Mrs. Freeman and Miss Patience had driven away in a very smart carriage with a pair of horses to meet her."Oh, let me look; do let me look!" cried Ruth, while Olive and Janet both pressed eagerly forward.[Pg 31]
While Marshall was speaking she looked down at the pretty and rebellious young prisoner with marked interest.
"New girl!" exclaimed Katie, "why, she's about the very oldest girl in the school—the oldest and the nicest. She's the head of the school. We call her our queen. She's not like you, Biddy, of course; but she's very nice—awfully nice!""And there's such a fuss made about her, too," interrupted Olive. "A carriage and pair sent to meet her, forsooth, and a separate room for the darling to sleep in. It was good-natured of you to stay with her, Dolly;[Pg 25] I assure you Ruth, and Janet, and I could not have borne another moment of her society.""Oh, papa'll pay that! Don't you fret about that, Mrs. Freeman; the dear old dad will settle it. He quite loves writing checks!"
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"Dolly, I will clap my hands over your rosebud lips[Pg 22] if you utter another word. Come, and let us sit in this deep window-seat and be happy. Would you like to know what papa is doing at the Castle now?"Miss Percival's accident, and Bridget O'Hara's share in it, were the subjects of conversation not only that night, but the next morning.
"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?"Mrs. Freeman spoke calmly, but there was a look about her face which gave Janet a very queer sensation. The schoolmistress took Alice's hand, and walked as quickly as she could to the scene of the accident.
A titter ran down the table at these remarks; Mrs. Freeman bent to pick up her pocket handkerchief, and Miss Delicia, rushing to Bridget's side, began to whisper vigorously in her ear.
Bridget uttered a faint sigh.