"And if she happens to fancy Bridget she won't mind[Pg 40] a word we say against her. She never does mind what anyone says. You know that, Janet."
"Poor old dear! But wanting Biddy O'Hara to do a thing, and making her do it, are two very different matters. I'll go to bed when I'm tired—papa never expected me to go earlier at home. I declare I feel quite cheerful again now that I have got to know you, Dorothy. Janet is not at all to my taste, but you are. What a pretty name you have, and you have an awfully sweet expression—such a dear, loving kind of look in your eyes. Would you mind very much if I gave you a hug?"
"Well, well," interrupted Janet impatiently, "have your own way, Olive. Make that tiresome, disagreeable girl a female Hercules if you fancy, only cease to talk about her. That is all I have to beg."The girls were leaving the dining room while these thoughts were flashing through Marshall's mind. Dorothy and Janet May were walking side by side."Oh, let me look; do let me look!" cried Ruth, while Olive and Janet both pressed eagerly forward."Yes, Janet, she's pretty and she's rich, and she's destitute of fear. She is quite certain to have her own party in the school. I repeat," continued Olive, "that there is no weakness in Bridget. I grant that she is about the most irritating creature I know, but weak she is not."
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A story book, belonging to the school library, happened to be lying on a chair close to her own. She took it up, opened it, and began to read. The tale was sufficiently interesting to cause her to forget her troubles."I don't believe she's a new schoolgirl at all," cried Ruth; "she's just a visitor come to stay for a day or two with Mrs. Freeman. No schoolgirl that ever[Pg 6] breathed would dare to present such a young lady, grown-up appearance. There, girls, don't let's waste any more time over her; let's turn our attention to the much more important matter of the Fancy Fair."
"I don't mind your kissing me, Bridget, only does not it seem a little soon—I have not known you many minutes yet?""And you also dislike poor Bridget? I can't imagine why you take such strong prejudices."
"Do try not to make such a fool of yourself," repeated Janet, angrily, in her ear.
"Of course it is, Violet," replied Miss Collingwood in her good-natured way. "But what a naughty imp you were to hide under the laurel arch. The wonder[Pg 8] is you did not get right in the way of the horses' hoofs."
The girls entered the wide, long dining hall and immediately took their places at the table.
Her first impulse was to open the door of her prison and go boldly out.