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    Chapter 6

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    Chapter 6
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    OFF FOR NEW YORK

    "Where is that basket of groceries for the Jones house? Where can it have gone to?" asked Tommie aloud, as he looked back into his wagon. "I'm sure I put it in, and now--"

    He turned around on his seat, and stepped over into the back part of the wagon, among the boxes and baskets. He looked at them carefully, and finally he raised the horse blanket that was over Bunny and Sue.

    "Why--why--what--what in the world are you doing here?" cried Tommie, much surprised to see the two children hiding there.

    "We--we're having a ride," said Sue.

    "Where did you get in?" asked Tommie.

    "When you stopped at our house," answered Bunny. "And we've been riding with you ever since."

    "Well, well!" cried Tommie. "And to think I never knew it! You riding in with me all the while, and I never knew a thing about it! Well, well!"

    He laughed, and Bunny and Sue laughed also. It was quite a joke.

    "You don't mind, do you, Tommie?" asked Bunny.

    "No, not a bit. I'm glad to have you."

    "And will you ride us home?" asked Sue.

    "Sure, yes, of course I will. But I've got to deliver the rest of my groceries first. And that makes me think--I've lost a big basket full that ought to go to Mr. Jones. I'm sure I put 'em in the wagon, but they're not here. You didn't see a big basket of groceries--butter, bread, tea, coffee and sugar--fall out, while you were riding in there, did you?"

    Bunny and Sue looked at one another. They were both thinking of the same thing.

    "That must have been the basket," said Bunny slowly.

    "Yes," agreed Sue.

    "What basket?" asked Tommie.

    "We--we gave a basket of groceries to old Miss Hollyhock," said Bunny slowly. "It was while you were in Mr. Thompson's house. You know old Miss Hollyhock is awful poor, and we gave her the things to eat. We left 'em on her doorstep."

    "For a Hallowe'en surprise," added Sue, "or a Valentine, though it isn't Valentine's Day yet, either."

    "So that's what happened; eh?" cried the grocery boy. "Old Miss Hollyhock has the things I ought to leave for Mrs. Jones! Well, well!"

    "Is you mad?" asked Sue, for there was a queer look on Tommie's face.

    "No, not exactly mad, Sue," said Tommie slowly. "But I don't know what to do. I know you meant to be kind, and good to old Miss Hollyhock; but what am I to do about the things for Mrs. Jones? I can't very well go and take them away from old Miss Hollyhock, for she must think that some of her friends sent them, as they often do. It wouldn't do to take them away."

    "Oh, no! You musn't take 'em away from her, after we gave 'em to her," said Bunny. "That would make her feel bad."

    "And she feels bad now, 'cause she's poor," put in Sue. "She's hungry, too, maybe."

    "Yes, I guess she is," agreed Tommie. "Well, I don't know what to do. If I go back to the store to get more things for Mrs. Jones, Mr. Gordon will want to know what became of the basketful I had. And old Miss Hollyhock has them. Well--"

    "Oh, I know what to do!" cried Bunny.

    "What?" asked Tommie.

    "You go to my house," said the little boy, "and my mamma will give you money to buy more groceries for Mrs. Jones. Then old Miss Hollyhock can keep the ones Sue and me give her. Won't that be all right?"

    "Yes, I s'pose it will if your mother gives me the money," answered Tommie slowly.

    "She won't have to give you the money," said Sue. "We don't pay money for groceries anyhow; we charge 'em."

    "Well, it's the same thing in the end," said Tommie with a laugh. "But I guess the best I can do is to take you two youngsters home, and see what happens then. I'll tell Mrs. Jones I'll come later with her groceries."

    Tommie ran up to the Jones house, and was soon back on the wagon again. He drove quite fast to the home of Bunny and Sue.

    "Oh, you children!" cried Mrs. Brown, when she heard what had happened--about Bunny and Sue riding in the grocery wagon, and giving the things away to old Miss Hollyhock that Mrs. Jones ought to have had.

    "You'll pay for the groceries, won't you, Mother?" asked Bunny.

    "Yes, dear, I suppose so. I know you meant to be kind, but you should ask me before you do things like that. However, the food will be a great help to old Miss Hollyhock. I was going to send her some anyhow.

    "Here, Tommie, you give this note to Mr. Gordon, the grocer, and he will charge the things to me, and give you more for Mrs. Jones. I'm sorry you had all this trouble."

    "Oh, I don't mind," and Tommie was smiling now. "I'm glad Bunny and Sue had a nice ride."

    "And it makes you feel good to give things to people," said Bunny. "I mean it makes you feel good inside."

    "Like eating bread and jam when you're hungry," observed Sue.

    "No, it isn't like that," said Bunny. "'Cause when your hungry, and you eat bread and jam it makes you feel good here," and he put his hand on his stomach. "But when you make somebody, like old Miss Hollyhock, a present it makes you feel good higher up," and he patted his little heart.

    "Well, I'm glad to know you like to be kind," said Mother Brown. "But please don't run away and ride in any more grocery wagons, or something may happen so that you can't go on a visit to Aunt Lu's city home."

    "Oh dear!" cried Sue. "We wouldn't want that to happen! Are we soon going, Mother?"

    "Pretty soon, I guess. I have some sewing to do first. I must make you some new dresses."

    The next week was a busy one in the Brown house. There were clothes to get ready for Bunny and Sue, and as they had just come back from a long visit to grandpa's, in the country, some of their things needed much mending. For Bunny and Sue had played in the hay; they had romped around in the barn, and had run through the woods, and across the fields.

    But the summer vacation had done them good. They were strong and healthy, and as brown as little Indian children. They could play all day long, come in, go to bed, and get up early the next morning, ready for more good times.

    One day the postman brought another letter from Aunt Lu.

    "I can hardly wait for Bunny and Sue to come to see me," said Aunt Lu. "I am sure they will have a fine time in the city, though it is different from the seashore where they live. Bunny will not find any lobster claws here. And my home isn't in the country, either. There are no green fields to play in, though we can go to Central Park, or the Bronx Zoo."

    "What's a Zoo?" asked Bunny. "Is it something good to eat?"

    "It's a game, like tag," guessed Sue.

    "No," said Mother Brown. "Aunt Lu means the Bronx Zoölogical Park, and she calls it Zoo for short. That means a place where animals are kept."

    "Wild animals?" asked Bunny.

    "Yes."

    "Pooh! I know what a Zoo is--it's a circus!" the little boy exclaimed.

    "Well, it's partly like that," said his mother. "But that isn't all of Aunt Lu's letter."

    "What else does she say?" asked Sue.

    "Why, she writes that she has a surprise for you."

    "Oh, what is it?" asked Bunny.

    "Tell us!" begged Sue.

    "Aunt Lu doesn't say," said Mrs. Brown. "You will have to wait until you get to Aunt Lu's city home. Then you'll find out what the surprise is."

    Bunny and Sue tried all that day to guess, but of course they could not tell whether they had guessed right or not.

    "Oh dear!" sighed Sue. "I wish it was time to go now."

    But the days soon passed, and, about a week later, Mrs. Brown, with Bunny and Sue, were at the railroad station, ready to take the train for New York. Mr. Brown could not go with them, though he said he would come later. He went to the station with them, however.

    "Here comes the New York train," said Mr. Brown as a whistle sounded down the track. "Now you're off for Aunt Lu's!"
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