On her way downstairs Mrs. Freeman stepped for a moment into Bridget's room. Her pupil's large traveling trunks had been removed to the box room, but many showy dresses and much finery of various sorts lay scattered about."I can't eat, Marshall," she said. "I'm treated shamefully, and the very nicest dinner wouldn't tempt me. You can take it away, for I can't possibly touch a morsel. Oh, dear! oh, dear! how I do wish I were at home again! What a horrid, horrid sort of place school is!"There was a movement of chairs, and a general rising.
"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."
[Pg 68]"Oh, but I hate self-denial, and that dreadful motto—'No cross, no crown.' I'm like a butterfly—I can't live without sunshine. Papa agrees with me that sunshine is necessary for life.""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."
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"Yes, yes, I know," replied Janet, with a sneer; "she did something which shook the nerves of our beloved favorite. Had anyone else given Miss Percival her little fright, I could have forgiven her!"
"Spare me, my dear. I really am in too great a hurry to hear a list of your wardrobe. Is it possible that your father sent you to school with all that heap of finery, and nothing sensible to wear?""Come into the schoolroom with me," said Mrs. Freeman. She was wondering how it would be possible for her to keep Bridget O'Hara in her school.
"Thank God for that, my darling," said Mrs. Freeman. She put her arm round the young girl, kissed her tenderly, and drew her away from Bridget."I can't help it, my dear; I'm honest, whatever I am.""Yes, I will love you," she replied; "but please go to bed now, dear. You really will get into trouble if you don't, and it seems such a pity that you should begin your school life in disgrace."