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Title: Melbourne House
Author: Warner, Susan, 1819-1885
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Melbourne House" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



Warner, Susan, 1819-1885, Melbourne House, 1864, Ward Lock edition 1907.


MELBOURNE HOUSE


BY
ELIZABETH WETHERELL

AUTHOR OF "WIDE, WIDE WORLD."


"Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be
pure, and whether it be right." - _Prov. xx. 11_


LONDON

WARD LOCK AND C° LIMITED

1907


CONTENTS


CHAPTER I. DAISY'S QUESTION

CHAPTER II. THE PONY-CHAISE

CHAPTER III. THE BIRTHDAY

CHAPTER IV. THE HAM

CHAPTER V. STRAWBERRIES

CHAPTER VI. THE EPERGNE

CHAPTER VII. A SOLDIER

CHAPTER VIII. GEOGRAPHY

CHAPTER IX. AFTER TROUT

CHAPTER X. A FIELD OF BATTLE

CHAPTER XI. THE WOUNDED HAND

CHAPTER XII. THE HUNDRED DOLLARS

CHAPTER XIII. OBEDIENCE

CHAPTER XIV. SUNDAY EVENING

CHAPTER XV. SCHROEDER'S MOUNTAIN

CHAPTER XVI. JUANITA'S COTTAGE

CHAPTER XVII. THE LITTLE CONFESSOR

CHAPTER XVIII. WONDERFUL THINGS

CHAPTER XIX. THE DOCTOR

CHAPTER XX. SUN AND MOON

CHAPTER XXI. TEA AT HOME

CHAPTER XXII. BEING ROBBED

CHAPTER XXIII. THE MAP OF ENGLAND

CHAPTER XXIV. THE PICNIC PARTY

CHAPTER XXV. A SHOWER

CHAPTER XXVI. DAISY'S SUPPER

CHAPTER XXVII. RANSOM AND FIDO

CHAPTER XXVIII. MRS. GARY'S PRESENT

CHAPTER XXIX. THE ROSEBUSH

CHAPTER XXX. MOLLY'S GARDEN

CHAPTER XXXI. THE PICTURES

CHAPTER XXXII. THE BASKET OF SPONGE-CAKE

CHAPTER XXXIII. SATIN AND FEATHERS

CHAPTER XXXIV. CHARITY AND VANITY

CHAPTER XXXV. QUEEN ESTHER

CHAPTER XXXVI. TABLEAUX VIVANTS

CHAPTER XXXVII. AN ACCIDENT

CHAPTER XXXVIII. SOMETHING WRONG

CHAPTER XXXIX. BREAKING UP



CHAPTER I.

DAISY'S QUESTION.


A little girl was coming down a flight of stairs that led up
from a great hall, slowly letting her feet pause on each
stair, while the light touch of her hand on the rail guided
her. The very thoughtful little face seemed to be intent on
something out of the house, and when she reached the bottom,
she still stood with her hand on the great baluster that
rested on the marble there, and looked wistfully out of the
open door. So the sunlight came in and looked at her; a little
figure in a white frock and blue sash, with the hair cut short
all over a little round head, and a face not only just now
full of some grave concern, but with habitually thoughtful
eyes and a wise little mouth. She did not seem to see the
sunlight which poured all over her, and lit up a wide, deep
hall, floored with marble, and opening at the other end on
trees and flowers, which showed the sunlight busy there too.
The child lingered wistfully. Then crossed the hall, and went
into a matted, breezy, elegant room, where a lady lay
luxuriously on a couch, playing with a book and a leaf-cutter.
She could not be _busy_ with anything in that attitude. Nearly
all that was to be seen was a flow of lavender silk flounces,
a rich slipper at rest on a cushion, and a dainty little cap
with roses on a head too much at ease to rest. By the side of
the lavender silk stood the little white dress, still and
preoccupied as before — a few minutes without any notice.

"Do you want anything, Daisy?"

"Mamma, I want to know something."

"Well, what is it?"

"Mamma" — Daisy seemed to be engaged on a very puzzling
question — "what does it mean to be a Christian?"

"_What?_" said her mother, rousing herself up for the first
times to look at her.

"To be a Christian, mamma?"

"It means, to be baptised and go to church, and all that,"
said the lady, turning back to her book.

"But mamma, that isn't all I mean."

"I don't know what you mean. What has put it into your head?"

"Something Mr. Dinwiddie said."

"What absurd nonsense! Who is Mr. Dinwiddie?"

"You know him. He lives at Mrs. Sandford's."

"And where did he talk to you?"

"In the little school in the woods. In his Sunday-school.
Yesterday."

"Well, it's absurd nonsense, your going there. You have
nothing to do with such things. Mr. Randolph? —"

An inarticulate sound, testifying that he was attending, came
from a gentleman who had lounged in and was lounging through
the room.

"I won't have Daisy go to that Sunday-school any more, down
there in the woods. Just tell her she is not to do it, will
you? She is getting her head full of the most absurd nonsense.
Daisy is just the child to be ruined by it."

"You hear, Daisy," said Mr. Randolph, indolently, as he
lounged finally out of the room by an open window; which, as
did all the windows in the room, served for a door also. By
the door by which she had entered, Daisy silently withdrew
again, making no effort to change the resolution of either of
her parents. She knew it would be of no use; for excessively
indulgent as they both were in general, whenever they took it
upon them to exercise authority, it was unflinchingly done.
Her father would never even hear a supplication to reconsider
a judgment, especially if pronounced at the desire of her
mother. So Daisy knew.

It was a disappointment, greater than anybody thought or would
have guessed, that saw her. She went out to the large porch
before the door, and stood there, with the same thoughtful
look upon her face, a little cast down now. Still she did not
shed tears about the matter, unless one time when Daisy's hand
went up to her brow rather quick, it was to get rid of some
improper suggestion there. More did not appear, either before
or after the sudden crunching of the gravel by a pair of light
wheels, and the coming up of a little Shetland pony, drawing a
miniature chaise.

"Hollo, Daisy! come along; he goes splendidly!"

So shouted the driver, a boy somewhat bigger than Daisy.

"Where are you going?"

"Anywhere — down to the church, if you'll be quick. Never mind
your hat!"

He waited, however, while Daisy dashed into the house and out
again, and then stepped into the low chaise beside him. Then
the eager intimation was given to the pony, which set off as
if knowing that impatience was behind him. The smooth, wide,
gravelled road was as good and much better than a plank
flooring; the chaise rolled daintily on under the great trees;
the pony was not forgetful, yet ever and anon a touch of his
owner's whip came to remind him, and the fellow's little body
fairly wriggled from side to side in his efforts to get on.

"I wish you wouldn't whip him so." said Daisy, "he's doing as
well as he can."

"What do girls know about driving!" was the retort from the
small piece of masculine science beside her.

"Ask papa," said Daisy, quietly.

"Well, what do they know about horses, anyhow!"

"I can _see_," said Daisy, whose manner of speech was somewhat
slow and deliberate, and in the choice of words, like one who
had lived among grown people. "I can observe."

"See that, then!" — And a cut, smarter than ordinary, drove
the pony to his last legs, namely, a gallop. Away they went;
it was but a short-legged gallop after all; yet they passed
along swiftly over the smooth gravel road. Great, beautiful
trees overshadowed the ground on either side with their long
arms; and underneath, the turf was mown short, fresh and
green. Sometimes a flowering bush of some sort broke the
general green with a huge spot of white or red flowers;
gradually those became fewer, and were lost sight of; but the
beautiful grass and the trees seemed to be unending. Then a
gray rock here and there began to show itself. Pony got
through his gallop, and subsided again to a waddling trot.

"This whip's the real thing," said the young driver,
displaying and surveying it as he spoke; "that _is_ a whip now,
fit for a man to use."

"A man wouldn't use it as you do," said Daisy. "It is cruel."

"That's what _you_ think. I guess you'd see papa use a whip once
in a while."

"Besides, you came along too fast to see anything."

"Well, I told you I was going to the church, and we hadn't
time to go slowly. What did you come for?"

"I suppose I came for some diversion," said Daisy, with a
sigh.

"Ain't Loupe a splendid little fellow?"

"Very; I think so."

"Why, Daisy, what ails you? there is no fun in you to-day.
What's the matter?"

"I am concerned about something. There is nothing the matter."

"Concerned about Loupe, eh!"

"I am not thinking about Loupe. Oh, Ransom! stop him; there's
Nora Dinwiddie; I want to get out."

The place at which they were arrived had a little less the air
of carefully kept grounds, and more the look of a sweet wild
wood; for the trees clustered thicker in patches, and grey
rock, in large and in small quantities, was plenty about among
the trees. Yet still here was care; no unsightly underbrush or
rubbish of dead branches was anywhere to be seen; and the
greensward, where it spread, was shaven and soft as ever. It
spread on three sides around a little church, which, in green
and gray, seemed almost a part of its surroundings. A little
church, with a little quaint bell-tower and arched doorway,
built after some old, old model; it stood as quietly in the
green solitude of trees and rocks, as if it and they had grown
up together. It was almost so. The walls were of native
greystone in its natural roughness; all over the front and one
angle the American ivy climbed and waved, mounting to the
tower; while at the back, the closer clinging Irish ivy
covered the little "apse," and creeping round the corner, was
advancing to the windows, and promising to case the first one
in a loving frame of its own. It seemed that no carriage-road
came to this place, other than the dressed gravelled path
which the pony-chaise had travelled, and which made a circuit
on approaching the rear of the church. The worshippers must
come humbly on foot; and a wicket in front of the church led
out upon a path suited for such. Perhaps a public road might
be not far off, but at least here there was no promise of it.
In the edge of the thicket, at the side of the church, was the
girl whose appearance Daisy had hailed.

"I sha'n't wait for you," cried her brother, as she sprang
down.

"No — go — I don't want you," — and Daisy made few steps over
the greensward to the thicket. Then it was, "Oh, Nora! how do
you do? what are you doing?" — and "Oh, Daisy! I'm getting
wintergreens." Anybody who has ever been nine, or ten, or
eleven years old, and gone in the woods looking for
wintergreens, knows what followed. The eager plunging into the
thickest of the thicket; the happy search of every likely bank
or open ground in the shelter of some rock; the careless,
delicious straying from rock to rock, and whithersoever the
bank or the course of the thicket might lead them. The
wintergreens sweet under foot, sweet in the hands of the
children, the whole air full of sweetness. Naturally their
quest led them to the thicker and wilder grown part of the
wood; prettier there, they declared it to be, where the ground
became broken, and there were ups and downs, and rocky dells
and heights, and to turn a corner was to come upon something
new. They did not note nor care where they went, intent upon
business and pleasure together, till they came out suddenly
upon a little rocky height, where a small spot was shaded with
cedars and set with benches around and under them. The view
away off over the tops of the trees to other heights and hills
in the distance was winningly fair, especially as the sun
showed it just now in bright, cool light and shadow. It was
getting near sundown.

"Look where we are!" cried Nora, "at the Sunday-school!"

Daisy seated herself without answering.

"I think," went on Nora, as she followed the example, "it is
the very prettiest place for a Sunday-school that there ever
was."

"Have you been in other Sunday-schools?" asked Daisy.

"Yes, in two."

"What were they like?"

"Oh, they were in a church, or in some sort of a room. I like
being out-of-doors best; don't you?"

"Yes, I think so. But was the school just like this in other
things?"

"Oh, yes; only once I had a teacher who always asked us what
we thought about everything. I didn't like that."

"What you thought about everything?" said Daisy.

"Yes; every verse and question, she would say, 'What do you
think about it?' and I didn't like that, because I never
thought anything."

Whereat Daisy fell into a muse. Her question recurred to her;
but it was hardly likely, she felt, that her little companion
could enlighten her. Nora was a bright, lively, spirited
child, with black eyes and waves of beautiful black hair;
neither at rest; sportive energy and enjoyment in every
motion. Daisy was silent.

"What is supposed to be going on here?" said a stronger voice
behind them, which brought both their heads round. It was to
see another head just making its way up above the level of
their platform; a head that looked strong and spirited as the
voice had sounded; a head set with dark hair, and eyes that
were too full of light to let you see what colour they were.
Both children came to their feet, one saying, "Marmaduke!" the
other, "Mr. Dinwiddie!"

"What do two such mature people do when they get together? I
should like to know," said the young man as he reached the
top.

"Talking, sir," said Daisy.

"Picking wintergreens," said the other, in a breath.

"Talking! I dare say you do. If both things have gone on
together, like your answers," said he, helping himself out of
Nora's stock of wintergreens, — "you must have had a basket of
talk."

"_That_ basket isn't full, sir," said Daisy.

"My dear," said Mr. Dinwiddie, diving again into his sister's,
"that basket never is; there's a hole in it somewhere."

"You are making a hole in mine," said Nora, laughing. "You
sha'n't do it, Marmaduke; they're for old Mrs. Holt, you
know."

"Come along, then," said her brother; "as long as the baskets
are not full the fun isn't over."

And soon the children thought so. Such a scrambling to new
places as they had then; such a harvest of finest wintergreens
as they all gathered together; till Nora took off her sun-
bonnet to serve for a new basket. And such joyous, lively,
rambling talk as they had all three, too; it was twice as good
as they had before; or as Daisy, who was quiet in her
epithets, phrased it, "it was nice." By Mr. Dinwiddie's help
they could go faster and further than they could alone; he
could jump them up and down the rocks, and tell them where it
was no use to waste their tine in trying to go.

They had wandered, as it seemed to them, a long distance —
they knew not whither — when the children's exclamations
suddenly burst forth, as they came out upon the Sunday-school
place again. They were glad to sit down and rest. It was just
sundown, and the light was glistening, crisp and clear, on the
leaves of the trees and on the distant hill-points. In the
west a mass of glory that the eye could not bear was sinking
towards the horizon. The eye could not bear it, and yet every
eye turned that way.

"Can you see the sun?" said Mr. Dinwiddie.

"No, sir," — and "No, Marmaduke."

"Then why do you look at it?"

"I don't know!" laughed Nora; but Daisy said: "Because it is
so beautiful, Mr. Dinwiddie."

"Once when I was in Ireland," said the gentleman, "I was
looking, near sunset, at some curious old ruins. They were
near a very poor little village where I had to pass the night.
There had been a little chapel or church of some sort, but it
had crumbled away; only bits of the walls were standing, and
in place of the floor there was nothing but grass and weeds,
and one or two monuments that had been under shelter of the
roof. One of them was a large square tomb in the middle of the
place. It had been very handsome. The top of it had held two
statues, lying there with hands upraised in prayer, in memory
of those who slept beneath. But it was so very old — he
statues had been lying there so long since the roof that
sheltered them was gone, that they were worn away so that you
could only just see that they had been statues; you could just
make out the remains of what had been the heads and where the
hands had been. It was all rough and shapeless now."

"What had worn the stone so?" asked Daisy.

"The weather — the heat and the cold, and the rain, and the
dew."

"But it must have taken a great while?"

"A very great while. Their names were forgotten — nobody knew
whose monument or what church had been there."

"More than a hundred years?" asked Nora.

"It had been many hundred."

"Oh, Duke!"

"What's the matter? Don't you believe that people died many
hundred years ago?"

"Yes; but —"

"And they had monuments erected to them, and they thought
their names would live forever; but these names were long
gone, and the very stone over their grave was going. While I
sat there, thinking about them, and wondering what sort of
people they were in their lifetime, the sun, which had been
behind a tree, got lower, and the beams came striking across
the stone and brightening up those poor old worn heads and
hands of what had been statues. And with that the words rushed
into my head, and they have never got out since, — '_Then_ shall
the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their
Father.' "

"When, Mr. Dinwiddie?" said Daisy, after a timid silence.

"When the King comes!" said the young man, still looking off
to the glowing west, — "the time when He will put away out of
His kingdom all things that offend Him. You may read about it,
if you will, in the thirteenth chapter of Matthew, in the
parable of the tares."

He turned round to Daisy as he spoke, and the two looked
steadily into one another's faces; the child wondering very
much what feeling it could be that had called an additional
sparkle into those bright eyes the moment before, and brought
to the mouth, which was always in happy play, an expression of
happy rest. He, on his part, queried what lay under the
thoughtful, almost anxious, search of the little one's quiet
grey eyes.

"Do you know," he said, "that you must go home? The sun is
almost down."

So home they went — Mr. Dinwiddie and Nora taking care of
Daisy quite to the house. But it was long after sundown then.

"What has kept you?" her mother asked, as Daisy came in to the
tea-table.

"I didn't know how late it was, mamma."

"Where have you been?"

"I was picking wintergreens with Nora Dinwiddie."

"I hope you brought me some," said Mr. Randolph.

"Oh, I did, papa; only I have not put them in order yet."

"And where did you and Nora part?"

"Here, at the door, mamma."

"Was she alone?"

"No, ma'am — Mr. Dinwiddie found us in the wood, and he took
her home, and he brought me home first."

Daisy was somewhat of a diplomatist. Perhaps a little natural
reserve of character might have been the beginning of it, but
the habit had certainly grown from Daisy's experience of her
mother's somewhat capricious and erratic views of her
movements. She could not but find out that things which to her
father's sense were quite harmless and unobjectionable, were
invested with an unknown and unexpected character of danger or
disagreeableness in the eyes of her mother; neither could
Daisy get hold of any chain of reasoning by which she might
know beforehand what would meet her mother's favour and what
would not. The unconscious conclusion was, that reason had
little to do with it; and the consequence, that without being
untrue, Daisy had learned to be very uncommunicative; about
her thoughts, plans, or wishes. To her mother, that is; she
was more free with her father, though the habit, once a habit,
asserted itself everywhere. Perhaps, too, among causes, the
example of her mother's own elegant manner of showing truth
only as one shows a fine picture, — in the best light, — might
have had its effect. Daisy's diplomacy served her little on
the present occasion.

"Daisy!" said her mother, "look at me." Daisy fixed her eves
on the pleasant, handsome, mild face. "You are not to go
anywhere in future where Mr. Dinwiddie is. Do you understand?"

"If he finds you lost out at night, though," said Mr.
Randolph, a little humorously, "he may bring you home."

Daisy wondered and obeyed, mentally, in silence; making no
answer to either speaker. It was not her habit either to show
her dismay on such occasions, and she showed none. But when
she went up an hour later to be undressed for bed, instead of
letting the business go on, Daisy took a Bible and sat down by
the light and pored over a page that she had found.

The woman waiting on her, a sad-faced mulatto, middle-aged and
respectable- looking, went patiently round the room, doing or
seeming to do some trifles of business, then stood still and
looked at the child, who was intent on her book.

"Come, Miss Daisy," said she at last, "wouldn't you like to be
undressed?"

The words were said in a tone so low they were hardly more
than a suggestion. Daisy gave them no heed. The woman stood
with dressing gown on her arm and a look of habitual endurance
upon her face. It was a singular face, so set in its lines of
enforced patience, so unbending. The black eyes were bright
enough, but without the help of the least play of those fixed
lines, they expressed nothing. A little sigh came from the
lips at last, which also was plainly at home there.

"Miss Daisy, it's gettin' very late."

"June, did you ever read the parable of the tares?"

"The what, Miss Daisy?"

"The parable about the wheat and the tares in the Bible — in
the thirteenth chapter of Matthew?"

"Yes, ma'am," — came somewhat dry and unwillingly from June's
lips, and she moved the dressing-gown on her arm
significantly.

"Do you remember it?"

"Yes, ma'am, — I suppose I do, Miss Daisy —"

"June, when do you think it will be?"

"When will what, Miss Daisy?"

"When the 'Son of Man shall send forth His angels, and they
shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend and
them which do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of
fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall
the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their
Father.' It says, 'in the end of this world' — did you know
this world would come to an end, June?"

"Yes, Miss Daisy —"

"When will it be, June?"

"I don't know, Miss Daisy."

"There won't be anybody alive that is alive now, will there?"

Again unwillingly the answer came: "Yes, ma'am. Miss Daisy,
hadn't you better —"

"How do you know, June?"

"I have heard so — it's in the Bible — it will be when the
Lord comes."

"Do you like to think of it, June?"

The child's searching eyes were upon her. The woman half
laughed, half answered, and turning aside, broke down and
burst into tears.

"What's the matter, June?" said Daisy, coming nearer and
speaking awedly; for it was startling to see that stony face
give way to anything but its habitual formal smile. But the
woman recovered herself almost immediately, and answered as
usual: "It's nothing, Miss Daisy." She always spoke as if
everything about her was "nothing" to everybody else.

"But, June," said Daisy, tenderly, "why do you feel bad about
it?"

"I shouldn't, I s'pose," said the woman desperately, answering
because she was obliged to answer; "I hain't no right to feel
so — if I felt ready."

"How can one be ready, June? That is what I want to know.
Aren't you ready?"

"Do, don't, Miss Daisy! — the Lord have mercy upon us!" said
June under her breath, wrought up to great excitement, and
unable to bear the look of the child's soft grey eyes. "Why
don't ye ask your papa about them things? he can tell ye."

Alas, Daisy's lips were sealed. Not to father or mother would
she apply with any second question on this subject. And now
she must not ask Mr. Dinwiddie. She went to bed, turning the
matter all over and over in her little head.


CHAPTER II.

THE PONY-CHAISE.


For some days after this time, Mrs. Randolph fancied that her
little daughter was less lively than usual; she "moped," her
mother said. Daisy was not moping, but it was true she had
been little seen or heard; and then it was generally sitting
with a book in the Belvedere or on a bank under a rose-bush,
or going out or coming in with a book under her arm. Mrs.
Randolph did not know that this book was almost always the
Bible, and Daisy had taken a little pains that she should not
know, guessing somehow that it would not be good for her
studies. But her mother thought Daisy was drooping; and Daisy
had been a delicate child, and the doctor had told them to
turn her out in the country and "let her run;" therefore it
was that she was hardly ever checked in any fancy that came
into her head. But therefore it was partly, too, that Mrs.
Randolph tried to put books and thinking as far from her as
she could.

"Daisy," she said one morning at the breakfast-table, "would
you like to go with June and carry some nice things down to
Mrs. Parsons?"

"How, mamma?"

"How what? Do speak distinctly."

"How shall I go, I mean?"

"You may have the carriage. I cannot go, this morning or this
afternoon."

"Oh, papa, mayn't I take Loupe and drive there myself?"

If Daisy had put the question at the other end of the table,
there would have been an end of the business, as she knew. As
it was, her father's "yes" got out just before her mother's
"no."

"Yes she may," said Mr. Randolph — "no harm. John, tell Sam
that he is to take the black pony and go with the pony-chaise
whenever Miss Daisy drives. Daisy, see that he goes with you."

"Well," said Mrs. Randolph, "you may do as you like, but I
think it is a very unsafe proceeding. What's Sam? — he's a
boy."

"Safe enough," said Mr. Randolph. "I can trust all three of
the party; Daisy, Loupe, and Sam. They all know their
business, and they will all do it."

"Well! — I think it is very unsafe," repeated Mrs. Randolph.

"Mamma," said Daisy, when she had allowed a moment to pass —
"what shall I take to Mrs. Parsons?"

"You must go and see Joanna about that. You may make up
whatever you think will please her or do her good. Joanna will
tell you."

And Mrs. Randolph had the satisfaction of seeing that Daisy's
eyes were lively enough for the rest of breakfast-time, and
her colour perceptibly raised. No sooner was breakfast over
than she flew to the consultation in the housekeeper's room.

Joanna was the housekeeper, and Mrs. Randolph's right hand; a
jewel of skill and efficiency; and as fully satisfied with her
post and power in the world, at the head of Mr. Randolph's
household, as any throned emperor or diademed queen;
furthermore, devoted to her employers as though their concerns
had been, what indeed she reckoned them, her own.

"Mrs. Randolph didn't say anything to me about it," said this
piece of capability, — "but I suppose it isn't hard to manage.
Who is Mrs. Parsons? that's the first thing."

"She's a very poor old woman, Joanna; and she is obliged to
keep her bed always; there is something the matter with her.
She lives with a daughter of hers who takes care of her, I
believe; but they haven't much to live upon, and the daughter
isn't smart. Mrs. Parsons hasn't anything fit for her to eat,
unless somebody sends it to her."

"What's the matter with her? ain't she going to get well?"

"No, never — she will always be obliged to lie on her bed as
long as she lives; and so, you see, Joanna, she hasn't
appetite for coarse things."

"Humph!" said Joanna. "Custards won't give it to her. What
does the daughter live upon?"

"She does washing for people; but of course that don't give
her much. They are very poor, I know."

"Well, what would you like to take her, Miss Daisy?"

"Mother said you'd know."

"Well, I'll tell you what _I_ think — sweetmeats ain't good for
such folks. You wait till afternoon, and you shall have a pail
of nice broth, and a bowl of arrowroot with wine and sugar in
it; that'll hearten her up. Will that do?"

"But I should like to take something to the other poor woman,
too."

"How are you going?"

"In my pony-chaise — I can take anything."

Joanna muttered an ejaculation.

"Well then, Miss Daisy, a basket of cold meat wouldn't come
amiss, I suppose."

"And some bread, Joanna?"

"The chaise won't hold so much."

"It has got to hold the basket," said Daisy in much glee, "and
the bread can go in. And, Joanna, I'll have it ready at half-
past four o'clock."

There was no air of moping about Daisy, when, at half-past
four she set off from the house in her pony-chaise, laden with
pail and basket and all she had bargained for. A happier child
was seldom seen. Sam, a capable black boy, was behind her on a
pony not too large to shame her own diminutive equipage; and
Loupe, a good-sized Shetland pony, was very able for more than
his little mistress was going to ask of him. Her father looked
on, pleased, to see her departure; and when she had gathered
up her reins, leaned over her and gave her with his kiss a
little gold piece to go with the pail and basket. It crowned
Daisy's satisfaction; with a quiet glad look and word of
thanks to her father, she drove off.

The pony waddled along nicely, but as his legs were none of
the longest, their rate of travelling was not precisely of the
quickest. Daisy was not impatient. The afternoon was splendid,
the dust had been laid by late rains, and Daisy looked at her
pail and basket with great contentment. Before she had gone a
quarter of a mile from home, she met her little friend of the
wintergreens. Nora sprang across the road to the chaise.

"Oh, Daisy, where are you going?"

"I am going to carry some things for mamma, to a house."

"All alone?"

"No, Sam is there to take care of me."

Nora looked back at the black pony, and then at Daisy. "Isn't
it nice!" she said, with a sort of half-regretful admiration.

"It's as nice as a fairy tale," said Daisy. "I'm just as good
as a princess, you know, Nora. Don't you want to go, too? Do
come."

"No, I mustn't — there are people coming to tea — Mrs.
Linwood, and Charles and Jane — I wish I could go! How far is
it, Daisy?"

"About five miles. Down beyond Crum Elbow, a good nice way;
but I shan't go through Crum Elbow."

"It's so splendid!" sighed Nora. "Well, good-bye. I can't go."

On went the pony. The roads were good and pleasant, leading
through farm fields and here and there a bit of wood, but not
much. It was mostly open country, cultivated by farmers; and
the grain fields not yet ripe, and the grass fields not yet
mown, looked rich and fair and soft in bright colours to
Daisy's eyes, as the afternoon sun shone across them and tree
shadows lay long over the ground. For trees there were, a
great many, growing singly about the fields and fences, and
some of them very large and fine. Daisy was not so busy with
her driving but that she could use her eyes about other
things. Now and then she met a farm wagon, or a labourer going
along the road. The men looked at her curiously and
pleasantly, as if they thought it a pretty sight; but once
Daisy, passing a couple of men together, overheard one say to
the other —

"It's Randolph's folks — they stick themselves up
considerable."

The tone of the voice was gruff and coarse, and Daisy
marvelled much in her little mind what had displeased the man
in her or in "Randolph's folks." She determined to ask her
father. "Stick ourselves up?" said Daisy thoughtfully — "we
_never_ do!"

So she touched the pony, who was falling into a very leisurely
way of trotting, and in good time came to Mrs. Parsons' door.

Daisy went in. The daughter was busy at some ironing in the
outer room; she was a dull, lack-lustre creature, and though
she comprehended the gifts that had been brought her, seemed
hardly to have life enough to thank the donor. That wasn't
quite like a fairy tale, Daisy thought. No doubt this poor
woman must have things to eat, but there was not much fun in
bringing them to her. Daisy was inclined to wonder how she had
ever come to marry anybody with so lively a name as Lark. But
before she got away, Mrs. Lark asked Daisy to go in and see
her mother, and Daisy, not knowing how to refuse, went in as
requested.

What a change! Another poor room to be sure, very poor it
looked to Daisy; with its strip of rag carpet on the floor,
its rush-bottomed chairs, and paper window-shades; and on the
bed lay the bed-ridden woman. But with such a nice pleasant
face; eyes so lively and quiet, smile so contented, brow so
calm, Daisy wondered if it could be she that must lie there
always and never go about again as long as she lived. It had
been a matter of dread to her to see anything so disagreeable;
and now it was not disagreeable. Daisy was fascinated. Mrs.
Lark had withdrawn.

"Is your mother with you, dear?"

"No ma'am, I came alone. Mamma told me to ask Mrs. Parsons if
there is anything she would like to have, that mamma could do
for her."

"Yes; if you would come in and see me sometimes," said the old
lady, "I should like it very much."

"Me?" said Daisy.

"Yes. I don't see young faces very often. They don't care to
come to see an old woman."

"I should like to come," said Daisy, "very much, if I could do
anything; but I must go now, because it will be late. Good-
bye, ma'am."

Daisy's little courtesy it was pleasant to see, and it was so
pleasant altogether that Mrs. Parsons had it over and over in
her thoughts that day and the next.

"It's as nice as a fairy tale," Daisy repeated to herself, as
she took her seat in the chaise again and shook up her reins.
It was better than a fairy tale really, for the sunshine
coming between the trees from the sinking sun, made all the
world look so beautiful that Daisy thought no words could tell
it. It was splendid to drive through that sunlight. In a
minute or two more she had pulled up her reins short, and
almost before she knew why she had done it or whom she had
seen, Mr. Dinwiddie stood at her side. Here he was. She must
not go where he was; she had not; he had come to her. Daisy
was very glad. But she looked up in his face now without
speaking.

"Ha! my stray lamb," said he, "whither are you running?"

"Home, sir," said Daisy, meekly.

"Do you know you have run away from me?"

"Yes, Mr. Dinwiddie."

"How came that?"

"It was unavoidable, sir," said Daisy, in her slow, old-
fashioned way. But the bright eye of the young man saw that
her eye fell and her face clouded over; it was not a slight
nor a chance hindrance that had been in her way, he was sure.

"Then you don't mean to come to me any more."

It was a dreadful question, but Mr. Dinwiddie's way of
speaking was so clear and quick and business-like, and he
seemed to know so well what he was talking about, that the
answer was forced from Daisy. She looked up and said, "No,
sir."

He watched the soft thoughtful face that was raised towards
him.

"Then if this is the last time we are to talk about it, Daisy,
shall I look for you among those that will 'shine as the sun'
in the Lord's kingdom?"

"Oh, sir, — Mr. Dinwiddie," — said Daisy, dropping her reins
and rising up, "that is what I want to know about. Please tell
me!"

"Tell you what?" said Mr. Dinwiddie, gathering up the reins.

"Tell me how to do, sir, please."

"What have you done, Daisy?"

"Nothing, sir — only reading the Bible."

"And you do not find it there?"

"I find a great deal, sir; but I don't quite understand. I
don't know how to be a Christian."

Daisy thought it might be her last chance; she was desperate,
and spoke out.

"Do you love the Lord Jesus, Daisy?"

"I don't know, Mr. Dinwiddie."

"You know how He loves you? You know what He has done for
you?"

"Yes — I know —"

"He died to save you from death and sin. He will do it if you
trust Him. Now what He wants is that you should love Him and
trust Him. 'Let the little children come to me,' He said a
great while ago, and says now. Daisy, the good Lord wants you
to give Him your heart."

"But suppose, Mr. Dinwiddie —"

"Yes. What?"

"Suppose I can't. I don't know how."

"Do you want to do it?"

"Yes, sir. Indeed I do."

"Very well; the Lord knows just what your difficulty is; you
must apply to Him."

"Apply to Him?" said Daisy.

"Ask Him."

"How, sir?"

"Pray to Him. Tell the Lord your trouble, and ask Him to make
it all right for you. Did you never pray to Him?"

"No, sir — not ever."

"My lamb," said Mr. Dinwiddie, "He will hear you, if you never
prayed to Him before. I will show you the word of His
promise." And he opened a pocket-Bible and found the place of
these words which he gave Daisy to read : "I will put a new
spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of
their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh; that they
may walk in My statutes, and keep Mine ordinances, and do
them: and they shall be My people, and I will be their God."

"Now is that what you want, Daisy?"

"Yes, sir; only I don't know how."

"Never mind; the Lord knows. He will make it all right, if
only you are willing to give yourself to be His little
servant."

"I will give Him all I have got, sir," said Daisy, looking up.

"Very well; then I will show you one thing more — it is a word
of the Lord Jesus. See — 'If ye love Me, keep My
commandments.' Now I want you to keep those two words, and you
can't remember where to find them again — I must let you take
this book with you." And Mr. Dinwiddie folded down leaves in
the two places.

"But Mr. Dinwiddie," — said Daisy softly — "I don't know when
I can get it back to you again, sir."

"Never mind — keep it, and when you don't want it, give it to
some poor person that does. And remember, little one, that the
good Lord expects His servants to tell Him their troubles and
to pray to Him every day."

"Thank you, sir!" was Daisy's deep ejaculation.

