Part 3 out of 6
stairs, and put you in my own bed, because I sha'n't want to leave
you alone to-night; and no one sleeps here. Wait till I fold this
shawl round you, and then pull your arms about my neck. There: now
She lifted the child as she spoke, and carried her again into the
front entry, and up the square staircase to a cottage-chamber with
white, scoured floor, common pine furniture, the cheapest of white
earthern toilet-sets, and nothing of expense or luxury to be found
within its four whitewashed walls, and yet a room that gave one a
feeling of satisfaction and peace not always inhabiting far wider
and more costly chambers: for the little bed was artistically
composed, and covered with snow-white dimity, as was the table
between the windows, and the cushion of the wooden rocking-chair;
while curtains of the same material, escaped from their tri-colored
fastenings, floated in upon the soft breeze like great sails, or the
draperies of twilight spirits departing before mortal presence.
In the fireplace stood a large pitcher, filled with common flowers,
fresh and odorous; and upon the high mantle-shelf, and all around
the room, was disposed a collection of the oddest ornaments that
ever decked a young girl's sleeping-chamber. Among them we will but
pause to mention two muskets, the one bent, the other splintered at
the stock; four swords, each more or less disabled; an officer's
sash; three sets of shoulder-straps; a string of army-buttons, each
with a name written upon a strip of paper, and tied to the eye; two
or three dozen bone rings, of more or less elaborate workmanship,
disposed upon the branches of a little tree carved of pine; a large
collection of crosses, hearts, clasped hands, dogs'-heads, and other
trinkets, in bone, some white, and some stained black; a careful
drawing of a crooked and grotesque old negro, in a frame of carved
wood; and, finally, a suit of clothes hung against the wall in the
position of a human figure, consisting of a jaunty scarlet cap, with
a little flag of the United States fastened to the front by an
army-badge; a basque, skirt, and trousers of blue cloth, with a worn
and clumsy pair of boots below. From a belt fastened across the
waist hung a little barrel, a flask, and by a wide ribbon of red,
white and blue, a boatswain's silver whistle.
Singular ornaments, we have said, for a young girl's sleeping-room,
and yet, in this case, touchingly appropriate and harmonious: for
they were the keepsakes given to the daughter of the regiment by the
six hundred brave men, who each loved her as his own; they were the
mementoes of a year in Dora Darling's life, of such vivid
experiences that it threatened to make all the years that should
come after pale and vapid in comparison.
Just now, however, all the girl's strong sympathies were aroused and
glowing; and as she tenderly cared for the child so strangely placed
within her hands, and finally laid her to sleep in the
clover-scented sheets of the fair white bed, she felt happier than
she had for months before.
A light tap at the door, and Kitty entered.
"I'll stay with her while you go and eat supper. Charles said he'd
come; but I'd like well enough to sit down a little while. My!-she's
pretty-looking; isn't she?"
"The prettiest child I ever saw," replied Dora, with her usual
decision; and then the two girls stood for a moment looking down at
the delicate little face, where, since the food and broth Dora had
administered, a bright color showed itself upon the cheeks and lips;
while the short, thick curls, carefully brushed, clustered around
the white forehead, defining its classic shape, and contrasting with
its pearly tints.
"Who can she be?" asked Kitty in a whisper.
"Some sort of foreigner,--French maybe, or perhaps Italian. She has
talked considerably since I gave her the broth; but I can't make out
a word she says. She spoke English when I first met her; but I don't
believe she knows much of it," said Dora thoughtfully.
"There is something sewed up in a little bag, and hung round her
neck," added she, "just such as some of our foreign volunteers
had,--a sort of charm, you know, to keep them from being struck by
the evil eye. That shows that her friends must have been
"Yes; and Catholics too, likely enough," said Kitty rather
contemptuously; adding, after a pause,--
"Well, you go down, and I'll sit by her a while. If she sleeps as
sound as this, I don't suppose I need stay a great while. There's
the supper-dishes to do."
"I'll wash them, of course; but, if you want to come down, you might
leave the door open at the head of the back stairs, and I should
hear if she called or cried. And, now I think of it, I have a letter
to show Karl and you. I got it at the post-office."
"From Mr. Brown?" asked Kitty quickly.
"No, from a Mr. Burroughs; a man I never heard of in my life till
to-day. But come down in a few minutes, and I will read it to you."
"Well, don't read it till I come."
"No: I won't." And Dora quietly went out of the room, leaving Kitty
to swing backward and forward in the white-cushioned rocking-chair,
her dark eyes wandering half contemptuously, half enviously, over
Dora's collection of treasures, with an occasional glance at the
A LETTER AND AN OFFER.
IN the kitchen, Dora found Karl waiting for her; and, while she eat
her supper with the healthy relish of a young and vigorous creature,
she gave her cousin an account of all the circumstances attending
her meeting with the little girl, whom she described again as a
foreigner, and probably French.
"And what's to be done with her, Dora?" asked the young man rather
gravely, when she had finished.
"Why, when she is well enough to tell who she is, and where she came
from,--that is, if she can talk English at all,--we can return her to
her friends; or, if they are not to be discovered, I will keep her
myself. That is,"-and the young girl paused suddenly, the blood
rushing to her face, as she added,--" that is, if you and Kitty are
willing. It is your house, not mine; though I'm afraid I am apt to
Karl looked at her reproachfully.
"When I brought you here, Dora Darling, I brought you home; and when
my mother died, not yet a year ago, did she not bid us live together
as brother and sisters, in love and harmony?"
"But what, Dora?"
"I am afraid sometimes I behave too much as if it were my own
house," faltered Dora.
"And so it is your own house, just as it is my own and Kitty's own.
Have either of us ever made you feel that there was any difference,
or that you had less right here than we?"
Dora made no reply; and, while Karl still waited for one the
staircase-door opened softly, and Kitty appeared.
"The child is fast asleep," said she: "so I thought I would come
down and hear the letter."
"What letter?" asked Karl a little impatiently.
"Oh! I haven't told you. Here it is."
And Dora drew from her pocket, and held toward him, a large white
envelope, boldly directed to "Miss DORA DARLING, care of Capt.
"That's nonsense. I have beaten my sword into a ploughshare now, and
am only plain mister," said Capt. Karl, glancing at the direction.
"Well, read the letter, do; I'm dying to hear it," said Kitty
impatiently; and her brother, with an affectation of extreme haste,
unfolded the thick, large sheet of note-paper and read aloud:--
"Having been requested to communicate with Miss Darling upon a
matter of importance, Mr. Thomas Burroughs will do himself the honor
of calling upon her, probably in the afternoon of Thursday, Aug. 25.
"CINCINNATI, Aug. 20."
"Thursday, 25th! Why, that is to-morrow!" exclaimed Karl, as he
"Dated Cincinnati, you see! It is some message from Mr. Brown. He
lives about twenty miles from Cincinnati," said Kitty eagerly.
"I don't think so. Why should Mr. Brown send a message when he
writes to me so often?" replied Dora with simplicity.
"I should think he did. I suppose you expected a letter this
afternoon, and that was what made you so bent upon driving to town
in all the heat."
"It wasn't very hot, and you know we needed these things from the
"From the grocery-store, do you mean?" asked Kitty sharply.
"Why can't you talk as we do, then? You have been here long enough
now, I should think."
"Because she knows how to talk better, Miss Kit," said Karl
good-humoredly. "Calling a shop a store is an Americanism, like
calling a station-house a d‚p“t, or trousers pants."
"Well, I thought we were Americans, Dora and all," retorted Kitty.
"Mercy, child! don't let us plunge from philology into ethnology. I
prefer to speculate upon Mr. Thomas Burroughs. Who is he? and what
does he want of our Dora?"
"To marry her, I suppose, or to ask her to marry Mr. Brown," snapped
"Perhaps he wants to ask my good word toward marrying you,"
suggested Dora, coloring deeply.
"No such good luck as that, eh, Kitty?" said Karl with a laugh.
"Good luck! I'm sure I'm in no hurry to be married; and, though I
haven't had Dora's chances of seeing all sorts of men, I dare say I
shall get as good a husband in the end," replied Kitty loftily.
"But, contemplating for one moment the idea that it may not be an
offer of marriage that Mr. Thomas Burroughs means by a 'matter of
importance,' let us consider what else it can be," said Karl with a
"Perhaps he wants your ideas upon the campaign in Western Virginia,
and a report of the general's real motives and intentions,"
suggested Dora gayly.
"Perhaps he wants to engage his winter's butter; though I don't
believe Dora is the one to ask about that," said Kitty.
"Now, Kitty! I'm sure I made up the last, and you said it was as
nice as you could do yourself."
"Yes; but you turned all the buttermilk into the pig's pail instead
of saving it for biscuits."
"So I did. Well, as dear old Picter used to say, 'What's the use ob
libin' if you've got trew larnin'?'"
"O Dora! how can you, how can you!-you cruel, cruel girl, how can
you speak of him!" cried Kitty in a passion of anger and grief; and,
pushing back her chair so violently as to upset it, she rushed out
of the room.
"Oh, I am so sorry!" exclaimed Dora in great distress; and would
have followed her, had not Karl held her back.
"Don't go, dear; it will be of no use: she will not let you into her
room. Poor Kitty! she loved her mother so passionately, and her
nature is so intense! We must make great excuses, Dora, for our
sister's little inequalities of temper: I think her great loss is at
the bottom of all."
Dora looked thoughtful, and presently said slowly, "I know it, Karl;
but it does seem to me rather unjust that she should hate poor Pic's
memory so bitterly even now. He did not know any more than I that he
had small-pox when he came back that time from New York; and when
Kitty told him that Aunt Lucy had taken it from him, and was very
sick, he felt so badly, that I think it prevented his getting well."
"O Dora, don't say that! Kitty could not have blamed him openly."
"I don't know what she said; but, from that day, he grew worse, and
died without being able to bid me good-by,--Pic, who brought me away
from those cruel people, and cared for me as if I had been his
child. O dear, dear old Pic!"
She did not cry; she very seldom did: but she clasped her hands
tightly together, and looked so white and wild, that Karl came to
her, and, taking her in his arms, would have soothed and caressed
her like a little child, had not she repulsed him.
"Please not, dear Karl! I must bear my griefs alone for I am alone
in all the world."
It was the bitterest sentence Dora had ever spoken, and her cousin
looked at her in dismay.
"If Picter could have given the disease to me instead of to aunt,
and he and I could have journeyed on together into another world as
we had through this, and left your mother to Kitty and you!"
continued Dora; while in her eyes, and about her white lips,
quivered a passion of grief far beyond any tears,--far beyond, thank
God! any grief that eyes and lips so young are often called to
express. And as it rose and swelled in her girl heart, and shook her
strong young soul, Dora uttered in one word all the bitterness of
her orphaned life.
"Mother!" cried she, and clinched her hands above the sharp pain
that seemed to suffocate her, the pain we call heart-ache, and might
sometimes more justly call heart-break.
Karl looked at her, and his gay young face grew strong, and full of
meaning. He folded her again in his arms, and said,--
"Dora, I had not meant to speak yet; but I cannot see you so, or
hear you say such words. Do not you know, cousin, that there is
nothing in all the world I love like you; and that, while I live,
you can never be alone; and, while I have a home, you can never want
one, or be other than its head and centre? Dora, marry me, and I
will make you forget all other loves in the excess of mine." Dora
allowed her head to droop upon his shoulder, and a sudden sense of
peace and rest fell temptingly upon her spirit.
"Dora, Dora Darling always, even when you are all my Dora!"
whispered Karl; but Dora released herself from his arms, and stood
upright. Her face was strong again now, although very white; and she
"Thank you, cousin. You are good and kind, as you always have been,
and I am glad you love me as I love you; but what else you have said
we will forget. I am too young to think of such things, and you will
not feel so to-morrow or next day. Be my brother, as you have been,
and let me be sister to you and Kitty, as aunt told us. I wish I
could make Kitty love me."
The young man would have persisted; but Dora, gravely shaking her
"Karl dear, you only distress me, and I want to be quiet. Do not
speak of this again for at least another year, and then, perhaps,
you will not want to."
"But in a year I may, if I do want to?" asked Karl eagerly.
"I don't want to say that; for I don't know that I should want you
to then," said Dora, with such exquisite simplicity, that the young
man laughed outright, and said,--
"But you don't know that you sha'n't, do you, darling Dorelle?"
"I didn't say so."
"No; but--Well, I won't insist; only I shall put down the date. Let
me see: Aug. 24, isn't it?"
He took out his note-book, wrote a few words, and, glancing at Dora
with a suppressed smile, put it away again. Then, more seriously, he
took her hand, saying,--
"Only remember one thing, Dora; and that is, whatever may come in
the future, this house is your home as long as it is ours; and,
while I live, there is always some one who loves you best of all
"OCHONE! an' it's weary work climbin' thim stairs," groaned Mrs.
Ginniss, pausing upon the landing outside the organ-grinder's door.
"An' mabbe she's wid him still. Anyway, I'll see, and save the
coomin' down agin."
With these words, Mrs. Ginniss gave a modest rap upon the door, and,
as it remained unanswered, a somewhat louder one, calling at the
"Misther Jovarny! Misther Jovarny, I say! Is it out yees still are?"
The question remaining unanswered, the good woman waited no longer,
but, climbing the remaining flight of stairs took the key of her
room from the shelf in Teddy's closet where it had been left, and
unlocked the door.
"Cherry, darlint, be ye widin?" asked she, throwing it open; and
then, recollecting herself, added,--
"An' sure how could she, be, widout she kim in trew the kayhole?
But, blissid Vargin! where would they be all the day long?"
So saying, Mrs. Ginniss threw up the window, and looked anxiously
down the street in the direction where Giovanni and Cherry had that
Nothing was to be seen of them; but, just turning the corner, came
Teddy, his straw-hat pushed back upon his forehead, and his steps
slow and undecided. He was thinking wearily, as he often thought of
late, that the time had come when he could no longer withhold his
little sister from the friends to whom she really belonged; and it
was not alone the heat of the August night that brought the great
drops of perspiration to the boy's forehead, or drew the white line
around his mouth.
"It's quicker nor that you'll stip, my b'y, whin you hear the little
sisther's not in yit, an' it's wid Jovarny she is," muttered Mrs.
Ginniss; and, half dreading the entrance of her son, she applied
herself so diligently to making a fire in preparation for supper,
that she did not appear to notice him.
"Good-evening, mother. Where's Cherry?" asked Teddy, throwing
himself wearily into a chair just inside the door.
"An' is it yersilf, gossoon? An' it's the big hate is in it
"Yes: it's hot enough. Where's Cherry?"
"Takin' a little walk, honey. You wouldn't be shuttin' the poor
child into the house this wedder, sure?"
"Taking a walk!-what, alone!" exclaimed Teddy, sitting upright very
"Of coorse not. Misther Jovarny was perlite enough to ax her; an'
she wor that wild to go, I couldn't say her no."
"I wish you had said no, mother. I hate to let her be with that
fellow, anyway. I'd have taken her to walk myself, if I was twice as
tired. How long have they been gone?"
And Teddy, in his turn, looked anxiously out at the window, but saw
nothing more than the squalid street weltering in the last rays of
the August sun; a knot of children fighting in the gutter over the
body of a dead cat; an old-clothes man sauntering wearily along the
pavement, and a dog, with lolling tongue and blood-shot eyes,
following close at his heels.
"How long have they been out? asked Teddy again, as he drew in his
head, and looked full at his mother, whose confusion struck him with
a sudden dismay.
"O mother!" cried he, "what is it? There's more than you're telling
me amiss. How long is she gone?"
"Sure an' I didn't mind the clock whin they wint," said Mrs.
Ginniss, still struggling to avoid the shock she felt approaching.
"No, no; but you can tell! O mother! do speak out, for the love of
God! I can see how scared you are, though you won't say it. Tell me
right out all there is to tell."
"An' it's no great there is to till, Teddy darlint; on'y this
mornin', whin I was sint for to Ann Dolan (an' she that bad it's
dead we thought she wor one spell, but for Docther Wintworth),
Jovarny kim up, an' axed might the child go for a walk to the
Gardens wid him; an' I jist puttin' on me shawl to go out, an' not
wantin' to take the little crather in wid a sick woman, nor yet to
lock the door on her, an' lave her to fret. So I says she might go
wid him; and, whin she coom home, I tould Jovarny to open the door
wid the kay an' let her in, an' showed her the dinner on the shelf
by: an' if it's harm that's coom to her, it's harder on me than on
yersilf it'll fall; an' my heart is bruck, is bruck intirely."
Throwing her apron over her head, Mrs. Ginniss fell into at chair,
and gave way to the agitation and alarm she had so long suppressed;
but Teddy, ordinarily so kind, and tender of his mother, stared at
her blankly, and repeated,--
"This morning! How early this morning?"
"I wor jist afther washin' the bit breakfast-dishes," sobbed Mrs.
"Twelve hours or near!" exclaimed Teddy in dismay. "And is it to the
Gardens he said he'd take her?"
"Shure an' did he!"
"To the Public Gardens, the City Gardens, just by the Commons?"
"Jist the Gardens wor all he said; an' towld me the shwans that wor
in it, an' the bit posies."
"Yes: there's swans there, and posies enough," muttered Teddy, and,
snatching the hat he had thrown upon a chair as he entered, rushed
out of the room and down the stairs at headlong speed.
But, before he could possibly have reached the Garden, the sun had
set, all visitors were excluded, and the gate-keeper had gone home.
Nothing daunted, Teddy scaled the high iron fence; ran rapidly
through all the paths, arbors, nooks, and corners of the place; and
finally returned over the fence, just in time, to be collared by a
policeman, who had been watching him: but so sincere was the boy's
tone and manner, as he assured the official that he was after no
harm but was looking for his little sister, who had been taken away
from home, and, as he feared, lost, that the guardian of the public
peace not only released him, but inquired with some interest into
the particulars of the case; saying that he had been likely to
notice any one remaining in the Garden longer than usual.
Teddy, with anxious minuteness, described the appearance both of the
lost child and the "organ-fellow," as he called Giovanni; and gave
the particulars of their leaving home as his mother had given them
to him. The policeman listened attentively, but shook his head at
"Haven't seen any sich," said he. "Them I-talian fellers is a bad
lot; and I shouldn't wonder if he'd took off the child to learn her
to play a tambourine, and go round picking up croppers for him.
You'd better wait till morning; and, if they don't turn up, her
mother can go and tell the chief about it."
"Chief of police?" asked Teddy.
