An Old-Fashioned Girl
"You always are busy. I never saw such a girl. What in the world do you find to do all the
time?" asked Fanny, watching with interest the set of the little red merino frock Polly
was putting on to her doll.
"Lots of things; but I like to be lazy sometimes as much as you do; just lie on the sofa,
and read fairy stories, or think about nothing. Would you have a white-muslin apron or a
black silk?" added Polly, surveying her work with satisfaction.
"Muslin, with pockets and tiny blue bows. I 'll show you how." And forgetting her hate
and contempt for dolls, down sat Fanny, soon getting as much absorbed as either of the
The dull day brightened wonderfully after that, and the time flew pleasantly, as tongues
and needles went together. Grandma peeped in, and smiled at the busy group, saying,
"Sew away, my dears; dollies are safe companions, and needlework an
accomplishment that 's sadly neglected nowadays. Small stitches, Maud; neat
buttonholes, Fan; cut carefully, Polly, and don't waste your cloth. Take pains; and the
best needlewoman shall have a pretty bit of white satin for a doll's bonnet."
Fanny exerted herself, and won the prize, for Polly helped Maud, and neglected her
own work; but she did n't care much, for Mr. Shaw said, looking at the three bright faces
at the tea-table, "I guess Polly has been making sunshine for you to-day." "No, indeed,
sir, I have n't done anything, only dress Maud's doll."
And Polly did n't think she had done much; but it was one of the little things which are
always waiting to be done in this world of ours, where rainy days come so often, where
spirits get out of tune, and duty won't go hand in hand with pleasure. Little things of this
sort are especially good work for little people; a kind little thought, an unselfish little act,
a cheery little word, are so sweet and comfortable, that no one can fail to feel their
beauty and love the giver, no matter how small they are. Mothers do a deal of this sort
of thing, unseen, unthanked, but felt and remembered long afterward, and never lost, for
this is the simple magic that binds hearts together, and keeps home happy. Polly had
learned this secret.
She loved to do the "little things" that others did not see, or were too busy to stop for;
and while doing them, without a thought of thanks, she made sunshine for herself as
well as others. There was so much love in her own home, that she quickly felt the want
of it in Fanny's, and puzzled herself to find out why these people were not kind and
patient to one another. She did not try to settle the question, but did her best to love and
serve and bear with each, and the good will, the gentle heart, the helpful ways and
simple manners of our Polly made her dear to every one, for these virtues, even in a
little child, are lovely and attractive.
Mr. Shaw was very kind to her, for he liked her modest, respectful manners; and Polly
was so grateful for his many favors, that she soon forgot her fear, and showed her
affection in all sorts of confiding little ways, which pleased him extremely. She used to