SUSY felt as if she had been sadly to
blame, and for a long time was very
watchful of her little sister.
"Your name is Susy," said the child;
and your middle name is 'Sister Susy,
and you take the care o' me!"
"No, I don't," thought Susy to herself. "If I had taken any care of you
at all, you wouldn't have climbed those
When Prudy was four years old, she
teased to go to school, and her mother
decided to let her go until she grew
tired of it.
" 0, dear!" sighed Susy, the first day
she took her; "she'll talk out loud, I
just about know she will, she's such a
"Poh; no I shan't," said Prudy. "I
ain't a checker-box, Susy Parlin; but
you are! I shan't talk in school, nor I
shan't whisper, never in my world!"
When they got home that night, Mrs.
Parlin asked if Prudy had whispered in
"No, ma'am. I never done such a
thing—I guess. Did I, Susy? How
much I didn't talk to you, don't you
"0, she was pretty good, mother,"
said Susy; "but she cried once so I had
to go out with her."
"Now, Susy Parlin, you told me to
cry! She did, mamma. She said if I'd
cry she'd give me a piece of her doughnut."
Susy blushed; and her mother looked
at her, and said, "I would like to see
you alone a little while, Susy."
Then Mrs. Parlin had a talk with Susy
in the parlor, and told her how wrong
it was to deceive, and how she must take
the care of her little sister, and set her
Susy said she would do as well as she.
"But, mamma, if you are willing, I'd
rather not sit with Prudy, now, certainly. She says such queer things.
Why, to-day she said she had grandma's rheumatism in her back, and wanted me to look at her tongue and see if
she hadn't. Why, mother, as true as I
live, she shut up her eyes and put out
her tongue right there in school, and of
course we girls couldn't help laughing!"
"Well, perhaps she'd better sit by
herself," replied Mrs. Parlin, smiling.
" I will speak to the teacher about her
carrying her knitting-work—that may
keep her out of mischief."
Now it happened that grandma Read
had taken a great deal of pains to teach
Prudy to knit;—but such a piece of work
as the child made of it!
The first time she carried the thing
which she supposed was going to be a
stocking, the A B C scholars looked
very much surprised, for none of them
knew how to knit.
Prudy said, "Poh, I know how to do
it just as easy!"
But in trying to show them how smart
she could be, she knit so fast that she
dropped a stitch every other moment.
"There, now, you are dropping
stitches like every thing," said Lottie
Palmer, very much pleased. "I guess
I know how to do that!"
"Poh, them's nothing but the loops,"
But it was not long before she broke
the yarn short off, and got her work into such a fix that she had to take it home
and ask grandma to "fix it out."
"Why, child, where's the ball?" said
her grandmother. "And here's two
"0, I left 'em to school, I s 'pose," said
Prudy. "I 'm sure I never noticed 'em. ' '
"I found the ball under the teacher's
desk once," said Susy.
"Well, 'tain't there now," replied
Prudy; "it's all wounded now, and I put
it where it belongs."
"Where's that?" asked grandma,
"Well, I don't know," answered Prudy, trying to think; "but I guess it's
Mrs. Parlin began to think it was a
foolish plan to let Prudy take her knitting-work. I was going to mention
something she did the last day she carried it. She got tired of knitting, tired
of twisting her pretty curls round her
finger, and tired of looking at pictures.
"Let's guess riddles," she whispered
to Nancy Clover, who sat on the bench
beside her. "I can make up riddles just
as easy! There's something in this
room, in Miss Parker's watch-pocket,
goes tick— tick. Now guess that:—
that's a riddle."
"I wish you'd behave, Prudy Parlin,"
said Nancy. "Here I am trying to get
my spelling lesson."
Then Nancy turned her head a little
to one side, and went on studying as
hard as she could, for it was almost time
for her class to be called.
All at once Prudy happened to look
at Nancy's ear, and thought, "What
funny little holes folks have in their
ears! I s 'pose they go clear through.
I guess I'll put my knitting-needle right
through Nannie's ear while she's a-studyin'. The needle will look so funny
stickin' out at the other end!"
So Prudy was very sly about it, and
said not a word, hut began to push in the
needle with all her might.
0, such sharp screams as Nannie
gave! The teacher was frightened; but
when she found that Nannie was not
so very badly hurt after all, she felt
easier about her, and began to talk to
little Prudy, asking her "why she didn't
sit still, like a lady, and mind?"
