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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesJudy - Chapter 27. The Summer Ends
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Judy - Chapter 27. The Summer Ends Post by :kimaiga Category :Long Stories Author :Temple Bailey Date :May 2012 Read :2325

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Judy - Chapter 27. The Summer Ends

CHAPTER XXVII. THE SUMMER ENDS

In the softened light of the candles, the big mirrors reflected that night four misty groups of happy people.

A blur of pink down at one end, was Anne in rosy organdie, playing games with Tommy and Amelia and Nannie; a little fire flickered in the open grate, for the evening was cool, and one side of it sat the little grandmother and her old friend, the Judge, and on the other Dr. Grennell and Captain Jameson, engaged in an animated discussion; while in the window-seat, Judy and Launcelot gazed out upon the old garden.

"I shall miss it awfully," said Judy, with a little sigh.

Launcelot turned on her a startled glance.

"Why?" he asked, "where are you going?"

"Away to school," said Judy, "didn't Anne tell you?"

"Oh, I say--oh, I say, you're not, really?" Launcelot's voice had a queer break in it, that made Judy say quickly:

"We are coming back for Christmas."

"Well, this is my finish," said Launcelot, moved to slang, by the intensity of his feelings. "I thought it was bad enough to be cut out of going to college, but if you and Anne go away, I will give up."

"No, you won't," said Judy, quickly.

"Why not?"

"Because I should be so disappointed in you, Launcelot."

For a moment they looked at each other in silence. The light wind came in through the open window and stirred the laces of Judy's dress, and blew a wisp of dark hair across her earnest eyes, which shone with a depth of feeling that Launcelot had never seen there before, and as he looked, the boy was suddenly possessed with the spirit that animated the knights of old who yearned to prove themselves worthy of their ladies.

"Would you be disappointed, Judy?" he asked, very low.

"Yes," she leaned forward, speaking eagerly. "You--you don't know what this summer has meant to me, Launcelot. I came here so miserable, so unhappy, and I found you and Anne--and because you were both so brave when you have so many things to make life hard, I think it made me a little braver, and I could bear things better, because of you, and Anne, Launcelot.

"And so--I want always to think of you as brave," she went on, "I want to feel though there are cowards in the world, that you aren't one; though there are boys who fail and boys who are not what they ought to be, that you are really brave and true and good, Launcelot--always brave and true and good--"

For a moment he could not speak, and then he said in a moved voice:

"Do you really think that, Judy?"

"Really, Launcelot."

"It helps me to know it--it will help me all my life," he said, simply, and for a moment his hand touched hers, as if a promise were given and taken.

All his life he carried the picture of her as she sat there with the silver light of the moon making a halo for her head--and though after that she was many times her old tempestuous self, yet the vision of little St. Judith, as he named her then, stayed with him, and led him to the heights.

Judy went out to dinner on Dr. Grennell's arm. She looked very grown up with her long white dress, with her hair twisted high, with pearl sidecombs that had belonged to her grandmother, and with a bunch of violets--Launcelot's birthday gift to her, in her belt.

"How old are you, little lady?" asked the doctor, as they took their seats at the table.

"As old as I look," flashing a demure glance.

"Then you are ten," he decided, "in spite of your hair on top of your head. Your eyes give you away. They are child-eyes."

"I hope she will always keep child-eyes," said the Judge, who at the head of the table was serving the soup from an old-fashioned silver tureen, with Perkins at his elbow to pass the plates. "I don't want her to grow up."

"I shall always be your little girl, grandfather," and Judy nodded happily to him from the foot of the table, where she was taking Aunt Patterson's place, "even when I am forty."

"Aw, forty," said Tommy Tolliver, unexpectedly, "that's awful old. You'll be an old maid, Judy."

"That's what I intend to be," said that independent young lady. "I am going to be an artist."

"Oh, Judy," said little Anne, "you know you won't. You will marry Prince Charming and live happy ever after, as the fairy books say, and it will be lovely."

