If Washington had not lost a shoe on the way home from church, and if Joyce had not been seized with a violent headache that sent her to bed with a bandage over her eyes, the day would have ended far differently for Lloyd.
The afternoon went by quickly, for, lulled by the drowsy hum of the bees, she had fallen asleep in the hammock under the umbrella-tree, and slept a long time. Then supper was earlier than usual, as Jack wanted his before starting to the ranch. Chris, the Mexican, was taking a holiday, and had offered Jack a quarter to do the milking for him that evening. Holland strolled down the road with him, since the lost horseshoe prevented him taking the ride he had expected to enjoy.
Scarcely were they out of sight when an old buggy rattled up from the other direction, bringing a woman and her two little girls from a neighbouring ranch for an evening visit. Lloyd, who was on her way to the tent to see if she could do anything for Joyce’s comfort, heard a voice which she recognised as Mrs. Shaw’s, as the woman introduced herself to Mrs. Ware.
“I’ve been planning to get over here ever since you came,” she began, “and specially since I got acquainted with your daughter over them bees, but ‘pears like there’s nothing in life on week-days but work; so this evening, when my little girls begged to come over and see your little girl, says I to myself, it’s now or never, and I just hitched up and came.”
“Oh, deah!” sighed Lloyd. “I don’t want to spend the whole evening listening to that tiahsome woman. The boys are gone, and Joyce’s head aches too bad for her to talk. I don’t know what to do.”
She stepped softly into the tent, insisting on rubbing Joyce’s head, or doing something to make her more comfortable, but Joyce sent her away, saying that the pain was growing less, and that she didn’t want her to stay shut up in the tent that smelled so strongly of the camphor she had spilled.
Lloyd turned away and wandered down to the pasture bars, where she stood looking over toward the west. The sun was dropping out of sight. For the ﬁrst time since she had come to the Wigwam, she felt lonesome. She was so full of life after her long sleep, so fresh and wide-awake, that she looked around her restlessly, wishing that something exciting would happen. She was in the mood to enjoy an adventure of some kind, no matter what.
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