"Oh, what a wicked girl you are," said Mrs. Freeman, roused out of her customary gentle manner by the sight of Evelyn's motionless form. "I can't speak to you at this moment, Bridget O'Hara; go away, leave Evelyn to me. Evelyn, my darling, look at me, speak to me—say you are not hurt!""Yes, yes, I know," replied Janet, with a sneer; "she did something which shook the nerves of our beloved favorite. Had anyone else given Miss Percival her little fright, I could have forgiven her!""No, it was that wild Irish girl's doing. I really don't know what to do with her."
"Sit down, Dorothy," cried Ruth, "we have kept your favorite armchair vacant for you. Now, then, to discuss the Fancy Fair in all its bearings. Is it not kind of Mrs. Freeman to consent to our having it? She says it is quite an unusual thing for girls like us to do, but in the cause of that poor little baby, and because we wish the Fancy Fair to be our break-up treat, she consents. The only stipulation she makes is that we arrange the whole programme without troubling her."
"But Mrs. Freeman wants you to go to bed early to-night."
It was in some such fashion that the world spoke to Bridget O'Hara on this special summer's morning.Janet turned at the sound of her name, and came quickly up to her mistress. She looked slight, pale, and almost insignificant beside the full, blooming, luxuriously made girl, who, resting one hand in a [Pg 15]nonchalant manner on the back of her chair, was looking full at her with laughing bright eyes.Janet was never known to lose her temper, but she had a sarcastic tongue, and people did not like to lay themselves open to the cutting remarks which often and unsparingly fell from her lips.For the first time there was a faint hesitation in her manner.
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"Here you are," exclaimed the two pairs of lips eagerly."Is she the beautiful girl who was the ringleader? I don't think I ever saw anyone with such presence of mind. She absolutely caught me as I was flung out of the carriage. I felt her arms round me; that was why I was not hurt.""Nonsense, Evelyn. They disobeyed my most stringent orders. Are they not to be blamed for that?""Yes, Marshall," said Dorothy; she stopped. Janet stopped also, and gave Marshall a freezing glance.
"Evelyn Percival. Doesn't it sound pretty?""Nonsense, Evelyn. They disobeyed my most stringent orders. Are they not to be blamed for that?"
She stood for a minute or two, then walked slowly back to the window, out of which her schoolmistress leaned.