“I am so sorry!” exclaimed Joyce, with such heartfelt earnestness that the sobbing woman felt the warmth of her sympathy, and looked up with a brighter face.
“Talk to me,” she exclaimed. “It has been so long since I have heard your language.”
While she obeyed Joyce kept thinking of her Grandmother Ware. She could see her outdoors among her flowers, the dahlias and touch-me-nots, the four-o’clocks and the cinnamon roses, taking such pride and pleasure in her sweet posy beds. She could see her beside the little table on the shady porch, making tea for some old neighbor who had dropped in to spend the afternoon with her. Or she was asleep in her armchair by the western window, her Bible in her lap and a smile on her sweet, kindly face. How dreary and empty the days must seem to poor old Number Thirty-one, with none of these things to brighten them.
Joyce could scarcely keep the tears out of her voice while she talked. Later, when Sister Denisa came back, Joyce was softly humming a lullaby, and Number Thirty-one, with a smile on her pitiful old face, was sleeping like a little child.
“You will come again, dear mademoiselle,” said Sister Denisa, as she kissed the child good-by at the door. “You have brought a blessing, may you carry one away as well!”
Joyce looked inquiringly at madame. “You may come whenever you like,” was the answer. “Marie can bring you whenever you are in town.”
Joyce was so quiet on the way home that madame feared the day had been too fatiguing for her. “No,” said Joyce, soberly. “I was only thinking about poor old Number Thirty-one. I am sorrier for her than I was for Jules. I used to think that there was nothing so sad as being a little child without any father or mother, and having to live in an asylum. I’ve often thought how lovely it would be to go around and find a beautiful home for every little orphan in the world. But I believe, now, that it is worse to be old that way. Old people can’t play together, and they haven’t anything to look forward to, and it makes them so miserable to remember all the things they have had and lost. If I had enough money to adopt anybody, I would adopt some poor old grandfather or grandmother and make’m happy all the rest of their days.”
Christmas plans and an accident.
That night, when Marie came in to light the lamps and brush Joyce’s hair before dinner, she had some news to tell.
“Brossard has been sent away from the Ciseaux place,” she said. “A new man is coming to-morrow, and my friend, Clotilde Robard, has already taken the position of housekeeper. She says that a very different life has begun for little Monsieur Jules, and that in his fine new clothes one could never recognize the little goatherd. He looks now like what he is, a gentleman’s son. He has the room next to monsieur’s, all freshly furnished, and after New Year a tutor is coming from Paris.