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to keep by an evil one? How could she do it? Then things were not then at their worst with my lady. a bundred little words she had said came rushing in- Next morning it was found that little Mary had to my mind. And that look, — the look she cast | been stolen away. after the deserter on the road? I understood it all now. Her heart had been longing for him all the time. She had loved her child more than other
CHAPTER IV. mothers love, every day of all that time.
That was a dreadful morning on the Green. Poor Lady Denzil! dear Lady Denzil! this was After the lovely weather we had been having, all the end of all my reasonings on the matter. I went the winds and all the fiends seemed to have been over it again and again, but I never came to any unchained. It blew a hurricane during the night, ending but this : The thing was dreadful; but she and next day the Green was covered with great was not dreadful. . There was no change in her. I branches of trees which had been torn off and scatdid not realize any guilt on her part. My heart only tered about like wreck on a seashore. After this bled for the long anguish she had suffered, and from came rain ; it poured as if the windows of heaven the shock she was suffering from now.
were open, when Sir Thomas himself stepped in But before evening on this very same day my upon me like a ghost, as I sat at my solitary breakhouse was filled with people discussing the whole fast. Those twenty-four hours had passed over him story. No one had heard any more than I had like so many years. He was haggard and ashy heard ; but by this time a thousand versions of the pale, and feeble. His very mind seemed to be constory were afloat. Some people said she had gone fused. “ We have lost the child," he said to me, astray when she was young, and had been cast off by with a voice from which all modulation and softness her family, and that Sir Thomas had rescued her : bad gone. “ Will you come and see my wife?" and there were whispers that such stories were not " Lost! Little Mary?” I cried. so rare, if we knew all: a vile echo that always And then all his courage gave way ; be sat down breathes after a real tragedy. And some said she was speechless, with his lips quivering, and bitter tears of no family, but had been the former Lady Denzil's in his worn old eyes. "Then he got up restless and maid; some thought it was Sir Thomas's own son that shaking. “ Come to my wife," he said. There was had been thus cast away ; some said he had been left not another word exchanged between us. I put on on the streets and no provision made for him. My my cloak with the hood over my head, and went neighbors went into a hundred details. Old Mr. with him on the moment. As we crossed the Green Clifford thought it was a bad story indeed ; and the a sort of procession arrived, two or three great vans Rector shook his head, and said that for a person in packed with people, with music and flags, which Lady Denzil's position such a scandal was dreadful; proceeded to discharge their contents at the “Barit was such an example to the lower classes. Mrs. ley-Mow" under the soaking rain. They had come Damerel was still more depressed. She said she for a day's pleasure, poor creatures, and this was would not be surprised at anything Molly Jackson the sort of day they got. The sight of them is so could do after this. As for Mrs. Wood who came late associated in my mind with that miserable moment, in the evening, all agape, to inquire into the news, that I don't think I could forget it were I to live a with something like a malicious satisfaction in her hundred years. It seemed to join on somehow to face, I lost all patience when she appeared. I had the tragical breaking-up of the party on the day becompelled iyself to bear what the others said, but I fore. This was nothing but the external elements : would not put up with her.
but it chimed in with its little sermon on the vanity - Lady Denzil is my dear friend," I broke out of all things. My lady was in her own room when not without tears ; " a great trouble has come upon I entered the Lodge. The shock had struck her her. A madwoman has been brought against her down as I found, but she was not calı enough, or with an incredible story; and when a story is in- weak enough to go to bed. She lay on a sofa in credible people always believe it. If you want to ber dressing-gown ; she was utterly pale, not a touch hear any more, go to other people who were present. of her sweet color left, and her hands shook as I can't tell you anything, and if I must say so, she held them out to me. She held them out, and I won't."
looked up in my face with appealing eyes, which “Good gracious, Mrs. Mulgrave, don't go out of put me in mind of little Mary's. And then, when I your senses !” said my visitor. "If Lady Denzil stooped down over her in the impulse of the moment has done something dreadful, that does not affect to kiss her, she pressed my hands so in hers, that you?”
| frail and thin as her fingers were, I almost cried out “But it does affect me,” I said, “infinitely; it with pain. Mrs. Florentine, her old maid, stood clouds over heaven and earth; it changes, — never close by the head of her mistress's sofa. She stood mind ; I cannot tell you anything about it. If you looking on very grave and steady, without any surare anxious to hear, you must go to some one else prise, as if she knew it all. than me.”
