“For I shall take ye hame, lass, I know that’s where ye wad be, and warm in the bear skin I’ll wrap ye, an’ in the sleigh ’twill be nae time before we’ll be at ye’re door.”
“I could not stay away another day. The road from the depot was so lonely, and I was so afraid,—”
Phoebe was crying now, and Sandy laid his rough hand gently upon her shoulder.
“Never mind, lass, how ye got here, don’t ye try tae tell it noo. If ye’re warm enough we’ll be startin’, an’ ye can tell the folks at hame all aboot it on the morrow.”
Little Janie examined Phoebe’s boots, and finding them to be dry, insisted upon putting them on and lacing them, and by the time that she had finished the task the sleigh stood at the door.
The ride was a short one, and soon Sandy was at the door of the Small homestead, one arm about Phoebe who seemed too weary to stand, and the other hand executing a rousing knock upon the panel of the door.
Mrs. Small answered the summons and without ceremony Sandy entered, gently pushing Phoebe before him.
“This package was delayed in arrivin’,” he commenced, but there seemed to be no need of finishing the sentence.
As Phoebe stood held close in her mother’s embrace, she cried,
“Oh, I never, never will go away to school again.”
“You never shall,” said Mrs. Small, “but Phoebe, child, how is it that you are here, and with Mr. McLeod at this time of night?”
“Oh, I told them yesterday that I must come home, but they said at the school, that you had paid for the term in advance, and that I could not leave until the end of that term.
“I said nothing, but this morning I ran away to the depot and when I had bought my ticket and was in the cars riding toward home I was happier than I had been for weeks. But the train was late and it was very dark when I left the cars at the Centre and started to walk home.”
“The lass reached our door,” said Sandy, “an’ she was aboot faintin’ when I lifted her in, and set her doon before the fire. An’ noo, as I’m not necessary to ye’re happiness,” said Sandy with twinkling eyes, “I think I’ll bid ye ‘good night,’ and be drivin’ hame tae Margaret.”
“I’m so glad to be at home again,” said Phoebe, when Sandy had gone.
“I cannot tell you, Phoebe, how we’ve missed you,” her mother answered. “Your father had to visit Boston yesterday and will be back to-morrow. When Sandy arrived with you, I was sitting here alone and wondering how long you would be willing to stay at boarding school.”
“I never wish to see or hear about one again,” said Phoebe. I shall never be discontented again.
“It was a hard lesson,” said Mrs. Small, as she kissed Phoebe, “but perhaps it was a good one after all.”
Randy had become a favorite among the girls at the school, and one and all declared that her frankness had been the trait which had first won their admiration.