ѕоллианна / Pollyanna
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Chapter I. Miss Polly
Miss Polly Harrington entered her kitchen a little hurriedly this June morning. Nancy, who was washing dishes at the sink, looked up in surprise.
УNancy, when IТm talking to you, I wish you to stop your work and listen to what I say.Ф
Nancy flushed. She set the pitcher down at once.
УYes, maТam.Ф Nancy said. She was wondering if she could ever please this woman. Nancy had never worked for anybody before;2
УFinish your morning work, Nancy,Ф Miss Polly said, Уand clear the little room in the attic and make up the cot bed. Sweep the room and clean it, of course, after you clear out boxes.Ф
Miss Polly hesitated, then went on: УI suppose I may as well tell you now, Nancy. My niece, Miss Pollyanna Whittier, will soon live with me. She is eleven years old, and she will sleep in that room.Ф
УNice? Well, that isnТt exactly the word I should use,Ф said Miss Polly, stiffly.УHowever, I am a good woman, I hope; and I know my duty.Ф
УDonТt forget to clean the corners, Nancy,Ф she finished sharply, as she left the room.
УYes, maТam,Ф sighed Nancy.
In her own room, Miss Polly took out once more the letter which she had received4
УDear Madam:†Ц I regret to inform you that the Rev. John Whittier died two weeks ago, leaving one child, a girl eleven years old.
УI know he was your sisterТs husband, but he gave me to understand the families were not on the best of terms5
УHoping to hear favorably from you soon, I remain,
УJeremiah O. White.Ф
As she sat now, with the letter in her hands, her thoughts went back to her sister, Jennie, PolliannaТs mother, and to the time when Jennie, as a girl of twenty, married the young minister and went south with him. The family had little more to do with the missionaryТs wife.
In one of her letters Jennie wrote about Pollyanna, her last baby, the other babies had all died. She named her УPollyannaФ for her two sisters, Polly and Anna.
A few years later they received the news of her death, told in a short, but heart-broken little note from the minister himself.
Miss Polly, looking out at the valley below, thought of the changes those twenty-five years had brought to her. She was forty now, and quite alone in the world. Father, mother, sisters Ц all were dead. She was mistress of the house and of the thousands left to her by her father. There were people who pitied her lonely life.
Miss Polly rose with frowning face. She was glad, of course, that she was a good woman, and that she not only knew her duty, but had strength of character to perform it. But Ц POLLYANNA!†Ц what a ridiculous name!
Chapter II. Old Tom and Nancy
In the garden that afternoon, Nancy found a few minutes in which to interview Old Tom, the gardener.
УMr. Tom, do you know that a little girl will soon come here to live with Miss Polly?Ф
УA Ц what?Ф demanded the old man.
УA little girl Ц to live with Miss Polly. She told me so herself,Ф said Nancy. УItТs her niece; and sheТs eleven years old.Ф
УOh, it must be Miss JennieТs little girl!Ф
УWho was Miss Jennie?Ф
УShe was an angel,Ф breathed the man; Уbut the old master and mistress knew her as their oldest daughter. She was twenty when she married and went away from here long years ago. Her babies all died, I heard, except the last one; and that must be her.Ф
УAnd sheТs going to sleep in the attic Ц more shame to HER!Ф scolded Nancy.
Old Tom smiled.
УI wonder what Miss Polly will do with a child in the house,Ф he said.
УWell, I wonder what a child will do with Miss Polly in the house!Ф snapped Nancy.
The old man laughed.
УIТm afraid you arenТt fond of Miss Polly,Ф he grinned.
УI guess maybe you didnТt know about Miss PollyТs love affair,Ф he said slowly.
УLove affair Ц HER! No!Ф
УYou didnТt know Miss Polly as I did,Ф he said. УShe used to be real handsome Ц and she would be now, if sheТd let herself be.9
УHandsome! Miss Polly!Ф
УYes, she is different now, I know. It begun then Ц at the time of the trouble with her lover,Ф nodded Old Tom; Уand she is bitter and prickly to deal with.Ф
УNancy!Ф called a sharp voice.
УY-yes, maТam,Ф stammered Nancy; and hurried toward the house.
Chapter III. The Coming of Pollyanna
УNancy,Ф Miss Polly said, Уmy niece will arrive tomorrow at four oТclock. You must meet her at the station. Timothy will take the open buggy and drive you over. The telegram says Сlight hair, red-checked gingham dress, and straw hat.Т That is all I know.Ф
Promptly at twenty minutes to four the next afternoon Timothy and Nancy drove off in the open buggy to meet the expected guest. Timothy was Old TomТs son. He was a good-natured youth, and a good-looking one, as well. The two were already good friends.
