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Pearl and Periwinkle   By:

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Pearl and Periwinkle

BY

ANNA GRAETZ

[Illustration: Emblem]

L. B. C. Col. O. 1917

CONTENTS

Chapter I

Page

Myra's Dreadful Children 5

Chapter II

Pigs, Cabbages and Mr. Robert Grey 11

Chapter III

At the Shrine of Joe Smith 19

Chapter IV

The Clan 29

Chapter V

The Wall that Parted 37

Chapter VI

Joe Smith's Choice 41

Chapter VII

Periwinkle Breaks the Ice 49

Chapter VIII

"Even Unto Bethlehem" 55

CHAPTER I

MYRA'S DREADFUL CHILDREN

Miss Hetty Maise, having spent the night in fitful spells of slumber, at last awakened by the beams of sunlight, sat up in bed with a start, quite unrefreshed and possessed of an uncomfortable feeling that something unpleasant was about to happen. A venturesome sunbeam, casting its light upon a picture on the heavy walnut dresser, seemed to recall the cause of her sleepless night and present uneasy state of mind. Drawing her lips tightly together she frowned severely at the inquisitive intruder.

"Those children," she thought, "Myra's dreadful children! If the minister himself hadn't insisted that it was my plain duty to take them I shouldn't have done it. It seems almost a sin to take in two children who have been circus performers."

Miss Hetty was up by this time, for she hated to be idle. In fact the minister's son had once remarked that she was accustomed to stir her cake batter while she was reading her Bible; but then the minister's son was inclined to be irreverent at times.

But even he would have felt sorry for Miss Hetty this morning. To adopt two children when you know nothing whatever about their care was by no means a pleasant prospect. Besides, these children were the son and daughter of the outcast of the family, an only sister half forgotten though only two months deceased. The thing itself was pathetic, yet it seemed an imposition: above all to adopt two children who had traveled all their young lives with a circus was at least to Miss Hetty's mind almost scandalous.

Often during the morning she absently folded her hand and in unaccustomed idleness gazed, as if dazed, down the quiet village street as if expecting help from that source. Once, having aroused herself, she had gone to an old trunk, her deceased mother's, and drew out two faded pictures tied with an old ribbon and folded over a lock of yellow hair. The first picture, the face of a girl that smiled up at her so sweetly and trustingly, caused unbidden tears to well up in her eyes, just as it had always affected her mother. The second picture was regarded with more interest though with less affection. Here was the same loved face, but beside it the merry, dark face of the actor husband for whom she had left her home, and in her arms their first baby branded as Miss Hetty thought with the heathenish name of Periwinkle. A letter had accompanied this photograph, but it had never been answered. Several years later another letter had been received, telling of the death of her husband and of the illness of Periwinkle's two year old sister, Pearl.

Though Myra had died but two months before and if perhaps then her younger sister had felt any pang of pity for the orphaned children, it did not enter her thoughts this morning. She plumped up the pillows on the prim horsehair sofa, painfully recalling the pillow fight she had once seen between her cousin's children. Children were a nuisance, and these two Myra's dreadful boy and girl were bound to be more than that.

Her sense of indignation reaching a higher pitch every minute, she spitefully slammed the front door and left the house just as the clock struck eleven. Her heels clicked on the sidewalk sharply in full sympathy with her state of mind as she walked down the street of the village... Continue reading book >>




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