A Question Answered

The sky was darkening fast with what appeared to be an approaching thunder shower when Pollyanna hurried down the hill from John Pendleton’s house. Half-way home she met Nancy with an umbrella. By that time, however, the clouds had shifted their position and the shower was not so imminent.

“Guess it’s goin’ ’round ter the north,” announced Nancy, eyeing the sky critically. I thought ’twas, all the time, but Miss Polly wanted me ter come with this. She was worried about ye!”

“Was she?” murmured Pollyanna abstractedly, eyeing the clouds in her turn.

Nancy sniffed a little.

“You don’t seem ter notice what I said,” she observed aggrievedly. “I said yer aunt was worried about ye!”

“Oh,” sighed Pollyanna, remembering suddenly the question she was so soon to ask her aunt. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare her.”

“Well, I’m glad,” retorted Nancy, unexpectedly. “I am, I am.”

Pollyanna stared.

Glad that Aunt Polly was scared about me! Why, Nancy, that isn’t the way to play the game—to be glad for things like that!” she objected.

“There wa’n’t no game in it,” retorted Nancy. “Never thought of it. You don’t seem ter sense what it means ter have Miss Polly worried about ye, child!”

“Why, it means worried—and worried is horrid—to feel,” maintained Pollyanna. “What else can it mean?”

Nancy tossed her head.

“Well, I’ll tell ye what it means. It means she’s at last gettin’ down somewheres near human—like folks; an’ that she ain’t jest doin’ her duty by ye all the time.”

“Why, Nancy,” demurred the scandalized Pollyanna, “Aunt Polly always does her duty. She—she’s a very dutiful woman!” Unconsciously Pollyanna repeated John Pendleton’s words of half an hour before.

Nancy chuckled.

“You’re right she is—and she always was, I guess! But she’s somethin’ more, now, since you came.”

Pollyanna’s face changed. Her brows drew into a troubled frown.

“There, that’s what I was going to ask you, Nancy,” she sighed. “Do you think Aunt Polly likes to have me here? Would she mind—if if I wasn’t here any more?”

Nancy threw a quick look into the little girl’s absorbed face. She had expected to be asked this question long before, and she had dreaded it. She had wondered how she should answer it—how she could answer it honestly without cruelly hurting the questioner. But now, now, in the face of the new suspicions that had become convictions by the afternoon’s umbrella-sending—Nancy only welcomed the question with open arms. She was sure that, with a clean conscience today, she could set the love-hungry little girl’s heart at rest.

“Likes ter have ye here? Would she miss ye if ye wa’n’t here?” cried Nancy, indignantly. “As if that wa’n’t jest what I was tellin’ of ye! Didn’t she send me posthaste with an umbrella ’cause she see a little cloud

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