Chapter V. The First Walk
 

'What a lot of letters for you, mamma!' cried Mysie.

'Papa!' exclaimed Fergus and Primrose.

'No, it is not the right day, my dears. But here is a letter from Aunt Ada.'

'Oh!' in a different tone.

'She writes for Aunt Jane. They will come down here next Monday because Aunt Jane is wanted to address the girls at the G.F.S. festival on Tuesday.'

'Aunt Jane seems to have taken to public speaking,' said Harry. 'It would be rather a lark to hear her.'

'You may have a chance,' said Lady Merrifield, 'for here is a note from Mrs. Blackburn to ask if I will be so very kind as to let them have the festival here. They had reckoned upon Tillington Park, where they have always had it before, but they hear that all the little Tillingtons have the measles, and they don't think it safe to venture there.'

'It will be great fun!' said Gillian. 'We will have all sorts of games, only I'm afraid they will be much stupider than the Irish girls.'

'And ever so much stupider than the dear 111th children,' sighed Mysie.

'Aren't they all great big girls?' asked Valetta, disconsolately.

'I believe twelve years old is the limit,' said her mother. 'Twelve- year-old girls have plenty of play in them, Vals, haven't they, Mysie? Let me see--two hundred and thirty of them.'

'For you to feast?' asked Harry.

'Oh, no--that cost comes out of their own funds, Mrs. Blackburn takes care to tell me, and Miss Hacket will find some one in Siverfold who will provide tables and forms and crockery. I must go down and talk to Miss Hacket as soon as lessons are over. Or perhaps it would save time and trouble if I wrote and asked her to come up to luncheon and see the capabilities of the place. Why, what's the matter?' pausing at the blank looks.

'The jam, mamma--the blackberry jam!' cried Valetta.

'Well?'

'We can't do it without Gill, and she will have to be after that Miss Constance,' explained Val.

'Oh! never mind. She won't stay all the afternoon,' said Gillian, cheerfully. 'Luncheon people don't.'

'Yes, but then there will be lessons to be learnt.'

'Look here, Val,' said Gillian, 'if you and Mysie will learn your lessons for tomorrow while I'm bound to Miss Con., I'll do mine some time in the evening, and be free for the jam when she is gone.'

'The dear delicious jam!' cried Val, springing about upon her chair; and Lady Merrifield further said--

'I wonder whether Mysie and Dolores would like to take the note down. They could bring back a message by word of mouth.'

'Oh, thank you, mamma!' cried Mysie.

'Then I will write the note as soon as we have done breakfast. Don't dawdle, Fergus boy.'

'Mayn't I go?' demanded Wilfred.

'No, my dear. It is your morning with Mr. Poulter. And you must take care not to come back later than eleven, Mysie dear; I cannot have him kept waiting. Dolores, do you like to go?'

'Yes, please,' said Dolores, partly because it was at any rate gain to escape from that charity-school lesson in the morning, and partly because Valetta was looking at her in the ardent hope that she would refuse the privilege of the walk, and it therefore became valuable; but there was so little alacrity in her voice that her aunt asked her whether she were quite rested and really liked the walk, which would be only half a mile to the outskirts of the town.

Dolores hated personal inquiries beyond everything, and replied that she was quite well, and didn't mind.

So soon as she and Mysie had finished, they were sent off to get ready, while Aunt Lilias wrote her note in pencil at the corner of the table, which she never left, while Fergus and Primrose were finishing their meal; but she had to silence a storm at the 'didn't mind'--Gillian even venturing to ask how she could send one to whom it was evidently no pleasure to go. 'I think she likes it more than she shows,' said the mother, 'and she wants air, and will settle to her lessons the better for it. What's that, Val?'

'It was my turn, mamma,' said Valetta, in an injured voice.

'It will be your turn next, Val,' said her mother, cheerfully. 'Dolores comes between you and Mysie, so she must take her place accordingly. And today we grant her the privilege of the new-comer.'

Dolores would have esteemed the privilege more, if, while she was going upstairs to put on her hat, the recollection had not occurred to her of one of the victim's of an aunt's cruelty who was always made to run on errands while her favoured cousins were at their studies. Was this the beginning? Somehow, though her better sense knew this was a foolish fancy, she had a secret pleasure in pitying herself, and posing to herself as a persecuted heroine. And then she was greatly fretted to find the housemaid in her room, looking as if no one else had any business there. What was worse, she could not find her jacket. She pulled out all her drawers with fierce, noisy jerks, and then turned round on the maid, sharply demanding--

'Who has taken my jacket?'

