“Oh, yes!” he said, with a good-humored laugh. “Well, I think you may trust me not to tell. But how about all the others? Walter, especially?”
“Oh, he doesn’t remember anything about it; and grandpa and mamma and all the rest have promised not to tell.”
“And you are quite sure Rosie may be trusted not to let the secret slip out unintentionally?” he asked, pinching her round rosy cheek.
“I hope so,” she said, laughing and running away.
Opening the library door and seeing Lulu there curled up in the corner of a sofa with a book, she stepped in, shutting the door behind her.
Lulu looked up.
“Shall I disturb you if I talk?” asked Rose.
“I’m ready to listen,” answered Lulu, half closing her book. “What have you to say?”
“Oh, that Cousin Ronald Lilburn is coming, and I’m ever so glad, as you would be, too, if you knew him.”
“I never heard of him,” said Lulu. “Is he a boy? is he older than Max?”
“I should think so!” cried Rosie, with a merry laugh. “He has grown-up sons, and he looks a good deal older than grandpa.”
“Pooh! then why should I care about his coming!” exclaimed Lulu, in a tone of mingled impatience and contempt.
“Why, because he’s very nice and kind to us children, and tells us the loveliest stories about the brownies in Scotland and about Bruce and Wallace and the black Douglass and Robin Hood and his merry men, and—oh, I can’t tell you what all!”
“Oh, that must be ever so nice!” cried Lulu, now as much pleased and interested in the news of the expected arrival as Rosie could desire.
In which the children have some fun.
In the uppermost story of the house at Ion was a large play-room furnished with a great variety of toys and games—indeed almost everything that could be thought of for the amusement of the young folks, from Walter up to Max.
But the greatest delight of the last named was in the deft handling of the tools in an adjoining apartment, called the boys’ work-room. There he found abundance of material to work upon, holly scroll and fret saws, and a well-stocked tool chest.
Edward had given him a few lessons at the start, and now he had become so expert as to be turning out some really beautiful pieces of carving, which he intended to give to his friends at Christmas.
Lulu, too, was learning scroll-sawing, and thought it far preferable to any sort of needle-work; sometimes more enjoyable than playing with her dolls.
They were there together one afternoon, both very busy and chatting and laughing as they worked.
“Max,” said Lulu, “I’m determined to learn to do scroll-sawing and carving just as well as ever I can, and make lovely things! Maybe I can contrive new patterns or designs, or whatever they call ’em, and after a while make ever so much money, enough to pay for my clothes and everything, so that papa won’t have to spend any of his money on me.”