• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Half Title
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Dedication
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 An imaginative little girl
 Marguerite's little sister
 Betty Sparrow's first white...
 A homesick story
 The green tin button-box
 The little Taylors alone
 The intercession of nature
 An unfortunate little Methodis...
 First maid of honor
 A truant friend
 Back Matter
 Back Cover
 Spine






Group Title: Ten little comedies : tales of the troubles of ten little girls whose tears were turned into smiles
Title: Ten little comedies
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00085516/00001
 Material Information
Title: Ten little comedies tales of the troubles of ten little girls whose tears were turned into smiles
Alternate Title: Ten little comedies the troubles of ten little girls whose tears were turned into smiles
Physical Description: 8, 256 p., 10 leaves of plates : ill. ; 20 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Smith, Gertrude, 1860-1917
Little, Brown and Company ( Publisher )
University Press (Cambridge, Mass.) ( Printer )
John Wilson and Son ( Printer )
Publisher: Little, Brown, and Company
Place of Publication: Boston
Manufacturer: University Press ; John Wilson and Son
Publication Date: 1897
 Subjects
Subject: Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Children's stories   ( lcsh )
Children's stories -- 1897   ( lcsh )
Bldn -- 1897
Genre: Children's stories
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- Massachusetts -- Boston
United States -- Massachusetts -- Cambridge
 Notes
Subject: An imaginative little girl -- Marguerite's little sister -- Betty Sparrow's first white dress -- A homesick story -- The green tin button-box -- The little Taylors alone -- an intercession of nature -- An unfortunate little Methodist -- First maid of honor -- A truant friend.
General Note: Title page in red and black.
Statement of Responsibility: by Gertrude Smith.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00085516
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002237665
notis - ALH8157
oclc - 18564507

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Front Matter
    Half Title
        Half Title
    Frontispiece
        Frontispiece
    Title Page
        Title Page 1
        Title Page 2
    Dedication
        Dedication
    Table of Contents
        Table of Contents
    List of Illustrations
        List of Illustrations 1
        List of Illustrations 2
    An imaginative little girl
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 18a
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
    Marguerite's little sister
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 34a
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
    Betty Sparrow's first white dress
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
    A homesick story
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 124a
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
    The green tin button-box
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 144a
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
    The little Taylors alone
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 174a
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
    The intercession of nature
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 184a
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
    An unfortunate little Methodist
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 211
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 214a
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
        Page 218
    First maid of honor
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 231
        Page 232
        Page 233
        Page 234
        Page 234a
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
        Page 238
    A truant friend
        Page 239
        Page 240
        Page 241
        Page 242
        Page 243
        Page 244
        Page 244a
        Page 245
        Page 246
        Page 247
        Page 248
        Page 249
        Page 250
        Page 251
        Page 252
        Page 253
        Page 254
        Page 255
        Page 256
    Back Matter
        Back Matter
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
    Spine
        Spine
Full Text












his'

































The Baldwin Library
Qmn'BHTrida





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Ten Little Comedies









Ten Little Comedies


Tales of the Troubles of Ten
Little Girls whose Tears
were Turned into
Smiles



By Gertrude Smith
Author of the Arabella and Araminta Stories







Boston
Little, Brown, and Company
1897



























Copyright, 1897,
BY GERTRUDE SMITH.





















ISnibearitN S ress:
JOHN WILSON AND SON, CAMBRIDGE, U.S.A.

























TO

EVA AND OTTO.

9



















"4P
bi~fe?. ./-*" ** '>)^^'"





0 'YAAA. '\' 'A-
h l' .

t1T~Wble of Contents


AN IMAGINATIVE LITTLE GIRL .

MARGUERITE'S LITTLE SISTER .

BETTY SPARROW'S FIRST WHITE DRESS .

A HOMESICK STORY . .

THE GREEN TIN BUTTON-BOX .

THE LITTLE TAYLORS ALONE .

AN INTERCESSION OF NATURE .

AN UNFORTUNATE LITTLE METHODIST .

FIRST MAID OF HONOR . .

A TRUANT FRIEND . .


PAGE
. I

. 24

* 74

* 99

'34

S I60
. 180



S. 19

* 239

























From drawings by Etheldred B. Barry


" Father, did I have a white dress when I was a
baby ? . .. .Frontispiece

So Katherine rehearsed all the little naughty things
she had done. . Page 19

Marguerite lifted the child upon the sofa and knelt
down before her . . 34

"You poor little drowned kitten, of course you
can go home if you want to !" . 124

Abbie sat down on the floor, and, taking them out
one by one, held them up to the light 144

The man from the movers' wagon stood there
with his baby on his arm ... .. 75

She followed DeWitt to the barn ... ." 185









ILLUSTRATIONS

CDo you have about the 'Samuel Baby' and
'Naaman's little maid' ?" . Page 215

The maids of honor rose together and placed it
on the head of their Queen .... ." 234

They had come to Margery's door, and the little
girl ran up the steps ... 244












Ten Little Comedies


AN IMAGINATIVE LITTLE GIRL

THE door between the sitting-room and
study was partly open. Katherine sat in
her little rocking-chair by the window in
the sitting-room. She was piecing to-
gether small squares of pink and green
calico.
The window looked out on the sunny
yard at the side of the house. Under a
blooming apple-tree by the fence was a
box with several pieces of broken dishes
piled up on the top, and others in rows
on the shelves that were fitted into the
box. Small sticks were laid around on the
ground and formed large squares. These
squares represented rooms, and this was
Katherine's playhouse.







TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


A hen with a brood of half-grown
chickens, eagerly following their mother's
example, was scratching away the sticks in
search of food.
"They 're spoiling my playhouse,
mamma!" Katherine called. "They 're
scratching it all to pieces. I 've made six
and a half blocks of patchwork. Can't I
go now ? "
Mrs. Burton came to the door that
opened into the kitchen. Her hands
were covered with flour, and her face was
flushed with working in the warm room.
"Katherine, you must not call to me
again. Don't you see the study door is
open? How can papa write his sermon
in such a noise?"
Mrs. Burton went back into the kitchen.
Katherine picked out four more pieces
from the basket at her side. Her eyes
were blinded with tears, and her heart
ached rebelliously.
Mr. Burton, sitting bent over his desk
2







AN IMAGINATIVE LITTLE GIRL

in the study, glanced out through the half-
open door at the sorrowful little figure by
the window.
"Katherine," he called to her after a
minute, think what will please mamma,
not what will please yourself. How
many blocks does she want you to
sew? "
T-w-e-l-v-e !" the little girl answered
with a burst of tears.
"They are such small blocks it won't
take you long if you'll stop crying.
Don't be a selfish daughter." He got
up and shut the door and went on
with his sermon.
"If he knew what I'm going to get
him he would n't call me selfish. They 'll
be sorry when they see it. They won't
say I think about myself all the time,
will they, Lulu?"
She waited until Lulu had answered
her in comforting words.
Lulu was a little sister Katherine pre-
3







TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


tended that she had, and she always told
her all her joys and sorrows.
"I believe I have almost enough,
don't you, dear? I 'd like to get it for
his birthday. It's so long to wait for
Christmas, and then people will keep on
making fun of it."
"Making fun of what?" asked the
imaginary Lulu. Katherine spoke for
her.
"Why, of papa's hat. You know
very well what I mean."
It takes a great deal of money to buy
a hat, though," Lulu answered.
"Well, I guess sugar costs lots of
money too. You know the other day
when mamma sent us to the store after
some she said, 'Be careful and not drop
it; sugar costs money.' "
"How much sugar do you think
you've saved? Lulu asked.
"I guess half a pound, anyway; I
don't know."







AN IMAGINATIVE LITTLE GIRL

"That won't buy a silk hat, will it? "
asked Lulu, doubtfully.
"You know I'm going to put those
two silver-dollar pieces Mr. Marks gave
me with it."
"I don't believe Emma Brockway
heard any one say your papa's hat is
shabby. She just made it up to torment
you," Lulu said after a minute.
"Well, you know it is shabby."
"Yes."
"Oh, there's Emma now hanging on
the gate !" Katherine said aloud.
She always talked to Lulu in a whis-
per. If you had been watching her, you
would have thought she was talking to
herself. But Lulu was almost as real
to Katherine as though she had been a
real little sister of flesh and blood.
She had been imagining Lulu sitting on
the chair by her side, holding the basket of
pieces. She could have told you just how
she looked, the color of her eyes, and all.







TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


"Keep still a minute, Lulu, till I make
Emma look this way."
She tapped on the window. The little
girl swinging on the gate beckoned for
her to come out. Katherine held up the
patchwork and shook her head. Now
she held up three fingers.
Do you mean when you've made
three more blocks you can go ?" Lulu
whispered.
"Yes, of course," Katherine whispered
back.
Emma pointed to the playhouse, and
Katherine nodded "yes." Emma swung
in on the gate, jumped off, and began to
straighten the sticks and pick up the
scattered dishes.
"You mustn't breathe our secret to
Emma," said Katherine to the imaginary
Lulu. "She most guessed it once. I
said I was saving something sweet, and she
guessed sugar right off, but she don't know
what I'm saving it for, or where it's hid."
6







AN IMAGINATIVE LITTLE GIRL

Mrs. Burton came to the door just
then.
"Emma's out in the yard, Katherine.
You can go now if you want to. Put
your work all away and come out through
the kitchen."
Katherine put away her work very
quickly and ran out into the kitchen.
Here is a lump of sugar for you, and
one for Emma," said her mother.
"Thank you; and could we have a
little bit of dough to pretend bake
with ?"
Mrs. Burton broke off a small piece
of dough from the piece she was rolling.
I made nine blocks," Katherine said,
stopping in the door.
"You did very well. You see what
you can do when you try," her mother
answered. "I don't want my little girl
to be always thinking of her own
pleasure."
It was just what her father had said.







TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


Katherine stopped when she got out-
side of the door and put one lump of
the sugar that her mother had given her
into a little bag deep down in her pocket.
Then she ran on and gave the other
lump to Emma with the little roll of
dough.
I came down to ask you to come up
to my house this afternoon," Emma said,
putting the lump of sugar in her cheek,
and rolling the dough in her hands. "I
know lots of fun we can have."
"I don't think mamma will let me."
Oh, yes, she will, if you tease her."
"What are you going to do? "
"Our cistern leaked, and the cellar is
full of water. It floats the wash-tubs.
Jennie and I have been playing down
there ever since breakfast. The tubs
hold me up; Jennie tied a rope to one
and pulled me back and forth through
the water. We play we're crossing the
ocean."







AN IMAGINATIVE LITTLE GIRL

Jennie was Emma's older sister, and a
far more dangerous companion at times
than the dear little imaginary Lulu could
ever be to Katherine.
"It sounds lots of fun, but I 'm afraid
I '11 tip out," said Katherine.
"No, you won't; it's just as safe as
anything."
They sat down on a log in the play-
house, and gave themselves up to plan-
ning the pleasure they would have in the
afternoon.
"There are the funniest toads you ever
saw, sitting up on the mud around the
edge of the cellar. We can save this
dough, and feed them."
"Toads ? Katherine asked; where
did they come from? "
"Jennie says they just come up out
of the ground when they want to."
I don't believe they eat dough."
"Well, we can make it into marbles
and throw it at them. It's so soft it







TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


won't hurt them, and it will make them
squat out their legs and jump into the
water. They're so funny!"
They both immediately began rolling
the dough into little round balls and
laying it on pieces of broken dishes.
"Jennie says Deacon Woods looks like
a toad. Is n't she awful ? "
Katherine laughed out, throwing her-
self back on the grass.
"That's because he's so fat and wad-
dles when he walks. He does look just
like a toad, doesn't he?" She sat up.
"I suppose it's mean to make fun,
though. Papa says he's the best deacon
he ever had."
Katherine Mrs. Burton called from
the door, "come into the house this in-
stant. Emma, I think you had better
run along home."
She sounds awful cross. What did
you do, Katherine? Emma whispered.
I don't know. I did n't know I had







AN IMAGINATIVE LITTLE GIRL

done anything. I 'm afraid she won't let
me come to your house now."
"Tease her! The water will all be
gone in the cellar to-morrow, and we
won't have so much fun."
I '11 try, but she does n't like to have
me tease."
Emma ran out of the gate and up the
path along the grass-bordered street.
Katherine stood watching her for a
minute, then turned and went slowly
into the house.
She knew by her mother's tone that
she had done something wrong, but she
could not think what it was. Perhaps
she had been at one of the windows
and heard her laughing about Deacon
Woods.
Katherine thought that this must be it,
and she felt very sorry and ashamed.
Mrs. Burton was setting the table for
dinner.. The kitchen was full of the odor
of broiling beefsteak and baking potatoes.







TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


It smelled very good to Katherine, for
she was as hungry as a healthy little girl
six years old usually is when it is nearly
twelve o'clock.
"Wash your hands and face, and then
go upstairs and take off your clothes and
go to bed," Mrs. Burton said as she
came in.
"Mamma !" Katherine cried out, "go
to bed Why, it'sjust time for dinner !"
When she had done wrong she had
always been punished, sometimes more
severely than she deserved, she thought;
but never before had she been sent to
bed in the middle of the day.
Mrs. Burton made no reply, but the
stern decision in her face made it impos-
sible for Katherine to think that the com-
mand was not to be obeyed at once.
She washed her hands and face, crying
loudly, and then started upstairs.
She brought down her feet very hard
and screamed as she went, and felt in her
12







AN IMAGINATIVE LITTLE GIRL

heart that she hated every one, and Dea-
con Woods most of all.
"He is like a toad! He's squatty
and fat, and I 'm not sorry I said it."
She threw herself on the bed and cried
until she was tired. Then she grew quiet.
Perhaps it was n't for what she had said
about the deacon that her mamma had
sent her to bed. It did n't seem as
though she would send her just for that,
without giving her a chance of saying
she was sorry. It must be something
else.
Katherine lay with her head and her
heart throbbing, trying to remember what
she could possibly have said or done to
bring this terrible disgrace upon herself.
After a while she crawled off the bed
and took off her clothes and put on her
night-clothes.
She stood for a minute thinking, then
fell on her knees and prayed that what-
ever it was she had done she might be for-








TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


given. She added a pitiful little petition
about being very hungry and the beef-
steak smelling very good. Then she
got up and climbed into bed and lay
looking out at the blossoms on the apple-
tree, and a robin flying in and out among
them, and listening to the rattling of the
dishes downstairs.
Katherine made a very pathetic picture,
with her little red swollen face framed in
by her short yellow hair against the white
pillow. Her lips trembled, and her blue
eyes kept running over with tears. She
wanted to be quite calm when her mamma
came up, as she was sure to come after
dinner.
Then there was the disappointment of
having to give up the hope of going to
Emma's house that afternoon. She thought
of the water in the cellar, and the floating
tubs and the toads. It was more than
she could endure, and she cried aloud
again.








AN IMAGINATIVE LITTLE GIRL

In a few minutes she heard the door
open, and knew by the step that her father
was in the room. It must be something
very serious indeed if her father had come
to talk to her.
I 've brought you your dinner, daugh-
ter; and after you've eaten it, we will
talk, and you'll tell papa what you've
done, and why you did it."
I don't want any dinner," Katherine
sobbed in her pillow. Her father put
down the tray on the table beside the bed.
Katherine looked out between her fingers
and saw the nice piece of smoking beef-
steak and a baked potato and the little
piece of custard-pie. She had not been
deprived of any of her dinner. It was
all there.
Her father sat down by the side of the
bed and sighed, and then was silent.
Katherine wished she had not said she
did not want any dinner.
"You know what you were sent to
'5






TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


bed for, dear? You have had time to
think? "
"No, I don't. I haven't done any-
thing I did n't do a thing, and mamma
knows it!"
"Katherine !" There was so much
sorrow and reproach in his tone that
it made her heart ache terribly. She
drew the bedclothes up over her head
and lay very still. Her father sighed
again.
"I will go and leave you," he said
after a minute. "You must eat your
dinner, and then I want you to pray and
think. You are making it harder for
yourself than you need to. Mamma and
I are both ready to forgive you, but the
confession must come first."
He went out and shut the door, and
after listening until she thought he must
be downstairs, she sat up and ate all of her
dinner. It did n't taste as good as usual,
and the custard-pie that she liked so much
16







AN IMAGINATIVE LITTLE GIRL

choked her so she could hardly swallow
it.
After she had finished eating she lay
down again and thought over the days as
far back as she could remember, and all
that she had done or said that might be
the cause of her present disgrace.
It did not seem to her that there was
anything wrong that had not been known
and punished. Still, she could think of
a few things. At last she decided that
she would confess them all.
They were a pathetic little bundle of
wrong-doings, but she said them over
to herself and to the imaginary Lulu, who
came and stayed with her all that long
afternoon. She wanted to be sure and
have them ready when her father came
up again.
She exaggerated them in her own
mind with each repetition until she felt
that any one of them was sufficient reason
for her being sent to bed.
2 17







TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


Then she became interested in count-
ing the figures on the wall-paper, and
before she knew it, she fell asleep.
When she woke, it was getting dark
and her father was standing by the bed,
looking down at her. Her mother was
just going out of the door.
A terrible thing almost happened to
your little playmate this afternoon, Kath-
erine. I cannot help thinking what if it
had been my little girl."
Katherine sat up in bed and rubbed
her sleepy eyes.
"Were you asleep, dear? "
I guess so. Was it Emma? What
happened to her?"
"She was nearly drowned this after-
noon. Their cellar is full of water, and
she was playing down there and fell
in. Her papa came very near not hav-
ing any Emma before he could get her
out."
Oh, papa Is she all right now ? "
18







AN IMAGINATIVE LITTLE GIRL

"Yes; she's all right now." Mr.
Burton sat down on the bed and took
both of her hands. "Is my little girl
ready to tell papa quickly what he wants
her to tell him ? "
So Katherine rehearsed all the little
naughty things she had done that she
could remember. In the dim light she
could see that there were tears in her
father's eyes, but after each tale he shook
his head and said that was not what he
meant. He thought she was trying still
to cover up her wrong-doing by telling
these lesser ones.
At last, after a long silence, Katherine
jumped up, and, throwing her arms around
his neck, cried out her last fault and the
one she dreaded telling him more than
any of the others.
Emma said Jennie said Deacon Woods
looked like a toad, and I laughed and said
I thought so too And I showed how
he waddled when he walked!"
19







TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


If Katherine could have seen her father's
face just then, she would have known that
he was making a great effort not to laugh.
"No, it is not that, darling, though it
was very naughty to make fun of Deacon
Woods. Katherine," he put her out of
his arms, have you taken anything with-
out asking ? "
Papa!" she cried out. She crept
back into his arms. "I never did! You
know I never did! "
Perhaps you thought you had a right
to take anything in our own house, but it
was a very singular thing for a little girl
to do. It does n't look honest. What
did you take and hide in the closet?
You know what I mean now, don't you,
dear ? "
"Do you mean the sugar ?" whispered
Katherine.
"Yes; why did you take it without
asking mamma?"
"It was mine! She gave it to me
20







AN IMAGINATIVE LITTLE GIRL

when she was baking, and at dinner.
I've been saving it for the longest time,
ever since way last winter. I saved it "
She stopped.
"You have been saving sugar ever
since last winter What do you mean ?"
her father asked in great surprise.
Katherine pressed her face to his.
"I didn't want to tell. It was for a
surprise. I was going to sell it when I'd
saved enough, and buy you a new silk
hat! Emma Brockway says every one
makes fun of yours and says it is n't fit
for a minister !" She patted his face.
"I did n't know it was naughty. Papa,
are you crying?"
He held her close in his arms and
kissed her two or three times.
"You are papa's good girl. No; it
was n't naughty. You thought you
would buy me a new hat, did you, dar-
ling?"
He put her down on the bed and went
21








TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


quickly out of the room. His imagina-
tive little daughter had touched his heart
more than she could ever know. In a
few minutes her mother came in with a
lamp. There were tears in her eyes too,
but she looked very happy.
"I 've told," Katherine said, sitting
up on the edge of the bed.
"Yes, papa has told me all about it.
You can understand, dear, how wrong it
looked to us, not knowing where you got
so much sugar ? "
"Yes, but I never thought it was that;
I thought it was about the deacon."
Mrs. Burton brought Katherine's clothes
and began helping her to dress.
I '11 buy all the sugar you have saved
on papa's birthday, and make him a cake
with some of it."
"And may I buy the silk hat with the
money, and the two silver-dollar pieces
Mr. Marks gave me?"
"Yes, dear, if papa thinks best."
22







AN IMAGINATIVE LITTLE GIRL

"Oh, I'm so glad! May I sit up
until you and papa go to bed ?"
"Yes, if you don't get too sleepy."
I won't; I've slept hours and hours."
And the Sunday following his birthday
the people noticed that their minister wore
a new silk hat, but no one ever dreamed
how dearly it had been paid for.







TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


MARGUERITE'S LITTLE SISTER

I

MARGUERITE sat in the library window-
seat and looked down at the passing
people in the street below.
On a comfortable lounge on the
other side of the room her Uncle Henry
lay sound asleep, his newspaper folded
over his face.
In the drawing-room downstairs her
Aunt Caroline was receiving a visitor.
The library was in the second story of
the house, and the people in the street
below lost much of their interest in being
so far away.
"Oh, dear thought Marguerte, "I
wish I had a little sister, and we could go
up on the roof in the sun, and take my
doll, and play all the af:e:-r:on! I don't
24







MARGUERITE'S LITTLE SISTER

see why I never had any sisters and
brothers, anyway I don't see why my
mamma died I'm so lonesome She
sighed deeply, and the big tears rolled
down her cheeks.
Marguerite had lived in a little house
in the country with her mother. But
the spring before her mother died, and
her Uncle Henry brought her to live
with him in his large, beautiful house in
the city.
He had adopted her. The little girl
had seen the papers that said she was le-
gally his child now, though she could not
understand very clearly what it all meant.
The strangest part of it was that her
name had been changed from Marguerite
White to Marguerite Wetherell.
Her Aunt Caroline had explained that
this was because she was to have all the
money and the houses that belonged to
her Uncle Henry when he died, and so
she must take his name.
25







TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


Marguerite had seen the houses that
would sometime be hers. There was one
by the seaside, and one in the mountains,
and one in the city, the one where they
were living now.
They were all beautiful houses, and
splendidly furnished, and it quite took
the little girl's breath away whenever she
thought that one day they would all be
hers !
The home in the mountains she loved
the most of all. She had spent two or
three weeks of every summer there, with
her Uncle Henry and Aunt Caroline,
ever since she could remember.
They had never had any children of
their own, and were always delighted
when Marguerite's mamma could spare
her to them, even for a day or two.
And now that they had her with them
all the time, and she was their own little
girl, they did everything they could to
make her contented and happy.
26








MARGUERITE'S LITTLE SISTER

A child never lived who was more
dearly loved, or more tenderly cared for.
Marguerite had a very cheerful dis-
position and usually amused herself with-
out any trouble, but all her life she had
had hours of being terribly lonely with
longing for another child to play with.
She had not lived near any children
when in the country with her mother,
and since she had been living with Uncle
Henry and Aunt Caroline she had not
seemed to make friends with any of the
wonderfully dressed little girls who came
with their mammas to call upon her.
She had never been sent to school, but
had always had lessons at home.
Her mother had taught her the games
and plays of the kindergarten, and now
she had a governess.
Marguerite was a very lovely little girl.
She looked like the pictures you have
seen of the Queen of the fairies.
Her hair was fine, and as light as flax,
27







TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


withjusta tinge of yellow in it. Her cheeks
were like the petals of a peach-blossom.
A little girl ten years old could hardly
have been more unconsciously sweet and
attractive.
Just for the last half-hour, sitting
in the library window-seat, while Uncle
Henry was taking his nap, and Aunt
Caroline was busy, she had been having
one of her lonely times.
Ever since she was five years old, when
she had first begun to pray, Marguerite
had asked God night and morning to
send her a little sister.
Since her father and mother had died,
she had continued the prayer with this
added clause: -
I know it will have to be an adopted
sister now, dear Father, but I don't mind.
I need a sister more than I did when
mamma was alive, so please do send me
one soon."
The house seemed unusually still this
28







MARGUERITE'S LITTLE SISTER

afternoon. Outside, the sun was shining,
but Marguerite never loved the city very
well, and to-day the long lines of brick
houses looked more dreary than ever to
the little country girl. She must have
forgotten, and sobbed aloud and wakened
her uncle, for he suddenly sat up and
looked sleepily about him.
Do I hear you there in the window-
seat, Birdie? he asked. Birdie" was
his pet name for Marguerite.
"Yes, sir," Marguerite answered, has-
tily wiping her eyes.
"What are you sitting there so still
for? Why don't you play? It is a
beautiful day. You should go with Miss
Atwell for a walk."
"I will pretty soon, Uncle Henry; I
was just sitting thinking," the little girl
answered, sweetly.
"I hope they were happy thoughts,"
he said, and crossing the room he pulled
aside the curtain and looked in.
29







TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


Why, what is the matter ? he asked,
drawing her into his arms. "Why are
you sitting here crying all alone? Tell
uncle all about it."
"I 'm so lonesome sobbed the little
girl, glad at last to unburden her heart.
"Oh, Uncle Henry, why didn't God
give me a brother or a sister, so I would n't
have to play alone? I've prayed and
prayed for one "
There, there, darling, don't cry so!
Have you told Aunt Caroline how lonely
you are ? "
"No, I couldn't, but I used to tell
mamma; I always wished I had a sister."
I must see about having some child
come in and play with you oftener," said
her uncle. There 's Gracie Carleton -
she is a nice little girl, is n't she ? "
"I guess so, but she always wears a
dress that she's afraid of spoiling, and
she'd rather talk than play; she's most
like a lady. She laughs at dolls."