For a few minutes Lady Denzil could not speak. “ Well, I am very glad I was not there," said Mrs. And when she did, her words came out with a burst, Wood, “ with my innocent girls. I am very glad all at once. “Did he tell you ?” she said. “I now I never made any attempt to make friends with thought you would help me. You have nobody to her, though you know how often you urged me to keep you back; neither husband nor - I said I do it. I am quite happy to think I did not yield to was sure of you." you now."
* Dear Lady Denzil," I said, “if I can do anyI had no spirit to contradict this monstrous piece thing, to the utmost of my strength - ". of pretence. I was glad to get rid of her anyhow; She held my hand fast, and looked at me as if she for though I might feel myself for an instant sup- would look me through and through. " That was ported by my indignation, the blow had gone to my what I said,- that was what I said!” she cried ; heart, and I had no strength to struggle against it. you can do what your heart says; you can bring The thought of all that Lady Denzil might be suffer- her back to me; my child, my little child! I never ing confused me with a dull sense of pain. And yet had but a little child, - never that I knew!"
"I will do whatever you tell me," I said, trying 1 -- and then she made a pause. There was very to soothe her; “ but ()! don't wear yourself out. Clifford, for example,” she added, and the Red You will be ill if you give way.”
tor's brother who ran away, — their mothers bra I said this, I suppose, because everybody says it their hearts, but the boys did not care much. I bavi when any one is in trouble. I don't know any bet-suffered in everything he suffered by; but yet ) ter reason. “That's what I'm always telling my had been here, perhaps he would not have care lady, ina'am," said Mrs. Florentine; " but she pays for me.” no heed to me."
" That is not possible,” I said, not seeing the Lady Denzil gave us both a faint little smile. /she meant. She knew too much not to know how entirely a "0, it is possible, very possible,” she said. matter of conventional routine it was that we should have seen it times without number. I have tried : say this to her. She made a pause, and then she take a little comfort from it. If it had been a took my hand once more.
I would never, never have given her up; but : 31 " I ought to tell you," she said, -" it is all true, -- 1 - That was what I thought. I don't defend on every word. Florentine knows everything from the self. Let him be the judge, - I want him to be the first to the last. I was a poor soldier's widow, and judge. That woman is a wicked woman; she ha I was destitute. I was too young to know what I disgraced him and left him; she will bring me was doing, and I was pretty, they said, and there up to ruin. Ask him to give me back my poor i were men that would have taken advantage of my tle child." simplicity. But Sir Thomas was never like that.' “I will do what I can," I said, faltering. 19 I married him to buy a livelihood for my child pledged; yet how was I to do it? My coine
- and then he was very good to me. When he failed me, as I sat by her dismayed and received by married me, I was a forlorn creature, with nothing commission. When she heard the tremulous sound to give my helpless baby. I gave up my child, of my voice, she turned round to me and held er Florentine knows; and yet every day, every year hand close in hers once more. of his life, I've followed him in my heart. If he had! “You can do everything," she said. Her Tous been living in my sight, I could not have known had suddenly grown hoarse. She was at such more of him. What I say is every word true, Flor-preme height of emotion, that the sight of la entine will tell you. I want you," grasping my hand frightened me. I kissed her; I soothed her; I pretightly, “ to tell everything to him."
ised to do whatever she would. And then she be * To him!” said I, with a gasp of astonishment, came impatient that I should set out. She want not knowing what she meant.
