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Chapter 11 – Forbidden Fruit

Louisa May AlcottNov 04, 2016'Command+D' Bookmark this page

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"I ‘M perfectly aching for some fun," said Polly to herself as she
opened her window one morning and the sunshine and frosty air
set her blood dancing and her eyes sparkling with youth, health,
and overflowing spirits. "I really must break out somewhere and
have a good time. It ‘s quite impossible to keep steady any longer.
Now what will I do?" Polly sprinkled crumbs to the doves, who
came daily to be fed, and while she watched the gleaming necks
and rosy feet, she racked her brain to devise some unusually
delightful way of enjoying herself, for she really had bottled up her
spirits so long, they were in a state of uncontrollable
effervescence.

"I ‘ll go to the opera," she suddenly announced to the doves. "It ‘s
expensive, I know, but it ‘s remarkably good, and music is such a
treat to me. Yes, I ‘ll get two tickets as cheap as I can, send a note
to Will, poor lad, he needs fun as much as I do, and we ‘ll go and
have a nice time in some corner, as Charles Lamb and his sister
used to."

With that Polly slammed down the window, to the dismay of her
gentle little pensioners, and began to fly about with great energy,
singing and talking to herself as if it was impossible to keep quiet.
She started early to her first lesson that she might have time to buy
the tickets, hoping, as she put a five-dollar bill into her purse, that
they would n’t be very high, for she felt that she was not in a mood
to resist temptation. But she was spared any struggle, for when she
reached the place, the ticket office was blocked up by eager
purchasers and the disappointed faces that turned away told Polly
there was no hope for her.

"Well, I don’t care, I ‘ll go somewhere, for I will have my fun," she
said with great determination, for disappointment only seemed to
whet her appetite. But the playbills showed her nothing inviting
and she was forced to go away to her work with the money burning
her pocket and all manner of wild schemes floating in her head. At
noon, instead of going home to dinner, she went and took an ice,
trying to feet very gay and festive all by herself. It was rather a
failure, however, and after a tour of the picture shops she went to
give Maud a lesson, feeling that it was very hard to quench her
longings, and subside into a prim little music teacher.

Fortunately she did not have to do violence to her feelings very
long, for the first thing Fanny said to her was: "Can you go?"

"Where?"

"Did n’t you get my note?"

"I did n’t go home to dinner."

"Tom wants us to go to the opera to-night and " Fan got no further,
for Polly uttered a cry of rapture and clasped her hands.

"Go? Of course I will. I ‘ve been dying to go all day, tried to get
tickets this morning and could n’t, been fuming about it ever since,
and now oh, how splendid!" And Polly could not restrain an
ecstatic skip, for this burst of joy rather upset her.

"Well, you come to tea, and we ‘ll dress together, and go all
comfortable with Tom, who is in a heavenly frame of mind
to-day."

"I must run home and get my things," said Polly, resolving on the
spot to buy the nicest pair of gloves the city afforded.

"You shall have my white cloak and any other little rigging you
want. Tommy likes to have his ladies a credit to him, you know,"
said Fanny, departing to take a beauty sleep.

Polly instantly decided that she would n’t borrow Becky’s best
bonnet, as she at first intended, but get a new one, for in her
present excited state, no extravagance seemed too prodigal in
honor of this grand occasion. I am afraid that Maud’s lesson was
not as thorough as it should have been, for Polly’s head was such a
chaos of bonnets, gloves, opera-cloaks and fans, that Maud
blundered through, murdering time and tune at her own sweet will.
The instant it was over Polly rushed away and bought not only the
kids but a bonnet frame, a bit of illusion, and a pink crape rose,
which had tempted her for weeks in a certain shop window, then
home and to work with all the skill and speed of a distracted
milliner.

"I ‘m rushing madly into expense, I ‘m afraid, but the fit is on me
and I ‘ll eat bread and water for a week to make up for it. I must
look nice, for Tom seldom takes me and ought to be gratified
when he does. I want to do like other girls, just for once, and enjoy
myself without thinking about right and wrong. Now a bit of pink
ribbon to tie it with, and I shall be done in time to do up my best
collar," she said, turning her boxes topsy-turvy for the necessary
ribbon in that delightful flurry which young ladies feel on such
occasions.

