MARY E. WILKINS FREEMAN
I. THE COPY-CAT . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
II. THE COCK OF THE WALK . . . . . . . . . 33
III. JOHNNY-IN-THE-WOODS . . . . . . . . . 55
IV. DANIEL AND LITTLE DAN'L . . . . . . . . 83
V. BIG SISTER SOLLY . . . . . . . . . . 107
VI. LITTLE LUCY ROSE . . . . . . . . . . 137
VII. NOBLESSE . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
VIII. CORONATION . . . . . . . . . . . . 183
IX. THE AMETHYST COMB . . . . . . . . . . 211
X. THE UMBRELLA MAN . . . . . . . . . . 237
XI. THE BALKING OF CHRISTOPHER . . . . . . . 267
XII. DEAR ANNIE . . . . . . . . . . . . 293
THAT affair of Jim Simmons's cats never became
known. Two little boys and a little girl can
keep a secret -- that is sometimes. The two little
boys had the advantage of the little girl because they
could talk over the affair together and the little
girl Lily Jennings had no intimate girl friend to
tempt her to confidence. She had only little Amelia
Wheeler commonly called by the pupils of Madame's
school "The Copy-Cat."
Amelia was an odd little girl -- that is everybody
called her odd. She was that rather unusual crea-
ture a child with a definite ideal; and that ideal was
Lily Jennings. However nobody knew that. If
Amelia's mother who was a woman of strong charac-
ter had suspected she would have taken strenuous
measures to prevent such a peculiar state of affairs;
the more so because she herself did not in the least
approve of Lily Jennings. Mrs. Diantha Wheeler
(Amelia's father had died when she was a baby)
often remarked to her own mother Mrs. Stark and
to her mother-in-law Mrs. Samuel Wheeler that she
did not feel that Mrs. Jennings was bringing up Lily
exactly as she should. "That child thinks entirely
too much of her looks" said Mrs. Diantha. "When
she walks past here she switches those ridiculous
frilled frocks of hers as if she were entering a ball-
room and she tosses her head and looks about to see
if anybody is watching her. If I were to see Amelia
doing such things I should be very firm with her."
"Lily Jennings is a very pretty child" said
Mother-in-law Wheeler with an under-meaning and
Mrs. Diantha flushed. Amelia did not in the least
resemble the Wheelers who were a handsome set.
She looked remarkably like her mother who was a
plain woman only little Amelia did not have a square
chin. Her chin was pretty and round with a little
dimple in it. In fact Amelia's chin was the pretti-
est feature she had. Her hair was phenomenally
straight. It would not even yield to hot curling-
irons which her grandmother Wheeler had tried sur-
reptitiously several times when there was a little
girls' party. "I never saw such hair as that poor
child has in all my life" she told the other grand-
mother Mrs. Stark. "Have the Starks always had
such very straight hair?"
Mrs. Stark stiffened her chin. Her own hair was
very straight. "I don't know" said she "that the
Starks have had any straighter hair than other
people. If Amelia does not have anything worse to
contend with than straight hair I rather think she
will get along in the world as well as most people."
"It's thin too" said Grandmother Wheeler with
a sigh "and it hasn't a mite of color. Oh well
Amelia is a good child and beauty isn't everything."
Grandmother Wheeler said that as if beauty were
a great deal and Grandmother Stark arose and shook
out her black silk skirts. She had money and loved
to dress in rich black silks and laces.
"It is very little very little indeed" said she and
she eyed Grandmother Wheeler's lovely old face
like a wrinkled old rose as to color faultless as to
feature and swept about by the loveliest waves of
shining silver hair.
Then she went out of the room and Grandmother
Wheeler left alone smiled. She knew the worth of
beauty for those who possess it and those who do not.
She had never been quite reconciled to her son's
marrying such a plain girl as Diantha Stark although
she had money. She considered beauty on the
whole as a more valuable asset than mere gold.
She regretted always that poor little Amelia her
only grandchild was so very plain-looking. She
always knew that Amelia was very plain and yet
sometimes the child puzzled her. She seemed to see
reflections of beauty if not beauty itself in the
little colorless face in the figure with its too-large
joints and utter absence of curves. She sometimes
even wondered privately if some subtle resemblance
to the handsome Wheelers might not be in the child
and yet appear. But she was mistaken. What she
saw was pure mimicry of a beautiful ideal.
Little Amelia tried to stand like Lily Jennings;
she tried to walk like her; she tried to smile like
her; she made endeavors very often futile to dress
like her. Mrs. Wheeler did not in the least approve
of furbelows for children. Poor little Amelia went
clad in severe simplicity; durable woolen frocks in
winter and washable unfadable and non-soil-show-
ing frocks in summer. She although her mother had
perhaps more money wherewith to dress her than had
any of the other mothers was the plainest-clad little
girl in school. Amelia moreover never tore a frock
and as she did not grow rapidly one lasted several
seasons. Lily Jennings was destructive although
dainty. Her pretty clothes were renewed every
year. Amelia was helpless before that problem.
For a little girl burning with aspirations to be and
look like another little girl who was beautiful and
wore beautiful clothes to be obliged to set forth for
Madame's on a lovely spring morning when thin
attire was in evidence dressed in dark-blue-and-
white-checked gingham which she had worn for
three summers and with sleeves which even to
childish eyes were anachronisms was a trial. Then
to see Lily flutter in a frock like a perfectly new white
flower was torture; not because of jealousy -- Amelia
was not jealous; but she so admired the other little
girl and so loved her and so wanted to be like her.
As for Lily she hardly ever noticed Amelia. She
was not aware that she herself was an object of
adoration; for she was a little girl who searched for
admiration in the eyes of little boys rather than
little girls although very innocently. She always
glanced slyly at Johnny Trumbull when she wore a
pretty new frock to see if he noticed. He never did
and she was sharp enough to know it. She was also
child enough not to care a bit but to take a queer
pleasure in the sensation of scorn which she felt in
consequence. She would eye Johnny from head to
foot his boy's clothing somewhat spotted his bulging
pockets his always dusty shoes and when he twisted
uneasily not understanding why she had a thrill
of purely feminine delight. It was on one such occa-
sion that she first noticed Amelia Wheeler particularly.
It was a lovely warm morning in May and Lily
was a darling to behold -- in a big hat with a wreath
of blue flowers her hair tied with enormous blue silk
bows her short skirts frilled with eyelet embroidery
her slender silk legs her little white sandals. Ma-
dame's maid had not yet struck the Japanese gong
and all the pupils were out on the lawn Amelia in
her clean ugly gingham and her serviceable brown
sailor hat hovering near Lily as usual like a common
very plain butterfly near a particularly resplendent
blossom. Lily really noticed her. She spoke to her
confidentially; she recognized her fully as another of
her own sex and presumably of similar opinions.
"Ain't boys ugly anyway?" inquired Lily of
Amelia and a wonderful change came over Amelia.
Her sallow cheeks bloomed; her eyes showed blue
glitters; her little skinny figure became instinct with
nervous life. She smiled charmingly with such
eagerness that it smote with pathos and bewitched.
"Oh yes oh yes" she agreed in a voice like a quick
flute obbligato. "Boys are ugly."
"Such clothes!" said Lily.
"Yes such clothes!" said Amelia.
"Always spotted" said Lily.
"Always covered all over with spots" said Amelia.