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    Chapter 10

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    Chapter 10
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    IN THE DUMB WAITER

    Bunny Brown looked at his sister Sue, and his sister Sue looked at Bunny Brown. Then they both looked at the colored elevator boy. He was smiling at them, so Bunny and Sue were not as frightened as they might otherwise have been.

    "Isn't this where Aunt Lu lives?" asked Bunny.

    "Nope. Not if her name's Baker," answered the elevator lad. "We sure ain't got nobody named Baker in heah!" (He meant "here.")

    "Oh, Bunny!" cried Sue. "Then we're losted again!"

    "Where'd you come from?" asked the colored boy. "Now don't git skeered, 'cause yo' all ain't losted very much I guess. Maybe I kin find where yo' all belongs. What's de number of, de house where yo' auntie libs?"

    "I--I don't know," said Bunny. He had not thought to ask the number of his aunt's house, nor had he looked to see what the number was over the door before he and Sue came out. In the country no one ever had numbers on their houses, and Bellemere was like the country in this way--no houses had numbers on them.

    "Well, what street does your aunt done lib on?" asked the colored boy, in the funny way he talked.

    "I don't know that, either," said Bunny.

    "Huh! Den yo' suah am lost!" cried the elevator lad. "But don't yo' all git skeered!" he said quickly, as he saw tears coming in Sue's brown eyes. "I guess yo' all ain't losted so very much, yet. Maybe I kin find yo' aunt's house."

    "If you could find Wopsie for us, she could take us there," said Bunny.

    "Find who?"

    "Wopsie. She's a little girl that lives with my aunt, and--"

    But the elevator boy did not wait for Bunny to finish.

    "Wopsie!" he cried. "Am she dat queer li'l colored gal, wif her hair all done up in rags?"

    "Yes!" cried Sue eagerly. "That's Wopsie. We came out to walk with her, but we heard the hand-piano music, and we got lost."

    "Do you know Wopsie?" asked Bunny.

    "I suah does!" cried the elevator boy. "She's a real nice li'l gal, an' we all likes her."

    "She's losted too," said Bunny.

    "Yes, I knows about dat!" replied the elevator boy. "We all knows 'bout Wopsie. Why she's jest down the street, and around the corner a few houses. Now I know where yo' Aunt Lu libs. If you'd a' done said Wopsie fust, I'd a knowed den, right off quick!"

    "Can you take us home?" asked Sue.

    "I suah can!" cried the kind colored boy. "Jes yo' all wait a minute."

    He called to another colored boy to take care of his elevator, and then, holding one of Bunny's and one of Sue's hands, he went out into the street. Around the corner he hurried, and, no sooner had he turned it, than up rushed Wopsie herself. She made a grab for Bunny and Sue.

    "Oh, mah goodness!" cried the little colored girl. "Oh, mah goodness! I'se so skeered! I done t'ought I'd losted yo' all!"

    "No, Wopsie," said Bunny. "You didn't lost us. We losted ourselves. We heard music, and we went to look for a monkey."

    "But there wasn't any monkey," said Sue, "and we got in the wrong house, where Aunt Lu didn't live."

    "But he brought us back. He knows you, Wopsie," and Bunny nodded toward the kind elevator boy.

    "I guess everybody around dish yeah place knows Wopsie," said the boy, smiling. "Will yo' all take dese chilluns home now?" he asked.

    "I suah will!" Wopsie said. "Mah goodness! I'se bin lookin' all ober fo' 'em! I didn't know where dey wented. Come along now, an' yo' all musn't go 'way from Wopsie no mo'!"

    "We won't!" promised Bunny.

    He and Sue were beginning to find out that it was easier to get lost in the city, even by going just around the corner, than it was in the country, when they went down a long road. For in the city the houses were so close together, and they all looked so much alike, that it was hard to tell one from the other.

    "But yo' all am all right now, honey lambs," said Wopsie, who seemed to be very much older than Bunny and Sue, though really she was no more than three or four years older.

    "Do we have to go in now?" asked Bunny, as Wopsie led him and Sue down the street, having said good-bye to the kind elevator boy who had brought them part way home.

    "Yes, I guess we'd better go in," said the little colored girl. "Yo' ma might be worried about yo'. We'll go in. It's gittin' dark."

    The elevator quickly carried them up to Aunt Lu's floor.

    "Oh, now I see the number!" cried Bunny. "It's ten--I won't forget any more."

    "Well, did you have a good time?" asked Mother Brown when Bunny and Sue came in, followed by Wopsie.

    "We got losted!" exclaimed Sue.

    "What! Lost so soon?" cried Aunt Lu. "Where was it?"

    "In a house just like this," broke in Bunny. "And it had a lift elevator and a colored boy and everything. Only he said you didn't live there, and you didn't, and I didn't know the number of your floor, or of your house, and we got losted!"

    "But I found them!" said Wopsie, for she felt it might be a little bit her fault that Bunny and Sue had gotten away. But of course it was their own fault for running to hear the music.

    "You must be careful about getting lost," said Aunt Lu. "But of course, if ever you do, just ask a policeman. I'll give you each one of my cards, with my name and address on, and you can show that to the officer. He'll bring, or send, you home."

    Sue and Bunny were each given a card, and they put them away in their pockets, where they would have them the next time they went out on the street.

    For the next two or three days Bunny Brown and his sister Sue did not go far away from Aunt Lu's house. Wopsie took them up and down the block for a walk, but more often they were riding in Aunt Lu's automobile. And many wonderful sights did the children see in the big city of New York. They could hardly remember them, there were so many.

    Bunny and Sue grew to like Wopsie very much. She was a kind, good girl, anxious to help, and do all she could, and she just loved the children. She was almost like a nurse girl for them, and Mrs. Brown did not have to worry when Bunny and Sue were with Wopsie.

    "Do you think you'll ever find her folks?" asked Mrs. Brown of Aunt Lu, when they were talking of the colored girl one day.

    "Well, I'm sure I hope so," answered Aunt Lu, "though I like the poor little thing myself very much, and I would like to keep her with me. But I know she is lonesome for her own aunt whom she has not seen since she was a little baby. And I think the aunt must be worrying about lost Wopsie. The police haven't been able to find any one who is looking for a little colored girl, to come up from down South. Perhaps her aunt has moved away. Anyhow I'll keep Wopsie until I find her folks."

    Sometimes Bunny and Sue thought that Wopsie looked sad. Perhaps she did, when she thought of how she was lost. But she had a good home with Aunt Lu, and after all, Wopsie was quite happy, especially since Bunny and Sue had come.

    The two Brown children thought riding in the elevator was great fun. Often they would slip out by themselves and get Henry, the colored boy, to carry them up and down. And he was very glad to do it, if he was not busy.

    One day Bunny and Sue went out into Aunt Lu's kitchen, where Mary, the colored cook, was busy. She often gave the children cookies, or a piece of cake, just as Mother Brown did at home.

    This day, after they had eaten their cookies, Bunny and Sue heard a knocking in the kitchen.

    "Somebody's at the door," called Bunny.

    "No, chile! Folks don't knock at de kitchen do' heah," said Mary. "Dey rings de bell."

    "But somebody's knocking," said Bunny.

    "Yes chile. I s'pects dat's de ice man knockin' on de dumb waiter t' tell me he's put on a piece ob ice," went on the cook.

    She opened a door in the kitchen wall, and Bunny and Sue saw what looked like a big box, in a sort of closet. In the box was a large piece of ice.

    "Yep. Dat's what it am. Ice on de dumb waiter," said Mary, as she took off the cold chunk and put it in the refrigerator. It was an extra piece gotten that day because she was going to make ice cream for dessert.

    "What's a dumb waiter?" asked Bunny.

    "Dis is," said Mary, pointing to the box, back of the door in the wall. "It waits on me--it brings up de milk and de ice. It's jest a big box, and it goes up an' down on a rope dat runs ober a wheel."

    "I know--a pulley wheel," said Bunny.

    "Dat's it!" cried Mary. "De box goes up an' down inside between de walls, and when de ice man, or de milk man puts anyt'ing on de waiter in de cellar, dey pulls on de rope and up it comes to me."

    "What makes them call it a dumb waiter?" asked Sue.

    "'Cause as how it can't talk, chile. Anyt'ing dat can't talk is dumb, an' dis waiter, or lifter, can't talk. So it's dumb."

    Bunny and Sue looked at the dumb waiter for some time. Mary showed them how it would go up or down on the rope, very easily.

    A little while after that, Mary went to her room to put on a clean apron; Bunny and Sue were still in the kitchen.

    "Sue," said Bunny. "I know something we can do to have fun."

    "What?" asked the little girl.

    "Play with the dumb waiter. It's just like a little elevator. Now I'll get in, you close the door, and I'll ride down cellar. Then when I ride up it will be your turn to ride down."

    "All right!" cried Sue. "I'll do it. You go first, Bunny."

    Standing on a chair, Bunny managed to crawl into the dumb waiter box, where the piece of ice had been. And then, all at once something happened.
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