Page:Aunt Jo's Scrap-Bag, Volume 2.djvu/126

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while the simmering and sipping went on. Matilda sketched the noble commander as she lay upon the sofa, with her Egyptian profile in fine relief, and her aristocratic red slippers gracefully visible. A large gray cat of a social turn joined the party, and added much to the domesticity of the scene by sitting on the hearth in a cosey bunch and purring blissfully.

"Now it is your turn to propose something for the general amusement, Mandy," said Mat, when the beakers were drained dry and the Montagues and Capulets comfortably buried.

"Let us attend to the culture of our nails," replied Amanda, producing her polissoir, powder, and knife.

Three cups of tepid water were produced, and the company sat eagerly soaking their finger-tips for a time, after which much pruning and polishing went on, to the great bewilderment of Puss, who poked her own paws into the cups, as if trying to test the advantages of this remarkable American custom.

"What would our blessed mother say if she saw us now?" said Mat, proudly examining ten pointed pink nails at the tips of her long fingers.

"People told us we should get demoralized if we came abroad, and this is the first step on the down-