“Oh,” murmured Lutie, subdued for the moment; but she recovered as she went down the walk. “Oh, good-bye,” she gushed; “let me know when it is to be, and I will dance at your wedding.”
“Anne,” said Judy, darkly, as the high heels tilted down the beach, and the feathers of the big hat fluttered in the breeze, “Anne, she hasn’t talked a thing to-day but boys—and she reads the silliest books and writes the silliest poetry, about flaming hearts and Cupid’s darts. Oh,” and Judy stretched out her arms in a tense movement, “I don’t want to grow up—I want to stay a little girl as long as I can and not think about lovers or getting married, or—or—anything—”
“You are lover enough for me,” said Anne.
“And you for me,” said Judy.
And arm in arm they went into the house. But as they went through the darkening hall, Anne clung tightly to Judy.
“Wouldn’t it be dreadful, Judy, if burglars should come here,” she quavered.
But Judy laughed. “I think it would be fun,” she jested. “Bring on your burglars, Anne. I’m dying for excitement, as Lutie Barton would say.” And then she touched a button, and the lights flared up, chasing away the shadows, and chasing away with them, for the moment, the fears of little Anne.
ANNE HEARS A BURGLAR
Anne was wakened that night by a sense of utter loneliness.
“Judy,” she called, softly.
Anne reached over and found that the covers of the little white bed that stood beside her own had not been disturbed.
“She hasn’t come up-stairs,” thought Anne, who had left Judy reading in the library when she went to bed.
There was no light in the room, and as little Anne lay there, trembling and listening, her breath came quickly, for she was a timid little soul, and the talk of burglars that day had upset her; and without the wind howled, and within the house was very, very still.
At last she heard a sound. “She’s coming,” she thought, thankfully, but all at once she became conscious that the sound was not in the upper hall, but down-stairs on the porch.
There was the quick patter of little feet, and then an appealing whine.
“Why, it’s a dog,” said Anne, sitting up straight, “It’s a dog.”
She got up and looked out of the window. A little short-eared, stubby-tailed Boston terrier was running back and forth on the sand, anxiously.
Anne was a tender-hearted lover of animals, and his apparent distress appealed to her.
“I’ll go down and see what’s the matter with him,” she decided, thrusting her feet into her slippers and tying the ribbons of her pink dressing-gown.
She flew down the long dark hall to the top of the steps that led below, and there she stopped still, with her hand on her heart.