She leant back, therefore, in her chair and reflected with a sad sort of pleasure on the sorrow which her father would feel when he learnt that she had almost died of hunger and exhaustion at this cruel school.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.
There was little use, therefore, in rushing out of her prison to join her companions in their playground or on the shore.
"I'd punish her very severely," said Miss Patience. "I am sure punishment is what she wants. She ought to be broken in."
Mrs. Freeman was very particular with regard to tidiness, and the condition of this very pretty room filled her with grave displeasure. The rules with regard to tidy rooms, neatly kept drawers, a place for everything and everything in its place, were most stringent at Mulberry Court, but up to the present rules mattered nothing at all to Bridget O'Hara.
"The dogs?" asked Dorothy, interested in spite of herself.
Mrs. Freeman could scarcely restrain her impatience.
"I don't mean that sort of learning, Bridget. I mean what you acquire from books—grammar, French, music."