"Are you coming, Dorothy?" called Janet May from the end of the passage."Poor old dear! But wanting Biddy O'Hara to do a thing, and making her do it, are two very different matters. I'll go to bed when I'm tired—papa never expected me to go earlier at home. I declare I feel quite cheerful again now that I have got to know you, Dorothy. Janet is not at all to my taste, but you are. What a pretty name you have, and you have an awfully sweet expression—such a dear, loving kind of look in your eyes. Would you mind very much if I gave you a hug?"
Mrs. Freeman spoke calmly, but there was a look about her face which gave Janet a very queer sensation. The schoolmistress took Alice's hand, and walked as quickly as she could to the scene of the accident.
"She has been ill, Biddy," said Violet. "Evelyn has been ill, but she is better now; she's coming back to-night. We are all glad, for we all love her."
The girls took their places at the table—grace was said, and the meal began.
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She looked at her friend with a cool, critical eye.
"My name is Ruth," replied the girl so addressed, "and I can't guess ages. Come, Olive, let us find our French lessons and go."
Bridget stood and watched her. Olive kept a little apart, and the smaller girls clustered close together, watching their new friend's face with interest and admiration.
She was a dependable girl—clever up to a certain point, nice to those with whom she agreed, [Pg 37]affectionate to the people who did not specially prize her affection.
"You can please yourself about that," said Miss Patience, in her calmest voice. She left the room, closing the door behind her.