• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Half Title
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Dedication
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 The school
 The girls
 The telegram
 Sir John's great scheme
 Florence
 Kitty and her father
 Cherry-coloured ribbons
 The letter
 The little mummy
 Aunt Susan
 "I always admired frankness"
 The fairy box
 An invitation
 At the park
 The pupil teacher
 Temptation
 The fall
 The guests arrive
 Tit for tat
 "The hills for ever"
 The sting of the serpent
 The voice of God
 Advertising
 Back Cover
 Spine






Title: Bunch of cherries
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00086682/00001
 Material Information
Title: Bunch of cherries
Physical Description: 320, 8 p., 9 leaves of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 20 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Meade, L. T., 1854-1914
Hardy, E. Stuart ( Illustrator )
Nister, Ernest ( Publisher, Printer )
E.P. Dutton (Firm) ( Publisher )
Publisher: Ernest Nister
E.P. Dutton & Co.
Place of Publication: London
New York
Publication Date: [1898]
 Subjects
Subject: Youth -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Students -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Friendship -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Schools -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Contests -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Temptation -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Shame -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Girls -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Mothers and daughters -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Aunts -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1898   ( rbgenr )
Novels -- England -- 19th century   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1898
Genre: Publishers' catalogues   ( rbgenr )
Novels   ( rbgenr )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
United States -- New York -- New York
England -- Bavaria
 Notes
Ownership: UA Library copy with presentation bookplate from London County Council, Davenant School, dated 1906.
Statement of Responsibility: by L.T. Meade ; with illustrations by E. Stuart Hardy.
General Note: Dedication dated 1898.
General Note: Frontispiece printed in colors.
General Note: Original brown pictorial cloth.--C.f. C.R. Johnson (Dealer).
General Note: Publisher's advertisements: p. 1-8 at end.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00086682
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002234154
notis - ALH4572
oclc - 44709514

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Front Matter 1
        Front Matter 2
    Half Title
        Page 1
    Frontispiece
        Page 2
    Title Page
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Dedication
        Page 5
        Page 6
    Table of Contents
        Page 7
        Page 8
    List of Illustrations
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
    The school
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
    The girls
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
    The telegram
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 34a
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
    Sir John's great scheme
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 48a
        Page 49
        Page 50
    Florence
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
    Kitty and her father
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
    Cherry-coloured ribbons
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
    The letter
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 102a
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
    The little mummy
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 116a
        Page 117
        Page 118
    Aunt Susan
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
    "I always admired frankness"
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
    The fairy box
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
    An invitation
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
    At the park
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
    The pupil teacher
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 211
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
        Page 218
    Temptation
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 230a
        Page 231
        Page 232
        Page 233
        Page 234
        Page 235
        Page 236
    The fall
        Page 237
        Page 238
        Page 239
        Page 240
        Page 241
        Page 242
        Page 243
        Page 244
        Page 245
        Page 246
        Page 247
        Page 248
        Page 249
    The guests arrive
        Page 250
        Page 251
        Page 252
        Page 253
        Page 254
        Page 255
        Page 256
        Page 257
        Page 258
        Page 259
        Page 260
        Page 261
        Page 262
        Page 263
        Page 264
        Page 264a
        Page 265
    Tit for tat
        Page 266
        Page 267
        Page 268
        Page 269
        Page 270
        Page 271
        Page 272
        Page 273
        Page 274
        Page 275
        Page 276
        Page 277
        Page 278
        Page 279
        Page 280
        Page 281
    "The hills for ever"
        Page 282
        Page 283
        Page 284
        Page 285
        Page 286
        Page 287
        Page 288
        Page 289
        Page 290
        Page 291
        Page 292
        Page 292a
        Page 293
        Page 294
    The sting of the serpent
        Page 295
        Page 296
        Page 297
        Page 298
        Page 299
        Page 300
        Page 301
        Page 302
        Page 303
        Page 304
        Page 305
        Page 306
        Page 307
        Page 308
        Page 309
    The voice of God
        Page 310
        Page 311
        Page 312
        Page 312a
        Page 313
        Page 314
        Page 315
        Page 316
        Page 317
        Page 318
        Page 319
        Page 320
    Advertising
        Page 321
        Page 322
        Page 323
        Page 324
        Page 325
        Page 326
        Page 327
        Page 328
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
    Spine
        Spine
Full Text












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The Baldwin Library
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,-f 'UB7\(CH OF CHERRIEJ&S.














CnERRIES.


BY
L.T \EADE,



Author of "A GOORLD OF GIRLS"
POLLY,"etc.etc.



COith Illustrations by
t,. STUART HARDY.

London: New York;
Erfest Nister .P. Du1tor C C?


5Prt in .av
5s.























)eOicateb to

THE GIRLS WHOM I LOVE

EVERYWHERE.










October, 1898.

















CONTENTS.


-~--- --_ .--.


CHAPTER I.
PAGE
THE SCHOOL 13
CHAPTER II.
THE GIRLS 18
CHAPTER III.
THE TELEGRAM 24
CHAPTER IV.
SIR JOHN'S GREAT SCHEME 42

CHAPTER V.
FLORENCE 51
CHAPTER VI.
KITTY AND HER FATHER 63
CHAPTER VII.
CHERRY-COLOURED RIBBONS 73
CHAPTER VIII.
THE LETTER 93
CHAPTER IX.
THE LITTLE MUMMY 108

CHAPTER X.
AUNT SUSAN .










8 CONTENTS.

CHAPTER XI.
PAGE
"I ALWAYS ADMIRED FRANKNESS" 137
CHAPTER XII.
THE FAIRY Box 152
CHAPTER XIII.
AN INVITATION 164
CHAPTER XIV.
AT THE PARK 182
CHAPTER XV.
THE PUPIL TEACHER 201
CHAPTER XVI.
TEMPTATION 219
CHAPTER XVII.
THE FALL 237
CHAPTER XVIII.
THE GUESTS ARRIVE 250
CHAPTER XIX.
TIT FOR TAT 266
CHAPTER XX.
"THE HILLS FOR EVER" 282

CHAPTER XXI.
THE STING OF THE SERPENT 295
CHAPTER XXII.
THE VOICE OF GOD 310




















LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.




p.\r,2
"In tze Cherry Garden coloured froznispiece
" lTere were cherries for cooking" 15
" Kittly was the last to make her afjearance" 21
Dolly came iu in her brisk way 25
" /Tere was a queer, troubled, dazed sort of
look in her eyes 29
"'Poor child / yoZ love him very muzch,' said
M rs. Clavering late, facing 34
" Sir yohn WTallis entered tle room" 39
" Sir 7ohn and Mrs. Clavering drew up a
scheme" 43
" 'itty sat down to write to her father .45
"Sir fohk WallZis called --', and spoke to
her" ate, facinm- 48
" i'tty began to examine her companions' faces 53
"' itty saw her father, zttered a cry and the
next moment ewas clasped in his arms" 61










1O LISS OF ILL UST7RATIONS.
PAGE
Kity and her father reached the oak-tree" 65
"Kzity threw herself by his side" .69
One after another the girls peeped out" 75
"Each girl had her cubicle, cui trained of from
her fellows 79
Cherry Court School 83
"Kitfty gathered the ripe fruit" 87
" Mademoiselle put a little parcel in Florence's
hand" 91
"Florence Jaced restlessly up and down the
school-room" 97
" The next instant Florence had opened Kitty's
desk plate, facing 102
"'I am going to try my hardest,' said Kitty" 105
" Kitty stood at the gate to wish Florence
Aylmer good-bye" II
"'Oh, Mummy, it is good to see you,' said
Florence" late, facing 116

" The fishwife" 121
"' What did she say in that unpleasant
letter' 125
"Mfrs. Aylmer and Florence sat under the
shade of a big rock" .
"'I'll see you both at the hotel,' said iMrs.
Aylmer 135
"The waiter bowed and withdrew" 141










LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. II
PAGE
"Florence rose to her feet and spoke hastily" 145
" Florence Proceeded to open the box 157
"Florence looked nice in her sailor hat, white
gloves, and well-fitting serge 161
"Florence presented Kitty with a while work-
bag'" 171
"Florence left the room, slamming tIe door" 179
" Sir 7ohn stood on the steps to welcome his
guests" 189
Cherry Court Park 199
"Bertha calmly tore poor Florence's letter into
fragments" .209
"Florence sat down to begin her studies" .215
"Bertha .Keys looked after the post-bag" 221
"Bertha proceeded to work busily .227
"'You can win that Scholarszhiz if you like,'
said Bertha late, facing 230
The shady lane to Hzilcester 235
"Florence dropped on her knees" 241
Florence flung her arms round Bertha's neck" 247
"Florence read the letter over once or twice" 253
In the fark a golden mist lay over everything" 259
"'Let us walk down this avenue,' said Miss
Dartmoor" Iplate, facing 264
No dress could suit K'tty better" .269










12 LIS] OF ILL USIRA 1102A'S.

PAGE
Do you 1t2ink I will submit to thls said
lorence" 277
"Si"r yohn drew himself ui, and began to
read" 287
" Opposite Sir 7ohn, Florence fell on her
knees p late, facing 292
" Florence sat down on a low chair" 299

"'I want you to give ne twenty foiunds,' said
BerIt/a" 307
"'' G, Flo, we are all so -roud- of you,' said
Kitty late, facing 32
"Mlrs. Aylmner flung her arms round Flo-
rence's neck" 317




















[i Luiicl i

of Gfierriei.



CHAPTER I.

THE SCHOOL.

THE house was long and low and rambling. In
parts at least it must have been quite a hundred
years old, and even the modern portion was not
built according to the ideas of the present day, for
in 1870 people were not so aesthetic as they are
now, and the lines of beauty and grace were not
considered all essential to happiness.
So even the new part of the house had square
rooms destitute of ornament, and the papers were
small in pattern and without any artistic designs,
and the windows were square and straight, and
the ceilings were_somewhat low.


