Page:Our Philadelphia (Pennell, 1914).djvu/79
A CHILD IN PHILADELPHIA
lighter making his rounds; and The Initials with a haughty Hilda for heroine—she must have been haughty for all real heroines then were; and Queechy and The Wide, Wide World and Faith Gartney's Girlhood, against whose sentiment I am glad to say I revolted. And mixed up with these were Mrs. Southworth's Lost Heiress and the anonymous Routledge, light books for whose presence I cannot account in my Grandfather's serious house. Does anybody read Routledge now? Has anybody now ever heard of it? What trash it was, but, after the improving romances with a religious moral of the Convent Library, after Wiseman's edifying Fabiola and Newman's scholarly—beyond my years—Callista, how I revelled in it, with what a choking throat I galloped through the love-sick chapters! I could recite pages of it to myself to relieve the dreariness of those long drives in the Third Street car, or the long waiting in the dreary station. To this day I remember the last sentence—"with his arm around my waist and my face hidden on his shoulder, I told him of the love, folly and pride that had so long kept me from him." Could Queechy, could Faith Gartney's Girlhood have been more sentimental than that? I dare not look up the old books to see, lest their charm as well as their sentiment should fade in the light of a more critical age. Then Scott and Dickens, Miss Edgeworth, more often Holiday House, filled the hours before tea. After all, the old division of the day, the young generation would be ashamed to go back to, had its uses.