MARGUERITE'S LITTLE SISTER

"Well, some other little girl, then.
Aunt Caroline will know of just the one.
We must see that our dear little girl is
not lonely again. And now we will go
for a nice long ride before dinner; that
always wakes you up."
So Marguerite, on her little Shetland
pony, and Uncle Henry on his large
handsome bay, went for a gallop in the
park.
It was somewhere near midnight of
that very night that Marguerite woke
suddenly and sat up in bed.
The front door-bell was ringing. It
rang three times in quick succession, and
then all was still !
Who could have come at such a
late hour when every one was sound
asleep ?
She jumped out of bed and ran out
into the hall, and leaned over the banister
and listened.
No one was stirring in the great house.







TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


Again the bell rang four times sharply
and clearly.
"I 'm going to open the door," said
Marguerite. "Whoever it is, is in a
big hurry to ring like that." Without
a thought of fear the little girl ran down
the two flights of stairs, and, wrapping
herself in her uncle's great-coat that hung
in the lower hall, she hastily unlocked
and opened the door. It was a dark
night in November. No one stood on
the step waiting to be admitted. What
could it mean? Had she only dreamed
that she had heard the bell ring? But
she knew that she had distinctly heard
it as she leaned over the banister.
Well, whoever it was has run off,"
she said to herself, and was about to
close the door when she heard a faint
sigh. She looked down, and there on
the steps at her feet sat a little girl, a
very little girl, wrapped in a large flannel
blanket!







MARGUERITE'S LITTLE SISTER

Marguerite knelt down and put her
arm around her. "What are you sitting
here for, little girl ? she asked.
"I was waiting for you to open the
door," said a clear, tiny voice from the
blanket.
"Who left you here all alone? "
I don't know who it was," answered
the little stranger.
"Well, come into the house; it's cold,
and I'm in my nighty. Come in, and
I '11 light the gas and call Aunt Caroline."
The little one untwisted herself from
the blanket and followed Marguerite into
the warm hall.
"Why, you are just shivering with
cold, you poor little thing! Here, I 'm
going to wrap this sofa rug around
you.
The child looked up at Marguerite
with beautiful brown eyes, and smiled.
"I guess I won't be cold now," she
said cheerfully.







TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


She did not seem in the least afraid, or
impressed by her grand surroundings.
"What is your name, darling? asked
Marguerite.
Lucy," said the waif.
And don't you really know who left
you on our doorstep ?"
"Perhaps it was Mary."
"Who is Mary?" Marguerite lifted
the child upon the sofa and knelt down
before her.
She lives with Janey and me."
"Well, who is Janey, then? Margue-
rite insisted.
"Janey that lives with Mary."
The two children made a very pretty
picture. Lucy was dark, as dark as Mar-
guerite was fair, and though she was sadly
ragged and dirty, it was plain to see she
was an unusual child.
The gas was not turned high, and it
gave but a feeble light. The room was
full of shadows. There was no sound in








MARGUERITE'S LITTLE SISTER

all the great house except the solemn tick-
ing of the tall clock and the two soft voices.
Suddenly Lucy threw her little arms
around Marguerite's neck. I love you,
I do !" she exclaimed.
Marguerite returned the caress in
earnest.
I love you too, and I '11 just tell you
what I believe. I believe God sent you
here to be my own little sister! I've
prayed and prayed for a little sister all
my life, and now you've come. I'm
going to coax Uncle Henry to let you
stay always and forever, and live here! "
The child's lips quivered.
"I want to go home," she said. I
want to see my Janey Her voice had
a delicate little piping sound like a bird's.
Of course you can go home the first
thing in the morning, if you want to;
don't cry, but I wish you could stay.
Where is your home, Lucy?"
"I don't know where."
35








TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


Have you a mamma? Is Janey your
mamma ?"
Lucy shook her head.
"Have you a papa?" asked Margue-
rite, cuddling her close in her arms, and
kissing her.
"I don't know what is a papa," an-
swered the little one.
"You mean you don't remember him,
I guess. I don't remember mine either.
He died when I was a wee, wee baby."
Lucy's eyelids drooped, though she
still smiled sweetly.
"How old are you?" Marguerite
asked. She was wide awake with the
excitement, and did not notice that Lucy
could hardly hold up her head.
I guess I 'm eleven, 'bout."
Marguerite laughed gayly.
"Why, you're not a bit more than two
years old, you silly little thing!" The
child laughed too, and patted Marguerite's
cheeks with both her chubby hands.
36







MARGUERITE'S LITTLE SISTER

Yes, I are too Yes, I are too 1" she
declared.
Do you want to sleep with me, right
in my own bed with me, and wear one
of my funny long nighties ? You'll have
to be washed all cleanie, cleanie. Just
see how black your dear little paddies
are.
Lucy surveyed her hands with grave
interest.
If you '11 sit here just a minute and
be good, I '11 run and call my auntie, and
she'll help me give you a bath, and then
we '11 go beddies."
But at that moment Uncle Henry and
Aunt Caroline appeared at the head of the
stairs. They had wakened and had heard
voices in the lower hall. At first they
thought burglars had broken into the
house; but when they listened again, they
had recognized their little niece's voice
and laugh, and, wondering why she was
up in the middle of the night, they had
37







TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


hurried to the head of the stairs, and from
there had seen the pretty picture I have
described to you.
Oh, Aunt Caroline," Marguerite cried,
springing to her feet when she saw them,
"I found this dear little thing on our
doorstep! Some one rang the bell, and
then ran off and left her there all alone !
She says she was asleep, and does n't know
who it was. Is n't she cunning? You
don't know what a darling she is. She
isn't one speck afraid of me, not one
speck! "
"Why, dear, did you come down alone
in the night and open the door ? Aunt
Caroline's face expressed great alarm, as
they came quickly down the stairs.
"Yes, they rang so loud they woke me
up, and then they rang again, and no one
heard them, so I ran down and opened it,
and I couldn't see a thing, it was so
dark; and then I saw her sitting, all
wrapped up in an old blanket. Her







MARGUERITE'S LITTLE SISTER

name is Lucy. Is n't she pretty, Uncle
Henry? "
Uncle Henry had seated himself on the
sofa by the small stranger.
Look here, youngster, who left you
on our doorstep ? he asked.
Lucy looked up into his face for an
instant, and then hung her head and made
no reply.
"You must tell me, you see, so I can
take you right home to your mamma.
What is the name of the street you live
on? "
"She says she has n't a mamma, and
that she lives with Janey and Mary, but
she can't tell who they are," Marguerite
answered. Please let her stay until
morning, Aunt Caroline, and sleep with
me. See, her eyes keep going shut, she
is so sleepy. Please let her stay."
"Sleep with you, my dear? That
dirty little street child sleep with you ? "
"We can give her a bath, and she '11
39







TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


look so darling in one of my long
nighties; please let her stay."
"I don't see but she '11 have to stay,"
said Uncle Henry. Poor baby she is
too near asleep to tell us anything about
herself to-night." Lucy's head rested
confidingly against his arm.
"She seems to take it for granted we
are friends. Most children would be
screaming with fright to find themselves
in a strange house at this time of night,"
said Aunt Caroline. Yes; I suppose
she'll have to stay."
"And sleep with me! cried Mar-
guerite, dancing up and down.
Uncle Henry lifted Lucy into his arms,
and Aunt Caroline and Marguerite fol-
lowed him upstairs. It was touching to
see how patient and good the little thing
was while they were giving her her bath.
She smiled through it all and made not
a word of complaint.
Uncle Henry and Aunt Caroline were
40







MARGUERITE'S LITTLE SISTER

as delighted with her as Marguerite, when
at last she was lifted from the tub, clean
and sweet as any baby need be.
Is n't she beautiful, Aunt Caroline?
I never, never saw such a lovely baby "
Marguerite said, clapping her hands joy-
ously. "Look at her hair, -what soft,
pretty curls Oh, I do wish you could n't
find her home, and she could live with us
always and be my little sister. I 've al-
ways wanted one so much. Will she have
to go away in the morning ? "
"Yes, indeed; we couldn't keep her.
You mustn't think of such a thing.
Why, we don't know anything at all
about her, Marguerite!" said Aunt
Caroline.
"In the morning, when she is wide
awake, I think she can tell us enough
about herself so that we can find her
home," said Uncle Henry; "she seems
to be a very bright child."
Almost the moment Lucy's head
41







TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


touched the pillow she was asleep; but
Marguerite lay awake for a long, long
time, thinking over the excitement, and
how happy she would be if only Lucy's
home could never be found.
At daylight Marguerite woke, and there
was the dear little face on the pillow be-
side hers. She crept over and kissed her
softly, and Lucy half opened her eyes
and smiled.
"Oh, I can't, can't let her go away
to-day! I do hope she won't remember
where she lives, and never will remem-
ber !" She cuddled Lucy close in her
arms, and after a few minutes fell asleep
again herself.


