“If she don’t go lame t’morrer, I’ll miss my guess,” he added. “She looks a good deal like Deacon Haskins after he had milked the brindle cow.”
He leaned back, one foot upon the stove-hearth. Shrill cries rang in the old house.
“’Druther ’twould hev been a painter,” said Tunk, sighing.
“More used to ’em,” said Tunk, sadly.
They listened a while longer without speaking.
“Ye can’t drive it, ner coax it, ner scare it away, ner do nuthin’ to it,” said Tunk, presently.
He rose and picked up the things Trove had brought with him. “I’ll take these to the barn,” said he; “they’d have a fit—if they was t’ see ’em. What be they?”
“I do not know what they are,” said Trove.
“Wal!” said Tunk. “They’re queer folks—them Frenchmen. This looks like an iron bar broke in two in the middle.”
He got his lantern, picked up the bottle, the sling-shot, and the iron, and went away to the barn.
Trove went to the bedroom door and rapped, and was admitted. He went to work with the baby, and soon, to his joy, it lay asleep on the bed. Then he left the room on tiptoe, and a bit weary.
“A very full day!” he said to himself.
“Teacher, counsellor, martyr, constable, nurse—I wonder what next!”
And as he went to his room, he heard Miss S’mantha say to her sister, “I’m thankful it’s not a boy, anyway.”
A Day of Difficulties
All were in their seats and the teacher had called a class. Carlt Homer came in.
“You’re ten minutes late,” said the teacher.
“I have fifteen cows to milk,” the boy answered.
“Where do you live?”
“’Bout a mile from here, on the Beach Plains.”
“What time do you begin milking?”
“’Bout seven o’clock.”
“I’ll go to-morrow morning and help you,” said the teacher. “We must be on time—that’s a necessary law of the school.”
At a quarter before seven in the morning, Sidney Trove presented himself at the Homers’. He had come to help with the milking, but found there were only five cows to milk.
“Too bad your father lost so many cows—all in a day,” said he. “It’s a great pity. Did you lose anything?”
“Have you felt to see?”
The boy put his hand in his pocket.
“Not there—it’s an inside pocket, way inside o’ you. It’s where you keep your honour and pride.”
“Wal,” said the boy, his tears starting, “I’m ’fraid I have.”
“Enough said—good morning,” the teacher answered as he went away.
One morning a few days later the teacher opened his school with more remarks.
“The other day,” said he, “I spoke of a thing it was very necessary for us to learn. What was it?”
“To obey,” said a youngster.