Her brown eyes were as serene as a May morning; her scarlet lips were parted in a sunny smile that just disclosed her white, even teeth, and her voice was clear and sweet, without even a quiver to betray emotion of any kind.
Jennie Wild was a girl of many moods. Possessing the kindest heart in the world, and ever ready to run her nimble feet off to do any one a good turn, she was at the same time a veritable little “snapdragon.” Touch her ever so lightly, and off she would go into paroxysms of mirth or rage, sympathy or scorn, as the case might be. Consequently she had looked for an outburst, or at least some manifestation, of indignation on Katherine’s part, over the principal’s recent sharpness and ungracious treatment.
“Yes, I’m a freshie,” the girl replied, with a nod and one of her comical grimaces, but still curiously studying the placid face beside her, “but I’m not here as you are. I’m a working student”— this with a rising flush and defiant toss of her pert little head.
“‘A working student?’” repeated Katherine, inquiringly.
“That’s what I said,” laconically. “I can’t afford to pay full tuition, so I wait on Prof. Seabrook and his wife, and do other kinds of work to make up the rest. You see”—the flush creeping higher, but with a secret determination to “sound” the new junior--"I haven’t any father or mother, and my aunt, who has always taken care of me, is poor, and there was no other way to finish my education after leaving the high school—see?”
“Yes, I understand, and I think you are a dear, brave girl to do it,” said Katherine, with shining eyes, and laying a friendly hand on her shoulder as they began to mount the stairs leading to the second story.
“Do you—truly?” queried Jennie, with a glad ring in her tones. “My! I believe I feel two inches taller for that”—throwing back her head proudly; “you’ve given me a lift, Miss Minturn, that I shan’t forget; nobody has ever said anything so kind to me before. I tell you”—confidentially—“it does take a lot of courage sometimes to buckle on to a hard lesson, after running up and downstairs forty times a day, besides no end of other things to do. Most of the girls are pretty good to me; though, now and then, there’s one who thinks she was cut out of finer cloth. I dote on the professor, even if he does get a bit cranky sometimes, like to-day, when something ruffles his stately feathers. His wife is lovely, too, and the teachers are all nice. But don’t call me Miss Wild, please. I’m ‘Jennie’ to everybody. ‘Wild Jennie’ most of the girls call me, and there really is a harum-scarum streak in me that does get the best of me sometimes,” she concluded, with a mischievous flash in her dark eyes.
“I shall be very glad to call you Jennie, if you wish, and my name is Katherine, with a ‘K,’” said that young lady, with an inviting smile.
“I’m sure there isn’t any ‘harum-scarum’ about you,” said the girl, gravely, as she searched the sweet, brown eyes.