Why, Aunt Polly, arent you? queried Pollyanna, in frank wonder.
Certainly not, Pollyanna. I hope I could not so far forget myself as to be sinfully proud of any gift the Lord has seen fit to bestow upon me, declared the lady; certainly not, of riches!
Miss Polly turned and walked down the hall toward the attic stairway door. She was glad, now, that she had put the child in the attic room. Her idea at first had been to get her niece as far away as possible from herself, and at the same time place her where her childish heedlessness would not destroy valuable furnishings. Nowwith this evident strain of vanity showing thus earlyit was all the more fortunate that the room planned for her was plain and sensible, thought Miss Polly.
Eagerly Pollyannas small feet pattered behind her aunt. Still more eagerly her big blue eyes tried to look in all directions at once, that no thing of beauty or interest in this wonderful house might be passed unseen. Most eagerly of all her mind turned to the wondrously exciting problem about to be solved: behind which of all these fascinating doors was waiting now her roomthe dear, beautiful room full of curtains, rugs, and pictures, that was to be her very own? Then, abruptly, her aunt opened a door and ascended another stairway.
There was little to be seen here. A bare wall rose on either side. At the top of the stairs, wide reaches of shadowy space led to far corners where the roof came almost down to the floor, and where were stacked innumerable trunks and boxes. It was hot and stifling, too. Unconsciously Pollyanna lifted her head higherit seemed so hard to breathe. Then she saw that her aunt had thrown open a door at the right.
There, Pollyanna, here is your room, and your trunk is here, I see. Have you your key?
Pollyanna nodded dumbly. Her eyes were a little wide and frightened.
Her aunt frowned.
When I ask a question, Pollyanna, I prefer that you should answer aloud not merely with your head.
Yes, Aunt Polly.
Thank you; that is better. I believe you have everything that you need here, she added, glancing at the well-filled towel rack and water pitcher. I will send Nancy up to help you unpack. Supper is at six oclock, she finished, as she left the room and swept downstairs.
For a moment after she had gone Pollyanna stood quite still, looking after her. Then she turned her wide eyes to the bare wall, the bare floor, the bare windows. She turned them last to the little trunk that had stood not so long before in her own little room in the far-away Western home. The next moment she stumbled blindly toward it and fell on her knees at its side, covering her face with her hands.
Nancy found her there when she came up a few minutes later.
There, there, you poor lamb, she crooned, dropping to the floor and drawing the little girl into her arms. I was just a-fearin! Id find you like this, like this.
Pollyanna shook her head.
But Im bad and wicked, Nancyawful wicked, she sobbed. I just cant make myself understand that God and the angels needed my father more than I did.
No more they did, neither, declared Nancy, stoutly.
Oh-h!Nancy! The burning horror in Pollyannas eyes dried the tears.
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