"Don't thank me. Now will your pony get you home before dark?"

"Oh, yes, Mr. Dinwiddie! Loupe is lazy, but he can go, and I
will make him."

The chaise went off at a swift rate accordingly, after another
soft grateful look from its little driver. Mr. Dinwiddie stood
looking after it. Of a certain woman of Thyatira it is written
that "the Lord opened her heart, that she attended to the
things which were spoken." Surely, the gentleman thought, the
same had been true of his late little charge. He went
thoughtfully home. While Daisy, not speculating at all, in her
simplicity sat thinking that she was the Lord's servant; and
rejoiced over and over again that she had for her own and
might keep the book of her Lord's commandments. There were
such things as Bibles in the house, certainly, but Daisy had
never had one of her own. That in which she had read the other
night, and which she had used to study her lessons for Mr.
Dinwiddie, was one belonging to her brother, which he was
obliged to use at school. Doubtless Daisy could also have had
one for the asking — she knew that — but it might have been
some time first; and she had a certain doubt in her little
mind that the less she said upon the subject the better. She
resolved her treasure should be a secret one. It was right for
her to have a Bible; she would not run the risk of
disagreeable comments or commands by in any way putting it
forward. Meanwhile she had become the Lord's servant! A very
poor little beginning of a servant she thought herself;
nevertheless, in telling Mr. Dinwiddie what she had, it seemed
to Daisy that she had spoken aloud her oath of allegiance; and
a growing joy in the transaction and a growing love to the
great Saviour who was willing to let her be His servant,
filled her little heart. She just knew that the ride home was
lovely, but Daisy's mind was travelling a yet more sunshiny
road.

She was intelligent in what she had done. One by one Mr.
Dinwiddie's lessons had fallen on a willing and open ear. She
knew herself to be a sinner and lost; she believed that the
Lord Jesus would save her by His death; and it seemed to her
the most natural and reasonable and pleasant thing in the
world, that the life for which His blood had been shed, should
be given to Him. "If ye love me, keep My commandments." "I
wonder," thought Daisy, "what they are."


CHAPTER III.

THE BIRTHDAY.


"What sort of an expedition did you have, Daisy?" her father
asked at breakfast next morning. Company the evening before
had prevented any talk about it.

"Oh, very good, papa! It was as good as a fairy tale."

"Was it?" said Mr. Randolph. "I wonder what pitch of
excellence that is. I don't remember ever finding a fairy tale
very good to me."

"Did you ever read any, papa?"

"I don't know! Were you not tired with your long drive?"

"Oh, no, papa!"

"Would you like to go again?"

"Yes, papa, very much."

"You may go as often as you like — only always let Sam be
along."

"Did you find out what Mrs. Parsons wants?" said Mrs.
Randolph.

"No, mamma — she did not look as if she wanted anything,
except to see me. And yet she is very poor, mamma."

At this speech Mr. Randolph burst into a round laugh, and even
Mrs. Randolph seemed amused.

"Did she _look_ as if she wanted to see you, Daisy?"

"Papa, I think she did," said Daisy, colouring; "she said so
at any rate; but I could not find out what else she would
like."

"Daisy, I think she showed very good taste," said Mr.
Randolph, drawing his little daughter into his arms; "but it
would be safe to take something else with you when you go."

"Your birthday is next week, Daisy," said her mother; "and
your aunt Gary and your cousins will be here. What would you
like to have, to celebrate the day?"

"I don't know, mamma," said Daisy, returning her father's
kisses.

"You may have what you please, if you will think and tell me."

"Mamma, may I talk to Nora Dinwiddie about it?"

"Nonsense! What for?"

"Only to consult, mamma."

"Consult Ransom. He would be a much better help to you."

Daisy looked sober, and said nothing.

"Why not?" said Mr. Randolph. "Why not consult your brother?"

"Papa," said Daisy slowly, "Ransom and I do not understand
each other."

"Don't you," said her father, laughing; "what is the cause of
that, Daisy?"

Daisy was not very willing to answer, but being pressed by
both father and mother, she at length spoke. "I think, papa,
it is because he understands so many other things."

Mr. Randolph was excessively amused. "Ransom!" he called out
to the hall.

"Please, papa, don't!" said Daisy.

"Ransom! — come here. — What is this? your sister says you do
not understand her."

"Well, papa," said Ransom, an exceedingly handsome and bright-
looking boy, and a great pet of his mother, "there are things
that are not deep enough to be understood."

Daisy's lips opened eagerly and then closed again.

"Girls always use magnifying glasses where themselves are
concerned!" went on Ransom, whose dignity seemed to be
excited.

"Hush, hush!" said his father, — "take yourself off, it you
cannot maintain civility. And your mother does not like
fishing-tackle at the breakfast-table — go! I believe," he
said as Ransom bounded away, "I believe conceit is the normal
condition of boyhood."

"I am sure," said Mrs. Randolph, "girls have enough of it —
and women too."

"I suppose it would be rash to deny that," said Mr. Randolph.
"Daisy, I think I understand you. I do not require so much
depth as is necessary for Ransom's understanding to swim in."

"If you do not deny it, it would be well not to forget it,"
said Mrs. Randolph; while Daisy, still in her father's arms,
was softly returning his caresses.

"What shall we do on your birthday, Daisy." said her father,
without seeming to heed this remark.

"Papa, I will think about it. Mamma, do you like I should talk
to Nora about it?"

"By all means!" said Mr. Randolph; "send for her and hold a
grand council. Your mother can have no objection."

Daisy did not feel quite so sure of that; but at any rate she
made none, and a messenger was sent to ask Nora to come that
afternoon. All the morning Daisy was engaged with her mother,
going to make a visit to some friends that lived a long way
off. It was not till the afternoon was growing cool and
pleasant that she was released from dinner and dressing and
free to go with her Bible to her favourite reading place; — or
rather one of her favourites; — a garden seat under a thick
oak. The oak stood alone on a knoll looking over a beautiful
spread of grassy sward that sloped and rolled away to a
distant edge of thicket. Other noble trees dotted the ground
here and there; some fine cattle showed their red and white
heads, standing or lying about in the shade. Above the distant
thicket, far, far away, rose the heads of great blue
mountains. The grass had just been mown, in part; and a very
sweet smell from the hay floated about under the trees around
the house. Daisy's tree however was at some distance from the
house. In the absolute sweet quiet, Daisy and her Bible took
possession of the place. The Bible had grown a wonderful book
to her now. It was the book of the commandments of the Great
King whose servant she felt herself. Now every word would tell
her of something she must do, or not do; all sweet to Daisy;
for she felt she loved the King, and His commandments were
good to her. This time she got very much interested in the
twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew, in the parable of the
talents. But she wished she could have had Mr. Dinwiddie to
tell her a little better exactly what it meant. Some of its
meaning she understood; and remembering Mr. Dinwiddie's words,
she prayed with clasped hands and a very earnest little heart,
that the Lord would "make her know what all her talents were
and help her to make good use of them." Then Daisy went on
studying.

In the midst of her studies, a light step bounded down through
the shrubbery from the house, and Daisy had hardly raised her
head when Nora was at her side. There was room for her on the
seat, and after a glad greeting the children sat down
together, to talk much joyful talk and tell childish news, in
the course of which Daisy's perplexities came out, for which
she had wanted Nora's counsel. She explained that she could
have precisely what she chose, in the way of merry-making for
her birthday. Daisy spoke about it seriously, as a weighty and
important matter; and so Nora took it up, with a face of great
eagerness.

"You can have _just_ what you like, Daisy?" Daisy nodded. "Oh,
what have you thought of, Daisy?"

"What would be nicest, Nora?"

"I'll tell you what _I_ should have — I should have a party."

"A party!"

"Yes, that is what I should have."

"I never thought of that. Who would you ask, Nora? I thought
of a pic-nic; and of a great journey to Schroeder's Mountain;
— that would be nice; — to spend the whole day, you know."

"Yes, that would be nice: but I should have a party. Oh, there
are plenty to have. There is Kitty Marsden."

"I don't know Kitty Marsden, much" — said Daisy.

"And Ella Stanfield."

"I like Ella Stanfield" — said Daisy, sedately.

"And there are the Fishes."

"I don't like Mrs. Fish's children very well; — when Alexander
and Ransom get together, they make — a great deal of
disturbance!"

"Oh, we needn't mind their disturbance," said Nora; and she
went on discussing the plan and the advantages of the party.
Suddenly Daisy broke in with a new subject. "Nora, you know
the story of the servants with the talents, in the New
Testament?"

"Yes —" said Nora, with open eyes; "I know."

"Do you know what it means? — the talents, I mean; of course I
know what the rest means; but do you know what the talents
are? Is it just money? — because then you and I have very
little indeed; and all the servants had something."

"Why, Daisy, what made you think of that just now? we were
talking about the party."

"I have been thinking of it all the while," said Daisy. "I was
reading it — do you know what it means, Nora?"

"But we were talking about the party!" said Nora.

"Yes, but I want to understand this; and then we will go on
about the party. If you know what it means."

"I have heard Duke explain it," said Nora, unwillingly coming
to the graver subject.

"Well, what does he say it is? — the talents, you know."

"Duke says it is everything anybody has. Not money, —
_everything_ — Now don't you think we can make up a nice party?"

"Everything, Nora? Just wait a little — I want to know about
this. What do you mean by 'everything'?"

"Are you studying for Sunday-school, Daisy? that isn't the
lesson."

"No," said Daisy sorrowfully; "if I was, I could ask Mr.
Dinwiddie. That's why I want you to help me, Nora; so think,
and tell me what he said."

"Well, that," said Nora, "he said that; he said the talents
meant everything God has given people to work with for Him."

"What could they work with besides money?" said Daisy.

"Why, _everything_, Duke says; all they've got; their tongues
and their hands and their feet, and all they know, and all
their love for people; and even the way we do things, our
studies and all, Marmaduke says. What do you want to know for,
Daisy?"

"I was thinking about it," answered Daisy, evasively. "Wait a
minute, Nora, — I want to write it down, for fear I should
forget something."

"What _are_ you going to do?" exclaimed Nora. "Are you going to
teach a class yourself?"

Daisy did not answer, while she was writing down with a pencil
what Nora had said, and making her repeat it for that purpose.
When she had done she looked a little dubiously off towards
the woods, while Nora was surprised and disappointed into
silence.

"I think perhaps I ought to tell you," was Daisy's slow
conclusion. "I want to know what this means, that I may do it,
Nora."

"_Do_ it?"

"Yes," said Daisy, turning her quiet eyes full upon her
companion — "I want to try to please God. I love the Lord
Jesus."

Nora was very much confounded, and looked at Daisy as if a gap
in the ground had suddenly separated them.

"So," Daisy went on, "as I have talents to use, I want to know
what they are, for fear I shouldn't use them all. I don't
understand it yet, but I will think about it. Now we will go
on about the party if you like."

"But, Daisy," said Nora.

"What?"

"Are you in earnest?"

"Certainly I am in earnest," said Daisy gravely. "What makes
you ask me? Don't you think your brother is in earnest?"

"Marmaduke! oh yes, — but — you never told me of it before."

"I didn't know it till yesterday," said Daisy simply, "that I
loved the Lord Jesus; but I know I do now, and I am very glad;
and I am going to be His servant."

Her little face was very sweet and quiet as she looked at her
little neighbour and said these words; but Nora was utterly
confounded, and so nearly dismayed that she was silent; and it
was not till several invitations in Daisy's usual manner had
urged her, that she was able to get upon the subject of the
party again, and to discuss it with any spirit. The discussion
then did not come to any determination. Daisy was at least
lukewarm in her fancy for that mode of spending her birthday;
and separate plans of pic-nics and expeditions of pleasure
were taken up and handled, sure to be thrown aside by Nora for
the greater promise and splendour of the home entertainment.
They broke up at last without deciding upon anything, except
that Nora should come again to talk about it, and should at
all events have and give her share in whatever the plan for
the day might be.

Perhaps Daisy watched her opportunity, perhaps it came; but at
all events she seized the first chance that she saw to speak
with her father in private. He was sauntering out the next
morning after breakfast. Daisy joined him, and they strolled
along through the grounds, giving here and there directions to
the gardener, till they came near one of the pleasant rustic
seats, under the shade of a group of larches.

"Papa, suppose we sit down here for a moment and let us look
about us."

"Well, Daisy," — said her father, who knew by experience what
was likely to follow.

"Papa," said Daisy as they sat down, "I want to ask you about
something."

"What is it?"

"When I was in the chaise, driving Loupe the other clay, papa,
I heard something that I could not understand."

"Did you?"

"It was two men that passed me on the road; I heard one say to
the other as I went by, that it was your carriage, and then he
said that 'Randolph's folks were a good deal _stuck up;_' — what
did he mean, papa?"

"Nothing of any consequence, Daisy."

"But why did he say it, papa?"

"Why do you want to know?"

"I did not understand it nor like it, papa; I wanted to know
what he meant."

"It is hardly worth talking about, Daisy. It is the way those
who have not enough in the world are very apt to talk of
others who are better off than themselves."

"Why, papa?"

"They were poor men, I suppose, weren't they."

"Yes; papa — working men."

"That class of people, my dear, are very apt to have a grudge
against the rich."

"For what, papa?"

"For being able to live better than they do."

"Why, papa! do poor people generally feel so?"

"Very often, I think. They do not generally speak it out
aloud."

"Then, papa," said Daisy, speaking slowly, "how do you know?
What makes you think they feel so?"

Her father smiled at her eagerness and gravity.

"I see it, Daisy, when they do not speak it. They show it in
various ways. Besides, I know their habit of talking among
themselves."

"But papa, that is very bad."

"What?"

"That poor people should feel so. I am sure rich people are
their best friends."

Her father stroked her head fondly, and looked amused.

"They don't believe that, Daisy."

"But _why_ don't they believe it, papa?" said Daisy, growing
more and more surprised.

"I suppose," said Mr. Randolph, rising, "they would be better
satisfied if I gave them my horses and went afoot." — A speech
which Daisy pondered and pondered and could make nothing of.

They walked on, Mr. Randolph making observations and giving
orders now and then to workmen. Here a man was mowing under
the shrubbery; there the gardener was setting out pots of
greenhouse flowers; in another place there were holes digging
for trees to be planted. Daisy went musing on while her father
gave his orders, and when they were again safe out of hearing
she spoke. "Papa, do you suppose Michael and Andrew and John,
and all your own people, feel so about you?"

"I think it is likely, Daisy. I can't hope to escape better
than my neighbours."

"But, papa, they don't look so, nor act so?"

"Not before me. They do not wish to lose their places."

"Papa, — couldn't something be done to make them feel better."

"Why, Daisy," said her father laughing, "are you going to turn
reformer!"

"I don't know what that is, papa."

"A thankless office, my dear. If you could make all the world
wise, it would do, but fools are always angry with you for
trying it."

The conversation ended, and left Daisy greatly mystified. Her
father's people not liking him? — the poor having ill-will
against the rich, and a grudge against their pleasant things —
it was very melancholy! Daisy thought about it a great deal
that day; and had a very great talk on the subject with Nora,
who without a quarter of the interest had much more knowledge
about it than Daisy. She had been with her brother sometimes
to the houses of poor children, and she gave Daisy a high-
coloured picture of the ways of living in such houses and the
absence of many things by Daisy and herself thought the
necessaries of life. Daisy heard her with a lengthening face,
and almost thought there was some excuse for the state of
feeling her father had explained in the morning. The question,
however, was too long a one for Daisy; but she arrived at one
conclusion, which was announced the next morning at the
breakfast-table. Mrs. Randolph had called upon her to say what
was determined upon for the birthday.

"Papa," said Daisy, "will there be a great plenty of
strawberries next week?"

"Yes, I believe so. Logan says the vines are very full. What
then?"

"Papa, you gave me my choice of what I would have for
Wednesday."

"Yes. Is it my strawberry patch?"

"Not for myself, papa. I want you to have a great table set
out of doors somewhere, and give a feast to all your work
people."

"Daisy!" exclaimed Mrs. Randolph. "I never heard anything so
ridiculous in all my life!"

Daisy waited with downcast eyes for her father to speak. He
was not in a hurry.

"Would that give you pleasure, Daisy?"

"Yes, papa."

"Did Nora Dinwiddie put that scheme in your head?" asked Mrs.
Randolph.

"She didn't like it at all, mamma. I put it into her head."

"Where did you get it?"

Daisy looked troubled and puzzled, and did not answer till her
father said "Speak." Then, nestling up to him with her head on
his breast, a favourite position, she said, "I got it from
different sources, I think, papa."

"Let us hear, for instance."

"I think, partly from the Bible, papa — and partly from what
we were talking of yesterday."

"I wish you would show me where you found it in the Bible. I
don't remember a strawberry feast there."

"Do you mean it in earnest, papa?"

"Yes."

Daisy walked off for a Bible — not her own — and after some
trouble found a place which she showed her father; and he read
aloud, "When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy
friends nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich
neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompense be
made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the
maimed, the lame, the blind; and thou shalt be blessed; for
they cannot recompense thee; for thou shalt be recompensed at
the resurrection of the just." Mr. Randolph closed the book
and laid it on the table, and drew his little daughter again
within his arms.

"That child is in a way to get ruined!" said Mrs. Randolph,
energetically.

"But Daisy, our work people are not lame or blind — how will
they do?" said her father.

"They are poor, papa. I would like to have the others too, but
we can't have everybody."

Mr. Randolph kissed the little mouth that was lifted so near
his own, and went on.

"Do you think then it is wrong to have our friends and
neighbours? Shall we write to your aunt and cousins, and Gary
McFarlane and Captain Drummond, to stay away?"

"No, papa," said Daisy, smiling, — and her smile was very
sweet, — "you know I don't mean that. I would like to have
them all; but I would like the feast made for the other
people."

"You will let the rest of us have some strawberries?"

"If there are enough, papa. For that day, I would like the
other people to have them."

Mr. Randolph seemed to find something as sweet as strawberries
in Daisy's lips.

"It is the very most absurd plan I ever heard of!" repeated
her mother.

"I am not sure that it is not a very good thing," remarked Mr.
Randolph.

"Is it expected that on that day we are to do without servants
in the house, and wait upon ourselves? or are we expected to
wait upon the party!"

"Oh, mamma," said Daisy, "it isn't the servants — it's only
the out-of-door people."

"How many will there be, Daisy?" said her father; "have you
numbered them up?"

"Not yet, papa. There is Logan, and Michael, and Mr. Stilton,
and the two under-gardeners —"

"And four hay-makers."

"Hay-makers, papa?"

"Yes — there will be four of them in the fields next week. And
there is the herdsman and boy."

"And there is old Patrick at the gate. That is all, papa."

"And are the ladies of all these families to be invited?"

"Papa! What do you think?"

"I have no doubt there will be strawberries enough."

"But I am afraid there would be too many children. Logan has
six, and Michael has four, and I believe the herdsman has
some; and there are four at the Lodge. And Mr. Stilton has
two."

"What shall we do with them, Daisy?"

"Papa, we can't have them. I should like to have the men and
their wives come, I think, and send some strawberries home to
the children. Wouldn't that do best?"

"Admirably. And you can drive over to Crum Elbow and purchase
some suitable baskets. Take the chaise and Sam. I expect you
to arrange everything. If you want help, come and consult me."

"If mamma will tell Joanna," said Daisy, looking somewhat
doubtfully towards the other end of the table.

"I have nothing to do with it," said Mrs. Randolph. "I have
no knowledge how to order such parties. You and Joanna may do
what you please."

Daisy's eye went to her father.

"That will do, Daisy," said he. "You and Joanna can manage it.
You may have carte-blanche."

The earliest minute that she knew Joanna could attend to her,
found Daisy in the housekeeper's room. Joanna was a tall,
rather hard-featured woman, with skill and capacity in every
line of her face however, and almost in every fold of her
gown. She heard with a good deal of astonishment the project
unfolded to her, and to Daisy's great delight gave it her
unqualified approbation.

"It's a first-rate plan," said Joanna. "Now I like that. The
men won't forget it. Where are you going to have the table
set, Miss Daisy?"

"I don't know yet, Joanna. In some pretty, shady place, under
the trees."

"Out-of-doors, eh!" said Joanna. " 'Well, I suppose that'll be
as good a way as any. Now what are you going to have, Miss
Daisy? what do you want of me?"

"Mamma and papa said I was to arrange it with you."

Joanna sat down and folded her arms to consider the matter.

"How many will there be?"

"I counted," said Daisy. "There will be about seventeen, with
their wives, you know."

"Seventeen, wives and all?" said Joanna. "You'll have to get
the carpenter or Mr. Stilton to make you a table."

"Yes, that's easy," said Daisy; "but Joanna, what shall we
have on it? There will want to be a good deal, for seventeen
people; and I want it handsome, you know."

"Of course," said Joanna, looking as if she were casting up
the multiplication table — "it'll have to be that, whatever
else it, is. Miss Daisy, suppose you let me manage it — and
I'll see and have it all right. If you will give orders about
the strawberries, and have the table made."

"I shall dress the table with flowers, Joanna."

"Yes — well —" — said Joanna, — "I don't know anything about
flowers; but I'll have the cake ready, and everything else."

"And tea and coffee, Joanna?"

"Why, I never thought of that! — yes, to be sure, they'll want
something to drink — who will pour it out, Miss Daisy?"

"I don't know. Won't you, Joanna?"

"Well — I don't know —" said the housekeeper, as if she were
afraid of being taken on too fast by her little counsellor —
"I don't know as there's anything to hinder, as it's your
birthday, Miss Daisy."

Away went Daisy delighted, having secured just what she
wanted. The rest was easy. And Daisy certainly thought it was
as promising an entertainment as she could have devised. It
gave her a good deal of business. The table, and the place for
the table, had to be settled with Mr. Stilton, and the
invitations given, and many particulars settled; but to settle
them was extremely pleasant, and Daisy found that every face
of those concerned in the invitations wore a most golden glow
of satisfaction when the thing was understood. Daisy was very
happy. She hoped, besides the pleasantness of the matter, it
would surely incline the hearts of her father's work-people to
think kindly of him.


CHAPTER IV.

THE HAM.


It happened that one cause and another hindered Daisy from
going to Crum Elbow to fetch the strawberry-baskets, until the
very Tuesday afternoon before the birthday. Then everything
was right; the pony chaise before the door, Sam in waiting,
and Daisy just pulling her gloves on, when Ransom rushed up.
He was flushed and hurried.

"Who's going out with Loupe?"

"I am, Ransom."

"You can't go, Daisy — I'm going myself."

"You cannot, Ransom. I am going on business. Papa said I was
to go."

"He couldn't have said it! for he said I might have the chaise
this afternoon, and that Loupe wanted exercise. So, I am going
to give him some. He wouldn't get it with you."

"Ransom," said Daisy trembling, "I have got business at Crum
Elbow, and I must go, and you must not."

"Fiddlesticks!" said Ransom, snapping his fingers at her.
"Business! I guess you have. Girls have a great deal of
business! Here, Sam — ride round mighty quick to Mr. Rush's,
and tell Hamilton to meet me at the cross road."

And without another word to Daisy, Ransom sprang into the
chaise, cracked his whip over Loupe's head and started him off
in a very ungraceful but very eager waddling gallop. Daisy was
left with one glove on and with a spirit thoroughly
disordered. A passionate child she was not, in outward manner
at least; but her feelings once roused were by no means easy
to bring down again. She was exceedingly offended, very much
disturbed at missing her errand, very sore at Ransom's ill-
bred treatment of her. Nobody was near; her father and mother
both gone out; and Daisy sat upon the porch with all sorts of
resentful thoughts and words boiling up in her mind. She did
not believe half of what her brother had said; was sure her
father had given no order interfering with her proceedings;
and she determined to wait upon the porch till he came home,
and so she would have a good opportunity of letting him know
the right and the wrong of the case. Ransom deserved it, as
she truly said to herself. And then Daisy sorrowed over her
lost expedition, and her missing strawberry baskets. What
should she do? for the next morning would find work enough of
its own at home, and nobody else could choose the baskets to
please her. Ransom deserved —

In the midst of the angry thoughts that were breaking one over
the other in Daisy's mind, there suddenly came up the
remembrance of some words she had read that day or the day
before. "Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me and I
forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not
unto thee, until seven times, but until seventy times seven."
This brought Daisy up short; her head which had been leaning
on her hands suddenly straightened itself up. What did those
words mean? There could be no doubt, for with the question
came the words in the Lord's Prayer which she knew well, but
had never felt till then. Forgive Ransom out and out? — say
nothing about it? — not tell her father, nor make her
grievance at all known to Ransom's discomfiture? — Daisy did
not want to yield. He _deserved_ to be reproved and ashamed and
made to do better. It was the first time that a real conflict
had come up in her mind between wrong and right; and now that
she clearly saw what was right, to her surprise she did not
want to do it! Daisy saw both facts. There was a power in her
heart that said, "No, I will not forgive," to the command from
a greater power that bade her do it. Poor Daisy! it was her
first view of her enemy; the first trial that gave her any
notion of the fighting that might be necessary to overcome
him. Daisy found she could not overcome him. She was fain to
go, where she had just begun to learn she might go, "to the
Strong for strength." She ran away from the porch to her room,
and kneeled down and prayed that the King would give her help
to keep His commandments. She was ashamed of herself now; but
so obstinate was her feeling of displeasure against her
brother, that even after she thought she had forgiven him,
Daisy would not go downstairs again nor meet him nor her
father, for fear she should speak words that she ought not, or
fail of a perfectly gentle and kind manner.

But what to do about her baskets? A bright and most business-
like thought suddenly came into her head. The breakfast-hour
was always late; by being a little earlier than usual she
could have plenty of time to go to Crum Elbow and return
before the family were assembled. Splendid! Daisy went down
the back stairs, and gave her orders in such a way that they
should not reach Ransom's ear. If not put on the alert he was
sure to be down to breakfast last of anybody. So Daisy went to
bed and to sleep with her mind at rest.

It was so pleasant when she came out at half past six the next
morning, that Daisy almost thought it was the prettiest time
of all.

The morning air smelt so fresh, with the scent of the trees
and flowers coming through the dew; and the light, was so cool
and clear, not like the hot glow of later hours, that Daisy
felt like dancing for very gladness. Then it was such a stroke
of business to go to Crum Elbow before breakfast!

The pony and the chaise came up presently, and Sam and the
black pony, all right, and every one of them looking more
brisk and fresh than usual. And off they went; under the
boughs of the dew-bright trees, where the birds seemed to be
as glad as Daisy, to judge by the songs they were singing; and
by and by out from the beautiful grounds of Melbourne, into
the road. It was pleasanter there, Daisy thought, than she had
ever seen it. The fields looked more gay in that clear early
light, and the dust was kept down by the freshness in the air.
It was delightful; and Loupe never went better. Daisy was a
very good little driver, and now the pony seemed to understand
the feeling in her fingers and waddled along at a goodly rate.

Crum Elbow was not a great many miles off, and in due time
they reached it. But Daisy found that other people kept
earlier hours than her father and mother at Melbourne. She saw
the farmers were getting to work as she went on; and in the
houses of the village there were signs that everybody was
fully astir to the business of the day. It was a scattering
village; the houses and the churches stood and called to each
other across great spaces of fields and fences between; but
just where the crossing of two roads made a business point,
there was a little more compactness. There was the baker's,
and the post-office, and two stores and various other houses,
and a blacksmith's shop. Up to the corner where the principal
store stood, came the pony and his mistress, and forthwith out
came Mr. Lamb the storekeeper, to see what the little pony
chaise wanted to take home; but Daisy must see for herself,
and she got out and went into the store.

"Baskets," said Mr. Lamb. "What sort of baskets?"

"Baskets to hold strawberries — little baskets," said Daisy.

"Ah! strawberry-baskets. That, ma'am, is the article."

Was it? Daisy did not think so. The storekeeper had showed her
the kind of baskets commonly used to hold strawberries for the
market; containing about half a pint. She remarked they were
not large enough.

"No, ma'am? They are the kind generally used — regular
strawberry-baskets — we have sold 'em nearly all out, but
we've got a few left."

"They are not large enough, nor pretty enough," repeated
Daisy.

"They'll look pretty when they get the strawberries in them,"
said the storekeeper, with a knowing look at her. "But here's
a kind, ma'am, are a little neater — maybe you would like
these — What do you want, child?"

There had come into the store just after Daisy a little poor-
looking child, who had stood near, watching what was going on.
Daisy turned to look at her as Mr. Lamb's question was thrown
at her over the counter, in a tone very different from his
words to herself. She saw a pale, freckled, pensive-faced
little girl, in very slim clothing, her dress short and
ragged, and feet bare. The child had been looking at her and
her baskets, but now suddenly looked away to the shopkeeper.

"Please, sir, I want —"

"There! stop," said Mr. Lamb; "don't you see I'm busy. I can't
attend to you just now; you must wait. Are these baskets
better, ma'am?" he said, coming back to Daisy and a smooth
voice.

Daisy felt troubled, but she tried to attend to her business.
She asked the price of the baskets.

"Those first I showed you, ma'am, are three pence apiece —
these are sixpence. This is quite a tasty basket," said Mr.
Lamb, balancing one on his forefinger. "Being open, you see,
it shows the fruit through. I think these might answer your
purpose."

"What are those?" said Daisy, pointing to another kind.

"Those, ma'am, are not strawberry baskets."

"But please let me see one. — What is the price?"

"These fancy baskets, ma'am, you know, are another figure.
These are not intended for fruit. These are eighteen pence
apiece, ma'am."

Daisy turned the baskets and the price over. They were very
neat! they would hold as many berries as the sixpenny ones,
and look pretty too, as for a festival they should. The
sixpenny ones were barely neat — they had no gala look about
them at all. While Daisy's eye went from one to the other, it
glanced upon the figure of the poor, patient, little waiting
girl who stood watching her. "If you please, Mr. Lamb," she
said, "will you hear what this little girl has to say? — while
I look at these."

"What do you want, child?"

The answer came very low, but though Daisy did not want to
listen she could not help hearing.

"Mother wants a pound of ham, sir."

"Have you brought the money for the flour?"

"No, sir — mother'll send it."

"We don't cut our hams any more," said the storekeeper. "Can't
sell any less than a whole one — and that's always cash.
There! Go, child — I can't cut one for you."

Daisy looked after the little ragged frock as it went out of
the door. The extreme mystery of some people being rich and
some people poor, struck her anew, and perhaps something in
her look as it came back to the storekeeper made him say, —

"They're very poor folks, Miss Randolph — the mother's sickly,
and I should only lose my money. They came and got some flour
of me yesterday without paying for it — and it's necessary to
put a stop to that kind of thing at once. Don't you think that
basket'll suit, ma'am?"

Baskets? and what meant those words which had been over and
over in Daisy's mind for the few days past? — "Whatsoever ye
would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them." Her
mind was in great confusion.

"How much does a ham cost, Mr. Lamb?"

"Sixteen pence a pound, ma'am," said the storekeeper rather
dryly, for he did not know but Daisy was thinking a reproof to
him.

"But how many pounds are there in a ham?"

"Just as it happens, ma'am — sometimes twenty, and from there
down to ten."

"Then how much does a whole ham cost?" said Daisy, whose
arithmetic was not ready.

"A ham of fifteen pounds, ma'am, would be about two dollars
and forty cents."

Daisy stood looking at the baskets, and thinking how much
money she would have over if she took the sixpenny ones. She
wanted twenty baskets; she found that the difference of price
between the plain and the pretty would leave her twenty
shillings in hand. Just enough! thought Daisy, — and yet, how
could she go to a strange house and offer to give them a ham?
She thought she could not. If she had known the people; but as
it was — Daisy bought the pretty baskets and set off
homewards.

"Whatsoever ye would that others should do to you, do ye even
so to them" — Daisy could see nothing along the road but those
words. "That is my King's command to me — and those poor
people have got no breakfast. If I was in that little girl's
place, I would _like_ to have it given to me. But those other
baskets — would they do? — I could make them do somehow — Nora
and I could dress them up with greens and flowers!"

The pony chaise stopped. Sam came up alongside.

"Sam, take those baskets back to the store. I am going back
there."

Round came the chaise, and in five minutes more they were at
the Crum Elbow corner again, for Daisy's heart-burning had not
let her go far. Mr. Lamb was exceedingly mystified, as it was
very unusual for young ladies like this one to come buying
whole hams and riding off with them. However, he made no
objections to the exchange, being a gainer by ten cents; for
Daisy had asked for a ham of fifteen pounds.

Then Daisy enquired the way to the girl's house, and her name,
and set off in a new direction. It was not far; a plain little
brown house, with a brown gate a few yards from the door.
Daisy got out of the chaise and opened the gate, and there
stood still and prayed a little prayer that God would help her
not to feel foolish or afraid when she was trying to do right.
Then she went up to the door and knocked. Somebody said in a
very uninviting tone of voice, "Come in!"

It was hard for Daisy; she had expected that somebody would
open the door, but now she must go in and face all that was
there. However, in she went. There was a poor room to be sure,
with not much in it. A woman was taking some hot bread, just
baked, out of a little cooking stove. Daisy saw the little
girl standing by; it was the right place.

"Well!" said the woman, looking up at Daisy from her stove
oven — "what is it?" She looked pale and unhappy, and her
words were impatient. Daisy was half afraid.

"I am Daisy Randolph" — she began, gently.

"Go on," said the woman, as Daisy hesitated.

"I was in Mr. Lamb's store just now, when your little girl
came to buy some ham."

"Well! — what then?"

"Mr. Lamb said he would not cut any, and she was obliged to go
without it."

