“Not with anybody here,” answered Theo, her nose slightly elevated at the thought of people whom she had been educated to despise.
“Why not here as well as elsewhere?” asked Maggie. “I don’t see any difference. But grandma needn’t be troubled, for such things as men’s boots never come near our house. It’s a shame, though,” she continued, “that we don’t know anybody, either male or female. Let’s go down to Worcester some day, and get acquainted. Don’t you remember the two handsome young men whom we saw five years ago in Douglas’ store, and how they winked at each other when grandma ran down their goods and said there were not any darning needles fit to use this side of the water?”
On most subjects Theo’s memory was treacherous, but she remembered perfectly well the two young men, particularly the taller one, who had given her a remnant of blue ribbon which he said was just the color of her eyes. Still, the idea of going to Worcester did not strike her favorably. “She wished Worcester would come to them,” she said, “but she should not dare to go there. They would surely get lost. Grandma would not like it, and Mrs. Jeffrey would not let them go, even if they wished.”
“A fig for Mrs. Jeffrey,” said Maggie. “I shan’t mind her much. I’m going to have a real good time, doing as I please, and if you are wise you’ll have one too.”
“I suppose I shall do what you tell me to—I always do,” answered Theo submissively, and there the conversation ceased.
Arrived at home they found dinner awaiting them, and Maggie, when seated, suggested to Mrs. Jeffrey that she should give them a vacation of a few weeks, just long enough for them to get rested and visit the neighbors. But this Mrs. Jeffrey refused to do.
She had her orders to keep them at their books, she said, and “study was healthful”; at the same time she bade them be in the schoolroom on the morrow. There was a wicked look in Maggie’s eyes, but her tongue told no tales, and when next morning she went with Theo demurely to the schoolroom she seemed surprised at hearing from Mrs. Jeffrey that every book had disappeared from the desk where they were usually kept; and though the greatly disturbed and astonished lady had sought for them nearly an hour, they were not to be found.
“Maggie has hidden them, I know,” said Theo, as she saw the mischievous look on her sister’s face.
“Margaret wouldn’t do such a thing, I’m sure,” answered Mrs. Jeffrey, her voice and manner indicating a little doubt, however, as to the truth of her assertion.
But Maggie had hidden them, and no amount of coaxing could persuade her to bring them back. “You refused me a vacation when I asked for it,” she said, “so I’m going to have it perforce;” and, playfully catching up the little dumpy figure of her governess, she carried her out upon the piazza, and, seating her in a large easy-chair, bade her take snuff, and comfort too, as long as she liked.