Read CHAPTER VI of The Lilac Lady , free online book, by Ruth Alberta Brown, on ReadCentral.com.

PEACE’S SPRING VACATION

Allée’s cold was no better Monday morning, but it was decided that Peace should go alone to the new parsonage on Hill Street, with the promise that if possible the younger child should join her before the week’s visit was ended.  So Peace departed.  But it was with a heavy heart that she went, for, much as she wanted to see her former pastor’s family, she dreaded being separated from this dearest of sisters even for seven days; nor could she shake off the vague feeling of unrest which had gripped her when she saw the sick, sorrowful look in Allée’s great blue eyes as they said good-bye.

“Get well quick, dear,” she whispered tenderly, holding the tiny, hot hand against her cheek after a quaint fashion they had of saying good-night to each other.  “I can’t have a good time even with Saint Elspeth and Glen if you are at home sick.  Take your med’cine like a good girl, and about Wednesday I ’xpect Saint John will be coming after you if grandpa hasn’t brought you before.”

And Allee had promised to do her best, but Peace could not forget her last glimpse of the wistful, flushed face, pressed against the window-pane to watch her out of sight around the corner.  And so sober was she that Jud, who was driving her to the dovecote on the hill, looked around inquiringly more than once, and finally ventured to ask, “Have you caught cold, too?”

“No, indeed!” she flung back at him.  “I’m never sick.  Why?”

“Your eyes look pretty red.”

His ruse was effective, for in trying to see herself in a tiny scrap of a mirror which she carried in her satchel, she forgot her desire to cry, and looked as gay and chipper as usual when the carriage drew up at the parsonage curbing and Mr. Strong bounded boyishly down the walk to meet her, holding his beautiful year-old boy on one arm, and dragging the sweet girl wife by the other.

“Oh, but it’s good to see you again!” cried Peace, vaulting over the wheels to the ground before either Jud or the minister could lift her down.  “It doesn’t seem ’sif you’d really moved to Martindale to live.  How did it happen?  Grandpa couldn’t make me understand about bishops and preachers and congregations, but I’m glad you’ve come.  Did you have a hard time getting out of Parker and was there a farewell reception?  Ain’t it too bad Faith wasn’t there to make you another cake?  Mercy!  How the baby has grown!  Why, I b’lieve he knows me.  He wants to come.  Oh, he ain’t too heavy and I won’t break his precious neck, will I, Glen?  How do you like my new dress and did you get my hand-satchel ’fore Jud drove off?  I forgot all about it the minute I saw the baby.  Grandpa was going to bring me, but the faculty had to plan a meeting for this morning, of course, and grandma couldn’t come on account of Allée’s cold.  What a cute little house you’ve got!  It looks wholer than the Parker parsonage.  I’m just dying to see all the little cubby-holes and closets.  How many rooms are there?”

“It is the same old Peace, Elizabeth,” laughed Mr. Strong, rescuing his boy and leading the way to the house.  “Prosperity has not changed her a whit.  She has hundreds of questions stored up under that curly wig waiting to be asked.  I can see them sticking out all over her.  My dear, you are here for a week’s visit.  Don’t choke yourself trying to ask everything in one breath, but ‘walk into our parlor’ and we will show you all we have, and let you rummage to your heart’s content.”

So they initiated her into the mysteries of the new parsonage with its pretty, cheerful rooms, unexpected cosy corners, tiny kitchen and cunning little cupboard, and for a week she fairly revelled in the playhouse, as she immediately named the spandy new cottage, amusing the baby, who promptly attached himself to her with the devotion of a lap-dog, dusting furniture, washing dishes, and causing her usual commotion trying to help where her presence was only a hindrance.  But they enjoyed it!  Oh, dear, yes!  Her quaint speeches were a constant delight to them, and the sight of her somber brown eyes, so at odds with her merry disposition, and the sound of her gay whistle or rippling little giggle were like the breath of spring to these homesick hearts.