"Well, what have you to do with all that?"

"I was sorry she was disappointed," said Daisy, more steadily;
"and as Mr. Lamb would not cut one for her I have brought a
whole one — if you will please accept it. It is at the gate,
because the boy could not leave the horses."

The woman set her bread on the floor, left the oven door open,
and rose to her feet.

"What did you tell her, Hephzibah?" she said, in a threatening
voice.

"I didn't tell her nothing," said the girl hurriedly — "I
never spoke to her."

"How did she know what you came for?"

"I was so near," said Daisy, bravely, though she was afraid,
"that I couldn't help hearing."

"Well, what business was it of yourn?" said the woman, turning
upon her. "If we are poor, we don't throw it in anybody's
face; and if you are rich, you may give charity to those that
ask it. _We_ never asked none of you — and don't want it."

"I am not rich," said Daisy, gently, though she coloured and
her eyes were full of tears; — "I did not mean to offend you;
but I thought you wanted the ham, and I had money enough to
get it. I am very sorry you won't have it."

"Did Mr. Lamb tell you we were beggars?"

"No, not at all."

"Then what put into your head to come bringing a ham here? who
told you to do it?"

"Nobody told me," said Daisy. "Yes there did, though. The Lord
Jesus Christ told me to do it, ma'am."

"What do you mean?" said the woman, suddenly sobering as if
she was struck.

"That's all, ma'am," said Daisy. "He had given me the money to
buy the ham, and I heard that your little girl wanted it. And
I remembered His commandment, to do to others what I would
like they should do to me — I didn't mean to offend you."

"Well, I ain't offended," said the woman. "I s'pose you didn't
mean no harm; but we have some feelings as well as other
folks. Folks may work, and yet have feelings. And if I could
work, things would be well enough; but I've been sick, miss,
and I can't always get work that I would like to do — and when
I can get it, I can't always do it," she added with a sigh.

Daisy wanted to go, but pity held her fast. That poor, pale,
ragged child, standing motionless opposite her! Daisy didn't
venture to look much, but she saw her all the same.

"Please keep the ham this time!" she broke out, bravely, — "I
won't bring another one!"

"Did nobody send you?" said the woman, eyeing her keenly.

"No," said Daisy, "except the Lord Jesus — He sent me."

"You're a kind little soul!" said the woman, "and as good a
Christian as most of 'em I guess. But I won't do that. I'd die
first! — unless you'll let me do some work for you and make it
up so." There was relenting in the tone of these last words.

"Oh, that will do," said Daisy, gladly. "Then will you let
your little girl come out and get the ham? because the boy
cannot leave the horses. Good-bye, Mrs. Harbonner."

"But stop!" cried the woman — "you hain't told me what I am to
do for you."

"I don't know till I get home and ask there. What would you
like to do?"

"My work is tailoring — I learnt that trade; but beggars
mustn't be choosers. I can do other things — plain sewing, and
washing, and cleaning, and dairy work; anything I _can_ do."

Daisy said she would bring her word, and at last got off;
without her ham, and in glee inexpressible. "They will have
some for breakfast," she said to herself; for there had been
something in little Hephzibah's eye as she received the great
ham in her arms, that went through and through Daisy's heart
and almost set her to crying. She was _very_ glad to get away
and to be in the pony chaise again, driving home, and she
almost wondered at her own bravery in that house. She hardly
knew herself; for true it was, Daisy had considered herself as
doing work not of her own choosing while she was there; she
felt in her Master's service, and so was bold where for her
own cause she would have shrunk away. "But they have got
something for breakfast! I think mine will be good when I get
it," said Daisy.

Daisy, however, fell into a great muse upon the course of her
morning's experience. To do as she would be done by, now
seemed not quite so easy as she had thought; since it was
plain that her notions and those of some other people were not
alike on the subject. How should she know what people would
like? When in so simple a matter as hunger, she found that
some would prefer starving to being fed. It was too deep a
question for Daisy. She had made a mistake, and she rather
thought she should make more mistakes; since the only way she
could see straight before her was the way of the command, and
the way of duty, therefore; and she was very much inclined to
think, besides, that in that way her difficulties would be
taken care of for her. It had been so this morning. Mrs.
Harbonner and she had parted on excellent terms — and the
gleam in that poor child's eyes!


CHAPTER V.

STRAWBERRIES.


Daisy was so full of her thoughts that she never perceived two
gentlemen standing at the foot of the hall steps to receive
her. Not till Loupe in his best style had trotted up the road
and stopped, and she had risen to throw down her reins. Then
Daisy started a little. One gentleman touched his cap to her,
and the other held out his hands to help her to alight.

"You are just in time for breakfast, Miss Randolph. Is that
the coach that was made out of a pumpkin?"

Daisy shook hands with the other gentleman, and made no
answer.

"I had always heard," went on the first, "that the young
ladies at the North were very independent in their habits; but
I had no idea that they went to market before breakfast."

"Sam," said Daisy, "take the baskets to Joanna."

"What is in the baskets? — eggs? — or butter? — or vegetables?
Where do you go to market?"

"To New York, sir," said Daisy.

"To New York! And have you come from there this morning? Then
that is certainly also the pony that was once a rat! it's a
witchcraft concern altogether."

"No sir," said Daisy, "I don't go to market."

"Will you excuse me for remarking, that you just said you
did?"

"No, sir, I didn't mean that _I_ went."

"How are gentlemen to understand you, in the future experience
of life, if you are in the habit of saying what you do not
mean?"

"I am not in the habit of it," said Daisy, half laughing, for
she knew her questioner. He was a handsome young man, with a
grave face and manner through all his absurd speeches; dressed
rather picturesquely; and altogether a striking person in
Daisy's eyes. To her relief, as they reached the hall her
mother appeared.

"Come in to breakfast, Gary — Daisy, run and get yourself
ready."

And Daisy went, in great glee on various accounts. When she
came down, everybody was at table; and for a little while she
was permitted to eat her breakfast in peace. Daisy felt
wonderfully happy. Such a pleasant breakfast, for the talk
among the elders went on very briskly; such pleasant work done
already, such pleasant work to do all through the day; nothing
but joy seemed to be in the air.

"And what did you get at market, Daisy?" suddenly asked the
gentleman whom her mother called "Gary."

"I went to buy baskets," said Daisy, concisely.

"What else did you get at market?"

"I didn't go to market, sir."

"She told me she did" — said Mr. Gary, looking at her father.

"Did you buy anything else, Daisy?" said her father,
carelessly.

"Papa," said Daisy, colouring, "Mr. McFarlane asked me, I
thought, where we went to market, and I told him New York. I
did not mean that I went myself."

"Didn't you get anything but baskets?" said Mr. McFarlane
mischievously.

"Papa," said Daisy, making a brave push, "if I only spend what
you give me for my birthday, don't you think it would be
considerate in Mr. McFarlane not to ask me any more?" But this
speech set the gentlemen to laughing.

"Daisy, you make me curious," said her father. "Do you think
it would be inconsiderate in _me_ to ask?"

"Papa, I think it would."

"Answer, Daisy, directly, and don't be ridiculous," said her
mother.

Daisy's face clouded, coloured, and the tears came into her
eyes.

"Answer, Daisy, since it is put so," said her father, gravely.

"I bought a ham, papa."

But the shout that was raised at this was so uproarious that
Daisy was almost overcome. She would certainly have made her
escape, only she knew such a thing would not be permitted. She
sat still, and bore it as well as she could.

"The baskets held eggs, no doubt," said Captain Drummond, the
other gentleman.

"Roast potatoes would be better for your Irish friends,
Daisy," said McFarlane. "Ham and eggs is good for the Yankees.
It would be the best plan to make a fire out-of-doors and let
each one cook for himself, according to his country. How do
you expect to please everybody?"

"Come here, Daisy," said her father, kindly, and he put his
arm round her and kissed her; "did you have money enough for
your ham and your other purchases too?"

"Plenty, papa," said Daisy, gratefully.

"And why didn't you go yesterday afternoon, as I thought you
intended?" Daisy's and Ransom's eyes met.

"Papa, it was a great deal pleasanter this morning than it
would have been then; I never had such a nice ride."

"And what do you want done now? Is your table ready?"

"It will be ready — Mr. Stilton is getting it ready."

"Who is invited, Daisy?" inquired Mr. McFarlane. "Do you
intend to receive any except those who are not your friends?"

"I don't think those of a different class had better come,"
said Daisy.

"Daisy is quite right," said Mrs. Randolph.

"Do you not intend to show yourself?" said her husband, with
some meaning.

"I? No! Certainly not. At her age, since you choose to indulge
Daisy in her whim, she may do what she pleases."

Was this what the man meant by Randolph's people being "stuck
up?" Daisy looked grave, and her father bade her run away and
attend to her preparations.

Even then she went slowly and a little puzzled, till she
reached the housekeeper's room; and there the full beauty of
the occasion burst upon her. Such nice things as Joanna was
making ready!

Daisy ran off at full speed to Logan to get a supply of greens
and flowers to trim her baskets. Nora was coming to help her
and be with her all day, and arrived just in time. With aprons
and baskets full, the two children sought a hidden spot on the
bank under the trees, and there sat down, with strawberry
baskets in one heap, and the sprigs and leaves to dress them
in another.

"Now throw off your hat," said Daisy. "It's shady enough, and
you'll feel cooler. Now Nora. how shall we do? — You try one,
and I'll try one; that will be best; and then we can see. I
want them to look very pretty, you know; and they are to be
filled with strawberries to send home to the children; if we
make them very nice they will go on the table, I think, and
help dress it up."

For a time there was comparative silence, while the little
hands turned and twisted the mosses and bits of larch and
cedar and hemlock in and out of the openings of the baskets.
It was not found easy at first to produce a good effect; hands
were unused to the work; and Nora declared after half an hour
she believed the baskets would look best plain, just as they
were. But Daisy would not give up. She grew very warm indeed
with the excitement of her efforts, but she worked on. By and
by she succeeded in dressing a basket so that it looked rich
with green; and then a bit or two of rosebuds or heath or
bright yellow everlasting made the adornment gay and pretty
enough. It was taken for a model; and from that time tongues
and fingers worked together, and heat was forgotten.

"Isn't this pleasant!" exclaimed Daisy at length, dropping her
work into her lap. "Isn't it just as pleasant as it can be,
Nora?"

"Yes," said Nora, working away.

"Just see the river — it's so smooth. And look up into the
leaves; — how pretty they are! — and every one of them is
trembling a little; not one of them is still, Nora. How
beautiful the green is, with the sun shining through! Wouldn't
you like to be a bird up there?"

"No," said Nora; "I'd rather be down here."

"I think it would be nice to be a bird," said Daisy; "it must
be pleasant up in those branches — only the birds don't know
anything, I suppose. What do you think heaven must be like,
Nora?"

"Daisy, you're so funny. What makes you think about heaven?"

"Why, you know," said Daisy slowly, "I expect to go there. Why
shouldn't I think about it?"

"But you won't go there till you die," said Nora.

"I don't see what that has to do with my thinking about it. I
shall die, some time."

"Yes, but Daisy, don't be so queer. You are not going to die
now."

"I don't know about that," said Daisy; "but I like to think of
heaven. Jesus is there. Isn't it pleasant, Nora, that He can
see us always, and knows what we are doing?"

"Daisy, Marmaduke said he wished you would invite him to your
party."

The turn Nora wished to give to Daisy's thoughts took effect
for the moment. It was grievous; to wish so much for her
friend and to have him join in the wish, and all in vain. But,
characteristically, Daisy said nothing. She was only silent a
moment.

"Nora, did you ever hear Mr. Dinwiddie say that poor people
disliked rich people?"

"No. They don't dislike him, I know."

"Is Mr. Dinwiddie rich too?"

"Of course he is," said Nora.

"I shouldn't think anybody would dislike him," said Daisy;
"but then he never seemed like rich people." She went into a
muse about it.

"Well, he is," said Nora. "He has got as much money as he
wants, I know."

"Nora, you know the parable of the servants and the talents?"

"Yes."

"Are you one of the good servants?"

Nora looked up very uneasily. Daisy's face was one of quiet
inquiry. Nora fidgeted.

"Daisy, I wish you would be like yourself, as you used to be,
and not talk so."

"But _are_ you, Nora?"

"No, I don't suppose I am! I couldn't do much."

"But would you like to have the King say to you what He said
to the servant who had one talent and didn't do anything?"

"Daisy, I don't want to have you talk to me about it," said
Nora, a little loftily. "I have got Marmaduke to talk to me,
and that's as much as I want."

"_I_ mean to be one of them!" said Daisy gently. "Jesus is the
king; and it makes me so glad to think of it! — so glad, Nora.
He is my King, and I belong to Him; and I _love_ to give Him all
I've got; and so would you, Nora. I only want to find out all
I have got, that I may give it to Him."

Nora went on very assiduously with the covering of the
baskets, and Daisy presently followed her example. But the
talk was checked for a little.

"Nora, Jesus is _your_ King, though," said Daisy again. "He made
everything, and He made you; and He _is_ your King. I wish you
would be His servant too."

Daisy was greatly astonished at the effect of this speech; for
Nora without speaking arose, left her baskets and greens on
the ground, and set off from the spot with an air that said
she did not mean to return to it. Daisy was too bewildered to
speak, and only looked after her till she was too far to be
recalled. What was the matter? Greatly puzzled and dismayed,
she tried to find a possible answer to this question. Left
alone on her birthday in the midst of her business, by her
best friend, — what could have brought about so untoward a
combination of circumstances? Daisy could not understand it;
and there was no time to go after Nora to get an
understanding. The baskets must be finished. Luckily there did
not much remain to be done, for Daisy was tired. As soon as
her work was out of her hand, she went to see about the
success of her table. It was done; a nice long, neat table of
boards, on trestles; and it was fixed under a beautiful grove
of trees, on the edge of a bank from which the view over the
grounds was charming. Mr. Stilton was just gathering up his
tools to go away, and looked himself so smiling and bright
that Daisy concluded there was reason to hope her party was
going to be all right; so with fresh spirit she went in to her
own dinner.

After that it was busy times. The long table was to be spread
with a table-cloth, and then the cups and plates in proper
number and position, leaving the places for the baskets of
strawberries. It was a grave question whether they should be
arranged in a pyramid, with roses filling the spaces, or be
distributed all round the table. Daisy and Joanna debated the
matter, and decided finally on the simpler manner; and Logan
dressed some splendid bouquets for the centre of the table
instead. Daisy saw that the maids were bringing from the house
pretty china dishes and cups; and then she ran away to get
dressed herself. Just as this was almost done she saw her
mother driving off from the house with several gentlemen in
her party. It suddenly struck Daisy, who was to do the honours
of the strawberry feast? She ran down stairs to find her
father; she could not find him, he was out; so Daisy went to
see that the setting the table was going on all right, and
then came and planted herself in the library, to wait for Mr.
Randolph's coming in. And while she waited eagerly, she began
to think about its being her birthday.

"Nine years old," thought Daisy; "there isn't much of my life
passed. Perhaps, if I live a good while, I may do a great deal
to serve the Lord. I wonder if I know all the things I can do
now! all my 'talents'? I am afraid of missing some of them for
not knowing. Everything I have, Mr. Dinwiddie said, — so Nora
said, — is a talent of some sort or other. How strange Nora
was to-day! But I suppose she will come and tell me what was
the matter. Now about the talents — I wish papa would come!
This birthday was one talent, and I thought it would be a good
thing if papa's people could be made to know that he is not
'stuck up,' if he is rich, — but if neither he nor mamma come
out to speak to them at all, I wonder what they will think?"

Daisy ran out again to view the table. Yes, it was looking
very handsome. Joanna was there herself, ordering and
directing; and china and glass, and flowers, and silver, made
a very brilliant appearance, though none of the dishes were on
the table as yet.

"But who is going to pour out the coffee and the tea, Joanna?"
said Daisy. "Aren't you going to dress and come and do it for
me?"

"La! Miss Daisy, I don't see how I can. I expect the best plan
will be to have you do it yourself. That will give the most
satisfaction, I guess."

"Joanna! I don't know how."

"Yes, you do, Miss Daisy; you'll have the coffee urn, and all
you have to do is to turn the faucet, you know; and Sam will
wait upon you, and if you want tea poured out, he can lift it
for you. It'll taste twice as good to all the party if you do
it."

"Do you think so, Joanna?"

"I don't want to think about it," said Joanna; "I know without
thinking."

"But, Joanna, I can't reach the things."

"I'll have a high seat fixed for you. I know what you want."

Daisy stood watching; it was such a pleasure to see Joanna's
nice preparations. And now came on the great dishes of
strawberries, rich and sweet to the eye and the smell; and
then handsome pitchers filled with milk and ice-water, in a
range down the table. Then came great fruit cakes and pound
cakes, superbly frosted and dressed with strawberries and
rosebuds; Joanna had spared no pains. Great store of sliced
bread and butter too, and plates of ham and cold beef, and
forms of jelly. And when the dressed baskets of strawberries
were set in their places all round the table, filling up the
spaces, there was a very elegant, flowery, and sparkling
appearance of a rich feast. Why was not Nora there? — and with
the next thought Daisy flew back to the library to find her
father. He was found.

"Oh, papa," she said, gently, though she had rushed in like a
little summer wind, "are you going to come to the feast?"

"What for, my dear?"

"Papa, they will all like it; they will be pleased."

"I think they will enjoy themselves better without me."

"Papa, I am sure they would be pleased."

"I should only make it a constraint for them, Daisy. I do not
think they will want anything but the strawberries —
especially if _you_ look at them."

"But mamma is not here to speak to them either, papa."

"You think somebody must speak to them, eh? I don't think I
can make speeches, Daisy," said Mr. Randolph, stretching
himself at ease in a chaise longue. "But perhaps I may step
down and look at them by and by, my dear."

There was no more to be done, Daisy knew. She went slowly off
over the grounds, meditating whether the people would be
satisfied with so very at-arms'-length an entertainment. Would
_this_ draw the poor nearer to the rich? or the rich nearer to
the poor? Daisy had an instinctive, delicate sense of the
want, which she set herself to do the best her little self
could to supply. "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to
you" — that sweet and most perfect rule of high breeding was
moving her now; and already the spirit of another rule, which
in words she did not yet know, was beginning to possess her
heart in its young discipleship; she was ready "to do good to
all men, even as she had opportunity."

She went slowly back to the table. Nobody come yet. Joanna was
there, putting some last touches. Suddenly a new idea struck
Daisy, as she saw what a long table it was.

"Joanna — there must be somebody else to wait. Sam can never
do it all."

"He'll have to. James is busy, and Hiram. Sam's all that can
be spared; and that's as much as ever."

"But I must have more, Joanna. Can't some of the maids come?"

"To wait? — they wouldn't, Miss Daisy."

"Yes, they would, Joanna. You must make them, Joanna. Send
Maria and Ophelia down here, and I'll tell them what I want of
them. And quick, Joanna; and don't you tell them, please, what
I want."

"I hope you'll grow up to marry the President, some day," said
Joanna, walking off; "you could help him if he got puzzled!"

Poor Daisy almost felt as if she had the affairs of a nation
on her hands, when she saw Mr. and Mrs. Stilton, dressed in
their best, coming near through the trees. But the spirit of
kindness was so thoroughly at work in Daisy, that it made her
reception of her guests just what it ought to be, and she was
delighted a few minutes after to see that their eyes were
kindling with gratification. Logan looked at the table as if
he had some right to take an interest in it; the hay-makers
were open-mouthed; the women in a flutter of ribands and
propriety; and the various people who had come upon the ground
with doubtful expectancy, sat down to table proud and gay. It
was a pretty sight! and prettier was the sight of little Daisy
perched up at one end of the board, and with tremulous fingers
filling cups of coffee, and ordering cups of tea.

"Miss Daisy," said Mrs. Stilton, "it's too much trouble for
you to fill all them cups — sha'n't I come there, and take the
responsibility? if you would delegate me."

Gladly Daisy agreed, slipped off her high chair, and saw Mrs.
Stilton's full portly figure take the place. But Daisy's
labours were not ended. She saw one of the Irish labourers
sitting with his eyes straight before him, and nothing on his
plate for them to look at. Daisy went round. It was her feast;
she felt she must do the honours.

"Will you have a cup of coffee?" said a soft little voice at
the man's elbow. He started.

"Ach! — Sure Miss, I wouldn't be troublesome."

"It's no trouble. Will you have some tea or some coffee?"

" 'Dade, sorrow a drop ever I tuk of ary one of 'em but the one
time, plase yer ladyship. It's too good for me, sure; that's
why it don't agree wid me, Miss."

Very much puzzled by the confidential little nod with which
this information was communicated, Daisy yet felt she could
not give up the matter.

"Then what will you have? — some ham? or some strawberries?"

"Sure I'll do very well, niver fear, plase yer ladyship; don't
trouble yerself. The angels wouldn't want something purtier to
eat, than what we have, Miss!"

Daisy gave up in despair, and charged Sam to see that the man
had his supper. Then, without asking any more questions, she
carried a cup of coffee down the table to a meek-looking old
woman who likewise seemed to be in a state of bewilderment. It
was the mother of Michael the gate-keeper. She started a
little too, as Daisy's hand set down her cup, and half rose
from her chair.

"Blessings on ye, for a dear little lady! It's a wonder to see
the likes of you. The saints above bless the hand and the fut
that wasn't above doing that same! and may ye always have
plenty to wait on ye, and the angels of heaven above all!"

"Sit down, Mrs. Sullivan," said Daisy. "Do you like coffee?"

"Do I like it! It's better to me nor anything else in the
worruld, when it wouldn't be a sup o' summat now and thin, if
I'd have the rheumatiz."

"A sup of what?"

"Medicine, dear, medicine that I take whin the doctor says
it's good for me. May you niver know the want of it, nor of
anything in the wide worruld! and niver know what it is to be
poor!"

Daisy managed to get the old woman to eat, supplying her with
various things, every one of which was accepted with — "Thank
you, Miss," and "Blessings on ye!" and turning away from her
at last, saw her handmaids approaching from the house. The
girls, however disposed to stand upon their dignity, could not
refuse to do what their little mistress was doing; and a
lively time of it they and Daisy had for the next hour, with
all the help Sam and Mrs. Stilton could give them. Daisy saw
that strawberries and cream, cake and coffee, were thoroughly
enjoyed; she saw too that the honour of being served off
silver and china was duly felt. If her father had but come out
to say a kind word! but he did not come. His little substitute
did all a substitute could do; and at last when everybody
seemed in full tide of merrymaking, she stole away that they
might have no constraint upon it. Before she had got far, she
was startled by a noise behind her, and looking round saw that
all the tableful had risen to their feet. The next instant
there was a great shout. Daisy could not imagine what they
were doing, but she saw that they were all looking at her. She
came back a step or two. Now there was another shout greater
than the other; the women flourished handkerchiefs, the men
waved their arms above their heads. "Long life to ye!" "Good
luck to ye forever!" "Blessings on ye for a lady!" "Many
thanks to ye, Miss Daisy!" "May ye niver want as good!"
"Hurrah for the flower of Melbourne!" — Shouts various and
confused at last made Daisy comprehend they were cheering _her_.
So she gave them a little courtesy or two, and walked off
again as fast as she thought it was proper to go.

She went home and to the library, but found nobody there; and
sat down to breathe and rest; she was tired. Presently Ransom
came in.

"Hallo, Daisy! — is nobody here?"

"No."

"Have you seen your things yet?"

"My things? — what things?"

"Why, your _things_ — your birthday things. Of course you
haven't, or you'd know. Never mind, you'll know what I mean by
and by. I say, Daisy."

"What?"

"You know when papa asked you this morning why you didn't go
yesterday to Crum Elbow? —"

"Yes."

"Why didn't you tell him?"

Daisy hesitated. Ransom was cutting a pencil vigorously, but
as she was silent he looked up.

"Why didn't you tell him? did you tell him _afterwards?_"

"Why, no, Ransom!"

"Well, why didn't you? — that's what I want to know. Didn't
you tell anybody?"

"No, of course not."

"Why didn't you, then?"

"Ransom," said Daisy, doubtfully.

"What? I think you're turned queer."

"I don't know whether you'd understand me."

"Understand _you!_ That's a good one! I couldn't understand _you!_
I should rather like to have you try."

"Well, I'll tell you," said Daisy.

"Just do."

"Ransom, you know who the Lord Jesus Christ is."

"I used to; but I have forgotten."

"Oh, Ransom!"

"Come, go ahead, and don't palaver."

"I am His servant," said Daisy; "and He has bid me do to other
people what I would like to have them do to me."

"He has bid you! What do you mean?"

"You know what I mean. It is in the Bible."

"What's in the Bible?"

"_That;_ — that I must do to other people what I would like to
have them do to me."

"And I suppose you thought I wouldn't like to have you tell?
Well you're out, for I don't care a shot about it — there! and
you may tell just as fast as you're a mind to."

"Oh, Ransom! you know —"

"What do I know?"

"It's no matter," said little Daisy, checking herself.

"Go ahead, and finish! What is the use of breaking off? That's
the way with girls; — they don't know how to speak English.
You may just as well say the whole of something ugly, as the
half of it."

If Daisy was tempted to comply with the request, she did not
give way to the temptation; for she was silent; and in a mood
less pleasant than her own apparently, Ransom took himself out
of her presence. Left alone, Daisy presently curled herself
down on a couch, and being very tired fell asleep.


CHAPTER VI.

THE EPERGNE.


Daisy slept on, until a bustle and sounds of voices and
laughter in the hall, and boots clattering over the marble and
up the staircase, at last found their way into her ears.

The riding party had got home. Daisy sat up and rubbed her
eves and looked out.

The sun was low, and shining from the western mountains over
the tops of all the trees. It was certainly near dinner-time;
the cool glittering look of the light on the trees and shrubs
could not be earlier than that. What had become of the
strawberry feast? It seemed like a dream. Daisy shook off the
remains of her sleep and hurried out by one of the glass doors
to go and see. She ran down to the bank where the table was
spread. It was a feast over. The company were gone, so were
the baskets of strawberries; yes, and the very bouquets of
flowers had been taken away. That was a sign of pleasure.
Nothing was left but the disordered table. Daisy hoped the
people had had a good time, and slowly went back towards the
house. As she came near the library window she saw her father,
standing in it.

"Well, Daisy?"

"Well, papa."

"How has the feast gone off?"

"I don't know, papa. There's nothing left but the boards and
the cups and saucers."

Mr. Randolph sat down and drew his little daughter up to his
side.

"Have you enjoyed it, Daisy?"

"Yes — papa — I have enjoyed it pretty well."

"Only pretty well! — for your birthday! Do you think now you
made a good choice, Daisy?"

"Yes, sir — I think I did."

"What has been wanting? I am afraid your ham did not figure on
the board, if it is so empty?"

Daisy did not answer, but her father, watching her, saw
something in her face which made him pursue the subject.

"Did it?"

"No, papa," said Daisy, colouring a little.

"How was that?"

"Joanna arranged everything that was to go on the table."

"And left the ham out of the question? It seems to me that was
a mistake, though I am not much of a housekeeper. Why was
that?"

"Papa," said Daisy, "do you think I would make a wrong use of
a ham?"

Mr. Randolph laughed. "Why, Daisy, unless you are a finished
economist, that might be. Do you mean that I am not to know
the particular use made of this ham."

"Papa, I wish you would not desire to know!"

But Daisy's face was too much in earnest. "I think I cannot
grant that request," said her father. "You must tell me."

Daisy looked distressed. But she dared not evade the order,
though she feared very much what might come of it.

"I didn't buy the ham for the party, papa."

"Then for what?"

"I bought it, papa, for a little girl who was going without
her breakfast. She came to Mr. Lamb's to buy ham, and she had
no money, and he wouldn't let her have any."

"And what became of your baskets?"

"Oh, I got them, papa; I got cheaper ones; and Nora and I
dressed them with greens. I had money enough."

Mr. Randolph took his little daughter on his knee, and softly
put down his lips to kiss her.

"But Daisy, after all, why did you not go to Crum Elbow
yesterday afternoon, as you meant to do?"

"Papa, this morning did better, for it was pleasanter."

"Do you call that an answer?" said Mr. Randolph, who was still
softly kissing her.

"Papa, if you would be so _very_ good as not to ask me that?"

"I am not good at all, Daisy. I ask, — and I mean to know."

Daisy was in trouble. No entreaty was worth a straw after
that. She was puzzled how to answer.

"Papa," she ventured, "I don't like to tell you, because
Ransom would not like I should."

"Ransom's pleasure must give way to mine, Daisy."

"He wanted the pony-chaise," said Daisy, looking very
downcast.

"And you gave it him?"

"No, sir."

"What then? Daisy," said Mr. Randolph, bringing her head round
to face him, "tell me what I want to know without any more
questions."

"He took the chaise, papa, — that was all, — so I went this
morning."

"Ransom knew you wanted it?"

"Yes, sir."

"Then, Daisy, tell me further, why you did not give me this
information when I asked about your drive this morning at
breakfast?"

"Papa, I thought Ransom would not like to have it told."

"Were you afraid he would revenge himself in any way if you
did?"

"Oh, no, papa! not at all."

"Then what moved you to silence?"

"Why, papa, I did not want to trouble Ransom. I was afraid you
would be displeased with him perhaps, if I told."

"Were you not displeased when he took the chaise?"

"Yes, papa," said Daisy, softly.

"And had your displeasure all gone off by this morning?"

"Yes, sir."

Mr. Randolph was not quite satisfied. There was no doubting
Daisy; but he had reasons of his own for knowing that she had
not said to him quite all that she had confessed to her
brother. He would have liked the whole confession; but did not
see how he could get at it just now. He took a little gold
piece out of his pocket, and quietly slipped it into Daisy's
hand.

"Papa! what is this for?"

"For your poor woman, if you like. You can send it to her by
Sam."

"Oh, thank you, papa! But, papa, she won't take it so — she
will not take the least thing without working to pay for it."

"How do you know?"

"She told me so, papa."

"Who told you so?"

"The poor woman — Mrs. Harbonner."

"Where did you see her?"

"I saw her at her house, papa."

"Why did you go to her house?"

"To take her the ham, sir."

"And she told you she wouldn't have anything without doing
work for it — eh?"

"Yes, papa — she wouldn't even take the ham any other way."

"What work did you engage her to do, Daisy?"

"I thought Joanna could find her some, papa."

"Well, let Joanna manage it. You must not go there again, nor
into any strange house, Daisy, without my leave. Now go and
get ready for dinner, and your part of your birthday."

Daisy went very soberly. To see Mrs. Harbonner and her
daughter again, and to do them all sorts of good, had been a
dream of hers, ever since the morning. Now this was shut off.
She was very sorry. How were the rich to do good to the poor,
if they never came together? A question which Daisy thought
about while she was dressing. Then she doubted how her feast
had gone; and she had been obliged to tell of Ransom.
Altogether, Daisy felt that doing good was a somewhat
difficult matter, and she let June dress her in very sober
silence. Daisy was elegantly dressed for her birthday and the
dinner. Her robe was a fine beautifully embroidered muslin,
looped with rose ribands on the shoulder and tied with a broad
rose-coloured sash round the waist. There was very little rose
in Daisy's cheeks, however; and June stood and looked at her
when she had done, with mingled satisfaction and
dissatisfaction.

"You've tired yourself to-day, Miss Daisy, with making that
party for the men!" she said.

"Have you done? Now, June, will you go away, please, and leave
me my room for a few minutes?"

"Yes, Miss Daisy — but it's most time for you to go down."

June went, and Daisy locked her doors, and dropped on her
knees by her little bed. How was she to know what was right to
do? and still more, how was she to do it wisely and
faithfully? Little Daisy went to her stronghold, and asked for
help; and that she might know what her talents were.

"Miss Daisy," said the voice of June at the door, "you are
wanted in the library."

Down went Daisy in a hurry. There was her father; and there
also, to her great surprise, were Nora and Mr. Dinwiddie!

"I have brought Nora to make her peace with you, Daisy," said
Mr. Dinwiddie. "I found her in great trouble because, she
said, you were offended with her. Will you love her again?"

Daisy put her arms round Nora, who looked a little ashamed,
and gave her a very peaceful and reassuring kiss. The
gentlemen both smiled at her action. It was too graceful to
need the aid of words.

"My mission is successful," said Mr. Dinwiddie.

"But I was not offended the least bit, Mr. Dinwiddie," said
Daisy.

"I believe it; but Nora thought you had so much reason, that
she would not come alone to make her apology."

The young man looked towards Mr. Randolph, whose attention was
just then taken by somebody who had come to him on business.
He waited.

"Won't you sit down, Mr. Dinwiddie." said Daisy.

"I must go."

"But I want to ask you a question, sir."

Mr. Dinwiddie sat down.

"Mr. Dinwiddie," said Daisy with a grave face, "what are my
talents?"

"What is the question, Daisy? I do not understand."

"You know, sir — one servant had ten and another had five.
What are my talents?"

"I do not know."

"But how can I tell, Mr. Dinwiddie?"

Then the young man's eyes glowed, as Daisy had a few times
seen them do before.

"Ask the Lord, Daisy. See what His word tells you to do."

"But Mr. Dinwiddie, I am little; I can't do much."

"_You_ cannot do anything. But Jesus can use you, to do what He
pleases, — if you will be His little servant. Give me that
spoon, Nora."

"But, Marmaduke —"

"Yes — I know," said her brother. He took from Nora's hand?
and unfolded from its wrapping-paper a very curious thing,
which he told Daisy was an Egyptian spoon. He did not give her
time to look at it, only he held it so that she saw what it
was.

