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|Malbone: An Oldport Romance||Thomas Wentworth Higginson|
I. An Arrival
|Page 4 of 6||
"Now begin to tell your adventures," said Kate. "People always tell their adventures till tea is ready."
"Who can have any adventures left," said Philip, "after such letters as I wrote you all?"
"Of which we got precisely one!" said Kate. "That made it such an event, after we had wondered in what part of the globe you might be looking for the post-office! It was like finding a letter in a bottle, or disentangling a person from the Dark Ages."
"I was at Neuchatel two months; but I had no adventures. I lodged with a good Pasteur, who taught me geology and German."
"That is suspicious," said Kate. "Had he a daughter passing fair?"
"Indeed he had."
"And you taught her English? That is what these beguiling youths always do in novels."
"What was her name?"
"What a pretty name! How old was she?"
"She was six."
"O Philip!" cried Kate; "but I might have known it. Did she love you very much?"
Hope looked up, her eyes full of mild reproach at the possibility of doubting any child's love for Philip. He had been her betrothed for more than a year, during which time she had habitually seen him wooing every child he had met as if it were a woman,--which, for Philip, was saying a great deal. Happily they had in common the one trait of perfect amiability, and she knew no more how to be jealous than he to be constant.
"Lili was easily won," he said. "Other things being equal, people of six prefer that man who is tallest."
"Philip is not so very tall," said the eldest of the boys, who was listening eagerly, and growing rapidly.
"No," said Philip, meekly. "But then the Pasteur was short, and his brother was a dwarf."
"When Lili found that she could reach the ceiling from Mr. Malbone's shoulder," said Emilia, "she asked no more."
"Then you knew the pastor's family also, my child," said Aunt Jane, looking at her kindly and a little keenly.
"I was allowed to go there sometimes," she began, timidly.
"To meet her American Cousin," interrupted Philip. "I got some relaxation in the rules of the school. But, Aunt Jane, you have told us nothing about your health."
"There is nothing to tell," she answered. "I should like, if it were convenient, to be a little better. But in this life, if one can walk across the floor, and not be an idiot, it is something. That is all I aim at."
"Isn't it rather tiresome?" said Emilia, as the elder lady happened to look at her.
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|Malbone: An Oldport Romance
Thomas Wentworth Higginson
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