__~









14 A BUNCH OF CHERRIES.

The house opened on to a wide lawn, and at
the left of the lawn was a paddock and at the
right a shrubbery, and the shrubbery led away
under its overhanging trees into the most perfect
walled-in garden that was ever seen. The garden
was two or three hundred years old. The oldest
inhabitants of the place had never known the time
when Cherry Court garden was not the talk of
the country. Visitors came from all parts round
to see it. It was celebrated on account of its very
high walls built of red brick, its size, for it covered
at least three acres of ground, and its magnificent
cherries. The cherry-trees in the Court garden
bore the most splendid fruit which could be obtained
in any part of the county. They were in great
demand, not only for the girls who lived in the old
house and played in the garden, but for the neigh-
bours all over the country. A big price was always
paid for these cherries, for they made such splendid
jam, as well as being so full of juice and so ripe
and good to eat that their like could not be found
anywhere else.
The cherries were of all sorts and kinds, from
the celebrated White Heart to the black cherry.
There were cherries for cooking and cherries for
eating, and in the season the trees which were laden
with ripe fruit were a sight to behold.
In the height of the cherry season Mrs. Clavering









THE SCHOOL.


always gave a cherry feast. It was the event of
the entire year, and the girls looked forward to it,
making all their arrangements in connection with
it, counting the hours until it arrived, and looking
upon it as the great feature of their school year.
Everything turned on whether the cherries were









i- O f






There were cherries for cooking."
(P. 14.)

good and the weather fine. There was no greater
stimulus to hard work than the merest mention of
this golden day, which came as a rule towards the
end of June and just before the summer vacation.
For Cherry Court School was old-fashioned according
to our modern ideas, and one of its old-fashioned
plans was to give holidays at the end of June








A B UNCIH OF CHERRIES.


instead of the end of July, so that the girls had
the longest, finest days at home, and came back to
work at the end of August refreshed and strength-
ened, and prepared for a good long tug at lessons
of all sorts until Christmas.
The school consisted of twenty girls, never
more and never less, for Mrs. Clavering was too
great a favourite and had too wise and excellent
ideas with regard to education, ever to be without
pupils, and never more, for she believed twenty to
be the perfect number to whom she could give
every attention and offer every advantage.
The school, small as it was, was divided into
two sections, the Upper and the Lower. In the
Upper school were girls from eighteen to fourteen
years of age, and in the Lower some of the small
scholars numbered even as few years as six. There
was a resident French mistress in the school and
also a resident German, and there was an English
governess and of course Mrs. Clavering herself; but
the other teachers came from the neighboring town
of Hartleway to instruct the pupils in all those
accomplishments which were in the early seventies
considered necessary for a young lady's education.
I can assure those of my readers who are well
acquainted with modern schools that no one could
have been more particular than Mrs. Clavering with
regard to her girls. In such things as deportment









Yl E SCHOOL.


and nice manners and all the code which signifies
politeness, and in the almost lost art of brilliant
conversation, she could instruct as very few other
people could in her day, and then what accomplish-
ments she did teach were thorough. The girls
were taught French properly, they understood the
grammar of the language, and could also speak it
nicely; and their German was also very fair, if not quite
as thorough as their French. And their music had
some backbone in it, for a little of the science was
taught as well as the practice, and their singing
was very sweet and true. They could also recite,
those of them who had any gift for it, quite beau-
tifully, and if they had a turn fcr acting that
also was brought to the fore and made the most
of. As to their knowledge of the English language,
it bade fair to eclipse many of the High School
girls of the present day, for they did understand
in the first place its literature, and in the next
its grammar, and were well acquainted with the
works of Shakespeare and those other lions of
literature whose names we are so proud of and
whose works we love.
This story has more to do with the girls of the
Upper school than the Lower, and I shall proceed
to introduce them straight away.


















CHAPTER II.


THE GIRLS.

YT was a lovely day in the beginning of June,
and, being Wednesday, was a half-holiday. The
girls of the Upper school, numbering seven in all,
were assembled in the cherry garden. The cherry
garden stood a little apart, to the left of the great
general garden, and was entered by a low walled-
in door.
Mrs. Clavering was so proud of her cherries
and so afraid that the neighbours might be
tempted to help themselves to the luscious fruit,
that she kept the door locked between the cherry
garden and the other, and only those girls who
were very privileged were allowed to sit in it. But
the girls in the Upper school were of course privi-
leged, and they were now enjoying a fine time
seated on the grass, or on little camp-stools and
chairs, under the trees, which were already laden
with the tempting fruit.
They were all eagerly discussing the great









THE GIRLS.


event of the year, the Cherry Feast, which was to
take place in three weeks from the present day.
Their names were Mabel and Alice Cunningham,
two handsome dark-eyed girls, aged respectively
seventeen and fifteen; Florence Aylmer, who was
also fifteen and the romp of the school; Mary
Bateman, a stolid-looking girl of fourteen; Bertha
Kennedy, who had only lately been raised to the
rank of the Upper school; Edith King, a handsome
graceful girl, who competed with Mabel for the
honours of the head of her class; and Kitty Sharston,
who had only lately come and who had some Irish
blood in her, and was very daring and very
much inclined to break the rules. She was a
hobbedehoy sort of girl, having outstripped her
years, which were only thirteen, and was considered
by some of her companions very plain and by others
very fascinating.
Mrs. Clavering did not quite know what to
make of Kitty, but hoped to break her in by-and-
by, and meanwhile she was very gentle, and Kitty
loved her, although she never could be got to see
that so many restrictions and so many little petty
rules were not good, but extremely bad, for her
character.
On this particular lovely summer's afternoon
Kitty was the last to make her appearance. She
came skimming gracefully through the orchard









A BUM'CHI OF CHERRIES.


under the cherry-trees, with her hair down her back,
her skirt awry, and a great stain on the front of her
pinafore. In the seventies girls as old as Kitty
wore long white pinafores. The stain was caused by
some cherry juice, for Kitty had stopped many
times as she approached the others to take great
handfuls-of the ripe fruit and thrust them into her
mouth. Mabel called to her to sit down.
"WVe are all busy discussing the great event,"
she said, "and I have kept a seat for you near me,
Kitty; wasn't it good of me?"
"Awfully good," answered. Kitty. She flung
herself on the ground by her friend's side and
looked up at her with affectionate eyes.
"I like you all," she said, glancing round at
them, and yet all the same I hate school. The
great thing that I look forward to in the treat is
that immediately afterwards the holidays follow.
I shall go down to join my father in Cornwall. He
said he would take me to Ireland, but I doubt if he
will. Now, Tommy, what are you frowning at?"
This remark was made to Florence Aylmer.
Kitty from the first had insisted upon calling her
Tommy. She was the first girl in Cherry Court
School who had dared to adopt a nickname for any
of her companions, and Florence, who had begun
by being indignant, could not help laughing now as
the saucy creature fixed her with her bright eyes.











-7HE (;/RL/S.


4. '~ .


" Kii was t/


last to make hier appearance..
(P. 19.)









A BUNCH OF CHERRIES.


"What are you frowning at, Tommy? Aren't
you glad too that the holidays are so near?"
"No, I am not-I hate the holidays," replied
Florence Aylmer. As she spoke Mabel took one of
Kitty's hands, gave it a slight squeeze, it was a
sort of warning pressure. Kitty looked up at her
with a startled glance, then she glanced again at
Florence, who was looking down. Suddenly Florence
raised her face and returned the girls' gaze fully.
"I have no home like the rest of you," she
said; "my mother is very poor and cannot afford
to have me at home."
"Then where are you going to spend the holi-
days?" said Kitty; "do say, dear old Tommy,
where-where?"
"Here probably, or wherever Mrs. Clavering
likes to take me," replied Florence; "but there, don't
talk of it any more-I hate to think of it. We have
three weeks still to be happy in, and we'll make
the best of that."
"Do you know, Mabel," asked Mary Bateman,
now bending forward, if Mrs. Clavering has yet
decided what the programme is to be for the 25th?"
I think she will tell us to-night," replied
Mabel; "she said something about it this morning,
didn't she, Alice ?"
"Yes, I heard her talking to Mademoiselle Le
Brun. I expect we shall hear at tea-time. If so








THEP GIRLS. 23

we will meet in the oak parlour, and Mrs. Clavering
will have her annual talk. She is always very nice
on those occasions."
She is nice on every occasion-she is an old
dear," said Kitty.
"Why, Kitty, you don't know her very well yet."
"She is an old dear," repeated Kitty; "I love
her with all my heart, but I should like beyond
words to give her a right good shock. I cannot
tell you girls how I positively tremble to do it.
At prayers, for instance, or still more at meals when
we are all so painfully demure, I want to jump up
and utter a shout, or do something of that sort.
I have suppressed myself hitherto, but I really do
not know if I can go on suppressing myself much
longer. Oh, what is the matter, Edith-what are
you frowning at?"
"Nothing," replied Edith King; "I did not even
know that I was frowning. I was just thinking
how nice it was to be trained to be ladylike and
to have good manners and all that. Mrs. Clavering
is such a perfect lady herself that we shall know
all the rules of polite society when we leave the
school."
"And I hate those rules," said Kitty; "but
there, somebody is coming to meet us. Oh, it is little
Dolly Fairfax; she is sure to be bringing a message."


















CHAPTER III.


THE TELEGRAM.


D OLLY came up in her brisk way. She was
holding something concealed in her little pina-
fore. She looked very mysterious. She had a round
cherub face and two great big blue eyes, and short
hair, which she wore in a curly mop all over her
head. Dolly was the youngest girl in the school
and a great pet with everyone. When Bertha saw
her now she sprang to her feet and went forward
in her somewhat clumsy way.
"Come, little Dolly," she said; "what's the
mystery ?"
"It's not for you, Bertha," said Dolly, "and
don't you interrupt. It's for-it's for Kitty Sharston."
"For me ? cried Kitty. Oh, what a love you
are, Dolly; come and sit on my lap. Is it a box
of bon-bons or is it a letter?"
"Guess again," said Dolly, clapping her hand
to her little mouth, and looking intensely mysterious.










77YE TZEEGRAMA.


-CP

'AC,~


" Doily' caie 71 ij her briNsk


(P. 24.)


Her blue eyes rolled roguishly round until they
fixed themselves on Edith King's face, then she
looked again at Kitty as solemn as possible.








A BUNCH OF CHERRIES.


"You guess again," she said; "I'll give you
five guesses. Now then, begin right away."
"It's the book that Annie Wallace said she
would lend me-that's it, now, isn't it, Dolly? See,
I'll feel in your pinafore."
"No, it's not-wrong again," said Dolly; "that's
three guesses-two more."
Kitty made another guess-wrong again. Finally
Dolly was induced to unfold her pinafore, and in-
side lay an unopened telegram.
Now, in those days telegrams were not quite
as common as they are now. In the first place
they cost a shilling instead of sixpence, which made
a vast difference in their number. Kitty's face
turned slightly pale, she gripped the telegram,
shook little Dolly off her lap, stood up and, turning
her back to the girls, proceeded to open it. Her
slim long fingers shook a little as she did so. She
soon had the envelope torn asunder and had taken
out the pink sheet within. She unfolded it and
read the words. As she did so her face turned
very white. "Is the messenger waiting for an
answer?" she said, turning to Dolly.
"Yes," replied Dolly; "he is waiting up at the
Court."
"Then I must run away at once and answer
this," said Kitty. "Oh, I wonder if I have got
money enough."









ITHE IELEGRA A.


