But they weren’t; and one after another the people, to whom they offered their wares, refused even to look at them.
At last, when they were well-nigh discouraged, a kind lady, to whom they offered the extract, seemed a little more interested than the others.
“Why,” she said, looking at Stella, “aren’t you Guy Martin’s little girl?”
“Yes’m,” said Stella, meekly, wondering if this fact would interfere with the sale of the goods.
“Well, then, I must surely buy some,” said the lady, smiling; “how much is it?”
“Fifty cents a bottle, if you give the bottle back,” said Stella, who felt that the lady’s friendliness toward her demanded that she should answer?
“Fifty cents a bottle!” exclaimed the lady. “Surely you can’t mean that! Why, pennyroyal extract isn’t worth a cent a quart!”
The girls looked genuinely disturbed. This was a different opinion, indeed, from that advanced by the pretty lady who had bought three bottles!
Marjorie suddenly began to feel as if she were doing something very foolish, and something which she ought not to have undertaken without Grandma’s advice.
“Is that all it’s worth, truly?” she asked, looking straightforwardly into the lady’s eyes.
“Why, yes, my dear,—I’m sure it could not have a higher market value.”
“Then we don’t want to sell you any,” said Marjorie, whose sense of honesty was aroused; and picking up her basket from the porch, she turned toward the street, walking fast, and holding her head high in the air, while her cheeks grew very red.
Molly followed her, uncertain as to what to do next, and Stella trailed along behind, a dejected little figure, indeed, with her heavy basket on her arm.
“It’s all wrong!” declared Marjorie. “I didn’t see it before, but I do now. That lady was right, and we oughtn’t to try to sell anything that’s worth less than a cent for fifty cents, or twenty-five either.”
“Shall we go home?” asked Molly, who always submitted to Marjorie’s decisions.
“I don’t think it’s wrong,” began Stella. “Of course the pennyroyal isn’t worth much, but we worked to get it, and to make it, and to fix it up and all; and, besides, people always pay more than things are worth when they’re for charity.”
Marjorie’s opinion veered around again. The three were sitting on a large stepping-stone under some shady trees, and Marjorie was thinking out the matter to her own satisfaction before they should proceed.
“Stella, I believe you’re right, after all,” she said. “Now I’ll tell you what we’ll do: we’ll go to one more place, and if it’s a nice lady, we’ll ask her what she thinks about it, for I’d like the advice of a grown-up.”
This seemed a fair proposition, and the three wandered in at the very place where they had been sitting on the stone.