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AN UNTHANKFUL ORPHAN
My name is Mary Cary. I live in the Yorkburg Female Orphan Asylum. You
may think nothing happens in an Orphan Asylum. It does. The orphans are
sure enough children, and real much like the kind that have Mothers and
Fathers; but though they don't give parties or wear truly Paris clothes,
things happen, and that's why I am going to write this story.
To-day I was kept in. Yesterday, too. I don't mind, for I would rather
watch the lightning up here than be down in the basement with the
others. There are days when I love thunder and lightning. I can't flash
and crash, being just Mary Cary; but I'd like to, and when it is done
for me it is a relief to my feelings.
The reason I was kept in was this. Yesterday Mr. Gaffney, the one with
a sunk eye and cold in his head perpetual, came to talk to us for the
benefit of our characters. He thinks it's his duty, and, just naturally
loving to talk, he wears us out once a week anyhow. Yesterday, not
agreeing with what he said, I wouldn't pretend I did, and I was punished
prompt, of course.
I don't care for duty-doers, and I tried not to listen to him; but
tiresome talk is hard not to hear--it makes you so mad. Hear him I did,
and when, after he had ambled on until I thought he really was
castor-oil and I had swallowed him, he blew his nose and said:
"You have much, my children, to be thankful for, and for everything you
should be thankful. Are you? If so, stand up. Rise, and stand upon your
I didn't rise. All the others did--stood on their feet, just like he
asked. None tried their heads. I was the only one that sat, and when he
saw me, his sunk eye almost rolled out, and his good eye stared at me in
such astonishment that I laughed out loud. I couldn't help it, I truly
I'm not thankful for everything, and that's why I didn't stand up. Can
you be thankful for toothache, or stomachache, or any kind of ache? You
cannot. And not meant to be, either.
The room got awful still, and then presently he said:
"Mary Cary"--his voice was worse than his eye--"Mary Cary, do you mean
to say you have not a thankful heart?" And he pointed his finger at me
like I was the Jezebel lady come to life.
I didn't answer, thinking it safer, and he asked again:
"Do I understand, Mary Cary"--and by this time he was real
red-in-the-face mad--"do I understand you are not thankful for all that
comes to you? Do I understand aright?"
"Yes, sir, you understand right," I said, getting up this time. "I am
not thankful for everything in my life. I'd be much thankfuller to have
a Mother and Father on earth than to have them in heaven. And there are
a great many other things I would like different." And down I sat, and
was kept in for telling the truth.
Miss Bray says it was for impertinence (Miss Bray is the Head Chief of
this Institution), but I didn't mean to be impertinent. I truly didn't.
Speaking facts is apt to make trouble, though--also writing them. To-day
Miss Bray kept me in for putting something on the blackboard I forgot to
rub out. I wrote it just for my own relief, not thinking about anybody
else seeing it. What I wrote was this:
"Some people are crazy all the time;
All people are crazy sometimes."
That's why I'm up in the punishment-room to-day, and it only proves that
what I wrote is right. It's crazy to let people know you know how queer
they are. Miss Bray takes personal everything I do, and when she saw
that blackboard, up-stairs she ordered me at once. She loves to punish
me, and it's a pleasure I give her often.
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