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Duck Lake
Chapter XIII. Jennie and Chubb

JENNIE, for once in her life, was in the midst of quietness, plenty, and kindness; but her little heart beat for her brother, and for fear lest her father would carry out his threat to shoot the teacher. She quickly saw that her good friend, Mrs. Miller, refused to believe her, and so she determined to leave this home as she had left her own. But Jennie, however, did not reckon with her hostess. A dog and Mrs. Miller were too many for her, and she was caught in the act of running away.

Mrs. Miller quickly put Jennie back into her bed, and warned her not to leave it until she gave her permission. As a precaution, the good woman carried most of Jennie’s garments away with her.

The next day the teacher came home, and was soon told of the little one’s presence. Hastening to Jennie’s side, he was greeted with exclamations of delight. Jennie soon found him quite sympathetic with her view of things, and she eagerly poured out her little heart to him.

The following morning the teacher asked Mrs. Miller for Jennie’s clothes, and for things to complete an outfit.

‘You’re not going to take her back to those cruel people, Mr. Green? Just think, the dearie’s back is full of black welts. They’re brutes over there, to beat a child so.’

‘It is not my intention,’ said the teacher, quietly, thoroughly sympathizing with the good woman’s indignation, ‘to take her home just yet.’

‘Then I’ll get her clothes, and—and’ a choke came into the good woman’s voice. ‘Yes. I’ll get her my little Mary’s shoes and stockings. You don’t remember the precious dear I lost nigh on ten year ago. She was just like this dearie in size. The boots and stockings will do no good in my box—’cept to take out and think about and cry on. They’d better be a-warmin’ poor Jennie’s feet, and they will, too.’

With this determination, Mrs. Miller went to her room, and got out the little things that once belonged to her baby-girl. She had a good cry over them, and then, bravely brushing away her tears, she brought them along with Jennie’s clothes. Soon Jennie was clothed, and her little feet made comfortable in Mary’s shoes and long warm stockings.

When Jennie was brought down, Mr. Green asked Mrs. Miller for a lunch, and then with the little girl he set out into the woods. Mrs. Miller watched them keenly. Jennie knew not where she was going, and Mr. Green would not tell. But Mrs. Miller was satisfied when she saw them take the path into the woods in the opposite direction to the one that led to the Mores’ clearinof.

Mr. Green hastened with his charge over the bush road. When Jennie was tired he carried her, so that they might reach their destination as soon as possible.

After an hour’s tramp they sat down by a brook and ate their lunch. Mr. Green was merry, and soon had Jennie laughing, but he evaded all her inquiries about Chubb. Then, after enjoying a drink from the brook, they hurried on.

‘Sit down here for a minute, Jennie,’ said the teacher, when they had reached the barn that belonged to the Parsonage.

So, behind the barn, Jennie sat on a log, while the teacher made his presence known to the inmates of the Parsonage.

When he entered he found no one there but Chubb.

‘Where’s Mr. Hewitt?’ asked the teacher.

‘Gone to the lake for a pail of water,’ replied Chubb.

‘All right, I’ll go and see him.’

The teacher was delighted with this news, for he wanted Jennie to see Chubb alone first. So he slipped out to the barn, and told her to go quickly and quietly into the house, and she would find some one she would like to see.

Shortly after she had entered there was a little scream in the Parsonage, and Mr. Hewitt came hurrying up the path from the lake.

‘What’s the matter?’ he asked, as he met the teacher. ‘Was that Chubb calling?’

‘No, I think not,' replied the teacher, coolly.

‘Well, that was strange. I thought I heard a scream, and it sounded like a human cry, and as if it came from the Parsonage.’

‘So did I, and we shall investigate presently. But, Hewitt,' he added abruptly, turning the subject, ‘I fear we shall have some trouble over Chubb.’

‘Why so?’

‘His father is on the war-path with his gun.’

‘Is that so?’

'Yes, and some one is going to get hurt.’

‘I’ve no fear of More.’

‘Neither have I when he’s sober, but he’s being filled with Dodge’s bad whisky. I accidentally heard of him last night from two sources. So we had better be on the look-out.’ After some more conversation, the two men returned to the Parsonage.

‘Somebody is in there, for I hear talking,’ said Mr. Hewitt, again getting anxious about Chubb.

‘Hush!’ said the teacher, with a deprecating action to the preacher. Then, on tip-toe, he went up and shoved the door in a little.

‘Just look here,’ he whispered.

Curled up on the bed was little Jennie. Chubb’s head was in her lap, and while she was petting him, he was telling her about his many adventures. It was a sweet picture of purest love and simplicity.

‘Why, it’s Jennie!’ exclaimed the preacher. On hearing him, Jennie quickly placed Chubb’s head on the pillow, and jumped down to the floor.

'Good-bye,’ said the teacher, ‘I must be off to school. I’ll call for you to-night, Jennie. Mrs. Miller wouldn’t welcome me without you.’

Followed by a chorus of ‘Good-byes,’ the teacher hurried away to his duties at the school.

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