"No. You are to take off that unsuitable afternoon costume you are now wearing, and put on a neat print dress for your morning work."But plain as Evelyn undoubtedly was, no one who knew her long ever remarked about her appearance, or gave a second thought to the fact that she could lay small claim to physical beauty."I don't hear any sound whatever, Mrs. Freeman," she said, "but please don't be alarmed; Evelyn's train may have been late."
"But Mrs. Freeman said——" she began.
"Look, dear," said the governess. "What is that distant speck? I am so terribly near-sighted that I cannot make out whether it is a carriage or cart of some sort."[Pg 43]"Oh! hurrah, hurrah, hurrah! What will my dear dad say when I tell him that? Biddy O'Hara seventeen! Don't I wish I were! Oh, the lovely balls I'd be going to if those were my years! Now, another guess. It's your turn now—you, little brown one there—I haven't caught your name, darling. Is it Anne or Mary? Most girls are called either Anne or Mary."
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"What does Janet mean?" Bridget would whisper to her nearest companion. "Is she saying something awfully clever? I'm sorry that I'm stupid—I don't quite catch her meaning."
"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."The girls were leaving the dining room while these thoughts were flashing through Marshall's mind. Dorothy and Janet May were walking side by side.
"Change my dress! Now I really don't understand you. Am I to come down in my dressing-gown?""It's most mournful to see her, poor dear!" she muttered. "She's fat and strong and hearty, but I know by the shape of her mouth that she's that obstinate she won't touch any food, and she won't give in to obey Mrs. Freeman, not if it's ever so. I do pity her, poor dear, and it aint only for the sake of the things she gives me. Now let me see, aint there anyone I can speak to about her? Oh, there's Miss Dorothy Collingwood, she aint quite so 'aughty as the other young ladies; I think I will try her, and see ef she couldn't bring the poor dear to see reason.""Well, I'm here," she said; "what is it?" She still used that half-mocking, indifferent voice.
"I can't eat, Marshall," she said. "I'm treated shamefully, and the very nicest dinner wouldn't tempt me. You can take it away, for I can't possibly touch a morsel. Oh, dear! oh, dear! how I do wish I were at home again! What a horrid, horrid sort of place school is!"
"Let me go," said the head mistress.
"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."