Chapter 113725811

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Chapter NumberI
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1893-08-15
Page Number3
Word Count5708
Last Corrected2018-02-28
Newspaper TitleEvening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931)
Trove TitleA Dreadful Pickle
article text

A Dreadful Pickle.


'Ah, but she is von leetle pickle— von bad leetle pickle.' 'Give her 50 French verbs, madame; that'll take some of the liveliness out of her,' says Frank, the little pickle's brother, with a twinkle in his eye, looking up from his book across to where the excited little French governess was sitting knitting angrily.

'Feefty French verbs ! She vould not do them. Ven I geef her von she laugh and vill not. She is von bad child. She comes back now,' and Madame D'Aubigne sat very erect and assumed an injured, dignified air, as a child's merry voice sounded outside, and a child's laughing face appeared in the doorway. 'Mademoiselle Hildegarde, vos leçons, sil vous plait,' says madame, in her most majestic manner, as Hildegarde, commonly called Midge, saunters calmly in, and flings herself on the rug before the fire. 'De grace madame c'est trop — trop soon après diner — it interferes aveclie digestion; mon père dit so,' says Midge, with her funny mixture of French and English that amuses her brother and angers her governess. 'Dis vill not do ; I vill not hav it no more. I vill tell madame, votre mère, you are von bad child,' repeats madame, her anger rising as she sees her wilful pupil sitting undis- turbedly on the floor, munching some almonds and raisins she has brought up from dessert. 'Von bad child!' says naughty Midge, opening her grey eyes innocently ; ' I must be growing better, madame. This morning you said I was too bad child.' But madame only glares angrily at her for a minute, and then brings out exercise book, dictionary, and French, grammar, and Midge, after useless protest, is forced to her task. She is just 11 years old, this Midge Laurayne, and is as full of mischief and fun as such a small person can possibly be. She is a bright, engaging child, with an eager, rather delicate-looking little face, great innocent grey eyes, and a wealth of curly dark hair surrounding her face, and hanging to her waist. A person of no small importance is Miss Laurayne. Her father, a kind, clever, busy man, manager of a large bank, is very proud of his only daughter. He almost worships her, and is blind to her faults. In fact, I don't believe he thinks she has any. She is so passionately fond of him, that a word or look from him checks her in her most michievous moods, and he seldom therefore sees her worst side. Hal, Frank, and Gerald, her three brothers, are all almost grown up, all too old to be com- panions for her, but not too old to spoil her to the top of her bent. Mrs. Laurayne seems to think more of the boys than her one little girl. She is a very gay woman, always at balls or some kind of entertain- ment, and thinks her duty toward her daughter done when she sees she is always dressed beautifully, and is supplied with a French governess, a maid, and a large, handsome nursery. Not the best training possible was this life to an eager, impressionable, clever child like little Midge, and one can hardly wonder that she was so utterly spoilt, pas- sionate, and wilful. 'A nice dictionary man Surrene is,' she says, as she sits in her pretty white even- ing frock, writing the exercises that should have been done in the afternoon. 'I could have written as good a one my- self ; indeed, as Patrick says, a dale better.' 'What's wrong now, Midgetty?' asks Frank, who often brings a book and sits, as he is doing now, by the nursery fire. ' I can't find the words ; he leaves heaps out,' returns Midge, turning over the pages with impatient fingers. ' I shall ask father for a new one. Here's one sentence — 'il saura et pourra veuir' — saura isn't in, and pourra isn't either ; it's a fraud.' ' A vat ?' said madame ; ' vat is vat you call a frourud?' ' It has the same meaning as a sell, madame,' says Midge, while Frank chuckles to himself. 'Yon sell !, mais non, Mademoiselle Hildegarde, cen'est pas vrai,' says madame suspiciously, looking at Midge's dancing eyes. 'You say to sell, but I hav not heard of von sell.' 'O, but we often say it ; 'no go ' is another meaning,' explains Midge care- fully ; but madame, catching the gleam of fun in Frank's eye, bids her angrily to get on with her lessons, and Midge, with an air of injured innocence, picks up her pen again and writes another sentence. 'O, I'm so tired ; do let me go now, madame,' she pleads, suddenly coming to another unknown word, and feeling that one more tussle with M. Surrene would be the last straw. 'It's half-past seven too, and I want to see mother dress for the theatre.' 'You deserve von big punishment, mam'selle,' madame was beginning, but Frank broke in the lecture impatiently with, 'Let the poor little beggar go now, madame ; it's too late for studying now,' and madame could say no more, especially as Hal and Gerald came in just then. 'Who are you calling a beggar, sir ?' said Midge, hurrying the books away at this tacit consent. ' If I'am a beggar I'm a student also, therefore I'm the Beggar Student, therefore mother needn't go to the theatre to see it, but can stay at home and look at me.' 'Q.E.D.,' laughed Hal, lifting the alight little figure of his sister on his shoulder and carrying her out of the room. 'What a sharp little monkey it's getting,' said Gerald with a smile, 'your pupil is very precocious Madame D'Aubigne,' but Madame reiterated. ' She is von bad child, von bad child.' CHAPTER II. 'Father, Frank says I'm a beggar, and Madame says I'm a student, or ought to be, do take me to the theatre and let me see both together,' says Midge, dancing into her father's dressing-room and springing into his arms. ' Eleven o'clock is too late for you pet,' says father, kissing the bright face up- turned to him ; 'you are too pale as it is,' he adds as he notes anxiously the delicate pallor of her complexion. 'It's because I need relaxation ; too close application to lessons is bad for the constitution,' says Midge in her quaint

