Though Beth was very much frightened, she was in no way harmed by her watery experience, and rushed straight to her mother’s open arms, both unmindful of the wetting Mrs. Davenport received.
Don pricked up his ears, and wagged his tail from side to side. He could not understand why they did not notice him immediately as they had done before when he rescued Beth. Really, it was enough to ruffle the patience of any dog. He barked to attract attention. Thereupon, Mrs. Davenport turned to him, and patted him while tears trickled down her cheeks.
“Yes, Don, we know what a very noble fellow you are, and love you with all our hearts. We’ll never forget what you’ve done.”
Beth said nothing, but patted Don who expressed his appreciation as best he could by licking Beth’s hands and face. If he could have talked, he would have said:
“Little mistress, I’m so glad I could show my love for you. I do dearly love you all, and am thankful that I saved you. Life with you is better than it was at sea. I will always be faithful to you.”
This narrow escape of Beth’s made Mrs. Davenport wish to return home. She said she would not stay with the children where the water was treacherous. The following day, therefore, they all returned to Jacksonville.
The Little Dressmaker
It must not be imagined that Beth always romped. Although she was a tomboy, she was a very industrious little girl. She did not go to school the first year she was in Florida, and on rainy days she learned how to sew.
Mr. Davenport started a bank in Jacksonville, and soon after was elected president of the State’s fair. He was a liberal-minded citizen, and therefore accepted the position, wishing to advance the standard of Florida exhibits.
Beth became interested in the undertaking. She asked to enter the lists herself and compete for prizes.
Mr. Davenport thought it an excellent idea that children should be encouraged to exhibit, and therefore offered prizes for juvenile displays.
Beth decided to make a dress all by herself. Her mother suggested that she was rather young for such a big undertaking, and that, perhaps, she had better first dress a doll, but Beth would not listen to such a thing.
Mrs. Davenport, therefore, bought the material and a pattern, and gave them to Beth. She offered to cut out the dress, but Beth thought that this would not be honorable nor fair. She must do it all by herself. Mrs. Davenport admired the spirit, and encouraged it in her, although she feared she might make a failure.
Beth, however, had one great quality of success,—perseverance. She would never give up anything in which she was interested, until she had succeeded. For the next three days, she could not be enticed from her work.
“Beth, please, come with me,” begged Harvey, who came quite regularly to persuade her from her undertaking. But she was deaf to all persuasion. Julia had no better success, and it ended by Beth infecting Julia with the sewing fever. Julia brought material for a dress over to the Davenports’ and went to work on it. She sewed faithfully for an hour or two, and then jumped up in disgust.