I Say No
BOOK I. At School
Chapter 1. The Smuggled Supper
Outside the bedroom the night was black and still.
The small rain fell too softly to be heard in the garden; not a leaf stirred in the
airless calm; the watch-dog was asleep, the cats were indoors; far or near, under
the murky heaven, not a sound was stirring.
Inside the bedroom the night was black and still.
Miss Ladd knew her business as a schoolmistress too well to allow night-lights;
and Miss Ladd's young ladies were supposed to be fast asleep, in accordance
with the rules of the house. Only at intervals the silence was faintly disturbed,
when the restless turning of one of the girls in her bed betrayed itself by a gentle
rustling between the sheets. In the long intervals of stillness, not even the softly
audible breathing of young creatures asleep was to be heard.
The first sound that told of life and movement revealed the mechanical
movement of the clock. Speaking from the lower regions, the tongue of Father
Time told the hour before midnight.
A soft voice rose wearily near the door of the room. It counted the strokes of the
clock--and reminded one of the girls of the lapse of time.
"Emily! eleven o'clock."
There was no reply. After an interval the weary voice tried again, in louder tones: