Understood Betsy

Dorothy Canfield Fisher

Understood Betsy, by Dorothy Canfield

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Title: Understood Betsy
Author: Dorothy Canfield
Release Date: March, 2004 [EBook #5347] [Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule] [This file was first posted on July 3, 2002] [Date last updated: August 14, 2005]
Edition: 10
Language: English
Character set encoding: ASCII

Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Charles Franks and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.

DOROTHY CANFIELD Author of "The Bent Twig," etc.

[Illustration: Uncle Henry looked at her, eyeing her sidewise over the top of one spectacle glass. (Page 34)]

I Aunt Harriet Has a Cough II Betsy Holds the Reins III A Short Morning IV Betsy Goes to School V What Grade is Betsy? VI If You Don't Like Conversation in a Book Skip this Chapter! VII Elizabeth Ann Fails in an Examination VIII Betsy Starts a Sewing Society IX The New Clothes Fail X Betsy Has a Birthday XI "Understood Aunt Frances"

Uncle Henry looked at her, eying her sidewise over the top of one spectacle-glass Frontispiece
Elizabeth Ann stood up before the doctor. "Do you know," said Aunt Abigail, "I think it's going to be real nice, having a little girl in the house again"
She had greatly enjoyed doing her own hair.
"Oh, he's asking for more!" cried Elizabeth Ann
Betsy shut her teeth together hard, and started across "What's the matter, Molly? What's the matter?"
Betsy and Ellen and the old doll
He had fallen asleep with his head on his arms
Never were dishes washed better!
Betsy was staring down at her shoes, biting her lips and winking her eyes
When this story begins, Elizabeth Ann, who is the heroine of it, was a little girl of nine, who lived with her Great-aunt Harriet in a medium- sized city in a medium-sized State in the middle of this country; and that's all you need to know about the place, for it's not the important thing in the story; and anyhow you know all about it because it was probably very much like the place you live in yourself.
Elizabeth Ann's Great-aunt Harriet was a widow who was not very rich or very poor, and she had one daughter, Frances, who gave piano lessons to little girls. They kept a "girl" whose name was Grace and who had asthma dreadfully and wasn't very much of a "girl" at all, being nearer fifty than forty. Aunt Harriet, who was very tender-hearted, kept her chiefly because she couldn't get any other place on account of her coughing so you could hear her all over the house.
So now you know the names of all the household. And this is how they looked: Aunt Harriet was very small and thin and old, Grace was very small and thin and middle-aged, Aunt Frances (for Elizabeth Ann called her "Aunt," although she was really, of course, a first-cousin-once- removed) was small and thin and if the light wasn't too strong might be called young, and Elizabeth Ann was very small and thin and little. And yet they all had plenty to eat. I wonder what was the matter with them?
It was certainly not because they were not good, for no womenkind in all the world had kinder hearts than they. You have heard how Aunt Harriet kept Grace (in spite of the fact that she was a very depressing person) on account of her asthma; and when Elizabeth Ann's father and mother both died when she was a baby, although there were many other cousins and uncles and aunts in the family, these two women fairly rushed upon the little baby-orphan, taking her home and surrounding her henceforth with the most loving devotion.
They had said to themselves that it was their manifest duty to save the dear little thing from the other relatives, who had no idea about how to bring up a sensitive, impressionable child, and they were sure, from the way Elizabeth Ann looked at six
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