She could not really be only fourteen, Mellicent reflected. She talked as if she were quite grown-up,—older than Esther, seventeen or eighteen at the very least. What a little white face she had! what a great thick plait of hair! How erect she held herself! Fr?ulein would never have to rebuke her new pupil for stooping shoulders. It was kind of her to promise help with those troublesome decimals! Quite too good an offer to refuse.
“Thank you very much,” she said heartily, “I’ll show you some after tea. Perhaps you may be able to make me understand better than Fr?ulein. It’s very good of you, P—” A quick 杭州足浴按摩上门服务 change of expression warned her that something was wrong, and she checked herself to add hastily, “You want to be called ‘Peggy,’ don’t you? No? Then what must we call you? What is your real name?”
“Mariquita!” sighed the damsel pensively, “after my grandmother—Spanish. A beautiful and unscrupulous woman at the court of Philip the Second.” She said “unscrupulous” with an air of pride, as though it had been “virtuous,” 杭州足浴哪里好 or some other word of a similar meaning, and pronounced the name of the king with a confidence that made Robert gasp.
“Philip the Second? Surely not? He was the husband of our Mary in 1572. That would make it just a trifle too far back for your grandmother, wouldn’t it?” he inquired sceptically; but Mariquita remained absolutely unperturbed.
“It must have been someone else, then, I suppose. How clever of you to remember! I see you know something about history,” she said suavely; a remark which caused an amused glance to pass between the young people, for Robert had a craze for history of all description, and had serious thought of becoming a second Carlyle so soon as his college course was over.
Maxwell put his handkerchief to his mouth to stifle a laugh, and kicked out vigorously beneath the table, with the intention of 杭州足浴大保健 sharing his amusement with his friend Oswald. It seemed, however, that he had aimed amiss, for Mariquita fell back in her chair, and laid her hand on her heart.
“I think there must be some slight misunderstanding. That’s my foot that you are kicking! I cut it very badly on the ice last winter, and the least touch causes acute suffering. Please don’t apologise; it doesn’t matter in the least,” and she rolled her eyes to the ceiling, like one in mortal agony.
It was the last straw. Maxwell’s embarrassment had reached such a pitch that he could
bear no more. He murmured some unintelligible words, and bolted from the room, and the other two boys lost no time in following his example.
In subsequent conversations, Mellicent always referred to this occasion as “the night when Robert had one cup,” it being, in truth, the only occasion 杭州夜生活西湖阁 since this young gentleman entered the vicarage when he had neglected to patronise the teapot three or four times in succession.
Chapter Four. Good-Bye, Mariquita!
For four long days had Mariquita Saville dwelt beneath Mr Asplin’s roof, and her companions still gazed upon her with fear and trembling, as a mysterious and extraordinary creature whom they altogether failed to understand. She talked like a book; she behaved like a well-conducted old lady of seventy, and she sat with folded hands gazing around, with a curious, dancing light in her hazel eyes, which seemed to imply that there was some tremendous joke on hand, the secret of which was known only to herself. Esther and Mellicent had confided their impressions to their mother; but in Mrs Asplin’s presence Peggy was just a quiet, modest girl, a trifle shy, as was natural under the circumstances, but with no marked peculiarity of any kind. She answered to the name of “Peggy,” to which address she was at other times persistently deaf, and sat with neat little feet crossed before her, the picture of a demure, well-behaved young schoolgirl. The sisters assured their mother that Mariquita was a very different person in the schoolroom, but when she inquired as to the nature of the difference, it was not easy to explain.
She talked so grandly, and used such great big words!—“A good thing, too,” Mrs Asplin averred. She wished the rest would follow her example, and not use so much foolish, meaningless slang.—Her eyes looked so bright and mocking, as if she were laughing at something all the time.—Poor, dear child! could she not talk as she liked? It was a great blessing she could be bright, poor lamb, with such a parting 杭州水疗哪里好 before her!—She was so grown-up, and patronising, and superior!—Tut! tut! Nonsense! Peggy had come from a boarding-school, and her ways were different from theirs—that was all. They must not take stupid notions, but be kind and friendly, and make the poor girl feel at home.
Fr?ulein on her side reported that her new pupil was docile and obedient, and anxious to get on with her studies, though not so far advanced as might have been expected. Esther was far ahead of her in most subjects, and Mellicent learned with pained surprise that she knew nothing whatever about decimal fractions.
“Circumstances, dear,” she explained, “circumstances over which I had no control prevented an acquaintance, but no doubt I shall soon know all about them, and then I shall be pleased to give you the promised help;” and Mellicent found herself saying, “Thank you,” in a meek and submissive manner, 杭州按摩服务会所 instead of indulging in a well-merited rebuke.
No amount of ignorance seemed to daunt Mariquita, or to shake her belief in herself. When Maxwell came to grief in a Latin essay, she looked up and said, “Can I assist you?” and when Robert read aloud a passage from Carlyle, she laid her head on one side and said, “Now, do you know, I am not altogether sure that I am with him on that point!” with an assurance which paralysed the hearers.
Esther and Mellicent discussed seriously together as to whether they liked, or disliked, this extraordinary creature, and had great difficulty in coming to a conclusion. She teased, puzzled, aggravated, and provoked them; therefore, if they had any claim to be logical, they should dislike her cordially, yet somehow or other they could not bring themselves to say that they disliked Mariquita. There were moments when they came perilously near loving 杭州男士spa哪里比较好 the aggravating creature. Already it gave them quite a shock to look back upon the time when there was no Peggy Saville to occupy their thoughts, and life without the interest of her presence would have seemed unspeakably flat and uninteresting. She was a bundle of mystery. Even her looks seemed to exercise an uncanny fascination. On the evening of her arrival the unanimous opinion had been that she was decidedly plain, but there was something about the pale little face which always seemed to invite a second glance, and the more closely you gazed, the more complete was the feeling of satisfaction.
“Her face is so neat,” Mellicent said to herself; and the adjective was not inappropriate, for Peggy’s small features looked as though they had been modelled by the hand of a fastidious artist, and the air of dainty finish extended to her hands and feet and slight, graceful figure.
The subject came up for discussion on the third evening 杭州桑拿按摩爽记 after Peggy’s arrival, when she had been called out of the room to speak to Mrs Asplin for a few minutes. Esther gazed after her as she walked across the floor with her dignified tread, and when the door was closed she said slowly—