Should she run away altogether? Should she walk to Eastcliff and take the next train to London, and then, trusting to chance, and to the kindness of strangers, endeavor to find her way back to the dear and loving shores of the old country, and so back again to the beloved home?Dorothy ran away at once, and Mrs. Freeman walked down the garden in the direction where she had just seen a white dress disappearing.
"He'll be sorry he sent me; he'll be sorry he listened to Aunt Kathleen," she said to herself."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!""But your father cannot pay for your disobedience—for the bad example you have set the little children, for the pain and anxiety you have given me."
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"I certainly want you, Bridget. I am not in the habit of sending for my pupils if I don't wish to speak to them."
"I hope not, Bridget.""Janet May. This is the schoolroom where the[Pg 16] sixth form girls do their lessons. We have a desk each, of course. That room inside there is for the fifth form. I wonder which you will belong to? How old are you?"She looked at her friend with a cool, critical eye."And isn't she nice to-day?"
Bridget's excitable eager words were broken by sobs; tears poured out of her lovely eyes, her hands clasped Dorothy's with fervor.
But plain as Evelyn undoubtedly was, no one who knew her long ever remarked about her appearance, or gave a second thought to the fact that she could lay small claim to physical beauty.
The door was closed then, and Bridget O'Hara found herself alone.
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.