Select the desired text size

Age Rating 8 Plus.

How Molly spent her sixpence.

By ELIZA ORNE WHITE
From The Book of Stories for the Storyteller by Fanny E. Coe.

Start of Story

Molly and Priscilla were two little cousins. They had been spending a week together at their grandmother's. When Molly was going home, the two little girls exchanged silver sixpences. Each wished to have a remembrance of the other. Molly meant to keep Priscilla's sixpence always, but she had not been at home many days before she received a letter from her cousin that altered her intentions. Molly's mamma read it aloud.

"DEAR MOLLY,--I miss you very much. I cried the day you went, for it was so lonely. I have spent your sixpence. I meant to get pink and blue and yellow tissue paper, but Guy Fawkes Day came and I got fireworks instead. They are all gone now, but it was fun while they lasted. They made a splendid noise. I like crackers. "Please get something to remember me by on my birthday. As I have spent your sixpence, I want you to spend mine, and then we shall be even. My birthday is the eighth of December. I wish you were my sister. Your loving cousin, "PRISCILLA DRAYTON."
"It is the eighth of December to-day, Molly dear," said Mrs Benson. "Then I think I had better go and look round the shops." "You will find a great variety of things at Fletcher's," said her mamma; "and if you like, you may go there all by yourself like a grown-up person." This pleased Molly, and she put on her brown hat and started out with a little shopping bag that her Aunt Ruth had given her last Christmas. Her small purse was in the bottom holding her silver sixpence. Just as she reached the gate, she saw Julia Harding coming out of the big house opposite.



"Where are you going, Molly?" Julia asked. "I was coming over to play with you." "I am going to do some shopping," said Molly. "What are you going to buy?" "I don't know." "You don't know what you are going to buy?" "It may be tissue paper, or it may be paper dolls' furniture, or it may be a new dress for Sylvia or Jane, but whatever it is, it must cost just sixpence." Then Molly told Julia the story of the exchange of the silver sixpences. "I should get sweets if it were mine," said Julia, "and then we could eat some." "But I don't want to eat up my lovely present," said Molly. Fletcher's was a delightful shop. It had almost everything in it that anyone could want. In fact it was so full of charming things that it was hard to make a choice. Molly's eyes were fascinated by a card full of paper-doll patterns, and their pretty blue, red, and white dresses. There was a back and a front view of each little girl, to be cut out and pasted together so as to make a complete person. There were also on the same card a tennis racket and a hoop and a dear little doll's carriage for the rag-doll children to play with, and a shopping-bag and a green watering-pot. Molly was afraid that these children and their outfit would cost a great deal of money, and that she could not afford to buy them. "How much are they?" she shyly asked the girl behind the counter. "Sixpence-halfpenny a card. They are very cheap, for they came from Germany. Would you like one?" Molly shook her head. "I only have sixpence," she answered with a sigh. "I will let you have it for sixpence seeing that it is you," the girl said.



She was very pleasant, with kind, grey eyes. "Sixpence is very cheap for two children and their entire wardrobe, not to mention play-things," she added. "Yes, it is cheap," said Molly. Julia, meanwhile, had discovered some paper doll furniture. One card was full of kitchen things, and another was devoted to parlour furniture, while a third displayed a bedroom set. "How perfectly beautiful!" Molly said, as she looked at the little brown dressing-table with white-and-red cover and the red pin-cushion full of pins. "What a dear little rug!" said Julia, pointing to a charming brown skin rug. "And look at the towels and the little towel-rack," said Molly. "And the bed and washstand and the pretty blue screen," added Julia. "See the brown chairs and the dear little brown clock. What fun it would be to cut them out, Julia!" "Look at the parlour set," said Julia. "See the piano, and the red sofa and chairs, and the tall piano-lamp with its red shade." "The kitchen is a dear place," said Molly. "See the table with a lobster on it in a dish, and the sweet little cooking-stove, and the pretty blue dishes in the cupboard; they all seem so real." "See the spice-box," said Julia. "Pepper, nutmeg, c-i-n-n-a-m-o-n, cinnamon." "Oh, look at that dear little pussy cat in the kitchen!" said Molly. "How much are these cards?" she asked. "Sixpence each." "Only sixpence! I don't know which I want the most." "I should choose the parlour set," said Julia. "I like the kitchen and the bedroom set the best, because we could have more fun with them." "We have the same things at threepence a card in a smaller size," the assistant said. "At threepence a card! Then I can have two of them, Julia! and I can send one of them to Priscilla, for poor Priscilla has spent all her money on fireworks, and hasn't anything to remember me by."



"I should keep them both," said Julia. "If she chose to spend her money on fireworks, that is her lookout. We could have more fun if you had the kitchen and parlour furniture, too." "Yes, we could," said Molly. "I must look round a little more before I decide," she added prudently. "Oh, Julia, see that pretty pink stuff with white spots on it! How becoming that would be to Sylvia! It takes only half-a-yard for her dress. How much is it for half-a-yard?" "It is one shilling and a halfpenny a yard," the assistant replied. "How much would that be for half-a-yard, Julia?" "I don't know." "We don't know how much it would be for half-a-yard," said Molly appealingly. "Well, we would charge you sixpence." "Sixpence!" said Molly. She was almost sorry, for if it had cost more she could not have bought it, and it would have been a little easier to choose. "Look at this sweet doll, Molly," said Julia, from the other end of the shop. "A tiny doll and yet so prettily dressed. How much is it?" "Sixpence." "Everything is sixpence in this shop," said Molly, in despair. "I can't ever decide; but I have so many dolls that I don't really need any more." "Oh, Molly, see this!" and Julia paused before a tall round basket. A white card hung above it, and on this card was printed in large black letters: THE LUCKY DIP 3d. a Dip EACH ARTICLE FULLY WORTH DOUBLE Julia pushed up the cover of the basket, and she and Molly peeped in over the top. There were flat parcels to be seen and three-cornered parcels, and long ones and square ones, and they were all done up in tissue paper. There was something very interesting and mysterious about the dip. Those paper packages might have something in them even rarer and more beautiful than the paper dolls, or the furniture, or the pink stuff.



"You could have two dips for sixpence," Julia suggested. "You could dip and I could dip, and I could give you what I get." She was longing to know the contents of a certain interesting irregular parcel. "The furniture is so sweet," said Molly, "and I am sure I want it." "The paper dolls are sweet, too," said Julia. "Yes, and so is the pink stuff. I shall _have_ to take a dip to decide it." Meanwhile a more important customer had come in with whom the assistant was busy, so Molly went over to her and handed her the sixpence. "We will have two dips," she said. "Thank you. Did you say you would have three yards, madam?" she asked, turning to the lady customer. "You dip first," said Julia. Molly looked from the flat parcels to the three-cornered ones and could not decide which to choose. "I think I will shut my eyes," she said, and she put in her hand at random and pulled out a small, flat parcel. She opened it eagerly, and took out a block of black paper, to be used as a slate, and a pencil with which to write on it. She was sadly disappointed, and felt very much like crying. "It is a horrid thing," said Julia. "We don't want a paper slate when you have that nice blackboard. You were very silly to shut your eyes. I shall choose with my eyes open. I am going to take that package that looks as if it might be a doll." She took out the enticing-looking package and began to untie the string, and presently drew forth a pink-and-white-and-green china vase of a hideous shape. It was too large for dolls, and too small for people, and too ugly to please either. "That dip is perfectly horrid," said Julia.



Molly was sure that she had never been so unhappy. She knew, now that it was too late, that she wanted the paper doll furniture more than anything in the whole world. The little girls were very sober all the way home. When they reached Molly's gate, Julia handed over the vase. "Take the old thing," she said. "You have got something to remember Priscilla by always now, and you can send the paper slate to her." "Well, what did you buy, dear?" her mamma asked cheerfully, as Molly came into the parlour. The little girl found it hard to keep back her tears. Her Aunt Mary and her brother Fred were sitting there, too. She felt it would have been easier to confess her folly to her mother alone. She held up the vase and the paper block silently. "The block was a sensible choice," said her mamma, "but I don't see why you chose the vase." "I didn't choose either of them," Molly burst out. "We dipped and we got them." "In short, they chose you," said Fred. Then the little girl told the whole story. "I _did_ want the paper doll furniture so much," she ended. "Why didn't you buy it, then?" asked her aunt. "Because we thought it would be more fun to dip." "This will be a very good lesson for you, Molly," said her aunt. "It is never well to spend money unless you are sure what you are spending it for. I am sorry for you, but you will never be so foolish again." "There will be time to go to Fletcher's again before tea," said Fred. "I will go with you, and we will pretend the sixpence I have was Priscilla's and you shall choose what you want all over again."



