“I suppose so,” said Ruth. “Well, all the same, I feel rather anxious. I like her, of course, but I think she is mistaken. I must go on now, but I feel somehow——”
“What?” said Susy, with some impatience.
“As though I had not done right—as though I had something to conceal. Well, I can’t help myself, only I won’t hate the girls who are good to me. Good-night, Susy. We won’t be in time for school in the morning if we stay talking any longer.”
THE BLOUSE AND THE ROBBERY.
Susy Hopkins shared none of Ruth Craven’s scruples. To her the Wild Irish Girls’ Society was all that was lovely. She trod on air as she went down the street, and when she finally let herself into her mother’s little shop, locked the door after her, and went softly upstairs, her heart was beating so loud that she hardly knew herself. She slept in a tiny room just at the back of her mother’s; it was sparsely furnished, and had a sloping roof at one side. The chest of drawers also did duty as a dressing-table, and there was a small square of looking-glass placed on the top. Susy had secured a candle in a tin candlestick, with which she had lighted herself to her bedroom, but when she got there she had no intention of putting up with such feeble illumination. She first of all drew the bolt to secure herself against intrusion, and then stepping on tiptoe, she unlocked a drawer and took from it several ends of candle which she had collected from time to time. These she stuck on the dressing-table, and when she had made her little garret almost as bright as day she unfolded her pale-blue blouse. She bent low over her treasure, examining the blue embroidery, which was rendered still more fascinating with small stitches of pink silk, looking with ecstacy at the real lace round the neck and cuffs and finally pressing the delicate color against her blooming cheek.
Susy Hopkins was quite an ordinary-looking little girl. Her nose was decidedly snub, her mouth wide; but her eyes were dark and bright, and she had fairly good eyebrows. She had a low forehead, rather nice curly hair, and a high color in her cheeks.
“In this blouse I shall look a positive beauty,” she thought. “Won’t Tom respect me when he sees me in it on Sunday? I must try it on now; I really must.”
Accordingly she slipped off her bodice, and substituted the pale-blue cashmere blouse for the ugly and threadbare garment she had removed. Whether the blouse was becoming to Susy Hopkins or not remains to be proved, but it certainly delighted its wearer, causing her eyes to sparkle and the color in her cheeks to grow brighter.
“It is the most beautiful thing I ever saw in my life,” she thought. “Why, Kathleen is like a fairy godmother. And how well it fits! And what a perfect cut about the neck! And, oh! these darling little cuffs at the end of the sleeves, and this sweet pink embroidery and this little ruffle of lace round the neck. Oh! there never, never was anything made so beautifully before. I am in luck; I am—I am.”