“Yes, indeed, I will.”
As she talked, Iku, an old woman of about fifty, groped for a match in the dark and lighted the lamp.
At that moment a maid of the house was heard coming up the stairs, and entering, she handed a letter to Iku.
“Thank you for your trouble,” said Iku. “The baron is pretty late, but we have sent a boy for him. He will be in before long. Here is a letter,” she added, handing it to Nami-san.
“A letter from father! Why does Takeo stay so long?” At that, the lady in marumage took the letter in her hand and looked at the familiar hand-writing.
“A letter from my lord?” asked Iku. “I should like to know what the news is. Surely he has written us something funny, as usual.”
The maid, after shutting the sliding screens and attending to the fire, went down-stairs, and then the old woman put the bundle she had brought into a small closet, and approached Nami, saying:
“How cold it is here! What a difference from Tokyo!”
“You ought to expect that, as cherry-flowers are blooming here in May. But come and sit nearer, Iku.”
“Excuse me,” said Iku, as she sat down beside her mistress.
The old woman, looking fondly at the face of her young mistress, said; “I can hardly believe that you, who sit so gracefully in mage, are the same little one I had the honor of nursing. It seems but yesterday that, when your mother died, you cried ‘Mamma’ on my back.” With tears in her eyes she continued: “On the day of your wedding I thought how happy your mother would be if she could only see you in your beautiful attire.”
Iku wiped her eyes.