There was still time for a walk before school, but first Vi went to Molly to ask how she was, and to carry her a letter from Dick which had come by the morning mail.
Dick was in Philadelphia studying medicine. He and Molly corresponded regularly and she knew no greater treat than a letter from him. Vi was glad she could carry it to her this morning, it was so great a pleasure to be the bearer of anything so welcome.
There were no pleasanter or better furnished rooms in the house than those appropriated to the use of the poor, dependent crippled cousin. Molly herself tastefully and becomingly dressed, blooming, bright and cheerful, sat in an invalid chair by the open window. She was reading, and so absorbed in her book that she did not hear the light step of her young relative.
Vi paused in the doorway a moment, thinking what a pretty picture Molly made—with her intellectual countenance, clear complexion, rosy cheeks, bright eyes and glossy braids—framed in by the vine-wreathed window.
Molly looked up, and laying aside her book, “Ah, Vi, this is kind!” she said. “Come in, do; I’m ever so glad to see you.”
“And what of this?” asked Vi, holding up the letter.
“Oh, delightful! dear old fellow, to write so soon. I was not expecting it till to-morrow.”
“I knew you’d be glad,” Vi said, putting it into her hand, “and now I’ll just kiss you good-morning and run away, that you may enjoy it fully before lesson time.”
Rosie’s voice was summoning Vi. The children were in the veranda ready for their morning walk, waiting only for “Sister Vi.”
“Let’s go to the Oaks,” said Rosie, slipping her hand into Vi’s; “it’s a nice shady walk, and I like to throw pebbles into the water. But I’ll feed the fishes first. See what a bag full of crumbs mammy has given me.”
Violet was very patient and indulgent toward the little pet sister, yet obliged to cut short her sport with the pebbles and the fishes, because the hour for lessons drew near.
“The lilies faintly to the roses yield,
As on thy lovely cheek they struggling vie,
And thoughts are in thy speaking eyes revealed,
Pure as the fount the prophet’s rod unseal’d.”
“Dr. Arthur lef’ dis for you, Miss Wi’let,” said one of the maids, meeting her young mistress on the veranda and handing her a note.
“Cousin Arthur? was he here?”
“Yes, miss. He axed for you, but hadn’t no time to stop, not even to see po’ Miss Molly. ’Spect somebody’s mighty sick.”
Arthur Conly had entered the medical profession, and for the last two years had been practicing in partnership with Dr. Barton.
Vi glanced over the note and hastened to Eddie, whom she found in the schoolroom, its only occupant at the moment.