Mrs. Freeman went up to her, and took her hand. "My dear," she said, "I must make you feel my authority. I do this with great pain, for I know you have not had the advantage of the training which many of the girls who live here have received. I would treat you with kindness, Bridget, but you won't receive my kindness. Now I must be severe, but for your good. Until you promise to obey the rules of the school, you must not join your schoolfellows either at work or play. My sister Patience will allow you to sit with her in her sitting room, and your meals will be brought to you there. The length of your punishment rests with yourself, my dear.""You can please yourself about that," said Miss Patience, in her calmest voice. She left the room, closing the door behind her."Go on; tell us quickly what you did with the candle, Biddy!" cried little Violet, pulling her new friend by the arm.
Dorothy, Bridget, and a number of the girls of the lower school were walking up and down a broad road which led to the shore. They were talking and laughing. The smaller girls were dancing and running about in their eagerness. Some very funny proposal had undoubtedly been made, and much explosive mirth was the result.
"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.""We won't discuss the whys nor the wherefores; the fact remains that I do dislike her."
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.She sat down presently on the nearest chair and covered her face with her hands. She could only resolve on one thing—she would certainly not yield to Mrs. Freeman's request—nothing would induce her to promise to obey the rules of the school.
Bridget slipped her hand into her pocket, and pulled out an exquisitely embossed vinaigrette.She was a tall, slight girl, fairly good-looking, and not too strong-minded.
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.
Bridget raised her brows the tenth of an inch. The faintest shadow of surprise crossed her sweet, happy face. Then she walked down the long room, nodding and smiling to the girls.
"I don't think I ought to listen to you, Bridget."