So the days slipped happily by in the dovecote on the hill, in spite of Peace’s vague fears for the little sister at home who did not get well enough to join them; and before anyone was aware of it, the whole week was gone and Sunday night had arrived.  The evening service was over, Peace had said good-night to the pastor and his wife, and the house was in darkness when suddenly there was the sound of hurried steps on the walk, the door-bell jangled harshly, and the brown eyes in the room across the hall flew open just as the front door closed with a bang, and Mrs. Strong’s frightened voice called through the darkness, “What is it, John?  A telegram?”

“A messenger boy.”

“Oh, what is the trouble?  Someone hurt or sick at home?  Here is a light, dear.”

Flickering shadows danced across the walls of Peace’s room, she heard the tearing of paper, and then Mr. Strong’s quick exclamation, “Elizabeth!  It is Allee!” “What is Allee?” A white gown shot out of the door opposite them, and terrified Peace threw herself into the woman’s arms, demanding again, “What is Allee?  Is she-dead?”

“No, dear,” he hastily assured her, provoked to think he had frightened the child so badly; “only ill-quarantined for scarlet fever.”

“Scarlet fever!” gasped the girl.  “That’s what killed Myrtle Perry.  Oh, will Allee die, too?  Why didn’t I stay at home with her?”

“There, there, little girlie, you mustn’t cry about it like that,” said Mrs. Strong, stroking the brown head in her arms with comforting touches.  “Lots of people have scarlet fever and get over it.  The letter says Allée’s case is not at all severe, but she will be quarantined for some weeks and you can’t go home until the house has been fumigated.  You must be our girl for a month or two longer.  Will that be hard work?”

“N-o, but s’posing she should die!  I ought to be there to have it, too.”

“No, indeed!  That would make it only harder for Grandma Campbell.  You must stay here and keep well so they won’t be worrying about you, too.  Allee isn’t going to die, but in a few weeks will be as well as ever.”

“S’posing I’ve caught it already and give it to Glen?”

“Dr. Coates thinks you would have been sick by this time if you were going to have the disease, but he is taking no chances, and has sent some medicine as a preventive.”

“What about school?” The case was becoming interesting to Peace, now that she was assured that Allee would not die.

“Oh, you can have another week of vacation from lessons, and then if everything is all right, you can finish your term at Chestnut School.  That is only four blocks from here, and Miss Curtis is a splendid principal.  I knew her when I went to college, and I am sure you will like her.”

This was not exactly what Peace had expected or hoped for.  She would have preferred no more school at all, as long as the sisters at home were to have an enforced vacation of several weeks, and her face clouded again as she heard Elizabeth’s plan.  “But-I can’t-I don’t want-I would rather-” she stammered.

“Remember your motto and ‘scatter sunshine,’ dear.  It will help the home folks to know you are cheerful and happy here, and it will help us, too.”

She had touched the right chord.  Peace slowly dried her tears, gave a final gulp or two, and lifted her face once more smiling and serene, saying gravely, “You can bet on me!  I won’t bawl any more.  You folks better get to bed now and not stand here shivering until you catch cold.  Good-night again!” With a hearty kiss for each, she trailed away to her tiny room and was soon fast asleep among the pillows.

In spite of her determination to be brave, however, she often found it hard to wear a smiling face during the week which followed the messenger’s coming, for much as she wanted a vacation from her books, time hung heavily on her hands.  She could not help fretting about Allee lying ill at home, Glen took a sleepy spell and spent many hours each day napping when she wanted to play with him, the little house had soon been put in order, everything was unpacked and in its place, the minister and Elizabeth were compelled to devote much of their time to making the acquaintance of their new parishioners and becoming familiar with this new field of labor; so Peace was necessarily left to her own devices more than was good for her.

To make a bad situation worse, a drizzly spring rain set in, which lasted for days and kept the freedom-loving child a prisoner indoors, when she longed to be dancing in the fresh air and exploring a certain inviting grove which she had discovered on the hillside behind the church.

