The striking of the town clock, the ringing of bells, the blowing of whistles and "the schoolboy's glad shout" announced the noontide hour.
A sound of coming footsteps, of happy, young voices, an opening of doors, letting in fresh breezes from without, and with them two bright, blooming, merry little girls and a lad between them and Mildred in age, in whose great black eyes lurked a world of fun and mischief.
"Softly, softly, children!" the mother said looking up with a smile as they came dancing and prancing in. "Rupert, are you not old enough to begin to act in a rather more gentlemanly way?"
"Yes, mother, I beg your pardon. Yours too, Aunt Wealthy, I didn't know till this moment that you were here."