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Outpost by J.G. Austin

Part 2 out of 6

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come up here," called Mr. Legrange; and Susan, with her face buried
in her apron, and sobbing as if her heart would break, crept timidly
up the stairs and into the room.

At sight of her, Mrs. Legrange turned pale, and clung to her husband
for support.

"O Susan! what is it? Tell me quick!"

"She's gone, ma'am, and I don't know where!" sobbed the nurse.

"Gone! What, 'Toinette gone! Lost, do you mean?" cried the mother
wildly, while her pale cheeks flushed scarlet, and her soft eyes
glittered with terror.

"Oh! I don't know, ma'am; but I can't find her."

"Lost! What, 'Toinette lost!" repeated the mother in the same wild
tone, and trying to tear herself away from her husband's detaining
arms. But, soothing her as he would a child, Mr. Legrange, by a few
calm and well-directed questions, drew from both mistress and maid
all that was to be known of 'Toinette's disappearance, and, when the
whole was told, said,--

"Well, Susan, you are not to blame. You merely obeyed your
mistress's directions, and need not feel that this misfortune is at
all your fault. No doubt 'Toinette has gone out by herself, and is,
for the moment, lost, but, I trust, will soon be found. You may go
at once to the houses of the neighbors whose children she has been
in the habit of visiting. Be as quick as you can about it; and, if
you do not find her, come directly home, and I will warn the police.
Send James up to me as you go down."

"Yes, sir," said Susan, a little comforted; and, as she closed the
door, Mr. Legrange returned to his wife, and, clasping her tenderly
in his arms, kissed the burning cheeks and glittering eyes that
frightened him, until the dangerous calm broke up in a gracious
flood of tears and wild sobs of, "My child!--O my little child!"

"Hush, darling, hush! You must be calm, or I cannot leave
you,--cannot go to look for her. I will not leave you so, even to
search for her."

"Yes, yes, go! I will try--O Paul, Paul! do go and look for her!"

"When I see you calmer, love; not till then;" and the tender-hearted
man could himself have wept to see the heroic efforts of that
delicate nature to control itself and put his fears to rest. He
still was soothing her, when, with a tap at the door, entered James,
followed by Susan, who hurriedly announced that 'Toinette was not to
be heard of at any of the neighbors, and asked where she should go

"Nowhere! Stay here and attend to Mrs. Legrange until I return. I
shall go at once to the police-station. James, you know where Mr.
Burroughs lives?"

"Yes, sir."

"Go to him. Or stay: he is dining with a friend to-day. Here is the
direction. Go to this house at once; see Mr. Burroughs; tell him
that 'Toinette is lost, and beg him to come up here directly. Keep
your eyes open as you go: you may possibly meet her yourself. Hurry,
man; hurry for your life!"

"Yes, sir," replied the man heartily; and Mr. Legrange returned to
his wife, who was walking quickly up and down the room, her hands
clasped tight before her, her lips rigid, and her eyes set.

"There, darling, I have sent for Tom to help us; and no one could do
it better than he will. I am going to the police myself. Take
courage, dearest, and hope, as I do, that, before morning, we shall
have our pet back, safe and sound. But you--O Fanny! how can I leave
you so? Try, try, for my sake, for 'Toinette's sake, to be calm and

"Yes--I--will--try!" sobbed the poor mother; and Mr. Legrange, not
daring to trust himself to look at her again, lest he also should
break down, hastened from the room.

But morning came, and night, and yet another morning and as the
father, the mother, the cousin who was almost brother to both, the
assistants, and poor broken-hearted Susan, looked into each other's
wan, worn faces, they found nothing there but discouragement, and
almost hopeless despair.

Mrs. Legrange who had not eaten or slept since 'Toinette's
disappearance, was already too ill to sit up, but insisted upon
remaining dressed, and waiting in the drawing-room for the reports
that some one of those engaged in the search brought almost hourly
to the house. Her husband, looking like the ghost of his former
self, wandered incessantly from his own home to the police-office
and back again, each time through some new street, and peering
curiously into the face of every child he met, that more than one of
them ran frightened home to tell their mothers that they had met a
crazy man, who stared at them as if he would eat them up.

And yet no clew, no faintest trace, of the little 'Toinette, who lay
tossing in her fever-dreams upon good Mrs. Ginniss's humble bed,
while the young doctor day by day shook his head more sadly over
her, and said to his own heart that it was only by God's special
mercy she could ever rise from that cruel illness.



THREE weary nights and two days had passed, when as Mr. Legrange,
bending over his wife's sofa, entreated her to take the food and
drink he had himself prepared for her, a sharp peal at the bell,
followed by a bounding step upon the stair, startled them both.

"It is Tom, and he has news!" exclaimed Mrs. Legrange in a low
voice, as she pushed away the tray and rose to her feet.

The door opened, and the young man entered, his tired face glowing
with hope and satisfaction. In his hand he held a little bundle; and
sitting down, with no more than word of greeting, he hastily untied
it upon his knee.

"Aren't these her clothes?" asked he breathlessly, as he held up by
one sleeve a little sky-blue merino-dress, with a torn lace
undersleeve hanging from the shoulder, and in the other hand a pair
of dainty little boots of bronze cloth.

Mrs. Legrange, with a wild cry, darted forward, and, grasping the
pretty dress, buried her face in it, covering it with kisses, while
she cried,--

"Yes, yes! O Tom! where is she? Tell me quick, before my poor heart
breaks with joy!"

Mr. Burroughs remained silent. How could he say that he knew as
little as ever how to answer this appeal?

"Where did you get them, Tom?" asked Mr. Legrange hurriedly.

"Billings found them in a pawn-broker's shop. You know we gave all
the detectives a list of the clothing, and full description of the
child. Billings has been all over the city, examining at every
pawn-broker's shop all the children's clothes brought in since we
lost her, you know"--

"Yes, yes! And when"--

"Last night he found this in a little out-of-the-way place (I didn't
stop to ask where), and, thinking they looked like the right thing,
brought them to me. I was asleep, and the people stupidly would not
wake me: so he waited; and this morning, when I rose, there he was.
I snatched the bundle, and came right along with it. Now, of course,
they'll soon find who left them: only, unluckily, they weren't
pawned, but sold outright; so they didn't take the name; but the man
thinks it was an old woman who sold them to him. He is in custody;
and we will go down and hear the examination, Paul."

"Certainly, at once." And Mr. Legrange nervously buttoned his coat,
and moved toward the door.

"It is to be at ten, and it is now half-past nine. I suppose we had
better go at once. Good-by, dear cousin Fanny!" said Mr. Burroughs,
looking sorrowfully at the wan face upraised to his, as the poor
mother replied,--

"Good-by, Tom! and oh, pray, do every thing, every thing, that can
be done! I cannot tell"--

She was unable to finish, and the two men hurried away from the
sight of a sorrow as yet without remedy.

The examination of the blear-eyed and stupid old pawn-broker
resulted in very little satisfaction. He believed that it was a
woman who had sold him the bundle of child's clothing. He was not
sure if it were an old or a young woman, but rather thought it was
an old woman. It might have been a week ago that he bought them; it
might have been more, or it might have been less: he didn't set it
down, and couldn't say.

This was all; and, as nothing could be proved or even suspected of
him in connection with 'Toinette's disappearance, he was discharged
from custody, although warned to hold himself in readiness to appear
at any moment when he should be summoned.

He had not yet, however, left the room, when one of the audience, a
policeman off duty, stepped forward, and, intimating that he had
something to say, was sworn, and went on to tell how he had been
leaning against a lamp-post at the extreme of his beat, just resting
a bit, in the edge of evening before last, when he saw an old woman
that they call Mother Winch come up the street, carrying a bundle,
and leading a little girl. He knew she hadn't any child of her own;
and the child was dressed very poor; and Mother Winch called her
Judy or Biddy, or some Paddy-name or other; and maybe it was all
right, and maybe it wasn't. It could be worked up easy enough, he

So supposed the detective in whose hands the clew was immediately
placed; but when, an hour later, he descended the steps into Mother
Winch's cellar, he found that a keener and a swifter messenger than
himself had already called the wretched old woman to account; and
she lay across the rusty old stove, quite dead, with a broken bottle
of spirit upon the floor beside her, and all the front of her body
shockingly burned. The coroner who was called to see her decided
that she had fallen across the stove, either in a fit, or too much
intoxicated to move, and had died unconscious of her situation. She
was buried by public charity, and in her grave seemed hidden every
hope of tracing the lost child.

"She must have been carried from the city," said the detectives; and
the search was extended into the country, and to other towns and
cities, although not neglected at home.



TEDDY GINNISS sat alone in his master's office, feeling very sad and
forlorn: for Dr. Wentworth had that morning said that the chance of
life for his little patient was very, very small; and it seemed to
Teddy heavier news than human heart had ever borne before. His
morning duties over, he had seated himself at his little table, and
tried to study the lesson given him by Mr. Burroughs upon the
previous day; but a heavy heart makes dim eyes, and the page where
Teddy's were fixed seemed to him no better than a crowd of
disjointed letters swimming in a blinding mist.

A hasty step was heard upon the stair; and, passing the sleeve of
his jacket across his eyes, the boy bent closer over the book as his
master entered the room.

"Any one been in this morning, Teddy?" asked Mr. Burroughs, passing
into the inner office.

"No, sir."

