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´╗┐Title: Ruby at School
Author: Paull, Minnie E.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Ruby at School" ***

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[Transcriber's note: The source book was missing pages 145-6, and
159-160, and many of its illustrations.  Should you happen to have this
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[Frontispiece: "SHE FILLED HER APRON WITH THE CRISP, FRESH COOKIES."]



RUBY AT SCHOOL

The Third Volume of the Ruby Series



BY

MINNIE E. PAULL


  AUTHOR OF "RUTH AND RUBY," "RUBY'S UPS AND DOWNS,"
  "PRINCE DIMPLE SERIES," "DOROTHY DARLING," ETC.



BOSTON

ESTES AND LAURIAT

PUBLISHERS



Copyright, 1894,

BY ESTES AND LAURIAT.



University Press:

JOHN WILSON AND SON, CAMBRIDGE, U.S.A.



TABLE OF CONTENTS.


CHAPTER

     I.  RUBY IN MISCHIEF
    II.  CARRYING OUT HER PLAN
   III.  LOOKING FOR RUBY
    IV.  CONSEQUENCES
     V.  BOARDING-SCHOOL
    VI.  PREPARATIONS
   VII.  MORE PREPARATIONS
  VIII.  READY
    IX.  THE JOURNEY
     X.  MAKING FRIENDS
    XI.  AN OLD ACQUAINTANCE
   XII.  MAKING ACQUAINTANCE
  XIII.  GETTING SETTLED
   XIV.  SCHOOL
    XV.  BEGINNING SCHOOL
   XVI.  MAUDE'S TROUBLES
  XVII.  LEARNING
 XVIII.  MISADVENTURES
   XIX.  SURPRISES
    XX.  PERSIMMONS
   XXI.  MAUDE
  XXII.  SUNDAY AT SCHOOL
 XXIII.  GETTING READY FOR CHRISTMAS
  XXIV.  FINIS



ILLUSTRATIONS.


"SHE FILLED HER APRON WITH THE CRISP, FRESH COOKIES" . . .
_Frontispiece_

RUBY AND HER MOTHER (missing from book)

RUBY MEETING MAUDE AT THE STATION (missing)

RUBY WRITING A LETTER HOME

"MRS. BOARDMAN WAS VERY PATIENT WITH THE SPOILED CHILD" (missing)

MISS KETCHUM AND THE CATERPILLARS (missing)

"OH, IT HAS DONE SOMETHING TO MY MOUTH!" (missing)

READING THE INVITATION TO AGNES (missing)



RUBY AT SCHOOL.

CHAPTER I.

RUBY IN MISCHIEF.

It does seem quite too bad to begin a new Ruby book with Ruby in
mischief the very first thing; and yet what can I do but tell you about
it? for it is very probable that if she had not been in this particular
piece of mischief, this story would never have been written.  "Nobody
but Ruby would ever have thought of such a thing," Ann exclaimed, when
it was discovered, and it really did seem as if Ruby thought of naughty
things to do that would never have entered any one else's head.

Ruby had certainly been having one of her "bad streaks," as Nora called
her particularly mischievous times, and perhaps this was because Ruby
had been left to herself more than she had ever been in all her life
before.

Mamma was sick, and she was only able to have Ruby come into her room
when the little girl was willing to be very quiet and move about
gently, so as not to disturb her; and she knew very little of what Ruby
was about in the long hours which she spent in play.

All summer Ruby had been running wild, coming into the house only to
eat her meals, or towards evening nestling down beside mamma, to talk
to her for a little while about what she had been doing all day.  I am
afraid it was not very often that Ruby told her of the many things she
had been doing of which she knew mamma would not approve at all.

When Ruby went over to Mrs. Warren's house to visit Ruthy, Mrs. Warren
tried to have her do as she wished her own little girl to do, but she
found it a very much harder matter to govern quick-tempered, impulsive
Ruby than it was to guide her own gentle little daughter, and she often
sighed as she thought how distressed Ruby's mamma would be if she knew
how self-willed and mischievous her little daughter was growing without
her mother's care.

Ruby's papa was very busy with his patients, and when he was at home he
spent most of his time in the invalid's room, so he did not have any
idea how much the little girl needed some one to look after her, and
see that she did not get into mischief.

Ann did her best to take care of Ruby, but she had more work to do than
usual, so she had very little time to keep watch of the little girl;
and besides, Ruby would not mind Ann unless she said she would tell Dr.
Harper if Ruby was naughty, and Ann did not like to complain of Ruby if
she could help it.

Altogether you can see that Ruby had a pretty good opportunity to be
just as naughty as she wanted to be; and every day it did seem as if
she thought of more mischievous things to do than she had ever done in
all her life put together before.

Ruby was having a very nice time this afternoon all by herself.  It
would have been nicer to have had Ruthy to help her enjoy it, but Mrs.
Warren was not willing to let Ruthy go over to Mrs. Harper's, now that
there was no one to see what the two little girls were about.  Ruthy
could be trusted not to get into any mischief by herself, but sometimes
she yielded to Ruby's coaxing when she had devised some piece of
mischief, and then no one knew what the two little girls would do next.

Some carpenters had been at work down by the stable, building a new
hen-house, and Ruby had made a playhouse for herself with the boards
they had left.  She had leaned them up against the low branch of an old
tree, with Ann's help, for the boards were rather too heavy for her to
move alone, and so she had a tent-shaped house of boards in which she
thought it was great fun to play.

Ruby's favorite story was the "Swiss Family Robinson," and she thought
that no greater happiness could befall any one than to be cast away
upon a desert island.  As long as there did not seem to be any prospect
of a desert island before her, when the largest piece of water she had
ever seen in her life was the small shallow pond where the boys got
water-lilies in summer, and skated in winter, she thought the next best
thing would be to live in this little house, and not go home at all,
except to see her mother.

She was very sure that the rest of the family would not approve of this
plan at all, so she did not say anything to them about it, but
determined to try it and see how she liked it, without running any
chances of being forbidden.

One day, when she knew Ann was busy up in her mother's room, and no one
would see what she was doing, she ran up to the garret, and brought
down a pair of blankets, an old comforter, and the little pillow that
belonged to the crib in which she had slept when she was a baby.  She
carried all these out to her little playhouse in the yard, and has only
just tucked away the last corner of the comforter out of sight, when
she heard the sound of wheels as her father's buggy drove into the yard.

Ruby ran out to meet him, afraid that he might come and look into her
little wooden tent, and see what she had taken from the house.  She was
very sure that he would not at all approve of her plan of spending the
night out there alone.  She slipped her hand into his, and walked up to
the house with him, and then ran back to her play.

After dinner she chose a time when Nora would not be in the kitchen,
and carried some provisions down to her little house; for though she
wanted to imitate the Swiss Family Robinson as far as possible, she was
not sure that she would be able to find meals for herself as readily as
they did; so, though biscuits and cookies were not at all the sort of
food shipwrecked people generally eat, she thought that she had better
lay in a supply of them, particularly as there were no kindly cocoanut
or bread-fruit trees growing at hand.

She filled her apron with the crisp fresh cookies which Ann had just
made, and with biscuit from the stone crock, and then spying a little
turnover which she was sure Ann had made for her, she added that to her
store.

It began to look quite like a castaway's tent, Ruby imagined, as she
sat down in her little house and looked around.  To be sure, you would
hardly expect any one wrecked upon a desert island to have such a
comfortable roof of boards over his head, and certainly one would not
find a supply of warm, dry bed-clothing at hand, nor fresh cookies; but
Ruby was quite satisfied, and she thought it would be great fun to
spend the night out there all by herself, and imagine herself in the
midst of a forest all alone.  She shut her eyes, and as the wind
rustled the branches of the tree, she pretended that she heard the
waves breaking upon the shore of her desert island, and that chattering
monkeys were jumping about over her head in the branches of great palm
and tall cocoanut-trees.

If Ruthy could only be cast away with her it would be ever so much
nicer, for then she would not have to enjoy it all by herself; but she
reflected that it was just as well that Ruthy could not come over and
play, for she probably would be afraid to sleep out there, and would
cry and want to go into the house just when the play grew the most
interesting.

No thought of fear entered venturesome Ruby's mind.  It would be an
easy matter for her to slip out of the house after she was supposed to
be fast asleep in her trundle bed, which was not beside her mother's
bed any longer, but in a room by itself.  Ruby did not know that the
the last thing her father did every night before he went to bed, was to
go and take a look at his little girl, and see that she was sleeping
comfortably; and very often he went into her room in the evening, soon
after she had gone to sleep.

Of course she knew that she was going to do a naughty thing, but I am
sorry to say that Ruby did not very often let that interfere with
anything she wanted to do now, she had her own way so much.

She was so excited over her plan for the night that she was very quiet
all the rest of the afternoon, and Ann said rather suspiciously,--

"You're up to some new mischief, Ruby Harper, I'll venture, or you
would never be so quiet all at once.  I know you.  Now do be a good
girl, and don't keep worrying your poor ma so about you."

"Never you mind what I am going to do," answered Ruby, pertly, and just
then Ann saw that her cookies were missing.

"Well, where on earth are all my cookies?" she exclaimed.  "Now, Ruby
Harper, you tell me this very minute what you have been doing with
them.  I know just as well as anything that you never ate such a lot as
that, and I don't see what you could have been doing with them.  You go
and get them and fetch them back to me right away."

Ruby made a face at her and darted away.  She was not going to bring
the cookies back nor tell where they were.  What would she do when she
was shipwrecked if she did not have a store of provisions in her hut,
as she called her little house.

She knew it would not do to tell Nora about her plan, and she was so
full of it that she felt as if she could not keep it to herself any
longer, so she ran over to Ruthy's house.

She found Ruthy playing with her paper dolls on the wide back porch,
and for a few minutes she pretended that she had come over to see her
paper nieces and nephews, for the children always called themselves
aunts to each other's dolls.

"Oh, I have got a plan to tell you about, Ruthy," she said presently.
"I don't want any one to hear me telling you about it, so let's go down
under the apple-tree, with the dolls."

Ruthy gathered up her children, and in a few moments the two little
girls were sitting side by side on the low bench, which Ruthy's father
had put there just for their comfort.

"It's the grandest plan," began Ruby.

"Am I in it, too?" asked Ruthy, half wistfully and half fearfully.  She
always liked to be in Ruby's plans, and felt a little left out when her
little friend wanted to do without her, and yet sometimes Ruby's plans
were so very extraordinary that she did not enjoy helping to carry them
out at all.

"Well, you could be in it, only you see you can't very well," Ruby
answered in a rather mixed up fashion.

"Why can't I?" Ruthy asked.

"Well, I'll tell you all about it, and then you will  see  that  you
couldn't  very  well," Ruby answered.  "But first of all you must
promise me honest true, black and blue, that you will never, never
breathe a word of it to any one."

"Not even to mamma?" asked Ruthy, who always felt better when she told
her mother all about everything.

"No, not to anyone in all the wide world," Ruthy answered.  "I won't
tell you a single word unless you promise, and you will be awfully
sorry if I don't tell you, for this is the most splendid plan I ever
made up in all my life.  It is just like a book."

Ruthy's curiosity overcame her scruples about knowing something which
she could not tell her mother.

"All right, I won't tell a single person," she said, earnestly.  "Tell
me what it is."

"Promise across your heart," Ruby insisted, for just then the little
girls had a fashion of thinking that promising across their hearts made
a promise more binding than any other form of words.

"I promise, honest true, black and blue, 'crost my heart," Ruthy said
very earnestly, and then the two heads were put close together while
Ruby whispered her wonderful secret.

No one could have heard them, not even the birds in their nests up in
the tree, if she had spoken aloud, but a secret always seemed so
delightfully mysterious when it was whispered, that she rarely told one
aloud.

"I am going to be cast away on a desert island," she said, and Ruthy's
blue eyes opened to their widest extent.

"Why, how can you, when there is n't any desert island anywhere near
here for miles and miles?" she exclaimed.

"Oh, you are so stupid," Ruby exclaimed impatiently.  "Of course I mean
to pretend I am cast away.  I am going to pretend that down by the barn
is a desert island, and that little house I have built with boards is
my hut, and I am going to sleep out there all by myself to-night, and I
have some provisions and everything all ready."

"But will you dare stay out there all alone when it gets dark?" asked
Ruthy in awed tones, feeling quite satisfied that she was left out of
this plan, for she knew she should never dare to do such a thing, no
matter how much Ruby might want her to join her.



CHAPTER II.

CARRYING OUT HER PLAN.

"Of course I would dare," answered Ruby, positively.  "I am not such a
coward as you are, Ruthy.  You see, even if your mamma would let you
come over and stay at my house, so you could be in the plan, it would
n't be of any use, for it would be just like you to get afraid as soon
as it was dark, and then you would cry and want to go back into the
house."

"I am afraid I would," Ruthy answered meekly, not resenting the
accusation of cowardice.  "I should think you would be afraid too,
Ruby; and then what will your papa and mamma think when they find out
in the night that you are gone."

"They won't find out," answered Ruby, easily disposing of that
objection.  "You see I shall wait till after they think I have gone to
sleep to go out to my hut.  I will get most undressed to-night at
bed-time and then put my nightie on over the rest of my clothes, and
when papa comes in to kiss me good-night he will never think of my
getting up again.  Then I will creep downstairs as softly as a mouse,
and out into the yard.  It will be such fun to roll up in the blankets,
and pretend that they are the skins of wild animals, and I shall lie
awake for ever so long listening to hear if any bears come around, or
lions.  Oh, it will be such fun," and Ruby's eyes sparkled.  Ruthy
looked troubled.

"I don't think it will be a bit nice," she said presently.  "I don't
believe your mamma would like it one single bit; and suppose somebody
should carry you off when you are out there all by yourself."

"You just can't make me afraid, I guess, Ruthy Warren," sniffed Ruby,
scornfully.  "You are such a 'fraid-cat that you never want to do
anything in all your life but play paper dolls.  I might have known you
would n't see what fun it is to play Swiss Family Robinson.  Now don't
you dare tell any one a single word about it.  Remember you promised
across your heart."

"I sha'n't tell," Ruthy answered, "but I do wish you would n't do it,
Ruby.  Why, I shall be as scared as anything if I wake up in the night
and think that you are out there in your house all alone in the pitch
dark.  I should be so frightened if I was you that I would just scream
and scream till some one heard me and came and got me."

"I would n't have such a baby as you to stay with me," Ruby said.  "I
am going to do it just as sure as anything, Ruthy Warren, and if you
breathe a word of it to any one so I don't get let to do it, I will
never, never speak to you again as long as I live and breathe."

"Of course I sha'n't tell when I promised," Ruthy replied, a little
hurt at Ruby's doubting her word.  "Maybe you won't do it after all,
though.  Perhaps when it gets dark you will be frightened."

"I never get frightened," Ruby said, tossing her head.  "Now I must go
home, Ruthy.  Come and walk part way with me, won't you?"

"I'll ask mamma," Ruthy answered, and gathering up her paper dolls she
ran into the house, coming back in a few minutes with two red-cheeked
apples for the little girls to eat on their way, and permission to go
as far as the corner with Ruby.

Ruby could talk and think of nothing but her great plan for the night,
and Ruthy pleaded with her in vain to give it up.  The little girl was
so troubled about it that she wished Ruby had not told her about it.
She did not see how she would ever be able to go to bed that night, and
go to sleep, thinking of her little friend out alone in her little
house down by the barn.  In the bottom of her heart she wished that
Ruby would be caught by Ann on her way out of the house, and prevented
from carrying out her plan, but she did not dare whisper this wish to
Ruby, as she knew how angry it would make her to think of her plans
being thwarted.

By the time Ruby reached home another plan occurred to her busy brain.
Nora was not far from right when she said that Ruby could think up more
mischief than any three children could carry out.  Suppose it should be
cold in the night.  Ruby could not quite remember what time in the year
it was when the Swiss Family Robinson were shipwrecked, but she knew
they had to make a fire.  She would get some shavings and some little
sticks, and get a fire all ready to light in her hut, and then if it
should be cold, and she should want to light a fire, it would be all
ready.

This new idea added a great charm to the thought of staying out there
all night.  She was quite sure that she would need a fire, and she
bustled around very busily when she got home, gathering up shavings
from the place where the carpenters had been at work, and getting
little sticks to lay upon them so that the fire would burn up readily.
Then she went back to the house, and going up into the spare room, took
down the match-box from the tall chest of drawers, and carried it out
to the hut where it would be all ready for the night.  When this was
done she felt as if she could hardly wait for the sun to go down and
bedtime to come.  She was so excited over her grand plan that her eyes
shone like stars, and her cheeks were so flushed that when her father
came in, he put his hand on her cheeks to see whether she had any
fever.  If he had only known what a naughty plan was in Ruby's mind, he
would have been more sorry than to have had his little girl sick.

Of course I need not tell you that Ruby knew just how wrong it was to
plan something which she knew very well her father and mother would not
permit for a moment if they knew of it.  But in all the years that you
have known her she had not grown any less self-willed, I am sorry to
say, and so she thought of nothing but of getting her own way, whether
it was naughty or not.

The longest day will have an end at last, and though it seemed to Ruby
as if a day had never passed so slowly, yet finally the sun went down.
Ruby had had her supper, had kissed mamma good-night, and bed-time had
come.  She took off her shoes, and her dress, and then slipping her
little white night-dress on over her other clothes, she scrambled into
bed, and waited for her papa to come and kiss her good-night, her heart
beating so loudly with excitement that she was afraid he would hear it,
and wonder what was the matter with her.  I think if it had been her
mother who had come in she would have wondered why only Ruby's dress
and shoes were to be seen, and why the little girl had such a flushed,
guilty look, and held the bed-clothes tucked up so tightly under her
chin; but Ruby's papa did not notice any of these things, so Ruby was
not hindered from carrying out her naughty plan.

She waited for what seemed to her a very long time, and then she heard
the wheels of her father's buggy going out of the yard, and knew he had
gone somewhere to see a patient.  She was glad, for that made one
person less who would be likely to hear her when she went out.  Her
mamma she was sure would not hear her, for her door was closed, and if
she could only get past the kitchen door without Ann discovering her,
she would be safe.  When she could not hear any one stirring, she got
up and crept softly over to the door.  The house was very still, so
even the rustle of her night-dress seemed to make a noise as she
stepped along the hall.  Down the stairs she crept like a little thief,
and at last she reached the door.  Ann had been sitting with her back
to the kitchen door reading when Ruby went past, so she had not noticed
the little figure gliding along.

Ruby stepped through the open door out upon the back porch.  It was
dark, and the noise of the tree toads and frogs seemed to make it more
lonely than she had thought it would be.  For a moment she was almost
willing to give up her plan and go back to bed like a good little girl,
but then she thought of Ruthy, and how she would hate to confess to her
the next day that she had given up her plan after all; so she went on.
Ruby was not inclined to be timid about anything, so, although it did
not seem as delightful as she had imagined it would, yet she was not
afraid as she ran down the yard to her little house.  She was glad,
however, that it was not upon a desert island.  It was very nice to
know that she was not surrounded by great rolling waves on every side,
and that if she wished to go back to her home and her mother she could
do so in a very few minutes.

She crept into her hut, and finding the bedclothes rolled herself up in
them.  Oh, why was n't it as nice as she had thought it would be?  Ruby
was provoked with herself for wishing that she was back in the house
curled up in her own little bed, instead of being out here in the night
alone.  She would not give up and go back, though, she said over and
over again to herself.  No; she had said that she would stay out all
night, and she meant to keep her word, whether she liked it or not.

If Ruby had only been half as determined to keep her good resolutions
as she was to keep her bad ones, she would never have found herself in
such scrapes.

She rolled herself up in a little ball and drew the blanket closely
about her,--not because she was cold, but because it seemed less
lonesome.  While she was listening to all the music of a summer's
night, she fell asleep, and dreamed a very remarkable dream about
sleeping in a nest swung from a cocoanut-tree, with a monkey for a
bed-fellow.

In the mean time very unexpected events were taking place at the house.
A little while after Ruby's father had gone out to see his patient a
carriage drove up from the station with a visitor.

It was Ruby's Aunt Emma, who had come to make a visit of a few days,
and who had written to say that she was coming, but had only discovered
at the last moment that her letter had not been mailed in time for her
brother to receive it before her arrival.

After she had had a little talk with Ruby's mother, she was very
impatient to see her little niece.

"I wish I could have reached here in time to see her before she went to
sleep," she said.

"I am afraid if she woke up now and found you were here she would not
go to sleep again all night," said Ruby's mother.

"I won't wake her, but I will just go and peep at her while she is
asleep," said Aunt Emma; and lighting a candle, she followed Ann into
the room where Ruby was supposed to be fast asleep in her trundle-bed.

Of course there was no Ruby there.  The little girl was curled up in
her blankets out in the yard, under her little tent of boards; and
there was only a little crumpled place in the pillow to show where her
head had nestled.

"Why, where can she be, I wonder?" said Ann in surprise.

"Hush! don't let her mother hear, or she will be worried," said Aunt
Emma, who knew how easily the invalid would be alarmed.  "Perhaps she
has gone downstairs to get a drink of water or something."

"No, I am sure she has n't been downstairs, for I have been sitting
right there in the kitchen all the evening," said Ann, positively.
"Oh, Miss Emma, she has got to be the witchiest girl ever you did see.
She's always up to some piece of mischief or another, and it's more
than any one but her mother can do to keep her in order.  I try my
best, but it ain't any use at all.  She does just as she likes for all
of me, unless I tell her father; and then it worries him so that I
don't like to, when he has so much else on his mind."

"I should like to know where she is now," said Miss Emma, looking very
much puzzled.  "There comes her father," she went on, as she heard the
sound of wheels coming into the yard.  "Perhaps he will know."  She
went downstairs softly, and met the doctor who, was very much surprised
at this unexpected visitor.  After he had told her how glad he was to
see her, she told him that Ruby was not upstairs in her bed, and that
Ann did not know where she was, and asked him if he knew what had
become of the little girl.

He looked very anxious.

"Why, no, I have not the least idea," he said gravely.  "I kissed her
good-night just before I went out to make a call, and she was all right
in her bed then.  I do not see what could have become of her.  I hope
we can keep it from her mother, or she will be sadly frightened if she
hears Ruby is not to be found at this hour of the night."

Of course no one could imagine where Ruby had gone, and although they
hunted all over the house, there was not a trace of the little girl to
be seen.

"Perhaps she has been walking in her sleep," suggested Aunt Emma.  "She
may have wandered downstairs and out into the yard while she was
asleep, and been too frightened when she woke up to know how to find
her way back into the house.  I have heard of children doing such
things."

"But she could n't have gone past the door without my seeing her," said
Ann, very positively.  "I have been sitting right there in the kitchen
all the evening, and I am sure I would have heard her, if she had gone
past.  I never knew Ruby to walk in her sleep; but then I would n't say
she might n't have done it this time, only I know she did n't walk past
the kitchen door and go out that way."

"Could she have gone out the front door?" asked Aunt Emma.

The doctor shook his head.

"No; that would be too heavy for her to open alone, after it was locked
up for the night.  I fastened it myself before I went out, and it is
fastened now; so she could not have gone out that way.  There is her
mother calling.  I hope she will not ask for Ruby.  She must not have
this anxiety if we can spare her."



CHAPTER III.

LOOKING FOR RUBY.

People who are sick are very quick to hear when anything is wrong, and
as soon as the doctor opened the door of the sick-room, Ruby's mamma
asked anxiously,--

"Is anything wrong with Ruby?  Where is she?"

Just then the only possible explanation of her absence occurred to the
doctor, and he answered,

"She is not in her bed, my dear, and I am afraid she has run away and
gone over to Ruthy's to spend the night.  You know she asked permission
to stay all night the last time she went over there for supper, and I
suppose she has made up her mind to go without permission.  It is too
bad in her to act this way and worry you.  I will drive over after her
right away, and bring her back in a few minutes."

"I don't believe she would go all the way up to Ruthy's after dark,"
said her mother, in anxious tones.  "I am afraid something has happened
to her, though I cannot imagine what it could be."

"Don't think about it till I bring her back safe and sound," said the
doctor as he hurried away.

But it was a great deal easier to give this advice than to follow it.
Ruby's mamma could not help worrying about her little girl, and while
naughty little Ruby was curled up in her blankets, sleeping as sweetly
as a little bird in its nest, her mamma was listening to the wheels of
the doctor's buggy, rolling out of the yard, with a beating heart, and
wondering what had happened to the little girl who had gone to bed not
two hours ago.

It did not take very long to drive over to Ruthy's house, and the
doctor did not wait to hitch staid old Dobbin, but jumped out and ran
up the steps to the house, anxious to know whether Ruby was really
there.  Although he was quite sure that she must be, yet he was
impatient to satisfy himself.

"Is Ruby here?" were his first words, when Mr. Warren opened the door.

"Why, no," Mr. Warren answered.  "I don't think she has been here
to-day."

"Oh, yes, she was here a little while this afternoon," said Mrs. Warren
coming to the door.  "Why, what is the matter, doctor?  Is n't Ruby at
home?"

"No, she went to bed all right, but a little while ago when her aunt
came and went to look for her, she was gone," said the doctor, feeling
as if he did not know now where to turn to look for the little runaway;
for where could she possibly be at that time of night, if she had not
come over to visit her little friend?  "Where can the child be?"

"Is n't she in the house somewhere?" asked Mrs. Warren.

"No, we have looked through the house," the doctor answered.  "I don't
know what will become of her mother, if I have to go back without Ruby.
No one could have come into the house and stolen her, that is certain,
and yet I cannot conceive where she could have gone to at this hour in
the evening.  This is dreadful."

Neither Mr. Warren nor his wife could suggest any place to look for
Ruby.  It was certainly a very strange thing that she could have
disappeared from her bed after dark, without any one knowing anything
about it.  The doctor got into his buggy again and started towards
home, wondering what he should do when he had to tell Ruby's mother
that her little girl could not be found.

If Ruby could have known what a heartache her father had, as he drove
slowly homeward, dreading to take such sad news back with him, I am
quite sure the little girl would have tried to be good, and not make
those who loved her so anxious about her.

In the mean time, Ruby had stirred uneasily in her sleep, and at last
when the owl who lived in the tall elm-tree close by, gave a long,
mournful hoot, she awakened, and sat up, wondering, as she rubbed her
eyes open, where she was.

The cool evening breeze fanned her face, and the stars looked down upon
her, and all at once Ruby remembered where she had gone to sleep.  In
the very depths of her heart she wished that she was back again in her
own little bed, with her head on her pillow, and the white spread drawn
over her.  It seemed so very, very desolate to be down here at the end
of the garden all alone, with a long, dark walk before her if she
should go back to the house; and she began to think that the Swiss
Family Robinson had a better time than Robinson Crusoe, since they were
all together, and poor Crusoe must often have been very lonely all by
himself, before his man Friday came to live with him.

If Ruthy had only been there, Ruby thought she would have made a very
good man Friday, but she was quite sure that nothing would have
persuaded Ruthy to stay out of doors at night.

"I am not a little 'fraid-cat like Ruthy," said Ruby to herself, trying
to pretend that she was not at all lonely nor frightened.  "I would
just as lief stay out here every night.  I wonder what time it is.  I
guess it must be nearly morning.  I was asleep just hours and hours, I
think.  I am dreadfully hungry, so it must be ever so long since I had
my supper.  I had better eat some provisions, maybe."

Ruby was not really very hungry, but she wanted to be as much like the
Swiss Family Robinson as possible, so she sat up and sleepily nibbled
at some cookies.

"I don't think these are very nice cookies," she said, as she tried to
keep up the pretence that she was very hungry.  "I wish they were
cocoanuts.  They would be ever so much nicer."

