Im going to school this morning, so come up and get ready, said Fanny, a day or two after, as she left the late breakfast-table.
You look very nice, what have you got to do? asked Polly, following her into the hall.
Prink half an hour, and put on her wad, answered the irreverent Tom, whose preparations for school consisted in flinging his cap on to his head, and strapping up several big books, that looked as if they were sometimes used as weapons of defence.
What is a wad? asked Polly, while Fanny marched up without deigning any reply.
Somebodys hair on the top of her head in the place where it ought not to be; and Tom went whistling away with an air of sublime indifference as to the state of his own curly pow.
Why must you be so fine to go to school? asked Polly, watching Fan arrange the little frizzles on her forehead, and settle the various streamers and festoons belonging to her dress.
All the girls do; and its proper, for you never know who you may meet. Im going to walk, after my lessons, so I wish youd wear your best hat and sack, answered Fanny, trying to stick her own hat on at an angle which defied all the laws of gravitation.
I will, if you dont think this is nice enough. I like the other best, because it has a feather; but this is warmer, so I wear it every day. And Polly ran into her own room, to prink also, fearing that her friend might be ashamed of her plain costume. Wont your hands be cold in kid gloves? she said, as they went down the snowy street, with a north wind blowing in their faces.
Yes, horrid cold; but my muff is so big, I wont carry it. Mamma wont have it cut up, and my ermine one must be kept for best; and Fanny smoothed her Bismark kids with an injured air.
I suppose my grey squirrel is ever so much too big; but its nice and cosy, and you may warm your hands in it if you want to, said Polly, surveying her new woollen gloves with a dissatisfied look, though she had thought them quite elegant before.
Perhaps I will by and by. Now, Polly, dont you be shy. Ill only introduce two or three of the girls; and you neednt mind old Monsieur a bit, or read if you dont want to. We shall be in the ante-room; so youll only see about a dozen, and they will be so busy, they wont mind you much.
I guess I wont read, but sit and look on. I like to watch people, everything is so new and queer here.
But Polly did feel and look very shy, when she was ushered into a room full of young ladies, as they seemed to her, all very much dressed, all talking together, and all turning to examine the newcomer with a cool stare which seemed to be as much the fashion as eye-glasses. They nodded affably when Fanny introduced her, said something civil, and made room for her at the table round which they sat waiting for Monsieur. Several of the more frolicsome were imitating the Grecian Bend, some were putting their heads together over little notes, nearly all were eating confectionery, and the entire twelve chattered like magpies. Being politely supplied with caramels, Polly sat looking and listening, feeling very young and countrified among these elegant young ladies.
Girls, do you know that Carrie has gone abroad? There has been so much talk, her father couldnt bear it, and took the whole family off. Isnt that gay? said one lively damsel, who had just come in.
I should think theyd better go. My mamma says, if Id been going to that school, shed have taken me straight away, answered another girl, with an important air.
Carrie ran away with an Italian music-teacher, and it got into the papers, and made a great stir, explained the first speaker to Polly, who looked mystified.
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