Bridget moved restlessly. She looked out of the window. The sun was shining brilliantly, and the grass under the big shady trees looked particularly inviting."Well, dear, well! half a mile is a figure of speech. That's a way we have in Ireland—we figure of speech everything; it's much more graphic. Now, to go on. I was running up the stairs with my candle, and the wind rushing after me like mad, and the Castle rocking as if it were in an agony, when—— What do you think happened?"
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:Bridget's changeful face was now all glowing with excitement, eagerness, and hope. Her defiant attitude had vanished. As she looked full at Mrs. Freeman, her governess noticed for the first time that her eyelids were red, as if she had been crying. That, and a certain pathos in her voice, made the head mistress regard her in a new light.
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By this time the preparations for the Fancy Fair were in active progress. Janet May had obtained her own wish with regard to the Committee, each member of which was allowed to choose a band of workers under herself, to make articles for the coming sale.[Pg 12]What would the new girl be like? Was she rich or poor, handsome or ugly, tall or short, dark or fair? Why did she come in the middle of the term, and why did Mrs. Freeman, and Miss Delicia, and Miss Patience make such a fuss about her?
"I can't share your sorrow," replied Janet. "If her punishment, whatever it is, deprives us of her charming society for a few days, it will be a boon to the entire school. I noticed that she was absent from dinner, and I will own I have not had a pleasanter meal for some time."
In every sense of the word Bridget was unexpected. She had an extraordinary aptitude for arithmetic, and took a high place in the school on account of her mathematics. The word mathematics, however, she had never even heard before. She could gabble French as fluently as a native, but did not know a word of the grammar. She had a perfect ear for music, could sing like a bird, and play any air she once heard, but she could scarcely read music at all, and was refractory and troublesome when asked to learn notes.
Miss Delicia was fussing in and out of the house, and picking fresh strawberries, and nodding to the girls she happened to meet with a kind of suppressed delight.
"I don't agree with you," answered Olive. "Strength shows itself in many forms. Miss O'Hara is pretty."