The Luckiest Girl in the School

By Angela Brazil

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Title: The Luckiest Girl in the School

Author: Angela Brazil

Release Date: March 19, 2006  [eBook #18019]

Language: English


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Author of
"A Harum-Scarum Schoolgirl,"
"The Princess of the School,"
"A Popular Schoolgirl,"
"The Head Girl at the Gables."

Illustrated by Balliol Salmon


A. L. Burt Company
Publishers New York
Published by arrangement with Frederick A. Stokes Company Printed in
Copyright, 1916, by
Frederick A. Stokes Company
All Rights Reserved
First Published in the United States of America, 1922.












X.     A SCARE














A Great Change

"There's no doubt about it, we really must economize somehow!" sighed
Mrs. Woodward helplessly, with her housekeeping book in one hand, and
her bank pass-book in the other, and an array of bills spread out on the
table in front of her. "Children, do you hear what I say? The war will
make a great difference to our income, and we can't--simply _can't_--go
on living in exactly the old way. The sooner we all realize it the
better. I wish I knew where to begin."

"Might knock off going to church, and save the money we give in
collections!" suggested Percy flippantly. "It must tot up to quite a
decent sum in the course of a year, not to mention pew rent!"

His mother cast a reproachful glance at him.

"Now, Percy, _do_ be serious for once! You and Winona are quite old
enough to understand business matters. I must discuss them with
somebody. As I said before, we shall really have to economize somehow,
and the question is where to begin."

"I saw some hints in a magazine the other day," volunteered Winona,
hunting among a pile of papers, and fishing up a copy of _The
Housewife's Journal_. "Here you are! There's a whole article on War
Economies. It says you can halve your expenses if you only try. It gives
ten different recipes. Number One, Dispense with Servants. Oh, goody! I
don't know how the house would get along without Maggie and Mary! Isn't
that rather stiff?"

"It's impossible to be thought of for a moment! I should never dream of
dismissing maids who have lived with me for years. I've read that
article, and it may be practicable for other people, but certainly not
for us. Oh, dear! Some of my friends recommend me to remove to the town,
and others say 'Stay where you are, and keep poultry!'"

"We can't leave Highfield! We were all born here!" objected Winona

"And we tried keeping hens some time ago," said Percy. "They laid on an
average three-quarters of an egg a year each, as far as I remember."

"I'm afraid we didn't know how to manage them," replied Mrs. Woodward
fretfully. "Percy, leave those papers alone! I didn't tell you to turn
them over. You're mixing them all up, tiresome boy! Don't touch them
again! It's no use trying to discuss business with you children! I shall
write and consult Aunt Harriet. Go away, both of you, now! I want to
have a quiet half-hour."

Aunt Harriet stood to the Woodward family somewhat in the light of a
Delphic oracle. To apply to her was always the very last resource.
Matters must have reached a crisis, Winona thought, if they were
obliged to appeal to Aunt Harriet's judgment. She followed Percy into
the garden with a sober look on her face.

"You don't think mother would really leave Highfield?" she asked her
brother anxiously.

"Bunkum!" replied that light-hearted youth. "We always have more or less
of a fuss when my school bills come in. It'll soon fizzle out again!
Don't you fret yourself. Things will jog on as they always have jogged
on. There'll be nothing done, you'll see. Come on and bowl for me,
that's a chubby one!"

"But this time mother really seemed to be in earnest," said Winona
meditatively, as she helped to put up the stumps.

Mrs. Woodward had been left a widow three years before this story opens.
She was a fair, fragile little woman, still pretty, and pathetically
helpless. She had been accustomed to lean upon her husband, and now, for
lack of firmer support, she leaned upon Winona. Winona was young to act
as prop, and though it flattered her sense of importance, it had put a
row of wrinkles on her girlish forehead. At fifteen she seemed much
older than Percy at sixteen. No one ever dreamt of taking Percy
seriously; he was one of those jolly, easy-going, happy-go-lucky,
unreliable people who saunter through life with no other aim than to
amuse themselves at all costs. To depend upon him was like trusting to a
boat without a bottom. Though nominally the eldest, he had little more
sense of responsibility than Ernie, the youngest. It was Winona who
shouldered the family burdens.

The Woodwards had always lived at Highfield, and in their opinion it was
the most desirable residence in the whole of Rytonshire. The house was
old enough to be picturesque, but modern enough for comfort. Its quaint
gables, mullioned windows and Cromwellian porch were the joy of
photographers, while the old-fashioned hall, when the big log fire was
lighted, would be hard to beat for coziness. The schoolroom, on the
ground floor, had a separate side entrance on to the lawn, leading
through a small ante-room where boots and coats and cricket bats and
tennis rackets could be kept; the drawing-room had a luxurious ingle
nook with cushioned seats, and all the bedrooms but two had a southern
aspect. As for the big rambling garden, it was full of delightful
old-world flowers that came up year after year: daffodils and violets
and snow-flakes, and clumps of pinks, and orange lilies and Canterbury
bells, and tall Michaelmas daisies, and ribbon grass and royal Osmunda
fern, the sort of flowers that people used to pick in days gone by, put
a paper frill round, and call a nosegay or a posy. There was a lawn for
tennis and cricket, a pond planted with irises and bulrushes, and a wild
corner where crocuses and coltsfoot and golden aconite came up as they
liked in the spring time.

Winona loved this garden with somewhat the same attachment that a French
peasant bears for the soil upon which he has been reared. She rejoiced
in every yard of it. To go away and resign it to others would be
tragedy unspeakable. The fear that Aunt Harriet might recommend the
family to leave Highfield was sufficient to darken her horizon
indefinitely. That her mother had written to consult the oracle she was
well aware, for she had been sent to post the letter. She had an
instinctive apprehension that the answer would prove a turning-point in
her career.

For a day or two everything went on as usual. Mrs. Woodward did not
again allude to her difficulties, Percy had conveniently forgotten them,
and the younger children were not aware of their existence. Winona lived
with a black spot dancing before her mental eyes. It was continually
rising up and blotting out the sunshine. On the fourth morning appeared
a letter addressed in an old-fashioned slanting handwriting, and bearing
the Seaton post mark. Mrs. Woodward read it in silence, and left her
toast unfinished. Aunt Harriet's communications generally upset her for
the day.

"Come here, Winona," she said agitatedly, after breakfast. "Oh, dear, I
wish I knew what to do! It's so very unexpected, but of course it would
be a splendid thing for you. If only I could consult somebody! I suppose
girls nowadays will have to learn to support themselves, and the war
will alter everything, but I'd always meant you to stop at home and look
after the little ones for me, and it's very--"

"What does Aunt Harriet say, mother?" interrupted Winona, with a catch
in her throat.

"She says a great deal, and I dare say she's right. Oh, this terrible
war! Things were so different when I was a girl! You might as well read
the letter for yourself, as it concerns you. I always think she's hard
on Percy, poor lad! I was afraid the children were too noisy the last
time she was here, but they wouldn't keep quiet. I'm sure I try to do my
best all round, and you know, Winona, how I said Aunt Harriet--"

But Winona was already devouring the letter.

                                        "10 Abbey Close,


                                                    "August 26th.

        "MY DEAR FLORITA,--You are quite right to consult me
        in your difficulties, and are welcome to any advice which I am
        able to offer you. I am sorry to hear of your financial
        embarrassments, but I am not surprised. The present increase in
        the cost of living, and extra taxation, will make retrenchments
        necessary to everybody. In the circumstances I should not advise
        you to leave Highfield. ("Oh, thank goodness!" ejaculated
        Winona.) The expense of a removal would probably cancel what you
        would otherwise save. Neither should I recommend you to take
        Percy from Longworth College and send him daily to be coached by
        your parish curate. From my knowledge of his character I
        consider the discipline of a public school to be indispensable
        if he is to grow into worthy manhood, and sooner than allow the
        wholesome restraint of his house master to be removed at this
        critical portion of his life, I will myself defray half the cost
        of his maintenance for the next two years.

        "Now as regards Winona. I believe she has ability, and it is
        high time to begin to think seriously what you mean to do with
        her. In the future women will have to depend upon themselves,
        and I consider that all girls should be trained to gain their
        own living. The foundation of every career is a good
        education--without this it is impossible to build at all, and
        Winona certainly cannot obtain it if she remains at home. The
        new High School at Seaton is offering two open Scholarships to
        girls resident in the County, the examination for which is on
        September 8th. I propose that Winona enters for this
        examination, and that if she should be a successful candidate,
        she should come to live with me during the period of her
        attendance at the High School. The education is the best
        possible, there is a prospect of a University Scholarship to be
        competed for, and every help and encouragement is given to the
        girls in their choice of a career. With Winona off your hands, I
        should suggest that you should engage a competent nursery
        governess to teach the younger children the elements of order
        and discipline. I would gladly pay her salary on the
        understanding that I should myself select her.

        "Trusting that these proposals may be of some service, and
        hoping to hear a better account of your health,

                                                "I remain,

                                        "Your affectionate Aunt

                                                  "and Godmother,

                                                        "Harriet Beach."

Winona laid down the letter with an agitated gasp. The proposition
almost took her breath away.

"What an idea!" she exclaimed indignantly. "Mother, of course you won't
even dream of it for an instant! I'd _hate_ to go and live with Aunt
Harriet. It's not to be thought of!"

"Well, I don't know, Winona!" wavered Mrs. Woodward. "We must look at it
from all sides, and perhaps Aunt Harriet's right, and it really would be
for the best. Miss Harmon's a poor teacher, and I'm sure your music, at
any rate, is not a credit to her. You played that last piece shockingly
out of time. You know you said yourself that you were getting beyond
Miss Harmon!"

Whatever impeachments Winona may have brought against her teacher, she
was certainly not prepared to admit them now. She rejected the project
of the Seaton High School with the utmost energy and determination,
bringing into the fray all that force of character which her mother
lacked. Poor Mrs. Woodward vacillated feebly--she was generally swayed
by whoever was nearest at the moment--and I verily believe Winona's
arguments would have prevailed, and the whole scheme would have been
abandoned, had not Mr. Joynson opportunely happened to turn up.

Mr. Joynson was a solicitor, and the trustee of Mrs. Woodward's
property. He managed most of her business affairs, and some of her
private ones as well. She had confidence in his judgment, and she at
once thankfully submitted the question of Winona's future to his

"The very thing for her!" he declared. "Do her a world of good to go to
a proper school. She's frittering her time away here. Send her to Seaton
by all means. What are you to do without her? Nonsense! Nobody's
indispensable--especially a girl of fifteen! Pack her off as soon as you
can. Doesn't want to go? Oh, she'll sing a different song when once she
gets there, you'll see!"

Thus supported by masculine authority, Mrs. Woodward settled the
question in the affirmative, and replied to her aunt by return of post.

Naturally such a stupendous event as the exodus of Winona made a
sensation in the household.

"Well, of all the rum shows!" exclaimed Percy. "You and Aunt Harriet in
double harness! It beats me altogether!"

"It's atrocious!" groaned Winona. "I'm a victim sacrificed for the good
of the family. Oh! why couldn't mother have thought of some other way of
economizing? I don't want to win scholarships and go in for a career!"

"Buck up! Perhaps you won't win! There'll be others in for the exam.,
you bet! You'll probably fail, and come whining home like a whipped
puppy with its tail between its legs!"

"Indeed I shan't!" flared Winona indignantly. "I've a little more spirit
than that, thank you! And why should you imagine I'm going to fail? I
suppose I've as much brains as most people!"

"That's right! Upset the pepper-pot! I was only trying to comfort you!"
teased Percy. "In my opinion you'll be returned like a bad halfpenny,
or one of those articles 'of no use to anybody except the owner.' Aunt
Harriet will be cheated of her prey after all!"

"If Win goes away, I shall be the eldest daughter at home," said Letty
airily, shaking out her short skirts. "I'll sit at the end of the table,
and pour out tea if mother has a headache, and unlock the apple room,
and use the best inkpot if I like, and have first innings at the piano."

"You forget about the nursery governess," retorted Winona. "If I go, she
comes, and you'll find you've exchanged King Log for King Stork. Oh,
very well, just wait and see! It won't be as idyllic as you imagine. I
shall be saved the trouble of looking after you, at any rate."

"What I'm trying to ascertain, madam," said Percy blandly, "is whether
your ladyship wishes to take up your residence in Seaton or not. With
the usual perversity of your sex you pursue a pig policy. When I venture
to picture you seated at the board of your venerable aunt, you protest
you are a sacrifice; when, on the other hand, I suggest your return to
the bosom of your family, you revile me equally."

"You're the most unsympathetic _beast_ I've ever met!" declared Winona

When she analyzed her feelings, however, she was obliged to allow that
they were mixed. Though the prospect of settling down at Seaton filled
her with dismay, Percy's gibe at her probable failure touched her pride.
Winona had always been counted as the clever member of the family. It
would be too ignominious to be sent home labeled unfit. She set her
teeth and clenched her fists at the bare notion.

"I'll show them all what I can do if I take a thing up!" she resolved.

In the meantime Mrs. Woodward was immersed in the subject of clothing.
Every post brought her boxes of patterns, amongst which she hesitated,
lost in choice.

"If I knew whether you're really going to stay at Seaton or not, it
would make all the difference, Winona," she fluttered. "It's no use
buying you these new things if you're only to wear them at home, but I'd
make an effort to send you nice to Aunt Harriet's. I know she'll
criticize everything you have on. Dear me, I think I'd better risk it!
It would be such a nuisance to have to write for the patterns all over
again, and how could I get your dresses fitted when you weren't here to
be tried on? Miss Jones is at liberty now, and can come for a week's
sewing, but she'll probably be busy if I want her later. Now tell me,
which do you really think is the prettier of these two shades? I like
the fawn, but I believe the material will spot. What have you done with
the lace collar Aunt Harriet gave you last Christmas? She's sure to ask
about it if you don't wear it!"

Having decided that on the whole she intended to win a scholarship,
Winona bluffed off the matter of her departure.

"I've changed my mind, that's all," she announced to her home circle.
"It will be a great comfort to me not to hear Mamie scraping away at her
violin in the evenings, or Letty strumming at scales. Think what a
relief not to be obliged to rout up Dorrie and Godfrey, and haul them
off to school every day! I'm tired of setting an example. You needn't

The family grinned appreciatively. They understood Winona.

"Don't you worry! I'll set the example when you're gone," Letty assured
her. "I'll be as improving as a copy-book. I wish I'd your chance; I'd
stand Aunt Harriet for the sake of going to a big High School. Younger
sisters never have any luck! Eldests just sweep the board. I don't know
where we come in!"

"Don't you fret, young 'un, you'll score later on!" cooed an indulgent
voice from the sofa, where Percy sprawled with a book and a bag of
walnuts. "Remember that when you're still in all the bliss and sparkle
of your teens, Winona'll be a mature and _passée_ person of twenty-two.
'That eldest Miss Woodward's getting on, you know!' people will say, and
somebody'll reply: 'Yes, poor thing!'"

"They won't when I've got a career," retorted Winona, pelting Percy with
his own walnut-shells.

"You assured us the other day that you despised such vanities."

"Well, it depends. Perhaps I'll be a lady tram conductor, and punch
tickets, or a post-woman, or drive a Government van!"

"If those are careers for girls, bag me for a steeple jack," chirped

It was perhaps a good thing for Winona that such a short interval
elapsed between the acceptance of Aunt Harriet's proposal and the date
of the scholarship examination. The ten days were very busy ones, for
there seemed much to be done in the way of preparation. Miss Jones, the
dressmaker, was installed in the nursery with the sewing-machine, and
demanded frequent tryings-on, a process Winona hated.

"I shall buy all my clothes ready made when I'm grown up!" she declared.

"They very seldom fit, and have to be altered," returned her mother. "Do
stand still, Winona! And I hope you're learning up a few dates and facts
for this examination. You ought to be studying every morning. If only
Miss Harmon were home, I'd have asked her to coach you. I'm afraid
she'll be disappointed at your leaving, but of course she can't expect
to keep you for ever. I heard a rumor that she means to give up her
school altogether, and go and live with her uncle. I hope it's true, and
then I can take the little ones away with an easy conscience. I don't
want to treat her badly, poor thing, but I'm sure teaching's not her

Winona really made a heroic effort to prepare herself for the coming
ordeal. She retired to a secluded part of the garden and read over her
latest school books. The process landed her in the depths of

"I'll never remember anything--never!" she mourned to her family. "To
try and get all this into my head at once is like bolting a week's meals
at a single go! I know a date here and there, and I've a hazy notion of
French and Latin verbs, and a general impression of other subjects, but
if they ask me for anything definite, such as the battles of the Wars of
the Roses, or a list of the products of India, I'm done for!"

"Go in for Post-Impressionism, then," suggested Percy. "Write from a
romantic standpoint, and don't condescend to mere facts. Stick in a
quotation or two, and a drawing if possible, and make your paper sound
eloquent and dramatic and poetical, and all the rest of it. They'll mark
you low for accuracy, but put you on ten per cent. for style, you bet! I
know a chap who tries it on at the Coll., and it always pays."

"It's worth thinking about, certainly," said Winona, shutting her books
with a weary yawn.


An Entrance Examination

The Seaton High School was a large, handsome brick building exactly
opposite the public park. It had only been erected two years ago, so
everything about it was absolutely new and up-to-date. It supplied a
great need in the rapidly growing city, and indeed offered the best and
most go-ahead education to be obtained in the district.

It was the aim of the school to fit girls for various professions and
careers; there was a classical and a modern side, a department for
domestic economy, and a commercial class for instruction in business
details. Art, music, and nature study were well catered for, and manual
training was not forgotten. As the school was intended to become in time
a center for the county, the Governors had offered two open free
scholarships to be competed for by girls resident in other parts of
Rytonshire, hoping by this means to attract pupils from the country
places round about.

On the morning of September 8th, precisely at 8.35, Winona presented
herself at the school for the scholarship examination. There were twenty
other candidates awaiting the ordeal, in various stages of nervousness
or sangfroid. Some looked dejected, some confident, and others hid their
feelings under a mask of stolidity. Winona joined them shyly. They were
all unknown to one another, and so far nobody had plucked up courage to
venture a remark. It is horribly depressing to sit on a form staring at
twenty taciturn strangers. Winona bore for awhile with the stony
silence, then--rather frightened at the sound of her own voice--she

"I suppose we're all going in for this same exam.!" It was a trite
commonplace, but it broke the ice. Everybody looked relieved. The
atmosphere seemed to clear.

"Yes, we're all going in--that's right enough," replied a ruddy-haired
girl in spectacles, "but there are only two scholarships, so nineteen of
us are bound to fail--that's logic and mathematics and all the rest of

"Whew! A nice cheering prospect. Wish they'd put us out of our misery at
once!" groaned a stout girl with a long fair pigtail.

"I'm all upset!" shivered another.

"It's like a game of musical chairs," suggested a fourth. "We're all
scrambling for the same thing, and some are bound to be out of it."

The ruddy-haired girl laughed nervously.

"Suppose we've got to take our sporting luck!" she murmured.

"If nineteen are sure to lose, two are sure to win at any rate," said
Winona. "That's logic and mathematics and all the rest of it, too!"

"Right you are! That's a more cheering creed! It doesn't do to cry
'Miserere me' too soon!" chirped a jolly-looking dark-eyed girl with a
red hair-ribbon. "'Never say die till you're dead,' is my motto!"

"I'm wearing a swastika for a mascot," said a short, pale girl,
exhibiting her charm, which hung from a chain round her neck. "I never
am lucky, so I thought I'd try what this would do for me for once. I
know English history beautifully down to the end of Queen Anne, and no
further, and if they set any questions on the Georges I'll be stumped."

"I've learnt Africa, but Asia would floor me!" observed another, looking
up from a geography book, in which she was making a last desperate
clutch at likely items of knowledge. "I never can remember which side of
India Madras is on; I get it hopelessly mixed with Bombay."

"I wish to goodness they'd go ahead and begin," mourned the owner of the
red hair-ribbon. "It's this waiting that knocks the spirit out of me.
Patience isn't my pet virtue. I call it cruelty to animals to leave us
on tenter-hooks."

Almost as if in answer to her pathetic appeal the door opened, and a
teacher appeared. In a brisk, business-like manner she marshaled the
candidates into line, and conducted them to the door of the
head-mistress' study, where one by one they were admitted for a brief
private interview. Winona's turn came about the middle of the row.

"Pass in: as quickly as you can, please!" commanded the teacher,
motioning her onward.

As Winona entered, she gave one hasty comprehensive glance round the
room, taking in a general impression of books, busts and pictures, then
focussed her attention on the figure that sat at the desk. It was only
at a later date that she grasped any details of Miss Bishop's
personality; at that first meeting she realized nothing but the pair of
compelling blue eyes that drew her forward like a magnet.

"Your name?"

"Winona Woodward."




"Highfield, Ashbourne, near Great Marston."

"How long have you lived in the county of Rytonshire?"

"Ever since I was born."

Miss Bishop hastily ticked off these replies on a page of her ledger,
and handed Winona a card.

"This will admit you to the examination room. Remember that instead of
putting your name at the head of your papers, you are to write the
number given you on your card. Any candidate writing her own name will
be disqualified. Next girl!"

It was all over in two minutes. Winona seemed hardly to have entered the
room before she was out again.

"Move on, please!" said the teacher, marshaling the little crowd round
the door. "Will those who have seen Miss Bishop kindly go along the

Several girls who had been standing in a knot made a sudden bolt, and
pushed their fellows forward. Somebody jogged Winona's elbow. Her card
slid from her grasp and fell on to the ground. As she bent in the crush
to pick it up, the ruddy-haired girl stooped on a like errand.

"Dropped mine too! Clumsy, isn't it?" she laughed. "Hope we've got our
own! What was your number?"

"I hadn't time to look."

"Well, I'm sure mine was eleven, so that's all right. I wish you luck!
Won't we just be glad when it's over, rather!"

At the further end of the corridor was a door with a notice pinned on to
it. "Examination for County Scholarships." A mistress stood there, and
scrutinized each girl's card as she entered, directing her to a seat in
the room marked with the corresponding number. Winona walked rather
solemnly to the desk labeled 10. The great ordeal was at last about to
begin. She wondered what would be the end of it. Little thrills of
nervousness seemed running down her back like drops from a shower-bath.
Her hands were trembling. With a great effort she pulled herself

"It's no use funking!" she thought. "I'll make as good a shot as I can
at things, and if I fail--well, I shall have plenty of companions in
misfortune, at any rate!"

A pile of foolscap paper with red-ruled margins, a clean sheet of white
blotting paper, and a penholder with a new nib lay ready. Each of the
other twenty victims was surveying a supply of similar material. On the
blackboard was chalked the word "Silence."

In a dead hush the candidates sat and waited. Exactly on the stroke of
nine Miss Bishop entered and handed a sheaf of printed questions to the
teacher in charge, who distributed them round the room. The subject for
the first hour was arithmetic. Winona read over her paper slowly. She
felt capable of managing it, all except the last two problem sums, which
were outside her experience. She knew it would mainly be a question of

"I'll work them each twice if I've only time," she thought, starting at
number one.

An hour is after all only made up of sixty minutes, and these seemed to
fly with incredible rapidity. The teacher on the platform had sternly
reproved a girl guilty of counting aloud in an agitated whisper,
threatening instant expulsion for a repetition of such an offense, but
with this solitary exception nobody transgressed the rules. All sat
quietly absorbed in their work, and an occasional rustle of paper or
scratch of a pen were the only sounds audible. At precisely five minutes
to ten the deity on the platform sounded a bell, and ordered papers to
be put together. She collected them, handed them to another mistress,
then without any break proceeded to deal out the questions for the next
hour's examination. This was in geography, and here Winona was not on
such sure ground. Granted that you are acquainted with certain rules in
arithmetic, it is always possible to work out problems, but it needed
more knowledge than she possessed to write answers to the riddles that
confronted her. She had never heard of "The Iron Gates," could not place
Alcona and Altona, was hazy as to the whereabouts of the Mourne
Mountains, and utterly unable to draw an accurate map of the Balkan
States. She scored a little on Canada, for she had learnt North America
last term at Miss Harmon's, but with Australia and New Zealand she was
imperfectly acquainted. She wrote away, getting hotter and hotter as she
realized her deficiencies, winding up five minutes before the time
allotted, in a flushed and decidedly inky condition.

At eleven a short interval was allowed, and the candidates thankfully
adjourned. Outside in the corridor they compared notes.

"Well, of all detestable papers this geography one is the limit!"
declared an aggrieved voice.

It was the girl who had said that she always mixed Madras and Bombay,
and who had studied her text-book up to the last available moment.
Apparently her eleventh hour industry had not sufficed to tide her over
her difficulties.

"It was catchy in parts," agreed the owner of the swastika, "but I liked
one or two questions. I just happened to know them, so I bowled ahead.
That's what comes of wearing a mascot!"

"Don't crow too soon!" laughed the girl with the fair pigtail.
"Remember, there are four other exams. to follow. Your luck may leave
you at any moment."

"Don't mention more exams.! I feel inclined to turn tail and run home!"
declared another.

"There's the bell! Don't give us much time, do they? Now for the torture
chamber again! Brace your nerves!"

"I wonder if most of them have done better or worse than I have!"
thought Winona, as she took her seat once more at No. 10 desk. "A good
many were grumbling, but that sandy-haired girl in the spectacles said
nothing. No more did the one with the red hair-ribbon. Of course they
might be feeling too agonized for words, but on the other hand they
might be secretly congratulating themselves."

It was not the moment, however, for speculation as to her neighbors'
progress. The next set of questions was being distributed, and she took
up her copy eagerly. Her heart fell as she read it over. Her knowledge
of English history was not very accurate, and the facts demanded were
for the most part exactly those which she could not remember. The dread
of failure loomed up large. She could only attempt about half of the
questions, and even in these she was not ready with dates. Then suddenly
Percy's advice flashed into her mind. "Write from a romantic standpoint,
and make your paper sound poetical." It seemed rather a forlorn hope,
and she feared it would scarcely satisfy her examiners, but in such a
desperate situation anything was worth trying. Winona possessed a
certain facility in essay writing. Prose composition had been her
favorite lesson at Miss Harmon's. She collected her wits now, and did
the very utmost of which she was capable in the matter of style.
Choosing question No. 4, "Write a life of Lady Jane Grey," she proceeded
to treat the subject in as post-impressionist a manner as possible. The
pathetic tragedy of the young Queen had always appealed to her
imagination, and she could have had no more congenial a theme upon which
to write, if she had been given free choice of all the characters in the
history book.

"'Whom the gods love die young,'" she began, and paused. It seemed an
excellent opening, if she could only continue in the same strain, but
what ought to come next? Her thoughts flew to a painting of Lady Jane
Grey, which she had once seen at a loan collection of Tudor portraits.
Why should she not describe it? Her pen flew rapidly as she wrote a
word-picture of the sweet, pale face, so round and childish in spite of
its earnest expression; the smooth yellow hair, the gray eyes bent
demurely over the book. Her heroine seemed beginning to live. Now for
her surroundings. A year ago Winona had paid a visit to Hampton Court,
and her remembrance of its associations was still keen and vivid. She
described its old-world garden by the side of the Thames, where the
little King Edward VI. must often have roamed with his pretty cousin
Jane: the two wonderful ill-starred children, playing for a brief hour
in happy unconsciousness of the fate that faced them. What did they talk
about, she asked, as they stood on the paved terrace and watched the
river hurrying by? Plato, perchance, and his philosophy, or the
marvelous geography-book with woodcuts of foreign beasts that had been
specially printed for the young king's use. Did they compare notes about
their tutors? Jane would certainly hold a brief for her much-loved Mr.
Elmer, who, in sharp contrast to her parents' severity, taught her so
gently and patiently that she grudged the time which was not spent in
his presence. Edward might bemoan the ill-luck of his whipping-boy, who
had to bear the floggings which Court etiquette denied to the royal
shoulders, and perhaps would declare that when he was grown up, and
could make the laws himself, no children should be beaten for badly said
lessons, and Jane would agree with him, and then they would pick the red
damask roses that Cardinal Wolsey had planted, and walk back under the
shadow of the clipped yew hedge to eat cherries and junket in the room
that looked out towards the sunset.

Winona had warmed to her work. Her imagination, always her strongest
faculty, completely carried her away. She pictured her heroine's life,
not from the outside, as historians would chronicle it, a mere string of
events and dates, but from the inner view of a girl's standpoint. Did
Jane wish to leave her Plato for the bustle of a Court? Did she care for
the gay young husband forced upon her by her ambitious parents? Surely
for her gentle nature a crown held few allurements. The clouds were
gathering thick and fast, and burst in a waterspout of utter ruin.
Jane's courage was calm and hopeful as that of Socrates in the dialogues
she had loved.

        "... your soul was pure and true,
    The good stars met in your horoscope,
    Made you of spirit, fire and dew."

quoted Winona enthusiastically. Browning always stirred her blood, and
threw her into poetical channels. She cast about in her mind for any
other appropriate verses.

    "Ah, broken is the golden bowl, the spirit gone for ever,
    Let the bell toll--a saintly soul floats on the Stygian river.
    Come, let the burial rite be read--the funeral song be sung,
    An anthem for the queenliest dead that ever died so young,
    A dirge for her, the doubly dead, in that she died so young."

"So they finished their foul deed, and laid her to rest," wrote Winona,
"the earthly part, that is, which perishes, for the true part of her
they could not touch. Farewell, sweet innocent soul, of whom the world
was not worthy. To you surely may apply Andre de Chénier's tender lines:

    "'Au banquet de la vie à peine commencé
    Un instant seulement mes lèvres out pressé
    La coupe en mes mains encore pleine.'

Vale, little Queen! May it be well with thee! Ave atque vale!"

Winona glanced anxiously at the clock as with a hard breath she paused
for a moment and laid down her pen. Her theme had taken her so long that
she had only ten minutes left for the other questions. There was no
romantic side to be expressed in these, so she scribbled away
half-heartedly. Her uncertain memory, which had readily supplied
quotations from Browning or Edgar Allan Poe, struck altogether when
asked for such sordid details as the names of the Cabal ministry, or
the history of the Long Parliament. The bell rang, and left her with her
paper only half finished. At one o'clock the candidates were given an
hour's rest, and a hot lunch was served to them in the dining-hall. At
two they returned to their desks, and the examination continued until
half-past four. Winona found the questions tolerable. She did fairly,
but not at all brilliantly. Her brains were not accustomed to such
long-sustained efforts, and as the afternoon wore on, a neuralgic
headache began, and sent sharp throbs of pain across her forehead. It
was so irksome to write pages of Latin or French verbs; she had to
summon all her courage to make herself do it. The last hour seemed an
interminable penance.

At half-past four, twenty-one rather dispirited candidates filed from
the room.

"Well, thank goodness it's over! I never want to write another word in
my life. My hand's stiff with cramp!" exclaimed the girl with the red
hair-ribbon to a sympathetic audience in the passage.

"It was awful! I didn't answer half the questions. My swastika isn't
worth its salt. I shall give it away!" mourned the owner of the mascot.

"They expected us to know so very much; we should be absolute
encyclopaedias if we had all that pat off at our fingers' ends!" sighed
the girl with the fair pigtail.

"How did you get on?" Winona asked the ruddy-haired girl, who was wiping
her spectacles nervously.

"Oh, I don't know. It's so hard to tell. I answered most of the
questions, but of course I can't say whether they're right or wrong.
Wasn't the Latin translation just too horrible? I yearned for a
dictionary. And some of the French grammar questions were absolute

"We went on too long," said Winona. "It would have been much better to
spread the exam, over two days."

"Do you think so? I'd rather have 'sudden death' myself. It's such a
relief to feel it's finished. It would be wretched to have to begin
again to-morrow. I hardly slept a wink last night for thinking about it.
I'm going to try and forget it now."

Winona nodded good-by to her fellow candidates, and took her leave. How
many of them would she see again, she wondered, and which among all the
number would have the luck?

"Certainly not myself," she thought ruefully. "I know my papers weren't
up to standard. I believe that red-haired girl will be one. She looked

Winona had spent the preceding night with Aunt Harriet, who offered to
keep her until the result of the examination should be published, but
the prospect of spending a week of suspense at Abbey Close was so
formidable, that she had begged to be allowed to return home, excusing
herself on the plea that she would like to be with Percy during the
remainder of his holidays. It was a very subdued Winona who reached
Highfield next afternoon.

"Hello, Tiddleywinks! You've lost the starch out of you!" Percy greeted
her. "Did they say they wouldn't have you at any price?"

"The result won't be out till the fifteenth, but I expect I've failed,"
answered Winona gloomily.

"Buck up, young 'un! Look at yours truly! I fail nine times out of ten,
and do I take it to heart?"

Winona laughed in spite of herself. Percy's complacency over small
achievements was proverbial. But she had higher ambitions, and the cloud
of depression soon settled down again. Her temper, not always her strong
point, displayed a degree of irritability that drove her family to the
verge of mutiny.

"Really, Winona, I don't remember you so fractious since you were
cutting your teeth!" complained her much-tried mother.

The days dragged slowly by. Winona had never before realized that each
hour could hold so many minutes. On the morning of the 15th she came
down to breakfast with dark rings round her eyes.

"I shall be glad to be put out of my misery!" she thought, as the
postman's rap-tap sounded at the door.

Mamie made a rush for the letter-box, and returned bearing a foolscap
envelope addressed to:

                                   MISS WINONA WOODWARD,
                                                    nr. Great Marston.

Winona opened it with trembling fingers. But as she read, her face
flushed and her eyes sparkled.

"I have much pleasure in informing you" (so ran the letter) "that the
Governors of the Seaton High School have decided to award you a
Scholarship tenable for two years...."

In silence she passed the paper to her mother.

"Congratulations, dear child!" cried Mrs. Woodward, clapping her hands.
"It's the unexpected that happens!"

"Oh, my goodness!" ejaculated Percy. "You never mean to tell me that
Tiddleywinks has actually been and gone and won!"


Seaton High School

The autumn term at Seaton High School began on September 22nd. On the
21st Winona set forth with great flourish of trumpets, feeling more or
less of a heroine. To have been selected for a scholarship among
twenty-one candidates was a distinction that even Aunt Harriet would
admit. In the brief interval pending her departure, her home circle had
treated her with a respect they had never before accorded her.

"I hope you'll do well, child," said her mother, half proud and half
tearful when it came to the parting. "We shall miss you here, but when
you get on yourself you must help the younger ones. I shall look to you
to push them on in life."

There is a certain satisfaction in the knowledge that you are considered
the prop of the family. Winona's eyes glowed. In imagination she was
already Principal of a large school, and providing posts as assistant
mistresses for Letty, Mamie and Doris, that is to say unless she turned
her attention to medicine, but in that case she could be head of a
Women's Hospital, and have them as house surgeons or dispensers, or
something else equally distinguished and profitable. It might even be
possible to provide occupation for Godfrey or Ernie, though this was
likely to prove a tougher job than placing the girls. With such a
brilliant beginning, the future seemed an easy walk-over.

Mrs. Woodward was exulting over the fact that she had engaged Miss Jones
when she did, and that Winona's school clothes were all made and
finished. There had been a fluster at the last, when it was discovered
that her mackintosh was fully six inches too short for her new skirts,
and that she had outgrown her thick boots, but a hurried visit to Great
Marston had remedied these deficiencies, and the box was packed to
everybody's satisfaction. There was a universal feeling in the family
that such an outfit could not fail to meet with Aunt Harriet's approval.
The first sight of the nightdress case and the brush-and-comb bag must
wring admiration from her. They had been bought at a bazaar, and were
altogether superior to those in daily use. As for the handkerchief case,
Letty had decided that unless one equally well embroidered were
presented to her on her next birthday, she would be obliged to assert
her individuality by showing temper.

Winona walked into the dressing-room of the High School on September
22nd with a mixture of shyness and importance. On the whole the latter
predominated. It was a trifle embarrassing to face so many strangers,
but it was something to have won a scholarship. She wondered who was the
other fortunate candidate.

"I expect it will be that red-haired girl with the spectacles," she
thought. "I believe she answered every question, though she was rather
quiet about it."

She looked round, but could not see the ruddy locks, nor indeed any of
the companions who had taken the examination with her.

"Hunting for some one you know?" asked a girl who had appropriated the
next hook to hers.

"Yes, at least I'm not sure whether she'll be here or not. I believe her
name's Marjorie Kaye."

"Never heard of her!"

"There are heaps of new girls," volunteered another who stood by.

"I wondered if she'd won a County Scholarship," added Winona.

"Ask me a harder! I tell you I've never heard her name before."

"I've won the other scholarship."

Winona's voice was intended to sound very casual.


Her neighbor was taking off her boots, and did not seem as much
impressed as the occasion merited.

"Oh! so you're one of the 'outlanders,'" sniggered another. "It's a sort
of 'go into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in'

"I suppose we shall be having Council School Scholarships next!" drawled
a third.

They were friends, and went off together without another glance at
Winona. She followed soberly, wondering what she ought to do next. She
had a vague idea that the winner of a scholarship should present herself
at the Head Mistress' study to receive a few words of encouragement and
congratulation on her success. At the top of the stairs she met the
mistress who had presided over the examination. The latter greeted her

"Winona Woodward, you've been placed in V.a., first room to the
right, round the corner. You'll find the number on the door."

Other girls were hurrying in the same direction. Winona entered with
what seemed to her quite a small crowd. Everybody appeared to know where
to go, except herself. She stood in such evident hesitation that one,
more good-natured than the rest, remarked:

"You'd better seize on any desk you fancy, as quick as you can. They're
getting taken up fast, if you want a front one!"

Winona slid into the nearest seat at hand, and appropriated it by
placing her note-book, pencil-box, ruler, atlas and dictionaries inside
the desk.

The room was filling quickly. Every moment fresh arrivals hurried in and
took their places. Marjorie Kaye was nowhere to be seen, but in the
second row sat the dark-eyed girl with the red ribbon in her hair. She
turned round and nodded pleasantly.

"So she's got the other scholarship!" thought Winona. "I shouldn't have
expected it. I'd have staked my reputation on the sandy-haired one.
Well, I suppose her answers weren't correct, after all. I'm rather glad
on the whole it's this girl; she looks jolly."

At that moment Miss Huntley, the form mistress, entered and took the
call-over, and the day's work began. Each girl was given a time-table
and a list of the books she would require, and after that, class
succeeded class until one o'clock, with a ten minutes' interval for
lunch at eleven. The conclusion of the morning left Winona with a
profound respect for High School methods. After the easy-going routine
of Miss Harmon's it was like stepping into a new educational world. She
supposed she would be able to keep pace with it when she got her books,
but the mathematics, at any rate, were much more advanced than what she
had before attempted. As she walked down the corridor, the girl with the
red hair-ribbon overtook her, and claimed acquaintance.

"So you're Winona Woodward? And I'm Garnet Emerson. We had the luck,
after all! I'm sure I never expected to win. It was the greatest
surprise to me when the letter arrived. Yes, five of the other
candidates are at school, but they've been put in IV.a., and
IV.b. Marjorie Kaye? You mean that girl in spectacles? No,
she's not come. I heard her say that if she didn't win she was to be
sent somewhere else. Where are you staying? With an aunt? I'm with a
second cousin. She's nice, but I wish they'd open a hostel; it would be
topping to be with a heap of others, wouldn't it? We'd get up acting in
the evenings, and all sorts of fun. Well, perhaps that may come later
on. I shall see you this afternoon, shan't I?"

"Yes, I'm coming for my books. It's too late to stop and get them now."

Afternoon attendance at the High School was not nominally compulsory.
All the principal subjects were taken in the morning, but there were
classes for drawing, singing or physical culture from half-past two
until four, and practically very few girls had more than one free
afternoon in a week. Any who liked might do preparation in their own
form room, and many availed themselves of the permission, especially
those who came from a distance, and stayed for dinner at the school.
When Winona first examined her time-table she had not considered its
demands excessively formidable, but before she had been a week at Seaton
she began to realize that she would have very few spare moments to call
her own. Miss Bishop believed in girls being fully occupied, and in
addition to the ordinary form work, expected every one to take part in
the games, and in the numerous societies and guilds which had been
instituted. Winona found that she was required to join the Debating
Club, and the Patriotic Knitting Guild, while a Dramatic Society and a
Literary Association would be prepared to open their doors to her if she
proved worthy of admission. So far, however, she considered that she had
enough on her hands. The demands of her new life were almost
overwhelming, and she lived from day to day in a whirl of fresh
experiences. It took her some time even to grasp the names of the
seventeen other girls in her form. Audrey Redfern, her left-hand
neighbor, was friendly, but Olave Parry, at the desk in front, ignored
her very existence. She gathered that Audrey, like herself, was a
new-comer, while Olave had attended the school since its foundation; but
she did not realize the significance of this in the difference of their
behavior to her. The fact was that the three new girls in the form were
on probation. The others, who had come up from the Lower School, and
were well versed in the traditions of the place, were not willing to
admit them too quickly into favor. They talked them over in private.

"Audrey Redfern seems a decent enough little soul," said Estelle
Harrison. "There's really nothing offensive about her, to my mind.
Garnet Emerson I rather like. I fancy she could be jolly. I'm going to
speak to her in a day or two, but not too soon."

"What do you think of Winona Woodward?" queried Bessie Kirk.

"Much too big an opinion of herself. Began bragging about her
scholarship first thing. She needs sitting upon, to my mind."

"She's pretty!"

"Yes, and she knows it, too!"

"Well, she can't help knowing it. I call her most striking looking. Her
eyes are lovely, though I never can make out whether they're dark gray
or hazel under those long lashes. Her hair's just the color of bronze,
and such a lot of it! It beats Joyce Newton's hollow; besides, Joyce has
absolutely white eyelashes."

"Like a pig's!" laughed Hilda Langley. "I agree with you that Winona's
pretty, but I don't think she'll ever be a chum of mine, all the same."

The result of the stand-off attitude on the part of the rest of the form
was the cementing of a close friendship between Winona and Garnet. It
seemed natural for the holders of the two County Scholarships to become
chums, also they found each other's society congenial. It marked a new
epoch for Winona. She had had few friends of her own age. She had been
the eldest pupil at Miss Harmon's small school, and her sisters were so
much younger than herself that their interests were on a different plane
to her own. Garnet, with her merry brown eyes, eager and enthusiastic
nature, and amusing tongue, seemed a revelation.

The two girls spent every available moment together, and soon waxed
confidential on the subject of their home affairs.

"We're all named after precious stones," said Garnet. "Pearl, my eldest
sister, is classics mistress at a school; Jacinthe is studying for a
health visitor, Ruby is at a Horticultural College, and Beryl is
secretary at a Settlement. Aren't there a lot of us? All girls too, and
not a single brother. I'm the baby of the family! I'd like to go to
Holloway, if I can get a scholarship, but that remains to be seen.
Meanwhile two years at the High's not so bad, is it? I expect I'm going
to enjoy it. Aren't you?"

"Yes--perhaps. If the rest of the form were nicer, I might."

"Oh, they'll come round! We can't expect them to take us to their bosoms
straight off! We're goods on approval."

"We've as much right here as they have!" grunted Winona.