It is my private opinion that the little shifts and struggles we poor
girls have to undergo beforehand give a peculiar relish to our fun
when we get it. This fact will account for the rapturous mood in
which Polly found herself when, after making her bonnet, washing
and ironing her best set, blacking her boots and mending her fan,
she at last, like Consuelo, "put on a little dress of black silk" and,
with the smaller adornments pinned up in a paper, started for the
Shaws’, finding it difficult to walk decorously when her heart was
dancing in her bosom.

Maud happened to be playing a redowa up in the parlor, and Polly
came prancing into the room so evidently spoiling for a dance that
Tom, who was there, found it impossible to resist catching her
about the waist, and putting her through the most intricate
evolutions till Maud’s fingers gave out.

"That was splendid! Oh, Tom, thank you so much for asking me
to-night. I feel just like having a regular good time," cried Polly,
when she stopped, with her hat hanging round her neck and her
hair looking as if she had been out in a high wind.

"Glad of it. I felt so myself and thought we ‘d have a jolly little
party all in the family," said Tom, looking much gratified at her
delight.

"Is Trix sick?" asked Polly.

"Gone to New York for a week."

"Ah, when the cat’s away the mice will play."

"Exactly. Come and have another turn."

Before they could start, however, the awful spectacle of a little dog
trotting out of the room with a paper parcel in his mouth, made
Polly clasp her hands with the despairing cry: "My bonnet! Oh, my
bonnet!"

"Where? what? which?" And Tom looked about him, bewildered.

"Snip’s got it. Save it! save it!"

"I will!" And Tom gave chase with more vigor than discretion.

Snip, evidently regarding it as a game got up for his special
benefit, enjoyed the race immensely and scampered all over the
house, shaking the precious parcel like a rat while his master ran
and whistled, commanded and coaxed, in vain. Polly followed,
consumed with anxiety, and Maud laughed till Mrs. Shaw sent
down to know who was in hysterics. A piteous yelp from the lower
regions at last announced that the thief was captured, and Tom
appeared bearing Snip by the nape of the neck in one hand and
Polly’s cherished bonnet in the other.

"The little scamp was just going to worry it when I grabbed him. I
‘m afraid he has eaten one of your gloves. I can’t find it, and this
one is pretty well chewed up," said Tom, bereaving Snip of the
torn kid, to which he still pertinaciously clung.

"Serves me right," said Polly with a groan. "I ‘d no business to get a
new pair, but I wanted to be extra gorgeous to-night, and this is my
punishment for such mad extravagance."

"Was there anything else?" asked Tom.

"Only my best cuffs and collar. You ‘ll probably find them in the
coal-bin," said Polly, with the calmness of despair.

"I saw some little white things on the dining-room floor as I raced
through. Go get them, Maud, and we ‘ll repair damages," said Tom,
shutting the culprit into the boot closet, where he placidly rolled
himself up and went to sleep.

"They ain’t hurt a bit," proclaimed Maud, restoring the lost
treasures.

"Neither is my bonnet, for which I ‘m deeply grateful," said Polly,
who had been examining it with a solicitude which made Tom’s
eyes twinkle.

"So am I, for it strikes me that is an uncommonly ‘nobby’ little
affair," he said approvingly. Tom had a weakness for pale pink
roses, and perhaps Polly knew it.

"I ‘m afraid it ‘s too gay," said Polly, with a dubious look.

"Not a bit. Sort of bridal, you know. Must be becoming. Put it on
and let ‘s see."

"I would n’t for the world, with my hair all tumbling down. Don’t
look at me till I ‘m respectable, and don’t tell any one how I ‘ve
been acting. I think I must be a little crazy to-night," said Polly,
gathering up her rescued finery and preparing to go and find Fan.

"Lunacy is mighty becoming, Polly. Try it again," answered Tom,
watching her as she went laughing away, looking all the prettier
for her dishevelment. "Dress that girl up, and she ‘d be a raving,
tearing beauty," added Tom to Maud in a lower tone as he look her
into the parlor under his arm.

Polly heard it and instantly resolved to be as "raving and as
tearing" as her means would allow, "just for one night," she said as
she peeped over the banisters, glad to see that the dance and the
race had taken the "band-boxy" air out of Tom’s elegant array.

I deeply regret being obliged to shock the eyes and ears of such of
my readers as have a prejudice in favor of pure English by
expressions like the above, but, having rashly undertaken to write a
little story about Young America, for Young America, I feel bound
to depict my honored patrons as faithfully as my limited powers
permit. Otherwise, I must expect the crushing criticism, "Well, I
dare say it ‘s all very prim and proper, but it is n’t a bit like us," and
never hope to arrive at the distinction of finding the covers of "An
Old-Fashioned Girl" the dirtiest in the library.

