Janet turned at the sound of her name, and came quickly up to her mistress. She looked slight, pale, and almost insignificant beside the full, blooming, luxuriously made girl, who, resting one hand in a [Pg 15]nonchalant manner on the back of her chair, was looking full at her with laughing bright eyes."Just play the piece over to me," she said to her master. "I'll do it if you play it over. Yes, that's it—tum, tum, tummy, tum, tum. Oughtn't you to crash the air out a bit there? I think you ought. Yes, that's it—isn't it lovely? Now let me try."
"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."
Mrs. Freeman sighed as she said these words.
"Thanks!" said Janet calmly."I was going up the staircase," continued Bridget. "I held a lighted candle in my hand. It was an awful night—you should have heard the wind howling. We keep some special windbags of our own at the Castle, and when we open the strings of one, why—well, there is a hurricane, that's all.""But I'm all right to-day," said Evelyn, in her bright voice. "I don't feel any bad effects whatever from my accident. I can't think why I was so stupid as to faint, and give you a fright. I ought really to have more control over my nerves."
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She went downstairs and entered her own private sitting room. It was now half-past eleven o'clock, and morning school was over. The weather was too hot for regular walks, and the girls were disporting themselves according to their own will and pleasure on the lawns and in the beautiful grounds which surrounded the school."O Dolly," they exclaimed, running up to their favorite, "she has come—we have seen her! She is very tall, and—and——"
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."How can I possibly tell you, Miss O'Hara?" she replied. "You are a tall girl. Perhaps you are seventeen, although you look more."
"How disagreeable! I can't live without flowers. I suppose papa will not expect me to stay if I don't like the place?"
"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."
"No, my dear," replied the head mistress, in a rather icy voice, "I have never had the pleasure of visiting Ireland."
"O Dolly," they exclaimed, running up to their favorite, "she has come—we have seen her! She is very tall, and—and——"