It was done. Little Bruce Meredith did not look back. He ran off, sobbing, broken-hearted. He did not know that the Caldwell family, Frank, Martha, and their children, twelve-year-old Bertram and ten-year-old Loretta, newcomers to the Glen, had been watching, horrified.
Bertram, the best swimmer and diver in the family, plunged into the water. He came up seconds later with a wet, shivering, trembling, frightened, miserable kitten.
"We'll have to get this poor kitten home right away if we want to save him," Martha said.
The Caldwells hurried home with the kitten. Tenderly, lovingly, they ministered to him. Martha dried him with a soft towel. Loretta fed him warm milk from an eye-dropper. All of them spoke to him kindly, reassuringly.
More gentle rubbing with the towel. More drops of milk. More kind words.
And then, very faintly, and as if asking a question:
The Caldwells looked at each other.
The kitten gave a slightly louder "Mew."
"Thank God," said Loretta.
"Yes, thank God," Frank agreed, "but this kitten isn't out of the woods just yet."
"He's going to need a lot of care for the next few days," said Martha.
Bruce did not sleep very well that night. He kept hearing that SPLASH. He wasn't sure, now,
that he had done the right thing. And how had Stripey... poor Stripey!... felt?
"Maybe," he thought, "God would bring Jem home even if I didn't drown Stripey."
But it was too late now. He had drowned Stripey, and he could never bring him back.
Bruce did not realize it at the time, but it was then that he began to understand that some
things, once they are done, can never be undone.
But there was one thing he could do.
"God," he whispered, "please take care of Stripey.. and please tell him to forgive me."