Page:A Girl of the Limberlost.djvu/29
ELNORA GOES TO HIGH SCHOOL
ly and distinctly, "Elnora Cornstock," called the professor.
The dazed girl stared at the board. One tiny curl added to the top of the first curve of the m in her name had transformed it from a good old English patronymic that any girl might bear proudly, to Cornstock. Elnora stared speechless. When and how did it happen? She could feel the wave of smothered laughter in the air around her. A rush of anger turned her face scarlet and her soul sick. A hot answer was on her lips. The voice of the professor addressed her straightly.
"This proposition seems to be beautifully demonstrated. Miss Cornstalk," he said. "Surely, you can tell us how you did it."
That word of praise saved her. She could do good work. They might wear their pretty clothes, have their friends and make life a greater misery than it ever before had been for her, but not one of them should do better work or be more womanly. That lay with her. She was tall, straight, and handsome as she arose.
"Of course, I can explain my work," she said in natural tones. "What I can't explain is how I happened to be so stupid as to make a mistake in writing my own name, I must have been a little nervous. Please, excuse me."
She went to the board, swept off the signature with one stroke, then without a tremor she rewrote it clearly. "My name is Comstock," she said distinctly. She returned to her seat and following the formula used by the others made her first high school recitation.