As they entered the dining-room, Jimmy squared his shoulders and would not look toward Nate’s table; and Nate, who had been severely reproved by his parents, never once raised his eyes from his plate. No one felt very happy. Jimmy’s new suit was ruined; and Mr. Dunlee had already learned that it would cost ten dollars to restore the tile chimney. Nor was this all. While Jimmy was trying to console himself with ice-cream he suddenly thought of his father’s watch! It must have dropped out of his pocket when he slid down the roof; but where, oh, where was it now? Was it still on the ground, or had some one picked it up? Joe Rolfe had been there, so had Chicken Little and a dozen others. He must go and look for that watch, he must go this minute.
“Mamma,” he murmured, pushing aside his saucer of ice-cream, “may I—may I be excused?”
There was no answer; his mother had not heard him.
“Mamma,” in a louder tone, “oh, mamma!”
“What is it, my son?”
Seeing by his unhappy face that something was wrong, she nodded permission for him to leave the table; and at the same time arose and followed him into the hall.
“Dear child, what is the matter?”
“Papa’s watch,” he moaned. “I’m afraid somebody will steal it.”
As Mrs. Dunlee knew nothing whatever about the watch this sounded very strange. She wondered if Jimmy had really been hurt by his fall and was out of his head.
“Why, my precious little boy,” said she, taking his hot hand in hers. “Papa’s watch is safe in his vest pocket. Nobody is going to steal it.”
Jimmy looked immensely relieved.
“Oh, has he got it back again? I’m so glad! Where did he find it?”
“Darling,” said Mrs. Dunlee, now really alarmed. “Come upstairs with mamma. Does your head ache? I think it will be best for you to go right to bed.”
But Jimmy persisted in talking about the watch.
“Where did papa find it? He let Lucy have it; don’t you know?”
“No, I did not know.”
“And I took it away from Lucy. I was afraid she’d lose it. And then,—oh, dear, oh, dear,—then I went and lost it myself!”
Mrs. Dunlee understood it all now. Jimmy’s head was clear enough; he knew perfectly well what he was talking about. The watch was gone, a very valuable one. Search must be made for it at once. Without waiting to speak to her husband, Mrs. Dunlee put on her hat and went with Jimmy up the hill. He limped a little from the bruise of his fall and she steadied him with her arm as they walked.
“CHICKEN LITTLE” AND JOE
The man and woman who lived in the green cottage had gone to a neighbor’s to stay till their chimney should be fastened on again. There was no one in sight.
“Here’s the place where I went up,” said Jimmy, laying his hand on one of the ridge-poles. “And here’s the place where I came down,” pointing to another ridge-pole.