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0105_001E Painted Windows Elia W. Peattie


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"Ah reckon they're your pa's apples, missy. Why, fo' goodness' sake, don' yo' he'p yo'se'f?"

But I did not want to help myself. I wanted to be helped -- not because I was lazy, but because I wanted to be adored. I was really a sort of fairy princess, -- misplaced, of course, in a stupid republic, -- and I wanted life conducted on a fairy-princess basis. It was a game I wished to play, but it was one I could not play alone, and not a soul could I find who seemed inclined to play it with me.

Well, things went from bad to worse. I decided that if mother no longer loved me, I would no longer tell her things. So I did not. I got a hundred in spelling for twelve days running, and did not tell her! I broke Edna Grantham's mother's water-pitcher, and kept the fact a secret. The secret was, indeed, as sharp-edged as the pieces of the broken pitcher had been; I cried under the bedclothes, thinking how sorry Mrs. Grantham had been, and that mother really ought to know. Only what was the use? I no longer looked to her to help me out of my troubles.

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I had no need now to have father and mother tell me to hurry up and finish my chatter, for I kept all that happened to myself. I had a new "intimate friend," and did not so much as mention her. I wrote a poem and showed it to my teacher, but not to my uninterested parents. And when I climbed the stairs at night to my room, I swelled with loneliness and anguish and resentment, and the hot tears came to my eyes as I heard father and mother laughing and talking together and paying no attention to my misery. I could hear Toot, who used to be making all sorts of little presents for me, whistling as he brought in the wood and water, and then "cleaned up" to go to see his Tulula, with never a thought of me. And I said to myself that the best thing I could do was to grow up and get away from a place where I was no longer wanted.

No one noticed my sufferings further than sometimes to say impatiently, "What makes you act so strange, child?" And to that, of course, I answered nothing, for what I had to say would not, I felt, be understood.

One morning in June I left home with my resentment burning fiercely within me. I had not cared for the things we had for breakfast, for I was half-ill with fretting and with the closeness of the day, but my lack of appetite had been passed by with the remark that any one was likely not to have an appetite on such a close day. But I was so languid, and so averse to taking up the usual round of things, that I begged mother to let me stay at home. She shook her head decidedly.

"You've been out of school too many days already this term," she said. "Run along now, or you'll he late!"

"Please --" I began, for my head really was whirling, although, quite as much, perhaps, from my perversity as from any other cause. Mother turned on me one of her "lastword" glances.

"Go to school without another word," she said, quietly.

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Painted Windows
Elia W. Peattie

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