Read CHAPTER XXXVI of Polly and the Princess, free online book, by Emma C. Dowd, on


Saturday Morning, Dear Chris,

I have such an avalanche of news, I don’t know where to begin. First, I must thank you for your dear letter and the wild flowers. They are lovely. We were immensely interested in hearing about your school, it is all so different from ours. What do you think father said, Chris Morrow! He put the sheets carefully back in the envelope, and as he laid it on the table he exclaimed, “That boy is a born letter-writer!” It ought to make you very proud, but I know it won’t. He never said that over a letter of mine! But I am not jealous. I do wish you were here. I wish it every day. But I’m glad you are so happy with your father, and that he has such a splendid position. Now for my news!

I ought to be dusting my room this very minute! My desk is so dusty it blew in last evening, I guess, when the window was open, the dust, I mean and it stares me in the face and makes me feel guilty. I can’t do as Mrs. Albright does when her room is dusty and she doesn’t feel like dusting. I went to see her one day, and she was sitting by the window, smiling as usual. She said, “Don’t look around, dear, for I presume the dust is thick on everything. I was too tired to dust after my walk, so I took off my glasses and have been having a really beautiful time in spite of the dust.”


There! I feel better. Everything is bright as new! Now I shan’t be in terror if the doorbell rings.

I wonder what I’d better take first. I wrote you all about Miss Crilly and what a time Miss Nita had getting a doctor. Miss Crilly is back at the Home now, perfectly well, and you can’t see her ten minutes before she will get in something about Miss Nita’s saving her life. She did, too! Father says that if she had waited till morning it would have been too late. Poor Miss Sniffen! I’m glad she didn’t have any more to answer for! Mr. Randolph put a private wire up to Miss Sterling’s room, and she felt fixed all right. It was funny! If he’d waited till the next week he wouldn’t have needed to do it, though it was very nice for her as long as she was there. Well, a week after the telephone was in, Mabel ran up to Miss Major’s room before she was up, frightened half to death. She said, “Oh, Miss Major!” woke her out of a sound sleep “Miss Sniffen has gone! And Mrs. Nobbs has gone! And Bridget has gone!” Bridget was the cook. “How do you know?” Miss Major asked. “’Cause they ain’t anywhere!” Mabel cried. “We’ve looked all over, Nellie and me! In Miss Sniffen’s room and Mrs. Nobbs’s room and Bridget’s room! They ain’t anywhere at all!” Of course, that roused the house, and everybody was running round half-dressed, and they hunted everywhere, and they couldn’t find a trace of the three. Their trunks had disappeared and every vestige of their belongings! The servants didn’t know what to do, and they stood around helpless, till Miss Major and Mrs. Albright went into the kitchen and began to get breakfast. Miss Nita telephoned to Mr. Randolph, and he came up and appointed Miss Major to have charge of things till they could get new officers. In the middle of the forenoon who should appear but Mrs. Dick! Mrs. Tenney, I should say. Her husband had died a month or so before, and she had tried to get back into the Home, but Miss Sniffen wouldn’t have her, and she hadn’t dared to apply to anybody else. As soon as she came in and found out they’d gone, she took off her things and went right into the kitchen to help. She started to make some bread; but the flour was sour and wormy, and she wouldn’t use it. So Mr. Randolph sent up some new, and told her to order anything she needed. You can imagine they had a good dinner! It was a first-class meal, they all said, the best they had had in years. Miss Nita called me up early, and I ran over before school. They were having a regular jubilation, as happy as a flock of kids!

Now they’ve got a superintendent that is worthwhile! She is just lovely! The matron is nice, too, so motherly. And what do you think! They have a trained nurse all the time and they are going to fix up an infirmary on the top floor, so those that are sick can be quiet without the well ones having to be whist. Dr. Temple has been appointed House Physician oh, I tell you, things are mightily changed at the Home!

I think I wrote you about Miss Twining and her “resurrection.” That night when Dr. Temple contradicted so emphatically what Dr. Gunnip had told her she says she felt as if she had been dead and buried all those dreadful weeks and had come back to life. Miss Crilly insists that if it hadn’t been for Miss Twining’s “martyrdom” we never should have had “spunk” enough to go to Mr. Randolph with our awful story. I guess she is right. That stirred us up to do something. Miss Twining is pretty well now. She writes nearly every day, and as she can sell as much as she likes she earns a good deal. She told me once how she had always longed to hear one of her poems read in church. Well, last Sunday Mr. Parcell finished up his sermon with her “Peter the Great.” It is beautiful I’ll copy it for you some day. He repeated it splendidly. I couldn’t resist glancing over at Miss Twining you ought to have seen her! She looked just like a saint or an angel!

Have I told you how father all but scolded me for talking to the minister in that way? He didn’t like it a little bit! I shan’t dare to tell ministers what I think after this! But I do believe it did Mr. Parcell good. He has been lovely to me ever since. He isn’t half so cold and top-lofty as he used to be.

I’m getting down pretty near the weddings, I guess. We’ve had two! They’re celebrating birthdays now at the Home, and Mrs. Adlerfeld’s happened to be the first one. Miss Churchill had a lovely birthday cake for her, and chrysanthemums. The table looked beautiful. But little Mrs. Adlerfeld gave them a surprise. Of course, Miss Churchill and the matron knew all about it, and Mrs. Albright and Miss Nita and I; but the majority did not dream of such a thing. At eight o’clock Mrs. Adlerfeld, who had slipped away to put on her traveling dress, walked in on the arm of Mr. Von Dalin, and there was a minister, and they were married! Colonel Gresham gave her away, and we had such a nice time! She is living in New York. Oh, she was so sweet! I wish you could have seen her. In speaking of Mr. Von Dalin she said, “He is always a glad man. I could not marry a man who was not glad.” Isn’t that dear? It was hard to lose her. I am thankful Miss Nita didn’t have to go away I don’t know what I should have done!

Now comes her wedding! It was so pretty, everybody said. I was in it, so I couldn’t tell so well. The chapel and all the rooms were beautifully decorated with flowers, and the bride wore a simple tailored suit of dark blue, hat and boots to match. They looked splendid together, he is so tall and handsome and she is so slender and pretty. You don’t know how much prettier she is since she has curled her hair! I always thought she would be. Almost all the ladies went right to curling their hair as soon as Miss Sniffen had skipped out, and it is a great improvement. Father gave away the bride, and David was Mr. Randolph’s best man. I was the maid of honor. I felt as if I had been married myself. David said he didn’t, but he wished he had been. Doesn’t that sound just like him? He is the queerest boy! Do you know, he comes away up here almost every morning, so as to walk down to school with me and cut out Todd Wilmerding! He knows I don’t care a rap for Todd, but he hates to see him carrying my books!

Miss Nita says I must call her simply “Nita” now, but it is hard to change. Mr. Randolph sometimes calls her “Princess,” and she always smiles and blushes I wonder why! “Princess” just fits her, doesn’t it? He declares he shall feel slighted if I don’t call him “Nelson”! As if I would that dignified man! Nita insists that he isn’t dignified one bit, but I don’t agree with her. Anyway, I shan’t leave off the “Mr.” to-day! They were only gone a week. I go over there nearly every day. The house has been altered a good deal. A beautiful, big veranda, or addition, has been built off the dining-room, sides all glass, and heated so that it can be used in the coldest weather. I ate dinner there last week. Nita has two servants, so she doesn’t have to work hard. There is a new music room, too, out of the hall, with a magnificent new piano in it! Miss Nita enjoys that. Oh, I forgot to tell you that they are going to have a piano at the Home! Mrs. Winslow Teed is delighted. And they have new china for the table. Miss Churchill couldn’t stand that old heavy stuff, and the good had all been broken. You wouldn’t know the place. The ladies can go and come as they please, making a note of where they are going, or not, just as they choose. There are hardly any rules, and visitors are allowed every afternoon between two o’clock and six. I guess Mr. Randolph means to make up to them for all they have suffered through Miss Sniffen. One thing I am glad of! The ladies have some new dresses! And Mrs. Crump and Miss Castlevaine have new winter coats. They were the worst dressed of anybody, as they had been there longest. And I am almost gladdest of this, each lady has five dollars a month for spending money! They are expected to buy their own shoes and stockings and gloves and neckwear and hats; but they’ll have plenty left for themselves.

Mrs. Albright’s birthday comes next week, and we are planning a big time. But the cream of the birthdays comes next summer, when we expect to celebrate June Holiday’s birthday. It will be a grand outdoor affair. Some of the ladies have chosen their parts already. Everybody is to represent something in a June day, and the children trustees’ and managers’ children, you know are going to be butterflies and bumblebees. They want me to be Morning in light pink. Miss Crilly is going to be South Wind won’t she be breezy? She hasn’t quite decided about her costume, but it is to be of some gauzy stuff. I think Miss Lily will be Blue Sky and White Clouds. She will be sweet in blue and white. Then there are going to be lots of flowers and birds and all sorts of characters. I wish you could be here! Can’t you come across? What do you think Blue says he is going to be? A hop-toad! Isn’t that like him! If he does he’ll carry it out so he’ll keep everybody laughing. There is Patricia coming! I must say good-bye in a hurry. Loads of love from us all.

Polly May Dudley.

P.S. Patricia has just gone. She brought some news. Doodles is going to be soprano soloist in the boy choir at Trinity Church! Isn’t that worth while! Of course, it is Mr. Randolph’s doing. He is one of the head men there, and what he says, goes. He thinks Doodles’s singing is about right. So Nita will hear him every Sunday. Mother says you’ll have to stay home from school the day you read this, for there won’t be time for anything else. More love from