But the pencil’s point was broken, and, of course, it had not occurred to her to bring a knife. She had promised Grandma not to leave the stairs without permission, so there was nothing to do but to give up the idea of letter-writing, and occupy herself with something else.
“And, anyway,” she thought, “it must be nearly dinner time, for I’ve been here now for hours and hours.”
She glanced at the clock, and found to her amazement that it was just twenty minutes since her grandmother had left her alone.
“The clock must have stopped!” she said, bending her ear to listen.
But it hadn’t, and Marjorie suddenly realized that a whole day, solitary and alone, is an interminable length of time.
“Oh, dear,” she sighed, putting her head down on her arms on the step above, “I do wish I had gone up the Other Stairs! This day is going to last forever! I just know it is! But if it ever does get over, I never want to see the Front Stairs again!”
A LONG DAY
Marjorie had expected to derive much satisfaction, during her sojourn on the stairs, from playing with her kitten. But Puff ran away almost immediately, and no amount of calling or coaxing could bring her back.
Sighing deeply, Marjorie tried to amuse herself reading the books she had brought. But the light was not very good on the stairs, and somehow, too, the books seemed to have lost their interest. Thinking over what she could do to make the time pass, she remembered her paint-box. She was fond of painting, and concluded she would try to paint a little sketch of the stairs to put in her Memory Book to represent this dreadful day.
“Not that I need anything to make me remember it,” she thought, “for I’m sure I can never, never, never forget it.” But when she had her other materials all prepared she realized she had no glass of water, so, of course, her paints were useless.
Even her paper-doll’s house seemed to have lost its flavor. She had no new things to paste in, nor had she any paste.
She began to learn what a lot of little things make up the comforts of life, and, utterly discouraged, she tried to think of something to while away the time.
At last she concluded she would start at the top and go down, sitting on each step five minutes. “This,” she calculated to herself, “will fill up a long time. There are seventeen steps, and seventeen times five is,—well, I don’t know how much it is, exactly, but it must be several hours. Perhaps, when I get down to the bottom it will be afternoon!”
With a reviving sense of interest in something, she sat on the top step and waited for five minutes to pass. Never had a period of time seemed so long. It was twice as long as a church service, and a dozen times as long as the ride in the cars when she came up to Grandma’s. But at last the five minutes was up, and with a little jounce Marjorie slid down to the next step, and prepared to spend another five. This was longer yet, and at the third-step Marjorie gave up this plan, as being the most dreadful thing she had ever tried.