Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue at Camp Rest-a-While/Chapter 2

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CHAPTER II


A GRAND SURPRISE


"Don't you want to have supper first?" asked Mrs. Brown, as she saw her husband sit down in the easy chair, with Bunny and Sue.

"Oh, I'm in no hurry," he said. "I came home early to-night, because there were only a few boats out, on account of the storm. I might just as well tell the children about the surprise before we eat."

"Oh, then it's a surprise!" cried Sue, clapping her hands.

"Why, yes, I rather think you'll be surprised when you hear about it," answered Daddy Brown.

"And is it a secret, too?" Bunny wanted to know.

"Well, you don't know what it is yet; do you?" inquired his father.

Bunny shook his head.

"Well, then," went on Daddy Brown with a smile, "if there is something nice you don't know, and someone is going to tell you, I guess that's a surprise; isn't it?"

"Oh, yes!" cried Sue. "And now, Daddy, don't tease us any more. Just tell us what it is? Will we like it?"

"Can we play with it?" Bunny wanted to know.

Mr. Brown laughed so hard that Sue nearly fell off one knee, and Bunny off the other.

"What is it, Daddy?" asked the little boy. What's so funny?"

"Oh, just you—and Sue," said Mr. Brown, still shaking up and down and sideways with laughter. "You are in a great hurry to have me tell you the surprise, and yet you keep on asking questions, so I have to answer them before I tell you."

"You asted the most questions. Bunny," said Sue, shaking her finger at him.

"No, I didn't. You did!"

"Well, we'll each just ask one question," went on Sue, "and then you can tell us. Daddy. I want to try and guess what it is—I mean what the tent is for. Shall we each take one guess, Bunny?"

"Yep. You guess first, Sue. What do you say the tent is for?"

Sue thought for half a minute, shutting her brown eyes and wrinkling up her little nose. She was thinking very hard.

"I—I guess the tent is for a house for our dog Splash," she said, after a bit. "Is it, Daddy?"

"No," and Mr. Brown shook his head. "It's your turn. Bunny."

Bunny looked up at the ceiling. Then he said:

"I guess grandpa's tent is going to be for us to play in when it rains. Is it, Daddy?"

"Well, that's pretty nearly right," Mr. Brown answered. "And now sit quiet and I'll tell you the surprise."

But before I let Mr. Brown tell the children the secret, I just want to say a few words to the boys and girls who are reading this as their first book of the Bunny and Sue series. There are four other books that come ahead of this, and I'll tell you their names so you may read them, and find out all about Bunny and Sue.

Of course those of you who have read the first, and all the other books in the series, do not need to stop to read this. You have already been introduced to the Brown children. But to those who have not, I would say that Bunny Brown and his sister Sue lived with their father and mother, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Brown, in the town of Bellemere, which was on Sandport Bay, near the ocean.

Mr. Brown was in the boat business—that is, he hired out boats to fishermen and others who wanted to go on the ocean or bay, sailing, rowing or in motor boats. Mr. Brown had men to help him, and also several big boys, almost as large as men. One of these last was Bunker Blue, a red-haired, good-natured lad, who was very fond of the two children.

In the first book of the series, named "Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue," I told you the story of the little boy and girl, and what fun they had getting up a Punch and Judy show, and finding Aunt Lu's diamond ring in the queerest way. In the second book, "Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue on Grandpa's Farm," I told you how they went off to the country, in a great big moving van automobile, fitted up like a little house, in which they could eat and sleep.

Bunker Blue went with them to steer the automobile, and they also took along the children's dog, Splash, who was named that because he once splashed in the water and pulled out Sue. On Grandpa's farm Bunny and Sue had lots of fun. They got up a little show, which they held in the barn.

After the little show had been given, Bunker Blue, and some larger boys, thought they could get up a sort of circus. They did, holding it in two tents, a big one and a smaller one. The smaller tent belonged to Grandpa Brown, when he was in the army. And it was this tent that had just come by express to the Brown home in Bellemere.

"Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue Playing Circus" is the name of the third book, and in that you may read all about the show that Bunny and Sue took part in—how the tents were washed away, how Ben Hall did his queer tricks, and what happened to him after that.

When the two Brown children came back from grandpa's farm they received an invitation from Aunt Lu, to spend the fall and winter at her city home in New York.

"Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue at Aunt Lu's City Home" is the name of the book telling all that happened when the two children went to New York. They met a little colored girl, named Wopsie, they were lost in a monkey store, Bunny flew his kite from the roof of Aunt Lu's house, and toward the end Bunny and Sue were run away with when in a pony cart in Central Park.

At first they did not like being run away with, but after they were spilled out, and Aunt Sallie picked them up, and she and Wopsie found out that they—but there! I mustn't put so much of that book in this book. You would much rather read it yourself, I am sure.

So I'll just say that at Aunt Lu's city home Bunny and Sue had many good times, and enjoyed themselves very much. They were almost sorry when it was time to come home, but of course they could not always stay in New York.

But now it was spring, and Bunny and Sue were once more back in Bellemere. They had met all their old friends again, and had played with them, until this day, when, as I have told you, it was raining too hard to go out.

Before I go on with this story, I might say that Bunny was about six years old, and Sue a year younger. The two children were always together, and whatever Bunny did Sue thought was just right. It was not always, though, for often Bunny did things that got him and Sue into trouble.

Bunny did not mean this, but he was a brave, smart little chap, always wanting to do something to have fun, or to find out something new. He would often take chances in doing something new, when he did not know what would happen, or what the ending would be. And Sue liked fun so much, also, that she always followed Bunny.

The children knew everyone in the village of Bellemere, and everyone knew them, from Old Miss Hollyhock (a poor woman to whom Bunny and Sue were often kind) to Wango, the queer little monkey, owned by Jed Winkler, the old sailor. Wango did many funny tricks, and he, too, got into mischief. Sometimes it was hard to say who got oftener into trouble—Bunny Brown and his sister Sue, or Wango, the queer little monkey.

Now that I have told you all this, so my newest little children-reader-friends will feel that they know Bunny and Sue as well as everyone else, I will go back to the story. Bunny and Sue were still sitting on their father's knee.

"Well, tell us the surprise!" begged Sue, reaching over and kissing her daddy.

"And make it like a story," begged Bunny.

"I haven't time to make it like a story now, my dears," said Mr. Brown. "But the bundle you saw the expressman bring to the barn this afternoon was the tent from grandpa's farm."

"The same one we played circus in?" Bunny wanted to know.

"The same one," answered his father. "I asked grandpa to send it to me."

"What are we going to do with it, Daddy?" Sue asked. "I've tried and tried, but I can't guess."

"Well, this is the surprise," replied Daddy Brown, "and I hope you'll like it. We are going off into the woods camping—that means living in a tent. We'll cook in a tent—that is when it rains so we can't have a campfire out of doors—we'll eat in the tent and we'll sleep in it."

"Oh, Daddy! Shall we—really?" cried Bunny, almost falling off his father's knee he was so excited.

"Yes, that's what we're going to do," said Mr. Brown. "We are going to spend the summer in camp, under a tent instead of in a cottage, as we sometimes do. Will you like that?"

"Oh, I just guess we will!" cried Bunny Brown.

"And can I take my dolls along—will there be room for 'em?" asked Sue.

"Oh, yes, plenty of room," answered Daddy Brown.

"And will Splash come?" Bunny wanted to know.

"Oh, yes, we'll take your dog along, of course. It wouldn't be like a real camp without Splash. So now you know what the tent is for."

"May we go out and look at it?" asked Bunny.

"Oh, no, son. Not to-night. It's still raining, and the tent is all wet. It will dry out in a few days. Besides, you've seen the tent up."

"It's just like when we had it for the circus," explained Sue. "I don't want to go out to the barn and see it. Bunny. I'm hungry, and I want my supper."

"It's almost ready," said Mother Brown. "Then we really are going camping?" She looked at her husband as she asked the question.

"Yes, I thought that would be a nice way to spend the summer vacation," said Mr. Brown. "Grandpa's tent is very large. We can sleep in that one. I also have a smaller tent, in which we can set a table, and next to that will be one, still smaller, where we can cook on an oil stove in wet weather. We'll have a real camp!"

"Oh, fine!" cried Bunny.

"How nice!" exclaimed Sue.

"And where are we going to camp?" Mother Brown questioned.

"Up in the woods, about ten miles from here, near Lake Wanda," answered Mr. Brown. "And, now that I've told you all about the surprise, I think we'll have supper."