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TheProjectGutenbergEBookofSixGirls,byFannieBelleIrving ThiseBookisfortheuseofanyoneanywhereatnocostandwith almostnorestrictionswhatsoever Youmaycopyit,giveitawayor re-useitunderthetermsoftheProjectGutenbergLicenseincluded withthiseBookoronlineatwww.gutenberg.org Title:SixGirls AHomeStory Author:FannieBelleIrving Illustrator:F T Merrill ReleaseDate:May21,2008[EBook#25551] Language:English ***STARTOFTHISPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOKSIXGIRLS*** ProducedbyJulietSutherland,JacquelineJeremyandthe OnlineDistributedProofreadingTeamathttp://www.pgdp.net S I X G I R L S FromAuntTremayneandRalphFROMAUNTTREMAYNEANDRALPH SIX GIRLS AHOMESTORY BY FANNIE BELLE IRVING ILLUSTRATED BY F T MERRILL BOSTON DANAESTESANDCOMPANY PUBLISHERS Copyright,1882, BYESTESANDLAURIAT UniversityPress: JOHNWILSONANDSON,CAMBRIDGE CONTENTS CHAPTER I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX X XI XII XIII XIV XV XVI XVII XVIII XIX XX XXI XXII XXIII XXIV XXV PAGE UNDERTHETREES AROUNDTHEFIRE AFOUNDATIONTHATBROUGHTKATTOGRIEF INCONFIDENCE ONEDAY ASTRANGER MR CONGREVESURPRISESHIMSELFANDEVERYBODYELSE ODDSANDENDS WHATOLIVEHEARD THELITTLEBLACKTRUNK WHEREISERNESTINE? THESTORY AYEARLATER STUDYORPLAY? CONGREVEHALL UNDERTHESHADYGREEN-WOODTREE SEVERALTHINGS ATTHEOPERA COMINGHOME ASADSTORY MYLADY TOREAR,TOLOVE,ANDTHENTOLOSE WHENGODDREWNEAR,AMONGHISOWNTOCHOOSE TWOSECRETS MERRYCHRISTMASTOALL,ANDTOALLAGOOD-NIGHT—FIVE YEARSLATER 18 38 51 65 80 97 113 128 148 168 188 202 221 240 257 284 306 336 355 368 380 406 420 437 LISTOFILLUSTRATIONS PAGE FROMAUNTTREMAYNEANDRALPH "OERNESTINE,HOWLOVELY!" KATANDKIT THEOLDGENTLEMANLIFTEDJEANUPONTHEPOST "NOWLET'SSEEWHAT'SINTHISWONDERFULTRUNK" "WHY,HOWDOYOUDO,MYDEARCHILD?" "WHATISTHEMATTER?WHATHASHAPPENED?" MR CONGREVEWOULDCOMEINTOTHEGALLERY Frontispiece 17 49 92 167 244 267 314 SIXGIRLS CHAPTERI UNDERTHETREES THERE were ripples of sunshine all tangled in the glowing scarlet of the geranium bed and dancing blithely over the grass A world of melody in quivering bursts of happy song came from the spreading canopy of leaves overhead,andasanaccompaniment,thewindlaughedandwhisperedandkept the air in one continual smile with a kiss on its lips, born of supreme contentmentinthesummerloveliness Inthecool,deepshade,castbythegrandestofoldbeechtrees,agirlsat,her whitedressinfreshestreliefagainstthegreensurroundings,apieceofsewingin hernimblefingers,andthewindtossingherloosenedhairallaboutherfaceand shoulders Shewasquitealone,andseemedjustthesettingforthequiet,lovely surroundings,somuchso,that,hadanartistchancedtocatchthesight,hewould have lost no time in transferring it to canvas,—the wide stretch of grass, alternatelysteepedincoolshadowsandmellowsunshine,thebranching,rustling canopyofleaves,thewhite-robedfigurewithsmilinglipsandbusyfingers,and just visible in the back-ground an old house wrapped in vines and lying in the shade Somebody came from among the trees just at this moment and crossed the grasswithapeculiarlygracefulandswayingstep,asthoughshehadjustdrifted down with the sunshine and was being idly blown along by the wind, another girl in the palest of pink dresses, with ripples of snowy lace all over it, and a wide-brimmed hat shading her eyes And speaking distance being gained, she said,withabreezylittlelaugh:"Sewing?Why,it'stoowarmtobreathe." "That'sthereasonIsew,"returnedtheother,withanodofenergy "Ishould suffocateifIjustsatstillandthoughthowwarmitis Wherehaveyoubeen?" "Downtothepond,skippingstones,andwishingthatIcouldgoin,"answered