“Before you get quite round would you please tell me what a Public Admonition is?”

“What do you want to know for?” demanded Tom, opening his eyes very wide.

“I heard Will talking about Publics and Privates, and I meant to ask him, but I forgot.”

“What did he say?”

“I don’t remember; it was about somebody who cut prayers, and got a Private, and had done all sorts of bad things, and had one or two Publics. I didn’t hear the name and didn’t care, I only wanted to know what the words meant.”

“So Will tells tales, does he?” and Tom’s forehead wrinkled with a frown.

“No, he didn’t; Polly knew about it and asked him.”

“Will’s a ‘dig’,” growled Tom, shutting his eyes again, as if nothing more could be said of the delinquent William.

“I don’t care if he is; I like him very much, and so does Polly.”

“Happy Fresh!” said Tom, with a comical groan.

“You needn’t sniff at him, for he is nice, and treats me with respect,” cried Maud, with an energy that made Tom laugh in her face.

“He’s good to Polly always, and puts on her cloak for her, and says ‘my dear’, and kisses her ‘good- night’, and don’t think it’s silly, and I wish I had a brother just like him, yes, I do!” And Maud showed signs of woe, for her disappointment about going was very great.

“Bless my boots! what’s the chicken ruffling up her little feathers and pecking at me for? Is that the way Polly soothes the best of brothers?” said Tom, still laughing.

“Oh, I forgot! there, I won’t cry; but I do want to go,” and Maud swallowed her tears, and began to stroke again.

Now Tom’s horse and sleigh were in the stable, for he meant to drive out to College that evening, but he didn’t take Maud’s hint. It was less trouble to lie still, and say in a conciliatory tone,—

“Tell me some more about this good boy, it’s very interesting.”

“No, I shan’t, but I’ll tell about Puttel’s playing on the piano,” said Maud, anxious to efface the memory of her momentary weakness. “Polly points to the right keys with a little stick, and Puttel sits on the stool and pats each key as it’s touched, and it makes a tune. It’s so funny to see her, and Nick perches on the rack and sings as if he’d kill himself.”

“Very thrilling,” said Tom, in a sleepy tone.

Maud felt that her conversation was not as interesting as she hoped, and tried again.

“Polly thinks you are handsomer than Mr. Sydney.”

“Much obliged.”

“I asked which she thought had the nicest face, and she said yours was the handsomest, and his the best.”

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.