An Old-Fashioned Girl
confess, for at home every one worked, and every one was respected for it. She tried
not to care, but girls feel little slights keenly, and more than once Polly was severely
tempted to give up her plan, and run away to the safe shelter at home.
Fanny never failed to ask her to every sort of festivity in the Shaw mansion; but after a
few trials, Polly firmly declined everything but informal visits when the family were alone.
She soon found that even the new black silk was n't fine enough for Fanny's smallest
party, and, after receiving a few of the expressive glances by which women convey their
opinion of their neighbor's toilet, and overhearing a joke or two "about that inevitable
dress," and "the little blackbird," Polly folded away the once treasured frock, saying, with
a choke in her voice: "I 'll wear it for Will, he likes it, and clothes can't change his love for
I am afraid the wholesome sweetness of Polly's nature was getting a little soured by
these troubles; but before lasting harm was done, she received, from an unexpected
source, some of the real help which teaches young people how to bear these small
crosses, by showing them the heavier ones they have escaped, and by giving them an
idea of the higher pleasures one may earn in the good, old-fashioned ways that keep
hearts sweet, heads sane, hands busy.
Everybody has their days of misfortune like little Rosamond, and Polly was beginning to
think she had more than her share. One of these ended in a way which influenced her
whole life, and so we will record it. It began early; for the hard-hearted little grate would
n't behave itself till she had used up a ruinous quantity of kindlings. Then she scalded
poor Puttel by upsetting her coffee-pot; and instead of a leisurely, cosy meal, had to
hurry away uncomfortably, for everything went wrong even to the coming off of both
bonnet strings in the last dreadful scramble. Being late, she of course forgot her music,
and hurrying back for it, fell into a puddle, which capped the climax of her despair.
Such a trying morning as that was! Polly felt out of tune herself, and all the pianos
seemed to need a tuner as much as she did. The pupils were unusually stupid, and two
of them announced that their mamma was going to take them to the South, whither she
was suddenly called. This was a blow, for they had just begun, and Polly had n't the
face to send in a bill for a whole quarter, though her plans and calculations were sadly
disturbed by the failure of that sum.
Trudging home to dinner, tired and disappointed, poor Polly received another blow,
which hurt her more than the loss of all her pupils. As she went hurrying along with a big
music book in one hand and a paper bag of rolls for tea in the other, she saw Tom and
Trix coming. As she watched them while they slowly approached, looking so gay and
handsome and happy, it seemed to Polly as if all the sunshine and good walking was on
their side of the street, all the wintry wind and mud on hers. Longing to see a friendly
face and receive a kind word, she crossed over, meaning to nod and smile at least. Trix
saw her first, and suddenly became absorbed in the distant horizon. Tom apparently did
not see her, for his eyes were fixed on a fine horse just prancing by. Polly thought that