"You see that spoon, Daisy. It cannot do anything. But in your
hand it might carry drops of comfort to somebody's lips."

Daisy looked earnestly at the spoon, then at the bright eyes
that were fixed on her; and taking his meaning, she smiled, a
bright, satisfied smile. It satisfied Mr. Dinwiddie too. He
wrapped up the spoon again, handed it to Nora, and rose up to
make his adieus to Mr. Randolph.

"Daisy," whispered Nora, "this spoon is for you. Will you take
it for my birthday present? Marmaduke says it is very
handsome. It is his — he gave it to me to give to you."

"It is very, very old," said Mr. Dinwiddie, coming to Daisy.
"It was found in an old Egyptian tomb, and was made and put
there perhaps before the Israelites came out of Egypt. Good
bye!"

He took Daisy's hand with a strong, kindly grasp, and went
away with his little sister just as the dinner-bell rang.
Daisy had not time to look at her present. She held it tight,
and went in to dinner with it in her hand.

Daisy did not generally dine with her father and mother. To-
day was a great exception to the rule. Even to-day she was not
expected to eat anything till the dessert came on; she had had
her dinner; so she had the more time for other things. Her
place was by her mother; Captain Drummond on the other side,
and Gary McFarlane opposite. Then her aunt, Mrs. Gary, had
arrived, just an hour before dinner; and she and her children
and one or two other friends filled the table, and the talking
and laughing went round faster than the soup. Daisy looked and
listened, very much pleased to see her aunt and cousins, and
amused; though, as usual, in her quiet fashion, she gave no
sign of it.

"How did that party come off, Daisy?" said Mr. Gary McFarlane.

"What party?" said Mrs. Gary.

"Daisy's birthday entertainment."

"Daisy invited all the gardeners and haymakers to take supper
and strawberries with her, Aunt Gary," said Ransom.

"What is that?" said Mrs. Gary, looking to her sister.

"Ransom has stated the matter correctly."

"Gardeners and haymakers! What was that for, Daisy?"

"I thought it would give them pleasure, aunt Gary, —" said
Daisy.

"Give _them_ pleasure! of course, I suppose it would; but are we
to give everybody pleasure that we can? At that rate, why not
invite our footmen and chambermaids too? Why stop?"

"I suppose that will be the next thing," said Mrs. Randolph.
"Daisy, you must not eat that cheese."

"What's Daisy's notion?" said Mrs. Gary, appealing to her
brother-in-law.

"A child's notion," said Mr. Randolph. "The worst you can say
of it is, that it is Arcadian."

"How did it go off, Daisy?" said Gary McFarlane.

"I don't know," said Daisy. "I think it went off pretty well."

"How did the hob-nails behave themselves?"

"They had lots of things to eat," said Ransom. "I don't
believe we shall have any strawberries for a day or two
ourselves."

"Did you give them strawberries?" said Mrs. Gary.

"A tableful," said Ransom; "and baskets and baskets to take
home."

"Something new, —" said Mrs. Gary, eating her salad.

"But how did the company behave?" said Mr. McFarlane.

"I saw no behaviour that was not proper," Daisy answered,
gravely. She thought as much could not be said of the present
company, seeing that servants were present.

"What have you there, Daisy?" said her mother.

"It is a birthday present, mamma. It is an Egyptian spoon."

"An Egyptian spoon! Where did you get it?"

"Mr. Dinwiddie — I mean, Nora gave it to me."

"What about Mr. Dinwiddie?"

"Nothing, mamma."

"Then why did you speak his name?"

"I don't know. He brought Nora to see me just now."

"Where did you see him?"

"In the library."

"Mr. Randolph" — said the lady — "did Mr. Dinwiddie call to
see you?"

"He did me that honour," said Mr. Randolph; "but I think
primarily his visit was to Daisy."

"Who is Mr. Dinwiddie?" said Mrs. Gary, seeing a contraction
in her sister's brow. "It's a Virginian name."

"He is a fanatic," said Mrs. Randolph. "I don't know what else
he is."

"Let us see the fanatic's spoon," said Gary McFarlane.
"Egyptian, is it, Daisy? Curious, upon my word!"

"Beautiful!" said Captain Drummond, taking the spoon in his
turn across the table. "Beautiful! This is a nice piece of
carving — and very old it undoubtedly is. This is the lotus,
Daisy — this stem part of the spoon; and do you see, in the
bowl here is the carving of a lake, with fish in it?"

"Is it?" said Daisy; "and what is a _lotus_, Captain Drummond?"

"If you will put me in mind to-morrow, privately, I will tell
you about it," said he.

"Let me look at that, Captain Drummond," said Mrs. Gary. —
"Why, here's a duck's head at the end of the handle. What a
dear old thing! Who is this Mr. Dinwiddie, pray?"

"The duck's bill makes the spoon, aunt Gary," said Daisy.

"If you asked me _what_ he is, I have told you," said Mrs.
Randolph.

"He is a young man, of good family I believe, spending the
summer with a neighbour of ours who is his relation," Mr.
Randolph answered.

"What is he a fanatic about?"

This question did not get an immediate answer; the
conversation diverged, and it was lost. Daisy's spoon made the
round of the company. It was greatly admired, both from its
oddness and from the beauty of its carving.

"Daisy, I will buy this spoon of you," said her aunt.

Daisy thought not; but she said, "With what, aunt Gary?"

"With anything you please. Do you set a high value on it? What
is it worth?"

Daisy hesitated; and then she said, "I think it is worth my
regard, aunt Gary!"

She could not guess why there was a general little laugh round
the table at this speech.

"Daisy, you are an original," said Mrs. Gary. "May I ask, why
this piece of old Egypt deserves your regard?"

"I think anything does, aunt Gary, that is a gift," Daisy
said, a little shyly.

"If your first speech sounded forty years old, your second
does not," said the lady.

"Arcadian again, both of them," Mr. Randolph remarked.

"You always take Daisy's part," said the lady briskly. But Mr.
Randolph let the assertion drop.

"Mamma," said Daisy, "what is an original?"

"Something your aunt says you are. Do you like some of this
_biscuit_, Daisy?"

"If you please, mamma. And mamma, what do you mean by a
fanatic?"

"Something that I will not have you," said her mother, with
knitting brow again.

Daisy slowly eat her biscuit-glacé and wondered — wondered
what it could be that Mr. Dinwiddie was, and that her mother
was determined she should not be.

Mr. Dinwiddie was a friend of poor people — was that what her
mother meant? He was a devoted, unflinching servant of Christ;
— "so will I be," said Daisy to herself; "so I am now; for I
have given the Lord Jesus all I have got, and I don't want to
take anything back. Is that what mamma calls being a fanatic?"
— Daisy's meditations were broken off; for a general stir
round the table made her look up.

The table was cleared, and the servants were bringing on the
fruit; and with the fruit they were setting on the table a
beautiful old fashioned silver épergne, that was never used
but for great occasions. Generally it was adorned with fruit
and flowers; to-day it was empty, and the attendants proceeded
to arrange upon it very strange looking things; packages in
white paper, books, trinkets, what not; and in the middle of
all a little statuette of a Grecian nymph, which was a great
favourite of Daisy's. Daisy began to guess that the épergne
had something to do with her birthday. But the nymph? —
perhaps she came there by her beauty to dignify this use made
of the stately old thing. However, she forgot all about
fanatics and Mr. Dinwiddie for the present. The looks and
smiles of the company were unmistakable. Who would speak
first?

"How are you to reach the épergne, Daisy?" said her father.

"Shall I be the medium?" said Mrs. Gary. "These things are to
travel up to Daisy, I suppose."

"I will represent the rolling stock of this road, and
undertake to carry parcels safely," said Mr. McFarlane. "Any
message with the goods, Mrs. Gary?"

"I believe they carry their own message with them," said the
lady; — "or else I don't see what is the use of these little
white tickets. Where shall I begin, Mr. Randolph?"

"I do not think the order of proceedings will be criticized,
provided it does not delay," said Daisy's father.

"Then transmit this, Gary."

"Literary freight" —said Gary McFarlane, handing over to Daisy
a little parcel of books. Five or six little volumes, in
pretty binding — Daisy looked eagerly to see what they might
be. "Marmion" — "The Lady of the Lake" — "Scott's Poetical
Works."

"Oh, thank you, papa!" said Daisy, looking delighted.

"Not me," said Mr. Randolph. "I am not to be thanked."

"There's no name in them —" said Daisy.

"That's Preston's gift," said her aunt. Preston was Daisy's
oldest cousin; a fine boy of sixteen.

"I like it so much, Preston!" said Daisy, sending a grateful
look down the table to where he sat.

"Is Daisy fond of poetry?" inquired Mr. McFarlane, with a
grave look.

"Very fond," Mrs. Randolph said.

"Dangerous taste!" said Gary. "What is this new consignment?"

"Something valuable — take care of it."

"To be taken with care — right side up," said Gary, putting
before Daisy by a stretch of his long arm a little paper
covered package. Daisy's cheeks were beginning to grow pink.
She unfolded the package.

A little box — then white cotton — then a gold bracelet.

"Mamma? —" said Daisy instantly. Mrs. Randolph stooped and
kissed her. "It's beautiful, mamma!" Daisy spoke very
earnestly; however, her face did not show the light of
pleasure which the first gift had called into it.

"How did you know so well?" said Mr. McFarlane. "Mrs.
Randolph, I am afraid you are not literary. Now Daisy,
exercise your discernment upon that."

It was a little box containing a Chinese puzzle, with the
plans and keys belonging to it.

"Where do you think that comes from?"

Daisy looked up. "I think — perhaps — from you, Mr.
McFarlane."

"Do you think I am anything like a puzzle?"

"I think — perhaps — you mean to be," — Daisy said,
innocently. But a shout from the whole tableful answered to
this chance hit. Daisy didn't know what they could mean.

"I have done!" said Gary. "I have got more than my match. But
I know who will plague people worse than a puzzle, if she gets
well educated. There's a pair of gloves, you little fencer."

It was a nice little thick pair of riding or driving gloves;
beautifully made and ornamented. These came from Eloise,
Daisy's other cousin. Mrs. Gary had brought her two beautiful
toilet bottles of Bohemian glass. Daisy's end of the table was
growing full.

"What is this?" said Mrs. Gary, taking from the épergne a
sealed note directed to Daisy.

"That is Ransom's present. Give her mine first," said Mr.
Randolph.

"Which is yours? I don't see anything more."

"That little Proserpine in the middle."

"_This?_ Are you going to give this to Daisy? But why is she
called Proserpine? I don't see."

"Nor I," said Mr. Randolph, "only that everything must have a
name. And this damsel is supposed to have been carrying a
basket, which might easily have been a basket of flowers, I
don't see how the statement could be disproved. And Daisy is
fonder of the little nymph, I believe, than any one else in
the house.

"Oh, papa! thank you," exclaimed Daisy, whose eyes sparkled.
"I like to have her very much!"

"Well, here she goes," said Mrs. Gary. "Hand her over. You
have a variety, Daisy. Chinese playthings and Grecian art."

"_Some_ modern luxury," said Gary McFarlane. "Just a little."

"Egyptian art, too," said Captain Drummond.

"Oh, where's my spoon?" cried Daisy. "Has papa got it?"

"Here is Ransom's present," said her aunt, handing the note.
"Nobody knows what it is. Are we to know?"

Daisy opened and read, read over again, looked very grave, and
finally folded the note up in silence.

"What is it?" said her aunt.

Daisy hesitated, wishing, but in doubt if she would be
permitted to keep it to herself. Her father answered for her.

"It is all of Ransom's part, share, and possession in a
certain small equipage known about these premises; the intent
and understanding being, that henceforth the pony carriage and
pony are Daisy's sole property, and to be by her used and
appropriated without any other person's interference
whatever."

"But, papa —" Ransom began.

"I think it is a very poor arrangement, Mr. Randolph," said
Ransom's mother. "Daisy cannot use the pony half enough for
his good."

"She will make more use of him now," said Mr. Randolph.

Ransom looked very glum. His mother rose, with the ladies, and
went to the drawing-room.


CHAPTER VII.

A SOLDIER.


A day or two after the birthday, it happened that Captain
Drummond was enjoying the sunshine in a way that gentlemen
like to enjoy it; that is, he was stretched comfortably on the
grass under the shade of some elm trees, looking at it.
Perhaps it was not exactly the sunshine that he was enjoying,
but the soft couch of short grass, and the luxurious warm
shadow of the elms, and a little fanciful breeze which played
and stopped playing, and set the elm trees all a flutter and
let them be still, by turns. But Captain Drummond was having a
good time there, all by himself, and lying at length in a most
lazy luxurious fashion; when he suddenly was "ware" of a fold
of white drapery somewhere not very far from his left ear. He
raised himself a little up, and there to be sure, as he had
guessed, was Daisy. She was all alone too, and standing there
looking at him.

Now Captain Drummond was a great favourite of Daisy's. In the
first place he was a handsome fellow, with a face which was
both gentle and manly; and his curly light brown hair and his
slight well-trimmed moustache set off features that were
pleasant for man or woman to look upon. Perhaps Daisy liked
him partly for this, but I think she had other reasons. At any
rate, there she stood looking at him.

"Can you command me, Daisy?" said the young officer.

"Are you at leisure, Captain Drummond?"

"Looks like it!" said the gentleman rousing himself. "What
shall I give you? a camp-chair? or will you take the — Oh!
that is a better arrangement."

For Daisy had thrown on the ground a soft shawl for a carpet,
and took her place upon it beside Captain Drummond, who looked
at her in a pleased kind of way.

"Are you quite at leisure, Captain Drummond?"

"Gentlemen always are — when ladies' affairs are to be
attended to."

"Are they?" said Daisy.

"They ought to be!"

"But I am not a lady."

"What do you call yourself?"

"I don't know," said Daisy, gravely. "I suppose I am a little
piece of one."

"Is that it?" said Captain Drummond, laughing. "Well, I will
give you as large a piece of my leisure as you can make use of
— without regard to proportions. What is on hand, Daisy?"

"Captain Drummond," said Daisy, with a very serious face, —
"do soldiers have a very hard time?"

"Not always. Not when they are lying out under the trees at
Melbourne, for example."

"But I mean, when they are acting like soldiers?"

He was ready with a laughing answer again, but seeing how
earnest Daisy's face was, he controlled himself; and leaning
on his elbow, with just a little smile of amusement on his
face, he answered her.

"Well, Daisy — sometimes they do."

"How, Captain Drummond?"

"In a variety of ways."

"Will you please tell me about it?"

He looked up at her. "Why, Daisy, what makes you curious in
the matter? Have you a friend in the army?"

"No other but you," said Daisy.

"That is a kind speech. To reward you for it, I will tell you
anything you please. What is the question, Daisy?"

"I would like to know in what way soldiers have a hard time?"

"Well, Daisy, to begin with, a soldier can't do what he has a
mind."

"Not about anything?"

"Well — no; not unless he gets leave. I am only at Melbourne
now because I have got leave; and I must go when my leave is
up. A soldier does not belong to himself."

"To whom does he belong?"

"To his commander! He must go and come, do or not do things,
just as his General bids him; and ask no questions."

"Ask no questions?" said Daisy.

"No; only do what he is ordered."

"But why mayn't he ask questions?"

"That isn't his business. He has nothing to do with the reason
of things; all he has got to do is his duty. The _reason_ is his
General's duty to look after."

"But suppose he had a very good General — then that wouldn't
be much of a hardship," said Daisy.

"Well, that is a very material point," said the Captain.
"_Suppose_ he has a good General — as you say; that would make a
great difference, certainly."

"Is that all, Captain Drummond?"

"Not quite all."

"What else?"

"Well, Daisy, a soldier, even under a good General, is often
ordered to do hard things."

"What sort of things?"

"What do you think," said the Captain, lolling comfortably on
the green bank, "of camping out under the rain-clouds — with
no bed but stones or puddles of mud and wet leaves — and rain
pouring down all night, and hard work all day; and no better
accommodations for week in and week out?"

"But Captain Drummond!" said Daisy, horrified, "I thought
soldiers had tents?"

"So they do — in fine weather —" said the Captain. "But just
where the hardest work is to do, is where they can't carry
their tents."

"Couldn't that be prevented?"

"I'm afraid not."

"I should think they'd get sick?"

"_Think_ they would! Why, they do, Daisy, by hundreds and
hundreds. What then? A soldier's life isn't his own; and if he
has to give it up in a hospital instead of on the field, why
it's good for some other fellow."

So this it was, not to belong to oneself! Daisy looked on the
soldier before her who had run, or would run, such risks, very
tenderly; but nevertheless the child was thinking her own
thoughts all the while. The Captain saw both things.

"What is the 'hard work' they have to do?" she asked,
presently.

"Daisy, you wouldn't like to see it."

"Why, sir?"

"Poor fellows digging and making walls of sand or sods to
shelter them from fire — when every now and then comes a shot
from the enemy's batteries, ploughs up their work, and knocks
over some poor rascal who never gets up again. That's one kind
of hard work."

Daisy's face was intent in its interest; but she only said,
"Please go on."

"Do you like to hear it?"

"Yes, I like to know about it."

"I wonder what Mrs. Randolph would say to me?"

"Please go on, Captain Drummond!"

"I don't know about that. However, Daisy, work in the trenches
is not the hardest thing — nor living wet through or frozen
half through — nor going half fed — about the hardest thing I
know, is in a hurried retreat to be obliged to leave sick and
wounded friends and poor fellows to fall into the hands of the
enemy. That's hard."

"Isn't it hard to fight a battle?"

"You would not like to march up to the fire of the enemy's
guns, and see your friends falling right and left of you —
struck down?"

"Would you?" said Daisy.

"Would I what?"

"Don't _you_ think it is hard, to do that?"

"Not just at the time, Daisy. It is a little tough afterwards,
when one comes to think about it. It is hard to see fellows
suffer too, that one cannot help."

Daisy hardly knew what to think of Captain Drummond. His
handsome pleasant face looked not less gentle than usual, and
_did_ look somewhat more sober. Daisy concluded it must be
something about a soldier's life that she could not
understand, all this coolness with which he spoke of dreadful
things. A deep sigh was the testimony of the different
feelings of her little breast. Captain Drummond looked up at
her.

"Daisy, women are not called to be soldiers."

Daisy passed that.

"Have you told me all you can tell me, Captain Drummond?"

"I should not like to tell you all I could tell you."

"Why? Please do! I want to know all about soldiers."

He looked curiously at her. "After all," he said, "it is not
so bad as you think, Daisy. A good soldier does not find it
hard to obey orders."

"What sorts of orders does he have to obey?"

"All sorts."

"But suppose they were wrong orders?"

"Makes no difference."

"_Wrong_ orders?"

"Yes," said Captain Drummond, laughing. "If it is something he
can do, he does it; if it is something he can't do, he loses
his head trying."

"Loses his head, sir?"

"Yes — by a cannon ball; or his heart, by a musket ball; or
maybe he gets off with losing a hand or a leg; just as it
happens. That makes no difference, either." He watched Daisy
as he spoke, seeing a slight colour rise in her cheeks, and
wondering what made the child's quiet grey eyes look at him so
thoughtfully.

"Captain Drummond, is he ever told to do anything he _can't_
do?"

"A few years ago, Daisy, the English and the French were
fighting the Russians in the Crimea. I happened to be there on
business, and I saw some things. An order was brought one day
to an officer commanding a body of cavalry — you know what
cavalry is?"

"Yes, I know."

"The order was brought in — Hallo! what's that?" For a voice
was heard shouting at a little distance, "Drummond! Ho,
Drummond! Where are you?"

"It's Mr. McFarlane!" said Daisy. "He'll come here. I'm very
sorry."

"Don't be sorry," said the Captain. "Come, — let us disappoint
him. He can't play hide and seek."

He jumped up and caught Daisy's willing hand, with the other
hand caught up her shawl, and drew her along swiftly under
cover of the trees and shrubbery towards the river, and away
from the voice they heard calling. Daisy half ran, half flew,
it seemed to her; so fast the strong hand of her friend pulled
her over the ground. At the edge of the bank that faced the
river, at the top of a very steep descent of a hundred feet or
near that, under a thick shelter of trees, Captain Drummond
called a halt and stood listening. Far off, faint in the
distance, they could still hear the shout, — "Drummond! —
where are you? Hallo!"

"We'll go down to the river," said the Captain; "and he is too
lazy to look for us there. We shall be safe. Daisy, this is a
retreat — but it is not a hardship, is it?"

Daisy looked up delighted. The little face so soberly
thoughtful a few minutes ago was all bright and flushed. The
Captain was charmed too.

"But we can't get down there," — said Daisy, casting her eye
down the very steep pitch of the bank.

"That is something," said the Captain, "with which as a
soldier you have nothing to do. All you have to do is to obey
orders; and the orders are that we charge down hill."

"I shall go head first, then," said Daisy, "or over and over.
I couldn't keep my feet one minute."

"Now you are arguing," said the Captain; "and that shows
insubordination, or want of discipline. But we have got to
charge, all the same; and we'll see about putting you under
arrest afterwards."

Daisy laughed at him, but she could not conceive how they
should get to the bottom. It was very steep, and strewn with
dead leaves from the trees which grew thick all the way.
Rolling down was out of the question, for the stems of the
trees would catch them; and to keep on their feet seemed
impossible. Daisy found, however, that Captain Drummond could
manage what she could not. He took hold of her hand again; and
then — Daisy hardly believed it while she was doing it, — but
there she was, going down that bank in an upright position;
not falling nor stumbling, though it is true she was not
walking neither. The Captain did not let her fall, and his
strong hand seemed to take her like a feather over the stones
and among the trees, giving her flying leaps and bounds down
the hill along with him. How he went and kept his feet
remained always a marvel to Daisy; but down they went, and at
the bottom they were in a trifle of time.

"Do you think he will come down there after us?" said the
Captain.

"I am sure he won't," said Daisy.

"So am I sure. We are safe, Daisy. Now I am your prisoner, and
you are my prisoner; and we will set each other at any work we
please. This is a nice place."

Behind them was the high, steep, wooded bank, rising right up.
Before them was a little strip of pebbly beach, and little
wavelets of the river washing past it. Beyond lay the broad
stream, all bright in the summer sunshine, with the great blue
hills rising up misty and blue in the distance. Nothing else;
a little curve in the shore on each side shut them in from all
that was above or below near at hand.

"Why, this is a fine place," repeated the Captain. "Were you
ever here before?"

"Not in a long time," said Daisy. "I have been here with
June."

"June! Aren't we here with June now?"

"_Now?_ — Oh, I don't mean the month — I mean mamma's black
June," said Daisy, laughing.

"Well, that is the first time I ever heard of a black June!"
muttered the Captain. "Does she resemble her name or her
colour?"

"She isn't much like the month of June," said Daisy. "I don't
think she is a very cheerful person."

"Then I wouldn't come here any more with her — or anywhere
else."

"I don't," said Daisy. "I don't go with her, or with anybody
else — much. Only I go with Sam and the pony."

"Where's Ransom. Don't he go with you?"

"Oh, Ransom's older, you know; and he's a boy."

"Ransom don't know his advantages. This is pleasant, Daisy.
Now let us see. What were you and I about?"

"You were telling me something, Captain Drummond."

"What was it? Oh, I know. Daisy, you are under arrest, you
know, and sentenced to extra duty. The work you are to
perform, is to gather as many of these little pebbles together
— these white ones — as you can in five minutes."

Daisy went to work; so did the Captain; and very busy they
were, for the Captain gathered as many pebbles as she did. He
made her fetch them to a place where the little beach was
clean and smooth, and in the shadow of an overhanging tree
they both sat down. Then the Captain, throwing off his cap,
began arranging the white pebbles on the sand in some
mysterious manner — lines of them here and lines of them there
— whistling as he worked. Daisy waited with curious patience;
watched him closely, but never asked what he was doing. At
last he stopped, looked up at her, and smiled.

"Well! —" he said.

"What is it all, Captain Drummond?"

"This is your story, Daisy."

"My story!"

"Yes. Look here — these rows of white stones are the Russians;
— these brown stones are the English," said he, beginning to
marshal another set into mysterious order some distance from
the white stones. "Now what shall I do for some guns?"

Daisy, in a very great state of delight, began to make search
for something that would do to stand for artillery; but
Captain Drummond presently solved the question by breaking
some twigs from the tree overhead and cutting them up into
inch lengths. These little mock guns he distributed liberally
among the white stones, pointing their muzzles in various
directions; and finally drew some lines in the sand which he
informed Daisy were fortifications. Daisy looked on; it was
better than a fairy tale.

"Now Daisy, we are ready for action. This is the battle of
Balaklava; and these are part of the lines. An order was
brought to an officer commanding a body of cavalry stationed
up here — you know what cavalry is."

"Yes, I know."

"The order was brought to him to charge upon the enemy down
_there_, — in a place where he could do no good and must be cut
to pieces; — the enemy had so many guns in that place and he
had so few men to attack them with. The order was a mistake.
He knew it was a mistake, but his General had sent it — there
was nothing for him to do but to obey. So he charged."

"And his men?"

"Every one. They knew they were going to their death — and
everybody else knew it that saw them go — but they charged!"

"Did you see it, Captain Drummond?"

"I saw it."

"And did they go to their death?" said Daisy, awe-stricken,
for Captain Drummond's look said that he was thinking of
something it had been grave to see.

"Why, yes. Look here, Daisy — here were cannon; there were
cannon; there were more cannon; cannon on every side of them
but one. They went into death they knew, when they went in
there."

"How many of them went there?"

"Six hundred."

"Six hundred! — were they _all_ killed?"

"No. There were a part of them that escaped and lived to come
back."

Daisy looked at the pebbles and the guns in profound silence.

"But if the officer knew the order was a mistake, why must he
obey it?"

"That's a soldier's duty, Daisy. He can do nothing but follow
orders. A soldier can't know, very often, what an order is
given for; he cannot judge; he does not know what his General
means to accomplish. All he has to think of is to obey orders;
and if every soldier does that, all is right."

What was little Daisy thinking of? She sat looking at her
friend the Captain. He was amused.

"Well, Daisy — what do you think? — will it do? Do you think
you will stand it and be a soldier?"

Daisy hesitated a good deal, and looked off and on at the
Captain's face. Then she said very quietly, "Yes."

"You will!" he said. "I wish you would join my branch of the
service. Suppose you come into my company?"

"Suppose you join mine?"

"With all my heart!" said the Captain, laughing; "if it is not
inconsistent with my present duties. So you have enlisted
already? Are you authorised to receive recruits?"

Daisy shook her head, and did not join in his laugh.

"Honestly, Daisy, tell me true; what did you want to know
about soldiers for? I have answered you; now answer me. I am
curious."

Daisy did not answer, and seemed in doubt.

"Will you not honour me so far?"

Daisy hesitated still, and looked at the Captain more than
once. But Captain Drummond was a great favourite, and had
earned her favour partly by never talking nonsense to her; a
great distinction.

"I will tell you when we get back to the house," she said, —
"if you will not speak of it, Captain Drummond."

The Captain could get no nearer his point; and he and Daisy
spent a good while longer by the river-side, erecting
fortifications and studying the charge of the Light brigade.


CHAPTER VIII.

GEOGRAPHY.


The Captain was not able to claim Daisy's promise immediately.
On their return to the house he was at once taken up with some
of the older people, and Daisy ran off to her long delayed
dinner.

The next day in the course of her wanderings about the
grounds, which were universal, Daisy came upon her cousin
Preston. He sat in the shade of a clump of larches under a
great oak, making flies for fishing; which occupation, like a
gentlemanly boy as he was, he had carried out there where the
litter of it would be in nobody's way. Preston Gary was a very
fine fellow; about sixteen, a handsome fellow, very spirited,
very clever, and very gentle and kind to his little cousin
Daisy. Daisy liked him much, and was more entirely free with
him perhaps than with any other person in the family. Her
seeing him now was the signal for a joyous skip and bound
which brought her to his side.

"Oh, Preston, are you going fishing?"

"Perhaps — if I have a good day for it."

"When?"

"To-morrow."

"Who's going with you?"

"Nobody, I reckon. Unless you want to go, Daisy."

"Oh, Preston, may I go with you? Where are you going?"

"Daisy, I'm bound for the Hillsdale woods, back of Crum Elbow
— they say there are first-rate trout streams there; but I am
afraid you can't go so far."

"Oh, I can go anywhere, Preston! — with Loupe, you know.
You're going to ride, aren't you?"

"Yes, but Loupe! What shall we do with Loupe? You see, I shall
be gone the whole day, Daisy — it's likely. You'd get tired."

"Why, we could find somewhere to put Loupe — Sam could take
care of him. And I should like to go, Preston, if you think I
would not frighten the fish."

"Oh, if Sam's going along, that is another matter," said
Preston. "You frighten the fish, Daisy! I don't believe you
can do that for anything. But I won't let you get into
mischief."

So it was settled, and Daisy's face looked delighted; and for
some time she and Preston discussed the plan, the fish, and
his flies. Then suddenly Daisy introduced another subject.

"Preston, where is the Crimea?"

"The Crimea!" said Preston.

"Yes; where the English and the French were fighting with the
Russians."

"The Crimea! Why, Daisy, don't you know where it is? You'll
find it in the Black Sea somewhere."

Daisy hesitated.

"But Preston, I don't know where the Black Sea is."

"Why, Daisy, what has become of your geography?"

"I never had much," said Daisy, humbly, and looking serious; —
"and lately mamma hasn't wanted me to do anything but run
about."

"Well, if you take the map of Europe, and set out from the
north of Russia and walk down, you'll find yourself in the
Crimea after a while. Just hold that, Daisy, will you."

Daisy held the ends of silk he put in her fingers; but while
he worked, she thought. Might it not be possible that a good
knowledge of geography might have something to do with the use
or the improvement of her _talents?_ And if a knowledge of
geography, why not also a knowledge of history, and of
arithmetic, and of everything! There could not be a reasonable
doubt of it. What would Preston be, — what would Mr. Dinwiddie
or Captain Drummond be, — if they knew nothing? And by the
same reasoning, what would Daisy Randolph be? What could she
do with her talents, if she let them lie rusty with ignorance?
Now this was a very serious thought to Daisy, because she did
not like study. She liked knowledge right well, if she could
get it without trouble, and if it was entertaining knowledge;
but she did not think geography at all entertaining, nor
arithmetic. Yet — Daisy forgot all about Preston's artificial
flies, and her face grew into a depth of sobriety.

"Preston —" she began, slowly, — "is it hard?"

"Not just that," said Preston, busy in finishing a piece of
work, — "it is a little ticklish to stroke this into order —
but it isn't hard, if you have the right materials, and know
how."

"Oh, no — I don't mean flies — I mean geography."

"Geography!" said Preston. "Oh, you are at the Crimea yet, are
you? I'll show it to you, Daisy, when we go in."

"Preston, is the use of geography only to know where places
are?"

"Well, that's pretty convenient," said Preston. "Daisy, just
look for that bunch of grey silk — I had it here a minute
ago."

"But Preston, tell me what _is_ the use of it?"

"Why, my dear little Daisy — thank you! — you'd be all abroad
without it."

"All abroad!" exclaimed Daisy.

"It comes to about that, I reckon. You wouldn't understand
anything. How can you? Suppose I show you my pictures of the
North American Indians — they'll be as good as Chinese to you,
if you don't know geography."

Daisy was silent, feeling puzzled.

"And," said Preston, binding his fly, "when you talk of the
Crimea, you will not know whether the English came from the
east or the west, nor whether the Russians are not living
under the equator and eating ripe oranges."

"Don't they eat oranges?" said Daisy, seriously. But that
question set Preston off into a burst of laughter, for which
he atoned as soon as it was over by a very gentle kiss to his
little cousin.

"Never mind, Daisy," he said; "I think you are better without
geography. You aren't just like everybody else — that's a
fact."

"Daisy," said Captain Drummond, coming upon the scene, "do you
allow such things?"

"It is Preston's manner of asking my pardon, Captain
Drummond," Daisy answered, looking a little troubled, but in
her slow, womanly way. The Captain could not help laughing in
his turn.

"What offence has he been guilty of? — tell me, and I will
make him ask pardon in another manner. But, Daisy, do you
reckon such a liberty no offence?"

"Not if I am willing he should take it," said Daisy.

The Captain seemed much amused. "My dear little lady!" he
said, "it is good for me you are not half a score of years
wiser. What were you talking about the Crimea? — I heard the
word as I came up."

"I asked Preston to show it to me on the map — or he said he
would."

"Come with me, and I'll do it. You shouldn't ask anybody but
me about the Crimea."

So getting hold affectionately of Daisy's hand, he and she
went off to the house. No one was in the library. The Captain
opened a large map of Russia; Daisy got up in a chair, with
her elbows on the great library table, and leaned over it,
while the Captain drew up another chair and pointed out the
Crimea and Sebastopol, and showed the course by which the
English ships had come, for Daisy took care to ask that. Then,
finding so earnest a listener, he went on to describe to her
the situation of other places on the Peninsula, and the
character of the country, and the severities of the climate in
the region of the great struggle. Daisy listened, with her
eyes varying between Captain Drummond's face and the map. The
Black Sea became known to Daisy thence and forever.

"I never thought geography was so interesting!" she remarked
with a sigh, as the Captain paused. He smiled.

"Now, Daisy, you have something to tell me," he said.

"What?" said Daisy, looking up suddenly.

"Why, you wanted to know about soldiers — don't you remember
your promise?"