"I'll. lend you a shilling if you like," said
Edith King.
"Thanks awfully," replied Kitty. "I'll pay you
back when I get my pocket-money on Saturday."
There was a queer, troubled, dazed sort of look
in her eyes. Edith handed her the shilling and
she disappeared under the cherry-trees.
Dolly proceeded to skim after her.
"No, do stay, Dolly," cried Florence Aylmer;
"stay and sit on my lap and I'll tell you a story."
Dolly looked undecided for a moment, but
presently she elected to go with Kitty.
"There is something bothering her," she said;
"I wonder what it can be. I'll run and see; I'll
bring word afterwards."
She disappeared with little shouts under the
trees. Nothing could ever make Dolly sad long.
The other girls turned and looked at one another.
"What in the world can it be?" said Florence.
"Poor Kitty! how very white she turned as she
read it."
Meanwhile Kitty had reached the house; the
messenger was waiting in the hall. Mrs. Clavering
came out just as the girl appeared.
"Well, my dear Kitty," she said, "I hope it is
not very bad news?"
"I will tell you presently; I must answer it
now," said Kitty.









A B1-]7C/ OF C(/ARR' S.


"You can go into the study, dear, and write
your telegram there."
Kitty went in; she spent a little time, about
ten minutes or so, filling in the form; then she folded
it up, gave it to the boy with a shilling, and went
and stood in the hall.
"What is the matter, Kitty ?" said her governess,
coming out and looking her in the face.
"My telegram was from father. He--he is
going to India," said Kitty, "that is all. I won't
be with him in the holidays-that's all.'
She tried to keep the tremble out of her voice;
her eyes, brave, bright, and tearless, were fixed on
Mrs. Clavering's face.
"Come in here and let us talk, dear, said Mrs.
Clavering.
"I can't," said Kitty; "it is too bad."
"What is too bad, dear?"
"The pain here." She pressed her hand against
her heart.
"Poor child! you love him very much."
"Very much," answered Kitty, "and the pain
is too bad, and-and I can't talk now. I'll just go
back to the other girls in the cherry orchard."
"But, Kitty, can you bear to be with them just
now ? "
"I can't be alone," said Kitty, with a little
piteous smile. She ran out again into the summer











lE L A' ( REG I Jr.


.,i









I,


There ucwas a lqcer, troubled, dazed sort Vo look
i/z her eyes." (P. 2-.)


sunshine. Mrs. Clavering stood and watched
her.

"Poor little girl," she said to herself, "and she

does not know the worst, nor half the worst, for I


'*;. -
*f'lSn:









A BUNCI OF CHERRIES.


had a long letter from Major Sharston this morning,
and heltold me that not only was he obliged to go to
India, but that he had lost so large a sum of money
that he could not afford to keep Kitty here after
this term. She is to go to Scotland to live with
an old cousin; she must give up all chance of being
properly educated. Poor little Kitty! I wonder if
he mentioned that in the telegram, and she is so
proud too, and has so much character; it is a sad,
sad pity."
Meanwhile Kitty once more returned through
the orchard. She began to sing a gay song to
herself. She had a very sweet voice, and was
carolling wild notes now high up in the air-
"Begone, dull care; you and I shall never agree."
The girls sitting under the finest of the cherry-
trees heard her as she sang.
"There can't be much wrong with her," said
Mary Bateman, with a sigh of relief. "Hullo,
Kitty, no bad news, I hope?"
"There is bad news, but I can't talk of it now,"
said Kitty. "Come, what shall we do? We need
not stay under the trees any longer surely, need
we? Let's have a right good game-blind man's
buff, or shall we play hare and hounds?"
Oh, it's much too hot for hare and hounds,"
said Edith King.
"Well, let's do something," said Kitty; "we









THE TELEGRAM. 31

all ought to be very happy on a half-holiday,
and I don't mean to be miserable. Now then,
start something. I'll go and hide. Now, who will
begin?"
Kitty laughed merrily; she glanced from one
to the other of the girls, saw that their eyes were
shining with a queer mixture of curiosity and sym-
pathy, and felt that she would do anything in the
world rather than gratify them.
"After all," she said to herself, as she ran
wildly across the cherry orchard, "poor old Tommy
and I will have our holidays together, for at the
very best, even if father has not lost that money, I
will have to stay here during the holidays. Oh,
father! oh, father! how am I to live without you?
Oh, father dear, this is too cruel! I know, I am
certain you have lost the money, or you would not
be going to India away from your own, own
Kitty."
She crushed down a sob, reached a little
summer-house, into which she turned, pulled down
some tarpaulin to cover her, and, crouching in the
corner, lay still, her heart beating wildly.
Begone, dull care," she whispered stoutly under
her breath, and then she added, with a sob in her
voice, "whatever happens, I won't give in."
That evening was a time of great excitement
in the school, for the programme for the Cherry









A IBli'VG/' OF Cl/ERR/E'S.


Feast was to be publicly announced, and the girls
felt that there was further news in the air.
Immediately after early tea between five and
six o'clock Mrs. Clavering called Kitty into the oak
parlour.
My dear," she said, "I want to have a talk
with you."
Some of the wild light had gone out of Kitty's
eyes by this time, and the flush had left her cheeks,
leaving them somewhat pale.
"Yes, Mrs. Clavering," she said; what is it ?"
"I want you, my dear little girl, not to keep
all your troubles to yourself."
But what am I to do ? said Kitty, standing
first on one leg and then on the other.
Hold yourself upright in the first place, dear.
After all, the laws of deportment ought to be attended
to, whatever one's trouble."
Kitty gave an impatient sigh.
"There you are," she exclaimed, "that's what
makes you so very queer; that's what makes it
almost impossible for me to bear the restraint of
school. When-when your heart is almost 1.. .11:i'_,
what does it matter how you stand ?"
My dear child, you will find in the events
of life that it greatly matters to learn self-control."
I have self-control," said Kitty, with a quiver
in her lips.









1HE TELEGRAlM.


Well, dear, I hope you will prove it, for I fear,
I greatly fear, that you are about to have a bad
time."
"Oh, I am having a bad time," said Kitty;
"don't you suppose that I am not suffering. I am
suffering horribly, but I won't let anybody know-
that is, if I can help it. I am not going to damp
the pleasure of the others; you know that father
is going and I am his only child. He is coming
just once to say good-bye to me; yes, he promises
me that even in the telegram. He will come in
about a fortnight from now, just a week before the
Cherry Feast. Oh, I am miserable, I am miserable!"
All of a sudden the poor child's composure gave
way, she covered her face with her trembling hands,
and burst into a great flood of weeping.
A look of relief crossed Mrs. Clavering's face.
Now she will be better," she said to herself;
"she will understand what I have to say to her
better. Shall I say it to her now or shall I wait
until the morning? It is very hard; perhaps she had
better know all at once."
So Mrs. Clavering led the weeping girl to the
nearest sofa, and presently she stole her arm round
her waist, and coaxed her to lay her head on her
shoulder, and by-and-by she kissed the tired, flushed
little face.
Kitty, who had the most loving heart in the








A1 B7UNC0I OF CHERRIES.


world, returned her embrace, and nestled close to
her, and felt in spite of herself a little better than
she had done before.
I know it is very bad, dear," said Mrs. Clavering,
"but we can talk about it now if you like."
"I don't know that there is anything to say,"
said Kitty; "he would not have gone but for--
But,for what, my child ?"
"But for that dreadful money.. He was very
anxious when he sent me here. Oh, perhaps I
ought not to say anything about it."
"I think you may, Kitty, for I know, dear. I
had a long letter from your father this morning.
He told me then news which I considered very
sad. You know, my love, that this is an expensive
school. All the girls who come here pay well; most
of the girls who are here have rich fathers and
mothers."
Oh, I know that," interrupted Kitty, "and how
I hate rich fathers and mothers! Why should only
rich people have nice things?"
"Then you do like this school, don't you, my
love ? "
"As much as I could like any place away from
father; but what did he say this morning, Mrs.
(. 1.-r, i "? Kitty started restlessly and faced her
governess as she spoke.
"He said, dear, that he must go to India






















































"'Poor child! you love /imLz very much,' said -/-s.
Clavering." (P. a )









1711 Z'LEGRA Mi.


because he had lost a very large sum of money. He
said he would send you a telegram as soon as he
had made arrangements, as there was no good
troubling you before. He thought it best you
should know by telegram, as the sight of the tele-
gram itself would slightly prepare you for the bad
news. But, my dear little Kitty, in some ways there
is worse to follow, for your father cannot afford to
pay my fees, and you must leave Cherry Court
School at the end of this term."
Kitty sat silent. This last news, very bad in
itself, scarcely affected her at first. It seemed a
mere nothing compared to the parting from her
father.
"Yes," she said at last, in a listless voice; "I
must leave here."
I will keep you with me, darling, until the end
of the vacation." Kitty gave a perceptible shudder.
"I am going to the seaside with Florence Aylmer,
and you shall come with us. I will try and give
you as good a time, dear little Kitty, as ever I can,
but it would not be fair to the other girls to keep
you here for nothing."
"No, of course it would not be fair," said Kitty.
"And where am I to go?" she added, after a very
long pause, "when the vacation is over, when the
girls come back here again at the end of August?"
"Then, my dear child, I greatly fear you will

3*








A BUC2VCH OF CHERRIES.


have to go and stay with your father's cousin, Miss
Dartmoor, in Argyleshire."
"Helen Dartmoor!" said Kitty, suddenly spring-
ing to her feet, "father's cousin, Helen Dartmoor!
She came to stay with us for a month after mother
died, and if there is a person in the whole world
whom I loathed it was her. No, I won't go to her;
I'll write and tell father I can't-I won't; it shan't
be. Nothing would induce me to live with her.
Oh, Mrs. Clavering, you don't know what she is, and
she-why, she doesn't speak decent English, and
she knows scarcely anything. How am I to be
educated, Mrs. Clavering? I could not do it."
"There is a school not far from Miss Dartmoor's;
of course, not a school like this, but a school where
you can be taught some things, my poor child."
"I won't go to Helen Dartmoor-I won't!" said
Kitty, in a passionate voice.
"I fear there is no help for it, my love, but
when you see your father he will tell you all about
it. I wish with all my heart I could keep you here,
but I greatly fear there is no help for it."
"And is that all you have to say?" said Kitty,
rising slowly as she spoke.
"Yes, dear, all for the present."
"Then I am a very miserable girl. I'll go
away to my room for a little. I may, may I not ? "
"On this occasion you may, although you










7'1E TELEGRAM M.


know it is the rule that none of the girls go to their
dormitories during the daytime."
Kitty left the room, walking very slowly. She
had scarcely done so before a loud ring, followed
by a rat-tat on the knocker of the front door, was
heard through the house.
A moment later the door of Mrs. Clavering's
oak parlour was flung open, and Sir John TVallis
entered the room.
Sir John \Vallis was the great man in the
neighbourhood.
He was the owner of Cherry Court School,
renting the house and beautiful grounds to Mrs.
Clavering year by year. He was an unmarried
man, and took a great interest in the school. He
was a very benevolent, kindly person, and Mrs.
(I i-.. ,, and he were the closest friends.
"Ah, my dear madam," he said, bowing now in
his somewhat old-fashioned way, and then extending
his hand to the good lady, "I am so glad to see
you at home. How are you and how are the girls?"
"Oh, very well, Sir John."
"But you look a little bit worried; what is
wrong?"
"Well, the fact is, one of my girls, Kitty
Sharston--"
"That pretty, queer-looking, half-wild girl whom
I saw in church on Sunday?"









