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    Chapter 3

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    Chapter 3
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    AUNT LU'S INVITATION.

    "Ding-dong!" went the bell in the steeple. "Ding-dong! Ding-dong!"

    By this time many persons were out in the street. Mr. Gorden, the grocery man, who lived next door to the Brown family, saw Bunny and Sue hurrying along.

    "Hello!" he cried. "What are you two youngsters doing up at this hour of night?"

    "We--we came to see the fire," said Bunny.

    "Where is your pa and your ma?" asked Mr. Gordon.

    "They--they went on ahead," explained Bunny.

    "Oh, well, if they're with you I guess it's all right," the grocer said.

    Of course Mr. and Mrs. Brown were not with Bunny and Sue, and their parents didn't even know that the children were out of their beds. But Mr. Gordon thought Bunny and Sue were all right, for he hurried on, calling back over his shoulder:

    "I don't know where the fire is. I think it must be a mistake, for I don't see any bright light. Good-night, Bunny and Sue!"

    "Good-night!" called the children, and they followed on behind Mr. Gordon.

    Now they were in front of the church. Before it was quite a crowd of people, but Bunny and Sue seemed to be the only children. At first no one noticed them. Everyone was anxious to know what the ringing of the bell meant.

    "Where's the fire?"

    "Who rang the alarm?"

    "Why didn't they ring the fire bell instead of the church bell?"

    "Who's ringing it, anyhow?"

    "And what a funny way to ring it!"

    Those were some of the remarks and questions Bunny and Sue heard, as they stood in front of the church.

    "Ding-dong!" the bell kept on ringing. "Ding-dong!"

    "Well, there's one thing sure," said Mr. Gordon. "There isn't any fire around here, or we'd see it."

    "Then someone must be ringing the bell for fun," suggested another voice.

    "That's daddy," whispered Sue to Bunny.

    "Hush!" Bunny said, as he moved around behind Mr. Gordon. He did not want his father or his mother to see him just yet--not until he had found out what made the bell ring.

    "It must be some boys doing it just for fun," said another man.

    "Then we ought to get the police after them!" exclaimed someone else. "The idea of waking folks up at this hour of the night by ringing a church bell! They ought to be spanked!"

    "Ding-dong! Ding-dong!" went the bell again. Everyone looked up at the church steeple, trying to see who was ringing the bell. There was no fire--everyone was sure of that.

    Then, all at once a man cried:

    "There he is! I see him! There's the boy who has been ringing the bell!"

    He pointed up to the steeple. Climbing out of one of the little windows, near the top, could be seen something small and black.

    "It's a boy--a little boy!" cried Mr. Gordon.

    "Oh, he'll fall!" gasped Mrs. Brown. "The poor little fellow! How will he ever get down?"

    Indeed he was very high above the ground. But he did not seem to be afraid.

    "Little tyke!" said a man. "He ought to be spanked for this! I wonder whose boy he is?"

    "I'm glad it isn't Bunny or Sue," said Mrs. Brown.

    "Yes, they are safe at home in bed," answered Mr. Brown.

    And, all this while, mind you, Bunny and Sue were right there in the crowd, where they could hear their father and their mother talking. But Mr. and Mrs. Brown did not see their children.

    "Who are you, up there on that steeple?" cried Mr. Gordon. "Whose boy are you, and what are you doing there?"

    There was no answer.

    "Maybe it's Ben Hall, the circus boy," said Sue, as she thought of the strange boy who had come to grandpa's farm.

    "No, it couldn't be!" said Bunny.

    "It might," Sue went on. "Ben was a good climber, you know. He climbed up high in the barn, and jumped down in the hay, and he turned a somersault."

    "Yes, but the church steeple is higher than the barn," said Bunny. "That isn't Ben Hall. It's a little boy--not much bigger than I am."

    Just then the moon, which had been behind a cloud, came out. The church steeple was well lighted up, and then everyone cried:

    "Why, it isn't a boy at all! It's a monkey!"

    "A monkey has been ringing the bell!"

    "Whose monkey is it?" someone asked.

    "Why it's Wango!" exclaimed Bunny Brown, out loud, before he thought. "It's Mr. Winkler's monkey, Wango!"

    "And I know how to get him down!" chimed in Sue. "Just give him some peanuts, and he'll come down!"

