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Title: Elsie's Vacation and After Events
Author: Finley, Martha, 1828-1909
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Elsie's Vacation and After Events" ***

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EVENTS***


ELSIE'S VACATION AND AFTER EVENTS

by

MARTHA FINLEY

Author of "Elsie Dinsmore," "Elsie at Home," etc.

Special Authorized Edition



[Illustration]



M. A. Donohue & Co.
Chicago New York
Copyright, 1891.
By Dodd, Mead & Company.
Made in U.S.A.



ELSIE'S VACATION



CHAPTER I.


Captain Raymond went back to the hotel feeling somewhat lonely and
heartsore over the parting from his eldest hope, but as he entered the
private parlor where his young wife and most of the party were, his look
and manner had all their accustomed cheeriness.

He made a pleasant remark to Violet, fondled the little ones, and talked
for a few minutes in his usual agreeable way with Mr. and Mrs. Dinsmore
and the others; then glancing about the room, as if in search of someone
or something, asked, "Where are Lulu and Gracie?"

"Why, I thought they were here," Violet answered in some surprise,
following the direction of his glance. "They seem to have slipped out of
the room very quietly."

"I must hunt them up, poor dears! for it is about time we were starting
for the _Dolphin_," he said, hastily leaving the room. A low sobbing
sound struck upon his ear as he softly opened the door of the room
where his little girls had slept the previous night, and there they were
down on the carpet near a window, Gracie's head in her sister's lap,
Lulu softly stroking the golden curls and saying in tender tones,
"Don't, Gracie dear; oh, don't! It can't be helped, you know; and we
have our dear papa and Mamma Vi, and the little ones left. Besides,
Maxie will come home again to visit us one of these days."

"Oh, but he'll never live at home with us any more," sobbed Gracie; "at
least I'm afraid he won't; and--and oh, I do love him so! and he's the
only big brother we have."

"But we have papa, dear, dear papa, who used to be obliged to go away
and leave us; but we have him all the time now," Lulu replied half
chokingly. "I wish we could have them both, but we can't, and we both do
love papa the best after all."

"And papa loves his two dear little girls more than tongue can tell,"
the captain said in tenderest tones, drawing near, bending down to take
both in his arms together, and kissing first one and then the other. "Be
comforted, my darlings," he went on, holding them close to his heart;
"we haven't lost our Maxie by any means; and though I left him feeling a
trifle homesick and forlorn, he will get over that in a day or two I
know, and greatly enjoy the business of preparing himself for the life
work he has freely chosen."

"But, oh, papa, how he will miss our lovely home, and you, and all of
us!" sobbed Gracie, hiding her tear-stained face on her father's
shoulder.

"Not as you would, my darling," he replied, holding her close and
caressing her with great tenderness. "Boys are different from girls, and
I think our dear Maxie will soon feel very happy there among his mates,
though he will, I am sure, never cease to love his father, sisters,
Mamma Vi, baby brother, and his home with them all."

"Papa, I'm thinking how he'll miss the pleasant evenings at home--the
good talks with you," sobbed the little girl.

"Yes, darling, but I will tell you what we will do to partly, at least,
make up that loss to our dear boy."

"What, papa?" she asked, lifting her head and looking up into his face,
with her own brightening a little.

"Suppose we each keep a journal or diary, telling everything that goes
on each day at home, and now and then send them to Maxie; so that he
will know all that we are doing?"

"Oh, what a good thought, papa!" exclaimed Lulu, giving him a vigorous
hug and kiss. "And Maxie will write us nice, interesting letters; and
some day he'll come home for a visit and have ever so much to tell us."

"Yes," her father said, "and I think we will have interesting letters
from him in the meantime."

"And perhaps I'll learn to like writing letters, when it's just to
please Maxie and comfort him," said Grace, wiping away her tears and
trying to smile.

"I hope so, darling," her father replied, bestowing another kiss upon
the sweet little tear-stained face. "But now, my dears," he added, "put
on your hats; it is time to go back to the _Dolphin_."

They hastened to obey, and he led them to the parlor, where they found
the rest of the party ready to accompany them on board the yacht.

The sun was setting as they reached the _Dolphin's_ deck and they found
a luxurious repast ready for them to partake of by the time outdoor
garments could be laid aside and wind-tossed hair restored to order.

The captain missed the bright face of his first-born at the table, but,
exerting himself for the entertainment of the others, seemed even more
than usually cheery and genial, now and then indulging in some innocent
jest that made his little girls laugh in spite of themselves, and at
length almost forget, for the moment, their parting from Max, and their
grief over the thought that he would no longer share their lessons or
their sports, and would be at home only after what, in the prospect,
seemed to them a long, long time; and then but for a little while.

On leaving the table all gathered upon deck. There was no wind, but the
yacht had a steam engine and used her sails only on occasions when they
could be of service. Stars shone brightly in the sky overhead, but their
light was not sufficient to give an extended view on land or water, and
as all were weary with the excitement and sightseeing of the day, they
retired early to their berths.

Poor Grace, worn out with her unusual excitement, and especially the
grief of the parting with Max, was asleep the instant her head touched
the pillow. Not so with Lulu; her loneliness and depression banished
sleep from her eyes for the time, and presently she slipped from her
berth, threw on a warm dressing-gown, and thrust her feet into felt
slippers. The next moment she stole noiselessly into the saloon where
her father sat alone looking over an evening paper.

He was not aware of her entrance till she stood close at his side, her
hand on his shoulder, her eyes fixed, with a gaze of ardent affection,
upon his face.

"Dear child!" he said, looking up from his paper, and smiling
affectionately upon her; then tossing the paper aside and putting an arm
about her waist, he drew her to his knee and pressed fatherly kisses
upon lip and cheek and brow, asking tenderly if anything was wrong with
her that she had come in search of him when he supposed her to be
already in bed and sound asleep.

"I'm not sick, papa," she said in reply; "but oh, I miss Maxie so!" The
words were almost a sob, and she clung about her father's neck, hiding
her face on his shoulder.

"I, too, miss my boy more than words can tell," he replied, stroking her
hair with gently caressing touch, and she was sure his tones trembled a
little with the pain of the thought of Max left alone among strangers;
"but I thank God, our Heavenly Father, that I have by no means lost my
eldest son, while I still have another one and three dear daughters to
add to my happiness in our sweet home."

"I do want to add to it, you dear, dear, good papa!" she said, hugging
and kissing him over and over again. "Oh, I wish I was a better girl for
your sake, so that my wrong-doing would never give you pain!"

"I think--and am very happy in the thought--that you are improving," he
said, repeating his caresses; "and it is a great comfort to me," he
continued, "that my little girls need not be sent away from home and
their father to be educated."

"To me also, papa," she returned. "I am very thankful that I may live
with my dear father always while we are spared to each other. I don't
mean to ever go away from you, papa, but to stay with you always, to
wait on you and do everything I can to be a great help, comfort, and
blessing to you; even when I'm grown up to womanhood."

"Ah!" he returned, again smoothing her hair caressingly and smiling down
into her eyes; then holding her close, "I shall be very glad to keep you
as long as you may prefer life with me, my own dear, dear child," he
said in tender tones. "I look upon my dear eldest daughter as one of the
great blessings my Heavenly Father has bestowed upon me, and which I
hope he may spare to me as long as I live."

"Papa, I'm so, so glad you love me so dearly!" she exclaimed, lifting to
his eyes full of love and joy; "and oh, I do love you so! I want to be a
great blessing to you as long as we both live."

"I don't doubt it, my darling," he replied. "I doubt neither your desire
nor purpose to be such."

"Yes, sir, I do really long to be the very greatest of comforts to you,
and yet," she sighed, "I have such a bad temper you know, papa, I'm so
wilful too, that--that I'm afraid--almost sure, indeed--I'll be naughty
again one of these days and give you the pain of punishing me for it."

"That would grieve me very much, but would not diminish my love for
you," he said; "nor yours for me, I think."

"No, indeed, papa!" she exclaimed, creeping closer into his embrace,
"because I know that when you have to punish me in any way it makes you
very, very sorry."

"It does indeed!" he responded.

"Papa," she sighed, "I'm always dreadfully sorry and ashamed after one
of my times of being disobedient, wilful, and ill-tempered, and I am
really thankful to you for taking so much pains and trouble to make a
better girl of me."

"I don't doubt it, daughter," he answered; "it is a long while now since
I have had any occasion to punish you, and your conduct has rarely
called for even so much as a reproof."

She gave him a glad, grateful look, an embrace of ardent affection,
then, laying her cheek to his, "You dear, dear papa, you have made me
feel very happy," she said, "and I'm sure I am much happier than I
should be if you had let me go on indulging my bad temper and
wilfulness. Oh, it's so nice to be able to run to my dear father
whenever I want to, and always to be so kindly received that I can't
feel any doubt that he loves me dearly. Ah, how I pity poor Maxie that
he can't see you for weeks or months!"

"And don't you pity papa a little that he can't see Maxie?" he asked,
with a smile and a sigh.

"Oh, yes! yes indeed! I'm so sorry for you, papa, and I mean to do all I
can to supply his place. What do you suppose Maxie is doing just now,
papa?"

"Doubtless he is in his room preparing his lessons for to-morrow. The
bugle-call for evening study-hour sounds at half-past seven, and the
lads must be busy with their books till half-after nine."

He drew out his watch, and glancing at its face, "Ah, it is just nine
o'clock," he said. "Kiss me good-night, daughter, and go back to your
berth."



CHAPTER II.


Max was in his room at the Academy, busy with his tasks, trying
determinately to forget homesickness by giving his whole mind to them,
and succeeding fairly well. Very desirous, very determined was the lad
to acquit himself to the very best of his ability that he might please
and honor both his Heavenly Father and his earthly one.

By the time the welcome sound of gun-fire and tattoo announced that the
day's work was over he felt fully prepared for the morrow's recitations.
But he was in no mood for play. The quiet that had reigned through the
building for the last two hours was suddenly broken in upon by sounds of
mirth and jollity--merry boyish voices talking, singing, some
accompanying themselves with the twang of a banjo or the tinkle of a
guitar; but Max, closing and putting his book aside, kept his seat, his
elbow on the desk, his head on his hand, while with a far-away look in
his dark eyes, he indulged in a waking dream.

He seemed to see the _Dolphin_ steaming down the bay, his father,
perhaps, sitting in the saloon with the other grown folks (the younger
ones would be pretty sure to have retired to their state-rooms), and
thinking and speaking of his absent son. Or, it might be, pacing the
deck alone, his heart going up in prayer to God for his first-born--his
"might and the beginning of his strength,"--that he might be kept from
sin and every danger and evil and enabled to prove himself a brave, true
follower of Christ, never ashamed or afraid to show his colors and let
it be known to all with whom he had to do that he was a disciple, a
servant of the dear Lord Jesus.

"Lord, help me; help me to be brave and faithful and true," was the
silent petition that went up from the boy's heart.

"Homesick, bub?" asked a boyish voice, in mocking tones. "I believe most
of the fellows are just at the first, but they get over it after a bit
without much doctoring."

"I'm inclined to think it is not a dangerous kind of ailment," returned
Max, in a pleasant tone, lifting his head and turning toward his
companion with a smile that seemed rather forced. "However, I was
thinking not of home, exactly, but the homefolks who are just at present
aboard my father's yacht and steaming down the bay."

It was only by a great effort he repressed a sigh with the concluding
words.

"That's a handsome yacht and about the largest I ever saw," was the next
remark of his room-mate, a lad--Benjamin Hunt by name--of about the same
age as himself, not particularly handsome but with a good, honest face.

"Yes, and a splendid sailor," returned Max, with enthusiasm. "Papa
bought her this summer and we've had a jolly good time sailing or
steaming (sometimes one and again the other, the _Dolphin_ has both
sails and engines) along the coast and a short distance out to sea."

"Had a good, safe captain?" Hunt asked, with a quizzical smile.

"My father, a retired naval officer; there could be none better,"
returned Max, straightening himself slightly, while the color deepened
on his cheek.

"Yes; I don't wonder you are proud of him," laughed Hunt. "I happened
to see him when he brought you here, and I must say I thought he had a
fine military bearing and was--well, I think I might say one of the
handsomest men I ever saw."

"Thank you," said Max heartily, glancing up at Hunt with a gratified
smile. "I suppose being so fond of him I may not be a competent judge,
but to me my father seems the best, the noblest, and the handsomest man
that ever lived."

"Didn't force you to come here against your will, eh?" queried Hunt
jestingly.

"No, indeed! he only let me come because I wanted to. I think he would
have been glad if I had chosen the ministry, but you see I don't think I
have any talent in that line, and I inherit a love for the sea, and papa
says a man can do best in the profession or business that is most to his
taste, so that perhaps I may be more useful as a naval officer than I
could be in the ministry."

"Especially in case of war, and if you turn out a good and capable
commander," returned Hunt, tossing up a ball and catching it as it fell.
"I sometimes think I'd like nothing better; a fellow would have a chance
to distinguish himself, such as he could never hope for in time of
peace."

"Yes; and if such a thing should happen I hope it will be when I'm ready
to take part in the defence of my country," said Max, his cheek flushing
and his eyes kindling, "but war is an awful thing considering all the
killing and maiming, to say nothing of the destruction of property; and
I hope our country will never be engaged in another. But excuse me," he
added, opening his Bible, "I see we have scarcely fifteen minutes now
before taps will sound."

At that Hunt moved away to his own side of the room, from whence he
watched Max furtively, a mocking smile on his lips.

Max was uncomfortably conscious of it, but tried to ignore it and give
his thoughts to what he was reading. Presently, closing his book he
knelt and silently offered up his evening prayer, asking forgiveness of
all his sins, strength to resist temptation, and never be afraid or
ashamed to own himself a follower of Jesus, his loving disciple, his
servant, whose greatest desire was to know and do the Master's will; and
very earnestly he prayed that no evil might befall his dearly loved and
honored father, his sisters or brother, Mamma Vi, or any of those he
loved; that they might be taken safely through all their journeying, and
he permitted to see them all again when the right time should come; and
having committed both them and himself to the watchful care of his
Heavenly Father, he rose from his knees and began his preparations for
bed.

"Well, sonny, I hope you will sleep soundly and well after saying your
prayers like the goodest of little boys," sneered Hunt.

"I shall sleep none the worse," returned Max pleasantly.

"I'll bet not a bit better than I shall without going through any such
baby-like performance."

"God is very good and often takes care of those who don't ask him to,"
said Max; "but I don't think they have any right to expect it; also I am
sure I should be shamefully ungrateful if I were to lie down for my
night's rest without a word of thanks to him for his protecting care
over me and mine through the day that is just past. As to its being a
baby-like performance, it is one in which some of the greatest, as well
as best men, have indulged. Washington was a man of prayer. So was
General Daniel Morgan--that grand revolutionary officer who whipped
Tarleton so completely at the battle of the Cowpens. There was
Macdonough also, who gained that splendid victory over the British on
Lake Champlain in the war of 1812-14. Have you forgotten that just
before the fight began, after he had put springs on his cables, had the
decks cleared, and everything was ready for action, with his officers
and men around him, he knelt down near one of his heaviest guns and in a
few words asked God to help him in the coming struggle? He might well do
that, because, as you know of course, we were in the right, fighting
against oppression and wrongs fit to rouse the indignation of the most
patient and forbearing of mortals."

"That's a fact!" interrupted Hunt. "Americans have always been
forbearing at the start; but let them get once thoroughly roused and
they make things hot enough for the aggressors."

"So they do," said Max, "and so I think they always will; I hope so,
anyhow; for I don't believe it's right for any nation to allow any of
its people to be so dreadfully wronged and ill-treated as thousands of
our poor sailors were, by the English, before the war of 1812 taught
them better. I don't believe the mass of the English people approved,
but they couldn't keep their aristocracy--who hated republicanism, and
wanted always to continue superior in station and power to the mass of
their countrymen and ours--from oppressing and abusing our poor sailors,
impressing, flogging, and ill-treating them in various ways, and to such
a degree that it makes one's blood boil in reading or thinking of it.
And I think it's right enough for one to be angry and indignant at such
wrongs to others."

"Of course it is," said Hunt; "and Americans always will resist
oppression--of themselves or their weaker brethren--and I glory in the
fact. What a fight that was of Macdonough's! Do you remember the
incident of the gamecock?"

"No; what was it?"

"It seems that one of the shots from the British vessel _Linnet_
demolished a hencoop on the deck of the _Saratoga_, releasing this
gamecock, and that he flew to a gun-slide, where he alighted, then
clapped his wings and crowed lustily.

"That delighted our sailors, who accepted the incident as an omen of the
victory that crowned their arms before the fight was over. They cheered
and felt their courage strengthened."

"Good!" said Max, "that cock was at better business than the fighting he
had doubtless been brought up to."

"Yes; so say I:

          "O Johnny Bull, my joe John,
             Behold on Lake Champlain,
           With more than equal force, John,
             You tried your fist again;
           But the cock saw how 'twas going.
             And cried 'Cock-a-doodle-doo,'
           And Macdonough was victorious,
             Johnny Bull, my joe!"

"Pretty good," laughed Max. "But there are the taps; so good-night."



CHAPTER III.


Lulu woke early the next morning and was dressed and on deck before any
other of the _Dolphin's_ passengers. Day had dawned and the eastern sky
was bright with purple, orange, and gold, heralding the near approach of
the sun which, just as she set her foot on the deck, suddenly showed his
face above the restless waves, making a golden pathway across them.

"Oh, how beautiful!" was her involuntary exclamation. Then catching
sight of her father standing with his back toward her, and apparently
absorbed in gazing upon the sunrise, she hastened to his side, caught
his hand in hers, and carried it to her lips with a glad, "Good-morning,
you dear papa."

"Ah! good-morning, my darling," he returned, bending down to press a
kiss on the bright, upturned face.

"Such a lovely morning, papa, isn't it?" she said, standing with her
hand fast clasped in his, but turning her eyes again upon sea and sky.
"But where are we now? Almost at Fortress Monroe?"

"Look and tell me what you see," was his smiling rejoinder, as, with a
hand on each of her shoulders, he turned her about so that she caught
the view from the other side of the vessel.

"O papa, is that it?" she exclaimed. "Why, we're almost there, aren't
we?"

"Yes; we will reach our anchorage within a few minutes."

"Oh, are we going to stop to see the old fort, papa?" she asked eagerly.

"I think we are," was his smiling rejoinder. "But you don't expect to
find in it a relic of the Revolution, do you?" he asked laughingly,
pinching her cheek, then bending down to kiss again the rosy face
upturned to his.

"Why yes, papa; I have been thinking there must have been a fight there.
Wasn't that the case?"

"No, daughter; the fortress was not there at that time."

"Was it in the war of 1812-14, then, papa?"

"No," he returned, smiling down on her. "The building of Fortress Monroe
was not begun until 1817. However, there was a small fort built on Point
Comfort in 1630; also, shortly before the siege of Yorktown, Count De
Grasse had some fortifications thrown up to protect his troops in
landing to take part in that affair."

But just then the talk was interrupted by the coming on deck of one
after another of their party and the exchange of morning greetings;
then followed the interest and excitement of the approach to the
fortress and anchoring in its vicinity.

Next came the call to breakfast. But naturally, and quite to Lulu's
satisfaction, the talk at the table turned upon the building of the
fort, its history and that of the adjacent country, particularly
Hampton, two and a half miles distant.

The captain pointed it out to them all as they stood upon the deck
shortly afterward.

"Which is Old Point Comfort, papa?" asked Grace.

"That sandy promontory on the extremity of which stands Fortress
Monroe," he answered. "Yonder, on the opposite side, is Point
Willoughhy, the two forming the mouth of the James River; and these are
the Rip Raps between the two. You see that there the ocean tides and the
currents of the river meet and cause a constant ripple. There is a
narrow channel of deep water through the bar, but elsewhere between the
capes it is shallow.

"Beyond the Rip Raps we see the spacious harbor which is called Hampton
Roads. It is so large that great navies might ride there together."

"And I think some have ridden there in our wars with England?" remarked
Rosie, half inquiringly.

"You are quite right," replied the captain; "that happened in both the
Revolution and the last war with England.

"In October, 1775, Lord Dunmore, the British governor of Virginia,--who
had, however, abdicated some months earlier by fleeing on board a
man-of-war, the _Fowey_,--driven by his fears, and his desire for
revenge, to destroy the property of the patriots, sent Captain Squires,
of the British navy, with six tenders, into Hampton Creek.

"He reached there before the arrival of Colonel Woodford--who, with
a hundred Culpepper men, had been sent to protect the people of
Hampton--and sent armed men in boats to burn the town; protecting
them by a furious cannonade from the guns of the tenders.

"But they were baffled in the carrying out of their design; being driven
off by Virginia riflemen, concealed in the houses. Excellent marksmen
those Virginians were, and picked off so many of the advancing foe that
they compelled them to take ignominious flight to their boats and return
to the vessels, which then had to withdraw beyond the reach of the
rifles to await reinforcements."

"What is a tender, papa?" asked Grace, as her father paused in his
narrative.

"A small vessel that attends on a larger one to convey intelligence and
supply stores," he replied; then went on with his account of Dunmore's
repulse.

"Woodford and his men reached Hampton about daybreak of the succeeding
morning. At sunrise they saw the hostile fleet approaching; it came so
near as to be within rifle shot, and Woodford bade his men fire with
caution, taking sure aim. They obeyed and picked off so many from every
part of the vessels that the seamen were soon seized with a great
terror. The cannons were silenced,--the men who worked them being shot
down,--and their commander presently ordered a retreat; but that was
difficult to accomplish, for any one seen at the helm, or aloft,
adjusting the sails, was sure to become a target for the sharpshooters;
in consequence many of the sailors retreated to the holds of the
vessels, and when their commander ordered them out on the dangerous
duty, refused to obey.

"The victory for the Americans was complete; before the fleet could
escape, the Hampton people, with Woodford and his soldiers, had sunk
five vessels."

"And such a victory!" exclaimed Rosie, in an exultant tone.

"Yes," the captain said, smiling at her enthusiasm.

"Were the houses they fired on the very ones that are there now, papa?"
asked Lulu.

"Some few of them," he replied. "Nearly all were burned by Magruder in
the Civil War; among them St. John's Episcopal Church, which was built
probably about 1700. Before the Revolution it bore the royal arms carved
upon its steeple; but soon after the Declaration of Independence--so it
is said--that steeple was struck by lightning and those badges of
royalty were hurled to the ground."

"Just as the country was shaking off the yoke they represented," laughed
Rosie. "A good omen, wasn't it, Brother Levis?"

"So it would seem, viewed in the light of after events," he answered
with a smile.

"Papa, can't we visit Hampton?" asked Lulu eagerly.

"Yes, if you would all like to do so," was the reply, in an indulgent
tone and with an inquiring glance at the older members of the party.

Everyone seemed to think it would be a pleasant little excursion,
especially as the _Dolphin_ would carry them all the way to the town;
but first they must visit the fortress. They did not, however, set out
thither immediately, but remained on deck a little longer gazing about
and questioning the captain in regard to the points of interest.

"Papa," asked Grace, pointing in a southerly direction, "is that another
fort yonder?"

"Yes," he replied, "that is Fort Wool. It is a mile distant, and with
Fortress Monroe defends Hampton Roads, the Gosport navy yard, and
Norfolk."

"They both have soldiers in them?" she said inquiringly.

"Yes, daughter; both contain barracks for soldiers, and Fortress Monroe
has also an arsenal, a United States school of artillery, chapel, and,
besides the barracks for the soldiers, storehouses and other buildings,
and covers eighty acres of ground."

"And when was it finished, papa? How long did it take to build it?"

"It is not finished yet," he answered, "and has already cost nearly
three million dollars. It is an irregular hexagon--that is has six sides
and six angles--surrounded by a tide-water ditch eight feet deep at high
water."

"I see trees and flower gardens, papa," she remarked.

"Yes," he said, "there are a good many trees, standing singly and in
groves. The flower gardens belong to the officers' quarters. Now, if you
will make yourselves ready for the trip, ladies, Mr. Dinsmore, and any
of you younger ones who care to go," he added, smoothing Grace's golden
curls with caressing hand and smiling down into her face, "we will take
a nearer view."

No one felt disposed to decline the invitation and they were soon on
their way to the fortress.

It did not take very long to look at all they cared to see; then they
returned to their vessel, weighed anchor, and passed through the narrow
channel of the Rip Raps into the spacious harbor of Hampton Roads.

It was a lovely day and all were on deck, enjoying the breeze and the
prospect on both land and water.

"Papa," said Lulu, "you haven't told us yet what happened here in the
last war with England."

"No," he said. "They attacked Hampton by both land and water, a force of
two thousand five hundred men under General Beckwith landing at Old
Point Comfort, and marching from there against the town, while at the
same time Admiral Cockburn assailed it from the water.

"The fortification at Hampton was but slight and guarded by only four
hundred and fifty militiamen. Feeling themselves too weak to repel an
attack by such overwhelming odds, they retired, and the town was given
up to pillage."

"Didn't they do any fighting at all, papa?" asked Lulu in a tone of
regret and mortification. "I know Americans often did fight when their
numbers were very much smaller than those of the enemy."

"That is quite true," he said, with a gleam of patriotic pride in his
eye, "and sometimes won the victory in spite of the odds against them.
That thing had happened only a few days previously at Craney Island, and
the British were doubtless smarting under a sense of humiliating defeat
when they proceeded to the attack of Hampton."

"How many of the British were there, Captain?" asked Evelyn Leland.
"I have forgotten, though I know they far outnumbered the Americans."

"Yes," he replied, "as I have said there were about four hundred and
fifty of the Americans, while Beckwith had twenty-five hundred men and
was assisted by the flotilla of Admiral Cockburn, consisting of armed
boats and barges, which appeared suddenly off Blackbeard's Point at the
mouth of Hampton Creek, at the same time that Beckwith's troops moved
stealthily forward through the woods under cover of the _Mohawk's_ guns.

"To draw the attention of the Americans from the land force coming
against them was Cockburn's object, in which he was partly successful,
his flotilla being seen first by the American patrols at Mill Creek.

"They gave the alarm, arousing the camp, and a line of battle was
formed. But just then some one came in haste to tell them of the large
land force coming against the town from the rear, and presently in the
woods and grain fields could be seen the scarlet uniforms of the British
and the green ones of the French."

"Oh, how frightened the people in the town must have been!" exclaimed
Grace. "I should think they'd all have run away."

"Most of them did," replied her father; "but some sick and feeble ones
had to stay behind--others also in whose care they were--and trust to
the supposed humanity of the British; a vain reliance it proved, at
least so far as Admiral Cockburn was concerned. He gave up the town to
pillage and rapine, allowing the doing of such deeds as have consigned
his name to well-merited infamy.

"But to return to my story: Major Crutchfield, the American commander,
resolved that he and his four hundred and fifty men would do what they
could to defend the town. They were encamped on an estate called 'Little
England,' a short distance southwest of Hampton, and had a heavy battery
of seven guns, the largest an eighteen-pounder cannon.

"Major Crutchfield was convinced that the intention of the British was
to make their principal attack in his rear, and that Cockburn's was only
a feint to draw his attention from the other. So he sent Captain Servant
out with his rifle company to ambush on the road by which Beckwith's
troops were approaching, ordering him to attack and check the enemy.
Then when Cockburn came round Blackbeard's Point and opened fire on the
American camp he received so warm a welcome from Crutchfield's heavy
battery that he was presently glad to escape for shelter behind the
Point, and content himself with throwing an occasional shot or rocket
into the American camp.

"Beckwith's troops had reached rising ground and halted for breakfast
before the Americans discovered them. When that happened Sergeant
Parker, with a field-piece and a few picked men, went to the assistance
of Captain Servant and his rifle company, already lying in ambush.

"Parker had barely time to reach his position and plant his cannon when
the British were seen rapidly advancing.

"At the head of the west branch of Hampton Creek, at the Celey road,
there was a large cedar tree behind which Servant's advanced
corps--Lieutenant Hope and two other men--had stationed themselves, and
just as the British crossed the creek--the French column in front, led
by the British sergeant major--they opened a deadly fire upon them. A
number were killed, among them the sergeant major--a large, powerful
man.

"This threw the British ranks into great confusion for the time, and
the main body of our riflemen delivered their fire, killing the brave
Lieutenant-Colonel Williams of the British army. But the others
presently recovered from their panic and pushed forward, while our
riflemen, being so few in number, were compelled to fall back.

"But Crutchfield had heard the firing, and hastened forward with nearly
all his force, leaving Pryor and his artillerymen behind to defend the
Little England estate from the attack of the barges. But while he was
moving on along the lane that led from the plantation toward Celey's
road and the great highway, he was suddenly assailed by an enfilading
fire from the left.

"Instantly he ordered his men to wheel and charge upon the foe, who were
now in the edge of the woods. His troops obeyed, behaving like veterans,
and the enemy fell back; but presently rallied, and, showing themselves
directly in front of the Americans, opened upon them in a storm of grape
and canister from two six-pounders and some Congreve rockets.

"The Americans stood the storm for a few minutes, then fell back, broke
ranks, and some of them fled in confusion.

"In the meantime Parker had been working his piece with good effect till
his ammunition gave out. Lieutenant Jones, of the Hampton artillery,
perceiving that to be the case, hurried to his assistance; but seeing an
overwhelming force of the enemy approaching, they--Parker's men--fell
back to the Yorktown Pike.

"Jones, who had one cannon with him, found that his match had gone out,
and rushing to a house near by he snatched a burning brand from the
fire, hurried back, and hid himself in a hollow near a spring.

"The British supposed they had captured all the cannon, or that if any
were left they had been abandoned, and drawing near they presently
filled the lane; then Jones rose and discharged his piece with terrible
effect, many of the British were prostrated by the unexpected shot, and
during the confusion that followed Jones made good his retreat,
attaching a horse to his cannon, and bearing it off with him.

"He hastened to the assistance of Pryor, but on drawing near his camp
saw that it had fallen into the possession of the foe.

"Pryor had retreated in safety, after spiking his guns. He and his
command fought their way through the enemy's ranks with their guns, swam
the west branch of Hampton Creek, and, making a circuit in the enemy's
rear, fled without losing a man or a musket.

"Jones had seen it all, and spiking his gun followed Pryor's men to the
same place.

"In the meantime Crutchfield had rallied his men, those who still
remained with him, on the flank of Servant's riflemen, and was again
fighting vigorously.

"But presently a powerful flank movement of the foe showed him that he
was in danger of being out off from his line of retreat. He then
withdrew in good order and escaped, though pursued for two miles by the
enemy.

"That ended the battle, in which about thirty Americans and fifty of the
British had fallen. Then presently followed the disgraceful scenes in
Hampton of which I have already told you as having brought lasting
infamy upon the name of Sir George Cockburn."

"I think he was worse than a savage!" exclaimed Lulu hotly.

"Certainly, far worse; and more brutal than some of the Indian
chiefs--Brant, for instance," said Rosie, "or Tecumseh."

"I cannot see in what respect he was any better than a pirate," added
Evelyn, in a quiet tone.

"Nor can I," said Captain Raymond; "so shameful were his atrocities that
even the most violent of his British partisans were constrained to
denounce them."



CHAPTER IV.


Before the sun had set the _Dolphin_ was again speeding over the water,
but now on the ocean, and going northward, Philadelphia being their
present destination. It had grown cloudy and by bedtime a steady rain
was falling, but unaccompanied by much wind, so that no one felt any
apprehension of shipwreck or other marine disaster, and all slept well.

The next morning Lulu was, as usual, one of the first to leave her
berth, and having made herself neat for the day she hurried upon deck.

It had ceased raining and the clouds were breaking away.

"Oh, I'm so glad!" she exclaimed, running to meet her father, who was
coming toward her, holding out his hand with an affectionate smile, "so
glad it is clearing off so beautifully; aren't you, papa?"

"Yes; particularly for your sake, daughter," he replied, putting an arm
about her and bending down to give her a good-morning kiss. "Did you
sleep well?"

"Yes, indeed, papa, thank you; but I woke early and got up because I
wanted to come on deck and look about. Where are we now? I can see land
on the western side."

"Yes, that is a part of the Delaware coast," he answered. "We are
nearing Cape Henlopen. By the way, do you remember what occurred near
there, at the village of Lewis, in the war of 1812?"

"No, sir," she said. "Won't you please tell me about it?"

"I will; it is not a very long story. It was in March of the year 1813
that the British, after destroying such small merchant craft as they
could find in Chesapeake Bay, concluded to blockade Delaware bay and
river and reduce to submission the Americans living along their shores.
Commodore Beresford was accordingly sent on the expedition in command of
the _Belvidera_, _Poictiers_, and several smaller vessels.

"On the 16th of March he appeared before Lewis in his vessel, the
_Poictiers_, and pointing her guns toward the town sent a note addressed
to the first magistrate demanding twenty live bullocks and a
proportionate quantity of hay and of vegetables for the use of his
Britannic majesty's squadron. He offered to pay for them, but threatened
in the event of refusal to destroy the town."

"The insolent fellow!" cried Lulu. "I hope they didn't do it, papa?"

"No; indeed, they flatly refused compliance and told him to do his
worst. The people on both sides of the bay and river had heard of his
approach and armed bodies of them were gathered at points where an
attack might be expected. There were still among them some of the old
soldiers of the revolution, and you may be sure they were ready to do
their best to repel this second invasion by their old enemy. One of
these was a bent old man of the name of Jonathan M'Nult. He lived in
Dover, and when, on the Sabbath day, the drums beat to arms, he, along
with men of every denomination to the number of nearly five hundred,
quickly responded to the call, took part in the drill, and spent the
whole afternoon in making ball-cartridges.

"The people of all the towns of the vicinity showed the same spirit and
turned out with spades and muskets, ready to take part in the throwing
up of batteries and trenches, or to fight 'for their altars and their
fires'--defending wives, children, and other helpless ones. At
Wilmington they built a strong fort which they named Union.

"This spirited behavior of the Americans surprised Beresford, and for
three weeks he refrained from any attempt to carry out his threat.

"During that time Governor Haslet came to Lewis and summoned the militia
to its defence. On his arrival he reiterated the refusal to supply the
British invaders with what had been demanded.

"Beresford repeated his threats and at length, on the 6th of April, sent
Captain Byron, with the _Belvidera_ and several smaller vessels, to
attack the town.

"He fired several heavy round shot into it, then sent a flag of truce,
again demanding the supplies Beresford had called for.

"Colonel Davis, the officer in command of the militia, repeated the
refusal; then Byron sent word that he was sorry for the misery he should
inflict on the women and children by a bombardment.

"To that a verbal reply was sent: 'Colonel Davis is a gallant officer,
and has taken care of the ladies.'

"Then Byron presently began a cannonade and bombardment and kept it up
for twenty-two hours.

"The Americans replied in a very spirited manner from a battery on an
eminence. Davis's militia worked it and succeeded in disabling the most
dangerous of the enemy's gunboats and silencing its cannon.

"The British failed in their effort to inflict great damage upon the
town, although they hurled into it as many as eight hundred eighteen and
thirty-two pound shot, besides many shells and Congreve rockets. The
heavy round shot injured some of the houses but the shells did not reach
the town and the rockets passed over it. No one was killed.

"Plenty of powder was sent for the American guns from Dupont's at
Wilmington, and they picked up and sent back the British balls, which
they found just fitted their cannon."

"How good that was," laughed Lulu. "It reminds me of the British at
Boston asking the Americans to sell them their balls which they had
picked up, and the Americans answering, 'Give us powder and we'll return
your balls.' But is that all of your story, papa?"

"Yes, all about the fight at Lewis, but in the afternoon of the next
day the British tried to land to steal some of the live stock in the
neighborhood; yet without success, as the American militia met them at
the water's edge and drove them back to their ships.

"About a month later the British squadron dropped down to Newbold's
ponds, seven miles below Lewis, and boats filled with their armed men
were sent on shore for water; but a few of Colonel Davis's men, under
the command of Major George H. Hunter, met and drove them back to their
ships. So, finding he could not obtain supplies on the Delaware shore,
Beresford's little squadron sailed for Bermuda."

"Good! Thank you for telling me about it, papa," said Lulu. "Are we
going to stop at Lewis?"

"No, but we will pass near enough to have a distant view of the town."

"Oh, I want to see it!" she exclaimed; "and I'm sure the rest will when
they hear what happened there."

"Well, daughter, there will be nothing to hinder," the captain answered
pleasantly.

