“O Max, Max; just see!” cried Lulu, as he turned toward her again.
She had succeeded in her efforts, and was now holding up her hand in a way to display to advantage a very pretty gold ring.
“Yes; oh, I’m glad, Lu! And there’s something else, isn’t there?”
“Money! a good deal, isn’t it, Max?” she asked, holding out a crisp new bank-note.
“Five dollars,” he answered, taking it to the light. “And I have just the same; found it on my pillow, from papa; and s’pose yours is, too. A gold pencil from Mamma Vi was there also.”
“Yes; from papa,” she said, examining the writing on the back of the envelope from which she had taken the note, “and the ring’s from Mamma Vi. She always finds out just what I want. I’d rather have had a ring than almost anything else.”
“There, we have waked her and Gracie, I’m afraid,” said Max, in a tone of self-reproach, as the voices of the two were heard coming from the next room.
“Merry Christmas, Max and Lulu,” both called out in cheery tones, and the greeting was returned with added thanks to Violet for her gifts.
“I have some, too,” Gracie said; “a lovely picture-book and two kinds of money. I think I’m the richest.”
She had received a one-dollar bill, crisp and new like the others, and a quarter eagle in gold, and could not be convinced that the two did not amount to more than Max’s or Lulu’s five-dollar note.
The other members of the family had fared quite as well. The children had a very merry day; the older people were quietly happy.
There were fresh flowers on the graves in the family burial-ground, even the dead had not been forgotten. Elsie Travilla had been early bending over the lowly mound that covered all that was mortal of her heart’s best earthly treasure, and though the sweet face was calm and serene as was its wont, bearing no traces of tears, the cheery words and bright smile came readily in sympathy with the mirth of the younger ones; her father and older children, noting the occasional far-off look in the soft brown eyes, knew that her thoughts were ever and anon with the husband of her youth.
Whose souls have felt this one idolatry,
Can tell how precious is the slightest thing
Affection gives and hallows! A dead flower
Will long be kept, remembrancer of looks
That made each leaf a treasure.”
The whole family connection living in the neighborhood had dined at Ion that Christmas day, and several had stayed to tea. But all had now gone, the good-nights had been said among the members of the home circle, and Elsie Travilla was alone in her own apartments.
A little weary with the cares and excitement of the day, she was half reclining on a sofa, in dressing-gown and slippers, her beautiful hair unbound and rippling over her shoulders, beside her a jewel-box of ebony inlaid with mother-of-pearl.