Chapter 77379732

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Chapter NumberIII
Chapter TitleINTERESTED SAMARITANS.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77379732
Full Date1893-11-11
Page Number4
Corrections0
Word Count1311
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 - 1950)
Trove TitleA Terrible Wrong
article text

CHAPTER III.

INTERESTED SAMARITANS.

Hour after hour poor Queenie Keith wandered on through the night, and mist, and the darkness. The suicide she had witnessed from 'Waterloo-bridge had diverted her thoughts from self-destruction, and lent a deeper horror to her despair and anguish. Her brain wandered under its load of trouble. Men stand

ing at the doors of ginshops saw her flit past them Avith ghastly face, and wild and burning eyes, like some strange vision, and recoiled, half frightened, wholly startled. Wretch ed outcasts of both sexes, sneaking stealthily on predatory errands, or cowering under arches, or hiding in doorways, or standing boldly at the street corners, looked after her in amazement ; but no one accosted her or offered to molest her. A policeman now and then made a movement as if to grasp her dusky garments, but she had vanished upon the instant. The night was full of perils ; evil people lurked in her very path, bent on plunder and crime ; but she glided past them unscathed, un touched, guarded by that Providence that never sleeps, and Avhich is watch ful of eA*en the lowliest and most sorrowing. It was after midnight when her

sieps grew slow arid staggering'! Despite the fever that turned in her veins, and that seemed to set her brain on fire, her natural' strength wns rrivincr wnv. It was after nnp

o'clock iii the: morning, when, weak and utterly spent, she paused; swayed from side to side, and fell' upon a doorstep, lying there in the darkness and ' mist like ' one dead;- ' a mere on o r\ nnnr tyi rvTrai opp \\ an r\

The street ??was yarrow and retired, too quiet and respectable to be haunt ed by;wicked people for their pleasure, and too poor to be visited by themfoi* gain. ' '? ?.'?*? p. So the hours passed, and none noticed the unconscious girl, arid still she did not stir, or give token that she lived. . -? : . The house upon the steps of which she had fallen was of brick, three stories in height, dingy; in exterior, as roovfl nil +.lio Tirmcaa -in +.T10 Stt.fAfiti. IT.

was tenanted by a workman in a great brewery upon the Surrey side of the river, and- his wife. contributed to the family income, by. letting her best upper rooms to lodgers. In the pale gray dawn of morning Mrs. Brown, the brewer's wife, Avho was a notable housekeeper, arid ahvays the first of Her household to, be astir, opened her door, with the intention of scouring her steps, ac-: cording to her usual matutinal custom. She beheld the prostrate figure, and her shrill outcry brought to her side the worthy brewer, who was but half dressed, and whose astonishment eaualled her own. ? .;

' Whatever can this mean ?' he ejaculated. ' A woman — and dead.' Mrs. Brown had by this time re covered her self-possession, and de scended the steps, lifting the small head, and feeling the girl's pulse. ' No, she's not dead, but she's nigh it,' said Mrs. Brown. 'Who can she be ? What brought her here-?' ' No matter about that,' replied the breAver. ' She'll have to be. got; rid of, or you and I may. be arrested for murdering her.. ' I'll call a bobby, and'have her taken to the ' spital.' . ; Mrs. Brown shook her head. She was a thrifty soul, and had already taken note of many things which had escaped the observation of her duller brained husband. . ???':, I[ T _ _1 ? J. il. _ ± ? III _1. - -1 ? 1_ J ?

.uook at tiiat gown i sue ooservau. ' It never cost less than fifteen shill ings a yard. And them jewels !. This girl is respectable. Her face is as innocent aa a baby's. She belongs to some rich family, and has wandered; off through illness. : ?, There'll be a reward offered for her,' you see, Brown, and I mean to get it.; Take her up, and carry her into the: house.' ::-....: : -. 'Yon ain't never going to take her in, Mariar ?' ejaculated the brewer. 'Well, lam,' said Mrs;' Brown, decidedly. 'There's the first pair front vacant, and all aired and warm ed,, too, ready for a lodger. And here's the lodger — -' '. ' But,*Mariar, suppose she hasn't no rich folks ?' suggested the brewer. 'Her jewels, pay us for a year's keep of her.' ' .'?'''.-.''-, .. ? ; \ '? ' But, Mariar, suppose she should; die on pur hands .?' . , c# We'll shift the responsibility on to a doctor,' responded ready-witted Mrs. Brown. ' Come, are you going to take her in, or shall 1 do it ? The! neighbours will all be out, and then

the youug woman in.' .*'?'?. The brewer yielded to superior, wisdom and gathered up the slighib, unconscious figure and carried it into the house. Mrs. Brown led the way; upstairs to her first pair front. The girl was desposited upon a lounge; while Mr. Brown made a fire, and; Mrs. Brown warmed 'the bed with* bottles of hot water. ?' I believe she's dead,' muttered the brewer, when his task was done,; crossing the -floor to look at poor^ Queenie. '? And if you hav'n't got yourself into a scrape, Mariar, : my^ name isn't John Henry. Women are' the wilfullest— — ' .,-..': :. . . \ 'You go outside, Brown, and wait! till I want you,' interrupted the head of the family, with a superior air. 'I'll get her to bed, and then you can go for a doctor.' :. .... .? v .-.....; Mi*. Brown went . out as directed,' and Mrs. Brown, with a gentleness and tenderness that contrasted strangely with the roughness of her. exterior, felt again of the girl's pulse,

maKing sure tnat me still lingered m its citadel, and then removed Queenie's garments, one by one, and put upon her her own best nightdress, and laid her softly in the bed. The costliness of the girl's clothing, the dainty embroideries, and filmy laces, did not escape Mrs. Brown's notice. Her Samaritanism was likely to prove a good speculation. The girl's jewels were genuine and valu able, and she formed a very correct estimate of their worth. But to do the good woman justice, she was not actuated wholly by greed of self interest. Queenie's face white and haggard with her woe, yet beautiful as a sculptor's dream, had in every feature a strange pathos that appeal

ed directly to Mrs. .Brown s heart. . ' She's respectable, I know,' the woman said to herself. ' Her face is as pure as an angel's, but she's had some great trouble, or been delirious. It's easy to see that she has been somebody's petted darling.' Mrs. Brown sent her huBband for a physician, who came promptly. He shook his head at the sight of his

patient. Mrs. Jorown told how she had found the girl on her steps, and owned that she knew nothing what ever of her history. Queenie, under the ministrations of doctor and nurse, opened her eyes at last, but in those dusk gray orbs Avas no light of reason. She moaned faintly when' they questioned her, and the doctor shook his head again, deeming it doubtful if she would live. Through all that day Queenie Keith lay in a sort of stupor, never once speaking, and never betraying surprise at her surroundings or at tendants.

When night came again — a wild February night, with a fierce AYind rattling at the windows and coursing the streets — a night black with storm and darkness — Queenie's child — that little inheritor' of woe — was born. (To be continued.)