"How soon will we reach the point from which we can see it best, papa?"
she asked.

"I think about the time we leave the breakfast table," was his reply.

"Papa, don't you miss Max?" was her next question.

"Very much," he said. "Dear boy! he is doubtless feeling quite lonely
and homesick this morning. However, he will soon get over that and enjoy
his studies and his sports."

"I think he'll do you credit, papa, and make us all proud of him," she
said, slipping her hand into her father's and looking up lovingly into
his face.

"Yes," the captain said, pressing the little hand affectionately in his,
"I have no doubt he will. I think, as I am sure his sister Lulu does,
that Max is a boy any father and sister might be proud of."

"Yes, indeed, papa!" she responded. "I'm glad he is my brother, and I
hope to live to see him an admiral; as I'm sure you would have been if
you'd stayed in the navy and we'd had a war."

"And my partial little daughter had the bestowal of such preferment and
titles," he added laughingly.

Just then Rosie and Evelyn joined them, followed almost immediately by
Walter and Grace, when Lulu gave them in a few hasty sentences the
information her father had given her in regard to the history of Lewis,
and told of their near approach to it.

Every one was interested and all hurried from the breakfast-table to the
deck in time to catch a view of the place, though a rather distant one.

When it had vanished from sight, Evelyn turned to Captain Raymond,
exclaiming, "O sir, will you not point out Forts Mercer and Mifflin to
us when we come in sight of them?"

"With pleasure," he replied. "They are at Red Bank. Port Mercer on the
New Jersey shore of the Delaware River, a few miles below Philadelphia,
Fort Mifflin on the other side of the river on Great and Little Mud
Islands. It was, in Revolutionary days, a strong redoubt with quite
extensive outworks."

"Did our men fight the British there in the Revolutionary war, papa?"
asked Grace.

"Yes; it was in the fall of 1777, soon after the battle of the
Brandywine, in which, as you may remember, the Americans were defeated.
They retreated to Chester that night, marched the next day toward
Philadelphia, and encamped near Germantown. Howe followed and took
possession of the city of Philadelphia.

"The Americans, fearing such an event, had put obstructions in the
Delaware River to prevent the British ships from ascending it, and also
had built these two forts with which to protect the _chevaux de frise_.

"The battle of the Brandywine, as you may remember, was fought on the
11th of September, and, as I have said, the British pushed on to
Philadelphia and entered it in triumph on the 26th."

"Papa, what are _chevaux de frise_?" asked Grace.

"They are ranges of strong frames with iron-pointed wooden spikes," he
answered; then went on:

"In addition to these, the Americans had erected batteries on the
shores, among which was the strong redoubt called Fort Mercer, which,
and also Port Mifflin on the Mud Islands, I have already mentioned.
Besides all these, there were several floating batteries and armed
galleys stationed in the river.

"All this troubled the British general, because he foresaw that their
presence there would make it very difficult, if not impossible, to keep
his army supplied with provisions; also they would be in more danger
from the American forces if unsupported by their fleet.

"Earl Howe, as you will remember, was at this time in Chesapeake Bay
with a number of British vessels of war. As we have just been doing, he
sailed down the one bay and up into the other, but was prevented, by
these fortifications of the Americans, from continuing on up the
Delaware River to Philadelphia.

"Among his vessels was one called the _Roebuck_, commanded by a Captain
Hammond. That officer offered to take upon himself the task of opening a
passage for their vessels through the _chevaux de frise_, if Howe would
send a sufficient force to reduce the fortifications at Billingsport.

"Howe was pleased with the proposition and two regiments of troops were
sent from Chester to accomplish the work. They were successful, made a
furious and unexpected assault upon the unfinished works, and the
Americans spiked their cannon, set fire to the barracks, and fled; the
English demolished the works on the river front, and Hammond, with some
difficulty, made a passage way seven feet wide in the _chevaux de
frise_, so that six of the British vessels passed through and anchored
near Hog Island."

"Did they immediately attack Forts Mifflin and Mercer, papa?" asked
Lulu.

"It took some little time to make the needed preparations," replied the
captain. "It was on the 21st of October that Count Donop, with twelve
hundred picked Hessians, crossed the Delaware at Cooper's Ferry, and
marched to the attack of Fort Mercer. The Americans added eight miles to
the extent of their march by taking up the bridge over a creek which
they must cross, so compelling them to go four miles up the stream to
find a ford.

"It was on the morning of the 22d that they made their appearance, fully
armed for battle, on the edge of a wood within cannon shot of Fort
Mercer.

"It was a great surprise to our men, for they had not heard of the
approach of these troops. They were informed that there were twenty-five
hundred of the Hessians, while of themselves there were but four hundred
men in a feeble earth fort, with but fourteen pieces of cannon.

"But the brave fellows had no idea of surrendering without a struggle.
There were two Rhode Island regiments, commanded by Colonel Christopher
Greene. They at once made preparations for defence, and while they were
thus engaged a Hessian officer rode up to the fort with a flag and a
drummer, and insolently proclaimed, 'The King of England orders his
rebellious subjects to lay down their arms; and they are warned that if
they stand the battle, no quarter whatever will be given.'

"Colonel Greene answered him, 'We ask no quarter nor will we give any.'

"The Hessian and his drummer then rode hastily back to his commander and
the Hessians at once fell to work building a battery within half cannon
shot of the fort.

"At the same time the Americans continued their preparations for the
coming conflict, making them with the greatest activity and eagerness,
feeling that with them skill and bravery must now combat overwhelming
numbers, fierceness, and discipline.

"Their outworks were unfinished but they placed great reliance upon the
redoubt.

"At four o'clock in the afternoon the Hessians opened a brisk cannonade,
and at a quarter before five a battalion advanced to the attack on the
north side of the fort, near a morass which covered it.

"They found the works there abandoned but not destroyed, and thought
that they had frightened the Americans away. So with a shout of victory,
and the drummer beating a lively march, they rushed to the redoubt,
where not a man was to be seen.

"But as they reached it, and were about to climb the ramparts to plant
their flag there, a sudden and galling fire of musketry and grape-shot
poured out upon them, from a half-masked battery on their left flank,
formed by an angle of an old embankment.

"It took terrible effect and drove them back to their old intrenchments.

"At the same time another division, commanded by Dunot himself, attacked
the fort on the south side, but they also were driven back, with great
loss, by the continuous and heavy fire of the Americans.

"The fight was a short one but very severe. Donop had fallen, mortally
wounded, at the first fire. Mingerode, his second in command, was
wounded also, and in all the enemy left behind, in the hasty retreat
which followed, some four hundred in killed and wounded.

"The American galleys and floating batteries in the river galled them
considerably in their retreat.

"After the fight was over Manduit, the French engineer who had directed
the artillery fire of the fort, was out with a detachment examining and
restoring the palisades, when he heard a voice coming from among the
killed and wounded of the enemy, saying, 'Whoever you are, draw me
hence.'

"It was Count Donop, and Manduit had him carried first into the fort,
afterward to a house close at hand, occupied by a family named Whitall,
where he died three days afterward.

"Donop was but thirty-seven. He said to Manduit, who attended him till
he died, 'It is finishing a noble career early; but I die the victim of
my ambition and the avarice of my sovereign.'"

"His sovereign? That was George the Third, papa?" Grace said
inquiringly.

"No, Donop was a Hessian, hired out to the British king by his
sovereign," replied her father.

"And avarice means love of money?"

"Yes, daughter; and it was avarice on the part of both sovereigns that
led to the hiring of the Hessians; the war was waged by the king of
England because the Americans refused to be taxed by him at his pleasure
and without their consent. He wanted their money.

"Whitall's house, a two-story brick, built in 1748, stood close by the
river," continued the captain, "and I suppose is still there; it was, in
1851, when Lossing visited the locality.

"The Whitalls were Quakers and took no part in the war. When the fort
was attacked Mrs. Whitall was urged to flee to some place of safety, but
declined to do so, saying, 'God's arm is strong, and will protect me; I
may do good by staying.'

"She was left alone in the house, and, while the battle was raging, sat
in a room in the second story busily at work at her spinning-wheel,
while the shot came dashing like hail against the walls. At length one,
a twelve-pound ball from a British vessel in the river, just grazed the
walnut tree at the fort, which the Americans used as a flag-staff, and
crashed into her house through the heavy brick wall on the north gable,
then through a partition at the head of the stairs, crossed a recess,
and lodged in another partition near where she was sitting.

"At that she gathered up her work and went down to the cellar.

"At the close of the battle the wounded and dying were brought into her
house and she left her work to wait upon them and do all in her power to
relieve their sufferings.

"She attended to all, friend and foe, with equal kindness, but scolded
the Hessians for coming to America to butcher the people."

"I am sure she must have been a good woman," remarked Grace; "but, oh, I
don't know how she could dare to stay in the house while those dreadful
balls were flying about it."

"No doubt she felt that she was in the way of her duty," replied the
captain, "and the path of duty is the safe one. She seems to have been a
good Christian woman."

"Yes, indeed!" said Evelyn. "Captain, did not the British attack Fort
Mifflin at the same time that the fight was in progress at Fort
Mercer?"

"Yes; the firing of the first gun from the Hessian battery was the
signal for the British vessels in the river to begin the assault upon
the other fort on its opposite side.

"The _Augusta_ and several smaller vessels had made their way through
the passage in the _chevaux de frise_ which Hammond had opened, and were
now anchored above it, waiting for flood tide.

"The _Augusta_ was a sixty-four gun ship; besides there were the
_Merlin_, of eighteen guns; the _Roebuck_, of forty-four; two frigates,
and a galley. All these came up with the purpose to attack the fort, but
were kept at bay by the American galleys and floating batteries, which
also did good service by flanking the enemy in their attack upon Fort
Mercer.

"The British deferred their attack upon Fort Mifflin until the next
morning, when, the Hessians having been driven off from Fort Mercer, the
American flotilla was able to turn its attention entirely upon the
British fleet, which now opened a heavy cannonade upon Fort Mifflin,
attempting also to get floating batteries into the channel back of the
island.

"But Lieutenant-Colonel Smith, a gallant officer in command of the fort,
very vigilant and brave, thwarted all their efforts and greatly assisted
the flotilla in repulsing them.

"The fire of the Americans was so fierce and incessant that the British
vessels presently tried to fall down the stream to get beyond its reach.
But a hot shot struck the _Augusta_ and set her on fire. She also got
aground on a mud bank near the Jersey shore and at noon blew up.

"The fight between the other British and the American vessels went on
until three o'clock in the afternoon, when the _Merlin_ took fire and
blew up near the mouth of Mud Creek.

"The _Roebuck_ then dropped down the river below the _chevaux de frise_,
and for a short time the Americans were left in undisturbed possession
of their forts.

"Howe was, however, very anxious to dislodge them, because the river was
the only avenue by which provisions could be brought to his army in
Philadelphia.

"On the 1st of November he took possession of Province Island, lying
between Fort Mifflin and the mainland, and began throwing up works to
strengthen himself and annoy the defenders of the fort.

"But they showed themselves wonderfully brave and patient.
Lieutenant-Colonel Smith was as fine an officer as one could desire to
see.

"The principal fortification of Fort Mifflin was in front, that being
the side from which vessels coming up the river must be repelled; but on
the side toward Province Island it was defended by only a wet ditch.
There was a block house at each of its angles, but they were not strong,
and when the Americans saw the British take possession of Province
Island and begin building batteries there, they felt that unless
assistance should be sent to dislodge the enemy, the fort would soon be
demolished or fall into his possession."

"But couldn't Washington help them, and didn't he try to?" asked Grace.

"Washington was most desirous to do so and made every effort in his
power," replied her father; "and if Gates had done his duty the fort
might probably have been saved. Burgoyne's army had been defeated and
captured some time before this, and there was then no other formidable
enemy in that quarter; but Gates was jealous of Washington and, rather
than have him successful, preferred to sacrifice the cause which he had
engaged to defend.

"He had ample stores and a formidable force, and had he come promptly to
the rescue might have rendered such assistance as to enable Washington
to drive the British from Philadelphia and save the forts upon the
Delaware.

"But, actuated by the meanest jealousy, he delayed, and would not even
return Morgan's corps, which Washington had been but ill able to spare
to him.

"Hamilton, sent by Washington to hasten Gates's movements in the
matter, grew very indignant at the slow and reluctant compliance of
Gates, and by plainly expressing his opinion induced him to send a
stronger reinforcement than he had intended.

"Putnam also made trouble by detaining some of the troops forwarded by
Gates to assist him in carrying out a plan of his own for attacking New
York.

"Governor Clinton then advised Hamilton to issue a peremptory order to
Putnam to set those troops in motion for Whitemarsh where Washington was
encamped. Hamilton did so, and the troops were sent."

"Dear, dear!" sighed Lulu, "what a time poor Washington did have with
Congress being so slow, and officers under him so perverse, wanting
their own way instead of doing their best to help him to carry out his
good and wise plans."

"Yes," her father said, with a slight twinkle of fun in his eye, "but
doesn't my eldest daughter feel something like sympathy with them in
their wish to carry out their own plans without much regard for those of
other people?"

"I--I suppose perhaps I ought to, papa," she replied, blushing and
hanging her head rather shamefacedly; "and yet," she added, lifting it
again and smiling up into his eyes, "I do think if you had been the
commander over me I'd have tried to follow your directions, believing
you knew better than I."

She moved nearer to his side and leaned up lovingly against him as she
spoke.

"Yes, dear child, I feel quite sure of it," he returned, laying his hand
tenderly on her head, then smoothing her hair caressingly as he spoke.

"But you haven't finished about the second attack upon Fort Mifflin,
have you, brother Levis?" queried Walter.

"No, not quite," the captain answered; then went on with his narrative:

"All through the war Washington showed himself wonderfully patient and
hopeful, but it was with intense anxiety he now watched the progress of
the enemy in his designs upon Fort Mifflin, unable as he himself was to
succor its threatened garrison."

"But why couldn't he go and help them with his soldiers, papa?" asked
Grace.

"Because, daughter, if he broke up his camp at Whitemarsh, and moved his
army to the other side of the Schuylkill, he must leave stores and
hospitals for the sick, within reach of the enemy; leave the British
troops in possession of the fords of the river; make it difficult, if
not impossible, for the troops he was expecting from the North to join
him, and perhaps bring on a battle while he was too weak to hope for
victory over such odds as Howe could bring against him.

"So the poor fellows in the fort had to fight it out themselves with no
assistance from outside."

"Couldn't they have slipped out in the night and gone away quietly
without fighting, papa?" asked Grace.

"Perhaps so," he said, with a slight smile; "but such doings as that
would never have helped our country to free herself from the British
yoke; and these men were too brave and patriotic to try it; they were
freemen and never could be slaves; to them death was preferable to
slavery. We may well be proud of the skill and courage with which
Lieutenant-Colonel Smith defended his fort against the foe.

"On the 10th of November the British opened their batteries on land and
water. They had five on Province Island, within five hundred yards of
the fort; a large floating battery with twenty-two twenty-four pounders,
which they brought up within forty yards of an angle of the fort; also
six ships, two of them with forty guns each, the others with sixty-four
each, all within less than nine hundred yards of the fort."

"More than three hundred guns all firing on that one little fort!"
exclaimed Rosie. "It is really wonderful how our poor men could stand
it."

"Yes, for six consecutive days a perfect storm of bombs and round shot
poured upon them," said the captain, "and it must have required no small
amount of courage to stand such a tempest."

"I hope they fired back and killed some of those wicked fellows!"
exclaimed Walter, his eyes flashing.

"You may be sure they did their best to defend themselves and their
fort," replied the captain. "And the British loss was great, though the
exact number has never been known.

"Nearly two hundred and fifty of our men were killed or wounded.
Lieutenant Treat, commanding the artillery, was killed on the first day
by the bursting of a bomb. The next day quite a number of the garrison
were killed or wounded, and Colonel Smith himself had a narrow escape.

"A ball passed through a chimney in the barracks,--whither he had gone
intending to write a letter,--scattered the bricks, and one of them
striking him on the head knocked him senseless.

"He was carried across the river to Red Bank, and Major Thayer of the
Rhode Island line took command in his place.

"The first day a battery of two guns was destroyed, a block house and
the laboratory were blown up, and the garrison were compelled to keep
within the fort. All that night the British threw shells and the scene
was a terrible one indeed, especially for the poor fellows inside the
fort.

"The next morning, about sunrise, they saw thirty armed boats coming
against them, and that night the heavy floating battery was brought to
bear upon the fort. The next morning it opened with terrible effect, yet
they endured it, and made the enemy suffer so much from their fire that
they began to think seriously of giving up the contest, when one of the
men in the fort deserted to them, and his tale of the weakness of the
garrison inspiring the British with renewed hope of conquest they
prepared for a more general and vigorous assault.

"At daylight on the 15th two men-of-war, the _Iris_ and the _Somerset_,
passed up the channel in front of the fort on Mud Island. Two
others--the _Vigilant_ and a hulk with three twenty-four
pounders--passed through the narrow channel on the west side and were
placed in a position to act in concert with the batteries of Province
Island in enfilading the American works.

"At ten o'clock all was silent, and doubtless our men were awaiting the
coming onslaught with intense anxiety, when a signal bugle sounded and
instantly all the ships and batteries poured a storm of shot and shell
from the mouths of their many guns upon the devoted little garrison."

"Oh, how dreadful!" sighed Grace. "Could they stand it, papa?"

"They endured it with astonishing courage," replied the captain, "while
all day long, and far into the evening, it was kept up without cessation.
The yards of the British ships hung nearly over the American battery;
and there were musketeers stationed in their tops who immediately shot
down every man who showed himself on the platform of the fort. Our men
displayed, as I have said, wonderful bravery and endurance; there seems
to have been no thought of surrender; but long before night palisades,
block houses, parapet, embrasures--all were ruined.

"Early in the evening Major Thayer sent all but forty of his men to Red
Bank. He and the remaining forty stayed on in the fort until midnight,
then, setting fire to the remains of the barracks, they also escaped in
safety to Red Bank.

"Lossing tells us that in the course of that last day more than a
thousand discharges of cannon, from twelve to thirty-two pounders, were
made against the works on Mud Island, and that it was one of the most
gallant and obstinate defences of the war.

"Major Thayer received great credit for his share in it, and was
presented with a sword by the Rhode Island Assembly as a token of their
appreciation of his services there."

"Did not Captain--afterward Commodore--Talbot do himself great credit
there?" asked Evelyn.

"Yes; he fought for hours with his wrist shattered by a musket ball;
then was wounded in the hip and was sent to Red Bank. He was a very
brave man and did much good service during the war, principally on the
water, taking vessel after vessel. In the fight with one of them--the
_Dragon_--his speaking trumpet was pierced by bullets and the skirts of
his coat were shot away."

"How brave he must have been!" exclaimed Lulu with enthusiasm. "Don't
you think so, papa?"

"Indeed, I do," replied the captain. "He was one of the many men of that
period of whom their countrymen may be justly proud."



CHAPTER V.


Little Ned, who was not very well, began fretting and reaching out his
arms to be taken by his father. The captain lifted him tenderly, saying
something in a soothing tone, and carried him away to another part of
the deck.

Then the young people, gathering about Grandma Elsie, who had been an
almost silent listener to Captain Raymond's account of the attacks upon
the forts, and the gallant conduct of their defenders, begged her to
tell them something more of the stirring events of those revolutionary
days.

"You have visited the places near here where there was fighting in those
days, haven't you, mamma?" asked Walter.

"Yes, some years ago," she replied. "Ah, how many years ago it was!" she
added musingly; then continued, "When I was quite a little girl, my
father took me to Philadelphia, and a number of other places, where
occurred notable events in the war of the Revolution."

"And you will tell us about them, won't you, mamma?" Walter asked, in
coaxing tones.

"Certainly, if you and the rest all wish it," she returned, smiling
lovingly into the eager young face, while the others joined in the
request.

"Please tell about Philadelphia first, mamma," Walter went on. "You went
to Independence Hall, of course, and we've all been there, I believe;
but there must be some other points of interest in and about the city,
I should think, that will be rather new to us."

"Yes, there are others," she replied, "though I suppose that to every
American Independence Hall is the most interesting of all, since it was
there the Continental Congress held its meetings, and its bell that
proclaimed the glad tidings that that grand Declaration of Independence
had been signed and the colonies of Great Britain had become free and
independent States--though there was long and desperate fighting to go
through before England would acknowledge it."

"Mamma, don't you hate old England for it?" cried Walter impulsively,
his eyes flashing.

"No, indeed!" she replied, laughing softly, and patting his rosy cheek
with her still pretty white hand. "It was not the England of to-day, you
must remember, my son, nor indeed the England of that day, but her half
crazy king and his ministers, who thought to raise money for him by
unjust taxation of the people of this land. 'Taxation without
representation is tyranny.' So they felt and said, and as such resisted
it."

"And I'm proud of them for doing so!" he exclaimed, his eyes sparkling.
"Now, what other revolutionary places are to be seen in Philadelphia,
mamma?"

"There is Christ Church, where Washington, Franklin, members of
Congress, and officers of the Continental army used to worship, with its
graveyard where Franklin and his wife Deborah lie buried. Major-General
Lee too was laid there; also General Mercer, killed at the battle of
Princeton, but his body was afterward removed to Laurel Hill Cemetery."

"We will visit Christ Church, I hope," said Rosie. "Carpenter's Hall
too, where the first Continental Congress met, and Loxley House, where
Lydia Darrah lived in Revolutionary times. You saw that, I suppose,
mamma?"

"Yes," replied her mother, "but I do not know whether it is, or is not,
still standing."

"That's a nice story about Lydia Darrah," remarked Walter, with
satisfaction. "I think she showed herself a grand woman; don't you,
mamma?"

"I do, indeed," replied his mother. "She was a true patriot."

"There were many grand men and women in our country in those times,"
remarked Evelyn Leland. "The members of that first Congress that met in
Carpenter's Hall on Monday, the 5th of September, 1774, were such. Do
you not think so, Grandma Elsie?"

"Yes, I quite agree with you," replied Mrs. Travilla; "and it was John
Adams--himself by no means one of the least--who said, 'There is in the
Congress a collection of the greatest men upon the continent in point of
abilities, virtues, and fortunes.'"

"Washington was one of them, wasn't he, Grandma Elsie?" asked Lulu.

"Yes, one of the members from Virginia. The others from that State were
Richard Henry Lee, Peyton Randolph, Richard Bland, Benjamin Harrison,
Edmund Pendleton, and Patrick Henry. Peyton Randolph was chosen
president, and Charles Thomson, of Pennsylvania, secretary."

"And then, I suppose, they set to work on their preparations for
fighting their oppressor, George the Third," remarked Lulu, half
inquiringly.

"Lossing tells us," replied Mrs. Travilla, "that the delegates from the
different colonies then presented their credentials, and after that
there was silence, while deep anxiety was depicted on every countenance.
It seemed difficult to know how to begin upon the work for which they
had been called together. But at length a grave-looking member, in a
plain suit of gray, and wearing an unpowdered wig, arose. So plain was
his appearance that Bishop White, who was present, afterward telling of
the circumstances, said he 'felt a regret that a seeming country parson
should so far have mistaken his talents and the theatre for their
display.' However, he soon changed his mind as the plain-looking man
began to speak; his words were so eloquent, his sentiments so logical,
his voice was so musical, that the whole House was electrified, while
from lip to lip ran the question, 'Who is he? who is he?' and the few
who knew the stranger, answered, 'It is Patrick Henry of Virginia.'"

"O mamma, was it before that that he had said, 'Give me liberty or give
me death'?" queried Walter, his eyes sparkling with enthusiasm.

"No, he said that a few months afterward; but about nine years before,
he had startled his hearers in the Virginia House of Burgesses by his
cry, 'Cæsar had his Brutus, Charles the First his Cromwell, and George
the Third may profit by their example'!"

"And now he was starting the Congress at its work!"

"You are right; there was no more hesitation; they arranged their
business, adopted rules for the regulation of their sessions, and
then--at the beginning of the third day, and when about to enter upon
the business that had called them together--Mr. Cushing moved that the
sessions should be opened with prayer for Divine guidance and aid.

"Mr. John Adams, in a letter to his wife, written the next day, said
that Mr. Cushing's motion was opposed by a member from New York, and one
from South Carolina, because the assembly was composed of men of so many
different denominations--Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Quakers,
Anabaptists, and Episcopalians,--that they could not join in the same
act of worship.

"Then Mr. Samuel Adams arose, and said that he was no bigot and could
hear a prayer from any gentleman of piety and virtue who was at the same
time a friend to his country. He was a stranger in Philadelphia, but had
heard that Mr. Duché deserved that character; so he moved that he--Mr.
Duché, an Episcopal clergyman--be desired to read prayers before
Congress the next morning.

"Mr. Duché consented, and the next morning read the prayers and the
Psalter for the 7th of September; a part of it was the thirty-fifth
psalm, which seemed wonderfully appropriate. Do you remember how it
begins? 'Plead my cause, O Lord, with them that strive with me: fight
against them that fight against me. Take hold of shield and buckler, and
stand up for mine help.'"

"It does seem wonderfully appropriate," said Evelyn. "Oh, I'm sure that
God was on the side of the patriots, and helped them greatly in their
hard struggle with their powerful foe!"

"Yes, only by His all-powerful aid could our liberties have been won,
and to Him be all the glory and the praise," said Grandma Elsie,
gratitude and joy shining in her beautiful eyes.

"But that wasn't the Congress that signed the Declaration?" Walter
remarked, half inquiringly, half in assertion.

"No; this was in 1774, and the Declaration was not signed until July,
1776," replied his mother.

"It seems to me," remarked Lulu, "that the Americans were very slow in
getting ready to say they would be free from England--free from British
tyranny."

"But you know you're always in a great hurry to do things, Lu," put in
Grace softly, with an affectionate, admiring smile up into her sister's
face.

"Yes, I believe you're right, Gracie," returned Lulu, with a pleased
laugh and giving Grace's hand a loving squeeze.

"Yes," assented Grandma Elsie, "our people were slow to break with the
mother country--as they used to call old England, the land of their
ancestors; they bore long and patiently with her, but at last were
convinced that in that case patience had ceased to be a virtue, and
liberty for themselves and their children must be secured at all costs."

"How soon were they convinced of it, mamma?" asked Walter.

"The conviction came slowly to all, and to some more slowly than to
others," she replied. "Dr. Franklin, Samuel Adams, and Patrick Henry
were among the first to see the necessity of becoming, politically,
entirely free and independent.

"It is stated on good authority that Patrick Henry in speaking of Great
Britain, as early as 1773, said, 'She _will_ drive us to extremities; no
accommodation _will_ take place; hostilities _will soon_ commence, and a
desperate and bloody touch it will be.'

"Some one, present when the remark was made, asked Mr. Henry if he
thought the colonies strong enough to resist successfully the fleets and
armies of Great Britain, and he answered that he doubted whether they
would be able to do so alone, 'but that France, Spain, and Holland were
the natural enemies of Great Britain.'

"'Where will they be all this while?' he asked. 'Do you suppose they
will stand by, idle and indifferent spectators to the contest? Will
Louis XVI. be asleep all this time? Believe me, no! When Louis XVI.
shall be satisfied, by our serious opposition and our _Declaration_ of
_Independence_, that all prospect of a reconciliation is gone, then, and
not till then, will he furnish us with arms, ammunition, and clothing:
and not with them only, but he will send his fleets and armies to fight
our battles for us; he will form a treaty with us, offensive and
defensive, against our unnatural mother. Spain and Holland will join the
confederation! Our independence will be established! and we shall take
our stand among the nations of the earth!'"

"And it all happened so; didn't it, mamma?" exclaimed Rosie exultantly;
"just as Patrick Henry predicted."

"Yes," replied her mother, with a proud and happy smile, "and we have
certainly taken our place--by God's blessing upon the efforts of those
brave and gallant heroes of the revolution--as one of the greatest
nations of the earth.

"Yet not all the credit should be awarded them, but some of it given to
their successors in the nation's counsels and on the fields of battle.
The foundations were well and strongly laid by our revolutionary
fathers, and the work well carried on by their successors."

"Grandma Elsie, what was the story about Lydia Darrah?" asked Gracie. "I
don't remember to have heard it."

"She lived in Philadelphia when the British were in possession there
during the winter after the battle of the Brandywine," replied Mrs.
Travilla. "She belonged to the Society of Friends, most of whom, as you
doubtless remember, took no active part in the war; at least, did none
of the fighting, though many helped in other ways; but some were Tories,
who gave aid and comfort to the enemy in other ways than by the use of
arms."

"What a shame!" cried Walter. "You will tell us about the doings of some
of those when you are done with the story of Lydia Darrah, won't you,
mamma?"

"If you all wish it," she answered; then went on with her narrative:

"Judging from her conduct at that time, Lydia must have been an ardent
patriot; but patriots and Tories alike had British officers quartered
upon them. The adjutant-general took up his quarters in Loxley House,
the home of the Darrahs, and, as it was a secluded place, the superior
officers frequently held meetings there for private conference on
matters connected with the movements of the British troops."

"One day the adjutant-general told Mrs. Darrah that such a meeting was
to be held that evening, and that he wanted the upper back room made
ready for himself and the friends who would be present. He added that
they would be likely to stay late and she must be sure to see that all
her family were early in their beds.

"His tone and manner led Mrs. Darrah to think something of importance
was going forward, and though she did not dare disobey his order, she
resolved to try to find out what was their object in holding this
private night meeting, probably hoping to be able to do something to
prevent the carrying out of their plans against the liberties of her
country.

"She sent her family to bed, according to directions, before the
officers came, and after admitting them retired to her own couch, but
not to sleep, for her thoughts were busy with conjectures in regard to
the mischief they--the unwelcome intruders into her house--might be
plotting against her country.

"She had lain down without undressing and after a little she rose and
stole softly, in her stocking feet, to the door of the room where they
were assembled.

"All was quiet at the moment when she reached it. She put her ear to the
keyhole and--doubtless, with a fast beating heart--waited there,
listening intently for the sound of the officers' voices.

"For a few moments all was silence; then it was broken by a single voice
reading aloud an order from Sir William Howe for the troops to march out
of the city the next night and make an attack upon Washington's camp at
Whitemarsh.

"Lydia waited to hear no more, for that was sufficient, and it would
have been dangerous indeed for her to be caught there.

"She hastened back to her own room and again threw herself on the bed;
but not to sleep, as you may well imagine.

"Presently the opening and shutting of doors told her that the visitors
of the adjutant-general were taking their departure; then there was a
rap on her door. But she did not answer it. It was repeated, but still
she did not move or speak; but at the third knock she rose, went to the
door, and found the adjutant-general there.

"He informed her that his friends had gone and she might now close her
house for the night.

"She did so, then lay down again, but not to sleep. She lay thinking of
the momentous secret she had just learned, considering how she might
help to avert the threatened danger to the patriot army, and asking help
and guidance from her heavenly Father.

"Her prayer was heard; she laid her plans, then at early dawn arose.
Waking her husband she told him flour was wanted for the family and she
must go immediately to the mill at Frankford for it. Then taking a bag
to carry it in, she started at once on foot.

"At General Howe's headquarters she obtained a passport to leave the
city.

"She had a five miles' walk to Frankford, where she left her bag at the
mill, and hurried on toward the American camp to deliver her tidings.

"It was still quite early, but before reaching the camp she met an
American officer, Lieutenant Craig, whom Washington had sent out to seek
information in regard to the doings of the enemy.

"Lydia quickly told him her story, then hastened back to the mill for
her bag of flour and hurried home with it."

"Mamma," exclaimed Walter, "how could she carry anything so big and
heavy?"

"Perhaps it was but a small bag," returned his mother, with a smile. "I
never saw or read any statement as to its size, and perhaps the joy and
thankfulness she felt in having been permitted and enabled to do such
service to the cause of her country may have helped to strengthen her to
bear the burden."

"What a day it must have been to her!" exclaimed Evelyn, "hope and
fear alternating in her breast; and how her heart must have gone up
constantly in prayer to God for his blessing upon her bleeding country."

"And how it must have throbbed with alternating hope and fear as she
stood at the window that cold, starry night and watched the departure
of the British troops to make the intended attack upon Washington and
his little army," said Rosie. "And again when the distant roll of a drum
told that they were returning."

"Yes," said Lulu; "and when the adjutant-general came back to the house,
summoned Lydia to his room, and when he got her in there shut and locked
the door."

"Oh," cried Grace, "did he know it was she that had told of his plans?"

"No," said Mrs. Travilla; "from the accounts I have read he does not
seem to have even suspected her. He invited her to be seated, then
asked, 'Were any of your family up, Lydia, on the night when I received
company in this house?' 'No,' she replied; 'they all retired at eight
o'clock.' 'It is very strange,' he returned. 'You I know were asleep,
for I knocked at your door three times before you heard me, yet it is
certain we were betrayed. I am altogether at a loss to conceive who
could have given information to Washington of our intended attack. On
arriving near his camp, we found his cannon mounted, his troops under
arms, and so prepared at every point to receive us, that we have been
compelled to march back like a parcel of fools, without injuring our
enemy!'"

"I hope the British did not find out, before they left Philadelphia, who
had given the information to the Americans, and take vengeance on her?"
said Walter.

"No," replied his mother, "fearing that, she had begged Lieutenant Craig
to keep her secret; which he did; and so it has happened that her good
deed finds no mention in the histories of that time and is recorded only
by well authenticated tradition."

"So all the Quakers were not Tories?" remarked Walter in a satisfied yet
half inquiring tone.

"Oh, no indeed!" replied his mother, "there were ardent patriots among
them, as among people of other denominations. Nathaniel Green--after
Washington one of our best and greatest generals--was of Quaker family,
and I have heard that when his mother found he was not to be persuaded
to refrain from taking an active part in the struggle for freedom, she
said to him, 'Well, Nathaniel, if thee must fight, let me never hear of
thee having a wound in thy back!'"

"Ah, she must have been brave and patriotic," laughed Walter. "I doubt
if she was so very sorry that her son was determined to fight for the
freedom of his country."

"No," said Rosie, "I don't believe she was, and I don't see how she
could help feeling proud of him--so bright, brave, talented, and
patriotic as he showed himself to be all through the war."

"Yes," said Lulu, "and I don't think he has had half the honors he
deserved, though at West Point we saw a cannon with an inscription on it
saying it had been taken from the British army and presented by Congress
to Major-General Green as a monument of their high sense of his services
in the revolutionary war."

"Weren't the Tories very bad men, Grandma Elsie?" asked Grace.

"Not all of them, my dear," replied Mrs. Travilla, smiling lovingly into
the sweet, though grave and earnest, little face; "some were really
conscientiously opposed to war, even when waged for freedom from
unbearable tyranny and oppression, but were disposed to be merely
inactive witnesses of the struggle, some of them desiring the success of
the patriots, others that of the king's troops; then there was another
set who, while professing neutrality, secretly aided the British,
betraying the patriots into their hands.

"Such were Carlisle and Roberts, Quakers of that time, living in
Philadelphia. While the British were in possession of the city those two
men were employed as secret agents in detecting foes to the government,
and by their secret information caused many patriots to be arrested and
thrown into prison. Lossing tells us that Carlisle, wearing the meek
garb and deportment of a Quaker, was at heart a Torquemada."

"And who was Torquemada, mamma?" queried Walter.

"A Dominican monk of Spain, who lived in the times of Ferdinand and
Isabella, and was by them appointed inquisitor-general. He organized the
Inquisition throughout Spain, drew up the code of procedure, and during
sixteen years caused between nine and ten thousand persons to be burned
at the stake."

"Mamma! what a cruel, _cruel_ wretch!" cried Walter. "Oh, but I'm glad
nobody can do such cruel things in these days! I hope Roberts and
Carlisle weren't quite so wicked as he."

"No, I should not like to think they would have been willing to go to
quite such lengths, though they seem to have shown enough malignity
toward their patriotic fellow-countrymen to make it evident that they
had something of the spirit of the cruel and bloodthirsty Torquemada.

"Though they would not bear arms for the wealth of the Indies, they were
ever ready to act as guides to those whose object was to massacre their
fellow-countrymen; and that only because they were determined to be
free."

"Were not some of those in New Jersey known as 'Pine Robbers,' Grandma
Elsie?" asked Evelyn.

"Yes; they infested the lower part of Monmouth County, whence they went
on predatory excursions into other parts of the State, coming upon the
people at night to burn, murder, plunder, and destroy. They burrowed
caves in the sandhills on the borders of the swamps, where they
concealed themselves and their booty."

