Read CHAPTER XXIV of Polly and the Princess, free online book, by Emma C. Dowd, on


“I didn’t see the minister,” Polly reported to Miss Twining. “He and his wife were both away. So I left the book with the maid and said that you sent it to Mr. Parcell that was right, wasn’t it?”

“Certainly, and I thank you ever so much. I do hope he won’t think me presumptuous,” she added.

“Why, how could he such a beautiful book as yours?”

“I don’t know. He might. I lay awake last night thinking about it.”

“You shouldn’t have stayed awake a minute,” laughed Polly. “I wouldn’t wonder if you’d hear from him this afternoon. Then you’ll stop worrying.”

Miss Twining laughed a little, too. “I’m glad I sent it anyway,” she said. “It has given me something to think of and something to hope for. The days are pretty monotonous here oh, it is so nice to have you come running in! You don’t know how much good you do me!”

“Do I? I guess it’s because I’m such a chatterbox! There! I haven’t told you what father and mother said about your book! Father took it and read and read and read. Finally he looked up and asked, ‘Did you say a lady at the Home wrote these?’ Then he brought his head down, as he does when he is pleased, and exclaimed, ’They ought to be proud of her!’ just what I said, you know!”

“I am so glad he likes them!” Miss Twining’s delicate face grew pink with pleasure.

“Oh, he does! He kept reading it seemed as if he couldn’t lay it down till somebody called him. And when he got up he said, ’This is poetry I should like to see the woman who can write like that. She must be worth knowing.’”

“Oh, Polly!” Miss Twining’s eyes overflowed with happy tears. “That is the best compliment I ever had in my life and from such a man as your father!”

“Mother fairly raves over the poems,” went on Polly. “She says she is coming over here next visiting day to get acquainted with you.”

“I hope she will come,” smiled the little woman. “I have always wished I could know her, she looks so sweet as she sits there beside you in church.”

“She is sweet!” nodded Polly. “Nobody knows how sweet till they’ve lived with her.”

Every day now Miss Twining had a visit from Polly, and every day she had to tell her that she had not heard from Mr. Parcell.

“He is only waiting till he has read the book through,” Polly assured the disappointed author. “Or maybe he is coming to tell you how much he thinks of it you’d like that better, shouldn’t you?”

“I don’t mind which way, if only he doesn’t scorn it and says something,” was the half-smiling reply.

But as the days and weeks passed, and brought no word from the recipient of “Hilltop Days,” Polly hardly knew how to comfort the sorrowful giver. She began to wish that she had not urged Miss Twining to send the book to Mr. Parcell. She even suggested making some errand to the house and asking, quite casually, of course, how they liked Miss Twining’s book, but the little woman so promptly declared Polly should do nothing of the sort that the plan was given up at once.

At the cordial invitation of Dr. Dudley and his wife, Miss Sterling and Miss Twining spent a delightful afternoon and evening at the Doctor’s home.

“I feel as if I had been in heaven!” Miss Twining told Polly the next day. “It carried me back to my girlhood, when I was so happy with my mother and father and my sisters and brother. My sisters were always stronger than I, and Walter was a regular athlete; but they went early, and I lived on.” She sighed smilingly into Polly’s sympathetic face. “It is queer the way things go. They were so needed! So was I,” she added, “as long as mother and father lived; but now I don’t amount to anything!”

“Oh, you do!” cried Polly. “You write beautiful poetry, and you don’t know how much good your poems are doing people.”

“I can’t write any more yes, I can!” she amended. “Miss Sniffen didn’t tell me not to write. I needn’t let them pay me any money I might order it sent to the missionaries! Why,” as the thought flashed upon her, “I could have them send the money anywhere, couldn’t I? To anybody I knew of that needed it! Oh, I will! I’ll begin this very day! Polly Dudley, you’ve made life worth living for me!”

“I haven’t done anything!” laughed Polly. “That is your thought, and it is a lovely, unselfish one!”

“It would never have come to me but for what you said! How can I ever thank you!”

“Nothing to thank me for!” insisted Polly. “But if you will have it so, I’ll say you may thank me by letting me read your poems.”

“Oh, I’d love to! And then you can tell me whether they are right or not!”

“As if I’d know!” chuckled Polly. “But I’ll run away now and let you go to writing I do know enough for that!” She took Miss Twining’s face between her soft palms and gave her four kisses, on cheeks and temples. “Those are for good luck, like a four-leaf clover,” she said gayly. “Good-bye, dear!”