Part 6 out of 6
"My ankle was broken."
"I declare! And you couldn't be took home?"
"So the folks said; only they said that young soldier had killed you. I
hope he got hurted himself?"
"Why Mrs. Harbonner, _he_ did not do it. It was an accident. It wasn't
"It wouldn't ha' happened if _I_ had been there, I can tell you!" said
Hephzibah's mother. "I don't think much of a man if he ain't up to
taking care of a woman;--and a child above all. Now how long are you
goin' to be in this fix?"
"I don't know. I suppose I shall have to lie still for four or five
weeks more, before my foot is well."
"It's tiresome, I guess, ain't it?"
"Well I used to think, if folks was good, things wouldn't happen to 'em.
That's what I thought. That was my study of divinity. And when
everything on earth happened to me, I just concluded it was because I
warn't a bit too good to deserve it. Now I'm beat--to see you lie there.
I don't see what is the use of being good, if it don't get none."
"O Mrs. Harbonner!" said Daisy--"I am glad my foot was broken."
"Well, I'm beat!" was all Mrs. Harbonner could say. "You air, be you?"
"It hasn't done me any harm at all; and it has done me a great deal of
Mrs. Harbonner stood staring at Daisy.
"The promise is sure," said Mrs. Benoit. "All things shall work together
for good to them that love God!"
The other woman wheeled about and looked at her for an instant with a
sharp keen eye of note-taking; then she returned to Daisy.
"Well I suppose I'll tell Hephzibah she won't see you again till
summer's over; so she may as well give over thinking about it."
"Do you think Hephzibah wants to learn, Mrs. Harbonner?"
"Well, I guess she does."
"Wouldn't she come here and get her lessons? Couldn't she come to see me
every day while I am here?"
"I 'spose she'd jump out of her skin to do it," said Mrs. Harbonner.
"Hephzibah's dreadful sot on seeing you."
"Mrs. Benoit," said Daisy, "may I have this little girl come to see me
every day, while I am here?"
"Miss Daisy shall have all, who she will," was the answer; and it was
arranged so; and Mrs. Harbonner took her departure. Lingering a minute
at the door, whither Juanita attended her, she made one or two enquiries
and remarks about Daisy, answered civilly and briefly by Mrs. Benoit.
"Poor little toad!" said Mrs. Harbonner, drawing her shawl tight round
her for the last time. "But ain't she little _queer_?"
These words were spoken in a low murmur, which just served to draw
Daisy's attention. Out of sight behind the moreen curtain, Mrs.
Harbonner forgot she was not beyond hearing; and Daisy's ears were
good. She noticed that Juanita made no answer at all to this question,
and presently shut the door.
The business of giving Daisy some fruit was the next thing attended to;
in the course of eating which Daisy marvelled a little to herself what
possible likeness to a _toad_ Mrs. Harbonner could have discovered in
her. The comparison did not seem flattering; also she pondered somewhat
why it could be that anybody found her queer. She said nothing about it;
though she gave Mrs. Benoit a little account of Hephzibah and the reason
of the proposed series of visits. In the midst of this came a cheery
"Daisy"--at the other side of her; and turning her head, there was
Preston's face at the window.
"O Preston!"--Daisy handed to Mrs. Benoit her unfinished saucer of
strawberries--"I am so glad! I have been waiting for you. Have you
brought my books?"
"Where do you think I have been, Daisy?"
"I don't know. Shooting!--Have you?"
Daisy's eye caught the barrel of a fowling-piece shewing its end up at
the window. Preston without replying lifted up his game bag and let her
see the bright feathers of little birds which partly filled it.
"You have!--Shooting!"--Daisy repeated, in a tone between disapprobation
and dismay. "It isn't September!"
"Capital sport, Daisy," said Preston, letting the bag fall.
"I think it is very poor sport," said Daisy. "I wish they were all alive
and flying again."
"So do I--if I might shoot them again."
"It's cruel, Preston!"
"Nonsense, Daisy. Don't you be too tender. Birds were made to kill. What
are they good for?"
With a wit that served her instead of experience, Daisy was silent,
looking with unspoken abhorrence at the wicked muzzle of the
"Did you bring me 'Sandford and Merton,' Preston?" she said presently.
"'Sandford and Merton'! My dear Daisy, I have been going all over the
world, you know--this part of it--and I was too far from Melbourne to go
round that way for your book; if I had, it would have been too late to
get here. You see the sun's pretty well down."
Daisy said no more; but it was out of her power not to look
disappointed. She had so counted upon her book; and she was so weary of
lying still and doing nothing. She wanted very much to read about the
house that Harry and Tommy built; it would have been a great
"Cheer up, Daisy," said Preston; "I'll bring you books to-morrow--and
read to you too, if you like it. What shall I bring?"
"O Preston, I want to know about trilobites!"
"Daisy, you might as well want to know about the centre of the earth!
That's where they belong."
"I should like to know about the centre of the earth," said Daisy. "Is
there anything there?"
"Anything at the centre of the earth? I suppose so."
"But I mean, anything _but_ earth," said Daisy.
Preston burst out laughing. "O Daisy, Daisy!--Hadn't you better learn
about what is on the outside of the earth, before we dig down so deep
"Well, Preston, my trilobite was on the outside."
"Daisy, it wouldn't interest you," said Preston seriously; "you would
have to go deep into something else besides the earth--so deep that you
would get tired. Let the trilobite alone, and let's have Grimm's Tales
to-morrow--shall we? or what will you have?"
Daisy was patiently silent a minute; and then in came Dr. Sandford. In
his presence Preston was mute; attending to the doctor's manipulations
as gravely as the doctor himself performed them. In the midst of the
general stillness, Dr. Sandford asked,
"Who was speaking about trilobites as I came up?"
"Preston was speaking," said Daisy, as nobody else seemed ready to
"What about them?"
"He thinks they would not interest me," said Daisy.
"What do you know about trilobites?" said Dr. Sandford, now raising his
blue eyes for a good look into the child's face. He saw it looked weary.
"I have got a beautiful one. Juanita, will you bring it here, please?"
The doctor took it up and handled it with an eye that said, Daisy knew,
that it was a fine specimen. The way he handled it gratified her.
"So this is one of your playthings, is it, Daisy?"
"No, sir; it is not a plaything, but I like to look at it."
"It is so wonderful, and beautiful, I think."
"But do tell Daisy, will you, doctor," said Preston, "that it is a
subject she cannot understand yet. She wants me to bring her books about
"Time hangs heavy, Daisy?" said the doctor.
"No, sir--only when I have nothing to do."
"What have you done to-day?"
"Nothing, sir; except talking to papa and mamma,--and some business
about a little girl."
The sedateness of this announcement was inexpressible, coming as it did
after a little thoughtful pause. Preston burst out laughing. Dr.
Sandford did not so far forget himself. He only gave Daisy a rapid look
of his grave blue eyes.
"It would be a charity to give you more employment than that," he said.
"You like wonderful things, Daisy?"
"Very much, when I understand about them."
"I will agree to tell you anything you please--that I know--about any
wonderful things you can see to-morrow, looking from your window."
The Doctor and Preston went off together, and left Daisy, though without
books, in a high state of excitement and gratification. The rest of the
evening her little head was busy by turns with fancying the observations
of the next day, and wondering what she could possibly find from her
window to talk to the doctor about. A very unpromising window Daisy
considered it. Nothing was to be seen beside trees and a little strip of
road; few people passed by that way; and if there had, what wonder could
there have been in that. Daisy was half afraid she should find nothing
to talk to the doctor about; and that would be a mortification.
Daisy and Juanita were both apt to be awake pretty early. Lying there on
her back all day, without power to run about and get tired, Daisy's
sleep was light; and her eyes were generally open before the sun got
high enough to look at them. Juanita was always up and dressed earlier
even than that; how much earlier Daisy had no means of knowing; but she
was sure to hear the murmur of her friend's voice at her prayers, either
in the other room or outside of the house. And Juanita did not come in
to see Daisy till she had been awake a good while, and had had leisure
to think over a great many things. Daisy found that was a good time for
her own prayers; there was nothing to disturb her, and nothing to be
heard at all, except that soft sound of Juanita's voice and the clear
trills and quavers of the little birds' voices in the trees. There was
no disturbance in any of those sounds; nothing but joy and gladness and
the voice of melody from them all.
