“I cannot say, Miss Lear, I am going up to find out the ways and expect to be Miss Emily’s assistant. I imagine it takes brain to do farm work.”
Miss Lear waited to rally a little and said only, “Complimentary in the extreme! Pray tell me the hour, I think my carriage must be here;” then the fashion-plate shook hands with us both and departed.
I felt almost ashamed, and repeated verbatim to Louis our conversation; he laughed, and, patting my shoulder, said:
“You spoke quite rightly, she was impertinent, pardon her ignorant vanity.”
Then I stood with Louis and Clara in the centre of the parlors and received the adieux of their friends. Louis carried his mother in his arms up stairs and soon dreams carried me home to green fields and butter-making.
Gloriously beautiful was the morning of August twenty-first. We were up early, for the old stage would not wait for us, and we had much to do just at the last moment. I say we, for I tried to do all that was possible to assist Clara in packing the two large trunks we were to take. One thing puzzled me. I had heard Clara say so many times to Louis, who went over the house with her during the early part of each day, “Now leave everything in shape to be taken at any moment.” And this last morning all the chairs were covered, and Louis worked with old Jim, time-honored help, to accomplish it all. I had a secret fear that they were planning to go away to seek another home somewhere, and it troubled me. I wondered the more because Clara said nothing to me, and she was naturally so ingenuous and apt to tell me her little plans freely. It seemed to take less time than it takes to write it ere we were landed at the door of my home, and found father and mother waiting to welcome us. There was a look of surprise on the faces of my parents as Louis descended from the stage and turned so gallantly to his little mother, as he often called her. He was not the boy they expected to see, but a man to all appearance, tall and handsome, and the embodiment of a politeness which is founded, as I believe, on a true respect for the opinions and conditions of others. I felt gladly proud of our supper table that night, and I knew Louis looked in vain for rye bread. He did ample justice to our creamy butter, however, and after supper remarked to me that Miss Lear might like a few pounds of such.
Days passed happily along, and the two weeks allotted for Louis’ stay came nearly to a close. I dreaded to have the last day appear. Like his mother, he had dropped into his own appropriate niche, and came into our family only as another ray of the sunshine that brightened our home. I had Halbert in my mind much of the time, and talked of him to Louis until he said he felt well acquainted with him, and looked forward to meeting him as one looks to some happiness in store.