“That will amply repay you,” she said.
Sandy flushed to the roots of his close-cropped hair. A tip, heretofore a gift of the gods, had suddenly become an insult. Angry, impetuous words rushed to his lips, and he took a step forward. Then he was aware of a sudden change in the girl, who had just stepped into the phaeton. She shot a quick, indignant look at her aunt, then turned around and smiled a good-by to him.
He lifted his cap and said, “I thank ye.” But it was not to Mrs. Nelson, who still held the money as they drove out of the avenue.
Sandy went wearily back to the house. He had made his first trial in behalf of his lady fair, but his soul knew no elation. His beautiful new armor had sustained irreparable injury, and his vanity had received a mortal wound.
AUNT MELVY AS A SOOTHSAYER
It was a crisp afternoon in late October. The road leading west from Clayton ran the gantlet of fiery maples and sumac until it reached the barren hillside below “Who’d ‘a’ Thought It.” The little cabin clung to the side of the steep slope like a bit of fungus to the trunk of a tree.
In the doorway sat three girls, one tall and dark, one plump and fair, and the third straight and thin. They were anxiously awaiting the revelation of the future as disclosed by Aunt Melvy’s far-famed tea-leaves. The prophetess kept them company while waiting for the water to boil.
“He sutenly is a peart boy,” she was saying. “De jedge done start him in plumb at de foot up at de ‘cademy, an’ dey tell me he’s ketchin’ up right along.”
“Wasn’t it g-grand in Judge Hollis to send him to school?” said Annette. “Of course he’s going to work for him b-between times. They say even Mrs. Hollis is glad he is going to stay.”
“’Co’se she is,” said Aunt Melvy; “dere nebber was nobody come it over Miss Sue lak he done.”
“Father says he is very quick,” ventured Martha Meech, a faint color coming to her dull cheek at this unusual opportunity of descanting upon such an absorbing subject. “Father told Judge Hollis he would help him with his lessons, and that he thought it would be only a little while before he was up with the other boys.”
“Dad says he’s a d-dandy,” cried Annette. “And isn’t it grand he’s going to be put on the ball team and the glee club!”
Ruth rose to break a branch laden with crimson maple-leaves. “Was he ever here before?” she asked in puzzled tones. “I have seen him somewhere, and I can’t think where.”
“Well, I’d never f-forget him,” said Annette. “He’s got the jolliest face I ever saw. M-Martha says he can jump that high fence b-back of the Hollises’ without touching it. I d-drove dad’s buggy clear up over the curbstone yesterday, so he would come to the r-rescue, and he swung on to old B-Baldy’s neck like he had been a race-horse.”