"Did they leave their hiding-places only in the night time, mamma?"
asked Walter.

"No," she replied, "they would sometimes sally forth during the day and
attack the farmers in their fields. So that the men were compelled to
carry muskets and be ready to fight for their lives, while women and
children were kept in a constant state of terror."

"I think I have read that one of the worst of them was a blacksmith,
living in Freehold?" remarked Evelyn, half inquiringly.

"Yes, his name was Fenton; he was a very wicked man, who, like many
others calling themselves Tories, took advantage of the disturbance of
the times to rob and murder his fellow-countrymen; he began his career
of robbery and murder very early in the war.

"One of his first acts, as such, was the plundering of a tailor's shop
in the township. A committee of vigilance had been already organized,
and its members sent Fenton word that if he did not return what he had
stolen he should be hunted out and shot.

"He was a coward, as such villains almost always are, and did return the
clothing, sending with it a written message, 'I have returned your ----
rags. In a short time I am coming to burn your barns and houses, and
roast you all like a pack of kittens.'

"One summer night, shortly afterward, he led a gang of desperadoes like
himself against the dwelling of an old man named Farr. There were but
three persons in the house--the old man, his wife, and daughter. They
barricaded their door and defended themselves for a while, but Fenton
broke in a part of the door, fired through the hole at the old man and
broke his leg. The women could not keep them out much longer; they soon
forced an entrance, murdered the old man and woman, and badly wounded
the daughter. She, however, made her escape, and the cowardly ruffians
fled without waiting to secure any plunder; no doubt fearing she would
bring a band of patriots to avenge the slain."

"I hope that wretch, Fenton, was soon caught and well punished for his
robberies and murders!" exclaimed Lulu.

"He was," replied Grandma Elsie. "The Bible tells us that 'bloody and
deceitful men shall not live out half their days,' and Fenton's fate was
one amongst many to prove the truth of it.

"He had met a young man on his way to mill, plundered and beaten him;
the victim carried his complaint to Lee, and a sergeant and two
soldiers were detailed to capture or kill Fenton.

"They used strategy and with success. The two soldiers were secreted
under some straw in the bottom of a wagon, the sergeant disguised
himself as a countryman, and the young man took a seat in the vehicle.
Then they drove on toward the mill, expecting to meet Fenton on the
road. They were passing a low groggery among the pines, when he came out
of it, pistol in hand, and impudently ordered them to stop.

"They drew rein, and he came nearer, asking if they had brandy with
them. They replied that they had, and handed him a bottle. Then, as he
lifted it to his lips, the sergeant silently signaled to one of his
hidden soldiers, who at once rose from his hiding place in the straw and
shot Fenton through the head. His body was then thrown into the wagon
and carried in triumph to Freehold."

"The people of that part of the country must have felt a good deal
relieved," remarked Rosie. "Still there were Fenton's desperado
companions left."

"Two of them--Fagan and West--shared Fenton's fate, being shot by the
exasperated people," said her mother; "and West's body was hung in
chains, with hoop iron bands around it, on a chestnut tree hard by the
roadside, about a mile from Freehold."

"O Grandma Elsie, is it there yet?" asked Gracie, shuddering with
horror.

"No, dear child, that could hardly be possible after so many years--more
than a hundred you will remember when you think of it," returned Mrs.
Travilla, with a kindly reassuring smile.

"I hope papa will take us to Freehold," said Lulu. "I want to see the
battleground."

"I feel quite sure he will, should nothing happen to prevent," said
Grandma Elsie.

"Wasn't it at Freehold, or in its neighborhood, that a Captain Huddy was
murdered by those pine robbers?" asked Evelyn.

"Yes," replied Grandma Elsie. "It was only the other day that I was
refreshing my memory in regard to it by glancing over Lossing's account
given in his Field Book of the Revolution."

"Then please tell us about it, mamma," pleaded Walter.

"Very willingly, since you wish to hear it," she said, noting the look
of eager interest on the young faces about her.

"Captain Huddy was an ardent patriot and consequently hated by his Tory
neighbors. He lived at a place called Colt's Neck, about five miles from
Freehold.

"One evening, in the summer of 1780, a party of some sixty refugees,
headed by a mulatto named Titus, attacked Huddy's house. There was no
one in it at the time but Huddy himself, and a servant girl, some twenty
years old, named Lucretia Emmons."

"She wouldn't be of much use for fighting men," remarked Walter, with a
slight sniff of contempt.

"Perhaps Captain Huddy may have thought differently," replied his
mother, with a slightly amused smile. "There were several guns in the
house which she loaded for Huddy while he passed from one window to
another firing through them at his foes. Titus and several others were
wounded; then they set fire to the house and Huddy surrendered.

"He was taken on board of a boat from which he jumped into the water and
escaped, assisted in so doing by the fire of some militia who were in
pursuit of the Tories.

"About two years later Huddy was in command of a block house near the
village of Tom's River, when it was attacked by some refugees from New
York, and, his ammunition giving out, he was obliged to surrender. He
and his companions were taken to New York, then back to Sandy Hook,
where they were placed on board a guard-ship and heavily ironed.

"Shortly afterward he was taken to Gravelly Point, by sixteen refugees
under Captain Lippincott, and hung on a gallows made of three rails.

"He met his fate like the brave man that he was, first calmly writing
his will on the head of the barrel upon which he was presently to stand
for execution.

"A desperate Tory, named Philip White, had been killed while Huddy was a
prisoner in New York, and these men falsely accused Huddy of having had
a share in his death. After hanging him that cruel, wicked Lippincott
fastened to his breast a notice to the effect that they had killed
Captain Huddy in revenge for the death of Philip White, and that they
were determined to hang man for man while a refugee lived."

"Oh, what dreadful, dreadful things people did in those days!" sighed
Grace. "Did anybody venture to take the body down and bury it, Grandma
Elsie?"

"Yes, Captain Huddy's body was carried to Freehold and buried with the
honors of war."

"And did people care much about it?"

"Yes, indeed! his death caused great excitement and indignation, and Dr.
Woodhull, the Freehold minister, who preached the funeral sermon from
the piazza of the hotel, earnestly entreated Washington to retaliate in
order to prevent a repetition of such deeds.

"Washington consented, but, ever merciful, first wrote to Sir Henry
Clinton that unless the murderers of Captain Huddy were given up he
should retaliate.

"Clinton refused, and a young British officer, Captain Asgill, a
prisoner in the hands of the Americans, was selected by lot for
execution. Washington, however, mercifully postponed the carrying out of
the sentence, feeling much pity and sympathy for the young
man--doubtless for his relatives also; letters came from Europe
earnestly entreating that Asgill's life might be spared; among them a
pathetic one from his mother, and an intercessory one from the French
minister, Count de Vergennes.

"These letters Washington sent to Congress and that body passed a
resolution, 'That the commander-in-chief be, and hereby is, directed to
set Captain Asgill at liberty.'"

"It seems to me that our people were far more merciful than the
English," remarked Lulu, with a look of patriotic pride.

"I think that is true," assented Grandma Elsie, "not meaning to deny
that there are many kindhearted men among the British of to-day, or that
there were such among them even then, but most of those then in power
showed themselves to be avaricious, hardhearted, and cruel."

"Yes, they wanted to make slaves of the people here," exclaimed Lulu
hotly. "But they found that Americans wouldn't be slaves; that rather
than resign their liberty they would die fighting for it."



CHAPTER VI.


It was still early in the evening when the _Dolphin_ reached her wharf
at Philadelphia, where her passengers found friends and relatives
waiting to give them a joyful reception.

A few days passed very pleasantly in visiting these friends and places
of interest in the city, particularly such as were in one way or another
connected with the events of revolutionary times. Then they went up the
Delaware in their yacht.

Their first halting-place would be at Trenton, and naturally the talk,
as they went up the river, was largely of the revolutionary events which
had taken place there and at other not far distant points. Grandma Elsie
was again the narrator.

"In November of 1776," she began, "our country's prospects looked very
dark. On the 16th, Fort Washington, on the east bank of the Hudson, and
near New York City, fell into the hands of the enemy and its garrison of
nearly three thousand men were made prisoners of war.

"On the 20th Cornwallis crossed the Hudson at Dobbs Ferry and with his
six thousand men attacked Fort Lee. The garrison hastily retreated,
leaving all their baggage and military stores, and joined the main army
at Hackensack, five miles away.

"Then Washington, who had with him scarcely three thousand men, began a
retreat toward the Delaware, hoping to obtain reinforcements in New
Jersey and Pennsylvania which would enable him to make a stand against
the invaders and give them battle.

"But his troops had become much dispirited by the many recent disasters
to our arms, delayed payment of arrears by Congress, causing them great
inconvenience and suffering, and lack of proper food and clothing, and
the presence of the enemy, who now had possession of New Jersey and
seemed likely soon to take Philadelphia.

"Just at that time, as I have said, there seemed little hope for our
country. Washington's army was dwindling very rapidly, men whose terms
of enlistment had expired refusing to serve any longer, so that he had
but twenty-two hundred under his command when he crossed the Delaware,
and two days later not more than seventeen hundred; indeed, scarcely
more than a thousand on whom he could rely.

"He wrote to General Lee, who had been left at White Plains with nearly
three thousand men, asking him to lead his division into New Jersey, to
reinforce his rapidly melting army. Lee paid no attention to the
request and Washington sent him a positive command to do what he had
before requested.

"Lee obeyed very slowly, and while on his way was taken prisoner by the
enemy."

"Served him right for disobeying Washington!" growled Walter.

"There could be no excuse for such disobedience," continued Grandma
Elsie; "and one feels no sympathy for Lee in reading of his sudden
seizure by the British, who carried him off in such haste that he had no
time to dress but was taken bareheaded and in blanket coat and
slippers."

"I doubt if his capture was a loss to the American cause," remarked
Rosie.

"No," said her mother; "though much deplored at the time, I have no
doubt it was really for the good of the cause. General Sullivan
succeeded Lee in command and presently joined Washington with his
forces."

"I don't see how Washington could have patience with so many
disappointments and delays," said Lulu. "Didn't he ever give way to
despair, even for a little while, Grandma Elsie?"

"I have never seen the least intimation of it," replied Mrs. Travilla.
"He is said to have been at this time firm, calm, undaunted, holding
fast to his faith in the final triumph of the good cause for which he
was toiling and striving.

"There seemed to be nothing but the Delaware between the enemy and his
conquest of Philadelphia; the freezing of the river so that the British
could pass over it on the ice might occur at any time. Some one asked
Washington what he would do were Philadelphia to be taken. He answered,
'We will retreat beyond the Susquehanna River, and thence, if necessary,
to the Alleghany Mountains.' Doubtless he was even then planning the
masterly movements of his forces that presently drove the enemy from
Trenton and Princeton."

"Didn't the people of Philadelphia try to be ready to defend themselves
and their city, mamma?" asked Walter.

"Yes," she replied; "Congress gave the command there, with almost
unlimited power, to General Putnam; then appointing a committee of three
to act for them, they adjourned to reassemble at Baltimore.

"In the meantime Washington was getting ready for the striking of his
intended blows in New Jersey.

"It would seem that General Howe, the commander-in-chief of the British
forces, had planned to despatch Cornwallis up the Hudson to the
assistance of Burgoyne, who was about to invade our country from Canada.
But Cornwallis had a strong desire to capture Philadelphia, and
probably no doubt that he could do so if allowed to carry out his plans,
and to that Howe consented.

"Cornwallis showed but little skill in the arrangement of his forces,
scattering them here and there in detachments from New Brunswick to the
Delaware and down that stream to a point below Burlington. His military
stores, and his strongest detachment, were at New Brunswick. The last
consisting of a troop of light horse with about fifteen hundred
Hessians.

"Washington decided to surprise those troops while at the same time
Generals Ewing and Cadwalader, with the Pennsylvania militia, were
directed to attack the posts at Bordentown, Black Horse, Burlington, and
Mount Holly. Cadwalader was to cross near Bristol, Ewing below Trenton
falls, while Washington, with Generals Greene and Sullivan, and Colonel
Knox of the artillery, was to lead the main body of Continental troops
and cross the Delaware at M'Conkey's Ferry.

"Washington was very anxious to save Philadelphia, which Cornwallis was
aiming to capture, and felt sure of taking without any great difficulty,
after crossing the Delaware, since he had heard that the people there
were for the king almost to a man. So sure was he indeed that the
victory would be an easy one that he had gone back to his headquarters
in New York and prepared to return to England.

"Putnam, in Philadelphia, had heard of Washington's intended attack upon
the British at Trenton, and to assist him sent Colonel Griffin, at the
head of four hundred and fifty militia, across from Philadelphia to New
Jersey with directions to make a diversion in favor of the Americans by
marching to Mount Holly as if intending an attack upon the British
troops under the command of Colonel Donop at Bordentown.

"Donop fell into the trap, moved against Griffin with his whole force of
two thousand men, and, as Griffin retreated before him, followed; then,
secure like Cornwallis and other of the English officers in the belief
that the Americans were well nigh subdued already, and that when once
Philadelphia should fall, resistance would be about at an end, moved his
troops in so dilatory a manner that he was two days in returning to his
post."

"Humph! they were mightily mistaken in their estimate of our people,
weren't they, mamma?" exclaimed Walter.

"I think they were themselves soon convinced of that," she answered with
a smile; then continued her story.

"Washington selected Christmas night as the time for his contemplated
attack upon the British at Trenton. It was, as he well knew, the habit
of the Germans to celebrate that day with feasting and drinking, and
such being the case, he felt that he might reasonably expect to find
them under the influence of intoxicating drinks, therefore unfit for a
successful resistance.

"The river had been free from ice, but in the last twenty-four hours
before the time appointed for the expedition the weather changed,
growing very much colder, so that the water was filled with floating
ice, greatly increasing the difficulty and danger of crossing; a storm
of sleet and snow set in too, and the night was dark and gloomy.

"Still the little army was undaunted; they paraded at M'Conkey's Ferry
at dusk, expecting to reach Trenton by midnight; but so slow and
perilous was the crossing that it was nearly four o'clock when at last
they mustered on the Jersey shore.

"It was now too late to attack under cover of the darkness, as had been
Washington's plan."

"Excuse me, mamma, but surely it would be still dark at four o'clock in
the morning?" Walter said half inquiringly.

"Yes, my son, but you must remember they had crossed at M'Conkey's
Ferry, which is eight miles higher up the river than is Trenton, so that
they had that distance to march before they could make their attack.

"Washington divided his forces, leading one portion himself by the upper
road,--Generals Greene, Mercer, and Lord Sterling accompanying him,--and
giving Sullivan command of the other, which was to approach the town by
another road leading along the river.

"The two arrived at Trenton about the same time, having marched so
silently that the enemy was unaware of their approach till they were but
a short distance from the picket guards on the outskirts of the town.

"There was a brisk skirmish then, the Hessians retreating toward their
main body, firing as they went from behind the houses, while the
Americans pursued them closely."

"Then the Hessians weren't drunk as Washington expected, were they,
Grandma Elsie?" asked Grace.

"Well-authenticated tradition says they were," replied Mrs. Travilla;
"that they had been carousing through the night, Rall himself feasting,
drinking, and playing cards at the house of Abraham Hunt, who had
invited him and other officers to a Christmas supper. They had been
playing all night and regaling themselves with wine.

"A Tory on the Pennington road saw, about dawn, the approach of the
Americans under Washington and sent a messenger with a note to warn
Rall. But a negro servant who had been stationed as warden at the door
refused to allow the messenger to pass in, saying, 'The gemman can't be
disturbed.'

"It seems that the messenger was aware of the contents of the note, or
at least that it was a warning of the approach of the Americans, so,
being foiled in his purpose of seeing Rall himself, he handed the note
to the negro with an order to carry it at once to Colonel Rall.

"The negro obeyed, but Rall, excited with wine and interested in his
game, merely thrust the note into his pocket and went on with his deal.

"But presently the roll of the American drums, the rattle of musketry,
the tramp of horses, and the rumble of heavy gun-carriages fell upon his
drowsy ear, and in a moment he was wide awake, the cards were dropped,
he sprang to his feet, then rushed away to his quarters and mounted his
horse with all speed; but at that time his soldiers were being driven by
the Americans as chaff before the wind.

"The Hessians' drums were beating to arms, and a company rushed out of
the barracks to protect the patrol. Washington's troops had begun the
fight with an attack upon the outermost picket on the Pennington road,
and Stark, with the van of Sullivan's party, gave three cheers and
rushed upon the enemy's pickets near the river with their bayonets, and
they, astonished at the suddenness and fury of the charge, were seized
with a panic and fled in confusion across the Assanpink.

"Both divisions--the one commanded by Washington, the other under
Sullivan--now pressed forward so rapidly, and with such zeal and
determination, that the Hessians were not allowed to form. Nor could
they get possession of the two cannon in front of Rall's quarters.

"The Americans themselves were forming in line of battle when Rall made
his appearance, reeling in his saddle as if drunk,--as I presume he
was,--received a report, then rode up in front of his regiment and
called out, 'Forward, march; advance, advance!'

"But before his order could be obeyed a party of Americans hurried
forward and dismounted his two cannon, accomplishing the feat without
injury to themselves except that Captains William Washington and James
Monroe were slightly wounded."

"And where was General Washington just then, mamma?" asked Walter.

"He was there in the midst of the fighting, and exposed to the same
dangers as his troops. It was under his personal direction that a
battery of six guns was opened upon two regiments of Hessians less than
three hundred yards distant. Washington was then near the front, a
little to the right, where he could be easily seen by the enemy, and
made a target for their balls. But though his horse was wounded, he
remained unhurt."

"Oh," cried Evelyn with enthusiasm, "surely God protected him and turned
aside the balls, that America might not lose the one on whom so much
depended! the father of his country, the ardent patriot, the best of men
and greatest of generals, as I do certainly believe he was."

"I am proud that Washington was a countryman of mine," exclaimed Rosie,
her eyes sparkling.

"Yes, we are all proud of our Washington," said Lulu. "But what more can
you tell us about the battle of Trenton, Grandma Elsie?"

"Rall drew back his two regiments as if intending to reach the road to
Princeton by turning Washington's left," continued Mrs. Travilla in
reply. "To prevent that, an American regiment was thrown in front of
him. It seemed likely that he might have forced a passage through it,
but his troops, having collected much plunder in Trenton and wishing to
hold on to it, persuaded him to try to recover the town.

"He made the attempt, but was charged impetuously by the Americans and
driven back further than before; and in that movement he himself was
mortally wounded by a musket ball. His men were thrown into confusion,
and presently surrendered.

"Then Baylor rode up to Washington and announced, 'Sir, the Hessians
have surrendered.'"

"Baylor?" repeated Walter. "Who was he, mamma?"

"One of Washington's aids," she replied. "In the first year of the war
he was made an aid-de-camp to General Washington and in that capacity
was with him in this battle."

"How I envy him!" exclaimed Lulu.

"I do think that if I'd been a man living in those days," said Walter,
"I'd have cared for no greater honor than being aid to our Washington."

His mother's only reply was a proudly affectionate look and smile as she
went on with her story.

"There was another regiment, under Knyphausen, which had been ordered to
cover the flank. These tried to reach the Assanpink bridge, but lost
time in an effort to get two cannon out of the morass, and when they
reached the bridge the Americans were guarding it on both sides. They
tried to ford the river, but without success, and presently surrendered
to Lord Stirling, with the privilege of keeping their swords and their
private baggage. That ended the battle, leaving the Americans with
nearly a thousand prisoners in their hands.

"Over two hundred of the Hessians had escaped--some to Princeton,
others to Bordentown. There were a hundred and thirty absent, having
been sent out on some expedition, and seventeen were killed. The battle
had lasted thirty-five minutes, and the Americans had not lost a man."

"It was wonderful, I think!" said Evelyn, in her earnest way; "certainly
God helped our patriotic forefathers or they never could have succeeded
in their conflict with so powerful a foe as Great Britain was even
then."

"It was all of God's great goodness to this land and people," said
Grandma Elsie. "Had there been in that action defeat to our arms instead
of victory, we would not--so soon at least--have become the free and
powerful nation we are to-day. Congress lavished praise upon General
Washington, but he replied, 'You pay me compliments as if the merit of
the affair was due solely to me; but I assure you the other general
officers who assisted me in the plan and execution have full as good a
right to the encomiums as myself.'"

"Possibly that was only just," remarked Rosie, "but it strikes me as
very generous."

"It was just like Washington," said Walter; "our Washington! I'm ever so
proud of him!"

"As we all are," said his mother; "but we must not forget to give the
glory of that victory, and all others, and also of our final success,
to him who is the God of battles, and by whose strength and help our
freedom was won. As Bancroft says, 'Until that hour the life of the
United States flickered like a dying flame,' but God had appeared for
their deliverance and from that time the hopes of the almost despairing
people revived, while the confident expectations of their enemies were
dashed to the ground. Lord George Germain exclaimed after he heard the
news, 'All our hopes were blasted by the unhappy affair at Trenton.'"

"Unhappy affair indeed!" exclaimed Walter. "What a heartless wretch he
must have been, mamma!"

"And how our poor soldiers did suffer!" sighed Lulu; "it makes my heart
ache just to think of it!"

"And mine," said Grandma Elsie. "It is wonderful how much the poor
fellows were willing to endure in the hope of attaining freedom for
themselves and their country.

"Thomas Rodney tells us that on the night of the attack upon Trenton of
which we have been talking, while Rall caroused and played cards beside
his warm fire, our poor soldiers were toiling and suffering with cold
and nakedness, facing wind and sleet in the defence of their country.

"The night," he says, "was as severe a night as ever I saw; the frost
was sharp, the current difficult to stem, the ice increasing, the wind
high, and at eleven it began to snow. It was three in the morning of the
26th before the troops and cannon were all over, and another hour passed
before they could be formed on the Jersey side. A violent northeast
storm of wind, sleet, and hail set in as they began their nine miles'
march to Trenton, against an enemy in the best condition to fight. The
weather was terrible for men clad as they were, and the ground slipped
under their feet. For a mile and a half they had to climb a steep hill,
from which they descended to the road that ran for about three miles
between hills and forests of hickory, ash, and black oak."

"Oh, how brave and patriotic they were!" exclaimed Rosie. "I remember
reading that their route might be easily traced by the blood on the snow
from the feet of the poor fellows, who had broken shoes or none. Oh,
what a shame it was that Congress and the people let them--the men who
were enduring so much and fighting so bravely for the liberty of
both--bear such hardships!"

"It was, indeed," sighed Grandma Elsie; "it always gives me a heartache
to think of those poor fellows marching through the darkness and that
dreadful storm of snow, sleet, and bitter wind and only half clothed.
Just think of it! a continuous march of fifteen miles through darkness,
over such a road, the storm directly in their faces. They reached their
destination stiff with cold, yet rushed at once upon the foe, fighting
bravely for freedom for themselves and their children. 'Victory or
death,' was the watchword Washington had given them."

"Were they from all the States, mamma?" asked Walter.

"They were principally Pennsylvania, Virginia, and New England troops,"
she answered. "Grant, the British commander in New Jersey, knew of the
destitution of our troops but felt no fear that they would really
venture to attack him; persuading himself that they would not cross the
river because the floating ice would make it a difficult, if not
impossible, thing for them to return.

"'Besides,' he wrote on the 21st, 'Washington's men have neither shoes
nor stockings nor blankets, are almost naked, and dying of cold and want
of food.'"

"And didn't Rall say the Americans wouldn't dare to come against him?"
asked Walter.

"Yes; his reply to a warning of danger of being attacked was, 'Let them
come; what need of intrenchments! We will at them with the bayonet!'"

"And when they did come he was killed?"

"Yes, mortally wounded; taken by his aids and servant to his quarters
at the house of a Quaker named Stacey Potts; and there Washington and
Greene visited him just before leaving Trenton."

"They knew he was dying, mamma?"

"Yes, and, as Lossing tells us, Washington offered such consolation as a
soldier and Christian can bestow."

"It was very kind, and I hope Rall appreciated it."

"It would seem that he did, as the historian tells us it soothed the
agonies of the expiring hero."



CHAPTER VII.


From Trenton Grandma Elsie, the captain, and their young charges went on
to Princeton, where they received a most joyful welcome from Harold and
Herbert Travilla, now spending their last year at the seminary.

Their mother had written to them of the intended visit, and all
necessary arrangements had been made. Carriages were in waiting, and
shortly after their arrival the whole party were on their way to the
battleground, where the attention of the young people was drawn to the
various points of interest, particularly the spot where fell General
Mercer.

"The general's horse was wounded in the leg by a musket ball," explained
Harold, in reply to a question from his little brother; "he dismounted,
and was rallying his troops, when a British soldier felled him to the
ground by a blow from a musket.

"He was supposed to be Washington. A shout, was raised, 'The rebel
general is taken!' and at that others of the enemy rushed to the spot
calling out, 'Call for quarter, you d----d rebel!'

"'I am no rebel!' Mercer answered indignantly, though half a dozen of
their bayonets were at his breast; and instead of calling for quarter he
continued to fight, striking at them with his sword till they bayoneted
him and left him for dead.

"He was not dead, however, but mortally wounded.

"After the British had retreated he was carried to the house of Thomas
Clark," continued Harold, pointing out the building as he spoke, "where
he lingered in great pain till the 12th and then died."

"I'm glad it wasn't Washington," said Walter.

"Was Washington hurt at all, papa?" asked Grace.

"No, though exposed to the hottest fire he escaped without injury,"
replied the captain. "God our Heavenly Father preserved him for his
great work--the salvation of our country. 'Man is immortal till his work
is done'--and Washington's was not done till years afterward."

"Not even when the war was over; for he was our first president, I
remember," said Lulu.

"Yes," replied her father, "and he did much for his country in that
capacity.

"The night before this battle of Princeton he and his army were in a
critical situation, the British being fully equal in numbers and their
troops well disciplined, while about half of Washington's army was
composed of raw militia--so that a general engagement the next day would
be almost sure to result in defeat to the Americans.

"Washington called a council of war. It was he himself who proposed to
withdraw from their present position--on the high ground upon the
southern bank of the Assanpink--before dawn of the next morning, and, by
a circuitous march to Princeton, get in the rear of the enemy, attack
them at that place, and if successful march on to New Brunswick and take
or destroy his stores there.

"The great difficulty in the way was that the ground was too soft, from
a thaw, to make it safe and easy to move their forty pieces of cannon.

"But a kind Providence removed that hindrance, the weather suddenly
becoming so extremely cold that in two hours or less the roads were hard
enough for the work."

"As Lossing says," remarked Grandma Elsie, "'The great difficulty was
overcome by a power mightier than that of man. Our fathers were fighting
for God-given rights and it was by his help they at last succeeded.'"

"What's the rest of the story?" asked Walter. "How did Washington and
his army slip away without the British seeing them? For I suppose they
had sentinels awake and out."

"Washington had a number of camp fires lighted along his front," replied
Harold, to whom the question seemed to be addressed, "making them of the
fences near at hand. That made the British think he was encamped for the
night, and Cornwallis, when some one urged him to make an attack that
night, said he would certainly 'catch the fox in the morning.' The fox,
of course, was Washington, but he didn't catch him. It was not till dawn
he discovered that the fox had eluded him and slipped away, fleeing so
silently that the British did not know in what direction he had gone
till they heard the boom of the cannon in the fight here.

"Cornwallis thought it was thunder, but Sir William Erskine recognized
it as what it was and exclaimed, 'To arms, General! Washington has
outgeneraled us. Let us fly to the rescue at Princeton.'"

"How long did the battle last?" queried Walter.

"The fight right here lasted about fifteen minutes, but was very
severe," replied his brother. "Then Washington pushed on to Princeton,
and in a ravine near the college had another sharp fight with the
Fifty-fifth British regiment."

"And whipped them too?"

"Yes; they were soon flying toward Brunswick, the Fortieth regiment
going along with them.

"A part of a regiment was still in the college buildings, and Washington
had some cannon placed in proper position, then began firing on them.
One of the balls--it is said to have been the first--passed into the
chapel and through the head of a portrait of George the Second that hung
in a large frame on the wall. A few more shots were fired, and then the
Princeton militia, and some other daring fellows, burst open a door of
Nassau Hall and called upon the troops there to surrender, which they
did promptly."

"And Cornwallis had not reached there yet?" Walter said interrogatively.

"No," returned Harold, "and when he did arrive he found that the battle
was over, and Washington, with his victorious troops and prisoners, had
already left the town and was in hot pursuit of the fleeing Fortieth and
Fifty-fifth regiments."

"And our poor fellows so tired and cold!" sighed Eva.

"Yes," said the captain, "they had fought at Trenton on the 26th, after
being up, probably, all night, getting across the river, had spent the
next night in marching upon Princeton and the day in fighting; so that
they must have been terribly fatigued even had they had the warm
clothing and nourishing food they needed; but less than half of them
had been able to procure any breakfast or dinner; and, as you all know,
many of them were without shoes or stockings. Ah, how we should prize
the liberty which was so dearly bought!"

"So to save his army," resumed Harold, "Washington refrained from an
effort to seize the rich prize at New Brunswick, and let them rest that
night and refresh themselves with food; then retired to his winter
quarters at Morristown.

"Now, good people, if you are ready to retrace your steps, let us go
back and look at the town souvenirs of the revolution; among them the
portrait of Washington in the frame that used to hold that of George the
Second."

Our friends made but a short stay at Princeton, leaving that evening,
and the next day visited the scene of the battle of Monmouth. The
captain gave a rapid sketch of the movements of the opposing armies, as
he did so pointing out the various positions of the different corps,
describing Lee's disgraceful conduct at the beginning of the fight,
telling of the just indignation of Washington, his stern reproof, Lee's
angry rejoinder, and then with what consummate skill and despatch his
errors were repaired by the general-in-chief--the retreating, almost
routed, troops rallied, and order brought out of confusion, and how
fearlessly he exposed himself to the iron storm while giving his orders
so that that patriot army, which had been so near destruction, within
half an hour was drawn up in battle array and ready to meet the foe.

"It was a very hot day, wasn't it, papa?" asked Lulu.

"One of the hottest of the season," replied her father, "ninety-six
degrees in the shade; and the sun slew his victims on both sides."

"Don't you think Lee was a traitor, Captain?" queried Evelyn.

"Either that or insane. I think it would have been a happy thing for
America if both he and Gaines had remained in their own land. They did
the American cause far more harm than good. Though I by no means accuse
Gaines of treachery, but he was envious of Washington, and so desirous
to supersede him that he was ready to sacrifice the cause to that end."

"I just wish he'd been sent back to England," said Walter. "But please
tell us the rest about the battle, Brother Levis, won't you?"

The captain willingly complied.

"It was a dreadful battle," remarked Evelyn with a sigh, as his story
came to a conclusion.

"Yes, one of the most hotly contested of the war," he assented, "and
resulted in victory to the Americans in spite of Lee's repeated
assertion that the 'attempt was madness.'

"All the other American generals did well, the country resounded with
praises of Washington, and Congress passed a unanimous vote of thanks to
him 'for his great and good conduct and victory.'"

"It was in this battle Captain Molly fought, wasn't it?" asked Rosie.

"Yes," the captain replied; and, noticing the eagerly inquiring looks of
Grace and Walter, he went on to tell the story.

"Molly was the wife of a cannoneer who was firing one of the
field-pieces, while she, disregarding the danger from the shots of the
enemy, made frequent journeys to and from a spring near at hand, thus
furnishing her husband with the means of slacking his thirst, which must
have been great at such work in such weather.

"At length a shot from the enemy killed him, and an order was given to
remove the cannon, as there was no one among the soldiers near who was
capable of its management.

"But Molly, who had seen her husband fall, and heard the order, dropped
her bucket, sprang to the cannon, seized the rammer, and, vowing that
she would avenge his death, fired it with surprising skill, performing
the duty probably as well as if she had belonged to the sterner sex.

"The next morning General Greene presented her--just as she was, all
covered with dust and blood--to Washington, who gave her the commission
of sergeant as a reward for her bravery; in addition to that he
recommended her to Congress as worthy to have her name placed upon the
list of those entitled to half-pay during life.

"The French officers so admired her bravery that they made her many
presents. Lossing tells us that she would sometimes pass along their
lines and get her cocked hat full of crowns. He also says the widow of
General Hamilton told him she had often seen 'Captain Molly,' as she was
called, and described her as a red-haired, freckle-faced young Irish
woman, with a handsome piercing eye."

"Papa, did she wear a man's hat?" asked Grace.

"Yes, and also an artilleryman's coat over her woman's petticoats. She
had done a brave deed about nine months before the battle of Monmouth,
when Fort Clinton was taken by the British. She was there with her
husband when the fort was attacked, and when the Americans retreated
from the fort, and the enemy were scaling the ramparts, her husband
dropped his match and fled, but Molly picked it up and fired the gun,
then scampered off after him. That was the last gun fired in the fort by
the Americans."

"And this battle of Monmouth was a great victory for us--for the
Americans, I mean?" Walter said inquiringly.

"Yes, in spite of the shameful retreat of Lee and the unaccountable
detention of Morgan and his brave riflemen, who were within sound of the
fearful tumult of the battle and eager to take part in it, Morgan
striding to and fro in an agony of suspense, and desire to participate
in the struggle, yet unaccountably detained where he was."

"And that was some of that traitor Lee's doings, I suspect," exclaimed
Lulu hotly. "Wasn't it, papa?"

"My dear child, I do not know," returned the captain, "but it seems
altogether probable that if Morgan could have fallen, with his fresh
troops, upon the weary ones of Sir Henry Clinton, toward the close of
the day, the result might have been such a surrender as Burgoyne was
forced to make at Saratoga.

"But as it was, while Washington and his weary troops slept that night,
the general looking forward to certain victory in the morning, when he
could again attack his country's foes with his own troops strengthened
and refreshed by sleep, Sir Henry and his army stole silently away and
hurried toward Sandy Hook."

"Did Washington chase him?" asked Walter.

"No," said the captain; "when he considered the start the British had,
the weariness of his own troops, the excessive heat of the weather, and
the deep sandy country, with but little water to be had, he thought it
wiser not to make the attempt."

"Papa, was it near here that the British shot Mrs. Caldwell?" asked
Lulu.

"No; that occurred in a place called Connecticut Farms, about four miles
northwest of Elizabethtown, to which they--the Caldwells--had removed
for greater safety.

"It was in June, 1780. The British under Clinton and Knyphausen crossed
over to Elizabethtown and moved on toward Springfield. The Americans,
under General Greene, were posted upon the Short Hills, a series of high
ridges near Springfield, and came down to the plain to oppose the
invasion of the British. I will not go into the details of the battle,
but merely say that the British were finally repulsed, Greene being so
advantageously posted by that time that he was anxious for an
engagement, but Knyphausen, perceiving his own disadvantage, retreated,
setting fire to the village of Connecticut Farms (now called Union) on
his way.

"The people of the town fled when they perceived the approach of the
British, but Mrs. Caldwell remained, and with her children and maid
retired to a private apartment and engaged in prayer.

"Presently her maid, glancing from a window, exclaimed that a red-coated
soldier had jumped over the fence and was coming toward the window.

"At that Mrs. Caldwell rose from the bed where she had been sitting, and
at that moment the soldier raised his musket and deliberately fired at
her through the window, sending two balls through her body, killing her
instantly, so that she fell dead among her poor frightened children.

"It was with some difficulty that her body was saved from the fire which
was consuming the town. It was dragged out into the street, and lay
exposed there for some time--several hours--till some of her friends got
leave to remove it to a house on the other side of the street.

"Her husband was at the Short Hills that night, and in great anxiety and
distress about his family; the next day he went with a flag of truce to
the village, found it in ruins, and his wife dead.

"That cold-blooded murder and wanton destruction of the peaceful little
village aroused great indignation all over the land and turned many a
Tory into a Whig."

"Did anybody ever find out who it was that killed her, papa?" asked
Grace.

"The murderer is said to have been a man from the north of Ireland,
named McDonald, who for some unknown reason had taken a violent dislike
to Mr. Caldwell.

"But little more than a year afterward Mr. Caldwell himself was slain,
in a very similar manner, but by an American soldier."

"An American, Brother Levis?" exclaimed Walter, in unfeigned surprise.
"Did he do it intentionally?"