"Yes; but it ain't always he can do any thing. There was that little
gal, a year ago pretty nigh, belonged to a man by the name of
Legrange. She was lost, and they offered a reward of ten thousand
dollars finally; but she warn't never heard from. You see, there's
sich a many children all about: and come to change their clothes,
and crop their hair, it's hard to tell t'other from which," said the
policeman meditatively; and then, suddenly resuming his official
dignity, added, "You mustn't never get over that fence again,
though: mind that, young man."
"Thank you, sir," said Teddy, turning away to hide the guilty
confusion of his face; and, as he hurried home, he anxiously
revolved the idea of applying to the police for aid, should Cherry
remain absent after the next morning. But Teddy knew something of
the law, and had too often seen better hidden secrets than his own
ferreted out and brought to the light by its searching finger, to
wish to trust himself within its grasp; at any rate, just yet.
"If I find her, I'll give her up, and tell all, and never touch the
reward; but how can I go and say she's lost again?" thought Teddy,
with a sick heart. And when, running up the stairs, his quick eyes
caught sight of his mother's face, his own turned so ghastly white,
that she ran toward him, crying,--
"An' is it dead you've found her, Teddy?"
"Worse; for she's lost; and all that comes to her is on my
shoulders," said Teddy hoarsely, as he stood just within the door,
looking hungrily about the room, as if he hoped, in some forgotten
corner, to light upon his lost treasure.
"Did Jovarny take his organ and the monkey?" asked he suddenly.
"Sure, and he didn't; for I mind luckin' afther him going down the
"Then he'll be back!" exclaimed the boy eagerly; but the next moment
the new hope died out of his face, and he muttered,--
"He might have taken them before. Anyway, I'll soon see;" and,
running down the stairs, Teddy applied his sturdy shoulder and knee
to the rickety door of the Italian's room. Neither door nor lock was
fitted to withstand much force, and, with a sharp sound of rending
wood and breaking iron, they flew apart; and Teddy, stepping over
the threshold, glanced eagerly around. The room was stripped of
everything except the poor furniture, which Teddy knew the Italian
had hired with it, and the wooden box where he had kept his clothes.
Of this the key remained in the lock; and, the boy, lifting the lid,
soon discovered that a few worthless rags were all that remained.
"He's gone, and she with him!" groaned Teddy, dropping the
box-cover, and standing upright to look again through the deserted
room. His mother stood in the doorway.
"Och, Teddy! an' it's desaved us intirely he has,--the black-hearted
crather; an' may the cuss O' Crom'ell stick to him day an' night,
an' turn his sleep to wakin', an' his mate to pizen, till all I wish
him is wished out!"
"It's no good cursing or wishing, mother," said Teddy bitterly. "If
there was, I'd curse myself the first; for it's on me it had ought
"Sorra a bit of that, thin, Teddy mavourneen; for iver an' always it
was yersilf that wor tinder an' careful uv her that's gone; an'
yersilf it wor that saved the life of her, the night she first come
home to us; an' it's none but good that iver yees did her in all the
days of yer life; an', if there's any blame to be had betwixt us,
it's on yer poor owld mother it should be laid,--her that loved the
purty darlint as if she'd been her own, an', if she's lost, will
carry a brucken heart to her grave wid mournin' afther her. O wurra,
wurra, acushla machree! Och the heavy day an' the black night that's
in it! Holy Jasus, have mercy on us! Spake the good word for us,
blissid Vargin! Saint Bridget (that's me own namesake), stip up an'
intersade for us now, if iver; for black is the nade we have uv
Falling upon her knees, and pulling a rosary of wooden beads from
her bosom, the Irish woman pursued her petitions, mingling them with
tears and exclamations more or less pathetic and grotesque; while
Teddy, seated upon the Italian's empty box, his head between his
hands, his elbows upon his knees, his eyes fixed steadily upon the
floor, gave up his young heart a prey to such remorse as might fitly
punish even a heavier crime than that of which his conscience
THE morning came, but brought no comfort. Mrs. Ginniss had crept up
stairs, and, throwing herself upon the bed, had fallen asleep with
the tears still trickling down her honest face; but to Teddy's
haggard eyes no sleep had come, and he had only changed his position
by stretching himself upon the floor beside the box, his head upon
his arm, his aching eyeballs still shaping in the darkness the form
and features of the little sister whom he had sullenly resolved was
lost to him forever as punishment for his fault in concealing her.
"If I'd brought her back," thought he again and again, "they'd have
let me get seeing her once in a while; they couldn't have refused me
so much; and maybe some day I'd have been a gentleman, and could
have talked with her free and equal. But now she's lost to them and
to me; and, when I tell the master, he'll call me a mean thief and a
liar, and a rascal every way, and he'll never look at me again; and
Then he would wander away into dreary speculation upon what his
another would say when the truth was made known to her, and she
found the boy on whom she had lavished her love and pride dishonored
and discarded by the master to whom he owed so much, and whose
patronage she had taken such pains to secure for him; and then, like
the weary burden of a never-ending song, would come again the
"But if I'd brought her back at the first!"
The bitter growth of the night, however, had borne fruit in a
resolution firm as it was painful; and, when Teddy came up stairs to
make himself fit to go to the office, he was able to say some words
of comfort to his mother, assuring her that no blame to her could
come of what had happened, and that it was possible the child might
yet be found, as he should warn those of her loss who could use
surer means to search for her than any at their command.
"An' is it the perlice ye're manin'?" asked Mrs. Ginniss. "Sure it's
little they'd heed the loss o' poor folks like us, or look for one
little child that's missin', whin there's more nor enough uv 'em to
the fore in ivery poor man's house. But niver a one like ours, Teddy
b'y,--niver another purty darlint like her that's gone."
Teddy made no reply to this, but, hastily swallowing some food, took
his hat, and left the room.
Upon the stairs he met the landlord, who, followed by a
furniture-broker, entered the room of the organ-grinder. Going in
after them, Teddy learned, in answer to his eager questions, that
the broker had, early in the morning of the previous day, received a
visit from the Italian, who, announcing that he had no further use
for the furniture, paid what was owing for the rent of it, and made
a bargain for a box he was about to leave behind him; but, as to his
subsequent movements, the man had no information to give, nor could
even judge whether he intended leaving the city, or only the house.
Thanking him or the information, Teddy went drearily on his way,
more hopelessly convinced than ever that Giovanni had deliberately
stolen the child, and absconded with her.
"Well," muttered he, "all I've got to do now is to tell the master,
and take what I'll get. If he finds the little-no: she's none of
that, nor ever was-if he finds her, and takes her home to them that
lost her, I'll be content, if it's to prison, or to sweeping the
streets, or to be a slave in the South, he sends me."
Arrived at the office, Teddy faithfully performed his morning
duties, and then seated himself to wait for Mr. Barlow, who was
again occupying Mr. Burroughs's office during that gentleman's
absence in the West. While arranging upon his table some papers he
was to copy, Teddy suddenly remembered that other morning, now
nearly a year ago, when Mr. Burroughs had laid upon his very table
the picture and advertisement of the lost child; and all the months
of guilty hesitation and concealment that since had passed seemed to
roll back upon the boy's heart, crushing it into the very dust. He
threw down the pen he had just taken up, and laid his head upon his
folded arms, groaning aloud,--
"Oh! if I had told him then! if I had just told him that morning!"
The door of the office opened quickly; and Mr. Barlow, a grave and
reserved young man, who had never taken much notice of Teddy,
entered, and, as he passed to the inner room, glanced with some
curiosity at the boy, whose emotion was not to be quite concealed.
"If you please, sir"--
"I should like to send a letter to Mr. Burroughs."
"Do you mean a letter from yourself?"
A slight smile crossed Mr. Barlow's face, as he replied a little
"I am afraid your business will have to wait till Mr. Burroughs's
return, my boy."
"Don't you be sending him letters, sir?"
"I have; but, when I heard from him yesterday, he was about leaving
Cincinnati, and gave me no further address. He will be at home in a
day or two."
Mr. Barlow passed on, and Teddy stooped over his work, but to so
little purpose, that, on submitting it for inspection, he received a
sharp reproof for his negligence, and an order to do the whole
"What a Quixotism of Burroughs's to try to educate this stupid
fellow!" muttered Mr. Barlow to a friend who lounged beside his
table; and Teddy, hearing the criticism upon his patron, felt an
added weight fall upon his own conscience.
"They laugh at him because I'm stupid, and I'm stupid because I'm
thinking of what I've done. It's good that they'll soon be shut of
me altogether. Maybe I can sweep the crossings, or clean the
gutters," thought poor miserable Teddy, bending afresh to his task.
Mr. Burroughs did not come so soon as expected; and Mr. Barlow
became quite impatient of the constant inquiry addressed to him by
Teddy as to the probable movements of his master. At last, about
noon of Friday, he walked into the office, looking more cheerful and
like his old self than he had been since the heavy sorrow had fallen
upon the household so near to his heart.
Mr. Barlow greeted him heartily, and, calling him into the inner
office, closed the door; while Teddy remained without, his heart
beating with a sick hard throb, a tingling pain creeping from his
brain to the ends of his icy fingers, and his whole frame trembling
It was no light task that he had set himself; and so he well knew.
To stand before the man he loved and reverenced before all men and
say to him that he had been for months deliberately deceiving and
injuring him and his; to confess that he had not once, but
persistently, refused the only chance ever offered him of repaying,
in some measure, the kindness and generosity of his patron; to
acknowledge grateful,--oh! it was no light task that the boy had set
himself; and yet his resolution never faltered.
