Mrs. Ledwith spoke with real displeasure; for she was good-natured and affectionate in her way; and her worldly ambitions were rather wide than high, as we have seen.
“Well, I can’t help it; you don’t know, mother,” Helena repeated. “It’s horrid to go to school with all those stiffies, that don’t care a snap for you, and only laugh.”
“Laughing is vulgar,” said Agatha. If any indirect question were ever thrown upon the family position, Agatha immediately began expounding the ethics of high breeding, as one who had attained.
“It is only half-way people who laugh,” she said. “Ada Geoffrey and Lilian Ashburne never laugh—at anybody—I am sure.”
“No, they don’t; not right out. They’re awfully polite. But you can feel it, underneath. They have a way of keeping so still, when you know they would laugh if they did anything.”
“Well, they’ll neither laugh nor keep still, about this. You need not be concerned. They’ll just not go, and that will be the end of it.”
Agatha Ledwith was mistaken. She had been mistaken about two things to-night. The other was when she had said that this was the first time Uncle Oldways had noticed or been interested in anything they did.
COCKLES AND CRAMBO.
Hazel Ripwinkley put on her nankeen sack and skirt, and her little round, brown straw hat. For May had come, and almost gone, and it was a day of early summer warmth.
Hazel’s dress was not a “suit;” it had been made and worn two summers before suits were thought of; yet it suited very well, as people’s things are apt to do, after all, who do not trouble themselves about minutiae of fashion, and so get no particular antediluvian marks upon them that show when the flood subsides.
Her mother knew some things that Hazel did not. Mrs. Ripwinkley, if she had been asleep for five and twenty years, had lost none of her perceptive faculties in the trance. But she did not hamper her child with any doubts; she let her go on her simple way, under the shield of her simplicity, to test this world that she had come into, for herself.
Hazel had written down her little list of the girls’ names that she would like to ask; and Mrs. Ripwinkley looked at it with a smile. There was Ada Geoffrey, the banker’s daughter, and Lilian Ashburne, the professor’s,—heiresses each, of double lines of birth and wealth. She could remember how, in her childhood, the old names sounded, with the respect that was in men’s tones when they were spoken; and underneath were Lois James and Katie Kilburnie, children of a printer and a hatter. They had all been chosen for their purely personal qualities. A child, let alone, chooses as an angel chooses.
It remained to be seen how they would come together.
At the very head, in large, fair letters, was,—