Here to return to
OFF TO BLACK CREEK
As soon as they reached the orchard, Jolly Robin exclaimed, “There’s old Mr. Crow now, over there on the fence! He’s come back to get your answer and take it to Long Bill Wren. I’ll have to tell him you’re sorry — but you’re going to be too busy to-morrow to go to the party.”
“Tell him —” said Rusty Wren — “tell him that although I expect to be busy, I am going to my cousin’s party just the same.”
Jolly Robin stopped and sat down on a branch of an apple tree, he was so surprised. “My dear sir!” he cried. “You seem to have forgotten that your wife said you wouldn’t be able to accept Long Bill’s invitation.”
“My wife —” said Rusty Wren — “my wife sometimes makes mistakes. And this is one of them. I wouldn’t miss my cousin’s party for anything. And I don’t intend to, either.”
“Good!” cried Jolly Robin. “I’m glad to see that you don’t let your wife manage your affairs, though I have heard differently about you, for some people say that “ He stopped abruptly and looked carefully around. Whatever it may have been that he was about to say, for some reason he did not care to have his wife hear it. And he happened to think that perhaps Mrs. Robin might be near-by.
“I don’t care what people say,” Rusty Wren told. him. “When my cousin gives a party it would be a shame if I couldn’t go to it.”
“I quite agree with you,” said Jolly Robin. “And now I’ll go and give old Mr. Crow your answer.”
“One moment!” Rusty Wren exclaimed. “What time will my cousin’s party begin?”
“Five o’clock!” Jolly Robin replied. “And it will last till sundown.”
The next morning Rusty Wren helped his wife so spryly that long before midday the house-cleaning was finished. Although she tried her best, Mrs. Rusty could think of no more tasks for her husband to do — except to feed the children. That was a duty that would not be finished until they were old enough to leave home and shift for themselves.
On this day Rusty Wren dropped so many dainties into their gaping mouths that his wife had to tell him that she ‘ didn’t dare let the youngsters have anything more to eat until the next day.
“And now you ought to stay in the house and have a good rest until just before sunset,” she told Rusty. “You’ve worked very hard ever since dawn. And I know you’re tired.”
But Rusty declared that he much preferred to be out of doors enjoying the fine weather.
His wife looked at him sharply when he said that. All day long neither of them had mentioned the party which Rusty’s cousin, Long Bill Wren, was going to give at five o’clock that afternoon.
“I think,” said Rusty, as he moved about uncomfortably under his wife’s gaze, “I think that since I’ve a little time to spare I’d better go and see Mr. Frog, the tailor. You know you’ve been telling me that my Sunday coat is beginning to look shiny — and I suppose I really ought to have a new one.”
Mrs. Rusty said that it was true — he did need a new coat. And she assured her husband that she would be delighted to have him go to the tailor’s.Now, she did not know that Mr. Frog had moved. She thought his shop was on the banks of Broad Brook. But that was just another mistake of hers. And if she had known where his tailoring parlors were then located, she would certainly have raised a good many objections to Rusty’s visiting them on the day of his cousin’s party. For Mr. Frog’s shop was on the banks of Black Creek, where Long Bill Wren spent his summers.