"I am going out of town for a day or two, Teddy,--going to New York;
and Mr. Barlow will be here to attend to the business. You will do
whatever he wishes as you would for me. You understand?"

"Yes, sir."

The good-natured young man, struck by the mournful tone of Teddy's
usually hearty voice, turned and looked sharply at him.

"Aren't you well, Teddy?"

"Yes sir, thank your honor."

"Not 'your honor' until I'm a judge, Teddy. But what's amiss with
you, my boy?"

"I wouldn't be troubling your--you with it, sir. It's nothing as can
be helped."

"No, no; but what is it, Teddy?" insisted the lawyer, who saw that
Teddy could hardly restrain his tears.

"Nothing, sir; but the little sister is mortal sick, and the doctor
says he's afeard she won't stand it."

"Your little sister, Teddy?"

"Yes, sir."

"I didn't know you had one. You never spoke of her before, did you?"

"Maybe not, sir."

"What is the matter with her?"

"The faver, sir."

Mr. Burroughs knew that this phrase in an Irish mouth means but one
disease, and replied, in a sympathizing voice,--

"Typhus! I'm sorry for you, Teddy, and sorry, too, for your mother,
who is an excellent woman; but the little girl may yet recover:
while there is life, there is hope, you know. Even if she dies, it
is not so bad as--I am going to New York, Teddy, to look for a little
cousin of mine whose parents do not know if she is living or dead,
suffering or safe: that is worse than to have her ill, but under
their care and protection, isn't it?"

"Yes, sir, perhaps. Is the little girl in New York, sir, do you

"We hear of a child found astray there, who answers to the
description; and I am going to see her before we mention the report
to her mother. Have you never seen Mr. Legrange here, Teddy? It is
his little girl. I wonder you haven't heard us talking of the

"I don't mind the name, sir; and I haven't heard of the little girl
before. Is she long lost?"

"Ten days yesterday. I have been busy all the week in the search for
her. The clothes she had on when lost were found in a pawn-broker's
shop; but we have no trace of her yet."

"What looking child was she, if you please, sir?" asked Teddy after
a short pause, in which he seemed to study intently; while Mr.
Burroughs went on glancing at the newspapers in his hand.

"'Toinette? Here is a description of her in 'The Journal,' and I
have a photograph in my pocket-book. Here it is. It is well for you
to study them both; for possibly you may discover her. I didn't
think of it before; but you are just the boy to put upon the search.
If you should find her, Teddy, Mr. Legrange will make your fortune.
He is rich and generous, and this is his only child. Eleven o'clock.
Shall be in at one."

As he spoke, Mr. Burroughs threw the paper and photograph upon
Teddy's table, and hastily left the office. The boy took up "The
Journal," and read the following advertisement:--

"Lost, upon the evening of Oct. 31, a little girl, six years of age,
named Antoinette Legrange; of slight figure, round face, delicate
color, large blue eyes, long curled hair of a bright-yellow color,
small mouth, and regular teeth. She was dressed, at the time of her
disappearance, in a blue frock and brown boots, with a lady's
breakfast-shawl; and wore upon the sleeve of her dress a bracelet of
coral cameos engraved under the clasp with her name in full. A
liberal reward will be paid for information concerning her. Apply at
the police-station."

When he had studied this, Teddy took up the photograph, and examined
it earnestly. The dress, the long curled hair, the joyous
expression, were very different from the pale face, wild eyes, and
cropped head of the little sister at home; but Teddy's heart sank
within him as he traced the delicate features, the curved lips, and
trim little figure. He dropped the picture, and, leaning his face
upon his arm, sobbed aloud.

"I'll lose her anyway, if she dies or if she lives; and it's all the
little sister ever I got."

But presently another thought made Teddy lift his head, and look
anxiously about him to make sure that his emotion had not been seen
by any one. He was still alone; and, with a sigh of relief, he
dashed away the tears from his eyes, muttering,--

"It's the big fool I am, entirely! Sure and mightn't she have picked
up the bracelet in the street, where maybe the little lady they've
lost dropped it? And, if she looks like the picture, so does many a
one beside; and it's no call I have to be troubling the master with
telling him about her anyway. She's my own little sister, and I'll
keep her to myself."

A sudden sharp recollection darted through the boy's mind, and he
grew a little pale as he added,--

"Leastways, I'll keep her if God will let me; and sure isn't he
stronger nor me? If it isn't for me to have her, can't he take her,
if it's by death, or if it's by leading them that's searching for
her to where she is? And more by token, that's the way I'll try it.
If God means she shall stay and be my little sister, she'll live,
and I'll take her, and say nothing to nobody about it: but, if it's
displasin' to him, she'll die; and then I'll tell the master all
about it, and he may do what he's a mind to with me. That's the way
I'll fix it."

And Teddy, well satisfied with his own bad argument, took comfort,
and went back to his books.

When Mr. Burroughs returned to the office, he was accompanied by Mr.
Barlow, the gentleman who was to occupy it during his absence; and
he did not speak to Teddy, except to give him a few directions, and
bid him a kind good-by. The paper and picture he found lying upon
his desk, and hastily put in his pocket without remark or question.

For the first time in his life, Teddy avoided meeting his master's
eye, but watched him furtively over the top of his book, raising it
so as to screen his face whenever Mr. Burroughs looked his way, and
trembling whenever he spoke to him; and, for the first time in his
life, he secretly rejoiced at seeing him leave the office, knowing
that he was to be gone for some time.

The long day was over at last; and, so soon as the hour for closing
the office had begun to strike, Teddy locked the door, sprang down
stairs, and ran like a deer towards home, feeling as if in some
manner the little sister was about to be taken away from him, and he
must hasten to prevent it.

At the foot of the stairs, however, he checked himself, creeping up
as silently and cautiously as possible, and stopping at the head to
listen for the clear voice, frightfully clear and shrill, of the
delirious child, which usually met him there. No sound was to be
heard except the deep voice of the Italian organ-grinder in the room
below, talking to himself or his monkey as he prepared supper; and
Teddy, creeping along the entry to his mother's door, softly opened
it, and went in.

At one side of the bed stood Mrs. Ginniss; at the other, Dr.
Wentworth: but Teddy saw only the little waxen face upon the pillow
between them,--the little face so strange and lovely now; for all the
fever flush had passed away, the babbling lips were folded white and
still, the glittering eyes were closed, and the long dark lashes lay
motionless upon the cheek,--the little face so strange and terrible
in its sudden, peaceful beauty.

As Teddy softly entered, Dr. Wentworth turned and held a warning
finger up; then bent again above the little child, his hand upon her

The boy crept close to his mother, down whose honest face the tears
ran like rain; although she heeded the earnest warning of the
physician, and was almost as still as she little form she watched.

"Is she dead, mother?" whispered Teddy.

"Whisht, darlint! wait till we know," whispered she in return; and
the young doctor glanced impatiently at both out of his strained and
eager eyes. Had it been his own and only child, he could not have
hung more earnestly about her: and here was the strange, sweet charm
of this little life,--that all who came within its influence felt
themselves drawn toward it, and opened wide their hearts to allow
its entrance; feeling not alone that they loved the lovely child,
but that she was or should be their very own, to cherish and fondle
and bind to them forever.

So the coarse, hard-working woman, who two weeks before had never
seen her face, now wept as true and bitter tears as she had done
beside the death-bed of the child she had lost when Teddy was a
baby; and the young doctor, who had watched the passage of a hundred
souls from time to eternity, hung over this little dying form as if
all life for him were held within it, and to lose it were to lose
all. And Teddy-ah! poor Teddy; for upon his young heart lay not only
the bitterness of the death busy with his "little sister's" life,
but the heavy burden of wrong and deception, and the proof, as he
thought, of God's displeasure in taking from him at last what he had
tried so hard to keep.

He sank upon his knees beside the bed, and hid his face,

"O God! let her live, and I will give her back to them as I kept her

Over and over and over again, he whispered just these words,
clinching tight his boy-hands to keep down the agony of the
sacrifice; while in the very centre of his heart throbbed a hard,
dull pain, that seemed as if it would rend it asunder.

His face was still hidden, when, like an answer to his petition,
came the softest of whispers from the doctor's lips,--

"She will live, with God's help, and the best of care from you."

"An' it's the bist uv care she'll git, I'll pass me word for that,"
whispered back Teddy's mother, so earnestly, that the doctor

"Hush! She is falling asleep. Do not wake her, for her life!"

He sank into a chair as he spoke. Mrs. Ginniss crept round to the
stove, and, crouching beside it, covered her head with her apron,
and remained motionless. As for Teddy, he never stirred or looked
up, but with his face hidden upon the bed, repeated again and again
those words, to him so solemn and so full of meaning, until in the
silence and the waiting he fell asleep, and gradually sank upon the

And so the night went on: and the careful eyes of the young
physician marked how a faint tinge of color crept into the
death-white cheek upon the pillow; and how the still lips lost their
hard, cold line, and grew human once more, though so pale; and how
the eyelids stirred, moving the heavy lashes; and a faint pulse
fluttered in the slender throat.