"The shooting was intentional, but whether meant to kill I cannot say,"
replied the captain; "the fellow who did it is said to have been a
drunken Irishman. It happened at Elizabethtown, then in possession of
the Americans. A sloop made weekly trips between that place and New
York, where were the headquarters of the British army at that time--and
frequently carried passengers with a flag, and also parcels.

"The Americans had a strong guard at a tavern near the shore, and one or
two sentinels paced the causeway that extended across the marsh to the
wharf.

"One day in November, 1781, the vessel came in with a lady on board who
had permission to visit a sister at Elizabethtown, and Mr. Caldwell
drove down to the wharf in his chaise to receive her; then, not finding
her on the wharf, went aboard the sloop and presently returned, carrying
a small bundle.

"The sentinel on the causeway halted Mr. Caldwell and demanded the
bundle for examination, saying he had been ordered not to let anything
of the kind pass without strict investigation.

"Mr. Caldwell refused to give it to the man--James Morgan, by
name--saying it was the property of a lady and had been merely put in
his care.

"The sentinel repeated his demand and Mr. Caldwell turned and went
toward the vessel, it is presumed to carry the bundle back to its owner,
when the sentinel leveled his piece and shot him dead upon the spot.

"Morgan was arrested, tried for murder, and hung. He was first taken to
the church, where a sermon was preached from the text 'Oh, do not this
abominable thing which I hate.'

"Mr. Caldwell had been much beloved as a pious and excellent minister.
He was shot on Saturday afternoon, and the next day many of his people
came in to attend church knowing nothing of the dreadful deed that had
been done till they arrived.

"Then there was a great sound of weeping and lamentation. The corpse was
placed on a large stone at the door of the house of a friend whither it
had been carried, and all who wished to do so were allowed to take a
last look at the remains of their beloved pastor. Then, before the
coffin was closed, Dr. Elias Boudinot led the nine orphan children up
to the coffin to take their last look at the face of their father, and,
as they stood weeping there, made a most moving address in their
behalf."

A few more days were spent by our friends in and about Philadelphia,
during which brief visits were paid to places interesting to them
because the scenes of historical events of the Revolution--Whitemarsh,
Germantown, Barren Hill, Valley Forge, beside those within the city
itself.

But the summer heats were over and the hearts of one and all began to
yearn for the sweets of home; all the more when word reached them
through the mails that the members of their party left in the Newport
cottages had already succumbed to the same sort of sickness, and were on
their homeward way by land. A day or two later the _Dolphin_, with her
full complement of passengers, was moving rapidly southward.



CHAPTER VIII.


Max had a most pleasant surprise when the mail was distributed on that
first morning after his arrival at the Naval Academy. Till his name was
called, he had hardly hoped there would be anything for him, and then as
a letter was handed him, and he recognized upon it his father's
well-known writing, his cheek flushed and his eyes shone.

A hasty glance at his mates showed him that each seemed intent upon his
own affairs,--no one watching him,--so he broke the seal and read with
swelling heart the few sentences of fatherly advice and affection the
captain had found time to pen before the _Dolphin_ weighed anchor the
previous evening. He knew the homesickness that would assail his son on
that first day of separation from himself and all composing the dear
home circle, and was fain to relieve it so far as lay in his power.

Max read the letter twice, then, refolding, slipped it into his pocket
to read again and ponder upon when he could find a moment of leisure and
freedom from observation.

More firmly convinced than ever, if that were possible, was the lad
that his was the best, kindest, and dearest of fathers.

"And if I don't do him credit and make him happy and proud of his
first-born, it shall not be for want of trying," was his mental resolve.

It was fortunate for Max that his father had been seen and admired by
the cadets, who one and all thought him a splendid specimen of naval
officer, and were therefore well disposed toward his son.

Then Max himself had such a bright, intelligent face and genial manner,
was so ready to assist or oblige a comrade in any right and honorable
way that lay in his power, so very conscientious about obeying rules and
doing his duty in everything, and brave in facing ridicule, insolence,
and contempt, when the choice was between that and wrong-doing, that no
one of them could help respecting him, whether willing to acknowledge it
or not.

At first the "plebes," or boys in the same class (the fourth), who had
entered in June of the same year, showed a disposition to treat him, as
well as the other "Seps,"--as the lads entering in September are
styled,--with scorn, as knowing less than themselves; but that soon
changed under the exhibition Max was able to make of all he had learned
from his father during the weeks on board the _Dolphin_, showing himself
perfectly at home in "rigging-loft work," rowing, and swimming, and by
no means slow in taking to great-gun exercise, infantry tactics, and
field artillery.

Nor was he less ready in the art of swinging a hammock. His father had
not neglected that part of his education, and Hunt and others who had
hoped for some fun in watching his maiden effort had to own themselves
defeated and disappointed. Max was as expert at that as the oldest
member of the class.

So the "plebes" soon dropped their air of conscious superiority and
presently began to treat him as an equal; a change which he reported to
his father with evident satisfaction. He wrote frequently and with much
openness to that father, telling of his duties and pleasures and asking
advice in any perplexity as freely as he could have asked it of any one
near his own age, and with full confidence in the wisdom and the
affection for him which would dictate the reply.

Nor was he disappointed; almost every day a letter came from the
captain, breathing strong fatherly affection, giving commendation,
encouragement, and the best of advice; also telling everything about the
doings and happenings in the family that was not related by Mamma Vi or
one of Max's sisters, who not unfrequently added a note to papa's larger
letter.

All those letters, like the first, were highly prized by the recipient
and read and reread in leisure moments till he could have repeated their
contents almost word for word; and every perusal increased the lad's
desire and determination to be and do all those dear ones--especially
his father--could wish; also to please and honor him to whose service
he had consecrated his life and all his powers.

Max was not perfect, but he was honest and true, and sincerely desirous
to do right.

He was much interested in the accounts received of the visits of
his father and the others to the scenes of revolutionary events in
Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and, though far from regretting his choice
of a profession, could not help wishing he could have made one of the
party.

One day, after he had spent some weeks in the Academy, he was
disappointed in his expectation of receiving a letter; none came the
next day; but then it occurred to him that the _Dolphin_ was probably on
her homeward way and he would soon get a letter from Woodburn, telling
of the arrival there of all belonging to the dear home circle.

And he was right; a package of letters came presently giving an account
of the events of the last days spent in Philadelphia, the return voyage,
and the joy of the arrival at their own beautiful and happy home.

Ah, as Max read, how he longed to be with them! Yet the concluding
sentences of his father's letter restored him to contentment with things
as they were.

The captain had just received and read the report of his boy's conduct
and academic standing for his first month and was much pleased with it.
He made that very clear to the lad, calling him his dear son, his joy
and pride, and telling him that until he was a father himself he could
never know the joy and happiness such a report of a son's behavior and
improvement of his opportunities could give.

"Ah," thought the boy, "I'll try harder than ever since it gives such
pleasure to my kindest and best of fathers. How glad I am to have the
chance! How thankful I ought to be! I doubt if there was ever a more
fortunate boy than myself."

Max and his room-mate, Hunt, liked each other from the first, and seldom
had the slightest disagreement.

According to the rules they took turns, week about, in keeping their
room in order, each trying to outdo his mate in the thoroughness with
which he attended to all the minutiæ of the business.

They were good-natured rivals too in other matters connected with the
course of instruction they were going through: gymnastic exercises,
fencing and boxing, and the drill called fire-quarters, in which the
whole battalion is formed into a fire-brigade, and when the fire-bell is
sounded each cadet hastens to his proper place in the troop, and the
steam fire-engine and hose-carriages belonging to the Academy are
brought out and used as they would be in case some building were in
flames and the cadets were called upon to assist in extinguishing the
blaze.

Max and his chum had become quite expert at that exercise, when one
night they were roused from sleep by the sound of the fire-bell, and
springing up and running to their window saw that a dwelling several
squares from the Academy was in flames.

"It's a real fire this time!" cried Hunt, snatching up a garment and
beginning a very hurried toilet, Max doing the same, "and now we'll have
a chance to show how well we understand the business of putting it out."

"And we must try to do credit to our training here in the Academy,"
added Max.

An hour or more of great excitement and exertion followed, then, the
fire extinguished, the brigade returned to the Academy, and the lads to
their sleeping-room, so weary with their exertions that they were very
soon sound asleep again.

The experiences of that night furnished Max with material for an
interesting letter to his father and the rest of the home folks.

"I didn't know the cadets were taught how to put out fires," remarked
Grace, when her father had finished reading aloud, to his wife and
children, Max's story of the doings of the cadets on that night.

"Yes," the captain said, "that is an important part of their education.
There are a great many things a cadet needs to know."

"I suppose so, papa," said Lulu, "and though Maxie doesn't say much
about his own share in the work, I feel very sure he did his part. And
aren't you proud of him--your eldest son?"

"I am afraid I am," replied her father, with a smile in his eyes. "It
may be all parental partiality, but my boy seems to me one of whom any
father might well be proud."

"And I am quite of your opinion, my dear," said Violet. "I am very proud
of my husband's son--the dear, good, brave fellow."

But the captain's eyes were again upon the letter, his face expressing
both interest and amusement.

"What is it, Levis?" she asked; "something more that you can share with
the rest of us?"

"Yes," he returned; then read aloud:

"That was Friday night, and this is Saturday evening. This afternoon
Hunt and I were allowed to go into the city. We were walking along one
of the side streets, and came upon a man who was beating his horse most
unmercifully.

"The poor thing was just a bag of bones, that seemed to have nothing but
skin over them, and was hitched to a cart heavily loaded with earth and
stones; its head was down, and it looked ready to drop, while the savage
wretch (not worthy to be called a man) was beating it furiously, and
cursing and swearing in a towering passion; men and boys gathering
around, and some calling him to stop.

"But he didn't pay the smallest attention, till the poor beast spoke--at
least the voice seemed to come from its mouth--'Aren't you ashamed to be
beating me so, and swearing at me, too, when you've starved me till I
haven't strength to drag even myself another step?'

"At that the man stopped both his beating and swearing, and stood
looking half scared out of his wits. The crowd, too, looked
thunderstruck; and presently one fellow said, 'It's the story of Balaam
and his ass over again. There must be an angel somewhere round,'
glancing from side to side as he spoke, in a way that almost made me
laugh, angry as I was at the human brute, or rather the inhuman
scoundrel, who had been treating the poor creature so cruelly.

"Others looked too, but didn't seem to be able to see the angel.

"Hunt, standing close at my side, gave a low whistle. 'What, upon
earth?' he said. 'Oh, there must be a ventriloquist somewhere in the
crowd. I'd like to know who he is. Wouldn't you, Max?'

"Do you really think that's the explanation?' I asked. 'Certainly,' he
answered, in a tone as if he was rather disgusted at my stupidity. 'How
else could you account for the seeming ability of that wretched animal
to talk?'

"'I can't think of any other explanation,' I answered, 'but I hope that
inhuman wretch of a driver doesn't know anything about ventriloquists,
and so will be afraid to ill-use the poor creature any more.' 'I hope
so, indeed,' he said. 'See, the crowd are stroking and patting it, and
yonder comes a man with a bucket of water, and another with a panful of
oats. The ventriloquist has done some good.'

"'I'm glad of it,' I replied. Then, looking at my watch, I saw that it
was time for us to go back to the Academy.

"Hunt told the story to some of the other fellows that evening, and
there was great wonderment about the ventriloquist, and a good many
wished they could have a chance to see him and some of his tricks. Some
of them remarked, in a wondering way, that I seemed very indifferent
about it, and then I told them of Cousin Ronald and his doings at Ion,
which interested them very much, and several said they would like
greatly to make his acquaintance and see and hear what he could do.
Isn't it good, papa, that they have never once suspected me?"

"Well," exclaimed Lulu, "Max used his talent to do good that time.
Didn't he, papa?"

"He did, indeed," replied the captain. "I hope that poor horse will, as
a consequence, receive better treatment in future."

"I'm so glad Maxie could frighten the man so and make him stop treating
it so dreadfully," remarked Grace, with a sigh of relief. "I never
thought before that that talent of his was good for anything but to make
fun for folks."

"The ability to afford amusement to others is a talent not to be
despised," said her father; "for innocent mirth often does good like a
medicine; but power to rescue even a dumb beast from ill-treatment is
still more to be coveted, and I shall be glad indeed if Max will use his
gift in that way whenever opportunity offers."



CHAPTER IX.


A week or more had passed since the return of our friends from their
vacation in the more northern part of their loved native land, and Lulu
and Grace, who had at first missed their older brother sorely from the
family circle, had now begun to feel somewhat accustomed to his absence,
and were very merry and happy.

They had resumed their studies, reciting, as before, to their father,
and took daily walks and rides on their ponies, varied by an occasional
drive with the captain, Violet, and the little ones.

The Ion and Fairview families, too, had gone back to old pleasures and
employments; but so busy had all been, taking up familiar cares and
duties, and making needed preparations for approaching winter, that only
few and short visits had as yet been exchanged between them.

It was in the sitting-room, and just after breakfast, that the captain
had read Max's letter aloud to his wife and children.

"Go to the schoolroom now, daughters, and look over your lessons for the
day," he said, presently, addressing Lulu and Grace.

They obeyed instantly, and as they left the room a servant came in with
a note from Violet's mother, which he handed to his mistress, saying one
of the Ion servants had just brought it.

"Mamma's handwriting," Violet remarked to her husband as she took the
note and glanced at the address upon it.

"Ah! I hope they are all well?" he returned half inquiringly.

"No, mamma herself is certainly not quite well," Violet answered with a
disturbed look, after glancing hastily down the page; "she says as much,
and that she wants me to come and spend a few days with her, bringing
all the children if I choose; they will not disturb her. And you also
will be most welcome. Dear, dear mamma! I shall go to her at
once--unless my husband objects," she added, looking up at him with a
rather sad sort of smile.

"As he certainly could not think of doing, my love," he replied, in
tender tones. "We must go, of course; you and the little ones, at least;
we will consider about the older ones, and I shall spend my time between
the two places, not being willing to stay constantly away from you, yet
having some matters to attend to here, some things that ought not to be
delayed."

"But you will be with us a part of every day?" returned Violet, with a
wistful half-inquiring look up into his face.

"Yes, oh yes!" he hastened to say; "with my wife so near at hand I could
not let a day go by without inflicting my presence upon her for some
small part of it," he concluded in a half jesting tone, and with a fond
look down into the sweet, troubled face; for he was standing close at
her side.

"I think it could not be harder for you than for me, my dear," she
returned, with a loving smile up at him. "I should like to take all the
children," she went on, "but Alma is here to make up some dresses for
Lulu, and will need her at hand to try them on and make sure of the
fit."

"And I should seriously object to allowing Lulu to drop her studies
again just as she has made a fresh and fair start with them," said the
captain; "so of course she will have to stay at home. Grace also, I
think, as there would be the same objection to her absence from home--as
regards the lessons I mean."

"But if you will allow it, I can hear her recite at Ion," Violet said.
"She could learn her lessons there and still have a good deal of time to
play with her little sister, who thinks no one else quite equal to her
Gracie,--as she calls her,--for a playfellow."

"Well, my dear, we will make that arrangement if you wish it,"
responded the captain.

"And yet how Lulu will miss her," Violet said, a troubled look coming
over her face. "I wish we could manage it so that she could go too, the
dear child!"

"I should be glad to give her the pleasure," returned Captain Raymond;
"but really think it will not do to have her studies so interfered with
now when she has but just well settled down to them. It will be a little
hard for her, but perhaps not a bad lesson in patience and self-denial."

"But a lesson I fear she will not enjoy," remarked Violet, with a
regretful smile.

Going into the schoolroom presently the captain found his two little
girls industriously busy with their tasks.

"Gracie, daughter," he said, "your mamma is going over to Ion for a few
days, because Grandma Elsie is not very well and wants her companionship,
and Mamma Vi wants you,--for little Elsie's sake,--having found you very
successful in entertaining her and baby Ned. We are all invited, indeed;
but I must be here the greater part of the time, as I have various matters
to oversee, and Lulu cannot be spared from home as Alma is at work upon
some dresses for her, and I wish her to go on diligently with her studies."

"But don't I need to be attending to mine, papa?" queried Grace, looking
regretfully at her sister, over whose face had come a look of keen
disappointment, succeeding one of pleased anticipation called out by the
beginning of her father's communication.

"Yes," he said, with a smile; "we are going to let you attend to them
there, Mamma Vi acting as governess."

"Isn't she willing to do the same for me too, papa?" asked Lulu, in a
slightly hurt tone.

"I think so," he answered pleasantly; "but there is the dressmaking, and
I couldn't think of such a thing as asking to have that carried on at
Ion."

Lulu seemed to have nothing more to say and Grace gave her a troubled
look; then, with a little hesitation, "Papa," she said, "I--I think I'd
rather stay at home with Lu, if I may."

"No, daughter," he answered, still speaking very pleasantly. "I have not
time to give my reasons just now; but I want you to go, and Lulu to
stay. It will probably be for only a few days; and I think she may trust
her father not to allow her to be very lonely in the meanwhile," he
added, with a smile directed to Lulu, but which she did not seem to see,
keeping her face down and her eyes fixed upon her book.

Then he left the room, saying to Grace as he went out, "Make haste,
daughter, to gather up your books and whatever else you may wish to
take with you. I have already ordered the carriage and there is no time
to waste. Lulu may help you if she will."

"Will you, Lu?" asked Grace, with a very sympathizing look at her
sister. "Oh, I wish papa had said you were to go too! Whatever shall I
do without my dear, big sister!"

"Never mind, Gracie; I'm sure I don't want to go where I'm not wanted,"
replied Lulu, in a hurt tone.

"I'm sure it isn't because they wouldn't like to have you there,"
returned Grace, running to her sister and putting her arms about her
neck.

"Why don't they ask me, then?" queried Lulu, a little angrily.

"May be they did. I'm most sure Grandma Elsie wouldn't forget to include
you in her invitation; and, oh, yes! don't you remember papa did say we
were all invited? But you know there are the lessons, and I suppose papa
would rather hear them himself."

"But he could hear them there."

"Yes; so he could if he wanted to. But then there's the dressmaking, you
know."

"That could be put off for a few days," returned Lulu, with a very
grown-up air. "There are plenty of ways when people want to do a
thing--plenty of excuses to be thought of when they don't. Alma has
numerous customers and could sew for somebody else first, giving her my
time, and me hers after we get home."

"Oh, maybe it could be managed in that way!" exclaimed Grace joyously;
"and I'd so much rather have you along. I think I'll ask papa."

"No, don't you do any such thing," returned Lulu, in a not particularly
amiable tone. "If I'm not wanted, I'm sure I don't wish to go. But
you'll have to hurry, Gracie. You know papa is very particular about our
being prompt in obeying his orders."

"Yes," returned Grace, who was again at her desk, "but I have been busy
all this time getting out the books and other things I must take along,
and now I'll go upstairs and get dressed and put up the things there
that I want. Won't you go with me? You'll know so much better than I
what I need to take."

"Yes, Gracie, dear; I'll be glad to give you all the help I can. I'm
glad papa said I might. Oh, but it will be lonely here without you! I do
think papa might have said I could go, too."

"I'd be ever so glad if he had, or would," said Grace, as hand in hand
they left the room together, "but you know, Lu dear, we always find out
in the end that his way is the best."

"So we do, and I'll try to believe it now," returned Lulu, in a more
cheerful tone than she had used since learning that the rest of the
family were to go to Ion and she was to remain at home.

With her good help Grace was ready in a few minutes, and just then they
heard their father call to her to come at once, as the carriage was at
the door.

The sisters embraced each other hastily, Grace saying, "Oh, Lu, good-by,
I do wish you were going along, for I can hardly bear to go without
you."

"Never mind, but just try to enjoy yourself as much as ever you can,"
returned Lulu. "Go down now, dearie, for we should never keep papa
waiting, you know. Here's Agnes to carry down your satchel. I hope you
won't stay long enough away from me to need many clothes, and if you do
it will be easy enough to send them--the carriage going back and forth
every day."

Grace was half-way down the stairs before Lulu had finished.

"Ain't you a gwine down to see de folks off, Miss Lulu?" queried Agnes,
as she took up the satchel.

"No," returned Lulu shortly; "I'm going back to the schoolroom to attend
to my lessons."

Agnes gave her a look of surprise as she left the room, thinking she had
never known Miss Lu fail to be at the door when any of the other
members of the family were leaving for more than a short drive, and she
staying behind.

"Where is Lulu, Gracie?" asked Violet, as the captain handed the little
girl into the carriage. "I hadn't time to hunt her up, and thought she
would be here at the door to say good-by to us all."

"She said she must hurry back to her lessons, mamma," answered Grace,
blushing for her sister. "You see she stopped to help me get ready, and
I suppose she's afraid she'll not know them well by the time papa wants
to hear her recite."

"It would have taken very little of her time," the captain remarked,
with a grave and somewhat displeased look.

"Oh, well, you can bring her over to Ion, perhaps this afternoon or
to-morrow, for a call, Levis," Violet hastened to say in a cheery tone.

"Possibly," he answered, and was about to step into the carriage when a
servant came hurrying up to ask directions in regard to some work to be
done in the grounds.

"My dear," said the captain to Violet, "I think it would be better for
you and the children to drive on without waiting for me. I shall
probably follow you in another hour or two."

"Very well; please don't disappoint us if you can help it," returned
Violet, and the carriage drove on, while Captain Raymond walked away in
the opposite direction, to give the needed orders to his men.

"I think it's a shame that I should be left behind when all the rest of
the family are going to Ion to have a good time," muttered Lulu angrily,
as she seated herself at her desk again and opened a book. "Papa could
hear my lessons there just as well as here if he chose, and Mamma Vi
might have arranged to have my dresses made a week or two later."

"Miss Lu," said Agnes, opening the door and putting in her head, "Miss
Alma tole me for to tell you she's 'bout ready fo' to try on yo' new
dress."

"Tell her to take it to my room. I'll go up there to have it tried on,"
replied Lulu, in a vexed, impatient tone.

Then, as Agnes withdrew her head and closed the door, "Horrid thing! why
couldn't she have come to me while I was up there? Here I am, hardly
fairly settled to my work, and I must drop it and go back again. I'd
better take my book with me, for there's no knowing how long she may
keep me while she alters something that she has got wrong, for she's
generally too stupid to make a thing right at the first trial. Well,
perhaps she'll get done by the time papa comes back and is ready to hear
me recite."

So saying she went slowly from the school room and upstairs to her own
apartment.

There were a few minutes of waiting for Alma, which did not improve
Lulu's temper, and as the girl came in she received an angry glance,
accompanied by the remark, in no very pleasant tones, that she had no
business to send for people till she was ready to attend to them.

At that Alma colored painfully. "I am sorry to have inconvenienced you,
Miss Lu," she said, "but I'll try not to keep you so very long."

"If you don't, it will be about the first time that you haven't,"
snapped Lulu. "I think you are just about the slowest, most blundering
dressmaker I ever did see."

At that unkind remark, Alma's eyes filled with tears, but she went on
silently with her work, making no rejoinder, while Lulu--the reproaches
of conscience rendering her uneasy and irritable--fidgetted and fussed,
thus greatly increasing the difficulty of the task.

"Miss Lu," Alma said at last, in a despairing tone, "if you can't keep
stiller, it is not possible for me to make the dress to fit you right."

"Indeed!" returned Lulu scornfully, "I don't feel sure of your ability
to fit it right under any circumstances--such a stupid, awkward thing as
you are, and----"

Her sentence was left unfinished, for at that instant, to her
astonishment and dismay, her father's voice called to her from his
dressing-room, in sterner accents than she had heard from him in a long
while. "Lucilla, come here to me!" She had not known of his detention at
home, but supposed he had gone with the others to Ion.

Jerking off the waist, which Alma had already unfastened,--snatching up
a dressing-sack and putting it on as she went,--she appeared before him,
blushing and shamefaced.

"I am both surprised and mortified by what I have just overheard," he
said. "I had a better opinion of my dear, eldest daughter than to
suppose she would ever show herself so heartless. You surely must have
forgotten that poor Alma is a stranger, in a strange land, while you are
at home, in your father's house. Go to her now, and apologize for your
rudeness."

Lulu made no movement to obey, but stood before him in sullen silence
and with downcast, scowling countenance.

He waited a moment; then said sternly, "Lucilla, you will yield instant
obedience to my order, or go immediately to your own room, and not
venture into my presence again until you can tell me you have obeyed."

At that she turned and left the room, more angry and rebellious than she
had ever been since that dreadful time at Ion when her indulgence in a
fit of passion had so nearly cost little Elsie's life.

"Papa will have a pretty time making me do it," she muttered angrily to
herself, as she stood by a window in her bedroom looking out into the
grounds. "Ask Alma's pardon, indeed! She's not even a lady; she's
nothing but a poor woman, who has to support herself with her
needle,--or rather with a sewing machine, and cutting and fitting,--and
I think it's just outrageous for papa to tell me I must ask her pardon.
I'll not do it, and papa needn't think he can make me, though----" she
added, uneasily, the next minute, "to be sure, he always has made me
obey him; but I'm older now; too old, I think, even he would say, to be
whipped into doing what I don't choose to do.

"But he forbade me to come into his presence till I obeyed, and--oh,
dear, I can't live that way, because I love him so--better than any one
else in all the wide world; and--and--it would just kill me to have to
go without his love and his caresses; never to have him hug and kiss me,
and call me his dear child, his darling. Oh, I couldn't bear it! I never
could! it would just break my heart!" and her tears began to fall like
rain.

She cried quite violently for a while; then began to think of Alma more
kindly and pityingly than ever before, as an orphan and a stranger in a
strange land.

"Oh, I am ashamed to have treated her so!" she exclaimed at length, "and
I will ask her pardon; not only because papa has ordered me to do so,
but because I am sorry for her, and really mortified to think of having
treated her so badly."

Fortunately, just at that moment Alma's timid rap was heard at the door
and her voice saying, in a hesitating, deprecating way, "Miss Lu,
please, I need to try the dress once more. I'm very sorry to disturb and
trouble you, but I know you want it to be a good fit."

"Yes, of course I do, Alma," returned Lulu gently, opening the door as
she spoke; "you are quite right to come back with it. I'm sorry and
ashamed of having been so rude and unkind to you when you were in here
before," she added, holding out her hand. "It was shameful treatment.
Papa said I must ask your pardon, and I think I would do it now, even if
he hadn't ordered me."

"It is too much, Miss Lu," Alma said, blushing, and with tears in her
eyes. "I could never ask such a thing as that of a young lady like you."

"Indeed, my behavior has been very unladylike to-day," sighed Lulu; "and
papa is very, very much displeased with me."

"I am sorry, Miss," Alma responded, in a sympathizing tone. "But the
captain will not stay angry; he is so very fond of his children."

"Yes; and so kind and indulgent that I ought to be the best girl in the
world. Oh, I wish I had not behaved so badly!"

"He will forgive you, Miss; he will not stay displeased, for his love
for you is so very great," returned Alma. "There, Miss, the dress does
fit you now. See in the glass. Does it not?"

"Yes," Lulu replied, surveying herself in the mirror; "I could not ask a
better fit, Alma."

"It is lovely, Miss Lu; the stuff so fine and soft, and the colors so
beautiful!" remarked the girl, gazing upon it with admiring eyes. "It is
good, Miss Lu, to have a kind papa, rich enough to gif you all things
needful for a young lady to wear."

"Yes, and so generous and kind as mine is," sighed Lulu. "It is a very
great shame that I ever do anything to displease him."

Alma went back to the sewing-room, and Lulu hastened to the door of the
room where her father had been when he called to her. But a glance
within showed her that he was not there now. Then she ran downstairs and
through library, parlors, halls,--everywhere,--looking for him.

"Oh, where is he?" she sighed. "I must find him and tell him how sorry I
am for my naughtiness. I can't have one minute of happiness till I have
done so and got a kiss of forgiveness."

Snatching a hat from the rack and putting it on as she went, she ran out
and round the porches and the grounds; but nowhere was he to be seen.

"Miss Lu," called a servant, at length, "is you lookin' fo' de cap'n?
He's done gone to Ion, I 'spects; kase dere's whar Miss Wi'let went in
de kerridge."

"Did he say when he would come back?" asked Lulu, steadying her voice
with quite an effort.

"He gwine come back dis evenin' fo' suah, Miss Lu, to see 'bout de work
on de plantation," was the reply, as the man turned to his employment
again. And with a heavy sigh Lulu turned about and re-entered the house.

"Oh, it's so lonesome for me here all by myself!" she said half-aloud.

But there was no one near enough to hear her, and she went back to her
tasks, trying to forget her troubles in study; an effort in which she
was for the time partially successful.



CHAPTER X.


"I hope there is nothing serious ailing dear mamma," Violet said rather
anxiously to herself, as the carriage rolled swiftly on toward Ion;
"there was really nothing in her note to indicate it, but she has never
been one to complain of even a pretty serious ailment. She is not old
yet; we may hope to keep her with us for many, many years. But then she
is so good--so ripe for heaven!" And a silent prayer went up to God that
the dear mother might be spared for many years to help others on their
pilgrim way, especially her children and grandchildren. "For oh, how we
need her!" was the added thought; "what could we ever do without
her--the dear, kind, loving mother to whom we carry all our troubles and
perplexities, sure of comfort, the best of advice, and all the help in
her power to give. Dear, dear mamma! Oh, I have never prized her as I
ought!"

It was only the previous evening that Mrs. Travilla herself had learned
that she was assailed by more than a trifling ailment. What seemed to
her but a slight one, causing discomfort, and at times quite a good deal
of pain, she had been conscious of for some weeks or months, but had
not thought it necessary to speak of it to anyone.

About the time of her return home, however, there had been a very
decided increase in the suffering; which at length led her to confide
her trouble to her cousin and family physician, Dr. Arthur Conly, and
she had learned from him that it was far more serious than she had
supposed; that in fact her only escape from sure and speedy death lay in
submission to a difficult and dangerous surgical operation.

Arthur told her as gently and tenderly as he could--assuring her that
there was more than a possibility of a successful result--bringing
relief from her suffering and prolonging her life for many years.

His first words--showing her ailment as so much more serious than she
had ever for a moment supposed it to be--gave her a shock at the thought
of the sudden parting from all her dear ones--father, children, and
grandchildren; yet before he had finished she was entirely calm and
composed.

"And what would death be but going home?" she said; "home to the
mansions Jesus my Saviour has prepared for those he died to redeem, and
to the dear ones gone before, there to await the coming of those who
will be left behind for a little while. Ah, it is nothing to dread or
to fear, for 'I know that my Redeemer liveth.'"

"And yet, Cousin Elsie," Arthur returned, with ill-concealed emotion,
"how illy you could be spared by any of those who know and love you.
Even I should feel it an almost heartbreaking thing to lose you out of
my life, and your father, children----"

"Yes, I know, dear cousin, and shall not hesitate to do or bear all that
holds out a hope of prolonging my days here upon earth; for otherwise I
should feel that I was rushing into the Master's presence unbidden, and
that without finishing the work he has given me to do here.

"Nor would I be willing to so pain the hearts of those who love me. I am
ready to submit at once to whatever you deem necessary or expedient. But
ah, my dear father! How distressed he will be when he learns all that
you have just told me! I wish he might be spared the knowledge till all
is over. But it would not do. He must be told at once, and--I must tell
him."

"That will be very hard for you, dear cousin; would it not be
better----" Arthur began, but paused, leaving his sentence unfinished.

"It will come best from me, I think," she returned, with a sad sort of
smile. "But when?"

"Day after to-morrow, if you will. I think you would prefer to have the
trial over as soon as possible?"

"Yes; I think it will save both me and all concerned from some of the
suffering of anticipation, if you can make it suit your convenience."

"Perfectly," he answered; "there are few preparations to be made and I
do not want long to contemplate doing what must be a trial to so many
whom I love."

Their talk had been in her boudoir. He lingered but a few moments
longer, then went down to the drawing-room.

"Uncle," he said, in a low aside to Mr. Dinsmore, "I have just left
Cousin Elsie in her boudoir and she wishes to see you there."

"She is not well, Arthur?" asked the old gentleman, with a slightly
startled look, as he rose from his easy chair and the two passed out
into the hall together.

"Not very, uncle," was the sad-toned reply. "She has been consulting me
and there is something she wishes to say to you."

Mr. Dinsmore paled to the very lips. "Don't keep me in suspense, Arthur;
let me know the worst, at once," he said, with almost a groan. "Why has
anything been hidden from me--the father who loves her better than his
life?"

"I have been as ignorant as yourself, uncle, till within the last half
hour," replied the doctor, in a patient, deeply sympathizing tone. "It
is astonishing to me that she has been able to endure so much for weeks
or months past without a word of complaint. But do not despair, my dear
uncle; the case is by no means hopeless."

"Tell me all, Arthur; hide nothing, nothing from me," Mr. Dinsmore said
with mingled sternness and entreaty, hastily leading the way as he spoke
to the little reception room opening from the other side of the hall,
and closing the door against any chance intruder.

Arthur complied, stating the case as briefly as possible, and laying
strong emphasis upon the fact that there was reason to hope for, not
spared life alone, but entire and permanent relief.

"God grant it!" was the old gentleman's fervent, half agonized response.
"My darling, my darling! would that I could bear all the suffering for
you! Arthur, when--when must my child go through the trial which you say
is--not to be escaped?"

"We have agreed upon the day after to-morrow, uncle, both she and I
wishing to have it over as soon as possible."

A few minutes later, Mr. Dinsmore passed quietly into his daughter's
boudoir, where he found her alone, lying on a lounge, her eyes closed,
her countenance, though deathly pale, perfectly calm and peaceful.

He bent down and touched his lips to the white forehead; then as the
sweet eyes opened and looked up lovingly into his, "Oh, my darling, idol
of my heart," he groaned, "would that your father could himself take the
suffering that I have just learned is in store for you."

"Ah no, no, my dear, dear father, I could illy bear that," she said,
putting an arm about his neck; "suffering and danger to you would be far
harder for me than what I am now enduring or expecting in the near
future. Arthur has told you all?"

"Yes; kind-hearted and generous fellow that he is, he felt that he must
spare you the pain of telling it yourself."

"Yes, it was very, very kind," she said, "Dear papa, sit down in this
easy chair, close by my side, and take my hand in yours while we talk
together of some matters that need to be settled before--before I am
called to go through that which may be the end of earthly life for me."

Then, in response to the anguished look in his face as he bent over her
with another silent caress, "My dear father, I do not mean to distress
you. Arthur holds out strong hope of cure and years of health and
strength to follow; yet surely it is but the part of wisdom to prepare
for either event."

"Yes; and I am sure you are fully prepared, at least so far as your
eternal welfare is concerned; should you be called away--our grief will
be for ourselves alone."

"I am glad the choice is not left with me," she said, in low, sweet
tones, after a moment's silence. "For your dear sake, papa, and that of
my beloved children, I am more than willing to stay here on earth for
many more years, yet the thought of being forever with the Lord--near
him and like him--thrills my heart with joy unspeakable, while added to
that is a great gladness in the prospect of reunion with the dear
husband who has gone before me to that happy land. So I am not to be
pitied, my dear father," she added, with a beautiful smile; "and can you
not rejoice with me that the choice is not mine but lies with him whose
love for us both is far greater than ours for each other?"

"Yes," he replied with emotion; "blessed be his holy name that we may
leave it all in his hands, trusting in his infinite wisdom and love;
knowing that if called to part for a season, we shall be reunited in
heaven, never again to be torn asunder."

"Yes, dear father; we cannot expect to go quite together, but when
reunited there in that blessed land, never again to part, the time of
separation will seem to have been very short; even as nothing compared
to the long, the unending eternity we shall spend together.

"And oh, what an eternity of joy and bliss, forever freed from sin and
suffering, near and like our Lord, altogether pleasing in his sight, no
doubts, no fears, the battle fought, the victory won. 'And there shall
be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it,
and his servants shall serve him; and they shall see his face; and his
name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and
they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth
them light, and they shall reign for ever and ever!'"

"Yes, my darling; blessed be his holy name for the many great and
precious promises of his word, and I have not a doubt of your full
preparation for either event; but oh, that it may please him to spare
you to me as the light, comfort, joy of my remaining days! Yet should it
please him to take you to himself--ah, I cannot, dare not allow myself
to contemplate so terrible a bereavement," he added, in low anguished
accents, as he bent over her, softly smoothing her hair with tenderly
caressing touch.

