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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesBunny Brown And His Sister Sue On An Auto Tour - Chapter 9. Two Disappearances
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Bunny Brown And His Sister Sue On An Auto Tour - Chapter 9. Two Disappearances Post by :mpibizsa Category :Long Stories Author :Laura Lee Hope Date :May 2012 Read :754

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Bunny Brown And His Sister Sue On An Auto Tour - Chapter 9. Two Disappearances

CHAPTER IX. TWO DISAPPEARANCES

For a moment the two children looked out of the automobile windows at the strange sight. Then, unable longer to think of going to bed when there was likely to be some excitement, they both came out from behind the curtains that screened off their cots, and cried together:

"Dix has got a cow!"

"Dix has got a _what_?" asked Mrs. Brown, thinking she had not understood.

"Dix has got a _cow_!" went on Bunny. "He's leading her by a rope. I guess he thinks it's our cow."

"Well, what will those dogs do next?" asked Mr. Brown, who was reading a newspaper he had purchased from a passing boy, who rode his route on a bicycle.

"It's true enough--about the cow," said Uncle Tad, who was outside the automobile putting out the last embers of the campfire, that there might be no danger during the night. "One of the dogs is leading home a 'cow critter,' as some farmers call them.

"It's Dix," he went on a moment later as the two dogs, both barking excitedly, came close to the big moving van, Dix having hold of the rope that was tied fast to the cow's neck. He was leading her along, and the cow did not appear to mind. "Dix must have found the cow wandering along the road," went on Uncle Tad, "and, thinking we might need one, he just brought her home."

"Very thoughtful of Dix, I'm sure," said Mr. Brown, who had come outside as had his wife, while Bunny and Sue remained in their pajamas in the doorway. "He probably meant it kindly, but what will the man think whose cow she is? Well, what's the matter with you, Splash?" asked Mr. Brown, for that dog, too, was barking very loudly. "Did you see the cow first, and wouldn't Dix let you have a share in bringing her here? I guess that was it. Never mind, you shall lead the cow home, if we can find out where she belongs."

He patted Splash's head as he spoke, and talked to the dog almost as he would have talked to a small boy. And I think Splash understood, for he wagged his tail, and seemed pleased.

Dix led the cow up to Mr. Brown, and there, dropping the end of the rope, wagged his tail, barked once or twice and looked up as though he were saying:

"Well, didn't I do pretty well for the first day? I found a cow for you. That will more than pay my board. I'll try and find something else to-morrow."

Then, as if satisfied that he had done his duty, Dix went off to hunt for a bone he had buried after his supper, and Splash went with him.

"Well, what in the world are we going to do with it?" asked Mrs. Brown. "We can't keep this cow; that's sure!"

"We might tie her to one of the auto wheels," said Mr. Brown.

"No, thank you!" exclaimed his wife. "She'd moo all night, and keep us awake."

"But we can't turn her loose," said Mr. Brown. "She might wander off and be stolen, and then the owner would blame us, though it might not be our fault. Since Dix has brought the cow to us, no matter whether we wanted her or not, we've got to look after her somehow."

"Couldn't Dix take her back?" asked Bunny, from where he stood in the doorway with Sue.

"That's perhaps a good idea," replied Mr. Brown. "Though I don't know that Dix could exactly take her back. I think I'd better do it myself. It's early yet, and probably the farmer who owns the cow is out looking for her. I'll let Splash lead the cow back along the road, and I'll go with him. We may meet the farmer."

"Well, don't be gone too long," begged Mrs. Brown. "The first day is always hard and we want to get to bed early."

"I'll do my best," promised Mr. Brown. "Come on, Splash! It's your turn now to lead the cow!"

Splash barked joyfully, and seemed glad that he was to have something to do with the big horned animal, who was contentedly chewing her cud, lying down beside the automobile. She appeared quite contented wherever she was.

"Oh, let us come!" begged Bunny and Sue, as they saw their father go off down the road with Splash leading the cow by the rope.

"No, indeed! You youngsters get to bed!" said Mrs. Brown. "You ought to be glad of the chance. You must be tired."

"We're not--a single bit!" declared Bunny, but though he and Sue begged hard, and teased to go to see the cow taken home, their mother would not let them.

It was quite dark when Mr. Brown came back. The children were asleep, but Mrs. Brown and Uncle Tad were sitting up reading.

"Well?" asked Mrs. Brown, as she noticed how tired her husband looked. "Did you have far to go?"

"About two miles, and mostly uphill. But I found the cow's owner."

"Did you? That's good! How did you manage?" asked Uncle Tad.

"Well, I was going along, Splash leading the cow as proud as a peacock, when, all of a sudden, I saw a man hurrying toward me. He seemed very much excited, and asked me if that was _my cow the dog was leading.

"I told him it was not; that one of the dogs that was with us on our auto trip had brought her in; and that I was bringing her back, looking for the owner."

