"Mrs. Comstock was up early, and without a word handed Elnora the case as she left the next morning.
"Thank you, mother," said Elnora, and went on her way.
She walked down the road looking straight ahead until she came to the corner, where she usually entered the swamp. She paused, glanced that way and smiled. Then she turned and looked back. There was no one coming in any direction. She followed the road until well around the corner, then she stopped and sat on a grassy spot, laid her books beside her and opened the lunch box. Last night's odours had in a measure prepared her for what she would see, but not quite. She scarcely could believe her senses. Half the bread compartment was filled with dainty sandwiches of bread and butter sprinkled with the yolk of egg and the remainder with three large slices of the most fragrant spice cake imaginable. The meat dish contained shaved cold ham, of which she knew the quality, the salad was tomatoes and celery, and the cup held preserved pear, clear as amber. There was milk in the bottle, two tissue-wrapped cucumber pickles in the folding drinking-cup, and a fresh napkin in the ring. No lunch was ever daintier or more palatable; of that Elnora was perfectly sure. And her mother had prepared it for her! "She does love me!" cried the happy girl. "Sure as you're born she loves me; only she hasn't found it out yet!" "
Oh I coveted that as compared to my very brown paper bag perhaps made out of the girl's mother's discarded skin but I digress. Plucky little heroines - the world was full of them when I was a child - there was Nancy Drew of course though I found her rather dull - but Trixie Belden! I adored her. And then older plucky heroines like that red-headed reporter - Brenda Starr - that featured in the Saturday comics - and real ones like Annie Oakley and Amelia Earhart. Are there some today? Hermione, of Harry Potter, and the lovely heroine of His Dark Materials and the girls of Neal Stephenson's books - The Diamond Age and his earlier one that's name escapes me.
The photo is of my Dad's sisters - all gone now. They are my Aunt Grace - who introduced me to the Girl of the Limberlost, Aunt Ruth, Aunt Pat and Aunt Marge...
Perhaps we need more real and imagined plucky little and big girls to snap everyone out of their gloom and doom and just plain get on with it. Whadya say dear readers?