Miss Priscilla Talbot might by some people be called an old maid, as she must be either a little before or after fifty years old; but if I had to invent just one word to describe her darling self it would be “precious.”
Tony Luttrell calls all of the girls collectively and singly “bubbles,” which is both disrespectful and funny at the same time. But real affection in any disrespect can keep it from being at all wicked—and Tony’s always is affectionate, especially when he insults Miss Priscilla by calling her Miss Bubbles right to her face. Nobody else dares to do it, but she likes it. It is a good thing that she is fifty years young instead of old, for if she wasn’t I don’t know what the Palefaces and Scouts would do without her. She lets Tony beg her into doing everything with us so the grown-up people, like mothers and fathers, will be deceived into thinking that we are being taken care of, while the truth is that Miss Prissy is just as much trouble for us to look after as Lovelace Peyton and we love her in exactly the same way. We also love the Colonel a great deal for her sake, and to make up for the way she treats him.
Miss Prissy lives just next to Roxanne, on the other side, and she is such a comfort to her, though a great added responsibility. She worries so over everything that Roxanne doesn’t have that it gets on Roxanne’s nerves, as the people say when things make them cross. Not that Roxanne ever is cross with Miss Prissy. But I made up my mind after that first remonstrance that if Roxanne Byrd had the pluck to let herself go hungry and cold and ragged for a great proud cause like an inventor in the family, I was going to let her get all the fun out of it she could and not mope over it. I still fill up Lovelace Peyton so regularly that he is getting so fat I am afraid Roxanne will notice and suspect something. I may have to diet him soon.
Roxanne and I were just talking about Miss Prissy and the poor Colonel out on the front steps of the cottage when there came one of the proud moments of my life. It’s wonderful how Roxanne’s enthusiasm can throw such a magic over her shabby shoes and the little cottage with the young green vines running over the eaves and old Uncle Pomp and a darning bag full of ragged stockings, that you want to stay feeling it forever and ever. It doesn’t even take the rosy hue off the dream to talk about Lovelace Peyton.
“Oh, Lovey will be a famous surgeon some day, I feel sure,” Roxanne said, as she began on another interminable job of stocking-patching. “And Douglass is going to be a Supreme Judge of the United States while I help him. Just as soon as the money comes we shall all go to college, Lovey, Douglass, Uncle Pomp and I, to get ready for our life work.”
“What course will Uncle Pompey take?” I couldn’t help asking, because Uncle Pompey is so old he couldn’t learn to turn one of his own batter cakes the wrong way around.