"Well, my dear child," she said, "I suppose you, like all the rest of us, are on tenter hooks for our dear Evelyn's return. From the accounts we received this morning, she seems to be quite well and strong again, and it will be such a comfort to have her back. I don't know how it is, but the school is quite a different place when she is there.""When she can," replied Bridget. Her hands dropped to her sides. She lowered her eyes; her proud lips were firmly shut.She used this tongue most frequently on Bridget O'Hara, but for the first time she was met by a wondering, puzzled, good-humored, and non-comprehending gaze."Quite right, Janet, I am glad you are so industrious. I won't disturb you for more than a minute, my love. I just want to look out of this window. It is the only one that commands a view of the road from Eastcliff. Evelyn ought to be here by now."
"Oh, I'll come to that by and by; now about Miss O'Hara. Janet, I deny that she's weak.""No, my dear," replied the head mistress, in a rather icy voice, "I have never had the pleasure of visiting Ireland."
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"Sit down, Dorothy," cried Ruth, "we have kept your favorite armchair vacant for you. Now, then, to discuss the Fancy Fair in all its bearings. Is it not kind of Mrs. Freeman to consent to our having it? She says it is quite an unusual thing for girls like us to do, but in the cause of that poor little baby, and because we wish the Fancy Fair to be our break-up treat, she consents. The only stipulation she makes is that we arrange the whole programme without troubling her.""Thanks!" she repeated again. "If I want your help I'll ask for it, Olive. I'm going into the house now, for I really must get on with my preparation."Ruth and Olive slept in the back part of the room. They had a cubicle each, of course, but they had not Dorothy's taste, and their little bedrooms had a dowdy effect beside hers.
Mrs. Freeman went up to her, and took her hand. "My dear," she said, "I must make you feel my authority. I do this with great pain, for I know you have not had the advantage of the training which many of the girls who live here have received. I would treat you with kindness, Bridget, but you won't receive my kindness. Now I must be severe, but for your good. Until you promise to obey the rules of the school, you must not join your schoolfellows either at work or play. My sister Patience will allow you to sit with her in her sitting room, and your meals will be brought to you there. The length of your punishment rests with yourself, my dear."
"You can please yourself about that," said Miss Patience, in her calmest voice. She left the room, closing the door behind her.
"Oh, I'll come to that by and by; now about Miss O'Hara. Janet, I deny that she's weak."