Mrs. Freeman was very particular with regard to tidiness, and the condition of this very pretty room filled her with grave displeasure. The rules with regard to tidy rooms, neatly kept drawers, a place for everything and everything in its place, were most stringent at Mulberry Court, but up to the present rules mattered nothing at all to Bridget O'Hara."Yes; does not a mistress always command her pupils?"
Marshall reappeared with the asparagus and cherry tart.
The period at which this story begins was the middle of the summer term. There were no half-term holidays at the Court, but somehow the influence of holiday time had already got into the air. The young girls had tired themselves out with play, and the older ones lay about in hammocks, or strolled in twos or[Pg 2] threes up and down the wide gravel walk which separated the house from the gardens.
"Come now, Janet," she said, "confession is good for the soul—own—now do own that you cordially hate the new girl, Bridget O'Hara."Evelyn Percival was one of the few girls in the school who was privileged to have a room to herself. Her little room was prettily draped in white and pink. It was called the Pink Room, and adjoined the Blue Room, which was occupied by Bridget O'Hara.
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"Poor darling!" said Olive, in a sympathetic tone. "I thought I'd tell you, Janet, that whatever happened I'd take your part."
"Well, I'm here," she said; "what is it?" She still used that half-mocking, indifferent voice.
"I expect I shan't be allowed to talk at all.""We won't discuss the whys nor the wherefores; the fact remains that I do dislike her."
"Oh, what a wicked girl you are," said Mrs. Freeman, roused out of her customary gentle manner by the sight of Evelyn's motionless form. "I can't speak to you at this moment, Bridget O'Hara; go away, leave Evelyn to me. Evelyn, my darling, look at me, speak to me—say you are not hurt!"
Dorothy Collingwood ran after Mrs. Freeman.