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見るところ花にあらずと云ふことなし

褎然举首

 
 
 

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转:Pollyanna CHAPTER XIX-XXIV   

2009-09-24 18:25:47|  分类: Reading notes |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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CHAPTER XIX. WHICH IS SOMEWHAT SURPRISING

Pollyanna entered school in September. Preliminary examinations showed that she was well advanced for a girl of her years, and she was soon a happy member of a class of girls and boys her own age.

School, in some ways, was a surprise to Pollyanna; and Pollyanna, certainly, in many ways, was very much of a surprise to school. They were soon on the best of terms, however, and to her aunt Pollyanna confessed that going to school WAS living, after all—though she had had her doubts before.

In spite of her delight in her new work, Pollyanna did not forget her old friends. True, she could not give them quite so much time now, of course; but she gave them what time she could. Perhaps John Pendleton, of them all, however, was the most dissatisfied.

One Saturday afternoon he spoke to her about it.

"See here, Pollyanna, how would you like to come and live with me?" he asked, a little impatiently. "I don't see anything of you, nowadays."

Pollyanna laughed—Mr. Pendleton was such a funny man!

"I thought you didn't like to have folks 'round," she said.

He made a wry face.

"Oh, but that was before you taught me to play that wonderful game of yours. Now I'm glad to be waited on, hand and foot! Never mind, I'll be on my own two feet yet, one of these days; then I'll see who steps around," he finished, picking up one of the crutches at his side and shaking it playfully at the little girl. They were sitting in the great library to-day.

"Oh, but you aren't really glad at all for things; you just SAY you are," pouted Pollyanna, her eyes on the dog, dozing before the fire. "You know you don't play the game right EVER, Mr. Pendleton—you know you don't!"

The man's face grew suddenly very grave.

"That's why I want you, little girl—to help me play it. Will you come?"

Pollyanna turned in surprise.

"Mr. Pendleton, you don't really mean—that?"

"But I do. I want you. Will you come?"

Pollyanna looked distressed.

"Why, Mr. Pendleton, I can't—you know I can't. Why, I'm—Aunt Polly's!"

A quick something crossed the man's face that Pollyanna could not quite understand. His head came up almost fiercely.

"You're no more hers than—Perhaps she would let you come to me," he finished more gently. "Would you come—if she did?"

Pollyanna frowned in deep thought.

"But Aunt Polly has been so—good to me," she began slowly; "and she took me when I didn't have anybody left but the Ladies' Aid, and—"

Again that spasm of something crossed the man's face; but this time, when he spoke, his voice was low and very sad.

"Pollyanna, long years ago I loved somebody very much. I hoped to bring her, some day, to this house. I pictured how happy we'd be together in our home all the long years to come."

"Yes," pitied Pollyanna, her eyes shining with sympathy.

"But—well, I didn't bring her here. Never mind why. I just didn't that's all. And ever since then this great gray pile of stone has been a house—never a home. It takes a woman's hand and heart, or a child's presence, to make a home, Pollyanna; and I have not had either. Now will you come, my dear?"

Pollyanna sprang to her feet. Her face was fairly illumined.

"Mr. Pendleton, you—you mean that you wish you—you had had that woman's hand and heart all this time?"

"Why, y-yes, Pollyanna."

"Oh, I'm so glad! Then it's all right," sighed the little girl. "Now you can take us both, and everything will be lovely."

"Take—you—both?" repeated the man, dazedly.

A faint doubt crossed Pollyanna's countenance.

"Well, of course, Aunt Polly isn't won over, yet; but I'm sure she will be if you tell it to her just as you did to me, and then we'd both come, of course."

A look of actual terror leaped to the man's eyes.

"Aunt Polly come—HERE!"

Pollyanna's eyes widened a little.

"Would you rather go THERE?" she asked. "Of course the house isn't quite so pretty, but it's nearer—"

"Pollyanna, what ARE you talking about?" asked the man, very gently now.

"Why, about where we're going to live, of course," rejoined Pollyanna, in obvious surprise. "I THOUGHT you meant here, at first. You said it was here that you had wanted Aunt Polly's hand and heart all these years to make a home, and—"

An inarticulate cry came from the man's throat. He raised his hand and began to speak; but the next moment he dropped his hand nervelessly at his side.

"The doctor, sir," said the maid in the doorway.

Pollyanna rose at once.

John Pendleton turned to her feverishly.

"Pollyanna, for Heaven's sake, say nothing of what I asked you—yet," he begged, in a low voice. Pollyanna dimpled into a sunny smile.

"Of course not! Just as if I didn't know you'd rather tell her yourself!" she called back merrily over her shoulder.

John Pendleton fell limply back in his chair.

"Why, what's up?" demanded the doctor, a minute later, his fingers on his patient's galloping pulse.

A whimsical smile trembled on John Pendleton's lips.

"Overdose of your—tonic, I guess," he laughed, as he noted the doctor's eyes following Pollyanna's little figure down the driveway.





CHAPTER XX. WHICH IS MORE SURPRISING

Sunday mornings Pollyanna usually attended church and Sunday school. Sunday afternoons she frequently went for a walk with Nancy. She had planned one for the day after her Saturday afternoon visit to Mr. John Pendleton; but on the way home from Sunday school Dr. Chilton overtook her in his gig, and brought his horse to a stop.

"Suppose you let me drive you home, Pollyanna," he suggested. "I want to speak to you a minute. I, was just driving out to your place to tell you," he went on, as Pollyanna settled herself at his side. "Mr. Pendleton sent a special request for you to go to see him this afternoon, SURE. He says it's very important."

Pollyanna nodded happily.

"Yes, it is, I know. I'll go."

The doctor eyed her with some surprise.

"I'm not sure I shall let you, after all," he declared, his eyes twinkling. "You seemed more upsetting than soothing yesterday, young lady."

Pollyanna laughed.

"Oh, it wasn't me, truly—not really, you know; not so much as it was Aunt Polly."

The doctor turned with a quick start.

"Your—aunt!" he ejaculated.

Pollyanna gave a happy little bounce in her seat.

"Yes. And it's so exciting and lovely, just like a story, you know. I—I'm going to tell you," she burst out, with sudden decision. "He said not to mention it; but he wouldn't mind your knowing, of course. He meant not to mention it to HER."

