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

Chapter XI


HONEY BUNCH and Julie bounced up and down in excitement as Mr. Morton drove the car through the gates and found a space reserved for parking.

“Now, then,” he said, smiling as he helped the two mothers out and then lifted Honey Bunch and her cousin to the ground, “where shall we go first?”

“I see you are determined to be reckless, David,” Julie’s mother said, pretending to scold. “Suppose we go over first to the merry-go-round; there are chairs there where Edith and I can sit and watch you and the children.”

“The merry-go-round it is,” answered Mr. Morton, taking Honey Bunch by one hand and Julie by the other. “But you can’t sit and watch us—you’ll have to come riding.”

“Oh, yes, Mother!” begged Honey Bunch.

“Please, Mother! You will like to ride on a horse that goes up and down!”

Mrs. Morton laughed and said she didn’t care much about horses that rode up and down, but when they reached the beautiful shining carrousel, where the bright-colored prancing animals “went up and down” and the music played gaily, she really did let Daddy Morton help her on. So did Julie’s mother. She sat on a lion’s back and Mrs. Morton rode a tiger, while as for Honey Bunch and Julie, they could not decide which they would rather ride—one of the horses with lovely flowing manes or the giraffe whose neck was so long it reached far up into the wires over their heads.

“Ride the horses first,” advised Mr. Morton, lifting Honey Bunch on one and putting Julie on the one opposite. “Next time you may try the giraffe.”

Daddy did not ride any of the animals, but stood between Honey Bunch and Julie to see that neither one fell off.

You know, of course, what fun it is to ride on a merry-go-round, and you will be able to imagine how Honey Bunch looked with her curls flying and her eyes shining as she went around and around and the music played and the horse pranced under her.

“What’s the bell for?” asked Honey Bunch, when one rang suddenly.

“The merry-go-round is going to stop,” answered her daddy. “See, we are slowing down. You stay where you are, till I help Mother and Aunt Norma off and then I’ll help you get on the giraffe.”

Sure enough, the big platform went more and more slowly and presently it stopped. Mr. Morton helped the two mothers down from the lion and the tiger, and they walked over to the wall where chairs were placed for people who did not want to ride on the merry-go-round.

“Was it the zebra you wanted to ride, Honey Bunch?” asked her daddy, coming back to her.

“The giraffe, Daddy!” urged Honey Bunch. “The giraffe—and Julie wants one, too.”

Mr. Morton knew they wanted to ride the giraffes, and he was only teasing. He lifted the two little girls to the backs of their strange steeds and the bell sounded again. This was the signal for the merry-go-round to start revolving slowly.

“Do you want a ride, son?” Mr. Morton called to a boy who stood watching them. “Hop on—it will be all right.”

He looked as though he might be twelve or thirteen years old, and Honey Bunch had seen him when they first came in. She had not thought anything about it, but now she began to think that it could not be much fun to watch other people riding on the merry-go-round and never once ride on it yourself.

“Look, Daddy, he’s riding on the camel,” she whispered, for the boy had jumped for the platform as soon as Mr. Morton spoke to him.

All the rest of her ride, Honey Bunch stared at the boy. She had never seen any one have such a good time. He whistled and he sang and he reached up and tried to take a brass ring from a bar each time he passed it. Honey Bunch could not see what he wanted with that—it was just like the brass curtain rings her mother had at home.

“I’ve got it!” shouted the boy at last, and there he had the ring in his hand.

“Now he can ride again without paying,” said Julie. “Isn’t that nice?”

But when the merry-go-round stopped, the boy came up to Mr. Morton and held out the ring.

“Doesn’t your little girl want it?” he asked shyly. “I caught it.”

“You keep it. I’m glad you were lucky,” said Mr. Morton, lifting Honey Bunch and Julie to the floor. “We’ve had two rides, and that is enough for any one; once more might make us wish we had not been greedy.”

So the boy stayed on, and as they walked away Julie explained to Honey Bunch that whoever caught the brass ring was entitled to ride on the merry-go-round free. Then, of course, Honey Bunch was glad to think the boy had caught the ring. He did not look like a boy who had much fun. Honey Bunch wondered if he could be a brother of Jane and Sarah.

“My goodness, you talk about those girls all the time,” said Julie, when Honey Bunch asked her this. “You’re always wanting to send them dresses and shoes and things, and all you know about them is that their names are Jane and Sarah. I do hope you’ll ask them their last names, if you ever see them again, Honey Bunch.”

Honey Bunch said she would, and they trotted off to show Mr. Morton the “fat mirrors.” Julie was sure she knew where they were. But before they came to the mirrors, they heard loud shouts and laughing.

“They’re shooting the chutes over there,” said Julie, who knew all about the Park. “Just listen to the people scream!”

