“Yes,” replied Evelyn, “I think she ought to do so, as the only amends she can make. So, Miss Raymond, let us hear your excuse at once—if you have any.”
“Well, then, I suppose I must,” said Lulu. “Please understand that I would have enjoyed going with you very much indeed, but I saw that papa had a good many letters to answer and I wanted to help him a great deal more than I did to take a ride.
“He lets me write some on the typewriter—those, you see, that don’t require a very particular answer—and he says it shortens his work very much. And,” she added with a sigh, “I have given my dear father so much trouble in past days by my bad temper and wilfulness, that I feel I can never do enough to make up to him for it.”
“Dear Lu, I just love you for feeling and acting so,” said Evelyn softly, giving Lulu’s hand an affectionate squeeze as she spoke; “and I am sure your father must.”
“Yes, he does love me dearly, and you can’t think how happy that makes me,” returned Lulu, glad tears shining in her eyes.
“I don’t know about that, but I think we can,” said Rosie, a slight tremble in her voice; for she had not forgotten altogether the dear father who had fondled and caressed her in her babyhood, but had so long since passed away to the better land.
But just at that moment Violet drew near with a light, quick step.
“The boat is at the landing, little girls,” she said, “and we older folks want to be off. Please put on your hats, coats too,—or carry some kind of wrap,—for the captain says it may be quite cool on the water before we return.”
“A summons we’re delighted to receive,” returned Rosie, springing to her feet and hurrying toward the hall door, the others following, all of them in gay good humor.
No one was missing from that boating excursion, and on their return, a little before tea time, all spoke of having had a most enjoyable afternoon.
After tea, when all were together upon the front veranda, Grandma Elsie in a reclining chair, the others grouped about her, the talk turned upon the approaching Christmas and how it should be celebrated—what gifts prepared for friends and servants.
Various plans were suggested, various gifts spoken of, but nothing settled.
The little girls took a deep interest in the subject, and when they separated for the night each one’s thoughts were full of it; Lulu’s perhaps even more so than those of any other, not of what she might receive, but what she would like to give.
“Papa,” she said, when he came into her room to bid her good-night, “I do so want to make some pretty things to give at Christmas time. Please, won’t you let me?” and look and tone were very coaxing.
“My dear little daughter,” he replied, taking possession of an easy-chair and drawing her to a seat upon his knee, “it would give me much pleasure to indulge you in this, but you have lost a good deal of time from your studies of late, and I know very well that to allow you to engage in the manufacture of Christmas gifts would have the effect of taking your mind off your lessons in a way to prevent you from making much, if any, progress with them.”