“Unhappy, father? here in your arms and perfectly certain of your dear love?” she exclaimed, lifting to his eyes full of joy and love. “No, indeed! I don’t believe there is a happier girl in the land or in the whole world for that matter. Oh, you are so good to me and all your children! How very generous you were to-day to Grace and me in letting us buy so many lovely presents to carry home with us! I am often afraid, papa, that you do without things yourself to give the more to us. Oh, I hope you don’t!”
“You need not be at all troubled on that score” he said, patting her cheek and smiling down into her eyes. “I have abundance of means and can well allow my daughters such pleasures. ’It is more blessed to give than to receive,’ and when I give to you, and you use my gift in procuring something for another, it gives us both a taste of that blessedness.”
“So it does, papa, and oh, what a good place this is for making purchases! there are so many, many lovely things to be found in the various buildings.”
“And we meet so many relatives and friends from various quarters. But that gives us the pain of a good many partings,” and again he looked keenly at her as he spoke.
“Yes, sir,” she said, “but one can always hope to meet again with those one cares particularly about; so I don’t feel that I need to mourn while I have you, my dear father, and Mamma Vi and the little brother and sisters left; and I’m content and more than content, except that I miss dear Max and can’t help wishing he were here to see and enjoy all that we do.”
“Yes; dear boy! I wish he could be,” sighed the captain. Then, with another caress, “Go now to your bed, daughter; it is high time you were there,” he said.
“Just one minute more, please, papa, dear,” she entreated, with her arm about his neck. “Oh, I can’t understand how Rosie can think of leaving her mother for Mr. Croly or any other man. I could never, never want to leave you for anybody else in the wide world.”
“I am glad and thankful to hear it, dear child,” he said, with another tender caress and good-night.
Circumstances seemed to favor the scheme of the captain, Violet, and Lucilla, for the family and their guests had scarcely left the breakfast table when there was a new arrival, a boat hailing the yacht and discharging several passengers, who proved to be Annis’ sisters, Mildred and Zillah, and her brother, the Rev. Cyril Keith.
It was an unexpected arrival, but they were most cordially welcomed and urgently invited to spend as much of their time on the yacht as could be spared from sight-seeing on shore. They were of course soon introduced to Mr. Lilburn—already known to them by reputation—and presently informed of the state of affairs between him and their sister. They were decidedly pleased with the old gentleman, yet grieved at the thought of so wide a separation between their dear youngest sister and themselves.