POLLYANNA GROWS UP
The Second Glad Book Trade——Mark
By Eleanor H. Porter
Author of "Pollyanna: The Glad Book." "Miss Billy," Trade——Mark "Miss Billy's Decision," "Miss Billy—Married," "Cross Currents," "The Turn of the Tide," etc.
H. Weston Taylor
To My Cousin Walter
I. Della Speaks Her Mind II. Some Old Friends III. A Dose Of Pollyanna IV. The Game And Mrs. Carew V. Pollyanna Takes A Walk VI. Jerry To The Rescue VII. A New Acquaintance VIII. Jamie IX. Plans And Plottings X. In Murphy's Alley XI. A Surprise For Mrs. Carew XII. From Behind A Counter XIII. A Waiting And A Winning XIV. Jimmy And The Green-Eyed Monster XV. Aunt Polly Takes Alarm XVI. When Pollyanna Was Expected XVII. When Pollyanna Came XVIII. A Matter Of Adjustment XIX. Two Letters XX. The Paying Guests XXI. Summer Days XXII. Comrades XXIII. "Tied To Two Sticks" XXIV. Jimmy Wakes Up XXV. The Game And Pollyanna XXVI. John Pendleton XXVII. The Day Pollyanna Did Not Play XXVIII. Jimmy And Jamie XXIX. Jimmy And John XXX. John Pendleton Turns The Key XXXI. After Long Years XXXII. A New Aladdin
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
"Jimmy looked down at the wistful, eager face" "'Oh, my! What a perfectly lovely automobile!'" "Twice again, after short intervals, she trod the fascinating way" "It was a wonderful hour" "'I don't know her name yet, but I know HER, so it's all right'" "'The instrument that you play on, Pollyanna, will be the great heart of the world'" "Involuntarily she turned as if to flee" "'I'm glad, GLAD, GLAD for—everything now!'"
DELLA SPEAKS HER MIND
Della Wetherby tripped up the somewhat imposing steps of her sister's Commonwealth Avenue home and pressed an energetic finger against the electric-bell button. From the tip of her wing-trimmed hat to the toe of her low-heeled shoe she radiated health, capability, and alert decision. Even her voice, as she greeted the maid that opened the door, vibrated with the joy of living.
"Good morning, Mary. Is my sister in?"
"Y-yes, ma'am, Mrs. Carew is in," hesitated the girl; "but—she gave orders she'd see no one."
"Did she? Well, I'm no one," smiled Miss Wetherby, "so she'll see me. Don't worry—I'll take the blame," she nodded, in answer to the frightened remonstrance in the girl's eyes. "Where is she—in her sitting-room?"
"Y-yes, ma'am; but—that is, she said—" Miss Wetherby, however, was already halfway up the broad stairway; and, with a despairing backward glance, the maid turned away.
In the hall above Della Wetherby unhesitatingly walked toward a half-open door, and knocked.
"Well, Mary," answered a "dear-me-what-now" voice. "Haven't I—Oh, Della!" The voice grew suddenly warm with love and surprise. "You dear girl, where did you come from?"
"Yes, it's Della," smiled that young woman, blithely, already halfway across the room. "I've come from an over-Sunday at the beach with two of the other nurses, and I'm on my way back to the Sanatorium now. That is, I'm here now, but I sha'n't be long. I stepped in for—this," she finished, giving the owner of the "dear-me-what-now" voice a hearty kiss.
Mrs. Carew frowned and drew back a little coldly. The slight touch of joy and animation that had come into her face fled, leaving only a dispirited fretfulness that was plainly very much at home there.
"Oh, of course! I might have known," she said. "You never stay—here."
"Here!" Della Wetherby laughed merrily, and threw up her hands; then, abruptly, her voice and manner changed. She regarded her sister with grave, tender eyes. "Ruth, dear, I couldn't—I just couldn't live in this house. You know I couldn't," she finished gently.
Mrs. Carew stirred irritably.
"I'm sure I don't see why not," she fenced.
Della Wetherby shook her head.
"Yes, you do, dear. You know I'm entirely out of sympathy with it all: the gloom, the lack of aim, the insistence on misery and bitterness."
"But I AM miserable and bitter."
"You ought not to be."
"Why not? What have I to make me otherwise?"
Della Wetherby gave an impatient gesture.
"Ruth, look here," she challenged. "You're thirty-three years old. You have good health—or would have, if you treated yourself properly—and you certainly have an abundance of time and a superabundance of money. Surely anybody would say you ought to find SOMETHING to do this glorious morning besides sitting moped up in this tomb-like house with instructions to the maid that you'll see no one."
"But I don't WANT to see anybody."
"Then I'd MAKE myself want to."
Mrs. Carew sighed wearily and turned away her head.
"Oh, Della, why won't you ever understand? I'm not like you. I can't—forget."
A swift pain crossed the younger woman's face.
"You mean—Jamie, I suppose. I don't forget—that, dear. I couldn't, of course. But moping won't help us—find him."
"As if I hadn't TRIED to find him, for eight long years—and by something besides moping," flashed Mrs. Carew, indignantly, with a sob in her voice.
"Of course you have, dear," soothed the other, quickly; "and we shall keep on hunting, both of us, till we do find him—or die. But THIS sort of thing doesn't help."
"But I don't want to do—anything else," murmured Ruth Carew, drearily.
For a moment there was silence. The younger woman sat regarding her sister with troubled, disapproving eyes.
"Ruth," she said, at last, with a touch of exasperation, "forgive me, but—are you always going to be like this? You're widowed, I'll admit; but your married life lasted only a year, and your husband was much older than yourself. You were little more than a child at the time, and that one short year can't seem much more than a dream now. Surely that ought not to embitter your whole life!"
"No, oh, no," murmured Mrs. Carew, still drearily.
"Then ARE you going to be always like this?"
"Well, of course, if I could find Jamie—"
"Yes, yes, I know; but, Ruth, dear, isn't there anything in the world but Jamie—to make you ANY happy?"
"There doesn't seem to be, that I can think of," sighed Mrs. Carew, indifferently.
"Ruth!" ejaculated her sister, stung into something very like anger. Then suddenly she laughed. "Oh, Ruth, Ruth, I'd like to give you a dose of Pollyanna. I don't know any one who needs it more!"
Mrs. Carew stiffened a little.
"Well, what pollyanna may be I don't know, but whatever it is, I don't want it," she retorted sharply, nettled in her turn. "This isn't your beloved Sanatorium, and I'm not your patient to be dosed and bossed, please remember."
Della Wetherby's eyes danced, but her lips remained unsmiling.
"Pollyanna isn't a medicine, my dear," she said demurely, "—though I have heard some people call her a tonic. Pollyanna is a little girl."
"A child? Well, how should I know," retorted the other, still aggrievedly. "You have your 'belladonna,' so I'm sure I don't see why not 'pollyanna.' Besides, you're always recommending something for me to take, and you distinctly said 'dose'—and dose usually means medicine, of a sort."
"Well, Pollyanna IS a medicine—of a sort," smiled Della. "Anyway, the Sanatorium doctors all declare that she's better than any medicine they can give. She's a little girl, Ruth, twelve or thirteen years old, who was at the Sanatorium all last summer and most of the winter. I didn't see her but a month or two, for she left soon after I arrived. But that was long enough for me to come fully under her spell. Besides, the whole Sanatorium is still talking Pollyanna, and playing her game."
"Yes," nodded Della, with a curious smile. "Her 'glad game.' I'll never forget my first introduction to it. One feature of her treatment was particularly disagreeable and even painful. It came every Tuesday morning, and very soon after my arrival it fell to my lot to give it to her. I was dreading it, for I knew from past experience with other children what to expect: fretfulness and tears, if nothing worse. To my unbounded amazement she greeted me with a smile and said she was glad to see me; and, if you'll believe it, there was never so much as a whimper from her lips through the whole ordeal, though I knew I was hurting her cruelly.
"I fancy I must have said something that showed my surprise, for she explained earnestly: 'Oh, yes, I used to feel that way, too, and I did dread it so, till I happened to think 'twas just like Nancy's wash-days, and I could be gladdest of all on TUESDAYS, 'cause there wouldn't be another one for a whole week.'"
"Why, how extraordinary!" frowned Mrs. Carew, not quite comprehending. "But, I'm sure I don't see any GAME to that."
"No, I didn't, till later. Then she told me. It seems she was the motherless daughter of a poor minister in the West, and was brought up by the Ladies' Aid Society and missionary barrels. When she was a tiny girl she wanted a doll, and confidently expected it in the next barrel; but there turned out to be nothing but a pair of little crutches.
