When fourteen-year-old Aldred Laurence becomes the new girl at Birkwood Grange she determines to win popularity at any costs and makes friends with Mabel Farrington who has a great following partly because of her appealing personality, and partly because of her impeccable family connections. Through a mistake, Aldred is credited with a brave deed which she has not performed, and fearful of losing her friendship with Mabel, she does not own up. Maintaining her reputation involves Aldred in many awkward complications. How she is led through her friendship to realise that honour is worth more than popularity, and how in the end she retrieves her character, is the purpose of this chronicle.
Keith, after an interval of silence. "Here's Mr. Bowden himself sauntering down the field in search of a subject."
Aldred looked round and waved her hand to a tall, grey-haired gentleman, who, armed with a sketchbook, appeared to be jotting down the outlines of some of the corn stooks. On seeing her smiling face he came at once in her direction, and stopped critically behind her easel.
Mr. Bowden was an artist of considerable repute; he was a friend of their father's, and always had a pleasant word for Aldred when he visited at the house. Therefore she awaited his verdict with some anxiety.
"Very good, Aldred! I had heard you were fond of drawing, though I did not know you could do so well as this. But, my dear child, it's full of faults, all the same. The perspective of the front of the house is completely wrong."
"I'm afraid I don't know anything about perspective," pleaded Aldred. "I just drew it as I thought it looked. The cottage is so pretty, I felt I simply must paint it."