knew, the big dog that Bunny and Sue so often played with, crawled into the auto to sleep. "Is that you, Splash?"

    No answer came.

    "I guess it was just the wind," said Bunker Blue, as he steered the auto out through the big barn doors. "It was only the wind."

    And inside the ark Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue had to stuff their chubby fists into their mouths to keep from laughing. Oh, if Bunker Blue should hear them!

    As Bunker steered the big auto down the driveway past the house, Mrs. Brown came running to the door, waving her hand.

    "Bunker! Bunker Blue!" she cried. "Wait a minute!"

    The auto was making such a noise that the fish boy could not hear what Mrs. Brown was saying, but he could see her.

    "Whoa!" he called, just as if the big auto were a horse; and then he put on the brakes and brought it to a stop.

    "Bunker," went on Mrs. Brown, "Mr. Brown just telephoned me to tell you to drive down to the dock and stop for him. He's going to East Milford with you. He wants to talk to the garage man about fixing the auto," for the big machine needed some repairs after its long tour.

    "All right. I'll stop at the dock and get Mr. Brown," said Bunker. "I guess he must have got the fish iced and put away sooner than he expected. Now if I had Bunny and Sue I could take them with me," he went on.

    "Take Bunny and Sue with you? What do you mean?" asked Mrs. Brown.

    "Oh, when they heard I was going to East Milford with the ark they wanted to come along. But I said I didn't believe their father would let them, and I didn't have time to go back and ask him. But now, as long as I have to go to the dock to get him, I could take them with me, and ask him now. Maybe he'd let them go."

    "Yes, it is too bad," said Mrs. Brown. "But I don't know where the children went. I guess they ran over to Sadie West's house to play. But you haven't time to stop for them if Mr. Brown is in a hurry. They can ride some other time. Drive along, Bunker."

    Now if Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue had heard this talk they might, then and there, have called out that they were already in the auto. And, if they had done so, perhaps a whole lot of things that happened afterwards might not have happened.

    But you never can tell what is going to take place next in this world. The reason Bunny and Sue didn't hear what their mother and Bunker said was because they had their heads covered with the blankets, so their snickers and laughter wouldn't be heard outside the ark.

    And there they stayed, inside the big auto, as Bunker started off once more, driving first to the boat and fish dock to get Mr. Brown, who was going to East Milford with him.

    "It's too bad the children aren't here," said Mrs. Brown as she went back into the house. "They could have a nice ride. I wonder where they ran off to?"

    If Mrs. Brown could have seen Bunny and his sister then, I think she would have been surprised. But she did not see them, and, for a little while, she gave them no further thought, as she was so busy straightening the room, after Uncle Tad and Bunker Blue had moved the sideboard to its new place.

    On rumbled the big auto, and Bunny and Sue lay in the bunks having a nice ride. They did not know just where they were going, and they certainly never thought they were on their way to the boat and fish dock, for they had not heard what their mother said. They kept covered with the blankets for some little time, afraid lest their occasional snickers and laughter might be heard by Bunker Blue.

    "Hi, Sue!" called Bunny, after a while, during which the auto had rolled down the road some little way.

    "What is it?" Sue asked.

    "It's too hot to keep under the covers. If we make only a little noise now Bunker can't hear us."

    "All right," Sue agreed. "But we mustn't make too much noise."

    "No," said Bunny, and he threw off the covers and sat up in the bunk. His sister did the same thing, and then they went out in the main "room" of the ark. Of course, it was not a very large room, but it was pretty big for being inside an auto. It had a little table and some stools in it, and when the Browns were on their tour they often ate in that room, when it was too rainy to have their meals outside.

    After a time the auto stopped, and then, to the surprise of Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue, they heard the voice of their father. He was talking to Bunker Blue.

    "So you got my telephone message, did you, Bunker?" asked Mr. Brown.

    "Yes, sir. Mrs. Brown told me just as I was coming out with the ark. So I came here before going over to East Milford."

    "That's what I wanted you to do. I want to ride over with you. I had the men ice the fish, so they'll be all right. Is every one well up at my house--Bunny and Sue?"

    "Yes, they're all right," answered Bunker, as Mr. Brown climbed up to the seat of the big auto. "Bunny and Sue wanted to come with me," Bunker went on, "but I didn't know whether you'd want 'em to, so I didn't let 'em come."

    "Well, that's too bad," said Mr. Brown. "If I had known they wanted to come, and that I was going myself, I'd have let you bring them. But it's too late now and----"

    "Oh, no, Daddy! It isn't too late!" cried Bunny, who had listened to what his father and Bunker were saying. "It isn't too late! Please take us with you!"

    "'Cause we're here now!" added Sue.

    And as her brother opened the big, rear doors of the auto, he and Sue stepped out.

    "Well, I do declare!" cried Mr. Brown, running around to the back of the big car and seeing his two little children. "Where did you come from?"

    "We hid in the auto!" came from Bunny.

    "We wanted a ride, and we didn't let Bunker know we got in," added Sue.

    "Well, I certainly didn't know you were there!" cried Bunker.

