An Old-Fashioned Girl
"This is the most delicious party I ever went to," observed Maud, with her mouth full of
honey, when the feast was well under way. "I do wish I could have a nice room like this,
and a cat and a bird that would n't eat each other up, and a dear little teakettle, and
make just as much toast as I like."
Such a peal of laughter greeted Maud's pensive aspiration, that Miss Mills smiled over
her solitary cup of tea, and little Nick burst into a perfect ecstasy of song, as he sat on
the sugar-bowl helping himself.
"I don't care for the toast and the kettle, but I do envy you your good spirits, Polly," said
Fanny, as the merriment subsided. "I 'm so tired of everybody and everything, it seems
sometimes as if I should die of ennui. Don't you ever feel so?"
"Things worry me sometimes, but I just catch up a broom and sweep, or wash hard, or
walk, or go at something with all my might, and I usually find that by the time I get
through the worry is gone, or I 've got courage enough to bear it without grumbling,"
answered Polly, cutting the brown loaf energetically.
"I can't do those things, you know; there 's no need of it, and I don't think they 'd cure
my worrying," said Fanny, languidly feeding Ashputtel, who sat decorously beside her,
at the table, winking at the cream pot.
"A little poverty would do you good, Fan; just enough necessity to keep you busy till you
find how good work is; and when you once learn that, you won't complain of ennui any
more," returned Polly, who had taken kindly the hard lesson which twenty years of
cheerful poverty had taught her.
"Mercy, no, I should hate that; but I wish some one would invent a new amusement for
rich people. I 'm dead sick of parties, and flirtations, trying to out-dress my neighbors,
and going the same round year after year, like a squirrel in a cage."
Fanny's tone was bitter as well as discontented, her face sad as well as listless, and
Polly had an instinctive feeling that some trouble, more real than any she had ever
known before, was lying heavy at her friend's heart. That was not the time to speak of it,
but Polly resolved to stand ready to offer sympathy, if nothing more, whenever the
confidential minute came; and her manner was so kind, so comfortable, that Fanny felt
its silent magic, grew more cheerful in the quiet atmosphere of that little room, and when
they said good-night, after an old-time gossip by the fire, she kissed her hostess
warmly, saying, with a grateful look, "Polly, dear, I shall come often, you do me so much