Chapter XI. Lost
 

Bunny and Sue leaned back in the trolley car seat, and felt very happy. They loved to ride and travel, and they did not think they were doing wrong to take a trolley ride without asking their mother or father. If they had asked, of course, Mrs. Brown would not have let them go alone. But that is the way matters generally went with Bunny and Sue.

Faster and faster went the trolley car. Bunny looked at Sue and smiled, and she smiled at him. The conductor came along the step of the car, which was an open one, to collect the fares. Bunny and Sue each handed him a five cent piece, and he handed them each back two pennies.

"Oh, I didn't know we got any change!" exclaimed Bunny, in surprise

"The fare to Wayville is only three cents, for such little tots as you," the conductor said. "Are you sure you know where you are going?" he asked.

"We're going to our Uncle Henry's," replied Bunny. "And he lives near the big, white church."

"Well, I can let you off there all right. Now be careful, and don't lean over out of your seats. You're pretty small to be taking trolley rides alone."

"We went alone in a boat the other day," Bunny told the conductor, "and we got shipwrecked."

"On an island in the river," added Sue, so the conductor would know what her brother meant.

"Well, if you've been shipwrecked, I guess you are able to take a trolley ride," laughed the motorman, for Bunny and Sue were riding in the front seat.

"Hey, conductor!" called a man in the back seat of the car, "there's a dog chasing after us!"

"Why, so there is!" The conductor seemed much surprised as he looked back.

Bunny and Sue stood up and also looked behind them. There, indeed, was a big shaggy dog, running after the car, his tongue hanging out of his mouth. He seemed very tired and hot.

"Why--why!" cried Sue, "that's our dog--it's Splash, and he splashed in and pulled me out of the water when I fell in, the time Bunny and I were shipwrecked!"

"Oh, we forgot all about him, when we got on the car," Bunny cried. He felt very sorry for Splash.

"I thought he'd come right on the car with us," Sue said. "And we'd have money enough to pay his fare, too," she added, looking at the two pennies in her chubby fist. "Is it three cents for dogs, too, mister?" she asked the conductor.

The conductor laughed, and some of the passengers did also. Then Bunny, who had been looking at poor Splash, racing along after the trolley car, which was now going quite fast, called out:

"Please stop the car, Mr. Conductor. We want our dog!"

"But you can't take a dog on the car, my boy. It isn't allowed. I'm sorry."

Bunny thought for a minute. Then he said:

"Well, if we can't bring our dog on the car, We'll get off and walk; won't we, Sue?"

"Yes, that's what we will."

"All right," agreed the conductor. "I'm sorry, for I'd like to do you the favor, but I'm not allowed." He rang the bell, and the car slowed up. Splash barked joyfully, for he Was very tired from running after his little friends, who went so fast and so far ahead of him.

The conductor helped Bunny and Sue down. The car had stopped along a country road, near a patch of woods, in rather a lonesome place.

"Here, youngsters," went on the trolley man, while Splash rushed up to Bunny and Sue, barking happily, "here, youngsters, take your money back. You didn't ride three cents' worth, hardly, and I'll fix it up all right with the company. You'd better take the next car back home. Your dog can find his way all right."

And then the car rattled off again, leaving Bunny and Sue, still with five cents each, Standing in the road, with their dog Splash.

"Poor fellow," said Bunny, putting his arms around the shaggy neck of his pet, "you must be awful tired!"

"He is," Sue agreed. "We'll sit down in the shade with him, and let him rest."

They found a nice place, where the grass was green, and where some trees made a shade, and near by was a spring of cool water.

Bunny made a little cup, from an oak leaf, and gave Sue a drink. Then he took some himself, and, a little later, Splash lapped up some water where it ran in a tiny stream down the grassy side of the road.

"Now he's rested, and we can go on," Sue remarked after a bit. "Where shall we go, Bunny--to Uncle Henry's?"

"Well, it's too far to walk, and we don't want to ride in the car, and make Splash run, so maybe we'd better go back home. We can get the balloons now. The conductor was good not to take our money."

"Yes, I like him," and Sue looked down the track on which, a good way off, could be seen the trolley car they had left.

"We can walk back home," went on Bunny. "It isn't far. Come on, Sue!"

Down the country road started the two children, Splash following, or, now and then, running off to one side, to bark at a bird, or at a squirrel or chipmunk that bounded along the rail fence.

Bunny and Sue thought they would have no trouble at all in going back home, but they did not know how far away it was.

"All we'll have to do will be to keep along the trolley track," said Bunny. "If we had my express wagon now, and a harness for Splash, he could pull us."

"Oh, that would be fun!" Sue cried. "It would be just like a little trolley car of out own. You could be the motorman and I Would be the conductor."

"We'll play that when we get home," her brother decided. "Oh, look! What's Splash barking at now?"

The dog had found something beside the road, and was making quite a fuss over it. It looked like a black stone, but Bunny and Sue could see that it was moving, and stones do not move unless someone throws them.

"Oh, maybe it's a snake!" and Sue hung back as Bunny ran toward the dog.

"Snakes aren't big and round like that," her brother answered. "They're long and thin, like worms, only bigger. Oh, it's a mud-turtle!" Bunny exclaimed as he came closer, "A great big mud-turtle, Sue,"

"Will he--will he bite?'

"He might. He's got a head like a lobster's claw," replied Bunny. "But he won't bite me 'cause I won't let him get hold of my finger."

"He might bite our dog! Come away, Splash!" Sue cried.

But the dog knew better than to get too near the turtle, which really could bite very hard if he wanted to. Bunny got a stick, and poked at Mr. Turtle, who at once pulled his head and legs up inside his shell. Then he was more like a stone than ever.

And, as it was not much more fan than looking at a stone, to watch the closed-up turtle, Bunny and Sue soon grew tired of watching the slow- moving creature. Splash, too, seemed to think he was wasting time barking at such a thing, so he ran off to find something new.

Once more the two children walked along the road. The sun grew warmer and warmer, and finally Bunny spoke, saying:

"Let's walk in the woods, Sue. It will be cooler there."

"Oh, yes" agreed the little girl. "I love it in the woods."

So into the cool shade they went, Splash following. They found another spring of water, and drank some. They gathered flowers, and found some cones from a pine tree. With these they built two little houses, doll size.

Pretty soon Sue said she was hungry, and Bunny also admitted that he was.

"We'll coon be home now," he said. "And we'll stop at Mrs. Redden's, and get our balloons."

"Then we'll have lots of fun!" cried Sue, clapping her hands.

But the patch of woods through which the children had started to walk was larger than they thought. There seemed to be no end to it, the trees stretching on and on.

"Where's home?" Sue asked, after a bit. She was tired of walking.

Bunny stopped and looked about him.

"I can't see our house from here," he said. "but it's only a little way now. I guess maybe we'd better go out on the road, Sue. We can see better there."

But the road, too, seemed to have disappeared. Bunny and Sue went this way and that, but no road could they find. They listened, but they could not hear the clanging of the trolley car gong. It was very still and quiet in the woods, except, now and then, when Splash would run through the dried leaves, looking for another mud-turtle, perhaps.

"I'm hungry!" Sue exclaimed. "I want to go home, Bunny!"

"So do I," said the little fellow, "but I don't seem to know where our home is."

"Oh! Are we--are we lost?" whispered Sue.

Bunny nodded.

"I--I guess so," he answered.