"I don't suppose that Evelyn Percival is to rule the school. She is away at present, and we can't wait on her will and pleasure. Let's form our committee, and do without her."The period at which this story begins was the middle of the summer term. There were no half-term holidays at the Court, but somehow the influence of holiday time had already got into the air. The young girls had tired themselves out with play, and the older ones lay about in hammocks, or strolled in twos or[Pg 2] threes up and down the wide gravel walk which separated the house from the gardens."Yes, poor old Dandy, who is so lame and so affectionate, and Mustard and Pepper, the dear little snappers, and Lemon. Poor darling, he is a trial; we have called him Lemon because he exactly resembles the juice of that fruit when it's most acrid and disagreeable. Lemon's temper is the acknowledged trial of our kennel, but he loves my father, and always paces up and down with him in the evening on the south walk. Then of course there's Bruin, he's an Irish deerhound, and the darling of my heart, and there's Pilate, the blind watchdog—oh! and Minerva. I think that's about all. We have fox hounds, of course, but they are not let out every day. I see my dear father now looking down at the lake, and talking to the dogs, and thinking of me. O Dolly, Dolly, I'm lonely, awfully lonely! Do pity me—do love me! O Dolly, my heart will break if no one loves me!"
Janet turned away, and Olive was obliged to look out for a fresh companion to attach herself to.
"Oh, foolish do you call it?" A passing cloud swept over Bridget O'Hara's face. It quickly vanished, however; she jumped up with a little sigh."If I had only some smelling salts," she began."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."The ages of these fifty girls ranged from seventeen to five, but from seventeen down to five on this special hot summer's evening one topic of conversation might have been heard on every tongue.
Referral and earn bonus.
CHAPTER III. RIBBONS AND ROSES."Yes, Olive; I'm very busy. Do you want anything?"
"Did you speak?" asked Miss May in her coldest tones."I shall do nothing to-night," said Mrs. Freeman. "But to-morrow, after morning school, I must speak to Bridget. Her conduct during that interview will more or less decide what steps I must take."She had to own to herself that Bridget had proved a very irritating companion. She would take her part, of course; but she felt quite certain at the same time that she was going to be a trial to her. As she stood by her window now, however, a little picture of the scene which the Irish girl had described so vividly presented itself with great distinctness before Dorothy's eyes.
"Yes, I am sure she has a good deal of physical courage, but that does not alter the fact of her having defied my authority and led the children into mischief."
"It is more than a pity, Bridget," said her governess in a severe tone. "I am sorry to have to open your eyes, my dear child; but in picking any of my roses you have taken an unwarrantable liberty."
"My! what a minute!" said Miss Bridget, tossing back her abundant hair, and slipping one firm, dimpled hand inside Janet's arm. "Well, come on, darling," she continued, giving that young lady an affectionate squeeze. "Let's make the most of our precious time. I'm dying to know you all—I think you look so sweet. Who's that love of a girl in gray, who sat next you at supper? She had golden hair, and blue eyes—not like mine, of course, but well enough for English eyes. What's her name, dear?"