“Are they putting coal in for the winter?” asked Honey Bunch, a little timidly. “We did that at our house.”

Julie was a dear cousin, but Honey Bunch had learned that, although she was only two years older, she seemed to know about many things that Honey Bunch did not and she was rather inclined to laugh at some of the things Honey Bunch said.

She laughed now, but just a little chuckle.

“Wait till you see how to shoot the chutes, Honey Bunch,” she giggled. “You won’t think they’re putting in coal when you see them hit the water!”

“We’ll have to try it ourselves, and then Honey Bunch will know,” declared Daddy Morton. “Where’s the ticket stand? I see it! Don’t let go my hand, Honey Bunch.”

Honey Bunch had no intention of letting go her daddy’s hand. As they came nearer to the chutes, the noise of laughter and shouting grew louder. Then, through a cleared space in the crowd, Honey Bunch saw a sheet of water that looked like a lake. Above this lake rose a hill—at least, it looked like a hill. But never had Honey Bunch seen boats sliding down a hill, and as she watched three came down this one—came so fast that she hardly realized they were filled with people who were all screaming and laughing at once. Splash! the boats left the hill, rose in the air and came down in the water!

“Oh—my!” gasped Honey Bunch. “Are they drowning, Daddy?”

“Hear them laugh—why, no, dearest, they are having a fine time,” said her daddy. “Do you think you would like to try that sport, Honey Bunch?”

Honey Bunch looked again at the hill. Two more boats were rushing down, headed for the water. As she watched they rose in the air and fell to the lake—splash! Shrieks of laughter filled the air.

“Let’s go do it, Daddy!” cried Honey Bunch eagerly.

It was exciting to settle into one of the long boats, Julie on her mother’s lap, then Mrs. Morton, then Daddy Morton and Honey Bunch in his lap. Honey Bunch’s heart came right up into her mouth when the “boat” started.

It was exciting to dash down so swiftly—Honey Bunch caught her breath. But when they reached the bottom of the hill and shot out into the air over the water, then fell with a splash that sent a shower of water drops high above them—oh, then Honey Bunch found she was squealing like the excited little white mouse Michael had found in Uncle Rand’s barn at the farm.

“Do it again, Daddy!” cried Honey Bunch. “Do it again!”

And all the other people in the boat laughed, for it was plain that Honey Bunch liked shooting the chutes.

They came down the hill and sailed over the water twice more, and then Daddy Morton said it was time they found the “fat mirrors” Julie had told him about. And the first thing Honey Bunch knew, she was staring at the fattest little girl she had ever seen! This little girl had cheeks that puffed out like big balloons; her socks, and the little legs inside them, were as large around as fence posts—almost; but, strangest of all, although her hat was wide enough to shade three ordinary-sized little girls, it was trimmed with buttercups, just as Honey Bunch’s hat was trimmed.

“Why, it’s me!” cried the astonished Honey Bunch.

And it was. But her mother and her daddy and her Aunt Norma and Julie looked just as fat and funny when they stood before this mirror, so Honey Bunch did not mind.

Next to this funny mirror was another, one that made people look thin. In this mirror Honey Bunch became a regular “tooth-pick” little girl, her daddy said. He declared it made her look so thin that he was sure she must be hungry, and he marched them all off to have ice cream under some pretty trees. They sat at small birch bark tables and the ice cream had three colors in each piece. Honey Bunch and Julie had great fun “taking turns” with each color. It made the ice cream last longer, they thought.

After this they went riding on the scenic railway, that is, Mr. Morton took the two little girls while Mrs. Morton and Mrs. Somerset rested quietly on a bench. Honey

Bunch and Julie sat in a little car, and when they came to the dark tunnels they held on to Mr. Morton’s coat pretty tightly. The little train of cars wandered through towns built underground and over strange mountains and finally took them up, up, into the air where they could see over the whole Park. Honey Bunch was sure she could see their automobile parked over by the gate.

Swish! down came the cars so fast that Honey Bunch closed her eyes in the rushing wind and never opened them again till her daddy lifted her out.

“You didn’t yell once,” said Julie.

“Well, the lady in the seat back of ours did, so that’s all right,” returned Honey Bunch. She had been too busy having a good time to scream herself.

There was a band playing now—Julie said a concert was given every afternoon—and they walked over to the pavilion where they could hear the music and listened a little while. When Mrs. Morton said she was thirsty, Mr. Morton brought them lemonade in paper cups and a box of popcorn for Julie and one for Honey Bunch.

“If we don’t go home this minute,” declared Mrs. Somerset, when she saw the popcorn, “no one will want a bite of Pauline’s good supper; and she has planned to have blackberry shortcake, too.”

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