“A hoax was it?” asked Mr. Travilla. “Well, I’m glad things are no worse. Run home my son, and change your clothes; you’re quite wet.”
“I fear I owe you an apology, sir,” said Mr. Lilburn; “but the fact is I’d a great desire to try the mettle of the lads, and I believe they’re brave fellows, both, and not lacking in that very useful and commendable quality called presence of mind.”
“Thank you, sir,” Mr. Travilla said, turning upon his boys a glance of fatherly pride that sent a thrill of joy to their young hearts.
“Nursed by the virtues she
From childhood’s hour.”
“Count all th’ advantage prosperous vice attains,
’Tis but what virtue flies from and disdains;
And grant the bad what happiness they would,
One they must want—which is to pass for good.”
Mrs. Travilla was sitting on the veranda of the hotel, reading a letter her husband had handed her at the tea-table, when Violet came rushing toward her in wild affright.
“Mamma, mamma, something’s wrong! something’s happened! Herbie just came running up from the beach, calling for the life boat, and papa and Eddie have gone back with him running as fast as they can. Oh, I’m afraid Harold or Rosie has fallen into the water!” she added bursting into hysterical weeping.
Her mother rose hastily, thrusting the letter into her pocket, pale but calm.
“Daughter dear, we will not meet trouble half way. I do not think it could be they; for they are not disobedient or venturesome. But come.” And together they hurried toward the beach.
In a moment they perceived that their fears were groundless, for they could see their dear ones coming to meet them.
Violet’s tears were changed to laughter as Harold gave a humorous account of “Cousin Ronald’s sell,” as he called it, and the latter’s praise of the boy’s bravery and readiness to respond to the cry for help, brought proud, happy smiles to the lips and eyes of both mother and sisters.
Elsie had joined them; Mrs. Ross, too, and a handsome, richly dressed, middle-aged lady, whom she introduced as her friend, Mrs. Faude, from Kentucky.
They, as Lucy afterward told Elsie, had made acquaintance the year before at Saratoga, and were glad to meet again.
Mrs. Faude was much taken with Elsie and her daughters, pleased, indeed, with the whole family, and from that time forward sought their society very frequently.
Elsie found her an entertaining companion, polished in manners, refined, intelligent, highly educated and witty; but a mere worldling, caring for the pleasures and rewards of this life only.
She was a wealthy widow with but one child, a grown up son, of whom she talked a great deal.