Wives and Daughters: An Every-Day Story (Chapter 1, page 1 of 12)


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Chapter 1

To begin with the old rigmarole of childhood. In a country there was
a shire, and in that shire there was a town, and in that town there
was a house, and in that house there was a room, and in that room
there was a bed, and in that bed there lay a little girl; wide awake
and longing to get up, but not daring to do so for fear of the unseen
power in the next room--a certain Betty, whose slumbers must not
be disturbed until six o'clock struck, when she wakened of herself
"as sure as clockwork," and left the household very little peace
afterwards. It was a June morning, and early as it was, the room was
full of sunny warmth and light.

On the drawers opposite to the little white dimity bed in which Molly
Gibson lay, was a primitive kind of bonnet-stand on which was hung a
bonnet, carefully covered over from any chance of dust with a large
cotton handkerchief, of so heavy and serviceable a texture that if
the thing underneath it had been a flimsy fabric of gauze and lace
and flowers, it would have been altogether "scomfished" (again to
quote from Betty's vocabulary). But the bonnet was made of solid
straw, and its only trimming was a plain white ribbon put over the
crown, and forming the strings. Still, there was a neat little
quilling inside, every plait of which Molly knew, for had she not
made it herself the evening before, with infinite pains? and was
there not a little blue bow in this quilling, the very first bit of
such finery Molly had ever had the prospect of wearing?

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