Prudy began to cry. "I was a-mindin'," said she; "of course I was. I never knew 'twas a-going to hurt her."
Miss Parker smiled, and said, "Well,
you needn't bring that knitting-work
here any more. The next thing we
should have somebody's eyes put out."
When Miss Parker called out the next
class in- spelling, Nannie sat with her
head down, feeling very cross. "I don't
like you, Prudy," said she. "You
'most killed me! I'll pay you for this,
now you see! "
Miss Parker had to call Nannie by
name before she would go to her class.
She was three or four years older than
Prudy, and ought to have known better
than to be angry with such a little child.
She should have forgotten all about it:
that would have been the best way. But
instead of that, she kept thinking,—
"Oh, how that knitting-needle did
hurt! Prudy ought to be ashamed! I'll
pay her for it, now you see!"
You may be sure Prudy did not worry
her little brains about it at all.
Her mother was brushing her hair
next morning for school, and Mr. Parlin said,—
"Don't you think she's too little to go
to school, mother? I don't care about
her learning to read yet awhile."
Mrs. Parlin smiled in a droll way. "I
should be very sorry myself to have Prudy learn to read," replied she; "but
she won't keep still long enough: you
needn't be a bit afraid."
"Look here, Prudy," exclaimed Mr.
Parlin, "can you spell any words?"
"Poh! yes, sir, I guess I can," replied
Prudy, her eyes looking very bright, "I
can spell 'most all there is to spell."
" 0, ho," laughed Mr. Parlin. " Let's
hear you spell your own name. Can't
do it, can you?"
"Poh! yes I can! That ain't nothin'. Pre-ed, Prood Pre-i-eddy, Prudy.
"Bravo!" cried papa. "You're getting ahead, I declare! Now can you spell
"Spell Susy? Why, I can do it just
as easy!" replied Prudy, her eyes shining very bright indeed. "C-ez, Sooz,
C-i-ezzy, Susy. There! Can't I spell?"
"Why, I should think you could,"
said papa, laughing. "I can't begin to
spell the way you do. Now can you
"Cat? Cat?" repeated Prudy, looking puzzled. "Well, I guess I've forgot
how to spell cat. But I can spell Kitty.
You just hear! Kee-et, kit, kee-i-etty,
kitty! I can spell the big words the
"What think now?" said Mrs. Parlin.
" The truth is, Prudy knew eight letters
when she began to go to school, and now
she knows but four. "
"Glad of it," returned Mr. Parlin.
"Are you ready for school, little one?"
And he held out his arms, saying,—
"And now, my own dear little girl,
There is no way but this—
Put your arms about my neck,
And give me one sweet kiss."
So Prudy hugged and kissed her
father "just as hard." Then she and
Susy trudged along to school, and they
met Nancy Glover, who was carrying
something in her apron.
"Mayn't I see what you've got?"
said little Prudy.
"Not till I get ready," said Nancy.
"Who stuck that knitting-needle into
"You know she didn't mean to," said
"I don't care," cried Nancy, "it
Prudy felt very sorry. "I wish I
hadn't hurt you, Nanny," said she,
" 'cause I want to see what you've got
in your apron."
"Well, I guess you'll see it soon
enough. I brought it to school to purpose for you."
"0, did you? " cried the child. "How
good you are, Nanny. I love you 'most
as well as I do Susy."
When little Prudy spoke so sweetly,
Nancy didn't know what to say; so she
said nothing. They went into the schoolhouse and took their seats, Nancy keeping the corner of her apron rolled up
all the while.
By and by, when Miss Parker was
hearing the third class, Nancy whispered,—
"Look here, Prudy Parlin, you
wanted to know what I had in my apron:
shall I show you now?"
"Well, then," continued Nanny,—
"Open your month and shut your eyes,
And I'll give you something to make you wise! ' "
So Prudy opened her mouth as wide
as it would go, and squeezed her eyelids together very hard.
Then what should Nancy do, but take
out of her apron a wee bit of a toad, and
drop it in Prudy's mouth! I can't see
how she dared do such a thing; but she
did it. She had found the toad in the
street, and picked it up to frighten little Prudy.
The moment the toad was dropped on
the child's tongue of course it began
to hop. Prudy hopped too. She seized
her tongue with one hand and the toad
with the other, screaming at the top of
The scholars were all frightened to
hear such a scream, and to see Prudy
running out to the teacher so fast.
