CHAPTER XIV

TWO IN TROUBLE




RALPH knew that Sister could put queer ideas into Brother's head, and he hoped that the fun of going downtown, and buying ice-cream soda at the drug store, might cause Sister to forget whatever she had in mind.

When he came home from his tennis game he found both children playing in the sandbox, and as they were very good the rest of that afternoon and evening and all day Sunday, Ralph decided that Sister was not going to be naughty or get Brother to help her to do anything she should not.

Monday evening Mother and Daddy Morrison went through the hedge into Dr. Yarrow's house to visit the doctor and his wife. Brother and Sister were told to run in and visit Grandmother Hastings until eight o'clock, their bedtime.

"Can we take Brownie?" begged Sister. 'Grandmother says he is the nicest dog!"

So Brownie, who was now three times the size he had been when Ralph brought him home in the basket, was allowed to go calling, too.

"Grandma," said Sister, when Grandmother Hastings had answered their knock on her screen door, and had bugged and kissed them both. "Grandma, couldn't we go to the movies?"

Now Grandmother Hastings was a darling grandmother who loved to do whatever her grandchildren asked of her. It never entered her dear head that Mother Morrison might not wish Brother and Sister to go to the movies at night. She only thought how they would enjoy the pictures, and although she disliked going out at night herself, she said that she would take Brother and Sister.

"We can't go downtown to the Majestic," she said, "for that is too far for me to walk. We'll have to go over to the nice little theatre on Dollmer Avenue. If we go right away, we can be home early."

Sister lagged a little behind her grandmother and brother as they started for the theatre. She was stuffing Brownie into her roomy middy blouse. He was rather a large puppy to squeeze into such a place, but Sister managed it somehow. Grandmother Hastings supposed that the dog had been left on the porch.

The theatre was dark, for the pictures were being shown on the screen when they reached it, and Grandmother Hastings had to feel her way down the aisle, Brother and Sister clinging to her skirts. The electric fans were going, but it was warm and close, and Grandmother wished longingly for her own cool parlor. But Brother and Sister thought everything about the movie theatre beautiful.

"Do you suppose Brownie likes it?" whispered Brother, who sat next to Sister. Grandmother was on his other side.

"He feels kind of hot," admitted Sister, who could not have been very comfortable with the heavy dog inside her blouse. "But I think he likes it."

Brownie had his head stuck halfway out, and he probably wondered where he was. It was so dark that there was little danger of anyone discovering him. A dog in a motion-picture house is about as popular, you know, as Mary's lamb was in school. That is, he isn't popular at all.

Brownie might have gone to the movies and gone home again without anyone ever having been the wiser, if there had not been a film shown that night that no regular dog could look at and not bark.

"Oh, look at the big cat!" whispered Sister excitedly.

Surely enough, a large cat sat on the fence, and, as they watched, a huge collie dog, with a beautiful plumy tail, came marching around the corner.

He spied the cat and dashed for her. She began to run, on the screen, of course. The audience in the movie house began to laugh, for the dog in his first jump had upset a bucket of paint. The people in the theatre were sure they were going to see a funny picture.

But Brownie had seen the cat, too. He knew cats, and there were many in his neighborhood he meant to chase as soon as he was old enough to make them afraid of him. He scratched vigorously on Sister's blouse and whined.

"Ki-yi!" he yelped, as though saying: "Ki-yi! I'll bet I could catch that cat!"

Barking shrilly, he scrambled out from Sister's middy, shook himself free of her arms, and tore down the aisle of the theatre, intent on catching the fluffy cat.

"Ki-yi!" he continued to call joyously.

"Brownie! Here, Brownie!" called Sister ' frantically. "Brownie, come back here!"

The theatre was in an uproar in a minute. Ladies began to shriek that the dog was mad, and some of them stood upon the seats and cried out. The men who tried to catch Brownie only made him bark more, and the louder he barked the more the ladies shrieked. Finally they stopped the picture and turned on the lights.

"Rhodes and Elizabeth Morrison!" said someone sternly. "What are you doing here?"

There, across the aisle from Grandmother Hastings and Brother and Sister, sat Daddy and Mother Morrison with Dr. and Mrs. Yarrow. They had come to the movies, too!

"Is that dog Brownie?" asked Daddy Morrison, coming over to them.

Everyone had left his seat and the aisle was in confusion; people talking and arguing and advising one another.

Sister nodded miserably. She felt very small and unhappy.

"Rhodes, go down and get Brownie at once!" commanded Daddy Morrison.

When they were naughty, Brother and Sister were always called by their "truly" names, you see.

"I'll go get him," gulped Sister. "I brought himóRoddy didn't want me to."

Brownie came willingly enough to Sister and she gathered him up in her arms. He may have wondered, in his doggie mind, what all the fuss was about and what had become of the fluffy, cat, but he was getting used to having his fun abruptly ended.

"I didn't know you brought the dog, dear," said Grandmother Hastings, breaking a grim silence as they walked home. "And did you know Mother wasn't willing to have you go at night when you asked me to take you?"

Poor little Sister had to confess that she had asked Grandmother to take them because she knew that in no other way could they get to the movies at night. Grandmother Hastings never scolded, but her grandchildren hated to know that she was disappointed in them.

No one scolded Brother and Sister very much that night. They were put to bed, and the next morning Daddy Morrison called them into his "den" before he left for the office, and told them that for a week they could not go out of their own yard.

"And I s'pose we can't go with Ralph Saturday," wailed Sister.



On to chapter 15