thenew-comer,sittingdownonthegrasswithacarefulandgracefullyeffective arrangementofherflouncesandlace "Idon'tseewhypapawon'tletustakethe boat;itdidlooktootempting Supposewegoanddoit,anyhow,Bea,andjust let him see that we can manage it without being taught The pond is all in the shadenow,andarowwouldbedelicious." "Why,Ernestine!"Beasaid,withaglanceofsurprise;"Youwouldn't,Iknow Papawillteachusrightaway,andthenwewillhavedelightfultimes;butwhen hehasbeensogoodastogetustheboatandpromisetohaveuslearntomanage it,I'msureIwouldn'tdisobeyandtryalone." Ernestine laughed again her pretty saucy laugh and threw her head back so thatitcaughtadancingsunbeamandhelditprisonerinthebrighthair "Iwould,"shesaidflippantly "I'dliketo,justforthesakeofdoingsomething Do you know, Bea,"—knitting the arched brows with a petulant air, —"SometimesIthinkI'lldosomethingdreadful;perfectlydreadful,youknow, soastohavethingsdifferentforalittlebit It'shorribletoliverightalong,just so,withoutanythingeverhappening." "Well I'm sure," said Bea, laying down her sewing and surveying her sister slowly,"youhavejustaboutasgoodandeasyatimeaseverIheardofagirl's having Whatareyoualldressedupsofor?" "Justforsomethingtodo I'vetriedonallmydressesandhats,andwastedthe blessed afternoon parading before the glass," laughed Ernestine, swinging her pretty hat with its shirrings of delicate pink, around on her white hand "I thinkthisdressislovely,soImadebelieveIwasbeingdressedbymymaidand comingouttowalkinmyparklikeanEnglishlady,youknow." "Englishfiddlesticks!"saidBea,withenergy "Youareagoosey Supposeyou had to work and couldn't have pretty things and waste your time trying them on?" "Whatmisery,"criedErnestine,jumpingupandwhirlingaroundonherheel with an airy grace that the other girls might have practiced for in vain "I wouldn'twanttolive;itwouldbedreadful,Bea,"fallingintoanattitudewiththe sunshine over her, "wouldn't I well on the stage? I know I was born for it; nowlookhere,andseeifIdon'tdoasMissNeilsondid Justsupposethisringof sunshineisabalconyandI'minwhite,withsuchlovelyjewelsinmyhairandall that: "Romeo,Romeo!whereforeartthouRomeo?"— andawaywentErnestinewithatragicallypatheticenergythatmadeBeawatch andlisten,inspiteofthedisapprovinglaughonherlips "Don'tIdoitwell?"Ernestineaskedcomplacently,aftershehadgonethrough the entire balcony scene, with great success in the management of two characters "Yes,youdo;howcanyou?"askedBea,wonfromdisapprovalbywondering admiration "Easiestintheworld I'vebeenthroughiteversomanytimessincepapatook ustothecitytoseeher Oh,Bea!howhappyshemustbe!I'dgiveworldsand worlds to be in her place," cried Ernestine, with longing energy, and pacing restlesslyupanddownthegrass "IwonderifIevercan." "Indeed!"saidBeawithdecision "Theidea!whatwouldpapaandmamasay; you, Ernestine Dering, parading out on a stage before crowds of people, and flyingaroundlikeshedid Mercyonus!" "I'ddoitinaminute,andifIcan'tnow,Iwillsometimeanyhow,"Ernestine exclaimedwithemphasis "Iwasn'tborntobesmuggledupinthislittlemusty townallmylifeandIwon't,either SomedayI'lldosomethingdesperate;you seeifIdon't." "Well, I declare!" said Bea slowly, having never witnessed quite such an energetic ending to Ernestine's spells of restless dissatisfaction "What talk! I thinkyou'dbettersitdownandcooloffnow WhereareOliveandJean?" "Olive is sketching out on the roof, and crosser than thirteen sticks Jean is asleep on the porch, and mama is out showing Huldah how to make cream puffings." "Dearme,"saidBea,bywayofanswerandlookingupwithaslightpuckerto hersmoothforehead,"Justlookatthosegirls;Ineversawthelike." Ernestinelookedup,tocatchaglimpseoftwoflyingfiguresjustclearingthe