This was the trait in Jimmy which marked him off as a highly bred little fellow. For let me tell you, boys, respect for your elders is the first point of high breeding all the world over.
Jimmy sauntered on slowly toward the door of the tent. There were a great many benches inside, but it was not time yet for the audience to arrive. Uncle James and Katharine and Edith were on the stage, and Aunt Vi was adding a few touches to Edith’s dress.
“O dear,” said Grandmamma Graymouse, “I hope I shan’t forget my part. Tell me, Uncle James, do I look old enough?”
“You look too old to be alive,” he answered; “fifty years older than I do, certainly! Mrs. Mehitable Whalen, are you my wife or my very great grandmamma?”
“But where’s Nate Pollard?” Aunt Vi asked. “I told him to come early to rehearse.”
“He said he’d be here in half an hour,” said Jimmy. “He’s off playing.”
“I hope I shall not have to punish my young grandson,” said Uncle James, solemnly, as he began to peel a sycamore switch.
Uncle James’s name was now “Ichabod Whalen,” and he and “Mehitable Whalen,” his wife, were such droll objects in their old-fashioned clothes that they could not look at each other without laughing.
Their absent grandson, “Ezekiel Whalen” (or Nate Pollard), was a fine specimen of a boy of ancient times, and Aunt Vi had been much pleased with the way in which he acted his part. But where was he? Aunt Vi and the grandparents grew impatient. It was now half-past two; people were flocking into the tent; but the curtain could not rise, for nothing was yet to be seen of young Master “Ezekiel Whalen” and his small clothes and his cocked hat. The house was pretty well filled; really there were far more people than had been expected, Jimmy, with pencil and paper in hand, was figuring up the grown people and children, and multiplying these numbers by twenty-five and by fifteen. When he found that the sum amounted to nearly nine dollars he almost whistled for joy.
But all this while the audience was waiting. People looked around in surprise; the Dunlee family grew more and more anxious. Aunt Lucy pinched Bab and Bab pinched Aunt Lucy.
Suddenly there were loud voices at the entrance of the tent. The tent curtain was pushed aside violently, and Mr. Templeton and Mr. Rolfe rushed in exclaiming:—
“Two boys lost! All hands to the rescue!”
The people were on their feet in a moment and there was a grand rush for the outside. The panic, so it was said afterward, was about equal to “the little schoolma’am’s earthquake.”
JIMMY’S GOOD LUCK
“It’s the Pollard and Rolfe boys,” explained Mr. Templeton.
“Ho! I know where they are!” cried Jimmy, “They’re all right. They’re only digging a cave in the side of a sand-bank.”