Dorothy turned with her companion; they walked along the wide gravel sweep, then entered a narrow path which wound gradually up-hill. They soon reached a rural tower, which was called by the girls "The Lookout," mounted some steep steps, and found[Pg 4] themselves standing on a little platform, where two other girls were waiting to receive them."Bridget, do look," said Mrs. Freeman; "you have trodden on that lovely bud!""Come now, Janet," she said, "confession is good for the soul—own—now do own that you cordially hate the new girl, Bridget O'Hara."
"O Bridget!" exclaimed the little girls, starting back in affright.
"Why did you speak so sharply to her, Olive?" exclaimed Dorothy. "After all, her curiosity is but natural—I must even own that I share it myself.""I must say one thing," replied Olive, "and then I will turn to a more congenial theme. I hope Evelyn Percival won't take Miss O'Hara's part. You know, Janet, what strong prejudices Evelyn has."
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"Oh, good gra——! I mean, mercy Moses!"
"Now, do let us be sensible," said Janet, turning to her companions. "We have seen all that there is to be seen. However hard we guess we cannot solve the mystery. Either a new companion is coming among us, who, I have no doubt, will be as commonplace as commonplace can be, or Mrs. Freeman is receiving a young lady visitor. Supper will decide the point, and as that is not half an hour away I suppose we can exist for the present without worrying our brains any further."A slight additional color came into Miss Percival's cheeks."She has been ill, Biddy," said Violet. "Evelyn has been ill, but she is better now; she's coming back to-night. We are all glad, for we all love her."What a fuss everyone was making about that stupid Evelyn Percival. Here was the head mistress even quite in a fume because she was a minute or two late in putting in an appearance.
After that period she found her place to a certain extent, made some violent friends and some active enemies, was adored by the little girls, on whom she showered lollipops, kisses, and secrets, and was disliked more or less by every girl in the sixth and fifth form, Dorothy Collingwood excepted.[Pg 66]
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.