The Apple “Bee”

Excerpt from “The Wide, Wide World” 1850

By Susan Warner

     As the party were all gathered it was time to set to work. The fire in the front room was burning up finely now, but Miss Fortune had no idea of having pork-chopping or apple-paring done there. One party was dispatched downstairs into the lower kitchen, the others made a circle round the fire. Everyone was furnished with a sharp knife, and a basket of apples was given each two or three, now, it would be hard to say whether talking or working went on best. Not faster moved the tongues than the fingers, not smoother went the knives than the flow of talk, while there was a constant leaping of quarters of apples from the hands that had prepared them into the bowls, trays or what not that stood on the hearth to receive them. Ellen had nothing to do, her aunt had managed it so, though she would gladly have shared the work that looked so pretty and pleasant in other people’s hands, Miss Fortune would not lot her, so she watched the rest, and amused herself as well as she could with hearing and seeing, and standing between Alice and Jenny Hitchcock, she handed them the apples out of the basket as fast as they were ready for them. It was a pleasant evening that. Laughing and talking went on merrily, stories were told, anecdotes, gossip, jokes, passed from mouth to mouth, and not one made himself so agreeable or had so much to do with the life and pleasure of the party, as Alice. Ellen saw it, delighted. The pared apples kept dancing into the bowls and trays, the baskets got empty surprisingly fast, Nancy and Ellen had to run to the barrels in the shed again and again for fresh supplies.

     “Do they mean to do all these to-night?” said Ellen to Nancy on one of these occasions.

     “I don’t know what they mean, I am sure,” replied Nancy, diving down into the barrel to reach the apples, “if you asked me what Miss Fortune meant I might ha’ given a guess.”

     “But only look,” said Ellen – “only so many done, and all these to do! -- Well, I know what busy as a bee’ means now if I never did before.”

     “You’ll know it better to-morrow, I can tell you.”


     “Oh, wait till you see. I wouldn’t be you to-morrow for something though. Do you like sewing?”

     “Sewing!” said Ellen. “But girls! Girls! What are you leaving the door open for?” sounded from the kitchen, as they hurried in.

     “Most got through, Nancy?” inquired Bob Lawson. (Miss Fortune had gone downstairs.)

     “Ha’n’t begun to, Mr. Lawson. There’s every bit as many to do as there were at your house t’other night.”

     “What on airth does she want with such a sight of ‘em.” inquired Dan Dennison.

     “Live on pies and apple-sass till next summer.” suggested Mimy Lawson.

     “That’s the stuff for my money!” replied her brother, “Taters and apple-sass is my sass in winter.”

     “It’s good these is easy got,” said his sister Mary, “the sass is most of the dinner to Bob most commonly.”

     “Are they fixing for more apple-sass downstairs?” Mr. Dennisen went on rather dryly.

     “No-mush” said Juniper Hitchcock – “sassages!”

     “Humph!” said Dan, as he speared up an apple out of the basket on the point of his knife, ”Ain’t that something like what you call killing two --.”

     “Just that exactly,” said Jenny Hitchcock, as Dan broke off short, and the mistress of the house walked in. “Ellen,” she whispered. “Don’t you want to go downstairs and see when the folks are coming up to help us? And tell the doctor he must be spry, for we ain’t going to get through in a hurry,” she added, laughing. “Which is the doctor, ma’am?”

     “The doctor -- Doctor Marshchalk -- don’t you know?”

     “Is he a doctor?” asked Alice.

     “No, not exactly, I suppose, but he’s just as good as the real. He’s a natural knack at putting bones in their places, and all that sort of thing. There was a man broke his leg horribly at Thirlwall the other day, and Gibson was out of the way, and Marshchalk set it, and did it famously, they said. So go, Ellen, and bring us word what they are all about.”

     Mr. Van Brunt was the head of the party in the lower kitchen. He stood at one end of the table, cutting with his huge knife the hard frozen pork into very thin slices, which the rest of the company took, and before they had time to thaw cut up into small dice on the little boards Mr.Van Brunt had prepared. As large a fire as the chimney would hold was built up and blazing finely, the room looked as cozy and bright as the one up stairs, and the people as busy and as talkative. They had less to do, however, or they had been more smart, for they were drawing to the end of their chopping of which Miss Janet declared herself very glad, for she said, “The wind came sweeping in under the doors and freezing her feet the whole time, and she was sure the biggest fire ever was built couldn’t warm that room.” an opinion in which Mrs. Van Brunt agreed perfectly. Miss Janet no sooner spied Ellen standing in the chimney-corner than she called her to her side, kissed her, and talked to her a long time, and finally fumbling in her pocket brought forth an odd little three-cornered pin-cushion which she gave her for a keepsake. Jane Huff and her brother also took kind notice of her, and Ellen began to think the world was full of nice people. About half-past eight the choppers went up and joined the company who were paring apples, the circle was a very large one now, and the buzz of tongue, grew quite furious.

     “What are you smiling at?” asked Alice of Ellen, who stood at her elbow.

     “Oh, I don’t know,” said Ellen, smiling more broadly, and presently added, “they’re all so kind to me.”


     “Oh, everybody -- Miss Jenny, and Miss Jane Huff, and Miss Janet, and Mrs. Van Brunt, and Mr. Huff, they all speak so kindly and look so kindly at me but it’s very funny what a notion people have for kissing -- I wish they hadn’t -- I’ve run away from three kisses already, and I’m so afraid somebody else will try next.”

     “You don’t seem very bitterly displeased.” said Alice, smiling.

     “I am, though, I can’t bear it,” said Ellen, laughing and blushing. “There’s Mr. Dennison caught me in the first place and tried to kiss me, but I tried so hard to get away I believe he saw I was really in good earnest and let me go. And just now, only think of it, while I was standing talking to Miss Jane Huff downstairs, her brother caught me and kissed me before I knew what he was going to do. I declare it’s too bad.” said Ellen rubbing her cheek very hard as if she would rub off the affronts.

     “You must let it pass, my dear, it is one way of expressing kindness, they feel kindly towards you or they would not do it.”

     “Then I Wish they wouldn’t feel quite so kindly,” said Ellen, “That’s all. Hark! What was that?”

     “What is that?” said somebody else, and instantly there was a silence, broken again after a minute-or two by the faint blast of a horn.

     “It’s old Father Swaim, I reckon,” said Mr. Van Brunt” “I’ll go fetch him in.”

     “Oh yes! Bring him in -- bring him in.” was heard on all sides.

     “That horn makes me think of what happened to me once,” said Jenny Hitchcock to Ellen. “I was a little girl at school, not so big as you are, and one afternoon, when we were all as still as mice and studying away, we heard Father Swaim’s horn --“

     “What does he blow it for?” said Ellen, as Jenny stooped for her knife which she had let fall.

     “Oh, to let people know he’s there, you know. Did you never see Father Swaim?”


     “La! He’s the funniest old fellow! He goes round and round the country carrying the newspapers, and we get him to bring us our letters from the post-office, when there are any. He carries ‘em in a pair of saddle-bags hanging across that old white horse of his, I don’t think that horse will ever grow old, no more than his master, and in the summer he has a stick so long -- with a horse’s tail tied to the end of it, to brush away the flies, for the poor horse had his tail cut off pretty short. I wonder if it isn’t the very same,” said Kenny, laughing heartily, “Father Swaim though he could manage it best, I guess.”

     “But what was it that happened to you that time at school?” said Ellen.

     “Why, when we heard the horn blow, our master, the schoolmaster, you know, went out to get a paper, and I was tired with sitting still, so I jumped up and ran across the room and then back again, and over and back again five or six times, and when he came in one of the girls up and told on it. It was Fanny Lawson,” said Jenny in a whisper to Alice, and I think she ain’t much different now from what she was then. I can hear her now, ‘Mr Starks, Jenny Hitchcock’s been running all round the room.’ Well, what do you think he did to me? He took hold of my two hands and swung me round and round by the arms till I didn’t know which was head and which was feet.”

     “What a queer schoolmaster!” said Ellen.

     “Queer enough, you may say that. His name was Starks, the boys used to call him Starksifaction. We did hate him, that’s a fact. I’ll tell you what he did to a black boy of ours -- you know our black Sam, Alice? -- I forget what he had been doing, but Starks took him so, by the rims of the ears and danced him up and down upon the floor.”

     “But didn’t that hurt him?”

     “Hurt him! I guess it did! Ho meant it should. He tied me under the table once. Sometimes when he wanted to punish two boys at a time ho would set them to spit in each other’s faces.”

    “Oh, don’t tell me about him!” cried Ellen, with a face of horror, “I don’t like to hear it.”

     Jenny laughed, and just then the door opened and Mr. Van Brunt and the old news-carrier came in.

