'He said he had been into papa's room,' said Johnnie, 'and had seen baby. He is a very good-natured gentleman. Don't you like him, Aunt Theodora?'
'And oh! aunt, he asked me whether we ever went to Brogden; and when he heard that we had been at the parsonage, he said he lived there when he was a little boy, and our nursery was his;' chattered on Helen. 'He asked if we were in the fire; and you know Johnnie can't bear to hear of that; so I told him how funny it was when you came and pulled me out of bed, and we went down the garden with no shoes. And he asked whether that was the way you had grown so ugly, Aunt Theodora.'
'No, Helen, he did not say that; for he was a gentleman,' interposed Johnnie; 'he only said he was afraid our aunt had been a sufferer, and Sarah told--'
'And I told,' again broke in Helen, 'how Cousin Hugh said it was an honour and a glory to be burnt like you; and I told him how I got the water and should have put out the fire, if that horrid Simmonds had not carried me away, and I wish he had not. So long as I had not my curls burnt off,' said Miss Helen, pulling one of the glossy chestnut rings into her sight, like a conscious beauty as she was.
'He asked Sarah all about it,' said Johnnie; 'and he said we had a very good aunt; and, indeed, we have!' climbing carelessly into her lap. 'Then he met grandpapa, and they are walking in the square together.'
So Mr. Fotheringham could be in no real haste to be gone, and had only hurried away to avoid Theodora. However, there was no more musing time, the children's dinner was ready, and she was going down with the little girls, when her father entered. 'How is Arthur?'
It was answered by Johnnie, who was flying down-stairs with joyous though noiseless bounds, his whole person radiant with good tidings. 'Papa is asleep! grandpapa. Papa is fast asleep!'
'No; mamma came to the door and told me. Baby is gone up to our nursery, and nobody is to make the least noise, for papa is gone to sleep so comfortably!'