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    Chapter 21

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    Chapter 21
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    THE REAL PARTY

    The poor children on the stoop (I call them poor just so you'll know they didn't have much money) these poor children were pretending so hard to have a party, that they never noticed Bunny Brown, and his sister Sue, with Wopsie, watching them.

    "When are we goin' to eat?" asked a ragged little boy, who sat on the lowest step.

    "When I says to begin, dat's when you eat," said the big, ragged girl, who seemed to have gotten up the play-party. "And I don't want nobody to ask for no second piece of cake, 'cause there ain't enough."

    "Is there any pie?" asked a little boy, whose face was quite dirty. "'Cause if there's pie, I'd just as lief have that as cake."

    "There ain't no pie," said the big girl. "Now we'll begin. Mikie Snell, you let that ice-cream alone, I tells you!"

    "I--I was jest seein' if it was meltin'," and Mikie drew back a dirty hand he had reached over toward a big empty clam shell. That shell was the make-believe dish of ice-cream, you see.

    "Say, dis suah am a funny party," whispered Wopsie to Sue. "I--I don't see nuffin to eat!"

    "Hush!" whispered Sue. "You never have anything to eat at a play-party; do you, Bunny?"

    "Nope. But when we have one we always go in the house afterward, and mother gives us something."

    "Let's watch them play," whispered Sue.

    And so, not having found Bunny's kite, he and his sister Sue, and Wopsie, stood by the stoop, and watched the poor, ragged children at their play-party.

    It was just like the ones Bunny and Sue sometimes had. There was make believe pie, cake, lemonade and ice-cream. And the children on the stoop, in the big, busy street of New York, had just as much fun at their play-party as Bunny and Sue had at theirs, in the beautiful country, or by the seashore.

    "Now we're goin' to have the ice-cream," said the big girl, as she smoothed down her ragged dress. "And don't none of you eat it too fast, or it'll give you a face-ache, 'cause it's awful cold."

    Then she made believe to dish out the pretend-ice-cream, and the children made believe to eat it with imaginary spoons.

    "I couldn't have no more, could I?" asked a little girl.

    "Why Lizzie Bloomenstine! I should say not!" cried the big girl. "The ice-cream is all gone. Hello, what you lookin' at?" she asked quickly as she saw Bunny, Sue and Wopsie.

    For a moment Bunny did not answer. The big girl frowned, and the others at the play-party did not seem pleased.

    "Go on away an' let us alone!" the big girl said. "Can't we have a party without you swells comin' to stare at us?"

    Bunny and Sue really were not staring at the play-party to be impolite.

    "What they want?" asked another of the ragged children.

    "Oh, jest makin' fun at us, 'cause we ain't got nothin' to play real party with, I s'pose," grumbled the big girl. "Go on away!" she ordered.

    Then Sue had an idea. I have told you of some of the ideas Bunny Brown had, but this time it was Sue's turn. She was going to do a queer thing.

    "If you please," she said in her most polite voice to the big ragged girl, "we only stopped to look at your play-party, to see how you did it."

    "'Cause we have 'em like that ourselves," added Bunny.

    "And they're lots of fun," went on Sue. "We play just like you do, with empty plates, and tin dishes and all that. Do you ever have cherry pie at your play parties?"

    The big girl was not scowling now. She had a kinder look on her face. After all she had found that the "swells," as she called Bunny and Sue, were just like herself.

    "No, we never have cherry pie," she said, "it costs too much, even at make-believe parties. But we has frankfurters and rolls."

    "Oh, how nice!" Sue said. "We never have them; do we Bunny?"

    "Nope."

    "But we will, next time we have a play-party," Sue went on. "I think they must be lovely. How do you cook 'em?"

    "Well, we just frys 'em--make believe," said the big girl, who was smiling now. "But I can cook real, an' when we has any money at home, an' me ma buys real sausages, I boils 'em an' we eats 'em wit mustard on."

