Wheres Polly? asked Fan one snowy afternoon, as she came into dining-room, where Tom was reposing on the sofa with his boots in the air, absorbed in one of those delightful books in which boys are cast away on desert islands, where every known fruit, vegetable, and flower is in its prime all the year round; or lost in boundless forests, where the young heroes have thrilling adventures, kill impossible beasts, and, when the authors invention gives out, suddenly find their way home, laden with tiger skins, tame buffaloes, and other pleasing trophies of their prowess.
Dun no, was Toms brief reply, for he was just escaping from an alligator of the largest size.
Do put down that stupid book, and lets do something, said Fanny, after a listless stroll round the room.
Hi, theyve got him! was the only answer vouchsafed by the absorbed reader.
Wheres Polly? asked Maud, joining the party with her hands full of paper dolls all suffering for ball- dresses.
Do get along, and dont bother me, cried Tom, exasperated at the interruption.
Then tell us where she is. Im sure you know, for she was down here a little while ago, said Fanny.
Up in grandmas room, maybe.
Provoking thing! you knew it all the time, and didnt tell, just to plague us, scolded Maud.
But Tom was now under water stabbing his alligator, and took no notice of the indignant departure of the young ladies.
Pollys always poking up in grandmas room. I dont see what fun there is in it, said Fanny, as they went upstairs.
Pollys a verwy queer girl, and gwandma pets her a gweat deal more than she does me, observed Maud, with an injured air.
Lets peek and see what they are doing, whispered Fan, pausing at the half-open door.
Grandma was sitting before a quaint old cabinet, the doors of which stood wide open, showing glimpses of the faded relics treasured there. On a stool, at the old ladys feet, sat Polly, looking up with intent face and eager eyes, quite absorbed in the history of a high-heeled brocade shoe which lay in her lap.
Well, my dear, grandma was saying, she had it on the very day that Uncle Joe came in as she at work, and said, Dolly, we must be married at once. Very well, Joe, says Aunt Dolly, and down she went to the parlour, where the minister was waiting, never stopping to change the dimity dress she wore, and was actually married with her scissors and pin-ball at her side, and her thimble on. That was in war times, 1812, my dear, and Uncle Joe was in the army, so he had to go, and he took that very little pin- ball with him. Here it is, with the mark of a bullet through it, for he always said his Dollys cushion saved his life.
How interesting that is! cried Polly, as she examined the faded cushion with the hole in it.
Why, grandma, you never told me that story, said Fan, hurrying in, finding the prospect was a pleasant one for a stormy afternoon.
You never asked me to tell you anything, my dear, so I kept my old stories to myself, answered grandma, quietly.