**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!


Much Ado About Nothing; Or, The Reason Why Mrs. Todd Didn’t Speak To Mrs. Jones
by [?]

“The sickness of her child will be a good excuse for us to call upon her,” said one. “If he is better, we can introduce the matter judiciously.”

“I wonder how she will take it?” suggested another.

“Kindly, I hope,” remarked the third.

“Suppose she does not?”

“We have done our duty.”

“True. And that consciousness ought to be enough for us.”

“She is a very proud woman, and my fear is that, having taken an open and decided stand, will yield to neither argument nor persuasion. Last night she overacted her part. While she carefully avoided coming in contact with Mrs. Jones, she was often near her, and on such occasions talked and laughed louder than at any other time. I thought, once or twice, that there was something of malice exhibited in her conduct.”

To this, one of the three assented. But the other thought differently. After some further discussion, and an ineffectual attempt to decide which of them should open the matter to Mrs. Todd, the ladies sallied forth on their errand of peace. They found Mrs. Todd at home, who received them in her usual agreeable manner.

“How is your little boy?” was the first question, after the first salutations were over.

“Much better than he was last night, I thank you. Indeed, he is quite as well as usual.”

“What was the matter with him, Mrs. Todd?”

“It is hard to tell. I found him with a high fever, when I got home. But it subsided in the course of an hour. Children often have such attacks. They will be quite sick one hour, and apparently well the next.”

“I am very glad to hear that it is nothing serious,” said one of the ladies. “I was afraid it might have been croup, or something as bad.”

There was a pause.

“It seemed a little unfortunate,” remarked one of the visitors, “for it deprived you of an evening’s enjoyment.”

“Yes, it does appear so, but no doubt it is all right. I suppose you had a very pleasant time?”

“Oh, yes. Delightful!”

“I hadn’t seen half my friends when I was summoned away. Was Mrs. Williams there?”

“Oh, yes.”

“And Mrs. Gray?”


“And Mrs. Elder?”


“I didn’t see either of them.”

“Not a word about Mrs. Jones,” thought the ladies.

A light running conversation, something after this style, was kept up, with occasional pauses, for half an hour, when one of the visitors determined to come to the point.

“Mrs. Todd–a-hem!” she said in one of the pauses that always take place in uninteresting conversation.

The lady’s tone of voice had so changed from what it was a few moments before, that Mrs. Todd looked up at her with surprise. No less changed was the lady’s countenance. Mrs. Todd was mistified. But she was not long in doubt.

“A-hem! Mrs. Todd, we have come to–to–as friends–mutual friends–to ask you”–

The lady’s voice broke down; but two or three “a-hems!” partially restored it, and she went on. “To ask why you refused to–to–speak to Mrs. Jones?”

“Why I refused to speak to Mrs. Jones?” said Mrs. Todd, her cheek flushing.

“Yes. Mrs. Jones is very much hurt about it, and says she cannot imagine the reason. It has made her very unhappy. As mutual friends, we have thought it our duty to try and reconcile matters. It is on this errand that we have called this morning. Mrs. Jones says she met you for the last time about two weeks ago, and that you refused to speak to her. May we ask the reason.”

“You may, certainly,” was calmly replied.

Expectation was now on tiptoe.

“What, then, was the reason?”

I did not see her.”

“What? Didn’t you refuse to speak to her?”

“Never in my life. I esteem Mrs. Jones too highly. If I passed her, as you say, without speaking, it was because I did not see her.”

In less than half an hour, Mrs. Todd was at the house of Mrs. Jones. What passed between the ladies need not be told.