In Pendleton Woods
Pollyanna had not turned her steps toward home, when she left the chapel. She had turned them, instead, toward Pendleton Hill. It had been a hard day, for all it had been a vacation one (as she termed the infrequent days when there was no sewing or cooking lesson), and Pollyanna was sure that nothing would do her quite so much good as a walk through the green quiet of Pendleton Woods. Up Pendleton Hill, therefore, she climbed steadily, in spite of the warm sun on her back.
I dont have to get home till half-past five, anyway, she was telling herself; and itll be so much nicer to go around by the way of the woods, even if I do have to climb to get there.
It was very beautiful in the Pendleton Woods, as Pollyanna knew by experience. But today it seemed even more delightful than ever, notwithstanding her disappointment over what she must tell Jimmy Bean tomorrow.
I wish they were up hereall those ladies who talked so loud, sighed Pollyanna to herself, raising her eyes to the patches of vivid blue between the sunlit green of the tree-tops. Anyhow, if they were up here, I just reckon theyd change and take Jimmy Bean for their little boy, all right, she finished, secure in her conviction, but unable to give a reason for it, even to herself.
Suddenly Pollyanna lifted her head and listened. A dog had barked some distance ahead. A moment later he came dashing toward her, still barking.
Hullo, doggiehullo! Pollyanna snapped her fingers at the dog and looked expectantly down the path. She had seen the dog once before, she was sure. He had been then with the Man, Mr. John Pendleton. She was looking now, hoping to see him. For some minutes she watched eagerly, but he did not appear. Then she turned her attention toward the dog.
The dog, as even Pollyanna could see, was acting strangely. He was still barkinggiving little short, sharp yelps, as if of alarm. He was running back and forth, too, in the path ahead. Soon they reached a side path, and down this the little dog fairly flew, only to come back at once, whining and barking.
Ho! That isnt the way home, laughed Pollyanna, still keeping to the main path.
The little dog seemed frantic now. Back and forth, back and forth, between Pollyanna and the side path he vibrated, barking and whining pitifully. Every quiver of his little brown body, and every glance from his beseeching brown eyes were eloquent with appealso eloquent that at last Pollyanna understood, turned, and followed him.
Straight ahead, now, the little dog dashed madly; and it was not long before Pollyanna came upon the reason for it all: a man lying motionless at the foot of a steep, overhanging mass of rock a few yards from the side path.
A twig cracked sharply under Pollyannas foot, and the man turned his head. With a cry of dismay Pollyanna ran to his side.
Mr. Pendleton! Oh, are you hurt?
Hurt? Oh, no! Im just taking a siesta in the sunshine, snapped the man irritably. See here, how much do you know? What can you do? Have you got any sense?
Pollyanna caught her breath with a little gasp, butas was her habitshe answered the questions literally, one by one.
Why, Mr. Pendleton, II dont know so very much, and I cant do a great many things; but most of the Ladies Aiders, except Mrs. Rawson, said I had real good sense. I heard em say so one daythey didnt know I heard, though.
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