An Old-Fashioned Girl
old shawl over my head. I said once I 'd like that, but I 'm afraid I should n't, for I can't
bear Indian cake and cold potatoes, that 's what the poor children always seem to get,
and I should hate to have Grace and the rest see me scuffing round the back gates."
"My little girl shall never come to that, if I can help it," said Mr. Shaw, holding her close,
with a look that made Maud add, as she laid her cheek against his own, "But I 'd do it,
father, if you asked me to, for I truly want to help."
"So do I!" cried Fanny, wondering at the same minute how it would seem to wear turned
silks, and clean her gloves.
Tom said nothing, but drew toward him a paper of figures which his father had drawn
up, and speedily reduced himself to the verge of distraction by trying to understand
them, in his ardent desire to prove his willingness to put his shoulder to the wheel.
"We shall pull through, children, so don't borrow trouble, only be ready for discomforts
and annoyances. Put your pride in your pockets, and remember poverty is n't
disgraceful, but dishonesty is."
Polly had always loved kind Mr. Shaw, but now she respected him heartily, and felt that
she had not done him justice when she sometimes thought that he only cared for
"I should n't wonder if this was a good thing for the whole family, though it don't look so.
Mrs. Shaw will take it the hardest, but it may stir her up, so she will forget her nerves,
and be as busy and happy as mother is," said Polly to herself, in a hopeful mood, for
poverty was an old friend, and she had learned long ago not to fear it, but to take its
bitter and its sweet, and make the best of both.
When they parted for the night, Polly slipped away first, to leave them free, yet could n't
help lingering outside to see how tenderly the girls parted from their father. Tom had n't
a word to say for himself, for men don't kiss, caress, or cry when they feel most, and all
he could do to express his sympathy and penitence, was to wring his father's hand with
a face full of respect, regret, and affection, and then bolt up stairs as if the furies were
after him, as they were, in a mild and modern form.