"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.""I can't share your sorrow," replied Janet. "If her punishment, whatever it is, deprives us of her charming society for a few days, it will be a boon to the entire school. I noticed that she was absent from dinner, and I will own I have not had a pleasanter meal for some time."Bridget uttered a faint sigh.
Other new girls had arrived, and only the faintest rumors had got out about them beforehand.
Her attempts were extremely good, but when it came to laboriously struggling through her written score, all was hopeless confusion, tears, and despair.
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."Well," said Janet, "what did that impertinent servant want? I hope you showed her her place, Dorothy? The idea of her presuming to stop us when we were so busy!""Pretty," interrupted Janet, scorn curling her lip."Well, my dear child," she said, "I suppose you, like all the rest of us, are on tenter hooks for our dear Evelyn's return. From the accounts we received this morning, she seems to be quite well and strong again, and it will be such a comfort to have her back. I don't know how it is, but the school is quite a different place when she is there."
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At the dear old wild Castle in Ireland she had been idolized by everyone, the servants had done her bidding, however extravagant and fanciful that bidding had been. She led her old father where she wished with silken reins. The dogs, the horses, even the cows and the calves, followed Bridget like so many faithful shadows. In short, this wild little girl was the beloved queen of the Castle. To cut her, or show her the smallest incivility, would have been nothing short of high treason.There was a plaintive note in the girl's voice, a wistful expression in her eyes, which went straight to Dorothy's kind heart.
"I don't hear any sound whatever, Mrs. Freeman," she said, "but please don't be alarmed; Evelyn's train may have been late."
"I have some more things to say. I must get you, Bridget, before you leave this room, to make a promise."