“I b’lieve it’s raining just to spite me,” she exclaimed crossly one afternoon as she stood drumming on the window-sill and watching the pearly drops course down the pane in zigzag rivulets.  “It just knows how bad I want to get out to play.”

Elizabeth looked up from a tiny dress which she was mending carefully, and said in sprightly tones,

    “’Is it raining, little flower? 
      Be glad of rain. 
    Too much sun would wither thee,
      ’Twill shine again. 
    The sky is very black, ’tis true,
    But just behind it shines the blue.’”

“Oh, yes, you can say that all right,” Peace snapped, “cause you ain’t just a-dying to get out and dig.  Why, Saint Elspeth, the air just fairly smells of angleworms and birds’ nests, and I do want to make a garden so bad!”

“Poor girlie,” smiled the woman to herself, “what a hard time she would have in life if she could not run and romp all she wanted.”  But aloud she merely said, “It is too early to make a garden yet, dear.  The ground is so cold that the seeds would rot instead of sprouting, and if any little shoots were brave enough to climb through the soil into open air, they probably would get frozen for their trouble.  We are apt to have some hard frosts yet this spring.  See, the leaves on the trees have scarcely begun to swell yet.  They know it isn’t time.  Be patient a little longer; it can’t rain forever.”

“It’s hard to be patient with nothing to do,” sighed the child, pressing her nose flatter and flatter against the glass as she looked up and down the dreary, deserted street, vainly hoping for something to distract her dismal thoughts.

“Have you finished dressing the paper dolls for Allee?”

“Yes, I made ten different suits for every single doll, and there were fifteen, counting in the father and mother and grandma.  Saint John has already mailed them.  I’ve read till I’m tired and the back fell off of the book-it wasn’t a nice story anyway, ’cause the good girl was always getting whaled for what the bad one did.  I whistled Glen to sleep before I knew it and then couldn’t wake him up, though I shook and shook him.  I’ve sewed up all today’s squares of patch-work and two of tomorrow’s; but it isn’t int’resting work when you ain’t there to tell me stories about them.  And anyway, I hate sewing-patch-work ’specially!  When I grow up and get married, my husband will have to buy our quilts already made.  I’ll never waste my time sewing on little snips to hatch up some bed-clothes.  They’re always covered up with spreads anyway.  Rainy days are the dismalest things I know!”

“That is very true if we let it rain inside, too,” Elizabeth agreed quietly.

“Let it rain inside!  Whoever heard tell of such a thing-’nless the roof was leaky.”  Peace giggled in spite of her gloom.

“You are letting it rain inside now when you frown and sigh instead of trying to be cheerful and happy in spite of the storm outside.  One of our poets says: 

    “‘Whatever the weather may be,’ says he,
    ’Whatever the weather may be,
    It’s the songs ye sing, and the smiles ye wear
    That’s a-making the sunshine everywhere!’”

Peace abruptly ceased her drumming on the window-sill and stared thoughtfully through the wet pane at a row of draggled sparrows chirping blithely on a fence across the muddy street.  Then she remarked, “What a lot of poetry you know!  Seems ’sif I’d struck a poetic bunch since we left Parker.  Grandma and grandpa and Miss Edith and Frances, and now you have taken to talking in rhymes-and they are mostly about sunshine, too.”

    “’When the days are gloomy
    Sing some happy song,’”

hummed Elizabeth, leaning suddenly forward and drawing out a drawer in her desk close by.  She rummaged through its contents for a moment, and then laid a dainty brown and gold book in the girl’s hands, saying, “That reminds me.  When I was a little girl not much older than you are now, my mother was very ill for a long time, and my sister Esther and I were sent away from home to live with a lame old aunt in a lonely little house about a mile from the nearest neighbor’s.  Needless to say, we got very homesick with no one to play with or amuse us, and the days were often so long that we were glad when night came so we could sleep and forget our childish troubles.  Though Aunt Nancy was not accustomed to children, she soon discovered our loneliness and set about to mend matters as best she could.  But the old house had very little in it for us to play with, the books were all too old for us to understand, and like you, we were not overly fond of sewing.  So poor old auntie was at her wit’s end to know what to do with us when she happened to think of her diary.”

