She was coming at mid-term, which in itself was rather exceptional.
There was a spirit that shone out of those gray eyes, and lent sweetness to that mouth, which was in itself so beautiful that it radiated all over Evelyn, and gave her that strong fascination which those who are striving heavenward ever possess.
She was a tall, slight girl, fairly good-looking, and not too strong-minded.
[Pg 39]"Here, Miss O'Hara," she said good-naturedly, "here's a lovely slice of lamb; and I saved some peas for you. Them young ladies always do make a rush on the peas, but I secured some in time. I'll bring you some cherry tart presently, miss, and some whipped cream. You eat a good dinner, miss, and forget your[Pg 67] troubles; oh, dear! I don't like to see young ladies in punishment—and that I don't!"
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"I shall look to you to help me with this wild Irish girl," she said with a smile. "Now, go to your lessons, my dear.""We won't discuss the whys nor the wherefores; the fact remains that I do dislike her.""But we are not allowed to cut the boughs, Bridget," said Katie.
"Oh, my!" exclaimed Miss O'Hara, "that's nothing. Goodness gracious me! what would you think of thirty or forty miles on an Irish jaunting car, all in one day, Mrs. Freeman? That's the sort of thing to make the back ache. Bump, bump, you go. You catch on to the sides of the car for bare life, and as likely as not you're pitched out into a bog two or three times before you get home. Papa and I have often taken our thirty to forty miles' jaunt a day. I can tell you, I have been stiff after those rides. Did you ever ride on a jaunting car, Mrs. Freeman?"
The governess took it without a word, and opening it applied it to Evelyn's nostrils.
Notwithstanding her vehement words, some decided pangs of hunger seized her as she saw the tempting food, She remembered, however, that in the old novels heroines in distress had never any appetite, and she resolved to die rather than touch food while she was treated in so disgraceful a manner.
But plain as Evelyn undoubtedly was, no one who knew her long ever remarked about her appearance, or gave a second thought to the fact that she could lay small claim to physical beauty.