"But they were here first, and of course that always counts for
something. We shall have to show that we're worth our salt before we get
any footing in the form. The question is how best to do it."

Winona shook her head. It was beyond her comprehension.

"I had a few tips from Jacinthe," ruminated Garnet. "She was Captain the
last year she was at school, so she ought to know. You see, we've to
steer between Scylla and Charybdis. We mustn't push ourselves forward
too violently, or they'll call us cheeky, but on the other hand, if
we're content to take a back seat, we may stay there for the rest of the
term. Comprenez vous? It's a matter of seizing one's chance. I've an
idea floating about in my mind. Do you happen to be anything extra
special at singing, or reciting, or acting?"

"I haven't had much practice at acting, but I can play the guitar.
Mummie taught me. She lived in Spain for three years when she was a
girl, and learnt there."

"The very thing! How perfectly splendid! I play the mandoline myself,
and the two go so well together. Did you bring your guitar with you?"

"No. I didn't think I should have any time for it."

"But you could write for it, couldn't you?"

"Oh, yes! Mummie would send it to me."

"Well, this is my idea. You know next week there's to be a big general
meeting of the whole school to choose a Games Captain. So far the games
department here is rather in its infancy. I've been making enquiries,
and there isn't such a thing as a form trophy. There certainly ought to
be, to spur on enthusiasm. I'm going to pluck up my courage, tackle one
or two members of the Sixth, and suggest that after the meeting we hold
a sing-song, and take a collection to provide a form trophy. I don't
believe anybody's ever thought of it."

"Ripping! But what exactly is a sing-song?"

"Oh, just an informal concert. I thought if you and I played the
mandoline and guitar together, it would make a good item. I see two of
the prefects coming along over there, I believe I'll go and ask them."

"I admire your courage!"

Garnet returned in a few minutes, tolerably well satisfied with her

"I believe the idea will catch on," she announced. "Of course I couldn't
expect them to say 'yes' immediately. They were very cautious, and said
they would put it to the form. I've sown the seed at any rate, and we
must wait for developments."

Apparently Garnet's proposition proved acceptable to the Sixth, for the
very next day a notice was pinned on the board in the hall:

        "There will be a General Meeting of the School on Tuesday,
        October 4th, at 3 p.m., for the purpose of electing a Games

        "The meeting will be followed by a Symposium, when a collection
        will be taken, the proceeds of which will be devoted to the
        purchase of a form trophy.

        "Performers kindly submit their names without delay to M.
        HOWELL, as the program is being made up."

Garnet was one of the first to read the notice, and she started off at
once to the Sixth Form room. She sought out Winona on her return.

"So my little scheme's come off!" she beamed. "You bet the Sixth will
take all the credit for evolving it, but I don't care! I've put our
names down for a mandoline and guitar duet, and said we'd be ready to
help with any accompaniments they like. Meg Howell just jumped at that.
It seems Patricia Marshall and Clarice Nixon are going to sing a Christy
Minstrel song, and she thought our instruments would add to the effect
no end. I tell you we shall score. Did you write for your guitar?"

"Yes, I expect it will be sent off to-day."

"Then we must begin and practice. I've got a topping duet that's quite
easy. Can you come home with me after school to-morrow for half an hour
or so? I know my cousins will be glad to see you. Then we might try over
one or two things, and see how they go."

"It will be all right if I tell Aunt Harriet I shall be late," agreed

The instrument arrived the same evening, so she was able to keep her
promise to Garnet next day. Fortunately they had only one class that
afternoon, and were able to leave school at half-past three. Garnet's
cousins lived within a short tramcar ride. They were musical people, and
sympathized with her project. Garnet led Winona into the drawing-room,
and began without waste of time.

"Let me look at your guitar! Oh, what a beauty! What's the label inside?
Juan Da Costa, Seville! Then it must be Spanish. I suppose they're the
best. My mandoline's Italian; it was made in Milan. We must tune them
together, mustn't we? Can you read well? This is the book of duets. I
thought this Barcarolle would be easy, it has such a lovely swing about
it. Here's the guitar part."


The Symposium

By the aid of diligent practicing in private, and several rehearsals at
Garnet's house, the girls at last got their duet to run smoothly. Garnet
was frankly pleased.

"The two instruments go so nicely together! A mandoline's ever so much
better played with a guitar accompaniment than with the piano. I say,
suppose we were to get an encore!"

"I don't suppose anything of the sort."

"Don't be too modest. It's as well to be prepared."

"I'm not going to practice anything more, so I warn you."

"Well, take something you know, from your own book. This song. I could
play the air very softly on the mandoline, and we'd both sing it. That
won't give you any extra trouble."

"It isn't the trouble so much as the state of my fingers. They're
getting sore. If I let a blister come, I shan't be able to play at all."

"Then for goodness' sake don't play any more to-day, and soak your
fingers in alum when you get home."

The general meeting on Tuesday was a very important event, for it marked
the opening of the winter session of games and guilds. During the first
week or ten days of the autumn term the girls had enough to do in
settling into the work of their new forms, but now October was come
everybody began to think about hockey, and to consider the advisability
of beginning rehearsals for various Christmas performances.

"I always hate the end of September," proclaimed Grace Olliver. "It's so
fine, and the geraniums are still so fresh in the park, that you're
deceived into thinking it's still summer, yet when you try to play
tennis, you find the courts horrible, and you cut up the grass in half
an hour. I'm glad when the leaves all come off, and you know it's
autumn, and you look up your hockey jersey, and think what sport you had
last winter over 'The Dramatic.' I'm fond enough of cricket, but I'd
really rather have winter than summer. On the whole, there's more going

"I'm glad Margaret Howell's head of the school," replied Evelyn
Richards. "She's A1 at all the guilds, though I don't think she's much
chance of being elected Games Captain."

"All the better. It's quite enough for Margaret to act head. She's good
enough at that, I admit. Makes an ideal president. But a girl who's
literary isn't generally sporty as well. It stands to reason she can't
do both properly."

"Meg doesn't want to be Games Captain; it's not in her line,"
volunteered Beatrice, Margaret's younger sister. "She told me to tell
you all to vote for Kirsty Paterson."

"Kirsty's topping!"

"What's this Symposium we're to have after the meeting?" asked Grace.

"Why, I don't exactly know," laughed Evelyn. "I looked 'symposium' up in
the dictionary, and it said: 'literally a drinking together; a merry
feast; a convivial party.' I don't know what we're going to drink,
unless we bring lemon kali and pass it round, like they used to do the
loving cup in the Middle Ages!"

"I suppose it'll be just a kind of concert. But how about the
collection? What are we supposed to give?"

"Anything you like, from a penny upwards," replied Beatrice. "Meg
calculated that two hundred and six pennies would be seventeen and
twopence, and some girls will probably give more, so she thinks we're
sure of a sovereign, and that ought to buy a decent trophy, something to
begin upon, at any rate. One must make a start."

"Right you are! A penny won't break the banks of even the First Form
babes, and millionaires can give their half-crowns, if they're so

Punctually at 3 p.m. on the following Tuesday, the whole school
assembled in the gymnasium. No mistress was present, for on occasions
such as this Miss Bishop believed in self-government. She could trust
her head girl and prefects, and had armed them with full authority.
Winona anticipated the meeting with excitement and curiosity. It was
altogether outside her experience. She had never in her life attended
such a function. Garnet, whose elder sisters had been at large schools,
had sketched an outline of what was likely to take place, but even
Garnet's information was second-hand. Though she had now been exactly a
fortnight at Seaton, Winona still felt more or less of a new-comer. She
had hardly spoken to any one outside her own form, and knew the names of
comparatively few of her two hundred and five schoolfellows. Without
Garnet she would have been quite at a loss how to steer her course in
this great ocean of school life; she thankfully accepted her friend as
pilot, and for the present was content to follow her lead. The two girls
presented themselves in the gymnasium in good time, and took their seats
among the other members of V.a. The front bench was occupied by
a row of ten-year-olds who had come up this term from the Preparatory,
and who sat squeezing each others' arms, highly impressed with the
importance of their remove. Behind them Form II., a giggling crew rather
more _au fait_ with the ways of the school, effervesced occasionally
into excited squeals, and were instantly suppressed by a prefect. The
Third and Fourth, which comprised the bulk of the girls from twelve to
fifteen, occupied the middle of the hall, a lively, self-confident and
rather obstreperous set, all at that awkward age which is anxious to
claim privileges, but not particularly ready to submit to the authorized
code. Every one of them was talking at the extreme pitch of her voice,
and the noise was considerable. Patricia Marshall and Clarice Nixon
looked at each other and frowned ominously, but as the hands of the big
clock pointed almost to three, they judged it better not to interfere,
and the din continued.

At the stroke of the hour, Margaret Howell strode on to the platform.
She was a tall, fine-looking girl of seventeen, with bright hazel eyes,
regular features, and a thick brown plait that fell below her waist. Her
ready powers of speech, clear ringing voice, brisk decisive tone, and a
certain personal magnetism showed her to be that _rara avis_, a born
leader. It was fortunate indeed for the school that its headship this
year should have fallen to Margaret. The need for a firm but judicious
hand on the reins was great. During the two previous years of the
school's existence the self-government had been in a state of evolution.
For the first year, when everybody was new together, comparatively
little could be done. The school must find itself before it began to
form its private code of laws. In the second year ill-luck had raised to
the post of honor Ivy Chatterton, a clever but most untactful girl,
whose quick temper had brought her into constant collision with her
prefects. Many were the squalls which had swept over the school, of so
serious a nature sometimes as almost to wreck several of the guilds. The
younger girls, following the example of their elders, had quarreled
hotly, and indulged in an incredible amount of petty spite, and
altogether the current tone had been anything but desirable. Miss
Bishop, who had seen, to her sorrow, this downward trend, had welcomed
the advent of Margaret, believing her to have the ability to cope with
difficult situations, and at the same time to have the grit and
self-control not to allow her head to be turned by her elevation to

"You will have a great responsibility: I am giving you unusual power,
and I trust that you will make the highest use of it," she had said to
the girl, during a certain quiet ten minutes' talk in her study, and
Margaret had held herself very straight, and had answered: "I'll do my
level best, Miss Bishop!"

All eyes were now fixed on the head girl as she stood in the center of
the platform, ringing the bell for silence. The clamor subsided as if by
magic, and in the midst of a dead hush she began her speech.

"Girls! We've been back now for a whole fortnight--time for most of us
to shake down into our places, isn't it? The school year's fairly
started, and we've met together this afternoon to talk about a number of
things that are of very great importance to us all. You all know that a
school--to be worth anything--has two sides. There's the inside part,
with classes and prep. and exams.--what's generally called the
'curriculum'--that's managed by the mistresses. And there's the outside
part, the games and sports and concerts and guilds--that's run by the
girls themselves. Now I think, if we arrange well, we ought to be able
to look forward to three very jolly terms. Everything depends upon
making a good start. I've been getting to know how they manage in
several other big schools, and I propose that we frame our code by
theirs. What we want first of all is a feeling of unity and public
spirit. Each girl must make up her mind to do all she can to push on the
'Seaton High.' We want to win matches, and have a good sports record,
and generally build up a reputation. Slacking at games must be out of
the question. Everybody must buck up all round. Those who aren't playing
themselves can show their interest by attending the matches. It makes
the greatest difference to an eleven to know that their own side is
watching their play, and ready to cheer them on. There's nothing so
forlorn and depressing as to see whole rows of the enemy's school hats
on the spectators' benches, and only half-a-dozen of one's own--yet
that's what happened when we played Harbury last spring. No wonder we
lost! I'm going to ask you presently to elect a Games Captain, and then
I want you to support her loyally for the whole of the year. Let her
feel that she can depend upon you, and that instead of getting together
scratch teams, her difficulty will be how to choose among so many crack
players. But as you know, games are not the whole of our business
to-day. We have our guilds to consider as well. I want to put these upon
a good and firm basis. Last winter we didn't quite know where we were
with them, did we? At present we have 'The Dramatic Society,' 'The
Debating Club,' 'The Literary Association,' and 'The Patriotic Knitting
Guild.' We might very well add a 'Photographic Union' and a 'Natural
History League.' They ought all to be run on the same lines. Each must
have a President, a Secretary, and a Committee of eight members, who
will undertake the business of the Society, and settle all its events.
Any difficulty or dispute must be referred to the Prefects' meeting, the
decision of which shall be final. Each guild must draw up a list of its
own rules; these must be submitted first to the Prefects, then, if
passed as satisfactory, they must be written in the minutes book, and
strictly adhered to. I want you all to realize that this school is still
in its infancy. It's a baby of only two years! But a very promising
baby! It's we who are going to make its history. So far we can't say it
has had any annals; in the future it must show a whole splendid list of
achievements and successes. Years afterwards, when it's the most famous
school in the county, we shall be proud to have had the privilege of
taking our share in pushing it on, and our names may be handed down to
long generations of girls as those who founded its best traditions."

Margaret paused, quite out of breath with her long speech. A storm of
applause rose from the audience; the girls clapped and stamped, a few
even cheered. Margaret had touched the right string. The idea of making
school history appealed to them, and they were ready to respond with
enthusiasm to her appeal. Even the ten-year-olds were eager to show
their zeal. Winona had never taken her eyes off the speaker. It was a
new gospel to her that she was one of the great community, bound to help
the common weal. The realization of it stirred her spirit; her
imagination danced ahead, and performed prodigies. Suppose she could do
something wonderful for the school, and leave her name as a memory to
others? The vision gleamed golden. It would be worth living to
accomplish that.

"Not half a bad speech!" murmured Garnet approvingly by her side.

Winona started, and came back from the clouds.

"I think it's--just immense!" she answered with a long sigh of

Margaret was again ringing the bell for silence.

"I'm glad to find you all agree with me," she announced. "Now I want us
to get solidly to business, and elect a Games Captain. You remember I
asked each to nominate a candidate, and I find that more than two-thirds
have handed in the same name--that of Kirsty Paterson. I therefore put
Kirsty up for election. It's only fair that I should first go over her
qualifications for the office. She was our best center forward last year
at hockey, and our best bowler at cricket. She's a thoroughly steady and
reliable player herself, and--this is most important--she's able to
train others. You know from experience that she's fair and just, and
she's tremendously keen. I feel sure that in her hands the games would
prosper, and we'd soon show some improvement. Will all those in favor of
electing Kirsty kindly stand up?"

There was such a general rising among the girls that most presidents
would have considered the matter settled. Margaret, however, liked to do
things strictly in order.

"Thanks I Will you please sit down again. Now those against the election
kindly stand."

A certain section in the school had intended to vote against Kirsty, but
when they saw themselves so enormously outnumbered, they changed their
minds. To belong to a minority often means to be unpopular, and it is
wise to go with the stream. After all, Kirsty was a thoroughly eligible
and desirable candidate. So though a few neighbors elbowed each other,
nobody rose.

Margaret waited a moment.

"Do I understand that you're all in favor? Then the motion is carried
unanimously. I'm very glad, for I think Kirsty will make an ideal
captain. Let's give three cheers for her. Are you ready? Hip-hip-hip

The girls responded with full lung power. Some even began to sing: "For
she's a jolly good fellow!" and there was a general outcry of "Speech!
Speech!" The blushing Kirsty--a bonny, rosy, athletic looking
lassie--was seized by her fellow prefects, and dragged, in spite of her
protests, to the front of the platform. Kirsty had been born north of
the Tweed, and in moments of excitement her pretty Scottish burr
asserted itself.

"It's verra kind of you to elect me," she began. "I'm afraid I'm no hand
at making speeches. I preferr deeds to worrds. We'll all put ourr
shoulderrs to the wheel, and win forr the school, won't we? I hope we'll
have a splendid yearr!"

At that she retired amidst rapturous applause. Margaret again rang the
bell for silence, and proceeded with the business of the meeting, which
was to elect the officers for the various societies and guilds. This
being satisfactorily settled, she turned to affairs of lighter moment.

"I'm sure you'll all agree that it is very desirable for us to have a
form trophy, for hockey, at any rate. Perhaps by next summer we'll get
one for cricket as well. It will spur us on to have a little wholesome
competition amongst ourselves. As I announced on the notice board, we
are now going to give a short entertainment, at the close of which a
collection will be taken for the object I have just mentioned. I hate
begging, so give what you like, but of course it depends on your
generosity this afternoon what kind of a trophy we are able to buy. The
first item on our program is a piano solo by Hester King."

Hester was one of the best music pupils in the school. She had a good
crisp touch and considerable execution, and led off the concert with a
sprightly tarantella. A violin solo followed, by Sibyl Lee, a member of
V.b., who was rather nervous, but acquitted herself fairly well
on the whole.

"I thought I'd break down," she confided to her friends. "The sight of
all those eyes staring at me quite put me off. I don't wonder blind
musicians are generally successes, they can't see the audience. Well,
never mind, I've done my bit, at any rate!"

The next on the list was a song from Annie Hardy. She had chosen "Keep
the Home Fires Burning," and rendered it with great effect, the whole
room joining with enthusiasm in the chorus. It took so well that there
were shouts of "Encore!" and Annie came back smiling to give "Khaki
Boys," which roused her audience to an even higher pitch of patriotic
fervor. A recitation, "Our Hockey Match," by Agnes Heath, was felt to be
particularly appropriate to the occasion. It was a very good "school
piece," humorous as well as exciting, and Agnes had enough dramatic
ability to do justice to it. Her own form in particular stamped lustily.
The prefects motioned her forward again, but she shook her head. The
clapping redoubled. Agnes, escorted to the front by Margaret, bowed and

"Fearfully sorry not to oblige, but this is absolutely the only thing I
know, and it's too long to say all over again!"

There was a general laugh, and the audience settled itself to enjoy the
next item on the program. Margaret was signaling to Winona and Garnet,
and the pair slipped from their places, and made their way to the

"I'm all upset! I hope I shan't break down!" whispered Winona.

"Nonsense! A duet's not so bad as a solo. You'll get on all right. Do
for goodness' sake brace up!" implored Garnet. "If you muddle your
accompaniment you'll spoil my part. You'll surely never go and fail me!"

The instruments had been put under the piano. Patricia Marshall handed
them forth, and sounded the notes for them to be tuned. Clarice Nixon
was placing chairs and music-stands. Garnet was tolerably composed, but
Winona was suffering from a bad attack of that most unpleasant malady
"stage fright." She would have given worlds for a trapdoor in the
platform to open, and allow her to subside out of sight. No such
convenient arrangement, however, had been provided for the use of
bashful performers, the planks were solid, and guaranteed not to give
way under any circumstances. There was nothing for it but to take her
seat in full view of the audience. There were slightly over two hundred
girls in the room, but to Winona's fevered imagination there appeared to
be thousands. She wondered how she could ever have had the folly to
place herself in such a public situation. Garnet was sounding a few
notes and looking at her to begin. For one dreadful moment the room
whirled. Perhaps Margaret saw and understood; she laid her hand on
Winona's shaking arm, and whispered encouragingly:

"Go on! Don't mind the audience. Just remember that you're playing for
the form trophy!"

A sudden revulsion of feeling swept over Winona. All the school
patriotism aroused within her by Margaret's speech surged up to meet the
crisis. She was no longer an isolated atom, a girl fresh from home, and
on trial before the critical eyes of her new form, but a unit in the
great life of the school, bound to play her part for the good of the
whole, and specially pledged not to fail Garnet in this emergency. Self
faded in the larger vision. The color flooded back into her face. She
made a desperate effort, and struck the opening chords.

As her friend had reminded her, a duet was quite a different matter from
a solo. Directly the mandoline part began, her confidence returned. She
tried to think that she was only playing an accompaniment for Garnet.
The piece was not difficult, it was in D, quite the easiest key for the
guitar, with very few accidentals or high positions. She took courage,
and struck her strings crisply, so that the tone rang out well. Her
instrument was a good one, very true and mellow, and her mother had
taught her the liquid Spanish touch which showed it to its best
advantage. Garnet also was doing her best. Her plectrum vibrated evenly
and rapidly, and the metallic twang, her gravest fault, was not nearly
so evident as usual. The audience, unfamiliar with these particular
instruments, was not hypercritical, and so long as the players kept well
together, and sounded no discords, their skill was judged to be
excellent. The Barcarolle had an attractive swing about it, and a
romantic suggestion of gondolas and lapping water and moonlight
serenades. As the last notes of the air on the mandoline died away,
Winona swept her thumb over the strings of her guitar in a tremendous
final chord. It had quite a magnificent and professional effect. There
was no mistake about the applause; it was simply clamorous.

"Stand up and bow!" whispered Margaret, nudging the unaccustomed
performers. "That's right! Bow again! It's most clearly an encore. Have
you brought anything else with you? Good biz! Don't waste any more time,
then. We're rather late."

The song that Winona had chosen was a bright little Irish ditty, with a
catchy tune and lively accompaniment. Garnet played the air softly on
the mandoline, and the two girls sang in unison, keeping strictly
together, and pronouncing very plainly, so that the point of the amusing
words should not be lost. The audience shrieked with laughter, and would
have demanded a further encore, had not Margaret pointed to the clock,
and shaken her head firmly. There were other items on the program and
time was going all too fast.

Another violin solo, a recitation and a Highland fling followed; then
the concert wound up with a Christy Minstrel song from several members
of the Sixth. This last was the triumph of the afternoon. Patricia
prided herself on her preparations. She had placed a newspaper inside
the grand piano over the strings, and when the hammers struck against it
the effect of the accompaniment was exactly that of a banjo. She had
borrowed two sets of castanets, a pair of cymbals, and a triangle, and
with these loud-sounding instruments she and her companions emphasized
the chorus. Garnet and Winona helped with mandoline and guitar, so the
general result was quite orchestral. During the performance of this
chef-d'oeuvre some of the prefects went round with collecting bags,
which were passed along the benches.

    "Come, my dark-eyed honey,
    And help to spend my money,"

chanted the minstrels lustily, and the audience smiled at the
appropriateness of the words.

It was felt that the Symposium had been an enormous success. The girls
were quite loath to leave, and dispersed slowly from the gymnasium. Many
eyes were turned on Winona and Garnet as they carried their instruments
down from the platform. "Who are they?" every one was asking, for so far
their names were not known outside their own form. "The two County
Scholarship holders," somebody replied, and the information was passed

Next morning, Margaret proudly posted up the result of the collection,
which amounted to £2 13_s._ 7_d._--a very substantial sum in the
estimation of the school.

"It ought to be sufficient to buy a cup!" she triumphed. "Miss Bishop
has promised to send for some catalogues, so that we can look up the
prices. We shall start the season well, at any rate. Kirsty's almost
ready to stand on her head! I never saw any one so elated!"

"Except yourself!" smiled Patricia.

"Cela va sans dire, camarade!"

Garnet and Winona, walking down the High Street together after the
performance, also compared notes.

"It was fine! I do admire Margaret. Mustn't it be splendid to be head of
the school?" sighed Garnet enviously.

"Do you think so? Yes, I suppose it is, but if I had my choice, I'd a
dozen times over rather be Games Captain," answered Winona.


Aunt Harriet

It is high time now that we paused to consider a very important person
indeed in this story, namely Miss Harriet Beach, but for whose
invitation Winona would never have attended Seaton High School at all.
Aunt Harriet was what is generally known as "a character," that is to
say, she was possessed of a strong personality, and was decidedly
eccentric. Though her age verged on sixty she preserved the energy of
her thirties, and prided herself upon her physical fitness. She was
tall, with a high color, keen brown eyes, a large nose, a determined
mouth, and iron gray hair. In her youth she must have been handsome, and
even now her erect figure and dark, well-marked eyebrows gave her a
certain air of distinction. She was a most thoroughly capable woman,
reliable, and strongly philanthropic: not in a sentimental way, however;
she disapproved of indiscriminate almsgiving, and would have considered
it a crime to bestow a penny on a beggar without making a proper
investigation of his case. She was a tower of strength to most of the
charitable institutions in the city, a terror to the professional
pauper, but a real friend to the deserving. Her time was much occupied
with committees, secretarial duties, district visiting, workhouse
inspection and other public interests. She was apt indeed to have more
than her share of civic business; her reputation for absolute
reliability caused people to get into the habit of saying "Oh, go to
Miss Beach!" on every occasion, and as she invariably proved the willing
horse, she justified the proverb and received the work in increased

Like most people, Aunt Harriet had her faults. She was apt to be a
trifle overbearing and domineering, she lacked patience with others'
weaknesses, and was too doctrinaire in her views. She tried very hard to
push the world along, but she forgot sometimes that "the mills of God
grind slowly," and that it is only after much waiting and many days that
the bread cast upon the waters returns to us. She prided herself on her
candor and lack of "humbug." Unfortunately, people who "speak their
minds" generally treat their hearers to a sample of their worst instead
of their best, and their excessive truthfulness scarcely meets with the
gratitude they consider it deserves. Miss Beach's many estimable
qualities, however, overbalanced her crudities, her friends shrugged
their shoulders and told each other it was "her way," "her heart was all
right." Though she might give offense, people forgot it, and came to her
again next time they wanted anything done, and the universal verdict was
that she was "trying at times," but on the whole one of the most useful
citizens which Seaton possessed.

If there was one person more than another who wore out Miss Beach's
patience it was her niece and goddaughter, Mrs. Woodward. She had a
sincere affection for her, but their two personalities were at
absolutely opposite poles. She admitted that Florita was amiable,
well-meaning, and thoroughly affectionate, but for the rest she
considered her weak, foolishly helpless, liable to extravagance, a poor
housekeeper, and a perfect jelly-fish in her methods of bringing up her
family. In vain did Aunt Harriet, on successive visits, preach firmness,
order, consistency and other maternal virtues; her niece would brace
herself up to a temporary effort, but would relax again directly her
guest had departed, and the children--little rogues!--discovered at a
remarkably early age that they could do pretty much as they liked. The
Woodwards always dreaded the advent of Aunt Harriet, her disapproval of
their general conduct was so manifest. By dint of urging from their
mother they made extra attempts at good behavior before the august
visitor, but they were subject to awful relapses. Mrs. Woodward, on her
side, considered she had her trials, for her aunt had a habit of
arriving suddenly, giving only a few hours' notice by telegram, and she
could not forbear the suspicion that her revered godparent wished to
surprise her housekeeping and catch her unprepared. On one occasion,
indeed, when the family came down--rather late--for breakfast, Aunt
Harriet was discovered sitting on the rustic seat outside the
dining-room window. She explained that she had taken the 5 a.m.
workmen's train and had come to spend a long day with them, but not
wishing to disturb the house at too early an hour she had remained in
the garden enjoying the view until somebody arrived downstairs. In
spite of her rather angular attitude, Miss Beach was a very kind and
generous friend to her widowed niece, and she was the one person in the
world to whom Mrs. Woodward naturally thought of turning in time of
trouble. Aunt Harriet's advice might not always be palatable, but it was
combined with such practical help that there seemed no alternative but
to follow it.

Miss Beach, though not a rich woman, was possessed of very comfortable
private means. She lived in an old-fashioned house just opposite the
Abbey, and her windows looked out on a view of towers and cloisters and
tall lime trees, with a foreground of monuments. To some people the
array of tombstones would have proved a dismal prospect, but she
declared it never distressed her in the least. She prided herself
greatly on the fact that she had been born in the house where her
father, grandfather and great-grandfather had also come into the world
and spent their lives. Except for an occasional expedition to Highfield,
she rarely left home. All her interests were in Seaton, and she became
miserable directly if she were away from her native city.

The little Woodwards had never regarded it as much of a treat to go and
stay at 10, Abbey Close. The restraint which the visit necessitated
quite neutralized the afternoon at the cinema with which their aunt
invariably entertained them. The fine old Chippendale furniture had to
be treated with a respect not meted out to the chairs and tables at
home, boots must be scrupulously wiped on the door-mat, bedrooms left
tidy, and books and ornaments were to be held altogether sacred from the
ravages of prying young fingers.

Winona had taken up her residence there with somewhat the feeling of a
novice entering a nunnery. She was not quite sure how she and Aunt
Harriet were going to get on. To her great relief, however, things
turned out better than she expected. Miss Beach received her with
unusual complacency, and the two settled down quite harmoniously
together. The fact was that Winona, a visitor with nothing to do, and
Winona a busy High School girl, were utterly different persons. It is
one thing to wander round somebody else's house and feel bored, and
quite another to hang up your hat, realize you are part and parcel of
the establishment, and occupy yourself with your own business. Once she
had fallen into the swing of work at school Winona began to appreciate
the orderliness of her aunt's arrangements. It had never seemed to
matter at home if the breakfast were late and she arrived at Miss
Harmon's when the clock had struck nine, but at "The High" it was an
affair of vital importance to be in her seat before call-over, and she
daily blessed the punctuality of Aunt Harriet's cook. It was also a
great boon to be able to prepare her lessons in quiet. Her family had
never realized the necessity of silence during study hours, and she had
been used to learn French vocabularies or translate her Latin exercises
to a distracting accompaniment of Ernie's trumpet, Dorrie's and Mamie's
quarrels, Godfrey's mouth organ, and Letty's strumming upon the piano.

"It would have been utterly impossible to do my prep. at home!" she
thought sometimes. "I'd no idea what work was like before I came to
Seaton 'High'! It would do those youngsters good to have a drilling! I
wish they could have been in the Preparatory. No, I don't! Because then
I should have had them here, and it would have been good-by to all
peace. On the whole things are much better as they are."

Miss Beach was so extremely busy with her own multifarious occupations
that she had not time to see very much of her great-niece. She made
every arrangement for her comfort, however, and caused the piano to be
moved into the dining-room for the convenience of her practicing. She
had always had a tender spot for Winona, whom she regarded as the one
hopeful character in a family of noodles. She talked to her at meal
times about a variety of subjects, some of them within her intelligence,
but others completely--so far--above her head. She even tried to draw
her out upon school matters. This, however, was a dead failure. Winona,
most unfortunately, could not overcome her awe for her aunt, and refused
to expand. To all the questions about her Form, her companions,
teachers, lessons or new experiences, she replied in monosyllables. It
was a sad pity, for Miss Beach had really hoped to win the girl's
confidence and prove a temporary mother to her, but finding her advances
repulsed she also shrank back into her shell, and the intimacy which
might have existed between them was postponed to future years. Young
folks often fail to realize what an interest their doings may have to
grown-up people, and how their bright fresh outlook on life may come as
a tonic to older and wearier minds. It never struck Winona to try to
amuse or entertain her aunt. At her present crude stage of development
she was incapable of appreciating the subtle pathos that clings round
elderly lives, and their wistful longing to be included in the
experiences of the rising generation. Shyness and lack of perception
held her silent, and the empty corner in Aunt Harriet's heart went

Saturday and Sunday were the only days upon which Winona had time to
feel homesick. Her mother had at first suggested her returning to
Highfield for the week ends, but Miss Beach had strongly vetoed the
project on the justifiable ground that even the earliest train from
Ashbourne on Monday mornings did not reach Seaton till 9.30, so that
Winona would lose the first hour's lesson of her school week. She might
have added that she considered such frequent home visits would prove
highly unsettling and interfere greatly with her work, but for once she
refrained from stating her frank opinion, probably deeming the other
argument sufficient, and willing to spare Mrs. Woodward's feelings.

Letters from Highfield showed little change in the usual conduct of
family affairs. The children were still attending Miss Harmon's school,
though they were to leave at Christmas.

"We are late nearly every day now you are not here to make Ernie
start," wrote Mamie, almost as if it were an achievement to be proud of.
"He locked the piano and threw the key in the garden, and we could none
of us practice for three days. Wasn't it lovely? Letty pours out tea if
mother isn't in, and yesterday she broke the teapot."

The chief items of news, however, concerned Percy. That young gentleman,
with what Aunt Harriet considered his usual perversity, had sprained his
ankle on the very day before he ought to have returned to school. He had
been ordered to lie up on the sofa, but Winona gathered that the
doctor's directions had not been very strictly carried out. She strongly
suspected that the patient did not wish to recover too quickly. Whether
or not that had been the case, Percy was now convalescent, and was to
set off for school on the following Friday. Longworth College was not a
great distance, and as Percy would have to pass through Seaton on his
way, Aunt Harriet invited him to break his journey there and spend the
night at her house. She had a poor opinion of the boy's capacity, but
having undertaken a half share in his education she felt an increased
sense of responsibility towards him, and wished to find an opportunity
of a word with him in private.

Winona hailed her brother's advent with immense joy. Even so flying a
visit was better than nothing. Letters were an inadequate means of
expression, and she was longing to pour out all her new experiences. She
wanted to tell Percy about the Symposium, and her friendship for Garnet,
and the chemistry class, and the gymnasium practice, and to show him
her hockey jersey which had just arrived. She had so long been the
recipient of all his school news that it would be delightful to turn the
tables and give him a chronicle of her own doings at the Seaton "High,"
which in her opinion quite rivaled Longworth College.

To the young people's scarcely suppressed satisfaction, Miss Beach went
out after tea to attend an important meeting, leaving her nephew and
niece to spend the evening alone together. They had never expected such
luck. As it was Friday Winona had no lessons to prepare for the next
day, and could feel free for a delightful chat. She flung herself into
Aunt Harriet's special big easy chair by the fireside, and lounged
luxuriously, while Percy, boy-like, prowled about the room.

"Well, I'm glad you're jogging along all right," he remarked when his
sister's long account came to a pause. "Though please don't for a moment
compare your blessed old High School to Longworth, for they're not in
the same running! Aunt Harriet hasn't quite eaten you up yet, I see?"

"She's not such a Gorgon as I expected. In fact she's been rather

"The dragon's sheathed her talons? Well, that's good biz. You went off
as tragic as Iphigenia, heroically declaring yourself the family

"Did I?" Winona had almost forgotten her original attitude of martyr.
Three weeks had made a vast difference to her feelings.

"If you can peg it out in comfort with the dragon so much to the good.
Shouldn't care to live here myself though. It's a dull hole. Number 10,
Abbey Close wouldn't be my choice of a residence."

"Well, it's not likely you'll ever have the chance of living here!"
retorted Winona, taking up the cudgels for her adopted home.

"I don't know about that," returned Percy. "The house belongs to Aunt
Harriet. She'll have to leave her property to somebody, I suppose, when
she shuffles off this mortal coil. I'm the eldest son, and my name's
Percy Beach Woodward. That ought to count for something."

"Aunt Harriet's not going to die yet," said Winona gravely. "I think
it's horrid of you to talk like this!"

"Oh, I don't wish the old girl any harm, but one may have an eye to the
future all the same," was the airy response. "D'you remember Jack
Cassidy who was a pupil at the Vicarage? His aunt left him five thousand

"Yes, and I heard he's muddling it away as fast as he can. Mary James
told me. Her father's guardian of part of his property until he's
twenty-five, you know."

"He's a topper, is Jack! He's promised to take me for a day sometime to
Hartleburn, when the races are on. Now don't you go blabbing, or I'll
never tell you anything again!"

"Mr. Joynson said--"

"Oh, for goodness sake shut up! A boy of sixteen isn't going to be
bear-led by an old fogey like Joynson. He has the mater far too much
under his finger and thumb for my taste. If you want to be chums with
me, don't preach!"

Winona was silent. Her brother's infatuation for the Vicar's scapegrace
ward was the affair of a year ago. She had hoped he had forgotten it.
His escapades at the time, in company with his hero, had caused his
mother to seek the advice and guidance of her trustee.

"Some one was telling me the other day that old oak furniture is worth a
tremendous lot of money now," continued Percy, his eye roving round the
room with an air almost of future proprietorship. "If that's so these
things of Aunt Harriet's are a little gold mine. There was an account of
a sale in the newspaper, with a picture of a cupboard that fetched two
hundred pounds. It was first cousin to that!" nodding at a splendidly
carved old piece which faced him.

Miss Beach's household goods were inherited from her great-grandfather,
and included some fine specimens of oak, as well as rare Chippendale.
Winona was too young to be a connoisseur of antiquities, but she had the
curiosity to rise from her chair and join Percy in his inspection of the
article in question.

"I tell you they're as alike as two peas!" he declared. "Same shape,
same sort of carving, same knobs at the end! The reason why I remember
the thing is that the buyer found a secret drawer in it after he'd got
it home, with some old rubbish inside, and there was a lawsuit as to who
owned these. He claimed he'd bought the lot with the cupboard, but the
judge made him turn them up to the family of the original owner. That
was why there was a picture of the cupboard in the newspaper. It put an
arrow showing the place of the secret drawer. I wonder if there's one
here, too? I'm going to have a try! By Jove, there is!"

A vigorous pull had dislodged a drawer in a very unexpected situation.
Winona would certainly never have thought of its existence, nor would
Percy, if the newspaper had not given away the secret. He looked eagerly

"No treasures hidden in here! Absolutely nothing at all, except this
piece of paper."

"Perhaps Aunt Harriet has never found it out," ventured Winona.

Percy did not answer immediately. He was reading the writing on the

"You bet she has!" he cried at last, flushing angrily. "I never thought
she'd much opinion of me, but I call this the limit! It's going where it
deserves!" and acting on a sudden impulse he flung the cause of offense
into the fire.

For a moment Winona did not realize what he had done. By the time she
reached the hearth the paper was already half consumed. She made a
snatch at it with the tongs, but a flame sprang up and forestalled her.
She had just time to read the words "last Will and Testament of me
Har--" before the whole sank into ashes. She turned to her brother with
a white, scared face.

"Percy! You've never burnt Aunt Harriet's will?"

Ashamed already of his impetuous act the boy nevertheless tried to bluff
the matter off.

"It was an abominable shame! When I'm named Beach after her too! I
wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't read it myself!" he blustered.

"Read what?"

"I shan't tell you! Look here, Win, you must promise on your honor that
you'll never breathe a word about this."

"Perhaps Aunt Harriet ought to know."

"She mustn't know: _mustn't_, I tell you! I say, Win, I'm not at all
sure that what I've just done isn't a chargeable offense--I believe they
call it a felony. You wouldn't like to see me put into prison, would
you? Then hold your tongue about it! Give me your word! Can you keep a

"I promise!" gasped Winona (Percy was squeezing her little finger nail
in orthodox fashion and the agony was acute). "I promise faithfully."

She was in a terrible quandary. Her natural straightforwardness urged
her to make a clean breast of the whole affair. Had she been the actual
transgressor she would certainly have done so and faced the
consequences. But this was Percy's secret, not her own. He was no
favorite with his aunt, and so outrageous an act would prejudice him
fatally in her eyes. The hint about prison frightened Winona. She knew
nothing of law, but she thought it highly probable that burning a will
was a punishable crime. Suppose Aunt Harriet's rigid conscience obliged
her to communicate with the police and deliver Percy into the hands of
justice. Such a horrible possibility must be avoided at all costs. The
sound of a latch-key in the door made her start. In a panic she rushed
to the old cupboard and pushed back the secret drawer into its place.
When Miss Beach entered the dining-room her nephew and niece were
sitting reading by the fireside. Their choice of literature might
perhaps have astonished her, for Percy was poring over Sir Oliver
Lodge's "Man and the Universe," while Winona's nose was buried in
Herbert Spencer's "Sociology," but if indeed she noticed it, she perhaps
set it down to a laudable desire to improve their minds, and placed the
matter to their credit. Percy took his departure next morning, and
Winona saw him off at the railway station.

"Remember, you've to keep that business dark," he reminded her. "Aunt
Harriet must never find out. She's been jawing me no end about
responsibility, and looking after the kids and supporting the mater and
all that. Rubbed it in hard, I can tell you! Great Juggins! Do I look
like the mainstay of a family?"

As Winona watched his boyish face laughing at her from the window of the
moving train she decided that he certainly did not. She sighed as she
turned to leave the station. Life seemed suddenly to have assumed new
perplexities. Percy's act weighed heavily on her mind. It seemed such a
base return for all Aunt Harriet was doing on their behalf. She longed
to thank her for her kindness and say how much she appreciated going to
the High School, but she could not find the words. Theknowledge of the
secret raised an extra barrier between herself and her aunt. So she sat
at lunch time even shyer and more speechless than usual, and let the
ball of conversation persistently drop.

"Fretting for her brother, I suppose," thought Miss Beach. "She can talk
fast enough with friends of her own age. Well, I suppose an old body
like myself mustn't expect to be company for a girl of fifteen!"

She was too proud to let the hurt feeling show itself on her face,
however, and propping up the newspaper beside her plate, she plunged
into the latest accounts from the Front.


A Crisis

Winona had been more than a month, nearly five weeks indeed, at the
Seaton High School. In the first few days of her introduction to
V.a. she had told herself that the difficulty of the work
consisted largely in its newness, and that as soon as she grew
accustomed to it she would sail along as swimmingly as Garnet Emerson,
or Olave Parry, or Hilda Langley, or Agatha James. Most unfortunately
she found her theory acted in the opposite direction. Closer
acquaintance with her Form subjects proved their extreme toughness. She
was not nearly up to the standard of the rest of the girls. Her Latin
grammar was shaky, her French only a trifle better, she had merely a
nodding acquaintance with geometry, and had not before studied
chemistry. Her teacher seemed to expect her to understand many things of
which she had hitherto never heard, and was apparently astounded at her
ignorance. Winona puzzled over her text-books during many hours of
preparation, but she made little headway. The royal road to learning,
which she had fondly hoped to tread, was proving itself a stony and
twisting path.

"_You_ seem to get on all right?" she said wistfully to Garnet one day.

"Why, yes. Of course one has to work," admitted her friend. "Miss
Huntley keeps one up to the mark. But one must expect that in
V.a. They don't put scholarship holders in the Preparatory."

"I was all at sea in math. this morning."

"You were rather a duffer, certainly. The problems weren't as difficult
as the ones they gave us in the entrance exam. If those didn't floor
you, why couldn't you work these?"

"But they did floor me. I barely managed half the paper. I reckoned I'd
failed in it."

Garnet looked surprised.

"Then your other subjects must have been extremely good to make up for
it. I was told that we should probably stand or fall by maths. You were
ripping in everything else, I suppose? Scored no end?"

Winona did not answer the question. She was conscious that none of her
papers could have merited such an eulogium. She envied Garnet's grasp of
the form work. Try as she would, her own exercises and translations were
poor affairs, and her ill-trained memory found it difficult to marshal
the enormous number of facts that were daily forced upon it. Miss
Huntley at first was patient, but as the weeks wore on, and Winona still
wallowed in a quagmire of amazing mistakes, she grew sarcastic. The girl
winced under some of her cutting remarks. Apparently the mistress
imagined her failure to be due to laziness and inattention, and sooner
than confess that she could not understand the work, Winona was silent.
She never mentioned the long hours she spent poring over her books in
Aunt Harriet's dining-room. After all, it was better to be thought idle
than stupid. But it was humiliating to feel that she was counted among
the slackers of the Form, while Garnet was already winning laurels. The
contrast between the two scholarship holders could not fail to be

Miss Huntley (privately known to the Form as "Bunty") was a clever, but
rather remorseless teacher. She had been on the staff since the opening
of the school two years before, and she was determined at all costs to
maintain the high standard inaugurated at its foundation. She was
herself the product of High School education, and knew to the last
scruple how much to require from girls in V.a. To those who
appeared to be really trying their best she was ready to give
intelligent help, but she had no mercy for slackers. She was possessed
of a certain amount of dry humor, greatly appreciated by the form _en
bloc_, though each quaked privately lest, through some unlucky slip, she
might find herself the object of the smart but withering satires.
Despite her strictness, "Bunty" was popular. She was an admirable tennis
player, and a formidable champion in a match "Mistresses _v._ Girls."
Her strong personality fascinated Winona, who would have done much to
gain her approval. So far, however, she was entirely on Miss Huntley's
black list.

