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HOME > Short Stories > Light O' The Morning > CHAPTER XXIII. — THE BOX OF BON-BONS.
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 It occurred to Stephanotie that, as she could not wear the rose-colored dress, as she must go perforce to the Hartricks' in her dove-colored cashmere, with its very neat velvet collar and cuffs, she would at least make her entrance a little striking.  
“Why not take a box of bon-bons to Mrs. Hartrick?” she said to herself. “There's that great big new box which I have not opened yet It contains dozens of every kind of sweetmeat. I'll present it to her; she'll be pleased with the attention.”
The box was a very large one; on its lid was painted a picture of two or three cupids hovering in the air, some of them touching the shoulders of a pretty girl who was supposed to be opening a box of chocolates. There was a good deal of color and embossed writing also on the cover, and altogether it was as showy and, in Stephanotie's opinion, as handsome a thing as anybody could desire.
She walked through the village, holding the box, tied with great bunches of red ribbon, in her hand. She scorned to put a brown-paper cover over it; she would take it in all its naked glory into the midst of the Hartrick household.
On her way she met the other two girls who were also going to spend an afternoon at The Laurels. Rose and Mabel Armitage were the daughters of a neighbouring squire. They were nice girls, but conventional.
There was nothing original about either of them; but they were very much respected in the school, not only on account of their father's position—he represented the county in the House—but also because they were good, industrious, and so-called clever. The Armitages took prizes at every examination. Their French was considered very nearly Parisian in accent; their drawings were all in absolutely perfect proportions. It is true the trees in Rose's landscapes looked a little stiff; but how carefully she laid on her water-colors; how honestly she endeavored to copy her master's smallest requirements! Then Mabel played with great correctness, never for a single moment allowing a wrong note to appear; and they both sang, very prettily, simple little ballads; and they were dressed with exquisite neatness and propriety in very quiet colors—dark blues, very dark reds, pretty, neat blouses, suitable skirts. Their hair was shiny, and sat in little tight tendrils and pretty curls round their heads. They were as like as two peas—each girl had a prim little mouth with rosy lips; each girl possessed an immaculate set of white teeth; each girl had a little, straight nose and pretty, clear gray-blue eyes; their foreheads were low, their eyebrows penciled and delicately marked. They had neat little figures; they were neat in every way, neat in soul too; admirable little people, but commonplace. And, just because they were commonplace, they did not like fiery-red-haired Stephanotie; they thought Molly the essence of vulgarity; they secretly admired beautiful Nora, but thought her manners and style of conversation deplorable; and they adored Linda as a kindred spirit.
Seeing them walking on in advance, like a little pair of doves, Stephanotie quickened her steps until she came up to them.
“Hallo!” she said; “you guess where I'm off to?”
“I am sure I cannot say,” answered Rose, turning gently round.
Mabel was always Rose's echo.
“I cannot say,” she repeated.
“Well, I can guess where you're going. You're going to have a right down good time at The Laurels—guess I'm right?”
“We are going to spend an afternoon at The Laurels,” said Rose.
“An afternoon at The Laurels,” echoed Mabel.
“And so am I—that's the best of the fun,” said Stephanotie; “and I mean to give her something to remember me by.”
“Whom do you mean?” said Rose............
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