"Then do not, dear father," she said, lifting to his eyes full of ardent
love and sympathy; "try to leave it all with the dear Master, and he
will fulfil to you his precious promise, 'As thy days, so shall thy
strength be.' Has it not ever been the testimony of all his saints
concerning his precious promises that not one faileth?"

"Yes," he said, "and so will it ever be. By his grace I will trust and
not be afraid for you, my beloved child; nor for myself, his most
unworthy servant."

Then with an upward glance, "'Lord increase our faith.' Oh, help us each
to trust in thee and not to be afraid, be the way ever so dark and
dreary, remembering thy gracious promise, 'I will in no wise fail thee,
neither will I in anywise forsake thee.'"

"Sweet, sweet words, papa," she said, low and tremulously, lifting to
his eyes full of glad, grateful tears.

"And those others, 'When thou passeth through the waters, I will be with
thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee; when thou
walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the
flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of
Israel, thy Saviour.'

"Oh, what more could I ask? what have I to do with doubt or fear, since
he is mine and I am his?"

"Only the physical pain," he said, low and tenderly; "and Arthur tells
me that with the help of anæsthetics there will be little or none of
that during the operation, but----"

"What may come afterward can be easily borne, dear papa," she said, as
he paused, overcome by emotion.

"My dear, brave darling! a more patient, resigned sufferer never lived!"
was his moved, though low-breathed, exclamation.

A moment's silence fell between them, he leaning over and caressing her
with exceeding tenderness; then, "Papa," she said, with a loving look up
into his eyes, "I cannot bear to see you so distressed. Arthur holds out
strong hope of cure, of speedy and entire recovery; and we may be spared
to each other for many years if the will of God be so; but--surely it is
my wisest plan to prepare for every possibility.

"I feel very easy about my dear children, most of them having already
arrived at years of maturity, and being comfortably settled in life;
Edward and my two older daughters, at least; while the others I can
leave in the safest of earthly hands, even those of my dear and honored
father, whose love for them is only secondary to my own; and for each
one I have reason to hope that the good part has been chosen which can
never be taken away."

"I do indeed love them very dearly," he responded, "for their own sake,
their father's, and most of all because they are the offspring of my own
beloved child. Should I outlive her, they shall want for nothing their
grandfather can do to make them happy."

"I know it, dear father, and can leave them to your and their heavenly
Father's care without a doubt or fear," she said, with a gentle sigh
over the thought of the parting with her darlings that might be so near.

She went on to speak of some business matters, then said: "I think that
is all, papa. I do not care to make any alteration in my will; and, as
you know, you and brother Horace are my executors. To-morrow I must have
a little talk with each of my children, and then I shall be ready for
Arthur and his assistants.

"I want all my children near at hand in case of an unfavorable result
and that I am able to say a few last words, bidding them all farewell."

There was again a moment of silence, her father seeming too much
overcome to speak; then she went on: "I think they must not be told
to-night, that the two younger ones need know nothing of the danger till
the morning of the operation. I would spare them all the suffering of
anticipation that I can; and were I but sure, quite sure, of going
safely through it all, they should know nothing of it till afterward;
but I cannot rob them of a few last words with their mother."

"My darling! always unselfish, always thinking of others first!" Mr.
Dinsmore said, in moved tones, bending over her and pressing his lips
again and again to her pale cheek and brow.

"Surely almost any mother would think of her children before herself,"
she returned with a sweet, sad smile.

But just at that instant childish footsteps were heard in the hall
without, then a gentle rap on the door, and Walter's voice asking,
"Mamma, may I come in?"

"Yes, my son," she answered, in cheerful tones, and in a moment he was
at her side, asking, in some alarm and anxiety, "Mamma, dear, are you
sick?" bending over her as he spoke, and pressing ardent kisses upon
cheek and lip and brow.

"Not very, mother's darling baby boy," she answered, lifting to his eyes
full of tender mother love.

"'Baby boy?'" repeated Walter, with a merry laugh, gently smoothing her
hair, and patting her cheek lovingly, while he spoke. "Mamma, dear, have
you forgotten that I am eleven years old?"

"No, dear; but for all that you are still mother's dear, dear baby boy!"
she said, hugging him close.

"Well, I shan't mind your calling me that, you dearest mamma," laughed
Walter, repeating his caresses; "but nobody else must do it."

"Not even grandpa?" queried Mr. Dinsmore, with a proudly affectionate
smile into the bright young face.

"I don't think you'd want to, grandpa," returned the lad, "because, you
know, you're always telling me I must try to be a manly boy. But I came
up to remind you and mamma that it's time for prayers. Grandma sent me
to do so and to ask if you could both come down now."

"You will not think of going down, Elsie?" Mr. Dinsmore exclaimed in
surprise, as his daughter made a movement as if to rise from her couch.

"Yes, papa," she returned. "I have been resting here for some hours and
feel quite able to join the family now. I am not in pain at this moment,
and Arthur said nothing about keeping to my room."

"Then I wouldn't, mamma," said Walter, slipping his hand into hers. "I'm
sure Cousin Arthur's always ready enough to order us to keep to our
rooms if there's any occasion. I'm glad he doesn't think you sick enough
to have to do that."

His mother only smiled in reply, and, taking her father's offered arm,
moved on in the direction of the stairway, Walter still clinging to her
other hand.

Anxious looks and inquiries greeted her on their entrance into the
parlor, where family and servants were already gathered for the evening
service; but she parried them all with such cheery words and bright
sweet smiles as set their fears at rest for the time.

But those of Edward were presently rearoused as--the younger members of
the family and the servants having retired from the room--he noticed a
look of keen, almost anguished anxiety, bestowed by his grandfather upon
his mother; then that her cheek was unusually pale.

"Mother dear, you are not well!" he exclaimed, hastily rising and going
to her.

"No, not quite, my dear boy," she replied, smiling up at him; "but do
not look so distressed; none of us can expect always to escape all
illness. I am going back to my room now and, though able to do so
without assistance, will accept the support of the arm of my eldest son,
if it is offered me."

"Gladly, mother dear, unless you will let me carry you; which I am fully
able to do."

"Oh, no, Ned," she said laughingly, as she rose and put her hand within
his arm; "the day may possibly come when I shall tax your young strength
to that extent, but it is not necessary now. Papa, dear," turning to
him, "shall I say good-night to you now?"

"No, no," Mr. Dinsmore answered, with some emotion, "I shall step into
your rooms for that as it is on my way to my own."

"I, too," said Mrs. Dinsmore; "and perhaps you will let me play the
nurse for you if you are not feeling quite well."

"Thank you very much, mamma. In case your kind services are really
needed I shall not hesitate to let you know. And I am always glad to see
you in my rooms."

"Mother, you are actually panting for breath!" Edward exclaimed when
they were half-way up the stairs. "I shall carry you," and taking her in
his arms as he spoke, he bore her to her boudoir and laid her tenderly
down on its couch. "Oh, mother dear," he said, in quivering tones, "tell
me all. Why should your eldest son be shut out from your confidence?"

"My dear boy," she answered, putting her hand into his, "can you not
rest content till to-morrow? Why should you think that anything serious
ails me?"

"Your pale looks and evident weakness," he said, "grandpa's distressed
countenance as he turns his eyes on you, and the unusually sober,
serious look of Cousin Arthur as I met him passing out of the house
to-night. He had been with you, had he not?"

"Yes, my son, and I meant that you and your sisters should know all
to-morrow or the next day. It is only for your own sake I would have had
you spared the knowledge till then."

"Dearest mother, tell me all now," he entreated; "for surely no
certainty can be worse than this dreadful suspense."

"No, I suppose not," she replied in sorrowful tones, her eyes gazing
into his, full of tenderest mother love. Then in a few brief sentences
she told him all.

"Oh, mother dear; dearest mother!" he cried, clasping her close, "if I,
your eldest son, might but take and bear it all--the pain and the
danger--for you, how gladly I would do so!"

"I do not doubt it, my own dear boy," she returned, in moved tones, "but
it cannot be; each of us must bear his or her own burden and I rejoice
that this is mine rather than that of my dear son. Do not grieve for me;
do not be too anxious; remember that he whose love for me is far greater
than any earthly love appoints it all, and it shall be for good. 'We
know that all things work together for good to them that love God.'
Blessed, comforting assurance! And how sweet are those words of Jesus,
'What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter!'"

"Yes, dearest mother," he said, with emotion, "and for you it will be
all joy, the beginning of an eternity of bliss, if it shall please him
to take you to himself; but oh, how hard it will be for your children to
learn to live without you! But I will hope and pray that the result may
be for you restored health and a long and happy life."

For some moments he held her in a close embrace, then, at the sound of
approaching footsteps in the hall without, laid her gently down upon her
pillows.

"Keep it from Zoe for to-night, if possible," she said softly. "Dear
little woman! I would not have her robbed of her night's rest."

"I will try, mother dear," he said, pressing his lips again and again to
hers. "God grant you sweet and refreshing sleep, but oh, do not for a
moment hesitate to summon me if there is anything I can do to relieve
you, should you be in pain, or to add in any way to your comfort."

She gave the desired promise and he stole softly from the room; but not
to join his wife till some moments of solitude had enabled him so to
conquer his emotion that he could appear before her with a calm and
untroubled countenance.

Mr. and Mrs. Dinsmore passed into the boudoir as he left it. Rose had
just learned from her husband of his talk of that evening with Dr.
Conly, and what the physician had then told him of his daughter's
condition and the trial awaiting her in the near future.

Rose was full of sympathy for Elsie, and so overcome at the thought of
the trial she must so soon pass through that she could scarcely speak.

They clung to each other in a long, tender embrace, Rose shedding
tears, Elsie calm and quiet.

"You will let me be with you, dear Elsie?" she said at last. "Oh, how
willingly I would help you bear it if I could!"

"Dear mamma, how kind you are and have always been to me!" exclaimed the
low sweet voice. "Your presence will be a great support while
consciousness remains, but after that I would have you spared the trial.

"Don't fear for me; I know that it will all be well. How glad I am that
should I be taken you will be left to comfort my dear father and
children. Yet I think that I shall be spared. Arthur holds out a strong
hope of a favorable termination.

"So, dear father," turning to him and putting her hand in his, "be
comforted. Be strong and of a good courage! Do not let anxiety for me
rob you of your needed rest and sleep."

"For your dear sake, my darling, I will try to follow your advice," he
answered, with emotion, as in his turn he folded her to his heart and
bade her good-night.



CHAPTER XI.


The next morning found Mrs. Travilla calm and peaceful, even cheerful,
ready for either life or death. She was up at her usual early hour, and
Rosie and Walter, coming in for their accustomed half hour of Bible
reading with mamma, found her at her writing-desk just finishing a note
to Violet.

"Dear mamma," exclaimed Walter, in a tone of delight, "you are looking
so much better and brighter this morning. I was really troubled about
you last night lest you were going to be ill; you were so pale, and
grandpa looked so worried."

"Grandpa is always easily frightened about mamma if she shows the
slightest indication of illness," said Rosie; "as indeed we all are,
because she is so dear and precious; our very greatest earthly treasure.

"Mamma dearest, I am so rejoiced that you are not really sick!" she
added, dropping on her knees beside her mother's chair, clasping her
arms about her, and kissing her again and again with ardent affection.

"I, too," Walter said, taking his station on her other side, putting an
arm round her neck, and pressing his lips to her cheek.

She returned their caresses with words of mother love, tears shining in
her eyes at the thought that this might prove almost her last
opportunity.

"What do you think, Rosie?" laughed Walter. "Mamma called me her baby
boy last night; me--a great fellow of eleven. I think you must be her
baby girl."

But Rosie made no reply. She was gazing earnestly into her mother's
face. "Mamma dear," she said anxiously, "you are not well! you are
suffering! Oh, what is it ails you?"

"I am in some pain, daughter," Elsie answered, in a cheerful tone; "but
Cousin Arthur hopes to be able to relieve it in a day or two."

"Oh, I am glad to hear that!" Rosie exclaimed, with a sigh of relief.
"Dearest mamma, I do not know how I could ever bear to have you very
ill."

"Should that trial ever come to you, daughter dear, look to God for
strength to endure it," her mother said in sweetly solemn accents, as
she gently smoothed Rosie's hair with her soft white hand and gazed
lovingly into her eyes. "Do not be troubled about the future, but trust
his gracious promise: 'As thy days, so shall thy strength be!' Many and
many a time has it been fulfilled to me and to all who have put their
trust in him?"

"Yes, mamma, I know you have had some hard trials, and yet you always
seem so happy."

"You look happy now, mamma; are you?" asked Walter, a little anxiously.

"Yes, my son, I am," she said, smiling affectionately upon him. "Now let
us have our reading," turning over the leaves of her Bible as she spoke.
"We will take the twenty-third psalm. It is short, and so very sweet and
comforting."

They did so, Elsie making a few brief remarks, especially on the fourth
verse, which neither Rosie nor Walter ever forgot.

She followed them with a short prayer, and just at its close her father
came in, and, sending the children away, spent alone with his daughter
the few minutes that remained before the ringing of the breakfast bell.

He obeyed the summons, but she remained in her own apartments, a servant
carrying her meal to her.

It was something very unusual for her, and, joined to an unusual silence
on the part of their grandfather, accompanied by a sad countenance and
occasional heavy sigh, and similar symptoms shown by both Grandma Rose
and Edward, excited surprise and apprehension on the part of the younger
members of the household.

Family worship, as was the rule followed immediately upon the conclusion
of the meal, and Mr. Dinsmore's feeling petition on behalf of the sick
one increased the alarm of Rosie and Zoe.

Both followed Edward out upon the veranda, asking anxiously what ailed
mamma.

At first he tried to parry their questions, but his own ill-concealed
distress only increased their alarm and rendered them the more
persistent.

"There is something serious ailing mamma," he said at length, "but
Cousin Arthur hopes soon to be able to relieve her. The cure is somewhat
doubtful, however, and that is what so distresses grandpa, grandma, and
me. Oh, let us all pray for her, pleading the Master's precious promise,
'If two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall
ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.'

"Mamma has sent for my sisters Elsie and Violet. She wants as many of
her children and grandchildren near her as possible; but Harold and
Herbert have to be left out because, being so far away, there is not
time to summon them."

"O Ned," cried Rosie, in an agony of terror, "is--is mamma in immediate
danger? What--what is it Cousin Arthur is going to do?"

"A--surgical operation is, he says, the only--only thing that can
possibly save her life, and--he hopes it will."

"But he isn't certain? O mamma, mamma!" cried Rosie, bursting into an
uncontrollable fit of weeping.

Zoe was sobbing too, Edward holding her in his arms and scarce able to
refrain from joining with her, and at that moment the Fairview carriage
drove up, and Elsie Leland, alighting therefrom, quickly came in among
them, asking in alarm, as she saw their tear-stained, agitated faces,
"What is the matter? Oh, is mamma ill?"

Then Edward's story had to be repeated to her, and shortly after to
Violet, who, with her children, arrived a little later.

They too seemed almost overwhelmed with distress.

"Can we go to her?" Violet asked, and Mrs. Dinsmore, who had just joined
them, replied, "Not yet; your grandpa is with her, and wishes to have
her to himself for a while."

"Ob, I hope he will not keep us long away from her; our own, own dear
mother!" exclaimed Rosie, with a fresh burst of tears and sobs.

"I think not long, Rosie, dear," Mrs. Dinsmore replied soothingly,
putting an arm round the weeping girl as she spoke, and smoothing her
hair with gently caressing hand. "Your mamma will be asking for you all
presently. She has said that until the danger is past, she wants you all
near enough to be summoned to her side in a moment."

"And I--we all--know she is ready for any event," Elsie Leland said, in
trembling, tearful tones.

"Yes; and I believe God will spare her to us for years to come, in
answer to our prayers," remarked Mrs. Dinsmore in cheerful, hopeful
accents.

Walter had gone out into the grounds at the time the older ones repaired
to the veranda, and Grace, with Violet's little ones, had joined him
there on alighting from the carriage which had brought them from
Woodburn.

The four now came running in and Walter, noticing the looks of grief and
anxiety on the faces of the older people asked anxiously, "What's the
matter, folks?" then added quickly. "Oh, I hope mamma is not worse! Is
that it, grandma?" His query was not answered, for at that moment Dr.
Conly's carriage came driving up the avenue. All crowded about him as he
alighted and came up the steps into the veranda. That, however, was
nothing new for he was a great favorite, being not only their relative,
but their trusted and valued physician.

"You have come to see mamma?" Mrs. Leland said, half inquiringly. "Oh,
Cousin Arthur, do be frank with us! do tell us plainly what you think of
her case."

"It is a serious one, Cousin Elsie, I will not deny that," the doctor
replied, a very grave and concerned look on his face as he spoke, "and
yet I have strong hope of complete recovery; so do not any of you give
way to despair, but unite together in prayer for God's blessing on the
means used."

"Can I see her now, Aunt Rose?" he asked, turning to Mrs. Dinsmore. "I
think so," she replied, leading the way, the doctor following, while the
others remained where they were, waiting in almost silent suspense.

To them all it seemed a long, sad day. One at a time they were admitted
to a short interview with their mother, in which she spoke with each one
as though it might be her last opportunity, the burden of her talk being
always an earnest exhortation to a life hid with God in Christ; a life
of earnest, loving service to him who had died to redeem them from sin
and eternal death.

She was very cheerful and spoke hopefully of the result of the
operation, yet added that, as it might prove fatal, and in a way to
leave her neither time nor strength for these last words, she must speak
them now; but they need not despair of seeing her restored to health and
given many more years of sweet companionship with her loved ones.

Walter, as the youngest, took his turn last.

For many minutes he could do nothing but sob on his mother's breast.
"O mamma, mamma," he cried, "I cannot, cannot do without you!"

"Mother knows it will be hard for her baby boy at first," she said, low
and tenderly, holding him close to her heart; "but some day you will
come to mamma in that happy land where there is no parting, no death,
and where sorrow and sighing shall flee away; the land where 'the
inhabitant shall not say I am sick'; the land where there is no sin, no
suffering of any kind, and God shall wipe away all tears from our eyes.

"My darling, my little son, there is nothing else mother so desires for
you as that you may be a lamb of Christ's fold, and I have strong hopes
that you already are. You know that Jesus died to save sinners; that he
is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him; that you
can do nothing to earn salvation, but must take it as God's free
unmerited gift: that Jesus says, 'Him that cometh to me I will in no
wise cast out.' All this you know, my son?"

"Yes, mamma dearest," he sobbed. "Oh, how good it was in him to die that
cruel death that we might live! Yes, I do love him, and he won't be
angry with me because I'm almost heartbroken at the thought of having to
do without my dear, dear mother, for many years. O mamma, mamma, how can
I live without you?"

"It may please the dear Lord Jesus to spare you that trial, my darling
boy," she said. "I know that he will, if in his infinite wisdom he sees
it to be for the best.

"And we must just trust him, remembering those sweet Bible words, 'We
know that all things work together for good to them that love God.'
Leave it all with him, my darling, feeling perfectly sure that whatever
he orders will be for the best; that though we may not be able to see it
so now, we shall at the last."

"But, mamma, I must pray that you may be cured and live with us for
many, many years. It will not be wrong to ask him for that?"

"No, not if you ask in submission to his will, remembering that no one
of us knows what is really for our highest good. Remember his own prayer
in his agony there in the garden of Gethsemane, 'Father, if thou be
willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless, not my will, but thine,
be done.'

"He is our example and we must strive to be equally submissive to the
Father's will. Remember what the dear Master said to Peter, 'What I do
thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.'"

"Mamma, I will try to be perfectly submissive to his will, even if it is
to take you away from me; but oh, I must pray, pray, _pray_ as hard as I
can that it may please him to spare your dear life and let me keep my
mother at least till I am grown to be a man. It won't be wrong, mamma?"

"No, my darling boy, I think not--if with it all you can truly, from
your heart, say, 'thy will, not mine, be done.'"

When Captain Raymond followed his wife and little ones to Ion, he found
there a distressed household, anxious and sorely troubled over the
suffering and danger of the dearly beloved mother and mistress. Violet
met him on the veranda, her cheeks pale and showing traces of tears, her
eyes full of them.

"My darling!" he exclaimed in surprise and alarm, "what is the matter?"

He clasped her in his arms as he spoke, and dropping her head upon his
shoulder, she sobbed out the story of her mother's suffering and the
trial that awaited her on the morrow.

His grief and concern were scarcely less than her own, but he tried to
speak words of comfort to both her and the others to whom the loved
invalid was so inexpressibly dear. To the beloved invalid also when,
like the rest, he was accorded a short interview.

Yet he found to his admiring surprise that she seemed in small need of
such service--so calm, so peaceful, so entirely ready for any event was
she.

Finding his presence apparently a source of strength and consolation,
not only to his young wife, but to all the members of the stricken
household, he remained till after tea, but then returned home for the
night, principally for Lulu's sake; not being willing to leave the child
alone, or nearly so, in that great house.



CHAPTER XII.


The duties of the schoolroom had filled up the rest of the morning for
Lulu, so occupying her mind that she could give only an occasional
thought to the sad fact that she was in disgrace with her father.

Then came dinner, which she took in the dining-room, feeling it lonely
enough with the whole family absent; immediately after that a music
lesson filled another hour, and that was followed by an hour of practice
on the piano.

Then Alma wanted her again, and then, knowing it was what her father
would approve, she took her usual exercise about the grounds; after
which she prepared her lessons for the next day.

But all the time her heart was heavy with the consciousness that "papa,
dear papa," was displeased with her, and she felt that there could be no
happiness for her till she had made her peace with him.

"Oh," she sighed again and again, "will he never, never come, that I may
tell him how sorry and ashamed I am?"

But when tea-time came he was still absent, and that meal also had to be
taken alone.

She did not linger at the table, and on leaving it went into the library
where a wood fire blazed cheerfully on the hearth, for the evenings were
now quite cool, and settling herself in an easy-chair listened for the
sound of his coming.

She was too much disturbed, and too anxious to read or work, so sat
doing nothing but listen intently for the sound of horses' hoofs or
carriage-wheels on the drive without.

"Will he punish me?" she was asking herself. "I believe I want him to,
for I'm sure I richly deserve it. Oh, there he is! I hear his voice in
the hall!" and her heart beat fast as she sprang up and ran to meet him.

He was already at the door of the room when she reached it.

"Papa," she said humbly, and with her eyes on the carpet, "I--I'm very,
very sorry for my naughtiness this morning. I have obeyed you--asked
Alma's pardon--and--please, dear papa, won't you forgive me, too?"

"Certainly, dear child," he said, bending down to press a kiss upon her
lips. "I am always ready to forgive my dear children when they tell me
they are sorry for having offended, and ready to obey."

He led her to the easy-chair by the fireside, which she had just
vacated, and seating himself therein, drew her to a seat upon his knee.

"Papa, I'm so sorry, so very sorry for my badness, so ashamed of not
being obedient to such a dear, kind father," she said, low and
tremulously, blushing painfully as she spoke. "Please, I want you to
punish me well for it."

"Have I not already done so, daughter?" he asked. "I doubt if this has
been a happy day to you."

"Oh, no, indeed, papa! I soon repented of my badness and looked
everywhere for you to tell you how sorry I was and ask you to forgive
me. But you were gone and so I had to wait, and the day has seemed as if
it would never end, though I've been trying to do everything I thought
you would bid me do if you were here."

"Then I think I need add no further punishment," he said, softly
caressing her hair and cheek with his hand.

"But please I want you to, because I deserve it and ought to be made to
pay for such badness; and I'm afraid if I'm not, I'll just be bad again
soon."

"Well, daughter," he replied, "we will leave that question open to
consideration. I see you have books here on the table, and we will now
attend to the recitations."

Her recitations were quite perfect, and he gave the deserved meed of
praise, appointed the tasks for the next day, then drawing her to his
knee again, said: "It does not seem to me necessary, daughter, to
inflict any further punishment for the wrong-doings of this morning. You
are sorry for them, and do not intend to offend in the same way again?"

"Yes, I am sorry, papa, and I don't mean to behave so any more; still,
I'd feel more comfortable, and surer of not being just as bad again in a
few days or weeks, if you'd punish me. So please do."

"Very well, then, I will give you an extra task or two," he said, taking
up her Latin grammar, "I will give you twice the usual lesson in this.
Then, not as a punishment, but for your good, I want you to search out
all the texts you can find in God's Holy Word about the sinfulness of
anger and pride and the duty of confessing our faults, not only to him,
but to those whom we have injured by them."

Opening the Family Bible which lay on the table close at hand, "Here is
one in Proverbs," he said. "'He that covereth his sins shall not
prosper; but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them, shall have mercy."'

Then turning to the New Testament, he read again, "'Therefore, if thou
bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath
aught against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy
way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy
gift.'"

"That is in Matthew," he said, "and here in the Epistle of James," again
turning over the leaves, "we read perhaps the plainest direction of all
on the subject, 'Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for
another that ye may be healed.'"

"But, papa----" she paused, hanging her head while a vivid blush
suffused her cheeks.

"Well, daughter, what is it? Do not be afraid to let me know all your
thoughts. I want you always to talk freely to me, that if you are wrong
I may be able to convince you of the right. I want my children to act
intelligently, doing right because they see that it is right, and not
merely because papa commands it."

"Please don't be angry with me, papa, but, it did seem to me a sort of
degradation to have to ask pardon of a--a woman who has to work for her
living like Alma," she said with some hesitation, blushing and hanging
her head as she spoke.

"I am very, very sorry to hear such sentiments from a daughter of mine,"
he returned in a gravely concerned tone and with a slight sigh. "It is
wicked pride, my child, that puts such thoughts in your head.

"And who can say that there may not come a time when you too will have
to work for your living? The Bible tells us riches certainly take to
themselves wings and fly away."

Again turning over the leaves, "Here is the passage--twenty-third
chapter of Proverbs, fourth and fifth verses: 'Labor not to be rich;
cease from thine own wisdom. Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is
not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an
eagle toward heaven.'

"And how little are they really worth, while we have them? 'Riches
profit not in the day of wrath,' we are told in this Holy Book. And it
says a great deal of the folly and sinfulness of pride; particularly in
this book of Proverbs;" turning over the leaves he read here and
there--"'When pride cometh, then cometh shame; but, with the lowly is
wisdom.' 'Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a
fall. Better is it to be an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide
the spoil with the proud.'

"'Proud and haughty scorner is his name who dealeth in proud wrath.'

"'A man's pride shall bring him low: but honor shall uphold the humble
in spirit.'

"'The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the
evil way and the forward mouth, do I hate.'"

There was a moment of silence, then Lulu said humbly, tears starting to
her eyes as she spoke, "Papa, I did not know--at least I never thought
about it--that pride was so wicked."

"Yes," he said, "the Bible tells us that everyone proud in heart is an
abomination to the Lord, that God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace
unto the humble; there is much in the Bible against pride and in favor
of humility. We are all sinners, worthy of nothing good at the hands of
God, and what have we to do with pride?"

"Papa, when I say my prayers to-night I will ask God to take away all
the wicked pride out of my heart; and won't you ask him too?"

"I will, my darling, as I have already, very many times, and I hope you
have not neglected to ask him to forgive your wrong thoughts, feelings,
and actions of this morning?"

"I have asked for that, papa, and I will again," she replied.

They were silent again for a little while, the captain looking as if his
thoughts were far away; Lulu was studying his face with eyes that
presently filled with tears.

"Papa," she said low, and half tremulously, "you look so sad. Is it all
because you are grieved over my naughtiness?"

"No, daughter, not all; indeed I was hardly thinking of that at the
moment, but of the grief, sorrow and anxiety at Ion."

"What about, papa?" she queried with a startled look. "Oh, I hope that
nothing bad has happened to Gracie or Mamma Vi, or our little ones?"

"No; I am thankful that all is right with them: but dear Grandma Elsie
is in a very critical condition; I cannot tell you exactly what ails
her, but she has been suffering very much for months past, keeping it to
herself till yesterday, when she told it all to Cousin Arthur, and
learned from him that nothing but a difficult and dangerous surgical
operation could save her life.

"That is to be performed to-morrow, and, whether she lives or dies, will
relieve her from the dreadful agony she is enduring; for no one who
knows her can doubt that she is one of God's dear children. Death will
be gain to her, but a sad loss to all of us."

Before he had finished Lulu's face was hidden on his shoulder and she
was weeping bitterly.

"O papa," she sobbed, "I'm so, so sorry for her, dear, dear Grandma
Elsie! Isn't she frightened almost to death?"

"No, daughter; she is very calm and peaceful, ready to live or die as
God's will shall be; grieving only for those who love her so dearly and
find it so difficult to be reconciled to the thought of losing her; her
efforts are all to comfort them. She has set her house in order and
seems quite ready for either life or death.

"But we will pray--you and I--as the others are praying, that if God's
will be so, she may live and go in and out before us for many years to
come."

"Yes, papa. Oh, I am glad that we may ask our kind heavenly Father for
everything we want! Poor Mamma Vi! how her heart must ache! and is she
going to stay on at Ion now, papa?"

"Yes; certainly till her mother is out of danger or forever done with
sin and suffering. Gracie and our two little ones will stay too; Gracie
amusing the others and keeping them in the grounds, or a part of the
house so distant from Grandma Elsie's room that their noise will not
disturb her."

"And you and I will stay on here, papa?"

"Yes; I must be here a good deal of the time to oversee my workmen, and
shall want my dear eldest daughter to be my companion and helper in
various ways, for I know she loves to be such to her father," he added,
pressing his lips to her cheek.

"Indeed I do, papa! Oh, thank you for letting me!" she exclaimed,
lifting her head and showing eyes shining through tears. "I'd rather be
here with you, than anywhere else, my own dear, dear father!" putting
her arms about his neck and hugging him close. "Only," she added, "I'd
like to see Gracie and the others for a little bit every once in a while
if I may."

"Yes, you shall," he said, returning her embrace. "Perhaps I may be able
to take you over there for a short visit almost every day. And in the
meantime we may hope that lessons and the dressmaking will go on
prosperously."

"Are you going to spend your nights here at home, papa?" she asked with
a wistful, half pleading look.

"Yes, dear child; I could not think of leaving you alone; nor would your
Mamma Vi wish me to do so while she has both her brother and grandfather
near her, to say nothing of the women, children, and servants; you will
have me close at hand every night and the greater part of the day."

"Oh, I am so glad and thankful!" she said, with a sigh of relief. "I
don't think I should be exactly afraid, because God would be with me,
but it is so delightful to have my dear earthly father too. May I sleep
in Gracie'e room to be nearer to you?"

"Yes; and with the door open between it and mine, so that if you want
anything in the night you will only need to call to me and I will go to
you at once.

"Now if there are any more questions you would like answered, let me
hear them."

"There is something I'd like to say, papa, but I'm--almost afraid."

"Afraid of what, daughter?" he asked, as she paused in some
embarrassment, and with a half pleading look into his eyes.

"That you might think it saucy and be displeased with me.

"Do you mean it so, daughter?"

"Oh, no indeed, papa!"

"Then you need not be afraid to let me hear it."

"Papa, it is only that I--I think if you had talked to me this morning,
when you called me to you, about the wickedness of being too proud to
ask Alma's pardon, and reasoned with me as you did a little while ago,
about it all, I--I'd have obeyed you at once; you know you do almost
always show me the reasonableness of your commands before, or when, you
lay them upon me."

"Yes, my child," he said in a kindly tone, "I have done so as a rule,
and should in this instance, but that I was much hurried for time. That
will sometimes happen, and you and all my children must always obey me
promptly, whether you can or cannot at the moment see the reasonableness
of the order given. Is your estimation of your father's wisdom and his
love for you so low that you cannot trust him thus far?"

"O papa, forgive me!" she exclaimed, putting her arms about his neck and
laying her cheek to his. "I do hope I'll never, never again hesitate one
minute to obey any order from you; because I know you love me, and that
you are very wise and would never bid me do anything but what I ought."

"Certainly never intentionally, daughter; and surely your father, who is
so many years older than yourself, should be esteemed by you as somewhat
wiser."

"O papa, I know you are a great, great deal wiser than I," she said
earnestly. "How ridiculous it seems to think of anybody comparing my
wisdom with yours! I know I'm only a silly little girl, and not a good
one either, and it would be a sad thing to have a father no wiser or
better than myself."



CHAPTER XIII.


The morning of that critical day found Grandma Elsie as calm and
cheerful as she had been the previous evening, though every other face
among the older members of the family showed agitation and anxiety. Her
daughters, Elsie and Violet, were with her almost constantly during the
early hours, doing everything in their power to show their devoted
affection and make all things ready for the surgeons and their
assistants; her father and his wife also giving their aid and loving
sympathy, while Edward and Zoe attended to necessary arrangements
elsewhere, occasionally snatching a moment to stand beside the dear
sufferer and speak words of love and hope.

Rosie and Walter were allowed one short interview in which they were
clasped in her arms and a few loving, tender words spoken that both she
and they felt might be the last.

Captain Raymond came a little earlier than the doctor. Lester was
already there, and each young wife found the presence of her husband a
comfort and support while, in an adjoining room, they waited in almost
agonizing suspense to hear that the operation was over and what was the
result.

They were a silent group, every heart going up in strong crying to God,
that, if consistent with his holy will, the dear mother might be spared
to them.

And the united petition was granted; Mrs. Dinsmore presently came to
them, her face radiant with joy and hope. "It is over," she said;
"successfully over, and the doctors say that with the good nursing she
is sure to have she will soon be restored to perfect health."

The communication was received with tears of joy and thankfulness.

"It will be strange indeed if she lacks anything the most devoted nurses
can do for her," remarked Mr. Leland.

"I should think so, with three daughters, two sons, and as many
sons-in-law, to say nothing of father and mother," remarked Violet, with
a tearful smile. "Levis, you will spare me to her as long as I am
needed?"

"Certainly, my love," he replied, without a moment's hesitation; "there
is nothing we could refuse, or grudge to our beloved mother at this, or
indeed at any time."

"O grandma, may we go to her now?" queried Rose and Walter in a breath.

"I think not yet, dears; she must be kept very, very quiet," was the
gently spoken reply. "I know it would be a joy to both you and her to
meet and exchange a few words, but it might be a risk for her; and I
know you would far rather deny yourselves the gratification than do
anything to increase her suffering; to say nothing of endangering her
precious life."

"O grandma, neither of us would be willing to do that for the wealth of
the world!" exclaimed Rosie, with starting tears.

"No, indeed!" cried Walter. "It is very hard to refrain, but we would
not injure our mother for the world; our dear, dear mother!"

"I am sure of it," said Grandma Rose, smiling kindly upon him. "And now,
Walter, would not you and Rosie like to go over to Fairview and carry
the good news to Eva and Gracie? They are there with the little ones,
and I know would be very glad to hear that your dear mother is over the
worst of her trial."

"I am going over there for Gracie, Elsie, and Ned, to take them home to
Woodburn for a while," said Captain Raymond, "and if you two would like
it, will take you both with me, leave you there, bring you back here, or
carry you on to Woodburn, as you may prefer."

"Thank you, sir," said Rosie. "I will be pleased to go as far as
Fairview with you, but not on to Woodburn at this time: because I do not
feel at all sure that mamma may not be taken worse. So I shall not stay
long away from home."

Walter's reply was to the same effect, and as the captain's carriage and
horses were already at the door, the three were presently on their way
to Fairview.

Grace and Evelyn were rejoiced to see them, and having been in great
anxiety about their dear "Grandma Elsie," felt much relieved by the news
of her which they brought.

The captain was in some haste to return to Woodburn, and Rosie and
Walter, finding they wanted to stay a while with Evelyn and their sister
Elsie's children, decided to walk back to Ion; the distance being none
too great for either their strength or enjoyment.

Home and Sister Lu held strong attractions for Grace, Elsie, and Ned,
and they were full of delight as papa lifted them into the carriage and
took his seat beside them.

"Et Ned sit on oo knee, papa," pleaded the baby, and was at once lifted
to the desired place.

"Papa's dear baby boy," the captain said, smoothing his curls and
smiling down into the pretty blue eyes. "How glad Sister Lulu will be to
see you and Elsie, and Gracie!"

"And we'll be just as glad to see her, papa," said Grace. "I know it's
not very long since we came away from our own dear home and Lu, but it
does seem a long time."

"Isn't Lu tired doing without us, papa?" asked Elsie.

