“I have been looking at advertisements,” he said; “and, now that baby is out of danger, I shall begin the search in earnest.”
“Can we afford a big house, and handsome furniture, papa?” queried Lulu.
“And to keep carriage and riding horses?” asked Max.
“I hope my children have not been so thoroughly spoiled by living in the midst of wealth and luxury, that they could not content themselves with a moderately large house, and plain furniture?” he said gravely.
“I’d rather live that way with you, than have all the fine things, and you not with us, dear papa,” Lulu said, putting her arm round his neck, and laying her cheek to his.
“And I,” said Max and Grace.
“And I,” he responded, smiling affectionately upon them, “would prefer such a home with my children about me, to earth’s grandest palace without them. Millions of money could not buy one of my treasures!”
“Not me, papa?” whispered Lulu tremulously, with her lips close to his ear.
“No, dear child, not even you,” he answered, pressing her closer to his side. “You are no less dear than the others.”
“I deserve to be,” she said with tears in her voice. “It would be just and right, papa, if you did not love me half so well as any of your other children.”
She spoke aloud this time, as her father had.
“We all have our faults, Lu,” remarked Max, “but papa loves us in spite of them.”
“’God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,’” quoted the captain. “If God so loved me, while yet his enemy, a rebel against his rightful authority, I may well love my own children in spite of all their faults, even were those faults more and greater by far than they are.”
“Then, papa, I think we should love you well enough to try very hard to get rid of them,” returned Max.
“And the wonderful love of God for us should constrain us to hate and forsake all sin,” said his father. “The Bible bids us to ’be followers of God as dear children.’ And oh, how we should hate sin when we remember that it crucified our Lord!”
There was a momentary silence: then the children began talking joyfully again of the new home in prospect for them, and their hopes and wishes in regard to it.
Their father entered heartily into their pleasure, and encouraged them to express themselves freely, until the clock, striking nine, reminded him that more than the allotted time for the interview had passed. Then he bade them say good-night, and go to their beds, promising that they should have other opportunities for saying all they wished on the subject.
“’Tis easier for the generous to forgive
Than for offence to ask it.”
In passing through the hall on his way from Lulu’s room to the nursery, Capt. Raymond met “grandma Elsie.”