“Did she have many cows?”

“Cows?”

“In her diary.”

“Oh, child, that is dairy you mean.  A diary is a record of each day’s events-all the little things that happen from week to week-sort of a written history of one’s life.”

“H’m, I shouldn’t think that would be fun,” Peace commented candidly, still holding the unopened volume in her hand, thinking it was another uninteresting story-book.  “I don’t like writing any better than I do sewing.”

“Neither did I, but Esther was rather fond of scribbling, and Aunt Nancy’s diary was one of the brightest, sprightliest histories of common, everyday affairs that we ever read, and we were both greatly amused over it.  She had kept a faithful record for years-not every day, or even every week, but just when she happened to feel like writing, so it was no drudgery.

“She was quite given to making rhymes, as you call it, and we were astonished to find several very beautiful little poems and stories that she had written just for her own enjoyment; for she had always lived alone a great deal, and these little blank books of hers held the thoughts that she could not speak to other folks because there were no folks to talk with.  Esther was several years older than I, and she knew a lady who wrote for magazines.  So, unbeknown to Aunt Nancy, she copied a number of the prettiest verses and sent them to this author, who not only had them printed, but begged for more.  I never shall forget how pleased Aunt Nancy was, and I think it was that which decided us girls to try keeping a diary, too.  We raced each other good-naturedly, to see who could write the queerest fancies or longest rhymes, and many an hour have we whiled away, scribbling in the dusty attic.”

“Did you ever get anything printed?” Peace was becoming interested, for Gail had secret ambitions along this line, and such matters as poems, stories and publishers were often discussed in the home circle.

“No,” sighed Elizabeth, a trifle wistfully, perhaps, as she thought of that dear dream of her girlhood days.  “I soon came to the conclusion that poets are born and not made.  But Esther has been quite successful in writing short stories for magazines, and she lays it all to the summer we spent with Aunt Nancy on that dreary farm.”

“How long did you write your dairy?”

Diary, Peace.  I am still writing it-”

“Ain’t that book full yet?”

“Oh, yes, a dozen or more, but most of them were burned up in the fire at-”

“I thought maybe this was one of them.”  She held up the brown and gold volume, much disappointed to think it did not contain the record of those early attempts which Elizabeth had so charmingly described.

“No, dear, that is a notebook which I was intending to send John’s youngest brother, Jasper, who thinks he wants to be an author, so he might jot down bits of information or interesting anecdotes to help him in his work.  However, it just occurred to me that perhaps Peace Greenfield would like such a book to gather up sunbeams in.”

“To gather up sunbeams?”

“Yes, dear.  Don’t you think it would be a nice plan these rainy, dreary days to write down all the cheerful bits of poetry you know or happy thoughts that come to you, or the pretty little fairy tales you and Allee love to make up about the moon lady and the brownies in the dell?  You see, I have painted little brownies all along the margins of the various pages-”

“And they are carrying sunflowers,” Peace interrupted.

“Sun-flowers if you wish,” and Elizabeth made a wry face at her reflection in the mirror.  “I called them black-eyed Susans, but sun-flower is a better name for them, because this is to be a sunshine book.  Another coincidence-I have written on the fly-leaf the very verse I just quoted: 

    “It’s the songs ye sing, and the smiles ye wear
    That’s a-makin’ the sunshine everywhere!’”

“And ain’t the fly’s leaf dec’rations cute!” Peace pointed a stubby forefinger at the painted brownie chorus, armed with open song-books and broad grins, who seemed waiting only for the signal of the leader facing them with baton raised and arms extended, to burst into rollicking melody.  “I think it’s a splendid book and you’re a nangel to give it to me when you meant it for someone else.  But it ought to have a name.  Just dairy sounds so milky and barnlike; and I don’t like ’sunbeam book’ real well, either.  What did you call yours?”

