CHAPTER VI. A QUESTION OF DUTY
It was nearly seven o’clock when Pollyanna awoke that first day
after her arrival. Her windows faced the south and the west, so
she could not see the sun yet; but she could see the hazy blue of
the morning sky, and she knew that the day promised to be a fair
The little room was cooler now, and the air blew in fresh and
sweet. Outside, the birds were twittering joyously, and Pollyanna
flew to the window to talk to them. She saw then that down in the
garden her aunt was already out among the rosebushes. With rapid
fingers, therefore, she made herself ready to join her.
Down the attic stairs sped Pollyanna, leaving both doors wide
open. Through the hall, down the next flight, then bang through
the front screened-door and around to the garden, she ran.
Aunt Polly, with the bent old man, was leaning over a rose-bush
when Pollyanna, gurgling with delight, flung herself upon her.
“Oh, Aunt Polly, Aunt Polly, I reckon I am glad this morning just
to be alive!”
“PollyANNA!” remonstrated the lady, sternly, pulling herself as
erect as she could with a dragging weight of ninety pounds
hanging about her neck. “Is this the usual way you say good
The little girl dropped to her toes, and danced lightly up and
“No, only when I love folks so I just can’t help it! I saw you
from my window, Aunt Polly, and I got to thinking how you WEREN’T
a Ladies’ Aider, and you were my really truly aunt; and you
looked so good I just had to come down and hug you!”
The bent old man turned his back suddenly. Miss Polly attempted a
frown–with not her usual success.
“Pollyanna, you–I Thomas, that will do for this morning. I think
you understand–about those rose-bushes,” she said stiffly. Then
she turned and walked rapidly away.
“Do you always work in the garden, Mr.–Man?” asked Pollyanna,
The man turned. His lips were twitching, but his eyes looked
blurred as if with tears.
“Yes, Miss. I’m Old Tom, the gardener,” he answered. Timidly, but
as if impelled by an irresistible force, he reached out a shaking
hand and let it rest for a moment on her bright hair. “You are so
like your mother, little Miss! I used ter know her when she was
even littler than you be. You see, I used ter work in the
Pollyanna caught her breath audibly.
“You did? And you knew my mother, really–when she was just a
little earth angel, and not a Heaven one? Oh, please tell me
about her!” And down plumped Pollyanna in the middle of the dirt
path by the old man’s side.
A bell sounded from the house. The next moment Nancy was seen
flying out the back door.
“Miss Pollyanna, that bell means breakfast–mornin’s,” she
panted, pulling the little girl to her feet and hurrying her back
to the house; “and other times it means other meals. But it
always means that you’re ter run like time when ye hear it, no
matter where ye be. If ye don’t–well, it’ll take somethin’
smarter’n we be ter find ANYTHIN’ ter be glad about in that!” she
finished, shooing Pollyanna into the house as she would shoo an
unruly chicken into a coop.
Breakfast, for the first five minutes, was a silent meal; then
Miss Polly, her disapproving eyes following the airy wings of two
flies darting here and there over the table, said sternly:
“Nancy, where did those flies come from?”
“I don’t know, ma’am. There wasn’t one in the kitchen.” Nancy had
been too excited to notice Pollyanna’s up-flung windows the
“I reckon maybe they’re my flies, Aunt Polly,” observed
Pollyanna, amiably. “There were lots of them this morning having
a beautiful time upstairs.”
Nancy left the room precipitately, though to do so she had to
carry out the hot muffins she had just brought in.
“Yours!” gasped Miss Polly. “What do you mean? Where did they
“Why, Aunt Polly, they came from out of doors of course, through
the windows. I SAW some of them come in.”
“You saw them! You mean you raised those windows without any
“Why, yes. There weren’t any screens there, Aunt Polly.”
Nancy, at this moment, came in again with the muffins. Her face
was grave, but very red.
“Nancy,” directed her mistress, sharply, “you may set the muffins
down and go at once to Miss Pollyanna’s room and shut the
windows. Shut the doors, also. Later, when your morning work is
done, go through every room with the spatter. See that you make a
To her niece she said:
“Pollyanna, I have ordered screens for those windows. I knew, of
course, that it was my duty to do that. But it seems to me that
you have quite forgotten YOUR duty.”
“My–duty?” Pollyanna’s eyes were wide with wonder.
“Certainly. I know it is warm, but I consider it your duty to
keep your windows closed till those screens come. Flies,
Pollyanna, are not only unclean and annoying, but very dangerous
to health. After breakfast I will give you a little pamphlet on
this matter to read.”
“To read? Oh, thank you, Aunt Polly. I love to read!”
Miss Polly drew in her breath audibly, then she shut her lips
together hard. Pollyanna, seeing her stern face, frowned a little
“Of course I’m sorry about the duty I forgot, Aunt Polly,” she
apologized timidly. “I won’t raise the windows again.”
Her aunt made no reply. She did not speak, indeed, until the meal
was over. Then she rose, went to the bookcase in the sitting
room, took out a small paper booklet, and crossed the room to her
“This is the article I spoke of, Pollyanna. I desire you to go to
your room at once and read it. I will be up in half an hour to
look over your things.”
Pollyanna, her eyes on the illustration of a fly’s head, many
times magnified, cried joyously:
“Oh, thank you, Aunt Polly!” The next moment she skipped merrily
from the room, banging the door behind her.
Miss Polly frowned, hesitated, then crossed the room majestically
and opened the door; but Pollyanna was already out of sight,
clattering up the attic stairs.
Half an hour later when Miss Polly, her face expressing stern
duty in every line, climbed those stairs and entered Pollyanna’s
room, she was greeted with a burst of eager enthusiasm.
“Oh, Aunt Polly, I never saw anything so perfectly lovely and
interesting in my life. I’m so glad you gave me that book to
read! Why, I didn’t suppose flies could carry such a lot of
things on their feet, and–“
“That will do,” observed Aunt Polly, with dignity. “Pollyanna,
you may bring out your clothes now, and I will look them over.
What are not suitable for you I shall give to the Sullivans, of
With visible reluctance Pollyanna laid down the pamphlet and
turned toward the closet.
“I’m afraid you’ll think they’re worse than the Ladies’ Aid
did–and THEY said they were shameful,” she sighed. “But there
were mostly things for boys and older folks in the last two or
three barrels; and–did you ever have a missionary barrel, Aunt
At her aunt’s look of shocked anger, Pollyanna corrected herself
“Why, no, of course you didn’t, Aunt Polly!” she hurried on, with
a hot blush. “I forgot; rich folks never have to have them. But
you see sometimes I kind of forget that you are rich–up here in
this room, you know.”
Miss Polly’s lips parted indignantly, but no words came.
Pollyanna, plainly unaware that she had said anything in the
least unpleasant, was hurrying on.
“Well, as I was going to say, you can’t tell a thing about
missionary barrels–except that you won’t find in ’em what you
think you’re going to–even when you think you won’t. It was the
barrels every time, too, that were hardest to play the game on,
for father and–“
Just in time Pollyanna remembered that she was not to talk of her
father to her aunt. She dived into her closet then, hurriedly,
and brought out all the poor little dresses in both her arms.
“They aren’t nice, at all,” she choked, “and they’d been black if
it hadn’t been for the red carpet for the church; but they’re all
With the tips of her fingers Miss Polly turned over the
conglomerate garments, so obviously made for anybody but
Pollyanna. Next she bestowed frowning attention on the patched
undergarments in the bureau drawers.
“I’ve got the best ones on,” confessed Pollyanna, anxiously. “The
Ladies’ Aid bought me one set straight through all whole. Mrs.
Jones–she’s the president–told ’em I should have that if they
had to clatter down bare aisles themselves the rest of their
days. But they won’t. Mr. White doesn’t like the noise. He’s got
nerves, his wife says; but he’s got money, too, and they expect
he’ll give a lot toward the carpet–on account of the nerves, you
know. I should think he’d be glad that if he did have the nerves
he’d got money, too; shouldn’t you?”
Miss Polly did not seem to hear. Her scrutiny of the
undergarments finished, she turned to Pollyanna somewhat
“You have been to school, of course, Pollyanna?”
“Oh, yes, Aunt Polly. Besides, fath–I mean, I was taught at home
Miss Polly frowned.
“Very good. In the fall you will enter school here, of course.
Mr. Hall, the principal, will doubtless settle in which grade you
belong. Meanwhile, I suppose I ought to hear you read aloud half
an hour each day.”
“I love to read; but if you don’t want to hear me I’d be just
glad to read to myself–truly, Aunt Polly. And I wouldn’t have to
half try to be glad, either, for I like best to read to
myself–on account of the big words, you know.”
“I don’t doubt it,” rejoined Miss Polly, grimly. “Have you studied
“Not much. I don’t like my music–I like other people’s, though.
I learned to play on the piano a little. Miss Gray–she plays for
church–she taught me. But I’d just as soon let that go as not,
Aunt Polly. I’d rather, truly.”
“Very likely,” observed Aunt Polly, with slightly uplifted
eyebrows. “Nevertheless I think it is my duty to see that you are
properly instructed in at least the rudiments of music. You sew,
“Yes, ma’am.” Pollyanna sighed. “The Ladies’ Aid taught me that.
But I had an awful time. Mrs. Jones didn’t believe in holding
your needle like the rest of ’em did on buttonholing, and Mrs.
White thought backstitching ought to be taught you before hemming
(or else the other way), and Mrs. Harriman didn’t believe in
putting you on patchwork ever, at all.”
“Well, there will be no difficulty of that kind any longer,
Pollyanna. I shall teach you sewing myself, of course. You do not
know how to cook, I presume.”
Pollyanna laughed suddenly.
“They were just beginning to teach me that this summer, but I
hadn’t got far. They were more divided up on that than they were
on the sewing. They were GOING to begin on bread; but there
wasn’t two of ’em that made it alike, so after arguing it all one
sewing-meeting, they decided to take turns at me one forenoon a
week–in their own kitchens, you know. I’d only learned chocolate
fudge and fig cake, though, when–when I had to stop.” Her voice
“Chocolate fudge and fig cake, indeed!” scorned Miss Polly. “I
think we can remedy that very soon.” She paused in thought for a
minute, then went on slowly: “At nine o’clock every morning you
will read aloud one half-hour to me. Before that you will use the
time to put this room in order. Wednesday and Saturday forenoons,
after half-past nine, you will spend with Nancy in the kitchen,
learning to cook. Other mornings you will sew with me. That will
leave the afternoons for your music. I shall, of course, procure
a teacher at once for you,” she finished decisively, as she arose
from her chair.
Pollyanna cried out in dismay.
“Oh, but Aunt Polly, Aunt Polly, you haven’t left me any time at
all just to–to live.”
“To live, child! What do you mean? As if you weren’t living all
“Oh, of course I’d be BREATHING all the time I was doing those
things, Aunt Polly, but I wouldn’t be living. You breathe all the
time you’re asleep, but you aren’t living. I mean living–doing
the things you want to do: playing outdoors, reading (to myself,
of course), climbing hills, talking to Mr. Tom in the garden, and
Nancy, and finding out all about the houses and the people and
everything everywhere all through the perfectly lovely streets I
came through yesterday. That’s what I call living, Aunt Polly.
Just breathing isn’t living!”
Miss Polly lifted her head irritably.
“Pollyanna, you ARE the most extraordinary child! You will be
allowed a proper amount of playtime, of course. But, surely, it
seems to me if I am willing to do my duty in seeing that you have
proper care and instruction, YOU ought to be willing to do yours
by seeing that that care and instruction are not ungratefully
Pollyanna looked shocked.
“Oh, Aunt Polly, as if I ever could be ungrateful–to YOU! Why, I
LOVE YOU–and you aren’t even a Ladies’ Aider; you’re an aunt!”
“Very well; then see that you don’t act ungrateful,” vouchsafed
Miss Polly, as she turned toward the door.
