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Going Home
by [?]

“IT’S nearly a year, now, since I was home,” said Lucy Gray to her husband, “and so you must let me go for a few weeks.”

They had been married some four or five years, and never had been separated, during that time, for twenty-four hours at a time.

“I thought you called this your home,” remarked Gray, looking up, with a mock-serious air.

“I mean my old home,” replied Lucy, in a half-affected tone of anger. “Or, to make it plain, I want to go and see father and mother.”

“Can’t you wait three or four months, until I can go with you?” asked the young husband.

“I want to go now. You said all along that I should go in May.”

“I know I did. But I thought I would be able to go with you.”

“Well, why can’t you go? I am sure you might, if you would.”

“No, Lucy, I cannot possibly leave home now. But if you are very anxious to see the old folks, I can put you into the stage, and you will go safe enough. Ellen and I can take care of little Lucy, no doubt. How long a time do you wish to spend with them?”

“About three weeks, or so.”

“Very well, Lucy; if you are not afraid to go alone, I will not say a word.”

“I am not afraid, dear,” said the wife, in a voice changed and softened in its expression. “But are you perfectly willing to let me go, Henry?”

“Oh, certainly,” was the reply, although the tone in which the words were uttered had something of reluctance in it. “It would be selfish in me to say, no. Your father and mother will be delighted to receive a visit just now.”

“And you think that you and Ellen can get along with little Lucy?”

“Oh yes, very well.”

“I should like to go, so much!”

“Go, then, by all means.”

“But won’t you be very lonesome without me?” suggested Lucy, in whose own bosom a feeling of loneliness was already beginning to be felt at the bare idea of a separation from her husband.

“I can stand it as long as you,” was Gray’s laughing reply to this. “And then I shall have our dear little girl.”

Lucy laughed in return, but did not feel as happy at the idea of “going home” as she thought she would be, before her husband’s consent had been gained. The desire to go, however, remaining strong, it was finally settled that the visit should be paid. So all the preparations were entered upon, and in the course of a week Henry Gray saw his wife take her seat in the stage, with a feeling of regret at parting, which required all his efforts to conceal. As for Lucy, when the moment of separation came, she regretted ever having thought of going without her husband and child; but she was ashamed to let her real feelings be known. So she kept up a show of indifference, all the while that her heart was fluttering. The “good-bye” was finally said, the driver cracked his whip, and off rolled the stage. Gray turned homewards with a dull, lonely feeling, and Lucy drew her veil over her face to conceal the unbidden tears from her fellow-passengers.

That night, poor Mr. Gray slept but little. How could he? His Lucy was absent, and, for the first time, from his side. On the next morning, as he could think of nothing but his wife, he sat down and wrote to her, telling her how lost and lonely he felt, and how much little Lucy missed her, but still to try and enjoy herself, and by all means to write him a letter by return mail.

As for Mrs. Gray, during her journey of two whole days, she cried fully half of the time, and when she got “home” at last, that is, at her father’s, she looked the picture of distress, rather than the daughter full of joy at meeting her parents.