After this, which was part of Pink’s little code of philosophy, she fell a-musing happily, while Hilda walked beside her in a kind of silent rage, almost hating herself for the fulness of vigor, the superabundant health and buoyancy, which she felt in every limb. She looked sidelong at the transparent cheek, the wasted frame, the unearthly radiance of the blue eyes. This girl was just her own age, and had never walked! It could not, it must not, be so always. Thoughts thronged into her mind of the great New York physicians and the wonders they had wrought. Might it not be possible? Could not something be done? The blood coursed more quickly through her veins, and she laid her hand on that of the crippled girl with a sudden impulse of protection and tenderness.
Pink Chirk looked up with a wondering smile. “Why, Hildegarde,” she said, “you look like the British warrior queen you told me about yesterday. I was just thinking what a comfort it is to live now, instead of in those dreadful murdering times that the ballads tell of.”
“I druther ha’ lived then!” cried Bubble, from behind the chair. “If I hed, I’d ha’ got hold o’ that Inverey feller.”
THE WARRIOR QUEEN.
Happily, happily, the days and weeks slipped by at Hartley Farm; and now September was half gone, and in two weeks more Hilda’s parents would return. The letter had just arrived which fixed the date of their homecoming and Hildegarde had carried it upstairs to feast on it in her own room. She sat by the window in the little white rocking-chair, and read the words over and over again. In two weeks—really in two little weeks—she should see her mother again! It was too good to be true.
“Dragons, do you hear?” she cried, turning towards the wash-handstand. “You have seen my mother, Dragons, and she has washed her little blessed face in your bowl. I should think that might have stopped your ramping, if anything could. Or have you been waving your paws for joy ever since? I may have been unjust to you, Dragons.”
The blue dragons, as usual, refused to commit themselves; and, as usual, the gilt cherubs round the looking-glass were shocked at their rudeness, and tried to atone for it by smiling as hard as they possibly could.
“Such dear, sympathetic cherubs!” said the happy girl, bending forward to kiss one of them as she was brushing her hair. “You do not ramp and glower when one tells you that one’s mother is coming home. I know you are glad, you dear old things!”