“Well, I ain’t going. I can read and write and cipher up to fractions. That’s all I want. You fellows go and I’ll stay home. You needn’t be scared I’ll steal anything. I swear I’m honest.”
Mary employed herself while the others were at school in cleaning up the manse. In a few days it was a different place. Floors were swept, furniture dusted, everything straightened out. She mended the spare-room bed-tick, she sewed on missing buttons, she patched clothes neatly, she even invaded the study with broom and dustpan and ordered Mr. Meredith out while she put it to rights. But there was one department with which Aunt Martha refused to let her interfere. Aunt Martha might be deaf and half blind and very childish, but she was resolved to keep the commissariat in her own hands, in spite of all Mary’s wiles and stratagems.