Dorothy was beginning to whisper to her companion that all their excitement was safe to end in smoke, when the door at the farther end of the dining hall was softly pushed open, and a head of luxuriant nut-brown curling hair was popped in. Two roguish dark blue eyes looked down the long room—they greeted with an eager sort of delighted welcome each fresh girl face, and then the entire person of a tall, showily dressed girl entered.Bridget moved restlessly. She looked out of the window. The sun was shining brilliantly, and the grass under the big shady trees looked particularly inviting.The next morning, after breakfast, Mrs. Freeman went upstairs to sit with her favorite Evelyn.
"I expect I shan't be allowed to talk at all."
"I was going up the staircase," continued Bridget. "I held a lighted candle in my hand. It was an awful night—you should have heard the wind howling. We keep some special windbags of our own at the Castle, and when we open the strings of one, why—well, there is a hurricane, that's all."
"I've had enough," she said, nodding to Mrs. Freeman in her bright way. "I'm going out into the garden now, to pick some roses.""Oh, don't I!" said Janet, stamping her small foot."Oh, if you take it up in that way," said Olive; but her words had a faint sound about them—she was a girl who was easily impressed either for good or evil.
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"My attainments! Good gracious, I haven't any!"
CHAPTER V. BREAKING IN A WILD COLT.Evelyn gave a very faint sigh, and turning her head looked out of the window.
Alice, Violet, and several more of the little girls were running and tumbling up the grassy slope.[Pg 49] The moment they saw Mrs. Freeman they ran to her."Oh, goodness—no, I mustn't—mercy! nor that either; oh, I—I say, Mrs. Freeman, don't let the new dresses be frumpy, or I'll break my heart. I do so adore looking at myself in a lovely dress."
"Earn it—how? Do you mean pay extra for it? Oh, that can be easily managed—I'll write to papa at once. He has heaps of money, even though he is Irish, and he can deny me nothing. He's paying lots more for me than most of the girls' fathers pay for them. That's why I have a room to myself, and why I am to have riding lessons, and a whole heap of things. But I mean to share all my little comforts with you, you darling. Oh, if the cupboard is to be bought, I'll soon have one. Now let us sit in this cosy, deep seat in the window, and put our arms round one another and talk." The great clock in the stable struck nine.
From where they stood they obtained a very distinct although somewhat bird's-eye view of the winding avenue and quickly approaching carriage. Mrs. Freeman's tall and familiar figure was too well known to be worthy, in that supreme moment, of even a passing comment. Miss Patience looked as angular and as like herself as ever; but a girl, who sat facing the two ladies—a girl who wore a large shady hat, and whose light dress and gay ribbons fluttered in the summer breeze—upon this girl the eyes of the four watchers in the "Lookout" tower were fixed with devouring curiosity.