A Little Girl in Old New York

Publisher: DigiLibraries.com
Language: English
Published: 1 month ago
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"How would you like to go to New York to live, little girl?"

The little girl looked up into her father's face to see if he was "making fun." He did sometimes. He was beginning to go down the hill of middle life, a rather stout personage with a fair, florid complexion, brown hair, rough and curly, and a border of beard shaved well away from his mouth. Both beard and hair were getting threads of white in them. His jolly blue eyes were mostly in a twinkle, and his good-natured mouth looked as if he might be laughing at you.

She studied him intently. Three months before she had been taken to the city on a visit, and it was a great event. I suspect that her mother did not like being separated from her a whole fortnight. She was such a nice, quiet, well-behaved little girl. Children were trained in those days. Some of them actually took pride in being as nice as possible and obeying the first time they were spoken to, without even asking "Why?"

The little girl sat on a stool sewing patchwork. This particular pattern was called a lemon star and had eight diamond-shaped pieces of two colors, filled in with white around the edge, making a square. Her grandmother was coming to "join" it for her, and have it quilted before she was eight years old. She was doing her part with a good will.

"To New York?" she repeated very deliberately. Then she went on with her sewing for she had no time to waste.

"Yes, Pussy." Her father pinched her cheek softly. The little girl was the most precious thing in the world, he sometimes thought.

"What, all of us?" You see she had a mind to understand the case before she committed herself.

"Oh, certainly! I don't know as we could leave any one behind."

Then he lifted her up in his lap and hugged her, scrubbing her face with his beard which gave her pink cheeks. They both laughed. She held her sewing out with one hand so that the needle should not scratch either of them.

"I can't—hardly—tell;" and her face was serious.

I want to explain to you that the little girl had not begun with grammar. You may find her making mistakes occasionally. Perhaps the children of to-day do the same thing.

"Would we move everything?" raising her wondering eyes.

"Well, no—not quite;" and the humorous light crossed his face. "We couldn't take the orchard nor the meadows nor the woods nor the creek." (I think he said "medders" and "crick," and his "nor" sounded as if he put an e in it.) "There are a good many things we should have to leave behind."

He sighed and the little girl sighed too. She drew up her patchwork and began to sew.

"It is a great deal of trouble to move;" she began gravely. "I must consider."

She had caught that from Great-Aunt Van Kortlandt, who never committed herself to anything without considering.

Her father kissed her cheek. If it had been a little fatter she would have had a dimple. Or perhaps he put so many kisses in the little dent it was always filled up with love.

I don't know whether you would have thought this little girl of past seven pretty or not....