"Don't say 'good gracious,' Bridget; it's a very ugly way of expressing yourself. You have learnt something, haven't you?"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.""Oh, I'll come to that by and by; now about Miss O'Hara. Janet, I deny that she's weak."
"Bridget O'Hara!" exclaimed Janet, "that incorrigible, unpleasant girl? Why did you waste your time listening to her?"
"No, Bridget, you cannot. You have been sent here to be under my care, and you must remain with me at least until the end of the term."
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"I know we've all been awfully naughty, but we didn't think Caspar would mind the boughs. He turned sharp round and something happened to the wheels of the carriage—and—and—oh, Mrs. Freeman, do come. I think Evelyn must be dead, she's lying so still."
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."Spare me, my dear. I really am in too great a hurry to hear a list of your wardrobe. Is it possible that your father sent you to school with all that heap of finery, and nothing sensible to wear?"
[Pg 53]While Janet was speaking, Dorothy, who had refused to seat herself in the armchair assigned to her, and whose clear, bright blue eyes were roving eagerly all over the beautiful summer landscape, exclaimed in an eager voice:
Marshall reappeared with the asparagus and cherry tart.
"Nonsense, Janet, you know you're one of the best French scholars in the school. You won't get out of answering my question by that flimsy excuse. Don't you hate Miss O'Hara?"
"I cannot go, Bridget. Mrs. Freeman would not give me leave, and she would be only annoyed at my making such a foolish proposition."