When they got to the station, Nancy hurried to a point where she could best watch the passengers. Over and over in her mind Nancy was saying it Уlight hair, red-checked dress, straw hat.Ф Over and over again she was wondering just what sort of child this Pollyanna was.
At last they saw her Ц the slender little girl in the red-checked gingham with two fat braids of flaxen hair hanging down her back. Beneath the straw hat, an eager, freckled little face turned to the right and to the left, searching for some one.
УAre you Miss Pollyanna?Ф Nancy faltered.
УOh, IТm so glad, GLAD, GLAD to see you,Ф cried an eager voice in her ear. УOf course IТm Pollyanna, and IТm so glad you came to meet me! I hoped you would.10
УYou did?Ф stammered Nancy.
УOh, yes!Ф cried the little girl. УAnd IТm glad you look just like you do look.Ф
Timothy came up.
УThis is Timothy. Maybe you have a trunk,Ф she stammered.
УYes, I have,Ф nodded Pollyanna, importantly. УIТve got a brand-new one. The LadiesТ Aid11
The three were off at last, with PollyannaТs trunk in behind, and Pollyanna herself snugly ensconced between Nancy and Timothy. During the whole process of getting started, the little girl kept up an uninterrupted stream of comments and questions.
УThere! IsnТt this lovely? Is it far? I hope it is Ц I love to ride,Ф sighed Pollyanna. What a pretty street! I knew it was going to be pretty;12
She stopped with a little choking breath. Nancy saw that her small chin was quivering, and that her eyes were full of tears. In a moment, however, she hurried on, with a brave lifting of her head.
УFather has gone to Heaven to be with mother and the rest of us, you know. He said I must be glad. But itТs pretty hard to, because I need him, as mother and the rest have God and all the angels, while I donТt have anybody but the LadiesТ Aid. But now IТm sure itТll be easier because IТve got you, Aunt Polly. IТm so glad IТve got you!Ф
УYou Ц you ARENТT?Ф stammered the little girl.
УNo. IТm only Nancy. I never thought youТre taking me for her.Ф
Timothy chuckled softly.
УBut who ARE you?Ф asked Pollyanna.
УIТm Nancy, the hired girl. I do all the work except the washing and ironing.Ф
УBut there IS an Aunt Polly?Ф demanded the child, anxiously.
Pollyanna relaxed visibly.
УOh, thatТs all right, then.Ф There was a momentТs silence, then she went on brightly: УAnd do you know? IТm glad, after all, that she didnТt come to meet me; because now IТve got you besides.Ф
УIЦI was thinking about Miss Polly,Ф faltered Nancy.
Pollyanna sighed contentedly.
УI was, too. IТm so interested in her. You know sheТs all the aunt IТve got, and I didnТt know I had her for ever so long. Then father told me. He said she lived in a lovely great big house Уon top of a hill.Ф
УShe does. You can see it now,Ф said Nancy. УItТs that big white one with the green blinds.Ф
УOh, how pretty!†Ц and what a lot of trees and grass all around it! I never saw such a lot of green grass. Is my Aunt Polly rich, Nancy?Ф
УIТm so glad. It must be perfectly lovely to have lots of money. Does Aunt Polly have ice-cream Sundays?Ф
УNo, Miss. Your aunt doesnТt like ice-cream.Ф
УOh, doesnТt she? IТm so sorry! Maybe Aunt Polly has got the carpets, though.Ф
УYes, sheТs got the carpets.Ф
УIn every room?Ф
УWell, in almost every room,Ф answered Nancy, thinking about the attic room where there was no carpet.
УOh, IТm so glad,Ф exulted Pollyanna. УI love carpets. And Mrs. White had pictures, too, perfectly beautiful ones of roses and little girls kneeling and a kitty and some lambs and a lion. DonТt you just love pictures?Ф
УI donТt know,Ф answered Nancy.
Chapter IV. The Little Attic Room
Miss Polly Harrington did not rise to meet her niece.
УHow do you do, Pollyanna? I Ц Ф.
УOh, Aunt Polly, Aunt Polly, I donТt know how to be glad enough that you let me come to live with you,Ф she was sobbing. УYou donТt know how perfectly lovely it is to have you and Nancy and all this!Ф
УNancy, you may go,Ф Aunt Polly said.
УWe will go upstairs to your room, Pollyanna. Your trunk is already there, I presume. I told Timothy to take it up Ц if you had one. You may follow me.Ф
Without speaking, Pollyanna turned and followed her aunt from the room. Her eyes were filled with tears, but her chin was bravely high.
She was on the stairway now.
