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

Honey Bunch in New York



            Honey Bunch had never seen so many people in her life or such a large building. There were tall iron gates and marble walls and such a slippery marble floor to walk on and a great bronze clock and the most fascinating round place with different windows and a crowd at every window.
            "That's where you find out which train to take," said Aunt Julia, when she saw Honey Bunch looking at the people. There didn't seem to be any end to that Terminal. They walked from one marble room to another and still they didn't come to the street. In the station at Barham, Honey Bunch knew that if you went in one door and out another on the other side of the station, you had seen the whole place.
            "I must send Daddy a telegram to tell him we are here safely," said Honey Bunch's mother.
            So over to a telegraph window they went, and while Mother wrote her message Honey Bunch watched the people all about her. There was a woman with two large satchels and five little children; they were going somewhere, surely. There was a young man with a tall dog fastened to a leather strap; they seemed to be waiting for someone. There were two little girls about as old as Honey Bunch, sitting in one of the seats and talking to a boy who carried a suitcase nearly as large as he was.
            "Why, there's Mother!" said Honey Bunch in surprise, looking at a lady walking away from her.
            It would never do to have Mother forget her little girl in this great place, so Honey Bunch began to run. She ran after the lady in the blue coat and had almost reached her when she heard someone calling.

            "Honey Bunch! Honey Bunch! Come back here, dear!" the someone called to her. Honey Bunch turned around and there stood her own mother!
            "Why!" said Honey Bunch. "Why! Why, Mother!"
            Then she ran back and slipped her hand into Mother's.
            "I thought that was you," said Honey Bunch, faintly.
            "I wouldn't go off and forget my little girl," said Mrs. Morton smilingly. "Now the telegram has gone to tell Daddy that we are here all right and all we have to think of is how to reach Aunt Julia's house."
            "And that is what Aunt Julia is here for," declared that lady, pinching Honey Bunch's cheek. "I think, Edith, we'll take a bus and walk over."
            Honey Bunch held fast to Mother's hand as they came out into the street. She thought everyone in the station must have walked out with them, but if she had looked back she would have seen just as many people inside the station as ever. The trains kept bringing them in and taking them away and there would always be a crowd.

            Honey Bunch and Mother and Aunt Julia had to wait for a few minutes before they could cross the street. A few people dashed ahead and wriggled between the automobiles and slid under the horses' noses, but that was really not safe, and Honey Bunch was glad Aunt Julia did not ask her to run.
            "Look at all the automobiles!" she cried. "Look at the green one, Mother! See the little dog!"
            There was a small black dog sitting in the big green automobile which drove slowly past and he wagged his tail when he saw Honey Bunch.
            "He must like little girls," said Honey Bunch, but just then a whistle blew and Mother hurried her across the street.
            All the automobiles were going the other way now and Honey Bunch wondered how people in New York ever kept from being run over. She was mighty glad when they had reached the other side of the street. But how cold she was! A wind swept down the street and blew into her face so hard that it brought the tears into her eyes.
            "Wait a minute," said Aunt Julia. "I don't believe Honey Bunch can breathe in this wind."
            Well, just for a minute, Honey Bunch thought so, too. That was the coldest wind she had ever known. She hid her face against Mother's coat.
            "It's these tall buildings," she heard Aunt Julia say. "We'll take the bus in a moment, dear, and then you'll be all right."
            They walked on presently, and came to another street, a wide street and filled with automobiles, of course. It seemed to Honey Bunch that all the automobiles in the world must be in New York. She and Mother and Aunt Julia stood on the corner and Honey Bunch, looking down the avenue, saw a wide, comfortable looking automobile lumbering easily toward them.
            "What a fat automobile!" said Honey Bunch.
            It was a fat automobile and Honey Bunch liked the way it looked—as though it would hold a good many people and not squeeze them. To her delight, Aunt Julia held up her hand and the automobile stopped.