     He was a venerable, mild-looking old man, with thin hair as white as snow, he wore a long snuff-colored coat, and a broad-brimmed hat, the sides of which were oddly looped up to the crown with twine, his tin horn or trumpet was in his hand. His saddle-bags were on Mr. Van Brunt’s arm. As soon as she saw him Ellen was fevered with the notion that perhaps he had something for her, and she forgot everything else. It would seem that the rest of the company had the same hope, for they crowded round him shouting out welcomes and questions and inquiries for letters, all in a breath.

     “Softly, softly,” said the old man, sitting down slowly, “not all at once, I can’t attend to you all at once, one at a time -- one at a time.”

     “Don’t attend to ‘em at all till youre ready,” said Miss Fortune, “let ‘em wait.” And she handed him a glass of cider.

     He drank it off at a breath, smacking his lips as ho gave back the glass to her hand, and exclaiming, “That’s prime!” Then taking up his saddle-bags from the floor, he began slowly to undo the fastenings.

     “You are going to our house to-night, ain’t you, Father Swaim?” said Jenny.

     “That’s where I was going,” said the old man, “I was agoing to stop with your father, Miss Jenny, but since l’ve got into-farmer Van Brunt’s hands I don’t know any more what’s going to become of me, and after that glass of cider I don’t care much. Now, let’s seen let’s see Miss Jenny Hitchcock, here’s something for you. I should like very much to know what’s inside of that letter, there’s a blue seal to it. Ah, young folks, young folks!”

     “‘Jedediah B, Lawson,’ -- there’s for your father, Miss Mimy, that saves me a long tramp, if you’ve twenty-one cents in your pocket, that is, if you ha’n’t, I shall be obliged to tramp after that. Here’s something for ‘most all of you, I’m thinking. ‘Miss Cecilia Dennison’, your fair hands -- how’s the Squire? Rheumatism, eh? I think I am a younger man-now than your father, Cecilly, and yet I must ha’ seen a good many more years than Squire Dennison, I must surely, ‘Miss Fortune Emerson’, that’s for you, a double letter, ma’am.”

     Ellen with a beating heart had-pressed nearer and nearer to the old man, till she stood close by his right hand, and could see every letter as he handed it out. A spot of deepening red was on each cheek as her eye eagerly scanned letter after letter, it spread to a sudden flush when the last name was read. Alice watched in some anxiety her keen look as it followed the letter from the old man’s hand to her aunt’s, and thence to the pocket, where Miss Fortune coolly bestowed it. Ellen could not stand this, she sprang forward across the circles.

     “Aunt Fortune, there’s a letter inside of that-for me! -- Won’t you give it to me? -- Won’t you give it to me?” she repeated, trembling.

     Her aunt did not notice her by so much as a look, she turned away and began talking to someone else. The red had left Ellen’s face when Alice could see it again, it was livid and spotted from stifled passion.

     She stood in a kind of maze. But as her eyes caught Alice’s anxious and sorrowful look, she covered her face with her hands, and as quick as possible made her escape out of the room.

     For some minutes Alice heard none of the hubbub around her. Then came a knock at the door, and the voice of Thomas Grimes saying to Mr. Van Brunt that Miss Humphrey’s horse was there.

     “Mr. Swaim,” said Alice, rising, “I don’t like to leave you with these gay friends of ours, you’ll stand no chance of rest with them tonight. Will you ride home with me?”

     Many of the party began to beg Alice would stay to supper, but she said her father would be uneasy. The old news-carrier concluded to go with her, for he said “there was a pint he wanted to mention to Parson Humphreys that he had forgotten to bring for’ard when they were talking on that ‘ere subject two months ago.” So Nancy brought her things from the next room and helped her on with them, and looked pleased, as well she might, at the smile and kind words with which she was rewarded. Alice lingered at her leave-taking, hoping to see Ellen, but it was not till the last moment that Ellen came in. She did not say a word, but the two little arms were put around Alice’s neck, and held her with a long, close earnestness which did not pass from her mind all evening afterward.

