John Pendleton did not seem to hear. Again his, eyes were staring straight before him, looking at nothing. But soon he had roused himself, and had picked up another curio to talk about.
The visit, certainly, was a delightful one, but before it was over, Pollyanna was realizing that they were talking about something besides the wonderful things in the beautiful carved box. They were talking of herself, of Nancy, of Aunt Polly, and of her daily life. They were talking, too, even of the life and home long ago in the far Western town.
Not until it was nearly time for her to go, did the man say, in a voice Pollyanna had never before heard from stern John Pendleton:
Little girl, I want you to come to see me often. Will you? Im lonesome, and I need you. Theres another reasonand Im going to tell you that, too. I thought, at first, after I found out who you were, the other day, that I didnt want you to come any more. You reminded me ofof something I have tried for long years to forget. So I said to myself that I never wanted to see you again; and every day, when the doctor asked if I wouldnt let him bring you to me, I said no.
But after a time I found I was wanting to see you so much thatthat the fact that I wasnt seeing you was making me remember all the more vividly the thing I was so wanting to forget. So now I want you to come. Will youlittle girl?
Why, yes, Mr. Pendleton, breathed Pollyanna, her eyes luminous with sympathy for the sad-faced man lying back on the pillow before her. Id love to come!
Thank you, said John Pendleton, gently.
After supper that evening, Pollyanna, sitting on the back porch, told Nancy all about Mr. John Pendletons wonderful carved box, and the still more wonderful things it contained.
And ter think, sighed Nancy, that he showed ye all them things, and told ye about em like thathim thats so cross he never talks ter no oneno one!
Oh, but he isnt cross, Nancy, only outside, demurred Pollyanna, with quick loyalty. I dont see why everybody thinks hes so bad, either. They wouldnt, if they knew him. But even Aunt Polly doesnt like him very well. She wouldnt send the jelly to him, you know, and she was so afraid hed think she did send it!
Probably she didnt call him no duty, shrugged Nancy. But what beats me is how he happened ter take ter you so, Miss Pollyannameanin no offence ter you, of coursebut he aint the sort o man what genrally takes ter kids; he aint, he aint.
Pollyanna smiled happily.
But he did, Nancy, she nodded, only I reckon even he didnt want toall the time. Why, only today he owned up that one time he just felt he never wanted to see me again, because I reminded him of something he wanted to forget. But afterwards
Whats that? interrupted Nancy, excitedly. He said you reminded him of something he wanted to forget?
Yes. But afterwards
What was it? Nancy was eagerly insistent.
He didnt tell me. He just said it was something.
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