"Where is Nellie?" said the doctor. "Call Nellie, John, and tell your mother we are here."
John left the room, and a moment after a little tiny creature came tripping to the door, where she stopped suddenly, and throwing back her curls, gazed curiously first at Mrs. Kennedy and then at Maude, whose large black eyes fastened themselves upon her with a gaze quite as curious and eager as her own. She was more than a year older than Maude, but much smaller in size, and her face seemed to have been fashioned after a beautiful waxen doll, so brilliant was her complexion and so regular her features. She was naturally affectionate and amiable, too, when suffered to have her own way. Neither was she at all inclined to be timid, and when her father, taking her hand in his, bade her speak to her new mother, she went unhesitatingly to the lady, and climbing into her lap, sat there very quietly so long as Mrs. Kennedy permitted her to play with her rings, pull her collar, and take out her side-combs, for she had laid aside her bonnet; but when at last her little sharp eyes ferreted out a watch, which she insisted upon having "all to herself," a liberty which Mrs. Kennedy refused to grant, she began to pout, and, sliding from her new mother's lap, walked up to Maude, whose acquaintance she made by asking if she had a pink silk dress. "No, but I guess Janet will bring me one," answered Maude, whose eyes never for an instant left the face of her stepsister.
She was an enthusiastic admirer of beauty, and Nellie had made an impression upon her at once; so, when the latter said, "What makes you look at me so funny?" she answered, "Because you are so pretty." This made a place for her at once in the heart of the vain little Nellie, who asked her to go upstairs and see the pink silk dress which "Aunt Kelsey had given her."
As they left the room Mrs. Kennedy said to her husband, "Your daughter is very beautiful."
Dr. Kennedy liked to have people say that of his child, for he knew she was much like himself, and he stroked his brown beard complacently, as he replied: "Yes, Nellie is rather pretty, and, considering all things, is as well-behaved a child as one often finds. She seldom gets into a passion or does anything rude," and he glanced at the long scratch upon his hand; but as his wife knew nothing of said scratch, the rebuke was wholly lost, and he continued: "I was anxious that she should be a boy, for it is a maxim of mine that the oldest child in every family ought to be a son, and so I said, repeatedly, to the late Mrs. Kennedy, who, though a most excellent woman in most matters, was in others unaccountably set in her way. I suppose I said some harsh things when I heard it was a daughter, but it can't be helped now," and with a slightly injured air the husband of "the late Mrs. Kennedy" began to pace up and down the room, while the present Mrs. Kennedy puzzled her rather weak brain to know "what in the world he meant."
Meantime between John and his mother there was a hurried conversation, the former inquiring naturally after the looks of her new mistress.
"Pretty as a pink," answered John, "and neat as a fiddle, with the sweetest little baby ways; but I tell you what 'tis," and John's voice fell to a whisper: "he'll maxim her into heaven a heap sight quicker'n he did t'other one; 'case you see she haint so much--what you call him--so much go off to her as Miss Katy had, and she can't bar his grinding ways. They'll scrush her to onct--see if they don't. But I knows one thing, this yer nigger 'tends to do his duty, and hold up them little cheese-curd hands of her'n, jest as some of them Scripter folks held up Moses with the bulrushes."
"And what of the young one?" asked Hannah, who had been quite indignant at the thoughts of another child in the family, "what of the young one?"