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[1044] always devising means to break in upon it. She had a taste—which would have seemed ludicrous to her mates, if they had not felt some awe of her, from the touch of genius and power that never left her—for costume and fancy dresses. There was always some sash twisted about her, some drapery, something odd in the arrangement of her hair and dress; so that the methodical preceptress dared not let her go out without a careful scrutiny and remodelling, whose soberizing effects generally disappeared the moment she was in the free air.

At last a vent was assured for her in private theatricals. Play followed play, and in these and the rehearsals, she found entertainment congenial with her. The principal parts, as a matter of course, fell to her lot; most of the good suggestions and arrangements came from her; and, for a time, she ruled mostly, and shone triumphant.

During these performances, the girls had heightened their bloom with artificial red; this was delightful to them, it was something so out of the way. But Mariana, after the plays were over, kept her carmine saucer on the dressing-table, and put on her blushes, regularly as the morning. When stared and jeered at, she at first said she did it because she thought it made her look pretty; but, after a while, she became petulant about it,— would make no reply to any joke, but merely kept up the habit.

This irritated the girls, as all eccentricity does the world in general, more than vice or malignity. They talked it over among themselves till they were wrought up to a desire of punishing, once for all, this sometimes amusing, but so often provoking non-conformist. And having obtained leave of the mistress, they laid with

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