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    Chapter 6

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    Chapter 6
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    "Well, Mr. Tallman, I see you haven't grown any shorter," said Mr. Brown with a laugh, as he came in and shook hands with the visitor.

    "No, I'm thankful to say I haven't shrunk much," was the answer. "I stopped down at your dock, but you weren't there, and your two little children kindly led me here. Piloted me, would be a better word, I suppose, since we are so near the ocean where men pilot the ships."

    "Yes, Bunny and Sue are good little pilots between our house and the dock," agreed Mr. Brown. "I wouldn't want them to navigate all alone much farther than that, though. I'm glad to see you, Mr. Tallman!"

    Bunny and Sue could keep quiet no longer. They just couldn't wait! They must hear about that pony!

    So, as soon as there was a chance, when Mr. Tallman and Mr. Brown stopped speaking for a moment, Bunny burst out with:

    "Oh, Daddy! he's come about the pony!"

    "The pony?" asked Mr. Brown, in some surprise, for he thought perhaps Mr. Tallman had called to see about buying some fish, or hiring a boat.

    "Yes," added Sue, her eyes shining as did Bunny's. "He's come about the pony--our pony, Daddy! Toby! Don't you 'member?"

    "Oh, yes; Toby. The little pony that was frightened by our big auto!" said Mr. Brown. "Well, Mr. Tallman, what about Toby?"

    "I've come to see if you want to buy him for your children."

    "Oh, Daddy!" cried Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue.

    "Wait a minute," said Mr. Brown with a smile. "Let me hear what Mr. Tallman has to say. You tell me," he went on, "that you want to sell me your pony, Toby, for my children?"

    "Yes. I've got to sell him, and I'd rather sell him to you, who I know will be kind to him, than any one else."

    "But I thought you didn't want to part with him."

    "I didn't," said Mr. Tallman. "And I wouldn't sell Toby now, only I just have to. You see it's this way, Mr. Brown. I owe a lot of money I can't pay. I owe some to that Mr. Tang we met the other day, and he's a hard man. He wants every penny, and I don't blame him for that. I'd pay if I could, but I can't.

    "I thought everything was going nicely, after I met you, and some friends let me take money to pay some of my debts. Then I had bad luck. That's what I had, bad luck."

    "Was it about Toby?" asked Bunny eagerly. "Is he hurt?"

    "No, Toby is all right," answered Mr. Tallman. "The only bad luck about him is that I have to sell him. I hope he brings you good luck.

    "No, the bad luck I speak of is that I have lost a lot more money. In fact, I have been robbed," said Mr. Tallman.

    "Robbed!" cried Mrs. Brown, and she looked at the doors and windows as if to make sure they were fastened, though it was broad daylight, when no burglars would come.

    "Yes, burglars, or thieves of some sort, got in my house the other night," went on Mr. Tallman, "and took a box of valuable papers. They were stocks and bonds on which I could have raised money, but which I was saving to the last minute," he said. "Of course, you little tots don't know what stocks and bonds are," he added, speaking to Bunny and Sue, "so I'll just say that the thieves took away a box of papers that I owned. And the papers could have been sold for money."

    "Oh, Mr. Tallman!" burst out Bunny. "I know where there's a lot of paper. It's down at the printing office, where they make the Journal daddy reads every night."

    "Yes, but the kind of paper the burglars took away from my house isn't that kind," said Mr. Tallman. "Never mind about that. I want to tell you about the pony."

    And it was about the pony that Bunny and Sue most wanted to hear.

    "To make a long story short," went on Mr. Tallman, "the taking of my box of valuable papers has left me so poor that I've got to sell my house, and nearly everything else I own. And I've got to sell the pony, Toby. I thought you would buy him, Mr. Brown."

    "Indeed, I will!" cried the children's father. "I have been trying everywhere to find a Shetland pony for Bunny and Sue." Then Mr. Brown and Mr. Tallman talked about the price to be paid for Toby. "Yes, I'll gladly buy Toby, Mr. Tallman," finished Mr. Brown.

    "I thought you would. That makes me feel easier, for I know Toby will have a good home."

    "We'll just love him!" cried Bunny.

    "And we'll give him lots of nice things to eat!" added Sue. "And I'll let my dollie ride on his back."

    "He'll like that, I'm sure," said Mr. Tallman with a smile. "Well, that's what I came to see you about, and as long as it's all settled I'll be getting back. I must see if the police have caught any of the robbers."

    "But when shall we have Toby?" asked Bunny.

    "Can't we go with you and get him?" asked Sue.

    "What sort of box was it that your papers were in?" asked Mr. Brown. "Excuse us asking so many questions," he went on, "but I'd like to help you, if I can, and, of course, the children are eager to have the pony."

    "I don't blame them," said Mr. Tallman. "So I'll answer their question first. I'll bring Toby over to-morrow. I'd do it to-day, but it's getting late now, and I have lots to do. So, little ones, you may expect Toby to-morrow. I'll drive over in the basket cart with him, and after that he's yours."

    "For ever?" asked Bunny.

    "Yes, for ever."

    "Won't you ever want him back, even when you're rich again, and catch the burglars that took your things?" asked Sue, wishing to make sure.

    "Well, I don't believe I'll ever be rich," said Mr. Tallman with a smile, "even though the police may catch the burglars and get back my papers. But I promise that I'll never take Toby away from you. When your daddy buys the pony he's yours as long as you want to keep him."

    "Then we want to keep him for ever and ever!" exclaimed Bunny.

    "And the next day after that!" added Sue, as if for ever and ever were not long enough.

    "And now to answer your question, Mr. Brown," went on Mr. Tallman, "I'll say that I kept my stocks and bonds--those are the valuable papers," he told the children--"I kept them in a queer old box that used to belong to my grandfather. It was a brass box, but it was painted with red and yellow stripes. Why it was my grandfather had the box painted that way I don't know. He used to tell me, when I was a boy like Bunny here, and went out to his house, that he bought the box from an old gypsy man, and gypsies, you know, like bright colors.

    "Anyhow, I kept my papers in that red-and-yellow-painted brass box. And the other day, when no one was at home at our house, some one got in and took the box. So now I'm very poor."

    "Didn't a policeman see them take it?" asked Bunny.

    "No, I'm sorry to say no one saw them. We don't know who it was," answered Mr. Tallman. "But never mind my troubles. I'll have to get out of them the best way I can. It makes me feel better, though, to know that Toby will have a good home. I'll bring him over in the morning."

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

    "Now, we'll have a real pony and we can go for rides!" laughed Bunny Brown. "Oh, I'm so glad!"

    Mr. Brown and Mr. Tallman talked a little longer, and Mr. Brown gave the man who had been robbed of the red-and-yellow box some money--part payment for Toby. Then Mr. Tallman went away, Bunny and Sue waving good-bye to him.

    "Oh, I'm so glad we're going to have a Shetland pony, aren't you, Bunny?" asked Sue.

    "Terrible glad," he answered. "But I'm sorry Mr. Tallman lost his papers."

    "So'm I," said Sue. "Oh, Bunny!" she cried, "wouldn't it be just fine if we could get Mr. Tallman's papers for him?"

    "How? What you mean?" asked Bunny, for sometimes he did not think quite as fast as Sue did, even though he was quicker in running about and getting into mischief. "What do you mean, Sue?"

    "I mean, maybe when we're ridin' around with Toby, in the basket cart, we could find the robbers that took his red-and-yellow box."

    "Oh, yes, that would be nice," agreed Bunny. "And we could ride back home to Mr. Tallman, just like in a fairy story, and tell him we found his box and his--and his--oh, well, whatever there was in it," said Bunny, not able to think of "stocks and bonds."

    "It would be dandy!" cried Sue, using a word of which her brother was very fond. "But, Bunny, if we found all the things Mr. Tallman lost he'd be rich again--I mean partly rich."

    "Well, wouldn't that be good?"

    "Yes, but then he'd have a lot of money and he could buy back Toby from daddy."

    Bunny shook his head.

    "Nope!" he exclaimed. "Didn't you hear Mr. Tallman say that Toby would belongs to us for ever and for ever, amen."

    "He didn't say amen!" declared Sue.

    "Well, that goes with it, anyhow," was Bunny's answer. "We always say for ever and for ever, amen. So Toby's going to belongs to us that way."

    "All right," agreed Sue. "Then we'll find Mr. Tallman's red-and-yellow box for him and make him rich again. And now let's go and tell Bunker Blue that we're going to have a pony."

    The children were so excited about what was going to happen that they hardly knew what they did. They told all their friends about their good luck, and promised every one a ride in the pony cart.

    "And you may have as many as ever you want," said Bunny to Bunker Blue. "'Cause you like ponies, don't you?"

    "Oh, I just love 'em!" laughed the fish boy.

    Bunny and Sue thought the next day would never come! But it did, and they were up bright and early. After breakfast they sat out on the porch, waiting for Mr. Tallman to drive over with Toby. Every now and then they would run to the gate to look down the road. At last Bunny cried:

    "Here he comes, Sue!"

    "Oh, has he got Toby?"

    "Yep! He's driving him and the cart! Oh! Oh!"

    "Oh! Oh!" shouted Sue, and then the two children ran down the street, and when they reached the pony, which Mr. Tallman brought to a stop, Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue threw their arms around Toby's neck and hugged him.

    "Oh, we're so glad!" they said. "Now, we're going to ride and look for your red-and-yellow box, Mr. Tallman."

    "Well, I hope you find it, but I'm afraid you won't. Anyhow, here's Toby for you, and now----"

    Just then there was a sound of carriage wheels, grating in a sudden stop, near the little basket cart, while a harsh voice said:

    "Ha! So, I've found you; have I? Now give me that pony and don't make any more fuss about it!"

    And who do you suppose it was that said that?
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