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¡¡¡¡James was looking fat and strong, because for the last fortnight Irene had not taken the slightest notice of him. The other servants were becoming happy once more. They all worshiped Rosamund; and, truth to tell, Rosamund could not but enjoy her meed of popularity. Still, to-day she was feeling rather nervous. Nevertheless, she was quite determined to carry out her scheme.
"I was frightened," whispered Agnes. "I suppose I am a coward."
"She didn't want you to, did she?" said Irene, with sudden fierceness.
The little girl turned crimson. She put the bread-and-jam upon her plate, but evidently did not intend to eat it. Irene's face was changing color from moment to moment. She liked Maud; Alice, Mary, Ivy, and Jasmine were as nothing to her. Bertha was nowhere to be seen, and where was "Cartery dear"? That one glimpse she had caught of the terrified woman, who had disappeared like a flash into the house, had whetted Irene's desire to behold her again. Accordingly, when Rosamund's back was turned she slipped away toward the house. In a moment she was in the house, and in another moment she had climbed the stairs. Compared to The Follies, the Rectory was small, although it was really quite a large house. It did not take long for Irene to peep into each empty bedroom, until at last she found one occupied. It was occupied by a woman who was being devotedly attended to by Bertha Singleton. Bertha was bathing her head with aromatic vinegar, and soothing her with loving words. But the next moment the poor woman uttered a cry, for Irene herself was in the room.
The girls walked about for some little time together, and by-and-by there came the sound of wheels, and they knew that the travelers had arrived.