    The children's voices rang out clearly in the silence of the night. Everyone heard them, Mr. and Mrs. Brown included.

    "Why--why, that sounded just like Bunny!" said Mrs. Brown.

    "And Sue," added Mr. Brown. "Bunny! Sue!" he called. "Are you here? Where are you?"

    "We--we're here, Daddy," said Bunny, sliding out from behind Mr. Gordon.

    "And I'm here, too!" said Sue. She let her bath robe fall down over her bare legs.

    "Well I never!" cried Mrs. Brown. "I thought you were at home in bed!"

    "We--we heard the fire-bell, Mother," said Bunny, "and when you and daddy got up we got up, too."

    "But we didn't wake Uncle Tad nor Mary," said Sue.

    The crowd laughed, and Mr. and Mrs. Brown had to smile. After all, Bunny and Sue had done nothing so very wrong. It was a warm, light night, and they were not far from home. Besides, they were only following their father and mother, though of course they ought not to have done that.

    "Well, well!" said Mrs. Brown. "I wonder what you children will do next?"

    "We--we don't know," answered Sue, and everyone laughed again.

    "As long as there isn't any fire, we'd better get back home," said Mr. Brown. "Come on, Bunny and Sue."

    "Oh, please let us watch 'em get Wango down," begged Bunny. "Did he really ring the bell?"

    "I guess he must have," said Mr. Gordon. "He's a great monkey for getting loose, and doing tricks. I don't see how we're going to get him down if he doesn't want to come, though. It's too high to climb after him."

    "If we had some peanuts or lollypops, he'd come down," said Sue. "Once he was up on a high candy shelf in Mrs. Redden's store, and he came down for peanuts."

    "Well, we might try that," said the store-keeper. "But here comes Mr. Winkler himself. I guess he'll know how to manage Wango."

    The old sailor, who had also been awakened by the ringing of the bell, came slowly down the street. He looked toward the church steeple in the moonlight, and saw his pet.

    "Wango, you bad monkey! Come right down here!" called Mr. Winkler.

    But Wango only chattered, and stayed where he was.

    "How'd he get up there?" someone asked.

    "Oh, he broke loose in the night, when we were all asleep, and jumped out of an open window," said Mr. Winkler. "I suppose he must have climbed up inside the church steeple, and, seeing the bell rope hanging down, he swung himself by it, as he does on a rope I have fixed for him at home. His swinging back and forth on the rope rang the bell. I don't really believe he meant to do it."

    And that was how it had happened, and how Wango had made people think there was a fire in the middle of the night when there wasn't any fire at all.

    "Wango, come down!" called Mr. Winkler.

    But the monkey would not come.

    "If you had some peanuts he'd come," said Sue.

    "I have some peanuts, little Sue," said Mr. Winkler, and he brought out a handful from his pocket. "Here, Wango, come and get these!" the old sailor called.

    Wango chattered, and came scrambling down the church steeple. He liked peanuts very much, and he was soon perched on his master's shoulder eating the brown kernels, and throwing the shells to one side.

    "Well, now that everything is over all right, we'll go back home," said Mr. Brown. "But the next time a bell rings at night, I don't want you children running out," he said.

    "We won't," promised Bunny. "But it was so nice and warm, and moonlight, that we couldn't stay in, Daddy."

    Daddy Brown laughed, and a little later he and his wife, with Bunny and Sue, were safe at home. They went in without awakening Uncle Tad or Mary, the cook. The other people also went home. Mr. Winkler fastened Wango so he could not get loose, and soon everyone was asleep again, even the bell-ringing monkey.

    In the morning Bunny and Sue went over to see the old sailor's pet. Wango jumped around on his perch and chattered, for he liked the children.

    "I--I wish we'd had him in the circus at grandpa's farm," said Bunny, as he watched Wango do some of his tricks. "He would have made them all laugh."

    "Yes," said Sue. "Wango is funny!" and she petted the little, brown animal.

    When Bunny and Sue reached home again, munching on some cookies Miss Winkler had given them, they found their mother reading a letter.

    "Good news, children!" Mother Brown cried. "Good news!"

    "Oh, are we going back to grandpa's farm?" asked Bunny.

    "No, not this time," said his mother. "This is a letter from Aunt Lu. She invites us to come to her home, in New York City, to spend the fall and winter. Oh, it's just a lovely invitation from Aunt Lu!"
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