"And what's the darling's name?" asked Bridget."It's a distinct insult," began Dolly. "I disapprove—I disapprove.""Bridget, you are talking a great deal of nonsense," said Dorothy, "and I for one am not going to listen to you. We are much too sensible to believe in ghost stories here, and there is no use in your trying to frighten us. Good-by, all of you; I am off to the house!""It will be awfully unfair if you are, for I could pose you finely on my subjects. What's the first thing to do for a dog who shows symptoms of hydrophobia? How do you land a salmon? What keeps a gun from kicking? How does a dear old daddy like his pipe filled with tobacco? What is the best way to keep your seat when you ride bare-backed, and the horse runs away?[Pg 34] Ha, ha, I thought I'd pose you. I could have a very jolly school of my own, if I tried."
Her attempts were extremely good, but when it came to laboriously struggling through her written score, all was hopeless confusion, tears, and despair.The period at which this story begins was the middle of the summer term. There were no half-term holidays at the Court, but somehow the influence of holiday time had already got into the air. The young girls had tired themselves out with play, and the older ones lay about in hammocks, or strolled in twos or[Pg 2] threes up and down the wide gravel walk which separated the house from the gardens.
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"Don't you hear the clock?" exclaimed Dorothy, unconscious relief coming into her tones.
"Yes, darling, I did. Shall we go into the common room now? I'm dying to see it."The door was opened, and a neatly dressed servant of the name of Marshall entered, bearing a dinner tray.
"Thank God for that, my darling," said Mrs. Freeman. She put her arm round the young girl, kissed her tenderly, and drew her away from Bridget."And isn't she nice to-day?"
"And if she happens to fancy Bridget she won't mind[Pg 40] a word we say against her. She never does mind what anyone says. You know that, Janet."
"I can't help it, my dear; I'm honest, whatever I am."
There was a spirit that shone out of those gray eyes, and lent sweetness to that mouth, which was in itself so beautiful that it radiated all over Evelyn, and gave her that strong fascination which those who are striving heavenward ever possess.