“Debby!” she cried hysterically. A great flood of joy swamped her soul. She was not alone in the world, after all! Dutch Debby uttered a little startled scream. “I’ve come back, Debby, I’ve come back,” and the next moment the brilliant girl-graduate fell fainting into the seamstress’s arms.
A SHEAF OF SEQUELS.
Within half an hour Esther was smiling pallidly and drinking tea out of Debby’s own cup, to Debby’s unlimited satisfaction. Debby had no spare cup, but she had a spare chair without a back, and Esther was of course seated on the other. Her bonnet and cloak were on the bed.
“And where is Bobby?” inquired the young lady visitor.
Debby’s joyous face clouded.
“Bobby is dead,” she said softly. “He died four years ago, come next Shevuos.”
“I’m so sorry,” said Esther, pausing in her tea-drinking with a pang of genuine emotion. “At first I was afraid of him, but that was before I knew him.”
“There never beat a kinder heart on God’s earth,” said Debby, emphatically. “He wouldn’t hurt a fly.”
Esther had often seen him snapping at flies, but she could not smile.
“I buried him secretly in the back yard,” Debby confessed. “See! there, where the paving stone is loose.”
Esther gratified her by looking through the little back window into the sloppy enclosure where washing hung. She noticed a cat sauntering quietly over the spot without any of the satisfaction it might have felt had it known it was walking over the grave of an hereditary enemy.
“So I don’t feel as if he was far away,” said Debby. “I can always look out and picture him squatting above the stone instead of beneath it.”
“But didn’t you get another?”
“Oh, how can you talk so heartlessly?”
“Forgive me, dear; of course you couldn’t replace him. And haven’t you had any other friends?”
“Who would make friends with me, Miss Ansell?” Debby asked quietly.
“I shall ‘make out friends’ with you, Debby, if you call me that,” said Esther, half laughing, half crying. “What was it we used to say in school? I forget, but I know we used to wet our little fingers in our mouths and jerk them abruptly toward the other party. That’s what I shall have to do with you.”
“Oh well, Esther, don’t be cross. But you do look such a real lady. I always said you would grow up clever, didn’t I, though?”
“You did, dear, you did. I can never forgive myself for not having looked you up.”
“Oh, but you had so much to do, I have no doubt,” said Debby magnanimously, though she was not a little curious to hear all Esther’s wonderful adventures and to gather more about the reasons of the girl’s mysterious return than had yet been vouchsafed her. All she had dared to ask was about the family in America.