"I wish this was a big, tall cocoanut-tree," Ruby went on.  "And that
it was just full of cocoanuts, and that some monkeys had a nest in it,
and would throw me down cocoanuts whenever I wanted one.  It would hurt
if they hit me on the head though.  I guess I would have to live under
another tree, so as to be sure the cocoanuts would n't drop on me.  I
wonder if monkeys live in nests.  Of course they don't live in
bird's-nests, but maybe they take sticks up into trees, and make little
nests, and--and--"

Ruby nodded so hard that she woke up again.  She had nearly gone to
sleep sitting straight up, she was so sleepy.

"I don't want to go to sleep just yet," she said.  "I am going to stay
awake, so.  I might just as well be in bed as keep asleep out here all
the time.  I guess I will make a fire, and then that will be just like
a real castaway."

The sticks and matches were all ready, and Ruby struck a match and
lighted the little fire.  It was not a very large pile of sticks, and
Ruby had not thought that it would make much of a blaze, but the
shavings underneath, and the light, dry sticks upon the top, were very
ready to take fire and make as large a blaze as they could, so Ruby was
quite dismayed at the size of her fire.

She was a little frightened, too.  She had made the fire in the front
of her little house, and she could not get past it to go out.  The
fence made a strong back wall to the house, over which she could not
climb, and she could not possibly get away from the smoke and heat
without going so near the fire that she was sure her night-gown would
take fire.

Suppose the boards that she used in making the house should take fire,
what would become of her then.  I do not wonder that Ruby was
frightened when she looked at the little bonfire, crackling and
snapping away as cheerily as if a frightened child was not watching it
with tears in her eyes.

"Oh, I shall be all burned up," she cried.  "And no one will ever know
what became of me.  My mamma will cry and cry and wonder where Ruby is,
but she will never think that I came down here and made a fire, and
burned myself all entirely up.  Oh, oh, I do wish I had n't.  I do wish
I had n't.  I wonder if I screamed and screamed for papa, whether he
would come down and hear me and come down and get me out.  Perhaps he
could n't.  I don't see how anybody could get past that dreadful blaze.
He would just have to see me all burning up and he could n't do one
thing to save me.  Oh, how sorry he would be," and Ruby cried harder
than ever at the thought of her father's distress.

The smoke made her eyes smart and sting, and it choked her so that she
coughed and strangled, and I need not tell you that she would have
given anything in the world to have been back in her own little bed
again.

Just then papa drove through the gate, and you can imagine how much
surprised he was to see a fire under some boards down at the end of the
yard.  He jumped out of the buggy and went down there as quickly as he
could, to find out what it was.

He looked into the little house, and there beyond the fire, crying so
hard that she did not see nor hear him, was the little girl he had been
looking for.

"Why, Ruby!" he exclaimed in amazement; and Ruby looked up, as much
surprised at finding her father there, as he had been a second before
when he saw her.

"Oh, papa, papa, must I be all burned up?" she cried, but papa was
already answering that question.  He threw down the boards out of which
Ruby had made her house, and striding past the fire, lifted her in his
arms, and started up to the house with her.

He was so glad that he had found her, and could take her back to her
mother safe and unharmed, that he forgot everything else, and of
course, Ruby was happy at being in those strong arms, when she had been
so sure that she was going to be burned up; and all the way up to the
house she resolved, as she had so many times before, that she would
surely, surely be good now, for whenever she was naughty, and did
things that she knew would not please her father and mother, she always
got into trouble, and was not half as happy as she would have been if
she had tried to please them.  After all, papas and mammas did know
what was best for little girls.



CHAPTER IV.

CONSEQUENCES.

Ruby really had very good reason to be sorry for this last piece of
naughtiness.  By the time her papa carried her into the house they
found that her mamma was very ill with the anxiety about Ruby, and her
papa just let her kiss the white face once, and then he hurried her
away to bed, so that he might do all that he could for the invalid.

Ruby was very much surprised to find every one up in the house.  She
had been so sure that it was nearly morning that she could not
understand how it was that, after all she had been doing, and the long
sleep she had had out in her little cabin, it should only be a little
after ten o'clock.

It was some time before Ruby went to sleep, and in that quiet time she
had a good opportunity to think how very naughty she had been.  "I wish
I had n't played Swiss Family Robinson," she said to herself.  "I wish
I had never, never heard anything about that old book.  I should never
have thought of it by myself, and then, of course, I would never have
done such a thing.  And now, it is just perfectly dreadful.  I know
papa thinks I have been too bad to love any more, and  mamma  is  so
sick, and Ann looked as cross at me as if she would just like to bite
my head off, and I most know she will scold and scold at me to-morrow,
and there, Aunt Emma had to come the first time I ever did such a
thing, and now, I suppose she thinks I run away every night, and I
never, never did before, and it is n't fair, so;" and Ruby cried
softly.  "Oh, dear, I do wish I had n't, and it don't make the least
speck of difference how many times I wish I had n't now, 'cause it is
too late.  I wish I always knew beforehand how sorry I would be, and
then I would n't do things that make me feel so dreadful bad.  I wish I
knew how mamma is.  If she was n't sick, she would come and love me,
and make me feel better; she always does when I have been doing things.
It is n't my fault if I do bad things.  When my mamma's sick, how can I
help doing things.  I should n't think anybody would 'spect me to mind
Ann, cause she's so cross, and anyway she is n't my mamma, so she need
n't pretend that she can tell me when I must n't do things.  I won't
let anybody but my mamma tell me what I must n't do, 'cept maybe my
papa.  I think it will be too bad for people to scold me for going out
to-night, when I never had one bit a nice time.  I can tell Ruthy I
went, though, anyway, and she will be just as 'sprised, and she will
say, 'I don't see how you ever dared, Ruby Harper.'  Ruthy would n't
dare go out in the dark.  She is a real little 'fraid-cat, that is what
she is.  I 'm glad I am not so 'fraid of everything."

Ruby flounced about upon her pillow.  She wanted to find fault with
some one else, so as not to have to listen to what her conscience was
telling her about herself, but it was not of much use to try to find
fault with gentle little Ruthy.  Ruby knew that even if she had not
been afraid of going out in the dark, she would never have done
anything that she knew would make her mamma and papa feel so badly.
Ruthy did things sometimes that she ought not to do, and sometimes
forgot her tasks, but it was rarely, if ever, that she deliberately
planned a piece of mischief; and if she was concerned in one, it was
almost always because Ruby had coaxed her into it.

"If Ann was n't so cross, I don't believe I would do so many things,"
Ruby went on, still trying to find some one else to blame.  "I never
did so many things when mamma was well.  I am going to ask her to send
Ann away, 'cause it is her fault."

But Ruby know better than that.  It was because she was so very sure
that it had been all her fault that she had done something that she had
known perfectly well would displease her mamma and papa if they should
know it, and that had worried her papa and made her mamma worse, that
she was so anxious to lay the blame upon some one else.

She turned her pillow over and over, and thumped it at last, she grew
so impatient because she could not go to sleep.

"I don't think it is very pleasant to stay awake all night, and keep
thinking about things," she said.  "Oh, dearie me, I do wish I was
asleep.  I wonder if people think when they are asleep.  They can't
tell whether they do think or not, I s'pose, 'cause they 're asleep and
don't know it.  I wish I was asleep, anyway.  I wish I had n't gone
down into that yard.  I guess I do know I ought n't to have done it,
and I am just as sorry as I can be.  I could n't be any more sorry if
papa should call me Rebecca Harper, and scold me like everything, and
if mamma should scold me, too.  I guess I won't say anything even if
Ann scolds me, for I know I ought not to have done such a dreadful
thing.  Suppose I had been all burned up; and that is just what would
have happened if my papa had not come!  I wonder how he happened to
come down into the yard and see the fire.  I never s'posed he would
come.  I thought I was just going to be all burned up, so I did.  Was
n't it dreadful to be so close to a fire, and not be able to get away?
I would have been all burned up by this time, and my house would have
been all burned up, too, and no one would ever have known what became
of me.  Mamma would always have said, 'I wonder where Ruby could
possibly have gone, and why she never, never comes home,' and papa
would worry and worry, and Ruthy would have been so lonely, and they
would never, never have known."

At the thought of such sad consequences to her mischief, Ruby cried a
little, and before her tears had dried, she was fast asleep, so she did
not know how ill her mamma was all night, nor how great had been the
consequences of her mischief.

In the morning when Ruby waked up, she found Ann by her bedside.

"Here is your breakfast," said Ann, putting down a tray with Ruby's
bowl of bread and milk upon it, on a little table.  "Your papa says you
are to stay here till he comes up and lets you out.  Oh, Ruby, how
could you be so naughty and worry your poor mamma?  You don't know how
sick you made her with your cutting up."

Ann did not speak angrily, but she seemed to feel so badly about Mrs.
Harper's illness that Ruby felt very subdued and did not try to defend
herself as usual.

"I don't want to stay up here.  I want to go down and eat my breakfast
with Aunt Emma," she said, presently, turning her head away, so Ann
might not see the tears which were coming into her eyes.

"Your papa said you must stay up here," Ann repeated, and without
saying anything more, she went out, and Ruby heard the bolt slide, and
knew that she was a prisoner.

"I don't like to be locked in.  I just won't be," she said angrily; and
she thought she would jump up and go and pound at the door until some
one should come to unfasten it; but then she remembered how sick Ann
had said her mamma was, and she knew that a noise would disturb her;
and more than that,--it would make her feel so badly to know that Ruby
was in a temper.

There was something else that Ruby remembered, too.  The last time her
papa had told her to stay in her own room till he should come to let
her out, he had trusted her and had not fastened the door; and when he
went upstairs, he had found that Ruby had gone out, and was down in the
yard playing with her kitten, just as if she was not in disgrace; so it
was no wonder that he could not trust her this time.  Ruby sat down on
the side of the bed very meekly when she remembered all this, and I am
glad to say, really resolved that as far as she could she would make up
for having been so naughty last night, by trying to be as good as
possible now, and not give any more trouble to her mother.

Downstairs her father and Aunt Emma were eating their breakfast, and
her father was saying sadly,--

"I am sure I don't know what to do with the child.  I am so busy with
my patients that I can hardly take the time to be with her mother as
much as I should be, and Ann does not seem to be able to make her mind.
I know she is always getting into mischief, and she certainly does seem
to think of more extraordinary things to do than any child I ever knew.
She might have been badly burned last night, if I had not seen the
blaze, and even if she had escaped herself, the fire might have spread
to the boards and fence, and then there is no knowing where it would
have stopped.  Her mother will never get well while she worries about
Ruby, and you see for yourself what harm last night worry did her.  I
declare I don't know what to do."

"I have a plan," said Aunt Emma, after a little thought.  "I will take
Ruby back to school with me."



CHAPTER  V.

BOARDING-SCHOOL.

"Take Ruby to school with you?" repeated Dr. Harper in surprise.

"Yes, I think that is the only thing to be done," Aunt Emma answered.
"Of course you would miss her, but you would know that she was in safe
keeping, and that I would take good care of her, and make her as happy
as possible; and then without the anxiety of her whereabouts or her
doings upon her mind, her mother would have a better chance to get
well.  You see you never can know what the child will do next, and if
she had not made that fire she might not have been found until morning,
and you know in what a state her mother would have been by that time.
I have a week yet before I must go back to teach, and I will get her
ready and take her back with me."

At first it seemed to Dr. Harper as if he could not possibly let his
only little daughter go away to boarding-school, even with her aunt,
but as he thought more about it, and talked it over with Aunt Emma, he
decided that it was the only thing to do with self-willed, mischievous
little Ruby, until her mother should be better again, and able to
control her.

The next thing to do was to secure her mother's consent, and Dr. Harper
said,--

"I am afraid it will take some time to persuade her that she can let
Ruby go away from her.  She will miss her so much, and will worry lest
Ruby should be homesick."

He was very much surprised, when he suggested the plan, to hear her
say,--

"That is just what I have been thinking about myself.  If I only knew
that she was being taken good care of, and could not get into any more
mischief, I would be willing to let her go, for I shall never have
another easy moment about her while I am too sick to take care of her
myself.  I do not know what she will do next."

That was just the trouble.  Nobody ever knew what Ruby was going to do
next, and as she generally got into mischief first, and then did her
thinking about it afterwards, one might be pretty sure that she would
carry out any plan that came into her head, whatever its consequences
might be.

Dr. Harper was seriously displeased with his little daughter, and he
determined to give her ample time to think over her naughty conduct; so
after he had eaten his breakfast, and done all that he could for the
invalid, he went out to visit his patients, leaving her shut up in her
room, where she could not get into any more mischief for a few hours at
any rate.

Ruby had dressed herself and eaten her breakfast, feeling very lonely
and penitent, and then she expected that her papa would come and let
her out.  She wanted to go in to her mamma's room and tell her how
sorry she was that she had worried her so the night before; but the
minutes went by, and still her father did not come, and when at last
Ruby heard his buggy wheels going past the house, she knew that he
meant to leave her by herself until he should come back.

It seemed a long, long time to Ruby, though it was only two hours
really, and she had time to think of all that had happened, and all
that might have happened before her papa came back.

Ruby heard him drive around to the stable, and she knew just about how
long it would take him to walk up to the house.  Presently she heard
his step upon the porch, and then he came upstairs, and went first into
her mother's room, to see how she was, and then after a few minutes he
came out, and Ruby heard him coming towards her room.  The moment he
opened the door she ran and threw herself into his arms.

"I am so sorry; indeed I am sorry, papa," she cried, bursting into
tears.

Her father sat down, and took her up on his knee.

"And you have made us all very sorry, Ruby," he answered.  "Your mother
is very much worse, because she had such a fright last night.  Just
think what it was when we thought you were safely asleep for the night
to find that you had disappeared, without any one knowing where you had
gone.  I drove over to Ruthy's to look for you; and I do not know what
I should have done if I had not seen the fire, and found you in the
yard.  I should not have had the least idea where to look for you; and
I do not think you can realize what serious consequences your
naughtiness might have had.  And they might have been very dangerous
ones to yourself too.  If your clothes  had  taken fire, as  they
easily might have done, I cannot bear to think what would have happened
to my little daughter."

Ruby cried on, with her face hidden in her father's shoulder.

"Oh, I am so sorry.  You can do anything you like to me, papa; indeed,
you can," she sobbed.  "Perhaps you don't b'lieve how sorry I am, but I
never was more sorry for anything; never, never."

"I know you are sorry, Ruby," said her father.  "You are always sorry
after you have done wrong; but that does not seem to keep you from
getting into the next piece of mischief that comes into your head.  I
cannot let you go on in this way any longer.  For your mother's sake,
if not your own, I must put a stop to it, or she will never have a
chance to get well.  I am going to send you away to boarding-school
with your Aunt Emma."

"Oh, papa, papa, don't do that! please don't!" exclaimed Ruby, clinging
to him.  "I don't want to go away from you and mamma.  I don't! oh, I
don't!  Please let me stay home, and you can keep me shut up in this
one single room all the time, and I won't say one word; truly, I won't;
but do let me stay with you and mamma.  I will be so good."

"You think you will now, Ruby; but in a few days you would be in as
much mischief as ever.  It is better for you to be where some one can
take care of you.  As soon as your mother is better you shall come home
again; and after a few days, I have no doubt but that you will be very
happy there with Aunt Emma and the new friends you will make."

"I don't believe Ruthy will like to go," said Ruby presently, after a
little thought.

"Ruthy is not going, my dear," answered her father.

"Oh, isn't Ruthy going?" asked Ruby, in surprise.  "I thought of course
Ruthy would go if I did.  Oh, papa, I can't go without Ruthy.  I truly
can't.  Won't you make her go with me?  Please do; and then I will try
not to cry about going."

"I don't believe Ruthy's papa and mamma would want to spare her,"
answered the doctor.  "But you will be with Aunt Emma, you know, dear;
and you love her, and she will take very good care of you."

"But I want Ruthy, too," Ruby said, looking very much as if she was
going to begin crying again at the thought of being separated, not only
from her father and mother, but from her little friend as well.

"Now Ruby, dear, if you are really sorry that you have been so
naughty," said her father, "you will show it by doing all you can to be
good now.  If you fret and cry and worry about going to school, it will
make it very hard for your mother, and perhaps make her worse.  If you
had been good, and tried to do what you knew would please her when she
was not able to watch you, it would not have been necessary to send you
away; but you have shown that you need some one to look after you, so
there does not seem to be any other way but this of giving your mother
a chance to get well without unnecessary anxiety; and of making sure
that you are not doing every wild thing that comes into your head.  I
do not think Ruthy can go with you; so you must try to make the best of
things, and go with your Aunt Emma without complaining.  If you will do
this, I shall know that you really love your mamma and want to do all
you can to make her better; and then just as soon as she is well, you
shall come home again."

Ruby was silent.  It was a very hard way of showing that she was sorry,
she thought.  She would rather have been shut up in her room, or go
without pie or almost anything else that she could think of, instead of
going away to boarding-school with Aunt Emma.

Much as she loved her aunt, she did not want to have to leave her
father and mother for the sake of being with her.  All at once a
thought came into her head which made going away seem less hard.  I am
sure you will laugh when I tell you what it was that could console her
in some part for the thought of leaving her father and mother.  She
remembered that once when she was upstairs in Mrs. Peterson's house,
she saw a little trunk standing at the end of the wide hall, studded
with brass-headed nails, and upon one end were the letters "M. D. K."
She had asked Maude to whom the trunk belonged, and Maude had looked
very important when she answered that it was her own trunk, and that
the letters upon the end stood for Maude Delevan Birkenbaum.  Ruby was
wondering whether she should have a trunk like Maude's if she should go
to boarding-school.  It had seemed just the very nicest thing in the
world to have a trunk of one's own with one's initials upon it in
brass-headed nails, and she thought she could go, without being quite
heart-broken, if only she had a trunk to take with her.  Finally she
said,--

"Papa, if I go to boarding-school, I shall have to have a trunk, won't
I?  And may it be a black trunk with my name on it in brass nails?"

Papa smiled, though Ruby did not see him.

"Yes, dear," he answered.  "If you are a good little girl, and try not
to worry your mother by fretting about going, and don't get into any
more mischief before you go, I will certainly give you just such a
trunk to take with you, if that will be any comfort to you."

"It certainly would be a comfort," Ruby answered, cuddling up closer to
her papa.  "And may I take some butternuts in it?"

"You will have to consult your Aunt Emma about what you shall put in
it," her father answered, "but I will get you the trunk."

"And it will have a key?" asked Ruby.

"Yes, it will have a key," said her father.  "Now, Ruby, mamma wants to
see you a little while.  Can I trust you to be a good little girl, and
not disturb her when you go into her room?  Her head aches very badly,
and I only want you to stay in there long enough to kiss her and tell
her how sorry you are for disturbing her so last night, and then you
must go downstairs quietly.  Will you remember?"

[Illustration: RUBY AND HER MOTHER (missing from book)]

"Yes, papa," Ruby answered in subdued tones, and then she slipped down
from his knee, and walked along the hall on tiptoe, and stole into her
mother's room.  When she saw her mother's pale face, and traces of
tears on her cheeks, and knew that it was because she had been so
naughty that the tears were there, Ruby wanted to bury her head in the
pillow beside her mother, and have a good cry there; but she remembered
what her father had told her, and kept very quiet.  She only kissed her
mother, and whispering how very sorry she was, she came away, feeling
comforted and forgiven by her mother's kiss.  "I don't see how I am
ever bad to such a lovely mamma," she said to herself.

She was a little shy about going downstairs.  It was not very pleasant
to remember that the very first thing Aunt Emma had known about her
when she came was that she was in mischief, and Ruby thought of course
she would say something about it, and perhaps that Ann would reprove
her, too.

But she was very pleasantly disappointed when at last she went into the
sitting-room, where Aunt Emma was busy with some sewing.

She looked up and greeted her little niece as if she had not seen her
before since her arrival; and she seemed so wholly unconscious of
anything unusual in Ruby's not being down to breakfast, that the little
girl thought perhaps her aunt had forgotten all about it.  Ann did not
say anything more to her about her naughtiness either, and before
dinner-time Ruby was almost happy at the idea of going to
boarding-school with a trunk, and a key, which she meant to wear upon a
string around her neck.

She intended to persuade Ruthy to go, too, though.  She was quite sure
that not even the trunk could make her go away happily without her
little friend.



CHAPTER VI.

PREPARATIONS.

Aunt Emma was very pleasant company for some time, but when she went
upstairs to the sick-room, Ruby concluded that she would go over and
see Ruthy.

She felt quite important as she walked along, thinking of the great
news she had to tell.  It did not take Ruby very long to forget about
her troubles and penitences, and if it had not been for the sight of
the blackened remains of the fire, and the pile of boards lying where
her father had thrown them when he pushed them down and carried Ruby
out, she might not have thought of last night's performance for some
time.

As it was, she stopped the happy little song that had been on her lips,
and walked along very quietly for a time, thinking how sorry she was
that she had made her mother worse, and that she was going to be sent
away from home because she could not be trusted.

While going to boarding-school might be a very great event, and an
event which was quite unheard-of in the lives of any of Ruby's friends,
yet she did not like to have to remember that it was partly as a
punishment that she was going.

Before she reached Ruthy's, however, she had banished all unpleasant
thoughts, and her one idea was to astonish Ruthy with the information
that she was going to boarding-school, and was to have a trunk to take
with her.  She ran upon the porch calling,--

"Ruthy, Ruthy!  Where are you?"

Mrs. Warren came to the door.

"Good-morning, Ruby," she said, looking gravely at the little girl.
"How is your mamma this morning after her anxiety last night about you?"

Ruby had not thought that Mrs. Warren knew anything about her plan of
playing Swiss Family Robinson, and her face grew very red, as she
looked away from Mrs. Warren, and twisted the corner of her apron into
a little point.

"How did you know?" she asked very faintly.

"Because your papa came over here looking for you, and then he drove
back after a while to let us know that you were found, and were safe.
I was very sorry to hear that you had frightened your mother so.  How
is she this morning?"

"She is worse this morning," and Ruby began to cry.  It was so hard to
have to tell Ruthy's mamma that she had made her own dear mother worse.
"I did n't mean to make my mamma worse; I truly did n't, Mrs. Warren.
I love my mamma just as much as Ruthy loves you, and maybe better, even
if I do do things I ought n't to do.  I never thought she would know
about it, I truly didn't.  If I had known that she would wake up and be
frightened, I never would have gone out one step, even if I did think
it would be fun."

Mrs. Warren led Ruby in and took her up in her lap.

"My dear little girl, if you would only stop and think before you get
into mischief, I do not believe you would do half so many naughty
things," she said.  "I know you love your mother, but you think about
Ruby first and what she wants to do, and forget to think about your
mother until afterwards, and then it is too late to spare her anxiety
about you.  It would make her very unhappy if she knew how many things
you do which, I am sure, you know she would not like."

"Indeed, I am going to try to be good," Ruby answered, wiping away her
tears.  "And I have a great secret, Mrs. Warren.  At least, it is n't a
secret exactly.  It's somewhere that I am going, but I want to tell
Ruthy first of all, and then I will tell you about it; and oh, I do
hope you will let Ruthy go too.  Will you?"

"I can't answer until I know where you are going," Mrs. Warren
answered.  "Does your papa know where you are going, Ruby?"

"Oh, yes, ma'am," Ruby answered promptly, glad that for once there was
nothing wrong about her plan.  "He told me about it this morning.  It
is only that I want Ruthy to know it the very first of all that I don't
tell you about it this very minute, Mrs. Warren.  You don't mind, do
you?"

"Oh, no," Mrs. Warren replied.  "If your papa knows about it, I am
quite satisfied."

Ruby jumped down and went in search of Ruthy, who Mrs. Warren said was
probably playing out in the barn.

"Ruthy!  Ruthy!" called Ruby as she ran down and peeped in through the
great doors.  "Where are you, Ruthy?"

"Up in the hay loft," answered a smothered voice.  "Come up here, Ruby."

So Ruby climbed up and found Ruthy curled up in a little nest of
fragrant hay, with one of her favorite story-books.

"Oh, Ruby, tell me about last night," began Ruthy eagerly.  "I was so
frightened when it began to get dark, and I remembered that you were
going to stay out-doors all alone by yourself; and I felt so bad that I
almost cried.  I could hardly go to sleep, I kept thinking about you so
much.  Did you go?  Was n't it dreadful?"

Ruby was glad that Ruthy did not know how her papa had come over to
find if Ruby was with Ruthy.

"Oh, yes," she answered.  "I went out and stayed a long time, but it
was n't very nice.  Anyway, let's don't talk about that, Ruthy.  I have
got something to tell you that you could never, never guess, I don't
believe, if you tried for one hundred times.  Now I will give you six
guesses, and you can see if you can guess right.  I am going somewhere
in about two weeks.  Can you guess where?"

"Going somewhere?" echoed Ruthy.  "Why, I don't believe I could
possibly guess, Ruby.  Let me think first."

She shut her eyes and tried to imagine where Ruby could be going, but
she found it pretty hard work.  Neither of the little girls had ever
been away from home in their lives, farther than over to the grove
where the Fourth-of-July picnics were always held, so it was not very
strange that Ruthy could not think of any visit that Ruby would be
likely to make.  Perhaps Ruby was going to visit the grandmother who
sometimes came to stay with Ruby's mamma for a few weeks, and who had
sent the little girls their wonder balls when they learned to knit.

"I guess first that you are going to visit your grandma," she said.

"No," answered Ruby, triumphantly.  "I just knew you could n't possibly
guess right, but try again.  I won't tell you until you have guessed
six times."

"I am afraid I won't ever know, then," sighed Ruthy.  "I can't think of
six places to guess.  Are you going to New York?"

"No," answered Ruby.  "It is a great deal more important than going to
New York.  You know folks don't stay long when they go to New York, and
they don't take a--" but she clapped her hands over her mouth to shut
out the next word.  "Dear me, I most told you the very most important
part of the secret.  I won't say another word for fear I will tell.
Now guess again."

"I might as well ask you if you are going to the moon," Ruthy said.

"I truly can't guess once more, Ruby, so you will have to tell me."

"I am going to boarding-school," announced Ruby, triumphantly.

Ruthy was just as surprised as Ruby had expected her to be.  She sat
straight up in the hay, and let her book fall, while she looked at Ruby
with wide-open eyes.

"What!" she exclaimed, as if she could not believe her ears.  "Did you
really say you were going to boarding-school, Ruby Harper?"

"Yes, I really am," Ruby responded, "but there 's more than that to
tell you.  What do you suppose I am going to have to take with me?"

"I am sure I don't know," Ruthy answered.

"I am going to have a trunk of my very own," said Ruby, proudly.  "It
will be like Maude Birkenbaum's, papa said it would be.  It is to be
black, and have a beautiful row of gold nails all around the top, and
then at one end there will be 'M. D. B.' in letters made of the nails
all driven in rows.  Won't that be beautiful?"

"Yes, indeed," answered Ruthy.  "But what will 'M. D. B.' stand for,
Ruby?"

"Why, for my initials of course," Ruby answered.  "Oh, no, I made a
mistake.  It won't be 'M. D. B.,' but 'R. T. H.,' to stand for Ruby
Todd Harper.  I forgot that my initials and Maude's were n't the same.
But just think of it, Ruthy.  To have a trunk of one's own and a key to
it!  I think that will be too lovely for anything."

"Are you glad you are going to boarding-school?" asked Ruthy, looking
at her rather soberly.

"Why, yes, of course I am," said Ruby, trying to forget that it meant
going away from home, too.

