"My name is Ruth," replied the girl so addressed, "and I can't guess ages. Come, Olive, let us find our French lessons and go."
"Patience," said Mrs. Freeman, from her end of the supper table, "I think we have all finished. Will you say grace?"
[Pg 28]"I am looking over my French lesson, madam," answered Janet, in her respectful tones. "It's a little more difficult than usual, and I thought I'd have a quiet half hour here, trying to master it."
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"No, Bridget, you are to stay here; your dinner will be brought to you." Bridget flushed crimson."My conduct? What have I done?"
[Pg 59]"You have disobeyed me. One of my strictest rules forbids the girls to leave the grounds without permission. You not only left the grounds contrary to my express order, but you took several of the little children of the school with you. It is against my orders to have the trees destroyed by breaking off branches. Knowing this, you willfully disobeyed me again, and you and your companions rushed down the road shouting wildly. What was the result? Evelyn Percival mercifully escaped serious injury, but my carriage was broken and my horse damaged. The mere money loss you have occasioned me, Bridget——"
Bridget dropped back into her seat with a profound sigh. Presently the dinner gong sounded, and Miss Patience put away her papers and accounts, and shutting up her desk, prepared to leave the room. Bridget got up too. "I am glad that is dinner," she said; "I'm awfully hungry. May I go up to my room to tidy myself, Miss Patience?"
"Oh, papa'll pay that! Don't you fret about that, Mrs. Freeman; the dear old dad will settle it. He quite loves writing checks!"
"You don't suppose I mind her?" exclaimed Bridget. "Rudeness always shows ill-breeding, but it is still more ill-bred to notice it—at least, that's what papa says. She spoke rather as if she did not like me, which is quite incomprehensible, for everybody loves me at home."
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.