The friends had a social "cup o’ tea" upstairs, which Polly
considered the height of luxury, and then each took a mirror and
proceeded to prink to her heart’s content. The earnestness with
which Polly made her toilet that night was delightful to behold.
Feeling in a daring mood, she released her pretty hair from the
braids in which she usually wore it and permitted the curls to
display themselves in all their brown abundance, especially several
dangerous little ones about the temples and forehead. The putting
on of the rescued collar and cuffs was a task which absorbed her
whole mind. So was the settling of a minute bit of court-plaster
just to the left of the dimple in her chin, an unusual piece of
coquetry in which Polly would not have indulged, if an almost
invisible scratch had not given her an excuse for doing it. The
white, down-trimmed cloak, with certain imposing ornaments on
the hood, was assumed with becoming gravity and draped with
much advancing and retreating before the glass, as its wearer
practised the true Boston gait, elbows back, shoulders forward, a
bend and a slide, occasionally varied by a slight skip. But when
that bonnet went on, Polly actually held her breath till it was safely
landed and the pink rose bloomed above the smooth waves of hair
with what Fanny called "a ravishing effect." At this successful
stage of affairs Polly found it impossible to resist the loan of a pair
of gold bands for the wrists and Fanny’s white fan with the little
mirror in the middle.

"I can put them in my pocket if I feel too much dressed," said Polly
as she snapped on the bracelets, but after a wave or two of the fan
she felt that it would be impossible to take them off till the
evening was over, so enticing was their glitter.

Fanny also lent her a pair of three-button gloves, which completed
her content, and when Tom greeted her with an approving, "Here ‘s
a sight for gods and men! Why, Polly, you ‘re gorgeous!" she felt
that her "fun" had decidedly begun.

"Would n’t Polly make a lovely bride?" said Maud, who was
revolving about the two girls, trying to decide whether she would
have a blue or a white cloak when she grew up and went to operas.

"Faith, and she would! Allow me to congratulate you, Mrs.
Sydney," added Tom, advancing with his wedding-reception bow
and a wicked look at Fanny.

"Go away! How dare you?" cried Polly, growing much redder than
her rose.

"If we are going to the opera to-night, perhaps we ‘d better start, as
the carriage has been waiting some time," observed Fan coolly,
and sailed out of the room in an unusually lofty manner.

"Don’t you like it, Polly?" whispered Tom, as they went down
stairs together.

"Very much."

"The deuce you do!"

"I ‘m so fond of music, how can I help it?

"I ‘m talking about Syd."

"Well, I ‘m not."

"You ‘d better try for him."

"I ‘ll think of it."

"Oh, Polly, Polly, what are you coming to?"

"A tumble into the street, apparently," answered Polly as she
slipped a little on the step, and Tom stopped in the middle of his
laugh to pilot her safely into the carriage, where Fanny was already
seated.

"Here ‘s richness!" said Polly to herself as she rolled away, feeling
as Cinderella probably did when the pumpkin-coach bore her to
the first ball, only Polly had two princes to think about, and poor
Cinderella, on that occasion, had not even one. Fanny did n’t seem
inclined to talk much, and Tom would go on in such a ridiculous
manner that Polly told him she would n’t listen and began to hum
bits of the opera. But she heard every word, nevertheless, and
resolved to pay him for his impertinence as soon as possible by
showing him what he had lost.

Their seats were in the balcony, and hardly were they settled,
when, by one of those remarkable coincidences which are
continually occurring in our youth, Mr. Sydney and Fanny’s old
friend Frank Moore took their places just behind them.

"Oh, you villain! You did it on purpose," whispered Polly as she
turned from greeting their neighbors and saw a droll look on Tom’s
face.

"I give you my word I did n’t. It ‘s the law of attraction, don’t you
see?"

"If Fan likes it, I don’t care."

"She looks resigned, I think."

