[Pg 66]"You have too good taste to like her, Olive, but do let us talk about something more interesting. How are you getting on with that table cover for the fair?"
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Mrs. Freeman could see them as she sat in her sitting room.
"Sit there, Miss O'Hara, please," said Mrs. Freeman. She tried to suppress a smile, which was difficult. "Girls," she said, addressing the fifth and sixth forms, "girls, this young lady is your new schoolfellow—her name is Bridget O'Hara. I meant to introduce her to you formally to-morrow, but she has taken the matter into her own hands. I am glad you are not tired, Miss O'Hara, for you have had a very long journey.""Not for over a month?"
"No, no—do forgive me!""The wind dropped as if it were dead. After screeching as if it had the tongues of hundreds of Furies, it was mummer than the timidest mouse that ever crept. The Castle ceased to rock; it was the suddenest and [Pg 42]deadest calm you could possibly imagine. It was miles more frightful than the storm. Just then there came a little puff of a breeze out of the solid stone wall, and out went my candle."
She gave Bridget a great deal of sympathy, adjured her to eat, shook her head over her, and having gained a promise that a pair of long suède gloves should be added to the ribbons and Venetian beads, went away,[Pg 69] having quite made up her mind to take Bridget's part through thick and thin.
"O Janey," exclaimed two of the other girls in a breath, "a committee does sound so absurdly formal."
Dorothy pulled an envelope out of her pocket. Olive searched into the recesses of hers to hunt up a lead pencil, and Janet continued to speak in her tranquil, round tones.
A flash of self-pity filled her eyes, but there was some consolation in reflecting on the fact that no one could force her to eat against her will.
"My conduct? What have I done?"