left her in safety, and saw for a moment her pupils—two nice little girls of eight and ten years old.
Alice was taking off her bonnet in the chamber assigned her when Mrs. Preen entered it.
"We shall have a few friends with us this evening, Miss Raynor," she said. "It may give you a little pleasure to come to the drawing-room and join them."
"Oh, thank you," said Alice, her face beaming at the unexpected, and, with her, very rare treat. "If I can—if my boxes arrive. They were sent off this morning by the carrier."
The boxes arrived. Poor Alice might have looked almost as well had they been delayed, for her one best dress was an old black silk. Prettily made for evening wear, it is true; but its white lace and ribbon trimmings could not conceal the fact that the silk itself was worn and shabby.
The few friends consisted of at least thirty people,