“It will do, Mrs. Sandford,” said Preston.
“Isn’t it pretty?” said the lady.
“And Daisy does it admirably,” said Theresa. “You are a fairy at dressing, Mrs. Sandford; your fingers are better than a fairy’s wand. I wish you were my godmother; I shouldn’t despair to ride yet in a coach and six. There are plenty of pumpkins in a field near our house—and plenty of rats in the house itself. O, Mrs. Sandford! let us have Cinderella!”
“What, for a tableau?”
“You must ask the manager. I do not know anything about that.”
Preston and Theresa and Hamilton and Alexander now went into an eager discussion of this question, and before it was settled the party discovered that it was time to break up.
“Well Daisy,” said Mr. Randolph that evening, “how do you like your new play that you are all so busy about?”
“I like it pretty well, papa.”
“Only pretty well! Is that the most you can say of it? I understood that it was supposed to be an amusement of a much more positive character.”
“Papa, it is amusing—but it has its disagreeablenesses.”
“Has it? What can they be? Or has everything pleasant its dark side?”
“I don’t know, papa.”
“What makes the shadows in this instance?”
It seemed not just easy for Daisy to tell, for her father saw that she looked puzzled how to answer.
“Papa, I think it is because people do not behave perfectly well.”
It was quite impossible for Mr. Randolph to help bursting into a laugh at this; but he put his arms round Daisy and kissed her very affectionately at the same time.
“How does their ill behaviour affect your pleasure, Daisy?”
“Papa—you know I have to play with them.”
“Yes, I understand that. What do they do?”
“It isn’t they, papa. It is only Alexander Fish—or at least it is he most.”
“What does he do?”
“Papa—we are in a tableau together.”
“Yes. You and he?”
“Yes, papa. And it is very disagreeable.”
“Pray how, Daisy?” said Mr. Randolph, commanding his features with some difficulty. “What is the tableau?”
“Papa, you know the story of Priscilla?”
“I do not think I do. What Priscilla?”
“Priscilla and John Alden. It is in a book of engravings.”
“O!—the courtship of Miles Standish?”
“Miles Standish was his friend, papa.”
“Yes, I know now. And are you Priscilla?”
“And who is Miles Standish?”
“O, nobody; he is not in the picture; it is John Alden.”
“I think I remember. Who is John Alden, then?”
“Papa, they have put Alexander Fish in, because he has long curling hair; but I think Preston’s hair would do a great deal better.”