Just about the time the play was given there was being held in the school an exhibition of water-color paintings. A famous and very valuable collection had been loaned by a friend of the school for the benefit of the students of drawing. The paintings were on display in one of the girls’ club rooms on the fourth floor of the building. Hinpoha took great pleasure in examining them and spent a long time over them every day after school was closed. On the day of the play she went up as usual to the club room for an hour before going home. Reluctantly she tore herself away when she realized that the afternoon was passing. As she returned to the cloakroom where her wraps were she was surprised to find Emily Meeks there. Emily started guiltily when Hinpoha entered and made a desperate effort to finish wrapping up something she had in her hand. But her nervousness got into her fingers and made them tremble so that the object she held fell to the floor. As it fell the wrapper came open and Hinpoha could see what it was. It was one of the water colors of the exhibition collection, one of the smallest and most exquisite ones. Hinpoha gasped with astonishment when she caught Emily in the act of stealing it. Emily Meeks was the last person in the world Hinpoha would ever have accused of stealing anything.
Emily turned white and red by turns and leaned against the wall trembling. “Yes, I stole it,” she said in a kind of desperation.
Something in her voice took the scorn out of Hinpoha’s face. She looked at her curiously. “Why did you try to steal, Emily?” she asked gently.
Emily burst into tears and sank to her knees. “You wouldn’t understand,” she sobbed.
“Maybe I would,” said Hinpoha softly, “try it and see.”