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2022-07-01 Author: Poly News
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Bridget, her hat hanging on her arm, defiance very marked on her brow, came suddenly into view. She was alone, and Mrs. Freeman noticed that Janet and her two companions stopped to look at her as if they rather enjoyed the spectacle. They paused for a moment, stared rudely, then turned their backs on Miss O'Hara."No, my dear," replied the head mistress, in a rather icy voice, "I have never had the pleasure of visiting Ireland.""Oh, come at once!" said Violet, "there has been an accident, and Evelyn is hurt. Bridget is with her. Come, come at once!"

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"Oh, good gra——! I mean, mercy Moses!"

"Oh, papa'll pay that! Don't you fret about that, Mrs. Freeman; the dear old dad will settle it. He quite loves writing checks!""I think you must mean Dorothy Collingwood," said Janet in her clear, cold English voice. "May I ask if you have ever been at school before, Miss O'Hara?"

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"Miss Bridget O'Hara. She aint understood, and she's in punishment, pore dear; shut up in Miss Patience's dull parlor. Mrs. Freeman don't understand her. She aint the sort to be broke in, and if Mrs. Freeman thinks she'll do it, she's fine and mistook. The pore dear is that spirited she'd die afore she'd own herself wrong. Do you think, Miss Collingwood, as she'd touch a morsel of her dinner? No, that she wouldn't! Bite nor sup wouldn't pass her lips, although I tempted her with a lamb chop and them beautiful marrow peas, and asparagus and whipped cream and cherry tart. You can judge for yourself, miss, that a healthy young lady with a good, fine appetite must be bad when she refuses food of that sort!"

"Now, what shall I eat?" she said. "By the way, I hope there's a nice breakfast, I'm awfully hungry. Oh, eggs! I like eggs when they're very fresh. Mrs. Freeman, are these new laid? do you keep your own fowls? Father and I wouldn't touch eggs at the Castle unless we were quite sure that they were laid by Sally, Sukey, or dear old Heneypeney.""Come, my dears," said Miss Patience to the girls[Pg 29] near her, "let us lose no more valuable time. Please don't scrape your chair in that atrocious way, Alice. Rose, what a poke! Susie, hold back your shoulders. Now, young ladies, come to the schoolroom quietly; quietly, if you please."

"I feel quite well," replied Evelyn, "quite well, and disinclined to stay in bed. I want to get up and see all my friends. You don't know how I have been looking forward to this."[Pg 39]

7updown"Look, dear," said the governess. "What is that distant speck? I am so terribly near-sighted that I cannot make out whether it is a carriage or cart of some sort."

"Oh, my!" exclaimed Miss O'Hara, "that's nothing. Goodness gracious me! what would you think of thirty or forty miles on an Irish jaunting car, all in one day, Mrs. Freeman? That's the sort of thing to make the back ache. Bump, bump, you go. You catch on to the sides of the car for bare life, and as likely as not you're pitched out into a bog two or three times before you get home. Papa and I have often taken our thirty to forty miles' jaunt a day. I can tell you, I have been stiff after those rides. Did you ever ride on a jaunting car, Mrs. Freeman?"

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    [Pg 53]

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    "Well, Marshall, I'll see what I can do. I must join Miss May now, for we have something important to decide, but I won't forget your words."

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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?"Good gracious, why, that's weeks off! I can't live without flowers for weeks! Look here, Mrs. Freeman; is there not to be an exception made for me? Papa said, when I was coming here, that my happiness was to be the first thing considered. Don't you agree with him? Don't you wish me to be very, very happy?"