“Lemme see, Lil Missus; what room?”
“The front room up stairs, Uncle Squire, with the sweet-brier roses climbing in the window, and the beautiful red and black rag carpet Mam’ Sarah made.”
“Jes’ so, Lil Missus; what bed?”
“The great high bed, with the posts and tester and muslin ruffle, I remember Aunt Betsy put a little Bible in my hand as soon as I was born, and shut my fingers down tight on it, because she wanted me to love the Bible first, before every thing.”
“Jes’ so, Lil Missus; jes’ so. I allers sed you wuzer sharp one. But who’d s’poze, now, you cud rikerlec so fur back? He-he-he.”
Roberta cuddled down, like a kitten, on the rug before the blazing fire, and looked delightedly at her mother and father.
“Real papas are so much nicer than make-believe papas. I don’t think I can play that way again; it makes me hungry to see the difference. O, I wish Uncle Charlie was here, too, and that other one.”
“I would like to see Uncle Charlie, too” (Colonel Marsden turned laughingly to his wife), “but I don’t wish he was here. I remember what a pet he was of yours in the old days, love—the curly-haired scamp. He could wheedle you and Aunt Betsy out of any thing he wanted. Such a tender heart he had—mad as fire one minute, and tears in his eyes the next—but withal so fearless and high-minded and lovable.”
“God bless and watch over him,” Mrs. Marsden softly added, “and bring him back safely to us all, my dear, my only brother.”
“Amen,” responded Colonel Marsden.
Good-bye to Roberta Marsden’s child-life on the old farm! Good-bye to the child mind that thought no evil; to the child-heart that reached out to all other hearts, and drew them within a charmed circle of affection! Good-bye to the kindly black faces that the child loved, and the simple, homely lives she saw so much beauty in! Good-bye to the old house that she loved, with Carlo, the watchdog, dozing on the porch in the sunshine; and the peafowl close by, spreading his wondrous-hued tail and strutting; to the old parlor, with its quaint papering and quaint furnishing suggesting dead and gone generations!
Good-bye to the old farm, with its peaceful, busy days; its glad days and its sad days; its merry songsters and its whip-poor-wills; its old-time industries and its hearty hospitalities! Good-bye!
***End of the project gutenberg EBOOK that old-time child, Roberta***
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