The child's face all changed; her busy, eager, animated look
became on the instant thoughtful and still. Yet changed, as
the Captain saw with some curiosity, not to lesser but to
greater intentness.

"Well, Daisy?"

"Captain Drummond, if I tell you, I do not wish it talked
about."

"Certainly not!" he said, suppressing a smile, and watched her
while she got down from her chair and looked about among the
book-shelves.

"Will you please put this on the table for me?" she said — "I
can't lift it."

"A Bible!" said the Captain to himself. "This is growing
serious." But he carried the great quarto silently and placed
it on the table. It was a very large volume, fall of
magnificent engravings, which were the sole cause and
explanation of its finding a place in Mr. Randolph's library.
He put it on the table and watched Daisy curiously, who,
disregarding all the pictures, turned over the leaves
hurriedly, till near the end of the book; then stopped, put
her little finger under some words, and turned to him. The
Captain looked and read — over the little finger — "Thou
therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ."

It gave the Captain a very odd feeling. He stopped, and read
it two or three times over.

"But Daisy!" — he said.

"What, Captain Drummond?"

"What has this to do with what we were talking about?"

"Would you please shut this up and put it away, first."

The Captain obeyed, and as he turned from the bookshelves
Daisy took his hand again, and drew him, child-fashion, out of
the house and through the shrubbery. He let her alone till she
had brought him to a shady spot, where, under the thick growth
of magnificent trees a rustic seat stood, in full view of the
distant mountains and the river.

"Where is my answer, Daisy?" he said, as she let go his hand
and seated herself.

"What was your question, Captain Drummond?"

"Now you are playing hide and seek with me. What have those
words you showed me, — what have they to do with our
yesterday's conversation?"

"I would like to know," said Daisy, slowly, "what it means, to
be a good soldier?"

"Why?"

"I think I have told you," she said.

She said it with the most unmoved simplicity. The Captain
could not imagine what made him feel uncomfortable. He
whistled.

"Daisy, you are incomprehensible!" he exclaimed, and, catching
hold of her hand, he began a race down towards the river. Such
a race as they had taken the day before. Through shade and
through sun, down grassy steeps and up again, flying among the
trees as if some one were after them, the Captain ran; and
Daisy was pulled along with him. At the edge of the woods
which crowned the river bank, he stopped and looked at Daisy
who was all flushed and sparkling with exertion and merriment.

"Sit down there!" said he, putting her on the bank and
throwing himself beside her. "Now you look as you ought to
look!"

"I don't think mamma would think so," said Daisy, panting and
laughing.

"Yes, she would. Now tell me — do you call yourself a
soldier?"

"I don't know whether there can be such little soldiers," said
Daisy. "If there can be, I am."

"And what fighting do you expect to do, little one?"

"I don't know," said Daisy. "Not very well."

"What enemies are you going to face?"

But Daisy only looked rather hard at the Captain, and made him
no answer.

"Do you expect to emulate the charge of the Light Brigade, in
some tilt against fancied wrong?"

Daisy looked at her friend; she did not quite understand him,
but his last words were intelligible.

"I don't know," she said, meekly. "But if I do, it will not be
because the order is a _mistake_, Captain Drummond."

The Captain bit his lip. "Daisy," said he, "are you the only
soldier in the family?"

Daisy sat still, looking up over the sunny slopes of ground
towards the house.

The sunbeams showed it bright and stately on the higher
ground; they poured over a rich luxuriant spread of greensward
and trees, highly kept; stately and fair; and Daisy could not
help remembering that in all that domain, so far as she knew,
there was not a thought in any heart of being the sort of
soldier she wished to be. She got up from the ground and
smoothed her dress down.

"Captain Drummond," she said, with a grave dignity that was at
the same time perfectly childish too, — "I have told you about
myself — I can't tell you about other people."

"Daisy, you are not angry with me!"

"No, sir."

"Don't you sometimes permit other people to ask your pardon in
Preston Gary's way?"

Daisy was about to give a quiet negative to this proposal,
when perceiving more mischief in the Captain's face than might
be manageable, she pulled away her hand from him, and dashed
off like a deer. The Captain was wiser than to follow.

Later in the day, which turned out a very warm one, he and
Gary McFarlane went down again to the edge of the bank, hoping
to get if they could a taste of the river breeze. Lying there
stretched out under the trees, after a little while they heard
voices. The voices were down on the shore. Gary moved his
position to look.

"It's that child — what under the sun is she doing! I beg
pardon for naming anything warm just now, Drummond — but she
is building fortifications of some sort, down there."

Captain Drummond came forward too. Down below them, a little
to the right, where a tiny bend in the shore made a spot of
shade, Daisy was crouching on the ground apparently very busy.
Back of her a few paces was her dark attendant, June.

"There's energy," said Gary. "What a nice thing it is to be a
child and play in the sand!"

The talk down on the shore went on; June's voice could
scarcely be heard, but Daisy's words were clear — "Do, June!
Please try." Another murmur from June, and then Daisy — "Try,
June — do, please!" The little voice was soft, but its
utterances were distinct; the words could be heard quite
plainly. And Daisy sat back from her sand-work, and June began
to sing something. _What_, it would have been difficult to tell
at the top of the bank, but then Daisy's voice struck in. With
no knowledge that she had listeners, the notes came mounting
up to the top of the bank, clear, joyous and strong, with a
sweet power that nobody knew Daisy's voice had.

"Upon my word, that's pretty!" said the Captain.

"A pretty thing, too, faith," said Gary. "Captain, let's get
nearer the performers. Look out, now, and don't strike to
windward."

They went, like hunters, softly down the bank, keeping under
shelter, and winding round so as to get near before they
should be seen. They succeeded. Daisy was intent upon her
sand-work again, and June's back was towards them. The song
went on more softly; then in a chorus Daisy's voice rang out
again, and the words were plain.


"Die in the field of battle,
Die in the field of battle,
Die in the field of battle,
Glory in your view."


"Spirited!" whispered Gary.

"I almost think it is a Swedish war song," said the Captain.
"I am not sure."

"Miss Daisy!" — said June — "the gentlemen —"

Daisy started up. The intruders came near. On the ground
beside her lay an open map of Europe; in the sand before her
she had drawn the same outlines on a larger scale. The shore
generally was rough and pebbly; just in this little cove there
was a space of very fine sand, left wetted and adhesive by the
last tide. Here the battle of Inkermann had been fought, and
here Daisy's geography was going on. Captain Drummond, who
alone had the clue to all this, sat down on a convenient stone
to examine the work. The lines were pretty fairly drawn, and
Daisy had gone on to excavate to some depth the whole area of
the Mediterranean and Black Seas, and the region of the
Atlantic to some extent; with the course of the larger rivers
deeply indented.

"What is all this gouging for, Daisy?" he said. "You want
water here now, to fill up."

"I thought when the tide came, Captain Drummond, I could let
it flow in here, and see how it would look."

"It's a poor rule that don't work both ways," said the
Captain. "I always heard that 'time and tide wait for no man;'
and we won't wait for the tide. Here Gary — make yourself
useful — fetch some water here; — enough to fill two seas and
a portion of the Atlantic Ocean."

"What shall I bring it in, if you please?"

"Anything! — your hands, or your hat, man. Do impossibilities
for once. It is easy to see you are not a soldier."

"The fates preserve me from being a soldier under you!" said
Gary — "if that's your idea of military duty! What are you
going to do while I play Neptune in a bucket."

"I am going to build cities and raise up mountains. Daisy,
suppose we lay in a supply of these little white stones, and
some black ones."

While this was done, and Daisy looked delighted, Mr. McFarlane
seized upon a tin dipper which June had brought, and filled it
at the river. Captain Drummond carefully poured out the water
into the Mediterranean, and opened a channel through the
Bosphorus and Dardanelles, which were very full of sand, into
the Black Sea. Then he sent Gary off again for more; and began
placing the pebbles.

"What is that for, Captain Drummond?" asked Daisy.

"These are the Alps — white, as they should be, for the snow
always lies on them."

"Is it so cold there?"

"No, — but the mountains are so high. Their tops are always
cold, but flowers grow down in the valleys. These are very
great mountains, Daisy."

"And what are those black ones, Captain Drummond?"

"This range is the Pyrénées — between France and Spain; — they
are great too, and beautiful. And here go the Carpathians —
and here the Ural mountains, — and these must stand for the
Apennines."

"Are they beautiful too?"

"I suppose so — but I can't say, never having been there. Now
what shall we do for the cities? As they are centres of
wealth, I think a three-cent piece must mark them. Hand over,
Gary; I have not thrips enough. There is St. Petersburg — here
is Constantinople — here is Rome — now here is Paris. Hallo!
we've no England! can't leave London out. Give me that spoon,
Daisy —" and the Captain, as he expressed it, went to work in
the trenches. England was duly marked out, the channel filled,
and a bit of silver planted for the metropolis of the world.

"Upon my word!" said Gary, — "I never knew geography before. I
shall carry away some ideas."

"Keep all you can get," said the Captain. "Now, there's
Europe."

"And here were the battles," — said Daisy, touching the little
spot of wet sand which stood for the Crimea.

"_The_ battles!" said Gary. "What battles?"

"Why, where the English and French fought the Russians."

"_The_ battles! Shades of all the heroes! Why, Daisy, Europe has
done nothing but fight for a hundred thousand years. There
isn't a half inch of it that hasn't had a battle. See, _there_
was one, — and there was another — tremendous; — and there, —
and there, — and there, — and there, — and all over! This
little strip here that is getting swallowed up in the
Mediterranean — there has been blood enough shed on it to make
it red from one end to the other, a foot deep. That's because
it has had so many great men belonging to it."

Daisy looked at Captain Drummond.

"It's pretty much so, Daisy," he said; "all over the south of
Europe, at any rate."

"Why over the south and not the north?"

"People in the north haven't anything to fight for," said
Gary. "Nobody wants a possession of ice and snow — more than
will cool his butter."

"A good deal so, Daisy," said Captain Drummond, taking the
silent appeal of her eyes.

"Besides," continued Gary, "great men don't grow in the north.
Daisy, I want to know which is the battle-field you are going
to die on."

Daisy sat back from the map of Europe, and looked at Gary with
unqualified amazement.

"Well?" said Gary. "I mean it."

"I don't know what you mean."

"I hear you are going to die on the field of battle — and I
want to be there that I may throw myself after you, as Douglas
did after the Bruce's locket; saying 'Go thou first, brave
heart, as thou art wont, and I will follow thee!' "

"Daisy," said the Captain, "you were singing a battle-song as
we came down the hill — that is what he means."

"Oh! —" said Daisy, her face changing from its amazed look.
But her colour rose, too, a little.

"What was it?"

"That?" said Daisy. "Oh, that was a hymn."

"A hymn!" shouted Gary. "Good! A hymn! That's glorious! Where
did you get it, Daisy? Have you got a collection of Swedish
war-songs? They used to sing and fight together, I am told.
They are the only people I ever heard of that did — except
North American Indians. Where did you get it?"

"I got it from June."

"June! what, by inspiration? June is a fine month, I know —
for strawberries — but I had no idea —"

"No, no," said Daisy, half laughing, — "I mean my June — there
she is; I got it from her."

"Hollo!" cried Gary. "Come here, my good woman — Powers of
Darkness! Is your name June?"

"Yes sir, if you please," the woman said, in her low voice,
dropping a courtesy.

"Well, nobody offers more attractions — in a name," said Gary;
— "I'll say that for you. Where did you get that song your
little mistress was singing when we came down the hill? Can
you sing it?"

June's reply was unintelligible.

"Speak louder, my friend. What did you say?"

June made an effort. "If you please, sir, I can't sing," she
was understood to say. "They sings it in camp meeting."

"In camp meeting!" said Gary. "I should think so! What's that!
You see I have never been there, and don't understand."

"If you please, sir — the gentleman knows" — June said,
retreating backwards as she spoke, and so fast that she soon
got out of their neighbourhood. The shrinking, gliding action
accorded perfectly with the smothered tones and subdued face
of the woman.

"Don't _she_ know!" said Gary. "Isn't that a character now? But,
Daisy, are you turning Puritan?"

"I don't know what that is," said Daisy.

"Upon my word, you look like it! It's a dreadful disease,
Daisy; — generally takes the form of — I declare I don't know!
— fever, I believe, and delirium; and singing is one of the
symptoms."

"You don't want to stop her singing?" said Captain Drummond.

"That sort? yes I do. It wouldn't be healthy, up at the house.
Daisy, sing that gipsy-song from 'The Camp in Silesia,' that I
heard you singing a day or two ago."

" 'The Camp in Silesia'?" said Captain Drummond. "Daisy, can
you sing _that?_"

"Whistles it off like a gipsy herself," said Gary. "Daisy,
sing it."

"I like the other best," said Daisy.

But neither teasing nor coaxing could make her sing again,
either the one or the other.


CHAPTER IX.

AFTER TROUT.


It was bright morning, the pony-chaise at the door, and Daisy
in it; standing to arrange matters.

"Now, Daisy, have you got all in there? I don't believe it."

"Why don't you believe it?"

"How much will that concern hold?"

"A great deal more than you want. There's a big box under all
the seat."

"What have you got in it?"

Daisy went off into a laugh, such a laugh of glee as did her
father's heart good. Mr. Randolph was standing in the doorway
to see the expedition set forward.

"What's the matter, Daisy?" he said.

"Papa, he don't think anybody is a person of forethought but
himself."

It was Preston's turn to laugh, and Mr. Randolph joined him.

"Shows he don't know you, Daisy, as well as I do. When do you
expect to be home again?"

Mr. Randolph had come down to the side of the chaise, and was
looking with a very pleased face at what was in it. Daisy said
she supposed they would stay till Preston had caught as many
fish as he wanted.

"And won't you be tired before that?"

"Oh, no, papa! I am going to fish too."

"I'll have all you catch, Daisy, — for my own eating!"

He bent his head down as he spoke, to kiss the little
fisherwoman; but Daisy, answering some unusual tenderness of
face or manner, sprung up and threw her arms round his neck,
and only released him after a very close pressure.

"She is in a fair way to be cured of her morbid seriousness,"
— Mr. Randolph thought as he saw the cavalcade set forth; and,
well pleased, he went in to breakfast. Daisy and Preston had
breakfasted already, before the family; and now were off to
the hills just as other people were stirring sugar into cups
of coffee.

Preston led the way on a fine bay of his uncle's; taking good
gallops now and then to ease his own and his horse's spirits,
and returning to go quietly for a space by the side of the
pony-chaise. Loupe never went into anything more exciting than
his waddling trot; though Daisy made him keep that up briskly.

"What a thing it is, to have such short legs!" said Preston,
watching the movements of the pony.

"_You_ go over the road without seeing it," said Daisy.

"I don't want to see it. What I want to see is Hillsdale."

"So do I; but I want to see everything."

Preston smiled, he could not help it, at the very happy and
busy little face and spirit down in the pony-chaise.

"What do you see, Daisy, that you have not seen a hundred
times before?"

"That makes no difference," said Daisy. "I have seen you a
hundred times before."

Preston laughed, set spurs to his horse, and went off for
another gallop.

Daisy enjoyed her morning's drive. The light was clear and the
air was fresh; Preston galloping before and Sam jogging on
behind; everything was fine! Then it was quite true that she
liked to see everything; those grey eyes of hers were
extremely busy. All the work going on in the fields had
interest for her, and all the passers-by on the road. — A
strange interest, often, for Daisy was very apt to be
wondering whether any of them knew and loved the name she
loved best; wondering who among all those rough-looking,
unknown people, might be her fellow-servants. And with that a
thought which, if Mr. Randolph had known it, would have
checked his self-congratulations. He had not guessed what made
the clasp of Daisy's arms round his neck so close that
morning.

Till they passed through Crum Elbow everything had been, as
Preston said, seen a hundred times before. A little way beyond
that everything became new. Mrs. Randolph's carriage never
came that road. The country grew more rough and broken, and
the hills in their woody dress showed more and more near.

"Do you see that break in the woods?" said Preston, pointing
with his whip; "that is where the brook comes out, — that is
where we are going."

"What time is it, Preston?"

"Time? — it is half past nine. What about it?"

"I'm hungry — that's all. I wanted to know what time it was."

"Hungry! Oh, what a fisher you will make, Daisy! Can't stand
fasting for two hours and a half."

"No, but Preston, I didn't eat much breakfast. And I've had
all this ride since. I am going to stand fasting; but I am
going to be hungry too."

"No, you aren't," said Preston. "Just let Loupe take you up to
that little gate, will you? I'll see if we can leave the
horses here. Sam! — take this fellow!"

Preston jumped down from the saddle and went into the house,
to the front yard of which the little gate opened. Daisy
looked after him. It was a yard full of grass and weeds, among
which a few poppies and hollyhocks and balsams grew straggling
up where they could. Nothing kept them out of the path but the
foot-tread of the people that went over it; hoe and rake were
never known there since the walk was first made. The house was
a little, low, red-front house, with one small window on each
side the door.

"All right!" said Preston, coming back. "Sam, take the horses
round to the barn; and bring the baskets out of the chaise-
box, and wait at this gate for us."

"Why is he to wait? where are we going?"

"Going in to get some breakfast."

"_Here_, Preston? — Oh, I can't."

"What's the matter?"

"I can't eat anything in there. I can wait."

"Why, it looks clean," said Preston; "room and table and woman
and all." — But Daisy still shook her head, and was not to be
persuaded; and Preston, laughing, went back to the house. But
presently he came out again, bearing a tray in his hand, and
brought it to Daisy. On the tray was very nice looking brown
and white bread, and milk and cheese and a platter of
strawberries. Preston got into the chaise and set the tray on
his knees. After him had come from the house a woman in a fly-
away cap and short-gown. She stood just inside the gate,
leaning her arms on it. If she had not been there, perhaps
Daisy would still have refused to touch the food; but she was
afraid of offending or hurting the woman's feelings; so first
she tried a strawberry, and found it of rare flavour; for it
was a wild one; then she broke a morsel of bread, and that was
excellent. Daisy discovered that breakfast in a pony-chaise,
out in the air, was a very fine thing. So did Preston.

"So you're agoin' afishin'?" said the woman at the gate.

"Yes, ma'am," Preston said.

"And that little one too?"

"Certainly."

"I declare! I never see nobody so little and gauzy as was
willin' to do such indelicate work! But I shouldn't wonder,
now, if she was to catch some. Fishes — and all things — is
curious creeturs, and goes by contrairies."

"Hope they won't to-day!" said Preston, who was eating
strawberries and bread and milk at a great rate.

"Where's the rest of your party?" the woman went on.

"We're all here, ma'am," said Preston.

"Well, I see a horse there that haint nobody on top of him?"

"I was on top of him a little while ago," said Preston.

"Well, I expect that little creetur hain't druv herself?"

"Drove the pony, anyhow," said Preston. "Now, ma'am, what do
we owe you, besides thanks, for your excellent hospitality?"

"I reckon you don't owe me much," said the woman, as Preston
got out of the chaise. "You can set the tray in there on the
table, if you're a mind to. We always calculate to set a good
meal, and we're allowed to; but we don't never calculate to
live by it, and we've no dispensary. There's only my husband
and me, and there's a plenty for more than us."

Preston had handed the tray to Sam to carry in, and as soon as
he could get a chance bade good morning, and went forward with
Daisy. On foot now they took their way to the woods, and
presently plunged into then. It was very pleasant under the
deep shade, for the sun had grown warm, and there was hardly
air enough to flutter the leaves in the high branches. But
Daisy and Preston pushed on briskly, and soon the gurgle of
the brook gave its sweet sound to their ears. They followed up
the stream then, over stones and rocks, and crossing from side
to side on trunks of trees that had fallen across the water;
till a part of the brook was reached far enough back among the
hills to be wild and lonely; where the trout might be supposed
to be having a good time.

"Now, Daisy," said Preston, "I think this will do. Can't have
a better place. I'll try and get you to work here."

"And now, how must I manage, Preston?" said Daisy, anxiously.

"I'll show you."

Daisy watched while Preston took out and put together the
light rod which she was to use, and fixed a fly for the bait.

"Do you see that little waterfall, Daisy?"

"Yes."

"And you see where the water curls round just under the fall?"

"Yes."

"That is where you must cast your fly. I should think there
must be some speckled fellows there. What glory, Daisy, if you
should catch one!"

"Well, what must I do, Preston?"

"Throw your fly over, so that it may light just there, and
then watch; and if a fish jumps up and catches it, you pull
your line away and catch the fish."

"But I can't throw it from here? I must go nearer."

"No, you mustn't — you're near enough; stand just here. Try if
you can't throw your fly there. If you went nearer, you would
frighten the fish. They are just about as shy as if they were
Daisies. Now I will go a little further off, and see what I
can do. You'll catch the first fish!"

"No, I shall not," said Daisy, gravely. She tried with a
beating heart to throw her line; she tried very hard. The
first time it landed on the opposite side of the brook. The
next time it landed on a big stone this side of the waterfall.
The third trial fastened the hook firmly in Daisy's hat. In
vain Daisy gently sought to release it; she was obliged at
last to ask help of Sam.

"That ar's no good, Miss Daisy," said Sam, as he got the fly
out of its difficulty.

"If I could only throw it in," said Daisy. And this time, with
a very great effort she did succeed in swinging the bait by a
gentle motion to the very spot. No statue was more motionless
than Daisy then. She had eyes and ears for nothing but the
trout in the brook. Minutes went by. The brook leaped and sang
on its way the air brought the sweet odours of mosses and
ferns; the leaves flapped idly overhead; you could hear every
little sound. For there sat Daisy, and there stood Sam, as
still as the stones. Time went by. At last a sigh came from
Daisy's weary little body, which she had not dared to move an
inch for half an hour.

"Tain't no good, Miss Daisy," whispered Sam.

"I can't keep it still," said Daisy, under her breath, as if
the fishes would hear and understand her.

"Suppos'n you try t'other bait, Miss Daisy."

"What bait?"

"Oh, t'other kind, Miss Daisy. Will I put it on for you to
try?"

Daisy sat awhile longer, however, in silence and watching,
until every joint was weary and her patience too. Then she
left the rod in Sam's hands, and went up to see what Preston
was doing. He was some distance higher up the stream. Slowly
and carefully Daisy crept near, till she could see his basket,
and find out how much he had in it. That view loosed her
tongue.

"Not one yet, Preston!" she exclaimed.

"Not a bite," said Preston.

"I hadn't either."

"I don't believe that there are any fish," said Preston.

"Oh, but Sam said he saw lots of them."

"Lots of them! It's the flies then. Sam! — Hollo, Sam! — Sam!
—"

"Here, sir," said Sam, coming up the brook.

"Just find me some worms, will you? — and be spry. I can't get
a bite."

Daisy sat down to look about her, while Preston drew in his
line and threw the fly away. It was a pretty place! The brook
spread just there into a round pool several feet across; deep
and still; and above it the great trees towered up as if they
would hide the sun. Sam came presently with the bait. Preston
dressed his hook, and gave his line a swing, to cast the bait
into the pool; rather incautiously, seeing that the trees
stood so thick and so near. Accordingly the line lodged in the
high branches of an oak on the opposite side of the pool.
Neither was there any coaxing it down.

"What a pity!" said Daisy.

"Not at all," said Preston. "Here, Sam — just go up that tree
and clear the line — will you?"

Sam looked at the straight high stem of the oak, which had
shot up high before it put forth a single branch, and he did
not like the job. His slow motions said so.

"Come!" said Preston, — "be alive and do it quick, will you."

"He can't —" said Daisy.

"Yes, he can," said Preston. "If he can't, he isn't worth his
bread and salt. That's it, Sam — hand over hand, and you'll be
there directly."

Sam showed what he _could_ do, if he did not like it; for he
worked himself up the tall tree like a monkey. It was not so
large but he could clasp it; so after a little rough work on
his part, and anxious watching on Daisy's, he got to the
branches. But now the line was caught in the small forks at
the leafy end of the branch. Sam lay out upon it as far as he
dared; he could not reach the line.

"Oh, he'll fall!" cried Daisy, softly. "Oh, Preston, let him
come down! — he can't get it."

"He'll come to no harm," said Preston, coolly. "A little
further, Sam — it's oak wood, it will hold you; a little
further, and you will have it — a little further! —"

And Daisy saw that Sam had gone too far. The bough swayed, —
Sam made a lunge after the line, lost his hold, and the next
minute his dark body was falling through the air and splashed
into the pool. The water flew all over the two fishers who
stood by its side; Preston awe-struck for the moment, Daisy
white as death. But before either of them could speak or move,
Sam's head reappeared above water.

"Oh, get him out! get him out, Preston!" was Daisy's
distressed cry. Preston spoke nothing, but he snatched a long
stick that lay near, and held it out to Sam; and so in a few
minutes drew him to the shore and helped him out. Sam went to
a little distance and stood dripping with water from head to
foot; he did not shake himself, as a Newfoundland dog would
have done.

"Are you hurt, Sam?" said Preston.

"No, sir —" Sam answered, in a tone as if he felt very wet.

"Well, you've cleared the line for me at last," said Preston.
"All's well that ends well. Hollo! — here's my hook gone, —
broken off, float and all. Where's that basket, Sam?"

"It's below, sir."

"Below? where? just fetch it here, will you? This misfortune
can be mended."

Sam moved off, dripping from every inch of him.

"Oh, Preston," said Daisy, "he's all wet as he can be — do let
him go right down to that house and dry himself! We can get
the basket."

"Do him good to move about," said Preston. "Nonsense, Daisy! —
a ducking like that won't do anybody any harm in a summer's
day."

"I don't think _you'd_ like it," said Daisy; "and all his
clothes are full of water, and the sun don't come down here.
Tell him to go and get dry!"

"I will, as soon as I've done with him. Here, Sam — just bend
on this hook for me, while I see how the brook is further up.
I've no time to lose, — and then you can go sun yourself
somewhere."

Preston bounded off; Sam stood with the tackle in hand,
silently at work. Daisy sat still on a stone near by, looking
at him.

"Were you hurt, Sam?" she asked, tenderly.

"No, Miss Daisy." This answer was not discontented, but
stoical.

"As soon as you have done that, Sam, run down to Mrs.
Dipper's, and maybe she can give you something dry to put on
while your clothes can be hung out."

Silence on Sam's part.

"Have you almost finished that?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"Then run off, Sam! Make haste to Mrs. Dipper's and get
yourself dry — and don't come back till you are quite dry,
Sam."

Sam finished his piece of work, flung down the line, and with
a grateful "Thank you, Miss Daisy!" set off at a bound. Daisy
watched him running at full speed down the brook till he was
out of sight.

"Has he done it?" said Preston returning. "The rascal hasn't
put any bait on. However, Daisy, it's no use coaxing the trout
in _this_ place at present — and I haven't found any other good
spots for some distance up; — suppose we have our lunch and
try again?"

"Oh, yes!" said Daisy. "The other basket is down by my
fishing-place — it's just as pleasant there, Preston."

They went back to the basket, and a very convenient huge rock
was found on the edge of the brook, which would serve for
table and seats too, it was so large and smooth. Preston took
his place upon it, and Daisy at the other end with the basket
began to unpack.

"Napkins?" said Preston — "you have no right to be so
luxurious on a fishing party."

"Why not?"

"Why, because a fisher is a kind of a Spartan animal, while he
is about his business."

"What kind of an animal is that?" said Daisy, looking up from
her arrangements.

She had set out a plate of delicate rolls, and another with
bread and butter folded in a napkin; and still she paused with
her hand in the basket.

"Go on, Daisy. I want to see what comes next."

"I don't know," said Daisy. "Why, Joanna has made us a lemon
pie!"

"Capital!" said Preston. "And what have you got in that dish?"

"I know," said Daisy. "Joanna has put in some jelly for me.
What sort of an animal is that, Preston?"

"It is a sort I shall not be to-day — with jelly and lemon
pie. But what has Joanna put in for me? nothing but bread?"

"Why, there are sandwiches."

"Where?"

"Why, there! Those rolls are stuffed with meat, Preston."

"Splendid!" said Preston, falling foul of the rolls
immediately. "What sort of an animal is a Spartan? My dear
little Daisy, don't you know?"

"I don't believe I know anything," said Daisy, humbly.

"Don't you want to?"

"Oh, yes, Preston! if I had anybody to help me, — I do."

"Well — we'll see. How perfect these sandwiches are! when
one's hungry."

"I am hungry too," said Daisy. "I think the sound of the water
makes me hungry. Oh, I wish I had given Sam some! — I never
thought of it. How hungry he must be!"

"He'll get along," said Preston, helping himself to another
roll.

"But how could I forget!" said Daisy. "And _he_ did not have a
second breakfast either. I am so sorry!" Daisy's hands fell
from her own dainties.

"There is nothing here fit for him," said Preston. "I dare say
he has his own pockets full."

"They were full of water, the last thing," said Daisy,
quaintly.

Preston could not help laughing. "My dear Daisy," he said, "I
hope you are not getting soft-hearted on the subject of
servants?"

"How, Preston?"

"Don't; — because it is foolish."

"But, Preston," said Daisy, looking earnestly at his handsome
pleasant face which she liked very much, "don't you know what
the Bible says?"

"No."

"It says, 'The rich and the poor meet together; the Lord is
the maker of them all.' "

"Well," said Preston, "that don't mean that He made them all
alike."

"Then, if they are not made alike, what is the difference?"

"Good gracious!" said Preston; "do you often ask such
questions, Daisy? I hope you are not going to turn out a Mrs.
Child, or a philanthropist, or anything of that sort?"

"I am not going to be a Mrs. Anybody," said Daisy; "but why
don't you answer me?"

"Where did you get hold of those words?"

"What words?"

"Those words that you quoted to me about rich and poor."

"I was reading them this morning."

"In what?"

"Why, in the Bible of course," said Daisy, with a little check
upon her manner.

"This morning! Before we started! How came you to be reading
the Bible so early in the morning?"

"I like to read it."

"Well, I'd take proper times for reading it," said Preston.
"Who set you to reading it at five o'clock in the morning?"

"Nobody. Oh, Preston, it was a great deal after five o'clock.
What are proper times for reading it?"

"Are you going to cut that lemon pie? — or shall I? Daisy, I
thought you were hungry. What is the use of jelly, if you
don't eat it? You'll never catch fish at that rate. Fishers
must eat."

"But, Preston, what do you mean by proper times for reading
the Bible?"

"Daisy, eat some lemon pie. It's capital. It melts in your
mouth. Joanna Underwood is an excellent woman!"

"But, Preston, what do you mean?"

"I don't mean you shall be religious, Daisy, if I can help
it."

"What do you mean by being religious?"

"I declare!" said Preston, laughing at her grave little face,
"I believe you've begun already. I am come in good time. I
won't let you be anything but just what you ought to be,
Daisy. Come — eat some jelly, or some pie, or something."

"But, tell me then, Preston!" Daisy persisted.

"It is something ridiculous, — and you would not wish to be
ridiculous."

"I do not think I have ever seen ridiculous religious people,"
said Daisy, steadily; "and they couldn't be ridiculous _because_
they were religious."

"Couldn't they?" said Preston. "Look out well, Daisy — I shall
watch you. But they won't like it much down at Melbourne
House, Daisy. If I were you, I would stop before you begin."

Daisy was silent. One thing was clear, she and Preston were at
issue; and the value she set upon his favour was very high.
She would not risk it by contending. Another thing was as
clear, that Preston's last words were truth. Among her
opposers, Daisy must reckon her father and mother, if she laid
herself open at all to the charge of being "religious." And
what opposition that would be, Daisy did not let herself
think. She shrunk from it. The lunch was finished, and she set
her attention to pack the remainder of the things back into
the basket. Suddenly she stopped.

"Preston, I wish you to consider my words confidential."

"Perfectly!" said Preston.

"You are honourable," — said Daisy.

"Oh, Daisy, Daisy! you ought to have lived hundreds of years
ago! You have me under command. Come," said he, kissing her
grave little face, "are all these things to go in here? Let me
help — and then we will go up stream."

He helped her with a delicate kind of observance which was not
like most boys of sixteen, and which Daisy fully relished. It
met her notions. Then she went to get her fishing-rod which
lay fallen into the water.

"Oh, Preston!" she exclaimed, "there is something on it! —
it's heavy! — it's a fish!"

"It _is_ a fish!" repeated Preston, as a jerk of Daisy's line
threw it out high and dry on the shore — "and what's more,
it's a splendid one. Daisy, you've done it now!"

"And papa will have it for breakfast! Preston, put it in a
pail of water till we come back. There's that tin pail — we
don't want it for anything — won't you. Oh, I have caught
one!"

It was done; and Daisy and Preston set off on a charming walk
up the brook; but though they tried the virtue of their bait
in various places, however it was, that trout was the only one
caught. Daisy thought it was a fine day's fishing.

They found Sam, sound and dry, mounting guard over the tin
pail when they came back to it. And I think Daisy held to her
own understanding of the text that had been in debate; for
there was a fine portion of lemon pie, jelly, and sandwiches,
laid by for him in the basket, and by Sam devoured with great
appreciation.


CHAPTER X.

A FIELD OF BATTLE.


June came the next morning to dress her young mistress as
usual. Daisy was not soon done with that business on this
particular day; she would break off, half dressed, and go to
lean out of her window. There was a honey-suckle below the
window; its dewy sweet smell came up to her, and the breath of
the morning was sweet beside in all the trees and leaves
around; the sun shone on the short turf by glimpses, where the
trees would let it. Daisy leaned out of her window. June stood
as often before, with comb and brush in hand.

"Miss Daisy — it's late."

"June," said Daisy, — "it's Sunday."

"Yes, ma'am."