     When she was gone the company sat down again to business, and apple-paring went on more steadily than ever for awhile, till the bottom of the barrel was seen, and the last basketful of apples was duly emptied. Then there was a general shout, the kitchen was quickly cleared, and everybody’s face brightened, as much as to say, “Now for fun!” While Ellen, and Nancy and Miss Fortune and Mrs. Van Brunt were running all ways with trays, pans, baskets, knives and buckets, the fun began by Mr. Juniper Hitchcock’s whistling in his dog and setting him to do various feats for the amusement of the company. There followed such a rushing, leaping, barking, laughing, and scolding on the part of the dog and his admirers, that the room was in an uproar. He jumped over a stick, he got into a chair and sat up on two legs, he kissed the ladies’ hands, he suffered an apple-paring to be laid across his nose, then threw it up with a jerk and caught it in his mouth. Nothing very remarkably certainly, but, as Miss Fortune observed to somebody, “If he had been the learned pig there couldn’t ha’ been more fuss made over him.”

     Ellen stood looking on, smiling partly at the door and his master, and partly at the antics of the company. Presently Mr. Van Brunt, bending down to her said ---

     “What is the matter with your eyes?”

     “Nothing” said Ellen starting -- “at least nothing that’s any matter I meant.”

     “Come here,” said he, drawing her on one side, “tell me all about it -- what is the matter?”

     “Never mind -- please don’t ask me, Mr. Van Brunt. I ought not to tell you -- it isn’t any matter.”

     But her eyes were full again, and he still held her fast doubtfully.

     “I’ll tell you about it, Mr. Van Brunt,” said Nancy, as she name past them, “you let her go, and I’ll tell you by-and-by.”

     And Ellen tried in vain afterwards to make her promise she would not.

     “Come, June,” said Miss Jenny, “we have got enough of you and Jumper -- turn him out, we are going to have the cat now. Come! Puss, puss in the corner! Go off in t’other room, will you, everybody that don’t want to play. Puss, puss!”

     Now the fun began in good earnest, and few minutes had passed before Ellen was laughing with all her heart, as if she had never had anything to cry for in her life. After “Puss, puss in the corner“ came “Blindman’s-buff”, and this was played with great spirit, the two most distinguished being Nancy and Dan Dennison, though Miss Fortune played admirably well. Ellen had seen Nancy play before, but she forgot her own part of the game in sheer amazement at the way Mr. Dennison managed his long body, which seemed to go where there was no room for it, and vanish into air just when the grasp of some grasping “blind-man” was ready to fasten upon him. And when he was blinded, he seemed to know by instinct where the walls were, and keeping clear of them he would swoop like a hawk from one end of the room to the other, pouncing upon the unlucky people who could by no means get out of the way fest enough. When this had lasted a while there was a general call for “the fox end the goose", and Miss Fortune was pitched upon for the latter, she having in the other game showed herself capable of good generalship. But who for the fox? Mr. Van Brunt?

     “Not I,” said Mr. Van Brunt -- “There ain’t nothing of the fox about me, Miss Fortune would beat me all hollow.”

     “Who then, farmer?” said Bill Huff, “come, who is the fox? Will I do?”

     “Not you, Bill, the goose’ed be too much for you.”

     There was a general shout, and cries of “Who then?” “Who then?”

     “Dan Dennison,” said Mr. Van Brunt. “Now look out for a sharp fight.”

     Amidst a great deal of laughing and confusion the line was formed, each person taking hold of a handkerchief or band passed around the waist of the person before him, except when the women held by each other’s skirts. They were ranged according to height, the tallest being next their leader the “goose” Mr. Van Brunt and the elder ladies, and two or three more, chose to be lookers on, and took post outside the door.

    Mr. Dennison began by taking off his coat, to give himself more freedom in his movements, for his business was to catch the train of the goose, one by one, as each in turn became hindmost, while her object was to baffle him and keep her family together, meeting him with outspread arms at every rush he made to seize one of her brood, while the long train behind her, following her quick movements and swaying from side to side to get out of the reach of the furious fox, was sometimes in the shape of the letter C, and sometime in that of the letter S, and sometimes looked liked a long snake with a curling tail. Loud was the laughter, shrill the shrieks, as the fox drove them hither and thither, and seemed to be in all parts of the room at once. He was a cunning fox that, as well as a bold one. Sometimes, when they thought him quite safe, held at bay by the goose, he dived under or leaped over her outstretched arms, and almost snatched hold of little Ellen, who being the least was the last one of the party. But Ellen played very well, and just escaped him too or three times, till he declared she gave him so much trouble that when he caught her he would “kiss her the worst kind.” Ellen played none the worse for that, however she was caught at last, and kissed too, there was no help for it, so she bore it as well as she could. Then she watched, and laughed till the tears ran down her cheeks to see how the fox and the goose dodged each other, what tricks were played, and how the long train pulled each other about. At length Nancy was caught, and then Jenny Hitchcock, and then Cecilia Dennison, and then Jane Huff, and so on, till at last the fox and the goose had a long struggle for Mimy Lawson, which would never have come to an end if Mimy had not gone over to the enemy.

