“Oh, yes, you will,” said Mrs. Harding, “when you find she is exerting herself to give you pleasure.”
“Am I going with her to-morrow morning?”
“Yes. She wanted you to go to-day, but your clothes were not in order.”
“We shall come back at night, shan’t we?”
“I presume so.”
“I hope we shall,” said Ida, decidedly, “and that she won’t want me to go with her again.”
“Perhaps you will feel differently when it is over, and you find you have enjoyed yourself better than you anticipated.”
Mrs. Harding exerted herself to fit Ida up as neatly as possible, and when at length she was got ready, she thought with sudden fear: “Perhaps her mother will not be willing to part with her again.”
When Ida was ready to start, there came upon all a little shadow of depression, as if the child were to be separated from them for a year, and not for a day only. Perhaps this was only natural, since even this latter term, however brief, was longer than they had been parted from her since, in her infancy, she had been left at their door.
The nurse expressly desired that none of the family should accompany her, as she declared it highly important that the whereabouts of Ida’s mother should not be known.
“Of course,” she added, “after Ida returns she can tell you what she pleases. Then it will be of no consequence, for her mother will be gone. She does not live in this neighborhood. She has only come here to see her child.”
“Shall you bring her back to-night?” asked Mrs. Harding.
“I may keep her till to-morrow,” said the nurse. “After seven years’ absence her mother will think that short enough.”
To this, Mrs. Harding agreed, though she felt that she should miss Ida, though absent but twenty-four hours.
The nurse walked as far as Broadway, holding Ida by the hand.
“Where are we going?” asked the child, timidly. “Are you going to walk all the way?”
“No,” said the nurse; “not all the way—perhaps a mile. You can walk as far as that, can’t you?”
They walked on till they reached the ferry at the foot of Courtland Street.
“Did you ever ride in a steamboat?” asked the nurse, in a tone meant to be gracious.
“Once or twice,” answered Ida. “I went with Brother Jack once, over to Hoboken. Are we going there now?”
“No; we are going to the city you see over the water.”
“What place is it? Is it Brooklyn?”
“No; it is Jersey City.”
“Oh, that will be pleasant,” said Ida, forgetting, in her childish love of novelty, the repugnance with which the nurse had inspired her.
“Yes, and that is not all; we are going still further,” said the nurse.
“Are we going further?” asked Ida, in excitement. “Where are we going?”