"I think she is," he replied; "at all events I know she will be very
glad to see you. It is nearly dinner-time now," he added, looking at his
watch, "so we will go directly home. But this afternoon I will take you
all for a nice, long drive, then leave you little ones at Ion and take
Lulu home again."

Lulu had been busy all the morning attending to her studies, her
practice on the piano, the demands of the dressmaker, and taking her
usual exercise about the grounds. She was out in them now, watching for
the coming of her father, eager to see him and to hear how it was with
dear Grandma Elsie.

Presently she heard the sound of carriage-wheels on the road, then in
another minute the vehicle turned in at the great gates and came rapidly
up the drive, little Elsie calling out from it, "Lu, Lu, we've come!"

"Have you, Elsie? Oh, I'm so glad!" she called in reply.

The carriage had stopped, Lulu bounded toward it, and her father,
throwing open the door, helped her in. Hugs and kisses and laughter
followed; so glad were the happy children to meet again after even so
short a separation.

In another minute the carriage drew up before the entrance to the
mansion, and the captain and his joyous little troop alighted. Dinner
was ready to be served, and as soon as hats and other outer garments had
been disposed of the merry little party gathered about the table. Mamma
was missed but it was very pleasant to all to find themselves there with
their fond father and each other. Lulu's fears for dear Grandma Elsie
had been much relieved by the report of the success of the surgeons, so
that she was light-hearted and gay as well as the younger ones.

Immediately after dinner, while the little ones took their accustomed
afternoon nap, she recited her lessons, doing so in a manner that drew
hearty commendation from her father, who was always glad to be able to
bestow it; then, knowing it would be a joy to her to do them, he called
upon her for some of the little services she was accustomed to render
him.

These attended to, "Now, daughter," he said, "you may dress yourself
nicely for a drive. I am going to take you and your little brother and
sisters for a pretty long one. Then I will drop them at Ion, and you and
I, after a call of a few minutes to hear how Grandma Elsie is, will
drive home together."

"Oh, how pleasant that will be, papa! How good you always are to every
one of us children!" she exclaimed, giving him an ardent kiss, then
running away to do his bidding.

A merry, happy time the children had, and on reaching Ion the little
ones were ready for their supper and bed. The older ones were full of
joy on learning that their loved Grandma Elsie was as comfortable and
doing as well as possible under the circumstances. The captain and Lulu
spent a quiet half-hour with the Ion family and Violet, then departed
for Woodburn.

As the carriage started, the captain put an arm round Lulu, drew her
close to him, and smiling affectionately down into her face, said: "How
glad I am to be able to keep one of my loved flock with me!"

"And oh, how glad I am that I'm the one, you dear, dear papa!" responded
the little girl, returning his loving look and smile. Then, with a sigh,
"I think there are some fathers who wouldn't be very fond of even their
own child, if she were so often ill-tempered and disobedient. Papa, I've
been thinking all day that you didn't punish me half so severely as I
deserved for my naughtiness yesterday."

"I would rather err on that side than the other, daughter," he said, in
tender tones, "and I hope your future behavior will be such as to prove
that the slight punishment inflicted was all-sufficient."

"I hope so, indeed, papa," she answered earnestly, "but if I am
disobedient and ill-tempered again soon, you will be more severe with
me, won't you? I really want you to, that I may improve."

"Yes, daughter, I think I must," he replied a little sadly; then after a
moment's silence went on again: "I expect to pay a little visit to Max
in January, and if my eldest daughter has been a good and obedient
child----" He paused, looking smilingly at her.

"You will take me with you, papa?" she cried half-breathlessly. "Oh, how
I should like it! Ah, I do hope I shall not be so bad that you will have
to leave me behind."

"No, I hope not. I want to take you; to share the pleasure of my dear
eldest daughter will double it to me, and if neither bad conduct on your
part, nor anything else happens to prevent, you shall go with me."

"Oh, thank you, dear papa!" she exclaimed, her cheeks glowing and her
eyes sparkling with delight, "you are so good to me that I just hate
myself for ever doing anything to vex or grieve you."

"My dear child," he said with emotion, "be more watchful, careful, and
prayerful; fight more earnestly and determinately the good fight of
faith, ever looking to God for help, for only so may you hope to gain
the victory at last, and to be able to say, 'in all these things we are
more than conquerors through him that loved us.'"

"I will try, papa," she said, tears starting to her eyes, "but oh, it
is such a hard fight for anybody with a temper like mine. Please help me
all you can by praying for me, and punishing me too, whenever you see
that I need it."

"I will do all I can for you, my darling, in every way," he replied,
"but as I have often told you, the hardest part of the conflict must
inevitably be your own.

"Cling close to Jesus, and cry to him every day and every hour for help,
for only by his all-powerful assistance can we hope to win holiness and
heaven at last."

"I will try, papa, I will indeed," she said. "I am, oh, so glad and
thankful that he will let me cling to him and that he promises his help
to those who ask him for it."

"Yes, he says, 'In me is thine help,' and having his help what can harm
us? since he is the Lord who made heaven and earth."

Again a few moments of silence; then Lulu said, "Papa, you have often
told me I inherit my temper from you, and though I could never believe
it if anybody else had told me, I have to believe you because I know you
always speak the truth; but how did you ever conquer it so completely?"

"By determined effort, at the same time looking to God for help," he
replied; "and only by the same means can I even now keep it under
control."

"And you think I can learn to control mine if I use the same means?"

"I do; God, our kind heavenly Father, is as able and as willing to help
you as me."

"Yes," she said thoughtfully, "and if I don't choose to try hard enough,
at the same time praying earnestly for help, I deserve to be punished by
my earthly father; and I do really hope he always will punish me till he
has taught me to be as patient and self-controlled as he is," she added,
nestling closer to him and slipping a hand into his. "Papa, I often
wonder why I wasn't made as patient and sweet-tempered as Gracie. She
doesn't seem to have any temper at all to fight."

"No; but she has her own peculiar temptations, of some of which your
firmer, braver nature knows nothing; and each must battle with her own
faults and failings, looking to God for help in the hard struggle. To
God, who, the Bible tells us, 'will not suffer you to be tempted above
that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape
that ye may be able to bear it.'"

"It is a precious promise, papa," she said, with thoughtful look and
tone, "and I am glad you reminded me of it. It makes me feel less
discouraged about trying to conquer my besetting sins."

"In the first chapter of Joshua," replied her father, "the Lord says to
him three times, 'Be strong and of a good courage,' the last time
adding, 'be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed; for the Lord thy God
is with thee whithersoever thou goest.' And that blessed assurance of
the constant, sustaining presence of our God, each one of his children
may take to him or herself."

"What a comfort, papa!" she exclaimed. "Oh, the Bible is such a
blessing! I do feel sorry for all the people who have none."

"Yes," he responded, "they are greatly to be pitied, and those who have
dared to take it from others will have much to answer for in the day of
judgment; as will those also who, having it themselves, make no effort
to supply it to such as have it not.

"Ah, here we are at our own home!" he added, as the carriage drew up
before the entrance.

"And such a sweet home as it is!" she responded, as he threw open the
door, sprang out, and took her in his arms.

"Yes," he said, "so I think, and am glad my little girl appreciates it.
There," setting her on her feet, "run in, daughter, and make yourself
ready for the tea-table."

She obeyed and presently they two were seated cozily at a little round
table in the family breakfast-room, greatly enjoying their tea, broiled
chicken, and waffles.

"Papa," remarked Lulu, as she poured out his second cup, "I'm sorry for
you that you have only me for company, but I do enjoy being--once in a
while--all the family you have at home."

"Do you?" he returned, with a good-humored little laugh. "Well, I am
glad to have you contented and happy; and I can't deny that I should
feel very lonely here to-night without the pleasant companionship of my
dear eldest daughter. What do you want to do this evening? how shall we
spend our time alone together?

"I have my lessons to learn, you know, papa."

"Ah, yes; and I must write some letters. And after that perhaps you may
find a bit of sewing to do, while your father reads aloud something that
will be both interesting and instructive to his dear little girl."

"Yes, sir; I have some work on hand for our Dorcas Society, and though I
rather dislike sewing, I shall not mind doing it while listening to your
reading," she answered, smiling brightly up into his face.

"Ah! then that is what we will do," he said, returning her smile.

"Well, daughter, has it been a pleasant evening to you?" he asked, when
the time had come for the good-nights to be said.

"Indeed it has, papa," she replied, giving him an ardent hug. "Oh, I am
so glad you didn't let me go to Ion with the others, but kept me at home
with you. I do hope that I'll remember after this that you always know
and do the very best thing for me, and that I'll never, never grow
ill-tempered and rebellious, as I was yesterday."

"You think you can trust your father after this, even without being told
his reasons for all he does and requires?"

"I hope so, papa, and indeed, indeed I'm very much ashamed of my
rebellious feelings and don't intend to indulge in them any more!" she
added, with a remorseful look up into his face.

"Try to keep that resolution, dear child," he said. "Now good-night and
pleasant dreams. May he who neither slumbers nor sleeps have you in his
kind care and keeping. But if you want your earthly father, you have
only to call out or run to him."



CHAPTER XIV.


Lulu's first thought on awaking the next morning was of dear Grandma
Elsie. "I wonder," she said to herself, "if papa has not been asking
news of her through the telephone; oh, I hope she is getting well!"

Hurrying through the duties of the toilet, she was ready to run to meet
her father when presently she heard his steps in the hall without.

"Good-morning, papa," she cried. "Oh, have you heard from Ion how
Grandma Elsie passed the night?"

"Yes," he said, bending down to give her a good-morning kiss, "she
passed a very comfortable night; is thought to be doing as well as
possible. Mamma Vi and our little ones are all right also; I have just
had a talk with your mamma, through the telephone."

"Oh, I am glad! How nice it is that we can talk in that way to the folks
at Ion and the other places where Mamma Vi's relations live!"

"Yes; a telephone is really a blessing under such circumstances. I am
much more reconciled to being at some short distance from my wife and
little ones than I could be if without such means of communication."

They went down to the library together and seating himself he drew her
to his knee, saying pleasantly, "You are the youngest child at home with
me, and I think I must have you here. I hope you will never think
yourself too old to sometimes sit on your father's knee."

"No, papa, I'm sure I never shall while you are willing to let me," she
replied, putting an arm round his neck and gazing lovingly into his
eyes.

They chatted for a few minutes, then the breakfast bell rang, and
presently they were again seated at the little round table from which
they had eaten last night's supper, Lulu pouring the coffee with a very
grown-up air, while her father filled her plate and his own with the
tempting viands.

"What a lovely, delightful home we have, papa!" she remarked, as she
handed him his cup. "I do really think that with such a father and such
a home I ought to be the best girl in the world; and I do mean to try to
be."

"I have no doubt you do, daughter, and I have seldom had occasion to
find serious fault with you in the last year or more, so that I am by no
means in despair of seeing you gain control of that troublesome temper
which has caused so much unhappiness to both you and me."

"Oh, thank you for saying it, papa!" she returned, with a bright and
joyous smile. "I'm determined to try my very best to be as good as
possible, both to please you and to earn that visit to Annapolis that
you spoke of last night. I think it will be very delightful; and how
pleased Max will be to see us; especially you."

"I think he will. Ah, here comes the mail-bag!" as a servant entered
with it.

"Oh, I hope there's a letter from Max," Lulu said, as her father opened
the bag and took out the contents--papers, magazines, and letters.

"Yes, here is one from our dear boy," he said, singling out a letter and
hastily tearing it open.

He read it first to himself, then aloud to her--a bright, cheery,
boyish, affectionate epistle such as they were accustomed to receive
from Max's pen.

They talked it over together while they finished their breakfast, then
returned to the library where, as usual, Christine, Alma, and the
servants being called in, the captain led the family devotions, reading
a portion of the Scripture and engaging in prayer.

"Are you going immediately to Ion, papa?" asked Lulu, when again they
were alone together.

"No," he replied; "I have some matters to attend to here while you are
preparing your lessons. After hearing them, if your recitations and
conduct have been satisfactory, I intend taking you with me to the
village, where I have to make some business arrangements; then we will
drive to Ion, spend a little time there, then come home, probably
bringing your little sisters and brother with us as we did the other
day, returning them as before to your Mamma Vi, just in time for supper
and bed, and coming home alone together."

"Oh, I like that, papa!" she exclaimed, "and is it what you intend doing
every day?"

"Every day while your Grandma Elsie is so ill that the noise might
disturb her; unless the weather should be quite too inclement, I think
it will be a relief to your Mamma Vi to have them here a good deal of
the time, till her mother is better.

"I suppose so, papa; and at the same time very pleasant for us--they are
such darlings!"

"So you and I think," he said, with a smile. "Now go to your lessons,
daughter."

At Ion Grandma Elsie lay quietly sleeping, her three daughters watching
over her with tenderest care and solicitude. Scarce a sound was to be
heard, either within doors or without, save the distant lowing of
cattle, the twittering of birds, and the gentle sighing of the wind in
the treetops; family and servants moved with cautious tread, speaking
seldom, and that with bated breath, lest they should disturb her who was
so dear to all hearts.

To Walter it seemed very hard to be shut out of mamma's room, and he sat
on the veranda watching for the coming of Cousin Arthur, to petition for
admittance, if only for a moment, just to look at her and come away
again.

Cousin Arthur had been with her through the night, had gone away early
in the morning and was expected back again soon.

The half hour spent in watching and waiting seemed very long indeed to
the little lad, but at last, oh joy! there was Cousin Arthur's sulky
turning in at the great gates; then it came swiftly up the avenue, and
Walter rose and hastened to meet the doctor as he alighted.

"O Cousin Arthur!" he cried, but in subdued tones, "they've shut me out
of mamma's room and I just don't know how to stand it any longer. Mayn't
I go in, if it's only for a minute, to get one look at her dear face? I
won't speak to her or touch her if you say I must not, but oh, I don't
know how to endure being kept away from her altogether."

The little fellow's tones were tremulous, and his eyes filled with tears
as he spoke.

Dr. Conly felt for the child, and laying a hand kindly on his head, said
cheerfully, "Don't be down-hearted, my boy, your mother will be well
enough in a few days, I hope, to stand quite an interview with her
youngest son, and perhaps it may do for you to go in for a moment this
morning; you may come upstairs with me and wait in the hall till I see
how she is. If I find her well enough to stand a peep from her boy, you
shall go in for a minute, provided you will promise to be cheerful and
not to speak unless you have the doctor's permission."

"Oh, I'll promise to do anything you bid me, if you'll only let me see
her," returned Walter in eager tones, then followed the doctor with
noiseless tread through the hall and up the broad stairway.

Reaching his mother's door, he paused and waited outside while the
doctor went quietly in.

His patient seemed to be asleep, but opened her eyes and smiled up into
his face as he reached the bedside.

"Dear cousin," he said, low and tenderly, "are you feeling quite easy
now?"

"Quite so," she answered in low, sweet tones; "all is going right, I
think. Is it not?"

"Yes, so it would seem. You are the best of patients, and with the
abundance of good nursing you are sure to have, I think we will soon
have you about again. But," glancing around upon her three daughters,
"she must be kept very quiet, neither talking nor being talked to much
more than is absolutely necessary.

"However, I am going to allow Walter a moment's sight of his mother, and
as he is your baby boy, you may, if you choose, speak half a dozen words
to him," he added, addressing himself directly to the patient.

Then stepping to the door, he beckoned to Walter, and led him to the
side of the bed.

"There, laddie, you may tell her how dearly you love her, but nothing
more."

"Mamma, dear, darling mamma! I couldn't begin to tell it!" Walter said,
low and tremulously, just touching his lips to her cheek.

"Mother's darling boy!" was all she said in response, but the eyes
looking into his spoke volumes of mother-love.

"Don't cry, Walter, my man," his cousin said, as he led him out to the
hall again; "you have behaved so well that I think you may be allowed
another interview to-morrow; and I hope you will see your mother up and
about again in perhaps a fortnight from this. You must pray for her
healing to the Great Physician, as we all are doing: and pray in faith,
for you know the Bible tells us he is the hearer and answerer of
prayer."

"Oh, I will! I do!" sobbed the child, "and I'm so glad there are so many
others asking for her too, because the Bible says Jesus promised that
his Father would grant what two or three agreed together to ask for."

"Yes; pray for your mother, believe God's promises, and be happy in the
expectation that she will get well; and with a mind at rest interest
yourself in your studies and sports. That's my prescription for you, my
lad; now go and take it like a good boy," added the doctor, with a
smile, as he turned and re-entered the sick-room.

"A funny prescription, and not so bad to take," laughed Walter to
himself, as he wiped away his tears and hastened to the schoolroom to
attend to his lessons.

"Nobody here but myself," he sighed, as he crossed the threshold. "It's
rather lonesome, but I'll do the best I can. It's what mamma would
advise."



CHAPTER XV.


Grace had gone over to Fairview with her little brother and sister,
accompanied by their nurse, Mamma Vi having told her she might learn her
lessons there, and if Evelyn cared to hear her recite, that would answer
very well.

Evelyn was entirely willing, and they had just finished a few minutes
before the carriage from Woodburn came driving up the avenue, bringing
Grace's father and sister Lulu.

They had already paid a call at Ion, and now had come to make a short
one at Fairview, and pick up Gracie, little Elsie, and Ned.

"Papa, papa!" shouted the two little ones, running to meet him as he
came up the steps into the veranda, and holding up their faces for a
kiss.

"Papa's darlings!" he responded, taking them in his arms to caress and
fondle them, then letting them go to give Gracie her turn.

"Is my feeble little girl quite well this morning?" he asked, in tender
tones.

"Yes, papa, thank you," she replied, giving him a vigorous hug, "and oh,
so glad to see you! Have you come to take us--Elsie and Ned and
me--home for a while again?"

"I have," he said, returning her hug. "I can't have your mamma at
present, as her mother needs her, but my dear babies I need not do
without."

"Am I one of them, papa?" asked Gracie, with a smile. "I'm almost
eleven; but I don't mind being one of your babies, if you like to call
me that." His only reply was a smile and a loving pat on her cheek, for
the two little ones were tugging at his coat and coaxing for a drive.

"Why, Elsie and Ned, you haven't kissed me yet," said Lulu. "Gracie and
Eva did while you were exchanging hugs and kisses with papa, and I think
it's my turn now."

"So it is! I love you, Lu," cried Elsie, leaving her father for a moment
to throw her arms round Lulu's neck in a hearty and loving embrace; Ned
quickly followed suit, then running to his father again, renewed his
request for a drive in the carriage.

"Yes, my son, you shall have it presently," said the captain; then he
proposed to Evelyn that she and her two little cousins should join the
party for a short drive in another direction, before he would take his
own children home to Woodburn.

His invitation was joyfully accepted and in a few minutes they had all
crowded into the captain's carriage and were driving down the avenue.

The little ones were very merry, and the captain did not check their
mirth. He was, in fact, in very good spirits himself, because thus far
Grandma Elsie's cure had progressed so favorably. It continued to do so
from that time till in two weeks she was able to be up and about a part
of every day, and Violet returned to Woodburn, though daily, when the
weather permitted, she drove over to Ion and spent an hour or more with
her mother.

Quite frequently the captain drove her over himself, and leaving her
there, went on into the village to attend to some business matter,
calling for her on his return.

On one of these occasions, going into the parlor he found there his
wife, her mother, eldest sister and grandparents in earnest conversation
with the doctor.

When the customary greetings had been exchanged, Grandma Elsie said to
him, with a smile, "Captain, these good people seem to have leagued
together to send, or to take me, to Viamede to spend the winter, Cousin
Arthur having given it as his opinion that a warmer climate than this
would probably be of benefit just at this time."

"In which I presume he is quite right, mother," returned the captain.
"And surely there is no difficulty in the way?"

"Nothing insurmountable," she replied.

"But we want some one to go on in advance and see that everything is in
order for mamma's comfort," said Violet, giving her husband a look that
was half entreating, half one of confident assurance that he would deny
nothing to her or her loved mother which it was at all in his power to
bestow.

"That, I think, would certainly be the better plan," he returned
pleasantly, "and if no one more competent than myself is to be had and
it suits my wife to accompany me, my services may be considered as
offered."

Hearty thanks were at once bestowed upon him by all present.

But he disclaimed all title to them, saying, "I now have everything in
order at Woodburn, so that I may feel quite easy in leaving it for even
a protracted stay; and to get a view of Viamede will be a new and
doubtless very pleasant experience to me, with wife and little ones
along; my daughters can go on with their studies under my tuition, there
as well as at home, and my intended visit to Max can be paid before
starting for the far South. I only fear," he added, with a pleasant
glance at Mrs. Leland, "that I may be offering to take upon myself a
duty which is much to the taste of one of my brothers-in-law and might
be better performed by one or both of them.

"No, captain," replied Mrs. Leland, "you need have no such fear, as
neither of them is just now in a position to leave home, unless it were
quite necessary for dear mamma's comfort."

"Then we will consider it settled that Violet and I are to go," said the
captain, turning to her with his pleasant smile. "How soon can you be
ready, my dear?"

"By the first of next week if my husband wishes to start by that time,"
returned Violet gayly. "Oh, I am quite delighted at the prospect of
seeing again that one of our sweet homes, and especially of doing so in
company with you, Levis."

The captain considered a moment. "I would not like to disappoint Max,"
he said. "I think I must visit him next Saturday--as I shall not
probably be able to see him again before next spring. But I will make
necessary arrangements beforehand and I think we may leave for the South
by Wednesday morning of next week, if that will suit you, my dear?"

"Entirely," she said; "it will give me just about time enough to get
everything ready without hurry or confusion."

So it was settled, everybody seeming well satisfied with the
arrangement.

A little more time was spent in discussing plans, then the captain and
Violet bade good-by and set out on their return home.

"You are well pleased with the prospect of this visit to Viamede,
Violet, my dear?" the captain said, as they drove rapidly along the
familiar road.

"Oh, yes, indeed," she answered brightly; "Viamede is so lovely, a sort
of earthly paradise I have always thought, and I am really delighted at
the thought of showing it to you. Ah, I am quite sure, having your dear
society there, I shall enjoy it more than ever!"

"Thank you, dearest," was his smiling response. "I am certainly pleased
with the prospect of seeing that earthly paradise, particularly with you
to share my enjoyment. And how pleased Lulu and Gracie will be, for I
have often heard them speak of Viamede as even lovelier than Woodburn,
which they evidently esteem a very delightful and lovely home."

"As it assuredly is, my dear," was Violet's smiling rejoinder. "I could
not ask a lovelier, happier home than that which my husband--the very
best and dearest of husbands--has provided for me. Oh, I often ask
myself, 'Is there anybody else in all the wide world who has so much to
be thankful for as I?'"

"Ah, that fortunate mortal is surely he who sits by your side at this
moment, my darling," he answered in moved tones, taking her hand in his
and pressing it affectionately.

But the carriage was turning in at the Woodburn gates and presently the
glad shout of little voices was borne to their ears on the evening
breeze. "There it is! Papa and mamma have come home!"

A joyously tumultuous greeting followed, the little flock gathering
about them as they alighted, talking, laughing, dancing around them,
claiming their attention and their caresses.

Elsie and Ned pleaded for a ride, and Grace and Lulu seemed not averse
to sharing it. So there was a hasty bundling up in capes and hoods,
cloaks and shawls, papa piled them in, followed them, taking Ned on his
knee, and away they went for a mile or more down the road, then back
again, and were presently taking off their outdoor garments in the hall,
mamma helping the little ones.

Then all gathered about the tea-table with appetites that made
everything taste very good indeed. Elsie and Ned were too busy to talk
much, but Lulu and Grace were unusually gay and mirthful, and their
father indulged them in more than usual chat and laughter that were
neither rude nor boisterous.

Neither he nor Violet said anything of the new plans for the winter till
the babies had had their evening romp and been taken away to bed.
Violet, as usual, went with them, and the captain was left alone with
Lulu and Grace.

They were hanging lovingly about him as was their custom on such
occasions, and he drew one to each knee, saying in low, tender tones,
"My darlings! my precious little daughters! How rich I feel in the
possession of my five dear children!"

"And how rich we feel with our dear, dear father! to say nothing of our
dear, sweet Mamma Vi and the two darling babies!" responded Lulu,
putting her arm about his neck and her lips to his.

"Yes; and our dear big brother Maxie," added Grace.

"Yes, I was just going to mention him," said Lulu. "I am both very fond
and very proud of Max. I wouldn't swap him for any other body's brother
that ever I saw; no not even for all the nice brothers that Rosie has."

"Neither would I," said Grace, "though I'm fond of them all."

"Papa, when is it that we are going to see Max?" queried Lulu. "Some
time in January I know you said, but will it be to spend New Year's with
him?"

"No; wouldn't you like to go sooner than that?" he asked, stroking her
hair and looking down lovingly, smilingly into her eyes.

"Oh, yes, indeed, papa! if it suits you to go and to take me," she
answered eagerly. "It seems now a long, long while that I have been
separated from Max, and the sooner I may go to see him the better. But
have you changed your plans about it?"

"Yes," he replied. "I have something to tell you both which will show
you why, and also prove pleasant news to you, I think."

Then he proceeded to tell them of the plans laid that afternoon at Ion,
and which made it necessary that, if he went to see Max at all that
winter, he must do so before the end of the week already begun.

His news that their winter was to be spent at Viamede was hailed with
delight by both the little girls.

"I am so glad!" cried Grace, clapping her hands and smiling all over her
face.

"I, too," exclaimed Lulu. "Viamede is so, _so_ beautiful, and to have
you there with us, you dear papa, will make us--me any way--enjoy it at
least twice as much as I did before."

"Me too," said Grace; "the happiest place for me is always where my own
dear father is with me," hugging him tight and kissing him again and
again.

"My darling! my precious darlings!" the captain said in response and
caressing them in turn.

"I'm so sorry for poor Maxie," remarked Grace presently, "that he can't
see you every day, papa, as we do, and be kissed and hugged as we are;
and that he can't go to Viamede with the rest of us." She finished with
a heavy sigh.

"Yes," her father said, "I am sorry for him, and for ourselves, that he
is not to be with us. But my dear boy is happy where he is, and I in the
thought that he is preparing himself to do good service to our country;
to be a valuable and useful citizen."

"And we are all ever so proud of him--our dear Maxie; but I'm glad I am
not a boy. Women can be very useful in the world too, can't they, papa?"

"Yes; yes, indeed, my darlings; the world couldn't go on without women,
any more than without men; both are necessary, and the one sex to be as
much honored as the other, and I hope and trust my daughters will all
grow up to be noble, true-hearted, useful women, always trying to do
earnestly and faithfully the work God has given them to do."

"I hope so, indeed, papa!" responded Lulu in an earnest, thoughtful
tone; "if I know my own heart I do want to be a very useful woman when
I'm grown up--a useful girl now--serving God with all my might; but oh,
I do so easily forget and go wrong!"

"Yet I can see very plainly that my dear little girl is improving," her
father said, softly smoothing her hair with his hand, "and I'm sure--for
the Bible tells us so--that if you fight on, looking to God for help,
you will come off conqueror and more than conqueror in the end."

"Yes, papa; oh, I am so glad the Bible says that!"

There was a moment's silence; then Grace said, with a sigh and a voice
full of tears, "Oh, I do so wish I could see Maxie before we go so far
away from him! Papa, wouldn't they let him come home for just a little
while?"

"No, daughter; but how would you like to go with Lulu and me to pay him
a little visit?"

"O papa! so much if--if you think I won't be too tired to go on to
Viamede so soon afterward."

"I really think you could stand the two journeys, coming so near
together, now that you are so much stronger than you used to be; and as
you can lie and rest in the cars, and we go by water from New Orleans.
Don't you feel as if you could?"

"Oh, yes, papa, I feel almost sure I could!" she cried joyously.

"Then we will try it," he said, fondling her; "you will have no packing
to do--I am sure Mamma Vi and Lulu will be pleased to attend to all that
for you--and the journey to Annapolis is not a very long or fatiguing
one. So, should nothing happen to prevent, you shall make one of our
little party to visit Max."

Grace's eyes shone with pleasure and Lulu exclaimed delightedly, "Oh, I
am so glad, Gracie! It will double my pleasure to have you along; and
you needn't worry one bit about your packing of clothes or playthings,
for I'm sure I can see to it all with Christine or Alma to help me; or
even if I should have to do it all myself."

"Oh, thank you, Lu!" exclaimed Grace, "you are just the very best sister
that ever I saw! Isn't she, papa?"

"I think her a very good and kind sister, and it makes me a proud and
happy father to be able to give her that commendation," he answered,
with a loving look down into the eyes of his eldest daughter.

Just then Violet re-entered the room and a merry, happy hour followed,
while plans and prospects were under discussion.

"Won't you excuse Gracie and me from lessons the rest of the time before
we start for Viamede, papa?" asked Lulu coaxingly.

"No, daughter," replied the captain, in a pleasant tone; "there is very
little either of you will be called upon to do in regard to the
preparations for our southward flitting, so no occasion for you to miss
lessons for so many days. Of course you cannot study on the boats and
cars, at least I shall not ask it of you, and when we get to Viamede
you will be glad of a little holiday to rest and run about, seeing
everything that is to be seen; and all that will cause quite sufficient
loss of time from your lessons."

"Oh, dear," sighed Lulu, "I think it must be ever so nice to be grown up
and not have any lessons to learn."

"Ah, Lu," laughed Violet, "I am not so sure that grown up folks have no
lessons to learn; in fact I begin to have an idea that their lessons are
not seldom more trying and wearisome than those of the children."

"Yes, Mamma Vi," responded Lulu, with a blush, "and I'm sorry and
ashamed of my grumbling. Papa, I'm just determined I will be good and do
cheerfully whatever you bid me; I have always, always found your way the
very best in the end."

"Why, yes, Lu; of course papa always knows far better than we do what is
best for us," said Grace, leaning lovingly up against him and smiling up
into his face.

"Papa is very happy in having such loving, trustful little daughters,"
he said, passing his hand caressingly over Gracie's golden curls.



CHAPTER XVI.


It was a most joyful surprise to Max when, on the following Saturday,
his father and sisters walked in upon him, as he left the dinner table
full of life and pleasure at the thought of the half holiday that had
just begun.

His standing and conduct had been such that he was entitled to leave,
and to be able to spend it with these dear ones was most delightful.

A carriage had brought the captain and his little girls to the door, and
they--father and children--took a long drive together, during which the
tongues of Max and Lulu ran very fast.

She and Gracie thoroughly enjoyed Max's surprise on learning of the
plans for the winter, so soon to be carried out.

At first he seemed to feel rather badly at the thought that they would
all be so far away from him; but he presently got over that, as his
father spoke of the letters he would receive from Viamede every day, and
how quickly the winter would pass and all be coming home again, some of
them--certainly himself--making haste to pay a visit to the Academy to
see their young cadet and learn what progress he was making in
preparing for future duty in the naval service of his country.

At that Max's face brightened and he said heartily, "And I shall try my
best to have as good a report as possible ready for you, papa, that you
may be proud and happy in your first-born son. Ah, the thought of that
does help me to study hard and try very, very earnestly to keep rules,
so that I may be an honor, and not a disgrace to the best of fathers."

"Yes, I am sure of it, my dear boy," the captain replied, laying his
hand on the lad's shoulder, while the light of fatherly love and pride
shone in his eyes; "I haven't a doubt that it is one of my son's
greatest pleasures to make himself the joy and pride of his father's
heart."

They drove back to the Academy just in time for Max to be ready to
report himself at evening roll-call, according to the rules, with which
no one was better acquainted than the captain.

He and the little girls were to start on their return journey that
evening, and good-by was said at the Academy door.

A very hard one it seemed to the little girls, hardly less so to Max and
his father. The captain and his daughters went by boat, as less
fatiguing for Grace, and reached home on Monday.

The next day was a busy one to all, and Wednesday noon saw them on the
cars, bound for New Orleans.

A day and night were spent in the city, then they took the steamer for
Berwick Bay.

The morning was clear and bright and the captain, Violet, and the
children all sat upon deck, greatly enjoying the breeze and the dancing
of the waves in the sunlight, as the vessel cleared its port and steamed
out into the gulf.

"Oh, it is so pleasant here!" exclaimed Grace; "just like summer. And
see the beautiful rainbow in the water that the wheel throws up!"

"Oh, yes; so pretty, oh, so pretty!" cried little Elsie, clapping her
hands in delight.

"Oh, so pitty!" echoed baby Ned.

"Take care, little ones; I fear you may fall overboard," warned the
captain. "Come and sit on papa's knee, and perhaps mamma will kindly
tell us of all the lovely things we will see at Viamede."

They obeyed and were charmed with mamma's story of what she had done and
seen at Viamede when she was a little girl, and of dear grandma being
once a baby girl in the very same house, and how dearly all the old
servants loved her, and how they mourned when she was taken away to live
with her grandpa at Roseland.

The babies and even the older folks, not excepting papa himself, seemed
deeply interested, and more delighted than before that they were so soon
to see Viamede.

At length Ned fell asleep, Elsie presently followed his example, and
older people were left to the quiet enjoyment of the lovely scenes
through which they were passing; for they had now entered Teche Bayou,
and from that pressed on, threading the way through lake and lakelet,
past plantation and swamp, plain and forest, coming upon cool, shady
dells carpeted with a rich growth of velvety grass, and flowers of
varied hue, and shaded by magnificent trees, oaks and magnolias; while
amid groves of orange trees they could see lordly villas, tall white
sugar-houses and rows of cabins where the negro laborers dwelt.

"A beautiful, beautiful country," remarked the captain, breaking a
prolonged silence.

"Quite up to your expectations, my dear?" queried Violet, glancing up at
him, her eyes shining with pleasure.

"I believe it rather exceeds them," he replied, "it is very, very
lovely! an earthly paradise, so far as beauty can make it such."

"Papa, do you suppose you will know which is Viamede when you see it?"
queried Lulu.

"I very much doubt it, daughter," he answered.

"Yes, sir; there it is, just coming into sight; the sugar-house, at
least, and yonder, a little beyond, is the great orange orchard."

"And it's just beautiful!" cried Grace. "See, papa, the orange trees,
with their beautiful, glossy leaves and ripe and green fruit, and
flowers all on them at once."

"And presently we will come to the beautiful lawn, with its giant oaks,
magnolia trees, velvety grass and lovely flowers," exclaimed Lulu. "Oh,
I am so much obliged to dear Grandma Elsie, for inviting us all to spend
the winter here again!"

"Yes, it was very kind," her father said, "and I hope my children will
do nothing to mar the peace of the household, and so distress Mamma Vi's
dear mother."

"I do intend to be a very good girl, papa, and if I begin to be the
least bit bad, I do hope you'll stop it at once by punishing me well and
making me behave myself," Lulu said, in a low, earnest tone, speaking
close to his ear.

"Dear child," he returned, in the same low key in which she had spoken,
"I have not the least doubt that you intend to be and do all I could ask
or wish."

There was no time for anything more just then, for, as they were nearing
their destination, baggage must be seen to and satchels and parcels
gathered up.

Presently the boat rounded to at the wharf and in another minute
greetings and embraces were being exchanged with the cousins, who,
having been duly informed of the intended arrival, were gathered there
to give a cordial and delighted welcome to Violet, her husband, and
children.

There were servants also, some few of the old and some new ones, each
and all eager for a handshake and a few words of greeting from "Miss
Wi'let and the cap'en and dere chillens," in which they were not
disappointed.

In a few moments the baggage had been landed and was being taken to the
house, while ladies, gentlemen, and children followed, the newly arrived
gazing, delighted, about upon the beauties of the place, the others
asking many questions concerning Grandma Elsie and those of her family
left behind--how they were in health, and when they would come to
Viamede.

"You will find the house in very tolerable order, I think, Vi," remarked
Mrs. Keith, "though doubtless many little repairs and improvements
needed, that Cousin Elsie may find everything in order when she comes.
It was a good idea to get you and the captain to come a little in
advance of the older folk and have everything in order for their
reception."

"I think so," Violet said with a smile, "and that no better person than
my honored husband could have been found to undertake that task."

"No more trustworthy one, I am sure, judging from his looks," returned
Isa. "I am delighted with his appearance, Vi; he is as noble-looking a
man as ever I saw."

Violet flushed with pleasure. "And he is all that he appears to be,
Isa," she said; "the better he is known the more highly is he esteemed."

A bountiful supper had been prepared for the travelers, and the others
stayed and partook with them, but soon after leaving the table bade
good-night and went to their own homes.

