"Bridget O'Hara!" exclaimed Janet, "that incorrigible, unpleasant girl? Why did you waste your time listening to her?""I won't eat any dinner in this horrid room," she said; "I think I have been treated shamefully. If my dinner is sent to me I won't eat it."
"I believe I am more frightened than hurt," said Miss Percival, struggling to sit up, and smiling at Mrs. Freeman, "I'm so awfully sorry that I've lost my[Pg 51] nerve. Where am I? what has happened? I only remember Caspar turning right round and looking at me, and some people shouting, and then the carriage went over, and I cannot recall anything more. But I don't think—no—I am sure I am not seriously hurt."
"We are not by ourselves when we are together," replied Bridget. "Come along, girls, don't be such little despicable cowards! I'll square it with Mrs.[Pg 44] Freeman. You trust me. Mrs. Freeman will forgive us everything when the queen is coming back. Now, do let's be quick, we haven't a minute to lose!"Miss Collingwood was turning away, when her mistress stretched out her hand and drew her back."Are you there, Janet?" said Mrs. Freeman. "Go into the house, and ask Miss Patience to follow me down the road. And see that someone goes for Dr. Hart. Alice, you can come back with me. The rest of the little girls are to go into the playroom, and to stay there until I come to them."
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Notwithstanding her vehement words, some decided pangs of hunger seized her as she saw the tempting food, She remembered, however, that in the old novels heroines in distress had never any appetite, and she resolved to die rather than touch food while she was treated in so disgraceful a manner.
"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?""Pretty," interrupted Janet, scorn curling her lip.
"Please wait one moment, Mrs. Freeman."
Bridget raised her brows the tenth of an inch. The faintest shadow of surprise crossed her sweet, happy face. Then she walked down the long room, nodding and smiling to the girls.
"The precious love, how nicely she talks, and how I love her gentle, refined words. But, darling, I'm not going to bed, for I'm not tired."