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- Pollyanna Grows Up - 5/47 -
I'd s'posed you was going away again right off, the first thing, I wouldn't have helped one mite to meet you with flags and bands and things, that day you come from the Sanatorium."
"Why, Jimmy Bean!" ejaculated Pollyanna, in amazed disapproval. Then, with a touch of superiority born of hurt pride, she observed: "I'm sure I didn't ASK you to meet me with bands and things--and you made two mistakes in that sentence. You shouldn't say 'you was'; and I think 'you come' is wrong. It doesn't sound right, anyway."
"Well, who cares if I did?"
Pollyanna's eyes grew still more disapproving.
"You SAID you did--when you asked me this summer to tell you when you said things wrong, because Mr. Pendleton was trying to make you talk right."
"Well, if you'd been brought up in a 'sylum without any folks that cared, instead of by a whole lot of old women who didn't have anything to do but tell you how to talk right, maybe you'd say 'you was,' and a whole lot more worse things, Pollyanna Whittier!"
"Why, Jimmy Bean!" flared Pollyanna. "My Ladies' Aiders weren't old women--that is, not many of them, so very old," she corrected hastily, her usual proclivity for truth and literalness superseding her anger; "and--"
"Well, I'm not Jimmy Bean, either," interrupted the boy, uptilting his chin.
"You're--not-- Why, Jimmy Be-- --What do you mean?" demanded the little girl.
"I've been adopted, LEGALLY. He's been intending to do it, all along, he says, only he didn't get to it. Now he's done it. I'm to be called 'Jimmy Pendleton' and I'm to call him Uncle John, only I ain't--are not--I mean, I AM not used to it yet, so I hain't--haven't begun to call him that, much."
The boy still spoke crossly, aggrievedly, but every trace of displeasure had fled from the little girl's face at his words. She clapped her hands joyfully.
"Oh, how splendid! Now you've really got FOLKS--folks that care, you know. And you won't ever have to explain that he wasn't BORN your folks, 'cause your name's the same now. I'm so glad, GLAD, GLAD!"
The boy got up suddenly from the stone wall where they had been sitting, and walked off. His cheeks felt hot, and his eyes smarted with tears. It was to Pollyanna that he owed it all--this great good that had come to him; and he knew it. And it was to Pollyanna that he had just now been saying--
He kicked a small stone fiercely, then another, and another. He thought those hot tears in his eyes were going to spill over and roll down his cheeks in spite of himself. He kicked another stone, then another; then he picked up a third stone and threw it with all his might. A minute later he strolled back to Pollyanna still sitting on the stone wall.
"I bet you I can hit that pine tree down there before you can," he challenged airily.
"Bet you can't," cried Pollyanna, scrambling down from her perch.
The race was not run after all, for Pollyanna remembered just in time that running fast was yet one of the forbidden luxuries for her. But so far as Jimmy was concerned, it did not matter. His cheeks were no longer hot, his eyes were not threatening to overflow with tears. Jimmy was himself again.
A DOSE OF POLLYANNA
As the eighth of September approached--the day Pollyanna was to arrive--Mrs. Ruth Carew became more and more nervously exasperated with herself. She declared that she had regretted just ONCE her promise to take the child--and that was ever since she had given it. Before twenty-four hours had passed she had, indeed, written to her sister demanding that she be released from the agreement; but Della had answered that it was quite too late, as already both she and Dr. Ames had written the Chiltons.
Soon after that had come Della's letter saying that Mrs. Chilton had given her consent, and would in a few days come to Boston to make arrangements as to school, and the like. So there was nothing to be done, naturally, but to let matters take their course. Mrs. Carew realized that, and submitted to the inevitable, but with poor grace. True, she tried to be decently civil when Della and Mrs. Chilton made their expected appearance; but she was very glad that limited time made Mrs. Chilton's stay of very short duration, and full to the brim of business.
It was well, indeed, perhaps, that Pollyanna's arrival was to be at a date no later than the eighth; for time, instead of reconciling Mrs. Carew to the prospective new member of her household, was filling her with angry impatience at what she was pleased to call her "absurd yielding to Della's crazy scheme."
Nor was Della herself in the least unaware of her sister's state of mind. If outwardly she maintained a bold front, inwardly she was very fearful as to results; but on Pollyanna she was pinning her faith, and because she did pin her faith on Pollyanna, she determined on the bold stroke of leaving the little girl to begin her fight entirely unaided and alone. She contrived, therefore, that Mrs. Carew should meet them at the station upon their arrival; then, as soon as greetings and introductions were over, she hurriedly pleaded a previous engagement and took herself off. Mrs. Carew, therefore, had scarcely time to look at her new charge before she found herself alone with the child.
"Oh, but Della, Della, you mustn't--I can't--" she called agitatedly, after the retreating figure of the nurse.
But Della, if she heard, did not heed; and, plainly annoyed and vexed, Mrs. Carew turned back to the child at her side.
"What a shame! She didn't hear, did she?" Pollyanna was saying, her eyes, also, wistfully following the nurse. "And I didn't WANT her to go now a bit. But then, I've got you, haven't I? I can be glad for that."
"Oh, yes, you've got me--and I've got you," returned the lady, not very graciously. "Come, we go this way," she directed, with a motion toward the right.
Obediently Pollyanna turned and trotted at Mrs. Carew's side, through the huge station; but she looked up once or twice rather anxiously into the lady's unsmiling face. At last she spoke hesitatingly.
"I expect maybe you thought--I'd be pretty," she hazarded, in a troubled voice.
"P--pretty?" repeated Mrs. Carew.
"Yes--with curls, you know, and all that. And of course you did wonder how I DID look, just as I did you. Only I KNEW you'd be pretty and nice, on account of your sister. I had her to go by, and you didn't have anybody. And of course I'm not pretty, on account of the freckles, and it ISN'T nice when you've been expecting a PRETTY little girl, to have one come like me; and--"
"Nonsense, child!" interrupted Mrs. Carew, a trifle sharply. "Come, we'll see to your trunk now, then we'll go home. I had hoped that my sister would come with us; but it seems she didn't see fit--even for this one night."
Pollyanna smiled and nodded.
"I know; but she couldn't, probably. Somebody wanted her, I expect. Somebody was always wanting her at the Sanatorium. It's a bother, of course, when folks do want you all the time, isn't it?--'cause you can't have yourself when you want yourself, lots of times. Still, you can be kind of glad for that, for it IS nice to be wanted, isn't it?"
There was no reply--perhaps because for the first time in her life Mrs. Carew was wondering if anywhere in the world there was any one who really wanted her--not that she WISHED to be wanted, of course, she told herself angrily, pulling herself up with a jerk, and frowning down at the child by her side.
Pollyanna did not see the frown. Pollyanna's eyes were on the hurrying throngs about them.
"My! what a lot of people," she was saying happily. "There's even more of them than there was the other time I was here; but I haven't seen anybody, yet, that I saw then, though I've looked for them everywhere. Of course the lady and the little baby lived in Honolulu, so probably THEY WOULDN'T be here; but there was a little girl, Susie Smith--she lived right here in Boston. Maybe you know her though. Do you know Susie Smith?"
"No, I don't know Susie Smith," replied Mrs. Carew, dryly.
"Don't you? She's awfully nice, and SHE'S pretty--black curls, you know; the kind I'm going to have when I go to Heaven. But never mind; maybe I can find her for you so you WILL know her. Oh, my! what a perfectly lovely automobile! And are we going to ride in it?" broke off Pollyanna, as they came to a pause before a handsome limousine, the door of which a liveried chauffeur was holding open.
[Illustration: "'Oh, my! What a perfectly lovely automobile!'"]
The chauffeur tried to hide a smile--and failed. Mrs. Carew, however, answered with the weariness of one to whom "rides" are never anything but a means of locomotion from one tiresome place to another probably quite as tiresome.
"Yes, we're going to ride in it." Then "Home, Perkins," she added to the deferential chauffeur.
"Oh, my, is it yours?" asked Pollyanna, detecting the unmistakable air of ownership in her hostess's manner. "How perfectly lovely! Then you must be rich--awfully--I mean EXCEEDINGLY rich, more than the kind that just has carpets in every room and ice cream Sundays, like the
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