Chance of a Lifetime

Chance of a Lifetime by Grace Livingston Hill

Book: Chance of a Lifetime by Grace Livingston Hill Read Free Book Online
Authors: Grace Livingston Hill
they say it is protected by some substance that will not hold the soil. The dirt rolls off and does not stick. And you, little girl, have always seemed to me to be somehow surrounded by your mother’s religion and your mother’s love in just such a way. What harm can any snobbishness do you, if you live above it?”
    “Yes, I know,” said Sherrill. “I’ve tried to think that way—but—that doesn’t solve the clothes problem.”
    “Oh, well,” said the guest, “I can help you solve that. I’ve a whole trunk full of clothes that I just bought in Paris, and you’re welcome to copy every one of them with variations suitable to your age. Come over tomorrow morning with your tape measure and your thimble, and let’s begin. It will give me a new interest in life. And by the way, I brought you a present of an evening dress. I wasn’t sure whether you would have much use for it in this quiet little place, but it just looked like what I thought you would be by this time, and I had to buy it. Don’t look troubled, Mary, it isn’t extreme in its style; it’s modest and simple and will just suit Sherrill. It’s quite conservative and has little puffs of sleeves even, the very latest thing in evening gowns, and the back is not low cut either, but not even an unliked aunt could disapprove of it for I bought it at one of the great exclusive places in Paris noted for its lovely lines and styles, and there is a little duck of an evening wrap that goes with it. Wait till you see it. Now, that’s settled, what next?”
    Grandmother Sherrill gave a sigh of satisfaction. Nobody had ever suspected her of caring for grand clothes, but in her heart she had greatly coveted something really fine and lovely for the treasure of her heart, her jewel of a grandchild. Yes, and if she had one besetting sin it was pride of family, and she had cherished a secret desire for long years, that in some way the Sherrill side of the house might be able to outshine, unquestionably, the unpleasant aunt, daughter of a corner grocery man, who had married into the Washburn side of the house and alienated the delightful uncle from the entire family.
    “Where’s a pencil and paper?” said the energetic visitor, fumbling in her handbag and bringing out a mite of a gold pencil and a little writing pad done up in blue leather. “We’d better get to work. You’ll need, let me see”—and she began to scribble down items—”Sports things, evening things, informal afternoon—”
    “Oh, Aunt Harry!” said Sherrill looking over her shoulder. “Don’t write down all that! It’s perfectly appalling! I couldn’t get all those things! It’s silly anyway! Why, if I stayed here in Rockland I’d wear the same dress all day, and maybe have an extra slip one to slip on evenings if there was company or a church social, or the Home and School, if I had to play—! Why should I go to spend winter in a place where you have to pay so much attention to clothes?”
    “Nonsense!” said Harriet Masters. “Clothes will never do you any harm if you don’t lose your proper sense of values. Everybody should be decently and sweetly and properly clothed. Beautifully, too. No, don’t misunderstand me. I don’t mean expensively; I insist that people can look lovely in very cheap raiment if it is properly chosen, properly made, and a reasonable amount of attention given to putting it to its best advantage. Of course, some occasions demand more careful dressing than others. I should say this was one of them. Your own quiet life would need only simple little frocks and perhaps a silk for best, but your aunt’s standards are different, and if you are to be a guest in her house you must conform to some extent to her standards. Please notice, I only said ‘to some extent.’ There is no reason why you should go to extremes even to please an unliked aunt who may be disagreeable about it. I certainly would not have you lower any of your standards for her. For instance,

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