Molly danced up and down with pleasure, and she and Fred went to Fletcher's together. This time she made her choice very quickly, for she knew just what she wanted. She bought the bedroom set and the kitchen furniture. She remembered Julia's words: "I should keep them both. If Priscilla chose to spend her money on fireworks, that is her lookout." But now she herself had spent her money foolishly. If Fred had thought as Julia did, that nobody who had made an unwise investment ought to have anything given her, she would never have had the dear paper doll furniture. So she kept the kitchen set and sent the bedroom set to Priscilla.



"You could have two dips for sixpence," Julia suggested. "You could dip and I could dip, and I could give you what I get." She was longing to know the contents of a certain interesting irregular parcel. "The furniture is so sweet," said Molly, "and I am sure I want it." "The paper dolls are sweet, too," said Julia. "Yes, and so is the pink stuff. I shall _have_ to take a dip to decide it." Meanwhile a more important customer had come in with whom the assistant was busy, so Molly went over to her and handed her the sixpence. "We will have two dips," she said. "Thank you. Did you say you would have three yards, madam?" she asked, turning to the lady customer. "You dip first," said Julia. Molly looked from the flat parcels to the three-cornered ones and could not decide which to choose. "I think I will shut my eyes," she said, and she put in her hand at random and pulled out a small, flat parcel. She opened it eagerly, and took out a block of black paper, to be used as a slate, and a pencil with which to write on it. She was sadly disappointed, and felt very much like crying. "It is a horrid thing," said Julia. "We don't want a paper slate when you have that nice blackboard. You were very silly to shut your eyes. I shall choose with my eyes open. I am going to take that package that looks as if it might be a doll." She took out the enticing-looking package and began to untie the string, and presently drew forth a pink-and-white-and-green china vase of a hideous shape. It was too large for dolls, and too small for people, and too ugly to please either. "That dip is perfectly horrid," said Julia.



Molly was sure that she had never been so unhappy. She knew, now that it was too late, that she wanted the paper doll furniture more than anything in the whole world. The little girls were very sober all the way home. When they reached Molly's gate, Julia handed over the vase. "Take the old thing," she said. "You have got something to remember Priscilla by always now, and you can send the paper slate to her." "Well, what did you buy, dear?" her mamma asked cheerfully, as Molly came into the parlour. The little girl found it hard to keep back her tears. Her Aunt Mary and her brother Fred were sitting there, too. She felt it would have been easier to confess her folly to her mother alone. She held up the vase and the paper block silently. "The block was a sensible choice," said her mamma, "but I don't see why you chose the vase." "I didn't choose either of them," Molly burst out. "We dipped and we got them." "In short, they chose you," said Fred. Then the little girl told the whole story. "I _did_ want the paper doll furniture so much," she ended. "Why didn't you buy it, then?" asked her aunt. "Because we thought it would be more fun to dip." "This will be a very good lesson for you, Molly," said her aunt. "It is never well to spend money unless you are sure what you are spending it for. I am sorry for you, but you will never be so foolish again." "There will be time to go to Fletcher's again before tea," said Fred. "I will go with you, and we will pretend the sixpence I have was Priscilla's and you shall choose what you want all over again."



Molly danced up and down with pleasure, and she and Fred went to Fletcher's together. This time she made her choice very quickly, for she knew just what she wanted. She bought the bedroom set and the kitchen furniture. She remembered Julia's words: "I should keep them both. If Priscilla chose to spend her money on fireworks, that is her lookout." But now she herself had spent her money foolishly. If Fred had thought as Julia did, that nobody who had made an unwise investment ought to have anything given her, she would never have had the dear paper doll furniture. So she kept the kitchen set and sent the bedroom set to Priscilla.

       



back to top
Back To Top
Audio version of this story
audio version of this story
Text version of this story
Text version of this story
see and hear version of this story
see and hear version of this story
Download the audio of this story
Download the audio of this story
Download the text of this story
download the text of this story