"No, I can't do that; we have to obey rules at school, and one of our strictest rules is that no girl is to leave her own bedroom without special permission.""No!" said Bridget. "She says they aren't good for you, so you shan't have them. Let's think of some more fun. Who's that new girl, who, you say, is going to arrive to-night?""Let me go," said the head mistress.
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.
"I don't agree with you," answered Olive. "Strength shows itself in many forms. Miss O'Hara is pretty."
"I shall do nothing to-night," said Mrs. Freeman. "But to-morrow, after morning school, I must speak to Bridget. Her conduct during that interview will more or less decide what steps I must take."She was in every sense of the word an untamed creature; she was like a wild bird who had just been caught and put into a cage.There was a movement of chairs, and a general rising.
Olive Moore belonged to the toadying faction in the school. Toadies, however, can be useful, and Janet was by no means above making use of Olive in case of need.In consequence she was popular, with that mild sort of popularity which is bestowed upon the people who are all patience and have no faculty for inspiring fear."People will like you here too," she said. "I am certain you are very good-natured; come and let me[Pg 19] show you some of our snug little arrangements in the common room, and then I think it will be time for bed."
"Well, let's settle to business now," said Ruth; "I'm sure I'm more than willing. Who has got a pencil and paper?"
On this particular day the world ceases to speak in those gentle and submissive tones. With all its grays and its blacks turned full in view, it says: "You are only an atom; there are millions of other human beings to share my good things as well as my evil. After all, I am not your slave, but your mistress; I have made laws, and you have got to obey them. Up to the present I have treated you as a baby, but now I am going to show you what life really means."