"Janet May. This is the schoolroom where the[Pg 16] sixth form girls do their lessons. We have a desk each, of course. That room inside there is for the fifth form. I wonder which you will belong to? How old are you?""I don't know how I can, Mrs. Freeman. I said at once, when I came to school and saw what kind of place it was, that I wouldn't obey the rules. They were so tiresome and silly; I didn't see the use of them.""You know perfectly well what I mean," she answered; "you know who the enemy is—at least you know who is your enemy."
Mrs. Freeman got up, and sounded an electric bell in the wall.
"Oh, good gracious me! don't call me Miss O'Hara. I'm Biddy to my friends—Biddy O'Hara, at your service—great fun, too, I can tell you. You ask my father what he thinks of me. Poor old gentleman, I expect he's crying like anything this minute without his Biddy to coddle him. He said I wanted polishing, and so he sent me here. I have never been in England before, and I don't at all know if I will like it. By the way, what's your name? I didn't quite catch it."
"Do try not to make such a fool of yourself," repeated Janet, angrily, in her ear.All this time Miss Percival, the head girl of the school, was absent. She had been ill, and had gone home for a short change. She did not return until Bridget had been at the Court a fortnight.She scrutinized Olive's face now, a slightly satirical expression hovering round her somewhat thin lips.
A slight additional color came into Miss Percival's cheeks.
"I won't eat any dinner in this horrid room," she said; "I think I have been treated shamefully. If my dinner is sent to me I won't eat it.""Do let me speak, Marion," exclaimed little Violet Temple, coloring all over her round face in her excitement and interest. "You know I got the first glimpse of her. I did, you know I did. I was hiding under the laurel arch, and I saw her quite close. It's awfully unfair of anyone else to tell, isn't it, Dolly?""I don't mean that sort of learning, Bridget. I mean what you acquire from books—grammar, French, music."
"I think you must mean Dorothy Collingwood," said Janet in her clear, cold English voice. "May I ask if you have ever been at school before, Miss O'Hara?"
What could it all mean? It really was most exciting.