"The child cried, of course, and it was then that her father taught her the game of hunting for something to be glad about, in everything that happened; and he said she could begin right then by being glad she didn't NEED the crutches. That was the beginning. Pollyanna said it was a lovely game, and she'd been playing it ever since; and that the harder it was to find the glad part, the more fun it was, only when it was too AWFUL hard, like she had found it sometimes."
"Why, how extraordinary!" murmured Mrs. Carew, still not entirely comprehending.
"You'd think so—if you could see the results of that game in the Sanatorium," nodded Della; "and Dr. Ames says he hears she's revolutionized the whole town where she came from, just the same way. He knows Dr. Chilton very well—the man that married Pollyanna's aunt. And, by the way, I believe that marriage was one of her ministrations. She patched up an old lovers' quarrel between them.
"You see, two years ago, or more, Pollyanna's father died, and the little girl was sent East to this aunt. In October she was hurt by an automobile, and was told she could never walk again. In April Dr. Chilton sent her to the Sanatorium, and she was there till last March—almost a year. She went home practically cured. You should have seen the child! There was just one cloud to mar her happiness: that she couldn't WALK all the way there. As near as I can gather, the whole town turned out to meet her with brass bands and banners.
"But you can't TELL about Pollyanna. One has to SEE her. And that's why I say I wish you could have a dose of Pollyanna. It would do you a world of good."
Mrs. Carew lifted her chin a little.
"Really, indeed, I must say I beg to differ with you," she returned coldly. "I don't care to be 'revolutionized,' and I have no lovers' quarrel to be patched up; and if there is ANYTHING that would be insufferable to me, it would be a little Miss Prim with a long face preaching to me how much I had to be thankful for. I never could bear—" But a ringing laugh interrupted her.
"Oh, Ruth, Ruth," choked her sister, gleefully. "Miss Prim, indeed—POLLYANNA! Oh, oh, if only you could see that child now! But there, I might have known. I SAID one couldn't TELL about Pollyanna. And of course you won't be apt to see her. But—Miss Prim, indeed!" And off she went into another gale of laughter. Almost at once, however, she sobered and gazed at her sister with the old troubled look in her eyes.
"Seriously, dear, can't anything be done?" she pleaded. "You ought not to waste your life like this. Won't you try to get out a little more, and—meet people?"
"Why should I, when I don't want to? I'm tired of—people. You know society always bored me."
"Then why not try some sort of work—charity?"
Mrs. Carew gave an impatient gesture.
"Della, dear, we've been all over this before. I do give money—lots of it, and that's enough. In fact, I'm not sure but it's too much. I don't believe in pauperizing people."
"But if you'd give a little of yourself, dear," ventured Della, gently. "If you could only get interested in something outside of your own life, it would help so much; and—"
"Now, Della, dear," interrupted the elder sister, restively, "I love you, and I love to have you come here; but I simply cannot endure being preached to. It's all very well for you to turn yourself into an angel of mercy and give cups of cold water, and bandage up broken heads, and all that. Perhaps YOU can forget Jamie that way; but I couldn't. It would only make me think of him all the more, wondering if HE had any one to give him water and bandage up his head. Besides, the whole thing would be very distasteful to me—mixing with all sorts and kinds of people like that."
"Did you ever try it?"
"Why, no, of course not!" Mrs. Carew's voice was scornfully indignant.
"Then how can you know—till you do try?" asked the young nurse, rising to her feet a little wearily. "But I must go, dear. I'm to meet the girls at the South Station. Our train goes at twelve-thirty. I'm sorry if I've made you cross with me," she finished, as she kissed her sister good-by.
"I'm not cross with you, Della," sighed Mrs. Carew; "but if you only would understand!"
One minute later Della Wetherby made her way through the silent, gloomy halls, and out to the street. Face, step, and manner were very different from what they had been when she tripped up the steps less than half an hour before. All the alertness, the springiness, the joy of living were gone. For half a block she listlessly dragged one foot after the other. Then, suddenly, she threw back her head and drew a long breath.
"One week in that house would kill me," she shuddered. "I don't believe even Pollyanna herself could so much as make a dent in the gloom! And the only thing she could be glad for there would be that she didn't have to stay."
That this avowed disbelief in Pollyanna's ability to bring about a change for the better in Mrs. Carew's home was not Della Wetherby's real opinion, however, was quickly proved; for no sooner had the nurse reached the Sanatorium than she learned something that sent her flying back over the fifty-mile journey to Boston the very next day.
So exactly as before did she find circumstances at her sister's home that it seemed almost as if Mrs. Carew had not moved since she left her.
"Ruth," she burst out eagerly, after answering her sister's surprised greeting, "I just HAD to come, and you must, this once, yield to me and let me have my way. Listen! You can have that little Pollyanna here, I think, if you will."
"But I won't," returned Mrs. Carew, with chilly promptness.
Della Wetherby did not seem to have heard. She plunged on excitedly.
"When I got back yesterday I found that Dr. Ames had had a letter from Dr. Chilton, the one who married Pollyanna's aunt, you know. Well, it seems in it he said he was going to Germany for the winter for a special course, and was going to take his wife with him, if he could persuade her that Pollyanna would be all right in some boarding school here meantime. But Mrs. Chilton didn't want to leave Pollyanna in just a school, and so he was afraid she wouldn't go. And now, Ruth, there's our chance. I want YOU to take Pollyanna this winter, and let her go to some school around here."
"What an absurd idea, Della! As if I wanted a child here to bother with!"
"She won't bother a bit. She must be nearly or quite thirteen by this time, and she's the most capable little thing you ever saw."
"I don't like 'capable' children," retorted Mrs. Carew perversely—but she laughed; and because she did laugh, her sister took sudden courage and redoubled her efforts.
Perhaps it was the suddenness of the appeal, or the novelty of it. Perhaps it was because the story of Pollyanna had somehow touched Ruth Carew's heart. Perhaps it was only her unwillingness to refuse her sister's impassioned plea. Whatever it was that finally turned the scale, when Della Wetherby took her hurried leave half an hour later, she carried with her Ruth Carew's promise to receive Pollyanna into her home.
"But just remember," Mrs. Carew warned her at parting, "just remember that the minute that child begins to preach to me and to tell me to count my mercies, back she goes to you, and you may do what you please with her. I sha'n't keep her!"
"I'll remember—but I'm not worrying any," nodded the younger woman, in farewell. To herself she whispered, as she hurried away from the house: "Half my job is done. Now for the other half—to get Pollyanna to come. But she's just got to come. I'll write that letter so they can't help letting her come!"
SOME OLD FRIENDS
In Beldingsville that August day, Mrs. Chilton waited until Pollyanna had gone to bed before she spoke to her husband about the letter that had come in the morning mail. For that matter, she would have had to wait, anyway, for crowded office hours, and the doctor's two long drives over the hills had left no time for domestic conferences.
It was about half-past nine, indeed, when the doctor entered his wife's sitting-room. His tired face lighted at sight of her, but at once a perplexed questioning came to his eyes.
"Why, Polly, dear, what is it?" he asked concernedly.
His wife gave a rueful laugh.
"Well, it's a letter—though I didn't mean you should find out by just looking at me."
"Then you mustn't look so I can," he smiled. "But what is it?"
Mrs. Chilton hesitated, pursed her lips, then picked up a letter near her.
"I'll read it to you," she said. "It's from a Miss Della Wetherby at Dr. Ames' Sanatorium."
"All right. Fire away," directed the man, throwing himself at full length on to the couch near his wife's chair.
But his wife did not at once "fire away." She got up first and covered her husband's recumbent figure with a gray worsted afghan. Mrs. Chilton's wedding day was but a year behind her. She was forty-two now. It seemed sometimes as if into that one short year of wifehood she had tried to crowd all the loving service and "babying" that had been accumulating through twenty years of lovelessness and loneliness. Nor did the doctor—who had been forty-five on his wedding day, and who could remember nothing but loneliness and lovelessness—on his part object in the least to this concentrated "tending." He acted, indeed, as if he quite enjoyed it—though he was careful not to show it too ardently: he had discovered that Mrs. Polly had for so long been Miss Polly that she was inclined to retreat in a panic and dub her ministrations "silly," if they were received with too much notice and eagerness. So he contented himself now with a mere pat of her hand as she gave the afghan a final smooth, and settled herself to read the letter aloud.
"My dear Mrs. Chilton," Della Wetherby had written. "Just six times I have commenced a letter to you, and torn it up; so now I have decided not to 'commence' at all, but just to tell you what I want at once. I want Pollyanna. May I have her?
"I met you and your husband last March when you came on to take Pollyanna home, but I presume you don't remember me. I am asking Dr. Ames (who does know me very well) to write your husband, so that you may (I hope) not fear to trust your dear little niece to us.
