The Story of a Candy Rabbit/Chapter 10
IN A BOY'S POCKET
"Are you hurt?" asked the Sawdust Doll anxiously, looking with sympathy at the Candy Babbit. "Let me help you up!"
"Oh, thank you, I can get up myself," answered the sugary chap. "And I am not at all hurt. The table cloth was soft."
He was just going to get up and hop over to the Doll when, all at once, the Sawdust toy exclaimed:
"Be quiet! Here come the children back!"
And into the room trooped the boys and girls, having finished eating the ice cream and cake.
"Oh, look at my Bunny!" cried Madeline. "Somebody jiggled him over on his side."
She set him up straight again, near the Sawdust Doll, and then she helped the other children have fun in more games. After a while Dick and Arnold went off in a corner by themselves, and began playing with Arnold's Bold Tin Soldier. While they were doing this a boy named Tom saw them.
"I wonder what they are doing?" thought Tom. "I wonder what they are looking at? It's something Arnold has in his pocket. I wish I had something in my pocket to play with. Maybe I can find something!"
I am sorry to say Tom was not always a good boy. Sometimes he was cross and unpleasant. He would pull the hair of little girls, though I hardly believe he meant to hurt them. He only did it to tease them.
Tom saw Madeline's Candy Rabbit on the table, and, as the other boys and girls were just then in another room, no one saw what Tom did. Sneaking up to the table, Tom reached over, took the Candy Rabbit, and put him in his pocket.
"Now I have something to play with," whispered Tom to himself.
Tom had many other things in his pocket. There was a small rubber ball, some pieces of string, a broken knife, two or three nails, some round, shiny pieces of tin, a whistle that wouldn't whistle, a red stone, a yellow stone, and many other odds and ends. Down among these objects the Candy Rabbit was pushed and jammed.
The only ones who saw Tom hurry away with the Candy Rabbit were the little girls' dolls. The Sawdust Doll, a Celluloid Doll belonging to Mirabell, and an old snub-nosed Wooden Doll, that Madeline had brought down from the attic, were on the table when Tom took the Candy Rabbit away in his pocket.
"Oh-oo-o-oh!" exclaimed the Sawdust Doll. "Look at him!"
"Isn't he terrible!" said the Wooden Doll.
"If we could only do something to stop him!" sighed the Celluloid Doll. But they could do nothing.
Watching his chance, Tom hurried out of Madeline's house, carrying with him the Easter present. And as for the poor Candy Rabbit, he did not know what to do. He could not get out of that boy's pocket, no matter how hard he tried.
"I'll show this Candy Rabbit to Sam and Pete," said Tom to himself, as he hurried down the street. "We'll have some fun with it."
Sam and Pete were two boys with whom Tom played. Tom looked for them as he ran down the street, the Candy Rabbit jiggling around among the things in his pocket.
"I hope my ears aren't broken off," sighed the poor Bunny. "This is the most dreadful and cramped place I was ever in."
Suddenly Tom spied his two chums.
"Hi there!" he called to them. "Look what I got!"
He took the Candy Rabbit from his pocket and held him up.
"That's a dandy!" exclaimed Pete.
"Where'd you get him?" asked Sam.
"Oh, I borrowed him at a party," Tom answered.
"Let's see it closer," begged Sam, and Tom handed over the Candy Rabbit.
"Why, he's good to eat!" cried Sam, when he had the Rabbit in his hands. "He's made of sugar, and he's good to eat!"
Tom looked at Sam and then at Pete. Then all three of the boys looked at each other.
"I—I'm sort of hungry for candy," said Pete, in a low voice.
"So'm I," admitted Sam.
"And I guess I am, too," declared Tom. "I didn't know this Rabbit was good to eat. But, as long as he is, we'll divide him up and have a regular party. Come on over on my porch, fellows, and we'll eat the Candy Rabbit!"
Now, when the sweet chap heard this he was very much frightened. Of all his adventures this seemed the very worst!
Over to Tom's porch went the three boys, and they sat down.
"We'll divide this Candy Rabbit into three pieces," said Tom. He was just going to break off one of the ears when some one came out of the house and up behind the boys as they sat on the steps.
"What have you there, Tom?" asked a voice suddenly.
The three chums turned around. It was Tom's mother who had spoken.
"Oh, it's just a Candy Rabbit," Tom answered. "We're going to eat him."
"Where did you get him?" asked Tom's mother. "Let me see."
And when she saw the Candy Rabbit Tom's mother knew at once that it was no common Rabbit, such as you may buy in the five-and-ten-cent store. The Candy Rabbit was a very fancy fellow indeed!
