Bridget's excitable eager words were broken by sobs; tears poured out of her lovely eyes, her hands clasped Dorothy's with fervor."Well, and our humble school clock ought to make your heart quail if you don't obey it, Bridget. Seriously speaking, it is my duty to counsel you, as a new girl, to go to bed at once.""Only to tell you that that pet of yours, Bridget O'Hara, is likely to get herself into a nice scrape. She has run down the road with a number of the small fry to meet Evelyn. They are taking boughs of trees with them, and are going to shout, or do something extraordinary, when they see her arriving. Janet, what's the matter? How queer you look!"
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."I suppose I may go," she said, "if that's all you have got to say?"
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"Well, she's in trouble now," said Dorothy, with a sigh. "I think you are very much mistaken in her, Janet; she's a very original, clever, amusing girl. I find her tiresome at times, and I admit that she's dreadfully naughty, but it's the sort of naughtiness which comes from simply not knowing. The accident last night might have been a dreadful one, and Bridget certainly deserves the punishment she has got; all the same;—I'm very sorry for her."There are times in life when all one's preconceived ideas are completely upset and altered. We looked at the world from a certain point of view. From that special angle of our own it showed in gold and rose color and blue. A day came when we were forced to change our vantage ground, and on that day we for the first time perceived the grays and the blacks of that same old world—it ceased to smile on us, it ceased to pet us—it ceased to say to us, "I was made to render your life beautiful, I was made to minister to every selfish desire of yours; I am your slave, you are my mistress; do with me what you will."
"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.""Never mind, it is the correct thing to do. In a matter of this kind we are nothing if we are not businesslike. Now, who is coming to interrupt us?"
Mrs. Freeman got up, and sounded an electric bell in the wall.
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.
"No one is nice to-day. There's the most ridiculous, unfair fuss being made about nothing. There isn't a single girl in the school who hasn't turned against me,[Pg 60] because of the accident last night to that stupid, plain Miss Percival. If I'd hurt her, or if she were ill, and in the least pain, I'd be as sorry as the rest of them; but she's not in the slightest pain; she's quite well. I can't understand all this fuss."