"Pretty," interrupted Janet, scorn curling her lip.Janet turned away, and a moment later reached the door of the schoolroom, where she was joined by Olive and Ruth. "Come," she said to them, and the three girls disappeared, only too glad to vent their feelings in the passage outside the schoolroom. Dorothy Collingwood lingered behind her companions. "Never mind," she said to Biddy, "it is rude of Janet to leave you, but she is sometimes a little erratic in her movements. It is a way our Janey has, and of course no one is silly enough to mind her."
The child's words were almost incoherent. Alice, who was not quite so excitable, began to pour out a queer story.
"So do I, Dorothy, if it comes to that, but Violet must be made to know her place. She is one of those little encroachers without respect of persons, who can become absolute nuisances if they are encouraged. But there, we have said enough about her. Ruth and Janet are going to sit in 'The Lookout' for a little; they want to discuss the subject of the Fancy Fair. Shall we come and join them?""Will you have some fruit?" she said coldly, laying[Pg 14] a restraining hand as she spoke on the girl's beflowered and embroidered dress.
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"Learnt something? I should rather think I have. You question me on dogs, their different breeds, and their complaints! Do you know, Mrs. Freeman, what's the best thing to do for a dog if he shows signs of distemper?"
"What do you mean, Olive?" Olive turned and looked at Janet."Never mind, it is the correct thing to do. In a matter of this kind we are nothing if we are not businesslike. Now, who is coming to interrupt us?"
"It wasn't father, it was Aunt Kathleen. She chose my outfit in Paris. Oh, I do think it's lovely. I do feel that it's hard to be crushed on every point."
"The wind dropped as if it were dead. After screeching as if it had the tongues of hundreds of Furies, it was mummer than the timidest mouse that ever crept. The Castle ceased to rock; it was the suddenest and [Pg 42]deadest calm you could possibly imagine. It was miles more frightful than the storm. Just then there came a little puff of a breeze out of the solid stone wall, and out went my candle."