Little did desperate Jimmy guess what ship he would really sail in, nor what a prosperous voyage he was about to make; for help was coming that very minute, as it generally does, sooner or later, to generous people who are very much in earnest.
First a shrill whistle was heard, at the sound of which he looked up quickly; then a rosy-faced girl of about his own age came skipping down the street, swinging her hat by one string; and, as Jimmy watched her approach, a smile began to soften the grim look he wore, for Willy Bryant was his best friend and neighbor, being full of courage, fun, and kindness. He nodded, and made room for her on the step,—the place she usually occupied at spare moments when they got lessons and recounted their scrapes to each other.
But to-night Willy seemed possessed of some unusually good piece of news which she chose to tell in her own lively fashion, for, instead of sitting down, she began to dance a sailor's hornpipe, singing gayly, "I'm little Buttercup, sweet little Buttercup," till her breath gave out.
"What makes you so jolly, Will?" asked Jimmy,