Its time to go to the station, Tom.
Come on, then.
Oh, Im not going; its too wet. Shouldnt have a crimp left if I went out such a day as this; and I want to look nice when Polly comes.
You dont expect me to go and bring home a strange girl alone, do you? And Tom looked as much alarmed as if his sister had proposed to him to escort the wild woman of Australia.
Of course I do. Its your place to go and get her; and if you wasnt a bear, youd like it.
Well, I call that mean! I supposed Id got to go; but you said youd go too. Catch me bothering about your friends another time! No, Sir! And Tom rose from the sofa with an air of indignant resolution, the impressive effect of which was somewhat damaged by a tousled head, and the bunched appearance of his garments generally.
Now, dont be cross; and Ill get mamma to let you have that horrid Ned Miller, that you are so fond of, come and make you a visit after Pollys gone, said Fanny, hoping to soothe his ruffled feelings.
How long is she going to stay? demanded Tom, making his toilet by a promiscuous shake.
A month or two, maybe. Shes ever so nice; and I shall keep her as long as shes happy.
She wont stay long, then, if I can help it, muttered Tom, who regarded girls as a very unnecessary portion of creation. Boys of fourteen are apt to think so, and perhaps it is a wise arrangement; for being fond of turning somersaults, they have an opportunity of indulging in a good one, metaphorically speaking, when, three or four years later, they become the abject slaves of those bothering girls.
Look here! how am I going to know the creature; I never saw her, and she never saw me. Youll have to come too, Fan, he added, pausing on his way to the door, arrested by the awful idea that he might have to address several strange girls before he got the right one.
Youll find her easy enough; shell probably be standing round looking for us. I dare say shell know you, though Im not there, because Ive described you to her.
Guess she wont, then; and Tom gave a hasty smooth to his curly pate and a glance at the mirror, feeling sure that his sister hadnt done him justice. Sisters never do, as we fellows know too well.
Do go along, or youll be too late; and then what will Polly think of me? cried Fanny, with the impatient poke which is peculiarly aggravating to masculine dignity.
Shell think you cared more about your frizzles than your friends, and shell be about right too.
Feeling that he said rather a neat and cutting thing, Tom sauntered leisurely away, perfectly conscious that it was late, but bent on not being hurried while in sight, though he ran himself off his legs to make up for it afterward.
If I was the President, Id make a law to shut up all boys till they were grown; for they certainly are the most provoking toads in the world, said Fanny, as she watched the slouchy figure of her brother strolling down the street. She might have changed her mind, however, if she had followed him, for as soon as he turned the corner, his whole aspect altered: his hands came out of his pockets, he stopped whistling, buttoned his jacket, gave his cap a pull, and went off at a great pace.
The train was just in when he reached the station, panting like a race-horse, and as red as a lobster with the wind and the run.
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