aware of the rain or the storm. She was too much “Yes," said Lady Denzil, holding my hand fast, absorbed in herself even to hear the furious wald " to my boy, - I want you to see my boy. Tell him the wind and the blast of rain against the windows there has never been a day I have not followed him I believe she would have done as much for me in my heart. All his wilfulness I have felt was my Before Florentine followed me with my cloak, I had fault. I have praved God on my knees to lay the made up my mind not to lose any more time blame on me. That day when I saw the deserter - was from her I got all the details: the poor fellows I want you to tell him everything. I want you to name, and where he was, and all about him. He ask him to give me back the child."
had been very wild, Florentine said. Sir Thomas I gave a cry of astonishment: an exclamation had done everything for him; but he had not been which I could not resist. “Can you expect it?” I grateful, and he had been very wild. His wife was suid.
an abandoned woman, wicked and shameless: sed * Ab ves. I expect it," said Lady Denzil; " not he too had taken to evil courses. He had straped that I have any right, - I expect it from his heart. Sir Thomas's patience to the utmost time after time. Florentine will tell you everything. It is she who And then he had enlisted. His regiment was in the has watched over him. We never talked of any- | Tower, and he was under confinement there for it thing else, she and I; never a day all these forty subordination. Such was the brief story. Wao years but I have figured to myself what my darling a time I've thought, ma'am," said Mrs. Florentie tras doing: I ser my darling, she cried, as with a -if mr lady did but know him as she was abreat sharp pang, with a sudden gush of tears; "and he of her heart for! If he'd been at home, be a bare is a man and a soldier, and in prison. Think killed her. But all she knows is that he's her chum of that, and think of all I have had to bear!"
- to love, and nothing more." I could not make any answer. I could only press "The Tower is a long way from our railras, her hand with a dumb sympathy. As for Mrs said: * bat it does not much matter in a ca5." Florentine, she stood with her eyes cast down, and - Law, ma'am, you're never agoing tois"'. smoothed the chintz cover with her hand, taking no said Florentine. But I had no intention of anyone part in look or rond. The story was no surprise to the question with her. I went into the library her. She knew everything about it: she was a chiet Sir Thomis to bid him gooi br. And he too ** actor in it; she had no need to show any sympathy. amazed when I told him. He took my bands The union between her mistress and herself was wife had done, and shook it, and looked pititaly deeper than that
to my face. It is I wbo ought to go," he said *When he married this woman, I was ready to Bit he knew as well as I did that it was impossade believe it rould be for his rood," said mr lady, when 'for him to mo. He ordered the carriage to per she hai recorend bereit. I thonght it was some 'round for me, and brought me wine, - one. how giving bira back what I had taken from him.' derful old wine be bad in his cellar, which I kn I sent her presents secretly. He has been verr, no difference in from the cornmonet sherry. Do Tere wil: and Sir Thomas was so good to him it pleased him. I suppose, to think he had great He took his mother from him; bat he gave him . his best And before I went away, be gate moner, education, everything a roung man wants | much more information about the unfortunate , There are many young men," said Lady Denril. pa. I was going to see - He is not bad st beart. thetically, “who think but little of their mother" ! Sir Thomas; - I don't think be is bad at heart: 5
his wife is a wicked woman." And when I was go- was the first drive of the kind I ever took, and if ing away, he stooped his gray aged countenance over you can suppose me wrapped up in my waterproof mne, and kissed me solemnly on the forehead. When cloak, a little excited about the unknown man I was I found myself driving along the wet roads, with the going to see ; trying to form my sentences, what I rain sweeping so in the horses' faces that it was all / was to say ; pondering how I should bring in my the half-blinded coachman could do to keep them go-arguments best; wondering where I should have to ing against the wind, I was so bewildered by my own go to find the mother and the child. Poor little position that I felt stupid for the moment. I was Mary! after the little gleam of love and of luxury going to the Tower, to see Sergeant Gray, in con- that had opened upon her, to be snatched off into finement for disrespect to his superior officer, -go- the dreary world of poverty, with a violent mother ing to persuade him to exert himself to take his child whom it was evident she feared! And poor mother from his wife's custody, and