THE LITTLE TRAVELERS
The crisp air stirred the bright yellow leaves which clung lovingly to the birches, and a few dull red leaves still rustled upon the stout branches of the oaks, but many of the trees were bare, and under foot there lay a thick carpet of dried foliage through which the children delighted to scuff their way toward school.
The squirrels scampered about the woodland, busily hoarding their winter store of nuts, and in the field the crows flew around the ancient scare-crow, cawing derisively at his flapping garments as if laughing at his attenuated figure and mockingly asking him to partake of the husks of the garnered corn.
Overhead the sky was blue and cloudless and upon the eaves of the farm-house the tiny sparrows chirped a greeting to little Prue who stood irresolutely upon the threshold, a wistful expression in her pretty brown eyes, as she twisted one of her short curls and looked over her shoulder to say good-bye to Tabby who lay in her accustomed place upon the large braided rug beside the kitchen stove.
“Good-bye Tabby,” she called, “it isn’t any fun to go to school, now Randy isn’t here.”
Aunt Prudence, who, true to her promise, had arrived at her brother’s home on the day after Randy’s departure, now appeared in the doorway.
“Just starting for school Prue?” said she, “why you said good-bye to yer mother an’ me some time ago.”
“Well, it takes me longer to get started than when Randy was here,” said Prue. “It’s diffe’nt now. I used to hurry to keep up with my Randy, but now I don’t care when I get there long as Randy isn’t in the school ’t all. I want a letter from her, too, and I wonder why she doesn’t be sending me one.”
“Why, Prue, Randy sent you one yesterday, don’t you remember? You took it to bed with you last night,” said Aunt Prudence.
“But I want another one this morning,” said Prue, and seeing tears upon her cheeks, Aunt Prudence, with unusual gentleness, sat down upon the threshold beside the wee girl, and endeavored to make it clear to her, that having received a letter from Randy upon the afternoon of one day, it would be impossible for another one to arrive on the morning of the next.
“Well, I’ve got my Randy’s letter buttoned inside my jacket,” said Prue, “but all the same I want another now, and oh I want my Randy more than anything.”
It required a deal of coaxing to induce Prue to start for school and she went reluctantly, saying as she turned to wave her hand to Aunt Prudence, “I used to like school, but tisn’t any fun ’t all without my Randy.”
She walked down the road swinging her little lunch basket, and thinking of the dear sister whom she so wished to see. At recess Prue left her little mates and Hi Babson, searching for her, found her outside the yard sitting disconsolately upon an old stump, her basket beside her, and her luncheon untouched.