Mrs. Freeman spoke calmly, but there was a look about her face which gave Janet a very queer sensation. The schoolmistress took Alice's hand, and walked as quickly as she could to the scene of the accident.[Pg 38]"What?" said Bridget, coloring high. "Do you mean seriously to tell me that I—I am not to pick flowers? I think I must have heard you wrong! Please say it again!""I hope not, Bridget."
"Oh! hurrah, hurrah, hurrah! What will my dear dad say when I tell him that? Biddy O'Hara seventeen! Don't I wish I were! Oh, the lovely balls I'd be going to if those were my years! Now, another guess. It's your turn now—you, little brown one there—I haven't caught your name, darling. Is it Anne or Mary? Most girls are called either Anne or Mary."
By and by doubtless the poor bird would be taught to develop his notes into something richer and rarer than nature had made them, but the process would be painful. Bridget was like the bird, and she was beating her poor little wings now against her cage.
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"Only to tell you that that pet of yours, Bridget O'Hara, is likely to get herself into a nice scrape. She has run down the road with a number of the small fry to meet Evelyn. They are taking boughs of trees with them, and are going to shout, or do something extraordinary, when they see her arriving. Janet, what's the matter? How queer you look!"
Bridget slipped her hand into her pocket, and pulled out an exquisitely embossed vinaigrette."Oh, foolish do you call it?" A passing cloud swept over Bridget O'Hara's face. It quickly vanished, however; she jumped up with a little sigh.
"I expect I shan't be allowed to talk at all."
In every sense of the word Bridget was unexpected. She had an extraordinary aptitude for arithmetic, and took a high place in the school on account of her mathematics. The word mathematics, however, she had never even heard before. She could gabble French as fluently as a native, but did not know a word of the grammar. She had a perfect ear for music, could sing like a bird, and play any air she once heard, but she could scarcely read music at all, and was refractory and troublesome when asked to learn notes.