give her to his mother, too! She might be violent and yet might love her whom he did not know. I had not even heard how child ; she might be wicked and yet might love her it was that little Mary had been stolen away. I had child. To go and snatch the little creature back, taken that for granted, in face of the immediate call at all hazards, was an act which to the popular mind upon me. I had indeed been swept up, as it were, would always look like a much higher strain of virby the strong wind of emotion, and carried away, tue than dear Lady Denzil's abandonment. I could and thrust forward into a position I could not un- not defend Lady Denzil, even to myself; and what derstand. Then I recognized the truth of Lady could I say for her to her son, who knew her not? Denzil's words. I had nobody to restrain me: no! At least an hour was lost before I got admittance husband at home to find fault with anything I might to Sergeant Gray. As it happend, by a fortunate do; nobody to wonder, or fret, or be annoyed by the chance, Robert Seymour was colonel of the regiburden I had taken upon me. The recollection ment, and came to my assistance. But for that I made my heart swell a little, not with pleasure. And might have failed altogether. Robert was greatly yet it was very true. Poor Mr. Mulgrave, had he | amazed by the request I made him, but of course been living, was a man who would have been sure he did what I wanted. He told me Sergeant Gray to find fault. It is dreary to think of one's self as of was not in prison, but simply confined to his quarso little importance to any one; but, perhaps, one ters, and that he was a very strange sort of man. ought to think more than one does, that if the posi- “ I should like to know what you can want with tion is a dreary one, it has its benefits too. One is him," he said. “Yes, of course, I am dreadfully free to do what one pleases, - I could answer to curious — men are you know it is our weakness. myself; I had no one else to answer to. At such a You may as well tell me what you want with Gray." moment there was an advantage in that.
“It is nothing to laugh about," said I; "it is more At the station I met the Rector, who was going tragic than comical. . I have a message to him from to town by the same train. “Bless my soul, Mrs. his mother. And there is not a moment to lose.". Mulgrave,” he said, “ what a dreadful day you have “I understand,” said Robert, “I am to take mychosen for travelling. I thought there was no one self off. Here is the door; but you must tell me afloat on the world but me."
anything you know about bim when you have seen " There was no choice, Mr. Damerel,” I said. “I him. He is the strangest fellow in the regiment. I am going about business which cannot be put oif.” never can make him out."
He was very kind: he got my ticket for me, and And in two minutes more I was face to face with put me into a carriage, and did not insist that I Sergeant Gray. should talk to him on the way up. He talked He must have been like his father. There was enough himself it is true, but he was satisfied when not a feature in his face which recalled Lady DenI said yes and no. Just before we got to town, zil's. He was an immensely tall, powerful man, with however, he returned to my errand. “ If your busi- strong chestnut brown hair, and vigor and life in ness is anything I can do for you," he said, “if there every line of his great frame. I expected to find a is anything that a man could look after better than prisoner partially sentimental; and I found a big a lady, you know how glad I should be to be of any man in undress, marching freely about his room, use."
with a long pipe by the fire, and his beer and glasses “ Thank you," I said. My feelings were not on the table." I had expected a refined man, bearmirthful, but yet I could have burst out laughing. ing traces of gentleman written on him, and the fine I wonder if there is really any business that a man tastes that became Lady Denzil's son. There was can do better than a lady, when it happens to be something about him, when one came to look at him her business and not his? I have never got much a second time, — but what was it? Traces of dissihelp in that way from the men that have belonged pation, a look of bravado, an instant standing to his to me. And to think of putting my delicate, des- arms in self-defence, whatever I might have come perate business in Mr. Damerel's soft, clerical hands, to accuse him of; and the insufferable coxcomb air that had no bone in them! He got me a cab, which which comes naturally to the meanest member of was something, – though to be sure a porter would the household troops. Such was the rapid impreshave done it quite as well, -- and opened bis eyes sion I formed as I went in. He took off his cap with to their utmost width when he heard me tell the an air of amazement yet assurance, but put it on coachman to go to the Tower.
