Ragged Lady — Volume 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 126 pages of information about Ragged Lady — Volume 1.
painful attitudes assigned to the gentlemen who were to figure as the fall and winter months.  It had been all worked out and the actors drilled in their parts, when the Spirit of Summer, who had been chosen for the inoffensiveness of her extreme youth, was taken with mumps, and withdrawn by the doctor’s orders.  Mrs. Milray had now not only to improvise another Spirit of Summer, but had to choose her from a group of young ladies, with the chance of alienating and embittering those who were not chosen.  In her calamity she asked her husband what she should do, with but the least hope that he could tell her.  But he answered promptly, “Take Clementina; I’ll let you have her for the day,” and then waited for the storm of her renunciations and denunciations to spend itself.

“To be sure,” she said, when this had happened, “it isn’t as if she were a servant in the house; and the position can be regarded as a kind of public function, anyhow.  I can’t say that I’ve hired her to take the part, but I can give her a present afterwards, and it will be the same thing.”

The question of clothes for Clementina Mrs. Milray declared was almost as sweeping in its implication as the question of the child’s creation.  “She has got to be dressed new from head to foot,” she said, “every stitch, and how am I to manage it in twenty-four hours?”

By a succession of miracles with cheese-cloth, and sashes and ribbons, it was managed; and ended in a triumph so great that Mrs. Milray took the girl in her arms and kissed her for looking the Spirit of Summer to a perfection that the victim of the mumps could not have approached.  The victory was not lastingly marred by the failure of Clementina’s shoes to look the Spirit of Summer as well as the rest of her costume.  No shoes at all world have been the very thing, but shoes so shabby and worn down at one side of the heel as Clementina’s were very far from the thing.  Mrs. Milray decided that another fold of cheese-cloth would add to the statuesque charm of her figure, and give her more height; and she was richly satisfied with the effect when the Middlemount coach drove up to the great veranda the next morning, with all the figures of her picture in position on its roof, and Clementina supreme among them.  She herself mounted in simple, undramatized authority to her official seat beside the landlord, who in coachman’s dress, with a bouquet of autumnal flowers in his lapel, sat holding his garlanded reins over the backs of his six horses; and then the coach as she intended it to appear in the parade set out as soon as the turnouts of the other houses joined it.  They were all to meet at the Middlemount, which was thickly draped and festooned in flags, with knots of evergreen and the first red boughs of the young swamp maples holding them in place over its irregular facade.  The coach itself was amass of foliage and flowers, from which it defined itself as a wheeled vehicle in vague and partial outline; the other wagons and coaches, as

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Ragged Lady — Volume 1 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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