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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesBunny Brown And His Sister Sue Playing Circus - Chapter 24. Ben's Secret
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Bunny Brown And His Sister Sue Playing Circus - Chapter 24. Ben's Secret Post by :olecram Category :Long Stories Author :Laura Lee Hope Date :May 2012 Read :2393

Click below to download : Bunny Brown And His Sister Sue Playing Circus - Chapter 24. Ben's Secret (Format : PDF)

Bunny Brown And His Sister Sue Playing Circus - Chapter 24. Ben's Secret

CHAPTER XXIV. BEN'S SECRET

Everyone was looking at the place where Ben Hall had slid out under the edge of the tent and run away. Why he had done it no one knew.

Then all eyes were turned toward the strange man who had come into the tent just in time to see Ben's big jump, and his three somersaults. The man was a stranger. No one seemed to know him.

This man stood for a moment, also looking at the place where Ben had slipped under the tent. Then he cried out:

"Well, he's got away again! I must catch him!"

Then the man ran out of the tent.

"What is it all about?" asked Mother Brown. "Is this a part of the circus, Bunny?"

But Bunny did not know; neither did his sister Sue. They were as much surprised as anyone at Ben's strange act. And they did not know who the man was, at the sight of whom Ben had seemed so frightened.

"I'll see what it's about," said Grandpa Brown.

He hurried out of the tent, but soon came back again.

"Ben isn't in sight," Grandpa Brown said, "and that queer man is running across the fields."

"Is he chasing after Ben?" asked Bunny.

"Well, he may be. But if I can't see Ben, I don't see how the man can, either. I don't know what it all means."

"Maybe the man was a Gypsy," said Sue, "and he wants to catch Ben, same as the Gypsies took grandpa's horses."

"Gypsies don't take boys and girls," said Mrs. Brown. "Besides, that man didn't look like a Gypsy. There is something queer about it all."

"I always said that boy, Ben, was queer," asserted Grandpa Brown. "He has acted queerly from the time he came here so hungry. But he was a good boy, and he worked well, I'll say that for him. I hope he isn't in trouble."

"Will he--will he come back?" Sue wanted to know.

"I don't know, my dear," answered her grandfather. "I hope so."

"I hope so, too!" declared Sue. "I like Ben."

"He ran as soon as he saw that man," observed Bunker Blue.

"Did he ever tell you anything about himself?" asked Mr. Brown. "You were with Ben most of the time, Bunker."

"No, sir, he never told me anything about himself. But he seemed to know a lot about circuses. I asked him if he was ever with one, but he would never tell me."

"Well, I don't know that we can do anything," said grandpa. "If Ben comes back we'll treat him right, and if he is in trouble we will help him. But, since he is gone, there is no use trying to find him."

The circus was over. The boys who had brought their pets to the show took them home again. It was now late afternoon, and Grandpa Brown said the boys could leave the tents up until next day, as there was no sign of a storm.

"You can take them down then," he said to Bunker Blue. "My tent we'll store away in the barn, until Bunny and Sue want to give another circus. The big fair tent can also be taken down to-morrow and put away. But everyone is too tired to do all that work to-night."

That evening, in grandpa's farmhouse, after supper, nothing was talked of but the circus, and what had happened at it. Everyone said it was the best children's circus they had ever seen.

"But poor Ben!" exclaimed Bunny. "I wonder where he is?"

"Did he have his supper?" asked Sue.

No one knew, for Ben had not come back. It was dark now. The cows and horses had been fed. The chickens had had their supper, and gone to roost long ago. Bunny, Sue and all the others had had a good meal. But Ben was not around. Everyone felt sad.

"I wonder why he ran away," pondered Bunker Blue, over and over again, "I wonder why he ran away, as soon as he saw that man."

No one knew.

Early the next morning Bunny Brown and his sister Sue arose and came down stairs to breakfast.

"Did Ben come back?" was the first question they asked.

"No," said Grandma Brown. "He didn't come back."

"Oh, dear!" sighed Sue.

"It's too bad!" said Bunny. Then he crooked and wiggled one of his fat little fingers at Sue. She knew what that meant. It meant Bunny had something to whisper to her.

"What is it?" she asked, when grandma had gone out into the kitchen to get some more bread and butter.

"Hush! Don't tell anyone," whispered Bunny. "But we'll go and look for him and bring him back."

"Bring who back?"

"Ben Hall. We'll go look for him, Sue."

"But we don't know where to find him."

"We'll take Splash," announced Bunny. "Splash likes Ben, and our dog will find him. We'll go right after breakfast."

And as soon as they had brushed their teeth, which they did after each meal, Bunny Brown and his sister Sue started out to find Ben Hall, who had run away from the circus the day before.

