“Well, it’s queer if he loved me so well as that, and yet would let me fall and be so awfully injured. What’s this? You didn’t have it before you came North,” taking hold of the gold chain about Elsie’s neck.
Out came the little watch and Elsie told about the aching tooth and the trip to New York to have it extracted.
“Seems to me,” was Molly’s comment, “you have all the good things: such a nice mother and everything else. Such a good father too, and mine was killed when I was a little bit of a thing; and mother’s so cross.
“But Dick’s good to me; dear old Dick,” she added, looking up at him with glistening eyes as he came in and going up to her couch, asked how she was.
“You’d better go to sleep now,” he said. “You’ve been talking quite awhile, haven’t you?”
At that Elsie slipped quietly away and went in search of her mother.
She found her alone on the veranda looking out meditatively upon the restless moonlit waters of the sea.
“Mamma,” said the child softly, “I should like a stroll on the beach with you. Can we go alone? I want to talk with you about something.”
“Come then, daughter,” and hand in hand they sought the beach, only a few yards distant.
It was a clear still night, the moon nearly at the full, and the cool salt breeze from the silver-tipped waves was exceedingly refreshing after the heat of the day; which had been one of the hottest of the season.
For a while they paced to and fro in silence; then little Elsie gave her mother the substance of her conversation with Molly in which the latter expressed her disbelief in God’s love for her because he had not prevented her fall. “Mamma,” she said in conclusion, “how I wished you were there to make her understand.”
“Poor child!” said the mother, in low, moved tones, “only he who permitted this sore trial can convince her that it was sent in love.”
“But you will talk to her, mamma?”
“Yes, when a suitable opportunity offers; but prayer can do more for her than any words of ours, addressed to her.”
The presence of Molly and her mother proved a serious drawback to the enjoyment of our party during the remainder of their sojourn at the seashore. The burden fell heaviest upon Elsie and her children, as the principal entertainers, and the mother had often to counsel patience and forbearance, and to remind her darlings of their promise to be ready to do all they could for the comfort and happiness of the sufferer.
All made praiseworthy efforts to fulfil their engagement, and Elsie and Vi, particularly the former, as nearest to Molly in age, and therefore most desired by her as a companion, gave up many a pleasure excursion for her sake, staying at home to talk with and amuse her when all the rest were out driving or boating.