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    Chapter 20

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    Chapter 20
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    THE PLAY PARTY

    High up in the air flew Bunny Brown's kite. The wind blew very hard on the high roof of Aunt Lu's house, harder than it blew down in the street. And, too, on the roof, there were no trees to catch the kite's tail and pull it. I think a kite doesn't like its tail pulled any more than a pussy cat, or a puppy dog does. Anyhow, nothing pulled the tail of Bunny's kite.

    "Doesn't it fly fine!" cried Sue, as Bunny let out more and more of the ball of cord.

    "Yes," he answered. "I'll let you hold it awhile, Sue, after it gets up higher."

    "And will you let Wopsie hold it, too?" asked the little girl.

    Sue was very kind hearted, and she always wanted to have the lonely little colored girl share in the joys and pleasures that Bunny and his sister so often had.

    "Sure, Wopsie can fly the kite!" Bunny answered. "It's almost up high enough now. Pretty soon it will be up near the clouds. Then I'll let you and Wopsie hold it awhile."

    Up and up went the kite, higher and higher. The wind was blowing harder than ever, sweeping over the roof, and Bunny moved back from the high rail for fear that, after all, the kite might pull him over. Pretty soon he had let out all the cord, except what was tied to a clothes pin his aunt had given him, and Bunny said:

    "Now you can hold the kite, Sue. But keep it tight, so it won't pull away from you."

    Sue did not come up to take the string, as Bunny thought she would. Instead, Sue said:

    "I--I guess Wopsie can take my turn, Bunny. I don't want to hold the kite. Let Wopsie."

    "Why, I thought you wanted to," the little boy said.

    "Well, I--I did, but I don't want to now," and Sue looked at the kite, high up in the air above the roof.

    "Come on, Wopsie!" called Bunny to the little colored girl. "You can hold the kite awhile."

    Wopsie shook her kinky, black, curly head.

    "No, sah, Bunny! I don't want t' hold no kite nohow!" she said.

    "Why not?" Bunny wanted to know.

    "Jest 'case as how I don't!" Wopsie explained.

    "Is--is you afraid, same as I am?" asked Sue.

    "Why, Sue!" cried Bunny. "You're not afraid to hold my kite; are you?"

    "Yes I is, Bunny."

    "What for?"

    "'Cause it's so high up," Sue told him. "The wind blows it so hard, and we're up on such a high roof, and the kite pulls so hard I'm afraid it might take me up with it."

    "That's jest what I'se skeered ob, too!" cried Wopsie. "I don't want t' git carried off up to no cloud, no sah! I wants t' find mah aunt 'fore I goes up to de sky!"

    Bunny Brown laughed.

    "Why this kite wouldn't pull you up!" he said. "It can't pull hard enough for that. Come on, I'll let both of you hold it together. It can't pull you both up."

    "Shall we?" asked Sue, looking at Wopsie.

    "Well, I will if yo' will," said the colored girl slowly.

    Slowly and carefully Sue and Wopsie took hold of the kite string. No sooner did they have it in their hands than there came a sudden puff of wind, harder than before, and the kite pulled harder than ever.

    "Oh, it's taking us up! It's taking us up!" cried Sue, and she let go the string.

    "I can't hold it all alone! I can't hold it all alone!" cried Wopsie. "I don't want to go up to de clouds in de sky!"

    And she, too, let go the cord. As it happened, Bunny did not have hold of it just then, thinking his sister and Wopsie would hold it, so you can easily guess what happened.

    The strong wind carried the kite, string and all, away through the air, the clothes pin, fast to the end of the cord, rattling along over the roof.

    "Oh, look!" cried Sue. "Your kite is loose, Bunny!"

    "Cotch it! Cotch it!" shouted Wopsie, now that she saw what had happened.

    Bunny did not say it was the fault of his sister and the little colored girl that the kite had gone sailing off by itself, though if the two girls had held to the string it never would have happened. But Bunny was too eager and anxious to get back his kite to say anything just then.

