“Take an axe! Take a hatchet!” cried Mrs. McQuilken.
And without waiting for Nancy she seized a hatchet herself, split the shell of the clam, and let poor kitty free.
When Kyzie got home from school, Mrs. McQuilken had just mended Zee’s bleeding member with a piece of court-plaster. All the boarders were grouped about on the lawn and veranda talking it over. Mrs. Dunlee held in her lap a very forlorn and crumpled little bundle of kitty; and Edith and Eddo were crying as if their hearts would break.
“That beautiful, beautiful tail!” sobbed Edith.
“Don’t be unhappy about it, darling,” said Aunt Vi, “it will heal in time.”
“I know ’t will heal, auntie; but what I’m thinking of is, won’t it be stiff? Aren’t you afraid ’twill lose the—the—expression of the wiggle?”
No one even smiled at the question; everybody tried to comfort Edith. And right in the midst of this trying scene another event occurred of a different sort, but far more serious. It was little wonder that nobody once thought of saying to Kyzie:—
“Well, Grandma Graymouse, you promised to tell us to-night how you like your school.”
The school was quite forgotten, and so was the injured kitten. It happened in this way: As soon as the kitten had been placed in a basket of cotton and seemed tolerably comfortable, Jimmy and “the little two” went along the road as they often did to watch for the stage. “The colonel” might be coming now at almost any time, to find the lost vein of the gold mine, and they wanted to see him first of any one. Lucy had her papa’s watch fastened to the waist of her dress, and took great pleasure in seeing the hands move. This was not the first time she had been allowed to carry the watch, and she was very proud because papa had just said, “See how I trust my little girl.”
Jimmy had Uncle James’s spy-glass.
“Nate thinks the colonel won’t come till to-morrow; but I expect him to-night. Let’s go farther up,” said Jimmy-boy.
They all climbed a little way and stood on a rock gazing down toward the dusty road. They could see the roofs of several houses, and Lucy asked why there was so much wire on them.
“Oh, that’s to hold the chimneys on,” was Jimmy’s reply.
“Not queer at all. I’ve seen lots of chimneys tied on that way.”
Bab doubted this, but Lucy was proud to think how much Jimmy knew.
“Six minutes past five,” said she, looking at the watch again. “It takes these little hands just as long to go round this little face as it takes a clock’s hands to go round a clock’s face. How funny!”
“Not funny at all,” said Jimmy. “They’re made that way. But be careful, Lucy Dunlee, or you’ll drop that watch. I shouldn’t have thought papa would have let you bring it up here. Did you tell him where we were going?”
“No, I never,” replied Lucy with a sudden prick of conscience. “I didn’t know we’d go so far. ’Twas you that spoke and said we’d go higher up.”