“See here, boys, I like to be called Chicken Little first rate! Say it again. Say it fi-ive thousand times if you want to!”
“Oh, you’re too willing,” said Joe. “We’ll try it some other time when you get over being so willing!”
The bell rang; it sounded to Henry like a peal of joy. He walked in in triumph, and as he passed by the little teacher she patted him on the head. She did not need to wipe his eyes with her handkerchief, there were no tears to be seen. He was not a brave boy yet by any means, but he had made a beginning; yes, that very morning he had made a beginning.
“Don’t you tease Henry Small any more, I don’t like it at all,” said Katharine to Joseph Rolfe.
And then she slipped a paper of choice candy into Joe’s hand, charging him “not to eat it in school, now remember.” It was a queer thing to do; but then this was a queer school; and besides Kyzie had her own reasons for thinking she ought to be very kind to Joe.
“How silly I was to suspect those little boys! I’m afraid I never shall have much judgment. Still, on the whole, I believe I’m doing pretty well,” thought she, looking proudly at Henry Small’s bright face, and remembering too how Mr. Pollard had told her that very morning that his son Nate was learning more arithmetic at her little school than he had ever learned in the city schools. “Oh, I’m so glad,” mused the little teacher.
Mrs. Dunlee thought Kyzie did not get time enough for play. And just now the little girl was unusually busy. They were talking at home of the new entertainment to be given for Jimmy-boy’s benefit, and she was to act a part in it as well as Edith. It was “Jimmy’s play,” but Jimmy was not to appear in it at all. Kyzie and Edith together were to print the tickets with a pen. The white pasteboard had been cut into strips for this purpose; but as it was not decided yet whether the play would be enacted on the tailings or in the schoolhouse, the young printers had got no farther than to print these words very neatly at the bottom of the tickets:
“ADMIT THE BEARER.”
“THE LITTLE SCHOOLMA’AM’S EARTHQUAKE”
There were only ten days in which to prepare for the play called “Granny’s Quilting.” The children met Wednesday morning in Aunt Vi’s room, all but Bab, who was off riding. So unfortunate, Lucy thought; for how could any plans be made without Bab?
The play was very old-fashioned, requiring four people, all clad in the style of one hundred and fifty years ago. Uncle James would wear a gray wig and “small clothes” and personate “Grandsir Whalen”; Kyzie Dunlee, Grandsir’s old wife, in white cap, “short gown,” and petticoat, was to be “Granny Whalen” of course.
A grandson and granddaughter were needed for this aged couple. Edith would make a lovely granddaughter and pretend to spin flax. Who would play the grandson and shell the corn? Jimmy thought Nate Pollard was just the one, he was “so good at speaking pieces.” They decided to ask Nate at once, and have that matter settled.