The Story Girl
The Story Girl Does Penance
Ten days later, Aunt Olivia and Uncle Roger went to town one evening, to remain over
night, and the next day. Peter and the Story Girl were to stay at Uncle Alec's during their
We were in the orchard at sunset, listening to the story of King Cophetua and the beggar
maid--all of us, except Peter, who was hoeing turnips, and Felicity, who had gone down
the hill on an errand to Mrs. Ray.
The Story Girl impersonated the beggar maid so vividly, and with such an illusion of
beauty, that we did not wonder in the least at the king's love for her. I had read the story
before, and it had been my opinion that it was "rot." No king, I felt certain, would ever
marry a beggar maid when he had princesses galore from whom to choose. But now I
understood it all.
When Felicity returned we concluded from her expression that she had news. And she
"Sara is real sick," she said, with regret, and something that was not regret mingled in her
voice. "She has a cold and sore throat, and she is feverish. Mrs. Ray says if she isn't better
by the morning she's going to send for the doctor. AND SHE IS AFRAID IT'S THE
Felicity flung the last sentence at the Story Girl, who turned very pale.
"Oh, do you suppose she caught them at the magic lantern show?" she said miserably.
"Where else could she have caught them?" said Felicity mercilessly. "I didn't see her, of
course--Mrs. Ray met me at the door and told me not to come in. But Mrs. Ray says the
measles always go awful hard with the Rays--if they don't die completely of them it
leaves them deaf or half blind, or something like that. Of course," added Felicity, her
heart melting at sight of the misery in the Story Girl's piteous eyes, "Mrs. Ray always
looks on the dark side, and it may not be the measles Sara has after all."
But Felicity had done her work too thoroughly. The Story Girl was not to be comforted.
"I'd give anything if I'd never put Sara up to going to that show," she said. "It's all my
fault--but the punishment falls on Sara, and that isn't fair. I'd go this minute and confess
the whole thing to Mrs. Ray; but if I did it might get Sara into more trouble, and I mustn't
do that. I sha'n't sleep a wink to-night."
I don't think she did. She looked very pale and woebegone when she came down to
breakfast. But, for all that, there was a certain exhilaration about her.