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HOME > Children's Novel > Little Prudy's Sister Susy > CHAPTER XI. SUSY'S BIRTHDAY.
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 Days and weeks passed. The snowflakes, which had fallen from time to time, and kept themselves busy making a patchwork1 quilt for mother Earth, now melted away, and the white quilt was torn into shreds2. The bare ground was all there was to be seen, except now and then a dot of the white coverlet. It was Spring, and everything began to wake up. The sun wasn't half so sleepy, and didn't walk off over the western hills in the middle of the afternoon to take a nap.  
The sleighing was gone long ago. The roads were dismal3 swamps. "Wings" would have a rest till "settled going." Susy's skates were hung up in a green baize bag, to dream away the summer.
The mocking-bird performed his daily duties of entertaining the family, besides learning a great many new songs. Susy said she tried not to set her heart on that bird.
"I'll not give him a name," she added, "for then he'll be sure to die! My first canary was Bertie, and I named the others Berties, as fast as they died off. The last one was so yellow that I couldn't help calling him Dandelion; but I wish I hadn't, for then, perhaps, he'd have lived."
Susy had caught some whimsical notions about "signs and wonders." It is strange how some intelligent children will believe in superstitious4 stories! But as soon as Susy's parents discovered that her young head had been stored with such worse than foolish ideas, they were not slow to teach her better.
She had a great fright, about this time, concerning Freddy Jackson. He was one of the few children who were allowed to play in "Prudy's sitting-room5." He did not distract the tired nerves of "Rosy6 Frances," as her cousin Percy and other boys did, by sudden shouts and loud laughing. Prudy had a vague feeling that he was one of the little ones that God thought best to punish by "snipping7 his heart." She knew what it was to have her heart snipped8, and had a sympathy with little Freddy.
Susy loved Freddy, too. Perhaps Percy was right, when he said that Susy loved everything that was dumb; and I am not sure but her tender heart would have warmed to him all the more if he had been stone-blind, as well as deaf.
Freddy had a drunken father, and a sad home; but, for all that, he was not entirely9 miserable10. It is only the wicked who are miserable. The kind Father in heaven has so planned it that there is something pleasant in everybody's life.
Freddy had no more idea what sound is than we have of the angels in heaven; but he could see, and there is so much to be seen! Here is a great, round world, full of beauty and wonder. It stands ready to be looked at. Freddy's ears must be forever shut out from pleasant sound; but his bright eyes were wide open, seeing all that was made to be seen.
He loved to go to Mrs. Parlin's, for there he was sure to be greeted pleasantly; and he understood the language of smiles as well as anybody.
When grandma Read saw him coming she would say,—
"Now, Susan, thee'd better lay aside thy book, for most likely the poor little fellow will want to talk."
And Susy did lay aside her book. She had learned so many lessons this winter in self-denial!
These "silent talks" were quite droll11. Little Dotty almost understood something about them; that is, when they used the signs: the alphabet was more than she could manage. When Freddy wanted to talk about Dotty, he made a sign for a dimple in each cheek. He smoothed his hair when he meant Susy, and made a waving motion over his head for Prudy, whose hair was full of ripples12.
Prudy said she had wrinkled hair, and she knew it; but the wrinkles "wouldn't come out."
Grandma Read sat one evening by the coal-grate, holding a letter in her hand, and looking into the glowing fire with a thoughtful expression. Susy came and sat near her, resting one arm on her grandma's lap, and trying in various ways to attract her attention.
"Why, grandma," said she, "I've spoken to you three times; but I can't get you to answer or look at me."
"What does thee want, my dear? I will try to attend to thee."
"O, grandma, there are ever so many things I want to say, now mother is out of the room, and father hasn't got home. I must tell somebody, or my heart will break; and you know, grandma dear, I can talk to you so easy."
"Can thee? Then ............
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