“You are only very young, you dear child,” replied her parents.
They pitied her sincerely and did their best to console her. But they were wise people, and perhaps they knew that their eldest daughter needed to be humbled just a little. It was hard, very hard, yet sometimes it is the hard things which do us most good.
“O mamma, don’t ask me to go down to dinner. I can’t, I can’t!”
“No indeed, darling, your dinner shall be sent up to you. What would you like?”
“No matter what, mamma—I don’t care for eating. I can’t ever hold up my head any more. And as for going into that school again, I never, never, never will do it.”
“I think you will, my daughter,” said Mr. Dunlee, quietly. “I think you’ll go back and live this down and ’twill soon be all forgotten.”
“O papa, do you really, really think ’twill ever be forgotten? Do you think so, mamma? A silly, disgraceful, foolish, outrageous, abominable,—there, I can’t find words bad enough!”
As her parents were leaving the room she revived a little and added:—
“Remember, mamma, just soup and chicken and celery. But a full saucer of ice-cream. I hope ’twill be vanilla.”
The little teacher went back to her school the very next day. It was a hard thing, but she knew her parents desired it. Her proud head was lowered; she could not meet the eyes of the children, who seemed to be trying their best not to laugh. At last she spoke:—
“I got frightened yesterday. I was not very brave; now was I? Hark! The people in the mine are blasting rocks again, but we won’t run away, will we?”
They laughed, and she tried to laugh, too. Then she called the classes into the floor; and no more did she ever say to the scholars about the earthquake. She helped Nate in his arithmetic, and he treated her like a queen. He was coming to Aunt Vi’s room that evening to show his knee-buckles and cocked hat and find out just what he was to do on the stage.
Kyzie wanted to see the cocked hat and felt interested in her own white cap which Mrs. McQuilken was making. It was a good thing for Katharine that she had “Jimmy’s play” to think of just now. It helped her through that long forenoon. After this the forenoons did not drag; school went on as usual, and Kyzie was glad she had had the courage to go back and “live down” her foolish behavior.
When they met in Aunt Vi’s room that evening it was decided not to have “Jimmy’s play” on the tailings, for that was a place free to all. People would not buy tickets for an entertainment out of doors.
“My tent is the thing,” said Uncle James, and so they all thought It was a large white one, and the children agreed to decorate it with evergreens. It would hold all the people who were likely to come and many more.