“We must see Mrs. Lee right away,” said Ford. “It would never do to let Dick tell her.”
“Guess dat’s so,” said Dick.
Quite an embassy they made, those four boys, with Dab Kinzer for spokesman, and Dick Lee almost crouching behind them. Mrs. Lee listened with open mouth while Dab unfolded his plan, but when he had finished she shut her lips firmly together. They were not very thin, and not at all used to being shut, and in another instant they opened again.
“Sho! De boy! Is dat you, Dick? Dat’s wot comes ob dressin’ on ’im up. How’s he goin’ to git clo’es? Wot’s he got to do wid de ’Cad’my, anyhow? Wot am I to do, yer all alone, arter he’s gone? Who’s goin’ to run err’nds an’ do de choahs? Wot’s de use ob bringin’ up a boy an’ den hab him go trapesin’ off to de ’Cad’my? Wot good’ll it do ’im?”
“I tole yer so, Dab,” groaned poor Dick. “It ain’t no use. I ’most wish I was a eel!”
Dabney was on the point of opening a whole broadside of eloquence, when Ford Foster pinched his arm, and whispered,—
“Your mother’s coming, and our Annie’s with her.”
“Then let’s clear out. She’s worth a ten-acre lot full of us. Come on, boys!”
If Mrs. Lee was surprised by their very sudden and somewhat unceremonious retreat, she need not have been, after she learned the cause of it. She stood in wholesome awe of Mrs. Kinzer; and a “brush” with the portly widow, re-enforced by the sweet face of Annie Foster, was a pretty serious matter.
She did not hesitate about beginning the skirmish, however; for her tongue was already a bit loosened, and in fine working-order.
“Wot’s dis yer, Mrs. Kinzer, ‘bout sendin’ away my Dick to a furrin ’Cad’my? Isn’t he ’most nigh nuff spiled a’ready?”
“Oh! it’s all arranged nicely. Miss Foster and I only came over to see what we could do about getting his clothes ready. He must have things warm and nice, for the winters are cold up there.”
“I hasn’t said he might go—Dick, put down dem eels; an’ he hasn’t said he’d go—Dick, take off yer hat; an’ his father”—
“Now, Glorianna,” interrupted Mrs. Kinzer, calling Dick’s mother by her first name, “I’ve known you these forty years, and do you suppose I’m going to argue about it? Just tell us what Dick’ll need, and don’t let’s have any nonsense. The money’s all provided. How do you know what’ll become of him? He may be governor yet.”
“He mought preach!”
That idea had suddenly dawned upon the perplexed mind of Mrs. Lee, and Dick’s fate was settled. She was prouder than ever of her boy; and, truth to tell, her opposition was only what Mrs. Kinzer had considered it, a piece of unaccountable “nonsense,” to be brushed away by just such a hand as the widow’s own.
A GRAND SAILING-PARTY, AND AN EXPERIMENT BY RICHARD LEE.