She stopped short and looked at the two little girls, covered with snow, their faces flaming with excitement, and at the black hole gaping behind them. “I always told Father we ought to put a fence around that pit,” she said in a matter-of-fact voice. “Some day a sheep’s going to fall down there. Shep came along to the house without you, and we thought most likely you’d taken the wrong turn.”
Betsy felt terribly aggrieved. She wanted to be petted and praised for her heroism. She wanted Cousin Ann to realize ... oh, if Aunt Frances were only there, she would realize ... !
“I fell down in the hole, and Betsy wanted to go and get Mr. Putney, but I wouldn’t let her, and so she threw down a big branch and I climbed out,” explained Molly, who, now that her danger was past, took Betsy’s action quite as a matter of course.
“Oh, that was how it happened,” said Cousin Ann. She looked down the hole and saw the big branch, and looked back and saw the long trail of crushed snow where Betsy had dragged it. “Well, now, that was quite a good idea for a little girl to have,” she said briefly. “I guess you’ll do to take care of Molly all right!”
She spoke in her usual voice and immediately drew the children after her, but Betsy’s heart was singing joyfully as she trotted along clasping Cousin Ann’s strong hand. Now she knew that Cousin Ann realized. ... She trotted fast, smiling to herself in the darkness.
“What made you think of doing that?” asked Cousin Ann presently, as they approached the house.
“Why, I tried to think what you would have done if you’d been there,” said Betsy.
“Oh!” said Cousin Ann. “Well ...”
She didn’t say another word, but Betsy, glancing up into her face as they stepped into the lighted room, saw an expression that made her give a little skip and hop of joy. She had pleased Cousin Ann.
That night, as she lay in her bed, her arm over Molly cuddled up warm beside her, she remembered, oh, ever so faintly, as something of no importance, that she had failed in an examination that afternoon.
BETSY STARTS A SEWING SOCIETY
Betsy and Molly had taken Deborah to school with them. Deborah was the old wooden doll with brown, painted curls. She had lain in a trunk almost ever since Aunt Abigail’s childhood, because Cousin Ann had never cared for dolls when she was a little girl. At first Betsy had not dared to ask to see her, much less to play with her, but when Ellen, as she had promised, came over to Putney Farm that first Saturday she had said right out, as soon as she landed in the house, “Oh, Mrs. Putney, can’t we play with Deborah?” And Aunt Abigail had answered: “Why yes, of course! I knew there was something I’ve kept forgetting!” She went up with them herself to the cold attic and opened the little hair-trunk under the eaves.