A PTlC(II OF C(If'/R'IES.


"The same; she is the daughter of Major
Sharston, a very estimable man."
Sharston, Sharston, I should think he is. Why,
he is an old brother officer of mine; we served
together in the time of the Crimea. Anything
wrong with Sharston? What's up, my dear madam,
what is up ?"
"'Well, it's just this," said Mrs. Clavering.
"Major Sharston has lost a lot of money, and
is obliged to take an appointment in India, and lihe
cannot afford to leave poor Kitty at the school longer
than till the end of term. I intend to have her as
my guest during the holidays, but afterwards she
must go to an old cousin in Scotland, and the poor
child has little chance of ever being very well
educated. She is very much shaken by the blow.'
But this is fearful," said Sir John, "fearful!
What can we do ?"
Nothing, I am afraid," said Mrs. Clavering.
"Nothing would offend Major Sharston more than
for his daughter to accept charity in any form. He
is a very proud man, and Kitty, when all is said and
done, although very wild and needing a lot of
training, has got a spirit of her own. She will be
a fine girl by-and-by."
"And a beautiful one to boot," interrupted Sir
John. Well, this is terrible; what can we do?"
Nothing," repeated Mrs. Clavering again.










T///f' V:'!LE (;IA,1/.


Sir John looked very thoughtful.
"Is it to-night," he said, "you announce your
programme for the Cherry Feast ? "
Yes," answered the good lady.
"Then I have a crow to pluck with you: you
never sent me notice to attend."




..y '^Y.: r




'I








"S'/- rol/n, J/al/is cl/I/c/ l i' M -oom.'"


I did not, for I thought you would be away,
but will you come in this evening, Sir John? we
shall all be delighted to see you."
Sir John considered for a moment.
"I will," he said, "and you know I always
offer a prize of my own, which is to be given at









A1 BLUiVCI OF C/JERk/ S'.


the Cherry Feast. Now, why should not we on this
occasion offer a prize which Kitty Sharston runs a
chance of winning, and which would save her from
leaving Cherry Court School?"
Mrs. Clavering shook her head.
Sir John bent forward and began to speak
eagerly.
Now come," he said; "I think I can manage
it. Could it not be done in this way?" He spoke
in a low tone, and Mrs. Clavering bent her head
to listen.
But, even if you did offer such a prize," she
said, which in itself would be very valuable, what
chance has Kitty of winning it ? She is not parti-
cularly forward in any of her studies, and then, the
girls who did not want it would get it."
I am persuaded that Kitty has plenty of
ability," said Sir John.
"I quite agree with you, and to work for such
a prize would be an immense stimulus; but then,
you know, the Feast comes on so soon, and there
are only three weeks in which to prepare."
"We can manage it by means of a sort of
preliminary canter," said the baronet, in a musing
tone; "I am sure we can work the thing up. Now,
let us put our heads together and get some idea
into shape before to-night. That child must be
saved; her father's feelings must be respected. She









7HE 7ELEGRAIf.


must stay here and be under your wing, and I will
go and have a chat with Sharston and see if I
cannot make life endurable to the poor little girl,
even though he is away in India."
Well, it is very nice your being a friend of
Major Sharston's. If you will stay here for about
half an hour while I am attending to something else,
I will come back and we will see what scheme we
can draw up."
"Good," said Sir John, "and don't hurry back,
for I am going to put on my considering-cap. This
thing must be managed by hook or by crook."





^-'-f^^^
<./-- _^ _.<-^ -^



















CHAPTER IV.


SIR JOHN'S GREAT SCHEME.

T was in this way that the great prize, which
caused such excitement in Cherry Court School
was started.
It was called the Scholarship prize, and was
a new and daring idea of the early seventies.
Girls were not accustomed to big prizes in those
days, and scholarships were only in vogue in the
few public schools which were then in existence.
Sir John and Mrs. Clavering between them drew
up a scheme which put every other idea into the
shade, for there was a great honour to be conferred
as well as a very big money prize, and the girls
were stimulated to try their very best. It was
arranged that the prize was to be competed for
between this day in early June and the day when
the Cherry Feast was held by the entire Upper
school, but that after that date the competitors were
only to number three. The three girls who came









,SYI JOF70N'S (;GRE SC//El/E.


out in the first list at the time of the Cherry Feast
were to compete for the great prize itself in the
following October, and Mrs. C I .:! i, had made
private arrangements with Sir John to keep Kitty
at the school in case she came out one of the first













three until October, when the prize itself as to
for the prize. First and above ll, good conct






an unselfish, brave, noble character would rank very7'-
"Si/h indeed. Se/ 1 Cond wuld c e neat a ci arnce.
(P 4'i)

three until October, when the prize itself was to
lbe won.
There were three tests which were to qualify
for the prize. First and above all, good conduct;
an unselfish, brave, noble character would rank very
high indeed. Second would come neat appearance
and admirable deportment, which would include
graceful conversation, polite manners, and all those









4 B UCiCH Of CIIERRIES.


things which are more or less neglected in modern
education; and last of all would come the grand
educational test.
Thus every idea in the school would be turned
more or less topsy-turvy, for Sir John's scheme
was so peculiar and his prize so munificent that
it was worth giving up everything else to try for.
The prize itself was to consist of a free edu-
cation at Cherry Court School for the space of
three years; accompanying it was a certificate in
parchment, which in itself was to be considered a
very high honour; and thirdly, a locket set with
a beautiful ruby to represent a cherry, which was
the badge of the school.
When the great day arrived it was decided that
the happy winner of this great prize would receive
the fees for a year's schooling in a purse presented
to her by Sir John himself, also the scroll of merit
and the beautiful ruby locket.
The news of Sir John's bounty and the marvellous
prize which was to be offered to the fortunate girls
was the talk of the entire school. Even Kitty, who
little guessed how deeply she was concerned in the
matter, could scarcely think of anything else. It
diverted her mind from her coming sorrow. On
the day that the prize was formally announced she
sat down to write to her father to inform him on
the subject.









SIR JOHNi' S GREAT SCHEME.


"It is too wonderful," she wrote; "I was the
most miserable girl in all the world when I got
your telegram. I scarcely knew what I was doing,
and then Mrs. Clavering took me into her oak









;-1t
,.'- "


-* -- -_5-s







itty sat down to write to her fa/'her."
(P. 44)

parlour and told me still further bad news. That I-
oh, father dear, oh, father-that I was to go and live
with Helen Dartmoor. How could you think of it,
father? But there, she said it had to be, and I felt
nearly wild. You don't know what I was suffering,








4 BU (IYGI O, C'IXLPLfIEIS.


although I tried so very hard to be brave. I am
suffering still, but not quite so badly, for what do
you think happened in the evening?
"You know, or perhaps you don't know, that
at the end of summer there is always such a glorious
day-it is called Cherry Feast Day, and is given
in honour of the school, which is called Cherry
Court School. The whole day is given up to festi-
vities of every sort and description, and all the
neighbourhood are invited to a great big Cherry
Feast in the evening.
"The feast is held in the walled-in garden
which is lit with coloured lanterns. In the very
centre of the garden is a grass sward, the greenest
grass you ever saw, father, and oh, so smooth-as
smooth as velvet, and on this grass lit with the
fairy lamps the girls dance all kinds of stately,
wonderful, old-fashioned dances, and the neighbours
sit round and watch, and then at the end we all
go into the house into the great oak hall in the
middle, and Mrs. Clavering gives the prizes to the
lucky girls.
"Of course, feasts of cherries are the order of
the hour, and we wear cherry ornaments if possible.
You cannot imagine how full of cherries we are in
the school, even to cherry-coloured ribbons, you
know.
"\Well, yesterday, when your dreadful telegram









SIR 71/AV' S (REAT SCIIHEE.


came, was the day when we were to draw up a
programme for the Cherry Feast, and when all we
girls came into the oak parlour in the evening-I
mean all the girls of the Upper school, for the
little ones, although they enjoy the feast splendidly
at the time, are never ,'I I to know much of
the preparations-well, when we were all in the
oak parlour who should come in but Mrs. Clavering
and such a tall, stately, splendid-looking man-his
name is Sir John \Wallis, and it seems, father dear,
that he knows all about you, for he called me up
afterwards and spoke to me, and he put his arm
round my waist, and when he said good-bye he
even kissed me, and he said that you and he were
some of the heroes before Sebastopol. Oh, father,
he did speak so splendidly of you, and he looked
so splendid himself, I quite loved him, I did really.
But there, how I am digressing!
"Mrs. ( I -, .1,1, gave out the programme for
the day-the usual sort, you know, the dancing
on the lawn in the evening, and the crowds of
spectators, and the assembling in the big hall for
the prizes to be given out to all the lucky girls
who had won them.
"Of course, I won't get any this year. I have
not been at school long enough, although I am
trying and working very hard. Well, Mrs. ( .. .I
read out the usual programme and we all stood








A BUNCH OF CHERRIES.


by and listened, and I could not help glancing at
Sir John, although I had not spoken to him then,
and did not know, not a bit of it, that he knew
you, darling, precious .father.
"But all of a sudden Sir John himself came
forward and he took Mrs. Clavering's place on the
little rostrum, as they call it, and he spoke in such
a loud, penetrating, and yet beautiful voice, and he
said that he, with Mrs. Clavering's permission,
had a scheme to propose.
"He began by saying how he loved the school,
how he had always loved it, how his own mother
had been educated at Cherry Court School, and
how he thought there was no school like it in the
world, and then he said that he was anxious, now
that he had returned home to live and was growing
an old man himself, to do something for the school,
and he proposed there and then to offer it a
Scholarship.
"Do you-know what a scholarship is, father?
I thought only men won scholarships. Well, any-
how, he did offer a Scholarship, such a magnificent
one. It was to be held by the girl who was best
in conduct, best in deportment, and best in her
educational work, in the following October, and she
was to hold it for three years, and what do you
think the Scholarship was ?
"Oh, was there anything so splendid! A





































-QI


" Sir yoh/n ValZis called Kity, and spoke to her."
(P. 47.)


ri
1 ,

~;'.L









SIR 70 OIV'S GREAI SCHEME.


lovely, lovely gold locket with a ruby cherry on the
right side and a wonderful inscription on the left
side, and a parchment scroll, father, in which the
full particulars of the great Scholarship were
written down, and besides that, a purse of money.
Oh, father, a girl would not mind taking money
in that way, would she-and what was the money
for?-it was to pay all her fees for a year.
"Every expense connected with the school was
to be met by this wonderful purse of money; she was
to be educated and called the Cherry Court Scho-
larship girl, and it was to be a wonderfully proud
distinction, I can tell you, and at the end of the
year Sir John Wallis was to give another purse of
money, and at the end of that year another purse of
money, so that the lucky girl who won the Scholar-
ship was to be educated free of expense for three
whole years.
"Oh, father, father! I mean to try or it-I
mean to try with all my might and main. I don't
suppose I'll succeed, but I shall have such a fit of
trying, you never knew anything like it in your
life. But you do know, perhaps, that what Kitty
tries for with all her might and soul she generally
wins.
Oh, dear father, this has made me quite
happy, and has taken off the worst of my great
pain. I feel now that there is hope, for at the end










A BUNCH OF CHERRIES.


of three years I shall be a well-educated girl-that
is, if I win the Scholarship, and then perhaps you
will allow me to come out to you to India. I am
not without hope now, but I should be utterly and
completely devoid of it if I had to go and live
with Helen Dartmoor.
Your loving and excited daughter,
"KITTY SI-IARSTON."