    Sue thought the big girl talked in rather a queer way, but of course we cannot all talk alike. It would be a funny world if we did; wouldn't it?

    "It must be nice to cook real sausages," said Sue. "I wish I could do it. But will all of you children come to my party to-morrow?" she asked.

    "Are you goin' to have a party?" inquired the big girl.

    "Yes," nodded Sue. "We're going to have a party at our Aunt Lu's house; aren't we, Bunny? We are, 'cause I'm going to ask her to have one, as soon as we get back," Sue whispered to her brother. "So you say 'yes.' We are going to have a party; aren't we, Bunny?" Sue spoke out loud this time.

    "Yes," answered the little boy. "We're going to have one."

    "A real party?" the big girl wanted to know.

    Bunny looked at Sue. He was going to let her answer.

    "Yes, it will be a real party," said Sue, "and we'll have all real things to eat. Will you come?"

    "Will we come?" cried the big girl. "Well, I guess we will!"

    "Even a policeman couldn't keep us away!" said the boy who had wanted to feel the ice-cream, to see if it was melting.

    "Then you can all come to my Aunt Lu's house to-morrow afternoon," Sue went on. "I'll tell her you're coming."

    "Where is it?" asked the big girl.

    Sue felt in her pocket and brought out one of Aunt Lu's cards, which Miss Baker had given the little girl in case she became lost.

    "That's our address," said Sue. "You come there to-morrow afternoon, and we'll have a real party. I'm pleased to have met you," and with a polite bow, saying what she had often heard her mother say on parting from a new friend, Sue turned away.

    "Will you an' your brother be there?" the big, ragged girl wanted to know.

    "Yes," said Bunny. "I'll be there, and so will Wopsie."

    "Is she Wopsie?" asked the big girl, pointing to the colored piccaninny.

    "Dat's who I is!" Wopsie exclaimed. "But dat's only mah make-believe name. Mah real one am Sallie Jefferson. Dat name was on de card pinned to me, but de address was tored off."

    "Well, Sallie or Wopsie, it's all de same to me," said the big girl. "We'll see you at de party!"

    "Yes, please all come," said Sue once more. Then she walked on with Wopsie and her brother.

    "Say, Miss Sue, is yo' all sartin suah 'bout dis yeah party?" asked Wopsie, as they turned the corner.

    "Why, of course we're sure about it, Wopsie."

    "Well, yo' auntie don't know nuffin 'bout it."

    "She will, as soon as we get home, for I'll tell her," said Sue. "It will be fun; won't it, Bunny?"

    "I--I guess so."

    Bunny did not know quite what to make of what Sue had done. Getting up a real party in such a hurry was a new idea for him. Still it might be all right.

    "It's a good thing I lost my kite," said Bunny. "'Cause if I hadn't we couldn't have seen those children to invite to the party."

    "Yes," said Sue, "it was real nice. We'll have lots of fun at the party. I hope they'll all come."

    "Oh, dey'll come all right!" said Wopsie, shaking her head. "But I don't jest know what yo' Aunt Lu's gwine t' say."

    "Oh, that will be all right," answered Sue easily.

    When the children reached home, they rode up in the elevator with Henry, and Sue found her aunt in the library with Mother Brown.

    "Aunt Lu," began Sue, "have you got lots of cake and jam tarts and jelly tarts in the house?"

    "Why, I think Mary baked a cake to-day," Sue. "What did you ask that for?"

    "And can you buy real ice-cream at a store near here, or make it?" Sue wanted to know.

    "Why, yes, child, but what for?" Aunt Lu was puzzled.

    "Then it's all right," Sue went on. "You're going to give a real play-party to a lot of ragged children here to-morrow afternoon. I invited them. I gave them your card. And now, please, I want a jam tart, or a piece of cake, for myself. And then we must tell Henry when the ragged children come, to let them come up in the elevator. They're little, just like me, and they never could walk up all the stairs. I hope your real play-party will be nice, Aunt Lu," and Sue, smoothing out her dress, sat down in a chair.
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