An orphan with a dream of a captain-father returning to change her life accepts landlocked happiness with her milliner-mistress despite the company of the overdrawn social-climbing Whitsens they live with. Miss Charlotte teaches Maggy Mulligan how to sew and not to blow her top when Mr., Mrs. (Charlotte's sister) and Angela go after the best people in the worst possible ways. It's an old-fashioned kind of characterization (jovial uncle-captain, fussbudget brother-in-law, cavalier millinery supplier) with a feast for the Fourth and an independent Charlotte at the end--she claims Maggy (nicknamed ""Pepper Pot"" because it's Philadelphia and she has a spicy temperament) brightened her spirits enough for the knightly merchant to notice and marry her. The couple decide to adopt Pepper Pot who by now is just a soupcon of her former fantasy-filled self and pleased to be a member of the wedding and the family. Early 19th century (?) with frills, no blue ribbon.