"I'm afraid I have some unpleasant things to talk about, Miss O'Hara," she said. "But, before I begin, I must distinctly request you to remember that you are a young girl in the presence of the lady who has been appointed by your father to guide, direct, and command you."Ruth clapped her hands."No, my dear," replied the head mistress, in a rather icy voice, "I have never had the pleasure of visiting Ireland."
"But Mrs. Freeman said——" she began.
"No, Bridget, you are to stay here; your dinner will be brought to you." Bridget flushed crimson.
"You are not to pick flowers, Miss O'Hara; it is against the rules of the school.""I'm very busy, Olive; I wish you'd go away!"Bridget O'Hara's clear blue eyes were opened a little, wider apart.
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"Quite right, Janet, I am glad you are so industrious. I won't disturb you for more than a minute, my love. I just want to look out of this window. It is the only one that commands a view of the road from Eastcliff. Evelyn ought to be here by now."
"O Bridget!" exclaimed the little girls, starting back in affright.
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.Dorothy, Ruth, and Olive had now come into the schoolroom, and had taken their places by Janet's side. She gave them a quick look, in which considerable aversion to the newcomer was plainly visible, then turned her head and gazed languidly out of the window.
Dorothy detached herself from Bridget's clinging arm, and ran quickly up the sloping lawn.
Dorothy suppressed a faint sigh, took her companion's plump hand, and continued the tour of investigation.