Perkins came and saw and conquered as usual. The girls laughed until the tears ran down their cheeks to see the battle. One by one the crabs were picked up and dropped into a big kettle until at last it was full.
“And now you young ladies had best go out,” said Perkins, firmly, “while I cook them.”
It is well to draw a veil over the tragic fate of the kettleful of blue crabs, but when Anne next saw them they were beautifully boiled, and red—red as the scarlet of her bathing-suit.
All the afternoon the little girls, under Perkins’ skilful guidance learned a lesson in expert cookery, and at last, as a dozen perfectly browned and parsley-decorated beauties were laid on a platter, Judy breathed an ecstatic sigh. “Aren’t they beautiful?” she murmured.
“Yes, Miss, that they are,” and Perkins surveyed them as an artist lets his glance linger on a finished masterpiece. He raised the platter to carry it to the dining-room, but as he turned towards the door he stopped and set it down quickly.
“What’s the matter, sir,” he asked sharply, “has anything gone wrong?”
The Judge stood on the threshold, his face white with excitement. In his hands was a letter, and his voice shook as he spoke.
“It’s nothing bad, Perkins,” he said, and Judy, as she faced him, saw that his eyes were bright with some new hope. “It’s nothing bad. But I’ve had a letter—a strange, strange letter, Perkins—and I must go on a journey to-night—a journey to the north—to Newfoundland, Perkins.”
MOODS AND MODELS
Anne and Judy were almost overcome by the mystery of the Judge’s departure. Not a word could they get out of the reticent Perkins, however, as to the reasons for the sudden flitting, and the Judge had simply said when pressed with questions: “Important business, my dear, which may result rather pleasantly for you. Mrs. Adams will take care of you and Anne while I am gone, which I hope won’t be long.”
The day that he left it rained, and the day after, and the day after that, and on the fourth day, when the sea was gray and the sky was gray and the world seemed blotted out by the blinding torrents, Judy, who had been pacing through the house like a caged wild thing, came into the library, and found Anne curled up in the window-seat with a book.
“I came down here with all sorts of good resolutions,” she said, fiercely, as she stood by the window, looking out, “but if this rain doesn’t stop, I shall do something desperate. I hate to be shut in.”
Anne did not look up. She was reading a book breathlessly, and not until Judy had jerked it out of her hand and had flung it across the room did she come to herself with a little cry.
“I shall do something desperate,” reiterated Judy, stormily. “Do you hear, Anne?”
Anne smiled up at her—a preoccupied smile.