“Extraordinary language that, from a—a child of her years. She seems to have been peculiarly brought up. You heard her reference to—in fact to—the Creator.”
“I did, sir. At the breakfast table, too! I was as shocked as you were, sir. Her mother put a Bible into her trunk, but it’s plain she never taught her any reverence. The Almighty give her a jumping horse indeed! If you’ll excuse me, Mr. Evringham, I think you should have said something right there.”
The broker pulled his mustache. “I’ve listened to more unreasonable views of heaven,” he returned.
“Do you think it was heaven she was talking about!”
Mr. Evringham shrugged his shoulders. “You can’t prove anything by me. She’s the most extraordinary child I ever listened to.”
Mrs. Forbes pursed her lips. “You’d not believe, sir, how differently she behaves when she is alone with me. As mild-mannered and quiet as you’d wish to see anywhere. She scarcely speaks a word.”
Mr. Evringham bit his lip and nodded. It gave him some amusement in the midst of his perplexity to remember the manner in which he had been advised to exorcise this tower of strength altogether.
“It’s my opinion, sir, that children should be made to eat what is set before them,” went on Mrs. Forbes, reverting to her principal grievance.
“It would save you a lot of trouble if I had been trained that way—eh, Mrs. Forbes?” returned the other, with extraordinary lightness.
“You are a very different thing, I should hope!” exclaimed Mrs. Forbes solemnly.
“Yes, about fifty years different. Hard to teach an old dog new tricks, eh? You might have some chops for her luncheon, perhaps, and an extra one for her breakfast. She hasn’t eaten anything this morning.”
For the first time an order from Mr. Evringham evoked no reply from his housekeeper. He felt the weight of her disapproval. “But get the overshoes by all means, as soon as convenient,” he made haste to add. “Ring for Zeke, if you please, Mrs. Forbes. I must be off.”
A SHOPPING EXPEDITION
The housekeeper warned Jewel not to run out of doors that morning as she wished to accompany her to the shoe store.
“I’m not going to take you, Anna Belle,” Jewel said to her doll. “I don’t like to ask the giantess if I may, and of course, it won’t be a very good time anyway, so you be patient and we’ll go out together this afternoon.”
Mrs. Forbes’s long widow’s veil, a decoration she never had discarded hung low over her black gown as she stepped deliberately down the stairs from her barn chamber.
“I am going with the little girl, Zeke, to buy her a pair of rubbers,” she announced to her son.
“Going foot-back? Why don’t you have out the ‘broom’? One granddaughter’s got as good a right to it as the other, hasn’t she?”