"Janet, I wish you would not speak in that bitter way.""My dear Bridget!" exclaimed Mrs. Freeman, so surprised by the unexpected apparition that she was actually obliged to rise from her seat and come forward."How solemnly you speak," said Bridget, tears [Pg 32]coming slowly up and filling her eyes. "Is that a sermon? It makes me feel as if someone were walking over my grave. Why do you say things of that sort? I'm superstitious, you know. I'm very easily impressed. You oughtn't to do it—you oughtn't to frighten a stranger when she has just come over to your hard, cold sort of country."
She stepped out of the open window, and walked rapidly across the wide gravel sweep.
The summer sounds came in to her, for the window of her dull room was open, the birds were twittering in the trees, innumerable doves were cooing; there was the gentle, soft whisper of the breeze, the cackling of motherly hens, the lowing of cows, and, far away beyond and over them, the insistent, ceaseless whisper of the gentle waves on the shore.
"I suppose I may go," she said, "if that's all you have got to say?""Nothing," replied Janet. "I—I—shall I run out to the front, Mrs. Freeman, and listen if I can hear the carriage? You can hear it a very long way off from the brow of the hill.""Oh, good gra——! I mean, mercy Moses!"
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Dorothy shared the same bedroom as Ruth and Olive. Each girl, however, had a compartment to herself, railed in by white dimity curtains, which she could draw or not as she pleased. Dorothy's compartment was the best in the room; it contained a large window looking out over the flower garden, and commanding a good view of the sea. She was very particular about her pretty cubicle, and kept it fresh with flowers, which stood in brackets against the walls."I expect I shan't be allowed to talk at all."
In about ten minutes' time Bridget came into the room without knocking. Her hat was still swinging on her arm; there was a wild-rose color on her cheeks; her eyes had a certain excited, untamed gleam in them.[Pg 72]
"If she had any strength, she'd be ashamed of her ignorance," retorted Janet.
Something, however, she could not tell what, restrained her from doing this. She sank back again in her chair; angry tears rose to her bright eyes, and burning spots appeared in her round cheeks.
"Poor girl!" said Evelyn, a wistful expression coming into her eyes.