The Dean’s eyes twinkled reminiscently as he took the letter.
“Oh, yes, I remember Roxana well. She used to bully me outrageously.” He opened the letter and started to read slowly, just as Kit suddenly remembered Cousin Roxy’s remarks on Cassius Cato Peabody. But there was no turning back now. Straight through to the end he read, and several deep chuckles broke the silence, real chuckles of delight, such as Kit had never heard from the Dean. When he had finished, he handed it back to her.
“Perfectly true, my dear,” he said. “I can quite see why you feel that you are needed. You had better take your midwinter examinations, and prepare to return home about Christmas. In all likelihood your Aunt Daphne and I will accompany you.”
THE CIRCLE OF RA
The next thing was to break the news gently and convincingly to the family. Kit figured it out from all sides, and finally decided to walk right up to the horns of the dilemma in a fearless attack. Writing back a long, chatty letter to the Mother Bird, she simply tacked on the postscript:
“Don’t be at all surprised to see me arrive with the other Christmas packages, and have a fire laid in the guest room.”
At first she had thought only the Dean would accompany her, but when Miss Daphne heard of the plan, she declared she would not be left out of it.
“Why, brother, I haven’t seen any of the folks down east in years and years, and it would hearten me up wonderfully to visit them. I think I’d like to be with Roxy as much as possible, because we were girl friends together.”
Whether it was the prospect of going home or the longing to leave a good record behind her, no one could say, not even Kit herself, but she took her midwinter examinations with full speed up and colors flying, as Billie would say.
The girls took her coming departure with many objections, but they proceeded to give her various send-offs. Charity and Anne decided on a formal tea, up in the former’s room, but the solemnity of the occasion was banished when Peggy rose to read some farewell poesy, concocted by herself and the “Jinx.”
“She hoped to be the
hope of Hope
Alas, how soon she flew,
To bleak New England’s rock-ribbed hills,
Ere she her Virgil knew.”
“And we her comrades
tried and true,
No laurel crowns may weave.
The magic circle broken is,
For Kathleen fair we grieve.”
After which, Amy led a procession of solemn-visaged, sombre-clad academic maidens, who approached the divan where Kit sat, and each presented her with some sage advice, in couplets. Amy explained later that she got the idea from Sargent’s “Gifts of the Hours.”
“Although, if it had been summer time, we would have tried to make it more like Tennyson’s ‘Princess,’ but I think this carries the idea all right. Norma wrote the couplets, and they almost have a prophetic note. Don’t you think so, Kit?”