Miss Cordelia's Accommodation (1903)

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"Your four-acre field will come in handy now," said Cynthia Ann jestingly.

"So it will." Miss Cordelia spoke absently. "The very thing! Yes, I'll put him in there."

"But you don't really mean that you're going to keep the horse, are you?" protested Cynthia Ann. "Why, he is no good to you—and think of the expense of feeding him!"

"I'll keep him for a while," said Miss Cordelia briskly. "As you say, there is the four-acre field. It will keep him in eating for a while. I always knew that field had a mission. Poor John Drew! I'd like to oblige him for old times' sake, as he says, although this is as crazy as anything he ever did. But I have a plan. Meanwhile, I can't feed Nap on geraniums."

Miss Cordelia always adapted herself quickly and calmly to new circumstances. "It is never any use to get in a stew about things," she was wont to say. So now she untied Nap gingerly, with many rueful glances at her geraniums, and led him away to the field behind the house, where she tied him safely to a post with such an abundance of knots that there was small fear of his getting away.

When the mystified Cynthia Ann had returned home Miss Cordelia set about getting her tea and thinking over the plan that had come to her concerning her white elephant.

"I can keep him for the summer," she said. "I'll have to dispose of him in the fall for I've no place to keep him in, and anyway I couldn't afford to feed him. I'll see if I can borrow Mr. Griggs's express wagon for Saturday afternoons, and if I can those poor factory children in my grade shall have a weekly treat or my name is not Cordelia Herry. I'm not so sure but that John Drew has done a good thing after all. Poor John! He always did take things so for granted."

All the point pleasant people soon knew about Miss Cordelia's questionable windfall, and she was overwhelmed with advice and suggestions. She listened to all tranquilly and then placidly followed her own way. Mr. Griggs was very obliging in regard to his old express wagon, and the next Saturday Point Pleasant was treated to a mild sensation—nothing less than Miss Cordelia rattling through the village, enthroned on the high seat of Mr. Griggs's yellow express wagon, drawn by old Nap who, after a week of browsing idleness in the four-acre field, was quite frisky and went at a decided amble down Elm Street and across the bridge. The long wagon had been filled up with board seats, and when Miss Cordelia came back over the bridge the boards were crowded with factory children—pale-faced little creatures whose eyes were aglow with pleasure at this unexpected outing.

Miss Cordelia drove straight out to the big pine-clad hills of Deepdale, six miles from Pottstown. Then she tied Nap in a convenient lane and turned the children loose to revel in the woods and fields. How they did enjoy themselves! And how Miss Cordelia enjoyed seeing them enjoy themselves!

When dinner time came she gathered them all around her and went to the wagon. In it she had a basket of bread and butter.

"I can't afford anything more," she told Cynthia Ann, "but they must have something to stay their little stomachs. And I can get some water at a farmhouse."

Miss Cordelia had had her eye on a certain farmhouse all the morning. She did not know anything about the people who lived there, but she liked the looks of the place. It was a big, white, green-shuttered house, throned in wide-spreading orchards, with a green sweep of velvety lawn in front.

To this Miss Cordelia took her way, surrounded by her small passengers, and they all trooped into the great farmhouse yard just as a big man stepped out of a nearby barn. As he approached, Miss Cordelia thought she had never seen anybody so much like an incarnate smile before. Smiles of all kinds seemed literally to riot over his ruddy face and in and out of his eyes and around the corners of his mouth.

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