Bunny and Sue did not want to go very far away from grandpa's house. They, themselves, had been lost a number of times, and they did not want this to happen again. But they thought there would be no harm in just walking across the meadow where Ben had last been seen. From the meadow grandpa's house was in plain sight, and if Bunny and Sue did not stray into the wood, which was at the further side of the meadow, they could not lose their way.

"I hope we can find Ben," said Sue.

"So do I," echoed Bunny. "Come on Splash, find Ben!"

The big dog barked and ran on ahead.

Bunker Blue, and some of the boys who had helped get up the circus, were now taking down the big tent. It was to be folded up, put on a wagon, and taken to the town hall where it was kept when not in use.

"I'm going to be a circus man when I grow up," said Bunny, as he looked back, and saw the white tent fluttering to the ground, as the ropes holding it up were loosened.

"I'm not," said Sue. "I--I'd be afraid of the wild animals. I'm just going to ride in an automobile when I get big."

"You can ride in mine," offered Bunny. "I'm going to have an automobile, even if I am a circus man."

Over the meadow went the two children and Splash their dog, looking for Ben Hall. But they did not see him, nor did they see the strange man who had run after him out of the tent. Bunny and Sue went almost to the patch of woodland. Then they turned back, for they did not want to get lost.

"I guess we can't find him," said Bunny sadly.

"No," agreed Sue. "Let's go back."

When the children reached grandpa's house again, the big tent was down, and Bunker and the other boys were gone. They were taking the tent back. The smaller tent--the one Grandpa Brown had loaned--was still up.

"Let's go in it and rest," said Bunny. "We can make believe we are camping out."

"All right," agreed Sue.

Into the tent they went. All the wooden boxes, that had been used as cages for the make-believe wild animals, had been taken out. There was only some straw piled up in one corner.

"Watch me jump!" cried Bunny. He gave a run and landed on something in the pile of soft straw. Something in the straw grunted and yelled. Then some one sat up. Bunny Brown rolled over and over out of the way.

"Oh! Oh!" cried Sue. "What is it?"

But she did not need to ask twice. She saw a big boy, dressed in a funny clown's suit, standing up in the straw. Bunny was now sitting up, and he, too, was looking at the clown.

"Why--why," said Sue, "It's Ben! It's our Ben!"

"So it is!" cried Bunny.

"Yes," answered Ben, rubbing his eyes, for he had been asleep in the straw when Bunny jumped on him. "Yes, I've come back. I stayed in the field, under a haystack all night, but I couldn't stand it any longer. I had to come back."

"What'd you run away for?" asked Bunny.

"Because I was afraid he'd catch me," Ben answered.

"Do you mean that--that man," whispered Bunny.

"Yes."

"He isn't here," said Sue. "Did you stay in this tent all the while, Ben?"

"No, Sue. I ran across the field when I saw that man looking at me, after I made my big jump. I ran over to the woods and hid. Then, when it got dark, I crept back and hid under the hay stack. A little while ago, when I saw Bunker and the other boys drive away with the big tent, I came back here. I'm awfully hungry!"

"We'll get you something to eat," said Sue. "Won't we, Bunny?"

"Sure we will. But come on up to the house, Ben. That man isn't there, and we won't let him hurt you. What's it all about, anyhow?"

"I guess I'll have to tell your folks my secret," Ben answered.

"Oh, have you a secret, too?" asked Sue, clapping her hands. "How nice!"

"No, it isn't very nice," said Ben. "But I guess I will go and ask your grandmother for something to eat. I'm terribly hungry!"

Holding the hands of Bunny Brown and his sister Sue, Ben, the strange boy, who had been so queerly found under the straw in the tent, walked toward grandpa's house.

"Well land sakes! Where'd you come from?" asked Grandma Brown, as she saw him. "And such a looking sight! You look as if you'd slept in a barn all night!"

"I did--almost," said Ben, smiling.

"Well, come in and get that clown suit off you," said Mrs. Brown. "Then tell us all about it. What made you run away?"

"I was afraid that man would get me," said Ben.

"Why should he want to get you?" asked Daddy Brown.

"Because I ran away from his circus where I used to do tricks," Ben answered. "That's my secret. I used to be a regular circus performer, but I couldn't stand it any longer, and I ran away. I didn't want you to know it, so I didn't tell you. But that man, who came into the tent when I was doing the same jump I used to do in the regular circus--that man knew me. I thought he had come to take me back, and I didn't want to go. So I ran away."

"You poor boy!" said Grandma Brown.

There came a knock on the door, and when Mrs. Brown opened it there stood the same man from whom Ben had run away the day before.

"Oh, you're back again I see!" said the man.

Ben dropped his knife and fork on his plate, and looked around for a place to hide. Everyone was silent, waiting for what would happen next.

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