Chapter 20289817

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Chapter NumberPART I. II
Chapter Url
Full Date1891-01-31
Page Number211
Word Count1754
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939)
Trove TitleThe Magic Rose: A Story of Fact and Fancy
article text

The Magic Rose.



BY H.M. GARRAWAY (A.N.C.). (Continued from last week.)

The din and turmoil of the fair were left behind as Gillian and the Italian woman turned down a narrow green lane, where they soon came to a tiny thatched cottage standing

back in a little garden whioh was all abloom with sweet spring flowers. " This is my home, where Grannie and I live all alone together," said Gillian in a tone of loving pride, as she opened the garden gate, and clasping the fortune-seller's hand within her own drew her gently and reassuringly forward towards the cottage, whose door stood wide open as if inviting them to come in. Accordingly they entered the tiny room within, which, though poorly and scantily furnished, was the picture of cleanliness and dainty neat ness. In the one armchair, by the big open fireplace with its high mantelpieoe hung with a chintz valance, sat a little old dame knitting. Her gentle, kindly, apple-cheeked face was framed in an old-fashioned black silk cap, and she wore her soft, silvery hair in two queer little curls which hung one on each side of her face. Without looking up she said: "Well, love, you have soon oome home; you did not care to stop at the fair like Johnny in the song, who" —- Here the old lady paused, for she had glanced up and had seen, with some astonishment, that her little granddaughter was not alone; while Gillian began hastily explain ing matters. "Grannie, dear," she said, "this poor woman was selling people's fortunes-at the f auy and she was sq ill with a terrible cough, besides being all alone with nobody to help her. So, grannie dear, I could not leave her there on the ground, with the dreadful noise going on, and the unkind people about, so I have brought her home to you" Gillian paused with a little gasp, very anxious to have done right, yet not feeling sure whether grannie would think she had. But before the old lady could reply, the Italian was seized with another attack of coughing worse even than the other had been; she staggered outside and fell down on the little garden path, while Gillian and her grandmother hastened in sympathy and alarm to her Bide, and to their horror saw a stream of of bright blood gush from between the Italian's lips. "Oh! poor creature," exolaimed the old lady, "I fear she has burst a blood-vessel. Run, my child, as quickly as possible for the doctor, and then on to Parson Channing's, and beg both to come here at once if they can." Fear seemed to lend Gillian wings as she sped on her errand, and as both the doctor's resi dence and the Parsonage were within a short distance of eaoh other and of the cottage, she soon accomplished it—successfully, too, for both doctor and clergyman were at home and promised to follow her almost immediately. Gillian flew back again, and found the Italian girl lying on a couch in the little kitchen, and as her eyes fell on the deathlike face and closed eyes, she said in a frightened whisper; - " Oh, grannie, Bhe is dead." "Nay, she is not dead," was the reply, "but I fear her hours are numbered." And the doctor, who now entered, soon after confirmed these words. The poor sufferer lay turning her large eyes anxiously and piteously from one face to the other, feebly uttering a few sentences in her native tongue. " Mr. Charming," said the doctor, turning to the clergyman, who had just arrived, "you understand this poor girl's language, I believe?" Mr. Charming approached the couoh, and as he Bof tly spoke a few words in Italian the woman's face brightened joyfully; and for a few moments Bhe and the clergyman spoke together in a language that sounded very strange to the others.

