“Tommy says his name is Sprinter; but Uncle St. Bernard calls him Whisky. I wonder which is the prettiest,” said Tessa.
“I should call him Whisky out of compliment to Uncle St. Bernard,” said Mrs. Ralston.
“He certainly does whisk,” said Tessa. “But then—Tommy gave him to me.” She spoke with tender eyes upon a young mongoose that gambolled at her feet. “Isn’t he a love?” she said. “But he isn’t nearly so pretty as darling Scooter,” she added loyally. “Is he, Aunt Mary?”
“Not yet, dear,” said Mrs. Ralston with a smile.
“I wish Uncle St. Bernard and Tommy would come,” said Tessa restlessly.
“I hope you are going to be very good,” said Mrs. Ralston.
“Oh yes,” said Tessa rather wearily. “But I wish I hadn’t begun quite so soon. Do you think Uncle St. Bernard will spoil me, Aunt Mary?”
“I hope not, dear,” said Mrs. Ralston.
Tessa sighed a little. “I wonder if I shall be sick on the voyage Home. I don’t want to be sick, Aunt Mary.”
“I shouldn’t think about it if I were you, dear,” said Mrs. Ralston sensibly.
“But I want to think about it,” said Tessa earnestly. “I want to think about every minute of it. I shall enjoy it so. Dear Uncle St. Bernard said in his letter the other day that we should be like the little pigs setting out to seek their fortunes. He says he is going to send me to school—only a day school though. Aunt Mary, shall I like going to school?”
“Of course you will, dear. What sensible little girl doesn’t?”
“I’m sorry I’m going away from you,” said Tessa suddenly. “But you’ll have Uncle Jerry, won’t you? Just the same as Aunt Stella will have darling Uncle Everard. I think I’m sorriest of all for poor Tommy.”
“I daresay he will get over it,” said Mrs. Ralston. “We will hope so anyway.”
“He has promised to write to me,” said Tessa rather wistfully. “Do you think he will forget to, Aunt Mary?”
“I’ll see he doesn’t,” said Mrs. Ralston.
“Oh, thank you.” Tessa embraced her tenderly. “And I’ll write to you very, very often. P’raps I’ll write in French some day. Would you like that?”
“Oh, very much,” said Mrs. Ralston.
“Then I will,” promised Tessa. “And oh, here they are at last! Take care of Whisky for me while I go and meet them!”
She was gone with the words—a little, flying figure with arms outspread, rushing to meet her friends.
“That child gets wilder and more harum-scarum every day,” observed Lady Harriet, who was passing The Grand Stand in her carriage at the moment. “She will certainly go the same way as her mother if that very easy-going parson has the managing of her.”
The easy-going parson, however, had no such misgivings. He caught the child up in his arms with a whoop of welcome.
“Well run, my Princess Bluebell! Hullo, Tommy! Who are you saluting so deferentially?”