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HOME > Children's Novel > Little Prudy's Sister Susy > CHAPTER IV. SUSY'S WINGS.
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 Susy awoke next morning very much surprised to find the sun so high. Prudy was lying beside her, talking to herself.  
"I don't feel very well," said the child; "but I'm pleasant; I mean to be good all day."
"Why didn't you speak to me?" cried Susy, springing out of bed, "when you knew how I couldn't wait to see my present?"
"I would have woke you up, Susy, but I ain't well; I'm sick in my knees."
And Prudy limped about the room to show her sister how lame1 she was. But Susy was in too great a hurry to pay much attention to her, or to help her dress.
"Good morning, papa!" she exclaimed, the moment she entered the parlor2; "now may I see the present?"
"Do you suppose you could wait till after breakfast, Susy?"
Aunt Madge smiled as she looked at the little eager face.
"I see you are going on with your lessons," said she.
"What lessons, auntie? Why, it is the holidays!"
"Lessons in patience, my dear. Isn't something always happening which you have to be patient about?"
Susy thought of Prudy's habit of disclosing secrets, Dotty's trying way of destroying playthings; and now this long delay about her present. She began to think there were a great many vexations in the world, and that she bore them remarkably3 well for such a little girl.
"Yes, thee must let patience have her perfect work, Susan," said grandma Read, after the "silent blessing4" had been asked at the table.
"Mayn't I go, too?" said Prudy, when she saw her father, her auntie, and Susy leaving the house just after breakfast.
And she went, as a matter of course; but the pavements were a little slippery from sleet5; and Prudy, who was never a famous walker, had as much as she could do, even with the help of her father's hand, to keep from falling.
"Why, Prudy," said Mr. Parlin, "what ails6 you this morning? You limp so much that I believe you need crutches7."
"I'm sick in my knee," replied Prudy, delighted to see that her lameness8 was observed. "If you had my knee, and it hurt, you'd know how it feels!"
By this time they had reached a livery stable; and, to Susy's surprise, her father stopped short, and said to a man who stood by the door, "Mr. Hill, my daughter has come to look at her pony9."
Prudy was in a great fright at sight of so many horses, and needed all her auntie's attention; but Susy had no fear, and Mr. Parlin led her along to a stall where stood a beautiful black pony, as gentle-looking as a Newfoundland dog.
"How do you like him, Susy? Stroke his face, and talk to him."
"But, O, papa, you don't mean, you can't mean, he's my very own! A whole pony all to myself!"
"See what you think of his saddle, miss," said Mr. Hill, laughing at Susy's eagerness; and he led pony out, and threw over his back a handsome side-saddle.
"Why, it seems as if I could just jump on without anybody touching10 me," cried Susy.
"Not afraid a bit?" said Mr. Hill, as Mr. Parlin seated Susy in the saddle, and gave her the reins11. "Ponies12 throw people, sometimes."
"O, but my papa would never give me a bad pony," answered Susy, with perfect confidence.
Mr. Hill laughed again. He was a rough man; but he thought a child's faith in a parent was a beautiful thing.
He did not know many passages of Scripture13, but thought he had read somewhere, "And if he ask bread, will he give him a stone?" No; fathers are glad to give their "best gifts," and the little ones trust them.
"It's like sailing in a boat," cried Susy, riding back and forth14 about the yard in great excitement; "why, it's just as easy as the swing in the oilnut-tree at grandma Parlin's! O, papa, to think I should forget to thank you!"
But perhaps Mr. Parlin regarded glowing cheeks and shining eyes as the very best of thanks.
Prudy thought the pony a beautiful "baby horse;" wanted to ride, and didn't want to; was afraid, and wasn't afraid, and, as her father said, "had as many minds as some politicians who are said to 'stand on the fence.'" By and by, after some coaxing15, the timid little thing consented to sit behind Susy, and cling round her waist, if her father would walk beside her to make sure she didn't fall off. In this way they went home.
"I like to sit so I can hug my sister, while she drives the horse," said Prudy; "besides, it hurts me to walk."
Mr. Parlin and aunt Madge smiled at the child's speeches, but gave no more heed16 to this lameness of which she complained, than they did to any of the rest of her little freaks.
Prudy liked to be pitied for every small hurt; and when Susy had a sore throat, and wore a compress, she looked upon her with envy, and felt it almost as a personal slight that her throat could not be wrapped in a compress too.
On their way they met "lame Jessie," a little girl with crooked17 spine18 and very high shoulders, who hobbled along on crutches.
"She's lamer19 than me," said Prudy. "Good morning, Jessie."
"I know what I've thought of," said Susy, who could talk of nothing which was not in some way connected with her pony. "I'm going to give that girl some rides. How happy she will be, poor little Jessie!"
