The sisters stopped at the road-side to gaze at the long low ivy-covered cottage, with a broad patch of green in front, upon which was a lumber of broken carts and waggons waiting to be doctored. There was a shed at one end, from which came the sound of sawing, for which job there was a good-sized pit, while farther on the road dipped suddenly down and passed through a little river, which foamed and bubbled and sparkled as it turned the gravelly shallows into liquid silver in the morning sun.
“Oh, what a funny little thing!” cried Cynthia, as they were welcomed into the neat cottage. “Look at its little button-hole of a mouth. Let me take it, Polly.”
The young mother, quite a rustic beauty, with a touch of refinement in her appearance, picked up during her stay on the Continent as maid to the rector’s daughters, handed her plump little baby to the extended arms; watchfully, though, and as if afraid the treasure might be dropped upon the red-brick floor.
“And how are you, Polly?” said Julia, looking rather searchingly at the young wife as she set chairs for her visitors. “I hope you are very happy?”
“Oh, as happy, Miss Julia, as the day is long, and I’m so busy that the days are never long enough.”
“Cooey, cooey, cooey, cooey!” cried Cynthia to the baby in a very dove-like manner, as she kissed and fondled it, laughing merrily the while.
“I was so surprised, Miss, to hear that you had come back to the rectory.”
“Not going to stop very long this time, Polly—I mean Mrs Morrison,” said Cynthia, without raising her face from the baby. “We are going to town for the season. Oh, you, you, you funny little thing! There’s a wet mouth. Oh, I say, Ju, I wonder whether I shall ever have a baby of my own.”