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Painted Windows Elia W. Peattie


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"And who is this girl?" asked mother. I had become conscious that Norah was at my feet, wiping off my shoes with her queer little brown frock.

"It's a new friend of mine," gasped I, beginning to see that I must lose her, and hoping the lump in my throat wouldn't get any bigger than it was.

"What is her name?" asked mother. I had no time to answer. The girl did that.

"I'm Norah Madigan," she said. Her tone was respectful, and, maybe, sad. At any rate, it had a curious sound.

"Norah Mad-i-gan?" asked mother doubtfully, stringing out the word.

"Yessum," said a low voice. "Goodbye, mum."

"Oh, Norah!" cried I, a strange pain stabbing my heart. "Come to see me --"

But my mother's voice broke in, firm and kind.

"Good-bye, Norah," said she.

I saw Norah turn and run up among the trees, almost as swiftly and silently as a hare. Once, she turned to look back. I was watching, and caught the chance to wave my hand to her.

"Come!" commanded mother, and we went back to where father was sitting. "What do you think!" said mother. "I found the child playing with one of the Bad Madigans. Isn't she a sight!"

The lump in my throat swelled to a terrible size; something buzzed in my ears, and I heard some one weeping. For a second or two I didn't realise that it was myself.

"Well, never mind, dear," said mother's voice soothingly. "The frock will wash, and the tear will mend, and the shoes will black. Yes, and the scratches will heal."

"It isn't that," I sobbed. "Oh, oh, it isn't that!"

"What is it, then, for goodness sake?" asked mother.

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But I would not tell. I could not tell. How could I say that the daughter of the Bad Madigans was the first real and satisfying playmate I had ever had?

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Painted Windows
Elia W. Peattie

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