“What is it, little wife?” he asked; “your face is grave almost to sadness.”
“I was thinking,” she answered, with her eye still upon her father’s letter open in her hand. “Papa says,” and she read aloud from the sheet, “How long you are lingering in Viamede. When will you return? Tell Travilla I am longing for a sight of the dear face his eyes are feasting upon, and he must remember his promise not to part us.
“I am writing in your boudoir. I have been thinking of the time (it seems but yesterday) when I had you here a little girl, sitting on my knee reciting your lessons or listening with almost rapt attention to my remarks and explanations. Never before had tutor so dear, sweet, and interesting a scholar!”
“A fond father’s partiality,” she remarked, looking up with a smile and blush. “But never, I am sure, was such another tutor; his lucid explanations, intense interest in the subject and his pupil, apt illustrations, and fund of information constantly opened up to me, made my lessons a delight.”
“He has made you wonderfully well informed and thorough,” said her husband.
She colored with pleasure.
“Such words are very sweet, coming from your lips. You appreciate papa.”
“Yes, indeed, and his daughter too, I hope,” he answered, smiling fondly upon her. “Yes, your father and I have been like brothers since we were little fellows. It seems absurd to think of him in any other relation.”
“But what about going home? isn’t it time, as papa thinks?”
“That you shall decide, ma chere; our life here has been very delightful to me, and to you also, I hope.”
“Very, if we had your mother and papa and mamma and the children here, I should like to stay all winter. But as it is I think we ought to return soon.” He assented, and after a little more consultation they decided to go soon—not later than the middle of the next week, but the day was not set.
“The low reeds bent
by the streamlet’s side,
And hills to the thunder peal replied;
The lightning burst on its fearful way
While the heavens were lit in its red array.”
—WILLIS GAYLORD CLARK.
“Thither, full fraught
with mischievous revenge
Accurs’d, and in a cursed hour he hies.”
—MILTON’S PARADISE LOST.
They were alone that evening, and retired earlier than usual. They had been quietly sleeping for some time when Elsie was wakened by a sudden gust of wind that swept round the house, rattling doors and windows; then followed the roll and crash of thunder, peal on peal, accompanied with vivid flashes of lightning.
Elsie was not timid in regard to thunder and lightning; she knew so well that they were entirely under the control of her Father, without whom not a hair of her head could perish; she lay listening to the war of the elements, thinking of the words of the Psalmist, “The clouds poured out water: the skies sent out a sound; Thine arrows also went abroad. The voice of Thy thunder was in the heaven; the lightnings lightened the world, the earth trembled and shook.”