Read CHAPTER VI - END OF SCHOOL TERM of The End of a Coil , free online book, by Susan Warner, on

Dolly’s school life is not further of importance in this history; or no further than may serve to fill out the picture already given of herself.  A few smooth and uneventful years followed that first coming to Philadelphia; not therefore unfruitful because uneventful; perhaps the very contrary.  The little girl made her way among her fellow pupils and the teachers, the masters and mistresses, the studies and drills which busied them all, with a kind of sweet facility; such as is born everywhere, I suppose, of good will.  Whoever got into scrapes, it was never Dolly Copley; whoever was chidden for imperfect recitations, such rebukes never fell on her; whoever might be suspected of mischief, such suspicion could not rest for a moment on the fair, frank little face and those grave brown eyes.  The most unpopular mistress had a friend in Dolly; the most refractory school-girl owned to a certain influence which went forth from her; the most uncomfortable of her companions found soothing in her presence.  People who are happy themselves can drop a good deal of oil on the creaking machinery around them, and love is the only manufactory where the oil is made.

With all this smooth going, it may be supposed that Dolly’s progress in knowledge and accomplishments would be at least satisfactory; and it was more than that.  She prospered in all she undertook.  The teacher of mathematics said she had a good head for calculation; the French mistress declared nature had given her a good ear and accent; the dancing master found her agile and graceful as a young roe; the drawing master went beyond all these and averred that Miss Copley would distinguish him and herself.  “She has an excellent manner of handling, madame,” he said, ­“and she has an eye for colour, and she will have a style that will be distinguished.”  Moreover, Dolly’s voice was sweet and touching, and promised to be very effective.

So things went on at school; and at home each day bound faster the loving ties which united her with her kind protectors and relations.  Every week grew and deepened the pleasure of the intercourse they held together.  Those were happy years for all parties.  Dolly had become rather more talkative, without being less of a bookworm.  Vacations were sometimes spent with her mother and father, though not always, as the latter were sometimes travelling.  Dolly missed nothing; Mrs. Eberstein’s house had come to be a second home.

All this while the “Achilles” had never been heard of again in the neighbourhood of Philadelphia.  Neither, though Dolly I am bound to say searched faithfully all the lists of ship’s officers which were reported in any American ports, did she ever so much as see the name of A. Crowninshield.  She always looked for it, wherever a chance of finding it might be; she never found it.

Such was the course of things, until Dolly had reached her seventeenth year and was half through it.  Then, in the spring, long before school term ended, came a sudden summons for her.  Mr. Copley had received the appointment of a consulship in London; he and his family were about to transfer themselves immediately to this new sphere of activity, and Dolly of course must go along.  Her books were hastily fetched from school, her clothes packed up; and Dolly and her kind friends in Walnut Street sat together the last evening in a very subdued frame of mind.

“I don’t see what your father wanted of a consulship, or anything else that would take him out of his country!” Mr. Eberstein uttered his rather grumbling complaint.  “He has enough to satisfy a man without that.”

“But what papa likes is precisely something to take him out of the country.  He likes change” ­said Dolly sorrowfully.

“He won’t have much change as American Consul in London,” Mr. Eberstein returned.  “Business will pin him pretty close.”

“I suppose it will be a change at first,” said Dolly; “and then, when he gets tired of it, he will give it up, and take something else.”

“And you, little Dolly, you are accordingly to be shoved out into the great, great world, long before you are ready for it.”

“Is the world any bigger over there than it is on this side?” said Dolly, with a gleam of fun.

“Well, yes,” said Mr. Eberstein.  “Most people think so.  And London is a good deal bigger than Philadelphia.”

“The world is very much alike all over,” remarked Mrs. Eberstein; “in one place a little more fascinating and dangerous, in another a little less.”

“Will it be more or less, over there, for me, Aunt Harry?”

“It would be ‘more’ for you anywhere, Dolly, soon.  Why you are between sixteen and seventeen; almost a woman!” Mrs. Eberstein said with a sigh.

