“Where to?” Paul asked. After all, it couldn’t do any harm—Hilary would think it one of their “pretend” talks, and it would he nice to have some definite basis to build on later.
“Anywhere,” Hilary answered. “I would like to go to the seashore somewhere; but most anywhere, where there were people and interesting things to do and see, would do.”
“Yes,” Pauline agreed.
“There’s Josie,” Hilary said, and her sister drew rein, as a girl came to the edge of the walk to speak to them.
“Going away?” she asked, catching sight of the valise.
“Only out to the Boyds’,” Pauline told her, “to leave Hilary.”
Josie shifted the strap of school-books under her arm impatiently. “‘Only!’” she repeated. “Well, I just wish I was going, too; it’s a deal pleasanter out there, than in a stuffy school room these days.”
“It’s stupid—and you both know it,” Hilary protested. She glanced enviously at Josie’s strap of hooks. “And when school closes, you’ll be through for good, Josie Brice. We shan’t finish together, after all, now.”
“Oh, I’m not through yet,” Josie assured her. “Father’ll be going out past The Maples Saturday morning, I’ll get him to take me along.”
Hilary brightened. “Don’t forget,” she urged, and as she and Pauline drove on, she added, “I suppose I can stick it out for a week.”
“Well, I should think as much. Will you go on, Fanny!” Pauline slapped the dignified, complacent Fanny with rather more severity than before. “She’s one great mass of laziness,” she declared. “Father’s spoiled her a great deal more than he ever has any of us.”
It was a three-mile drive from the village to The Maples, through pleasant winding roads, hardly deserving of a more important title than lane. Now and then, from the top of a low hill, they caught a glimpse of the great lake beyond, shining in the afternoon sunlight, a little ruffled by the light breeze sweeping down to it from the mountains bordering it on the further side.
Hilary leaned back in the wide shaded gig; she looked tired, and yet the new touch of color in her cheeks was not altogether due to weariness. “The ride’s done you good,” Pauline said.
“I wonder what there’ll be for supper,” Hilary remarked. “You’ll stay, Paul?”
“If you promise to eat a good one.” It was comforting to have Hilary actually wondering what they would have.
They had reached the broad avenue of maples leading from the road up to the house. It was a long, low, weather-stained house, breathing an unmistakable air of generous and warm-hearted hospitality. Pauline never came to it, without a sense of pity for the kindly elderly couple, who were so fond of young folks, and who had none of their own.
Mrs. Boyd had seen them coming, and she came out to meet them, as they turned into the dooryard. And an old dog, sunning himself on the doorstep, rose with a slow wag of welcome.