About Harriet  by Clara Whitehill Hunt

What Harriet Did on Sunday

A LTHOUGH Harriet had gone to sleep so early, she did not waken until late the next morning. Father and Mother had eaten their breakfast while Harriet was still far away in Dreamland. After a while a very bright little ray of sunshine ran across Harriet's face and she opened her eyes quickly and sat up in bed.

"Mother dear, what day is this?" she called.

"Oh, good morning, dear," said Mother. "This is Sunday and a very beautiful Sunday it is, too."

"Are we going to church to-day?" asked Harriet.

"Yes," said her Mother; "since you have waked up at last. I began to think Father would have to go alone."

Then Harriet ran to the bathroom, where she was soon splashing in the big white tub.


And when her Mother had rubbed her dry and when her hair had been brushed till it shone, Harriet said:—

"Now I'm as clean as the children of Grubbylea, after Clean Peter had scrubbed them."

"Clean Peter" was another of Harriet's picture-book friends.

Then her Mother helped put on the dainty underclothes and the white socks and ankle ties, but she did not put on Harriet's dress. She said:—

"I think I'll let you wear your blue kimono until after breakfast, then we'll be sure not to have any spots on the new white dress."

So Harriet ate her breakfast sitting at the table all by herself. She was a very hungry little girl, too, because it was such a long time since she had last eaten.

Besides her big, juicy orange and a large dish of oatmeal, she ate a delicious soft-boiled egg and a slice of toast, "just the right shade of brown," she said; and she drank almost two cupfuls of milk.

"Well! Well!" said Father. "Somebody has a big appetite this morning! If one day of ocean breezes makes our daughter so hungry, what do you suppose will happen, Little Mother, if we spend a whole summer on the Maine coast?"

"I hope it will mean that we'll bring home a little girl with more flesh on her bones than Harriet has now," said Mother. "She has not been hungry enough since she had the measles last spring."

The next thing to do was to put on the new white dress. This was a very pretty dress, because Aunt Maud, who knew how to do all sorts of lovely things with her fingers, had made it for Harriet. There were tiny white roses embroidered here and there upon it. And when the white hat went on, with its wreath of little pink rosebuds matching the pink bow in her hair, Harriet's Father and Mother thought their little girl looked sweeter than the June day itself.

The walk to church was very pleasant. All the streets looked especially clean and tidy. The sky above was so blue, so blue, and a gentle breeze made the fresh green leaves dance and sparkle in the sunshine.

Some of the people were out in their tiny square front yards tending their bits of flower beds which made even the city streets look gay. Many fathers and mothers and children, many young ladies and gentlemen, all dressed in their best, were walking along the streets, some on their way to church, others going to the train for a day in the country, perhaps.

It was only a few blocks from Harriet's house to the church. As they went into the door the great organ was playing one of the lovely things that Harriet's Mother often played on the piano at home. So Harriet enjoyed listening, and feeling the throb of the organ as it almost seemed to make the church building tremble with its music.

Soon the minister came into the pulpit and all the people rose and sang, "Praise God from Whom all blessings flow." Harriet sang at the top of her voice.


She knew that "blessings" meant her dear Father and Mother, her pleasant home, her kind aunties and uncles and grandparents, her books and toys and days at the beach and the Park, and all the many, many things that made her a happy little girl. And so she joined in thanking God for sending her these blessings.

The first part of the church service was always more interesting than the last. There was a chance to stand for the hymns when a little girl got tired of sitting still. There were the pennies to drop into the collection plate as it was passed. The minister, too, always preached a little sermon for the children, and he told stories so clearly that even little four-year-old girls liked to listen, and so did big fathers and mothers.

To sit still through the grown-ups' sermon was rather tiresome and many of the boys and girls went home after the children's sermon. Harriet, however, stayed with her parents, because there was no big sister to take her home.

She did not mind the quiet time very much, because she had a busy little mind for making up stories, and Mother always brought a small picture book and paper and pencil for Harriet to amuse herself with.

The book to-day was "Peter Rabbit," and what was more delightful, Harriet had her Peter Rabbit handkerchief with her. She knew every word of the story, so she made-believe read the words herself. Then she pretended to show the book Peter Rabbit his picture on her handkerchief, whispering to the two pictures very softly.

After a while she drew pictures; and then she got tired of everything and climbed into Father's arms, snuggling down and resting quietly till the end of the service.

How good it felt to be able to move about and talk again! Harriet had to shake hands with a great many friends on the way down the aisle; and when the minister in the vestibule saw her, he picked her up in his arms and kissed her, while Harriet hugged him so hard that his face got quite red with the squeezing. He seemed to like the hugging, though, because he and Harriet were special friends.

