Dr. Brandegee made wonderfully rapid work of it; and his several assistants seemed to know exactly what to do.
“The fact is,” said Ford, the first chance he had to speak to Dab, “I’ve been studying that man. He’s taught school before.”
“Guess he knows how, too. And I ain’t afraid about Dick Lee, now I’ve seen the rest. He can go right ahead of some of them.”
“They’ll bounce him if he does. Tell you what, Dab, if you and I want to be popular here, we’d better wear our old clothes every day but Sunday.”
“And miss about half the questions that come to us. Dick won’t be sharp enough for that.”
“He says he’s going to write a letter home tonight. Made him turn pale too.”
Those first letters home!
Ford’s was a matter of course, and Frank Harley had had some practice already; but Dab Kinzer had never tried such a thing before, and Dick Lee would not come to anybody else for instructions. Neither would he permit anybody, not even “Captain Dab,” to see his letter after it was written.
“I’s been mighty partikler ’bout de pronounciation,” he said to himself, “specially in wot I wrote to Mr. Morris, but I’d like to see dem all read dem letters. Guess dar’ll be a high time at our house.”
It would be a long while before Frank Harley’s epistle would reach the eyes that were anxiously waiting for it, but there were indeed “high times” in those three houses on the Long-Island shore.
Old Bill Lee was obliged to trust largely to the greater learning of his wife, but he chuckled over every word he managed to pick out, as if he had pulled in a twenty-pound bluefish; and the signature at the bottom affected him somewhat as if he had captured a small whale.
“Sho! De boy!” said Glorianna. “He’s doin’ fust-rate. Dar ain’t anoder young gen’lman at dat ar’ ‘cad’my jes’ like him. Onless it’s young Mr. Kinzer. I hasn’t a word to say ‘gin him or Mr. Foster, or dat ar’ young mish’nayry.”
“Glorianna,” said Bill doubtfully, “do you s’pose Dick did all dat writin’ his own self?”
“Sho! Course he did! Don’t I know his hand-writin’? Ain’t he my own blessed boy? Guess he did, and I’s goin’ ober to show it to Mrs. Kinzer. It’ll do her good to hear from de ’cad’my.”
So it did; for Dick’s letter to his mother, like the shorter one he sent to Ham Morris, was largely made up of complimentary remarks concerning Dabney Kinzer.
When Glorianna knocked at the kitchen door of the Morris mansion, however, it was opened by “the help;” and she might have lost her errand if Mrs. Kinzer had not happened to hear her voice. It is just possible it was pitched somewhat higher than usual that morning.
“Glorianna? Is that you? Come right in. We’ve some letters from the boys. Something in them about Dick that you’ll be glad to hear.”
“Sho! De boy! Course dey all had to say somet’ing ‘bout him! I’s jes’ like to know wot ’tis, dough.”