Page:Aunt Jo's Scrap-Bag, Volume 2.djvu/199

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ing and breathless, to pour out their tale, and suggest an immediate departure to the blissful spot where oounts and crocuses flourished with Italian luxuriance.

But after the first excitement had subsided, Lavinia put a wet blanket on the entire plan by declaring that she would never board with any grasping old patrician, who would charge for every bow, and fall back on his ancestors if he was found cheating. She would go and look at the place, but not enter it, nor be beholden to the resident Apollo for so much as a dandelion.

So the mourning damsels led the griffin over the viaduct, through the dirty little town, by the villa on its least attractive side. Up at the window were the two little Napoleonic heads with big, black eyes, strong chins, and dark hair streaked across wide, olive-colored foreheads. A vision of Papa was visible in the garden pruning a vine with gloves on his aristocratic hands, and a shabby velvet coat on his highly connected back. Also, afar off on the balcony,—oh, sight to touch a maiden's heart!—was the young count gazing wistfully toward Albano. He did not see the charmers as they crept down the