Chapter XVIII. Wango and the Candy
 

Bunny Brown and his sister Sue walked right into the moving picture theatre. The door, as I have told you, was open, there was no one standing near to take tickets, or ask for money, and of course the children thought it was all right to go in.

No one seemed to notice them, perhaps because the place was dark, except where the brilliant pictures were dancing and flashing on the white screen. And no one heard Bunny and Sue, for not only did they walk very softly, but just then the girl at the piano was playing loudly, and the sound filled the place.

Right in through the open side door walked Bunny and Sue, and never for a moment did they think they were doing anything wrong. I suppose, after all, it was not very wrong.

Bunny walked ahead, and Sue followed, keeping hold of his hand. Pretty soon she whispered to her brother:

"Bunny! Bunny! I can't see very good at all here. I want to see the pictures better."

"All right," Bunny whispered back. "I can't see very good, either. We'll find a better place."

You know you can't look at moving pictures from the side, they all seem to be twisted if you do. You must be almost in front of them, and this time Bunny and Sue were very much to one edge.

"We'll get up real close, and right in front," Bunny went on. Then he saw a little pair of steps leading up to the stage, or platform; only Bunny did not know it was that. He just thought if he and Sue went up the steps they would be better able to see. So up he went.

The screen, or big white sheet, on which the moving pictures were shown, stood back some distance from the front of the stage. And it was a real stage, with footlights and all, but it was not used for acting any more, as only moving pictures were given in that theatre now.

Sue followed Bunny up the steps. The pictures were ever so much clearer and larger now. She was quite delighted, and so was her brother. They wandered out to the middle of the stage, paying no attention to the audience. And the people in the theatre were so interested in the picture on the screen, that, for a while, they did not see the children who had wandered into the darkened theatre by the side door.

The music from the piano sounded louder and louder. The pictures became more brilliant. Then suddenly Bunny and Sue walked right out on the stage in front of the screen, where the light from the moving picture lantern shone brightly on them.

"What's that?" cried several persons.

"Look! Why they're real children!" said others.

Bunny and Sue could be plainly seen now, for they were exactly in the path of the strong light. There was some laughter in the audience, and then the man who was turning the crank of the moving picture machine began to understand that something was wrong.

He stopped the picture film, and turned on a plain, white light, very strong and glaring, Just like the headlights of an automobile. Bunny and Sue could hardly see, and they looked like two black shadows on the white screen.

"Look! Look! It's part of the show!" said some persons in front.

"Maybe they're going to sing," said others.

"Or do a little act."

"Oh, aren't they cute!" laughed a lady.

By this time the piano player had stopped making music. She knew that something was wrong. So did the moving picture man up in his little iron box, and so did the usher--that's the man who shows you where to find a seat. The usher came hurrying down the aisle.

"Hello, youngsters!" he called out, but he was not in the least bit cross. "Where did you get in?" he asked.

By this time the lights all over the place had been turned up, and Bunny and Sue could see the crowd, while the audience could also see them. Bunny blinked and smiled, but Sue was bashful, and tried to hide behind her brother. This made the people laugh still more.

"How did you get in, and who is with you?" asked the usher.

"We walked in the door over there," and Bunny pointed to the side one. "And we came all alone. We're waiting for Aunt Lu."

"Oh, then she is coming?"

"I don't guess so," Bunny said. "We didn't tell her we were coming here."

"Well, well!" exclaimed the usher-man. "What does it all mean? Did your Aunt Lu send you on ahead? We don't let little children in here unless some older person is with them, but--"

"We just comed in," Sue said. "The door was open, and we wanted to see the pictures, so we comed in; didn't we Bunny?"

"Yes," he said. "But we'd like to sit down. We can't see good up here."

"No, you are a little too close to the screen," said the usher. "Well, I'd send you home if I knew where you lived, but--"

"I know them!" called out a woman near the front of the theatre. "That is Bunny Brown and his sister Sue. They live just up the street. I'll take them home."

"Thank you; that's very kind of you," said the man. "I guess their folks must be worrying about them. Please take them home."

"We don't want to go home!" exclaimed Sue. "We want to see the pictures; don't we, Bunny?"

"Yes," answered the little fellow, "but maybe we'd better go and get Aunt Lu."

"I think so myself," laughed the usher. "You can come some other time, youngsters. But bring your aunt, or your mother, with you; and don't come in the side door. I'll have to keep some one there, if it's going to be open, or I'll have more tots walking in without paying."

"Come the next time, with your aunt or mother," he went on, "and I'll give you free tickets. It won't cost you even a penny!"

"Oh, goodie!" cried Sue. She was willing to go home now, and the lady who said she knew them--who was a Mrs. Wakefield, and lived not far from the Brown home--took Bunny and Sue by the hands and led them out of the theatre.

The lights were turned low again, and the moving picture show went on. Bunny and Sue wished they could have stayed, but they were glad they could come again, as the man had invited them.