Then Violet took her sleepy little ones upstairs to see them to bed,
leaving the captain, Lulu, and Grace on the veranda.

As usual, the two were hanging lovingly about their father, he seeming
to enjoy it as much as they.

It was a beautiful moonlight night, warm, and sweet with the breath of
flowers; away in the distance, beyond the wide-spreading lawn, they
could see the waters of the bayou glittering in the moonbeams, and the
soft plash of oars came pleasantly to their ears.

"Oh, isn't it just lovely, here!" exclaimed Lulu, breaking a momentary
silence. "Papa, did I exaggerate in telling you of the beauties of the
place?"

"No, I think not," he replied; "it is certainly very lovely, and I hope
we are going to have a happy winter here."

"I'm sure we will; I'm happy anywhere with you, my dear, dear papa,"
said Grace, putting an arm round his neck and pressing her lips to his
cheek.

"So am I," said Lulu, "unless I have been doing wrong, and papa is
displeased with me. Oh, I do mean to try my very hardest to be good! and
I'm sure it will be ever so much easier with you for my tutor, dear
papa, than it was before, going to that horrid school and having to take
music lessons from that Signor Foresti, who was so ill-tempered and
struck me, when I was trying as hard as I could to play my piece just
right."

"Yes, daughter, I think it will be easier for you with the tutor who
loves you and is loved by you," assented the captain, drawing her into a
close, loving embrace. "We must see if a music teacher is to be had
here, but certainly will not try Signor Foresti again."

"Oh, I am glad to hear you say that, papa! though I never thought you
would send me back to him again. I am, oh, so glad I belong to you
instead of to--anybody else."

"So am I," he responded, with a happy little laugh.

"And that I do too, papa?" asked Grace, in a half-pleading tone.

"Yes, yes, my own darling," he said, addressing her with great
tenderness. "You are no less dear than your sister."

"How good in you, papa! for I'm not half so bright or pretty as Lu," she
said, patting his cheek with her small white hand.

"Why, Gracie!" exclaimed Lulu, "whatever put such a thing as that into
your head? You are far prettier, and better too, than I am. Isn't she,
papa?"

"You must not ask me such hard questions," he returned laughingly, and
hugging them both up in his arms, "I really could not say that either
one is prettier or dearer to me than the other, or that I love either
more or less than I do each of the other three. The love differs
somewhat in kind, but, I think, not in intensity."

"Yes, papa, I suppose so," returned Lulu thoughtfully; "for instance you
must have quite a different sort of love for Max, who is almost old
enough to take care of himself, and baby Ned who is so very young and
helpless."

Violet joined them at that moment, reported the babies as fast asleep in
the nursery, and consulted her husband as to what rooms they should
occupy during their stay; saying her mother had kindly bade them please
themselves in regard to that matter.

"Choose for yourself, my dear," replied the captain, "and I shall be
entirely satisfied; only I should like to have these children close at
hand--a door of communication between their room, or rooms, and ours, if
that can be easily managed. We must be near the babies of course."

"Yes, indeed! Near every one of our four," returned Violet brightly; "I
could not be easy otherwise, any more than their father.

"But suppose I take you over the house, if you are not too tired.
To-morrow, you remember, is Sunday, and I could hardly wait till Monday,
to say nothing of the curiosity that must of course be consuming you."

"Of course," returned the captain laughingly, as he rose and gave her
his arm; "it will give me great pleasure to accompany you, if you are
not too weary for such exertion."

"Not a bit," she said; "the trip on the boat was more restful than
fatiguing; at least so far as concerned myself. May not Lulu and Gracie
come too?"

"If they wish; though I fear Gracie is too tired," he said, with an
inquiring glance at her. "If you would like to go, pet, papa will carry
you up the stairs."

"Oh, then, I would like to, papa; I'm not so very tired," she answered
eagerly.

"Then of course Lulu is not?" he said with a smiling glance at his
eldest daughter.

"No, indeed, papa; and I'd dearly love to go along," she answered,
taking Gracie's hand and with her tripping along in the rear, as he and
Violet passed on into the wide hall.

They first inspected the rooms on the lower floor, lingering longest in
the drawing-room, where the many beautiful paintings and pieces of
statuary were very attractive.

"We cannot give them half enough time to-night," remarked Violet, "but
fortunately have good reason to hope for many opportunities for future
inspection."

"Yes," the captain said, glancing at Grace, then at his watch. "Shall we
not call in the servants and have prayers before going upstairs? It is
not far from the usual time, and I see Gracie is growing weary."

Violet gave a ready assent and led the way to the family parlor where
her grandfather had been wont to hold that service.

The servants were summoned and came in looking well pleased. The captain
made the service short out of consideration for Gracie's weariness,
though, indeed, he never thought it well to lengthen it so much as to
risk making it a weariness to either children or servants.

A few directions in regard to securing doors and windows for the night
and as to what should be done for the comfort of the family in the
morning, then he, Violet, and the little girls, having exchanged kindly
good-nights with the servants, went on up the broad stairway, the
captain, according to promise, carrying Grace in his arms.

Only a hasty survey of the upper rooms was taken that night, for all
began to feel the need of rest and sleep. Apartments connected with each
other and the nursery were selected for occupation, and soon all were
resting peacefully in their beds.



CHAPTER XVII.


The Sabbath morning dawned bright and clear. Lulu rose with the sun and,
before he was an hour high, was down on the veranda, gazing with delight
upon the lovely landscape spread out at her feet.

So absorbed in its beauties was she that she failed to hear an
approaching footstep, and was aware of her father's presence only when
he laid a hand gently on her head and, bending down, imprinted a kiss on
her lips.

"An early bird as usual, my darling!" he said.

"Yes, sir, like my father, my dear, dear father," she returned, twining
her arms around his neck and holding him fast for a moment.

"Did you sleep well?" he asked, releasing himself and taking her hand in
his.

"Oh, yes, indeed, papa! Did not you?"

"I did; I think we all did," he answered. "God has been very good to us.
And what a lovely, lovely Sunday morning it is!"

"We can all go to church, can't we, papa?" she asked.

"I think so," he said. "And now you would like to walk down across the
lawn, to the water's edge, with me?"

"Oh, yes, indeed, papa," she cried delightedly. "It was just what I was
wanting to do."

"It might be well for you to have a bit of something to eat first," he
said. "Ah, here is just the thing!" as a servant approached with a
waiter on which were some oranges prepared for eating in the way Grandma
Elsie had enjoyed them in her young days.

"Thank you, Aunt Sally," the captain said, helping Lulu and himself;
"you could have brought us nothing more tempting and delicious. Will you
please carry some up to my wife?"

"Ise done it already, sah," replied the woman, smiling all over her
face, and dropping a courtesy; "yes, sah; an' she say dey's mighty nice,
jes like she hab when she's heah in dis place yeahs ago."

"Papa," remarked Lulu, as they presently crossed the lawn together, "I'm
so glad to be here again, and with you. It was a delightful place the
other time, I thought, but, oh, it seems twice as pleasant now, because
my dear father is with us!" and she lifted her eyes to his face with a
look of ardent affection.

"Dear child, it is a great pleasure to me to be with you and the rest,"
he returned, pressing affectionately the little hand he held in his,
"and if you do not have a happier time than you had here before, it
shall not be because your father does not try to make it so.

"But, my dear little daughter, remember you have the same spiritual foes
to fight here as in other places. If you would be happy you must try to
live very near to Jesus and to watch and pray lest you enter into
temptation. Particularly must you be ever on your guard against that
quick temper which has so often got you into trouble."

"Papa, I do intend to," she said, with a sigh; "and I am very glad I
shall have you close at hand all the time to help me in the fight; for
you do help me, oh, so often--so much, dear papa!" and again she lifted
loving eyes to his face.

"I am very thankful that I can, my darling," he returned. "I feel that
God has been very good to me in so changing my circumstances that I can
be with you almost constantly to aid you in the hard task of learning to
control the fiery temper inherited from me. Yet, as I have often told
you, dear child, the hardest part of the fight must inevitably be your
own, and only by the help of him who has all power in heaven and in
earth can you conquer at last.

"I want you to feel that in your inmost soul, and to beware of
self-confidence, which was, I think, the cause of your sad failure of a
few weeks ago."

"Yes, papa," she said humbly, "I believe I had begun to feel that I was
quite reformed, so did not watch and pray as constantly as I used to,
and then almost before I knew it I was in a passion with poor Alma."

"'When I am weak, then am I strong!' the apostle says," returned her
father; "that is when we feel our weakness and trust in the strength of
our Almighty Saviour; of him who has said, 'In me is thine help.' It is
help, daughter, which is never refused to those who look humbly to Jesus
for it."

"I am so glad the Bible tells us that," she said.

They walked on in silence for a little, then Lulu said, "Papa, I asked
Cousin Molly last night if Professor Manton still had his school at
Oakdale. She said, 'Yes, is your papa going to send you there?' and I
was so glad I could answer, 'No, ma'am; he is going to teach me
himself.' Then Cousin Molly said, 'Oh, is he? I am sure that will be far
pleasanter for you, dear. The professor is not very popular, and I hear
that his school grows smaller.'"

"Ah, then, don't you think it would be only kind in me to put my eldest
daughter there as a pupil?" asked the captain jestingly.

"Not to me, papa, I am sure," she answered, lifting to his smiling eyes
that said as plainly as any words could have spoken that she had no fear
that he would do any such thing.

"No; and I do not know what could induce me to do so," he returned. "So
you need never ask it, but must try to content yourself with the tutor
who has had charge of your education ever since Woodburn became our
home."

"I don't need to try, papa," she said with a happy laugh; "for it's just
as easy as anything. Gracie and I both think there was never such a
dear, kind teacher as ours. Neither of us wants ever to have any other."

"Ah! then we are mutually pleased. And now I think we should turn and go
back to the house, for it must be near the breakfast hour." They found
Violet, Grace, and the little ones on the veranda, awaiting their
coming, and breakfast ready to be served.

Morning greetings were exchanged and all repaired to the breakfast room.

The meal proved a dainty one, was daintily served and enlivened by
cheerful chat on such themes as were not unsuited to the sacredness of
the day.

Family worship followed, and soon after the family carriage was at the
door ready to convey them to the church of which their Cousin Cyril was
pastor.

The captain, Violet, and the two little girls, Lulu and Grace, formed
the deputation from that family, the two babies remaining at home in
the care of their nurse, whom they had brought with them from Woodburn.

Cyril gave them an excellent sermon, and at the close of the exercises
conducted a Bible class attended by nearly every one belonging to the
congregation.

The Viamede family remained to its close, held a little pleasant talk
with the relatives from the parsonage and Magnolia Hall, then drove back
to Viamede, reaching there just in time for dinner.

In the afternoon the captain gathered his family and the servants under
the trees in the lawn, read and expounded a portion of scripture, and
led them in prayer and the singing of several familiar hymns.

The evening was spent much as it would have been at Woodburn, and all
retired early to rest.

Monday morning found them all in good health and spirits, entirely
recovered from the fatigues of the journey and ready for work or play.

"We don't have to learn and recite lessons to-day, papa, do we?" asked
Lulu, at the breakfast table. "I think you said we could have a day or
two for play first, didn't you?"

"Yes; but I shall give you your choice of having that playtime now or
taking it about a week hence, when you will have Rosie and Walter with
you."

"May I choose too, papa?" asked Grace.

"Yes."

"Then I choose to wait for my holiday till the others are here to share
it with us; for don't you suppose Grandma Elsie will let them, papa?"

"No doubt of it," he replied. "And what is your choice, Lulu?"

"The same as Gracie's, papa," she answered in bright cheerful tones.
"Lessons are not bad to take, with you for my teacher," she added
laughingly, "and will leave us a good deal of time for running about and
looking at everything."

"Besides an occasional drive or walk with mamma and papa," he
supplemented, with an approving smile, adding, "the lessons shall not be
long or hard to-day, so that you will still have some time for roaming
about the grounds; and perhaps, if my pupils are very deserving, there
may be a row on the bayou after dinner."

"Oh, how delightful, papa!" they cried, in a breath.

"I am glad you think so," he said, smiling on them; "there is nothing I
enjoy more than giving pleasure to my wife and children," with an
affectionate glance at Violet. "I hope such a little excursion will
afford you pleasure, my dear?"

"Yes," she returned gayly, "I think even the children will hardly enjoy
it more than I; and," she added laughingly, "I shall endeavor to earn my
right to it by faithfully attending to housekeeping matters in the
meantime."

"I don't believe there is any schoolroom here!" exclaimed Grace, as if
struck with a sudden thought.

"We will have to select one and get it ready before the others come,"
said Violet.

"And for the present my dressing-room will answer very well," added the
captain.

So thither the children repaired at the usual hour for beginning their
studies.

It was at first a little difficult to fix their attention upon them, but
with an earnest desire to do right, and to please their dear father,
they made very determined efforts, and had their lessons well prepared
by the time he came to hear them.

It seemed to afford him pleasure to give the deserved meed of praise,
and the young faces grew bright and gladsome under it. An hour was then
given to writing and ciphering, and they were dismissed for the day.

"May we go out into the grounds now, papa?" asked Lulu, as she put up
her books.

"Yes," he replied, "but keep near the house for the present, for it is
near dinner-time now."

"We will, papa," both little girls answered and hurried away.

They sported about the lawn till summoned to the house by the
dinner-bell, whose call they obeyed with alacrity, air and exercise
having given them good appetites.

"My dear," the captain said to his wife, near the conclusion of the
meal, "you have had a busy morning, can you not afford to devote the
afternoon to recreation?"

"Certainly, if you will share it," she replied. "Are we not to have that
row on the bayou?"

"It is what I had planned, should my wife still feel inclined to go," he
said.

"Ah! that will be very enjoyable I think; and perhaps there may be time
afterward for me to drive over to the parsonage. I want a bit of chat
with Isa about some household matters."

"Yes, I think you may have time for both," he returned. "An hour on the
bayou will be sufficient for this first time; the carriage can be
ordered to be in waiting when we return, and you, if the plan suits your
views, can drive over to the parsonage at once, have your talk, and be
at home again in season to pour out your husband's tea."

"That will do nicely, thank you, sir," she returned gayly. "I see I am
not likely to lack for diversion with you at the head of affairs, so I
think I shall try to keep you there as long as possible."

"I hope you will, Mamma Vi," said Lulu, "And any way I'm glad that when
papa is about, he is the one that has control of me."

"So I have at least one willing subject," remarked the captain, looking
not ill-pleased.

"Two, papa," said Grace, "you can always count on me for one."

"I don't doubt it in the least, dear child," he said. "And now, as I see
you have all finished your dinner, and the boat is at the wharf, let us
be going."

In a few minutes all were seated in the boat, and it was moving rapidly
over the water, the children very merry, the parents by no means
disposed to check the manifestations of their mirth.

They found the carriage in waiting when they landed.

"You are going with us, Levis?" Violet said inquiringly, as the captain
handed her in.

"I should be pleased to do so, my dear, but have too many business
letters calling for immediate reply," he said, lifting little Ned, and
then Elsie, to a place by her side. "Lulu and Gracie, you would like to
go with your mamma?"

"Yes, sir, if I may," Grace answered with alacrity, but Lulu declined,
saying: "I would much rather stay with you, papa, if I may."

"Certainly, dear child; I shall be glad to have you," he said with a
pleased look; "but I fear you will find it dull, as I shall be too busy
to talk to you, or let you talk to me."

"But I can be with you, and perhaps of some use waiting on you, papa."

"Perhaps so," he said. "You generally contrive to make yourself useful
to your father in one way or another."

Then the carriage drove on, Lulu slipped her hand into his, and together
they walked back to the house.

"I do hope I can find something to do that will be a help to you, papa,"
she said, as they entered the library.

"I verily believe my dear eldest daughter would like to carry all her
father's burdens if she could," he said, laying his hand caressingly on
her head, "but it wouldn't be good for me, my darling, to have my life
made too easy."

"I am sure it wouldn't hurt you, papa, and I only wish I could carry all
your burdens," she replied, with an ardently affectionate look up into
his face. "Isn't there something I can do now?"

"Yes," he replied, glancing at the table; "here are papers, magazines,
and letters, quite a pile. You may cut leaves and open envelopes for me,
that will save me some time and exertion--be quite a help."

"Yes, sir; I'll be glad to do it all. But, oh, papa," and a bright,
eager look came into her face.

"Well, daughter, what is it?" as she paused half breathless with her new
idea.

"Papa, couldn't I write some of the letters for you? Here is my
typewriter that you so kindly let me bring along. I've learned to write
pretty fast on it, you know, and wouldn't it be easier for you just to
tell me the words you want said and let me put them down, than to do it
all yourself with either it or your pen?"

"That is a bright thought, daughter," he said, patting her cheek, and
smiling down upon her. "I dare say that plan would shorten my work
considerably."

"Oh, I shall be so glad if it does, papa!" she exclaimed. "There is
nothing in the world I'd enjoy more than finding myself a real help and
comfort to you."

"I have found you both many a time, daughter," he responded, taking up
and opening a letter as he spoke, while she picked up a paper cutter and
fell zealously to work opening envelopes, laying each one close to his
hand as she had it ready.

"Now, you may get your typewriter ready for work," he said presently.
"Put in a sheet of this paper," taking some from a drawer in the table
and laying it beside the machine, "date it, and in a moment I will tell
you what to say."

He had already instructed her carefully in punctuation and paragraphing:
spelling also; and, with an occasional direction in regard to such
matters, she did her work well.

She was full of joy when at the close of the business he bestowed upon
her a judicious amount of praise and said that she had proved a great
help to him, shortening his labor very considerably.

"I think," he concluded, "that before long my dear eldest daughter will
prove a valuable amanuensis for me."

"Papa, I am so glad!" she cried, her cheeks flushing and her eyes
sparkling. "Oh, there is nothing else in the world that I enjoy so much
as being a help and comfort to my dear, dear father!"

"My precious little daughter," he responded, "words cannot express the
love your father feels for you. Now there is one letter that I wish to
write with my own hand, and while I am doing that you may amuse yourself
in any way you like."

"May I read this, papa?" she asked, taking up a magazine.

"Yes," he said, and she went quietly from the room with it in her hand.

She seated herself on the back veranda, read a short story, then stole
softly back to the library door to see if her father had finished his
letter so that she might talk to him.

But some one else was there; a stranger she thought, though she did not
get a view of his face.

She paused on the threshold, uncertain whether her father would wish her
to be present at the interview, and at that instant he spoke, apparently
in reply to something his caller had said, and his words riveted her to
the spot.

"No," he said, in stern tones, "had I been here my daughter would never
have been sent back to your school. She was most unjustly and shamefully
treated by that fiery little Italian, and you, sir, upheld him in it.
When I am at hand no daughter of mine shall be struck by another man, or
woman either, with impunity, and Foresti may deem himself fortunate in
that I was at a distance when he ventured to commit so great an outrage
upon my child."

Lulu waited to hear no more, but ran back to the veranda, where she
danced about in a tumult of delight, clapping her hands and saying
exultingly to herself, "I just knew papa wouldn't have made me go back
to that horrid school and take lessons of that brute of a man. Oh, I do
wish he had been here! How much it would have saved me! If my father is
strict and stern sometimes, he's ever so much better and kinder than
Grandpa Dinsmore. Yes, yes, indeed, he's such a dear father! I wouldn't
exchange him for any other, if I could."

Presently she suddenly ceased her jumping and dancing, and stood in an
intently listening attitude.

"Yes, he's going--that horrid professor! I'm so glad! I don't believe
he'll ever trouble this house again, while papa is in it any way," she
said half aloud.

Then running to meet her father as he returned from seeing the professor
to the door, she threw her arms round him, exclaiming in a voice
quivering with delight. "Oh, you dear, dear papa, I'm so glad, so glad
to know that you wouldn't have made me go back to that horrid music
teacher! I felt sure at the time that you wouldn't, if you were here."

He heard her with a look of astonishment not unmixed with sternness.

"O papa, please don't be angry with me!" she pleaded, tears starting to
her eyes; "I didn't mean to listen, but I happened to be at the library
door (I was going back to see if you were done writing that letter and I
might be with you again) when you told Professor Manton that you
wouldn't have sent me back to Signor Foresti, nor even to his school. It
made me so glad, papa, but I didn't stop to hear any more, but ran away
to the veranda again; because I knew it wouldn't be right for me to
listen to what wasn't intended for me to hear."

He took her hand, led her into the library again, drew her to a seat
upon his knee, and softly smoothing back the hair from her forehead,
said in kind, fatherly tones, "I am not displeased with you, daughter.
I understand that it was quite accidental, and I am sure my little girl
is entirely above the meanness of intentionally listening to what is
evidently not meant for her ear. And in fact, now that I think of it,
I am not sorry that you know I did not, and do not now, approve of the
treatment you received at that time. Yet that was the first time I had
ever mentioned it to any one, and I should be sorry to have your Grandpa
Dinsmore know, or suspect, how entirely I disapproved of what he thought
best to do at the time. Can, and will, my little daughter promise to
keep the secret? never mentioning it to any one but me?"

"Yes, indeed, papa," she returned, looking up brightly into his face.
"Oh, it's nice to be trusted by you, and not even threatened with
punishment if I disobey!"

"I am happy to think that is by no means necessary," he said, drawing
her into a closer embrace. "I believe my little girl loves her father
well enough to do of her own free will what she knows he would have her
do."

"Yes, indeed, papa," she answered earnestly; "and do you know, it seems
a great pleasure to have a secret along with you. But, papa, why did you
write--after I had confessed it all to you--as if you were so much
displeased with me that you couldn't let me stay any longer at Ion
after you had found another place to put me?"

"My child, as I had put you under Grandpa Dinsmore's care, it was your
duty to submit to his orders till I could be heard from in regard to the
matter. You should therefore have gone back, not only to the school, but
to the music teacher, when he directed you to do so; you were disobeying
me in refusing, and also showing great ingratitude to the kind friends
who were doing so much for you without your having the slightest claim
upon them."

"Papa, I am very sorry and ashamed," she murmured low and tremulously,
hanging her head and blushing deeply as she spoke; "I almost want you to
punish me well for it yet."

"No, daughter, that account was settled long ago," he said in kindly,
reassuring accents, "fully settled, and I have no desire to open it
again."

"But, oh, papa," she sighed, "sometimes I do feel so afraid I may get
into a passion with somebody about something while we're here this
winter, with all the Ion folks, that--that I believe I want you to say
you will punish me very severely if I do."

"My daughter," he said, "I want you to avoid sin and strive to do right,
not from fear of punishment, but that you may please and honor him whose
disciple you hope you are."

"Oh, yes, papa, I do want to for that reason and also to please and
honor you--the best and dearest father in the world!" she concluded,
putting her arms round his neck and laying her cheek lovingly to his.
"But you will watch me and warn me and try to keep me from yielding to
my dreadful temper?"

"Yes, dear child, I will, as I have promised you again and again, do all
I can to help you in that way," he replied in tenderest tones.

Then, as the carriage-wheels were heard on the drive without, "Ah, your
mamma and our little ones have returned," he said, putting her off his
knee; and taking her hand led her out to the veranda to meet and welcome
them home.



CHAPTER XVIII.


"Had you a call from Professor Manton, Levis?" asked Violet, as they sat
together on the veranda that evening. "I thought so because he passed us
as we were coming home and was looking very glum."

"Yes, he was here this afternoon," replied the captain.

"In search of pupils, I suppose?"

"Yes; and was rather disappointed to learn that I had none for him. He
asked about Rosie and Walter, but I was unable to tell him positively
whether they would, or would not, be sent to him; though I gave him but
little encouragement, perhaps I should say none at all, to expect them."

"No; I am nearly certain they will not be willing to go to him, and that
mamma will not care to send them; indeed she more than hinted that she
would be delighted to commit them to your care should you show yourself
willing to undertake the task of instructing them. Are you willing?"

"I am hardly prepared to answer that question, my dear," he replied
thoughtfully. "They might not be willing to submit to the authority of
a brother-in-law."

"I am almost sure you would have no trouble in governing them," returned
Violet.

"I don't believe you would have any at all, papa," remarked Lulu, who
was leaning on the arm of his chair and listening with much interest to
the conversation; "neither of them is half so--so wilful and
quick-tempered as I am."

The captain smiled at that, put an arm about her, and drew her closer to
him. "But they don't belong to me as you do," he said, touching his lips
to her cheek. "You are my very own, own little daughter, you know."

"Yes, indeed, and so glad to be," she returned, putting her arm round
his neck and gazing into his eyes, her own shining with filial love.

The younger ones were already in bed, even Gracie having felt too much
fatigued with the duties and pleasures of the day to wait for evening
prayers.

"Yes, I think you may esteem yourself a fortunate child in that respect,
Lu," said Violet. "I really believe it is the next best thing to being
his wife," she added, with a pleasant little laugh.

"I think it's the very best thing, Mamma Vi," returned Lulu.

"Well, to go back to the original topic of discourse, Levis--or at
least to the question whether you are willing to undertake the tuition
of my young sister and brother," Violet went on. "I feel certain they
would give you no trouble in governing them; also that your talent for
teaching is such that they could not fail to greatly improve under your
tuition."

"But might not your grandpa feel that I was interfering with him?"
queried the captain.

"Oh, no, indeed! Grandpa feels that he is growing old, and has done
enough of that kind of work. And you would be glad to please mamma?"

"Most certainly; I could refuse her nothing--the poor, dear woman!"

"Then we may consider it settled? Oh, thank you, my dear."

"Well, yes; I suppose so. Are you willing to share your teacher with
Rosie and Walter, daughter mine?" he asked, softly stroking Lulu's hair.

"My teacher, but not my father, you dear papa," returned Lulu, patting
his cheek, then holding up her face for a kiss, which he gave heartily
and repeated more than once.

"What do you think, Mamma Vi, of your husband having an amanuensis?" he
continued, affectionately squeezing Lulu's hand, which he had taken in
his. "My correspondence was disposed of to-day with most unusual and
unexpected ease. I would read a letter, tell my amanuensis the reply I
wished to make, and she would write it off on the typewriter while I
examined the next epistle, asking few directions and making scarcely any
mistakes."

"Lulu did it?" Violet exclaimed in surprise "Why, Lu, I am both
astonished and delighted!"

"Thank you, Mamma Vi; and I am very glad that I can help my dear, kind
father, who does so much for me," Lulu answered, putting her arm round
his neck, and laying her cheek to his. "Oh, I couldn't possibly do half
enough for him! but I hope I may be of a great deal of use to him some
of these days."

"You are that already, dear child," he said; "so useful and so dear that
your father would not know how to do without you."

"How good in you to say that, dear papa; but I am sure it would be ten
times worse for me to be without you," she returned. "Oh, I'm glad I'm
not a boy, to have to go away from you."

"I am glad too," he responded; "glad that my children are neither all
boys nor all girls. It is quite delightful, I think, to have some of
each."

"Yes, sir; and I think it's delightful to have both brothers and sisters
when they are of as good a sort as mine are, though I've seen some I'd
be sorry to have."

"As I have seen some children that I should be sorry, I think, to call
my own. Yet if they were mine I would probably love them dearly, and
perhaps not see their faults; or rather love them in spite of their
naughtiness."

"Just as you do me, papa," she said, a little sadly. "Haven't you always
loved me, though I've sometimes been very, very naughty indeed?"

"Yes, always," he said, holding her close, as something very dear and
precious. "And I believe my little girl has always loved me even when I
have been quite severe in the punishment of her faults."

"Yes; oh, yes, indeed, papa! because I have always felt that I deserved
it; often a much more severe punishment than you inflicted; and that you
didn't do it because you liked to, but because you wanted to make me
good."

"And happy," he added. "I think you are never happy when disobedient,
wilful, or ill-tempered."

"No, indeed, papa! and I'm thankful to you that you have never indulged
me in those things."

"And I think, with Lu, that you are one of the best of fathers, Levis,"
remarked Violet.

"It is certainly very pleasant to be so highly esteemed by one's wife
and daughter, whether deserving of it or not," he said, with a pleased
little laugh; "yet I am not at all sure that such flattery is quite
good for me."

"I don't believe any amount of praise could ever hurt you, papa," Lulu
said, with a look into his eyes of ardent love and reverence; "you do
seem to me to be just perfect; never doing or saying anything wrong."

"I think it must be my little girl's great love for her father that
makes her so blind to his faults and failings," he replied, in low,
tender tones.

"A blindness certainly shared by your wife," remarked Violet lightly.
"We have been married five years and I have yet to hear the first unkind
word from my husband's lips."

"He would be an exceedingly unreasonable man who could find fault with
such a wife as mine," was his smiling rejoinder.

"But to change the subject, I suppose we may look for the rest of our
party about the last of next week?"

"Yes, I think so."

"I shall be ever so glad to see them--especially dear Grandma Elsie and
Rosie and Walter; but oh, I wish the Fairview folks were coming,
especially Eva," remarked Lulu, ending with a sigh of regret.

"Ah, well, daughter, perhaps Evelyn may be here before the winter is
over," the captain said, exchanging a slightly amused glance with
Violet.

"Oh, I hope so!" exclaimed Lulu; "but of course one can't expect to have
everything one wants in this world."

"No, certainly not," her father said; "it would be by no means good for
us if we could."

"Not for me, I know; but oh, I have a great, great many
blessings--health and strength and such a dear kind father to love me,
provide for me, teach me, and train me up in the way I should go," she
concluded, with a smiling look up into his eyes.

"That is what I am trying to do, at all events," he returned, holding
her close, "though I sometimes fear I may not always have taken the
wisest way."

"Is it because you have succeeded so poorly that you fear so, papa?" she
asked. "If so, don't be troubled about it, because I don't believe it's
from any mistake of yours, but only that I'm so very naughty and
unmanageable."

"Really, now, Lu, I think your father has succeeded fairly well at the
business," laughed Violet. "I doubt if anybody else would have done
better."

"Or half so well," said Lulu; "and I am fully resolved to try to do
credit to his training."

"I think you had a letter from Max to-day, Levis?" remarked Violet
inquiringly, "Dear fellow, I hope he was quite well at the time of
writing?"

"Yes; and apparently in excellent spirits. He seems to be doing well in
his studies; content with things as they are too, though evidently
feeling that he would greatly enjoy being here with the rest of us."

"Yes, poor, dear fellow! I wish he could make one of our party;
especially at Christmas time."

"So do I," said his father. "We must make it up to him with as full an
account as possible of the Christmas doings here."

"I wonder what they will be," said Lulu.

"We will have to consider and decide that question--to some extent, at
least--after mamma comes," replied Violet.

"And now we must go in and have prayers; for it is near bedtime for my
eldest daughter," remarked the captain, rising and taking Lulu's hand in
his.

The days flew by on swift wings, even to Lulu and Grace, so filled were
they with duties and pleasures, and at length the time had come when
Grandma Elsie and the others were expected by the evening boat.

Their arrival was anticipated with great delight by every one on the
estate, and all possible preparations had been made for their comfort
and to show how gladly welcome they were. Everything indoors and out was
in beautiful order, a feast of fat things ready in the kitchen, the
families from the parsonage and Magnolia Hall were present by
invitation, and as the hour drew near when the boat might be expected,
all gathered at the wharf and eagerly watched for its appearance.

At length their patience was rewarded; the little steamer appeared in
sight far down the bayou, came puffing along past the orange orchard,
and rounded to at the landing.

In another moment the travelers were on shore: Mr. and Mrs. Dinsmore,
Grandma Elsie, Rosie, Walter, and--could Lulu believe her eyes--yes,
there was Evelyn! It could be no one else; and with a cry of joy the two
little girls ran into each other's arms.

"Oh, Eva, Eva, I'm so glad! I hadn't the least idea that you were coming
too!" cried Lulu, fairly wild with delight.

"Ah, papa, you must have known and kept it a secret from me to give me
such a glad surprise," she exclaimed, as she caught sight of his face
and noted the pleased smile with which he was regarding her.

"Yes, daughter, I knew and planned, with Mamma Vi and the others, to
give you this pleasant surprise," he said, bending down to bestow a
paternal kiss upon the gentle, fatherless girl who had won so large a
place in the heart of his own dear child.

"And we were all very glad to have Eva along," Rosie said. "And, O Lu,
I'm looking for very good times this coming winter here in our lovely
Viamede, and with your father here I know it will be pleasanter than
ever for you--pleasanter for all of us; for, Brother Levis, I hear that
I am to be your pupil instead of Professor Manton's; a change which I
haven't a doubt I shall enjoy extremely."

"Ah, don't be too sure of that, little sister," he returned laughingly,
giving a welcoming embrace to her also. "I am a very strict
disciplinarian, as Lulu here can testify," laying a hand affectionately
on his daughter's shoulder.

"Yes, Rosie, papa is strict, but if one does exactly as he orders, he's
kind as kind can be; and maybe he wouldn't be quite so stern and strict
with other folks' children as he is with me--his very own, you know."

But a reply from Rosie was prevented by Violet catching her in her arms,
saying, "You dear child, how glad I am to have you here at last! We have
all been looking forward to your coming as well as to that of dear,
darling mamma, grandpa, and the others."

At the same time Grandma Elsie was embracing Lulu most affectionately,
saying how well she looked, and hoping that she and Grace, as well as
the older people, had been enjoying Viamede.

"Indeed we have, dear Grandma Elsie," replied Lulu. "Oh, it was so good
and kind in you to invite us all to spend the winter in this loveliest
of lovely places!"

"Good to myself, dear child, quite as much as to you; for I love to have
you all about me."

"And I hope you are better? A great deal better?" returned Lulu, with an
inquiring look into the sweet face.

"Very much better, thank you, dear child. Almost my old self again," was
the sweet-toned reply.

Some few moments more were spent in the exchange of glad, affectionate
greetings and inquiries after each other's health and welfare, then all
took their way to the house; even Grandma Elsie claiming that her
strength was quite equal to so short a walk, the journey on the boat
having been restful rather than fatiguing. Yet it was evident to all
that she was far from strong, and they joined Mr. Dinsmore in an urgent
entreaty that she would retire at an early hour to her own room and bed;
which she did, her daughters accompanying her to see that nothing was
lacking that could in any way add to her comfort.



CHAPTER XIX.


A bright, beautiful day succeeded that on which the Ion family had
arrived at Viamede. The younger members of their party woke early, and
the sun was hardly more than an hour high when Evelyn and Rosie passed
down the broad stairway into the lower hall, moving with cautious tread
lest they might disturb the still sleeping older members of the
household.

But on reaching the veranda they were surprised to see the captain and
Lulu already taking a morning promenade along the bank of the bayou.

"Ah, I see there is no getting ahead of Brother Levis," laughed Rosie.
"Let us run down there and join them, Eva."

"With all my heart," returned Evelyn gayly, and away they went, racing
down the broad gravelled walk in merry girlish fashion.

"Good-morning, little ladies, I see that you are early birds as well as
Lulu and myself," the captain said, with his genial smile, as they drew
near.

"Yes, sir," returned Rosie, catching hold of Lulu and giving her a
hearty embrace; "on such a morning as this, and in such a lovely place,
bed has no attractions to compare with those of out of doors."

"That's exactly what papa and I think," said Lulu; "and, oh girls, I'm
so glad you have come to share this lovely, lovely place with us. Eva, I
haven't yet got over the glad surprise of your coming. I was just saying
to papa how very kind it was in Grandma Elsie and the rest of them to
prepare such an unexpected pleasure for me. Wasn't it good in them?"

"Yes, indeed, good to us both!" Evelyn said, squeezing affectionately
the hand Lulu had slipped into hers.

"Captain," looking up smilingly into his face, "are you intending to be
so very, very kind as to take me for one of your pupils?"

"Most assuredly, my dear, if you wish it," he replied.

"Oh, thank you, sir! thank you very much indeed, and I promise to give
you as little trouble as I possibly can."

"I shall consider it no trouble at all, my dear child," he returned,
giving her a fatherly smile. "Indeed, I think the favor will be on
your side, as doubtless Lulu will improve all the faster for your
companionship in her studies. Rosie, being older than either of you,
will, I fear, have to be quite alone in most of hers."

"Yes, Brother Levis, and as I am to be such a lonely, forlorn creature
you ought to be extremely good to me," remarked Rosie demurely. "I hope
you will remember that and try to have unlimited patience with your
youngest sister."

"Ah! my little sister would better not try the patience of her big
brother too far," returned the captain with a twinkle of fun in his eye.

"I dare say; but he needn't think he can make me very much afraid of
him, big as he is," laughed Rosie.

