“Now ’en! now ’en!” she almost screamed, her eyes sparkling with delight. “’Iss is dinner!—’Ou don’t have dinner every day, Miss Mellidif!”
“Be quiet, Ducky,” said her aunt, as she called her. “You mustn’t make any remarks.”
“Ducky ain’t makin’ no marks,” returned the child, looking anxiously at the table-cloth, and was quiet but not for long.
“Lisbef say surely papa’s sip come home wif ’e nice dinner!” she said next.
“No, my ducky,” said Mr. Drake: “it was God’s ship that came with it.”
“Dood sip!” said the child.
“It will come one day and another, and carry us all home,” said the minister.
“Where Ducky’s yeal own papa and mamma yive in a big house, papa?” asked Amanda, more seriously.
“I will tell you more about it when you are older,” said Mr. Drake. “Now let us eat the dinner God has sent us.” He was evidently far happier already, though his daughter could see that every now and then his thoughts were away; she hoped they were thanking God. Before dinner was over, he was talking quite cheerfully, drawing largely from his stores both of reading and experience. After the child was gone, they told Juliet of their good fortune. She congratulated them heartily, then looked a little grave, and said—
“Perhaps you would like me to go?”
“What!” said Mr. Drake; “does your friendship go no further than that? Having helped us so much in adversity, will you forsake us the moment prosperity looks in at the window?”
Juliet gave one glance at Dorothy, smiled, and said no more. For Dorothy, she was already building a castle for Juliet—busily.
After tea, Mr. Drake and Dorothy went out for a walk together—a thing they had not once done since the church-meeting of acrid memory in which had been decreed the close of the minister’s activity, at least in Glaston. It was a lovely June twilight; the bats were flitting about like the children of the gloamin’, and the lamps of the laburnum and lilac hung dusky among the trees of Osterfield Park.
Juliet, left all but alone in the house, sat at her window, reading. Her room was on the first floor, but the dining-room beneath it was of low pitch, and at the lane-door there were two steps down into the house, so that her window was at no great height above the lane. It was open, but there was little to be seen from it, for immediately opposite rose a high old garden-wall, hiding every thing with its gray bulk, lovelily blotted with lichens and moss, brown and green and gold, except the wall-flowers and stone-crop that grew on its coping, and a running plant that hung down over it, like a long fringe worn thin. Had she put her head out of the window, she would have seen in the one direction a cow-house, and in the other the tall narrow iron gate of the garden—and