“I am sorry,” Aunt Caroline was saying, as she and Irma and Uncle Jim drifted along in a gondola, “that you will lose Milan. Perhaps you might have gone up with your uncle on his trip last week, but it seemed hot.”
“It was hot,” interposed Uncle Jim. “And I had so much business that I could have given no time to showing Irma around.
She could have seen the Cathedral, of course, which, after all, is one of the most beautiful in the world, and different from the others you have seen in Italy; and she could have visited one or two delightful galleries. But I doubt that your head will retain an impression of half those you’ve already visited.
If you will accept my impression of Milan, you will know just what it is, a busy, bustling city, full of energetic people who are making their way upward. If the rest of Italy could catch the spirit of Milan, the whole country would soon be prosperous. In fact the spirit of independence is so strong that car conductors, policemen, and shopkeepers, as well as cabmen, are insolent, and inclined to look down on the forestieri. Sometime, when you return to Italy in cooler weather, you can visit Milan; but be thankful you didn’t go there with me last week.”
“We shall have a warm journey back to Naples, and if your business were not so pressing, I should be inclined to go to Switzerland. While she is over here, Irma ought to see——”
“Oh, no, no,” interrupted Irma, without waiting for Aunt Caroline to finish the sentence. “Really I do not need to see more. I ought, that is, I must go home.”
“Why, my dear child,” cried Aunt Caroline, “I had no idea you were getting homesick. I thought you were enjoying everything.”
“Yes, I am enjoying everything,” replied Irma, “and that is why I feel as if I can hardly wait to see them all at home. I just long to tell them about everything, and I don’t want Tessie to grow up before I see her again. And if Katie gets to Cranston before I do, she will take Nap away, and perhaps I may never see him again. Oh, I am glad we are going home.” Irma’s voice now broke completely, and she made no attempt to hide her tears.
“There, my dear, it is the warm weather. The climate of Venice is too relaxing——”
“We’d get home sooner, Irma, if we should give up our Mediterranean passage and take a boat from Havre or Cherbourg. Perhaps you would like to start to-morrow with Mrs. Sanford’s party. You wouldn’t lose sight of Katie then,” said Uncle Jim mischievously.
“Nonsense,” rejoined Aunt Caroline. “A few days more or less will be nothing to Irma, when once her face is turned toward the United States.”
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