"Perhaps, though, it might turn out to the advantage of Professor
Manton, should my youngest sister prove quite beyond the management of
her biggest and oldest brother," remarked the captain, with assumed
gravity.

"There!" exclaimed Rosie, "that's the worst threat you could possibly
have made. I think I'll try to be at least passably good and obedient in
the schoolroom. You needn't look for it in any other place, Captain
Raymond," making him a deep courtesy, then dancing gayly away.

"Don't you envy her that it is only in the schoolroom she must be
obedient to me, whom you have to obey all the time?" asked the captain
laughingly of Lulu, noticing that she was watching Rosie with a hurt,
almost indignant look on her expressive features.

"No, indeed, papa! I'm only too glad that I belong to you everywhere
and all the time," she answered, lifting to his face eyes full of filial
respect and ardent affection.

"So am I," he returned, pressing tenderly the hand she had again slipped
into his. "But you must not be vexed with Rosie. Could you not see that
all she said just now was in sportive jest?"

"I'm glad if she didn't mean it, papa; but I don't like such things said
to my dear, honored father even in jest."

"But you must excuse Rosie, Lu, dear," said Evelyn. "It was indeed all
in jest, for I know that she feels the very highest respect for your
father--her biggest brother; as we all do."

Lulu's brow cleared. "Well, then, I won't mind it, papa, if you don't,"
she said.

"And I certainly do not, daughter," he returned pleasantly. "Rosie and I
are the best of friends, and I think will continue to be such."

It was a gay, light-hearted party that met at the Viamede
breakfast-table that morning. Even their loved invalid, Grandma Elsie,
was looking wonderfully bright and well; yet, as she laughingly averred,
everybody seemed determined to consider her as ill and unable to make
any exertion.

"I shall have to let you continue to take the rôle of mistress of the
establishment, Vi," she said, with a pleasant smile, as, resigning to
her daughter her accustomed seat at the head of the table, she took
possession of one at the side.

"Not that I am of so humble a spirit as to consider myself unfitted for
the duties and responsibilities of the position, but because older and
wiser people do."

"I really think Vi makes as good a substitute as could well be found,
mother," remarked the captain, with a proudly affectionate glance at his
lovely young wife.

"In which I entirely agree with you, sir," said Mr. Dinsmore.

The meal was partaken of with appetite, and enlivened by cheery talk; a
good deal of it in regard to pleasures and amusements attainable in that
locality; riding, driving, boating, fishing; to say nothing of the
pleasant rambles that could be taken on and beyond the estate.

There was no lack of carriages for driving, or horses to draw them, or
for those to ride who might prefer that mode of locomotion.

The final decision was in favor of a drive, for Mrs. Dinsmore, Violet,
her little ones, and Grace, accompanied by the rest of the party on
horseback.

Breakfast and family prayers over, the young girls hastened to their
rooms to prepare for the little excursion, all seemingly in the gayest
spirits at the pleasing prospect; none more so than merry, excitable
Lulu.

She and Grace were ready a little sooner than either of the other girls,
and went down to the veranda to wait there for the rest.

As they did so a servant passed them with the bag containing the morning
mail, which he had just brought from the nearest post-office.

He carried it to the library, where Mr. Dinsmore and the captain were
seated, awaiting the appearance of the ladies, carriages, and horses.

As if struck by a sudden thought, Lulu ran after him. She saw her father
take the bag, open it, hand several letters to Mr. Dinsmore, select
several others and give them to the servant (with directions to carry
them up to the ladies), then lay a pretty large pile on the table, take
up one, and open it.

"There, those are papa's own," she said to herself, "and what a number
he has!--all to be answered, too. I don't believe he'll take time to
ride this morning; he's always so prompt about replying to a letter. Oh,
dear, I don't want to go without him, and I just wish they hadn't come
till to-morrow."

She walked slowly out to the veranda again.

Rosie and Evelyn had not yet made their appearance, and Grace was
romping about with little Elsie and Ned.

Just then a servant man came round from the stables, leading the ponies
the little girls were to ride, and at sight of them Lulu seemed to take
a sudden resolution.

"Oh, Solon," she said, hurrying toward the man, "you can put my pony
back into the stable; I'm not going to ride this morning; I've changed
my mind; and if anybody asks about me, you can tell them so," and with
that she ran away round the house and seated herself on the back
veranda, where she had been when Professor Manton made his call upon the
captain.

Presently she heard the ladies and young girls come down the stairs, her
father and Mr. Dinsmore come out from the library and assist the older
ones into the carriage, the younger to mount their ponies; then her
father's voice asking, "Where is Lulu?" and the servant's reply, "Miss
Lu, she tole me, sah, to tell you she doan want fo' to ride dis heah
mornin', sah"; then her father's surprised, "She did, Solon? Why, that
is a sudden change on her part. I thought she was quite delighted at the
prospect of going.

"Violet, my dear, I find I have so many letters calling for reply this
morning, that I, too, must remain at home."

Some exclamations of surprise and regret from the others followed; then
the sound of hoofs and wheels told that the party had set out on their
little excursion, and the captain's step was heard in the hall as he
returned to the library.

But a thought seemed to strike him as he reached its door, and he
paused, calling aloud, "Lulu! Lulu!"

She ran to him at once, answering, "Here I am, papa."

"Why, daughter, what is the meaning of this?" he asked. "Why did you not
go with the others?"

"Because I preferred to stay at home with my dear father; and I hope he
isn't displeased with me for it!" she replied, looking up coaxingly,
smilingly, into his face.

"Displeased with you, dear child? I am only too glad to have you by my
side; except that I feel sorry on your own account that you should miss
the pleasant, healthful trip along with the others," he said, bestowing
upon her a fond caress.

"But how did you know that I was going to stay at home?" he asked, as he
led her in and sat down, drawing her to a seat upon his knee.

"Because I'm enough of a Yankee to be good at guessing, I suppose,
papa," she answered, with a merry laugh, putting an arm round his neck
and gazing into his eyes with her own full of ardent filial love. "I saw
that big pile of letters," pointing to them as they lay on the table,
"and I thought, 'Now, if I stay at home with papa, maybe he will let me
help him as I did the other day.' So now as I have stayed, won't you be
so very good as to let me, you dear, dearest papa?"

"I shall be very glad of both your company and your help, darling,
though I am sorry to have you miss your ride in order to give them to
me."

"But you needn't be sorry, papa, because I'm ever so glad. I was almost
afraid you might be displeased with me for taking the liberty of staying
at home without consulting you; but I don't believe you are a bit,"
stroking his face with her little soft white hand, then kissing him with
warmth of affection.

"I am so much displeased, that as a punishment you will have to write
several letters on your machine at my dictation," he replied, with
playful look and tone. "We will set to work at once," he added, putting
her off his knee, taking the cover from her typewriter, and placing a
chair before it for her to sit upon, then laying a pile of paper and
envelopes within easy reach of her hand.

"Ah, papa, I don't care how often you punish me in this way!" she
exclaimed, with a merry laugh, as she took her seat.

"Tut! tut! don't talk as if my punishment were nothing," he replied, in
pretended displeasure. "You may get more of this kind some of these days
than you will like."

"Not while it's a help to my dear father," she returned, smiling up at
him.

"You find that a pleasure, do you?" he asked, with tender look and tone,
laying a hand caressingly on her head and gazing fondly down into her
eyes.

"Yes, indeed, sir! O papa, I just long to be a real help and comfort and
blessing to you; and I do hope that some day I may be."

"My own dear little daughter, you are already all three to me," he said
with emotion. "Truly, I think no man ever had a more lovable child, or a
more grateful and appreciative one."

Those words sent a thrill of exquisite delight to Lulu's heart. "Dear
papa, you are so kind to tell me that!" she said. "Oh, I do want always
to be all that to you!"

"And it is certainly my ardent desire to be the best of fathers to my
dear eldest daughter, and all my children," he responded.

"But now let us set to work upon this correspondence."

For the next hour and more they were very busy; then, every letter
having been replied to, the captain went out to a distant part of the
plantation to see how work was progressing there, taking Lulu along.

Their way led them through the orange orchard, and both father and
daughter found it a delightful walk.

They reached the house again just in time to receive the others on their
return from their little excursion, and presently after, all sat down to
dinner.

On leaving the table the little girls repaired to the veranda.

"I'm decidedly offended with you, Lu," said Rosie, in jesting tone.

"What for?" asked Lulu.

"For forsaking us as you did this morning; and now the least reparation
you can make is to confess why you did so. Do you not agree with me,
Eva?"

"Yes," replied Evelyn, "I think she ought to do so, as the only amends
she can make. So, Miss Raymond, let us hear your excuse at once--if you
have any."

"Well, then, I suppose I must," said Lulu. "Please understand that I
would have enjoyed going with you very much indeed, but I saw that papa
had a good many letters to answer and I wanted to help him a great deal
more than I did to take a ride.

"He lets me write some on the typewriter--those, you see, that don't
require a very particular answer--and he says it shortens his work very
much. And," she added with a sigh, "I have given my dear father so much
trouble in past days by my bad temper and wilfulness, that I feel I can
never do enough to make up to him for it."

"Dear Lu, I just love you for feeling and acting so," said Evelyn
softly, giving Lulu's hand an affectionate squeeze as she spoke; "and I
am sure your father must."

"Yes, he does love me dearly, and you can't think how happy that makes
me," returned Lulu, glad tears shining in her eyes.

"I don't know about that, but I think we can," said Rosie, a slight
tremble in her voice; for she had not forgotten altogether the dear
father who had fondled and caressed her in her babyhood, but had so long
since passed away to the better land.

But just at that moment Violet drew near with a light, quick step.

"The boat is at the landing, little girls," she said, "and we older
folks want to be off. Please put on your hats, coats too,--or carry some
kind of wrap,--for the captain says it may be quite cool on the water
before we return."

"A summons we're delighted to receive," returned Rosie, springing to her
feet and hurrying toward the hall door, the others following, all of
them in gay good humor.

No one was missing from that boating excursion, and on their return, a
little before tea time, all spoke of having had a most enjoyable
afternoon.



CHAPTER XX.


After tea, when all were together upon the front veranda, Grandma Elsie
in a reclining chair, the others grouped about her, the talk turned upon
the approaching Christmas and how it should be celebrated--what gifts
prepared for friends and servants.

Various plans were suggested, various gifts spoken of, but nothing
settled.

The little girls took a deep interest in the subject, and when they
separated for the night each one's thoughts were full of it; Lulu's
perhaps even more so than those of any other, not of what she might
receive, but what she would like to give.

"Papa," she said, when he came into her room to bid her good-night, "I
do so want to make some pretty things to give at Christmas time. Please,
won't you let me?" and look and tone were very coaxing.

"My dear little daughter," he replied, taking possession of an
easy-chair and drawing her to a seat upon his knee, "it would give me
much pleasure to indulge you in this, but you have lost a good deal of
time from your studies of late, and I know very well that to allow you
to engage in the manufacture of Christmas gifts would have the effect
of taking your mind off your lessons in a way to prevent you from making
much, if any, progress with them."

"Then you won't let me, papa?"

"No, my child. If you choose you may use your pocket-money, and some
more that I will give you, to buy what you please, that will not make
any work for you. Your studies must be faithfully attended to, and the
greater part of your remaining time I wish you to spend in out-of-door
amusements which will, I hope, both give you much pleasure and keep you
in vigorous health.

"I could not bear to see my dear eldest daughter growing pale and thin,
or failing to improve her mind and talents so that she may in due time
become a noble, useful woman, capable of doing with her might whatever
work her heavenly Father may be pleased to give her."

A wofully ill-used, discontented look had come over Lulu's expressive
countenance as her father began what he had to say, but before he had
finished it was replaced by a much sweeter one of contentment with his
decision, and confiding filial love.

"Papa, dear, I did at first very much want you to say yes to my
petition, but now I see that you know best and am quite content to do as
you have said you want me to," she returned, putting her arm about his
neck and laying her cheek to his in her accustomed fashion when her
heart was swelling with daughterly affection.

"My dear child, your ready acquiescence in your father's decision makes
you dearer than ever to him, if that be possible," he said, holding her
close with many a fond caress.

Meanwhile Rosie and Evelyn, occupying adjoining rooms, were chatting
gaily of what they should make for one and another of those they loved.

Suddenly Evelyn paused, a very thoughtful look overspreading her
expressive face.

"Well, what is it?" asked Rosie in a bantering tone; and Evelyn
answered, "I was just thinking that all this, should we undertake it,
will be apt to take our minds from our lessons, which are certainly of
far greater importance."

"And that Captain Raymond may veto it on that account?" asked Rosie,
with a twinkle of fun in her eye.

"Possibly he may; and if he does, I, for one, shall certainly obey him,"
replied Evelyn, speaking in a sober, earnest way that said plainly she
was far from being in jest.

"Well, I make no rash promises," laughed Rosie; "and I'm not very much
afraid of that brother-in-law of mine, stern as he can look when it
suits him."

"But you will want to please your dear mother?" returned Evelyn, in a
tone between assertion and inquiry.

"Yes," replied Rosie, sobering down at once; "I could refuse nothing to
dear mamma. I would do anything and everything in my power to add to her
happiness. Oh, how glad and thankful I am that she has been spared to
us!"

"I, too," said Evelyn. "I think I could hardly love her better if she
were really my very near relative."

A moment of silence followed, presently broken by Rosie. "Well, I
suppose," she said with a return to her jesting tone, "it may be our
wisest plan to consult his lordship--Captain Raymond--in regard to the
matter just now under discussion--whether we--his prospective
pupils--may or may not engage in the work of preparing Christmas gifts
for other folk."

"I, at least, certainly intend doing so," replied Evelyn. "Obedience to
his wishes--to say nothing of orders--it strikes me will be the very
least we can do in return for his great kindness in taking the trouble
to instruct us."

"There, you are right!" said Rosie. "I hadn't thought of that before. It
is very good in him and I shall really try to show him that I am one of
the best and most tractable of pupils."

"Suppose we join him and Lu to-morrow in their morning walk, as we did
to-day, and then and there improve the opportunity to discuss this
momentous question," suggested Evelyn laughingly.

"I am strongly in favor of so doing, provided I wake in season,"
returned Rosie, and with that they separated for the night.

They carried out their plan, had a pleasant little morning ramble and
chat with the captain and Lulu, and finding that such was his wish,
promised to do but little in the way of making Christmas gifts, in order
that their time and attention might be the more fully occupied with
their studies, which they were all to take up again on the following
Monday.

"And this being Friday, we have only to-day and to-morrow for play. It
looks like rain, too," sighed Rosie disconsolately, glancing up at the
sky as she spoke; "so we are not likely to have much out-of-door sport."

"Ah, well, little sister, we must not grumble about the rain, for it is
needed; and there are the verandas for you young folks to sport upon,"
returned the captain.

"Besides, your big brother is not intending to be so hard upon you as to
allow no diversion after lessons are resumed. I hope you will all have
many an hour for romping, riding, driving, boating, and walking."

"Pleasant chats, too, and interesting books to read; music, and games
besides," remarked Evelyn. "Oh, we are not likely to suffer from lack
of diversion when we have been good and industrious enough to deserve
it," she added, with a smiling look at the captain.

"As I have little doubt that you will be always," he returned, smiling
kindly upon her.

By the time breakfast and family worship were over a gentle rain was
falling, and instead of seeking out-of-door amusement, the whole family
gathered upon the veranda at the front of the house.

Just then a pretty well-filled mail-bag made its appearance, and
presently nearly everybody had one or more letters in hand.

Noticing that her father had several, Lulu presently drew near him and
asked, "Mayn't I help you answer those, papa?"

"Thank you, dear child," he returned, smiling fondly upon her, "you may
if you wish, but I have plenty of time to do the work myself this
morning, and would be sorry to deprive you of the pleasure you might be
taking with your mates."

"I'll have time enough for that afterward, papa, and would very much
rather do a little to help you--if it will be a help, instead of a
trouble to you to have me use my machine in that way," she said, with a
look up into his eyes that showed plainly how anxious she was to have
her offer accepted.

"Then you shall, my darling," he returned, and taking her hand led her
into the library, seated her before her typewriter, supplied paper and
envelopes, and began dictating to her as on the two former occasions.

"It grieves me to rob my dear little girl of any of her holiday time,"
he remarked, as the first letter was completed, laying his hand
caressingly on her head. "Your father loves to see you enjoying
yourself."

"Yes, dear papa, I know that," she replied, with a pleased loving look
up into his face, "but there is nothing I enjoy more than feeling that I
can be of a little help and comfort to you."

"Well, it will not take us long to answer these letters--there are but
few to-day--and perhaps you may enjoy your sports all the more
afterward," he replied, handing her a fresh sheet of paper.

"This, from our dear Max, is the only one left now," he remarked
presently; "and he, I know, would rather have his reply in papa's own
handwriting; but, shall I read this to you, daughter?"

"Oh, I should like to hear it, papa!" was her eager response. "Please,
may I sit on your knee while I listen?"

"Indeed you may," he answered, drawing her to the coveted seat and
putting his arm about her waist. "Maxie does write such good,
interesting letters, and I'm so much obliged to you for reading this one
to me, papa," she said, when he had finished.

"You are very welcome, daughter; and now you may go back to your mates
while I write my reply."

On the veranda family letters had been read and discussed, meanwhile,
and when Lulu joined the group they were again talking of the
approaching Christmas and what gifts should be prepared for relatives,
near and dear friends, and servants.

Grandma Elsie, seated in their midst, was looking quite her old
self--very bright, beautiful, and sweet.

"With the housekeeping given in charge to Vi," she was saying, as Lulu
drew near, "I shall have abundance of spare time and hope to prepare
many gifts for----"

"No," interrupted her father, "you are to do nothing of the kind; but
must devote yourself to the business of gaining strength as fast as
possible."

She laughed pleasantly at that, saying, "My vacation has been a long one
already, papa, for I have really done nothing worth speaking of since we
returned home from the North."

"And what of that, daughter?" he responded. "You have never been an
idler, but it seems to be time now for you to begin. Let your vacation
go on till next spring. That is my prescription for you."

"Ah, ha, mamma!" laughed Rosie, "the captain forbids Christmas-gift
making for us younger ones, and I'm mighty glad grandpa forbids it to
you. 'Misery loves company,' you know."

"I hope my Rosie may never be called upon to share any worse misery,"
was the smiling rejoinder. "Also that she will show herself as obedient
to the captain as I intend to be to her kind, loving grandpa--so
tenderly careful of his daughter," with a fond look up into the face of
her father, standing by her side.

"As he may well be, for she is a treasure worth guarding," he said,
returning her look of love. "Rosie, when does the captain propose
beginning his labors as tutor?"

"Next Monday morning, grandpa; so we want to crowd all the fun and
diversion we can into to-day and to-morrow."

"Ah, we must select a schoolroom and furnish it with whatever may be
necessary!" exclaimed Violet.

"Yes," her mother said; "the room used for that purpose when you were a
very little girl will answer nicely. Its desks were sent to the attic
when no longer needed. You might order them brought down to-day, the
room swept and dusted, and whatever else done that is necessary or
desirable, so that it will be quite ready for occupation on Monday."

"Thank you, mamma; I will have it attended to at once," Violet replied,
and hastened away, Rosie running after her with a "Come girls, let us go
and see the room and find out whether it has a closet for the captain to
shut us up in when we misbehave."

"I don't believe he'll use it if it has," laughed Lulu, rather enjoying
Rosie's fun, "for he has never punished any of us--his own children--in
that way."

"Still there is no knowing but he may take a new departure, now, when
he's going to have so distinguished a pupil as myself," pursued Rosie,
dancing down the hall with the others close in her rear.

They followed Violet to the room Grandma Elsie had spoken of, and found
it large and airy, with windows down to the floor,--opening out upon the
veranda on that side of the house,--the walls prettily papered and
adorned with good pictures, handsomely framed; the floor covered with
fine matting, furniture handsome, a pretty clock and vases on the
mantel. On one side of that was a door to which Rosie flew and, throwing
it wide open, brought to view a large closet.

"There!" she exclaimed, "didn't I tell you, girls and Walter?" for he
was in the company by that time, "here's the place of incarceration for
those who shall dare to disobey Captain Raymond. I for one shall
certainly try to behave my prettiest, for I wouldn't like to be shut up
in the dark."

"Well, it appears to me that you are more likely to come to it than any
of the rest of us," observed Walter quietly, as he turned on his heel
and walked away.

"Did you ever hear the like?" cried Rosie, opening her eyes very wide in
pretended astonishment.

"What's all this?" asked a familiar voice at the door, and turning at
the sound they saw Captain Raymond standing there, looking very grave
and slightly reproving, but with a perceptible twinkle of fun in his
eyes.

"We were just looking at the closet you are going to use for the
incarceration of the naughty ones, for this is to be your schoolroom,
you see, sir," returned Rosie demurely.

"And you expect to enjoy a sojourn there?" he queried, coming forward
and himself taking a survey of the interior. "It strikes me it would
suit better as a receptacle for school-books and the like."

"So it would," she said, with a sigh of pretended relief; "and we, your
pupils that are to be will venture to hope that you will see best to
devote it to that use."

"A hope in which you will not be disappointed, I trust," he replied, in
a kindly tone, and laying a hand lightly upon her shoulder.

"There girls!" she exclaimed, "you may thank me for extracting such a
promise beforehand. I do really believe his honor intends to treat us
well if we are reasonably well behaved."

"And the rest of us are quite sure of it," added Evelyn, with a bright
look up into the captain's face.

"Thank you for your confidence, my dear," he returned. "I have little
doubt that we will have pleasant times together in this very pleasant
room."

A little more time was spent in examining the room and commenting upon
its beauties and conveniences; then they went back to the veranda to
find that the sun had begun to peep through the clouds.

So carriages were ordered and all took a drive through the beautiful
woods.

The afternoon was spent in boating and fishing, the evening in the
veranda, where they were joined by their relatives from Magnolia Hall
and the parsonage.

The manner in which they would spend the approaching Christmas and New
Year's Day was the principal subject of conversation, and the young
folks were particularly interested in listening to the plans made or
suggested, and well satisfied with the proposed arrangement that the
cousins should spend the first at Viamede, all gather at Magnolia Hall
for their New Year's dinner, and pass the evening of that day at the
parsonage.

Lulu had a talk with her father in her own room at bedtime, that made
her feel very happy and entirely content with his prohibition of the
making of gifts.

He told her that she and Grace might each make out a list of the
articles they would like to buy to present to others, and that some one,
probably Mr. Embury--Cousin Millie's husband--who was intending to pay a
visit of a few days to New Orleans, would kindly make the purchases for
them.

"Oh, that will do nicely, papa!" she exclaimed delightedly, "and Gracie
and I might make out our lists to-morrow with a little help from our
dear father," smiling up into his eyes.

"Yes, dear child, I will gladly give you both all the assistance in my
power," he replied, softly smoothing her hair, for she was--as usual at
such times--sitting upon his knee; "and not with advice only," he
continued, "but also by adding something to your means for carrying out
your wishes."

"Oh, you dear papa, you are just the kindest father that ever was
made!" she cried, in an ecstasy of delight, and hugging him with all her
strength.

"Ah, but if you choke me to death," he said laughingly, "I can do
nothing for you."

"Oh, papa, please excuse me!" she exclaimed, relaxing her hold. "Did I
hurt you? oh, I am very, very sorry!"

"Not much; I could stand it very well," he returned, giving her a hug
and kiss. "But now I must leave you to go to bed and to sleep."



CHAPTER XXI.


There was a decided downpour of rain the next morning, but no one minded
that very much, as the necessity for staying within doors gave time and
opportunity for further arrangements in regard to Christmas and the
gifts to be presented.

The captain kindly devoted an hour or more to helping his little girls
to decide upon theirs and make out a list; Mr. Embury, and Molly and
Isadore, who were intending to accompany him to the city, having kindly
offered to make any purchases desired by the Viamede relatives.

At the same time the others, older and younger, were similarly engaged,
and there were many little private chats as they gathered in twos and
threes here and there about the veranda or in the rooms.

In the afternoon Violet invited the whole party to inspect the
schoolroom, where some of the servants had been busy, under her
direction, all the morning, giving it a thorough cleaning, draping the
windows with fresh lace curtains, looped back with blue ribbons, and
placing a desk for each expected pupil, and a neat table for the
teacher.

Every one pronounced it a model schoolroom, some of the older people
adding that it made them almost wish themselves young enough to again be
busy with lessons and recitations.

"Where's your ferule, Brother Levis?" asked Rosie, facetiously, after a
close scrutiny of the table, not omitting its drawer.

"I think you have not made a thorough examination of the closet yet,"
was his noncommittal reply.

"Oh, that's where you keep it? I say girls----" in a loud whisper,
perfectly audible to everyone in the room, "let's carry it off before he
has a chance to use it."

"Hardly worth while, since it would be no difficult matter to replace
it," remarked the captain, with assumed gravity and sternness.

"Ah, then I suppose one may as well be resigned to circumstances,"
sighed Rosie, following the others from the room.

"Papa, can I help you?" asked Lulu, seeing him seat himself at the table
in the library, take out writing materials from its drawer, and dip a
pen into the ink.

"No, thank you, daughter," he replied. "I am going to write to Max."

"Please tell him we are all ever so sorry he can't be here to spend
Christmas and New Year's with us."

"I will."

"And he can't have the pleasure of giving any gifts I suppose, as they
allow him so little pocket money!"

"Dear boy! he shall not miss that pleasure entirely," said the captain.
"I am going now to write to him that I will set apart a certain sum for
his use in the purchase of gifts for others. That is, he may tell me
what he would like to give, and I will see that the articles are bought
and distributed as he wishes."

"Oh, what a nice plan, papa! I am sure Maxie will be very glad."

"Yes, I do it with the hope of giving pleasure to my dear boy. And
besides that I shall tell him that he may again choose some benevolent
object to which I will give, in his name, a thousand dollars. You too,
and Gracie, shall have the same privilege."

"Just as we all had last year. Oh, papa, it is so good and kind in you!"

"That is the opinion of my very partial little daughter," he returned,
with a smile. "But, daughter, as I have often told you, the money is the
Lord's, and I am only his steward."

"Yes, sir," she said, and walked thoughtfully away.

By the middle of the afternoon the rain seemed to be over and a row on
the bayou was enjoyed by the most of the party; all who cared to go.

Music and conversation made the evening pass quickly and pleasantly, and
all retired to their rooms at an early hour that they might rise
refreshed for the duties and privileges of the Lord's day.

It was spent, as former ones had been, attending church and the pastor's
Bible class in the morning, and holding a similar service on the lawn at
Viamede in the afternoon.

In addressing that little congregation the captain tried to make the way
of salvation very clear and plain.

"It is just to come to Jesus as you are," he said; "not waiting to make
yourself any better, for you never can; he alone can do that work; it is
his blood that cleanses from all sin; his righteousness that is perfect,
and therefore acceptable to God; while all our righteousnesses are as
filthy rags, stained and defiled with sin.

"Concerning him--the only begotten and well beloved Son of God--the
Bible tells us, 'He is able to save them unto the uttermost that come
unto God by him.'

"'The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.'

"And he says, 'Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.'

"'This is the will of him that sent me, that every one who seeth the
Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life; and I will raise
him up at the last day.'

"Just go to Jesus each one of you, give yourself to him and believe his
word--that he will not cast you out; he will receive you and make you
his own; giving you of his spirit, changing you from the poor sinner you
are, by nature, into his image, his likeness."

At the conclusion of that service Lulu and Grace recited their Bible
verses and catechism to their father.

The evening was spent in conversation and music suited to the sacredness
of the day, and all retired to rest.

Nine o'clock of the next morning found the girls and Walter seated in
the schoolroom. Lulu and Grace busied with their tasks, the others ready
and waiting to have theirs appointed by the captain.

School that day was a decided success, and Rosie pretended that her
fears of the new teacher were greatly allayed.

Between that and Christmas-time everything moved along smoothly; studies
were well attended to, sports and pastimes greatly enjoyed.

The celebration of the holidays--Christmas and New Year's--also proved a
great success. There were many and beautiful gifts; a handsome brooch
from the captain delighted each little girl, and there were other lovely
gifts too numerous to mention.

The distribution was on Christmas Eve. The next day there was a grand
dinner at Viamede, all the relatives present, and everybody in gayest
spirits.

The day was bright and beautiful, seeming but little like Christmas to
those accustomed to frost and snow at that season.

New Year's day was not less lovely, nor were its festivities less
enjoyable, though the gifts were fewer.

The holidays past, the young folks went back with zest to their studies,
Rosie saying she was now convinced that Captain Raymond was an excellent
teacher, and not at all inclined to tyrannize over a well-behaved pupil;
for which complimentary expression of opinion he gravely thanked her.

"You are very welcome, sir," she said, "and may depend upon a
recommendation from me whenever it is wanted."

"O Rosie, how ridiculous you are!" exclaimed Walter.

But Rosie was already out of the room, the other girls following. They
went out on the lawn, ran about for a while, then settled themselves
under a tree and began cracking and eating nuts.

Lulu, who was very fond of them, presently put one between her teeth and
cracked it there.

"O Lu!" exclaimed Grace, "you forget that papa forbade you to crack nuts
with your teeth, for fear you might break them."

"Well, I wanted to break the nut," returned Lulu, laughing, and blushing
because her conscience reproached her.

"I meant break your teeth," said Grace. "I'm sure you wouldn't have done
it--cracked the nut with them, I mean--if you hadn't forgotten that papa
forbade you to do it."

"No, Gracie, I'm not so good as you think; I did not forget; I just did
it because I wanted to," Lulu said with an evident effort, and blushing
again.

Then she sprang up and ran toward her father, who was seen at some
little distance, coming from the orange orchard toward the house.

"I do believe she's going to tell on herself!" exclaimed Rosie, in
astonishment.

"Oh, dear, I wonder what papa will do to her!" exclaimed Grace, just
ready to burst into tears.

"It is very noble in her to go and confess at once, when he needn't have
ever known anything about it," cried Eva admiringly.

They were all three watching Lulu and her father with intense interest,
though too far away to hear anything that either one might say.

Lulu drew near him, hanging her head shamefacedly. "Papa," she said, in
a low, remorseful tone, "I have just been disobeying you."

"Ah! I am sorry, very sorry, to hear it, daughter," he returned a little
sadly; then, taking her hand, led her away further from the house and
seated her and himself on a bench beneath a group of trees that entirely
hid them from view.

"Tell me the whole story, my child," he said, not unkindly, and still
keeping her hand in his.

"I cracked a nut with my teeth, papa," she replied, with her eyes upon
the ground, her cheek hot with blushes.

"You forgot that I had forbidden it?"

"No, papa, I haven't even that poor excuse. I remembered all the time
that you had forbidden me, but just did it because I wanted to."

"Though I had given you my reason for the prohibition--that you would
risk serious damage to your teeth, and probably suffer both pain and the
loss of those useful members in consequence. It gives me pain to find
that my dear eldest daughter cares so little for her father's wishes or
commands."

At that Lulu burst into tears and sobs. "Oh, I hope you'll punish me
well for it, papa!" she said. "I deserve it, and I think it would do me
good."

"I must indeed punish you for conduct so decidedly rebellious," he
replied. "I will either forbid nuts for a week, or refrain from giving
you a caress for the same length of time. Which shall it be?"

"O papa, I'd rather do without nuts for the rest of the winter than a
whole week without a caress from you!" she exclaimed.

"Very well, then," he said, bending down and touching his lips to her
cheek. "I forbid the nuts, and I think I can trust my daughter to obey
me by not touching one till she has her father's permission."

"I feel sure I will, papa," she said; "but if I should be so very bad as
to disobey you again in this, I will come to you, confess it, and take
my punishment without a word of objection."

"I have no doubt of it, daughter," he returned, taking her hand again
and leading her back to the house.

The other girls were awaiting with intense interest the reappearance of
the captain and Lulu.

"Here they come!" exclaimed Rosie, "and I don't believe he has punished
her; there has hardly been time, and though she looks very sober--he,
too--she doesn't look at all frightened; nor does he look angry, and he
holds her hand in what strikes me as a very affectionate way."

"Yes," said Evelyn, "I think the captain is as good and kind a father as
anyone could desire; and I'm sure Lulu's opinion of him is the same."

"Yes, indeed," assented Grace heartily, as she wiped the tears from her
eyes, "there couldn't be a better, kinder father than ours, Lulu and I
both think; but though he doesn't like to punish us, sometimes he feels
that it's his duty to do it to make us good."

"I don't believe you get, or need, punishment very often, Gracie,"
remarked Rosie; "you are as good as gold; at least so it seems to me."

"I'm not perfect, Rosie; oh, no, indeed!" Gracie answered earnestly;
"but papa almost never does anything more than talk in a grave, kind way
to me about my faults."

By this time the captain and Lulu had drawn near the house, and, letting
go her hand, "You may go back to your mates now, daughter," he said in a
kindly tone. "I have some matters to attend to, and if you have anything
more to say to me I will hear it at another time."

"Yes, sir," replied Lulu, and went slowly toward the little group under
the tree, while her father passed round to the other side of the house.

"He was not very much vexed with you, Lu, was he?" queried Rosie, in a
kindly inquiring tone, as Lulu joined them, looking grave and a trifle
sad, while traces of tears could be discerned on her cheeks and about
her eyes.

"Papa only seemed sorry that--that I could be so disobedient," faltered
the little girl, tears starting to her eyes again; "but he always
punishes disobedience,--which is just what he ought to do, I am
sure,--and he has forbidden me to eat any more nuts for a week. I chose
that rather than doing without a caress from him for the same length of
time. So you see he was not very severe; not half so severe as I
deserved that he should be."

The others agreed with her that it was but a light punishment; then they
began talking of something else.

Nuts were a part of the dessert that day, and Lulu, sitting near her
father, asked in a low aside, "Papa, mayn't I pick out some kernels for
you?"

"If you wish, daughter," he answered; and she performed the little
service with evident pleasure.

"Thank you, dear child," he said, with a loving look and smile as she
handed them to him. Speaking of it to Violet that night in the privacy
of their own room, "I found it hard to take and eat them without sharing
with her, the dear, affectionate child!" he said, with feeling, "but I
knew it gave her pleasure to do her father that little service. Ah, it
is so much pleasanter to fondle and indulge one's children than to
reprove or punish them! yet I am sure it is the truest kindness to
train them to obedience, as the Bible directs."

"Yes," returned Violet, "and I have often noticed that those parents who
do follow that Bible teaching are more loved and respected by their
children than the foolishly indulgent ones. And, by the way, how
devotedly fond of her father Lulu is! It delights me to see it."

"Me also, my dear," he returned, with a pleased little laugh. "I doubt
if any man ever had better, dearer children--speaking of the whole five
together--than mine. Nor can I believe that ever a father esteemed his
greater treasures than I do mine."

The rest of the winter passed quietly and peacefully to our friends at
Viamede, the young folks making good progress with their studies, the
older ones finding employment in various ways--the ladies in reading,
writing letters, overseeing house and servants, and making and receiving
visits; Mr. Dinsmore in much the same manner, except that he gave
himself no concern about domestic affairs; while the captain found full
employment in instructing his pupils and superintending work on the
plantation; but with time enough to spare for participation in the
diversions and recreations of the others.

Grandma Elsie had entirely recovered her health, and as spring opened
they began to talk of returning to their more northern homes, yet
continued to tarry, looking for a visit to Viamede from the dear ones of
Ion and Fairview.

And here at beautiful Viamede we will leave them for the present.


THE END



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Transcriber's Note:

   Obvious punctuation errors repaired.

   Hyphenation retained in "kind-hearted" as it appears once with
   and once without the hyphen.

   Page 14, "sailer" changed to "sailor" (a splendid sailor)

   Page 147, "honered" changed to "honored" (my dear and honored)

   Page 166, "child" and "in" presumed from remaining letters
   (child alone, or nearly so, in)

   Page 172, "froward" changed to "forward" (the forward mouth)

   Page 182, "two" changed to "too" (the distance being too great)

   Page 198, "tremuously" changed to "tremulously" (tremulously,
   just)

   Page 203, "Lelaand" changed to "Leland" (glance at Mrs. Leland)

   Page 216, paragraph break inserted between "queried Lulu." and
   "I very much doubt".

   Page 273, "beautitiful" changed to "beautiful" (very bright,
   beautiful)

   Page 253, "fatigueing" changed to "fatiguing" (rather than
   fatiguing)





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