An Old-Fashioned Girl HTML version

5. Scrapes
AFTER being unusually good, children are apt to turn short round and refresh
themselves by acting like Sancho. For a week after Tom's mishap, the young folks were
quite angelic, so much so that grandma said she was afraid "something was going to
happen to them." The dear old lady need n't have felt anxious, for such excessive virtue
does n't last long enough to lead to translation, except with little prigs in the goody story-
books; and no sooner was Tom on his legs again, when the whole party went astray,
and much tribulation was the consequence.
It all began with "Polly's stupidity," as Fan said afterward. Just as Polly ran down to
meet Mr. Shaw one evening, and was helping him off with his coat, the bell rang, and a
fine bouquet of hothouse flowers was left in Polly's hands, for she never could learn city
ways, and opened the door herself.
"Hey! what's this? My little Polly is beginning early, after all," said Mr. Shaw, laughing,
as he watched the girl's face dimple and flush, as she smelt the lovely nosegay, and
glanced at a note half hidden in the heliotrope.
Now, if Polly had n't been "stupid," as Fan said, she would have had her wits about her,
and let it pass; but, you see, Polly was an honest little soul and it never occurred to her
that there was any need of concealment, so she answered in her straightforward way,
"Oh, they ain't for me, sir; they are for Fan; from Mr. Frank, I guess. She 'll be so
"That puppy sends her things of this sort, does he?" And Mr. Shaw looked far from
pleased as he pulled out the note, and coolly opened it.
Polly had her doubts about Fan's approval of that "sort of thing," but dared not say a
word, and stood thinking how she used to show her father the funny valentines the boys
sent her, and how they laughed over them together. But Mr. Shaw did not laugh when
he had read the sentimental verses accompanying the bouquet, and his face quite
scared Polly, as he asked, angrily, "How long has this nonsense been going on?"
"Indeed, sir, I don't know. Fan does n't mean any harm. I wish I had n't said anything!"
stammered Polly, remembering the promise given to Fanny the day of the concert. She
had forgotten all about it and had become accustomed to see the "big boys," as she
called Mr. Frank and his friends, with the girls on all occasions. Now, it suddenly
occurred to her that Mr. Shaw did n't like such amusements, and had forbidden Fan to
indulge in them. "Oh, dear! how mad she will be. Well, I can't help it. Girls should n't
have secrets from their fathers, then there would n't be any fuss," thought Polly, as she
watched Mr. Shaw twist up the pink note and poke it back among the flowers which he
took from her, saying, shortly, "Send Fanny to me in the library."