“Oh! well, I’m not going, anyway, and that settles the matter!” sharply retorted the girl from the depths of her trunk, but her voice was thick with tears.
Katherine suddenly sat erect, a startled expression sweeping over her face. She dropped the subject, but before an hour had passed a hastily written, special delivery missive was on its way to Mrs. Minturn.
The next evening, after supper, she burst into her room, her face beaming with joy, an open letter in her hand, to find Sadie drooping over a note she had been writing and nibbling at the stem of her pen, apparently in the most disconsolate frame of mind.
She hastily drew a blank sheet of paper over the written page to hide it, a circumstance which did not escape the observing eye of her chum, and, looking over her shoulder, inquired:
“What is it, Katherine? You look as if you’d had good news.”
“I have—at least good news to me, and I hope it will be to you also,” was the cheery reply.
Sadie sat up and looked interested.
“To me! How so?” she said, in surprise.
“Well, I wrote mamma yesterday that you seemed to be in something of a quandary about your summer, and as I have the privilege of inviting some one to spend my vacation with me, I asked her if I might have you—that is, if you would like to come. Would you, dear?” Katherine pleaded, with an anxiously beating heart. “We have a cottage at Manchester-by-the-Sea, in Massachusetts, which we make our headquarters, then take little trips here and there, as the spirit moves us. Papa cannot be with us all the time, on account of business, but he comes and goes, bringing some of his friends now and then; and, Sadie, we do have very nice times. Now will you be my guest for the summer? I have a special delivery from mamma, who also wants you.”
The girl had remained motionless, almost breathless while Katherine was speaking, a peculiar look on her face, which grew red and white by turns. She did not at once reply when she concluded, but seemed irresolute, almost dazed, in fact, by what she had heard.
Then, all at once, she started to her feet, threw her arms around Katherine, bowed her head upon her shoulder and burst into a passion of tears.
“Oh! how good of you, Katharine! How good of you! It will seem like heaven to me!” she sobbed, with more feeling than she had ever manifested before during all the months they had spent together. “Ah! I have been so lonesome, so homesick, so—so wretched, and I would love to go if—if you really want me.”
“I certainly do, Sadie, or I would not have asked you,” Katherine heartily responded, and now feeling very sure that she had done a wise thing, for she was convinced that the girl’s “wretchedness” had proceeded from an entirely different cause than a choice between a European tour and a sojourn with an “old maid in Genesee County.”
“It is perfectly lovely of you, and I can never tell you how much it means to me!” Sadie replied, with a long breath of relief, while she wiped the hot tears from her cheeks.