'I'm sure I don't know, Miss Dollars. You'd best ask Mrs. Halfpenny.'

'If--' but at that moment Mysie ran in, holding the jacket in her hand. 'I saw it in the nursery,' she said, triumphantly. 'Nurse had taken it to mend! Come along. Where's your hat?'

But there was pursuit; Mrs. Halfpenny was at the door. 'Young ladies, you are not going out of the policy in that fashion.'

'Mamma sent us. Mamma wants us to take a note in a hurry. Only to Miss Hacket,' pleaded Mysie, as Mrs. Halfpenny laid violent hands on her brown Holland jacket, observing--

'My leddy never bade ye run off mair like a wild worricow than a general officer's daughter, Miss Mysie. What's that? Only Miss Hacket, do you say? You should respect yourself and them you come of mair than to show yourself to a blind beetle in an unbecoming way. 'Tis well that there's one in the house that knows what is befitting. Miss Dollars, you stand still; I must sort your necktie before you go. 'Tis all of a wisp. Miss Mysie, you tell your mamma that I should be fain to know her pleasure about Miss Dollars' frocks. She've scarce got one--coloured or mourning--that don't want altering.'

Mrs. Halfpenny always caused Dolores such extreme astonishment and awe that she obeyed her instantly, but to be turned about and tidied by an authoritative hand was extremely disagreeable to the independent young lady. Caroline had never treated her thus, being more willing to permit untidiness than to endure her temper. She only durst, after the pair were released, remonstrate with Mysie on being termed Miss Dollars.

'They can't make out your name,' said Mysie. 'I tried to teach Lois, but nurse said she had no notion of new-fangled nonsense names.'

'I'm sure Valetta and Primrose are worse.'

'Ah! but Val was born at Malta, and mamma had always loved the Grand Master La Valetta so much, and had written verses about him when she was only sixteen. And Primrose was named after the first primrose mamma had seen for twelve years--the first one Val and I had ever seen.'

'They called me Miss Mohun at home.'

'Yes, but we can't here, because of Aunt Jane.'

All this was chattered forth on the stairs before the two girls reached the dining-room, where Mysie committed the feeding of her pets to Val, and received the note, with fresh injunctions to come home by eleven, and bring word whether Miss Hacket and Miss Constance would both come to luncheon.

'Oh dear!' sighed Gillian, and there was a general groan round the table.

'It can't be helped, my dear.'

'Oh no, I know it can't,' said Gillian, resignedly.

'You see,' said Mysie. 'Yes, come along, Basto dear. You see Gill has to be--down, Basto, I say!--a young lady when-- Never mind him, Dolores, he won't hurt. When Miss Constance Hacket and--leave her alone, Basto, I say!--and she is such a goose. Not you, Dolores, but Miss Constance.'

'Oh that dog! I wish you would not take him.'

'Not take dear old Basto! Why 'tis such a treat for him to get a walk in the morning--the delight of his jolly old black heart. Isn't he a dear old fellow? and he never hurt anybody in his life! It's only setting off! He will quiet down in a minute; but I couldn't disappoint him. Could I, my old man?'

Never having lived with animals nor entered into their feelings, Dolores could not understand how a dog's pleasure could be preferred to her comfort, and felt a good deal hurt, though Basto's antics subsided as soon as they were past the inner gate shutting in the garden from the paddock, which was let out to a farmer. Mysie, however, ran on as usual with her stream of information--

'The Miss Hacket were sister or daughters or something to some old man who used to be clergyman here, and they are all married up but these two, and they've got the dearest little house you ever saw. They had a nephew in the 111th, and so they came and called on us at once. Miss Hacket is a regular old dear, but we none of us can bear Miss Constance, except that mamma says we ought to be sorry for her because she leads such a confined life. Miss Hacket and Aunt Jane always do go on so about the G.F.S. They both are branch secretaries, you know.'

'I know! Aunt Jane did bother Mrs. Sefton so that she says she will never have another of those G.F.S. girls. She says it is a society for interference.'

'Mamma likes it,' said Mysie.

'Oh! but she is only just come.'

