Judy had listened breathlessly. So vivid had been the description, that she had seemed to see on the garden walk, the slender, imperious figure, the intent girlish face, and out of her knowledge of her own nature, she had entered into the struggle that had taken place in her grandmother’s heart, as she flew around the oval of the old garden.
“Oh, grandfather,” she said, when the Judge’s quavering voice dropped into silence, “how lovely she was—”
“She was, indeed, and I want you to be as strong.”
Judy tucked her hand into his. “I’ll try,” she said, simply, “thank you for telling me, grandfather.”
“I want you to be happy here, too,” said the old man wistfully, and then as she did not answer, “do you think you can, Judy?”
Judy caught her breath quickly. With all her faults she was very honest.
She bent and kissed the Judge on his withered cheek. “You are so good to me,” she said, evasively, and with another kiss, she ran up-stairs to Anne.
Anne was in bed and Judy thought she was asleep, but an hour later as she lay awake lonely and restless, with her eyes fixed longingly on the great picture of the sea, a soft seeking hand curled within her own, and Anne whispered, “I didn’t mean to make you unhappy, Judy,” and Judy, clear-eyed and repentant in the darkness of the night, murmured back, “I was hateful, Anne,” and a half hour later, the moon, peeping in, saw the two serene, sleeping faces, cheek to cheek on the same pillow.
TOO MANY COOKS
In spite of herself Judy was having a good time.
“I know you will enjoy it,” had been Anne’s last drowsy remark, and Judy’s final thought had been, “I’ll go, but it will be horrid.”
But it wasn’t horrid.
There had been Anne’s happiness in the first place. Judy had wondered at it until she found out that Anne’s picnic experiences had been limited to little jaunts with the children of the neighborhood, and an occasional Sunday-school gathering. The Judge had lived his lonely life in his lonely house, and except when Anne and her little grandmother had been invited to formal meals, he had not interested himself in any festivities.
There had been the early start, the meeting of the queer boy at the crossroads—the boy with the lazy air and the alert eyes; the crowding of the big carriage with two rather dowdy little country girls, one of whom was, in Judy’s opinion, exceedingly pert, and the other exasperatingly placid; the laughter and the light-heartedness, the beauty of the blossoming spring world, the restfulness of the dim forest aisles, the excitement of the arrival on the banks of the stream, and the arrangement of the camp for the day.
And now Judy, having declined more active occupation, was in a hammock, swung in a circle of pines. The softened sunlight shone gold on the dried needles under foot, and everywhere was the aromatic fragrance of the forest. Now and then there was a flutter of wings as a nesting bird swooped by with scarcely a note of song. A pair of redbirds came and went—flashes of scarlet against the whiteness of a blossoming dogwood-tree. Far away the squalling of a catbird mingled with the mellow cadences of the mountain stream.