PLAYING KING AND QUEEN.
" WHAT are you hunting for on your hands and knees, Alice ?" said grandmamma, next day.
"0, nothing, only pins, grandma; but I can't find any. Isn't this a hidden-mist carpet ?"
"No, dear; a hit-and-miss carpet is made of rags. But what do you want of pins?"
" She has given away what Aunt Ria paid her for Christmas," said Prudy, speaking for her; "she gave it all to the beggar."
"Yes, she did; one, two, free, four, nineteen, tenteen," said Katie; "and the gemplum didn't love little goorls."
" Why, Alice! to that man who was here yesterday ?"
Dotty was frowning at Prudy behind a chair. "Yes 'm," she answered, in a stifled voice.
" Were you sorry for him ?"
"Did you hear me say I did not believe he was in need of charity?"
Grandma looked puzzled, till she remembered that Alice had always been fond of praise; and then she began to understand her motives.
"Did you suppose Jennie Vance and your sisters would think you were generous?" asked she, in a low voice.
Dotty looked at the carpet, but made no reply.
"Because, if that was your reason, Alice, it was doing ' your alms before men, to be seen of them.' God is not pleased when you do so. I told you about that the other day."
Still the little girl did not understand. Her thoughts were like these:
"Grandma thinks I'm ever so silly! Prudy thinks I'm silly! But isn't Jennie silly too? And O, she takes cake, all secret, out of her new mother's tin chest. I don't know what will become of Jennie Vance."
Mrs. Parlin was about to say more, when Miss Flyaway, who had been all over the house in two minutes, danced in, saying, "the Charlie boy" had come!
It was little lisping Charlie Gray, saying, "If you pleathe, 'm, may we have the Deacon to go to mill ? And then, if we may, can you thpare uth a quart 'o milk every thingle night? Cauthe, if you can't, then you muthn't."
Deacon was the old horse; and as Mr. Parlin was quite willing he should go to mill. Harry Gray came an hour afterwards and led him away. With regard to the other request, Mrs. Parlin had to think a few minutes.
"Yes, Charlie," said she, at last; "you may have the milk, because I would like to oblige your mother; and you may tell her I will send it every night by the children."
Now, Mrs. Gray was the doctor's wife. She was a kind woman, and kept one closet shelf full of canned fruit and jellies for sick people; but for all that, the children did not like her very well. Prudy thought it might be because her nose turned up " like the nose of a tea-kettle; " but Susy said it was because she asked so many questions. If the little Parlins met her on the street when they went of an errand, she always stopped them to inquire what they bad been buying at the store, or took their parcels out of their hands and felt them with her fingers. She was interested in very little things, and knew how all the parlors in town were papered and carpeted, and what sort of cooking-stoves everybody used.
Dotty hung her head when her grandmother said she wished her to go every night to Mrs. Gray's with a quart of milk.
"Must I?" said she. "Why, grandma, she'll ask me if my mother keeps a girl, and how many teaspoons we've got in the house; she will, honestly. Mayn't somebody go with me ? "
"Ask me will I go?" said Katie, "for I love to shake my head! "
"And, grandma," added Dotty, "Mrs. Gray's eyes are so sharp, why, they're so sharp they almost prick! And it's no use for Katie to go with me, she's so little."
" 0, I'm isn't much little," cried Katie. "I's growing big."
" I should think Prudy might go," said Dotty Dimple, with her finger in her mouth ; " you don't make Prudy do a single thing! "
" Prudy goes for the ice every morning," replied Mrs. Parlin. " I wish you to do as I ask you, Alice, and make no more remarks about Mrs. Gray."
"Yes, 'm," said Dotty in a dreary tone; " mayn't Katie come too ? she's better than nobody."
Katie ran for her hat, delighted to be thought better than nobody. The milk was put into a little covered tin pail. Dotty watched Ruth as she strained it, and saw that she poured in not only a quart, but a great deal more. "Why do you do so?" said Dotty. " That's too much."
"Your grandmother told me to," replied Ruth, washing the milk-pail. " She said ' Good measure, pressed down and running over.' That's her way of doing things."
"But I don't believe grandma 'spected you to press it down and run it all over. Why, there's enough in this pail to make a pound of butter. Come, Katie."
