« AnteriorContinuar »
tion, it will not do for you to come home for the holidays—"
“What a bore!"
Miss Wheeler was reading her own letter, but still her quick ear caught the forbidden word, and although she was too conscientious to let it pass, it cost her an effort to say again so soon
Martie!” “Yes, Miss Wheeler.”
“I do wish you would be careful; you have two bad marks already this morning.”
Martie said nothing, but went on reading. “This is a great disappointment to us all, and will be to you, but it would not be right to run the risk, so we must look forward to Easter; and I hope, after all, you may have pleasant holidays, for Mrs. Annesley has invited you and the boys to spend them at Annesley Park, and I have written to accept for you. You must go on the 21st by the 10.15 train from Linton; the boys will meet you there, and you will go on together to Hurst Green, where Mr. Annesley will send some one to meet and take you on to Annesley. I do not think you can possibly feel strange with our cousins there, though you have never seen them—they are most kind. Kate is just between you in age, and will, no doubt, be a pleasant companion; and I am sure Edith, her elder sister (who is as old as Flora), will be very good to you, and Charlie and Stephen will consort with Jack and Hugh, so that I quite believe you will be a very happy party, especially as I know that Mr. and Mrs. Annesley will gladly act the part of papa and mamma for the time being.”
That they can't! oh! I am sorry.” “Read on, Martie.”
“I have written to Miss Martin about your things. You can wear your grey merinoes all day, and your best summer frocks will do nicely for the evenings when there is no special party. I think you must have new white muslins (though those you have will be useful), and I have asked Miss Martin if she will kindly buy these for you—and new sashes—and whatever other little things are necessary."
“That's charming!” said Lucy. “She will pay your railway fare to Hurst Green, and give you each thirty shillings, which you must make sufficient for your pocket-money at Annesley, and your journey back to school. I think this is all I need say on this subject. I will write again before you leave Linton and let you know how Flora goes on. She sends
her best love, and I am to tell you how very sorry she is you cannot come home. I am sure it is quite unnecessary to say how grieved papa and I feel not to have your dear little faces to see as we had hoped; but we are sure you will make the best of things, and be thankful that your dear sister is not in danger.
“I think I need only say with regard to your behaviour at Annesley, that we trust you to be all that we should approve; and so I will only give you, dear Lucy, a caution—not to let
your head be turned by a style of living to which you are not accustomed;—and advise you, dear Martie, not to be wild and boisterous.
“Now good-bye, my dear ones; God bless and keep you always. Papa sends his love with that of "Your affectionate mother,
“MARTHA F. GRAHAM." Lucy was very sorry about Flora, and that she could not go home, but the prospect of a visit to Annesley was very agreeable to her, and the thought of new frocks and sashes was one calculated to console her effectually under her troubles; but Martie was less easily comforted. The thought of the long, long weeks till Easter before she could see home and her dear papa and mamma and Flora again, was far too sorrowful for new frocks to be any compensation; and she was bending over her letter with a very sad face when she felt a hand on her shoulder, and looking up saw Miss Wheeler.
“What is it, dear?"
“Oh, Miss Wheeler, Flora is ill, and we can't go home;" and her tears fell as she held
the letter for the teacher to read.
“I am very sorry, Martie; but still, what a good ing your sister is no worse! Then, I think you will enjoy your visit. Is Mrs. Annesley your mamma's cousin ?”
“No: it's Mr. Annesley who is cousin to papa: I have always heard they are very kind; but I've never seen any of them : it will be dreadfully strange.”
“Well, you will make the best of it, I know, Martie, and not add to the anxiety at home by letting your mamma think you are very unhappy. It will help her to bear the disappointment if she sees you cheerful about it.”
The little girl had not thought of this, but it did her good and helped to wear off the first bitterness of her grief. Miss Martin gave leave for a special letter to be written home, so that afternoon Lucy wrote:
"LINTON, December 16th. “MY DEAREST MAMMA,
“I am very sorry to hear about Flora, and to know we cannot come home; it will seem a long time till Easter. Thank you very much for the new frocks and the money; we will be sure to make it do; it seems a great deal to have at once, but we will put by what is wanted for the journey. Mademoiselle has sent for me to go to singing, so I must say good-bye, hoping dear Flora will not be very ill, and that you will keep well. With love to all,
“Your affectionate daughter,
“LUCY FIELDING GRAHAM."
Martie seized a pen, and, anxious to accomplish as much as possible in the time given, began scribbling at a great rate“DARLING MOTHER,
“I can't bear to think of dear old Flo being ill in bed, and that we can't come home. It seems an age till Easter, but I am going to try and be happy at Annesley; I think it is very good of them to ask us all. I don't half like