In the morning Betty went with Miss Barbara’s compliments to Susan, to beg some honey for Mrs. Strathspey, who could not breakfast without it. Susan did not like to part with her honey, because her mother loved it, and she therefore gave Betty only a little. When Barbara saw how little Susan sent, she called her a miser, and she said she must have some more for Mrs. Strathspey. “I’ll go myself and speak to her. Come with me, Betty,” said the young lady, who seemed to forget she had said, on the day that she was asked to “take a spoon,” that she never would pay Susan another visit.
“Susan,” she said to the poor girl whom she had done everything in her power to hurt, “I must beg a little more honey from you for Mrs. Strathspey’s breakfast. You know, at a great time such as this, we should help one another.”
“To be sure we should,” added Betty.
Susan, though she was generous, was not weak; she was willing to give to those she loved, but would not let anything be taken from her or coaxed out of her by those whom she could not respect. She answered that she was sorry she had no more honey to spare.
Barbara grew angry. “I’ll tell you what, Susan Price,” she said, “the honey I will have, so you may as well give it to me by fair means. Yes or no? Speak! Will you give it to me or not? Will you give me that piece of the honeycomb that lies there?”
“That bit of honeycomb is for my mother’s breakfast,” said Susan; “I cannot give it you.”
“Can’t you?” said Bab, “then see if I don’t take it.”
She stretched across Susan and grasped, but she did not reach far enough. She made a second dart at the honeycomb and, in her effort to get it, she overset the beehive. The bees swarmed about her. Her maid Betty screamed and ran away. Susan, who was sheltered by a laburnum-tree, called to Barbara, upon whom the black clusters of bees were now settling, and begged her to stand still and not to beat them away, “If you stand quietly you won’t be stung, perhaps.”
But instead of standing quietly, Bab flung about her arms, and stamped and roared, and the bees stung her terribly. Her arms and her face swelled in a frightful manner. She was helped home by poor Susan and Betty. The maid, now that the mischief was done, thought only of how she could excuse herself to her master.
“Indeed, Miss Barbara,” said she, “it was quite wrong of you to go and get yourself into such a scrape. I shall be turned away for it, you’ll see.”
“I don’t care whether you are turned away or not,” said Barbara; “I never felt such pain in my life. Can’t you do something for me? I don’t mind the pain either so much as being such a fright. Pray, how am I to be fit to appear at breakfast with Mrs. Strathspey; and I suppose I can’t go to the ball either to-morrow, after all.”
“No, that you can’t expect to do, indeed,” said Betty. “You need not think of balls, for those lumps and swellings won’t go off your face this week. That’s not what I mind; I’m thinking of what your papa will say to me when he sees you, miss.”