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18. CHAPTER XVIII. PRISMS
As the warm August days passed, Pollyanna went very frequently to the great house on Pendleton Hill. She did not feel, however, that her visits were really a success. Not but that the man seemed to want her there--he sent for her, indeed, frequently; but that when she was there, he seemed scarcely any the happier for her presence--at least, so Pollyanna thought.
He talked to her, it was true, and be showed her many strange and beautiful things--books, pictures, and curios. But he still fretted audibly over his own helplessness, and he chafed visibly under the rules and "regulatings" of the unwelcome members of his household. He did, indeed, seem to like to hear Pollyanna talk, however, and Pollyanna talked, Pollyanna liked to talk--but she was never sure that she would not look up and find him lying back on his pillow with that white, hurt look that always pained her; and she was never sure which--if any--of her words had brought it there. As for telling him the "glad game," and trying to get him to play it--Pollyanna had never seen the time yet when she thought he would care to hear about it. She had twice tried to tell him; but neither time had she got beyond the beginning of what her father had said--John Pendleton had on each occasion turned the conversation abruptly to another subject.
Pollyanna never doubted now that John Pendleton was her Aunt Polly's one-time lover; and with all the strength of her loving, loyal heart, she wished she could in some way bring happiness into their to her mind--miserably lonely lives.
Just how she was to do this, however, she could not see. She talked to Mr. Pendleton about her aunt; and he listened, sometimes politely, sometimes irritably, frequently with a quizzical smile on his usually stern lips. She talked to her aunt about Mr. Pendleton--or rather, she tried to talk to her about him. As a general thing, however, Miss Polly would not listen--long. She always found something else to talk about. She frequently did that, however, when Pollyanna was talking of others--of Dr. Chilton, for instance. Pollyanna laid this, though, to the fact that it had been Dr. Chilton who had seen her in the sun parlor with the rose in her hair and the lace shawl draped about her shoulders. Aunt Polly, indeed, seemed particularly bitter against Dr. Chilton, as Pollyanna found out one day when a hard cold shut her up in the house.
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