"How long will you stay, do you suppose?" asked Ruthy.

"Oh, I don't exactly know.  Till mamma gets well again, papa said,"
Ruby replied.  "I spose maybe about a year."

Ruby had rather vague ideas about the length of a year.  She always
counted a year from one Christmas to the next, or from one Fourth of
July to the next, whichever happened to be nearest the time from which
she was calculating; and though it seemed a long time when she looked
back from one holiday to the last, yet she did not have a very good
idea how much time it took for twelve months to pass away.  Ruby knew
her tables, and she could have told you in one minute, that it took
three hundred and sixty-five days to make a year, but she did not know
how long it took that procession of days to pass along and let the new
year come in.

"Oh, dear," and Ruthy buried her face in the hay, and began to cry.

"Why, what is the matter?" asked Ruby, in surprise.

"I shall miss you so dreadfully," sobbed Ruthy.  "I shall not have any
one to play with, that is, any one like you, and I shall miss you all
the time."

"But I am going to ask your mamma to let you go with me," Ruby said
comfortingly.  "I forgot to tell you, but I truly will.  Do you suppose
I would go away off to boarding-school without you, Ruthy Warren?  You
might know I would n't.  Of course not.  Come and let's go in now and
ask your mother if you can't go with me."

But Ruthy cried harder than ever.

"But I don't want to go to boarding-school," she sobbed.  "I want to
stay with my mamma.  I should just die if I went way off away from her.
I don't want you to go either, Ruby.  I don't see what you think it is
nice to go to boarding-school for, anyway."

"Now, Ruthy, I thought you would go with me, even if you didn't think
it would be very nice at first," Ruby said, in rather reproving tones.
"Of course you think it would n't be nice, but it would be after you
got used to it, and you would have a trunk, too, maybe.  Wouldn't that
be nice?"

But the trunk was no comfort to Ruthy.  She could not understand how
Ruby could bear to think of leaving her mother.  She was quite sure she
would never be willing to do it, and not Ruby's most eloquent
representations to her of how delightful going away with a trunk would
be, could induce her to want to accompany her.

"Oh, I wish you were not going, either," was all that Ruby could coax
from her, after she had talked until she was tired.



CHAPTER VII.

MORE PREPARATIONS.

Thee was nothing that vain little Ruby enjoyed more than a sense of
importance, and so she was quite happy for the next few days.  All her
little friends looked upon her with wonder when they heard that she was
going away to boarding-school, and Ruby's announcement to them that she
was going to take a trunk added to the importance of the occasion quite
as much as she had hoped it would.

There was only a week in which to make all preparations for her going,
so you can imagine that they were very busy days.  Miss Abigail Hart,
the dressmaker who made every one's clothes, when they were not made by
people themselves, came to the house every day, and sewed all day long,
and Aunt Emma helped her most of the time.  If it had not been for the
thoughts of the trunk, Ruby would have found some of these days very
tiresome.  She had to be always ready in case Miss Hart should want to
try on any of her dresses, so she could not go very far away from the
house, and she found Miss Hart's dressmaking very different from her
mother's dressmaking.

Miss Abigail Hart was tall and thin, and as Ruby and many other little
girls said, had quite forgotten all about the time when she was a
little girl; so when she went to houses to sew, the children usually
tried to keep out of her way as much as possible.  Her hands were very
cold, whether it was summer or winter, and she never liked it if any
one whom she was fitting jumped about when her cold fingers touched
one's neck.  She wore long scissors, tied by a ribbon to her waist, and
these scissors were always cold; and it was not at all a pleasant
operation to have the waist of a dress fitted, and have Miss Abigail's
cold fingers, and her still colder scissors creeping about one's neck.

"If you don't keep still it will not be my fault if you get a cut,"
Miss Abigail would say, and I am not sure but that some of the little
girls were afraid that their very heads might be snipped off by a slip
of those shining blades, if they wriggled about when the necks of their
dresses were being trimmed down.

Miss Abigail was very slow, so it took a long time to go through this
operation, and the worst part of it was that one fitting never was
sufficient.  At least twice, and sometimes three times she would repeat
it, and there were plenty of Ruby's friends who had said that not for
all the new dresses in the world would they want to have Miss Abigail
fit them.  They would rather have but one dress and have that dress
made by their mothers, if they had to choose between that and those
cold fingers and sharp scissors.

It was very pleasant to go to the store with Aunt Emma, and help choose
the pretty calicoes and delaines which were to be made into dresses and
help fill the little trunk.  Ruby never felt more important than when
she was perched upon the high stool before the counter and had four new
dresses at once.  She fancied that the store-keeper was more respectful
in his tone than he usually was when he addressed little girls, and
that he was much impressed by the fact that Aunt Emma let her select
the pattern herself instead of choosing for her.

The calicoes were very pretty.  One was covered with little rosebuds
upon a cream-tinted ground, and the other had little dark-blue moons
upon a light-blue ground.  The delaines were brown and blue; and then
besides these dresses, Ruby's best cashmere was to be let down, and
have the sleeves lengthened, so that it would still be nice for a best
dress.

Ruby had never had so many new dresses all at once in her life before,
and she felt very important when her papa brought them home in the
buggy, and they were all spread out before Miss Abigail.

Miss Abigail looked at them very wisely, with her head a little upon
one side.  She rubbed them between her fingers, wondered whether they
would wash well, and finally looked at Ruby, and said,--

"I trust you are a very thankful little girl for all the mercies you
have.  So you know that there are some poor little children who have
but rags to wear?"

"Yes 'm," said Ruby, meekly.

"Then don't you think you ought to appreciate all the blessings that
have been bestowed upon you?"

"Yes 'm," Ruby replied again.

"Then you must try to be an obedient, gentle child, and do as you are
bid in everything."

"Yes 'm," said Ruby, wishing in the bottom of her heart that the
dresses were all made.

She had never had very much to do with Miss Abigail herself, although
she had often seen her, and two or three times she had spent a day at
the house, helping Mrs. Harper make one of her own dresses.  Upon those
occasions, however, Ruby had spent the day with Ruthy, and so she had
only been with Miss Abigail a little while in the morning, and had not
had much to say to her.

"If Miss Abigail was my mamma, I would not stay in the same house with
her," Ruby said to herself.  "I guess that is why she has n't any
little girls,--because she don't know how to make them happy.  I don't
want to be told all the time about being good, I guess."

But Ruby had to listen to a great many lectures, whether she liked them
or not, in the next few days.  Miss Abigail came and stayed with them
for all the rest of the week, and as she believed in little girls being
made useful, Ruby had to spend a good deal of time in picking out
bastings, and doing other little things for Miss Abigail.

"Oh, dear, I have n't done one single thing since I can remember," Ruby
said, impatiently, to Ruthy one day when her little friend came over to
see her; "I have n't done one single thing but pick out bastings and
have Miss Abigail telling me how good I ought to be 'cause I have so
many new dresses.  I do wish she was all done and had gone away."

"But then you will go away, too, you know," Ruthy suggested.

"I wish I would n't; I wish I was going to stay here for a week after
she went," Ruby answered.  "I think Aunt Emma might stop her, I do so."

"How do you mean?" asked Ruthy.

"Well, I know what I would do," said Ruby.  "I would say to her this
way--" and Ruby held her head very high, and tried to look exceedingly
dignified--"I should say, 'Miss Abigail, if you will please tend to
making Ruby's dresses, I will tend to her behavior.'"

Ruthy looked rather shocked.

"I am afraid that would make Miss Abigail feel dreadfully bad, to have
your auntie say such a thing," she said.  "I think Miss Abigail is real
nice, I truly do.  She saves pretty pieces of calico for my patch-work,
and once she gave me a sash for my doll; don't you remember it?--that
blue one, with a little rose bud in the middle."

"Well, I don't like her," and Ruby shook her shoulders.  "And I don't
think it's nice in you to like her, when she makes me perfectly
miserable.  How would you like it if every time you wanted to do
anything you heard her calling you, and had to go in and be fitted and
fitted.  She holds pins in her mouth, too, a whole row of them, and
mamma never lets me do that, so Miss Abigail ought not to, and I just
think I will tell her so.  She has a whole row of them, just as long as
her mouth is wide, and they bristle straight out when she talks.  Just
suppose she should drop some down my neck when she is talking.  They
would stick in to me, and hurt me like everything before I could get
them out.  I guess I would n't like that, would I?  And if you had to
stand just hours and hours, and have her cold fingers poking around
your neck, and those great sharp scissors going snip, snip all around
your neck, just where they would cut great pieces out if you dared
move, I don't believe you would like that yourself, Ruthy Warren, even
if she did give you things for your doll."

"No, I don't s'pose I would like it any better than you do," assented
Ruthy, who was determined not to quarrel with her little friend, when
they were so soon to be separated.

"Ruby, Miss Abigail wants you," called Aunt Emma.

Ruby made a wry face.

"There she is again," she exclaimed.  "It's just the way the whole
livelong time.  I think if she knew how to make dresses, she ought not
to have to fit so much.  If I fitted my doll so often when I made her a
dress, I guess her head would fall off.  It would get shaky anyway,
with so much fussing.  Wait till I come back, Ruthy, and then we will
play."

Miss Abigail was waiting to fit Ruby's blue delaine, and it looked so
pretty that Ruby forgot how unwilling she had been to come in and have
it fitted.

She showed her pleasure in it so plainly that good Miss Abigail was
afraid that the little girl was in danger of becoming vain, and thought
it best to warn her against this state of mind.

"I am afraid it is n't the best thing for you, Ruby Warren, to have so
many new clothes all at once," she said, with the row of pins waving up
and down, as she spoke through her teeth, which she did not open when
she spoke, lest the pins should fall out.  "If any one thinks more of
clothes than they should, then dress is a snare and a temptation to
them, and I am much afraid that that is what it is going to be to you.
Better for you to have only one dress to your back than to put clothes
in the wrong place in your mind, and let them make you vain and
conceited.  What are clothes, anyway?  There is n't any thing to be so
proud of in them.  Now this nice wool delaine was once growing on a
sheep's back.  Do you suppose that sheep was vain because it was
covered with wool?  No, it never thought anything about it.  And so you
see that you ought n't to be proud of it either."

"I think new dresses are very nice," said Ruby, speaking cautiously,
lest she should inadvertently turn her head, and the sharp points of
the scissors should run into her neck.

Miss Abigail felt that she must say still more, for it was evident that
Ruby was putting too much value upon her dress.

"But it is n't new," she said.

"Oh, Miss Abigail, it truly is," exclaimed Ruby, forgetting herself and
turning her head so suddenly that if the scissors had been in the right
place, the points would surely have run into her.  Fortunately, Miss
Abigail had stopped to see how the neck looked, and her scissors were
hanging by her side for a moment.  "Why, of course, it is new.  I went
with Aunt Emma to the store, and helped buy it my very own self, so I
know it is brand-new.  Why, I should think you could tell it is new, it
is so pretty and bright, and there is n't one single teenty tonty
wrinkle in it."

"Yes, it is new to you," Miss Abigail answered solemnly.  "But when you
think about the matter, Ruby Harper, you know that the sheep wore it
first, and you only have it second-hand, as you might say.  Now, I
should think a little girl was very silly that thought herself better
than any one else, and let her thoughts rest on her clothes because she
wore a sheep's old suit of wool made up in a little different way.
Shall I tell you some verses that my mother made me learn when I was a
little girl, because I was proud of a new pelisse?"

"Yes 'm," said Ruby, meekly, taking a great deal of pleasure in the
thought that when Miss Abigail was a little girl she had been naughty
sometimes, and had had to learn verses as a punishment.

  "'How proud we are, how fond to show
  Our clothes, and call them rich and new,
  When the poor sheep and silk-worm wore
  That very clothing long before.

  "'The tulip and the butterfly
  Appear in gayer coats than I;
  Let me be dressed fine as I will,
  Flies, worms, and flowers exceed me still.'"


"I don't think worms look nicer than I do," said Ruby, not very
politely, when Miss Abigail had finished.  "And I am very sorry for
you, Miss Abigail, if you had to learn such ugly verses.  If you had
had a mamma like mine you would have had a better time, I think."

Miss Abigail looked severely over her brass-bowed spectacles at Ruby,
almost too shocked to speak for a moment.

"I am sure, I don't know what your mother would say, Ruby Harper, if
she heard you talking that way.  I am sure she would think that you
were no credit to her bringing-up.  You have a good mother, one of the
best mothers that ever lived, and your father is such a good man, too,
that I am sure I don't see where you get your pert ways from.  I was a
happy child, because I was, in the main, a good child, and no one ever
had a better mother than mine; and I have tried to follow the way in
which I was brought up, if I do say it myself.  Those were counted to
be very pretty verses when I was a child, and I don't know but they
were better than to-day.  At any rate, in my day, children were taught
to have a little respect for their elders, and there are very few that
do that now.  There were some other verses that I was going to tell a
good deal of the nonsense that children learn you, but if that is your
opinion of those I did tell you, there is no use in my taking so much
trouble."

Miss Abigail looked sorrowful as well as vexed, and Ruby wished that
she had not told her what she thought of the verses.

"I suppose she thinks they are nice," she said to herself; "and mamma
would be sorry if she thought I had been rude to Miss Abigail."

Ruby was going away from her mother so soon that her conscience was
more tender than usual, and she did not want to do what she knew her
mother would not like.

"Please tell me the other verses, Miss Abigail," she said.  "I did not
know you liked those other verses, or I would not have called them
ugly."

"I am glad you did not mean to be a rude child," said Miss Abigail,
pleased by Ruby's apology.  "Your mother takes so much pains with you
that it would be a pity for you not to be a good child.  Yes, I will
tell you the others, and while I am repeating them you can sit down
upon this little ottoman, and pick out the bastings in this sleeve."

While Ruby pulled the basting-thread out, and wound it on a spool as
Miss Abigail had taught her, half wishing that she had not said
anything about the other verses, since she might now have been out at
play with Ruthy, Miss Abigail repeated some more of the verses she had
learned when she, too, was a little girl like Ruby:--

  "'Come, come, Mister Peacock, you must not be proud,
    Although you can boast such a train;
  For many a bird, far more highly endowed,
    Is not half so conceited nor vain.

  Let me tell you, gay bird, that a suit of fine clothes
    Is a sorry distinction at most,
  And seldom much valued, excepting by those
    Who only such graces can boast.

  The nightingale certainly wears a plain coat,
    But she cheers and delights with her song;
  While you, though so vain, cannot utter a note,
    To please by the use of your tongue.

  The hawk cannot boast of a plumage so gay,
    But piercing and clear is her eye;
  And while you are strutting about all the day,
    She gallantly soars in the sky.

  The dove may be clad in a plainer attire,
    But she is not selfish and cold;
  And her love and affection more pleasure impart
    Than all your fine purple and gold.

  So you see, Mister Peacock, you must not be proud,
    Although you can boast such a train;
  For many a bird is more highly endowed,
    And not half so conceited and vain.'"


"I think I like that ever so much  better," said Ruby, jumping up as
Miss Abigail finished, and handing back the sleeve, from which she had
pulled all the basting-threads.

"Now can I go over to Ruthy's, Miss Abigail?  Aunt Emma told me that I
must ask you before I went away anywhere, for fear you would want me."

"No, I shall not want you any more until nearly tea-time," Miss Abigail
answered, as she scrutinized the sleeve to see whether Ruby had left
any bastings in it.  "Now remember what I have told you, Ruby, child,
about setting your heart upon your fine clothes.  Clothes do not make
people, and if you are not a well-behaved child, polite and respectful
to your betters, it will not make any difference to any one how well
you may be dressed."

"Yes 'm," Ruby answered, as she ran away to find Ruthy, thinking that
little girls in Miss Abigail's time must have been very different from
the little girls she knew, and wondering whether Miss Abigail looked as
tall and thin when she was a little girl as she did now, and whether
she used to be just as proper and precise.

It was so funny to think of Miss Abigail as a little girl that Ruby
laughed aloud at the thought, as she looked for her little friend.  She
was quite sure of one thing: if she had been a little girl when Miss
Abigail was a little girl, she would not have chosen her for a friend.
Ruthy was the only little girl in all the world that she could wish to
have always for a friend, for who else would be always willing to give
up her own way, and yield so patiently to impetuous little Ruby in
everything.



CHAPTER VIII.

READY.

Ruby thoroughly enjoyed all the preparations that were being made for
her departure.  Every day, and a great many times a day, the little
trunk would be opened and something more put into its hungry mouth, and
it was soon  quite full of the things which Ruby was to take with her.
Of course she did not get into mischief during these busy days,--there
was no time for it.  It was only when Ruby had nothing else to think
about that she devised plans for mischief.  At last everything was
ready the evening before she was to start.  Miss Abigail had finished
all that she had to do; she had bidden Ruby good-by, with a long
lecture upon how she ought to behave when she was at school, so as to
set a good example to her school-mates, and reflect credit upon her
father and mother and the training they had given her, and then she had
concluded by giving Ruby something that I am afraid she valued much
more than the advice,--a pretty little house-wife, of red silk, which
she had made for her, with everything in it that Ruby would need if she
wanted to take any stitches.

When Ruby saw it she was sorry that she had twisted about so much, and
showed so plainly how impatient she was growing of the long talk which
preceded it.

Then Miss Abigail had tied on her large black bonnet, and Ruby had
watched her going down the road with a sense of relief that there would
be no more fitting of dresses, with cold fingers and still colder
scissors, and no more lectures upon good behavior.  However, she was so
pleased and surprised by the pretty gift that she felt more kindly
towards Miss Abigail than she would have believed it possible.

Ruby's old dresses had been made over until they looked just like new
ones, and the last stitches had been taken in her new ones, and little
white ruffles were basted in the necks, so that they were all ready to
put on.  Everything had been carefully folded up and packed in her
trunk,--not only her clothes, but the little farewell gifts that her
friends had brought her.

She had a nice pencil-box, filled with pencils and pen-holders, two
penwipers, as well as a box of the dearest little note-paper, just the
right size for her to write upon, with her initial "R" at the top of
the paper.

Orpah had brought her a mysterious box, carefully tied up in paper,
which she had made Ruby promise that she would not open until she
unpacked her trunk at school; so that gave Ruby something nice to look
forward to when she should reach her journey's end.

Ruby had fully intended to take her kitten with her, and she was very
much disappointed when Aunt Emma told her that that was one of the
things she would have to leave behind her.

Ann promised to take the very best care of Tipsey, and that promise
comforted Ruby somewhat, although she still wished that she might take
her pet with her.

It was not until the last evening came that Ruby fully realized that
she was going away to leave her papa and mamma the next day.  Then she
felt as if she would gladly give up her trunk and all her new clothes
and everything that she had been enjoying so much, if she might only
stay at home.

For the first time her promise to her father to be brave about going
away cost her a great effort.  Her mother had not been nearly so well
since the night she had been so anxious about her little girl, and Ruby
knew that she must not worry her by crying or fretting about going away.

But she climbed up on her father's lap after she had eaten her supper,
and put her head down upon his broad shoulder, with the feeling that
nothing in all the wide world could make up to her for being away from
him and from her dear mother.

She wished with all her heart that she had tried to be a good girl
during her mother's illness, for then it would not have been necessary
to send her away to school.  But now it was too late, for everything
was all ready for her going, and Ruby was quite sure that coax and
tease as hard as she might, her father would not change his plans.

"I don't want to go away, papa," she said, with a little sob in her
voice, as Tipsey scrambled up in her lap, and curling herself into a
little round ball of fur began to purr a soft little tune.

"Don't you want to leave Tipsey?" asked her father, playfully.

"It is n't only Tipsey," said Ruby, while a big tear splashed down upon
her father's hand.  "It is you and mamma, most of all, and Ruthy, and
everybody.  I know I shall not be one single bit happy at school when I
can't come home and see you when I want to, and I shall just most die,
I am sure I shall."

"Little daughter, we both love mother, don't we?" asked her father,
stroking Ruby's dark hair gently.

"Yes, sir," answered Ruby, with a tremulous voice.

"And we would do anything to help her get well again?"

"Why, of course," Ruby answered again.

"Then we must do some things that are hard, if we really want to help
her.  You know how sick she has been the last few days.  I don't want
you to feel as if I was sending you away only as a punishment for
running away that night.  Perhaps if you had not done that particular
thing, I might not have given my consent to this plan, but I am sure
you are enough of a little woman to see what a help it will be to
mother.  If she is to get well again, she needs to have her mind kept
perfectly free from worry; and when you are running about with no one
to take care of you except Ann, who is too busy to do much for you, she
is worrying all the time for fear something may happen to you, or that
you may get into some mischief.  Now if she knows you are safe at
school with Aunt Emma, where you will be well taken care of, and will
study your lessons, and try to be good and obedient, then she will feel
so much happier about you that it will do more toward helping her to
get well than all the medicine in the world.  There are some things
that I can do for her.  I can take care of her, and give her medicine,
and see that nothing troubles her in the house, but there is something
for you to do that I cannot do.  This is to be your share of helping
dear mother get well.  If you go away bravely, and try to study and be
a good girl, so that Aunt Emma can write home in each letter that you
are doing just as mother would wish you to do, you will be helping her
even more than I will.  If you think only about yourself, you will cry
about going, and fret to come home, until mother will be troubled about
you, and perhaps think it best for you to come home again; but if you
think about mother, you will be my own brave little daughter, and then
mother will soon be well again, and we will send for our little Ruby,
and she will come home wiser and better-behaved than when she went
away, and we will all be so happy.  I am sure I know which you are
going to do."

"I am going to be just as brave as can be," Ruby answered, winking back
the tears which had been trying to roll down her cheeks, and rubbing
out of sight the great shining one which had splashed down upon
Tipsey's soft fur.  "Yes, papa, I am going to be just as brave as
anything.  I won't cry.  I won't say one word about wanting to come
home in my letters, and I will study so hard that I shall stay up at
the head of the class just as I do here, and the teacher will think I
am ever so--"

"Be careful, darling," interrupted her father.  "I don't want my little
girl to think so much of herself.  If you go to school thinking that
you are going to be so much more clever than all the other little
girls, I am afraid you will find out that you are sadly mistaken, and
then you will be very unhappy.  Don't think of excelling the other
girls, but think of doing the very best you can because it is right,
and because it will make mother and father happy.  I would rather have
my little Ruby at the very foot of the class, and have her unselfish
and gentle, than have her at the head, with a proud and unlovely
spirit.  Of course I should be very glad to have my little daughter
excel in her lessons, for then I should know that she was studying and
trying to improve herself as much as possible, but I don't want to have
her as vain as a little peacock over it.  And you know, Ruby, that it
is generally when you are trusting in yourself that you do something
that you are the most sorry for.  Pride goes before a fall, you
remember."

"I will try not to be proud," said Ruby, penitently.  "But you don't
know how I like to be praised, papa.  It scares Ruthy, and she does n't
like it one bit, but I like it from my head down to my feet, I truly
do.  I like to have people say I am ever so smart, and I don't see how
I can help it."

"By trying to forget yourself, dear, and keeping self in the
back-ground as much as you can in everything that you do.  When you are
trying to do anything well, remember that it is only just what you
ought to do.  God has given you a good memory, and a readiness to
learn, and so you ought to do the very best with the powers he has
given you.  You have no more reason to be vain of them than a peacock
has to be vain of his fine tail.  And it is better to be lovable than
clever, and any one who is conceited never makes the friends that a
modest child does.  Now promise me that you will try, little daughter,
to be gentle and modest, and not come back to us selfish and full of
conceit."

"I will truly try, papa," Ruby answered.  "That is harder for me to try
than to try to learn my lessons or to keep the rules, but I will truly
try, and you shall see how brave I will be in the morning when I go
away.  Why, papa, I am brave this very minute.  I could just cry and
cry, it makes me feel so full to think that this time to-morrow night
you will be here just the same, and I will be ever so far away."

"We will think about the time when you will come home again," said her
father, quickly, for Ruby's voice sounded very much as if a word more
would bring the tears.  "Some day I shall drive down to the station and
a young lady with a trunk will get off the cars, and I shall hardly
know who it is, you will have grown so fast.  Little girls always grow
fast when they go to boarding-school, you know."

"Do they?" asked Ruby, eagerly.  "Oh, papa, do you s'pose I can have
long dresses next year?"

"Why, then people would think you were a little baby again," said her
papa, pretending to misunderstand her.  "They would say, 'Why, Ruby
Harper wore long dresses when she was six months old, and now she has
them on again.  She must have grown backwards.'"

"Now, papa Harper, you are making fun of me," exclaimed Ruby.  "I mean
long dresses like young ladies wear.  I want to be grown up.  Will I be
big enough to wear dresses with a train next year if I grow fast."

"If you should grow fast enough," her father answered, pinching her
cheek, "but I don't think you will do that, Ruby.  You would have to
grow like Jack's beanstalk, if you expect to spring up into a young
lady in a year.  Why, then I would not have any little girl, and what
would I do for some one to hold in my lap?"

"Oh, I guess I don't want to grow too big to sit in lap," Ruby
answered, nestling closer  to her father.  "I forgot that part of it.
I will wait for ever so many years for long dresses, if I must give up
sitting in lap.  Well, I will grow as fast as I can, but not so fast
that I won't be your little Ruby any longer."

"And now, dear, say good-night to mamma and go to bed," said her
father, as he heard the clock striking.  "We will have to be up bright
and early in the morning, and I want you to have a good sleep."

By the time the stars were looking down Ruby was sound asleep in her
little trundle-bed for the last time for many weeks.



CHAPTER IX.

THE JOURNEY.

Ruby and Aunt Emma were to start at nine o'clock, and as there were a
great many little things to be done before the travellers should get
off, the whole house was astir very early in the morning.  Ruby was
very much excited over her journey, but there was a little lump that
kept arising in her throat all the time as if it would choke her if she
did not swallow it back.

Ruthy was to go over to the station with her, and see her off, and it
was hardly daybreak when she came over to Ruby's house, eager to have
as long a time as possible with her little friend before she should go
away.

Ruby felt as if she was a little queen, every one was so kind to her,
and so anxious to please her in every way.  Even Ann was wonderfully
subdued, and when Ruby came downstairs, took her in her arms and said:
"I don't know what we shall do without the precious child, I am sure."
Coming from Ann, this was indeed a great compliment, and Ruby felt as
if Ann was really very nice, indeed, since she had so high an opinion
of the little girl.

"Are n't you sorry you have been so cross to me, sometimes?" asked
Ruby, presently, thinking that if Ann would admit that she had said a
great deal that she did not mean in the past, she would feel still
happier.

Ann was sorry to have the child from whom she had never been separated
for a whole day, go away for weeks, but she was not by any means
disposed to admit that Ruby had not deserved all the scoldings she had
over given her, and her voice had quite a little of its usual sharpness
as she answered,--

"You know as well as I do, Ruby Harper, that you 've been enough to try
the patience of a saint many and many a time, more particularly since
your mother has been taken ill, and though I 'm sorry you 're going
away, I am sure it is the best thing for you, for you had got long past
my managing, and nobody knew what you were going to do next.  If you
were n't going to school, likely enough you would burn us all down in
our beds some night."

Ruby looked rather crestfallen.

"I don't think you need be cross the very last thing when I am going
away so far, and you won't see me for ever and ever so long again," she
said, with a little quiver in her voice.

"Well, I did n't mean to be," said Ann, giving her another hug.  "It's
only that I got provoked that I said that.  You see you and me have a
lot to learn yet, Ruby, before we can say and do just what we ought to,
and nothing else.  I'll take it all back, and I'll show you the nice
cake I have made for your lunch on the cars."

