in whose eyes the stately young lady still remained "the baby."
"Our drawing class breaks up next week, and before the girls separate for the summer, I want to ask them out here for a day. They are wild to see the river, sketch the broken bridge, and copy some of the things they admire in my book. They have been very kind to me in many ways, and I am grateful; for they are all rich, and know I am poor, yet they never made any difference."
"Why should they!" and Mrs. March put the question with what the girls called her "Maria Theresa air."
"You know as well as I that it does make a difference with nearly every one, so don't ruffle up like a dear, motherly hen, when your chickens get pecked by smarter birds; the ugly duckling turned out a swan you know;" and Amy smiled without bitterness, for she possessed a happy temper and hopeful spirit.
Mrs. March laughed, and smoothed down her maternal pride, as she asked,—
"Well, my swan, what is your plan?"
"I should like to ask the girls out to lunch next week, to take them a drive to the places they want to see,—a row on the river, perhaps,—and make a little artistic fête for them."
"That looks feasible. What do you want for lunch? Cake, sandwiches, fruit and coffee, will be all that is necessary, I suppose?"
"Oh dear, no! we must have cold tongue and chicken, French chocolate and ice-cream besides. The girls are used to such things, and I want my lunch to be proper and elegant, though I do work for my living."