“How mean of me, not to offer a seat in the carriage to Lizzie Heartwell, too,” thought Helen after a moment’s reflection; “but I dared not, on account of my brother, who has so repeatedly urged me to make equals only of the rich. He little knows how I love Lizzie Heartwell, and whether she be rich or poor I know not, neither do I care.”
“I say, girls,” at length broke the silence, as the fourth member of the group, Bertha Levy, a Jewess too, spoke out, “think how stupid I am. Mamma has promised me a small tea-party to-morrow night, and this wretched rain had well-nigh caused me to forget it; but, thank fortune, it’s giving way a little, and maybe we shall all get home after awhile. I’m desperately hungry! Of course, you will all promise me to come, and I shall expect you.” Then, turning to Helen, she said, “Won’t you?”
“And you, Leah?”
“I will if I can. I am never sure of my movements, however.”
“And you, dear Lizzie?”
“With the permission of my uncle and aunt; at any rate, I thank you for your kindness.”
“Well, I shall expect you every one, and—”
“There comes the carriage,” shouted Helen, as the liveried coach of the wealthy judge rolled round the corner, and drove up in front of the spacious school-building. “I knew my father would not forget me—yes, there is my brother.”
The horses, thoroughly wet, looked dark and sleek as greyhounds, as they stood impatiently stamping the paving-stones, while a visible cloud of vapor rose from each distended nostril.
The coach door opened, and Emile Le Grande, with handsome, manly figure clad in a gray military suit, and equally handsome face, stepped out, and approached the group so impatiently watching the progress of the storm.
“Good morning, Miss Mordecai; I am happy that we meet again,” said the gentleman, politely bowing.
“Thank you, sir; but your presence rather surprises us,” replied Leah.
“I trust, though, I am not an unwelcome intruder upon this fair group?”
“Allow me to remind you, my brother, that my friends, Miss Heartwell and Miss Levy, are also present,” said Helen rather reproachfully.
Emile acknowledged the reproof and the courtesy with an apology and a smile, and then added, “To Miss Mordecai’s charms I owe the breach of politeness.”
Leah’s face flushed crimson, and her eye sparkled more brightly than ever at these flattering words of the young cadet; but she made no reply.
“Come, Helen, let’s go,” at length said the brother. “The horses are impatient. Csar is wet, and I guess you are tired, too.” Then, turning to Leah, he continued, “Miss Mordecai, will you honor us with your company till we reach your father’s house, where I pledge myself to deposit you safely?”
“Oh! yes, Leah will go; I have already asked her,” said Helen. Then, after a moment’s preparation, the two young friends stepped into the carriage.