Great acts are only great in the light of the actor's previous
history and training; and perhaps the atonement Teddy now
contemplated was for him as heroic as that of the martyred bishop
who held the hand that had signed the recantation steadily in the
flame until it was consumed.
The door of the office opened, and the two gentlemen were passing
out together, when Teddy started up,--
"If you please, sir, might I speak with you by yourself?"
"Oh, yes! Teddy has been very anxious for an interview with you all
the week. I will go on, and expect you down there presently," said
"Yes, in two minutes. Come in here, Teddy, and let us hear what you
have to say."
Mr. Burroughs threw himself into the chair he had just quitted, and
stirred the fire, saying good-humoredly,--
"Out with it, my boy! What's amiss?"
Teddy, standing beside the table, one clammy hand grasping the edge
of it, seemed to feel the floor heave beneath his feet, and the
whole room to reel and swim before his eyes. His tongue seemed
paralyzed, his lips quivered, his voice came to his own ears strange
and hollow; but still he struggled on, resolute to reach the worst.
"It's about the little girl that was lost, sir, your little cousin
"'Toinette Legrange, cried Mr. Burroughs, his face suddenly growing
earnest as he turned it upon the boy, and asked,--
"What is it? Have you heard of her?"
"Yes, sir. I found her in the street the night she was lost. She was
dressed in poor clothes, and her hair was cut off. I didn't know who
she was; and I took her home to my mother, and asked her to keep her
for my little sister, because I never got one, and always wanted
her. Then she was sick; and one day you told me she was lost, and
showed me the picture and the piece in the paper; and I knew it was
her. Then I thought she was going to die, and I waited to know; and,
when she got better, I waited a while longer; and at last she was
well, and I couldn't bear to part with her"--
"But she is safe now?" interrupted Mr. Burroughs, his look of stern
reproach mingling with a sudden hope.
"No, sir: she's lost!"
Teddy's white lips tried again and again before they could form the
"She's lost again, sir! She went out walking with Jovarny, that's
an organ-grinder, last Monday morning; and he has taken her off."
"You miserable fellow! You had better have killed as well as stolen
her!" exclaimed Mr. Burroughs.
Teddy clung to the table, and reeled as if a physical blow had
fallen upon him. It was the first time in the four years they had
spent together that his master had spoken to him in anger, and now,--
"Five days ago! And what have you done in that time towards looking
for her?" asked Mr. Burroughs sternly.
"Nothing, sir. I wanted to write to you, but couldn't get any
"And why didn't you tell Mr. Barlow, and let him set the police at
work? If you had warned him as soon as you discovered the loss, this
organ-grinder might have been caught. Now he is perhaps in New
Orleans, perhaps halfway to Europe. Why didn't you tell Barlow, I
"Please, sir, I couldn't bear telling any one but you that I done
it," said Teddy in a low voice.
"Well, sir, and, now you have told me, you will please walk out of
this office, and never enter it again. I did not imagine, that, in
all these months, you were preparing such a pleasant surprise for
me. One question, however: did your mother know who the child was?"
"No, sir: never."
"Then you may thank her that I let you off so easily; but I never
desire to see either of you again after to-day. Wait here for one
hour, while I go with a detective to hear your mother's story and to
get a description of this organ-grinder. At two o'clock, leave the
office; and take with you whatever belongs to yourself, and nothing
Mechanically obeying his master's gesture, Teddy staggered out of
the room. Mr. Burroughs followed him, and, locking the door of the
inner office, put the key in his pocket, and went out.
"He thinks I'm a thief!" was the bitter thought that darted through
Teddy's mind; and then, "And how could I steal more than when I
stole her? He's right to lock up from me."
TEDDY LOSES AND FINDS HIS HOME.
AN hour later, Teddy, leaving behind him the books, papers,
pictures, every thing that Mr. Burroughs had given him, and taking
only the few articles of his clothing which happened to be at the
office, crept out of the door and down the stairs with the look of a
Choosing the least-frequented streets, and avoiding the recognition
of such of his acquaintance as chanced to meet him, he slunk
homeward, feeling a little less wretched, but infinitely more
degraded, than he had done before his confession.
Burroughs knew, his mother knew, the police-officials knew,--how
could he tell who did not know?-of his shame and guilt. Every pair
of eyes seemed to accuse him; every step seemed to pursue him; every
distant voice seemed to summon him to receive the punishment of his
misdoing; and it was as to a refuge that he at last hurried in at
the door and up the stairs of the tenement-house.
At the upper landing, however, he paused. His mother!-oh the sorrow
and the shame that he had brought upon her in payment for all her
love and effort, and the constant sacrifices she had made, ever
since he could remember, to enable him to rise above his natural
station, and to appear as well as his future associates! It came
back to him now,--not a new thought, but one intensified by the more
immediate suffering of the last two hours. He leaned for a moment
against the wall, and wiped his clammy brow, feeling that any sudden
death, any strange chance that could befall him, would be welcome,
so that it swallowed up the coming moment, and spared him the sight
of the misery he had wrought.
Only a moment. Then the desperate courage that had carried him
through his confession to his master gave him strength to open the
door and enter.
The ironing-table was spread, and upon a half-finished shirt lay a
little pile of money. Teddy knew that it was the wages owing him
since the last payment, and turned away his eyes with loathing.
Mrs. Ginniss was lying upon the bed, her face buried in the pillow,
sobbing heavily and wearily, as if exhausted by excessive emotion.
Teddy closed the door softly, and stood looking at her, uncertain
whether she had heard him enter. In the room below, the little child
of the new tenants sung, at her play, an air that Cherry had often
Teddy listened, and, when the little song was done, cried out,--
"O mother! haven't you a word for me? I believe I'll go mad next."
"Don't be spakin' to me, you bowld, bad b'y! It's niver a word I
have for yees, or wants from yees!" sobbed Mrs. Ginniss.
Teddy looked at her drearily for a moment; then softly seated
himself, his hands folded listlessly in his lap, his eyes wandering
idly about the familiar room, and his mind journeying on and on in
the weary, mechanical manner of a mind over-wrought and stunned by
long-continued or excessive suffering.
From the street below rose the hum and bustle of city life; from the
room that had been Giovanni's, the voice of the child, still singing
at her play. In at the open window streamed the thick yellow
sunshine of the August afternoon, and a great droning blue fly
buzzed upon the pane.
Teddy noted every sound; watched the motes dancing in the sunshine,
the fly bouncing up and down the little window, the movements of the
cat, who, rising from her nap, stretched every limb separately,
yawned, lazily lapped at her saucer of milk, and then, seating
herself in the patch of lurid sunshine, with her tail curled round
her fore-paws, blinked drowsily for a few minutes, and then dozed
But, whether he listened or whether he looked, it was but ear and
eye that noted these familiar and homely sounds or sights. The mind
still journeyed on and on in that weary journey without beginning or
end; that dull, heavy tramp through black night, with no hope of
ever reaching morning; that vain flight from a pain not for one
moment to be forgotten or left behind; that numb consciousness of an
evil, that, wait as we will, must sooner or later be met and
A long hour passed, and Mrs. Ginniss suddenly arose and confronted
"If iver I larnt ye any thin', ye black-hearted b'y, what wor it?"
Teddy raised his heavy eyes to his mother's face, but made no
"Worn't it to search iver an' always for the chance to do a good
turn to him as has done all for 'yees that yer own father could, an'
more? Worn't that the lesson I've struv to larn ye this four year
back, Teddy Ginniss?"
"Yes, mother," said the boy in a low voice.
"An' haven't I towld ye, that, so as ye did it, my blessin' was wid
yees, an' so as ye turned yer back on it my cuss 'ud folly yees, an'
the cuss uv God an' all his saints and angels?"
"An it's yersilf that's tuck heed uv me words, an' done yer best to
kape 'em; isn't it, me fine lad?" pursued the mother with bitter
"I did always, mother, till"-began Teddy humbly; but his mother
angrily interrupted him.
"Alluz till ye got the chance to do contrairy, an' plaze yersilf at
his expense. Sure, an' it wor mighty perlite uv yees to wait that
long, an' it's greatly obleeged to yees he shud be."
She waited a moment, standing before the boy, who, still seated
droopingly in the chair where he had first fallen, his heavy eyes
looking straight before him, offered neither reply nor remonstrance;
while his mother, setting her hands upon her hips, looked scornfully
at him a moment longer, and then exclaimed,--
"An' have ye niver a word to say for yersilf, ye white-livered
coward? Is there niver anudder lie on yer tongue like thim ye found
so handy this twelvemonth back? Git out uv me sight, ye spalpeen,
and out uv me doors! Go find them as'll kape yees to stale rich
folks' children, an' thin lie to the mother as bore yees, and the
kind masther as tried to make a gintleman out uv a thafe. Begone, I
say, Teddy Ginniss, and quit pizenin' the air of an honest woman's
room wid yer prisince!"
Teddy rose, and was leaving the room without a word, but at the door
turned back; looked long and wistfully at his mother, who had turned
away, and affected not to see him; then slowly said,--
"Good-by, mother! It's worse nor you can I'm feeling. Good-by! If
ever I come to any good, I'll let you know; and, if I don't, you're
shut of me for always."
The mother made no answer; and Teddy, lingering one moment on the
threshold to turn his sad eyes for the last time upon the familiar
objects that had surrounded him since childhood, went out, and down
In the street he paused a moment, looking up and down, wondering
where he should first go, and how food and shelter for the coming
night were to be obtained. The question yet unsolved, he was walking
slowly on; when a voice far overhead called,--
"Teddy!-Teddy Ginniss! Come here, I say!"
It was his mother's voice; and, as he looked up, it was his mother's
face and hand summoning him.
In the same forlorn, stunned way that he had come down, Teddy
climbed the stairs again, feeling as if his feet were shod with
lead, or the terrible weight at his heart was too heavy to be
carried a step farther.
He pushed open the door of his mother's room, but never looked up or
spoke, although he knew she stood close behind it. But, indeed,
there could have been no time, had the boy wished to speak; for
already his mother's arms were around his neck, and her head upon
his stout shoulder, while the passionate tears fell like rain upon
"Ochone, ochone! An' it's me own an' only b'y yees are, an' must be,
Teddy darlint; an' it's mesilf that 'ud be worse nor a haythin to
turn yees inter the strate, so long as it's a roof an' a bit I have
left for yees. An' sure, if ye've gone astray, it's the heart uv
yees that's bruck wid frettin' afther it; an' there's a many as has
done wuss, and niver a hape it harmed 'em here nor hereafter. An',
if Michael wor here the day, it's himself 'ud say to pass it by; an'
it wor little I should be plazin' his blissid sowl to turn yees off
for one fault. Kiss yer owld mother, honey, an' be her own b'y
"Thank you, mother," said Teddy, still in the strange, low voice he
had used before; and, putting his arms round her neck, he met and
returned her hearty kiss, and then, without another word, went and
shut himself into the little loft he called his own, and was seen no
more that night.
MR. BURROUGHS'S BUSINESS.
It was the afternoon of Thursday, Aug. 25: and Dora, sitting beside
the bed where her little charge lay sleeping heavily, heard the
rattle of wheels, and, peeping from the window, saw Karl jumping
from the wagon, followed more slowly by a tall, handsome young
gentleman, whom she concluded to be Mr. Burroughs; her cousin having
gone to meet him at the railway-station, seven miles away.
"He's good-looking enough for a colonel," thought Dora, and then
started back, coloring a little; for Mr. Burroughs, in entering the
house, had glanced up, and caught her eye. The next minute, Kitty
darted into the room from her own chamber.
"They've come! Did you see him? Isn't he a real beauty? I do love a
tall man!-He's as tall as Mr. Brown, and his whiskers are ever so
much prettier; but, then, Mr. Brown's a minister. My! How nice you
look, Dora! Go right down, and I'll stay with little Molly."
Dora glanced involuntarily at the mirror, and caught the reflection
of a bright face, surrounded by heavy chestnut curls, and lighted
with clear hazel eyes, and flashing teeth, a head of queenly shape
and poise, and a firm, graceful figure, well set off by its white
dress, black bodice, and scarlet ribbons,--a charming picture, with
the quaintly decorated chamber for background, and the heavy black
frame of the old mirror for setting: and a brighter color washed
into the young girl's cheek as she recognized the fact; but she only
"Why do you call her Molly, Kitty?"
"Oh! just a fancy name. We must call her something, and can't find
out her right name."
"She called it Sunshine," said Dora, bending to kiss the pale little
face upon the pillow as she passed.
"Moonshine, more like," replied Kitty. "She didn't mean it for a
name, of course. You didn't understand. But come: your beau is
"Don't, Kitty, please!"
"I might as well begin. Every man is a beau that comes near you. I
never saw such luck!"
Dora opened her lips, closed them tightly, and left the room. The
next moment she stood in the low doorway of the parlor, bowing
gravely, but not shyly, to the stately gentleman, whose head grazed
the great white beam in the ceiling as he came forward to meet her.
"Miss Darling, I presume," said he.
"Yes, sir; I am Dora Darling: and you are Mr. Burroughs; are you
"At your service," said the gentleman, bowing again; and, handing
Dora a chair, he took another for himself.
"Won't you have some water, or a glass of milk, after your drive,
Mr. Burroughs?" asked Dora with anxious hospitality; and, as the
gentleman confessed to an inclination for some water, she tripped
away, and presently returned with a tumbler, which Mr. Burroughs
very willingly took from her slender fingers instead of a salver.
"You know I was a vivandiŠre, sir," said Dora, smiling frankly; "and
I always think of people being thirsty and tired when they come in
Mr. Burroughs smiled, too, as he handed back the empty glass.
"I wish we had all turned our army experiences to as good account,"
"Were you in the army?" asked Dora with sudden animation.
"Yes: I was lieutenant in the Massachusetts Sixth, and went through
Baltimore with them," said Burroughs, tightening himself a little as
the associations of military drill came back upon him.
"Oh! were you there? Wasn't it glorious to be the very first?"
exclaimed Dora; and, with no further preamble, the two plunged into
a series of army reminiscences and gossip, that kept them busy until
Karl entered the room, saying,--
"Well, Dora, what do you think of Mr. Burroughs's news?"
"She has not heard it yet," said Mr. Burroughs, laughing a little.
"We have been so busy talking over our army experiences, that we
have not come to business."
"I am glad you have not; for I want to see how Dora will take it:
but you will be grieved, as well as pleased, little girl."
"Yes," pursued Mr. Burroughs. "I am sorry to inform Miss Dora, that
your friend Col. Blank is dead."
"Oh, Col. Blank dead!" exclaimed Dora, while a sudden shadow fell
upon her bright face.
"I am very, very sorry," continued she. "Mr. Brown went to see him
two months ago, and he was quite well then."
"Yes: this was rather a sudden illness; a fever, I believe. They
tell me, that, since his wife died, he has never been very well, and
at last was only ill three weeks."
"I am so sorry!" said Dora again. "He was very kind to me always."
"And no doubt died with feelings of affection and confidence for
you, Miss, Dora; since he has made you his heir."
"Me!" exclaimed the young girl in a tone more of fright than of
"Yes; and, although the property is not of any great available value
at present, I think, if properly managed, it may, in the future,
become something very handsome," said the lawyer.
"But I am so sorry Col. Blank is dead! Why, on Cheat Mountain, he
seemed so strong and well! He was never tired on the marches, and
hardly ever rode, but walked at the head of the column so straight
The two men glanced at each other, then at her, and gravely smiled.
The regret was so unaffected, so unselfish, and so unworldly, that
each, after his own fashion, admired and marvelled at it. Mr.
Burroughs was the first to speak; and, drawing a packet of papers
from his pocket, he spread before Dora's sorrowful eyes a copy of
Col. Blank's will, a plan of the estate bequeathed by it to her, and
an official letter from Mr. Ferrars, the principal executor. This
Mr. Ferrars, the lawyer informed his young client, was a personal
friend of his own, and had placed the matter in his hands, thinking
that the news might be more satisfactorily arranged by an interview
than by correspondence.
"And, as I was coming East at the time, I could very conveniently
call to see you on my way home," concluded Mr. Burroughs.
"Thank you, sir," said Dora meekly; and then, rather sadly, but very
patiently, listened while the lawyer described the property she had
inherited, and indicated the best course to pursue with regard to
"You will perceive, Miss Dora, that the bulk of the estate consists
of this large tract of territory in Iowa, containing a great deal of
valuable timber, a hundred or so common-sized farms of superb soil,
and prairie-land enough to graze all the herds of the West.
"Col. Blank had just invested all his property, except the estate in
Cincinnati, in the purchase of this tract, and was about to remove
thither, when Mrs. Blank died; and, as I said, he never seemed quite
himself after that event, and took no further steps toward
emigration. The house in Cincinnati might sell, Mr. Ferrars thought,
for three or four thousand dollars; enough, you see, to make a
beginning at 'Outpost,' as the colonel called it."
"Did he name the Iowa farm Outpost?" asked Dora rather eagerly.
"Yes: you see the name is written on this map of the estate."
"Then we will call it so; won't we, Karl?"
"But you don't advise my cousin to emigrate to the backwoods, do
you, Mr. Burroughs?" asked Karl disapprovingly.
"It is the only method of reaping any immediate benefit from her
inheritance," said the lawyer. "The territory is valuable, very; but
would not sell to-day for anything like the price paid by Col.
Blank, who fancied its situation, and intended to live there. The
only way to get back the money is to hold the land until better
times, or until emigration reaches the Des Moines more freely than
it has yet done."
"I shall certainly go there and live," said Dora with quiet
"You have decided?" asked Mr. Burroughs, looking into her face, and
"Quite," said Dora.
Karl looked too, saw the firm line of the young girl's rosy lips,
and slightly raised his eyebrows.
"It is settled," said he with comic resignation.
Dora returned his gaze wistfully. She could not, in presence of a
stranger, say what was in her heart: but she longed to let him know
that this prospect of independence, of making a home of her own, of
assuming duties and pursuits of her own, was such a prospect as no
friend could wish her to forego; was the full and only cure for the
bitterness of heart she had been unable to conceal from him upon the
previous evening,--a bitterness so foreign to the sweet and noble
nature of the young girl, that it had affected her cousin's mind
with a sort of terror.
Something of all she meant must have stood visibly in the clear eyes
Dora now fixed upon Karl; for, in meeting that gaze, the young man
changed color, and said hastily,--
"But if you will be happier, Dora; if you are not contented here-It
is a humdrum sort of life, I know."
"Oh, no! not that; but I want to be doing something. I mean
something almost more than I can do, not ever so much less. I like
to feel as if I must use every bit of strength and courage I have,
and then I always find more than I thought I had."
