|Chapter Title||A WALF AND STRAY.|
|Newspaper Title||The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 - 1893)|
|Trove Title||Love and Passion|
A WA IF AND STHAY,
" Mamma I ob, mamma t do, pray, come here a moment ! There is a woman upon the front gallery, asleep, or dead 1 Do send Jenkins, and have ber re- moved. It is perfectly disgusting !"
And the pale, languid blonde who issued these peremptory orders, sailed away from the plate-glaes window through which she bad been peering, as though the Eight of that poor creature who had lain down under the shadow of the arching portico to sleep or die, was more than her delicate, sensitive nerves could endure,
Mrs. Dalzelle-an elderly woman now, with threads of gray in the wavy hair banded under a dainty Valenciennes breakfast-cap - proceeded meekly to obey the mandate, and rang tbe bell at once; for Pearl's orders were imperative.
Pearl, who had grown up as unlike dear little dead Flossy as possible, ruled the household with a rod of iron. Twenty-five and an acid temper-yet her wealth and style kept Pearl Dalzelle at the very head and front of fashionable society. But nobody loved ber-nobody save the mother who could find so flaw in her darling. Being a widow now, she hud centered ber whole heart upon her only remaining ehild. Bo «he rang the bell in meek obedience, and dispatched Jenkins to the front gallery to see what
He returned directly open-eyed, and open-mouthed
jj " If you please madam," he began deprecatingly,
j " it's a young lady-leastways, ' tain't no tremp or
such, and I believe, actually, ma'am, that she's dead !"
" No matter what you believe !" stormed Pearl, stamping one imall foot, ia a dainty bouie slipper upon the orpeted floor. Go, and send her away at once-that's all 1 We want no' tramps or sneak thieves about!"
" Let me go and see ! said Mrs. Dalzelle, patiently and ere her daughter could remonstrate she bad fol- lowed Jenkins into the hall where upon a sofa ¡be- fore! the fiie, lay the loveliest creature that Mrs. Dal- zelle had ever seen outside a picture frame,
" Dead 1" she cried aghast.
The old housekeeper, banding over the Btatueeque figure, trying to force a little mulled wine between the pale Ups, glanced up.
" No, ma'am-not dead !" she cried eagerly " only fainted from exhaustion, I take it ! Isn't she a pretty creature?"
And Mrs, Black stepped aside to view the girl with c ritical eyea-as though poor Tiny-for she it wee- ba d been a raie bit of porcelain or marble,
Mrs. Dalzelle's gaze rested pityingly upon the still
" Very pretty," she returned, " and whoever she is, I am sorry for ber. Black can't you take ber into your own room and make ber comfortable ? Mica Pearl doesn't like to sea such people about ; so just keep fier out of sight for a few days until she regains ber strength. I couldn't turn her out into the BtreetB in that condition, Why, I can't help thinking of my Idead baby-my little Flossy-when I see this poor,
homeless child. You take care of ber for a time,
Mrs. Black." |
" Certainly, ma'am,'' returned the housekeeper. " Here, Jenkins' help me carry her."
And the two good-hearted souls bore Tiny, as¡ten derly as though she had been an infant, to the house- keeper's comfortable room. She was placed-in bed, am) nursed as carefully as though she had been Mrs Black's own child, At last the beautiful eyes opened, and gazed into the housekeeper's face In bewilder-
" There, lie still, honey I" cried the old lady, sooth- ingly; "here, drink this."
And she held a soothing draught to Tiny's lips. The girl obajed and drained it eagerly, then her .eyes closed egain, and ehe was fast asleep. There she remained for several days. lu the meantime Guy Rossiter, half heart-broken at his failure, bad returned home; Essica took it upon herself to com- fort him, and finally proposed a trip across the ocean. They had gone os no wedding journey, and sbe urged the plea that change of air and scene might benefit them both. He grasped eagerly at the idea of anything which would distract his mind from the contemplation of his own grief, and the arrange- ments were speedily made for their departure, And one day Mr. and Mt?. Guy Rossiter were registered upon the books of the steamship "Orient," outward bound. And yet not a dozen blocks from Guy Rossi- ter'« stately house, the child for whom he bad sought; so-eagerly, and in vain, lay ill unto death,
Poor little waif ar.d stray upon humanity's broad sea. Hers was a dreary lot.