By and by, when the light began to kindle in the tops of the trees, and
Daisy was sure to be watching it and trying to get sight of some of the
bird singers which were so merry up there, she would hear another sound
by her bedside, or feel a soft touch; and there would be Juanita, as
bright as the day, in her way of looking bright, bending over to see
and find out how Daisy was. Then, having satisfied herself, Juanita
would go about the business of the morning. First her fire was made, and
the kettle put on for breakfast. Daisy used to beg her to leave the door
open, so that though she could not follow her with her eyes and see, she
could yet hear what Juanita was doing. She used to listen to hear the
kindling put in the stove, and the wood; she knew the sound of it; then
when the match was lit and applied she liked the rushing sound of the
blaze and kindling fire; it gave pleasant token that the kettle would be
boiled by and by. But first she listened to Juanita's feet brushing
through the grass to get to the well; and Daisy listened so hard she
could almost tell after a while whether the grass was dry or whether it
was heavy with dew. Juanita always carried the kettle to the well; and
when she came back Daisy could hear the iron clink of the stove as the
kettle was put on. Presently Juanita came in then from her kitchen, and
began the work of putting the house in order. How nicely she did it!
like the perfection of a nurse, which she was. No dust, no noise, no
bustle; still as a mouse, but watchful as a cat, the alert old woman
went round the room and made all tidy and all clean and fresh. Very
likely Juanita would change the flowers in a little vase which stood on
the mantelpiece or the table, before she felt that everything was as it
ought to be.
When all that was done, her next attention was to Daisy herself; and
Daisy never in her life had nicer tending than now. If Juanita was a
nurse, she was a dressing-maid too, of first-rate qualifications. It was
a real pleasure to have her ministering about the couch; and for that
matter, the whole work of the morning, as Juanita managed it, was a
regular and unfailing piece of amusement to Daisy. And in the midst of
it, every look at the black woman's noble, sweet face, warmed Daisy's
heart with something better than amusement. Daisy grew to love her very
This morning all these affairs had been gone through as usual; and
leaving Daisy in a happy, refreshed state, Mrs. Benoit went off to
prepare her breakfast. Like everything else, that was beautifully done.
By and by, in she came with a tray and white napkin, white as napkin
could be, and fine damask too. For Juanita had treasures of various
sorts, besides old moreen curtains. On this tray for instance, there was
not only a fine napkin of damask; there was a delicate cup and saucer of
fine china, which Daisy thought very beautiful. It was as thin and fine
as any cup at Melbourne House, and had a dainty vine of leaves and
flowers running round it, in a light red brown colour. The plate was not
to match; it was a common little white plate; but that did not matter.
The tea was in the little brown cup, and Daisy's lips closed upon it
with entire satisfaction. Juanita had some excellent tea too; and if she
had not, there was a sufficient supply sent from Melbourne; as well as
of everything else. So to-day there was not only the brown toast in
strips, which Daisy fancied; but there were great red Antwerp
raspberries for her; and that made, Daisy thought, the very best
breakfast that could be eaten. She was very bright this morning.
"Juanita," she said, "I have found something for Dr Sandford already."
"What does Miss Daisy mean?"
"Don't you know? Didn't you hear him yesterday? He gave me something to
do. He said he would tell me about anything wonderful I could see in the
course of the day; and I have found something already."
"'Seems to me as all the Lord has made is wonderful," said the black
woman. "Does Miss Daisy think Dr. Sandford can tell her all about it?"
"Why I suppose he knows a great deal, Juanita."
"If he knowed one thing more,"--said the black woman. "Here he is, Miss
Daisy. He's early."
Certainly he was; but Dr. Sandford had a long ride to take that morning,
and could only see Daisy then on his way. In silence he attended to her,
and with no delay; smiled at her; put the tips of his fingers to her
raspberry dish and took out one for his own lips; then went quick away.
Daisy smiled curiously. She was very much amused at him. She did not ask
Juanita what she meant by the "one thing more." Daisy knew quite well;
or thought she did.
All that day she was in an amused state, watching to see wonderful
things. Her father's and mother's visits came as usual. Preston came and
brought her some books. Hephzibah came too and had a bit of a lesson.
But Hephzibah's wits were like her hair, straying all manner of ways. It
was very difficult to make her understand the difference between a, b,
ab,--and b, a, ba; and that was discouraging. Daisy toiled with her till
she was tired; and then was glad to lie still and rest without even
thinking of wonderful things, till Juanita brought her her dinner.
As the doctor had been early, so he was late to-day. It was near sunset
when he came, and Daisy was a little disappointed, fancying that he was
tired. He said nothing at first; attended to Daisy's foot in the
profoundest gravity; but in the midst of it, without looking up, he
"What wonderful things have you seen to-day?"
"I am afraid you are tired, Dr. Sandford," said Daisy very gently.
"Then it might tire you more to talk to me."
"You have seen something wonderful, have you?" said the doctor glancing
"Two or three things, sir."
"One at a time," said the doctor. "I _am_ tired. I have ridden nearly
seventy miles to-day, one way and another. Have you got a cup of milk
for me, Mrs. Benoit?"
Daisy eagerly beckoned Juanita and whispered to her, and the result was
that with the cup of milk came a plate of the magnificent raspberries.
The doctor opened his grave eyes at Daisy, and stood at the foot of her
couch picking up raspberries with his finger and thumb, as he had taken
that one in the morning.
"Now what are the wonderful things?" said he.
"You are too tired to-night, Dr. Sandford."
"Let us have number one. Promises must be kept, Daisy. Business is
business. Have you got such hard work for me? What was the first thing?"
"The first wonderful thing that I saw--or at least that I thought of--"
said Daisy, "was the sun."
The doctor eat half a dozen raspberries without speaking, giving an odd
little smile first in one corner of his mouth and then in the other.
"Do you expect me to tell you about _that_?" said he.
"You said business was business," Daisy replied with equal gravity to
"I am glad the idea of the universe did not occur to you," said the
doctor. "That might have been rather inconvenient for one evening's
handling. What would you like me to tell you about the sun?"
"I do not know anything at all about it," said Daisy. "I would like to
know everything you can tell me."
"The thought that first comes to me," said the doctor, "is, that it
ripened these raspberries."
"I know _that_," said Daisy. "But I want to know what it _is_."
"The sun! Well," said the doctor, "it is a dark, round thing, something
like this earth, only considerably bigger."
"_Dark!_" said Daisy.
"Certainly. I have no reason to believe it anything else."
"But you are laughing at me, Dr. Sandford," said Daisy, feeling very
much disappointed and a little aggrieved.
"Am I? No, Daisy--if you had ridden seventy miles to-day, you might be
tempted, but you would not feel like laughing. Business is business, I
must remind you again."
"But you do not _mean_ that the sun is dark?" said Daisy.
"I mean precisely what I say, I assure you."
"But it is so bright we cannot look at it," said Daisy.
"Something is so bright you cannot look at it. The something is not the
body of the sun."
"Then it is the light that comes from it."
"No light comes from it, that I know. I told you, the sun is a dark
"No," said Dr. Sandford, though he did laugh now;--"the sun, you see, is
a more wonderful thing than you imagined."
"But sir, may I ask any question I have a mind to ask?"
"Certainly! All in the course of business."
"How do you know that it is dark, sir?"
"Perfectly fair. Suppose that Mrs. Benoit stood behind your curtain
there, and that you had never seen her; how could you know that she has
a dark skin?"
"Why I could not."
"Yes, you could--if there were rents in the curtain."
"But what are you talking of, sir?"
"Only telling you, in answer to your question, how I know the sun to be
a dark body."
"But there is no curtain over the sun."
"That proves you are no philosopher, Daisy. If you were a philosopher,
you would not be so certain of anything. There is a curtain over the
sun; and there are rents or holes in the curtain sometimes,--so large
that we can see the dark body of the sun through them."