At last, with a long, soft sigh, the lips lightly parted; the
eyelids opened slowly, showing for a moment the blue eyes, dim and
languid, but no longer wild with delirium; and then they slowly
closed, and the breath came softly and regularly from the parted

Dr. Wentworth heaved an answering sigh of mingled weariness and
relief, and, rising, went to Mrs. Ginniss's side, touching her upon
the shoulder, and whispering,--

"She is doing well. Keep her as quiet as possible. I will be in at

Hushing the murmured blessings she would have poured upon his head,
the young man stole softly from the room and down the stairs into
the street, where already the first gray of dawn struggled with the
flaring gas-lights.



TEN days more, and beside the fire in Mrs. Ginniss's attic-room sat
a little figure, propped in the wooden rocking-chair with pillows
and comfortables; while upon a small stand close beside her were
arranged a few cheap toys, a plate with some pieces of orange upon
it, a sprig of geranium in a broken-nosed pitcher of water, and a
cup of beef-tea.

But for none of these did the languid little invalid seem to care;
and lying back in the chair, her head nestled into the pillow, her
parched lips open, and her eyes half closed, she looked so little
like the bright and glowing 'Toinette who had danced at her
birthday-party not a month before, that it is a question if any one
but her own mother would have believed her to be the same.

Mrs. Ginniss, hard at work upon the frills of a fashionable lady's
skirt, paused every few moments to look over her shoulder at the
little wasted face with the wistful look of some dumb creature who
sees its offspring suffering, and cannot tell how to relieve it.

Suddenly setting the flat-iron she had just taken back upon the
stove, the washwoman came and bent over the child, looking earnestly
into her face.

"An' it's waker an' whiter she gits every day. Sure and I'm afther
seeing the daylight through the little hands uv her; and her eyes is
that big, they take the breath uv me whin I mate 'em. See,
darlint!-see the purty skip-jack Teddy brought ye!"

She took from the table the toy she named, and, pulling the string,
made the figure of the man vault over the top of the stick and back
several times, crying at the same time,--

"Hi, thin!-hi, thin! See how the crather joomps, honey!"

But, although the languid eyes of the child followed her motions for
a moment, no shadow of a smile stirred the parched lips; and
presently the eyes closed, as if the effort were too much for them.

Mrs. Ginniss laid the toy upon the table, and took up the cup of

"Have a soop of yer dhrink, darlint?" said she, tenderly holding the
cup to the child's lips, and raising her head with the other hand;
but, with a moan of impatience or distress, the weary head turned
itself upon the pillow, and the little wasted hand half rose to push
away the cup.

"An' what is it I'll plaze ye wid, mavourneen? Do yees want Teddy to
coom home?" asked the poor woman in despair.

A faint murmur of assent crept from between the parched lips; and
the eyes, slowly opening, glanced toward the door.

"It's this minute he'll be here, thin," said the washwoman joyfully.
"An' faith yees ought to love him, honey; for he'd give the two eyes
out of his head to plaze yees, an' git down on his knees to thank
yees for takin' 'em. Now, thin, don't ye hear his fut upon the

But the heavy steps coming up the stairs were not Teddy's, as his
mother well knew; and although, when they stopped upon the landing
below her own, she pretended to be much surprised, she would, in
reality, have been much more so if they had not stopped.

"And it's Jovarny it wor that time, honey," said she soothingly:
"but Teddy'll coom nixt; see if he doun't, Cherry darlint."

But Cherry, closing her eyes, with no effort at reply, lay as
motionless upon her pillow as if she had been asleep or in a swoon.

Suddenly, from the room below, was heard a strain of plaintive
music. The organ-grinder, for some reason or other, was trying his
instrument in his own room; although, remembering the sick child
above, he played as softly and slowly as he could. It was the first
time he had done so since Cherry had been ill; and Mrs. Ginniss
anxiously watched her face to see what effect the sounds would have.

The air was "Kathleen Mavourneen;" and, as one tender strain
succeeded another, the watchful nurse could see a faint color
stealing into the child's face, while from between the half-closed
lids her eyes shone brighter than they had for many a day.

"If it plazes her, I'll pay him to grind away all day, the crather,"
murmured she joyfully.

The song ended, and, after a little pause, was succeeded by a lively

"She'll not like that so well, thought Mrs. Ginniss; but, to her
great astonishment, the child, after listening a moment, started
upright in her chair, her eyes wide open and shining with
excitement, her cheeks glowing, and her little hands fluttering.

"Mamma, mamma! I'm Cherritoe! and I can dance with that music, and
mamma can play it more"--

The words faltered upon her lips, and she sank suddenly back upon
the pillows in a death-faint. At the same moment, Teddy came
bounding up the stairs and into the room.

"Go an' shtop that fool's noise if yees brain him, an' ax him what's
the name o' that divil's jig he's playing!" exclaimed Mrs. Ginniss
as she caught sight of the boy; and Teddy, without stopping for a
question, hastily obeyed.

In a moment he was back.

"It's the cachuca, mother; but what's the matter with the little

"Whist! She's swounded wid the noise he's afther making," replied
his mother angrily, as she laid the wasted little figure upon her
bed, and bathed the temples with cold water.

Teddy stood anxiously looking on. Ever since the night when the
little sister's fever had turned, and the doctor had promised that
she should live, a struggle had been going on in the boy's heart. He
could not but believe that God had given back the almost-departed
life in answer to his earnest prayer and promise; and he had no
intention of breaking the promise, or withholding the price he felt
himself to have offered for that life. But, like many older and
better taught persons, Teddy did not see clearly enough how little
difference there is between doing right and failing to do right, or
how much difference between promising with the lips and promising
with the heart.

While his little sister, as he still called her, lay between life
and death, Teddy said to himself that the excitement of seeing her
friends might be fatal to her, and that, if she should die, their
grief in this second loss would be greater than what they were now

When she began slowly to recover, he said that they would only be
frightened at seeing her so wasted and weak, and that he would keep
her until she had recovered something of her good looks; and,
finally, he had begun to think that it would be no more than fair
that he should repay himself for all the sorrow and anxiety her
illness had given him by keeping her a little while after she was
quite well and strong, and could go for a walk with him, and see the
beautiful shops, with their Christmas-wares displayed.

"New Year's will be soon enough. I'll take her to the master for a
New-Year's gift," Teddy had said to himself that very night as he
came up the stairs; and a sort of satisfaction crept into his heart
in thinking that he had at least fixed a date for fulfilling his

But New-Year's Day found 'Toinette, or Cherry as we must learn to
call her, more unlike her former self than she had been when he
formed the resolution. The strange emotion that had overcome her in
listening to the organ-grinder's music had caused a relapse into
fever, followed by other troubles; and spite of Dr. Wentworth's
constant care, Mrs. Ginniss's patient and tender nursing, and
Teddy's devotion, the child seemed pining away without hope or

"I'll wait till the spring comes, anyway," said Teddy to himself.
"Maybe the warm weather will bring her round, and I'll hear her
laugh out once, and take her for just one walk on the Commons before
I carry her to the master."



IT was April; and the bit of sky to be seen between two tall roofs,
from the window of Mrs. Ginniss's attic, had suddenly grown of a
deeper blue, and was sometimes crossed by a great white, glittering
cloud, such as is never seen in winter; and, when the window was
raised for a few moments, the air came in soft and mild, and with a
fresh smell to it, as if it had blown through budding trees and over
fresh-ploughed earth.

Cherry was now well enough to be dressed, and to play about the
room, or sew a little, or look at pictures in the gaudily painted
books Teddy anxiously saved his coppers to buy for her: but, more
than once in the day, she would push a chair to the bed, and climb
up to lie upon it; or would come and cling to her foster-mother,

"I'm tired now, mammy. Hold me in your lap."

And very seldom was the petition refused, although the wash-tub or
the ironing-table stood idle that it might be granted; for so well
had great-hearted Mrs. Ginniss come to love the child, that she
would have been as unwilling as Teddy himself to remember that she
had not always been her own.

Sitting thus in her mammy's lap one day, Cherry suddenly asked,--

"Where's the music, mammy?"

"The music, darlint? And what music do ye be manin'?"

"The music I heard one day before I went to heaven. Didn't you hear

"An' whin did ye go to hivin, ye quare child?"

"Oh! I don't know. When I came back, I was sick in the bed. I want
the music, mammy."

"It's Jovarny she manes, the little crather," said Mrs. Ginniss, and
promised, that if Cherry would lie on the bed, and let her "finish
ironing the lady's clothes all so pretty," she should hear the music
as soon as Teddy and the organ-grinder came home.

To this proposal, Cherry consented more willingly than her mammy had
dared to expect; and when, after finishing the ironing of some
intricate embroideries, the laundress turned to look, she found the
child had dropped quietly asleep.

"An' all the betther fur yees, darlint," said she. "Whin ye waken,
ye'll think no more uv the music that well-nigh kilt yees afore."

An hour later, Teddy's entrance aroused the sleeper, who, rolling
over upon the bed with a pretty little gape, smiled upon him,

"Where's the music, Teddy? Mammy said you'd get it for me."

"It's Jovarny she's afther wantin' to hear play on his grind-orgin;
an' I towld her he'd coom whin yees did," explained Mrs. Ginniss:
and Teddy, delighted to be asked to do any thing for his little
sister, lost no time in running down stairs, and begging the
Italian, who had just returned home, to play one of the prettiest
tunes in his list, but on no account to touch the one that had so
strangely affected the little invalid upon a former occasion.

The Italian very willingly complied, and was already in the midst of
a pretty waltz when Teddy re-appeared in his mother's room. Cherry's
delight was unbounded; and when the whole list of tunes, with the
exception of the cachuca, had been exhausted, she put her arms round
Teddy's neck, and kissed him, saying,--

"Thank you, little brother. I'll eat my supper for you now."

And this, as Cherry had hardly been willing to eat any thing since
her illness, was considered, both by Teddy and herself, as a
remarkable proof of amiability and affection.

The next day, before Teddy went away in the morning, he was obliged
to promise that he would bring the music at night; and, as he ran
down stairs, he stopped to beg the organ-grinder to come home as
early as possible, and to come prepared to play for the little
sister's benefit.

"Let her come down and see the organ and Pantalon," said the Italian
in his broken English; and Teddy eagerly cried,--

"Oh! may she?" and ran up stairs again with the invitation. But Mrs.
Ginniss prudently declared that Cherry must not think of leaving her
own room at present, while the stairs and entries were so cold; and
"Thin agin," said she, "maybe the bit moonkey ud scare her back into
the fayver as bad as iver."

So, for a week or two longer, Cherry was obliged to content herself
with an evening-concert through the floor; and upon these concerts
the whole of the day seemed to depend. Very soon the little girl
began to have her favorites among the half-dozen airs she so often
heard, and, little by little, learned to hum them all, giving them
names of her own. "Kathleen Mavourneen" she always called "Susan,"
although quite unable to give any reason for so doing; and Teddy,
who watched her constantly, noticed that she always remained very
thoughtful, wearing a puzzled, anxious look, while hearing it. After
a time, however, this dim association with the almost-forgotten past
wore away; and although Cherry still called the air "Susan," and
liked it better than any of the rest, it seemed to have become a
thing of the present instead of the past.

At last, one warm day in April, when Giovanni had returned home
earlier than usual, and Teddy again brought an invitation to the
bamb¡na, as he called Cherry, to visit him, Mrs. Ginniss reluctantly
consented; and the little girl, wrapped in shawls and hood, with
warm stockings pulled over her shoes, was carried in Teddy's arms
down the stairs as she had been brought up in them six months
before. The boy himself was the first to think of it, and, as he
stooped to take the little figure in his arms, said,--

"You haven't been over the stairs, sissy, since Teddy brought you up
last fall."

"Teddy didn't bring me up. I never came up, 'cause I never was
down," said Cherry resolutely; and the boy, who dreaded above all
things to awaken in her mind any recollection of the past, said no
more, but carefully wrapping the shawl about her, and promising his
mother not to stay too long, carried her gently down the stairs, and
to the door Giovanni opened as he heard them approach.

"Welcome, little one!" said the Italian in his own language as they
entered; and Cherry smiled at the sound, and then looked troubled
and thoughtful.

The truth was, that 'Toinette's father and mother had often spoken
both Italian and French in her presence; and although the terrible
fever had destroyed her memory of home and parents, and all that
went before, the things that she had known in those forgotten days
still awoke in her heart a vague sense of pain and loss,--an effort
to recall something that seemed just vanishing away, as through the
strings of a broken and forsaken harp will sweep some vagrant
breeze, wakening the ghosts of its forgotten melodies to a brief and
shadowy life, again to pass and be forgotten.

So 'Toinette, still clinging to Teddy's neck, turned, and fixed her
great eyes upon the Italian's dark face so earnestly and so
piteously, that he smiled, showing all his white teeth, and asked,--

"Does the little one know the language of my country?"

"No: of course she don't. I don't," said Teddy, looking a little
anxiously into Cherry's face, and wondering in his own heart if she
might not have known Italian in that former life, of whose loves and
interests he had always been so jealous.

Giovanni looked curiously at the two children. Cherry, in recovering
from her illness, was regaining the wonderful beauty, that, for a
time, had seemed lost. The remnant of her golden hair spared by
Mother Winch's shears had fallen off after the first attack of
fever, and was now replaced by thick, short curls of a sunny brown,
clustering about her white forehead with a careless grace far more
bewitching than the elaborate ringlets Susan had been so proud of
manufacturing; while long confinement to the house had rendered the
delicate complexion so pearly in its whiteness, so exquisite in its
rose-tints, that one could hardly believe it possible that flesh and
blood should become so etherealized even while gaining health and

The subtle eye of the Italian marked every point of this exquisite
loveliness, ran admiringly over the outlines of the graceful figure,
the delicate hands and little feet, the classic curve of the lips,
the thin nostrils and tiny ears; then returned to the clear, full
eyes, with their pencilled brows and heavy lashes, and smiled at the
earnestness of the gaze that met his own. Then, from this lovely and
patrician face, the Italian's eyes wandered to Teddy's coarse and
unformed features, and figure of uncouth strength.

"Nightingales are not hatched from hens' eggs," muttered Giovanni in
his native tongue.

"Speak that some more; I like it," said Cherry softly.

"Yes; and you are like it, and, like all that belongs to my Italian,
beautiful and graceful," said Giovanni, dropping the liquid accents
as lovingly from his lips as if they had been a kiss. Then, in the
imperfect English he generally spoke, he asked of Teddy,--

"Where did the child come from?"

"She's my little sister," replied the boy doggedly.

The Italian shrugged his shoulders and raised his eyebrows,
muttering in his own tongue,--

"I never heard or saw any child above there in the first weeks of my
living here. But what affair is it of mine? The child I have lost is
safe with the Holy Mother!"

He crossed himself, and muttered a prayer; then from behind the
stove, where he lay warming himself, pulled a little creature, at
sight of whom Cherry uttered a scream, and clung to Teddy.

"It's the monkey, sissy; it's Jovarny's monkey; and his name is
Pantaloons," explained Teddy.

"Pantalon," corrected the monkey's master; and snapping his fingers,
and whistling to the monkey, he called him to his shoulder, and made
him go through a number of tricks and gestures,--some of them so
droll, that Cherry's terror ended in peals of laughter; and she soon
left Teddy's side to run and caper about the room in imitation of
the monkey's antics.

"Does she dance, the little one?" asked Giovanni, watching the
child's lithe movements admiringly.

"Sure, and every step she takes is as good as dancing," said Teddy

"Let us see, then."

And the Italian, arranging the stops of his organ, played the pretty
waltz Cherry had so often heard from it, and liked so well.

The child continued her frolicsome motions, unconsciously adapting
them to the music, until she was moving in perfect harmony with it,
although not in the step or figure of a waltz.

"She was born to dance!" exclaimed Giovanni with enthusiasm; and,
moving the stops of the organ, he passed, without pause, into the
gay and airy movement of the cachuca.

As the first tones struck the child's ear, she faltered; then
stopped, turned pale, and listened intently.

"Whisht! That's the tune I told you not to play!" exclaimed Teddy.
But Giovanni, his eyes fixed upon the child, did not hear or did not
heed him, but played on; while Cherry, trembling, pale, her hands
clasped, lips apart, and eyes fixed intently upon the musician,
seemed shaken to the very soul by some strange and undefined
emotion. Suddenly a scarlet flush mounted to the roots of her hair,
her eyes grew bright, her parted lips curved to a roguish smile;
and, pointing her little foot, she spun away in the graceful
movements of the dance, and continued it to the close, finishing
with a courtesy, and kiss of the hand, that made Giovanni drop the
handle of his organ, clasp his hands, and cry in Italian,--

"Bravo, bravo, picciola! Truly you were born to dance!"

But the child, suddenly losing the life and color that had sparkled
through every line of face and figure, ran with a wild cry to Teddy,
and, clasping him tight round the neck, burst into a flood of tears,

"Take me home, Teddy!-quick, quick! I want mamma!"

Mrs. Ginniss had taught her to say "mammy;" and Teddy remembered
with dismay that she had never used the name "mamma," except in the
delirium of her fever, when she was evidently addressing some
distant and beloved object. But still he chose to understand the
appeal in his own way; and, hastily wrapping the shawls about the
little figure, he raised it in his arms, saying soothingly,--

"Come, then; come to mammy, little sister. You didn't ought to have
danced and get all tired."

"Good-by, little one," said Giovanni somewhat ruefully. The child
raised her head from Teddy's shoulder, and, smiling through her
tears, said sweetly,--

"Good-by, 'Varny. It wasn't you made me cry, but because"--

"'Cause you was tired, little sister," interposed Teddy hastily; and
Giovanni looked at him craftily.

"I'll come and see you another day, 'Varny; but I must go lie down
now," continued Cherry, anxious to remove any wound her new friend's
feelings might have received. And the organ-grinder smiled until he
showed all his white teeth, as he replied,--"Yes, and again and
again,--as often as you will, picciola."

But Teddy, shaking his head disapprovingly, muttered, as he carried
his little sister away,--

"No: it isn't good for you, sissy, to get so tired and worried."



BUT, spite of Teddy's disapproval and his mother's doubts, neither
of them could resist the earnestness of Cherry's entreaties, day
after day, to be allowed to "go down and see the music in 'Varny's
room;" and it finally became quite a regular thing for Teddy, upon
his return home, to find his little sister ready shawled and hooded,
and waiting for him to accompany her.

As the summer came on, and whole streets-full of his patrons left
the city, Giovanni became less regular in his hours of leavings or
returning home; often remaining in his room several hours of the
day, smoking, sleeping, or training Pantalon in new accomplishments.

