At this instant the music paused. Susan heard the bleating of a lamb, and pressing eagerly forward, she beheld poor Daisy. She burst into tears. “I did not shed one tear when I parted with you, my dear little Daisy,” she said, “it was for my father and mother. I would not have parted with you for any one else in the whole world. Thank you, thank you all,” she added to her companions, who were even gladder for her in her joy than they had been sorry for her in her sorrow. “Now, if my father was not to go away from us next week, and if my mother were quite strong, I should be the happiest person in the world.” As Susan finished speaking, a voice behind the listening crowd cried, in a rough tone, “Let us pass, if you please; you have no right to block the road.” This was the voice of Attorney Case, who was returning with Barbara from his visit to the Abbey. He saw the lamb and tried to whistle as he went on. Barbara also saw the guinea-hen and turned her head another way. Even her new bonnet, in which she had expected to be so much admired, now only served to hide her blushing face.
“I am glad she saw the guinea-hen,” cried Rose, who now held it in her hands.
“Yes,” said Philip, “she’ll not forget Mayday in a hurry.”
“Nor I either, I hope,” said Susan, looking round upon her companions with a most loving smile: “I hope, while I live, I shall never forget your goodness to me last Mayday. Now that I’ve my pretty guinea-hen safe once more, I should think of returning your money.”
“No! no! no!” was the cry, “we don’t want the money—keep it—keep it—you want it for your father.”
“Well,” said Susan, “I am not too proud to accept it. I will keep your money for my father. Perhaps some time or other I may be able to earn——”
“Oh,” said Philip, “don’t let us talk of earning; don’t let her talk to us of money now; she hasn’t had time hardly to look at poor Daisy and her guinea-hen. Come, we had better go and let her have them all to herself.”
The children moved away, but Philip himself was the very last to stir from the garden-gate. He stayed, first, to tell Susan that it was Rose who tied the ribbons on Daisy’s head. Then he stayed a little longer to let her hear the story of the guinea-fowl, and to tell her who it was that brought the hen home from the Abbey.
As Philip finished speaking, Susan was already feeding her long-lost favorite. “My pretty guinea-hen,” said Susan, “my naughty guinea-hen that flew away from me, you shall never serve me so again. I must cut your nice wings, but I won’t hurt you.”
“Take care!” cried Philip, “you’d better, indeed you’d better let me hold her, while you cut her wings.”