Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue at Camp Rest-a-While/Chapter 6

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CHAPTER VI


PUTTING UP THE TENTS


"How long will it take us to get to Lake Wanda, Mother?" asked Bunny Brown, as, with Sue and Uncle Tad, he and his mother sat in the back of the big car that rumbled along the road.

"Oh, we ought to get there about noon," she answered.

"Just in time to eat," said Uncle Tad. "I suppose you children will be good and hungry, too."

"I'm hungry now," said Sue, "I wish I had a jam tart, Mother."

"So do I!" put in Bunny.

"I'll give you one in a few minutes," Mrs. Brown said. "We did have an early breakfast, and I suppose you are hungry now."

"Will we have to cook dinner as soon as we get to camp?" Bunny wanted to know.

"If we do I'll help," said Uncle Tad with a smile. "I can build a campfire. When I was a soldier, in the army, down South, we used to build campfires, and roast potatoes when we couldn't find anything else to eat."

"Did they taste good, Uncle Tad?" asked Sue.

"Indeed they did, little girl. And we had roast ears of corn, too. They were even better than the potatoes."

"I guess we'll have to make Uncle Tad the camp cook," said Mother Brown with a smile, as she brought out a basket of lunch for Bunny and Sue. In the basket were some cakes, sandwiches and a few of the jam and jelly tarts that Aunt Lu used to make. Only, as Aunt Lu had gone back to her city home, Mrs. Brown had learned to make the tarts, and Bunny and Sue were very fond of them.

As they rode along in the big automobile the children ate the little lunch, and enjoyed it very much. Uncle Tad took some too, for he had gotten up early, with the others, and he was hungry.

"I wonder if Daddy and Bunker Blue wouldn't like a tart," murmured Sue, after a bit, as she picked up the last crumbs of hers.

"Perhaps they would," said Mother Brown. "But they are away up on the front seat, and I don't see how we can pass them any. There is too much in the auto, or I could hand it to them out of the little window back of the seat. But I can't reach the window."

"I know how we could pass them a tart," said Bunny.

"How?" asked his mother.

"Climb up on the roof of the auto, and lower the lunch basket down to them with a string."

"Bunny Brown! Don't you dare think of such a thing!" cried his mother. "The idea of climbing onto the roof of this big automobile when it's moving!"

"Oh, I didn't mean when it was moving," Bunny said. "I wouldn't do that, for fear I'd be jiggled off. I meant to wait until we stopped. Then I could get up on the roof."

"No need to do that," said Uncle Tad. "For when we stop, then one of you can get down, and run up ahead with something for daddy and Bunker Blue."

And, a little later, the automobile did stop.

"What's the matter?" called Mrs. Brown to her husband, who was up on the front seat "Did anything happen?"

"No, only the automobile needs a drink of water," answered Mr. Brown. I have told you how automobiles need water, as much as horses do, or as you do, when you get warm. Of course the automobile does not exactly drink the water. But some must be poured in, from time to time, to keep the engine cool. And this was why Bunker Blue stopped the automobile now.

While he was pouring water in, dipping it up with a pail from a cold spring beside the road, Bunny and Sue got out and took their father and the red-haired boy some jam and jelly tarts, and also some sandwiches.

"My! This is fine!" cried Mr. Brown, as he ate the good things Sue handed him. "I'm glad we're going camping; aren't you, children?"

"Oh, I should say we were glad!" cried Bunny, as he took a drink from the spring. There was half a brown cocoanut shell for a dipper, and Bunny thought he had never drunk such cool, sweet water.

Then, when Bunker Blue had eaten his sandwiches and tarts, they started off once more, rumbling along the country roads toward Lake Wanda.

"I wish we'd hurry up and get there," said Sue. "I want to see what camping is like."

"Oh, we'll soon be there," promised Daddy Brown, "and there'll be work enough for all of us. We'll have three tents to put up, and many other things to do."

On and on went the big automobile. Splash ran along the road, some time at the side of ihe car, sometimes behind it, and, once in a while, away up ahead, as if he were looking to see that the road was safe.

After a bit the dog came back to the automobile, and walked along so slowly, with his red tongue hanging out, that Sue said:

"Oh, poor Splash must be tired! Let's give him a ride, Mother!"

"All right. Call him up here."

"Come on, Splash!" called Bunny and Sue, for they each owned half the dog. They had pretended to divide him down the middle, so each one might have part of the wagging tail, and part of the barking head. It was more fun owning a dog that way.

Up jumped Splash into the back of the auto-moving van. He stretched out on a roll of carpet that was to be spread over the board floor of the big tent, and went to sleep. But first Bunny had given him some sweet crackers to eat. Splash was very fond of these crackers.

The automobile was going down hill now, and when it reached the bottom it came to a stop again.

"What's the matter now?" asked Mother Brown. "Does the auto want another drink?"

"No, not just now," answered daddy. "Something has happened this time."

"Oh, I hope nothing is broken!" said Mrs. Brown.

"Not with us," answered her husband. "But there is an automobile just ahead of us that seems to be in trouble. They are stuck in the mud, I think."

Bunny Brown and his sister Sue, their mother, Uncle Tad and even Splash got out to see what the matter was. I don't really believe Splash cared what had happened, but he always went where Bunny and Sue went, and when he saw them go this time he went with them.

