She entered the room, then, in a long white embroidered dress, looped up here, there, and everywhere with sky-blue ribbons. It was a charming toilet, and most becoming to its wearer, but absolutely unsuitable for schoolroom work."Janet," said Mrs. Freeman, "will you oblige me by showing Miss O'Hara the schoolrooms and common rooms, and introducing her to one or two of her companions? Go, my dear," she continued, "but remember, Bridget, whether you are tired or not, I shall expect you to go to bed to-night at nine o'clock. It is half-past eight now, so you have half an hour to get acquainted with your schoolfellows."The common room to which she conducted Miss O'Hara was entirely for the use of the elder girls; the girls of the middle and the lower school had other[Pg 20] rooms to amuse themselves in. But this large, luxuriously furnished apartment was entirely given up to the sixth and fifth-form schoolgirls.
CHAPTER IV. THE QUEEN OF THE SCHOOL.
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"Nonsense, Evelyn. They disobeyed my most stringent orders. Are they not to be blamed for that?""Well," said Janet, "what did that impertinent servant want? I hope you showed her her place, Dorothy? The idea of her presuming to stop us when we were so busy!""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."I shan't allow her to be persecuted," said Dorothy, with some firmness. "She's the most innocent creature I ever met in my life. Fancy a girl of her age, who has simply never had a rebuff, who has been petted, loved, made much of all her days, who looks at you with the absolute fearlessness of a baby, and talks out her mind as contentedly and frankly as a bird sings its song. I grant she's an anomaly, but I'm not going to be the one to teach her how cruel the world can be."
"Bridget, you are incorrigible. If kindness won't make you see that you are bound in honor to obey me, I must try punishment. Wretched child, I don't wish to be hard to you, but do what I say, you must!""I don't believe you'll ever drive her," said Miss Delicia. "I know that sort of character. It's only hardened when it's driven.""People will like you here too," she said. "I am certain you are very good-natured; come and let me[Pg 19] show you some of our snug little arrangements in the common room, and then I think it will be time for bed."
Biddy turned, arrested in her gay flight from rosebush to rosebush.
"I can't help it, my dear; I'm honest, whatever I am."
The carriage lay smashed a couple of hundred yards from the gates of the avenue.