again immediately. I stood trembling before this What a drive it was ! our thirty miles of railway big, irreverent, unknown man. If the door had was nothing to it; through all those damp, dreary, been open, I think I should have run away. But as glistening London streets — streets narrow and it was, I had no resource. drearily vicious - streets still more drearily respect- “Mr. Gray," I said, all at once, half from cowardable; desert lines of warehouses and oflices - ice, half to get it over, “I have come to you from crowded thoroughfares with dreary vehicles in a your mother." lock, and dreary people crowding about surmounted The man actually staggered as he stood before with umbrellas — miles upon miles, streets upon me, he fell back and gazed at me as if I had streets, from Paddington to the Tower. I think it been a ghost. “From my mother?” he said, and his lips seemed to refuse articulation. His surprise child. I was there wben he came to Ir vanquished him; which was more than with my in- mother knew in a moment hot dividual forces I could have hoped to do
never said a word. She rushed to her, and a “ Froin your mother," I repeated. “I have come ber knees, and cried as if her bears a re direct from her, where she is lying ill and much She thought God had sent the cta L W shaken. She has told me all her story, - and I so like her, so like her! You cannot be love her dearly, -- that is why she sent me to you." tiful it was to see them togetber. Look" ? T
All the time I was speaking, he still stood and don't know what your mother is, look as timbre stared at me; but when I stopped, he appeared He had stood as if stupefied. Stara: * gradually to come to himself. He brought forward, When I mentioned his wife, he had made sus from where it stood against the wall, very deliber- gesture; but his heart melted altogether als ately, another chair, and, sitting down, looked at to little Mary. I had brought Lady Deaza me intently. " If she has told you all her story,” | tograph with me, thinking it might tooch bs bez he said, you will know how little inducement I and now I thrust it into his band before bebe have to listen to anything she may say."
what I meant. He gave one glance at it, ai “ Yes," said I, feeling not a fictitious but a real he fell back into his chair, and gazed and gazei : passion swelling up into my throat, “she has told me if he had lost himself. He was not prepared everything, more than you can know. She has told had been wilful, – perhaps wicked, – bat has bezer: me how for forty years — is it forty years? she has had not got hardened like that of a man da watched over you in secret, spent her days in think-world. It had been outside evils he had done, ing of you, and her nights in praying for you. Ab, side influences that had moved bim. When don't smile! if you had seen her pale and broken in thing struck deep at his heart, he had zo ser all her pride, lying trembling and telling me this, it to resist the blow. He went back upon kis dels would have touched your heart."
with a stride, hiding from me, or trying to bila And I could see that it did touch his heart, being that he was obliged to do it to keep himself steads: so new and unusual to him. He was not a cynical, he knitted his brows over the little picture as it over-educated man, accustomed to such appeals, was hard to see it. But he might have spared bis and to believe them nonsense. And it touched him, self the trouble. I saw how it was. One does nx being so unexpected. Then he made a little effort live in the world and learn men's ways for narck to recover himself and the natural bravado of his I knew his eyes were filling with tears; I knew the character and profession. In all her pride!” he sob was climbing up into his throat; and I did 0% said, bitterly. “ Yes, that's very well said; she say a word more. It was a lovely little photograpt liked her pride better than me."
