Before the Ladies' Aid
Dinner, which came at noon in the Harrington homestead, was a silent meal on the day of the Ladies Aid meeting. Pollyanna, it is true, tried to talk; but she did not make a success of it, chiefly because four times she was obliged to break off a glad in the middle of it, much to her blushing discomfort. The fifth time it happened, Miss Polly moved her head wearily.
There, there, child, say it, if you want to, she sighed. Im sure Id rather you did than not if its going to make all this fuss.
Pollyannas puckered little face cleared.
Oh, thank you. Im afraid it would be pretty hardnot to say it. You see Ive played it so long.
Youvewhat? demanded Aunt Polly.
Played itthe game, you know, that father Pollyanna stopped with a painful blush at finding herself so soon again on forbidden ground.
Aunt Polly frowned and said nothing. The rest of the meal was a silent one.
Pollyanna was not sorry to hear Aunt Polly tell the ministers wife over the telephone, a little later, that she would not be at the Ladies Aid meeting that afternoon, owing to a headache. When Aunt Polly went upstairs to her room and closed the door, Pollyanna tried to be sorry for the headache; but she could not help feeling glad that her aunt was not to be present that afternoon when she laid the case of Jimmy Bean before the Ladies Aid. She could not forget that Aunt Polly had called Jimmy Bean a little beggar; and she did not want Aunt Polly to call him thatbefore the Ladies Aid.
Pollyanna knew that the Ladies Aid met at two oclock in the chapel next the church, not quite half a mile from home. She planned her going, therefore, so that she should get there a little before three.
I want them all to be there, she said to herself; else the very one that wasnt there might be the one who would be wanting to give Jimmy Bean a home; and, of course, two oclock always means three, reallyto Ladies Aiders.
Quietly, but with confident courage, Pollyanna ascended the chapel steps, pushed open the door and entered the vestibule. A soft babel of feminine chatter and laughter came from the main room. Hesitating only a brief moment Pollyanna pushed open one of the inner doors.
The chatter dropped to a surprised hush. Pollyanna advanced a little timidly. Now that the time had come, she felt unwontedly shy. After all, these half-strange, half-familiar faces about her were not her own dear Ladies Aid.
How do you do, Ladies Aiders? she faltered politely. Im Pollyanna Whittier. II reckon some of you know me, maybe; anyway, I do youonly I dont know you all together this way.
The silence could almost be felt now. Some of the ladies did know this rather extraordinary niece of their fellow-member, and nearly all had heard of her; but not one of them could think of anything to say, just then.
IIve come toto lay the case before you, stammered Pollyanna, after a moment, unconsciously falling into her fathers familiar phraseology.
There was a slight rustle.
Diddid your aunt send you, my dear? asked Mrs. Ford, the ministers wife.
Pollyanna colored a little.
|Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.|