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."I don't mean that sort of learning, Bridget. I mean what you acquire from books—grammar, French, music."
Ruth and Olive slept in the back part of the room. They had a cubicle each, of course, but they had not Dorothy's taste, and their little bedrooms had a dowdy effect beside hers."I am sorry for you also, my dear. I earnestly desire that you should be a good girl, for the girl is the mother of the woman, and a good girl makes that admirable and priceless treasure—a good woman by and by."As Dorothy and her companions walked through the wide, cool entrance hall, and turned down the stone passage which led to the supper room, they were quite conscious of the fact that some of the naughtiest and most adventurous imps of the lower[Pg 11] school were hovering round, hanging over banisters or hiding behind doors. A suppressed giggle of laughter proceeded so plainly from the back of one of the doors, that Dorothy could not resist stretching back her hand as she passed, and giving a playful tap on the panels with her knuckles. The suppressed laughter became dangerously audible when she did this, so in mercy she was forced to take no further notice.
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Tears rolled down her cheeks as she thought of this plan; but, in the first place, she had no idea how to manage it, and, what was a far more serious obstacle, her little sealskin purse, her father's last present, was empty.
"No, no; what nonsense you talk! What is there to be frightened about? Do go; I can't learn this difficult French poetry while you keep staring at me!"
Small girls are easily influenced, and Bridget and her tribe rushed down the avenue, shouting and whooping as they went.
"Well, let's settle to business now," said Ruth; "I'm sure I'm more than willing. Who has got a pencil and paper?"
The period at which this story begins was the middle of the summer term. There were no half-term holidays at the Court, but somehow the influence of holiday time had already got into the air. The young girls had tired themselves out with play, and the older ones lay about in hammocks, or strolled in twos or[Pg 2] threes up and down the wide gravel walk which separated the house from the gardens.
"Yes; does not a mistress always command her pupils?"