One of Sylvia's chores each evening is finding her grandmother's cow in the woods and driving her home. This is what Sylvia was doing the day she met the hunger. Mrs. Tilley is not angry or worried when Sylvia comes home late. She has driven the old cow home herself many times and knows it can take time:
Sylvia wondered what her grandmother would say because they were so late. It was a great while since she had left home at half past five, but everybody knew the difficulty of making this errand a short one. Mrs. Tilley had chased the horned torment too many summer evenings herself to blame anyone else for lingering, and was only thankful as she waited that she had Sylvia, nowadays, to give such valuable assistance.
When Sylvia finally does arrive at home, Mrs. Tilley playfully chides the animal: "Yes, you'd better speak up for yourself, you old trial!" She then asks Sylvia where the cow had managed to "tuck herself away this time." Mrs. Tilley also understands that Sylvia is now a "little woods-girl," a city child who has found a home in nature and often lingers in the woods by choice:
[T]here never was such a child for straying about out of doors since the world was made!
Because she is familiar with the cow's habits and understands Sylvia's nature, Mrs. Tilley is not angry or worried when Sylvia is late coming home.
Mrs. Tilley was worried, in the second paragraph it explains that Mrs. Tilley had chased the cow plenty of times herself.She knew that it was hard to do this task in a timely manner." Mrs.Tilley had chased the horned torment too many summer evenings herself to blaime any one eles for lingering, and was thankful as she waited that she had Sylvia,"( Fiction 101 James Pickering 725)