She had gone halfway down the stairs when a small, unsteady voice
called after her:
“Please, Aunt Polly, you didn’t tell me which of my things you
wanted to–to give away.”
Aunt Polly emitted a tired sigh–a sigh that ascended straight to
“Oh, I forgot to tell you, Pollyanna. Timothy will drive us into
town at half-past one this afternoon. Not one of your garments is
fit for my niece to wear. Certainly I should be very far from
doing my duty by you if I should let you appear out in any one of
Pollyanna sighed now–she believed she was going to hate that
“Aunt Polly, please,” she called wistfully, “isn’t there ANY way
you can be glad about all that–duty business?”
“What?” Miss Polly looked up in dazed surprise; then, suddenly,
with very red cheeks, she turned and swept angrily down the
stairs. “Don’t be impertinent, Pollyanna!”
In the hot little attic room Pollyanna dropped herself on to one
of the straight-backed chairs. To her, existence loomed ahead one
endless round of duty.
“I don’t see, really, what there was impertinent about that,” she
sighed. “I was only asking her if she couldn’t tell me something
to be glad about in all that duty business.”
For several minutes Pollyanna sat in silence, her rueful eyes
fixed on the forlorn heap of garments on the bed. Then, slowly,
she rose and began to put away the dresses.
“There just isn’t anything to be glad about, that I can see,” she
said aloud; “unless–it’s to be glad when the duty’s done!”
Whereupon she laughed suddenly.
CHAPTER VII. POLLYANNA AND PUNISHMENTS
At half-past one o’clock Timothy drove Miss Polly and her niece
to the four or five principal dry goods stores, which were about
half a mile from the homestead.
Fitting Pollyanna with a new wardrobe proved to be more or less
of an exciting experience for all concerned. Miss Polly came out
of it with the feeling of limp relaxation that one might have at
finding oneself at last on solid earth after a perilous walk
across the very thin crust of a volcano. The various clerks who
had waited upon the pair came out of it with very red faces, and
enough amusing stories of Pollyanna to keep their friends in
gales of laughter the rest of the week. Pollyanna herself came
out of it with radiant smiles and a heart content; for, as she
expressed it to one of the clerks: “When you haven’t had anybody
but missionary barrels and Ladies’ Aiders to dress you, it IS
perfectly lovely to just walk right in and buy clothes that are
brand-new, and that don’t have to be tucked up or let down
because they don’t fit!”
The shopping expedition consumed the entire afternoon; then came
supper and a delightful talk with Old Tom in the garden, and
another with Nancy on the back porch, after the dishes were done,
and while Aunt Polly paid a visit to a neighbor.
Old Tom told Pollyanna wonderful things of her mother, that made
her very happy indeed; and Nancy told her all about the little
farm six miles away at “The Corners,” where lived her own dear
mother, and her equally dear brother and sisters. She promised,
too, that sometime, if Miss Polly were willing, Pollyanna should
be taken to see them.
“And THEY’VE got lovely names, too. You’ll like THEIR names,”
sighed Nancy. “They’re ‘Algernon,’ and ‘Florabelle’ and
‘Estelle.’ I–I just hate ‘Nancy’!”
“Oh, Nancy, what a dreadful thing to say! Why?”
“Because it isn’t pretty like the others. You see, I was the
first baby, and mother hadn’t begun ter read so many stories with
the pretty names in ’em, then.”
“But I love ‘Nancy,’ just because it’s you,” declared Pollyanna.
“Humph! Well, I guess you could love ‘Clarissa Mabelle’ just as
well,” retorted Nancy, “and it would be a heap happier for me. I
think THAT name’s just grand!”
“Well, anyhow,” she chuckled, “you can be glad it isn’t
“Yes. Mrs. White’s name is that. Her husband calls her ‘Hep,’ and
she doesn’t like it. She says when he calls out ‘Hep–Hep!’ she
feels just as if the next minute he was going to yell ‘Hurrah!’
And she doesn’t like to be hurrahed at.”
Nancy’s gloomy face relaxed into a broad smile.
“Well, if you don’t beat the Dutch! Say, do you know?–I sha’n’t
never hear ‘Nancy’ now that I don’t think o’ that ‘Hep–Hep!’ and
giggle. My, I guess I AM glad–” She stopped short and turned
amazed eyes on the little girl. “Say, Miss Pollyanna, do you
mean–was you playin’ that ‘ere game THEN–about my bein’ glad I
wa’n’t named Hephzibah’?”
Pollyanna frowned; then she laughed.
“Why, Nancy, that’s so! I WAS playing the game–but that’s one of
the times I just did it without thinking, I reckon. You see, you
DO, lots of times; you get so used to it–looking for something
to be glad about, you know. And most generally there is something
about everything that you can be glad about, if you keep hunting
long enough to find it.”
“Well, m-maybe,” granted Nancy, with open doubt.
At half-past eight Pollyanna went up to bed. The screens had not
yet come, and the close little room was like an oven. With
longing eyes Pollyanna looked at the two fast-closed windows–but
she did not raise them. She undressed, folded her clothes neatly,
said her prayers, blew out her candle and climbed into bed.
Just how long she lay in sleepless misery, tossing from side to
side of the hot little cot, she did not know; but it seemed to
her that it must have been hours before she finally slipped out
of bed, felt her way across the room and opened her door.
Out in the main attic all was velvet blackness save where the
moon flung a path of silver half-way across the floor from the
east dormer window. With a resolute ignoring of that fearsome
darkness to the right and to the left, Pollyanna drew a quick
breath and pattered straight into that silvery path, and on to
She had hoped, vaguely, that this window might have a screen, but
it did not. Outside, however, there was a wide world of
fairy-like beauty, and there was, too, she knew, fresh, sweet air
that would feel so good to hot cheeks and hands!
As she stepped nearer and peered longingly out, she saw something
else: she saw, only a little way below the window, the wide, flat
tin roof of Miss Polly’s sun parlor built over the porte-cochere.
The sight filled her with longing. If only, now, she were out
Fearfully she looked behind her. Back there, somewhere, were her
hot little room and her still hotter bed; but between her and
them lay a horrid desert of blackness across which one must feel
one’s way with outstretched, shrinking arms; while before her,
out on the sun-parlor roof, were the moonlight and the cool,
sweet night air.
If only her bed were out there! And folks did sleep out of doors.
Joel Hartley at home, who was so sick with the consumption, HAD
to sleep out of doors.
Suddenly Pollyanna remembered that she had seen near this attic
window a row of long white bags hanging from nails. Nancy had
said that they contained the winter clothing, put away for the
summer. A little fearfully now, Pollyanna felt her way to these
bags, selected a nice fat soft one (it contained Miss Polly’s
sealskin coat) for a bed; and a thinner one to be doubled up for
a pillow, and still another (which was so thin it seemed almost
empty) for a covering. Thus equipped, Pollyanna in high glee
pattered to the moonlit window again, raised the sash, stuffed
her burden through to the roof below, then let herself down after
it, closing the window carefully behind her–Pollyanna had not
forgotten those flies with the marvellous feet that carried
How deliciously cool it was! Pollyanna quite danced up and down
with delight, drawing in long, full breaths of the refreshing
air. The tin roof under her feet crackled with little resounding
snaps that Pollyanna rather liked. She walked, indeed, two or
three times back and forth from end to end–it gave her such a
pleasant sensation of airy space after her hot little room; and
the roof was so broad and flat that she had no fear of falling
off. Finally, with a sigh of content, she curled herself up on
the sealskin-coat mattress, arranged one bag for a pillow and the
other for a covering, and settled herself to sleep.
“I’m so glad now that the screens didn’t come,” she murmured,
blinking up at the stars; “else I couldn’t have had this!”
Down-stairs in Miss Polly’s room next the sun parlor, Miss Polly
herself was hurrying into dressing gown and slippers, her face
white and frightened. A minute before she had been telephoning in
a shaking voice to Timothy:
“Come up quick!–you and your father. Bring lanterns. Somebody is
on the roof of the sun parlor. He must have climbed up the
rose-trellis or somewhere, and of course he can get right into
the house through the east window in the attic. I have locked the
attic door down here–but hurry, quick!”
Some time later, Pollyanna, just dropping off to sleep, was
startled by a lantern flash, and a trio of amazed ejaculations.
She opened her eyes to find Timothy at the top of a ladder near
her, Old Tom just getting through the window, and her aunt
peering out at her from behind him.
“Pollyanna, what does this mean?” cried Aunt Polly then.
Pollyanna blinked sleepy eyes and sat up.
“Why, Mr. Tom–Aunt Polly!” she stammered. “Don’t look so scared!
It isn’t that I’ve got the consumption, you know, like Joel
Hartley. It’s only that I was so hot–in there. But I shut the
window, Aunt Polly, so the flies couldn’t carry those germ-things
Timothy disappeared suddenly down the ladder. Old Tom, with
almost equal precipitation, handed his lantern to Miss Polly, and
followed his son. Miss Polly bit her lip hard–until the men were
gone; then she said sternly:
“Pollyanna, hand those things to me at once and come in here. Of
all the extraordinary children!” she ejaculated a little later,
as, with Pollyanna by her side, and the lantern in her hand, she
turned back into the attic.
To Pollyanna the air was all the more stifling after that cool
breath of the out of doors; but she did not complain. She only
drew a long quivering sigh.
At the top of the stairs Miss Polly jerked out crisply:
“For the rest of the night, Pollyanna, you are to sleep in my bed
with me. The screens will be here to-morrow, but until then I
consider it my duty to keep you where I know where you are.”
Pollyanna drew in her breath.
“With you?–in your bed?” she cried rapturously. “Oh, Aunt Polly,
Aunt Polly, how perfectly lovely of you! And when I’ve so wanted
to sleep with some one sometime–some one that belonged to me,
you know; not a Ladies’ Aider. I’ve HAD them. My! I reckon I am
glad now those screens didn’t come! Wouldn’t you be?”
There was no reply. Miss Polly was stalking on ahead. Miss Polly,
to tell the truth, was feeling curiously helpless. For the third
time since Pollyanna’s arrival, Miss Polly was punishing
Pollyanna–and for the third time she was being confronted with
the amazing fact that her punishment was being taken as a special
reward of merit. No wonder Miss Polly was feeling curiously
CHAPTER VIII. POLLYANNA PAYS A VISIT
It was not long before life at the Harrington homestead settled
into something like order–though not exactly the order that Miss
Polly had at first prescribed. Pollyanna sewed, practised, read
aloud, and studied cooking in the kitchen, it is true; but she
did not give to any of these things quite so much time as had
first been planned. She had more time, also, to “just live,” as
she expressed it, for almost all of every afternoon from two
until six o’clock was hers to do with as she liked–provided she
did not “like” to do certain things already prohibited by Aunt
It is a question, perhaps, whether all this leisure time was
given to the child as a relief to Pollyanna from work–or as a
relief to Aunt Polly from Pollyanna. Certainly, as those first
July days passed, Miss Polly found occasion many times to
ejaculate “What an extraordinary child!” and certainly the
reading and sewing lessons found her at their conclusion each day
somewhat dazed and wholly exhausted.
Nancy, in the kitchen, fared better. She was not dazed nor
exhausted. Wednesdays and Saturdays came to be, indeed,
red-letter days to her.
There were no children in the immediate neighborhood of the
Harrington homestead for Pollyanna to play with. The house itself
was on the outskirts of the village, and though there were other
houses not far away, they did not chance to contain any boys or
girls near Pollyanna’s age. This, however, did not seem to
disturb Pollyanna in the least.
“Oh, no, I don’t mind it at all,” she explained to Nancy. “I’m
happy just to walk around and see the streets and the houses and
watch the people. I just love people. Don’t you, Nancy?”
“Well, I can’t say I do–all of ’em,” retorted Nancy, tersely.
Almost every pleasant afternoon found Pollyanna begging for “an
errand to run,” so that she might be off for a walk in one
direction or another; and it was on these walks that frequently
she met the Man. To herself Pollyanna always called him “the
Man,” no matter if she met a dozen other men the same day.
