“So shall I,” Shirley had laughed back. She wondered now, if Pauline or Hilary would enjoy a studio winter, as much as she was reveling in her Winton summer? She decided that probably they would.
Cherry time was merry time that afternoon. Of course. Bob fell out of one of the trees, but Bob was so used to tumbling, and the others were so used to having him tumble, that no one paid much attention to it; and equally, of course, Patience tore her dress and had to be taken in hand by Mrs. Boyd.
“Every rose must have its thorns, you know, kid,” Tracy told her, as she was borne away for this enforced retirement. “We’ll leave a few cherries, ’gainst you get back.”
Patience elevated her small freckled nose, she was an adept at it. “I reckon they will be mighty few—if you have anything to do with it.”
“You’re having a fine time, aren’t you, Senior?” Shirley asked, as Mr. Dayre came scrambling down from his tree; he had been routed from his sketching and pressed into service by his indefatigable daughter.
“Scrumptious! Shirley, you’ve got a fine color—only it’s laid on in spots.”
“You’re spattery, too,” she retorted. “I must go help lay out the supper now.”
“Will anyone want supper, after so many cherries?” Mr. Dayre asked.
“Will they?” Pauline laughed. “Well, you just wait and see.”
Some of the boys brought the table from the house, stretching it out to its uttermost length. The girls laid the cloth, Mrs. Boyd provided, and unpacked the boxes stacked on the porch. From the kitchen came an appetizing odor of hot coffee. Hilary and Bell went off after flowers for the center of the table.
“We’ll put one at each place, suggestive of the person—like a place card,” Hilary proposed.
“Here’s a daisy for Mrs. Boyd,” Bell laughed.
“Let’s give that to Mr. Boyd and cut her one of these old-fashioned spice pinks,” Hilary said.
“Better put a bit of pepper-grass for the Imp,” Tracy suggested, as the girls went from place to place up and down the long table.
“Paul’s to have a pansy,” Hilary insisted. She remembered how, if it hadn’t been for Pauline’s “thought” that wet May afternoon, everything would still be as dull and dreary as it was then.
At her own place she found a spray of belated wild roses, Tom had laid there, the pink of their petals not more delicate than the soft color coming and going in the girl’s face.
“We’ve brought for-get-me-not for you, Shirley,” Bell said, “so that you won’t forget us when you get back to the city.”
“As if I were likely to!” Shirley exclaimed.
“Sound the call to supper, sonny!” Tom told Bob, and Bob, raising the farm dinner-horn, sounded it with a will, making the girls cover their ears with their hands and bringing the boys up with a rush.
“It’s a beautiful picnic, isn’t it?” Patience said, reappearing in time to slip into place with the rest.