As Dorothy and her companions walked through the wide, cool entrance hall, and turned down the stone passage which led to the supper room, they were quite conscious of the fact that some of the naughtiest and most adventurous imps of the lower[Pg 11] school were hovering round, hanging over banisters or hiding behind doors. A suppressed giggle of laughter proceeded so plainly from the back of one of the doors, that Dorothy could not resist stretching back her hand as she passed, and giving a playful tap on the panels with her knuckles. The suppressed laughter became dangerously audible when she did this, so in mercy she was forced to take no further notice.Bridget was sitting in the middle of the dusty road with a girl's head on her lap. The girl's figure was stretched out flat and motionless; her hat was off, and Bridget was pushing back some waves of fair hair from her temples.
Janet ran out of the room. Her heart was beating hard and fast. Should she tell Mrs. Freeman what Olive had just confided to her, that Bridget and a number of the smaller children of the school had rushed down the road to meet Evelyn, carrying boughs in their hands, and doubtless shouting loudly in their glee?
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Janet did not say any more. She bent forward, ostensibly to renew her studies, in reality to hide a jealous feeling which surged up in her heart.
"But Mrs. Freeman said——""Bridget O'Hara!" exclaimed Janet, "that incorrigible, unpleasant girl? Why did you waste your time listening to her?"
"Poor darling!" said Olive, in a sympathetic tone. "I thought I'd tell you, Janet, that whatever happened I'd take your part.""Yes, darling, I did. Shall we go into the common room now? I'm dying to see it.""No, Bridget, you are to stay here; your dinner will be brought to you." Bridget flushed crimson.
Dorothy ran away at once, and Mrs. Freeman walked down the garden in the direction where she had just seen a white dress disappearing.