He rose, and gently putting her into the chair he had been occupying, he handed her Lizzie’s letter. “That’s the trouble, mother,” he said; “it might have been worse—that’s all I can say. You must read it for yourself, it’d choke me to do so if I was to try,” and he went away to the door and stood there gazing out at the sunny garden where the daffodils bowed gently before the soft breeze, and the crocuses opened their golden cups to the sun. But he saw nothing, all his mind was given to his wife, and the letter she was reading, and to wondering how she would bear it, and what he could say to comfort her.
At last a long low cry reached him, and he turned hastily back into the kitchen; but, instead of seeing her white and shaken and weeping, as he was prepared to see her, the face that looked up to him was quivering with eagerness and love and joy.
“She’s sending us her little one, father!” she gasped in a voice quavering with glad excitement. “Lizzie’s little girl, our own little grandchild! We shall have a child about the place again, something to love and work for. You see, Lizzie turns to us in her trouble, poor girl, and it must be a terrible trouble to her,” with a momentary sadness dimming the joy in her eyes. “But, oh, I am so thankful, so happy.” Then, springing to her feet, “I am well now! this is the medicine I wanted. Father, when do you think she will come? I must get the place all nice and tidy, and a room ready for her, in good time too, and it seems to me I’d best set to work at once or I shall never get a half done!”
Thomas did not say much, his heart was too full for speech, but the inexpressible relief he felt showed in his face and his blue eyes. “I’m glad you takes it like that, mother,” he said simply, “I was afraid.”
“Afraid! afraid of what? That I shouldn’t want her!”
But at that moment the kettle boiled over with a great hiss, and brought them back to everyday affairs again.
“Well, any way,” said Thomas, with a happy smile on his pleasant old face, “we can allow ourselves time for a bit of breakfast, or maybe when she does come we shall be past speaking a word to show her she’s welcome,” and while both of them laughed over his little joke, he made the long-delayed cup of tea, and, though both were too excited to eat, they sat down together to their breakfast.
Unwell though she had been, Mrs. Dawson would not let her husband do a single thing indoors to help her in preparation for the little newcomer.
“No. Men is only in the way,” she said decidedly. “I shall get on twice as fast if you leave me the place to myself.” So, knowing that she meant what she said, Thomas went out and set to work in the garden, for, of course, that must be made trim, too, for the little five-year-old grandchild. He forked over the earth in all the beds, tied up to a stick every daffodil that did not stand perfectly upright by itself, trimmed the sweetbriar hedge, and swept the paths.