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    Chapter 8

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    Chapter 8
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    AUNT LU'S SURPRISE

    When Bunny Brown pulled down on the whistle cord in the railroad car, a very strange thing happened. All at once there was a loud squeaking, grinding sound. The car shivered and shook and began to go slowly. It stopped so suddenly that Bunny slid out of the smooth plush seat down to the floor. So did his sister Sue.

    Some of the other passengers had hard work to keep from sliding from their seats, and many of them jumped up and began calling:

    "What's the matter?"

    "What has happened?"

    "Is there an accident?"

    For when a train stops suddenly, you know, if it is going along fast, it almost always means that something has happened, or that there is a cow, or something else, on the track, and that the engineer wants to stop, quickly, so as not to hit it. And that's what the other passengers thought now.

    Mrs. Brown was suddenly awakened from her sleep. She, too, had almost slid from her seat when the car stopped so suddenly. For the moment Bunny pulled down on the cord, it blew a whistle in the cab, or little house of the engine, where the engineer sits. And when the engineer heard that whistle he knew it meant for him to stop as soon as he could.

    He could look down the track, and see that there was nothing on the rails that he could hit, but, hearing the whistle, he thought the conductor, or one of the brakemen, must have pulled the cord. Perhaps the engineer thought some one had fallen off the train, as people sometimes fall off boats, and the engineer wanted to stop quickly so the passenger could be picked up. At any rate, he stopped very suddenly, and that was what made all the trouble. Or, rather, Bunny Brown made all the trouble, though he did not mean to.

    "Why, Bunny!" cried his mother, as she straightened up in her seat. "Where are you? Where is Sue? What has happened?"

    For, you know, Bunny and Sue had slid down to the floor of the car when the train came to such a sudden stop.

    "Where are you, children?" called Mrs. Brown, anxiously.

    "I--I'm here, Mother!" answered Sue. "Bunny pushed me off my seat!"

    "Oh-o-o-o, Sue Brown! I did not!" cried the little fellow, getting up with the parasol still in his hand. "I did not!"

    "Well, you made the train stop, and that knocked me out of my seat, and my doll was knocked down too, so there!" answered Sue, and she seemed ready to cry.

    "Bunny, what happened? What did you do?" asked his mother. "What are you doing with my parasol?" she asked.

    "I--I just reached up to pull down that rope with the crooked handle end," Bunny answered, pointing to the whistle cord. "I wanted to show Sue how strong it was, so I pulled on it."

    "Oh ho!" exclaimed a fat man, a few seats ahead of Bunny. "So that's what made the train stop; eh? I thought someone must have pulled the engineer's whistle cord to make him stop, but I didn't think it was a little boy like you."

    "Oh, Bunny!" exclaimed his mother, when she saw what had happened. "You shouldn't have done that. You musn't stop the train that way."

    "I--I didn't want to stop the train, Mother!" the little boy answered. "I just wanted to show Sue about the cord. I fell out of my seat, too," he added.

    "Yes, nearly all of us did," said the fat man with a laugh. "Well if you didn't mean to do it Bunny, we'll forgive you I suppose," and he laughed in a jolly way.

    Into the car came hurrying the conductor, with the gold bands on his cap, and the brakeman. They looked all around, and then straight at Bunny who still held his mother's parasol.

    "Who pulled the whistle cord?" asked the conductor. Years ago there used to be a bell cord in the train, and a bell rang in the engineer's cab when the cord was pulled. But now an air whistle blows. "Who pulled the cord?" asked the conductor.

    Now Bunny Brown was a brave little chap, even when he knew he had done wrong. So he spoke up and said:

    "I--I pulled it, Mr. Conductor. I pulled the cord."

    "You did eh?" and the conductor smiled a little now. Bunny looked so funny and so cute standing there, with the parasol, and Sue looked so pretty, standing near him, holding her doll upside down, that no one could help at least smiling. Some of the passengers were laughing.

    "And so you stopped my train; did you?" the conductor asked.

    "I--I guess so," Bunny answered. "I was pulling down on the rope, to show my sister how strong it was."

    "Oh, I see," the conductor went on. "Then you didn't stop my train because you wanted to get off?"

    "Oh, no!" cried Bunny quickly. "I don't want to get off now. I want to go to New York. We're going to my Aunt Lu's house."

    "Well, New York is quite a way off yet," laughed the conductor, "so I guess you had better stay with us. But please don't pull on the whistle cord again."

    "I won't," Bunny promised. "But it is a strong rope, isn't it, Mr. Conductor? And it does hold the cars together; doesn't it?"

    "Well, no, not exactly," the conductor answered, while the passengers laughed. "I'll show you what the cord does in a little while. But I'm glad nothing has happened. I thought there was an accident when the train stopped so quickly, so I ran through all the cars to find out. Now we'll go on again."

    He reached up and pulled the car-cord twice. Far up ahead, in the cab of the locomotive, a little whistle blew twice, and the engineer knew that meant for him to go ahead. It's just like that on a trolley car. One bell means to stop, and two bells to go ahead.

    "Oh Bunny! Why did you do it?" asked his mother, as she took the parasol from him.

    "Why--why, I didn't mean to stop the train," he said.

