“What is it, deary?”
“Would you like to be my governess and teach me all you know, quietly, at home this winter? I don’t want to begin school again just for languages and a few finishing things, and I really think you would do more for me than any one else, because you know what I need, and are so patient with your bad, ungrateful, saucy girl. Could you? would you come?” and Ethel put her arms round Jenny’s neck with a little sob and a kiss that was far more precious to Jane than the famous diamond necklace of Marie Antoinette, which she had been reading about.
“I could and I would with all my heart, if you want me, darling! I think we know and love each other now, and can be happy and helpful together, and I’ll come so gladly if your mother asks me,” answered Jenny, quick to understand what underlay this sudden tenderness, and glad to accept the atonement offered her for many trials which she would never have told even to her own mother.
Ethel was her best self now, and her friend felt well rewarded for the past by this promise of real love and mutual help in the future. So they talked over the new plan in great spirits till Mrs. Homer came to bring them their share of a packet of home letters just arrived. She saw that something unusual was going on, but only smiled, nodded, and went away saying,—
“I have good news in my letters, and hope yours will make you equally happy, girls.”
Silence reigned for a time, as they sat reading busily; then a sudden exclamation from Ethel seemed to produce a strange effect upon Jenny, for with a cry of joy she sprang up and danced all over the room, waving her letter wildly as she cried out,—
“I’m to go! I’m to go! I can’t believe it—but here it is! How kind, how very kind, every one is to me!” and down she went upon her own little bed to hide her face and laugh and cry till Ethel ran to rejoice with her.
“Oh, Jenny, I’m so glad! You deserve it, and it’s like Mrs. Homer to make all smooth before she said a word. Let me read what Mamma writes to you. Here’s my letter; see how sweetly she speaks of you, and how grateful they are for all you’ve done for me.”
The letters changed hands; and sitting side by side in an affectionate bunch, the girls read the happy news that granted the cherished wish of one and gave the other real unselfish pleasure in another’s happiness.
Jane was to go to Rome with the Homers for the winter, and perhaps to Greece in the spring. A year of delight lay before her, offered in such a friendly way, and with such words of commendation, thanks, and welcome, that the girl’s heart was full, and she felt that every small sacrifice of feeling, every lonely hour, and distasteful duty was richly repaid by this rare opportunity to enjoy still further draughts of the wisdom, beauty, and poetry of the wonderful world now open to her.
She flew off presently to try to thank her good friends, and came back dragging a light new trunk, in which she nearly buried her small self as she excitedly explained its appearance, while rattling out the trays and displaying its many conveniences.