Mr. Burroughs looked sharply at the young girl who made this
ungirlish avowal. Was this utter simplicity? or was it an ingenious
affectation? Was Dora Darling one of the noblest, or one of the most
crafty, of womankind?
Tom Burroughs was a man of the world and of society, and flattered
himself that neither man nor woman had art deeper than his
penetration; but as he rapidly scanned the broad brow, clear,
level-glancing eyes, firm, sweet mouth, queenly head, and mien of
innocent self-confidence, he asked himself again,--
"Is it the perfection of art, or can it be the perfection of
But Karl was saying rather gloomily,--
"And what is to become of us, Dora?"
"Kitty and you?" asked Dora, open-eyed. "Why, of course, you are to
come too! Did you suppose I wanted to leave you? Of course, it is
your home and mine, just as this house has been: we are all one
family, you know."
"To be sure. Well, I fancy there will be something for me to do on
your Outpost farm. You must make me overseer."
"No: you shall be confidential adviser; but I am going to oversee
every thing myself, and you must go on with your medical studies."
"You are going to become practical farmer, then?" asked Mr.
Burroughs, raising his eyebrows never so slightly.
"Yes, sir; not to really work with my own hands out of doors, you
know, but to see to every thing. At first, I shan't understand much
about it, I suppose; but I shall learn, and I shall be so happy!"
"And how soon will you be ready to go?" asked Mr. Burroughs.
Dora considered for a moment, "To-day is Thursday. I think we might
start Monday morning; couldn't we, Karl?"
"And meantime sell this place and furniture?" asked Mr. Windsor,
"Not sell, but let the place. There is Jacob Minot would be glad to
hire it, and a good tenant too. As for the furniture, we had better
carry it with us. Shall we have to build a house when we get there,
"Yes. Col. Blank had selected a site, and made some little
beginning: I believe nothing more than having the land cleared and a
cellar dug, however. You will begin with a log-cabin; shall you
"Yes: I suppose so. Well, Karl, mightn't we start on Monday?"
"Not in heavy marching order, I am afraid; but very soon, if you are
"Yes, quite; but what will Kitty think?" asked Dora suddenly.
"Oh! I think she will like it. Here she comes, and we can ask her."
The crisp rustle of muslin skirts swept down the stairs; and Mr.
Burroughs, turning his head, saw standing in the doorway a tall,
handsome brunette, with masses of black hair rolled away from a low
forehead, glancing black eyes, and ripe lips, showing just now the
sparkle of white teeth between, as the young lady half waited for an
introduction before entering.
"Mr. Burroughs, Kitty; my sister, sir," said Karl, rising, and
handing a chair to Kitty, who, with rather too wide a sweep of her
bright muslin skirts, seated herself, and said, half laughing,--
"I suppose you are through with your secrets by this time?"
"We were just wanting to tell you the new plan, and see how you will
like it," said Dora quickly; for she felt an involuntary dread lest
Kitty should, in presence of this courteous stranger, say something
to do herself discredit.
MAN VERSUS DOG.
Mr. Burroughs staid to tea, and, while it was being prepared,
strolled with Karl about the little farm; looked at the Alderney
cow, the Suffolk pigs, the span of Morgan horses named Pope and
Pagan; quietly sounded the depths of Capt. Karl's open and joyous
nature, and made him talk of his cousin Dora, and reveal his love
and his hopes regarding her.
"They will marry out there, and she will manage him, and make him
very happy," thought Mr. Burroughs, returning toward the farmhouse,
and admiring the long slope of the mossy roof, and the clinging
masses of woodbine creeping to the ridge-pole.
"You won't make so picturesque a thing of your new home for several
years to come, if ever, Mr. Windsor," added he aloud.
"No, I suppose not; but the genius of our people is more for
beginning than ending, and this old place was built by my
grandfather," said the young man.
"An excellent and most American reason for deserting it," said Mr.
Burroughs gravely; "and, if you are thinking of selling, I should
like the opportunity of becoming purchaser. This sort of thing is
going out of the market, and I should like to secure a specimen
before it is too late. It is same as a picture, except that it is
stationary, and one must come to it instead of carrying it away in
"I think we may like to sell; but I must consult my sister and
cousin first," said Karl rather gravely: for, after all, he did not
just like the tone assumed by this fine city gentleman in speaking
of the place that had been a home to Karl and his ancestors for more
than a century. The quick tact of the lawyer perceived the slight
wound he had given, and repaired it by carelessly saying,--
"And, besides the beauty of the place, I should be proud possessing
any thing that had belonged to a grandfather. My family has been so
migratory, that I can hardly say I had a grandfather or not:
certainly I have not the remotest idea where he lived."
Capt. Karl laughed.
"Our family has been settled here since the days of the Pilgrims"
said he; "and Kitty could show you a family chart, as large as a
table-cloth, of which she is mightily proud, although I never could
see any particular benefit it has been to us."
"And Miss Dora-is she fond of recalling her ancestors and their
fame? or is she satisfied with her own?" asked Mr. Burroughs.
"I don't believe it ever occurred to her that either she or they
deserved any," said Karl, laughing. "You never knew a creature so
entirely simple and self-forgetful in your life, and yet of so wide
and noble a nature. She is never so happy as in doing good to other
"But likes to do it in her own way?" suggested the lawyer
"Likes to do it in the best way, and her own way is sure to be
that," replied Karl somewhat decidedly; and Mr. Burroughs smiled and
In the, doorway, under the swinging branch of the tall sweetbrier,
suddenly appeared Kitty, her brown face becoming flushed, and the
buttons of her under-sleeves not yet adjusted.
"Tea is ready; will you please to walk in, Mr. Burroughs?" said she:
and the guest followed, well pleased, to the wide, cool kitchen,
with its white, scoured floor, its vine-shaded windows and open door
giving a view of broad meadow-lands, with a brook curling crisply
through them, and a dark pine-wood beyond. In the centre stood the
neat tea-table, with its country dainties of rich cream, yellow
butter, custards, ripe peaches sliced and served with sugar,
buttermilk-biscuit, and the fresh sponge-cake, on which Kitty justly
"You see we are plain country-folks, and eat in the kitchen, Mr.
Burroughs," said she, with a little laugh, as they seated
"Is this room called a kitchen? You amuse yourself by jesting with
my ignorance," said Mr. Burroughs, looking about him with affected
simplicity. "If ever I should live here, I would call this the
refreshing-room; for I can imagine nothing more soothing to eyes
weary of a summer sun than these vine-covered windows, and the cool
greens of that meadow and the pine-forest beyond."
Kitty smiled a little vaguely, half inclined to insist upon the
kitchen-side of the question; when Karl asked, in a disappointed
"Where is Dora? Isn't she coming?"
"Not yet. Molly waked up, and Dora is giving her some supper. She
said she would come as soon as she had done. You didn't know, Mr.
Burroughs, that Dora has an adopted child, did you?"
"No, indeed. She is young to undertake such responsibility," said
Mr. Burroughs a little curiously.
"This is a little foreigner too, that Dora picked up in the road. No
one knows who she may be, or what dreadful people may come after her
any day. Dora is so queer!"
"Will you have a biscuit, Kitty? Mr. Burroughs, let me give you some
of this peach? We shall be sorry to leave our peach-orchard behind
in going to the West. I suppose, however, one can soon be started
And Karl, determined not to allow Kitty the chance of making any of
her spiteful little speeches about Dora in presence of the visitor,
kept the conversation upon purely impersonal topics, until they rose
from table, and the two gentlemen strolled out upon the porch at the
western door; while Kitty ran up to call Dora, whom she found
sitting beside the bed, with Sunshine's head lying upon her arm.
"Isn't she asleep?" whispered Kitty.
The child half opened her eyes, and murmured drowsily,--
"I want to ride on the elephant. It's my little wife."
"What did she say, Dora?"
"Hush! She is out of her head, I think. She has been saying I was
her little wife," whispered Dora.
"Well, that's English, anyway," replied Kitty, staring at the child.
"What do you suppose she is?"
"I don't know. There, pet, there! Hus-h!" As she spoke, Dora
carefully withdrew her arm from under the little head, where, in the
August night, the hair clung in moist golden spirals, and a soft dew
stood upon the white forehead.
"I'll stay and fan her for a while longer, she looks so warm,"
"No, no! come down and eat your supper, and help clear away. Charley
asked Mr. Burroughs to stay all night, and I guess he will. Isn't he
real splendid? Come down, and talk about him."
Sunshine slept soundly; and Dora, half reluctantly, suffered herself
to be led away by her cousin, closing the door softly behind her,
and leaving the little child to dreams of a home so far away, and
yet so near; of a vanished past, that, even in this moment,
stretched a detaining hand from out the darkness, groping for her
own; of human love immortal as heaven, and yet, for the moment, less
trustworthy than the instinct of the brutes: for if Mr. Thomas
Burroughs, instead of being a highly cultivated and intellectual
man, had been a dog of only average intelligence, 'Toinette Legrange
would already have been discovered and, before another sunset, the
slow agony devouring her mother's heart would have been relieved.
