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    Chapter 15

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    Chapter 15
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    "Are you hungry, Mr. Man?" asked Bunny, standing, with his sister Sue, behind the ragged man. "Are you hungry?"

    The man turned quickly, and seeing it was only two little children, he smiled.

    "Yes, I am hungry," he said. "I guess you'd be hungry, too, if you hadn't had any breakfast, or dinner or supper, except what you picked out of the ashes."

    "My Aunt Lu will give you something to eat," said Sue. "You're going to walk up stairs with Bunny, so Henry, the elevator boy, won't see you. You don't mind walking, do you?"

    "Not if I get something to eat," and the man chewed on a piece of the dried bread.

    "Oh, Aunt Lu will give you lots!" promised Sue. "She's got plenty of meat left over from dinner, I heard her say so. But you can't go in the elevator. Henry wouldn't let us take up a dog we found."

    "Course you're not a dog," Bunny explained quickly, "but they don't let dogs or cats or parrots, or I guess monkeys, up in this place, so maybe they wouldn't let you. But I don't know about that. Only I'll walk up stairs with you, and get you something to eat."

    "And I'll go on ahead and tell Aunt Lu you're coming," said Sue. "Then Henry won't see you in his elevator. Go on, Bunny."

    "Come along," said the little fellow, holding out his hand to the ragged man. Even though he was ragged he seemed clean.

    "Oh, I guess I'd better not go up with you, little ones," the man said. "I'm not dressed nice enough to go in there," and he looked up at the fine, big apartment house in which lived Aunt Lu. "If there was a back door I'd go round to that," he said, "but they don't have back doors to city houses. I'm not used to being a tramp, and begging, either," he said. "But I've been sick, and I can't get any work, and I don't want to beg."

    "Aunt Lu likes to help people," said Bunny, "and so does my mother. You come on up stairs with me and I'll get you something to eat. Sue, you go in first, and get Henry to take you up in the elevator. Then Henry won't see me and this man come in, and he can't stop us."

    "All right," agreed Sue. So, while Bunny stayed outside, with the ragged man, Sue went into the hall, and rang the elevator bell.

    "Hello!" exclaimed Henry, as he opened the sliding door for Sue. "Where's Bunny?"

    "Oh, he's coming," Sue said.

    "Then I'll wait for him," said Henry.

    "Oh, no! You needn't!" Sue exclaimed. "Maybe he won't be in for a long time. I want to go up right away, to tell Aunt Lu she's going to have company."

    "Company!" cried Henry. "If company is comin', I'll wait and take 'em up."

    "No, please don't!" begged Sue. "Take me up right away, and then you can come down again." She did not want Henry to wait there in the lower hall, with his elevator, and see Bunny going up the stairs with the ragged man. Sue wanted to get Henry safely out of the way.

    "All right. I'll take you up," promised Henry, and, a second later, Sue was shooting upward in the elevator car.

    "Come on now. We can get in without Henry's seeing us!" called Bunny to the ragged man. "It's a long walk, but Sue and I did it once."

    "Say, I'm much obliged to you," said the tramp, for that's what he was. "But maybe I'd better not go in. They might arrest me."

    "No they won't--not while I'm with you," Bunny said. "I'll tell a policeman you're going up to my Aunt Lu's. She's got lots to eat."

    And so Bunny and the ragged man began the long climb up the stairs, while Sue rode in the elevator. She, of course, was the first to reach her aunt's rooms. Wopsie let Sue in.

    "Oh, Aunt Lu!" cried Sue. "The hungry, ragged man's coming. He ate bread out of the ash can, and he hasn't had any breakfast, dinner or supper. Bunny's walking up stairs with him, so Henry won't see him, 'cause Henry, maybe, wouldn't let him ride in the elevator. But he's awful hungry, so please give him some of that meat!"

    For a moment Aunt Lu stared at Sue, and so did Mrs. Brown.

    "Bless my stars!" cried Aunt Lu, after a bit. "What does the child mean?"

