The party is over. Everybody who is anybody was at it and we had a perfectly scrumptious time. I never saw so many good things to eat on a hot summer night in all my life, but the heat didn’t affect appetites, and Miss Kate Norris, who lives in the Wellington Home (memorial for a dead wife or a live conscience, I don’t remember which), ate three platefuls of supper and three helpings of ice-cream. She is fearfully ancestral and an awful eater, and also a sour remarker, and I stay out of her way, but that night I couldn’t help seeing the way she made food disappear. No low-born person could have done it quicker.
It was a perfectly beautiful party. The two married daughters of Judge and Mrs. MacLean, who live in the city and always come home for August, were as dear and lovely as if they had never left old Twickenham Town, and their clothes were a liberal education to the stay-at-homers. They were well taken in by the latter, but the sensation of the evening was the arrival and appearance of My Girls, and—oh, my granny!—I was so excited I couldn’t stand on both feet at once, and I had to get in a corner and put my back against the wall to keep from making movement. When they came in the room there was a little hush, and then there were so many exclamations of surprise and admiration that I had to fan as hard as Mr. Willie Prince to keep down the blazing red in my face which was there from pride in the dear old darlings and not from heat. And I saw clearer than I had ever seen before that fine things behind one count a good deal, and ancestors of the right kind leave something to their descendants that comes out when needed, and at that party the desirable things came out.
They looked like pictures—Miss Susanna and Miss Araminta—for the prevailing modes, as Miss Araminta calls them, and which she loves so dearly and hits at but never touches, had not been paid very particular attention to, and the thing that suited each had been made for them. They were as becoming to the dresses as the dresses to them. Twickenham nearly lost its breath as they came into the long drawing-room of the MacLean house and walked through it after speaking to the receiving party, and I know now how a mother feels when her debutante daughters are a success. I will have more sympathy with Mother than I used to have, and I will try to behave myself and do the stunts all right for the first year. But she already knows I do not expect to keep on doing them. I have told her.
Nobody can say again that women can’t keep a secret, for not even Miss Bettie Simcoe, who knows what the Lord is going to do before He does it, had any idea of the dresses; and though I don’t think she or Mrs. General Gaines liked not being told, they were very nice about it and said much kinder things than I thought they were capable of saying. And I really think Elizabeth was pleased also. She