Bridget O'Hara's clear blue eyes were opened a little, wider apart."But we are not allowed to cut the boughs, Bridget," said Katie.
"I hate school," she said. "I want to go back to the Castle. Can I go to-day?"
"There is nothing whatever for it," murmured Mrs. Freeman; "I must punish the poor child in a way she will really feel. If this fails, and I cannot break her in[Pg 57] before the end of the term, I must ask her father to remove her.""Shall I really—how unfortunate; but she doesn't look a bad-tempered woman, and what is there in wishing for fresh eggs? Stale eggs aren't wholesome."
"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!""So it is, Bridget. But you will permit me, an old woman compared to you, to point out a fact—the self-denying people are the happy ones, the selfish are the miserable. Take your own way now in your youth, sip each pleasure as it comes, turn from the disagreeables, trample on those who happen to be in your way, as you did on that rosebud just now, and you will lay up misery for yourself in the future. You will be a very wretched woman when you reach my age."[Pg 21]
"Now, how old am I?" she asked, stamping her arched foot. "Don't be shy, any of you. Begin at the[Pg 17] eldest, and guess right away. Now then, Miss Collingwood—you see, I know your name—the age of your humble servant, if you please."
"Oh, never mind about bed—I'm not the least sleepy."
"Well, let's settle to business now," said Ruth; "I'm sure I'm more than willing. Who has got a pencil and paper?"
By this time the preparations for the Fancy Fair were in active progress. Janet May had obtained her own wish with regard to the Committee, each member of which was allowed to choose a band of workers under herself, to make articles for the coming sale.
"Look, dear," said the governess. "What is that distant speck? I am so terribly near-sighted that I cannot make out whether it is a carriage or cart of some sort."