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Miss Theodosia's Heartstrings   By: (1862-)

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Miss Theodosia's Heartstrings





[Illustration: Slowly her delicate fingers undid the ravages of Stefana's patient endeavors. FRONTISPIECE.]







Slowly her delicate fingers undid the ravages of Stefana's patient endeavors.

"We've all got beautiful names, except poor Elly"

"If you are thinking of putting me anywhere, put me into a story like that"

Evangeline established a stage of action outside the window

Miss Theodosia's Heartstrings


"Mercy gracious!"

" Well!"

The last utterance was Miss Theodosia Baxter's. She was a woman of few words at all times where few sufficed. One sufficed now. The child on her front porch, with a still childlier child on the small area of her knees, was not a creature of few words, but now extreme surprise limited speech. She was stricken with brevity, stricken is the word to match Miss Theodosia's.

Downward, upward, each gazed into the other's surprised face. The childlier child, jouncing pleasantly back and forth, viewed them both impartially.

It was the child who regarded the situation, after a moment of mental adjustment, as humorous. She giggled softly.

"Mercy gracious! How you surprised me' 'n' Elly Precious, an' me 'n' Elly Precious surprised you! I don't know which was the whichest! We came over to be shady just once more. We didn't s'pose you would come home till to morrow, did we, Elly Precious?"

"I came last night," Miss Theodosia replied with crispness. She stood in her doorway, apparently waiting for something which apparently was not to happen. The child and Elly Precious sat on in seeming calm.

"Yes'm. Of course if you hadn't come, you wouldn't be standin' there lookin' at Elly Precious isn't he a darlin' dear? Wouldn't you like to look at his toes?"

It was Miss Theodosia Baxter's turn to say "Mercy gracious!" but she did not say it aloud. It was her turn, too, to see a bit of humor in the situation on her front porch.

"Not just now," she said rather hastily. She could not remember ever to have seen a baby's toes. "I've no doubt they are are excellent toes." The word did not satisfy her, but the suitable adjective was not at hand.

"Mercy gracious! That's a funny way to talk about toes! Elly Precious's are pink as anything an' six yes'm! I've made consid'able money out of his toes. Yes," with rising pride at the sight of Miss Theodosia's surprise, "'leven cents, so far. I only charged Lelia Fling a cent for two looks, because Lelia's baby's dead. I've got three cents out o' her; she says five of Elly Precious's remind her of her baby's toes. Isn't it funny you can't make boys pay to look at babies' toes, even when they's such a lot? Only just girls. Stefana says it's because girls are ungrown up mothers. Mercy gracious! speakin' of Stefana an' mothers, reminds me "

The shrill little voice stopped with a suddenness that made the woman in the door fear for Elly Precious; it seemed that he must be jolted from his narrow perch.

Miss Theodosia had wandered up and down the world for three years in be search of something to interest her, only to come home and find it here upon the upper step of her own front porch. She stepped from the doorway and sat down in one of the wicker rockers. She had plenty of time to be interested; there was really no haste for unpacking and settling back into her little country rut.

"What about 'Stefana and mothers'?" she prodded gently. A cloud had settled on the child's vivid little face and threatened to overshade the childlier child, as well. "I suppose 'Stefana' is a Spanish person, isn't she?" The name had a definitely foreign sound.

"Oh, no'm just a United States. We're all United States. Mother named her; we've all got beautiful names, except poor Elly. Mother hated to call him Elihu, but there was Grandfather gettin' older an' older all the time, an' she dassen't wait till the next one... Continue reading book >>

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