“Yes, Ned, I plead guilty,” he smilingly confessed. “I did not feel justified in keeping your family in ignorance of your condition, and Mr. Willard telegraphed me that he would meet us on our arrival.”
“And, Ned, we have everything so nicely fixed for you at home,” his sister here interposed, for she saw he was half dazed by the unexpected meeting. “Bridge—the same old girl—and I have put your room in apple-pie order; your books and pictures just as you used to have them, and”—with a ripple of musical laughter—“you are going to have cream toast with your dinner. It was your favorite dish, you know, and mamma is making it herself. She wouldn’t trust anybody else, for fear there would be lumps in it. But here come the men,” she concluded, cutting herself short, as two muscular fellows came forward to transfer the bamboo litter to a waiting ambulance.
“And I will come around in the morning to take a look at that cast. I think we’ll have it off altogether before long,” observed Dr. Stanley, as he held out his hand to take leave of his patient, who could only wring it in silence. Then he was borne away.
When the Seabrooks and Katherine arrived at Hilton, on the day previous to the opening of the school, they were joyfully welcomed by Jennie, who not only had everything in order for the principal and his family, but had, with loving hands, also made Katherine and Sadie’s room immaculate and gorgeously decorated it with autumn leaves and golden-rod in honor of their return.
Katherine could see that the girl’s recent trying experience had subdued her somewhat; but, otherwise, she was the same original, irrepressible Jennie as ever.
“How I love you!” she cried, when she was left alone with Katherine, while Sadie was out of the room for a few moments, and supplementing her statement with another vigorous hug. “And you look dearer than ever, if that could be possible; and what a fine time you’ve all been having down there by the sea! Dr. Stanley has told me all about it, and”—with a grimace—“I guess you’ve been busy, too, doctoring some of the materia medica out of him—eh?”
“What do you mean?” Katherine inquired, but flushing under the fire of the girl’s mischievous eyes.
“Oh! he doesn’t make any bones of it; he told me all about Dorothy—how sick she was, and what your mother did for her, though he said, of course, it must not be talked here. I suppose he made an exception of me, because he knows how I love the Seabrooks and you, and then I can see for myself how flip he is with the ‘new tongue.’”
“Jennie!” exclaimed Katherine, in a shocked tone. Then she added: “What do you know about the ’new tongue’?”