There was a very large elm-tree before the door, with steps to climb up, and seats among the branches. Marco went up there and sat some time, looking down upon the coaches as they wheeled round the tree, in coming up to the door. Then he went down to the piazza again.
[Illustration: The great elm]
There was a neatly-dressed young woman, with a little flower-pot in her hand, standing near him, waiting for her turn. There was a small orange-tree in her flower-pot. It was about six inches high. The sight of this orange-tree interested Marco very much, for it reminded him of home. He had often seen orange-trees growing in the parlors and green-houses in New York.
“What a pretty little orange-tree!” said Marco. “Where did you get it?”
“How did you know it was an orange-tree?” said the girl.
“O, I know an orange-tree well enough,” replied Marco. “I have seen them many a time.”
“Where?” asked, the girl.
“In New York,” said Marco. “Did your orange-tree come from New York?”
“No,” said the girl. “I planted an orange-seed, and it grew from that. I’ve got a lemon-tree, too,” she added, “but it is a great deal larger. The lemon-tree grows faster than the orange. My lemon-tree is so large that I couldn’t bring it home very well, so I left it in the mill.”
“In the mill?” said Marco. “Are you a miller?”
The girl laughed. She was a very good-humored girl, and did not appear to be displeased, though it certainly was not quite proper for Marco to speak in that manner to a stranger. She did not, however, reply to his question, but said, after a pause,
“Do you know where the Montpelier stage is?”
The proper English meaning of the word stage is a portion of the road, traveled between one resting-place and another. But in the United States it is used to mean the carriage,—being a sort of contraction for stage-coach.
“No,” said Marco, “we are going in that stage.”
“I wish it would come along,” said the girl, “for I’m tired of watching my trunk.”
“Where is your trunk?” said Marco.
So the girl pointed out her trunk. It was upon the platform of the piazza, near those belonging to Forester and Marco. The girl showed Marco her name, which was Mary Williams, written on a card upon the end of it.
“I’ll watch your trunk,” said Marco, “and you can go in and sit down until the stage comes.”