"What is the curtain? Is _that_ the light?"
"Now you are coming pretty near it, Daisy," said the doctor. "The
curtain, as I call it, is not light, but it is what the light comes
"Then what _is_ it, Dr. Sandford?"
"That has puzzled people wiser than you and I, Daisy. However, I think I
may venture to say, that it is something like an ocean of flame,
surrounding the dark body of the sun."
"And there are holes in it?"
"But they must be very large holes to be seen from this distance?"
"Very," said the doctor. "A great many times bigger than our whole
"Then how do you know but they are dark islands in the ocean?"
"For several reasons," said the doctor looking gravely funny; "one of
which reasons is, that we can see the deep ragged edges of the holes,
and that these edges join together again."
"But there could not be holes in _our_ ocean?" said Daisy.
Dr. Sandford gave a good long grave look at her, set aside his empty
plate which had held raspberries, and took a chair. He talked to her now
with serious quiet earnest, as if she had been a much older person.
"Our ocean, Daisy, you will remember, is an ocean of fluid matter. The
ocean of flame which surrounds the sun is gaseous matter--or a sort of
ocean of air, in a state of incandescence. This does not touch the sun,
but floats round it, upon or above another atmosphere of another
kind--like the way in which our clouds float in the air over our heads.
You know how breaks come and go in the clouds; so you can imagine that
this luminous covering of the sun parts in places, and shews the sun
through, and then closes up again."
"Is _that_ the way it is?" said Daisy.
"Dr. Sandford, you said a word just now I did not understand."
"Only one?" said the doctor.
"I think there was only one I did not know in the least."
"Can you direct me to it?"
"You said something about an ocean of air in a state--what state?"
"That was it."
"That is a state where it gives out white heat."
"I thought everything at the sun must be on fire," said Daisy looking
meditatively at the doctor.
"You see you were mistaken. It has only a covering of clouds of fire--so
"But it must be very hot there."
"It is pretty hot _here_," said the doctor shrugging his
shoulders,--"ninety five millions of miles away; so I do not see that we
can avoid your conclusion."
"How much is ninety five millions?"
"I am sure I don't know," said Dr. Sandford gravely. "After I have gone
as far as a million or so, I get tired."
"But I do not know much about arithmetic," said Daisy humbly. "Mamma has
not wanted me to study. I don't know how much one million is."
"Arithmetic does not help one on a journey, Miss Daisy," said the doctor
pleasantly. "Counting the miles did not comfort me to-day. But I can
tell you this. If you and I were to set off on a railway train, straight
for the sun, and go at the rate of thirty-two miles an hour,--you know
that is pretty fast travelling?"
"How fast do we go on the cars from here to New York?"
"Thirty miles an hour."
"Now I know," said Daisy.
"If we were to set off and go straight to the sun at that rate of speed,
keeping it up night and day, it would take us--how long do you guess? It
would take us three hundred years and more; nearly three hundred and
fifty years, to get there."
"I cannot imagine travelling so long," said Daisy gravely. At which Dr.
Sandford laughed; the first time Daisy had ever heard him do such a
thing. It was a low, mellow laugh now; and she rather enjoyed it.
"I should like to know what a million is," she observed.
"Ten hundred thousand."
"And how many million miles did you say the sun is?"
"Ninety-five millions of miles away."
Daisy lay thinking about it.
"Can you imagine travelling faster? And then we need not be so long on
the journey," said Dr. Sandford. "If we were to go as fast as a cannon
ball, it would take us about seven years--not quite so much--to get to
"How fast does a cannon ball go?"
"Fifty times as fast as a railway train."
"I cannot imagine that either, Dr. Sandford."
"Give it up, Daisy," said the doctor, rising and beginning to put
himself in order for travelling.
"Are you going?" said Daisy.
"Not till you have done with me!"
"Dr. Sandford, have you told me all there is to tell about the sun?"
"Would it take too long this evening?"
"Considering that the sun will not stay to be talked about, Daisy," said
the doctor glancing out of the window, "I should say it would."
"Then I will ask only one thing more. Dr. Sandford, how can you tell so
exactly how long it would take to go to the sun? how do you know?"
"Quite fair, Daisy," said the doctor surveying her gravely. "I know, by
the power of a science called mathematics, which enables one to do all
sorts of impossible things. But you must take that on my word; I cannot
explain so that you would understand it."
"Thank you, sir," said Daisy.
She wanted further to ask what sort of a science mathematics might be;
but Dr. Sandford had answered a good many questions, and the sun was
down, down, behind the trees on the other side of the road. Daisy said
no more. The doctor seeing her silent, smiled, and prepared himself to
"Shall we finish the sun to-morrow, Daisy?"
"O, if you please."
"Very well. Good bye."
The doctor went, leaving Daisy in a very refreshed state; with plenty to
think of. Daisy was quite waked out of her weariness and disappointment,
and could do well enough without books for one day longer. She took her
own raspberries now with great spirit.
"I have found two more wonderful things to talk to Dr. Sandford about,
Juanita; that is three to-day."
"Does Miss Daisy think the doctor can tell her all?"
"I don't know. He knows a great deal, Juanita."
"'Seems he knows more than Job did," said Mrs. Benoit, who had her
private misgivings about the authenticity of all Dr. Sandford's
statements. Daisy thought a little.
"Juanita, Job lived a great while ago."
"Yes, Miss Daisy."
"How much did he know about the sun? does the Bible tell?"
"It tells a little what he didn't know, Miss Daisy."
"O, Juanita, after I get through my tea and when you have had yours,
won't you read me in the Bible all about Job and the sun?"
Mrs. Benoit liked nothing better; and whatever other amusements failed,
or whatever other parties anywhere in the land found their employments
unsatisfactory, there was one house where intent interest and unflagging
pleasure went through the whole evening; it was where Daisy and Mrs.
Benoit read "about Job and the sun." Truth to tell, as that portion of
Scripture is but small, they extended their reading somewhat.
Daisy's first visiter the next day was her father. He came with fresh
flowers and fresh fruit, and with "Sandford and Merton" too, in which he
read to her; so the morning went well.
"Papa," said Daisy when he was about leaving her, "do you not think Dr.
Sandford is a very interesting man?"
"It is the general opinion of ladies, I believe, Daisy; but I advise you
not to lose your heart to him. I am afraid he is not to be depended on."
"O papa," said Daisy, a little shocked, "I do not mean that he is a man
one would get _fond of_."
"Pray who do you think is, Daisy?" said Mr. Randolph, maintaining his
"Papa, don't you think Capt. Drummond is--and--"
"And who, Daisy?"
"I was thinking--Mr. Dinwiddie, papa." Daisy did not quite know how well
this last name would be relished, and she coloured a little
"You are impartial in your professional tastes, I am glad to see," said
Mr. Randolph. Then observing how innocent of understanding him was the
grave little face of Daisy, he bent down to kiss her.
"And you are unfortunate in your favourites. Both at a distance! How is
"Papa, I think he has good nature; but I think he is rather frivolous."
Mr. Randolph looked soberly at the little face before him, and went away
thinking his own thoughts. But he had the cruelty to repeat to Dr.
Sandford so much of this conversation as concerned that gentleman; in
doing so he unwittingly laid the foundation of more attention to Daisy
on the doctor's part, than he probably would ever otherwise have given
her. To say truth--the idea propounded by Daisy was so very novel to
the doctor that it both amused and piqued him.
Mr. Randolph had hardly gone out, when Hephzibah came in. And then
followed a lesson the like of which Daisy had not given yet. Hephzibah's
attention was on everything but the business in hand. Also, she had a
little less awe of Daisy lying on Mrs. Benoit's couch in a loose gown,
than when she met her in the Belvidere at Melbourne, dressed in an
elegant cambrick frock with a resplendent sash.
"C, a, spells ca, Hephzibah. Now what is that?"
"Over your finger?"
"C, a. And what does it spell?"
"Did the stone fall right onto your foot?"
"And was it broke right off?"
"No. O no. Only the bone of my ankle was broken."