"HER?"

"Yes; Aunt Polly. And, of course he WOULD want to tell her himself instead of having me do it—lovers, so!"

"Lovers!" As the doctor said the word, the horse started violently, as if the hand that held the reins had given them a sharp jerk.

"Yes," nodded Pollyanna, happily. "That's the story-part, you see. I didn't know it till Nancy told me. She said Aunt Polly had a lover years ago, and they quarrelled. She didn't know who it was at first. But we've found out now. It's Mr. Pendleton, you know."

The doctor relaxed suddenly, The hand holding the reins fell limply to his lap.

"Oh! No; I—didn't know," he said quietly.

Pollyanna hurried on—they were nearing the Harrington homestead.

"Yes; and I'm so glad now. It's come out lovely. Mr. Pendleton asked me to come and live with him, but of course I wouldn't leave Aunt Polly like that—after she'd been so good to me. Then he told me all about the woman's hand and heart that he used to want, and I found out that he wanted it now; and I was so glad! For of course if he wants to make up the quarrel, everything will be all right now, and Aunt Polly and I will both go to live there, or else he'll come to live with us. Of course Aunt Polly doesn't know yet, and we haven't got everything settled; so I suppose that is why he wanted to see me this afternoon, sure."

The doctor sat suddenly erect. There was an odd smile on his lips.

"Yes; I can well imagine that Mr. John Pendleton does—want to see you, Pollyanna," he nodded, as he pulled his horse to a stop before the door.

"There's Aunt Polly now in the window," cried Pollyanna; then, a second later: "Why, no, she isn't—but I thought I saw her!"

"No; she isn't there—now," said the doctor, His lips had suddenly lost their smile.

Pollyanna found a very nervous John Pendleton waiting for her that afternoon.

"Pollyanna," he began at once. "I've been trying all night to puzzle out what you meant by all that, yesterday—about my wanting your Aunt Polly's hand and heart here all those years. What did you mean?"

"Why, because you were lovers, you know once; and I was so glad you still felt that way now."

"Lovers!—your Aunt Polly and I?"

At the obvious surprise in the man's voice, Pollyanna opened wide her eyes.

"Why, Mr. Pendleton, Nancy said you were!"

The man gave a short little laugh.

"Indeed! Well, I'm afraid I shall have to say that Nancy—didn't know."

"Then you—weren't lovers?" Pollyanna's voice was tragic with dismay.

"Never!"

"And it ISN'T all coming out like a book?"

There was no answer. The man's eyes were moodily fixed out the window.

"O dear! And it was all going so splendidly," almost sobbed Pollyanna. "I'd have been so glad to come—with Aunt Polly."

"And you won't—now?" The man asked the question without turning his head.

"Of course not! I'm Aunt Polly's."

The man turned now, almost fiercely.

"Before you were hers, Pollyanna, you were—your mother's. And—it was your mother's hand and heart that I wanted long years ago."

"My mother's!"

"Yes. I had not meant to tell you, but perhaps it's better, after all, that I do—now." John Pendleton's face had grown very white. He was speaking with evident difficulty. Pollyanna, her eyes wide and frightened, and her lips parted, was gazing at him fixedly. "I loved your mother; but she—didn't love me. And after a time she went away with—your father. I did not know until then how much I did—care. The whole world suddenly seemed to turn black under my fingers, and—But, never mind. For long years I have been a cross, crabbed, unlovable, unloved old man—though I'm not nearly sixty, yet, Pollyanna. Then, One day, like one of the prisms that you love so well, little girl, you danced into my life, and flecked my dreary old world with dashes of the purple and gold and scarlet of your own bright cheeriness. I found out, after a time, who you were, and—and I thought then I never wanted to see you again. I didn't want to be reminded of—your mother. But—you know how that came out. I just had to have you come. And now I want you always. Pollyanna, won't you come NOW?"

"But, Mr. Pendleton, I—There's Aunt Polly!" Pollyanna's eyes were blurred with tears.

The man made an impatient gesture.

"What about me? How do you suppose I'm going to be 'glad' about anything—without you? Why, Pollyanna, it's only since you came that I've been even half glad to live! But if I had you for my own little girl, I'd be glad for—anything; and I'd try to make you glad, too, my dear. You shouldn't have a wish ungratified. All my money, to the last cent, should go to make you happy."

Pollyanna looked shocked.

"Why, Mr. Pendleton, as if I'd let you spend it on me—all that money you've saved for the heathen!"

A dull red came to the man's face. He started to speak, but Pollyanna was still talking.

"Besides, anybody with such a lot of money as you have doesn't need me to make you glad about things. You're making other folks so glad giving them things that you just can't help being glad yourself! Why, look at those prisms you gave Mrs. Snow and me, and the gold piece you gave Nancy on her birthday, and—"

"Yes, yes—never mind about all that," interrupted the man. His face was very, very red now—and no wonder, perhaps: it was not for "giving things" that John Pendleton had been best known in the past. "That's all nonsense. 'Twasn't much, anyhow—but what there was, was because of you. YOU gave those things; not I! Yes, you did," he repeated, in answer to the shocked denial in her face. "And that only goes to prove all the more how I need you, little girl," he added, his voice softening into tender pleading once more. "If ever, ever I am to play the 'glad game,' Pollyanna, you'll have to come and play it with me."

The little girl's forehead puckered into a wistful frown.

"Aunt Polly has been so good to me," she began; but the man interrupted her sharply. The old irritability had come back to his face. Impatience which would brook no opposition had been a part of John Pendleton's nature too long to yield very easily now to restraint.

"Of course she's been good to you! But she doesn't want you, I'll warrant, half so much as I do," he contested.

"Why, Mr. Pendleton, she's glad, I know, to have—"

"Glad!" interrupted the man, thoroughly losing his patience now. "I'll wager Miss Polly doesn't know how to be glad—for anything! Oh, she does her duty, I know. She's a very DUTIFUL woman. I've had experience with her 'duty,' before. I'll acknowledge we haven't been the best of friends for the last fifteen or twenty years. But I know her. Every one knows her—and she isn't the 'glad' kind, Pollyanna. She doesn't know how to be. As for your coming to me—you just ask her and see if she won't let you come. And, oh, little girl, little girl, I want you so!" he finished brokenly.

