Eleanor H. Porter, 1913
‘Yes, ma’am.’ Nancy stifled a sigh. She was wondering if ever in any way she could please this woman. Nancy had never ‘worked out’ before; but a sick mother suddenly widowed and left with three younger children besides Nancy herself, had forced the girl into doing something toward their support, and she had been so pleased when she found a place in the kitchen of the great house on the hill—Nancy had come from ‘The Corners,’ six miles away, and she knew Miss Polly Harrington only as the mistress of the old Harrington homestead, and one of the wealthiest residents of the town. That was two months before. She knew Miss Polly now as a stern, severe-faced woman who frowned if a knife clattered to the floor, or if a door banged—but who never thought to smile even when knives and doors were still.
‘When you’ve finished your morning work, Nancy,’ Miss Polly was saying now, ‘you may clear the little room at the head of the stairs in the attic, and make up the cot bed. Sweep the room and clean it, of course, after you clear out the trunks and boxes.’
‘Yes, ma’am. And where shall I put the things, please, that I take out?’
‘In the front attic.’ Miss Polly hesitated, then went on: ‘I suppose I may as well tell you now, Nancy. My niece, Miss Pollyanna Whittier, is coming to live with me. She is eleven years old, and will sleep in that room.’