“I have had one to myself—for eight days—and, now I’m going back to the old way.” Sitting among the cushions of the cozy corner, Hilary superintended operations, and when the two single white beds were standing side by side, in their accustomed fashion, the covers turned back for the night, she nodded in satisfied manner. “Thank you so much, Miranda; that’s as it should be. Go get your things, Paul. To-morrow, you must move in regularly. Upper drawer between us, and the rest share and share alike, you know.”
Patience, who had hit upon the happy expedient of braiding her hair—braids, when there were a lot of them, took a long time—got slowly up from the hearth rug, her head a sight to behold, with its tiny, hornlike red braids sticking out in every direction. “I suppose I’d better be going. I wish I had someone to talk to, after I’d gone to bed.” And a deep sigh escaped her.
Pauline kissed the wistful little face. “Never mind, old girl, you know you’d never stay awake long enough to talk to anyone.”
She and Hilary stayed awake talking, however, until Pauline’s prudence got the better of her joy in having her sister back in more senses than one. It was so long since they had had such a delightful bedtime talk.
“Seeing Winton First Club,” Hilary said musingly. “Paul, you’re ever so clever. Shirley insisted those letters stood for ’Suppression of Woman’s Foibles Club’; and Mr. Dayre suggested they meant, ’Sweet Wild Flowers.’”
“You’ve simply got to go to sleep now, Hilary, else mother’ll come and take me away.”
Hilary sighed blissfully. “I’ll never say again—that nothing ever happens to us.”
Tom and Josie came to supper the next night. Shirley was there, too, she had stopped in on her way to the post-office with her father that afternoon, to ask how Hilary was, and been captured and kept to supper and the first club meeting that followed.
Hilary had been sure she would like to join, and Shirley’s prompt and delighted acceptance of their invitation proved her right.
“I’ve only got five names on my list,” Tom said, as the young folks settled themselves on the porch after supper. “I suppose we’ll think of others later.”
“That’ll make ten, counting us five, to begin with,” Pauline said.
“Bell and Jack Ward,” Tom took out his list, “the Dixon boys and Edna Ray. That’s all.”
“I’d just like to know where I come in, Tom Brice!” Patience demanded, her voice vibrant with indignation.
“Upon my word! I didn’t suppose—”
“I am to belong! Ain’t I, Paul?”
“If you’re going to say no, you needn’t Patty me!”
“We’ll see what mother thinks,” Hilary suggested. “You wouldn’t want to be the only little girl to belong?”
“I shouldn’t mind,” Patience assured her, then feeling pretty sure that Pauline was getting ready to tell her to run away, she decided to retire on her own account. That blissful time, when she should be “Miss Shaw,” had one drawback, which never failed to assert itself at times like these—there would be no younger sister subject to her authority.