Records of a Girlhood eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 815 pages of information about Records of a Girlhood.

It would be difficult to imagine anything more radical than the change which three weeks had made in the aspect of my whole life.  From an insignificant school-girl, I had suddenly become an object of general public interest.  I was a little lion in society, and the town talk of the day.  Approbation, admiration, adulation, were showered upon me; every condition of my life had been altered, as by the wand of a fairy.  Instead of the twenty pounds a year which my poor father squeezed out of his hard-earned income for my allowance, out of which I bought (alas, with how much difficulty, seeing how many other things I would buy!) my gloves and shoes, I now had an assured income, as long as my health and faculties were unimpaired, of at least a thousand a year; and the thirty guineas a week at Covent Garden, and much larger remuneration during provincial tours, forever forbade the sense of destitution productive of the ecstasy with which, only a short time before I came out, I had found wedged into the bottom of my money drawer in my desk a sovereign that I had overlooked, and so had sorrowfully concluded myself penniless till next allowance day.  Instead of trudging long distances afoot through the muddy London streets, when the hire of a hackney-coach was matter of serious consideration, I had a comfortable and elegant carriage; I was allowed, at my own earnest request, to take riding lessons, and before long had a charming horse of my own, and was able to afford the delight of giving my father one, the use of which I hoped would help to invigorate and refresh him.  The faded, threadbare, turned, and dyed frocks which were my habitual wear were exchanged for fashionably made dresses of fresh colors and fine texture, in which I appeared to myself transfigured.  Our door was besieged with visitors, our evenings bespoken by innumerable invitations; social civilities and courtesies poured in upon us from every side in an incessant stream; I was sought and petted and caressed by persons of conventional and real distinction, and every night that I did not act I might, if my parents had thought it prudent to let me do so, have passed in all the gayety of the fashionable world and the great London season.  So much cordiality, sympathy, interest, and apparent genuine good-will seemed to accompany all these flattering demonstrations, that it was impossible for me not to be touched and gratified,—­perhaps, too, unduly elated.  If I was spoiled and my head turned, I can only say I think it would have needed a strong head not to be so; but God knows how pitiful a preparation all this tinsel, sudden success, and popularity formed for the duties and trials of my after-life.

CHAPTER XIII.

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Records of a Girlhood from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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