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    Chapter 14

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    Chapter 14
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    THE RAGGED MAN

    "Come on, nice dog!" coaxed Sue, for as the children came nearer to the house where Aunt Lu lived, the animal seemed to want to turn back and run away.

    "Yes, don't be afraid," said Bunny. "We'll give you something nice to eat, and some cold water."

    Whether the dog understood what Bunny and Sue said to him, or whether he was thirsty and hungry and hoped to get something to eat, I do not know. Some dogs seem to know everything you say to them, and certainly this one was very wise. So he walked on willingly with the two children.

    "Do you think we can keep him?" asked Sue.

    "I guess so," answered her brother. "He's my dog, 'cause I saw him first."

    "Isn't he half mine?" Sue wanted to know.

    "Nope, he's all mine!" and Bunny took a firmer grasp on the dog's collar.

    "Well, I don't care!" cried Sue, stamping her foot, which she sometimes did when she was getting angry. "Half of our dog Splash at home is mine, and I don't see why I can't have half of this one."

    "Nope, you can't!" cried Bunny. He hardly ever acted this way toward his sister. Generally he gave her half of everything. "I want all this dog," Bunny said. "I'm going to train him to be a circus animal, and if a girl owns part of a dog she don't want him to run, or get muddy or anything like that."

    "Oh, Bunny Brown!" cried Sue. "I don't care if he does get muddy. I want him to be a circus dog, too. So please can't I have half of him? I'll take the tail end for my half, or the head end half or down the middle, just like we do with Splash!"

    "Well," and Bunny seemed to be thinking about it. "Maybe I'll let you have half of him, Sue. But you've got to let me train your half the same as mine, to be a circus dog."

    "Yes, Bunny, I will. Oh, isn't he a nice dog!" and she patted him on the head. The dog wagged his tail and seemed happy.

    Into the apartment house hall walked the children, leading the stray dog they had found in the street. The elevator was not open, being on one of the upper floors, and Bunny pushed the button that rang the bell, which told Henry, the colored elevator boy, that someone was on the lower floor, waiting to be taken up.

    When Henry came down in the queer iron cage that slid up and down, he looked first at Bunny, then at Sue, and then at the dog.

    "What yo' all want?" asked the colored boy, smiling and showing his big, white teeth.

    "We want to ride up to Aunt Lu's house," answered Bunny.

    "We got a new dog, Henry," said Sue.

    Henry shook his head.

    "I'll take you little folks up to yo' aunt's house," he said, "but I can't take up dat dawg."

    "Why not?" asked Bunny. "Is he too heavy? 'Cause if he is, Henry, we'll go up with you first, and you can bring the dog up alone. We'll wait for him up stairs."

    Once more the elevator boy shook his head.

    "No, sah! I can't do it!" he exclaimed.

    "Is you afraid, Henry?" asked Sue, putting her head down on the dog's back. "Is you afraid he'll bite you, Henry? He won't. He's as nice a dog as Splash is, the one we have at home. He won't bite, Henry."

    "No, Miss Sue. I ain't askeered ob dat," said Henry, with another smile. "But yo' all can't bring no dawgs in heah! It ain't allowed, nohow!"

    "You mean we can't bring a dog in the house?" asked Bunny.

    "Yes, sah!" Henry exclaimed. "Dat's it. De man what owns dis house done gib strict orders dat no dogs or cats or parrots can come in, an' I got t' keep 'em out. Yo' all jest go up an' ast yo' Aunt Lu 'bout it."

    "Shall we?" asked Sue, as she looked down at the dog.

    "Yes," said Bunny. "But, of course, Henry ought to know. But we've got to give this dog something to eat and drink, Sue, 'cause we promised we would. So we'll just leave him down here, and go up and tell Aunt Lu. We can do that; can't we, Henry?" Bunny asked.

    "Oh, yes, Bunny. Yo' all kin do dat I'll jest tie de dawg down here in de hall, an' yo' all kin go ast yo' Aunt Lu."

    The dog did not seem to mind being tied and left alone. Henry fastened him with a cord, and the dog lay down on the cool marble floor, while the colored boy took the two children up in the elevator.

    "Oh, Bunny!" said Sue, in a whisper, as they were waiting for their aunt's maid, or for Wopsie, to open the door of the hall. "Oh, Bunny, I know what we could do."

    "What?" Bunny wanted to know.

    Sue looked around, and seeing that Henry had gone down in his elevator, she said:

    "We could have walked our new dog up the stairs. We didn't need to bring him up in the elevator. Then Henry wouldn't have seen him."

