Alice, Violet, and several more of the little girls were running and tumbling up the grassy slope.[Pg 49] The moment they saw Mrs. Freeman they ran to her."And now," she said, turning to her two sisters, "the question of questions is this: what is to be done with Bridget O'Hara? Is she to continue at Mulberry Court after such a daring act of disobedience? Must the safety of the other scholars be sacrificed to her?"Janet ran out of the room. Her heart was beating hard and fast. Should she tell Mrs. Freeman what Olive had just confided to her, that Bridget and a number of the smaller children of the school had rushed down the road to meet Evelyn, carrying boughs in their hands, and doubtless shouting loudly in their glee?
Small girls are easily influenced, and Bridget and her tribe rushed down the avenue, shouting and whooping as they went.
When she said this a quick change flitted over Janet's face. She bit her lips, and, after a very brief pause, said in a voice of would-be indifference:
"Now, Marshall, what is it? How fussy and important you look!""It is not the custom at school, my dear child, to make remarks about what we eat. We just take what is put before us. Here's a nice piece of bacon, dear, and some toast. Don't say anything more, I beg, or you will annoy Mrs. Freeman."The period at which this story begins was the middle of the summer term. There were no half-term holidays at the Court, but somehow the influence of holiday time had already got into the air. The young girls had tired themselves out with play, and the older ones lay about in hammocks, or strolled in twos or[Pg 2] threes up and down the wide gravel walk which separated the house from the gardens.
rummy satta widrow
"What do you mean, Olive?" Olive turned and looked at Janet."Oh, she's telling a story," whispered Olive under her breath. She settled herself contentedly to listen.Notwithstanding her vehement words, some decided pangs of hunger seized her as she saw the tempting food, She remembered, however, that in the old novels heroines in distress had never any appetite, and she resolved to die rather than touch food while she was treated in so disgraceful a manner.Dorothy pulled an envelope out of her pocket. Olive searched into the recesses of hers to hunt up a lead pencil, and Janet continued to speak in her tranquil, round tones.
[Pg 33]"Bridget O'Hara!" exclaimed Janet, "that incorrigible, unpleasant girl? Why did you waste your time listening to her?"
"Oh, my!" exclaimed Miss O'Hara, "that's nothing. Goodness gracious me! what would you think of thirty or forty miles on an Irish jaunting car, all in one day, Mrs. Freeman? That's the sort of thing to make the back ache. Bump, bump, you go. You catch on to the sides of the car for bare life, and as likely as not you're pitched out into a bog two or three times before you get home. Papa and I have often taken our thirty to forty miles' jaunt a day. I can tell you, I have been stiff after those rides. Did you ever ride on a jaunting car, Mrs. Freeman?"
"Quite right, Janet, I am glad you are so industrious. I won't disturb you for more than a minute, my love. I just want to look out of this window. It is the only one that commands a view of the road from Eastcliff. Evelyn ought to be here by now."
"Poor darling!" said Olive, in a sympathetic tone. "I thought I'd tell you, Janet, that whatever happened I'd take your part."
"That I was to take you round and introduce you to a few companions," continued Janet hastily. "Miss Collingwood, Miss O'Hara—Miss Moore, Miss O'Hara—Miss Bury, Miss O'Hara. Now I have done my duty. If you like to see the common room for yourself, you can go straight through this folding door, turn to your left, see a large room directly facing you; go into it, and you will find yourself in the common room. Now, good-night."
"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.