Pollyanna rose to her feet with a long sigh.

"All right. I'll ask her," she said wistfully. "Of course I don't mean that I wouldn't like to live here with you, Mr. Pendleton, but—" She did not complete her sentence. There was a moment's silence, then she added: "Well, anyhow, I'm glad I didn't tell her yesterday;—'cause then I supposed SHE was wanted, too."

John Pendleton smiled grimly.

"Well, yes, Pollyanna; I guess it is just as well you didn't mention it—yesterday."

"I didn't—only to the doctor; and of course he doesn't count."

"The doctor!" cried John Pendleton, turning quickly. "Not—Dr.—Chilton?"

"Yes; when he came to tell me you wanted to see me to-day, you know."

"Well, of all the—" muttered the man, falling back in his chair. Then he sat up with sudden interest. "And what did Dr. Chilton say?" he asked.

Pollyanna frowned thoughtfully.

"Why, I don't remember. Not much, I reckon. Oh, he did say he could well imagine you did want to see me."

"Oh, did he, indeed!" answered John Pendleton. And Pollyanna wondered why he gave that sudden queer little laugh.





CHAPTER XXI. A QUESTION ANSWERED

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

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

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

Nancy sniffed a little.

"You don't seem ter notice what I said," she observed aggrievedly. "I said yer aunt was WORRIED about ye!"

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

"Well, I'm glad," retorted Nancy, unexpectedly. "I am, I am."

Pollyanna stared.

"GLAD that Aunt Polly was scared about me! Why, Nancy, THAT isn't the way to play the game—to be glad for things like that!" she objected.

"There wa'n't no game in it," retorted Nancy. "Never thought of it. YOU don't seem ter sense what it means ter have Miss Polly WORRIED about ye, child!"

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

Nancy tossed her head.

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

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

Nancy chuckled.

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

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

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

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

"Likes ter have ye here? Would she miss ye if ye wa'n't here?" cried Nancy, indignantly. "As if that wa'n't jest what I was tellin' of ye! Didn't she send me posthaste with an umbrella 'cause she see a little cloud in the sky? Didn't she make me tote yer things all down-stairs, so you could have the pretty room you wanted? Why, Miss Pollyanna, when ye remember how at first she hated ter have—"

With a choking cough Nancy pulled herself up just in time.

"And it ain't jest things I can put my fingers on, neither," rushed on Nancy, breathlessly. "It's little ways she has, that shows how you've been softenin' her up an' mellerin' her down—the cat, and the dog, and the way she speaks ter me, and oh, lots o' things. Why, Miss Pollyanna, there ain't no tellin' how she'd miss ye—if ye wa'n't here," finished Nancy, speaking with an enthusiastic certainty that was meant to hide the perilous admission she had almost made before. Even then she was not quite prepared for the sudden joy that illumined Pollyanna's face.

"Oh, Nancy, I'm so glad—glad—glad! You don't know how glad I am that Aunt Polly—wants me!"

"As if I'd leave her now!" thought Pollyanna, as she climbed the stairs to her room a little later. "I always knew I wanted to live with Aunt Polly—but I reckon maybe I didn't know quite how much I wanted Aunt Polly—to want to live with ME!"

The task of telling John Pendleton of her decision would not be an easy one, Pollyanna knew, and she dreaded it. She was very fond of John Pendleton, and she was very sorry for him—because he seemed to be so sorry for himself. She was sorry, too, for the long, lonely life that had made him so unhappy; and she was grieved that it had been because of her mother that he had spent those dreary years. She pictured the great gray house as it would be after its master was well again, with its silent rooms, its littered floors, its disordered desk; and her heart ached for his loneliness. She wished that somewhere, some one might be found who—And it was at this point that she sprang to her feet with a little cry of joy at the thought that had come to her.

As soon as she could, after that, she hurried up the hill to John Pendleton's house; and in due time she found herself in the great dim library, with John Pendleton himself sitting near her, his long, thin hands lying idle on the arms of his chair, and his faithful little dog at his feet.

"Well, Pollyanna, is it to be the 'glad game' with me, all the rest of my life?" asked the man, gently.

"Oh, yes," cried Pollyanna. "I've thought of the very gladdest kind of a thing for you to do, and—"

"With—YOU?" asked John Pendleton, his mouth growing a little stern at the corners.

"N-no; but—"

"Pollyanna, you aren't going to say no!" interrupted a voice deep with emotion.

"I—I've got to, Mr. Pendleton; truly I have. Aunt Polly—"

"Did she REFUSE—to let you—come?"

"I—I didn't ask her," stammered the little girl, miserably.

"Pollyanna!"

Pollyanna turned away her eyes. She could not meet the hurt, grieved gaze of her friend.

"So you didn't even ask her!"

"I couldn't, sir—truly," faltered Pollyanna. "You see, I found out—without asking. Aunt Polly WANTS me with her, and—and I want to stay, too," she confessed bravely. "You don't know how good she's been to me; and—and I think, really, sometimes she's beginning to be glad about things—lots of things. And you know she never used to be. You said it yourself. Oh, Mr. Pendleton, I COULDN'T leave Aunt Polly—now!"

There was a long pause. Only the snapping of the wood fire in the grate broke the silence. At last, however, the man spoke.

"No, Pollyanna; I see. You couldn't leave her—now," he said. "I won't ask you—again." The last word was so low it was almost inaudible; but Pollyanna heard.

"Oh, but you don't know about the rest of it," she reminded him eagerly. "There's the very gladdest thing you CAN do—truly there is!"

"Not for me, Pollyanna."

"Yes, sir, for you. You SAID it. You said only a—a woman's hand and heart or a child's presence could make a home. And I can get it for you—a child's presence;—not me, you know, but another one."

"As if I would have any but you!" resented an indignant voice.

"But you will—when you know; you're so kind and good! Why, think of the prisms and the gold pieces, and all that money you save for the heathen, and—"

"Pollyanna!" interrupted the man, savagely. "Once for all let us end that nonsense! I've tried to tell you half a dozen times before. There is no money for the heathen. I never sent a penny to them in my life. There!"

He lifted his chin and braced himself to meet what he expected—the grieved disappointment of Pollyanna's eyes. To his amazement, however, there was neither grief nor disappointment in Pollyanna's eyes. There was only surprised joy.