Matters came to a crisis over a difficult bit of Vergil. Latin was,
next to mathematics, the most painfully wobbling of Winona's shaky
subjects. She had puzzled in vain over this particular piece of
translation. The words, indeed, she had found in the dictionary, but she
could not twist them into sense.

"Old Vergil's utterly stumped me to-day!" she mourned to Garnet, as they
met in the dressing-room before nine o'clock. "If Bunty puts me to
construe anywhere on page 21, I'm a gone coon. I'm feeling in a blue
funk, I can tell you."

"Poor old bluebottle! Don't wrinkle up your forehead like that--you're
making permanent lines! It's a bad trick, and just spoils you."

"I can't help it when I'm worried!"

"Then don't worry."

"Oh, it's easy enough for you; you don't have to receive the vials of
Bunty's scorn."

Winona hoped against hope that the difficult page might fall to somebody
else's turn. Miss Huntley took no particular order, but selected girls
at random to construe the lesson. In a Form of twenty it was possible
not to be chosen at all. Winona kept very quiet, so as not to attract
the mistress' attention. Marjorie Kemp and Olave Parry had already
translated half of the fatal page, with tolerable credit. Miss Huntley's
eye was wandering in the direction of Irene Mills. Winona dared to
breathe. Then, alas! alas! Some unlucky star caused the mistress to look
back towards the middle of the room. In a spasm of nervousness, Winona
jerked her elbow, and away went her pencil-box, clattering on to the
floor, and dispersing its collection of pens, pencils, nibs and other
treasures beneath the neighboring desks. There was a dead silence, and
the culprit was instantly the center of attention.

"A clumsy thing to do! Leave those things where they are! You can pick
them up after the lesson," observed Miss Huntley grimly. "Go on now with
the translation."

Winona's hot face had been hidden under Audrey Redfern's desk. She rose
reluctantly. Her confusion made the hard passage seem twice as
difficult. Even the words which she had carefully looked up in the
dictionary and learned by heart escaped her fickle memory. She stumbled
and floundered hopelessly, getting redder and redder with shame. Miss
Huntley preserved an ominous silence, and did not attempt to help her

"That will do!" she said, at the end of about eight lines. "After such a
complete exhibition of incompetence we won't inflict any more of your
bungling upon the form. We must see if we can find a way of sharpening
your wits. Your brain seems to have been lying fallow since you came to
school! You will report yourself to Miss Bishop at four o'clock this

The rest of the morning passed like a bad dream to Winona. It was a rare
event for a teacher to send a girl to the head mistress. The prospect of
the coming interview made her cold with apprehension. She avoided Garnet
at one o'clock, and hurried out of the dressing-room without speaking
to any one. She had a wild project of pleading a headache, and begging
Aunt Harriet to let her stop at home for the rest of the day. But then
to-morrow's explanations would be infinitely worse. No, it was better to
face the horrible ordeal and get it over. As it happened, Miss Beach had
gone out to lunch, so that leave of absence was an impossibility. Winona
ate her early dinner alone.

"Aren't you well, miss? Would you like me to make you a cup of tea?"
asked Alice the housemaid, noticing that the pudding was unappreciated,
and divining that something must be amiss.

"No, thanks! I'm in a hurry, and must fly off to school as quickly as I
can. It's my early afternoon."

Winona had a music lesson at a quarter past two on Thursdays. It was
always rather a rush to get back in time for it. She crammed her "Bach's
Preludes" and "Schubert's Impromptus" automatically into her portfolio,
and started. It was only when she was half-way down Church Street that
she remembered she had left her book of studies on the top of the piano.
Needless to say, her lesson that day was hardly a success. In the
disturbed state of her mind she was quite incapable of concentrating her
attention on music. Miss Catteral looked surprised at her wrong notes
and imperfect phrasing.

"I shall expect to find some improvement in this 'Impromptu' next week,"
she remarked. "Have you practiced your hour daily? You must take these
bars, which I have marked, separately, and play each twenty times in
succession, slowly at first and then faster, and remember here that it
is the left hand which gives the melody, and the right is only the
accompaniment. I thought you had sufficient music in you to appreciate
that! The way you thumped out those chords was painful. I am not pleased
at all."

Miss Catteral so rarely scolded that Winona felt doubly humiliated. It
was all a part and parcel of the general ill-luck of the day. She
fetched her drawing-board, and went to the art class. Here at least she
would have peace for an hour, though every one of the sixty minutes was
bringing her nearer to her dreaded interview. At four o'clock, with a
horrible sinking feeling in her heart, and a trembling sensation in her
knees, she knocked at the door of the head-mistress's study, and entered
in response to the "Come in!" which followed. Miss Bishop looked up from
some papers, motioned her to a chair, and went on writing for several
minutes. To Winona it seemed worse than waiting at the dentist's. The
suspense was ghastly.

At last the Principal paused, laid down her pen, and blotted her pages.

"Come here, Winona Woodward," she said quietly. "I wish to have a
straight talk with you."

Miss Bishop's eyes were her most striking feature. They were large and
clear, but the pupils were unusually small, appearing mere black specks
in the midst of a wide circle of blue. This peculiarity gave her a
particularly intense and penetrating expression. Winona, standing at
attention beside the desk, dropped her own eyes before the steady,
searching gaze.

"Miss Huntley's report of your work is not at all satisfactory," began
Miss Bishop. "I have been watching your progress since you joined the
school, and I cannot think you are trying your best. At first, when you
were totally new to your Form, I suspended judgment, but you have been
here nearly half a term now--quite long enough to accustom yourself to
our methods. I confess I am greatly disappointed. I had hoped for better
things from the holder of a County Scholarship."

Winona remained silent. She could think of nothing to say in

"It must be sheer lack of grit and effort," continued Miss Bishop. "I
cannot understand how a girl who did so remarkably well in the entrance
examination can rest content with such a low record. How long do you
take over your preparation?"

"Until my aunt sends me to bed," replied Winona, in a very subdued
voice. "I spend the whole evening at my lessons."

Miss Bishop looked puzzled.

"Then the work must be too difficult for you. If that is the case, I
must remove you to V.b."

V.b. was notorious in the school as a refuge for incompetence.
It was mainly composed of girls of sixteen and seventeen who could not
reach the standard of the Sixth, and who went by the nickname of "owls"
or "stupids." The prospect of being relegated to such an intellectual
backwater spread palpable dismay over Winona's face. Miss Bishop smiled
rather grimly.

"We can't win honors without paying the price! You must know that
already by experience. I conclude that you studied hard for the
Scholarship examination? Well, your Form work requires equally close
application. Here is Miss Huntley's report: 'French, weak; Latin,
beneath criticism; mathematics, extremely bad.' Yet in all these three
subjects you gained a high percentage in the entrance examination. I
have your papers here--yes, Latin 85, French 87, mathematics 92"
(rapidly turning over the pages), "it is simply incredible how you have
fallen off."

Winona was gazing at the sheets of foolscap in the Principal's hand.

"Those aren't my papers," she faltered.

"Certainly they are. They're marked with your number, 11."

"But I wasn't number 11, I was number 10."

Miss Bishop stooped, opened a drawer in her bureau, and took out a book.

"Here it is in black and white," she replied. "No. 11, Winona Woodward."

Winona's shaking hands clutched the edge of the bureau. In a flash the
whole horrible truth was suddenly revealed to her. Until that moment she
had almost forgotten how she and the ruddy-haired girl had collided at
the door of the examination-room, and dropped their cards. In picking
them up, they must have effected an exchange. She remembered that she
had been too agitated to notice her number until after the accident had
happened. She now related the circumstance as best she could. Miss
Bishop listened aghast.

"What number did you say you took in the examination-room? Ten? That is
entered in my book as Marjorie Kaye. I have the rest of the candidates'
papers in this bundle. Let me see--yes, here is No. 10. Is this your
handwriting? Then I'm afraid there has been a terrible blunder, and the
scholarship has been awarded to the wrong girl."

The Principal's consternation was equalled by Winona's. To the latter
the ground seemed slipping from under her feet. She tried to speak, but
failed. A great lump rose in her throat. For a moment the room whirled

"This set of papers, No. 10, was marked so low as to be out of the
running," continued Miss Bishop. "It is a most unfortunate mistake, and
places the school in an extremely awkward position. I must consult with
the Governors at once. Pending their decision, it will be better not to
mention the matter to anybody. You may go now."

Winona managed somehow to get herself out of the study, to put on her
hat and coat, and to walk home to Abbey Close. Her aunt was still
absent, for which she was intensely thankful, and ignoring the tea that
was waiting on the dining-room table, she rushed upstairs to her
bedroom. Her one imperative need was to be alone. She must face the
situation squarely. Her world had suddenly turned topsy-turvy; instead
of being the winner of the County Scholarship, she was among the
rejected candidates. In her heart of hearts she had always marveled how
her indifferent papers could have scored such a success. She wondered
this explanation had never occurred to her before. All this time she had
been wearing another girl's laurels. What was going to happen next? She
supposed the scholarship would be taken from her, and given to its
rightful owner. And herself? She would probably be packed home, as Percy
had prophesied, "like a whipped puppy." Possibly Aunt Harriet might
offer to pay her fee as an ordinary pupil at the High School, but in
either case the humiliation would be supreme.

Winona dreaded returning home. In spite of the difficulty of the work,
the High School had opened a fresh world to her. She could never again
be content with the old rut. Miss Harmon's dull lessons would be
intolerable, and life without Garnet's friendship would seem a blank.
The companionship of her three little sisters was totally inadequate for
a girl who was fast growing up. She shrank from speculating how her
mother would receive the bad news. Mrs. Woodward was one of those
parents who expect their children to gain the prizes which they were
incapable of winning for themselves. She had claimed a kind of
second-hand credit in her daughter's triumph. Winona knew from past
experience that so keen a disappointment would involve a string of
reproaches, regrets and fretting. She would probably never hear the
last of it. The family hopes had been pinned upon her success, and to
frustrate them was to court utter disgrace. For the present she must
live with this sword of Damocles hanging over her head, but she hoped
the Governors would decide the matter speedily, and put her out of her

There is one virtue in a supreme trouble--it dwarfs all minor griefs.
Percy's secret, which had been felt as a continual burden, seemed to
sink into comparative obscurity, and the worry of school work and the
dread of Miss Huntley's sarcasm were mere flies in the ointment. Winona
never quite knew how she got through the week that followed. It stayed
afterwards in her memory as a period of black darkness, a valley of
humiliation, in which her old childish self slipped away, and a new,
stronger and more capable personality was born to face the future. She
had resigned herself so utterly to the inevitable, that when at last
Miss Bishop's summons came, she was able to walk quite calmly into the
study. The Principal was seated as usual at her bureau; Winona's
entrance examination papers lay before her. Her manner was
non-committal; her blue eyes looked even more penetrating than usual.

"You will have been wondering what was going to happen about the matter
of the scholarship," she began.

"Yes, Miss Bishop," answered Winona meekly. She did not add that she had
spent eight days in a mental purgatory.

"I of course placed the facts before the Governors, and we at once
communicated with the parents of Marjorie Kaye. We find, however, that
in the meantime she has been elected a scholar of the Maria Harvey
Foundation, and will therefore be unable to accept this scholarship. Her
papers and those of Garnet Emerson were the only ones of outstanding
merit. In re-examining the remaining eighteen we find a uniform level of
mediocrity. As regards your set of papers, the general standard is low,
with one exception. We consider that your essay on Lady Jane Grey shows
an originality and a capacity for thought which may be worthy of
training. On the strength of this--and this alone--the Governors have
decided to allow you to retain your scholarship. In so doing they are
perfectly within their rights. They did not undertake to grant free
tuition to the candidate who scored the highest number of marks, but to
the one who, in their opinion, was most likely to benefit by the school
course. It was a matter to be settled entirely at their discretion. I
have carefully re-read your papers, and compared them with your form
record, and I come to the conclusion that you are backward and
ill-instructed in many subjects, but that you are not idle or stupid. I
shall make arrangements for you to have special coaching in mathematics,
Latin and chemistry until you can keep up with the rest of the Form. I
find your reports for history and English literature are good, which
confirms my opinion that you do not lack ability. You will need to work
very hard, especially at those subjects in which you are so deficient,
but I trust you will soon show a marked improvement, and thus justify
the decision of the Governors. Are you prepared to try?"

"I don't know how to thank you--I'll do my very best!" stammered Winona,
quite overcome by this unexpected _dénouement_.

"Then that is all that need be said. Miss Lever will take you every day
from 3.30 to 4.15 for private tuition. Mark that on your time-table, and
go to her this afternoon in the Preparatory Room. You may tell Miss
Garside that I am disengaged now, and at liberty to speak to her."

Winona left the study with very different feelings from those with which
she had entered. Her spirits were so high that she wanted to dance along
the corridor. She could hardly believe her good fortune. Those great and
important gentlemen, the Governors, had actually approved of her essay
to the extent of allowing it to stand as her qualification for the
Scholarship! She blessed Lady Jane Grey, and Edgar Allan Poe, and
Browning, and André de Chénier, and the happy chance that had made her
combine them all. She was glad she had paid that visit to Hampton Court,
and that she had seen Lady Jane Grey's portrait, and had been able to
describe both. Life was going to be a very exhilarating business, now
her position in the school was once more secure.

"I'll show them how I can work," she thought. "They shan't be sorry that
they let me stay after all! Oh, I am in luck! Yes, I'm the luckiest girl
in the school!"


An Autumn Foray

Winona felt that she now started life at the High School on an entirely
new basis. Miss Bishop and Miss Huntley understood her limitations and
judged her accordingly. It was not by any means that they lowered their
standard, but that they appreciated her difficulty in keeping up with
the Form and gave her credit for her hard work. And hard work it
undoubtedly was. She would get up early in the morning to revise her
lessons before breakfast, and would sit toiling over books and exercises
in the evenings till even Aunt Harriet--indefatigable worker
herself--would tell her to stop, and wax moral on the folly of burning
the candle at both ends. The coaching from Miss Lever was of inestimable
value. It supplied just the gaps in which she was deficient, and gave
her an adequate grasp of her three toughest subjects. Slowly she began
to make headway, she saw light in mathematical problems that had before
been meaningless formulæ, chemistry was less of a hopeless tangle, and
Vergil's lines construed into understandable sentences instead of utter
nonsense. It was only gradual progress, however. She had much ground to
cover before she caught up the Form. She was plodding, but not a
brilliant all-round scholar like Garnet. The fact was that Winona was
only clever in one direction: in the realm of imagination her mind ran
like a racehorse, but harnessed to heavy intellectual burdens it proved
but a sorry steed.

It was fortunate for both her health and her spirits that head work did
not represent the only side of school activities. Miss Bishop was wise
enough to lay much stress on physical development. A ten minutes' drill
was part of the daily routine, a gymnasium practice was held twice a
week, and Wednesday afternoons were devoted to hockey. In addition to
this the girls played tennis on the asphalt courts during the winter and
spring terms, whenever the weather was suitable, and basket ball was
constantly going on in the playground. Athletics was decidedly the
fashionable cult of the school. Kirsty Paterson, as Games Captain, made
it her business to see that nobody slacked without justifiable cause.
She would break up knots of chatting idlers, and cajole them forth to
"cultivate muscle" as she expressed it, while her keen eye was quick to
note anybody's "points" and employ them for the general benefit.
Kirsty's jolly, breezy manner and strict sense of justice made her an
admirable captain. She was highly popular with juniors as well as
seniors, for she took the trouble to organize the games of the little
girls as carefully as those of their elders.

"It's insane short-sighted policy to neglect the kids," was her creed.
"Now's the time to be training them. Get them thoroughly well in hand
and make them understand what's expected from them, and in four or five
years' time they'll be crack players. Yes, I know it's looking far
ahead, and we prefects won't be here to see the result, but the school
will reap the benefit some day and that's the main thing to aim at. I'm
proud of my cadets and, in the future, when they're winning laurels for
the Seaton High, perhaps they'll remember I started them on the right
track. 'Keep up the standard all round' is going to be the motto while
I'm Captain."

To Winona athletics and organized games came as a revelation. She had a
slim wiry little figure and was a good runner, with a capacity for
keeping her breath, and had also a considerable power of spring, all of
which stood her in good stead both in the hockey field and in the
gymnasium. Though Kirsty said little, she could feel her efforts were
being watched and approved, and the knowledge gave her a tingling sense
of satisfaction. It was delightful to feel that she was a factor in this
big school, and that she was doing her bit--however insignificant--to
help up the athletic standard. In physical agility Winona was superior
to Garnet. She could beat her easily at tennis, and there was already a
wide gap between their gymnastic achievements. It was a fortunate
circumstance, for it just balanced their friendship, and put them on a
footing of equality which would have been otherwise absent. Garnet, so
manifestly first in Form work, possessed of greater confidence and
_savoir faire_ in school life and older in experience for her years than
Winona, might have monopolized the lead too entirely, had she not been
obliged to yield the palm of outdoor sports to her friend.

Garnet was, in truth, just a trifle inclined to "boss." She liked
Winona, and wanted her for a chum, but she loved to lay down the law and
to constitute herself an authority upon every possible subject. There
was no doubt it was owing to her initiative that the two
scholarship-holders were gaining a position for themselves in the
school. As Garnet had foreseen, the part they had taken in the Symposium
won them favorable recognition. To be singled out as soloists and to
have the honor of playing an accompaniment for the prefects had raised
them above the common herd, and though a few were jealous, more were
ready to extend the hand of good fellowship. In their own Form they were
living down the prejudice which had at first existed against them. Hilda
Langley and Estelle Harrison were not very friendly and influenced Olave
Parry and Mollie Hill against them, but these formed a minority, and the
bulk of the girls seemed to have decided in their favor.

With the enormous demands made on her time by her home preparation,
Winona did not venture to join many of the school guilds. She would have
liked immensely to put her name down for election to the Dramatic
Society, the Debating Club and the Literary Association, but these all
required rather strenuous brain work from their members, and in the
circumstances she knew it would be folly to take them up. At some future
date, when her ordinary subjects proved less of a burden, she promised
herself the pleasure of being numbered among that select clique known
as "The Intellectuals," but for the present her motto must be "grim
grind." The Patriotic Knitting Guild seemed more feasible. She paid her
subscription, received her skeins of khaki wool, and started mittens to
fill up odd moments. She found the knitting a soothing occupation, it
could be taken up and laid down so easily; it often went to school with
her, and would come out during the interval, or while she was waiting
for a class. The Photographic Union was beyond her, for as yet she had
no camera, but she thought she was justified in joining the Natural
History League. This society did not for the present demand papers from
its members, but contented itself with encouraging the collection of
objects for the school museum. Its main activities would be during the
summer term, though a weather record was kept throughout the year, and
any nature notes that were worthy of being written down were duly
chronicled in the Field Book. Linda Fletcher and Annie Hardy, two of the
prefects, were the leading spirits in the League. Linda was great on
entomology, and, having a brother who was interested in the subject, had
been out "sugaring" in his company in August and September, and had
secured some fine specimens of moths. She had boxes full of chrysalides
which she fondly hoped would emerge in the spring into perfect insects,
and she had made quite a good little collection of beetles. Annie was
more interested in botany, she pressed flowers and leaves, dried fruits
and seed vessels, and made praiseworthy efforts at preserving funguses
in bottles, though these latter attempts were not always attended with
the success they deserved, as they were apt to acquire a gamey odor, to
which her mother very naturally objected, and she would be obliged
disconsolately to turn them out into the dust-bin.

November happened to be a particularly fine month at Seaton. There had
been little rain, and no high winds to blow the leaves away. Though the
trees in the city were bare, those in the country round about remained
almost in their October glory, and in sheltered woods some were still
green. The persistent sunshine encouraged the Natural History League to
plan an excursion for its members, and after a consultation with Miss
Lever, the Botany mistress, Linda pinned up the following announcement
on the school notice board:--

An Autumn Foray will be held on Saturday next, visiting Monkend Woods
and Copplestone Quarry. Members will meet at station for the 12.45 train
to Powerscroft, returning by the 5.30 from Chartwell. Tea at farm-house.
Walking distance five miles. Leaders: Miss Lever, Linda Fletcher and
Annie Hardy. Those intending to join kindly give their names to the
Secretary on Wednesday at latest.

                                        L. FLETCHER,

                                                   _Hon. Sec._

The prospect of a ramble was alluring. Winona was a country lover, so
she forthwith secured Aunt Harriet's permission for the outing and
placed her name upon the list.

"I don't think there'll be more than a dozen of us altogether," said
Linda, "but really a small party's more manageable than a big one, and
I'll undertake we enjoy ourselves. Miss Lever can get permission for us
to walk through the private part of the woods--there's no shooting this
autumn, you know--so that will be simply glorious, and she says we ought
to find some fossils in the quarry, if we've luck. I hope the weather
will keep up. Don't forget to take a vasculum or a basket, and a hammer
for fossils, and be sure you put on strong boots. The tea will probably
be eightpence a head. Miss Lever is writing beforehand to the farm to
make arrangements."

Garnet also was to join the excursion and she promised to call for
Winona, so that they might walk to the station together. The latter had
an early lunch, and was ready dressed and waiting for her friend by
twenty minutes past twelve. Garnet's tram was late, and by the time she
reached Abbey Close the clock pointed to the half-hour.

"I'm frightfully sorry! You must think me a Juggins, but it wasn't my
fault!" she apologized. "We shall have to sprint, but we'll just do it."

The girls set off at a tremendous pace along the Close and down the
Abbey avenue, but it was difficult to keep the same speed through the
town, where the streets were thronged with country people who had come
in for the Saturday market. They got along as best they could, walking
first on the pavement and then on the road, dodging round stout females
bearing baskets, avoiding hooting motors, and finally making a dash down
a back street that led to the railway bridge. They clattered down the
steps to the booking office, secured their tickets and rushed on to the
platform. The hands of the big clock were at 12.45 exactly, the guard
was about to wave his green flag. They were too late to look for their
party; they simply pelted towards the nearest carriage, a porter opened
the door and they scrambled in just in the very nick of time.

"Oh, thank goodness! Thank goodness!" gasped Garnet. "I thought we'd
miss it! I never had such a run in my life before! Oh! It's given me a
stitch in my side!"

"They've put us in a first!" exulted Winona, breathlessly. "We have it
all to ourselves! What luck! Hope they won't make a fuss about our
tickets when we get out!"

"It was the porter's fault. He opened the door. We'll ask Miss Lever to
explain. I suppose the others are further along somewhere in the train.
I wonder if they saw us get in?"

"If they didn't, it will be a surprise packet for them when we turn up."

"Yes, they'll have made up their minds we're left behind."

The two girls leaned back, enjoying the luxury of traveling in a
first-class compartment. They felt the excursion had begun well as far
as they were concerned. Their satisfaction was short-lived, however.
When they neared Barnhill, the train, instead of stopping, rushed
through the station at thirty-five miles an hour. Garnet turned to
Winona in utter consternation.

"Oh, good-night!" she ejaculated. "I verily believe we've gone and got
into the express!"

They saw at once how it had happened. The 12.40 fast train to Rockfield
must have been five minutes late. In their hurry they had mistaken it
for the stopping train, which probably had been drawn up behind it in
the station.

"Well, this is a pretty go!" agreed Winona. "We shall be carried on to
Rockfield and have to come back."

"We shall miss the ramble! Oh, it's the limit of hard luck--to see
ourselves whizzing through Powerscroft!"

"I say, I believe we're stopping after all!"

They let down the window and looked out. They were still about a mile
from Powerscroft, but the train drew up, probably in obedience to an
adverse signal. Then the girls did a terrible and awful thing. They
never remembered afterwards which suggested it, probably the idea
occurred to both simultaneously, but in defiance of the law of the realm
and the rules of the railway company, they opened the door of the
carriage and climbed down on to the line. There were some railings near,
and they scrambled over these and dodged down an embankment into a
coppice before anybody in the train had time to give an alarm. They
hoped their flight had not been noticed, but of that they could not be
sure. They hid behind some bushes until they heard the train rumble

"That was the smartest thing we've ever done in our lives!" chuckled
Garnet. "I believe we could be fined about ten pounds each if they
caught us!"

"Let us hurry on and try to find the road," said Winona, who was rather
frightened at her own temerity, and had a nervous apprehension lest a
guard or a signalman or some other railway official might even now be in
pursuit and arrest them on a charge of breaking the law.

After crossing a field they struck a path which led them eventually into
a by-lane.

"I know where we are," affirmed Garnet. "I bicycled this way once.
Monkend Woods are in that direction, and if we turn to the left and
through this village we shall get there sooner than the others, I
believe, and be waiting for them when they arrive. Their train won't
have reached Powerscroft yet."

"We'd better step out all the same," urged Winona.

Fortunately Garnet possessed the bump of locality. Her recollection of
the district was correct, and after a brisk walk of about a mile they
found themselves in the high road close to the wood, and sat down on a
wall to wait. Their fast train and short cut had given them an
advantage: it was nearly half an hour before they spied the rest of the
party strolling leisurely up the hill with baskets and vasculums. The
surprise of the League at seeing them was immense, and naturally there
were many inquiries as to how they had thus stolen a march upon their

"Oh, we came in an aëroplane!" said Garnet jauntily. "It just dropped us
in the field over there. Very pleasant run, though a little chilly in
the clouds!"

She was obliged to own up, however, in answer to Miss Lever's inquiries,
give a precise account of their adventure, and cry "peccavi."

"Of course Dollikins had to be orthodox and preach a short sermon," she
confided afterwards to Winona, "but I'm sure she'd have done the same
thing herself in the circumstances. I could see admiration in her eye,
although she talked about running risks and the possibility of broken

Miss Lever, otherwise Dollikins, from the fact that her Christian name
was Dorothy, held high favor among the girls. She was brisk and jolly,
decidedly athletic, and a first-rate leader of outdoor expeditions. She
had called at the gamekeeper's cottage _en route_ and shown the letter
of permission from the owner of the property, so that the party was able
to explore the wood with a clear conscience, despite the trespass notice
nailed on to the gate. And what a delightful wood it was! To enter it
was like stepping into one of Grimm's fairy tales. An avenue of splendid
pines reared their dark boughs against a russet background of beeches;
everywhere the leaves seemed to have donned their brightest and gayest
tints, as if bidding a last good-by before they fell from the trees. The
undergrowth was gorgeous: bramble, elder, honeysuckle, briony, rowan,
and alder vied with one another in the vividness of their crimson and
orange, while the bracken was a sea of pale gold. There were all sorts
of delightful things to be found--acorns lay so plentifully in the
pathway that the girls could not help scrunching them underfoot. A few
were already sending out tiny shoots in anticipation of spring, and
these were carefully saved to take home and grow in bottles. A stream
ran through the wood, its banks almost completely covered with vivid
green mosses, in sheets so thick and compact that a slight pull would
raise a yard at a time. Some resembled tufted tassels, some the most
delicate ferns, and others showed the split cups of their seed-vessels
like pixie goblets. Annie Hardy, whose experienced eyes were on the
look-out for certain botanical treasures reported to grow at Monkend,
was searching among the dead twigs under the hazel bushes, and was
rewarded by finding a clump of the curious little birds-nest fungus with
its seeds packed like tiny eggs inside. Some orange elf-cups, a bright
red toadstool or two, and a few of the larger purple varieties that had
lingered on from October made quite a creditable fungus record for the
League, and specimens of wild flowers were also secured, a belated
foxglove or two, a clump of ragwort, some blue harebells, campion,
herb-robert, buttercup, yarrow, thistle, and actually a strawberry
blossom. The leaders had brought note-books and wrote down each find as
reported by the members, taking the specimens for Miss Lever to verify
if there were any doubt as to identification. Animal and bird life was
not absent. Shy bunnies whisked away, showing a dab of white tail as
they dived under the bracken; a splendid squirrel ran across the path
and darted up an oak tree, a wood-pigeon whirred from a pine top, a
great woodpecker, scared by their approach, started from the bushes and
flew past them so near that they could see the green flash of its wings
and the red markings on its head, while a whole fluttering flight of
long-tailed tits were flitting like a troop of fairies round the hole of
a lichen-covered beech.

Miss Lever was as enthusiastic as the girls; she climbed over fallen
tree trunks, grubbed among dead leaves, jumped the brook and scaled
fences with delightful energy. It was she who pointed out the heron
sailing overhead, and noticed the gold-crested wren's nest hanging under
the branch of a fir, a little battered with autumn rain, and too high,
alas! to be taken, but a most interesting item to go down in the
note-books. The girls could hardly be persuaded to tear themselves away
from the glory of the woods, and would have spent the whole time there,
but Miss Lever had other plans.

"Come along! We've scared the pheasants quite enough," she declared. "My
mind is set on fossils, and if we don't go on to Copplestones at once we
shall be caught in the dark, or miss our tea or our train or something
equally disagreeable."

The quarry was only half a mile away, and it proved as interesting as
the wood. Being Saturday afternoon the men were not working, so they had
the place to themselves, and wandered about examining heaps of shale,
and tapping likely-looking stones with their hammers. Garnet and Winona
knew nothing of geology, so they listened with due meekness while the
instructed few discoursed learnedly on palæozoic rocks, stratified
conglomerates and quartzites. They rejoiced with Miss Lever, however,
when she secured a fairly intact belemnite. It was the only good find
they had, though some of the girls got broken bits of fossil shells.

"The fact is one needs a whole day to hunt about in this quarry, and my
watch tells me we ought to be going," said Miss Lever. "Who feels
inclined for tea?"

Everybody felt very much disposed, so the procession started off
cheerfully for the farm close by, and the nature-lovers were soon hard
at work consuming platefuls of bread and butter, jars of jam, and piles
of plum cake.

"Sixteen varieties of wild flowers, seven various specimens of fungi,
nine different sorts of berries, twelve species of birds noticed, also
rabbits and squirrel, one bird's nest and one perfect fossil--not a bad
record for an autumn foray!" said Linda, proudly consulting her

"Especially when you remember we're well on in November!" added Annie.
"It will be something to enter in the League minutes book."

"I'm afraid it's the last ramble we shall get this year," said Miss
Lever, "but I've one or two nice little schemes on hand for the spring,
so the League must look forward to next April. Will any one have any
more tea? Then please make a move, for it's time we were starting."

"Good old Dollikins!" murmured Linda as the girls put on their coats.
"She's A1 at a foray. Got something ripping for next season in her head.
I can tell by the twinkle in her eye. She'll ruminate over it all
winter, and drop it on us as a surprise some day. Oh, thunder! Yes, we
ought to be starting! Come along, you slackers, do you want to be left
standing on the platform with a couple of hours to wait for the next
train? Then sprint as hard as you can!"


Concerns a Camera

Winona went home at Christmas with a whole world of new experiences to
call her own. Her first term had indeed been an epoch in her life, and
though the holidays were naturally welcome, she felt that she could look
forward with pleasure to the next session of school. Her family received
her with a certain amount of respect. The younger ones listened
enviously to her accounts of hockey matches and symposiums, and began to
wish Fate had wafted their fortunes to Seaton. They had left Miss
Harmon's little school, and next term were expecting, with some
apprehension, a governess whom Aunt Harriet had recommended. Winona, who
after thirteen weeks at Abbey Close found the home arrangements rather
chaotic, could not help privately endorsing Miss Beach's wisdom in
instituting such a change. Poor Mrs. Woodward had been greatly out of
health for the last few months, and kept much to her bedroom, while the
children had been running wild in a quite deplorable fashion. Letty, who
ought to have had some influence over the others, was the naughtiest of
all, and the ringleader in every mischievous undertaking. Having
occupied the position of "eldest" for thirteen weeks, she was not at all
disposed to submit to her sister's authority, and there were many
tussles between the two.

"You'll _have_ to do as your governess tells you, when she comes!"
protested Winona on one particularly urgent occasion.

"All right, Grannie!" retorted Letty pertly. "I'll settle that matter
with the good lady herself, and in the meantime I'm not going to knuckle
under to you, so don't think it! You needn't come back so precious high
and mighty from your High School, and expect to boss the whole show
here. So there!"

And Winona, who aforetime had been able to subdue her unruly sister,
found herself baffled, for their mother was ill, and must not be
disturbed, and Percy, who might have been on her side, would only lie on
the sofa and guffaw.

"Fight it out, like a pair of Kilkenny cats!" was his advice. "I'll
sweep up the fragments that remain of you afterwards. No, I'm not going
to back either of you. Go ahead and get it over!"

Percy had grown immensely during this last term. He was now seventeen,
and very tall, though at present decidedly lanky. The Cadet Corps at his
school absorbed most of his interests. He held emphatic opinions upon
the war, and aired them daily to his family over the morning paper.
According to his accounts, matters seemed likely to make little progress
until he and his contemporaries at Longworth College should have reached
military age, and be able to take their due part in the struggle, at
which happy crisis the Germans would receive a setback that would
astonish the Kaiser.

"Our British tactics have been all wrong!" he declared. "I can tell you
we follow things out inch by inch at Longworth, and you should just hear
what Johnstone Major has to say. Some of those generals at the Front are
old women! They ought to send them home, and set them some knitting to
do. If I'd the ordering of affairs I'd give the command to fellows under
twenty-five! New wine should be in new bottles."

The younger children listened with admiration to Percy's views on war
topics, much regretting that the Government had not yet obtained the
benefit of his advice. Godfrey even hoped that the war would not be over
before there was a chance for precept to be put into practice, and
already, in imagination, saw his brother in the uniform of a Field
Marshal. Winona smiled tolerantly. She took Percy's opinions for what
they were worth. If his school report was anything to go by, he had
certainly not won laurels at Longworth this term, in the direction of
brainwork, and the headmaster's comment: "Lacking in steady
application," had probably been amply justified.

Winona was not altogether happy about Percy, these holidays. Jack
Cassidy was spending Christmas at the Vicarage, and claimed much of his
time, and the influence was not altogether for good. Young Cassidy had
already given the Vicar, his guardian and former tutor, considerable
trouble. At twenty-two he had run through a large proportion of the
money which had come to him at his majority, though fortunately he could
not touch the bulk of his property till he should be twenty-five. At
present he was waiting for a commission, and amusing himself as best he
could in the village until the welcome missive should arrive. For lack
of other congenial companions he sought Percy's society. Neither Mr.
James, the Vicar, nor Mrs. Woodward realized how much the two young
fellows were together, or they certainly would not have encouraged the
intimacy. Winona, who was just old enough to recognize certain
undesirable features, tackled Percy in private.

"Mother wouldn't like your going into 'The Blue Harp,' and playing
billiards with Jack!" she remonstrated. "You were there hours yesterday.
Doesn't it cost a lot?"

"Oh, Jack pays for it! At least he settles with old Chubbs. I have a bit
on the score, of course, but he says that can wait a while. I'm
improving, and I'll beat him yet, and win my own back."

"You promised mother you wouldn't bet again, after what happened last

"Now don't you go jaw-wagging!"

"Well, I must say something! If Mr. Joynson--"

"Old Joynson may go and boil his head! I'm seventeen now. Look here,
Win, if you're going to turn sneak--"

"Sneak, indeed! Do I ever tell your secrets? Think what you did at Aunt

Percy changed color.

"You've not breathed a word about that?"

"Of course I haven't, but I'm always terrified that she'll find out."

"It was a rocky little business. I say, Win, I was looking up wills in
'Every Man his Own Lawyer.' If Aunt Harriet died intestate all her
estate would go to her next-of-kin, and that's Uncle Herbert Beach out
in China. The mater wouldn't have a look-in, because her mother was only
Aunt Harriet's half-sister. Uncle Herbert would just get the lot. She
ought to make another will at once."

"Had you better tell, then?" faltered Winona.

"Tell? Certainly not! But you might very well suggest it to her. You've
plenty of opportunities, as you're living there. Bring the conversation
round to wills, and ask casually if she's made hers."

"Oh, I couldn't!"

"Yes, you could. You ought to do it, Winona. The mater stands to lose
everything as it is. It would probably make Aunt Harriet look inside the
drawer, and then she'd see her paper was gone."

"And suspect us!"

"Why should she know we'd had anything to do with it? The servants might
have been rummaging. I certainly think it's your duty, Win, to take some

It was rather fine to hear Percy preaching duty on a subject in which he
was so plainly a defaulter. Winona at first indignantly repudiated the
task he wished to impose upon her. Nevertheless, the idea kept returning
and troubling her. She was sure Aunt Harriet ought to know that the will
had been destroyed, and if it was impossible to tell her outright, this
would certainly be a means of putting her on the track. Winona's whole
soul revolted from the notion of speculating upon possible advantages to
be gained from a relative's death. She would rather let Uncle Herbert
inherit everything than interfere for herself. But for her mother it was
a different matter. Aunt Harriet might wish her goddaughter to receive
part of her fortune, and to conceal the destruction of the will might
mean depriving Mrs. Woodward of a handsome legacy. How to make Miss
Beach realize the loss of the paper without getting Percy into trouble
was a problem that might have perplexed older and wiser heads.

Meanwhile it was holiday time, and there were many more pleasant
subjects to think about. Winona's Christmas present had been a small
hand camera, the very thing for which she had longed during the whole of
the past term. She contemplated it with the utmost satisfaction. Now she
would be able to join the Photographic Club at school, to go out on some
of the Saturday afternoon expeditions, and to have a few of her prints
in the Exhibition. She could take snap-shots of the girls and the
classroom, and make them into picture postcards to send to her mother,
and she could make a series of home photos to hang up in her bedroom at
Abbey Close. There seemed no limit indeed to the possibilities of her
new camera. She guarded it jealously from the prying fingers of the
younger members of the family.

"Paws off!" she commanded. "Anybody who interferes with this Kodak will
quarrel with me, so I give you full and fair warning! Oh, yes, Dorrie!
I dare say you'd just like to press the button! I'd guarantee your fairy
fingers to smash anything! It's 'mustn't touch, only look' where this is
concerned. No personal familiarities, please!"

December and January were scarcely propitious months for the taking of
snap-shots, but Winona attempted some time exposures, with varying
results. It was difficult to make the children realize the necessity of
keeping absolutely still, and they spoilt several of her plates by
grinning or moving. She secured quite a nice photo of the house,
however, and several of the village, and promised herself better luck
with family portraits when the summer came round again. She turned a
large cupboard in the attic into her dark-room, and spent many hours
dabbling among chemicals. She had urgent offers of help, but rejected
them steadfastly, greatly to the disappointment of her would-be
assistants. Her sanctum became a veritable Bluebeard's chamber, for to
prevent possible accidents she locked the door, and kept the key
perpetually in her pocket during the day time, sleeping with it under
her pillow at night. In the summer she meant to try all kinds of
experiments. She had visions of rigging up a shelter made of leaves and
branches, and taking a series of magnificent snap-shots of wild birds
and animals, like those in the books by Cherry Kearton, and she
certainly intended to secure records of the sports at school. In the
meantime she must content herself with landscape and still life. "I'll
have one of the de Claremont tomb, at any rate," she resolved.

The de Claremont tomb was the glory of Ashbourne Church. It was of white
marble, and beautifully sculptured. Sir Guy de Claremont lay represented
in full armor, with his lady in ruff and coif by his side. Six sons and
four daughters, all kneeling, were carved in has relief round the side
of the monument. Long, long ago, in the Middle Ages, the de Claremonts
had been the great people of the neighborhood. They had fought in the
Crusades, had taken their part in the wars of the Barons, had declared
for the White Rose in the struggle with the House of Lancaster, and cast
in their lot for the King against Oliver Cromwell. The family was
extinct now, and their lands had passed to others, but a few tattered
banners and an old helmet still hung on the wall of the side chapel,
above the tomb, testifying to their former achievements. From her seat
in church Winona had a good view of the monument. She admired it
immensely, and had often woven romances about the good knights of old
who had carried those banners to the battle-field. She felt that she
would like to secure a satisfactory photo. She started off one morning
at about half-past eleven, when the light was likely to be best.

It was a sunny day, and wonderfully bright for January. She had meant to
go alone, but the children were on the look-out, and tracked her, so she
arrived at the church door closely followed by Letty, Mamie, Godfrey,
Ernie and Dorrie. She hesitated for a moment whether to send them
straight home or not, but the church was a mile from Highfield, and the
mill weir, a place of fascination to Ernie, lay on the way, so she
decided that it would be safest to let well alone.

"They're imps, but they'll have to behave themselves decently in
church," she said to herself.

At present the conduct of the family was exemplary. They walked in on
tip-toe, and talked in whispers. Mamie, indeed, cast an envious eye
towards the forbidden ground of the pulpit, into which it was her
ambition some day to climb, and wave her arms about in imitation of the
Vicar, but she valiantly restrained her longings, and kept from the
neighborhood of the chancel. Letty took a surreptitious peep at the
organ, and was disappointed to find it locked, as was also the little
oak door that led up the winding staircase to the bell tower. She
decided that the parish clerk was much too attentive to his duties.

"Come along over here, can't you?" said Winona suspiciously. "Leave
those hymn-books alone, and tell Dorrie she's not to touch the font, or
I'll stick her inside and pop the lid on her. Go and sit down, all of
you, in that pew, while I take the photo."

The family for once complied obediently, if somewhat reluctantly. It was
better to play the part of spectators than to be left out of the
proceedings altogether. In the circumstances they knew Winona had the
whip-hand, and that if she ordered them from the church there would be
no appeal. They watched her now with interest and enthusiasm.

It took her a long time to fix her camera in good position. It was
difficult to see properly in the viewfinder, and she wanted to be quite
sure that when the head of Sir Guy was safely in the right-hand corner,
his feet were not out of the picture at the left, to say nothing of the
ten kneeling children underneath.

"It's impossible to get the wall above if I'm to take the inscription on
the monument," she declared, "and yet I mustn't leave out the old helmet
on any account. I shall take it down, and put it at the bottom of the
tomb while I photograph it. It ought to come out rather well there."

Rejecting eager offers of help from Mamie and Ernie, Winona climbed up
on to the stately person of Dame Margaret de Claremont, and managed to
take the helmet from the wooden peg on which it was suspended. She posed
it at the foot of the monument, on the right hand side.

"There's a splendid light from this window--full sunshine! I think if I
give it five minutes' exposure, that ought to do the deed. Now don't any
of you so much as cough, or you'll disturb the air."

The family felt _that_ five minutes the very limit of endurance. The
moment it was ended they dispersed to ease their strained feelings.
Letty and Ernie walked briskly up the nave. Mamie went to investigate
the stove. Winona herself took the camera to the opposite side of the
church to photograph a Jacobean tablet. Six-year-old Dorrie remained
sitting on a hassock in the pew. She had a plan in her crafty young
mind. She wanted to examine the helmet, and she knew Winona would be
sure to say "Paws off!" or something equally offensive and
objectionable. She waited till her sister was safely out of the way,
then she stole from her cover, grabbed the helmet, and returned to the
shelter of the pew. It made quite an interesting and fascinating
plaything in her estimation. She amused herself with it for a long time,
until she heard Winona's voice proclaiming that if they didn't trot home
quickly they'd be late for dinner, whereupon she popped it under the
seat, and joined the others. Winona, of course, ought to have replaced
it on its peg on the wall, but her memory was far from perfect, and she
completely forgot all about it.