"It'll be hot too," Daisy went on. "June, are you glad when
Sunday comes?"

"Yes ma'am," said June, shifting her position a little.

"I am," said Daisy. "Jesus is King to-day. To be sure, He is
King always; but to-day _everything_ is His."

"Miss Daisy, you won't be dressed."

Daisy drew her head in from the window, and sat down to submit
it to June's brush; but she went on talking.

"What part of the Bible do you like best to read, June."

"Miss Daisy, will you wear your white muslin to-day — or the
one with blue spots?"

"White. But tell me, June — which part of the Bible do you
like best?"

"I like where it tells about all they had to go through," —
June answered, rather unwillingly.

"They? — who?"

"The people, Miss Daisy — Christians, I s'pose."

"What did they have to go through?"

"Things, ma'am," said June, very confusedly. "Miss Daisy,
please don't turn your head round."

"But what things? and what for? Where is it, June?"

"I can't tell — I can find it for you, Miss Daisy. But you
won't be ready."

June, however, had to risk that and find the chapter; and then
Daisy read perseveringly all through the rest of her dressing,
till it was finished. All the while June was fastening her
frock, and tying her sash, and lacing her boots, Daisy stood
or sat with the Bible in her hands and her eyes on the
eleventh of Hebrews.

"June, I wonder when all this happened?"

"A great while ago, it's likely, Miss Daisy — but it's good to
read now" — June added, but half distinctly, as it was her
manner often to speak. Daisy was accustomed to her, and heard
it. She did not answer except by breaking out into the chorus
she had learnt from June: —


"Die in the field of battle,
Die in the field of battle,
Die in the field of battle,
Glory in your view!"


"Miss Daisy — I wouldn't sing that in the house," June
ventured. For the child's voice, clear and full, raised the
sweet notes to a pitch that might have been heard at least
through several of the large rooms. Daisy hushed her song.

The trout was to be for breakfast, and Daisy, when she was
quite ready, went gaily down to see if it would be approved.
Her father was engaged to eat it all, and he held to his
promise; only allowing Daisy herself to share with him; and on
the whole Daisy and he had a very gay breakfast.

"It is too hot to do anything," said Mrs. Randolph, as the
trout was very nearly reduced to a skeleton. "I shall not go
to church this morning."

A shade passed over Daisy's face, but she did not look towards
her mother.

"If you do not, I can't see why I should," said Mr. Randolph.
"The burden of setting a good example lies upon you."

"Why?" said his wife, quickly.

"Nobody will know whether _I_ am there or not."

"Nobody will know that I am there at any rate," the lady
rejoined. "The heat will be insufferable." Mrs. Gary declared
herself of the same opinion.

An hour after, Daisy came into her mother's room.

"Mamma, may I go to church with Joanna?"

"It's too hot, Daisy."

"No, mamma — I don't mind it. I would like to go."

"Children don't mind anything! Please yourself. But how are
you going?"

"On foot, mamma; under the shade of the trees. It is nice and
shady, all the way."

"It is enough to kill you! But go."

So Daisy's great flat set off alongside of Miss Underwood's
Sunday gown to walk to church. They set out all right, on the
way to the church by the evergreens. Preston Gary was a good
deal surprised to find them some time later in another part of
the grounds, and going in a different direction.

"Where are you bound, Daisy." he asked.

"To church, Preston."

"Church is the other way."

"Yes, but Mr. Pyne is sick, and the church is closed, and we
are going over to that little church on the other side of the
road."

"Why, that is a dissenting chapel, isn't it?"

"There's no more dissent amongst 'em than there is among other
folks!" broke in Miss Underwood, with a good deal of
expression. "I wish all other folks and churches was as
peaceable and kept as close to their business! Anyhow, it's a
church, and the other one won't let us in."

Preston smiled and stepped back, and to Daisy's satisfaction
they met with no further stay. They got to the little church,
and took their places in the very front; that place was empty,
and Joanna said it was the only one that she could see. The
house was full. It was a plain little church, very neat, but
very plain compared with what Daisy was accustomed to. So were
the people. These were not rich people, not any of them, she
thought. At least there were no costly bonnets, nor exquisite
lace shawls, nor embroidered muslin dresses among them; and
many persons that she saw looked absolutely poor. Daisy,
however, did not see this at first; for the service began
almost as soon as they entered.

Daisy was very fond of the prayers always in church, but she
seldom could make much of the sermon. It was not so to-day. In
the first place, when the prayers and hymns were over, and
what Daisy called "the good part" of the service was done, her
astonishment and delight were about equal to see Mr. Dinwiddie
come forward to speak. It is impossible to tell how glad Daisy
was; even a sermon she thought she could relish from his lips;
but when he began, she forgot all about it's being a sermon.
Mr. Dinwiddie was talking to her and to the rest of the
people; that was all she knew; he was not looking down at his
book, he was looking at them; his eyes were going right
through hers. And he did not speak as if he was preaching; his
voice sounded exactly as it did every day out of church. It
was delightful. Daisy forgot all about it's being a sermon,
and only drank in the words with her ears and her heart, and
never took her eyes from those bright ones that every now and
then looked down at her. For Mr. Dinwiddie was telling of Him
"who though He was rich yet for our sakes became poor." He
told how rich He was, in the glories and happiness of heaven,
where everything is perfect and all is His. And then he told
how Jesus made Himself poor; how He left all that glory and
everything that pleased Him; came where everything displeased
Him; lived among sin and sinners; was poor, and despised, and
rejected, and treated with every shame, and at last shamefully
put to death and His dead body laid in the grave. All this
because He loved us; all this because He wanted to make us
rich, and without His death to buy our forgiveness there was
no other way. "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that
He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our
sins."

Daisy forgot even Mr. Dinwiddie in thinking of that wonderful
One. She thought she had never seen before how good He is, or
how beautiful; she had never felt how loving and tender Jesus
is in His mercy to those that seek Him, and whom _He_ came to
seek first; she never saw "the kindness and love of God our
Saviour" before. As the story went on, again and again Daisy
would see a cloud or mist of tears come over the brightness of
those brilliant eyes; and saw the lips tremble; and Daisy's
own eyes filled and ran over, and her cheeks were wet with
tears, and she never knew it!

But when Mr. Dinwiddie stopped, she was so full of gladness in
her little heart, — gladness that this beautiful Saviour loved
her and that she loved Him, that although if she _could_ have
been sorry, she would have been very sorry that the sermon was
over, she was not; she could be nothing but glad.

She thought they were going home then, after the hymn was
sung; but in her thoughts she had missed some words not spoken
by Mr. Dinwiddie. And now she perceived that not only it was
sacrament day, which she had seen before; but further, that
the people who would not share in that service were going, and
that Miss Underwood was staying, and by consequence she must
stay too. Daisy was pleased. She had never in her life, as it
happened, seen the observance of this ordinance; and she had,
besides a child's curiosity, a deep, deep interest in all that
Christians are accustomed to do. Was she not one?

Mr. Dinwiddie had spoken about the service and the purpose of
it; he explained how the servants of Christ at His command
take the bread and wine in remembrance of Him and what He has
done for them; and as a sign to all the world that they
believe in Him and love Him, and wait for Him to come again.
Now some prayers were made, and there were spoken some grave
words of counsel and warning, which sounded sweet and awful in
Daisy's ears; and then the people came forward, a part of
them, and knelt around a low railing which was before the
pulpit. As they did this, some voices began to sing a hymn, in
a wonderfully sweet and touching music. Daisy was exceedingly
fond of every melody and harmony that was worthy the name; and
this — plaintive, slow, simple — seemed to go not only through
her ears, but down to the very bottom of her heart. They sang
but a verse and a chorus; and then, after an interval, when
those around the railings rose and gave place to others, they
sang a verse and a chorus again; and this is the chorus that
they sang. It dwelt in Daisy's heart for many a day; but I can
never tell you the sweetness of it.


"Oh, the Lamb! the loving Lamb!
The Lamb on Calvary;
The Lamb that was slain, but lives again,
To intercede for me."


It seemed to Daisy a sort of paradise while they were singing.
Again and again, after a pause the notes measuredly rose and
fell; and little Daisy who could take no other open part in
what was going on, responded to them with her tears. Nobody
was looking, she thought; nobody would see.

At last it was all done; the last verses were sung; the last
prayers spoken; the little crowd turned to go. Daisy, standing
behind Joanna in the front place, was obliged to wait till the
aisle was clear. She had turned too when everybody else did,
and so was standing with her back to the pulpit, when a hand
was laid on her shoulder. The next minute Daisy's little
fingers were in Mr. Dinwiddie's clasp, and her face was
looking joyfully into his.

"Daisy — I am glad to see you."

Another look, and a slight clasp of her little fingers,
answered him.

"I wish you had been with us just now."

"I am too little —" was Daisy's humble and regretful reply.

"Nobody is too little, who is old enough to know what Jesus
has done and to love Him for it, and to be His servant. Do you
love Him, Daisy?"

"Yes, Mr. Dinwiddie."

A very soft, but a very clear answer; and so was the answer of
the eyes raised to his. To Daisy's great joy, he did not let
go her hand when they got out of the church. Instead of that,
keeping it fast, he allowed Miss Underwood to go on a little
before them, and then he lingered with Daisy along the shady,
overarched walks of Melbourne grounds, into which they
presently turned. Mr. Dinwiddie lingered purposely, and let
Joanna get out of hearing. Then he spoke again.

"If you love Jesus, you want to obey Him, Daisy."

"Yes, Mr. Dinwiddie!"

He felt the breathless manner of her answer.

"What will you do, little one, when you find that to obey Him,
you may have a great deal of hard fighting to go through?"

"I'll die on the field of battle, Mr. Dinwiddie."

He looked at her a little curiously. It was no child's boast.
Her face was quiet, her eye steady; so had her tone been. It
was most unlike Daisy to make protestations of feeling; just
now she was speaking to the one person in the world who could
help her, whom in this matter she trusted; — speaking to him,
maybe, for the last time, she knew; and moreover Daisy's heart
was full. She spoke as she might live years and not do again,
when she said, —

"I'll die on the field of battle."

"That is as the Lord pleases," returned Mr. Dinwiddie; "but
how will you _fight_, Daisy? you are a weak little child. The
fight must be won, in the first place."

"Please tell me, Mr. Dinwiddie."

He sat down on a bank, and drew Daisy down beside him.

"In the first place, you must remember that you are the
Lord's, and that everything you have belongs to Him; so that
His will is the only thing to be considered in every case. Is
it so, Daisy."

"Yes, Mr. Dinwiddie! But tell me what you mean by 'everything
I have.' That is what I wanted to know."

"I will tell you presently. In the next place — whenever you
know the Lord's will, don't be afraid, but trust Him to help
you to do it. He always will, — He always can. Only trust Him,
and don't be afraid."

"Yes, Mr. Dinwiddie!" Daisy said; but with a gleam on her face
which even then reflected the light of those words.

"That's all, Daisy."

"Then, Mr. Dinwiddie, please tell me what you mean by
'everything.' "

"If you love the Lord, Daisy, you will find out."

"But I am afraid I don't know, Mr. Dinwiddie, what all my
talents are."

"He is a wise man that does. But if you love the Lord Jesus
with all your heart, you will find that in everything you do
you can somehow please Him, and that He is first to be
pleased."

They looked into each other again, those two faces, with
perfect understanding; grateful content in the child's eyes,
watchful tenderness in those of Mr. Dinwiddie, through all
their keenness and brightness. Then he rose up and offered his
hand to Daisy; just said 'good bye,' and was gone. He turned
off another way, Daisy followed Miss Underwood's steps. But
Joanna had got to the house long before she reached it; and
Daisy thought herself very happy that nobody saw her come home
alone. She got to her own room in safety.

Daisy's heart was full of content. That day was the King's, to
be sure; the very air seemed to speak of the love of Jesus,
and the birds and the sunshine and the honeysuckle repeated
the song of "The Lamb on Calvary." There was no going to
church a second time; after luncheon, which was Daisy's
dinner, she had the time all to herself. She sat by her own
window, or sometimes she lay down — for Daisy was not very
strong yet — but sitting or lying, and whatever she was doing,
the thought that that King was hers, and that Jesus loved her,
made her happy; and the hours of the day rolled away as bright
as its own sunshine.

"Well, mouse," said her mother, when Daisy came down to tea, —
where have you been? What a mouse you are!"

"Intelligent — for a lower order of quadrupeds," said Mr.
McFarlane.

"The day has been insufferable!" said Mrs. Randolph. "Have you
been asleep, Daisy?"

"No, mamma."

"You were lying down?"

"Yes, mamma."

Daisy had drawn up close to her mother —who had thrown an arm
round her. The family were gathered in the library; the
windows open, the fresh air coming faintly in; the light
fading but no lamps needed yet.

"I am glad the day is over!" said Mrs. Gary. "This morning I
did not know how I was going to live through it. There is a
little freshness now. Why is it always so much hotter on
Sundays than on any other day?"

"Because you think about it," said Mr. Randolph, who was
moving from window to window, setting the glass doors wider
open.

"There is nothing else to think about," said Mrs. Randolph
with a yawn. "Gary, do bring me a cup of tea."

"You ought to think about your evil deeds," said Mr.
McFarlane, obeying the command. "Then you would have enough."

"_You_ would, you mean."

"I know it. I speak from experience. I tried it once, for a
whole afternoon; and you've no idea how good tea-time was when
it came!"

"What _could_ set you about such a piece of work, Gary?" said
his hostess, laughing.

"Conscience, my dear," said her sister. "I am not at all
surprised. I wonder if anybody has been to church to-day?"

"I am sorry for the clergyman, if anybody has," remarked Gary.

Mrs. Randolph's arm had slipped from Daisy, and Daisy slipped
away from her mother's sofa to the table; where she clipped
sponge biscuits in milk, and wondered at other people's
Sundays. A weight seemed settling down on her heart. She could
not bear to hear the talk; she ate her supper, and then sat
down on the threshold of one of the glass doors that looked
towards the west, and watched the beautiful colours on the
clouds over the mountains; and softly sung to herself the tune
she had heard in the morning. So the colours faded away, and
the light, and the dusk grew on, and still Daisy sat in the
window-door, humming to herself. She did not know that Gary
McFarlane had stolen up close behind her and gone away again.

He went away just as company came in; some gay neighbours who
found the evening tempting, and came for a little diversion.
Lamps were lit, and talking and laughing went round, till Mrs.
Randolph asked where Daisy was.

"In the window, singing to the stars," Gary McFarlane
whispered. "Do you know, Mrs. Randolph, how she can sing?"

"No, — how? She has a child's voice."

"But not a child's taste or ear," said Gary. "I heard her the
other day warbling the gypsy song in 'The Camp in Silesia,'
and she did it to captivation. Do, Mrs. Randolph, ask her to
sing it. I was astonished."

"Do!" said Captain Drummond; and the request spread and became
general.

"Daisy —" said Mrs. Randolph. Daisy did not hear; but the call
being repeated, she came from her window, and after speaking
to the strangers, whom she knew, she turned to her mother. The
room was all light and bright and full of gay talkers.

"Daisy," said her mother, "I want you to sing that gypsy song
from the 'Camp in Silesia.' Gary says you know it — so he is
responsible. Can you sing it?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"Then sing it. Never mind whether you succeed or not; that is
of no consequence."

"Mamma," began Daisy.

"Well, what?"

Daisy was in great confusion. What to say to her mother she
did not know.

"No matter how you get along with it," repeated Mrs. Randolph.
"That is nothing."

"It isn't that, mamma, — but —"

"Then sing. No more words, Daisy; sing."

"Mamma, please don't ask me!"

"I _have_ asked you. Come Daisy — don't be silly."

"Mamma," whispered Daisy, trembling, "I will sing it any other
night but to night!"

"To-night? what's to-night?"

"To-night is Sunday."

"And is that the reason?"

Daisy stood silent, very much agitated.

"I'll have no nonsense of the kind, Daisy. Sing immediately!"
But Daisy stood still.

"Do you refuse me?"

"Mamma —" said Daisy, pleadingly.

"Go and fetch me a card from the table."

Daisy obeyed. Mrs. Randolph rapidly wrote a word or two on it
with a pencil.

"But where is the gypsy?" cried Gary McFarlane.

"She has not found her voice yet. Take that to your father,
Daisy."

Daisy's knees literally shook under her as she moved across
the room to obey this order. Mr. Randolph was sitting at some
distance talking with one of the gentlemen. He broke off when
Daisy came up with the card.

"What is it your mother wishes you to sing?" he inquired,
looking from the writing to the little bearer. Daisy answered
very low.

"A gypsy-song from an opera."

"Can you sing it?"

"Yes, sir."

"Then do so at once, Daisy."

The tone was quiet but imperative. Daisy stood with eyes cast
down, the blood all leaving her face to reinforce some
attacked region. She grew white from second to second.

"It is the charge of the Light Brigade," said Captain Drummond
to himself. He had heard and watched the whole proceeding, and
had the key to it. He thought good-naturedly to suggest to
Daisy an escape from her difficulty, by substituting for the
opera song something else that she _could_ sing. Rising and
walking slowly up and down the room, he hummed near enough for
her to hear and catch it, the air of "Die in the field of
battle." Daisy heard and caught it, but not his suggestion. It
was the thought of the _words_ that went to her heart, — not the
thought of the tune. She stood as before, only clasped her
little hands close upon her breast. Captain Drummond watched
her. So did her father, who could make nothing of her.

"Do you understand me, Daisy?"

"Papa —"

"Obey me first, and then talk about it."

Daisy was in no condition to talk; she could hardly breathe
that one word. She knew the tone of great displeasure in her
father's voice. He saw her condition.

"You are not able to sing at this minute," said he. "Go to
your room — I will give you ten minutes to recover yourself.
Then, Daisy, come here and sing — if you like to be at peace
with me."

But Daisy did not move; she stood there, with her two hands
clasped on her breast.

"Do you mean that you will not?" said Mr. Randolph.

"If it wasn't Sunday, papa —" came from Daisy's parted lips.

"Sunday?" said Mr. Randolph — "is that it? Now we know where
we are. Daisy — do you hear me? — turn about and sing your
song. Do not give me another refusal!"

But Daisy stood, growing paler and paler, till the whiteness
reached her lips, and her father saw that in another minute
she would fall. He snatched her from the floor, and placed her
upon his knee with his arm round her; but though conscious
that she was held against his breast, Daisy was conscious too
that there was no relenting in it; she knew her father; and
her deadly paleness continued. Mr. Randolph saw that there
would be no singing that night, and that the conflict between
Daisy and him must be put off to another day. Making excuse to
those near, that she was not well, he took his little daughter
in his arms, and carried her up stairs to her own room. There
he laid her on the bed and rang for June, and staid by her
till he saw her colour returning. Then without a word he left
her.

Meanwhile Captain Drummond, downstairs, had taken a quiet seat
in a corner; his talking mood having deserted him.

"Did I ever walk up to the cannon's mouth like that?" he said
to himself.


CHAPTER XI.

THE WOUNDED HAND.


Daisy kept herself quite still while her father and June were
present. When Mr. Randolph had gone downstairs, and June,
seeing her charge better, ventured to leave her to get some
brandy and water, then Daisy seized that minute of being alone
to allow herself a few secret tears. Once opened, the fountain
of tears gushed out a river; and when June came back Daisy was
in an agony which prevented her knowing that anybody was with
her. In amaze, June set down the brandy and water, and looked
on. She had never in her life seen Daisy so. It distressed
her; but though June might be called dull, her poor wits were
quick to read some signs; and troubled as she was, she called
neither Daisy's father nor her mother. The child's state would
have warranted such an appeal. She never heard June's
tremulous "Don't, Miss Daisy!" She was shaken with the sense
of the terrible contest she had brought on herself; and
grieved to the very depths of her tender little heart that she
must bear the displeasure of her father and her mother. She
struggled with tears and agitation until she was exhausted,
and then lay quiet, panting and pale, because she had no
strength to weep longer.

"Miss Daisy," said June, "drink this."

"What is it?"

"It is brandy and water. It is good for you."

"I am not faint. I don't like it."

"Miss Daisy, please! You want something. It will make you feel
better and put you to sleep."

Disregarding the tumbler which June offered, Daisy slowly
crawled off the bed, and went and kneeled down before her open
window, crossing her arms on the sill. June followed her, with
a sort of submissive pertinacity.

"Miss Daisy, you want to take some of this, and lie down and
go to sleep."

"I don't want to go to sleep."

"Miss Daisy, you're weak — won't you take a little of this, to
strengthen you a bit?"

"I don't want it, June."

"You'll be sick to-morrow."

"June," said Daisy, "I wish a chariot of fire would come for
me!"

"Why, Miss Daisy?"

"To take me right up. But I shall not be sick. You needn't be
afraid. You needn't stay."

June was too much awed to speak, and dared not disobey. She
withdrew; and in her own premises stood as Daisy was doing,
looking at the moonlight; much wondering that storms should
pass over her little white mistress such as had often shaken
her own black breast. It was mysterious.

Daisy did not wish to go to sleep; and it was for fear she
should, that she had crawled off the bed, trembling in every
limb. For the same reason she would not touch the brandy and
water. Once asleep, the next thing would be morning and waking
up; she was not ready for that. So she knelt by the window,
and felt the calm glitter of the moonlight, and tried to pray.
It was long, long since Daisy had withstood her father or
mother in anything. She remembered the last time; she knew now
they _would_ have her submit to them, and now she thought she
must not. Daisy dared not face the coming day. She would have
liked to sit up all night; but her power of keeping even upon
her knees was giving way when June stole in behind her, too
uneasy to wait for Daisy's ring.

"Miss Daisy, you'll be surely sick to-morrow, and Mis'
Randolph will think I ought to be killed."

"June, didn't the minister say this morning —"

"What minister?"

"Oh, it wasn't you, — it was Joanna. Where is Joanna? I want
to see her."

"Most likely she's going to bed, Miss Daisy."

"No matter — I want to see her. Go and tell her, June — no
matter if she is in her night-gown, — tell her I want to speak
to her one minute."

June went, and Daisy once more burst into tears. But she
brushed them aside when Joanna came back with June a few
minutes after.

"Joanna — didn't the minister say this morning, that when we
are doing what Jesus tells us, He will help us through?"

"It's true," said Joanna, looking startled and troubled at the
pale little tear-stained face lifted to her; — "but I don't
just know as that minister said it this morning."

"Didn't he?"

"Why, it's true, Miss Daisy; for I've heard other ministers
say it; but that one this morning was preaching about
something else — don't you know?"

"Was he? Didn't he say that?"

"Why, no, Miss Daisy; he was preaching about how rich —"

"Oh, I know!" said Daisy — "I remember; yes, it wasn't then —
it was afterwards. Yes, he said it — I knew it —but it wasn't
in his sermon. Thank you, Joanna — that's all; I don't want
you any more."

"What ails her?" whispered Joanna, when June followed her out
with a light.

But June knew her business better than to tell her little
mistress's secrets; and her face showed no more of them than
it showed of her own. When she returned, Daisy was on her
knees, with her face hidden in her hands, at the foot of the
bed.

June stopped; and the little white figure there looked so
slight, the attitude of the bended head was so childlike and
pitiful, that the mulatto woman's face twinkled and twitched
in a way most unwonted to its usual stony lines. She never
stirred till Daisy rose up and submissively allowed herself to
be put to bed; and then waited on her with most reverent
gentleness.

So she did next morning. But Daisy was very pale, and trembled
frequently, June noticed; and, when she was dressed, sat down
patiently by the window. She was not going down to breakfast,
she told June; and June went away to her own breakfast, very
ill satisfied.

Breakfast was brought up to Daisy, as she expected; and then
she waited for her summons. She could not eat much. The tears
were very ready to start, but Daisy kept them back. It did not
suit her to go weeping into her father and mother's presence,
and she had self-command enough to prevent it. She could not
read; yet she turned over the pages of her Bible to find some
comfort. She did not know or could not remember just where to
look for it; and at last turned to the eleventh of Hebrews,
and with her eye running over the record there of what had
been done and borne for Christ's sake, felt her own little
heart beating hard in its own trial.

June came at length to call her to her mother's room.

Mrs. Randolph was half lying on a couch, a favourite position;
and her eye was full on Daisy as she came in. Daisy stopped at
a little distance; and June took care to leave the door ajar.

"Daisy," said Mrs. Randolph, "I want in the first place an
explanation of last night's behaviour."

"Mamma, I am very sorry to have offended you!" said Daisy,
pressing both hands together upon her breast to keep herself
quiet.

"Looks like it," said Mrs. Randolph; and yet she did see and
feel the effect of the night's work upon the child. "Go on; —
tell me why you disobeyed me last night."

"It was Sunday —" said Daisy, softly.

"Sunday! — well, what of that? what of Sunday?"

"That song — wasn't a Sunday song."

"What do you mean by a Sunday song?"

"I mean" — Daisy was on dangerous ground, and she knew it, —
"I mean, one of those songs that God likes to hear people sing
on His day."

"Who is to be judge?" said Mrs. Randolph, — "you or I?"

"Mamma," said Daisy, "I will do everything else in the world
you tell me!"

"You will have to do everything else and this too. Isn't there
a commandment about children obeying their mothers."

"Yes, ma'am."

"That is the very first commandment I mean you shall obey,"
said Mrs. Randolph, rousing herself enough to bring one foot
to the floor. "You have no business to think whether a thing
is right or wrong, that I order you to do; if I order it, that
makes it right; and anybody but a fool would tell you so. You
will sing that song from the 'Camp in Silesia' for me next
Sunday evening, or I will whip you, Daisy — you may depend
upon it. I have done it before, and I will again; and you know
I do not make believe. Now go to your father."

"Where is he, mamma?" said Daisy, with a perceptible added
paleness in her cheek.

"I don't know. In the library, I suppose."

To the library Daisy went, with trembling steps, in great
uncertainty what she was to expect from her father. It was
likely enough that he would say the same as her mother, and
insist on the act of submission to be gone through next
Sunday; but Daisy had an inward consciousness that her father
was likely to come to a point with her sooner than that. It
came even sooner than she expected.

Mr. Randolph was pacing up and down the library when Daisy
slowly opened the door. No one else was there. He stopped when
she came in, and stood looking at her as she advanced towards
him.

"Daisy, you disobeyed me last night."

"Yes, papa, — but —"

"I have but one answer for that sort of thing," said Mr.
Randolph, taking a narrow ruler from the library table.

"Give me your hand!"

Daisy gave it, with a very vague apprehension of what he was
about to do. The sharp, stinging stroke of the ruler the next
moment upon her open palm, made her understand very
thoroughly. It drew from her one cry of mixed pain and terror;
but after that first forced exclamation Daisy covered her face
with her other hand, and did not speak again. Tears, that she
could not help, came plentifully; for the punishment was
sufficiently severe, and it broke her heart that her father
should inflict it; but she stood perfectly still, only for the
involuntary wincing that was beyond her control, till her hand
was released and the ruler was thrown down. Heart and head
bowed together then, and Daisy crouched down on the floor
where she stood, unable either to stand or to move a step
away.

"There! that account's settled!" said Mr. Randolph, as he
flung down his ruler. And the next moment his hands came
softly about Daisy, and lifted her from the floor and placed
her on his knee; and his arms were wrapped tenderly round her.
Daisy almost wished he had let her alone; it seemed to her
that her sorrow was more than she could bear.

"Is your heart almost broken?" said Mr. Randolph, softly, as
he felt rather than heard the heavy sobs so close to him. But
to speak was an impossibility, and so he knew, and did not
repeat his question; only he held Daisy fast, and it was in
his arms that she wept out the first overcharged fulness of
her heart.

It was a long time before she could quiet those heavy sobs;
and Mr. Randolph sat quite still holding her.

"Is your heart quite broken?" he whispered again, when he
judged that she could speak. Daisy did not speak, however. She
turned, and rising upon her knees, threw her arms round her
father's neck, and hid her soft little head there. If tears
came Mr. Randolph could not tell; he thought his neck was wet
with them. He let her alone for a little while.

"Daisy —"

"Papa."

"Can you talk to me?"

Daisy sank back into her former position. Her father put his
lips down to hers for a long kiss.

"That account is settled," said he; "do you understand? Now
Daisy, tell me what was the matter last night."

"Papa, it was Sunday night."

"Yes. Well?"

"And that song — that mamma wanted me to sing" — Daisy spoke
very low, — "was out of an opera; and it was good for any
other day, but not for Sunday."

"Why not?"

Daisy hesitated, and at last said, "It had nothing to do with
Sunday, papa."

"But obedience is not out of place on Sunday, is it?"

"No, papa, — except —"

"Well, except what?"

"Papa, if God tells me to do one thing, and you tell me
another, what shall I do?" Daisy had hid her face in her
father's breast.

"What counter command have you to plead in this case?"

"Papa, may I show it to you?"

"Certainly."

She got down off his lap, twinkling away a tear hastily, and
went to the bookcase for the big Bible aforesaid. Mr. Randolph
seeing what she was after, and that she could not lift it,
went to her help, and brought it to the library table. Daisy
turned over the leaves with fingers that trembled yet,
hastily, flurriedly; and paused and pointed to the words that
her father read, "Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath
day."

Mr. Randolph read them, and the words following, and the words
that went before; then he turned from them, and drew Daisy to
her place in his arms again.

"Daisy, there is another commandment there, 'Honour thy father
and thy mother.' Is there not ?"

"Yes, papa."

"Is not one command as good as the other?"

"Papa, I think not," said Daisy. "One command tells me to obey
you, — the other tells me to obey God."

Childish as the answer was, there was truth in it; and Mr.
Randolph shifted his ground.

"Your mother will not be satisfied without your obeying the
lesser command — nor shall I!"

Silence.

"She will expect you to do next Sunday evening what you
refused to do last evening."

Still silence, but a shiver ran over Daisy's frame.

"Do you know it?" said Mr. Randolph, noticing also that
Daisy's cheek had grown a shade paler than it was.

"Papa — I wish I could die!" was the answer of the child's
agony.

"Do you mean that you will not obey her, Daisy?"

"How can I, papa? how can I!" exclaimed Daisy.

"Do you think that song is so very bad, Daisy?"

"No, papa, it is very good for other days; but it is not
holy." Her accent struck strangely upon Mr. Randolph's ear;
and sudden contrasts rushed together oddly in his mind.

"Daisy, do you know that you are making yourself a judge of
right and wrong? over your mother and over me?"

Daisy hid her face again in his breast; what could she answer?
Mr. Randolph unfolded the little palm, swollen and blistered
from the marks of his ruler.

"Why did you offend me, Daisy?" he said, gravely.

"Oh, papa!" said Daisy, beside herself, — "I didn't — I
couldn't — I wouldn't, for anything in the world! but I
couldn't offend the Lord Jesus!"

She was weeping again bitterly.

"That will not do," said Mr. Randolph. "You must find a way to
reconcile both duties. I shall not take an alternative." But
after that he said no more, and only applied himself to
soothing Daisy; till she sat drooping in his arms, but still
and calm. She started when the sound of steps and voices came
upon the verandah.

"Papa, may I go?"

He let her go, and watched her measured steps through the long
room to the door, and heard the bound they made as soon as she
was outside of it. He rang the bell and ordered June to be
called. She came.

"June," said Mr. Randolph, "I think Daisy wants to be taken
care of to-day — I wish you would not lose sight of her."

June courtesied her obedience.

A few minutes afterwards her noiseless steps entered Daisy's
room. June's footfall was never heard about the house. As
noiseless as a shadow she came into a room; as stealthily as a
dark shadow she went out. Her movements were always slow; and
whether from policy or caution originally, her tread would not
waken a sleeping mouse. So she came into her little mistress's
chamber now. Daisy was there, at her bureau, before an open
drawer; as June advanced, she saw that a great stock of little
pairs of gloves was displayed there, of all sorts, new and
old; and Daisy was trying to find among them one that would do
for her purpose. One after another was tried on the fingers of
her right hand, and thrown aside; and tears were running over
the child's cheeks and dropping into the drawer all the time.
June came near, with a sort of anxious look on her yellow
face. It was strangely full of wrinkles and lines, that
generally never stirred to express or reveal anything.
Suddenly she exclaimed, but June's very exclamations were in a
smothered tone —

"Oh, Miss Daisy! what have you done to your hand?"

"I haven't done anything to it," said Daisy, trying furtively
to get rid of her tears, — "but I want a glove to put on,
June, and they are all too small. Is Cecilia at work here to-
day?"

"Yes, Miss Daisy; but let me look at your hand! — let me put
some liniment on."

"No, I don't want it," said Daisy; and June saw the suppressed
sob that was not allowed to come out into open hearing; — "but
June, just rip that glove, will you, here in the side seam;
and then ask Cecilia to make a strip of lace-work there — so
that I can get it on." Daisy drew a fur glove over the wounded
hand as she spoke — it was the only one large enough — and put
on her flat hat.

"Miss Daisy, Mr. Randolph said I was to go with you anywhere
you went —to take care of you."

"Then come down to the beach, June; I'll be there."

Daisy stole down stairs and slipped out of the first door she
came to. What she wanted was to get away from seeing anybody;
she did not wish to see her mother, or Preston, or Captain
Drummond, or Ransom; and she meant even if possible to wander
off and not be at home for dinner. She could not bear the
thought of the dinner-table, with all the faces round it. She
stole out under the shrubbery, which soon hid her from view of
the house.

