“Nonsense! A year and nearly two months—”
“Well, it soon will be two years! I never saw the time fly so! It goes like a Bandersnatch!”
“Does that mean you’re so happy, Patty?”
“It means exactly that! Oh, I want to live forever! I am so happy! I didn’t know life with you and Fleurette would be so beautiful as it is!”
“Is it, dearest? I’m so glad,” and the big man looked at his dainty, sweet little wife with his whole soul in his fine clear blue eyes.
“Your eyes are wonderful, Billee, dear,” said Patty, meeting his glance lovingly; “did your mother have blue eyes,—or your father?”
“Both of them did. I was thought to look more like mother, as a kiddy,—but they were both fair haired and blue eyed.”
“You never knew your mother much, did you?”
“No, she died when I was very small. And father, when I was about ten. Then, as I’ve told you, I lived four years with Aunt Amanda—”
“Yes; in a small settlement,—hardly even a village,—called Horner’s Corners.”
Patty laughed. “What a darling name! How could anybody call a place that! Suppose it had grown to be a large city.”
“Then they would probably have changed the name. Perhaps they have already done so,—I haven’t heard from there for years.”
“Why didn’t you keep up your relatives’ acquaintance?”
“Well, Aunt Amanda died, later, and her husband never cared much for me, anyhow. So we drifted apart, and never drifted together again.”
“Wasn’t your aunt your mother’s sister?”
“Oh, Lord, no! She was not really my aunt, at all. She was a cousin of my father’s and when she took me in, I called her auntie. But they only took me because they wanted my help on the place, and I worked hard for them four years. They gave me no affection, nor even thanks for my services, and as I couldn’t learn anything or make any sort of progress in that God-forsaken valley, I left them and shifted for myself.”
“And made a great success of the shifting!” Patty’s eyes glowed as she looked at her big handsome husband.
“Yes, I found you! And, incidentally that little flower of loveliness that’s going to sleep against your breast.”
“So she is! Pretty thing!” Patty gazed adoringly at the baby and then handed her over to the nurse, who returned for her charge.
“Tell me more about Horner’s Corners,” Patty resumed, as they remained seated on the porch, after Fleurette’s departure.
“Not much to tell. It consisted of a store and post-office,—a church and school,—and forty or fifty small houses. Uncle Thorpe’s place was a mile out from the Corners, proper, and I used to trudge back and forth every day for the mail, and for provisions. And part of the time I went to school. The teacher was a nice young girl, but we boys led her a dance! How we did plague her!” and Bill laughed at the recollection.