The Story Girl
A Dread Prophecy
"I've got to go and begin stumping out the elderberry pasture this afternoon," said Peter
dolefully. "I tell you it's a tough job. Mr. Roger might wait for cool weather before he
sets people to stumping out elderberries, and that's a fact."
"Why don't you tell him so?" asked Dan.
"It ain't my business to tell him things," retorted Peter. "I'm hired to do what I'm told, and
I do it. But I can have my own opinion all the same. It's going to be a broiling hot day."
We were all in the orchard, except Felix, who had gone to the post-office. It was the
forenoon of an August Saturday. Cecily and Sara Ray, who had come up to spend the day
with us--her mother having gone to town--were eating timothy roots. Bertha Lawrence, a
Charlottetown girl, who had visited Kitty Marr in June, and had gone to school one day
with her, had eaten timothy roots, affecting to consider them great delicacies. The fad
was at once taken up by the Carlisle schoolgirls. Timothy roots quite ousted "sours" and
young raspberry sprouts, both of which had the real merit of being quite toothsome, while
timothy roots were tough and tasteless. But timothy roots were fashionable, therefore
timothy roots must be eaten. Pecks of them must have been devoured in Carlisle that
Pat was there also, padding about from one to the other on his black paws, giving us
friendly pokes and rubs. We all made much of him except Felicity, who would not take
any notice of him because he was the Story Girl's cat.
We boys were sprawling on the grass. Our morning chores were done and the day was
before us. We should have been feeling very comfortable and happy, but, as a matter of
fact, we were not particularly so.
The Story Girl was sitting on the mint beside the well-house, weaving herself a wreath of
buttercups. Felicity was sipping from the cup of clouded blue with an overdone air of
unconcern. Each was acutely and miserably conscious of the other's presence, and each
was desirous of convincing the rest of us that the other was less than nothing to her.
Felicity could not succeed. The Story Girl managed it better. If it had not been for the fact
that in all our foregatherings she was careful to sit as far from Felicity as possible, we
might have been deceived.
We had not passed a very pleasant week. Felicity and the Story Girl had not been
"speaking" to each other, and consequently there had been something rotten in the state of
Denmark. An air of restraint was over all our games and conversations.
On the preceding Monday Felicity and the Story Girl had quarrelled over something.
What the cause of the quarrel was I cannot tell because I never knew. It remained a "dead
secret" between the parties of the first and second part forever. But it was more bitter than