After being unusually good, children are apt to turn short round and refresh themselves by acting like Sancho. For a week after Tom’s mishap, the young folks were quite angelic, so much so that grandma said she was afraid “something was going to happen to them”. The dear old lady needn’t have felt anxious, for such excessive virtue doesn’t last long enough to lead to translation, except with little prigs in the goody story-books; and no sooner was Tom on his legs again, when the whole party went astray, and much tribulation was the consequence.

It all began with “Polly’s stupidity”, as Fan said afterward. Just as Polly ran down to meet Mr. Shaw one evening, and was helping him off with his coat, the bell rang, and a fine bouquet of hothouse flowers was left in Polly’s hands, for she never could learn city ways, and opened the door herself.

“Hey! what’s this? My little Polly is beginning early, after all,” said Mr. Shaw, laughing, as he watched the girl’s face dimple and flush, as she smelt the lovely nosegay, and glanced at a note half hidden in the heliotrope.

Now, if Polly hadn’t been “stupid”, as Fan said, she would have had her wits about her, and let it pass; but, you see, Polly was an honest little soul, and it never occurred to her that there was any need of concealment, so she answered in her straightforward way, “Oh, they are not for me, sir; they are for Fan; from Mr. Frank, I guess. She’ll be so pleased.”

“That puppy sends her things of this sort, does he?” And Mr. Shaw looked far from pleased as he pulled out the note, and coolly opened it.

Polly had her doubts about Fan’s approval of that “sort of thing”, but dared not say a word, and stood thinking how she used to show her father the funny valentines the boys sent her, and how they laughed over them together. But Mr. Shaw did not laugh when he had read the sentimental verses accompanying the bouquet, and his face quite scared Polly, as he asked, angrily, “How long has this nonsense been going on?”

“Indeed, sir, I don’t know. Fan doesn’t mean any harm. I wish I hadn’t said anything!” stammered Polly, remembering the promise given to Fanny the day of the concert. She had forgotten all about it, and had become accustomed to see the “big boys”, as she called Mr. Frank and his friends, with the girls on all occasions. Now it suddenly occurred to her that Mr. Shaw didn’t like such amusements, and had forbidden Fan to indulge in them. “Oh, dear! how angry she will be. Well, I can’t help it. Girls shouldn’t have secrets from their fathers, then there wouldn’t be any fuss,” thought Polly, as she watched Mr. Shaw twist up the pink note and poke it back among the flowers which he took from her, saying, shortly, “Send Fanny to me in the library.”

“Now you’ve done it, you stupid thing!” cried Fanny, both angry and dismayed, when Polly delivered the message.

“Why, what else could I do?” asked Polly, much disturbed.

“Let him think the bouquet was for you; then there’d have been no trouble.”

“But that would have been doing a lie, which is almost as bad as telling one.”

“Don’t be a goose. You’ve got me into a scrape, and you ought to help me out.”

“I will if I can; but I won’t tell lies for anybody!” cried Polly, getting excited.

“Nobody wants you to. Just hold your tongue, and let me manage.”

“Then I’d better not go down,” began Polly, when a stern voice from below called, like Bluebeard, “Are you coming down?”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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