     There was a general pause. The hot and tired company were seated round the room, panting and fanning themselves with their pocket-handkerchiefs, and speaking in broken sentences, glad to rest even from laughing. Miss Fortune had thrown herself down on a seat close by Ellen, when Nancy came up and softly asked, “Is it time to beat the eggs now?” Miss Fortune nodded, and then drew her close to receive a long whisper in her ear, at the end of which Nancy ran off.

     “Is there anything I can do, Aunt Fortune?” said Ellen, so gently and timidly that it ought to have won a kind answer.

     “Yes,” said her aunt, “you may go and put yourself to bed, it’s high time long ago.” and looking round as she moved off she added “Go!” -- with a little nod that as much as said, “I am in earnest.”

     Ellen’s heart throbbed, she stood doubtful. One word to Mr. Van Brunt and she need not go, that she knew. But as surely too that word would make trouble and do harm. And then she remembered, “A charge to keep I have!” She turned quick and quitted the room.

     Ellen sat down on the first stair she came to, for her bosom was heaving up and down, and was determined not to cry. The sounds of talking and laughing came to her ear from the parlour, and there at her side stood the covered-up supper, for a few minutes it was hard to keep her resolve. The thick breath came and sent very fast. Through the fanlight of the hall door, opposite to which she was sitting, the bright moonlight streamed in, and presently, as Ellen quieted, it seemed to her fancy like a gentle messenger from its maker, bidding his child remember him, and then came up some words in her memory that her mother’s lips had fastened there long ago, “I love tham that love me, and they that seek me early shall find me.” She remembered her mother had told her it is Jesus who says this. Her lost pleasure was well-nigh forgotten, and yet as she sat gazing into the moonlight Ellen’s eyes-were gathering tears very fast.

     “Well, I am seeking Him,” she thought, “can it be that He loves me! Oh, I am so glad!”

     But they were glad tears that little Ellen wiped away as she went upstairs, for it was too cold to sit there long if the moon was ever so bright.

     She had her hand on the latch of the door when her grandmother called out from the other room to know who was there.

     “It’s I, grandma.”

     “Ain’t somebody there? Come in here -- Who is it?"

     “It’s I, grandma.” said Ellen, coming to the door.

     “Come in here, deary,” said the old woman, in a lower tone, “What is it all? What’s the matter? Who’s downstairs?”

     “It’s a bee, grandma, there’s nothing the matter.”

     “A bee! Who’s been stung? What’s all the noise about?”

     “Tisn’t that kind of a bee, grandma, don’t you know? There’s a parcel of people that came to pare apples, and they’ve been playing games in the parlour -- that’s all.”

     “Paring apples, eh? Is there company below?”

     “Yes, ma’am, a whole parcel of people.”

     “Dear me” said the old lady, “I oughtn’t to ha’ been abed! Why ha’n’t Fortune told me? I’ll get right up. Ellen, you go in that fur closet and bring me my paddysoy that hangs there, and then help me on with my things, I’ll get right up. Dear me! What was Fortune thinking about?”

     The moonlight served very well instead of candles, After twice bringing the wrong dresses Ellen at last hit upon the “paddysoy“, which the old lady knew immediately by the touch. In haste, and not without some fear and trembling on Ellen’s part, she was arrayed in it, her best cap put on, not over hair in the best order, Ellen feared, but the old lady would not stay to have it made better, Ellen took care of her down the stairs, and after opening the door for her went back to her room.

     A little while had passed, and Ellen was just tying her night-cap string and ready to go peacefully to sleep, when Nancy burst in.

     “Ellen! hurry! You must come right downstairs.”

     “Downstairs! why, I am just ready to go to bed.”

     “No matter, you must come right away down. There’s Mr. Van Brunt says he won’t begin supper till you come.”

     “But does Aunt Fortune know?”

     “Yes, I tell you! And the quicker you come the better she’ll be pleased. She sent me after you in all sorts of a hurry. She said she didn’t know where you was.”

     “Said she didn’t know where I was! Why she told me herself --“ Ellen began and then stopped short.