S--*, J -- -- I
'tI



















CHAPTER V.


FLORENCE.


ST began to be whispered in the school-at first, it
is true, in very low tones and scarcely any words,
but just a nod and a single glance-that Mrs.
(i, _.-; was very anxious that Kitty should win
the Scholarship.
There was really no reason for this rumour to
get afloat, but beyond doubt the rumour was afloat,
was in the air, and was talked of by the girls-at
first, as I have said, scarcely at all, but by-and-by
more and more plainly as the hours flew on towards
the Cherry Feast.
Kitty herself knew nothing of these whispers.
She was very busy, planning and re-constructing
all her previous ideas with regard to education.
Her first object was to come out one of the happy
three who were to compete for the Scholarship in
the coming October. If she succeeded in this she
felt sure that all would be well. She began now
4*










52 A BUNCH OF CHERRIES.

eagerly to examine her companions' faces. Some-
times they turned away from her bright, almost too
bright eyes, but then again they would look at her
with a certain compassion.
It would be very nice, they all thought, to win
the Scholarship-there was no girl at Cherry Court
School who would not feel proud to get so great
a prize-but they also knew that what would be
merely nice for them was life or death for poor
Kitty Sharston, and yet nothing had been told
them; the) only surmised that there was a wish
in Mrs. Clavering's breast that Kitty should be
the lucky girl.
On a certain afternoon about a week before the
Cherry Feast, Mabel and Alice Cunningham, with
Florence Aylmer and Edith King, were once more
assembled under one of the cherry-trees in the
cherry orchard.
"I am sure of it," said Alice. Of course, it
is nothing that I have heard, but it is a sort of
look in Mrs. Clavering's face, and she is so eager
to give Kitty all sorts of help. She has her by
herself now every evening to coach her for an
hour."
"Well, for my part, I don't call it a bit fair,"
said Florence Aylmer.
Florry Oh, surely you are not jealous, and
of poor little Kitty?"








L ORENA CE. 53

"I am not exactly jealous-oh, no, I am not
jealous," said Florence, "but it rather takes the
heart out of one. If after all one's trouble and
toil and exertion one gets the thing and then Mrs.



























big fight-do you, Mabel? do vou, Edith ?7"
I don't know," said Edith; I only feel
L .,

4,






t,. '







Clavering is discontented, and Kitty Sharston's
heart is broken, I don't see the use of having a
big fight--do you, Mabel? do you, Edith?" *
"Oh, I don't know," said Edith; "I only feel








A BUNCH OF CHERRIES.


puzzled; perhaps it is a mere suspicion and there
is no truth in it."
"I cannot imagine, if it is really Sir John's
wish that Kitty should be the successful competitor,
why he does not give her the money straight away
and end the thing," said Florence again.
"But, you see, he could not do that," said
Mabel, for Kitty is very proud and--"
"Well, I don't like it," said Florence, "and I
tell you what it is-now that the whisper has got
into the air, I mean to know. I shall go straight
to Mrs. Clavering and ask her. If it is true I for
one will not enter the lists at all."
"But would you dare to ask her?" exclaimed
Mabel, in a voice almost of awe. "You know, Mrs.
Clavering, although she is the kindest woman in
the world, never allows any liberties to be taken
with her. I don't think you can dare to ask her,
Florry-I really don't."
"Oh, I shall, all the same," replied Florence.
"If this thing is fair and above board, and equal
chances are given to us all, why, I shall go in for
it and be delighted to have a chance, but if it is
not, Kitty shall have it without much exertion, as
far as I am concerned."
She got up restlessly as she spoke, and moved
towards the house.
The day was a very hot one, and all the doors








FL ORENCE.


and windows stood wide open. Sir John Wallis
was standing inside the porch talking to Mrs. Cla-
vering. Florence came slowly forward. Sir John
held out his hand to her.
"Well, Miss Aylmer," he said, in his pleasant
voice, "and how do the studies get on, and are
you all agog to be one of the lucky three?"
"I am not at all sure about that,' said Florence;
"I was coming to you, Mrs. Clavering, to speak
about it."
Why, what can be wrong? said the baronet;
"I thought that you were one of the most promis-
ing pupils and had a very good chance."
"But what," said Florence, her face suddenly
blazing into colour, and her eyas fixing themselves
first on Sir John's face, and then on that of Mrs.
Clavering, "what if you don't want me to win
the prize ? "
"Don't want you-what nonsense!" said Mrs.
Clavering, but she coloured faintly as she spoke.
Sir John gave Florence a very keen glance.
"I may as well speak out now that I am about
it," continued the girl. "There is a rumour in the
school--I cannot tell you who started it, but there
is a rumour-that you, Sir John, want Kitty to get
the prize."
"It is perfectly true that I should like her to
get it," said Sir John instantly, "but the prize shall









A B LnC~\H OF CHERRIES.


be bestowed upon the girl who comes out best in
deportment, best in conduct, and best in 1. I '.
whether she is Kitty Sharston or another. Now,
that is all, Florence Aylmer. I have spoken. Don't,
I beg of you, say a word of what you have just
said to me to Kitty herself. You have all equal
chances. If Kitty fails she fails. I shall be disap-
pointed, but I shall honour the girl who wins the
great prize all the same."
"Thank you,' replied Florence. She entered
the hall; a moment later Mrs. Clavering followed
her.
SMy dear," she said, what is wrong with you?
I would not know you with that expression on
your face."
"Things seem very hard," said Florence. "At
first, when the prize was mentioned, it seemed quite
too delicious, for you know, dear Mrs. Clavering,
that I am poor too, and if I were to win the prize
it would be only too delightful; but if you do not
wish me to take it"-tears filled her eyes; one of
them rolled down her cheeks.
"I do heartily wish you to have it if you really
win it, Florence. The competition is an open one,
rest assured of that; and now, my dear, cease to
think unkind thoughts of Kitty, and above all
things, don't breathe a word of what you have just
said to ne to her."









FL ORENCE.


"That I promise," said Florence, but she went
upstairs feeling discontented and depressed.
She sat down to write a letter to her mother.

"Dear mother," she wrote, "we are trying for
an extraordinary prize here, quite a valuable Scholar-
ship such as are given to men at the Universities,
and I am going to have a big try for it, but I
should like to talk things over with you. I wonder
if Aunt Susan would rise to the occasion, and let
me have a third-class return ticket to Dawlish,
and if you, Mummy, could secure a tiny room for
me next yourself. I want to spend a week with
you during the coming holidays. I have a good
deal to say and am rather anxious and miserable.
Try and arrange it with Aunt Susan. It won't
cost very much really, and I promise to return at
the end of a week.
"Your loving daughter,
"FLORENCE.

"P.S.-I shall eat very little and be satisfied
with the plainest food. You might mention that to
Aunt Susan when you are writing.
"P.S. 2.-There is a new girl at the school;
she came just at the beginning of term, but I never
mentioned her name to you before. She is called
Kitty Sharston, and I think she has a very great
chance of winning the Scholarship. She is rather









A BUNCH OF CHERRIES.


an awkward kind of girl, but will be handsome
by-and-by. She is a great friend of Sir John
Wallis, the man who is the patron of the school
and who is giving the Scholarship. I mean to
have a good try for the Scholarship, Mummy
dear. Be sure you say so to Aunt Susan when you
ask her for my third-class fare to Dawlish. Good-
bye again, Mummy.
FLORENCE."

Having written this letter Florence uttered a
sigh of relief, put it into its envelope, addressed
it, stamped it, and ran downstairs to put it in
the school letter-box. Just as she was in the act
of doing so a chaise drew up at the front door, a
tall soldierly man got out, he came into the porch
and, just as he was about to ring the bell, his eyes
met those of Florence.
"This is Cherry Court School, is it not?" he
said, taking off his hat to the girl.
"Yes," replied Florence; "can I do anything
for you, sir ? "
"My name is Major i-S 1 .... I have come to
see my daughter; can you tell me where I shall
find her?"
"Are you indeed Kitty's father ?" said Florence,
her heart now shining out of her eyes. She had
beautiful eyes, dark grey with very long black








FL ORENCE.


lashes. Her face, which was somewhat pale, was
quite quivering with emotion.
"Yes, I am Kitty's father," was the reply.
"Shall I go into the house and will you be kind
enough to tell her that I am here, or perhaps,"
added the Major, looking as wistful as Florence
herself, "you might take me to her straight away ?"
"I will take you to her straight away, that's
just it," said Florence. She turned back to drop
her letter into the school letter-box, and then con-
ducted the Major across the lawn and into the
outer garden. In this garden every old-fashioned
flower imaginable bloomed and thrived, and reared
its graceful head. The Major walked down through
great lines of tall I ,.11 l -..-!:. and peonies of every
colour and description. Then he passed under a
sweet-briar hedge and then along a further hedge
of Scotch roses, red and white; and the scent from
mignonette and sweet peas and the sweet-briar and
the roses came up to his nostrils. Never to the
longest day of his life did the MIajor forget the
sweet scent of the old-fashioned garden and the
pain at his heart all the time, for he was going to
see Kitty, to bid her good-bye for years-perhaps,
who could tell? for ever.
Florence seemed to guess some of his feelings,
though she did not know the actual story, for Kitty
was very reserved and kept her troubles to herself.









A PtU7XCH6 OF CHFPRRIES.


