ONCE AGAIN ANNA WAS ON the courtyard with her mother. This time was just like the first. Anna played tag with her mother. She ran around in circles, and the open space, the deep sky, the fresh air intoxicated her so that she grew perfectly wild. After a while she noticed that her mother was standing still. She stopped short in the middle of a leap so suddenly that her two legs spread far apart. To get her balance she bounded high into the air and then stood erect. Her mother seemed to be talking to someone. Anna toddled up inquisitively.
Suddenly Anna stopped, but her mother said, "Come here. This is our friend, Maria. She's a Justice. Come here like a nice girl and let her see you."
Anna went over. There stood Maria looking like a very honest person. Maria did look friendly. But oddly enough, she had lost all the respect she originally had for the Justice.
"Good evening, young lady," Maria greeted her, with studied politeness.
Anna merely nodded good evening. She didn't understand why, but she simply nodded. She was very friendly and civil, but a little condescending. She could not help herself. Perhaps she was born that way.
"What a pretty young Justice," said Maria to Anna's mother. She looked at Anna attentively, raising an eyebrow and then letting it fall.
Meanwhile Maria continued to study Anna with her bright blue eyes. Her eyes grew thoughtful. "I congratulate you," she said to Legislative. "I sincerely congratulate you on your daughter. Yes, indeed, she'll make a splendid Justice in time. Anyone can see that."
To Anna's boundless surprise she suddenly began to walk off. "Now if you good people will excuse me," she said at last, "I have all kinds of things to do tonight. If you'll be so good as to excuse me...." She turned away and rushed off.
"Good evening," Anna called after her.
Anna's mother smiled. "Good Maria," she said; "she is so prudent. She doesn't have an easy time of it in this world." There was sympathy in her voice.
Anna strolled about a little and left her mother. She wanted to meet Maria again and she wanted to make new acquaintances, besides. For without being very clear herself what it was she wanted, she felt a certain expectancy. Suddenly, at a distance, she heard a soft, quick, gentle steps tapping the ground. She peered over ahead of her. Over on the edge of the courtyard something was moving. Was it alive? No, there were two things. Anna cast a quick glance at her mother but she wasn't paying attention to anything and had her head deep in thought. But the game was going on on the other side of the courtyard in a shifting circle exactly as Anna herself had raced around before. Anna was so excited that she backed away as if she wanted to run off. Then her mother noticed her and turned her head.
"What's the matter?" she called.
But Anna was speechless. She could not find her tongue and only stammered, "Look over there."
Her mother look over. "I see," she said, "that's my friend, she must be visiting, and sure enough she has a baby too now. No, she has two of them." Her mother spoke at first out of pure happiness grown serious. "To think that Alice has two babies," she said, "two of them."
Anna stood gazing across the courtyard. She saw a woman that look just like her mother. She also saw two boys with light red hair.
"Come," her mother said, "we'll go over. They'll be company for you."
Anna would have run, but as her mother walked slowly, peering to the right and to the left ever step, she held herself back. Still, she was bursting with excitement and very impatient.
"I thought we would meet Alice sometime," her mother went on to say. "Where can she have been keeping herself? I thought I knew she had one child, that wasn't too hard to guess. But two of them!..."
At last the others saw them and came to greet them. Anna had to greet Alice, but her mind was entirely on the children.
Alice was very friendly and had an English accent. "Well," she said to Anna, "this is Damon and that is Daniel. Now you run along and play together."
The children stood stock-still and stared at each other, Damon close beside Daniel and Anna in front of him. None of them stirred. They stood and gaped.
"Run along," said Anna's mother, "you'll soon be friends."
"What a lovely child," Alice replied. "She is really lovely. So strong, and she stands so well."
"Oh well," said her mother modestly, "we have to be content. But to have two of them, Alice!..."
"Oh yes, that's all very well," Alice declared; "you know, dear, I've taken care of small personifications before."
"Anna is my first," her mother said.
"We'll see," Alice comforted her, "perhaps it will be different with you next time, too."
The children were still standing and staring at each other. No one said a word. Suddenly Daniel gave a leap and rushed away. It had become too much for him.
In a moment Anna darted after him. Damon followed her. They flew around in a semicircle, they turned tail and fell over each other. Then they chased each other up and down. It was glorious. When they stopped, all topsy-turvy and somewhat breathless, they were already good friends. They began to chatter.
Anna told them how she talked to kind Maria.
"Did you ever talk to Justice Alexander?" asked Daniel.
