"I certainly want you, Bridget. I am not in the habit of sending for my pupils if I don't wish to speak to them."Other new girls had arrived, and only the faintest rumors had got out about them beforehand.Miss Patience asked for a blessing on the meal just partaken of in a clear, emphatic voice, and the group of girls began to file out of the room."I don't believe you'll ever drive her," said Miss Delicia. "I know that sort of character. It's only hardened when it's driven."
"Hadn't they got leave to come to meet me?"
Evelyn gave a very faint sigh, and turning her head looked out of the window."Yes, but at what?"
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"Yes, darling, I did. Shall we go into the common room now? I'm dying to see it."
When Mrs. Freeman told Bridget to go away and leave her, the Irish girl stopped playing with the tendrils of hair on Evelyn's forehead, and looked at her governess with a blank expression stealing over her face."Sit there, Miss O'Hara, please," said Mrs. Freeman. She tried to suppress a smile, which was difficult. "Girls," she said, addressing the fifth and sixth forms, "girls, this young lady is your new schoolfellow—her name is Bridget O'Hara. I meant to introduce her to you formally to-morrow, but she has taken the matter into her own hands. I am glad you are not tired, Miss O'Hara, for you have had a very long journey."
"It is delightful to have you back again," said Mrs. Freeman, bending over her pupil and kissing her. "And really, Evelyn, you look almost well. Oh, my dear child, what a fright I got about you last night."
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.
The ages of these fifty girls ranged from seventeen to five, but from seventeen down to five on this special hot summer's evening one topic of conversation might have been heard on every tongue.