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of going straight into it. She is afraid that you will put the others out by not coming regularly, and she doubts whether the eldest girl can get through more teaching than she has to do already. But I can always make Windsor see the rights of a thing, and I must talk to him if she does not come round.'
As he had predicted, Mr. Windsor did see the expediency of obliging his employers in the matter. Polly, stimulated by the younger members of the family, was willing and even eager to accept the charge of another pupil ; and it was agreed that Thomasina should begin her career in the Windsors’school-room in the following week. Sir Richard and Anthony pleaded for another week's grace, and they would have been mortified to know how little it was desired by Thomasina herself.
One thing I have to say,' Mary Windsor set forth to the party assembled in the school
room on that eventful Monday : 'if any of you make use of that foolish nickname of “Asinine Tom,” I shall resign and ask mother to look out for a regular governess, who may be able to keep you in order. What is she to call me, I wonder? “Polly” is so very undignified.
"If she calls you “governess,” it will have a truly imposing effect,' said Robin, as he swallowed the last mouthful of the early breakfast which was prepared for the boys in the school-room. “Now, Jem, we must be off. Good morning, Miss Windsor,' he added, with a flourish of his rusty cap, to which Polly responded by a glance of mingled anger and amusement, her normal relations with her school-boy brothers.
It must be admitted that the task of restraining the high spirits and lawless impulses of her pupils was almost beyond her: powers. Mr. Windsor was a reserved man,
absorbed in business, and living chiefly in his study; and Mrs. Windsor thought first of her babies, and then of the difficulties of feeding and clothing her large family. When Polly had declared the boys to be altogether beyond her control they were sent to school, and this had only increased the difficulty of maintaining order whenever they were at home. She had assented to the general verdict in favour of admitting Thomasina into the school-room, in hopes that she might infuse an element of refinement, and now she was full of misgivings lest the experiment might fail. But she was a sensible, spirited girl, and, in spite of occasional fits of despair, she was conscious of doing her work honestly and, on the whole, successfully.
Punctual to the hour the new pupil appeared. The school-room had been made unusually spruce in honour of the occasion, and Dora had taken unwonted pains to learn
her French verbs perfectly, and to dye her fingers less deeply in the ink than was generally thought inevitable. Mrs. Windsor intercepted Thomasina at the front door, and took her upstairs to take off her habit, and she entered in correct school-room costume; her hair was smooth and shining, and she wore a white bib and apron over her short-sleeved black frock. She looked pale and nervous, and her eyes dropped before the fire of glances directed towards her. Now that the moment so eagerly expected had arrived, she wished herself elsewhere.
There was nothing formidable in Polly's appearance. She had smooth, fair hair and a fresh-coloured skin, rather small, light-blue eyes, and a plump figure—too plump to suit her own ideas of beauty ; but it is a fault on the right side at the angular age of seventeen. She kissed Thomasina and introduced her to the two younger girls
Dora, who had red, and Lizzy, who had sandy hair-and both were freckled. Then came Dick and Ben, two small boys in pinafores, and Anne, the youngest in the school-room. Each in turn was named to the new-comer, and each stared a little harder as his or her turn came round. Thomasina's cheeks, which had been pale before, were crimson now, and she did not know how she got through her morning's work. She certainly could give no coherent account of it to Sir Richard, who was sitting on his horse at the green gate when the twelve-o'clock bell gave the signal that lessons were over. The young Windsors trooped out with riotous mirth, and Mary accompanied Thomasina to the gate, and said, with diffident smiles and blushes, that her new pupil had done very well. Sir Richard was a great potentate in her eyes, and she thought it very gracious of him to