“That dear woman says I’m to send my presents home in the old one by you, and take this to fill up in Rome. Think of it! A lovely new French trunk, and Rome full of pictures, statues, St. Peter’s, and the Colosseum. It takes my breath away and makes my head spin.”
“So I see. It’s a capital box, but it won’t hold even St. Peter’s, dear; so you’d better calm down and pack your treasures. I’ll help,” cried Ethel, sweeping about in her gay gown, almost as wild as Jane, who was quite upset by this sudden delicious change in her prospects.
How happily she laid away in the old trunk the few gifts she had ventured to buy, and those given her,—the glossy silk, the dainty lace, the pretty crystals, the store of gloves, the flask of cologne, the pictures and books, and last of all the sketches which illustrated the journal kept so carefully for those at home.
“Now, when my letter is written and the check with all that is left of my salary put in, I am done. There’s room for more, and I wish I’d got something else, now I feel so rich. But it is foolish to buy gowns to pay duties on, when I don’t know what the girls need. I feel so rich now, I shall fly out and pick up some more little pretties for the dears. They have so few, anything will be charming to them,” said Jenny, proudly surveying her box, and looking about for some foreign trifle with which to fill up the corners.
“Then let me put these in, and so be rid of them. I shall go to see your people and tell them all about you, and explain how you came to send so much rubbish.”
As she spoke Ethel slipped in several Swiss carvings, the best of the trinkets, and a parcel of dainty Parisian ties and sashes which would gladden the hearts of the poor, pretty girls, just beginning to need such aids to their modest toilets. A big box of bonbons completed her contribution, and left but one empty corner.
“I’ll tuck in my old hat to keep all steady; the girls will like it when they dress up, and I’m fond of it, because it recalls some of my happiest days,” said Jenny, as she took up the well-worn hat and began to dust it. A shower of grain dropped into her hand, for the yellow wheat still kept its place and recalled the chat at Schwalbach. Ethel glanced at her own hat with its faded artificial flowers; and as her eye went from the small store of treasures so carefully and happily gathered to the strew of almost useless finery on her bed, she said soberly,—
“You were right, Jenny. My poppies are worthless, and my harvest a very poor one. Your wheat fell in good ground, and you will glean a whole stack before you go home. Well, I shall keep my old hat to remind me of you: and when I come again, I hope I shall have a wiser head to put into a new one.”
“If you please, I’ve come,” said a small girl, as she walked into a large room where three ladies sat at work.