" There, now," interposed the doctor, " she must not speak another word." So then Mr. Ghanning told them that the girl had said that her name was. Margfaerita. ; and that on being left^-an" oip-batr' «,•*fe_T. before she had quittedyher own land in ctfmpa&y with another girl n^med'Carlina to try and make money in' Encnandr. During the past-long and bitterly sevtre winterfMirgherita had-been very ill with' her uoufeh, and had suffered'terribly from cold and nun^^^ whilst her'Cdmpanion had deserted; her amKgone'.rike knew'not whither. " I feel sure," addedthe worthy man, "that this poor, Margherita is a good, honest girl; and I am glad to know that the last hours of her life will pass away amongst kind friends," and he looked at the gentle old lady and little Gillian, who stood together, hand in hand, with tears in their eyes and tender pity in their hearts for the poor forlorn stranger whose brief story ot misfortuno and suffering they had just heard.' The doctor now took his departure, saying that he would look in again. After Mr. Charming had spoken a few words of comfort and peace to Margherita, he too left the little cottage. Later on in the evening Gillian was sitting on a low stool at her grandmother's knee, while the firelight danced and flickered on the bright gold of her hair. Silently they sat and ' watched the motionless figure on the couch, and by-and-by they saw that tho great blaok eyes had opened and seemed to be gazing intently at Gillian. Then one of the thin; hands was raised as if to beckon her, and ths child sprang quickly to the Italian's side. Margherita took Gillian's hand, murmuring earnestly: " You are good—you are good. I thank you. I, Margherita—have—to—give—muoh—good." She paused, and commenced feebly to fumble in the bosom of her dress for something, whioh, when she had succeeded in drawing it forth from its hiding place, proved to be a little, worn, and dingy satin bag. " Open," whispered Margherita, and Gillian fetched a pair of scissors with which she won deringly cut the silk which tied the mouth of the bag. The Italian then drew from it a rose bud, brown and dead, apparently, yet still un shattered on its stem, which she handed to Gillian. " What does she mean me to do, Grannie ?" asked the little girl. " I think it is some keepsake that the poor. soul values, and which she is giving into your. care. Show her that yon, too, will prize it,", said the old lady. So Gillian first raised the strange dead blossom to her fresh, rose-red lips and kissed it, and then opening her much, prized silver locket, placed the bud within it on a lock of her dear dead mother's hair, after wards closing the locket again with its cus tomary snap. Margherita appeared content, and uttered a few broken but very earnest sen tences in Italian, pointing as she did so to the locket where it hung round Gillian's neok. " Yes, dear Margherit-i, I will always keep it," she said soothingly, thinking that this wet what the Italian girl was telling her to do. And, in fact, Margherita was repeating the in junction given her with the rosebud twelve long years before. " Wear it always with secrecy, and patience, and hope, as well as courage under trials and difficulties; some day you may thank me as I now thank you." Poor Margherita! she had obeyed Tessa from that day to this, yet neither happiness nor good fortune had re warded her; but, in spite of this, she had not. lost faith in the rosebud, and with her heart full of passionate gratitude to the gentle little English girl who had succoured her in her dis tress, gave it to Gillian, hoping and believing that she would obtain the reward whatever it might be. When Margherita bad ceased speak ing, she again wearily closed her eyes, and aftei heaving a deep sobbing sigh seemed to fall asleep again, and Gillian and her grandmother resumed their seats by the fireside. By-and-by they both stole again to the couch. "She is fast asleep," whispered Gillian. V Perhaps, Grannie, she will get quite weUatte? all?" For a minute her grandmother bent over the still form without .making any reply; then as Bhe led Gillian away, she said softly: " Margherita is quite well now, dearie." Aud Gillian knew from the words and tone that her poor friend was dead.

[will be continued next week.]

The days of lucky " finds" in the world of books are not over yet, as the following pas sage from the New York Independent will show. The writer is Mr. A. E. Newton, a book collector in Philadelphia:—" Entering a door in Holywell-street one day this spring I awoke a sleepy old man in attendance, and asked per mission to look around. As I glanced rapidly along the shelf marked ' Poetry,' I was stuck by the sight of the very books I had long been looking for. I took them down, and a glance told me that they had been treated with con siderate care by their former owner. Softly blowing away the dust, I opened the first volume of the 'Final Memorials of Charles Lamb,' by Talfourd, London, 1848, and was almost paralysed with delight to see on the title pages of each of the two volumes the autograph 'W. Wordsworth.' I tried to conceal my delight, laying the book aside carelessly, afraid even to ask the price. My hand trembled (con tinues the enthusiastic bibliophile), and I think I must have said a prayer before I dared to open the ' Letters' (Talfourd, 1837), which was directly in front of me. The title-page bore nothing but what I expected to find, but on the inside cover of the first volume, in a small distinct hand, was the inscription,' To my friend J. P. Collier from H. C. Robinson.' By this time I waa prepared to find any thing in the remaining volume, ' The Tales from Shak speare,' so that after a glance at the signature of John Payne Collier I looked no further, but gathered the lot up under my arm, paid the price asked, £2 in all, and fairly dashed out into tho Strand." An instalment of Sir Robert Peel's Politioal Correspondence, covering the period between 1820 and 1880, will probably be pnblishod «omo timo this month.