An Old-Fashioned Girl
"I guess I won't read, but sit and look on. I like to watch people, everything is so new
and queer here."
But Polly did feel and look very shy, when she was ushered into a room full of young
ladies, as they seemed to her, all very much dressed, all talking together, and all turning
to examine the new-comer with a cool stare which seemed to be as much the fashion
as eye-glasses. They nodded affably when Fanny introduced her, said something civil,
and made room for her at the table round which they sat waiting for Monsieur. Several
of the more frolicsome were imitating the Grecian Bend, some were putting their heads
together over little notes, nearly all were eating confectionery, and the entire twelve
chattered like magpies. Being politely supplied with caramels, Polly sat looking and
listening, feeling very young and countrified among these elegant young ladies.
"Girls, do you know that Carrie has gone abroad? There has been so much talk, her
father could n't bear it, and took the whole family off. Is n't that gay?" said one lively
damsel, who had just come in.
"I should think they 'd better go. My mamma says, if I 'd been going to that school, she
'd have taken me straight away," answered another girl, with an important air.
"Carrie ran away with an Italian music-teacher, and it got into the papers, and made a
great stir," explained the first speaker to Polly, who looked mystified.
"How dreadful!" cried Polly.
"I think it was fun. She was only sixteen, and he was perfectly splendid; and she has
plenty of money, and every one talked about it; and when she went anywhere, people
looked, you know, and she liked it; but her papa is an old poke, so he 's sent them all
away. It 's too bad, for she was the jolliest thing I ever knew."
Polly had nothing to say to lively Miss Belle; but Fanny observed, "I like to read about
such things; but it 's so inconvenient to have it happen right here, because it makes it
harder for us. I wish you could have heard my papa go on. He threatened to send a
maid to school with me every day, as they do in New York, to be sure I come all right.
Did you ever?" "That 's because it came out that Carrie used to forge excuses in her
mamma's name, and go promenading with her Oreste, when they thought her safe at
school. Oh, was n't she a sly minx?" cried Belle, as if she rather admired the trick.
"I think a little fun is all right; and there 's no need of making a talk, if, now and then,
some one does run off like Carrie. Boys do as they like; and I don't see why girls need
to be kept so dreadfully close. I 'd like to see anybody watching and guarding me!"
added another dashing young lady.
"It would take a policeman to do that, Trix, or a little man in a tall hat," said Fanny, slyly,
which caused a general laugh, and made Beatrice toss her head coquettishly.