So sure as she knew him to be at home, Cherry gave her foster-mother
no peace until she had consented to allow her to visit him; and Mrs.
Ginniss said to herself, "Sure, and it's no harm the little crather
can git uv man nor monkey nor music; an' what's the good uv crossin'

So it finally came about that Cherry spent many more hours in the
company of Giovanni, Pantalon, and the organ, than Teddy either
knew, or would have liked, had his mother thought fit to tell him.

At first, the conversation between the new friends was carried on in
the imperfect English used by both; but, very soon, Giovanni,
noticing the facility with which the child adopted an occasional
word of Italian, set himself to teach her the language, and
succeeded beyond his expectations. Indeed it seemed to him that the
soft and liquid accents of the beloved tongue had never sounded to
him so sweet beneath Italian skies as now, when they fell from the
rosy lips and pure tones of the charming child whom he, with all who
approached her, was learning to love with the best love of his

Besides the Italian lessons, Giovanni taught his little pupil to
sing several of the popular songs of his native city of Naples, and
to perform several of his national dances; watching with an ever-new
delight the grace and ease of her movements, and the quickness with
which she caught at his every hint and gesture.

Occasionally, Cherry insisted upon making Pantalon join in the
dance; and the somewhat sombre face of the Italian would ripple all
over with laughter as he watched her efforts to subdue the
creature's motions to grace and harmony, and to cultivate in his
bestial brain her own innate love of those divine gifts.

"You will never make him dance as if of heaven, as you do,
picciola," said he one day; and Cherry suddenly stood still, and,
dropping the monkey's paws, came to her teacher's side, asking

"Have you been to heaven too? and did you see me dance there?"

"Padre Johannes says we all came from heaven; so I suppose I did,
and perhaps Pantalon also," said the Italian with a comical grimace:
"but, if so, I have long forgotten what I saw there. Do you remember
heaven, picciola?"

"Yes; I don't now," slowly replied the child with the weary and
puzzled look she so often wore. "Sometimes I do. I used to dance;
and mamma-that wasn't mammy-was there: but there was a naughty lady
that slapped me; and there was a little man-why, it was Pantalon,
wasn't it? Did Pantalon eat some cake that I-no, that some one gave
him? Oh! I don't know; and I am so tired! I guess I'll go see mammy
now, and lie down on the bed."

Giovanni did not try to detain the child, but, after closing the
door behind her, remained looking at it as if he still saw the
object of his thoughts, while an expression of perplexity and doubt
clouded the careless good-humor of his face. Presently, however, it
cleared; and, with a significant gesture of the head, he muttered,--

"What then? Is it my business or my fault? Come, Pantalon: we shall

When Cherry appeared the next day in Giovanni's room, it was with as
gay and untroubled a face as if no haunting memories had ever vexed
her; and Giovanni, who liked her sunny mood much the best, was
careful not to awaken any other. He played for her to dance; he sang
with her; he told her stories of Italy, and the merry life he had
lived there with his wife and child.

"And my little Julietta, like you, loved music and dancing, and sang
like the angels," said he, smoothing Cherry's shining curls.

"Did she? Then she sings in heaven, and is happy: and by and by,
when we go there, we'll see her; won't we?"

The Italian shook his head.

"You may, picciola; but the good God, if he takes me to heaven, must
make me so changed, that Julietta could no longer know me, or I her.
We men are not as little maidens."

Then, with a sudden change of mood, the Italian snatched from its
case his cherished violin, and drew from it such joyous strains,
that the child, clapping her hands, and skipping round the room,

"It laughs! the music laughs, and makes me laugh too! And
Pantalon-see poor Pantalon try to laugh, and he can't!"

Giovanni stopped suddenly, and laid down his violin. A new thought,
a sudden plan, had entered his head, and made his breath come quick,
and his eyes grow bright. He looked attentively at the child for a
moment, and then said,--

"Julietta used to wear such a beautiful dress, and go with me to the
houses of rich people to dance; but you dance better than she did,

"Oh! let me go, and wear a beautiful dress. I don't like this dress
a bit!" said Cherry, plucking nervously at the coarse and tawdry
calico frock Mrs. Ginniss had thought it quite a triumph to obtain
and to make up.

"I have saved two of Julietta's dresses for love of her. You shall
see them," said the Italian; and from the box where he kept his
clothes he presently brought a small bundle, and, unfolding it,
shook out two little frocks,--one of pink silk, covered with
spangles; the other a gay brocade, upon whose white ground tiny
rosebuds were dotted in a graceful pattern. Some long silk
stockings, and white satin boots with red heels, and blue tassels at
the ankle, dropped from the bundle; and from one of the latter
Giovanni drew a wreath of crushed and faded artificial roses.

"All these were given her by the beautiful march‚sa for whom she was
named. Many times we have been to play and dance before her pal zzo;
and she, sending for us in, has given the little one a dress or a
wreath, or a handful of confetti, or a silver-piece in her hand. It
was when the march‚sa died that our troubles began; and in three
months more the little Julietta followed her, and Steph na (that was
my wife) went from me, and--But see, picciola! is it not a pretty
dress? Let us put it upon you, and it shall dance the Romaika with
you as it once did with her."

Nothing loath, Cherry hastened, with the help of the Italian, to
array herself in the pink-silk frock, and to exchange her coarse
shoes for the silken hose and satin boots of the little lost
Julietta. Although somewhat large, the clothes fitted better than
those Cherry had taken off; and when, seizing the violin, Giovanni
drew a long, warning note, the little dancer took her position, and
pointed her tiny foot with so assured and graceful an air, that the
Italian, nodding and smiling, cried with enthusiasm,--

"Ah, ah! See the little Taglioni! Why is she not upon the boards of
La Sc la?"

What this might mean Cherry could not guess, nor greatly cared to
know. She understood that her friend was pleased, and her little
heart beat high with vanity and excitement. She danced as she had
never danced before; and at the end, while Giovanni still applauded,
and before she had regained her breath, the child was panting,--

"I want to go and dance for the rich ladies, like Julietta used to
do, and wear her beautiful dresses, and have a wreath."

"Why not, then?" exclaimed the Italian eagerly. "Only you must never
say so to the woman above there or the boy: they will not allow it."

"Won't mammy and Teddy like it? Then I can't go. Oh, dear! Why won't
they like it, 'Varny?"

"Because they can't dance, and they don't want you to be different
from them; and they will be afraid you will tire yourself. They
don't know that it makes you well and happy to dance, and hear
music, as it does me to make it. They are not like us, these people
above there."

Cherry looked earnestly in his face, and her own suddenly flushed
while she replied indignantly,--

"They're real good, 'Varny; and I love them same as I do you and
Pantalon. Don't you love them?"

"Oh! but I adore them, picciola; and I like well that you should
place me and Pantalon beside them. But surely they do not dance, or
love music, as we do."

Cherry shut tight her lips, and shook her head with an uneasy

"Mammy says she don't believe they dance in heaven: and Teddy says
it wasn't there I used to learn; for I never went anywhere but to
mammy's room since I was borned."

"But they do dance in heaven, and sing, and listen to music; and it
is because you came from heaven so little while ago that you
remember, and they have forgotten," said Giovanni positively. "And
it is right that you should love these things; and it is right that
you should go with me, and say nothing to them till we come back. I
will ask the good woman that I may take you for a walk in a day or
two and I will carry the pretty dress and the violin; and, when we
are away from the house, you shall put it on, and we will go and
dance for the rich people a little while; and some one shall give
you beautiful things, and much money, as they did Julietta; and then
we will come home, and bring it all to the mammy, and she will be so
happy, and see that it is a good thing, after all, to dance."

"Yes, yes; that will be splendid!" cried Cherry, clapping her hands
and jumping up and down. "I will save every bit of the candy, and
all the beautiful dresses, and the roses, and every thing, and bring
them to mammy."

"And the money, that she may buy bread and clothes and wood, and not
have to work so hard for them herself," suggested Giovanni artfully.

"Yes, Teddy gives her money; and she calls him her brave, good boy.
So she'll call me too, pretty soon; won't she?"

"Truly will she; but remember always, picciola, that she nor Teddy
must know any thing of this, or they will prevent it all. You won't
tell them?"

"No; I won't tell," said Cherry, shuttling her lips very tight, and
shaking her head a great many times. "Only we must go very quick, or
else I might forget; and, when I opened my mouth, it might jump out
before I knew."

"We will go to-morrow if it is fine," said Giovanni, after a moment
of consideration; and Cherry, after changing her clothes, returned
home so full of mystery and importance, that unless Mrs. Ginniss had
been more than usually busy, and Teddy obliged to hurry with his
supper and go directly out again, one or the other must have
suspected that something very mysterious was working in the mind of
their little pet.



As if to favor Giovanni's plot, it chanced, that, in the morning of
the next day, Mrs. Ginniss received a sudden summons to the bedside
of Ann Dolan, the friend whose advice had led to Teddy's being
placed in his present situation.

The messenger had reported that Ann was "very bad wid her heart, an'
the life was knocked out intirely, sure:" and Mrs. Ginniss felt
herself bound to hasten to the help of her friend, should she still
be alive; or to see that she was "waked dacent" if dead. Just as she
was wondering if it was best to take Cherry with her, or to leave
her locked up alone until her return, Giovanni appeared at the door,
his face disposed in its most winning smile, and his manner as
respectful as if he had been addressing the march‚sa who had been
his own and his daughter's patron.

