Ruth Bury was short and dark, but Janet May, her companion, was extremely slim and fair. She would have been a pretty girl but for the somewhat disagreeable expression of her face.Marshall, with all her silliness, was a shrewd observer of character. Had the girl in disgrace been Janet May or Dorothy Collingwood, she would have known far better than to presume to address her; but Bridget was on very familiar terms with her old nurse and with many of the other servants at home, and it seemed quite reasonable to her that Marshall should speak sympathetic words.
"Well, Marshall is unhappy about her," replied Dorothy. "She said that Bridget would not touch her dinner. I don't exactly know what Mrs. Freeman means to do about her, but the poor girl is a prisoner in Miss Patience's dull little sitting room for the present."
"Oh, come at once!" said Violet, "there has been an accident, and Evelyn is hurt. Bridget is with her. Come, come at once!"She had read for nearly an hour when the door of the room opened, and Miss Patience came in. Miss Patience was an excellent woman, but she took severe views of life; she emphatically believed in the young being trained; she thought well of punishments, and pined for the good old days when children were taught to make way for their elders, and not—as in the present degenerate times—to expect their elders to make way for them. Miss Patience just nodded toward Bridget, and, sitting beside a high desk, took out an account book and opened it. Miss O'Hara felt more uncomfortable than ever when Miss Patience came into the room; her book ceased to entertain her, and the walls of her prison seemed to get narrower. She fidgeted on her chair, and jumped up several times to look out of the window. There was nothing of the least interest, however, going on in the yard at that moment. Presently she beat an impatient tattoo on the glass with her fingers.Her attempts were extremely good, but when it came to laboriously struggling through her written score, all was hopeless confusion, tears, and despair.
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"Caspar shied at something," she said.
"Janet, I wish you would not speak in that bitter way."
Olive Moore belonged to the toadying faction in the school. Toadies, however, can be useful, and Janet was by no means above making use of Olive in case of need.
"I must break you in gradually, dear," she said. "As this is your first day at school you need not do any lessons, but you must come with me presently to the schoolroom in order that I may find out something about your attainments."
While Janet was speaking, Dorothy, who had refused to seat herself in the armchair assigned to her, and whose clear, bright blue eyes were roving eagerly all over the beautiful summer landscape, exclaimed in an eager voice: