“Who give you that ring?” he asked sharply.
“A little bird brought it to me,” she said, trying to speak gayly, and blushing again.
“A big, red-headed peckerwood,” said Billy savagely.
“Maurice loves you, too,”—she hoped to conciliate him; “he says you are the brightest kid in town.”
“Kid,” was the scornful echo, “’cause he’s so big and tall, he’s got to call me a kid. Well, he’d jes’ awasting’ hi’self lovin’ me; I don’t like him an’ I ain’t agoin’ to never like him an’ soon’s I puts on long pants he’s goin’ to get ’bout the worses’ lickin’ he ever did see.
“Say, does you kiss him like you does me?” he asked presently, looking up at her with serious, unsmiling face.
She hid her embarrassment in a laugh.
“Don’t be foolish, Billy,” she replied.
“I’ll bet he’s kissed you more ’n fifty hunderd times.”
“There’s Jimmy whistling for you,” said Miss Cecilia. “How do you two boys make that peculiar whistle? I would recognize it anywhere.”
“Is he ever kiss you yet?” asked the child.
“I heard that you and Jimmy whipped Ed Brown because he imitated your own particular whistle. Did you?”
“How many times is he kiss you?” asked Billy.
The young girl put her arm around him and tried to nestle his little body against her own.
“I’m too big, anyway, for your real sweetheart,” she said. “Why, by the time you are large enough to marry I should be an old maid. You must have Frances or Lina for your sweetheart.”
“An’ let you have Maurice!” he sneered.
She stooped to lay her flushed cheek against his own.
“Honey,” she softly said, “Maurice and I are going to be married soon; I love him very much and I want you to love him too.”
He pushed her roughly from him.
“An’ you jes’ ‘ceived me all the time,” he cried, “an’ me a-lovin’ you better ‘n anybody I ever see sence I’s born? An’ you a Sunday-School teacher? I ain’t never a-goin’ to trus’ nobody no mo’. Good-bye, Miss Cecilia.”
She caught his hand and held it fast; “I want you and Jimmy to be my little pages at the wedding, and wear dear little white satin suits all trimmed with gold braid,” she tried to be enthusiastic and arouse his interest; “and Lina and Frances can be little flower-girls and we’ll have such a beautiful wedding.”
“Jimmy an’ Lina an’ Frances can be all the pages an’ flower-girls an’ brides an’ grooms they wants to, but you can’t rope me in,” he scornfully replied. “I’s done with you an’ I ain’t never goin’ to have me no mo’ sweetheart long’s I live.”
Closer than A brother
It was a bad, rainy day. Jimmy and Billy were playing in Sarah Jane’s cabin, she, however, being in happy ignorance of the fact. Her large stays, worn to the preaching the night before, were hanging on the back of a chair. “Ain’t I glad I don’ have to wear no corset when I puts on long pants?” remarked Billy, pointing to the article. “Ain’t that a big one? It’s twice’s big’s Aunt Minerva’s.”