“We’re leaving on the early boat. Would you like to go with us? We’ll be gone all day.”
There was no answer to that but to run as fast as she could down the little curly path. This morning it was not so much curly as melodious; but Sara was in such a hurry that she hardly noticed. She forgot to dismiss the Gunkus, but left him standing in front of the dimple-holder, still bowing low, with his left shoe in his right hand over his heart.
Pirlaps was standing on the front steps, all ready to start, and beside him grinned Yassuh, carrying the step in one hand and an enormous traveling-bag (almost as large as Sara’s mother’s leather purse) in the other.
“Good-morning, Sara,” said Pirlaps, in his unfailingly delightful way, “I’m glad you got here in time. Avrillia will be ready in a second or two.”
Sara could hardly keep from skipping, she was so pleased at the prospect of a day’s expedition with Pirlaps and Avrillia. She did not know where they were going, but that didn’t matter: she was sure to see something interesting. She edged up to Yassuh, taking care, however, not to get close enough to brush against his chocolate outside, which might come off on her clean apron. “What’s in your bag?” she coaxed, mischievously.
“Only my extra trousers, Sara,” said Pirlaps, smiling; and then Sara remembered that, though he did so many useful things (when he was not asleep), she had never once heard Yassuh speak. He only grinned and rolled his white eyes as Pirlaps continued, “We’re taking twelve extra pairs.”
Just then Avrillia came out of the door. Avrillia could not be ungraceful or abrupt, but she was evidently in a hurry. Her motions were rather like that of a wisp of white sea-fog that is blown ahead of a rising wind.
“There was so much to do before I could get off!” she explained a little breathlessly. “The children came unexpectedly, too, and I had to vanish them. Then, while I was dressing, I thought of a poem I had to write about hair-pins—and oh, it almost stuck! It acted as if it were going to, so I watched it longer than usual. But now I guess we’re off,” she ended turning to fasten the door behind her. Sara noticed that she fastened it with a hook and eye exactly like the ones on Mother’s prettiest waist—only this one was more valuable, being of gold.
“Well, it’s quite a long walk down to the landing,” said Pirlaps, leading the way, “and we don’t want to miss the boat.”
So they started off in the direction Sara had never gone before, following a path that presently began to wind down among the cliffs, giving them a blue view of the sea. Sara could hardly follow the path for looking. Before long they could look back and see Avrillia’s balcony, with the little box-trees on the marble balustrade, and, far below it, the gray abyss of Nothing. It was very strange and beautiful, but it gave Sara a queer, empty feeling somewhere under her little apron; and she was glad