when children, girls especially, begin to observe, contrast, and speculate upon the words, acts, manners, and looks of those about them. A good deal of thinking goes on in the heads of these shrewd little folks, and the elders should mind their ways, for they get criticised pretty sharply and imitated very closely.
Two little things had happened that day, and the influence of a few words, a careless action, was still working in the active minds of the girls.
Mr. Sydney had called, and while Fanny was talking with him she saw his eye rest on Polly, who sat apart watching the faces round her with the modest, intelligent look which many found so attractive. At that minute Madam Shaw came in, and stopped to speak to the little girl. Polly rose at once, and remained standing till the old lady passed on.
"Are you laughing at Polly's prim ways?" Fanny had asked, as she saw Mr. Sydney smile.
"No, I am admiring Miss Polly's fine manners," he answered in a grave, respectful tone, which had impressed Fanny very much, for Mr. Sydney was considered by all the girls as a model of good breeding, and that indescribable something which they called "elegance."
Fanny wished she had done that little thing, and won that approving look, for she valued the young man's good opinion, because it was so hard to win, by her set at least. So, when Polly talked about old people, it recalled this scene and made Fan cross.
Polly was remembering how, when Mrs. Shaw came home that day in her fine visiting costume, and Maud ran to welcome her with unusual affection, she gathered