The Story Girl
We were all, with the exception of Uncle Roger, more or less grumpy in the household of
King next day. Perhaps our nerves had been upset by the excitement attendant on Jimmy
Patterson's disappearance. But it is more likely that our crankiness was the result of the
supper we had eaten the previous night. Even children cannot devour mince pie, and cold
fried pork ham, and fruit cake before going to bed with entire impunity. Aunt Janet had
forgotten to warn Uncle Roger to keep an eye on our bedtime snacks, and we ate what
seemed good unto us.
Some of us had frightful dreams, and all of us carried chips on our shoulders at breakfast.
Felicity and Dan began a bickering which they kept up the entire day. Felicity had a
natural aptitude for what we called "bossing," and in her mother's absence she deemed
that she had a right to rule supreme. She knew better than to make any attempt to assert
authority over the Story Girl, and Felix and I were allowed some length of tether; but
Cecily, Dan, and Peter were expected to submit dutifully to her decrees. In the main they
did; but on this particular morning Dan was plainly inclined to rebel. He had had time to
grow sore over the things that Felicity had said to him when Jimmy Patterson was
thought lost, and he began the day with a flatly expressed determination that he was not
going to let Felicity rule the roost.
It was not a pleasant day, and to make matters worse it rained until late in the afternoon.
The Story Girl had not recovered from the mortifications of the previous day; she would
not talk, and she would not tell a single story; she sat on Rachel Ward's chest and ate her
breakfast with the air of a martyr. After breakfast she washed the dishes and did the bed-
room work in grim silence; then, with a book under one arm and Pat under the other, she
betook herself to the window-seat in the upstairs hall, and would not be lured from that
retreat, charmed we never so wisely. She stroked the purring Paddy, and read steadily on,
with maddening indifference to all our pleadings.
Even Cecily, the meek and mild, was snappish, and complained of headache. Peter had
gone home to see his mother, and Uncle Roger had gone to Markdale on business. Sara
Ray came up, but was so snubbed by Felicity that she went home, crying. Felicity got the
dinner by herself, disdaining to ask or command assistance. She banged things about and
rattled the stove covers until even Cecily protested from her sofa. Dan sat on the floor
and whittled, his sole aim and object being to make a mess and annoy Felicity, in which
noble ambition he succeeded perfectly.
"I wish Aunt Janet and Uncle Alec were home," said Felix. "It's not half so much fun
having the grown-ups away as I thought it would be."
"I wish I was back in Toronto," I said sulkily. The mince pie was to blame for THAT
"I wish you were, I'm sure," said Felicity, riddling the fire noisily.