She looked at the merry group on the lawn, and a desire to join them, even though of course she knew she was in no sense one of them, came over her.
She saw the wild landscape, the steep gravel path[Pg 26] which overhung the lake, the old squire with his white hair, and tall but slightly bent figure, pacing up and down, smoking his pipe and surrounded by his dogs. Dorothy fancied how, on most summer evenings, Bridget, impetuous, eager, and beautiful, walked by his side. She wondered how he had brought himself to part with her. She gave a little sigh as she shut the picture away from her mind, and as she laid her head on her pillow, she resolved to be very kind to the new girl.
If Dorothy chose to take the new girl's part, she supposed there was something in her, and would continue to suppose so until she had a conversation with Janet, or anyone else, who happened to have diametrically opposite opinions to Dorothy Collingwood.
As she was approaching the house she was met by Miss Delicia, who stopped to speak kindly to her.
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A story book, belonging to the school library, happened to be lying on a chair close to her own. She took it up, opened it, and began to read. The tale was sufficiently interesting to cause her to forget her troubles.
"I think I understand you, Dorothy," said Mrs. Freeman. "Kiss me!"
Oh, yes, she ought to tell; and yet—and yet——
"I've had enough," she said, nodding to Mrs. Freeman in her bright way. "I'm going out into the garden now, to pick some roses."
Should she run away altogether? Should she walk to Eastcliff and take the next train to London, and then, trusting to chance, and to the kindness of strangers, endeavor to find her way back to the dear and loving shores of the old country, and so back again to the beloved home?