"It smarted some, I guess; didn't it?"
"No. Now Hephzibah, what do those two letters spell?"
"C, a, ca. That don't mean nothin'."
"Now the next. D, a--"
"What's D, a?"
"D, a, da."
"Nothing; only it spells that."
"How soon'll you be up again?"
"I do not know. In a few weeks."
"Before the nuts is ripe?"
"O yes, I hope so."
"Well, I'll shew you where there's the biggest hickory nuts you ever
see! They're right back of Mr. Lamb's barn--only three fields to
cross--and there's three hickory trees; and the biggest one has the
biggest nuts, mother says, she ever see. Will you go and get some?"
"But, Hephzibah, those are Mr. Lamb's nuts, aren't they?"
"I don't care."
"But," said Daisy, looking very grave, "don't you know, Hephzibah, it is
wrong to meddle with anything that belongs to other people?"
"He hain't no right to 'em, I don't believe."
"I thought you said they were in Mr. Lamb's field?"
"So they be."
"Then they are his nuts. You would not like anybody to take them, if
they belonged to you."
"It don't make no odds," said Hephzibah sturdily, but looking down at
the same time. "He'll get it out of us some other way."
"Get it out of you?" said Daisy.
"What do you mean?"
"He gets it out of everybody," said Hephzibah. "Tain't no odds."
"But Hephzibah, if those trees were yours, would you like to have Mr.
Lamb come and take the nuts away?"
"No. I'd get somebody to shoot him."
Daisy hardly knew how to go along with her discourse; Hephzibah's
erratic opinions started up so fast. She looked at her little rough
pupil in absolute dismay. Hephzibah shewed no consciousness of having
said anything remarkable. Very sturdy she looked; very assured in her
judgment. Daisy eyed her rough bristling hair, with an odd kind of
feeling that it would not be more difficult to comb down into smoothness
than the unregulated thoughts of her mind. She must begin gently. But
Daisy's eyes grew most wistfully earnest.
"Would you shoot Mr. Lamb for taking away your nuts?"
"Just as lieves."
"Then how do you think he would feel about your taking his nuts?"
"I don't care!"
"But, Hephzibah, listen. Do you know what the Bible says? It says, that
we must do to other people just what we would like to have them do to us
in the same things."
"Then he oughtn't to have sot such a price on his meat," said Hephzibah.
"But then," said Daisy, "what would it be right for you to do about his
"I don't care," said Hephzibah. "'Tain't no odds. I'm a going to get
'em. I guess it's time for me to go home."
"But Hephzibah,--you have not done your lesson yet. I want you to learn
all this row to-day. The next is, f, a, fa."
"That don't mean nothin'," said Hephzibah.
"But you want to learn it, before you can go on to what does mean
"I don't guess I do," said Hephzibah.
"Don't you want to learn to read?"
"Yes, but that ain't readin'."
"But you cannot learn to read without it," said Daisy.
Under this urging, Hephzibah did consent to go down the column of
"Ain't you going with me after them nuts?" she said as soon as the
bottom of the page was reached. "I'll shew you a rabbit's nest. La! it's
"I hope you will not take the nuts, Hephzibah, without Mr. Lamb's
"I ain't going to ask his leave," said Hephzibah. "He wouldn't give it
to me, besides. It's fun, I tell you."
"It is wrong," said Daisy. "I don't think there's any fun in doing
"It is fun, though, I tell you," said Hephzibah. "It's real sport. The
nuts come down like rain; and we get whole baskets full. And then, when
you crack 'em, I tell you, they are sweet'"
"Hephzibah, do you know what the Bible says?"
"I don't want to learn no more to-day," said the child. "I'm going. Good
She stayed no further instruction of any kind; but caught up her calico
sunbonnet and went off at a jump, calling out "Good bye, Daisy!" when
she had got some yards from the house. Daisy lay still, looking very
"The child has just tired you, my love!" said the black woman.
"What shall I do, Juanita? She doesn't understand."
"My love knows who opened the eyes of the blind," said Juanita.
Daisy sighed. Certainly teaching seemed to take very small hold on her
rough little pupil. These thoughts were suddenly banished by the
entrance of Mrs. Randolph.
The lady was alone this time. How like herself she looked, handsome and
stately, in characteristic elegance of attire and manner both. Her white
morning dress floated off in soft edges of lace from her white arms; a
shawl of precious texture was gathered loosely about them; on her head a
gossamer web of some fancy manufacture fell off on either side, a mock
covering for it. She came up to Daisy and kissed her, and then examined
into her various arrangements, to see that she was in all respects well
and properly cared for. Her mother's presence made Daisy feel very meek.
Her kiss had been affectionate, her care was motherly; but with all that
there was not a turn of her hand nor a tone of her calm voice that did
not imply and express absolute possession, perfect control. That Daisy
was a little piece of property belonging to her in sole right, with
which she did and would do precisely what it might please her, with very
little concern how or whether it might please Daisy. Daisy was very far
from putting all this in words, or even in distinct thoughts;
nevertheless she felt and knew every bit of it; her mother's hand did
not touch Daisy's foot or her shoulder, without her inward consciousness
what a powerful hand it was. Now it is true that all this was in one way
no new thing; Daisy had always known her mother's authority to be just
what it was now; but it was only of late that a question had arisen
about the bearing of this authority upon her own little life and
interests. With the struggle that had been, and the new knowledge that
more struggles in the future were not impossible, the consciousness of
her mother's power over her had a new effect. Mrs. Randolph sat down and
took out her tetting work; but she only did a few stitches.
"What child was that I met running from the house as I came up?" she
asked, a little to Daisy's discomfiture.
"It was a little girl who belongs in the village, mamma."
"How comes she to know you?"
"It happened by accident partly, in the first place."
"Mamma, I will tell you another time, if you will let me." For Daisy
knew that Juanita was not far off. But Mrs. Randolph only said, "Tell me
"Mamma--it was partly an accident," Daisy repeated. "I found out by
accident that they were very poor--and I carried them something to eat."
"Whom do you mean by 'them?'"
"That little girl and her mother--Mrs. Harbonner."
"When did you do this?"
"About the time of my birthday."
"And you have kept up the acquaintance since that time?"
"I carried the woman work once, mamma. I had papa's leave to go."
"Did you ask mine?"
"No, mamma. It was papa who had forbidden me to go into any house
without leave; so I asked him to let me tell her about the work."
"What was this child here for to-day?"
"Mamma--she is a poor child and could not go to school; and--I was
trying to teach her something."
"What were you trying to teach her?"
"To read, mamma--and to do right."
"Have you ever done this before?"
"Yes, mamma--a few times."
"Can it be that you have a taste for low society, Daisy?"
Mrs. Randolph had been asking questions calmly while going on with her
tetting work; at this one she raised her eyes and bent them full, with
steady cold inquiry, on Daisy's face. Daisy looked a little troubled.
"No, mamma--I do not think I have."
"Is not this child very rude and ill-mannered?"
"Yes, ma'am, but--"
"Is she even a clean child?"
"Not _very_, mamma."
"You are changed, Daisy," said Mrs. Randolph, with a slight but keen
expression of disdain. The child felt it, yet felt it not at all to the
moving of her steadfastness.
"Mamma--it was only that I might teach her. She knows nothing at all,
"And does Daisy Randolph think such a child is a fit companion for her?"
"Not a _companion_, mamma."
"What business have you with a child who is not a fit companion for
"Only, mamma, to try to be of some benefit to her."
"I shall be of some benefit to you, now. Since I cannot trust you,
Daisy--since your own delicacy and feeling of what is right does not
guide you in such matters, I shall lay my commands on you for the
future. You are to have nothing to do with any person, younger or older,
without finding out what my pleasure is about it. Do you understand
"You are to give no more lessons to children who are not fit companions
for you. You are not to have anything to do with this child in
particular. Daisy, understand me--I forbid you to speak to her again."
"Not a word," said Mrs. Randolph.
"But mamma, please! just this. May I not tell her once, that I cannot
teach her? She will think me so strange!"
Mrs. Randolph was silent.
