«Well, what an extraordinary child!» thought Miss Polly. Then she frowned. «She’s ‘glad’ I punished her, and I ‘mustn’t feel bad about it,’ and she’s going to ‘love to live’ with me!»
Fifteen minutes later, in the attic room, a lonely little girl sobbed into the pillow:
«I know, father-among-the-angels, I’m not playing the game now; but I don’t believe even you could find anything to be glad about sleeping all alone here in the dark. If only I were near Nancy or Aunt Polly, it would be easier!»
It was nearly seven o’clock when Pollyanna awoke that first day after her arrival. Her windows faced the south and the west, so she could not see the sun yet; but she could see the blue morning sky, and she knew that the day promised to be fine.
The little room was cooler now, and the air was fresh and sweet. Outside, the birds were twittering joyously, and Pollyanna flew to the window to talk to them. She saw then that her aunt was already down in the garden among the rosebushes.
Pollyanna sped down the attic stairs, through the hall, down the next flight, then through the front door and around to the garden.
Aunt Polly, with the bent old man, was leaning over a rosebush when Pollyanna flung herself upon her.
«Oh, Aunt Polly, I am glad this morning just to be alive!»
«Pollyanna!» remonstrated the lady, sternly, pulling herself as erect as she could with a weight of ninety pounds hanging about her neck. «Is this the usual way you say good morning?»
The little girl dropped to her toes, and danced lightly up and down.
«No, only when I love somebody so I just can’t help it! I saw you from my window, Aunt Polly, and you looked so good I just had to come down and hug you!»
The bent old man turned his back suddenly. Miss Polly attempted a frown without her usual success.
«Thomas, that will do for this morning. I think you understand about those rosebushes,» she said stiffly. Then she turned and walked rapidly away.
A bell sounded from the house. The next moment Nancy flew out of the back door.
«Miss Pollyanna, that bell means breakfast,» she panted, pulling the little girl to the house.
Breakfast, for the first five minutes, was a silent meal; then Miss Polly noticed two flies over the table, and said sternly:
«Nancy, where did those flies come from?»
«I don’t know, madam. There wasn’t one in the kitchen.»
«I reckon maybe they’re my flies, Aunt Polly,» observed Pollyanna, amiably.
«Yours!» gasped Miss Polly. «What do you mean? Where did they come from?»
«Why, Aunt Polly, they came through the windows.»
«You mean you raised those windows without any screens?»
«Why, yes. There weren’t any screens there, Aunt Polly.»
«Nancy,» said Miss Polly, sharply, «go at once to Miss Pollyanna’s room and shut the windows. Shut the doors, also.»
To her niece she said:
«Pollyanna, I have ordered screens for those windows. I knew, of course, that it was my duty to do that. But it seems to me that you have quite forgotten your duty.»
«My duty?» Pollyanna’s eyes were wide with wonder.
«Certainly. I know it is warm, but I consider it your duty to keep your windows closed till those screens come. Flies are not only unclean and annoying, but very dangerous to health. After breakfast I will give you a little booklet on this matter to read.»
«To read? Oh, thank you, Aunt Polly. I love to read!»
Miss Polly drew in her breath audibly, then she shut her lips together hard. Pollyanna, seeing her stern face, frowned a little thoughtfully.
«Of course I’m sorry about the duty I forgot, Aunt Polly,» she apologized timidly.
«I won’t raise the windows again.»
Her aunt made no reply. She did not speak until the meal was over. Then she rose, went to the bookcase in the sitting room, took out a small paper booklet, and crossed the room to her niece’s side.
«Pollyanna, I want you to go to your room at once and read it. I will be up in half an hour to look over your things.»
Pollyanna looked at the illustration of a fly’s head, many times magnified, and cried joyously:
«Oh, thank you, Aunt Polly!» The next moment she skipped merrily from the room.
Half an hour later when Miss Polly climbed those stairs and entered Pollyanna’s room, she was greeted with a burst of eager enthusiasm.
«Oh, Aunt Polly, I’m so glad you gave me that book to read! Why, I didn’t imagine flies could carry such a lot of things on their feet, and — »
«That will do,» remarked Aunt Polly, with dignity. «Pollyanna, you may bring out your clothes now, and I will look them over.»
With visible reluctance Pollyanna put down the booklet and turned toward the closet.
«I’m afraid you’ll think they’re shameful,» she sighed. «But there were mostly things for boys and older folks in the last two or three barrels. Did you ever have a missionary barrel, Aunt Polly?»
At her aunt’s look of shocked anger, Pollyanna corrected herself at once.
«Why, no, of course you didn’t, Aunt Polly! Rich folks never have to have them. But sometimes I forget that you are rich — up here in this room, you know.»