“Billy, you are a jewel!” cried Elnora, throwing her arm across his shoulders as they came down the path.
“My, I was scared!” said Billy with a deep breath.
“Scared?” questioned Elnora.
“Yes sir-ee! Aunt Margaret scared me. May I ask you a question?”
“Of course, you may!”
“Is that man going to be your beau?”
“Billy! No! What made you think such a thing?”
“Aunt Margaret said likely he would fall in love with you, and you wouldn’t want me around any more. Oh, but I was scared! It isn’t so, is it?”
“I am your beau, ain’t I?”
“Surely you are!” said Elnora, tightening her arm.
“I do hope Aunt Kate has ginger cookies,” said Billy with a little skip of delight.
WHEREIN MRS. COMSTOCK FACES THE ALMIGHTY, AND PHILIP AMMON WRITES A LETTER
Mrs. Comstock and Elnora were finishing breakfast the following morning when they heard a cheery whistle down the road. Elnora with surprised eyes looked at her mother.
“Could that be Mr. Ammon?” she questioned.
“I did not expect him so soon,” commented Mrs. Comstock.
It was sunrise, but the musician was Philip Ammon. He appeared stronger than on yesterday.
“I hope I am not too early,” he said. “I am consumed with anxiety to learn if we have made a catch. If we have, we should beat the birds to it. I promised Uncle Doc to put on my waders and keep dry for a few days yet, when I go to the woods. Let’s hurry! I am afraid of crows. There might be a rare moth.”
The sun was topping the Limberlost when they started. As they neared the place Philip stopped.
“Now we must use great caution,” he said. “The lights and the odours always attract numbers that don’t settle on the baited trees. Every bush, shrub, and limb may hide a specimen we want.”
So they approached with much care.
“There is something, anyway!” cried Philip.
“There are moths! I can see them!” exulted Elnora.
“Those you see are fast enough. It’s the ones for which you must search that will escape. The grasses are dripping, and I have boots, so you look beside the path while I take the outside,” suggested Ammon.
Mrs. Comstock wanted to hunt moths, but she was timid about making a wrong movement, so she wisely sat on a log and watched Philip and Elnora to learn how they proceeded. Back in the deep woods a hermit thrush was singing his chant to the rising sun. Orioles were sowing the pure, sweet air with notes of gold, poured out while on wing. The robins were only chirping now, for their morning songs had awakened all the other birds an hour ago. Scolding red-wings tilted on half the bushes. Excepting late species of haws, tree bloom was almost gone, but wild flowers made the path border and all the wood floor a riot of colour. Elnora, born among such scenes, worked eagerly, but to the city man, recently from a hospital, they seemed too good to miss. He frequently stooped to examine a flower face, paused to listen intently to the thrush or lifted his head to see the gold flash which accompanied the oriole’s trailing notes. So Elnora uttered the first cry, as she softly lifted branches and peered among the grasses.