“Yes, Miss Peggy, that’s why Dad couldn’t come sooner. He had to take care of me. He has fretted terribly over it too, because—”
“Now, now! Tut, tut, honey. Never mind, Miss Peggy don’t want to hear nothin’ ’bout—”
“Yes she does, too, and Nelly will tell us, She is coming right up to the house with us—this is my friend Miss Polly Howland, Nelly—Nelly Bolivar, Polly—and while you go find Shelby, Mr. Bolivar, and tell him I say to take—oh, here you are, Shelby. This is Mr. Bolivar. Please take him up to your cottage and take good care of him, and give Pepper the very best feed he ever had. Then turn him out in the pasture with Salt. “We will be back again in an hour to talk horse just as fast as we can, and don’t forget what I told you about Pepper’s points.”
“I won’t, Miss Peggy, but I ain’t got to open more’n half an eye no how.”
Peggy laughed, then slipping her arm through Nelly’s, said:
“Come up to the house with us. Mammy will know what you need to make you feel stronger, and you are going to be Polly’s and my girl this afternoon.”
Quick to understand, Polly slipped to Nelly’s other side, and the two strong, robust girls, upon whom fortune and Nature had smiled so kindly, led their less fortunate little sister to the great house.
THE SPICE OF PEPPER AND SALT
About an hour later the girls were back at the paddock, Nelly’s face alight with joy, for it had not taken good old Mammy long to see that the chief cause of Nelly’s lack of strength was lack of proper nourishment, and her skilled old hands were soon busy with sherry and raw eggs as a preliminary, to be followed by one of Aunt Cynthia’s dainty little luncheons; a luncheon composed of what Mammy hinted “mus’ be somethin’ wha’ gwine fer ter stick ter dat po’ chile’s ribs, ’case she jist nachelly half-starved.”
Consequently, the half-hour spent in partaking of it did more to put new life in little Nelly Bolivar than many days had done before, and there was physical strength and mental spirit also to sustain her.
The old carryall still stood near the training track and saying:
“Now you sit in there and rest while Polly and I do stunts for your amusement,” Peggy helped Nelly into the seat.
“I feel just like a real company lady,” said Nelly happily, as she settled herself to watch the girls whom she admired with all the ardor of her starved little soul.
“You are a real company lady,” answered Peggy and Polly, “and we are going to entertain you with a sure-enough circus. All you’ve got to do is to applaud vigorously no matter how poor the show. Come on, Polly,” and springing upon their horses, which had mean-time been patiently waiting in the care of Bud, off they raced around the track, Nelly watching with fascinated gaze.