"Oh, oh!" she cried, clapping her hands. "I'm so glad! That is," she corrected, coloring distressfully, "I don't mean that I'm not sorry for the heathen, only just now I can't help being glad that you don't want the little India boys, because all the rest have wanted them. And so I'm glad you'd rather have Jimmy Bean. Now I know you'll take him!"

"Take—WHO?"

"Jimmy Bean. He's the 'child's presence,' you know; and he'll be so glad to be it. I had to tell him last week that even my Ladies' Aid out West wouldn't take him, and he was so disappointed. But now—when he hears of this—he'll be so glad!"

"Will he? Well, I won't," ejaculated the man, decisively. "Pollyanna, this is sheer nonsense!"

"You don't mean—you won't take him?"

"I certainly do mean just that."

"But he'd be a lovely child's presence," faltered Pollyanna. She was almost crying now. "And you COULDN'T be lonesome—with Jimmy 'round."

"I don't doubt it," rejoined the man; "but—I think I prefer the lonesomeness."

It was then that Pollyanna, for the first time in weeks, suddenly remembered something Nancy had once told her. She raised her chin aggrievedly.

"Maybe you think a nice live little boy wouldn't be better than that old dead skeleton you keep somewhere; but I think it would!"

"SKELETON?"

"Yes. Nancy said you had one in your closet, somewhere."

"Why, what—" Suddenly the man threw back his head and laughed. He laughed very heartily indeed—so heartily that Pollyanna began to cry from pure nervousness. When he saw that, John Pendleton sat erect very promptly. His face grew grave at once.

"Pollyanna, I suspect you are right—more right than you know," he said gently. "In fact, I KNOW that a 'nice live little boy' would be far better than—my skeleton in the closet; only—we aren't always willing to make the exchange. We are apt to still cling to—our skeletons, Pollyanna. However, suppose you tell me a little more about this nice little boy." And Pollyanna told him.

Perhaps the laugh cleared the air; or perhaps the pathos of Jimmy Bean's story as told by Pollyanna's eager little lips touched a heart already strangely softened. At all events, when Pollyanna went home that night she carried with her an invitation for Jimmy Bean himself to call at the great house with Pollyanna the next Saturday afternoon.

"And I'm so glad, and I'm sure you'll like him," sighed Pollyanna, as she said good-by. "I do so want Jimmy Bean to have a home—and folks that care, you know."





CHAPTER XXII. SERMONS AND WOODBOXES

On the afternoon that Pollyanna told John Pendleton of Jimmy Bean, the Rev. Paul Ford climbed the hill and entered the Pendleton Woods, hoping that the hushed beauty of God's out-of-doors would still the tumult that His children of men had wrought.

The Rev. Paul Ford was sick at heart. Month by month, for a year past, conditions in the parish under him had been growing worse and worse; until it seemed that now, turn which way he would, he encountered only wrangling, backbiting, scandal, and jealousy. He had argued, pleaded, rebuked, and ignored by turns; and always and through all he had prayed—earnestly, hopefully. But to-day miserably he was forced to own that matters were no better, but rather worse.

Two of his deacons were at swords' points over a silly something that only endless brooding had made of any account. Three of his most energetic women workers had withdrawn from the Ladies' Aid Society because a tiny spark of gossip had been fanned by wagging tongues into a devouring flame of scandal. The choir had split over the amount of solo work given to a fanciedly preferred singer. Even the Christian Endeavor Society was in a ferment of unrest owing to open criticism of two of its officers. As to the Sunday school—it had been the resignation of its superintendent and two of its teachers that had been the last straw, and that had sent the harassed minister to the quiet woods for prayer and meditation.

Under the green arch of the trees the Rev. Paul Ford faced the thing squarely. To his mind, the crisis had come. Something must be done—and done at once. The entire work of the church was at a standstill. The Sunday services, the week-day prayer meeting, the missionary teas, even the suppers and socials were becoming less and less well attended. True, a few conscientious workers were still left. But they pulled at cross purposes, usually; and always they showed themselves to be acutely aware of the critical eyes all about them, and of the tongues that had nothing to do but to talk about what the eyes saw.

And because of all this, the Rev. Paul Ford understood very well that he (God's minister), the church, the town, and even Christianity itself was suffering; and must suffer still more unless—

Clearly something must be done, and done at once. But what?

Slowly the minister took from his pocket the notes he had made for his next Sunday's sermon. Frowningly he looked at them. His mouth settled into stern lines, as aloud, very impressively, he read the verses on which he had determined to speak:

"'But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.'

"'Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.'

"'Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.'"

It was a bitter denunciation. In the green aisles of the woods, the minister's deep voice rang out with scathing effect. Even the birds and squirrels seemed hushed into awed silence. It brought to the minister a vivid realization of how those words would sound the next Sunday when he should utter them before his people in the sacred hush of the church.

His people!—they WERE his people. Could he do it? Dare he do it? Dare he not do it? It was a fearful denunciation, even without the words that would follow—his own words. He had prayed and prayed. He had pleaded earnestly for help, for guidance. He longed—oh, how earnestly he longed!—to take now, in this crisis, the right step. But was this—the right step?

Slowly the minister folded the papers and thrust them back into his pocket. Then, with a sigh that was almost a moan, he flung himself down at the foot of a tree, and covered his face with his hands.

It was there that Pollyanna, on her way home from the Pendleton house, found him. With a little cry she ran forward.

"Oh, oh, Mr. Ford! You—YOU haven't broken YOUR leg or—or anything, have you?" she gasped.

The minister dropped his hands, and looked up quickly. He tried to smile.

"No, dear—no, indeed! I'm just—resting."

"Oh," sighed Pollyanna, falling back a little. "That's all right, then. You see, Mr. Pendleton HAD broken his leg when I found him—but he was lying down, though. And you are sitting up."

"Yes, I am sitting up; and I haven't broken anything—that doctors can mend."

The last words were very low, but Pollyanna heard them. A swift change crossed her face. Her eyes glowed with tender sympathy.

"I know what you mean—something plagues you. Father used to feel like that, lots of times. I reckon ministers do—most generally. You see there's such a lot depends on 'em, somehow."

The Rev. Paul Ford turned a little wonderingly.

"Was YOUR father a minister, Pollyanna?"

