And with these last words both the little boys took their leave, running up hill with great speed, as if they thought that standing for a picture had been a great waste of time.
“That Chicken boy is the biggest cry-baby,” said Nate. “The boys like to plague him to see him cry. Joe Rolfe has some sense.”
As the little party walked on, Miss Katharine turned her head more than once for another look at the schoolhouse.
“Wouldn’t it be fun, Edy, to teach school in there and ring that ‘lin-lan-lone bell’ to call in the scholars? I’d make you study botany harder’n you ever did before.”
“No, thank you, Miss Dunlee,” replied Edith, courtesying. “You’ll not get me to worrying over botany. I studied it a month once, but when I go up in the mountains I go to have a good time.”
She pursed her pretty mouth as she spoke. Her sister Katharine was by far the best botanist in her class, and was always tearing up flowers in the most wasteful manner. Worse than that, she expected Edith to do the same thing and learn the hard names of the poor little withered pieces.
“You don’t love flowers as well as I do, Kyzie, or you couldn’t abuse them so!”
This is what she often said to her learned sister after Kyzie had made “a little preach” about the beauties of botany.
As they entered the hotel for luncheon, Kyzie was still thinking of the schoolhouse and the sweet-toned bell and the singular speech of Joe Rolfe, about wanting her for a teacher. What came of these thoughts you shall hear later on.
“Well, I declare, I forgot all about that zebra kitty,” said Edith. “What will the knitting-woman think of such actions?”
The “knitting-woman” met Edith at the dining-room door after luncheon, and said to her rather sharply:—
“Well, little girl, I thought you liked kittens?”
“I do, Mrs.—madam, I certainly do,” replied Edith feeling guilty and ashamed. “But Nate Pollard took us to see the gold mine and the schoolhouse and we’ve just got back.”
“Oh, that’s it! I thought ’twas very still around here—I missed the noise of the boyoes.—You don’t know what I mean by boyoes,” she added, smiling. “I picked up the word in Ireland. I’m always picking up words. It means boys.”
“I understand; oh, yes.”
“Well, ’twas a little trouble to me, your not coming when I expected you; but you may come this afternoon. I’ll be ready in ten minutes.”
“Yes, madam, thank you.”
Edith ran to her mother laughing. “Oh, mamma, she is the queerest woman! Calls boys boyoes! I must go to see her kitten whether I want to or not—in just ten minutes! I wish I could take Kyzie with me; would you dare?”
“Certainly not. Katharine has not been invited. And don’t make a long call, Edith.”