"Will my good neighbor allow that the little girl go for a walk with
me this fine morning?" asked he. "I would like to show her the
flowers and the swans in the gardens of the city."

"An' will you take the monkey an' the grind-orgin the day?" asked
Mrs. Ginniss doubtfully.

"Indeed, no! I go to a walk to enjoy the fine time, and to see the
flowers and the swans," explained Giovanni in his best English, and
with a proportion of bows and smiles; while Cherry stood by, her
little face full of surprise and mystery, not unmingled with a
little shame as she felt that her good mammy was being deceived and
misled by the wily Italian.

"Faith, thin, Mr. Jovarny, it's very perlite ye are iver an' always;
but I don't jist feel aisy wid the child out uv my sight. Mabbe
she'd better wait till night, when Teddy can take her out."

"Oh, let me go, mammy! I want to go with 'Varny, and I'll bring

"Yes; we'll get the pretty flowers to bring to mammy, she would
say," interrupted the Italian hastily; and Mrs. Ginniss, looking
down at the little anxious face and pleading eyes, found her better
judgment suddenly converted into a desire to please her little
darling at any rate, and to see her smile again in her own sunny

"Sure, an' ye shall go, 'vourneen, if it's that bad ye're wantin'
it," said she, stooping to take the child in her arms; and, as
Cherry kissed her again and again, she added,--

"An' it's well ye don't ask the heart out uv me body; for it's inter
yer hand I'd have to give it, colleen bawn."

Giovanni looked on, his half-shut, black eyes glittering, and a wily
smile wrinkling his sallow cheek.

"Every one has his day," muttered he in Italian, "Your's to-day,
good woman; mine to-morrow."

Half an hour later, Cherry, dressed as neatly as her foster-mother's
humble means and taste would allow, and her face glowing with
pleasure and excitement, skipped out of the door of the
tenement-house, looking like the fairy princess in a pantomime as
she suddenly emerges from the hovel where she has been hidden.

Giovanni followed, carrying a bundle, and his violin wrapped in
papers. These, he explained to Mrs. Ginniss, were only some matters
he had to leave with a friend as he went along; but he should not go
into any house, or take the little girl anywhere but for the walk he
had mentioned.

"Faix, an' it's mighty ginteel ye are, anyway, Misther Jovarny,"
said the Irishwoman, watching the pair from the window of her attic
as they walked slowly up the street. "But I'm afther wishin' I'd
said no whin I said yis. Nor yet I couldn't tell why, more than that
Teddy'll be mad to hear she's been wid him. But the b'y hasn't sinse
whin it's about the little sisther he's talkin'. He thinks the
ground isn't good enough for her to walk on, nor goold bright enough
for her to wear."

So saying, Mrs. Ginniss closed the window, and, throwing a little
shawl over her head, locked the door, leaving the key underneath,
and hurried away to her sick friend, with whom she staid till nearly

Giovanni and Cherry, meantime, walked gayly on, chatting, now of the
wonderful things about them, now of the yet more wonderful scenes
they were to visit. At a confectioner's shop, in a shady by-street,
they stopped to rest for a while; and the Italian provided his
little guest with ice-creams, cakes, and candies, to her heart's

"I like these better than potatoes and pork-meat. I used to eat
these in heaven," said the little girl, pausing to look at a
macaroon, and then finishing it with a relish.

The Italian laughed.

"Canary-birds do not feed with crows," said he. "When we are rich,
picciola, you shall never eat worse than this."

"Shall we be rich soon, 'Varny?" asked the child eagerly.

"Upon the moment almost, if you will dance and laugh, and look so
pretty as you can, always."

"But we needn't stop to be very rich before we go and carry some of
the nice things to mammy," rejoined Cherry anxiously.

"No, no, indeed! We will but make a little turn in the country, and
come back princes. But mind you this, picciola: I am to be your
father now, or all the same; and I shall tell every one that you are
my own little girl: so you must never say, 'Not so.'"

"But mammy said my father was dead, and Teddy said so too. He was
Michael darlint."

"I doubt not that Signor Michaelli died, and has gone to glory; but
I strangely doubt if he were thy father, picciola," said the Italian
with a grave smile. "However that may be, forget that you have ever
had other father than me, and call me so always: 'Mio padre,' you
must say, and no more 'Varny. Also, too, you must speak in Italian,
as I shall to you; and never, as you do now, in English."

"But mammy and Teddy don't know Italian," said Cherry, beginning to
look a little troubled.

"'In Rome, do as the Romans do.' When you are again with the woman
and boy, speak as they speak: with me, speak as I speak."

Giovanni said this more decidedly than he had ever spoken before,
and Cherry looked quickly up at him.

"Is that the way you talk because you want to make believe you are
my father?" asked she.

A sudden smile shot across the Italian's face, lighting its dark
features like a gleam of sunshine sweeping across a pine-clad

"Shame were it to me, dear little heart, if to be thy father were to
make thee less happy than thou hast been with those others," said he
softly in Italian, and using the form of address, which, in almost
every language but the English, marks a different and more tender
relation from that indicated by the more formal plural pronoun.

"You will be happy with me if we do not soon revisit these people we
leave behind?" asked he.

The child's eyes grew large and deep as she fixed them upon his
face, and presently asked,--

"Are you going with me to try to find heaven again?"

"Perhaps: who knows, picciola? The heaven you miss may come to you
more easily if you go to seek it. At any rate, I will carry thee no
farther from it. But come: we must get to our journey."

Leaving the confectioner's shop, Giovanni lingered no longer in the
gay streets, or even upon the fresh green grass of the Common, where
Cherry would have staid to play all day. Hurrying across it, and
through some crowded streets, the Italian entered a large
station-house, where stood the train of cars, already half filled
with passengers; while the engine, puffing and panting with
impatience, seemed unwilling to wait a moment longer.

Leaving Cherry in the ladies' room, the Italian bought his tickets,
and reclaimed from the baggage-room, where he had left it, his
organ, with Pantalon chained to the top of it. Then, calling the
child, he hurried with her into the cars, and selected a seat behind
the door, in the evident wish of being seen as little as possible.

"Now, then, Ciriegia mia, we go to seek our fortune," said he, as
the train left the station, and began to rush through the suburbs of
the city, scattering little dirty children, vagrant dogs, leisurely
pigs, and dawdling carriages driven by honest old ladies, from its

Cherry never had ridden in the cars before; and she clung tight to
the sleeve of her companion, afraid to move, or even to speak, until
he laughingly asked,--

"It does not fear, the poor little one, does it?"

"No, I guess not, 'Varny," replied the child doubtfully; but the
Italian sharply said,--

"What is this 'Varny you say? I am mio padre."

"I forgot. Won't I tumble out of this carriage, my father, it goes
so quick?"

"Fear nothing, figlia mia. You are safe with me and with Pantalon,"
said the Italian, drawing the little girl close to his side; while
the monkey, crouching upon the organ at their feet, chattered his
own promises of protection and comfort.

With 'Toinette, to live was to love and trust; and, clinging close
to her new guardian's side, she laid her little shining head upon
his breast, clinging with one hand to the lappet of his coat; and,
laughing down at Pantalon, she fell presently asleep.

At night the Italian left the train, and took lodgings at a hotel
near the centre of a large town. His little charge-tired, hungry,
and sleepy-was very glad to have supper, and to be allowed to go to
bed, where she slept soundly until summoned the next morning by
Giovanni, who brought her some breakfast with his own hands, and,
placing it upon the table, laid a bundle of clothes beside it.

"Rise and eat, carissima," said be gayly; "and then make thyself as
beautiful as the morning with these fine clothes. See, here are
roses from the garden for a wreath! They are better than the others.
When thou art ready, come out to me."

He left the room; and 'Toinette, rising, made a hasty breakfast; and
then, putting on the brocade-silk dress, and placing upon her head
the wreath Giovanni had twisted of natural flowers for her, she
peeped into the glass, and laughed aloud at the fanciful and
beautiful image that met her eyes.

"I am glad I look so pretty," murmured she, with an innocent delight
at her own beauty, that was not vanity, although, it might, if
untrained, lead to it.

"Come, Ciriegia, are you never ready?" called Giovanni from the
other side of the door; and Cherry, running to open it, exclaimed in

"Oh, see, my father! am I not beautiful?"

"Truly so; but you should not say it, bamb¡na. The charm of a maiden
is her modesty," said the Italian gravely.

"But, if it is true, why mustn't I say so?" asked Cherry positively.

"Many things that we know are never to be said, Ciriega. But come,
now: you are to dance first for these people, and they will make no
charge for our beds and the miserable provender they have given us."

As he spoke, Giovanni led the way to the lower hall of the hotel,
where a number of men were lounging, smoking, or talking; while
through the open doors of the parlor and office were to be seen some
ladies and gentlemen, idling away the hour after breakfast, before
proceeding to their business, their journey, or their amusement.

Placing himself in the centre of the hall, Giovanni, with a bow to
the company, played a little prelude, and then struck into the
lively strains of the cachuca.

Cherry, who had stood looking at him, her head slightly bent, her
lips apart, eyes and ears alert to catch the signal to begin,
pointed her little foot at the precise moment, and, holding her
dress in the tips of her slender fingers, slid into the movement
with a grace and accuracy never to be attained except by vigorous
practice, or a temperament as sensitive to time and tune, limbs as
supple, and impulses as graceful, as were those of this gifted and
unfortunate child.