"Yes, sir. Didn't you know? I supposed everybody knew that. He married Aunt Polly's sister, and she was my mother."

"Oh, I understand. But, you see, I haven't been here many years, so I don't know all the family histories."

"Yes, sir—I mean, no, sir," smiled Pollyanna.

There was a long pause. The minister, still sitting at the foot of the tree, appeared to have forgotten Pollyanna's presence. He had pulled some papers from his pocket and unfolded them; but he was not looking at them. He was gazing, instead, at a leaf on the ground a little distance away—and it was not even a pretty leaf. It was brown and dead. Pollyanna, looking at him, felt vaguely sorry for him.

"It—it's a nice day," she began hopefully.

For a moment there was no answer; then the minister looked up with a start.

"What? Oh!—yes, it is a very nice day."

"And 'tisn't cold at all, either, even if 'tis October," observed Pollyanna, still more hopefully. "Mr. Pendleton had a fire, but he said he didn't need it. It was just to look at. I like to look at fires, don't you?"

There was no reply this time, though Pollyanna waited patiently, before she tried again—by a new route.

"Do You like being a minister?"

The Rev. Paul Ford looked up now, very quickly.

"Do I like—Why, what an odd question! Why do you ask that, my dear?"

"Nothing—only the way you looked. It made me think of my father. He used to look like that—sometimes."

"Did he?" The minister's voice was polite, but his eyes had gone back to the dried leaf on the ground.

"Yes, and I used to ask him just as I did you if he was glad he was a minister."

The man under the tree smiled a little sadly.

"Well—what did he say?"

"Oh, he always said he was, of course, but 'most always he said, too, that he wouldn't STAY a minister a minute if 'twasn't for the rejoicing texts."

"The—WHAT?" The Rev. Paul Ford's eyes left the leaf and gazed wonderingly into Pollyanna's merry little face.

"Well, that's what father used to call 'em," she laughed. "Of course the Bible didn't name 'em that. But it's all those that begin 'Be glad in the Lord,' or 'Rejoice greatly,' or 'Shout for joy,' and all that, you know—such a lot of 'em. Once, when father felt specially bad, he counted 'em. There were eight hundred of 'em."

"Eight hundred!"

"Yes—that told you to rejoice and be glad, you know; that's why father named 'em the 'rejoicing texts.'"

"Oh!" There was an odd look on the minister's face. His eyes had fallen to the words on the top paper in his hands—"But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!" "And so your father—liked those 'rejoicing texts,'" he murmured.

"Oh, yes," nodded Pollyanna, emphatically. "He said he felt better right away, that first day he thought to count 'em. He said if God took the trouble to tell us eight hundred times to be glad and rejoice, He must want us to do it—SOME. And father felt ashamed that he hadn't done it more. After that, they got to be such a comfort to him, you know, when things went wrong; when the Ladies' Aiders got to fight—I mean, when they DIDN'T AGREE about something," corrected Pollyanna, hastily. "Why, it was those texts, too, father said, that made HIM think of the game—he began with ME on the crutches—but he said 'twas the rejoicing texts that started him on it."

"And what game might that be?" asked the minister.

"About finding something in everything to be glad about, you know. As I said, he began with me on the crutches." And once more Pollyanna told her story—this time to a man who listened with tender eyes and understanding ears.

A little later Pollyanna and the minister descended the hill, hand in hand. Pollyanna's face was radiant. Pollyanna loved to talk, and she had been talking now for some time: there seemed to be so many, many things about the game, her father, and the old home life that the minister wanted to know.

At the foot of the hill their ways parted, and Pollyanna down one road, and the minister down another, walked on alone.

In the Rev. Paul Ford's study that evening the minister sat thinking. Near him on the desk lay a few loose sheets of paper—his sermon notes. Under the suspended pencil in his fingers lay other sheets of paper, blank—his sermon to be. But the minister was not thinking either of what he had written, or of what he intended to write. In his imagination he was far away in a little Western town with a missionary minister who was poor, sick, worried, and almost alone in the world—but who was poring over the Bible to find how many times his Lord and Master had told him to "rejoice and be glad."

After a time, with a long sigh, the Rev. Paul Ford roused himself, came back from the far Western town, and adjusted the sheets of paper under his hand.

"Matthew twenty-third; 13—14 and 23," he wrote; then, with a gesture of impatience, he dropped his pencil and pulled toward him a magazine left on the desk by his wife a few minutes before. Listlessly his tired eyes turned from paragraph to paragraph until these words arrested them:

"A father one day said to his son, Tom, who, he knew, had refused to fill his mother's woodbox that morning: 'Tom, I'm sure you'll be glad to go and bring in some wood for your mother.' And without a word Tom went. Why? Just because his father showed so plainly that he expected him to do the right thing. Suppose he had said: 'Tom, I overheard what you said to your mother this morning, and I'm ashamed of you. Go at once and fill that woodbox!' I'll warrant that woodbox, would be empty yet, so far as Tom was concerned!"

On and on read the minister—a word here, a line there, a paragraph somewhere else:

"What men and women need is encouragement. Their natural resisting powers should be strengthened, not weakened.... Instead of always harping on a man's faults, tell him of his virtues. Try to pull him out of his rut of bad habits. Hold up to him his better self, his REAL self that can dare and do and win out!... The influence of a beautiful, helpful, hopeful character is contagious, and may revolutionize a whole town.... People radiate what is in their minds and in their hearts. If a man feels kindly and obliging, his neighbors will feel that way, too, before long. But if he scolds and scowls and criticizes—his neighbors will return scowl for scowl, and add interest!... When you look for the bad, expecting it, you will get it. When you know you will find the good—you will get that.... Tell your son Tom you KNOW he'll be glad to fill that woodbox—then watch him start, alert and interested!"

The minister dropped the paper and lifted his chin. In a moment he was on his feet, tramping the narrow room back and forth, back and forth. Later, some time later, he drew a long breath, and dropped himself in the chair at his desk.

"God helping me, I'll do it!" he cried softly. "I'll tell all my Toms I KNOW they'll be glad to fill that woodbox! I'll give them work to do, and I'll make them so full of the very joy of doing it that they won't have TIME to look at their neighbors' woodboxes!" And he picked up his sermon notes, tore straight through the sheets, and cast them from him, so that on one side of his chair lay "But woe unto you," and on the other, "scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!" while across the smooth white paper before him his pencil fairly flew—after first drawing one black line through Matthew twenty-third; 13—14 and 23.

