The school stood on the side of a hill, which faced downward to the sea. Its aspect was south, and it was sheltered from the east and west winds by a thick plantation of young trees, which looked green and fresh in the spring, and were beginning already to afford a delightful shade in hot weather."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!"
Evelyn Percival, the head girl of the school, was now between seventeen and eighteen years of age. She was a rather pale, rather plain girl; her forehead was broad and low, which gave indications of thoughtfulness more than originality; her wide open gray eyes had a singularly sweet expression; they were surrounded by dark eyelashes, and were the best features in a face which otherwise might have appeared almost insignificant.
Mrs. Freeman could not help uttering a faint, inward sigh."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."
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Dorothy went into her own little cubicle, drew her white dimity walls tight, and, standing before the window, looked out at the summer landscape.
When she said this a quick change flitted over Janet's face. She bit her lips, and, after a very brief pause, said in a voice of would-be indifference:The room was something like a drawing room, with many easy-chairs and tables. Plenty of light streamed in from the lofty windows, and fell upon knickknacks and brackets, on flowers in pots—in short, on the many little possessions which each individual girl had brought to decorate her favorite room.
Should she run away altogether? Should she walk to Eastcliff and take the next train to London, and then, trusting to chance, and to the kindness of strangers, endeavor to find her way back to the dear and loving shores of the old country, and so back again to the beloved home?
She was coming at mid-term, which in itself was rather exceptional.
She looked at her friend with a cool, critical eye.
"Well, if I must go, and if you really wish it. Come with me to my room, Dorothy. O Dolly, if you would sleep with me to-night!"