"Do tell me what ails you?" said
By that time Prudy had got rid of the
toad, and could speak.
"Oh, dear, dear, dear," cried she, "I
didn't know it was a toad till it hopped
"A toad here in the house!" cried
"No, ma 'am," said Prudy, trembling
and sobbing. "It wasn't in the house,—
it was in my mouth,—right here on my
Prudy showed Miss Parker her
tongue. Miss Parker laughed, thinking
her a very funny child.
"I've heard, before now, of little folks
having frogs in their throats," said she.
"Is that what you mean?"
"I guess so," sobbed Prudy. "And it
was alive—just as alive as could be! 0,
0!—Nancy, she told me to shut up my
eyes, you know, and I didn't see the toad
till it hopped right up in my mouth,—
and then I didn't see it! 0, 0!"
"Nancy, come here," said Miss
Parker, sternly. "What have you been
doing to this little child?"
Nancy came out, with her fingers in.
her mouth, but did not speak.
"Answer me; did you drop a toad
into Prudy's mouth ?"
"Yes," replied Nancy, sulkily; "but
she stuck a knitting-needle into my ear
"For shame, you wicked child," said
Miss Parker. "Take up that toad,
Nancy, and carry it out of doors; then
come to me, for I must punish you.
"Now, Prudy," added Miss Parker,
"what do you think I ought to do to
Nancy for being so naughty?"
"I don't know," answered Prudy,
crying still. "I don't s 'pose my mother
would be willing to have folks put toads
in my mouth."
"But what do you think I ought to do
to her?" said Miss Parker, smiling.
"Was you goin' to whip her?" asked
Prudy, looking up through her tears.
"I think: I must, my child."
"Well, I hope you won't hurt her,"
said dear little Prudy. "Please to
But Miss Parker struck Nancy with a
piece of whalebone, and hurt her a good
deal. It was the only way to make
Nancy remember not to do such a cruel
When Prudy saw how much Nancy
was hurt, it was more than her tender
heart could bear. She ran up to Miss
Parker, and caught hold of the skirt of
her dress, hiding her head in it.
"0, Miss Parker!" said she, "I've
got to cry. Nanny won't do so no more.
The toad was just as alive as could be,
but it never bit a bit! 0, won't you
please to don't!"
THIS was about the last of Prudy's
going to school. In the first place she
was very tired of it, in the second place
it was vacation, and in the third place
the whole family were going to Willowbrook on a visit.
It was very pleasant at grandpa Parlin's at any time. Such a stout swing in
the big oil-nut tree! Such a beautiful
garden, with a summer-house in it! Such
a nice cosy seat in the trees! So many
"cubby holes" all about to hide in!
But this summer I speak of was pleasanter than ever; for the Western cousins, Grace and Horace Clifford, had
come from Indiana to visit their friends
in Maine. The Parlin children had not
seen them for two years; but Grace and
Susy became fast friends in a very short
time, while little Prudy was thrown one
side for Horace to take care of when
he could stop.
"0 dear suz," said she, one morning,
"I'm so glad there happened to be a
world, and God made me!"
"What, you here, Prudy?" said
grandma Parlin. "What made you get
up so early?"
"0, the flies waked me, I s 'pose. I
was dreaming about my pignig. I
thought I had it on top o' the trees."
"Ah, it's the day for Grace's party,
sure enough," said her grandmother,
sighing a little, and stirring faster at
"You mean my party," said Prudy,
dancing around the table. "The party
b' longs to me. You didn't know that, did
"You'd better go and talk to your
aunt Madge," said grandma, "I'm
"0," said Prudy, "I guess you ain't
glad I got up. I tried to keep asleep,
grandma, but the flies waked me."
Prudy was going out of the room, but
turned and came back.
"Grandma," said she, "if you love
me, why don't you hug me?"
"0, I can't stop, dear," said grandma, laughing; "we can't hug little girls
all the time."
But she did it.
After a while Grace, and Horace, and
Susy came down stairs, and then there
was a great time. As soon as breakfast
was over, kind aunt Madge promised to
make out a list of the little folks to be
"First of all," said she, "are you going to have boys and girls, or only
"0, we don't want any boys," said
cousin Grace, tossing her head; "they
race round, and act so."
"Of course we don't want 'em," said
Susy. "I'd laugh if we'd got to have a
lot of noisy boys."
"Poh! we don't want boys," echoed
Prudy. "They are pickin' fusses all the
Cousin Horace stood by aunt Madge's
chair, looking quite forlorn, but too
proud to say a word.
"See here, Horace," said Grace, very
grandly, "we think you'd better go
"I reckon I won't if I don't want to,"
said Horace, working the flag out of his
cap. He knew the girls thought he was
almost always in the way.
"I want to tell you something, Horace," said aunt Madge, stroking his
hair. "Mr. Allen is going out to North
Pond with some other gentleman, fishing, and I begged him to let you go;
and he said he would, though he
wouldn't take the girls for any thing."
"There, girls," cried Horace, with
beaming face. "Did Mr. Allen truly say
so, auntie? Of course he wouldn't have
girls go. If we caught a fish, how they
would scream; wouldn't they, though?"
Horace darted off to find Mr. Allen,
and so he was out of the girls' way.
"Now," said aunt Madge, smiling,
"tell me what girls you want to ask,
So they gave several names—Grace
and Susy—which Prudy repeated after
"But where is Abby Grant?" said
aunt Madge. "Don't you want her?"
Grace and Susy looked at each other
without speaking. Prudy looked at them.
"I don't go with such poor girls when
I'm home," said Grace.
"Nor I don't," said Susy.
"Nor me neither," chimed in little
Prudy, glad to know what to say.
Aunt Madge shook her curly head. "I
guess you mustn't have a party," said
she, "if you slight good little girls because they are poor. Why, I should ask
her a great deal quicker, because it isn't
often she has any thing nice to eat at
"So would I," said Grace, looking
ashamed. "You may put her name down,
"Yes, put her name down, auntie,"
Such a time as there was to get ready
for that party! Aunt Madge and aunt
Louise worked with all their might,
cooking nice things, and the children
were too happy to keep still. Susy's
mother had gone back to Portland.
When the first little girl arrived,
Grace and Susy hadn't the slightest idea
what to do with her, and aunt Madge
had to go in and set them to playing
"Puss in the corner."
The next girl that came was Abby
"I s'posed ye wouldn't come," said
Prudy. "We never asked you."
"Why, child," said Grace, blushing,
"yes we did ask her, too."
"0, so we did," said foolish little
Prudy. "We asked you, Abby, 'cause
you don't get any thing nice to eat to
Grace didn't shake Prudy, only because she didn't dare to. In a few minutes all the little girls had come, and the
whole party went into the front yard to
play. Aunt Madge made believe she was
a little girl, and played "Ring Round
Rosy," " Catch," and "Button," as hard
as any body. When they had played
till they were all out of breath, aunt
Louise sent them to the summer-house
in the garden to rest, while she and aunt
Madge set the table in the front yard.
0, the apple puffs, and lemon tarts, and
little seed cakes, and frosted cake, and
candy, looked so good to poor little Abby
Grant! Then the raspberries, like red
coral, and the white currants, like round
pearls! Then the flowers, fresh from
The children sat on the double steps
of the long piazza to eat their supper.
They had plenty of room, and it was
nice fun to peep round the great white
pillars at their neighbors' plates, and
whisper to one another, "I'm having a
grand time, ain't you?" "What splendid cake!" ' 'Don't you wish you lived
And the two aunties smiled and said
to each other,—
"It is worth all our trouble to see
these children so happy."
After the table was cleared away they
sang several pieces, and Prudy's sweet
little voice filled all the pauses with
some funny little chorus of her own.
When the party broke up, the children were quite tired out, and glad to
go to bed.
"Well," said Grace, as they went
slowly upstairs, "didn't my picnic go off
"Your pignig?" said Prudy; "why it
b' longs to me! I had it myself."
"Hush," said Susy. "Cousin Grace
came two thousand miles to see us, and
grandma promised her this party, and
she had it."
"There, now, Susy," said Prudy, much
grieved, "I've got a cent, and I was
goin' to buy you some shiny shoes, but
now I shan't."
Grace and Susy could not help laughing, and poor tired little Prudy could
not bear that.
"There," cried she, "don't you do
that again! If you'll say 'twas my pignig, Susy Parlin, then I'll kiss you; but
if you say it isn't, I won't speak to you
again—never in my world!"
"Well, it wasn't your picnic—so
there," said Susy.
Prudy settled her cheek to the pillow.
"Susy Parlin," said she, drowsily, "I
ain't a-goin' to speak to you again—till
But in the middle of a word Prudy
made a mistake and dropped off to
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