At Hilton seminary.
It was four o’clock in the afternoon on the opening day of the midwinter term at Hilton Seminary, a noted institution located in a beautiful old town of Western New York.
A group of gay girls had just gathered in one of the pleasant and spacious recreation rooms and were chattering like the proverbial flock of magpies—exchanging merry greetings after their vacation; comparing notes on studies, classes and roommates; discussing the advent of new teachers, pupils and improvements, when a tall, gracious woman of, perhaps, thirty-five years suddenly appeared in the doorway, her fair face gleaming with humorous appreciation of the animated scene and babel before her, and enjoined silence with the uplifting of one slim white hand.
There was an instantaneous hush, as the bevy of maidens turned their bright faces and affectionate glances upon their teacher, who, evidently, was a prime favorite with them all.
“What is it, Miss Reynolds? What can we do for you?” eagerly queried several of the group, as they sprang forward to ascertain her wishes.
“Is Miss Minturn in the room? I am looking for a new pupil who arrived this morning,” the teacher responded, her genial, friendly blue eyes roving from face to face in search of the stranger to whom she had referred.
A young girl, who had been sitting by herself in a remote corner of the room, arose and moved towards the speaker.
“I am Katherine Minturn,” she said, with quiet self-possession, yet flushing slightly beneath the many curious glances bent upon her, as her soft, brown eyes met the smiling blue ones.
She was, apparently, about nineteen years of age, a little above medium height, her form slight but almost perfect in its proportions. A wealth of hair, matching the color of her eyes, crowned a small, shapely head, and contrasted beautifully with a creamy complexion, the delicacy of which was relieved chiefly by the vivid scarlet of her lips. Her features were clear-cut and very attractive—at least so thought Miss Reynolds as she studied the symmetrical brow, the large, thoughtful eyes, the tender mouth and prettily rounded chin curving so gracefully into the white, slender neck.
“Ah! Miss Minturn. I have had quite a search for you,” she said, reaching out a cordial hand to her; for, despite the girl’s self-poise, she had caught a quiver of loneliness on the expressive face. “I am Miss Reynolds, the teacher of mathematics, and I have been commissioned by Prof. Seabrook to find and show you to his study. But first, let me present you to these chatterers.”
She dropped the hand that was trembling in her clasp, and, slipping a reassuring arm about the girl’s waist, continued:
“Young ladies, this is Miss Minturn, a new junior. I can’t present each of you formally, for she is wanted immediately elsewhere; but I will see that she finds you all out later.”