An Old-fashioned Girl, Louisa May Alcott
An Old-fashioned Girl
Louisa May Alcott
12:10 h Novels Lvl 5.77 503.2 mb
An Old-Fashioned Girl is a novel by Louisa May Alcott first published in 1869. The book revolves around Polly Milton, the old-fashioned girl of the title, who visits the wealthy family of her friend Fanny Shaw in the city and is overwhelmed by their fashionable life they lead and disturbed to see how the family members fail to understand one another and demonstrate little affection. She is largely content to remain on the fringes of their social life but exerts a powerful influence over their emotional lives and family relations. Polly Milton, a bright 14-year-old country girl, visits her friend Fanny Shaw and her wealthy family in the city for the first time. Poor Polly is overwhelmed by the splendor at the Shaws' and their urbanized, fashionable lifestyles, expensive clothes and other habits she has never been exposed to, and, for the most part, dislikes. Fanny's friends ignore her because of her different behavior and simple clothing, Fanny's brother Tom teases her, and Fan herself can't help considering her unusual sometimes. However, Polly's warmth, support, and kindness eventually win the hearts of all the family members, and her old-fashioned ways teach them a lesson they would never forget.

An Old-Fashioned Girl

by
Louisa M. Alcott


Preface

As a preface is the only place where an author can with propriety explain a purpose or apologize for shortcomings, I venture to avail myself of the privilege to make a statement for the benefit of my readers.

As the first part of “An Old-Fashioned Girl” was written in 1869, the demand for a sequel, in beseeching little letters that made refusal impossible, rendered it necessary to carry my heroine boldly forward some six or seven years into the future. The domestic nature of the story makes this audacious proceeding possible; while the lively fancies of my young readers will supply all deficiencies, and overlook all discrepancies.

This explanation will, I trust, relieve those well-regulated minds, who cannot conceive of such literary lawlessness, from the bewilderment which they suffered when the same experiment was tried in a former book.

The “Old-Fashioned Girl” is not intended as a perfect model, but as a possible improvement upon the Girl of the Period, who seems sorrowfully ignorant or ashamed of the good old fashions which make woman truly beautiful and honored, and, through her, render home what it should be, — a happy place, where parents and children, brothers and sisters, learn to love and know and help one another.

If the history of Polly’s girlish experiences suggests a hint or insinuates a lesson, I shall feel that, in spite of many obstacles, I have not entirely neglected my duty toward the little men and women, for whom it is an honor and a pleasure to write, since in them I have always found my kindest patrons, gentlest critics, warmest friends.

L. M. A.


Chapter I.
Polly Arrives

“It’s time to go to the station, Tom.”

“Come on, then.”

“Oh, I’m not going; it’s too wet. Should n’t have a crimp left if I went out such a day as this; and I want to look nice when Polly comes.”

“You don’t expect me to go and bring home a strange girl alone, do you?” And Tom looked as much alarmed as if his sister had proposed to him to escort the wild woman of Australia.

“Of course I do. It’s your place to go and get her; and if you was n’t a bear, you’d like it.”

“Well, I call that mean! I supposed I’d got to go; but you said you’d go, too. Catch me bothering about your friends another time! No, sir!” And Tom rose from the sofa with an air of indignant resolution, the impressive effect of which was somewhat damaged by a tousled head, and the hunched appearance of his garments generally.

“Now, don’t be cross; and I’ll get mamma to let you have that horrid Ned Miller, that you are so fond of, come and make you a visit after Polly’s gone,” said Fanny, hoping to soothe his ruffled feelings.

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