The sun is often so kind to old women. It was my “She liked your life better than you,” said I, - lady, with all the softness of her wbite hair, with her and heaven forgive me if I spoke like a sophist, - gracious looks, her indulgent, benign eyes. And there ** and your comfort. To secure bread to you and eyes were little Mary's eyes. They went straiga: education, she made that vow. When she had once into the poor fellow's heart. After he had struggled made it, she had to keep it. But I tell you what as long as he could, the sob actually broke out she told me not three hours ago. There has never Then he straightened himself up all at once, anal been a day I have not followed him in my heart.' looked at me fiercely; but I knew better than to That is what she said. She and her old maid, who pretend to hear him. used to see you and watch over you, talked of noth- “ This is nothing to the purpose," he said; and ing else. Fancy! you a young man growing up, then he stopped, and nature burst forth. We taking your own way, going against the wishes of did she cast me upon the world? Why did she your best friends; and your mother, who dared not give me up? You are a good woman, and you are go to you, watching you from far off, weeping over her friend. Why did she cast me away?" you, praying on her knees, thinking of nothing else, I shook my head, it was all I could do. 19 talking of nothing else when she was alone and dared crying, and I could not articulate. “God knows do it. At other times, she had to go into the I gasped through my tears. And he got up and world to please her husband, to act as if you had no went to the window, and turning his back to the existence. And all the time she was thinking of held it up to the light. I watched no longer what nothing but you in her heart."
he was doing. Nature was working her own way He had got up before I came so far. He was un- in his heart. questionably moved ; his step got quicker and When he came back at last, he came up to 12 quicker. He made impatient gestures with his and held out his hand. “Thank you," he said, 17. lian is as if to put my voice away. But all the way that, for the first time, reminded me of 1,31 same he listened to me greedily. When I had done, Denzil. - You have made me think less harsi! -- and I got so excited that I was compelled to be about my mother. What is it she wants me to do? done, for tears came into my throat and choked me, He did not put down the photograph, or give - he turned to me with his face strongly swept by back to me, but held it closely in his hand, war winds of feeling. “Who told you ?" he cried. I gave me courage. And then I told him all, abruptly. “Why do you come to disturb me? I story. When I told him how his wife had insula was thinking nothing about my circumstances. I his mother, his face grew purple. I gave him eru was thinking how I could best be jolly in such a detail: how little Mary clung to my lads : position. What do I know about anybody who trightened she was for the passionate claimant may choose to call herselt my mother? Probably seized her. When I repeated her little cry.“ I never had a mother. I can do nothing for her, lady!" a curious gleam passed over his face., and she can do nothing for me,"
interrupted me at that point. “Who is my lady: * You can do something for her," I cried, "She he said, with a strange consciousness. The sent me to you to beg it of' you Sir Thomas saw answer I maile was to point at the photo tapo. how your wito way inving. llu saw she should not all the most curious impression on him.. have a little girl to rului. Ily brought away the Wently he had not even known his mother's 127
Almost, I think, the title threw a new light for him / excited man; and then he broke down, and wept. upon all the circumstances. There are people who I cannot describe this scene any more. I left him, will say that this was from a mean feeling; but it clasping his hands, feeling as if he was my brother; was from no mean feeling. He saw by this fact and he had his mother's picture held fast and hidden what a gulf she had put between herself and him. in his other hand. If that dear touch of natural He saw a certain reason in the separation which, love had come to him before! But God knows ! if she had been a woman of different position, could perhaps he was only ready and open to it then. not have existed. And there is no man living who But he could not tell me where to seek the child. is not susceptible to the world's opinion of the peo- I had to be content with his promise that when he ple he is interested in. He changed almost im- was free he would restore her to us. I went out perceptibly, — unawares. Ile heard all my story from him as much shaken as if I had gone through in grave silence. I told hiin what my lady had said, an illness, and stole out, not to see Robert Seymour, - that he was to be the judge; and henceforward whom I was not equal to meeting just at that moit was with the seriousness of a judge that he satment. But the end of my mission was nearer than and listened. He heard me out every word, and I thought: · When I got outside there was a group then he sat and seemed to turn it over in his mind. of excited people about the gateway, close to which So far as I was concerned, that was the hardest mo- my cab was waiting me. They were discussing ment of all. Ilis face was stern in its composure. soinething which had just happened, and which eviHe was reflecting, putting this and that together dently had left a great commotion behind. Among His mother was standing at the bar before him. the crowd was a group of soldiers' wives, who shook And what should I do, did he decide against her? their, heads, and talked it over to each other with Thus I sat waiting and trembling. When he opened lowered voices. “It's well for her she was took his lips my heart jumped to my mouth. How foolish bad here, and never got nigh to him," one of them it was! That was not what he had been thinking said. “He'd have killed her, I know he would. of. Instead of his mother at the bar, it was his It's well for her she never got in to tempt that man own life he had been turning over in his mind. to her death.” It all came forth with a burst when he began to “It was brazen of her to come nigh him at all," speak: the chances he had lost; the misery that said another, “and him so proud. She always was had come upon him; the shame of the woman who a shameless one. What my heart bleeds for is that bore his name; and his poor little desolate child. poor little child." Then the man forgot himself, and swore a great “Where is the child ?” asked a third. “It would oath. “As soon as I am free I will go and get her, be well for her, poor innocent, if the Lord was to and send hier to - my lady!” he said, with abrupt, take her too.” half-lıysterical vehemence. And then he rose sud- I was standing stupefied, listening to them, when denly and went to the window, and turned his back I heard a little cry, and the grasp of something at on me again.
