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Age Rating 8 Plus.

How Molly spent her sixpence.

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.


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