"See there!-the poor little thing!" exclaimed one of the ladies, who
came to the door of the drawing-room to see the performance.

"How can you say poor little thing?" asked another. "Don't you see
how she enjoys it herself? That smile is not the artificial grimace
of a ballet-dancer; and no eyes ever sparkled so joyously to order."

"Perhaps she does enjoy it; but all the more 'Poor little thing!'
say I," rejoined the first speaker, adding thoughtfully, "What sort
of training for a woman is that?"

"Oh, well! but it is very pretty to see her; and she would probably
be running in the streets, or doing worse, if she did not dance; and
so little as she is! It is equal to the theatre."

The speaker drew out her purse as she spoke, and carelessly threw a
dollar-bill towards the child, who had finished her dance, and stood
looking round with an innocent smile, as if asking for applause
rather than reward.

"Go and take it, carissima; and then hold your hand to the others;
each will give you something," said Giovanni in a low voice.

"How much we shall have to carry to mammy!" exclaimed the child
eagerly; and, as she gathered in her harvest, she chattered away,
always in Italian,--

"And more, and more, and more! O my father! how many cents they
give me! What nice people they are! Let me dance some more for them;
and let Pantalon come down, and let them see him."

" No, no, child! These are not of those who would care for Pantalon.
While you rest by and by, I shall take him and the organ, and go
about the streets; but your little feet are worth many Pantalons to
me. Come, we will give them the tarantella as they have done so

Skipping to his side, with a childish grace more attractive than the
studied movements of the most accomplished actress, Cherry stuffed
the proceeds of her first attempt into the pocket of her guardian,
and then, throwing herself into position, went through the wild and
grotesque movements of the tarantella, with a life and freshness
that drew from the spectators a burst of applause and surprise.

"That will do. We must not give them too much at once, lest the
wonder come to an end. Make the pretty kiss of the hand, figlia mia,
and run up the stairs to your own little room."

Cherry obeyed, calling back, as she disappeared, "Tell them I will
dance some more for them by and by if they want me to."



IN the course of that day, Giovanni and his little danseuse visited
all the principal public places in the town, and also several of the
best private houses; and, at all, the performances of the child
called forth the surprise, delight, and admiration of those who
witnessed them. Nor were more substantial proofs of their approval
wanting; so that at night, when Giovanni counted up his gains, he
found them so large, that he cried, while embracing poor weary
little Cherry,--

"O blessed, blessed moment when thou didst cross my path, Ciriegia

"Now can't we go home to mammy? I am so tired, and my head feels
sick!" moaned the child, laying the poor aching little head upon his

Giovanni looked down at the pale face, and, meeting the languid
eyes, felt a pang of conscience and pity.

"Thou art tired, bamb¡na povera mia," said he kindly. "Another day,
we will be more careful. Lie down now, and sleep for a while. We go
again in the steam-carriage to-night."

Cherry climbed upon the bed without reply, and in a moment was fast
asleep. The Italian drew the coverings about her, and stooped to
kiss the pale cheek, where showed already a dark circle beneath the
eye, and a painful contraction at the corner of the mouth.

"Poveracita!" murmured he. "But soon we will have money enough to go
home to the father-land, and then all will be well with her as with

Three hours later, he came to arouse the child, and prepare her to
renew the journey.

"Oh, I am so tired! I want to sleep some more so bad, 'Varny!-no, my
father, I mean. I don't want to go somewhere," said she piteously,
closing her eyes, and struggling to lay her head again upon the
pillow. Giovanni hesitated for a moment; and then, never knowing
that the decision was one of life and death, the question of a whole
future career, he determined to pursue his plan in spite of that
plaintive entreaty, and, hastily wrapping a shawl about the child,
took her in his arms, and carried her down stairs. The organ and
Pantalon waited in the hall below; and Giovanni, setting Cherry upon
her feet, shouldered the organ and, taking the little girl by the
hand, led her out into the quiet street, where lay the light of a
full moon, making the night more beautiful than day. Cherry's drowsy
eyes flew wide open; and, looking up in Giovanni's face with eager
joy, she cried,--

"Oh! now we're going back to heaven; aren't we, my father? It was
bright and still like this in heaven; and I saw a star, and-and then
the naughty lady struck me"--

"Peace, little one! I know not of what you speak, nor any thing of
heaven," said the Italian in a troubled voice; and the child,
hurrying along at his side, raised her face silently to the summer
sky, seeking there, perhaps, the answer to the questions forever
stirring in her struggling soul.

A little later, and the swift train, flying through the sleeping
land, bore away the travellers; while Giovanni, settling himself as
easily as possible, laid the head of his little Ciriegia upon his
breast, tenderly smoothed down her silky curls, and laid his hand
upon the bright eyes, that frightened him with the intensity of
their gaze.

"Sleep, carissima mia, sleep," murmured he soothingly; "sleep, and
forget thy weariness and thy memories."

"I can't sleep now, my father. It seems to me that we are going to
heaven; and I want to be awake to see-the lady"--

The words faltered, and died upon her lips. The beautiful image of
her mother, fading slowly from her memory, seemed already a vision
so vague, that to name it were to lose it,--an idea too precious and
too impalpable to put in words. The past, with all its love and joy
and beauty, was becoming for our 'Toinette what we may fancy heaven
is to a little baby, whose solemn eyes and earnest gaze seem forever
attempting to recall the visions of celestial beauty it has left for
the pale, sad skies, and mournful sounds of earth.

On rushed the train through the quiet night, waking wild echoes in
the woods, and leaving them to whisper themselves again to sleep
when it had passed; lighting dark valleys that the moonlight left
unlighted, with its whirling banner of flame and sparks, and its
hundred blazing windows; moving across the holy calm of midnight
like some strange and troubled vision, some ugly nightmare, that for
the moment changes peace and rest to horror and affright, and then
passes again to the dim and ghostly Dreamland, whose frontier crowds
our daily life on every hand, and whence forever peep and beckon the
mysteries that perplex and haunt the human mind.

On and on and on, through misty lowland and shadowy wood, and over
shining rivers, and through sleeping hamlets, and winding,
snake-like, between great round hills and along deep
mountain-gorges, until the wild, bright eyes that watched beneath
Cherry's matted curls grew soft and dim; and at last the white lids
fell, and the curve of the sad lips relaxed beneath the kiss of
God's mildest messenger to man,--the spirit of sleep.

As for Giovanni, he long had slumbered heavily; and even Pantalon,
whose bright eyes were seldom known to close, was now curled up
beneath the organ-covering, dreaming, perhaps, of the nut-groves and
spice-islands where he had once known liberty and youth.

Just then it came,--a crash as if heaven and earth had met; a wild,
deep cry, made up of all tones of human agony and fright; the shriek
of escaping steam; the rending and splintering of wood and iron;
destruction, terror, pain, and death, all mingled in one awful
moment. Then those who had escaped unhurt began the sad and terrible
task of withdrawing from the ruin the maimed and bleeding bodies of
those who yet lived, the crushed remains and fragments of those who
had been killed in the moment of the encounter: and, in all the
bewildering confusion of the scene, none had eyes for the little
childish figure, that, hurled from the splintered car, lay for a
while stunned and shaken among the soft grass where it had fallen,
and then, staggering to its feet, fled wildly away into the dim



THE sun was setting upon the day succeeding that of the great
railroad accident, that, for weeks, filled the whole land with
horror and indignation, when a young girl, driving rapidly along a
country-road at a point about five miles distant from the scene of
the disaster, met a child walking slowly toward her, whose
disordered dress, bare head, and wild, sweet face, attracted her
attention and curiosity.

Checking her spirited horse with some difficulty, the young girl
looked back, and found that the child had stopped, and stood
watching her.

"See here, little girl!" called she. "Are you lost? Is any thing the
matter with you?"

The child fixed her solemn eyes upon the face of the questioner, but
made no answer.

"Come here, sissy! I want to talk to you; and I can't turn round to
come to you. Come here!"

The little girl slowly obeyed the kind command, and stood presently
beside the wagon, her pale face upraised, her startled eyes intently
fixed upon the clear and honest ones bent to meet them.

"What is your name, little girl?"

"Sunshine," said the child vaguely; and her eyes dropped from the
face of her questioner to fix themselves upon the far horizon, where
hung already the evening-star, pale and trembling, as it had hung
upon the evening of 'Toinette Legrange's birthday ten months before.
Was it a sudden association with the star and the hour that had
suggested to the heart of the desolate child this name, so long
forgotten, once so appropriate, now so strange and sad?

"Sunshine?" replied the young girl wonderingly. "You don't look like
it a bit. Where do you belong? and where are you going?"

The child's eyes travelled back from Dreamland, and rested wistfully
upon the kind face above her.

"I don't know," said she sadly. "I want to go to heaven; but I've
forgot the way."

"To heaven! You poor little thing, have you no home short of that?"

"I don't know. I wish I had some water."

"You had better jump into the wagon, and come home with me,
Sunshine, if that is your name. Something has got to be done for you
right away."

The child, still looking at her in that strange and solemn manner,
asked suddenly,--

"Who are you?"