On the walk home the streets were even fuller of people than they had been earlier in the day. Every one looked glad of the bright Sunday when there was time to be out of doors and one did not have to hurry off to a long day's work.

As soon as they reached home, Harriet went to Florella May's crib and picked up her dolly, saying, "Why, my poor little daughter, did you think Mother had forgotten you?" And she tried to make up to her neglected child by being very loving.

She took off Florella May's nightie and dressed her carefully, from her hair-ribbon to her little shoes; then she sat in her rocking-chair and rocked her baby till Mother said that dinner was ready.


Florella May had to have a chair at the table next to Harriet's chair, and Harriet gave her child many tastes of the food from her own plate.

Dinner on Sunday was always a simple meal, but the dessert was sure to be a fine surprise. After the dishes for the first course had been taken to the kitchen, Harriet could hardly sit still. And when Father brought in, on a platter, a great pink mound with bits of red showing in it, Harriet bobbed up and down in her high chair, crying, "Strawberry ice cream! Oh, goody, goody!"

Sure enough, it was ice cream with real strawberries crushed in it, and Father had made it in their own freezer while Harriet had been asleep. Besides, there were little cakes that came in tin boxes from the grocery store; and Harriet ate very slowly so as to make the good taste last as long as possible.

After dinner on Sundays Harriet and her Father always played a game that was great fun. First they took Mother by the hand and led her into the sitting-room. They made her sit down in a big easy chair, and Harriet brought a cushion for Mother's back, while Father found the book Mother wished to read. Then they said to Mother:—

"Now you stay here and have a nice rest. We are going to do the dishes."

Then the play began. Harriet was Mother in this game, and Father was Harriet's little daughter Polly! It was such fun to make-believe that big tall Father was a little bit of a girl who had to mind just what Mother Harriet said!

First Harriet tied an apron on Father—I mean, on "Polly." Then she said:—

"Now, Polly, if you are a good little girl and help me clear the table and wash the dishes, I know where there is something very nice that Mrs. Robertson made for a good child."

"Oh, I'll be awful  good," said Polly, in a little squeaky voice, very different from Father's big, deep, everyday voice.

Then Polly began to work so briskly that Mother Harriet said:—

"Take care, Polly! You'll be dropping the dishes and smashing them if you hurry so."

Then Polly worked so slowly and made-believe be so anxious and solemn that Harriet giggled at Polly's funny actions. In fact, before the work was done and the game was over, Harriet laughed so much she could hardly stand.

When they went back into the sitting-room she said to Mother:—

"Daddy's a very jokish man, isn't he, Mother?"

"Indeed he is," said Mother. "I think he's only half-grown up, in spite of his size, don't you?"

Now there was a quiet hour while Harriet played with her dolls, and Father and Mother read their books. Then there was a Sunday School hour when Father told Harriet Bible stories, about Joseph and his coat of many colors, about Daniel in the lion's den, about the little shepherd boy who slew the big giant, and best of all about the Baby in the manger on the first Christmas Day.

After the stories there was music. Mother played beautifully on the piano and Father had a fine deep voice. Harriet had a pretty voice, too, so they sang, "Watchman, tell us of the night," and "Now the day is over," and others of Harriet's favorite hymns.

Then Harriet and her Father took turns choosing what Mother was to play for them. First Harriet chose the "Spring Song," because it made her think of fairies dancing on the soft green grass of early spring. Then Father asked for the "Funeral March," that reminded one of a slow, solemn procession and a whole nation weeping for the loss of one of its great men. Then Harriet chose "To a wild rose," so delicate, so sweet, like the dainty flower that grows along country roads in June.


After the music it was supper-time. Sunday-night supper was fun, too. They did not set the table in the dining-room. They went into the kitchen and had a picnic supper. Sometimes they played they were gypsies. Sometimes they were Indians. Sometimes they were the Pilgrims just landed in America, before there were houses to live in. They always toasted bread with the toasting-fork, but they made-believe the bread was bear meat or deer meat which Father, the hunter, had brought home from the woods. And the jam was wild honey which they had found stored by the bees in a hollow tree; and the fruit was berries picked from bushes near their camp.

Oh, how good everything tasted with all these make-believe names!

Soon after supper Harriet was quite sleepy enough to go to bed. But first she gave Father "bushels of kisses," because she said it would be so long before he could be at home again all day to do nice, jolly things for Mother and Harriet.

And almost as soon as her head touched her pillow the sandman came and Harriet was sound asleep.

So this is the end of the Third Story about Harriet and what she did on Sunday.