The next evening before the stars shone; Gertrude sat on the piazza anxiously awaiting him, for she had good news for her lover. Gertrude’s white handkerchief told him that she recognized his coming, though he was still two blocks away. How light and swift the steps of a lover; though miles intervene, they seem but a step. An evening in Gertrude’s presence was for George but a moment. The touch of her hand, the rustle of her dress, and the music of her voice, all, like invisible silken cords, held him a willing prisoner. The love he gave and the love he received was like the mating of birds; like the meeting of long separated and finally united souls.
“George, this is your birthday and the silver crescent moon is filled to the brim with happiness for you and May. Yesterday I had a long talk with father, and I asked him to let me stay at home and to take your sister May to Europe. What do you think he said, George? Never did my father so correctly read my heart. He drew me closely to him, and while I sat upon his knee, said: ’Daughter, I have decided that it is wise, even in the interests of my business, to take George with us.’ He also said that I might invite your sister May to go, and that he would pay all the expenses. Oh, how I kissed him! I never loved my father so much before. Here, George, is a kiss for you. Aren’t you glad now, that you, and your sister May are going with us? No excuses, for you are both going surely.”
“If it is settled, Gertrude, then it is settled, I suppose, but how do you think May and I can get ready in so short a time to go to Europe?”
“Well, George, you can wear your new business suit, and in the morning, I will go with May and buy for her a suitable travelling dress and hat. In Europe we can procure more clothes as they are needed.”
Gertrude was now very happy. The dream of her life was to be realized. She wanted George near her as she traveled, so each could say to the other, “Isn’t it beautiful?” That is half of the pleasure of sight-seeing. The small orange kept by Gertrude had doubled in size, and she never before retired with so sweet a joy in her soul. That night she slept, and her dreams were of smooth seas, her mother, Lucille, and George.
It is needless to say that May Ingram was overjoyed. She had been fond of music from her childhood, and had given promise of rare talents. She had taken lessons for two years in vocal and instrumental music in the best conservatories in Boston, George paying most of her expenses. For six years May had been the soprano singer in the highest paid quartette in Harrisville. Though she occasionally hoped for a musical education abroad, yet these hopes had all flown away. Her parents could not aid her, and she had resolved not to accept further assistance from her generous brother. At first she could not believe what George told her, but when the reality of her good fortune dawned upon her, taking George’s hand in both of hers, she pressed it to her lips and fell upon his shoulder, her eyes flooding with tears.