Old Tom shook his head.
Theres no tellin, he declared.
Yes, there is. Im tellin. ItsJohn Pendleton!
Sho, now! Youre jokin, girl.
Not much I aman me a-lettin him in myselfcrutches an all! An the team he come in a-waitin this minute at the door for him, jest as if he want the cranky old crosspatch he is, what never talks ter no one! jest think, Mr. Tomhim a-callin on her!
Well, why not? demanded the old man, a little aggressively.
Nancy gave him a scornful glance.
As if you didnt know bettern me! she derided.
Oh, you neednt be so innercent, she retorted with mock indignation; you what led me wildgoose chasin in the first place!
What do ye mean?
Nancy glanced through the open barn door toward the house, and came a step nearer to the old man.
Listen! Twas you that was tellin me Miss Polly had a lover in the first place, want it? Well, one day I thinks I finds two and two, and I puts em tergether an makes four. But it turns out ter be fivean no four at all, at all!
With a gesture of indifference Old Tom turned and fell to work.
If youre goin ter talk ter me, youve got ter talk plain horse sense, he declared testily. I never was no hand for figgers.
Well, its this, she explained. I heard somethin that made me think him an Miss Polly was lovers.
Mr. Pendleton! Old Tom straightened up.
Yes. Oh, I know now; he wasnt. It was that blessed childs mother he was in love with, and thats why he wantedbut never mind that part, she added hastily, remembering just in time her promise to Pollyanna not to tell that Mr. Pendleton had wished her to come and live with him. Well, Ive been askin folks about him some, since, and Ive found out that him an Miss Polly haint been friends for years, an that shes been hatin him like pizen owin ter the silly gossip that coupled their names tergether when she was eighteen or twenty.
Yes, I remember, nodded Old Tom. It was three or four years after Miss Jennie give him the mitten and went off with the other chap. Miss Polly knew about it, of course, and was sorry for him. So she tried ter be nice to him. Maybe she overdid it a littleshe hated that minister chap so who had took off her sister. At any rate, somebody begun ter make trouble. They said she was runnin after him.
Runnin after any manher! interjected Nancy.
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