Chapter XIX. Pearl's Diary
 

When Pearl got Tom safely started for the party a great weight seemed to have rolled from her little shoulders. Tom was going to spend the night--what was left of it--with Arthur in the granary, and so avoid the danger of disturbing his parents by his late home-coming.

Pearl was too excited to sleep, so she brought out from her bird-cage the little note-book that Mrs. Francis had given her, and endeavoured to fill some of its pages with her observations.

Mrs. Francis had told her to write what she felt and what she saw.

She had written:

August 8th.--I picked the fethers from 2 ducks to-day. I call them cusmoodles. I got that name in a book. The cusmoodles were just full of cheety-wow-wows. That's a pretty name, too, I think. I got that out of my own head. The cheety-wow-wows are wanderers to-night, I guess. They lost their feather-bed.

Arthur's got a girl. Her name is Thursa. He tells me about her, and showed me her picter. She is beautiful beyond compare, and awful savin' on her clothes. At first I thought she had a die-away-ducky look, but I guess it's because she was sorry Arthur was comin' away.

August 9th.--Mrs. Motherwell is gittin' kinder, I think. When I was gittin' the tub for Arthur yesterday, and gittin' water het, she said, "What are you doin', Pearl?" I says, "gittin' Arthur a bath." She says, "Dear me, it's a pity about him." I says, "Yes'm, but he'll feel better now." She says, "Duz he want anyone to wash his back?"--I says, "I don't know, but I'll ask him," and I did, too; but he says, "No, thanks awfully."

August 10th.--The English Church minister called one day to see Arthur. He read some of the Bible to us and then he gave us a dandy prayer. He didn't make it--it was a bot one.

There's wild parsley down on the crik. Mrs. M. sed't wuz poison, but I wanted to be sure, so I et it, and it isn't. There's wild sage all over, purple an lovely. I pickt a big lot ov it, to taik home--we mite have a turkey this winter.

August 11th.--I hope tom's happy; it's offel to be in love. I hope I'll never be.

My hands are pretty sore pullin' weeds, but I like it; I pertend it's bad habits I'm rootin' out.

Arthur's offel good: he duz all the work he can for me, and he sings for me and tells me about his uncle the Bishop. His uncle's got servants and leggin's and lots of things. Arthur's been kind of sick lately.

I made verses one day, there not very nice, but there true--I saw it:

   The little lams are beautiful,
      There cotes are soft and nice,
   The little calves have ringworm,
      And the 2-year olds have lice!

Now I'm going' to make more; it seems to bad to leve it like that.

   It must be very nasty,
      But to worrie, what's the use;
   Better be cam and cheerfull,
      And appli tobaka jooce.

Sometimes I feal like gittin' lonesum but I jist keep puttin' it of. I say to myself I won't git lonesum till I git this cow milked, and then I say o shaw I might as well do another, and then I say I won't git lonesum till I git the pails washed and the flore scrubbed, and I keep settin' it of and settin' it of till I forgit I was goin' to be.

One day I wuz jist gittin' reddy to cry. I could feel tears startin' in my hart, and my throte all hot and lumpy, thinkin' of ma and Danny an' all of them, and I noticed the teakettle just in time--it neaded skourin'. You bet I put a shine on it, and, of course, I couldn't dab tears on it and muss it up, so I had to wait. Mrs. M. duzn't talk to me. She has a morgage or a cancer I think botherin' her. Ma knowed a woman once, and everybuddy thot she was terrible cross cos she wouldn't talk at all hardly and when she died, they found she'd a tumult in her insides, and then you bet they felt good and sorry, when we're cross at home ma says it's not the strap we need, but a good dose of kastor oil or Seany and we git it too.

I gess I got Bugsey's and Patsey's bed paid fer now. Now I'll do Teddy's and Jimmy's. This ain't a blot it's the liniment Mrs. McGuire gave me. I have it on me hands.

I'm gittin on to be therteen soon. 13 is pretty old I gess. I'll soon turn the corner now and be lookin' 20 square in the face--I'll never be homesick then. I ain't lonesome now either--it's just sleep that's in my eyes smuggin them up.

Jim Russell is offel good to go to town he doesn't seem to mind it a bit. Once I said I wisht I'd told Camilla to remind Jimmy to spit on his warts every day--he's offell careless, and Jim said he'd tell Camilla, and he often asks me if I want to tell Camilla anything, and it's away out of his rode to go round to Mrs. Francis house too. I like Jim you bet.