" Let me do some help," said the little one, catching hold of the handle, and making the pail much heavier. Dotty endured the weight as long as she could; then, gently pushing off the " little hindering " hand, she said,—
"And now, as we go along, we might as well be playing, Flyaway."
" Fwhat ? "
" Playing a play, dear. We'll make believe you're the queen with a gold crown on your head."
Katie put her hand to her forehead. "O, no, dear; you haven't anything on your head now but the broadest-brimmedest kind of a hat; we'll call it a crown. And I'm the king that's married to you."
" 0, yes, mallied."
" And we're going—going—"
"Rouspin," suggested Flyaway.
"No; great people like us don't go raspberrying. Sit down here, Queenie, under this acorn tree, and I'll tell you.; we're going to the castle."
" 0, yes, the cassil ? "
"Where we keep our throne, dear, and our gold dresses."
" Does we have any gold dollies to the sassil ?"
"O, yes, Queenie; all sizes."
"Does we have," continued Flyaway, winking slowly, " does we have—dip toast ? "
"Why, Queenie, what should we want of that ? Yes, we can have dip toast, I s'pose; the girl can make it on the gold stove, with a silver pie-knife. But we shall have nicer things than ever you saw."
" Nicer than turnipers ? "
" Pshaw! turnovers are nothing, Queenie; we shall give them to the piggy. We shall live on wedding cake and strawberries. Tea and coffee, and such low things, we shall give to ducks. 0, what ducks they will be! They will sing tunes such as canaries don't know how. We'll give them our tea and coffee, and we'll drink—what d'ye call it? 0, here's some."
Dotty took up the pail.
" You see how white it is; sugar frosting in it. Drink a little, it's so nice."
" It tastes just like moolly cow's milk," said Flyaway, wiping her lips with her finger.
"No," said Dotty, helping herself; "it's nectar; that's what Susy says they drink; now I remember."
" Stop !" said a small voice in the ear of Dotty's spirit; "that is what I should call taking other people's things."
"Poh!" said Dotty, sipping again; "it's grandpa's cow. When Jennie Vance takes cake, it's wicked, because—because it is. This is only play, you know."
Dotty took another draught.
" Come, Queenie," said she, " let's be going to the castle."
Katie sprang up so suddenly that she fell forward on her nose, and said her foot was "dizzy." It had been taking a short nap as she sat on the stump; but she was soon able to walk, and shortly the royal pair arrived at the castle, which was, in plain language, a wooden house painted white.
" So you have come at last," said Mrs. Gray, from the door-way. " They don't milk very early at your house—do they?"
"No, ma'am, not so very."
"Have you seen anything of my little Charlie?"
" No, ma'am, not since a great while ago, —before supper."
"How is your grandfather?"
" Pretty well, thank you, ma'am."
"No, gampa isn't," said Katie, decidedly; "he's deaf."
" And what about your Aunt Maria ? Didn't I see her go off in the stage this morning ? "
" Yes, 'm," replied Dotty, determined to give no more information than was necessary.
" She's gone off," struck in Katie ; "gone to Dusty, my mamma has."
"Ah indeed! to Augusta?" repeated Mrs. Gray, thoughtfully. " Any of your friends sick there ? "
" No, ma'am," replied Dotty, scowling at her shoes.
" She's gone," continued Katie, gravely, "to buy me Free Little Kittens."
Mrs. Gray smiled. "I should think your mother could find kittens enough in this town, without going to Augusta. I thought I saw Horace on the top of the stage, but I wasn't sure."
Dotty made no reply.
" Hollis was," cried Katie, eagerly; " he good to Dusty too. I fink they put Hollis in jail! "
"In jail!" exclaimed Mrs. Gray, throwing up her hands.
"He stealed, Hollis did," added Katie, solemnly.
"Hush, Katie, hush!" whispered Dotty Dimple, seizing the child by the hand and hurrying her away. Mrs. Gray followed the children to the door.
" What does she mean, Dotty! what can she have heard ?"
" She doesn't mean anything, ma'am," replied Dotty, beginning to run; " and she hasn't heard anything, either."
Dotty's behavior was so odd, that Mrs. Gray's curiosity was aroused. For the moment she quite forgot her anxiety about her little Charlie, who had been missing for some time.
