A whole day as strenuous as the morning Richard had provided would have been too much for Irma’s strength. Fortunately Aunt Caroline came to her rescue, and insisted on a rest during the early afternoon, and prescribed a drive later. But after driving a short time, Aunt Caroline herself suggested visiting the Oratory of San Bernardino, and one or two other churches where certain masterpieces of Sodoma and other great artists were to be seen.
In the evening, after dinner, Uncle Jim brought in a number of letters, forwarded from Rome. There were three for Marion, whose face brightened perceptibly as he glanced at the envelopes.
“Here are two from Cranston,” added Uncle Jim, as he gave Irma hers.
“Cranston,” exclaimed Katie, “is there any one here from Cranston? That is where my grandmother lives.”
“I know it,” rejoined Irma, whereupon Katie tossed her head with a little air of exaggerated surprise, as if to say, “And how does it happen that you know anything about my grandmother?”
“But I do not know your grandmother,” continued Irma. “She has been away ever since I lived there. It is only Nap,—the little dog——”
She could not bring herself to say “your little dog,” even if she had been willing to admit Katie’s ownership.
Instantly Katie comprehended. “Oh, you are the girl,” she said, “who found my little Pat.”
“Rescued him,” began Aunt Caroline, who well knew the story.
“Whereby hangs a tale,” added Uncle Jim.
“A dog’s tail?” queried Richard, with a boy’s desire to make a joke, although he didn’t yet understand the story of this particular Nap.
“I am sure I am very much obliged to you for taking care of my dog,” said Katie, “though my relations would have kept him for me.”
“They didn’t seem able to,” thought Irma.
“Well, he’s Irma’s dog now,” said Uncle Jim decidedly. “You would be quite sure he knows to whom he belongs if you could see him follow Irma about, as I saw him last summer.”
“Nap, as you call him, ‘Pat’ as I say, is still my dog. I have never given him away. Every one knows that,” and Katie looked in defiance at Irma.
“As the bone of contention is so far away, by which I do not mean that Pat is unduly thin, it seems as if we might leave the subject in peace for the present.”
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