She was right about her good intentions, but she was wrong about the number of minutes necessary to carry them out. There was her morning gown to button, and her gaiters to lace, and her hair to be braided and caught up in her neck (she always wore it that way in the morning) and the dearest of snug bonnets—a “cabriolet” from Paris—a sort of hood, stiffened with wires, out of which peeped pink rosebuds quite as they do from a trellis—had to be put on, and the white strings tied “just so”—the bows flaring out and the long ends smoothed flat; and then the lace cape and scarf and her parasol;—all these and a dozen other little niceties had to be adjusted before she could trip down her father’s stairs and out of her father’s swinging gate and on through the park to her dear Uncle George.
But when she did—and it took her all of an hour—nothing that the morning sun shone on was quite as lovely, and no waft of air so refreshing or so welcome as our beloved heroine when she burst in upon him.
“Oh!—you dear, dear thing!” she cried, tossing her parasol on Pawson’s table and stretching out her arms toward him sitting in his chair. “Oh, I am so sorry! Why didn’t you let me know you were ill? I would have gone down to Wesley. Oh!—I knew something was the matter with you or you would have answered my letters.”
He had struggled to his feet at the first sound of her footsteps in the hall, and had her in his arms long before she had finished her greeting;—indeed her last sentence was addressed to the collar of his coat against which her cheek was cushioned.
“Who said I was ill?” he asked with one of his bubbling laughs when he got his breath.
“Todd told Ben—and you are!—and it breaks my heart.” She was holding herself off now, scanning his pale face and shrunken frame—“Oh, I am so sorry you did not let me know!”
“Todd is a chatterer, and Ben no better; I’ve only had a bad cold—and you couldn’t have done me a bit of good if you had come—and now I am entirely well, never felt better in my life. Oh—but it’s good to get hold of you, Kate,—and you are still the same bunch of roses. Sit down now and tell me all about it. I wish I had a better chair for you, my dear, but the place is quite dismantled, as you see. I expected to stay the winter when I left.”