“It is time for our evening service, and then for my daughter to go to her bed and take her beauty sleep,” remarked the captain looking at his watch.
“Yes, papa,” laughed Lucilla, “I need all of that kind of sleep that I can get.”
“Ah! so you are up, Gracie dear,” Lucilla said, looking in the next morning at the communicating door between their rooms. “I have been down in the grounds with papa for the last half hour, and he bade me come and tell you to dress for a drive; for we are to go on our shopping expedition to-day instead of to-morrow.”
“Are we?” exclaimed Grace. “To-day will suit me as well as to-morrow; but why have papa and mamma changed their plans?”
“It is all for my benefit,” laughed Lucilla. “You must know that Chester Dinsmore has been so good as to invite me to attend a boat ride and picnic with him to-morrow, and, to my surprise, papa gave me full permission to go.”
“That was very kind of him,” remarked Grace, “and I hope you will have a delightful time.”
“I don’t know,” Lulu returned, with doubtful tone and look. “I think I shall not half enjoy it without you; and papa says you are too feeble to go on such an expedition without him; you would need him to take care of you and see that you did not overexert yourself.”
“Yes; and, of course, papa is right; he always knows what is best for me and all of us.”
“So I think, and I did not at all expect him to say I could go. I wasn’t very anxious that he should, either; though I dare say it will be very pleasant as the Dinsmore girls are going, and, perhaps, Rosie Travilla too.”
“Oh, I think you will enjoy it! I hope so, I am sure,” exclaimed Grace, looking both pleased and interested. “Now please tell me what dress you are going to wear to the city to-day, and advise me about mine.”
“I hadn’t thought about it, yet,” said Lucilla; “but there, I hear papa coming into our sitting room. I’ll run and ask him what he would advise or direct about it. It is a matter of great importance, you know”; and with that she laughed merrily, turned about, and ran to meet their father.
He decided the knotty question, promptly saying: “The gray dresses made for you both a few weeks ago will be very suitable, I think.” Then he bade her help Grace and also change her own dress, because they would make an early start for the city, going very soon after leaving the table.
“I am glad to hear that, papa,” she returned, “for a drive in the early morning air is so pleasant. But I wish I had no occasion to change my dress, because I fear that will take up all the time of your morning call here on Gracie and me.”
“I think not, if you are prompt in your movements,” he said. “I shall sit here for some little time reading the morning paper.”
“Oh, I am glad of that! and perhaps, papa, if you look over the advertisements you may find something that will help us in the search for the pretty things we want to buy.”