Steps—several steps—were heard clattering up the stone stairs of the little tower, and two or three girls of the middle school, with roughly tossed heads and excited faces, burst upon the seclusion of the four sixth-form girls.A fashionable watering-place called Eastcliff was situated about a mile from Mulberry Court, the old-fashioned house, with the old-world gardens, where the schoolgirls lived. There were about fifty of them in all, and they had to confess that although Mulberry Court was undoubtedly school, yet those who lived in the house and played in the gardens, and had merry games and races on the seashore, enjoyed a specially good time which they would be glad to think of by and by.
"Well," said Janet, "if you insist on spoiling everything, girls, you must. You know what Evelyn is."
She had not passed a pleasant morning, however, and this plan scarcely commended itself to her.
An audible titter was heard down the table, and Mrs. Freeman turned somewhat red.
The door was opened, and a neatly dressed servant of the name of Marshall entered, bearing a dinner tray.Mrs. Freeman went over and drew back the curtains.
"How do you do, all of you?" she said. "Well, Janet, good-morning"; she tapped Janet's indignant back with her firm, cool hand, and dropped into her place."Now, do let us be sensible," said Janet, turning to her companions. "We have seen all that there is to be seen. However hard we guess we cannot solve the mystery. Either a new companion is coming among us, who, I have no doubt, will be as commonplace as commonplace can be, or Mrs. Freeman is receiving a young lady visitor. Supper will decide the point, and as that is not half an hour away I suppose we can exist for the present without worrying our brains any further."[Pg 23]
"Spare me, my dear. I really am in too great a hurry to hear a list of your wardrobe. Is it possible that your father sent you to school with all that heap of finery, and nothing sensible to wear?"