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The day of the party for Splash, the dog, came at last, though Bunny Brown and his sister Sue were so anxious for the time to arrive that it seemed very long indeed. But everything comes if you wait long enough, so they say, and finally the time for the party came.
"Oh, what a fine day!" cried Bunny, as he ran to the window on the morning of the day of the party. "The sun is shining, Sue!"
"That's good," answered his sister from her room. "A party is no fun in the rain."
"And there's wind enough to fly the kites," went on Bunny. He and some of his little boy friends had talked over what they would do at the party.
"The girls will want to play with their dolls," said Harry Bentley.
"Well, we don't want to do that," observed Charlie Star. "What can we do?"
"We can make kites, and fly 'em," Bunny said, and so this was what he and the boys at the party would do while the girls were playing with their dolls. So Bunny was now glad to notice, as he looked from the window, that the wind was blowing; not too hard, but enough to fly kites.
The two children were soon dressed, and down at the breakfast table. But they did not eat as much as usual, and Bunny left more than half his oatmeal in his dish.
"Why, Bunny! What is the matter?" asked his mother.
"I guess they are thinking so much about the party that they can't eat as they ought," Aunt Lu said.
"Oh, but that isn't right!" Mother Brown exclaimed. "Come, Bunny--Sue, eat a nice breakfast, and then you may fix up the lawn in any way you like for your party."
"I've a big bow for Splash's neck," said Sue.
"And I'm going to make a harness, and hitch him up to the express wagon, so he can pull us around the yard," remarked Bunny.
"Now please eat your breakfast!" begged their mother, and Bunny and Sue did their best. But it was hard work not to talk or think about their party.
Aunt Lu helped them get the lawn in readiness. All about the Brown house was a big grass plot, and in the back were a number of shade trees. The tables, which were made from boxes, with boards across the top, were to be set out there.
There were to be sandwiches, cake, lemonade and ice cream, with Aunt Lu's lovely jam and jelly tarts besides.
"It was the tarts that made us think about the party, so of course we want them," announced Sue.
Splash, the dog, seemed quite proud of the big bow that Sue tied on his neck, to make him look pretty. But Splash did not care so much for the harness that Bunny made. The little boy took some ropes and straps, and tied them about the dog's neck and front legs. Then some ends of the ropes were made fast to the little express wagon, and Bunny got in it, calling to Splash to "giddap!" That was the way Grandpa Brown made his horses go, and so, of course, a dog ought to go when you said that to him.
Splash went all right, but just as when Bunny had hitched him to the boat, that was stuck on the island, the harness was not strong enough, and it broke, so that Splash ran off, with the straps and ropes dangling from him.
"I guess I'm too heavy for him to pull," said Bunny, as he got out of the wagon.
"You could have one of my dolls to ride in the wagon," offered Sue. "Take an old one, and I don't care if she falls out. She wouldn't be too heavy for Splash to pull."
"I'll try it," Bunny said.
Once again he tied the ropes about Splash, and the little express wagon, and this time, when Bunny walked along beside the dog, Splash really did pull the wagon along, giving the doll a ride.
But Bunny did not think this was much fun. He wanted to ride in the wagon himself.
"I'm going to make a big, strong harness," he said, and off he went to look for more rope.
"Well, I'm going to get the tables ready," Sue said. "I'm going to pick some flowers for them."
Aunt Lu, with the help of the cook, had made the wooden tables, which were boards over boxes. White cloths were now spread on them, for it was nearly time for the party. The things to eat would not be set out until the party guests came.
Sue loved flowers, and she picked them from the fields and woods whenever she saw any to gather. Not far from the Brown home, in fact in the next lot to the lawn, was a field in which grew daisies, buttercups, clover and other wild flowers.
Sue picked many of these, and then she and Aunt Lu put them in pitchers and vases of water, and set them on the tables. There were two tables, one for the girls and one for the boys.
Bunny had asked that this be done.
"'Cause the girls will bring their dolls to the table," he said, "and we fellows don't want to eat with a lot of dolls."
"Oh, you funny boy!" laughed his mother, but she had let him have his way. So Aunt Lu and Sue had two tables to decorate with flowers.
While they were doing this Bunny was trying to make another harness for Splash, so the dog could pull the express wagon with the little boy in it. But Bunny did not have very good luck, or else Splash pulled too strongly, for one harness after another broke, until Bunny gave up.
"I'll save my money and buy a harness at the store," he said.
"There, I think we have flowers enough, Sue!" exclaimed her aunt, as she looked at the tables. Indeed they were very pretty, and they would look even better when the dishes, and the good things to eat, were put on.
"Isn't it 'most time?" asked Bunny, after a bit. "I'm getting hungry."
"Oh, you must wait for the company," his mother told him. "They will soon be here."
And, a little later, Sadie West and Helen Newton came. When they saw how pretty the flowers looked on the table they exclaimed:
"Oh, how nice!"