fence, and come dashing across the grass like unruly arrows, to throw themselvesundertheshadeofthebeech,withasupremedisregardforfleshand bones "Goodnessgracious!"gaspedKittie "Mama'llcome,"saidthejudge,warningly,and,sureenough,outcamealady, withtheloveliestface,andawhitelacecaponhergreyhair "Come, dears," she said, in a voice we know well and both flew to her, for whowasdearertotheirlovingheartsthan"Dramma?""Timeforlittlebirdiesto be eating supper, and getting little peepers shut up tight, before Santa Claus comes,"shesaid,goingtowardsthediningroom,withalittlehopperclingingto eachhand,andplayingpeeparoundher Tomwasalreadyatthetable,pounding with his spoon, and smiling serenely through the milk that spattered his face from forehead to chin, and there were two other bowls and spoons and high chairs,readyandwaiting "NaughtyLouise,"saidMrs Kittie,assheliftedthewhite-robedmorseltoher chair,andtiedonherbib "RunawayfrompoorsisterPansy,andmakeherfeel bad." "All baddy, mama?" inquired Louise, looking over her bowl with repentant eyes "Shecomedinthefrontdoor,"saidPhilip,otherwisethejudge,whowasthe eldest hopeful of the Barnett household, and was, at present, under the care of auntKathy,asmamaBeahadthebabyinthesitting-room "Ithawher,"hewent ontoexplainwithcare;butwasevidentlydisgusted,thateveryonelaughedand talked,insteadoflisteningtohim;sopausedrightthere,andatehisbreadand milkinsilenceandwithdignity,notevenunbendingwhenTomandLouisehad askirmish,andtestifiedtheircousinlyregard,bythrowingtheirspoonsateach other,andupsettingwhatmilkhadbeenleftintheirbowls "Dearme,whatchildren!"criedKittie,runningforatowel,withalaughthat soundedasthough"suchchildren"wereverydelightful "Thomas,Thomas!"saidMrs Kat,withanairofgravereproof,suchasshe sometimeswastedonherlivelyson;andThomaslookedupather,withroguish eyes,brimfulofmischief,andfairlycrowedwithglee,amethodofexpression thatheresortedtoingaymoments,asitwasstillanexertionforhimtotalk Whentheyoungpeoplewerefinallycarriedofftobed,everyonewentalong, for the gentlemen were all down town, and what better could the mothers and aunties than follow the procession headed by "Dramma," and watch the roguishimpsgetintotheirsnowylittlenests?Therewasmuchskirmishingand crowing,butitallendedinadolefulwail,forTomfelloutofbedandbumped hisprecioushead,andrefusedtobecomforted,inanyway,shape,orform,until Philipwasheardtoremarkwithadmiration: "Youstoodonyourhead,Tom,andwathstraightup,"andthatwasBalm-ofGileadtotheinfantilesoulofthatYoungAmerica,forheimmediatelyceasedto weep,andlookedcontent They all lingered there some time after the children had grown quiet, but finally went down stairs, and left Grandma rocking and watching, till the last little peeper should be closed, for she insisted on staying, as all the little folks werenotwithheralways,anddearlysheenjoyedeachmomentspentwiththem Down stairs, the sisters clustered about the fire, with all the old girlish love and glee, and looking at them, in that familiar group, very few changes were noticeable, for time brings few foot-prints if the heart is happy Bea wore a matronlylittlecapofbitsoflaceandbluebows,andheldinherarmsagleeful baby,withroguisheyesandsunnylittleringsofhair,whowasnamedafterdear grandma, and who obstinately refused to go "by-low," as any well regulated babyoughttodo,byseveno'clockintheevening KittieandKat,onthelounge withclaspedarmsasofold,lookedscarcelyawhitchanged,thoughtheywere both indelibly stamped with the grace and elegance of city ladies, and had fulfilledthepromiseingirlhood,bybecomingtrulyrefinedandlovelywomen