When Irma looked out of her window before breakfast her first morning at Siena, she was surprised to see before her not a town street, but what seemed a section of farming country, with vegetable gardens and occasional small cottages.
She saw men and women at work in the fields, and she wondered whether she were awake or asleep. For her impression of Siena, as they had driven through the streets the night before, was of a closely built town. When she had dressed, she hastened from her room to see what impression she would get from a front window.
It seemed to be a morning of surprises, for as she passed a sitting-room at the head of the stairs, she heard Marion laughing, yes, actually laughing, and other voices were mingled with his in conversation and laughter, too.
So surprised was Irma that she paused, with her hand on the banister, and a moment later Marion stood beside her.
“Come in, there is some one here you ought to meet,” he said, and almost before she realized it he had led her into the room. The faces of the two girls who stood near the window were certainly not exactly the faces of strangers, and yet she could not tell where she had previously seen them.
“Miss Grimston, Miss Sanford, this is Irma Derrington.”
At these words of Marion’s she realized who the strangers were, the two girls she had seen at the Naples Aquarium.
“Don’t I come in for an introduction, too?” said a boy’s voice, almost before Irma had a chance to say a word to the two girls, and at the same moment a tall, blue-eyed boy came forward with a smile. “I am Richard Sanford,” he said pleasantly.
“Come, children, come to breakfast,” cried Uncle Jim, now appearing at the door; “your aunt will have her coffee upstairs.”
Then he started back. “Excuse me,” he said, “I did not realize that Siena was so full of young Americans,” and then Marion repeated the introductions.
In the breakfast room a table was found where all the young people could sit together, under the vigilant eye of Uncle Jim, “a chaperon pro tem,” as he called himself, whose chief duty it was to see that they did not let their conversation interfere with their appetites. Before the meal ended he had made them admit that he had done his duty.
“We have seen all the most important things in Siena,” Katie Grimston explained, “but we had arranged to be here a week, and that gives us two days more. Mrs. Sanford happens to be rather tired to-day, and while she is resting we can go about with you if you’d like to have us.”
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