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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesBunny Brown And His Sister Sue On An Auto Tour - Chapter 17. On To Portland
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Bunny Brown And His Sister Sue On An Auto Tour - Chapter 17. On To Portland Post by :YUMGAL01 Category :Long Stories Author :Laura Lee Hope Date :May 2012 Read :3567

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Bunny Brown And His Sister Sue On An Auto Tour - Chapter 17. On To Portland

CHAPTER XVII. ON TO PORTLAND

There was no doubt about it, the big automobile was in the ditch. Or rather, the rear wheels, having gone through the small bridge, were now in the water of a little brook. The rains had made the usually dry ditch into a brook that flowed swiftly along.

"Oh dear!" cried Mrs. Brown. "This is too bad!"

"Anybody hurt back there?" asked Mr. Brown, who, at the first feeling that something was wrong, had put on the brakes. The automobile would have stopped anyhow, as the wheels were held fast in the mud and the broken pieces of the bridge.

"No, we're all right," answered Uncle Tad, looking at Bunny and Sue, who, at the first sound of something wrong had crept closer to their mother.

"My nose feels as if I had bumped it," said Bunny, rubbing his "smeller" as he sometimes called it. "Though I don't remember doing it," he went on.

"I guess you did it when you jumped out of your seat," said his mother. "We all jumped, it came so suddenly."

"And I dropped my Teddy bear and Uncle Tad stepped on her," murmured Sue with sorrow in her tones. "Look, Uncle Tad, you've turned on her eyes!"

And, surely enough, the electric eyes of Sallie Malinda were glowing brightly. Uncle Tad must have stepped on the switch button in the toy's back and turned it on.

"But I guess she's all right," went on Sue, as she turned off the switch and then turned it on again to see that it was working as it should. "You didn't hurt her, Uncle Tad," she said.

"I'm glad of that, Sue," said the old soldier. "Now I guess I'd better get around to see if I can help your father get the automobile out of the ditch."

Dix and Splash, who had been racing up and down the road, came back, panting and with their long red tongues hanging out of their mouths, to see what the trouble was. They looked at the ditched automobile with their heads on one side, and then sort of barked at one another. It was as if Dix said:

"Well, what do you think about it, Splash? Do you think we had better stay here and help them?"

"Oh, I don't see anything _we can do," answered Splash. At least it _seemed as if he spoke that way. "Let's keep on playing tag."

And so the two dogs raced away.

"We do seem to be in a fix," remarked Mr. Brown as he came as near as he could to the back of the automobile without getting into the ditch.

"What _can we do?" asked Mrs. Brown, and her voice was anxious.

"We'll soon see," answered her husband. "In the first place you had all better get out of the car. I don't know how long it may stand upright. It may topple over if the water washes away more mud from under one wheel than from under another, and you'll be better out than in."

"But how are we going to _get out?" asked Bunny. "The back steps are all under water!"

And so they were. When the bridge broke with the automobile the front wheels were off the wooden planks and on the road beyond, and the rear wheels went down when the bridge broke in the middle. So the "Ark" was standing as though it had come to a sudden stop going up a steep hill, at the bottom of which was a brook. The rear wheels, and all but the top one of the back steps were under water.

"You can crawl out over the front seat," said Mr. Brown. "From there you can easily get down to the ground if Uncle Tad and I help you. Then, Mother, you might try your hand at getting a lunch, for it will soon be noon, while Uncle Tad and I see what we can do about getting the automobile out of the ditch."

"It will be some fun after all," said Bunny as he crawled out over the front seat. "We can picnic alongside the road, Sue, and watch Daddy and Uncle Tad get the car out."

"Yes," said Bunny's sister. "And maybe I'll make a pie for you and Sallie Malinda."

"No, I guess I wouldn't try a pie to-day," said Mrs. Brown with a smile. "We won't be able to use any stove except the small oil one, out on the ground, and that will cook only a few things. We'll wait for the pie until the auto is safe on the road again."

"I hope we can get it out of the ditch without breaking anything," said Mr. Brown, as he helped his wife and children down the high front steps of the big car, and then lifted out the oil stove, and other things that would be needed for the lunch.

"Do you think there is any danger?" asked Mrs. Brown.

"A little," answered her husband. "But at least none of us can be hurt, and the worst that can happen will be a little damage to our car."

"Oh, the dear old 'Ark!'" cried Mrs. Brown. "I hope it won't be damaged much."

"So do I," said her husband. "If I had known that bridge was so weak as to let us fall through I would have gone a different road. But I suppose the rain and high water weakened the supports. However, don't worry. We'll see what can be done."

