|About the Book|
NANHello, Nan!Heyo, Ruthie!Where are you going?Over to Reids lot.Take me?No, Ruthie, cant.The little childs lip began to tremble. I think youre real mean,Nan Cutler, she complained.Nan shook her head. Cant help it if you do, sheMoreNANHello, Nan!Heyo, Ruthie!Where are you going?Over to Reids lot.Take me?No, Ruthie, cant.The little childs lip began to tremble. I think youre real mean,Nan Cutler, she complained.Nan shook her head. Cant help it if you do, she returned, stoutly,and took a step on.Nannie, cried the child eagerly, starting after her and clutching herby the skirt, I didnt mean that! Truly, I didnt. I think yourejust as nice as you can be. Do please let me go with you. Wont you?Nan compressed her lips. Now, Ruth, look here, she said after amoment, in which she stood considering, Id take you in a minute if Icould but the truth is--oh, youre too little.I aint too little!Well, then, your mother doesnt like you to be with me, so there!cried Nan, in a burst of reckless frankness.Ruth hung her head. She could not deny it but at sight of hercompanion turning to leave her she again started forward, pipingshrilly, Nannie! Nannie! She wont care this time. Honest, shewont.Nan stalked on without turning her head.The hurrying little feet followed on close behind.Nannie! Nannie!See here, Ruth, exclaimed the girl, veering suddenly about andspeaking with decision. You cant come, and thats all there is aboutit. Your mother doesnt like me, and you ought not to disobey her.Now run back home like a good little girl.The delicate, small face upturned to hers grew hardened and set, butthe child did not move.Nan gave her a friendly shove on the shoulder and turned on her wayagain. Immediately she heard the tap of hurrying little feet behind,like the echoing sound of her own hasty footsteps. She stopped andswung about abruptly.Are you going to be a good little girl and go back this minute? shedemanded sternly, calling to her assistance all the dignity of herfourteen years, and turning on the poor infant a severe, unrelentingeye.The child gazed up at her reproachfully, but did not reply.Nan felt herself fast losing patience. Of all the provoking littlewitches! she exclaimed, in an underbreath of irritation.Ruths rebuking eyes surveyed her calmly, but she made no response.Now be good and trot along back, cajoled Nan, changing her tacticsand stroking the childs soft hair caressingly.There was a visible pursing of the obstinate little lips, but nofurther sign of acknowledgment.Nan dropped her voice to a tone of honey-sweetness. See here, Ruthie,if youll go home this minute Ill give you five cents. You can buyanything you like with it at Sams, on the way back. She plunged herhand into her pocket and drew forth a bright new nickel, and held italluringly aloft.The azure eyes gazed at it appreciatively, but the hand was notoutstretched to receive it. For a second Nan reviewed the situation insilence. Then she flung about with a movement of exasperation, andmarched on stolidly, and the smaller feet hastened after her, keepingpace with difficulty, and often breaking into a little run that theymight not be outstripped.