But the dinner needed her attention, so she turned to finish setting the table, which Jerusha had arranged in part, before going home. A second time a thought seemed to strike her, and now she reached to the top drawer of the bureau and drew forth a white table-cloth.
"Mrs. who?" repeated Miss Jerusha. By this time Polly was so worn that she came very near turning and fleeing, but she thought of her mother's disappointment in her, and the loss of the news, and stood quite still. "What is it, Jerusha?" a gentle voice here broke upon Polly's ear.
Never heard of it before. Wonder where in time it is? I'd like awfully to know. There's the 1st and 21st Wis. in Rousseau's Division, and the 10th Wis. Battery in Palmer's Division. I might go over there and ask some o' them. Mebbe some of 'em are right from there. I'll bet it's a mighty nice place." He turned to the signature with increased interest. "Jerusha Ellen Briggs.
"Will she be made unhappy by Jerusha, you mean?" asked the parson. "Yes." "No, I don't believe she will," he said decidedly. "You must remember she has had her old 'Gran' as she calls her, and after that I think she can bear Jerusha." "Oh, yes," said Mrs. Henderson, "I forgot. Then I say, husband, we will take this child. I should really love to put the brightness into her life.
"I should think," said Miss Jerusha, the minister's sister, in a very tart voice, and raising her black mitts very high, "that children as old as you are could find some work to do, without sitting down to fold your hands and tell good-for-nothing stories." "They aren't good-for-nothing," shouted Joel. "You haven't heard 'em; they're just beautiful!" "Be still, Joe," commanded Ben.
She opened the other half of the big door, and led the way through the wide hall into a big, old-fashioned room, with painted floor, and high, old side-board, and some stiff-backed rocking-chairs. Miss Jerusha stalked in also and seated herself by the window, and began to knit. Polly had just opened her mouth to tell her errand, when the door also opened suddenly and Mr. Henderson walked in.
Miss Jerusha unbolted the door, slid back the great bar, opened the upper half, and stood there. She was a big woman, with sharp black eyes, and spectacles over which she looked which to Polly was much worse, for that gave her four eyes. "Well, and what do you want?" she asked. "I came to see I mean my ma sent me," stammered poor Polly.
"She told me I might have as many's I wanted," said Joel, with great satisfaction. "I like Grandma ever so much." "Take care, Joey, you don't take too many," said Mrs. Pepper. "Grandma's good to you, so you must be good to her, and come right home from here. You may stay half an hour," pointing to the old clock. "Miss Jerusha will be gone by that time," she said to herself with a grim smile.
We're all trying to call her by it, but it's awfully hard. She says she perfectly hated it when she was a child, but now she thinks it's quite stylish." "What is it?" "Jerusha! Priscilla Jerusha is the whole of it. It does sound dreadful, doesn't it? Peggy loathes it put together. She says her mother does too.
Why, the name itself is reg'lar poetry. Jerusha is awful purty. Your Mollies and Sallies and Emmies can't hold a candle to it. And Annabel pshaw! Ellen why that's my mother's name. Briggs? I knowed some Briggses once — way-up, awfully nice people. Seems to me they wuz Presbyterians, though, and I always thought that Presbyterians wuz stuck-up, but they wuzzent stuck-up a mite.