Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue at Aunt L... by Laura Lee Hope

"Bunny! Bunny Brown! Sue, dear! Aren't you going to get up?"

Mrs. Brown stood in the hall, calling to her two sleeping children. The sun was shining brightly out of doors, but the little folks had not yet gotten out of bed.

"My! But you are sleeping late this morning!" went on Mrs. Brown. "Come, Bunny! Sue! It's time for breakfast!"

There was a patter of bare feet in one room. Then a little voice called.

"Oh, Bunny! I'm up first. Come on, we'll go and help grandma feed the chickens!"

Little Sue Brown tapped on the door of her brother's room.

"Get up, Bunny!" she cried, laughing. "I'm up first; Let's go and get the eggs."

In the room where Bunny Brown slept could be heard a sort of grunting, stretching, yawning sound. That was the little boy waking up. He heard what his sister Sue said.

"Ho! Ho!" he laughed, as he rubbed his sleepy eyes: "Go to get eggs with grandma! I guess you think we're back on grandpa's farm; don't you Sue?" and he came to his door to look out into the hall, where his mother stood smiling at the two children.

When Bunny said that, Sue looked at him in surprise. She rubbed her hand across her eyes once or twice, glanced around the hall, back into her room, and then at her mother. A queer look was on Sue's face.

"Why--why!" she exclaimed. "Oh, why, Bunny Brown! That's just what I did think! I thought we were back at grandpa's, and we're not at all--we're in our home; aren't we?"

"Of course!" laughed Mrs. Brown. "But you were sleeping so late that I thought I had better call you. Aren't you ready to get up? The sun came up long ago, and he's now shining brightly."

"Did the sun have its breakfast, Mother?" asked Bunny.

"Yes, little man. He drank a lot of dew, off the flowers. That's all he ever takes. Now you two get dressed, and come down and have your breakfast, so we can clear away the dishes. Hurry now!"

Mrs. Brown went down stairs, leaving Bunny and Sue to dress by themselves, for they were old enough for that now.

"Oh, Bunny!" exclaimed the little girl, as she went back in her own room. "I really did think, when I first woke up, that we were back at Grandpa Brown's, and that we were going out to help grandma feed the hens."

"Do you wish we were, Sue?" asked Bunny.

"Oh, I don't know, Bunny," said Sue slowly. "I did like it at grandma's, and we had lots of fun playing circus. But I like it at home here, too."

"So do I," said Bunny, as he started to get dressed.

The two children, with their father and mother, had come back, only the day before, from a long visit to Grandpa Brown's, in the country. I'll tell you about that a little later. So it is no wonder that Sue, awakening from the first night's sleep in her own house, after the long stay in the country, should think she was back at grandpa's.

"Bunny, Bunny!" called Sue, after a bit.

"What is it?" he asked.

"Will you button my dress for me?"

"Is it one of the kind that buttons up the back, Sue?"

"Yes. If it buttoned in front I could do it myself. Will you help me, just as you did once before, 'cause I'm hungry for breakfast!"

"Yep, I'll help you, Sue. Only I hope your dress isn't got a lot of buttons on, Sue. I always get mixed up when you make me button that kind, for I have some buttons, or button-holes, left over every time."

"This dress only has four buttons on it, Bunny, an' they're big ones."

"That's good!" cried the little fellow, and he had soon buttoned Sue's dress for her. Then the two children went down to breakfast.

"What can we do now, Bunny?" asked Sue, as they arose from the table. "We want to have some fun."

"Yes," said Bunny. "We do."

That was about all he and Sue thought of when they did not have to go to school. They were always looking for some way to have fun. And they found it, nearly always.

For Bunny Brown was a bright, daring little chap, always ready to do something, and very often he got into mischief when looking for fun. Nor was that the worst of it, for he took Sue with him wherever he went, so she fell into mischief too. But she didn't mind. She was always as ready for fun as was Bunny, and the two had many good times together--"The Brown twins," some persons called them, though they were not, for Bunny was a year older than Sue, being six, while she was only a little over five, about "half-past five," as she used to say, while Bunny was "growing on seven."

"Yes," said Bunny slowly, as he went out on the shady porch with his sister Sue, "we want to have some fun."

"Let's go down to the fish dock," said Sue. "We haven't seen the boats for a long time. We didn't see any while we were at grandpa's."

"Course not," agreed Bunny. "They don't have boats on a farm. But we had a nice ride on the duck pond, on the raft, Sue."

"Yes, we did, Bunny. But we got all wet and muddy." Sue laughed as she remembered that, and so did Bunny.

"All right, we'll go down to the fish dock," agreed the little boy.

Their father, Mr. Walter Brown, was in the boat business at Bellemere, on Sandport bay, near the ocean. Mr. Brown owned many boats, and fishermen hired some, to go away out on the ocean, and catch fish and lobsters. Other men hired sail boats, row boats or gasoline motor boats to take rides in on the ocean or bay, and often Bunny and Sue would have boat trips, too.

The children always liked to go down to the fish dock, and watch the boats of the fishermen come in, laden with what the men had caught in their nets. Mr. Brown had an office on the fish dock.

"Where are you two children going?" called Mrs. Brown after Bunny and Sue, as they went out the front gate.

"Down to Daddy's dock," replied Bunny.

"Well, be careful you don't fall in the water."

