“That is nice, and I have a little bit of good news for you besides—here,” she said, pulling out a purse, in which there was money. “We’ll get the guinea-hen back again—we have all agreed about it. This is the money that has been given to us in the village this May morning. At every door they gave silver. See how generous they have been—twelve shillings. Now we are a match for Miss Barbara. You won’t like to leave home, so I’ll go to her, and you shall see your guinea-hen in ten minutes.”
Rose hurried away, filled with joy at the thought that soon she would return to Susan with her lost bird.
Miss Barbara’s maid, Betty, was the first person she saw on reaching the Attorney’s house. Rose said she must see Barbara and was shown into a parlor where the young lady sat reading a book.
“How you startled me! Is it only you?” she said, looking up and seeing no one but the maid. Then, as she caught sight of Rose, she went on, “You should have said I was not at home. Pray, my good girl, what do you want?” she said, turning to Rose. “Is it to borrow or to beg that you are here?”
“The person from whom I come does not wish either to borrow or to beg, but to pay for what she asks,” answered Rose. Then opening her well-filled purse, she held out to Barbara a bright shilling, saying, “Now please be so good as to give me Susan’s guinea-hen.”
“You may keep your shilling,” replied Barbara. “It would have been enough if it had been paid yesterday when I asked for it, but I told Susan that as it was not paid then I should keep the hen, and I shall. You may go back and tell her so.”
While Barbara spoke she had been looking into the open purse in Rose’s hand. She thought she could count at least ten shillings. Could she not manage to get at least five of them for the guinea-hen, she wondered?
Rose little guessed what was going on in Barbara’s mind, and exclaimed angrily, “We must have Susan’s favorite hen, whatever it costs. If one shilling won’t do, take two. If two won’t do, take three,” and she flung the coins one after the other on the table.
“Three won’t do,” said Barbara.
“Then take four.”
Barbara shook her head.
A fifth shilling was offered, but Barbara, seeing that she had the game in her own hands, was silent.
Then Rose threw down shilling after shilling, till twelve bright pieces lay on the table, and her purse was empty.
“Now you may take the guinea-hen,” said Barbara.
Rose pushed the money towards the greedy girl, but at the same moment remembered that it had not belonged to herself alone. At once she seized the silver coins, and saying that she must first see if the friends with whom she shared them were willing to part with them, she ran off.
When the children heard Rose’s story, they were amazed, that even Barbara could be so mean, but they all agreed that at any cost the guinea-fowl must be set free. In a body they went to Susan and told her so, at the same time handing her the purse. Then they ran off without waiting to be thanked. Rose only stayed behind. Susan knew that she must accept the present gladly, just as she would give one gladly. She was much touched by the kindness of her friends, but she took the purse as simply as she would have given it.