" What made you say Horace stole ?" said Dotty, as soon as they were out of hearing.
"Hollis did," answered Katie, catching her breath ; " he stealed skosh seeds out of gampa's razor cupbard."
" What did Horace want of squash seeds ?"
" He eated 'em; I sawed him !"
" There, you're the funniest baby, Katie Clifford ! Now you've been and made Mrs. Gray think your brother's carried to jail."
This was not quite true. Mrs. Gray had no idea Horace had been taken to jail; but she did fancy something had gone wrong at Mrs. Parlin's. She put on her bonnet and ran across the road to Mrs. Gordon's to ask her what she supposed Horace Clifford had been doing, which Dotty Dimple did not wish to hear talked about, and which made her run away when she was questioned.
"I can't imagine," said Mrs. Gordon, very much surprised. " He is a frolicsome boy, but I never thought there was anything wicked about Horace."
Then by and by she remembered how Miss Louise Parlin had lost a breastpin in a very singular manner, and both the ladies wondered if Horace could have taken it.
" One never can tell what mischief children may fall into," said Mrs. Gray, rubbing her cheek-bone; " and that reminds me how anxious I am about my little Charlie; he ought to have been at home an hour ago."
While Mrs. Gray was saying this in Mrs. Gordon's parlor, there was a scene of some confusion in Mr. Parlin's door-yard.
" Who's this coming in at the gate?" cried Dotty.
It was Deacon, but Deacon was only a part of it; the rest was two meal-bags and a small boy. The meal-bags were full, and hung dangling down on either side of the horse, and to each was tied a leg of little Charlie Gray. It was droll for a tiny boy to wear such heavy clogs upon his feet, but droller still to see him resting his curly head upon the horse's mane.
" Ums the Charlie boy," said Katie; " um can't sit up no more."
" Ah, my boy, seems to me you take it very easy," said Abner, who was just coming in from the garden, giving some weeds a ride in the " one-wheeled coach," or wheelbarrow.
" Why don't you hold your head up, darling ?" said Dotty.
" 0, bring the camphor," screamed Susy; " he's fainted away! he's fainted away !"
"Not exactly," said Abner, untying the strings which held him to the bags. " Old Deacon has done very well this time; the boy is sound asleep."
As soon as Abner had wheeled away his weeds, he mounted the horse and trotted to Mrs. Gray's with the meal-bags, singing for Katie's ear,—
"Ride away, ride away; Charlie shall ride;
He shall have bag of meal tied to one side;
He shall have little bag tied to the other,
And Charlie shall ride to see our grandmother."
The little boy stood rubbing his eyes.
" Why, Charlie, darling," said Prudy, " who tied you on ?"
" The man'th boy over there. Hally didn't come cauthe he played ball; and then the man'th boy tied me on."
Charlie made up a lip.
" Let's take him out to the swing," said Prudy. " That will wake him up, and then we'll make a lady's chair and carry him home."
" Don't want to thwing," lisped Charlie.
" What for you don't?" said wee Katie.
" Cauthe the ladieth will thee me."
" 0, you's a little scat-crow!"
" Hush, Katie," said the older children; " do look at his hair; it curls almost as tight as dandelion stems."
" Thee the dimple in my chin! "
"Which chin?'' said Prudy; "you've got three of them."
" And the wuffle wound my neck! Gueth what we've got over to my houthe ? Duckth."
"0, ducks?" cried Dotty; "that's what I want to make me happy. There, Prudy, think of their velvet heads and beads of eyes, waddling about this yard."
" People sometimes take ducks' eggs and put them in a hen's nest." said Prudy, reflectively.
"0, there now," whispered Dotty, " shouldn't you think Mrs. Gray might give me three or four eggs for carrying the milk every single night?"
"Why, yes, I should; and perhaps she will."
" I gueth my mamma wants me at home," said Charlie, yawning.
Prudy and Dotty went with him; and in her eagerness concerning the ducks' eggs Dotty quite forgot the secret draughts of milk she and Katie had quaffed under the acorn-tree, calling it nectar. But this was not the last of it.
THE WHITE TRUTH.
