Running to Waste: The Story of a Tomboy

Running to Waste: The Story of a Tomboy

George M. Baker

Poetry / LGBT

CHAPTER I.STOLEN SWEETS.“Bouncers, Teddy! the roundest and the rosiest. Drop them, quick! My apron’s all ready for the darlings.”“It’s very well to say drop them; but it’s just as much as I can do to keep from falling myself. Don’t you see I’m holding on with both hands?”“What a fuss you do make! Come down, and let me try. I never saw a tree yet big enough to scare me.”“Who’s scart, Becky Sleeper? I ain’t—not by a long chalk. When a feller’s holdin’ on with both hands, he can’t be expected to pick very quick—can he?”“Wind your arm round that branch over your head. There; now you’re all right, Teddy.”“That’s so. What a hand you are to contrive! Now look sharp—they’re coming!”Becky Sleeper, in imitation of famed “Humpty Dumpty,” sat upon a wall, where she had no business to be, for the wall was the boundary of Captain Thompson’s orchard. But there she sat, her feet dangling, her hair flying, and her hands holding her apron by its corners, intent on catching the apples which her brother was plucking from the tree above her head.An active, wide-awake little body was the girl who was acting as accessory to the crime—a very common one—of robbing an orchard. Every movement of her sprightly figure belied the family name. Perched upon the wall, that cool October morning, she might have sat as a model for the Spirit of Mischief. A plump, round, rosy face, with a color in the cheeks that rivaled in brightness the coveted fruit above her, blue eyes full of laughter, a pretty mouth, with dissolving views of flashing teeth, teasing smiles, and a tongue never at rest; a queer little pug nose, that had a habit of twitching a mirthful accompaniment to the merriment of eyes and mouth, a profusion of light hair, tossed to and fro by the quick motions of the head,—all these combined to make a head-piece which would have delighted an artist, brightened as it was by a few straggling rays of sunshine, that darted through convenient openings in the mass of foliage above her head.Miss Becky’s costume, however, did not furnish a fitting finish to her face and figure, but, on the contrary, seemed much the worse for wear. A high-neck, blue-check apron showed unmistakable signs of familiarity with grape and berry juices; the rusty brown dress which peeped out beneath it was plentifully “sown with tares,” and had a rough fringe at the bottom never placed there by the dress-maker; a pair of stockings, once white, had the appearance of having recently been dyed in a mud-puddle, and a pair of stringless boots, which completed her attire, were only prevented from dropping off by an elevation of the toes.With her diminutive figure, her mischievous face, and her eager interest in the apple raid, she might have been taken for a thoughtless, giddy child. No stranger would have dreamed she was a maiden with an undoubted right to affix to her name, age sixteen.
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