There was a plaintive note in the girl's voice, a wistful expression in her eyes, which went straight to Dorothy's kind heart."You can please yourself about that," said Miss Patience, in her calmest voice. She left the room, closing the door behind her."I think you must mean Dorothy Collingwood," said Janet in her clear, cold English voice. "May I ask if you have ever been at school before, Miss O'Hara?"
"Don't you hear the clock?" exclaimed Dorothy, unconscious relief coming into her tones.
Olive left the room with slow, unwilling footsteps, and Janet bent her head over the copy of Molière she was studying.
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."I don't know how I can, Mrs. Freeman. I said at once, when I came to school and saw what kind of place it was, that I wouldn't obey the rules. They were so tiresome and silly; I didn't see the use of them."It is not an easy matter to break in a wild colt, and this was the process which had now to take place with regard to the new girl, whose eccentricities and daring, whose curious mixture of ignorance and knowledge, of affectionate sympathy and careless levity, made her at once the adored and detested of her companions."I'm very busy, Olive; I wish you'd go away!"
"Yes, in one minute, Janet! I don't know what I'm to do, Marshall," continued Dorothy. "I should not venture to speak to Mrs. Freeman on the subject; she would be very, very angry."She stood wavering with her own conscience. Caspar was nervous, but he was not vicious.
"I believe I am more frightened than hurt," said Miss Percival, struggling to sit up, and smiling at Mrs. Freeman, "I'm so awfully sorry that I've lost my[Pg 51] nerve. Where am I? what has happened? I only remember Caspar turning right round and looking at me, and some people shouting, and then the carriage went over, and I cannot recall anything more. But I don't think—no—I am sure I am not seriously hurt."
"What is that?"
"No, Bridget, you cannot. You have been sent here to be under my care, and you must remain with me at least until the end of the term."