"Where is Splash?" asked Sadie. "I've brought him a bone," and so she had, all wrapped in waxed paper from the inside of a cracker package, and on the bone, just as she had promised, was a pink ribbon.
"Here, Splash! Splash!" called Bunny, who had given up trying to make his pet pull the express wagon.
The dog came running up from the far end of the yard.
"See what Sadie has brought for your party!" laughed Bunny.
Splash took the bone, but the ends of the ribbon got up his nose and he sneezed in the queerest way, which made the children laugh.
"I guess Splash doesn't like too much style," said Sadie, who was older than Bunny and Sue.
"I wonder how he'll like my dog-biscuit," remarked Helen Newton, as she unwrapped it from the paper. "I put a red bow on it. Do you like red better than pink, Splash?"
The dog, who was gnawing the bone Sadie had brought him, looked up and wagged his tail. He must have thought it was fine to have so many good things to eat, even though he did not understand about the party. He sniffed at the dog-biscuit, which is a sort of cake, with ground-up meat, and other good things in it that dogs like. Then Splash would gnaw a little on the bone, and, afterward, nibble at the hard biscuit.
"Well, Splash is enjoying himself anyhow," said Aunt Lu, as she came out to begin setting the tables.
Soon after this a number of the boys and girls came. There were ten girls and six boys, though ten boys had been invited. But though all the girls came to the party given for Splash, all the boys did not. It often is that way at parties; isn't it? More girls than boys. But the boys don't know what fun they sometimes miss.
"Play some games, children," said Mrs. Brown. "Run about and play, and then it will be time to eat. Aunt Lu and I will put on the cake, and other goodies."
"Let's play tag!" said Sue.
"And after that hide-and-go-to-seek," Bunny called.
"And puss-in-the-corner," added Sadie West.
One after the other they played the games, running about on the grassy lawn, and having great fun. Splash dug a hole and hid his bone, after gnawing on it as long as he cared to. He ate all the dog-biscuit, and then Bunny got a ball which Splash would run after when it was thrown.
Bunny and his boy friends played the ball game with the dog, while the girls, after having tired themselves with the lively games, like tag, brought out their dolls and dressed and undressed them.
"When are we going to fly the kites?" asked Charlie Star.
"We can do it now," Bunny answered.
Each boy had made himself a kite, which he brought with him. Bunny got his from the house, and, going to an open place, where the trees would not catch the strings, the boys put up their air-toys.
The wind was good, as Bunny had said, and soon there were six kites floating in the air. That is there were six for a time, and then Bunny's string broke, and away flew his kite.
"Oh, dear!" he cried.
"That's too bad!" exclaimed Charlie Star. "Come on, boys, we'll haul down our kites and chase after Bunny's!"
They were just going to do this when Mrs. Brown came out to say that it was time to eat.
"You can look for the kite, afterward," she said; "if you go now all the ice cream may melt, as we have taken it out of the freezer."
Of course the boys did not want anything like that to happen, so they said they would wait. Down they sat at the tables, the boys at theirs and the girls at the one made ready for them. Aunt Lu, Mrs. Brown and the cook passed the good things, and, for a time, there was not much talking done. The children were too busy eating.
"Don't forget Aunt Lu's jam and jelly tarts!" called out Bunny. "They're fine!"
And when they had been passed around, all the guests at the party said Bunny was right, and that the tarts were just fine!
"I'm so glad you like them," said Aunt Lu, very much pleased.
Bunny wanted to give a Punch and Judy show, with Sue, after the meal was over. He said he could wear the big, hollow lobster claw, and make himself look very funny.
"But I think I wouldn't--not now," his mother remarked. "You would have to build a little booth, or place for you and Sue to get inside of, and we haven't time for that. Just play some easy games."
"All right," agreed Bunny.
Aunt Lu had all the children sit in a ring on the grass while she told them a story. And it was just after the story was finished that George Watson played his trick.
George had not been invited to the party, because he was too old, Mrs. Brown said.
Perhaps this had made George rather angry. At any rate, when the children were thanking Aunt Lu for the nice story she had told them, there was suddenly tossed over the fence, right into the midst of them, a paste-board shoe box. It fell near Bunny's feet, and he jumped back, he was so startled.
"Who threw that?" Bunny asked.
"George Watson did," said Charlie Star. "I saw him walk up along the fence, and throw it over."
"What is it?" asked Sue.
"Maybe it's a present for Splash," suggested Sadie.
"George Watson would rather pull Splash's tail, than give him a present," declared Bunny. And indeed George often played rather mean tricks on animals, and little children.
"Open the box, and see what's in it," suggested Helen Newton.
"I'll open it," offered Bunny.
The cover of the box was tied on, but Bunny slipped off the string. As he lifted the cover, Sue, who stood behind her brother, looking over his shoulder, exclaimed:
"Oh, it's alive! It's alive! Look out, Bunny! There's something alive in that box, and it might bite you!"
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