But Judy shrugged her shoulders, as they all laughed.

"We will see," she said, "and anyhow I am too young to think about such things," and at that the little grandmother nodded approval.

Tommy, having made his one contribution to the general conversation, ate steadily through the menu, accompanied by Amelia, whose sigh when the last course of ice-cream was served in little melons with candied cherries on top was expressive of great bliss.

But the crowning surprise of the dinner was the birthday cake.

Perkins brought it in on a great silver platter, and placed it in front of Judy with a flourish.

"Oh, oh, isn't it lovely," cried all the little girls.

"That's great," from Launcelot and Tommy.

"Perkins' _chef d'oeuvre_," was the Captain's comment, and the Judge and the doctor and Mrs. Batcheller added their praises.

It really was a beautiful cake. The icing foamed up all over it like waves, and on the very top of the sugary billows was placed a little candy sailboat, as nearly like the lost "Princess" as Perkins could procure.

"Oh, how perfectly beautiful," said Judy. "How did you think of it, Perkins?" and she smiled at him in a way that set his old heart a-beating.

"You're to cut it, Miss," he said, handing her a great silver-handled knife. "There's a ring in it, and a thimble and a piece of money."

"Oh, I hope I'll get the ring," said little Anne, then blushed as Perkins said: "That means you'll get married, Miss."

"And the one who gets the thimble will work for a living, and the one who gets the money will be rich, isn't that it?" asked Judy, as she stuck the knife in. "Oh, it seems a shame to cut it, Perkins. It is so pretty."

Launcelot found the thimble in his slice, the money--a tiny gold dollar--was in Nannie's, while to Judy came the turquoise ring.

"You see you can't escape," said Launcelot, softly, as she turned the blue hoop on her finger. "Fate doesn't intend you for an artist."

"Well, I intend to be, whether fate does or not," she insisted. "I guess I can do as I please."

"Anne, you can have the thimble," said Launcelot, rolling it across the table-cloth to her. It was a beautiful little gold affair, and she loved to sew.

"I shouldn't mind being an old maid and working for a living," she said, surveying it contentedly, "if I could have Becky and Belinda to live with me."

"I'm glad I am going to be rich," said Nannie. "I shall travel and have a new dress every week."

"Huh," boasted Tommy, "I am going to get rich, if I didn't find the money in the cake."

"Sailors don't get rich," said the Captain. "It's a poor profession."

"Aw, a sailor," stammered Tommy, getting very red, "I'm not going to be a sailor. I'm going to learn typewriting, and go to the city in an office."

And thus ended the Cause of Thomas, the Downtrodden!

But Amelia's plans proved the most interesting.

"I'm going to write," she announced, placidly. "I wrote a poem for Judy's birthday."

"Read it," they demanded, and Amelia, feeling very important, delivered the following:


"Oh, candy, oh, sugar, oh, cake, and oh, pie,
Are not half so sweet as dear J-U-D-Y."


It brought down the house, and Amelia was overcome by the honors heaped upon her.

"It isn't very good poetry," she confessed modestly, "but it means a lot."

And then the Captain made a little speech, in which he thanked Judy's friends for the happy summer she had spent among them. And then Launcelot made a speech and thanked Judy for the good times she had given them. And while Launcelot's speech wasn't as polished as the Captain's, it was so earnestly spoken that Judy was proud of her boy friend.

And after that they filed out to the old garden, the Judge and Mrs. Batcheller, and the Captain and Judy, Launcelot with his fair little friend Anne, and behind them the smaller fry, and Perkins--the wonderful Perkins at the end, with the coffee.

And there we will leave them, there in the old garden, where Judy had found hope and happiness, and where the little fountain sang ceaselessly to the nodding roses, of life and love, and of the things that had been and of the things that were to be.


(THE END)
Temple Bailey's Novel: Judy

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