“That means a trip to Boston,” the gentlemen observed to his wife, as he pushed the box into a corner with other rubbish, “for it would not be safe to trust to an order, at this late hour, and yet I do not see how I can go and leave things here.”
“I suppose one of the maids might go,” said Mrs. Minturn, rather doubtfully, “but, really, they are having such a busy day, with sweeping and cleaning, and there is so much still to be done, I hardly have the heart to ask them.”
Jennie, who, with Mrs. Seabrook, Dorrie, Katherine and Sadie, was twining evergreen ropes and wreaths, and, at the same time, having a lovely, social visit, overheard the above conversation, and, knowing that Mr. Minturn could ill be spared, said to herself, with a sharp pang of regret:
“I’m the one who ought to go; but—I don’t want to.”
She glanced wistfully at the happy faces about her; at the half-finished wreath in her hands; at the deep-blue ocean whence came a cool, refreshing breeze, then, with a quickly repressed sigh, laid down her work and arose.
“Let me go,” she said, turning to Mrs. Minturn and stealing a fond arm around her waist. “I’m sure I can do the errand all right.”
“Dear, they will make quite a package, for there will have to be a good many,” objected her friend, but with a quick smile of appreciation for her thoughtfulness. “Besides,” she added, glancing at the merry group behind them, “you are all having such a good time.”
“Never mind anything so we have the lanterns. We must let our light shine, you know; and just look at that for muscle!” cheerily returned the girl, as she swept up her loose sleeve and revealed a truly sturdy arm. “I can catch the next train, if I step lively, and I’ll be back on the one that leaves at five. Make out your order, Mr. Minturn, and I’ll be ready before you can say ’Jack Robinson.’”
She bounded into the house and was halfway upstairs before Mr. Minturn could get out his notebook and pencil, and in less than ten minutes was down again equipped for her trip.
“‘Jack Robinson,’” solemnly repeated Mr. Minturn, but with a roguish twinkle in his eyes as he handed her the leaf which he had torn from his notebook, with his order and the address of a Boston firm written on it. “Now be off, you sprite, or you will lose your train, and you shall have your reward later,” he concluded, as the trap, which he had ordered up from the stable, dashed to the door.
“I’ll get my reward on the way,” laughed the girl, throwing him a bright glance over her shoulder as she ran nimbly down the steps and sprang into the carriage, little thinking how true her lightly-spoken words would prove.
Four hours later the trap was again sent to the station to meet her, and, a five minutes’ drive, behind the pair of spirited beauties, landed her at home once more.
Much had been accomplished during Jennie’s absence, and the broad veranda was like a sylvan bower, the last nail having just been driven, the last wreath and festoon put in place; while the Seabrooks were on the point of going home to dinner as the carriage stopped before the door.