"I understand that you would go to Germany with your husband but for leaving Pollyanna; and so I am making so bold as to ask you to let us take her. Indeed, I am begging you to let us have her, dear Mrs. Chilton. And now let me tell you why.
"My sister, Mrs. Carew, is a lonely, broken-hearted, discontented, unhappy woman. She lives in a world of gloom, into which no sunshine penetrates. Now I believe that if anything on earth can bring the sunshine into her life, it is your niece, Pollyanna. Won't you let her try? I wish I could tell you what she has done for the Sanatorium here, but nobody could TELL. You would have to see it. I long ago discovered that you can't TELL about Pollyanna. The minute you try to, she sounds priggish and preachy, and—impossible. Yet you and I know she is anything but that. You just have to bring Pollyanna on to the scene and let her speak for herself. And so I want to take her to my sister—and let her speak for herself. She would attend school, of course, but meanwhile I truly believe she would be healing the wound in my sister's heart.
"I don't know how to end this letter. I believe it's harder than it was to begin it. I'm afraid I don't want to end it at all. I just want to keep talking and talking, for fear, if I stop, it'll give you a chance to say no. And so, if you ARE tempted to say that dreadful word, won't you please consider that—that I'm still talking, and telling you how much we want and need Pollyanna.
"There!" ejaculated Mrs. Chilton, as she laid the letter down. "Did you ever read such a remarkable letter, or hear of a more preposterous, absurd request?"
"Well, I'm not so sure," smiled the doctor. "I don't think it's absurd to want Pollyanna."
"But—but the way she puts it—healing the wound in her sister's heart, and all that. One would think the child was some sort of—of medicine!"
The doctor laughed outright, and raised his eyebrows.
"Well, I'm not so sure but she is, Polly. I ALWAYS said I wished I could prescribe her and buy her as I would a box of pills; and Charlie Ames says they always made it a point at the Sanatorium to give their patients a dose of Pollyanna as soon as possible after their arrival, during the whole year she was there."
"'Dose,' indeed!" scorned Mrs. Chilton.
"Then—you don't think you'll let her go?"
"Go? Why, of course not! Do you think I'd let that child go to perfect strangers like that?—and such strangers! Why, Thomas, I should expect that that nurse would have her all bottled and labeled with full directions on the outside how to take her, by the time I'd got back from Germany."
Again the doctor threw back his head and laughed heartily, but only for a moment. His face changed perceptibly as he reached into his pocket for a letter.
"I heard from Dr. Ames myself, this morning," he said, with an odd something in his voice that brought a puzzled frown to his wife's brow. "Suppose I read you my letter now."
"Dear Tom," he began. "Miss Della Wetherby has asked me to give her and her sister a 'character,' which I am very glad to do. I have known the Wetherby girls from babyhood. They come from a fine old family, and are thoroughbred gentlewomen. You need not fear on that score.
"There were three sisters, Doris, Ruth, and Della. Doris married a man named John Kent, much against the family's wishes. Kent came from good stock, but was not much himself, I guess, and was certainly a very eccentric, disagreeable man to deal with. He was bitterly angry at the Wetherbys' attitude toward him, and there was little communication between the families until the baby came. The Wetherbys worshiped the little boy, James—'Jamie,' as they called him. Doris, the mother, died when the boy was four years old, and the Wetherbys were making every effort to get the father to give the child entirely up to them, when suddenly Kent disappeared, taking the boy with him. He has never been heard from since, though a world-wide search has been made.
"The loss practically killed old Mr. and Mrs. Wetherby. They both died soon after. Ruth was already married and widowed. Her husband was a man named Carew, very wealthy, and much older than herself. He lived but a year or so after marriage, and left her with a young son who also died within a year.
"From the time little Jamie disappeared, Ruth and Della seemed to have but one object in life, and that was to find him. They have spent money like water, and have all but moved heaven and earth; but without avail. In time Della took up nursing. She is doing splendid work, and has become the cheerful, efficient, sane woman that she was meant to be—though still never forgetting her lost nephew, and never leaving unfollowed any possible clew that might lead to his discovery.
"But with Mrs. Carew it is quite different. After losing her own boy, she seemed to concentrate all her thwarted mother-love on her sister's son. As you can imagine, she was frantic when he disappeared. That was eight years ago—for her, eight long years of misery, gloom, and bitterness. Everything that money can buy, of course, is at her command; but nothing pleases her, nothing interests her. Della feels that the time has come when she must be gotten out of herself, at all hazards; and Della believes that your wife's sunny little niece, Pollyanna, possesses the magic key that will unlock the door to a new existence for her. Such being the case, I hope you will see your way clear to granting her request. And may I add that I, too, personally, would appreciate the favor; for Ruth Carew and her sister are very old, dear friends of my wife and myself; and what touches them touches us. As ever yours, CHARLIE."
The letter finished, there was a long silence, so long a silence that the doctor uttered a quiet, "Well, Polly?"
Still there was silence. The doctor, watching his wife's face closely, saw that the usually firm lips and chin were trembling. He waited then quietly until his wife spoke.
"How soon—do you think—they'll expect her?" she asked at last.
In spite of himself Dr. Chilton gave a slight start.
"You—mean—that you WILL let her go?" he cried.
His wife turned indignantly.
"Why, Thomas Chilton, what a question! Do you suppose, after a letter like that, I could do anything BUT let her go? Besides, didn't Dr. Ames HIMSELF ask us to? Do you think, after what that man has done for Pollyanna, that I'd refuse him ANYTHING—no matter what it was?"
"Dear, dear! I hope, now, that the doctor won't take it into his head to ask for—for YOU, my love," murmured the husband-of-a-year, with a whimsical smile. But his wife only gave him a deservedly scornful glance, and said:
"You may write Dr. Ames that we'll send Pollyanna; and ask him to tell Miss Wetherby to give us full instructions. It must be sometime before the tenth of next month, of course, for you sail then; and I want to see the child properly established myself before I leave, naturally."
"When will you tell Pollyanna?"
"What will you tell her?"
"I don't know—exactly; but not any more than I can't help, certainly. Whatever happens, Thomas, we don't want to spoil Pollyanna; and no child could help being spoiled if she once got it into her head that she was a sort of—of—"
"Of medicine bottle with a label of full instructions for taking?" interpolated the doctor, with a smile.
"Yes," sighed Mrs. Chilton. "It's her unconsciousness that saves the whole thing. YOU know that, dear."
"Yes, I know," nodded the man.
"She knows, of course, that you and I, and half the town are playing the game with her, and that we—we are wonderfully happier because we ARE playing it." Mrs. Chilton's voice shook a little, then went on more steadily." But if, consciously, she should begin to be anything but her own natural, sunny, happy little self, playing the game that her father taught her, she would be—just what that nurse said she sounded like—'impossible.' So, whatever I tell her, I sha'n't tell her that she's going down to Mrs. Carew's to cheer her up," concluded Mrs. Chilton, rising to her feet with decision, and putting away her work.
"Which is where I think you're wise," approved the doctor.
Pollyanna was told the next day; and this was the manner of it.
"My dear," began her aunt, when the two were alone together that morning, "how would you like to spend next winter in Boston?"
"No; I have decided to go with your uncle to Germany. But Mrs. Carew, a dear friend of Dr. Ames, has asked you to come and stay with her for the winter, and I think I shall let you go."
Pollyanna's face fell.
"But in Boston I won't have Jimmy, or Mr. Pendleton, or Mrs. Snow, or anybody that I know, Aunt Polly."
"No, dear; but you didn't have them when you came here—till you found them."
Pollyanna gave a sudden smile.
"Why, Aunt Polly, so I didn't! And that means that down to Boston there are some Jimmys and Mr. Pendletons and Mrs. Snows waiting for me that I don't know, doesn't it?"
"Then I can be glad of that. I believe now, Aunt Polly, you know how to play the game better than I do. I never thought of the folks down there waiting for me to know them. And there's such a lot of 'em, too! I saw some of them when I was there two years ago with Mrs. Gray. We were there two whole hours, you know, on my way here from out West.
"There was a man in the station—a perfectly lovely man who told me where to get a drink of water. Do you suppose he's there now? I'd like to know him. And there was a nice lady with a little girl. They live in Boston. They said they did. The little girl's name was Susie Smith. Perhaps I could get to know them. Do you suppose I could? And there was a boy, and another lady with a baby—only they lived in Honolulu, so probably I couldn't find them there now. But there'd be Mrs. Carew, anyway. Who is Mrs. Carew, Aunt Polly? Is she a relation?"
