“Well, I guess yours, Jewel,” said her mother; but scarcely were the words spoken when Anna Belle’s prophecy was proved correct by the airy bound with which one of the fleas cleared the barrier while Jewel’s choice still remained transfixed. They all laughed except Anna Belle, who only smiled complacently.
Jewel leaned over her staring protegee. “If I only knew what you were so surprised at, dearie, I’d explain it to you,” she said. Then she gently pushed the creature, and it sped, tardily, over the border.
They pursued this game until the bathing-suit was dry; then Mr. Evringham yawned. “Ah, this bright air makes me sleepy. Haven’t you something you can read to us, Julia?”
“Yes, yes,” cried Jewel, “she brought the story-book.”
“But I didn’t realize it would be so noisy. I could never read aloud against this roaring.”
“Oh, we’ll go back among the dunes. That’s easy,” returned Mr. Evringham.
“You don’t want to hear one of these little tales, father,” said Julia, flushing.
“Why, he just loves them,” replied Jewel earnestly. “I’ve told them all to him, and he’s just as interested.”
Mrs. Evringham did not doubt this, and she and the broker exchanged a look of understanding, but he smiled.
“I’ll be very good if you’ll let me come,” he said. “I forgot the ribbon bows, but perhaps you’d let me qualify by holding Anna Belle. Run and get into your clothes, Jewel, and I’ll find a nice place by that dune over yonder.”
Fifteen minutes afterward the little party were comfortably ensconced in the shade of the sand hill whose sparse grasses grew tall about them.
Jewel began pulling on them. “You’ll never pull those up,” remarked Mr. Evringham. “I believe their roots go down to China. I’ve heard so.”
“Anna Belle and I will dig sometime and see,” replied Jewel, much interested.
“There are only two stories left,” said Mrs. Evringham, who was running over the pages of the book.
“And let grandpa choose, won’t you?” said Jewel.
“Oh, yes,” and the somewhat embarrassed author read the remaining titles.
“I choose Robinson Crusoe, of course,” announced Mr. Evringham. “This is an appropriate place to read that. I dare say by stretching our necks a little we could see his island.”
“Well, this story is a true one,” said Julia. “It happened to the children of some friends of mine, who live about fifty miles from Chicago.” Then she began to read as follows:—
“I guess I shall like Robinson Crusoe, mamma!” exclaimed Johnnie Ford, rushing into his mother’s room after school one day.
“You would be an odd kind of boy if you did not,” replied Mrs. Ford, “and yet you didn’t seem much pleased when your father gave you the book on your birthday.”