An Old-Fashioned Girl
in the wide world but the life just saved to her. That minute did more for Polly than many
sermons, or the wisest books, for it brought her face to face with bitter truths, showed
her the dark side of life, and seemed to blow away her little vanities, her frivolous
desires, like a wintry wind, that left a wholesome atmosphere behind. Sitting on the
bedside, Polly listened while Jane told the story, which was so new to her listener, that
every word sank deep into her heart, and never was forgotten.
"Now you must go to sleep. Don't cry nor think, nor do anything but rest. That will please
Miss Mills best. I 'll leave the doors open, and play you a lullaby that you can't resist.
Good night, dear." And with another kiss, Polly went away to sit in the darkness of her
own room, playing her softest airs till the tired eyes below were shut, and little Jane
seemed to float away on a sea of pleasant sounds, into the happier life which had just
dawned for her.
Polly had fully intended to be very miserable, and cry herself to sleep; but when she lay
down at last, her pillow seemed very soft, her little room very lovely, with the fire-light
flickering on all the home-like objects, and her new-blown roses breathing her a sweet
good-night. She no longer felt an injured, hard-working, unhappy Polly, but as if quite
burdened with blessings, for which she was n't half grateful enough. She had heard of
poverty and suffering, in the vague, far-off way, which is all that many girls, safe in
happy homes, ever know of it; but now she had seen it, in a shape which she could feel
and understand, and life grew more earnest to her from that minute. So much to do in
the great, busy world, and she had done so little. Where should she begin? Then, like
an answer came little Jenny's words, now taking a,'new significance' to Polly's mind, "To
be strong, and beautiful, and go round making music all the time." Yes, she could do
that; and with a very earnest prayer, Polly asked for the strength of an upright soul, the
beauty of a tender heart, the power to make her life a sweet and stirring song, helpful
while it lasted, remembered when it died.
Little Jane's last thought had been to wish with all her might, that "God would bless the
dear, kind girl up there, and give her all she asked." I think both prayers, although too
humble to be put in words, went up together, for in the fulness of time they were