Song of the Lark
At the beginning of June, when school closed, Thea had told Wunsch that she
didn't know how much practicing she could get in this summer because Thor had
his worst teeth still to cut.
"My God! all last summer he was doing that!" Wunsch exclaimed furiously.
"I know, but it takes them two years, and Thor is slow," Thea answered
The summer went well beyond her hopes, however. She told herself that it
was the best summer of her life, so far. Nobody was sick at home, and her
lessons were uninterrupted. Now that she had four pupils of her own and made a
dollar a week, her practicing was regarded more seriously by the household. Her
mother had always arranged things so that she could have the parlor four hours
a day in summer. Thor proved a friendly ally. He behaved handsomely about his
molars, and never objected to being pulled off into remote places in his cart.
When Thea dragged him over the hill and made a camp under the shade of a
bush or a bank, he would waddle about and play with his blocks, or bury his
monkey in the sand and dig him up again. Sometimes he got into the cactus and
set up a howl, but usually he let his sister read peacefully, while he coated his
hands and face, first with an all-day sucker and then with gravel.
Life was pleasant and uneventful until the first of September, when Wunsch
began to drink so hard that he was unable to appear when Thea went to take her
mid-week lesson, and Mrs. Kohler had to send her home after a tearful apology.
On Saturday morning she set out for the Kohlers' again, but on her way, when
she was crossing the ravine, she noticed a woman sitting at the bottom of the
gulch, under the railroad trestle. She turned from her path and saw that it was
Mrs. Tellamantez, and she seemed to be doing drawn-work. Then Thea noticed
that there was something beside her, covered up with a purple and yellow
Mexican blanket. She ran up the gulch and called to Mrs. Tellamantez. The
Mexican woman held up a warning finger. Thea glanced at the blanket and
recognized a square red hand which protruded. The middle finger twitched
"Is he hurt?" she gasped.
Mrs. Tellamantez shook her head. "No; very sick. He knows nothing," she
said quietly, folding her hands over her drawn-work.
Thea learned that Wunsch had been out all night, that this morning Mrs.
Kohler had gone to look for him and found him under the trestle covered with dirt
and cinders. Probably he had been trying to get home and had lost his way. Mrs.
Tellamantez was watching beside the unconscious man while Mrs. Kohler and
Johnny went to get help.
"You better go home now, I think," said Mrs. Tellamantez, in closing her