Daddy Long Legs 足長おじさん
The first Wednesday in every month was a Perfectly Awful
Day-a day to be awaited with dread, endured with courage,
and forgotten with haste. Every floor must be spotless,
every chair dustless, and every bed without a wrinkle.
Ninety-seven squirming little orphans must be scrubbed and
combed and buttoned into freshly starched ginghams; and
all ninety-seven reminded of their manners, and told to
say "Yes, sir," "No, sir," whenever a trustee spoke.
It was a distressing time: and poor Jerusha Abbott,
being the oldest orphan, had to bear the brunt of it. But
this particular first Wednesday, like its predecessors,
finally dragged itself to a close. Jerusha escaped from
the pantry where she had been making sandwiches for the
asylum's guests, and turned upstairs to accomplish her
regular work. Her special care was room F, where eleven
little tots, from four to seven, occupied eleven little
cots set in a row. Jerusha assembled her charges,
straightened their rumpled frocks, wiped their noses, and
started them in an orderly and willing line toward the
dinig room to engage themselves for a blessed half hour
with bread and milk and prune pudding.
Then she dropped down on the window seat and leaned
throbbing temples against the cool glass. She had been on
her feet since five that morning doing everybody's
bidding, scolded and hurried by a nervous matron. Mrs.
Lippett, behind the scenes, did not always maintain that
calm and pompous dignity with which she faced an audience
of trustees and lady visitors. Jerusha gazed out across a
broad stretch of frozen lawn, beyond the tall iron paling
that marked the confines of the asylum, down undulating
ridges sprinkled with country estates, to the spires of
the village rising from the midst of bare trees.
The day was ended-quite successfully, so far as she
knew. The trustees and the visiting committee had made
their rounds, and read their reports, and drunk their tea,
and now were hurrying home to their own cheerful
firesides, to forget their bothersome little charges for
another month. Jerusha leaned forward watching with
curiosity -and a touch of wistfulness- the stream of
carriages and automobiles that rolled out of the asylum
gates. In imagination she followed first one equipage then
another to the big houses dotted along the hillside. She
pictured herself in a fur coat and a velvet hat trimmed
with feathers leaning back in the seat and nonchalantly
murmuring "Home" to the driver. But on the doorsill of her
home the picture grew blurred.