'Yes; but she always looked after the school children at Beechcroft before she married, and she and Alethea and Phyllis had the soldiers' children up on Sunday. Alethea taught the little drummer boys, and they were so funny. I wonder who teaches them now! Gill always goes down to help Miss Hacket with her G.F.S. classes. She has one on Sunday afternoon, and one on Tuesday for sewing, and she is the only young lady in the place who can do plain needlework properly.'

'Sewing-machines can work. What the use of fussing about it!'

'They can't mend,' said Mysie. 'Besides, do you know, in the American war, all the sewing-machines in the Southern States got out of order, and as all the machinery people were in the north, the poor ladies didn't know what to do, and couldn't work without them.'

'Sewing-machines are a recent invention,' said Dolores.

'Oh! you didn't think I meant the great old War of Independence. No, I meant the war about the slaves--secession they called it.'

'That is not in the history of England,' said Dolores, as if Mysie had no business to look beyond.

'Why! of course not, when it happened in America. Papa told us about it. He read it in some paper, I think. Don't you like learning things in that way?'

'No. I don't approve of irregular unsystematic knowledge.'

Dolores has heard her mother say something of this kind, and it came into her head most opportunely as a defence of her father--for she would not for the world have confessed that he did not talk to her as Sir Jasper Merrifield seemed to have done to his children. In fact she rather despised the General for so doing.

'Oh! but it is such fun picking up things out of lesson time!' said Mysie.

'That is the Edge--,' Dolores was not sure of the word Edgeworthian, so she went on to 'system. Professor Sefton says he does not approve of harassing children with cramming them with irregular information at all sorts of times. Let play be play and lessons be lessons, he says, not mixed up together, and so Rex and Maude never learnt anything--not a letter--till they were seven years old.'

'How stupid!' cried Mysie.

'Maude's not stupid!' cried Dolores, 'nor the professor either! She's my great friend.'

'I didn't say she was stupid,' said Mysie, apologetically, 'only that it must be very stupid not to be able to read till one was seven. Could you?'

'Oh, yes. I can't remember when I couldn't read. But Maude used to play with a little girl who could read and talk French at five years old, and she died of water upon her brain.'

'Dear me! Primrose can read quite well,' said Mysie, somewhat alarmed; 'but then,' she went on in a reassured voice, 'so could all of us except Jasper and Gillian, and they felt the heat so much at Gibraltar that they were quite stupid while they were there.'

This discussion brought the two girls across the paddock out into a road with a broad, neat footpath, where numerous little children were being exercised with nurses and perambulators. At first it was bordered by fields on either side, but villas soon began to spring up, and presently the girls reached what looked like a long, low 'cottage residence,' but was really two, with a verandah along the front, and a garden divided in the middle by a paling covered with canary nasturtium shrubs. The verandah on one side was hung with a rich purple pall of the dark clematis, on the other by a Gloire de Dijon rose. There were bright flower beds, and the dormer windows over the verandah looked like smiling eyes under their deep brows of creeper- trimmed verge-board. What London-bred Dolores saw was a sight that shocked her--a lady standing unbonnetted just beyond the verandah, talking to a girl whose black hat and jacket looked what Mysie called 'very G.F.S.-y.'

The lady did not turn out to be young or beautiful. She was near middle age, and looked as if she were far too busy to be ever plump; she had a very considerable amount of nose and rather thin, dark hair, done in a fashion which, like that of her navy blue linen dress, looked perfectly antiquated to Dolores. As she saw the two girls at the gate she came down the path eagerly to welcome them.

'Ah! my dear Mysie! so kind of your dear mother! I thought I should hear from her.' And as she kissed Mysie, she added, 'And this is the new cousin. My dear, I am glad to see you here.'

Dolores thought her own dignified manner had kept off a kiss, not knowing that Miss Hacket was far too ladylike to be over-familiar, and that there was no need to put on such a forbidding look.

Mysie gave her message and note, but Miss Hacket could not give the verbal answer at once till she had consulted her sister. She was not sure whether Constance had not made an engagement to play lawn-tennis, so they must come in.

There sounded 'coo-roo-oo coo-roo-oo' in the verandah, and Mysie cried--

'Oh, the dear doves!'

Miss Hacket said she had been just feeding them when the G.F.S. girl arrived, and as Mysie came to a halt in delight at the aspect of a young one that had just crept out into public life, the sister was called to the window. She was a great deal younger and more of the present day in style than her sister, and had pensive-looking grey eyes, with a somewhat bored languid manner as she shook hands with the early visitors.

