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- Amanda - 1/40 -


[Illustration: She still felt the wonder of being rescued from the fire.]

AMANDA

A DAUGHTER OF THE MENNONITES

BY

ANNA BALMER MYERS

ILLUSTRATED BY HELEN MASON GROSS

_To My Sister_

CONTENTS

I. "WHILE THE HEART BEATS YOUNG" II. THE SNITZING PARTY III. BOILING APPLE BUTTER IV. A VISIT TO MARTIN'S MOTHER V. AT AUNT REBECCA'S HOUSE VI. SCHOOL DAYS VII. AMANDA REIST, TEACHER VIII. THE SPELLING BEE IX. AT THE MARKET X. PINK MOCCASINS XI. THE BOARDER XII. UNHAPPY DAYS XIII. THE TROUBLE MAKER XIV. THE COUNTY SUPERINTENDENT'S VISIT XV. "MARTIN'S GIRL" XVI. AUNT REBECCA'S WILL XVII. MARTIN'S DARK HOUR XVIII. THE COMFORTER XIX. VINDICATION XX. DINNER AT LANDIS'S XXI. BERRYING XXII. ON THE MOUNTAIN TOP XXIII. TESTS XXIV. "YOU SAVED THE WRONG ONE" XXV. THE HEART OF MILLIE XXVI. "ONE HEART MADE O'TWO"

ILLUSTRATIONS

She Still Felt the Wonder of Being Rescued From the Fire The Rhubarb Leaf Parasol "What Did Lyman Tell You? I Must Know"

CHAPTER I

"WHILE THE HEART BEATS YOUNG"

The scorching heat of a midsummer day beat mercilessly upon the earth. Travelers on the dusty roads, toilers in the fields, and others exposed to the rays of the sun, thought yearningly of cooling winds and running streams. They would have looked with envy upon the scene being enacted in one of the small streams of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. There a little red-haired girl, barefooted, her short gingham skirt tucked up unevenly here and there, was wading in the cool, shallow waters of a creek that was tree-bordered and willow-arched. Her clear, rippling laughter of sheer joy broke through the Sabbatical calm of that quiet spot and echoed up and down the meadow as she splashed about in the brook.

"Ach," she said aloud, "this here's the best fun! Abody wouldn't hardly know it's so powerful hot out to-day. All these trees round the crick makes it cool. I like wadin' and pickin' up the pebbles, some of 'em washed round and smooth like little white soup beans--ach, I got to watch me," she exclaimed, laughing, as she made a quick movement to retain her equilibrium. "The big stones are slippery from bein' in the water. Next I know I'll sit right down in the crick. Then wouldn't Phil be ready to laugh at me! It wonders me now where he is. I wish he'd come once and we'd have some fun."

As if in answer to her wish a boyish whistle rang out, followed by a long-drawn "Oo-oh, Manda, where are you?"

"Here. Wadin' in the crick," she called. "Come on in."

She splashed gleefully about as her brother came into sight and walked with mock dignity through the meadow to the stream. He held his red- crowned head high and sang teasingly, "Manda, Manda, red-headed Manda; tee-legged, toe-legged, bow-legged Manda!"

"Philip Reist," she shouted crossly, "I am not! My legs are straighter'n yours! You dare, you just dare once, to come in the crick and say that and see what you get!"

Although two years her junior he accepted the challenge and repeated the doggerel as he planted his bare feet in the water. She splashed him and he retaliated, but the boy, though smaller, was agile, and in an unguarded moment he caught the girl by the wrists and pushed her so she sat squarely in the shallow waters of the brook.

"Hey, smarty," he exulted impishly as he held her there, "you will get fresh with me, you will, huh?"

"Phil, let me up, leave me go, I'm all wet."

"Now, how did that happen, I wonder. My goodness, what will Mamma say?" he teased.

"Phil," the girl half coaxed, but he read a desire for revenge in her face.

"Jiminy Christmas, don't cry." He puckered up his lips in imitation of a whimpering girl. "Got enough?"

"Phil," the word rang crossly, "you let me be now."

"All right, cry baby." He loosened his hold on her wrists. "But because you're such a fraid cat I'll not give you what I brought for you."

"What is it?" The girl scrambled to her feet, curiosity helping her to forget momentarily the boy's tricks. "What did you bring me?"

"Something that's little and almost round and blue and I got it in a tree. Now if you're not a blockhead mebbe you can guess what it is." He moved his hand about in his pocket.

"Phil, let me see." The words were plain coaxing then.

"Here." And he drew from his pocket a robin's egg.

"Philip Reist! Where did you get that?" The girl's voice was stern and loud.

"Ach, I found the dandiest nest out on one of the cherry trees and I know you like dinky birds and thought I'd get you an egg. There's three more in the nest; I guess that's enough for any robin. Anyhow, they had young ones in that nest early in the summer."

"You bad boy! How dare you rob a bird's nest? God will punish you for that!" Her eyes blazed with wrath at the thoughtless deed of the lad.

"Ach," he answered boldly, "what's the use fussin' 'bout a dinky bird's egg? You make me sick, Manda. Cry about it now! Oh, the poor little birdie lost its egg," he whined in falsetto voice.

"You--you--I guess I won't wait for God to punish you, Philip Reist." With the words she grabbed and sat him in the water. "You need something _right now_ to make you remember not to take eggs from nests. And here it is! When you want to do it after this just think of the day I sat you down in the crick. I'm goin' to tell Mom on you, too, that's what I am."

"Yea, tattle-tale, girls are all tattle-tales!"

He struggled to escape but the hold of his sister was vise-like.

"Will you leave nests alone?" she demanded.

"Ah, who wants to steal eggs? I just brought you one 'cause I thought you'd like it."

"Well, I don't. So let the eggs where they belong," she said as she relaxed her clasp and he rose.

"Now look at us," he began, then the funny spectacle of wet clothes sent each laughing.

"Gee," he said, "won't we get Sam Hill from Mom?"

"What's Sam Hill?" she asked. "And where do you learn such awful slang? Abody can hardly understand you half the time. Mom says you should stop it."

"Yea, that reminds me, Manda, what I come for. Mom said you're to come in and get your dresses tried on. And mebbe you'd like to know that Aunt Rebecca's here again. She just come and is helpin' to sew and if she sees our clothes wet--oh, yea!"

"Oh yea," echoed Amanda with the innocent candor of a twelve-year-old. "Aunt Rebecca--is she here again? Ach, if she wasn't so cranky I'd be glad still when she comes, but you know how she acts all the time."


Amanda - 1/40

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