"The wind dropped as if it were dead. After screeching as if it had the tongues of hundreds of Furies, it was mummer than the timidest mouse that ever crept. The Castle ceased to rock; it was the suddenest and [Pg 42]deadest calm you could possibly imagine. It was miles more frightful than the storm. Just then there came a little puff of a breeze out of the solid stone wall, and out went my candle."Biddy turned, arrested in her gay flight from rosebush to rosebush."This is the very plainest dress I possess, Mrs. Freeman; I pulled a lot out of my trunk this morning to look at them. There was a sky-blue delaine with coffee lace, and a pink surah, and——"Other new girls had arrived, and only the faintest rumors had got out about them beforehand.
"Yes, what is it?""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.""But, my dear child, our hearts are not cold. I assure you, Bridget, I am most anxious to win your love, and so also is Dorothy Collingwood."
"Change my dress! Now I really don't understand you. Am I to come down in my dressing-gown?"
"Do, my love, and call to me if you do. I would not have that dear girl frightened for the world. I am more vexed than I can say with Hickman."
"Hadn't they got leave to come to meet me?"
Mrs. Freeman could not help uttering a faint, inward sigh.
Janet bent her fair face again over the open page; a faint flush had risen in each of her cheeks.
"Oh, good gra——! I mean, mercy Moses!"
"Did you speak?" asked Miss May in her coldest tones.