She certainly did, for she was talking and laughing in the gayest
manner with Frank while Sydney was covertly surveying Polly as
if he did n’t quite understand how the gray grub got so suddenly
transformed into a white butterfly. It is a well-known fact that
dress plays a very important part in the lives of most women and
even the most sensible cannot help owning sometimes how much
happiness they owe to a becoming gown, gracefully arranged hair,
or a bonnet which brings out the best points in their faces and puts
them in a good humor. A great man was once heard to say that
what first attracted him to his well-beloved wife was seeing her in
a white muslin dress with a blue shawl on the chair behind her.
The dress caught his eye, and, stopping to admire that, the wearer’s
intelligent conversation interested his mind, and in time, the
woman’s sweetness won his heart. It is not the finest dress which
does the most execution, I fancy, but that which best interprets
individual taste and character. Wise people understand this, and
everybody is more influenced by it than they know, perhaps. Polly
was not very wise, but she felt that every one about her found
something more attractive than usual in her and modestly
attributed Tom’s devotion, Sydney’s interest, and Frank’s
undisguised admiration, to the new bonnet or, more likely, to that
delightful combination of cashmere, silk, and swan’s-down, which,
like Charity’s mantle, seemed to cover a multitude of sins in other
people’s eyes and exalt the little music teacher to the rank of a
young lady.

Polly scoffed at this sort of thing sometimes, but to-night she
accepted it without a murmur rather enjoyed it in fact, let her
bracelets shine before the eyes of all men, and felt that it was good
to seem comely in their sight. She forgot one thing, however: that
her own happy spirits gave the crowning charm to a picture which
every one liked to see a blithe young girl enjoying herself with all
her heart. The music and the light, costume and company, excited
Polly and made many things possible which at most times she
would never have thought of saying or doing. She did not mean to
flirt, but somehow "it flirted itself" and she could n’t help it, for,
once started, it was hard to stop, with Tom goading her on, and
Sydney looking at her with that new interest in his eyes. Polly’s
flirting was such a very mild imitation of the fashionable thing that
Trix & Co. would not have recognized it, but it did very well for a
beginner, and Polly understood that night wherein the fascination
of it lay, for she felt as if she had found a new gift all of a sudden,
and was learning how to use it, knowing that it was dangerous, yet
finding its chief charm in that very fact.

Tom did n’t know what to make of her at first, though he thought
the change uncommonly becoming and finally decided that Polly
had taken his advice and was "setting her cap for Syd," as he
gracefully expressed it. Sydney, being a modest man, thought
nothing of the kind, but simply fancied that little Polly was
growing up to be a very charming woman. He had known her since
her first visit and had always liked the child; this winter he had
been interested in the success of her plans and had done what he
could to help them, but he never thought of failing in love with
Polly till that night. Then he began to feel that he had not fully
appreciated his young friend; that she was such a bright and
lovable girl, it was a pity she should not always be gay and pretty,
and enjoy herself; that she would make a capital wife for
somebody, and perhaps it was about time to think of "settling," as
his sister often said. These thoughts came and went as he watched
the white figure in front, felt the enchantment of the music, and
found everybody unusually blithe and beautiful. He had heard the
opera many times, but it had never seemed so fine before, perhaps
because he had never happened to have had an ingenuous young
face so near him in which the varying emotions born of the music,
and the romance it portrayed, came and went so eloquently that it
was impossible to help reading them. Polly did not know that this
was why he leaned down so often to speak to her, with an
expression which she did not understand but liked very much
nevertheless.

"Don’t shut your eyes, Polly. They are so full of mischief to-night, I
like to see them," said Tom, after idly wondering for a minute if
she knew how long and curly her lashes were.

"I don’t wish to look affected, but the music tells the story so much
better than the acting that I don’t care to look on half the time,"
answered Polly, hoping Tom would n’t see the tears she had so
cleverly suppressed.

"Now I like the acting best. The music is all very fine, I know, but
it does seem so absurd for people to go round telling tremendous
secrets at the top of their voices. I can’t get used to it."

"That ‘s because you ‘ve more common-sense than romance. I don’t
mind the absurdity, and quite long to go and comfort that poor girl
with the broken heart," said Polly with a sigh as the curtain fell on
a most affecting tableau.

"What’s-his-name is a great jack not to see that she adores him. In
real life we fellows ain’t such bats as all that," observed Tom, who
had decided opinions on many subjects that he knew very little
about, and expressed them with great candor.

A curious smile passed over Polly’s face and she put up her glass to
hide her eyes, as she said: "I think you are bats sometimes, but
women are taught to wear masks, and that accounts for it, I
suppose."

"I don’t agree. There ‘s precious little masking nowadays; wish
there was a little more sometimes," added Tom, thinking of several
blooming damsels whose beseeching eyes had begged him not to
leave them to wither on the parent stem.

"I hope not, but I guess there ‘s a good deal more than any one
would suspect."

"What can you know about broken hearts and blighted beings?"
asked Sydney, smiling at the girl’s pensive tone.

