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Miss Hortensia stopped. Even Ruby was impressed by what she had heard.
'Dear cousin,' she said, 'it was very good of you.'
'And have you never seen the beautiful lady again?' said Mavis. She told you the west turret was her own room, didn't she? Have you never seen her there?'
Miss Hortensia shook her head.
'You forget, dear, it was only a dream. And even if it had been more than that, we grow very far away from angels and fairies as we get old, I fear.'
'Not you,' Mavis said; 'you're not like that. And the lady must have been so pleased with you for caring for us, I wonder she hasn't ever come to see you again. Do you know,' she went on eagerly, after a moment's pause, 'I have a feeling that she is in the west turret-room sometimes!'
Miss Hortensia looked at the child in amazement. Mavis's quiet, rather dull face seemed transformed; it was all flushed and beaming, her eyes sparkling and bright.
'Mavis' she said, 'you look as if you had seen her yourself. But it was only a dream, you mustn't let my old-world stories make you fanciful. I am
too fanciful myself perhaps I have always loved the west turret, and that was why I chose it for your play-room when you were little dots.'
'I'm so glad you did,' said Mavis, drawing a long breath.
After that they were all rather silent for a while. Then Ruby claimed Miss Hortensia's promise of the story or description rather of the grand court ball at which her mother's beauty had made such a sensation, and when that was ended, the little trumpeter announced, much to the children's displeasure, that it was time to go to bed.
'We have had a cosy evening,' said Mavis, as she kissed Miss Hortensia.
'And, oh Ruby,' she said, as her sister and she were going slowly upstairs, 'don't you wish we might sleep in the turret-room?'
'No indeed,' Ruby replied, in a most decided tone, 'I certainly don't.'
A BOY AND A BOAT
'Are little boats alive?
And can they plan and feel?'-' A.'
'IF you please, there's a boy at the kitchen-door asking for the young ladies,' said the young maidservant Ulrica, who generally waited on Ruby and Mavis.
They were just finishing their morning lessons with Miss Hortensia, and Mavis was putting away the books, a task which usually fell to her share. Miss Hortensia gave a little start.
'A boy,' she exclaimed, 'what kind of a boy? It can't be-oh no of course not. How foolish I am. At the kitchen-door, did you say, Ulrica? Who is it?'
'Oh, I know!' cried Ruby, jumping up with a clatter, delighted to avoid finding out the mistake in
a sum which Miss Hortensia had told her she must correct. 'It's Winfried; I'm sure it is. He's come for some soup or something. I told him he might, but I do think it's rather greedy to have come the very next day. Mayn't I go and speak to him,
Well, yes, I suppose so. No, I think it would be better for him to come in here. Show the boy in here, Ulrica—at least-ask him if he is old Adam's grandson.'
In a minute or two the door was again opened. 'If you please, ma'am,' said Ulrica's voice as before, 'it's-it's the boy.'
'The boy' walked in; he held his cap in his hand, and made a sort of graceful though simple obeisance to the ladies. He did not seem the least shy, yet neither was there a touch of boldness about him. On his face was the slight but pleasant smile that had more than once lighted it up the day before, and his eyes, as he stood there full in the bright gleam of the window-for it was a clear and sunny day—were very blue.
Ruby came forward.
'Oh, it's you, is it?' she said, with the halfpatronising good humour usual to her when not put
out. 'I thought it was. It's Winfried, cousin Hortensia; the boy I told you of. I suppose you've come for some soup for your grandfather.'
Winfried smiled, a little more than before. crept forward; she wished she could have said something, but she was afraid of vexing Ruby.
'No, miss,' said Winfried, 'I did not come for that, though grandfather said it was very kind of you, and some day perhaps he stopped short. 'I came to bring you this which I found on the rocks down below our cottage;' and he held out a little silver cross. Ruby started, and put her hand up to her neck.
'Oh dear,' she said, 'I never knew I had lost it. Are you sure it isn't yours, Mavis? I've got my cord on.'
'Yes, but the cross must have dropped off,' said Mavis. I have mine all right.'
And so it proved. Both little sisters wore these crosses, which were exactly alike. Ruby took hers from Winfried, and began examining it to see how it had got loose. Miss Hortensia came forward.
'It was very good of you to bring the little cross,' she said kindly; for something about the boy attracted her very much. 'Ruby, my dear,' she