The Sweet Public Domain: Celebrating Copyright Expiration with the Honey Bunch Series

Chapter X


      BUFFY didn’t like it up in the haymow at all. He didn’t feel comfortable, for one thing, and for another, he was too warm. He wore a shaggy fur coat, you see, while Honey Bunch and Stub wore gingham dresses. And besides, Buffy knew that the haymow was no place for a dog.
      “We’ll play he is a bear,” said Stub. “Let’s bury Buffy in the hay and then go hunting for him.”
      They heaped the hay up over the poor dog and then went burrowing like two small rabbits through the sweet, dried grass, hunting the “bear.” When they found Buffy they pounced on him and told him he was captured.
      “I think Buffy is tired,” said Honey Bunch at last. “I’m tired, too. Can’t we sit down a minute?”
      “Of course,” answered Stub. “We can slide down the hay and that will rest you.”
      Stub never wanted to sit down and rest herself. Her daddy said that the only time she was quiet was when she was asleep.
      “I’ll fix the hay—you wait,” she said.
      So while Honey Bunch and Buffy sat down, Stub built a long hay slide on one side of the mow, pulling out the hay in one place and piling it up in another, “like a waterfall,” she explained.
      “Come on and slide!” she called to Honey Bunch, when it was ready.
      Honey Bunch thought sliding down the hay was the most fun she had ever had.
      “Look out—here I go!” shouted Honey Bunch, her cheeks as red as fire.
      Down she shot. Bump! she landed on the smooth spot where Stub had pulled away the hay.
      “Ouch!” cried Honey Bunch, as all the rest of the hay slid down on top of her.
      There was hay in her eyes and hay in her hair and hay sticking right into her hands and arms—Honey Bunch could feel it. There was a good deal of dust flying about, too, and when Stub pulled her out, Honey Bunch was sneezing and coughing.
      “Honey Bunch!” they heard Stub’s daddy calling. “Stub! Children, where are you?”
      “We’ll go down,” said Stub. “You won’t sneeze outdoors. Here—I’ll help you down the ladder.”
      Honey Bunch and Stub went carefully down the ladder and neither one saw the shaggy head and two brown eyes that peered at them over the edge of the mow. They didn’t even hear Buffy when he whined.
      “It’s stopped raining!” said Honey Bunch, in great surprise.
      They found Uncle Rand and Michael standing in the barn doorway. Michael was holding one of the farm horses, “Thomas Foote,” by the bridle. When Honey Bunch first heard that this was the horse’s name, she thought Stub must be teasing her.
      “That’s his name, it really is,” insisted Stub. “Michael named him, and we all call him T. F. Michael named him so he could write down in the blacksmith’s book ‘shoes for T. Foote.’ Michael said lots of people sign their names that way and he didn’t see why a horse shouldn’t have a sensible name like a man.”
      Honey Bunch called the horse T. Foote after that, and Michael said it showed what good sense she had.
      “Well, what have you been doing?” asked Uncle Rand, as soon as he saw the two little girls. “Why, you look as though you might have been sleeping in the haymow for a week.”
      “We were playing,” said Honey Bunch.
      “The slide fell down on her,” explained Stub. “There’s a little hay left in her hair yet.”
      “A little?” repeated Uncle Rand, his eyes twinkling. “Why, Stub, I was wondering if there was any hay left in the mow. How can I take the pictures of two such odd looking people?”
      Stub clapped her hands and danced about.
      “Michael went to town and brought back films!” she cried. “You did, didn’t you, Michael? And now Daddy can take our pictures.”
      But Uncle Rand said that he couldn’t take their pictures while they looked as they did. They must brush their hair and shake the hay seed out. He helped them, and in a few minutes both Honey Bunch and Stub looked much better.
      “The sun will be out stronger, if we wait a few minutes,” said Uncle Rand. “We’ll give Honey Bunch a little ride on T. Foote first.”
      “He’s pretty far from the ground,” Honey Bunch said, looking up at the gray horse who was pretty tall.
      “All the better for you,” declared Michael cheerfully. “You’ll be so far above the mud you can’t be splashed. Shall I lift you up?”
      Honey Bunch nodded. She held her breath while Michael lifted her up and put her on the blanket folded over T. Foote’s broad back. When he felt her there, the horse turned around and looked to see who was riding him.
      “You look ahead, T. Foote,” said Honey Bunch sternly. “My daddy says to watch the road when you’re going anywhere.”
      Michael laughed and took the bridle, while Uncle Rand walked beside Honey Bunch and held her on with one hand. Stub danced ahead to open the barnyard gate, for Michael said it was drier in the orchard than in the yard.
      “He—he rocks,” gasped Honey Bunch, holding on to the thick gray mane with both hands. “But he is a very nice horse,” she added quickly.
      T. Foote lifted his feet very carefully and put them down softly. Honey Bunch thought he didn’t want to splash her with mud, and that may have been the reason. Horses are very wise, you know, and they can understand our kind of talk much better than we understand theirs.
