One day there was the little Widow Benton. Miss Polly knew her well, though they had never called upon each other. By reputation she knew her as the saddest little woman in town—one who was always in black. Today, however, Mrs. Benton wore a knot of pale blue at the throat, though there were tears in her eyes. She spoke of her grief and horror at the accident; then she asked diffidently if she might see Pollyanna.

Miss Polly shook her head.

“I am sorry, but she sees no one yet. A little later—perhaps.”

Mrs. Benton wiped her eyes, rose, and turned to go. But after she had almost reached the hall door she came back hurriedly.

“Miss Harrington, perhaps, you’d give her—a message,” she stammered.

“Certainly, Mrs. Benton; I shall be very glad to.”

Still the little woman hesitated; then she spoke.

“Will you tell her, please, that—that I’ve put on this,” she said, just touching the blue bow at her throat. Then, at Miss Polly’s ill-concealed look of surprise, she added: “The little girl has been trying for so long to make me wear—some color, that I thought she’d be—glad to know I’d begun. She said that Freddy would be so glad to see it, if I would. You know Freddy’s all I have now. The others have all—” Mrs. Benton shook her head and turned away. “If you’ll just tell Pollyanna—she’ll understand.” And the door closed after her.

A little later, that same day, there was the other widow—at least, she wore widow’s garments. Miss Polly did not know her at all. She wondered vaguely how Pollyanna could have known her. The lady gave her name as “Mrs. Tarbell.”

“I’m a stranger to you, of course,” she began at once. “But I’m not a stranger to your little niece, Pollyanna. I’ve been at the hotel all summer, and every day I’ve had to take long walks for my health. It was on these walks that I’ve met your niece—she’s such a dear little girl! I wish I could make you understand what she’s been to me. I was very sad when I came up here; and her bright face and cheery ways reminded me of—my own little girl that I lost years ago. I was so shocked to hear of the accident; and then when I learned that the poor child would never walk again, and that she was so unhappy because she couldn’t be glad any longer—the dear child!—I just had to come to you.”

“You are very kind,” murmured Miss Polly.

“But it is you who are to be kind,” demurred the other. “I—I want you to give her a message from me. Will you?”


“Will you just tell her, then, that Mrs. Tarbell is glad now. Yes, I know it sounds odd, and you don’t understand. But—if you’ll pardon me I’d rather not explain.” Sad lines came to the lady’s mouth, and the smile left her eyes. “Your niece will know just what I mean; and I felt that I must tell—her. Thank you; and pardon me, please, for any seeming rudeness in my call,” she begged, as she took her leave.

Thoroughly mystified now, Miss Polly hurried upstairs to Pollyanna’s room.

“Pollyanna, do you know a Mrs. Tarbell?

“Oh, yes. I love Mrs. Tarbell. She’s sick, and awfully sad; and she’s at the hotel, and takes long walks. We go together. I mean—we used to.” Pollyanna’s voice broke, and two big tears rolled down her cheeks.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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