The whole thing seemed a most trivial incident, but it had an amazing
sequel. On Saturday afternoons Mrs. Fisher, the caretaker, always came
to sweep and tidy up the church in preparation for Sunday. She was a
little, thin, sharp-nosed, impulsive woman, and just at present her
nerves were rather in a shaky condition for fear of Zeppelins. She lived
in perpetual terror of bombs or German spies, and always slept with half
her clothing on, in case she should be forced to get up in a hurry and
flee for her life. On this particular Saturday afternoon Mrs. Fisher, as
was her wont, washed the pavement of the nave, and then took her broom
and her duster into the side chapel. Nobody sat there as a rule, so she
did not give it very much attention. She flicked the duster over the
monument, hastily swept the floor in front, and was just about to turn
away, having done her duty, when she caught sight of something under
the seat of a pew. She put her hand to her heart, and turned as white as
her own best linen apron. She divined instantly what it must be. With
great presence of mind she stole softly away on tip-toe. Once outside
the church she indulged in a comfortable little burst of hysterics. Then
she felt better, and went to tell the parish clerk. Before evening the
news had spread all over the village.

"It was brought in a motor car," Mrs. Pikes at the shop informed her
customers, "and Wilson's little boy says he heard them talking German."

"There was a foreign-looking sort of a chap rode past our house on a
bicycle the other day," volunteered the blacksmith's assistant.

"You never know where you are with strangers in war time," said another.

Everybody agreed that it was a mercy Mrs. Fisher had seen it when she
did, and they were glad the church was a goodish way from the village.

The Woodward family generally started off for service almost directly
after the bells began to ring. On the following Sunday morning, however,
they were considerably perplexed. The familiar "ding-dong, ding-dong"
which ought to have been pealing forth was not to be heard. They
listened in vain, and consulted all the clocks in the house.

"It's certainly after ten," said Mrs. Woodward. "I'm afraid something
must have happened! I hope Mr. James isn't ill. Well, we'd better go at
any rate, and see what's the matter."

So the family, which was ready in its best Sunday garments, sallied
forth. Ashbourne Church stood a whole mile away from the village, in a
lonely spot with only a couple of cottages near it. The Woodwards took a
short cut across the common from Highfield, so that they did not pass
any houses or meet any neighbors by the way. They arrived at the church
to find the door locked, and the Vicar and his family standing in
consternation outside. Mr. James hailed them with relief.

"So it _is_ Sunday!" he exclaimed. "I began to think we must have
mistaken the day! I can't understand what's the matter. Nobody's here
except ourselves. What's becomes of Stevens?"

It was certainly an unprecedented circumstance to find choir,
congregation, organist, organ-blower, bell-ringer and verger all
conspicuous by their absence. Mr. James went to the cottages near to
make inquiries as to the cause. The first was locked up, but by knocking
long and loudly at the door of the second, he at last succeeded in
rousing Jacob Johnson, a deaf old man of eighty-three.

"Nobody come to church!" he repeated, when after some difficulty and
much shouting the situation had been explained: "Well, 'tain't likely
there should be! I'm told there's a German bomb there, one of the
dangerous sort for going off. Some men brought it yesterday in a motor
car. Spies of the Kaiser, they were. It may explode any minute, they
say, and wreck the church and everything near. The Greenwoods next door
locked up the house, and went to their aunt's in the village. My
daughter came over here asking me to go home with her, but I said I'd
stay and risk it. At eighty-three one doesn't care to move!"

"Where is this bomb?" asked Mr. James.

"In a pew nigh the old monument, so I'm told." At this juncture Jack
Cassidy, who when the church was first found to be locked had
volunteered to run back to the Vicarage and fetch the Vicar's own key,
now arrived after a record sprint.

"Give me a bucket of water, and I'll go and investigate," said Mr.

He came out of the church in the course of a few minutes, holding in his
hand--the old helmet!

"This is the nearest approach to a bomb of any description that I've
been able to discover," he announced. "I'm going to carry it to the
village to convince the wiseacres there. Perhaps Stevens will pluck up
courage to ring the bell for afternoon service. If not, I'll ring it

Winona's share in the business might have remained concealed but for the
indiscretion of Mamie, who by an incautious remark gave the show away

"You little silly!" scolded Winona afterwards. "What possessed you to go
and say anything at all? Mr. James will never forgive me! I could see it
in his eye. And Mrs. James was ice itself! I've never felt so horrible
in all my life. If you'd only had the sense to keep mum, they might
never have found out. You kids are the most frightful nuisance! If I'd
had my choice given me when I was born, I wouldn't have been an eldest


The School Service Badge

Settling down at Abbey Close after a month at Highfield was like
transferring oneself from a noisy farmyard to the calm of the cloister.
The house was so near to the Minster that it seemed pervaded by the
quiet Cathedral atmosphere. When Winona drew up her blinds in the
morning, the first sight that greeted her would be the grey old towers
and carved pinnacles, exactly opposite, where the jackdaws were
chattering, and the pigeons wheeling round, and the big clock was going
through the chimes and striking the hour of seven. There was a
particular gargoyle at the corner of the transept roof which appeared to
be grinning at her across the road, as if some imp were imprisoned in
the stone image, and were peeping out of its fantastic eyes. Winona had
grown to love the Minster. She would go in whenever she had ten minutes
to spare after school. The glorious arches and pillars, the carved choir
stalls, the light falling through the splendid rich windows on to the
marble pavement, all appealed to the artistic sense that was stirring in
her, and gave her immense satisfaction. But even the beauty of the
Cathedral was as nothing when the organ began to play. Mr. Holmes, the
organist, was a great musician, and could manage his instrument with a
wizard touch. In the afternoons, between four and five o'clock, he was
wont to practice his voluntaries, and to listen to these took Winona
into a new world of sound. He was a disciple of the extreme modern
school of music, and his interpretations of Debussy, César Franck,
Medtner and Glazounow came to her as a revelation. The glorious weird
harmonies, the strange, unaccustomed chords of these tone-poems stirred
her like the memory of something long forgotten. As Anglo-Indians, whose
knowledge of Hindustani faded with their childhood, yet start and thrill
at the sound of the once familiar language, so this dream-music brought
haunting elusive suggestions too subtle to be defined. It held a
distinct part in Winona's development.

The girl was growing up suddenly. In the almost nursery atmosphere of
Highfield, with nothing to stimulate her faculties she had remained at a
very childish stage, but now, with a world of art, music, science and
literature dawning round her she seemed to leap upward to the level of
her new intellectual horizon. It is a glorious time when we first begin
to reap the inheritance of the ages, and to discover the rich stores of
delight that master minds have laid up for us to enjoy. Life was moving
very fast to Winona; she could not analyze all her fresh thoughts and
impressions, but she felt she could no more go back to her last year's
mental outlook than she could have worn the long clothes of her
babyhood. She was sixteen now, for her birthday fell on the 20th of
January. Somehow sixteen sounded so infinitely older than fifteen! There
was a dignity about it and a sense of importance. In another year she
would actually be "sweet seventeen," and a member of that enviable
school hierarchy the Sixth Form!

Winona could have made herself thoroughly happy at Abbey Close but for
the shadow that existed between herself and Aunt Harriet. Percy's secret
was a perpetual burden on her conscience. At meal times she would often
find her eyes wandering towards the oak cupboard, and would start
guiltily, hoping Miss Beach had not noticed. The more she thought about
the subject the more convinced she became that she ought to give some
hint of the state of affairs, though how to do so without implicating
her brother was at present beyond her calculations. One day, however, a
really hopeful opportunity seemed to arise. A case of a disputed will
was being tried at the Seaton Sessions; the defendants were friends of
Miss Beach's, and after reading the account of the proceedings, Aunt
Harriet laid down the local paper with a few comments.

"I suppose people ought to make their wills very fast and firm," said
Winona. It was seldom she ventured on an independent remark. As a rule
she left her aunt to do the talking.

"Undoubtedly. Nothing causes more trouble than carelessness in this

"Ought we all to make wills?"

"If we have anything to leave it's advisable."

"Ought I?"

"Well, hardly at present, I should say!"

"Ought mother?" Winona was growing redder and redder.

"No doubt she has done so."

"Have you made yours, Aunt Harriet?"

The horrible deed was done, and Winona, crimson to the roots of her
hair, felt she had, metaphorically speaking, burnt her boats.

Miss Beach stared at her as if electrified.

"What do you want to know for?" she asked, suspiciously. "I think that's
decidedly my business and not yours!"

Winona collapsed utterly, and murmuring something about preparation,
fled to her bedroom.

"There! I've just gone and put my foot in it altogether!" she groaned.
"I've no tact! I went and blurted it out like an idiot. She'll never
forgive me! Oh, why can't I go and tell her the whole business, and then
she'd understand! I do hate this sneaking work. Percy, you wretched boy,
I'd like to bump your head against the wall! It's too bad to land me in
your scrape! Well, I suppose it can't be helped. I've said it, and it's
done. But I know I'll be in disgrace for evermore."

Certainly Aunt Harriet's manner towards Winona, after this unfortunate
episode, was stiffer than formerly. She was perfectly kind, but the gulf
between them had widened. They still discussed conventional topics at
meal-times, or rather Miss Beach made leading remarks and Winona said
"Yes," or "No," for such a one-sided conversation could hardly be termed
discussion. The girl felt it a relief when, as often happened, her aunt
took refugein a book. Occasionally Winona would pluck up courage to
relate news from her home letters, but of her school life and all her
new impressions and interests she scarcely spoke at all. Judging from
the children's correspondence the new governess at Highfield, after a
stormy beginning, was making some impressions upon her wild little

"I hated her at first," wrote Mamie, "but she tells us the most lovely
fairy tales, and we're learning to model in clay. I like it because it
makes such a mess. Ernie smacked her yesterday, and she wouldn't let him
do his painting till he'd said he was sorry."

Winona laughed over the letters, picturing the lively scenes that must
be taking place at home.

"Do the kids a world of good!" she commented. "They were running to
seed. Even I could see that, as long ago as last summer, and I don't
mind confessing, quite to myself, that I was fairly raw then. I didn't
know very much about anything till I came to the 'Seaton High.'"

Winona's second term was running far more smoothly than her first.
Thanks to Miss Lever's coaching she could now hold her own in her Form,
and though she might not be the most shining light, at any rate she was
not numbered among the slackers.

Her progress was marked in more quarters than she suspected. Margaret
Howell had had the Scholarship winners under observation ever since
their arrival. As head girl she made it her business to know something
about every girl in the school. "The General," as she was nicknamed, was
universally voted a success. She and Kirsty Paterson between them had
organized a new era of things. Every one felt the "Seaton High" was
waking up and beginning to found a reputation for itself. The various
guilds and societies were prospering, and following Margaret's pet motto
"Pro Bono Publico," had exterminated private quarrels and instituted the
most business-like proceedings and the strictest civility at committee
meetings. Already the general tone was raised immeasurably, and public
spirit and school patriotism ran high. To encourage zeal and
strenuousness, Margaret and Kirsty had laid their heads together and
decided to found what they called "The Order of Distinguished School
Service." Any girl who was considered to have performed some action
worthy of special commendation or who had otherwise contributed to the
general benefit, was to be rewarded with a badge, and her name was to be
chronicled in a book kept for the purpose.

The very first to gain the honor was little Daisy Hicks, a Second Form
child, who won 9,400 marks out of a possible 10,000 in the Christmas
exams, so far the highest score known in the school. Agnes Heath, who
wrung special praise from the doctor who conducted the Ambulance
examination, and Gladys Vickcrs, whose photograph of the hockey team was
published in the Seaton _Weekly Graphic_, were also placed upon the
distinguished list, having substantially helped the credit of the
school. The badge was only a rosette made of narrow ribbons, stitched in
tiny loops into the form of a daisy, with a yellow disk, and white and
pink outer rays. If meant very much, however, to the recipient, who knew
that her name would be handed down to posterity in the school
traditions, and every girl was immensely keen to earn it.

A new institution in the school this term was the foundation of a
library. It had been a pet project of Margaret's ever since her
appointment as head prefect. Just before the Christmas breaking up she
had called a general meeting and begged everybody after the holidays to
present at least one contribution.

"It may be a new book or an old one," she had explained, "but it must be
really interesting. Please don't bring rubbish. Give something you would
enjoy reading yourself and can recommend to your friends."

The response to her appeal had been greater than she anticipated. Nobody
failed to comply, and some of the girls brought several books apiece. A
start was made with three hundred and forty-one volumes, which was
regarded as a most creditable beginning. For the present they were piled
up in the prefects' room until shelves had been made to receive them.
Miss Bishop had given the order to the joiner, but owing to the war it
might be some time before the work was finished.

Meanwhile Margaret decided that the books ought to be catalogued and
labeled, so that they would be quite ready when the bookcases arrived.
She cast about for helpers in this rather arduous task, and her choice
fell upon Winona, who happened to have a spare half-hour between her
classes on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. Winona, immensely flattered,
accepted the responsibility with glee, and was put to work under the
"General's" directions. She thoroughly enjoyed sorting, dusting, pasting
on labels, and making alphabetical lists.

"I shouldn't mind being a librarian some day in a big public library,"
she assured Ellinor Cooper, her fellow-assistant.

"You'd have to be quicker than you are at present, then," remarked
Margaret dryly. "They wouldn't think you worth your salt if you spent
all your time reading the books. Buck up, can't you? and get on!"

At which Winona guiltily shut "Shirley" with a bang and turned her
attention to the paste-pot.

While Margaret was cultivating the intellectual side of the school,
Kirsty was carefully attending to her duties as Games Captain. Her work
among the juniors prospered exceedingly. They were taking to hockey with
wild enthusiasm and gave evidence of considerable promise. As most of
them were free at three o'clock, they got the chance of playing almost
every day. Kirsty was extremely anxious that these practices should be
properly supervised. She was too busy herself to take them personally,
so she was obliged to delegate the work to anybody who had the spare

"The girls I want most are all at classes or music lessons," she
lamented. "Not a single one of the team's available. Winona Woodward,
I've been looking at your time-table, and find you've two vacant
half-hours. Wouldn't you like to help?"

"Like! I'd sell my birthright to do it!" gasped Winona. "But I'm
fearfully sorry; I'm cataloguing for Margaret!"

"Then I mustn't take you away from the General! It's a nuisance though,
for you'd have done very well, and I don't know who else I can get."

Winona considered it was one of the sharpest disappointments she had
ever gone through.

"Oh, the grizzly bad luck of it!" she wailed to Garnet. "It would have
been idyllic to coach those kids. And it would have given me such a leg
up with Kirsty! To think I've lost my chance!"

"I suppose Margaret might get some one else to do cataloguing?"

"I dare say: but I couldn't possibly ask her, and I'm sure Kirsty won't.
No, I'm done for!"

School etiquette is very strict, and Winona would have perished sooner
than resign her library duties. She felt a martyr, but resolved to smile
through it all. Garnet contemplated the problem at leisure during her
drawing lesson, and arrived at a daring conclusion. Without consulting
her friend she marched off at four o'clock to the prefects' room, a
little sanctum on the ground floor where the minutes' books of the
various guilds and societies were kept, and where the school officers
could hold meetings and transact business.

As she expected, Margaret was there alone, and said "Come in" in answer
to her rap at the door. The members of the Sixth kept much on their
dignity, so it was rather a formidable undertaking even for a Fifth Form
girl to interrupt the head of the school. Margaret looked up
inquiringly as Garnet entered.

"Yes, I'm fearfully busy," she replied to the murmured question. "What
is it? I can give you five minutes, but no more, so please be brief."

Thus urged, Garnet, though greatly embarrassed, did not beat about the

"I've come to ask a frightfully cheeky thing," she blurted out. "Kirsty
wants Winona to coach the kids at hockey, and Winona's cataloguing for
you, so of course she can't--and--" but here Garnet's courage failed
her, so she paused.

"Do you mean that Winona would prefer to help with the juniors?"

"She'd be torn in pieces rather than let me say so, but she's just crazy
over hockey. I hope I haven't made any mischief! Win doesn't know I've

"All right. I understand. I'll see what can be done in the matter,"
returned the General, opening her books as a sign of dismissal.

Garnet was not at all sure whether her mission had succeeded or the
reverse, but the next day Margaret sent for Winona.

"I hear Kirsty wants you for a hockey coach. Just at present I think
games are of more importance in the school than the library, so please
report yourself to her, and say I've taken your name off my list. You've
done very well here, but I'm going to lend you to Kirsty for a while."

Winona was so astounded she hardly knew whether to stammer out
apologies, gratitude, or regrets, and was intensely relieved when the
head girl cut her short kindly but firmly, and sent her away. She lost
no time in seeking out the Games Captain.

"Very decent of Margaret," remarked Kirsty. "It's got me out of a hole,
for I couldn't find anybody else with that special time free. You'll do
your best I know?"

"_Rather_!" beamed Winona ecstatically.

Under her tuition the children's play improved fast. Kirsty said
little--she was not given to over-praising people--but Winona felt she
noticed and approved.

Among the season's fixtures perhaps the most important was the match
with the Seaton Ladies' Hockey Club that was to come off on March 7th.
Their opponents possessed a fair reputation in the city, so it would
behove the school to "play up for all they were worth," as Kirsty
expressed it. It would be a glorious opportunity of showing their
capabilities to the world at large, and demonstrating that they meant to
take their due place in local athletics.

Three days before the event, Kirsty appeared in the morning with the air
of a tragedy queen.

"What's the matter?" queried Patricia. "You've a face as long as a

"Matter enough! Barbara Jennings is laid up with influenza! What'll
become of the match I don't know. It makes me feel rocky. Where's
Margaret? I want to confab. Did you ever hear of such grizzly luck in
your life?"

At five minutes past eleven, when Winona was eating her lunch in the
gymnasium, Kirsty tapped her on the shoulder.

"I've something to tell you, Winona Woodward. You're to play for the
School on Saturday instead of Barbara."

Winona swallowed a piece of biscuit with foolhardy haste. She could
scarcely believe the news, so great was its magnitude. To be asked to
fill a vacant place in the team was beyond her wildest dreams.

"Thanks most _immensely_!" she stammered, with her eyes shining like

Through the next few days Winona simply lived for Saturday. To be able
to represent the School! The glorious thought was never for a moment
absent from her mind. She even ventured to tell Aunt Harriet the honor
that had been thrust upon her, and was astonished at the interest with
which her information was received.

On the Saturday afternoon the High School turned up almost in full force
to view the match; juniors were keen as seniors, and the children whom
Winona had coached were wild with excitement. The field was packed with
spectators, for the Ladies' Club had brought many friends. It was even
rumored that a reporter from the Seaton _Weekly Graphic_ was present.
The High School team in navy blue gymnasium costumes, bare heads and
close-plaited pigtails, looked neat and trim and very business-like. "A
much fitter set than we showed last year!" murmured Margaret with
satisfaction. All eyes were riveted on the field as the two opponents
stood out to "bully" and the sticks first clashed together. Winona, her
face aglow with excitement, waited a chance to run. A little later her
opportunity came: she dashed into the masses of the opponents' force,
and with one magnificent stroke swept the ball well onward towards the

"Oh! how precious!" shouted the girls.

Nobody had imagined Winona capable of such a feat. She at once became
the focus of all eyes. It had not occurred to the High School that there
was a real possibility of their winning the match. They had expected to
make a gallant fight and be defeated, retiring with all the honors of
war. Perhaps the Ladies' Club team, who had come to the field secure of
victory, began to feel pangs of uneasiness under their white jerseys.
The situation was supreme. The score had become even. Could the School
possibly do it? That was the question. All looked to Winona for the
answer. She was playing like one inspired. She had not realized her own
capacities before: the wild excitement of the moment seemed to lend
wings to her feet and strength and skill to her arm. One heroic,
never-to-be-forgotten stroke, and the ball was spinning between the
posts. It was a magnificent finish. Frantic applause rose up from the
spectators. The High School cheered its champions in a glorious roar of
victory. The Ladies' Club team were magnanimous enough to offer
congratulations, and their captain shook hands with Winona.

"Glad to see how your standard's gone up!" she remarked to Kirsty
aside. "That half-back of yours is worth her salt!"

Kirsty was literally purring with satisfaction. Last year the High
School had been badly beaten in more than half its matches. This was
indeed a new page in its records.

On Monday morning Winona received a message summoning her to the
prefects' room. She found Margaret, Kirsty, and the other school
officers assembled there.

"Winona Woodward," said the head girl, "we have decided to present you
with the School Service Badge, in recognition of your play on Saturday.
It is felt that you really secured the match, and as this is our first
great victory we consider you deserve to have it recorded in your favor.
Your name has been entered in the book. Come here!"

Winona turned crimson as Margaret pinned the daisy badge on to her

"I--I've been only too proud to do what I can!" she blurted out. "Thanks
most _awfully_!"


A Scare

The Spring Term came to a close with a very fair number of hockey
successes to be placed to the credit of the Seaton High School. Compared
with last year's record it was indeed a great improvement, and Kirsty
felt that though they had not yet established a games reputation, they
at any rate showed good promise of future achievements. She hoped to do
much in the cricket and tennis season, though she certainly acknowledged
there was much to be done. The cricket so far had been such a
half-hearted business that she doubted the advisability of making any

"I believe we'd just better train up for all we're worth," she said at
the committee meeting. "It'll take ages to lick an eleven into shape.
What we want is to get a cricket atmosphere into the school. You can't
develop these things all in a few weeks. You've got to catch your kids
young and teach them, before you get a school with a reputation. I feel
with all the games that we're simply building foundations at present at
the Seaton High. This term especially is spade-work. I'll do all I can
to get things going, but it will be the Games Captain who comes after me
who'll reap the reward."

"Can't you stay on another year?" suggested Patricia.

"Wish I could for some things, but it's impossible. No, I'll do my bit
this term, and then hand over the job to my successor. As I said before,
what we want now is a good start."

Kirsty was a capital organizer. She soon recognized a girl's capacities,
and she had a knack of inspiring enthusiasm even in apparent slackers.
She worked thoroughly hard herself, and insisted that everybody else did
the same. Her motto for the term was the athletic education of the rank
and file. It was really very self-sacrificing of her, for she might have
gained far more credit by concentrating her energies on a few, but for
the ultimate good of the school it was undoubtedly far and away the best
policy to pursue. The training of a number of recruits may not be as
interesting as the polishing up of champions, but in time recruits
become veterans, and a school in which the standard of the ordinary play
is very high has a better general chance than one that depends on an
occasional _solitary_ star. So even the little girls were strictly
supervised in their practices, and both cricket and tennis showed
healthy development.

The Governors and the head mistress were anxious that the games
department should prosper, and gave every encouragement. There were a
larger number of tennis courts provided than fall to the share of most
schools, and each form had its allotted times for play. Athletics were
indeed compulsory, every girl being required to take her due part,
unless she were excused by a medical certificate.

Winona worked with the utmost enthusiasm. As a Fifth Form girl she had,
of course, to be rather humble towards the Sixth, but she felt that
Kirsty approved of her. It was never Kirsty's way to praise, and she
could be scathing in her remarks sometimes, but Winona did not mind
criticism from her captain, and acted so well on all the advice given
that she was making rapid strides. In pursuance of Kirsty's all-round
training policy, she was not allowed to specialize in either tennis or
cricket this summer, but to give equal energy to both. So she practiced
bowling under Hester King's careful supervision, and played exciting
sets while Clarice Nixon stood by to watch and score.

The games appealed to Winona more than any other part of the school
curriculum. She did fairly well now in her Form work, but she knew she
could never be clever like Garnet, and that it was extremely unlikely
that she would win laurels on her books. She had promised Miss Bishop
that she would try to do credit to the school in return for her
scholarship, and to help to raise its athletic reputation seemed her
most feasible method of success.

"I could never get a College Scholarship, however I tried," she thought,
"but--I won't say it's probable, but it's just possible that I might do
something some day in the way of winning matches. Miss Bishop would be
pleased at that!"

The early summer was delightful at Seaton. The park opposite the school
was full of tulips and hyacinths, and the long avenue of trees in the
Abbey Close had burst into tender green foliage. Winona studied her
home lessons sitting by her open bedroom window with a leafy bower
outside, and an accompaniment of jackdaws cawing in the old towers of
the Minster. She loved this window and the prospect from it. There was a
romantic, old-world flavor about the gray pile opposite, its carvings
and cloisters and chiming bells seemed so peaceful and so far removed
from modern trouble. Sometimes indeed the whirr of a biplane would
disturb the quiet as an airman flittered like a great dragon-fly over
the city, reminding her that medieval times were past; while a bugle
call from the neighboring barracks emphasized the fact that the world
was at war. Not that Winona was likely to forget that! Every day in
school the Peace Bell prayer was read at noon, and she might see
regiments of recruits marching up or down the High Street on their way
to their training grounds. Nearly every girl in V.a. had some
relation at the front, and though Winona could not boast of anybody
nearer than a third cousin serving "somewhere in France," she looked for
news as eagerly as the rest.

"It must be glorious to get letters from the trenches," she said half
wistfully one day to Beatrice Howell, who was exulting over a pencil
scrawl written by her brother in a dug-out. "I half wish----"

"No, you don't!" snapped Beatrice. "It's a nightmare to have them in the
firing line! Be thankful your brother's still safe at school."

On the subject of Percy, Winona was far from easy. He had let fall one
or two hints during the Easter holidays which confirmed her previous
suspicion that he had got into a wrong set at Longworth College. He had
written to her twice already this term, wanting to borrow money, and
suggesting that, without mentioning his name, she should ask Miss Beach
to lend it to her. With such a request, however, Winona had utterly
refused to comply.

"Aunt Harriet has been so decent to us I can't begin to sponge on her,"
she wrote back. "Besides, she'd want to know what I wanted such a lot
for, and then all the mischief would be out!"

Apparently Percy was offended, for his usual weekly letter did not
appear. Winona only laughed, expecting he would soon get over his fit of
sulks. She was utterly unprepared for the sequel. One day she received a
note from him written on Y.M.C.A. paper and headed "Horminster." It ran

"DEAR WIN,--I'd got into such an altogether grizzly hole that
there was only one way out, and I've taken it. I am at present a member
of His Majesty's Forces, and if you want to write to me address: Private
P. D. Woodward, 17th Battalion, Royal Rytonshire Fusiliers, Horminster.

                                   "Your affectionate brother,


  "P.S.--You can tell the mater if you like."

Winona, in a great state of excitement, showed the note to Aunt Harriet,
who telegraphed the information to Mrs. Woodward. The latter had just
heard from Percy's housemaster of his disappearance, and was greatly
relieved to have news of his whereabouts. The runaway was below military
age, and his mother's first impulse was to apply for his immediate
discharge. But from this course her best friends dissuaded her. The
headmaster of Longworth College and Mr. Joynson, her trustee, were
unanimous in counseling her to leave the boy alone, and Aunt Harriet
cordially agreed with them.

"Let the lad serve his country!" she wrote to her niece. "He is tall for
his age, and if the Military Authorities have accepted him, well and
good. It seems to me the one thing in the world that is likely to steady
him and give him that sense of responsibility that hitherto he has so
signally lacked. You will make the mistake of your life if you keep him
back now."

It seemed funny to Winona to imagine Percy, so young and boyish,
actually in His Majesty's uniform. He had not yet got his khaki, but he
promised to have a photo taken as soon as ever he was in military garb,
and she looked forward to showing the portrait of her soldier brother to
the girls in her Form. She began a pair of socks for him at once. I
regret to say that Winona's patriotic knitting had languished very much
during the last two terms, but this personal stimulus revived her ardor.
She even took her sock to the tennis court, and, emulating the example
of Patricia Marshall and several other enthusiasts, got quite good
pieces done between the sets. She would have taken it to cricket also,
but Kirsty had sternly made a by-law prohibiting all knitting on the
pitch since Ellinor Cooper, when supposed to be fielding, had
surreptitiously taken her work from her pocket and missed the best catch
of the afternoon, to her everlasting disgrace and the scorn of the
indignant Games Captain.

Kirsty was keen at present upon each Form having its own Eleven, and had
arranged some school matches as trials of skill. The first of these,
Sixth _v._ Fifth, was fixed for the following Saturday afternoon.
Winona, to her ecstatic and delirious delight, had been elected captain
of the combined V.a. and V.b. Eleven, and she was looking forward to the
contest as one of the events of her life. She was aware that on its
success or failure might hang much of her future athletic career at
school, and she was determined to show of what stuff she was made. She
urged her team to make heroic efforts, and got all the practice in that
was available. On the Thursday afternoon she gave everybody a final
drilling. On Friday the pitch would be the property of the Lower School,
so this was the last opportunity of play before the match.

"If any of you muff the ball or do anything stupid, I'll never forgive
you!" she assured her Eleven. "The Sixth are A1 at fielding, so for
goodness' sake don't disgrace our Form. Beware of Patricia's bowling. It
looks simple, but it's the nastiest I know. I'd rather have Kirsty's any
day, because at least you know what to expect from her, and you're on
your guard. Don't try to be clever too soon; it's better not to score at
all during the first over than to run any risks. Evelyn, you were a
mascot to-day! I hope you'll play up equally well on Saturday. By the
by, Joyce, I really can't compliment you on your innings. What were you
thinking of to make that idiotic blind swipe?"

"I don't know!" returned Joyce dolefully. (She was sitting on the fence
looking decidedly crestfallen.) "I'm afraid I'm rather rocky to-day,

"Got nerves? Girl alive! Do brace up!"

"No, it's not nerves. My head's been aching all the week, and I've a
pain across my chest, and I keep shivering. I suppose I must have caught
cold. It'll be a grizzly nuisance if I can't play on Saturday!"

"You _must_ play!" urged Winona. "We've got to beat the Sixth or perish
in the attempt! You go home at once, and get some hot tea, and go to bed
afterwards if you don't feel better. You may stop in bed all to-morrow
if it'll do you good!"

"Thank you, Grannie! Perhaps I will go home now. I really am feeling
rather queer."

"She looks queer, too," said Bessie Kirk to Winona, as they stood
watching Joyce's retreating figure. "I thought she was going to faint a
while ago. It'll be a hideous nuisance if she has to be out of it."

"Our best bowler! It's unthinkable!" groaned Winona.

"It's hard luck, but I'm certain Joyce won't play on Saturday," said
Mary Payne.

The team was feeling rather down at the prospect.

"We may throw up the sponge if Joyce is off!" mourned Olave Parry.

"Shut up, you bluebottle!" snapped Winona, decidedly out of temper.
"Joyce may be absolutely well again by Saturday, and if she isn't
Marjorie Kemp must take her place. Do be sporting! You'll never win if
you make up your mind beforehand that you're going to lose!"

When Winona walked into _V.a._ on the following morning she looked
anxiously in the direction of Joyce's desk, but the familiar check dress
and amber pigtail were not to be seen. Little groups of girls were
standing in clusters, talking in apparent consternation.

"Well! Have you heard the news?" asked Garnet, stepping forward to meet
her friend.

"No. What's the damage? You're looking very down in the dumps!"

"Joyce Newton has developed small-pox!"

"Nonsense!" exploded Winona.

"It's perfectly true," said Garnet, with severe dignity in her voice.
"One only wishes for Joyce's sake that it wasn't! The news has only just
come. Helena Maitland knows about it. She lives next door, and saw the
doctor's car at the Newtons' gate this morning."

"I told you Joyce looked queer yesterday!" said Bessie Kirk.

"Suppose we all catch it!" shuddered Freda Long.

"Don't! It's too horrible!"

There was a feeling of utter consternation among the girls as the bad
news was discussed. They wondered what was going to happen.

"Miss Bishop is telephoning to the Medical Officer of Health,"
volunteered Olave Parry, who had been downstairs to seek fresh

Just then Miss Huntley came into the room, though it was not yet nine
o'clock. She went at once to her desk and took the call over.

"What's going to happen about Joyce?" one or two of the girls ventured
to ask her.

"I don't know yet. I expect we shall all be put into quarantine. Miss
Bishop is making arrangements. In the meantime we will go on with our

It was wise of Miss Huntley to begin the English Language lesson, for
though every one was of course very abstracted, it gave some ostensible
occupation. Before the hour was over Miss Bishop sailed into the room.
She looked pale and anxious, but spoke with her usual calm dignity.

"Girls," she announced, "you have heard of the very difficult situation
in which the school is placed. I have rung up Dr. Barnes, the Medical
Officer of Health, and he tells me that the whole of _V.a._ must be
regarded as 'contact cases.' That means that as Joyce has been amongst
you, it is possible for any of you to develop the disease. In order to
avoid the spread of infection throughout the city, you will have to be
most carefully kept apart. I have sent all the other girls home, and you
will stay at the school during to-day. Dr. Barnes is coming this morning
to re-vaccinate you, and this afternoon you are to be taken to the Camp
at Dunheath, where you will stay until the period of quarantine is over.
Go home? Most certainly not! No girl is to leave the school on any
pretext whatever. I am communicating with your home people and
requesting that they send you a few necessary things to take to the
camp, but no personal interviews can be allowed. Dr. Barnes' orders are
most emphatic. You need not be alarmed, for if you are all re-vaccinated
it is highly improbable that you will be infected, and I think you will
all enjoy yourselves at Dunheath."

When the Principal had gone the girls clustered round Miss Huntley to
discuss the situation.

"Yes, of course I'm going with you," said the mistress. "I'm a contact
case as much as anybody else! Miss Bishop tells me that Dr. Barnes will
send a hospital nurse with us. It's a nuisance to be in quarantine, but
it will be beautiful out in the country just now, and we'll manage to
enjoy ourselves."

The girls took the matter in various fashions according to their
respective temperaments. Some were nervous, while others regarded it as
a joke. The latter rallied their more timorous companions with scant

"Oh, buck up, you sillies!" said Marjorie Kemp, to the tearful plaints
of Agatha James and Irene Mills. "Vaccination doesn't hurt! It's nothing
but a scratch. You might be going to have your arms cut off. For
goodness' sake show some pluck! Suppose you were in the trenches? The
Camp will be just topping. We'll have the time of our lives!"

"If we don't break out in spots!" wailed Irene.

"Well, wait till you do before you make a fuss. You're far more likely
to catch a thing if you're afraid of it."

"Oh, I say!" said Winona, suddenly remembering Saturday's event. "The
match to-morrow will be all off!"

"Hold me up! So it will! What a grizzly nuisance! Oh, the hard luck of

"Well, it can't be helped! We must play the Sixth later on."

"Kirsty'll be as savage as we are!"

"Poor old Joyce, she's responsible for a good deal of damage!"

The rest of the day passed in an extraordinary fashion. V.a.
had the whole of the school premises absolutely and entirely to itself.
The Fourth Form room was turned into a temporary surgery, and Dr. Barnes
installed himself there with tubes of vaccine and packets of new darning
needles. Each girl in turn went first to Miss Bishop and had her arm
thoroughly sterilized with boiled water and boracic lotion, and was then
passed on to the medical officer for vaccination. The scratch with the
needle really did not hurt, and the little operations were soon over.
Sixteen maidens walking about waiting for their arms to dry before
re-donning their blouses made a rather comical sight. The giggles that
ensued raised the spirits of even Agatha and Irene.

"Glad it was done on our left arms! I expect we sha'n't be in much form
for cricket after this, unless we play one-handed!" laughed Winona. "By
the by, will there be any field we can practice on out at the camp?"

"I expect so," returned Miss Huntley. "You had better make a collection
of bats, balls and stumps and a few tennis rackets, and also your school
books. Put them all together, and Miss Bishop will have them sent to

The girls hastened to sort out the necessary impedimenta for cricket and
tennis, but arranged piles of books with less enthusiasm, the general
opinion being that it was rather stiff to be expected to do work at the
Camp. They were each allowed to take a book from the school library, and
Miss Huntley added a pile of foolscap paper, pens and a big bottle of
ink, which the girls devoutly hoped might get broken on the way and thus
save them the labor of writing exercises. They had dinner and a four
o'clock tea at school, after which meal Miss Bishop, who seemed to have
spent most of the day at the telephone, announced that arrangements were
now completed, and that they must get ready to start. Great was the
excitement when at five o'clock a motor char-à-banc made its appearance.
The sixteen "contacts" and Miss Huntley took their places, their
hand-bags, which had been sent from their respective homes during the
course of the day, were stowed away with the rest of their luggage
inside a motor 'bus, and the company, feeling much more like a picnic
party than possibly infected cases, drove merrily away for their period
of quarantine.


The Open-air Camp

If this particular Friday had been an exciting day to the girls of
V.a., it had certainly proved a most agitating one to the
Medical Officer of Health for Seaton. Upon his energy and organization
depended the prevention of a serious epidemic in the city, and he had
shown himself admirably able to cope with the sudden emergency. The
Corporation had lately set up a camp for children threatened with
tuberculosis, and this was commandeered by Dr. Barnes as a suitable
place for quarantine. It lay five miles away from Seaton, on the top of
a hill in a very open situation in the midst of fields, so was
excellently fitted for the purpose. The children under treatment there
had been hurriedly taken back to their homes in Seaton, extra beds and
supplies had been sent out, and a hospital nurse installed in charge, so
that all was in readiness when the char-à-banc arrived.

The Camp consisted of a long wooden shelter or shed, the south side of
which was entirely open to the air. The boarded floor was raised about
three feet above the level of the field, and projected well beyond the
roof line, thus forming a kind of terrace. Inside the shelter was a row
of small beds, and a space was curtained off at either end, on one side
for a kitchen and on the other to make a cubicle for Miss Huntley.
Outside, under a large oak tree, stood a table and benches. Nothing
could have been more absolutely plain and bare as regards furniture. The
girls took possession, however, with the utmost enthusiasm. The idea of
"living the simple life" appealed to them. Who wanted chairs and chests
of drawers and wash-stands? It would be fun to sleep in the shelter, and
spend the whole day out of doors.

"It's too topping for anything!" declared Marjorie Kemp, after a careful
inspection of the premises. "We shall have to keep all our things inside
our bags, and wash in an enameled tin basin, and drink our tea out of

"It will be precious having meals under that tree!" agreed Bessie Kirk.

"What shall we do if it rains?" inquired Irene Mills.

"Go to bed with hot bottles, like the children did," replied Nurse
Robinson. "They always thought that prime fun, so I expect you will too.
You'll soon get into the life here."

The view from the shelter was most beautiful. In the far away distance
they could see the towers of Seaton Minster and the spires of the
churches, while all around lay lush meadows, fields of growing corn, and
woods in the glory of June foliage. The Camp stood in the corner of a
very large pasture, with hedges all covered with lovely wild roses and
tangles of honeysuckle, while a wood close by showed a tempting vista of
pine trees. The fresh country air and the smell of flowers and pines
were delicious.

Life at the Camp was arranged according to a strict time-table. Every
one rose at seven, and a certain number of volunteers helped to prepare
breakfast. Then came bed-making, crockery washing and potato peeling, at
which duties the girls took turns. From 9.30 to 12.30 they had classes
with Miss Huntley, while Nurse Robinson superintended the cooking of the
dinner on the large oil stove. With the exception of an hour's
preparation the rest of the day was free from lessons. Tea was at four
and supper at seven, and by half-past nine every one was in bed, well
covered with blankets, and with a hot bottle if she liked, for the
nights were apt to be chilly to those unaccustomed to sleeping in the
open-air. The rules of quarantine were of course sternly kept. No girl
might go outside the pasture without special permission. Sometimes Miss
Huntley took her flock for a walk along quiet country roads and rambling
by-lanes, but the vicinity of their fellow-creatures was carefully

"We're like the lepers in the Middle Ages!" laughed Garnet. "I feel as
if I ought to wear a coarse white cassock, and ring a bell as I go
about, to warn people to give me a wide berth!"

"It's amusing that the farmer has even driven his cows out of the
pasture since we arrived," said Evelyn. "He let them feed here while the
tuberculous children had their innings, and I should have thought
consumption germs were as bad as small-pox ones."

"They weren't real consumptives though, only threatened!"

"Well, we're not small-pox patients, either, only contacts!"

"I'm sorry for those poor kids, sent suddenly back to their slum homes
after being here for weeks," said Jess Gardner.

"Oh, the kids have had luck! There were only ten of them, and a lady at
Hawberry has rigged up a tent in her garden, and has them all there, so
Nurse told me this morning. They're living on the fat of the land, and
gaining pounds and pounds in weight, by the look of them."

"Good! I don't feel so bad at having turned them out, then. It's great

"Rather! On the whole, I feel thoroughly grateful to Joyce."

From the girls' point of view there really was matter for
congratulation. None of them was ill, and all were having a most
delightful and quite unexpected three weeks' holiday in idyllic
surroundings. Their arms, to be sure, had "taken," and were more or less
sore, but that was a trifling inconvenience compared with the pleasures
of living in Camp. There was no anxiety to be felt about Joyce, she had
the disease very slightly, and was being treated with such extreme care
that her face would not be marked afterwards. It was ascertained that
she had caught the infection from some Belgians who had come over lately
from Holland, and who were now isolated by Dr. Barnes in a Cottage
Hospital. The Seaton High School was undergoing elaborate disinfection,
and as June was well advanced, the Governors had decided not to re-open
until September, when all possibility of contagion would have passed
away. This was the only part of the proceedings that did not please the

"It's rather sickening to have no end to the term," groaned Marjorie.
"Our matches are all off, and no swimming display or sports. It's rough
on Margaret and Kirsty particularly. Do you realize that when we go back
in September they'll both have left? All the prefects are leaving."

"Oh, hard luck! Who'll take their places?"

"Some of our noble selves, I suppose, if we're promoted to the Sixth."

"Who'll be General and Games Captain?"

"Ah! Ask me a harder, my intelligent child."

"I think I could put my finger on one of them, at any rate."

"So could I, perhaps, but I don't care to prophesy too soon," sighed

Whoever might be destined to wear future laurels at school, Winona, as
Captain of the V.a. team, assumed direction of the games at the
Camp. Part of the pasture was sufficiently level to make quite a fair
cricket pitch, while a piece in the opposite corner served as a tennis
court. An old man from the farm was bribed to come and cut the grass
with a scythe, but as no lawn-mower or roller was available, the result
was decidedly rough. The tennis enthusiasts rigged up a tape in lieu of
a net, and marked some courts with lime begged from the farmer. Their
games, owing to the general bumpiness of the ground, had at least the
charm of variety and excitement, and four umpires had to keep careful
and continual watch in order to decide whether the balls went over or
under the tape, which indeed collapsed occasionally, as the poles were
only sticks cut from the hedge.

If the tennis was funny, the cricket was even funnier. Many of the girls
could not use their left arms at all, consequently the batting was
extraordinary, and sometimes the easiest catches were missed. It was
very amusing, however, and perhaps for that reason provided more
entertainment than the most strict and orthodox play under the critical
eye of Kirsty might have done.

