"Don't say 'good gracious,' Bridget; it's a very ugly way of expressing yourself. You have learnt something, haven't you?""Why, Dorothy Collingwood; she has gone over to the ranks of the enemy.""Yes; you have got to earn it first, however," replied Miss Collingwood, slipping back the pale green panel with a dexterous movement.
"I don't believe she's a new schoolgirl at all," cried Ruth; "she's just a visitor come to stay for a day or two with Mrs. Freeman. No schoolgirl that ever[Pg 6] breathed would dare to present such a young lady, grown-up appearance. There, girls, don't let's waste any more time over her; let's turn our attention to the much more important matter of the Fancy Fair."
"I don't think I ought to listen to you, Bridget."Bridget O'Hara's clear blue eyes were opened a little, wider apart.
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"My! what a minute!" said Miss Bridget, tossing back her abundant hair, and slipping one firm, dimpled hand inside Janet's arm. "Well, come on, darling," she continued, giving that young lady an affectionate squeeze. "Let's make the most of our precious time. I'm dying to know you all—I think you look so sweet. Who's that love of a girl in gray, who sat next you at supper? She had golden hair, and blue eyes—not like mine, of course, but well enough for English eyes. What's her name, dear?"
"I'm very sorry, Marshall," said Dorothy, "but Miss O'Hara has really been very naughty. You have heard, of course, of the carriage accident, and how nearly Miss Percival was hurt. It's kind of you to plead for Miss O'Hara, but she really does deserve rather severe punishment, and Mrs. Freeman is most kind, as well as just. I don't really see how I can interfere."Marshall had to be comforted with this rather dubious speech, and Dorothy ran on to join Janet.
"I must have a cupboard like that," said Biddy. "Why, it's perfectly delicious!""Nonsense, Evelyn. They disobeyed my most stringent orders. Are they not to be blamed for that?"
"O Janey," exclaimed two of the other girls in a breath, "a committee does sound so absurdly formal."
The doctor had come to see Evelyn, had pronounced her whole in limb, and not as much shaken by her fall out of her carriage as might have been expected. After prescribing a day in bed, and all absence of excitement, he went away, promising to look in again in a few days.
The girls took their places at the table—grace was said, and the meal began.