“You said you would like it if you were in her place,” observed Daisy, “and I know I should. I thought so when you told me.”
“But, Daisy, she is wicked!”
“Well, Jesus loves wicked people,” said Daisy calmly. “Maybe she will wear a white robe in heaven, and have a crown of gold upon her head.”
“Daisy!—she is wicked,” exclaimed Nora indignantly. “Wicked people do not go to heaven.”
“Yes, but if Jesus gives them his white robe, they do,” said Daisy. “He came to save wicked people.”
“I don’t want to talk any more about Molly Skelton,” said Nora. “Look, Daisy!—there’s the old mother squirrel peeping out of her hole. Do you see? Now she is coming out—see her black eyes! now there’s her beautiful feather tail!”—
This subject was to the full as interesting to Daisy as it was to her friend; and in watching the grey family in the walnut tree and trying to induce them to come near and get some almonds, the rest of the afternoon flew by. Only the “mother squirrel” could be tempted near; but she, older in experience and wisdom than her young ones, did venture into the neighbourhood of the children, attracted by the nuts they threw down; and getting pretty close to them, before she would venture quite so far as where the nuts lay, she sat down on her haunches to look and see whether all were safe; curling her thick, light plume of a tail up along her back, or whisking it about in various lines of beauty, while her bright little black eyes took all the observations they were equal to. It was unending amusement for the children; and then to see Mrs. Bunny finally seize an almond and spring away with it, was very charming. So the afternoon sped; nor ever brought one moment of weariness, until the summons came to bid the children into the house again to tea.
After tea the doctor took Daisy in his gig and drove her home. The drive was unmarked by a single thing; except that just as they were passing the cripple’s house Daisy broke silence and asked,
“Is that woman—Molly Skelton—is she very poor, Dr. Sandford?”
“If to live on charity be poor. I do not suppose the neighbours let her suffer.”
“Is she cross to everybody, Dr. Sandford?”
“She has the name of it, I believe, Daisy. I really do not remember whether she was cross to me or not.”
“Then you know her?”
“Yes. I know everybody.”
The family at Melbourne were found just taking their late tea as the doctor and Daisy entered. They were met with complaints of the heat; though Daisy thought the drawing room was exceeding pleasant, the air came in at the long windows with such gentle freshness from the river. The doctor took a cup of tea and declared the day was excellent if you only rode fifty miles through the heat of it.
“Coolness is coolness, after that,” he said.