They went over the Sunday lesson together, and afterward fell to talking upon certain points that had especially attracted their attention, becoming so absorbed that they took no account of time until the clock struck the half hour after eleven.
“Why!” Katherine exclaimed, and starting to her feet, “if you were not a teacher I should be guilty of flagrant disobedience in being out of my room at this hour.”
“Dear child, I have been very thoughtless to keep you so long,” said Miss Reynolds, regretfully, “but I certainly had no idea of time. And what is time, anyway? I begin to realize that it is only a mortal invention, and that we are living in eternity now. But I must not begin on this infinite subject again to-night; go! go!” She laughingly waved the girl away, and she slipped noiselessly out into the hall to seek her own room.
Miss Reynolds was located on the second floor of the east wing, and Katherine roomed in the west wing, consequently she was obliged to go down a flight of stairs, cross the main or central hall, and up another flight to gain her own quarters.
The lights were all out, but the moon was full, coming in through the windows with a soft radiance, and thus she had no difficulty in finding her way.
She had crossed the main hall, and just entered a short passage leading to the west wing, when she came suddenly upon some one, who appeared to be trying to shrink out of sight into a corner.
“Why, who is it?” she cried, in a repressed but startled tone.
“Sh! sh! keep mum!” was the warning response as the figure drew near her.
“Jennie!” Katherine whispered, amazed, “what are you doing here at this unearthly hour of the night?”
“Hush! don’t give me away for the world,” said the girl, laying a nervous hand upon her arm. “There’s something going on in yonder— it’s the fun I told you about a while ago. I’m not in the plot, but I’m bound to be in at the finish, for it’s going to be a hot time, I can tell you.”
“Really, dear, you are better out of it altogether,” Katherine gravely returned. “You know what we were talking of yesterday, about breaking rules and spoiling one’s record.”
“Aren’t you breaking rules, too?” retorted Jennie, aggressively.
“No; I have just come from Miss Reynolds’ room.”
“Well, I’m going to see this through, now I’ve started in. I’ve had to pinch and pound myself for the last two hours, though, to keep awake, and I’m not going to miss the ‘racket’ after all that bother,” declared the girl, clinging tenaciously to her purpose.
“Hark!” she added, a moment later, in a startled whisper, as a titter of irrepressible mirth was borne to their ears from somewhere beyond them.
It seemed to proceed from the landing at the head of the stairs which led to the second story, but was quickly suppressed and all was still again.
“Well,” said Katharine, after listening a. moment, “I must go on to my room, and my advice to you, Jennie, is to return at once to yours. Good-night,” and, leaving the willful “racket"-lover to her fate, she stole softly away.