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Girls of the True Blue

Posted by ploymeesin in Books & Reference | June 25, 2013 | 0 Comments

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Augusta Duncan was considered by her elders to be one of the best girls in existence. She was always neat and nice to look at; she had refined, gracious, gentle manners. At school she learnt her lessons correctly, and took place after place in form, rising by slow but sure degrees to the head of the school. But Augusta was not a favourite with her companions. Even they themselves did not always know why this was the case. The fact is, they were a little afraid of her; she had a way of getting them under her thumb, as she expressed it. Augusta was never happy in any house until she had got the other girls into this position. She had no special reason to make Nan Esterleigh’s life a misery; but the moment she saw the little girl she grasped the opportunity, and her favourite passion being immediately fed, her appetite grew greater every moment. She was now resolved to have complete power over Nan, who, she felt certain, could be very useful to her.

“My dear Gussie,” said her aunt, coming forward and kissing her affectionately as she entered the room, “you must have thought me terribly rude on your arrival to send you upstairs; but I was expecting some special friends, and was anxious to finish a lot of letters. My friends will be with me in about half-an-hour, and meantime you and I can have tea cosily together. How is your mother, dear?”

“She and father are very well indeed. Is it not hard lines that I cannot be with them?”

“Well, I hope you will be happy with me. We will all do what we can to make you so.”

“Thank you, Aunt Jessie; I am always happy when I am with you and the girls.”

“That is right, my love. You have grown a good deal, Augusta. I see you are going to take after your father’s family; you will be tall.”

“I am glad of that,” said Augusta. “I would rather be tall than short; it gives one more power in the world.”

“You silly child,” laughed her aunt; “what do you want with power?”

“I love to feel that I have power, Aunt Jessie. I always like to exercise it when I can.”

“Well, the time may come when it will be useful, but at present your lot in life is to obey your elders, and to be happy with your young companions.”

“Of course, Aunt Jessie—of course. May I sit on this little footstool at your feet, and may I hold your hand?”

“Indeed you may, my darling child. I am so happy to have you with me for a little!”

“Thank you, Aunt Jessie.”

“It must be lonely for you, dear, up in the schoolroom at present, but the three girls will be in to supper; they have gone to Shirley Woods—a long-promised treat.”

“The three girls!” said Augusta, raising her calm blue eyes. “Then there are four girls now in the house?”

“Counting you, there are.”

“But I mean without me.”

“I do not understand you, dear.”

“Well, Aunt Jessie, there is a girl up in the schoolroom. She says her name is Nan—Nan Esterleigh.”

“Little Nan,” cried Mrs. Richmond. “Did not she go with the others?”

“No; I found her in the schoolroom when I arrived.”

“I wonder what can be wrong with the child.”

“I don’t think much; she has slipped and hurt her foot, but it is nothing.”

“I must go up to see about her.”

“Oh! please, not now, just when you have sent for me, and I am longing to have a talk with you. Nan was as happy as possible when I came down here. I left her playing with her little dog, and seated by the fire.”

“If you can assure me she is not in pain I will not go to her till after tea,” said Mrs. Richmond; “I am rather tired, having had a lot of running about this morning. But what a pity the poor child never told me of this! How strange of Miss Roy to have gone off without her!”

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