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

The Bad Boy



            "What kept you so long, dear?" asked Mrs. Morton. "Your sleeve is soaking wet! Did you have trouble, Honey Bunch?"
            The water cooler was at the other end of the car, behind Mrs. Morton's seat, and she could not see it from where she sat.
            "That bad boy who made faces at me, splashed me, Mother," said Honey Bunch indignantly. "I wish I'd splashed him back!"
            "Oh, that wouldn't be the thing to do at all," Mrs. Morton declared, trying to dry the wet sleeve with her handkerchief. "If you did that I should be mortified! You wouldn't want to make your mother feel ashamed of you, would you, dear?"
            "No-o," said Honey Bunch. "Is that boy's mother ashamed of him, Mother?"
            "I'm afraid she must be," replied Mrs. Morton, giving Honey Bunch a kiss. "Thank you for the water, dear. And now I'll read you a story, if you'll curl up here beside me and listen."
            Honey Bunch put her head in Mother's lap to listen, and before the story was half finished she was asleep. When she woke Mother told her that in another half hour they would be in New York.
            The first thing Honey Bunch thought of when she felt real wide awake and was sitting up straight, ready to watch for New York from the windows, was the boy who made faces at her. She peeped down the aisle. He wasn't there.
            "Perhaps he got off at the station where we were when I woke up," said Honey Bunch to herself. "Yes, I guess he did. I wonder if he makes faces all the time!"
            Then, to amuse herself, Honey Bunch breathed on the window and drew pictures with her finger. She drew a picture of Lady Clare and a picture of Aunt Julia and pictures of Bobby and Tess. Almost as fast as she drew them they faded, but it was easy to breathe again on the window and draw more.
            The white-haired conductor came through the car again just as Honey Bunch had finished a whole batch of pictures.
            "Do you like to draw?" he asked her, smiling.
            "Pictures, I do," said Honey Bunch. "At home I have colored crayons."
            "I think I have a picture in my pocket that my little granddaughter drew and sent to me," said the conductor. "I'll show it to you."
            He felt in his inside coat pocket and drew out a flat pocketbook, like the kind Honey Bunch's daddy carried in his pocket. There were a great many papers in the conductor's pocketbook, but he seemed to think that the most important one was a little sheet of yellow paper folded in the middle. He took this out carefully and opened it.
            "There!" he said. "That's a picture of a pansy she drew in school."
            "Why, that's a lovely picture!" cried Honey Bunch. "I like black and yellow pansies. We have them in our yard, don't we, Mother?"
            "Yes, indeed," said Mrs. Morton, folding the paper up and handing it back to the conductor. "Haven't you a picture of your little grandchild with you?" she asked him.
            He nodded and smiled and put the paper back in its place. Then he turned the pocketbook around and opened another place. He drew out a piece of brown cardboard.
            "Here she is," he said proudly.
            Honey Bunch climbed up on the seat and kneeled down to look over Mother's shoulder. They saw the picture of a merry-eyed little girl with two long braids of hair wrapped around her head and fastened with a bow over each ear. She was smiling at them and Honey Bunch smiled, too, when she saw her.
            "What is her name?" said Honey Bunch to the conductor.
            "Her name is Mary," he said. "I've always said she was the sweetest little girl in New York, but after you get there I'll have to say-she is one of the two sweetest."
            He put the picture back in his pocketbook and went away.
            "I like Mary's grandpa, don't you, Mother?" said Honey Bunch. "And I like Mary. Maybe we'll see her in New York."
            "Oh, no, dear, not in New York," answered Mrs. Morton quickly. "In that big city there are a thousand and one little girls named Mary. In Barham you might meet Mary because it is a much smaller place, but in New York even if you did see her you wouldn't know her."
            Honey Bunch was thinking about Mary and wondering if she liked to live in New York when she looked down the aisle and there was the bad boy! He had not left the train at all, but he had had a long nap, though Honey Bunch did not know this, of course. He had been asleep with his head on his mother's shoulder and so Honey Bunch could not see him over the backs of the seats.
            He made a face at her as soon as he saw her. His mother was still asleep and he thought this was a good chance for him to put on his cap. It was a black and white cap and the boy seemed to like it very much. He pulled it on and then pulled at his necktie till it hung in a string. In fact he did everything his mother had told him not to do.
            "Mother," whispered Honey Bunch, "he's going to open the window. Shall I open ours?"
