|Chapter Title||AND LAST|
|Newspaper Title||Illustrated Sydney News (NSW: 1881-1894)|
|Trove Title||A Dreadful Pickle|
A Dreadful Pickle.
CHAPTER VI. (AND LAST).
It waa 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 j 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 Frankland then rode in hot haste to the bank for bis master.
Mr. Laurayne was horrified beyond measure. Hi« tenderly nurtured, wor- shipped little daughter lost-lost for a whole day and night, and no one had dis-
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 tho voice of the master of the
house was heard, threw up her bands tragically, and began protesting inco- herently-" I thought-I thought-"
" Thought, you thought 1" he shouted, so loudly that she went off in hysterics again. " What business had you to think, you ought to know. Hero, 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 tho 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 t I'll teach you to think, sir," shouted his fathor, bringing down the riding whip he still held in his hand across the boy's shoulders. " Unless you can find your sister, novcr show mo 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.
iff ^ff íflf ÜF
My story is ended. The career of " a dreadful pickle " is at an end, so my story must follow suit. Po 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. I do not go as far as Frank does, and say she grew sud- denly perfect, but I do certainly consider her adventure did her a great deai of good. Frank says it was all the rope that did it. Indeed, he went the length of presenting Madame with an elaborately printed adap- tation of Shakspere purporting to explain
the cause of her reform
The rope no sooner touched her neck, dear
But that her badness, mortified in her,
Seemed to die too. Yea, at that very moment Consideration, like an angel, came
And whipped the offending Adara out of her, Leaving her body as a Paradise
To envelop and contain celestial spirits.
But Madame glances approvingly at her re- formed pupil, and remarks feelingly, " It is an ill wind that blows no one any good."