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Chronicles of Avonlea Lucy Maud Montgomery

XI. The Miracle at Carmody

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She sat on the stairs until she fell asleep herself, her head pillowed on her arm. Judith found her there when she came in, severe and triumphant, from her bout with the henhouse door. Her face softened into marvelous tenderness as she looked at Salome.

"She's nothing but a child herself in spite of her age," she thought pityingly. "A child that's had her whole life thwarted and spoiled through no fault of her own. And yet folks say there is a God who is kind and good! If there is a God, he is a cruel, jealous tyrant, and I hate Him!"

Judith's eyes were bitter and vindictive. She thought she had many grievances against the great Power that rules the universe, but the most intense was Salome's helplessness--Salome, who fifteen years before had been the brightest, happiest of maidens, light of heart and foot, bubbling over with harmless, sparkling mirth and life. If Salome could only walk like other women, Judith told herself that she would not hate the great tyrannical Power.

Lionel Hezekiah was subdued and angelic for four days after that affair of the henhouse door. Then he broke out in a new place. One afternoon he came in sobbing, with his golden curls full of burrs. Judith was not in, but Salome dropped her crochet-work and gazed at him in dismay.

"Oh, Lionel Hezekiah, what have you gone and done now?"

"I--I just stuck the burrs in 'cause I was playing I was a heathen chief," sobbed Lionel Hezekiah. "It was great fun while it lasted; but, when I tried to take them out, it hurt awful."

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Neither Salome nor Lionel Hezekiah ever forgot the harrowing hour that followed. With the aid of comb and scissors, Salome eventually got the burrs out of Lionel Hezekiah's crop of curls. It would be impossible to decide which of them suffered more in the process. Salome cried as hard as Lionel Hezekiah did, and every snip of the scissors or tug at the silken floss cut into her heart. She was almost exhausted when the performance was over; but she took the tired Lionel Hezekiah on her knee, and laid her wet cheek against his shining head.

"Oh, Lionel Hezekiah, what does make you get into mischief so constantly?" she sighed.

Lionel Hezekiah frowned reflectively.

"I don't know," he finally announced, "unless it's because you don't send me to Sunday school."

Salome started as if an electric shock had passed through her frail body.

"Why, Lionel Hezekiah," she stammered, "what put such and idea into your head?"

"Well, all the other boys go," said Lionel Hezekiah defiantly; "and they're all better'n me; so I guess that must be the reason. Teddy Markham says that all little boys should go to Sunday school, and that if they don't they're sure to go to the bad place. I don't see how you can 'spect me to behave well when you won't send me to Sunday school.

"Would you like to go?" asked Salome, almost in a whisper.

"I'd like it bully," said Lionel Hezekiah frankly and succinctly.

"Oh, don't use such dreadful words," sighed Salome helplessly. "I'll see what can be done. Perhaps you can go. I'll ask your Aunt Judith."

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Chronicles of Avonlea
Lucy Maud Montgomery

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