‘It is a seaport, so it must be a town, I suppose,’ said Mr. Vane.
‘I should like to see the little girl and her mother,’ Mrs. Vane continued.
‘And oh, mamma,’ cried Biddy, jumping up and down in her chair as her spirits rose again, ’when you do, mayn’t I go with you, and then Celestina would show me her dolls’ room?’
‘We shall see, my dear,’ her mother replied.
Biddy was not at all fond of the reply, ‘We shall see.’ ’It’s only a perlite way of saying “no,"’ she once said, but she dared not tease her mother any more.
‘Nobody cares about what I like,’ she said to herself disconsolately.
Perhaps she would not have thought so if she had heard what her mother and Rosalys were talking about later that afternoon.
ON THE SEASHORE
’The sands of the sea
stretch far and fine,
The rocks start out of them sharp and slim.’
A Legend of the Sea.
‘Oh dear,’ exclaimed Mrs. Vane one morning at breakfast two or three days after the children’s walk in to Seacove. Everybody looked up—the two girls and Rough were at table with their father and mother. Mrs. Vane had just opened and begun to read a letter. What could be the matter?
‘It is from Miss Millet,’ she said; ’her sister’s children have got scarlet fever, and she has got a bad sore throat herself from nursing them. They had no idea what it was at first,’ she went on reading from the letter; ’but of course she cannot come back to us for ever so long on account of the infection.’
‘Poor Miss Millet,’ said Rosalys.
‘I don’t mind,’ said Biddy; ‘I like having holidays.’
Alie, who was sitting next her, gave her a little touch.
‘Hush, Biddy,’ she said, ’that’s just one of the things you say that sound so unkind.’
She spoke in a whisper, and fortunately for Bridget her father and mother were too much taken up with the letter to notice what she had said.
‘I didn’t mean,’ Biddy was beginning as usual, but Mrs. Vane was speaking to Alie by this time, and no one listened to Biddy.
‘I must write to Miss Millet at once,’ their mother said, ’though I shall ask her not to write often till the infection is gone—she says this letter is disinfected. And, Alie, you had better put in a little word, and Biddy too, if she likes. It would be kind.’
‘Yes, mamma,’ said Alie at once, but Bridget did not answer.
It was not usual for Mrs. Vane to discuss plans and arrangements for the children before them, but this morning her mind was so full of the unexpected turn of affairs that she could not help talking about them.
‘It will be a question of several weeks—even months, I fear,’ she said to Mr. Vane; ’there are such a lot of those children, and Miss Millet is sure to wish to nurse them all. We must think over what to do.’