Ruby followed Ann to the buttery, and admired the cake with its white
crust of icing, that looked like a coating of frost, to Ann's content,
and would have been quite willing to have had a piece of it then and
there, if Ann would have permitted it.

Everybody talked a great deal about everything but Ruby's going away,
for nobody wanted to give the little girl time enough to think about
it, lest she should grow homesick; and it seemed quite like a party,
Ruby thought, as she sat beside her father at the table, with Ruthy
sitting by her, all ready for another breakfast, she had risen so early.

After breakfast papa went down to the stable to harness up; the little
trunk was shut for the last time, and the key turned and put in Aunt
Emma's pocket-book,--greatly to Ruby's disappointment, for she wanted
to keep it herself; but Aunt Emma said she might have it after they got
safely to school, but it would be very inconvenient if she should lose
it on the way there, and she tried to console herself with that
promise.  Ruby had had a parting frolic with Tipsey, and Ruthy had
promised to come over and play with the kitten very often, so that she
would not miss her little mistress too much, and now Ruby was going to
say good-by to her mother, and have a few quiet minutes with her,
before it should be time to put her hat and jacket on.

The room was dark and quiet, and when Ruby went in, old Mrs. Maggs, who
spent all her time in staying with sick people and nursing them, got up
and went out, so that the little girl should have her mother all to
herself.

Ruby cuddled her face down beside her dear mother's face, in the
pillow, and it was all the little girl could do to keep from bursting
into tears, and begging that she might not be sent away.  She
remembered her promise to her father to be brave, and she swallowed the
lump in her throat, back, over and over again, while her mother told
her how she hoped that her little daughter would be a good girl, so
that all she should hear from Aunt Emma would be good news, of Ruby's
improvement in her studies, and of her good conduct.

Ruby listened to every word, and she promised her mother very earnestly
that she would indeed try to conquer her self-will, and be good.

"That will help you get well, won't it, mamma?" she asked, stroking the
white face tenderly.

"Yes, darling, nothing will help me get well faster than that," her
mother answered, giving her a tender kiss.

It was very hard to say good-by when papa's voice called,--

"Come little daughter, the carriage is ready."  It was harder than Ruby
had had any idea that it would be.  It seemed as if she could not
possibly say good-by to her mother, and go out of the room, knowing
that she could not kiss her good-night or good-morning any more for
weeks and weeks.  If it had been any one else, but to go away from her
seemed quite impossible.

"Good-by, darling.  Remember you are going to help me get well again,"
her mother said, drawing the little girl's face down for a last kiss,
and that helped Ruby to be very brave.  She kissed her mother over and
over again, and then jumped up and went out of the room without one
word.

The lump in her throat was growing so big that she knew she should cry
in a moment if she did not hurry away.

"I was brave, papa, I was brave," she said, when she went out into the
hall and found her father waiting for her; but the tears came then fast
and thick for a moment.

"Now you will be my brave little daughter again, I know," said her
father, comfortingly, "for it is time for us to start now.  I am afraid
the train would not wait for us if you were not at the station in time,
and it would never do to miss the train on your first journey, would
it?"

Ruby smiled through her tears.

"Don't you think they would wait when they saw the trunk on the
platform, papa?  I should think they would know somebody was going away
then, and would wait."

"No, I don't think that even for anything as important as the trunk,
the train would wait," her father answered.

Ann helped Ruby put on her hat and jacket with unusual gentleness, and
Ruby thought that Ann looked very much as if she wanted to cry.

"Do you feel sorry, really, that I am going away, Ann?" she asked.

"Of course I do, honey," Ann answered.

All at once Ruby remembered how she had teased Ann, how many times she
had been rude to her, and had done what she knew Ann did not want her
to, and she put her arms around Ann's neck.

"Ann, I 'm sorry I have been so bad," she whispered.  "I will be good
when I come home again."

Ann was very much touched by Ruby's apology.

"Never you think about that," she answered.  "I'll miss you dreadfully,
and I shall never remember anything but the times you have been as good
as a little lamb; so you need n't worry your head about that."

"Time to start," called papa again; so Ruby climbed up in the front
seat, where she was to sit with her father, and Aunt Emma and Ruthy got
in behind her.  The little trunk, with Ruby's initials upon it, had
already been taken down to the station, and was waiting for her there.
It was quite a little drive to the station, and they had not started
any too soon, for by the time papa had purchased the tickets, and had
given Ruby the little pocket-book, that he had saved for a parting
surprise, with a crisp ten-cent bill in it, some bright pennies, and in
an inside compartment what seemed to Ruby like untold wealth, a whole
dollar note, the distant whistle of the train was heard.  And then
almost before Ruby knew it she had said good-by to Ruthy, who could not
keep her tears back when she said good-by to her little friend, and she
was sitting by the window, where she could look out at Ruthy, when the
train started, and her papa leaned over to give her a last kiss and hug.

"Good-by.  God bless and keep my little daughter," he said tenderly.

The engine shrieked and whistled, the bell rang, and then with a jerk
the train began to move, and Ruby looked out, with her face pressed
close to the window, to see her father just as long as she possibly
could.  He was on the platform by Ruthy now, and he waved his
handkerchief as the train started, and threw kisses to his little girl.
Ruby pressed her face closer and closer against the glass, but at last
it was of no use.  There was only an indistinct blur where papa and
Ruthy had been standing, for Ruby's eyes were so full of tears that she
could not see them, and by the time she had taken out her new
handkerchief and wiped them away, the train had begun to go so fast
that she could not see the station at all.  It was far behind her, and
Ruby had really begun her first journey.

It was hard work not to put her head down in Aunt Emma's lap and cry as
much as she wanted to, but Ruby glanced about the car, and saw that
every one else was looking very happy, and watching the things that
passed by the windows, so she thought, with some pride, that if she
should cry people might not know that it was because she was going away
from her dear papa and mamma and Ruthy, but they might think that she
was frightened because she had never been in the cars before, and she
certainly did not want them to know that.

She wiped the tears away from her eyes and sat up very straight,
looking out of the window as if she was very much interested in
everything she saw.  Really, she could not have told you one thing that
they went past.  She was fighting back the tears, and her longing to
have the train stopped and get off even now, and go back home again,
where every one loved her so much; and it took all her courage and
resolution not to break down.

Aunt Emma guessed what the little girl was thinking about, and she did
not disturb her for a little while, until she thought that Ruby could
talk without letting the tears come.

Then, all at once, she began to talk about the places they would pass
on their way to school, and Ruby grew so interested in listening to her
that the lump in her throat went away, and she really began to enjoy
the journey.

She looked about the car at the other passengers, and she wondered
whether they all knew that she was going away to school and had a
little trunk of her very own.  It seemed to Ruby as if it was such an
important occasion that somehow every one must know, even if they had
not been told about it.

It was very pleasant to travel, she decided, after a little while, and
she wondered why it was that when she looked out of the window, it
seemed as if everything was running past the train, instead of the
train seeming to be in motion.  It was very funny, and Ruby almost
laughed when they passed a field full of cows, which shot by the window
as if they had been running with all their might, when really they had
been standing quite still, looking with soft, wondering eyes at the
noisy monster that shrieked and whistled as it rushed on its way,
drawing a long train of cars after it.



CHAPTER X.

MAKING FRIENDS.

By and by a man dressed in blue clothes with brass buttons came through
the car, stopping at each seat and looking at people's tickets.

"That is the conductor, and he wants to look at the tickets," said Aunt
Emma.  "Would you like to give him the tickets, Ruby?"

Of course Ruby wanted to do this, and she changed places with Aunt
Emma, and sat at the end of the seat, waiting for the conductor to come.

She felt very grown-up and important as she handed the little pieces of
pasteboard to him, and wondered whether he would think that she was
taking her Aunt Emma on a journey because she had the tickets; but the
conductor rather disappointed her.  He did not seem to be at all
surprised that a little girl should give him the tickets, but he took
them and after looking at them for a moment, punched a little hole in
them.

This did not please Ruby at all.  She had not noticed that he had done
this same thing to every one else's ticket, and she exclaimed,--

"Please don't do that, you will spoil those tickets, and they are all
we have got."

The conductor smiled, and so did several other people who had heard
Ruby's speech.

"I have n't spoiled the tickets, sissy," the conductor said
good-naturedly.

When he went on to the next seat Ruby showed the tickets to her Aunt
Emma.

"He says he did not spoil them, but I just think he did," she
whispered.  "I think it spoils tickets to have a hole made in them,
don't you, Aunt Emma?  Now spose they are not good any more, how shall
we get to school?  Will they put us off the cars?"

"The tickets will be all right, Ruby," Aunt Emma answered smilingly.
"Now put them back in my pocket-book again, so that they will not get
lost, and by and by another conductor will get on the train and will
want to see them, and then you shall show them to him."

"Will he make another hole in them?" asked Ruby, who still felt as if
the tickets would be much nicer without the little hole in them.

"Yes, there will be three more holes made in them before we give them
up," Aunt Emma answered.

"Give them up?" echoed Ruby.  "What do you mean, Aunt Emma?  We don't
give them to any body, do we?"

"Yes, just before we get off the cars the conductor will take them."

"It seems pretty dreadful to spend so much money for tickets and then
not be allowed to keep them," Ruby said.  "Don't you think he would let
me keep mine just to remember the journey by, if I should ask him?"

"No, he could not do that," Aunt Emma answered.  "You will have to give
yours up just as every one else will.  But you have had a long ride for
the ticket, you know, Ruby, so you must not feel as if your ticket had
been taken away and you had received nothing in exchange."

"Oh, I forgot that," Ruby answered, and then she leaned her face
against the window and looked out again at the places they were
passing.  By and by the old gentleman in the seat in front of Ruby
looked around and when he saw the little girl, he smiled at her with a
pair of very kind blue eyes, and said,--

"Little girl, don't you want to come in here and visit me a little
while?"

Ruby was very willing to do this, for she was tired of looking out of
the window, and Aunt Emma had a headache and did not feel like talking;
so in a minute she had slipped past her aunt, and was in the next seat,
very willing to be entertained.

The old gentleman was very fond of little girls, and as he had a whole
host of grandchildren, he knew just what little girls and boys liked.
He told Ruby some funny stories about the way people had to travel
before steam cars were in use, and then he told her about the first
school he ever went to, and how he had to go all alone, and had a
pretty hard time with the older boys, who were very fond of teasing
younger ones.

Ruby was very much interested, and told him in return that she, too,
was going to school for the first time.

By and by a boy came through the cars with a basket on his arm.

"Oranges, apples, bananas, pears," he called out, and the old gentleman
beckoned to him.

"Come here, and let this little lady choose what she would like to
have," he said; and the boy brought the basket to Ruby, and rested it
upon the arm of the seat, while she looked into it.

The old gentleman was very, very nice, she thought, for he not only
knew how to be so entertaining, but he called Ruby "a little lady," and
if there was one thing in all the world that Ruby liked better than
another it was to be considered grown-up, and to be spoken of as a
little lady.

The old gypsy woman had called her a little lady, though Ruby did not
like to remember her, but it was quite proper that a little girl who
was going to boarding-school should be considered grown-up, even if she
did not have long dresses on.

"What will you have, my dear?" asked the old gentleman.  "Will you have
an orange or a banana, or is there something else you would prefer?"

A large yellow Bartlett pear attracted Ruby's eyes.

"I think I would like this," she answered.

"Very well, my dear," he said.  "Now as my eyes are not very good,
would you be kind enough to take some money out of my pocketbook and
pay the boy?"

This was even still more delightful, and Ruby felt as if long dresses
could not make her feel one inch more grown-up than she felt when she
opened the big purse with its brass clasps, took out some money, and
paid the boy, receiving some pennies in change which she dropped back
into the purse again.

"I see you are quite used to making purchases," said the old gentleman,
with a funny little twinkle in his eye, as he watched the happy little
face beside him.

"I don't very often buy anything and pay the money for it," Ruby said
truthfully.  "That is, except at the store, and that don't seem to
count because mamma always gives me just the right money, all wrapped
up so I won't lose it.  But I think it is very nice to buy things.
Didn't you want a pear, too, sir?"

"No, thank you," answered the old gentleman.  "Now would you like to
have me fix the pear so you can eat it without getting any juice upon
your pretty dress?"

"Yes, please," Ruby answered, so he spread a newspaper upon his lap,
and taking out his knife, cut the pear into quarters, and proceeded to
peel it, and cut it into nice little pieces, just the right size to eat.

Ruby watched him with a great deal of interest.  She liked him more and
more all the time, and she was quite sure that it would be very nice to
be one of his grandchildren, of whom he had told her.

It had been some time now since Ruby and Aunt Emma had started upon
their journey, and when Aunt Emma saw what the old gentleman was doing
she leaned forward and offered Ruby the lunch-basket.

"It would be very nice for you to eat your lunch now, if you are
hungry," she said.  "Suppose you eat a sandwich first, and then the
pear, and some cake afterwards.  You can offer the basket to your
friend, and perhaps he would like a sandwich, too."

Ruby was very much pleased to find that the old gentleman thought that
this would be a very good plan, and that he was glad of a sandwich, so
the party had quite a little picnic together.  Aunt Emma ate her lunch
too, and Ruby spread the white napkin that was in the top of the
lunch-box over her lap, and laid the sandwiches out upon it, so that
the old gentleman might help himself.

The pear was such a big one that Ruby could divide it both with the old
gentleman and with Aunt Emma and still have plenty for herself, and
some time passed very pleasantly in eating the lunch, and putting what
was left carefully back into the box again.

By this time Ruby had begun to be very tired of riding in the cars.
She did not want to look out of the window any more, and she began to
feel a little homesick.  She grew very quiet, as she began to wonder
what Ruthy was doing just now.  The old gentleman had told her that it
was eleven o'clock, so she knew that Ruthy was probably having a nice
game at recess with the other children.  This was the first day of
school at home, and Ruby remembered how she had always enjoyed that
first day.  It was so pleasant to put everything to rights in her desk
just as she meant to have it all the year, to have her old seat by
Ruthy where she had sat ever since she first began to go to school, and
to look at the new scholars, and wonder whether she would have much
trouble in keeping at the head of the class.

The old gentleman wondered what made his little companion so quiet, and
looking down at her, he saw the tears beginning to gather in her eyes.
He guessed a little of what she was thinking about.  Of course he could
not know all about school, and about Ruthy, but he knew she was
thinking about some one at home.

He looked back, and saw that Aunt Emma had put her head down upon the
back of the seat, and with a handkerchief over her face was trying to
take a little nap in the hope that it would help her aching head.  He
wondered what he could do to keep Ruby from becoming homesick and tired.

"Let me tell you about one of my little grandchildren," he said, and
Ruby winked the tears away and looked up at him.  "She is a little girl
just about your age, and sometimes when we go on a journey together, as
we often do,--for every year I go and get her, and bring her to stay
with me for two or three weeks in the summer time,--she gets tired of
riding in the cars so long at once, and what do you suppose she does?"

"What does she do?" asked Ruby.

"She reaches into my pocket,--this outside pocket, here,--and takes out
this handkerchief, so," and the old gentleman drew out a large silk
handkerchief from the pocket that was next to Ruby.  "Then she spreads
it upon my shoulder just so,--and I put my arm about her, and she
cuddles up to me and puts her head down on the handkerchief and takes a
nice nap.  Then when she wakes up we are almost ready to get off, and
she has not minded the long ride.  I wonder if you would not like to
put your head down here a few minutes, and see if you like it as well
as Ellie does.  And then if such a thing should happen as that you
should go to sleep, why, that would be so much the better."

Ruby hesitated.  She did not feel as if any one who was old enough to
go to boarding-school ought to be such a baby as to go asleep on the
way, but she was very tired.  She had awakened almost before it was
light that morning, and she had been so excited over her journey that
she could not keep still for a moment, and then the long ride was
making her still more tired.  The handkerchief, and the strong arm
looked very inviting, and when she looked back and saw that Aunt Emma
had gone to sleep, too, that quite decided her.

She slipped up nearer to the old gentleman, and taking off her hat,
handed it to him to put up in the rack over head.  Then she laid her
head down upon the silk handkerchief, and he put his arm about her, and
drew her up closely to him.

"It makes me think of the way papa holds me," she said, but the thought
of her papa made two big tears splash down upon the silk handkerchief.

"Shall I tell you where I went with my father when I was a little boy,"
the old gentleman asked,--without seeming to notice the tears,--and
then he began a long story which somehow put the tired little girl fast
asleep, and the next thing she knew, Aunt Emma was telling her that it
was time for her to think about getting her hat on, for they had almost
reached their journey's end.

"Have I boon asleep?" asked Ruby, starting up and rubbing her eyes.

"I should say so," said the old gentleman, looking at his watch.
"Guess how long a nap you have taken, little girl."

"Ten minutes?" asked Ruby, who thought she must only have just closed
her eyes, since she could not remember having slept at all.  The last
thing that she remembered was listening to the old gentleman's story,
and then it had seemed as if the very next thing was being awakened by
Aunt Emma's voice.

"Ten minutes, and ever so much more," the old gentleman answered with a
smile.  "You have been asleep just two hours."

"Two hours!" and Ruby's eyes were wide open with surprise.  "Why, I
never remembered that."

"You were sleeping too sound to remember anything," her friend said.

"Well, I am glad you have had a nice rest, and now you will enjoy
reaching your journey's end all the more.  I shall miss you very much
when you get out, for you have been very pleasant company."

"I wasn't very nice when I was asleep, I am afraid," said Ruby, "It was
n't very polite of me to go to sleep, was it?"

"Oh, yes it was when I invited you to," the gentleman said.  "And I
enjoyed it, for it seemed just like having my little granddaughter here
with me."

Aunt Emma helped Ruby put her hat on straight, and brushed the dust
from her dress.  The engine began to whistle, and that meant that they
were very near a station.

Ruby said good-by to her kind friend, and he gave her his card with his
name upon it, and asked her to write him a letter after she had been at
school a little while and tell him how she liked it, and how she was
getting on in her lessons.

Ruby promised that she would; and then the train began to go more
slowly, and at last stopped with a little jerk at a station, and Aunt
Emma said,--

"Here we are at last, Ruby."

For just a moment Ruby was not glad.  She suddenly began to feel a
little shy about boarding school, and remembered what she had not
thought much about before,--that she would have to meet a great many
strange girls, and that it would take some time to become acquainted
with them,--and she wished again, as she had wished many times before,
that Ruthy might have come with her; but she had not much time to think
about anything, for the train did not wait very long for people to get
out, and in a few moments Aunt Emma and Ruby were on the platform of
the station and Ruby was waving good-by to the kind old gentleman, who
was leaning out of the window to see the last of his little friend.



CHAPTER XI.

AN OLD ACQUAINTANCE.

There were several cars, and a great many people got out of them, for
this was a junction, and some who were not going to stop here got out
that they might take a train that would carry them where they wanted to
go.

"We must wait till I see about our trunks," said Aunt Emma; and leaving
Ruby in a safe corner, she went to look after the baggage and give the
checks to the expressman who was waiting to take the trunks up to the
school.

Ruby stood very still looking about her.  It was a very busy place, and
there was a good deal to see.  After the train upon which she had come
had drawn out of the station and gone puffing and panting upon its way,
so that she could not see her friend the kind old gentleman any more,
another train came into the station that was going the other way, and a
few people got off, while a great many of those who were waiting in the
station got upon it.

A lady with a little girl and a great many bags and bundles got off
this last train, and perhaps you can guess how surprised Ruby was when
she found it was some one whom she knew.

I wonder if you could guess who it was.  I do not believe you could, so
I will tell you.  It was Maude Birkenbaum and her mother who had come
upon this other train.

[Illustration: RUBY MEETING MAUDE AT THE STATION (missing from book)]

"Oh, I so wonder if she is going to boarding-school too," thought Ruby.
"I never, never spected to see that girl again, but I don't know but
what I am maybe a very little glad to see her, for I don't know one
single other of the girls here, and it would be so lonesome for a
while.  She sha'n't make me do bad things now anyhow, for I am ever so
much older than I was when she got me into so many troubles that
summer."

Ruby had been told not to go away from the place where Aunt Emma had
left her, so even to speak to Maude she would not leave it; but she did
not need to, for in a few minutes Mrs. Birkenbaum went to the
baggage-room, and Maude walked about looking around her.

In a little while her eyes fell upon Ruby, and she rushed forward with
an exclamation of pleasure.

"Why, Ruby Harper!" she exclaimed, quite as much surprised at seeing
Ruby as Ruby had been to see her.  "I never thought of your being here.
What are you doing here anyway?"

"I am going to boarding-school," answered Ruby, "and that is my trunk;"
and she pointed to her pretty little black trunk, which the expressman
was putting upon the wagon, that was getting quite a load of baggage by
this time.

"I wonder if you are going to the same school that I am," said Maude.
"I do hope you are, for then we can have such good times together.  I
am going to Miss Chalmer's Home Boarding-School for Young Ladies.
Where are you going?"

"I don't know," admitted Ruby, unwillingly.  It had never occurred to
her to ask her Aunt Emma the name of the school; indeed I do not think
that she knew that any school had a particular name any more than the
school at home did.  That was always called the school, and so Ruby had
thought that this new school was simply a boarding-school.  How
dreadful it would be if Maude was going to a Boarding-School for Young
Ladies, and she herself should be going to a school for children.

"You don't know," echoed Maude.  "How funny.  You are just as funny as
ever, Ruby Harper.  I never heard of any one starting out to go to
boarding-school without knowing where they were going."

"Well, I did n't need to know, or I should have asked," said Ruby, with
some dignity.  "I came with my Aunt Emma, and she is a teacher in this
school that I am going to, and so I did not have to know anything about
it.  She brought me with her."

"Oh," said Maude, in more respectful tones.

To have an aunt who taught in a boarding-school was a great thing in
Maude's eyes, and it made her less inclined to patronize Ruby.

"I do hope it is the same school," she went on presently, really glad
in the bottom of her selfish little heart to see some one whom she had
known before, for this was her first time too of leaving home.  "We
will have such nice times together, and I have ever and ever so many
things to show you.  You just ought to see all the dresses I have
brought with me."

"And so have I," Ruby answered.  "My trunk is just full of them, and I
had a dressmaker sewing them for a whole week before I came away from
home."

"Did you?" asked Maude, and Ruby was pleased to notice that she spoke
as if this fact made her have a higher opinion of Ruby.  "I thought
your mamma always made your dresses."

"She always used to, but she is sick now," said Ruby, and the lump rose
in her throat again at the thought that she was miles away from her
mother.  "So we had Miss Abigail Hart come and stay a whole week and
sew on them all the time."

"You must have a nice lot then," said Maude.  "I am glad, for if we are
going to be friends, I should not like to have the other girls think
that you looked old-fashioned and as if you came from the country;" and
foolish little Maude tossed her head, and looked complacently down upon
her pretty travelling-dress.

Perhaps if Ruby had not been thinking about her mother just then, she
would have been very angry at Maude's words, and the two children would
have begun to quarrel at once; but thinking of her promise to her
mother, the very last thing, that she would really try to be good, and
do just what she knew was right, Ruby controlled the hasty words, and
said pleasantly,--

"Well, even if my dresses are not as pretty as yours, Maude, the girls
won't think that it is your fault.  Here comes Aunt Emma.  Won't she be
surprised to find that I know somebody here in this strange place?"

Aunt Emma was quite as surprised as Ruby had supposed she would be, and
presently Maude's mamma came up, and was very glad to find that Maude
was going to have an old friend for a school-fellow.

"Ruby is a good little girl, and she will keep Maude straight, I hope,"
she said to Ruby's aunt; and it was all Ruby could do to keep from
looking as proud as she felt, to think that Maude's mamma should say
that she was a good little girl.

Ruby did not feel as if she quite deserved the praise, but it was very
pleasant nevertheless.  She made up her mind that she would really try
to be good and keep from getting angry at Maude when she said provoking
things, and if possible she would help Maude to be good instead of
doing wrong things that she proposed.

By this time all the trunks were in the wagon and on their way to the
school; and Ruby and Maude, with Aunt Emma and Mrs. Birkenbaum, set out
to walk, for it was not a very great distance.

The two little girls walked together in front, and the ladies came
after more slowly.

"I wonder what boarding-school will be like," said Ruby presently.

"I suppose it will be perfectly dreadful," said Maude.  "I know some
girls that went to boarding-school once, and they told me that it was
awful.  They never had enough to eat, and they had to study all the
time, and they got so homesick that they tried to run away, but the
teacher caught them and brought them back again."

Ruby looked horrified.

"Do you spose that was really true that they did not have enough to
eat?" she asked.

"Of course it's true, for these girls told me so," Maude answered.  "I
have brought a whole lot of cake and candy in my trunk, and I will give
you some when I eat it, Ruby.  My mamma is going to send me a box every
month, so they sha'n't starve me, anyway."

Ruby turned back and exclaimed,--

"Aunt Emma, do they give the girls enough to eat at this school?"

Aunt Emma laughed.

"Why, of course they do," she answered.  "Whatever put that notion into
your head, Ruby?  The girls have all they can eat of good, wholesome
food, and it is just as nice as it is at home."

Ruby looked contented, and went on again.

"I did n't spose you would go and ask your aunt about what I said,"
Maude remarked presently in rather annoyed tones.  "Now don't tell her
one single word about the cake and candy I have in my trunk, or she may
tell the other teachers, and they will take it away from me.  I know
all about what things the teachers will do at boarding-school."

"I guess my auntie would n't do anything mean," Ruby answered rather
hotly.  "Anyway, Maude, perhaps this boarding-school is n't like the
one that those girls went to.  Aunt Emma said it would be ever so nice
here, and she ought to know, for she has lived here ever since I was a
little bit of a girl.  I was only three years old when she began to
teach here."

"Perhaps it is nice, and then perhaps again she has got used to it, and
don't notice that it is n't pleasant," said Maude.  "Anyway, I am ever
so glad that you are here, Ruby, for it will be ever so much pleasanter
having somebody I know."

"Turn the corner now, Ruby," called Aunt Emma, as the little girls came
to the corner of a street, and going around the corner they found that
they were close to the school.

Both the children were sure that it must be the school even before Aunt
Emma said,--

"Here we are, girls.  Does it not look like a pleasant place?"

It did, indeed, look very pleasant, and even Maude, who was disposed to
find fault, could not raise any objection to the large, rambling brick
house, with wide porches running all around it, shaded with vines, and
surrounded on every side by large lawns and a pretty garden.

A row of great elms spread their wide branches upon both sides of the
street, and just opposite the school stood a pretty church, with its
spire reaching up among the trees, and ivy climbing over its stone
walls.

Several little girls about as large as Ruby and Maude, as well as a few
older ones, were amusing themselves upon the lawn, and they all looked
very happy.

"Well, Maude, this is n't as bad as you thought it was going to be, is
it?" asked Maude's mamma.

"No," admitted Maude.  "It looks nice enough outside, but remember,
mamma, if I don't like it I am going to run away and come home."

Aunt Emma looked at Maude, when she heard the little girl talking this
way, and began to feel sorry that she had come, if she was going to say
such naughty things.  She did not want Ruby to have for a friend a
little girl who would be more likely to help her get into mischief than
to help her be good.

Maude looked up and saw Miss Emma's eyes fixed upon her with grave
disapproval, and then she remembered that she had been talking about
running away before one of the teachers.

"Oh, I don't really mean that," she said.  "I won't run away, for papa
said if I stayed and was good he would give me a watch that really goes
and keeps time, for Christmas."

"I am glad you did not mean it," said Miss Emma.  "You need not be
afraid of being unhappy if you are good and obey the rules.  Of course
you will miss your mamma and papa for a little while, but you will soon
be so interested in your studies and play that you will be contented, I
hope.  Our little girls are all very happy after the first few days."

