HONEY BUNCH was glad to hear she was going to be in the pageant. She did not know at all what a pageant was like—except from Julie’s rather confusing description—but it sounded exciting, and Honey Bunch dearly loved excitement.
“Will you be in the pageant, Daddy?” she asked, as they walked home to lunch. “Will Uncle Peter?”
“Oh, my, no,” answered her daddy. “We have to be the audience. “You and Julie and all the other little people do the parading.”
When the two mothers came home from shopping in the city they brought several mysterious bundles with them, and the next day an automobile from one of the city stores came and brought some more.
Then such cutting out and fitting and trying on! Honey Bunch had to be measured and she had to stand very still while her mother pinned up tucks and ran basting threads around hems and did all the skillful things that dressmakers do when they are making dresses. Honey Bunch’s mother could make a dress as well as any dressmaker. Honey Bunch and her daddy both said so.
“What are you going to be in the pageant?” asked Anne Wade, when they met her in the grocery store a few afternoons later.
Honey Bunch and Julie were buying groceries for Pauline, and they were sitting on the counter while the clerk put the things Pauline had written on her list into the basket for them.
Anne had been told that the two little girls were going in the parade, and she was very anxious to know what they were going to wear and in what section they would be. The pageant was always divided into different sections, one division for the babies, another for the floats, another for the children who marched instead of riding on floats or in automobiles, and so forth.
“Are you going to walk or ride?” asked Anne curiously.
“Ride,” answered Julie. “Come on, Honey Bunch, here’s our basket.”
Honey Bunch trotted out of the store and had to run to catch up with Julie.
“Anne was asking you something and you never stopped,” said Honey Bunch. “She asked you if you were going to have a pony.”
“I’m not going to tell Anne Wade what I’m going to wear,” scolded Julie. “She never tells any one about her dress, and then she asks a lot of questions about all the other children. Don’t you tell her a single thing, Honey Bunch.”
As it happened, Honey Bunch did not. That was because she did not see Anne again till the day of the pageant. Honey Bunch could no more have refused to answer a question, had Anne asked her one, than she could have told a fib and said she didn’t know what kind of dress she was going to wear in the pageant. Anne was busy, and so were Honey Bunch and Julie, and they did not see each other again.
When Honey Bunch’s dress was finished and Julie’s was ready, too, then there were the carts to get ready. Mr. Morton and Uncle Peter worked on those. They hammered and sawed and cut and measured and made a great deal more noise out in the yard than the sewing machine had made in the house.
The greatest surprise came the day before the pageant was to be held.
“Honey Bunch, do you think you can drive a pony?” asked her daddy.
“Oh, yes, Daddy!” she answered. “I know I can! I can drive Callie.”
“Well, this isn’t Callie,” said her daddy—of course he had heard all about the pony that had walked into the ocean with Honey Bunch—“this is a smaller pony. His name is Fairy. And another pony, that matches him, Larkspur, is for Julie to drive.”
“They’re white!” cried Julie happily. “I know ’em! The cunningest little white ponies, Honey Bunch! Won’t it be fun!”
When Honey Bunch saw Fairy she knew she would like to drive him. He was a tiny pure white pony, not much larger than a large dog. Larkspur was exactly like him, and Honey Bunch could not tell them apart. The boy who came to harness the ponies, though, knew them from each other. He said that Fairy had a better shaped nose than Larkspur had.
“I think they both have nice noses,” declared Honey Bunch.
There were so many people to help Honey Bunch and Julie get ready for the pageant that it was no wonder they were dressed and waiting an hourbefore it was time for the parade to start. Of course, their mothers were there, and Pauline. Then Sarah and Jane came running over with two large bunches of flowers they had picked—white for Honey Bunch and pink for Julie, you’ll see why in a moment. Uncle Peter helped and Daddy Morton helped and even the boy who had brought the two ponies helped.
I wish you could have seen Honey Bunch and Julie when they were all ready. Honey Bunch was dressed in white, from her little shoes to the bow of ribbon on her yellow hair. Fairy was white—you know that—and his harness was apparently made of all white flowers. There were leather straps under the flowers, but they did not show, and at first glance his collar, lines, and all the harness seemed to be made of ropes of white flowers. Honey Bunch rode in a little basket coach, painted white; that is, the wheels and wicker part of it were painted white, the top was a canopy of white flowers. In all that mass of white bloom the only spots of color were two blue eyes and a little head of yellow curls.
Julie’s dress was rose color. So was the harness for Larkspur. She seemed to be riding in a little coach like the one Cinderella had for the ball, and pink flowers completely covered even the wheels.
“Perfectly lovely!” said every one.
The boy who led the ponies and Daddy Morton and Uncle Peter went with the two little girls to see that they got their proper places in the line of parade. Each child had a number and had to go where the number said. Honey Bunch, for instance, was 11 and Julie was 12. That meant Julie was to be directly behind Honey Bunch.
Honey Bunch’s mother and Julie’s mother went down to the boardwalk to sit and wait. Next to their seats were two reserved for Honey Bunch’s daddy and Uncle Peter, so they did not have to worry about standing during the parade.