The sisters had a little consultation over the note, during which Dolores studied them, and Mysie studied the doves, longing to see the curious process of feeding the young ones.

When Miss Hacket turned back to her with the acceptance of the invitation, she thought she might wait just to help Miss Hacket to put in the corn and the sop. Meantime Miss Constance talked to Dolores.

'Did you arrive yesterday?'

'No, the day before.'

'Ah! it must be a great change to you.'

'Indeed it is.'

'This must be the dullest place in England, I think,' said Miss Constance. 'No variety, no advantages of any kind! And have not you lived in London?'

'Yes.'

'That is my ambition! I once spent six weeks in London, and it was an absolute revelation--the opening of another world. And I understand that Mr. Maurice Mohun is such a clever man, and that you saw a great deal of his friends.'

'I used,' said Dolores, thinking of those days of her mother when she was the pet and plaything of the guests, incited to say clever and pert things, which then were passed round and embellished till she neither knew them nor comprehended them.

'That is what I pine for!' exclaimed Miss Constance. 'Nobody here has any ideas. You can't conceive how borne and prejudiced every one her who is used to something better! Don't you love art needlework?'

'Maude Sefton has been working Goosey Goosey Gander on a toilet-cover.'

'Oh! how sweet! We never get any new patterns here! Do come in and see, I don't know which to take; I brought three beginnings home to choose from, and I am quite undecided.'

'Mrs. Sefton draws her own patterns,' said Dolores. 'Something she gets ideas from Lorenzo Dellman--he's an artist, you know, and a regular aesthete! He made her do a dado all sunflowers last year, but they are a little gone out now, and are very staring besides, and I think she will have some nymphs dancing among almond-trees in blue vases instead, as soon as she has designed it.'

'Isn't that lovely! Oh! what would I not give for such opportunities? Do let me have your opinion.'

So Dolores went in with her, and looked at three patterns, one of tall daisies; another of odd-looking doves, one on each side of a red Etruscan vase, where the water must have been as much out of their reach as that in the pitcher was beyond the crow's; and a third, of Little Bo Peep. Having given her opinion in favour of Bo Peep, she was taken upstairs to inspect the young lady's store of crewels, and choose the colours.

Dolores neither knew nor cared anything about fancy work, but to be treated as an authority was quite soothing, and she fully believed that the mere glimpses she had had of Mrs. Sefton's work and the shop windows, enabled her to give great enlightenment to this poor country mouse; so she gladly went to the bedroom, with a muslin-worked toilet- cover, embroidered curtains, plates fastened against the wall, and table all over knick-knacks, which Miss Constance called her little den, where she could study beauty after her own bent, while her sister Mary was wholly engrossed with the useful, and could endure nothing but the prose of the last century.

Meantime Mysie had forgotten how time flew in her belief that in one minute more the young doves would want to be fed, and then in amusement at seeing them pursue their parents with low squeaks and flutterings, watching, too, the airs and graces, bowing, cooing, and laughing of the old ones. When at last she was startled by hearing eleven struck, there had to be a great hunt for Dolores in the drawing-room and garden, and when at last Miss Hacket's calls for her sister brought the tow downstairs more than ten minutes had passed! Mysie was too much dismayed, and in too great a hurry to do anything but cry, 'Come along, Dolores,' and set off at such a gallop as to scandalize the Londoner, even when Mysie recollected that it was too public a place for running, and slackened her pace. Dolores was soon gasping, and with a stitch in her side. Mysie would have exclaimed, 'What were you doing with Miss Constance?' but breathlessness happily prevented it. The way across the paddock seemed endless, and Mysie was chafed at having to hold back for her companion, who panted in distress, leant against a tree, declared she could not go on, she did not care, and then when, Mysie set off running, was seized with fright at being left alone in this vast unknown space, cried after her and made a rush, soon ending in sobbing breath.

At last they were at the door, and Wilfred just coming out of the dining-room greeted them with, 'A quarter to twelve. Won't you catch it? Oh my!'

'Are they come?' said Lady Merrifield, looking out of the schoolroom. 'My dear children! Did Miss Hacket keep you?'

'No, mamma,' gasped Mysie. 'At least it was my fault for watching the doves.'