The Man often wore a long black coat and a high silk hat–two
things that the “just men” never wore. His face was clean shaven
and rather pale, and his hair, showing below his hat, was
somewhat gray. He walked erect, and rather rapidly, and he was
always alone, which made Pollyanna vaguely sorry for him. Perhaps
it was because of this that she one day spoke to him.
“How do you do, sir? Isn’t this a nice day?” she called cheerily,
as she approached him.
The man threw a hurried glance about him, then stopped
“Did you speak–to me?” he asked in a sharp voice.
“Yes, sir,” beamed Pollyanna. “I say, it’s a nice day, isn’t it?”
“Eh? Oh! Humph!” he grunted; and strode on again.
Pollyanna laughed. He was such a funny man, she thought.
The next day she saw him again.
” ‘Tisn’t quite so nice as yesterday, but it’s pretty nice,” she
called out cheerfully.
“Eh? Oh! Humph!” grunted the man as before; and once again
Pollyanna laughed happily.
When for the third time Pollyanna accosted him in much the same
manner, the man stopped abruptly.
“See here, child, who are you, and why are you speaking to me
“I’m Pollyanna Whittier, and I thought you looked lonesome. I’m
so glad you stopped. Now we’re introduced–only I don’t know your
“Well, of all the–” The man did not finish his sentence, but
strode on faster than ever.
Pollyanna looked after him with a disappointed droop to her
usually smiling lips.
“Maybe he didn’t understand–but that was only half an
introduction. I don’t know HIS name, yet,” she murmured, as she
proceeded on her way.
Pollyanna was carrying calf’s-foot jelly to Mrs. Snow to-day.
Miss Polly Harrington always sent something to Mrs. Snow once a
week. She said she thought that it was her duty, inasmuch as Mrs.
Snow was poor, sick, and a member of her church–it was the duty
of all the church members to look out for her, of course. Miss
Polly did her duty by Mrs. Snow usually on Thursday
afternoons–not personally, but through Nancy. To-day Pollyanna
had begged the privilege, and Nancy had promptly given it to her
in accordance with Miss Polly’s orders.
“And it’s glad that I am ter get rid of it,” Nancy had declared
in private afterwards to Pollyanna; “though it’s a shame ter be
tuckin’ the job off on ter you, poor lamb, so it is, it is!”
“But I’d love to do it, Nancy.”
“Well, you won’t–after you’ve done it once,” predicted Nancy,
“Because nobody does. If folks wa’n’t sorry for her there
wouldn’t a soul go near her from mornin’ till night, she’s that
cantankerous. All is, I pity her daughter what HAS ter take care
“But, why, Nancy?”
Nancy shrugged her shoulders.
“Well, in plain words, it’s just that nothin’ what ever has
happened, has happened right in Mis’ Snow’s eyes. Even the days
of the week ain’t run ter her mind. If it’s Monday she’s bound
ter say she wished ’twas Sunday; and if you take her jelly you’re
pretty sure ter hear she wanted chicken–but if you DID bring her
chicken, she’d be jest hankerin’ for lamb broth!”
“Why, what a funny woman,” laughed Pollyanna. “I think I shall
like to go to see her. She must be so surprising and–and
different. I love DIFFERENT folks.”
“Humph! Well, Mis’ Snow’s ‘different,’ all right–I hope, for the
sake of the rest of us!” Nancy had finished grimly.
Pollyanna was thinking of these remarks to-day as she turned in
at the gate of the shabby little cottage. Her eyes were quite
sparkling, indeed, at the prospect of meeting this “different”
A pale-faced, tired-looking young girl answered her knock at the
“How do you do?” began Pollyanna politely. “I’m from Miss Polly
Harrington, and I’d like to see Mrs. Snow, please.”
“Well, if you would, you’re the first one that ever ‘liked’ to
see her,” muttered the girl under her breath; but Pollyanna did
not hear this. The girl had turned and was leading the way
through the hall to a door at the end of it.
In the sick-room, after the girl had ushered her in and closed
the door, Pollyanna blinked a little before she could accustom
her eyes to the gloom. Then she saw, dimly outlined, a woman
half-sitting up in the bed across the room. Pollyanna advanced at
“How do you do, Mrs. Snow? Aunt Polly says she hopes you are
comfortable to-day, and she’s sent you some calf’s-foot jelly.”
“Dear me! jelly?” murmured a fretful voice,
“Of course I’m very much obliged, but I was hoping ‘twould be
lamb broth to-day.”
Pollyanna frowned a little.
“Why, I thought it was CHICKEN you wanted when folks brought you
jelly,” she said.
“What?” The sick woman turned sharply.
“Why, nothing, much,” apologized Pollyanna, hurriedly; “and of
course it doesn’t really make any difference. It’s only that
Nancy said it was chicken you wanted when we brought jelly, and
lamb broth when we brought chicken–but maybe ’twas the other
way, and Nancy forgot.”
The sick woman pulled herself up till she sat erect in the bed–a
most unusual thing for her to do, though Pollyanna did not know
“Well, Miss Impertinence, who are you?” she demanded.
Pollyanna laughed gleefully.
“Oh, THAT isn’t my name, Mrs. Snow–and I’m so glad ’tisn’t, too!
That would be worse than ‘Hephzibah,’ wouldn’t it? I’m Pollyanna
Whittier, Miss Polly Harrington’s niece, and I’ve come to live
with her. That’s why I’m here with the jelly this morning.”
All through the first part of this sentence, the sick woman had
sat interestedly erect; but at the reference to the jelly she
fell back on her pillow listlessly.
“Very well; thank you. Your aunt is very kind, of course, but my
appetite isn’t very good this morning, and I was wanting lamb–“
She stopped suddenly, then went on with an abrupt change of
subject. “I never slept a wink last night–not a wink!”
“O dear, I wish _I_ didn’t,” sighed Pollyanna, placing the jelly
on the little stand and seating herself comfortably in the
nearest chair. “You lose such a lot of time just sleeping! Don’t
you think so?”
“Lose time–sleeping!” exclaimed the sick woman.
“Yes, when you might be just living, you know. It seems such a
pity we can’t live nights, too.”
Once again the woman pulled herself erect in her bed.
“Well, if you ain’t the amazing young one!” she cried. “Here! do
you go to that window and pull up the curtain,” she directed. “I
should like to know what you look like!”
Pollyanna rose to her feet, but she laughed a little ruefully.
“O dear! then you’ll see my freckles, won’t you?” she sighed, as
she went to the window; “–and just when I was being so glad it
was dark and you couldn’t see ’em. There! Now you can–oh!” she
broke off excitedly, as she turned back to the bed; “I’m so glad
you wanted to see me, because now I can see you! They didn’t tell
me you were so pretty!”
“Me!–pretty!” scoffed the woman, bitterly.
“Why, yes. Didn’t you know it?” cried Pollyanna.
“Well, no, I didn’t,” retorted Mrs. Snow, dryly. Mrs. Snow had
lived forty years, and for fifteen of those years she had been
too busy wishing things were different to find much time to enjoy
things as they were.
“Oh, but your eyes are so big and dark, and your hair’s all dark,
too, and curly,” cooed Pollyanna. “I love black curls. (That’s
one of the things I’m going to have when I get to Heaven.) And
you’ve got two little red spots in your cheeks. Why, Mrs. Snow,
you ARE pretty! I should think you’d know it when you looked at
yourself in the glass.”
“The glass!” snapped the sick woman, falling back on her pillow.
“Yes, well, I hain’t done much prinkin’ before the mirror these
days–and you wouldn’t, if you was flat on your back as I am!”
“Why, no, of course not,” agreed Pollyanna, sympathetically. “But
wait–just let me show you,” she exclaimed, skipping over to the
bureau and picking up a small hand-glass.
On the way back to the bed she stopped, eyeing the sick woman
with a critical gaze.
“I reckon maybe, if you don’t mind, I’d like to fix your hair
just a little before I let you see it,” she proposed. “May I fix
your hair, please?”
“Why, I–suppose so, if you want to,” permitted Mrs. Snow,
grudgingly; “but ‘twon’t stay, you know.”
“Oh, thank you. I love to fix people’s hair,” exulted Pollyanna,
carefully laying down the hand-glass and reaching for a comb. “I
sha’n’t do much to-day, of course–I’m in such a hurry for you to
see how pretty you are; but some day I’m going to take it all
down and have a perfectly lovely time with it,” she cried,
touching with soft fingers the waving hair above the sick woman’s
For five minutes Pollyanna worked swiftly, deftly, combing a
refractory curl into fluffiness, perking up a drooping ruffle at
the neck, or shaking a pillow into plumpness so that the head
might have a better pose. Meanwhile the sick woman, frowning
prodigiously, and openly scoffing at the whole procedure, was, in
spite of herself, beginning to tingle with a feeling perilously
near to excitement.
“There!” panted Pollyanna, hastily plucking a pink from a vase
near by and tucking it into the dark hair where it would give the
best effect. “Now I reckon we’re ready to be looked at!” And she
held out the mirror in triumph.
“Humph!” grunted the sick woman, eyeing her reflection severely.
“I like red pinks better than pink ones; but then, it’ll fade,
anyhow, before night, so what’s the difference!”
“But I should think you’d be glad they did fade,” laughed
Pollyanna, “’cause then you can have the fun of getting some
more. I just love your hair fluffed out like that,” she finished
with a satisfied gaze. “Don’t you?”
“Hm-m; maybe. Still–‘twon’t last, with me tossing back and forth
on the pillow as I do.”
“Of course not–and I’m glad, too,” nodded Pollyanna, cheerfully,
“because then I can fix it again. Anyhow, I should think you’d be
glad it’s black–black shows up so much nicer on a pillow than
yellow hair like mine does.”
“Maybe; but I never did set much store by black hair–shows gray
too soon,” retorted Mrs. Snow. She spoke fretfully, but she still
held the mirror before her face.
“Oh, I love black hair! I should be so glad if I only had it,”
Mrs. Snow dropped the mirror and turned irritably.
“Well, you wouldn’t!–not if you were me. You wouldn’t be glad
for black hair nor anything else–if you had to lie here all day
as I do!”
Pollyanna bent her brows in a thoughtful frown.
“Why, ‘twould be kind of hard–to do it then, wouldn’t it?” she
“Be glad about things.”
“Be glad about things–when you’re sick in bed all your days?
Well, I should say it would,” retorted Mrs. Snow. “If you don’t
think so, just tell me something to be glad about; that’s all!”
To Mrs. Snow’s unbounded amazement, Pollyanna sprang to her feet
and clapped her hands.
“Oh, goody! That’ll be a hard one–won’t it? I’ve got to go, now,
but I’ll think and think all the way home; and maybe the next
time I come I can tell it to you. Good-by. I’ve had a lovely
time! Good-by,” she called again, as she tripped through the
“Well, I never! Now, what does she mean by that?” ejaculated Mrs.
Snow, staring after her visitor. By and by she turned her head
and picked up the mirror, eyeing her reflection critically.
“That little thing HAS got a knack with hair and no mistake,” she
muttered under her breath. “I declare, I didn’t know it could
look so pretty. But then, what’s the use?” she sighed, dropping
the little glass into the bedclothes, and rolling her head on the
A little later, when Milly, Mrs. Snow’s daughter, came in, the
mirror still lay among the bedclothes it had been carefully
hidden from sight.
“Why, mother–the curtain is up!” cried Milly, dividing her
amazed stare between the window and the pink in her mother’s
“Well, what if it is?” snapped the sick woman. “I needn’t stay in
the dark all my life, if I am sick, need I?”
“Why, n-no, of course not,” rejoined Milly, in hasty
conciliation, as she reached for the medicine bottle. “It’s
only–well, you know very well that I’ve tried to get you to have
a lighter room for ages and you wouldn’t.”
There was no reply to this. Mrs. Snow was picking at the lace on
her nightgown. At last she spoke fretfully.
