The New Boarder at Lee’s Ranch
Mary could hardly wait to tell the news to Phil and Mrs. Lee. She ran nearly all the way from the Wigwam to the ranch, her hat in her hand, and the lid of her lunch-basket ﬂapping.
Long before she came within calling distance, she saw Phil mount his horse out by the pasture bars, and ride slowly along the driveway which led past the tents to the public road. With the hope of intercepting him, she dashed on still more wildly, but her shoe-strings tripped her, and she was obliged to stop to tie them. Glancing up as she jerked them into hard knots, she breathed a sigh of relief, for he had drawn rein to speak to Mr. Ellestad and the new boarder, who were sitting in the sun near the bamboo-arbour. Then, just as he was about to start on again, Mrs. Lee came singing out to the tents with an armful of clean towels, and he called to her some question, which brought her, laughing, to join the group.
Thankful for these two delays, Mary went dashing on toward them so breathlessly that Phil gave a whistle of surprise as she turned in at the ranch.
“What’s the matter, Mary?” he called. “Indians after you again?”
“No,” she panted, throwing herself down on the dry Bermuda grass, and wiping her ﬂushed face on her sleeve. “I’m on my way to school. I just stopped by with a message, and I thought you’d like to hear the news.”
“Well, that depends,” began Phil, teasingly. “We hear so little out on this lonely desert, that our systems may not be able to stand the shock of anything exciting.
If it’s good news, maybe we can bear it, if you break it to us gently. If it’s bad, you’d better not run any risks. ‘Where ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise,’ you know.”
“Oh, come now, Tremont, that’s too bad,” laughed Mr. Ellestad. “Don’t head her off that way when she’s in such a hurry to tell it.”
“Then go on, Mary,” said Phil, gravely. “Mr. Ellestad’s curiosity is greater than his caution, and Mr. Armond hasn’t been in the desert long enough to be affected by its dearth of news, so anything sudden can’t hurt him. Go on.”
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