Chapter XVI. The Lemonade Stand
 

Bunny Brown tried to clap the cover quickly back on the box, but he did not quite do it. It went on crooked, and when Charlie Star tried to help he only made it worse, so that the cover went spinning to one side.

Suddenly some little green animals began hopping from the box. Out they hopped, and then they began jumping in all directions, among the little boys and girls.

"Oh! Oh! Oh!" screamed the girls, as they started to run.

Some of the boys--the smaller ones--also ran, but they did not scream.

Bunny Brown and Charlie Star were the only boys who did not run.

"Oh, Bunny! What is it? What are they?" cried Sue, looking over her shoulder as she ran toward the house.

"It's snakes! I saw 'em! Big green snakes," insisted Sadie West.

"Oh, what a mean boy George is, to scare us so!" said Helen.

Then Bunny Brown laughed, and so did Charlie. Hearing this the girls stopped screaming, and the boys stopped running.

"What is it?" asked Sue again. "Did they bite you, Bunny?"

"Nope" he answered, still laughing, "they can't bite me!"

"Why not?" his sister wanted to know.

"'Cause they're only frogs. They won't hurt anybody!"

And that is what was in the box that George had tossed over the fence into the midst of the party-guests--a box of big, green frogs that he had caught at the mill pond. George wanted to scare Bunny and Sue for not asking him to their dog's party. But the little scare was soon over, and the children only laughed at the frogs.

The green hoppers jumped this way and that, through the grass, and Bunny and his friends did not try to catch them.

"They're looking for water," Bunny said.

Splash saw that something queer was going on, and he ran up to see what it was. He barked at some of the frogs, as they hopped through the grass, but did not try to bite them.

"And to think George fooled us with frogs," laughed Charlie. "When I see him I'll tell him we just like frogs, and they didn't scare us a bit."

"I thought they were snakes, at first," Sue said. "That's why I ran away."

"It was not a very nice trick," said Aunt Lu. "But still it did no harm. Now for another game, and I think there are a few more tarts left."

"Oh, goodie!" cried the children.

There were enough tarts for each one to have another, and, when they had been passed around, after a lively game of Puss-in-the-corner, the party was over. Everyone said he had had a fine time, and when Bunny Brown and his sister Sue asked their guests to come again, each one said:

"I surely will!"

"I guess everybody would be glad to come to another party like it," said Sadie West to Helen Newton, as they walked home together.

"I'm sure of it," answered Helen. "And wasn't Splash nice!"

"Yes, he's a lovely dog. I wish I had one I could have a party for."

"You could give a party for your cat, some day," said Helen.

"Oh, so I could! And I will, too--maybe next week. I wish Sue's Aunt Lu would bake some tarts for me."

"Maybe she will."

"I wonder if it would be polite to ask her?" inquired Sadie. "I'll speak to mother about it."

"Well, did you like your party, Splash?" asked Bunny, as he patted the shaggy dog on the head, when all the little guests had gone.

Splash did not say anything, of course. But he wagged his tail, and walked over to where he had buried the bone Sadie had brought him. So I guess Splash did like the party as much as did the children. And he had several good things to eat, which, after all, is what most parties are for.

One day Aunt Lu read a story from a magazine to Bunny and Sue. It told about some boys who, on a warm day, set up a lemonade stand under a shady tree, in front of their house, and sold lemonade at a penny a glass. The money they made they sent to a church society, that took poor children out of the hot city to the cool country for a week or so.

Sue noticed that Bunny was very quiet after Aunt Lu had read the story, and, as the two children went out into the yard, the little girl asked:

"What are you thinking about, Bunny?"

"Lemonade," he answered.

"Were you thinking you'd like some? 'Cause I would."

"Well, I would like some to drink," Bunny admitted, "but I was thinking we could make a stand, and sell lemonade ourselves. I could fix up a box for a stand, and I could squeeze the lemons."

"I'd put the sugar in," Sue said. She was always willing to help. "But where would we get the ice and the lemons and the sugar?"

"Oh, mother would give them to us. I'm going to ask her."

"And what would we do with the money, Bunny?"

The little fellow thought for a minute. There was in his town no church society, such as Aunt Lu had read about. The money made from selling lemonade must go to the poor, Bunny was sure of that. All at once his eyes grew bright.

"We could give all the money to Old Miss Hollyhock!" he said. "She is terribly poor."

"Old Miss Hollyhock," as she was called, was an aged woman who lived in a little house down near the fish dock. Her husband had been a soldier, and when he died the old lady was given money from the government--a pension, it was called. Still she was very poor, and she was called "Old Miss Hollyhock," because she had so many of those old-fashioned hollyhock flowers in her garden. Her real name was Mrs. Borden.

"We could give the money to her," Bunny said.

"Oh, yes!" Sue agreed. "She needs it."

"Then we'll have a lemonade stand," decided Bunny.

Mrs. Brown said she did not mind if Bunny and Sue did this. A number of the children in Bellemere had done this, at different times, and some of the larger boys and girls had made even as much as five dollars, giving the money to the church, or to the Sunday school.

"Of course you won't make as much as that, Bunny," his mother said, "but you may take in a few pennies, and it won't do you any harm to sit in the shade and sell lemonade."

"Will you buy some?" asked Sue.

"Oh, I guess so," Mrs. Brown answered, smiling.

So she gave the children the ice, sugar and lemons, and they made a big pitcher of lemonade. Bunny set up a box under a tree in front of the house, covering the box with a clean white cloth. Then with the pitcher and glasses on a serving tray, he and Sue were ready for business.

"Lemonade! Lemonade!" they called, just as had done the children in the story. "Lemonade, in the shade, nice and cold, just fresh made!"

One man did stop and buy some.

"My, that's good!" he said, as he finished the glass. "How much is it?"

"A penny," Bunny said.

"Oh, only a penny? Why, that glass of lemonade was worth five cents anywhere! It was just sweet enough, and just cold enough. Here!" and the man laid a five cent piece down on the stand and walked off.

"Oh, isn't that good!" cried Bunny, his eyes fairly dancing with joy as he looked at Sue.

"It's just fine!" she answered. "What a lot of money!"

But few were as generous as the kind man, and most of those who drank at the lemonade stand just laid down pennies.

Bunny and Sue had taken in quite a few pennies, and the pitcher was nearly empty of lemonade.

"I'll go in and make more as soon as we sell it all," Bunny said.

"We'll have a lot of money for Old Miss Hollyhock," observed Sue. "She will be rich, then, won't she, Bunny?"

"I guess sixteen cents isn't rich. But we did better than I thought we would. Oh, look!" suddenly cried Bunny. "There's a dog, and some one has tied a tin can to his tail!"

Down the street, yelping and barking, came a small yellow dog, and, bounding after him, bumping about and scaring him, was a big, empty tin can, tied to the dog's tail.

"Oh, Bunny!" cried Sue, "he's coming right here. He'll upset our lemonade stand!"

"That's what he will," Bunny agreed. "Hi, there! Stop! Go the other way! Shoo!" he cried, waving his arms at the dog, while Sue took up the nearly empty lemonade pitcher.

On came the frightened dog, straight for the stand and the two children.