Really the quarantine party had a most idyllic time. In the warm June
weather it was delightful to live out of doors. There were rosy-violet
dawns and golden-red sunsets, and clear starry nights when the planet
Venus shone like a lamp in the dark blue of the sky, and owls would fly
hooting from the woods, and bats come flitting round the shelter in
search of moths. One day, indeed, was wet, but the girls sat or lay on
their beds, and read or talked, and played games, with intervals of
exciting dashes in mackintoshes to fetch cans of water, or dishes from
the larder.

On Sundays there was of course no church-going, but Miss Huntley read
morning prayers, and in the evening they sang hymns, each girl in turn
choosing the one she liked best. "All things bright and beautiful,"
"Nearer, my God, to Thee," and "Now the day is over" were prime
favorites, but perhaps the most popular of all was the ancient Hymn of
St. Patrick, which Miss Huntley had copied from a book of Erse
literature, and had adapted to an old Irish tune. The girls learnt it
easily, and its fifth century Celtic mysticism fascinated them. They
liked such bits as:

    "In light of sun, in gleam of snow
    Myself I bind;
    In speed of lightning, in depth of sea
    In swiftness of wind.
    God's Might to uphold me,
    God's Wisdom to guide,
    God's shield to protect me
    In desert and wild."

    *   *   *

    "Christ with me, before me,
    Behind me and in me,
    O Threeness in Oneness
    I praise and adore Thee."

"In Ireland it is sometimes called the Shamrock Hymn," said Miss
Huntley, "because St. Patrick used the little green shamrock leaf to
explain to the chiefs the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. The original is
in a very ancient dialect of the Irish Celtic, and was preserved in an
old manuscript book written on parchment. It always reminds me of the
'Benedicite omnia opera' of our prayer-book; the thought is the same in
both: 'O ye spirits and souls of the righteous, bless ye the Lord' is
about the sum of it all."

Except for the trifling trouble of vaccination, the effects of which in
most cases were soon over, the quarantine party enjoyed radiant health.
Dr. Barnes came twice a week to inspect, and Nurse Robinson kept a
vigilant watch for headaches, back-aches, and sickness. None of these
symptoms appeared, however, and all began to congratulate themselves
that the infection had been avoided. There was a burst of warm weather
at the beginning of July, which made the hill breezes of Dunheath highly
acceptable. It was too hot during the daytime to play active games; the
girls lounged about under the shade of the trees, and read the
illustrated papers with which they were kept plentifully supplied.

"I've never really had time before to study the toilet hints," said
Beatrice Howell one afternoon, poring over a certain page headed "My
Lady's Boudoir." "It seems to me that we ought to take our complexions
more seriously. We actually wash our faces with soap and water, and
'Lady Veronica' says here that that's an absolutely suicidal practice
for delicate skins. She gives all kinds of recipes for what one should
do. I wish I could have a few lessons in face massage. I wonder how hard
one ought to rub? And why a downward movement all the time?" (Beatrice
was stroking her cheeks contemplatively as she spoke.) "Why mayn't you
rub upwards?"

"The Princess recommends gentle pinching," said Mollie Hill, who was
studying the columns of a rival paper, "and then an application of Mrs.
Courtenay's lavender cream. We ought to be careful not to get freckled
or sunburnt. 'Lady Marjorie' gives some splendid prescriptions against
both. I wonder how the papers always get the aristocracy to write their
Beauty Hints? I shouldn't have thought they'd have condescended to
reveal their secrets!"

"My good girl! Don't flatter yourself that either 'Lady Veronica' or
'Lady Marjorie' is a member of the aristocracy," chuckled Bessie Kirk.
"They're probably most plebeian and dowdy-looking individuals living in
Bloomsbury boarding-houses, with pasty complexions and freckled noses,
and they get a percentage on the preparations they recommend. If you
notice, they always tell you to use Mrs. Somebody's pomade or face
cream, and it's generally very expensive."

"Oh, but this one's home-made!" declared Beatrice. "Look here! It says:
'Take an ounce of spermaceti, and melt it in a pan with a teacupful of
rose water. When thoroughly mixed, add an ounce of Vodax, which may be
obtained from any chemist, stir until quite cold, then put into pots.'
I'm sure that sounds simple enough, in all conscience."

"What about the Vodax, though? If you went to the chemist's you'd find
it is a patent preparation, and very expensive, and it would just knock
the bottom out of the 'home-made' theory of the recipe."

"There must be something in all these hints, though," said Mollie
plaintively, "or the paper wouldn't publish them every week."

"Well, perhaps there is, to a certain extent, but just think of the time
it would take to carry them out, to say nothing of the expense of
cosmetics. Here, give me the book a sec, and a piece of pencil. I want
to make a calculation. Now, if you really follow 'Lady Marjorie's'
advice, your day will run something like this. It's a kind of beauty

Face Massage, Morning                                       10 minutes
 "     "      Evening                                       10   "
Hair Drill, Morning                                         15   "
 "     "    Evening                                         15   "
Application of cloths wrung out in hot water to face daily  30   "
Breathing Exercises                                         15   "
Physical    "                                               15   "
Manicure                                                     5   "
Oatmeal applications                                         5   "
                                                       Total 2 hours.

"Now, if you're going to put in two hours every day at your toilet, it
seems to me that you won't have much time left for games, unless you can
get your prep. excused on the ground that you're studying beauty
culture. I'd like to see Bunty's face if you asked her!"

"Don't be piggish!" said Mollie. "One has no need to cultivate a tough
skin, just because one's fond of cricket and hockey. I hate to see girls
with hard red cheeks and freckles."

It was certainly not possible to obtain Mrs. Courtenay's lavender cream
or any other toilet specialties at the Camp. Beatrice and Mollie,
however, impressed with the necessity of preserving their complexions,
commandeered some of the buttermilk which was sent daily from the farm,
and dabbed it plentifully over their faces before retiring to bed,
following the application with massage to the best of their ability.
They were emulated in these toilet rites by Agatha James, Mary Payne and
Olave Parry, who also studied the beauty hints columns, and liked to try
experiments. One day Agatha found an entirely new suggestion in a copy
of "The Ladies' Portfolio." A correspondent wrote strongly advocating
common salt as a hair tonic. It was to be rubbed in at night, and
brushed out again in the morning.

Apparently nothing could be more simple. Beatrice, being on kitchen
duty, had access to the salt-box. She purloined a good breakfastcupful,
and divided the spoils with her four confederates. They all rubbed the
salt carefully into the roots of their hair. Next morning, however, when
they essayed to brush it out again, it obstinately refused to budge, and
remained hard and gritty among their tresses. They were very much
concerned. What was to be done? The only obvious remedy was to wash
their hair. Now the one drawback of the Camp was its shortage of water.
The daily supply had to be carried in buckets from the farm, and as,
owing to the warm dry weather, the well was getting low, their allowance
at present was rather small, and had to be carefully husbanded. The
amount doled out for washing purposes certainly was quite inadequate
for the due rinsing of five plentiful heads of hair.

"I suppose we shall just have to grin and bear it till we can get home
and can mermaid properly in a bath!" sighed Mary.

"Oh, I can't! I'm going to wash mine somehow. Look here, suppose we
sneak off quietly this afternoon, and go on a water hunt?"

"There isn't a stream or a pond anywhere near."

"We haven't tried the wood!"

"Well, we're not allowed there, of course."

"I don't see why we shouldn't go. The young pheasants must be all
hatched, and running about by this time, so what harm could we do?
Besides which, nobody's troubling about preserving game during the war.
They're shooting Germans instead of birds this year."

"Very likely the gamekeeper has enlisted," suggested Beatrice, "in which
case there'd be no one to stop us."

Now the strict law of the Camp confined the girls to the pasture, but as
it was the last week of the quarantine, they were beginning to grow a
little slack about rules. The five victims of the salt cure waited until
Miss Huntley and Nurse Robinson were enjoying their afternoon siesta;
then, without waiting for any permission, they climbed the fence into
the lane, found a thin place in the hedge, and scrambled into the wood.
It was a thrillingly exciting experience. Rather scratched and panting,
they surveyed the prospect. Trees were everywhere, with a thick
undergrowth of bramble and bracken. Apparently there was no path at all.

"I suppose we shall just have to wander about till we see a pond!"
remarked Agatha.

"I believe some people can find water with a forked hazel twig," said
Olave. "They hold it loosely in their hands, and it jerks when the
water's near. I wish I knew how to do it!"

"Oh, water-finders are occult people," laughed Beatrice, "the sort that
see spooks and do table-turning, you know. Besides, they find
underground water, and tell where wells ought to be dug. We want a pond
which any one can see with the naked eye, without being endowed with
psychic powers. My natural reason tells me to go down hill, and perhaps
we'll strike it in a hollow."

The girls rambled on, thoroughly enjoying the coolness of the shade and
the beauty of the wood. As Beatrice had prophesied, when they reached
the foot of the incline they came across quite a good-sized pool, with
reeds and iris growing on its banks. They rejoiced exceedingly.

Now it is one thing to wash one's hair in a bath or a basin, but quite
another to perform that operation in a pond with shallow muddy edges.
The girls took off their shoes and stockings, tucked up their skirts and
waded into the middle, where they made gallant efforts at dipping and
rinsing their heads, and contrived to get uncommonly wet in the process.
They wrung out their dripping tresses, mopped them with handkerchiefs
(for nobody had dared to take a towel), and spread them out over their
shoulders to dry. There was an open glade close by, where they could
squat in the sunshine, and let the breeze help the process. Mary had had
the forethought to put a comb in her pocket and she lent it round in
turns. They were sitting in a row, like five mermaids, extremely
complacent and satisfied with themselves, when footsteps suddenly
crashed through the wood, and a middle-aged man approached them. For
once Beatrice's calculations were wrong. The gamekeeper had not yet
enlisted. No doubt he would have been far better employed in the
trenches somewhere in France, but here he was, still in England, and
looking extremely surly and truculent.

"You've no business to be in this wood," he began. "Can't you read the
trespass notices? There's plenty of them about. What do you mean by
coming in here, disturbing the pheasants?"

"We aren't doing any harm!" protested Olave.

"That's neither here nor there. You've no business here, and you know
it! Are you from that camp up the hill?"


"Then take yourselves off at once--spreading small-pox!"

"We've none of us had small-pox!" returned Beatrice indignantly. "We've
told you we weren't doing any harm. Still, if this will make things
right----" and she slipped half-a-crown into his hand.

The gamekeeper's expression changed considerably, and his tone
instantly became more respectful.

"Well, young ladies, I have to do my duty, and of course you understand
the pheasants mustn't be disturbed anyhow. Perhaps you won't mind going
back to the Camp now. I'll show you a path that will take you into the

He led the way, and the girls followed in subdued silence, feeling
rather crestfallen. Mollie was yearning to tell him that he ought to be
doing his duty by his country instead of by the pheasants. If at that
moment she could have found a white feather, I believe she would have
presented it to him. The path ended in a small gate which he unlocked.
He ushered them solemnly into the lane, pointed out a trespass notice
that was nailed conspicuously on to a tree, and then retired into the
fastnesses of the wood. The girls decided that, unless actually
compelled, they would not divulge where they had been.

"It was a bit of hard luck to be caught!" giggled Olave. "Didn't you
feel queer when he came up?"

"I thought he was a beast, and didn't deserve propitiating with a tip!"
declared Agatha.

"But we washed our hair!" rejoiced Mary, plaiting her long dark


Captain Winona

To the entire satisfaction of themselves, their relations, and Dr.
Barnes, the girls passed safely through their period of quarantine, and
were certified as fit once more to take their places among the rest of
the world. They left the Camp almost with regret. They had been such a
jolly, merry party, and had enjoyed such high jinks there, that they
felt their departure closed a pleasant episode. They were going straight
home to holidays, however, which was a very different matter from
returning to work. The remainder of July and the month of August passed
very swiftly to Winona. She missed Percy, who was in training with his
regiment, but since the advent of their new governess, Letty and Mamie
had grown more sensible, and proved quite pleasant companions. Letty
especially seemed suddenly to have awakened, so far as her intellectual
capacities were concerned. She had begun to devour Scott and Dickens,
took a keen interest in nature study, and tried--sometimes with rather
comical effect--to be extremely superior and grown-up.

"She's far cleverer really than I am," thought Winona. "Pity she's not
at the Seaton High! She'd be the star of her form directly. I wish she
could get a scholarship some day."

With her school experience in coaching juniors, Winona was able to give
her family some drilling in the matter of cricket, though she did not
find that younger brothers and sisters proved such docile pupils as the
members of III.a. and III.b. It was the usual case of "a prophet is not
without honor, save in his own country," and while to High School
juniors she preserved the authority and dignity of a senior, to Letty,
Mamie, Ernie, Godfrey, and Dorrie she was "only Winona." She practiced
tennis with the Vicarage girls, and was surprised to find how much her
play had improved. Last summer they had nearly always beaten her, now it
was she who scored the victories.

"I've learnt how to play games at 'The High,' even if my report was only
moderate," she said to herself.

To make up for the long holiday caused by the small-pox scare, school
was to commence at the beginning of September. Aunt Harriet, who had not
been well, and was taking a rest in Scotland, wrote that her house in
Abbey Close was shut up for the present, but that she was making other
arrangements for her great-niece until her return. This term a hostel
was to be opened in connection with the High School, and Winona was to
be a boarder there for a few weeks. She was uncertain whether she liked
the prospect or not, but she nevertheless left home in good spirits.

The hostel was under the superintendence of Miss Kelly. It was prettily
furnished, and looked bright and pleasant. The girls had a common
sitting-room, where they could read, write, paint or play games, and the
bedrooms were divided into cubicles. So far there were only ten
boarders, though there was accommodation for eighteen, but no doubt the
numbers would be increased when the venture became better known.

The school seemed very strange without the familiar figures of Margaret
Howell, Kirsty Paterson, Patricia Marshall and the other prefects. All
of the Sixth had left except Linda Fletcher and Dorrie Pollock, and the
members of V.a. were now promoted to the top form. Linda
Fletcher was head of the school, the new prefects being Hilda Langley,
Agatha James, Bessie Kirk, Grace Olliver, Evelyn Richards and Garnet
Emerson. Linda, with her past year's experience, made an extremely
suitable "Head." She understood thoroughly what ought to be done, and at
once called a mass meeting of the whole school in the gymnasium.
Everybody clapped as Linda stood up on the platform to open the
proceedings. She had been a favorite as a prefect, so she was welcomed
in her new capacity of "General."

"Girls!" she began. "I felt it was better to lose no time in calling
this meeting to settle the affairs of the coming school year. I am in a
difficult position, because I have to follow such an extremely able and
efficient 'Head.' I'm afraid I can't hope to rival Margaret Howell
(cries of "Yes! Yes!" and "You'll do!" from the audience), but at least
I shall try to do my duty. During the past year we may fairly consider
that the 'Seaton High' made enormous strides. Owing to the exertions of
our former 'Head' and prefects a most excellent foundation has been
laid. The Dramatic Society, the Debating Club, the Literary Association,
the Photographic Union and the Natural History League all accomplished
very satisfactory work, and may be considered in a most flourishing
condition. Perhaps, though, our greatest improvement is in the direction
of games. This may not appear on the surface, for though we won five
hockey matches, it was impossible, for reasons well known to you, to
have fixtures for hockey and tennis. We feel, nevertheless, that in
spite of our inability to test our skill against that of other schools
we are conscious of the enormous all-round improvement that has taken
place in our play. It was Kirsty Paterson's policy to train recruits for
the games so that every girl in the school might be a possible champion.
How well she succeeded I hope our next season's matches may testify. Let
us all work together for the good of the school, and try to establish
the reputation of the 'Seaton High.' I need not remind you that
everything in the coming year will depend upon the energy and efficiency
of the Games Captain. As soon as I knew that I was 'Head,' I wrote to
Kirsty, who is staying in Cornwall, and asked for her opinion upon this
most important point. I want to read you an extract from her reply,
which I received this morning. She says:

"'You ask me who is to be the new Games Captain. Well, of course it is
a delicate matter to nominate my own successor, but from my knowledge of
everybody's capacities I should most decidedly suggest Winona Woodward.
She is a good all-round player herself, and has a particular aptitude
for organization, which should prove invaluable. She thoroughly
appreciates the advantage of having reserves to fall back upon, and is
most keen on keeping up the standard. I do hope the dear old "High" will
have a splendid year. I shall be frantic to hear how you get on. Send me
a p.c. with the result of the meeting.'

"Well," continued Linda, "you've heard Kirsty's opinion. It coincides
entirely with mine. Will some one kindly propose that Winona Woodward
shall be elected Games Captain?"

"I have much pleasure in making the proposal," said Bessie Kirk,
standing up promptly.

"And I have much pleasure in seconding it," murmured Grace Olliver.

"Will all who are in favor kindly hold up their hands? Carried
unanimously! I'm extremely glad, as I'm sure Winona is 'the right man
for the job,' and worthy to carry on Kirsty's traditions. I vote we give
her three cheers!"

Winona flushed crimson as the hip-hip-hoorays rang forth. She had never
expected such a complete walk-over. She had known that her name was to
be submitted for the captaincy, but she had thought that Bessie Kirk and
Marjorie Kemp held equal chances, and that the voting would probably be
fairly evenly divided. That Kirsty should have written to nominate her
was an immense gratification. Kirsty's praise at the time had been
scant, and Winona had no idea that her former chief held her in such
esteem. To Winona the occasion seemed the triumph of her life. She would
rather be Games Captain than have any other honor that could possibly be
offered to her. Glorious visions of successful matches, of shields or
cups won, and a county reputation for the school swam before her eyes.
And she--Winona Woodward--was to have the privilege of leading and
directing all this! It was indeed a thrilling prospect. Her thoughts
went back to the symposium of a year ago, when as a new and unknown
girl, she had listened to Margaret Howell's inspiring speech. How
unlikely it had seemed then that she would ever have a hand in making
school history, but how her spirit had been stirred, and how she had
longed to do her part! It was something to have realized her pet

"It was most awfully good of you to propose me," she said to Bessie Kirk
afterwards. "You'd a splendid chance yourself."

"Not I!" returned Bessie lightly. "Kirsty's letter settled the whole
business. I shouldn't have made nearly as good a Captain as you. I don't
care to bother with the kids, and I'd hate all the business part of it,
making the fixtures and that sort of thing, you know. You'll be A1, and
we'll all play up no end. I believe we dare venture a fixture with Grant
Park this season."

Winona fully realized the responsibilities of her important position,
and began at once to pick up the threads of her new duties. She took
possession of the Games Register, with its records of past matches, and
began to make plans for hockey fixtures. The term had begun so early
that the other schools in the county had not yet re-opened; that,
however, was really an advantage, as it gave her more time for
consideration. At present the September weather was hot as summer, and
tennis and cricket were still in full swing. In order to spur on
enthusiasm Winona organized a school tennis tournament. The result was
highly satisfactory. Several new and unsuspected stars swam into view,
and she determined to keep her eye upon them as possible champions for
next summer.

"You never know what a girl's capable of till you try her!" she confided
to Garnet. "Who would ever have thought that that stupid-looking little
Emily Cooper could beat Ethel March? I was simply astounded. I've my
plans for Emily, I can tell you! And I believe Bertha March is going to
be a second Annie Hardy. She serves in exactly the same way. Oh, I've
hopes for next summer. Brilliant, glorious hopes."

The school took every opportunity of using the fine weather while it
lasted. The Photographic Union organized an outing to Linworth, a
picturesque town six miles away, where an old castle, an Elizabethan
mansion, a river and many quaint streets made subjects for their
cameras, and promised to provide materials for an exhibition later on,
when films were developed and prints taken. The Natural History League
had another delightful ramble under Miss Lever's leadership, and
secured additional specimens for the museum. On this occasion Winona and
Garnet started in better time for the station, and did not get into the
wrong train, as they had done on the expedition to Monkend Woods.

"Dollikins," as Miss Lever was affectionately nicknamed, was as great a
favorite as ever among the girls. Owing to changes on the staff, she now
had charge of IV.a. and taught mathematics throughout the
junior forms, so that the seniors saw little of her in school hours. On
a ramble she was as jolly as one of themselves.

The Sixth had a new mistress, Miss Goodson, who had only joined the
staff this term. The form was rather uncertain whether to like her or
not. It was rumored that she had been engaged specially to coach them
for the matriculation. So far the High School had been laying
foundations, and had not sent in any candidates for public examinations.
This year, however, having a certain amount of promising material in the
Sixth, Miss Bishop had decided that the time was ripe for trying to win
the educational laurels towards which their training had been directed.
Miss Goodson came from a High School in the north, and brought with her
a reputation for successful coaching. She was well up in all her
subjects, but she was a cold and not very inspiring person. She was apt
to concentrate her energies on the clever members of her form, and leave
the less brilliant to stumble along as best they could. Winona, who
certainly belonged to the second category, did not like Miss Goodson,
while Garnet was strongly in her favor.

In her new capacity of prefect, Garnet proved a success. She was as
enthusiastic over the "bookish" side of the school as Winona over the
athletic department. She was President of the Literary Association, a
member of the Debating Club Committee, and head librarian. The school
library had grown and prospered exceedingly since its installation by
Margaret Howell. It now numbered nearly five hundred volumes, and its
shelves almost filled the Prefects' Room. Garnet managed it
systematically. She had special hours at which books were issued, and
assistants whose business it was to be on duty at the specified times.

Among other improvements in the school welcomed by the girls was the
advent of a fresh drilling mistress, and some new apparatus for
gymnastics. Under Miss Barbour, "Gym" became highly popular, and it was
felt that an athletic display would probably be held at Christmas. This
was something to work for, and every one seemed much keener than
formerly. Winona was naturally an enthusiast, and tried to keep others
up to the mark. She had once seen an "Assault-at-Arms" at Percy's
college, and the memory of it made her long for the Seaton High School
to have a similar opportunity of showing its prowess. She and a select
circle of friends practiced whenever possible. Altogether among the
various athletic activities of the school, Captain Winona promised
herself a very enjoyable year in the Sixth Form.


The Hostel

Aunt Harriet had intended to return home towards the end of September,
but her health continued so unsatisfactory that her doctor ordered her
to Harrogate to drink the waters, and advised a long period of rest and
change before again taking up the many occupations with which she busied
herself in Seaton. Miss Beach was a restive patient, and Dr. Sidwell
knew that if he once allowed her to be within reach of committees, she
would plunge herself into work, while to keep away from the scenes of
her former activity was her only chance of recovery.

The house in Abbey Close was still shut up, and Winona for the present
term was established at the Hostel. On the whole she liked it. She
missed certain things, particularly her own bedroom, and the quiet
dining-room where she had been accustomed to prepare her lessons, but
life in a community had its compensations. It was a nuisance to have to
sleep in the same dormitory with Betty Carlisle, who snored offensively,
but, on the other hand, Winona's cubicle was next to the window, with
the little balcony that overlooked the park, and every morning she could
watch an aëroplane hovering and flitting like a beautiful dragon-fly
over the city. Seaton possessed a Government aircraft factory, and each
finished machine had to be carefully tested. All the girls in the school
were extremely interested in the exploits of Lieutenant Mainwaring, a
member of the Flying Corps, who might constantly be seen practicing. He
was a cousin of Elsie Mainwaring, a Fifth Form girl. Elsie recorded his
doings with immense pride, and provided up-to-date information of his
whereabouts. He was a very daring young fellow, and was reported to have
looped the loop. Winona had never witnessed the performance of this
feat, so she looked out eagerly each day, hoping she might have the luck
to see him do it. When the biplane came swooping over the park, she
would wave her handkerchief to it from the balcony by way of
encouragement. She was immensely patriotic, and she considered that our
airmen deserved praise almost beyond any other branch of our forces. She
often wished Percy were in the Flying Squadron. She cut out all the
pictures of aëroplanes from the Seaton _Graphic_, and pinned them up in
her cubicle. There was a portrait of Lieutenant Mainwaring among the
number, and this she placed on her dressing-table, side by side with
Percy's photograph. According to Elsie it was a very bad likeness, but
as Winona had not seen the original, except at a distance, she had no
means of judging. Curiosity led her to borrow a pair of field-glasses
from Garnet. She was standing one morning on the balcony when the
aëroplane came in sight, and hovered quite low down over the park,
exactly opposite the hostel windows. Through her glasses Winona could
plainly see the occupant. The impulse to smile and wave was
irresistible. To her immense surprise the signal was returned. In
frantic excitement she waved again, and shouted "Hooray!"

"What are you doing, Winona Woodward?" snapped a voice behind her, and
turning guiltily, she found herself face to face with Miss Kelly.

"I--I was only looking at the aëroplane," stammered Winona.

"Come in at once! You know perfectly well that this sort of thing is not
allowed. I am very much surprised and disgusted. If I find you signaling
to gentlemen again from this balcony, I shall change your dormitory.
Whose field-glasses are those?"

"Garnet Emerson's," said Winona sulkily.

"Then you must give them back to Garnet this morning. Remember, that
such unladylike conduct must never happen again at the hostel."

Winona considered herself very much aggrieved. She had waved on the spur
of the moment, and to have her innocent and impulsive act construed into
"signaling to gentlemen," and reproved as "unladylike conduct," was
highly aggravating. Miss Kelly was a disciplinarian, and of a very
suspicious temperament. Her idea of duty was the French one of
"surveillance." She never trusted the girls, or put them upon their
honor; her mode of procedure was to keep an eye upon them, and to pop in
suddenly and surprise them. They resented this attitude extremely.

"Miss Kelly always gives us credit for going to do the very worst!"
grumbled Betty Carlisle.

"She puts ideas into our heads!" declared Doris Hooper indignantly.

The gist of the trouble was this: the girls at the hostel expected to
have as much liberty as if they were in their own homes, while Miss
Kelly, who had formerly been a mistress at St. Chad's, wished to enforce
strict boarding-school rules. It was much more difficult to do this
because the hostel only formed part of a large day school; the general
atmosphere of the place was more free than at a college where all alike
are boarders, and the girls naturally were infected by the prevailing
spirit. A constant source of annoyance was the rule that they must
report themselves in the hostel at 4.15. It was the fashion to linger
after school, and chat in the "gym" or in the playground. It was a
delightful little time, when everybody could meet every one else, and
discuss school news and matches and guilds and other interesting topics.
To be obliged, for no particular reason, to cut short their
conversations and race back to the hostel was annoying. The boarders
evaded the rule as far as possible, but Miss Kelly kept a roll-call, and
they knew that their absences would be duly reported to Miss Bishop.

To Winona, in especial, many of the rules were extremely irksome. At
more than sixteen and a half, she felt it ridiculous to be obliged to
ask permission to go out and buy a lead pencil at the stationer's.
"It's like living in a convent!" she fumed.

Another bone of contention was her preparation. She had been so
accustomed to work in a room by herself at Abbey Close that she found
the presence of others highly distracting. Though silence was enforced,
the girls fluttered the leaves of their books, scratched with their
pens, or even murmured dates under their breath, all of which sounds
were most irritating. Winona begged to be allowed to take her books to
her cubicle, but Miss Kelly would not hear of it.


"I cannot make an exception for one," she replied, "and it would be
impossible to allow girls to work as they liked in the dormitories.
There would be more talking than preparation! You'll stay here with the
others, and I can see for myself what you're doing."

The hint that Miss Kelly suspected her of some ulterior motive for
wishing to study upstairs enraged Winona, but she was obliged to submit,
and to sit, close under the mistress' eye, at the long table, in company
with her fellow-boarders. Her work suffered in consequence, and Miss
Goodson's sarcasms descended on her head. Miss Goodson was not so
patient a teacher as Miss Huntley, and Winona tried her temper at times.
Winona was subject to curious fits of stupidity. Her brains were like a
clock with a broken cog. Sometimes they would work easily, and on other
days she seemed quite unable to grasp the most obvious problems. A
lively imagination may be a very delightful possession, and of use in
the writing of history and literature exercises, but it cannot supply
the place of solid facts, nor is it of the least aid in mathematics, so
Winona's form record was not high.

The hockey season would commence at the beginning of October, but during
September, while the weather was still warm, the girls continued to play
cricket on Wednesdays. The school was fortunate enough to possess large
playing fields; these adjoined the public park, in itself a big area, so
that quite a fine open space lay below the buildings. One afternoon,
just as Winona was having her innings, Elsie Mainwaring uttered a cry,
and pointed overhead. Far up in the clouds was the aëroplane, and it was
gracefully looping the loop.

"It's Harry! He's showing off for our benefit!" squealed Elsie
excitedly. "I told him we should be playing cricket to-day. Oh! didn't
he do it cleverly? He went just straight head over heels in the air!
Let's wave to him, and perhaps he'll come down a little."

Handkerchiefs fluttered out so briskly that the field resembled a
washing day. Miss Barbour was signaling as vigorously as the rest.
Evidently Lieutenant Mainwaring took the display for an invitation, the
biplane descended like a hawk, and to every one's immense gratification
alighted on the school ground. To see a real live airman at such close
quarters was not an ordinary experience. Elsie promptly introduced her
cousin to Miss Barbour and begged that they might all inspect the
machine. Lieutenant Mainwaring good-naturedly explained the various
parts; perhaps he rather enjoyed a visit to a Ladies' School! He did
not stay long, however, but after a few minutes started his engine and
went soaring up again into the blue of the sky, and wheeling over the
towers of the old Minster was soon lost to sight behind some clouds.

"It must be glorious to fly!" sighed Winona.

In spite of Miss Kelly's injunctions she could not help looking out of
her window every morning for the aëroplane, and giving a surreptitious
wave. She told herself that she was only acting patriotically in
cheering on our aërial defenses. The back of the hostel opened into the
school playground, and one day Winona, taking a run there for exercise
before breakfast, heard the familiar whirring, and looking up, beheld
the flying-machine poised just overhead. She heard a shout from the
occupant, and something dropped into the playground. She ran to pick it
up. It was a packet of chocolates! She tried to wave thanks, but the
biplane had moved on, and was now far over the town, Lieutenant
Mainwaring no doubt having enjoyed his little joke of innocent

Now most unfortunately for Winona, Miss Kelly's bedroom window
overlooked the playground, and she had been a witness of the whole
incident. She came out now in extreme wrath, confiscated the chocolates,
and scolded Winona sharply.

"But it's not my fault! I'd no idea he was going to drop anything!"
protested Winona indignantly.

"After what has happened before, I can only draw my own conclusions,"
returned the mistress icily. "You will change to Number 3 dormitory

"But, Miss Kelly----"

"Don't argue! I warned you that I should move you if I found any more
signaling going on. Your aunt will have to hear about this!"

When Winona returned to the hostel that afternoon, and went upstairs,
she found that all her possessions had been cleared out of Number 2
dormitory, and placed in Number 3, which being at the side of the house
had no view except the school buildings. The contents of her drawers had
been transferred intact; her brushes, books and home photos were placed
on her new dressing-table, but all the pictures of aëroplanes and the
portrait of Lieutenant Mainwaring, which she had cut out of the Seaton
_Graphic_, had disappeared. Winona sat down on the bed and laughed. She
was very much annoyed, but the humor of the situation appealed to her.

"It's too idiotic of Miss Kelly! Does she think I'm going to elope in an
aëroplane? I never heard of anything so silly in my life! She may tell
Aunt Harriet if she pleases. I don't care! Why, I don't suppose
Lieutenant Mainwaring knows me from any other girl in the school. He
just dropped those chocs. on spec. It was a shame I wasn't allowed to
eat them!"

Miss Kelly, very keen on upholding discipline in her new hostel,
considered that she had successfully squashed an incipient flirtation,
and kept a stern eye on all the elder girls, and most particularly on
Winona, for fear some repetition of the offense might occur. The
boarders were justly indignant.

"Too bad!" was the general verdict. "Winona's not a scrap that sort of
girl really, if Miss Kelly only knew. It's absurd to make such a fuss."

Out of sheer bravado and love of mischief, the remaining occupants of
Number 2 dormitory waved not only handkerchiefs but towels from the
balcony when they heard the whirring of the aëroplane overhead, enjoying
the exciting sensation that any moment they might be pounced upon by
Miss Kelly. No doubt in time they would have been discovered in the act,
but at the end of three days Lieutenant Mainwaring was sent to the
front, and his successor, not having a cousin at the Seaton High School,
took no interest in school girls, and flew over the city oblivious of
everything except his engines.

"I don't suppose he'd notice if we waved a sheet!" said Betty Carlisle

"The police might though, and they'd think you were signaling to
Germans," replied Doris Hooper. "Come in, Bet, it's no use! Girl alive,
quick! I hear the dragon's fairy footsteps in the passage. Do you want
to get your head bitten off?"

In spite of occasional hostilities with Miss Kelly, Winona managed to
have a good deal of fun at the hostel. The other girls were jolly, and
in the evenings, when preparation was finished, they would play games
together in their sitting-room. There were high jinks in the
dormitories, and small excitements over little happenings, which,
however trivial they might be, provided considerable entertainment to
the participants. Only one really stormy incident occurred during
Winona's term at the hostel, and that had nothing to do with Miss Kelly.

One Saturday morning, when Winona, Betty and Doris were in the town
shopping, they happened to meet Clarice Nixon, who stopped to chat, and
ask for school news.

"I feel fearfully out of things now I've left," said Clarice. "It'll be
a stale winter without hockey."

"Why don't you join a Club?" suggested Winona.

"Shouldn't care to! It would be no fun to play with a team I don't know.
The Seaton Ladies' Club is the only decent one, and I hear they're so
cliquey. I wish we could get up an Old Girls' Hockey Club!"

"Why, that would be simply glorious! What a splendiferous idea! Oh, do
let us try! Then we could have a Past _versus_ Present match. Oh!
wouldn't it be precious?"

"Have you settled up your fixtures?"

"Very nearly."

"Then we ought to get this thing in hand at once. You're Games Captain,
so you ought to organize it. Write round to-day to all the old girls you
know, and ask them to come to a meeting on Monday."

"Isn't that rather soon?" said Betty.

"Not a bit. No time must be wasted, if the club's to be a going concern
for this season. Don't let the grass grow under your feet, is my

Winona was naturally impulsive. The idea appealed to her so immensely,
that she straightway bought a packet of postcards and a number of
halfpenny stamps, and sent out her invitations. As she was bound to
report herself in the hostel at 4.15, she decided to call the meeting
there at 4.20. It could be held in the sitting-room, and there would be
plenty of time to discuss matters before five o'clock tea. She wrote to
Margaret Howell, Kirsty Paterson, and all the former members of the
Sixth, and was already exulting over the success which she hoped would
accrue. She was sure every one in the school would like the notion when
they heard about it.

On Monday morning when she walked into her form room, she noticed
several of the prefects talking together. They looked at her
significantly as she entered, and Evelyn Richards made a movement as if
about to speak. Grace Olliver, however, laid her hand on Evelyn's arm,
and pointed to the clock, as if deferring the matter. At eleven "break,"
as the girls filed out of the room, Agatha James laid a paper on
Winona's desk. It bore the words:

"Kindly report yourself at once in the prefects' room."

Rather mystified, Winona obeyed the summons. She found the prefects
assembled in their den, looking dignified and perturbed.

"Winona Woodward," began Linda Fletcher, "are you responsible for this
post-card?" showing one of the invitations which had been written on
Saturday. "Beatrice Howell brought it to me first thing this morning, by
Margaret's advice. Margaret couldn't understand why you had sent it to

"I explained on the card," replied Winona eagerly. "It was to try to get
up an Old Girls' Hockey Club!"

"And who gave you authority to call such a meeting?" asked Linda icily.

"Why, I thought as Games Captain----" began Winona, then she stopped,
for the faces of the prefects expressed a righteous wrath that staggered

"It was a most unwarrantable liberty!" continued the head girl. "As
Games Captain you are responsible for the school play and for the
fixtures, but you're certainly not to take upon yourself a matter of
this kind. Why, you're not even a prefect! And no prefect would have
dreamed of calling such a meeting on her own account without consulting
her colleagues."

"I--thought--there wasn't time--to ask," stammered Winona, overcome with

"As a matter of fact the suggestion had already been placed before the
prefects, and it was proposed to form an Old Girls' Guild, which would
include several branches, a Hockey Club being among the number. An
initial committee meeting is to be held next Thursday. Margaret Howell
was perfectly well aware of this, and could not understand why you
should have stepped in and called a meeting at the hostel, thus
forestalling our arrangements."

"It's the most abominable cheek I ever heard of!" burst out Agatha

"What were you dreaming of?" demanded Grace Olliver.

Poor Winona! She suddenly saw her innocent, impulsive act in the light
in which it must appear to the prefects. It had never struck her that
she was exceeding her authority, and that she ought to have referred
the matter to the head of the school. The urgency of getting the club
started, so as to enter a Past _v._ Present in her list of fixtures, had
been her uppermost thought. She had indeed made a most terrible blunder.
The feeling against her was evidently one of general censure. Even
Garnet looked grave, and Bessie Kirk was bridling. Linda's manner was
coldly official. The stateliness of her speech was more cutting than
Agatha's explosive wrath. Winona collapsed utterly, and groveled.

"I'm most fearfully sorry!" she apologized. "Indeed I'd never have done
it if I'd thought about it. I was an utter idiot! I really don't know
what possessed me! I just sent off those cards in a hurry. What shall I
do? There isn't time to write back to everybody!"

"I think I can send messages to most of the girls, and if any turn up at
the hostel this afternoon they must be told." Linda's tone was slightly
mollified. "I hardly need impress upon you the necessity in future of
referring everything to headquarters. No school can be run on the basis
of individual enterprise."

Duly chastened, Winona left the prefects' room. She had the further
annoyance in the afternoon of explaining the situation to several comers
who turned up in answer to her invitation. Notwithstanding this
preliminary disturbance, the Old Girls' Guild was started with
thirty-five members on the roll. A Hockey Club and a Dramatic Society
were formed, both of which promised to have a flourishing existence,
and Winona had the satisfaction of fixing a Past _v._ Present match for
the following March. The prefects were magnanimous enough to bear her no
ill-will, so on the whole she came out of a very unpleasant dilemma much
better than she expected.


The Hockey Season

When the hockey season commenced, Winona got to business. She was wildly
anxious to prove an effective Games Captain, and win credit for the
school. It would be no easy matter to follow so excellent a predecessor
as Kirsty Paterson, but she determined to keep Kirsty's ideals well in
mind, and try to live up to them. One change, which Kirsty had
suggested, Winona at once carried out. The hockey badge was altered. The
new one had the initials S.H.S. embroidered in the school colors on
plain dark blue shields, and looked very imposing on the tunics. There
was another point upon which Winona was resolved to effect a reform. The
field was not in a thoroughly satisfactory condition, and certainly
needed attention. The prefects had put the matter before Miss Bishop,
who referred it to the Governors. Those august personages, mindful of
war economies, decided that for the present it would do well enough, and
would not vote the spending of any money upon its improvement. The bad
news was received with indignation throughout the school.

"It's too stingy for anything! How can we possibly have decent practice
on such a rough old place? I'd like to make them come and try it for
themselves, the mean wretches!" protested Bessie Kirk.

Winona laughed. A vision of the Governors wildly brandishing hockey
sticks flashed across her imagination. She seized her note-book and drew
a fancy portrait of the delicious scene: old Councillor Thomson, very
wheezy and fat, running furiously; bald-headed Mr. Crabbe performing
wonderful acrobatic feats; a worthy J.P. engaged in a tussle with the
Town Clerk; and various other of the City Fathers in interesting and
exciting attitudes. The masterpiece was passed round for general
admiration. The girls sniggered.

"Wish we could show it to them!" said Margaret Kemp. "Perhaps it might
make them realize their responsibilities. It's too sickening of them to
grudge keeping the field in order!"

"Look here, it's no use complaining!" said Winona. "Of course it
relieves one's feelings, but it doesn't make any difference to the
field. I've got a plan to propose. Let us ask Miss Bishop how much it
would cost to hire somebody to do the rolling, and offer to pay for it
ourselves. We could get up a Hockey Concert in aid of it."

"What a frolicsome notion! I'm your man!"

"Wouldn't it be setting a bad precedent?" objected Marjorie Kemp.
"Suppose the Governors stop having the tennis courts cut, and say we may
do it ourselves?"

"We'd put that to Miss Bishop first, and make it well understood."

"It would just make all the difference to the practices to have a roller
at work, even once a week," urged Olave Parry. "Do ask about it, Win!"

Miss Bishop, on being appealed to, considered the suggestion favorably.

"Certainly there's no reason why you shouldn't improve the field, if you
wish," she replied, adding with a smile: "I'll take care that the tennis
courts don't suffer in consequence. It was a prudent thought to mention
them. I expect when the war is over, the Governors may be persuaded to
take the full expense of the playing field too. I'll get an estimate at
once of what the rolling would cost."

Jones, the school janitor, who formerly kept the courts and cricket
pitch in order, had gone to the war, and his place was occupied by a
rheumatic old fellow who could do little more than carry coke and attend
to the heating apparatus. When every able-bodied man seemed fighting or
making munitions, it was difficult to find anybody to roll a hockey
field, A volunteer was procured at last, however, who undertook the job
at the rate of £1 per month, with an extra thirty shillings for putting
the field in good order to begin with. Six or seven pounds, therefore,
would cover the expenses of the season. Winona, mindful of the terrible
offense she had given in connection with the Old Girls' Guild, very
wisely took the matter to Linda Fletcher, who called a united meeting of
Prefects and Games Committee to discuss the best way of raising the

"It will have to be done on a bigger scale than the symposium last
year," said Hilda Langley. "If I remember rightly, that made exactly £2
13_s._ 7_d._, enough for a Form trophy, but not sufficient for this

"We'd better issue tickets, and sell some of them to parents and
friends," suggested Linda.

"How many will the hall hold?"

"Three hundred at a pinch, if the babes squash up tight."

"They won't mind doing that in a good cause."

"The Dramatic Society ought to take an innings, and provide at least
half the program."

"They'll jump at the opportunity. I believe they have something quite
prepared, and have been yearning for an audience."

"Then by all means let them have one."

"At sixpence a head," added practical Marjorie; "we ought easily to be
able to sell sixpenny tickets."

Everybody took up the idea with enthusiasm. The difficulty was not so
much to find helpers as to decide who was to have the honor of
performing. There were many heart-burnings before the program was
finally fixed. It was decided that a musical selection should be given
first, followed by a piece by the Dramatic students. To cut these to
reasonable limits needed all Linda's discretion, tact and firmness.

"You can't have an entertainment beginning at three, and going on till
midnight," she urged, as the various desired items were submitted to
her. "You'd have to hire ambulances to take your exhausted audience
home! Very sorry, but we must keep some of the things for a future

Linda, being wise in her generation, and having an eye to the sale of
tickets, insisted that the Lower School should take a share in the

"Who wants to bother to hear the kids?" objected Grace Olliver, who, by
the bye, was a member of the "Dramatic," and therefore not entirely

"If we don't bother with the kids, they mayn't bother to come and bring
friends, and we should look silly if we didn't sell all our tickets! Let
them do their flag display, and sing their Empire song. That will
content them and their mothers, and leaves quite time enough for other

Miss Bishop allowed a special Wednesday afternoon to be set aside for
the entertainment; the tickets sold briskly, and expectation ran high.
All concerned in the program kept their parts a dead secret, but items
leaked out, and the wildest rumors were afloat. It was whispered that
some of the Governors were to be present, and even that Miss Bishop
would perform a sword dance, though not the most callow of juniors
really consented to swallow such an astounding piece of information. The
uncertainty as to what was in store, however, added largely to the
pleasurable anticipation, and though the Dramatic Society rehearsed with
locked door, and the keyhole carefully stopped up, juvenile spies, by
hoisting one another up to the level of the windows, obtained brief and
tantalizing peeps and spread news of gorgeosities in the way of

When the great afternoon arrived, the hall was crammed. The little girls
were packed as tightly as sardines. A long line of them squatted on the
floor in front of the first row, and others sat on the window sills,
the latter positions having been scrambled for with enthusiasm.