Polly glanced up at him and her face dimpled and shone again, as
she answered, laughing: "Not much; my time is to come."

"I can’t imagine you walking about the world with your back hair
down, bewailing a hard-hearted lover," said Tom.

"Neither can I. That would n’t be my way."

"No; Miss Polly would let concealment prey on her damask cheeks
and still smile on in the novel fashion, or turn sister of charity and
nurse the heartless lover through small-pox, or some other
contagious disease, and die seraphically, leaving him to the
agonies of remorse and tardy love."

Polly gave Sydney an indignant look as he said that in a slow
satirical way that nettled her very much, for she hated to be
thought sentimental.

"That ‘s not my way either," she said decidedly. "I ‘d try to outlive
it, and if I could n’t, I ‘d try to be the better for it. Disappointment
need n’t make a woman a fool."

"Nor an old maid, if she ‘s pretty and good. Remember that, and
don’t visit the sins of one blockhead on all the rest of mankind,"
said Tom, laughing at her earnestness.

"I don’t think there is the slightest possibility of Miss Polly’s being
either," added Sydney with a look which made it evident that
concealment had not seriously damaged Polly’s damask cheek as
yet.

"There ‘s Clara Bird. I have n’t seen her but once since she was
married. How pretty she looks!" and Polly retired behind the big
glass again, thinking the chat was becoming rather personal.

"Now, there ‘s a girl who tried a different cure for unrequited
affection from any you mention. People say she was fond of Belle’s
brother. He did n’t reciprocate but went off to India to spoil his
constitution, so Clara married a man twenty years older than she is
and consoles herself by being the best-dressed woman in the city."

"That accounts for it," said Polly, when Tom’s long whisper ended.

"For what?"

"The tired look in her eyes."

"I don’t see it," said Tom, after a survey through the glass.

"Did n’t expect you would."

"I see what you mean. A good many women have it nowadays,"
said Sydney over Polly’s shoulder.

"What’s she tired of? The old gentleman?" asked Tom.

"And herself," added Polly.

"You ‘ve been reading French novels, I know you have. That ‘s just
the way the heroines go on," cried Tom.

"I have n’t read one, but it ‘s evident you have, young man, and you
‘d better stop."

"I don’t care for ’em; only do it to keep up my French. But how
came you to be so wise, ma’am?"

"Observation, sir. I like to watch faces, and I seldom see a
grown-up one that looks perfectly happy."

"True for you, Polly; no more you do, now I think of it. I don’t
know but one that always looks so, and there it is."

"Where?" asked Polly, with interest.

"Look straight before you and you ‘ll see it."

Polly did look, but all she saw was her own face in the little mirror
of the fan which Tom held up and peeped over with a laugh in his
eyes.

"Do I look happy? I ‘m glad of that," And Polly surveyed herself
with care.

Both young men thought it was girlish vanity and smiled at its
naive display, but Polly was looking for something deeper than
beauty and was glad not to find it.

"Rather a pleasant little prospect, hey, Polly?"

"My bonnet is straight, and that ‘s all I care about. Did you ever see
a picture of Beau Brummel?" asked Polly quickly.

"No."

"Well, there he is, modernized." And turning the fan, she showed
him himself.

"Any more portraits in your gallery?" asked Sydney, as if he liked
to share all the nonsense going.

"One more."

"What do you call it?"

"The portrait of a gentleman." And the little glass reflected a
gratified face for the space of two seconds.

"Thank you. I ‘m glad I don’t disgrace my name," said Sydney,
looking down into the merry blue eyes that thanked him silently
for many of the small kindnesses that women never can forget.

"Very good, Polly, you are getting on fast," whispered Tom,
patting his yellow kids approvingly.

"Be quiet! Dear me, how warm it is!" And Polly gave him a frown
that delighted his soul.

"Come out and have an ice, we shall have time."

"Fan is so absorbed, I could n’t think of disturbing her," said Polly,
fancying that her friend was enjoying the evening as much as she
was a great mistake, by the way, for Fan was acting for effect, and
though she longed to turn and join them, would n’t do it, unless a
certain person showed signs of missing her. He did n’t, and Fanny
chatted on, raging inwardly over her disappointment, and
wondering how Polly could be so gay and selfish.

It was delicious to see the little airs Polly put on, for she felt as if
she were somebody else, and acting a part. She leaned back, as if
quite oppressed by the heat, permitted Sydney to fan her, and paid
him for the service by giving him a flower from her bouquet,
proceedings which amused Tom immensely, even while it piqued
him a little to be treated like an old friend who did n’t count.

