Poor Kitty! She saw at once that what her father tried not to anticipate was the possibility of her not being able to come home at all for the holidays, nor Dan either; and how could one help climbing such a hill before one came to it, or at least standing at its foot and gazing anxiously up its rough, stony sides?
“I do think Anna was born to aggravate,” she said crossly, but a few moments later her anger against her cooled. “It must be horrid for her too,” she added, “for she never seems to get any fun out of anything, not even out of being ill.”
But Betty and Tony behaved extremely well. They escaped the measles, and all risk of infection was over long before the end of term came—and even a first term at school must come to an end some time.
Kitty at last had but seven more slips to tear off and seven more dates to strike through, and for sheer pleasure she left them untouched. Time did not need helping along now.
Then came the last day, when the boxes stood packed and strapped and labelled, and a general air of holidays and freedom from rules pervaded the whole house. Rhoda and Cicely Collins were leaving very early. Rhoda wanted to go by the earliest train because the fares were slightly lower. Rhoda was of a saving disposition. It always gave her the greatest pleasure to be able to economize in any way, and her stores of twine and paper, old corks, scraps of writing-paper, old pens, and other things, afforded food for endless jokes amongst the rest of the girls. Cicely, on the other hand, was the exact opposite of her sister; but being the younger, and less masterful, she gave in to Rhoda, and on the day they were to go home she rose, at Rhoda’s command, from her bed at six o’clock, very unwillingly though, for the saving of threepence on her journey was nothing to Cicely in comparison to the discomfort of rising early.
Hope Carey had gone home some weeks before, having fretted herself ill with anxiety about her mother. Kitty and Pamela were to wait until the eleven o’clock train, for Dan, who broke up on the same day, could join them then at their station, and they could all travel down together. It was not nearly eleven when they reached the station; but how could they stay quietly in the dull, deserted house waiting for the hours to go by? Miss Hammond saw that it was too much to expect of them, so took them down very early; for a railway station, with its bustle and life, is a capital place for making time pass.