But Panto’s rambling talk was suddenly interrupted by a glad cry from the shrubbery. Then there came a rush of skirts, and the boys saw three girls running toward them.
“Here they are, dad!” called Nellie. “Here are the boys and Professor Snodgrass! Oh, we’re so glad you came! Welcome to ‘The Next Day’! That’s what we’ve christened our bungalow, in honor of this lazy country. Come on in,” and she ran up to Jerry, holding out her hands.
After horned toads
Olivia and Rose, as had Nellie, warmly welcomed the boys and Professor Snodgrass, and, Mr. Seabury coming up a moment later, from his usual stroll about the garden, added his greetings.
“We’re very glad to see you,” said the gentleman. “Come right in and make yourselves comfortable. We have more room than we had on the houseboat Wanderer. I’ll have your baggage— where is that black rascal, Ponto?— Ponto!”
“Yais, sah, I’se coming,” called a voice, and Ponto who had gone back to the gate appeared, rubbing his eyes.
“Ponto, take these— why, you— you’ve been asleep again, I do believe— Ponto—”
“I— I done gone an’ jest dozed off fo’ a minute, Massa Seabury,” said Ponto. “I ‘clar’ t’ goodness, dis am de most sleepiest climate I eber see. Peers laik I cain’t do nuffin, but shet mah eyes an’—”
“Well if you don’t do something mighty quick with this baggage I’ll find some way of keeping you awake,” spoke Mr. Seabury, but he was laughing in spite of himself.
“Yais, sah, I’se goin’ t’ take keer of it immejeet, sah,” and the colored man went off in search of a wheelbarrow, on which to bring the trunks and valises up to the house from where they had been put off the stage.
“I never saw such a chap,” said Mr. Seabury. “Before we came down here he was as spry as I could wish, but now he does just as the Mexicans do. He sleeps every chance he gets. But come on in. I know you must be tired and hungry.”
“Bob is,” said Jerry. “I heard him say a while ago—”
“No, you didn’t hear me say anything,” exclaimed Bob quickly, fearful lest he might be put to shame before the girls. “I’m not a bit hungry.”
“Fibber!” whispered Ned, though not so low but what they all heard, and the girls burst into laughter.
“Never mind,” spoke Olivia. “Come on, Bob. I’ll take care of you. The cook and I are great friends,” and the girl and Bob walked on ahead.
“I suppose you came out here to study some new kind of plant or flowers, didn’t you?” asked Mr. Seabury, of the professor.
“Not exactly,” replied the scientist, “though I shall examine them with much interest. What I came down for was to secure some specimens of horned toads for the museum. I—”
“Horned toads!” exclaimed Nellie, who was walking with Jerry, while Rose had volunteered to show Ned the beauties of the Mexican garden. “Horned toads! Ugh! The horrible things. I hope you don’t bring them around where I am, Professor. Horned toads! Why don’t you search after something beautiful, like the wonderful butterfly you found in Florida?”