"Might I not, just that once, mamma?"
"She will not know what to think of me," said Daisy; her lip trembling,
her eye reddening, and only able by the greatest self-control to keep
from bursting into tears.
"That is your punishment"--replied Mrs. Randolph, in a satisfied, quiet
sort of way. Daisy felt crushed. She could hardly think.
"I am going to take you in hand and bring you into order," said Mrs.
Randolph with a smile, bending over to kiss Daisy, and looking at her
lips and eyes in a way Daisy wished she would not. The meek little face
certainly promised small difficulty in her way, and Mrs. Randolph kissed
the trembling mouth again.
"I do not think we shall quarrel," she remarked. "But if we do, Daisy, I
shall know how to bear my part of it."
She turned carelessly to her tetting again, and Daisy lay still; quiet
and self-controlled, it was all she could do. She could hardly bear to
watch her mother at her work; the thought of "quarrels" between them was
so inevitable and so dreadful. She could hardly bear to look out of her
window; the sunshine and bright things out there seemed to remind her of
her troubles; for they did not look bright now as they had done in the
early morning. She lay still and kept still; that was all; while Mrs.
Randolph kept at her work amusing herself with it an uncommonly long
time. At last she was tired; threw her shawl round her shoulders again,
and stood up to go.
"I think we can soon have you home, Daisy," she said as she stooped to
kiss her. "Ask Dr. Sandford when he comes, how soon it will do now to
move you; ask him to-night; will you?"
Daisy said "Yes, mamma," and Mrs. Randolph went.
The day was a heavy one to Daisy and Juanita after that. The little
cottage was very silent. Daisy lay still, saying nothing, and generally
keeping her face turned towards the window so that her friend could not
see at; and when Mrs. Benoit proposed, as she several times did, to read
to Daisy or sing to her, she was always answered by a gentle, "No,
Juanita," which was as decided as it was gentle. The last time indeed,
Daisy had yielded and given assent to the proposition; but Mrs. Benoit
did not feel sure that she gave anything else; either attention or
approbation. Daisy's dinner she had prepared with particular care; but
it was not enjoyed; Mrs. Benoit knew that. She sighed to herself, and
then sang to herself, in a softly kind of way; Daisy gave no heed, and
only lay still with her face turned to the window. By and by, late in
the afternoon, the doctor came in. He was not a favourite of Mrs.
Benoit, but she was glad to see him now. She withdrew a little out of
the way and watched to see what he would say.
The doctor's first care as usual was the foot. That was going on well.
Having attended to that, he looked at Daisy's face. It did not seem to
him satisfactory, Mrs. Benoit saw; for his next move was to the head of
the couch, and he felt Daisy's hand, while his eyes studied her.
"How do you do to-day?"
"I am getting better," said Daisy.
"Are you? Your voice sounds weak to-night."
"I do not suppose I am very strong."
"How many wonderful things have you found to-day?"
"I have not thought about them--I have not found any."
Doctor Sandford bent a little over Daisy's couch, holding her hand still
and examining her.
"What is the matter, Daisy?" said he.
Daisy fidgeted. The doctor's fine blue eyes were too close to her and
too steady to be escaped from. Daisy turned her own eyes uneasily away,
then brought them back; she could not help it. He was waiting for her to
"Dr. Sandford," she said humbly, "won't you please excuse me?"
"Excuse you what, Daisy?"
"From telling you what you want to know."
"Pray why should I?"
"It is something that is quite private to myself."
If the doctor's lips remained perfectly still for some moments, it was
because they had a private inclination to smile, in which he would not
indulge them. Daisy saw nothing but the most moveless gravity.
"Private from all but your physician, Daisy," he said at last. "Do not
you know he is an exception to general rules?"
"Is he?" said Daisy.
"Certainly. I always become acquainted with people's private affairs."
"But I do not want that you should be acquainted with mine."
"No matter. You are under my care," said the doctor. Then after a minute
he added in a lower tone, "What have you been shedding tears about
Daisy's face looked intensely grave; wise and old beyond her days,
though the mouth was also sweet. So she faced the doctor and answered
him with the sedateness of fifty years--"I can't very well tell you, Dr.
"You have been shedding tears to-day?"
"Yes, sir--" said Daisy softly.
"A good many of them? You have been lying here with your face to the
window, crying quietly, a good part of the afternoon--have you not?"
"Yes, sir," said Daisy, wondering at him.
"Now I am your physician and must know what was the matter."
"It is something I cannot tell about, Dr. Sandford."
"Yes, Daisy, you are mistaken. Whatever concerns you, concerns me; if it
is the concern of nobody else. Were you tired of lying here so long, day
"O no, sir! I don't mind that at all. I mean--I don't mind it at all
"You do not?" said the doctor. "Have you lost a pet kitten, or a beloved
"I haven't any, either a kitten or a dog," said Daisy.
"Has that young cavalier, Preston Gary, neglected you?"
"He would not do that," said Daisy; "but he is very fond of shooting."
"He is!" said Dr. Sandford. "Most boys are. You have not felt lonely,
"O no, sir."
"I believe I should, in your place. What is the matter, then? I ask as
your friend and physician; and you must tell me, Daisy. Who has been to
see you to-day?"
"Papa--he came and read to me. Then a little girl--and mamma."
"Did the little girl trouble you?"
"Not much--" said Daisy hesitatingly.
"In what way?"
"She only would not learn to read as fast as I wanted."
"You were the teacher?"
"Yes sir--I was trying--I wanted to teach her."
"And has her obduracy or stupidity caused all this sorrow and
"O no, sir--" But Daisy's eyes filled.
"Then has Mrs. Randolph been the trouble-maker?"
Now Daisy flushed, her lip worked tremblingly; she turned her little
head to one side and laid her hand over her brow, to baffle those steady
blue eyes of the doctor's. But the doctor left the side of the couch and
took a step or two towards where Juanita was sitting.
"Mrs. Benoit," said he, "has this little patient of yours had her tea?"
"No, sir. His honour knows, it's early yet in the afternoon."
"Not so very. Do you mean she took enough for dinner to last her till
"No, sir; her dinner was little better than nothing."
"Then make a cup, in your best style, Mrs. Benoit--and perhaps you will
give me one. And have you got any more of those big raspberries for her?
bring them and a bit of toast."
While Juanita was gone on this business, which took a little time, the
doctor slowly paced back and forth through the small cottage room, with
his hands behind him and a thoughtful face. Daisy fancied he was
considering her affair; but she was very much mistaken; Dr. Sandford had
utterly forgotten her for the moment, and was pondering some difficult
professional business. When Juanita appeared with her tea tray, he came
out of his abstraction; and though still with a very unrelaxed face, he
arranged Daisy's pillows so that she might be raised up a little and
feel more comfortable. His hands were strong and skilful, and kind too;
there was a sort of pleasure in having them manage her; but Daisy looked
on with a little wonder to see him take the charge of being her servitor
in what came afterwards. He made her a cup of tea; let her taste it from
his hands; and gave the plate of raspberries into her own.
"Is it good?" he asked her.
"Very good!" Daisy said, with so gentle and reverential a look at him
that the doctor smiled. He said nothing however at present but to take
care that she had her supper; and looked meanwhile to see the colour of
Daisy's cheeks change a little, and the worn, wearied lines of her face
take a more natural form. His own ministrations were more effectual than
the eating and drinking; it was so very odd to have Dr. Sandford waiting
upon her that Daisy was diverted, and could not help it.
"Will you take some tea too, Dr. Sandford?" she said in the midst of
this. "Won't you take it now, while it is hot?"
"I take my tea cold, Daisy, thank you. I'll have it presently."
So he poured out his own cup and left it to cool while he attended to
Daisy; and when she would have no more, he took the cup from the tray
and sent Mrs. Benoit off with the rest of the things.
"Now Daisy," said he as he took away her bolstering pillows and laid her
nicely down again, "now, Daisy, I am your confidential friend and
physician, and I want to know what command Mrs. Randolph has given to
trouble you. It is my business to know, and you must tell me."
