Mr. Travilla had already expressed the same sentiments to Mr. Daly, and so the poor minister and his wife accepted the invitation with glad and thankful hearts, and Harold and Frank learned with delight that they were to live together for what to their infant minds seemed an almost interminable length of time.
The passage to New Orleans was made without accident or detention.
As our party left the vessel a voice was heard from the hold, crying in dolorous accents, and a rich Irish brogue, “Och captin dear, help me out, help me out! I’ve got fast betwane these boxes here, bad cess to ‘em! an’ can’t hilp mesilf at all, at all!”
“Help you out, you passage thief!” roared the captain in return, “yes I’ll help you out with a vengeance, and put you into the hands of the police.”
“Ah ha! um h’m ah ha, you’ll have to catch him first,” remarked Mr. Lilburn with a quiet smile; stepping from the plank to the wharf as he spoke.
“Ah, cousin, you are incorrigible!” said Elsie, laughingly.
“The fields did laugh, the flowers did freshly
The trees did bud and early blossoms bear,
And all the quire of birds did sweetly sing,
And told that garden’s pleasures in their caroling.”
—SPENSER’S FAERY QUEEN
Nothing could be lovelier than was Viamede as they found it on their arrival.
The children, one and all, were in an ecstasy of delight over the orange orchard with its wealth of golden fruit, glossy leaves, and delicate blossoms, the velvety lawn with its magnificent shade trees, the variety and profusion of beautiful flowers, and the spacious lordly mansion.
They ran hither and thither jumping, dancing, clapping their hands and calling to each other with shouts of glee.
The pleasure and admiration of the older people were scarcely less, though shown after a soberer fashion. But no check was put upon the demonstrations of joy of the younger ones: they were allowed to gambol, frolic, and play, and to feast themselves upon the luscious fruit to their hearts’ content.
Nor was the gladness all on the side of the new arrivals: to the old house servants, many of whom still remained, the coming of their beloved young mistress and her children had been an event looked forward to with longing for years.
They wept for joy as they gathered about her, kissed her hand and clasped her little ones in their arms, fondling them and calling them by every endearing name known to the negro vocabulary.
And the children, having heard a great deal, from both mamma and mammy, about these old people and their love and loyalty to the family, were neither surprised, nor displeased, but quite ready to receive and return the affection lavished upon them.
The party from Lansdale arrived only a few days after the others, and were welcomed with great rejoicings, in which even Bruno must have a share: he jumped and gamboled about Harry and May, tried to kiss the babies, and finally put his nose into Aunt Wealthy’s lap, saying, “Ye’re a dear auld leddy, ma’am, and I’m glad ye’ve come!”