    "We got in when you and Uncle Tad were moving the sideboard," explained Bunny.

    "That wasn't just the right thing to do," said Mr. Brown, shaking his head. "However, as I would have taken you if I had been there, we'll forgive you this time. Open the little front window, Bunker, and the children can ride in the front part of the auto, where they can look out and where I can talk with them."

    In the front part of the ark, just back of the seat, was a window cut in the end of the big car. It opened into a room near the bunks, and chairs could be placed under the window so those who sat in them could look out, just as in a regular auto.

    Mr. Brown and Bunker Blue took their places on the front seat, and once more the auto started off, and this time Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue did not have to stuff their fists in their mouths to keep from snickering and giggling. It was all right for them to have a ride in the ark.

    Down the road they went, toward East Milford, where the ark was to be left for repairs.

    "Will we have to walk back?" asked Bunny, talking through the front window to his father.

    "No, I guess we can come back by train. It's too far to walk on a warm day."

    "I like to ride in a train," said Sue, as she held her doll in her lap, while Bunny put aside his little wooden boat. The auto was no place to do any whittling, he found.

    As the big ark went around a bend in the road the children, looking ahead, suddenly saw something at which they cried:

    "Oh, look!"

    "What a dandy little pony!" added Bunny.

    "And it's afraid!" said Sue.

    Coming down the road toward the big ark was a small Shetland pony, hitched to a basket cart, and in the cart sat a little man. He was not as large as Bunker Blue, who wasn't a grown-up man yet.

    Something certainly seemed to be the matter with the pony. He reared on his hind legs, and tried to turn around and run back. The man stood up in the cart and shouted something, but the children could not tell what it was.

    "Stop the ark, Bunker!" cried Mr. Brown. "The big auto is frightening the little pony! Stop!"

    But it was too late, for, a moment later, the Shetland pony broke loose from the cart, turned around and started to run back up the road.

    The man, again shouting something, leaped out of the cart and ran back after the pony.

    "Come on, Bunker!" cried Mr. Brown. "This was partly our fault! We must help the man catch the pony!"

    "And we'll help!" said Bunny and Sue, as they, too, got out of the ark.

    So, while this is happening, I'll take just a moment to tell my new readers something about the two children, whose adventures I am to relate to you in this book. This volume is the eighth one in the series. The first, called "Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue," introduced you to the two children. In that first book I told you that they lived with their father and mother, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Brown in the seaport town of Bellemere, on Sandport Bay. Mr. Brown was in the boat and fish business, and hired a number of men and boys, of whom Bunker was one.

    With the family also lived Uncle Tad, of whom I have spoken, and then there was the hired girl, and Splash, the dog. The children loved them both, and they also loved Jed Winkler, an old sailor of the town, but Miss Euphemia Winkler, his sister, they did not love so well, though they liked the funny antics of Wango, a monkey, that Mr. Winkler had brought back from one of his many voyages.

    Bunny Brown was about six years old, and Sue was a year younger. She had brown eyes and curly hair, and Bunny's eyes were blue, and his hair had once been curly, but now was getting straighter. Bunny and Sue were always having fun, and if you want to read about some of it just look in the second book, which tells about them on Grandpa's farm. There Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue played circus and had even better times, as related in that volume. In Aunt Lu's city home they--well, I guess it will be best if you read that book for yourselves, instead of having me telling you partly about it here.

    In Camp-Rest-a-While the two children had more good times, and also when they went to the big woods. And just before the things that I am going to tell you about in this book, Bunny and his sister, with their parents, went on an auto tour in the ark. They traveled, ate, and slept in the big moving van that Mr. Brown had had put on an automobile frame and there were no end of good times.

    And now, from the same ark, which was being taken to the shop, Bunny and Sue had seen the Shetland pony so frightened that he ran away.

    "Oh, Daddy! do you s'pose he'll be hurt?" asked Bunny, as he and his sister hurried after their father and Bunker Blue.

    "Who, the man or the pony?" asked Mr. Brown, for both were now out of sight.

    "The pony," answered Sue. "Oh, how I could love him!"

    "So could I!" exclaimed Bunny. "He was a dandy!"

    "I didn't think our ark could scare anything as much as it scared the little horse," said Bunker Blue. "I guess he'd never seen a big auto before."

    "Perhaps not," replied Mr. Brown. "Well, we must try to help the man catch the pony."

    The children, their father and Bunker passed in the road the little basket cart from which the Shetland pony had broken loose. The cart did not seem to be damaged any, but part of the broken harness was fast to it.

    "He must be a strong pony to get loose that way," said Bunny.

    "Maybe he was only tied with string, and he could easy break that," said Sue.

    "Maybe," agreed Bunker Blue.

    They went around a turn in the road, and, looking down a straight stretch, they could see that the man had caught the pony near a clump of willow trees.

    "There! He's all right!" said Mr. Brown. "But we had better go and ask the man if we can help him any. He may blame us for the running away of the pony."

    And as they all walked down the road Bunny whispered something to Sue. Sue looked quickly at her brother and exclaimed:

    "Oh, if he only would!"

    Now what did Bunny whisper to Sue?
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