He was so cool about it, and so determined, that Daisy was staggered. He
stood holding her hand and waiting for her answer.
Daisy came to a great stop. The doctor waited.
"It was about the little girl."
"Very well. Go on, Daisy."
He took up his cup of tea now and began to sip it. Poor Daisy! She had
never been more bewildered in her life.
"What about the little girl?"
"Mamma--doesn't want me to teach her."
"Is it so favourite an amusement?"
"No, sir--" said Daisy hesitatingly.
"Was that all the trouble?"
The doctor sipped his cup of tea and looked at Daisy. He did not say
anything more; yet his eyes so steadily waited for what further she had
to say, that Daisy fidgeted; like a fascinated creature, obliged to do
what it would not. She could not help looking into Dr. Sandford's face,
and she could not withstand what she saw there.
"Dr. Sandford," she began in her old-fashioned way, "you are asking me
what is private between my mother and me."
"Nothing is private from your physician, Daisy. I am not Dr. Sandford; I
am your physician."
"But you are Dr. Sandford to mamma."
"The business is entirely between you and me."
Daisy hesitated a little longer, but the power of fascination upon her
"I was sorry not to teach the little girl," she said at length; "but I
was particularly troubled because--because--"
"Mrs. Randolph was displeased with your system of benevolence?"
"No--not that. Yes, I was troubled about that too. But what troubled me
most was--that mamma would not let me speak to her, to tell her why I
must not teach her. I must not say anything to her again, at all."
Dr. Sandford's eyes, looking, saw that Daisy had indeed spoken out her
trouble now. Such a cloud of sorrow came over her brow; such witnessing
redness about her eyelids, though Daisy let the witness of tears get no
"What do you suppose was your mother's purpose in making that last
regulation?" he went on in a cool business tone.
"I don't know--I suppose to punish me,"--Daisy said faintly.
"Punish you for what?"
"Mamma did not like me to teach that little girl--and I had done it, I
mean I had begun to do it, without asking her."
"Was it a great pleasure?" said the doctor.
"It would have been a great pleasure if I could have taught her to
read," Daisy said, with her face brightening at the idea.
"I presume it would. Well Daisy, now you and I will arrange this affair.
I do not consider it wholesome for you to engage in this particular
amusement at this particular time; so I shall endorse Mrs. Randolph's
prohibition; but I will go round--Where does this girl live, and who is
"Her name is Hephzibah Harbonner; she lives in the village, on the road
where the Episcopal church is--you know;--a little way further on. I
guess it's a quarter of a mile."
"South, eh? Well, I will go round by her house and tell the girl that I
cannot let you do any such kindnesses just now, and that till I give her
leave she must not come to see you. How will that do, Daisy?"
"Thank you, Dr. Sandford!"
He saw it was very earnestly spoken and that Daisy's brow looked
"And instead of that amusement, you must study wonderful things to
morrow. Will you?"
"O yes, Dr. Sandford! But we have not finished about the sun yet."
"No. Well--to-morrow, then, Daisy."
"Thank you, sir. Dr. Sandford, mamma wanted me to ask you a question
before you go."
"How soon I can be moved home?"
"Are you in a great hurry?"
"No, sir, but I think mamma is."
"You can bear to wait a little longer and study wonderful things from
"O yes, sir! I think I can do it better here than at home, because my
bed is so close to the window, I can look right out."
"I shall not let you be moved just yet, Daisy. Good night. I will
see--what's her name?"
And Daisy watched the doctor as he went down the path, mounted his horse
and rode away, with great admiration; thinking how handsome and how
clever and how chivalric he was. Daisy did not use that word in thinking
of him; nevertheless his skilful nursing and his taking up her cause so
effectually had made a great impression upon her. She was greatly
comforted. Juanita, watching her face, saw that it looked so; there was
even a dawning smile upon Daisy's lips at one time. It faded however
into a deep gravity; and one or two long drawn breaths told of heavy
"What troubles has my love?" said the old woman.
Daisy turned her head quick round from the window, and smiled a very
sweet smile in her face.
"I was thinking, Juanita."
"My little lady has a cloud come over her again."
"Yes, Juanita, I think I have. O Juanita, I might tell you! What shall I
do, when everybody wants me to do what--what I don't think is right?
What shall I do, Juanita? I don't know what I shall do."
"Suppose Miss Daisy take the Bible to her pa'--Miss Daisy knows what her
"So he did, Juanita! thank you. I had forgotten that."
In five minutes more Daisy was fast asleep. The black woman stood
looking at her. There was no cloud on the little face now, but the signs
of the day's work were there. Pale cheeks, and weary features, and the
tokens of past tears. Juanita stood and looked, and twinkled away one
or two from her own eye-lashes; and then knelt down at the head of the
bed and began a whispered prayer. A prayer for the little child before
her, in which her heart poured itself out, that she might be kept from
evil, and might walk in the straight path, and never be tempted or
driven from it. Juanita's voice grew louder than a whisper in her
earnestness; but Daisy slept on.
The next day was an exceedingly hot and sultry one. Daisy had no
visiters until quite late in the afternoon; however it was a peaceful
day. She lay quiet and happy, and Juanita was quite as well contented
that the house should be empty and they two alone. Late in the
afternoon, Preston came.
"Well my dear little Daisy! so you are coming home"
"Am I?" said Daisy.
"To be sure; and your foot is going to get well, and we are going to
have all sorts of grand doings for you."
"My foot _is_ getting well."
"Certainly. Don't be a Quaker, Daisy."
"What sort of doings are you going to have, Preston?"
"First thing--as soon as you are well enough for it--we are going to
have a grand pic-nic party to Silver Lake."
"Silver Lake? what, on the other side of the river?"
"O how delightful! But I shall not be able to go in a long time,
"Yes, you will. Aunt Felicia says you are coming back to Melbourne now;
and once we get you there, we'll cure you up. Why you must have moped
half your wits away by this time. I don't expect to find more than
two-thirds of the original Daisy left."
"I haven't moped at all."
"There! that is proof the first. When people are moping and do not know
they are moping, that is the sign their wits are departing. Poor Daisy!
I don't wonder. We'll get you to rights at Melbourne."
"Doctor Sandford will not let me be moved."
"Doctor Sandford cannot help himself. When aunt Felicia says so, he will
find ways and means."
"Preston," said Daisy, "I do not think you understand what sort of a man
Dr. Sandford is."
"Pray enlighten me, Daisy. I thought I did."
But Daisy was silent.
"What sort of a man is he?"
"Preston," said Daisy abruptly, "I wish you would bring me from
Melbourne that tray filled with something,--plaster,--I don't know what
it is,--on which Capt. Drummond and I studied geography, and history."
"Geography and history on a tray!" said Preston. "That would be one's
hands full to carry!"
"Well, but it was," said Daisy. "The tray was smooth filled with
something, something a little soft, on which you could mark; and Capt.
Drummond drew the map of England on it; and we were just getting into
the battle--what battle was it?--when William came over from France and
King Harold met him?"
"We were just come to the battle of Hastings, before Capt. Drummond went
away; and I should like so much to go on with it!"
"But was the battle of Hastings on the tray?"
"No, Preston, but the place was; and Capt. Drummond told me about the
"Who is here to tell you about them now, Daisy?"
"Couldn't you?--sometimes, now and then?"
"I might; but you see, Daisy, you are coming to Melbourne now, and there
will be Silver Lake and lots of other things to do. You won't want the
Daisy looked a little wistfully at her cousin. She said nothing. And
Preston turned sharply, for he heard a soft rustle coming up the path,
and was just in time to spring to the door and open it for his aunt.
"Plow insufferably hot!" was Mrs. Randolph's remark. "How do you do,
"I think she is bewitched to stay in banishment, aunt Felicia; she will
have it she is not coming home."
Mrs. Randolph's answer was given to the doctor, who entered at the
instant behind Preston.
"How soon can Daisy be moved, doctor?"
The doctor took a leisurely view of his little patient before he
"Not at present."
"If I think her fit for it, in a fortnight; possibly earlier."
"But that is, not till September!"
