Emily listened very anxiously on Monday morning, but "no sound of axe, n_onderous hammer rang" in Lofty John's bush. That evening on her way home fro_chool, Lofty John himself overtook her in his buggy and for the first tim_ince the night of the apple stopped and accosted her.
"Will ye take a lift, Miss Emily av New Moon?" he asked affably.
Emily climbed in, feeling a little bit foolish. But Lofty John looked quit_riendly as he clucked to his horse.
"So you've clean wiled the heart out av Father Cassidy's body, 'The sweetes_crap av a girl I've iver seen,' says he to me. Sure an' ye might lave th_oor prastes alone."
Emily looked at Lofty John out of the corner of her eye. He did not see_ngry.
"Ye've put _me_ in a nice tight fix av it," he went on. "I'm as proud as an_ew Moon Murray av ye all and your Aunt Elizabeth said a number av things tha_ot under my skin. I've many an old score to settle with her. So I thought I'_et square by cutting av the bush down. And you had to go and quare me wid m_raste bekase av it and now I make no doubt I'll not be after daring to cut _tick av kindling to warm me shivering carcase without asking lave av th_ope."
"Oh, Mr Sullivan, are you going to leave the bush alone?" said Emil_reathlessly.
"It all rests with yourself, Miss Emily av New Moon. Ye can't be afte_xpecting a Lofty John to be too humble. I didn't come by the name bekase a_e makeness."
"What do you want me to do?"
"First, then, I'm wanting you to let bygones be bygones in that matter av th_pple. And be token av the same come over and talk to me now and then as y_id last summer. Sure now, and I've missed ye—ye and that spit-fire av an Ils_ho's never come aither bekase she thinks I mistrated you."
"I'll come of course," said Emily doubtfully, "if only Aunt Elizabeth will le_e."
"Tell her if she don't the bush'll be cut down—ivery last stick av it. That'l_etch her. And there's wan more thing. Ye must ask me rale make and polite t_o ye the favour av not cutting down the bush. If ye do it pretty enough sur_iver a tree will I touch. But if ye don't down they go, praste or no praste,"
concluded Lofty John.
Emily summoned all her wiles to her aid. She clasped her hands, she looked u_hrough her lashes at Lofty John, she smiled as slowly and seductively as sh_new how—and Emily had considerable native knowledge of that sort. "Please, M_ofty John," she coaxed, "won't you leave me the dear bush I love?"
Lofty John swept off his crumpled old felt hat. "To be sure an' I will. _roper Irishman always does what a lady asks him. Sure an' it's been the rui_v us. We're at the mercy av the petticoats. If ye'd come and said that to m_fore ye'd have had no need av your walk to White Cross. But mind ye keep th_est av the bargain. The reds are ripe and the scabs soon will be—and all th_ats have gone to glory."
Emily flew into the New Moon kitchen like a slim whirlwind.
"Aunt Elizabeth, Lofty John isn't going to cut down the bush—he told me h_ouldn't—but I have to go and see him sometimes—if you don't object."
"I suppose it wouldn't make much difference to you if I did," said Aun_lizabeth. But her voice was not so sharp as usual. She would not confess ho_uch Emily's announcement relieved her; but it mellowed her attitud_onsiderably. "There's a letter here for you. I want to know what it means."
Emily took the letter. It was the first time she had ever received a rea_etter through the mail and she tingled with the delight of it. It wa_ddressed in a heavy black hand to "Miss Emily Starr, New Moon, Blair Water."
"You opened it!" she cried indignantly.
"Of course I did. You are not going to receive letters I am not to see, Miss.
What I want to know is—how comes Father Cassidy to be writing to you—an_riting such nonsense?"
"I went to see him Saturday," confessed Emily, realizing that the cat was ou_f the bag. "And I asked him if he couldn't prevent Lofty John from cuttin_own the bush."
"I _told_ him I was a Protestant," cried Emily. "He understands all abou_t. And he was just like anybody else. I like him _better_ than Mr Dare."
Aunt Elizabeth did not say much more. There did not seem to be much sh_could_ say. Besides the bush wasn't going to be cut down. The bringer o_ood news is forgiven much. She contented herself with glaring at Emily—wh_as too happy and excited to mind glares. She carried her letter off to th_arret dormer and gloated over the stamp and the superscription a bit befor_he took out the enclosure.
> "Dear Pearl of Emilys," wrote Father Cassidy. "I've seen our lofty frien_nd I feel sure your green outpost of fairyland will be saved for your moonli_evels. I know you _do_ dance there by light o' moon when mortals ar_noring. I think you'll have to go through the form of asking Mr Sullivan t_pare those trees, but you'll find him quite reasonable. It's all in th_nowing how and the time of the moon. How goes the epic and the language? _ope you'll have no trouble in freeing the _Child of the Sea_ from her vows.
Continue to be the friend of all good elves, and of
> "Your admiring friend,
> _"James Cassidy._
> "P.S. The B'y sends respects. What word have you for 'cat' in your language?
Sure and you can't get anything cattier than 'cat' can you, now?"
Lofty John spread the story of Emily's appeal to Father Cassidy far and wide,
enjoying it as a good joke on himself. Rhoda Stuart said she always knew Emil_tarr was a bold thing and Miss Brownell said she would be surprised a_nothing_ Emily Starr would do, and Dr Burnley called her a Little Devil mor_dmiringly than ever, and Perry said she had pluck and Teddy took credit fo_uggesting it, and Aunt Elizabeth endured, and Aunt Laura thought it migh_ave been worse. But Cousin Jimmy made Emily feel very happy.
"It would have spoiled the garden and broken my heart, Emily," he told her.
"You're a little darling girl to have prevented it."
One day a month later, when Aunt Elizabeth had taken Emily to Shrewsbury t_it her out with a winter coat, they met Father Cassidy in a store. Aun_lizabeth bowed with great stateliness, but Emily put out a slender paw.
"What about the dispensation from Rome?" whispered Father Cassidy.
One Emily was quite horrified lest Aunt Elizabeth should overhear and thin_he was having sly dealings with the Pope, such as no good Presbyterian half-
Murray of New Moon should have. The other Emily thrilled to her toes with th_ramatic delight of a secret understanding of mystery and intrigue. She nodde_ravely, her eyes eloquent with satisfaction.
"I got it without any trouble," she whispered back.
"Fine," said Father Cassidy. "I wish you good luck, and I wish it hard. Good-
"Farewell," said Emily, thinking it a word more in keeping with dark secret_han good-bye. She tasted the flavour of that half-stolen interview all th_ay home, and felt quite as if she were living in an epic herself. She did no_ee Father Cassidy again for years—he was soon afterwards removed to anothe_arish; but she always thought of him as a very agreeable and understandin_erson.