“I should think SOMEBODY might give me a new nightdress–instead
of lamb broth, for a change!”
No wonder Milly quite gasped aloud with bewilderment. In the
drawer behind her at that moment lay two new nightdresses that
Milly for months had been vainly urging her mother to wear.
CHAPTER IX. WHICH TELLS OF THE MAN
It rained the next time Pollyanna saw the Man. She greeted him,
however, with a bright smile.
“It isn’t so nice to-day, is it?” she called blithesomely. “I’m
glad it doesn’t rain always, anyhow!”
The man did not even grunt this time, nor turn his head.
Pollyanna decided that of course he did not hear her. The next
time, therefore (which happened to be the following day), she
spoke up louder. She thought it particularly necessary to do
this, anyway, for the Man was striding along, his hands behind
his back, and his eyes on the ground–which seemed, to Pollyanna,
preposterous in the face of the glorious sunshine and the
freshly-washed morning air: Pollyanna, as a special treat, was
on a morning errand to-day.
“How do you do?” she chirped. “I’m so glad it isn’t yesterday,
The man stopped abruptly. There was an angry scowl on his face.
“See here, little girl, we might just as well settle this thing
right now, once for all,” he began testily. “I’ve got something
besides the weather to think of. I don’t know whether the sun
shines or not.” Pollyanna beamed joyously.
“No, sir; I thought you didn’t. That’s why I told you.”
“Yes; well–Eh? What?” he broke off sharply, in sudden
understanding of her words.
“I say, that’s why I told you–so you would notice it, you
know–that the sun shines, and all that. I knew you’d be glad it
did if you only stopped to think of it–and you didn’t look a bit
as if you WERE thinking of it!”
“Well, of all the–” ejaculated the man, with an oddly impotent
gesture. He started forward again, but after the second step he
turned back, still frowning.
“See here, why don’t you find some one your own age to talk to?”
“I’d like to, sir, but there aren’t any ’round here, Nancy says.
Still, I don’t mind so very much. I like old folks just as well,
maybe better, sometimes–being used to the Ladies’ Aid, so.”
“Humph! The Ladies’ Aid, indeed! Is that what you took me for?”
The man’s lips were threatening to smile, but the scowl above
them was still trying to hold them grimly stern.
Pollyanna laughed gleefully.
“Oh, no, sir. You don’t look a mite like a Ladies’ Aider–not but
that you’re just as good, of course–maybe better,” she added in
hurried politeness. “You see, I’m sure you’re much nicer than you
The man made a queer noise in his throat.
“Well, of all the–” he ejaculated again, as he turned and strode
on as before.
The next time Pollyanna met the Man, his eyes were gazing
straight into hers, with a quizzical directness that made his
face look really pleasant, Pollyanna thought.
“Good afternoon,” he greeted her a little stiffly. “Perhaps I’d
better say right away that I KNOW the sun is shining to-day.”
“But you don’t have to tell me,” nodded Pollyanna, brightly. “I
KNEW you knew it just as soon as I saw you.”
“Oh, you did, did you?”
“Yes, sir; I saw it in your eyes, you know, and in your smile.”
“Humph!” grunted the man, as he passed on.
The Man always spoke to Pollyanna after this, and frequently he
spoke first, though usually he said little but “good afternoon.”
Even that, however, was a great surprise to Nancy, who chanced to
be with Pollyanna one day when the greeting was given.
“Sakes alive, Miss Pollyanna,” she gasped, “did that man SPEAK TO
“Why, yes, he always does–now,” smiled Pollyanna.
” ‘He always does’! Goodness! Do you know who–he–is?” demanded
Pollyanna frowned and shook her head.
“I reckon he forgot to tell me one day. You see, I did my part of
the introducing, but he didn’t.”
Nancy’s eyes widened.
“But he never speaks ter anybody, child–he hain’t for years, I
guess, except when he just has to, for business, and all that.
He’s John Pendleton. He lives all by himself in the big house on
Pendleton Hill. He won’t even have any one ’round ter cook for
him–comes down ter the hotel for his meals three times a day. I
know Sally Miner, who waits on him, and she says he hardly opens
his head enough ter tell what he wants ter eat. She has ter guess
it more’n half the time–only it’ll be somethin’ CHEAP! She knows
that without no tellin’.”
Pollyanna nodded sympathetically.
“I know. You have to look for cheap things when you’re poor.
Father and I took meals out a lot. We had beans and fish balls
most generally. We used to say how glad we were we liked
beans–that is, we said it specially when we were looking at the
roast turkey place, you know, that was sixty cents. Does Mr.
Pendleton like beans?”
“Like ’em! What if he does–or don’t? Why, Miss Pollyanna, he
ain’t poor. He’s got loads of money, John Pendleton has–from his
father. There ain’t nobody in town as rich as he is. He could eat
dollar bills, if he wanted to–and not know it.”
“As if anybody COULD eat dollar bills and not know it, Nancy,
when they come to try to chew ’em!”
“Ho! I mean he’s rich enough ter do it,” shrugged Nancy. “He
ain’t spendin’ his money, that’s all. He’s a-savin’ of it.”
“Oh, for the heathen,” surmised Pollyanna. “How perfectly
splendid! That’s denying yourself and taking up your cross. I
know; father told me.”
Nancy’s lips parted abruptly, as if there were angry words all
ready to come; but her eyes, resting on Pollyanna’s jubilantly
trustful face, saw something that prevented the words being
“Humph!” she vouchsafed. Then, showing her old-time interest, she
went on: “But, say, it is queer, his speakin’ to you, honestly,
Miss Pollyanna. He don’t speak ter no one; and he lives all alone
in a great big lovely house all full of jest grand things, they
say. Some says he’s crazy, and some jest cross; and some says
he’s got a skeleton in his closet.”
“Oh, Nancy!” shuddered Pollyanna. “How can he keep such a
dreadful thing? I should think he’d throw it away!”
Nancy chuckled. That Pollyanna had taken the skeleton literally
instead of figuratively, she knew very well; but, perversely, she
refrained from correcting the mistake.
“And EVERYBODY says he’s mysterious,” she went on. “Some years he
jest travels, week in and week out, and it’s always in heathen
countries–Egypt and Asia and the Desert of Sarah, you know.”
“Oh, a missionary,” nodded Pollyanna.
Nancy laughed oddly.
“Well, I didn’t say that, Miss Pollyanna. When he comes back he
writes books–queer, odd books, they say, about some gimcrack
he’s found in them heathen countries. But he don’t never seem ter
want ter spend no money here–leastways, not for jest livin’.”
“Of course not–if he’s saving it for the heathen,” declared
Pollyanna. “But he is a funny man, and he’s different, too, just
like Mrs. Snow, only he’s a different different.”
“Well, I guess he is–rather,” chuckled Nancy.
“I’m gladder’n ever now, anyhow, that he speaks to me,” sighed
CHAPTER X. A SURPRISE FOR MRS. SNOW
The next time Pollyanna went to see Mrs. Snow, she found that
lady, as at first, in a darkened room.
“It’s the little girl from Miss Polly’s, mother,” announced
Milly, in a tired manner; then Pollyanna found herself alone with
“Oh, it’s you, is it?” asked a fretful voice from the bed. “I
remember you. ANYbody’d remember you, I guess, if they saw you
once. I wish you had come yesterday. I WANTED you yesterday.”
“Did you? Well, I’m glad ’tisn’t any farther away from yesterday
than to-day is, then,” laughed Pollyanna, advancing cheerily into
the room, and setting her basket carefully down on a chair. “My!
but aren’t you dark here, though? I can’t see you a bit,” she
cried, unhesitatingly crossing to the window and pulling up the
shade. “I want to see if you’ve fixed your hair like I did–oh,
you haven’t! But, never mind; I’m glad you haven’t, after all,
’cause maybe you’ll let me do it–later. But now I want you to
see what I’ve brought you.”
The woman stirred restlessly.
“Just as if how it looks would make any difference in how it
tastes,” she scoffed–but she turned her eyes toward the basket.
“Well, what is it?”
“Guess! What do you want?” Pollyanna had skipped back to the
basket. Her face was alight. The sick woman frowned.
“Why, I don’t WANT anything, as I know of,” she sighed. “After
all, they all taste alike!”
“This won’t. Guess! If you DID want something, what would it be?”
The woman hesitated. She did not realize it herself, but she had
so long been accustomed to wanting what she did not have, that to
state off-hand what she DID want seemed impossible–until she
knew what she had. Obviously, however, she must say something.
This extraordinary child was waiting.
“Well, of course, there’s lamb broth–“
“I’ve got it!” crowed Pollyanna.
“But that’s what I DIDN’T want,” sighed the sick woman, sure now
of what her stomach craved. “It was chicken I wanted.”
“Oh, I’ve got that, too,” chuckled Pollyanna.
The woman turned in amazement.
“Both of them?” she demanded.
“Yes–and calf’s-foot jelly,” triumphed Pollyanna. “I was just
bound you should have what you wanted for once; so Nancy and I
fixed it. Oh, of course, there’s only a little of each–but
there’s some of all of ’em! I’m so glad you did want chicken,”
she went on contentedly, as she lifted the three little bowls
from her basket. “You see, I got to thinking on the way
here–what if you should say tripe, or onions, or something like
that, that I didn’t have! Wouldn’t it have been a shame–when I’d
tried so hard?” she laughed merrily.
There was no reply. The sick woman seemed to be trying–mentally
to find something she had lost.
“There! I’m to leave them all,” announced Pollyanna, as she
arranged the three bowls in a row on the table. “Like enough
it’ll be lamb broth you want to-morrow. How do you do to-day?”
she finished in polite inquiry.
“Very poorly, thank you,” murmured Mrs. Snow, falling back into
her usual listless attitude. “I lost my nap this morning. Nellie
Higgins next door has begun music lessons, and her practising
drives me nearly wild. She was at it all the morning–every
minute! I’m sure, I don’t know what I shall do!”
Polly nodded sympathetically.
“I know. It IS awful! Mrs. White had it once–one of my Ladies’
Aiders, you know. She had rheumatic fever, too, at the same time,
so she couldn’t thrash ’round. She said ‘twould have been easier
if she could have. Can you?”
“Thrash ’round–move, you know, so as to change your position
when the music gets too hard to stand.”
Mrs. Snow stared a little.
“Why, of course I can move–anywhere–in bed,” she rejoined a
“Well, you can be glad of that, then, anyhow, can’t you?” nodded
Pollyanna. “Mrs. White couldn’t. You can’t thrash when you have
rheumatic fever–though you want to something awful, Mrs. White
says. She told me afterwards she reckoned she’d have gone raving
crazy if it hadn’t been for Mr. White’s sister’s ears–being
“Sister’s–EARS! What do you mean?”
“Well, I reckon I didn’t tell it all, and I forgot you didn’t
know Mrs. White. You see, Miss White was deaf–awfully deaf; and
she came to visit ’em and to help take care of Mrs. White and the
house. Well, they had such an awful time making her understand
ANYTHING, that after that, every time the piano commenced to play
across the street, Mrs. White felt so glad she COULD hear it,
that she didn’t mind so much that she DID hear it, ’cause she
couldn’t help thinking how awful ‘twould be if she was deaf and
couldn’t hear anything, like her husband’s sister. You see, she
was playing the game, too. I’d told her about it.”
Pollyanna clapped her hands.
“There! I ‘most forgot; but I’ve thought it up, Mrs. Snow–what
you can be glad about.”
“GLAD about! What do you mean?”
“Why, I told you I would. Don’t you remember? You asked me to
tell you something to be glad about–glad, you know, even though
you did have to lie here abed all day.”
“Oh!” scoffed the woman. “THAT? Yes, I remember that; but I
didn’t suppose you were in earnest any more than I was.”
“Oh, yes, I was,” nodded Pollyanna, triumphantly; “and I found
it, too. But ‘TWAS hard. It’s all the more fun, though, always,
when ’tis hard. And I will own up, honest to true, that I
couldn’t think of anything for a while. Then I got it.”