II

The children were still both asleep
when Aunt Caroline came into the room
at eight o'clock.
"Come, little sleepy kittens," she said,







MARGUERITE'S LITTLE SISTER

bending over them, "it is nearly time for
breakfast."
Marguerite's eyes opened at once.
"Oh, auntie, she is so sweet to sleep
with; she has hardly moved all night."
Lucy pulled herself loose from Mar-
guerite's arms, and sat up and looked
wonderingly about her.
"Good-morning, Lucy; what do you
think of this strange place? asked Aunt
Caroline.
I want to get up," said Lucy; and
she slipped from the bed and ran across
the room to the window.
"Why, did you ever see such a child?
How full of life she is exclaimed Aunt
Caroline.
"Does n't she talk plainly, auntie, for
such a baby? She says every word as
distinctly as I do."
Where is out of doors ? asked Lucy,
turning from the window.
"Why, right out of the window, you
43







TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


little goosie," said Marguerite, laughing
and jumping out of bed.
No, it is n't; there are n't any trees
out there," answered Lucy.
"I guess you're a little girl who has
lived in-the country," said Aunt Caroline.
"I want my clothes on and go out of
doors and play," said Lucy, running up
and down the room, and holding Mar-
guerite's long night-gown out of the way
of her feet. "Where are my clothes ? "
"It won't do to put on her own dirty
clothes," Aunt Caroline said, catching the
child up in her arms. "You'll get your
little tooties cold without any shoes and
stockings, Lucy."
"After breakfast you can go and buy
her some clothes, and now she can wear
my red wrapper pinned up around," Mar-
guerite replied, running to the closet for
it. "I planned about it last night."
And so Lucy was dressed in some of
Marguerite's under-clothes and the red
44







MARGUERITE'S LITTLE SISTER

wrapper, and tripped gayly down the
stairs, holding Aunt Caroline's hand.
Marguerite followed, laughing and clap-
ping her hands.
"She does look so funny, auntie!
Won't Uncle Henry laugh when he
sees her ?"
And you should have heard Uncle
Henry laugh as Lucy walked before them
into the dining-room.
Well, who comes here? he cried.
"What grand lady with a trail to her
gown is this ? "
"I 'm Lucy," said the child, holding
up her arms to him. Don't you know
I'm Lucy ? "
Bless her One would think she had
always known me," said Uncle Henry,
taking her up in his arms.
"I never saw a child like her," said
Aunt Caroline. "She does n't seem to
know what fear is. If she was n't so
tiny, I should certainly think she was
45







TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


at least six years old. She speaks so
distinctly it is quite startling."
Some large books were piled on a chair,
to make a seat high enough for Lucy at
the table, and then they all sat down to
breakfast. Lucy was very hungry. She
ate her breakfast in silence, watching
everything about her with wide-awake
interest.
Now, little one," Uncle Henry said,
taking her again in his arms at the close
of the meal, "can you tell us where you
live ?"
I live with my Janey."
"And what is the name of the street
where your Janey lives? Now try to
think."
Lucy gave him one of her most be-
witching smiles, and shook her finger at
him.
"It's where Mary is, and I want to
go and see her, I do."
"It seems strange," said Uncle Henry,
46







MARGUERITE'S LITTLE SISTER

" that so intelligent a child should remem-
ber so little."
"Oh, goody! thought Marguerite,
standing near with a beating heart; "she
can't remember, we 'll have to keep
her !"
"I think her home has been in the
country somewhere," said Aunt Caroline.
"She ran to the window to look for the
trees the minute she was out of bed."
Does Janey live where the trees are? "
asked Uncle Henry.
Lucy nodded her head for yes," and,
slipping from his knee, ran to the window.
I want to go out in the yard and play !
I want my clothes on and without any
other warning she began to cry.
Marguerite ran to her and comforted
her.
Auntie is going to the store and buy
Lucy some pretty new clothes; and when
she comes back, you can have them on,
and we will go out of doors and play.
47







TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


Do you want to take my big dolly? It's
a big, big dolly, almost as big as Lucy "
Lucy stopped crying as suddenly as she
had begun, and dimpled with pleasure.
Come, we will go upstairs and play
Lntil auntie brings your clothes."
All the forenoon Marguerite played
with Lucy and her dolls in her own
sunny room.
What a happy morning it was! she had
never passed another like it. Just before
lunch Aunt Caroline returned, and there
followed the great interest of trying on
Lucy's new clothes.
The dear baby would have delighted
the heart of any one who could have seen
her in her dainty dress of pink cashmere.
Marguerite danced round and round
the room.
Oh, Lucy, you look just like a big
live dolly !" she cried.
And then the four other dresses were
tried on, and in each one Marguerite
48







MARGUERITE'S LITTLE SISTER

declared she was lovelier than in the
last.
"I think the reason that Lucy is
charming is because she is so natural;
but you will soon spoil her, dear, if you
tell her how pretty she is," said Aunt
Caroline, who noticed that the child was
growing excited with so much unusual
admiration.
"I want my Janey to see me," said
Lucy, trotting up and down before a long
looking-glass in a dress of cherry-colored
wool. "Take me to her! Take me to
her She took hold of Aunt Caroline's
hand and pulled it.
Marguerite's uncle has gone to find
your Janey for you, and very soon you
shall go home to her," said Aunt Caroline.
Oh, has he ? I did n't know he had "
Marguerite caught her breath. "You
don't suppose he '11 find her, auntie ? "
"I certainly hope so, dear."
Then we can't keep her If he looks







TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


and looks and doesn't find her home,
then we will keep her, won't we?"
I think we shall find her home with-
out any trouble. This is not a large
city," answered Aunt Caroline.
But two weeks passed by, and nothing
had been learned of Lucy's home.
Marguerite lived in a state of great
excitement. Every day she feared that
her uncle would learn something, and
Lucy would be taken away. But who
Janey and Mary were, or where they
lived, no one was ever destined to know.
Marguerite had never been so happy
in all her life. There was no time for
loneliness now. Lucy was like a sprite,
here and there and everywhere.
She had a wonderfully affectionate na-
ture, and said and did so many bright
and funny things that Uncle Henry had
grown as fond of her as Marguerite. He
felt that it would be a fine thing for his
little niece to have her always in the







MARGUERITE'S LITTLE SISTER

house, and was quite satisfied as the days
went by and! he learned nothing of her
home.
But Aunt Caroline, while she was in-
terested in the child, had never for a
moment contemplated keeping her.
One afternoon, while Lucy was having
her nap, Marguerite was in the library,
writing a letter to her grandmamma. Her
attention was suddenly attracted by the
murmur of her aunt's and uncle's voices
talking together in the next room, and
this is what she heard them say, -
"A good home can be found for her
without any trouble, if you really think
she must go." It was Uncle Henry's
voice in a sad tone.
I wish you had taken her away at
once. We ought n't to have kept her,
even for a day. It will be a great disap-
pointment to Marguerite, I know; but
I can't take the responsibility of another
child at my age," replied Aunt Caroline.







TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


"She's a very attractive child, and
she's almost sure to be a talented woman
with her remarkably quick, bright ways,"
pleaded Uncle Henry.
Please don't urge me to keep her,
dear," Aunt Caroline answered earnestly.
"If I were a younger woman, or had
better health, I might think of it, but
as it is, I can't bring my mind to con-
sider it at all."
"Well, I will go around to the
'Children's Home' to-morrow or next
day, and arrange for her being taken
away. Poor Marguerite, how can we
tell her ? It will almost break her heart,
I 'm afraid."
Just then he looked up, and saw his
little niece standing in the doorway, the
tears streaming down her cheeks.
Oh, there you are, darling; come in.
Did you hear what auntie and I were
talking about ?"
"Yes; I could n't help hearing." She







MARGUERITE'S LITTLE SISTER

ran across the room and threw her arms
around Aunt Caroline's neck.
"I will take care of Lucy, auntie.
You need n't have a bit of the trouble.
I '11 wash her and dress her and every-
thing. Please, please don't send her away
to a Children's Home'! "
Marguerite dearest, you know I
would do anything for you that I could,
but this is impossible."
"We can have a nurse for her," Mar-
guerite pleaded; "other children have
nurses. I '11 study twice as hard, and
I '11 never complain when I have to
practise."
Aunt Caroline shook her head.
"A nurse could not relieve me of my
responsibility in the care and training of
a little child. If Lucy stayed at all, she
would have to stay as my child, and I
should want to give her the same care
and attention that I have given you. I
have thought it all over, and I am not
53







TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


strong enough to undertake it; so please,
if you love auntie, don't say anything
more about it."
Uncle Henry held out his hand to her.
c Come here, darling," he said; but
Marguerite turned and ran quickly from
the room.
She went upstairs to her own room,
and lay down on the floor under the
window and cried and cried and cried.
It seemed as though her heart would
break, and she felt sure she could never
be happy again.
The door opened softly, and Lucy,
bright from her nap, tiptoed into the
yoom.
I woke up," she said gayly. "Here
I am, Marguerite; I woke up "
Oh, Lucy, Aunt Caroline is going
to send you away. I thought you were
going to live with us and be my little
sister," Marguerite sobbed brokenly.
Lucy sat down on the floor by her side.







MARGUERITE'S LITTLE SISTER

" I won't go away; I will stay and be
your little sister," she said.
"No; they won't let you. They're
going to take you away to a horrid old
'Children's Home,' and I '11 be left all
alone again."
Lucy began to cry too. She was
thoroughly frightened by Marguerite's
grief.
I won't go away," she screamed, kick-
ing her heels on the floor. I won't go
to a Children's Home' "
All at once she jumped up and ran
out of the room. Marguerite called her,
but she did not answer. After waiting
a few minutes, she went out in the hall
and called again, but no Lucy answered.
She ran from room to room, still call-
ing, but no Lucy could she find.
At last she went downstairs and told
Uncle Henry and Aunt Caroline, and
they joined in the search. The servants
left their work in the kitchen and looked
high and low. 55







TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


They began to fear that in her fright
the child had somehow opened the front
door and run away.
Uncle Henry put on his hat and coat
and went out and notified the police, and
all the neighboring streets were searched
from end to end, but still the child was
not found.
It grew dark. Two hours had passed
since the search began.
Marguerite had cried until she was
completely worn out. Her head ached
terribly, and she looked so pale that Aunt
Caroline finally coaxed her to lie down on
the sofa in the library, where she soon fell
asleep.
All this time Lucy lay safely hid in a
linen closet. A deep drawer stood partly
open, half filled with sheets and pillow-
cases, and into the back of this she had
crept, and lain as still as a mouse while
they were searching the house. The
thought of the "Children's Home" had
56







MARGUERITE'S LITTLE SISTER

so terrified the poor little thing it is
doubtful if she would ever have found
courage to come out of her own accord.
The chamber-maid found her, when she
happened to go there on some errand at
nine o'clock that night.


III
The next morning Lucy seemed to have
forgotten her fright over the "Children's
Home;" and when the time came for her
to go away in the afternoon she told
Aunt Caroline and Marguerite good-bye
with smiles and kisses, and still smiled
back at them over Uncle Henry's shoul-
der as he carried her down the steps. As
soon as they were fairly out of sight at
the turn of the street, Marguerite threw
herself on the sofa, and sobbed and cried
in the most broken-hearted way. Aunt
Caroline was really very thoughtless and
unkind. She scolded Marguerite for
57







TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


being unreasonable, and went away to her
own room and left the poor child alone,
and of course this made her cry harder
than before. All day she lay about and
did not play, and could not eat her dinner,
and was more unhappy than she had
ever known a little girl could be.
When Uncle Henry came home he
tried to comfort her by telling her that
Lucy would be well taken care of, and
that the Children's Home" was not
nearly as unpleasant a place as she
imagined.
I am going to be good, and stop cry-
ing," Marguerite said, sitting on his knee;
"but every time I stop, I think how cun-
ning she was, and how I love her, and
supposing she goes to live with some one
and they are unkind to her."
If Aunt Caroline was strong and well
I should not have consented to part with
the dear baby; but you love auntie more
than you do Lucy, after all, don't you? "
58








MARGUERITE'S LITTLE SISTER

"Yes, I suppose so," Marguerite an-
swered; but in her heart she was won-
dering if she loved Aunt Caroline at
all, and felt wickedly sure that she did
not.
"Oh, I 'm so tired, and my head aches
as though it would break," she said,
throwing her arms restlessly about.
Uncle Henry rocked her gently back
and forth.
"I shall never, never pray again," she
said, after a few moments' silence. It's
no use!"
"My dear child, you must n't say that,"
Uncle Henry answered, kissing her.
"Well, what's the use? If God ever
does answer prayers, people can spoil it
all if they want to."
"Some time, perhaps, we shall under-
stand all these things, darling."
I loved Lucy as well as though she
were my very own sister, I know I did.
Supposing she had been my own sister,
59







TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


and mamma had died and left us, would
Aunt Caroline have sent her away to a
'Children's Home'?"
No, that would have been impossible,
of course."
"Well, then, she could have kept her
if she had wanted to. She was ashamed
to because Lucy was a poor little street
child."
"Marguerite !" said Uncle Henry, in
a grieved tone. "Do you know what
you are saying ? "
"Yes, I do. I thought about it all
day and last night," she said excitedly.
Her cheeks were flushed, and her eyes
were feverish. "Aunt Caroline told me
what a rich woman I shall be sometime.
She says all your houses and money, and
all of hers, will be mine some day. I'd
give them all if I could have Lucy. I 'd
just as soon be poor; mamma and I were
poor, and we did n't mind. I could work
when I'm grown up."
6o







MARGUERITE'S LITTLE SISTER

Uncle Henry lifted her in his arms
and carried her over and laid her down
on the sofa.
"You must not talk any more now,
dear; close your eyes and lie still; per-
haps you will have a little nap."
"Are you going to bring Lucy back? "
"I '11 talk with Aunt Caroline."
"What makes my head ache so, Uncle
Henry? It burns like fire. Are you
going to sit down by me ? "
"Yes, just for a minute, if you will
promise to stop talking."
"Don't let Aunt Caroline come and
talk to me. She thinks I 'm awfully
bad and wicked to cry and make such
a fuss. She scolded and scolded after
you went away. You won't let her come
in, will you ? "
"Hush, darling; be quiet; close your
eyes."
"Take your hand off my head; it's too
heavy."







TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


My hand is n't on your head, child."
"Yes, it is, and it's so big and hot;
please take it off, Uncle Henry "
Uncle Henry's face had grown very
grave. He rang the bell, and when the
maid came he said, -
Bring a bowl of ice-water and sit here
by Miss Marguerite's side and keep cold
cloths on her head until I return."
"Oh, that will feel so good," Mar-
guerite said, "and bring me some water,
too, Katy. I want a cold drink."
Uncle Henry had reached the door.
"Don't let Aunt Caroline come in, will
you? "
"No, dear; I will tell her you're going
to sleep."
My head feels so big, big, big, just
like a big bushel-basket! "
"That is only because you've cried so
much. Here's Katy with the ice-water.
Now close your eyes. Don't let her talk,
Katy."