"I am afraid you are correct," said the doctor coolly. Mrs. Randolph
stood pondering the question, how far it was needful to own his
"It is dreadfully hot here, in this little place! She would be much
better if she were out of it."
"How have you found it at Melbourne to-day?"
"How has it been with you, Daisy?"
"It has been a nice day, Dr. Sandford."
The contrast was so extreme between the mental atmosphere of one speaker
and of the other, that Dr. Sandford smiled. It was ninety degrees of
Fahrenheit--and the fall of the dew.
"I have heard nobody say as much for the day before," he remarked.
"But she would be much better at Melbourne."
"As soon as I think that, she shall go."
The doctor was absolute in his sphere, and Mr. Randolph moreover, she
knew, would back him; so Mrs. Randolph held her peace, though
displeased. Nay, she entered into a little conversation with the doctor
on other subjects, as lively as the day would admit, before she
departed. Preston, stayed behind, partly to improve his knowledge of Dr.
"All has gone well to-day, Daisy?" he asked her pleasantly.
"O yes. And Dr. Sandford, shall we finish the sun?"
"By all means. What more shall I tell you?"
"How much more do you know, sir?"
"I know that it is globe-shaped--I know how big it is--I know how heavy
it is; and I know that it turns round and round continually."
"O sir, do you _know_ all these things?"
"Please, Dr. Sandford, how can you?"
"You would mature into a philosopher, in time, Daisy."
"I hope not," muttered Preston.
"I know that it is globe-shaped, Daisy, because it turns round and lets
me see all sides of it."
"Is one side different from another?"
"Only so far, as that there are spots here and there," Dr. Sandford went
on, looking at the exceeding eagerness in Daisy's eyes. "The spots
appear at one edge--pass over to the other edge, and go out of sight.
After a certain time I see them come back again where I saw them first."
"O I should like to see the spots on the sun!" said Daisy. "You said
they were holes in the curtain, sir?"
"What curtain?" said Preston.
"You are not a philosopher," said the doctor.
"How long does it take them, the spots, Dr. Sandford, to go round and
come back again?"
"A little more than twenty-five days."
"How very curious!" said Daisy. "I wonder what it turns round for--the
sun, I mean?"
"You have got too deep there," said the doctor. "I cannot tell you."
"But there must be some reason," said Daisy; "or it would stand still."
"It is in the nature of the thing, I suppose," said Dr. Sandford; "but
we do not fully know its nature yet. Only what I am telling you."
"How came people to find these things out?"
"By watching--and experimenting--and calculating."
"Then how big is the sun, Dr. Sandford?"
"How big does it look?"
"Not very large--I don't know--I can't think of anything it looks like."
"It looks just about as big as the moon does."
"Is it just the same size as the moon? But Dr. Sandford, it is a great
deal further off, isn't it?"
"Four hundred times as far."
"Then it must be four hundred times as large, I should think."
"It is just about that."
"But I do not know how large that would be. I cannot think."
"Nor can I, Daisy. But I can help you. Suppose we, and our earth, were
in the centre of the sun; and our moon going round us at the same
distance from us that she is now; there would be room enough for the
whole concern, as far as distances are concerned."
"In the sun, Dr. Sandford?"
"In the sun."
"And the moon as far off as she is now?"
"But the _moon_ would not be in the sun too?"
"Plenty of room, and to spare."
Daisy was silent now. Preston looked from her face to the doctor's.
"Not only that, Daisy; but the moon then would be two hundred thousand
miles within the circumference of the sun; the sun's surface would be
two hundred thousand miles beyond her."
"Thank you, Dr. Sandford!"
"What for, Daisy?"
"I am so glad to know all that."
Daisy did not answer. She did not feel ready to tell her whole thought,
not to both her friends together, at least; and she did not know how to
frame her reply. But then perceiving that Dr. Sandford was looking for
an answer, and that she was guilty of the rudeness of withholding it,
she blushed and spoke.
"It makes me understand some things better."
"What, for instance?" said the doctor, looking as grave as ever, though
Preston was inclined to laugh. Daisy saw it; nevertheless she answered,
"The first chapter of Genesis."
"O you are there, are you?" said the doctor. "What light have I thrown
upon the passage, Daisy? It has not appeared to myself."
Now Daisy hesitated. A sure though childish instinct told her that her
thoughts and feelings on this subject would meet with no sympathy. She
did not like to speak them.
"Daisy has peculiar views, Dr. Sandford," said Preston. But the doctor
paid him no attention. He looked at Daisy, lifted her up and arranged
her pillows; then as he laid her back said, "Give me my explanation of
that chapter, Daisy."
"It isn't an explanation, sir;--I did not know there was anything to
"The light I have thrown on it then--out of the sun."
Preston was amused, Daisy saw; she could not tell whether the doctor
was; his blue eyes gave no sign, except of a will to hear what she had
to say. Daisy hesitated, and hesitated, and then with something very
like the old diplomacy she had partly learned and partly inherited from
her mother, she said,
"If you will read the chapter, I will tell you."
Now Daisy did not think Dr. Sandford would care to read the chapter, or
perhaps have the time for it; but with an unmoved face he swung himself
round on his chair and called on Mrs. Benoit for a Bible. Preston was in
a state of delight, and Mrs. Benoit of wonder. The Bible was brought,
Dr. Sandford took it, and opened it.
"We have only time for a short lecture to-day," he remarked, "for I must
be off. Now Daisy, I will read, and you shall comment."
Daisy felt worried. She turned uneasily and rested her face on her hand,
and so lay looking at the doctor; at his handsome calm features and
glittering blue eye. What could _she_ say to him? The doctor's eye saw a
grave sweet little face, a good deal flushed, very grave, with a whole
burden of thought behind its unruffled simplicity. It may be said, that
his curiosity was as great as Daisy's unwillingness. He began, facing
her as he read. Juanita stood by, somewhat anxious.
'"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."'--
The doctor stopped and looked down at that face of Daisy looking up at
him. He waited.
"I did not use to think how much all that meant," said Daisy humbly. The
doctor went on.
He went on with the grand, majestic words of the story, which sounded
very strange to Daisy from his lips, but very grand; till he came to the
fourteenth verse. '"And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament
of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for
signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: and let them be for
lights in the firmament of the heaven, to give light upon the earth: and
it was so."' The doctor looked at Daisy again.
"There," said she, "that is very different now from what it used to
be--I didn't know what sort of lights those were; it's a great deal more
wonderful now. Won't you read on a little further?"
"'And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and
the lesser light to rule the night; he made the stars also. And God set
them in the firmament of the heaven, to give light upon the earth, and
to rule over the day, and over the night, and to divide the light from
the darkness: and God saw that it was good.'"
"That is what I mean," said Daisy, as the doctor paused. "I never knew
before what those 'lights' meant--I thought the sun was--I don't know
what; I didn't think much about it; but now I never shall forget again.
I know now what sort of a light was made to rule the day; and I don't
"Do not wonder what, Daisy?"
"I do not wonder that God said that it was good. I am so much obliged to
you for telling me about it."
"Never heard a more satisfactory application of knowledge in my
life,"--the doctor remarked with a smile as he handed back the Bible to
Mrs. Benoit. And then he and Preston went off; but Daisy lay long very
thoughtfully looking after them out of her window. Till the sound of the
horses' feet was far out of hearing Daisy lay there looking into the
evening. She did not stir till Mrs. Benoit brought her supper.
"Isn't it wonderful, Juanita," she said with a long drawn breath, "how
the sun divides the light from the darkness?"
"Most things is wonderful, that the Lord makes," answered the black
"Are they?" said Daisy.
"But what makes my love sigh?" said Juanita anxiously; for Daisy's face
had not brightened up, though she was taking her tea. Daisy looked at
"O Juanita!" she said,--"I am afraid that Dr. Sandford is in the
"Where the sun don't shine it be darkness, sure!" said Juanita. "And he
do not see the Light of the world, Miss Daisy."