Every one was at the tip-top of expectation. The concert opened with the
inevitable piano solo which seems indispensable for the starting of any
entertainment, and during the performance of which latecomers hurry to
their seats, programs are sold, and the audience, with a tremendous
amount of rustling and whispering, settles itself down to listen. This
initiatory ceremony being over, more interesting items followed. The
juveniles sang an Empire song, accompanied by a pretty flag drill; it
was a taking tune, and as Linda had prophesied was immensely applauded
by the visitors, who insisted on an encore. A violin solo came next, and
was followed by a charming Russian dance given by two members of Form
IV.a. Garnet played a piece on her mandoline, with piano
accompaniment. She had suggested a duet for mandoline and guitar, but
Winona had had no time to practice her instrument lately, and had begged
to be excused. The fact was that Winona had been busy with a special
item which she now brought out as a surprise to the school. She had
composed some verses in praise of hockey, and set them to one of the
tunes in the senior school song-book. The piece was sung by an eleven in
full hockey costume, and they waved their hockey-sticks with appropriate
actions to the music:

    "When autumn returns, and the trees are all bare,
      Our blue tunics are off to the field;
    No team in excitement with ours can compare,
      As our hockey-sticks wildly we wield.
        For hockey's the game to play
        When autumn has come to stay,
        And this is the reason we love the cold season,
        For hockey's the game to play.

    "Hurrah for goalkeepers, for forwards and halves!
      Hurrah for the clash of the sticks!
    Hurrah for the rapture of scoring a goal!
      (Who minds a few bruises or kicks?)
        For hockey's the game to play,
        When autumn has come to stay,
        And this is the reason we love the cold season,
        For hockey's the game to play.

    "But a team that is set upon scoring its goal,
      And winning a vict'ry or two,
    Must see that its field it should carefully roll,
      And that's what we're hoping to do!
        Oh! hockey's the game to play,
        When autumn has come to stay,
        Yes, this is the reason we love the cold season,
        When hockey's the game we play!

    "Hurrah for Form trophies! Hurrah for our badge!
      We'll make it an annual rule
    To hold a 'Sports' Concert,' to wish all success
      To the team of the Seaton High School!
        Oh! hockey's the game to play,
        And at Seaton we know the way!
        Yes, this is the reason we love the cold season,
        When hockey's the game we play!"

Winona's words would certainly not have passed muster as a literary
composition, but their extreme appropriateness to the occasion, combined
with the action of the hockey-sticks, completely brought down the
house. The applause was thunderous, and the last verse was encored twice
over. Undoubtedly it was the hit of the afternoon.

For the second part of the performance the Dramatic Society gave an
amusing little play, and the concert wound up with a lusty rendering of
certain patriotic songs.

Winona was highly gratified. Both artistically and financially the
entertainment had proved a success. The committee would be well able to
bear the expense of keeping the field in order. A gardener had been at
work there, and already a marked improvement was noticeable. The Games
Captain's enthusiasm was infectious. Under her leadership the girls
became wonderfully keen. To Winona the thrill of struggle when a game
seemed on the eve of being lost was one of the wildest excitements in
life, and the joy when she struck the ball home straight and true the
utmost triumph obtainable. During this autumn term she lived for hockey.
The crowd of school girls, in thick boots and blue tunics, struggling
and shouting in a somewhat muddy field might not be an altogether
picturesque sight, but to the Captain it was Marathon and Waterloo
combined. No colonel prided himself on a crack regiment more than Winona
on her team. Sometimes, of course, a practice was off color; the day
might be bleak or drizzly, or players might be penalized for "sticks,"
or grumblers might express their dissatisfaction audibly, but whatever
went wrong, Winona emerged cheerful from the fray, remonstrated with
"off-sides" and "sticks," and reminded growlers that it is unsporting
to murmur. By Kirsty's advice she had sent out challenges to several
good clubs in the neighborhood.

"While we were still in our callow infancy I should not have ventured,"
wrote Kirsty from Cornwall. "But one must begin some time to measure
one's strength. After the work we did last season, I certainly think you
might risk it. Nothing improves a team so much as playing plenty of
matches; you see in time you get to know the strokes of everybody at the
High, and you can calculate what others will do at certain turns of the
game; it's far better for you to meet all sorts and conditions of

Winona had been afraid it was rather "cheek" to challenge the "West
Rytonshire Club" or "Oatlands College," but she ascertained that both
those august bodies had two teams, Number 1 and Number 2, and that while
the first only met foes worthy of their steel (or rather sticks!) the
second would graciously condescend to play a yet unknown High School.
The match with Oatlands College was fixed for December 16th, and Winona
looked forward to it with some anxiety. The last practice had not been
altogether satisfactory. The day had been wretchedly cold, and everybody
had been cross in consequence. The team, though proud of its fixture
with so celebrated an opponent, was not very sure of itself.

"I hope to goodness Peggie'll play up!" groaned Marjorie Kemp. "The way
she lost that last goal on Saturday was idiotic."

"She said she was cold!" commented Gladys Porter, witheringly. "She
wanted to change at half-time. She said her feet were solid ice, and her
nose was blue, and it was no fun watching the whole of the game being
played right away at the other end of the field."

"Most unsporting!" moralized Marjorie. "Besides, when she got her
chance, she hit the air! It will be very humiliating if the Oatlands
team walk over us!"

"Oh, don't be a Jeremiah! We're not beaten yet! If anybody can pull us
through, our Captain will!"

"Winona's a jewel!" agreed Marjorie. "And yet the best captain in the
world can't make up for an only moderately good team. I feel my own

Practically the whole of the High School assembled as spectators on the
great day of the match. Things were very different now from the old
times when a mere handful collected to cheer the Seaton team. Mistresses
and girls were alike keen, and most desirous of witnessing the combat.
They followed the game breathlesly.

"Oatlands isn't worth a toss!" commented Garnet exultantly.

"Don't make too sure!" replied Linda, looking with apprehension as the
red jerseys of their rivals massed round the ball.

A familiar figure dashed forward, a hockey stick struck, and the ball
swept out to safety. Linda heaved a long sigh of relief.

"Winona is just A1," she murmured. "Hello! Good gracious! what's that
idiot doing?"

For Ellinor Cooper, whose arm was the strongest in the school, wielding
her hockey stick with all her force, had hit Winona across the shin.

Instantly there was a commotion. Winona, white with the agony of the
blow, leaned hard against Bessie Kirk, and clenched her fists to avoid
crying out.

"Are you hurt?"

"What's happened?"

"You've had a nasty knock!"

There was quite a crowd round Winona, and a chorus of sympathy.

"Put in a substitute!" urged Bessie. "You're not fit to go on!"

"No, no! I'm better now," panted their captain, with a wan little smile.
"I'll manage, thanks! Yes, really! Please don't worry yourselves about

The game recommenced and Winona, with a supreme effort, continued to
play. The pain was still acute, but she realized that on her presence or
absence depended victory or defeat. Without her, the courage of the team
would collapse. How she lived through the time she never knew.

Inspired by the heroic example of their captain, the girls were playing
for all they were worth. The score, which had been against them, was now
even. Time was almost up. Winona set her teeth. The ball seemed a kind
of star which she was following--Following anyhow. As the French say,
she "did her possible." The ball went spinning. Next minute she was
leaning against a goal-post, trembling with the violence of her effort,
while the High School hoorayed itself hoarse in the joy of the hard-won

"I say, old girl, were you really hurt?" asked Bessie anxiously. "You're
looking the color of chalk!"

"Never mind, it's over now! Yes, I am hurt. Give me your arm, and I'll
go back to the hostel."

"You're an absolute Joan of Arc to-day!" purred Bessie.

Winona, with a barked shin and bad bruises, limped for more than a week,
but she was the heroine of the school.

"I can't think how you ran, after that awful whack Ellinor Cooper gave
you," sympathized Marjorie.

"It was easier to run then than after my leg grew stiff," laughed
Winona. "I suppose it's the excitement that keeps one up. Don't make
such a fuss, we've all had hard knocks in our time. Agnes Smith got a
black eye last spring!"

As the result of her wounds in the hockey field Winona made friends with
Miss Kelly. The latter was most prompt in applying lanoline and
bandages, and proved so kind in bringing Winona her breakfast in bed,
and making her rest on the sofa during preparation, that a funny little
sort of intimacy sprang up between them.

"She's fussy on the surface, but nice when you know her," confided
Winona to Garnet. "If I'd been staying at the hostel, I expect we should
have got on capitally next term!"


Winona Turns Chauffeur

After the Christmas holidays Winona returned to Abbey Close. Miss Beach
was installed once more in her own home, though under strict orders from
the doctor not to over-exert herself. During her stay at Harrogate she
had bought a small two-seater car, and had learnt to drive it. She kept
it at a garage in the town, and used it almost every day. It was
invaluable to her as a means of getting about. She was anxious not to
relinquish all her work in Seaton, but she could not now bear the
fatigue of walking. In her car distance was no obstacle, and she could
continue her inspection of boarded-out workhouse children, attend
babies' clinics in country villages beyond the city area, visit the
wives of soldiers and sailors, regulate the orphanage, and superintend
the Tipperary Club. Miss Beach's energetic temperament made her
miserable unless fully occupied, so, the doctor having forbidden her
former strenuous round of duties, she adopted the car as a compromise,
assuring him that she would limit her list to a few of her pet schemes
only. It was probably her wisest course. It is very hard for elderly
people to be laid on the shelf, and to feel that their services are set
aside. Miss Beach had lived so entirely in her various philanthropic
occupations, that to give everything up would have been a severe mental
shock. As it was, she managed to obey medical orders, and at the same
time, to a certain extent, keep her old place in the work of the city.

As the days became longer and lighter, she sometimes took her
great-niece with her in the car. Winona had really very little time out
of school hours; her duties as Games Captain were paramount, and hockey
practices and matches absorbed most of her holiday afternoons. When she
had an occasional free hour, however, it was an immense treat to go
motoring. She loved the feeling of spinning along through the country
lanes. It was delightful to see new places and fresh roads. Seaton was
in the midst of a beautiful district, and there were charming villages,
woods, and lovely views of scenery within easy distance.

One Saturday, when for a wonder there was no event at school, Miss Beach
suddenly suggested that they should start in the car, take a luncheon
basket with them, and explore some of the country in the neighborhood.
It was a glorious spring morning, with a clear pale blue sky, and a
touch of warmth in the sunshine that set winter to flight, and brought
the buds out on the trees. On such a day the human sap, too, seems to
rise, there is an exhilaration, physical and spiritual, when we long to
run or to sing for the sheer vital joy of living, when our troubles
don't seem to matter, and the future looks rosy, and for the moment we
feel transferred to the golden age of the poets, when the world was
young, and Pan played his pipes in the meadows among the asphodels.
Winona, at any rate, was in an ecstatic frame of mind, and though Aunt
Harriet did not openly express her enthusiasm, the mere fact of her
suggesting such an outing proved that the spring had called her, and
that she was ready to go out and worship at Nature's shrine. Do not
imagine for a moment that Miss Beach, whatever her feelings, allowed any
romantic element to appear on the surface. She fussed over the car,
measured the amount of petrol left in the tank, debated whether she had
better go to the garage for an extra can in case of emergencies, called
out the cook to dust the seat, sent the housemaid flying to the attic
for an air-cushion, inspected the lunch basket, gave half-a-dozen
directions for things to be done in her absence, wrote last messages on
a slate for people who might possibly call on business, scolded Winona
for putting on her thin coat, and sent her to fetch her thick one and a
rug for her knees, and finally, after a very breathless ten minutes got
under way, and started forth. They drove slowly through the town
traffic, but soon they had left streets behind, and were spinning along
the high road in the direction of Wickborough.

Long as she had lived at Seaton, Miss Beach had never seen Wickborough
Castle, and to-day she was determined to pay it a visit. It was a very
ancient place, built originally by King Canute, in the days when red war
was waged between Saxon and Norseman. Little of the old Danish tower
remained, but successive generations had erected keep and turret,
bastion and guard house, crumbling now indeed into ruins, but
picturesque in their decay, and full of historical associations. Here
proud Queen Margaret, hard pressed by her enemies, had found a timely
shelter for herself and her little son, till an escort could convey her
to a spot of greater safety; here Richard II. had pursued sweet
unwilling Anne of Warwick, and forced her to accept his hated suit;
Princess Mary had passed a part of her unhappy childhood within its
walls, and Anne Boleyn's merry laugh had rung out there. The situation
of the Castle was magnificent. It stood on the summit of a wooded cliff
which ran sheer into the river, and commanded a splendid prospect of the
country round, and a bird's-eye view of the little town that clustered
at the foot of the crag.

"It's like an eagle's nest!" commented Winona, as leaving the car at the
bottom of the hill they climbed on foot up the zigzag pathway to the
keep. "It must have been a regular robber-baron's stronghold in the
Middle Ages!"

Miss Beach had bought a guide-book, and rejecting the services of a
persistent little girl who was anxious to point out the various spots of
interest, with an eye to a tip, they strolled about, trying to
reconstruct a fancy portrait of the place for themselves. Canute's tower
was still left, a squat solid piece of masonry, with enormously thick
walls and tiny lancet windows. It was rather dark, but as it was the
only portion remaining intact, it was used as a museum, and various
curiosities were preserved there. The great fire-place held a spit for
roasting an ox whole, and had a poker five feet long; stone
cannon-balls were piled up on the floor, and on the walls hung a
medieval armory of helmets, gorgelets, breast-plates, coats of mail,
shields and swords, daggers and lances. A special feature of the museum
was a wax-work figure of a knight clad in full armor which gave an
excellent idea of what Sir Bevis of Wickborough must have looked like
somewhere about the year 1217. Another figure, dressed in rich velvet
and fur, with flowered silk kirtle, represented his wife Dame Philippa,
in the act of offering him a silver goblet of wine, while a hound stood
with its head pressed to her hand. The group was so natural that it was
almost startling, and took the spectator back as nothing else could have
done to the ancient medieval days which it pictured. A small stair in
the corner of the tower led down to a dungeon, where, lying among the
straw, was an equally impressive wax-work figure of a prisoner,
wretched, unkempt, and bound hand and foot with chains. A pitcher of
water lay by his side, and a stuffed rat peering from the straw added a
further touch of realism. Winona shuddered. It was a ghastly sight, and
she was thankful to run up the stairs and go from the keep out into the
spring sunshine. She had always had a romantic admiration for the Middle
Ages, but this aspect of thirteenth-century life did not commend itself
to her. "They were bad old times, after all!" she decided, and came to
the conclusion that the twentieth century, even with its horrible war,
was a more humane period to live in.

At the foot of the crag, close by the river, lay the remains of the old
Priory Church, an ivy-covered fabric, whose broken chancel still gave a
shelter to the battered tombs of the knights who had lived in the Castle
above. Sir Bevis and Dame Philippa lay here in marble, their features
calm and rigid, their hands folded in prayer, less human indeed, but
infinitely grander than in their wax effigies of the tower. Seven
centuries of sunshine and storm had passed over their heads, and castle
and church were alike in ruins.

    "Their bones are dust,
    Their good swords rust,
    Their souls are with the Saints, we trust,"

thought Winona, as she took a photograph of the quiet scene. It was
deeply interesting, but on this glorious lovely spring day it seemed a
little too sad. With all the birds singing, and the hedges in bud, and
the daisies showing white stars among the grass, she wanted to live in
the present, and not in the past. And yet, if we think about it rightly,
the past is never really sad. Those who lived before us accomplished
their work, and have passed onwards--a part of the world scheme--to, we
doubt not, fuller and worthier work beyond. We, still in the preparatory
class of God's great school, cannot yet grasp the higher forms, but
those who have been moved up surely smile at our want of comprehension,
and look back on this earth as the College undergraduate remembers his
kindergarten; for the spiritual evolution goes ever on, working always
Godwards, and when the human dross falls away, the imperfect and the
partial will be merged into the perfect and the eternal. The broken
eggshells may lie in the old nest, but the fledged larks are singing in
the blue of the sky.

From the little town of Wickborough they drove along the old Roman road
towards Danestone. Part of their way lay across Wickland Heath, and
here, as it was now past mid-day, Miss Beach suggested that they should
stop and take their lunch. It was a most glorious spot for a picnic.
They were at the top of a tableland, and before them spread the Common,
a brown sea of last year's heather and bilberry, with gorse bushes
flaming here and there like golden fires. A sparrow-hawk, more majestic
than any aëroplane, sailed serenely overhead, and a pair of whinchats,
perturbed by his vicinity, flew with a sharp twitter over the low stone
wall, and sought cover among the brambles. Beyond stretched the Roman
road, broad and straight, a landmark for miles. Cities and civilization
were far away, and they were alone with the moor and the peaty little
brook, and the birds and the sun and the fresh spring wind. The joyous
influence was irresistible; even Miss Beach dropped ten years' burden of
cares, and waxed almost light-hearted. Winona had seldom seen her aunt
in such a mood, and she seized the opportunity as a favorable moment to
proffer a request which she had often longed, but had never hitherto
dared, to make. It was no less a suggestion than that she might be
allowed to try to drive the car. She put it in tentative fashion, fully
expecting a refusal, but Aunt Harriet received the idea quite

"There's no reason why you shouldn't. The road's wide and straight, and
not a vehicle in sight; you couldn't have a better place to learn on in
the whole of the kingdom. Mind you do exactly what I tell you, that's

Winona's face was shining. Ever since she had first seen the pretty
little two-seater it had been her secret ambition to work its steering
wheel for herself. She packed up the lunch basket in a hurry, for fear
her aunt might repent. But Miss Beach seldom went back on her word, and
was quite disposed and ready to act motor instructress. She began by
explaining very carefully the various levers, and how to start.

"One golden rule," she urged, "is to take care the lever is at neutral
before you begin, or the car will jump on you. Many motorists have had
nasty accidents by omitting that most necessary precaution. Next you
must see that the ignition is pushed back, or you'll get a back-fire in
starting, and break your wrist. It must be just at this notch--do you
see? Now you may swing round the handle."

The engine began to work, and Winona took her place in the driver's
seat. Miss Beach, sitting by her side, showed her how to put the low
gear in, then to put in the clutch. The car started off under Winona's

She gripped the steering wheel tightly, turning it to right or left at
first according to her aunt's directions, but soon from instinctive
comprehension. It was something like guiding a gigantic bicycle; she
could not yet exactly estimate the amount of turn required, but she felt
that it would come to her with practice. There was an immense
exhilaration in feeling the car under her control. For a beginner, she
really kept very steadily in the middle of the road; occasionally Aunt
Harriet made a snatch at the wheel, but that was seldom necessary. They
were going very slowly, only about ten miles an hour, but even that
seemed a tolerable speed to a novice. The road was curving now, and
Winona must steer round a corner; it was easier than she had expected,
and her instructress ejaculated "Good!" The sense of balance was
beginning to come to her. Such a tiny movement of the wheel sent the car
to right or left; at first she had jerked it clumsily, now she could
reckon the proportion with greater nicety. Was that something coming in
the distance? "Sound your hooter!" shouted Aunt Harriet quickly, as a
motor cycle hove in sight. In rather a panic, Winona squeezed the
india-rubber bulb, making the car lurch as she took her hand momentarily
from the wheel. "Keep well to the left!" commanded Miss Beach, and
Winona, with her heart in her mouth, contrived to obey, and passed her
first vehicle successfully. She heaved a sigh of relief when it had
whizzed by, and the road was once more clear. Naturally, however, she
could not expect to keep a thoroughfare all to herself. Further on, she
overtook a farmer's cart full of little squealing pigs. As it occupied
the exact center of the road she hooted (with great confidence this
time), and, when it had swung to the left, she rounded it successfully
on the right. A furniture van looked a terrible obstacle, but she passed
it without assistance, and began to wax quite courageous. Three motor
cars in succession tearing along one after another, and sounding
ear-splitting electric hooters, left her nerves rather rocky. When
houses and chimneys appeared in sight Miss Beach told her to stop.

"I daren't let a learner drive through a village. There are always too
many children and dogs about the street. Change places with me now, and
you shall try again when we come to a quiet road."

Rather thankful not to have to venture her 'prentice skill in the narrow
winding street, Winona gave the wheel into her aunt's more experienced
hands. It was only _pro tem._, however, for when they were once more in
the open country Miss Beach continued the lesson, making her start and
stop several times just for practice.

"I believe you know the routine now," she said. "It's the motorist's
first catechism. Remember those cardinal rules, and you can't go so far

"Do experienced people ever forget them?" asked Winona.

"Sometimes, when they grow careless. Mr. Forster sprained his wrist the
other day with a back-fire, which he ought to have avoided, and I heard
of a horrible accident in Paris, when a chauffeur started his car with
the clutch in gear, with the consequence that it dashed over a bridge
into the Seine, and the occupants--a lady and two little children--were
drowned before his eyes. There's no need to be nervous if you take
proper care, but cars are not playthings to be trifled with."

They had reached a part of the country which Miss Beach had known as a
child. She had not visited it since, and was interested to see again
spots which had once been familiar.

"I remember the river perfectly," she said. "And that hill, with the
wood where we used to get blackberries in the autumn. I wonder if the
wild daffodils still grow in Chipden Marsh! It's fifty years since I
gathered them! Shall we go and see? They ought just to be out now, and
it's really not late yet."

Winona was only too delighted to prolong the day's outing, and would not
have demurred if Aunt Harriet had proposed returning home by moonlight.
She caught eagerly at the suggestion of finding daffodils. Though
half-a-century had sped by Miss Beach remembered the way, and drove
through many by-lanes to a tract of low-lying pasture land that bordered
the river. She had not forgotten the stile, which still remained as of
yore, so leaving the car in the road they walked down the fields. At
first they were disappointed, but further on, beside the river, the
Marsh might well have been called "Daffodil Meadow." Everywhere the
lovely little wild Lent lilies were showing their golden trumpets in
such profusion among the grass that the scene resembled Botticelli's
famous picture of spring. Miss Beach said little, but her eyes shone
with reminiscences. Winona was in ecstasies, and ran about picking till
her bunch was almost too big to hold. The slanting afternoon sunlight
fell on the water with a glinting, glistening sheen; the sallows
overhanging the banks were yellow with pollen, the young pushing arum
shoots and river herbs wore their tender early spring hue; the scene was
an idyll in green and gold. They were loath to leave, but time was
passing, so, very reluctantly, they walked up the fields again to rejoin
the car. They had stowed their daffodils in the lunch basket, and Winona
was peeping over the hedge to take a last look at the river, when an
exclamation behind her made her turn round. Miss Beach was leaning
heavily against the car, her face was ashen gray, her lips were white
and drawn. She looked ready to faint. Winona flew to her in a panic.

"What is it, Aunt Harriet? Are you ill? Get into the car and sit down.
Let me help you!"

Miss Beach sank on to the seat, and sat with half-closed eyes, moaning
feebly. Winona was terribly alarmed. She had seen Aunt Harriet before
with one of her bad heart attacks, and knew that restoratives ought to
be given. In this lonely spot, with no help at hand, what was to be
done? Suppose her aunt were to faint--die, even, before aid could be
rendered? For a moment Winona shook like a leaf. Then, with a rush, her
presence of mind returned. There was only one possible course--she
herself must start the car, and drive to within reach of civilization.
It would need courage! It was one thing to drive with an experienced
instructor at her elbow to shout necessary directions, but quite
another to manage alone, with Aunt Harriet half unconscious beside her.
Suppose she were to forget part of her motorists' catechism, and make
some horrible, fatal mistake! Well, it must be ventured, all the same!
Every minute's delay was important.

With a nervous shiver she forced herself to action. She looked first
that the clutch was out of gear, and that the ignition was pushed back,
then swung round the handle to start the engine. It had cooled while
they were picking daffodils, and she was obliged to repeat the process
four times ere the welcome whirring answered her efforts. She sprang to
her seat, took off the brake, and put in the low gear. Then she put the
clutch in with her foot. But alas! in her tremor and hurry she had done
it too suddenly, and stopped the engine! She could have cried with
annoyance at her stupidity. There was nothing for it but to put the
lever again at neutral, put on the brake, and climb out to re-swing the
handle. This time the engine, being warm, was more amiable and
condescended to start easily. Winona leaped into the car, adjusted her
levers, put in her clutch more gradually, and the car glided slowly
away. With a feeling of desperation she gripped the steering wheel. The
lane was narrow and twisting, and not too smooth. Suppose she were to
meet a farm cart--could she possibly pass it in safety? She had a
feeling that she would run into any vehicle that might approach her. So
far the lane was empty, but at any moment an obstacle might arise. What
was that? There was a sound of baa-ing, and round a corner ran a flock
of sheep, urged on by a boy and a collie dog. Here was the first human
being she had seen, and for a second she thought of stopping to ask for
help. But what could a stupid-looking young boy do for her? No, it were
better far to push on. She managed to sound the hooter, and with a
supreme effort kept in the middle of the lane, while the sheep scattered
to right and left. She dared not go any slower, for fear of stopping her
engine, but she expected every instant to feel a bump, and find that she
had run over one of the flock. The collie did his duty, however, and in
a whirl of barking, shouting, and baa-ing she steered safely through the

She looked anxiously at every turning, for fear she might miss her way.
Her object was to regain the main road, where she might find some
passing motorist, and implore help. Yes, there was the sign-post where
Aunt Harriet had halted, she must keep to the left by that ruined
cottage--she remembered noticing its broken roof as they had passed it.
How interminably long the lanes were! They had seemed far shorter when
Aunt Harriet was driving! Oh! thank goodness, there was the big oak
tree--it could not be far now. A few minutes more and Winona had reached
the sign-post, and swung round the corner into the Crowland Road. She
felt as if her nerves would not stand very much more. Would help never
come? A distant hooting behind her made her heart leap. She stopped the
car beside the hedge, and standing up, waved her handkerchief as a
signal of distress. A splendid Daimler came into sight. Would the
chauffeur notice and understand her plight? She shrieked in desperation
as it whizzed past. Oh! It was stopping! A gentleman got out, and walked
quickly back towards her. She jumped down, and ran to meet him.

"Can I be of any assistance?" he asked politely.

"Oh, please! My aunt is very ill, and I don't know how to drive properly
yet. How am I going to get back to Seaton?" blurted out Winona, on the
verge of tears.

She never forgot how kind the stranger was. With the aid of his
chauffeur he lifted poor Aunt Harriet into his own car, and told Winona
to take her place beside her.

"Now tell me exactly where you want to go," he said, "and I'll run you
straight home as fast as I can. My man shall follow with your car. You
can manage this little two-seater, Jones?"

"Yes, Sir," grinned the chauffeur, inspecting the levers.

The stranger made his big Daimler fly. Winona never knew by how much he
exceeded the speed limit, but it seemed to her that they must be
spinning along at the rate of nearly fifty miles an hour. Aunt Harriet
had recovered a little, though she still moaned at intervals. The hedges
seemed to whirl past them, they went hooting through villages, and
whizzed over a common. At last the familiar spires and towers of Seaton
appeared in the distance. Their good Samaritan drove them to their own
door, helped Miss Beach into the house, and volunteered to take a
message to the doctor, then, evading Winona's thanks, he sprang into
his car, and started away.

The chauffeur arrived later with Miss Beach's car, and considerately
offered to run it round to the garage.

Aunt Harriet was laid up for several days after this episode, and Dr.
Sidwell forbade any long expeditions in the immediate future. He
encouraged the idea of Winona learning to drive.

"You could be of the greatest help in taking your aunt about," he said
to her. "You must have a capital notion of it, or you couldn't have
brought the car three miles entirely on your own. But of course you'll
need practice before you can be trusted to mix in traffic. You'll have
to apply for a license, remember. You'll be getting into trouble if you
drive without!"

Winona looked back upon that outing as a most memorable occasion. She
hoped to try her skill again as soon as opportunity offered. The charm
of the wheel was alluring. She wished she knew the name of the stranger
who had rendered such invaluable assistance. But that she never learnt.



The Athletic Display

The Easter term was passing quickly away. It had been a strenuous but
nevertheless successful season. Out of nine hockey matches the team had
lost only three--not a bad record for a school that was still in the
infancy of its Games reputation. The Old Girls' Guild had got up its
eleven, and had practiced with enthusiasm under the captaincy of Kirsty
Paterson. A most exciting Past _versus_ Present match had been played,
resulting in a narrow victory for the school. Winona felt prouder of
this success than of any other triumph the team had scored, for Kirsty
had congratulated her afterwards, and praise from her former captain was
very sweet. It had been the last match of the season, so it made a
satisfactory finish to her work. She felt quite sentimental as she put
by her hockey-stick. Next season there would be a fresh captain, and she
would have left the High School! She wished she were staying another
year, but her scholarship would expire at the end of July. She could
hardly believe that she had been nearly two years at the school, and
that only one term more remained to her. Well, it would be the summer
term, which was the pleasantest of all, and though hockey was over, she
had the cricket season before her. The Seaton High should score at the
wicket if it were in her power to coach a successful team.

Towards the end of March Winona had an interlude which for the time took
her thoughts even from the omnipresent topic of sports. Percy, who had
been in training with his regiment at Duncastle, was ordered to the
Front. He was allowed thirty-six hours' leave, and came home for a
Sunday. Winona spent that week-end at Highfield, and the memory of it
always remained a very precious one. Percy in his khaki seemed much
changed, and though she only had him for a few minutes quite to herself,
she felt that the old tie between them had strengthened. Her letters to
him in future would be different. During the last year they had both
slacked a little in their correspondence, each perhaps unconsciously
feeling that the other's standpoint was changing; now they had met again
on a new basis, and realized once more a common bond of sympathy. Percy,
absorbed in describing his new life, scarcely mentioned Aunt Harriet.
The episode of the burning of the paper seemed to have faded from his
memory, or he had conveniently buried it in oblivion. Winona had never
forgotten it. It remained still the one shadow in her career at Seaton.
Now especially, since Miss Beach's recent ill-health, the secret weighed
heavily upon her. She felt her aunt ought to know that the will was
destroyed, so that she might take the opportunity of making another.
More than once she tried indirectly to refer to the subject, but it was
a tender topic, and at the least hint Miss Beach's face would stiffen
and her voice harden; the old barrier between them would rise up again
wider than ever, and impossible to be spanned. Winona would have been
glad to do much for her aunt, but Miss Beach did not care to be treated
as an invalid. Like many energetic people, she refused to acknowledge
that she was ill, and the acceptance of little services seemed to her a
confession of her own weakness. It is rather hard to have your kindly
meant efforts repulsed, so Winona, finding that her offers of sympathy
met with no response, drew back into her shell, and the two continued to
live as before, on terms of friendship but never of intimacy. After
almost two years spent in the same house Winona knew her aunt little
better than on the day of her arrival. They had certain common grounds
for conversation, but their mutual reserve was maintained, and as
regarded each other's real thoughts they remained "strangers yet."

Miss Beach, however, took an interest in Winona's doings at school. She
read her monthly reports, and scolded her if her work had fallen below
standard. She expressed a guarded pleasure over successful matches, but
rubbed in the moral that games must not usurp her attention to the
detriment of her form subjects.

"You came here to learn something more than hockey!" she would remind
Winona. "It's a splendid exercise, but I'm afraid it won't prove a
career! I should like to see a better record for Latin and Chemistry;
they might very well have more attention!"

Winona had tried to persuade her aunt to come and watch one of the
matches, but Miss Beach had always found some engagement; she was
concerned in so many of the city's activities that her time was
generally carefully mapped out weeks beforehand. She consented, however,
to accept Miss Bishop's invitation to the Gymnasium Display, which was
to be given at the High School at the close of the Easter term.

This was a very important occasion in the estimation of the girls. It
was their first athletic show since the advent of Miss Barbour, the
Swedish drill mistress. Governors and parents were to be present, and
the excellence of the performance must justify the large amount which
had been spent upon gymnastic apparatus during the past year.

For two whole terms Miss Barbour had been teaching and training her
classes with a view to this exhibition, and woe betide any unlucky wight
whose nerves, memory or muscles should fail her at the critical moment!
A further impetus was given to individual effort by the offer, on the
part of one of the Governors, of four medals for competition, to be
awarded respectively to the best candidates in four classes, Seniors
over 16, Intermediates from 13 to 16, Juniors from 10 to 13, and
Preparatories under 10. It was felt throughout the school that the offer
was munificent. The Governors had been stingy over the matter of the
hockey field, and had been reviled accordingly, but Councillor Jackson
was retrieving the character of the Board by this action, and the girls
reversed their opinion in his favor. They hoped that other Governors,
warmed by his example, might open their hearts in silver medals or book
prizes for future occasions.

"He's a dear old trump to think of it!" said Winona.

"You drew a picture of him floundering in the mud at hockey!" twinkled

"Well, I forgive him now, and I'll draw another of him standing on the
platform, all beaming with benevolence, and distributing medals
broadcast. Look here, Bessie Kirk, you needn't be congratulating
yourself beforehand with such a patently self-satisfied smirk, because
_I'm_ going to win the Senior Medal."

"No, you're not, my child! Take it patiently, and compose your mind. The
medal's coming this way!"

"How about me?" put in Marjorie Kemp.

"You'll do well, but you're not a champion! You're too fat, Jumbo, and
that's the fact. You're all right when it's a question of brute
strength, but when agility matters, those superfluous pounds of flesh of
yours are an impediment. I'd back Joyce sooner than you; she's as light
as a feather!"

Hearing herself commended, Joyce fluttered up to the group, smiling.

"I did four feet six, yesterday," she announced, "and I'd have cleared
four feet seven, I believe, only I had to stop. It's always my luck!"

"Why had you to stop?"

"My back ached!"

Instant apprehension overspread the faces of her friends.

"Joyce Newton!" exclaimed Winona, "you're never going to get small-pox
again, and stop the athletic display?"

"You don't feel sick, or head-achy, or sore-throaty, do you?" implored
Bessie. "For goodness sake stand away, if you're infectious! I don't
want to be another contact case!"

"What pigs you are!" said Joyce plaintively, "One can't catch small-pox

"But you might be going to get scarlet fever, or measles, or even

"Stop ragging! Mayn't I have a back-ache if I want? It's my own back!"

"Have as many back-aches as you choose, my hearty, but don't disseminate
germs! If the athletic display doesn't come off, I'll break my heart,
and you can write an epitaph over me:

    "Here lies one who young in years,
    Left this mortal vale of tears;
    Cruel fate hath knocked her down,
    Tom from her the laurel crown,
    To win the gym display she sighed,
    But as she might not jump, she died!"

"Look here!" said Marjorie. "I suppose the medal lies fairly well
between us four. I vote that we make a compact--whoever wins treats the
other three to ices! It would be some compensation for losing!"

"Good for you, Jumbo! I'm game!" agreed Bessie.

"If you'll undertake they'll be strawberry ices!" stipulated Winona.

"I mayn't eat ices, they disagree with me!" wailed Joyce, "but if you'll
make it chocolates."

"Done! I won't forget. Ices for Bessie and Winona, and a packet of
Cadbury's for Joyce. I'll go and be ordering them!" chirruped Marjorie,
dancing away.

"Cheek! Don't make so sure."

"It's _my_ medal, so be getting your handkerchiefs ready," maintained

Though Winona, just for the fun of teasing her friends, had pretended to
appropriate the prize, she had really no anticipation of winning. She
was fairly good at gymnasium work, but could not be considered a
champion. She knew her success or failure would depend very much on
luck. If she happened to feel in the right mood she might achieve
something, but it was an even chance that at the critical moment her
courage might fail her. In a match she was generally swept away by the
intense feeling of cooperation, the knowledge that all her team were
striving for a common cause buoyed her up, but in a competition where
each was for herself, the element of nervousness would have greater
scope. When she thought about it, she felt that she would probably be
shaking with fright.

The great day came at last. The Gymnasium was decorated with flags in
honor of the occasion, and pots of palms were placed upon the platform
where the Governors and a few of the most distinguished visitors were
accommodated with seats. Winona, marching in to take part in the senior
drill, gave one glance round the building, and grasped the fact that
Aunt Harriet was sitting on the platform next to Councillor Jackson, and
only a few places away from the expert who was to act as judge. She was
chatting affably with her august companions. Think of chatting with a
Governor! Winona felt that it was some credit to have such a relation!
She had not always been very sure how much she valued Aunt Harriet's
opinion, but this afternoon she longed to shine before her. Yet the very
wish to do so made her nervous. She glanced at her companions. Bessie
was looking stolidity itself, Marjorie's usually high color had reached
peony point, Joyce was palpably in the throes of stage fright. All were
soon marching and countermarching, swinging Indian clubs, and performing
the intricate maneuvers of Swedish drill. Fortunately they had practiced
well, and it went without a hitch. They breathed more freely as they
retired to the ante-room to make way for the babies who were to do
skipping exercises to music.

"It's more awful to show off before Governors than I expected!" sighed
Joyce. "I'm just shivering!"

"What'll you be at the rings, then?" asked Bessie.

"Silence!" urged Miss Lever, who was in charge of the ante-room.

The strains of "Little Grey Home in the West" and the regular thud of
small feet were wafted from the gymnasium.

"Don't you wish you were a kid again?" whispered Joyce.

"No, I don't!" retorted Bessie, so imprudently loud that Miss Lever
glared at her.

"It's horrid having to stay in here, where one can't see!" murmured
Marjorie under her breath.

They knew by the music, however, what was taking place. The juniors were
doing wand exercises, the intermediates followed with clubs.

"Our turn again soon," whispered Winona.

Olave Parry, from a vantage post near the door, could see into the
gymnasium, and report progress. Her items of news passed in whispers
down the ranks. The babies had skipped like a row of cherubs, and the
Governors were wreathed in smiles. Kitty Carter had dropped one of her
clubs, and it nearly hit a visitor on the head, but fortunately missed
her by half an inch. Laura Marshall was performing prodigies on the
horizontal ladder--she undoubtedly had a chance for a medal. Bursts of
applause from the audience punctuated the performance. Olave continued
her report, which Miss Lever, who took occasional excursions into the
gymnasium, verified from time to time. The juniors were competing now.
Natalie Powers was about to do the ring exercises. It was a swing and a
pull-up in front, and she managed that neatly, but when it came to the
swing and the turn, she lost her nerve, turned too soon and spun round
helplessly in the air until Miss Barbour hurried to her aid. Natalie
was done for, without doubt! It was a good thing she had not fallen and
hurt herself. Her rivals were rope-climbing. Madge Collins had reached
the top in six seconds, and was sliding down again, to the accompaniment
of loud clapping. Lennie Roberts had beaten her, for she had performed
the same feat in exactly five seconds. The juniors were in a ferment of
excitement. The interest of the audience had waxed to enthusiasm point.

"Seniors!" announced Miss Lever briefly, and the row of waiting figures
in the ante-room fell into line, and marched into the gymnasium for the
special trials. The Swedish drill exercises, where all worked together,
had not seemed half so formidable. A well practiced part is not easily
forgotten even by a nervous girl, if it must be done in company with
others. It was another matter, however, to perform single athletic feats
before a big audience. For a moment Winona turned almost dizzy with
fright. The big room seemed full of eyes, every one of which would be
watching her when it came to her turn. She looked round with the feeling
of a martyr in the arena, and for a moment met the calm steady gaze of
Miss Beach. Winona said afterwards that Aunt Harriet must have
mesmerized her, for in that second of recognition she felt a sudden rush
of courage. The thrill of the contest took possession of her, and every
nerve and muscle, every atom of her brain, was alert to do its best. She
would let Aunt Harriet see that, though she might fail sometimes in form
work, she could hold her own at gymnastics.

Contestants climbed, traveled on rings, and vaulted the horse. Winona
seemed to herself as easy and agile as she had ever been. She had a
possible chance of winning, and her heart exulted. Then came the
ladders. Up and up she went, holding herself now by her hands and now by
her feet swinging for her hold. She had thought she was light, but now
she suddenly realized how heavy she was! She summoned every bit of
strength as she went down the ladder. From one contest to another she
passed, doing her best.

Last of all came the rings. Winona swung out, grasped the next ring, and
so on down the line. Oh, how many there were! She had never before
realized what it meant to weigh 7 st. 10 lbs. She held her breath as she
reached for the next ring, but it slipped from her fingers. Only for a
second, however, for she caught it on the next swing, and a moment later
was waiting at the end. Bessie was just starting. Down the line she
traveled, not so gracefully, perhaps, as Winona, but catching her ring
on every swing. Joyce followed, but mid-way her courage deserted her,
and she failed utterly. Marjorie came next. She was doing well surely!
She was nearly through, reached for the last ring, missed it, and fell!
There was an instant murmur of consternation from the audience. Was she
injured? She sprang up unhurt, however, though deeply humiliated.

Thrilling in every nerve, Winona started back. Refreshed by her little
rest, she swung lightly, steadily and unfalteringly, never missing a
ring till she came to the end. She was almost too occupied to notice
the cheers. Bessie reached mid-way, then missed a ring, caught it on the
second swing, missed another, and reached for it three times before she
caught it and finished her course.

The girls had been too much excited for comparisons. They scarcely
guessed how their averages would stand. Winona had a general impression
that Bessie had scored at vaulting, and Marjorie had undoubtedly cleared
the rope at four feet eight. Her own performances seemed lost in a haze;
she had noticed the judge jot down something, but she felt incapable of
reckoning her chances.

The judge was conferring with Miss Bishop at the back of the platform,
and while the room waited for their decision the school marched, singing
an Empire song.

At last the judge stepped to the front of the platform. The singing
ceased. Winona's heart beat suffocatingly.

"I have great pleasure in giving the results," announced the judge.
"Preparatory prize, Elaine Jennings; Junior prize, Lennie Roberts;
Intermediate prize, Laura Marshall; Senior prize, Winona Woodward."

The applause was ringing out lustily. Bessie, Marjorie and Joyce were
pressing congratulations upon her. Miss Bishop (actually the Head!) was
looking at her and smiling approval. Miss Lever was telling her to walk
forward. In a delirious whirl, Winona climbed the steps on the platform.
As Councillor Jackson pinned the medal on to her tunic, a storm of
clapping and cheers rose from the school. Their Games Captain was
popular, and everybody felt it right and fitting that this afternoon she
should have proved herself the athletic champion.

"Don't forget the ices!" whispered Bessie, as Winona rejoined Marjorie
and Joyce.

"We'll stop at the café on the way home, and you shall each choose what
you like!" declared Winona, with spendthrift liberality.