Elizabeth laughed.  “Esther’s was ‘Happy Moments,’ but I was more ambitious, and called mine ‘Golden Thoughts.’  How would ‘Sunbeams,’ or ‘Gleams of Sunshine’ do for yours?”

“Oh, I like that last one!  That’s what I’ll call it, and I’ll begin writing now.  Shall I use pen and ink?”

“Ink would be best, wouldn’t it?  Pencil marks soon get rubbed and dingy.”

“That’s what I was thinking,” Peace answered promptly, for the possibilities of the ink-pot always had held a great charm for her, and at home her privileges in this direction were considerably curtailed, ever since she had dyed Tabby’s white kittens black to match their mother.  So she drew up her chair before the orderly desk, and began her first literary efforts, having first sorted out five blotters, six pen-holders, two erasers, a knife and a whole box of pen-points to assist her.

It was a little hard at first to know just what to write, but after a few nibbles at the end of her pen, she seemed to collect her thoughts, and commenced scratching away so busily on the clean, white page that Elizabeth smiled and congratulated herself on having so easily solved the problem of what to do with the restless, little chatter-box until she could go back to school the following Monday.  There were only three days of that week remaining, and if the book would just hold the child’s attention until these were ended, she should count her scheme successful, even though she did have to find another present for Jasper’s birthday.

So she smiled with satisfaction, for Peace had become so engrossed with her new amusement that she never heard the door-bell ring, nor the voice of the visitor in the adjoining room, but scribbled away energetically until words failed her, and she paused to think of something to rhyme with “bird.”  Then her revery came to a sudden end, for through the open door of the parlor floated the words, “And so we decided to adopt her resolutions.”

“Poor thing,” murmured Peace under her breath.  “I s’pose it’s another orphan.  Beats all how many there are in this world!  I am glad she’s going to be adopted, though; but if she was mine, I’d change her name to something besides Resolutions.  That’s a whole lot worse’n Peace.  It sounds like war.”

She glanced out of the window, and with a subdued shout dropped her pen and rushed for her coat and rubbers.  The rain had ceased and the sun was shining!  Not only that, but trudging down the muddy hill, hand-in-hand and tearful, were two small, fat cherubs, the first children Peace had seen while she had been visiting the parsonage, except as she met the boys and girls of the Sunday School.  Elizabeth had told her that this part of the city was still new, and consequently few families had settled there as yet; but she had longed for other companionship than Glen could give her, and this was too good an opportunity to miss.  So, flinging on her wraps, she hurried out of the back door, so as not to disturb Elizabeth and her caller, and ran after the children already at the street crossing, preparing to wade into the rushing torrent of muddy water coursing down the hillside.

“Oh, wait!” she cried breathlessly, but at the sound of her voice both children started guiltily, and with a snarl of anger and defiance, plunged boldly into the flood, not even glancing behind them at the flying, gray-coated figure in pursuit.  However, the water was swift in the gutter, the mud very slippery, and the little tots in too great a hurry.  So without any warning, two pair of feet shot out from under their owners, two frightened babies plumped flat in the dirty stream, and two voices rose in protest against such an unhappy fate.  Nevertheless, when Peace waded in to their rescue, they fought and bit like wild-cats, till she dragged them howling back to the sidewalk and safety.  Then abruptly the wails ceased, two pair of round gray eyes stared blankly up at their rescuer, and two voices demanded aggressively, “Who’s you?”

“Are you twins?” asked Peace in turn, noticing for the first time how very much alike were the small, snub-nosed, freckled faces of the dirty duet.

“Yes.”

“What are your names?”

“Lewie and Loie.”

“Lewie and Loie what?”

“That’s all.”

“Oh, but you must have another name.”