It was a very warm day, the sun beating hot wherever it could
touch at all. Daisy went languidly along under cover of the
trees, wishing to go faster, but not able, till she reached
the bank. There she waited for June to join her, and together
they went down to the river shore. Safe there from pursuit, on
such a day, Daisy curled herself down in the shade with her
back against a stone, and then began to think. She felt very
miserable; not merely for what had passed, but for a long
stretch of trouble that she saw lying before her. Indeed where
or how it was to end, Daisy had no idea. Her father indeed,
she felt pretty sure would not willingly allow his orders to
come in conflict with what she thought her duty; though if he
happened to do it unconsciously, — Daisy would not follow that
train of thought. But here she was now, at this moment,
engaged in a trial of strength with her mother; very unequal,
for Daisy felt no power at all for the struggle, and yet she
could not yield!

Where was it to end? and how many other like occasions of
difference might arise, even after this one should somehow
have been settled? Had the joy of being a servant of Jesus so
soon brought trouble with it? Daisy had put the trunk of a
large tree between her and June; but the mulatto woman, where
she sat, heard the stifled sobs of the child. June's items of
intelligence, picked up by eye and ear, had given her by this
time an almost reverent feeling towards Daisy; she regarded
her as hardly earthly; nevertheless, this sort of distress
must not be suffered to go on, and she was appointed to
prevent it.

"Miss Daisy — it is luncheon time," she said, without moving.
Daisy gave no response. June waited, and then came before her
and repeated her words.

"I am not going in."

"But you want your dinner, Miss Daisy."

"No, I don't, June. I don't want to go in."

June looked at her a minute. "I'll get you your luncheon out
here, Miss Daisy. You'll be faint for want of something to
eat. Will you have it out here?"

"You needn't say where I am, June."

June went off, and Daisy was left alone. Very weary and
exhausted, she sat leaning her head against the stone at her
side, in a sort of despairing quiet. The little ripple of the
water on the pebbly shore struck her ear; it was the first
thing eye or ear had perceived to be pleasant that day.
Daisy's thoughts went to the hand that had made the glittering
river, with all its beauties and wonders; then they went to
what Mr. Dinwiddie had said, that God will help His people
when they are trying to do any difficult work for Him; He will
take care of them; He will not forsake them. Suddenly it
filled Daisy's soul like a flood, the thought that Jesus loves
His people; that she was His little child and that He loved
her; and all His wisdom and power and tenderness were round
her and would keep her. Her trouble seemed to be gone, or it
was like a cloud with sunlight shining all over it. The very
air was full of music, to Daisy's feeling, not her sense.
There never was such sunlight, or such music either, as this
feeling of the love of Jesus. Daisy kneeled down by the rock,
and rested her forehead against it, to pray for joy.

She was there still, when June came back, and stopped and
looked at her, a vague expression of care sitting in her black
eyes, into which now an unwonted moisture stole. June had a
basket, and as soon as Daisy sat down again, she came up and
began to take things out of it. She had brought everything for
Daisy's dinner. There was a nice piece of beefsteak, just off
the gridiron; and rice and potatoes; and a fine bowl of
strawberries for dessert. June had left nothing; there was the
roll and the salt, and a tumbler and a carafe of water. She
set the other things about Daisy, on the ground and on the
rock, and gave the plate of beefsteak into her hand.

"Miss Daisy, what will you do for a table?"

"It's nicer here than a table. How good you are, June. I
didn't know I wanted it."

"I know you do, Miss Daisy."

And she went to her sewing, and sewed perseveringly, while
Daisy eat her dinner.

"June, what o'clock is it."

"It's after one, ma'am."

"You haven't had your own dinner?"

June mumbled something, of which nothing could be understood
except that it was a general abnegation of all desire or
necessity for dinner on her own part.

"But you have not had it?" said Daisy.

"No, ma'am. They've done dinner by this time."

"June, I have eaten up all the beefsteak — there is nothing
left but some potato, and rice, and strawberries; but you
shall have some strawberries."

June in vain protested. Daisy divided the strawberries into
two parts, sugared them both, broke the remaining roll in two,
and obliged June to take her share. When this was over, Daisy
seated herself near June, and laid her head against her knee.
She could hardly hold it up.

"June," — she said presently, "I think those people in the
eleventh chapter of Hebrews — you know."

"Yes, Miss Daisy."

"I think they were very happy, because they knew that Jesus
loved them."

June made no audible answer; she mumbled something; and Daisy
sat still. Presently her soft breathing made June look over at
her; Daisy was asleep. In her hand, in her lap, lay a book.
June looked yet further, to see what book it was. It was Mr.
Dinwiddie's Bible.

June sat up and went on with her work, but her face twitched.


CHAPTER XII.

THE HUNDRED DOLLARS.


Daisy was at the dinner-table. After having a good sleep on
June's knee, she had come home, and dressed as usual, and she
was in her place when the dessert was brought on. Mr.
Randolph, from his distant end of the table, watched her a
little; he saw that she behaved just as usual; she did not
shun anybody, though her mother shunned her. A glove covered
her right hand, yet Daisy persisted in using that hand rather
than attract notice, though from the slowness of her movements
it was plain it cost her some trouble. Gary McFarlane asked
why she had a glove on, and Mr. Randolph heard Daisy's
perfectly quiet and true answer, that "her hand was wounded,
and had to wear a glove," — given without any confusion or
evasion. He called his little daughter to him, and giving her
a chair by his side, spent the rest of his time in cracking
nuts and preparing a banana for her; doing it carelessly, not
as if she needed but as if it pleased him to give her his
attention.

After dinner, Daisy sought Preston, who was out on the lawn,
as he said, to cool himself; in the brightness of the setting
sun to be sure, but also in a sweet light air which was
stirring.

"Phew! it's hot. And you, Daisy, don't look as if the sun and
you had been on the same side of the earth to-day. What do you
want now?"

"I want a good talk with you, Preston."

"I was going to say 'fire up,' " said Preston, "but, no, don't
do anything of that sort! If there is any sort of talking that
has a chilly effect, I wish you'd use it."

"I have read of such talk, but I don't think I know how to do
it," said Daisy. "I read the other day of somebody's being
'frozen with a look.'

Preston went off into a fit of laughter, and rolled himself
over on the grass, declaring that it was a splendid idea; then
he sat up and asked Daisy again what she wanted? Daisy cast a
glance of her eye to see that nobody was too near.

"Preston, you know you were going to teach me."

"Oh ay! — about the Spartans."

"I want to learn everything," said Daisy. "I don't know much."

Preston looked at the pale, delicate child, whose doubtful
health he knew had kept her parents from letting her "know
much"; and it was no wonder that when he spoke again, he used
a look and manner that were caressing, and even tender.

"What do you want to know, Daisy?"

"I want to know everything," whispered Daisy; "but I don't
know what to begin at."

"No!" said Preston, — " 'everything' seems as big as the world,
and as hard to get hold of."

"I want to know geography," said Daisy.

"Yes. Well — you shall. And you shall not study for it
neither; which you can't."

"Yes I can."

"No you can't. You are no more fit for it, little Daisy — but
look here! I wish you would be a red daisy."

"Then what else, Preston?"

"Nothing else. Geography is enough at once."

"Oh, no, it isn't. Preston, I can't do the least little bit of
a sum in the world."

"Can't you? Well — I don't see that that is of any very great
consequence. What sums do _you_ want to do?"

"But I want to know how."

"Why?"

"Why, Preston, you know I _ought_ to know how. It might be very
useful, and I ought to know."

"I hope it will never be of any use to you," said Preston;
"but you can learn the multiplication table if you like."

"Then will you show it to me?"

"Yes; but what has put you in such a fever of study, little
Daisy? It excites me, this hot weather."

"Then won't you come in and show me the multiplication table
now, Preston?"

In came Preston, laughing, and found an arithmetic for Daisy;
and Daisy, not laughing, but with a steady seriousness, sat
down on the verandah in the last beams of the setting sun to
learn that "twice two is four."

The same sort of sweet seriousness hung about all her
movements this week. To those who knew what it meant, there
was something extremely touching in the gentle gravity with
which she did everything, and the grace of tenderness which
she had for everybody. Daisy was going through great trouble.
Not only the trouble of what was past, but the ordeal of what
was to come. It hung over her like a black cloud, and her
fears were like muttering thunder. But the sense of right, the
love of the Master in whose service she was suffering, the
trust in His guiding hand, made Daisy walk with that strange,
quiet dignity between the one Sunday and the other. Mr.
Randolph fancied sometimes when she was looking down, that he
saw the signs of sadness about her mouth; but whenever she
looked up again, he met such quiet, steady eyes, that he
wondered. He was puzzled; but it was no puzzle that Daisy's
cheeks grew every day paler, and her appetite less.

"I do not wish to flatter you" — said Mrs. Gary, one evening —
"but that child has very elegant manners! Really, I think they
are very nearly perfect. I don't believe there is an English
court beauty who could show better."

"The English beauty would like to be a little more robust in
her graces," remarked Gary McFarlane.

"That is all Daisy wants," her aunt went on; "but that will
come, I trust, in time."

"Daisy would do well enough," said Mrs. Randolph, "if she
could get some notions out of her head."

"What, you mean her religious notions? How came she by them,
pray?"

"Why, there was a person here — a connexion of Mrs. Sandford's
— that set up a Sunday school in the woods; and Daisy went to
it for a month or two, before I thought anything about it, or
about him. Then I found she was beginning to ask questions,
and I took her away."

"Is asking questions generally considered a sign of danger?"
said Gary McFarlane.

"What was that about her singing the other night?" said Mrs.
Gary — "that had something to do with the same thing, hadn't
it?"

"Refused to sing an opera song because it was Sunday."

"Ridiculous!" said Mrs. Gary. "I'll try to make her see it so
herself — if I get a chance. She is a sensible child."

Mr. Randolph was walking up and down the room, and had not
spoken a word. A little time after, he found himself nearly
alone with Mrs. Randolph, the others having scattered away. He
paused near his wife's sofa.

"Daisy is failing," he said. "She has lost more this week than
she had gained in the two months before."

Mrs. Randolph made no answer, and did not even move her
handsome head, or her delicate hands.

"Can't you get out of this business, Felicia?"

"In the way that I said I would. You expect your words to be
obeyed, Mr. Randolph; and I expect it for mine."

Mr. Randolph resumed his walk.

"Daisy has got some things in her head that must get out of
it. I would as lieve not have a child, as not to have her mind
me."

Mr. Randolph passed out upon the verandah, and continuing his
walk there, presently came opposite the windows of the
library. There he saw Daisy seated at the table, reading. Her
hand was over her brow, and Mr. Randolph did not feel
satisfied with the sober lines of the little mouth upon which
the lamplight shone. Once, too, Daisy's head went down upon
her book, and lay there a little while. Mr. Randolph did not
feel like talking to her just then, or he would have liked to
go in and see what she was studying. But while he stood
opposite the window, Captain Drummond came into the library.

"You here, Daisy! What are you busy about?" he said, kindly.
"What are you studying now?"

"I am reading the History of England, Captain Drummond."

"How do you like it?"

"I have not got very far. I do not like it very much."

"Where are you?"

"I have just got to where it tells about Alfred."

"Why do you read it, Daisy? Is it a lesson?"

"No, Captain Drummond, — but — I think proper to read it."

"It is proper," said the Captain. "Come, Daisy, suppose we go
down on the sand-beach to-morrow, and we will play out the
Saxon Heptarchy there as we played out the Crimea. Shall we?"

Daisy's face changed. "Oh, thank you, Captain Drummond! — that
will be nice! Shall we?"

"If you will, I will," said the Captain.

Mr. Randolph moved away.

The next day, after luncheon, Daisy followed her father when
he left the table. She followed till they were got quite away
from other ears.

"Papa, I would like to go to Mrs. Harbonner's again. You said
I must not go without leave."

"Who is Mrs. Harbonner?"

"Papa, it is the place where I took the ham, — do you
remember? Joanna has enquired about her, and found that she is
respectable."

"What do you want to go there again for, Daisy?"

"Joanna has found some work for her, papa. She would not have
the ham unless she could work to pay for it. I want to see her
to tell her about it."

Mr. Randolph had it on his tongue to say that somebody else
might do that; but looking down at Daisy, the sight of the
pale face and hollow eyes stopped him. He sat down, and drew
Daisy up to his side.

"I will let you go."

"Thank you, papa!"

"Do you know," said Mr. Randolph, "that your mother is going
to ask you to sing that song again when Sunday evening comes?"

The smile vanished from Daisy's face; it grew suddenly dark;
and a shuddering motion was both seen and felt by Mr.
Randolph, whose arm was round her.

"Daisy," said he, not unkindly, "do you know that I think you
a little fool?"

She lifted her eyes quickly, and in their meeting with her
father's there was much — much that Mr. Randolph felt without
stopping to analyse, and that made his own face as suddenly
sober as her own. There was no folly in that quick grave look
of question or appeal; it seemed to carry the charge in
another direction.

"You think it is not right to sing such a song on a Sunday?"
he asked.

"No, papa."

"But, suppose, by singing it, you could do a great deal of
good, instead of harm."

"How, papa?"

"I will give you a hundred dollars for singing it, — which you
may spend as you please for all the poor people about
Melbourne or Crum Elbow."

It was very singular to him to see the changes in Daisy's
face. Light and shadow came and went with struggling
quickness. He expected her to speak, but she waited for
several minutes; then she said in a troubled voice, "Papa, I
will think of it."

"Is that all, Daisy?" said Mr. Randolph, disappointed.

"I am going to Mrs. Harbonner's, papa, and I will think, and
tell you."

Mr. Randolph was inclined to frown and suspect obstinacy; but
the meek little lips which offered themselves for a kiss
disarmed him of any such thought. He clasped Daisy in his
arms, and gave her kisses, many a one, close and tender. If he
had known it, he could have done nothing better for the
success of his plan; under the pressure of conscience Daisy
could bear trouble in doing right, but the argument of
affection went near to trouble her conscience. Daisy was
obliged to compound for a good many tears, before she could
get away and begin her drive. And when she did, her mind was
in a flutter. A hundred dollars! how much good could be done
with a hundred dollars. Why, would it not be right to do
something, even sing such a song on Sunday, when it was sung
for such a purpose and with such results? But Daisy could not
feel quite sure about it; while at the same time the prospect
of getting quit of her difficulties by this means — escaping
her mother's anger, and the punishment with which it was sure
to be accompanied, and also pleasing her father — shook
Daisy's very soul. What should she do? She had not made up her
mind when she got to the little brown house where Mrs.
Harbonner lived.

She found mother and daughter both in the little bare room;
the child sitting on the floor and cutting pieces of calico
and cloth into strips, which her mother was sewing together
with coarse thread. Both looked just as when Daisy had seen
them before — slim and poor and uncombed; but the room was
clean.

"I thought you warn't coming again," said Mrs. Harbonner.

"I couldn't come till to-day," said Daisy, taking a chair. "I
came as soon as I could." Partly from policy, partly because
she felt very sober, she left it to Mrs. Harbonner to do most
of the talking.

"I never see more'n a few folks that thought much of doing
what they said they'd do — without they found their own
account in it. If I was living in a great house, now, I'd have
folks enough come to see me."

Daisy did not know what answer to make to this, so she made
none.

"I used to live in a better house once," went on Mrs.
Harbonner; "I didn't always use to eat over a bare floor. I
was well enough, if I could ha' let well alone; but I made a
mistake, and paid for it; and what's more, I'm paying for it
yet. 'Taint _my_ fault, that Hephzibah sits there cuttin' rags,
instead of going to school."

Again Daisy did not feel herself called upon to decide on the
mistakes of Mrs. Harbonner's past life; and she sat patiently
waiting for something else that she could understand.

"What are you come to see me for now?" said the lady. "I
suppose you're going to tell me you haven't got no work for me
to do, and I must owe you for that ham?"

"I have got something for you to do," said Daisy. "The boy has
got it at the gate. The housekeeper found some clothes to make
— and you said that was your work."

"Tailoring," said Mrs. Harbonner. "I don't know nothing about
women's fixtures, — except what'll keep me and Hephzibah above
the savages. I don't suppose I could dress a doll so's it
would sell."

"This is tailoring work," said Daisy. "It is a boy's suit —
and there will be more to do if you like to have it."

"Where is it? at the gate, did you say? Hephzibah, go and
fetch it in. Who's got it?"

"The boy who is taking care of the horses."

"I declare, have you got that little covered shay there again?
— it's complete! I never see a thing so pretty! And Hephzibah
says you drive that little critter yourself. Ain't you
afraid?"

"Not at all," said Daisy. "The pony won't do any harm."

"He looks skeery," said Mrs. Harbonner. "I wouldn't trust him.
What a tremendous thick mane he's got! Well, I s'pect you have
everything you want, don't you?"

"Of such things —" said Daisy.

"That's what I meant. Gracious! I s'pose every one of us has
wishes — whether they are in the air or on the earth. Wishes
is the butter to most folks' bread. Here, child."

She took the bundle from Hephzibah, unrolled it, and examined
its contents with a satisfied face.

"What did _you_ come along with this for?" she said, suddenly,
to Daisy. "Why didn't you send it?"

"I wanted to come and see you," said Daisy, pleasantly.

"What ails you? You ain't so well as when you was here
before," said Mrs. Harbonner, looking at her narrowly.

"I am well," said Daisy.

"You ain't fur from bein' something else then. I suppose
you're dyin' with learning — while my Hephzibah can't get
schooling enough to read her own name. That's the way the
world's made up!"

"Isn't there a school at Crum Elbow?" said Daisy.

"Isn't there! And isn't there a bench for the rags? No, my
Hephzibah don't go to show none."

Mrs. Harbonner was so sharp and queer, though not unkindly
towards herself, that Daisy was at a loss how to go on; and,
moreover, a big thought began to turn about in her head.

"Poverty ain't no shame, but it's an inconvenience," said Mrs.
Harbonner. "Hephzibah may stay to home and be stupid, when
she's as much right to be smart as anybody. That's what I look
at; it ain't having a little to eat now and then."

"Melbourne is too far off for her to get there, isn't it?"
said Daisy.

"What should she go there for?"

"If she could get there," said Daisy, "and would like it, — I
would teach her."

"_You_ would?" said Mrs. Harbonner. "What would you learn her?"

"I would teach her to read," said Daisy, colouring a little;
"and anything else I could."

"La, she can read," said Mrs. Harbonner, "but she don't know
nothing, for all that. Readin' don't tell a person much,
without he has books. I wonder how long it would hold out, if
you begun? — 'Taint no use to begin a thing and then not go
on."

"But could she get to Melbourne?" said Daisy.

"I don't know. Maybe she can. Who'd she see at your house?"

"Nobody, but the man at the lodge, or his mother."

"Who's that?"

"He's the man that lives in the lodge, to open the gate."

"Open the gate, hey? Who pays him for it?"

"Papa pays him, and he lives in the lodge."

"I shouldn't think it would take a man to open a gate. Why,
Hephzibah could do it as well as anybody."

Daisy did not see the point of this remark, and went on.
"Hephzibah wouldn't see anybody else, but me."

"Well, I believe you mean what you say," said Mrs. Harbonner,
"and I hope you will when you're twenty years older — but I
don't believe it. I'll let Hephzibah come over to you on
Sundays— I know she's jumpin' out of her skin to go — she
shall go on Sundays, but I can't let her go other days, 'cause
she's got work to do; and anyhow it would be too fur. What
time would you like to see her?"

"As soon as it can be after afternoon church, if you please. I
couldn't before."

"You're a kind little soul!" said the woman. "Do you like
flowers?"

Daisy said yes. The woman went to a back door of the room,
and, opening it, plucked a branch from a great rosebush that
grew there.

"We hain't but one pretty thing about this house," said she,
presenting it to Daisy, — "but that's kind o' pretty."

It was a very rich and delicious white rose, and the branch
was an elegant one, clustered with flowers and buds. Daisy
gave her thanks and took leave.

"As we have opportunity, let us do good unto all men." There
was a little warm drop of comfort in Daisy's heart as she
drove away. If she could not go to Sunday-school herself, she
might teach somebody else, yet more needy; that would be the
next best thing. Sunday afternoon — it looked bright to Daisy;
but then her heart sank; Sunday evening would be near. What
should she do? She could not settle it in her mind what was
right; between her mother's anger and her father's love, Daisy
could not see what was just the plumb-line of duty. Singing
would gain a hundred dollars' worth of good; and not singing
would disobey her mother and displease her father; but then
came the words of one that Daisy honoured more than father and
mother — "Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath day;" and
she could not tell what to do.


CHAPTER XIII.

OBEDIENCE.


Daisy had gone but a little way out of the village, when she
suddenly pulled up. Sam was at the side of the chaise
immediately.

"Sam, I want a glass of water; where can I get it?"

"Guess at Mrs. Benoit's, Miss Daisy. There's a fine spring of
cold water."

"Who is Mrs. Benoit?"

"It's Juanita — Miss Daisy has heard of Mrs. St. Leonard's
Juanita. Mr. St. Leonard built a house for her, — just the
other side o' them trees."

Daisy knew who Juanita was. She had been brought from the West
Indies by the mother of one of the gentlemen who lived in the
neighbourhood; and upon the death of her mistress had been
established in a little house of her own. Daisy judged that
she would be quite safe in going there for water.

"If I turn into that road, can I go home round that way, Sam?"

"You can, Miss Daisy; but it's a ways longer."

"I like that;" said Daisy.

She turned up the road that led behind the trees, and
presently saw Juanita's cottage. A little grey stone house,
low-roofed, standing at the very edge of a piece of woodland,
and some little distance back from the road. Daisy saw the old
woman sitting on her doorstep. A grassy slope stretched down
from the house to the road. The sun shone up against the grey
cottage.

"You take care of Loupe, Sam, and I'll go in," said Daisy — a
plan which probably disappointed Sam, but Daisy did not know
that. She went through a little wicket and up the path.

Juanita did not look like the blacks she had been accustomed
to see. Black she was not, but of a fine olive dark skin; and
though certainly old, she was still straight and tall, and
very fine in her appearance and bearing. Daisy could see this
but partially while Juanita was sitting at her door; she was
more struck by the very grave look her face wore just then. It
was not turned towards her little visitor, and Daisy got the
impression that she must be feeling unhappy.

Juanita rose, however, with great willingness to get the
water, and asked Daisy into her house. Daisy dared not, after
her father's prohibition, go in, and she stood at the door
till the water was brought. Then, with a strong feeling of
kindness towards the lonely and perhaps sorrowful old woman,
and remembering to "do good as she had opportunity," Daisy
suddenly offered her the beautiful rose-branch.

"Does the lady think I want pay for a glass of water?" said
the woman, with a smile that was extremely winning.

"No," said Daisy, — "but I thought, perhaps, you liked
flowers."

"There's another sort of flowers that the Lord likes," — said
the woman looking at her; "they be His little children."

Daisy's heart was tender, and there was something in Juanita's
face that won her confidence. Instead of turning away, she
folded her hands unconsciously, and said, more wistfully than
she knew, "I want to be one!"

"Does my little lady know the Lord Jesus?" said the woman,
with a bright light coming into her eye.

Daisy's heart was sore as well as tender; the question touched
two things, — the joy that she did know Him, and the trouble
that following Him had cost her; she burst into tears. Then,
turning away, and with a great effort throwing off the tears,
she went back to the chaise. There stood Sam, with the pony's
foot in his hand.

"Miss Daisy, this fellow has kicked one of his shoes half off;
he can't go home so; it's hanging. Could Miss Daisy stop a
little while at Mrs. Benoit's, I could take the pony to the
blacksmith's — it ain't but a very little ways off — and get
it put on, in a few minutes."

"Well, do, do, Sam," — said Daisy after she had looked at the
matter; and while he took Loupe out of harness, she turned
back to Juanita.

"What is gone wrong?" said the old woman.

"Nothing is wrong," said Daisy; "only the pony has got his
shoe off, and the boy is taking him to the blacksmith's."

"Will my lady come into my house?"

"No, thank you. I'll stay here."

The woman brought out a low chair for her, and set it on the
grass; and took herself her former place on the sill of the
door. She looked earnestly at Daisy; and Daisy on her part had
noticed the fine carriage of the woman, her pleasant features,
and the bright handkerchief which made her turban. Through the
open door she could see the neat order of the room within, and
her eye caught some shells arranged on shelves; but Daisy did
not like to look, and she turned away. She met Juanita's eye;
she felt she must speak.

"This is a pleasant place."

"Why does my lady think so?"

"It looks pleasant," said Daisy. "It is nice. The grass is
pretty, and the trees; and it is a pretty little house, I
think."

The woman smiled. "I think it be a palace of beauty," she
said, — "for Jesus is here."

Daisy looked, a little wondering but entirely respectful; the
whole aspect of Juanita commanded that.

"Does my little lady know, that the presence of the King makes
a poor house fine?"

"I don't quite know what you mean," said Daisy, humbly.

"Does my little lady know that the Lord Jesus loves His
people?"

"Yes," said Daisy, — "I know it."

"But she know not much. When a poor heart say any time, 'Lord,
I am all Thine!' — then the Lord comes to that heart, and He
makes it the house of a King — for He comes there Himself. And
where Jesus is, — all is glory. Do not my little lady read
that in the Bible?"

"I don't remember" — said Daisy.

The woman got up, went into the cottage, and brought out a
large-print Testament which she put into Daisy's hands, open
at the fourteenth chapter of John. Daisy read with curious
interest the words to which she was directed: "Jesus answered
and said unto him, If a man love Me, he will keep My words:
and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him and
make Our abode with him."

Daisy looked at the promise, with her heart beating under
troublesome doubts; when the voice of Juanita broke in upon
them by saying, tenderly, "Does my little lady keep the Lord's
words?"

Down went the book, and the tears rushed into Daisy's eyes.
"Don't call me so," she cried, — "I am Daisy Randolph; — and I
do want to keep His words! — and — I don't know how."

"What troubles my love?" said the woman, in the low tones of a
voice that was always sweet. "Do not she know what the words
of the Lord be?"

"Yes," — said Daisy, hardly able to make herself understood, —
"but —"

"Then do 'em," said Juanita. "The way is straight. What He
say, do."

"But suppose —" said Daisy.

"Suppose what? What do my love suppose?"

"Wouldn't it make it right, if it would do a great deal of
good?"

This confused sentence Juanita pondered over. "What does my
love mean?"

"If it would do a great deal of good — wouldn't that make it
right to do something?"

"Right to do something that the Lord say not do?"

"Yes."

"If you love Jesus, you not talk so," said Juanita,
sorrowfully. But that made Daisy give way altogether.

"Oh, I do love Him! — I do love Him!" she cried; — "but I
don't know what to do." And tears came in a torrent.

Juanita was watchful and thoughtful. When Daisy had very soon
checked herself, she said in the same low, gentle way in which
she had before spoken, "What do the Lord say — to do that some
good thing, — or to keep His words?"

"To keep His words."

"Then keep 'em — and the Lord will do the good thing Himself;
that same or another. He can do what He please; and He tell
you, only keep His words. He want you to show you love Him —
and He tell you how."

Daisy sat quite still to let the tears pass away, and the
struggle in her heart grow calm; then when she could safely
she looked up. She met Juanita's eye. It was fixed on her.

"Is the way straight now?" she asked.

Daisy nodded, with a little bit of a smile on her poor little
lips.

"But there is trouble in the way?" said Juanita.

"Yes," said Daisy, and the old woman saw the eyes redden
again.

"Has the little one a good friend at home to help?"

Daisy shook her head.

"Then let Jesus help. My little lady keep the Lord's words,
and the sweet Lord Jesus will keep her." And rising to her
feet, and clasping her hands, where she stood, Juanita poured
forth a prayer. It was for her little visitor. It was full of
love. It was full of confidence too; and of such clear
simplicity as if, like Stephen, she had seen the heavens open.
But the loving strength of it won Daisy's heart; and when the
prayer was finished she came close to the old woman and threw
her arms round her as she stood, and wept with her face hid in
Juanita's dress. Yet the prayer had comforted her too,
greatly. And though Daisy was very shy of intimacies with
strangers, she liked to feel Juanita's hand on her shoulder;
and after the paroxysm of tears was past, she still stood
quietly by her, without attempting to increase the distance
between them; till she saw Sam coming down the lane with the
pony.

"Good-bye," said Daisy, "there's the boy."

"My lady will come to see old Juanita again?"

"I am Daisy Randolph. I'll come," — said the child, looking
lovingly up. Then she went down the slope to Sam.

"The blacksmith couldn't shoe him, Miss Daisy — he hadn't a
shoe to fit. He took off the old shoe — so Miss Daisy please
not drive him hard home."

Daisy wanted nothing of the kind. To get home soon was no
pleasure; so she let Loupe take his own pace, anything short
of walking; and it was getting dusk when they reached
Melbourne. Daisy was not glad to be there. It was Friday
night; the next day would be Saturday.

Mrs. Randolph came out into the hall to see that nothing was
the matter, and then went back into the drawing-room. Daisy
got her dress changed, and came there too, where the family
were waiting for tea. She came in softly, and sat down by
herself at a table somewhat removed from the others, who were
all busily talking and laughing. But presently Captain
Drummond drew near, and sat down at her side.

"Have you had a good drive, Daisy?"

"Yes, Captain Drummond."

"We missed our history to-day, but I have been making
preparations. Shall we go into the Saxon Heptarchy to-morrow —
you and I — and see if we can get the kingdom settled?"

"If you please. I should like it very much."

"What is the matter with you, Daisy?"

Daisy lifted her wise little face, which indeed looked as if
it were heavy with something beside wisdom, towards her
friend; she was not ready with an answer.

"You aren't going to die on the field of battle yet, Daisy?"
he said, half lightly, and half he knew not why.

It brought a rush of colour to the child's face; the self-
possession must have been great which kept her from giving way
to further expression of feeling. She answered with curious
calmness, "I don't think I shall, Captain Drummond."

The Captain saw it was a bad time to get anything from her,
and he moved away. Preston came the next minute.

"Why, Daisy," he whispered, drawing his chair close, "where
have you been all day? No getting a sight of you. What have
you been about?"

"I have been to Crum Elbow this afternoon."

"Yes, and how late you stayed. Why did you?"

"Loupe lost a shoe. I had to wait for Sam to go to the
blacksmith's with him."

"Really. Did you wait in the road?"

"No. I had a place to wait."

"I dare say you are as hungry as a bear," said Preston. "Now
here comes tea — and waffles, Daisy; you shall have some
waffles and cream. That will make you feel better."

"Cream isn't good with waffles," said Daisy.

"Yes, it is. Cream is good with everything. You shall try. I
know! I am always cross myself when I am hungry."

"I am not hungry, Preston; and I don't think I am cross."

"What are you, then? Come, Daisy, — here is a cup of tea, and
here is a waffle. First the sugar — there, — then the cream.
So."

"You have spoiled it, Preston."

"Eat it — and confess you are hungry and cross too."

Daisy could have laughed, only she was too sore-hearted, and
would surely have cried. She fell to eating the creamed
waffle.

"Is it good?"

"Very good!"

"Confess you are hungry and cross, Daisy."

"I am not cross. And Preston, please! — don't!" Daisy's fork
fell; but she took it up again.

"What is the matter, then, Daisy?"

Daisy did not answer; she went on eating as diligently as she
could.

"Is it that foolish business of the song?" whispered Preston.
"Is that the trouble, Daisy?"

"Please don't, Preston!"

"Well, I won't, till you have had another waffle. Sugar and
cream, Daisy?"

"Yes."

"That's brave! Now eat it up — and tell me, Daisy, is _that_ the
trouble with you?"

He spoke affectionately, as he almost always did to her; and
Daisy did not throw him off.

"You don't understand it, Preston," she said.

"Daisy, I told you my uncle and aunt would not like that sort
of thing."

Daisy was silent, and Preston wondered at her. Mrs. Gary drew
near at this moment, and placed herself opposite Daisy's tea-
cup, using her eyes in the first place.

"What are you talking about?" said she.

"About Daisy's singing, ma'am."

"That's the very thing," said Mrs. Gary, "that I wanted to
speak about. Daisy, my dear, I hope you are going to sing it
properly to your mother the next time she bids you?"

Daisy was silent.

"I wanted to tell you, my dear," said Mrs. Gary, impressively,
"what a poor appearance your refusal made, the other evening.
You could not see it for yourself; but it made you seem
awkward, and foolish, and ill-bred. I am sure everybody would
have laughed, if it had not been for politeness towards your
mother; for the spectacle was ludicrous, thoroughly. You like
to make a graceful appearance, don't you?"

Daisy answered in a low voice, — "Yes, ma'am; when I can."

"Well, you can, my dear, for your behaviour is generally
graceful, and unexceptionable; only the other night it was
very rough and uncouth. I expected you to put your finger in
your mouth the next thing, and stand as if you had never seen
anybody. And Daisy Randolph! the heiress of Melbourne and
Cranford!"

The heiress of Melbourne and Cranford lifted to her aunt's
face a look strangely in contrast with the look bent on her;
so much worldly wisdom was in the one, so much want of it in
the other. Yet those steady grey eyes were not without a
wisdom of their own; and Mrs. Gary met them with a puzzled
feeling of it.

"Do you understand me, Daisy, my dear?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"Do you see that it is desirable never to look ridiculous, and
well-bred persons never do?"

"Yes, aunt Gary."

"Then I am sure you won't do it again. It would mortify me for
your father and mother."

Mrs. Gary walked away. Daisy looked thoughtful.

"Will you do it, Daisy?" whispered Preston.

"What?"

"Will you sing the song for them next time? You will, won't
you?"

"I'll do what I can" — said Daisy. But it was said so soberly,
that Preston was doubtful of her. However, he, like Captain
Drummond, had got to the end of his resources for that time;
and seeing his uncle approach, Preston left his seat.