MARGUERITE'S LITTLE SISTER

Uncle Henry met Aunt Caroline in the
hall as he was going out.
"I am afraid Marguerite has made her-
self ill, grieving over the baby's going
away," he said hurriedly. "I think
I '11 go and ask Dr. Holden to step
around and see her."
"Nonsense! she will be all right in
the morning. You encourage her in
being unreasonable."
Uncle Henry looked at Aunt Caroline
with his kind brown eyes for a moment
before he answered,-
"She is quite feverish. I think I will
go." Then he looked down and added,
"She begs that you will not come into
the room, and perhaps you'd better stay
away until the doctor has seen her; Katy
is with her."
"If the child is really ill, I shall go in
and take care of her," said Aunt Caroline,
decidedly.
"No, you must not," Uncle Henry







TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


answered in his slow, gentle voice; "she
is in a very excitable state, and I prom-
ised her you would not come in."
"I suppose I was impatient with her,
but it does seem as though she might
think how hard it all is for me," said
Aunt Caroline.
Uncle Henry stooped and kissed her.
"It will be all right," he said tenderly,
and then put on his hat and hurried away.
Aunt Caroline had been an invalid the
greater part of her life, and it had seemed
almost more than she could undertake to
have Marguerite come and live with them
when her mother died.
She went to her room now and thought
it all over and over again, just as she had
so many times before.
She knew that Uncle Henry was as
greatly disappointed over Lucy's going
away as Marguerite, and she missed the
dear baby more than she had dreamed
she could. All at once it seemed as







MARGUERITE'S LITTLE SISTER

though a good angel must have whis-
pered to Aunt Caroline a way out of
her difficulties.
If only Esther would consent to come
and live with us, she could take entire
charge of both children," she thought.
Esther was an unmarried sister of Uncle
Henry's, who lived in a distant State.
She went to her desk and wrote a long
letter to Aunt Esther, and rang for a
maid to go out and mail it, and felt
more light-hearted than she had for many
days.
The doctor came, and said that Mar-
guerite was simply over-excited and fever-
ish, and would be all right in a day or
two.
The next morning before she was
dressed Marguerite ran into Aunt Caro-
line's room.
"Oh, auntie, you didn't come and
kiss me last night! "
But you have come in to kiss me







TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


this morning, so it is all right!" said
Aunt Caroline, bending to kiss her.
I know I was naughty, but it seemed
as though I could n't let Lucy go away."
Perhaps all your clouds will be turned
to sunshine, darling. Who do you think
I have asked to come and live with us ? "
Lucy Oh, Aunt Caroline !"
I wrote to Aunt Esther last night and
asked her to come and live with us and
take care of two little girls and a fussy,
sick old woman."
You're not fussy Will Uncle Henry
go and bring Lucy home to-day ?"
"You must wait until we hear what
Aunt Esther says; nothing is decided,
so don't let your hopes run too high."
"She'll come; I know she will. I
wrote her the longest letter about Lucy.
She knows how much I loved her and
wanted her to stay. When shall we hear
from her ? "
"In a day or two. I asked her to
write at once."







MARGUERITE'S LITTLE SISTER

It will be a long time to wait. Sup-
posing some one else takes Lucy ? "
But Aunt Esther, who understood chil-
dren perfectly, and knew what suspense
Marguerite would be in, telegraphed her
answer. The message came the next
morning while they were at the breakfast
table.
"I shall be with you on Saturday
night," the message read.
You can only imagine the happiness
that Aunt Esther's letter brought Mar-
guerite, if you have ever been very sor-
rowful, and then have suddenly been made
very glad.
"You will go right away and bring
Lucy home, won't you, Uncle Henry?
Supposing some one else has taken her!"
"Yes; you must go at once," said
Aunt Caroline, though I do not think in
two days it is possible she can have gone."
The minute Uncle Henry finished his
breakfast he hurried away to the "Chil-
67







TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


dren's Home," and Aunt Caroline waited
quite as anxiously as Marguerite for his
return.
Oh, how happy Uncle Henry was
that morning! It seemed as if his feet
could not bear him fast enough on his
glad errand; and when he had gone
half the distance, he jumped into a cab,
and rattled off at a great pace.
"What if I should not find the dear
baby; how could I ever go home and
tell Marguerite ? he thought.
At last he reached the Children's
Home" and ran up the steps and rang
the bell. A tiny, thin-faced boy opened
the door.
I've come to take little Lucy home
with me. Can you tell me if she is here
still, my boy?" Uncle Henry asked hastily.
The child's face brightened.
"Yes, sir, if it's the Lucy that's up in
the nursery you mean. Wait a minute;
I '11 tell Papa Taylor."
68







MARGUERITE'S LITTLE SISTER

He ran away into the office at one side
of the hall, and came back presently hand
in hand with the superintendent of the
Home, a dear old gentleman, with long
white hair and a pleasant smile.
"I am glad to hear you've changed
your mind and come back for that blessed
baby," he said, shaking Uncle Henry's
hand. "We never have had her equal
in this Home."
He led the way up to the nursery,
where they found Lucy running about in a
little checked apron with the other babies.
But when she saw Uncle Henry, she
threw up her arms, and screamed with
delight, and ran to him. Uncle Henry
caught her up in his arms, held her
close, and called her, Little daughter !"
The nurse and the superintendent
wiped the tears from their eyes, and all
the other babies stood around with wide-
open eyes of wonder and interest.
"I want to see my Marguerite.







TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


Where is she? asked Lucy, in her
quick, distinct little way.
"She is at home with Aunt Caroline."
"Is she ? Will she come here and see
me too ? "
"No, but you shall go and see her."
"Now, right now ?"
"Yes, right now."
Aunt Carolyn will rock me. Nurse
has too many babies," said Lucy, with a
thoughtful look at the other babies.
The nurse told Uncle Henry how dear
and good Lucy had been since she came
to them.
"We would have found no trouble in
getting one of the best of homes for her.
I never knew a child so quick and clever-
witted, and with such a remarkable voice.
If you had come a day or two later, I
am sure you would not have found her.
Almost every day we have people come
in who take away the bright and pretty
children, but for these poor motherless







MARGUERITE'S LITTLE SISTER

little things that need love and a home
quite as much, it is not so easy to
provide."
Uncle Henry looked down at the
twenty or thirty babies toddling or crawl-
ing on the nursery floor, and his great
fatherly heart yearned to adopt them all,
and care for them.
There were some wonderfully inter-
esting little faces, and many childless
fathers and mothers might have found
here their heart's delight for the asking.
Uncle Henry and Lucy were soon on
their way home.
I am going to be your papa now,
Lucy. Do you understand, you are my
own little girl ? "
No; you are Uncle Henry," an-
swered Lucy, hugging him tight. And
it was many years before she could be
persuaded to call him anything else.
Marguerite and Aunt Caroline were
in the hall to receive them when they







TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


reached home, and a small princess never
came to her palace with a more loving
welcome.
Marguerite felt sure that Lucy had
come to stay when she saw the tears in
Aunt Caroline's eyes as she held her in
her arms and kissed her.
"'You are my little sister now," said
Marguerite. "Are you glad, Lucy ?"
"Yes, I am glad," answered Lucy,
with one small hand pressing Aunt
Caroline's cheek, and her other arm
around Marguerite's neck. And then,
all at once, she looked around the room,
and her little lips quivered. "Where is
my Janey ?" she asked.
Aunt Caroline shook her head, but
no one spoke. It was a very sad
moment.
And so Lucy was adopted and grew
to be a woman in this beautiful home
as Marguerite's little sister. She was a
lovely baby, and as she grew older every
72







MARGUERITE'S LITTLE SISTER

one realized more and more that she had
an equally lovely disposition.
How many friends she had, and how
easily she made them !
Her voice, that had always been so
-clear and sweet, proved to be a wonder-
ful gift. When she was still very small,
Lucy could sing like a bird; and as she
grew older her voice grew rich and full
and more beautiful, until she became one
of the greatest singers in the world, -
the little Lucy who was found on the
doorstep !







TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


BETTY SPARROW'S FIRST
WHITE DRESS

"IF the pieces are small, shall I drop three
in a hill ? Betty called to her father.
Mr. Sparrow was just ahead with the
horse and plough, turning furrows in the
dark, damp soil.
Betty was dropping potatoes for him.
She was nine years old, and this was the
second summer she had helped her father
with the potato-planting. He paid her
five cents for every peck she dropped.
Mr. Sparrow stopped the horse and
looked back at her.
Yes, if the pieces are very small, drop
three in a hill; but don't waste the po-
tatoes so you'll get a peck dropped
sooner.
"Why, father, you know I would n't
do that! "







BETTY SPARROW'S DRESS


Mr. Sparrow laughed. "You get a
peck dropped so soon, I 'm afraid you
tuck pieces under the dirt where there
shouldn't be a hill."
"You can hunt and see," Betty an-
swered. "You'll find two and then
three, two and then three ;" she counted
and dropped as she spoke.
Her father waited until she had over-
taken him.
Well, are you tired out ? he asked.
"The sun is pretty hot for you, is n't
it?"
"No, I'm not tired a bit." Betty's
feet were bare, and she drew them back
and forth in the warm earth, and smiled
up at him from under her blue gingham
sunbonnet.
Don't you think you'd better run up
to the house and help mother awhile ? "
I want to stay and help you till noon.
Father, did I have a white dress when I
was a baby? "







TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


Why, yes, I suppose you did. What
put that question into your head ? "
Gracie Newell has a new white dress.
She asked me if I ever had one, and I
told her no. I forgot about when I was
a baby. I told her light calico dresses
were just as pretty, anyway. Her dress
has six ruffles. It's so beautiful! I'd
have to drop bushels and bushels of po-
tatoes before I could earn enough to buy
one, would n't I ?"
"I don't know what one would cost,
I'm sure. We'll have to ask your
mother about it."
"I know she'll say I don't need it,"
Betty answered, turning away.
There was a new light calico dress in
the closet that she had never worn. It
was a very pretty dress, white with tiny
blue dots, and she had a new sundown
hat with a green wreath to wear with it.
The little girl went back and forth,
back and forth across the five-acre field,








BETTY SPARROW'S DRESS


dropping potatoes and measuring the
distance between the hills with her bare
feet.
Fifty pecks at five cents a peck would
make two dollars and a half, and I have
fifty cents; that would be nearly enough.
Oh, I do wish I could earn it in time to
have it made for the Fourth of July pic-
nic I know mother won't let me have
it unless I can earn it."
A flock of blackbirds flew over her
head, and perched in a line on the fence
near by, and chattered gayly together, but
Betty was too busy thinking to notice
them.
It was a beautiful spring day. The
fields, the orchards, and the woods, in all
the shades of tender green, lay like a pic-
ture around her.
After a while Mrs. Sparrow came to
the edge of the field and called to them
that dinner was ready. Betty threw
down her pail and ran to her father.
77







TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


May I ride Nellie up to the barn for
you ? she asked.
Mr. Sparrow was unhitching the horse
from the plough.
"Why, yes, you may if you want to,"
he replied good-naturedly. He tied up
the traces securely, and tossed Betty on
the horse's back, and she trotted away
across the field, holding closely to the
bridle.
Ride around to the well and give
Nellie a drink," her father called after
her. And look out you don't get
caught by the hair when you go under
the plum-trees."
"All right; I hear," Betty called back.
What a good child she is her father
thought. She ought to have a white
dress if she wants one, but I am afraid
her mother will not agree to it."
When Betty reached the well, she
slipped from Nellie's back and stood
talking to her while she drank.
78







BETTY SPARROW'S DRESS


The plum-trees that grew all around
the well were full of little pink buds
just bursting into bloom, and the honey-
bees were noisy among them.
Hear the bees buzzing, Nellie; sup-
posing you were a bee instead of a horse,
you would have honey for your dinner,
and not old dry oats and hay. I 'm
going to have something good for my
dinner; smell it? Don't you wish you
were a little girl, so you could have some ? "
Nellie looked at her with her big con-
tented brown eyes, and shook her head.
She was really only shaking off a fly, but
Betty took it for an answer.
Father, Nellie understands every word
I say to her; I know she does."
Mr. Sparrow was pumping fresh water
in the watering-trough.
I don't doubt it; she has more in-
telligence than a great many people.
Run in and help mother; I '11 take her
to the barn."







TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


Betty threw her arms around the
horse's neck, and kissed the white star
on her forehead.
You blessed old pet! I love you
next best to mother and father!"
"Well, if you love mother, run along
and help her take up the dinner," her
father answered, laughing.
"If she says I may have a white
dress, do you say so?" Betty asked,
stopping as she turned to go into the
house.
Yes, I say so; but I would n't bother
her about it now while she's busy."
"What smells so good, mother?"
Betty asked, as she went into the warm
kitchen.
"That rhubarb-pie, I guess. Hurry
and wash your hands and bring a fresh
pitcher of water from the well."
Gracie Newell has a new white dress;
it has ruffles clear to the waist," Betty
could not resist saying, as she wiped her
8o







BETTY SPARROW'S DRESS


face on the towel and peeped out at her
mother.
Her mother smiled, but made no
answer.
She's going to wear it to church
Sunday. If I had one, I'd want to
keep it fresh for the Fourth of July
picnic."
Mrs. Sparrow hummed a little tune,
still smiling. She seemed so unusually
good-natured that Betty neglected her
father's warning.
"Father says I may have a new white
dress if you say so."
"Have a new white dress Well, you
can't; you don't need it. Run along
and get the water for dinner."
How dark it seemed under the plum-
trees by the well! What an unhappy
little face it was that looked out at her
from the mossy bottom of the watering-
trough !
She leaned against the pump, and
6 8i







TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


cried, and all the world became a blur
of tears. She was sure her mother did
not love her. She did not even give her
a chance to say she wanted to earn the
money for the dress herself.
She could n't eat any dinner, she knew
she could n't. She thought she 'd run
away and never come back again; only
there was father, he loved her and wanted
her to have the dress.
Just then her father came to the door
and called her to come in to dinner.
Every one was a little afraid of Mrs.
Sparrow, even her husband and child.
She was really a kind-hearted woman, but
she had an unreasoning temper. When
she was displeased people never attempted
to talk with her; if they did, she refused
to answer them.
She was greatly displeased now because
Betty had asked her father for a white
dress before she had spoken to her about
it.







BETTY SPARROW'S DRESS


The three sat down to the table that
noon in silence. It was such a good
dinner too, for Mrs. Sparrow was an
excellent housekeeper.
Betty's face was red with crying, and
her throat ached so she could hardly
swallow. The clock ticked on the mantel,
and the tin tea-kettle sang and rocked
merrily on the stove.
When Mr. Sparrow had finished eating
his dinner, he took his hat and went out
of the house without a word.
Betty jumped up and ran out after
him.
May I drop potatoes again this after-
noon, father? she asked.
"Just as your mother says," he an-
swered, without looking around.
"You are not going into the field in
the hot sun with your father this after-
noon," Mrs. Sparrow said, coming to the
door.
So Betty washed and wiped the dinner
83







TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


dishes, and afterward sat down in the
front door, where it was shady, to sew
carpet rags. She disliked sewing carpet
rags more than anything else she ever had
to do.
Usually when she was sewing, she
coaxed her mother to let her stop and
play; but this afternoon she sewed on for
two hours without saying a word. She
hoped if she got several balls done, her
mother would feel tender towards her,
and perhaps she would dare tell her she
wanted to earn the money for the white
dress herself.
Betty had a fertile little mind, and so
the two hours did not pass as drearily as
you might suppose.
She pictured herself in a white dotted
muslin dress at the Fourth of July picnic,
and no reality was ever more blissful than
that dream.
She thought if only her mother would,
just that minute, call her to her and kiss
84








BETTY SPARROW'S DRESS


her, and say she could have the dress, or
anything else she wanted, how happy she
would be !
In story-books mothers did things
like that, and in Betty's day dreams
Mrs. Sparrow was always a story-book
mother.
Two robins were building a nest in a
cedar-tree near the door. They were
old friends of Betty's. This was the
second summer they had spent with her.
Perhaps they were not the same robins,
but she believed they were. She made
up stories about their life; they were
really beautiful stories that continued
from day to day, as long as the birds
stayed.
She was in the middle of one of these
stories when her mother, who had been all
the time in the room behind her like a
dark cloud of unhappiness, suddenly
spoke.
"Well, I never knew you to sew carpet
85








TEN LITTLE COMEDIES


rags so long before. I suppose you are
waiting for me to tell you to stop ?"
"Just see what big balls I've made,"
Betty answered, rolling them across the
floor. If I sewed as many as that every
day for a week, I guess it would n't be
long before you had enough for a carpet."
Put away your work now and go and
play," Mrs. Sparrow said. A shadow of
a smile played about her lips.
I 'm not tired a bit. I 'd just as soon
sew another hour as not."
Betty Sparrow, don't be foolish!
You know I never ask unreasonable
things of you."
Betty gathered the rags all into a
basket and put them away in a little closet
that opened from the room.
"I 've earned almost sixty cents drop-
ping potatoes already. I emptied my
bank and counted last night." Her heart
was beating loudly. She did n't really
know what she was going to say next, but
86








BETTY SPARROW'S DRESS


she thought that since the ice was broken
and her mother had spoken, she must
say something.
She rolled her little white apron around
her hands and smiled and hesitated, wait-
ing for her mother's approval.
Mrs. Sparrow said nothing, and Betty
ventured a step further.
I had fifty cents before, so that makes
a dollar and ten cents, and I 'm going to
earn some more, and and "
Well, what is it you want to say ?"
Mrs. Sparrow asked nervously.
I was going to say, I I want to
ask -if I sew carpet rags three hours
every day all vacation, and don't complain
a bit, may I spend my money for a white
dress, 'cause I never had one, and-
and -"
Up went the white apron over her face.
She could go no further for the sobs
that were choking her.
How still the room was and what pain-
87




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