“Introduce me, please,” said the elegant little city boy.
“Interduce your grandma’s pussy cats,” mocked Jimmy. “Set down, I tell you.”
Frances and Lina made room for him between them and soon gave him their undivided attention, to the intense envy and disgust of the other two little boys.
“I am Lina Hamilton,” said the little girl on his right.
“And I’m Frances Black, and Jimmy ought to be ’shamed to treat you like he does.”
“I knows a turrible skeery tale,” remarked a malicious Billy, looking at Lina and Frances. “If y’ all wa’n’t girls I ’d tell it to you.”
“We aren’t any more scared ’n you, William Hill,” cried Frances, her interest at once aroused; “I already know ’bout `raw meat and bloody bones’ and nothing’s scarier ’n that.”
“And I know `Fe, Fi, Fo, Fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman. Be he alive or be he dead, I’ll ground his bones to make me bread,"’ said Lina.
“This-here tale,” continued Billy, glueing his big eyes to those of the little stranger, “is one Tabernicle learnt fer a speech at school. It’s all ’bout a ’oman what was buriet in a graveyard with a diamant ring on her finger, an’ a robber come in the night—”
The child’s tones were guttural, thrilling, and hair-raising as he glared into the eyes of the effeminate Leon, “an’ a robber come in the night an’ try to cut it off, an’ ha’nts was groanin’ an’ the win’ moan ‘oo-oo’ an—”
Leon could stand it no longer.
“I am going right back,” he cried rising with round, frightened eyes, “I am not going to sit here and listen to you, scaring little girls to death. You are a bad boy to scare Lina and Frances and I am not going to associate with you;” and this champion of the fair sex stalked with dignity across the yard to the gate.
“I’m no more scared ’n nothing,” and indignant Frances hurled at his back. “you’re just scared yourself.”
Jimmy giggled happily. “What’d I tell you all,” he cried, gleefully. “Lina and Frances got to all time set little ’fraid cats ’tween ’em,” he snorted. “It’s just like I tell you, he’s the sissyest boy they is; and he don’t care who kiss him neither; he’ll let any woman kiss him what wants to. Can’t no woman at all ’cepting my mama and Miss Cecilia kiss me. But Leon is ’bout the kissingest kid they is; why, he’d just as soon’s not let Frances and Lina kiss him; he ain’t got no better sense. ’Course I gotta let Miss Cecilia kiss me ’cause she’s ’bout the plumpest Sunday-School teacher they is and the Bible say `If your Sunday-School teacher kiss you on one cheek turn the other cheek and let her kiss you on that, too,’ and I all time bound to do what the Bible say. You ’d better call him back, Frances, and kiss him, you and Lina ’re so stuck on him.”
“I wouldn’t kiss him to save his life,” declared Frances; “he’s got the spindliest legs I ever saw.”