DOTTY continued to go to Mrs. Gray's every night with the milk. Sometimes Katie went with her, and then they always paused a while under the acorn-tree and played "King and Queen." Dotty said she wished they could ever remember to bring their nipperkins, for in that case the milk would taste a great deal more like nectar. The " nipperkins " were a pair of handled cups which the children supposed to be silver, and which they always used at table.
Dotty knew she was doing wrong every time she played "King and Queen." She knew the milk was not hers, but Mrs. Gray's; still she said to herself, "Ruthie needn't give so much measure, all pressed down and run over. If Queenie and I should drink a great deal more, there would always be a quart left. Yes, I know there would."
Mrs. Gray never said anything about the milk; she merely poured it out in a pan, and gave back the pail to Dotty, asking her at the same time as many questions as the child would stay to hear.
One night Dotty begged Prudy to go with her; she wished her to ask for the ducks' eggs. When they reached the acorn tree Dotty did not stop; she would never have thought of playing "King and Queen" with Prudy; she was afraid of her sister's honest blue eyes.
I am not quite sure Mrs. Gray would have given the eggs to Dotty, though Mrs. Parlin promised her several times the amount of hens' eggs in return. Mrs. Gray did not think Dotty was "a very sociable child;" and then so many people were asking for eggs! But Mrs. Gray could not say " No " to Prudy; she gave her thirteen eggs, with a hearty kiss.
"Now whose will the ducklings be?" asked Dotty on the way home.
" Yours and mine," replied Prudy; " half and half. Six for each, and an odd one over."
" Then," said Dotty, " we'll give that ' odd one over' to Katie."
" But they may not all hatch, Dotty."
" 0, dear! why not ? Then we can't tell how many we shall have. Perphaps there will be two or three odd ones over; and then what shall we do, Prudy ?"
Prudy laughed at the idea of "two or three odd ones." The eggs were put in a barrel under the white hen; and now began a trial of patience. It seemed to all the children that time stood still while they waited. Would the four weeks never be gone ?
One day Dottie stood with Katie by the back-door blowing bubbles. The blue sky, the white fences, the green trees, and even the people who passed in the street, made little pictures of themselves on the bubbles. It was very beautiful. Dotty blew with such force that her cheeks were puffed as round as rubber balls. Katie looked on in great delight.
" See," she cried, " see the trees a-yidin' on that bubbil!"
Dotty dropped the pipe and kissed her.
"Dear me," said she, the next minute, " there's Miss Polly coming !"
Katie looked along the path, and saw a forlorn woman tightly wrapped in a brown shawl, carrying a basket on her arm, and looking sadly down at her own calf-skin shoes, which squeaked dismally as she walked.
" Is um the Polly ?" whispered Katie; " is um so tired ?"
" No, she isn't tired," said Dotty; " but she feels dreadfully all the whole time; I don't know what it's about, though."
By this time the new-comer stood on the threshold, sighing.
" How do you do, you pretty creeturs ?" said she, with a dreary smile.
" Yes, 'um," replied Katie; " is you the Polly, and does you feel drefful ?"
The sad woman kissed the little girls,- for she was fond of children,-sighed more heavily than ever, asked if their grandmother was at home, and passed through the kitchen on her way to the parlor.
Mrs. Parlin sat knitting on the sofa, Mrs. Clifford was sewing, and Miss Louise crocheting. They all looked up and greeted the visitor politely, but it seemed as if a dark cloud had entered the room. Miss Polly seated herself in a rocking-chair, and began to take off her bonnet, sighing as she untied the strings, and sighing again as she took the three pins out of her shawl.
" I hope you are well this fine weather," said Mrs. Parlin, cheerily.
"As well as ever I expect to be," replied Miss Polly, in a resigned tone.
Then she opened the lids of her basket with a dismal creak, and took out her knitting, which was as gray as a November sky. Afterwards she slowly pinned a corn-cob to the right side of her belt, and began to knit.
At the end of every needle she drew a deep breath, and felt the stocking carefully to make sure there were no " nubs " in it. She talked about the " severe drowth " and some painful cases of sickness, after which she took out her snuff-box, and then the three ladies saw that she had something particular to say.
" Where is your little boy, Maria ? "
She always called Mrs. Clifford Maria, for she had known her from a baby.