    Mrs. Brown thought there was not much need of scolding Bunny, for he had not meant to do wrong. He promised never again to pull on a whistle cord in a train.

    Now the cars were rolling on again, and, in a little while the conductor again came back to where Mrs. Brown was sitting.

    "Now where's the little boy who stopped my train?" he asked with a smile.

    "I'm here," Bunny answered, "and this is my sister Sue."

    "Well, I'm glad to meet you both again, I'm sure," and the conductor shook hands with Bunny and kissed Sue. "Now, if you two would like it, I'll show you where you blew the whistle in the engine."

    "Oh, will you take us in the engine?" asked Bunny, who had always wanted to go in that funny little house on top of the locomotive's back.

    "Yes, I'll take you in when we make the next stop," the conductor said. "We have to wait a few minutes to give the engine a drink of water, and I'll take you and your sister in the engine. That is if you say it's all right," and he turned around to look at Mrs. Brown.

    "Oh, yes," Bunny's mother answered. "They may go with you if they won't be a bother. I'm sorry my little boy made so much trouble about stopping the train."

    "Oh, well, he didn't mean to, so we'll forget all about it. I'll come back and get you when we stop," he said.

    A little later the train slowed up. It did it so easily that no one fell out of his seat this time, and, pretty soon, back came the conductor to get Bunny and Sue.

    The engine had stopped near a big wooden tank filled with water, and some of this water was running through a big pipe into the tender of the engine. The tender is the place where the coal is kept for the locomotive fire.

    "Hello, Jim!" called the conductor to the engineer who was leaning out of the window of his little house. "Here's the boy who stopped the train so suddenly a while back."

    "Oh ho! Is he?" asked the engineer. "Well, he isn't a very big boy, to have stopped such a big train."

    "I--I didn't mean to," said Bunny, and he and Sue looked back, and saw that truly it was a long train. And the locomotive pulling it was a very big one.

    "Well, you didn't do much damage," laughed the engineer.

    "I'm going to bring them up to see you," the conductor said.

    "That's right, let 'em come!"

    The engineer came out of his cab and took first Bunny, and then Sue, from the conductor, who lifted them up to the iron step near the boiler. A hot fire was burning under the engine to make steam, and Bunny and Sue looked at it in wonder.

    Then the engineer took them up in his cab, and showed Bunny where, on the ceiling, was the little air whistle--the one Bunny had blown when he pulled the cord with the parasol. Then the engineer showed the children the shiny handle that he pulled to make the engine go ahead, and another that made it go backward. Then he showed a little brass handle.

    "This is the one I pulled on in a hurry when I heard you blow the whistle once," he said.

    "What handle is that?" asked the little boy.

    "That's the handle that puts on the air brakes," said the engineer. "And over here is the rope the fireman pulls when he wants to ring the bell. I'll let you ring it."

    "And me, too?" asked Sue.

    "Yes, you too!" laughed the engineer.

    First Bunny pulled on the rope that was fast to the big bell on the top of the engine, near the smoke-stack where the puffing noise sounded. Bunny could hardly make the bell ring, as it was very heavy, but finally he did make it sound:

    "Ding-dong!"

    "Now it's my turn!" cried Sue.

    She could only make the bell ring once:

    "Ding!"

    But she was just as well pleased.

    By this time the engine had taken enough water for its boiler, to last until it got to New York, and the conductor took Bunny and Sue back to their mother. They were quite excited and pleased over their visit to the locomotive, and told Mrs. Brown all about the strange sights they had seen.

    "But when will we be at Aunt Lu's?" asked Bunny, as he looked out of the window.

    "Oh, soon now," his mother answered.

    And, in about an hour, the brakeman put his head in through the door of their car, and called out:

    "New York! All change!"

    "Change what, Mother?" asked Sue. "Have we got to change our clothes? Are we going to bed?"

    "No, dear. The man means we must change cars. We are at the end of our railroad trip."

    "But it's so dark," said Bunny. "I thought it was time to go to bed."

    "It's the station that's dark," said Mrs. Brown. "Part of it is underground, like a tunnel."

    Indeed it was so dark in the train and the station that the car lamps were lighted. No wonder Bunny and Sue thought it time to go to bed.

    But when they got outside the sun was shining, though it was afternoon, and would soon be supper time.

    "Oh, here you are! Hello, Bunny dear! Hello, Sue dear!" cried a jolly voice.

    "Oh, Aunt Lu! Oh, Aunt Lu!" cried Bunny and Sue as they clung to their aunt. "We're so glad to see you!"

    "And I'm glad to see you!" she cried, as she kissed her sister, Mrs. Brown. "Now come on, and we'll soon be at my house."

    "But where's the surprise?" asked Bunny.

    "Yes, we want to see the surprise," said Sue.

    "It's in my automobile," said Aunt Lu with a laugh. "Come on, I'll show her to you."

    "Is it--is it a her?" asked Bunny.

    "Yes, my dear. You'll soon see. Come on!"

    Aunt Lu led the way to a fine, large automobile just outside the station. A man wearing a tall hat opened the door of the car, and looking inside Bunny and Sue saw a queer little colored girl, her kinky hair standing up in little pigtails all over her head. She smiled at Bunny and Sue, showing her white teeth.

    "There!" cried Aunt Lu. "What do you think of my surprise?"
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