“I would be glad for her to have it. Glad to help her out with her Christmas difficulties, but”—Miss Susanna bit her lip and the pink in her face became rose—“I have never done anything of this sort, and it does not seem just right. I would be pleased for her mother to have one of the pitchers. In a sense they are connected with her family as our great-great-great-grandmothers were the same, and—”
“Oh, you precious person!” I jumped up and took Miss Susanna in my arms and whirled around the room with her. I was afraid she would get on the grandparent subject, and I didn’t want to hear it. To head her off I gave her a squeeze and a skip or two and then I sat her down and kissed her, and asked her if she thought seventy-five dollars was enough for the pitcher, and if so I would get the checks while Miss Araminta got the sapphires. And before they had time to change their minds their things were mine and my money (Father’s) was theirs, and we were all a little more excited than we were willing to admit.
They are in my trunk, the two Christmas presents, and we have had a grand time, Miss Araminta and Miss Susanna and I, buying their party dresses and things, and it is as true as Scripture that at times there is nothing better for the soul than pretty clothes for the body. And nothing so chirps up a woman as to have on becoming ones that fit and are fresh and make her feel she can walk across the floor without wishing she had a shawl on. The way Miss Araminta has bloomed out is as amazing as a moon-plant. And Miss Susanna has such a pleased smile on her boarder-tired face that I have been up in the air just from looking at her, and the best time I’ve ever had in my life has been in taking charge of their money and spending it for them. The way they agreed to get the dresses was this:
I told them it would be awfully exciting to have a secret and spring a surprise on Mrs. General Gaines and Miss Bettie Simcoe and a few others in town, and if they were willing I would design a dress for each of them and Miss Fannie Cross would make the dresses, which would be of a kind to suit their particular styles, and they could have them for the party on the 17th. And if they didn’t get them at once something would happen to make them spend the money and it would be gone and they no better off than before. And I mentioned that there was the loveliest piece of black charmeuse at Mr. Peter Smith’s, and that he was expecting a piece of lavender satin on Thursday. I had been to see Mr. Peter and the lavender was ordered before I told them it was coming. Also a few other things had been ordered by wire, I going with him to the telegraph-office to see him do it, being afraid to trust his memory, which, like his methods, is right put-offy. Also I told them there would be no time to hesitate. They got so flustrated at being managed and so dazed by the pictures I showed them of the dresses I had drawn that they were lambs, perfect lambs. They let me do everything I told them ought to be done.