"I shall do nothing to-night," said Mrs. Freeman. "But to-morrow, after morning school, I must speak to Bridget. Her conduct during that interview will more or less decide what steps I must take."All that could possibly happen would be a little fright for Evelyn, and a larger measure of disgrace for Bridget. And why should Janet interfere? Why should she tell tales of her schoolfellows? Her story would be misinterpreted by that faction of the girls who already had made Bridget their idol.She never came into a room without exercising in a silent, unobtrusive, very gentle way, a marked effect for good.
"Janet," said Mrs. Freeman, "will you oblige me by showing Miss O'Hara the schoolrooms and common rooms, and introducing her to one or two of her companions? Go, my dear," she continued, "but remember, Bridget, whether you are tired or not, I shall expect you to go to bed to-night at nine o'clock. It is half-past eight now, so you have half an hour to get acquainted with your schoolfellows."
"But, my dear child, our hearts are not cold. I assure you, Bridget, I am most anxious to win your love, and so also is Dorothy Collingwood.""How disagreeable! I can't live without flowers. I suppose papa will not expect me to stay if I don't like the place?"She was not a specially clever girl, nevertheless she was now, in virtue of her seniority, and a certain painstaking determination, which made her capable of mastering her studies, at the head of the school.
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"We haven't a moment to lose, Dorothy," she said, "I want to speak to you alone before the rest of the committee arrive. That point with regard to Evelyn Percival must be settled. Perhaps your communication can keep, Marshall.""Not for over a month?"[Pg 45]
She ran lightly down the grassy slope, and touched Dorothy on her arm.Bridget O'Hara's clear blue eyes were opened a little, wider apart.
"But your father cannot pay for your disobedience—for the bad example you have set the little children, for the pain and anxiety you have given me."