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Somebody's Little Girl   By: (1868-)

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by Martha Young


To Two Little Elizabeths: Elizabeth Young and Elizabeth Magruder


If I were just to tell the things that Bessie Bell remembered I should tell you some very strange things. Bessie Bell did not know whether she remembered them, or just knew them, or whether they just grew, those strange things in some strange country that never was anywhere in the world; for when Bessie Bell tried to tell about those strange things great grown wise people said: "No, no, Bessie Bell, there is nothing in the world like that."

So Bessie Bell just remembered and wondered.

She remembered how somewhere, sometime, there was a window where you could look out and see everything green, little and green, and always changing and moving, away, away beyond everything little, and green, and moving all the time. But great grown wise folks said: "No, there is no window in all the world like that."

And once when some one gave Bessie Bell a little round red apple she caught her breath very quickly and her little heart jumped and then thumped very loudly (that is the way it seemed to her) and she remembered: Little apple trees all just alike, and little apple trees in rows all just alike on top of those and again on top of those until they came to a great row of big round red apples on top of all.

Rut great grown people said: "No, no, Bessie Bell, there are no apple trees in all the world like that."

And one time Bessie Bell was at a pretty house and somebody sat her on a little low chair and said: "Keep still, Bessie Bell."

She kept still so long that at last she began to be afraid to move at all, and she got afraid even to crook up her little finger for fear it would pop off loud, she had kept still so long that all her round little fingers and her round little legs felt so stiff.

Then one, great grown person said: "She seems a very quiet child." And the other said: "She is a very quiet child sometimes."

But just then Bessie Bell turned her head, and though her round little neck felt stiff it did not pop! and she saw something in a corner that was blue, green, and brown, and soft, and she forgot how afraid to move she was, and she forgot how stiff she thought she was, and she forgot how still she was told to be, and she jumped up and ran to the corner and cried out: "Pretty! Pretty! Pretty!"

One grown person took up the Thing that was blue, and green, and brown, and soft, and waved it to and fro, to and fro in front of Bessie Bell.

And Bessie Bell clapped her hands, and jumped for joy, and laughed, and cried: "Boo! boo! boo!"

And Bessie Bell ran right into the Thing that was blue, and green, and brown, and soft, and she threw out her round little arms and clasped them about the Thing that was blue, and green, and brown, and soft!

And she pulled it over her face, and she laughed and cried for joy because she remembered

But the great grown person who had brought Bessie Bell to the pretty house said: "Oh, Bessie Bell! Why, Bessie Bell! For shame, Bessie Bell! How could you do so to the beautiful peacock feather fly brush!"

So Bessie Bell could only cry and that very softly and feel ashamed as she was bid, and forget what it was that she remembered.

Bessie Bell might have remembered one time when a great house was all desolate, and when nobody or nothing at all breathed in the whole great big house, but one little tiny girl and one great big white cat, with just one black spot on its tail.

The nurse that always had played so nicely with the tiny little girl was lying with her cheek in her hand over yonder.

The Grandmother who had always talked so much to the tiny little girl was not talking any more.

The tiny little girl was so sick that she only just could breathe quickly, just so and just so .

If Bessie Bell could remember that, it was only that she remembered the big white cat like a big soft dream... Continue reading book >>

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