"I think I understand you, Dorothy," said Mrs. Freeman. "Kiss me!""But Mrs. Freeman wants you to go to bed early to-night."Something, however, she could not tell what, restrained her from doing this. She sank back again in her chair; angry tears rose to her bright eyes, and burning spots appeared in her round cheeks.
"Well," said Janet, "if you insist on spoiling everything, girls, you must. You know what Evelyn is."
"Yes, I am sure she has a good deal of physical courage, but that does not alter the fact of her having defied my authority and led the children into mischief."
[Pg 66]"Yes, in one minute, Janet! I don't know what I'm to do, Marshall," continued Dorothy. "I should not venture to speak to Mrs. Freeman on the subject; she would be very, very angry."
"Janet," said Mrs. Freeman, "come here for a [Pg 47]moment. I want you to use your young eyes. Do you see any carriage coming down the hill?"
"Couldn't you write to father, Mrs. Freeman, and tell him that I am not happy? Say, 'Biddy is not happy, and she wants to go back to you and the dogs.' If you say that, he'll let me come home fast enough. You might write by the next post, and father, he'd jump on the jaunting-car and drive into Ballyshannon, and send you a wire. If papa wires to you, Mrs. Freeman, the very moment he gets your letter, I may perhaps be home on Sunday.""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."
Mrs. Freeman always presided at the head of the board, Miss Patience invariably sat at the foot, Miss Delicia wandered about restlessly, helping the girls to milk and fruit, patting her favorites on their backs, bending down to inquire tenderly how this girl's headache was, and if another had come off conqueror in her tennis match. No girl in the school minded or feared Miss Delicia in the least. Unlike her two sisters, who were tall and thin, she was a little body with a round face, rosy cheeks, hair very much crimped, and eyes a good deal creased with constant laughter. No one had ever seen Miss Delicia the least bit cross or the least bit annoyed with anyone. She was invariably known to weep with the sorrowful, and laugh with the gay—she was a great coddler and physicker—thought petting far better than punishment, and play much more necessary for young girls than lessons.
Bridget opened her eyes wide, and started at the transformation scene which had taken place during the brief moment she had remained in darkness. The room was painted a pale, cool green. The walls were divided into several panels. One of these had now absolutely disappeared, and in its place was a deep recess, which went far enough back into the wall to contain shelves, and had even space sufficient for a chair or two, a sewing machine, and one or two other sacred possessions.
"I ought not to speak," said Dorothy, turning very red, "but if you are going to be hard on Bridget——"