"Oh, come at once!" said Violet, "there has been an accident, and Evelyn is hurt. Bridget is with her. Come, come at once!"It is not an easy matter to break in a wild colt, and this was the process which had now to take place with regard to the new girl, whose eccentricities and daring, whose curious mixture of ignorance and knowledge, of affectionate sympathy and careless levity, made her at once the adored and detested of her companions."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."
"Well, Marshall, I'll see what I can do. I must join Miss May now, for we have something important to decide, but I won't forget your words."
"It is not the custom at school, my dear child, to make remarks about what we eat. We just take what is put before us. Here's a nice piece of bacon, dear, and some toast. Don't say anything more, I beg, or you will annoy Mrs. Freeman."
CHAPTER I. CURIOSITY."Yes, my love, or she would not be returning."The Fair was the great event to which the girls looked forward, and in the first excitement of such an unusual proceeding each of them worked with a will.
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Steps—several steps—were heard clattering up the stone stairs of the little tower, and two or three girls of the middle school, with roughly tossed heads and excited faces, burst upon the seclusion of the four sixth-form girls.
"I cannot go, Bridget. Mrs. Freeman would not give me leave, and she would be only annoyed at my making such a foolish proposition."When she said this a quick change flitted over Janet's face. She bit her lips, and, after a very brief pause, said in a voice of would-be indifference:Janet did not say any more. She bent forward, ostensibly to renew her studies, in reality to hide a jealous feeling which surged up in her heart."You know perfectly well what I mean," she answered; "you know who the enemy is—at least you know who is your enemy."
"Sit there, Miss O'Hara, please," said Mrs. Freeman. She tried to suppress a smile, which was difficult. "Girls," she said, addressing the fifth and sixth forms, "girls, this young lady is your new schoolfellow—her name is Bridget O'Hara. I meant to introduce her to you formally to-morrow, but she has taken the matter into her own hands. I am glad you are not tired, Miss O'Hara, for you have had a very long journey."
"Here, Miss O'Hara," she said good-naturedly, "here's a lovely slice of lamb; and I saved some peas for you. Them young ladies always do make a rush on the peas, but I secured some in time. I'll bring you some cherry tart presently, miss, and some whipped cream. You eat a good dinner, miss, and forget your[Pg 67] troubles; oh, dear! I don't like to see young ladies in punishment—and that I don't!"