     “Of course!” said Nancy, “Don’t you think I know that? But he don’t, and if you want to plague her you’ll just tell him. Now come and be quick, will you. The supper’s splendid.”

     Ellen lost the first view of the table, for everything had begun to be pulled to pieces before she came in. The company were all crowded round the table, eating and talking and helping themselves, and ham and bread and butter, pumpkin pies and mince pies and apple pies, cakes of various kinds, and glasses of egg-nogg and cider, were in everybody’s hands, one dish in the middle of the big table had won the praise of every tongue, nobody could guess and many asked how it was made, but Miss Fortune kept a satisfied silence, pleased to see the constant stream of comers to the big dish till it was near empty. Just then Mr. Van Brunt, seeing Ellen had nothing, gathered up all that was left and gave it to her.

     It was sweet and cold and rich. Ellen told her mother afterwards it was the best thing she had ever tasted except the ice-cream she once gave her in New York. She had taken, however, but one spoonful when her eye fell upon Nancy, standing back of all the company, and forgotten. Nancy had been upon her good behavior all the evening, and it was a singular proof of this that she had not pushed in and helped herself among the first. Ellen’s eye went once or twice from her plate to Nancy, and then she crossed over and offered it to her. It was eagerly taken, and, a little disappointed, Ellen stepped back again. But she soon forgot the disappointment. “She’ll know now that I don’t bear her any grudge,” she thought.

     “Ha’n’t you got nothing?” said Nancy, coming up presently, “That wasn’t your’n that you gave me, was it?”

     Ellen nodded smilingly.

     “Well, there ain’t no more of it,” said Nancy “The bowl is empty.”

     “I know it,” said Ellen.

     “Why, didn’t you like it?”

     “Yes, very much.”

     “Why, you’re a queer little fish,” said Nancy, “what did you get Mr. Van Brunt to let me in for?”

     “How did you know I did?”

     “Cause he told me. Say -- what did you do it for? Mr. Dennison won’t you give Ellen a piece of cake or something? Here -- take this,” said Nancy, pouncing upon a glass of egg-nog which a gap in the company enabled her to reach, “I made it more than half myself. Ain’t it good?”

     “Yes, very,” said Ellen, smacking her lips, “what’s in it?”

     “Oh, plenty of good things. But what made you ask Mr. Van Brunt to let me stop tonight? You didn’t tell me -- did you want me to stay?”

     “Never mind,” said Ellen, “Don’t ask me any questions.”

     “Yes, but I will though, and you’ve got to answer me. Why did you? Come! Do you like me? -- say.”

     “I should like you, I dare say if you would be different.”

     “Well, I don’t care,” said Nancy, after a little pause, “l like you, though you’re as queer as you can be. I don’t care whether you like me or not. Look here, Ellen, that cake there is the best I know it is, for I’ve tried them all. You know I told Van Brunt I would tell him what you were crying about?”

     “Yes, and I asked you not, Did you?”

     Nancy nodded, being at the moment still further engaged in “trying” the cake.

     “I am sorry you did. What did he say?”

     “He didn’t say much to me -- somebody else will hear of it, I guess.

     “He was mad about it, or I am mistaken. What makes you sorry?”

     “It will only do harm, and make Aunt Fortune angry.”

     “Well, that’s just what I should like if I were you. I can’t make you out.”

     “I’d a great deal rather have her like me,” said Ellen. “was she vexed when grandma came down?”

     “I don’t know, but she had to keep it to herself if she was, everybody else was so glad, and Mr. Van Brunt made such a fuss. Just look at the old lady, how pleased she is. I declare, if the folks ain’t talking of going. Come, Ellen, now for the cloaks! You and me’ll finish our supper afterwards.”

     That, however, was not to be. Nancy was offered a ride home to Mrs. Van Brunt’s and a lodging there. They were ready cloaked and shawled, and Ellen was still hunting for Miss Janet’s things in the moonlit hall, when she heard Nancy close by, in-a lower tone than common, say --.

     “Ellen will you kiss me?”

     Ellen dropped her armful of things, and taking Nancy’s hands, gave her truly the kiss of peace.

     When she went up to undress for the second time, she found on her bed -- her letter! And with tears Ellen kneeled down and gave earnest thanks for this blessing, and that she had been able to gain Nancy’s goodwill.


"The Scribbling Women"
Copyright ~ Estate of Andre Norton
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Donated by - Estate of Andre Norton

 Digitized and edited by Jay Watts aka: “Lots-a-watts” ~ May 2015

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