The Major made no remark about the garden, which
in itself was somewhat curious, for strangers were
always in raptures over this old-world garden, with
its yew-trees cut in quaint shapes, and its high
walls, and its flowers which seemed, every one of
them, to belong to the past.
At last the Major and Florence reached the
postern gate which opened into the cherry orchard,
and then Florence stood still and raised her voice
and called, "Kitty! Kitty Sharston!" and there came
an answering call, clear and high as a bird's, and
the next instant Kitty, in her white summer dress,
was seen emerging from under the cherry-trees.
She saw her father, uttered a cry half of rapture,
half of pain, and the next moment was clasped in
his arms. Florence saw the Major's arms fold
round Kitty, and a queer lump rose in her throat
and she went away all by herself. Somehow, at
that moment she felt that she shared Mrs. Cla-
vering's wish that Kitty 'l I.. .-.,i should get the
prize.
"Although it means a great deal to me, a
great deal more than anyone can guess," thought
Florry to herself, "for Aunt Susan is never very
kind to the dear little mother, and she makes such
a compliment of giving her that money term after
term, and she insists on doing everything in the
very cheapest way. VWhy will she not," continued









-L OOREfAf 'E.


Florence, looking down at her dress as she spoke,
"why will she not give me decent clothes like the
other girls? I never have anything pretty. It is


4"


' 2, .


"Iity sawz her fa /ter, attc)ed a cry, and thie next
iinoient was clashed in hli/ arms."
(P. 60.)

brown holland all during the summer, the coarsest
brown holland, and it is the coarsest blue serge
during the winter; never, never anything else-no
style, no fashion, no pretty ribbons, not even a









-A BUNCH OF CHERRIES.


cherry ribbon for my hair, and so little pocket-
money, oh! so little-only a penny a week. What
can a girl do with a penny a week? Of course, she
does allow me a few stamps, just a very few, to
send Mummy letters, but she does keep me so
terribly close. Sometimes I can scarcely bear the
life. Oh, what a difference the Scholarship would
make, and Sir John Wallis would think a great deal
of me, and so would Mrs. Clavering. Why, I should
be the show girl of the school, the Cherry Court
Scholarship girl; it would be splendid, quite splen-
did! But then Kitty, poor Kitty, and what a look
the Major had on his face! I wonder what can be
wrong. Oh, dear! oh, dear! my heart is torn in
two. Why do I long beyond all words to win the
prize, and why, why do I hate taking it from
Kitty Sharston ?




vl- I-




















CHAPTER VI.


KITTY AND HER FATHER.


M EANWHILE the Major and Kitty went away
by themselves. As soon as Kitty had hugged
her father, one close, passionate, voiceless hug, she
released him, stepped back a pace, looked him in
the face, and then said eagerly, "Come away
quickly, father; there is a meadow at the back of
the cherry orchard which we can have quite to
ourselves. Come at once. Did Mrs. Clavering send
you out here? How good of her to let me see
you alone!"
"She does not even know that I have come,
Kitty," replied her father. "I met a girl-I don't
know what her name is, just as I reached the porch,
and she took me to you. I cannot stay very long,
my love, as I must get back to Chatham to-night."
"All right," said Kitty; "let us make for the
meadow; there is a big oak-tree and we can sit








A BUATC72 OF CiHERR'IES.


under it and no one need see us. We must be alone
all, all during the time that you are here."
The Major said nothing; Kitty linked her hand
through his arm. She was feeling ;.ll excited-
her father and she were together. It might be an
hour, or it might be two hours, that they were to
spend together, but the time was only beginning
now. They were together and she felt all the
warm glow of love, all the ecstasy of perfect hap-
piness in their reunion.
They reached tile oak-tree in the meadow, the
Major sat down, and Kitty threw herself by his side.
Well, Kitty," he said, what is this that I
hear? I read your letter; it was quite a wonderful
letter, little girl. It was the sort of letter a brave
girl would write."
"The sort of letter a girl would write whose
father was a hero before Sebastopol," said Kitty.
What has put that in your head, my dar-
ling? "
Sir John Wallis spoke of it. Oh, father dear,
won't you go and see Sir John Wallis? he is so nice
and so kind. You were both heroes before Sebas-
topol, were you not, father dearest, you and he? "
We were in the trenches and we suffered a
good bit," said the Major, a grim smile on his face,
"but those are bygone times, Kitty."
"All the same they are times that can never









KIA7Y A ND HEIIR FA OTHER.


be forgotten while English history lasts," said
Kitty, with a proud sparkle in her eyes.
"Well, no, little girl, I don't suppose England
will ever forget the men who fought for her," re-
plied the Major; "but we won't waste time t., l.iI
on these matters now, my child; we have much else
to say."
















it/y and her father reached /the oak-tree."
(P. 64.)

'What, father?"
Well, your letter, for instance; and you greatly
dislike going to stay with Helen Dartmoor?"
Kitty's face turned pale; she had been rosy
up to now. The roses faded out of her cheeks, then
her lips turned white, and the brightness left her
eyes.








A B UNCII 1OF CHIERRIJES.


I should hate it," she said; there are no
other words."
"And you think there is just an off chance
that you may win this wonderful Scholarship ? "
"I mean to have the ; .- 1 try a girl ever
had, and you know your Kitty," replied the girl.
"Yes, I know my brave, brave Kitty, the girl
who has clung to her father through thick and
thin, who has always tried to please him, who has
a spirit of her own."
Which I inherit from you," said Kitty. "Oh,
I have lots of faults; I can be so cheeky when I
like, and so naughty about rules, but somehow
nothing, nothing ever frightens me, except the
thought of going to Helen Dartmoor. You see,
father dear, it would be so hopeless. You cannot
take the hope out of anybody's life and expect the
person to do well, can you, father ? Do speak, father
-can you ?"
"No, my child, I know that, but even if you
have to go to her, Kitty, remember that I am work-
ing very hard for you-that as soon as possible I
will make a home for you, and you shall come
to me."
"How long will you be in India, father?"
"I do not know, my child. The appointment
which I have just received under Government I can,
I believe, retain as long as I please. My idea is,









/77ITY AND /HER FATHER.


darling, to do very good service for our Government,
and to induce them to send me into a healthy
place."
But where are you going now ? said Kitty;
"is the place not healthy, is your life to be en-
dangered ? "
"No, I am too seasoned for that," replied the
Major, in a very cheerful tone which alas! lie was
far from feeling. "You need not be a scrap anxious,
my love," he added; "the place would not suit a
young thing like you, but a seasoned old subject
like myself is safe enough. Never you fear, Kitty
mine."
"But go on, father, you have more to say."
"Yes, Kitty, I have more to say and the time
is very brief. If you win the Scholarship, well and
good. You will be well educated, and my mind
will be relieved of an untold load of care. But, of
course, darling, there is the possibility of your fail-
ing, for the Scholarship is an open one, and there
are other girls in the school, perhaps as clever,
as determined, as full of zeal as you, my Kitty."
I am afraid, father dear, there are other girls
much cleverer than yot:r Kitty, who know a vast
lot more, and who are very full of zeal. But,"
added the young girl, and now she clasped her hands
and sprang to her feet, "there is no one who has
the motive I have, and this will carry me through.









A BUNATC OF CHFIERRIES.


I mean first of all to come out one of the lucky
three-that's certain."
"When is the preliminary examination to take
place, Kitty? "
On the day of the Cherry Feast," replied Kitty.
"Well, dear, I have been thinking matters over.
If you fail you fail, but I am determined to give
you this chance. I shall see Mrs. Clavering before
I leave and arrange that you are to stay with her
until October; then if you win the Scholarship your
future is arranged; you take your three years' edu-
cation, and then by hook or by crook, my darling,
you come out to me to India, for by then, unless
I am vastly mistaken, I shall have got into a hill
station where it will be safe for you to stay wAith
me.
"Oh, you ,1; .1, how heavenly it will be!"
said Kitty. She clung close to her father, flung her
arms round his neck, laid her head on his breast,
and looked at him with eyes swimming in tears.
Oh, I am not a bit unhappy, though I cry,"
she said, "it is only because I feel your goodness
so much, for though I would have tried away with
Helen Dartmoor I should not have had the chance
I shall have here, for Mrs. Clavering is very good,
and I know she wants me to get the prize, only
she feels that I must compete fairly with the other
girls."










A71TTY AN)D 1HER FA THEIR.


"Of course, you must compete fairly with the
other girls, Kitty," said her father; "if I thought
there was any special favoritism m"this, well--"


.4" --


"K/1ty t/irew herself by hlis side."
(P 64J)


His bronzed cheek flushed, an indignant light fired
his eyes.
"What, father? "
I am a proud man, Kitty, and Helen Dart-
moor is your cousin, and would keep you for the
very small sum which it is in my power to offer
her."


t 1 '









A4 PUxcTIf 0' ciERRrIEiS.


"Your pride shall not be hurt, father darling.
1 will win the Scholarship honorably and in open
fight."
"That is my own Kitty."
"I vow I'll win it," said the girl.
The Major smiled at her. You must not be
too sure," he said, "or you will be doubly disap-
pointed if you fail. And now there is one thing
more to be said, and then we can talk on other
matters. If you do fail, my Kitty, you will go to
Helen Dartmoor with a heart and a half."
"What do you mean?"
I mean that you will go to her and not allow
hope to die out of your breast; you will go as a
brave girl should, making the best of what seems
an adverse circumstance. If you do this, Kitty,
it will be severe discipline, but not too severe dis-
cipline for a soldier's daughter. Never forget that,
my dear, and that, one way or other, at the end
of the three years you come out to me."
When I come out to you," said Kitty, I
want you to be proud of me. I want you to say,
'My girl is a lady, my girl knows things, she is
not ignorant, she can deport herself well, and act
well and she knows things.' But in any case,
father, whether I am ignorant or whether I am not,
I promise-yes, I promise, to make the best of cir-
cumstances."









KI1TTY AND HE R TA HER.


"Then God bless you, child, you are your
mother's own girl."
"And yours-yours,'" said Kitty, in a low tone
of mingled pain and love.
"We will go back to the house, and I will
see Mrs. Clavering, and afterwards I will ask her
permission to let me take you up to see Sir John
Wallis, for, strange as it may seem, I have lost
sight of Wallis for quite fifteen years-such are
the fortunes of war, my love. We were brothers
standing shoulder to shoulder during a momentous
year of our lives, and since then Sir John retired
from the service, and I have heard and seen no-
thing of him. It was almost immediately after-
wards, I believe, that he came in for the great pro-
perty and the title which he now possesses. But
come, Kitty, we have not much time to lose."
Kitty never forgot the rest of that afternoon,
for she and her father had so much to do, so many
people to see, so many things to arrange, that time
flew on wings, and it was not until the last moment
when the parting really came that she realized all
it meant to her.
There was a hurried clasp in the strongest,
bravest arms in all the world, a brief kiss on her
cheek, a look in her father's eyes which was enough
to stimulate the highest in any girl's heart, and
then the parting was over.









A BUA /CH1 OF CHERRIES.