"Go in and win, Polly; I ‘ll give you my blessing," he whispered, as
the curtain rose again.

"It ‘s only part of the fun, so don’t you laugh, you disrespectful
boy," she whispered back in a tone never used toward Sydney.

Tom did n’t quite like the different way in which she treated them,
and the word "boy" disturbed his dignity, for he was almost
twenty-one and Polly ought to treat him with more respect. Sydney
at the same moment was wishing he was in Tom’s place young,
comely, and such a familiar friend that Polly would scold and
lecture him in the delightful way she did Tom; while Polly forgot
them both when the music began and left them ample time to look
at her and think about themselves.

While they waited to get out when all was over Polly heard Fan
whisper to Tom: "What do you think Trix will say to this?"

"What do you mean?"

"Why, the way you ‘ve been going on to-night."

"Don’t know, and don’t care; it ‘s only Polly."

"That ‘s the very thing. She can’t bear P."

"Well, I can; and I don’t see why I should n’t enjoy myself as well
as Trix."

"You ‘ll get to enjoying yourself too much if you are n’t careful.
Polly ‘s waked up."

"I ‘m glad of it, and so ‘s Syd."

"I only spoke for your good."

"Don’t trouble yourself about me; I get lecturing enough in another
quarter and can’t stand any more. Come, Polly."

She took the arm he offered her, but her heart was sore and angry,
for that phrase, "It ‘s only Polly," hurt her sadly. "As if I was n’t
anybody, had n’t any feelings, and was only made to amuse or
work for people! Fan and Tom are both mistaken and I ‘ll show
them that Polly is awake," she thought, indignantly. "Why should
n’t I enjoy myself as well as the rest? Besides, it ‘s only Tom," she
added with a bitter smile as she thought of Trix.

"Are you tired, Polly?" asked Tom, bending down to look into her
face.

"Yes, of being nobody."

"Ah, but you ain’t nobody, you ‘re Polly, and you could n’t better
that if you tried ever so hard." said Tom, warmly, for he really was
fond of Polly, and felt uncommonly so just then.

"I ‘m glad you think so, anyway. It ‘s so pleasant to be liked." And
she looked up with her face quite bright again.

"I always did like you, don’t you know, ever since that first visit."

"But you teased me shamefully, for all that."

"So I did, but I don’t now."

Polly did not answer, and Tom asked, with more anxiety than the
occasion required: "Do I, Polly?"

"Not in the same way, Tom," she answered in a tone that did n’t
sound quite natural.

"Well, I never will again."

"Yes, you will, you can’t help it." And Polly’s eye glanced at
Sydney, who was in front with Fan.

Tom laughed, and drew Polly closer as the crowd pressed, saying,
with mock tenderness: "Did n’t she like to be chaffed about her
sweethearts? Well, she shan’t be if I can help it. Poor dear, did she
get her little bonnet knocked into a cocked hat and her little
temper riled at the same time?"

Polly could n’t help laughing, and, in spite of the crush, enjoyed the
slow journey from seat to carriage, for Tom took such excellent
care of her, she was rather sorry when it was over.

They had a merry little supper after they got home, and Polly gave
them a burlesque opera that convulsed her hearers, for her spirits
rose again and she was determined to get the last drop of fun
before she went back to her humdrum life again.

"I ‘ve had a regularly splendid time, and thank you ever so much,"
she said when the "good-nights" were being exchanged.

"So have I. Let ‘s go and do it again to-morrow," said Tom, holding
the hand from which he had helped to pull a refractory glove.

"Not for a long while, please. Too much pleasure would soon spoil
me," answered Polly, shaking her head.

"I don’t believe it. Good-night, ‘sweet Mistress Milton,’ as Syd
called you. Sleep like an angel, and don’t dream of I forgot, no
teasing allowed." And Tom took himself off with a theatrical
farewell.

"Now it ‘s all over and done with," thought Polly as she fell asleep
after a long vigil. But it was not, and Polly’s fun cost more than the
price of gloves and bonnet, for, having nibbled at forbidden fruit,
she had to pay the penalty. She only meant to have a good time,
and there was no harm in that, but unfortunately she yielded to the
various small temptations that beset pretty young girls and did
more mischief to others than to herself. Fanny’s friendship grew
cooler after that night. Tom kept wishing Trix was half as
satisfactory as Polly, and Mr. Sydney began to build castles that
had no foundation.

 

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