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    Chapter 25

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    Chapter 25
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    A HAPPY CHRISTMAS

    Aunt Lu and Mother Brown were very much surprised when Bunny Brown and his sister Sue came in with Aunt Sallie; and when they heard the story told by the nice, old colored woman, they were more surprised than before.

    "Do you really think she can be Wopsie's aunt?" asked Mrs. Brown.

    "It may be," answered Aunt Lu. "We can find out."

    "Oh, I do hope I'se got some folks at last!" said Wopsie, over and over again. "I do hope I's gwine t' hab some folks like other people."

    Aunt Lu asked Aunt Sallie many questions, and it did seem certain that the old colored woman was aunt to some little colored girl who had been sent up from down South, but who had become lost.

    And if Aunt Sallie had lost a niece, and if Wopsie had lost an aunt, it might very well be that they belonged to one another.

    "We can find out, if you write to your friends down South," said Aunt Lu to the old colored woman.

    "An' dat's jest what I'll do," was the answer.

    It took nearly two weeks for the letters to go and come, and all this while Wopsie was anxiously waiting. So was Aunt Sallie, for Bunny and Sue learned to call her that. She would come nearly every day to Aunt Lu's house, to learn if she had received any word about Wopsie.

    And, every day, nearly, Bunny and Sue, with Wopsie, or Sallie, as they sometimes called her, would go to Central Park. They would walk up to Aunt Sallie's stand, and talk with her, sometimes buying sticks of candy.

    For now it was almost too cold for ice-cream. Some days it was so cold and blowy that Bunny and Sue could not go out. The ponies and donkeys were no longer kept in the park for children to have rides. It was too cold for the little animals. They would be kept in the warm stables until summer came again.

    Wopsie, or Sallie, still stayed at Aunt Lu's house, with Bunny and Sue. For Aunt Lu did not want to let the little colored girl go to live with Aunt Sallie, until it was sure she belonged to her. Aunt Sallie had made money at her little candy stand, which she had kept in the park for a number of years, and she was well able to take care of Sallie and herself.

    "As soon as I hear from down South, that Aunt Sallie is your aunt, you shall go to her, Wopsie," Aunt Lu had said.

    "Well, Miss Baker, I suttinly wants t' hab folks, like other chilluns," said the little colored girl, "but I suah does hate t' go 'way from yo' who has bin so good t' me."

    "Well, you have been good, and have helped me very much, also," said Aunt Lu.

    One day there was a flurry of snow flakes in the air. Bunny and Sue watched them from the windows.

    "Oh, soon we can ride down hill!" cried Sue. "Won't you be glad, Bunny?"

    "I sure will!" Bunny said. Then, coming close to Sue he whispered: "Say, maybe if we went up on the roof now, we could have a slide. Let's go. The roof is flat, and we can't fall off on account of the railing around it. Come on and have a slide."

    "I will!" said Sue.

    Putting on their warm, outdoor clothes, the children went up on the flat roof. There was plenty of snow up there, and soon they were having a fine slide. It was rather funny to be sliding up on the roof, instead of down on the ground, as they would have done at home, but, as I have told you, New York is a queer place, anyhow.

    After a while Bunny and Sue grew tired of sliding. It was snowing harder now, and they were cold in the sharp wind.

    "Oh, Bunny!" cried Sue, "I wonder if Santa Claus can get down this chimney? It's the only one there is for Aunt Lu's house, and it isn't very big. Do you think Santa Claus can climb down?"

    "We'll look," Bunny said.

    But the chimney was so high that Bunny and Sue could not look down inside. They were very much worried as to whether St. Nicholas could get into Aunt Lu's rooms to leave any Christmas presents.

    "Let's go down and ask her how Santa Claus comes," said Sue.

    "All right," agreed Bunny, and down they went.

    But when they reached Aunt Lu's rooms, Bunny and Sue found so much going on, that, for a while, they forgot all about Santa Claus.

    For Aunt Lu was reading a letter, and Wopsie was dancing up and down in the middle of the floor, crying out:

    "Oh, I'se got folks! I'se got folks!"

    "Is Aunt Sallie really your aunt?" asked Bunny.

    "Yes'm! She is. She is! I'se got folks at last!" and up and down danced Wopsie, clapping her hands, the "pigtails" of kinky hair bobbing up and down on her head.

    And so it proved. The letters from down South had just come, and they said that Sallie Lucindy Johnson, or "Aunt Sallie," as the children called her, was really the aunt to whom Wopsie, or Sallie Jefferson, had been sent. The card had been torn off her dress, and so Sallie's aunt's address was lost. But that meeting in the park, after the pony runaway, had made everything come out all right.

