“Well, perhaps,” she answered coquettishly. “And the lessons? will you hear them, too, before breakfast?”
“If you wish it, dear.”
“The beginning of strife
is as when one letteth out water:
therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with.”
Zoe went to bed that night and rose again the next morning a happy little woman.
The song was sung, the performance eliciting warm praise from the solitary listener.
Then they had a delightful ride together, all before breakfast, and she brought to the table such dancing eyes and rosy cheeks that Mr. Lilburn could not refrain from complimenting her upon them, while the rest of the older people smiled in approval.
“She looks younger than ever,” remarked Miss Deane, sweetly. “It is quite impossible to realize that she is married.”
“It is altogether possible for me to realize that she is my own dear little wife,” said Edward, regarding Zoe with loving, admiring eyes. “A piece of personal property I would not part with for untold gold,” he added with a happy laugh.
“And we all think our Zoe is quite old for so young a husband,” said Elsie, bestowing upon the two a glance of smiling, motherly affection.
It was a busy season with Edward, and he was compelled to leave the entertainment of the guests through the day to his mother and other members of the family.
Zoe excused herself from any share in that work on the plea that she was too young to be companionable to the ladies, spent some hours in diligent study, then walked out with the children.
“I have two sets of lessons ready for you,” was her greeting to Edward, when he came in late in the afternoon.
“Have you, dear?” he returned, taking the easy-chair she drew forward for him. “Then let me hear them. You must have been an industrious little woman to-day.”
“Tolerably; but you know one set was ready for you yesterday.”
“Ah, yes; you were industrious then, also. And I dare say it is rather stupid work studying alone.”
“Not when one has such a nice teacher,” she answered sportively. “Praise from your lips is sweeter than it ever was from any other but papa’s,” she added, tears trembling in her eyes.
He was glad to be able, on the conclusion of the recitation, to give it without stint.
She flushed with pleasure, and helping herself to a seat upon his knee, thanked him with a hug and kiss.
“Easter holidays begin next week,” he remarked, putting an arm about her and returning her caress; “do you wish to give up your studies during that time?”
“No,” she said; “I’ve wasted too much time during the past few weeks, and I’d rather take my holidays in the very warm weather.”
“That is what mamma’s and grandpa’s pupils are to do,” he said. “They are invited to both the Oaks and the Laurels in May and June, to spend some weeks at each place. And you are included in both invitations.”