"You remain here, Bridget," she repeated, "until you have promised to obey the rules of the school. No longer and no shorter will be your term of punishment. It remains altogether with yourself how soon you are liberated.""Nothing," replied Janet. "I—I—shall I run out to the front, Mrs. Freeman, and listen if I can hear the carriage? You can hear it a very long way off from the brow of the hill."She did not attempt to rise to her feet, however, and Mrs. Freeman was far too much absorbed to take any further notice of her.Miss Patience had a thin voice, and her words fell like tiny drops of ice on the girl's excited hearts. They followed their teachers with a certain sense of flatness, and with very little desire to attend to French verbs and German exercises.
"Now, Biddy, go on, Biddy!" exclaimed the children. "We love ghost stories, so do tell us more about the candle."
Bridget's face turned very white. She looked wildly toward the door, then at the window."But your castle isn't half a mile big," said Katie, another small girl. "And you did say your father lived there with you, and, of course, there must have been some servants."Notwithstanding her vehement words, some decided pangs of hunger seized her as she saw the tempting food, She remembered, however, that in the old novels heroines in distress had never any appetite, and she resolved to die rather than touch food while she was treated in so disgraceful a manner.
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Ruth and Olive slept in the back part of the room. They had a cubicle each, of course, but they had not Dorothy's taste, and their little bedrooms had a dowdy effect beside hers."How solemnly you speak," said Bridget, tears [Pg 32]coming slowly up and filling her eyes. "Is that a sermon? It makes me feel as if someone were walking over my grave. Why do you say things of that sort? I'm superstitious, you know. I'm very easily impressed. You oughtn't to do it—you oughtn't to frighten a stranger when she has just come over to your hard, cold sort of country."
Janet was the heart and soul of everything. She was a girl with a great deal of independence of character; she was not destitute of ambition—she was remarkable for common sense—she was sharp in her manner, downright in her words, and capable, painstaking, and energetic in all she did.
"What?" said Bridget, coloring high. "Do you mean seriously to tell me that I—I am not to pick flowers? I think I must have heard you wrong! Please say it again!"