Old Tom shook his head.

“There’s no tellin’,” he declared.

“Yes, there is. I’m tellin’. It’s—John Pendleton!”

“Sho, now! You’re jokin’, girl.”

“Not much I am—an’ me a-lettin’ him in myself—crutches an’ all! An’ the team he come in a-waitin’ this minute at the door for him, jest as if he wa’n’t the cranky old crosspatch he is, what never talks ter no one! jest think, Mr. Tom—him a-callin’ on her!

“Well, why not?” demanded the old man, a little aggressively.

Nancy gave him a scornful glance.

“As if you didn’t know better’n me!” she derided.


“Oh, you needn’t 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, wa’n’t 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 five—an’ no four at all, at all!”

With a gesture of indifference Old Tom turned and fell to work.

“If you’re goin’ ter talk ter me, you’ve got ter talk plain horse sense,” he declared testily. “I never was no hand for figgers.”

Nancy laughed.

“Well, it’s 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 wasn’t. It was that blessed child’s mother he was in love with, and that’s why he wanted—but 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, I’ve been askin’ folks about him some, since, and I’ve found out that him an’ Miss Polly hain’t been friends for years, an’ that she’s 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 little—she 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 man—her!” interjected Nancy.

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