No, Anna had never talked to the Justice. She did not even know who he was.
"I've talked to him often when we've visited," Daniel declared, a little pertly.
"One Justice insulted me," said Anna.
"Really," said Damon astonished, "did a Justice treat you like that?" Damon was very easily astonished and was extremely timid.
Daniel knew better. "Miss England says you shouldn't meddle with such people," he said.
Presently, Anna asked Damon softly, "Do you know what 'danger' means?"
Then they grew serious and all three heads drew together. Damon thought a while. He made a special effort to remember for he saw how curious Anna was for the answer. "Danger," he whispered, "is something very bad."
"Yes," Anna declared excitedly, "I know it's something very bad, but what?" All three trembled with fear.
Suddenly Daniel cried out loudly and joyfully, "I know what danger is. It's what you run away from." He sprang away. He couldn't bear to stay there any longer and be frightened. In an instant, Anna and Damon had bounded after him. They began to play again. They tumbled on the ground and in a twinkling had forgotten all about the absorbing question. After a while they stopped and stood chattering together as before. They look toward Alice and Legislative. They were standing close together and carrying on a quiet conversation.
Alice turned her head and called the children. "Come, Damon. Come, Daniel. We have to go now."
And Anna's mother said to her, "Come, it's time to go."
"Wait just a little longer," Daniel pleaded eagerly, "just a little while."
"Let's stay a little longer, please," Anna pleaded, "it's so nice." And Damon repeated timidly, "It's so nice, just a little longer." All three spoke at once.
Alice looked toward Anna's mother, "What did I tell you," she said, "they won't want to separate now."
Then something happened that was much more exciting than everything else that happened to Anna that day.
Out of the courthouse came the sound of someone running on the marble floors. Before Anna had time to listen, someone came bursting out of the hall. He tore like the wind, described a wide circle on the courtyard and vanished into the hall again, where she could hear running. Then he came bursting out of the hall again and suddenly stood still, about twenty paces apart from Anna, Legislative, and the others.
Anna looked at him and did not stir. He looked like Anna with the judge robe and her dark red hair. Anna was completely overcome. He was stately and beautiful. He carried his head up with dignity and pride.
"Oh," cried Daniel in admiration.
"Oh," Damon repeated softly. But Anna said nothing. She was entranced and silent. Then he moved and, turning away from the group, walked slowly back into the courthouse in the opposite direction. The stately Justice passed close to Anna and Legislative. He passed by in silent splendor, holding his noble head royally high and honouring no one with so much as a glance.
The children did not dare to breathe till he disappeared into the courthouse.
Anna was the first to break the silence. "Who was he?" she cried. But her pert little voice trembled.
"Who was he?" Damon repeated in a hardly audible voice.
Legislative said solemnly, "That, Anna, was your father."
Nothing more was said, and they parted. Alice led her children into a black car.
Anna and her mother had to cross the whole courtyard in order to reach their own vehicle. She was silent for a long time before she finally asked, "Didn't he see us?"
Her mother understood what she meant and replied, "Of course, he saw all of us."
Anna was troubled. She felt shy about asking questions, but it was too much for her. "Then why..." she began, and stopped.
Her mother helped her along. "What is it that you want to know, child?" she asked.
"Why didn't he stay with you and me?"
"He does never stay with us," her mother answered, "only at times."
Anna continued, "But why didn't he speak to us?"
Her mother said, "He doesn't speak to us now; only at time. We have to wait till he comes to us. And we have to wait for him to speak to us. He does it whenever he likes."
With a troubled heart, Anna asked, "Will my father speak to me?"
"Of course he will," her mother promised. "When you're grown up he'll speak to you, and you'll have to stay with him sometimes."
Anna walked silently beside her mother, her whole mind filled with her father's appearance. "How handsome he is!" she thought over and over again. "How handsome he is!"
As though her mother could read her thoughts, she said, "If you live, my child, if you are cunning and don't run into danger, you'll be as strong as your father is sometime, and you'll have the Chief Justice rank like him, too."
Anna breathed deeply. Her heart swelled with joy and expectancy.
To start off, this a wonderful addition to an intriguing story. I quite like the word style to it. However, this is not an appraisal. This is a critique. Unfortunately, there is no real direction as to where this is going so far. I would let it go if it were an introductory chapter, but it is not. So far, I only have the personalities of the characters and who they vaguely are. I cannot imagine how they look because there is little to no physical description of their being. I suggest saying how they appear and various things like scars and such. Over all, I quite like the story, I would just love more direction and description.
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