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Aunt Kipp
by [?]

“Children and fools speak the truth.”


“What’s that sigh for, Polly dear?” “I’m tired, mother, tired of working and waiting. If I’m ever going to have any fun, I want it now while I can enjoy it.”

“You shouldn’t wait another hour if I could have my way; but you know how helpless I am;” and poor Mrs. Snow sighed dolefully, as she glanced about the dingy room and pretty Mary turning her faded gown for the second time.

“If Aunt Kipp would give us the money she is always talking about, instead of waiting till she dies, we should be so comfortable. She is a dreadful bore, for she lives in such terror of dropping dead with her heart-complaint that she doesn’t take any pleasure in life herself or let any one else; so the sooner she goes the better for all of us,” said Polly, in a desperate tone; for things looked very black to her just then.

“My dear, don’t say that,” began her mother, mildly shocked; but a bluff little voice broke in with the forcible remark,–

“She’s everlastingly telling me never to put off till to-morrow what can be done to-day; next time she comes I’ll remind her of that, and ask her, if she is going to die, why she doesn’t do it?”

“Toady! you’re a wicked, disrespectful boy; never let me hear you say such a thing again about your dear Aunt Kipp.”

“She isn’t dear! You know we all hate her, and you are more afraid of her than you are of spiders,–so now.”

The young personage whose proper name had been corrupted into Toady, was a small boy of ten or eleven, apple-cheeked, round-eyed, and curly-headed; arrayed in well-worn, gray knickerbockers, profusely adorned with paint, glue, and shreds of cotton. Perched on a high stool, at an isolated table in a state of chaos, he was absorbed in making a boat, entirely oblivious of the racking tooth-ache which had been his excuse for staying from school. As cool, saucy, hard-handed, and soft-hearted a little specimen of young America was Toady as you would care to see; a tyrant at home, a rebel at school, a sworn foe to law, order, and Aunt Kipp. This young person was regarded as a reprobate by all but his mother, sister, and sister’s sweetheart, Van Bahr Lamb. Having been, through much anguish of flesh and spirit, taught that lying was a deadly sin, Toady rushed to the other extreme, and bolted out the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, at all times and places, with a startling abruptness that brought wrath and dismay upon his friends and relatives.

“It’s wicked to fib; you’ve whipped that into me and you can’t rub it out,” he was wont to say, with vivid recollection of the past tingling in the chubby portions of his frame.

“Mind your chips, Toady, and take care what you say to Aunt Kipp, or you’ll be as poor as a little rat all the days of your life,” said Polly, warningly.

“I don’t want her old money, and I’ll tell her so if she bothers me about it. I shall go into business with Van and take care of the whole lot; so don’t you preach, Polly,” returned Toady, with as much dignity as was compatible with a great dab of glue on the end of his snub nose.

“Mother, did aunt say anything about coming this week?” asked Polly, after a pause of intense thought over a breadth with three darns, two spots, and a burn.

“Yes; she wrote that she was too feeble to come at present, as she had such dreadful palpitations she didn’t dare stir from her room. So we are quite safe for the next week at least, and–bless my soul, there she is now!”

Mrs. Snow clasped her hands with a gesture of dismay, and sat as if transfixed by the spectacle of a ponderous lady, in an awe-inspiring bonnet, who came walking slowly down the street. Polly gave a groan, and pulled a bright ribbon from her hair. Toady muttered, “Oh, bother!” and vainly attempted to polish up his countenance with a fragmentary pocket-handkerchief.