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A Well Meaning Little Busybody

by Mrs. L. G. Morse

They say I am full of mischief, but they don't speak the truth. Maria is the only one that knows, and she says I'm a busybody. Mamma hugs me tight, and says I will be a great help when I am big, but papa tosses me high up to the ceiling, and says I won't wait to grow up, and that I make the very best use of my time now. He knows as much as Maria, for that's just what I do—I use my time. I did so much work yesterday that I nearly got tired. First, mamma said she was going to Cousin Alice's wedding. I knew she was, for I saw her best bonnet out of its box on her bed. So, while she was talking to Katy in the kitchen, I climbed all the way up stairs, and dragged it down to her myself.

I don't know what they'd have done without me yesterday, for after mamma had gone, Maria was careless. She left the basin of water on Nelly's little table. She forgot all about it, so I went, like a good girl, to put it away for her, 'cause I was afraid that mamma might come back and knock it over on to the carpet. It wasn't my fault that it slid out of my hands and broke itself. I was careful, and Maria said nobody else but just me would ever have thought of putting it away for her.

My sister Bessie don't try half so hard to help people. She sat in her little arm-chair all the time, tying up Susan Hopkins's joints. She thinks Susan is the best of all our dolls, but I don't. Her joints are all loose, and her legs rattle. Bessie isn't so much use as I am. She kept out of the way, tending to Susan, while Maria had to change every one of my clothes, 'cause the naughty water sloshed; and Bessie didn't even pick up the broken pieces of basin for poor Maria! Maria told her not to touch 'em, for fear of getting her feet wet and cutting her fingers.

Afraid! They're afraid of everything. The very minute Maria had me dressed again, I began to pick up the pieces for her, and I didn't cry even when I did cut my hand, and the bleed got all over my nice clean apron. I don't think it was very polite of Maria to set me down so hard on the sewing machine, and tell me not to move 'till she'd cleared up the floor.

Bessie is bigger than I am, but she isn't a busybody at all. She only plays while there's work going on; and only see how much work I've done this morning! I've fixed up mamma's work-basket for her, and I've stuffed all the rags and little pieces of our new dresses that were piled up on the machine into papa's collar drawer. Then I cleared up a whole lot of muss after Maria. She went to answer the door-bell, and while she was gone, I took papa's clothes-whisk and swept up a big pile of dust she left on the hearth, and dumped it where nobody can see it, in a dark corner of the closet, under mamma's dresses.

It was real lucky I went to the closet, too, for I found the waist of mamma's best walking suit. I heard her say one day that she was going to change the trimming on the sleeves, so I took it out, and got a needle and thread, and I'm going to do it my own self for her. Bessie's darning a stocking that Maria gave her, and I'll sit right in front of her, so I can see how she pulls the needle through. The ends of the lace get right in the way of the needle, though, and I don't know but what I'll have to cut some of it off, so as to sew it better. I am going to hurry fast, and see if I can get it done before mamma comes home from market.