She had to own to herself that Bridget had proved a very irritating companion. She would take her part, of course; but she felt quite certain at the same time that she was going to be a trial to her. As she stood by her window now, however, a little picture of the scene which the Irish girl had described so vividly presented itself with great distinctness before Dorothy's eyes.[Pg 21]Uncharitable talk about others ceased when Evelyn drew near. Selfishness slunk away ashamed.
There are times in life when all one's preconceived ideas are completely upset and altered. We looked at the world from a certain point of view. From that special angle of our own it showed in gold and rose color and blue. A day came when we were forced to change our vantage ground, and on that day we for the first time perceived the grays and the blacks of that same old world—it ceased to smile on us, it ceased to pet us—it ceased to say to us, "I was made to render your life beautiful, I was made to minister to every selfish desire of yours; I am your slave, you are my mistress; do with me what you will."
"Well, let's settle to business now," said Ruth; "I'm sure I'm more than willing. Who has got a pencil and paper?"
"You shall see the girls one at a time in your room, darling, for whether you feel well or not, the doctor wishes you to remain quiet to-day."
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"Well, I'm here," she said; "what is it?" She still used that half-mocking, indifferent voice."Now, Biddy, go on, Biddy!" exclaimed the children. "We love ghost stories, so do tell us more about the candle.""When will that be?"
"Hate her?" said Janet; "there must be a certain strength about a girl to make you hate her. I've a contempt for Bridget, but I don't rouse myself to the exertion of hating.""Oh, well; it's all right for you to be here, I suppose," said Dorothy. "What were you saying, Bridget? I didn't catch that last sentence of yours."
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:
In about ten minutes' time Bridget came into the room without knocking. Her hat was still swinging on her arm; there was a wild-rose color on her cheeks; her eyes had a certain excited, untamed gleam in them.