Back to the Land

Easter fell late, so Winona spent the lovely early part of May at her
own home. After so many weeks of town it was delightful to be once more
in the country. She worked with enthusiasm in the garden, mowed the
lawn, and with Letty and Mamie's help began to put up an arbor, over
which she hoped to persuade a crimson rambler to ramble successfully. In
the house she tried her hand at scones and cakes, entirely to the
children's satisfaction, if not altogether to her own; she enjoyed
experiments in cooking, for she had longed to join the Domestic Science
class at school, and had felt aggrieved when Miss Bishop decided that
her time-table was full enough without it. She found her mother looking
delicate and worried. Poor Mrs. Woodward's health had not improved
during the last two years; she was nervous, anxious about Percy, and
inclined to be fretful and tearful. The increased income-tax and the
added cost of living made her constantly full of financial cares; she
was not a very good manager, and the thought of the future oppressed

"I don't know what's to be done with you, Winona, when you leave
school!" she remarked plaintively one evening. "I feel that you ought to
go in for something, but I'm sure I don't know what! I'd hoped you were
going to turn out clever, and win a scholarship for College, and get a
good post as a teacher afterwards, but there doesn't seem the least
chance of your doing that. It's all very well this hockey and cricket
that's made such a fuss of at schools nowadays, but it doesn't seem to
me that it's going to lead to anything. I'd rather you stuck to your
books! Yes, your future's worrying me very much. I've all these little
ones to bring up and educate, and I'd hoped you'd be able to earn your
own living before long, and lend the children a helping hand. I can't
spend anything on giving you an expensive training, Percy has cost me so
much out of capital, and it's Letty's turn next, besides which it's high
time Ernie and Godfrey were packed off to a boarding-school. Oh, dear! I
never seem free from trouble! It's no light anxiety to be the mother of
seven children! I often wonder what will become of you all!"

To Winona her mother's tearful confidences came as a shock. Up to the
present she had been so intensely interested in school affairs that she
had given scarcely a thought to her future career. Life had existed for
her in detail only to the end of the summer term, after that it had
stretched a nebulous void into which her imagination had never troubled
to penetrate. Now she took herself seriously to task, and tried to face
the prospect of the time when she would have left the Seaton High
School. There were many occupations open to girls nowadays besides
teaching; they could be doctors, secretaries, sanitary inspectors,
artists, musicians, poultry farmers. She knew however, that for any
career worth taking up a considerable training would be necessary, and a
certain amount of expense involved. What she would have liked very much
would be to study at a Physical Training College, and qualify to become
a Drill and Games Mistress, but this seemed as unattainable as taking a
medical course or going to Girton or Newnham.

"I'm too young yet for a hospital nurse," she pondered, "and not clever
enough to be an artist or a musician. Well, I suppose I can make
munitions, or go on the land! Women are wanted on farms while the war
lasts. I could earn my own living, perhaps. But oh, dear! That wouldn't
be boosting on the children! I'm afraid mother's fearfully disappointed
with me."

She seemed to be looking at things in a new light, and to see her
position as it affected others. She was young and brave; surely it was
her part to shoulder the family burdens, to shield the frail little
mother who grew less and less able to cope with difficulties, to hold
out a strong helping hand to the younger brothers and sisters, and so
justify her existence on this planet. It had not before occurred to her
how much her home people relied on her. The thought of it brought a
great lump into her throat. She must not fail them. She could not yet
see her way clearly, but somehow she must be a comfort and a support to
them, that she was quite resolved.

She went back to school in a very thoughtful frame of mind. Her last
term would be a full one in many ways. About half of the Sixth Form were
to go in for their college entrance examinations, and Miss Bishop had
decreed that Winona, as a County Scholarship holder, must certainly be
among the number. She had little hope of passing, for most of her
subjects were weak, but she meant to make an effort to try to pick up
some of her lost ground. Her old enemies, Latin and Chemistry, still
often baffled her, and her memory was only moderately retentive. She
could not honestly believe that so far as her work was concerned she was
any credit to the school. Games were another matter, however, and so
long as they did not seriously interfere with her preparation for the
matriculation, she meant to do her duty as captain. She arranged cricket
fixtures and tennis tournaments, and though she could not devote as much
of her own time as she would have liked to practice, she spurred on
others who had more leisure than herself. She certainly possessed a gift
for organization. There are some captains, splendid players themselves,
who can never train their deputies. As Napoleon's genius was supposed to
lie largely in his capacity for picking out able generals, so Winona
proved her ability by choosing helpers who were of real service to her.
With Audrey Redfern, Emily Cooper, and Bertha March to the fore, she
hoped that both cricket and tennis would prosper, and that the school
would score as successfully during the summer as it had done in the
hockey season.

On the first Saturday after the beginning of the term, Miss Beach
announced that she was going to spend the day with a friend who lived
five miles out of Seaton, and that if Winona had leisure to accompany
her she would be pleased to take her. No practices had been arranged for
that afternoon, so Winona felt free to accept the invitation. She had
been for several short runs in the car, but for no long expedition since
the memorable outing to Wickborough, so the prospect of a day in the
country was alluring.

They started at about eleven o'clock, and took a road that was new to
Winona, consequently all the more interesting. Their way led through
lovely woods, at present a sheet of blue hyacinths, the hedges were a
filmy dream of blackthorn blossom, while the swallows wheeling and
flashing in the sunshine testified to the return of summer.

Miss Carson, the lady whom they were going to visit, like most of Aunt
Harriet's friends was engaged in very interesting work. She had taken a
small holding, and with the help of a few women pupils was running it as
a fruit, flower and poultry farm. The house, an old cottage, to which
she had added a wing, was charmingly pretty. It was long and low, with a
thick thatched roof, and a porch overgrown with starry white clematis. A
budding vine covered the front and in the border below great clumps of
stately yellow lilies drooped their queenly heads. The front door led
straight into the house place, a square room with a big fire-place and
cozy ingle nooks. It was very simply furnished, but looked most artistic
with its rush-bottomed chairs, its few good pictures, and its stained
green table with the big bowl of wallflowers.

Miss Carson, a delightfully energetic lady whose age may have been
somewhere between thirty and forty, welcomed them cordially.

"I don't apologize for the plainness of my establishment," she remarked.
"It's all part of a purpose. We have no servants here, and as we have to
do our own house-work in addition to our farm-work, we want to reduce
our labor to a minimum. You see, there's hardly anything to dust in this
room: the books and the china are in those two cupboards with glass
doors, and we have no fripperies at all lying about. The only ornament
we allow ourselves is the bowl of flowers. Our bedrooms are equally
simple, and our kitchen is fitted with the latest and most up-to-date
labor-saving appliances. One of my students is preparing the dinner
there now. She's a nice girl, and Winona will perhaps like to go and
talk to her, unless she prefers to stay here with us."

Winona promptly decided in favor of the kitchen, so Miss Carson escorted
her there, and introduced her to Miss Heald, a jolly-looking girl of
about twenty, who, enveloped in a blue overall pinafore, was putting
plates to heat, and inspecting the contents of certain boilerettes and
casseroles. Like the sitting-room the kitchen contained no unnecessary
articles. It was spotlessly clean, and looked very business-like.

"We go on kitchen duty for a week at a time," explained Miss Heald to
Winona. "It's a part of the course, you know. We have dairy, gardening
and poultry as well. Which do I like best? It's hard to say. Poultry, I
think, because the chickens are such darlings. I'll show you all round
the place this afternoon, when I've finished washing up. I'm going to
lay the table now. You can help if you like."

Precisely at one o'clock the seven other students came in from their
work. Each was dressed in her farm uniform, short serge skirt, woolen
jersey, blue overall and thick boots. To judge from their looks, their
occupation was both healthy and congenial, in physique they were Hebes,
and their spirits seemed at bubbling point. Apparently they all adored
Miss Carson. The latter made a few inquiries as to the morning's
progress, and the capable answers testified to the knowledge of the
learners. The dinner did credit to Miss Heald's skill; it was well
cooked and daintily served. Winona was full of admiration; her culinary
experience was limited so far to cakes and scones; she felt that she
would have been very proud if she had compounded that stew, and baked
those custards. When the meal was finished the students tramped forth
again to their outdoor labor, while Miss Heald cleared away. Winona
begged to be allowed to help her, and was initiated into the mysteries
of the very latest and most sanitary method of washing up, with the aid
of mop, dish-rack, and some patent appliances. It was so interesting
that she quite enjoyed it. She swept the kitchen, filled kettles at the
pump, and did several other odd jobs; then, everything being left in an
absolutely immaculate condition, Miss Heald declared that she was ready,
and offered to take her companion for a tour of inspection round the

The little holding had been well planned, and was skillfully arranged.
In front was the garden, a large piece of ground stretching down to the
hedge that bordered the road. Miss Carson's original idea had been the
culture of flowers, partly for the sale of their blossoms, and partly
for the preservation of their seeds, but the national need of producing
food crops during the war had induced her to plant almost the whole of
it with fruit and vegetables. At present it somewhat resembled a village
allotment. Patches of peas and broad beans were coming up well. Groups
of gooseberry bushes were thriving. Strawberry beds were being carefully
weeded, and two of the students were erecting posts round them, over
which nets would be hung later on to protect the fruit from the birds.

"Birds are our greatest pest here," explained Miss Heald. "One may like
them from a natural history point of view, but you get to hate the
little wretches when you see them devouring everything wholesale.
They've no conscience. Those small coletits can creep through quite fine
meshes, and simply strip the peas, and the blackbirds would guzzle all
day if they had the chance. I want to borrow an air gun and pot at them,
but Miss Carson won't let me. She's afraid I might shoot some of the
other students."

A row of cucumber frames and some greenhouses stood at the bottom of the
garden. The latter were mostly devoted to young tomato plants, though
one was specially reserved for vegetable marrows. The students had to
learn how to manage and regulate the heating apparatus of the houses,
as well as to understand the culture of the plants.

"I left a window open once," confessed Miss Heald. "I remembered it when
I had been about an hour in bed, and I jumped up and dressed in a hurry,
and went out with a lantern to shut it. Fortunately there was no frost
that night, or all the seedlings might have been killed. It was a most
dreadful thing to forget! I thought Miss Carson would have jumped on me,
but she was ever so nice about it."

Despite the predominance of foodstuffs there were a few flowers in the
garden, clumps of forget-me-not and narcissus, purple iris, golden
saxifrages and scarlet anemones. There were fragrant bushes of lavender
and rosemary, and beds of sweet herbs, thyme, and basil and fennel and
salsafy, for Miss Carson believed in some of the old-fashioned remedies,
and made salves and ointments and hair washes from the products of her
garden. The orchard, full of pink-blossomed apple trees, was a
refreshing sight. They opened a little gate, and walked under a wealth
of drooping flowers to the poultry yard that lay at the further side.
Everything here was on the most up-to-date system. Pens of beautiful
white Leghorns, Black Minorcas and Buff Orpingtons were kept in wired
inclosures, each with its own henhouse and scratching-shed full of
straw. Miss Heald took Winona inside to inspect the patent
nesting-boxes, and the grit-cutting machine. She also showed her the

"They're empty now, but you should have seen them in the early spring,
when they were full of eggs," she explained. "It was a tremendous
anxiety to keep the lamps properly regulated. Miss Nelson and I sat up
all night once when some prize ducklings were hatching. It was cold
weather, and they weren't very strong, so they needed a little help.
It's the most frightfully delicate work to help a chick out of its
shell! It makes a little chip with its beak, and then sometimes it can't
get any further, and you have gently to crack the hole bigger. Unless
you're very careful you may kill it, but on the other hand, if it can't
burst its shell when it's ready to hatch, it may suffocate, so it's a
choice of evils. We put them in the drying pen first, and then in the
'foster mother.' They're like babies, and have to be fed every two
hours. It's a tremendous business when you have hundreds of them, at
different stages and on different diets. We seemed to be preparing food
all day long. It's ever so fascinating, though!"

"I love them when they're like fluffy canaries," said Winona.

"Yes, so do I. I had a special sitting of little ducklings under my
charge, and they got very tame. I put them into a basket one day, and
carried them into the garden to pick up worms. I put them down on a bed,
and while my back was turned for a few minutes they cleared a whole row
of young cabbages that Miss Morrison had just planted. I got into
fearful trouble, and had to pack up my _protégés_ and take them back to
their coop in disgrace. I'd never dreamed they would devour green stuff!
We have to learn to keep strict accounts of the poultry; we put down
the number of eggs daily, and the weekly food bill, and the chickens
sold, and make a kind of register, with profit and loss. Miss Carson
runs everything on a most business-like basis."

Miss Heald showed Winona the store-room, where meal and grain were kept,
the big pans in which food was mixed, the boxes for packing eggs, and
the little medicine cupboard containing remedies for sick fowls. All was
beautifully orderly and well arranged, and a card of rules for the help
of the students hung on the walls.

From the poultry department they passed to the Dairy Section. The four
sleek cows were out in the field, but in a loose box there were some
delightful calves that ran to greet Miss Heald, pressing eager damp
noses into her hand, and exhibiting much apparent disappointment that
she did not offer them a pailful of milk and oatmeal. Winona inspected
the cool, scrupulously clean dairy, with its patent churn, and slate
slabs for making up the butter. She saw the bowls where the cream was
kept, and the wooden print with which the pats were marked.

"Butter-making is the side of the business I don't care for," admitted
Miss Heald. "I like the gardening fairly well, and I just love the
poultry, but I don't take to dairy work. Of course it's a part of my
training, so I'm obliged to do it, but when my time here is over, I mean
to make hens my specialty, and go in for poultry farming. An open-air
life suits me. It's a thousand times nicer than being a nurse at a
hospital, or a secretary at an office. You're in the fresh air all day,
and the chicks are so interesting."

A pen of young turkey poults, a flock of goslings, and a sty full of
infant pigs were next on exhibition. Miss Heald showed off the latter
with pride.

"They're rather darlings, and I own to a weakness for them," she
admitted. "We put them in a bath and scrub them, and they're really so
intelligent. Wasn't it the poet Herrick who had a pet pig? This little
chap's as sharp as a needle. I believe I could teach him tricks
directly, if I tried! Miss Carson says I mustn't let myself grow too
fond of all the creatures, because their ultimate end is bacon or the
boilerette, and it doesn't do to be sentimental over farming; but I
can't help it! I just love some of the chickens; they come flying up on
to my shoulder like pigeons."

A rough-coated pony formed part of the establishment. Twice a week he
was harnessed to the trap, and Miss Carson and one of the students drove
to Seaton to dispose of the farm produce. Miss Carson had undertaken to
supply several hotels and restaurants with eggs, fowls and vegetables,
and so far had found the demand for her goods exceeded the supply. Labor
was at present her greatest difficulty. Her students accomplished the
light work, but could not do heavy digging. She managed to secure the
occasional services of a farm hand, but with most able-bodied men at the
war the problem of trenching or of making an asparagus bed was almost
impossible to solve.

At the end of the orchard, against a south hedge of thick holly, stood
the hives. Bee-keeping was one of the most successful ventures of the
holding. Last autumn had shown a splendid yield of honey, and this year,
judging by the activity of the bees, an equal harvest might be expected.
There was continuous humming among the apple blossoms, and every minute
pollen-laden workers were hurrying home with their spoils. Miss Heald
lifted the lid of one of the hives, to show Winona the comb within. She
observed caution, however.

"They don't know me very well," she explained. "They have their likes
and dislikes. Miss Hunter can let them crawl all over her hands and
arms, and they never sting her. She must have a natural attraction for
them. They recognize a stranger directly. No, I'm not particularly fond
of them. I prefer pigs and chickens."

Miss Carson and Aunt Harriet had also been going the round of the farm,
and came up to inspect the hives. Miss Beach was greatly interested in
her friend's work, and full of congratulations.

"Such women as you are the backbone of the country!" she declared. "The
next best thing to fighting is to provide food for the nation. England
is capable of producing twice her annual yield if there is proper
organization. I'm a great advocate of small holdings, and I think women
can't show their patriotism better than by going 'back to the land.' You
and your students are indeed 'doing your bit'! You make me want to come
and help you!"

It was such a delicious warm afternoon that chairs were carried outside,
and they had tea in the garden under a gorgeous pink-blossomed almond
tree, with the perfume of wallflowers and sweet scented stocks wafted
from the rockery above. Two cats and a dog joined the party, also an
impudent bantam cock, who, being considered the mascot of the
establishment, was much petted, and allowed certain privileges. He would
sit on Miss Carson's wrist like a little tame hawk, and she sometimes
brought him into the garden at tea-time to give him tit-bits.

At 4.30 all the fowls and chickens were fed, a tremendous business, at
which Winona looked on with enthusiasm. She admired the systematic way
in which the food was measured and distributed so that each individual
member of the flock received its due share, and was not robbed by a
greedier and stronger neighbor. She was very reluctant to leave when
Miss Beach at last brought round the car.

"How I'd love to go and learn farming when I leave school!" she ventured
to remark as they drove home.

"It needs brains!" returned Aunt Harriet, rather snappily. "You mustn't
imagine it's all tea in the garden and playing with fluffy chickens. To
run such a holding intelligently requires a clever capable head. Your
examination's quite enough for you to think about at present. If you're
to have any chance at all of passing, it will take your whole energies,
I assure you!"

Winona, duly snubbed, held her peace.


A Friend in Need

Under the coaching of Miss Goodson the Sixth Form had settled down to
grim work. Twelve girls were to present themselves for examination for
entering Dunningham University, and though the teacher naturally
concentrated her greatest energies on this elect dozen, the rest by no
means slipped through her intellectual net. There were stars among the
candidates of whom she might feel moderately certain, and there were
also laggers whose success was doubtful. In this latter category she
classed Winona. Poor Winona still floundered rather hopelessly in some
of her subjects. A poetic imagination may be a delightful inheritance
and a source of infinite enjoyment to its owner, but it does not supply
the place of a good memory. Examiners are prosaic beings who require
solid facts, and even the style of a Macaulay or a Carlyle would not
satisfy them unless accompanied by definite answers to their set
questions. By a piece of unparalleled luck, Winona had secured and
retained her County Scholarship, but her powers of essay writing were
not likely to serve her in such good stead again. She often groaned when
she thought of the examinations. Miss Bishop, Aunt Harriet, and her
mother would all be so disappointed if she failed, and alas! her failure
seemed only too probable.

"Miss Goodson doesn't tell me plump out that I'll be plucked, but I can
see she thinks so!" confided Winona to Garnet one day.

"Then show her she is wrong!"

"Not much chance of that, I'm afraid, but I'm doing my level best. I get
up at six every morning, and slave before breakfast."

"So do I, but I get such frightful headaches," sighed Garnet. "I've been
nearly mad with them. My cousin took me to the doctor yesterday. He says
it's my eyes. I shan't be at school to-morrow. I have to go to
Dunningham to see a specialist."

"Poor old girl! You never told me about your headaches."

"You never asked me! I've seen so little of you lately;"

Winona's conscience smote her. She had rather neglected Garnet since
they had entered the Sixth Form. During their year in V.a. they
had been fast friends. As new girls together and scholarship holders, a
close tie had existed between them, and they had shared in many small
excitements and adventures. When Winona was chosen Games Captain,
however, their interests seemed to separate. Garnet was not athletic,
she cared little for hockey or cricket, and preferred to devote her
surplus energies to the Literary Society or the Debating Club. Almost
inevitably they had drifted apart. Winona, wrapped up in the supreme
fascinations of hockey matches and gymnasium practice, had chummed with
Marjorie Kemp, Bessie Kirk, and Joyce Newton, who shared her enthusiasm
for games. She remembered with a pang of self-reproach that she had not
walked round the playground with Garnet once this term. Winona admired
fidelity, but she certainly could not pride herself upon having
practiced that virtue of late.

Garnet was absent from her desk next day, but when she returned to the
school on Thursday, Winona sought an opportunity, and bore her off for a
private talk. Garnet was looking very pale.

"I'm dreadfully upset," she confessed. "I told you I had to see a
specialist about my eyes? Well, yesterday we went to Dunningham, to
consult Sir Alfred Pollard. He says there's very serious trouble, and
that if I'm not careful, I may ruin my sight altogether. He absolutely
forbids any home work in the evenings."

"Forbids home work!" gasped Winona.

"Yes, utterly! Just think of it! With the examinations only six weeks
off! I begged and implored, but he said I might choose between my sight
and my exam. I suppose I shall have to fail!"

"Oh, Garnet!"

"Yes," continued her friend bitterly, "to fail at the very end, after
all my work! And I _have_ worked! When other girls have been getting all
sorts of fun, I've sat in my bedroom with my books. Oh, it's too
cruel!... Don't think me conceited, but I thought I might have a chance
for the Seaton Scholarship. It was worth trying for! If you knew how I
long to go to College! It would be so glorious to write B.A. after one's
name! Besides, I must do something in life. All my sisters have chosen
careers, and I had, quite decided to take up teaching as a profession. I
talked it over with Miss Goodson one day. She was so nice about it, and
strongly advised me to go to College if I could possibly get the
opportunity. Well, I suppose that dream's over now! Not much chance of a
scholarship with one's prep knocked off!"

"Oh, Garnet, I'm so sorry! Will the doctor let you take the exams, at

"Yes, I may attend school as usual, and go in for the exam., but I'm not
to look at a book after 4 p.m. or before 9 a.m., so it's a very empty
permission. How I shall rage all the evenings! I wish I had a gramophone
to howl out my work into my ears, as I mayn't use my eyes!"

"Would that help you?" asked Winona eagerly.

"Of course it would! It isn't my brain that's wrong, only my eyes. I
asked my cousin to read my prep. to me one evening, but it was beyond
her, and we only got into a muddle. Oh dear, I could cry! To have worked
to within six weeks of the exam., and then to have to slack like this!
I'm the unluckiest girl in the world!"

Winona comforted her poor friend as best she could. She had an idea at
the back of her mind, but she did not venture to confide it to Garnet
until she had first consulted Aunt Harriet about it. It was no less a
proposal than that they should do their preparation together, and that
by reading the work aloud she could act eyes for her chum. It. would be
difficult, no doubt, but not an utter impossibility, and it was
absolutely the only way in which Garnet could receive help. It would
necessitate their spending many hours daily in each other's company, and
to arrange this seemed to be the difficulty. She explained the situation
to Miss Beach, with some diffidence and hesitation. She was terribly
afraid of receiving a snubbing, and being told that her own work was
more than sufficient for her, without taking up her friend's burdens. To
her surprise, however, Aunt Harriet proved sympathetic, and heartily
acquiesced in the scheme. She indeed made the very kind proposal that
for the six weeks until the exam. Garnet should sleep with Winona at
Abbey Close, so that they might have both the evening and early morning
preparation together.

Winona carried her friend to a quiet corner of the gymnasium to
communicate her thrilling news.

"Win! You don't really mean it? Oh, you're big! I didn't think any one
in the world would have done that for me. Do you realize what you're
undertaking? It's the one thing that can save me! And only a girl who's
in my own Form, and going in for the exams. herself, could do it. Nobody
else understands exactly what one wants. Win! I'm ready to worship you!"

"Will your cousin let you come to stay with us?"

"I've no fear of that. She'll be as grateful to you as I am!"

Without any further loss of time, Garnet was installed at Abbey Close,
and the friends began their joint preparation. Garnet, by the doctor's
orders, sat with a black silk handkerchief tied over her eyes, so as to
give them all the rest which was possible. Her brain was very alert,
however, and her excellent memory retained most of what Winona read to
her. At first there were many difficulties to be overcome, for each had
had her own way of studying, but after a while they grew used to their
united method, and began to make headway with the work. They thoroughly
enjoyed being together. To Winona it was almost like being back at the
hostel to have a companion in her bedroom, and her many jokes and bits
of fun kept up Garnet's spirits. They set their alarm clock for 5.30,
and began study promptly at six each morning, after eating the bread and
butter and drinking the glasses of milk which, by Aunt Harriet's orders,
were always placed in readiness for them. These early hours, when the
day was cool, and a fresh breeze blew in through the open window, seemed
the most valuable of all; their brains felt clearer, and they were often
able to grasp problems and difficult points which had eluded them the
evening before.

Except for the ordinary practices which formed part of the school
curriculum, Winona was obliged for the present to appoint Bessie Kirk as
her deputy-Captain. She had no time herself to train juniors, to act
referee, or to stand watching tennis sets. It meant a great sacrifice to
relinquish these most congenial duties, but she knew Miss Bishop and
Miss Goodson approved, and she promised herself to return to them all
the more heartily when the examination should be over. She would ask
Bessie wistfully for reports of the progress of various stars who were
in training, and managed to keep in touch with the games, though she
could not always participate in them.

"Wait till June's over, and I'm emancipated! Then won't I have the time
of my life!" she announced. "Thank goodness the match with Binworth
isn't till July 21st!"

The weeks of strenuous work passed slowly by. The weather was warm and
sultry, with frequent thunderstorms, not a favorable atmosphere for
study. Garnet flagged palpably, and lost her roses. To Winona the time
seemed interminable. The task she had undertaken of helping her friend
was a formidable one. It needed all her courage to persevere. Sometimes
she longed just for an evening to throw it up, and go and play tennis
instead, but every hour was important to Garnet, and must not be lost.
Winona often had to set her teeth and force herself to resist the
alluring sound of the tennis in the next-door garden, where she had a
standing invitation to come and play, and it took all the will power of
which she was capable to focus her attention on the examination
subjects. She tried not to let Garnet see how much the effort cost her;
the latter was sensitive, and painfully conscious of being a burden.
Miss Beach dosed both the girls with tonics, and insisted upon their
taking a certain amount of exercise.

"Work by all means, but don't over-work," was her recommendation.
"There's such a thing as bending a bow until it breaks. I don't like to
see such white cheeks!"

The examination was for entering Dunningham University, and must be
taken at that city. The Governors of the Seaton High School had offered
a scholarship, tenable for three years, to whichever of their
candidates, obtaining First Class honors, appeared highest on the list
of passes. They had arranged with the examiners to place the names of
the successful candidates in order of merit and on the receipt of the
results they would award their exhibition. If no one obtained First
Class honors, the offer would be withdrawn, and held over until another

Several of the girls were well up in their work, and seemed likely to
have a chance of winning. Linda Fletcher had the advantage of two years
in the Sixth, Agatha James was undoubtedly clever, and Beatrice Howell,
though not brilliant, possessed a steady capacity for grind. With three
such formidable rivals Garnet's heart might very reasonably fail her.
The doctor's prohibition was a most serious handicap for invaluable as
her chum's help proved, it was not so effective as being able to use her
own eyes. Sometimes she lost courage altogether, and it needed Winona's
most dogged determination to keep her mind fixed unwaveringly upon the
end in view.

"It's like playing in a match," Winona assured her. "If you think the
other side's going to win, you may as well throw up the sponge at once.
Don't give way an inch until you absolutely know you're beaten. I'm just
determined you're to have that scholarship!"

"If I could only think so!" sighed Garnet. "Oh, Win! what should I do
without you? When I'm with you my spirits go up, and I've courage enough
for anything, and when I'm by myself I feel a wretched jelly-fish of a
creature, just inclined to sit in a corner and blub!"

"No blubbering, please! Worst thing possible for the eyes!" commanded

"Well, I won't! You've cheered me up tremendously. I'm glad you'll be in
the exam. room with me. I shall feel twice as brave if I know you're

The days sped on, and the very last one came. Miss Bishop and Miss
Goodson had given their final coachings and their most valuable help.
Winona and Garnet devoted the evening to mastering one or two doubtful

"We've done our best, and it depends now whether we've luck in the
questions," said Winona. "I think we'd better put the books away. We
shall only muddle ourselves if we try any more to-night. Aunt Harriet
says we're not to get up at five to-morrow. We shall have quite a hard
enough day as it is."

"It wouldn't be much use," said Garnet, thrusting back the hair from her
hot forehead. "I feel I've taken in the utmost my brains can hold.
There's no room for anything more. How close the air is!"

"I believe we're going to have another storm," replied Winona, leaning
out of the widely opened window, to gaze at the lurid sky. "There's a
feeling of electricity about. Ah! There it begins!"

A vivid flash behind the tower of the old Minster was followed by a long
rumble of thunder. The atmosphere was painfully oppressive. Again a
white streak ran like a corkscrew over the clouds, and a louder peal
resounded. The storm was drawing nearer.

"Come from the window, Winona. It's not safe!"

Garnet was terribly afraid of thunder. The electricity in the air has a
powerful effect upon some temperaments, and at the first sound of
heaven's artillery she was crouching beside her bed, with her head
buried in the pillow.

"Don't be a silly ostrich!" retorted her chum. "It's quite far away yet,
and if it does come, the chances are a thousand to one against it
hitting this particular house. Why, you weren't half so scared of
Zeppelins! For goodness' sake don't get hysterical! Show some pluck!"

Winona's remarks might not be complimentary, but they were bracing.
Garnet laughed nervously, and consented to sit upon a chair. In about
half-an-hour the storm blew over, leaving a clear sky and stars.

"Come and put your head out of the window, and feel how deliciously
fresh and cool it is!" commanded Winona. "Look at that bright planet! I
think it must be Jupiter. I take it as a good omen for to-morrow. The
storm will have cleared your brain, and your star's in the ascendant.
Here's luck to the exam.!"

The city of Dunningham was about thirty miles away from Seaton. It was
a big manufacturing city, with a highly flourishing modern university,
which had lately come much to the fore, and had begun to make itself a
reputation. The three days' examination was to be held in the University
buildings, and all candidates were bound to present themselves there.
Miss Bishop had decided that the contingent of twelve from the Seaton
High School should travel to Dunningham each morning by the early
express, under the charge of Miss Lever, who would take them out for
lunch, and escort them safely back to Seaton again in the evening. The
arrangement necessitated an early start, but nobody minded that.

The little party met at the railway station in quite bright spirits. It
was rather fun, all going to Dunningham together, and having a special
compartment engaged for them on the train. It was a difficult matter for
thirteen people to cram into seats only intended for the accommodation
of ten, but they preferred over-crowding to separation, and cheerfully
took it in turns to sit on one another's knees.

"It's more like a beanfeast than the exam.!" laughed Mary Payne, handing
round a packet of chocolates. "I feel I absolutely don't care!"

"I feel like a criminal on the road to execution!" groaned Helena
Maitland. "Usedn't they to give the poor wretches anything they asked
for? Oh, yes, thanks! I'll have a chocolate by all means, but it's
crowning the victim with a garland of roses!"

"Rather mixed metaphors, my child! If you don't express yourself more
clearly in your papers, I'm afraid you won't satisfy the examiners!"

"I wonder who corrects the papers?" asked Freda Long.

"Oh! some snarling old dry-as-dust, probably, who's anxious to get
through the job as quickly as he can. It must be a withering experience
to go through thousands of papers. Enough to pulverize your brains for
the rest of your life!"

"I don't mind the examiners' brains. It's my own I'm anxious about. If
they'll last me out these three days, I'll be content to exist at a very
low mental level afterwards!"

"Right you are! Ditto this child! I'm going to read nothing but the
trashiest novels during the holidays!" announced Mary aggressively.

"And I'm not going to read at all! I shall just lounge and play tennis,"
added Hilda.

"Poor dears! I used to feel like that, but one gets over it!" smiled
Miss Lever. "Don't eat too many caramels, or you'll be so thirsty in the
exam room. Malted milk tablets are the best thing; they're sweet, but
sustaining. Plain chocolate is the next best. I shall think of you all
the whole morning."

"You'll have a lovely time gallivanting round Dunningham and
shop-gazing, while we're racking our brains!" said Garnet. "We're all

"Remember, I've had my purgatory before!" returned Miss Lever, laughing.
"You must allow me a good time in my old age!"

Arrived at Dunningham station, they took the tramcar, and proceeded
straight to the University. It was a very fine modern building, erected
round three sides of a large quadrangle, the fourth side being occupied
by a museum. They were directed to the Women Students' Department, and
took off their hats and coats in the dressing-room. Miss Lever, who had
herself graduated at Dunningham, knew the place well, and was able to
give them exact directions. She escorted them across the quadrangle to
the big hall where the examination was to be held.

"The place has a classic look," said Garnet, gazing at the Corinthian
columns of the portico. "I'm afraid they won't consider my Latin up to
standard. May the fates send me an easy paper!"

"You should have asked them before!" giggled Winona. "The papers are
printed now, and not all the gods of Olympus could alter a letter. I
accept my fortunes in the spirit of a Mahomedan. It's Kismet!"

The first set of questions was easier than the girls had dared to
expect. They scribbled away eagerly. It was encouraging, at any rate, to
make a good beginning. They compared notes at the end of the morning,
and arrived at the conclusion that all had done fairly well. Miss Lever
was waiting for them in the quadrangle when they came out, and announced
that she had engaged a special table for the party at a restaurant, and
had ordered a particularly nice little lunch, with coffee afterwards to
clear their brains. Some of the girls were tired, and inclined to groan,
others were exhilarated, but the enthusiasts cheered up the weaker
spirits, and by the time the coffee course was reached, everybody was
feeling courageous.

"Should I dare to suggest ices?" murmured Winona.

"All right, if you like. There's just time," assented Miss Lever,
consulting her watch. "I passed my Intermediate on ices during a spell
of intensely hot weather. I can allow you exactly five minutes, so
choose quickly--strawberry or vanilla?"

The three days of the examination seemed to Winona like a dream. She
grew quite accustomed to the big hall full of candidates, and to her
particular desk. Garnet sat at the other side of the aisle, and Winona
would sometimes pause a moment to watch her. To judge from her friend's
absorbed appearance and fast moving pen, the papers appeared to suit
her. To Winona's immense astonishment she herself was doing quite
moderately well. The six weeks' coaching of Garnet had been of
inestimable benefit to her own work. She had not then thought of this
aspect of the matter, but she was certainly now reaping the reward of
her labor of love. For the first time the possibility of gaining a pass
occurred to her.

"If I do, it'll be the limit!" she reflected. "Miss Bishop will have
about the surprise of her life!"

On the whole the girls quite enjoyed their three days at Dunningham.
There were intervals between their various papers, which they spent
partly in the University museum and partly in the City Art Gallery,
where a fine collection of Old Masters was on loan. It was the first
time Winona had seen paintings by world-famous artists, though she had
often pored over reproductions of their works in _The Studio_ or _The
Connoisseur_. She felt that the experience added another window to her
outlook on life.

"I wish I'd the talent to be an artist!" she thought. "There are so many
things I'd like to do! Oh, dear! Painting and music (both beyond me
utterly) and physical culture and poultry farming, and Red Cross
nursing, and I probably shan't do any of them, after all! I want to be
of solid use to the world in a nice interesting way to myself, and I
expect I'll just have to do a lot of stupid things that I hate. Why
wasn't I born a Raphael?"

"How do you think you've got on altogether?" Garnet asked Winona, as,
thoroughly tired out, the two girls traveled homeward to Seaton at the
end of the third day's examination.

"Um--tolerably. Better, perhaps, than I expected, but that's not saying
much. And you?"

"I never prophesy till I know!"

But Garnet's dark eyes shone as she leaned back in her corner.


The Swimming Contest

Once the examinations were over, Winona's spirits, which had been
decidedly at Il Penseroso, went up to L'Allegro. The strain of coaching
Garnet had been very great, but the relief was in corresponding
proportion. She felt as if a burden had rolled from her shoulders. There
was just a month of the term left. The Sixth would of course be expected
to do its ordinary form work, but the amount of home study required
would be reasonable, quite a different matter from the intolerable grind
of preparation for a University examination. The extra afternoon classes
with Miss Goodson were no longer necessary, leaving a delightful period
of leisure half-hours at school. Winona intended to employ these
blissful intervals in cricket practice, at the tennis courts, in helping
to arrange the museum, and in carrying out several other pet schemes
that she had been forced hitherto to set aside. Bessie Kirk had made a
good deputy, but it was nice to take the reins into her own hands once
more, and feel that she was head of the Games department. She coached
her champions assiduously. At tennis Emily Cooper and Bertha March stood
out like planets among the stars. They had already beaten Westwood High
School and Hill Top Secondary School, and hoped to have a chance
against Binworth College, of hitherto invincible reputation. The match
would not take place for a fortnight, which gave extra time for
practice. In cricket, Betty Carlisle had come to the front at bowling,
while Maggie Allesley and Irene Swinburne were heroines of the bat. It
is inevitable that some girls should overtop the rest, but Winona would
not on that account allow the others to slack. She knew the importance
of a high general average of play, and urged on several laggers. She
thoroughly realized the importance of fielding, and made her eleven
concentrate their minds upon it.

"We lost Tamley on fielding," she affirmed, "and if we've any intention
of beating Binworth, we've just got to practice catching and throwing

Of the two matches in which the school had so far taken part, the first,
with Baddeley High School, had been a draw, and in the second, with
Tamley, they had been beaten. It was not an encouraging record, and
Winona felt that for the credit of the school it was absolutely
necessary to vanquish Binworth. Its team had a fairly good reputation,
so it would be no easy task, but after the hockey successes of last
winter she did not despair. Apart from school she had a very pleasant
time. Nearly every evening after supper Aunt Harriet would suggest a
short run in the car before sunset. She generally allowed her niece to
take the wheel as soon as they were clear of the town traffic, and
Winona soon became quite expert at driving. She liked to feel the little
car answering to her guidance; there was a thrill in rounding corners
and steering past carts, and every time she went out she gained fresh
confidence. She was not at all nervous, and kept her head admirably in
several small emergencies, managing so well that Aunt Harriet finally
allowed her to bring the car back down the High Street, which, as it was
the most crowded portion of the town, was considered the motorist's
ordeal in Seaton. She acquitted herself with great credit, passed a
tramcar successfully, and understood the signals of the policeman who
waved his hand at the corner. Aunt Harriet had taken out a driver's
license for her, so having proved her skill in the High Street, she now
felt quite a full-fledged lady chauffeur.

Winona immensely enjoyed these evening runs when the sky was aflame with
sunset, and the trees were quiet dark masses of color, and the long road
stretched out before her, pink from the glow above, and the lacey
hemlocks and meadowsweets made a soft blurred border below the
hedgerows. With an open road in front of her she was tempted sometimes
to put on speed, and felt as if she were flying onwards into a dream
country where all was vague and mysterious and shadowy and unknown. She
was always loth to return, but Aunt Harriet was extremely particular
that they must be home before lighting-up time, and would point
remorselessly to the small clock that hung facing the seat. Perhaps
Winona's greatest triumph was when, one evening, she managed without any
assistance to run the car into its own shed in the garage, a delicate
little piece of steering which required fine calculation, a quick hand,
and a rapid turn. She was learning something of the mechanism, too,
could refill the petrol tank, and was almost anxious for a tire to
burst, so that she might have the opportunity of putting on the Stepney
wheel, though this latter ambition was not shared by her aunt.

"When all the men have gone to the war, I'll be able to drive a taxi or
a war van, and make myself useful to the Government! I believe I could
clean the car perfectly well if Sam should be called up, and has to
leave the garage. I'd just enjoy turning the hose on it. What would they
give me a week to take Sam's place here?"

"They'd give you a snubbing if you asked them!" laughed Aunt Harriet.
"Cleaning a car is uncommonly hard work. You might manage our small one,
but by the time you'd done the whole round of the garage, you'd be ready
to declare it wasn't a woman's job."

"I'd chance it!" retorted Winona.

She had her opportunity after all, for the garage attendant was taken
ill, and remained off duty for several days. On the Saturday morning
Winona set to work and cleaned, polished and oiled the car thoroughly.
It was very dirty after a muddy day's use, so she had her full
experience. It was certainly far harder than she had anticipated, and
she felt devoutly thankful that she was not bound to attack the cars in
the other sheds, and perform similar services for each.

"Sam earns his money," she assured Aunt Harriet, when she returned at
lunch-time. "On the whole, I've decided I won't be a lady chauffeur.
It's bad enough to have to clean one's bicycle, but if I had to go
through this car performance every day, I don't think there'd be very
much left of me."

"Ah! I told you so!" returned, Aunt Harriet triumphantly.

Motoring was not the only fresh form of activity which Winona had taken
up this summer. The school had organized swimming classes, and on
certain clean-water days detachments of girls were conducted to the
public baths. Owing to her college entrance examinations, Winona had not
been able to attend the full course, but she had learnt to swim last
summer at the baths, and was as enthusiastic as anybody. Miss Medland,
the teacher, was an expert from Dunningham; she was skillful herself,
and clever at training her pupils. The girls soon gained confidence in
the water, and began to be able to perform what they called "mermaid
high jinks."

The Public Baths at Seaton were most remarkably good, so good indeed
that many of the citizens had raised a protest against the Corporation
for spending so much money upon them. The High School girls, who had not
to pay the rates, did not sympathize with the grumbles of ratepayers,
and rejoiced exceedingly in the sumptuous accommodation. They specially
appreciated the comfort of the dressing-rooms, and the convenience of
the hot-air apparatus for drying their hair. The restaurant, where tea
or bovril could be had, was also a luxury for those who were apt to turn
shivery after coming from the water.

"I can understand why the Romans were so enthusiastic about their public
baths," said Audrey Redfern. "Just think of having little trays of
eatables floating about on the water, so that you could have a snack
whenever you wanted, and slaves to bring you delicious scent afterwards,
and garlands of flowers. I wish I'd lived some time B.C.
instead of in the twentieth century!"

"Be thankful you didn't live in the twelfth, for then you mightn't have
had a bath at all!" returned Winona; "certainly not a public one, and
probably not the private one either. An occasional canful of water would
have been thought quite sufficient for you, with perhaps a dip in a
stream if you could get it. The people who bathed were mostly pilgrims
at Holy Wells, and they all used the same water, no matter what their
diseases were."

"How disgusting! Well, on the whole I'm tolerably satisfied to belong to
the poor old twentieth century. It might be better, but it might be

"How kind of you! I'm sure posterity will be grateful for your

"D'you want me to push you into the water, Winona Woodward? I will, in
half a second!"

At the end of the course it was arranged that a swimming contest should
take place among the girls, and that various prizes should be offered
for championships. It was the first event of the kind in the annals of
the school, so naturally it aroused much enthusiasm. About thirty
candidates were selected by Miss Medland as eligible for competitions,
the rest of her pupils having to content themselves with looking on. A
special afternoon was given up to the display, and invitations were sent
out to parents to come and help to swell the audience.

"Are you in for the mermaidens' fête?" Winona asked Marjorie Kemp.

"Mermaidens' fête, indeed! How romantic we are all of a sudden! The frog
fight, I should call it."

"There speaks the voice of envy! You're evidently out of it."

"Don't want to be in it, thanks! It'll be wretched work shivering round
the edge of the bath for a solid hour!"

"Sour grapes, my child!" teased Winona.

"Go on, my good girl--if you want to make me raggy, you just shan't
succeed, that's all!"

"Now I _should_ like to have been chosen!" mourned Evelyn Richards. "I
don't mind confessing that I've had a disappointment. I thought I could
swim quite as well as Freda, and it's grizzly hard luck that she was
picked out and I wasn't. Rank favoritism, I call it!"

"Poor old Eve! Look here, I'll tell you a secret. You head the reserve
list. I know because I saw it. If anybody has a cold on the day of the
event, you'll take her place."

