Read CHAPTER III - ORANGE BLOSSOMS of Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue in the Sunny South , free online book, by Laura Lee Hope, on ReadCentral.com.

Bunny Brown walked from the cellarway over to where his mother, Uncle Tad, his sister, and his playmates stood.  Uncle Tad and Mother Brown looked rather reproachfully at the little boy.  They really thought he had played a joke on them, or at least that he had caused the other children to do so, sending them to cry that he was buried under the snow.

But Sue, Charlie, and Helen knew that Bunny had really been covered from sight under the snow.  They knew there was no trick about it, though they did not know how it was Bunny appeared as if coming out of the cellar when he should have been under the snow.

“I didn’t play any trick, Mother.  Really I didn’t,” said Bunny earnestly.  He had played tricks in times past, but his mother knew he always told the truth.

“Were you really under that pile of snow?” asked the old soldier.

“Yes, Uncle Tad, I was,” Bunny answered.  “The snow came down off the roof and covered me all up.”

“Then why didn’t I find you there when I dug all the way down to the ground and the cellar wall?” asked Uncle Tad.

“Because,” answered Bunny, with a queer little smile on his rosy face, “when the snow piled on top of me, and knocked me down, I was right close by a cellar window.  First I didn’t know what to do.  Then I saw the window, and I pushed on it, and it opened.

“I went through the window into the cellar.  There was a box under the window inside the cellar, and I got on that and then I jumped off down to the floor.

“First I couldn’t see anything, ’cause it was so dark there, but I could after a while, and I come out by the door.”

“Oh, Bunny!” exclaimed his mother.  “We never thought of the cellar windows!  Of course I see how it could happen,” she said to Uncle Tad.  “The pile of snow does cover a window.”

She pointed toward one end of the big pile under which Bunny had been hidden.  This end did, indeed, cover one of the low cellar windows, and when the snow was shoveled away it could be seen where the little boy had scrambled through.

“Say, it was lucky the cellar window wasn’t fastened,” said Charlie.

“It surely was!” agreed Bunny.  “I was glad when it opened.”

“I didn’t know we had left any of them unbolted,” Mrs. Brown said.  “We’ll fasten it now.  But don’t get under any more snowslides, Bunny.”

“Now we can finish making our snow man!” Bunny said, as his mother and uncle turned to go into the house.

“Yes, I guess there’s no more danger of snow sliding off the roof,” remarked Uncle Tad.  “All that could fall has slid off.”

“Don’t forget to take Mr. Snyder’s shovel back,” Mother Brown called to the children.

They promised to return it, and then began an hour of fun with the snow man.  Bunny finished making the tall white hat, and then he and Charlie threw snowballs at it and at the nose of the snow man until he was so battered and plastered that he did not look at all like himself.

Sue and Helen threw a few snowballs at the legs of the man, but they soon tired of this, for Charlie and Bunny grew so excited with their sport that there was not much chance for the girls.

“Let’s go and slide downhill,” proposed Sue.

“That’ll be fun,” agreed Helen.  So, taking their sleds, the girls went to a little hill not far away, where, meeting Mary Watson and Sadie West, they had good times riding down the snowy slope.

“Well, he doesn’t look much like a snow man now,” laughed Charlie Star, after many balls had been thrown at the white image.

“No; his face is all gone,” Bunny agreed.  “What’ll we do now?”

“Let’s go over on the hill,” proposed Charlie.  “It’s getting so warm that maybe the snow won’t last much longer, and we don’t want to miss the fun.”

“It is getting warmer,” Bunny agreed.  “The wind’s coming from the south,” he added as he looked at the weather vane on the barn and saw that it was pointed to the south.  “I guess they don’t ever have snow down south; do they, Charlie?”

“They don’t where my aunt lives,” Charlie answered.  “She’s down in Florida ­away down in the end, near Key West.  She sends me letters sometimes, and she says they never have snow there.  She has all the oranges she wants, too!”

“I’d like to live there!” Bunny said, smacking his lips.  “I love oranges.  But I’d like a little snow once in a while, wouldn’t you, Charlie?”

“Oh, yes!  You couldn’t have any fun in winter without snow.”

“I’d like to see such a place ­just once, anyhow,” went on Bunny Brown.  And he little knew how soon he was to get his desire.

The two boys, having pelted the snow man all they wished, got their sleds and soon joined Sue and the other girls on the hill.  There they had races, and coasted down in as many different ways as they could think of.  Finally Bunny cried: 

“Let’s make a bob, Charlie!”

“No, you mustn’t do that!” exclaimed Sue.

“Who said so?” demanded Bunny.

“Daddy,” Sue answered.  “He said I wasn’t to make any bobs on the hill.”

“Well, he didn’t tell me not to,” declared her brother.

“I guess he meant you,” answered Sue.  “You’d better not make a bob, Bunny Brown!  You might get hurt!”

Making a bob, it might be explained, meant that two or three boys and sometimes the older girls would lie flat on their sleds.  Then one coaster would take hold of the rear of the sled in front of him, and twine his feet around the front runners of the sled behind him.  In this way half a dozen boys or girls could lock themselves and their sleds together and go down the hill that way.

