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    Chapter 24

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    Chapter 24
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    WOPSIE'S FOLKS

    The nice old colored woman, who called herself Aunt Sallie, bent first over Sue, helping the little girl stand up.

    "Is yo' all hurted, honey?" asked Aunt Sallie, brushing the pieces of grass from Sue's dress.

    "Oh, no, I'm not hurt at all, thank you," Sue replied. "It was a soft place to fall."

    "An' yo', li'l boy; am yo' all hurted?" she asked Bunny.

    "No, thank you, I'm all right. I used to be in a circus, so I know how to turn somersaults, you see."

    "What's dat! A li'l boy like yo' in a circus?"

    Aunt Sallie seemed very much surprised.

    "Oh, it wasn't a real circus," explained Sue.

    "No, it was only a make-believe one," Bunny said, as he began to brush the grass off his clothes. "We had one circus in grandpa's barn," he said, "and another in some tents. Say, Wopsie, is you hurted?" Bunny asked.

    By this time the colored girl had found out there was nothing the matter with her. Not even one of her tight, black braids of kinky hair had come loose. She stood up, smoothed down her dress, and said:

    "No'm, I'se not hurted."

    "Dat's good," said Aunt Sallie. "It's lucky yo' all wasn't muxed up an' smashed, when dat pony cart upset. Now yo' all jest come ober t' my place an' I'll let yo' rest. I guess heah comes de boy what belongs t' de pony."

    The short-legged boy came running across the field. He was very much out of breath, for he had run a good way.

    "Any--anybody hurt?" he asked.

    "No," said Bunny, "we're all right, and your pony's all right too, I guess."

    It seemed so, for the pony was eating grass as if he had had nothing to chew on in a long while. But then perhaps running made him hungry, as it does some boys and girls.

    The boy, with the help of Aunt Sallie, turned the cart right side up, fixed the harness, and then got in to drive back to the place where the other ponies and donkeys were kept.

    "Wait a minute!" cried Wopsie. "I done didn't pay yo' all fo' de chilluns' ride yet."

    "Oh, never mind," said the boy. "I guess the man won't charge you anything for this ride, because the pony ran away with you. It wasn't a regular ride. I won't take your money."

    "Oh, then we can save it for ice-cream cones!" cried Sue, for Wopsie had been given the money to pay for the children's rides in the pony cart.

    "Ice-cream cones!" cried Bunny. "I guess you can't get any up here!"

    "Oh, yes yo' kin, honey lamb!" exclaimed Aunt Sallie, as she called herself. "I keeps a li'l candy an' ice-cream stand right ober dere," and she pointed across the grassy lawn. "I was in my stand when I seed yo' all bein' runned away wif, so I come ober as soon as I could. I sells candy an' ice-cream cones, but I won't sell ice-cream much longer, 'cause it'll soon be winter. Den I'll sell hot coffee an' chocolate. But I got ice-cream now, ef yo' all wants to buy some."

    "Yes, I guess we do," stated Bunny. "Come on, Sue and Wopsie. We'll have some fun anyhow, even if we did get runned away with."

    "We's mighty lucky!" said Wopsie, as she watched the boy driving back in the pony cart. The little horse was going slowly now. "I guess we'll walk back," went on the colored girl. "It isn't so awful far."

    Following Aunt Sallie, who was quite fat, the children and Wopsie walked across the green, grassy lawn, for it was still green though it was now late in the fall. Soon the green grass would be covered with snow.

    Just as she had said, Aunt Sallie kept a little fruit, candy and ice-cream stand in the park. Soon the children and Wopsie were eating cones.

    "Does yo' chilluns lib 'round yeah?" asked Aunt Sallie, as she stood back of her little counter, watching Bunny and Sue.

    "We live at Aunt Lu's house--that is we're paying her a visit," said Bunny. "We live a good way off, and we were on Grandpa Brown's farm all summer. We're going to stay here in New York over Christmas."

    "Dat's jest fine!" exclaimed Aunt Sallie. "An' I suah hopes dat Santa Claus'll bring yo' all lots ob presents. Be yo' dere nuss maid?" Aunt Sallie asked of Wopsie.

    "No, Wopsie's a lost girl," said Bunny.

    "Lost? What yo' all mean?" asked Aunt Sallie. "She don't look laik she's lost."

    "But I is," Wopsie said. "I'se losted all mah folks. Miss Baker, dat's de Aunt Lu dey speaks ob, she tuck me in. She's awful good t' me."

    "We all like Wopsie," explained Sue. "She takes care of us."

    "Wopsie!" exclaimed Aunt Sallie. "Dat suah am a funny name. Who gib yo' all dat name, chile?"

    "Oh, dat's not mah real name," Wopsie explained. "Miss Lu jest calls me dat fo' short. Mah right name am Sallie Alexander Jefferson!"

    The old colored woman jumped off the chair on which she had been sitting. She looked closely at Wopsie.

    "Say dat ag'in, chile!" she cried. "Say dat ag'in!"

    "Say what ag'in?" Wopsie asked.

    "Yo' name! Say yo' name ag'in!"

    "Sallie Alexander Jefferson. Dat's mah name."

    To the surprise of Bunny Brown, and his sister Sue, Aunt Sallie threw her arms around Wopsie. Then the nice old colored woman cried:

    "Bress de deah Lord! I'se done found yo'!"

    She hugged and kissed Wopsie, who did not know what it all meant. She tried to get away from Aunt Sallie's arms, but the old colored woman held her tightly.

    "Bress de deah Lord! Bress de deah Lord!" Aunt Sallie cried over and over again. "I'se done found yo'!"

    Somehow or other Bunny understood.

    "Is you Wopsie's aunt that we've been looking for?" he asked. "She lost her folks, you know, when she came up from down South. I heard Aunt Lu say so. Are you her aunt?"

    "I suttinly believe I is, chile! I suttinly believe I is!" cried Aunt Sally. "Fo' a long time I'se bin 'spectin' de chile ob mah dead sister t' come t' me. Mah folks down Souf done wrote me dat dey was sendin' li'l Sallie on, but she neber come, an' I couldn't find her. But bress de deah Lord, now I has! I suttinly t'inks yo' suah am mah lost honey lamb! Her name was Sallie Jefferson. Jefferson was de name ob mah sister what died, an' she say, 'fore she died, dat she'd named her chile after me. So yo' all mus' be her."

    "Maybe I is! Oh, maybe I is! An' maybe I'se found mah folks at last!" cried Wopsie, or Sallie, as we must now call her. There were tears of joy in her eyes, as well as in the eyes of Aunt Sallie.

    "If you ask Aunt Lu maybe she could tell you if Wopsie is the one you're looking for," said Bunny.

    "Dat's what I'll do, chile! Dat's what I'll do!" cried Aunt Sallie. "I'll shut up mah stand, an' go see yo' Aunt Lu."

    And, a little later, they were all in Aunt Lu's house.

    "Well, what has happened now?" asked Aunt Lu, as she saw the strange colored woman with Wopsie and the children.

    "Oh, we was runned away with in the pony cart," explained Sue, "and we got spilled out, but we fell on some piles of grass and didn't get hurt a bit. And Aunt Sallie found us, and we bought ice-cream cones of her and--"

    "And--and she's Wopsie's aunt, what we've been looking for," interrupted Bunny, fearing Sue would never tell the best part of the news. "This is Wopsie's aunt," and he waved his hand toward fat Aunt Sallie. "She's been looking for a lost girl, and her name is Sallie, and--"

    "Dat's it--Sallie Jefferson," broke in the colored woman. "Mah name is Sallie Lucindy Johnson, an' I had a sister named Dinah Jefferson down Souf. So if dis girl's name am Sallie Jefferson den she may be mah sister's chile, an', if she am--"

    "Why, den I'se found mah folks! Dat's what I has!" cried Wopsie, unable to keep still any longer. "Oh, I do hope I'se found mah folks!"
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