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

Chapter IX


HONEY BUNCH trotted up the beach after Julie.

“What’s the matter with my nose?” she kept asking anxiously. “What’s the matter with it, Julie?”

“Wait till you get to the house and you’ll see,” was all Julie would say.

Honey Bunch’s mother and Julie’s mother were sitting on the porch, but Honey Bunch could hardly stop long enough to speak to them when she and Julie reached the house.

“I have to look at my nose, Aunt Norma,” she told Julie’s mother. “It’s important.”

Aunt Norma laughed and kissed her and said, yes, she thought a nose was important. Honey Bunch, running upstairs, scarcely heard her. She was so eager to see her nose!

When Mrs. Morton came into their room a few minutes later, she found Honey Bunch standing on a chair by the window, staring at herself in the hand glass.

“Why, what in the world are you doing, Honey Bunch?” asked Mother quickly. Looking at my nose,” said Honey Bunch, “and, oh, Mother, it’s all red!”

“Just pink,” replied Mrs. Morton, smiling. “A pretty pink, Honey Bunch. And by and by the pink will go away and your nose will be brown. You are getting sunburned, dear—that’s all.”

“Shall I be as brown as a berry?” asked Honey Bunch hopefully, and she felt much better about her red nose when her mother said she was sure that in a few weeks she would be as brown as Julie.

“I think it would be nice to go down to the pier this afternoon,” suggested Aunt Norma, when they had had lunch and were sitting again on the porch. “It is shady there and usually one can depend on a breeze.”

“Honey Bunch will want to send some postals to the little girls she knows in Barham,” said Mrs. Morton. “There is a stand on the pier, isn’t there?”

Mrs. Somerset said yes, and in a few minutes they were all walking down to the pier, which was three blocks from the house. The two mothers carried parasols and work bags, but Honey Bunch and Julie did not want parasols, though they wore no hats. Julie was already as tanned as she could get and not even to save her red nose would Honey Bunch carry what she called an “umbrella.”

The pier was delightful—clean and cool and shady. It ran far out into the ocean, and before they sat down Honey Bunch and Julie walked to the very tip end and stood looking down into the dashing water which rolled and tossed and tumbled against the heavy wooden supports which held the pier in place.

“It shakes!” Honey Bunch told Mother, when they got back. “It shakes every time a wave hits it, Mother.”

“But it is too strong for the waves to hurt, dear,” said Julie’s mother. “Julie, Aunt Edith wants to get some postals for Honey Bunch. Suppose you two go over to the stand and select the prettiest ones.”

Together Honey Bunch and Julie picked out cards to send Ida Camp and Grace Winters and Cora and Kitty Williams and the other little girls Honey Bunch knew. They bought a postal for Norman Clark, too, and one for Mrs. Miller and even a postal card for Lady Clare! Honey Bunch said that Mrs. Miller could read it to her and she was sure the cat would be pleased to hear that her little mistress had not forgotten her.

“Hello! Where’s my pail and shovel?” said some one, as they came out of the little pavilion where postal cards and stamps were sold.

It was Anne Wade, and Honey Bunch and Julie had never thought of her pail and shovel till that minute.

“It—it must be down on the sand,” stammered Julie. “You left it, Anne, when you started to chase Harvey Garrett.”

“Well, thought you’d take care of it for me,” grumbled Anne. “I should think you might have taken it home with you and saved it for me. Now some kid will pick it up and I’ll never see it again.”

“Maybe we can find it, Julie,” said kind little Honey Bunch. “I think I remember where we left it; let’s go look.”

“It’s too hot to hunt for it,” retorted Julie. She didn’t want to go looking for a pail and shovel at that minute.

“I’ll go look,” said Honey Bunch. “I’m pretty sure I can find your pail and shovel, Anne.”

“We’ll have to go and tell Mother we are going down on the sand,” said Julie. “And maybe she won’t want us to go. And you’ll get your shoes full of sand, Honey Bunch, and you won’t like that.”

“All you have to do is to show me where you left the pail and shovel,” said Anne.

Julie really had a right to be cross this time. Anne, she knew, was very apt to leave her pails and shovels on the beach, and she lost two or three every summer. She was old enough to take care of her own things, and Julie didn’t see why she should have to go and look for a “silly pail and shovel” as she told her mother.

“But we did leave it,” argued Honey Bunch, in her soft little voice. “We did leave it, Aunt Norma. I can find it—Julie needn’t come.”