"Dear me, Pollyanna!" exclaimed Mrs. Chilton, half-laughingly, half-despairingly. "How do you expect anybody to keep up with your tongue, much less your thoughts, when they skip to Honolulu and back again in two seconds! No, Mrs. Carew isn't any relation to us. She's Miss Della Wetherby's sister. Do you remember Miss Wetherby at the Sanatorium?"
Pollyanna clapped her hands.
"HER sister? Miss Wetherby's sister? Oh, then she'll be lovely, I know. Miss Wetherby was. I loved Miss Wetherby. She had little smile-wrinkles all around her eyes and mouth, and she knew the NICEST stories. I only had her two months, though, because she only got there a little while before I came away. At first I was sorry that I hadn't had her ALL the time, but afterwards I was glad; for you see if I HAD had her all the time, it would have been harder to say good-by than 'twas when I'd only had her a little while. And now it'll seem as if I had her again, 'cause I'm going to have her sister."
Mrs. Chilton drew in her breath and bit her lip.
"But, Pollyanna, dear, you must not expect that they'll be quite alike," she ventured.
"Why, they're SISTERS, Aunt Polly," argued the little girl, her eyes widening; "and I thought sisters were always alike. We had two sets of 'em in the Ladies' Aiders. One set was twins, and THEY were so alike you couldn't tell which was Mrs. Peck and which was Mrs. Jones, until a wart grew on Mrs. Jones's nose, then of course we could, because we looked for the wart the first thing. And that's what I told her one day when she was complaining that people called her Mrs. Peck, and I said if they'd only look for the wart as I did, they'd know right off. But she acted real cross—I mean displeased, and I'm afraid she didn't like it—though I don't see why; for I should have thought she'd been glad there was something they could be told apart by, 'specially as she was the president, and didn't like it when folks didn't ACT as if she was the president—best seats and introductions and special attentions at church suppers, you know. But she didn't, and afterwards I heard Mrs. White tell Mrs. Rawson that Mrs. Jones had done everything she could think of to get rid of that wart, even to trying to put salt on a bird's tail. But I don't see how THAT could do any good. Aunt Polly, DOES putting salt on a bird's tail help the warts on people's noses?"
"Of course not, child! How you do run on, Pollyanna, especially if you get started on those Ladies' Aiders!"
"Do I, Aunt Polly?" asked the little girl, ruefully. "And does it plague you? I don't mean to plague you, honestly, Aunt Polly. And, anyway, if I do plague you about those Ladies' Aiders, you can be kind o' glad, for if I'm thinking of the Aiders, I'm sure to be thinking how glad I am that I don't belong to them any longer, but have got an aunt all my own. You can be glad of that, can't you, Aunt Polly?"
"Yes, yes, dear, of course I can, of course I can," laughed Mrs. Chilton, rising to leave the room, and feeling suddenly very guilty that she was conscious sometimes of a little of her old irritation against Pollyanna's perpetual gladness.
During the next few days, while letters concerning Pollyanna's winter stay in Boston were flying back and forth, Pollyanna herself was preparing for that stay by a series of farewell visits to her Beldingsville friends.
Everybody in the little Vermont village knew Pollyanna now, and almost everybody was playing the game with her. The few who were not, were not refraining because of ignorance of what the glad game was. So to one house after another Pollyanna carried the news now that she was going down to Boston to spend the winter; and loudly rose the clamor of regret and remonstrance, all the way from Nancy in Aunt Polly's own kitchen to the great house on the hill where lived John Pendleton.
Nancy did not hesitate to say—to every one except her mistress—that SHE considered this Boston trip all foolishness, and that for her part she would have been glad to take Miss Pollyanna home with her to the Corners, she would, she would; and then Mrs. Polly could have gone to Germany all she wanted to.
On the hill John Pendleton said practically the same thing, only he did not hesitate to say it to Mrs. Chilton herself. As for Jimmy, the twelve-year-old boy whom John Pendleton had taken into his home because Pollyanna wanted him to, and whom he had now adopted—because he wanted to himself—as for Jimmy, Jimmy was indignant, and he was not slow to show it.
"But you've just come," he reproached Pollyanna, in the tone of voice a small boy is apt to use when he wants to hide the fact that he has a heart.
"Why, I've been here ever since the last of March. Besides, it isn't as if I was going to stay. It's only for this winter."
"I don't care. You've just been away for a whole year, 'most, and if 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.
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 Whites—one of my Ladies' Aiders, you know. (That is, SHE was a Ladies' Aider.) I used to think THEY were rich, but I know now that being really rich means you've got diamond rings and hired girls and sealskin coats, and dresses made of silk and velvet for every day, and an automobile. Have you got all those?"
"Why, y-yes, I suppose I have," admitted Mrs. Carew, with a faint smile.
"Then you are rich, of course," nodded Pollyanna, wisely. "My Aunt Polly has them, too, only her automobile is a horse. My! but don't I just love to ride in these things," exulted Pollyanna, with a happy little bounce. "You see I never did before, except the one that ran over me. They put me IN that one after they'd got me out from under it; but of course I didn't know about it, so I couldn't enjoy it. Since then I haven't been in one at all. Aunt Polly doesn't like them. Uncle Tom does, though, and he wants one. He says he's got to have one, in his business. He's a doctor, you know, and all the other doctors in town have got them now. I don't know how it will come out. Aunt Polly is all stirred up over it. You see, she wants Uncle Tom to have what he wants, only she wants him to want what she wants him to want. See?"
Mrs. Carew laughed suddenly.
"Yes, my dear, I think I see," she answered demurely, though her eyes still carried—for them—a most unusual twinkle.
"All right," sighed Pollyanna contentedly. "I thought you would; still, it did sound sort of mixed when I said it. Oh, Aunt Polly says she wouldn't mind having an automobile, so much, if she could have the only one there was in the world, so there wouldn't be any one else to run into her; but—My! what a lot of houses!" broke off Pollyanna, looking about her with round eyes of wonder. "Don't they ever stop? Still, there'd have to be a lot of them for all those folks to live in, of course, that I saw at the station, besides all these here on the streets. And of course where there ARE more folks, there are more to know. I love folks. Don't you?"
"Yes, just folks, I mean. Anybody—everybody."
"Well, no, Pollyanna, I can't say that I do," replied Mrs. Carew, coldly, her brows contracted.
Mrs. Carew's eyes had lost their twinkle. They were turned rather mistrustfully, indeed, on Pollyanna. To herself Mrs. Carew was saying: "Now for preachment number one, I suppose, on my duty to mix with my fellow-men, a la Sister Della!"
"Don't you? Oh, I do," sighed Pollyanna. "They're all so nice and so different, you know. And down here there must be such a lot of them to be nice and different. Oh, you don't know how glad I am so soon that I came! I knew I would be, anyway, just as soon as I found out you were YOU—that is, Miss Wetherby's sister, I mean. I love Miss Wetherby, so I knew I should you, too; for of course you'd be alike—sisters, so—even if you weren't twins like Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Peck—and they weren't quite alike, anyway, on account of the wart. But I reckon you don't know what I mean, so I'll tell you."
And thus it happened that Mrs. Carew, who had been steeling herself for a preachment on social ethics, found herself, much to her surprise and a little to her discomfiture, listening to the story of a wart on the nose of one Mrs. Peck, Ladies' Aider.
By the time the story was finished the limousine had turned into Commonwealth Avenue, and Pollyanna immediately began to exclaim at the beauty of a street which had such a "lovely big long yard all the way up and down through the middle of it," and which was all the nicer, she said, "after all those little narrow streets."
"Only I should think every one would want to live on it," she commented enthusiastically.
"Very likely; but that would hardly be possible," retorted Mrs. Carew, with uplifted eyebrows.
Pollyanna, mistaking the expression on her face for one of dissatisfaction that her own home was not on the beautiful Avenue, hastened to make amends.
"Why, no, of course not," she agreed. "And I didn't mean that the narrower streets weren't just as nice," she hurried on; "and even better, maybe, because you could be glad you didn't have to go so far when you wanted to run across the way to borrow eggs or soda, and—Oh, but DO you live here?" she interrupted herself, as the car came to a stop before the imposing Carew doorway. "Do you live here, Mrs. Carew?"
"Why, yes, of course I live here," returned the lady, with just a touch of irritation.
"Oh, how glad, GLAD you must be to live in such a perfectly lovely place!" exulted the little girl, springing to the sidewalk and looking eagerly about her. "Aren't you glad?"
Mrs. Carew did not reply. With unsmiling lips and frowning brow she was stepping from the limousine.
For the second time in five minutes, Pollyanna hastened to make amends.
