"Handsome! Miss Polly!" "Yes. If she'd just let that tight hair of hern all out loose and careless-like, as it used ter be, and wear the sort of bunnits with posies in 'em, and the kind o' dresses all lace and white things—you'd see she'd be handsome! Miss Polly ain't old, Nancy." "Ain't she, though? Well, then she's got an awfully good imitation of it—she has, she has!" sniffed Nancy. "Yes, I know. It begun then—at the time of the trouble with her lover," nodded Old Tom; "and it seems as if she'd been feedin' on wormwood an' thistles ever since—she's that bitter an' prickly ter deal with."
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!"
"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
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—
"Indeed! And what are the special ingredients of this wonder-working—tonic of hers?" The doctor shook his head. "I don't know. As near as I can find out it is an overwhelming, unquenchable gladness for everything that has happened or is going to happen. At any rate, her quaint speeches are constantly being repeated to me, and, as near as I can make out, 'just being glad' is the
tenor of most of them. All is," he added, with another whimsical smile, as he stepped out on to the porch, "I wish I could prescribe her—and buy her—as I would a box of pills;—though if there gets to be many of her in the world, you and I might as well go to ribbon-selling and ditch-digging for all the money we'd get out of nursing and doctoring,"
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."
That blessed lamb found out I hated Monday mornin's somethin' awful; an' what does she up an' tell me one day but this: 'Well, anyhow, Nancy, I should think you could be gladder on Monday mornin' than on any other day in the week, because 'twould be a whole week before you'd have another one!'
"I'm a-wonderin' what Miss Polly will do with a child in the house," he said. "Humph! Well, I'm a-wonderin' what a child will do with Miss Polly in the house!" snapped Nancy. The old man laughed.