The girls took their places at the table—grace was said, and the meal began.
They were both undressing when she entered the room this evening, but the moment she appeared they rushed to her and began an eager torrent of words.
"Don't do that, Bridget," said Miss Patience; "you are disturbing me."
"I know we've all been awfully naughty, but we didn't think Caspar would mind the boughs. He turned sharp round and something happened to the wheels of the carriage—and—and—oh, Mrs. Freeman, do come. I think Evelyn must be dead, she's lying so still.""Now, Marshall, what is it? How fussy and important you look!"Mrs. Freeman went up to her, and took her hand. "My dear," she said, "I must make you feel my authority. I do this with great pain, for I know you have not had the advantage of the training which many of the girls who live here have received. I would treat you with kindness, Bridget, but you won't receive my kindness. Now I must be severe, but for your good. Until you promise to obey the rules of the school, you must not join your schoolfellows either at work or play. My sister Patience will allow you to sit with her in her sitting room, and your meals will be brought to you there. The length of your punishment rests with yourself, my dear."
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She was beginning to collect her somewhat scattered thoughts, when the door was opened suddenly, and, to her surprise, Mrs. Freeman came into the room."Don't you hear the clock?" exclaimed Dorothy, unconscious relief coming into her tones.
"Janet May. This is the schoolroom where the[Pg 16] sixth form girls do their lessons. We have a desk each, of course. That room inside there is for the fifth form. I wonder which you will belong to? How old are you?"
Miss Collingwood was turning away, when her mistress stretched out her hand and drew her back.