“Now, Mrs. Myers,” said Ford, “if you knew what a fisherman Dick is! He might bring you home a load of them.”
“I am sorry,” said Mrs. Myers, with more of firmness and less of smile than they had ever seen on her face before. “I have no objection to the rest of you going. You may do as you please about that, but I must keep Richard at his work.”
“I am particularly well pleased to learn that you have no objection to our going,” remarked Ford, with extreme politeness, and Dabney added,—
“It does me good too. We’ll take Dick with us some other time. Mrs. Myers, if you will have breakfast pretty early I’ll be much obliged to you.”
Even Almira had never seen Dabney look quite so tall as he did at that moment.
DABNEY KINZER TRIES FRESH-WATER FISHING FOR THE FIRST TIME.
Conversation did not flourish at the supper-table that Friday evening. There was a puzzled look on the faces of Mrs. Myers and her daughter, and their three boarders seemed to be running a kind of race with each other as to which of them should make out to be the most carefully polite. As for poor Dick Lee, out there in the kitchen, the nearest he came to breaking the silence was in a sort of smothered groan, and a half-uttered determination to “git up good and early, an’ dig dem fellers de bes’ worms dey is in de gardin.”
There was talk enough in the room up stairs in the course of the evening; but the door was closed, and there was no chance for any one in the passage outside, no matter how silently he or she might go by, to hear a distinct word of it.
“You see, boys,” said Ford Foster, at the end of some extended remarks, “I’m not at all mean or exacting. My father only pays Mrs. Myers three dollars a week, and all she agreed to give was board. I can’t expect her to be any kind of an aunt, too, and let me go a-fishing. I’ll take it all off her hands, and let myself go.”
“It’s hard on Dick, though,” said Dab, “and she’s kind o’ got the right of it.”
“I s’pose she has. But if he isn’t earning all he gets, I’m mistaken. Boys, if she puts any more work on him, what’ll we do?”
“Eat,” said Dab: “that’s the only way we can make it up.”
“We can’t do it, Dab. Not unless the price of corn-meal goes up. Think of eating another three dollars’ worth of hasty-pudding every week!”
Their landlady came out in all her smiles at breakfast, and hoped they would have good success with their fishing.
“Only,” she added, “I’m not very fond of fish, and I never take the trouble to clean them.”
“We will try and catch ours ready cleaned, Mrs. Myers,” said Ford. “Now, boys, if you’re ready, I am.”
They were ready, bait and all, thanks to Dick; and the breakfast had been an early one. Dab thanked Mrs. Myers for that, even while he wished he had Ford Foster’s tongue to do it with.