[Pg 12]"Oh, good gracious me! don't call me Miss O'Hara. I'm Biddy to my friends—Biddy O'Hara, at your service—great fun, too, I can tell you. You ask my father what he thinks of me. Poor old gentleman, I expect he's crying like anything this minute without his Biddy to coddle him. He said I wanted polishing, and so he sent me here. I have never been in England before, and I don't at all know if I will like it. By the way, what's your name? I didn't quite catch it.""You know perfectly well what I mean," she answered; "you know who the enemy is—at least you know who is your enemy."
"You have a perfect mania for those children, Dorothy," exclaimed Olive. "I call it an impertinence on their parts to worry themselves about sixth-form girls. What's the matter, Janet? Why that contraction of your angel brow?"
"I was going up the staircase," continued Bridget. "I held a lighted candle in my hand. It was an awful night—you should have heard the wind howling. We keep some special windbags of our own at the Castle, and when we open the strings of one, why—well, there is a hurricane, that's all."
"Oh, oh, oh! if you're going to take her part, that is the last straw.""No, not very. The younger girls were fond of me, and Dorothy Collingwood was nice."
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"Bridget, do look," said Mrs. Freeman; "you have trodden on that lovely bud!"
Small girls are easily influenced, and Bridget and her tribe rushed down the avenue, shouting and whooping as they went."Let's run down the road, then, and give her a welcome," said Bridget. "In Ireland we'd take the horses off the carriage, and draw her home ourselves. Of course, we can't do that, but we might go to meet her, waving branches of trees, and we might raise a hearty shout when we saw her coming. Come along, girls—what a lark! I'll show you how we do this sort of thing in old Ireland! Come! we'll cut down boughs as we go along. Come! be quick, be quick!"
Miss Collingwood was turning away, when her mistress stretched out her hand and drew her back."There, thank Heaven, I haven't killed her!" exclaimed Bridget.CHAPTER VI. CAPTIVITY.
Bridget uttered a faint sigh.
"I am sorry for you also, my dear. I earnestly desire that you should be a good girl, for the girl is the mother of the woman, and a good girl makes that admirable and priceless treasure—a good woman by and by."
"Nonsense, Evelyn. They disobeyed my most stringent orders. Are they not to be blamed for that?"