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Winding Paths

Winding Paths.
By Gertrude Page.
"So many gods, so many creeds,
So many paths that wind and wind,
And just the art of being kind
Is all the sad world needs."
WINDING PATHS
CHAPTER I
There were several interesting points about Hal Pritchard and Lorraine
Vivian, but perhaps the most striking was their friendship for each
other. From two wide-apart extremes they had somehow gravitated
together, and commenced at boarding-school a friendship which only
deepened and strengthened after their exit from the wise supervision of
the Misses Walton, and their entrance as "finished" young women into
the wide area of the world at large.
Lorraine went first. She was six years older than Hal, and under
ordinary circumstances would hardly have been at school with her at
all. As it was, she went at nineteen because she was not very strong,
and sea air was considered good for her. She was a short of
parlour-boarder, sent to study languages and accomplishments while she
inhaled the sea air of Eastgate. Why, among all the scholars, who for
the most part regarded her as a resplendent, beautifully dressed being
outside their sphere, she should have quickly developed an ardent
affection for Hal, the rough-and-ready tomboy, remained a mystery; but
far from being a passing fancy, it ripened steadily into a deep and
lasting attachment.
When Hal was fifteen, Lorraine left; and it has to be admitted that the
anxious, motherly hearts of the Misses Walton drew a deep breath of
relief, and hoped the friendship would now cease, unfed by daily
contact and daily mutual interests. But there they under-estimated the
depth of affection already in the hearts of the girls, and their
natural loyalty, which scorned a mere question of separation, and
entered into one another's interests just as eagerly as when they were
together.
Not that they, the Misses Walton, had anything actually against
Lorraine, beyond the fact that she promised a degree of beauty likely,
they felt, coupled as it was with a charming wit and a fascinating
personality, to open out some striking career for her, and possibly
become a snare and a temptation.
On the other hand, Hal was just a homely, nondescript, untidy, riotous
type of schoolgirl, with a very strong capacity for affection, and an
unmanageable predilection for scrapes and adventures, that made her
more likely to fall under the sway of Lorraine, should it promise any
chance of excitement.
And one had only to view Lorraine among the other "young ladies" of the
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