The deep-set eyes took on a look more confident than defiant, and even “Kitten” did not fail to observe a marked improvement in the speaker’s manner and appearance.
Shirley was powerful and forceful, with that unruly aggressiveness conspicuous in young children, when the weakness is classified as “having their own way” before twelve years, and as “being capable” after that—the latter faculty true fruit of the former germ. So it was with this country girl; her very crimes were molding into virtues, and that again proves a world old philosophy.
“Your hair is very becoming that way,” ventured the blonde Sally, whose own hair was always a most exacting halo—Sally had to live up to it. “And you don’t mind being called Bobbie?”
“I like it,” answered Shirley. “I suppose you know what a time I had to get the wig back to hair after the treatment. I am positive that east side French woman was trying an experiment on my poor head. But among other things the accident did for me, it gave my hair a chance to shoot.” She ran her long fingers through the rather stubby growth that had taken on a decided unruliness in splendid imitation of curl. “You see it was rubbed every day, and that charitable nurse rubbed curl right in it. I just love it and wouldn’t interfere with it for anything. Curling hair artificially, I know, simply makes it cranky.”
“Yes, spoils its temper and breaks its character. Just like twisting a tender vine and forcing it to turn away from its chosen paths. How are you getting on with your cramming? Can I help you?” asked Sally, diverging suddenly.
“Hopeless,” replied the other. “I don’t believe I’ll wait to face the music.”
“Oh, you must, Miss Allen is so interested——”
“That’s the hard part of it now. I can’t face Miss Allen. She’s such a good sport.” The bobbed brown head was suddenly dropped into her cupped hands reflectively. “You see, at first, Kitten, I was just a rebel; satisfied to get in here and to have the name of it. Then, these girls whom I so despised were so fine to me,” again the look of dejection, “and, girlie, when I lay on my back at the foot of that hill and Jane Allen whispered ‘Shirley’ into my buzzing ears— it did something to me.” Her companion allowed the pause to act without venturing to interrupt it. It was the working of the miracle! “Yes, and she meant it, too,” went on Shirley reflectively. “No silly stuff just because she feared I was done for. She and big, brown-freckled Dozia just seemed to drag me back to earth, while the other!” her eyes blazed. “Do you know why I have never spoken of my companion on that hateful ride?”