“Dear girlie, I’m sorry to have to tell you that Mrs. Blythe isn’t home,” said Miss West, sympathetically. “She went to Avonlea to-day and isn’t coming back till the last of the week.”
Faith’s lip quivered.
“Then I might as well go home again,” she said miserably.
“I suppose so—unless you think you could bring yourself to talk it over with me instead,” said Miss Rosemary gently. “It is such a help to talk things over. I know. I don’t suppose I can be as good at understanding as Mrs. Blythe—but I promise you that I won’t laugh.”
“You wouldn’t laugh outside,” hesitated Faith. “But you might—inside.”
“No, I wouldn’t laugh inside, either. Why should I? Something has hurt you—it never amuses me to see anybody hurt, no matter what hurts them. If you feel that you’d like to tell me what has hurt you I’ll be glad to listen. But if you think you’d rather not—that’s all right, too, dear.”
Faith took another long, earnest look into Miss West’s eyes. They were very serious—there was no laughter in them, not even far, far back. With a little sigh she sat down on the old pine beside her new friend and told her all about Adam and his cruel fate.
Rosemary did not laugh or feel like laughing. She understood and sympathized—really, she was almost as good as Mrs. Blythe—yes, quite as good.
“Mr. Perry is a minister, but he should have been a butcher,” said Faith bitterly. “He is so fond of carving things up. He enjoyed cutting poor Adam to pieces. He just sliced into him as if he were any common rooster.”
“Between you and me, Faith, I don’t like Mr. Perry very well myself,” said Rosemary, laughing a little—but at Mr. Perry, not at Adam, as Faith clearly understood. “I never did like him. I went to school with him—he was a Glen boy, you know—and he was a most detestable little prig even then. Oh, how we girls used to hate holding his fat, clammy hands in the ring-around games. But we must remember, dear, that he didn’t know that Adam had been a pet of yours. He thought he was just a common rooster. We must be just, even when we are terribly hurt.”
“I suppose so,” admitted Faith. “But why does everybody seem to think it funny that I should have loved Adam so much, Miss West? If it had been a horrid old cat nobody would have thought it queer. When Lottie Warren’s kitten had its legs cut off by the binder everybody was sorry for her. She cried two days in school and nobody laughed at her, not even Dan Reese. And all her chums went to the kitten’s funeral and helped her bury it—only they couldn’t bury its poor little paws with it, because they couldn’t find them. It was a horrid thing to have happen, of course, but I don’t think it was as dreadful as seeing your pet eaten up. Yet everybody laughs at me.”
“I think it is because the name ‘rooster’ seems rather a funny one,” said Rosemary gravely. “There is something in it that is comical. Now, ‘chicken’ is different. It doesn’t sound so funny to talk of loving a chicken.”