The following day, at dinner, Prof. Seabrook gravely announced that he would meet the sophomore class at four-thirty, that afternoon, in the “north recitation room,” and every member was ordered to be present.
There were some quaking hearts during the intervening hours, and there were not a few anxious faces among the thirty-six sophomores gathered in the appointed place, when the principal appeared upon the scene and at once proceeded to business.
“Young ladies,” he began, “I have summoned the entire class here in order that those who are innocent of wrong may know that they are no longer under the ban of suspicion, in connection with the disgraceful escapade of Monday night; and, also, that those who were guilty of complicity in it may acknowledge their offense in their presence. Those of you who have made confession to that effect may rise.”
Fourteen of the class arose and stood with downcast faces, awaiting what was to follow.
“Were there any other accomplices in the affair?” inquired the principal, glancing around upon those who had remained seated.
No one responded or moved, and he then proceeded to arraign the offenders in no light terms, and not one ever forgot the scathing words that fell from his lips or the shame which followed his vivid portrayal of their hoidenish behavior.
“And now,” he said in conclusion, “for two weeks you will forfeit your afternoon recreation hour, and pass it in this room with your books, and with a monitor to preserve order. Miss Archer and Miss Tuttle, who acknowledge having been the ringleaders, will be on probation for the remainder of the year, and any further infringement of rules will be followed by summary expulsion. I will add”—and the professor’s stern face relaxed visibly—“that you all have saved yourselves much by your voluntary confession; but the ‘Hilton Volunteers’ are here and now disbanded for all time. Young ladies, you are dismissed.”
Well, it was over, and heavy hearts grew lighter, though there were some who were inclined to grumble over the severity of the penalty.
Carrie Archer and Rose Tuttle made no talk whatever about the matter. Both felt that they had had a narrow escape, and were thankful, even under the sentence of “probation.”
Of course, the whole affair was aired and freely discussed by the entire school, and thus Katherine became somewhat conspicuous because of her forced participation in it; while it was interesting to observe how radically the attitude of almost everyone changed towards her, the sophomores, particularly, manifesting the greatest admiration for her.
Miss Archer and Miss Tuttle were the first to express their appreciation of the stand she had taken in their behalf, and her sweet reception of their overtures made them her stanch friends for all time.
“I’ll never sneer at Christian Scientists again,” Rose afterwards confided to her friend, “for if they are all as lovely and plucky as she has shown herself, we can’t have too many of them in the world.”