t was Saturday afternoon, and Eva Nelson and Alice King were sitting in their little study parlor at the Hill House Seminary poring over their lesson chapter for the next day. It was the tenth chapter of St. Luke, with the story of the good Samaritan. At last Eva flung herself back and exclaimed, "We can't be good as they were in those Bible days, no matter what anybody says; things are different."
"Of course they are," responded Alice. "Who said they weren't?"
Eva turned to the volume before her, and read aloud about the man who had fallen among thieves, and the good Samaritan who came along and bound up his wounds and took care of him.
"Now how can we do things like that?" she said.
"Oh, Eva, I should think you were about five or six years old instead of a girl of thirteen. Nobody means that you are to do just those particular things. What they do mean now is that you are to be good to people who are in trouble,вЂ”people who need things done for them."
"Well, I'd be good to them if I had a chance; but what chance do I have now with all my lessons? When I grow up, I shall belong to charitable societies, as mamma does, and give things to poor folks, and go to see them. I can't now; girls of our age can't, of course."
"We can do some things in vacations,вЂ”get up fairs and things of that kind, and give the money to the poor."
"Oh, I've done that. I helped in a fair last summer, and we gave the money to the children's hospital. But Miss Vincent said last week that all of us could find ways of doing good every day if we would keep our eyes and ears and hearts open; and I've felt ever since that she was keeping her eyes open on the watch for something she expected me to do."
"Nonsense! She knows as well as we do that we haven't time to do any more now. She means when we grow older. But look at the clock,вЂ”five minutes to supper-time, and I've got to 'do' my hair all over, the braid is so frowzely."
"What makes you braid it? Why don't you let it hang in a curl, as you used to?"
"I told you why yesterday,вЂ”because that Burr girl has made me sick of curls, with that great black flop of hers stringing down her back. She'd make me sick of anything. I haven't worn my red blouse since she came out with that fiery thing of hers. Isn't it horrid?"
A few minutes after, as Eva and Alice were stirring their cocoa at the supper-table, the girl they had been criticising came hastily into the dining-room and took her place. She was a tall girl for her age, with a heavy ungainly figure, a swarthy skin, and black hair which was tied back in a long curl. She wore a dark plaid skirt, with a blouse of fiery red cashmere, and a hair ribbon of a deep violet shade. Nothing could have been more ill-matched or more unbecoming. The girl who sat beside her, pretty Janey Miller, was a great contrast, with her blond curls, her rosy cheeks, and simple well-fitting dress of blue serge. Her every movement, too, was as full of grace as Cordelia Burr's was exactly the reverse....