Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue at Camp Rest-a-While/Chapter 18

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CHAPTER XVIII


SPLASH ACTS QUEERLY


"Daddy! Daddy!" cried Bunny Brown. "Daddy, did you hear that?"

"I couldn't very well help hearing it," said Mr. Brown sitting up on his cot, which was next to Bunny's. "Who's out there?" Mr. Brown cried, and with a jump he reached the flaps of the tent, which he opened, so he could look out.

Splash, who had jumped out, barking, when the noise sounded, rushed out of the tent. The tins had stopped rattling, and it was very quiet outside, except for the noise Splash made.

"What is it?" called Mrs. Brown, from her side of the tent.

"I don't know," answered her husbands "Someone—or some animal—seems to be making a noise. Maybe it is someone after more of your pies, Mother."

"We'll take a look," said Uncle Tad. He got out of his bed, and went to stand beside Daddy Brown at the opening of the tent.

"Can you see anything?" Mrs. Brown asked. Bunny could hear his sister whispering. Sue, also, had been awakened, and wanted to know what had caused the noise in the night.

"No, I can't see anything," said Mr. Brown. "Splash is coming back, so I guess it wasn't anything."

He and Uncle Tad could see the children's dog walking back to his bed in the tent. Splash slept on a piece of old carpet. The dog was wagging his tail.

"What is it, Splash? Did you see any tramps?" asked Mr. Brown.

Splash did not answer, of course, but he wagged his tail as he always did Yaitn he was with his friends.

"I guess it couldn't have been anything," Mr. Brown went on. "Maybe a squirrel or chipmunk was looking for some crumbs in the dining-tent, and knocked down the pans. I'll just take a look out there to make sure."

Mr. Brown and Uncle Tad went outside the tent. Splash did not go with them. He seemed to think everything was all right.

"Did you find him, Daddy?" asked Bunny, when his father came back.

"No, son. I don't believe there was anyone. I saw where the pans had been knocked down, but that was all."

Bunny was given the drink of water he wanted and soon was asleep. The others, too, became quiet and slept. But in the morning Mrs. Brown, in getting breakfast, found that a piece of bacon and some eggs had been taken from the ice box.

"The eggs and bacon were in the refrigerator all right when I washed up the supper dishes last night," she said. "I counted on having them for breakfast. Now they're gone!"

"Then there must have been someone in our camp, snooping around last night," said Daddy Brown. "It was a tramp, after all. And when he helped himself to something to eat he knocked down the pans. That's how it happened."

"I suppose so," said Mother Brown. "Well, I'm sure if the poor tramp was hungry I'm glad he got something to eat. But I wish he had not taken my bacon and eggs."

However, there was plenty else to eat in Camp Rest-a-Whiie, so no one went hungry.

"I wonder if it was the same tramp that took the pie," said Bunny as he finished the last of his glass of milk.

"He must be a hungry tramp to eat a whole pie, and all those eggs, and the big piece of bacon," said Bunker Blue.

"Oh, I guess the things he took lasted him for several meals," Mr. Brown said. "The funny part of it is, though, that Splash did not bark. When he ran out of the tent last night the tramp could not have been far away. And yet Splash did not bark, as he always does when strangers are around at night. I think that's queer."

"So do I," put in Uncle Tad. "Maybe Splash knew the tramp."

"Splash doesn't like tramps," said Bunny.

"Well, he must have liked this one, for he didn't bark at him," added Bunker Blue with a laugh. "Maybe Splash knew this tramp before you children found your dog, on the island where you were shipwrecked."

For Bunny and Sue had found Splash on an island, as I told you in the first book of this series. That was when Bunny and Sue were "shipwrecked," as they called it.

Nothing else had been taken from Camp Rest-a-While except the bacon and eggs, and as Bunker Blue was going to the village that day he could buy more meat for Mother Brown. The eggs they could get at the farmhouse where they bought their milk. So, after all, no harm was done.

"The only thing is," said Daddy Brown, "that I don't like the idea of tramps prowling about our tents at night. I'd rather they would keep away."

It was so lovely, living out in the woods, near the beautiful lake, as the Browns were doing, that they soon forgot about the noise in the night, and the tramps. Bunny and Sue were getting as brown as little Indian children. For they wore no hats and they went about with only leather sandals on, and no
Bunny Brown at Camp p191.jpg

BUNNY AND SUE OFTEN WENT BATHING IN THE COOL LAKE.

Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue at Camp Rest-a-While Page 181.

stockings, their sleeves rolled up to their elbows, so their arms and legs were brown, too. They often went bathing in the cool lake, for, not far from the camp, was a little sandy beach.

Of course, it was not like an ocean beach, or the one at Sandport Bay, for there were only little waves, and then only when the wind blew. In the ocean there are big waves all the while, pounding the sandy shore.

One day Mrs. Brown told daddy they needed some things from the village store—sugar, salt, pepper—groceries that could not be bought at the farmhouses near by.

"I'll take the children, row over, and get what you want," said Mr. Brown, for it was easier to row across the lake, and walk through the woods, than to walk half-way around the lake to the store. With Splash, Bunny and Sue in the boat Mr. Brown set off.

They landed on the other shore, and started to walk through the woods. On the way they had to pass along a road that was near to the farm of Mr. Trimble, the "mean man," as Bunny and Sue called him. Perhaps Mr. Trimble did not intend to be mean, or cross, but he certainly was. Some folk just can't help being that way.

"Huh! Are you coming over again to bother me about that runaway boy, Tom Vine?" asked Mr. Trimble, as he saw Mr. Brown.

"No, I've given Tom up," replied the children's father. "I guess he has gone back to the city. I'm sorry, for I wanted to help him."

"Boys are no good!" cried Mr. Trimble. "That Tom is no good. But I'll pay him back for running away from me!"

"Did he come back to you?" asked Mr. Brown, thinking perhaps, after all, the "ragged boy," as Sue sometimes called him in fun, might have thought it best to go back to the man who had first hired him.

"You don't see him anywhere around here; do you?" asked Mr. Trimble.

"No, I don't see him," said Mr. Brown, wondering why the farmer answered in that way.

"Well, he isn't here," said Mr. Trimble, and he went on hoeing his potatoes, for he was in a field of them, near the road, when he spoke to Mr. Brown.

As Bunny, Sue and their father walked on, Splash did not come with them. He hung back, and seemed to want to stay close to a small building, near Mr. Trimble's barn. Splash walked around this building three or four times, barking loudly.

"What makes Splash act so funny?" asked Bunny.

"I don't know," answered Mr. Brown. "Here, Splash! Come here!" he cried. But Splash would not come.