CAPTAIN THORN AT WEST LYNNE.
“Barbara, how fine the day seems!”
“It is a beautiful day mamma.”
“I do think I should be all the better for going out.”
“I am sure you would, mamma,” was Barbara’s answer. “If you went out more, you would find the benefit. Every fine day you ought to do so. I will go and ask papa if he can spare Benjamin and the carriage.” She waltzed gaily out of the room, but returned in a moment.
“Mamma, it is all right. Benjamin is gone to get the carriage ready. You would like a bit of luncheon before you go—I will order the tray.”
“Anything you please, dear,” said the sweet-tempered gentlewoman. “I don’t know why, but I feel glad to go out to-day; perhaps because it is lovely.”
Benjamin made ready his carriage and himself, and drove out of the yard at the back, and brought the carriage round to the front gate.
The carriage—or phaeton as it was often called—was a somewhat old fashioned concern, as many country things are apt to be. A small box in front for the driver, and a wide seat with a head behind, accommodating Barbara well between them when Mr. and Mrs. Hare both sat in.
Benjamin drew the rug carefully over his mistress’s knees—the servants did not like Mr. Hare, but would have laid down their lives for her—ascended to his box, and drove them to their destination, the linen draper’s. It was an excellent shop, situated a little beyond the office of Mr. Carlyle, and Mrs. Hare and Barbara were soon engaged in that occupation said to possess for all women a fascination. They had been in about an hour, when Mrs. Hare discovered that her bag was missing.
“I must have left it in the carriage, Barbara. Go and bring it, will you, my dear? The pattern of that silk is in it.”
Barbara went out. The carriage and Benjamin and the sleek old horse were all waiting drowsily together. Barbara could not see the bag, and she appealed to the servant.
“Find mamma’s bag, Benjamin. It must be somewhere in the carriage.”