Just then they entered the gate, and Ruby felt quite shy as she took
hold of her aunt's hand, and stayed close beside her.

There were so many strange little girls that Ruby thought she would
never get acquainted with all of them.  She was not used to feeling
shy, but then she had never seen so many strangers before.  They went
up the steps, upon the shaded porch,--where two little girls were
sitting in a hammock reading, and looked as if they were birds in a
nest,---and rang the bell.  Aunt Emma raised the great knocker upon the
front door and rapped loudly.

Ruby was quite interested in looking at the knocker while they were
waiting for the door to be opened.  It was a lion's head, and it looked
very fierce with its open mouth and sharp teeth.  She wondered if she
could reach it and rap with it if she stood on tiptoe, and she was just
going to ask Aunt Emma to let her try, when the door opened, and a maid
took them into the parlor.

Ruby looked about her with wondering eyes.  So this was boarding-school.



CHAPTER XII.

MAKING ACQUAINTANCE.

They did not have to wait long for Miss Chapman, the principal of the
school, to come in.  Almost before the girl had closed the parlor door,
and before Ruby had had time to do much more than glance about the
room, the door opened again, and the dearest and sweetest of Quaker
ladies came in.  She had on a plain gray dress, and a white
handkerchief was folded about her neck.  She wore a little white cap
over her silver hair, and her eyes were so kind that Ruby was quite
sure that she should love her very, very much, and should never do
anything to displease her if she could help it.

Miss Chapman greeted Aunt Emma very warmly, and was introduced to Mrs.
Birkenbaum, and then she turned to the children.

"So these are the little girls I have been expecting," she said,
shaking hands with them.

She asked them a few questions about their journey, and whether they
had come together, and then she talked again with the ladies.

While this conversation was going on, the children looked about them,
Maude no less curiously than Ruby, for boarding-school was a new
experience to her, too.

It was a pleasant room.  In one corner of it was a table with a globe
upon it, and some books, and in another corner was a what-not, with
shells and other curious things that Ruby wished she might go over and
examine.

She was wondering whether she might not whisper to Aunt Emma how eager
she was to go over to the what-not, and ask whether she might do so,
when Miss Chapman rose, and took the party up to their rooms.  Ruby was
to room with her Aunt Emma, which was a very good arrangement for more
than one reason; for she would be less apt to be homesick with her
aunt, and besides that she would not be in danger of transgressing
rules by speaking to other pupils after the lights had been put out for
the night.

Maude was to room with one of the other girls, and her room was at the
end of the hall.  It was a very comfortable little room with two little
white beds in it, but Maude did not seem very well satisfied with it.
The room in which Ruby was to sleep was larger, because it was a
teacher's room, and it did not please Maude to find that Ruby or indeed
any one else, should have anything that was better than what she
herself had.  She looked very sullen, but she did not say anything
while Miss Chapman was upstairs.

After Miss Emma and Ruby had gone to their own room and she was left
alone with her mother in the room which she was to share, she threw
herself down upon one of the beds, exclaiming angrily,--

"I don't want to stay here, mamma.  I just wish you would either make
them give me the nicest room in the house, or take me home with you.
Do you spose I want a mean little room like this when Ruby Harper has
such a nice one?  The idea of a little country girl having a better
room than I have!  I won't stay if I have to have this room, so."

"Oh, yes," said Mrs. Birkenbaum, soothingly.  "Yes, you will stay,
Maude.  The only reason that Ruby has a larger room is because it is
her aunt's room, and of course a teacher has to have a larger and nicer
room than the scholars.  It will be ever so much nicer to be in this
room.  I am sure you would not like to be in the same room with a
teacher and have her listening to everything you said.  And now mind,
you must be careful what you say to Ruby, for she will probably tell
her aunt everything, and the teachers won't like you if you complain
about things.  Don't fuss about the room, that is a good child, and I
will send you a new ring, and you shall have a great big box of cake
every month, and then all the other girls will want to be friends with
you.  This is a nice room; see, it has two windows."

But Maude did not feel disposed to let herself be coaxed into liking
the room.

"It's a horrid little bit of a room," she repeated again, pettishly.
"I don't like it, and I won't stay, unless you send me a beautiful
ring.  What kind of a ring will it be, if I stay, mamma?"

"What kind of a ring would you like?" asked her mother.  "You shall
tell me just what you would like, and I will coax papa to buy it for
you."

"I want a ring with red and blue stones in it," said Maude, sitting up,
and looking less unhappy now that she was interested in her ring.  "If
papa will send me a ring like that then maybe I will stay, but you must
remember to send me lots of cake and candy."

"Very well, dear, I will," said her mother, pleased at having coaxed
the wilful little girl into submission.

"And you will be good, too, won't you, Maude?  You know papa wants you
to learn something, and you won't learn anything at home, so we want
you to get along in your lessons here.  Don't let little Ruby Harper
beat you in everything.  You are ever so much smarter than she is, if
you only study."

"I guess I am smarter," said Maude, tossing her head.  "Ruby is only a
country girl, and I guess I can beat her in lessons and everything else
if I make up my mind to it, but if I study you must give me everything
I want for Christmas."

"Yes, we will," her mother answered.  "Now get up and let me brush your
hair, Maude, and we will go downstairs for a little while, and look
about, and then I will unpack your trunk, and get things settled for
you."

Maude felt better-natured by this time, so she got up from the bed, and
let her mother brush her hair, and forgot to complain about things, or
make bargains concerning her Christmas presents, while she looked
through the window and watched the girls playing ring-toss down on the
lawn.

"The girls that go to this school are n't one bit stylish," she said
presently.  "I guess I shall have nicer clothes than any of them.  I
wonder if they are nice girls.  Do you spose I shall like them, mamma?"

"Oh, yes, I am sure you will," said her mother, encouragingly.  "They
are very nice, I am sure, and you will be so happy here that you won't
hardly want to come home for the holidays.  It won't be long before
Christmas comes, so if you get homesick you must remember that."

"I guess I won't be homesick, if I can do as I want, and have plenty of
candy and cake," said Maude, carelessly.  "I am glad Ruby Harper is
here, I shall not be so lonely then."

"You must give her some of the things I send you," said her mother.

"I will see," said Maude.  "If she does as I want her to I will, but I
am not going to give them all away.  I want to keep some for myself."

"Now your hair looks all right," said her mother, giving one last brush
to the waves of tightly crimped hair that fell below Maude's waist.
"We will go downstairs and see the school-room, and look about the
garden."

In the mean time Ruby had been helping Aunt Emma unpack her little
trunk and she was so impatient to see what was in the mysterious
package that Orpah had given her that she could scarcely wait for the
trunk to be unlocked.

She lifted it out, and laid it on the bed, and untied the string.

"See if you can guess what is in it," she said to Aunt Emma.

"I guess a work-box," Aunt Emma said.

"I can't guess at all," Ruby answered, as she opened the paper, and
found another wrapping of tissue paper covering the gift.

"Oh, Aunt Emma, what do you spose it is?  See how carefully it is
wrapped up."

She unfolded the tissue paper, and then she gave a little scream of
delight.  I think you would have been just as delighted as Ruby herself
was, if you had had such a beautiful gift.

It was a little writing-desk, with a plate on the top, with the word
Ruby engraved upon it, and a lock in front, with a little key in it.
When Ruby turned the key, and opened the lid, she was more delighted
even than she had been at first; for surely, no little girl ever had a
prettier desk, with a more complete outfit in it.

There was a pretty little inkstand in one little compartment, with a
silver top which screwed on so tightly that the ink could not possibly
spill out when Ruby carried the desk around, and in the opposite
compartment was a little silver box for stamps.  There was a place for
pen-holders and pencils, and when Ruby took off its cover and looked
into it, she found the dearest pen-holder of silver, with her initial
upon it, and a pen in it all ready for use.  There was a little silver
pencil in it too, that opened and shut, when it was screwed and
unscrewed.  Then there was a place for paper, and envelopes, and
another place in which to keep all the dear home letters, that Ruby
knew she was going to receive every week.

The envelopes were pink and cream, and chocolate and a pale blue, to
match the paper, and they all had "H" upon them just as if they had
been made especially for Ruby.

Orpah had directed one of the envelopes to herself, and put a stamp
upon it all ready for Ruby to write to her.

All this was enough to make Ruby forget that she was tired and away
from home, and to make her eyes shine like stars; but there was still
something else, that I think she liked better than everything else in
the desk put together.

Perhaps, it was because it was something that she had never dreamed
that she should possess for her very own, that she was so delighted
with it.  There was a little outfit of sealing-wax, with sticks of
different-colored wax, tiny tapers, and a little candlestick just big
enough to hold such wee bits of candles, in the shape of a pond lily,
and a little seal with "R" on it.  So when Ruby had written her letters
and put them in their envelopes, she could light one of the little
tapers, drop some wax upon the back of the envelope, and press it down
with the seal, just as she had seen her papa do.

"Oh, oh, oh," she cried, in delight.  "I do think Orpah is just the
nicest girl.  Did you ever see anything quite so perfectly lovely, Aunt
Emma?  You shall use it when you write letters, if you want to, and oh,
may I write a letter this very minute, and seal it with my seal?"

"Not just this minute, dear," said her aunt, smiling at her eagerness.
"Wait until we have unpacked our trunks, and get a little settled, and
then you may write and tell your mamma what a nice journey you had, and
how kind the old gentleman was to you."

It was a very sure indication that Ruby was trying to be good, that she
did not fret because she could not do as she wished that very minute.
She put the things back in her desk, closed it, and locked it with the
pretty little key, and said,

"Aunt Emma, I do wish I had a little ribbon so I could wear this key
around my neck."

"I have a nice little piece of blue ribbon that I will give you as soon
as I open my trunk," Aunt Emma said; and very soon Ruby had the cunning
little key tied fast around her neck, where she could put up her hand
and feel it every now and then, and think of the pretty gift, and above
all of the sealing-wax, which was the chief charm of the desk.



CHAPTER XIII.

GETTING SETTLED.

Both Ruby and Maude felt very shy when they went downstairs and saw so
many girls whom they did not know at all.  They were very glad that
among all those strange girls there was at least one whom they each
knew.

"Was n't it the funniest thing that we should happen to come to the
same boarding-school?" whispered Maude, as she took Ruby's hand and
walked up and down the porch, while the scholars who had already come
and felt very much at home, looked at them half curiously and half
shyly, no doubt wondering whether they would be pleasant schoolmates or
not.

Aunt Emma found that Ruby was quite contented to stay with Maude, so
she went back upstairs, where she still had some little things to do,
and Mrs. Birkenbaum finished unpacking Maude's things, for she had to
go away that afternoon, and wanted to unpack Maude's trunk before she
left.

Ruby and Maude walked up and down the porch for a time and then they
went down upon the lawn.  There was a large lawn in front of the house,
where the girls usually played.  In one corner of it there was a
croquet set, and as this was something new to Ruby, she looked at the
hoops with a great deal of interest, while Maude, who had a set at home
explained the game to her.

"I will show you how to play it, and we will play together sometimes,"
Maude said.

There was plenty of room to play tag, and puss in the corner, and Ruby
thought the trees grew in just the right places for that game.  She
wondered if there had been a school there when they were planted, and
if Miss Chapman had planted them so that they would be nice for puss in
the corner.

The house was quite large, and when Ruby and Maude walked around the
lawn towards the back of the house, they found the schoolhouse, which
was connected with the rest of the house by a long covered passage-way,
so that the girls could go backward and forward in wet weather without
getting wet.

The school-room was not open, but the children looked through the
window, and saw the teacher's desk at one end, blackboards hung upon
the walls, and long rows of desks and seats for the scholars.

On the other side of the school-room was the garden, with vegetables
and flowers, and some pear-trees that were laden with fruit.

"Those pears look nice, don't they?" said Maude.  "I wonder if they
will let us have some.  Perhaps Miss Chapman keeps them all for
herself.  We will have some anyway, won't we, Ruby.  Well, I guess we
have seen everything now.  I think I will go upstairs and see if mamma
has finished unpacking my trunk."

Ruby was quite willing to go into the house, for she was sure that by
this time Aunt Emma would have emptied her trunk, and she might write
her letter home.

"I was just coning to look for you, Ruby dear," said Aunt Emma, as her
little niece opened the door.  "You can write to your mamma now, if you
like, and you will just have time to write a nice long letter before it
is supper-time."

Ruby untied the ribbon about her neck, took the little key off, and
opened the desk, with a feeling of pride.  She was quite sure that
there could not be a prettier desk in all the world than this one which
Orpah had given her, and she was very anxious to show it to Maude, and
surprise her with its beauty.

"What shall I write my letter on first, Aunt Emma?" she asked.

"Here is a piece of paper and a pencil you can use, and then you can
copy it afterwards," said Aunt Emma; so Ruby sat down at a little table
by the window, and wrote to her mother.

[Illustration: RUBY WRITING A LETTER HOME.]

When she had finished her letter and Aunt Emma had looked it over, and
corrected the few mistakes in spelling that she found, Ruby opened the
desk, and putting it upon the table, took out some of her pink paper,
which she thought was the prettiest, and carefully copied the letter.

"This ought to be a very nice letter, written on such a beautiful desk,
with a silver pen-holder, ought n't it, Aunt Emma?" she asked.

"Yes, dear, and I am sure your mamma will think it is very nice," her
aunt answered.

Ruby was very proud when she finished copying it without one single
mistake.  She did not usually have the patience to work so carefully
but she felt as if such a desk deserved great care on the part of its
owner.

Would you like to hear her letter?  Here it is:


MY DEAR MAMMA AND PAPA,--I am writing this letter to you on a beautiful
new desk that Orpah gave me.  That was what was in the package she made
me promise not to open.  We had a very pleasant journey.  There was a
very kind old gentleman on the cars, who talked to me and told me
stories, and he told the boy with a basket to let the little lady
choose what she wanted, and I chose a big pear.  I divided it with Aunt
Emma and the old gentleman.  When I was sleepy I put my head down on
his shoulder the way his little grand-daughter does, and I went to
sleep and I slept ever so long, though I thought it was only a little
while.  It is nice to ride in the cars, but it takes a long time.  I
like this school.  I like Miss Chapman.  She has white hair like
grandma.  Her eyes are blue.  I shall be good, for I like her very
much.  But I shall be good anyway, because I promised you.  I do want
to see you, mamma, and papa, too.  Aunt Emma has unpacked my trunk, and
my things are all put away.  Maude Birkenbaum is here.  She was at the
station at the same time I was, and we walked up together.  I mean to
be good.  Her mother said she hoped I would be a help to Maude, and I
mean to try to be good, instead of doing things she wants me to do.  I
love you a whole heartful, mamma and papa.  Please write me a long
letter soon.  I hope you will soon be well again, mamma.  I shall seal
this letter with my new sealing wax, and you must pretend it is a kiss.

      Your loving              RUBY.


Ruby was so impatient to use her new sealing-wax outfit that she found
it very hard work to finish her letter carefully, and write the last
words just as well as she had written the first one.

"Do you think 'Ruby' looks as well as 'My dear Mamma and Papa'?" she
asked Aunt Emma, carrying the paper over to her.

That was Ruby's test whether she had been careful in writing a letter,
to look and see whether the last words were as carefully written as the
first ones.  Sometimes, if she had not been very careful, one would not
think that the same little girl had written all the letter.  The first
few lines would be so very neat and carefully written, and the last
ones would be straggly, and of different heights and wandering all
across the pages.

But this time Ruby had been very careful indeed.  She had left just the
same margin all the way down the left-hand side of her page, and she
had been careful in dividing her words, so when Aunt Emma had looked it
all over very carefully, she could say that it was just as nice as Ruby
could possibly have written.

Then Ruby folded it and put it into one of her new envelopes; and then
came the most exciting part of all.  Ruby had never been very fond of
letter-writing before, but she thought she would be perfectly willing
to write a letter every day, if she might always seal them up with wax.

She put the little pond-lily candlestick out upon the table, on a
folded piece of paper, which Aunt Emma told her she had better put
under it lest the melted wax should drop upon the table-cloth, and then
she took out her little box of colored tapers, and tried to decide
which one she should use first.

She decided upon the pink one, because that matched the color of the
paper she had been using; and so she took out a pink taper, and set it
in the candlestick.  It fitted very snugly, so there was no danger of
its falling out.

Aunt Emma showed her how to open the little silver match-box that Ruby
had not discovered before in the outfit, and she lighted the taper, and
then held a stick of green sealing-wax in the flame.

When the end had grown quite soft in the heat, Ruby watched it
carefully, and let the big drop at the end fall just at the right time,
and in just the right place upon her envelope.  Then she pressed the
seal down upon it, and you can guess how proud she was when she saw her
initial in the wax.

"Won't mamma be surprised when she gets this letter?" she asked
gleefully.  "She will wonder where I got the wax, and I am sure she
will hardly believe that I made such a nice seal the very first time I
ever used it."

[Transcriber's note: page 145 missing from book]

[Transcriber's note: page 146 missing from book]

her, which made a very great difference; and then she was very much
interested in listening to the talk of the girls who had been there
before, as they crowded about Aunt Emma and told her of what they had
been doing during their vacation.

Maude was not at all pleased when she found that no one paid any
particular attention to her, and she sat by herself with a very
discontented look upon her face.

One of the girls came up to her after a time, and asked her if she
would like to take part in a game, but Maude refused, sullenly, and
after that no one else spoke to her.

"I shall go home just as soon as mamma can come and get me," she said
to herself.  "I don't like this place one single bit.  No one pays a
bit of attention to me, and my dress is ever so much nicer than any one
else's.  I think Ruby might come and sit by me, instead of staying with
her aunt, so I do."

But Ruby was very happy where she was.  She had not forgotten Maude,
and when they had first gone into the sitting-room, she had invited
Maude to come and sit beside her; but as Maude had refused, wishing
Ruby to come over to her, she had concluded that Maude wished to be by
herself, and was listening to the talk going on about her, without
thinking any more about Maude.

At eight o'clock all the girls went up to bed, and Miss Chapman told
them that in half an hour a bell would be rung, and that then they must
put their lights out, and not talk any more to one another that night.

Some of the girls who were tired had gone to bed earlier, but most of
the scholars had stayed downstairs until that hour.  The next day would
be the first day of regular school, and Miss Chapman told them that she
hoped they would all sleep well so as to be fresh for their studies in
the morning.

When Ruby was in her room, she realized for the first time with all her
heart how much happier she was than those girls who had come quite
alone.  If she had not Aunt Emma she did not know what she should have
done, she should have been so lonely.  As it was, all her chatter
stopped as she began to get undressed, and though Aunt Emma talked on
about everything that she thought would interest her little niece, yet
Ruby's answers grew more and more infrequent, and Aunt Emma guessed
that she was thinking about home, and the dear ones there from whom she
had never been separated so long before.

Ruby was really a brave little girl, and when she felt the lump
swelling in her throat again she kept swallowing it back, and trying to
think only of how pleased her papa would be when he should hear that
she had been good and had not cried to come home; but when at last she
knelt down to say her prayers in her little white night gown, the tears
would come.

"I want mamma, oh, I want mamma," she sobbed.

Aunt Emma took her up tenderly in her arms, and kissed and comforted
the little girl as tenderly as she could; but no one could take the
place of mother, and though Ruby tried to stop crying, the tears came
fast and thick.

"You may think I am not trying to be brave, Aunt Emma," said Ruby,
through her sobs; "but I am trying, I truly am, but it does just seem
as if I should die if I could n't see my mamma.  Oh, if I was only home
again.  Can't I possibly go home to-morrow, Aunt Emma?  Do say yes, or
I can't live all night."

"There, dear, don't cry so hard," said Aunt Emma, wiping away her
tears.  "You will feel better to-morrow, Ruby darling.  You will be so
busy getting your lessons that you will not have time to think about
anything else, and then when night comes again, you will remember that
you have come away with me so that your dear mamma can get well and
strong again, and the braver you are, the sooner she will improve.  You
had forgotten that, had n't you, dear?  You know you are helping to
make her well here at school.  I know you can't help crying some.  I
shall not think you are not brave because you do, but I know you are
going to stop very soon and cuddle up and go to sleep, and wake up as
happy as a little bird."

Ruby wiped away her tears after a time, and Aunt Emma went to bed with
her, that the little girl might feel loving arms about her, and not
remember how far she was away from home and from her mother and father.



CHAPTER XIV.

SCHOOL.

At half-past six the next morning, the rising-bell sounded through the
house, and Ruby sat up in bed and rubbed her eyes, trying to remember
where she was, and what the bell was.

It did not take her very long to remember, and she jumped out of bed
quite happy again, and wondering what the first day of school would be
like.

By the time she was all dressed, and had put on one of her pretty new
school dresses, the bell rang again, and as Ruby followed Aunt Emma out
into the hall, she saw that all the other doors down the long
passage-way were opening, and the girls were coming out, some of them
fastening their collars, as if they had not had quite time enough to
dress.

They went down to the dining-room and sat in their chairs around the
sides of the room while Miss Chapman read morning prayers.  Miss
Chapman was seated in her large chair at the end of the room when the
girls entered, looking, as Ruby thought to herself, like a queen upon
her throne.  As they came in one after another, each one said, "Good
morning, Miss Chapman," and she answered them.

Some of the girls, those who had been there the year before, made a
little courtesy as they entered, but the new scholars were too shy to
even try to do this, and they only said "Good morning," and some of
them were so shy that their lips only moved, and not even the girl next
to them could hear what they were trying to say.

After prayers came breakfast, and then the girls went upstairs to make
their beds and put their rooms in order.  There were sixteen girls
altogether, and two teachers besides Miss Chapman and Miss Emma, as the
girls called her.  There was Miss Ketchum, and Mrs. Boardman, who was
really the matron, though the girls always thought of her as a teacher,
and she sometimes taught a class if any of the other teachers were ill
or away.

Mrs. Boardman went around to the rooms and told the girls how the rooms
were to be kept, and she was such a motherly, warm-hearted body that
very often if she found a homesick girl in her room she would know just
how to cheer and comfort her, and help her to dry her tears.

Poor little Maude was really very unhappy.  Her room-mate had not come
yet, so she was all alone in her room, and when Mrs. Boardman went in
she found her packing her trunk again, with her tears falling fast and
thick upon her dresses.  For once she did not care whether they were
spoiled or not.  All she thought of was to go home again as fast as she
could, and it had not entered her head that she might not be permitted
if she really made up her mind to go.

Before Mrs. Birkenbaum had gone, she had told Miss Chapman that Maude
would probably want to come home, and that they would have hard work
keeping her, as she was used to having her own way, so Mrs. Boardman
was not very much surprised when she saw what Maude was doing.

Maude did not look up when the teacher entered the room.  She was very
homesick, poor child, and then besides her desire to see her father and
mother, she was very much aggrieved because no one had paid any special
attention to her.  She had been used to having people make a great deal
of her because her clothes were so fine, and here no one had seemed to
notice nor care whether she was better dressed than the others or not.

This was a new experience to the little girl, and she did not like it.
Even Ruby had been more noticed than she had been, and she had always
looked down upon Ruby because she lived in the country, and did not
have fashionable clothes.  It was quite too hard to bear, and Maude
determined to go home.

"Wait a minute, my dear," said Mrs. Boardman, pleasantly.  "That is n't
what you ought to be doing just now.  This is the time to make beds,
and as your room-mate has not come, I will help you this morning, so
you will not have to make it all alone; but perhaps you know how to
make a bed, so that you would just as soon make it by yourself."

Maude lifted her face, her eye flashing through her tears.

"I don't know how to make a bed," she answered.  "I never made a bed.
My mamma has a servant make them at home, and she never had me do such
a thing.  I don't want to know how to make it, nor to do anything else.
I want to go home.  I am packing my trunk."

"But you can't go home, you know, my dear," said Mrs. Boardman,
pleasantly.  "I know just how you feel.  When I was a little girl about
your age I went away from home for a few weeks, and I am afraid I was
n't very brave about it."

"Did you go to school?" asked Maude.

"No, but I will tell you where I went while we are making the bed.  Now
you take that side of the sheet, that is the way, and draw it up so,
and tuck it in snugly, so your toes won't peep out in the night.  Well,
I was going to tell you how I happened to go away from home.  One day
when I came home from school, my father met me down by the gate and he
told me that my little brother had the scarlet fever and the doctor
thought that perhaps I might not have it, too, if they sent me right
away, so I was to go to board with an old lady about ten miles away who
was willing to take care of me.  He had the carriage all ready,--now
the blanket, dear; that's right,--and a bundle with the dresses in that
I should want for a few weeks, and before I knew it I was on my way.  I
could n't even say good-by to my mother, for she was with my brother."

"And were you homesick?" asked Maude.

"Yes, indeed," answered Mrs. Boardman.  "I cried and cried the first
night, and I thought I would surely walk home the very first thing in
the morning.  I did not care whether I had the scarlet fever or not, if
I might only go home; but when morning came I remembered what my father
had said, when he bade me good-by, and so I changed my mind, and
stayed."

"What had he said?" asked Maude, helping to turn the top of the sheet
over, and quite forgetting, in her interest in the story, that she had
not intended to make the bed.

"He had said when he kissed me good-by, 'Now I know that you will be
very homesick, Eliza, and will want to come home a good many times, but
I know that you are mother's brave, helpful little maid, and that I can
trust you to stay here until brother gets well so that she will not
worry about you.'  Of course I was not going to disappoint my father
when he trusted me; so though I was homesick enough and very unhappy, I
stayed there for several weeks until the doctor said it was safe for me
to go home again.  But you see I remember just how it feels to be
homesick, and feel as if one could n't stay away one single day more
from home.  It takes a brave girl to make up her mind that she will not
give up to homesickness, but will do what she knows is going to please
those whom she loves.  Yes, I know that sounds as if I meant that I was
brave, when I was a little girl, but then I really think I was, don't
you?"

"Yes," admitted Maude.  "I think I should have gone home if I had been
in your place, and had only ten miles to walk.  Did you have a nice
time staying with the old lady?"

"No, it was not very pleasant," said Mrs. Boardman.  "Now pat the
pillow, this way, Maude, before you put it in its place, so.  I did not
have any lessons nor any books to read, and I had no time to bring my
patchwork or knitting, and so the time hung very heavy on my hands.  I
helped about the work when there was anything that a little girl could
do.  I fed the hens, and looked for eggs, and wiped dishes, and sewed
carpet rags, and sometimes I went with the hired man to bring the cows
home.  There, the bed looks very nicely now, does n't it?  I think you
will be able to make it look as well as that every day, don't you?  And
then when you go home again even if the servant does make it, you will
not have to think that she knows how to do something which you do not
know how to do.  It is very nice to know how to do every useful thing,
even if it may not be necessary to practise it.  Suppose your mamma did
not know how to make a bed, and she should have a servant who could
not, how do you suppose she would show her without knowing herself?
Now shall we hang up these dresses?  It is almost time for the bell to
ring, so I think you can put these away just as nicely as you could if
I stayed and helped you, and then I can go and look after some of the
other girls.  Now I am going to say to you what my father said to me,
'You are a brave little maid,' and I know you are to be trusted to do
what is right.  I know you are going to forget all about how much you
want to go home, and you are going to do the very best you know how
to-day, so that your papa and mamma will be pleased with you;" and Mrs.
Boardman hurried away, giving Maude a motherly little squeeze as she
passed her.

Maude stood looking at her trunk for a few moments after Mrs. Boardman
had gone away, rather undecided what to do with her dresses.  Fifteen
minutes before she had quite made up her mind that she was going home
and that nobody in all the world should make her stay at
boarding-school now that she had made up her mind that she did not like
it, but Mrs. Boardman had taken it for granted that she was a good,
brave little girl who wanted to do just what was right, and somehow
Maude did not want to disappoint her.

