Mrs. Freeman could see them as she sat in her sitting room.It would have been impossible for a much colder heart than Dorothy Collingwood's to resist her.She never came into a room without exercising in a silent, unobtrusive, very gentle way, a marked effect for good."I don't mind your kissing me, Bridget, only does not it seem a little soon—I have not known you many minutes yet?"
"Oh, if you take it up in that way," said Olive; but her words had a faint sound about them—she was a girl who was easily impressed either for good or evil.
"I am looking over my French lesson, madam," answered Janet, in her respectful tones. "It's a little more difficult than usual, and I thought I'd have a quiet half hour here, trying to master it."She sat down presently on the nearest chair and covered her face with her hands. She could only resolve on one thing—she would certainly not yield to Mrs. Freeman's request—nothing would induce her to promise to obey the rules of the school.Bridget raised her brows the tenth of an inch. The faintest shadow of surprise crossed her sweet, happy face. Then she walked down the long room, nodding and smiling to the girls.
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"I'm very sorry, Marshall," said Dorothy, "but Miss O'Hara has really been very naughty. You have heard, of course, of the carriage accident, and how nearly Miss Percival was hurt. It's kind of you to plead for Miss O'Hara, but she really does deserve rather severe punishment, and Mrs. Freeman is most kind, as well as just. I don't really see how I can interfere.""Oh, never mind about bed—I'm not the least sleepy."
There was little use, therefore, in rushing out of her prison to join her companions in their playground or on the shore.
"I don't mean that sort of learning, Bridget. I mean what you acquire from books—grammar, French, music."
Something, however, she could not tell what, restrained her from doing this. She sank back again in her chair; angry tears rose to her bright eyes, and burning spots appeared in her round cheeks.
Caspar was a sensitive horse; even Janet, who had[Pg 48] no physical fear about her, disliked the way he started, and shied sometimes at his own shadow. It was scarcely likely that he would bear the shock which all those excited children would give him.