" Horace is at Augusta; I left him there the other day."
" Yes," said Polly, settling her mournful black cap, " so I heard ? I was very, very sorry," and she shook her head dolefully, as if it had been a bell and she were tolling it -- " very, very sorry ! "
Mrs. Clifford could not but wonder why.
"It is a dreadful thing to happen in a family! I'm sure, Maria, I never heard that stealing was natural to either side of the house! "
" Stealing ! " echoed Mrs. Clifford.
" What in this world can you mean, Polly Whiting ? " said Aunt Louise, laughing nervously ; for she was a very lively young lady, and laughed a great deal. Miss Whiting thought this was no time for jokes. Her mouth twitched downward as if there were strings at the corners. Mrs. Clifford had turned very pale.
"Poll," said she, "do speak, and tell me what you have heard ? It is all a mystery to me."
" You don't say so," said Miss Whiting, looking relieved. "Well, I didn't more than half believe it myself; but the story is going that your Horace stole his Aunt Louise's breastpin, and sold it to a pedler for a rusty gun."
Miss Louise laughed merrily this time.
" I did lose my pearl brooch," said she, " but Prudy found it yesterday in an old glass candlestick."
"What an absurd report!" said Mrs. Clifford, quite annoyed. " I hope the children are not to be suspected every time their Aunt Louise misses anything! "
" They said you had decided to take Horace to the Reform School," added Miss Whiting, " but your friends begged you to leave him at Augusta in somebody's house locked up, with bread and water to eat."
" Now tell me where you heard all this," said Aunt Louise.
"Why, Mrs. Grant told me that Mrs. Small said that Mrs. Gordon told her. I hope you'll excuse me for speaking of it; but I thought yon ought to know."
Miss Polly Whiting was a harmless woman, who went from family to family doing little "jobs" of work. She never said what was not true, did no mischief, and in her simple way was quite attached to the Parlins.
" I heard something more that made me very angry," said she, following Miss Louise into the pantry. "Mrs. Grant says Mrs. Gray is very much surprised to find your mother doesn't give good measure when she sells milk!"
Aunt Louise was so indignant at this that she went at once and told her mother.
"It is a little too much to be borne," said she; " the neighbors may invent stories about Horace, if they have nothing better to do, but they shall not slander my mother!"
The two little girls, who were the unconscious cause of all this mischief, were just returning from Mrs. Gray's.
"0, grandma," said Dotty, coming in with the empty pail; " she says she don't want any more milk this summer, and I'm ever so glad! Come, Prudy, let's go and swing."
" Stop," said Mrs. Parlin; " why does Mrs. Gray say she wants no more milk ?"
" 'Cause," replied Dotty, " 'cause our cow is dry, or their cow is dry, or Mrs. Gordon has some to sell. I don't know what she told me, grandma; I've forgot!"
" Then, my dear, she did not say you brought too little milk ?"
Dotty winced. " No, grandma, she never."
" Ruth," said Mrs. Parlin, " you are sure you have always measured the milk in that largest quart, and thrown in a gill or two more, as I directed ?"
"0, yes, ma'am, I've never failed."
" Then I'm sure I cannot understand it," said Mrs. Parlin, her gentle face looking troubled.
"Unless the children may have spilled some," remarked Mrs. Clifford. " Dotty, have you ever allowed little Katie to carry the pail ?"
" No, Dotty don't; her don't 'low me care nuffin-there now!" cried Katie, very glad to tell her sorrows.
" She's so little, you know, Aunt 'Ria," murmured Dotty, with her hand on the door-latch.
There was a struggle going on in Dotty's mind. She wished very much to run away, and at the same time that " voice " which speaks in everybody's heart was saying,-
"Now, Dotty, be a good girl, a noble girl. Tell about drinking the milk under the acorn tree."
" But I needn't," thought Dotty, clicking the door-latch! " it won't be a fib if I just keep still."
" Yes, it will, Dotty Dimple !"
" What! When I squeeze my lips together and don't say a word ?"
" 'Twill be acting a fib, and you know it, Alice Parlin! I'm ashamed of you ! Take your fingers out of your mouth, and speak like a woman."
