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12. CHAPTER XII. BEFORE THE LADIES' AID
Dinner, which came at noon in the Harrington homestead, was a silent meal on the day of the Ladies' Aid meeting. Pollyanna, it is true, tried to talk; but she did not make a success of it, chiefly because four times she was obliged to break off a "glad" in the middle of it, much to her blushing discomfort. The fifth time it happened, Miss Polly moved her head wearily.
"There, there, child, say it, if you want to," she sighed. "I'm sure I'd rather you did than not if it's going to make all this fuss."
Pollyanna's puckered little face cleared.
"Oh, thank you. I'm afraid it would be pretty hard--not to say it. You see I've played it so long."
"You've--what?" demanded Aunt Polly.
"Played it--the game, you know, that father--" Pollyanna stopped with a painful blush at finding herself so soon again on forbidden ground.
Aunt Polly frowned and said nothing. The rest of the meal was a silent one.
Pollyanna was not sorry to hear Aunt Polly tell the minister's wife over the telephone, a little later, that she would not be at the Ladies' Aid meeting that afternoon, owing to a headache. When Aunt Polly went up-stairs to her room and closed the door, Pollyanna tried to be sorry for the headache; but she could not help feeling glad that her aunt was not to be present that afternoon when she laid the case of Jimmy Bean before the Ladies' Aid. She could not forget that Aunt Polly had called Jimmy Bean a little beggar; and she did not want Aunt Polly to call him that--before the Ladies' Aid.
Pollyanna knew that the Ladies' Aid met at two o'clock in the chapel next the church, not quite half a mile from home. She planned her going, therefore, so that she should get there a little before three.
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