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Rainbow Valley

XXVIII. A Fast Day
The Good-Conduct Club had a special session the next morning before school.
After various suggestions, it was decided that a fast day would be an appropriate
punishment.
"We won't eat a single thing for a whole day," said Jerry. "I'm kind of curious to
see what fasting is like, anyhow. This will be a good chance to find out."
"What day will we choose for it?" asked Una, who thought it would he quite an
easy punishment and rather wondered that Jerry and Faith had not devised
something harder.
"Let's pick Monday," said Faith. "We mostly have a pretty FILLING dinner on
Sundays, and Mondays meals never amount to much anyhow."
"But that's just the point," exclaimed Jerry. "We mustn't take the easiest day to
fast, but the hardest--and that's Sunday, because, as you say, we mostly have
roast beef that day instead of cold ditto. It wouldn't be much punishment to fast
from ditto. Let's take next Sunday. It will be a good day, for father is going to
exchange for the morning service with the Upper Lowbridge minister. Father will
be away till evening. If Aunt Martha wonders what's got into us, we'll tell her right
up that we're fasting for the good of our souls, and it is in the Bible and she is not
to interfere, and I guess she won't."
Aunt Martha did not. She merely said in her fretful mumbling way, "What
foolishness are you young rips up to now?" and thought no more about it. Mr.
Meredith had gone away early in the morning before any one was up. He went
without his breakfast, too, but that was, of course, of common occurrence. Half of
the time he forgot it and there was no one to remind him of it. Breakfast--Aunt
Martha's breakfast--was not a hard meal to miss. Even the hungry "young rips"
did not feel it any great deprivation to abstain from the "lumpy porridge and blue
milk" which had aroused the scorn of Mary Vance. But it was different at dinner
time. They were furiously hungry then, and the odor of roast beef which pervaded
the manse, and which was wholly delightful in spite of the fact that the roast beef
was badly underdone, was almost more than they could stand. In desperation
they rushed to the graveyard where they couldn't smell it. But Una could not keep
her eyes from the dining room window, through which the Upper Lowbridge
minister could be seen, placidly eating.
"If I could only have just a weeny, teeny piece," she sighed.
"Now, you stop that," commanded Jerry. "Of course it's hard--but that's the
punishment of it. I could eat a graven image this very minute, but am I
complaining? Let's think of something else. We've just got to rise above our
stomachs."
At supper time they did not feel the pangs of hunger which they had suffered
earlier in the day.
"I suppose we're getting used to it," said Faith. "I feel an awfully queer all-gone
sort of feeling, but I can't say I'm hungry."
"My head is funny," said Una. "It goes round and round sometimes."
 
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