"I will, if you'll stop till I clear my throat.-O, Grandma." cried Dotty, "I can't tell fibs the way Jennie V[sic]
'Twas we two did it, as true as you live !"
" Did what, child? Who!"
" The milk."
" I don't understand, dear.,"
Dotty twisted the corner of her apron, and looked out of the window.
"Drank it-Katie and me-under the acorn tree."
"Yes, she did,' chimed in Katie; "and 'twasn't nuffin but moolly's cow milk, and her 'pilled it on my shoe!"
Grandmamma really looked relieved.
" So this accounts for it! But Dotty, how could you do such a thing?"
" I telled um not to," cried Katie, " but her kep' a-doin' an' a-doin'."
"Ruthie gives too much measure," replied Dotty, untwisting her apron-" 'most two quarts; and when Katie and I ask for some in our nipperkins, Ruthie says, ' No,' she must make butter. I was just as thirsty, grandma, and I thought Mrs. Gray never would care; I did certainly."
" Yes, gamma, we fought Mis Gay would care; did cerdily !"
" My dear Dotty," said Mrs. Parlin, "you had not the shadow of a right to take what belonged to another. It was very wrong; but I really believe you did not know how wrong it was."
Dotty began to breathe more freely.
"But you see, child," interposed Aunt Louise, " you have done a deal of mischief; and I must go at once to Mrs. Gray's and explain matters."
Dotty was distressed at the thought of Mrs. Gray, whose nose she could seem to see " going up in the air."
"Don't feel so sorry, little sister," said Prudy, as they walked off with their arms about each other's waist; "you didn't do just right, but I'm sure you've told the real white truth."
" So I have," said Dotty, holding up her head again ; " and mother says that's worth a great deal!"
MATTERS were soon set right with Mrs. Gray, who was sorry she had not spoken frankly to Mrs. Parlin in the first place, instead of going secretly to the neighbors and complaining that she did not receive her due allowance of milk. Perhaps it was a good lesson for the doctor's wife ; for she ceased to gossip about the Parlins, and even took the pains to correct the wrong story with regard to the pearl breastpin.
After this Dotty and Katie carried the milk as usual; only they never stopped under the acorn tree any more to play " King and Queen." Not that Dotty felt much shame. She held herself in high esteem. She knew she had done wrong, but thought that by telling the truth so nobly she had atoned for all.
"I am almost as good as the little girls in the Sunday school books," said she; "now there's Jennie Vance-I'm afraid she fibs. "
Jennie called one day to ask Dotty and Flyaway to go to school with her.
"Jennie," said Miss Dimple, gravely, as they were walking with Katie between them. " do they ever read the Bible to you ?"
" 0, nothing; only you don't act as if you know anything about it."
" I guess my mother is one of the first ladies in this town, Miss Dimple, and she's told me the story of Joseph's coat till I know it by heart."
"Well," said Dotty, looking very solemn, " it hasn't done you any good, Jennie Vance. Now, I learn verses every Sunday, and one is this: 'Lie not one to another.' What do you think of that ? "
Jennie's black eyes snapped. "I heard that before ever you did."
"Lie not one to another," repeated Dotty, slowly. " Now, I'm one, Jennie, and you're another; and isn't it wicked when we tell the leastest speck of a fib ? "
"Of course 'tis," was the prompt reply; " but I don't tell 'em."
"0, Jennie, who told your step-mother that Charlie Gray was tied up in a meal-bag ? I'm afraid," said Dotty, laying her hand solemnly on little Katie's head as if it had been a pulpit-cushion, and she a minister preaching,-" I'm afraid, Jennie, you lie one to another."
" One to anudder," echoed Katie, breaking away and running after a toad. Jennie knitted her brows. " It doesn't look very well for such a small child as you are to preach to me, Dot Parlin ! "
" But I always tell the white truth myself, Jennie, because God hears me. Do you think much about God ? "
"No, I don't know as I do; nobody does, He's so far off," said Jennie, stooping to pluck an innocent flower.
" Why, Jennie, He isn't far off at all! He's everywhere, and here too. He holds this world, and all the people, right in His arms; right in His arms, just as if 'twas nothing but a baby."
Dotty's tones were low and earnest.
