Chapter XVII. The Moving Pictures
 

"Oh, Bunny! Bunny! What are we going to do?" cried his sister Sue.

Bunny swallowed a sort of lump in his throat that always seemed to come when he was a bit frightened. Then he looked around. Next he glanced at Sue.

"Get under the box, Sue!" he cried. "Then the dog can't get you!"

"But what will you do?" asked the little girl. "I don't want you to get hurt, Bunny."

"I--I won't be afraid," said the little boy. "I--I'll pour lemonade on the dog, and that will make him run away."

"Oh--Oh!" gasped Sue. "Throw away our good lemonade?"

"We can make more," said Bunny. "There's only a little left, anyhow."

He reached for the pitcher. At the same time Sue started to crawl under the empty box they had made into a lemonade stand.

But the yelping, yellow dog, with the tin can tied to his tail, was coming faster than either Bunny or Sue thought. Before Bunny could take up the nearly empty pitcher of lemonade, or before Sue could crawl under the box, the dog was upon them.

Right under the box the poor, frightened creature ran, thinking, I suppose, that it would be a good place to hide and get away from that terrible tin can that was pounding after him, no matter how fast he went.

So into the box he ran, and I think you can guess what happened. The dog was going so fast, and the box, not being held down to the ground, was so easily pushed over, that it toppled to one side.

And, as Bunny Brown and his sister Sue were standing near the box, it fell over on them, and the lemonade pitcher upset, and the lemonade in it splashed all over the little boy and his sister. The glasses bounced off into the grass, and the dog suddenly turned a somersault, and fell on top of Bunny, Sue, the box and the lemonade pitcher.

And that's what happened, just as you must have guessed.

For a few seconds there was such a tangle of dog, lemonade, pitcher, lemonade stand, to say nothing of Bunny and Sue, that if any one had been there to see he would hardly have known which was the dog, and which was Bunny and Sue.

"Oh! Oh! Oh!" cried the little girl.

"What--what's the matter?" gasped Bunny.

The dog howled, barked and whined, and then the box rolled to one side, and so did the now empty pitcher of lemonade. Sue found herself sitting on the grass, holding what she thought was her doll, but which was really one of Bunny's chubby legs.

Bunny lay on his back, and in his arms he held--what do you think? Why the little yellow dog, to be sure!

And now the dog stopped howling and barking, for he must have known that Bunny and Sue would be his friends, and he was not afraid any more. And that is the way they were when Aunt Lu and Splash, the big dog, came out to see how the two little lemonade sellers were getting along.

"Oh my goodness!" exclaimed Aunt Lu. "Oh my goodness! What has happened?"

At first she was a bit frightened, but when she saw that Sue was smiling, and that Bunny was just ready to laugh, Aunt Lu laughed also.

"Well, if none of you is hurt, and nothing broken, I think this is very funny!" Aunt Lu exclaimed. "Oh, but what a mix-up!"

Splash, the big dog, seemed to think so too, for he barked--not a cross, ugly bark, but a sort of laughing kind--as if, he, also, felt that it was jolly fun.

Then Splash saw the little yellow dog in Bunny's arms, and the big dog went up to him, wagging his tail, while the two sort of rubbed noses-- you know the way dogs do instead of shaking hands, or paws, I suppose I should say, and right away they were friends.

"Oh, look! look!" Sue exclaimed, now laughing herself. "I thought I had my doll, and--it's Bunny's leg!"

"Huh! I wondered what was holding me." exclaimed the little boy.

Sue let go of him, and Bunny got up. Then he rolled the lemonade box away from Sue, for it was resting partly on her, and by this time the little yellow dog (which Bunny had put down) was making better friends than ever with Splash.

Then Aunt Lu saw the tin can tied to the yellow dog's tail, and she cried out:

"Oh, what a shame! Who did that?"

"We didn't!" Bunny answered quickly.

"Oh, of course not! I know you wouldn't do such a thing," returned his aunt. "Here, little dog, I'll cut it off for you," and she took her scissors out of her apron pocket, for she had been sewing just before coming out to look at the lemonade stand. "I'll cut it off for you," said Aunt Lu.

"Oh, don't cut off his tail!" begged Sue.

"Of course not!" laughed Aunt Lu. "I meant I'd cut off the tin can. You poor little doggie! No wonder you were frightened. And now tell me all how it happened," she went on, as she snipped, with her scissors, the string around the little yellow dog's tail. He seemed very happy to be free of the tin can.

"Well, it just happened--that's all," said Bunny. "He ran into our lemonade stand, and upset it."

"But I guess he didn't mean to," remarked Sue, who had, by this time, found her real doll in the long grass.

"No, he was so scared that he didn't know where he was running," decided Aunt Lu. "Well, now I'll help you pick things up, and then you had better come to the house. Haven't you sold enough lemonade for one day?"

"I guess so," answered Bunny.

"Did you lose the money?" asked Sue anxiously. "Where is the money we got?"

"In my pocket," Bunny replied. It was lucky he had put it there, or, when the box was knocked over, the pennies and five cent pieces might have been scattered in the grass and lost.

But everything was all right, and not a glass was broken, for they fell in soft, grassy places. The lemonade was spilled, of course, a little of it going on Bunny and Sue. But they did not mind that. And, best of all, the little dog no longer had a tin can tied to his tail.

