“Of course,” returned the captain laughingly, as he rose and gave her his arm; “it will give me great pleasure to accompany you, if you are not too weary for such exertion.”
“Not a bit,” she said; “the trip on the boat was more restful than fatiguing; at least so far as concerned myself. May not Lulu and Gracie come too?”
“If they wish; though I fear Gracie is too tired,” he said, with an inquiring glance at her. “If you would like to go, pet, papa will carry you up the stairs.”
“Oh, then, I would like to, papa; I’m not so very tired,” she answered eagerly.
“Then of course Lulu is not?” he said with a smiling glance at his eldest daughter.
“No, indeed, papa; and I’d dearly love to go along,” she answered, taking Gracie’s hand and with her tripping along in the rear, as he and Violet passed on into the wide hall.
They first inspected the rooms on the lower floor, lingering longest in the drawing-room, where the many beautiful paintings and pieces of statuary were very attractive.
“We cannot give them half enough time to-night,” remarked Violet, “but fortunately have good reason to hope for many opportunities for future inspection.”
“Yes,” the captain said, glancing at Grace, then at his watch. “Shall we not call in the servants and have prayers before going upstairs? It is not far from the usual time, and I see Gracie is growing weary.”
Violet gave a ready assent and led the way to the family parlor where her grandfather had been wont to hold that service.
The servants were summoned and came in looking well pleased. The captain made the service short out of consideration for Gracie’s weariness, though, indeed, he never thought it well to lengthen it so much as to risk making it a weariness to either children or servants.
A few directions in regard to securing doors and windows for the night and as to what should be done for the comfort of the family in the morning, then he, Violet, and the little girls, having exchanged kindly good-nights with the servants, went on up the broad stairway, the captain, according to promise, carrying Grace in his arms.
Only a hasty survey of the upper rooms was taken that night, for all began to feel the need of rest and sleep. Apartments connected with each other and the nursery were selected for occupation, and soon all were resting peacefully in their beds.
The Sabbath morning dawned bright and clear. Lulu rose with the sun and, before he was an hour high, was down on the veranda, gazing with delight upon the lovely landscape spread out at her feet.
So absorbed in its beauties was she that she failed to hear an approaching footstep, and was aware of her father’s presence only when he laid a hand gently on her head and, bending down, imprinted a kiss on her lips.