    The letters which Aunt Lu had written before, and the messages she had sent, had not gone to the right place. For it was from Virginia, that Wopsie came, not North or South Carolina, as the little colored girl had said at first. You see she was so worried, over being lost, that she forgot. But Aunt Sallie knew it was from a little town in Virginia that her sister's child was to come, and, writing there, she learned the truth, and found out that Wopsie was the one she had been so long expecting. So everything came out all right.

    "Oh, but I suah is glad I'se found yo' at last!" said the nice old colored woman, as she held her niece in her arms.

    "I suppose you are going to take her away from us?" said Aunt Lu.

    "Yaas'm. I'd like t' hab mah Sallie."

    "Well, now she can go. But I want you both to come back for Christmas."

    "We will!" promised Aunt Sallie and little Sallie.

    The word Christmas made Bunny and Sue think of what they were going to ask their Aunt Lu.

    "Where does Santa Claus come down?"

    "Is that chimney on the roof big enough for him?" asked Sue. "And hasn't you got an open fireplace, Aunt Lu?"

    "No, we haven't that. But I think Santa Claus will get down the chimney all right with your presents. If he doesn't come in that way, he'll find some other way to get in. Don't worry."

    So Bunny Brown and his sister Sue waited patiently for Christmas to come. Several times, when it was not too cold, or when there was not too much snow, the children went up on the roof. Once they took up with them a box, so Bunny could stand on it. He thought perhaps he could look down the chimney that way.

    But the box was not high enough, and Bunny slipped off and hurt his leg, so he and Sue gave it up.

    Two weeks passed. It would soon be Christmas now. Bunny and Sue were taken through the New York stores by their mother and aunt, and the children saw the many wonderful things Santa Claus's workers had made for boys and girls--dolls, sleds, skates, toy-airships, Teddy bears, Noah's arks, spinning tops, choo-choo cars, electric trains, dancing clowns--little make-believe circuses, magic lanterns--so many things that Bunny and Sue could not remember half of them.

    The children had written their Christmas letters, and put them on the mantel one night.

    In the morning the letters were gone, so, of course, Santa Claus must have taken them.

    Then it was the night before Christmas. Oh, how happy Bunny and Sue felt! They hung up their stockings and went to bed. Their rooms were next to one another with an open door between.

    "Bunny," whispered Sue, as Mother Brown went out, after turning low the light; "Bunny, is you asleep?"

    "No, Sue. Are you?"

    "Nope. I don't feel sleepy. But does you think Santa Claus will surely come down that little chimney, when Aunt Lu hasn't got a fireplace for him?"

    "I--I guess so, Sue."

    "Come, you children must get quiet and go to sleep!" called Mother Brown. "It will be Christmas, and Santa Claus will be here all the quicker, if you go to sleep."

    And at last Bunny Brown and his sister Sue did go to sleep. The sun was not up when they awoke, but it was Christmas morning.

    "Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!" cried Bunny and Sue as they ran to where they had hung their stockings.

    They found many presents on the chairs, over the backs of which hung their stockings, which were filled with candy and nuts.

    "Oh, Santa Claus came! Santa Claus came!" cried Sue.

    "Yep! He found the chimney all right!" laughed Bunny.

    And such a Merry Christmas as the children had! There were presents for Mother Brown, and Aunt Lu, and some for Mary the cook, and Jane, the housemaid, and later in the day, when Sallie and her aunt came, there were presents for them, also.

    And when dinner time came, and the big turkey, all nice and brown, was taken from the oven, and put on the table, Mother Brown said:

    "And now for the best present of all!"

    She opened a door, and out stepped Daddy Brown!

    "Merry Christmas, Bunny! Merry Christmas, Sue!" he cried, as he caught them up in his arms and hugged and kissed them.

    And a very Merry Christmas it was. Mr. Brown had come to spend the holidays with his family in New York. And such fun as Bunny and Sue had telling him all their adventures since coming to Aunt Lu's city home. I couldn't begin to tell you half!

    "I don't believe we'll ever have such a good time anywhere else," said Sue, as she hugged her new doll in her arms.

    "Oh, maybe we will," cried Bunny, as he ran his toy locomotive around the room.

    And whether the children did or not you may learn by reading the next book of this series, which will be named: "Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue at Camp Rest-a-While." In that I will tell you all that happened when the children went out in the woods, to live in a tent, near a beautiful lake.

    "And so you two found Wopsie's aunt for her, did you?" asked Mr. Brown as he sat down, after dinner, with Bunny on one knee and Sue on the other.

    "Well, I guess it was the runaway pony that did it," said Bunny, with a laugh. And I, myself, think the pony helped; don't you?

    "Oh, Bunny!" whispered Sue that night, as she went to bed, hugging her new doll. "Hasn't this been a lovely Christmas?"

    "The best ever," said Bunny, sleepily.

    And so, for a little while we will say Merry Christmas, and good-bye, to Bunny Brown and his sister Sue.

    THE END.

    * * * * * * * * * * * *
    Chapter 25
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