But mebbe he'll let the hands keep her, to kinder chipper up the camp when things gits dull. I reckon when the boys sees her sweet face they'll all be wantin' to be guardeens to her." McWha again spat accurately into the crack of the grate. "I ain't got no fancy for young 'uns in camp, but ye kin do ez ye like, Walley Johnson," he answered grudgingly.
Then she said somethin' to one o' the guardeens who spoke a little Portuguese, Father understandin' it a little too, and he told Father she said these was the drops of her blood he had saved, an' he must keep it to remember her. Jest like drops of blood, he said the rubies was, strung along on a gold chain.
Wal, Father found out somehow whar she come from, Javy, or Mochy, or some o' them places out o' the spice-box, an' he took her home, an' hunted up her parents an' guardeens, an' handed her over safe an' sound. They the guardeens was gret people whar they lived, an' they wanted to give Father a pot o' money; but he said he warn't that kind. 'I'm a Yankee skipper! says he.
"And so that was easy enough, too; as soon arter they was married, Mr. Herman Brudenell, you know, he was a-coming of age, and so he had to be home to do business long of his guardeens, and take possession of his 'states and so on; and so he come, and kept his birthday last April! And " "Hannah! Hannah! what does this all mean? It cannot be true! I know it is not true!
So he took it, an' said he warn't likely to forget about it; an' then he made his bow, an' the guardeens said he was their father, an' their mother, an' their great-aunt, an' I d' 'no' what all, an' made him stay to supper, an' he didn't eat nothin' for a week arterward." The farmer paused, and Hildegarde drew a long breath, "Oh!" she cried, "what a delightful story, Farmer Hartley!
An' as for the lady, 'twas a pleasure to obleege her, he says; 'an' I'd do it agin any day in the week, 'xcept Sunday, when I don't fight, ez a rewl, when I kin help it. Then the princess, she tried to kiss his hand; but Father said he guessed that warn't quite proper, an' the guardeens seemed to think so too.
It held Allan now; merely the sound of it, seemingly. "Go on talking," he murmured. Phyllis smiled and obeyed. "Sometimes the Higher Culture doesn't work," she said. "Yesterday one of my imps got hold of a volume of Shaw, and in half an hour his aunt marched in on me and threatened I don't know what to a library that 'taught chilren to disrespect their lawful guardeens."
"Who are you, I should like to know?" the old man cried in an angry twitter. "Why in why do you come meddling here, and carrying off boys from their lawful guardeens, and talking folderol, and raising Ned generally? I've seen skippers before, but I never heered of no such actions as these, never in my days!
But ez we're his guardeens, I propose that we go down thar and see the lady, and find out ef her intentions is honorable. If she means marry, and the old man persists, why, I reckon we kin give the young couple a send-off thet won't disgrace this yer camp! Hey, boys?"
He run away from his lawful guardeens and protectors. I'll show him!" and he snapped the whiplash savagely again. "He sha'n't show him in that way if I can help it," thought Agnes. But all she said aloud was: "There is no boy living here." "Heh? how's that, Miss?" said Sorber, suspiciously. Agnes repeated her statement. "But you know where he does hang out?" said Sorber, slily, "I'll be bound!"
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