Walking up toward the front part of the big automobile, where Bunker Blue and Daddy Brown sat, Mrs. Brown, Uncle Tad and the childreq. saw, just ahead, a small automobile, off to one side of the road. The wheels were away down in the soft mud, and a man at the steering wheel was trying to make the car move up onto the hard road,, but he could not do it.

"You seem to be in trouble," said Daddy Brown. There were two ladies out on the road, watching the man trying to start the car.

"I am in trouble," said the man down in the mud. "I turned off the road to pass a hay wagon, but I did not think the mud was so soft down here, or I never would have done it. Now I am stuck and I can't seem to get out."

"Perhaps I can help you," said Daddy Brown. "I have a very strong automobile here. I'll go on ahead, keeping to the road, and I'll tie a rope to your car, and fasten the other end to mine. Then I'll pull you out of the mud."

"I'd be very thankful to you if you would." said the man.

"Yes, we'd be ever so much obliged," echoed the two ladies, whose shoes were ail muddy from having jumped out of the automobile down into the ditch.

It did not take Daddy Brown and Bunker Blue long to fasten a rope from their automobile to the one stuck in the mud. Then when the big auto-moving van, in which the Browns were going to camp, started off down the road, it pulled the small car from the mud as easily as anything.

"Thank you, very much," said the man, when he saw that he and the ladies could go on again. "The next time I get behind a hay wagon I'll wait until I have room to turn out, without getting into a mud hole. I'm very much obliged to you, Mr. Brown, and if ever you get stuck in the mud I hope I can pull you out."

"I'm afraid you couldn't do it with your small car, when my auto is such a large one." Mr. Brown answered, "but thank you just the same."

Then the man in his small automobile, rode off with the two women, and, a little later, the Browns were once more on their way.

It was a little before noon when they came in sight of a big lake, which they could see through the trees. It was not far from the road.

"Oh, what lake is that?" asked Mrs. Brown,

"That is Lake Wanda, where we are going to camp," said Mr. Brown. "We'll turn in toward it, pretty soon, and begin putting up the tents."

"You said we'd have dinner first!" cried Bunny Brown.

"Are you hungry again?" asked his mother.

"I guess riding and being out in the air make them hungry," said Uncle Tad. "Well, children must eat to grow big and strong."

"Then Bunny and Sue ought to be regular giants!" laughed Mrs. Brown, "for they are eating all the while."

A little later the big automobile turned off the main road into a smaller one, that led to the lake. And when the children and Mrs. Brown had a good view of the large sheet of water they thought it one of the most beautiful they had ever seen.

The lake was deep blue in color, and all around it were hills, and little mountains, with many trees on them. The trees were covered with beautiful, green leaves.

"Oh, this is a lovely place," cried Mother Brown. "Just lovely!"

"I'm glad you like it," said her husband.

"I like it, too," echoed Bunny.

"So do I," added Sue.

"Well, shall we begin putting up the tents?" asked Mr. Brown. "It will be night almost before you know it here. You see the hills are so high that the sun seems to go to bed sooner here than he does at home."

"Oh, let's rest awhile before we do anything," said Mother Brown. "Just rest awhile and look at the lake."

"Hurrah!" suddenly cried Daddy Brown. "That's it! I've been trying to think what to call it, but you've done it for me. That's just what we'll call it! There couldn't be a better name!"

"Why, what are you talking about?" asked Mrs. Brown, in surprise.

"The name of our camp," explained Daddy Brown, laughing. "I have been trying, ever since we started, to think of a good name for it 'Rest-a-While,' will be the very thing. That's just what you said a moment ago you know. 'Let's rest awhile and look at the lake.' So we will call this Camp Rest-a-While! Isn't that a good name?"

"Why, yes, it does sound very nice," said Mother Brown. "Camp Rest-a-While! That's what we'll call it then, though I didn't know I was naming a camp. Well, children—Uncle Tad—Bunker—and all of us—Welcome to Camp Rest-a-While!"

"Hurrah!" cried Bunny and Sue, clapping their hands.

And so the camp was named.

Mrs. Brown set out a little lunch, and they gathered about one of the boxes, in which the bed clothes were packed, to eat. The box was set on the ground, under a big chestnut tree.

"Where are you going to put up the tents?" asked Mother Brown.

"Right where we are now," said Daddy Brown. "I think we could not find a nicer spot. Here is a good place for our boat, when we get it. It is nice and dry here, and we can see all over the lake. Yes, this is where we will put up the tents for Camp Rest-a-While."

And, after they had all eaten lunch, including Splash, who was as hungry as Bunny or Sue, the work of putting up the tents was begun. The canvas houses were unrolled, and spread out on the ground. Then Daddy Brown, with Bunker Blue and Uncle Tad to help, put up the tent poles, and spread the canvas over them. By pulling on certain ropes, raising the poles, and then tying the poles fast so they would not fall over, the tents were put up.

There was the big one, that could be made into two or even three rooms, for them all to sleep in. Bunny, Daddy Brown, Uncle Tad and Bunker Blue in one part, and Mother Brown and Sue in the other, with a third part for company.

The big tent was almost up. Only one more rope needed to be made fast. Bunker Blue was pulling on this when Bunny and Sue, who were helping, heard Splash give a sudden bark. Then the dog jumped into the lake, and the children, looking, saw a great commotion going on in the water near shore. Splash seemed either to have caught something, or to have been caught himself. He was barking, howling and whining.

"Oh, a big fish has caught Splash! A big fish has caught our dog!" cried Sue, and, dropping the tent rope, of which she had hold, down to the edge of the lake she ran.