“Did you, really? Well, what is it?” Mrs. Snow’s voice was
Pollyanna drew a long breath.
“I thought–how glad you could be–that other folks weren’t like
you–all sick in bed like this, you know,” she announced
impressively. Mrs. Snow stared. Her eyes were angry.
“Well, really!” she ejaculated then, in not quite an agreeable
tone of voice.
“And now I’ll tell you the game,” proposed Pollyanna, blithely
confident. “It’ll be just lovely for you to play–it’ll be so
hard. And there’s so much more fun when it is hard! You see, it’s
like this.” And she began to tell of the missionary barrel, the
crutches, and the doll that did not come.
The story was just finished when Milly appeared at the door.
“Your aunt is wanting you, Miss Pollyanna,” she said with dreary
listlessness. “She telephoned down to the Harlows’ across the
way. She says you’re to hurry–that you’ve got some practising to
make up before dark.”
Pollyanna rose reluctantly.
“All right,” she sighed. “I’ll hurry.” Suddenly she laughed. “I
suppose I ought to be glad I’ve got legs to hurry with, hadn’t I,
There was no answer. Mrs. Snow’s eyes were closed. But Milly,
whose eyes were wide open with surprise, saw that there were
tears on the wasted cheeks.
“Good-by,” flung Pollyanna over her shoulder, as she reached the
door. “I’m awfully sorry about the hair–I wanted to do it. But
maybe I can next time!”
One by one the July days passed. To Pollyanna, they were happy
days, indeed. She often told her aunt, joyously, how very happy
they were. Whereupon her aunt would usually reply, wearily:
“Very well, Pollyanna. I am gratified, of course, that they are
happy; but I trust that they are profitable, as well–otherwise I
should have failed signally in my duty.”
Generally Pollyanna would answer this with a hug and a kiss–a
proceeding that was still always most disconcerting to Miss
Polly; but one day she spoke. It was during the sewing hour.
“Do you mean that it wouldn’t be enough then, Aunt Polly, that
they should be just happy days?” she asked wistfully.
“That is what I mean, Pollyanna.”
“They must be pro-fi-ta-ble as well?”
“What is being pro-fi-ta-ble?”
“Why, it–it’s just being profitable–having profit, something to
show for it, Pollyanna. What an extraordinary child you are!”
“Then just being glad isn’t pro-fi-ta-ble?” questioned Pollyanna,
a little anxiously.
“O dear! Then you wouldn’t like it, of course. I’m afraid, now,
you won’t ever play the game, Aunt Polly.”
“Game? What game?”
“Why, that father–” Pollyanna clapped her hand to her lips.
“N-nothing,” she stammered. Miss Polly frowned.
“That will do for this morning, Pollyanna,” she said tersely. And
the sewing lesson was over.
It was that afternoon that Pollyanna, coming down from her attic
room, met her aunt on the stairway.
“Why, Aunt Polly, how perfectly lovely!” she cried. “You were
coming up to see me! Come right in. I love company,” she
finished, scampering up the stairs and throwing her door wide
Now Miss Polly had not been intending to call on her niece. She
had been planning to look for a certain white wool shawl in the
cedar chest near the east window. But to her unbounded surprise
now, she found herself, not in the main attic before the cedar
chest, but in Pollyanna’s little room sitting in one of the
straight-backed chairs–so many, many times since Pollyanna came,
Miss Polly had found herself like this, doing some utterly
unexpected, surprising thing, quite unlike the thing she had set
out to do!
“I love company,” said Pollyanna, again, flitting about as if she
were dispensing the hospitality of a palace; “specially since
I’ve had this room, all mine, you know. Oh, of course, I had a
room, always, but ’twas a hired room, and hired rooms aren’t half
as nice as owned ones, are they? And of course I do own this one,
“Why, y-yes, Pollyanna,” murmured Miss Polly, vaguely wondering
why she did not get up at once and go to look for that shawl.
“And of course NOW I just love this room, even if it hasn’t got
the carpets and curtains and pictures that I’d been want–” With
a painful blush Pollyanna stopped short. She was plunging into an
entirely different sentence when her aunt interrupted her
“What’s that, Pollyanna?”
“N-nothing, Aunt Polly, truly. I didn’t mean to say it.”
“Probably not,” returned Miss Polly, coldly; “but you did say it,
so suppose we have the rest of it.”
“But it wasn’t anything only that I’d been kind of planning on
pretty carpets and lace curtains and things, you know. But, of
“PLANNING on them!” interrupted Miss Polly, sharply.
Pollyanna blushed still more painfully.
“I ought not to have, of course, Aunt Polly,” she apologized. “It
was only because I’d always wanted them and hadn’t had them, I
suppose. Oh, we’d had two rugs in the barrels, but they were
little, you know, and one had ink spots, and the other holes; and
there never were only those two pictures; the one fath–I mean
the good one we sold, and the bad one that broke. Of course if it
hadn’t been for all that I shouldn’t have wanted them, so–pretty
things, I mean; and I shouldn’t have got to planning all through
the hall that first day how pretty mine would be here, and–and
But, truly, Aunt Polly, it wasn’t but just a minute–I mean, a
few minutes–before I was being glad that the bureau DIDN’T have
a looking-glass, because it didn’t show my freckles; and there
couldn’t be a nicer picture than the one out my window there; and
you’ve been so good to me, that–“
Miss Polly rose suddenly to her feet. Her face was very red.
“That will do, Pollyanna,” she said stiffly.
“You have said quite enough, I’m sure.” The next minute she had
swept down the stairs–and not until she reached the first floor
did it suddenly occur to her that she had gone up into the attic
to find a white wool shawl in the cedar chest near the east
Less than twenty-four hours later, Miss Polly said to Nancy,
“Nancy, you may move Miss Pollyanna’s things down-stairs this
morning to the room directly beneath. I have decided to have my
niece sleep there for the present.”
“Yes, ma’am,” said Nancy aloud.
“O glory!” said Nancy to herself.
To Pollyanna, a minute later, she cried joyously:
“And won’t ye jest be listenin’ ter this, Miss Pollyanna. You’re
ter sleep down-stairs in the room straight under this. You
Pollyanna actually grew white.
“You mean–why, Nancy, not really–really and truly?”
“I guess you’ll think it’s really and truly,” prophesied Nancy,
exultingly, nodding her head to Pollyanna over the armful of
dresses she had taken from the closet. “I’m told ter take down
yer things, and I’m goin’ ter take ’em, too, ‘fore she gets a
chance ter change her mind.”
Pollyanna did not stop to hear the end of this sentence. At the
imminent risk of being dashed headlong, she was flying
down-stairs, two steps at a time.
Bang went two doors and a chair before Pollyanna at last reached
her goal–Aunt Polly.
“Oh, Aunt Polly, Aunt Polly, did you mean it, really? Why, that
room’s got EVERYTHING–the carpet and curtains and three
pictures, besides the one outdoors, too, ’cause the windows look
the same way. Oh, Aunt Polly!”
“Very well, Pollyanna. I am gratified that you like the change,
of course; but if you think so much of all those things, I trust
you will take proper care of them; that’s all. Pollyanna, please
pick up that chair; and you have banged two doors in the last
half-minute.” Miss Polly spoke sternly, all the more sternly
because, for some inexplicable reason, she felt inclined to
cry–and Miss Polly was not used to feeling inclined to cry.
Pollyanna picked up the chair.
“Yes’m; I know I banged ’em–those doors,” she admitted
cheerfully. “You see I’d just found out about the room, and I
reckon you’d have banged doors if–” Pollyanna stopped short and
eyed her aunt with new interest. “Aunt Polly, DID you ever bang
“I hope–not, Pollyanna!” Miss Polly’s voice was properly
“Why, Aunt Polly, what a shame!” Pollyanna’s face expressed only
“A shame!” repeated Aunt Polly, too dazed to say more.
“Why, yes. You see, if you’d felt like banging doors you’d have
banged ’em, of course; and if you didn’t, that must have meant
that you weren’t ever glad over anything–or you would have
banged ’em. You couldn’t have helped it. And I’m so sorry you
weren’t ever glad over anything!”
“PollyANna!” gasped the lady; but Pollyanna was gone, and only
the distant bang of the attic-stairway door answered for her.
Pollyanna had gone to help Nancy bring down “her things.”
Miss Polly, in the sitting room, felt vaguely disturbed;–but
then, of course she HAD been glad–over some things!
CHAPTER XI. INTRODUCING JIMMY
August came. August brought several surprises and some
changes–none of which, however, were really a surprise to Nancy.
Nancy, since Pollyanna’s arrival, had come to look for surprises
First there was the kitten.
Pollyanna found the kitten mewing pitifully some distance down
the road. When systematic questioning of the neighbors failed to
find any one who claimed it, Pollyanna brought it home at once,
as a matter of course.
“And I was glad I didn’t find any one who owned it, too,” she
told her aunt in happy confidence; ” ’cause I wanted to bring it
home all the time. I love kitties. I knew you’d be glad to let it
Miss Polly looked at the forlorn little gray bunch of neglected
misery in Pollyanna’s arms, and shivered: Miss Polly did not
care for cats–not even pretty, healthy, clean ones.
“Ugh! Pollyanna! What a dirty little beast! And it’s sick, I’m
sure, and all mangy and fleay.”
“I know it, poor little thing,” crooned Pollyanna, tenderly,
looking into the little creature’s frightened eyes. “And it’s all
trembly, too, it’s so scared. You see it doesn’t know, yet, that
we’re going to keep it, of course.”
“No–nor anybody else,” retorted Miss Polly, with meaning
“Oh, yes, they do,” nodded Pollyanna, entirely misunderstanding
her aunt’s words. “I told everybody we should keep it, if I
didn’t find where it belonged. I knew you’d be glad to have
it–poor little lonesome thing!”
Miss Polly opened her lips and tried to speak; but in vain. The
curious helpless feeling that had been hers so often since
Pollyanna’s arrival, had her now fast in its grip.
“Of course I knew,” hurried on Pollyanna, gratefully, “that you
wouldn’t let a dear little lonesome kitty go hunting for a home
when you’d just taken ME in; and I said so to Mrs. Ford when she
asked if you’d let me keep it. Why, I had the Ladies’ Aid, you
know, and kitty didn’t have anybody. I knew you’d feel that way,”
she nodded happily, as she ran from the room.
“But, Pollyanna, Pollyanna,” remonstrated Miss Polly. “I don’t–“
But Pollyanna was already halfway to the kitchen, calling:
“Nancy, Nancy, just see this dear little kitty that Aunt Polly is
going to bring up along with me!” And Aunt Polly, in the sitting
room–who abhorred cats–fell back in her chair with a gasp of
dismay, powerless to remonstrate.
The next day it was a dog, even dirtier and more forlorn,
perhaps, than was the kitten; and again Miss Polly, to her
dumfounded amazement, found herself figuring as a kind protector
and an angel of mercy–a role that Pollyanna so unhesitatingly
thrust upon her as a matter of course, that the woman–who
abhorred dogs even more than she did cats, if possible–found
herself as before, powerless to remonstrate.
When, in less than a week, however, Pollyanna brought home a
small, ragged boy, and confidently claimed the same protection
for him, Miss Polly did have something to say. It happened after
On a pleasant Thursday morning Pollyanna had been taking
calf’s-foot jelly again to Mrs. Snow. Mrs. Snow and Pollyanna
were the best of friends now. Their friendship had started from
the third visit Pollyanna had made, the one after she had told
Mrs. Snow of the game. Mrs. Snow herself was playing the game
now, with Pollyanna. To be sure, she was not playing it very
well–she had been sorry for everything for so long, that it was
not easy to be glad for anything now. But under Pollyanna’s
cheery instructions and merry laughter at her mistakes, she was
learning fast. To-day, even, to Pollyanna’s huge delight, she had
said that she was glad Pollyanna brought calf’s-foot jelly,
because that was just what she had been wanting–she did not know
that Milly, at the front door, had told Pollyanna that the
minister’s wife had already that day sent over a great bowlful of
that same kind of jelly.
