“I’d like to find out. You know, I never have liked that Nan Sherwood. She is a common little thing. And I don’t believe they came honestly by that money they brought from Scotland.”
“Oh, Linda!” gasped Cora.
“Well, I don’t!” declared the stubborn girl. “There is a mystery about the Sherwoods being rich, at all. I know they were as poor as church mice in Tillbury until Nan came here to school. I found that out from a girl who used to live there.”
“Not Bess Harley?”
“No, indeed! Bess wouldn’t tell anything bad about Nan. I believe she is afraid of Nan. But this girl I mean wrote me all about the Sherwoods.”
“Nan is dreadfully close-mouthed,” agreed Cora, who was a weak girl and quite under Linda’s influence.
“Well! Those Sherwoods were never anything in Tillbury. How Bess Harley came to take up with Nan, the goodness only knows. Her father worked in one of the mills that shut down last New Year. He was out of work a long time and then came this fortune in Scotland they claim was left Mrs. Sherwood by an old uncle, or great uncle. I guess it’s nothing much to brag about.”
“Bess said once it might be fifty thousand dollars,” said Cora, speaking the sum unctuously. Cora was poor herself and she loved money.
“Oh, maybe!” exclaimed Linda Riggs, tossing her head. “But I guess nobody knows the rights of it. Maybe it isn’t so much. You know that there were other heirs who turned up when Nan’s father and mother got over to Scotland, and one while Nan thought she would have to leave school because there wasn’t money enough to pay her tuition fees.”
“Yes, I know all about that,” admitted Cora, hurriedly. She had a vivid remembrance of the unfinished letter from Nan to her mother, which she had found and shown to Linda. Cora was not proud of that act. Nan had never been anything but kind to her and secretly Cora did not believe this ill-natured history of Nan Sherwood that Linda repeated.
Those of my readers who have read the first volume of this series, entitled “Nan Sherwood at Pine Camp, Or, The Old Lumberman’s Secret,” will realize just how much truth and how much fiction entered into the story of Nan’s affairs related by the ill-natured Linda Riggs.
When Mr. and Mrs. Sherwood started for Scotland to make sure of the wonderful legacy willed to Nan’s mother by the Laird of Emberon’s steward, Nan was sent up into the Peninsula of Michigan to stay with her Uncle Henry and Aunt Kate Sherwood at a lumber camp. Her adventures there during the spring and summer were quite exciting. But the most exciting thing that had happened to Nan Sherwood was the decision on her parents’ part that she should go with her chum, Bess Harley, to Lakeview Hall, a beautifully situated and popular school for girls on the shore of Lake Huron.
In “Nan Sherwood at Lakeview Hall, Or, The Mystery of the Haunted Boathouse,” the second volume of the series, were narrated the incidents of Nan’s first term at boarding school. She and Bess made many friends and had some rivals, as was natural, for they were very human girls, in whom no angelic quality was over-developed.