“I s’pose so, mamma. But I wish it didn’t be your will to have me learn lessons to-day.”
Elsie was forced to smile in spite of herself. With another slight caress she asked, “Do you think I love you, Eddie?”
“Oh yes, yes mamma, I know you do, and I love you too: indeed I do dearly, dearly!” he burst out, throwing his arms about her neck. “And I know you just want to make me good and happy and that your way’s always best. So I won’t be naughty any more.”
At that there was a general exclamation of delight from the other three, who had been silent, but deeply interested listeners, and all crowded round mamma vying with each other in bestowing upon her tender caresses and words of love.
Each had felt more or less disinclination for the regular routine of work, but that vanished now, and they went through their allotted tasks with more than usual spirit and determination.
Ah what a sweetener of toil is love! love to a dear earthly parent, and still more love to Christ: there is no drudgery in the most menial employment where that is the motive power.
“Put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite.” —PROVERBS xxiii. 2.
The happy day came, full soon to the fathers and mothers, at long last to the eager expectant children.
Old Mr. Dinsmore had accepted a pressing invitation from his granddaughter and her husband, to join the party, and with the addition of servants it was a large one.
As they were in no haste, and the confinement of a railroad car would be very irksome to the younger children, it had been decided to make the journey by water.
It was late in the afternoon of an unusually warm, bright November day that they found themselves comfortably established on board a fine steamer bound for New Orleans.
There were no sad leave-takings to mar their pleasure, the children were in wild spirits, and all seemed cheerful and happy as they sat or stood upon the deck watching the receding shore as the vessel steamed out of the harbor.
At length the land had quite disappeared; nothing could be seen but the sky overhead and a vast expanse of water all around, and the passengers found leisure to turn their attention upon each other.
“There are some nice looking people on board,” remarked Mr. Travilla, in an undertone, to his wife.
“Beside ourselves,” added Cousin Ronald, laughing.
“Yes,” she answered; “that little group yonder: a young minister and his wife and child, I suppose. And what a dear little fellow he is just about the age of our Harold, I should judge.”
“Yes, mamma,” chimed in the last named young gentleman, “he’s a nice little boy. May I go speak to him? May I, papa?”
Permission was given and the next moment the two stood close together each gazing admiringly into the other’s face.