"You can watch the sea from your bed, my dear," she said, "and I will send Dorothy to sit with you after[Pg 55] morning school. Now I want to ask you if you can give any idea of how the accident occurred?""Go on; tell us quickly what you did with the candle, Biddy!" cried little Violet, pulling her new friend by the arm.
"Oh, my dear, ought you not to be asleep?" exclaimed Miss Patience in thin, anxious tones from the other end of the board, while Miss Delicia ran up to the girl and took one of her dimpled white hands in hers.
"Thanks!" said Janet calmly.Bridget's movements were so fleet that the head mistress had no time to intercept her; there was a flash of a white dress disappearing through the open window, and that was all.
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Bridget was evidently not blessed with the bump of order. Valuable rings and bracelets lay, some on the mantelpiece, some on the dressing table; ribbons, scarfs, handkerchiefs, littered the chairs, the chest of drawers, and even the bed. A stray stocking poked its foot obtrusively out of one of the over-packed drawers of the wardrobe. Photographs of friends and of scenery lay face downward on the mantelpiece, and kept company with Bridget's brushes and combs in her dressing-table drawer.
"Miss Collingwood," said Marshall, in a timid whisper, "might I say a word to you, miss?"Should she run away altogether? Should she walk to Eastcliff and take the next train to London, and then, trusting to chance, and to the kindness of strangers, endeavor to find her way back to the dear and loving shores of the old country, and so back again to the beloved home?"How can I possibly tell you, Miss O'Hara?" she replied. "You are a tall girl. Perhaps you are seventeen, although you look more."
"I adore music; I play by ear all the old Irish jigs and the melodies. Oh, doesn't father cry when I play 'The Harp that once through Tara's Halls,' and 'She is far from the Land,' and 'The Minstrel Boy.' And oh, Mrs. Freeman, even you, though you are a bit old and stiff, could not help dancing if I strummed 'Garry Owen' for you."
Bridget stood by the window, but she heard none of these soothing sounds. Her spoilt, childish heart was in the most open state of rebellion and revolt.
"Yes, you ought. I'm going to give you a lovely description. Papa has had his dinner, and he's pacing up and down on the walk which hangs over the lake. He is smoking a meerschaum pipe, and the dogs are with him."
"No, my dear," replied the head mistress, in a rather icy voice, "I have never had the pleasure of visiting Ireland."