"It will be a fine opportunity for Edna," said Mrs. Conway.
Edna did not like that word opportunity; it always seemed to her that it meant something unpleasant. She had noticed that when pleasant things came along they were rarely spoken of as "opportunities," but were just happenings. So she sat with her little sturdy legs dangling down from the sofa, and a very sober look upon her round face, while her busy, dimpled hands were folded quietly.
Her mother leaned over, and took the plump little fingers in hers, giving them a squeeze. "It will be an opportunity," she repeated, as her eyes rested fondly on the child by her side; "but she is only eight, and it seems like pushing her out of the nest before her wings are ready, poor birdie!"
"O, no it doesn't," replied Mr. Conway. "It will only be changing nests. Aunt Elizabeth will be just like a mother to her; it is not like a boarding-school, my dear."
"I know," replied Mrs. Conway, resting her cheek against Edna's little dark head. "Should you like to go to Aunt Elizabeth's, dear?"
"Cousin Louis will be there, you know," put in Edna's father, "and you'll have fine times together. Suppose I read to you what Aunt Elizabeth says. 'You write, my dear nephew, that it seems prudent, on account of your wife's health, that you should go to Florida. I have received some such news from William who is about to take a trip to California in search of health. He has asked me to take charge of his son, Louis, during his absence. Should you not like to place Edna, also, with us during the time you are gone? She could then attend school and would find a pleasing companion in her cousin Louis, who, I fear, will be somewhat lonely with only myself and your Uncle Justus. The advantages of a city are great, and I need not say we will endeavor'—h'm—h'm—never mind the rest," said Mr. Conway, laying down the letter. "You know, daughter, Aunt Elizabeth lives in a big city, where there are fine shops and beautiful parks; moreover, you would meet a lot of nice little girls in the school. It would be much nicer than for you to stay here with sister and the boys while we are gone. Don't you think so?"
"Yes," said Edna, her little fat hand enfolded in her mother's, feeling very moist from the excitement of the prospect.
"Of course, I know it is best," said Mrs. Conway, "and I know Aunt Elizabeth means to be as kind as possible." Here a wistful look came into the mother's eyes, but Edna only saw visions of gay shops, while she pictured romps with her cousin Louis.
She remembered very little of this great aunt, except that she had once sent her a most beautiful doll, with a cunning trunk filled with such neat, old-fashioned frocks and aprons, together with a real little slate and books. Aunt Elizabeth had written a tiny letter which the doll had brought pinned to her muff. In the letter the doll's name was said to be Ada, and many instructions were given as to her behavior and studies. So Ada and Aunt Elizabeth were inseparably connected in Edna's mind....