No allusion was ever made to my demeanor. I went to school as usual, and told the school-girls that I had had such a good time at my aunt’s the day before that I would never go there again “as long as I lived.”
My grandmother and aunt died long ago. For years I had no reason to believe that my afternoon’s tragedy was known to any one. But once, not long since, speaking of that clock, I said, “I’m glad it did not descend to me;” when a friend replied, with a very knowing look, “So is your grandmother!”
Once upon a time there was a dear little naughty girl, not bad, she would not have been so dear had she been really bad, but just naughty sometimes, and I must confess “sometimes” came pretty often. She had all sorts of loving scolding names, such as “precious torment,” “darling bother,” and she kept her poor dear grandmother on a continuous trot to see what mischief she was in, and frightened her mother (who thought everybody must want to steal Zay) by hiding behind the Missouri currant bush until every nook and corner had been searched; and she made her uncle shake his head gravely because she never could get beyond the first question in the Catechism, “what is your name?” and even then would answer Zay, although he had told her that “that was not her name at all; she had been baptized Salome; and Zay was a name she had no right to whatever.” Nor can I begin to tell you the times I have exhausted all my strength putting her sturdy little self into the closet, and then standing first on one foot, then on the other, until I was ready to drop, listening at the keyhole for the first small sob of repentance.
Things had gone wrong with our naughty little Zay this morning. Mary, the good old cook, who had been in the house years before Zay was born, had actually refused to let her make any more mud-pies on her kitchen window; and mamma and grandma had sided with the enemy.
Zay was a little dumpling of a girl, with hard round cheeks like red apples, fat dimpled arms, and such wide-open eyes, and she looked very funny now as she drew herself up to her fullest height, which was not much of a height after all, brushed off her pretty blue dress, shook down her clean ruffled apron, and addressed us all in very solemn tones:
“I jes’ want to tell you, I’ve been resulted, and I am never going to live here anymore! I’ll go ’way; clear off in the woods! And then I guess you’ll all be sorry! Mary need never make any more scrambled eggs for breakfast, cause” (she almost broke down at the bare thought of so direful a catastrophe), “cause there’ll never be any chil’en to eat ’em anymore! And then I guess grandpa will be sorry when he comes home tired, and doesn’t have his s’ippers all yeddy!”
“O,” said her mamma, gravely, “you are going right off, are you, before dinner?”