"Well, she's in trouble now," said Dorothy, with a sigh. "I think you are very much mistaken in her, Janet; she's a very original, clever, amusing girl. I find her tiresome at times, and I admit that she's dreadfully naughty, but it's the sort of naughtiness which comes from simply not knowing. The accident last night might have been a dreadful one, and Bridget certainly deserves the punishment she has got; all the same;—I'm very sorry for her.""And what's the darling's name?" asked Bridget.[Pg 31]
"O Janey," exclaimed two of the other girls in a breath, "a committee does sound so absurdly formal."
"Bridget O'Hara!" exclaimed Janet, "that incorrigible, unpleasant girl? Why did you waste your time listening to her?"The smaller girls chatted volubly about the matter, and little Violet Temple, aged ten, and of course one of the small girls, so far forgot herself as to run up to[Pg 3] Dorothy Collingwood, clasp her hand affectionately round the tall girl's arm, and whisper in her impetuous, eager way:
In consequence she was popular, with that mild sort of popularity which is bestowed upon the people who are all patience and have no faculty for inspiring fear.At the dear old wild Castle in Ireland she had been idolized by everyone, the servants had done her bidding, however extravagant and fanciful that bidding had been. She led her old father where she wished with silken reins. The dogs, the horses, even the cows and the calves, followed Bridget like so many faithful shadows. In short, this wild little girl was the beloved queen of the Castle. To cut her, or show her the smallest incivility, would have been nothing short of high treason."Pain and anxiety! I like that! You are just angry with me—that's about all!""I don't agree with you," answered Olive. "Strength shows itself in many forms. Miss O'Hara is pretty."
Her attempts were extremely good, but when it came to laboriously struggling through her written score, all was hopeless confusion, tears, and despair.Miss Delicia hurried on, intent on some housewifely mission, and Olive entering the house went down a long stone passage which led to the sixth form schoolroom.
With each fresh study Bridget showed the queer[Pg 36] vagaries of a really clever mind run more or less to seed. She did everything in a dramatic, excitable style—she was all on wires, scarcely ever still, laughing one moment, weeping the next; the school had never known such a time as it underwent during the first week of her residence among them.
"The first thing to do is to appoint a committee," she began.
"Well, well," interrupted Janet impatiently, "have your own way, Olive. Make that tiresome, disagreeable girl a female Hercules if you fancy, only cease to talk about her. That is all I have to beg."