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10. X. RAINBOW BRIDGES
Uncle Jerry coughed and stirred in his chair a good deal during Rebecca's recital, but he carefully concealed any undue feeling of sympathy, just muttering, "Poor little soul! We'll see what we can do for her!"
"You will take me to Maplewood, won't you, Mr. Cobb?" begged Rebecca piteously.
"Don't you fret a mite," he answered, with a crafty little notion at the back of his mind; "I'll see the lady passenger through somehow. Now take a bite o' somethin' to eat, child. Spread some o' that tomato preserve on your bread; draw up to the table. How'd you like to set in mother's place an' pour me out another cup o' hot tea?"
Mr. Jeremiah Cobb's mental machinery was simple, and did not move very smoothly save when propelled by his affection or sympathy. In the present case these were both employed to his advantage, and mourning his stupidity and praying for some flash of inspiration to light his path, he blundered along, trusting to Providence.
Rebecca, comforted by the old man's tone, and timidly enjoying the dignity of sitting in Mrs. Cobb's seat and lifting the blue china teapot, smiled faintly, smoothed her hair, and dried her eyes.
"I suppose your mother'll be turrible glad to see you back again?" queried Mr. Cobb.
A tiny fear--just a baby thing--in the bottom of Rebecca's heart stirred and grew larger the moment it was touched with a question.
"She won't like it that I ran away, I s'pose, and she'll be sorry that I couldn't please aunt Mirandy; but I'll make her understand, just as I did you."
"I s'pose she was thinkin' o' your schoolin', lettin' you come down here; but land! you can go to school in Temperance, I s'pose?"
"There's only two months' school now in Temperance, and the farm 's too far from all the other schools."
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