            There was a conductor on the platform and he helped Honey Bunch up the step. She was going to climb up the iron stairs that wound around in back of him but Aunt Julia said to go inside.
            Inside the car were comfortable seats, and Honey Bunch found a place by the window. Mother sat beside her and Aunt Julia sat in the seat ahead.
            "Where do the stairs go?" asked Honey Bunch eagerly.
            She meant the winding iron stairs, and Aunt Julia explained that they went up to the roof of the bus.
            "There are seats up there, too," she said. "In summer it is very pleasant to ride outside, but on a day like this the wind would blow you right off into the river, I'm afraid."
            Honey Bunch was sure that she would not like to ride on the roof on such a cold day. The people she saw through the window were hurrying along as though they were cold. The men had their hands in their pockets and the collars of their coats turned up and, the ladies were almost hidden under their furs.
            "Well, Honey Bunch," smiled Aunt Julia, as the bus stopped to take on more passengers, "how do you think you are going to like New York?"
            "I like it," said Honey Bunch. "I like to ride in the bus. When shall we see Bobby and Tess?"
            "Just the minute we reach home," replied Aunt Julia. "They would have liked to come down to the station with me, but they go to school, you know. Now two more blocks and we come to our street."
            Honey Bunch was watching a little girl across the aisle push her dime into the little box the conductor held out for it—every time anyone put in a dime Honey Bunch expected a Jack-in-the-box to pop out, but he never did—when Aunt Julia said:
            "Here's our corner."

            The bus stopped and the conductor swung Honey Bunch from the platform to the curb. Mother took one hand and Aunt Julia the other and away they went again. Honey Bunch thought it was fun to hurry, and her cheeks were as red as poppies when they came to a wide gray stone building with four little green trees set in tubs outside the door.
            "Christmas trees!" said Honey Bunch wisely.
            Inside the building was a boy in a blue suit with brass buttons who smiled at Aunt Julia. He was a colored boy and seemed very good-natured.
            "Have the children come home yet, Dorry?" asked Aunt Julia.
            "Yas'm, they're home," replied Dorry.
            There was a black and gold elevator in the hall and Aunt Julia led her guests to this. Honey Bunch liked the "feel" of walking over the red velvet carpet and she thought the elevator was very beautiful. There was a mirror in it and she could see herself from the top of her hat to her tan shoes.
            Dorry came to run the elevator and Honey Bunch was sure she could make it go herself as she watched him. All he did was to slide a bar down and pull it up and she thought that couldn't be very hard.
            "You would like to do it, little miss?" said Dorry suddenly.
            Honey Bunch jumped. She was surprised.
            "Yes, I could, couldn't I?" she said eagerly.
            Dorry stopped the elevator carefully before an iron gate and opened the door.
            "Maybe, when you're bigger," he said seriously. "Elevators is good things for children to let alone."
            There were three doors in the hall facing them. A pink-shaded light burned pleasantly and at the end of the hall Honey Bunch saw two windows. Dorry shut the elevator gate and down went the car, slowly and carefully.
            "How do you know which door is yours?" asked Honey Bunch.
            "They do look alike, don't they?" said Aunt Julia, with a smile. "But, of course, we know our own door. There—that's one way to tell, Honey Bunch!"
            The center door had been jerked open as she was speaking and out rushed Bobby and Tess. They pounced upon Honey Bunch and her mother and pulled them in.
            "We're so glad you're here!" they cried. "Isn't it fun? Can we take Honey Bunch to dancing school with us, Aunt Edith? Did you ride in the subway yet? Isn't it cold out? Did Dorry tell you, Mother, that the window catch is fixed?"
            "Children, children," said Aunt Julia. "Wait a moment! Here is poor tired little Honey Bunch, hungry and cold, and you haven't even asked her to take off her hat. Can't you stop talking long enough to let Honey Bunch and Aunt Edith get rested?"
            Well, of course, Bobby and Tess didn't want to be impolite, so they both rushed at Honey Bunch and tried to take off her hat and coat for her. Bobby pulled off her hat and Tess nearly pulled her coat collar off, trying to unhook it.
            "Let me do it," said Honey Bunch's mother, and in a few minutes Honey Bunch had her coat and hat off and was ready for the late lunch the maid brought them. Everyone else had had lunch, but Aunt Julia said she knew Honey Bunch and her mother would be hungry traveling, and they were.
            "What shall we do now?" said Tess, when Honey Bunch had eaten the last mouthful of her baked apple. "There's time to go out and play before Daddy comes home."
            "I know what one little girl is going to do," said Honey Bunch's mother, smiling.
            "Oh, what?" asked Tess, and Honey Bunch looked interested, too.
            "Have a nice nap," answered Mrs. Morton, "and be all ready for a happy day tomorrow in New York."
            "I don't need a nap, Mother," said Honey Bunch. "I did go to sleep on the train."
            "Well, suppose you let Mother brush your hair and change your dress," said Mrs. Morton. "Then we'll see how you feel."
            Aunt Julia took them into the pretty bedroom which was waiting for them, she said, and then left them alone. And Mrs. Morton had not finished unbuttoning all the buttons on Honey Bunch's frock before that small girl was sound asleep, right in her mother's lap. Mothers, you see, can tell when naps are needed. Honey Bunch's mother could.


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