At this moment Carrie heard a click in the clock. She looked at her mother, and as the clock struck she said steadily, “I wish that Ben’s neck was all right again.”
Nobody heard her, for at that moment Ben Sykes started up, saying: “I’m all right, and I have had enough. Come along home!” And he dragged his family away with him.
Carrie fell into her mother’s arms. “I’ll never say ‘chock full’ again!” she cried; “and I’ll always be satisfied with what I have got, for I can never forget what I suffered in seeing Ben’s long neck!”
“WHERE CAN THOSE BOYS BE?”
This was the cry in the Wilson family as they sat down to dinner.
“It is odd,” said Aunt Harriet. “I have noticed they are usually ready for their dinner. They may be out of the way at other times, but they always turn up at their meals.”
“They were here at breakfast,” said Jane, the eldest daughter.
“I helped Jack about his Latin before he went to school,” said the mother of the family.
“They are probably at the Pentzes’,” said Gertrude. “If our boys are not there, the Pentzes are here; and as long as the Pentzes are not here, I suppose our boys are there.”
“I should say they were not likely to get so good a dinner at the Pentzes’ as we have here,” said Aunt Harriet, as a plate was set before her containing her special choice of rare-done beef, mashed potato, stewed celery, and apple-sauce.
“Who are the Pentzes?” said Mr. Wilson, looking round the table to see if everybody was helped.
“He is a painter and glazier,” said Aunt Harriet, “and the mother takes in washing.”
“They are good boys,” said Mrs. Wilson. “Jonas Pentz stands high in his class, and is a great help to our Sam. Don’t you remember him? He is the boy that came and spent a night with Sam a week ago. They have their first lesson in ‘Caesar’ this afternoon; perhaps they are studying up.”
“Jack always has to go where Sam does,” said Gertrude.
This was the talk at the Wilsons’ table. The subject was much the same at the Pentzes’. There was a large family at the Wilsons’; so there was at the Pentzes’. Mrs. Pentz was ladling out some boiled apple-pudding to a hungry circle round her. But she missed two.
“Where are Jonas and Dick?” she asked.
A clamor of answers came up.
“I saw Jonas and Dick go off with Sam Wilson after school, and Jack Wilson, and John Stebbins,” said Will, one of the small boys.
“You don’t think Jonas and Dick both went to dine at the Wilsons’?” said Mrs. Pentz. “I should not like that.”
“I dare say they did,” said Mary Pentz. “You know the Wilson boys are here half the time, and the other half our boys are at the Wilsons’.”
“Still, I don’t like their going there for meal-times,” said Mrs. Pentz, anxiously.