'Ah! Mysie, I must not send you on a message next time. Mr. Poulter has been waiting these twenty minutes, and I am afraid you are not fit to take a lesson now. Dolores looks quite done up! I shall send you both to lie down on your beds and learn your poetry for an hour. And you must write an apology to Mr. Poulter this afternoon. No, don't go in now. Go up at once, Gillian shall bring your books. Does Miss Hacket come?'

'Yes, mamma,' said Mysie humbly, looking at Dolores all the time. She was too generous to say that part of the delay had been caused by looking for her cousin, and having to adapt her pace to the slower one, but she decidedly expected the avowal from Dolores, and thought it mean not to make it. 'And, oh, the jam!' she mourned as she went upstairs. While, on the other hand, Dolores considered what she called 'being sent to bed' an unmerited and unjust sentence given without a hearing; when their tardiness had been all Mysie's fault, not hers. She had no notion that her aunt only sent them to lie down, because they looked heated, tired, and spent, and was really letting them off their morning's lessons. It was a pity that she felt too forlorn and sullen even to complain when Gillian brought up Macaulay's 'Armada' for her to learn the first twelve lines, or she might have come to an understanding, but all that was elicited from her was a glum 'No,' when asked if she knew it already. Gillian told her not to keep her dusty boots on the bed, and she vouchsafed no answer, for she did not consider Gillian her mistress, though, after she was left to herself, she found them so tight and hot that she took them off. Then she looked over the verses rather contemptuously--she who always learnt German poetry; and she had a great mind to assert her independence by getting off the bed, and writing a letter to Maude Sefton, describing the narrow stupidity of the whole family, and how her aunt, without hearing her, had send her to be for Mysie's fault. However she felt so shaky and tired that she thought she had better rest a little first, and somehow she fell fast asleep, and was only awakened by the gong. She jumped up in haste, recollecting that the delightful sympathizing Miss Constance was coming to luncheon, and set her hair and dress to rights eagerly, observing, however, to herself, that her horrid aunt was quite capable of imprisoning her all the time for not having learnt that stupid poetry.

She hesitated a little where to go when she reached the hall, but the schoolroom door was open, and she heard a mournful voice concluding with a gasp--

        'Our glorious semper eadem, the banner of our pride.'

And Miss Vincent saying, 'Now, my dear, go and wash your face, and try not to be such a dismal spectacle.'

And then Mysie came out, with heavy eyes and a mottled face, showing that she had been crying all the time she had been learning, over her own fault certainly, but likewise over mamma's displeasure and Dolly's shabbiness.

'Well, Dora,' said Miss Vincent, 'have you come to repeat your poetry?'

'No,' said Dolores. 'I went to sleep instead.'

'Oh! I'm glad of that. I wish poor Mysie had done the same. I believe it was what Lady Merrifield intended, you both looked so knocked up.'

Dolores cleared up a little at this, especially as Miss Vincent was no relation, and she thought it a good time to make her protest against mere English.

'Oh!' she said. 'I supposed that was the reason she gave me such a stupid, childish, sing-song nursery rhyme to learn. I can say lots of Schiller and some Goethe.'

'I advise you not to let any one hear you call Lord Macaulay's poem a nursery rhyme, or it might never be forgotten,' said Miss Vincent gaily. Then seeing the cloud return to Dolores's face, she added, 'You have been brought forward in German, I see. We must try to bring your knowledge of English literature up to be even with it.'

Dolores liked this better than anything she had yet heard, chiefly because she had learnt from her books that governesses were not uniformly so cruel as aunts. And besides, she felt that she had been spared a public humiliation.

By this time the guests were ringing at the door, and Miss Vincent, with her had on, only waiting till their entrance was made to depart. Dolores asked whether to go into the drawing-room, and was told that Lady Merrifield preferred that the children should only appear in the dining-room on the sound of the gong, which was not long in being heard.

