"She's not at all impertinent," said Dorothy. "After all, Janet, servants are flesh and blood, like the rest of us, and this poor Marshall, although she's not the wisest of the wise, is a good-natured creature. What do you think she wanted?""Come now, Janet," she said, "confession is good for the soul—own—now do own that you cordially hate the new girl, Bridget O'Hara.""Well, let's settle to business now," said Ruth; "I'm sure I'm more than willing. Who has got a pencil and paper?"
"I don't suppose that Evelyn Percival is to rule the school. She is away at present, and we can't wait on her will and pleasure. Let's form our committee, and do without her."
"Dear Janey, you always were the soul of sense," remarked Dorothy, in a somewhat languid voice. "For my part I pity those poor little mites, Violet and the rest of them. I know they are just as curious with regard to the issue of events as we are, and yet I can see them at this moment, with my mental vision, being driven like sheep into the fold. They'll be in bed, poor mites, when we are satisfying our curiosity."
"Yes, but at what?"
"Now, let's go on," said Janet, in her calm tones. "Let us try and settle something before the supper bell rings. We must have a committee, that goes without saying. Suppose we four girls form it."
"Do, my love, and call to me if you do. I would not have that dear girl frightened for the world. I am more vexed than I can say with Hickman.""Sit down, Dorothy," cried Ruth, "we have kept your favorite armchair vacant for you. Now, then, to discuss the Fancy Fair in all its bearings. Is it not kind of Mrs. Freeman to consent to our having it? She says it is quite an unusual thing for girls like us to do, but in the cause of that poor little baby, and because we wish the Fancy Fair to be our break-up treat, she consents. The only stipulation she makes is that we arrange the whole programme without troubling her.""We'll all be delighted to have her again, of course," said Olive. "And is she really quite well, Miss Delicia?"
"Yes, poor old Dandy, who is so lame and so affectionate, and Mustard and Pepper, the dear little snappers, and Lemon. Poor darling, he is a trial; we have called him Lemon because he exactly resembles the juice of that fruit when it's most acrid and disagreeable. Lemon's temper is the acknowledged trial of our kennel, but he loves my father, and always paces up and down with him in the evening on the south walk. Then of course there's Bruin, he's an Irish deerhound, and the darling of my heart, and there's Pilate, the blind watchdog—oh! and Minerva. I think that's about all. We have fox hounds, of course, but they are not let out every day. I see my dear father now looking down at the lake, and talking to the dogs, and thinking of me. O Dolly, Dolly, I'm lonely, awfully lonely! Do pity me—do love me! O Dolly, my heart will break if no one loves me!"[Pg 54]
They were both undressing when she entered the room this evening, but the moment she appeared they rushed to her and began an eager torrent of words.
"Pain and anxiety! I like that! You are just angry with me—that's about all!"
She looked at the merry group on the lawn, and a desire to join them, even though of course she knew she was in no sense one of them, came over her.