Madame and Cousin Kate did not come home to lunch. She had been told that she must not go to see Jules until afternoon, and the doors of the room where the Christmas tree was kept had all been carefully locked. She thought that the morning never would pass. It was nearly three o’clock when she started over to see Jules. To her great surprise, as she ran lightly up the stairs to his room, she saw her Cousin Kate hurrying across the upper hall, with a pile of rose-colored silk curtains in her arms.
Jules tried to raise himself up in bed as Joyce entered, forgetting all about his broken leg in his eagerness to tell the news. “Oh, what do you think!” he cried. “They said that I might be the one to tell you. She is Uncle Martin’s sister, the old woman you told about yesterday, and he is going to bring her home to-morrow.”
Joyce sank into a chair with a little gasp at the suddenness of his news. She had not expected this beautiful ending of her day-dreams to be brought about so soon, although she had hoped that it would be sometime.
“How did it all happen?” she cried, with a beaming face. “Tell me about it! Quick!”
“Yesterday afternoon madame came over soon after you left. She gave me my wine jelly, and then went into Uncle Martin’s room, and talked and talked for the longest time. After she had gone he did not eat any dinner, and I think that he must have sat up all night, for I heard him walking around every time that I waked up. Very early this morning, madame came back again, and M. Greville was with her. They drove with Uncle Martin to the Little Sisters of the Poor. I don’t know what happened out there, only that Aunt Desire is to be brought home to-morrow.
“Your Cousin Kate was with them when they came back, and they had brought all sorts of things with them from Tours. She is in there now, making Aunt Desire’s room look like it did when she was a girl.”
“Oh, isn’t it lovely!” exclaimed Joyce. “It is better than all the fairy tales that I have ever read or heard,—almost too good to be true!” Just then Cousin Kate called her, and she ran across the hall. Standing in the doorway, she looked all around the freshly furnished room, that glowed with the same soft, warm pink that colors the heart of a shell.
“How beautiful!” cried Joyce, glancing from the rose on the dressing-table to the soft curtains of the windows, which all opened towards the morning sun. “What a change it will be from that big bare dormitory with its rows of narrow little cots.” She tiptoed around the room, admiring everything, and smiling over the happiness in store for poor old Number Thirty-one, when she should find herself in the midst of such loveliness.
Joyce’s cup of pleasure was so full, that it brimmed over when they turned to leave the room. Cousin Kate slipped an arm around her, and kissed her softly on the forehead.