little way, and father laughs at the long words and she cuddles up close to him. 'Do say 'yes.' I do so love sitting in a box. Do let me go,' she says pleadingly. 'I will sit in a corner, and be as good and quiet as the goodest, quietest little mouse that ever nibbled cheese.' 'Well, well, be off you little coaxer,' returns father laughing and setting her down, ' tell Janet to dress you quickly, I don't want the horses kept,' and Midge flies upstairs, unbuttoning her dress as she

goes and shouting for Janet. In 10 minutes she is dressed, and her maid sits down regularly exhausted with the way she has had to fly about for her young mis- tress. 'As well try to chain up a hurri- cane as make Miss Hildegarde stand still,' she mutters as the child wriggles about impatiently while her gloves are buttoned, and then flies off downstairs, out of the front door, and seats herself in the carriage before anyone else comes down. ' It is absurd, Henry, you are ruining the child,' says Mrs. Laurayne, as she settles herself in a corner, ' she ought to be in bed too, she will really have no com- plexion when she comes out.' ' One night won't hurt her,' says father good-humoredly, and Midge squeezes his hand lovingly, Hal takes his seat, and they are off. Many eyes are turned to the childish little figure in the front place of the dress circle box that night. She has on a short sleeved scarlet frock exquisitely made, her hair is hanging down in its own natural way, and her large grey eyes are shining with excitement. 'What a lovely little creature your daughter is growing, Mrs. Laurayne,' says a gentleman who had just entered the box; 'she'll break a good many hearts before she's finished.' Mrs. Laurayne looks pleased and says ' Hush, she will hear,' but Midge's sharp ears have caught it all, and her scarlet lips part in a funny little smile. 'Shake hands with this gentleman, Midge,' says her mother, ' he is Colonel Grey.' But Midge just bows in

the self-possessed little way she has copied from her mother, murmurs that she is 'most happy to make his acquaintance,' and unfurling her large feather fan begins to fan herself composedly. The next moment the curtain goes up, and she loses herself entirely in the music and acting. 'Well, Miss Laurayne, what did you think of the piece?' Colonel Grey asks, as at the close of the evening he helps her on with her miniature opera cloak. ' It was lovely, lovely,' says Midge, her face all aglow, ' I've decided now I'll go on the stage when I'm grown up.' She chatters' incessantly through the first part of the drive home, but it is a very sleepy, white faced little Midge that is delivered into Janet's care to be undressed. 'Should I be obliged to wear tights?' she says sleepily as Janet tucks her up in bed. Wear tights! what does the child mean?' echoed Janet mystified. ' I'm sure long trailing dresses like the Greeks would look much nicer and grace- fuller and modester,' she goes on, ' don't you think so, Janet?' ' I think you're dreaming, Miss Midgie, dear, that's what I think,' says Janet, care- fully shading the light from the bed. 'You're terribly dense, Janet,' Midge de- clares crossly, and then she turns over, buries her head in the soft white pillows and is asleep in three minutes.