“What a lot of people!” said Honey Bunch, sitting quietly in her cart.
Indeed the crowd was very large and every one seemed to be trying to talk at the same time. Children were running around, hunting for their places in line; ponies were shaking their heads and knocking off the decorations that were not fastened tightly to their harnesses. Fairy and Larkspur behaved nicely, and did not shake their heads. They were good ponies, and that was why Uncle Peter had chosen them for Honey Bunch and Julie to drive.
“Look, Honey Bunch!” called Julie. “There are some floats going by. Perhaps we’ll see Anne!”
And, sure enough, they did. Anne was dressed as a fairy and carried a gold wand. She was sitting on a rock—at least, it looked like a rock—and a pail rested on top of a chimney near her.
“Maybe she’s Mrs. Santa Claus,” said the puzzled Honey Bunch.
“I wonder if that is the pail we found for her,” said Julie.
Just then Daddy Morton and Uncle Peter said they must go, and the boy led the ponies into line.
“All you have to do is to hold the lines,” said Honey Bunch’s daddy, kissing her. “The pony will follow the cart ahead of him and Julie will follow you. Mother and Aunt Norma and Uncle Peter and I will be in the first row near Beach Avenue. Keep your eyes open, and you’ll see us.” Then, waving their hands to the girls, Mr. Morton and Uncle Peter disappeared in the crowd.
Honey Bunch felt a little thrill of adventure as the parade started. She wished that Stub and Ida Camp could see her. But she could tell them about it some day, and that would be almost as nice.
Somewhere ahead Honey Bunch could near the sound of music. A whole army of baby carriages was ahead of her section and the floats came afterward. Down the wide, white boardwalk swept the pageant, and on one side stretched long rows of seats black with people. On the other side the blue, blue ocean tossed and tumbled. A cool breeze blew in from the water, and though the sun shone brightly, it was not too warm.
“We’re coming to Beach Avenue!” called Julie presently.
Honey Bunch looked ahead. She saw her mother’s gray dress and Aunt Norma’s pink one.
“Hello!” called Honey Bunch, as she passed them. “Do I look nice, Mother?”
“Yes, indeed, darling,” answered her mother, and then Honey Bunch and her cart had passed Beach Avenue and she could not talk any more.
It was a long pageant, and when they reached the end of the boardwalk Honey Bunch was surprised to find her daddy and Uncle Peter waiting. Julie was not surprised. She had been in a pageant before. Some one, she said, always “came and got” you at the end of the parade. Her daddy had come after her last year.
“Good news!” cried Uncle Peter, smiling, after the parade was over.
“Did we win a prize?” asked Julie, hopping up and down in her pink frock till she looked like a dancing sweet pea. “Did we win?”
Well, they had. Each of them had won a prize in the pageant. Honey Bunch had been so interested in driving Fairy and watching the people that she had forgotten to look at the judge’s stand, though Julie had told her she could tell it by the decorations and the people standing up.
“What did Honey Bunch win?” asked Julie.
“I hope it was something nice. She ought to have a nice prize.”
“It’s a cup,” explained Uncle Peter. “A silver cup. I’ll have your name put on it, Honey Bunch, and the date, so you may always remember the Glenhaven pageant.”
“What was Julie’s prize?” asked Honey Bunch.
“Just like yours,” said Uncle Peter. “And I’ll have hers engraved for her, too.”
“Isn’t it lovely to get prizes?” sighed Honey Bunch, giving Uncle Peter a hug. “I’m glad Julie and I won the silver cups.”
Then Mr. Morton told them that Anne Wade and her float had won a prize, not the first prize, on which she had set her heart, but a fourth prize, a cut-glass fern dish.
“Why was she Mrs. Santa Claus?” asked Honey Bunch.
“She wasn’t. The title of her float was ‘The Wishing Well,’ ” replied Uncle Peter. “Didn’t you see her? She was sitting beside the well with a bucket on the well curb.” Honey Bunch looked at Julie and they both giggled. They did not say that they had thought the well was a chimney and the bucket Anne’s tin sand pail.
The pageant marked the close of the summer season. Within a few days people began to talk about going back to the city, and here and there you could see a cottage closed. Julie was already thinking of school. Mrs. Morton started to pack. Uncle Peter said he must get ready for college. Sarah and Jane brought Honey Bunch a big bouquet of goldenrod, the last wild flowers they expected to find that year, they told her.
“I’m going to have a garden,” said Honey Bunch, sitting in Uncle Peter’s lap on the porch the night before they were to go home to Barham. “I’m going to have a garden and give flowers to people, too.”
“So you shall, sweetheart,” Uncle Peter promised. “And I’ll help you make the flowers grow.”
Then Honey Bunch went to bed to dream that she planted seeds and the waves came in and washed them away. But what really did happen to her and her garden, it will take another book to tell you. “Honey Bunch: Her First Little Garden” will be the name of the story, and you may read how Honey Bunch learned to plant and rake and hoe and how well her posies grew.