Little Prudy's Sister Susy, page 1
LITTLE PRUDY'S SISTER SUSY
New YorkHurst & CompanyPublishers
TO MY LITTLE NIECE Katie ClarkeTHIS BOOK IS FOR YOU, KATIE, WITH THE LOVE OF YOUR AUNTIE.
I. KEEPING SECRETS II. BEFORE DAYLIGHT III. SUSY'S CHRISTMAS IV. SUSY'S WINGS V. PRUDY'S TROUBLE VI. ROSY FRANCES EASTMAN MARY VII. LITTLE TROUBLES VIII. ANNIE LOVEJOY IX. MORAL COURAGE X. RUTHIE TURNER XI. SUSY'S BIRTHDAY XII. FAREWELL
Here is a story about the oldest of the three little Parlin girls,"sister Susy;" though so many things are always happening to Prudy thatit is not possible to keep her out of the book.
I hope my dear little friends will see how kind it was in God to sendthe "slow winter" and the long nights of pain to little Prudy.
If trouble should come to us, let us grow gentle, and patient, andlovely.
Little friends, be sure of one thing--our dear Father in heaven sends ussomething hard to bear only because he loves us.
We might begin this story of Susy Parlin on a New Year's day, only it isso hard to skip over Christmas. There is such a charm about Christmas!It makes you think at once of a fir tree shining with little candles andsparkling with toys, or of a droll Santa Claus with a pack full ofpresents, or of a waxen angel called the Christ-child.
And it is just as well to date from the twenty-fifth of December,because, as "Christ was born on Christmas day," that is really the"Happy New Year."
For a long while the three little Parlin girls had been thinking anddreaming of presents. Susy's wise head was like a beehive, full oflittle plans and little fancies, which were flying about like bees, andbuzzing in everybody's ears.
But it may be as well to give you a short description of the Parlinfamily.
Susy's eyes were of an "evening blue," the very color of the sky in asummer night; good eyes, for they were as clear as a well which has the"truth" lying at the bottom of it. She was almost as nimble as asquirrel, and could face a northern snow storm like an engineer. Herhair was dark brown, and as smooth and straight as pine-needles; whilePrudy's fair hair rippled like a brook running over pebbles. Prudy'sface was sunny, and her mouth not much larger than a button-hole.
The youngest sister was named Alice, but the family usually called herDotty, or Dotty Dimple, for she was about as round as a period, and hada cunning little dimple in each cheek. She had bright eyes, long curls,and a very short tongue; that is, she did not talk much. She was twoyears and a half old before she could be prevailed upon to say anythingat all. Her father declared that Dotty thought there were people enoughin the world to do the talking, and she would keep still; or perhapsshe was tired of hearing Prudy say so much.
However, she had a way of nodding her curly head, and shaking her plumplittle forefinger; so everybody knew very well what she meant. She hadlearned the use of signs from a little deaf and dumb boy of whom weshall hear more by and by; but all at once, when she was ready she beganto talk with all her might, and soon made up for lost time.
The other members of the family were only grown people: Mr. and Mrs.Parlin, the children's excellent parents; Mrs. Read, their kind Quakergrandmother; and the Irish servant girl, Norah.
Just now Mrs. Margaret Parlin, their "aunt Madge," was visiting them,and the little girls felt quite easy about Christmas, for they gave itall up to her; and when they wanted to know how to spend their smallstock of money, or how much this or that pretty toy would cost, Prudyalways settled it by saying, "Let's go ask auntie: _she'll_ know, forshe's been through the Rithmetic."
Prudy spoke these words with awe. She thought "going through theRithmetic" was next thing to going round the world.
"O Auntie, I'm so glad you came," said Susy, "for I didn't see how I wasever going to finish my Christmas presents: I go to school, you know,and it takes me all the rest of the time to slide!"
The children were busy making wonderful things "all secret;" or theywould have been secret if Prudy hadn't told.
For one thing, she wondered very much what Susy could be doing with fourpins stuck in a spool. She watched the nimble fingers as they passed theworsted thread over the pin-heads, making stitches as fast as Susy couldwink.
"It looks like a tiny snake all sticked through the hole in the spool,"said Prudy, eager with curiosity. "If you ain't a-goin' to speak, Idon't know what I _shall_ do, Susy Parlin!"
When poor Susy could not pretend any longer not to hear, she answeredPrudy, half vexed, half laughing, "O, dear, I s'pose you'll tease andtease till you find out. Won't you never say a word to anybody,_never_?"
"Never in my world," replied the little one, with a solemn shake of herhead.
"Well, it's a lamp-mat for auntie. It's going to be blue, and red, andall colors; and when it's done, mother'll sew it into a round, and putfringe on: won't it be splendid? But remember, you promised not totell!"
Now, the very next time Prudy sat in her auntie's lap she whispered inher ear,--
"You don't know what _we're_ making for you, _all secret_, out ofworsted, and _I_ shan't tell!"
"Mittens?" said aunt Madge, kissing Prudy's lips, which were pressedtogether over her sweet little secret like a pair of sugar-tongsclinching a lump of sugar.
"Mittens? No, indeed! Better'n that! There'll be fringe all over it;it's in a round; it's to put something on,--to put the _lamp_ on!"
"Not a lamp-mat, of course?"
"Why, yes it is! O, there, now you've been and guessed all in a minute!Susy's gone an' told! I didn't s'pose she'd tell. I wouldn't for nothin'in my world!"
Was it strange that Susy felt vexed when she found that her nice littlesurprise was all spoiled?
"Try to be patient," said Mrs. Parlin, gently. "Remember how young andthoughtless your sister is. She never means any harm."
"O, but, mamma," replied Susy, "she _keeps_ me being patient all thewhole time, and it's hard work."
So Susy, in her vexation, said to Prudy, rather sternly, "You littlenaughty thing, to go and tell when you promised not to! You're almost asbad as Dotty. What makes you act so?"
"Why, Susy," said the child, looking up through her tears, "have I_acted_? I didn't know I'd acted! If you loved me, you wouldn't lookthat way to me. You wrinkle up your face just like Nanny when she saysshe'll shake the naughty out of me, Miss Prudy."
Then what could Susy do but forgive the sweet sister, who kissed her socoaxingly, and looked as innocent as a poor little kitty that has beenstealing cream without knowing it is a sin?
It was plain that it would not do to trust Prudy with secrets. Her braincould not hold them, any more than a sieve can hold water. So Mrs.Parlin took pity upon Susy, and allowed her and her cousin FlorenceEastman to lock themselves into her chamber at certain hours, and workat their presents without interruption.
While the little girls sat together busily employed with book-marks andpin-cushions, the time flew very swiftly, and they were as happy as beesin a honeysuckle.
Mrs. Parlin said she believed nothing less than Christmas presents wouldever make Susy willing to use a needle and thread; for she dislikedsewing, and declared she wished the man who made the needles had toswallow them all.
The family were to celebrate Christmas evening; for Mr. Parlin was away,and might not reach home in season for Christmas eve.
For a wonder they were not to have a Tree, but a Santa Claus, "just fora change."
"Not a truly Santa Claus, that comes puffin' down the chimney,"explained Prudy, who knew very well it would be only cousin Percy undera mas