"Why, Tom!" exclaimed his mother. "This Rabbit belongs to Madeline. I saw it over at her house when I called there one day. Did you take Madeline's Rabbit when you were in her house at the party? Oh, Tom, what a naughty boy! I am so sorry!"
She reached over and took the Candy Rabbit just in time, for Tom had been going to break off the ears.
"Why did you take it?" asked Tom's mother.
"Oh, er—just—because," he answered, squirming around. "Dick and Arnold had something, and I wanted something in my pocket. So I took the Rabbit."
"I must take it back and tell Madeline you are sorry, and you must tell her so yourself the next time you see her," said Tom's mother.
Tom's mother took the Easter toy back to Madeline, who had just missed him, and she and all the boys and girls still left at the party were hunting for him.
"Please forgive Tom for being so naughty as to take your Candy Rabbit," begged the boy's mother, and Madeline said she would.
"Oh, I am so glad to have you back!" cried Madeline, hugging her Candy Rabbit.
"And I am glad to get back," said the Rabbit, though of course he dared not speak aloud.
Madeline smoothed out the pink ribbon on the Bunny's neck. It had been crumpled in Tom's pocket. Then the little girl put her Rabbit away on a shelf in a closet while she helped her mother and the cook clear away the things after the party.
"Dear me, I wonder what will happen next," said the Candy Rabbit, out loud, for he knew no one could hear him in there.
"Why, has anything happened to you?" asked a voice.
"I should say so!" exclaimed the Candy Rabbit. "But who are you, if I may ask?"
"Oh, I'm a match-safe Cat," was the answer, and then, his eyes having become used to the dark, the Candy Rabbit saw that he was sitting near a hollow porcelain Cat, used to hold burnt matches.
"Dear me, how strange!" murmured the Bunny.
"It is no stranger to see a Cat full of burnt matches than it is to see a Candy Rabbit with pink glass eyes," was the answer.
"I suppose not," agreed the Candy Bunny.
Then the Rabbit and the Cat became good friends and told each other stories there in the dark closet.
"My! you certainly have had some adventures," mewed the Cat, when she had heard about the Bunny's trip on the tail of a kite.
"Did nothing exciting ever happen to you?" the Rabbit wanted to know.
"Yes, once," replied the Cat. "I am hollow, as you see, and I am generally filled with burnt wooden matches.
"Well, one day, somebody put a blazing match in me by mistake, and, in an instant, all the partly burnt matches were on fire. There I was, all burning up inside."
"Oh, that must have been dreadful!" cried the Candy Rabbit.
"It was, until Madeline's mother threw a glass of water over me and put out the fire," said the Cat, "Then I was all right, except for being blackened and smoked. Of course it doesn't show in the dark, but it's there all the same."
The Candy Rabbit stayed in the closet with the Porcelain Cat all night, and the two were company for one another. The next day Madeline took her Easter toy for a ride in the doll carriage, and Dorothy had her Sawdust pet with her. The little girls talked about the party.
"Wouldn't it have been dreadful if Tom had eaten your Rabbit?" asked Dorothy.
"Terribly dreadful!" said Madeline. "I am glad it didn't happen."
"And I'm glad, too," thought the Candy Rabbit. "I hope my adventures are over now."
But they were not, though I have no room to tell you any more. I will just mention a few. Once Herbert and Dick took the Candy Rabbit and gave him a ride in Herbert's toy train of cars. But the engine went so fast that the train ran off the track. The Candy Rabbit was thrown off, and a little piece of sugar was chipped off one of his paws. But that did not hurt very much.
And, another time, the Candy Rabbit was almost run over by Dick, who was gliding around on roller skates. Only that Patrick, the gardener, caught the Bunny out of the way just in time, the sweet chap would have been crushed.
One day Herbert called to Madeline and said:
"Daddy is going to bring me a present from the store to-day."
"Is he? What kind?" asked Madeline. "Is it going to be a Jumping Jack?"
"That, or something just as funny," Herbert answered. "I want something that moves and jumps. Candy Rabbits are very nice, but I want something livelier."
"Will you let me see it when you get it?" asked his sister.
"Yes," promised Herbert. And what fun he had with his toy will be told to you in the next book, to be called: "The Story of a Monkey on a Stick."
As for the Candy Rabbit, I might add that he grew sweeter and sweeter each day, and he and Madeline lived happily forever after. Though one of his ears was bent, and a piece chipped off one paw, that did not matter. Madeline loved her Bunny very much.