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HOME > Children's Novel > Little Prudy's Sister Susy > CHAPTER VII. LITTLE TROUBLES.
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 Somebody said once to Susy and Flossy, when they were having a frolic in "Prudy's sitting-room," up stairs, "What happy little things! You don't know what trouble is, and never will, till you grow up!"  
The little girls preserved a respectful silence, till the lady was out of hearing, and then held an indignant discussion as to the truth of what she had said. It would have been a discussion, I mean, if they had not both taken the same side of the question.
"How she sighed," said Susy, "just as if she was the melancholiest person that ever was!" Susy was famous for the use she made of adjectives, forming the superlatives just as it happened.
"Yes, just the way," responded Flossy. "I'd like to know what ever happened to her? Pshaw! She laughed this afternoon, and ate apples fast enough!"
"O, she thinks she must make believe have a dreadful time, because she is grown up," said Susy, scornfully. "She's forgot she was ever a little girl! I've had troubles; I guess I have! And I know one thing, I shall remember 'em when I grow up, and not say, 'What happy little things!' to children. It's real hateful!"
Little folks have trouble, to be sure. Their hearts are full of it, and running over, sometimes; and how can the largest heart that ever beat be more than full, and running over?
Susy had daily trials. They were sent to her because they were good for her. Shadows and night-dews are good for flowers. If the sun had shone on Susy always, and she had never had any shadows and night dews, she would have scorched1 up into a selfish girl.
One of her trials was Miss Dotty Dimple. Now, she loved Dotty dearly, and considered her funny all over, from the crown of her head to the soles of her little twinkling feet, which were squeezed into a pair of gaiters. Dotty loved those gaiters as if they were alive. She had a great contempt for the slippers2 she wore in the morning, but it was her "darlin' gaiters," which she put on in the afternoon, and loved next to father and mother, and all her best friends.
When ladies called, she stepped very briskly across the floor, looking down at her feet, and tiptoeing about, till the ladies smiled, and said, "O, what sweet little boots!" and then she was perfectly4 happy.
Susy was not very wide awake in the morning; but Dotty was stirring as soon as there was a peep of light, and usually stole into Susy's bed to have a frolic. Nothing but a story would keep her still, and poor Susy often wondered which was harder, to be used as a football by Dotty, or to tell stories with her eyes shut.
"O, Dotty Dimple, keep still; can't you? There's a darling," she would plead, longing5 for another nap; "don't kill me."
"No, no; me won't kill," the little one would reply; "'tisn't pooty to kill!"
"O, dear, you little, cunning, darling plague, now hush6, and let me go to sleep!"
Then Dotty would plant both feet firmly on Susy's chest, and say, in her teasing little voice, as troublesome as the hum of a mosquito,—
"Won't you tell me 'tory—tell me a 'tory—tell me a 'tory, Susy."
"Well, what do you want to hear?"
Now, it was natural for Susy to feel cross when she was sleepy. It cost her a hard struggle to speak pleasantly, and when she succeeded in doing so, I set it down as one of her greatest victories over herself. The Quaker motto of her grandmother, "Let patience have her perfect work," helped her sometimes, when she could wake up enough to remember it.
"Tell 'bout3 little yellow gell," said the voice of the mosquito, over and over again.
Susy roused herself after the third request, and sleepily asked if something else wouldn't do?
"I had a little nobby-colt."
"No, no, you di'n't, you di'n't; grandma had the nobby! Tell yellow gell."
"O," sighed Susy, "how can you want to hear that so many, many times? Well, once when I was a little bit of a girl—"
"'Bout's big as me, you said," put in Dotty.
"O, yes, I did say so once, and I suppose I must tell it so every time, or you'll fuss! Well, I had a yellow dress all striped off in checks—"
"Di'n't it go this way?" said Dotty, smoothing the sheet with her little hand, "and this way?"
"What? What?" Susy roused herself and rubbed her eyes. "O, yes, it went in checks; and I was at grandma Parlin's, and Grace—Grace—O, Grace and I went into the pasture where there were a couple of cows, a gray cow and a red cow."
"Now you must say what is couple," says Dotty.
"Then what is couple?"
"Gray cow," answers Dotty, very gravely.
"So when the cows saw us coming, they—they—O, they threw up their heads, and stopped eating grass—in the air. I mean—threw—up—their heads." Susy was nearly asleep.
"Up in the air?"
"Yes, of course, up in the air. (There, I will wake up!) And the gray cow began to run towards us, and Grace says to me, 'O, my, she thinks you're a pumpkin7!'"
"Yes, me, because my dress was so yellow. I was just as afraid of the cow as I could be."
"Good cow! He wouldn't hurt!"
"No, the cow was good, and didn't think I was a pumpkin, not the least speck8. But I was so afraid, that I crept under the bars, and ran home."
"To grandma's house?"
"Yes; and grandma laughed."
"Well, where was me?" was the next question, after a pause.
Then, when the duty of story-telling was performed, Susy would gladly have gone back to "climbing the dream-tree;" but no, she must still listen to Dotty, though she answered her questions in an absent-minded way, like a person "hunting for a forgotten dream."
One morning she was going to ride with her cousin Percy. It had been some time since she had seen Wings, except in the stable, where she visited him every day.
But Dotty had set her heart on a rag-baby which Susy had promised to dress, and Prudy was anxious that Susy should play several games of checkers with her.
"O, dear," said the eldest9 sister, with the perplexed10 air of a mother who has disobedient little ones to manage. "I think I have about as much as I can bear. The children always make a fuss, just as sure as I want to go out."
The old, impatient spirit was rising; that spirit which it was one of the duties of Susy's life to keep under control.
She went into the bathing-room, and drank off a glass of cold water, and talked to herself a while, for she considered that the safest way.
"Have I any right to be cross? Yes, I think I have. Here Dotty woke me up, right in the middle of a dream, and I'm sleepy this minute. Then Prudy is a little babyish thing, and always was—making a fuss if I forget to call her Rosy11 Frances! Yes, I'll be cross, and act just as I want to. It's too hard work to keep pleasant; I won't try."
She walked along to the door, but, by that time, the better spirit was struggling to be heard.
"Now, Susy Parlin," it said, "you little girl with a pony12, and a pair of skates, and feet to walk on, and everything you want, ain't you ashamed, when you think of that dear little sister you pushed down stairs—no, didn't push—that poor little lame13 sister!—O, hark! there is your mother winding14 up that hard splint! How would you feel with such a thing on your hip15? Go, this minute, and comfort Prudy!"
The impatient feelings were gone for that time; Susy had swallowed............
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