How Anthea came home
“Lord!” said Adam, pausing with a chair under either arm, “Lord, Mr. Belloo sir,—I wonder what Miss Anthea will say?” with which remark he strode off with the two chairs to set them in their accustomed places.
Seldom indeed had the old hall despite its many years, seen such a running to and fro, heard such a patter of flying feet, such merry voices, such gay, and heart-felt laughter. For here was Miss Priscilla, looking smaller than ever, in a great arm chair whence she directed the disposal and arrangement of all things, with quick little motions of her crutch-stick. And here were the two rosy-cheeked maids, brighter and rosier than ever, and here was comely Prudence hither come from her kitchen to bear a hand, and here, as has been said, was Adam, and here also was Bellew, his pipe laid aside with his coat, pushing, and tugging in his efforts to get the great side-board back into its customary position; and all, as has also been said, was laughter, and bustle, and an eager haste to have all things as they were,—and should be henceforth,—before Anthea’s return.
“Lord!” exclaimed Adam again, balanced now upon a ladder, and pausing to wipe his brow with one hand and with a picture swinging in the other, “Lord! what ever will Miss Anthea say, Mr. Belloo sir!”
“Ah!” nodded Bellew thoughtfully, “I wonder!”
“What do you suppose she’ll say, Miss Priscilla, mam?”
“I think you’d better be careful of that picture, Adam!”
“Which means,” said Bellew, smiling down into Miss Priscilla’s young, bright eyes, “that you don’t know.”
“Well, Mr. Bellew, she’ll be very—glad, of course,—happier I think, than you or I can guess, because I know she loves every stick, and stave of that old furniture,—but—”
“But!” nodded Bellew, “yes, I understand.”
“Mr. Bellew, if Anthea,—God bless her dear heart!—but if she has a fault—it is pride, Mr. Bellew, Pride! Pride! Pride!—with a capital P!”
“Yes, she is very proud.”
“She’ll be that ’appy-’earted,” said Adam, pausing near-by with a great armful of miscellaneous articles, “an’ that full o’ joy as never was! Mr. Belloo sir!” Having delivered himself of which, he departed with his load.
“I rose this morning—very early, Mr. Bellew,—Oh! very early!” said Miss Priscilla, following Adam’s laden figure with watchful eyes, “couldn’t possibly sleep, you see. So I got up,—ridiculously early,—but, bless you, she was before me!”
“Oh dear yes!—had been up—hours! And what—what do you suppose she was doing?” Bellew shook his head.