Kitty had not been wilfully careless. She would have seen to things had she thought of it; but the obstinate fact remained that, if not wilfully, she had been culpably careless, and her heart sank with shame. She hoped—oh, how devoutly she hoped—that Fanny had been more thoughtful; but the prospect was slight, and for the rest of the way she sat in a perfect panic of dread and shame.
The very moment the omnibus drew up before the house she sprang out of it, and, regardless of what her aunt might think, rushed in and through the house to the kitchen.
“O Fanny,” she cried, desperation in face and voice; but even in that distressful moment she remembered a former occasion when Aunt Pike’s arrival had thrown her into just such a frantic state, “what about supper? Aunt Pike has asked about it, and I hadn’t even thought about it; and—oh, what can I do? I suppose there is nothing in the house?”
For a second or two Fanny went on calmly and deliberately with what she was about. “Well, miss,” she said at last in her severest tone, “there is something, and a plenty, thanks to me and Miss Betty. If there ’adn’t a been, it wouldn’t ’ave been no manner of use to come rushing out to me now, when it’s time for it to be on the table. Of course, when folks comes unexpected that’s one thing, but—”
Kitty in her great relief did not heed Fanny’s lecture in the least. “O Fanny, you are a dear,” she cried joyfully. “I will do something for you some day.—Hullo! Betty,” for Betty at that moment came tiptoeing into the kitchen.
“’Twas Miss Betty as first thought of it,” said Fanny honestly. “I s’pose ’twould ’ave come into my ’ead some time, but I’m bound to say it ’adn’t till Miss Betty mentioned it.”
Betty beamed with pleased importance, but tried to look indifferent. “I wanted Aunt Pike to see that we do know how to do things. What is Anna like?” she broke off to ask anxiously.
“She is like Anna exactly,” said Kitty bluntly, “and no one else; she never could be. She’ll never change, not if she lives to be eighty. Come along up, and get ready. Oh, I am so glad you thought about the supper, Betty dear. How clever you are! Aunt Pike would have thought worse of me than ever if you hadn’t, and—”
“Um!” responded Betty, with a toss of her head, “perhaps if Aunt Pike knew that if it hadn’t been for me she’d have had no supper, she wouldn’t say rude things about me again. I think it’s awfully hard. If you don’t do things you are scolded, and if you do do them you are called too self—self-confidential.”
“I wouldn’t mind what I was called,” said Kitty, as she hurried away to get ready, “as long as I could manage to do the right thing sometimes, and not always forget till too late.”
LESSONS, ALARMS, AND WARNINGS.