Page:A Garland for Girls (1893).djvu/48

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our basement steps one rainy day in the shape of a large dilapidated umbrella with a pair of small boots below it. A mild howl made me run to open the door, for I was at lunch in the dining-room, all alone, and rather blue because I could n't go over to see Ella. A very small girl lay with her head in a puddle at the foot of the steps, the boots waving in the air, and the umbrella brooding over her like a draggled green bird.

"'Are you hurt, child?' said I.

"'No, I thank you, ma'am,' said the mite quite calmly, as she sat up and settled a woman’s shabby black hat on her head.

"'Did you come begging?' I asked.

"'No, ma'am, I came for some things Mrs. Grover's got for us. She told me to. I don’t beg.' And up rose the sopping thing with great dignity.

"So I asked her to sit down, and ran up to call Mrs. Grover. She was busy with Grandpa just then, and when I went back to my lunch there sat my lady with her arms folded, water dripping out of the toes of her old boots as they hung down from the high chair, and the biggest blue eyes I ever saw fixed upon the cake and oranges on the table. I gave her a piece, and she sighed with rapture, but only picked at it till I asked if she did n't like it.

"’Oh yes, 'm, it's elegant! Only I was wishin' I could take it to Caddy and Tot, if you did n't mind. They never had frostin' in all their lives, and I did once.’

"Of course I put up a little basket of cake and oranges and figs, and while Lotty feasted, we talked. I