"We are not by ourselves when we are together," replied Bridget. "Come along, girls, don't be such little despicable cowards! I'll square it with Mrs.[Pg 44] Freeman. You trust me. Mrs. Freeman will forgive us everything when the queen is coming back. Now, do let's be quick, we haven't a minute to lose!""Not for over a month?"The door was closed then, and Bridget O'Hara found herself alone.
"I suppose I may go," she said, "if that's all you have got to say?"[Pg 33]
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"I have some more things to say. I must get you, Bridget, before you leave this room, to make a promise."She looked at her friend with a cool, critical eye."Bridget, do look," said Mrs. Freeman; "you have trodden on that lovely bud!"
Bridget, her hat hanging on her arm, defiance very marked on her brow, came suddenly into view. She was alone, and Mrs. Freeman noticed that Janet and her two companions stopped to look at her as if they rather enjoyed the spectacle. They paused for a moment, stared rudely, then turned their backs on Miss O'Hara."Let me go," said the head mistress."If she had any strength, she'd be ashamed of her ignorance," retorted Janet.
"Now, how old would you think? Just you give a guess. Let me stand in front of you, so that you can take a squint at me. Now, then—oh, I say, stop a minute, I see some more girls coming in. Come along, girls, and help Miss May to guess my age. Now, then, now then, I wonder who'll be right? How you do all stare! I feel uncommonly as if I'd like to dance the Irish jig!"
Olive had no inclination to join them. They had taken no notice of her, and she was not sufficiently fascinated by Bridget to run any risk for her sake. She knew that her present proceedings were wrong, but she was not at all brave enough to raise her voice in protest. She walked slowly back to the house, wondering whether she should go and tell Janet, or sink down lazily on a cozy seat and go on with a story book which was sticking out of her pocket.
Mrs. Freeman and Miss Patience had driven away in a very smart carriage with a pair of horses to meet her.
"I ought not to speak," said Dorothy, turning very red, "but if you are going to be hard on Bridget——"