"I? Oh! I'm Dora Darling; and I live about five miles from here.
Jump in quick; for it is growing dark, and we must be at home for

As she spoke, she leaned down, and gave a hand to the little girl,
who mechanically took it, and clambered into the carriage. Dora
lifted her to the seat, and held her there, with one arm about her
waist, saying kindly,--

"Hug right up to me, you poor little thing! and hold on tight. We'll
be at home in half an hour, or less.-Now, Pope!"

The impatient horse, feeling the loosened rein, and hearing his own
name, darted away at speed; whirling the light wagon along so
rapidly, that the child clung convulsively to her new protector,

"I guess I shall spill out of this, and get kilt."

"Oh, no, you won't, Sunshine! I shall hold you in. You're not Irish,
are you?"

"What's that?"

"Why, Irish, you know. You said 'kilt' just now, instead of
'killed,' as we do."

The child made no reply; but her head drooped upon Dora's shoulder
yet more heavily, and her eyes closed.

"Are you sick, little girl? or only tired?" asked Dora, looking
anxiously down into the colorless face, over which the evening
breeze was gently strewing the tangled curls, as if to hide it from
mortal view, while the poor, worn, spirit fled away to peace and

"Sunshine!" exclaimed Dora, gently moving the heavy head that still
drooped lower and lower, until now the face was hidden from view.

"She has fainted!" said Dora, looking anxiously about her. No house
and no person were in sight, nor any stream or pond of water; and
the young girl decided that the wisest course would be to drive home
as rapidly as possible, postponing all attempt to revive her little
patient until her arrival there.

Without checking the horse, she dragged from under the seat a
quilted carriage-robe, and spread it in the bottom of the wagon,
arranging a paper parcel as a pillow. Then, laying poor Sunshine
upon this extemporized couch, she took off her own light shawl, and
covered her; leaving exposed only the face, white and lovely as the
marble statue recumbent upon a little maiden's tomb.

"Now, Pope!" cried Dora, with one touch of the whip upon the glossy
haunch of the powerful beast, who, at sound of that clear voice,
neighed reply, and darted forward at the rate of twelve good miles
an hour; so that, in considerably less than the promised time, Dora
skilfully turned the corner from the road into a green country lane,
and, a few moments after, stopped before the door of an
old-fashioned one-story farm-house, painted red, with a long roof
sloping to the ground at the back, an open well with a sweep and
bucket, and a diamond-paned dairy-window swinging to and fro in the
faint breeze. Around the irregular door-stone, the grass grew close
and green; while nodding in at the window, and waving from the low
eaves, and clambering upon the roof, a tangle of white and
sweet-brier roses, of woodbine and maiden's-bower, lent a rare
grace to the simple home, and loaded the air with a cloud of
delicate perfume.

A young man, lounging upon the doorstep, started to his feet as the
wagon came dashing up the lane, and was going to open the gate of
the barn-yard; but Dora stopped before the open door, and called to

"Karl! Come here, please."

"Certainly. I was running out of the way for fear of being ground to
powder beneath your chariot-wheels; for I said to myself, 'Surely
the driving is as the driving of Jehu, the son of Nimshi.'"

"I shouldn't have driven so fast; but-see here!"

She pulled away the shawl as she spoke, and showed to the young man,
who now stood beside the carriage, the still inanimate form of the
little waif at her feet.

"Phew! What's that? and where did you get it?"

"A little girl that I met; lost, I think. I took her into the buggy,
and then she fainted, and I laid her down," rapidly explained Dora;
adding, as she raised the little figure in her arms,--

"Take her in, and lay her on the bed in the rosy-room."

"Poor little thing! She's not dead, is she, Dora?" asked the young
man softly, as he took the child in his arms and entered the house,
followed by Dora.

"Oh, no! I think not; only fainted. I suppose there's hot water, for
a bath, in the kitchen."

As she spoke, they entered the sitting-room,--a cool, shady
apartment, with a great beam crossing the ceilings, and deep
recesses to the windows, with seats in them.

At the farther side, Dora threw open the door of a little bedroom,
whose gay-papered walls and flowered chintz furniture, not to speak
of a great sweet-brier bush tapping and scratching at the window,
with all its thousand sharp little fingers, gave it a good right to
be called the rosy-room. Dora hastily drew away the bright
counterpane, and nodded to Karl, who laid the little form he carried
tenderly upon the bed.

At this moment, another door into the sitting-room opened; and a
girl, somewhat older than Dora, put in her head, looked about for a
moment, and then came curiously toward the door of the rosy-room.

"I thought I heard you, Dora," said she. "What are you doing in
here? Why!-who's that?"

"O Kitty! can you warm a little of that broth we had for dinner, to
give her? She's just starved, I really believe. And is there any
ammonia in the house?-smelling-salts, you know. Didn't aunt have
some?" asked Dora rapidly.

"I believe so. But where did you get this child? Who is she?"

"Run, Kitty, and get the salts first. We'll tell you afterward."

"What shall I do, Dora?" interposed the young man; and Kitty ran
upon her errand, while Dora promptly replied,--

"Open the window, and bring some cold water; and then a little wine
or brandy, if we have any."

"Enough for this time, at any rate," said Karl, hurrying away, and
returning with both water and wine just as Kitty appeared with the
salts; but it was Dora who applied the remedies, and with a skill
and steadiness that would have seemed absolutely marvellous to one
unacquainted with the young girl's previous history and training.

"She's coming to herself. You'd better both go out of sight, and let
her see only me. Kitty, will you look to the broth?" whispered Dora;
and Karl, taking his sister by the sleeve, led her out, softly
closing the door after them.

"Dora does like to manage, I must say. Now, do tell me at last who
this child is, and where she came from, and what's going to be done
with her," said Kitty as they reached the kitchen. "Why shouldn't
she like to manage, when she can do it so well? I can tell you, Miss
Kitty, if she hadn't man aged to some purpose on one occasion, you
wouldn't have had a brother to-day to plague you."

The girl's dark eyes grew moist as she turned them upon him, saying

"I know it, Charley; and I would love her for that, if nothing else:
but I can't forget she's almost a year younger than I am, and ought
not to expect to take the lead in every thing."

"Pooh, Kit-cat, don't be ridiculous! Get the soup, and put it over
the fire; and I'll tell you all I know about our little guest."

"I let the fire go down when tea was ready, it is so warm to-night,"
said Kitty, raking away the ashes in the open fireplace, and drawing
together a few coals.

"That will do. You only want a cupful or so at once, and you can
warm it in a saucepan over those coals."

"Dear me! I guess I know how to do as much as that without telling.
Sit down now, and let me hear about the child."

So Karl dropped into the wooden arm-chair beside the hearth, and
told his story; while Kitty, bustling about, warmed the broth, moved
the tea-pot and covered dish of toast nearer to the remnant of fire,
waved a few flies off the neat tea-table, and drove out an intrusive
chicken, who, before going to roost, was evidently determined to
secure a dainty bit for supper from the saucer of bread and milk set
in the corner for pussy.

"If the broth is ready, I'll take it in," said Karl, as his sister
removed it from the fire.

"Well, here it is; and do tell Dora to come to supper, or at least
come yourself. I want to get cleared away some time."

"I'll tell her," said Karl briefly, as he took the bowl of broth,
set it in a plate, and laid a silver spoon beside it.

"How handy he is! just like a woman," said Kitty to herself as her
brother left the room; and then, going out into the sink-room, she
finished washing and putting away the "milk-things,"-a process
interrupted by the arrival of Dora with her little charge.



"How is she now, Dora?" asked Karl, softly opening the door of the

"Better. You can come in if you want to. Have you got the broth?"

"Yes: here it is."

"That's nice. Now hold her up, please, this way, while I feed her.
See, little Sunshine! here is some nice broth for you. Take a
little, won't you?"

The pale lips slightly opened, and Dora deftly slipped the spoon
between them. The effect was instantaneous; and, as the half-starved
child tasted and smelled the nourishing food, she opened wide her
eyes, and, fixing them upon the cup, nervously worked her lips, and
half extended her poor little hands, wasted and paled by even two
days of privation and fatigue.

"I tell you what, Dora, this child has had a mighty narrow chance of
it," said Karl aside, as Dora patiently administered the broth,
waiting a moment between each spoonful.

"Yes," replied she softly. "I am so glad I met her! it was a real

"For her?"

"For me as much," returned Dora simply. "It is so pleasant to be
able to do something again!"

"You miss your wounded and invalid soldiers, and find it very dull
here," said Karl quickly, as he glanced sharply into the open face
of the young girl.

"Hush, Karl! don't talk now: it will disturb her. Is tea ready?"

"Yes, and Kitty sent word for you to come. Run along, and I will
stay with the chick till you come back."

"No: I can't leave her yet. You go to supper, and perhaps, when you
are done, I will leave you with her; or Kitty can stay, and I will
clear away."

"Won't you let me stay now?" asked the young man hesitatingly.

"No. Here, take the bowl, and run along."

"'Just as you say, not as I like,' I suppose," said Karl, laughing;
and, taking the bowl, he went softly out.

"Now, little girl, you feel better, don't you?" asked Dora cheerily,
as she laid the heavy head back upon the pillow, and tenderly
smoothed away the tangled hair.

"Si, signora," murmured Giovanni's pupil.

"What's that? I don't know what you mean. Say it again, won't you?"

But the child only fixed her dreamy eyes upon the face of the
questioner, with no effort at reply; and then the lids began slowly
to close.

"Now, before you go to sleep, Sunshine, I am going to take you up

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