“Glad!” gasped Nancy, surprised into an interruption.
“Yes-that father’s gone to Heaven to be with mother and the rest of us, you know. He said I must be glad. But it’s been pretty hard to–to do it, even in red gingham, because I–I wanted him, so; and I couldn’t help feeling I OUGHT to have him, specially as mother and the rest have God and all the angels, while I didn’t have anybody but the Ladies’ Aid. But now I’m sure it’ll be easier because I’ve got you, Aunt Polly. I’m so glad I’ve got you!”
Nancy’s aching sympathy for the poor little forlornness beside her turned suddenly into shocked terror.
“Oh, but–but you’ve made an awful mistake, d-dear,” she faltered. “I’m only Nancy. I ain’t your Aunt Polly, at all!”
“You–you AREN’T? stammered the little girl, in plain dismay.
“No. I’m only Nancy. I never thought of your takin’ me for her. We–we ain’t a bit alike we ain’t, we ain’t!”
Timothy chuckled softly; but Nancy was too disturbed to answer the merry flash from his eyes.
“But who ARE you?” questioned Pollyanna. “You don’t look a bit like a Ladies’ Aider!”
Timothy laughed outright this time.
“I’m Nancy, the hired girl. I do all the work except the washin’ an’ hard ironin’. Mis’ Durgin does that.”
“But there IS an Aunt Polly?” demanded the child, anxiously.
“You bet your life there is,” cut in Timothy.
Pollyanna relaxed visibly.
“Oh, that’s all right, then.” There was a moment’s silence, then she went on brightly: “And do you know? I’m glad, after all, that she didn’t come to meet me; because now I’ve got HER still coming, and I’ve got you besides.”
Nancy flushed. Timothy turned to her with a quizzical smile.
“I call that a pretty slick compliment,” he said. “Why don’t you thank the little lady?”
“I–I was thinkin’ about–Miss Polly,” faltered Nancy.
Pollyanna sighed contentedly.
“I was, too. I’m so interested in her. You know she’s all the aunt I’ve got, and I didn’t know I had her for ever so long. Then father told me. He said she lived in a lovely great big house ‘way on top of a hill.”
“She does. You can see it now,” said Nancy.
It’s that big white one with the green blinds, ‘way ahead.”
“Oh, how pretty!–and what a lot of trees and grass all around it! I never saw such a lot of green grass, seems so, all at once. Is my Aunt Polly rich, Nancy?”
“I’m so glad. It must be perfectly lovely to have lots of money. I never knew any one that did have, only the Whites–they’re some rich. They have carpets in every room and ice-cream Sundays. Does Aunt Polly have ice-cream Sundays?”
Nancy shook her head. Her lips twitched. She threw a merry look into Timothy’s eyes.
“No, Miss. Your aunt don’t like ice-cream, I guess; leastways I never saw it on her table.”
Pollyanna’s face fell.
“Oh, doesn’t she? I’m so sorry! I don’t see how she can help liking ice-cream. But–anyhow, I can be kinder glad about that, ’cause the ice-cream you don’t eat can’t make your stomach ache like Mrs. White’s did–that is, I ate hers, you know, lots of it. Maybe Aunt Polly has got the carpets, though.”