Gypsy's Cousin Joy

Language: English
Published: 1 week ago
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The second arithmetic class had just come out to recite, when somebody knocked at the door. Miss Cardrew sent Delia Guest to open it.

"It's a—ha, ha! letter—he, he! for you," said Delia, coming up to the desk. Exactly wherein lay the joke, in the fact that Miss Cardrew should have a letter, nobody but Delia was capable of seeing; but Delia was given to seeing jokes on all occasions, under all circumstances. Go wherever you might, from a prayer-meeting to the playground, you were sure to hear her little giggle.

"A letter for you," repeated Delia Guest. "He, he!"

Miss Cardrew laid down her arithmetic, opened the letter, and read it. "Gypsy Breynton."

The arithmetic class stopped whispering, and there was a great lull in the schoolroom.

"Why I never!" giggled Delia. Gypsy, all in a flutter at having her name read right out in school, and divided between her horror lest the kitten she had tied to a spool of thread at recess, had been discovered, and an awful suspicion that Mr. Jonathan Jones saw her run across his plowed field after chestnuts, went slowly up to the desk.

"Your mother has sent for you to come directly home," said Miss Cardrew, in a low tone. Gypsy looked a little frightened.

"Go home! Is anybody sick, Miss Cardrew?"

"She doesn't say—she gives no reasons. You'd better not stop to talk, Gypsy."

Gypsy went to her desk, and began to gather up her books as fast as she could.

"I shouldn't wonder a bit if the house'd caught afire," whispered Agnes Gaylord. "I had an uncle once, and his house caught afire—in the chimney too, and everybody'd gone to a prayer-meeting; they had now, true's you live."

"Maybe your father's dead," condoled Sarah Rowe.

"Or Winnie."

"Or Tom."

"Just think of it!"

"What do you s'pose it is?"

"If I were you, I guess I'd be frightened!"

"Order!" said Miss Cardrew, in a loud voice.

The girls stopped whispering, and Gypsy, in nowise reassured by their sympathy, hurried out to put on her things. With her hat thrown on one side of her head, the strings hanging down into her eyes, her sack rolled up in a bundle under her arm, and her rubbers in her pocket, she started for home on the full run. Yorkbury was pretty well used to Gypsy, but everybody stopped and stared at her that morning; what with her burning cheeks, and those rubbers sticking out of her pocket, and the hat-strings flying, and the brambles catching her dress, and the mud splashing up under her swift feet, it was no wonder.

"Miss Gypsy!" called old Mr. Simms, the clerk, as she flew by the door of her father's book-store. "Miss Gypsy, my dear!"

But on ran Gypsy without so much as giving him a look, across the road in front of a carriage, around a load of hay, and away like a bird down the street. Out ran Gypsy's pet aversion, Mrs. Surly, from a shop-door somewhere—

"Gypsy Breynton, what a sight you be! I believe you've gone clear crazy—Gypsy!"

"Can't stop!" shouted Gypsy, "it's a fire or something somewhere."

Eight small boys at the word "fire" appeared on the instant from nobody knew where, and ran after her with hoarse yells of "fire!...