"I don't suppose that Evelyn Percival is to rule the school. She is away at present, and we can't wait on her will and pleasure. Let's form our committee, and do without her."While Janet was speaking, Dorothy, who had refused to seat herself in the armchair assigned to her, and whose clear, bright blue eyes were roving eagerly all over the beautiful summer landscape, exclaimed in an eager voice:"Evelyn Percival. Doesn't it sound pretty?"
"Janet, I wish you would not speak in that bitter way."
"What?" said Bridget, coloring high. "Do you mean seriously to tell me that I—I am not to pick flowers? I think I must have heard you wrong! Please say it again!"
Marshall, with all her silliness, was a shrewd observer of character. Had the girl in disgrace been Janet May or Dorothy Collingwood, she would have known far better than to presume to address her; but Bridget was on very familiar terms with her old nurse and with many of the other servants at home, and it seemed quite reasonable to her that Marshall should speak sympathetic words."She's not learned, I admit," replied Olive, "but weak! no, she's not weak; no weak character could be so audacious, so fearless, so indifferent to her own ignorance."
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"Oh, papa'll pay that! Don't you fret about that, Mrs. Freeman; the dear old dad will settle it. He quite loves writing checks!"
"I believe I am more frightened than hurt," said Miss Percival, struggling to sit up, and smiling at Mrs. Freeman, "I'm so awfully sorry that I've lost my[Pg 51] nerve. Where am I? what has happened? I only remember Caspar turning right round and looking at me, and some people shouting, and then the carriage went over, and I cannot recall anything more. But I don't think—no—I am sure I am not seriously hurt."
The smaller girls chatted volubly about the matter, and little Violet Temple, aged ten, and of course one of the small girls, so far forgot herself as to run up to[Pg 3] Dorothy Collingwood, clasp her hand affectionately round the tall girl's arm, and whisper in her impetuous, eager way:Dorothy went into her own little cubicle, drew her white dimity walls tight, and, standing before the window, looked out at the summer landscape.
A couple of maids had been seen carrying a new trunk upstairs, or old Piper had been discovered crawling down the avenue with his shaky cab, and shakier horse, and then the new girl had appeared at tea-time and been formally introduced, and if she were shy had got over it as best she could, and had soon discovered her place in class, and there was an end of the matter.