"I want us to utilize our opportunities," said Janet. "We have a few minutes all to ourselves to discuss the[Pg 7] Fancy Fair, and we fritter it away on that tiresome new girl."She had read for nearly an hour when the door of the room opened, and Miss Patience came in. Miss Patience was an excellent woman, but she took severe views of life; she emphatically believed in the young being trained; she thought well of punishments, and pined for the good old days when children were taught to make way for their elders, and not—as in the present degenerate times—to expect their elders to make way for them. Miss Patience just nodded toward Bridget, and, sitting beside a high desk, took out an account book and opened it. Miss O'Hara felt more uncomfortable than ever when Miss Patience came into the room; her book ceased to entertain her, and the walls of her prison seemed to get narrower. She fidgeted on her chair, and jumped up several times to look out of the window. There was nothing of the least interest, however, going on in the yard at that moment. Presently she beat an impatient tattoo on the glass with her fingers."You deny that she's weak," repeated Janet. "I wonder what your idea of strength is, Olive."
"We won't discuss the whys nor the wherefores; the fact remains that I do dislike her."
"How disagreeable! I can't live without flowers. I suppose papa will not expect me to stay if I don't like the place?""Yes, certainly. Let me introduce you to someone in particular. Janet May, come here, my dear."
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"Well," said Janet, "if you insist on spoiling everything, girls, you must. You know what Evelyn is."
Janet did not say any more. She bent forward, ostensibly to renew her studies, in reality to hide a jealous feeling which surged up in her heart.
"Well, Mrs. Freeman, you know how fond the children are of me, and I of them. They came to meet me, several of the little ones, and one tall, beautiful girl, whom I do not know. Perhaps they were all over-excited. They shouted a good deal, and waved branches of trees. Poor Caspar evidently could not stand it; but they really did nothing that anyone could blame them about."
Mrs. Freeman could be austere as well as kind, and Mrs. Freeman was ten times more loved than Miss Delicia.
"Is she the beautiful girl who was the ringleader? I don't think I ever saw anyone with such presence of mind. She absolutely caught me as I was flung out of the carriage. I felt her arms round me; that was why I was not hurt."