Thelittlestoolbythefirewasnotvacant,fortheresatJeanasofold,withthe same sweet face and lovely eyes, only now she was taller than mama, and the still childish face wore a perfect happiness, for on the hand that supported her chin,thefirelightshowedaring,andinthesmilingeyesanyonecouldreadthe storyofit Olivewastheretoo Olive,ofwhomtheywereallsoproud,andwho wasstillOliveDering;andtimehadmadeherveryfairtolookupon;forenergy andpurposehadstampedherfaceindelibly,andthecleareyeswerebeautifulin their light of strength and happy content She was no longer a struggling girl, battling with all circumstances, and fighting her way into work, but a woman, restful, yet not resting, in perfect success; for every nerve was still alert to furtherprogress,andeverywishandambitionhadbeensacrificedtoonegreat desire, which would next year be satisfied; she was going to Europe Masters andtravelawaitedhereagerheart,and herownhandhadcarvedtheway Her studio in New York was filled with works; many homes, far and wide, owed theirpleasure,intheportrayedfaceofsomedearone,toherpencilorbrushes; and a large class, constantly increasing in size, trod the first pathways of art underhercarefulguidance Andsowithhardworkandeconomy,themoneyhad come in, and been laid away; and now at last, there was enough Mother and OliveweregoingtoEurope Iknowitisallveryniceandeasytocarryagirlthroughambitiousbattlesina book,andafteralapseofyears,whicharelefttotheimagination,tobringher out, glowing with success, and with her heart's desire realized It is done in a book this time; but Olive Dering's love and longing for art, her struggles, determination, and final success, are taken from the life of one who still lives, and who is now enjoying the perfect happiness earned by hard labor, in the galleries of the old masters There had been toil and troubles and trials; discouraging tears and times of despair, in the years through which we have slippedwithoutapause;butitwoulddonogoodtotellthemall;itisenoughto knowthatpatience,perseveranceandwillhadovercomethem,asthereisrarely acasewheretheywillnot "Next year this time we'll not be here together," said Kittie, breaking a long pause, such as will often come, when hearts are content with worldless communion "Whynot?"askedJean "MamaandOlivebeinginItaly,isnoreasonwhyyou shouldnotcomeandspendChristmaswithme." "Blessthebaby,tothinkshewillbemarriedthen,"exclaimedBea,caressing the brown head with loving hand "Every one gone from the old home but Jeanie,andshepresidingoverit,amarriedlady;tothinkofit,girls?" "So wags the world," said Kat with a brisk nod "I think it would be sad to come here and spend Christmas, with Olive and mama gone; but you must all cometoBoston,andifmyhouseisn'tbigenough,I'llhaveanadditionputon." "No,myhomeisbest,"putinKittiewithdecision "It'sbetweenyouall,and isplentybigenough Thatistheplace." "Yes, indeed," chimed in Pansy, who was now a tall pretty girl of ten, and perfectly devoted to mama "We want you to come to New York, and spoke aboutitbeforewelefthome;didn'twemama?" "Yes,andwe'llwageabriskwarwithanyonewhoputsinaclaim,soyouhad bettersubsideatoncemydear,"answeredKittiewithasmileathertwin,which lookedlikemostanythingexceptawar-likepreparation "There'sthegate,theboysarecoming,"wastheanswerofMrs Kat,andsure enough,therearoseaclatteroffeetontheporch,asmellofcigarsmokeinthe air,andincame"theboys,"withtheusualamountofnoise,whichboys,bigor little,invariablymake;andthengrandmacameflittingdownstairs,withasmile andawarning"hush;"andtheretheywerealltogether Supper was a gloriously gay meal, where every one's health was drank