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A Modern Cinderella   By: (1831-1916)

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A MODERN CINDERELLA

BY

AMANDA M. DOUGLAS

AUTHOR OF "THE GIRLS AT MT. MORRIS," "SHERBURNE SERIES," "A LITTLE GIRL SERIES."

ETC.

[Illustration]

M. A. DONOHUE & CO.

CHICAGO

Made in U. S. A.

A MODERN CINDERELLA

CHAPTER I

AT THE PALACE

"You may stay down here until nine o'clock if you like," said Bridget. "It's awful cold upstairs. Be sure to wrap yourself good in the old blanket. And put a little coal on the range. If you let my fire go out, I'll skin you alive."

When Marilla first heard that threat she shuddered all over. If you scratched a little bit of skin off it hurt dreadfully. But Bridget never did it. Sometimes she hit her a slap on the shoulder. She couldn't even bear to skin a rabbit. "What do you mean by it?" Marilla gained courage to ask once, when she came to feel at home.

"Oh, I don't know. My mother used to say it. Sometimes she took a strap to us, but she wasn't ever real hard."

Marilla knew about the strap in Bethany Home though she didn't often get it.

"I'll remember about the fire."

"Good night!" Bridget was off.

She always took two or three evenings out in the week and had Sunday afternoon instead of Thursday because they had late dinners during the week. She was very excellent help, so Mrs. Borden let her have her own way.

It was nice and warm in the kitchen; clean, too. Bridget couldn't abide a dirty kitchen. Marilla had wiped the dishes, scoured out the sink and set the chairs straight around. It was a basement kitchen with a dining room above. The front was the furnace cellar, the middle for vegetables and what Bridget called truck.

Marilla sat in the little old rocking chair and put her feet on the oven hearth. It was very nice to rock to and fro and no babies to tend nor Jack to bother with. She sang a few hymns she knew, she said over several, little poems she had learned and spelled a few words. Bridget had turned the gas low, and she couldn't reach it without getting on a chair or she could have read. So she told herself a story that she had read.

It was very comfortable. She was getting a bit sleepy. Suppose she took a teeny nap as she did sometimes when she was waiting for Bridget. So she shook up the old cushion, brought up the stool, sat on that and laid her head in the chair. And now she wasn't a bit sleepy. She thought of the stove and put on some coal, lest she might fall asleep.

She hoped it would be warmer tomorrow when she took out the twins. Then she would venture to stop at the book store window and look at the pictures on the magazine covers. There was a baby that looked so like the twins it made her laugh. She didn't think the twins pretty at all. They had round chubby faces and almost round eyes, and mouths that looked as if they were just ready to whistle, and brown fuzzy hair without a bit of curl in it. But they were good, "as good as kittens," their mother said. She did so wish she had a kitten. She had brought such a pretty one from the store one day, a real maltese with black whiskers, but Bridget said she couldn't have a cat forever round under her feet and made her take it back.

Jack was past five and very pretty, but bad as he could be. Bridget said he was a "holy terror," but she thought holiness was goodness and didn't see the connection. He was a terror, that any one could see.

There was a queer shady look in the corners. She wasn't a bit afraid. The children at Bethany Home weren't allowed to be. She liked this a great deal better. She wasn't compelled to eat her whole breakfast off of oatmeal, and always had such lovely desserts for dinner. And sometimes Mrs. Borden gave her and Jack a banana or a bit of candy. Oh, yes, she would much rather live here even if Jack was bad and pinched her occasionally though his mother slapped him for it, or pinched him back real hard.

What made this lovely, rosy, golden light in the room? It was like a soft sunset. She had been saying over a lot of Mother Goose rhymes; of course she was too old for such nonsense and Jack didn't like them... Continue reading book >>




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