An Old-Fashioned Girl
1. Polly Arrives
"IT 'S time to go to the station, Tom."
"Come on, then."
"Oh, I 'm not going; it 's too wet. Should n't have a crimp left if I went out such a day as
this; and I want to look nice when Polly comes."
"You don't expect me to go and bring home a strange girl alone, do you?" And Tom
looked as much alarmed as if his sister had proposed to him to escort the wild woman
"Of course I do. It 's your place to go and get her; and if you was n't a bear, you 'd like
"Well, I call that mean! I supposed I 'd got to go; but you said you 'd go, too. Catch me
bothering about your friends another time! No, sir! " And Tom rose from the sofa with an
air of indignant resolution, the impressive effect of which was somewhat damaged by a
tousled head, and the hunched appearance of his garments generally.
"Now, don't be cross; and I 'll get mamma to let you have that horrid Ned Miller, that you
are so fond of, come and make you a visit after Polly 's gone," said Fanny, hoping to
soothe his ruffled feelings.
"How long is she going to stay?" demanded Tom, making his toilet by a promiscuous
"A month or two, maybe. She 's ever so nice; and I shall keep her as long as she 's
"She won't stay long then, if I can help it," muttered Tom, who regarded girls as a very
unnecessary portion of creation. Boys of fourteen are apt to think so, and perhaps it is a
wise arrangement; for, being fond of turning somersaults, they have an opportunity of
indulging in a good one, metaphorically speaking, when, three or four years later, they
become the abject slaves of "those bothering girls."
"Look here! how am I going to know the creature? I never saw her, and she never saw
me. You 'll have to come too, Fan," he added, pausing on his way to the door, arrested
by the awful idea that he might have to address several strange girls before he got the
"You 'll find her easy enough; she 'll probably be standing round looking for us. I dare
say she 'll know you, though I 'm not there, because I 've described you to her."