“Well, where are you going to get your dollar?”
“Why, won’t you give it to me?” said the child.
“Catch me at such nonsense!” said Mrs. Hardwick, contemptuously. “I ain’t quite a fool. But here we are at another shop. Go in and see if you can do any better there. Here’s the money.”
“Why, it’s the same bill I gave you.”
“What if it is?”
“I don’t want to pass bad money.”
“Tut! What hurt will it do?”
“It’s the same as stealing.”
“The man won’t lose anything. He’ll pass it off again.”
“Somebody’ll have to lose it by and by,” said Ida.
“So you’ve taken up preaching, have you?” said Peg, sneeringly. “Maybe you know better than I what is proper to do. It won’t do for you to be so mighty particular, and so you’ll find out, if you stay with me long.”
“Where did you get the dollar?” asked Ida; “and how is it you have so many of them?”
“None of your business. You mustn’t pry into the affairs of other people. Are you going to do as I told you?” she continued, menacingly.
“I can’t,” answered Ida, pale but resolute.
“You can’t!” repeated Peg, furiously. “Didn’t you promise to do whatever I told you?”
“Except what was wicked,” interposed Ida.
“And what business have you to decide what is wicked? Come home with me.”
Peg seized the child’s hand, and walked on in sullen silence, occasionally turning to scowl upon Ida, who had been strong enough, in her determination to do right, to resist successfully the will of the woman whom she had so much reason to dread.
Arrived at home, Peg walked Ida into the room by the shoulder. Dick was lounging in a chair.
“Hillo!” said he, lazily, observing his wife’s frowning face. “What’s the gal been doin’, hey?”
“What’s she been doing?” repeated Peg. “I should like to know what she hasn’t been doing. She’s refused to go in and buy gingerbread of the baker.”
“Look here, little gal,” said Dick, in a moralizing vein, “isn’t this rayther undootiful conduct on your part? Ain’t it a piece of ingratitude, when Peg and I go to the trouble of earning the money to pay for gingerbread for you to eat, that you ain’t even willin’ to go in and buy it?”
“I would just as lieve go in,” said Ida, “if Peg would give me good money to pay for it.”
“That don’t make any difference,” said the admirable moralist. “It’s your dooty to do just as she tells you, and you’ll do right. She’ll take the risk.”
“I can’t,” said the child.
“You hear her!” said Peg.
“Very improper conduct!” said Dick, shaking his head in grave reproval. “Little gal, I’m ashamed of you. Put her in the closet, Peg.”
“Come along,” said Peg, harshly. “I’ll show you how I deal with those that don’t obey me.”
So Ida was incarcerated once more in the dark closet. Yet in the midst of her desolation, child as she was, she was sustained and comforted by the thought that she was suffering for doing right.