“Suppose I apologize now.” Stanley’s tone was absolutely serious, but Kit, with one quick look at the precipitous path, ahead of them, laughed.
“Not here, please. Wait until we hit the level shore. You do really have to pay attention on this path, or you miss your footing and toboggan all at once.”
“Then, suppose,” he persisted, “we just consider that I have apologized. And if you accept, you can raise your right hand at me.”
Kit immediately raised her left one, and waggled it provocatively over her shoulder. Before he could say any more, she had hurried ahead and caught up with the rest.
THE COURT OF APPEAL
It was not until after they had gone, when Kit was by herself, that she remembered all Billie had told her, at the very last of his stay.
They had walked along the lake shore together, a little behind the others, after the Beaubien family had been visited.
“You haven’t told me anything at all,” Kit said, “about home. When were you in Gilead last?”
“Just before we came west,” Billie answered.
“Was everything all right?” Billie hesitated. “Oh, for heaven’s sake, Billie, tell me if there is anything. You can’t give me any nervous shocks at all, and I’m dying to find an excuse to get back home.”
“Why, there isn’t anything the matter, exactly,” Billie said, cheerfully, but with a certain reservation in his tone, that made Kit long to get him with a good grip in his curly hair and shake him the way she used to do two years ago. “The only thing that I know about, I heard grandfather telling Uncle Jerry. I don’t suppose I ought to repeat it either.”
“Billie, I wish I could shake you right here by the Michigander sea. How dare you keep back any news of my family from me?”
“It was something about there not being any more dividends until after the war, on some stock. I guess it hit grandfather, too, but I heard him say that there wasn’t a farm up there that couldn’t support itself, properly run, and he guessed they’d all weather the storm.”
Kit frowned heavily.
“Stock,” she repeated with scorn. “The very idea, anyway, of taking real money and giving it away for a lot of little certificates. If I had money I’d put it in a nice clean, dry, covered tin pail, and hang it down my well, just like Jerushy said she always did when she had a ten-dollar bill around that worried her. And there Dad’s got all the expense of rebuilding Greenacres. It’s going to be a regular White Elephant, I’m afraid, because it isn’t all paid for anyway, and there’s the yearly interest.” She hesitated before she added, slowly, “I wonder why on earth it is, Bill Ellis, that the people with the most children who need the most money always seem to be hunting for it, and these nice, old, placid darlings, like the Dean and Miss Daphne, have simply got oodles planted away somewhere, and never have to think twice over where the next windfall is coming from.”