“You see I nursed mother all through her last illness. I was with her every minute—and—and—I want her so—I want my mother—Anne—”
But so self-controlled was she, that though her voice broke and her lips trembled, her eyes were dry. Anne reached out a plump, timid hand, and laid it over the slender one on the window-sill.
“I haven’t any mother either, Judy,” she said, and Judy looked down at her with a strange softness in her dark eyes. Suddenly she bent her head in a swift kiss, then drew back and squared her shoulders.
“Don’t let’s talk about it,” she said, sharply. “I can’t stand it—I can’t stand it—Anne—”
But in spite of the harshness of her tone, Anne knew that there was a bond between them, and that the bond had been sealed by Judy’s kiss.
ANNE GOES TO TOWN
“Grandfather,” said Judy, at the lunch-table, “I want to take Anne home with us.”
A little shiver went up and down Anne’s spine. She wasn’t sure whether it would be pleasant to go with Judy or not. Judy was so different.
“I don’t believe Anne could leave Becky and Belinda,” laughed the Judge. “She would have to carry her family with her.”
“Of course she can leave them,” was Judy’s calm assertion, “and I want her, grandfather.”
She said it with the air of a young princess who is in the habit of having her wishes gratified. The Judge laughed again.
“How is it, Mrs. Batcheller?” he asked.
“May Anne go?”
The little grandmother shook her head.
“I don’t often let her leave me,” she said.
“But I want her,” said Judy, sharply, and at her tone the little grandmother’s back stiffened.
“Perhaps you do, my dear,” was her quiet answer, “but your wants must wait upon my decision.”
The mild blue eyes met the frowning dark ones steadily, and Judy gave in. Much as she hated to own it, there was something about this little lady in faded calico that forced respect.
“Oh,” she said, and sat back in her chair, limply.
The Judge looked anxiously at her disappointed face.
“Judy is so lonely,” he pleaded, and Mrs. Batcheller unbent.
“Anne has her lessons.”
“But to-morrow is Saturday.”
“Well—she may go this time. How long do you want her to stay?”
“Until Sunday night,” said the Judge. “I will bring her back in time for school on Monday.”
Anne went up-stairs in a flutter of excitement. Visits were rare treats in her uneventful life, and she had never stayed at Judge Jameson’s overnight, although she had often been there to tea, and the great old house had seemed the palace beautiful of her dreams.
“She is so different from any girl I have ever met,” she explained to the little grandmother, who had followed her to her room under the eaves, and was packing her bag for her.