Cloudy Jewel (Chapter 6, page 1 of 7)


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Chapter 6

The pleasant aromas of coffee and sausages were mingling in the air when "Guardy Lud" woke up and looked about the old-fashioned room with a sense of satisfaction. The very pictures on the walls rested him, they reminded him so much of the rooms in his boyhood home. He had a feeling that old-fashioned things were best, and in spite of the fact that he owned a house most different from this one himself and knew that his wife would not for a minute have tolerated any old-fashioned things about unless they were so old-fashioned that they had become the latest rage, he could not help feeling that a woman brought up amid such simple surroundings would be the very best kind to mother these orphan children who had been left on his helpless hands. He would have loved to take them to his heart and his home; but his wife was not so minded, and that ended it. But it rolled a great burden from his shoulders to feel that he might leave them in such capable hands.

They had a rollicking time at breakfast, for Guardy Lud was delighted with the crisp brown sausages, fried potatoes, and buckwheats with real maple-syrup; and he laughed, and ate, and told stories with the children, and kept the old dining-room walls ringing with joy as they had not resounded within the memory of Julia Cloud. Then suddenly the door opened, and there stood Ellen Robinson, disapproval and hauteur written in every line of her unpleasant face! One could hardly imagine how those two, Julia and Ellen, could possibly be sisters.

Dismay filled Julia Cloud's heart for an instant, and brought a pallor to her cheek. How had she forgotten Ellen? What a fool she had been to tell Ellen to come early in the morning! But she had not realized that Mr. Luddington would be willing to come out to her humble home and stay all night. She had supposed that the arrangements would be made in the city. However, it could not be helped now; and a glance at the kind, strong face of the white-haired man gave her courage. Ellen could not really spoil their plans with him there. He felt that the arrangement was good, and with him to back her she felt she could stand out against any arguments her sister might bring forth.

So she rose with a natural ease, and introduced her. "My sister Mrs. Robinson, Mr. Luddington"; and Ellen stiffly and still disapprovingly acknowledged the introduction.

"I won't interrupt," she said disagreeably. "I'm just going up to look over some of my mother's things." And she turned to the back stairway, and went up, closing the door behind her.

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