“That’s true—that’s true,” said the old lady. “If you are positive that it won’t upset Brownie—”
“You can lock Brownie up; I will take charge of the key.”
“And have him grunting like anything.”
“He won’t be heard with forty of them.”
“It does sound very insurrectionary and wrong,” said Mrs. Church; “but if you are certain sure she will keep her word—”
“If I am sure of anybody, it is Miss Kathleen.”
“She looks a good sort.”
“And then, you know, Aunty Church, you can clinch matters by having a nice little tea for her; and afterwards, if you don’t speak up, I will. I’ll tell her you expect to get the almshouse after doing so much as to entertain forty of her guests.”
“Well, look here, Susy, you have thrust yourself into this matter, and you must help me out. I suppose I must have a tea, but it must be a very plain one.”
“No; it must be a very nice tea. Oh, I’ll see to that. Mother shall send over some things from town—a little pink ham cut very thin, and new-laid eggs—”
“And water-cress,” said Mrs. Church. “I have a real relish for water-cress, and it’s a very long time since I had any.”
“You have got your own fowls,” said Susy, “so they will supply the eggs; and for the rest I will manage. You are very good indeed, aunty, and mother will be so pleased. Kiss me, Aunt Church. I must be off or I’ll be getting into a terrible scrape.”
RUTH’S TROUBLES AND SUSY’S PREPARATIONS.
The next day the suppressed excitement in the school grew worse. It is sad to relate, nevertheless it is a fact, that Kathleen O’Hara openly neglected her lessons. She kept glancing at Susy Hopkins, and Susy Hopkins once very boldly winked at her; and when she did this one of the under teachers saw her. Now, there were certain rules in the school which all the girls were expected to keep, and winking and making faces were always prohibited. But the teacher on this occasion did not complain of Susy; there were so many other things to be considered that she thought she would let the matter pass.
Ruth Craven was in her class, and more than one girl remarked on Ruth’s appearance. Her face was ghastly pale, and she looked as though she had been crying very hard. Alice Tennant was also in her class, and she looked very bold and upright and defiant. Nothing ever induced Alice to neglect her studies, for did not the scholarship depend on her doing her very utmost? She worked just as assiduously as though nothing was happening. But each foundation girl—at least each who had joined the Wild Irish Girls—pressed her hand against the front of her dress, so as really to be certain that the little locket, the dear little talisman of her order, was safe in its place; and each girl felt naughty and good at the same time, anxious to please Kathleen and anxious to adhere to the rules of the school, and each girl resolved that, if she had to choose between the school and Kathleen, she would throw the school over and give allegiance to the queen of the society.