“That is only because she’s never been away before,” said the cooper, cheerfully. “It isn’t best to borrow trouble, Martha; we shall have enough of it without.”
“You never said a truer word, brother,” said Rachel, mournfully. “Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward. This world is a vale of tears, and a home of misery. Folks may try and try to be happy, but that isn’t what they’re sent here for.”
“You never tried very hard, Aunt Rachel,” said Jack.
“It’s my fate to be misjudged,” said his aunt, with the air of a martyr.
“I don’t agree with you in your ideas about life, Rachel,” said her brother. “Just as there are more pleasant than stormy days, so I believe there is much more of brightness than shadow in this life of ours, if we would only see it.”
“I can’t see it,” said Rachel.
“It seems to me, Rachel, you take more pains to look at the clouds than the sun.”
“Yes,” chimed in Jack, “I’ve noticed whenever Aunt Rachel takes up the newspaper, she always looks first at the deaths, and next at the fatal accidents and steamboat explosions.”
“If,” retorted Rachel, with severe emphasis, “you should ever be on board a steamboat when it exploded, you wouldn’t find much to laugh at.”
“Yes, I should,” said Jack, “I should laugh—”
“What!” exclaimed Rachel, horrified.
“On the other side of my mouth,” concluded Jack. “You didn’t wait till I’d finished the sentence.”
“I don’t think it proper to make light of such serious matters.”
“Nor I Aunt Rachel,” said Jack, drawing down the corners of his mouth. “I am willing to confess that this is a serious matter. I should feel as they say the cow did, that was thrown three hundred feet up into the air.”
“How’s that?” inquired his mother.
“Rather discouraged,” answered Jack.
All laughed except Aunt Rachel, who preserved the same severe composure, and continued to eat the pie upon her plate with the air of one gulping down medicine.
In the morning all felt more cheerful.
“Ida will be home to-night,” said Mrs. Harding, brightly. “What an age it seems since she went away! Who’d think it was only twenty-four hours?”
“We shall know better how to appreciate her when we get her back,” said her husband.
“What time do you expect her home, mother? What did Mrs. Hardwick say?”
“Why,” said Mrs. Harding, hesitating, “she didn’t say as to the hour; but I guess she’ll be along in the course of the afternoon.”
“If we only knew where she had gone, we could tell better when to expect her.”
“But as we don’t know,” said the cooper, “we must wait patiently till she comes.”
“I guess,” said Mrs. Harding, with the impulse of a notable housewife, “I’ll make some apple turnovers for supper to-night. There’s nothing Ida likes so well.”