Just as I’d about give up hope, I heard somebody calling from the beach behind us. I turned, and there was Becky Huckleberries, Lonesome’s daughter. She had the dead decoys by the legs in one hand.
“Hi!” says she.
“Hi!” says I. “How do you get this giraffe of yours under way?”
She held up the decoys.
“Who kill-a dem ducks?” says she.
I p’inted to the reverend. “He did,” says I. And then I cal’late I must have had one of them things they call an inspiration. “And he’s willing to pay for ’em,” I says.
“Pay thirty-five dolla?” says she.
“You bet!” says I.
But I’d forgot Clarissa. She rose up in that waterlogged cart like a Statue of Liberty. “Never!” says she. “We will never submit to such extortion. We’ll drown first!”
Becky heard her. She didn’t look disapp’inted nor nothing. Just turned and begun to walk up the beach. “All right,” says she; “Goo’-by.”
The Todds stood it for a jiffy. Then James give in. “I’ll pay it!” he hollers. “I’ll pay it!”
Even then Becky didn’t smile. She just come about again and walked back to the shore. Then she took up that tin pan and one of the potaters we’d jounced out of the cart.
“Hi, Rosa!” she hollers. That mare turned her head and looked. And, for the first time sence she hove anchor on that flat, the critter unfurled her ears and histed ’em to the masthead.
“Hi, Rosa!” says Becky again, and begun to pound the pan with the potater. And I give you my word that that mare started up, turned the wagon around nice as could be, and begun to swim ashore. When we got where the critter’s legs touched bottom, Becky remarks: “Whoa!”
“Here!” I yells, “what did you do that for?”
“Pay thirty-five dolla now,” says she. She was bus’ness, that girl.
Todd got his wallet from under hatches and counted out the thirty-five, keeping one eye on Lonesome, who was swooping up and down in the launch looking as if he wanted to cut in, but dasn’t. I tied the bills to my jack-knife, to give ’em weight, and tossed the whole thing ashore. Becky, she counted the cash and stowed it away in her apron pocket.
“All right,” says she. “Hi, Rosa!” The potater and pan performance begun again, and Rosa picked up her hoofs and dragged us to dry land. And it sartinly felt good to the feet.
“Say,” I says, “Becky, it’s none of my affairs, as I know of, but is that the way you usually start that horse of yours?”
She said it was. And Rosa ate the potater.
Becky asked me how to stop the launch, and I told her. She made a lot of finger signs to Lonesome, and inside of five minutes the Greased Lightning was anchored in front of us. Old man Huckleberries was still hankering to interview Todd with the pitchfork, but Becky settled that all right. She jumped in front of him, and her eyes snapped and her feet stamped and her fingers flew. And ’twould have done you good to see her dad shrivel up and get humble. I always had thought that a woman wasn’t much good as a boss of the roost unless she could use her tongue, but Becky showed me my mistake. Well, it’s live and l’arn.