            "No, indeed," replied Mrs. Morton. "It is too cold a day. You see those little narrow windows up there near the roof of the car? They are the ventilators and the conductor and brakeman open and close them to give us all the fresh air we need. I think that boy is very naughty to open the window while his mother is asleep."
            "I think he is, too," agreed Honey Bunch. "Bobby told me his mother puts him in the closet when he is bad. Maybe that boy's mother will put him in the closet."
            The boy worked at the window some time before he could raise it. There were two catches to press and the window was heavy and, as it had not been opened every day, it stuck when he tried to lift it Then, suddenly, it went up with a bang.
            "Here, what are you doing?" cried the boy's mother, sitting up with a jerk. The noise had wakened her.
            She wore a tall feather in her hat and the strong wind from the open window bent it down so that it was blown into her eyes. She did not like it at all. And indeed the January breeze can sting like little sharp icicles.
            "Shut that window at once, Lester!" Honey Bunch heard her say to the bad boy. "What do you mean by opening it? The idea!"
            "Aw, Ma, leave it up a little while," said Lester. "I'm too hot, Ma. A little cold air won't hurt anyone."
            "The idea!" said his mother again. "You can't have any sense at all. Opening a car window in the dead of winter! Put it down at once! Do you hear me?"
            The bad boy looked as though he was going to say something else, but his mother stood tip and said "Lester!" again very loudly and tried to push him out of the way so that she could pull down the window.
            "Oh, I'll shut it!" he said crossly. "I guess you'll be sorry when I get sick from staying in this stuffy old car. Leave me alone, Ma! I'm shutting it! Can't you see I am?"
            The window was just as hard to pull down as it had been to put up. The bad boy fussed with the catches and jumped up and down and tried to rattle it and poke it. The car was growing colder and several people began to look over to the open window and to grumble that they didn't mean to freeze to death.
            "I've got it now!" cried the boy. But just as he said that, pouf! a stronger blast of wind than ever blew in and lifted his cap from his head. He tried to catch it, but missed it. Away sailed the black and white cap out of the window!
            "Now I hope you're satisfied! See what you've done!" And almost before Honey Bunch knew what she meant to do, the bad boy's mother stood up and smacked the boy on one cheek and shut down the window with such a crash that it made the other windows in the car rattle.
            "Don't you let me hear a word from you the rest of this trip!" scolded the bad boy's mother, sitting down again.
            And goodness, no one heard another word from that boy. He didn't make another face at Honey Bunch. He didn't go out into the aisle. He sat quietly in his seat and looked out of the window.
            "Time to put on your hat and coat now, dear," said Mrs. Morton, in a few moments.
            "Look at the walls!" cried Honey Bunch, as she was being buttoned into her coat. "Look, Mother!"
            Their train was now running between two high gray walls and there were no fields or trees or houses or towns to be seen.
            "We're almost in the Terminal," explained Mrs. Morton.
            "Is the Terminal New York?" asked Honey Bunch, as her mother put her hat on.
            "It's the large station where the tracks end and the trains stop," said Mrs. Morton. "I hope Aunt Julia will be able to come and meet us."
            All around them people were putting on their hats and coats and taking down the satchels from the little wire baskets where they kept them during the trip.
            "Oh, oh! It's dark, Mother!" cried Honey Bunch excitedly. It was dark, for the train had pulled into the long shed that was the roof over the tracks. Mrs. Morton told Honey Bunch this and then said that they would wait quietly a few moments and let those who were in a hurry go first.
            "Here you are!" said the conductor, lifting Honey Bunch to the platform, when she and Mother finally went out of the car. "Good-bye, and I hope you'll enjoy your visit."
            "Good-bye," called Honey Bunch, clinging to Mother with one hand and waving the other. "Tell Mary I liked the picture of her pansy!"
            Mrs. Morton and Honey Bunch hurried up the long platform that seemed to have no end. Everyone else was hurrying too. When they passed through an iron gate into a beautiful large room built all of marble, there were more crowds of people in a still greater hurry.
            "Look at the people tied in!" said Honey Bunch, looking at a group who stood behind a heavy rope stretched between two rings.
            "There's Aunt Julia!" cried Mrs. Morton. A tall lady came around from behind the rope and walked up to them. She kissed Mrs. Morton and then she kissed Honey Bunch.
            "Well, sweetheart!" she said, lifting the little girl off her feet as she hugged her. "So here you are at last in New York!"

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