    "Yes, but he'd hear him when he barks. If they won't let us keep our new dog here we can take him to Central Park, Sue."

    "What for, Bunny?"

    "To put him in a cage until we go home. Then we can take him with us to play with Splash."

    "Oh, maybe we could!" cried Sue, clapping her hands.

    By this time Wopsie had opened the door.

    "Well, where yo' chilluns bin?" she asked. "Yo' ma an' yo' aunt Lu am gettin' worried 'bout yo'."

    "We found a dog!" cried Bunny. "A real dog!"

    "And he's down stairs," said Sue. "Henry won't bring him up on the elevator, but it isn't 'cause Henry's afraid. They won't let dogs live in here, he says. Don't they, Aunt Lu?"

    "Don't they what, Sue?" asked Miss Baker, coming into the room just then.

    "Dogs," answered Bunny. "We found a nice dog, Aunt Lu, and we want to keep him, but Henry won't let us," and he told all that had happened.

    "No, I am sorry," said Aunt Lu. "They don't allow any dogs, cats or parrots in this building. You see they think persons who have no pets would be bothered by those animals of the neighbors. I'm sorry, Bunny and Sue, but you can't have the dog. One is enough, anyhow, and you have Splash."

    "Yes, but he's away off home," said Bunny.

    "Never mind, dears. I'm sorry, but I haven't any place for a dog, or a cat or even a parrot."

    Bunny and Sue thought for a moment Then Bunny asked:

    "Could you keep a monkey, Aunt Lu?"

    "Gracious goodness, no!" cried his aunt. "I should hope not! A monkey would be worse than a dog, a cat or a parrot. I hope you don't think of bringing a monkey home, Bunny."

    "Oh, no'm. I was just wondering what we'd do if a hand-organ man gave us a monkey."

    Mrs. Brown and Aunt Lu laughed.

    "Well, I hope a hand-organ man won't give you a monkey," said Bunny's mother, "but, if one does, you'll have to say that you're much obliged, but that you can't keep it."

    "Well," broke in Sue, "can we give this dog something to eat and drink, Aunt Lu? We promised him some."

    "Yes, you can do that. Poor dog, he's probably a stray one, and will be glad of a meal. Mary will get you some cold meat and a pail of water, and you can take it down to the poor dog. But don't invite him up here, Bunny dear."

    The children were sorry they could not keep the dog they had found in the street, but perhaps it was better not to have him. They gave him the water and meat, standing with Henry in the lower hall while the animal ate and drank. Then the elevator boy loosened the string from the dog's collar.

    "Run along now!" called Henry, and the dog with a bark, and a wag of his tail, trotted off down the street.

    "He's happy, anyhow," remarked Sue. "Dogs is always happy when they wag their tails; aren't they Bunny?"

    "I guess so. Well, what will we do next?"

    That question was answered for Bunny and Sue when they went up stairs again. For Wopsie was waiting to take them to a moving picture show not far away. There Bunny and Sue had a good time the rest of the afternoon.

    It was two or three days after this that, as Bunny and Sue were walking up and down on the sidewalk in front of Aunt Lu's house, waiting for Wopsie to come down and go with them to another moving picture show, the two children saw, walking along, a very ragged man. And, as they watched him, they saw the poor man stoop over a can of ashes on the street, and take from it a piece of dried bread, which he began to eat as though very hungry indeed.

    "Oh, Bunny! Look at that!" cried Sue.

    "What is it?" asked the little boy.

    "That man! He's so hungry he took bread out of the ash can."

    "He must be terrible hungry," said Bunny. "Oh, Sue, I know what we can do!"

    "What?"

    "We can get him something to eat," said Bunny. "I heard Aunt Lu say she didn't know what she was going to do with all the meat left over from dinner. This man would like it, I'm sure. We can ask him up to Aunt Lu's rooms. She'll feed him."

    "All right," cried Sue, always ready to do what Bunny did.

    "We'll ask him. But we won't take him up in the elevator, Sue," Bunny went on.

    "Why not?"

    "'Cause maybe Henry won't let him come up, same as he wouldn't let the dog we found. We'll walk up the stairs with the man."

    "It--it's awful far," said Sue, with a sigh, as she thought of the ten flights. Once she and Bunny, just for fun, had walked up them. It took a long while.

    "Well, I'll walk up with the ragged man," said Bunny. "You can ride up in the elevator, Sue, and tell Aunt Lu we're coming, so she can have something to eat all ready."

    "All right," agreed Sue. "That will be nice!"

    Then she and Bunny started toward the ragged man who was poking about in the ash can with a long stick, as though looking for more pieces of bread.
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