Paternoster Tales: Chapter 29

Lucretia

I may have said before that Lucretia is a minx.

No?

Well, when I say minx I mean the minxiest minx in the history of minxes. So naughty a minx that no other waif comes close. Silas is bad; not naughty. Naughty can sometimes get close to bad but isn’t wicked or mean. Silas wins prizes for being wicked and mean. Bad makes you cry and ties your insides in angry knots. Naughty on the other hand often makes you smile while tutting and perhaps suppressing a laugh. Naughty people are exasperating but loveable. But sometimes a month or two without them would be like seeing sun on a cloudy day.

As I’ve said before Lucretia operates in a bubble. Sometimes bubbles within bubbles. Sometimes they need to be popped. Molly found her and Little Agatha and started to pop some bubbles. First to go was the Merriment one. Molly mentioned Little Agatha’s mum and Little Agatha started to cry. Tears though watery themselves will burst any bubble based on merriment and having a good time. Next to go was the bubble that Lucretia had built round Little Agatha’s appropriation of her friend, Uma’s Wendy house – a bubble that had made her blind to the broken toys and the mess and the puddle in the garden and the plundered fruit and vegetables. She gazed in horror at what she had done. And her cheeks burned when she remembered the on-safari loo bucket in the sandpit. She could never tell Uma that it had been her. The only bubble left was the one holding the hide and seek game.

You know the game of hide and seek. One person counts while the other or others hide and then when the counting has stopped wait to be found.

Lucretia calls hide and seek the best game on the world. It got her out of many scrapes in the past. Little thieves have to be good at hiding. If not they are caught and punished. Lucretia did and does not like being punished.

She waited for Molly to say enough was enough. And to start planning how to get Little Agatha back to her mother. It was the how to get her back bit without being caught and without getting Little Agatha into trouble that gave Lucretia her idea.

Molly, if she has any faults, is perhaps a bit too trusting. I thought she knew Lucretia better.

If Little Agatha, brightening up now at the talk of playing another game, could be persuaded to hide on her way from Uma’s house to her own, she might not get caught by one of the many adults out looking for her. Lucretia would help with the finding of good hiding places and to complete the illusion of it being a game, Molly would do the counting.

What could possibly go wrong?

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