Stage Fright on a Summer Night
giant silent birds.
Finally he and Annie came to the end of the bridge. They stepped onto the riverbank. There they stopped and looked around.
âI wonder where those big kids went,â said Annie.
Jack studied the crowd heading down the road that led from. the bridge. There was no sign of the group of ragged boys.
Jack took out their research book. He found the picture of London Bridge. He read aloud:
London Bridge connected London to the south bank of the river, an area where Londoners went for entertainment. The Bear Garden was a popular spot.
âThe Bear Garden?â said Annie. âThat sounds good. Whereâs that?â
Jack found a map of the south bank. He pointed to a circle that was labeled BEAR GARDEN .
âHere,â he said. He looked up. âAndÂ â¦Â
!â He pointed to a dark, round building in the distance.
âGreat!â said Annie. âI want to see the garden filled with bears.â
âLetâs readââ started Jack.
!â said Annie. She headed toward the Bear Garden.
Jack put away their book and followed her. As they got closer, they heard loud shouting and laughter coming from inside the round building.
âWait,â she said. âIâm getting a bad feeling about the Bear Garden. Maybe we
read more about it.â
Jack opened their book again. He read aloud:
At an arena called the Bear Garden, people watched bears fight with dogs. Animal fights were a common sport in old England. They are against the law today.
âBears fight with dogs? Yuck!â said Annie. âI couldnât stand to watch that!â
âMe neither,â said Jack. âForget that place.â He started to walk away.
âHey, Jack! Look over there!â said Annie. She pointed to a cart nearby. âThatâs the bear that passed us on the bridge!â
Annie and Jack ran over to the cart. In the back of it was a cage. In the cage was a big brown bear.
The bear was slumped over, his head still down. The sign on the cart said DAN THE DANCING BEAR .
âDan?â Annie asked. âAre you going to fight?â
The lonely-looking bear raised his hugehead and looked at Annie. His dark eyes were sad. He let out a low moan.
âI understand,â Annie said. âYou donât want to fight. Youâre asking me to take you away.â Annie reached for the door of the bearâs cage.
âAway with you!â someone shouted angrily. âThatâs my bear!â
Jack and Annie whirled around. The cart driver was charging toward them.
âHeâs mine! Iâm selling him!â the man shouted.
âCome on, Annie. Letâs go,â said Jack. He pulled her into the crowd walking down the road.
âBut I have to save Dan!â said Annie, looking over her shoulder. âThat guy wants to sell him to the bear fights!â
âI know,â said Jack. âBut we canât just steal him. That guy is his owner.â
Jack looked around. He needed to get Annieâs mind off the bear. He saw the group of older kids from the bridge. They were walking toward a round white building.
âHey, look, the kids from the bridge!â he said. âLetâs see where theyâre going.â
âWhat about Dan?â said Annie.
âWe can figure that out later,â said Jack. âLetâs follow those kids now.â
He steered Annie toward the white building. When they got closer, Jack read the sign out front:
A PLAY AT THE GLOBE THEATER!
A MIDSUMMER NIGHTâS DREAM
thought Jack. Annie loved plays. She loved acting in them at school.
A man stood at the door of the theater. He was holding a box.
âA penny to stand! A penny to stand!â he shouted.
The older kids dropped coins into the box and went inside.
âWow, the play costs only a penny!â said Jack. âThatâs cheap!â
âBut we donât have any pennies,â said Annie. âBesides, I want to go back and free the bear.â
âWhat will you do with him if you free him, Annie?â he asked.
âIâll figure something out,â she said.
âWell, figure it out when the ownerâs not standing there,â Jack said. âRight now, letâs learn something about this
He quickly pulled out their research book. He found a picture of the Globe Theater. He wanted Annie to
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