“That’s all,” they stubbornly insisted.

“Where do you live?”

“Nowhere.”

“Haven’t you any mamma?”

“She’s gone.”

“But who takes care of you?”

“Nobody,” gulped the one called Loie.

“Mittie did, but she runned away and lef’ us,” added Lewie.

“Where are you going now?”

“To fin’ mamma.”

“But you said she was dead.”

“She just goned away and lef’ us, too,” murmured Loie, looking very much puzzled.

Peace was delighted.  Years and years ago, when her grandfather was a boy, he had adopted a little, homeless orphan and kept him from being taken to the poor-farm.  Here were two waifs needing love and care.  Who had a better right to adopt them than she who had found them?  Grandpa Campbell surely would not turn them away, for did he not know what it was to be homeless and friendless?  But she could not take them home while Allee was in bed with scarlet fever, and perhaps the Strongs would not feel that they could open the parsonage doors to two more children, seeing that the house was so very tiny.  What could she do with her charges?

There was a rush of feet on the walk behind her, someone gave her a violent push, and she sprawled full length in the gutter.  Surprised, drenched to the skin and dazed by her fall, she staggered to her feet only to be knocked down the second time, while a jeering, mocking voice from the sidewalk taunted, “You’re a pretty sight now, you nigger-wool kidnapper!  Get up and take another dose!  I’ll teach you to steal children!”

Blind with rage and half choked with mud, Peace shook the water from her eyes and flew at her assailant with vengeance in her heart, pounding right and left with relentless fists wherever she could hit.  But the enemy was a larger and stronger child, and it would have gone hard with the brown-eyed maid had not the minister himself arrived unexpectedly upon the scene and separated the two young pugilists, demanding in shocked tones, “Why, Peace, what does this mean?  I thought you were above fighting.”

“She hit me first!” sputtered Peace, trying to wipe the blood from a long scratch on her cheek.

“She stole my kids!”

“They are orphans, Saint John, and I was going to adopt them like my grandfather did Grandpa Campbell.”

“They ain’t either orphans!” shouted the other.

“They said their mother was dead and they had no home.”

“Mamma goned away and locked up the house,” volunteered Lewie from the parsonage porch where he had taken refuge with his twin sister at the first sign of the fray.

“Are you their sister?” sternly demanded Mr. Strong of the older girl.

“No, I ain’t!  They live next door and Mrs. Hoyt left the kids with me till she got back.”

“Where is your house?”

“On top of the hill,” she muttered sullenly.

“Then how does it come they are so far from home?”

“They ran away.”

“She shut us out of hern house,” said Loie, “and we went to fin’ mamma.”

Just at this moment the parsonage door opened, and Elizabeth’s visitor stepped out on the piazza, almost stumbling over the crouching twins; and at sight of them she exclaimed in surprise, “Why, Lewis and Lois Hoyt, what are you doing down here?  Does your mother know where you are?”

“Ah, Mrs. Lane, how do you do?” said the minister, extending his hand in greeting.  “Are these tots neighbors of yours?”

“They live just across the street from us.  I often take care of them when the mother is away.”  Then her eye chanced to fall upon the shrinking figure of Mittie, and she demanded wrathfully, “Have you been up to your tricks again, Mittie Cole?  I shall certainly report you to your father this time sure.  I will take the twins home, Mr. Strong.  It is too bad your little guest has been hurt, but you can mark my words, she was not to blame.  There is trouble wherever Mittie goes.  I don’t see why Mrs. Hoyt ever left the children with her in the first place.  She might have known what would happen.”

Shooing the little brood ahead of her, she marched out of sight up the hill, and Peace followed the minister into the house, wailing disconsolately, “I thought they were orphans and I could adopt them like grandpa did.”

“But think how nice it is that they have a mother and father and a nice home of their own.  Aren’t you glad they are not friendless waifs?”