CHAPTER III. 'Midge, I am going to drive to the station, you may come too if you like, with Madame.' ' With Madame?' repeats Midge, some- what doubtfully. 'Yes, with Madame,' says Mrs. Laurayne decidedly, and Midge knows coaxing is no use when her mother speaks in that quick little tone, so she goes slowly upstairs to dress, wondering if she can manage 'her plan' to-day. But after all Madame does not go. Frank is going up the line to play tennis, so, as Mrs. Laurayne dislikes a crowded carriage on a hot day, Madame stays at home. Very cool and dainty looks little Miss Laurayne as she trips down the steps to the brougham, in her short white liberty silk frock, with its butter- cup sash, small tan shoes, and tan gloves, and large white hat with buttercups nest- ling in the silk. ' Jane need not have dressed you so ex- travagantly,' Bays Mrs. Laurayne, ' one of your muslin frocks would have done, we are not going anywhere.' 'I told her this dress,' returns Midge, coloring a little, and then as her mother begins talking to Frank, she begins think- ing of her delightful 'plan' again. Midge had been reading a great deal lately about poor people, and had longed to do something to help them. When she set her mind on a thing she had her way, whatever the consequences, and she meant to this time. She had nearly driven everyone distracted asking questions about poor people lately. Mrs. Laurayne, to try and content her, had taken her to the Children's Hospital, on whose com- mittee she was ; but, although much im- pressed, Midge was not satisfied. 'They are not poor enough,' she complained, 'I want to help poor people like those in London.' Her father had laughed good- humoredly and given her half a sovereign when she applied to him; the boys had told her not to bother her little head about them; Madame had shuddered when she boldly proposed visiting the poor like 'the girls in the book,' and declared they were dirty and dishonest, all of them. Midge, however, was not to be daunted, 'visit the poor' she intended to by hook or by crook. Quite a little romance she made up in her busy little head, how she, all dressed in white, should go among the people, talking to them, not in a patron- ising little way like mamma's, but freely and kindly; how she would take out her purse and give them money; displaying to their astonished gaze bright silver coin in plenty (she had her half-sovereign changed into new sixpences and threepences on purpose), how she would advise them kindly, but firmly, not to get drunk or beat their children 'like the people in the book,' and how, as she went from house to house distributing kind words, smiles, and silver coin, they would look after her and think she was an angel. When they got to the station Mrs. Laurayne's train was in (she was going to Hurstville for the night), so Frank and Midge got into the compartment with her until it started. Then the bell rang and

they jumped out. Mrs. Laurayne told Frank to put his sister back in the brougham, and then the train started. 'Let me go round to the other platform, Frank,' coaxed Midge, ' I love seeing the trains,' and Frank took her round. ' By Jove, there's my train just whistled,' he cried as they reached the other side. ' My watch, was wrong ; you're a big girl now, Midge ; just walk straight down the platform and get into the brougham, I'll lose my train if I come,' and, still speaking, he sprang on the train that was just moving off. ' Shall you be all right?' he called. ' Yes, I'm all right,' she answered gaily, and then stood waiving her handkerchief to him till the train was out of sight, and she was left alone on the platform— alone, with no bothering nurse or governess, or brothers to take care of her. Could anything have happened more deliciously ? Here was her very opportunity to ' visit the poor.' CHAPTER IV. Could anything have happened more deliciously? Madge walked down the platform in a perfect trance of delight that was roughly broken by the sight of the irreproachable brougham and liveried servants waiting there. She ran hastily to it. ' You can go home at once, Wil- liam,' she called to the coachman, ' I am not coming,' and the man, thinking she was going with her mother or brother, touched up the horses and drove away. ' Will you tell me where the poor people live, if you please,' said Midge, very politely to a cabman standing near. ' Poor people !' echoed the cabby, mys- tified, ' what poor people, missey ? I reckon there's a good few in this ere city.' 'Very poor people,' answered Midge, with a strong emphasis on the very. 'You're a rum little lady,' said the man, smiling and looking at her silk frock and the gold bangles on her wrists— ' you'd best have nothing to do with very

poor people, missey, that's my opinion.' ' Kindly direct me, I wish to visit them,' said Midge in a haughty grandilo- quent little tone she had copied from her, mother, and the cabman laughed loudly. ' Waal, I reckon there's plenty at Botany, missey, and Waterloo; shall I drive you there ?' he said. ' Thanks, no ; I prefer the tram,' re- turned Midge, ' where shall I find the tram that goes there ?' ' At the foot of those steps over there,' the man said, and Midge thanked him, slipped a shilling in his hand, in the way she had seen her brothers do, and walked across to the steps. ' Waal, I'll be beat if I ever see sich a rummy little lady,' ejaculated the man, looking after her in surprise. At the foot of the steps Midge was for- tunate (or unfortunate) enough to catch a Waterloo tram, and was soon speeding along towards, the goal of her ambition — the poor. It was only about 1 o'clock, and the tram was rather empty, so as she ten- dered her tickets she asked the guard — ' could he tell her, please, where some very poor people lived ?' ' What's their name,' asked the man, in a matter-of-fact way. 'O, I don't know, any poor people will do,' said Midge. 'Down any of those back slums there's plenty,' said the man, looking curiously at her, and then going on to the other cars

