30. CHAPTER THIRTY
Mrs. Chester's fair was so very elegant and select that it
was considered a great honor by the young ladies of the neighborhood
to be invited to take a table, and everyone was much interest
in the matter. Amy was asked, but Jo was not, which was
fortunate for all parties, as her elbows were decidedly
akimbo at this period of her life, and it took a good many hard
knocks to teach her how to get on easily. The `haughty, uninteresting
creature' was let severely alone, but Amy's talent and taste were duly
complimented by the offer of the art table, and she exerted herself
to prepare and secure appropriate and valuable contributions to it.
Everything went on smoothly till the day before the fair
opened, then there occurred one of the little skirmishes which
it is almost impossible to avoid, when some five-and-twenty
women, old and young, with all their private piques and prejudices,
try to work together.
May Chester was rather jealous of Amy because the latter
was a greater favorite than herself, and just at this time
several trifling circumstances occurred to increase the feeling.
Amy's dainty pen-and-ink work entirely eclipsed May's painted
vases--that was one thorn. Then the all conquering Tudor had
danced four times with Amy at a late party and only once with
May--that was thorn number two. But the chief grievance that
rankled in her soul, and gave an excuse for her unfriendly conduct,
was a rumor which some obliging gossip had whispered to
her, that the March girls had made fun of her at the Lambs'.
All the blame of this should have fallen upon Jo, for her
naughty imitation had been too lifelike to escape detection,
and the frolicsome Lambs had permitted the joke to escape. No
hint of this had reached the culprits, however, and Amy's dismay
can be imagined, when, the very evening before the fair, as she
was putting the last touches to her pretty table, Mrs. Chester,
who, of course, resented the supposed ridicule of her daughter,
said, in a bland tone, but with a cold look...
"I find, dear, that there is some feeling among the young
ladies about my giving this table to anyone but my girls. As
this is the most prominent, and some say the most attractive
table of all, and they are the chief getters-up of the fair, it
is thought best for them to take this place. I'm sorry, but I
know you are too sincerely interested in the cause to mind a
little personal disappointment, and you shall have another table
if you like."