A Spring Coat for Sarah


考试与评价·高一版 2020年4期

Clara Gillow Clark

One morning in March, Sarah put on her old spring coat to go out and play. “These buttons don

When the house was quiet, Mama went to the hall closet and pulled out all the old spring coats. But... Sylvia

“Sarah has no coat for church and town and special occasions,” Mama told Papa when he came in from the barn. Papa sat down at the table. “The cow can

Mama said, “Sarah has never had a new coat.”

For a long while nobody spoke. The fire in the wood stove crackled. The soup in the kettle sputtered. At last Mama said, “Papa, how much can one small coat for our Sarah cost?” Sarah looked closely at Papa. Then Papa cleared his throat. “A ragged coat won

“Yes, Papa,” Sarah said. “I

Papa gave her a serious look. “Very well,” he said. “While we are in town today, we

Later, after they had eaten the soup, Papa backed the old automobile④ out of the garage, and Mama and Sarah climbed in. Sarah sat in the back so she would feel older. Papa drove past farms with muddy-brown barnyards, sheets flapping on clotheslines, sap buckets on every maple tree.

When they got to town, Papa parked their car. He put a penny in the meter, and they all went inside the store. Inside was gloomy; racks of coats seemed to rustle and whisper like the bats that flew out of the barn at night. A tall, skinny salesclerk in a black suit and bow tie sidled up to them. “May I assist you?” he asked.

“Our Sarah needs a good coat,” Papa said.

“A spring coat for church and special occasions,” Mama added.

“Spring coat, you say?” The clerk slipped a measuring tape from around his neck. “Stand tall, miss-sseee,” he said, squatt-

ing⑤ to measure her.

Sarah stood very still.

“Oh, dear,” said the clerk. “Oh, dear, dear, dear.” He wagged his head. “Small... In small we have chocolate, cerulean⑥, and charcoal.” But all Sarah could see were brown and blue and black coats. Nothing so wonderful as chocolate or cerulean.


“The chocolate one it is,” he said, whisking it off the hanger.

But it wasn

“Sarah, the clerk is waiting,” Papa said.

Sarah slid her arms into the sleeves. The coat swallowed her up, devouring her hands. She stood in front of the mirror. “I look like a barnyard,” she mumbled. Her chin began to quiver.

“Perhaps the blue,” said Mama, gently.

But when he slid the blue coat from its hanger, there on the rack behind all of the dark coats, hidden like a spring flower in winter darkness, there, as if by magic, was a pink coat.

“A pink coat!” Sarah cried. “I want the pink coat.”

“That coat is smaller than the other ones,” Papa said.

Sarah spoke up. “I

“It wouldn

Without a word, the clerk took the coat from its hanger and held it for Sarah.

“Ohhh!” Sarah said. The coat was slippery and shiny inside like her sister Sylvia

Sarah stood very still and looked in the mirror. She stared for a very long time. In the pink coat she looked like a spring flower.

“Sarah!” Mama said. Sarah looked up. Mama was standing behind her. She was holding the brown coat. “I

“And there

And the clerk said, “It

Sarah backed away. No one was going to turn her into an ugly barnyard again. She wanted to be a flower.

“Sarah!” It was Papa. He came over to her and knelt down. “You

“Wise and true,” said the clerk.

Sarah slipped one arm from a sleeve.

“It is her color, though,” Mama said.

“Ahh,” said the clerk. “Anyone can see how the pink of the coat brings out the roses in her cheeks.”

“It does have an ample⑩ hem and deep seams,” Mama said. “Don

Papa looked thoughtful for a moment.

“We are lucky,” continued Mama, “that it is only one little coat for Sarah and also new coat for Sylvia and Susan and Sally.”

Papa rubbed his chin. He looked from the brown coat to the pink coat. “The cows will give milk soon enough,” he said. “But how can we let Sarah wear a brown coat when she looks like a flower in this one?”

“Papa!” Sarah cried, slipping her arm back into the empty sleeve. She threw her arms around Papa

“Like a primrose in spring,” Papa said.

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