with his cry of 'Fares, please.' He had intended to go back and question her, for it struck him as very strange that a beautifully-dressed child like that should be travelling alone, inquiring for ' very poor people.' Once out of the tram Midge hurried along, up streets and down streets, eager to begin her visits. ' There, this street will do,' she thought, as she came to a nar- row, clean-looking little street, the dearest, darlingest little street — just like the one in the book.' ' I'll try this one,' she said to herself, and knocked boldly at the door. Several minutes elapsed before it was opened, and then an old, exceedingly neat old woman opened it a few inches. Midge caught a glimpse of a scrupulously tidy little room and some scrupulously clean children play- ing inside, and all her little set phrases deserted her, and she stood there silent, growing redder and redder. 'Well, what d'ye want?' said the woman, sharply. ' I — I — I came to visit you,' said Midge, timidly lifting a pair of frightened grey eyes to the woman's sour face. ' May I come in?' and, never dreaming of a rebuff, she took a half-step across the threshold. The next minute she received a rough push from the doorway, and the door was slammed violently in her face. This was more than she had bargained for. Crim- son-faced and ashamed she was turning away when a woman, who had been lis- tening curiously to the little dialogue, accosted her. ' An' is it a-visiting you're doing, me angel?' she said in a wheedling little tone. 'Oh, there's folks down, Gunner's Alley ud make ye welcome as the flowers of May, me sweet darlint; come with me, I'll show em you.' Readily appeased Midge walked by the side of her new friend for several streets, chatting confidentially. Of a very courageous and trusting nature, and in her innocence of heart and eager desire to carry out her plan, she never dreamt of any deception. They had turned into a dark noisy little alley, so dirty and littered with refuse, heads of cabbages, old tins, &c., that Midge looked at her dainty tan shoes, and involuntarily stopped short. But the woman suddenly pushed open the door of a low dirty hovel — it could not be called a house — pulled the child roughly across the doorway, and shut and locked the door. 'You—you should not do that' gasped Midge, it—it is too rough, and I am your visitor.' But the woman, ably, laughed coarsely, and hurried her into an inner room, where an old Jewish-looking man sat crouched on the floor sewing. Round both rooms were hung a motley collection of old garments. 'A real swell,' said the woman, in answer to the man's surprised look ; 'give you her for two pund slick down ; real silk this. Money in her purse too I'll be bound.' Midge grew white as death, and made a terrified rush for the door, but the man sprang up, seized her, hastily tied a rope round her ankles, and pushed her on to the ground. Too terrified to move or speak, Midge lay half dead in her agony

of fright. The man and woman haggled for some time over her price, examining her clothes, feeling in her pockets. At last the woman seemed satisfied, and with her 'two pund' in her hand, got up and went away. Then the old man and his wife, a dirty, bent old woman, proceeded to lift the child from the ground, and to strip off her rich clothes. The movement seemed to give Midge new courage, and with strength born of despair, she kicked and struggled fran- tically, shrieking with all the power of her young lungs. In a moment the woman's rough dirty hand was placed over her mouth, and she ceased to struggle. ' See this,' said the man, holding a heavy whip over her, ' another sound, and I'll thrash the life out of ye. See that,' and he pointed to a copper of dirty clothes that was boiling near ; ' another sound, and I put you in there. See this,' and he dangled a rope before her ; ' another sound, and I'll hang you up to the roof.' Thoroughly subjugated by these awful threats, Midge stood tremblingly still, only uttering little hard gasps and sobs as they stripped from her her lovely clothes, and then put on her a coarse rough gar- ment that hung to her feet. There was a sound as of an opening door in the next room, and with all the strength left her Midge gave vent to a last wild scream. The newcomer, however, was the woman who had brought her in, and who came in again to see how she was getting on. 'Well, to be sure, fine feathers do make fine birds,' she said, as she looked at the white-faced shivering child in the coarse, sack-like dress. ' Well, this bird has to he hung now,' said the man, with a wink to the two women, which Midge did not see. ' I said if she screamed I'd do it,' and he lifted up a clothes line that lay on the ground. Fas- cinated with terror, Midge watched him as he slowly made three loose nooses. One he tied round her little bare feet, another he tied round the little white arms, and the third he proceeded solemnly to put round her neck. Directly the rough rope

touched her neck, Midge flung up her little bound arms, and with a shrieck of wildest terror fell senseless to the ground. CHAPTER V. We left our little pickle in terrible straits, indeed, last time. Helpless, bound hand and foot, lying on the floor of a wretched little house, miles away from her own beautiful little home— a nice plight, indeed, for a young lady of Midge Lau- rayne's position to be in, and a nice state of mind, indeed, for her parents to endure had they known. But fortunately for their peace they were ignorant of it, and thought their darling was safe in her own rooms. Mrs. Laurayne had left her in her brother's care at the sta- tion, and had passed the night at Hurstville without any misgivings as to her safety. Frank had not returned from tennis till late at night, when he had let himself in and gone up to bed, never dreaming but that Midge was asleep in hers. Madame had, indeed, questioned the coachman, as she knew Mrs. Laurayne had had no intention of taking the child with her, but on hearing the man's report she had thought that her pupil had over-ruled her mother's objections and accompanied her at the last moment. Satisfied in her own mind, she settled down to a quiet evening's read, a luxury her restless charge did not often permit ; and Mr. Laurayne,

on asking, as was his wont, for his little daughter in the evening, was told she had gone with her mother. So while Midge, lying in her misery far away at Botany was imagining the whole household scattered far and wide seeking her, and picturing vividly their terrible distress, everything was going on as quietly and serenely as if no such little disturber of the peace had existed. When Midge awoke from her long swoon she felt the cool night air blowing around her, and to her amazement, on looking up, saw instead of the dirty room hung with clothes, a clear moonlit sky with its thousands of pale bright stars, and the familiar Southern Cross above her. She still felt she must be in some terrible nightmare that she could not shake off ; surely she was not herself, surely it could not be Hildegarde Laurayne, with maids, footmen, carriages at her beck and call, who was sitting here ragged, barefoot, and homeless in the middle of the night. 'No, I'm having a dream, I suppose,' she said quite calmly, and sitting upright on the doorstep where she had found her- self, ' Well, I hope it will go soon, I've pinched myself and I can't wake up, the bed's very hard, too, I'll call Jane to shake it up.' Jane, her maid, always slept in a little room opening out of her own, that she might be able to attend to her young mistress, and Midge almost fancied she could see the half-open door and hear the girl's regular breathing. 'Jane,' she called softly,' Jane.' There was the sound of approaching footsteps, and she bent forward expectantly. ' Jane, I'm so cold, tuck me up, please,' she cried again piteously, stretching out her little arms into the night air. But it was not Jane's familiar figure standing there, it was a policeman, and he had turned his bull's eye lantern full on to the doorstep, and was gazing curiously at the white-faced, shivering little morsel of humanity sitting there and calling so pitifully for Jane. The glare of the lantern quite woke her up, the events of the evening came into her mind with a terrible rush of recollection, and she felt a shuddering thankfulness that she was free, though she could not remember how she had been brought from that horrible house. ' Well,' said the policeman at last, ' well young 'un this won't do, you didn't ought ter be in the streets at night, you know.' He was a kind-hearted man, with children of his own, and something in Midge's grey, frightened eyes, touched him. ' Haven't you no home, is yer mother drunk and turned ye out?' The idea of her lady-mother being drunk appealed almost irresistibly to Midge's risible faculties, and she laughed a faint little laugh, feeling at the same time a tired wonder at herself for being able to laugh at such a time. 'I'm a lady,' she said at last, in a tired little voice ; 'take me home, please. My father is a gentleman; you will be paid.' 'A lady, eh ?' echoed the policeman with a smile. It seemed strangely comic

