Page:An Old Fashioned Girl.djvu/29
head vanished like a meteor, for Polly's tone had been decidedly cool.
The old lady put out her hand, and drawing Polly to her knee, looked into her face with such kind eyes, that Polly forgot the impressive cap, and smiled at her confidingly; for she saw that her simple music had pleased her listener, and she felt glad to know it.
"You mustn't mind my staring, dear," said Madam, softly pinching her rosy cheek. "I haven't seen a little girl for so long, it does my old eyes good to look at you."
Polly thought that a very odd speech, and couldn't help saying, " Aren't Fan and Maud little girls, too?"
"Oh, dear, no! not what I call little girls. Fan has been a young lady this two years, and Maud is a spoiled baby. Your mother's a very sensible woman, my child."
"What a very queer old lady!" thought Polly; but she said "Yes 'm" respectfully, and looked at the fire.
"You don't understand what I mean, do you?" asked Madam, still holding her by the chin.
"No 'm; not quite."
"Well, dear, I'll tell you. In my day, children of fourteen and fifteen didn't dress in the height of the fashion; go to parties, as nearly like those of grown people, as it's possible to make them; lead idle, giddy, unhealthy lives, and get blasé at twenty. We were little folks till eighteen or so; worked andstudied, dressed and played, like children; honored our parents; and our days were much longer in the land than now, it seems to me."