"Now, Marshall, what is it? How fussy and important you look!""O Bridget!" exclaimed the little girls, starting back in affright.
"Don't do that, Bridget," said Miss Patience; "you are disturbing me."
"But your father cannot pay for your disobedience—for the bad example you have set the little children, for the pain and anxiety you have given me.""So it is, Bridget. But you will permit me, an old woman compared to you, to point out a fact—the self-denying people are the happy ones, the selfish are the miserable. Take your own way now in your youth, sip each pleasure as it comes, turn from the disagreeables, trample on those who happen to be in your way, as you did on that rosebud just now, and you will lay up misery for yourself in the future. You will be a very wretched woman when you reach my age."
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"What does Janet mean?" Bridget would whisper to her nearest companion. "Is she saying something awfully clever? I'm sorry that I'm stupid—I don't quite catch her meaning."
"I have some more things to say. I must get you, Bridget, before you leave this room, to make a promise."
There was little use, therefore, in rushing out of her prison to join her companions in their playground or on the shore.
The eyes of every girl in the room were fixed eagerly on their mistress; they were all round with wonder, lips were slightly parted. The girls felt that a volcano had got into their midst, an explosion was imminent. This feeling of electricity in the air was very exciting; it stirred the somewhat languid pulses of the schoolgirls. Surely such an impulsive, such a daring, such an impertinent, and yet such a bewitching girl had never been heard of before. How sweet she looked in her white dress, how radiant was her smile. Those pearly white teeth of hers, those gleaming, glancing eyes, that soft voice that could utter such saucy words; oh! no wonder the school felt interested, and raised out of itself.