in fragrantcoffee,fromGrandmaDering,downtoPrince,whohadbeenreturned tothehomeofhisyouth,andwaspassinghislastdaysinpeacefulcontent,with just enough exercise to keep his old bones from rusting out too fast And then they talked of those who were gone from the circle: Father Dering, Ernestine, andlastly,dearoldUncleRidley,whohaddiedthatyear,andforwhomevery onehadsuchawarmlovingmemory After supper the boys went off to the library to smoke, and mother and daughtersclusteredtogetherinthedearoldsitting-room,tochatlovinglyasin otherdays;fornow,asthen,thesweetmotherlyface,towhichtheystilllooked for love, comfort, and praise, was the dearest in the world to them, and the loveliest,theyallthought,withitsserenehappysmileandcontentedlovingeyes "Hasanybodyanydisappointmentstotellto-night,"sheasked,lookingaround atthebrighthappyfaces,andrememberinganothernightlongago,whenthey allsatso,andtoldsuch "Yes, I've got one," announced Kat, just as briskly as she had done on that othernight "Ican't,tosavemylife,arriveatthepointwhereIwillalwayslook stately and unruffled, and ready to receive callers, in spite of babies and householdwork,asMrs McGregordoes,wholivesoppositeme Andthen,Ido believe that Thomas is going to be short and fat, instead of tall and slim, and frompresentindicationsIthinkhewillpreferbeingaclowntoanythingelsein theworld That'smydisappointment,andit'sjustaboutassensibleasmyother, butit'sthebestI'vegot What'syours,Kittie?" "Idon'tknow,I'msure,"answeredKittie,lookingdownintoPansy'supturned face, and laying her hand lovingly on the curly head "I have the dearest husband, and two of the most precious little daughters in the world, and what more could I ask? I always did want curly hair and black eyes, but Pansy has one,andLouisetheother,soI'mcontent TheonlydisappointmentIhave,isthat mamaandOlivewillnotbewithusnextChristmas." "Well,I'veaverysmallone,"saidBea,assherockedandtrotted,withavain attempttogetsmallBessie'seyesshut "Walterisn'tquiteaswellasIshouldlike to have him; he works too hard, poor fellow, and I want him to go off to the mountainsnextsummer,andgetrested,butwecan'tallaffordtogo,andhesays he will not go and leave me at home in the hot weather with the house and babies SoIcan'thelpworryingandwishingthatIcouldhelphimsomeway." "Youdohelphim,dear,"interposedMrs Deringpromptly "Youkeephome brightandhappy,andanticipateallhiswantsandwishes Intimesofweariness ortrouble,hehasyouandthedearbabiesforcomfort Youlove,sympathizeand helphiminathousandways,thewantofwhichhecouldnotdowithout." "And sew on his buttons," added Kat "Don't leave that out, for if he's anythinglikeRalph,it'samightybigitem." "Andhere'smylittlegirl,"continuedMrs Deringinamoment,andlooking downatJean,whoseheadlayinherlap "Hassheany?" "None,mama,"answeredJean,lookingupwithhappyeyes "Exceptthatyou aregoingaway,andthatUncleRidleyisnothere." "Surely,noonesupposesforaninstantthatIhaveany,"saidOlive,andevery oneshooktheirheadsinadecidednegative,exceptMrs Dering,andshelooked acrossintoOlive'seyeswithasmile,andOlive,catchingthelook,droppedthem tothefire,andsaidnomore Shehadintimatedthatshehadnone;butwasitso inthedepthsofherheart?Wasshequitecontent? "Youdoto-night,asyoudidbefore,andnooneasksmeformine,"saidMrs Deringwithasmile "DoyourightlyguessthatIhavenone?" "Wehopethatyouhavenone,mama,"saidBea,lovingly "Indeed,Ihavenot,mydeargirls;instead,asIsithereto-nightwithyouall aroundme,IwonderifIamfullygratefulforhowgoodGodhasbeentome I look at you, and I see in my girls just such good, true women as their father wouldhavethem,andIammore than content Iwouldthatthesethreevacant places