'I must change my dress, and my box hasn't come up from the station yet.'
'You can tuck your dress up, and Margaret Gale will lend you her apron.'
'What you've got on don't look as if it could come to much damage. Come, now, set to.'
The housemaids burst into loud laughter, and then a sullen look of dogged obstinacy passed over and settled on Esther's face, even to the point of visibly darkening the white and rose complexion.
ESTHER lay in a low, narrow iron bed, pushed close against the wall in the full glare of the sun, staring half awake, her eyes open but still dim with dreams. One end of the room that she had awakened in was under the roof; a lean-to; and through a broad, single pane the early sunlight fell across a wall papered with blue and white flowers. On the wall were two pictures--a girl with a basket of flowers, the coloured supplement of an illustrated newspaper, an old and dilapidated last-century print, and there were photographs of the Gale family in Sunday clothes on the chimney-piece and the green vases that Sarah had given Margaret on her birthday.
It was not yet time to get up, and Esther raised her arms as if to cross them behind her head, but a sudden remembrance of yesterday arrested the movement, and a shadow settled on her face. She had refused to prepare the vegetables, and cook had turned her out of the kitchen. She had rushed from the house in the hope that she might succeed in walking back to London; but William had overtaken her in the avenue; he had argued with her, refusing to allow her to