"I did not feel tired, Mrs. Freeman," replied the newcomer in an eager, irrepressible sort of voice. "You put me into my room and told me to go to bed, but I didn't want to go to bed. I have had my supper, thank you, so I don't want any more, but I have been dying with curiosity to see the girls. Are these they? Are these my schoolfellows? I never saw a schoolfellow before. They all look pretty much like other[Pg 13] people. How do you do, each and all of you? I'm Bridget O'Hara. May I sit near you, Mrs. Freeman?""I don't think I ought to listen to you, Bridget.""I don't think I shall like school," she said, "but I'll do anything you wish me to do, dearest Dorothy."
"No fruit, thank you. Oh, what a lovely ring you have on! It's a ruby, isn't it? My poor mother—she died when I was only three—had some splendid rubies—they are to be mine when I am grown up. Papa is keeping them for me in the County Bank. You always keep your valuables in the Bank in Ireland, you know—that's on account of the Land Leaguers.""It's most mournful to see her, poor dear!" she muttered. "She's fat and strong and hearty, but I know by the shape of her mouth that she's that obstinate she won't touch any food, and she won't give in to obey Mrs. Freeman, not if it's ever so. I do pity her, poor dear, and it aint only for the sake of the things she gives me. Now let me see, aint there anyone I can speak to about her? Oh, there's Miss Dorothy Collingwood, she aint quite so 'aughty as the other young ladies; I think I will try her, and see ef she couldn't bring the poor dear to see reason."
"How can I possibly tell you, Miss O'Hara?" she replied. "You are a tall girl. Perhaps you are seventeen, although you look more."
The governess took it without a word, and opening it applied it to Evelyn's nostrils.The doctor had come to see Evelyn, had pronounced her whole in limb, and not as much shaken by her fall out of her carriage as might have been expected. After prescribing a day in bed, and all absence of excitement, he went away, promising to look in again in a few days.
Miss Patience asked for a blessing on the meal just partaken of in a clear, emphatic voice, and the group of girls began to file out of the room.
The door was opened, and a neatly dressed servant of the name of Marshall entered, bearing a dinner tray.
She was not present, however, and did not, indeed, put in an appearance in the breakfast room until the meal was half over.