Pollyanna was thinking of this now when suddenly she saw the boy.
The boy was sitting in a disconsolate little heap by the
roadside, whittling half-heartedly at a small stick.
“Hullo,” smiled Pollyanna, engagingly.
The boy glanced up, but he looked away again, at once.
“Hullo yourself,” he mumbled.
“Now you don’t look as if you’d be glad even for calf’s-foot
jelly,” she chuckled, stopping before him.
The boy stirred restlessly, gave her a surprised look, and began
to whittle again at his stick, with the dull, broken-bladed knife
in his hand.
Pollyanna hesitated, then dropped herself comfortably down on the
grass near him. In spite of Pollyanna’s brave assertion that she
was “used to Ladies’ Aiders,” and “didn’t mind,” she had sighed
at times for some companion of her own age. Hence her
determination to make the most of this one.
“My name’s Pollyanna Whittier,” she began pleasantly. “What’s
Again the boy stirred restlessly. He even almost got to his feet.
But he settled back.
“Jimmy Bean,” he grunted with ungracious indifference.
“Good! Now we’re introduced. I’m glad you did your part–some
folks don’t, you know. I live at Miss Polly Harrington’s house.
Where do you live?”
“Nowhere! Why, you can’t do that–everybody lives somewhere,”
“Well, I don’t–just now. I’m huntin’ up a new place.”
“Oh! Where is it?”
The boy regarded her with scornful eyes.
“Silly! As if I’d be a-huntin’ for it–if I knew!”
Pollyanna tossed her head a little. This was not a nice boy, and
she did not like to be called “silly.” Still, he was somebody
besides–old folks. “Where did you live–before?” she queried.
“Well, if you ain’t the beat’em for askin’ questions!” sighed the
“I have to be,” retorted Pollyanna calmly, “else I couldn’t find
out a thing about you. If you’d talk more I wouldn’t talk so
The boy gave a short laugh. It was a sheepish laugh, and not
quite a willing one; but his face looked a little pleasanter when
he spoke this time.
“All right then–here goes! I’m Jimmy Bean, and I’m ten years old
goin’ on eleven. I come last year ter live at the Orphans’ Home;
but they’ve got so many kids there ain’t much room for me, an’ I
wa’n’t never wanted, anyhow, I don’t believe. So I’ve quit. I’m
goin’ ter live somewheres else–but I hain’t found the place,
yet. I’d LIKE a home–jest a common one, ye know, with a mother
in it, instead of a Matron. If ye has a home, ye has folks; an’ I
hain’t had folks since–dad died. So I’m a-huntin’ now. I’ve
tried four houses, but–they didn’t want me–though I said I
expected ter work, ‘course. There! Is that all you want ter
know?” The boy’s voice had broken a little over the last two
“Why, what a shame!” sympathized Pollyanna. “And didn’t there
anybody want you? O dear! I know just how you feel, because
after–after my father died, too, there wasn’t anybody but the
Ladies’ Aid for me, until Aunt Polly said she’d take–” Pollyanna
stopped abruptly. The dawning of a wonderful idea began to show
in her face.
“Oh, I know just the place for you,” she cried. “Aunt Polly’ll
take you–I know she will! Didn’t she take me? And didn’t she
take Fluffy and Buffy, when they didn’t have any one to love
them, or any place to go?–and they’re only cats and dogs. Oh,
come, I know Aunt Polly’ll take you! You don’t know how good and
kind she is!”
Jimmy Bean’s thin little face brightened.
“Honest Injun? Would she, now? I’d work, ye know, an’ I’m real
strong!” He bared a small, bony arm.
“Of course she would! Why, my Aunt Polly is the nicest lady in
the world–now that my mama has gone to be a Heaven angel. And
there’s rooms–heaps of ’em,” she continued, springing to her
feet, and tugging at his arm. “It’s an awful big house. Maybe,
though,” she added a little anxiously, as they hurried on, “maybe
you’ll have to sleep in the attic room. I did, at first. But
there’s screens there now, so ‘twon’t be so hot, and the flies
can’t get in, either, to bring in the germ-things on their feet.
Did you know about that? It’s perfectly lovely! Maybe she’ll let
you read the book if you’re good–I mean, if you’re bad. And
you’ve got freckles, too,”–with a critical glance–“so you’ll be
glad there isn’t any looking-glass; and the outdoor picture is
nicer than any wall-one could be, so you won’t mind sleeping in
that room at all, I’m sure,” panted Pollyanna, finding suddenly
that she needed the rest of her breath for purposes other than
“Gorry!” exclaimed Jimmy Bean tersely and uncomprehendingly, but
admiringly. Then he added: “I shouldn’t think anybody who could
talk like that, runnin’, would need ter ask no questions ter fill
up time with!”
“Well, anyhow, you can be glad of that,” she retorted; “for when
I’m talking, YOU don’t have to!”
When the house was reached, Pollyanna unhesitatingly piloted her
companion straight into the presence of her amazed aunt.
“Oh, Aunt Polly,” she triumphed, “just look a-here! I’ve got
something ever so much nicer, even, than Fluffy and Buffy for you
to bring up. It’s a real live boy. He won’t mind a bit sleeping
in the attic, at first, you know, and he says he’ll work; but I
shall need him the most of the time to play with, I reckon.”
Miss Polly grew white, then very red. She did not quite
understand; but she thought she understood enough.
“Pollyanna, what does this mean? Who is this dirty little boy?
Where did you find him?” she demanded sharply.
The “dirty little boy” fell back a step and looked toward the
door. Pollyanna laughed merrily.
“There, if I didn’t forget to tell you his name! I’m as bad as
the Man. And he is dirty, too, isn’t he?–I mean, the boy
is–just like Fluffy and Buffy were when you took them in. But I
reckon he’ll improve all right by washing, just as they did,
and–Oh, I ‘most forgot again,” she broke off with a laugh. “This
is Jimmy Bean, Aunt Polly.”
“Well, what is he doing here?”
“Why, Aunt Polly, I just told you!” Pollyanna’s eyes were wide
with surprise. “He’s for you. I brought him home–so he could
live here, you know. He wants a home and folks. I told him how
good you were to me, and to Fluffy and Buffy, and that I knew you
would be to him, because of course he’s even nicer than cats and
Miss Polly dropped back in her chair and raised a shaking hand to
her throat. The old helplessness was threatening once more to
overcome her. With a visible struggle, however, Miss Polly pulled
herself suddenly erect.
“That will do, Pollyanna. This is a little the most absurd thing
you’ve done yet. As if tramp cats and mangy dogs weren’t bad
enough but you must needs bring home ragged little beggars from
the street, who–“
There was a sudden stir from the boy. His eyes flashed and his
chin came up. With two strides of his sturdy little legs he
confronted Miss Polly fearlessly.
“I ain’t a beggar, marm, an’ I don’t want nothin’ o’ you. I was
cal’latin’ ter work, of course, fur my board an’ keep. I wouldn’t
have come ter your old house, anyhow, if this ‘ere girl hadn’t
‘a’ made me, a-tellin’ me how you was so good an’ kind that you’d
be jest dyin’ ter take me in. So, there!” And he wheeled about
and stalked from the room with a dignity that would have been
absurd had it not been so pitiful.
“Oh, Aunt Polly,” choked Pollyanna. “Why, I thought you’d be GLAD
to have him here! I’m sure, I should think you’d be glad–“
Miss Polly raised her hand with a peremptory gesture of silence.
Miss Polly’s nerves had snapped at last. The “good and kind” of
the boy’s words were still ringing in her ears, and the old
helplessness was almost upon her, she knew. Yet she rallied her
forces with the last atom of her will power.
“Pollyanna,” she cried sharply, “WILL you stop using that
everlasting word ‘glad’! It’s ‘glad’–‘glad’–‘glad’ from morning
till night until I think I shall grow wild!”
From sheer amazement Pollyanna’s jaw dropped.
“Why, Aunt Polly,” she breathed, “I should think you’d be glad to
have me gl–Oh!” she broke off, clapping her hand to her lips and
hurrying blindly from the room.
Before the boy had reached the end of the driveway, Pollyanna
“Boy! Boy! Jimmy Bean, I want you to know how–how sorry I am,”
she panted, catching him with a detaining hand.
“Sorry nothin’! I ain’t blamin’ you,” retorted the boy, sullenly.
“But I ain’t no beggar!” he added, with sudden spirit.
“Of course you aren’t! But you mustn’t blame auntie,” appealed
Pollyanna. “Probably I didn’t do the introducing right, anyhow;
and I reckon I didn’t tell her much who you were. She is good and
kind, really–she’s always been; but I probably didn’t explain it
right. I do wish I could find some place for you, though!”
The boy shrugged his shoulders and half turned away.
“Never mind. I guess I can find one myself. I ain’t no beggar,
Pollyanna was frowning thoughtfully. Of a sudden she turned, her
“Say, I’ll tell you what I WILL do! The Ladies’ Aid meets this
afternoon. I heard Aunt Polly say so. I’ll lay your case before
them. That’s what father always did, when he wanted
anything–educating the heathen and new carpets, you know.”
The boy turned fiercely.
“Well, I ain’t a heathen or a new carpet. Besides–what is a
Pollyanna stared in shocked disapproval.
“Why, Jimmy Bean, wherever have you been brought up?–not to know
what a Ladies’ Aid is!”
“Oh, all right–if you ain’t tellin’,” grunted the boy, turning
and beginning to walk away indifferently.
Pollyanna sprang to his side at once.
“It’s–it’s–why, it’s just a lot of ladies that meet and sew and
give suppers and raise money and–and talk; that’s what a Ladies’
Aid is. They’re awfully kind–that is, most of mine was, back
home. I haven’t seen this one here, but they’re always good, I
reckon. I’m going to tell them about you this afternoon.”
Again the boy turned fiercely.
“Not much you will! Maybe you think I’m goin’ ter stand ’round
an’ hear a whole LOT o’ women call me a beggar, instead of jest
ONE! Not much!”
“Oh, but you wouldn’t be there,” argued Pollyanna, quickly. “I’d
go alone, of course, and tell them.”
“Yes; and I’d tell it better this time,” hurried on Pollyanna,
quick to see the signs of relenting in the boy’s face. “And
there’d be some of ’em, I know, that would be glad to give you a
“I’d work–don’t forget ter say that,” cautioned the boy.
“Of course not,” promised Pollyanna, happily, sure now that her
point was gained. “Then I’ll let you know to-morrow.”
“By the road–where I found you to-day; near Mrs. Snow’s house.”
“All right. I’ll be there.” The boy paused before he went on
slowly: “Maybe I’d better go back, then, for ter-night, ter the
Home. You see I hain’t no other place ter stay; and–and I didn’t
leave till this mornin’. I slipped out. I didn’t tell ’em I
wasn’t comin’ back, else they’d pretend I couldn’t come–though
I’m thinkin’ they won’t do no worryin’ when I don’t show up
sometime. They ain’t like FOLKS, ye know. They don’t CARE!”
“I know,” nodded Pollyanna, with understanding eyes. “But I’m
sure, when I see you to-morrow, I’ll have just a common home and
folks that do care all ready for you. Good-by!” she called
brightly, as she turned back toward the house.
In the sitting-room window at that moment, Miss Polly, who had
been watching the two children, followed with sombre eyes the boy
until a bend of the road hid him from sight. Then she sighed,
turned, and walked listlesly up-stairs–and Miss Polly did not
usually move listlessly. In her ears still was the boy’s scornful
“you was so good and kind.” In her heart was a curious sense of
desolation–as of something lost.
