Betsy Butterfly in "Mrs. Ladybug's Advice"
Mrs. Ladybug's Advice
Little did Betsy Butterfly guess what Mrs. Ladybug intended to say to her. And if she had known what it was she would have been merely amused. For Betsy was entirely too sweet-tempered to take offense at anybody's fault-finding—least of all that of Mrs. Ladybug, who was really a good-hearted soul, when she wasn't jealous. And when Betsy went to the flower garden early the next morning she felt kindly towards the whole world, not even excepting Johnnie Green, though he had tried to capture her.
Well, Mrs. Ladybug was waiting for Betsy Butterfly among the flowers. She had been in such haste to reach the garden early that she had not stopped to have her breakfast. And like many people who have not drunk their morning cup of coffee, she was in a very peevish mood."Now, Miss Pert, I want you to listen to me!" That was Mrs. Ladybug's greeting to Betsy Butterfly on one of the most delightful days of the whole summer. "It's my unpleasant duty—" said Mrs. Ladybug, who by that time was enjoying herself thoroughly—"it's my unpleasant duty to tell you that people are talking about you.
They say that you're going about covered with dust! And as a friend, I advise you to give yourself a thorough brushing each morning, and as often thereafter as may be necessary."Betsy Butterfly had listened in amazement to Mrs. Ladybug's words. And she had hard work not to laugh, too, because she thought Mrs. Ladybug's advice decidedly funny.
"Thank you very much!" Betsy said most politely. "I'll remember what you've told me."
Somehow Mrs. Ladybug thought that Betsy meant she would follow her advice. And she looked quite pleased.
"I shall expect a great improvement in your appearance the next time I see you," she announced. And with the manner of a person who has just done somebody a good turn she hurried away to get the breakfast that was waiting for her, somewhere.Then Betsy Butterfly enjoyed a good laugh.
"How ridiculous!" she said to herself. "But I won't tell Mrs. Ladybug of her mistake, because she might feel upset if I did." And you can see, just by that, how kind-hearted Betsy was. She did not even tell her own family about the joke, for fear of hurting Mrs. Ladybug's feelings.
But jealous little Mrs. Ladybug had no such misgivings. She went out of her way to explain to people that if they noticed a change in Betsy Butterfly's appearance, they might thank her for it.... "I told Betsy that she ought to brush the dust off herself," she informed her friends.
Naturally she was displeased when she met Betsy that very afternoon and saw that the dust still lay thick on her wings.
"I believe you actually want to be untidy!" Mrs. Ladybug cried. "And if you aren't going to brush that dust off, I shall do it myself!" And grasping a small Indian paint-brush, the weight of which she could scarcely stagger under, Mrs. Ladybug advanced upon Betsy Butterfly with a determined look in her eye.
"Oh, don't do that!" cried Betsy.
"It's my painful duty to give you a thorough dusting," Mrs. Ladybug declared.