might be filled to-night, but God knows best, and I feel only love, not regret No,mydeargirls,Ihavenodisappointmentsto-night,onlyaheartfullof happinessandcontent." Theyweresilentafterthatforalittlewhile,andthenBessdroppedtosleep, andOlivecrossedtoBea'sside,asthegentlemenwereheardcomingfromthe library "Letmetakeherupstairs,Bea—youlooktired;"andBeahandedtheprecious charge over, and Olive went slowly up stairs, with her arms tenderly clasped aboutthelittleform,hercheekslaidtothesoftbabyface,andalookinhereyes thatmothermighthavereadhadsheseenit Thesleepersalreadythere,andsprawledaboutincharacteristicattitudes,was asighttoholdone'sgaze Philip lay perfectly straight and orderly, with a sober countenance, and both hands crossed on his little stomach; while Tom, the tumbler, had completely reversedhimself,andlaywithhisfeetonthepillow,hisbodyinasnarl,andhis headjustreadytofallofftheedgewiththenextjerk Louisehaddispensedwith her pillow, it was on the floor, while she lay in the sweetest possible attitude, with one tiny hand under the dimpled cheek, on which the long, dark lashes restedsoftly,andoneweesnowylittlefootpeepedoutoftheclothes Olivelaid thebabyinitsnest,andcovereditwarmly,bendingmanytimestokisstherosy little face; then she righted Tom, restored the pillow, and removed some of Philip'scovering,asheseemedtobetoowarm;andthenshestoodstilllooking atthem Wassheperfectlyhappy,andquitecontent? The pale light that fell across her, as she stood there watching the sleepers, witheyesthatweretraitorouslyexpressive,wouldhavemadeaverydearpicture to one pair of eyes, had they not been too far away to rest on The grey dress which she wore, fell in colorless draperies, and the soft laces at her throat and wrists,wereverybecomingtotheclearskin Intherichdarkhair,wasawhite flower,thattouchedthetipofherearaswithacaress;butgreatestofallwasthe eyes,thatweregrowingdimwithtears,asshestoodthere Thefeelingthatwas inherheartwasnonewone,butto-nightitcamedifferentlyfromwhatitever had before Then it had only been a half defined loneliness that could be quenched with a little effort, and pass without a name; but to-night it came surging up and assumed shape and title before her eyes She had no claim on theselittleones;shewouldneverbeabletostandsoandwatchoneofherown initsinnocentsleep Wouldneverfeelthetenderhappinessofknowingthather blood beat in another little heart, that her life had given breath to its laughing lips, and the warm color to the dimpled cheeks In the room down stairs, each sisterhadherown;evenlittleJeanwouldsoonbeclaimedbyonetowhomshe wasdearerthanallelseintheworld;andinafewyearsmothermightbegone, andthen—successwashers Shehadworkedandwon Hernamewasonmany lips,andherfamespreading Thegoalshehadlookedforwardtoforyears,with eager heart, was hers at last, and while the anticipation, had in this case, lost nothing through possession; did it wholly satisfy her? Was there no corner, no longing, or want that brushes, oils, and inspiration failed to satisfy? Her eyes grewblindwithstrange,wistfultears,aqueerchokingfilledherthroat,andwith asuddenmovementshehadcrossedtheroomandkneltdownbythebaby Had she no disappointment? Would she not have said "come," to some one, still a wandererbeyondtheseas,haditbeeninherpower?Or,hadhestoodbeforeher, withtheold,oldlonging,wouldshehavedrawnbackandsaid:"MyartisallI want." Ah,indeed,UncleRidleyhadbeenright: "Asingleflamegiveslittlewarmth,andneedsakindredspark." Artwasnonethelessdear,butthewoman'shearthadasserteditself,andthere wasayearningpassionatecryforalovethatwouldanswertothat,whichhadso strangely grown within her