Her eyes were of that peculiar, very dark, very deep blue, which seems to be an Irish girl's special gift. Her eyelashes were thick and black, her complexion a fresh white and pink, her chestnut hair grew in thick, curly abundance all over her well-shaped head. Her beautifully cut lips wore a petulant but charming expression. There was a provocative, almost teasing, self-confidence about her, which to certain minds only added to her queer fascination."And what's the darling's name?" asked Bridget.[Pg 12]"Can't you, Bridget? I'm afraid I must make you understand that the fact of Evelyn being uninjured does not alter your conduct."
"But why will you dislike our dear Evelyn?"
"Oh, you darling, what do minutes signify when one loves? There, Dolly, I have fallen in love with you, and that's the fact. You shall come and stay with me at the Castle in the summer, and I'll teach you to fire a gun and to land a salmon. Oh, my dear, what larks we'll have together! I'm so glad you're taking me round this house, instead of that stiff Janet."But plain as Evelyn undoubtedly was, no one who knew her long ever remarked about her appearance, or gave a second thought to the fact that she could lay small claim to physical beauty.Mrs. Freeman took her unwilling hand, led her into Miss Patience's dull little sitting room, which only[Pg 63] looked out upon the back yard, and, shutting the door behind her, left her to her own meditations."Oh, never mind about bed—I'm not the least sleepy."
"Yes, what a loud, metallic sound! We have such a dear old eight-day clock at the Castle; it's said to be quite a hundred years old, and I'm certain it's haunted. My dear Dolly, to hear that clock boom forth the hour at midnight would make the stoutest heart quail.""Never mind, it is the correct thing to do. In a matter of this kind we are nothing if we are not businesslike. Now, who is coming to interrupt us?"
CHAPTER II. THE NEW GIRL."I shall do nothing to-night," said Mrs. Freeman. "But to-morrow, after morning school, I must speak to Bridget. Her conduct during that interview will more or less decide what steps I must take."
"Will you have some fruit?" she said coldly, laying[Pg 14] a restraining hand as she spoke on the girl's beflowered and embroidered dress.