“But why did you act so, Kathleen O’Hara?” said Miss Mackenzie. “Why did you, a silly young girl, come over here, a stranger, to ruin the school and make us all unhappy?”
“I can’t answer you that,” said Kathleen, flinging out her hands. “I did what I was made to do. I am a rebel by nature. I believe I shall always be a rebel. I shall go home to father and mother and tell them I am not suited for a school like this. But don’t expel Ruth, and don’t expel the others.”
“But we will all go if you are not kept,” suddenly cried one of the sixty, Kathleen never quite knew which; and suddenly one girl after another began to speak up for her, and all promised that if Kathleen were allowed to remain, and if the whole story of the great rebellion was allowed to blow over, they would work as they had never done before. They wanted their queen to stay with them. Would the governors forgive their queen, just because she was an Irish girl and like no one else?
How it came to pass it was impossible to tell. There was something about Kathleen—the bold, bright, and yet generous look on her face, the love which darted out of her eyes when she grasped Ruth’s hand—that even impressed Miss Mackenzie. She said after a pause that she was willing to reconsider matters, and that she and all the other governors would meet in a day or two to give their opinion.
Thus the school broke up. It had lived through its greatest and most exciting hour. But when Kathleen was seen going through the gates, her arm flung round Ruth’s waist, and all the sixty girls following at her heels, such a cheer went up from the anxious mothers and fathers and brothers—for many fresh people had come to swell the crowd since Kathleen entered the school—as was never heard before in Merrifield.
Thus ended the great rebellion. It is spoken of to this day as the greatest and most conspicuous event in the school’s history. For, after all, the governors were lenient, and no girl was expelled. Kathleen, as years went on, became far and away the most popular girl in the school. Her talents were of the most brilliant order; her very faults seemed in one way to add to her charms. In one sense she was always a more or less troublesome girl; but where she loved she loved deeply, and from that hour she gave up all thought of rebellion either against the governors or against Miss Ravenscroft. Ruth was Kathleen’s greatest friend. Her grandfather got better; his heart was never broken by the knowledge of that terrible disgrace which the child so feared that she would bring him. Mrs. Church became one of the Irish alms-women, and grumbled a good deal at the change in her position. Mrs. Hopkins’s debt was cleared off; and all the characters in this story did well, and were proud to admit that they owed most of their future prosperity to the Wild Irish Girl, Kathleen O’Hara.