“Yes, and runs it, too,” Aunt Betsy answered, energetically, proceeding to tell what goin’s-on they had, with the minister shiftin’ his clothes every now and ag’in, and the folks all talkin’ together. “Morris got me in once,” she said, “and I thought meetin’ was left out half a dozen times, so much histin’ round as there was. I’d as soon go to a show, if it was a good one, and I told Morris so. He laughed and said I’d feel different when I knew ’em better; but needn’t tell me that prayers made up is as good as them as isn’t, though Morris, I do believe, will get to heaven a long ways ahead of me, if he is a ’Piscopal.”
To this there was no response, and being launched on her favorite topic, Aunt Betsy continued:
“If you’ll believe it, Helen here is one of ’em, and has got a sight of ’Piscopal quirks into her head. Why, she and Morris sing that talkin’-like singin’ Sundays when the folks git up and Helen plays the accordeon.”
“Melodeon, aunty, melodeon,” and Helen laughed merrily at her aunt’s mistake, turning the conversation again, and this time to Canandaigua, where she had some acquaintances.
But Katy was so much afraid of Canandaigua, and what talking of it might lead to, that she kept to Cousin Morris, asking innumerable questions about him, his house and grounds, and whether there were as many flowers there now as there used to be in the days when she and Helen went to say their lessons at Linwood, as they had done before Morris sailed for Europe.
“I think it right mean in him not to be here to see me,” she said, poutingly, “and I am going over as quick as I eat my dinner.”
But against this all exclaimed at once. She was too tired, the mother said. She must lie down and rest, while Helen suggested that she had not yet told them about her trip, and Uncle Ephraim remarked that she would not find Morris home, as he was going that afternoon to Spencer. This last settled it. Katy must stay at home; but instead of lying down or talking much about her journey, she explored every nook and crevice of the old house and barn, finding the nest Aunt Betsy had so long looked for in vain, and proving to the anxious dame that she was right when she insisted that the speckled hen had stolen her nest and was in the act of setting. Later in the day, and a neighbor passing by spied the little maiden riding in the cart off into the meadow, where she sported like a child among the mounds of fragrant hay, playing her jokes upon the sober deacon, who smiled fondly upon her, feeling how much lighter the labor seemed because she was there with him, a hindrance instead of a help, in spite of her efforts to handle the rake skillfully.
“Are you glad to have me home again, Uncle Eph?” she asked, when once she caught him regarding her with a peculiar look.
“Yes, Katy-did, very glad,” he answered. “I’ve missed you every day, though you do nothing much but bother me.”