The getting ready for Dolly's journey began to be the engrossing topic of the little household.

Miss Simpkins, the Poganuc dress-maker, had a permanent corner in the sitting-room, and discoursed ex cathedra on "piping-cord" and "ruffling cut on the bias," and Dolly and Mrs. Cushing and Miss Deborah obediently ran up breadths, hemmed, stitched and gathered at her word of command.

The general course of society in those days as to dress and outward adornment did not run with the unchecked and impetuous current that it now does. The matter of dress has become in our day a yoke and a burden, and many a good house-mother is having the springs of her existence sapped by responsibilities connected with pinking and frilling and quilling, and an army of devouring cares as to hemming, stitching and embroidery, for which even the "consolations of religion" provide no panacea.

In the simple Puritan days, while they had before their eyes the query of Sacred Writ, "Can a maid forget her ornaments?"—they felt that there was no call to assist the maid in her meditations on this subject. Little girls were assiduously taught that to be neat and clean was the main beauty. Good mothers who had pretty daughters were very reticent of any remarks that might lead in the direction of personal vanity; any extra amount of time spent at the toilet, any apparent anxiety about individual adornment, met a persistent discouragement.

Never in all her life before had Dolly heard so much discourse on subjects connected with personal appearance, and, to say the truth, she did not at all enter into it with the abandon and zeal of a girl of our modern days, and found the fitting and trying on and altering rather a tribulation to be conscientiously endured. She gathered, hemmed, stitched and sewed, however, and submitted herself to the trying-on process with resignation.

"The child don't seem to think much of dress," said Miss Debby, when alone with her sister. "What is she thinking of, with those great eyes of hers?"

"Oh, of things she is planning," said her mother; "of books she is reading, of things her father reads to her, of ways she can help me—in short, of anything but herself."

"She is very pretty," said Miss Debby, "and is sure to be very attractive."

"Yes," answered her mother, "but Dolly hasn't the smallest notion of anything like coquetry. Now, she has been a good deal admired here, and there have been one or two that would evidently have been glad to go farther; but Dolly cuts everything of that kind short at once. She is very pleasant, very kind, very friendly, up to a certain point, but the moment she is made love to—everything is changed."

"Well," said Miss Deborah, "I am glad I came after her. There's everything, with a girl like Dolly, in putting her into proper society. When a girl comes to her years one should put her in the way of a suitable connection at once."

"As to that," said Mrs. Cushing, "I always felt that things of that kind must be left to Providence."

"I believe, however, your husband preaches that we must 'use the means,' doesn't he? One must put children in proper society, to give Providence a chance."

"Well, Debby, you have your schemes, but I forwarn you Dolly is one who goes her own path. She seems very sweet, very gentle, very yielding, but she has a little quiet way of her own of looking at things and deciding for herself; she always knows her own mind very definitely, too."

"Good!" said Miss Debby, taking a long and considerate pinch of snuff. "We shall see."

Miss Debby had unbounded confidence in her own powers of management. She looked upon Dolly as a very creditably educated young person so far, but did not in the least doubt her own ability to add a few finishing touches here and there, which should turn her out a perfected specimen.

On Sunday morning Miss Debby arose with the spirit of a confessor. For her brother-in-law the good lady had the sincerest respect and friendship, but on this particular day she felt bound to give her patronage and support to the little church where, in her view, the truly appointed minister dispensed the teaching of the true church.

The Doctor lifted his glasses and soberly smiled as he saw her compact energetic figure walking across the green to the little church. Dolly's cheeks flamed up; she was indignant; to her it looked like a slight upon her father, and Dolly, as we have seen, had a very active spirit of partisanship.

"Well, I must say I wonder at her doing so," she commented. "Does she not think we are Christians?"

"She has a right to her own faith, my child," said the Doctor.

"Yes, but what would she think of me, when I am in Boston, if I should go off to some other church than hers?"

"My dear, I hope you will give her no such occasion," said Mrs. Cushing. "Your conscience requires no such course of you; hers does."

"Well, it seems to me that Aunty has a very narrow and bigoted way of looking at things," said Dolly.

"Your aunt is an old lady—very decided in all her opinions—not in the least likely to be changed by anything you or I or anybody can say to her. It is best to take her as she is."

"Besides," said the Doctor, "she has as much right to think I am in the wrong as I have to think she is. Let every one be fully persuaded in his own mind."

"I was very glad, my dear, you answered Dolly as you did," said Mrs. Cushing to her husband that night when they were alone. "She has such an intense feeling about all that relates to you, and the Episcopal party have been so often opposed to you, that she will need some care and caution now she is going where everything is to be changed. She will have to see that there can be truth and goodness in both forms of worship."

"Oh, certainly; I will indoctrinate Dolly," said the Doctor. "Yes, I will set the whole thing before her. She has a good clear mind. I can make her understand."

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