"Of course I don't mean the kind of glad that's sinfully proud," she explained, searching Mrs. Carew's face with anxious eyes. "Maybe you thought I did, same as Aunt Polly used to, sometimes. I don't mean the kind that's glad because you've got something somebody else can't have; but the kind that just—just makes you want to shout and yell and bang doors, you know, even if it isn't proper," she finished, dancing up and down on her toes.
The chauffeur turned his back precipitately, and busied himself with the car. Mrs. Carew, still with unsmiling lips and frowning brow led the way up the broad stone steps.
"Come, Pollyanna," was all she said, crisply.
It was five days later that Della Wetherby received the letter from her sister, and very eagerly she tore it open. It was the first that had come since Pollyanna's arrival in Boston.
"My dear Sister," Mrs. Carew had written. "For pity's sake, Della, why didn't you give me some sort of an idea what to expect from this child you have insisted upon my taking? I'm nearly wild—and I simply can't send her away. I've tried to three times, but every time, before I get the words out of my mouth, she stops them by telling me what a perfectly lovely time she is having, and how glad she is to be here, and how good I am to let her live with me while her Aunt Polly has gone to Germany. Now how, pray, in the face of that, can I turn around and say 'Well, won't you please go home; I don't want you'? And the absurd part of it is, I don't believe it has ever entered her head that I don't WANT her here; and I can't seem to make it enter her head, either.
"Of course if she begins to preach, and to tell me to count my blessings, I SHALL send her away. You know I told you, to begin with, that I wouldn't permit that. And I won't. Two or three times I have thought she was going to (preach, I mean), but so far she has always ended up with some ridiculous story about those Ladies' Aiders of hers; so the sermon gets sidetracked—luckily for her, if she wants to stay.
"But, really, Della, she is impossible. Listen. In the first place she is wild with delight over the house. The very first day she got here she begged me to open every room; and she was not satisfied until every shade in the house was up, so that she might 'see all the perfectly lovely things,' which, she declared, were even nicer than Mr. John Pendleton's—whoever he may be, somebody in Beldingsville, I believe. Anyhow, he isn't a Ladies' Aider. I've found out that much.
"Then, as if it wasn't enough to keep me running from room to room (as if I were the guide on a 'personally conducted'), what did she do but discover a white satin evening gown that I hadn't worn for years, and beseech me to put it on. And I did put it on—why, I can't imagine, only that I found myself utterly helpless in her hands.
"But that was only the beginning. She begged then to see everything that I had, and she was so perfectly funny in her stories of the missionary barrels, which she used to 'dress out of,' that I had to laugh—though I almost cried, too, to think of the wretched things that poor child had to wear. Of course gowns led to jewels, and she made such a fuss over my two or three rings that I foolishly opened the safe, just to see her eyes pop out. And, Della, I thought that child would go crazy. She put on to me every ring, brooch, bracelet, and necklace that I owned, and insisted on fastening both diamond tiaras in my hair (when she found out what they were), until there I sat, hung with pearls and diamonds and emeralds, and feeling like a heathen goddess in a Hindu temple, especially when that preposterous child began to dance round and round me, clapping her hands and chanting, 'Oh, how perfectly lovely, how perfectly lovely! How I would love to hang you on a string in the window—you'd make such a beautiful prism!'
"I was just going to ask her what on earth she meant by that when down she dropped in the middle of the floor and began to cry. And what do you suppose she was crying for? Because she was so glad she'd got eyes that could see! Now what do you think of that?
"Of course this isn't all. It's only the beginning. Pollyanna has been here four days, and she's filled every one of them full. She already numbers among her friends the ash-man, the policeman on the beat, and the paper boy, to say nothing of every servant in my employ. They seem actually bewitched with her, every one of them. But please do not think I am, for I'm not. I would send the child back to you at once if I didn't feel obliged to fulfil my promise to keep her this winter. As for her making me forget Jamie and my great sorrow—that is impossible. She only makes me feel my loss all the more keenly—because I have her instead of him. But, as I said, I shall keep her—until she begins to preach. Then back she goes to you. But she hasn't preached yet.
"Lovingly but distractedly yours,
"'Hasn't preached yet,' indeed!" chuckled Della Wetherby to herself, folding up the closely-written sheets of her sister's letter. "Oh, Ruth, Ruth! and yet you admit that you've opened every room, raised every shade, decked yourself in satin and jewels—and Pollyanna hasn't been there a week yet. But she hasn't preached—oh, no, she hasn't preached!"
THE GAME AND MRS. CAREW
Boston, to Pollyanna, was a new experience, and certainly Pollyanna, to Boston—such part of it as was privileged to know her—was very much of a new experience.
Pollyanna said she liked Boston, but that she did wish it was not quite so big.
"You see," she explained earnestly to Mrs. Carew, the day following her arrival, "I want to see and know it ALL, and I can't. It's just like Aunt Polly's company dinners; there's so much to eat—I mean, to see—that you don't eat—I mean, see—anything, because you're always trying to decide what to eat—I mean, to see.
"Of course you can be glad there IS such a lot," resumed Pollyanna, after taking breath, "'cause a whole lot of anything is nice—that is, GOOD things; not such things as medicine and funerals, of course!—but at the same time I couldn't used to help wishing Aunt Polly's company dinners could be spread out a little over the days when there wasn't any cake and pie; and I feel the same way about Boston. I wish I could take part of it home with me up to Beldingsville so I'd have SOMETHING new next summer. But of course I can't. Cities aren't like frosted cake—and, anyhow, even the cake didn't keep very well. I tried it, and it dried up, 'specially the frosting. I reckon the time to take frosting and good times is while they are going; so I want to see all I can now while I'm here."
Pollyanna, unlike the people who think that to see the world one must begin at the most distant point, began her "seeing Boston" by a thorough exploration of her immediate surroundings—the beautiful Commonwealth Avenue residence which was now her home. This, with her school work, fully occupied her time and attention for some days.
There was so much to see, and so much to learn; and everything was so marvelous and so beautiful, from the tiny buttons in the wall that flooded the rooms with light, to the great silent ballroom hung with mirrors and pictures. There were so many delightful people to know, too, for besides Mrs. Carew herself there were Mary, who dusted the drawing-rooms, answered the bell, and accompanied Pollyanna to and from school each day; Bridget, who lived in the kitchen and cooked; Jennie, who waited at table, and Perkins who drove the automobile. And they were all so delightful—yet so different!
Pollyanna had arrived on a Monday, so it was almost a week before the first Sunday. She came downstairs that morning with a beaming countenance.
"I love Sundays," she sighed happily.
"Do you?" Mrs. Carew's voice had the weariness of one who loves no day.
"Yes, on account of church, you know, and Sunday school. Which do you like best, church, or Sunday school?"
"Well, really, I—" began Mrs. Carew, who seldom went to church and never went to Sunday school.
"'Tis hard to tell, isn't it?" interposed Pollyanna, with luminous but serious eyes. "But you see I like church best, on account of father. You know he was a minister, and of course he's really up in Heaven with mother and the rest of us, but I try to imagine him down here, lots of times; and it's easiest in church, when the minister is talking. I shut my eyes and imagine it's father up there; and it helps lots. I'm so glad we can imagine things, aren't you?"
"I'm not so sure of that, Pollyanna."
"Oh, but just think how much nicer our IMAGINED things are than our really truly ones—that is, of course, yours aren't, because your REAL ones are so nice." Mrs. Carew angrily started to speak, but Pollyanna was hurrying on. "And of course MY real ones are ever so much nicer than they used to be. But all that time I was hurt, when my legs didn't go, I just had to keep imagining all the time, just as hard as I could. And of course now there are lots of times when I do it—like about father, and all that. And so to-day I'm just going to imagine it's father up there in the pulpit. What time do we go?"
"To church, I mean."
"But, Pollyanna, I don't—that is, I'd rather not—" Mrs. Carew cleared her throat and tried again to say that she was not going to church at all; that she almost never went. But with Pollyanna's confident little face and happy eyes before her, she could not do it.
"Why, I suppose—about quarter past ten—if we walk," she said then, almost crossly. "It's only a little way."
Thus it happened that Mrs. Carew on that bright September morning occupied for the first time in months the Carew pew in the very fashionable and elegant church to which she had gone as a girl, and which she still supported liberally—so far as money went.
To Pollyanna that Sunday morning service was a great wonder and joy. The marvelous music of the vested choir, the opalescent rays from the jeweled windows, the impassioned voice of the preacher, and the reverent hush of the worshiping throng filled her with an ecstasy that left her for a time almost speechless. Not until they were nearly home did she fervently breathe:
"Oh, Mrs. Carew, I've just been thinking how glad I am we don't have to live but just one day at a time!"