    "It's the ragged man," Sue explained. "Bunny's bringing him up the stairs," and then the little girl told her aunt and mother all about it.

    "But, Sue, dear! You musn't bring strange men in the house," said her mother.

    "Oh, he was so hungry and ragged!" cried the little girl.

    "She meant all right," remarked Aunt Lu. "I dare say it is some poor tramp. There are many of them in New York. I'll give him something to eat. Is Bunny bringing him here?"

    "Yes, Aunt Lu. Bunny's walking up the stairs with him, so Henry won't see him, and put him out, like he did our dog that we found."

    Aunt Lu and Mother Brown laughed at this, but Sue did not mind. Soon there came a ring at Aunt Lu's hall bell. She opened the door herself, and saw, standing there, Bunny and the ragged man.

    "Here he is!" Bunny cried. "I got him up stairs all right, but he slipped on one step. I didn't let him fall, though, and Henry didn't see us. He's hungry, Aunt Lu."

    The ragged man took off his ragged cap.

    "I'm sorry about this, lady," he said to Aunt Lu. "But the little boy would have it that I come up with him. He said you'd give me a meal, but I don't like to trouble you--"

    "Oh, I'm glad to help you," said Aunt Lu. "Wait a minute and I'll hand you out something to eat."

    "Come on in!" said Bunny, who did not see why the ragged man should be left standing in the hall.

    "No, little chap, I'll wait here," said the man. A few minutes later he was drinking a bowl of coffee Mary, the colored cook, brought him, and he was given a bag of bread and meat, with a piece of cake.

    "It's mighty good of you, lady," said the ragged man, as he started to walk down the stairs again.

    "You can thank the children," said Aunt Lu with a smile, as she gave the man some money. "And you needn't walk down. I'll ring for the elevator for you."

    "Oh, no'm, I'd rather walk. I'm stronger now I've had that coffee. I'll walk down. The elevator boy wouldn't want me in his car. I'll walk."

    Down he started, not so hungry now, though as ragged as ever. And, too, Aunt Lu had given him money enough to last him for a few days, until he could find work to earn money for himself.

    "But, Bunny and Sue, please don't ask any more ragged men up without first coming to tell me," said Aunt Lu with a smile. "I like to be kind to all poor persons, but you see I live in a house with many other families, and some of them might not like to have tramps come up here. However, you meant all right, only come and tell me or your mother first, after this."

    "I will," promised Bunny. "But he was awful hungry; wasn't he?"

    "I guess he was, and I'm glad we could help him. But now Wopsie is ready to take you to the moving pictures. Run along."

    Bunny and Sue had another good time at the pictures. They saw the play of Cinderella, and liked it very much. After they came out they went to a drug store, and had ice-cream.

    One day Aunt Lu said to Bunny and Sue:

    "How would you like to go to the aquarium?"

    "What's that?" asked Bunny. "Is it like a moving picture show?"

    "Well, it is moving, and it is a show," answered Aunt Lu, with a smile. "But it is not exactly pictures. It is a big building down at the end of New York City, in a place called Battery Park, and in the building are tanks and pools, where live fish are swimming around. There are also seals, alligators and turtles. Would you like to go to see that?"

    Bunny and Sue thought they would, very much, and a little later, with their mother and Aunt Lu, they were in the aquarium. All around the building, which was in the shape of a circle, were glass tanks, in which big and little fish could be seen swimming about. In white tile-lined pools, in the middle of the floor, were larger fish, alligators, turtles and other things. Bunny was delighted.

    "Oh, if I could only catch some of these big fish," he said to Sue.

    "But you can't!"

    "Maybe I can," he said to her in a whisper. "I brought some pins with me, and some string. I'm going to try and catch a fish. Come on over here."

    From his pocket Bunny took a string and a pin. His mother and his aunt were looking down in the pool where some seals were swimming about. Bunny, holding Sue's hand, led her over to the other side of the aquarium where there was a pool containing some large fish, and some big turtles.

    "I'm going to fish here," said Bunny Brown.
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