Pausing in the hall, she pointed out the precise spot where the little scene had been enacted between herself and him who was afterward her husband, telling the story between a smile and a tear, then moved on up the stairs with her little procession.
Opening a door, “This was my room,” she said, “or rather my room was here before the old house was burned down. It looks just the same, except that the furniture is different.”
Then passing on to another, “This was papa’s dressing-room. I have passed many happy hours here, sitting by his side or on his knee. It was here I opened the trunk full of finery and toys that he brought me a few days before that Christmas.
“Papa,” turning smilingly to him, and pointing to a closed door on the farther side of the room, “do you remember my imprisonment in that closet?”
“Yes,” he answered, with a remorseful look, “but don’t speak of it. How very ready I was to punish you for the most trifling fault.”
“Indeed, papa,” she answered earnestly, “it was no such trifle, for I had disobeyed a plain order not to ask a second time for permission to do what you had once forbidden.”
“True; but I now see that a child so sensitive, conscientious and affectionate as you were, would have been sufficiently punished by a mild rebuke.”
“A year or two later you discovered and acted upon that,” she said, with an affectionate look up into his face. “But at this time you were a very young father; and when I remember how you took me on your knee, by the fire there, and warmed my hands and feet, petting and fondling me, and what a nice evening I had with you afterward, I could almost wish to go through it all again.”
“Hark! what was that?” exclaimed Rosie.
Every one paused to listen.
There was a sound of sobbing as of a child in sore distress, and it seemed to come from the closet.
“There’s somebody shut up there now,” Walter said in a loud, excited whisper. “Grandpa, can’t she be let out?”
Arthur strode hastily across the room and threw the closet door wide open.
There was no one there. They glanced at each other in surprise and perplexity.
“Ah, ha, ah, ha! um, h’m! ah, ah! the lassie’s no there, eh?” said a voice behind them, and turning quickly at the sound, whom should they see but Mr. Lilburn standing in the open doorway leading to the hall.
“But we know all about her now, sir,” said Arthur with a laugh, in which he was joined by every one present.
“Evil communications corrupt
—1 Cor. 15:33.
The one drawback upon Max’s perfect enjoyment of his new home was the lack of a companion of his own age and sex; the only boys in the family connection, or among the near neighbors, were nearly grown to manhood or very little fellows.