What would Madge Everton, what would all the girls say! How they would laugh, to hear of Hilda Graham living on a farm among pigs and hens and dirty people! Oh! it was intolerable; and she sprang up and paced the floor, with burning cheeks and flashing eyes.
The thought of opposing the plan did not occur to her. Mrs. Graham’s rule, gentle though it was, was not of the flabby, nor yet of the elastic sort. Her decisions were not hastily arrived at; but once made, they were final and abiding. “You might just as well try to oppose the Gulf Stream!” Mr. Graham would say. “They do it sometimes with icebergs, and what is the result? In a few days the great clumsy things are bowing and scraping and turning somersaults, and fairly jostling each other in their eagerness to obey the guidance of the insidious current. Insidious Current, will you allow a cup of coffee to drift in my direction? I shall be only too happy to turn a somersault if it will afford you—thanks!—the smallest gratification.”
So Hildegarde’s first lessons had been in obedience and in truthfulness; and these were fairly well learned before she began her ABC. And so she knew now, that she might storm and weep as she would in her own room, but that the decree was fixed, and that unless the skies fell, her summer would be passed at Hartley’s Glen.
DAME AND FARMER.
When the first shock was over, Hilda was rather glad than otherwise to learn that there was to be no delay in carrying out the odious plan. “The sooner the better,” she said to herself. “I certainly don’t want to see any of the girls again, and the first plunge will be the worst of it.”
“What clothes am I to take?” she asked her mother, in a tone which she mentally denominated “quiet and cold,” though possibly some people might have called it “sullen.”
“Your clothes are already packed, dear,” replied Mrs. Graham; “you have only to pack your dressing-bag, to be all ready for the start to-morrow. See, here is your trunk, locked and strapped, and waiting for the porter’s shoulder;” and she showed Hilda a stout, substantial-looking trunk, bearing the initials H.G.
“But, mamma,” Hilda began, wondering greatly, “my dresses are all hanging in my wardrobe.”
“Not all of them, dear!” said her mother, smiling. “Hark! papa is calling you. Make haste and go down, for dinner is ready.”
Wondering more and more, Hildegarde made a hasty toilet, putting on the pretty pale blue cashmere dress which her father specially liked, with silk stockings to match, and dainty slippers of bronze kid. As she clasped the necklace of delicate blue and silver Venetian beads which completed the costume, she glanced into the long cheval-glass which stood between the windows, and could not help giving a little approving nod to her reflection. Though not a great beauty, Hildegarde