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Milly is overcome.
and she didn't wish you to be told, in case of a disappointment; but this morning I received another letter from Aden, to say she was really on her way home, and thought I had better tell you at once.'
All this time, Milly, perfectly overcome with the magnitude of the surprise, stood looking at her aunt, hearing what was said, but feeling as if in a dream, unable to utter a single word, and not knowing whether to laugh
‘Here's her letter; you shall read it. Oh, Milly, isn't it delightful to think we shall see her so soon, and that now they will never go back to India again ?'
Then Milly utterly broke down, and, throwing herself on the ground, buried her face in her aunt's lap, sobbing and crying for very joy.
Oh, Aunt Mary,' she said, when a little recovered, “it is true, isn't it? I'm not dreaming? Mamma is really on her way home?'
“Yes, darling, really and truly ; but I don't wonder at your scarcely being able to believe it. Come in with me now to the dining-room and get some water, and then I'll read you mamma's letter, and you'll see that it is all true.'
Well,' said Agnes, smiling, as she met them at the door, wasn't I right, Milly? Mamma will hardly have forgotten you, I think !'
'Agnes ! isn't it delicious ? I am so happy! Oh dear! I'm so sorry for any one who's unhappy! I wish I could do something for them. Mamma coming now, and papa next year !-oh, it can't be true. Is Herbert in the diningroom? I must go to him! What does he say?'
Then there was the delight of telling the cousins. Miss Carey was in the secret; and for the rest of the day Milly wandered about in a state of restless delight, saying very little, but looking radiant, every now and then repeating to herself, Mamma's coming ! mamma's coming !' thereby hoping to familiarize herself with the idea which at times still seemed too marvellously enchanting to be true. As for eating any dinner, it was a mere impossibility, and no one but Sibbie made any remark at her want of appetite. To go dinnerless was, however, an idea Sib's imagination refused to grasp. She stared at her cousin with eyes perfectly round with surprise, as plate after plate was refused, or taken away untouched, and at last gave vent to her feelings thus :
* My word, Milly! (a favourite expression of Sybil's.) Why, you must be ill !" Upon which little True drew herself up, and shaking her head reprovingly, said, “Sibbie, it's very
rude to talk like that.' At eight o'clock Millicent was so worn out, that Mrs. Russell persuaded her to go to bed ; and peeping into her room an hour later, was rejoiced to find her in a sound sleep.
Next morning Milly woke at eight, perfectly refreshed, and was surprised to find her aunt standing by her side. Oh, Aunt Mary,' she said, starting up in bed, 'is it very late? I was so tired.'
It is rather late, darling ; but I am so glad you have had such a good night. I came to see how you were.'
'Quite well, thank you. I only woke once in the night; some door banged, I think, and I thought I heard noises out of doors; but it was only the wind, I suppose.'
' Did you think you heard a carriage?' asked Mrs. Russell, smiling
Yes, now I remember I did. What was it ? Did any one want to see Uncle Frank?' ‘No; but somebody wants to see little Milly, I think.'
Who? Oh, Aunt Mary, is it—was it—not mamma come? Oh! do tell me, is
But Mrs. Russell turned away ; and some one else stealing from behind the curtain, took her place, and a dear, well-remembered voice cried, 'My darling! my own little Milly! thank God for this ;' and with a smothered cry of delight, Millicent found herself clasped in her mother's arms.
2UT little more remains to be said. Such over
powering joy as that felt by Millicent, such deep thankfulness as that which filled Mrs.
Grant's heart, cannot be put into words. As her mother clasped her once more close to her heart, and remembered the agony and grief she had undergone in India eighteen months before, when parting with her child, she felt that God had indeed been good to her, and that the present moment more than compensated for all she had suffered. And as Milly, encircled by her arms, received and returned her mother's kisses, the past seemed bridged over, as it were, in a moment, and she felt as if she had never left her. This past, however, had been too happy a time, in spite of everything, for the little girl to wish to forget it. She had endeared herself to all those around her, and they were not less dear to her. Millicent's love for Herbert, her first friend in England, was as deep as ever; while of her uncle and aunt's kindness, she felt she could never say enough; and although perhaps Hilda and Ethel came first, the rest of the cousins each held their own place in her warm heart.
• They have all been so good to me, mamma!' she said, with eyes swimming in happy tears—'Herbert, Aunt Mary, Uncle Frank, and then Agnes and the girls-oh! you can't think how I love them all!' And this being so, the delight of the cousins can easily be imagined when, after some deliberation, Mrs. Grant decided on taking a house at Sand they knew that for the present, at all events, they would not be separated.
And here, while all is sunshine with her, this portion of Millicent's life may be brought to a satisfactory close. Should any one wish to hear of her future life, or of that of her cousins, their wish may perhaps be gratified at some other time. Be that as it may, for the present we will leave her in a safe haven, the happiest little girl in the world.
MURRAY AND GIBB, EDINBURGH,