It was a new thought.  Peace paused in her lament, and then with a bright smile answered, “It is nicer that way, ain’t it?  ’Cause even if they had been orphans, maybe grandpa would think he had his hands full with the six of us, and couldn’t make room for any more.  Lewie can bite like a badger and I ’magine grandpa wouldn’t stand for much of that.  Anyway I wouldn’t.  When I grow bigger and have a house of my own, then I can adopt all the children I want to, can’t I?  Just like that lady that was here a minute ago.”

“Mrs. Lane?  Why, she has no adopted children!” exclaimed Elizabeth, who had been a silent spectator of part of the scene.

“But I heard her tell you so myself,” insisted Peace.

“When?”

“This afternoon while I was writing in my book.  She said they decided to adopt Resol-Resol-something.”

Fortunately the minister was lighting the fire in the kitchen stove, so Peace could not see the laughter in his face, and Elizabeth had long since learned to hide her mirth from the keen childish eyes, so she explained, “It was not a child, Peace, which she was talking about.  Doesn’t your Missionary Band ever adopt resolutions of any sort in their business meetings?”

“I never saw any they adopted, though we’re s’porting two orphan heathen in India.”

Elizabeth could not refrain from smiling slightly, but she carefully explained to Peace the meaning of the perplexing phrase, as she bustled about her preparations for supper, and the incident was apparently forgotten.

While she was putting things to rights for the night, long after the children had been tucked away in their beds, she found the preacher seated by her desk chuckling over a little book among the papers before him, and peeping over his shoulder she saw it was the brown and gold volume which she had given Peace that afternoon.  On the fly-leaf, just above the quaint brownie chorus, in straggling inky letters, Peace had penned the title, “Glimmers of Gladness,” this being as near as she could recall the name Elizabeth had suggested.  Then followed the most extraordinarily original diary the woman had ever seen, and she laughed till the tears ran down her cheeks, as she read the words written with such painstaking care and plenty of ink: 

“This is the first dairy I ever kept.  Saint Elspeth gave me the book which she ment for Jasper Strong, St. John’s brother who wood rather be a writer than a huming boy.  He ought to change places with me, cause I’d rather be a live girl any day than a norther which is what Gale wants to be and that is one reason I am going to keep a dairy as she may find it usful when she gets to be famus like St. Elspeth’s sister Ester.  I should not want to keep a dairy if I had to tend to it every day, but St. Elspeth says just to rite when I feel like it which I don’t s’pose will be offen as there is usuly something to do which I like better.  I am riting today becaus it rains and I cant go out doors.

    “The sparrow is playing in the mud
      Don’t I wish I could, too. 
    He don’t need rubbers on his feet,
      Behind the clouds it’s blue. 
    He wears feathers stead of close
      And to him the rain aint wet. 
    I wisht that I wore feathers, too,
      Then I’d stay out doors you bet.

“The raindrop fairy is my newest fairy.  I’ll tell Allee all about it when she gets well enough so’s I can go home.  They are very wet but it aint their fault.  If they wuz dry they wouldnt be water.  They go about doing lots of good to the trees and flowers which couldnt grow without water, and we mustn’t fuss cause there is always sun somewhere and its a cumfert to no it wont rain all the time.  When the storm is over the raindrop faries strech a net of red and blue and green and yellow &C akros the sky which means it wont rain any more until the next time.  Thats the way with huming beings.  If we skowl and growl we’re making a huming thunder-storm, but just as soon as the smile comes out thats the rainbow and shows the sun is shining, ’cause there is never a rainbow without the sun is in the clouds behind it.  I’m going to smile and smile after this and be a reglar sunflour all myself.”

“Dear little Peace,” murmured Elizabeth, as she closed the book and laid it back on the desk.  “It’s mean to laugh at her precious diary, particularly when she has taken such pains with it and tried her best to please.”

“She’ll make an author yet,” chuckled the minister.  “I am proud of our little philosopher.  She is scattering more sunshine than she dreams of, and some day will harvest a big crop of sunflowers.”