The house was large, of brown stone, and situated on H—— Street, in the city of P——.
As the servant opened the door, the hall light fell upon a face of strongly marked features, irradiated by an expression of almost youthful cheerfulness. To the inquiry, if Mr. and Mrs. Lansdowne were at home, the servant replied, that they were absent, but would return shortly.
“Miss Adele is in the drawing-room sir”, he added, immediately throwing open the door of that apartment, to its widest extent, as if to insure the entrance of Mr. Norton, for it was no other than the good missionary of Miramichi. He was still the warmly cherished and highly revered friend of the entire family.
Adele, a young lady of sixteen, was sitting on a low seat in the drawing-room, beneath a blaze of waxen candles, intently occupied with a new book. She gave a start, on being recalled so suddenly from the fancy land in which she was roaming, but after a moment of bewilderment, flung aside her book, came quickly forward, put her arms around the neck of Mr. Norton, who bent down to receive them, and welcomed him with a cordial kiss.
“Every day more and more like your mother, Miss Adele”, said he, as, after returning her salutation, he held her at arm’s length and surveyed her from head to foot.
“Papa and mamma will be home soon”, said Adele. “They went to dine at Mr. Holbrook’s. It is time for their return”.
“All right, my dear. And how are you all?”
The young lady led him to a large, cushioned arm-chair.
“How did you leave mamma Norton, Jenny, and Fanny?”
“All quite well. And they sent love;” replied the missionary.
“How is Gray Eagle?”
“Ah! Gray Eagle is good for many a trot round the parish yet”.
“I have not forgotten how he shot over the hills with me, last summer. He began his scamper, the moment I was fairly seated on his back. I hope he has sobered down a little since then”, said Adele.
“Yes, I remember. Gray Eagle knew well enough that the little sprite he carried, liked a scamper as well as himself. The animal is quite well, I thank you, and is on good behavior. So are your other acquaintances, Cherry, the cow, and Hodge, the cat”.
“I am glad to hear it. I had a charming visit at Rockdale last summer. Johnny and Gabrielle are wild to go there. But mamma and I, and all of us, were so disappointed because you would not consent to Fanny and Jenny coming to spend the winter with us. Mamma says she does not quite understand yet why you objected”.
“Ah! well, my dear, I’ll make it all right with your mamma. The fact is, I wish to get a few rational ideas into the heads of those precious little ladies before they are launched out into city life. Just a little ballast to keep them from capsizing in a gale”.
“Mamma says they are both very much like you”, said Adele, archly.