She was coming at mid-term, which in itself was rather exceptional.When she said this a quick change flitted over Janet's face. She bit her lips, and, after a very brief pause, said in a voice of would-be indifference:
"I could not help myself," replied Dorothy. "You know, of course, Janet, what Bridget did last night?"
There was a sound, a commotion. Several steps were heard; eager voices were raised in expostulation and distress.
She was beginning to collect her somewhat scattered thoughts, when the door was opened suddenly, and, to her surprise, Mrs. Freeman came into the room.All this time Miss Percival, the head girl of the school, was absent. She had been ill, and had gone home for a short change. She did not return until Bridget had been at the Court a fortnight.
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"Do try not to make such a fool of yourself," repeated Janet, angrily, in her ear.
"How do you do, Mrs. Freeman?" said Bridget. "I'm afraid I'm a little late; I overslept myself, and then I could not find the right belt for this dress—it ought to be pale blue to match the ribbons, ought it not? But as I could not lay my hand on it, I have put on this silver girdle instead. Look at it, is it not pretty? It is real solid silver, I assure you; Uncle Jack brought it me from Syria, and the workmanship is supposed to be very curious. It's a trifle heavy, of course, but it keeps my dress nice and tight, don't you think so?"What could it all mean? It really was most exciting.Olive left the room with slow, unwilling footsteps, and Janet bent her head over the copy of Molière she was studying.
"He'll be sorry he sent me; he'll be sorry he listened to Aunt Kathleen," she said to herself."It's most mournful to see her, poor dear!" she muttered. "She's fat and strong and hearty, but I know by the shape of her mouth that she's that obstinate she won't touch any food, and she won't give in to obey Mrs. Freeman, not if it's ever so. I do pity her, poor dear, and it aint only for the sake of the things she gives me. Now let me see, aint there anyone I can speak to about her? Oh, there's Miss Dorothy Collingwood, she aint quite so 'aughty as the other young ladies; I think I will try her, and see ef she couldn't bring the poor dear to see reason.""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."
Dorothy detached herself from Bridget's clinging arm, and ran quickly up the sloping lawn.