Read CHAPTER X - A BIT OF NEWS of The Tale of Mrs. Ladybug , free online book, by Arthur Scott Bailey, on ReadCentral.com.

CHIRPY CRICKET was looking for Mrs. Ladybug.  He had news for her.  Now, it wasn’t often that anybody could tell Mrs. Ladybug anything.  Usually she was the one that told other people bits of gossip.  So Chirpy Cricket was specially eager to find her and make known to her what he had learned.

It was about Mrs. Ladybug’s cousin.  At least, there was a person living in the vegetable garden who claimed to be a cousin of Mrs. Ladybug’s.

Chirpy found Mrs. Ladybug in the orchard.  But strange to say, she didn’t seem at all interested in his news.

“I dare say I have a cousin in the garden,” she told him.  “Ours is a big family.  I have more cousins than I could ever count.  They’re as plentiful as the leaves on the trees.  I can’t stop my work to go and see this one.  If I called on all my cousins I’d never have time to help Farmer Green.”

Chirpy Cricket looked disappointed.  He had expected Mrs. Ladybug to show great interest in what he told her.  She certainly always thought that others ought to pay strict attention when she related the happenings about the farm.  And she always wanted them to act surprised and pleased, too.

“Aren’t you going to the garden?” Chirpy Cricket demanded.  “Don’t you intend to be polite to your cousin?”

“Humph!” said Mrs. Ladybug.  “She can’t be any busier than I am.  Why doesn’t she come to the orchard to call on me?”

“She can’t do that,” he explained.  “Your cousin says that it wouldn’t be etiquette.  She says you’ve lived on the farm longer than she has.”

“Rubbish!” Mrs. Ladybug scolded.  “I’m a plain working person.  There’s too much to do, during the summer, for me to bother with such nonsense.”

Chirpy Cricket found her rather discouraging.  Still he hadn’t given up hope of making Mrs. Ladybug change her mind.

“I fear you’re making a mistake,” he remarked.  “You ought to see this cousin.  She’s different from any of your family that I’ve ever met before.”

“How is she different?” Mrs. Ladybug demanded, pausing in her pursuit of insects on the leaves of the apple tree.  At last she began to show some signs of interest.

“I don’t know,” Chirpy Cricket replied.  “I can’t say.  Maybe it’s her clothes that make her look strange.”

Mrs. Ladybug then started to ask him questions ­which was the best of proof that her curiosity had been aroused.

“What sort of gown was my cousin wearing?” she inquired.  “Was it a red polka dot, like mine?”

“I don’t remember,” he answered.

“What colors did she have on?”

“I didn’t notice,” said Chirpy Cricket.

Mrs. Ladybug gave him a look of disgust.

“Well, if that isn’t just like a man!” she spluttered.  “Men never can tell how a body’s dressed.  If I want to learn anything more about this cousin of mine I suppose I’ll have to go and see her with my own eyes.”

And that afternoon she went to the vegetable garden.