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."
"I'm here, Dolly," she said, in her rather wistful manner.
"Hark! Stop talking!" said Mrs. Freeman.
Janet and Olive Moore were returning slowly to the house after a vigorous game of tennis. They stopped to look down at the group who surrounded Dorothy.[Pg 59]
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"Oh, if you take it up in that way," said Olive; but her words had a faint sound about them—she was a girl who was easily impressed either for good or evil."Is she? I love her—she is a sweet darling! And you really want me to love you, Mrs. Freeman? Well, then, I will. Take a hug now—there, that's comfortable."
"I don't mean that sort of learning, Bridget. I mean what you acquire from books—grammar, French, music."
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.
She entered the room, then, in a long white embroidered dress, looped up here, there, and everywhere with sky-blue ribbons. It was a charming toilet, and most becoming to its wearer, but absolutely unsuitable for schoolroom work.