“Never mind, Phoebe,” said Randy, “it’s disappointing if you so wished to go, but think how we should have missed you.”
“O Randy, to think that you would have missed me makes me almost glad to stay here,” said Phoebe, with a bright tear upon her lashes.
It was over a year since Phoebe had resolved to conquer her “unruly tongue” as she described it, and although at times a sharp saying escaped her lips she was really a very different girl from the Phoebe of the year before. That she was in earnest was evident, for if some careless speech chanced to hurt one of her friends, she promptly acknowledged her fault, and grasped the first opportunity to do some little kindness which should thus give proof that her regret was sincere.
Of Jotham the boys and girls saw but little, his new studies requiring strict application, and only at rare intervals was it possible for him to find a few leisure moments for Randy, and when October came it was with regret that he said “good-bye,” although his heart was full of anticipation.
“You will miss me, Randy?” he had asked, and Randy had answered frankly,
“I shall, indeed. Every one who has ever known you will miss you, Jotham.”
At the village school the weeks had passed with cheerful monotony. Lessons were learned and recited with a regularity which failed to be tedious since the pupils possessed much enthusiasm.
The little ones, especially Prue Weston and Hi Babson furnished amusement for the older classes, Prue with her unique answers, and Hi with his countless pranks.
Upon one occasion, Miss Gilman, thinking to make a little problem clear by using names of well known objects asked, “If I had five pears and gave you two, Prue, how many would that leave?”
“’Twouldn’t be half,” said Prue, “so ’twouldn’t be fair.”
At another time Prue was much interested in a little picture in her arithmetic which represented a man walking beside a horse and cart.
“If it takes a horse two hours to drag a load of stones to town,” said Miss Gilman, “how long—”
“But,” interrupted Prue, “if it took the horse as long as that, why didn’t the man hitch on another horse?”
Laughter greeted this original solving of the problem by practical little Prue, and Miss Gilman decided that examples expressed in ordinary numbers would be far better for this little girl who found an odd question for every pictured problem.
Thus the days passed. The Sundays spent at the old meeting-house, and the week-days filled with work at home and at school, with a running accompaniment of gossip filling the spaces.
But one morning something occurred which filled the scholars with excitement, and aroused the interest or curiosity of nearly every one in the village.
Randy Weston had received a letter from Boston, and such a letter, too!