THE BOY NEXT DOOR
“Oh, mother!” cried Bunny Brown, running up the front steps as he reached home from school. “Oh, something’s happened next door!”
“What do you mean, Bunny? A fire?”
“No, it isn’t a fire,” said Sue, who was as much out of breath as was her brother. “It’s sumfin different from that!”
“But, children, what do you mean? Is some one hurt?” asked Mrs. Brown.
“It sounds so,” answered Bunny, putting his books on the table. “I heard Mrs. Ward crying.”
“Oh, the poor woman!” exclaimed Mrs. Brown. “She must be in trouble. They have only just moved here. I’d better go over and see if I can help her”; and Mrs. Brown laid down her sewing.
“I guess it must be about their boy Fred,” suggested Bunny.
“What happened to him?” asked Mrs. Brown. “Was he hurt at school? He goes to school, doesn’t he?”
“Yes, but he wasn’t there to-day,” went on Bunny. “And it’s Fred who’s in trouble I guess, for I heard his mother speak his name, and then Mr. Ward said something else.”
“Oh, dear, I hope nothing has happened,” said Mrs. Brown, looking up at the clock to see if it were not time for her husband to come home from his boat and fishing pier. “We must do what we can to help, Bunny. Now tell me all about it. Not that I want to interfere with my neighbors’ affairs, but I always like to help.”
“And I think Mrs. Ward needs some help,” said Sue, “’cause she was crying real hard.”
“Then I’ll go right over and see what is the matter,” said kind Mrs. Brown.
“Oh, and may we go too?” asked Bunny.
“Please let us,” begged Sue.
Their mother thought for a minute. Sometimes, she knew, it was not good for children to go where older persons were crying, and had trouble. But Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue were two wise little children, wiser than many of their age, and their mother knew she could depend on them. So, after a few seconds, she said:
“Yes, you may come with me. We shall see what the matter is with Mrs. Ward.”
“And we’ll help her too, if we can,” added. Bunny, bravely.
Mrs. Brown, followed by Bunny and Sue, started for the home of Mrs. Ward. A wide lawn was between the two houses, and on this lawn Bunny and Sue, with their dog Splash, had much fun.
The Wards were a family who had lately moved to the street where the Browns had lived for years. As yet Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Ward had gotten only as far as a “nodding acquaintance.” That is, Mrs. Brown, coming out into her yard, would see Mrs. Ward, and would say:
“Good morning. It’s a fine day; isn’t it?”
“Yes, indeed it is,” Mrs. Ward would answer.
Sometimes it would be Mrs. Ward who would first speak about the fine weather and Mrs. Brown would answer. Both women would soon become better acquainted.