Mrs. Ross was full of cares and anxieties, and one day she unburdened her heart to her childhood’s friend.
They were sitting alone together on the veranda upon which Mrs. Travilla’s room opened, waiting for the summons to the tea-table.
“I have no peace of my life, Elsie,” Lucy said fretfully; “one can’t help sympathizing with one’s children, and my girls don’t seem happy like yours.
“Kate’s lively and pleasant enough in company, but at home she’s dull and spiritless; and though Gertrude has made what is considered an excellent match, she doesn’t seem to enjoy life; she’s easily fretted, and wants change and excitement all the time.”
“Perhaps matters may improve with her,” Elsie said, longing to comfort Lucy. “Some couples have to learn to accommodate themselves to each other.”
“Well, I hope it may be so,” Lucy responded, sighing as though the hope were faint indeed.
“And Kate may grow happier, too; dear Lucy, if you could only lead her to Christ, I am sure she would,” Elsie went on low and tenderly.
Mrs. Ross shook her head, tears trembling in her eyes.
“How can I? I have not found him myself yet. Ah, Elsie, I wish I’d begun as you did. You have some comfort in your children; I’ve none in mine.
“That is,” she added, hastily correcting herself, “not as much as I ought to have, except in Phil; he’s doing well; yet even he’s not half so thoughtful and affectionate toward his father and mother as your boys are. But then of course he’s of a different disposition.”
“Your younger boys seem fine lads,” Elsie said; “and Sophie has a winning way.”
Lucy looked pleased, then sighed, “They are nice children, but so wilful; and the boys so venturesome. I’ve no peace when they are out of my sight, lest they should be in some danger.”
“Oh, Lord! methought what
pain it was to drown!”
Cousin Ronald was a great favorite with his young relatives. Harold and Herbert had long since voted him quite equal, if not superior to Captain Brice as a story-teller; his narratives were fully as interesting, and beside always contained a moral or some useful information.
There were tales of the sea, wild tales of the Highlands and of the Scottish Border; stories of William Wallace, of the Bruce and the Black Douglass, in all of which the children greatly delighted.
Mr. Lilburn’s ventriloquial powers were used for their amusement also, and altogether they found him a very entertaining companion.
Rosie holding a shell to her ear one day, was sent into ecstasies of delight, by hearing low, sweet strains of music, apparently coming from the inside of it.
At another time, as she stooped to pick up a dead crab while wandering along the beach, she started back in dismay at hearing it scream out in a shrill, tiny voice, “Don’t touch me! I’ll pinch you, if you do.”