He was a quiet, timid boy, and young Case fancied that he would be afraid to say what he thought. However, after turning the shilling round several times, the butcher’s lad said that so far as he could tell, although he would not like to be quite sure of it, the coin was not a good one. Then, seeing the Attorney’s son scowl angrily at him, he turned to Susan saying that she knew more than he did about money, as so much passed through her hands in payment of the bread she made.
“I’ll leave it to her,” said the old harper. “If she says the shilling is good, we will keep it.”
The coin was then handed to Susan, who had not yet spoken, but now that she was called upon she did not shrink from telling the truth. In a gentle but firm tone she said, “I think the shilling is a bad one.”
“There’s another then,” cried the Attorney’s son; “I have plenty of shillings and sixpences. They are nothing to me.” And he walked away.
The children now all started for their homes, and the old harper begged that Susan would show him the way to the village, if she were going there. The lad took up the harp and little William led the old man by the hand, while John ran on before to gather buttercups in the meadows. When they reached a little brook which they must cross by a narrow plank, Susan was afraid to leave the harper to the care of his little guide, so she herself took his hand and led him safely to the other side.
Soon they reached the road, and Susan told the boy who carried his master’s harp that he could not now lose his way. She then said good-by to the harper, adding that she and her brothers must take the short path across the fields, which would not be so pleasant for him because of the stiles.
“I am afraid Miss Somers will be waiting,” said Susan to to her brothers as they ran along together. “You know she said she would call at six o’clock, and I am sure by the length of our shadows that it is getting late.”
When they came to their own cottage-door, they heard voices, and they saw, when they entered, two ladies standing in the kitchen.
“Come in, Susan,” said Miss Somers, “I fancy you forgot that we promised to pay you a visit this evening; but you need not blush so much, there is no great harm done; we have only been here about five minutes and we have been admiring your neat garden and your tidy shelves. Is it you, Susan, who keeps these things in such nice order?” went on Miss Somers, looking round the kitchen.
Before Susan could reply, little William pushed forward and answered, “Yes, ma’am, it is my sister Susan that keeps everything neat; and she always comes to school for us too, which was what caused her to be so late.”
“Because,” went on John, “she would not refuse to let us hear a blind man play on the harp. It was we who kept her, and we hope, ma’am, as you seem so good, you won’t take it amiss.”