Mrs. Carew frowned and looked down sharply. Mrs. Carew was in no mood for preaching. She had just been obliged to endure it from the pulpit, she told herself angrily, and she would NOT listen to it from this chit of a child. Moreover, this "living one day at a time" theory was a particularly pet doctrine of Della's. Was not Della always saying: "But you only have to live one minute at a time, Ruth, and any one can endure anything for one minute at a time!"
"Well?" said Mrs. Carew now, tersely.
"Yes. Only think what I'd do if I had to live yesterday and to-day and to-morrow all at once," sighed Pollyanna. "Such a lot of perfectly lovely things, you know. But I've had yesterday, and now I'm living to-day, and I've got to-morrow still coming, and next Sunday, too. Honestly, Mrs. Carew, if it wasn't Sunday now, and on this nice quiet street, I should just dance and shout and yell. I couldn't help it. But it's being Sunday, so, I shall have to wait till I get home and then take a hymn—the most rejoicingest hymn I can think of. What is the most rejoicingest hymn? Do you know, Mrs. Carew?"
"No, I can't say that I do," answered Mrs. Carew, faintly, looking very much as if she were searching for something she had lost. For a woman who expects, because things are so bad, to be told that she need stand only one day at a time, it is disarming, to say the least, to be told that, because things are so good, it is lucky she does not HAVE to stand but one day at a time!
On Monday, the next morning, Pollyanna went to school for the first time alone. She knew the way perfectly now, and it was only a short walk. Pollyanna enjoyed her school very much. It was a small private school for girls, and was quite a new experience, in its way; but Pollyanna liked new experiences.
Mrs. Carew, however, did not like new experiences, and she was having a good many of them these days. For one who is tired of everything to be in so intimate a companionship with one to whom everything is a fresh and fascinating joy must needs result in annoyance, to say the least. And Mrs. Carew was more than annoyed. She was exasperated. Yet to herself she was forced to admit that if any one asked her why she was exasperated, the only reason she could give would be "Because Pollyanna is so glad"—and even Mrs. Carew would hardly like to give an answer like that.
To Della, however, Mrs. Carew did write that the word "glad" had got on her nerves, and that sometimes she wished she might never hear it again. She still admitted that Pollyanna had not preached—that she had not even once tried to make her play the game. What the child did do, however, was invariably to take Mrs. Carew's "gladness" as a matter of course, which, to one who HAD no gladness, was most provoking.
It was during the second week of Pollyanna's stay that Mrs. Carew's annoyance overflowed into irritable remonstrance. The immediate cause thereof was Pollyanna's glowing conclusion to a story about one of her Ladies' Aiders.
"She was playing the game, Mrs. Carew. But maybe you don't know what the game is. I'll tell you. It's a lovely game."
But Mrs. Carew held up her hand.
"Never mind, Pollyanna," she demurred. "I know all about the game. My sister told me, and—and I must say that I—I should not care for it."
"Why, of course not, Mrs. Carew!" exclaimed Pollyanna in quick apology. "I didn't mean the game for you. You couldn't play it, of course."
"I COULDN'T play it!" ejaculated Mrs. Carew, who, though she WOULD not play this silly game, was in no mood to be told that she COULD not.
"Why, no, don't you see?" laughed Pollyanna, gleefully. "The game is to find something in everything to be glad about; and you couldn't even begin to hunt, for there isn't anything about you but what you COULD be glad about. There wouldn't BE any game to it for you! Don't you see?"
Mrs. Carew flushed angrily. In her annoyance she said more than perhaps she meant to say.
"Well, no, Pollyanna, I can't say that I do," she differed coldly. "As it happens, you see, I can find nothing whatever to be—glad for."
For a moment Pollyanna stared blankly. Then she fell back in amazement.
"Why, MRS. CAREW!" she breathed.
"Well, what is there—for me?" challenged the woman, forgetting all about, for the moment, that she was never going to allow Pollyanna to "preach."
"Why, there's—there's everything," murmured Pollyanna, still with that dazed unbelief. "There—there's this beautiful house."
"It's just a place to eat and sleep—and I don't want to eat and sleep."
"But there are all these perfectly lovely things," faltered Pollyanna.
"I'm tired of them."
"And your automobile that will take you anywhere."
"I don't want to go anywhere."
Pollyanna quite gasped aloud.
"But think of the people and things you could see, Mrs. Carew."
"They would not interest me, Pollyanna."
Once again Pollyanna stared in amazement. The troubled frown on her face deepened.
"But, Mrs. Carew, I don't see," she urged. "Always, before, there have been BAD things for folks to play the game on, and the badder they are the more fun 'tis to get them out—find the things to be glad for, I mean. But where there AREN'T any bad things, I shouldn't know how to play the game myself."
There was no answer for a time. Mrs. Carew sat with her eyes out the window. Gradually the angry rebellion on her face changed to a look of hopeless sadness. Very slowly then she turned and said:
"Pollyanna, I had thought I wouldn't tell you this; but I've decided that I will. I'm going to tell you why nothing that I have can make me—glad." And she began the story of Jamie, the little four-year-old boy who, eight long years before, had stepped as into another world, leaving the door fast shut between.
"And you've never seen him since—anywhere?" faltered Pollyanna, with tear-wet eyes, when the story was done.
"But we'll find him, Mrs. Carew—I'm sure we'll find him."
Mrs. Carew shook her head sadly.
"But I can't. I've looked everywhere, even in foreign lands."
"But he must be somewhere."
"He may be—dead, Pollyanna."
Pollyanna gave a quick cry.
"Oh, no, Mrs. Carew. Please don't say that! Let's imagine he's alive. We CAN do that, and that'll help; and when we get him IMAGINED alive we can just as well imagine we're going to find him. And that'll help a whole lot more."
"But I'm afraid he's—dead, Pollyanna," choked Mrs. Carew.
"You don't know it for sure, do you?" besought the little girl, anxiously.
"Well, then, you're just imagining it," maintained Pollyanna, in triumph. "And if you can imagine him dead, you can just as well imagine him alive, and it'll be a whole lot nicer while you're doing it. Don't you see? And some day, I'm just sure you'll find him. Why, Mrs. Carew, you CAN play the game now! You can play it on Jamie. You can be glad every day, for every day brings you just one day nearer to the time when you're going to find him. See?"
But Mrs. Carew did not "see." She rose drearily to her feet and said:
"No, no, child! You don't understand—you don't understand. Now run away, please, and read, or do anything you like. My head aches. I'm going to lie down."
And Pollyanna, with a troubled, sober face, slowly left the room.
POLLYANNA TAKES A WALK
It was on the second Saturday afternoon that Pollyanna took her memorable walk. Heretofore Pollyanna had not walked out alone, except to go to and from school. That she would ever attempt to explore Boston streets by herself, never occurred to Mrs. Carew, hence she naturally had never forbidden it. In Beldingsville, however, Pollyanna had found—especially at the first—her chief diversion in strolling about the rambling old village streets in search of new friends and new adventures.
On this particular Saturday afternoon Mrs. Carew had said, as she often did say: "There, there, child, run away; please do. Go where you like and do what you like, only don't, please, ask me any more questions to-day!"
Until now, left to herself, Pollyanna had always found plenty to interest her within the four walls of the house; for, if inanimate things failed, there were yet Mary, Jennie, Bridget, and Perkins. To-day, however, Mary had a headache, Jennie was trimming a new hat, Bridget was making apple pies, and Perkins was nowhere to be found. Moreover it was a particularly beautiful September day, and nothing within the house was so alluring as the bright sunlight and balmy air outside. So outside Pollyanna went and dropped herself down on the steps.
For some time she watched in silence the well-dressed men, women, and children, who walked briskly by the house, or else sauntered more leisurely through the parkway that extended up and down the middle of the Avenue. Then she got to her feet, skipped down the steps, and stood looking, first to the right, then to the left.
Pollyanna had decided that she, too, would take a walk. It was a beautiful day for a walk, and not once, yet, had she taken one at all—not a REAL walk. Just going to and from school did not count. So she would take one to-day. Mrs. Carew would not mind. Had she not told her to do just what she pleased so long as she asked no more questions? And there was the whole long afternoon before her. Only think what a lot one might see in a whole long afternoon! And it really was such a beautiful day. She would go—this way! And with a little whirl and skip of pure joy, Pollyanna turned and walked blithely down the Avenue.
Into the eyes of those she met Pollyanna smiled joyously. She was disappointed—but not surprised—that she received no answering smile in return. She was used to that now—in Boston. She still smiled, however, hopefully: there might be some one, sometime, who would smile back.