"Who told you so?" said Jennie.
" My mamma ; and she says we couldn't move nor breathe without Him not a minute."
" There, I did then! " cried Jennie, taking a long breath; " I breathed way down ever so far, and I did it myself."
" 0, but God let you."
Dotty felt very good and wise, and as she had finished giving her benighted friend a lesson, she thought she would speak now of every day matters.
" Look at those little puddles in the road," said she; "don't they make you think of pudding-sauce - molasses and cream, I mean-for hasty-pudding ? "
" No," said Jennie, tossing her head, " I never saw any pudding-sauce that looked a speck like that dirty stuff! Besides, we don't use molasses at our house; rich folks never do; nobody but poor folks."
" 0, what a story ! " said Dotty, coloring. " I guess you have molasses gingerbread, if your father is the judge !"
Dotty was very much wounded. This was not the first time her little friend had referred to her own superior wealth. "Dear, dear! Wasn't it bad enough to have to wear Prudy's old clothes, when Jennie had new ones and no big sister ? She's always telling hints about people's being poor! Why, my papa isn't much poor, only he don't buy me gold rings and silk dresses, and my mamma wouldn't let me wear 'em if he did; so there!"
By the time they reached the school-house, Dotty was almost too angry to speak. They took their seats with Katie between them (when she was not under their feet or in their laps), and looked over in the Testament. The large scholars " up in the back seats," and in fact all but the very small ones, were in the habit of reading aloud two verses each. This morning it was the nineteenth chapter of Matthew, and Dotty paid little heed till her ear was caught by these words, read quite slowly and clearly by Abby Grant:-
" Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, that a rich man shall hardly enter the kingdom of heaven.
" And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."
Dolly's heart gave a great bound. That meant Judge Vance just as sure as the world. Wasn't he rich, and didn't Jennie boast of it as if it was a great thing ? She touched her friend's arm, and pointed with her small forefinger to the passage; but Jennie did not understand.
" It isn't my turn," whispered she; "what are you nudging me for ? "
" Don't you see your papa isn't going to heaven ? " said Dotty. " God won't let him in, because he's rich."
" I don't believe it," said Jennie quite unmoved.
" 0, but God won't, for the Bible says so. He can't get in any more than a camel can get into a needle; and you know a camel can't."
" But the needle can go into a camel," said Jennie, thoughtfully; " perhaps that's what it means."
" 0, no," whispered Dotty. " I know better'n that. I'm very sorry your papa is rich."
" But he isn't so very rich," said Jennie, looking sober.
" You always said he was," said Dotty, with a little triumph. "Well, he isn't rich enough for that!"
"He's only rich a little mite,-just a little teenty tonty mite," added Jennie, as she looked at Dotty's earnest face, and saw the rare tear gathering on her eyelashes.
" But my father isn't rich the least bit of a speck," said Dotty, with a sudden joy. " Nobody ever said he was. Not so rich, at any rate, Jennie, but you could put it through a needle. You could put it through a needle just as easy."
Jennie felt very humble-a strange thing for her. This was a new way of looking at things.
" Of course he'll go to heaven, you know," said Dotty; " there's no trouble about that."
" I s'pose he will," sighed Jennie, looking at her beautiful gold ring with less pleasure than usual. She had been in the habit of twirling it about her finger, and telling the little girls it was made of real " carrot gold."
But just at this moment she didn't care so much about it; and it even seemed to her that Dotty's little hand looked very nice and white without any rings. Perhaps people had not admired the glitter of her forefinger so very much, after all. How did she know but they had said, " Look at Judge Vance's little daughter. Isn't she ashamed to wear that ring when it's a sign her father is rich, and can't go to heaven ? " The child began to wish there would come holes in her father's pockets and let out the money; for she supposed he kept it all in his pockets, of coarse.
"I shall tell my mother about it," mused she; "and I don't believe but she'll laugh and say, ' That Dotty Dimple is a very queer child.'"
But just at this time little Katie began to peep into Jennie's pockets for " candy-seeds " (that is, sugared spices), and to behave in many ways so badly that Miss Prince said she must be taken home. So the girls led her out between them; and that was the last Jennie thought of the camel. But Dotty remembered it all the way home.
On to chapter 5
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