Ellen had heard this conversation. Later in the morning she was alone for a minute with Gladys, and the little girl said:—
“Don’t you think it would be nice, Ellen, when we get home, to make up a box of pretty things and send to Faith and Ernest?”
“I do, that,” replied the surprised Ellen.
“I’m going to ask mother if I can’t send them my music-box. They haven’t any piano.”
“Why, you couldn’t get another, Gladys.”
“I don’t care,” replied the child firmly. “It would be so nice for evenings and rainy days.” She swallowed, because she had not grown tired of the music box.
Ellen put her hands on the little girl’s brow and cheeks and remembered the sobbing in the night. “Do you feel well, Gladys?” she asked, with concern. This unnatural talk alarmed her.
“I never felt any better,” replied the child.
“Well, I wouldn’t say anything to them about the music-box, dearie.”
Gladys smiled. “I know. You think I’d be sorry after I let it go; but if I am I’ll talk with Vera.”
Ellen laughed. “Do you think it will always be enough for you to hear her say ‘Ma-ma, Pa-pa?’” she asked.
Gladys smiled and looked affectionately at her good friend; but her lips closed tightly together. Ellen knew all that Vera did; but the nurse loved her still! The child was to have many a tussle with the hard mistress whose chains she had worn all her short life, but Truth had spoken, and she had heard; and Love was coming to help in setting her free.
A HEROIC OFFER
Jewel told her grandfather the tale of The Talking Doll while they walked their horses through a favorite wood-road, Mr. Evringham keeping his eyes on the animated face of the story-teller. His own was entirely impassive, but he threw in an exclamation now and then to prove his undivided attention.
“You know it’s more blessed to give than to receive, don’t you, grandpa?” added Jewel affectionately, as she finished; “because you’re giving things to people all the time, and nobody but God can give you anything.”
“I don’t know about that,” returned the broker. “Have you forgotten the yellow chicken you gave me?”
“No,” returned Jewel seriously; “but I’ve never seen anything since that I thought you would care for.”
Mr. Evringham nodded. “I think,” he said confidentially, “that you have given me something pretty nice in your mother. Do you know, I’m very glad that she married into our family.”
“Yes, indeed,” replied Jewel, “so am I. Just supposing I had had some other grandpa!”
The two shook their heads at one another gravely. There were some situations that could not be contemplated.
“Why do you suppose I can’t find any turtles in my brook?” asked the child, after a short pause. “Mother says perhaps they like meadows better than shady ravines.”