my dress. The cry was so feeble, and the grasp so I was overcome. I did not expect it so soon, or light, that I might never have noticed it but for so fully. I could have thrown myself upon his neck, those women. I turned round, and the whole poor fellow, and wept. Was he the one to bear world swam round me for a moment. I did what the penalties of all ? sinned against by his mother Lady Denzil did, — I staggered forward and fell on in his childhood, and more dreadfully by his wife in my knees, though this was not the soft green grass, his maturity. What bad he done, that the closest but a stony London pavement, and clasped little of earthly ties should thus be made a torment to Mary tight, with a vehemence that would have him? When I had come to myselt' I rose and went frightened any other child; but she was not frightafter him, trembling. “Mr. Gray," I said, " is thereened. The little creature was drenched with the nothing that can be done for you?"
pitiless rain. She had been tied up in an old shawl, “I don't want anything to be done for me,” he to hide the miserable, pretty white frock, now cried, abruptly. The question piqued his pride. clogged with mud and soaked with water. Her • Tell her she shall see yet that I understand the little hat was glued to her head with the floods to sacrifice she has made,” he said. If he spoke ironi- which she had been exposed. I lifted my treasure cally or in honesty I cannot tell; when his mouth wildly in my arms, as soon as I had any strength to had once been opened the stream came so fast. do it, and rushed with her to my carriage. I felt "I want to go away, that is all,” he said, with a like a thief triumphant; and yet it was no theft. certain heat, almost anger; “ anywhere, - I don't | But my eagerness aroused the suspicions of the solcare where, — to the Mauritius, if they like, where diers' wives who had been standing by. They that fever is. No fear that I should die. I have explained to me that the child was Sergeant Gray's been brought up like a gentleman,- it is quite true. child; that her mother had been took very bad in And yet I am here. What was the use? My a fit, and had been carried off to the hospital; and father was a common soldier. She - But it's no that I a stranger, had no right to interfere. I don't good talking; I am no credit to anybody now. I know what hurried explanation I made to them; I could get drafted into another regiment, and go but I know that at last I satisfied their fears, and -- to India or anywhere - you should see a differ- with little Mary in my arms actually drove away. ence. I swear you should see a difference!” his It was true, though I never could believe it. I voice rose high in these last words; then he paused. got her as easily as if it had been the most natural “But she is old," he said, sinking his voice; " ten thing in the world. I could not believe it, even years -- I could n't do in less than ten years. when I held her fast and drew from her her little She'll never be living then, to see what a man story. She had been taken away early, very early can do."
in the morning, when she ran to the door as soon as “She is a woman that would make shift to live, she was up to satisfy herself that it rained. No somehow, to see her son come back," I cried. “Give doubt the wretched mother had hung about the her little Mary, and try."
grounds all night in the storm and rain to get at the “She shall have little Mary, by God!" cried the child. She had snatched up little Mary in her arms,