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A Modern Tomboy by L. T. Meade

A Modern Tomboy

_A Story for Girls_

By MRS. L. T. MEADE

AUTHOR OF

"The Girls of Castle Rocco," "Girls of the True Blue," "The School Queens," "The School Favorite," Etc.

A. L. BURT COMPANY, PUBLISHERS NEW YORK

A MODERN TOMBOY.

CHAPTER I.

OPENING THE SCHOOL.

Mrs. Merriman and Lucy were standing at the white gates of Sunnyside, waiting for the arrival of the girls. Mrs. Merriman had soft brown hair, soft brown eyes to match, and a kindly, gentle face. Lucy was somewhat prim, very neat in her person, with thick fair hair which she wore in two long plaits far below her waist, a face full of intensity and determination, and a slightly set and formal way of speaking.

"Aren't you at all excited about their arrival?" said Mrs. Merriman, turning to her daughter as she spoke. "It will make a great change in the house, will it not?"

"How many of them are there, mother?" was Lucy's response.

"Oh, my dear child, how often I have explained all to you! There's Laura Everett, my dear friend Lady Everett's only daughter; then there is Annie Millar, whom I do not know anything about--but she is a friend of Laura's, and that alone is recommendation enough."

"Laura Everett, Annie Millar," quoted Lucy in a low tone. "Have you seen either of them, mother?"

"No, dear, of course not."

"Has father ever seen them?"

"No. But my dear friend Lady Everett----"

"Oh, mother darling, when have you seen your dear friend?"

"Not since we were girls. But it is so nice to think she should trust her daughter to me."

"Well, yes, mother, I suppose so. I suppose I must be quite satisfied. Well, that means two--Laura and Annie. How old are they, mother?"

"They are both fourteen."

"Then the others, mother?"

"Rosamund Cunliffe. I did meet her mother a year ago, who told me she was very pretty. I remember that. Then there is Phyllis Flower. Think of any one with such a dear name--Phyllis and Flower! The whole name is too sweet! I told your father that I knew I should fall in love with Phyllis."

"Mother dear, you really mustn't make favorites," said Lucy in a reproving tone. "If these girls must come to us and form the beginning of a school, why, we must behave accordingly. You are not half as steady as I am, mother, and I am fifteen, and you are----"

"Forty-five," said Mrs. Merriman; "but then I only feel twenty, and I am very happy about all this. The house is perfectly arranged, everything in apple-pie order, and they will have such a good time, dear girls! Well, now, let us count them over. Laura Everett, fourteen; Annie Millar, ditto; Rosamund Cunliffe, fifteen; and Phyllis Flower, thirteen. Then there is Jane Denton. Well, I know nothing whatever about her except that her mother says she is a good girl, and does her utmost to learn, and she is sure will be absolutely obedient. Then comes Agnes Sparkes. I quite expect she will be the witty one. Altogether that makes six girls, and you, my dear, are the seventh--the perfect number, you know."

"And the whole house turned topsy-turvy!" said Lucy. "Really and truly, mother, I wish we had thought it over before we did anything so queer."


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