“Walk into the parlor, please. Breakfast’ll be ready in one minute. I’ll show you your rooms afterwards.”
That, too, was considerate; and, when Almira herself came to the door between the parlor and the dining-room, she, too, looked as if it were quite her habit to smile, when she said,—
Almira smiled, but she was too much like her mother. There was nothing at all about her to put Dabney in mind of Annie Foster, or of either of his own sisters. Samantha, or Keziah, or Pamela could have been “made over” into two Almiras, in every thing but height; and Dab made up his mind at once that either of them could beat her at smiling,—not so much, perhaps, as to mere quantity, but as to quality.
That was a breakfast which would have fully justified Ham Morris’s report, for it was well cooked and plentiful. The “johnnycake,” in particular, was abundant; and all the boys took to it kindly.
“Glad you like it,” said Mrs. Myers. “Almira, that’s one thing we mustn’t forget. I was always proud of my johnny cake. There’s very few know what to do with their corn-meal, after they’ve got it.”
She did evidently, and the boys all said so except Dick Lee. He could do full justice to his breakfast, indeed; but he was saying to himself all the while,—
“I won’er ‘f I’ll ebber git used to dis yer. It’s jes’ awful, dis goin’ to de ’cad’my.”
A NEW KIND OF EXAMINATION.
Three large trunks and one small one were delivered at Mrs. Myers’s front door before that first breakfast was disposed of; and Miss Almira remarked of the boys, a few minutes later,—
“How strong they are, especially Mr. Kinzer!”
“Don’t make a mistake, Almira,” said her mother in an undertone. “I’m glad the trunks are up stairs, but we mustn’t begin by saying ‘mister’ to them. I’ve got all their first names. They mustn’t get it into their heads that they’re any thing more’n just so many boys.”
She hurried up stairs, however; and it did not take long to make her new boarders “know their places,” so far as their rooms were concerned. That house was largely made up of its one “wing,” on the first floor of which was the dining-room and sitting-room, all in one. In the second story of it were two bedrooms, opening into each other. The first and larger one was assigned to Dab and Ford, and the inner one to Frank.
“Yours is a coop,” said Ford to his friend from India; “but ours is big enough. You can come in here to study, and we’ll fix it up prime. The stove’s a queer one. Guess they burn wood up here mostly.”
Of course, so long as there was a good “wood-lot” on the outlying farm that belonged to Mr. Hart’s speculation.
The stove was a little box of an affair, with two “griddles” on top, and was quite capable of warming that floor.