Usually Maude's one aim in life was to do just what she chose, and to
have her own way in

[Transcriber's note: page 159 missing from book]

[Transcriber's note: page 160 missing from book]



CHAPTER XV.

BEGINNING SCHOOL.

The school-room was very cheerful and pleasant.  There were windows on
both sides of the room, and all the space between the windows was
covered with blackboards or maps.

Ruby began to feel really happy when she sat down on a bench with the
new scholars, waiting to be examined by Miss Chapman and assigned to a
class.  She loved study, and was always happy during school-hours, and
generally very good, too, for she was too busy to get into mischief,
and too anxious to have a good report to wilfully break any rules.  "I
wonder if you are as far advanced as I am," whispered Maude, as she sat
down beside Ruby.

It was on the tip of Ruby's tongue to tell her that she had been at the
head of her class for a long time at home, but she remembered in time
to check herself that it was not at all probable that whispering was
allowed here more than in any other school, and that she might break a
rule the very first thing if she should answer.

One by one Miss Chapman called the girls up to the desk where she sat,
and questioned them about their studies and the books they had used,
and Miss Ketchum, at her side, wrote down the answers in a little book.
Then the girls were assigned a seat, and Miss Ketchum took their books
to them, and showed them what the lesson would be.

Ruby was very much pleased when she found that she was to be in the
class with girls who were, most of them, larger than herself, and as
she was not at all shy, she could answer all the questions Miss Chapman
asked her, very fluently, so that the teacher had a very good idea of
what the little girl really knew.

Some of the new scholars were so shy that they could scarcely answer,
and Miss Chapman knew that it would take two or three days to find out
how far advanced they were.

Very much to Maude's surprise, she was put in a class below Ruby.  She
was not at all pleased with this, for it was a great mortification to
her pride to find that the little country girl whom she had looked down
upon was beyond her in her studies.

Maude had never attended school regularly, but had stayed at home
whenever she could beg consent from her mother, and very often she had
won it by teasing when there was really no reason at all why she should
not have been at her desk.  Even when she had attended school it had
never occurred to her that it was for her own benefit that her teachers
tried to have her learn her lessons.  She had shirked them as much as
possible, and as no teacher has time to waste over a little girl who
will not study when there are so many willing to learn, she had managed
to get along with very little study, and so, of course, had learned but
little.

She was ashamed to see what small girls were in the class with her, and
she made up her mind that she would study so hard that she would soon
be promoted into the class in which Ruby had been put.

It took until recess time to arrange all the classes, and then the bell
rang, and the scholars were free to go out upon the lawn for a
half-hour.  A basket of rosy-cheeked apples was passed about, and all
the children were very ready for one.  Some day-scholars attended this
school, and Ruby thought, rather wistfully, how nice it would be if
she, too, were going home when school should be out.

Maude did not care about being with Ruby during recess time, for she
was afraid that Ruby would remember her speech early that morning, and
remind her that she instead of Maude was the farthest advanced in her
studies.  Ruby was becoming acquainted with some of her new classmates,
and was finding this first morning of school life very pleasant.

The rest of the morning seemed longer than the first part had done, and
Ruby as well as most of the others were very glad when the noon
intermission came.  The day-scholars took out their lunch-baskets, and
prepared to eat their lunches, and the bell rang for the
boarding-scholars to go up to their rooms and get ready for dinner.

As each little girl reached the door, she stopped, turned around and
made a courtesy to Miss Chapman who was sitting opposite the door.
Ruby watched the girls as they went out one by one.  She was quite sure
that she could never make a courtesy, and as each girl passed out, her
turn to go came nearer and nearer.

What should she do?  If her Aunt Emma had only been there, Ruby might
have asked her to let her stay in the school-room, for she felt as if
she would a great deal rather go without her dinner than try to make a
courtesy when she did n't know how, with all those girls looking at
her.  What if she should tumble down in trying to make it?  It seemed
very likely that she would, the very first time she had ever tried to
do such a thing.  The very thought of such an accident made Ruby's face
grow redder than ever.  Only three more girls and then Miss Chapman's
eyes would be fixed upon her, and it would be time for her to get up
and go out.  Now only two more girls, and then the last one had gone,
and Ruby knew that she must go.

She walked over to the door, feeling as shy as Ruthy had ever felt, and
stood there a moment.  How could she ever try to courtesy with all
those girls looking at her?

She hesitated so long that all the girls looked up to see why she did
not go out.

Ruby stood in the door one moment longer, and then she turned and ran
down the passage-way as fast as she could go, feeling as if now she
must surely go home, for she had disgraced herself forever.

She had come out of the room without courtesying, or even saying
good-morning as all the other girls had done, and then her running away
had of course made all the girls laugh at her.

What would Miss Chapman do to her?  Would she give her bad marks, or
put her at the foot of her class, or keep her in after school?
Anything would be bad enough, but the worst of all to proud little Ruby
was the thought that she had failed in doing something which all the
other scholars seemed to have done so easily.

She sobbed aloud as she ran down the passage-way with her hands clasped
tightly over her face, and as she turned the corner to go into the
house, she ran straight into somebody's arms.

She uncovered her face and looked up as a familiar voice said, "Why,
Ruby, where are you going so fast?  I was just coming to look for you.
But are you crying?  Why, what is the matter?"

But Ruby was crying so hard that Aunt Emma could not understand what
she said.  She could only make out that it was something about
courtesying, so she led Ruby up to her room, and quieted her down a
little, and would not let her talk about her trouble until her hair was
brushed and her face washed.

"I might have taught you how to courtesy before school-time this
morning if I had only thought of it in time," Aunt Emma said.  "But now
you must n't cry about it any more, Ruby.  Of course it would have been
better if you had tried to do as the other girls did, but now all you
can do is to tell Miss Chapman that you are sorry and that you will not
do so any more, and you must not fret any more about it.  I will show
you now, and then you will courtesy as nicely as any one else, before
you have to do it again."

"But, Aunt Emma, what made the girls do it?" asked Ruby.  "If the first
girl had not done it none of the others would have had to, would they?
And I don't think it is one bit nice, and I don't see what they want to
do it for.  And oh, Aunt Emma, you ought to have seen how beautifully
Maude courtesied.  She did it the very best of all the girls, and I
don't see how she knew about it, for I am sure she never did it before."

"I will tell you why the girls do it," Aunt Emma answered.  "It is one
of the rules of the school that when a scholar goes out of a room where
there is a teacher, she must courtesy to the teacher as she leaves the
room.  That is intended as a mark of respect.  Yesterday school had not
begun, and so no attention was paid to it, but to-day everything is
going on as usual as nearly as possible.  It happened to be one of the
old scholars who went out of the room first to-day, and so she knew
about it.  If it had been a new scholar Miss Chapman would have spoken
to her about it.  But remember, Ruby, even in the afternoon, if you are
in the sitting-room with a teacher, to courtesy when you leave the
room.  It will not be at all hard after I show you how, and I would not
like you to forget it."

"Oh, dear," groaned Ruby.  "I never heard of anything so funny.  Must I
go and courtesy to you every time I go out of this room, Aunt Emma?
Why, it will take all my time courtesying."

Aunt Emma laughed.

"Well, I think you may be excused from that when we are alone in the
room together," she answered.  "If I am in charge of the girls
downstairs or in the school-room, then you must of course do just as
you would if any other teacher was there, but up here I will excuse
you, as I suppose it would seem like a good deal to you to remember a
courtesy every time you went in or out of the room.  Now I will show
you.  Look here;" and Aunt Emma courtesied.

Ruby was very much pleased to find that it was very easy to draw one
foot behind the other and make a courtesy, and she was quite proud of
her new accomplishment when she had practised it a few times.

"And now, Ruby dear," said Aunt Emma, looking at her watch, "there is
just time before dinner for you to go and tell Miss Chapman you are
sorry that you left the school-room in that way.  She will not scold
you, I am sure, so you need not be afraid to go and speak to her.  She
is in her own room at the end of the hall, and you had better go at
once so as to have time before the bell rings."

"And then I will make a beautiful courtesy when I come out of her room,
shall I?" asked Ruby, quite ready to go, since she would have a chance
to show how nicely she could courtesy now.

Aunt Emma smiled.

"Yes," she answered.

Tap, tap, tap, went Ruby at Miss Chapman's door, and when she heard the
teacher call, "Come in," she opened the door and walked in quite
bravely.

Miss Chapman was sitting in her large chair by the window looking over
some books.

She held out her hand to Ruby.

"Well, my dear," she said kindly.

"Please ma'am, I came to tell you that I am very sorry I ran out of
school without courtesying," said Ruby, rather shyly, looking at the
beautiful white hair while she was speaking, and wondering if when she
herself grew to be an old lady she would ever have such beautiful
fluffy hair, and if she should wear a little white cap.

"Why did you do so, Ruby?" asked Miss Chapman.

Ruby hung her head.

"I did not know how to courtesy," she answered presently.  "And I was
afraid I should fall down if I tried, it looked so hard, and I was
afraid the girls would laugh at me if I tried and tumbled over; and it
was so dreadful to have them all looking at me, and then know that I
could n't do it, that I just could n't help running.  But I know how
now.  Aunt Emma taught me, and I won't ever forget it now.  Please
excuse me for this morning."

"Yes," Miss Chapman answered.  "I can quite understand how it happened
this morning, and I am glad you will never do so again.  I hope you are
going to be a good little girl, Ruby, and progress nicely in your
studies.  You have had a good teacher and have been well taught, and
know how to apply yourself, so I shall hope that you will stand well in
your classes."

Ruby hardly knew what to say, so she blushed with pleasure, and did not
answer.

"Now you can go," said Miss Chapman, and so Ruby walked over to the
door, opened it, and turned around and stood exactly in the middle of
the doorway.  Then drawing back her foot, she made a very careful and
deep courtesy, and gravely closed the door after her and ran back to
Aunt Emma.

"Aunt Emma, there is something I have been thinking about," she said
after she had told her aunt how kindly Miss Chapman had spoken to her.
"This morning I almost got real mad at Maude, for she asked me in such
a superior sort of way if I sposed we should be in the same class.  'Do
you spose you are as far advanced as I am, Ruby?' she said, just as if
she thought I was ever so much behind her.  I was going to tell her I
guessed I was just as smart as she was, but then I remembered it was
school and I did n't, for I knew I must n't talk, but you would 't
believe with what little girls she is.  I am way ahead of her.  Well, I
did think I would just remind her of what she said, but I guess maybe I
had n't better; for she certainly could courtesy when I didn't know the
first thing about it, and so that sort of makes us even.  She did n't
see me run away, but then if she heard some one else say something
about it, she would know, and I should n't feel very nice if she should
tell me that anyway she knew something that I could n't do without
being showed how.  Don't you think I had n't better say anything about
being ahead of her?"

"I am sure you had better not," said Aunt Emma, promptly; "but it is
not because of the courtesying, Ruby, it is because it is not a kind
thing to boast, or to remind any one else of their failings.  You know
you would not like it yourself, and that ought to be reason enough for
your never doing it to any one else.  What is the Golden Rule?"

"Do unto others as you would they should do unto you," repeated Ruby,
promptly.

"Yes; and that means that you should never, never do to any one else
anything that you would not like to have done to yourself," Aunt Emma
said.

Just then the dinner-bell rang.

"I know what I will do," exclaimed Ruby, cheerfully.  "I will go to
Maude's room and go down to dinner with her, for I just spect she feels
sort of lonesome.  I saw her once at recess, and she was all by
herself, and had n't any one to play with.  I will stay with her till
she gets a little more acquainted, and that will be paying attention to
the Golden Rule; for if I was all by myself here, and had n't got you,
Aunt Emma, I am sure I would be glad if Maude would stay with me;" and
Ruby ran off to find her little friend, feeling as happy as if she had
not had such a burst of tears but half an hour ago.



CHAPTER XVI.

MAUDE'S TROUBLES.

Poor little Maude had not been enjoying this first day at school.  It
had begun with tears, and she had just been having another burst of
anger, and had thought that she could not possibly stay in such a
school another hour.  It was a new experience to the self-willed child
to have to give up her own way, and submit to regulations that she did
not like; and although she had managed the courtesy that had brought
Ruby to grief, without the least trouble, as she had been to
dancing-school, and could courtesy in the most approved French style,
yet she found a great grievance waiting for her as soon as she reached
her room.

Mrs. Boardman was waiting for her.

"Maude, I want to help you arrange your hair a little differently," she
said.  "Miss Chapman does not like the girls to wear their hair here at
school as you wear yours, flying all over your shoulders.  She does not
think it neat, nor does she like little girls to pay so much attention
to their appearance while they are at school.  Of course she wants you
to be neat, but not dressed up as if you were going to a party.  She
likes her scholars to wear their hair braided, and I will help you
braid yours now, as I suppose you cannot do it alone if you are not
used to it, and you have no room-mate yet to help you."

Maude looked at Mrs. Boardman in angry amazement.

If there was any one thing of which vain little Maude was prouder than
another, it was of the crinkled, waving hair that fell below her
shoulders.  She rarely forgot it, and was always playing with a lock of
it, or tipping her head over her shoulder, like a little peacock
admiring his fine tail.

"I don't want to wear it braided," she exclaimed.  "I like it this way.
It would look like ugly little pig-tails if it was braided, and I won't
have it that way.  Oh, I want to go home.  I don't like it here one
single bit.  I am sure my mamma would n't let me have my hair braided,
like a little charity girl."

Mrs. Boardman was very patient with the spoiled child.

[Illustration: "MRS. BOARDMAN WAS VERY PATIENT WITH THE SPOILED CHILD"
(missing from book)]

"Hush, dear; I would n't talk that way," she said.  "I hoped your mamma
had spoken to you about it before she went away, for I told her that
Miss Chapman would want you to wear your hair differently.  She told me
that she wanted you to follow all the rules of the school, whatever
they were; so I know she wishes you to wear your hair as Miss Chapman
requires the others to wear their hair.  Now, let me braid it for you,
for it is growing near dinner-time."

But Maude threw herself down the bed, and began to cry.

"And now I must tell you about another rule," said Mrs. Boardman.  "I
expect it will seem to you as if we had a great many rules here; but
you will soon get used to them, and then you will not find them
burdensome.  It is against the rules to sit upon your bed during the
day-time.  You see it will make the bed look untidy, and that is the
reason for this rule.  Now, we will straighten the bed out nicely, and
then it will be quite tidy again."

Maude did not move.

"Oh, I must go home," she sobbed.  "I can't stay here.  It is a
perfectly dreadful place.  I have to do everything I don't like to do
and I can't do the least little tiny thing that I like to do, and my
beautiful hair will look so ugly, and I just can't stand it."

Some of the other teachers might have reproved the little girl for her
fretful words, but kind-hearted Mrs. Boardman was too sorry for her.
She could imagine how hard it must seem to a child who had never been
under any control at all, to find herself obliged to obey rules,
whether she liked them or not.  She leaned over and stroked the golden
hair.

"Now, dear, I know what a good little girl you are going to be when you
think about it.  I was very proud of you this morning, and thought I
should like to have you for one of my special little friends very much.
You see I am not exactly one of the teachers, and so I can have a pet
when I want one.  I know you don't like this rule, but then you are
going to obey it because it is right and it will please your mother to
know you are being a good girl.  Something worse than having my hair
braided happened to me when I was about your age.  Jump up and let me
braid your hair, and I will tell you about it.  Come, dear.  It is ever
so much easier to do things because one wants to, you know, than
because one is made to do them, and you will have to obey the rules
whether you want to or not; so if I were in your place I should prefer
to obey them of my own free will, because I wanted to do just what was
right, and please my mother.  I don't think you could guess what I had
to have done to my hair."

Maude stood up and helped to pat the bed straight and flat again.  She
knew that, as Mrs. Boardman had said, she would have to obey the rules,
whether she wanted to or not, and she did realize that it would be much
more sensible to follow them willingly than to be in disgrace and be
forced into compliance.  And there was a better feeling than that in
her heart, too.

She felt that she was in a place where no one cared for her clothes nor
for the little airs she liked to put on, whenever she found any one to
admire her, but where she would be valued just for herself, and for her
behavior.  In that one morning she had noticed how little girls who had
not thought of themselves, but only of pleasing others, had found
friends at once, while no one had seemed to care for her society; and
she realized that if she was to have any love she must try to deserve
it.

Mrs. Boardman was the one person who seemed willing to be her friend,
and who tried to help her do right, and was patient with her
ill-temper; and selfish little Maude was grateful for the first time in
her life for kindness, and she did not want to disappoint any one who
thought that she meant to be good.

She would try to be good, at any rate, even if it was not very pleasant.

After the bed was in order again, she stood still while Mrs. Boardman
brushed her hair out and braided it for her.

"I must tell you what happened to my hair," she began cheerfully.  "I
had had typhoid fever, and my hair was all dropping out, so that the
doctor said it must be shaved off.  I did not want to have it shaved
one bit, for it was quite long and had been thick, but of course I had
to do as my mother said, and have it shaved.  Oh, I felt so badly about
it.  I cried and cried the day it was all shaved off, and when I first
looked at myself in the glass afterwards, I was almost frightened, I
looked so dreadfully.  Did you ever see any one's head after the hair
had been shaved off?"

"No, ma'am," answered Maude.

"Well, then, you cannot imagine what it looks like.  My head looked
more like a ball than anything else, and where the hair had been it was
perfectly smooth and bald, and there was only a purplish look to show
where it had grown.  I ran away and hid myself in the barn and cried
harder than ever.  But I had something nice happen to make up for all
this."

"What was it?" asked Maude.

"When my hair grew again it was curly, and curly hair was what I had
always wished for, and never expected to have; so you can imagine how
delighted I was.  There, see how nicely your hair looks now that I have
braided it.  Have you a ribbon to tie the ends?"

By the time Maude had found a ribbon and Mrs. Boardman had tied it at
the ends of the braids, it was time for her to hurry away and look
after some of the other girls; but Maude's face wore a very different
expression from the tearful, angry one that had been upon it when she
first heard that her hair must be braided.  There was a wistful look in
her eyes that made Mrs. Boardman turn back and give her a kiss.  "We
are going to be good friends, are we not, Maude?" she said.  "And you
are going to be so good that I shall be very proud to say, 'Maude is
one of my special friends.'"

"Yes, ma'am, I will try to be good," Maude answered.  "Thank you," she
added, with unusual gratitude.

She was looking quite cheerful when Ruby came in.

"I was afraid you were lonesome, Maude," she exclaimed, "and I came to
go down to dinner with you.  When is your room-mate coming, do you
suppose?"

"I don't know," Maude answered.  "Mrs. Boardman said she thought she
would come to-night, or maybe to-morrow morning."

"Are you glad you are going to have some one in the room with you?"
asked Ruby.

"I don't know," Maude answered.  "If she is nice, I will be glad, and
if she is n't nice, I spose I shall be sorry.  How did you like school
this morning?"

"Ever so much," Ruby answered, enthusiastically.  "Did n't you?"

"Not very much," Maude replied.  "I think the lessons are awfully hard."

Ruby was very much tempted to say something that would have sounded
rather boastful, but she checked herself.

It had been on the tip of her tongue to exclaim,--

"Why, if you think your lessons are hard, in a class like yours, what
do you suppose mine must be, when I am in with such big girls;" but she
only said,--

"I spose the first day everything seems harder; but when we get used to
the teachers and the lessons, they won't seem so hard."

The dinner-bell rang, and Ruby exclaimed,--

"Oh, I am so hungry.  It just seems as if I had not had anything to eat
for a year.  Let's hurry and go down before the rest, Maude."

But everybody else was hungry, too, so Ruby and Maude were by no means
the first of the stream of girls that hurried into the dining-room.



CHAPTER XVII.

LEARNING.

I suppose you can hardly fancy a school where little girls were not
allowed to wear their hair as they liked; where they had to courtesy to
teachers when they left the room; and, what was still more surprising,
had to eat whatever was given to them at the table.  I think that such
a school would seem so very old-fashioned nowadays that no little girls
could be found who would be willing to go to it, and even in those days
there were very few like it.

The dear old Quaker lady, Miss Chapman, taught the little girls to do
just as she herself had been taught to do when she were a little girl;
so you can easily imagine that her ways was not quite the ways of other
teachers.  And yet, since her scholars were as healthy, happy,
rosy-cheeked little girls as you could find anywhere, I do not know
that any one could complain that her ways were not very good ways.
They seemed very strange to new scholars sometimes, if they had
attended other schools where the rules were not so strict; but they
very soon grew used to them, and then they did not mind them at all,
and were very happy.

If Maude had not been sitting by her friend, Mrs. Boardman, perhaps she
would have made a great fuss at dinner-time about eating the piece of
sweet potato which had been served to her.

She did not like sweet potato, and she liked the idea of having to eat
it, whether she wanted it or not, still less, and the clouds began to
gather on her face.  She glanced about the table, and saw that Ruby was
having a hard time, trying to eat a dish which she did not like, and
that some of the other girls did not look very happy when they heard
the rule.

Mrs. Boardman whispered a few encouraging words to Maude, and the
little girl reflected that as long as she had really tried to be good
about some other things, she might as well try to be good about this
rule, too, and so she managed to eat the small piece of potato without
saying anything about not liking it.  After the girls had eaten the
portion which was put upon their plates the first time, they were at
liberty to decline any more for that meal; so you may be sure that
Maude did not take any more.

"Don't let me forget to tell you about a boy I heard about who had to
eat something he did n't like, and came very near having to make his
whole dinner upon it," whispered Mrs. Boardman.  "I don't think you can
imagine how it happened, and you can think about it while you are
eating your potato.  See, it is only a little piece, and it will soon
be gone.  If I were in your place, I would eat it all up first, and
then you will enjoy the rest of your dinner more when you do not have
it to think about."

Ruby did not so very much mind anything that she had to eat at dinner;
but two mornings in the week, Tuesday and Friday, there was always
egg-plant for breakfast, and for some weeks Ruby would think about it
all the day before, and talk about it the day after, until Aunt Emma
told her that she might as well eat eggplant for every meal every day,
she thought and talked so much about it.

"But I do hate it so," Ruby would say.  "I don't see the use in having
to eat what one does n't like.  I just can't bear it, Aunt Emma."

"But you will learn to like it after a while," Aunt Emma said.  "Miss
Chapman thinks that little girls ought to learn to like everything that
is put before them, and she tries to have a pleasant variety, and not
have anything that the girls will dislike.  You will see how much
easier it will be to eat your piece of egg plant in two or three weeks."

"And it just seems as if I always did get the very largest piece of
all," Ruby said in despair.  "This morning you had a little teenty
piece and mine was twice as large."

"That was so you would have twice as much practice in learning to like
it, I suppose," Aunt Emma said with a smile.

After dinner was over there was a half-hour for play and then the
school-bell rang, and the girls went back into the school-room.  Some
of them took music lessons, and they went one at a time to take a
lesson in the parlor from Miss Emma.

Ruby was to take music lessons, to her great delight.  She had been
sure that it would be very easy, and she was quite disappointed when
she found how much she would have to learn before she could play as her
aunt did.

When school was over for the afternoon, at four o'clock, Ruby breathed
a long sigh of relief.  The day had seemed a very long one to her,
though it had been very pleasant, and it seemed as if it could not be
possible that only yesterday at this time she had been on her way to
school.

"What do we do next?" asked Ruby of one of her schoolmates, as they
went into the house together.

"We all go out together for a walk," answered the little girl.  "Will
you walk with me to-day?  I will come to your room as soon as I am
ready."

"All right," Ruby answered, and she ran upstairs to her own room, to
put on her hat and jacket.

Every pleasant day the girls were taken out for a walk, and the
teachers took turns in going with them.  To-day Mrs. Boardman was going
to take them, and Maude was very glad, because she had obtained
permission to walk with her.  All the girls were very fond of Mrs.
Boardman, and they would obtain her promise to walk with them so many
days ahead that she could hardly remember all the promises she had made.

When they were all ready they started out, Ruby and Agnes Van Kirk at
the head of the little procession and Maude and Mrs. Boardman at the
end.

Ruby felt very important as she looked up at the window and waved
good-by to her aunt.  It was great fun going out to walk this way, with
a whole string of girls behind her, instead of going down the road with
a hop and a skip and a jump to Ruthy's house.  If Ruthy could only be
here, and if at night she could kiss her mother and father good-night,
Ruby was quite sure that she would think boarding-school quite the
nicest place in the world.

They had a very pleasant walk.  They went down the winding road,
bordered upon either side with wide-reaching elm-trees, and then turned
down towards the river.  After they reached the path that wound beside
the water Mrs. Boardman let the girls break their ranks, and run about
and gather some of the wild flowers and feathery grasses that grew
there in such profusion.

Ruby gathered a beautiful bunch of plumy golden-rod for her Aunt Emma,
and when she went to look for Agnes, she displayed it triumphantly.

"Just see what a beautiful bunch of goldenrod I have," she exclaimed in
delight.  "Won't Aunt Emma be pleased?  But have n't you got any
flowers, Agnes?  Why, what have you been doing?  I thought you were
looking for flowers too."

Agnes opened a paper bag, which she had loosely twisted together at the
top, and which seemed to be empty, and said,--

"No, I did not get any flowers, but just see what a beautiful
caterpillar I have.  Is n't that lovely?"

Ruby peeped into the bag, and saw a large mottled caterpillar walking
about upon a leaf, apparently wondering where he was, and doubtless
thinking that the sun had gone under a cloud, since he could not see it
anywhere.

"Is n't he a beauty?" repeated Agnes, in delighted tones, taking
another look at her prisoner herself, and then twisting the bag
together again.

Ruby hesitated.  She did not like to say that she thought it was the
very ugliest caterpillar she had ever seen, and that if Agnes really
wanted a caterpillar she would have thought that one of the fat brown
ones that she could find anywhere around the school would have been
nicer, and yet Agnes seemed to admire it so much she really felt as if
she ought to say something.

"Well," she said at last, as she found that Agnes was waiting for her,
"I think it is certainly one of the biggest caterpillars I ever saw.
What are you going to do with it?  I don't see what you like
caterpillars for."

"Oh, it is n't for myself," Agnes answered.  "It is for Miss Ketchum.
She is very fond of studying about bugs and caterpillars and everything
of that kind, and nothing makes her quite as happy as to have a nice
new caterpillar to watch."

"What does she do with them?" asked Ruby.

"She puts them in little boxes with thin muslin over the top, or
mosquito netting, so that she can look through and watch them, and she
feeds them every day with leaves or something else that they like, and
then after a while they spin themselves all up into cocoons, and go to
sleep, and then by and by a beautiful butterfly comes out.  Oh, Miss
Ketchum just loves caterpillars."

"I wish I had a caterpillar for her," said Ruby.  "Well, I will get one
for her the very next time I see one, as long as she likes them so
much.  I never heard of any one liking caterpillars before, though, did
you?"

"No, I don't know as I did," said Agnes.  "But I think I shall like
them very much too before long, for I like to watch the butterflies
come out, and I like to keep looking out for new caterpillars.  I don't
think I would like to bother taking care of them as Miss Ketchum does,
but perhaps I won't mind that after a while.  She has such a nice book
about them."

Miss Ketchum was very much pleased with the new specimen when Agnes
gave it to her, after the girls got home from their walk, and Ruby
looked with great interest at the little boxes in which captive
caterpillars were walking about, apparently feeling at home and very
happy as they nibbled at their nice fresh leaves, or sunned themselves
upon the netting.

