Brother and Sister

Language: English
Published: 1 month ago
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"Brother," said Mother Morrison, "you haven't touched your glass of milk. Hurry now, and drink it before we leave the table."

Brother's big brown eyes turned from his knife, which he had been playing was a bridge from the salt cellar to the egg cup, toward the tumbler of milk standing beside his plate.

"I don't have to drink milk this morning, Mother," he assured her confidently. "Honestly I don't. It's raining so hard that we can't go outdoors and grow, anyway."

Louise, his older sister, said sharply. "Don't be silly!" but Ralph, who was in a hurry to catch his train, stopped long enough to give a word of advice.

"Look here, Brother," he urged seriously, "better not skip a morning. Your birthday is next week, isn't it? Well, if you're not tall enough by Wednesday morning, you can't have the present I bought for you last night. Too short, no present—you think it over."

He stooped to kiss his mother, tweaked Sister's perky bow of hair-ribbon, and with a hasty "Good-bye" for the others at the table, hurried out into the hall. They heard the front door slam after him.

Spurred by Ralph's mysterious hint, Brother drank his milk, and then the Morrison family scattered for their usual busy day.

Brother and Sister were left to clear the breakfast table. They always did this, carrying out the dishes and silver to Molly in the kitchen. Then they crumbled the cloth neatly. Molly declared she could not do without them.

"What do you suppose Ralph is going to give you?" speculated Sister, carefully folding up the napkin Louise had dropped, and slipping it into the white pique ring embroidered with an "L." "Maybe it's a train?"

"No, I don't believe it's a train," said Brother slowly, crumbling a bit of bread and beginning to build a little farm with the crumbs. "No, I guess maybe he will give me a tool-chest."

"Come on, and bring the bread tray," suggested Sister practically. She never forgot the task in hand for other interests. "Mother says we mustn't dawdle, Roddy, you know she did. It's my turn to feed the birds, so I'll crumb the table. Could I use your saw if you get a tool-chest?"

Brother answered dreamily that he supposed she could. He watched Sister and her crumb-brush sweep away his nice little bread-crumb fences, while he planned to build a real fence if Ralph's present should turn out to be the long-coveted tool-chest.

When Sister had swept up every tiny crumb, she and Brother went out to scatter the bits of bread to the birds who, winter and summer, never failed to come to the back door and who always seemed hungry.

This morning there were robins, starlings, a pair of beautiful big blue jays, and, of course, the rusty little sparrows. Each bird seemed to be pretending to the others that he was looking for worms, and each one slyly watched the Morrison back door in hopes that two small figures would presently come out and toss them a breakfast of breadcrumbs.

Sister flung her crumbs as far as her short arm would send them, and managed to hit an indignant old starling squarely in the eye....