STANLEY PAYS AN OLD SCORE
The first week in August, Jean, who had acted as treasurer of the tent fund, announced that it had proved a solid financial success. Every tent was full and booked up to the middle of September. The girls from the Art School had persuaded two more batches to find the trail to Gilead, and Billie’s boy friends had turned their tents into headquarters for the club they belonged to at school.
Jeff Saunders had used his car back and forth until Kit declared it made her think of the fox, goose and bag of corn story.
“Jeff skips down to Richmond and takes back a couple of boys, lays off himself for a couple of weeks, and lo, and behold, the car comes back with three new ones, but I must say that they’re the best behaved lot of boys I ever saw. You’d hardly know they were around at all, except for the twanging of ukuleles and guitars at night. And they certainly have kept us supplied with fish ever since they came. I think it’s done Dad a world of good going away with them and kind of turning into a boy again. Stanley said the other day they were going out fishing all night just as soon as the bass were running.”
Mrs. Gorham was setting the table for lunch and stopped at the last words, one hand on her ample hip, and a look of anxiety in her eyes.
“They ain’t calculatin’ to fish over there beyond the dam, are they? That’s where the Gaskell boy come near drowning a year ago, when his boat upset. It’s just full of sunken snags for half a mile up the river above the island.”
“I guess that’s where they’re going just the same. Billie Ellis thinks that he knows every foot of space on that upper lake and river just because he’s poled around on it for years with that old leaky, flat-bottomed boat of his.”
“Well, it’s all right in the daytime,” Mrs. Gorham rejoined, “but I wouldn’t give two cents for their safety fishing for bass on a dark night among those snags.”
It happened that the very next day Kit decided that it was high time to garner in the crabapple crop and start making jelly. The best trees around Greenacres were up on the old Cynthy Allen place. While the house had burned down the year before, still Cynthy’s fruit trees were famous all over Gilead and Mr. Robbins had bought up the crop in advance from her. As Cynthy said rather pathetically when the money was placed in her hand:
“Land, Jerry, I never thought those old fruit trees would bring me a windfall just when I needed it most for taxes and such like.”
It was only about a mile and a half to Cynthy’s place from the crossroads, but Shad had taken Princess down to Nantic after grain, and Kit had no inclination to carry several pecks of crabapples in a sack along a dusty road. Doris and Helen were out with Madame Ormond on a wood hike, and Jean and her mother had been invited by Miss Emery to afternoon tea at her tent, so that Kit was left to her own devices.