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How Fidelia Went to the Store
by [?]

“I don’t know what we’re goin’ to do,” said Aunt Maria Crooker. She sat in a large arm-chair, and held in her lap a bowl of sugar and butter that she was creaming. Aunt Maria filled up the chair from arm to arm, for she was very portly; she had a large, rosy, handsome face, and she creamed with such energy that she panted for breath.

“Well, I don’t know, either,” rejoined her sister, Mrs. Lennox. “I can’t go to the store with my lame foot, that’s certain.”

“Well, I know I can’t,” said Aunt Maria, with additional emphasis. “I haven’t walked two mile for ten year, an’ I don’t believe I could get to that store and back to save my life.”

“I don’t believe you could, either. I don’t know what is goin’ to be done. We can’t make the cake without raisins, anyhow. It’s the queerest thing how father happened to forget them. Now here he is gone over to East Dighton after the new cow, and Cynthy gone to Keene to buy her bonnet, an’ me with a scalt foot, an’ you not able to walk, an’ not one raisin in the house to put into that weddin’-cake.”

Mrs. Lennox stated the case in full, with a despairing eloquence, and Aunt Maria sighed and wrinkled her forehead.

“If there were only any neighbors you could borrow from,” she observed.

“Well, there ain’t any neighbors ‘twixt here and the store except the Allens and the Simmonses, and the Allens are so tight they never put raisins into their Thanksgivin’ pies. Mis’ Allen told me they didn’t. She said she thought most folks made their pies too rich, an’ her folks liked them just as well without raisins. An’ as for the Simmonses, I don’t believe they see a raisin from one year’s end to the other. They’re lucky if they can get enough common things to eat for all those children. I don’t know what’s goin’ to be done. Here’s the dress-maker comin’ to-morrow, an’ Cynthy goin’ to be married in two weeks, and the cake ought to be made to-day if it’s ever goin’ to be.”

“Yes, it had,” assented Aunt Maria. “We’ve put it off full long enough, anyway. Weddin’-cake ain’t near so good unless it stands a little while.”

“I know it.”

Just then there was a shrill, prolonged squeak. It came from the yard. The doors and windows were open; it was a very warm day.

“What’s that?” cried Aunt Maria.

“Oh, it’s nothin’ but Fidelia’s little wagon. She’s draggin’ it round the yard.”

The two women looked at each other; it was as if a simultaneous idea had come suddenly to them.

Aunt Maria gave expression to it first. “Fidelia couldn’t go, could she?”

“Maria Crooker, that little thing! She ain’t six years old, an’ she’s never been anywhere alone. Do you s’pose I’m goin’ to send her a mile to that store?” Mrs. Lennox’s tone was full of vehement indignation, but her eyes still met Aunt Maria’s with that doubtful and reflective expression.

“I don’t see a mite of harm in it,” Aunt Maria maintained, sturdily. She set her bowl of sugar and butter on the table, and leaned forward with a hand on each aproned knee. “I know Fidelia ain’t but five year old, but she’s brighter than some children of seven. It’s just a straight road to the store, an’ she can’t get lost, to save her life. And she knows where ’tis. You took her down to Mis’ Rose’s three or four weeks ago, didn’t you?”

“Yes; that day father went down for grain. I s’pose she would remember.”

“Of course she’d remember. I don’t see one thing, as far as I’m concerned, to hinder that child’s goin’ down to the store an’ bringin’ home some raisins. I used to go on errands before I was as old as she is. Folks didn’t fuss over their children so much in my day.”