An Old-Fashioned Girl HTML version
If Polly could have seen what went into that top tray, she would have been entirely
overcome; for Fanny had told grandma about the poor little presents she had once
laughed at, and they had all laid their heads together to provide something really fine
and appropriate for every member of the Milton family. Such a mine of riches! and so
much good-will, affection, and kindly forethought was packed away in the tempting
bundles, that no one could feel offended, but would find an unusual charm about the
pretty gifts that made them doubly welcome. I only know that if Polly had suspected that
a little watch was ticking away in a little case, with her name on it, inside that trunk, she
never could have left it locked as grandma advised, or have eaten her dinner so quietly.
As it was, her heart was very full, and the tears rose to her eyes more than once,
everyone was so kind, and so sorry to have her go.
Tom did n't need any urging to play escort now; and both Fan and Maud insisted on
going too. Mrs. Shaw forgot her nerves, and put up some gingerbread with her own
hands; Mr. Shaw kissed Polly as if she had been his dearest daughter; and grandma
held her close, whispering in a tremulous tone, "My little comfort, come again soon";
while Katy waved her apron from the nursery window, crying, as they drove, away, "The
saints bless ye, Miss Polly, dear, and sind ye the best of lucks!"
But the crowning joke of all was Tom's good-by, for, when Polly was fairly settled in the
car, the last "All aboard!" uttered, and the train in motion, Tom suddenly produced a
knobby little bundle, and thrusting it in at the window, while he hung on in some
breakneck fashion, said, with a droll mixture of fun and feeling in his face, "It 's horrid;
but you wanted it, so I put it in to make you laugh. Good-by, Polly; good-by, good-by!"
The last adieu was a trifle husky, and Tom vanished as it was uttered, leaving Polly to
laugh over his parting souvenir till the tears ran down her cheeks. It was a paper bag of
peanuts, and poked down at the very bottom a photograph of Tom. It was "horrid," for
he looked as if taken by a flash of lightning, so black, wild, and staring was it; but Polly
liked it, and whenever she felt a little pensive at parting with her friends, she took a
peanut, or a peep at Tom's funny picture, which made her merry again.
So the short journey came blithely to an end, and in the twilight she saw a group of
loving faces at the door of a humble little house, which was more beautiful than any
palace in her eyes, for it was home.