УOh, Aunt Polly, Aunt Polly,Ф breathed the little girl; Уwhat a perfectly lovely, lovely house! How awfully glad you must be youТre so rich!Ф
УPollyANNA!Ф ejaculated her aunt. УIТm surprised at you Ц making a speech like that to me!Ф
УWhy, Aunt Polly, ARENТT you?Ф asked Pollyanna, in wonder.
УCertainly not, Pollyanna. How can I be proud of any gift the Lord has sent me?17
Miss Polly turned and walked down the hall toward the attic stairway door. At the top of the stairs there were innumerable trunks and boxes. It was hot. Pollyanna lifted her head higher Ц it seemed so hard to breathe. Then she saw that her aunt threw open a door at the right.
УThere, Pollyanna, here is your room, and your trunk is here. Do you have your key?Ф
Pollyanna nodded. Her eyes were a little wide and frightened.
Her aunt frowned.
УWhen I ask a question, Pollyanna, I prefer that you should answer aloud not merely with your head.Ф
УYes, Aunt Polly.Ф
УThank you; that is better. I believe you have everything that you need here,Ф she added. УI will send Nancy to help you unpack your truck. Supper is at six oТclock,Ф she finished and left the room.
For a moment Pollyanna stood quite still. Then she turned her wide eyes to the bare wall, the bare floor, the bare windows and fell on her knees, covering her face with her hands.
Nancy found her there when she came up a few minutes later.
УOh, Nancy, IТm so wicked,Ф she sobbed. УI just canТt understand why God and the angels need my father more than I do.Ф
УThere, there, child, letТs have your key and weТll get inside this trunk and take out your dresses.Ф
Pollyanna produced the key.
УThere arenТt very many there,Ф she faltered.
УThen theyТre all soon be unpacked,Ф declared Nancy.
УItТs such a nice room! DonТt you think so?Ф Pollyanna stammered.
There was no answer. Nancy was very busy with the trunk.
УAnd I can be glad there isnТt any looking-glass here, too, because where there ISNТT any glass I canТt see my freckles.Ф
A few minutes later, Pollyanna clapped her hands joyously.
УOh, Nancy, look at these trees and the houses and that lovely church spire, and the river. Oh, IТm so glad now she let me have this room!Ф
To PollyannaТs surprise, Nancy burst into tears.
УWhy, Nancy Ц what is it?Ф she cried; УThis wasnТt Ц YOUR room, was it?Ф
УMy room!Ф stormed Nancy. УYou are a little angel straight from Heaven!Ф
After that Nancy sprang to her feet and went down the stairs.
Left alone, Pollyanna went back to her Уpicture,Ф as she mentally designated the beautiful view from the window. The next moment she opened the window. She ran then to the other window and opened it too. Then Pollyanna made a wonderful discovery Ц against this window there was a huge tree. Suddenly she laughed aloud.
УI believe I can do it,Ф she chuckled. The next moment she climbed to the window ledge. From there it was easy to step to the nearest tree-branch. Then she reached the lowest branch and dropped to the ground.
She was at the back of the house. Then Pollyanna reached the path that ran through the open field.
Fifteen minutes later the great clock struck six. At the last stroke Nancy sounded the bell for supper.
One, two, three minutes passed. Miss Polly frowned. She rose to her feet, went into the hall, and looked upstairs. For a minute she listened; then she turned and went to the dining room.
УNancy,Ф she said, Уmy niece is late. You need not call her,Ф she added. УI told her what time supper was, and now she will have to suffer the consequences.19
At the possible moment after supper, Nancy crept up to the attic room.
She softly pushed open the door. The next moment she gave a frightened cry. УWhere are you?Ф she panted, and flew to Old Tom in the garden.
The old man stopped, straightened up and pointed at the slender figure on top of a huge rock.
Chapter V. The Game
УScare? Oh, IТm so sorry; but you mustnТt, really, ever get scared about me, Nancy,Ф said Pollyanna and slid down the rock.
УI didnТt see you go, and nobody didnТt. I guess you flew right up through the roof; I do, I do. Poor little lamb, you must be hungry, too. IЦIТm afraid youТll have to have bread and milk in the kitchen with me. Your aunt didnТt like it Ц because you didnТt come down to supper.Ф
УBut I couldnТt. I was up here. But IТm glad.Ф
УI like bread and milk, and IТd like to eat with you. I donТt see any trouble about being glad about that.Ф
УYou donТt seem to see any trouble being glad about everything,Ф retorted Nancy.
Pollyanna laughed softly.
