TAFFY GIVES A PROMISE.
The postman halted by the foot-bridge and blew his horn. The sound sent the rabbits scampering into their burrows; and just as they began to pop out again, Taffy came charging across the slope. Whereupon they drew back their noses in disgust, and to avoid the sand scattered by his toes.
The postman held up a blue envelope and waved it. “Here, ’tis come, at last!”
“It may not be good news,” said Taffy, clutching it, and then turning it over in his hand.
“Well, that’s true. And till you open it, it won’t be any news at all.”
“I wanted mother to be first to know.”
“Oh, very well—only, as you say, it mightn’t be good news.”
“If it’s bad news, I want to be alone. But why should they trouble to write?”
“True again. I s’pose now you’re sure it is from them?”
“I can tell by the seal.”
“Take it home, then,” said the postman. “Only if you think ’tis for the sake of a twiddling sixteen shilling a week that I traipse all these miles every day—”
Taffy fingered the seal. “If you would really like to know—”
“Don’t ’ee mention it. Not on any account.” He waved his hand magnanimously and trudged off toward Tredinnis.
Taffy waited until he disappeared behind the first sand-hill, and broke the seal. A slip of parchment lay inside the envelope.
“This is to certify—”
He had passed! He pulled off his cap and waved it round his head. And once more the rabbits popped back into their burrows.
Toot—toot—toot!—It was that diabolical postman. He had fetched a circuit round the sand-hill, and was peeping round the north side of it and grinning as he blew his horn.
Taffy set off running, and never stopped until he reached the Parsonage and burst into the kitchen. “Mother—It’s all right! I’ve passed!”
Somebody was knocking at the door. Taffy jumped up from his knees, and Humility made the lap of her apron smooth.
“May I come in?” asked Honoria, and pushed the door open. She stepped into the middle of the kitchen and dropped Taffy an elaborate courtesy.
A thousand congratulations, sir!”
“Why, how did you know?”
“Well, I met the postman; and I looked in through the window before knocking.”
Taffy bit his lip. “People seem to be taking a deal of interest in us all of a sudden,” he said to his mother.
Humility looked distressed, uncomfortable. Honoria ignored the snub. “I am starting for Carwithiel to-day,” she said, “for a week’s visit, and thought I would look in—after hearing what the postman told me— and pay my compliments.”
She talked for a minute or two on matters of no importance, asked after old Mrs. Venning’s health, and left, turning at the door and giving Humility a cheerful little nod.