“I have only soup and fish for dinner to-day,” said Mrs. Tennant. “I do trust Kathleen will be satisfied.”
Alice frowned at her mother in some displeasure.
“We ought to have meat—” she was beginning, when there came a bang and a scuffle, a girlish laugh, and Kathleen, leaning fondly on both the boys, appeared. Mrs. Tennant pointed to a seat, and she sat down. The Irish girl had a healthy appetite, and was indifferent to what she ate. She demanded two plates of soup, and when she had finished the second she looked at Mrs. Tennant and said emphatically:
“I have fallen in love.”
“My dear Kathleen!”
“I have—with a girl, so it doesn’t matter. She’s the prettiest, sweetest, bonniest thing I ever saw in my life. I am going to hunt round for her immediately after dinner. I thought I’d say so, for I mean to do it.”
“Oh, Kathleen!” said Alice in a distressed voice, “you really mustn’t. You must come back to the school with me. I promised Miss Dove that I’d see you through your tasks.—You know, mother,” continued Alice, “Kathleen is not very advanced for her age, and Miss Dove wants to get her into a proper class as quickly as possible; therefore she is to be coached a little, and I have undertaken to do it.—You will come with me, Kathleen? I must get back to the school again by half-past two. You will be sure to come, dear?”
“I think not, dear,” replied Kathleen in her most aggravating tone.
“But you must.—Mustn’t she, mother?”
“You ought to, Kathleen,” said Mrs. Tennant. “You have been sent here to learn. Alice can teach you; she can help you very much. She means to be very kind to you. You certainly ought to do what she suggests.”
“But I am afraid,” said Kathleen, “that I am not going to do what I ought. I don’t wish to be good at all to-day. I couldn’t live if I wasn’t really naughty sometimes. I mean to be terribly naughty all the afternoon. If you will let me have my fling, I do assure you, Mrs. Tennant, that I will work off the steam, and will be all right to-morrow. I must do something desperate, and if Alice opposes me I’ll have to do something worse.”
“You are a clipper!” said David Tennant, smiling into her face.
“All right, my boy; I expect I am,” said Kathleen; and then she added, springing to her feet, “I have eaten enough, and for what we have received—Good-bye, Mrs. Tennant; I’m off.”
The home-sick and the rebellious.
Kathleen O’Hara ran up to an untidy room. She banged-to the door, and standing by it for a moment, drew the bolt. Thus she had secured herself against intrusion. She then flung herself on the bed, put her two arms under her head, and gazed out of the window. Her heart was beating wildly; she had a strange medley of feelings within. She was desperately, madly lonely. She was homesick in the most intense sense of the word.