As Mrs. Wakefield led them down the street, toward their home, they saw Aunt Lu running to meet them.

"Oh, Bunny! Sue!" she exclaimed. "Where have you been? I've looked all over for you!"

"We went to the moving pictures," said Bunny.

"By the side door," added Sue. "And we were on the stage, and the people all laughed; didn't they Bunny?"

"Yes, they did. And the man said we could come back for nothing, and you are to bring us. When will you, Aunt Lu?"

"Why--why I don't know what to think of it all!" their aunt exclaimed. "In a moving picture show--by the side door--on the stage--to go again for nothing--I never saw such children, never!"

"Well, it all happened, just that way," said Mrs. Wakefield, and she told how surprised she, and all the others in the theatre were to see Bunny and Sue wander out on the stage into the strong light.

"But you musn't do it again," Aunt Lu said, and of course Bunny and Sue promised they would not.

"Now come on down to the fish dock, and we'll see the boats come in," Bunny begged, and off they started.

There was much going on at Mr. Brown's, dock that day. Some boats were getting dressed up in new suits of sails, and others were being painted. Then, too, a number of fishing boats came in, well filled with different kinds of fish. Some had lobsters in them and there was one big one, with very large claws.

"That one's claws are bigger than the claw you have, to play Punch and Judy with, Bunny," said Sue.

"Yes," agreed her brother, "but that claw is too big for my nose."

"I should think so!" laughed Aunt Lu. "Your whole little face would almost go in it, Bunny. Oh dear!" she went on. "I don't like lobsters as much as I used to."

"Why not?" asked Mr. Brown, who came out of his office to see his children and their aunt. "I was going to have you take one up to the house to make into salad for dinner. Why don't you like lobsters any more, Aunt Lu?"

"Oh, because whenever I see them, and remember the one we had for supper the first night I came here, I think of my lost diamond ring, that I never shall find."

"Yes, it is too bad," agreed Mr. Brown. "I thought you were going to find it, Bunny?"

"Well, Sue and I looked and looked and looked," said the little fellow, "but we couldn't find it anywhere!"

"Yes, they have tried," said Aunt Lu. "But never mind, we won't talk about it."

They looked into the other fishing boats, and then Bunker Blue came along. As he had nothing much to do just then he took Aunt Lu and the children for a little ride in a motor boat, that went by gasoline, the same as does an automobile. Only, of course, a boat goes in the water, and an automobile runs on land.

Bunny and Sue had a pleasant afternoon with Aunt Lu, and when she told their father about the children having wandered into the moving picture show, he laughed so hard that tears came into his eyes.

"If this keeps on," he said, "we'll have either to keep them home all the while, or else you'll have to be with them every minute, Aunt Lu. You can't tell what they are going to do next."

It was a day or two after this that, as Bunny and Sue were going down the street, to buy a little candy at Mrs. Redden's store, something queer happened.

They each had five cents, that Aunt Lu had given them, but they were allowed to spend only one penny of it this day, as their mother did not wish them to eat too much candy.

"I'm going to buy a lollypop--they last longer," Bunny announced.

"I'll get one, too," agreed Sue, as they entered the toy place. The door swung open, a bell over it ringing to call Mrs. Redden, for she lived in rooms back of the store, where she kept house.

"How are you, Bunny and Sue?" asked the candy-lady as she smiled at them. "I was beginning to think you had forgotten me."

"Oh, no," Bunny said.

"We'd never forget you," declared Sue. "I want a lollypop and so does Bunny."

Mrs. Redden opened the glass show-case in which the candy was kept. As she reached in her hand, to take out the lollypops, Bunny and Sue, standing in front, saw a brown, hairy paw also put into the case. And the brown paw, which was close to Mrs. Redden's hand, caught up a bunch of lollypops and quickly pulled them out.

"Oh! oh! oh, dear!" screamed Mrs. Redden. "Oh, what is it?"

A second later a brown, furry animal jumped up from back of the counter, and scrambled from shelf to shelf, until it was on the very top one. And there the animal sat, peeling the wax paper off a lollypop.

"Oh, what is it? What is it?" cried Mrs. Redden. "Oh, take it away!"

Bunny and Sue were not a bit frightened. They looked up at the furry figure, on the top shelf of the candy store, and Bunny said:

"Why, it's only Wango, Mr. Winkler's monkey! I guess he broke loose from his chain."

"Yes, it's Wango!" echoed Sue. "Come down, Wango!" she called, for both children had often petted the queer little monkey.

Wango accidentally dropped one of the lollypops he held. He had so many in his paws that it was hard to hold them all. He quickly reached for the falling candy, but he accidentally hit a glass jar filled with jelly beans. It crashed down to the floor, spilling the candy beans all over.

"Oh! oh, dear! what a mess!" cried Mrs. Redden, and she ran to get the broom to drive Wango away.