Daddy Long Legs (Daddy Long Legs, page 1 of 133)


 
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Blue Wednesday

The first Wednesday in every month was a Perfectly Awful Day--a day to
be awaited with dread, endured with courage and forgotten with haste.
Every floor must be spotless, every chair dustless, and every bed
without a wrinkle. Ninety-seven squirming little orphans must be
scrubbed and combed and buttoned into freshly starched ginghams; and
all ninety-seven reminded of their manners, and told to say, 'Yes,
sir,' 'No, sir,' whenever a Trustee spoke.

It was a distressing time; and poor Jerusha Abbott, being the oldest
orphan, had to bear the brunt of it. But this particular first
Wednesday, like its predecessors, finally dragged itself to a close.
Jerusha escaped from the pantry where she had been making sandwiches
for the asylum's guests, and turned upstairs to accomplish her regular
work. Her special care was room F, where eleven little tots, from four
to seven, occupied eleven little cots set in a row. Jerusha assembled
her charges, straightened their rumpled frocks, wiped their noses, and
started them in an orderly and willing line towards the dining-room to
engage themselves for a blessed half hour with bread and milk and prune
pudding.

Then she dropped down on the window seat and leaned throbbing temples
against the cool glass. She had been on her feet since five that
morning, doing everybody's bidding, scolded and hurried by a nervous
matron. Mrs. Lippett, behind the scenes, did not always maintain that
calm and pompous dignity with which she faced an audience of Trustees
and lady visitors. Jerusha gazed out across a broad stretch of frozen
lawn, beyond the tall iron paling that marked the confines of the
asylum, down undulating ridges sprinkled with country estates, to the
spires of the village rising from the midst of bare trees.

 
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