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An Old-Fashioned Girl

10. Brothers And Sisters
POLLY'S happiest day was Sunday, for Will never failed to spend it with her. Instead of
sleeping later than usual that morning, she was always up bright and early, flying round
to get ready for her guest, for Will came to breakfast, and they made a long day of it.
Will considered his sister the best and prettiest girl going, and Polly, knowing well that a
time would come when he would find a better and a prettier, was grateful for his good
opinion, and tried to deserve it. So she made her room and herself as neat and inviting
as possible, and always ran to meet him with a bright face and a motherly greeting,
when he came tramping in, ruddy, brisk, and beaming, with the brown loaf and the little
pot of beans from the bake-house near by.
They liked a good country breakfast, and nothing gave Polly more satisfaction than to
see her big boy clear the dishes, empty the little coffee-pot, and then sit and laugh at
her across the ravaged table. Another pleasure was to let him help clear away, as they
used to do at home, while the peals of laughter that always accompanied this
performance did Miss Mills' heart good to hear, for the room was so small and Will so
big that he seemed to be everywhere at once, and Polly and Puttel were continually
dodging his long arms and legs. Then they used to inspect the flower pots, pay Nick a
visit, and have a little music as a good beginning for the day, after which they went to
church and dined with Miss Mills, who considered Will "an excellent young man." If the
afternoon was fair, they took a long walk together over the bridges into the country, or
about the city streets full of Sabbath quietude. Most people meeting them would have
seen only an awkward young man, with a boy's face atop of his tall body, and a quietly
dressed, fresh faced little woman hanging on his arm; but a few people, with eyes to
read romances and pleasant histories everywhere, found something very attractive in
this couple, and smiled as they passed, wondering if they were young, lovers, or country
cousins "looking round."
If the day was stormy, they stayed at home, reading, writing letters, talking over their
affairs, and giving each other good advice; for, though Will was nearly three years
younger than Polly, he could n't for the life of him help assuming amusingly venerable
airs, when he became a Freshman. In the twilight he had a good lounge on the sofa,
and Polly sung to him, which arrangement he particularly enjoyed, it was so "cosy and
homey." At nine o'clock, Polly packed his bag with clean clothes, nicely mended, such
remnants of the festive tea as were transportable, and kissed him "good-night," with
many injunctions to muffle up his throat going over the bridge, and be sure that his feet
were dry and warm when he went to bed. All of which Will laughed at, accepted
graciously, and did n't obey; but he liked it, and trudged away for another week's work,
rested, cheered, and strengthened by that quiet, happy day with Polly, for he had been
brought up to believe in home influences, and this brother and sister loved one another
dearly, and were not ashamed to own it.
 
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