“There, what do you think of that? The very boys I told you of.”
“The ones you saw on the green, fighting?”
“Exactly. I must see Dr. Brandegee. They can’t be altogether bad.”
“Bad? No! There must be something about it. The doctor always knows. He will be able to explain it, I know.”
Great was the confidence of the Grantley people in Dr. Brandegee, as to any and all things relating to “his boys;” and that of Mrs. Fallow was none the less when her husband returned from his evening call.
“Defending that colored boy? You don’t say. The dear, brave little fellows! Fighting is dreadful. Did any of them get hurt?”
“Hurt, dear? No; and they gave those young ruffians—H’m! Well—David had to do a great deal of fighting, Mary, but we must not approve too.”—
“My dear! I say they did right.”
And the little woman’s tired face flushed into sudden beauty, with her honest enthusiasm over “those boys.”
They had not reached the end of their day’s experiences, however, when they left the minister’s gate, or even when they arrived at their own.
At that very moment Mrs. Myers was once more standing in the kitchen doorway.
“Dick, as soon as you’ve had your supper, you may take one of those strings of fish over to Deacon Short’s, and another to Mrs. Sunderland’s. You may clean all the rest.”
“Yes’m,” said Dick vaguely, “but dar’s on’y one string.”
“Only one? Where are all the rest, I’d like to know?”
Dabney and his friends were around the corner of the house now, and her last question was plainly directed to them.
“The rest of what, Mrs. Myers’?”
“Why, the fish. What have you done with them?”
“Oh! they’re all right, Mrs. Myers,” said Ford. “Fish are good for brains. That’s what we’ve done with ’em.”
“Exactly. Next to us three, the men that work their brains the hardest around here are Mr. Fallow and my friend Dr. Brandegee.”
“And you never asked me a word about it!”
“About what?” inquired Dabney. “I must say I don’t quite understand. Do you mean, about what we were to do with our fish?”
“Of course I do. I can’t allow”—
She hesitated a moment, as if the next words were slow in coming; and Dab helped her out with,—
“Can’t allow what, Mrs. Myers?” and Ford added,—
“Now, Mrs. Myers, there’s nothing healthier than fish. It won’t hurt either of ’em. Is supper ready?”
“I hope it is,” said Dab. “I’m getting hungry again.”
Mrs. Myers looked at them in amazement; and so did Miss Almira, for, if one thing was plainer than another, it was that neither of those three boys understood the nature of her complaint. It did not seem to occur to them, that she had, or could, or would claim any control over the results of their day’s fun; not even when she said,—