Nancy’s eyes brightened. If it was to do so much good, then she had done right. It must be that she really ought to be on her way towards the little house, and Sue had promised to return with her.
And now the train, which had been flying along, slackened its speed, and a frowzy-haired brakeman thrust his head into the car doorway, shouting something, Nancy could not tell what.
“Here we are,” said Sue, as she rose to her feet.
Nancy slipped from the seat, and together they left the car and stepped out upon the platform. “I didn’t ask ye ef ye wanted ter bring anything with yer?” said Sue. “Ye could hev packed a little bag with anything ye’d want while ye was here.”
“Why, what should I want to bring in a bag?” Nancy asked in surprise.
“I didn’t know but you’d want a apron, a night-gown, or something,” Sue replied.
Nancy stood still in the middle of the road, and stared at Sue.
“A night-dress! Why, aren’t you coming back with me to-night?”
“Why, Nancy, don’t stop there. I thought I told ye that yer aunt wanted yer ter visit her.”
“You said she wanted to look at me, and that she had something to give me, and something to tell me, but that wouldn’t take long, and I ought to go home to-night.”
“But there’s no train home ter-night, Nancy. This is a little town, an’ there’s only two er three trains a day. Ye must hev told in yer letter that ye was goin’ ter visit yer aunt, didn’t yer?”
“I don’t know whether I said visit or not, but truly I didn’t think you meant to stay over night,” Nancy replied.
“Wal, I guess ye said so, an’ here’s the street. It’s only a lane, an’ that little bit of a house where the cat sits on the step is the one where yer aunt lives. It’s kind er cosy, ain’t it?”
Nancy did not notice Sue’s question. She was looking at the little house, the tiny fruit-trees in the yard, and the white cat that sat upon the upper step, washing its face in the sun.
The place looked very poor and small after the Dainty mansion and the trim stone cottage. But small though it was, it looked far better than the old house in the city where Steve Ferris had taken her, when he had stolen her from her home and friends.
Nancy could not help making friends with the white cat, and it purred with delight at being noticed. Sue slipped a key into the lock, and opened the door. They entered the tiny hall, and the white cat followed them, as they walked towards a little room at the rear.
“Is that you, Sue? Did ye see her? Did she come?” called a thin, tired voice.
Sue opened the door of the sitting-room and Nancy ran in, all sympathy now for the aunt who was really ill.
Mrs. Ferris lay upon an old carpet-covered lounge, and she raised herself upon her elbow to look at Nancy as she stood before her.