“Well, it happened,” she said. “He turned me out instanter, with no remarks about when I might return, if ever, while Mother cordially seconded the motion. It’s a good thing, Adam, that you offered to take care of me, because I see clearly that you are going to have it to do.”
“Of course I will,” said Adam promptly. “And of course I can. Do you want to go to Hartley for anything? Because if you don’t, we can cut across from the next road and get to Walden in about fifteen miles, while it’s seventeen by Hartley; but if you want to go we can, for I needn’t hurry. I’ve got a box of lunch and a feed for my horse in the back of the buggy. Mother said I was to stay with you until I saw you settled in your room, if you had to go; and if you do, she is angry with Grandpa, and she is going to give him a portion of her mentality the very first time she comes in contact with him. She said so.”
“Yes, I can almost hear her,” said Kate, struggling to choke down a rising laugh. “She will never know how I appreciate what she has done for me, but I think talking to Father will not do any good. Home hasn’t been so overly pleasant. It’s been a small, dark, cramped house, dingy and hot, when it might have been big, airy, and comfortable, well furnished and pretty as Father’s means would allow, and as all the neighbours always criticize him for not having it; it’s meant hard work and plenty of it ever since I was set to scouring the tinware with rushes at the mature age of four, but it’s been home, all the home I have had, and it hurts more than I can tell you to be ordered out of it as I was, but if I do well and make a big success, maybe he will let me come back for Christmas, or next summer’s vacation.”
“If he won’t, Ma said you could come to our house,” said Adam.
“That’s kind of her, but I couldn’t do it,” said Kate.
“She said you could,” persisted the boy.
“But if I did it, and Father got as mad as he was last night and tore up your father’s deed, then where would I be?” asked Kate.
“You’d be a sixteenth of two hundred acres better off than you are now,” said Adam.
“Possibly,” laughed Kate, “but I wouldn’t want to become a land shark that way. Look down the road.”
“Who is it?” asked Adam.
“Nancy Ellen, with my telescope,” answered Kate. “I am to go, all right.”
“All right, then we will go,” said the boy, angrily. “But it is a blame shame and there is no sense to it, as good a girl as you have been, and the way you have worked. Mother said at breakfast there was neither sense nor justice in the way Grandpa always has acted and she said she would wager all she was worth that he would live to regret it. She said it wasn’t natural, and when people undertook to controvert — ain’t that a peach? Bet there isn’t a woman in ten miles using that word except Ma — nature they always hurt themselves worse than they hurt their victims. And I bet he does, too, and I, for one, don’t care. I hope he does get a good jolt, just to pay him up for being so mean.”