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An Old-Fashioned Girl

Unbolting the cellar door, the girls announced to the invisible captive that they were
through, and then departed much depressed. Half-way up the second flight, they all
stopped as suddenly as if they had seen a ghost; for looking over the banisters was
Tom's face, crocky but triumphant, and in either hand a junk of candy, which he waved
above them as he vanished, with the tantalizing remark, "Don't you wish you had
some?"
"How in the world did he get out?" cried Fanny, steadying herself after a start that nearly
sent all three tumbling down stairs.
"Coal-hole!" answered a spectral voice from the gloom above.
"Good gracious! He must have poked up the cover, climbed into the street, stole the
candy, and sneaked in at the shed-window while we were looking for it."
"Cats got it, did n't they?" jeered the voice in a tone that made Polly sit down and laugh
till she could n't laugh any longer.
"Just give Maud a bit, she 's so disappointed. Fan and I are sick of it, and so will you be,
if you eat it all," called Polly, when she got her breath.
"Go to bed, Maudie, and look under your pillow when you get there," was the oracular
reply that came down to them, as Tom's door closed after a jubilant solo on the tin pan.
The girls went to bed tired out; and Maud slumbered placidly, hugging the sticky bundle,
found where molasses candy is not often discovered. Polly was very tired, and soon fell
asleep; but Fanny, who slept with her, lay awake longer than usual, thinking about her
troubles, for her head ached, and the dissatisfaction that follows anger would not let her
rest with the tranquillity that made the rosy face in the little round nightcap such a
pleasant sight to see as it lay beside her. The gas was turned down, but Fanny saw a
figure in a gray wrapper creep by her door, and presently return, pausing to look in.
"Who is it?" she cried, so loud that Polly woke.
"Only me, dear," answered grandma's mild voice. "Poor Tom has got a dreadful
toothache, and I came down to find some creosote for him. He told me not to tell you;
but I can't find the bottle, and don't want to disturb mamma."
"It 's in my closet. Old Tom will pay for his trick this time," said Fanny, in a satisfied tone.
"I thought he 'd get enough of our candy," laughed Polly; and then they fell asleep,
leaving Tom to the delights of toothache and the tender mercies of kind old grandma.
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