The Old Wives' Tale - by Arnold Bennett
"Sophia," said Constance, firmly, approaching the bed, "I wish you
wouldn't be so silly!" She had benevolently ignored the satirical
note in Sophia's first remark, but a strong instinct in her rose
up and objected to further derision. "Surely you've done enough
for one day!" she added.
For answer Sophia exploded into violent laughter, which she made
no attempt to control. She laughed too long and too freely while
Constance stared at her.
"_I_ don't know what's come over you!" said Constance.
"It's only because I can't look at it without simply going off
into fits!" Sophia gasped out. And she held up a tiny object in
her left hand.
Constance started, flushing. "You don't mean to say you've kept
it!" she protested earnestly. "How horrid you are, Sophia! Give it to
me at once and let me throw it away. I never heard of such doings.
Now give it to me!"
"No," Sophia objected, still laughing. "I wouldn't part with it
for worlds. It's too lovely."
She had laughed away all her secret resentment against Constance
for having ignored her during the whole evening and for being on
such intimate terms with their parents. And she was ready to be
candidly jolly with Constance.
"Give it me," said Constance, doggedly.
Sophia hid her hand under the clothes. "You can have his old
stump, when it comes out, if you like. But not this. What a pity
it's the wrong one!"
"Sophia, I'm ashamed of you! Give it me."