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- The Getting of Wisdom - 41/41 -


The wrangle caused by Pin's chicken-heartedness lasted the sisters down the garden-path, across the road, and over into the precincts of a large, public park. Only when they were some distance through this, did Laura wake to what was happening to her. Then, it came over her with a rush: she was free, absolutely free; she might do any mortal thing she chose.

As a beginning she stopped short.

"Hold on, Pin . . . take this," she said, giving her sister the heavy leather bag they were carrying in turns to the tramway. Pin obediently held out her hand, in its little white cotton glove.

"And my hat."

"What are you going to do, Laura?"

"You'll see."

"You'll get sunstroke!"

"Fiddles!--it's quite shady. Here're my gloves.--Now, Pin, you follow your nose and you'll find me--WHERE you find me!"

"Oh, what ARE you going to do, Laura?" cried Pin, in anxiety.

"I'm going to have a good run," said Laura; and tightened her hair-ribbon.

"Oh, but you can't run in the street! You're too big. People'll see you."

"Think I care?--If you'd been years only doing what you were allowed to, I guess you'd want to do something you weren't allowed to, too.-- Good-bye!"

She was off, had darted away into the leaden heat of the December morning, like an arrow from its bow, her head bent, her arms close to her sides, fleet-footed as a spaniel: Pin was faced by the swift and rhythmic upturning of her heels. There were not many people abroad at this early hour, but the few there were, stood still and looked in amazement after the half-grown girl in white, whose thick black plait of hair sawed up and down as she ran; and a man with mop and bucket, who was washing statues, stopped his work and whistled, and winked at Pin as she passed.

Cross and confused Pin trudged after her sister, Laura's hat and gloves in one hand, the leather bag in the other.

Right down the central avenue ran Laura, growing smaller and smaller in the distance, the area of her movements decreasing as she ran, till she appeared to be almost motionless, and not much larger than a figure in the background of a picture. Then came a sudden bend in the long, straight path. She shot round it, and was lost to sight.


The Getting of Wisdom - 41/41

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