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A Houseful of Girls   By: (1827-1914)

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First Page:

A HOUSEFUL OF GIRLS. BY SARAH TYTLER,

AUTHOR OF

"CITOYENNE JACQUELINE," "PAPERS FOR THOUGHTFUL GIRLS," ETC., ETC.

LONDON: WALTER SMITH AND INNES, 31 & 32, BEDFORD STREET, STRAND. 1889.

[ All rights reserved. ]

RICHARD CLAY & SONS, LIMITED, LONDON & BUNGAY.

CONTENTS.

CHAP. PAGE

I. A FLUTTER IN THE DOVE COT 1

II. THE "COUP DE GRĂ‚CE" 20

III. THE HEADS OF THE HOUSE LOOK GRAVE 35

IV. THE CRASH 54

V. PROMOTION 72

VI. THE CLOUD DEEPENS 81

VII. ROSE GOES WEST AND ANNIE GOES EAST 106

VIII. STANDING AND WAITING 122

IX. A WILFUL DOG WILL HAVE HIS WAY 136

X. LIFE IN AN HOSPITAL WARD 157

XI. MRS. JENNINGS AND HER DAUGHTER HESTER 182

XII. A YOUNG ARTIST'S EXPERIENCE 188

XIII. MR. ST. FOY'S AND THE MISSES STONE'S 196

XIV. THE OLD TOWN, WITH ITS AIR STAGNANT YET TROUBLED. IS MAY TO BECOME A SCHOLAR OR A SHOP GIRL? 214

XV. TOM ROBINSON TAKEN INTO COUNSEL 234

XVI. ROSE'S FOLLY AND ANNIE'S WISDOM 257

XVII. MAY HAS TO FIGHT HER OWN BATTLE 288

XVIII. DORA IS THE NEXT MESSENGER WITH BAD TIDINGS 316

XIX. THE UNEMPLOYED A FAMILIAR FACE 322

XX. REDCROSS AGAIN 342

XXI. MISS FRANKLIN'S MISTAKE 363

XXII. A SHRED OF HOPE 382

XXIII. SECOND THOUGHTS AND LAST WORDS 392

A HOUSEFUL OF GIRLS

CHAPTER I.

A FLUTTER IN THE DOVE COT.

Is there any sensation equal to that produced by the first lover and the first proposal coming to a girl in a large family of girls? It is delightfully sentimental, comical, complimentary, affronting, rousing, tiresome all in one. It is a herald of lovers, proposals, and wonderful changes all round. It is the first thrill of real life in its strong passions, grave vicissitudes, and big joys and sorrows as they come in contact with idle fancies, hearts that have been light, simple experiences which have hitherto been carefully guarded from rude shocks.

It does not signify much whether the family of girls happen to be rich or poor, unless indeed that early and sharp poverty causes a precocity which deepens girls' characters betimes, and by making them sooner women, robs them of a certain amount of the thoughtlessness, fearlessness, and impracticability of girlhood. But girlhood, like many another natural condition, dies hard; and its sweet, bright illusions, its wisdom and its folly, survive tolerably severe pinches of adversity.

The younger members of such a sisterhood are politely supposed to be kept in safe ignorance of the great event which is befalling one of the seniors. It is thought at once a delicate and prudent precaution to prevent the veil which hides the future, with its casualties, from being lifted prematurely and abruptly, where juvenile minds are concerned, lest they become unhinged and unfit for the salutary discipline of schoolroom lessons, and the mild pleasure of schoolroom treats. The flower in the bud ought to be kept with its petals folded, in its innocent absence of self consciousness, to the last moment.

But there is an electric sympathy in the air which defeats precautions. There is a freemasonry of dawning womanhood which starts into life everywhere. How do the young people pick up with such surprising quickness and acuteness the looks and whispers meant to pass over their heads, the merry glances, nervous shrugs, quick blushes, and indignant pouts, which have suddenly grown strangely prevalent in the blooming circle? The bystanders are understood to be engrossed with their music lessons, their drawing classes, their rudimentary Latin and Greek if anybody is going in for the higher education of women their pets, their games of lawn tennis, their girl companions with whom these other girls are for ever making appointments to walk, to practise part singing, to work or read together, to get up drawing room tableaux or plays... Continue reading book >>




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