Little Prudy's Dotty Dimple - novelonlinefull.com
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It was as lovely out of doors as "a Lapland night." The full moon and the gay lamplight tried to outshine one another.
"Do look at that great moon dripping down the juniper tree," cried Prudy, growing poetical as she gazed. "Let me tell you, Susy, when the moon is young and little, it makes me think of a smile, and when it's a grown-up, full moon, it makes me think of a laugh."
Just as Dotty was beginning to wonder whether she felt sleepy or not, the door-bell rang; and after that it kept ringing every few minutes for an hour. By that time the fragrant parlors were almost filled with guests. Everybody had a few kind words for the children, and Prudy listened and answered with timid blushes: but Dotty Dimple was, as usual, very fearless, and perfectly at ease.
Presently Colonel Allen, and Miss Margaret, and Miss Louise entered the room. Dotty had been wondering where they were.
"Now," whispered aunt Louise, "now's the time to ask Mr. Hayden for that new uncle."
Dotty stepped briskly up to the minister.
"Here's a letter for you," said she, "and it says, 'Will you please sell me an uncle, sir?'"
Mr. Hayden smiled, and asked the little maiden what sort of an uncle she would like.
"A new one," she replied, bending her head one side, and peeping up in his face like a tame canary, "and a soldier, too, if you've got any to sell."
Mr. Hayden said he certainly had, and laughed when he spoke, though Dotty could not imagine why. Dr. Gray took her up in his arms, and declared he would like to carry her home in his pocket. Such an idea!
And Dr. Gray was the man who had cheated her! When he set her down again she stood on her dignity, and carried her head like a queen.
She had hardly crossed the room, and taken her station beside Prudy, when a hush fell upon the company. Dotty was inclined to think people had paused in conversation to watch _her_. Colonel Allen and aunt Madge were standing together, and Mr. Hayden in front of them. The guests were looking at _them_, not at Miss Dotty Dimple!
Mr. Hayden began to talk very solemnly--almost like preaching. No one else spoke; no one smiled. Before Dotty could ask what they were doing, Mr. Hayden was praying; and after the prayer, which was so hearty and simple that Dotty could almost understand it, the whole room was in motion again. Everybody seemed suddenly bent on kissing aunt Madge, though what that young lady had been doing which was better than usual Dotty could not exactly make out. But this, she concluded, was in some way connected with the entertainment called _a wedding_.
"Come, now, little lady," said Mr. Hayden, taking Dotty's hand, and leading her up to Colonel Allen, "here is the uncle you have bought. He is new, and a soldier too. So you see I have done my best for you."
"That?" said Dotty, pointing her index-finger at the bridegroom in surprise. "I know _him_; he isn't _new_. He is Mr. Colonel. He isn't my uncle a bit, sir."
"True, he was not, five minutes ago, Miss Dimple; but the few little words you heard me say to him have made a wonderful change. He is now your uncle Augustus, and your aunt Margaret is Mrs. Allen."
Dotty looked up bewildered. Her newly-married aunt was engaged in talking to the guests; but Colonel Allen was gazing down upon his new niece with an arch smile.
"The minister did not cheat you, you see?" said he. "He has really given you what he promised."
"I didn't want you to marry my good auntie," was all Dotty's answer.
"Ah, my dear, that is very sad! I was not aware that you had any dislike for me."
"O, I love you," exclaimed Dotty, "'cause you carry me pickaback; _but_ I wish you knew your letters skippin' about!"
The minister and the bridegroom smiled at this absurd little speech, and it was repeated to everybody in the room. Prudy felt very guilty, and blushed like a damask rose, for she knew where Dotty had caught the idea of Colonel Allen's extreme ignorance.
"I am very sorry, little Miss Dimple, that you object to me," said the new uncle; "but by and by you and I will take the big dictionary, and you may point out the letters to me. I think you will find I know them 'skippin' about.' Is there anything else you have against me?"
"Yes, sir," replied the child, earnestly; "you're a lawyer--my father says so. You wrote to him once."
"Did I? What did I write?"
"And where was the harm in that?"
"O, it looked like turkeys' tracks--he said it did. You wrote the letter with a fly. You dipped him in the inkstand, and stuck him on a pin, and wrote with him. My father says so."
"You surprise me, Dotty. I really don't remember it. Have you any other reason for not wishing me to be your uncle?"
"I wanted you to marry somebody else."
"Indeed! You ought to have mentioned it before! What young lady had you chosen for me, Miss Dimple?"
"Abby Grant, the little girl that went behind the tree and let me lose myself. I'd as lief she'd go to New York as not. If you'd only waited for her she'd have growed up."
By this time Mrs. Parlin, though somewhat amused by her little daughter's sharp speeches, thought it best to put an end to them by taking her away into a corner. She was too much inclined to pertness.
The evening was very delightful; but like everything else in this world it could not last always. After the guests had departed, and before the doors were closed or the lights put out, the three tired children slowly wound their way up stairs.
"I'm glad it's over and done," said Prudy, resignedly. "I've cried just all I'm going to."
"I only wish Grace Clifford had been here," murmured Susy, clutching hold of the bal.u.s.ter.
"Well, I don't wish nothing so there," said Dotty Dimple, dreamily.
And this is the last word we are to hear from her. She is nearly asleep.
Let us bid her and her two older sisters a Good Night and Pleasant Dreams.