“You had better be careful or you will get into trouble, I think,” said Miss Wilson sternly. “Tell him to drive on.”
The vehicles started, and Smilash took the liberty of waving his hat after them. Then he returned to the chalet, left the umbrella within, came out again, locked the door, put the key in his pocket, and walked off through the rain across the hill without taking the least notice of the astonished parsons.
In the meantime Miss Wilson, unable to contain her annoyance at Agatha’s extravagance, spoke of it to the girls who shared the coach with her. But Jane declared that Agatha only possessed threepence in the world, and therefore could not possibly have given the man thirty times that sum. When they reached the college, Agatha, confronted with Miss Wilson, opened her eyes in wonder, and exclaimed, laughing: “I only gave him threepence. He has sent me a present of four and ninepence!”
Saturday at Alton College, nominally a half holiday, was really a whole one. Classes in gymnastics, dancing, elocution, and drawing were held in the morning. The afternoon was spent at lawn tennis, to which lady guests resident in the neighborhood were allowed to bring their husbands, brothers, and fathers—Miss Wilson being anxious to send her pupils forth into the world free from the uncouth stiffness of schoolgirls unaccustomed to society.
Late in October came a Saturday which proved anything but a holiday for Miss Wilson. At half-past one, luncheon being over, she went out of doors to a lawn that lay between the southern side of the college and a shrubbery. Here she found a group of girls watching Agatha and Jane, who were dragging a roller over the grass. One of them, tossing a ball about with her racket, happened to drive it into the shrubbery, whence, to the surprise of the company, Smilash presently emerged, carrying the ball, blinking, and proclaiming that, though a common man, he had his feelings like another, and that his eye was neither a stick nor a stone. He was dressed as before, but his garments, soiled with clay and lime, no longer looked new.
“What brings you here, pray?” demanded Miss Wilson.
“I was led into the belief that you sent for me, lady,” he replied. “The baker’s lad told me so as he passed my ’umble cot this morning. I thought he were incapable of deceit.”
“That is quite right; I did send for you. But why did you not go round to the servants’ hall?”
“I am at present in search of it, lady. I were looking for it when this ball cotch me here” (touching his eye). “A cruel blow on the hi’ nat’rally spires its vision and expression and makes a honest man look like a thief.”
“Agatha,” said Miss Wilson, “come here.”
“My dooty to you, Miss,” said Smilash, pulling his forelock.
“This is the man from whom I had the five shillings, which he said you had just given him. Did you do so?”