She had remained near the cottage until she heard Dame Brinker laugh, until she had heard Hans say, "Here I am, Father!" And then she had gone back to her lessons. What wonder that she missed them! How could she get a long string of Latin verbs by heart when her heart did not care a fig for them but would keep saying to itself, "Oh, I am so glad! I am so glad!"
Bones are strange things. One would suppose that they knew nothing at all about school affairs, but they do. Even Jacob Poot's bones, buried as they were in flesh, were sharp in the matter of study hours.
Early on the morning of his return they ached through and through, giving Jacob a twinge at every stroke of the school bell, as if to say, "Stop that clapper! There's trouble in it." After school, on the contrary, they were quiet and comfortable; in fact, seemed to be taking a nap among their cushions.
The other boys' bones behaved in a similar manner, but that is not so remarkable. Being nearer the daylight than Jacob's, they might be expected to be more learned in the ways of the world. Master Ludwig's, especially, were like beauty, only skin deep; they were the most knowing bones you ever heard of. Just put before him ever so quietly a grammar book with a long lessons marked in it, and immediately the sly bone over his eyes would set up such an aching! Request him to go to the garret for your foot stove, instantly the bones would remind him that he was "too tired." Ask him to go to the confectioner's, a mile away, and PRESTO! not a bone would remember that it had ever been used before.
Bearing all this in mind, you will not wonder when I tell you that our five boys were among the happiest of the happy throng pouring forth from the schoolhouse that day.
Peter was in excellent spirits. He had heard through Hilda of Dame Brinker's laugh and of Hans's joyous words, and he needed no further proof that Raff Brinker was a cured man. In fact, the news had gone forth in every direction, for miles around. Persons who had never before cared for the Brinkers, or even mentioned them, except with a contemptuous sneer or a shrug of pretended pity, now became singularly familiar with every point of their history. There was no end to the number of ridiculous stories that were flying about.
Hilda, in the excitement of the moment, had stopped to exchange a word with the doctor's coachman as he stood by the horses, pommelling his chest and clapping his hands. Her kind heart was overflowing. She could not help pausing to tell the cold, tired-looking man that she thought the doctor would be out soon; she even hinted to him that she suspected--only suspected--that a wonderful cure had been performed, an idiot brought to his senses. Nay, she was SURE of it, for she had heard his widow laugh--no, not his widow, of course, but his wife--for the man was as much alive as anybody, and, for all she knew, sitting up and talking like a lawyer.
All this was very indiscreet. Hilda, in an impenitent sort of way, felt it to be so.