“Oh, Mother! This has been the most horrid day in all my life,” she said, as her mother brushed out the tangled yellow hair, and helped her prepare for bed.
“It has been rather hard for your father and me,” Mrs. Fulton reminded her; “we began to fear some dreadful thing had happened to our little girl. Promise me, Sylvia, never to run away from school again.”
Sylvia promised. She wished she could tell her mother that it was not school she ran away from; that she was trying to escape the taunts and unfriendliness of her schoolmates. But she remembered her promise. She had declared proudly that she should not tell, and hard as it was she resolved that she would keep that promise. But she wished with all her heart that she need not go to school another day.
“Do I have to go to Miss Patten’s school, Mother?” she asked in so unhappy a voice that Mrs. Fulton realized something unpleasant had happened.
“We will talk it over to-morrow, dear,” she said; “go to sleep now,” and Sylvia crept into the white bed quite ready to sleep, but wondering how she could talk about going to school, and still keep her promise, when to-morrow came.
ESTRALLA AND ELINOR
In the morning Sylvia did not refer to what had happened the day before, so her mother decided not to question her. Grace and Flora both arrived at an early hour to accompany Sylvia to school. They were eager to hear how she had happened to be on the schooner which had carried arms to Fort Sumter from the Charleston Arsenal. But Sylvia did not seem to want to talk of her adventure, and both the little southern girls were too polite to question her.
“Father says those guns don’t belong to the United States, they belong to South Carolina.”
Sylvia did not reply. She recalled one of her lessons, however, where she had learned that the United States meant each and every State in the Union and she remembered what Captain Carleton had said.
“Mother says I may go with you on Saturday, Flora,” interrupted Grace; “I wish it was Friday this minute.”
“So do I,” agreed Flora laughingly; “and we must teach Sylvia to ride on one of the ponies this time.”
For on the previous visit Sylvia had said that she wished she could ride as Flora did.
“Oh! Truly? Flora, do you really mean it?” Sylvia asked.
“Of course I do. We will have a ride Saturday afternoon and again Sunday,” replied Flora.
With the pleasure of the plantation visit in store Sylvia for the moment forgot all about her dread of facing the girls at school. Miss Patten detained her at the door of the schoolroom with a warmer greeting than usual, but said: “My dear, I want to talk with you at recess;” but her smile was so friendly and her words so kind that Sylvia was not troubled. As she passed Elinor’s seat she did not look up, but the whisper, “Yankee,” made her flush, and brought back all her dislike of the tall, handsome Elinor.