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  Chronicles of Avonlea Lucy Maud Montgomery

XI. The Miracle at Carmody

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Salome looked out of the kitchen window, and a pucker of distress appeared on her smooth forehead.

"Dear, dear, what has Lionel Hezekiah been doing now?" she murmured anxiously.

Involuntarily she reached out for her crutch; but it was a little beyond her reach, having fallen on the floor, and without it Salome could not move a step.

"Well, anyway, Judith is bringing him in as fast as she can," she reflected. "He must have been up to something terrible this time; for she looks very cross, and she never walks like that unless she is angry clear through. Dear me, I am sometimes tempted to think that Judith and I made a mistake in adopting the child. I suppose two old maids don't know much about bringing up a boy properly. But he is NOT a bad child, and it really seems to me that there must be some way of making him behave better if we only knew what it was."

Salome's monologue was cut short by the entrance of her sister Judith, holding Lionel Hezekiah by his chubby wrist with a determined grip.

Judith Marsh was ten years older than Salome, and the two women were as different in appearance as night and day. Salome, in spite of her thirty-five years, looked almost girlish. She was small and pink and flower-like, with little rings of pale golden hair clustering all over her head in a most unspinster-like fashion, and her eyes were big and blue, and mild as a dove's. Her face was perhaps a weak one, but it was very sweet and appealing.

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Judith Marsh was tall and dark, with a plain, tragic face and iron-gray hair. Her eyes were black and sombre, and every feature bespoke unyielding will and determination. Just now she looked, as Salome had said, "angry clear through," and the baleful glances she cast on the small mortal she held would have withered a more hardened criminal than six happy-go-lucky years had made of Lionel Hezekiah.

Lionel Hezekiah, whatever his shortcomings, did not look bad. Indeed, he was as engaging an urchin as ever beamed out on a jolly good world through a pair of big, velvet-brown eyes. He was chubby and firm-limbed, with a mop of beautiful golden curls, which were the despair of his heart and the pride and joy of Salome's; and his round face was usually a lurking-place for dimples and smiles and sunshine.

But just now Lionel Hezekiah was under a blight; he had been caught red-handed in guilt, and was feeling much ashamed of himself. He hung his head and squirmed his toes under the mournful reproach in Salome's eyes. When Salome looked at him like that, Lionel Hezekiah always felt that he was paying more for his fun than it was worth.

"What do you suppose I caught him doing this time?" demanded Judith.

"I--I don't know," faltered Salome.

"Firing--at--a-- mark--on--the--henhouse--door--with-- new-laid--eggs," said Judith with measured distinctness. "He has broken every egg that was laid to-day except three. And as for the state of that henhouse door--"

Judith paused, with an indignant gesture meant to convey that the state of the henhouse door must be left to Salome's imagination, since the English language was not capable of depicting it.

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Chronicles of Avonlea
Lucy Maud Montgomery

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