“Of course Julie will go,” said Julie’s mother. “You might easily get lost on the beach, Honey Bunch. I think an excursion must be in to-day, there is such a crowd. If this pail and shovel cannot wait till morning, Julie will help you hunt for it now. But if you are too warm, my dears, come back here and rest; Anne wouldn’t want you to be uncomfortable.”

Anne said no, of course she wouldn’t, and the three little girls went down the steps at the end of the pier and walked across the beach. But although Honey Bunch was sure she could remember where they had played, they could not find the pail and shovel.

“You took your own toys home,” Anne kept saying. “I notice you didn’t lose your own toys. I think you might have kept my pail and shovel for me.”

Julie grumbled every time Anne said this, but Honey Bunch continued to hunt. She was sure that she would find the missing pail and shovel “in a minute.”

“What’s that man doing?” asked Julie suddenly. “Oh, he’s carving in the sand—let’s go look.”

A crowd surrounded the man who was making statues out of wet sand. Julie and Anne pressed closer, but Honey Bunch turned away.

“If I could just find the castle,” she said to herself, “I know the pail would be there, by the gate.”

Honey Bunch did not know that boys, playing ball after she and Julie had gone home to lunch, had knocked the castle wall flat and trampled down the lovely sand castle and the chocolate paper flag.

Up and down went Honey Bunch, searching for the pail and shovel. She came up to the lifeboat—drawn up on the shore now— and looked carefully in the sand around that.

“What are you looking for?” asked a boy, who was leaning against the boat.

He had his trousers turned up and was barefooted. There were half a dozen boys playing leapfrog on the sand near him and they came running to see what Honey Bunch was hunting for.

“Did you lose a gold ring?” asked the boy. “A lady lost a gold ring when she was in bathing last week.”

“I’m looking for a pail and shovel,” explained Honey Bunch, pushing the wet yellow hair away from her blue eyes. “Did you see a pail and shovel anywhere?”

Then that boy did a mean thing to tired little Honey Bunch. He thought it was a joke, but it was a very poor joke indeed.

“Maybe it’s in the boat,” he said. “Climb in and see. Here, I’ll help you get in.”

Before she knew what he was doing, the boy had lifted Honey Bunch into the deep rowboat.

“Come on, fellows!” he shouted. “We’ll give her a sail! Come on, let’s push the boat off."

The life guards were both up the beach, dragging in a stray log of wood that had come drifting in and which might easily injure a bather if allowed to float about in the water. They had not pulled their boat very far up on the beach, and the seven boys, all pushing at once, were able to shove it off into the ocean.

There were only a few bathers in at this hour and these were swimming far out. All the people on the beach were busy watching the sand artist do his carving. There was no one to stop the mischievous boys.

“Please!” cried Honey Bunch, beginning to feel frightened. “Please, I don’t want to go sailing; I want to get out.”

“You’ll like it in a minute,” said the boy who had first spoken to her. “Wait till you got out where it’s smooth and you’ll like it.”

There was a shout from the beach, and, looking back, the boys saw the life guards running toward them.

“Duck!” cried the leader. “Duck and then run! The guards are coming!”

Without a thought for Honey Bunch, those boys abandoned the boat and splashed noisily through the surf, struggling to get further down the beach. One of the guards ran after them and the other plunged into the water after Honey Bunch.

“Sit down!” he called to her, for she was standing up, holding to the side of the boat with both hands as it bounced and swayed heavily. “Sit down and keep perfectly quiet! You’re all right.”

Honey Bunch sat down very suddenly in the bottom of the boat. Two of the bathers had heard the guards shouting and now they were coming toward her, swimming as fast as they could. They reached the bouncing boat at the same time the life guard grasped it.

Honey Bunch looked up to see a brown face with water running off the dark hair, peering into the boat.

“Christopher Columbus!” gasped the life guard. “You’re only a little girl.”

Honey Bunch had been crying, but now she smiled.

“I’m Honey Bunch,” she said clearly, “and I want to go home.”

“Of course you do,” said the life guard, “And you’re going ashore this minute. Push you fellows!”

The other bathers had all swum over to the boat by now, and they put their hands on the boat and pushed it in. It had not drifted very far out, and the guard said he would not bother to get in and row because then he would get Honey Bunch’s dress wet.

“Now, never—” he said, as the boat touched shore and he lifted her gently out, “never get into a boat again without first asking.”

This page has paths:

This page references: