"My dear," she said, "I cannot grant your request. You have been sent to me by your father. He wishes you to stay here as long as you are well in body. You are quite well, Bridget; you must therefore make up your mind, whether you like school or whether you hate it, to remain here until the end of the term."All the other girls in the school tried to be good when Evelyn was by, not because she would reproach them, but because she had a certain way about her which made goodness so attractive that they were forced to follow it.
"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?"
"I feel quite well," replied Evelyn, "quite well, and disinclined to stay in bed. I want to get up and see all my friends. You don't know how I have been looking forward to this."
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.Miss Patience had a thin voice, and her words fell like tiny drops of ice on the girl's excited hearts. They followed their teachers with a certain sense of flatness, and with very little desire to attend to French verbs and German exercises.There are times in life when all one's preconceived ideas are completely upset and altered. We looked at the world from a certain point of view. From that special angle of our own it showed in gold and rose color and blue. A day came when we were forced to change our vantage ground, and on that day we for the first time perceived the grays and the blacks of that same old world—it ceased to smile on us, it ceased to pet us—it ceased to say to us, "I was made to render your life beautiful, I was made to minister to every selfish desire of yours; I am your slave, you are my mistress; do with me what you will."
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"How disagreeable! I can't live without flowers. I suppose papa will not expect me to stay if I don't like the place?"
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."Spare me, my dear. I really am in too great a hurry to hear a list of your wardrobe. Is it possible that your father sent you to school with all that heap of finery, and nothing sensible to wear?"There was a movement of chairs, and a general rising.
"I believe I am more frightened than hurt," said Miss Percival, struggling to sit up, and smiling at Mrs. Freeman, "I'm so awfully sorry that I've lost my[Pg 51] nerve. Where am I? what has happened? I only remember Caspar turning right round and looking at me, and some people shouting, and then the carriage went over, and I cannot recall anything more. But I don't think—no—I am sure I am not seriously hurt.""As I was saying," began Janet——
"Just play the piece over to me," she said to her master. "I'll do it if you play it over. Yes, that's it—tum, tum, tummy, tum, tum. Oughtn't you to crash the air out a bit there? I think you ought. Yes, that's it—isn't it lovely? Now let me try."
"Why, Dorothy Collingwood; she has gone over to the ranks of the enemy."