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    Chapter 11

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    Chapter 11
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    A LONG RIDE

    "Are you all ready, Bunny?" asked Sue, as she stood on the chair close to the little door of the dumb waiter, or elevator.

    "Yep," Bunny answered.

    Sue closed the door, and then there was a squeaking sound inside the little closet where the waiter slid up and down. At the same time Bunny's voice was heard crying:

    "Oh, Sue! I'm falling! I'm falling down!"

    Sue did not know what to do. She tried to open the door, but it had shut with a spring catch when she pushed on it, and her small fingers were not strong enough to open it again.

    "Oh dear!" cried the little girl. "Oh dear! Bunny! Mother! Aunt Lu! Mary! Wopsie!"

    She called every name she could think of, and she would have called for her father, Grandpa Brown and even Uncle Tad, only she knew they were far away.

    "Bunny! Bunny!" Sue called. "Is you there? Is you in there?"

    But Bunny did not answer. And now Sue could hear no noise from the dumb waiter, inside of which she had shut her brother.

    "Bunny! Bunny!" begged Sue. "Speak to me! Where is you?"

    But no answer came. Bunny was far off. I'll tell you, soon, where he was.

    Sue got down off the chair, on which she stood to push shut the door, after Bunny crawled inside the dumb waiter. The little girl ran out of the kitchen, calling to her mother, Aunt Lu and Wopsie. The colored cook was the first one to answer.

    "What's the matter?" she called. "What hab happened, Sue?"

    "Oh, it's Bunny! He's gone! He's gone!" sobbed Sue.

    "Gone? Gone where?" Mary asked.

    "Down there!" and Sue pointed to the dumb waiter door.

    Mary ran across the kitchen, and opened the door. She looked down, and then she turned to Sue and asked:

    "Did he fall down, Sue?"

    "No, he didn't fall down. But he got in the little box, where the ice was, and told me to shut the door. He was going to have a ride. It was going to be my turn when he came back. But there was a big bump, and Bunny hollered, and he didn't come back, and oh dear! I guess he's losted again!"

    Mrs. Brown and Aunt Lu came hurrying into the kitchen. Behind them was Wopsie, her hair standing up more than ever, for she had just finished tying it in rags.

    "What's the matter?" asked Mother Brown and Aunt Lu at the same time.

    "Oh, Bunny's gone!" wailed Sue.

    "He's in de dumb waiter," explained Mary.

    "Oh, did he fall?" cried Aunt Lu.

    "No'm, he jest got in to hab a ride, same as dat little boy who used to lib up stairs," Mary explained. "We'll find him in de cellar all right, Miss Baker."

    "Find who?" Sue wanted to know.

    "Yo' brudder!" said Mary. "Now don't yo' all git skairt. 'Case little Massa Bunny am suah gwine t' be all right."

    "I'll go and get him!" cried Aunt Lu.

    "And I'll go with you," said Mother Brown.

    "Oh, I'm coming too!" exclaimed Sue.

    "No, you stay here, dear," said her mother. "You stay here with Mary and Wopsie."

    Mrs. Brown and her sister, who was the aunt of Bunny and Sue, went down in the big elevator to the basement or cellar of the apartment house. And there they saw a strange sight.

    Bunny, whose clothes were all dusty, and whose hair was all topsy-turvy, was standing in front of the janitor, an iceman and a policeman. These three men were looking at the little boy who did not seem to know what to do or say. But he was not crying. He was too brave for that.

    "Oh, Bunny Brown!" cried his mother. "Why did you do it?"

    Bunny did not answer, but the policeman spoke, and said:

    "Is it all right, lady? Does he belong here?"

    "Oh, yes, he's my little boy," explained Mrs. Brown.

    "He rode down in the dumb waiter," Aunt Lu said. "You see he is visiting me, and he had never seen a dumb waiter before."

    "Well, he came down in one all right," said the iceman. "It was like this," he explained to Aunt Lu. "After I sent up your piece of ice, Miss Baker, I stood here talking to the janitor. All at once we heard the dumb waiter come down with a bang, and then we heard someone in it yelling. I thought it was a sneak-thief, or a burglar, for you know they often rob houses by going up in dumb waiters.

    "So I spoke to the janitor about it, and we called in the policeman who was going past. We thought if it was a burglar we'd sure have him. But when we opened the door there was only this little chap."

    "I--I didn't mean to do it," said Bunny, as he saw them all looking at him. "I just wanted to get a ride, and then Sue was going to have one. But, as soon as I got in, the dumb waiter went down so quick I couldn't stop."

    "He sure did come down with a bump!" exclaimed the iceman. "I guess he was a little too heavy for it, or else the rope must have slipped. Anyhow he's not hurt much, except he's a bit mussed up."

    "Are you hurt, Bunny?" his mother asked him.

    "No'm," he answered. "Just bumped, that's all. I--I won't do it again."

    "No, you'd better not, because you might get hurt," said the policeman. "Well," he added, "I might as well go along, for you have no burglars for me to arrest this day," and away he went.

    Then the iceman went off, laughing, and Mrs. Brown and Aunt Lu took Bunny up to their apartment in the elevator.

    "This is nicer than the dumb waiter," Bunny said, as Henry took them up. "I was all scrunched up in that, and I got a awful hard bump."

    Mrs. Brown sighed.

    "I'm sure I don't know what you will do next," she said. "You and Sue never do the same thing twice, so there's no use in telling you to be careful."

    "Oh, I won't get in any more dumb waiters," said Bunny, with a shake of his head. "They're too small, and they're too bumpy."

    Sue felt much better when she saw that Bunny was all right, and Mary gave each of the children a piece of cake, after which Wopsie took them up to the roof, where an awning had been stretched to make shade, and there, high above the city streets, the two children had a sort of play-party.

    "I like it in the city; don't you, Bunny?" asked Sue.

    "Yes, I think it's fine at Aunt Lu's house," returned Bunny. "Don't you like it here, Wopsie?"

    "Yes'm, I suah does. But I wishes as how I could find mah folks. It's awful nice heah, an' Miss Baker suah does treat me mighty fine, but I'd like to find mah own aunt."

    "And don't you know where she is?" asked Bunny.

    "No'm, I don't 'member much about it all," said the colored girl, with a shake of her kinky head. "I lived down Souf, an' I s'pects dey got tired ob me down dere. Or else maybe dey didn't hab money 'nuff t' keep me. Colored folks down Souf is terrible poor. They ain't rich, laik yo' Aunt Lu."

    "Aunt Lu is terrible rich," said Sue. "She's got a diamond ring."

    "I knows dat!" said Wopsie.

    "An' it was losted, like we was," Sue went on, "but Bunny, he found it in a lobster claw. And we had a Punch and Judy show."

    "I'd laik dat!" exclaimed Wopsie, her eyes sparkling.

    "Maybe we could help you find your folks," said Bunny. "We found Aunt Lu's diamond ring, and grandpa's horses, that the Gypsies took; so maybe we could find your folks, Wopsie."

    "I don't believe so," and the little colored girl shook her head. "Yo' all sees it was dis heah way. Somebody down Souf, what was takin' care ob me, got tired, and shipped me up Norf here. Dey didn't come wif me deyse'ves, but dey puts a piece ob paper on me, same laik I was a trunk, or a satchel.

    "Well, maybe it would a' bin all right, but dat piece ob paper come unpinned offen me, an' I got losted, same laik you'd lose a trunk. Only Miss Lu found me, an' she's keepin' me, but she don't know who I belongs to, nohow."

    "And is your aunt up here?" asked Bunny.

    "Yes'm, she's somewheres in New York," and Wopsie waved her hand over the big city, down on which Sue and Bunny could look from the roof of the apartment house.

    "Well, maybe we can find her for you," said Bunny. "We'll try; won't we, Sue?"

    "Course we will, Bunny Brown."

    Just how he was going to do it Bunny Brown did not know. But he made up his mind that he would find Wopsie's aunt for her. And two or three times after that, when he and Sue happened to be out in the street, and saw any colored women, the children would ask them if they were looking for a little, lost colored girl named Wopsie. But of course the colored women knew nothing about the little piccaninny.

    "Well, we'll have to ask somebody else," Bunny would say, after each time, when he had not found an aunt for Wopsie. "We'll find her yet, Sue."

    "Yes," Sue would answer, "we will!"

    From the windows of Aunt Lu's house Bunny and Sue could look down on the street and see many strange sights. Oh! how many automobiles there were in New York!

    There were big ones, and little ones, but there were more of the small kind, with little red flags in front, than any other.

    "Those are called taxicabs," Aunt Lu told Bunny. "They are like the old cabs, drawn by horses. If a person wants to ride in a taxicab he just waves his hand to the men at the steering wheel."

    "And does he stop?" asked Bunny.

    "Yes," answered Aunt Lu. "The taxicab man stops."

    "And gives 'em a ride?" Sue wanted to know.

    "Yes, he takes them wherever they want to go."

    Bunny and Sue looked at each other. Their eyes sparkled, and it is too bad Aunt Lu did not see them just then, or she might have said something that would have saved much trouble. But she was busy sewing, and she did not notice Bunny and Sue.

    The next day the two children slipped out into the hall, and went down to the street in the elevator.

    Once out in the street Bunny and Sue watched until they saw, coming along, one of the little taxicabs, with the red flag up, which meant that no one was having a ride in it just then.

    "Hi there!" called Bunny, holding up his hand to the man at the steering wheel.

    "Want a ride?" asked the man, as he swung his taxicab up to the curb.

    "Yes," answered Bunny. "My sister--Sue and I--we want a ride."

    "Where to?" asked the man, as he helped the children up inside the car.

    "Oh, we want a nice, long ride," said Bunny. "A nice, long ride; don't we, Sue?"

    "Yep," answered the little girl.
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