“Adam was the dearest little chicken, Miss West. He was just a little golden ball. He would run up to me and peck out of my hand. And he was handsome when he grew up, too—white as snow, with such a beautiful curving white tail, though Mary Vance said it was too short. He knew his name and always came when I called him—he was a very intelligent rooster. And Aunt Martha had no right to kill him. He was mine. It wasn’t fair, was it, Miss West?”
“No, it wasn’t,” said Rosemary decidedly. “Not a bit fair. I remember I had a pet hen when I was a little girl. She was such a pretty little thing—all golden brown and speckly. I loved her as much as I ever loved any pet. She was never killed—she died of old age. Mother wouldn’t have her killed because she was my pet.”
“If my mother had been living she wouldn’t have let Adam be killed,” said Faith. “For that matter, father wouldn’t have either, if he’d been home and known of it. I’m sure he wouldn’t, Miss West.”
“I’m sure, too,” said Rosemary. There was a little added flush on her face. She looked rather conscious but Faith noticed nothing.
“Was it very wicked of me not to tell Mr. Perry his coat-tails were scorching?” she asked anxiously.
“Oh, terribly wicked,” answered Rosemary, with dancing eyes. “But I would have been just as naughty, Faith—I wouldn’t have told him they were scorching—and I don’t believe I would ever have been a bit sorry for my wickedness, either.”
“Una thought I should have told him because he was a minister.”
“Dearest, if a minister doesn’t behave as a gentleman we are not bound to respect his coat-tails. I know I would just have loved to see Jimmy Perry’s coat-tails burning up. It must have been fun.”
Both laughed; but Faith ended with a bitter little sigh.
“Well, anyway, Adam is dead and I am never going to love anything again.”
“Don’t say that, dear. We miss so much out of life if we don’t love. The more we love the richer life is—even if it is only some little furry or feathery pet. Would you like a canary, Faith—a little golden bit of a canary? If you would I’ll give you one. We have two up home.”
“Oh, I would like that,” cried Faith. “I love birds. Only—would Aunt Martha’s cat eat it? It’s so tragic to have your pets eaten. I don’t think I could endure it a second time.”
“If you hang the cage far enough from the wall I don’t think the cat could harm it. I’ll tell you just how to take care of it and I’ll bring it to Ingleside for you the next time I come down.”
To herself, Rosemary was thinking,
“It will give every gossip in the Glen something to talk of, but I will not care. I want to comfort this poor little heart.”
Faith was comforted. Sympathy and understanding were very sweet. She and Miss Rosemary sat on the old pine until the twilight crept softly down over the white valley and the evening star shone over the gray maple grove. Faith told Rosemary all her small history and hopes, her likes and dislikes, the ins and outs of life at the manse, the ups and downs of school society. Finally they parted firm friends.