    With a bound he sprang after the rolling clothes pin. But it kept just beyond his reach. He could not get his hand on it. Faster and faster the kite sailed away. Bunny was now running across the roof after the clothes pin that was tied on the end of his kite cord.

    Then, all of a sudden, the clothes pin was pulled over the edge of the roof railing. Bunny could not get it. He stopped short at the edge of the roof, and looked at his kite sailing far away.

    "It--it's gone!" said Sue, in a low voice.

    "It--it suah has!" whispered Wopsie. "Oh, Bunny. I'se so sorry!"

    "So'm I!" added Sue.

    Bunny said nothing. He just looked at his kite, growing smaller and smaller as it sailed away through the air. It was too bad.

    "Never mind," said Bunny, swallowing the "crying lump" in his throat, as he called it. "It--it wasn't a very good kite anyhow. I'm going to get a bigger one."

    "Den we suah will be pulled offen de roof!" said Wopsie, and Bunny and Sue laughed at the queer way she said it.

    However, nothing could be done now to get the kite. Away it went, sailing on and on over other roofs. The long string, with the clothes pin on the end of it, dangled over the courtyard of the apartment house. Then the wind did not blow quite so hard for a moment, and the kite sank down.

    "Oh, maybe you can get it!" cried Sue.

    "Let's try!" exclaimed Bunny. "Come on, Wopsie. We'll go down to the street and run after my kite."

    Down to Aunt Lu's floor went the children. Quickly they told Mother Brown and Aunt Lu what had happened.

    "We're going to chase after my kite," said Bunny. "That's what we do in the country when a kite gets loose like mine did."

    "But I'm afraid it won't be so easy to run after a kite in the city as it is in the country," said Mother Brown. "There are too many houses here, Bunny. But you may try. Wopsie will go with you, and don't go too far away."

    Wopsie knew all the streets about Aunt Lu's house, and could not get lost, so it was safe for Bunny and Sue to go with her. A little later the three were down on the street, running in the direction they had last seen the kite. But they could see it no longer. There were too many houses in the way, and there were no big green fields, as in the country, across which one could look for ever and ever so far.

    For several blocks, and through a number of streets, Bunny Brown and his sister Sue, with Wopsie, tried to find the kite. But it was not in sight. They even asked a kind-looking policeman, but he had not seen it.

    "I guess we'll have to go back without it," said Bunny, sighing. "But I'll buy another to-morrow."

    The children turned to go back to Aunt Lu's house. Bunny and Sue looked about them. They had never been on this street before. It was not as nice as the one where their aunt lived. The houses were just as big, but they were rather shabby looking--like old and ragged dresses. And the people in the street, and the children, were not well dressed. Of course that was not their fault, they were poor, and did not have the money. Perhaps some of them did not even have money enough to get all they wanted to eat.

    "I--I don't like it here," whispered Sue to Wopsie. "Let's go home."

    "There's more children here than on our street," said Bunny. "Look at those boys wading in a mud puddle. I wish I could."

    "Don't you dare do it, Bunny Brown!" cried Sue. "You know we can't go barefoot in the city. Mother said so."

    "Yes, I know," Bunny answered.

    The three children walked on. As they passed a high stoop they saw a number of ragged boys and girls sitting around a box, on which were some old broken dishes and clam shells. One girl, larger than the others, was saying:

    "Now you has all got to be nice at my party, else you won't git nothin' to eat. Sammie Cohen, you sit up straight, and don't you grab any of that chocolate cake until I says you kin have it. Mary Mullaine, you keep your fingers out of dat lemonade. The party ain't started yet."

    "I--I don't see any party," said Bunny, looking at the empty clam shells, and the empty pieces of broken dishes on the soap box.

    "Hush!" exclaimed Sue in a whisper. "Can't you see it's a play-party, Bunny Brown. Same as we have!"
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