And Nyoda, baffled, gave it up. But of one thing she was sure. Whatever silly thing Hinpoha had done that she was ashamed to confess, she had never in the world cut those wires. It was simply impossible for her to have done such a thing. Entirely convinced on this point, Nyoda went back to Mr. Jackson, and told him her belief, begging him not to put his threat of expulsion into execution. But Mr. Jackson was obdurate. There was something under the surface of which Nyoda knew nothing. All the year there had been a certain lawless element in the school which was continually breaking out in open defiance of law and order. Mr. Jackson had been totally unable to cope with the situation. He had been severely criticised for not having succeeded in stamping out this disorder, and was accused of not being able to control his scholars. The events connected with the giving of the play had been widely published—it was impossible to keep them a secret—and Mr. Jackson had been taken to task by those above him in the educational department for not being able to find out who had cut the wires. Smarting under this censure, he had determined to fix the blame at an early date at all costs, and when the opportunity came of fastening a suspicion onto Hinpoha he had seized it eagerly, and intended to publish far and wide that he had found the guilty one. Therefore he met Nyoda’s appeal with stony indifference.
“I shall consider her guilty until she has proven her innocence,” he maintained obstinately, “and you will find that I am right. That is nothing but a made-up story about going in there for something she had left. You noticed how she contradicted herself half a dozen times in as many minutes. She is the guilty one, all right,” and in sore distress Nyoda left him.
The axe fell and Hinpoha was expelled from school. If lightning had fallen on a clear day and cleft the roof open, the pupils could not have been more dumbfounded. Hinpoha was the very last one any one would have suspected of cutting wires. In fact, many were openly incredulous. But Mr. Jackson took care to make all the damaging facts public, and Hinpoha’s fair name was dragged in the mud. Emily Meeks was one who stood loyal to Hinpoha. She was ignorant that it was to shield her Hinpoha had refused to tell what she was doing in the electric room, as she had gone home before Hinpoha had retouched the picture, but she refused to believe that her angel, as she always thought of Hinpoha, could be guilty of any wrong doing.
As for Hinpoha herself, life was not worth living. The scene with Aunt Phoebe, when she heard of her disgrace, was too painful to record here. Suffice to say that Hinpoha was regarded as a criminal of the worst type and was never allowed to forget for one instant that she had disgraced the name of Bradford forever. It was awful not to be going to school and getting lessons. Those days at home were nightmares that she remembered to the end of her life