"Like a raven! Everything she could lay her hands on. She used to get up in the middle of the night and steal; otherwise she couldn't sleep well, she said. Once she stole Grandmother's piano and tucked it into her own top bureau drawer. She was very clever with her hands, Grandmother said."
Tommy and Annika took hold of Pippi and pulled her out of the room and up the stairs. The ladies began on their third cups of coffee, and
Mrs. Settergren said, "It's not that I want to complain about my Ella, but she does break the china."
A red head appeared over the stair rail.
"Speaking of Malin," said Pippi, "maybe you are wondering if she used to break any china. Well, she did. She set apart one day a week just to break china. It was Tuesday, Grandmother said. As early as five o'clock on Tuesday morning you could hear this jewel of a maid in the kitchen, breaking china. She began with the coffee cups and glasses and little things like that and then went on to the soup bowls and dinner plates, and she finished up with platters and soup tureens. There was such a crash bang in the kitchen all morning that it was a joy to hear it; Grandmother said. And if Malin had any spare time late in the afternoon, she would go into the drawing room with a little hammer and knock down the antique East Indian plates that were hanging on the walls. Grandmother bought new china every Wednesday," said Pippi and disappeared up the stairs as quickly as a jack-in-the-box.
But now Mrs. Settergen's patience had come to an end. She ran up the stairs, into the nursery, and up to Pippi, who had just begun to teach Tommy to stand on his head.
"You must never come here again," said Mrs. Settergren, "if you can't behave any better than this."
Pippi looked at her in astonishment and her eyes slowly filled with tears. "That's just what I was afraid of," she said. "That I couldn't behave properly. It's no use to try; I'll never learn. I should have stayed on the ocean."
She curtsied to Mrs. Settergren, said good-by to Tommy and Annika, and went slowly down the stairs.