Grandmother Dear Part 6

"_Would_ I, grandmother dear?" said Molly, looking rather mystified. "I don't quite understand."

"Think about it a little, and then I fancy you will understand," said grandmother. "But we really must go now, or I shall be too late for what I wanted to do. There is that collar of yours loose again, Molly. A little brooch would be the proper thing to fasten it with. You have several."

Poor Molly--her unlucky star was in the ascendant this afternoon surely!

She grew very red again, as she answered confusedly,

"Yes, grandmother dear."

"Well then, quick, my dear. Put on the brooch with the bit of coral in the middle, like the one that Sylvia has on now."

"Please, grandmother dear, that one's pin's broken."

"The pin's broken! Ah, well, we'll take it to have it mended then. Where is it, my dear? Give it to me."

Molly opened the unlucky drawer, and after a minute or two's fumbling extracted from its depths a little brooch which she handed to grandmother. Grandmother looked at it.

"This is not the one, Molly. This is the one Aunty sent you on your last birthday, with the little turquoises round it."

Molly turned quickly.

"Oh yes. It isn't the coral one. It must be in the drawer."

Another rummage brought forth the coral one.

"But the turquoise one has no pin either!"

"No, grandmother dear. It broke last week."

"Then it too must go to be mended," said grandmother with decision. "See, here is another one that will do for to-day."

She, in turn, drew forth another brooch. A little silver one this time, in the shape of a bird flying. But as she was handing it to Molly, "Why, this one _also_ has no pin!" she exclaimed.

"No, grandmother dear. I broke it the day before yesterday."

Grandmother laid the three brooches down in a row.

"How many brooches in all have you, Molly?" she said.

"Six, grandmother dear. They are just the same as Sylvia has. We have each six."

"And where are the three others?"

Molly opened a little box that stood on the top of the chest of drawers.

"They're here," she said, and so they were, poor things. A little mosaic brooch set in silver, a mother-of-pearl with steel border, and a tortoise-shell one in the shape of a crescent; these made up her possessions.

"I meant," she added navely, "I meant to have put them all in this box as I broke them, but I left the coral one, and the turquoise one, and the bird in the drawer by mistake."

"_As you broke them?_" repeated grandmother. "How many are broken then?"

"All," said Molly. "I mean the pins are."

It was quite true. There lay the six brooches--brooches indeed no longer--for not a pin was there to boast of among them!

"Six pinless brooches!" said grandmother drily, taking them up one after another. "Six pinless brooches--the property of one careless little girl.

Little girls are changed from the days when I was young! I shall take these six brooches to be mended at once, Molly, but what I shall do with them when they are mended I cannot as yet say."

She put them all in the little box from which three of them had been taken, and with it in her hand went quietly out of the room. Molly, by this time almost in tears, remained behind for a moment to whisper to Sylvia,

"Is grandmother dreadfully angry, do you think, Sylvia? I am so frightened, I wish I wasn't going out with her."

"Then you should not have been so horribly careless. I never knew any one so careless," said Sylvia, in rather a Job's comforter tone of voice.

"Of course you must tell grandmother how sorry you are, and how ashamed of yourself, and ask her to forgive you."

"Grandmother dear," said Molly, her irrepressible spirits rising again when she found herself out in the pleasant fresh air, sitting opposite grandmother in the carriage, bowling along so smoothly--grandmother having made no further allusion to the unfortunate brooches--"Grandmother dear, I am so sorry and so ashamed of myself. Will you please forgive me?"

"And what then, my dear?" said grandmother.

"I will try to be careful; indeed I will. I will tell you how it is I break them so, grandmother dear. I am always in such a hurry, and brooches _are_ so provoking sometimes. They won't go in, and I give them a push, and then they just squock across in a moment."

"They just _what_?" said grandmother.

"Squock across, grandmother dear," said Molly serenely. "It's a word of my own. I have a good many words of my own like that. But I won't say them if you'd rather not. I've got a plan in my head--it's just come there--of teaching myself to be more careful with brooches, so _please_, grandmother dear, do try me again when the brooches are mended. _Of course_ I'll pay them out of my own money."

"Well, we'll see," said grandmother, as the carriage stopped at the jeweller's shop where the poor brooches were to be doctored.

During the next two days there was a decided improvement in Molly. She spent a great part of them in putting her drawers and other possessions in order, and was actually discovered in a quiet corner mending a pair of gloves. She was not once late for breakfast or dinner, and, notwithstanding the want of the brooches, her collars retained their position with unusual docility. All these symptoms were not lost on grandmother, and to Molly's great satisfaction, on the evening of the third day she slipped into her hand a little box which had just been left at the door.

"The brooches, Molly," said grandmother. "They have cost just three francs. I think I may trust you with them, may I not?"

"Oh yes, grandmother dear. I'm sure you may," said Molly, radiant. "And do you know my drawers are just _beautiful_. I wish you could see them."

"Never fear, my dear. I shall be sure to take a look at them some day soon. Shall I pay them an unexpected visit--eh, Molly?"

"If you like," replied the little girl complacently. "I've quite left off being careless and untidy; it's so much nicer to be careful and neat.

Good-night, grandmother dear, and thank you so much for teaching me so nicely."

"Good-night, grand-daughter dear. But remember, my little Molly, that Rome was not built in a day."

"Of course not--how could a big town be built in a day? Grandmother dear, what funny things you do say," said Molly, opening wide her eyes.

"_The better to make you think, my dear_," said grandmother, in a gruff voice that made Molly jump.

"Oh dear! how you do frighten me when you speak like that, grandmother dear," she said in such a piteous tone that they all burst out laughing at her.

"My poor little girl, it is a shame to tease you," said grandmother, drawing her towards her. "To speak plainly, my dear, what I want you to remember is this: Faults are not cured, any more than big towns are built, in a day."

"No, I know they are not. I'm not forgetting that. I've been making a lot of plans for making myself remember about being careful," said Molly, nodding her head sagaciously. "You'll see, grandmother dear."

Chapter end

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