The Merrifields were trained not to chatter when there was company at table, besides Mysie and Val were in low spirits about the chance of the blackberry cookery. Miss Hacket sat on one side of Lady Merrifield, and talked about what associates had answered her letters, and what villages would send contingents of girls, and it sounded very dull to the young people. Miss Constance was next to Hal. She looked amiable and sympathetic at Dolores on the opposite side of the table, but discussed lawn-tennis tournaments with her neighbour, which was quite as little interesting to the general public as was the G.F.S. However, as soon as Primrose had said grace, Lady Merrifield proposed to take Miss Hacket down to the stable-yard; and the whole train followed excepting the two girls, who trusted Hal to see whether their pets would suffer inconvenience. However it soon was made evident to Gillian that she was not wanted, and that Dolores and Constance had no notion of wandering about the paved courts and bare coach-houses, among the dogs and cats, guinea-pigs, and fowls. Indeed, Constance, who was at least seven years older than Gillian, and a full-blown young lady, dismissed her by saying 'that she was going to see Miss Mohun's books.'

'Oh, certainly,' said Gillian, in a voice as though she were rather surprised, though much relieved.

So off the friends went together--for of course they were to be friends. The Miss Mohun had been uttered in a tone that clearly meant to be asked to drop it, so they were to be Dolores and Constance henceforth, if not Dolly and Cons. Dolores was such a lovely name that Constance could not mangle it, and was sure there was some reason for it. The girl had, in fact, been named after a Spanish lady, whom her mother had known and admired in early girlhood, and to whom she had made a promise of naming her first daughter after her. No doubt Dolores did not know that Mrs. Mohun had regretted the childish promise which she had felt bound to keep in spite of her husband's dislike to the name, which he declared would be a misfortune to the child.

Dolores was really proud of its peculiarity, and delighted to have any one to sympathize with her, in that and a great deal besides, which she communicated to her new friend in the window-seat of her room. When the two ladies went home, Constance told her sister that 'dear little Dolores was a remarkable character, sadly misunderstood among those common-place people, the Merrifields, and unjustly used, too, and she should do her best for her!'

Meantime Gillian, finding herself not wanted, had repaired to the schoolroom.

'Oh, it is of no use,' sighed Mysie, disconsolately. 'I've ever so much morning's work to make up, too. And I never shall! I've muzzled my head!'

By which remarkable expression Mysie signified that fatigue, crying, and dinner had made her brains dull and heavy; but Gillian was a sensible elder sister.

'Don't try your sum yet, then,' she said. 'Practise your scales for half an hour, while I do my algebra, and then we'll go over your German verbs together. I'll tell Miss Vincent, and she wont' mind, and I think mamma will be pleased if you try.'

Gillian was too much used to noises not to be able to work an equation, and prepare her Virgil, to the sound of scales, and Mysie was a good deal restored by them and by hope.

So when at length Constance had been summoned by her sister, who tore herself away from the arrangements, being bound to five-o'clock tea elsewhere, Mysie was discovered with a face still rather woe-begone, but hopeful and persevering, and though there still was a 'bill of parcels' where 11 and 3/4 lbs. of mutton at 13 and 1/2d. per lb. refused to come right, Lady Merrifield kissed her, said she had been a diligent child, and sent her off prancing in bliss to the old 'still- room' stove, where they were allowed a fire, basins, spoons, and strainers, and where the sugar lay in a snowy heap, and the blackberries in a sanguine pile.

'There's partiality!' thought Dolores, and scowled, as she stood at the front door still gazing after Constance.

'Won't you come, Dolly?' said Mysie. 'Or haven't you learnt your lessons?'

'No,' said Dolly, making one answer serve for both questions.

'Oh! then you can't. Shall I ask mamma to let you off?'

'No, I don't care. I don't like messes! And what's the use if you haven't a cookery class?'

'It's such fun,' said Val.

'And our sisters did go to a cookery class at Dublin and taught Gill,' added Mysie.

'But if you haven't done your lessons, you can't go,' said Valetta decidedly.

Off they went, and Lady Merrifield presently crossed the hall, and saw Dolores' attitude.

'My dear, are you waiting to say those verses?' she said kindly.

'I hadn't time to learn them, I went to sleep,' said Dolores.

'A very good thing too, my dear. Suppose we go over them together.'

Aunt Lilias took the unwilling hand, led Dolores into the schoolroom, and for half an hour she went over the verses with her, explaining what was new to the girl, and vividly describing the agitation of Plymouth, and the flocks of people thronging in. 'I must show her that I will be minded, but I will make it pleasant to her, poor child,' she thought.

And it could not have been otherwise than pleasant to her, but that she was reflecting all this time that she was being punished while Mysie was enjoying herself. Therefore she put the lid on her intellect, and was inconceivably stupid.