Thus it happened that the Rev. Paul Ford's sermon the next Sunday was a veritable bugle-call to the best that was in every man and woman and child that heard it; and its text was one of Pollyanna's shining eight hundred:

"Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, ye righteous, and shout for joy all ye that are upright in heart."





CHAPTER XXIII. AN ACCIDENT

At Mrs. Snow's request, Pollyanna went one day to Dr. Chilton's office to get the name of a medicine which Mrs. Snow had forgotten. As it chanced, Pollyanna had never before seen the inside of Dr. Chilton's office.

"I've never been to your home before! This IS your home, isn't it?" she said, looking interestedly about her.

The doctor smiled a little sadly.

"Yes—such as 'tis," he answered, as he wrote something on the pad of paper in his hand; "but it's a pretty poor apology for a home, Pollyanna. They're just rooms, that's all—not a home."

Pollyanna nodded her head wisely. Her eyes glowed with sympathetic understanding.

"I know. It takes a woman's hand and heart, or a child's presence to make a home," she said.

"Eh?" The doctor wheeled about abruptly.

"Mr. Pendleton told me," nodded Pollyanna, again; "about the woman's hand and heart, or the child's presence, you know. Why don't you get a woman's hand and heart, Dr. Chilton? Or maybe you'd take Jimmy Bean—if Mr. Pendleton doesn't want him."

Dr. Chilton laughed a little constrainedly.

"So Mr. Pendleton says it takes a woman's hand and heart to make a home, does he?" he asked evasively.

"Yes. He says his is just a house, too. Why don't you, Dr. Chilton?"

"Why don't I—what?" The doctor had turned back to his desk.

"Get a woman's hand and heart. Oh—and I forgot." Pollyanna's face showed suddenly a painful color. "I suppose I ought to tell you. It wasn't Aunt Polly that Mr. Pendleton loved long ago; and so we—we aren't going there to live. You see, I told you it was—but I made a mistake. I hope YOU didn't tell any one," she finished anxiously.

"No—I didn't tell any one, Pollyanna," replied the doctor, a little queerly.

"Oh, that's all right, then," sighed Pollyanna in relief. "You see you're the only one I told, and I thought Mr. Pendleton looked sort of funny when I said I'd told YOU."

"Did he?" The doctor's lips twitched.

"Yes. And of course he wouldn't want many people to know it—when 'twasn't true. But why don't you get a woman's hand and heart, Dr. Chilton?"

There was a moment's silence; then very gravely the doctor said:

"They're not always to be had—for the asking, little girl."

Pollyanna frowned thoughtfully.

"But I should think you could get 'em," she argued. The flattering emphasis was unmistakable.

"Thank you," laughed the doctor, with uplifted eyebrows. Then, gravely again: "I'm afraid some of your older sisters would not be quite so—confident. At least, they—they haven't shown themselves to be so—obliging," he observed.

Pollyanna frowned again. Then her eyes widened in surprise.

"Why, Dr. Chilton, you don't mean—you didn't try to get somebody's hand and heart once, like Mr. Pendleton, and—and couldn't, did you?"

The doctor got to his feet a little abruptly.

"There, there, Pollyanna, never mind about that now. Don't let other people's troubles worry your little head. Suppose you run back now to Mrs. Snow. I've written down the name of the medicine, and the directions how she is to take it. Was there anything else?"

Pollyanna shook her head.

"No, Sir; thank you, Sir," she murmured soberly, as she turned toward the door. From the little hallway she called back, her face suddenly alight: "Anyhow, I'm glad 'twasn't my mother's hand and heart that you wanted and couldn't get, Dr. Chilton. Good-by!"

It was on the last day of October that the accident occurred. Pollyanna, hurrying home from school, crossed the road at an apparently safe distance in front of a swiftly approaching motor car.

Just what happened, no one could seem to tell afterward. Neither was there any one found who could tell why it happened or who was to blame that it did happen. Pollyanna, however, at five o'clock, was borne, limp and unconscious, into the little room that was so dear to her. There, by a white-faced Aunt Polly and a weeping Nancy she was undressed tenderly and put to bed, while from the village, hastily summoned by telephone, Dr. Warren was hurrying as fast as another motor car could bring him.

"And ye didn't need ter more'n look at her aunt's face," Nancy was sobbing to Old Tom in the garden, after the doctor had arrived and was closeted in the hushed room; "ye didn't need ter more'n look at her aunt's face ter see that 'twa'n't no duty that was eatin' her. Yer hands don't shake, and yer eyes don't look as if ye was tryin' ter hold back the Angel o' Death himself, when you're jest doin' yer DUTY, Mr. Tom they don't, they don't!"

"Is she hurt—bad?" The old man's voice shook.

"There ain't no tellin'," sobbed Nancy. "She lay back that white an' still she might easy be dead; but Miss Polly said she wa'n't dead—an' Miss Polly had oughter know, if any one would—she kept up such a listenin' an' a feelin' for her heartbeats an' her breath!"

"Couldn't ye tell anythin' what it done to her?—that—that—" Old Tom's face worked convulsively.

Nancy's lips relaxed a little.

"I wish ye WOULD call it somethin', Mr. Tom an' somethin' good an' strong, too. Drat it! Ter think of its runnin' down our little girl! I always hated the evil-smellin' things, anyhow—I did, I did!"

"But where is she hurt?"

"I don't know, I don't know," moaned Nancy. "There's a little cut on her blessed head, but 'tain't bad—that ain't—Miss Polly says. She says she's afraid it's infernally she's hurt."

A faint flicker came into Old Tom's eyes.

"I guess you mean internally, Nancy," he said dryly. "She's hurt infernally, all right—plague take that autymobile!—but I don't guess Miss Polly'd be usin' that word, all the same."

"Eh? Well, I don't know, I don't know," moaned Nancy, with a shake of her head as she turned away. "Seems as if I jest couldn't stand it till that doctor gits out o' there. I wish I had a washin' ter do—the biggest washin' I ever see, I do, I do!" she wailed, wringing her hands helplessly.

