"I'd punish her very severely," said Miss Patience. "I am sure punishment is what she wants. She ought to be broken in."Olive looked at her steadily."You were not miserable yesterday."The smaller girls chatted volubly about the matter, and little Violet Temple, aged ten, and of course one of the small girls, so far forgot herself as to run up to[Pg 3] Dorothy Collingwood, clasp her hand affectionately round the tall girl's arm, and whisper in her impetuous, eager way:
"Lost whom?" answered Janet in her tart voice.
"He will expect you to stay until the end of the term."
"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.""Are you coming, Dorothy?" called Janet May from the end of the passage.
"No fruit, thank you. Oh, what a lovely ring you have on! It's a ruby, isn't it? My poor mother—she died when I was only three—had some splendid rubies—they are to be mine when I am grown up. Papa is keeping them for me in the County Bank. You always keep your valuables in the Bank in Ireland, you know—that's on account of the Land Leaguers.""My dear, you have been ill, which accounts for your nervousness. But in any case a person with the stoutest nerves may be pardoned for fainting if she is flung out of a carriage. I cannot imagine how you escaped as you have done.""Now, my dear child, will you come into the house with me? I ought to be in the schoolroom now."
"Go on; tell us quickly what you did with the candle, Biddy!" cried little Violet, pulling her new friend by the arm."Yes, certainly. Let me introduce you to someone in particular. Janet May, come here, my dear."
"Let me go," said the head mistress.
Uncharitable talk about others ceased when Evelyn drew near. Selfishness slunk away ashamed.
"Good gracious, why, that's weeks off! I can't live without flowers for weeks! Look here, Mrs. Freeman; is there not to be an exception made for me? Papa said, when I was coming here, that my happiness was to be the first thing considered. Don't you agree with him? Don't you wish me to be very, very happy?"