Jimmy-boy, much gratified, struck an attitude, and pounding his left palm with his thumb, repeated the rhyme:—
“Drive the nail straight,
Hit it on the head;
Work with your might, boys,
Ere the day has fled.”
“There, he can speak, I knew he could speak!” cried Lucy, in admiration.
It was settled that they were all to meet Wednesday morning, and their mother with them, to talk over the matter.
“That’s great,” said Jimmy.
The watch was found and the world looked bright once more. True, he was deeply in debt; but with such a grand helper as Aunt Vi he was sure the debt would very soon be paid.
“The happy wind upon
Blowing the ringlet from the braid.”
“I’ve got the snarling-est, flying-est hair,” scolded she. “I never’ll braid it again as long as I live; so there!”
“Good!” cried Jimmy. “It has looked like fury ever since we came up here.”
Here Nate overtook the children. He had not been very social since the accident, but seemed now to want to talk.
“How do you do, Jimmy?” he said: and Jimmy responded, “How d’ye do yourself?”
The little girls ran on in advance, and Jimmy would have joined them, but Nate said:—–
“Hold on! What’s your hurry?”
Jimmy turned then and saw that Nate was scowling and twisting his watch-chain.
“I’ve got something to say to you—I mean papa wants me to say something.”
“I don’t see any need of it, but papa says I must.”
Jimmy waited, curious to hear what was coming.
“Papa says I jollied you the other day.”
“Why, fooled you.”
“So you did, Nate Pollard, and ’twas awful mean.”
“It wasn’t either. What made you climb that ridge-pole? You needn’t have done it just because I did. But papa says I’ve got to—to—ask your pardon.”
“H’m! I should think you’d better! Tore my clothes to pieces. Smashed a gold watch.”
“You hadn’t any business taking that watch.”
There was a pause.
“Look here, Jimmy Dunlee, why don’t you speak?”
“Haven’t anything to say.”
“Can’t you say, ’I forgive you’?”
“Of course I can’t. You never asked me.”
“Well, I ask you now. James S. Dunlee, will—you—forgive me?”
“H’m! I suppose I’ll have to,” replied Jimmy, firing a pebble at nothing in particular. “I forgive you all right because we’ve found the watch. If we hadn’t found it, I wouldn’t! But don’t you ‘jolly’ me again, Nate Pollard, or you’ll catch it!”