"No fruit, thank you. Oh, what a lovely ring you have on! It's a ruby, isn't it? My poor mother—she died when I was only three—had some splendid rubies—they are to be mine when I am grown up. Papa is keeping them for me in the County Bank. You always keep your valuables in the Bank in Ireland, you know—that's on account of the Land Leaguers."
Janet turned away, and Olive was obliged to look out for a fresh companion to attach herself to.
Bridget uttered a faint sigh.
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"I ought not to speak," said Dorothy, turning very red, "but if you are going to be hard on Bridget——""We have lost her," said Olive, with a sigh.
Ruth Bury was short and dark, but Janet May, her companion, was extremely slim and fair. She would have been a pretty girl but for the somewhat disagreeable expression of her face."There, thank Heaven, I haven't killed her!" exclaimed Bridget.
The smaller girls chatted volubly about the matter, and little Violet Temple, aged ten, and of course one of the small girls, so far forgot herself as to run up to[Pg 3] Dorothy Collingwood, clasp her hand affectionately round the tall girl's arm, and whisper in her impetuous, eager way:
"Oh, well; it's all right for you to be here, I suppose," said Dorothy. "What were you saying, Bridget? I didn't catch that last sentence of yours."
"Why, Dorothy Collingwood; she has gone over to the ranks of the enemy."
"And you also dislike poor Bridget? I can't imagine why you take such strong prejudices."