“No, not yet, Aunt Harry.  I’ll be a girl yet awhile.  I can be that in England, can’t I, as well as here?”

“Better,” said Mr. Eberstein.

“But the world, nevertheless, is a little bigger out there, Ned,” his wife added.

“In what way, Aunt Harry?  And what do you mean by the ‘world’ anyhow?”

“I mean what the Lord was speaking of, when He said to His disciples, ’If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.’”

“That means, bad people?”

“Some of them are by no means bad people.  Some of them are delightful people.”

“Then I do not quite understand, Aunt Harry.  I thought it meant not only bad people, but gay people; pleasure lovers.”

“Aren’t you a lover of pleasure, Dolly?”

“Oh yes.  But, Aunt Harry,” Dolly said seriously, “I am not a ’lover of pleasure more than a lover of God.’”

“No, thanks to His goodness!  However, Dolly, people may be just as worldly without seeking pleasures at all.  It isn’t that.”

“What is it, then?”

“I don’t know how to put it.  Ned, can you?”

“Why, Hal,” said Mr. Eberstein pondering, “it comes to about this, I reckon.  There are just two kingdoms in the world, upon earth I mean.”

“Yes.  Well?  I know there are two kingdoms, and no neutral ground.  But what is the dividing line?  That is what we want to know.”

“If there is no neutral ground, it follows that the border line of one kingdom is the border line of the other.  To go out of one, is to go into the other.”

“Well?  Yes.  That’s plain.”

“Then it is simple enough.  What belongs to Christ, or what is done for Him or in His service, belongs to His kingdom.  Of course, what is not Christ’s, nor is done for Him, nor in His service, belongs to the world.”

There was a silence here of some duration; and then Dolly exclaimed, “I see it.  I shall know now.”

“What, Dolly?”

“How to do, Aunt Harry.”

“How to do what?”

“Everything.  I was thinking particularly just then” ­Dolly hesitated.

“Yes, of what?”

“Of dressing myself.”

“Dressing yourself, you chicken?”

“Yes, Aunt Harry.  I see it.  If I do not dress for Christ, I do it for the world.”

“Don’t go into another extreme now, Dolly.”

“No, Aunt Harry.  I cannot be wrong, can I, if I do it for Christ?”

“I wonder how many girls of sixteen in the country have such a thought?  And I wonder, how long will you be able to keep it, Dolly?”

“Why not, Aunt Harry?”

“O child! because you have got to meet the world.”

“What will the world do to me?” Dolly asked, half laughing in her simple ignorance.

“When I think what it will do to you, Dolly, I am ready to break my heart.  It will tempt you, child.  It will tempt you with beauty, and with pleasant things; pleasant things that look so harmless! and it will seek to persuade you with sweet voices and with voices of authority; and it will show you everybody going one way, and that not your way.”

“But I will follow Christ, Aunt Hal.”

“Then you will have to bear reproach.”

“I would rather bear the world’s reproach, than His.”

“If you don’t get over-persuaded, child, or deafened with the voices!”

“She will have to do like the little girl in the fairy tale,” said Mr. Eberstein; “stuff cotton in her ears.  The little girl in the fairy tale was going up a hill to get something at the top ­what was she going for, that was at the top of the hill?”

“I know!” cried Dolly.  “I remember.  She was going for three things.  The Singing bird and the Golden water, and ­I forget what the third thing was.”

“Well, you see what that means,” Mr. Eberstein went on.  “She was going up the hill for the Golden water at the top; and there were ten thousand voices in her ears tempting her to look round; and if she looked, she would be turned to stone.  The road was lined with stones, which had once been pilgrims.  You see, Dolly?  Her only way was to stop her ears.”

“I see, Uncle Ned.”

“What shall Dolly stop her ears with?” asked Mrs. Eberstein.

“These words will do.  ’Whether ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.’”

There was little more talking, for as the evening drew on, the heaviness of the parting weighed too hard upon all hearts.  The next day Dolly made the journey to Boston, and from there to her parents’ house; and her childhood’s days were over.