"Now, let's go on," said Janet, in her calm tones. "Let us try and settle something before the supper bell rings. We must have a committee, that goes without saying. Suppose we four girls form it."Miss Delicia was fussing in and out of the house, and picking fresh strawberries, and nodding to the girls she happened to meet with a kind of suppressed delight.
The ages of these fifty girls ranged from seventeen to five, but from seventeen down to five on this special hot summer's evening one topic of conversation might have been heard on every tongue.
Bridget's arms were flung impulsively round her governess's neck, and then one hand was tucked within the good lady's arm."Well, it's a very fine sort of place, as free and easy as you please; lots of fishing in the lakes and in the rivers. I'm very fond of my gun, too. Can you handle a gun, Mrs. Freeman? It kicks rather, if you can't manage it."
"You have a perfect mania for those children, Dorothy," exclaimed Olive. "I call it an impertinence on their parts to worry themselves about sixth-form girls. What's the matter, Janet? Why that contraction of your angel brow?""Hurrah! Hurrah! Supper!" she cried. "Your committee must keep, Janet. Now for the satisfaction of rampant, raging curiosity. Dolly, will you race me to the house?"
She stood wavering with her own conscience. Caspar was nervous, but he was not vicious."We are each of us allowed a certain freedom here," said Dorothy. "You see these panels? It is a great promotion to possess a panel. All the girls who are allowed to have the use of this room cannot have one, but the best of us can. Now behold! Open sesame! Shut your eyes for a minute—you can open them again when I tell you. Now—you may look now."
"Patience," said Mrs. Freeman, from her end of the supper table, "I think we have all finished. Will you say grace?"
"You can watch the sea from your bed, my dear," she said, "and I will send Dorothy to sit with you after[Pg 55] morning school. Now I want to ask you if you can give any idea of how the accident occurred?"
The door was closed then, and Bridget O'Hara found herself alone.