"We won't," promised Sue. "Wait 'til I get my doll, Bunny!" she called to her brother.

She ran back into the house, and came out, in a little while, carrying a big doll.

"I didn't take you to grandpa's with me," said Sue, talking to the doll as though it were a real baby, "but I'll take you down to see the fish now. You like fish, don't you, dollie?"

"She wouldn't like 'em if they bit her," said Bunny.

"I won't let 'em bite her!" retorted Sue.

At the fish dock Bunny and Sue saw a tall, good-natured, red-haired boy coming out of their father's office.

"Oh, Bunker Blue!" cried Bunny. "Are any fish boats coming in?"

Bunker Blue was Mr. Brown's helper, and was very fond of Bunny and Sue. He had been to grandpa's farm, in the country, with them.

"Yes, one of the fish boats is coming in now," said Bunker. "You can come with me and watch."

Bunny took hold of one of Bunker's hands, and Sue the other. They always did this when they went out on the dock, for the water was very deep on each side, and though the children could swim a little, they did not want to fall into such deep water; especially with all their clothes on.

Soon they were at the end of the dock. Coming up to it was a sailing boat, that had been out to sea for fish.

"Did you get many?" called Bunker to the captain.

"Yes, quite a few fish this time. Want to come and look at them? Bring the children!"

"Oh, can we go on the boat?" asked Bunny eagerly.

"I guess so," said Bunker Blue.

He led the children carefully to the deck of the fish boat. Bunny and Sue looked down into a hole, through an opening in the deck. The hole was filled with fish, some of which were still flapping their tails, for they had only just been taken out of the nets.

"Oh-o-o-o! What a lot of fish!" exclaimed Sue. She leaned over to see better, when, all at once, her doll slipped from her arms, and fell right down among the flapping fish.

"Oh, dear!" cried Sue.

"I'll get her for you!" cried Bunny, and he was just going to jump down in among the fish, too, but Bunker Blue caught him by the arm.

"You'll spoil all your clothes if you do that, little man!" Bunker said.

"But I want to get Sue's doll!"

Bunny himself did not care anything about dolls; he would not play with them. But he loved his sister Sue, and he knew that she was very fond of this doll, so he wanted to get it for her. That was why he was ready to jump down in the hold (as that part of the ship is called) among the flapping fish.

"I'll get her for you," said Bunker. With a long pole Bunker fished up the doll. Her dress was all wet, for there was water on the fish.

"And oh! dear! She smells just like a fish herself!" cried Sue, puckering up her nose in a funny way.

"You can take off her dress and wash it," said Bunny.

"Yes," said Sue, "I can do that, and I will." She took off the doll's dress, and then looked for some place to wash it.

"Here, Sue, give it to me," said the captain of the boat, for he knew Bunny and Sue very well indeed. "I'll soon have the dress clean for you."

"How?" asked Sue, as she gave it to Captain Tuttle.

He tied the dress to a string, and then dipped it in the water, over the side of the boat. Up and down in the water he lifted the doll's dress, pulling it up by the string.

"That's how we sailors wash our clothes when we're in a hurry," said Captain Tuttle. "Now when your doll's dress is dry, it will be nice and clean. You can hang it up here to dry, while you're watching us take out the fish."

He fastened Sue's doll's dress on a line over the cabin, and then he and his men took the fish out of the boat, and packed them in barrels in ice to send to the city.

Bunny and Sue looked on, and thought it great fun. Sometimes a big flat fish, called a flounder, would slip from one of the baskets, in which the men were putting them, and flop out on deck, almost sliding overboard.

Soon all the fish were out, and as Sue's doll's dress was now dry, she and Bunny started back home.

"Well, we had fun then, Sue," said the little boy. "Didn't we?"

"Yes," agreed his sister. "But what can we do this afternoon?"

"Oh, we'll go down to Charlie Star's house and have some fun. He's got a new swing and a hammock."

"Oh, that will be fine!" cried Sue.

The children had a good time playing with Charlie that afternoon. Others of their playmates came also, and Bunny and Sue told of the jolly fun they had had in the country, on grandpa's farm.

After a while the sun, that had been shining brightly all day, began to get ready to go to bed, down back of the hills where the clouds would cover it up until morning. And it was time also, for Bunny Brown and his sister Sue to go to bed. All the little folk of the town of Bellemere were getting sleepy.

How long Bunny and Sue slept they did not know. But Bunny was dreaming he had turned into a fish, and was going to flop into the water, and Sue was dreaming that she and her doll were having a fine ride in a motor boat, when both children were awakened by the loud ringing of a bell.

"Ding-dong! Ding-dong! Ding-dong!" went the bell.

"Is that our door bell?" asked Sue of Bunny, who slept in the room next to hers, the door being open between.

"No, I guess it's a church bell," said Bunny, half awake.

Then he and his sister heard their father moving around his room.

"What is it, Walter?" asked Mrs. Brown.

"It's a midnight alarm," he answered. "I guess it must be a fire, though it's the church bell that's ringing. I can't see any blaze from my window, but it must be a fire, or why would they ring the bell?"

"And why should they ring the church bell, when we have a fire bell?" asked Mrs. Brown.

"I don't know," answered her husband. "I guess I'd better get up, and see what it is. I wouldn't want any of my boats to burn up."
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