Wanda didn’t have any friends. She came to school alone and went home alone. She always wore a faded blue dress that didn’t hang right. It was clean, but it looked as though it had never been ironed properly. She didn’t have any friends, but a lot of girls talked to her. Sometimes, they surrounded her in the school yard as she stood watching the little girls play hopscotch on the worn hard ground.
“Wanda,” Peggy would say in a most courteous manner as though she were talking to Miss Mason. “Wanda,” she’d say, giving one of her friends a nudge, “tell us. How many dresses did you say you had hanging up in your closet?”
“A hundred,” Wanda would say.
“A hundred!” exclaimed all the little girls incredulously, and the little ones would stop playing hopscotch and listen.
“Yeah, a hundred, all lined up,” said Wanda. Then her thin lips drew together in silence.
Wanda did not have any friends in school. She used to come to school alone and go back home alone. She used to wear a dull blue dress that didn't fit her well. Her dress looked clean, and it seemed that it had never been ironed properly. Although she didn't have any friends, several girls spoke to her. When Wanda stood in the playground watching the little girls playing hopscotch on the mud-filled playground, some girls would encircle her.
When Wanda was in the playground, Peggy used to go near her. She used to speak to her gently as she used to speak to her teacher Miss Mason. Then she would call her name and give a light push to her friend (to make fun of Wanda) and ask how many dresses she had hanging in her closet.
After hearing that, Wanda would say, "A hundred". At the same time, all the girls standing near her were astonished and exclaimed, "A hundred!" The little ones playing hopscotch would stop and listen to Wanda's talk. After seeing their expression, Wanda would reply that she had a hundred dresses lined up in a row in her closet. After telling that, "her thin lips drew together in silence". Here, the narrator expresses how soft she is and her calmness.
Meanings of the difficult words:
|Fade||Less bright in colour than before|
|Hopscotch||A game played by children, who throw a stone onto a set of joined squares drawn on the ground and jump on one leg and then on two legs into each square to get the stone|
|Courteous||Polite, respectful, or considerate in manner|
|Nudge||To push something or someone gently, especially to push someone with your elbow to seek the person's attention|
National Council of Educational Research and Training (2007). The Hundred Dresses I - Eleanor Estes (pp. 63 - 72). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi.