Page:Female Prose Writers of America.djvu/303

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
269
MARIA J. B. BROWNE.

and white plaid neckerchief, and his white linen handkerchief shaken out of its neat folds, and stuffed with fashionable carelessness into his coat pocket, by Sophronia’s own competent hands. Indeed, he looked very much dressed up, and you would hardly have suspected his occupation but for the peculiar stoop in the shoulders craftsmen of his calling are apt to acquire, and for certain dark-coloured and very incorrigible labour-lines and calluses on his hands, which perseveringly resisted all the influence of soap and sand which could be brought to bear upon them. Honourable labour-lines and calluses they were, too; he was in no danger of losing the good opinion and respect of any whose respect and good opinion were worth preserving, for these; he might be, for suffering himself to be persuaded to blush for them, to be coaxed, and not very reluctantly, into his present apish and incongruous transition!

Katy Skates robed herself in her new changeable silk, flounced and resetted in the skirt, and decorated about the low neck and short sleeves in the very latest style. Her hair shone and waved and curled deliciously, her eyes sparkled, and her cheeks glowed like roses; and if she had been going to figure at a magnificent entertainment on some great and special occasion, by invitation from an affluent host, she would have looked not only suitably but beautifully habited; for Mrs. Skates was really handsomer in person than many renowned beauties who make considerable sensation in the world. Moreover, to set off her charms still more effectually, Cousin Sophronia—obliging soul!—had been so good as to loan Mrs. Skates a very gay bracelet and brooch, with great glaring, hot-looking purple stones in them, and a chain from which dangled a gold pencil. And when these were all fixed on in their places, and Katy looked in the mirror to see herself, she was sensible of a glow of real admiration, and her little vain heart swelled with pride and satisfaction. I am sorry her pride and satisfaction had no nobler groundwork to base themselves upon!

Mr. Skates, I need not say, admired her too, and could hardly forbear kissing her, as if he were a lover, or she a bride.

The horrible notes of the gong were at length heard grumbling