"You mascot! Shall I? Oh! I do hope somebody'll catch cold--not badly,
but just enough to make it unsafe to go into the water. You can't think
how I want to try my luck. I don't suppose I've a chance of a prize, but
if I did get one, why I'd cock-a-doodle-do the school down!"

"I'm quite sure you would! Trust you to blow your own trumpet!"

"Winona Woodward, if you'd been properly and thoroughly spanked in your
babyhood, you'd be a much more civil person now. I decline your company.

"Poor old Eve! Take it sporting!" said Winona soothingly.

On the afternoon of the great event, the ladies' large bath was
specially reserved for the school. A goodly crowd of spectators filled
almost to overflowing the galleries that ran round the hall; interested
fathers and mothers, sympathetic aunts, and a sprinkling of cousins and
friends made up the visitors' list, and the rest of the space was
crammed with school girls. Each likely champion had her own set of
supporters, who murmured her name as a kind of war cry, and were only
restrained from shouting it at the pitch of their lungs by the sight of
Miss Bishop, who stood below, talking to Miss Medland and the judge. The
enthusiasm went perhaps more by favor than by actual prowess, and could
hardly be taken as an augury of success, for Barbara Jones, who was
popular, received much more encouragement than Olga Dickinson, who had
distanced her every time at the practices. Juniors will be juniors,
however, and the fourth and third forms stamped solidly for Barbara,
ignoring the superior claims of her rival.

The bath, with its blue and white tiles, looked tempting. All the school
envied the candidates as they came marching in in their costumes.

"Evelyn's got a place after all!" said Garnet, who was among the
spectators, to Gladys Cooper, who sat next to her. "Some one else must
be off, then. Who is it? Freda Long? Poor old Freda! Got toothache? It's
hard luck on her! There's Winona. I don't believe she'll win, but I'll
cheer her! Rather!"

Winona also did not think it likely that she would win. She had only had
time for half the lessons, which put her at a serious disadvantage with
girls who had taken the full course. It was unsporting, however, to go
in confident of defeat, so she meant to do her best.

The first event was the Upper School Championship for the fastest
swimmer. The candidates stood ready at the edge of the bath, then at the
given signal they flung themselves into the water, and started. At first
they were fairly even, but after a dozen yards or so several shot ahead.
The irrepressible juniors lost all control in their excitement, and
cheered on each as she appeared to be gaining.

"Audrey Redfern!"

"No, no! Jess Gardner!"

"Winona Woodward!"

"Elsie Parton's passed her!"

"No, no! Winona's making up!"

"She'll never do it, though!"

"It's a draw!"

As a matter of fact Winona and Elsie Parton touched the winning tape at
the very identical moment. It was a great surprise for both of them.
Winona had expected Jess or Audrey to be first, and never thought of
Elsie as a possible champion. Elsie was in V.b. and had not
been very long at the school. No one had taken much notice of her up to
now, and the girls were rather staggered at her success. They did not
even clap her as she climbed up from the bath. The judge wrote down the
result, and called the next event. This was the Lower School
Championship, and the juniors were soon screaming for Barbara Jones and
Daisy James. The latter had it by a length, and walked away smiling, to
be wrapped up in a towel by Miss Lever, for she was a chilly little
creature, and apt to be taken with fits of shivers if she stood long out
of the water.

Diving followed, both from the edge of the bath and from the diving
board. In the Senior division Audrey and Jess secured the highest
scores, neither Winona nor Elsie coming near them. Winona was not really
very fond of diving, while Elsie staked her all upon extreme speed. The
Juniors did almost better than their elders, Olga Dickinson's
achievement quite carrying the enthusiasm of the hall.

The next competition was for style. The candidates swam first on their
sides, then on their backs, and finally on their backs moving their legs
only, their arms being placed on their hips. The judge put down marks
for each according to what she considered their deserts; until the list
should be made up, nobody knew who, in her expert opinion, had done the

It was now the turn of the Midnight Race, a most important event, to
which the spectators were looking forward keenly. Only the best
swimmers were allowed to take part, the other candidates had to content
themselves with watching. The selected ten retired to the dressing-room,
and in a few moments emerged, each clad in a long white nightdress, and
holding a candlestick with a lighted candle in her hand. A roar of
applause rose from the gallery as the white-robed figures formed into
line. Every girl placed her candlestick on the edge of the bath, and
getting into the water, held on to the rail at attention. When the judge
gave the signal, each seized her candlestick and commenced to swim on
her back to the other side of the bath, holding up the candle in her
left hand. It was a feat that required steadiness and skill. Evelyn
Richards tried to hurry too fast, and the draft caused by her over-quick
passage blew out her flame. Mollie Hill caught her foot in her
nightdress, and dropped her candle altogether. Jess Gardner pursued the
original method of holding her candlestick in her teeth, and using both
arms to swim. There was keen excitement as the candidates cautiously
worked their way across. Each was required to place her candle for a
second on the edge of the bath, and then to swim back to the original
starting point. Only five competitors were in the running for the return
journey--Winona, Audrey Redfern, Elsie Parton, Dora Lloyd (a Fourth Form
girl), and little Olga Dickinson. The temptation to swim too fast was
overwhelming, and Audrey fell a victim to it, her flame going out just
in the middle of the bath. Olga Dickinson actually reached the starting
point the first, but Winona and Elsie Parton were only a second behind
her, placing their candlesticks down at the very same moment.

"I wonder how the score's going?" said Winona, as the Seniors stood
watching the Junior Handicap Race.

"I've no idea," returned Audrey. "You see we don't know what marks Miss
Gatehead has given for style, and several other things. She doesn't
judge exactly like Miss Medland does. It's a pity Freda Long's out of

"What happened to Freda?"

"Got toothache. Can't you see her sitting up there in the gallery,
holding her cheek? She's looking at you!"

"Poor old Freda! Beastly hard luck!" murmured Winona, waving a
sympathetic greeting to her friend.

The Midnight Race had been intensely interesting, but the Obstacle Race
proved an even greater excitement. Two thin planks of wood were placed
across the bath, floating upon the water. The competitors started from
the deep end, dived under the first plank, and then scrambled over the
second. At the shallow end were a number of large round wash-tubs; each
candidate had to seize upon one of these and seat herself in it, a most
difficult feat of fine balancing, for unless she hit upon the exact
center of gravity, the tub promptly overturned, and flung her into the
water. It was a most mirth-provoking competition, candidates and
spectators bursting into shouts of laughter as one after another the
girls gingerly climbed into their tubs, and toppled over into the bath.
Those who managed at last to preserve their equilibrium were given
paddles, and had to navigate themselves to the nearest plank, where they
invariably fell out, and were rescued and towed back by attendant nymphs
told off for the purpose. Nobody succeeded in paddling to the plank and
back again, and the competition resolved itself into a series of
splashes, squeals and bursts of mirth. Even stately Miss Bishop was
laughing heartily, and the girls in the gallery were in a state
bordering on hysteria.

At last Miss Gatehead called order, and the dripping candidates retired
from their water carnival to await the judging. The scores were rapidly
added up, and the result was announced.

"Winona Woodward and Elsie Parton equal. They will therefore swim the
length of the bath to decide the championship."

Planks and tubs were hastily cleared away from the field of action, and
the rival candidates started on their final contest. The sympathies of
the gallery went strongly with Winona; the girls wanted their Games
Captain to win, and they cheered her vigorously. But Winona was tired,
Elsie Parton was lithe and active, and had made fast swimming her
specialty. Winona did her sporting best, but by the middle of the bath
Elsie had distanced her, and reached the winning post a whole length

There was dead silence from the girls in the gallery. Their Captain had
failed, and they did not mean to applaud her opponent. Winona, looking
upwards, saw the popular feeling in their faces. All her generous spirit
rose in revolt. She was standing close to Miss Bishop, Miss Gatehead and
Miss Medland, and therefore it was certainly a breach of school
etiquette for her to do what she did, but acting on the impulse of the
moment she shouted: "Cheer, you slackers! Three cheers for Elsie
Parton!" and waving her hand as a signal, led off the "Hip-hip-hip
hurrah!" A very volume of sound followed, and the roof rang as Miss
Bishop presented the winner with the cup for the Championship.

"Thanks _awfully_, Winona!" said Elsie, as the girls walked away to the
dressing-rooms. "I'm afraid I've disappointed the school--but I did want
to win!"

"Of course you did--and why shouldn't you? I hope I can take a beating
in a sporting way! I think I made them ashamed of themselves. Fair play
and no favoritism is the tradition of this school, and I mean to have no
nasty cliquey feeling in it so long as I'm Games Captain, or my name's
not Winona Woodward! That's the law of the Medes and Persians!"


The Red Cross Hospital

Winona received constant letters from Percy in the trenches "somewhere
in France," all, of course, carefully censored. They had arranged a
cryptogram before he left England, however, and by its aid he was able
to tell her the name of the place near which he was fighting. It was a
tremendous excitement for her when his letters arrived to fetch her key
to the cryptogram and reckon out the magic little word that let her know
his whereabouts. She would find the spot on the big war-map that hung in
the dining-room and would mark it with a miniature flag, feeling in
closer touch with him now she knew exactly where he was located. She
kept a special album in which she placed photos of him in khaki, all his
letters and postcards, and any newspaper cuttings that concerned his
regiment. The book was already half full; she looked it over almost
daily, and kept it as, at present, her greatest treasure.

She sent parcels regularly to Percy. Campaigning had not destroyed his
boyish love for sweetstuff, and he welcomed cakes, toffee and chocolate.
"I share it with the other chaps," he wrote, "and they give you a vote
of thanks every time. You wouldn't believe what larks we have in our

Percy's letters were in his old gay style, but every now and then Winona
noticed a more serious vein running through them. He had sad news to
tell sometimes. Two of his special chums were killed in action, the
young doctor was shot while attending to the wounded, and their chaplain
had been injured. "We never know when our turn will come," he finished,
and Winona shivered as she kissed the letter and put it away.

She looked up sometimes at the calm clear globe of the full moon and
thought how it was shining down alike on the far-away trenches of France
and the great Minster towers of Seaton. How many battles had it seen in
the earth's history, and how many still forms lying stiff and straight
under its pale beams? Men fought and died, and the moon and the stars
passed on their way, uncaring--but God cared, and at the back of it all
His Hand was guiding the world, and even from seeming chaos would bring
good out of evil at His own time. "God bless Percy, and bring him safe
home!" prayed Winona passionately, but she felt in her heart of hearts
that if the Great Captain called him, she could bend her head in the
knowledge that He knew best.

With the hot July weather Aunt Harriet's health flagged. She seemed
suddenly to have grown much older. The erect figure stooped a little,
her high color had faded and her voice lost some of its energy and
determination. She was not able to fulfill all her former public duties,
and she fretted greatly at the enforced inaction. She was one of those
characters who would rather wear out than rust out, and it required the
utmost firmness on the part of her doctor to persuade her from
over-exerting herself. Instead of being in a continual whirl of crèche
committee meetings, workhouse inspections, and crèche management, she
now spent long quiet afternoons in the shaded drawing-room learning that
(to her) hardest of all lessons, how to rest! Winona, busy with the last
exciting weeks of the school term, was too occupied to give much thought
to her aunt, but could not help remarking that the latter's spirits had
failed lately. Miss Beach was far gentler than of yore. She did not snap
her niece up so suddenly, or give vent to excited tirades about subjects
which irritated her. Sometimes she even looked at Winona with a
wistfulness that the girl noticed. It puzzled her, for it was the same
half-appealing glance that her mother often cast at her. She was
accustomed to shoulder her mother's burdens, and loved her all the more
for her helplessness and dependence. But Aunt Harriet, so strong and
determined and capable, the oracle of the family, and the very epitome
of all the cardinal virtues, surely _she_ could not want any one to lean
upon? The idea was unthinkable. Yet again and again it returned to her,
and the consciousness of it stirred new chords.

One evening Winona came rather softly into the drawing-room. Her aunt,
sitting by the window in the gathering twilight, did not hear her enter.
Miss Beach was reading, and the last little gleam of the sunset fell on
her gray hair. How worn she looked, Winona thought. It had never struck
her so forcibly before. Was that a tear shining on her cheek? Miss Beach
rose slowly, put down her book, took her handkerchief from her bag and
deliberately wiped her eyes; then, still unconscious of her niece's
presence, she went out through the French window into the garden.

Winona walked across the room, hesitated for a moment but did not
venture to follow her. Almost automatically she took up the book which
Aunt Harriet had been reading. It was a little volume of extracts, and
one had been marked with a penciled cross:--

    "Put your arms around me--
    There, like that:
    I want a little petting
    At life's setting,
    For 'tis harder to be brave
    When feeble age comes creeping,
    And finds me weeping,
    Dear ones gone.
    Just a little petting
    At life's setting:
    For I'm old, alone and tired,
    And my long life's work is done."

The tears rushed to Winona's eyes. Did Aunt Harriet really feel like
that? Oh, why could she not go and comfort her? She turned impulsively
into the garden. The slow steps were coming back up the paved walk. She
would have given worlds to walk up to her aunt and fling her arms round
her, but the old sense of shyness and reserve held her back. Miss Beach
was passing along the border, her dress brushing the flowers as she went
by. It would surely be easy to join her, and at least to take her arm!
Easy? No! She had never done such a thing in her life with her aunt. A
peck of a kiss was the only mark of affection that they had hitherto
exchanged. Winona looked and longed to express her sympathy, but the
invisible barrier seemed strong as ever. Aunt Harriet turned aside and
went towards the kitchen. The opportunity was lost.

"How horribly we live right inside ourselves!" thought Winona. "How few
people know just what we're feeling and thinking, and how hard it is to
let them know! The 'I' at the back of me is so different from the
outside of me! When I want to say things I turn stupid and my tongue
stops. I suppose most other people feel really the same, and we all live
in our own little world and only touch one another now and then. Human
speech is such a poor medium. Will it be dropped in the next life, and
shall we talk with our hearts?"

It was on the very morning after this that Winona received an agitated
letter from home. Her mother had bad news. Percy had been wounded, and
was in the Red Cross Hospital at Prestwick. Mrs. Woodward wrote
hurriedly, for she was on the point of starting off to see him, but she
promised to send a bulletin directly after her visit. Winona spent a
horrible day. Percy was never for a moment out of her thoughts. The
insufficiency of the information made it harder to bear. She did not
know whether the wound was slight or dangerous, and her fears whispered
the worst. The next report, however, was more reassuring. Percy had had
an operation and the doctors hoped that with care he ought to do well. A
daily bulletin would be sent to his mother, and she promised to forward
it punctually to Abbey Close.

"But I shan't get it till the day afterwards!" exclaimed Winona
tragically. "Oh, how I wish he were at the Red Cross Hospital here
instead of at Prestwick! If I could only see him!"

"Cheer up! Things might be worse!" remarked her aunt briefly.

Miss Beach said no more at the moment, but at supper time she announced:

"We shall have to breakfast early to-morrow morning, Winona. You and I
are going to Prestwick for the day. I've asked Miss Bishop to let you

"To Prestwick?" gasped Winona. "To the Red Cross Hospital? Oh, Aunt
Harriet, do you suppose they'll let us see Percy?"

"It's visitors' day, for I telegraphed to inquire. I wasn't going on a
wild-goose chase, I assure you. I know the red tape of hospitals only
too well. We may see him between two-thirty and four o'clock. It's a
long journey, of course, and the trains are awkward from Seaton, but we
can be back by nine."

"Oh, thank you! Thank you!" said Winona, with shining eyes.

She lay awake for hours that night thinking of to-morrow's expedition.
Her brain seemed turning round and round in a whirl. To see Percy and
assure herself that he was alive, and likely to recover! Oh, it was
worth traveling to the North Pole! When at last she slept her dreams
were a confusion of agonized escapes from Zeppelins, or rushing from
trenches pursued by Germans. She was glad to wake, even though it was
much too early yet to get up. The sun was only just rising behind the
Minster towers. Never mind! It was morning, and to-day, actually to-day,
she would see Percy!

By nine o'clock Miss Beach and Winona were speeding along in the express
for Dunningham. Here they changed, and began a slow and tiresome
cross-country journey, with a couple of hours to wait at an
uninteresting junction.

"We shall get back a little quicker than we came," Aunt Harriet
explained, "because we can take advantage of the boat express, which
will save us an hour and a half. It's most wearisome to jog along in
these local trains, stopping at every tiny little station."

"One longs to be in the car," said Winona.

"We might have gone in the car if it had been within reasonable
distance. We couldn't possibly have motored to Prestwick and back in a
day, though! Trains may be hot and stuffy, but they get one over the

It was nearly two o'clock before they reached their destination. They
had just time for a hasty lunch at a restaurant, and then Aunt Harriet
hailed a taxi and they drove to the hospital. This was a large, fine
house in the suburbs, given up by its patriotic owner to the use of the
Red Cross. As they turned in at the gate they could see an attractive
garden, where groups of Tommies in their blue invalid uniforms were
lounging in deck chairs, or lying full length on rugs spread upon the
grass. An orderly showed them to the office, where Miss Beach had a
brief interview with the Commandant, and they were then escorted by a
V.A.D. nurse to the Queen Mary Ward.

Winona had not been in a hospital before, so all was new to her--the
large airy room with its polished floor and wide-open windows, the rows
of beds, each with its little cupboard by the side, the table full of
flowers in the center, the nurses in their neat Red Cross uniforms. She
had no time, however, for more than a hurried glance round; her eyes
were busy searching for the one particular bed that was the object of
their journey.

"Private Woodward is in Number eleven," said the V.A.D., motioning them
to the right-hand side of the room.

Percy lay on his back with a cradle over his injured leg. His face was
very white and thin, and greatly changed. The old boyish expression had
vanished, there were firm lines round the mouth and a resolute look in
the eyes, which had not been there before. A few months in the trenches,
and a baptism of fire, had transformed the careless, happy-go-lucky lad
into a man. Tears glistened in Winona's eyes as she bent down to kiss
him. It was hard to see her active brother lying helpless and


"Oh, I'm better now," he replied in answer to her inquiries. "I don't
have pain all the time. I was pretty bad after the meds. had been doing
their carving. I can tell you I welcomed the morphia! But I don't need
it so often now, and my leg's going on splendidly. It'll be a first-rate
job when it's finished. Old Jackson promises to have me out of bed on
crutches before so long!"

"Crutches!" gasped Winona, in alarm.

"Why, just at first, of course!"

"We hope he won't need to use them for long," said Aunt Harriet. "The
Commandant tells me they're very proud of your case at the hospital,
Percy! They flatter themselves they've saved your leg where some
surgeons would have amputated. You seem very comfortable here. It's a
nice ward."

"Oh, yes, they're angelic to me. I'm a spoilt child, I can tell you. I
was lucky to get into a 'Red Cross.' They're stuffing us here all day,
and those chaps that can go about are having the time of their
lives--motor drives, tea parties, concerts, and all the rest of it! The
Prestwick people regularly fête them. One of our V.A.D.'s here has asked
a dozen of us out to tea at her own home to-morrow. I wish I could go!
It's the nurse who showed you in. She's ripping."

"I've always heard 'V.A.D.' stands for 'Very Attractive Damsel,'"
laughed Winona.

"Don't lose your heart before you're twenty-one, Percy!" said Aunt
Harriet, smiling quite indulgently. "You've two and a half years left

"When a chap's in the Army his age doesn't count!" declared Percy with

Most of the beds in the ward were empty at present, their owners being
outside in the garden. Only four were occupied. Each of these Tommies
had his own little group of visitors, and was too busy talking to them
to take much notice of anybody else. Miss Beach spent a short time at
Percy's bedside, then, thinking that the brother and sister would like
to be left alone together she expressed her intention of looking over
the hospital, and went to find a V.A.D. to show her round.

"It was ever so decent of Aunt Harriet to bring you, Tiddleywinks!" said
Percy. "The mater said I mustn't expect you to come!"

"Aunt Harriet's a trump when you know her!"

"You used to call her a dragon."

"I don't now."

"Look here! I often wish I hadn't burnt that paper of hers. You know
what I mean! I've kept thinking about it while I've been lying here. It
was a blighter's trick to do, when she was paying my school fees. She
ought to be told about it! I feel that now. You haven't breathed
anything, have you?"

"Not a word! I promised, you remember."

"You can keep a secret, Win. I'll say that for you! Somehow I feel as if
I want to make a clean breast of it. Aunt Harriet's done a lot for our
family. I'd tell her now, only very likely when she comes back a nurse
will be with her. It's just tea-time."

"Could you write to her?"

"A ripping idea! I never thought of that. I'll write to-morrow. I'll be
glad to get it off my mind. Somehow, when one's been through all this,
one feels quite differently about things."

The entrance of tea trays interrupted the conversation. Miss Beach
returned in company with a nurse, and reminded her niece that if they
wished to catch their train home they must be starting at once. It was
hard to say good-by, but Winona went away infinitely comforted. Dearly
as she had always loved the old Percy, she felt the new one whom she had
met to-day had the makings of a stronger and finer character than she
had ever dared to hope.

"The Commandant gives an excellent report of him," said Miss Beach as
they drove away. "I asked her particularly if there were any likelihood
of his remaining lame, but she says not. The surgeon declares he'll have
him back in the trenches in the autumn."

"How glorious! Percy's just wild to go back. I believe he'll do
something splendid, and get a commission, or perhaps win the Victoria

Winona's face shone. She had been proud of Percy to-day.

The long journey home to Seaton was very tedious, though not quite so
trying as the morning one, for they were able to catch the boat express
to Lapton and have tea on the train. At Lapton Junction, however, they
were obliged to change to a local line, and jog along at the rate of
about thirty miles an hour in a particularly dusty compartment. It had
been a hard day for Miss Beach. She looked very weary as she leaned back
in her corner, so overdone indeed that Winona was afraid she was going
to have one of her heart attacks. The threatened trouble passed,
however, and as the evening grew cooler she seemed to revive. The trains
were late, so it was nearly ten o'clock before they at last reached

"'Mighty pleased with our day's outing,' to quote Mr. Pepys," said Aunt
Harriet. "It was worth going!"

"If it hasn't tired you too much!" Winona ventured to add.

On the following Sunday morning Miss Beach received a letter from Percy.
She made no comment upon it at the time, but in the evening, after
church, when she and Winona were walking in the garden in the twilight,
she referred to it.

"I'm deeply touched by Percy's letter," she remarked. "I did not think
the boy had such nice feeling in him. You understand, of course, what he
has written to me about?"

"Oh, Aunt Harriet, has he told you?" burst out Winona. "Oh, I'm so very,
very glad! I've been longing and yearning to tell you all these years,
only I couldn't, because I'd promised--and--oh, I must tell you now--I
asked you about your will--and you thought I was horrid and
scheming--but it wasn't that at all--it was that I thought you ought to
know the will wasn't there, and hoped that perhaps you'd look! Oh,
please believe me that I didn't mean to hint that you should leave
anything to me! I don't want anything! You've been so good to me! I owe
you a thousand times more than I can ever pay back. I've always wanted
to make you understand this, but somehow I couldn't. Thank you, thank
you, thank you for all you've done for me! I shall be better all my life
for having lived with you and known you. I'm a different person since I
came to Seaton, and I owe it entirely to you!"

The barrier was down at last. For once Winona spoke straight from her
heart. Miss Beach took off her pince-nez, wiped them, and put them in
their case. Her hand was trembling.

"I wish I had known this before, child!" she said, with a break in her
voice. "Here for nearly two years I have been thinking hard things of
you, and imagining that you were plotting and scheming to get my money.
You hurt me beyond expression when you asked if I had made my will. As a
matter of fact the document is safe at my lawyer's. The paper which
Percy destroyed was only a rough draft. I had forgotten its existence."

"But you do believe me?" urged Winona. "You know I had none of those
horrible plans? Oh, dear Aunt Harriet, money is nothing, nothing! It is
you yourself I love, if you'll only let me!"

And in the dusk of the garden, Winona, for the first time in her life,
flung her warm young arms round her aunt and hugged her heartily.


The End of the Term

"Look here, my hearties!" said Winona to the cricket team. "Do you
realize that Seaton _versus_ Binworth is on Wednesday week? If you
don't, it's time you did, and you'd better buck up! My opinion of you at
this present moment is that you're a set of loafers! What are you doing
lounging about here, when you ought to be practicing for all you're

The little group sitting on the grass under the lilac bushes smiled

"Go ahead! Lay it on thick!" twittered Betty Carlisle. "We knew when you
hove into sight that we might expect some jaw-wag!"

"It's all very fine to sermonize," yawned Maggie Allesley, "but you'd
oblige me very much by going indoors and inspecting the thermometer in
the hall."

"One can't tear about in this heat!" added Irene Swinburne.

"What a set of dainty Sybarites you are! No one would ever win matches
if they waited for the right kind of day to practice. It's always too
hot or too cold or too wet, or too something!"

"Well, to-day it's decidedly too something! Don't roast us!"

"But I shall roast you! D'you mean to let Binworth have a complete
walk-over? I'll tell you what--if you can't or won't play during the
heat, will you all come back to school for an hour every evening, and
practice then? I'd square it up with Miss Bishop. I'm sure she wouldn't

"There's sense in your remarks now," admitted Irene, sitting up. "I'm
game, if others are!"

"And so's this child!" agreed Betty Carlise. "I can put the screw on
Cassie and Nell, and bring them along any evening."

"Then mind you do! I'm going to take an oath of the whole team to meet
here at seven each night. I shall write it down on a piece of paper, and
make you all put your names to it, like signing the pledge."

"Right you are, O She-who-must-be-obeyed!"

"Your humble servants, Ma'am!"

Their Captain's suggestion of an evening cricket practice was welcomed
by the team, and approved by Miss Bishop. It was delightfully cool at
seven o'clock; the girls, instead of being languid and half-hearted,
were energetic and enthusiastic, and their play became a different
matter altogether. Winona, who had been decidedly down about the
prospects of the match, began to feel more confidence. Betty's bowling
was improving daily, and Irene, who had been given to blind swiping, was
gaining discretion. If they would continue to make progress at the same
rate, Seaton would have a chance.

"It would be too bad if we lost the last match of the season!" fluttered
Winona. "While I'm your captain I want to break the record."

"All right, old girl! It shall be a kind of Charge of the Light Brigade.
'Theirs but to do or die!' It will probably be a broiling hot day, but
we'll play till we drop!" Betty assured her.

"Only have the Ambulance Corps ready with fans and stretchers to revive
us and bear us from the field!" added Irene, giggling.

"I'll see there's lemonade for you!"

Though to Winona, as Games Captain, "Seaton _v._ Binworth" seemed the
one event worth living for, there were plenty of other interests going
on in the school. Linda Fletcher, the head girl, was arranging a program
for the Parents' Afternoon, the efficient performance of which was, in
her eyes, of infinitely greater public importance than the cricket
match. She also required numerous rehearsals, and the conflicting claims
on the girls' time became so confusing that after one or two struggles
between rival "whips," who contended hotly for possession, the chiefs
were obliged to strike a bargain, Winona releasing two members of the
team in order that they might act, and filling up their places from her
reserve, while Linda undertook to leave the rest of the eleven out of
her calculations. After this there was peace, and Violet Agnew and
Averil Walmer, who had been secretly burning to distinguish themselves
in the dramatic line in preference to athletics, could meet Winona with
clear consciences.

Among other items of the program, Linda had fixed upon a French Pastoral
Play, which was to be acted in the garden among the trees and lilac
bushes. The girls were really supposed to get up the whole of the
little entertainment by themselves, but Mademoiselle was kind in this
instance, and helped to coach them. The scene was to be a Fête
Champêtre, and the costumes were to be copied from some of Watteau's
pictures. There were tremendous consultations over them. A dressmaking
Bee was held every afternoon from four to five o'clock in the small
lecture-room, Miss Bishop generously lending her sewing machine for the
purpose. Here a band of willing workers sat and stitched and chattered
and laughed and ate chocolates, while pretty garments grew rapidly under
their fingers. The dresses were only made of cheap materials, and were
hastily put together, but they had a very good effect, for the colors
were gay, and the style, with its panniers and lace frills was charming.
The girls would hardly have managed the cutting out quite unaided, had
not Miss Lever offered her assistance. "Dollikins" had large experience
in the preparation of school theatricals, and possessed many invaluable
paper patterns, so she was given a royal welcome, and installed at the
table with the biggest and sharpest pair of scissors at her disposal.

On the afternoon fixed for the entertainment quite a goodly audience
assembled to watch and applaud. Mothers were in the majority, with a
fair number of aunts and elder sisters, and just a sprinkling of
fathers. Forms had been carried into the garden and arranged as an
amateur theater, a flat piece of lawn with a background of bushes
serving as stage. The program was to be representative of the whole
school, so the first part was devoted to the performances of the
Juniors. Twelve small damsels selected from Forms I. and II. gave a
classic dance. They were dressed in Greek costume with sandals, and wore
chaplets of roses round their hair. They had been carefully trained by
Miss Barbour, the drill mistress, and went through their parts with a
joyousness reminiscent of the Golden Age. The Morris Dance which
followed, rendered by members of Forms III. and IV., though hardly so
graceful, was sprightly and in good time, the fantastic dresses with
their bells and ribbons suiting most of their wearers. It was felt that
the Juniors had distinguished themselves, and "Dollikins," who with Miss
Barbour had worked hard on their behalf, felt almost justified in
bragging of their achievements.

Meantime the Seniors had been making ready, and presently from behind
the bushes tripped forth a charming group of Louis XV. courtiers,
pattering the prettiest of French remarks. Dorrie Pollack as Monsieur le
Duc de Tourville was a model of gallantry in a feathered hat and stiff
ringlets (the result of an agonizing night passed in tight knobby curl
papers!), while Linda, as Madame la Comtesse, quite outdid herself in
the depth of her curtseys, and the distinguished grace with which she
extended her hand for her cavalier to kiss. Nora Wilson tripped over her
sword in her excitement, and Violet Agnew forgot her part, and had to be
prompted by Mademoiselle, who stood with the book behind a bush; but
these were only minor accidents, and on the whole the scene passed off
with flying colors, and greatly impressed the parents and aunts with
the high stage of proficiency in the French language attained by the
pupils of Seaton High School.

Linda was so elated by the success of the afternoon that she sat up long
after she ought to have been in bed that night, writing an account of
the proceedings for the School Magazine. The manuscript, couched in
antique language, was headed:


        "Then whereas ye damsels at ye schule had laboured well and
        diligently during many days at ye tasks set them by their
        reverend elders, it seemed good to those that did govern to
        appoint unto them a day to make merry and rejoice. Therefore did
        they choose out certain among them, and arraying them in goodly
        fashion, did charge them to dance, to instruments of music
        before ye face of ye whole assembly of ye damsels, and likewise
        of some of their kindred, ye which were gathered together. Then
        did ye maids with no small skill tread ye dance, clad in fair
        garments with gauds and ornaments of silver upon them, at ye
        sight of which their kindred did raise cries of joy, and did
        further make great ado with clapping of ye hands. And when ye
        little maidens had duly presented their dances before ye
        company, then did ye elder damosels give a goodly masque, being
        decked forth in brave trappings, and speaking cunningly in ye
        tongue of ye fair lande of France, wherein all who heard them
        might well understand. And ye kindred and alle they that were
        gathered together for to look upon them did in kindness and with
        glad hearts commend them, and did of their charity vouchsafe to
        say that ye like had not aforetime been witnessed at ye schule,
        whereat ye maidens rejoiced greatly, as evenso it seemed unto
        them a reward for their diligent labour."

"We shall leave an account of our doings behind us," said Linda to some
of her friends in the Sixth, "for the copies of the School Magazine are
to be bound, and kept in the library for ever and a day. Future
generations of girls will at least see our names and our Form photo, if
they don't know anything else about us."

Winona was living for one event, the match with Binworth. This was not
to take place on the playing grounds of either school, but on a very
superior cricket ground hired for the occasion from a local club.
Winona, as Secretary for Seaton, had made fullest arrangements,
including the presence in the pavilion of a cheery little woman from a
neighboring restaurant, who undertook the purveying of lemonade, ginger
pop, cakes, and any fruit which might be obtainable for the occasion.

Tickets of admission to the ground were issued and distributed
throughout the school, public opinion deeming attendance almost
compulsory. The team were inspected and criticized beforehand almost as
the Roman gladiators used to be reviewed by their patrons. Winona was on
the whole proud of her eleven. Though not up to the lofty standard at
which she had aimed, she felt that they realized a very respectable
degree of merit.

The ground lay a few miles out of the city, and was reached as a rule by
tramcar, but as the ordinary service would be utterly unable to cope
with the large numbers who proposed going, special omnibuses and brakes
had been put on for the occasion to accommodate the school, which turned
out almost in full force to witness the show. Binworth also contributed
its quota of spectators, so the stands of the cricket ground were
rapidly filled.

Winona had a short preliminary talk with Dora Evans, who commanded the
rival team, and as soon as the clock in the pavilion pointed to 2.30 the
Captains stood out to toss.

"Heads!" cried Winona. "It's tails! Your choice!"

"We'll bat, then," decreed Dora.

Winona placed her field at once, and Dora, after a whispered word or two
to her team, selected her first bats. One was a business-like looking
girl who hummed a tune as she came, with ostentatious carelessness; the
other, stout and dark, blinked her eyes nervously. It was manifestly
impossible to judge their capacities beforehand. Betty Carlisle was to
take the first over. She had a high overhand action, and sent the ball
down the pitch at a good pace. Lottie Moir, the dark-haired damsel who
faced the bowling, was cautious. She played the first ball respectfully
back to the bowler. The next, being of good length, she played quietly
to long-off for one. She was evidently not out to take risks, and the
rest of the over she did not attempt to score. Her partner, Meg Perkins,
was a fairly brilliant, but more reckless player. The first ball she
received came down at a good pace, but well on the off-side of the
wicket. A well-timed cut sent it flying to the short boundary for two.
Perhaps the success turned her head a little. The next ball pitched well
to the leg-side; she made a mighty stroke at it, not allowing for the
break, and missed it altogether. Next moment she was walking ruefully
back to the pavilion.

Phyllis Knight, the next bat, was evidently regarded by the Binworth
team as a champion. She was tall, and decidedly athletic looking. Winona
nodded to Irene Swinburne, celebrated for her twisters, and Irene went
on to bowl. Phyllis had a long reach, which she employed successfully in
driving the first ball she received right along the ground into "the
country" for three. Seaton began to look rather glum. The next ball she
stone-walled. Irene was growing desperate. Phyllis was waiting with her
bat slightly raised. "Now if only I can drop the ball just under that
bat, out she goes!" said Irene to herself, and sent the swiftest she
knew how. Phyllis made a slash at it, evidently thinking it a half
volley, but alas! her bails flew, and the Seaton contingent were roaring
"Well bowled!"

None of the rest of the Binworth team approached to Phyllis' standard,
though they played with caution, and their score mounted up steadily. At
the end of their innings sixty was up on the board.

The Binworth Captain now arranged her field, and Winona sent in Bessie
Kirk and Irene Swinburne to face the bowling of Meg Perkins at one end,
and Phyllis Knight at the other. At first things did not go over well
for Seaton. Bessie Kirk fell a victim to Meg's crafty slows. She played
too soon at a short-pitched ball, and spooned a catch to mid-on. Irene
at first scored merrily, but growing foolhardy was clean bowled by
Phyllis Knight, to her huge discomfiture. Betty Carlisle and Maggie
Allesley met with better luck, and the score began to creep up. The
Seaton girls breathed more freely. Audrey Redfern and Lizzie Morris came
up next. Lizzie broke her duck in the first over, and gaining confidence
began to get her eye in, and with Audrey stone-walling with dogged
persistence at the other end, and now and then making a single, the
score reached fifty-three. There were only ten minutes left. Winona
began to grow desperate. She came forth herself now, with a look of
determination on her face. Dora Evans at once rolled the ball to Lottie
Moir. Winona took her block composedly. Lottie might with advantage have
been put on before. Her style, though by no means swift, was most
awkward to play. Winona in the first over did not attempt to score. She
wished to take the measure of her opponent. In the next over her partner
made a single, which brought Winona to the opposite wicket. The first
ball came well on the off-side, and she sent it flying to the boundary
for four. Fifty-eight was now up on the board, and there were only five
minutes left! Perhaps Lottie Moir was tired, or waxed a little careless.
The next ball she sent down was an easy full pitch. Winona waited till
just the right moment, and then, with a fine swing of her bat, sent the
ball clean over the boundary for six. The match was won, and Seaton, in
the ecstasy of victory, was cheering itself hoarse.

"I never thought we'd do it!" murmured Winona to Betty, as they drank
ginger pop together in the pavilion.

"I reckoned our Captain wouldn't fail us!" chuckled Betty delightedly.
"Linda must compose an epic on it for the School Magazine. It beats
Marathon, in my opinion!"

"Well, I'm glad my last match at the old 'High' has been a success,

"Seaton _versus_ Binworth" had taken place on Wednesday, and the school
had scarcely finished exulting over its triumph before another matter
claimed its attention.

On Thursday morning the results of the examination arrived. Miss Bishop
summoned the whole school into the lecture hall to hear the news. She
was looking flushed and excited. She waited a few moments as if to give
extra effect to her words, then announced:

"I have just received the results of the Entrance Examinations from
Dunningham University. Out of twelve candidates who were entered from
this school, ten have satisfied the examiners. Their names stand as
follows in order of merit:

                              FIRST CLASS.

                              Garnet Emerson.

                              SECOND CLASS.

                              Linda Fletcher.
                              Agatha James.
                              Helena Maitland.
                              Freda Long.

                              THIRD CLASS.

                              Mary Payne.
                              Hilda Langley.
                              Winona Woodward.
                              Dorrie Pollack.
                              Estelle Harrison."

Winona heaved an immense sigh of mingled amazement and relief. She had
passed! Actually passed! She--Winona Woodward, whose form record had
never soared above the most modest average. It was an unprecedented and
altogether delightful finale to her school career. For the moment she
could hardly believe that it was true. But Miss Bishop had not finished
her speech; she held up her hand to stop the burst of clapping, and

"As you are aware, the Governors of the School offered a three years'
scholarship, tenable at Dunningham University, to whichever of the
candidates should head the list, being not lower than second class.
Garnet Emerson, who has secured a First Class, is therefore, at the
desire of the Governors, awarded the scholarship. Now if you like to
clap for her, you may do so!"

That Garnet, her dear Garnet, should have won the coveted scholarship,
put the coping-stone on Winona's glee. She squeezed her friend's hand
afterwards in an ecstasy of congratulation. Garnet said little, so
little that her enthusiastic chum was almost disappointed. Winona,
judging by her own feelings, expected her to be at delirium point.
Beatrice Howell and Olave Parry, the two candidates who had failed,
were receiving condolences with chastened resignation, the rest were in
various stages of jubilee.

That evening, about six o'clock, a small packet was left at Abbey Close,
directed to Miss Winona Woodward. She opened it eagerly. It held a small
jewelers' box containing a beautiful little ring, and was accompanied by
a letter from Garnet.

        "DEAR WIN" (so the letter ran),--"You must have thought
        me slack this morning when you were congratulating me, but the
        fact was I was utterly overwhelmed. I'd hoped and hoped to win
        the scholarship, and then put the idea away, and when I knew my
        good fortune I just felt stunned. It's all owing to you, for if
        you hadn't helped me I could never, never even have passed. I
        don't know how to thank you. Words are quite inadequate. But
        will you believe that I shall never forget your kindness all the
        rest of my life, and will you accept this little ring and wear
        it for my sake? It is a garnet, and belonged to my grandmother,
        after whom I was named. I value it greatly, but I would far
        rather know you have it than keep it myself.

                    "Always your most grateful friend,

                                 "GARNET EMERSON."

There was a further surprise for Winona that evening. When supper was
over, and she and Miss Beach were taking their usual twilight stroll
round the garden, Aunt Harriet, who had been silent for a few minutes,
suddenly spoke.

"I wish to say something to you, Winona. I'm very gratified indeed to
hear that you have passed your college examinations. It has given me a
better opinion of your capacity and perseverance than I possessed
before. This result, combined with your conduct in coaching your friend
through all these weeks, has decided me in a project that I was debating
in my mind. I am going to send you either to a Physical Training College
to qualify as a Games Mistress, or to a Horticultural College to prepare
for a National Rural Economy diploma. Whichever career you decide to
choose, I am resolved that you shall have the best training available."

"Oh, Aunt Harriet! Thank you! Thank you! I don't deserve it!" faltered

The end of the term had come at length. The next day was Winona's very
last at Seaton High School. She was loth to leave, for the two years she
had passed there had been the happiest and the fullest in her life. But
though the past had pleasant memories, the future also held out fair
hopes to her. As she entered Miss Bishop's study to say good-by, the
head-mistress looked up kindly.

"I shall miss you, Winona. I have just been turning over your school
record. It's not perhaps brilliant, but it has been persevering, and I
am sure you've done your best. I am particularly pleased that you have
passed your examination. As Games Captain you have been a decided asset
to the school. I think I may safely say that you have justified the
decision of the Governors in allowing you to hold the County
Scholarship. Your aunt tells me that you are to go in either for
Physical Training or Horticulture. Don't decide in a hurry. Get to know
as much as you can about both, and think the matter over. Remember if
ever you want a friend to come to me. Good-by!"

Outside in the playground the Juniors were hanging about rather shyly
and awkwardly. As Winona came from the dressing-room, Daisy James, much
nudged by the others, advanced and thrust a little parcel into her hand.

"It's a present from us Juniors," she said hurriedly. "Please take it!
It's not much--only a birthday book--but we've all written our names in
it, so that you mayn't forget us. You've been so awfully good all the
year in coaching us at hockey and cricket. I don't know what we're going
to do without you when you've gone! Now, girls, are you ready? One, two,

And the ring of Juniors standing round shouted in one unanimous chorus:
"Three cheers for our Games Captain! Hip-hip-hooray!"

                           _SAVE THE WRAPPER!_

        _If_ you have enjoyed reading about the adventures of the new
        friends you have made in this book and would like to read more
        clean, wholesome stories of their entertaining experiences, turn
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        Burt's fine series of carefully selected books for young people
        has been placed for your convenience.

        _Orders for these books, placed with your bookstore or sent to
        the Publishers, will receive prompt attention._


Polly Series


Author of "Dorothy Dainty" series, Etc.
  Stories of Sweet-Tempered, Sunny,
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      For girls 12 to 16 years.
      Each Volume Illustrated.

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For sale by all booksellers, or sent on receipt of price by the Publishers

A. L. BURT COMPANY, 114-120 E. 23d St., NEW YORK


The Camp Fire
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A Series of Outdoor Stories for
Girls 12 to 16 Years.

All Cloth Bound   Copyright Titles

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Books for Girls


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        This story tells of the summer vacation some young people spent
        in the mountains and how they cleared up the mystery of the lost
        cabin at Crazy Creek Mine.


        "Rilla" had lived all her life with only her grandfather and
        "Uncle Barney" as companions, but finally, at High Cliff
        Seminary, her great test came and the lovable girl from Windy
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        In this tale of a wandering gypsy band, Nan, who has spent her
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        by her love and loyalty to her, she proves her fine character
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        The personal characteristics and incidents in the lives of two
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A. L. BURT COMPANY, Publishers,
114-120 EAST 23rd STREET   NEW YORK


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