An hour later a splendid dark chestnut, with silver mane and tail, round-limbed, with a high dainty head, small ears, and big nostrils, with a human eye, spirited and docile, was brought round, caparisoned for a lady, and Julia stood by him with his bridle in her hand, caressing and petting him, while waiting for something ere she mounted. “Your name shall not be ‘Silver-tail’ any longer; you are ‘Prince’”—whispering something in his ear. “Do you hear, Prince? You shall be my good friend, and serve me until your own true lord and master comes for you. Do you hope it will be soon?” Prince slightly shook his head, as if the wish was not his, at any rate. “Well, soon or late, you naughty Prince, he alone shall take you from my hand. Do you hear?” and being mounted, she galloped away.
April brightened out into May, and over all the beautiful fields, and woods, and hills of Newbury, came bright warm tints of the deepening season; and under the urgency of Julia, her mother and herself made their contemplated visit of thanks to the Wilders, who could at least be benefitted by their kindness to Julia, bearing a good many nice new things for Mrs. Wilder and Rose, and the two younger children. Julia, in her warmth, found everything about the neat log house and its surroundings quite attractive. The fields were new, but grass was fresh about the house, and shrubs and plants had been put out.
She had taken a strong liking to Rose, a tall, sweet, shy girl of seventeen, who had received her into her bed, and who now, in her bashful way, was more glad to see her than she could express. The house, in a lovely place, was sheltered by the near forest, and everything about it was as unlike what Julia remembered as could well be. It seemed to have changed its locality, and the one outside door opened on the opposite side. She went all about and around it; and out to the margin of the woods, gray and purple, and tenderest green, with bursting buds and foliage.
Her mother found Mrs. Wilder a comely, intelligent woman, who was immensely obliged by her visit, and thankful for her generous presents of dresses for herself, and Rose, and the children.
After dinner, Julia went with Rose out by the road into the woods, through which, a month ago, Bart had conducted her. She recognized nothing in the surroundings. How bright and sweet, with sun and flowers, the woods were, with great maple trees opening out their swollen buds into little points of leaves, like baby-fists into chubby fingers and thumbs. On they went down to the creek which flowed the other way. Julia remembered that they came up it to find the road, and they now turned down its bank. How sweet, and soft, and bright it looked, flecked with sunbeams, and giving out little gurgles of water-laughs, as if it recognized her—“Oh! it is you, is it, this bright day? Where is the handsome youth you clung to, on a winter morning, we know of? I know you!”—with its little ripples.