The Major had left Cherry Court School, having
given all possible directions for his little girl's
comfort and well-being, and had gone away sorely
broken down, crushed to the earth himself, but
leaving Kitty with a courage which did not falter
during the days which were to come. For the
Major knew that, strong as he was, he was going
to a part of India where brave men as strong as
he are stricken down year after year by the un-
healthy climate, and three years even at tie best
was a long time to part with a girl like Kitty,
particularly when she was the only child he had,
the light of his eyes, the darling of his heart.




















CHAPTER VII.


CHERRY-COLOURED RIBBONS.


SHE day of the Cherry Feast dawned bright and
glorious. The girls awoke in the early morning
of that splendid summer day, feeling that something
very delightful was about to happen. One after
another they peeped out and saw the sun on the grass
and heard the birds sing and felt the soft zephyrs
of the summer breeze blowing on their cheeks.
Then they returned back again to their different
little beds in their different dormitories, and re-
marked with intense satisfaction that the long-wished-
for day had come, and that to-morrow they were
all going home-home for the holidays. Could any-
thing be more fascinating, stimulating, and delight-
ful? And each girl hoped to go back again to the
beloved home with honour, for Mrs. Clavering had
a wonderful way with her pupils, a very stimulat-
ing way, and she so arranged her prizes and her









A BUNCHl OF CHERRIES.


certificates that no girl who had really worked,
who had really taken pains was excluded from
distinction. It was only the hopelessly idle, the
hopelessly disobedient who could leave Cherry
Court School without some token of its mistress's
sympathy, regard, and encouragement.
Kitty Sharston was too new a scholar to expect
to get any reward in the ordinary sense this term,
but, all the same, she had worked fairly well, and
during the last three weeks had tackled her studies
and regulated her conduct like a veritable little
Trojan. Every moment of Kitty's day was now
marked out. There was never an instant that she
was off guard with regard to herself; there was no
time left in her busy life for reckless speeches and
reckless deeds. The goal set before her was such
a high one, the motive to struggle for pre-eminence
was so strong, that Kitty was quite carried along
by the current. Her natural keen intelligence stood
her in good stead, her marks for punctuality, for neat-
ness, for early rising were all good, and she had
little, very little fear of the results of this after-
noon's brief examination.
The examination was to be very short, and was
to be conducted on this special occasion by no less
a person than Sir John Wallis himself. Mrs. Claver-
ing having reckoned up the marks, Mademoiselle
Le Brun having given her testimony, Fraulein









CHEIRR COL(- 0 'RED RIB3P, OS.


having given hers, and the English teachers having
further testified to the industry of the pupils, the
girls of the Upper school were to pass muster before
Sir John, who was to decide without prejudice in




















(P."' 7


favour of the lucky three who alone were to compete
for the great Scholarship in October.
Florence and Kitty were in the same class in
school, and up to the date of the offering of the
Scholarship had been excellent friends. They were
still friends as far as Kitty was concerned, for she









14 BUnL\'/ 0'OF C/ERR/IS.


was a generous-hearted girl, and although the winning
of the prize meant everything almost in her life, did
another girl take it from her fairly and honourably
in open fight, she would resign it without a trace
of ill-will or any sore feeling towards the winner.
But there were things in Florence's life which made
her now look aloof at Kitty. She had been receiving
letters from her mother, and the mother had been
asking the girl strange questions, and \Mrs. Aylmer
was not a woman of lofty principle, nor of strong cour-
age, and some of the jealous thoughts in Florence's
heart had been fanned into flame by her mother's
injudicious words. So on the day of the great Cherry
Feast she awoke with a headache, and, turning
away from Kitty, who looked at her with anxious,
affectionate eyes, she proceeded to dress quickly and
hurried off to the school-room.
The dormitory in which Kitty slept was a long
low room with a sloping roof. It ran the whole
width of the house, and was occupied by Kitty her-
self, by Mabel and Alice Cunningham, by Edith
King, and by Florence Aylmer. Each girl had her
little cubicle or division curtained off from her fellows,
where she could sleep and where she could retire,
if necessary, into a sort of semi-solitude. But
one half of the dormitory was open to all the girls,
and they often drew their curtains aside and chatted
and talked and laughed as they dressed and









CHIERR COLOURED RIBB ONS.


undressed, for Mrs. Clavering, contrary to most of the
school-mistresses of her day, gave her girls a certain
amount of liberty. They were not, for instance,
required to talk French in the dormitories, and they
were always allowed, provided they got into bed
within certain limits and dressed within certain
limits, to have freedom when in their rooms. They
never dreamt of abusing these privileges, and better,
healthier, brighter girls could not be found in the
length and breadth of England.
"Well, I am glad the day has come at last,"
said Edith, as she rose that morning with a yawn.
Oh, dear, and it's going to be splendid too. Kitty,
what dress are you going to wear at the festival
to-night ? "
Kitty replied with a smile that she meant to
wear her Indian muslin.
"And have you got your cherry-coloured rib-
bons ? said Edith; we all wear bunches of cherry
ribbons in the front of our dresses and tying back
our hair. Have you got yours, Kitty? "
"Yes," replied Kitty; father sent me a quan-
tity of cherry-coloured ribbons last week."
She hardly ever mentioned her father's name,
and the girls did not like to question her. Now
she turned her head aside, and proceeded hastily
with her dressing.
"Well, it is going to be a splendid day," said









A IIU(,YVCI O1- (f11i'R//IES'.


Alice, and you know, there are no lessons of any
sort; all the examinations are over and the results
will be known to-night; the day is to be a long
and happy one-no lessons, nothing to do except to
wander about and please ourselves; pack our trunks,
of course, which will be truly a delightful occupation.
Think of the joys of the evening and the further
delights of to-morrow. I expect to reach home
about six o'clock in the evening. When will you
get to your place, Edith ? "
"A little later than you," replied Edith, for
it is farther away, but father and mother have pro-
mised to come and meet me at Canterbury. I
shall reach Canterbury about six o'clock in the
evening. W\e have ten miles to drive then, so I
don't suppose I shall be home till half-past seven.
The boys are going to make a bonfire; there is to
be no end of fun-there always is when I come
home for the summer holidays."
Kitty gave a faint sigh and there came a cruel
pang at her heart. She and Florence Aylmer were
to spend the holidays together. She had tried to
think she would enjoy this solitary time, but in her
heart of hearts she knew that she had to make a
great struggle with herself.
"But, never mind," she muttered now softly
under her breath, I shall spend most of the hours
in studying; there is so much to get through before









CHERRY Y- COL OURDI) RIBBONS.


the Scholarship exam. comes off in October, and I
know Florence will study too, and of course I shan't
be at all jealous of her, and if she does succeed
in winning the prize, why, I will just remember


Gl1 tLtilCtM LU/ / Lu/i, ;l Jti,(P LwS.)
(P. 76,)


father's words and make the best of things,
whatever happens." But the next moment she was
saying fiercely under her breath, "I shall win, I
will win; whatever happens, I will, I must win."
The girls went down to breakfast, which was a


~








A BUNCH OF CHERRIES.


very sociable meal that :-,.-i .;., the English tongue
being allowed to be spoken, and the usual restric-
tions all being utterly withdrawn.
Florence appeared then and took her place at
the table; she looked a little pale and untidy, and
her eyes were red as if she had been secretly crying.
More than one girl glanced at her and wondered
what was the matter. When breakfast was over
Kitty went up to Florence, slipped her hand through
her arm, and pulled her out into the sunshine.
Is .,i i 1.. V; .,. .,, Florry ? she said.
Oh, it's only that beastly mean Aunt Susan,"
retorted Florence, 1 i,, ; her shoulders.
"Your Aunt Susan ?"
"' Yes, of course; you have heard me talk of her.
I am dependent on her, you know; oh, it's the most
hateful position for any girl! "
1 am very sorry, and I quite understand,"
said Kitty.
"I don't believe you do; you have never been
put in such an odious plight. For instance, you
have cherry-coloured ribbons to wear to-night, have
you not ? "
Such beauties," replied Kitty; father sent
them to me a week ago. A yard and a half to
make the bunch for the front of my dress, and a
yard and a half to tie up my hair-three yards;
and such a lovely, lovely colour, and such soft








CHEIRR Y- COLOUiRED RIBBON S.


ribbon, corded silk on one side, and satin at the
other. Oh, it is beautiful."
"Yes, of course, it is beautiful," said Florence;
"you have told us about those ribbons a great
many times." Florence could not help her voice being
tart, and Kitty looked at her in some astonishment.
But all the same," she said, "you're glad I
have got cherry-coloured ribbons, are you not ? "
I don't know," replied Florence, flushing; I
believe I hate you for having them. There, I'm
nothing if I'm not frank."
"You hate me for having them ? Oh, Florry,
but you cannot be so mean."
"I wrote to Aunt Susan myself-there was no
time to tackle her in a roundabout way through
mother. I wrote to her and got her reply this
morning. She sent me-what do you think? Instead
of the beautiful ribbons which I asked for, three
yards of which are absolutely necessary to make
even a show of a decent appearance, six stamps !
Six stamps, I assure you, to buy what I could for
myself! Did you ever hear of anything so miser-
ably mean ? Oh, I hate her, I do hate her! "
"Poor Florence," said Kitty, "but you must
have the ribbons somehow, must you not? "
"I must; I dare not appear without. Made-
moiselle Le Brun is going into Hilchester immediately
after breakfast, and I am going to ask her to get
6









A BUNiCH OF CHERRIES.


me the best she can, but of course she will get
nothing worth having for sixpence-a yard and a
half at the most of some horrid cottony stuff
which will look perfectly dreadful. It is mean of
Aunt Susan, and you know, Kitty," continued Flor-
ence, her tone softening at the evident sympathy
with which Kitty regarded her, I am always so
shabbily dressed; I wouldn't be a bit bad-looking
if I had decent clothes. I saved up all the summer
to have my muslin dress nicely washed for this
occasion, but it's so thick and so clumsy and-oh,
dear! oh, dear! sometimes I hate myself, Kitty, and
when I look at you I hate myself more than ever."
"Why when you look at me ? I am very sorry
for you, Florence."
"Because you are so generous and so good,
and I am just the other way. But there, don't
talk to me any more. I must rush off; I want to
have another look through those geography ques-
tions; there is no saying what Sir John Wallis may
question us about to-night, and if I don't get into
the lucky three who are to compete for the Scholar-
ship, I believe I'll go off my head."
Florence dashed away as she spoke and rushed
into the school-room, slamming the door behind her.
Kitty stood for a moment looking after her. As she
did so Mary Bateman, the stolid-looking girl in the
Upper school, came slowly up.









CHERRY- COLOURED RIBBONS. 83

A penny for your thoughts, Kitty Sharston,"
she said.
"They are not worth even that," said Kitty.
" Where are you going, Mary?"
"Into the cherry orchard; we are all to pick
cherries for to-night's feast. By the way, will you


9^ay. : -,



1 v " .. . .. .