Even after the doctor was gone, however, there seemed to be little that Nancy could tell Mr. Tom. There appeared to be no bones broken, and the cut was of slight consequence; but the doctor had looked very grave, had shaken his head slowly, and had said that time alone could tell. After he had gone, Miss Polly had shown a face even whiter and more drawn looking than before. The patient had not fully recovered consciousness, but at present she seemed to be resting as comfortably as could be expected. A trained nurse had been sent for, and would come that night. That was all. And Nancy turned sobbingly, and went back to her kitchen.

It was sometime during the next forenoon that Pollyanna opened conscious eyes and realized where she was.

"Why, Aunt Polly, what's the matter? Isn't it daytime? Why don't I get up?" she cried. "Why, Aunt Polly, I can't get up," she moaned, falling back on the pillow, after an ineffectual attempt to lift herself.

"No, dear, I wouldn't try—just yet," soothed her aunt quickly, but very quietly.

"But what is the matter? Why can't I get up?"

Miss Polly's eyes asked an agonized question of the white-capped young woman standing in the window, out of the range of Pollyanna's eyes.

The young woman nodded.

"Tell her," the lips said.

Miss Polly cleared her throat, and tried to swallow the lump that would scarcely let her speak.

"You were hurt, dear, by the automobile last night. But never mind that now. Auntie wants you to rest and go to sleep again."

"Hurt? Oh, yes; I—I ran." Pollyanna's eyes were dazed. She lifted her hand to her forehead. "Why, it's—done up, and it—hurts!"

"Yes, dear; but never mind. Just—just rest."

"But, Aunt Polly, I feel so funny, and so bad! My legs feel so—so queer—only they don't FEEL—at all!"

With an imploring look into the nurse's face, Miss Polly struggled to her feet, and turned away. The nurse came forward quickly.

"Suppose you let me talk to you now," she began cheerily. "I'm sure I think it's high time we were getting acquainted, and I'm going to introduce myself. I am Miss Hunt, and I've come to help your aunt take care of you. And the very first thing I'm going to do is to ask you to swallow these little white pills for me."

Pollyanna's eyes grew a bit wild.

"But I don't want to be taken care of—that is, not for long! I want to get up. You know I go to school. Can't I go to school to-morrow?"

From the window where Aunt Polly stood now there came a half-stifled cry.

"To-morrow?" smiled the nurse, brightly.

"Well, I may not let you out quite so soon as that, Miss Pollyanna. But just swallow these little pills for me, please, and we'll see what THEY'LL do."

"All right," agreed Pollyanna, somewhat doubtfully; "but I MUST go to school day after to-morrow—there are examinations then, you know."

She spoke again, a minute later. She spoke of school, and of the automobile, and of how her head ached; but very soon her voice trailed into silence under the blessed influence of the little white pills she had swallowed.





CHAPTER XXIV. JOHN PENDLETON

Pollyanna did not go to school "to-morrow," nor the "day after to-morrow." Pollyanna, however, did not realize this, except momentarily when a brief period of full consciousness sent insistent questions to her lips. Pollyanna did not realize anything, in fact, very clearly until a week had passed; then the fever subsided, the pain lessened somewhat, and her mind awoke to full consciousness. She had then to be told all over again what had occurred.

"And so it's hurt that I am, and not sick," she sighed at last. "Well, I'm glad of that."

"G-glad, Pollyanna?" asked her aunt, who was sitting by the bed.

"Yes. I'd so much rather have broken legs like Mr. Pendleton's than life-long-invalids like Mrs. Snow, you know. Broken legs get well, and lifelong-invalids don't."

Miss Polly—who had said nothing whatever about broken legs—got suddenly to her feet and walked to the little dressing table across the room. She was picking up one object after another now, and putting each down, in an aimless fashion quite unlike her usual decisiveness. Her face was not aimless-looking at all, however; it was white and drawn.

On the bed Pollyanna lay blinking at the dancing band of colors on the ceiling, which came from one of the prisms in the window.

"I'm glad it isn't smallpox that ails me, too," she murmured contentedly. "That would be worse than freckles. And I'm glad 'tisn't whooping cough—I've had that, and it's horrid—and I'm glad 'tisn't appendicitis nor measles, 'cause they're catching—measles are, I mean—and they wouldn't let you stay here."

"You seem to—to be glad for a good many things, my dear," faltered Aunt Polly, putting her hand to her throat as if her collar bound.

Pollyanna laughed softly.

"I am. I've been thinking of 'em—lots of 'em—all the time I've been looking up at that rainbow. I love rainbows. I'm so glad Mr. Pendleton gave me those prisms! I'm glad of some things I haven't said yet. I don't know but I'm 'most glad I was hurt."

"Pollyanna!"

Pollyanna laughed softly again. She turned luminous eyes on her aunt. "Well, you see, since I have been hurt, you've called me 'dear' lots of times—and you didn't before. I love to be called 'dear'—by folks that belong to you, I mean. Some of the Ladies' Aiders did call me that; and of course that was pretty nice, but not so nice as if they had belonged to me, like you do. Oh, Aunt Polly, I'm so glad you belong to me!"

Aunt Polly did not answer. Her hand was at her throat again. Her eyes were full of tears. She had turned away and was hurrying from the room through the door by which the nurse had just entered.

It was that afternoon that Nancy ran out to Old Tom, who was cleaning harnesses in the barn. Her eyes were wild.

"Mr. Tom, Mr. Tom, guess what's happened," she panted. "You couldn't guess in a thousand years—you couldn't, you couldn't!"

"Then I cal'late I won't try," retorted the man, grimly, "specially as I hain't got more'n TEN ter live, anyhow, probably. You'd better tell me first off, Nancy."

"Well, listen, then. Who do you s'pose is in the parlor now with the mistress? Who, I say?"

Old Tom shook his head.

"There's no tellin'," he declared.

"Yes, there is. I'm tellin'. It's—John Pendleton!"

"Sho, now! You're jokin', girl."

"Not much I am—an' me a-lettin' him in myself—crutches an' all! An' the team he come in a-waitin' this minute at the door for him, jest as if he wa'n't the cranky old crosspatch he is, what never talks ter no one! jest think, Mr. Tom—HIM a-callin' on HER!"

"Well, why not?" demanded the old man, a little aggressively.

