Too Long; Didn't ReadTHERE was a great deal of suppressed excitement in school during the last week in June, the cause thereof being Rhoda Stuart’s birthday party, which was to take place early in July. The amount of heart burning was incredible. Who was to be invited? That was the great question. There were some who knew they wouldn’t and some who knew they would; but there were more who were in truly horrible suspense. Everybody paid court to Emily because she was Rhoda’s dearest friend and might conceivably have some voice in the selection of guests. Jennie Strang even went as far as bluntly to offer Emily a beautiful white box with a gorgeous picture of Queen Victoria on the cover, to keep her pencils in, if she would procure her an invitation. Emily refused the bribe and said grandly that she could not interfere in such a delicate matter. Emily really did put on some airs about it. She was sure of her invitation. Rhoda had told her about the party weeks before and had talked it all over with her. It was to be a very grand affair—a birthday cake covered with pink icing and adorned with ten tall pink candles—ice-cream and oranges—and written invitations on pink, gilt-edged notepaper sent through the post-office—this last being an added touch of exclusiveness. Emily dreamed about that party day and night and had her present all ready for Rhoda—a pretty hair ribbon which Aunt Laura had brought from Shrewsbury.
On the first Sunday in July Emily found herself sitting beside Jennie Strang in Sunday School for the opening exercises. Generally she and Rhoda sat together, but now Rhoda was sitting three seats ahead with a strange little girl—a very gay and gorgeous little girl, dressed in blue silk, with a large, flower-wreathed leghorn hat on her elaborately curled hair, white lace-work stockings on her pudgy legs and a bang that came clean down to her eyes. Not all her fine feathers could make a really fine bird of her, however; she was not in the least pretty and her expression was cross and contemptuous.