"Not any one," choked Daisy, swallowing down her tears. "I walked home alone. You can ask Mrs. Hunt, who met me. Mamma, may I go up and change my things?"

Mrs. St. Clare said neither yes nor no, but gave tacit permission by stretching out her hand towards the staircase. Daisy ran the gauntlet of the three faces as she passed on: her mother's was stern, Lydia's supremely scornful, Tabitha's discreetly prim. The two ladies turned into the breakfast-room, and the maid retired.

"It is easy enough to divine what Daisy has been up to," spoke Lydia, whose speech was not always expressed in the most refined terms. She sat back in an easy-chair, sipping her chocolate, a pink cloak trimmed with swan's-down drawn over her shoulders; for the rain and the early rising had made her feel chilly.

"Oh, I don't know," said Mrs. St. Clare, crossly. She detested these petty annoyances.

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