Mrs. Carew's home was very near the beginning of Commonwealth Avenue, so it was not long before Pollyanna found herself at the edge of a street crossing her way at right angles. Across the street, in all its autumn glory, lay what to Pollyanna was the most beautiful "yard" she had ever seen—the Boston Public Garden.
For a moment Pollyanna hesitated, her eyes longingly fixed on the wealth of beauty before her. That it was the private grounds of some rich man or woman, she did not for a moment doubt. Once, with Dr. Ames at the Sanatorium, she had been taken to call on a lady who lived in a beautiful house surrounded by just such walks and trees and flower-beds as these.
Pollyanna wanted now very much to cross the street and walk in those grounds, but she doubted if she had the right. To be sure, others were there, moving about, she could see; but they might be invited guests, of course. After she had seen two women, one man, and a little girl unhesitatingly enter the gate and walk briskly down the path, however, Pollyanna concluded that she, too, might go. Watching her chance she skipped nimbly across the street and entered the Garden.
It was even more beautiful close at hand than it had been at a distance. Birds twittered over her head, and a squirrel leaped across the path ahead of her. On benches here and there sat men, women, and children. Through the trees flashed the sparkle of the sun on water; and from somewhere came the shouts of children and the sound of music.
Once again Pollyanna hesitated; then, a little timidly, she accosted a handsomely-dressed young woman coming toward her.
"Please, is this—a party?" she asked.
The young woman stared.
"A party!" she repeated dazedly.
"Yes'm. I mean, is it all right for me—to be here?"
"For you to be here? Why, of course. It's for—for everybody!" exclaimed the young woman.
"Oh, that's all right, then. I'm glad I came," beamed Pollyanna.
The young woman said nothing; but she turned back and looked at Pollyanna still dazedly as she hurried away.
Pollyanna, not at all surprised that the owner of this beautiful place should be so generous as to give a party to everybody, continued on her way. At the turn of the path she came upon a small girl and a doll carriage. She stopped with a glad little cry, but she had not said a dozen words before from somewhere came a young woman with hurrying steps and a disapproving voice; a young woman who held out her hand to the small girl, and said sharply:
"Here, Gladys, Gladys, come away with me. Hasn't mama told you not to talk to strange children?"
"But I'm not strange children," explained Pollyanna in eager defense. "I live right here in Boston, now, and—" But the young woman and the little girl dragging the doll carriage were already far down the path; and with a half-stifled sigh Pollyanna fell back. For a moment she stood silent, plainly disappointed; then resolutely she lifted her chin and went forward.
"Well, anyhow, I can be glad for that," she nodded to herself, "for now maybe I'll find somebody even nicer—Susie Smith, perhaps, or even Mrs. Carew's Jamie. Anyhow, I can IMAGINE I'm going to find them; and if I don't find THEM, I can find SOMEBODY!" she finished, her wistful eyes on the self-absorbed people all about her.
Undeniably Pollyanna was lonesome. Brought up by her father and the Ladies' Aid Society in a small Western town, she had counted every house in the village her home, and every man, woman, and child her friend. Coming to her aunt in Vermont at eleven years of age, she had promptly assumed that conditions would differ only in that the homes and the friends would be new, and therefore even more delightful, possibly, for they would be "different"—and Pollyanna did so love "different" things and people! Her first and always her supreme delight in Beldingsville, therefore, had been her long rambles about the town and the charming visits with the new friends she had made. Quite naturally, in consequence, Boston, as she first saw it, seemed to Pollyanna even more delightfully promising in its possibilities.
Thus far, however, Pollyanna had to admit that in one respect, at least, it had been disappointing: she had been here nearly two weeks and she did not yet know the people who lived across the street, or even next door. More inexplicable still, Mrs. Carew herself did not know many of them, and not any of them well. She seemed, indeed, utterly indifferent to her neighbors, which was most amazing from Pollyanna's point of view; but nothing she could say appeared to change Mrs. Carew's attitude in the matter at all.
"They do not interest me, Pollyanna," was all she would say; and with this, Pollyanna—whom they did interest very much—was forced to be content.
To-day, on her walk, however, Pollyanna had started out with high hopes, yet thus far she seemed destined to be disappointed. Here all about her were people who were doubtless most delightful—if she only knew them. But she did not know them. Worse yet, there seemed to be no prospect that she would know them, for they did not, apparently, wish to know her: Pollyanna was still smarting under the nurse's sharp warning concerning "strange children."
"Well, I reckon I'll just have to show 'em that I'm not strange children," she said at last to herself, moving confidently forward again.
Pursuant of this idea Pollyanna smiled sweetly into the eyes of the next person she met, and said blithely:
"It's a nice day, isn't it?"
"Er—what? Oh, y-yes, it is," murmured the lady addressed, as she hastened on a little faster.
Twice again Pollyanna tried the same experiment, but with like disappointing results. Soon she came upon the little pond that she had seen sparkling in the sunlight through the trees. It was a beautiful pond, and on it were several pretty little boats full of laughing children. As she watched them, Pollyanna felt more and more dissatisfied to remain by herself. It was then that, spying a man sitting alone not far away, she advanced slowly toward him and sat down on the other end of the bench. Once Pollyanna would have danced unhesitatingly to the man's side and suggested acquaintanceship with a cheery confidence that had no doubt of a welcome; but recent rebuffs had filled her with unaccustomed diffidence. Covertly she looked at the man now.
He was not very good to look at. His garments, though new, were dusty, and plainly showed lack of care. They were of the cut and style (though Pollyanna of course did not know this) that the State gives its prisoners as a freedom suit. His face was a pasty white, and was adorned with a week's beard. His hat was pulled far down over his eyes. With his hands in his pockets he sat idly staring at the ground.
For a long minute Pollyanna said nothing; then hopefully she began:
"It IS a nice day, isn't it?"
The man turned his head with a start.
"Eh? Oh—er—what did you say?" he questioned, with a curiously frightened look around to make sure the remark was addressed to him.
"I said 'twas a nice day," explained Pollyanna in hurried earnestness; "but I don't care about that especially. That is, of course I'm glad it's a nice day, but I said it just as a beginning to things, and I'd just as soon talk about something else—anything else. It's only that I wanted you to talk—about something, you see."
The man gave a low laugh. Even to Pollyanna the laugh sounded a little queer, though she did not know (as did the man) that a laugh to his lips had been a stranger for many months.
"So you want me to talk, do you?" he said a little sadly. "Well, I don't see but what I shall have to do it, then. Still, I should think a nice little lady like you might find lots nicer people to talk to than an old duffer like me."
"Oh, but I like old duffers," exclaimed Pollyanna quickly; "that is, I like the OLD part, and I don't know what a duffer is, so I can't dislike that. Besides, if you are a duffer, I reckon I like duffers. Anyhow, I like you," she finished, with a contented little settling of herself in her seat that carried conviction.
"Humph! Well, I'm sure I'm flattered," smiled the man, ironically. Though his face and words expressed polite doubt, it might have been noticed that he sat a little straighter on the bench. "And, pray, what shall we talk about?"
"It's—it's infinitesimal to me. That means I don't care, doesn't it?" asked Pollyanna, with a beaming smile. "Aunt Polly says that, whatever I talk about, anyhow, I always bring up at the Ladies' Aiders. But I reckon that's because they brought me up first, don't you? We might talk about the party. I think it's a perfectly beautiful party—now that I know some one."
"Yes—this, you know—all these people here to-day. It IS a party, isn't it? The lady said it was for everybody, so I stayed—though I haven't got to where the house is, yet, that's giving the party."
The man's lips twitched.
"Well, little lady, perhaps it is a party, in a way," he smiled; "but the 'house' that's giving it is the city of Boston. This is the Public Garden—a public park, you understand, for everybody."
"Is it? Always? And I may come here any time I want to? Oh, how perfectly lovely! That's even nicer than I thought it could be. I'd worried for fear I couldn't ever come again, after to-day, you see. I'm glad now, though, that I didn't know it just at the first, for it's all the nicer now. Nice things are nicer when you've been worrying for fear they won't be nice, aren't they?"
"Perhaps they are—if they ever turn out to be nice at all," conceded the man, a little gloomily.
"Yes, I think so," nodded Pollyanna, not noticing the gloom. "But isn't it beautiful—here?" she gloried. "I wonder if Mrs. Carew knows about it—that it's for anybody, so. Why, I should think everybody would want to come here all the time, and just stay and look around."
The man's face hardened.
"Well, there are a few people in the world who have got a job—who've got something to do besides just to come here and stay and look around; but I don't happen to be one of them."
"Don't you? Then you can be glad for that, can't you?" sighed Pollyanna, her eyes delightedly following a passing boat.
The man's lips parted indignantly, but no words came. Pollyanna was still talking.
"I wish I didn't have anything to do but that. I have to go to school. Oh, I like school; but there's such a whole lot of things I like better. Still I'm glad I CAN go to school. I'm 'specially glad when I remember how last winter I didn't think I could ever go again. You see, I lost my legs for a while—I mean, they didn't go; and you know you never know how much you use things, till you don't have 'em. And eyes, too. Did you ever think what a lot you do with eyes? I didn't till I went to the Sanatorium. There was a lady there who had just got blind the year before. I tried to get her to play the game—finding something to be glad about, you know—but she said she couldn't; and if I wanted to know why, I might tie up my eyes with my handkerchief for just one hour. And I did. It was awful. Did you ever try it?"
"Why, n-no, I didn't." A half-vexed, half-baffled expression was coming to the man's face.
"Well, don't. It's awful. You can't do anything—not anything that you want to do. But I kept it on the whole hour. Since then I've been so glad, sometimes—when I see something perfectly lovely like this, you know—I've been so glad I wanted to cry;—'cause I COULD see it, you know. She's playing the game now, though—that blind lady is. Miss Wetherby told me."
"Yes; the glad game. Didn't I tell you? Finding something in everything to be glad about. Well, she's found it now—about her eyes, you know. Her husband is the kind of a man that goes to help make the laws, and she had him ask for one that would help blind people, 'specially little babies. And she went herself and talked and told those men how it felt to be blind. And they made it—that law. And they said that she did more than anybody else, even her husband, to help make it, and that they didn't believe there would have been any law at all if it hadn't been for her. So now she says she's glad she lost her eyes, 'cause she's kept so many little babies from growing up to be blind like her. So you see she's playing it—the game. But I reckon you don't know about the game yet, after all; so I'll tell you. It started this way." And Pollyanna, with her eyes on the shimmering beauty all about her, told of the little pair of crutches of long ago, which should have been a doll.
When the story was finished there was a long silence; then, a little abruptly the man got to his feet.
"Oh, are you going away NOW?" she asked in open disappointment.
"Yes, I'm going now." He smiled down at her a little queerly.
"But you're coming back sometime?"
He shook his head—but again he smiled.
"I hope not—and I believe not, little girl. You see, I've made a great discovery to-day. I thought I was down and out. I thought there was no place for me anywhere—now. But I've just discovered that I've got two eyes, two arms, and two legs. Now I'm going to use them—and I'm going to MAKE somebody understand that I know how to use them!"
The next moment he was gone.
"Why, what a funny man!" mused Pollyanna. "Still, he was nice—and he was different, too," she finished, rising to her feet and resuming her walk.
Pollyanna was now once more her usual cheerful self, and she stepped with the confident assurance of one who has no doubt. Had not the man said that this was a public park, and that she had as good a right as anybody to be there? She walked nearer to the pond and crossed the bridge to the starting-place of the little boats. For some time she watched the children happily, keeping a particularly sharp lookout for the possible black curls of Susie Smith. She would have liked to take a ride in the pretty boats, herself, but the sign said "Five cents" a trip, and she did not have any money with her. She smiled hopefully into the faces of several women, and twice she spoke tentatively. But no one spoke first to her, and those whom she addressed eyed her coldly, and made scant response.
After a time she turned her steps into still another path. Here she found a white-faced boy in a wheel chair. She would have spoken to him, but he was so absorbed in his book that she turned away after a moment's wistful gazing. Soon then she came upon a pretty, but sad-looking young girl sitting alone, staring at nothing, very much as the man had sat. With a contented little cry Pollyanna hurried forward.
"Oh, how do you do?" she beamed. "I'm so glad I found you! I've been hunting ever so long for you," she asserted, dropping herself down on the unoccupied end of the bench.
The pretty girl turned with a start, an eager look of expectancy in her eyes.
"Oh!" she exclaimed, falling back in plain disappointment. "I thought— Why, what do you mean?" she demanded aggrievedly. "I never set eyes on you before in my life."
"No, I didn't you, either," smiled Pollyanna; "but I've been hunting for you, just the same. That is, of course I didn't know you were going to be YOU exactly. It's just that I wanted to find some one that looked lonesome, and that didn't have anybody. Like me, you know. So many here to-day have got folks. See?"
"Yes, I see," nodded the girl, falling back into her old listlessness. "But, poor little kid, it's too bad YOU should find it out—so soon."
"Find what out?"
"That the lonesomest place in all the world is in a crowd in a big city."
Pollyanna frowned and pondered.
"Is it? I don't see how it can be. I don't see how you can be lonesome when you've got folks all around you. Still—" she hesitated, and the frown deepened. "I WAS lonesome this afternoon, and there WERE folks all around me; only they didn't seem to—to think—or notice."
The pretty girl smiled bitterly.
"That's just it. They don't ever think—or notice, crowds don't."
"But some folks do. We can be glad some do," urged Pollyanna. "Now when I—"
"Oh, yes, some do," interrupted the other. As she spoke she shivered and looked fearfully down the path beyond Pollyanna. "Some notice—too much."
Pollyanna shrank back in dismay. Repeated rebuffs that afternoon had given her a new sensitiveness.
"Do you mean—me?" she stammered. "That you wished I hadn't—noticed—you?"
"No, no, kiddie! I meant—some one quite different from you. Some one that hadn't ought to notice. I was glad to have you speak, only—I thought at first it was some one from home."
"Oh, then you don't live here, either, any more than I do—I mean, for keeps."
"Oh, yes, I live here now," sighed the girl; "that is, if you can call it living—what I do."
"What do you do?" asked Pollyanna interestedly.
"Do? I'll tell you what I do," cried the other, with sudden bitterness. "From morning till night I sell fluffy laces and perky bows to girls that laugh and talk and KNOW each other. Then I go home to a little back room up three flights just big enough to hold a lumpy cot-bed, a washstand with a nicked pitcher, one rickety chair, and me. It's like a furnace in the summer and an ice box in the winter; but it's all the place I've got, and I'm supposed to stay in it—when I ain't workin'. But I've come out to-day. I ain't goin' to stay in that room, and I ain't goin' to go to any old library to read, neither. It's our last half-holiday this year—and an extra one, at that; and I'm going to have a good time—for once. I'm just as young, and I like to laugh and joke just as well as them girls I sell bows to all day. Well, to-day I'm going to laugh and joke."
Pollyanna smiled and nodded her approval.
"I'm glad you feel that way. I do, too. It's a lot more fun—to be happy, isn't it? Besides, the Bible tells us to;—rejoice and be glad, I mean. It tells us to eight hundred times. Probably you know about 'em, though—the rejoicing texts."
The pretty girl shook her head. A queer look came to her face.
"Well, no," she said dryly. "I can't say I WAS thinkin'—of the Bible."
"Weren't you? Well, maybe not; but, you see, MY father was a minister, and he—"
"Yes. Why, was yours, too?" cried Pollyanna, answering something she saw in the other's face.
"Y-yes." A faint color crept up to the girl's forehead.
"Oh, and has he gone like mine to be with God and the angels?"
The girl turned away her head.
"No. He's still living—back home," she answered, half under her breath.
"Oh, how glad you must be," sighed Pollyanna, enviously. "Sometimes I get to thinking, if only I could just SEE father once—but you do see your father, don't you?"
"Not often. You see, I'm down—here."
"But you CAN see him—and I can't, mine. He's gone to be with mother and the rest of us up in Heaven, and— Have you got a mother, too—an earth mother?"
"Y-yes." The girl stirred restlessly, and half moved as if to go.
"Oh, then you can see both of them," breathed Pollyanna, unutterable longing in her face. "Oh, how glad you must be! For there just isn't anybody, is there, that really CARES and notices quite so much as fathers and mothers. You see I know, for I had a father until I was eleven years old; but, for a mother, I had Ladies' Aiders for ever so long, till Aunt Polly took me. Ladies' Aiders are lovely, but of course they aren't like mothers, or even Aunt Pollys; and—"
On and on Pollyanna talked. Pollyanna was in her element now. Pollyanna loved to talk. That there was anything strange or unwise or even unconventional in this intimate telling of her thoughts and her history to a total stranger on a Boston park bench did not once occur to Pollyanna. To Pollyanna all men, women, and children were friends, either known or unknown; and thus far she had found the unknown quite as delightful as the known, for with them there was always the excitement of mystery and adventure—while they were changing from the unknown to the known.
To this young girl at her side, therefore, Pollyanna talked unreservedly of her father, her Aunt Polly, her Western home, and her journey East to Vermont. She told of new friends and old friends, and of course she told of the game. Pollyanna almost always told everybody of the game, either sooner or later. It was, indeed, so much a part of her very self that she could hardly have helped telling of it.