“No,” said Mrs. Mander, “I cannot ask you to join my daughter. I am compelled to state that her dress is not a suitable one in which to appear before a stranger.”
“Excuse me,” said Dickory; “and I beg, madam, that you will convey to her my thanks for making me such an excellent hat.”
A little later Mander joined Dickory. “I am sorry, sir,” said he, “that I am not able to present you to my daughter Lucilla. It is a great grief to us that her attire compels her to deny herself other company than that of her family. I really believe, sir, that it is Lucilla’s deprivations on this island which form at present my principal discontent with my situation. But we all enjoy good health, we have enough to eat, and shelter over us, and should not complain.”
As soon as he was at liberty to do so, Dickory walked by the hedge of low bushes, and there, above it, was the bright face, with the pretty grass hat.
“I was waiting for you,” said she. “I wanted to see how that hat fitted, and I think it does nicely. And I wanted to tell you that I have been looking out for ships, but have not seen one. I don’t mean by that that I want you to go away almost as soon as you have come, but of course, if a merchant ship should anchor here, it would be dreadful for you not to know.”
“I am not sure,” said Dickory gallantly, “that I am in a hurry for a ship. It is truly very pleasant here.”
“What makes it pleasant?” said the girl.
Dickory hesitated for a moment. “The breeze from the forest,” said he.
She laughed. “It is charming,” she said, “but there are so many places where there is just as good a breeze, or perhaps better. How I would like to go to some one of them! To me this island is lonely and doleful. Every time I look over the sea for a ship I hope that one will come that can carry us away.”
“Then,” said Dickory, “I wish a ship would come to-morrow and take us all away together.”
She shook her head. “As my father told you,” said she, “we have no place to go to.”
Dickory thought a good deal about the sad condition of the family of this worthy marooner. He thought of it even after he had stretched himself for the night upon the bed of palmetto leaves beneath the tree against which he had leaned when he wondered how he could be so cheerful under the shadow of the sad fate which was before him.
As soon as Dickory had left off his cocked hat and his gold-embroidered coat, the little girl Lena had ceased to be afraid of him, and the next morning she came to him, seated lonely—for this was a busy household—and asked him if he would like to take a walk. So, hand in hand, they wandered away. Presently they entered a path which led through the woods.
“This is the way my sister goes to her lookout tree,” said the little girl. “Would you like to see that tree?”