“Hasn’t that boy a lovely disposition?” Aunt Martha beamed on Tacks; “to be so forgiving to the janitor after the horrid man had sworn at him and blamed him for putting a cat in the dumb waiter and sending it up to the nervous lady on the seventh floor who abominated cats and who screamed and fell over in a tub of suds when she opened the dumb-waiter door to get her groceries and the cat jumped at her. Mercy! how can the boy be so generous!”
Tacks bore up bravely under this panegyric of praise and his face wore a rapt expression which amounted almost to religious fervor.
“What did you give the janitor, Angel-Face?” I asked.
“Only just another remembrance,” Tacks answered, solemnly. “I happened to find a poor, little dead mouse under the gas range and I thought I’d farewell the janitor with it.”
Aunt Martha sighed painfully and Uncle Peter chuckled inwardly like a mechanical toy hen.
On the train out to Jiggersville Clara J. was a picture entitled, “The Joy of Living”—kind regards to Mrs. Pat Campbell; Ibsen please write.
As for me with every revolution of the wheels I grew more and more like a half portion of chipped beef.
“Oh, John!” said Clara J., her voice shrill with excitement; “I forgot to tell you! I left my key with Mother, and she’s going to superintend the packing of the furniture this afternoon. By evening she expects to have everything loaded in the van and we won’t have to wait any time for our trunks and things!”
“Great Scott!” I yelled; “maybe you won’t like the house! Maybe it’s only a shanty with holes in the roof—er, I mean, maybe you’ll be disappointed with the lay-out! What’s the blithering sense of being in such a consuming fever about moving the fiendish furniture? I’m certain you’ll hate the very sight of this corn-crib out among the ant hills. Can’t you back-pedal on the furniture gag and give yourself a chance to hear the answer to what you ask yourself?”
Clara J. looked tearfully at me for a moment; then she went over and sat with Aunt Martha and told her how glad she was we were moving to the country where the pure air would no doubt have a soothing effect on my nerves because I certainly had grown irritable of late.
At last we reached the little old log cabin down the lane and after the first glimpse I knew it was all off.
The place I had borrowed from Bunch for a few minutes was a dream, all right, all right.
With its beautiful lawns and its glistening gravelled walks; with a modern house perfect in every detail; with its murmuring brooklet rushing away into a perspective of nodding green trees and with the bright sunshine smiling a welcome over all it made a picture calculated to charm the most hardened city crab that ever crawled away from the cover of the skyscrapers.
As for Clara J. she simply threw up both hands and screamed for help. She danced and yelled with delight. Then she hugged and kissed me with a thousand reiterated thanks for my glorious present.