So swiftly had the time passed away, that, till Aunt Lucinda made this remark, my mother had failed to notice the lateness of the hour, and, obeying the hint, she at once offered to conduct her to her room with an apology for having failed to remember that she must be very much fatigued. My aunt was very willing to retire, saying she would be bright enough in the morning, but for to-night she did feel about done out. As for Charley and I, we had so much to say that sleep was out of the question, and, after retiring to our room, we sat for a long time at the open window, enjoying the beautiful moonlight which fell upon the familiar scenes of Elmwood, and talking of all that had befallen us during the past year, till Aunt Lucinda called at our door saying, in a tone which Charley thought decidedly cross, “Do you shut that window this minnit, boys, and go to bed; here it is nearly midnight, and not a wink of sleep has there been in this house. How do you expect we shall all feel to-morrow morning I should like to know? and besides you will take the awfulest cold that ever was heard of, if you sit there by the open window, in this night air.” To please my aunt I closed the window, and Charley and I retired, and if we talked longer our conversation was carried on in a whisper, so fearful were we of again disturbing Aunt Lucinda. I doubt very much if there was that night a happier family in Elmwood than the one which rested beneath the roof of our little brown cottage.
Happy days pass swiftly. The meeting of the friends at Elmwood was indeed a joyful reunion and each one seemed anxious to do their utmost to contribute to the enjoyment of the other. My mother suspended all regular employment (for the time being) and gave her undivided attention to the entertainment of Aunt Lucinda, and she fully appreciated the kind attentions of my mother and little sister Flora; for, notwithstanding her seemingly cold and crusty exterior, she had really a kindly heart, and real affection from others ever met with a hearty response: although one to whom she it was not well-known would have set her down as a hard, unfeeling disposition; and I am inclined to think my Aunt Lucinda not the only one who is regarded by the generality of people as cold and unfriendly, for the simple reason that they do not take the trouble of looking beyond their often rough exterior, and discover the kindly feelings which remain hidden till called forth by the voice of sympathy and friendship. Although in very moderate circumstances my mother often assisted those who were less favoured, especially when the sick and suffering required care and attention. Aunt Lucinda often accompanied her in these ministrations, and seemed to take pleasure in rendering her assistance in the chambers of sickness which my mother visited. My mother seldom visited in a social way but to add to the enjoyment of her sister she at this time accepted