CHAPTER XII. BEFORE THE LADIES’ AID
Dinner, which came at noon in the Harrington homestead, was a
silent meal on the day of the Ladies’ Aid meeting. Pollyanna, it
is true, tried to talk; but she did not make a success of it,
chiefly because four times she was obliged to break off a “glad”
in the middle of it, much to her blushing discomfort. The fifth
time it happened, Miss Polly moved her head wearily.
“There, there, child, say it, if you want to,” she sighed. “I’m
sure I’d rather you did than not if it’s going to make all this
Pollyanna’s puckered little face cleared.
“Oh, thank you. I’m afraid it would be pretty hard–not to say
it. You see I’ve played it so long.”
“You’ve–what?” demanded Aunt Polly.
“Played it–the game, you know, that father–” Pollyanna stopped
with a painful blush at finding herself so soon again on
Aunt Polly frowned and said nothing. The rest of the meal was a
Pollyanna was not sorry to hear Aunt Polly tell the minister’s
wife over the telephone, a little later, that she would not be at
the Ladies’ Aid meeting that afternoon, owing to a headache. When
Aunt Polly went up-stairs to her room and closed the door,
Pollyanna tried to be sorry for the headache; but she could not
help feeling glad that her aunt was not to be present that
afternoon when she laid the case of Jimmy Bean before the Ladies’
Aid. She could not forget that Aunt Polly had called Jimmy Bean a
little beggar; and she did not want Aunt Polly to call him
that–before the Ladies’ Aid.
Pollyanna knew that the Ladies’ Aid met at two o’clock in the
chapel next the church, not quite half a mile from home. She
planned her going, therefore, so that she should get there a
little before three.
“I want them all to be there,” she said to herself; “else the
very one that wasn’t there might be the one who would be wanting
to give Jimmy Bean a home; and, of course, two o’clock always
means three, really–to Ladies’ Aiders.”
Quietly, but with confident courage, Pollyanna ascended the
chapel steps, pushed open the door and entered the vestibule. A
soft babel of feminine chatter and laughter came from the main
room. Hesitating only a brief moment Pollyanna pushed open one of
the inner doors.
The chatter dropped to a surprised hush. Pollyanna advanced a
little timidly. Now that the time had come, she felt unwontedly
shy. After all, these half-strange, half-familiar faces about her
were not her own dear Ladies’ Aid.
“How do you do, Ladies’ Aiders?” she faltered politely. “I’m
Pollyanna Whittier. I–I reckon some of you know me, maybe;
anyway, I do YOU–only I don’t know you all together this way.”
The silence could almost be felt now. Some of the ladies did know
this rather extraordinary niece of their fellow-member, and
nearly all had heard of her; but not one of them could think of
anything to say, just then.
“I–I’ve come to–to lay the case before you,” stammered
Pollyanna, after a moment, unconsciously falling into her
father’s familiar phraseology.
There was a slight rustle.
“Did–did your aunt send you, my dear?” asked Mrs. Ford, the
Pollyanna colored a little.
“Oh, no. I came all by myself. You see, I’m used to Ladies’
Aiders. It was Ladies’ Aiders that brought me up–with father.”
Somebody tittered hysterically, and the minister’s wife frowned.
“Yes, dear. What is it?”
“Well, it–it’s Jimmy Bean,” sighed Pollyanna. “He hasn’t any
home except the Orphan one, and they’re full, and don’t want him,
anyhow, he thinks; so he wants another. He wants one of the
common kind, that has a mother instead of a Matron in it–folks,
you know, that’ll care. He’s ten years old going on eleven. I
thought some of you might like him–to live with you, you know.”
“Well, did you ever!” murmured a voice, breaking the dazed pause
that followed Pollyanna’s words.
With anxious eyes Pollyanna swept the circle of faces about her.
“Oh, I forgot to say; he will work,” she supplemented eagerly.
Still there was silence; then, coldly, one or two women began to
question her. After a time they all had the story and began to
talk among themselves, animatedly, not quite pleasantly.
Pollyanna listened with growing anxiety. Some of what was said
she could not understand. She did gather, after a time, however,
that there was no woman there who had a home to give him, though
every woman seemed to think that some of the others might take
him, as there were several who had no little boys of their own
already in their homes. But there was no one who agreed herself
to take him. Then she heard the minister’s wife suggest timidly
that they, as a society, might perhaps assume his support and
education instead of sending quite so much money this year to the
little boys in far-away India.
A great many ladies talked then, and several of them talked all
at once, and even more loudly and more unpleasantly than before.
It seemed that their society was famous for its offering to Hindu
missions, and several said they should die of mortification if it
should be less this year. Some of what was said at this time
Pollyanna again thought she could not have understood, too, for
it sounded almost as if they did not care at all what the money
DID, so long as the sum opposite the name of their society in a
certain “report” “headed the list”–and of course that could not
be what they meant at all! But it was all very confusing, and not
quite pleasant, so that Pollyanna was glad, indeed, when at last
she found herself outside in the hushed, sweet air–only she was
very sorry, too: for she knew it was not going to be easy, or
anything but sad, to tell Jimmy Bean to-morrow that the Ladies’
Aid had decided that they would rather send all their money to
bring up the little India boys than to save out enough to bring
up one little boy in their own town, for which they would not get
“a bit of credit in the report,” according to the tall lady who
“Not but that it’s good, of course, to send money to the heathen,
and I shouldn’t want ’em not to send SOME there,” sighed
Pollyanna to herself, as she trudged sorrowfully along. “But they
acted as if little boys HERE weren’t any account–only little
boys ‘way off. I should THINK, though, they’d rather see Jimmy
Bean grow–than just a report!”
CHAPTER XIII. IN PENDLETON WOODS
Pollyanna had not turned her steps toward home, when she left the
chapel. She had turned them, instead, toward Pendleton Hill. It
had been a hard day, for all it had been a “vacation one” (as she
termed the infrequent days when there was no sewing or cooking
lesson), and Pollyanna was sure that nothing would do her quite
so much good as a walk through the green quiet of Pendleton
Woods. Up Pendleton Hill, therefore, she climbed steadily, in
spite of the warm sun on her back.
“I don’t have to get home till half-past five, anyway,” she was
telling herself; “and it’ll be so much nicer to go around by the
way of the woods, even if I do have to climb to get there.”
It was very beautiful in the Pendleton Woods, as Pollyanna knew
by experience. But to-day it seemed even more delightful than
ever, notwithstanding her disappointment over what she must tell
Jimmy Bean to-morrow.
“I wish they were up here–all those ladies who talked so loud,”
sighed Pollyanna to herself, raising her eyes to the patches of
vivid blue between the sunlit green of the tree-tops. “Anyhow, if
they were up here, I just reckon they’d change and take Jimmy
Bean for their little boy, all right,” she finished, secure in
her conviction, but unable to give a reason for it, even to
Suddenly Pollyanna lifted her head and listened. A dog had barked
some distance ahead. A moment later he came dashing toward her,
“Hullo, doggie–hullo!” Pollyanna snapped her fingers at the dog
and looked expectantly down the path. She had seen the dog once
before, she was sure. He had been then with the Man, Mr. John
Pendleton. She was looking now, hoping to see him. For some
minutes she watched eagerly, but he did not appear. Then she
turned her attention toward the dog.
The dog, as even Pollyanna could see, was acting strangely. He
was still barking–giving little short, sharp yelps, as if of
alarm. He was running back and forth, too, in the path ahead.
Soon they reached a side path, and down this the little dog
fairly flew, only to come back at once, whining and barking.
“Ho! That isn’t the way home,” laughed Pollyanna, still keeping
to the main path.
The little dog seemed frantic now. Back and forth, back and
forth, between Pollyanna and the side path he vibrated, barking
and whining pitifully. Every quiver of his little brown body, and
every glance from his beseeching brown eyes were eloquent with
appeal–so eloquent that at last Pollyanna understood, turned,
and followed him.
Straight ahead, now, the little dog dashed madly; and it was not
long before Pollyanna came upon the reason for it all: a man
lying motionless at the foot of a steep, overhanging mass of rock
a few yards from the side path.
A twig cracked sharply under Pollyanna’s foot, and the man turned
his head. With a cry of dismay Pollyanna ran to his side.
“Mr. Pendleton! Oh, are you hurt?”
“Hurt? Oh, no! I’m just taking a siesta in the sunshine,” snapped
the man irritably. “See here, how much do you know? What can you
do? Have you got any sense?”
Pollyanna caught her breath with a little gasp, but–as was her
habit–she answered the questions literally, one by one.
“Why, Mr. Pendleton, I–I don’t know so very much, and I can’t do
a great many things; but most of the Ladies’ Aiders, except Mrs.
Rawson, said I had real good sense. I heard ’em say so one
day–they didn’t know I heard, though.”
The man smiled grimly.
“There, there, child, I beg your pardon, I’m sure; it’s only this
confounded leg of mine. Now listen.” He paused, and with some
difficulty reached his hand into his trousers pocket and brought
out a bunch of keys, singling out one between his thumb and
forefinger. “Straight through the path there, about five minutes’
walk, is my house. This key will admit you to the side door under
the porte-cochere. Do you know what a porte-cochere is?”
“Oh, yes, sir. Auntie has one with a sun parlor over it. That’s
the roof I slept on–only I didn’t sleep, you know. They found
“Eh? Oh! Well, when you get into the house, go straight through
the vestibule and hall to the door at the end. On the big,
flat-topped desk in the middle of the room you’ll find a
telephone. Do you know how to use a telephone?”
“Oh, yes, sir! Why, once when Aunt Polly–“
“Never mind Aunt Polly now,” cut in the man scowlingly, as he
tried to move himself a little.
“Hunt up Dr. Thomas Chilton’s number on the card you’ll find
somewhere around there–it ought to be on the hook down at the
side, but it probably won’t be. You know a telephone card, I
suppose, when you see one!”
“Oh, yes, sir! I just love Aunt Polly’s. There’s such a lot of
queer names, and–“
“Tell Dr. Chilton that John Pendleton is at the foot of Little
Eagle Ledge in Pendleton Woods with a broken leg, and to come at
once with a stretcher and two men. He’ll know what to do besides
that. Tell him to come by the path from the house.”
“A broken leg? Oh, Mr. Pendleton, how perfectly awful!” shuddered
Pollyanna. “But I’m so glad I came! Can’t _I_ do–“
“Yes, you can–but evidently you won’t! WILL you go and do what I
ask and stop talking,” moaned the man, faintly. And, with a
little sobbing cry, Pollyanna went.
Pollyanna did not stop now to look up at the patches of blue
between the sunlit tops of the trees. She kept her eyes on the
ground to make sure that no twig nor stone tripped her hurrying
It was not long before she came in sight of the house. She had
seen it before, though never so near as this. She was almost
frightened now at the massiveness of the great pile of gray stone
with its pillared verandas and its imposing entrance. Pausing
only a moment, however, she sped across the big neglected lawn
and around the house to the side door under the porte-cochere.
Her fingers, stiff from their tight clutch upon the keys, were
anything but skilful in their efforts to turn the bolt in the
lock; but at last the heavy, carved door swung slowly back on its
Pollyanna caught her breath. In spite of her feeling of haste,
she paused a moment and looked fearfully through the vestibule to
the wide, sombre hall beyond, her thoughts in a whirl. This was
John Pendleton’s house; the house of mystery; the house into
which no one but its master entered; the house which sheltered,
somewhere–a skeleton. Yet she, Pollyanna, was expected to enter
alone these fearsome rooms, and telephone the doctor that the
master of the house lay now–
With a little cry Pollyanna, looking neither to the right nor the
left, fairly ran through the hall to the door at the end and
The room was large, and sombre with dark woods and hangings like
the hall; but through the west window the sun threw a long shaft
of gold across the floor, gleamed dully on the tarnished brass
andirons in the fireplace, and touched the nickel of the
telephone on the great desk in the middle of the room. It was
toward this desk that Pollyanna hurriedly tiptoed.
