“You must have made a mistake,” said Kitty. “It is too silly to think she should want to get rid of you while she posted a letter. Why shouldn’t she post one? I don’t see anything in it.”
“Well, I do,” said Betty solemnly. “To tell you isn’t really sneaking, is it? Anna posts letters for Lettice Kitson—letters to people she isn’t allowed to write to—and she takes letters to her. She does really, Kitty, and I think Anna ought to be spoken to. Lettice was nearly expelled from her last school for the same thing. Violet told me so.”
“Nonsense,” cried Kitty scornfully. “I believe the girls make up stories, and you shouldn’t listen to them, Betty; it is horrid.”
“I am sure Violet wouldn’t make up stories,” said Betty; “and if Lettice does such things, Anna ought not to help her. You should stop her, Kitty. Tell her we won’t have it.”
“O Betty, don’t talk so. Don’t tell me any more that I ought to do. It seems to me I ought to do everything that is horrid! And why should I look after Anna? She never takes any notice of what I say; and after all it is nothing very bad—nothing to make a fuss about, I mean. I haven’t seen anything myself.”
“Well, I think it is a good deal more than nothing,” said Betty gravely; “and I wish you would see, Kitty, I wish you would notice things more.”
“But what good could I do? What can I say?” cried Kitty distractedly, growing really distressed.
“Say? Oh, say that we won’t stand it, and let her see that we won’t,” said Betty. “We ought to be able to do that.”
Only a few days later Kitty’s eyes were opened for her, and opened violently. Autumn had come on apace. The days were short now, and the evenings long and dark. Already the girls were counting that there were only five or six weeks before Dan came home; and at school there was much talk of the break-up party, and the tableaux which were to be the chief feature of the festivity this year. Kitty was to take part in one tableau at least. She was to be Enid in one of her dearly loved Arthurian legends—Enid, where, clad in her faded gown, she met Queen Guinevere for the first time, who,
“descending, met them
at the gates,
Embraced her with all welcome as a friend,
And did her honour as the prince’s bride.”
And Kitty was to wear a wig such as she had always longed for, with golden plaits reaching to her knees, and she was almost beside herself with joy.
On the evening that the storm broke, she, little dreaming of what was coming, was doing her home work and taking occasional dips into her volume of Tennyson. Betty had finished her home lessons and was curled up in a chair reading. Anna was not in the room; in fact, she had left it almost as soon as they had settled down to their work after tea as usual. It was now nearly supper-time.