.. . . .......








Chelry Court School.


be my partner in the minuet ? You dance it so
beautifully."
Kitty hesitated, and a comical look came into
her face.
"You know we are to open the proceedings by
dancing the old-fashioned minuet," continued Mary
6*









A BUNCH OF CHERRIES.


Bateman; on the lawn, of course, with the coloured
lamps lighting us up. I believe I can do fairly
well if I have you for my partner, for although you
are awkward enough you dance beautifully."
I'll be your partner if you like," said Kitty,
with a sigh, "but look here, Mary, when is Made-
moiselle Le Brun going into Hilchester?"
I did not know she was going at all," replied
Mary; "do you want her to buy you anything ? "
"I am not quite sure, but I'd like to see her
before she goes."
"Well, there she is, and there's the pony cart
coming round. I expect she has to buy a lot of
things for Mrs. Clavering. Run up to her if you
want to give her a message, Kitty. Hullo, made-
moiselle, will you wait a minute for Kitty Sharston;
she wants to say something to you."
But Kitty stood still. There was a battle
going on in her heart. She had very little pocket-
money, very little indeed, but when her father was
saying good-bye to her he had put two new half-
crowns into her hand.
"Keep them unbroken as long as you can,
Kitty," he said. The money will be something to
fall back upon in a time of need." And five shillings
was a large sum for the Major to give Kitty just
then, and Kitty cherished those two half-crowns
very dearly, more dearly than anything else in the









CHERRY- COO URED RIBBONS.


world, for they had been her father's last, very last
present to her.
But perhaps the hour of need had come. This
was the thought which darted into her heart, for
Florence did want those cherry-coloured ribbons,
and Florence's heart was sore, and things were
nearly as bad for her as they were for Kitty her-
self. Kitty had a brief struggle, and then she made
up her mind.
"One moment, mademoiselle; I won't keep you
any time," she called out to the governess, who
nodded back to her with a pleased smile on her
face, for Kitty was a universal favourite.
Then the young girl rushed upstairs to her
dormitory, unlocked her little private drawer, took
out her sealskin purse, extracted one of the new
half-crowns, and was down again by the little gover-
ness cart, whispering eagerly to Mademoiselle Le
Brun within the prescribed time.
"All right," said mademoiselle; "I'll do the
very best I can."
"And have the parcel directed to Florence,"
said Kitty, for I don't want her to know about
my giving it to her; I am sure she would rather
not. If there is any change from the half-crown
you can let me have it back, can you not,
mademoiselle ? "
I'll see to that," said mademoiselle; there is










A BUIICH OFi' CHERRIES.


Florence's own sixpence towards it, you know. Oh,
I daresay I can give you a shilling back and get
very good ribbon."
Well, be sure it is soft and satiny and with
no cotton in it," called Kitty again, and then the
governess cart rolled down the avenue and was lost
to view.
Notwithstanding that she had only half a crown
in that sealskin purse Kitty felt strangely exultant
and happy when she ran back to the cherry orchard
and helped her companions in gathering the ripe
fruit.
She had put on a large blue apron, for cherries
stain a good deal when they are as luscious as
those ones in Cherry Court orchard, and quantities
had to be picked, for it was the custom from
time immemorial for each of the guests to take a
basket of cherries away with them, and the baskets
themselves--long, low, broad, and ornamental-were
filled now first with cherry-leaves, and then with
fruit, by the excited and happy girls.
After Kitty had spent an hour or two in the
cherry orchard, she ran into the house, washed
her face and hands, smoothed her hair, and ran
down to the school-room, for she too wanted to look
through her examination papers. They were not"
difficult, and she was very quick and ready at ac-
quiring knowledge, and she soon felt certain that










CHERRY-COLOURED RIBBONS. 87

she could answer all the questions, and, having folded
them up, she replaced them in her desk.
It was the custom of the school that each girl


























"AWily gSz/e)-ed th/e vi e f1z/T.
(P. '8.)

should keep her desk locked, and Kitty now slipped
the key of hers into her pocket. As she did so the
door was opened and Florence came in. Florence
looked pale and distrait.
looked pale and distrait.









A BUNiCH OF CHERRIES.


Do you know," she said, I have got the
most racking headache; I wonder if you would hear
me through my English History questions, Kitty.
It would be awfully kind of you. I am so wretched
about everything and things seem so hopeless, and
it is so perfectly miserable to think of spending all
the holidays here, for I don't believe Mrs. Clavering
is going to take us to the seaside after all. Really,
I think life is not worth living sometimes."
"Oh, but it is," said Kitty, "and we are only
preparing for life now-don't forget that, Florry."
I can't take a high and mighty view of any-
thing just now," said Florence; I am cross and
that's a fact. I wish I wasn't going to the feast
to-night. If it were not for the chance of being one
of the lucky three in the Scholarship competition I
wouldn't appear on the scenes at all, I vow I would
not, with that horrid bit of cottony cherry-coloured
ribbon-yes, I vow I wouldn't. Why, Kitty, how
you have stained your dress; you must have knelt
on a cherry when you were picking them just now
in the orchard."
"So I have; what a pity!" said Kitty. She
glanced down at the deep red stain, and then added
" I'll run upstairs presently and wash it out."
Well, don't catch cold, whatever you do. But
stay, won't you first hear me my English History
questions ? "









CHERRY-COL 0 UR ED RIBBONS.


Kitty immediately complied. Yes, Florence was
stupid; she did not half know her questions; her
replies were wide of the mark. Kitty felt at first
distressed and then very determined.
"Look here, Florence," she said, this will
never do; you must work through that portion of
English History all the afternoon, and I will help
you to the very best of my ability. I happen to
know the time of Queen Elizabeth so well, for it
was a favourite time with father. He always loved
those old stories of the great worthies who lived in
the time of Queen Elizabeth. Yes, I'll help you.
Shall we read these chapters of history together this
afternoon ? "
I cannot, I cannot," said Florence. My
head aches and everything seems hopeless. Why,
if that is so, Kitty, I shan't even have a chance of
being one of the lucky three."
"'Oh, yes; you will-you must," said Kitty. ''Half
of the pleasure of the competition would be lost if
you and I were not to work together during the
holidays."
Well, there is something in that," said Florence,
brightening as she spoke. "I forgot when I spoke
so dismally that you too were to spend the holidays
here. By the way, has your father sailed yet? "
"On Monday last," said Kitty, in a very low
voice. She turned her head aside as she spoke.









A BU CH O J CHRR WIS.


I believe you are the bravest girl in the world,"
said Florence stoutly; "but there, you are a great
deal too good for me. I wish you were naughty
sometimes, such as you used to be, daring and a
little defiant and a little indifferent to rules, but
you are so changed since the Scholarship has come
to the fore. Does it mean a great deal to you,
Kitty ?"
I can't talk of it," said Kitty, I'd rather not;
we are both to try for it; I believe it means a
great deal to us both."
It means an immensity to me," said Florence.
Then it is not fair for us to talk it over when
we are both going to try our hardest to win it, are
we not ? "
If that is the case 'why do you help me with
my English History ? "
Because I should like you to be one of the
lucky three."
Are you certain? Although I don't know this
history very well, I shall be a dangerous rival, that
I promise."
"I don't care; I mean to win if I can, but 1
should like to compete with you," said Kitty stoutly.
At that moment the sound of wheels in the
avenue was heard, and a moment or two afterwards
Mademoiselle Le Brun entered the school-room and
put a little parcel into Florence's hand.










CHERRY Y-COLOURED RIBBONS.


"There, my dear," she said.
Florence let it lie just where it was.
"Thank you," she answered; "you did your
best ? "
"Yes, dear, I did my best."











"' ;



/ /
S,



1iademoiselle fit a little paiycel in IFlorence's haned."
(P. 90.)


The governess left the room without even glanc-
ing at Kitty. Kitty felt herself colouring; she bent
low, allowing her curly hair to fall over her face
and forehead.
A moment later there came an exclamation
from Florence.









A BUNCH OF CHERRIES.


Oh, I say, Kitty, what does this mean-look,
do look "
Kitty looked up. The flush had left her face
now, and it was cool and composed as usual.
"Why, Florry," she exclaimed, she has got
you three yards, and it is absolutely beautiful, satiny
and smooth, and not a scrap of cotton in the ribbon,
and such a sweet colour. What does it mean?"
Kitty, do you understand ?" said Florence.
"I am so glad you have got it," said Kitty, in
a quiet voice; yes, it is lovely ribbon; perhaps they
had a cheap sale or something."
Perhaps," said Florence, but all the same
I don't believe this ribbon could have been bought
for twopence a yard. I must speak to mademoiselle;
she could not-oh, no, no, that is impossible-made-
moiselle is very poor and stingy-but what does it
mean ? "
It means that you are going to wear cherry-
coloured ribbons to-night, doesn't it ? said Kitty,
" and now cheer up, do, Florry, and work away at
your history. I must run off now to wash my hands
before dinner."


















CHAPTER VIII.


THE LETTER.


AFTER dinner Mrs. C I -i, ,,; called the girls of
the Upper school into the oak parlour.
My dears," she said, I won't keep you a
minute, but I have just had a letter from Sir John
Wallis, and he wishes me to say that he would like
the girls who are to compete for the preliminary
examination for the Scholarship to write their
answers to the English History questions. He has
sent over the questions in this envelope, and you
can all read them, and you are to write your
answers in advance, and fold them up and put them
into envelopes for him to open and read to-night.
I believe there are ten questions, but his rule is
that you are none of you to be helped by any book
in the answers, and that no one girl is to assist
another. That is all, my dears; you can go into the
school-room and get the matter through in less than
an hour if you like. And now hurry away, for there









A B UNCH OF, CHERRIES.


is no time to lose. I will have the questions pinned
up in the school-room for you all to see."
Mrs. Clavering hastened away, and all the girls
of the Upper school, seven in all, presently found
themselves seated by their desks, busily answering
Sir John Wallis's questions on the reign of Queen
Elizabeth.
When Mrs. Clavering had made her statement
Florence had cast one anxious, half-despairing glance
in Kitty's direction, and Kitty had slowly raised
her arched eyebrows and looked at her friend with
compassion and distress.
Kitty now walked quickly to her desk, glanced
at the questions, and wrote the answers in a good
bold, firm hand.
Her early training with her father stood her in
excellent stead, and she was able to give a vivid
account of the Spanish Armada, and of other great
events in the reign of good Queen Bess. She felt
quite cheerful and hopeful as she wrote her ans-
wers, expressing them in good English, and taking
great pains to be correct with regard to spelling.
At last they were finished. She slipped them into
her envelope, put them back in her desk, and left
the room. As she did so she passed Florence,
whose cheeks were flushed like peonies, and who
was bending in some despair over her paper, for
Florence was well known in the school to be




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