Beulah (Chapter 2, page 1 of 13)


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Chapter 2

The following day, in obedience to the proclamation of the mayor of
the city, was celebrated as a season of special thanksgiving, and
the inmates of the asylum were taken to church to morning service.
After an early dinner, the matron gave them permission to amuse
themselves the remainder of the day as their various inclinations
prompted. There was an immediate dispersion of the assemblage, and
only Beulah lingered beside the matron's chair.

"Mrs. Williams, may I take Lilly with me, and go out into the woods
at the back of the asylum?"

"I want you at home this evening; but I dislike very much to refuse
you."

"Oh, never mind! if you wish me to do anything," answered the girl
cheerfully.

Tears rolled over the matron's face, and, hastily averting her head,
she wiped them away with the corner of her apron.

"Can I do anything to help you? What is the matter?"

"Never mind, Beulah; do you get your bonnet and go to the edge of
the woods--not too far, remember; and if I must have you, why I will
send for you."

"I would rather not go if it will be any trouble."

"No, dear; it's no trouble; I want you to go," answered the matron,
turning hastily away. Beulah felt very strongly inclined to follow,
and inquire what was in store for her; but the weight on her heart
pressed more heavily, and, murmuring to herself, "It will come time
enough, time enough," she passed on.

"May I come with you and Lilly?" entreated little Claudia, running
down the walk at full speed, and putting her curly head through the
palings to make the request.

"Yes, come on. You and Lily can pick up some nice smooth burrs to
make baskets of. But where is your bonnet?" "I forgot it." She ran
up, almost out of breath, and seized Beulah's hand.

"You forgot it, indeed! You little witch, you will burn as black as
a gypsy!"

"I don't care if I do. I hate bonnets."

"Take care, Claudy; the President won't have you all freckled and
tanned."

"Won't he?" queried the child, with a saucy sparkle in her black
eyes.

"That he won't. Here, tie on my hood, and the next time you come
running after me bareheaded, I will make you go back; do you hear?"

"Yes, I hear. I wonder why Miss Dorothy don't bleach off her
freckles; she looks like a--"

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