Daisy's eyes filled, filled. She liked Dr. Sandford very much. And then
who else that she loved had never seen that Light! Daisy pushed aside
her tears and tried to drink her tea; but at last she gave it up. Her
spoon fell into her saucer and she lay down and hid her face in the
pillow. The black woman stood with a strange grave look and with
watering eyes, silent for a little time; holding Daisy's tray in her
hands and waiting.
"My love take her tea, to be strong; and then see how many she can bring
out of the darkness."
"I, Juanita?" said Daisy rousing up.
"Maybe the Lord send his message by little hands. What hinder?"
"But, Juanita, _I_ can't do anything?"
"Carry the Lord's message, Miss Daisy."
"Why not, my love? The dear Lord, he do all. And Miss Daisy knows, he
hear the prayer of his servants."
The child looked at the black woman, with a wistful, earnest, searching
look that it was curious to see. She said nothing more; she eyed Juanita
as if she were searching into the depth of something; then she went on
with her supper. She was thoughtful all the evening; busy with
cogitations which she did not reveal; quiet and absent minded. Juanita
guessed why; and many a prayer went up from her own secret heart.
But from, about this time Daisy began to grow well again. She could not
be moved, of course; Dr. Sandford would not permit that; neither to be
carried home, nor to change her place and position in the cottage. But
she was getting ready for it. The latter half of August cooled off from
its fierce heats and was pleasantly warm. Daisy took the benefit of the
change. She had rather a good time, those last weeks at Juanita's house;
and perhaps that was one reason why Dr. Sandford, seeing it, chose to
let well alone and would not have anybody take Daisy home. Daisy had a
very good time. She had the peace of Juanita's house; and at home she
knew there would be things to trouble her. She had books and could read
now as much as she liked; and she was very fond of reading. Preston did
not find it expedient to bring the geography tray; on the other hand,
Mr. Randolph thought it good to come every day and spend a piece of time
with his little daughter; and became better acquainted with her than
ever he had been in his life before. He discovered that Daisy was very
fond of knowledge; that he could please her no way better than by taking
up the history of England and reading to her and stopping to explain
everything by the way which Daisy did not understand. English history
was certainly an old story to Mr. Randolph; but to discuss it with Daisy
was a very new thing. He found her eager, patient, intelligent, and wise
with an odd sort of child-wisdom which yet was not despicable for older
years. Daisy's views of the feudal system, and of the wittenagemot, and
of trial by jury, and of representative legislation, were intensely
amusing to Mr. Randolph; he said it was going back to a primitive
condition of society, to talk them over with her; though there I think
he was mistaken. If Daisy had read those pages of history to herself,
she would have passed over some of these matters at least with little
heed; she would not have gone to anybody with questions. But Mr.
Randolph reading to her, it was an easy thing to ask the meaning of a
word as they passed; and that word would draw on a whole little bit of
talk. In this intercourse Mr. Randolph was exceedingly gentle,
deliberate, and kind. Daisy had nothing to fear, not even that she might
weary him; so those were hours of real enjoyment to both parties.
Preston not very seldom came and made himself agreeable; playing an
occasional game of chess, and more often regaling Daisy with a history
of his expeditions. Other visitors Daisy had from Melbourne, now and
then; but her best friend for real service, after her father and
Juanita, was Dr. Sandford. He took great care of his little patient's
comfort and happiness; which was a pretty thing in him, seeing that he
was a young man, busy with a very good country practice, and furthermore
busy with the demands made upon him as an admired pet of society. For
that was Dr. Sandford, and he knew it perfectly well. Nevertheless his
kind care of Daisy never abated.
It was of course partly his professional zeal and care that were called
for; but it could not have been those that made him keep up his lectures
to Daisy on the wonderful things she found for him, day by day. In
professional care those lectures certainly began; but Daisy was getting
well now; had nothing more to trouble her, and shewed an invariably
happy as well as wise little face. Yet Dr. Sandford used to sit down and
tell her of the things she asked about, with a sort of amused
patience--if it was no more; at any rate he was never impatient. He
talked to Daisy of the stars, which, with the moon, were very naturally
the next subjects of investigation after the sun.
At last Daisy got him upon the subject of trilobites. It was not
difficult. Dr. Sandford was far more easy to move than Preston--in this
matter at least. He only smiled, and slid into the story very simply;
the story that Daisy was so eager to hear. And it did not seem less
worth hearing than she had expected, nor less wonderful, nor less
interesting. Daisy thought about it a great deal, while Juanita listened
and doubted; but Daisy did not doubt. She believed the doctor told her
true. That the family to which her little fossil trilobite
belonged--the particular family--for they were generally related, he
said to the lobster and crab, were found in the very oldest and deepest
down rocks in which any sort of remains of living things have been
found; therefore it is likely they were among the earliest of earth's
inhabitants. There were a great many of them, the doctor said, and many
different species; for great numbers of them are found to this day in
those-particular rocks. The rocks must have been made at the time when
the trilobites lived, and have somehow shut them in. And the doctor
thought it likely that at the time when they lived, there was no dry
land in existence, but all covered by the sea. He would not take it upon
him to be positive; but this he could tell Daisy; there was never a
stick or a leaf to be found in those old rocks that ever lived and grew
on dry ground, though there were plenty that grew in the sea, until in
the very topmost or latest of those rocks some few bits of fern growth
began to appear.
"But what plants live under water?" said Daisy.
"Oh! So many of them?"
"So many, that the rocks are sometimes darkened by their fossil remains,
and in some places those remains form beds of coal several feet thick."
"And are there a great many remains of the trilobites?"
"There are whole rocks, Daisy, that are formed almost entirely of
"Sea weeds and trilobites--what a strange time!" said Daisy. "Was that
all that was living?"
"No; there were other sea creatures of the lower kind, and at last
fishes. But when the fishes became very numerous, the trilobites died
out and passed away."
That old time had a wonderful charm for Daisy; it was, as she thought,
better than a fairy tale. The doctor at last let her into the secret
that _he_ had a trilobite too; and the next time he came he brought it
with him. He was good enough to leave it with Daisy a whole day; and
Daisy's meditations over it and her own together were numberless and
The next transition was somewhat sudden; to a wasp or two that had come
foraging on Daisy's window-sill. But Dr. Sandford was at home there; and
so explained the wasp's work and manner of life, with his structure and
fitness for what he had to do, that Daisy was in utter delight; though
her eyes sometimes opened upon Dr. Sandford with a grave wistful wonder
in them, that he should know all this so well and yet never acknowledge
the hand that had given the wasp the tools and instinct for his work,
one so exactly a match for the other. But Dr. Sandford never did. He
used to notice those grave looks of Daisy, and hold private speculation
with himself what they might mean; private amused speculation; but I
think he must have liked his little patient as well as been amused at
her, or he would hardly have kept up as he did this personal ministering
to her pleasure, which was one of the great entertainments of Daisy's
life at this period. In truth only to see Dr. Sandford was an
entertainment to Daisy. She watched even the wave of his long locks of
hair. He was a fascination to her.
"Are you in a hurry to get home?" he would ask her every now and then.
Daisy always said, "No sir; not till you think it is time;" and Dr.
Sandford never thought it was time. No matter what other people said,
and they said a good deal; he ordered it his own way; and Daisy was
almost ready to walk when he gave permission for her to be taken home in
the carriage. However, the permission was given at last.
"To-morrow night I shall not be here, Juanita," Daisy remarked as she
was taking her supper.
"No, Miss Daisy."
"You will be very quiet when I am gone."
It had not been a bustling house, all those weeks! But the black woman
"My love will come to see Juanita sometimes?"
"O yes. I shall come very often, Juanita--if I can. You know when I am
out with my pony, I can come very often,--I hope."
Juanita quite well understood what was meant by the little pauses and
qualifying clauses of this statement. She passed them over.
But Daisy shed a good many tears during Juanita's prayer that night. I
do not know if the black woman shed any; but I know that some time
afterwards and until late in the night, she knelt again by Daisy's
bedside, while a whisper of prayer, too soft to arouse the child's
slumbers, just chimed with the flutter and rustle of the leaves outside
of the window moving in the night breeze.
[Illustration: THE DOCTOR'S TRILOBITE.]