      There was a wide path, almost as wide as a road, around the orchard, where no trees were planted. It was around this path that Michael led T. Foote with Honey Bunch on his back. Just as they reached the first pear tree, the sun came out from behind the clouds, hot and clear.
      “Take her picture!” begged Stub. “Take it now, Daddy!”
      “All right, I will,” said Uncle Rand. “Michael, you come around on this side and hold her steady. You won’t show behind the horse, Look at the camera, Honey Bunch, please.”
      Honey Bunch sat up straight and held the lines as she had seen her uncle and Michael drive. She smiled right into the small black box Uncle Rand carried, and when it went click! she knew her picture had been taken.
      “Now take Stub, too,” said Honey Bunch. “I want to show Ida Camp Stub’s picture.”
      Michael lifted Stub up on the horse, too, and Uncle Rand took another picture. He promised Honey Bunch she should have six to send to her friends in Barham.
      “I’ll send one to Mrs. Miller,” decided
      Honey Bunch. “She never saw me riding on a tall horse.”
      As Uncle Rand turned the key again, Honey Bunch remembered Liny and the lost picture.
      “If Liny’s brothers were here, you could take their pictures, Uncle Rand,” she said. “Walter and George, you know, who fell off the sun and moon clock.”
      “You always say that,” laughed Stub. “How could they fall off the sun and moon clock?”
      “I don’t know, but they did,” declared Honey Bunch. “I know I put the picture on top of the clock. And Uncle Rand would take more pictures of them for Liny, wouldn’t you, Uncle Rand?”
      “If Walter and George were here, I certainly should,” said Uncle Rand. “But, sweetheart, if they were here, Liny wouldn’t be so anxious for a picture. It is because that one was all she had and they are so many thousands of miles away from her that she feels so bad.”
      Every one at Broad Acres felt sorry for Liny. She thought so much of her brothers’ photograph and it did seem odd that it could be lost.
      “Pictures don’t walk out of houses—at least I never knew them to before,” Liny had said.
      “Climb into the tree and I’ll take a photograph of you there, Honey Bunch,” said her uncle. “Don’t worry your little head over Liny’s picture. If it is lost, it is lost and we can’t bring it back to her.”
      Uncle Rand took a picture of Honey Bunch in the apple tree and a picture of Stub standing on the fence, then he took a picture of them both holding out an apple for T. Foote to eat. Honey Bunch didn’t hold the apple very near his mouth, but Stub knew how to hold her hand out flat and T. Foote ate her apple up so fast Honey Bunch was sure there wouldn’t be any of it left to show in the picture.
      “Now I’m going to drive over to Elmville,” said Uncle Rand, when he had used up his roll of films. “I’ll take you both, if you will run up to the house and ask the two mothers. Come, Michael, you help me harness up.”
      Stub’s mother and Honey Bunch’s mother were quite willing that their little girls should go to town with Uncle Rand. Michael harnessed T. Foote to the buggy and in a few minutes they were off.
      Honey Bunch loved to drive to town. Sometimes she drove and sometimes Stub held the reins, but when they saw an automobile coming, Uncle Rand always drove. T. Foote wasn’t exactly afraid of automobiles, but he liked horses better. At least that is what Stub said.
      “Stub,” said her daddy as they drove into town, “do you know where they sell ice-cream cones here?”
      Of course Stub knew, and she and Honey Bunch went into a store and bought two chocolate ice-cream cones while Uncle Rand went to the post-office and left the pictures he had just taken at the drug store to be developed and printed. He had several other errands to do, and when they reached home again it was nearly supper time. Honey Bunch and Stub planned to play a game of croquet after supper, if they could do it before it should be half-past seven and time for bed.
      They hurried out to the side lawn as soon as they had finished their meal, and they were choosing their mallets when Michael came up to them.
      “Come out to the barn a moment,” he said. “I want to show you something.”
      “We want to play a game before we have to go to bed,” Stub told him. “Is it something nice, Michael?”
      “It is something important,” replied Michael, and that made both children curious. They could not guess what Michael wanted to show them in the barn.
      He led them through the big door on to the main floor of the barn. It was still light outside, but almost as dark as night in the dim, shadowy space. Michael walked over to the haymow and Honey Bunch and Stub followed him.
      “Oh, my!” gasped Stub, remembering something. “We left Buffy up there.”
      Buffy leaned over the mow and looked at his little mistress reproachfully. He whined.
      “How could you forget me?” he seemed to be saying.
      “He hasn’t had a drink of water all the afternoon,” said Michael. “He has not had a bite of supper. I happened to hear him when I came in to close the window in the harness room, or he might have been forgotten all night.”
      “I’m awfully sorry, Michael,” said Stub. “It’s all my fault. I didn’t mean to forget Buffy—you know I didn’t. He was playing with us when Daddy called us to have our pictures taken.”
      “Well, I’d hate to be Buffy, that’s all,” was Michael’s reply, as he climbed up the ladder to bring poor Buffy down.

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