No one answered. The older people knew the sound: it was that of an angry rattlesnake out of doors shaking his rattle.
Mr. Dunlee said:—
“Stay in the house, please, you ladies, and keep the children here. James and I will go out and attend to this.”
He had an alpenstock, Uncle James a cane. The ladies and Mr, Hale and the children watched the two gentlemen from the window,—all but little Eddo, whose mother was playing bo-peep with him to prevent him from looking out. A handsome rattlesnake was winding his way up the mountain in pursuit of a tiny baby rabbit. The little “cotton-tail” was running for the castle as fast as he could, intending to hide in a hole under the door-stone. But he never would have reached the door-stone alive, poor little trembling creature, if Mr. Dunlee and Uncle James had not come up just in time to finish the cruel snake with cane and alpenstock. Bunny got away safe, without even stopping to say, “Thank you.” The snake wore seven rattles, of which he was very proud; but Eddo had them next day for a plaything, and made as much noise with them as ever the snake had done; though Eddo never knew where they came from.
It had been a delightful day, and when the friends all met again at table they kept saying, “Didn’t we have a good time?”
It was to be noticed that Barbara’s “topknots” had disappeared; and I am glad to say that she never wore her lovely hair “pompy-doo” again.
Kyzie’s face was alight. In passing the door of her mother’s room she had heard her father say, laughing:—
“What, our Katharine? Why, how that would amuse Mr. Templeton!”
Kyzie had hurried away for fear of listening; but now she kept thinking:—
“Papa laughed. He always laughs when he is going to say ‘yes.’ He’ll talk to Mr. Templeton, and I just know I shall have the school Isn’t it splendid?”
“Hoopty-Doo!” shouted Jimmy, alighting on the piazza on all fours. “A little girl like that keep school!”
“Well, she is going to,” returned Edith, looking up from the picture she was drawing of a cherub in the clouds, “she’s going to; and Mr. Templeton says the Castle Cliff people are as pleased as they can be.”
“I heard what he said,” struck in Nate. “He said they jumped at it like a dolphin at a silver spoon.”
“He’s always talking about that dolphin and that silver spoon,” laughed Edith. “If I knew how a dolphin looks, I’d draw one and give it to him just for fun. But mamma, you don’t expect me to go to school to that little girl; now do you?”
“Certainly not, Edith; oh, no.”
“Must I go to Grandmother Graymouse?” whined Jimmy, “She’s only my sister. And I came up here to play.”
“Play all you like, my son. No one will ask you to go school.”
“But I really want to go,” said Nate. “I wouldn’t miss it for anything. A girl’s school like that will be larks. Only four hours anyway, two in the forenoon and two in the afternoon. Time enough left for play.”