"I wonder who did it?" asked Sue.

"Oh, some bad boys, I suppose," answered her aunt. "Boys who tie cans to dogs' tails don't stop to think how frightened the poor animals may get. But I'm glad this was no worse. Now, little yellow dog, you had better run home, that is if you have a home."

The yellow dog seemed to have some place to go. For, after he had once more rubbed noses with Splash, had barked, as if saying good-bye, and had wagged his tail joyfully, away he trotted down the street.

Now and then he looked back, as if to thank Bunny and Sue, and their aunt, for what they had done for him, or perhaps he was looking to make sure the banging, dangling tin can was no longer fast to his tail.

But it was not, for Aunt Lu had tossed it away. Then she helped Bunny and Sue carry in the pitcher and glasses, and put away the box that had been used for a stand.

"We'll sell some more lemonade to-morrow," Bunny said.

"Yes," agreed Sue. "We want to get a lot of money for poor folks."

"How much did you take in?" Aunt Lu wanted to know.

Bunny gave it to her to count, as he could not go higher than ten, and there was more money than that.

"Why you have twenty-one cents!" Aunt Lu exclaimed. "That's fine, children! I'll keep it for you, and if you do get more I'll put it all together, and give it to Old Miss Hollyhock for you."

But Bunny Brown and his sister Sue did not sell lemonade next day. One reason was because it rained, and, for another, they found something else to do.

The Brown house was the nicest place you could think of in which to spend a rainy day, that is the big attic was, and it was up there that Bunny Brown and his sister Sue were always allowed to play.

The day after they had had the lemonade stand the rain came down very hard. Bunny and Sue stood with their noses pressed flat against the window panes.

"Oh dear!" sighed Sue.

"Oh dear!" sighed Bunny.

"Tut! Tut!" exclaimed their mother. "I know what that means. Up to the attic with you, and play some of your games!"

"Oh yes!" cried Bunny joyfully.

"We'll play trolley car with the spinning wheel!" said Sue.

This was only one of the games they played. There was a big spinning wheel up in the attic. It had belonged to Mrs. Brown's grandmother, and in the olden days, before yarn for socks and mittens was made by machinery, it was spun on a spinning wheel. This was a big wheel, as large as one on a wagon, but not so heavy. And it went around and around, very easily.

Bunny and Sue would sit on a trunk, spin the wheel, and make believe they were in a trolley car. They would take turns being the motorman. Sometimes Bunny would have that place, while Sue would be the conductor, and again Bunny would collect the fare and let Sue spin the wheel.

All that rainy day Bunny and Sue played in the attic, making up many new games about which I shall tell you another time. They had so much fun that they could hardly believe it when night came, and it was time to go to bed.

"And maybe the sun will shine to-morrow," said Bunny.

It did, the rain having gone somewhere else to water the flowers and trees.

The next afternoon Aunt Lu promised to take Bunny and Sue down to their father's office, on the dock. They wanted to see the fish boats come in, and Aunt Lu had some shopping to do.

Bunny and Sue, nicely dressed, freshly washed and combed, went out on the front porch to wait for Aunt Lu. She had said she would be down as soon as she changed her dress.

But Bunny and Sue grew tired of waiting.

"Let's walk on a little way," said Bunny. "We can go down to the corner, and back again, and Aunt Lu will be down then."

Sue was always ready to do just what Bunny said, and soon the two children, hand in hand, went walking down the street. They did not intend to go far, but something happened, as it often did with them.

Just beyond the corner there was a moving picture theatre, lately opened. Mrs. Brown and Aunt Lu had taken Bunny and his sister there once or twice, when there was a fairy play, or something nice to see, so Bunny and Sue knew what the moving pictures were like.

"Oh, let's just go down and look at the picture posters outside," said Bunny, as they stood on the corner, from where they could see the theatre.

"All right," said Sue quickly.

In front of the moving picture place were some big boards, and on them were pasted brightly colored posters, almost like circus ones, telling about the moving pictures that were being shown inside. There was a picture of a man falling in the water, and another of a railroad train. Bunny loved cars and locomotives.

Not thinking anything wrong, the two tots ran across the street, looking carefully up and down first, to see that no automobiles were coming. They crossed safely.

A little later they were standing in front of the moving picture theatre, looking at the gay posters.

"Wouldn't you like to go in?" asked Bunny.

Sue nodded her curly head.

"Maybe Aunt Lu will take us," she said.

"We'll ask her," decided Bunny.

Then they heard, from down the side street, the sound of a piano. It came from the moving picture place, and the reason Bunny and Sue could hear it so plainly was because the piano was near a side door, which was open to let in the fresh air.

"Let's go down there and listen to the music a minute," Bunny said. "Then we'll go back and tell Aunt Lu."

"All right!" agreed Sue.

A little later the two were standing at the open, side door of the place. They could hear the piano very plainly now, and, what was more wonderful, they could look right in the theatre and see the moving pictures flashing on the white screen.

"Oh! oh!" murmured Bunny. "Look, Sue."

"Oh! oh!" whispered Sue. And then Bunny had a queer idea.

"We can walk right in," he said. "The door is open. I guess this is for children like us--they don't want any money. Come on in, Sue, and we'll see the moving pictures!"