"When you get your sleigh," said Mr. Parlin.
"My sleigh, papa? How many more presents are coming?"
"It is hard to tell, Susy; one gift makes way for another, you see. First comes the pony; but how can he live without a stable, and a groom20 to feed him? Then what is a pony worth without a saddle? And, as one does not wish always to ride pony-back, a sleigh is the next thing."
"But, papa, you know in the summer!"
"Yes, my dear, in the summer, if we all live, there must be a light carriage made on purpose for you."
"There is one thing more that pony needs," said aunt Madge, stroking his eyebrows21, "and that is, a name."
"O, I never thought of that," said Susy; "help me find a name, auntie."
"Let me think. I should call him something good and pleasant. Think of something good and pleasant Think of something you like very much."
"O, Frosted Cake," cried Prudy: "wouldn't that be pleasant? Susy loves that."
"I should like to name him for the American Eagle," said Susy, who had heard some patriotic22 speeches from her cousin Percy; "only you couldn't pet that name, could you?"
"You might call him Don Carlos, or Don Pedro," suggested Mr. Parlin.
"No, papa; only think of Donny: that is like Donkey! You haven't any long ears, have you, pony? If you had, I'd call you Little Pitcher23, for 'little pitchers24 have great ears.' That makes me think of Mr. Allen, auntie. How big his ears are, you know? Is it because his teacher pulled them so?"
"O, call him 'Gustus,'" cried Prudy.
"But that would soon be Gusty," said aunt Madge, "and would sound too much like the east wind."
"Dear me," sighed Susy; "who'd ever think it was such hard work to find names?"
"O, look," said Prudy, as they passed a jaded25 old horse; "there is a pony just exactly like this! Only it's twice as big, you know, and not a bit such a color!"
"Well, there, Prudy," said Susy, disdainfully, "I thought, when you began to speak, you was going to tell something! Why don't you wait till you have something to say? Please give me a list of names, papa."
"There's Speedwell, Lightfoot, Zephyr26, Prince, Will-o'-the-wisp—"
"I might call him Wispy," broke in Susy. "Zephyr is good, only it makes you think of worsteds."
"Now, listen," said aunt Madge; "you might call him Elephant, just for sport, because he is in reality so very little. Or, on the other hand, you might find the least speck27 of a name, like Firefly, or Midge."
"I don't like any of those," replied Susy, still dissatisfied.
"I see," said aunt Madge, laughing, "nothing will please you but a great name. What say to Pegasus, a flying horse, which poets are said to ride? It might be shortened to Peggy."
"Now, auntie, you wouldn't have this beautiful pony called Peggy; you know you wouldn't! the one my father bought on purpose for me! But was there such a horse, truly?"
"O, no; there is an old fable28, which, as we say, is 'as true now as it ever was,' of a glorious creature with wings, and whoever mounts him gets a flying ride into the clouds. But the trouble is to catch him!"
"O, I wish my pony could fly," said Susy, gazing dreamily at his black mane and sleek29 sides. "The first place I'd go to would be the moon; and there I'd stay till I built a castle as big as a city. I'd come home every night, so mother wouldn't be frightened, and fly up in the morning, and—and—"
"See here," said Prudy, who had for some time been trying to speak; "call him Wings!"
"So I will," answered Susy, quickly, "and I'll make believe he flies in the air like a bird. Now, auntie, what do you think of Wings?"
"Odd enough, I'm sure, my dear."
"Well, I like it," returned Susy, with a positive shake of the head. "It's of no use to keep fussing so long over a name, and I feel a great deal easier, now I've made up my mind! Dear little Wings, you prick30 up your ears, and I know you like it, too. I wish you had a soul, so you could be taken to church, and christened like a baby."
Just here Susy was startled by a sudden laugh from cousin Percy, who had for some moments been walking behind the pony unobserved.
"You're enough to frighten any one to death," she screamed, "creeping about like a cat."
Susy had a foolish dread31 of being laughed at.
"Creeping like a cat," echoed Percy, "while you creep like a snail32! What will you take for your pony, that can fly in the air like a bird, but can't walk on the ground any better than a goose?"
"I don't know what you're talking about," said Susy, quite excited: "if you want to see anybody ride fast, just look here." And she started the pony at full speed, regardless of Prudy, who was so frightened, that she seized poor Wings by his flowing mane, and called out for her sister to stop. But Susy dashed on at a flying pace, and Percy cried after her, "O, Susy, cousin Susy, what think of your Christmas present? Will you remember not to eat it, and not to hang it on a nail? Susy, Susy?"
There was hardly a happier child living than Susy, during those delightful33 holidays. She said to herself, sometimes, that this was such a beautiful world, she couldn't think of a single thing that wasn't as splendid as it could be.

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