“If I were in the city,” she mused, “I should probably see something which I’d like to have in the first store I came to, and I could buy it at once.”
A moment later she laughed softly as it occurred to her that in the large city stores of which she had heard it would be more than probable that a dozen pretty things would attract her, and her bewilderment would thus be far greater than it had been at home with only a choice of imaginary objects.
“If old Sandy McLeod who gave the prize could know what a time I’ve had deciding what to do with it, I believe he would laugh at me and say in that deep voice of his,
“’Hoot, lass! Since the gold piece troubles ye, I wonder if ye’re glad ye won it?’”
Randy in her pink calico gown, her sunbonnet still hanging from her arm, her cheeks flushed by the hot summer breeze, and the short ringlets curling about her forehead, made a lovely picture as she stood at the opening of the little grove and looked off across the valley to the distant hills.
She was thinking of the school session which would open so soon, when with her classmates she would be eagerly working to gain knowledge; of her longing for more than the “deestrict” school could give, of her father’s promise that she should have all the education she wished for, and the light of enthusiasm shone in her merry gray eyes.
“I shall work with all my heart this season,” thought Randy, “and if I could do two years’ work in one, I should indeed be pleased. I believe I’ll ask the teacher to plan extra work for me, and if she will, I’ll—” but just at this point she heard a clear voice calling,
Turning she saw Belinda Babson running along the little foot path, her long yellow braids shining in the sun, and her round blue eyes showing her pleasure at sight of her friend.
“Why Belinda! Where did you come from?” cried Randy, “I’d no idea that anyone was near me.”
“I’ve been sitting on the top rail at the further side of the pasture, and just watching you, Randy Weston,” said Belinda, laughing.
“I was on the way up to your house when I met your little sister Prue, and she said that you were out here, so I turned this way, and just as I reached the bars I spied you a looking off at nothing and a thinking for dear life.”
“I was thinking,” admitted Randy, “and I was just wondering if I could do two years of school work in one, when you called me.”
“Well what an idea!” gasped Belinda, “you don’t catch me doing more than one year’s work if I can help it, and I wouldn’t do that if pa didn’t set such a store by education.
“Why, Randy,” she resumed a moment later, “what makes you in such a drive ’bout your lessons, anyway?”
“I’m sixteen this summer,” Randy replied, “and I’ve no idea of waiting forever to fit myself for something better than a district school.”