“Do you answer the description?” asked Calhoun, a touch of scorn in his tones.
“Yes; for we’ll never do it again,” said Walter. “But it’s too much: they’re too kind!” and he fairly broke down, and turned away his head to hide the tears that would come into his eyes.
“That’s a fact!” assented Dick, nearly as much moved.
“You don’t deserve it,” said their grandfather, severely, “and I’m much inclined to send them back, with a request that if they’re offered you again it shall not be till a year of good conduct on your part has atoned for the past.”
“O, grandpa, you couldn’t be so hard, so very hard!” cried Dick imploringly, stroking and patting the pony nearest to him, “they’re such beauties.”
“I should think you’d be ashamed to accept such gifts after the way you’ve behaved,” said Arthur.
“So we are; but wouldn’t it be worse to send ’em back? Awful rude, I should say.” And Dick turned a half saucy, half beseeching look upon his grandfather.
The old gentleman smiled in spite of himself, and consented, in consideration of the boys’ penitence for the past, and fair promises for the future, to allow them to accept the generous gifts.
Uncle Joe explained which was for Dick, and which for Walter, and springing into their saddles, they were off like a shot, their grandfather calling after them to be back in ten minutes if they wanted any breakfast.
“If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst give him drink; for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” —ROMANS XII. 20, 21.
“Splendid!” cried Dick, wheeling about toward home, now half a mile away, “but we must hurry back or grandpa will be mad. I say Wal, what do you s’pose makes Travilla and Cousin Elsie so different from us? I mean all of us at Roselands.”
“I don’t know,” returned Walter reflectively; “maybe because they’re Christians. You know it says in the Bible we’re to return good for evil.”
“Yes, and so heap coals of fire on our enemies’ heads. And, Wal, I feel ’em burn now. I’d give anything not to have coaxed and teased Ed into shooting that time, and not to have scared him and the others with those frightful disguises.”
“So would I: and we’ll never do the like again, Dick, never; will we?”
“I reckon not: and we must ride over to Ion after breakfast, and tell ’em so, and thank ’em for these beauties and the other things.”
“Yes; didn’t the note invite us to spend the day there?”
“Why so it did! But I’d forgot; the sight of the ponies knocked it all out of my head.”
So great was the delight of the lads in their new acquisitions, that not even the repeated assertions of their mothers and other members of the family—seconded by the reproaches of their own consciences—that they did not deserve it, could materially damp their joy.