But to each of us our gifts; and Mr. Burroughs, never suspecting how
deficient were his own, strolled with his host beneath the trees,
until the appearance of the young ladies upon the porch; when he
joined them, and resumed his conversation with Dora. From army
matters, the talk soon wandered to the new prospects of Col. Blank's
heiress; and Mr. Burroughs found himself first amused, then animated
and interested, quite beyond his wont, in the young girl's plans and
It was late when the party separated; and as the guest closed the
door of the rosy-room, and cast an admiring glance over its neat
appointments, he muttered to himself,--
"What a bright, fresh little room! and what a brighter, fresher
little girl!-as different from thy city friends, Tom Burroughs, as
the cream she pours is from the chalky composition of the hotels.
Thou dost half persuade me to turn Hoosier, and help thee convert
the wilderness to a blooming garden, O darlingest of Darlings!"
And as the young man, with a half-smile upon his lips, set sail for
the vague and beautiful shores of Dreamland, a bright, sweet face
lighted by two earnest eyes, seemed to herald him the way, and join
itself to all his fairest fancies.
MRS. GINNISS HAS A VISITOR.
HEAVILY went the days in the lowly home of Mrs. Ginniss and her son.
Teddy sought early and late for employment, disdaining nothing,
however humble, whereby he might earn a few cents, and working as
diligently at street-sweeping, dust-gathering, errand-running, or
horse-holding, as he had ever done in the way of gaining an
education under the kind tuition of his late master.
Every night he brought home some small sum, and silently placed it
in his mother's hand; nor, though she urged it, would he retain a
penny for himself, or indulge in any of the small luxuries he had in
former days enjoyed so much.
"Go buy a wather-million, honey, or get an ice-crame; sure it's
nothin' at all ye're atin'," the fond mother would say: but Teddy
always shook his head, or, if the matter were urged, took his cap
and went out, always with the weary step that had become habitual to
him, and returned no more until bedtime.
"It's frettin' himsilf to his grave the crather is," said poor Mrs.
Ginniss, and tried in many a motherly way to make home pleasant to
her boy, and to re-awaken the ambition that seemed quite dead in his
heart. No more reading aloud now, of which he had been so fond; no
more recitals of interesting or humorous scenes in office or street;
no more wise opinions upon public events: all the boy's boyish
conceit and self-esteem, germs in a strong character of worthy self--
respect, seemed crushed out of him. Patient, humble, silent, one
could hardly recognize in this Teddy Ginniss that other Teddy, whose
cheery voice, frequent laugh, positive opinions and wishes, and
good-humored self-satisfaction, had been the leading features of his
Poor Mrs. Ginniss longed to be contradicted or instructed or laughed
at once more, and fought against her son's submissive respect as
another mother might have done against disobedience or insolence.
"Can't ye be mad nor yet be merry at nothin', Teddy?" asked she
impatiently one day.
"I'm thinking I'll never be merry again, mother," said Teddy sadly,
as he left the room.
It was in the afternoon of the same day, that Mrs. Ginniss, sitting
at her sewing in melancholy mood enough, heard a little tap at her
door, and, opening it, found upon the threshold a lady, elegant in
her simple dress of gray, who asked,--
"Are you Mrs. Ginniss?"
"Yes, ma'am; I'm that same," said the laundress, staring strangely
at the lovely face framed in a shower of feathery golden ringlets,
and lighted by large violet eyes as sad as they were sweet.
"Will ye be plazed to walk in, ma'am?" continued she. "It's but a
poor place for the likes uv yees."
The lady made no reply, but, gliding into the room, stood for a
moment looking about it, and then turning to the Irish woman, who
still regarded her in the same awestruck manner, said piteously,--
"I am her mother!"
"Sure an' I knowed it the minute I sot eyes on ye; for it's the same
swate face, an' eyes that's worse nor cryin, ye've got; an' the same
way of a born lady, so quite an' so grand. Och! it wor a purty
darlint, it wor; an' it's me own heart that's sore for her the day,
forbye your'n that's her borned mother; and, if it wor my own life
that 'ud fetch her back to yees"--
But here the long breath on which Mrs. Ginniss had started came to
an end, and with it the impulse of consolation and self-defence that
had so far sustained her; and with a wild cry of "Wurra, wurra! och
the black day that's in it!" she sank upon a chair, and buried her
head in her apron, sobbing loudly.
The visitor, hardly regarding her, still stood in the centre of the
little room, her sad eyes wandering over its humble furniture and
adornments as if each one were a relic.
"Are there some little things of hers, clothes or playthings or
books,--any thing she touched or loved?" asked she presently in a
Mrs. Ginniss, still crying, rose, and opened a drawer in the pine
bureau, which, with a looking-glass and some vases of blue china
upon it, stood as the ornamental piece of furniture of the place.
"Here they bees, ivery one uv 'em, and poor enough for her, an' yit
the bist we could git," said she.
More as a bird, long restrained and suddenly set free, would dart
toward the tree where nest and young awaited it, than in the
ordinary mode of human movement, the mother, so long hungering for
smallest tidings of her child, darted upon this sudden mine of
wealth, and, bending low, seemed to caress each object with her eyes
before touching it. Then tearing off her gloves, she laid her white
fingers softly upon the coarse garments, the broken toys, the few
worn books, and bits of paper covered with pencil-marks, the strip
of gay patchwork with the needle still sticking in it, and the
little brass thimble upon it.
At one end of the drawer stood a little pair of slippers, with some
slightly soiled white stockings rolled up and laid within them. At
sight of these, a low cry-it might have been of pain, it might have
been of joy-crept from between the pale lips of the mother; and,
reverently lifting the little shoes, she kissed them again and
again, in an eager, longing fashion, as one might kiss the lips of a
dying child whom human love may yet recall to human life.
"Thim's the little shlippers that Teddy saved his bit uv
spinding-money till he could buy for her, bekase he said the fut uv
her wor too purty to put in sich sthrong shoe's as I'd got; and thin
it was mesilf that saved the white little shtockings out uv me tay
an' sugar; an' it's like a little fairy (save me for spakin' the
word) that she lucked in 'em."
Pressing the little shoes close to her bosom with both hands, the
mother turned those mournful eyes upon the speaker, listening to
every word, and, at the end, said eagerly,--
"Tell me some more! Tell me every thing she said and did! Oh! was
The word had grown so strange upon her lips and in her heart, that,
as she said it, all the tense chords, so long attuned to grief,
thrilled with a sharp discord; and, turning yet paler than before,
she sank upon a chair, and, leaning her forehead on the edge of the
open drawer, wept such tears as, pray God, happy mothers, you and I
may never weep.
"O my baby, my baby! O my little child!" moaned she again and again,
until the tender heart of the Irish woman could endure no longer;
and, coming to the side of her guest, she knelt beside her, and put
her arms about the slender figure that shook with every sob, and
drew the bright head to rest upon her own shoulder.
"O ye poor darlint! ye poor, young crather, that's got the black
sorrer atin' inter yer heart, all the same as if ye wor owld an'
mane an' oogly, like mesilf!-it's none but Him aboov as kin comfort
yees. Blissid Vargin, as was a moother yersilf, an' knowed a
moother's pains an' a moother's love, an' all the ins an' outs uv a
moother's heart, luck down on this young moother an' help her, an'
spake to thim as can help her betther nor yees, an' give back her
child; bekase ye mind the time yer own Howly Child wor lost, an' ye
sought him sorrerin'; an' ye mind the joy an' the comfort that wor
in it whin he was foun'. Och Mother of Jasus! hear us this day, if
As the passionate prayer ended, the lady raised her head, and kissed
the tear-stained cheek of the petitioner.
"Thank you," said she. "I know that you were good to her, and that
she loved you; but, oh! did she forget me so soon?"
Alas poor human heart whose purest impulses are tinged with
selfishness! You who have lost your nearest and dearest, can you say
from your inmost soul that you would be content to know yourself and
all of earth forgotten, or that it is sorrow to you to fancy that a
lingering memory, a faint regret for the love you so lavished,
stains the perfection of heavenly bliss?
Tact is not a matter of breeding; and Chesterfield or Machiavelli
could have found no better answer than that of Mrs. Ginniss:--
"Sure, honey, it wor alluz she remembered yees, an' longed for yees;
though the little crather wor that yoong, an' the faver had so poot
her about, that she didn' know what it wor she wanted nor missed;
but it wor 'mother' as wor writ in the blue eyes uv her as plain as
"And was she very, very sick?" asked the sad voice again.
"The sickest crather that iver coom back from hivin's gate," replied
the other; and then, seating herself beside her visitor, she began
at the beginning, and gave a long detail of the circumstances
attending Cherry's first appearance in the garret, and her
subsequent illness and convalescence. Then came the story of her
acquaintance with Giovanni; her passion for dancing and singing with
him; and finally their flight, and the consternation and sorrow of
her adopted mother.
Mrs. Legrange listened to every thing with the most profound
attention, asking now and then a question, or uttering an
exclamation; even smiling faintly at mention of the child's graceful
dancing and sweet voice in singing.
"Yes, she had an extraordinary ear for music," murmured she; "and to
think of her remembering being called Cerito!"
Nor did the mother fail to notice how the whole coarse fabric of the
Irish woman's story was embroidered with a golden thread of love and
admiration, and even reverence, for the exquisite little creature
she had cherished and cared for so tenderly.
"Yes, you loved her; and I love you for it, and will always be your
friend. But Teddy?" asked she at last; for Mrs. Ginniss, through the
whole story, had carefully avoided all mention of her son, except in
the most casual and general fashion. Now, however, she boldly
"An' its mesilf loved the purty crather well; but my love kim no
nearer the love the b'y had for her than the light of a taller
candle does to the sun in hiven. He loved her that sthrong, that it
med him do a mane thing in kapin' her whin he knowed who she wor;
but sure it's betther ter sin fer love than ter sin fer sin's sake."
