«Nothing, Aunt Polly, truly, that you would mind, I’m sure. You let me take jelly to her, so I thought you would to him — this once. You see, broken legs aren’t like lifelong invalids, so his won’t last forever as Mrs. Snow’s does, and she can have all the rest of the things after just once or twice.»
«Him? He? Broken leg? What are you talking about, Pollyanna?»
«Oh, I forgot. You see, it happened while you were gone. It was the very day you went that I found him in the woods, you know; and I had to unlock his house and telephone for the men and the doctor, and hold his head, and everything. And of course then I came away and haven’t seen him since. But when Nancy made the jelly for Mrs. Snow this week I thought how nice it would be if I could take it to him instead of her, just this once. Aunt Polly, may I?»
«Yes, I suppose so,» agreed Miss Polly, a little wearily. «Who did you say he was?»
«The Man. I mean, Mr. John Pendleton.»
Miss Polly almost sprang from her chair.
«Yes, Nancy told me his name. Maybe you know him.»
«Do you know him?»
«Oh, yes. He always speaks and smiles — now. He’s only cross outside, you know. I’ll go and get the jelly,» finished Pollyanna, already halfway across the room.
«Pollyanna, wait!» Miss Polly’s voice was suddenly very stern. «I’ve changed my mind. I would like Mrs. Snow to have that jelly today — as usual. That is all. You may go now.»
Pollyanna’s face fell.
«Oh, but Aunt Polly, she can always be sick and have things, you know; but he has just a broken leg! Why -»
«Yes, I remember. I heard Mr. John Pendleton had met with an accident,» said Miss Polly, a little stiffly, «but I do not care about John Pendleton, Pollyanna.»
«I know, he is cross outside,» admitted Pollyanna, sadly, «so I suppose you don’t like him. But I wouldn’t say you sent it. I’d say it’s me. I like him. I’d be glad to send him jelly.»
Miss Polly began to shake her head again. Then, suddenly, she stopped, and asked in a curiously quiet voice:
«Does he know who you are, Pollyanna?»
The little girl sighed.
«I don’t think so. I told him my name, once, but he never calls me it — never.»
«Does he know where you live?»
«Oh, no. I never told him that.»
«Then he doesn’t know you’re my niece?»
«I don’t think so.»
For a moment there was silence. Miss Polly was looking at Pollyanna with eyes that did not seem to see her at all. The little girl, shifting impatiently from one small foot to the other, sighed.
«Very well, Pollyanna,» Miss Polly said at last, still in a queer voice, «you may take the jelly to Mr. Pendleton as your own gift. But remember: I do not send it. Be very sure that he does not think I do!»
«Thank you, Aunt Polly,» exulted Pollyanna, as she flew through the door.