At the dear old wild Castle in Ireland she had been idolized by everyone, the servants had done her bidding, however extravagant and fanciful that bidding had been. She led her old father where she wished with silken reins. The dogs, the horses, even the cows and the calves, followed Bridget like so many faithful shadows. In short, this wild little girl was the beloved queen of the Castle. To cut her, or show her the smallest incivility, would have been nothing short of high treason.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.The girls took their places at the table—grace was said, and the meal began.
Oh, yes, she ought to tell; and yet—and yet——
"I'd punish her very severely," said Miss Patience. "I am sure punishment is what she wants. She ought to be broken in.""Well," said Janet, "what did that impertinent servant want? I hope you showed her her place, Dorothy? The idea of her presuming to stop us when we were so busy!"
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"So do I, Dorothy, if it comes to that, but Violet must be made to know her place. She is one of those little encroachers without respect of persons, who can become absolute nuisances if they are encouraged. But there, we have said enough about her. Ruth and Janet are going to sit in 'The Lookout' for a little; they want to discuss the subject of the Fancy Fair. Shall we come and join them?""Yes, you ought. I'm going to give you a lovely description. Papa has had his dinner, and he's pacing up and down on the walk which hangs over the lake. He is smoking a meerschaum pipe, and the dogs are with him.""Oh, come at once!" said Violet, "there has been an accident, and Evelyn is hurt. Bridget is with her. Come, come at once!"
Notwithstanding these various criticisms, the carriage with its occupants calmly pursued its way, and was presently lost to view in the courtyard at the side of the house."Now, Marshall, what is it? How fussy and important you look!"Bridget was evidently not blessed with the bump of order. Valuable rings and bracelets lay, some on the mantelpiece, some on the dressing table; ribbons, scarfs, handkerchiefs, littered the chairs, the chest of drawers, and even the bed. A stray stocking poked its foot obtrusively out of one of the over-packed drawers of the wardrobe. Photographs of friends and of scenery lay face downward on the mantelpiece, and kept company with Bridget's brushes and combs in her dressing-table drawer.
"You are not to pick flowers, Miss O'Hara; it is against the rules of the school."
Miss O'Hara stooped carelessly to pick it up. "Poor little bud!" she said, laying it on her hand. "But there are such a lot of you—such a lot! Still, it seems a pity to crush your sweetness out."
"I can't eat, Marshall," she said. "I'm treated shamefully, and the very nicest dinner wouldn't tempt me. You can take it away, for I can't possibly touch a morsel. Oh, dear! oh, dear! how I do wish I were at home again! What a horrid, horrid sort of place school is!"