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THE LITTLEST REBEL
Young Mrs. Herbert Cary picked up her work basket and slowly crossed the
grass to a shady bench underneath the trees. She must go on with her
task of planning a dress for Virgie. But the prospect of making her
daughter something wearable out of the odds and ends of nothing was not
a happy one. In fact, she was still poking through her basket and
frowning thoughtfully when a childish voice came to her ears.
"Yes, Virgie! Here I am. Out under the trees."
Immediately came a sound of tumultuous feet and Miss Virginia Houston
Cary burst upon the scene. She was a tot of seven with sun touched hair
and great dark eyes whose witchery made her a piquant little fairy. In
spite of her mother's despair over her clothes Virgie was dressed, or
at least had been dressed at breakfast time, in a clean white frock, low
shoes and white stockings, although all now showed signs of strenuous
usage. Clutched to her breast as she ran up to her mother's side was
"Susan Jemima," her one beloved possession and her doll. Behind Virgie
came Sally Ann, her playmate, a slim, barefooted mulatto girl whose
faded, gingham dress hung partly in tatters, halfway between her knees
and ankles. In one of Sally Ann's hands, carried like a sword, was a
pointed stick; in the other, a long piece of blue wood-moss from which
dangled a bit of string.
"Oh, Mother," cried the small daughter of the Carys, as she came up
flushed and excited, "what do you reckon Sally Ann and me have been
playing out in the woods!"
"What, dear!" and Mrs. Cary's gentle hand went up to lift the hair back
from her daughter's dampened forehead.
"_Blue Beard_!" cried Virgie, with rounded eyes.
"Blue Beard!" echoed her mother in astonishment at this childish freak
"Not really--on this hot day."
"Um, hum," nodded Virgie emphatically. "You know he--he--he was the
terriblest old man that--that ever was. An' he had so many wifses
"Say 'wives,' my darling. _Wives_."
Sally Ann laughed and Virgie frowned.
"Well, I _thought_ it was that, but Sally Ann's older'n me and she said
"Huh," grunted Sally Ann. "Don' make no differ'nce what you call 'em,
des so he had 'em. Gor'n tell her."
"Well, you know, Mother, Blue Beard had such a bad habit of killin' his
wives that--that some of the ladies got so they--they almost didn't like
to marry him!"
"Gracious, what a state of affairs," cried Mrs. Cary, in well feigned
amazement at the timidity of the various Mrs. Blue Beards. "And then--"
"Well, the last time he got married to--to another one--her name was
Mrs. Fatima. An'--an' I've been playin' _her_."
"And who played Blue Beard?"
"Sally Ann--an' she's just fine. Come here, Sally Ann, an' let's show
her. Kneel down."
Clutching the piece of moss from Sally Ann, Virgie ran behind the girl
and put her chubby arms around her neck. "This is his blue beard,
Mother. Hold still, Sally Ann--_My lord_, I mean--till I get it tied in
the right place."
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