“I am sure we will,” cordially assented Katherine, “and”—with a merry twinkle in her eyes—“if you do not broach it, you may confidently rely upon my discretion.”
“I own up,” good-naturedly returned her chum. “I did broach it this time; but”—flushing slightly—“something had to be said to get it out of the way, don’t you know? And may I—would you like me to call you Katherine?”
“With all my heart, Sadie.”
The two girls smiled into each other’s eyes; the last vestige of formality was swept away, and the atmosphere was clear.
The midwinter term at Hilton Seminary had opened on Wednesday, and the remainder of the week passed quickly and uneventfully as Katherine fell easily into the ways of the institution and found herself getting well started in her various studies.
Her relations with her roommate were most harmonious, but the majority of the students either ignored her altogether or treated her with a coldness that, had she not had her “Science” to sustain and comfort her, would have made her lot hard indeed to bear.
She had not met the professor again, except in the class room, where he had seemed to be wholly absorbed in his duties as instructor and oblivious of the personality of the students.
On Saturday afternoon she was introduced to Mrs. Seabrook while strolling in the grounds with Miss Reynolds, between whom and herself a growing friendliness was asserting itself. The professor’s wife was walking beside a wheel-chair, which was being propelled by a nurse in cap and apron, and in which was seated— propped up by pillows—a young girl who appeared to be about seven or eight years of age, although her serious, pain-lined face and thoughtful eyes seemed, by right, to belong to an older person.
Miss Reynolds paused on meeting this trio and introduced Katherine to Mrs. Seabrook, who greeted her with a sweet cordiality that at once won the girl’s heart.
“I heard that we had a new student among us,” she said, as she warmly clasped Katherine’s hand, “and I hope you are going to be very happy with us, Miss Minturn.”
“Thank you; not ’going to be’—I already am happy here,” she cheerily and truthfully replied, for she had become deeply interested in her work, and, as she dearly loved to study, she was content to leave her social relations to be governed by the love she was “trying to live.”
“This is my daughter,” Mrs. Seabrook continued, as she turned a fond look upon the pale, pinched face among the pillows. “Dorothy, this is the young lady whom you have been wishing to see.”
Katherine bent down, took the small mittened hand that was extended to her and smiled into the grave, searching eyes that were earnestly studying her face.
“And I also have been wishing to see Dorothy,” she said, with a note of tenderness in her tone that caused the slender fingers inside the mitten to close more firmly over her own. “I am very fond of little people.”