In the Desert of Waiting
Lloyd sat with her elbows on the white kitchen table, watching Joyce at her Saturday afternoon baking. Five busy days had passed since her coming, and she felt almost as much at home in the wigwam as any of the Wares. Phil had been there every day. Mrs. Lee had invited her to the ranch to tea, where she had met all the interesting boarders she had heard so much about. Jack, Holland, and Norman devoted themselves to her entertainment, and Mary followed her so adoringly, and copied so admiringly every gesture and intonation, that Holland called her “Miss Copy-cat” whenever he spoke to her out of his mother’s hearing.
Lloyd could not fail to see how they all looked up to her, and it was exceedingly pleasant to be petted and deferred to by everybody, and on all occasions. The novelty of the place had not yet worn off, and she enjoyed watching Joyce at her housekeeping duties, and helped whenever she would allow it.
“How white and squashy that dough looks,” she said, as Joyce turned it deftly out on the moulding-board and began kneading it. “I’d like to put my ﬁngahs in it the way you do, and pat it into shape, and pinch in the cawnahs. I wish you’d let me try to make a loaf next week. Will you, Joyce?”
“You may now, if you want to,” said Joyce. Lloyd started to her tent to wash her hands, but Jack’s shout out in the road stopped her as she reached the door. He was galloping toward the house as fast as Washington could carry him, and she waited to hear what he had to say.
“Get your riﬂe, quick, Lloyd!” he called, waving his hat excitedly. “Chris says that the river is full of ducks. We can get over there and have a shot at them before supper-time if we hurry. I’ll catch your pony and saddle him while you get ready.”
“How perfectly splendid!” cried Lloyd, her eyes shining with pleasure. “I’ll be ready in almost no time.” Then, as he galloped on toward the pasture, she turned to Joyce.
“Oh, I wish you could go, too!”
“So do I,” was the answer; “but it’s out of the question. We’ve only the one horse, you know, and I haven’t any gun, and I can’t leave the baking, so there’s three good reasons. But I’m glad you have the chance, Lloyd. Run along and get ready. Don’t you bother about me.”
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