to him this forlorn-looking, ragged child, sitting there and telling him so gravely she was a lady. 'Come now, little one,' he said, not un- kindly, ' if you've stolen anything, or done something wrong, you'd better go home. They'll forgive yer if yer tell them yer sorry.' ' O dear, you're very stupid,' said Midge wearily, and standing up with a little im- patient movement ; ' don't I tell you I am a lady, and they've stolen from me. My father is Mr. Laurayne, and they've got my clothes, and I was visiting the poor ; these aren't my clothes, and, oh, do, — do take me home,' and the poor tired child stopped suddenly, and burst into a fit of tears. 'Look here, my little gal, you must come along with me,' the man said, ' its 2 o'clock in the morning, and whoever and whatever you be I can't leave my beat ; here's the station house close by ; I'll leave yer till mornin', and then we'll send you home ; p'raps they won't beat yer much.' Midge glanced at her bare feet and old dress, and seemed to recognise the utter impossibility of convincing the man that she was not one of the street arabs. Too utterly weary and exhausted to argue further she walked by the man's side in silence, his big rough hand grasping her little white arm, and helping her along. 'Just as if I had been taken up for stealing and given into charge,' she thought, with a dreamy, curious sense of the unfitness of the thing! 'it's very funny, very funny.' ' ' Here we are,' said the man, breaking the silence, and stopping at a gate over which hung a lamp. ' In here, little n'n, this way.' ' Is it prison?' said Midge faintly. ' Well, it is the lockup, sartingly,' said the man, with a smile, ' but we'll let you out right enough to-morrow.' Unable to resist, Midge followed him into a little bare room he unlocked. There was a narrow pallet bed in a corner and a couple of blankets, and, glad to lie down anywhere, the child crept into bed, and pulled the covering over herself. With a kind ' good night ' the man locked the door behind him, and went back to his lonely beat, and in five minutes Midge was in as sound and deep a sleep as she ever had been in her dainty soft bed at home. ______

CHAPTER VI. (AND LAST). It was not till 11 o'clock next day that Midge's absence was discovered at home. Mrs. Laurayne returned from Hurstville, and, meeting Madame at the hall door as she came in, asked lightly if her charge had been in any mischief. Madame stared blankly at her for a minute, and then rushed wildly down the steps to the empty carriage, as if she expected Midge was hidden away under one of the seats. In a moment then the whole house was in the wildest confusion ; Mrs. Laurayne fainted, and was borne to her room, by her terrified maid ; Madame went off into a fit of violent hysterics, and might have been heard all over the house, reiterating amidst her cries, 'It was not her fault ; Mamselle was von too great leetle pickle.' The coachman seemed the only one who kept his head. He saddled a horse, and did the most sensible thing he could under the circumstances, namely rode off to the post office and telegraphed for Gerald, Hal, and Frank, and then rode in hot haste to the bank for his master. Mr. Laurayne was horrified beyond measure. His tenderly nurtured, wor- shipped little daughter lost — lost for a whole day and night, and no one had dis- covered it. No wonder he seemed almost mad when he reached home and found his question- ings of the servants brought nothing to light. The coachman repeated his young mistress's words, ' Drive home, William, I am not coming,' and this was the last that had been seen or heard of her. ' Great heavens, out of all the lazy pack of servants I keep was there no one to look after my only daughter?' he said angrily, pacing wildly up and down the hall where the affrighted servants had congregated. ' You, Madame D'Aubigne, how is it you knew nothing of your charge?' Madame, whose hysterics had subsided the moment the voice of the master of the house was heard, threw up her hands tragically, and began protesting inco- herently — *' I thought — I thought— — ' ' Thought, you thought !' he shouted, so loudly that she went off in hysterics again. ' What business had you to think, you ought to know. Here, take her away,' he added, turning to some of the maids, 'and stop her noise.' ' Here's Mr. Frank,' said a footman who had just come in from communicating the whole matter to the detective force, and Frank came darting up the verandah steps breathless and white as death. ' I — I left her with you, Frank,' sobbed Mrs. Laurayne, ' it's all your fault.' Frank, utterly aghast at the sudden news which had reached him in the middle of a lecture at the University, stood silent, overwhelmed at the thought of his delicate little sister out all night, and horrible thoughts of railway accidents crowded into his mind. ' I — I didn't think ___' he began slowly in answer to his father's angry question. ' Didn't think ! I'll teach you to think, sir,' shouted his father, bringing down the riding whip he still held in his hand across the boy's shoulders. ' Unless you can find your sister, never show me your face again,' and Frank, still hardly com- prehending, turned and went blindly out at the hall door. ' Suddenly there was a shout outside, and the whole household rushed to the doors. Coming up the drive was a policeman, and by his side walking was a little familiar, unfamiliar figure. With a wild, glad hurrah, Frank rushed madly down the path, lifted the child on his shoulders, and carried her up to the house to her father's and mother's arms. * * * * My story is ended. The career of 'a dreadful pickle' is at an end, so my story must follow suit. Do not imagine, dear young readers, that Midge died. She lived for many a long year. What I mean is the 'pickle' part of her nature died, and she was a reformed character. [THE END.]