Daddy Long Legs (Daddy Long Legs, page 2 of 76)


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Je-ru-sha Ab-bott
You are wan-ted
In the of-fice,
And I think you'd
Better hurry up!

Tommy Dillon, who had joined the choir, came singing up the stairs and
down the corridor, his chant growing louder as he approached room F.
Jerusha wrenched herself from the window and refaced the troubles of
life.

'Who wants me?' she cut into Tommy's chant with a note of sharp anxiety.

Mrs. Lippett in the office,
And I think she's mad.
Ah-a-men!

Tommy piously intoned, but his accent was not entirely malicious. Even
the most hardened little orphan felt sympathy for an erring sister who
was summoned to the office to face an annoyed matron; and Tommy liked
Jerusha even if she did sometimes jerk him by the arm and nearly scrub
his nose off.

Jerusha went without comment, but with two parallel lines on her brow.
What could have gone wrong, she wondered. Were the sandwiches not thin
enough? Were there shells in the nut cakes? Had a lady visitor seen
the hole in Susie Hawthorn's stocking? Had--O horrors!--one of the
cherubic little babes in her own room F 'sauced' a Trustee?

The long lower hall had not been lighted, and as she came downstairs, a
last Trustee stood, on the point of departure, in the open door that
led to the porte-cochere. Jerusha caught only a fleeting impression of
the man--and the impression consisted entirely of tallness. He was
waving his arm towards an automobile waiting in the curved drive. As
it sprang into motion and approached, head on for an instant, the
glaring headlights threw his shadow sharply against the wall inside.
The shadow pictured grotesquely elongated legs and arms that ran along
the floor and up the wall of the corridor. It looked, for all the
world, like a huge, wavering daddy-long-legs.

Jerusha's anxious frown gave place to quick laughter. She was by
nature a sunny soul, and had always snatched the tiniest excuse to be
amused. If one could derive any sort of entertainment out of the
oppressive fact of a Trustee, it was something unexpected to the good.
She advanced to the office quite cheered by the tiny episode, and
presented a smiling face to Mrs. Lippett. To her surprise the matron
was also, if not exactly smiling, at least appreciably affable; she
wore an expression almost as pleasant as the one she donned for
visitors.

'Sit down, Jerusha, I have something to say to you.' Jerusha dropped
into the nearest chair and waited with a touch of breathlessness. An
automobile flashed past the window; Mrs. Lippett glanced after it.

'Did you notice the gentleman who has just gone?'

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