After a look at the way in which the rear wheels of the big car were lodged in the ditch, Uncle Tad and Mr. Brown went to the nearest town on foot to get help. Mrs. Brown, Bunny and Sue made a little camp beside the road, the children helping a little, and then running about to play. The two dogs joined them in their fun.

"I guess I'll make a little cornstarch pudding," said Mrs. Brown, as she got the other things ready for lunch; and when the pudding was finished she covered it up, so no ants or bugs would get in it, and set it in a hollow stump to keep until it would be needed for the dessert after the lunch.

It was not long before Mr. Brown and Uncle Tad came back riding in a big automobile truck which they had hired at the nearest garage to pull the "Ark" out of the ditch.

"Will you have lunch first?" asked Mrs. Brown.

"Yes, I guess we will," said her husband. "We'll eat while the garage men are getting ropes and chains around our car to pull it out of the ditch."

And so they ate their dinner under the shade of a big tree beside the road. Two men had come in the auto truck to work for Mr. Brown, and they went about it quickly, putting strong ropes and chains on the "Ark."

"And now I have a little surprise for you," said Mrs. Brown as she poured tea for herself, Mr. Brown and Uncle Tad, and set milk before the children.

"Oh, goodie!" cried Sue.

"Fine!" exclaimed Bunny.

Mrs. Brown went to the hollow stump. She looked in and then she cried:

"Oh, dear! No I haven't any either."

"Any what, either?" asked Mr. Brown.

"Surprise for you. I made a nice cocoanut cornstarch pudding, and put it in this hollow stump, covering it up. But something has come along and eaten it."

For a moment there was a silence, and then Bunny cried:

"Maybe it was a hungry bear!"

"Or maybe it was our squirrel Fluffy," said Sue. "He can hop around a little now, 'cause his leg is almost well."

"Hum, the pudding's gone, is it?" said Mr. Brown. "That's too bad. Come here, sir!" he suddenly called to Splash. The dog, who was lying beside Dix near the brook, arose slowly and came to Mr. Brown, tail between his legs and head drooping.

"And you too, Dix! Come here!" ordered Mr. Brown.

Dix walked up exactly as Splash had done, with drooping head and tail. Mr. Brown took hold of the head of first one dog and then the other. He looked closely at their mouths.

"Here we have the pudding thieves!" he cried. "Splash and Dix found the dessert in the hollow stump and ate it. Didn't you, you rascals?"

The dogs whined and said not a "word." It was very plain that they had taken the pudding.

"Oh, please don't whip them, Daddy!" begged Bunny.

"No; I won't," said Mr. Brown.

"I shouldn't have left the pudding where they could get it," said Mrs. Brown. "It was all my fault. I'll make another for supper."

However, there were some cakes in a tin can in the "Ark," and as Uncle Tad climbed in and got them out for the children before the garage men started to pull the stalled automobile out with their machine, Bunny and Sue had a little dessert after all.

"We're all ready to try to get your car out of the ditch now, Mr. Brown," said one of the garage men.

"Oh, let's watch, Sue!" cried Bunny.

"But keep out of the way," ordered their father.

There was a puffing of the other auto truck, a grinding of the wheels, and then the "Ark" was pulled slowly out of the ditch, and on to the road again, the hind wheels running on long planks which the men put under them. Thus out on to the safe and solid road rolled the "Ark."

"Hurrah!" cried Bunny Brown.

"Now we're all right," said his Sister Sue.

And indeed they were, for it was found that nothing was broken on the big machine in which the Brown family were making their tour.

Mr. Brown paid the garage men, who went back to their shop, and the "Ark" was soon on its way again.

"And the next time I come to a small bridge I'm going to find out how much weight it will carry before I cross it," said the children's father.

For a week or more the "Ark" traveled on. Every time he got a chance Mr. Brown asked about Fred, in the different towns through which they passed, but could get no trace of the missing boy.

They saw other medicine showmen who had with them players or singers, but none of them were at all like the runaway Fred.

"It must have been he who was with Dr. Perry," said Mrs. Brown.

"Yes, and I presume he feared we knew him and so he ran on farther," her husband added. "He may be in Portland now."

"How soon shall we be there?" asked Bunny.

"In a few more days now."

Two days later, as they camped outside a little village for the night, they saw beside the road a signboard which read:

TWENTY MILES TO PORTLAND

"Oh, we'll be there to-morrow!" cried Bunny. "Then we can find Fred, and can send him to his mamma and papa!"

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