Nancy gave him a scornful glance.

"As if you didn't know better'n me!" she derided.

"Eh?"

"Oh, you needn't be so innercent," she retorted with mock indignation; "—you what led me wildgoose chasin' in the first place!"

"What do ye mean?"

Nancy glanced through the open barn door toward the house, and came a step nearer to the old man.

"Listen! 'Twas you that was tellin' me Miss Polly had a lover in the first place, wa'n't it? Well, one day I thinks I finds two and two, and I puts 'em tergether an' makes four. But it turns out ter be five—an' no four at all, at all!"

With a gesture of indifference Old Tom turned and fell to work.

"If you're goin' ter talk ter me, you've got ter talk plain horse sense," he declared testily. "I never was no hand for figgers."

Nancy laughed.

"Well, it's this," she explained. "I heard somethin' that made me think him an' Miss Polly was lovers."

"MR. PENDLETON!" Old Tom straightened up.

"Yes. Oh, I know now; he wasn't. It was that blessed child's mother he was in love with, and that's why he wanted—but never mind that part," she added hastily, remembering just in time her promise to Pollyanna not to tell that Mr. Pendleton had wished her to come and live with him. "Well, I've been askin' folks about him some, since, and I've found out that him an' Miss Polly hain't been friends for years, an' that she's been hatin' him like pizen owin' ter the silly gossip that coupled their names tergether when she was eighteen or twenty."

"Yes, I remember," nodded Old Tom. "It was three or four years after Miss Jennie give him the mitten and went off with the other chap. Miss Polly knew about it, of course, and was sorry for him. So she tried ter be nice to him. Maybe she overdid it a little—she hated that minister chap so who had took off her sister. At any rate, somebody begun ter make trouble. They said she was runnin' after him."

"Runnin' after any man—her!" interjected Nancy.

"I know it; but they did," declared Old Tom, "and of course no gal of any spunk'll stand that. Then about that time come her own lover an' the trouble with HIM. After that she shut up like an oyster an' wouldn't have nothin' ter do with nobody fur a spell. Her heart jest seemed to turn bitter at the core."

"Yes, I know. I've heard about that now," rejoined Nancy; "an' that's why you could 'a' knocked me down with a feather when I see HIM at the door—him, what she hain't spoke to for years! But I let him in an' went an' told her."

"What did she say?" Old Tom held his breath suspended.

"Nothin'—at first. She was so still I thought she hadn't heard; and I was jest goin' ter say it over when she speaks up quiet like: 'Tell Mr. Pendleton I will be down at once.' An' I come an' told him. Then I come out here an' told you," finished Nancy, casting another backward glance toward the house.

"Humph!" grunted Old Tom; and fell to work again.

In the ceremonious "parlor" of the Harrington homestead, Mr. John Pendleton did not have to wait long before a swift step warned him of Miss Polly's coming. As he attempted to rise, she made a gesture of remonstrance. She did not offer her hand, however, and her face was coldly reserved.

"I called to ask for—Pollyanna," he began at once, a little brusquely.

"Thank you. She is about the same," said Miss Polly.

"And that is—won't you tell me HOW she is?" His voice was not quite steady this time.

A quick spasm of pain crossed the woman's face.

"I can't, I wish I could!"

"You mean—you don't know?"

"Yes."

"But—the doctor?"

"Dr. Warren himself seems—at sea. He is in correspondence now with a New York specialist. They have arranged for a consultation at once."

"But—but what WERE her injuries that you do know?"

"A slight cut on the head, one or two bruises, and—and an injury to the spine which has seemed to cause—paralysis from the hips down."

A low cry came from the man. There was a brief silence; then, huskily, he asked:

"And Pollyanna—how does she—take it?"

"She doesn't understand—at all—how things really are. And I CAN'T tell her."

"But she must know—something!"

Miss Polly lifted her hand to the collar at her throat in the gesture that had become so common to her of late.

"Oh, yes. She knows she can't—move; but she thinks her legs are—broken. She says she's glad it's broken legs like yours rather than 'lifelong-invalids' like Mrs. Snow's; because broken legs get well, and the other—doesn't. She talks like that all the time, until it—it seems as if I should—die!"

Through the blur of tears in his own eyes, the man saw the drawn face opposite, twisted with emotion. Involuntarily his thoughts went back to what Pollyanna had said when he had made his final plea for her presence: "Oh, I couldn't leave Aunt Polly—now!"

It was this thought that made him ask very gently, as soon as he could control his voice:

"I wonder if you know, Miss Harrington, how hard I tried to get Pollyanna to come and live with me."

"With YOU!—Pollyanna!"

The man winced a little at the tone of her voice; but his own voice was still impersonally cool when he spoke again.

"Yes. I wanted to adopt her—legally, you understand; making her my heir, of course."

The woman in the opposite chair relaxed a little. It came to her, suddenly, what a brilliant future it would have meant for Pollyanna—this adoption; and she wondered if Pollyanna were old enough and mercenary enough—to be tempted by this man's money and position.

"I am very fond of Pollyanna," the man was continuing. "I am fond of her both for her own sake, and for—her mother's. I stood ready to give Pollyanna the love that had been twenty-five years in storage."

"LOVE." Miss Polly remembered suddenly why SHE had taken this child in the first place—and with the recollection came the remembrance of Pollyanna's own words uttered that very morning: "I love to be called 'dear' by folks that belong to you!" And it was this love-hungry little girl that had been offered the stored-up affection of twenty-five years:—and she was old enough to be tempted by love! With a sinking heart Miss Polly realized that. With a sinking heart, too, she realized something else: the dreariness of her own future now without Pollyanna.

"Well?" she said. And the man, recognizing the self-control that vibrated through the harshness of the tone, smiled sadly.

"She would not come," he answered.

"Why?"

"She would not leave you. She said you had been so good to her. She wanted to stay with you—and she said she THOUGHT you wanted her to stay," he finished, as he pulled himself to his feet.

He did not look toward Miss Polly. He turned his face resolutely toward the door. But instantly he heard a swift step at his side, and found a shaking hand thrust toward him.

"When the specialist comes, and I know anything—definite about Pollyanna, I will let you hear from me," said a trembling voice. "Good-by—and thank you for coming. Pollyanna will be pleased."

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