УWell, thatТs the game, you know, anyway.Ф
УThe Ц GAME?Ф
УWhatever in the world are you talking about?Ф
УWhy, itТs a game. Father told it to me, and itТs lovely. WeТve played it always, ever since I was a little, little girl. I told the LadiesТ Aid, and they played it Ц some of themЕ Only sometimes itТs almost too hard especially when your father goes to HeavenЕ I suppose, though, itТll be a little harder now, as long as I havenТt anybody to play it with. Maybe Aunt Polly will play it, though,Ф she added.
УSee here, Miss Pollyanna, IТm not sure that IТll play it very well, and I donТt know how but IТll play it with you, I will!Ф
УOh, Nancy! ThatТll be splendid!Ф
УMaybe,Ф said Nancy, in open doubt. УYou mustnТt count too much23
Pollyanna ate her bread and milk with good appetite and went into the sitting room, where her aunt sat reading. Miss Polly looked up coldly.
УHave you had your supper, Pollyanna?Ф
УYes, Aunt Polly.Ф
УIТm very sorry, Pollyanna, to have been obliged so soon to send you into the kitchen to eat bread and milk.24
УBut I was really glad you did it, Aunt Polly. I like bread and milk, and Nancy, too. You mustnТt feel bad about that.Ф
Aunt Polly sat suddenly a little more erect in her chair.
УPollyanna, go to bed. It was a hard day, and tomorrow we must plan your hours and go over your clothing to see what it is necessary to get for you. Nancy will give you a candle. Breakfast will be at half-past seven. Good night.Ф
УI know IТm going to just love living with you but then. Good night,Ф she said cheerfully, as she ran from the room.
УWhat a most extraordinary child!Ф Aunt Polly said. Then she frowned. УSheТs СgladТ I punished her, and I СmustnТt feel bad about that,Т and sheТs going to Сlove to liveТ with me! Well, upon my soul!Ф
Fifteen minutes later, in the attic room, a lonely little girl sobbed into the sheet:
УI know, father-among-the-angels, IТm not playing the game; I donТt believe even you could find anything to be glad about sleeping all alone in the dark. If only I was near Nancy or Aunt Polly, or even a LadiesТ Aider, it would be easier!26
Chapter VI. A Question of Duty
It was nearly seven oТclock 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 morning sky, and she knew that the day promised to be a fair one.
Pollyanna ran to the garden where she saw Aunt Polly with an old man.
УPollyANNA!Ф said Aunt Polly, Уis this the usual way you say good morning?Ф
УI saw you from my window and I decided to hug you!Ф
The old man turned his back suddenly.
УDo you always work in the garden, Mister?Ф asked Pollyanna.
The man turned. His eyes were filled with tears.
УYes, Miss. IТm Old Tom, the gardener,Ф he answered. УYou are so like your mother, little Miss! I used to know her when she was a young girl. You see, I used to work in the garden Ц then.Ф
УYou did? And you knew my mother, really? Oh, please tell me about her!Ф
A bell sounded from the house. The next moment Nancy appeared.
УMiss Pollyanna, that bell means breakfast,Ф she said, pulling the little girl to her feet and hurrying her back to the house; Уand other times it means other meals. But it always means that you must run when you hear it, no matter where you are.Ф she finished, shooing Pollyanna into the house.
Half an hour after breakfast Miss Polly entered PollyannaТs room.
УPollyanna, 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 course.Ф
Pollyanna dived into her closet then, hurriedly, and brought out all the poor little dresses in both her arms.
With the tips of her fingers Miss Polly turned over the garments, so obviously made for anybody but Pollyanna.
Aunt Polly turned to Pollyanna abruptly.
УOh, yes, Aunt Polly. Besides, I was taught at home, too.Ф
Miss Polly frowned.
УVery good. In autumn you will enter school here, of course. Mr. Hall, will doubtless settle in which grade you belong.Ф
УI love to read; but if you donТt want to hear me I will be glad to read to myself, Aunt Polly.Ф
УNot much. I donТt like my music. Though I learned to play the piano a little.Ф
УNevertheless I think it is my duty to see that you are properly instructed in at least the rudiments of music. You sew, of course.Ф
УYes, maТam.Ф Pollyanna sighed. УThe LadiesТ Aid taught me that.Ф
УI shall teach you sewing myself, of course. You do not know how to cook, I presume.Ф
Pollyanna laughed suddenly.
УThey were just beginning to teach me that this summer, but I hadnТt got far.30
УAt nine oТclock 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, 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,Ф she finished.
Pollyanna cried out in dismay.
УOh, but Aunt Polly, Aunt Polly, you havenТt left me any time at all just to Ц to live.31
УTo live, child! What do you mean? As if you werenТt living all the time!Ф
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