Mrs. Legrange smiled sadly. To her it had seemed, from the first,
small matter of surprise, however great of regret, that Teddy should
have found 'Toinette's attractions irresistible; or that, having
once appropriated her as his little sister, he should have found it
almost impossible to relinquish her.
She had not, therefore, shared at all in the indignation of her
cousin and husband toward the boy, and had even solicited the former
to retain him in his employ. But Mr. Burroughs, kind, generous, and
forbearing as he was, cherished implacable ideas of integrity and
honor, and never forgave an offence against either, whether in
friend or servant; so that his cousin had finally withdrawn her
request, asking, instead, that he should conduct her to Mrs.
Ginniss's dwelling, and leave the rest to her. This the young man
had consented to do; and, as Mrs. Legrange would not allow him to
wait for her, he had privately instructed James to do so, and had
not left the outer door until he saw that faithful servitor upon
Just what were her own intentions with regard to Teddy, or his
mother, Mrs. Legrange did not herself know; and, once arrived in the
room where 'Toinette had lived out the weary months since her loss,
all other ideas had faded and disappeared before the memories there
confronting her. Now, however, the sweet and generous nature of the
woman re-asserted itself, and she kindly said,--
"Yes: I see how great Teddy's temptation was, and I cannot wonder
that he yielded to it. Any one would have found it hard to part with
'Toinette; and he, poor boy! could not know how I was suffering. It
would have been different if you had known who she was."
"Indade an' it would. One moother can fale fer another; but these
childhren hasn't the sinse till they gits the sorrer. Small fear
that Teddy'll iver go asthray agin from light-heartedness."
"Does he feel very sorry, then?" asked Mrs. Legrange timidly.
"Sorry isn't the word, ma'am. It's his own heart as he consumes day
an' night," said Mrs. Ginniss gloomily.
"Because she is lost, or because he kept her in the first place?"
asked the lady.
"It's hard tellin', an' he niver spakin' whin he can help it; but I
belave it's all together. He wor sich a bowld b'y, an' so sthrong
for risin' in the world; an' wor alluz sayin' as he'd be a gintleman
afore he died, an' readin' his bit books and writins, an' tillin' me
about the way the counthry wor goin'; an', right or wrong, it's he
wor ready to guide the whole of 'em. An', sure, it wor wondherful to
see the sinse that wor in him when he get spakin' of thim things;
an' one day, whin I said to him,--
"'Sure, Teddy, an', if it's one or tither of 'em is Prisident, what
differ'll it make to us?' An' he says, says he, 'Whist, moother! fer
one day, mabbe, it's I'll be the Prisident mesilf; an' what way 'ud
that be fer me moother to be talkin'?'
"But now it's no sich talk ye'll git out uv him, an' niver a laugh
nor a joke, nor the bit bowld ways he used to have wid him. An' och,
honey! if ye've lost yer purty darlint, it's I've lost me b'y that
wor as mooch to me; an' it's I'm the heavy-hearted woman, this' day
TEDDY FINDS A NEW PATRON.
TEDDY, dragging his heavy feet up the stairs in the stifling
September twilight, paused suddenly to listen to a murmur of voices
in his mother's room.
Some one was speaking; and the pure, clear tone sent a thrill
through his veins like the shock of an electric battery. No voice
but one had ever sounded like that to him; and, springing up the
remaining stairs, Teddy threw open the door of the chamber, and
looked eagerly about it.
The one for whom he looked was not there; but, instead, a lady,
whose fragile loveliness reminded him so strangely of the little
sister as she had looked in her long days of convalescence, that he
stood still, staring dumbly.
"An' where's yer manners, Teddy Ginniss? Couldn' ye see the lady
forenenst ye, widout starin' like a stuck pig?-It's dazed he is,
ma'am, wid seein' the likes uv yees in this poor place."
"Come here, Teddy; I am waiting to see you," said the lady. And
again the pure, silvery tones tingled along Teddy's nerves with a
sharp, sweet thrill.
"O ma'am! are you her mother?" cried he breathlessly.
"Yes, I am her mother, and have come to see you, who loved her so
well, and your good mother, who cared for her when she was
The sweet voice faltered, and Teddy broke in,--
"And you needn't be afraid to say the worst that can be said, ma'am.
I've said it all before; and you can't hate me worse than I hate
"Hate you, my poor boy? I only pity you; for I have heard, and can
see, how much you suffer. I cannot wonder that you should love her
so well; and, when you knew who she was, I dare say you were meaning
to restore her, so soon as you could bring yourself to it."
"Indeed I was, ma'am. I can take God to witness that I was," said
Teddy solemnly, his eyes brimming, and his face working with the
strong emotion he tried so hard to subdue.
"I am sure of it; and I love you more for the love you bore her than
I blame you for the fault that love led you into." She paused a
moment; and then the insatiate mother pride and love burst out,
"She was a lovely child, wasn't she, Teddy?" asked she with a
The boy's rough face lighted, as if by reflection from her own, as
"O ma'am! it's so good of you to let me talk about her! There was
never another like her in all the world, I believe. I used to take
her walking Sundays, and look at all the children we met (some of
them rich folks' children, and dressed all out in their best); but
there was never one could hold a candle to my little sister. Oh! and
I hope you'll forgive me that word, ma'am; for I know it's no
business I had ever to call her so, or think of her so; but I was so
proud of her!"
"I don't need to forgive you, Teddy. It shows how much you loved
her; and that is what I like to think best."
"But if you please, ma'am, will you tell me what is doing about
looking for her?" asked Teddy eagerly.
"Very little now," answered the lady sadly. "The police traced
Giovanni, the Italian organ-grinder, to the station, where he took
the cars for the West. At Springfield, a man answering to his
description, with a little girl, staid all night; and next day the
child danced-in the streets."
The mother's face grew deadly pale as she said the last words, and
she paused a moment. Teddy turned away his head, and Mrs. Ginniss
groaned aloud. Mrs. Legrange went on hurriedly:--
"Where they went afterwards is not yet discovered; but they are
looking everywhere. It seems so strange"--
She fell into a momentary revery, thinking, as she thought so many,
many times in every day, how hard and strange it seemed that no clew
could be found to her lost darling beyond the terrible day that saw
her dancing in the public streets,--an ignominy, that, to the lady's
sensitive mind, seemed almost equivalent to death.
Perhaps it would have been kinder had her husband and cousin told
her the worst they knew or suspected, and allowed her to mourn her
child as dead. The acute detective in whose hands the new clew had
been placed had not only traced the fugitives to Springfield, as
Mrs. Legrange had said, but had ascertained at what hour they left
the hotel for the railway-station. It was impossible, however, to
discover for what point the Italian had purchased tickets, as the
station-master had no recollection of him, and the baggage-master
was sure he had seen "no sich lot" as was described to him.
And, from Springfield, a man may take passage to almost any point in
the Union. One startling fact remained, and upon this fact the whole
report of the detective turned.
The train leaving Springfield for Albany upon the night when
Giovanni left that town, encountered, at a certain point, another
train, which, by some incomprehensible stupidity, was supposed to
have passed that point half an hour before.
Consequences as usual,--frightful loss of life; a game of give and
take in the newspapers, as to who should bear the blame, finally
resulting in a service of plate to one party, and a donation in
money to the other; several lawsuits brought by enterprising
widowers who demand consolation for the loss of their wives; by
other men, who, having skulked the draft, now found themselves minus
both legs and glory; by spinsters whose bandboxes had been crushed,
and by young ladies whose beauty had suffered damage from broken
noses and scattered teeth.
But, among all these sufferers, not one remembered seeing an Italian
organ-grinder with a little girl until, at the very last, a small
boy was found, who averred, that, on the morning after the disaster,
he had seen a sort of box, with a little creature chained to the top
of it, floating down the river; and that the little creature had
seemed very much scared, and kept laughing, and showing all his
teeth; and that they had gone on and out of sight. And that was all
he knew about it.
The river!-what use to question those dark and swollen waters? what
use to demand of them the bright form, that, it might be, slept
beneath them?-it might be, had been washed piecemeal to the ocean?
At the brink of that river, mournful and terrible as Styx, river of
the dead, ended, that night, the story of many a life; and why not
that of the child so strangely lost, so nearly recovered, and now,
perhaps, lost again forever?
"We have found her, I am afraid, Tom," said Mr. Legrange to his
cousin, as the detective closed his report, and his two hearers
looked at each other. "But," added the father, "keep on; keep every
engine at work; search everywhere; spend any amount of money that is
needful; leave no chance untried. Remember, the reward is always
ready." And, when they were alone, he added,--
"But, Tom, don't tell her. She can't bear it as we can. Poor little
Sunshine!" And, to show how well he bore it, the father hid his
face, and sobbed like a woman.
"No, I won't say any thing," said Tom Burroughs in a strange, choked
voice. And so we come back to Mrs. Legrange wistfully saying, "It
seems so strange"--
And then, with the patience of a woman, she put aside her own great
grief, and added,--
"But, Teddy, I am going to do something for you; and what shall it
be? You wish to be educated; do you not?"
"O ma'am! but I've give it up now."
Mrs. Legrange smiled at the sudden enthusiasm and the sudden blank
upon the boy's face, and answered, almost gayly,--
"But I have not given it up for you, Teddy.-By the way, Mrs.