“‘Why, it’s the man who stole Polly’s bread!’ He almost screamed.”
“Come on, Dave!”
It was Joel’s voice, and Polly pricked up her ears. “‘Tisn’t going to hurt you. Hoh! You’re a ‘fraid-cat — old ‘fraid-cat!”
“No, I’m not ‘fraid-cat,” declared little Davie, trying to speak stoutly; “I’m coming, Joel,” and his little rusty shoes pattered unevenly down the rickety board walk.
“Jo-el!” called Polly, thinking it quite time now to interfere.
Joel scuttled behind the old woodshed, and several smothered grunts proclaimed his disapproval at the interruption.
“Now I know you’re up to some mischief,” declared Polly, “so you just come into the house, Joel Pepper, and tell me what it is.”
“‘Tisn’t,” said Joel, loudly insisting. “Don’t go, Dave,”in a loud whisper. Thereupon ensued a lively scuffle, evidently, by the noise they made.
“I must,” said little Davie; “Polly called us.”
“No, she didn’t call you,” declared Joel. “You stay here. She said ‘Joel.’”
“Bo-oys!” sang out Polly’s voice, not to have any doubt in the matter.
“There, she did call me,” cried Davie, wriggling to get free from Joel’s clutch; “she said ‘boys!’”
“She’s always calling us,” said Joel, in an injured voice, dragging himself away from the charms of the woodshed to straggle slowly back to the house.
There sat Polly on the big stone that served as a step for the back door, with her hands folded in her lap. Little Davie skipped by Joel, and ran up to her, with a flushed face.
“Now I should like to know what you’ve been up to, Joey Pepper?” said Polly, her brown eyes full on him.
“Haven’t been up to anything,” mumbled Joel, hanging his chubby face.