heart, and which called for something more than a lifelessirresponsiveidol Sometimes, even out of books, the right thing happens just at the right moment;then,again,sometimesitdoesnot;butthisiswhathappenedjustatthat moment Someonehadbeenstandingintheshadowoutsidethedoor,forseveral moments and now entered, and crossing the room, stood beside her, kneeling there,andsaid: "Olive." Shestoodupquickly,andlookedathimforamoment,andknewhim,inspite of seven years' absence, and the bronze and change wrought by time and constant travel Yes, she knew him, for the eyes were the same, and wore the lookshehadseeninthemlast Itwasatruelovethathadbideditstime,andwon itsrewardatlast Shedidnotblushrosyred,asmostwomenwouldhavedone, butaspeechlessjoycameslowlyintohereyes,wherethetearsyetlay,andshe wasquitesilent "You have no welcome for me?" he asked, holding out his hand "Have I waitedsolong,andcomeinvain,atlast,Olive?" "No," she answered, finding her voice, and it sounded strangely sweet and glad,eventoherself,asshedrewnearerandlaidherhandinhis "Iamgladthat youcame;I—Ihavewishedthatyouwould." It was not a romantic place at all, with the three little tumbled beds and sleepers; the diminutive stockings, shoes, and slips, scattered about, and Philip unmistakablysnoring,asbecameaworn-outjudge Butasheclaspedthehand laid in his, and drawing her to him, kissed her gladly, I doubt if the most romanticspot,eithersidethesea,couldhavemadethatmeetingsweetertoeither ofthem "I was on the porch when you passed through the hall," said Roger, in a moment "I had been out there some little time watching you through the window, and studying your face, that I have so longed and hungered to see in theseyears,andIreadinitsuchcompletehappiness,thatmyheartfailedme I had waited till you should reach the perfect goal of your ambition, and should know what it was to own fame; and as I looked at you, to-night, I thought it satisfied your heart entirely So I was tempted to go away without having you sendme Whenyoucameintothehallwiththebaby,Ifollowedyouuphere— quite against my will As you stood here a few moments ago, and I saw that sadness creep into your face and eyes, I first thought that, perhaps, I had not comeinvain AndhaveyoureallywishedthatIwouldcome,Olive?" "Yes;neithermyworknormylifeisperfectwithoutyou,Roger,andIthink thatIhaveknownitforsometime,thoughIneversofullyconfessedittomyself as to-night I honestly sent you from me, and I honestly welcome you back I havenothingmoretowishfornow." Sotogethertheywentdownstairs,andthewanderer'swelcomefarexceeded hisstrongesthopes Anewrayoflightandjoyseemedbroughtintothatcircle, withthisnewunionofhands,hearts,andhappiness;andasMrs Deringkissed each of her girls good-night, she said, looking into Olive's eyes, with a loving smile: "Ifullybelieve,dear,thatnowyouhavenodisappointment." 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DeringwentuptotalktorepentantKat, the restof the familyallhurrieddownto the pond to view the disaster There was the gayly painted boat, floating idly backandforthwith the wind,outin the pond,and the girls expressedtheirgreat... CONGREVEWOULDCOMEINTO THE GALLERY Frontispiece 17 49 92 167 244 267 314 SIX GIRLS CHAPTERI UNDER THE TREES THERE were ripples of sunshine all tangled in the glowing scarlet of the geranium bed and dancing blithely... eveningathome;sonowonder the mealwasshortened,and the partybrokeup "Ohhownice!"criedJean,astheyreturnedto the sitting-room,whereintheir absence,abrightfirehadbeenbuiltin the grate,andfilled the roomwithawarm
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