"Isn't Miss Ketchum nice?" said Agnes, as the girls went up to their
own rooms.  "Some of the girls don't like her as well as they do the
other teachers, but I do.  She is always so kind about helping one with
lessons, and she never gets cross unless she has one of her bad
headaches, and then I should think she would be cross, for the girls
tease her.  She was so kind to me when I first came that I just love to
get her caterpillars or do anything else I can for her."

"She was so glad to get that new one, was n't she?" said Ruby.  "I will
help you get some for her, Agnes, the very next time we go out walking.
We will walk together, and then we can both watch for them."

"That will be ever so nice," said Agnes.  "You see most of the girls
make fun of Miss Ketchum because she wears those little curls on her
forehead, and is absent-minded sometimes, and likes caterpillars so
much, and it will please her ever so much if you like her, and help her
instead of laughing at her."

It had not occurred to Ruby before that she could please any of the
teachers by showing them little kindnesses and being thoughtful of
them, and she remembered remorsefully how she had laughed during recess
when one of the girls had drawn on her slate a funny caricature of Miss
Ketchum, with the two little curls that she wore on each side of her
forehead standing up like ears, and her glasses on crookedly.  She made
up her mind that she would never laugh at her teacher again, but try to
help her in every way she could by being good herself and setting
others a good example.



CHAPTER XVIII.

MISADVENTURES.

By the time Ruby had been at school a week she was quite happy, and had
been so good that Aunt Emma wrote home to her father and mother that no
one could ask for a better little girl, or one who made more progress
in her studies.

In fact, Ruby had begun to be quite proud of herself for being so good,
and quite enjoyed comparing herself with some of the other girls, who
could not learn their lessons as quickly as she did, and who did not
try so hard to be good and not give the teacher any trouble.

If Ruby's mother had been with her she would have warned the little
girl that this was the very time for her to be most watchful lest she
should do wrong, for it was generally when Ruby had the highest opinion
of herself that her pride had a fall.

If any one had told Ruby upon this particular morning that she should
laugh out loud in school, and more than that, laugh at Miss Ketchum,
she would not have believed it, and yet that is just exactly what she
did.  Still, I think you will hardly blame Ruby when I tell you how it
happened.

It was quite true that, as Agnes had said, Miss Ketchum was apt to be
absent-minded sometimes.  She was so interested in her studies that she
sometimes forgot about other things, and while she never forgot
anything connected with her scholars' lessons, yet she sometimes forgot
little matters about her dress.

She wore her hair in a rather unusual way, and when it was brushed back
and arranged she would pin a little round curl upon either side of her
face.  This morning she had somehow forgotten to pin one of these curls
on, and as soon as the girls noticed it, they were very much amused.

If Miss Chapman had noticed it when she opened the school she would
probably have reminded Miss Ketchum of it, but she did not see it, and
none of the girls told her; so the curl was still missing when Ruby
went up with the rest of the class to the desk, to recite her grammar
lesson.

She was not quite sure that she knew it, and she had been studying so
hard up to the last minute that she had not noticed how the other girls
had been laughing behind their books and desk-covers, and had not even
looked at Miss Ketchum since school began.

Ruby was at the head of the class, and so the first question came to
her,--

"What is an adverb?"

Ruby looked up at her teacher, and was just about to answer, when her
eyes rested upon the place where the curl ought to have been.  Miss
Ketchum's hair was very thin just there, and the contrast between the
round curl on one side of her head and the empty place upon the other
was so funny that before Ruby thought of what she was doing she had
laughed aloud.

Miss Ketchum had not the least idea that there was anything in her
appearance which could be amusing, and as she had often been tried by
mischievous scholars giggling or whispering, she thought that Ruby was
deliberately intending to be rude, and very naturally she was much
provoked at her.  One could hardly have expected her to think anything
else, for it was not very pleasant to have one of her scholars look
straight at her and then burst out laughing.

Poor Miss Ketchum's face grew as red as Ruby's own, and she said very
sternly,--

"I am surprised at you, Ruby.  I did not know that you could behave so
badly.  You may carry your grammar over there in the corner, and sit
there facing the school the rest of the day.  Next, what is an adverb?"

Poor Ruby was too miserable to try to explain, and she did n't like to
tell Miss Ketchum that she had left her curl off; so she took her book
and went over in the corner, feeling completely in disgrace.

After a while the door opened, and Aunt Emma looked in, to call one of
her pupils for her music lesson, and the look of grave surprise upon
her face when she saw Ruby sitting there by herself made the little
girl more miserable than ever.  She had not meant to laugh.  If she had
noticed the missing curl before she came to the class she never would
have laughed; but seeing it suddenly drove the adverb quite out of her
head, and before she had known what she was about she had laughed.

It seemed a long time to recess, and it was all that Ruby could do to
keep the tears out of her eyes.  It was the first time in her life that
she had ever been in disgrace at school, and she felt it keenly.  It
would have been bad enough if it had happened in school at home, but to
have it happen here was doubly hard.

Ruby was sure she could never be happy here again, never, after having
to stay up there all the morning in disgrace before the whole school.

At last the recess-bell rang, and the other scholars went out to play,
and Ruby and Miss Ketchum were left alone.

"I shall hear your grammar lesson in a few moments, Ruby," said Miss
Ketchum, in a stern tone, and she went to her room, leaving Ruby with
her grammar in her hand, trying to keep the tears out of her eyes long
enough to study.

She did not know nor care just now what an adverb was, and it is very
hard to study with a great lump in one's throat, and tears in one's
eyes.  If she had really meant to be mischievous it would not have been
so hard to be in disgrace, but Ruby really had not intended to do
wrong, and she would not have done anything to make Miss Ketchum feel
badly for anything in the world if she had had time to think.  Agnes
had cast a pitying glance at her as she went out, for she had
understood how it was, and she hoped that during recess time, when Ruby
and her teacher should be alone together, Ruby would tell Miss Ketchum
why she had laughed.

After Ruby's punishment none of the other girls had shown that they
noticed the missing curl, lest they should be sent up to the platform
too, for speaking about it, so Miss Ketchum did not discover her loss
until she went to her room at recess.

The first thing she saw when she entered her room was a dark curl lying
upon her bureau.  She looked at it wonderingly for a moment, and then
put her hand up to her head.  One curl was in its place, but there was
the other lying upon the bureau.  She had forgotten to put it on.
Looking at herself in the glass, Miss Ketchum smiled, although she was
very much mortified to think that she had been in school all the
morning without knowing that she had not finished dressing.  She
understood Ruby's behavior then.

Going back to the school-room she sat down at her desk and called Ruby
to her.

"Ruby, dear, you did not intend to be disorderly this morning in class,
did you?" she asked.

Ruby burst into tears, and hid her face.  In a moment Miss Ketchum's
arm was about her, and she was crying on her teacher's shoulder.

"Indeed I did n't," she answered, between her sobs.  "I never thought
of such a thing.  I was just going to tell you what an adverb was, and
when I looked up I saw--I saw--"

"That my hair was not arranged properly?" asked Miss Ketchum.

"Yes'm," said Ruby, "and then before I knew what I was going to do I
had laughed.  I am so sorry, and oh, I wish I could go home.  I never
was bad in school before, and I did not mean to be this time.  Indeed I
am so sorry I laughed, Miss Ketchum.  I could n't help it and I did n't
know I was going to, truly I did n't."

"Ruby, dear, I feel as if it was more my fault than yours," said Miss
Ketchum, gently wiping away the little girl's tears.  "Now you may go
out to play and I will hear your lesson some time after school, when
you feel like coming up to my room to say it, and you shall have your
good mark, if you know it, just as if you had recited it in class.  I
shall not consider that you have done anything wrong this morning, for
I can understand that you would not have laughed if you had had time to
think about it for a moment.  But you will try after this always to be
quiet, will you not?"

"Yes 'm," answered Ruby, earnestly, and returning Miss Ketchum's kiss,
she wiped her eyes and ran out to play, happier than she had had any
idea that she could ever be again.

She thought to herself that she would never smile again in school, even
if such a thing should happen as that Miss Ketchum should leave both of
her curls off at once.  When she went out to play she found that the
girls were disposed to make  much  of  her  for her  trouble  of  the
morning.

"It was too bad for anything, Ruby Harper, that you had to get into
trouble all on account of Miss Ketchum's curl," said one of the girls.
"I don't wonder you laughed.  If you had seen it before you might have
been able to help it, but to look up and see her hair looking that way
was enough to make any one laugh, whether they meant to or not.

"Miss Ketchum knows now that I did not mean to," Ruby answered.  "I
truly could not help it, but you see if I am ever in disgrace again."

"Never mind, all the girls knew how it was," answered her friend,
comfortingly.  "Come and play puss in the corner.  I am glad she let
you out instead of keeping you in all recess."

Ruby was quite happy again now, and when she had a moment in which to
run up and tell Aunt Emma that Miss Ketchum said that she had not
really done anything naughty, she felt much better.

But she was sorry that she had laughed, even if she did not intend to,
and she wanted to make up to Miss Ketchum for her seeming rudeness; so
she made up her mind that that very afternoon she would gather all the
caterpillars she could find anywhere, and give them to Miss Ketchum, to
show her how sorry she was, and how happy she would like to make her.

That afternoon, as soon as she had finished practising, she took an
empty cardboard box, and went down to the end of the garden.  She was
quite sure that in the vegetable garden she would find ever so many
caterpillars, and there they were,--great brown ones, crawling lazily
about in the sun, smaller green ones, that travelled about more
actively, and upon the tomato-plants Ruby found some that she was quite
sure Miss Ketchum would like, because they were so remarkably large and
ugly.

She was a very happy little girl as she filled her box, feeling almost
as delighted as if she was finding something for herself with every
caterpillar that she captured and put into her box.

After she had put as many as thirty or forty in their prison she found
it was quite hard to put one in without another coming out, and she did
not get along quite as fast.  Before the bell rang for study hour,
however, she had captured fifty-five, and fifty-five caterpillars
looked like a great many when Ruby carefully opened one side of the box
and peeped in.  Ruby wrote upon the top of the box, in her very best
hand, "For Miss Ketchum, with Ruby's love," and then she punched little
holes in the cover that her caterpillars might have some air to breathe.

She ran upstairs to Miss Ketchum's room, which was over one end of the
schoolhouse, and knocked at the door, which was partly opened.  No one
answered, and Ruby knocked again.  She pushed the door open a little
farther and looked in, and found that Miss Ketchum had gone out.  She
was to have charge of the study hour that afternoon, and she had
probably gone downstairs.  Ruby laid the box on the bureau, and ran
away as the bell rang to call the scholars together, feeling quite
delighted at the thought of Miss Ketchum's happiness when she should
find so large an addition to her "menagerie," as the girls called it.
She thought she would not tell Miss Ketchum about it, but let her have
the pleasure of a surprise when she should go up to her room.  Of all
the little girls, no one studied more diligently than Ruby that
afternoon, for she wanted to make up for the morning in every way that
she could; and the thought of the caterpillars walking about in their
prison, all ready to make Miss Ketchum happy when she should find them,
made Ruby very glad; so she felt like singing a little song as she
studied her grammar, and looked out the map questions in her geography.

The day which had begun so disastrously was going to have a very
pleasant ending after all, and Ruby no longer felt as if she must go
home.  When the girls had come into the school-room after recess Miss
Ketchum had said what Ruby had not in the least expected her to say,
that she had found out why Ruby laughed, and if she had known sooner
she would not have sent her out of the class for it, as she felt as if
it was her own fault instead of Ruby's, and that therefore, she should
give Ruby perfect marks for deportment, since she had not intended to
make any disorder during school-time.  Ruby was so grateful to Miss
Ketchum for thus clearing her before the school that she made up her
mind that she would never, never give her teacher the least bit of
trouble, but would always be good, and learn her lessons perfectly, so
that she should never have any occasion to reprove her.



CHAPTER XIX.

SURPRISES.

When Ruby went to bed that night her last thought was of the
caterpillars and of the pleasure they would give her teacher, and she
was impatient for the morning to come that she might have Miss Ketchum
tell her how much she had enjoyed them.

Miss Ketchum did not go up to her room after study hour, but after
supper she went up for something, intending to return to the
sitting-room at once, as she had charge of the girls that evening.  It
was almost dark in her room, but she did not stop to light the lamp, as
she knew where to get her work-basket in the dark.  In passing the
bureau she put out her hand and knocked something off, but stooping
down on the floor and picking it up again, she concluded that it was
merely an empty paper-box, such as Mrs. Boardman often put in her room
when she found one, to use as a home for her pets.  The cover rolled
away, but Miss Ketchum did not stop to look for it, and went down to
the sitting room again.

Of course you can guess what happened.  Whether the caterpillars were
asleep or not when the box fell, I could not tell you, but after that
they were certainly very wide-awake, for they travelled out of the box
and all over the room.  Before Miss Ketchum had come up to go to bed
they had made their way all over the room.  There were some of them on
the ceiling, some crawling over the white counter-pane on Miss
Ketchum's bed, some upon her pillow, and a very fat, large caterpillar,
that Ruby had found upon a tomato-plant, had crept up on the
looking-glass and had gone to sleep there.

[Illustration: MISS KETCHUM AND THE CATERPILLARS (missing from book)]

Miss Ketchum was very much interested in caterpillars, but of course
she did not want to have them walking all about her room in this way;
so you can imagine how surprised and perhaps a little frightened she
was when she came upstairs to bed, and struck a light, and saw the
caterpillars making themselves quite at home all about her room.  She
could not understand it at first, and then it occurred to her that
perhaps some of the girls had been playing a trick upon her, and had
put them in the room to annoy her.  Some of the scholars were unkind
enough to tease Miss Ketchum sometimes, and it would not have surprised
her if this had been the case to-night.

At last she remembered the box, and picking up the cover, she saw
written carefully upon it, "With Ruby's love," and then she knew how it
had happened.

Ruby had put them there to please her, and if the cover had stayed on
the box, the caterpillars would have been quite safe, and would have
been in their prison yet; but she remembered having knocked the box
down, and it was undoubtedly then that they strayed out and wandered
about the room.

Poor Miss Ketchum!  She sighed as she looked about the room.  She could
not go to bed and perhaps have the caterpillars creeping all over her
in the night, and yet it seemed like a hopeless task to catch them, and
she had no idea how many there were.

But Ruby had meant to be so kind that she thought more of her little
scholar's affection for her than she did of the work she had so
unintentionally given her.

One by one she patiently captured them and returned them to their box.
She was not quite sure that she had got them all when she put the last
one in, but there were so many that she felt tolerably certain that
Ruby could not possibly have found more in one day.

It was quite late before she finally got to bed, and while Ruby was
sound asleep and dreaming of Miss Ketchum's delight when she should
find the addition to her pets, Miss Ketchum was smiling to herself as
she thought of Ruby's intended kindness, and how it had turned out.
She made up her mind that Ruby should not know that the caterpillars
had escaped, but that she should think that her gift had given all the
pleasure that it was intended to, and so Ruby never knew of poor Miss
Ketchum's caterpillar hunt at bed-time.

The next day Miss Ketchum thanked her for them, and explained to her
that she would have to set some of them at liberty again, since she had
some of a good many of the varieties, and two of each were all that she
could take care of; but Ruby was delighted to hear that Miss Ketchum
had never had some of the specimens before, and that she was quite sure
that they would make beautiful butterflies.

After this Ruby and Miss Ketchum were as good friends as Agnes had
always been with her teacher, and Miss Ketchum found it a great help to
have two little girls, instead of one, upon whom she could always rely
for good behavior, and who could be trusted never to wilfully annoy her.

She had a great many treasures in her room that had been brought to her
from China by a brother who had been a missionary there, and she was
always glad to have Agnes and Ruby come and pay her a little visit, and
look at whatever they wished.  She knew they could be trusted to handle
things carefully and not be meddlesome, and many a happy hour the two
girls spent there.  Miss Ketchum's room was a very large room, as it
was the only one over the school-house, so she had plenty of space to
keep all her curiosities and her pets.

There was a little cupboard that stood in a corner, just as if it had
been built for that particular space, and in this corner closet Miss
Ketchum kept a little tin of delicious seed-cakes, and some cups and
saucers, and pretty little plates with butterflies, and mandarins, and
pagodas, and Chinese beauties upon them; and very often when the girls
came to see her she would open this cupboard and they would have a
little treat, which seemed all the more delightful because the plates
were so odd.  There was an open fireplace in the room, and when the
days were cold and there was a snapping, blazing wood-fire, they used
to ask Miss Ketchum if they might not bring their chestnuts and roast
them in the hot ashes.

Miss Ketchum knew a great many stories, too, and sometimes, on Saturday
afternoon, when the children had plenty of time, and would surely not
have to hurry away in the most interesting part of the story, she would
lean back in her big rocking-chair, and with the little girls sitting
on ottomans, one each side of her, she would tell them delightful
stories about when she was a little girl and went to school.  Ruby and
Agnes were glad that they did not live then, when there was no whole
holiday on Saturday, but they were very much interested in hearing all
that Miss Ketchum had to tell them, and in comparing the things that
she did when she went to school with what they did themselves.

Altogether Miss Ketchum was a very delightful friend to have, if, she
was a little forgetful sometimes, and did like caterpillars; but Ruby
and Agnes grew almost as fond of her pets as she was herself, as they
learned how much there was of interest about them.  They looked forward
quite eagerly to the time when, instead of the ugly worm that had woven
a chrysalis about himself and gone to sleep for the winter, there
should burst forth a beautiful butterfly.  It made them more careful
not to hurt creeping things, and if they found a brown worm crawling
about where he might be stepped upon, the girls would always pick him
up carefully upon a stick or leaf and put him in a safe place where he
might keep out of danger.



CHAPTER XX.

PERSIMMONS.

The September days passed away and the October days came and found Ruby
both happy and good.  She had not forgotten her home nor her dear
mother and father, but she was learning to love her new home very
dearly, and she had tried so hard to be good and give the teachers as
little trouble as possible that they were all very fond of her.  She
found her lessons very pleasant, and as she loved study and was
ambitious to always have perfect lessons she was very near the head in
all her classes.

Twice a week she wrote long letters home to her mother, and told her
all about her doings; and her mother was so much better that she was
able to write to Ruby two or three times a week,--such loving letters
that Ruby always wished for a little while that she could put herself
in an envelope and send herself home to her mother, instead of waiting
for Christmas.  Ruby was doing so well that both her Aunt Emma and her
father and mother wanted her to stay until the end of the term at any
rate.  Ruby hoped that when she went home she would be able to take
with her at least one of the five prizes which were to be given at
Christmas.  There was a composition prize, a deportment prize, a prize
for grammar, one for spelling, and one for improvement in music.  Ruby
had worked so hard in all her classes, and had been so careful to keep
all the rules, that she was quite sure that she should take at least
one prize home with her to show her father and mother how hard she had
tried to be good.

If Ruthy could only have been with her, Ruby would have been quite
contented; but with all her new friends she still missed the dear
little friend who had been like a sister to her all her life.

A great many things that had seemed hard to Ruby when she first came
were becoming so natural to her now that she never thought anything
about them.  The courtesying was no longer any trouble to her; on the
contrary, she really liked it, and she amused her Aunt Emma one day by
telling her that she thought that when she went home she should always
courtesy to her father and mother when she went out of the room; for if
it was respectful to courtesy to her teachers, it was certainly
respectful to courtesy to any one else of whom she thought a great
deal.  She had learned to like egg-plant just as well as she did
anything else, so her trouble over that had melted away into thin air;
and she had found Agnes Van Kirk a very good friend to have, for she
was a little girl who tried very hard to do right herself, and helped
Ruby to do right, too.

Agnes was going to be a teacher some day, she hoped, and she was very
fond of talking to Ruby about her plans.  She was going to have a large
boarding-school, and she was not quite sure whether she would have her
girls courtesy or not when they went out of a room.

"Perhaps it will be old-fashioned by that time, you know," she said to
Ruby, when the two girls had counted how many years must pass away
before Agnes should have completed her education and opened her school.
"Of course I should not teach my girls to do old-fashioned things, that
would make people laugh at them, but I want them to do everything that
is nice.  I mean to be such a teacher as Miss Chapman.  She never
scolds, but all the girls mind her, and even those who break the rules
always wish they had n't when she looks at them.  I can hardly wait, I
am in such a hurry to begin my school."

"And I will come and see you, and look at the girls the way that lady
looked at us the other day when she came to visit the school," said
Ruby.  "Do you remember how beautifully she was dressed, Agnes, and how
pretty she was?  I wonder if she meant to send her little girl here,
and that was why she came.  Won't it be fun to go and visit your school
when I don't have any of the lessons to study, nor anything.  I will be
very grand, and they will never guess that we used to be little girls
and go to school together.  I don't want to be a school-teacher,
though."

"What do you want to be?" asked Agnes.

"I think I shall write books," announced Ruby.

"Why, what ever made you think of that?" asked Agnes, in astonishment.
"You don't even like to write compositions, and how could you ever
write books?"

"Oh, compositions are different from books," returned Ruby, airily.  "I
am sure I could write poetry, I like it so much.  There is n't anything
I like better than poetry day.  I wish it was poetry day every Friday,
instead of every other one being compositions.  I don't think
compositions are at all interesting.  We have to write a composition
for next time upon one of our walks.  I think I will write about our
walk this afternoon.  I don't think there is ever very much to write
about the walks we take.  We just go out two and two, and we see the
same things every time, and that is all there is of it."

"Perhaps something may happen to-day to give you something to write
about," Agnes answered; and though she had only spoken in fun, without
any idea that her words would come true, something did happen that
afternoon, quite out of the usual course, and I am not sure but that
Ruby would have rather that it had not happened, and that she would
have had less to write about.

Miss Ketchum announced at the close of the afternoon school that the
girls would go for their walk half an hour earlier than usual, as they
were going to gather persimmons, and would want to have more time than
for their regular walk.

This gathering of persimmons was a treat looked forward to by the
girls, and they were very much pleased when they heard that they were
to go this afternoon.  They each had a little basket in which to bring
home their spoils, and Ruby was quite as excited as the rest of them,
wondering whether she would find enough to fill her basket.  It was the
first of November, and there had been several slight frosts, which,
Ruby heard the teachers say, ought to ripen the persimmons.

"That is funny," she said to herself.  "I should think it would spoil
persimmons to be frozen.  I never heard of anything being better
because it had been out in the frost.  I wonder what persimmons are
like, anyway."

Ruby had never seen any persimmons in her life, as they did not grow
near her home, and she had a vague idea that they were like apples,
only smaller, perhaps.  It did not take the girls very long to get
ready, and in a little while they were all on their way, so happy that
it was hard work to keep in procession, and not lose step with each
other.

It was a beautiful day.  The sky was so blue that not the tiniest
little white cloud was floating about upon it anywhere, and the air was
not very cold.  There was just enough frostiness to make warm wraps
very pleasant, and to make the girls find a brisk gait delightful.

The leaves had all dropped from the trees, and their bare, brown limbs
stood out sharp and clear against the sky, and Ruby wondered whether
the persimmons would not have fallen from the tree, too.  She did n't
ask any questions, however, but made up her mind to wait and see for
herself.  It was very hard for Ruby to admit that she did not know
anything; and although Agnes could have told her all about the
persimmons, she preferred to wait rather than ask her.

It was quite a long walk to the field where the persimmon-tree grew
which was considered the special property of the school.  In the woods
there were several persimmon-trees, but the boys knew where those
persimmons grew, and gathered them as soon as they ripened, and very
often before they were ready to eat; so it was of no use going there to
look for any.  This tree stood in a field that belonged to a friend of
Miss Chapman's, and he always kept it just for the girls, and was
willing to send out his man to shake the tree and knock the persimmons
down for them, if Jack Frost had not done it already.  As soon as they
reached the field, and the bars were let down, the girls could break
their ranks and rush for the persimmon-tree, which grew in the middle
of the field.  It did not look very inviting, Ruby thought, as she ran
along with the others.  All the leaves had dropped off except a few
which dangled as if the next puff of wind would send them down upon the
ground with the others; and the persimmons, which hung thickly upon the
branches, did not look at all as Ruby had fancied that they would.

There were several lying upon the ground, and Ruby wondered at the
girls for picking them up so eagerly.  They were all shrivelled, and
the least touch would break their skins.  Indeed some of them in
falling had broken, and were lying in bunches, all mashed together.
Ruby did not want any such looking persimmons as those, and she looked
carefully about for nice round ones, that were firm and hard.

"Come over here, Ruby," called Agnes.  "Here are ever so many, and such
nice ones.  I am getting lots."

Ruby glanced over and saw that those in Agnes' basket were just the
kind that she did not want.

"I see some here," she answered, and so she picked up the firm, hard
fruit as quickly as she could.

Presently she wondered what they tasted like, and she put one in her
mouth.

Did you ever have your mouth puckered up by a green persimmon?  If you
have, then you will know just how Ruby's mouth felt; and if you have
not, you must imagine it, for I am sure I cannot tell you about it.  It
was a very green persimmon that Ruby had tasted, and she had taken such
a bite of it before she could stop herself that it seemed to her as
though she would never be able to open her mouth again.  She was quite
frightened at the way her mouth felt, and her eyes filled with tears as
she went over to Agnes.

"Oh, it has done something to my mouth, and puckered it all up," she
said, trying to keep from crying.  "I never had such a dreadful feeling
in my mouth.  Do you suppose it will ever come out again?  Oh, it is
worse than a toothache, it truly is."

[Illustration: "OH, IT HAS DONE SOMETHING TO MY MOUTH!" (missing from
book)]

"You must have eaten one that was not quite ripe," said Agnes.  "Let me
see; oh, that one would pucker your mouth dreadfully, for it is n't
nearly ready to eat yet.  See, it is only these soft ones that are
ripe, and the hard ones will all pucker one's mouth."

"And I thought that these soft ones were n't good," said Ruby, in
dismay, "and I have gathered only these old puckery ones.  I could not
think what you picked up the squashed ones for."

How many times that afternoon Ruby wished she had known more about
persimmons, or that she had asked some of the other girls something
about them.

Her mouth seemed to grow more puckery every moment, and she wondered
whether it would ever be any better.  It did not feel as if it would,
and she could not be persuaded to taste a ripe persimmon, for she had
had enough of persimmons.  She emptied her basket out, and did not want
to touch another, though the girls assured her that the ripe ones were
delicious.

She was very glad when at last the girls had gathered as many as they
wanted, and they were ready to go home again.

She went upstairs to her room, and Aunt Emma did what she could to
relieve the puckered little mouth; but there was but little that could
be done except to wait patiently for time to take the puckers out of it.

Ruby was quite sure that it would take a year, and when she woke up the
following morning and found that there was nothing to remind her of the
persimmon, she was delighted as well as surprised, but it was a long
time before she wanted to hear any more about persimmons.



CHAPTER XXI.

MAUDE.

If Maude's mother could have looked into the school and watched her
little daughter for a day, I am sure she would have found it hard to
believe that she was the same child as the selfish, self-willed little
girl, who had made every one else miserable as well as herself if she
could not have her own way when she was at home.

School life was very hard for Maude in a great many ways, and she had
been more homesick than any of the other girls,--not so much because
she wanted to see her father and mother as because she wanted to go
where she could have her own way and do as she pleased.

All her life she had been accustomed to having her own way, and after
such training it was very hard for her to submit to the same rules to
which the other girls had to submit, and to obey her teachers.  It was
a new experience to her to find that her fine clothes did not win for
her any esteem, and that unless she showed herself kind and obliging to
her schoolmates, they did not care to have anything to do with her.

