“She’s coming! she’s coming! I saw her first!” was Lucy’s glad cry. And she ran down the mountain in haste, though the stage, a grayish green one, was just turning a curve at least a mile away.
“Well, you have been parted a good while,” said Uncle James, as the two dear friends met and embraced on the coach steps; “a day and a half!”
“I’d have ’most died if I’d waited any longer,” said Aunt Lucy, putting her arm around her niece and leading her up the gravel path with the pink “old hen and chickens” on either side.
The little girls were entirely unlike, and the contrast was pleasant to see. Lucy was very fair, with light curling hair:—
“Blue were her eyes
as the fairy flax,
Her cheeks like the dawn of day,
And her bosom white as the hawthorn buds
That ope in the month of May.”
Bab was quite as pretty, but in another way. She had brilliant dark eyes and straight dark hair with a satin gloss. She was half a head shorter than her “auntie,” though their ages were about the same. People liked to see them together, for they were always sociable and happy, and loved each other “dearilee.”
“Oh, Bab,” said wee Lucy, “I had such a loneness without you!”
“I had a loneness too, Auntie Lucy. Seemed as if the time never would go.”
And then the dark head and the fair head met again for more kisses, while both the mammas looked on and said, in low tones and with smiles, as they always did:—
“How sweet! Now we shall hear them singing about the place like two little birds.”
This was Tuesday. The days went on happily until Thursday afternoon, when “the Dunlee party,” which always included the Hales and Sanfords, set forth up the mountain for a sight of the famous “air-castle.” Of course Nate was with them, but this time not as a guide; the guide was Uncle James.
The road, though rather steep, was not a hard one. Mr. Dunlee had his alpenstock, and Uncle James walked beside him, holding little Eddo by the hand. Bab and Lucy, or “the little two,” as Aunt Vi called them, were side by side as usual, and Lucy had asked Bab to repeat the story of “Little Bo-Peep” in French, for Nate wanted to hear it. Bab could speak French remarkably well.
“Petit beau bouton
A perde ses moutons,
Il ne sais pas que les a pris.
O laissez les tranquille!
Ils se retournerons,
Chacun sa queue apres lui.”
Mrs. Dunlee and Kyzie were just behind the children, and while Bab was repeating the verse Kyzie said in a low tone:—
“Oh, mamma, let me walk with you all the way, please. There’s something I want to talk about.”
She looked so earnest that Mrs. Dunlee wondered not a little what it was her eldest daughter had to say.