The telephone card was not on its hook; it was on the floor. But
Pollyanna found it, and ran her shaking forefinger down through
the C’s to “Chilton.” In due time she had Dr. Chilton himself at
the other end of the wires, and was tremblingly delivering her
message and answering the doctor’s terse, pertinent questions.
This done, she hung up the receiver and drew a long breath of
Only a brief glance did Pollyanna give about her; then, with a
confused vision in her eyes of crimson draperies, book-lined
walls, a littered floor, an untidy desk, innumerable closed doors
(any one of which might conceal a skeleton), and everywhere dust,
dust, dust, she fled back through the hall to the great carved
door, still half open as she had left it.
In what seemed, even to the injured man, an incredibly short
time, Pollyanna was back in the woods at the man’s side.
“Well, what is the trouble? Couldn’t you get in?” he demanded.
Pollyanna opened wide her eyes.
“Why, of course I could! I’m HERE,” she answered. “As if I’d be
here if I hadn’t got in! And the doctor will be right up just as
soon as possible with the men and things. He said he knew just
where you were, so I didn’t stay to show him. I wanted to be with
“Did you?” smiled the man, grimly. “Well, I can’t say I admire
your taste. I should think you might find pleasanter companions.”
“Do you mean–because you’re so–cross?”
“Thanks for your frankness. Yes.”
Pollyanna laughed softly.
“But you’re only cross OUTSIDE–You arn’t cross inside a bit!”
“Indeed! How do you know that?” asked the man, trying to change
the position of his head without moving the rest of his body.
“Oh, lots of ways; there–like that–the way you act with the
dog,” she added, pointing to the long, slender hand that rested
on the dog’s sleek head near him. “It’s funny how dogs and cats
know the insides of folks better than other folks do, isn’t it?
Say, I’m going to hold your head,” she finished abruptly.
The man winced several times and groaned once; softly while the
change was being made; but in the end he found Pollyanna’s lap a
very welcome substitute for the rocky hollow in which his head
had lain before.
“Well, that is–better,” he murmured faintly.
He did not speak again for some time. Pollyanna, watching his
face, wondered if he were asleep. She did not think he was. He
looked as if his lips were tight shut to keep back moans of pain.
Pollyanna herself almost cried aloud as she looked at his great,
strong body lying there so helpless. One hand, with fingers
tightly clenched, lay outflung, motionless. The other, limply
open, lay on the dog’s head. The dog, his wistful, eager eyes on
his master’s face, was motionless, too.
Minute by minute the time passed. The sun dropped lower in the
west and the shadows grew deeper under the trees. Pollyanna sat
so still she hardly seemed to breathe. A bird alighted fearlessly
within reach of her hand, and a squirrel whisked his bushy tail
on a tree-branch almost under her nose–yet with his bright
little eyes all the while on the motionless dog.
At last the dog pricked up his cars and whined softly; then he
gave a short, sharp bark. The next moment Pollyanna heard voices,
and very soon their owners appeared three men carrying a
stretcher and various other articles.
The tallest of the party–a smooth-shaven, kind-eyed man whom
Pollyanna knew by sight as “Dr. Chilton”–advanced cheerily.
“Well, my little lady, playing nurse?”
“Oh, no, sir,” smiled Pollyanna. “I’ve only held his head–I
haven’t given him a mite of medicine. But I’m glad I was here.”
“So am I,” nodded the doctor, as he turned his absorbed attention
to the injured man.
CHAPTER XIV. JUST A MATTER OF JELLY
Pollyanna was a little late for supper on the night of the
accident to John Pendleton; but, as it happened, she escaped
Nancy met her at the door.
“Well, if I ain’t glad ter be settin’ my two eyes on you,” she
sighed in obvious relief. “It’s half-past six!”
“I know it,” admitted Pollyanna anxiously; “but I’m not to
blame–truly I’m not. And I don’t think even Aunt Polly will say
I am, either.”
“She won’t have the chance,” retorted Nancy, with huge
satisfaction. “She’s gone.”
“Gone!” gasped Pollyanna. “You don’t mean that I’ve driven her
away?” Through Pollyanna’s mind at the moment trooped remorseful
memories of the morning with its unwanted boy, cat, and dog, and
its unwelcome “glad” and forbidden “father” that would spring to
her forgetful little tongue. Oh, I DIDN’T drive her away?”
“Not much you did,” scoffed Nancy. “Her cousin died suddenly
down to Boston, and she had ter go. She had one o’ them yeller
telegram letters after you went away this afternoon, and she
won’t be back for three days. Now I guess we’re glad all right.
We’ll be keepin’ house tergether, jest you and me, all that time.
We will, we will!”
Pollyanna looked shocked.
“Glad! Oh, Nancy, when it’s a funeral?”
“Oh, but ‘twa’n’t the funeral I was glad for, Miss Pollyanna. It
was–” Nancy stopped abruptly. A shrewd twinkle came into her
eyes. “Why, Miss Pollyanna, as if it wa’n’t yerself that was
teachin’ me ter play the game,” she reproached her gravely.
Pollyanna puckered her forehead into a troubled frown.
“I can’t help it, Nancy,” she argued with a shake of her head.
“It must be that there are some things that ’tisn’t right to play
the game on–and I’m sure funerals is one of them. There’s
nothing in a funeral to be glad about.”
“We can be glad ’tain’t our’n,” she observed demurely. But
Pollyanna did not hear. She had begun to tell of the accident;
and in a moment Nancy, open-mouthed, was listening.
At the appointed place the next afternoon, Pollyanna met Jimmy
Bean according to agreement. As was to be expected, of course,
Jimmy showed keen disappointment that the Ladies’ Aid preferred a
little India boy to himself.
“Well, maybe ’tis natural,” he sighed. “Of course things you
don’t know about are always nicer’n things you do, same as the
pertater on ‘tother side of the plate is always the biggest. But
I wish I looked that way ter somebody ‘way off. Wouldn’t it be
jest great, now, if only somebody over in India wanted ME?”
Pollyanna clapped her hands.
“Why, of course! That’s the very thing, Jimmy! I’ll write to my
Ladies’ Aiders about you. They aren’t over in India; they’re only
out West–but that’s awful far away, just the same. I reckon
you’d think so if you’d come all the way here as I did!”
Jimmy’s face brightened.
“Do you think they would–truly–take me?” he asked.
“Of course they would! Don’t they take little boys in India to
bring up? Well, they can just play you are the little India boy
this time. I reckon you’re far enough away to make a report, all
right. You wait. I’ll write ’em. I’ll write Mrs. White. No, I’ll
write Mrs. Jones. Mrs. White has got the most money, but Mrs.
Jones gives the most–which is kind of funny, isn’t it?–when you
think of it. But I reckon some of the Aiders will take you.”
“All right–but don’t furgit ter say I’ll work fur my board an’
keep,” put in Jimmy. “I ain’t no beggar, an’ biz’ness is
biz’ness, even with Ladies’ Aiders, I’m thinkin’.” He hesitated,
then added: “An’ I s’pose I better stay where I be fur a spell
yet–till you hear.”
“Of course,” nodded Pollyanna emphatically. “Then I’ll know just
where to find you. And they’ll take you–I’m sure you’re far
enough away for that. Didn’t Aunt Polly take–Say!” she broke
off, suddenly, “DO you suppose I was Aunt Polly’s little girl
“Well, if you ain’t the queerest kid,” grinned Jimmy, as he
It was about a week after the accident in Pendleton Woods that
Pollyanna said to her aunt one morning:
“Aunt Polly, please would you mind very much if I took Mrs.
Snow’s calf’s-foot jelly this week to some one else? I’m sure
Mrs. Snow wouldn’t–this once.”
“Dear me, Pollyanna, what ARE you up to now?” sighed her aunt.
“You ARE the most extraordinary child!”
Pollyanna frowned a little anxiously.
“Aunt Polly, please, what is extraordinary? If you’re
EXtraordinary you can’t be ORdinary, can you?”
“You certainly can not.”
“Oh, that’s all right, then. I’m glad I’m EXtraordinary,” sighed
Pollyanna, her face clearing. “You see, Mrs. White used to say
Mrs. Rawson was a very ordinary woman–and she disliked Mrs.
Rawson something awful. They were always fight–I mean, father
had–that is, I mean, WE had more trouble keeping peace between
them than we did between any of the rest of the Aiders,”
corrected Pollyanna, a little breathless from her efforts to
steer between the Scylla of her father’s past commands in regard
to speaking of church quarrels, and the Charybdis of her aunt’s
present commands in regard to speaking of her father.
“Yes, yes; well, never mind,” interposed Aunt Polly, a trifle
impatiently. “You do run on so, Pollyanna, and no matter what
we’re talking about you always bring up at those Ladies’ Aiders!”
“Yes’m,” smiled Pollyanna, cheerfully, “I reckon I do, maybe. But
you see they used to bring me up, and–“
“That will do, Pollyanna,” interrupted a cold voice. “Now what is
it about this jelly?”
“Nothing, Aunt Polly, truly, that you would mind, I’m sure. You
let me take jelly to HER, so I thought you would to HIM–this
once. You see, broken legs aren’t like–like lifelong invalids,
so his won’t last forever as Mrs. Snow’s does, and she can have
all the rest of the things after just once or twice.”
” ‘Him’? ‘He’? ‘Broken leg’? What are you talking about,
Pollyanna stared; then her face relaxed.
“Oh, I forgot. I reckon you didn’t know. You see, it happened
while you were gone. It was the very day you went that I found
him in the woods, you know; and I had to unlock his house and
telephone for the men and the doctor, and hold his head, and
everything. And of course then I came away and haven’t seen him
since. But when Nancy made the jelly for Mrs. Snow this week I
thought how nice it would be if I could take it to him instead of
her, just this once. Aunt Polly, may I?”
“Yes, yes, I suppose so,” acquiesced Miss Polly, a little
wearily. “Who did you say he was?”
“The Man. I mean, Mr. John Pendleton.”
Miss Polly almost sprang from her chair.
“Yes. Nancy told me his name. Maybe you know him.”
Miss Polly did not answer this. Instead she asked:
“Do YOU know him?”
“Oh, yes. He always speaks and smiles–now. He’s only cross
OUTSIDE, you know. I’ll go and get the jelly. Nancy had it ‘most
fixed when I came in,” finished Pollyanna, already halfway across
“Pollyanna, wait! Miss Polly’s voice was suddenly very stern.
I’ve changed my mind. I would prefer that Mrs. Snow had that
jelly to-day–as usual. That is all. You may go now.”
Pollyanna’s face fell.
“Oh, but Aunt Polly, HERS will last. She can always be sick and
have things, you know; but his is just a broken leg, and legs
don’t last–I mean, broken ones. He’s had it a whole week now.”
“Yes, I remember. I heard Mr. John Pendleton had met with an
accident,” said Miss Polly, a little stiffly; “but–I do not care
to be sending jelly to John Pendleton, Pollyanna.”
“I know, he is cross–outside,” admitted Pollyanna, sadly, “so I
suppose you don’t like him. But I wouldn’t say ’twas you sent it.
I’d say ’twas me. I like him. I’d be glad to send him jelly.”
Miss Polly began to shake her head again. Then, suddenly, she
stopped, and asked in a curiously quiet voice:
“Does he know who you–are, Pollyanna?”
The little girl sighed.
“I reckon not. I told him my name, once, but he never calls me
“Does he know where you–live?”
“Oh, no. I never told him that.”
“Then he doesn’t know you’re my–niece?”
“I don’t think so.”
For a moment there was silence. Miss Polly was looking at
Pollyanna with eyes that did not seem to see her at all. The
little girl, shifting impatiently from one small foot to the
other, sighed audibly. Then Miss Polly roused herself with a
“Very well, Pollyanna,” she said at last, still in that queer
voice, so unlike her own; “you may you may take the jelly to Mr.
Pendleton as your own gift. But understand: I do not send it. Be
very sure that he does not think I do!”
“Yes’m–no’m–thank you, Aunt Polly,” exulted Pollyanna, as she
flew through the door.