It was not altogether Maude's fault that she had been so selfish; it
was partly because she had never been taught to be unselfish, and she
had grown so used to putting herself and her own comfort before that of
every one else, that it seemed the most natural thing in the world to
do, and she was surprised when every one else did not do so too.
Nothing could have been better for her than to come to this quiet home
school, where she could find a friend who would take the trouble to
help her correct her faults as Mrs. Boardman did.

Maude had never really loved any one before in all her life.  She had
valued others only for what they did for her, but now she was learning
to love from a better reason than that.  She really tried to please
Mrs. Boardman by obeying the rules and trying to study her lessons, and
though it was hard for her to keep up with her class, Mrs. Boardman
encouraged her because she could see that Maude was really doing her
best.

If Maude grew discouraged, and began to think that it was of no use for
her to try to learn, that she would never be able to learn her lessons
and get up to the head of any of her classes, Mrs. Boardman would tell
her how much she had improved since she first came, and encourage her
to try again.

For the first few weeks Maude found herself frequently in disgrace.  It
seemed almost impossible for her to understand that she must obey
without arguing the point, and that she must not be quarrelsome nor
selfish in her intercourse with the other scholars.  If Maude had been
in a large school where she would not have had any one to help her, she
might not have improved so much; but in this little school, where it
was more like a family than a boarding-school, she was helped to
conquer herself just as wisely as she could have been by a wise mother.

When at last she really learned that no one cared for her father's
money nor her mother's servants, nor her own jewelry, which she was not
allowed to wear, and had to content herself with exhibiting, she began
to wish that there was something about herself which should win the
love of her schoolmates.

She had made such an unpleasant impression upon them at first that they
were not very anxious to make friends with her, but as they saw that
she was really trying to make herself pleasant, they were more willing
to invite her to join in their games and share their amusements.

She did not talk so much about her possessions, and tried to care more
about others and their happiness.  But all this was hard work.  It is
not an easy matter to be selfish and wilful and then all at once become
thoughtful of others, and of their comfort; and many and many a night
Maude sobbed herself to sleep, quite discouraged with the efforts she
had to make to do things that seemed to come as a matter of course to
the other girls.

Mrs. Boardman had grown to love the lonely little girl, when she saw
how much she needed a friend, and how grateful she was for the kindness
which was shown her; and sometimes she would ask Miss Chapman to let
Maude spend the night with her, when she found that the little girl was
very homesick and discouraged.

Perhaps because she had never known before what it was to have a friend
who really wanted to help her make the most of herself, Maude loved
Mrs. Boardman with all her heart, and she really tried and kept on
trying, so that she should not disappoint the one who took so much
interest in her.

Mrs. Boardman could see how the little girl improved from one week to
another, and though there was still much room for improvement, and it
might take months and perhaps years to undo the effect of Maude's early
training in selfishness, yet there was a great deal that was very sweet
and lovable in her character, hidden away under all the dross; and Mrs.
Boardman knew that if she kept on trying to improve, some day she would
be a very sweet girl, and one who would win love from all around her.

Every hour Maude learned something that was of use to her, for she had
much more to learn than many of her schoolmates.  In the first place
she had always thought that work was something that belonged only to
servants, and that a lady would not know how to do anything about the
house; but here Miss Chapman insisted upon each little girl's caring
for her own room, and insisted that the work should be carefully and
well done, and the general feeling among the girls was that it was
something to be proud of when their rooms won commendation from Mrs.
Boardman.

Maude no longer felt that it was a disgrace to be obliged to make her
own bed, but on the contrary, she took a great deal of pride in making
it so well that when Mrs. Boardman went around to look at the rooms
after the girls had gone into school, she could find nothing to
reprove, but on the contrary could  leave a little  card with "Good"
upon the pillow.

Once a week there was a cooking-class which the girls attended in turn,
and Maude was as proud as any of the other girls could have been upon
the day when she made a plate of nice light biscuit all by herself, for
supper; and she looked forward with a good deal of pleasure to the time
when she should show her mother how much she could do.

Miss Chapman did not believe in education making little girls useless
at home, but she tried to have them taught practical things as well as
the more ornamental ones, for she wanted them to grow up useful as well
as accomplished women.

So the scholars learned to sweep and dust, to make beds, and bread and
cake, while they studied their other lessons; and when they went home
in vacation times their mothers found them very useful little maids.

Maude had not made any special friends among the girls.  In her time
out of school hours she stayed with Mrs. Boardman as much as she could,
and her teacher was very kind about letting the little girl come to her
room whenever she wanted to, and curl up in the big rocking-chair and
watch Mrs. Boardman as she sat by the window in her low sewing-chair
and did the piles of mending which accumulated every week.

The boxes of cake and candy which Maude had been so anxious that her
mother should send her were not permitted to any of the scholars at
Miss Chapman's school.  Perhaps one reason why they were so well, and
the doctor seldom, if ever, paid any of them, a visit, was because they
ate such good, wholesome food and were not allowed to spoil their
appetites with candy.

Once a week they had candy, and then it seemed all the nicer because it
was such a treat.  A little old woman kept a candy store some little
distance down the street, and the girls were allowed to go down there
Saturday mornings and buy five cents' worth of candy.  This little old
woman was quite famous among the scholars for her molasses cocoanut
candy, and they almost always bought that kind of candy.

As Ruby said to her Aunt Emma after she had been to school a few
Saturdays,--

"It looks very nice, and is good, and then you get more of it for five
cents than any other kind of candy, so it is really the best kind to
buy, you see."

The old woman always expected Miss Chapman's young ladies every
Saturday, and had nice little bags of candy all tied up, ready for
them, so that she should not keep them waiting; and if the day was
stormy, and she knew that they would not be allowed to go out, she took
a covered basketful of candy-bags up to the school, that they might
make their purchases there.

Saturday morning was a very pleasant one at school.  There was a short
study hour, which was really a half-hour, and then the girls wrote
letters home, or visited each other in their rooms.

In the afternoon they put on their very best dresses, and had a nicer
supper than usual, and almost every Saturday evening the minister and
his wife came and took that meal with them.

He was not at all like the minister Ruby had known at home all her
life, and whenever she looked at him, she wondered how it was possible
for so young a man to be a minister.  He never asked any of the girls
whether they knew the catechism or not, and Ruby was quite disappointed
at this, though I do not think any of the other girls wanted to say it.
Ruby was so sure that she knew it perfectly, even the longest and
hardest answers, that she was always glad of a chance to show how well
she knew it.  Perhaps if the others had known it as well, they might
have been willing to say it, but as it was, they were quite satisfied
that he never asked for it; and Maude, who did not know a word of it,
and who had all she could do to learn what her teachers required of
her, would have been quite discouraged, I am afraid, if the recitation
of the catechism each week had been added to her other tasks.



CHAPTER XXII.

SUNDAY AT SCHOOL.

Sunday morning the scholars slept nearly an hour longer than usual, and
this was looked upon as a great treat, particularly in the winter
months when it was scarcely light before seven.  It seemed very early
rising to get up by lamp-light, and all the girls were quite ready to
take the extra hour of sleep upon Sunday mornings.

After breakfast, which was always nicer than upon other days, when they
had made their rooms tidy, and prepared themselves for church, all but
their coats and hats, Miss Chapman called them down to the school-room
to study a Bible lesson for half an hour.

By this time the church bell would begin to ring, and they would go up
to their rooms and get ready to start, and then the little procession
would start out just as they did when they went to walk, only, instead
of one of the girls walking at the head, Miss Chapman and Miss Ketchum
were there, and the girls followed them.

It was a very short walk, just across the street, so it was not
necessary to start until the second bell had begun to ring.  The girls
would have been very glad if it had been a little longer walk, but it
only took two or three minutes to walk down to the crossing at the
corner, and then go across to the pretty vine-covered church.

Miss Chapman had one rule that none of the girls liked at all, and yet
it was one for which they were all very glad when they had grown older,
and did not have to follow it unless they wished.

It was her rule that the girls should all listen very  attentively to
the sermon, remember the text, and the chapter from which it was taken,
and then when they came home they were required, after dinner, to spend
an hour in writing down all that they could remember of the sermon.  At
first Ruby was sure that she never could remember anything to write
down afterwards, and though she listened as hard as she could, and did
her very best to  remember, all that she could possibly keep in her
head was the text, and one sentence, the sentence with which Mr.
Morsell began his sermon; but she soon found that by listening very
closely and trying to remember, she grew able to remember much more.

Some of the older girls, who had been with Miss Chapman for two and
three years, and were accustomed to this practice, could write down a
really good epitome of the sermon, and once in a while a scholar did so
well that Miss Chapman would send her work over to the minister, and
the next time he came to tea he would compliment her for it; and that
not only pleased the scholar, but made all the others determine to do
so well that their extracts, too, should be sent over to him sometimes.

Mr. Morsell always remembered what young hearers he had, and he never
failed to put something in his sermon that even Ruby and Maude could
understand and remember, if they tried hard enough; so it was a great
deal easier for them than if he had preached only for grown-up people.

Each girl had a blank-book, and after Miss Chapman had looked her
extracts over, she required the scholars to copy these extracts into
their blank-books.

Ruby was quite pleased when she found that each Sunday she could
remember more and more, and that where five lines contained all that
she remembered of the first sermon, it soon took two pages to hold all
that she could write.

She was glad that she had to copy it in this blank-book, for then she
could take it home with her at Christmas, and show it to her father and
mother and Ruthy; and everything that she did she always wanted to show
them, or tell them about, for she never forgot the dear ones.  Maude
was learning to remember nicely, too.  She was not at all a dull little
girl.  It was only that she had not been accustomed to use her mind
when she came to the school, and it had taken her some little time to
learn to keep her thoughts upon anything, and really study.  She was
quite pleased when she found that in this exercise of memory she was
doing quite as well as any of the new scholars, and better than four or
five of them could do.

After a while, when the girls grew older, and finished learning all
that they could study with Miss Chapman, and some, perhaps, did not go
to school any more, they were very glad that they had learned to listen
so attentively; for any one of those little girls who practised
listening to the sermon and remembering all they could of it, and then
strengthened their memory by writing it down afterwards, found that
they had a great deal to be glad of in this training.  Even after they
grew up, they were so in the habit of listening attentively that they
never heard a sermon without being able to remember a great deal of it;
so their memories were not like sieves, through which a great deal
could run, but in which very little, or perhaps nothing, would remain.

But they did not realize then how good it was for them, for even
grown-up people very seldom realize that, and so the girls grumbled a
good deal sometimes, when they had to sit down on Sunday afternoon and
write out what they could remember.

There was one thing, however, which the girls soon discovered.  It did
not make it any easier to grumble about it, and the sooner one set to
work in good earnest, the more one was likely to remember of the
sermon, and the sooner the task was accomplished; and they had the rest
of the afternoon to themselves until Bible-class hour just before
tea-time.

Then Miss Chapman heard them say the catechism, and talked to them and
heard them recite the Bible lesson which they had studied that morning.
The time between writing the sermon and the Bible class was always a
pleasant time to the scholars.  They sat in one another's rooms and
talked, or if it was a pleasant day they went out and walked about the
garden.  While Miss Chapman would not allow any loud laughing nor
playing on this day, yet she was glad to have it one which the girls
would enjoy as much as possible, and would look back upon with pleasure.

There was always some special dainty for tea, and then, after tea, the
girls all gathered around the piano in the parlor, and Miss Emma played
hymns for them, and they sang until it was time to go to bed.  They all
enjoyed this.  Even the girls who could not sing very well themselves
liked to hear the others sing, and they were sorry when the old clock
in the hall struck the bed-time hour.

Every Sunday seemed such a long step towards the holidays when they
should go home and see their fathers and mothers again.  While after
the first week or two none of the girls were homesick, and all were
very happy, yet there was not one of them who had not a little square
of paper near the head of her bed, with as many marks upon it as there
were days before vacation began, and every morning the first thing they
did was to scratch one of these marks off.  So Sunday seemed a long
step ahead when they looked back over seven days that had passed.

Agnes and Ruby generally spent the leisure part of Sunday afternoon
with Miss Ketchum.  She was very fond of the little girls, and liked to
have them come and see her, so they had a very pleasant time in her
room.

They would save their bags of candy, instead of eating them on
Saturday, and Miss Ketchum would have a nice little plain cake, of
which her little visitors were very fond, and then they would take down
the dishes and have a very nice time.

While they were enjoying the good things Miss Ketchum would read to
them, or they would see which could tell her the most about the
extracts they had written from the sermon.  They had such pleasant
times with her that they were always sorry when the boll rang for Bible
class, and they had to say good-by and run away.

Altogether, Sunday was a very happy day at Miss Chapman's, not only to
Ruby and Agnes, but to all the other scholars, and they were always
ready to welcome it.



CHAPTER XXIII.

GETTING READY FOR CHRISTMAS.

All the girls had a great deal of Christmas preparation.  In the
evenings they were busy making their Christmas presents for their
friends at home, and Ruby was delighted when her Aunt Emma taught her
how to knit wristlets.  She was very proud when she had finished the
first pair for her mother.  They had pretty red edges and the rest was
knitted of chinchilla wool.

Perhaps you would laugh at Ruby if I should tell you quite how much she
admired them.  When she first began to knit she wished that she need
not practise nor study nor do anything else, she enjoyed her new
occupation so much; and she carried her wristlet around in her pocket,
wrapped up in a piece of paper, so that it should not become soiled,
and every little while she would take it out and look at it lovingly.

She could imagine her mother's surprise and pleasure when she should
give them to her, and tell her that her little girl had knitted every
stitch of them for her.  There were a great many stitches in the
wristlets, and before the first pair was finished Ruby had grown very
tired of knitting; but she was willing to persevere when she thought of
the pleasure it would be to give them to her mother as her very own
Christmas gift to her.

The pair she was making for her father did not take her nearly so long
to make, even although they were larger, for she had learned to knit so
much more quickly; and she was quite proud of the way in which the
needles flashed in her busy little fingers.

Ruby had brought her doll to school with her, and she found her great
company when she went up to her room, although she was such a busy
little maiden that she did not find much time in which to play with
her.  Sometimes she would take her over to Miss Ketchum's room and
leave her for a few days, so that when she went there for a little
visit she would find her doll waiting for her, but generally Ruby had
so many other things in which she was interested that she did not find
time to play with her child.

But she was making something for Ruthy's Christmas present in which she
needed her doll's help very much.  Aunt Emma was showing Ruby how to
crochet the dearest little baby sacque and hood, for a gift to Ruthy,
and as Ruthy's doll was just exactly the same size as Ruby's, Ruby
could try the sacque upon her own doll every now and then, and be quite
sure that she was getting it the right size.

It was a pretty little white sacque with a rose-colored border, and it
was so very pretty that Ruby made up her mind that after Christmas,
when she should not have so much to do, she would make another just
like it for her own doll.  The hood was made to match the sacque, and
Ruby could hardly wait for Christmas to come when she thought of the
happiness her gifts would give.  She was impatient to hear Ruthy
exclaim with admiration over the beautiful sacque and hood, and to see
how proud her father and mother would be when she slipped the wristlets
upon their hands, and told them that she had taken every stitch for
them with her own fingers.

But besides these home preparations, there was to be a little
entertainment given at Christmas by the scholars, to which some of the
people of the village were always invited, besides the friends of the
day-scholars, and those of the boarding-scholars who could come.  This
entertainment was given the evening before the girls left for their
Christmas holidays, so very often their parents came a day earlier to
take them home, in order to be present at this entertainment.

It was given to show the improvement of the scholars during the term,
and all the girls had some part to take in it.

To some of them this was a great trial, but Ruby delighted in showing
off, and she was perfectly happy when she found that she was to take
part three times.  It added to her pleasure to have her father write
that he would surely be there, for he was coming to bring her home, as
Aunt Emma was going somewhere else for her Christmas holidays.  So Ruby
practised and studied with all her might, as happy and as good a little
girl as you could find anywhere, enjoying school-life more every day.

Ruby was to play the bass part in a duet with one of the older girls,
and she had taken lessons such a little while that this seemed a very
great thing to her.  She was always ready to practise, so that she
should be sure to know her part perfectly, and she went about the house
humming the tune, until Aunt Emma declared laughingly that she fully
expected to hear Ruby singing it in her sleep.

Besides this, Ruby was to recite a piece alone, and to take part in a
dialogue; so you can see that she had quite a good deal to do.  She
would have been quite willing to do more, however, and she looked
forward very eagerly to the evening of the entertainment.

The dialogue was quite a long one, and Ruby studied it every morning
while she was getting dressed, pretending that her aunt and the stove
were the other two characters in the piece.  To be sure, neither of
them said anything, for Aunt Emma was busy getting dressed, and the
stove was silent, of course; but Ruby knew what they should say, for
she had studied the piece so much that she knew the other parts nearly
as well as her own; so she said for them what should be said when their
part came, and then repeated her own speeches.  There was no danger
that Ruby would not be fully prepared when the great evening came.

It did not seem possible, now that she looked backward, that she had
really been away from home so long.  Each day had been so full of
duties and pleasures, and had passed so rapidly, that they had gone
almost before Ruby knew that they had commenced, and now there were
only very few marks left to be scratched out upon the girls' calendars.

Ruby was very sorry for Agnes.  Her mother lived so far away that it
was not possible for her to go home until the long summer vacation
came, so Agnes had to spend her Christmas at school.

The teachers did all they could to make the day a happy one for her,
and her mother sent her a box of presents, but still that was not of
course anything like a home Christmas, and it generally made Agnes feel
very badly when she heard the other girls talking about the good times
they expected to have at Christmas.

"It is n't only the parties and the Christmas trees and the good
times," she said to Ruby one day.  "It is being away from mother that
is the hardest part of it all.  I always put her picture on the table
when I open the box and look at the presents she has sent me, and try
to pretend that she is giving them to me; but it is n't of much use.  I
know all the time that she is hundreds of miles away, and that she
wants to see me just as much as I want to see her."

It was just one week before Christmas that a very beautiful idea came
into Ruby's mind, and she was so pleased that she jumped up and spun
around like a top, and caught Agnes by the waist and made her spin
around, too, until both the little girls tumbled down in a heap on the
floor.

"Why, Ruby, are you crazy?" asked Agnes, laughingly.  They had been
sitting before the fire in Miss Ketchum's room, eating chestnuts and
talking about the evening of the entertainment, and both of the girls
had been quiet for a little while, Agnes thinking how much she would
like to have her mother at the school that night, and Ruby thinking of
the pleasure with which she would watch her father while she was
reciting her piece, when all at once she jumped up in this state of
excitement.

[Illustration: READING THE INVITATION TO AGNES (missing from book)]

"What is the matter?" asked Agnes again; but Ruby would n't tell her.
"It is just the most beautiful idea in all the world," she exclaimed;
"but it is something about you, Agnes, and I don't want to tell you
until I am quite sure how it is going to turn out.  No, you need n't
ask me.  I shall not tell you one single word of it.  I can keep a
secret when I want to, and I don't mean to tell you this one.  I will
only tell you that if it turns out all right you will like it as much
as I do, I think.  Oh, I am so full of it that I must go over and tell
Aunt Emma about it; but you must not ask me to tell you, for indeed I
will not."

And Ruby did not, although you may imagine that Agnes was very curious
to know what it could be over which Ruby was so excited, and which
concerned herself.

Ruby would only answer, "Wait and see."

It had occurred to her that perhaps her mother would be willing to let
her invite Agnes to come home with her for her Christmas holidays.
Ruby knew that her mother was very much better now, and she was almost
sure that she would not feel as if company would tire her too much.
Ruby and Agnes had been such friends, and Ruby had told Agnes so much
about her home and mother and Ruthy, that she was sure that next best
to going to her own home and seeing her own mother, would be going to
Ruby's home and spending Christmas with Ruby's mother.

Aunt Emma thought that it was a very nice plan, and Ruby wrote that
very afternoon to ask her mother about it.

It seemed to the impatient little girl as if the answer would never
come; and every day she watched when the mail came to see if there was
a letter for her; but in three days it came, and she was delighted to
find that a little letter was enclosed for Agnes, giving her a very
cordial invitation to come home with Ruby to spend her Christmas
holidays.

Ruby's mother was very much pleased with the idea, and glad that her
little daughter had thought of inviting her lonely schoolmate home with
her; and if anything could have made Ruby happier than she was already,
it was her mother's approval of her plan.

You may be sure that Agnes was delighted.  It seemed almost too good to
be true, at first; and when she read the kind letter from Ruby's
mother, and Miss Chapman gave her permission to accept the invitation,
she began to look forward to the holidays quite as eagerly as any of
the other girls.

Besides the pleasure with which Ruby looked forward to Christmas on her
own account, she looked forward to the pleasure she expected to give
others, and I need not tell you that that is the secret of the greatest
happiness in all the wide world.  And so the days flew on, each one
bringing the joyous home-going nearer.



CHAPTER XXIV.

FINIS.

There came a morning when the very last mark was scratched off the
calendars that hung in every room in the school, and the girls knew
that, long as it had been in coming, the last day before the holidays
had really come.

It was a delightful day, for there was so much pleasant preparation
going on.

"It is just lovely to have such a higgledy-piggledy day," Ruby
exclaimed with a rapturous sigh of delight.  There was a rehearsal in
the morning, to make sure that all the girls were ready for the
evening's entertainment; and some of the girls who were not quite
perfect in their pieces of music or their recitations, had to study and
practise a little while; but beyond that, there was nothing but the
most delightful chaos of packing trunks, laying out dresses, and
talking over plans for the next day.  Every little while some one would
ring the bell, and the girls would rush to see which happy girl was
greeting her father or mother.

Ruby's father came about noon, and she was very much surprised, for she
had not expected him until afternoon, on the same train in which she
had come.

When she heard there was a gentleman downstairs to see Miss Ruby
Harper, she rushed downstairs so fast that she nearly tumbled down, and
ran into the parlor, quite sure that she would find her father's arms
waiting to clasp her.

For a moment she did not see any one else, and she fairly cried, very
much to her surprise, she was so glad to see her dear father and feel
herself nestled in his arms.  Then some one said,--

"Don't you see me, Ruby?" and Ruby looked around to find Ruthy, all
smiles, watching to see her surprise.

"Why, Ruthy Warren!"--and Ruby fairly screamed with delight.  "I never,
never thought of your coming.  Why, it is too splendid for anything!
How did you ever come to think of it, and why did n't you tell me, and
are n't you glad you came?"

"I never thought of it at all," Ruthy answered.  "It was all your
papa's thought, and I never knew I was coming till last night when he
came over to ask mamma if I could come with him.  I could hardly sleep,
I was so glad, for it seemed so long to wait to see you, and it was
such fun to come to travel home with you."

Perhaps there was a happier little girl in the school than Ruby that
day, but I do not know how it could have been possible.

She was going home the next day to see her dear mother.  She had her
papa and her little friend Ruthy with her, to sympathize in her joy and
be proud of her success that evening, and when she should go away in
the morning she would not have to leave her new friend Agnes alone at
school, but she would belong to the happy party that were going to have
a delightful Christmas at Ruby's home.

Altogether I do not know what could have been added to her pleasure.
The day passed very quickly, and Ruby took her papa and Ruthy for a
long walk in the afternoon to show them everything pretty in the
village.  Her tongue went like a mill-wheel, for she had so much to
tell them that she could not get the words out fast enough.

At last it was supper-time, and then began the important operation of
dressing for the evening.  The girls might wear their hair any way they
liked this last evening, and Maude was delighted when she looked in the
glass and saw her hair floating about her shoulders once more.  Maude's
mother was not coming till the next day, so she was not quite as happy
as Ruby was.

The girls were all very much excited by the time the company began to
arrive.  The long school-room had seats placed in one end of it for the
audience, and at the other end were seats for the scholars, for the
teachers, and the piano upon which the girls were to play.

Ruby was fairly radiant with delight when the moment to begin came, and
she was not troubled by any of the doubts that the other girls had that
they might fail.  She was quite sure that she knew her pieces so
perfectly that she could not possibly forget anything; and company
never frightened her, it only stimulated her to do her best.

She was so glad her papa was there, for it was so delightful to look
into his pleased, proud face when she recited her piece.  She could not
look at him during the dialogue, but she was quite sure that his eyes
were following her, and the moment she had finished she looked at him
and saw how pleased his face was, and how proud he looked.

Then came the duet.  Agnes and Ruby were to play this together, and
they had practised it so much that they were both sure that they could
play it without the music.  If any one had told Ruby that in this very
piece she would make the only mistake of the evening, she would not
have believed it possible, and yet that was the thing that really
happened.

The first bar Agnes had to play alone, then she struck a chord with
Ruby and then had a little run of several notes by herself.  Ruby felt
very grand when the duet was announced and she walked to the piano with
Agnes and seated herself.  She was sorry that she was on the side away
from the audience, because then her father could not see her quite as
well, but then he was so tall that perhaps he could see past Agnes and
watch her.

They were both ready, and Aunt Emma stood by the piano with the little
black baton with which she beat time.

Ruby counted softly under her breath so she should be sure not to make
a mistake.  Agnes played her first notes, then Ruby came in promptly
with her chord, and then, oh, Ruby wished that the floor might open and
let her go through into the cellar,--she forgot that she had to wait a
bar for Agnes to play her little run, and began on her bass.

It was Agnes's quick wit that saved Ruby from mortification that she
would have found it hard ever to forget.

"Keep right on, Ruby.  Don't stop for anything," she whispered softly.

Ruby's first impulse had been to take her hands off the keys, and
perhaps run away as she liked to do when things went wrong; but Agnes'
whisper reassured her, and she kept steadily on.  Agnes left the run
out, and started in with the air, and so no one but Miss Emma, Agues,
and Ruby knew that any one had made a mistake.  Of course it would have
been prettier if the little run that Agnes had practised so faithfully
for weeks might have been played where it belonged, but it did not
really spoil the piece, and Ruby breathed a sigh of relief when the
leaf was turned over, and she found that everything was going smoothly.

"You were so good, Agnes," she whispered, when they went back to their
seats.  "I thought that I might just as well stop as not, when I had
made such a perfectly dreadful mistake.  I wonder if every one knew it."

"No, I am sure no one suspected it," Agnes returned comfortingly.  "No
one but your aunt knew, and she could see how it happened, and I am
sure she liked it a great deal better than having us stop and start all
over again."

All the rest of the evening's exercises passed off very smoothly; the
girls presented Miss Chapman with a handsome inkstand, and she
expressed her approval of their faithfulness in study during the fall
months, and then presented the prizes, and then came the part of the
entertainment that most of the girls liked the best of all,--the
refreshments.

Ruby was not at all sleepy when bed-time came, and she wished that she
could start for home at once without waiting for morning to come, but
sure as she was that she should not go to sleep all night, but that she
should lie awake and talk to Ruthy, she had hardly put her head on her
pillow before her eyes closed and she was sound asleep.

The next thing she knew was that her aunt was trying to waken her, and
telling her that they must hurry to be ready for the train, as they had
several things to do before they could start.

It did not take long to waken Ruby then, you may be sure.

And so she went home again, to find her dear mother looking almost as
well as ever, and so glad to see her dear little daughter again; and
she was just as happy as Ruby herself when she saw the pretty book that
Ruby had won as the prize for deportment.  That assured her that Ruby
had indeed faithfully kept her promise of trying to be good, and that
she had succeeded.

Such a happy home-coming as it was; and Agnes had so warm a welcome
that she felt almost as if she belonged to the family.

But we must say good-by to Ruby here, and leave her enjoying the happy
holidays which she had earned by faithful study, by trying to please
her teachers in every way, and by trying to make the very best of
herself and make others happy; and I am sure when you say good-by to
Ruby this time, you will agree with me that she is a far more lovable
little girl than she was when she tried first of all to please Ruby
herself.



THE END.





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