“Oh,” exclaimed Grace, “I am glad I didn’t live in those dreadful days!”
“Yes,” said her father, “we have great reason for gratitude that the lines have fallen to us in such pleasant places, and times of peace.”
The Dolphin lay at anchor in Mackinaw Bay only a day or two, in which time her passengers visited the fort, the village, and the cave of which Captain Raymond had spoken as the scene of that dreadful slaughter of the French by the Indians; then started on the return voyage to Chicago.
They were still favored with pleasant weather, and passed most of the time on deck. Mr. Lilburn seemed to appreciate the society of Miss Annis Keith, generally contriving to get a seat in her immediate vicinity, and to engage her in conversation; that did not strike anyone as strange, however, for Annis was a general favorite with both old and young, she showing a cousinly regard for all her relatives; especially for Mrs. Travilla; for the two had been almost lifelong friends. In these few days that they had been together they had had many private chats in which they recalled their early experiences at Pleasant Plains and the Oaks, and Elsie had urged Annis to return with her to Ion and spend the coming winter there.
This invitation Annis was considering, and the more she thought upon it the stronger grew her inclination to accept it. But she must go home first to make some arrangements and preparations, she said.
The two were conversing together thus, as they drew near the end of their little trip, not caring that their talk might be audible to those about them.
“Surely it is not necessary that you should take much time for preparation, Annis,” remarked Mr. Dinsmore. “We of Ion and its vicinity have abundance of stores and dress-makers near at hand. And you would better see all that you can of the Fair now, for it will soon be a thing of the past.”
“That is true, Cousin Annis,” said the captain; “you would better stay with us and see as much as possible.”
“You are all very kind, cousins,” she answered. “But I fear I am crowding you.”
“Not at all,” he and Violet replied, speaking together; the latter adding, “We have all slept comfortably, and in the daytime there is certainly abundance of room.”
“If you don’t stay, Cousin Annis,” Rosie said, with a merry look, “we will have to conclude that you have not had room enough to make you quite comfortable.”
“Then I certainly must stay,” returned Annis, with a smile, “if my going would give so entirely false an impression; since I have had abundance of room and a most delightful time.”
“Then you will stay on?”
“Yes, for a while; but I must go home for a day or two at least before leaving for the South.”
“We will let you know our plans in season for that,” the captain promised, and the thing was considered settled.