“Miss Minturn, Miss Reynolds has sent me to ask if you will come to her room as soon as the study hour is over.”
“Yes, Jennie, I will go to her the moment the bell rings,” replied Katherine, who knew that her teacher had not been well for nearly a week, and, for the last two days, had been unable to attend to her duties.
“And, Miss Minturn,” continued the girl, lingering.
“Well?” said her friend, inquiringly.
“May I go with you to your service, next Sunday?”
“Why, Jennie! What has possessed you to ask me that?”
“Oh, I thought I’d just like to know what kind of a rigmarole—Oh, Peter Piper! what have I said?” the heedless girl interposed as Katherine flushed and looked up suddenly. “I really didn’t mean that—I—er—it just slipped out before I had time to think. But, truly, I would like to go with you.”
“But you know it is against the rules for students to leave their own church. You would have to get permission of Prof. Seabrook,” Katherine returned.
“I don’t want to ask him,” said Jennie, with a shrug, adding: “He need never know.”
“No, Jennie, I cannot countenance any such disobedience,” gravely replied her companion. “And if it is only a matter of idle curiosity on your part, I think you had better wait until you are actuated by a more worthy motive.”
Jennie looked really distressed under this reproof.
“I’m afraid I’ve offended you,” she began, plaintively. “I didn’t mean to speak slightingly of your church, and I’m—sorry—”
“Don’t be troubled, Jennie, dear; I am not offended,” said Katherine, smiling reassuringly. “Of course, you understand that, to me, our service is very beautiful and sacred. I would dearly love to have you go with me in a proper way; but if you do not like to ask permission you can wait until vacation, when you will not be hampered by school rules.”
“All right; perhaps—I will,” returned Jennie, with a sly smile; then, with a friendly “good-night,” she went away, and Katherine thought no more of the matter at that time.
Half an hour later the nine o’clock bell rang and she repaired at once to Miss Reynolds’ room. She found her teacher in bed, looking flushed and feverish, her throat badly swollen and swathed in flannels, while she was scarcely able to speak aloud.
She smiled a welcome and held out her hand to the girl, who clasped it fondly as she sat down beside her.
“I suppose you would say ‘it is nothing,’” whispered the woman, a little gleam of laughter in her eyes, notwithstanding her evident suffering.
“No, I should say nothing of the kind to you,” said Katherine, gravely. “But I hoped that I should find you better.”
“No, Kathie”—a fond way she had adopted of late when addressing her—“I have been growing steadily worse since last night. This afternoon I have been very ill, and Prof. Seabrook sent me word by his wife, to-night, that if I am not better by morning he will call a physician upon his own responsibility. I don’t want a doctor,” she went on, after resting a moment, “for, since having those talks with you and learning something of your faith, I find myself shrinking from medical treatment.”