"'I'm him,' he said. 'And I can soon prove the critter's mine.'"

"I told him I hoped she was, for I was tired of walking with her. So he stopped at two or three farmers' houses, and they all said the cow belonged to Mr. Adrian Richmond, who was the man that met me. So I left the cow with him and came on home, for this _does look like home," he added, as he gazed around the small but cozy room in the auto-van.

"Did the farmer tell you how Dix came to lead off his cow?" asked Uncle Tad.

"No, he only guessed that the animal must have pulled loose from her stake and wandered off down the road. She was used to being led home every night by the farmer's dog, so she didn't make any objections."

"Then Dix must be a sort of a cow dog," remarked Mrs. Brown, and later it was learned that Dix had once been on a western ranch and had helped the cowboys with their work.

So with the cow disposed of, and the two dogs asleep on some old blankets under the automobile, the little party of travelers settled down for the night. They all slept soundly, and in the morning the first thing Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue wanted to know about was the cow. Their father told them all that had happened.

"That Dix is a great dog!" cried Bunny. "I'm glad we brought him with us."

"So'm I!" echoed Sue. "And maybe to-day he'll find Fred."

"How can he?" asked Bunny.

"Because you know the funny old man who stopped us, to see if we were a traveling show, said that boy banjo player was to come to this town. And even if the one he saw _was colored it might be Fred blacked up."

"That's so," agreed Bunny. "We'll get daddy to ask."

A breakfast was cooked in the auto and eaten out-of-doors, because it was such a lovely morning. More than once as they ate in the shadow of the big car other autoists, passing, waved a merry greeting to the happy little party, and as horse-drawn carts and wagons passed along the road on their way into town, many curious glances were cast at the travelers.

It was rather a strange way of making a journey, but it suited the Browns, and they preferred their big automobile to any railroad train they could have had.

After breakfast they set off again, passing through the city.

Mr. Brown asked several persons there about the traveling medicine show with the colored banjo player. Many had seen it, but some were sure the banjo-playing boy was a real negro, while others said he was only blackened up. At any rate the show had traveled on, and no one knew where it would be next met with.

"Well, it may have been Fred, and it may not," said Mr. Brown. "I must write and ask Mr. Ward if his son could imitate a negro, singing and playing the banjo, and whether he ever dressed up and did that sort of thing."

The progress of the big automobile through the town attracted many persons, not a few of whom believed it to be a traveling show, and they were disappointed when some sort of performance was not given.

The Browns were soon out in the sunny country again, traveling along a shady level road. Bunny and Sue played with their toys, and at noon, when they stopped for lunch, they had a romping game of tag in the woods and fields near-by.

After the noon rest they went on again, the two dogs running along, sometimes ahead of the automobile and sometimes behind it.

"I'm going to put darling Sallie Malinda to sleep," said Sue after a while. "And I'm going to let her sleep near the back door of the car."

"Why?" asked Bunny, who was very fond of asking questions.

"She isn't feeling very well, and the air will do her good," answered Sue, who made her "make-believe" very real to herself.

So, having made a nice bed of rags for her Teddy bear, Sue put Sallie Malinda to sleep near the rear door of the auto and got out one of her books to look at the pictures. Bunny was building some sort of house with some new blocks his father had bought for him, but he was not having very good luck, for the motion of the auto made the house topple over almost as soon as Bunny had it built.

After a while Sue thought her Teddy bear had had enough sleep near the auto door, so she went to take her in. But when she reached the rag bed Sallie Malinda was not there.

"Oh, my Teddy bear is gone!" cried Sue. "Oh, Bunny, do you think she falled out? Daddy! Daddy! Stop the auto! My Teddy bear is lost!"

Mr. Brown stopped the car at once, though he did not understand all of what Sue said. The little girl told him what had happened.

"Sallie Malinda gone!" cried Mother Brown. "That's too bad! She must have been jostled off when the auto went over a bump. I think we'll have to go back and look for her," she said to her husband.

Then Bunny gave some more news.

"Dix is gone too!" he cried. "I've been watching a long while and I haven't seen him. And Splash is acting awful funny--just as if Dix had run away."

"Hum! This _is rather strange!" exclaimed Mr. Brown. "Two disappearances at once."

"What's disappearcesses?" asked Sue.

"It means going away--the word your father used does," explained Mrs. Brown with a smile. "But it certainly is strange that Dix and the Teddy bear should go away together."

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CHAPTER VIII. DIX AND THE COW"Now," said Bunny, as he sat down on a little stool in the auto to talk to his father and mother--and Sue, of course, and Uncle Tad, who were all listening. "Now it wouldn't hurt an awful lot to take Dix with us, would it?" "What do you mean?" asked his mother. "I mean Dix wouldn't eat much more than Splash, would he?" "Oh, I guess if it comes to feeding dogs, two come about as cheaply as one," said Mr. Brown with a laugh. "But what's the idea, Bunny?" "Well, I'd like to have Dix
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