There was danger in it because sometimes the hands or legs of some one in the middle would lose their grip, and the “bob” would come apart.  Then sleds would crash together, and often the children were hurt.  Sue’s father had told her never to do this, for he had more than once seen children hurt at this game.

Whether he had told Bunny not to make a bob I do not know.  I think if Bunny had been forbidden this fun he would not have taken part in it.  But perhaps he forgot.

Anyhow, he and Charlie and some of the other lads stretched out on their sleds, making a bob as I have told you it was done, and down the hill they coasted.

All went well for some distance, and then suddenly Harry Bentley, who was in the middle, lost his hold of Bunny’s sled.

“Hold on to me!  Hold on to me!” cried Bunny, as he saw that he was slipping sideways.

“I can’t!” Harry answered.

A few seconds later the bob came apart, some boys rolling off their sleds and others coasting down backwards or sideways.  Bunny went on by himself for some little distance, and then, all of a sudden, the two last boys, who were still locked together, crashed right into the side of Bunny’s sled, knocking him off and coasting on right over him!

“Oh!  Oh!” cried Sue, who saw what had happened.  “Look at Bunny!”

For a moment it seemed that her brother must be severely hurt, but when some of the older boys ran to pick him up, Bunny arose by himself.  On his face was a spot of blood.

“Oh, you’re hurt!” cried Charlie Star.

Bunny put his hand to his nose.  It was bleeding, and at first he was frightened.  But he did not cry.

“I ­I don’t care!” he said bravely.  “I’ve had nose-bleed before.  It don’t hurt much!”

“Hold some snow on it,” advised one boy.  “That’ll stop the bleeding.”

Bunny did this, but as the cold snow hurt worse than the pain of his bumped nose, he soon tossed the red ball away.

“Come on, I’ll take you home,” said Jack Denson, one of the older boys.  “Don’t cry, Sue,” he said, as Bunny’s sister began to whimper.  “He’s all right.”

Jack was very kind, wiping the blood off Bunny’s face at times with a handkerchief, so that when the Brown home was almost reached the bleeding had nearly stopped.  Sue, who had been very much frightened at first, was growing calmer, and Bunny was feeling better.  As they neared their house they saw their father coming home from his work at the boat and fish dock.

“There’s my father,” Bunny said.

“Oh, then you’ll be all right,” remarked Jack.  “I’ll skip back then, for I’ve got to go to the store for my mother.”

Mr. Brown stood at the gate waiting for his two children, who came along dragging their sleds.

“Why, Bunny! what’s the matter?” asked Mr. Brown, when he saw the blood on his son’s face.

“He played bob; and didn’t you tell him not to?” broke out Sue.  “An’ the bob busted and he got bumped into and he was run over and he was under a drift and he crawled through the cellar window an’ Uncle Tad couldn’t find him an’ ­an’ ­everything!” gasped Sue, now quite out of breath.

“My, you’re telling all the bad news at once!” laughed her father, for he saw that Bunny was not seriously hurt and he knew that sometimes accidents will happen on coasting hills.

Mr. Brown had a box under his arm.  It was a box that had come through the mail, as Bunny and Sue could see by the stamps.  It looked very interesting and mysterious, this box did, and the children regarded it curiously as they walked up the path to the front door of the house with their father.

“Didn’t you tell Bunny never to make a bob?” asked Sue, as Daddy Brown took his key from his pocket to open the door.

“I don’t know that I did,” was the answer.  “Still if it is dangerous to make bobs I wish neither you nor Bunny to do it.”

“Oh, it’s lots of fun,” Bunny said.  “And my nose doesn’t hurt much now.  What’s in the box, Daddy?” he asked.

“I’ll show you in a minute,” Mr. Brown promised.  “It is something very nice.”

“Candy?” cried Sue, who had more than one “sweet tooth,” I think.

“No, not candy,” her father teased.  “You’ll soon see.”

He went into the house with the children, and as soon as Mrs. Brown saw Bunny she knew what had happened; at least she knew his nose had bled.

“Did you have a tumble?” she asked.

“He was in a bob and it broke and he was run over!” cried Sue, who seemed anxious to do all the telling.

“Well, I’m glad it was no worse,” said Mother Brown.  “What’s this?” she asked, as her husband handed her the box.  “For me?”

“Yes,” he answered.  “Orange blossoms.”

“Orange blossoms!  How lovely!” cried the children’s mother.  “Where from?”

“Florida.  Mr. Halliday sent them.  He’s down there on an orange farm, and I may have to go down myself.”

“Down where?” cried Bunny.

“South,” answered his father.

“To Florida where the orange blossoms grow?” asked Sue eagerly, as her mother was opening the box.

“Well, we may get to Florida.  But first I shall have to go to Georgia,” answered Mr. Brown.

“Oh, take us!” cried Bunny and Sue.  “Please take us!”

“We’ll see,” said Mr. Brown, with a look at his wife.  “We’ll talk it over after supper.  Let’s look at the orange blossoms now.”

While Mother Brown was opening the box there came a noise at the side door as though some one were trying to break it open by pounding on it.