"Yes, my love, or she would not be returning.""Bridget, you are talking a great deal of nonsense," said Dorothy, "and I for one am not going to listen to you. We are much too sensible to believe in ghost stories here, and there is no use in your trying to frighten us. Good-by, all of you; I am off to the house!"Dorothy was beginning to whisper to her companion that all their excitement was safe to end in smoke, when the door at the farther end of the dining hall was softly pushed open, and a head of luxuriant nut-brown curling hair was popped in. Two roguish dark blue eyes looked down the long room—they greeted with an eager sort of delighted welcome each fresh girl face, and then the entire person of a tall, showily dressed girl entered.
"Well, my dear, you must play it for me some evening, but we don't allow strumming at the Court."
"Well, Marshall is unhappy about her," replied Dorothy. "She said that Bridget would not touch her dinner. I don't exactly know what Mrs. Freeman means to do about her, but the poor girl is a prisoner in Miss Patience's dull little sitting room for the present.""Do, my love, and call to me if you do. I would not have that dear girl frightened for the world. I am more vexed than I can say with Hickman."She was a dependable girl—clever up to a certain point, nice to those with whom she agreed, [Pg 37]affectionate to the people who did not specially prize her affection.
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"I've had enough," she said, nodding to Mrs. Freeman in her bright way. "I'm going out into the garden now, to pick some roses."
A fashionable watering-place called Eastcliff was situated about a mile from Mulberry Court, the old-fashioned house, with the old-world gardens, where the schoolgirls lived. There were about fifty of them in all, and they had to confess that although Mulberry Court was undoubtedly school, yet those who lived in the house and played in the gardens, and had merry games and races on the seashore, enjoyed a specially good time which they would be glad to think of by and by."How do you do, Mrs. Freeman?" said Bridget. "I'm afraid I'm a little late; I overslept myself, and then I could not find the right belt for this dress—it ought to be pale blue to match the ribbons, ought it not? But as I could not lay my hand on it, I have put on this silver girdle instead. Look at it, is it not pretty? It is real solid silver, I assure you; Uncle Jack brought it me from Syria, and the workmanship is supposed to be very curious. It's a trifle heavy, of course, but it keeps my dress nice and tight, don't you think so?"
"Oh, good gra——! I mean, mercy Moses!""Very well, if it must be so, but I shall be very miserable, and misery soon makes me ill."
Olive looked at her steadily.
"Oh, I declare, the little dear is huffed about something! Well, then, I'll tell. I'll be fifteen in exactly a month from now! What do you say to that? I'm well grown, am I not, Janet?"
Miss Delicia hurried on, intent on some housewifely mission, and Olive entering the house went down a long stone passage which led to the sixth form schoolroom.