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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 133 pages of information about A Little Florida Lady.

“You’se breakfasts all gettin’ cole,” called Maggie, not knowing of the trouble.

“Food would choke me,” declared Marian.

“I couldn’t eat either.  Do you want anything, James?” asked Mrs. Davenport.

“No,—­I’m not hungry now,” there was a break in Mr. Davenport’s voice.

“Clear off the table, Maggie.  Don is dead.”

“Don dead?” cried Maggie, running out, “Why what am de mattah?”

“I ’lows he got hole some of de rat pizen,” said January.

At sight of Beth’s intense grief, Maggie’s heart melted.

“Dar, dar, honey, don’t yo’ cry.  Yo’se pah’ll get you anoder dog.”

“I don’t want another dog.  I—­want—­my—­Don.  I want him, I’ll never be happy again,” and Beth cried so hard that Mr. Davenport tried to comfort her.

“Beth,” he said, “I have some news that will make you happy.  I knew all about it last night, but I wouldn’t tell you because I wanted you to find it out for yourself.  Both your dress and cake have taken prizes—­first prizes at that.”

Her sobs did not lessen in the least.  She hid her face on her father’s shoulder and murmured: 

“A hundred prizes wouldn’t make up for dear old Don,—­my dear old doggie who saved my life.”

CHAPTER XII

The Arrival of Duke

The death of Don so preyed upon Beth’s spirits, that one night Mrs. Davenport took her in her arms and said: 

“Do you remember that once when I was sad about something, you slipped your arms around my neck and asked, ’Mamma, what makes you think of the unpleasant things? why don’t you just think of the nice things?  That’s the way I do.’”

“Did I say that really?”

Mrs. Davenport smiled at the mournfulness of Beth’s tones.

“Yes, dear, and now mamma wants you to practice what you preached.  I think you and I will have to form a ‘Pleasant Club.’  Every night we will tell each other all the pleasant things that happen during the day.  What do you say?”

The child nestled close to her mother.

“It would be nice, mamma, only nothing pleasant happens now that Don is dead.”

“Why, why,” exclaimed Mrs. Davenport, “that isn’t at all like my happy Beth.  Put on your thinking cap and see if you can’t remember something nice that happened to-day.”

Beth remained silent for a moment, and then suddenly smiled.

“Why, yes, mamma, now that I think of it, a whole lot of nice things happened.  Do you know, ever since Don died, Julia has been perfectly lovely.  She always plays just as I want to.  And what do you think?  Harvey played with Julia and me to-day, and he would never stay before when Julia was here.  We even got him to play dolls with us, although he said dolls were beneath a boy.”

Mrs. Davenport smiled.  “Why should he feel that way?”

“Well, you see, mamma, he doesn’t think much of girls and their play.  He’s always saying to me, ‘Beth, don’t you wish you were a boy?’ So one day I answered, ‘No, indeed, Harvey.’  It wasn’t quite the truth, mamma, for I should like to be a boy, but I wouldn’t let him know it.  Then I asked him:  ‘Don’t you wish you were a girl, Harvey?’”

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