Mr. Randolph took it, and drew Daisy from her own to a place
in his arms. He sat then silent a good while, or talking to
other people; only holding her close and tenderly. Truth to
tell, Mr. Randolph was a little troubled about the course
things were taking; and Daisy and her father were a grave pair
that evening.

Daisy felt his arms were a pleasant shield between her and all
the world; if they might only _keep_ round her! And then she
thought of Juanita's prayer, and of the invisible shield, of a
stronger and more loving arm, that the Lord Jesus puts between
His children and all real harm.

At last Mr. Randolph bent down his head, and brought his lips
to Daisy's, asking her if she had had a nice time that
afternoon.

"Very, papa!" said Daisy, gratefully; and then added, after a
little hesitation, "Papa, do you know old Juanita? — Mrs. St.
Leonard's woman, that Mr. St. Leonard built a little house
for?"

"I do not know her. I believe I have heard of her."

"Papa, would you let me go into her house? She has some
beautiful shells that I should like to see."

"How do you know?"

"I saw them, papa, through the doorway of her house, I waited
there while Sam went with Loupe to the blacksmith's."

"And you did not go in?"

"No, sir — you said I must not, you know."

"I believe Juanita is a safe person, Daisy. You may go in, if
ever you have another opportunity."

"Thank you, papa."

"What are you going to do with the hundred dollars?" said Mr.
Randolph, putting his head down, and speaking softly.

Daisy waited a minute, checked the swelling of her heart,
forbade her tears, steadied her voice to speak; and then said,
"I sha'n't have them, papa."

"Why not?"

"I can't fulfil the conditions." Daisy spoke again, after
waiting a minute.

"Don't you mean to sing?"

Every time Daisy waited. — "I can't, papa."

"Your mother will require it."

Silence, only Mr. Randolph saw that the child's breath went
and came under excitement.

"Daisy, she will require it."

"Yes, papa" — was said, rather faintly.

"And I think you must do it."

No response from Daisy; and no sign of yielding.

"How do you expect to get over it?"

"Papa, won't you help me?" was the child's agonised cry. She
hid her face in her father's breast.

"I have tried to help you. I will give you what will turn your
fancied wrong deed into a good one. It is certainly right to
do charitable things on Sunday."

There was silence, and it promised to last some time. Mr.
Randolph would not hurry her: and Daisy was thinking, "If ye
love Me, keep My commandments. _If ye love Me_."

"Papa," — said she at last, very slowly, and pausing between
her words, — "would you be satisfied, — if I should disobey
you — for a hundred dollars?"

This time it was Mr. Randolph that did not answer, and the
longer he waited the more the answer did not come. He put
Daisy gently off his knee, and rose at last without speaking.
Daisy went out upon the verandah, and sat down on the step;
and there the stars seemed to say to her — "If a man love Me,
he will keep My words." They were shining very bright; so was
that saying to Daisy. She sat looking at them, forgetting all
the people in the drawing-room; and though troubled enough,
she was not utterly unhappy. The reason was, she loved her
King.

Somebody came behind her, and took hold of her shoulders. "My
dear little Daisy!" said the voice of Preston, "I wish you
were an India-rubber ball, that I might chuck you up to the
sky and down again a few times!"

"Why? I don't think it would be nice."

"Why? — why, because you want shaking; you are growing dull, —
yes, absolutely you are getting heavy! you, little Daisy! of
all people in the world. It won't do."

"I don't think such an exercise would benefit me," said Daisy.

"I'd find something else then. Daisy, Daisy," said he, shaking
her shoulders gently, "this religious foolery is spoiling you.
Don't you go and make yourself stupid. Why I don't know you.
What is all this ridiculous stuff? You aren't yourself."

"What do you want me to do, Preston?" said Daisy, standing
before him, not without a certain childish dignity. It was
lost on him.

"I want you to be my own little Daisy," said he, coaxingly.
"Come! — say you will, and give up these outlandish notions you
have got from some old woman or other. What is it they want
you to do? — sing? — Come, promise you will. Promise me!"

"I will sing any day but Sunday."

"Sunday? Now, Daisy! I'm ashamed of you. Why, I never heard
such nonsense. Nobody has such notions but low people. It
isn't sensible. Give it up, Daisy, or I shall not know how to
love you."

"Good night, Preston —"

"Daisy, Daisy! come and kiss me, and be good."

"Good night" — repeated Daisy, without turning; and she walked
off.

It half broke June's heart that night to see that the child's
eyes were quietly dropping tears all the while she was getting
undressed. Preston's last threat had cut very close. But Daisy
said not a word; and when, long after June had left her, she
got into bed, and lay down, it was not Preston's words, but
the reminder of the stars that was with her, and making
harmony among all her troubled thoughts — "If a man love Me,
he will keep My words."


CHAPTER XIV.

SUNDAY EVENING.


In spite of the burden that lay on Daisy's heart, she and
Captain Drummond had a good time the next morning over the
Saxon Heptarchy. They went down to the shore for it, at
Daisy's desire, where they would be undisturbed; and the
morning was hardly long enough. The Captain had provided
himself with a shallow tray filled with modelling clay; which
he had got from all artist friend living a few miles further
up the river. On this the plan of England was nicely marked
out, and by the help of one or two maps which he cut up for
the occasion, the Captain divided off the seven kingdoms
greatly to Daisy's satisfaction and enlightenment. Then, how
they went on with the history! introduced Christianity,
enthroned Egbert, and defeated the Danes under Alfred. They
read from the book, and fought it all out on the clay plan as
they went along. At Alfred they stopped a good while, to
consider the state of the world in the little island of
Britain at that time. The good king's care for his people, his
love for study and encouragement of learning; his writing
fables for the people; his wax candles to mark time; his
building with brick and stone; his founding the English navy,
and victories with the same; no less than his valour and
endurance in every time of trial; all these things Captain
Drummond, whose father had been an Englishman, duly enlarged
upon, and Daisy heard them with greedy ears. Truth to tell,
the Captain had read up a little for the occasion, being a
good deal moved with sympathy for his little friend, who he
saw was going through a time of some trial. Nothing was to be
seen of that just now, indeed, other than the peculiarly soft
and grave expression which Daisy's face had worn all this
week; and which kept reminding the Captain to be sorry for
her.

They got through with Alfred at last — by the way, the Captain
had effaced the dividing lines of the seven kingdoms and
brought all to one in Egbert's time — and now they went on
with Alfred's successors. A place was found on the sand for
Denmark and Norway to show themselves; and Sweyn and Canute
came over; and there was no bating to the interest with which
the game of human life went on. In short, Daisy and the
Captain having tucked themselves away in a nook of the beach
and the tenth and eleventh centuries, were lost to all the
rest of the world and to the present time; till a servant at
last found them with the information that the luncheon bell
had rung, and Mrs. Randolph was ready to go out with the
Captain. And William the Conqueror had just landed at
Hastings!

"Never mind, Daisy," said the Captain; "we'll go on with it,
the next chance we get."

Daisy thanked him earnestly, but the thought that Sunday must
come and go first, threw a shadow over her thanks. The Captain
saw it; and walked home thinking curiously about the "field of
battle" — not Hastings.

Daisy did not go in to luncheon. She did not like meeting all
the people who felt so gay, while she felt so much trouble.
Nor did she like being with her mother, whose manner all the
week had constantly reminded Daisy of what Daisy never forgot.
The rest of Saturday passed soberly away. There was a cloud in
the air.

And the cloud was high and dark Sunday morning, though it was
as fair a summer day as might be seen. Some tears escaped
stealthily from Daisy's eyes, as she knelt in the little
church beside her mother; but the prayers were deep and sweet
and strong to her, very much. Sadly sorry was Daisy when they
were ended. The rest of the service was little to her. Mr.
Pyne did not preach like Mr. Dinwiddie; and she left the
church with a downcast heart, thinking that so much of the
morning was past.

The rest of the day Daisy kept by herself, in her own room;
trying to get some comfort in reading and praying. For the
dread of the evening was strong upon her; every movement of
her mother spoke displeasure and determination. Daisy felt her
heart beating gradually quicker and quicker, as the hours of
the day wore on.

"Ye ain't well, Miss Daisy," — said June, who had come in as
usual without being heard.

"Yes I am, June," said Daisy. But she had started when the
woman spoke, and June saw that now a tear sprang.

"Did you eat a good lunch, Miss Daisy?"

"I don't know, June. I guess I didn't eat much."

"Let me bring you something!" — said the woman, coaxingly —
"some strawberries, with some good cream to 'em."

"No — I can't, June — I don't want them. What o'clock is it?"

"It is just on to five, Miss Daisy."

Five! Daisy suddenly recollected her scholar, whom she had
directed to come to her at this hour. Jumping up, she seized
her hat, and rushed off down stairs and through the shrubbery,
leaving June lost in wonder and concern.

At a Belvedere, some distance from the house, and nearer the
gate, Daisy had chosen to meet her pupil; and she had given
orders at the Lodge to have her guided thither when she should
come. And there she was; Daisy could see the red head of hair
before she got to the place herself. Hephzibah looked very
much as she did on week days; her dress partially covered with
a little shawl; her bonnet she had thrown off; and if the hair
had been coaxed into any state of smoothness before leaving
home, it was all gone now.

"How do you do, Hephzibah?" said Daisy. "I am glad to see
you."

Hephzibah smiled, but unless that meant a civil answer, she
gave none. Daisy sat down beside her.

"Do you know how to read, Hephzibah?"

The child first shook her shaggy head — then nodded it. What
that meant, Daisy was somewhat at a loss.

"Do you know your letters?"

Hephzibah nodded.

"What is that letter?"

Daisy had not forgotten to bring a reading book, and now put
Hephzibah through the alphabet, which she seemed to know
perfectly, calling each letter by its right name. Daisy then
asked if she could read words; and getting an assenting nod
again, she tried her in that. But here Hephzibah's education
was defective; she could read indeed, after a fashion; but it
was a slow and stumbling fashion; and Daisy and she were a
good while getting through a page. Daisy shut the book up.

"Now, Hephzibah," said she, "do you know anything about what
is in the Bible?"

Hephzibah shook her head in a manner the reverse of
encouraging.

"Did you never read the Bible, nor have any one read it to
you?"

Another shake.

Daisy thereupon began to tell her little neighbour the grand
story which concerned them both so nearly, making it as clear
and simple as she could. Hephzibah's eyes were fixed on her
intently all the while; and Daisy, greatly interested herself,
wondered if any of the interest had reached Hephzibah's heart,
and made the gaze of her eyes so unwavering. They expressed
nothing. Daisy hoped, and went on, till at a pause Hephzibah
gave utterance to the first words (of her own) that she had
spoken during the interview. They came out very suddenly, like
an unexpected jet of water from an unused fountain.

"Mother says, you're the fus'ratest little girl she ever see!"

Daisy was extremely confounded. The thread of her discourse
was so thoroughly broken, indeed, that she could not directly
begin it again; and in the minute of waiting she saw how low
the sun was. She dismissed Hephzibah, telling her to be at the
Belvedere the same hour next Sunday.

As the shaggy little red head moved away through the bushes,
Daisy watched it, wondering whether she had done the least bit
of good. Then another thought made her heart beat, and she
turned again to see how low the sun was. Instead of the sun,
she saw Gary McFarlane.

"Who is that, Daisy?" said he, looking after the disappearing
red head.

"A poor little girl —" said Daisy.

"So I should think, — very poor! — looks so indeed! How came
she here?"

"She came by my orders, Mr. McFarlane."

"By your orders! What have you got there, Daisy? Let's see! As
sure as I'm alive! — a spelling book. Keeping school, Daisy?
Don't say no!"

Daisy did not say no, nor anything. She had taken care not to
let Gary get hold of her Bible; the rest she must manage as
she could.

"This is benevolence!" went on the young man. "Teaching a
spelling lesson in a Belvedere with the thermometer at ninety
degrees in the shade? What sinners all the rest of us are! I
declare, Daisy, you make me feel bad."

"I should not think it, Mr. McFarlane."

"Daisy, you have _à plomb_ enough for a princess, and gravity
enough for a Puritan! I should like to see you when you are
grown up, — only then I shall be an old man, and it will be of
no consequence. What _do_ you expect to do with that little red
head? — now do tell me."

"She don't know anything, Mr. McFarlane."

"No more don't I! Come Daisy — have pity on me. You never saw
anybody more ignorant than I am. There are half a dozen things
at this moment which I don't know — and which you can tell me.
Come, will you?"

"I must go in, Mr. McFarlane."

"But tell me first. Come, Daisy! I want to know why is it so
much more wicked to sing a song than to make somebody else
sing-song? — for that's the way they all do the spelling-book,
I know. Eh, Daisy?"

"How did you know anything about it, Mr. McFarlane?"

"Come, Daisy, — explain. I am all in a fog — or else you are.
This spelling-book seems to me a very wicked thing on Sunday."

"I will take it, if you please, Mr. McFarlane."

"Not if I know it! I want my ignorance instructed, Daisy. I am
persuaded you are the best person to enlighten me — but if
not, I shall try this spelling-book on Mrs. Randolph. I regard
it as a great curiosity, and an important question in
metaphysics."

Poor Daisy! She did not know what to do; conscious that Gary
was laughing at her all the while, and most unwilling that the
story of the spelling-book should get to Mrs. Randolph's ears.
She stood hesitating and troubled, when her eye caught sight
of Preston near. Springing to him she cried, "Oh, Preston, get
my little book from Mr. McFarlane — he won't give it to me."

There began then a race of the most uproarious sort between
the two young men — springing, turning, darting round among
the trees and bushes, shouting to and laughing at each other.
Daisy another time would have been amused; now she was almost
frightened, lest all this boisterous work should draw
attention. At last, however, Preston got the spelling-book, or
Gary let himself be overtaken and gave it up.

"It's mischief, Preston!" he said; — "deep mischief — occult
mischief. I give you warning."

"What is it, Daisy?" said Preston. "What is it all about?"

"Never mind. Oh, Preston! don't ask anything, but let me have
it!"

"There it is then; but Daisy," he said, affectionately,
catching her in his arms, — "you are going to sing to-night,
aren't you?"

"Don't Preston — don't! let me go," cried Daisy, struggling to
escape from him; and she ran away as soon as he let her,
hardly able to keep back her tears. She felt it very hard.
Preston and Gary, and her mother and her father, — all against
her in different ways. Daisy kneeled down by her window-sill
in her own room, to try to get comfort and strength; though
she was in too great tumult to pray connectedly. Her little
heart was beating sadly. But there was no doubt at all in
Daisy's mind as to what she should do. — "If a man love Me, he
will keep My words." She never questioned now about doing
that.

The dreaded tea bell rang, and she went down; but utterly
unable to eat or drink through agitation. Nobody seemed to
notice her particularly, and she wandered out upon the
verandah; and waited there. There presently her father's arms
came round her before she was aware.

"What are you going to do, Daisy?"

"Nothing, papa," she whispered.

"Are you not going to sing?"

"Papa, I can't!" cried Daisy, dropping her face against his
arm. Her father raised it again, and drawing her opposite one
of the windows, looked into the dark-ringed eyes and white
face.

"You are not well," said he. "You are not fit to be up; and my
orders to you, Daisy, are to go immediately to bed. I'll send
you some medicine by and by. Good night!"

He kissed her, and Daisy needed no second bidding. She sprang
away, getting into the house by another door; and lost no
time. Her fear was that her mother might send for her before
she could get undressed. But no summons came; June was speedy,
thinking and saying it was a very good thing for Daisy to do;
and then she went off, and left her alone with the moonlight.
Daisy was in no hurry then. She knelt by her beloved window,
where the scent of the honeysuckle was strong in the dewy air;
and with a less throbbing heart prayed her prayer. But she was
not at ease yet; it was very uncertain in her mind how her
mother would take this order of her father's; and what would
come after, if she was willing to let it pass. So Daisy could
not go to sleep, but lay wide awake and fearing in the
moonlight, and listening to every sound in the house that came
to her ears.

The moonlight shone in peacefully, and Daisy, lying there and
growing gradually calmer, began to wonder in herself that
there should be so much difficulty made about anybody's doing
right. If she had been set on some wrong thing, it would have
made but a very little disturbance — if any; but now, when she
was only trying to do right, the whole house was roused to
prevent her. Was it so in those strange old times that the
eleventh chapter of Hebrews told of? — when men, and women,
were stoned, and sawn asunder, and slain with the sword, and
wandered like wild animals in sheepskins and goatskins and in
dens and caves of the earth? all for the name of Jesus. But if
they suffered once, they were happy now. Better anything, at
all events, than to deny that name!

The evening seemed excessively long to Daisy, lying there on
her bed awake, and listening with strained ears for any sound
near her room. She heard none; the hours passed, though so
very slowly, as they do when all the minutes are watched; and
Daisy heard nothing but dim distant noises, and grew pretty
quiet. She had heard nothing else, when, turning her head from
the moonlight window, she caught the sight of a white figure
at her bedside; and by the noble form and stately proportions
Daisy knew instantly whose figure it was. Those soft flowing
draperies had been before her eyes all day. A pang shot
through the child, that seemed to go from the crown of her
head to the soles of her feet.

"Are you awake, Daisy?"

"Yes, mamma," she said, feebly.

"Get up. I want to speak to you."

Daisy got off the bed, and the white figure, in the little
night dress, stood opposite the other white figure, robed in
muslin and laces that fell around it like a cloud.

"Why did you come to bed?"

"Papa — papa ordered me."

"It's all the same. If you had not come to bed, Daisy — if you
had been well, — would you have sung when I ordered you to-
night?"

Daisy hesitated, and then said in a whisper —

"No, mamma — not that."

"Think before you answer me, for I shall not ask twice. Will
you promise to sing the gypsy-song, because I command you,
next Sunday in the evening? Answer, Daisy."

Very low it was, for Daisy trembled so that she did not know
how she could speak at all, but the answer came, "I can't,
mamma."

Mrs. Randolph stepped to the bell, and rang it. Almost at the
same instant June entered, bearing a cup in her hand.

"What is that?" said Mrs. Randolph.

"Master sent Miss Daisy some medicine."

"Set it down. I have got some here better for her. June, take
Daisy's hands."

"Oh, mamma, no!" exclaimed Daisy. "Oh, please send June away!"

The slight gesture of command to June which answered this, was
as imperious as it was slight. It was characteristically like
Mrs. Randolph; graceful and absolute. June obeyed it, as old
instinct told her to do; though sorely against her will. She
had held hands before, though not Daisy's; and she knew very
well the look of the little whip with which her mistress
stepped back into the room, having gone to her own for it. In
a Southern home that whip had been wont to live in Mrs.
Randolph's pocket. June's heart groaned within her.

The whip was small, but it had been made for use, not for
play; and there was no play in Mrs. Randolph's use of it. This
was not like her father's ferule, which Daisy could bear in
silence, if tears would come; her mother's handling forced
cries from her; though smothered and kept under in a way that
showed the child's self-command.

"What have you to say to me?" Mrs. Randolph responded, without
waiting for the answer. But Daisy had none to give. At length
her mother paused.

"Will you do what I bid you?"

Daisy was unable to speak for tears — and perhaps for fear.
The wrinkles on June's brow were strangely folded together
with agitation; but nobody saw them.

"Will you sing for me next Sunday?" repeated Mrs. Randolph.

There was a struggle in the child's heart, as great almost as
a child's heart can bear. The answer came, when it came,
tremblingly: "I can't, mamma."

"You cannot?" said Mrs. Randolph.

"I can't, mamma."

The chastisement which followed was so severe, that June was
moved out of all the habits of her life, to interfere in
another's cause. The white-skinned race were no mark for
trouble in June's mind; least of them all, her little charge.
And if white skin was no more delicate in reality than dark
skin, it answered to the lash much more speakingly.

"Missus, you'll kill her!" June said, using in her agitation a
carefully disused form of speech; for June was a freed-woman.

A slight turn of the whip brought the lash sharply across her
wrist, with the equally sharp words, "Mind your own business!"

A thrill went through the woman, like an electric spark,
firing a whole life-train of feeling and memory; but the lines
of her face never moved, and not the stirring of a muscle told
what the touch had reached, besides a few nerves. She had done
her charge no good by her officiousness, as June presently saw
with grief. It was not till Mrs. Randolph had thoroughly
satisfied her displeasure at being thwarted, and not until
Daisy was utterly exhausted, that Mrs. Randolph stayed her
hand.

"I will see what you will say to me next Sunday!" she
remarked, calmly. And she left the room.

It was not that Mrs. Randolph did not love her daughter, in
her way; for in her way she was fond of Daisy; but the habit
of bearing no opposition to her authority was life-strong, and
probably intensified in the present instance by perceiving
that her husband was disposed to shield the offender. The only
person in whose favour the rule ever relaxed, was Ransom. June
was left with a divided mind, between the dumb indignation
which had never known speech, and an almost equally speechless
concern.

Daisy, as soon as she was free, had made her way to the
window; there the child was, on her knees, her head on her
window sill, and weeping as if her very heart were melting and
flowing away drop by drop. And June stood like a dark statue,
looking at her; the wrinkles in her forehead scarce testifying
to the work going on under it. She wanted first of all to see
Daisy in bed; but it seemed hopeless to speak to her; and
there the little round head lay on the window-sill, and the
moonbeams poured in lovingly over it. June stood still and
never stirred.

It was a long while before Daisy's sobs began to grow fainter,
and June ventured to put in her word, and got Daisy to lay
herself on the bed again. Then June went off after another
sort of medicine of her own devising, despising the drops
which Mr. Randolph had given her. Without making a confidant
of the housekeeper, she contrived to get from her the
materials to make Daisy a cup of arrowroot, with wine and
spices. June knew well how to be a cook when she pleased; and
what she brought to Daisy was, she knew, as good as a cook
could make it.

She found the child lying white and still on the bed, and not
asleep, nor dead, which June had almost feared at first sight
of her. She didn't want the arrowroot, she said.

"Miss Daisy, s'pose you take it?" said June. "It won't do you
no hurt — maybe it'll put you to sleep."

Daisy was perhaps too weak to resist. She rose half up and eat
the arrowroot, slowly, and without a word. It did put a little
strength into her, as June had said. But when she gave back
the cup, and let herself fall again upon her pillow, Daisy
said, "June, I'd like to die."

"Oh, why, Miss Daisy?" said June.

"Jesus knows that I love Him now; and I'd like —" said the
child, steadying her voice — "I'd like — to be in heaven!"

"Oh, no, Miss Daisy — not yet; you've got a great deal to do
in the world first."

"Jesus knows I love Him —" repeated the child.

"Miss Daisy, He knowed it before — He's the Lord."

"Yes, but — He wants people to _show_ they love Him, June."

"Do, don't! Miss Daisy," said June, half crying. "Can't ye go
to sleep? Do, now!"

It was but three minutes more, and Daisy had complied with her
request. June watched, and saw that the sleep was real; went
about the room on her noiseless feet; came back to Daisy's
bed, and finally went off for her own pillow, with which she
lay down on the matting at the foot of the bed, and there
passed the remainder of the night.


CHAPTER XV.

SCHROEDER'S MOUNTAIN.


The sun was shining bright the next morning, and Daisy sat on
one of the seats under the trees, half in sunshine, half in
shadow. It was after breakfast, and she had been scarcely seen
or heard that morning before. Ransom came up.

"Daisy, do you want to go fishing?"

"No, I think not."

"You don't! What are you going to do?"

"I am not going to do anything."

"I don't believe it. What ails you? Mother said I was to ask
you — and there you sit like a wet feather. I am glad I am not
a girl, however!"

Ransom went off, and a very faint colour rose in Daisy's
cheek.

"Are you not well, Daisy?" said Mr. Randolph, who had also
drawn near.

"I am well, papa."

"You don't look so. What's the matter, that you don't go a-
fishing, when Ransom has the consideration to ask you?"

Daisy's tranquillity was very nearly overset. But she
maintained it, and only answered without the change of a
muscle, "I have not the inclination, papa." Indeed her face
was _too_ quiet; and Mr. Randolph, putting that with its
colourless hue, and the very sweet upward look her eyes had
first given him, was not satisfied. He went away to the
breakfast room.

"Felicia," said he, in a low tone, bending down by his wife, —
"did you have any words with Daisy last night?"

"Has she told you about it?" said Mrs. Randolph.

"Told me what? What is there to tell?"

"Nothing, on my part," answered the lady, nonchalantly. "Daisy
may tell you what she pleases."

"Felicia," said Mr. Randolph, looking much vexed, "that child
has borne too much already. She is ill."

"It is her own fault. I told you, Mr. Randolph, I would as
lief not have a child as not have her mind me. She shall do
what I bid her, if she dies for it."

"It won't come to that," said Mrs. Gary. Mr. Randolph turned
on his heel.

Meantime, another person who had seen with sorrow Daisy's pale
face, and had half a guess as to the cause of it, came up to
her side and sat down.

"Daisy, what is to be done to-day?"

"I don't know, Captain Drummond."

"You don't feel like storming the heights, this morning?"

Again, to him also, the glance of Daisy's eye was so very
sweet, and so very wistful, that the captain was determined in
a purpose he had half had in his mind.

"What do you say to a long expedition, Daisy?"

"I don't feel like driving, Captain Drummond."

"No, but suppose I drive, — and we will leave Loupe at home
for to-day. I want to go as far as Schroeder's Hill, to look
after trilobites; and I do not want anybody with me but you.
Shall we go?"

"What are those things, Captain Drummond?"

"Trilobites?"

"Yes. What are they?"

"Curious things, Daisy! They are a kind of fish that are found
on land."

"Fish on land! But then they can't be fish, Captain Drummond?"

"Suppose we go and see," said the captain; "and then, if we
find any, we shall know more about them than we do now."

"But how do you catch them?"

"With my hands, I suppose."

"With your hands, Captain Drummond?"

"Really I don't know any other way, — unless your hands will
help. Come! shall we go and try?"

Daisy slowly rose up, very mystified, but with a little light
of interest and curiosity breaking on her face. The Captain
moved off on his part to get ready, well satisfied that he was
doing a good thing.

It went to the Captain's heart, nevertheless, for he had a
kind one, to see all the way how pale and quiet Daisy's face
was. She asked him no more about trilobites, she did not talk
about anything; the subjects the Captain started were soon let
drop. And not because she was too ill to talk, for Daisy's eye
was thoughtfully clear and steady, and the Captain had no
doubt but she was busy enough in her own mind with things she
did not bring out. What sort of things? he was very curious to
know. For he had never seen Daisy's face so exceeding sweet in
its expression as he saw it now; though the cheeks were pale
and worn, there was in her eye whenever it was lifted to his,
a light of something hidden that the Captain could not read.
It was true. Daisy had sat stunned and dull all the morning
until he came with his proposal for the drive; and with the
first stir of excitement in getting ready, a returning tide of
love had filled the dry places in Daisy's heart; and it was
full now of feelings that only wanted a chance to come out.
Meanwhile she sat as still as a mouse and as grave as a judge.

The hill for which they were bound was some dozen or more
miles away. It was a wild rough place. Arrived at the foot of
it, they could go no further by the road; the Captain tied his
horse to a tree, and he and Daisy scrambled up the long
winding ascent, thick with briars and bushes, or strewn with
pieces of rock, and shaded with a forest of old trees. This
was hard walking for Daisy today; she did not feel like
struggling with any difficulties, and her poor little feet
almost refused to carry her through the roughnesses of the
last part of the way. She was very glad when they reached the
ground where the Captain wanted to explore, and she could sit
down and be still. It was quite on the other side of the
mountain; a strange-looking place. The face of the hill was
all bare of trees, and seemed to be nothing but rock; and
jagged and broken as if quarriers had been there cutting and
blasting. Nothing but a steep surface of broken rock; bare
enough; but it was from the sun, and Daisy chose the first
smooth fragment to sit down upon. Then what a beautiful place!
For, from that rocky seat, her eye had a range over acres and
acres of waving slopes of tree tops; down in the valley at the
mountain foot, and up and down so many slopes and ranges of
swelling and falling hillsides and dells, that the eye
wandered from one to another and another, softer and softer as
the distance grew, or brighter and more varied as the view
came nearer home. A wilderness all, no roof of a house nor
smoke from a chimney even; but those sunny ranges of hills,
over which now and then a cloud shadow was softly moving, and
which finished in a dim blue horizon.

"Well, are you going to sit here?" said the Captain, "or will
you help me to hunt up my fishes?"

"Oh, I'll sit here," said Daisy. She did not believe much in
the success of the Captain's hunt.

"Won't you be afraid, while I am going all over creation?"

"Of what?" said Daisy.

The Captain laughed a little and went off; thinking, however,
not so much of his trilobites as of the sweet fearless look
the little face had given him. Uneasy about the child too, for
Daisy's face looked not as he liked to see it look. But where
got she that steady calm, and curious fearlessness. "She is a
timid child," thought the Captain, as he climbed over the
rocks; "or she was, the other night."

But the Captain and Daisy were looking with different eyes; no
wonder they did not find the same things. In all that sunlit
glow over hill and valley, which warmed every tree-top, Daisy
had seen only another light, — the love of the Lord Jesus
Christ. With that love round her, over her, how could she fear
anything. She sat a little while, resting and thinking; then,
being weary and feeling weak, she slipped down on the ground,
and like Jacob taking a stone for her pillow, she went to
sleep.

So the Captain found her, every time he came back from his
hunt to look after his charge; he let her sleep, and went off
again. He had a troublesome hunt. At last he found some traces
of what he sought; then he forgot Daisy in his eagerness, and
it was after a good long interval the last time that he came
to Daisy's side again. She was awake.

"What have you got?" she said, as he came up with his hands
full.

"I have got my fish."

"Have you! Oh, where is it?"

"How do you do?" said the Captain, sitting down beside her.

"I do very well. Where is the fish? You have got nothing but
stones there, Captain Drummond?"

The Captain, without speaking, displayed one of the stones he
had in his hand. It looked very curious. Upon a smooth flat
surface, where the stone had been split, there was a raised
part which had the appearance of some sort of animal; but
this, too, seemed to be stone, and was black and shining,
though its parts were distinct.

"What is that, Captain Drummond? It is a stone."

"It is a fish."

"That?"

"That."

"But you are laughing."

"Am I?" said the Captain, as grave as a senator. "It's a fish
for all that."

"This curious black thing?"

"Precisely."

"What sort of a fish?"

"Daisy, have you had any luncheon?"

"No, sir."

"Then you had better discuss that subject first. Soldiers
cannot get along without their rations, you'll find."

"What is that?" said Daisy.

"Rations?"

"Yes, sir."

"Daily bread, Daisy. Of one sort or another, as the case may
be. Where is that basket?"

Daisy had charge of it, and would not let him take it out of
her hands. She unfolded napkins, and permitted the Captain to
help himself when she had all things ready. Then bread-and-
butter and salad were found to be very refreshing. But while
Daisy ate, she looked at the trilobite.

"Please tell me what it is, Captain Drummond."

"It is a Crustacean."

"But, you know, I don't know what a Crustacean is."

"A Crustacean is a fellow who wears his bones on the outside."

"Captain Drummond! What do you mean?"

"Well, I mean that, Daisy. Did you never hear of the way
soldiers used to arm themselves for the fight in old times in
plates of jointed armour?"

"Yes, I know they did."

"Well, these fellows are armed just so — only they do not put
on steel or brass, but hard plates of bone or horn, that do
exactly as well, and are jointed just as nicely."

"And those are Crustaceans?"

"Those are Crustaceans."

"And was this thing armed so?"

"Splendidly. Don't you see those marks? — those show the rings
of his armour. Those rings fitted so nicely, and played so
easily upon one another, that he could curl himself all up
into a ball if he liked, and bring his armour all round him;
for it was only on his back, so to speak."

"And how came he into this rock, Captain Drummond?"

"Ah! how did he?" said the Captain, looking contentedly at the
trilobite. "That's more than I can tell you, Daisy. Only he
lived before the rock was made, and when it was made, it
wrapped him up in it, somehow; and now we have got him!"

"But, Captain Drummond! —"

"What is it?"

"When do you suppose this rock was made?"

"Can't just say, Daisy. Some rocks are young, and some are
old, you know. This is one of the old rocks."

"But how do you know, Captain Drummond?"

"I know by the signs," said the Captain.

"What is an old rock? how old?"

"I am sure I can't say, Daisy. Only that a young rock is apt
to be a good deal older than Adam and Eve."

"How can you tell that?"

"When you see a man's hair grey, can't you tell that he is
old?"

"But there are no grey hairs in rocks?" said Daisy.

"Yes, there are. Trilobites do just as well."

"But, I _say_," said Daisy, laughing, "how can you tell that the
rock is old? You wouldn't know that grey hairs were a sign, if
you saw them on young people."

"Pretty well, Daisy!" said the Captain, delighted to see her
interested in something again; — "pretty well! But you will
have to study something better than me, to find out about all
that. Only it is true."

"And you were not laughing?"

"Not a bit of it. That little fellow, I suppose, lived a
thousand million years ago; may as well say a thousand as
anything."

"I can't see how you can tell," said Daisy, looking puzzled.

"That was a strange old time, when he was swimming about — or
when most of them were. There were no trees, to speak of; and
no grass or anything but sea-weed and mosses; and no living
things but fishes and oysters and such creatures?"

"Where were the beasts then, and the birds?"

"They were not made yet. That's the reason, I suppose, there
was no grass for them to eat."

Daisy looked down at the trilobite; and looked profoundly
thoughtful. That little, shiny, black, stony thing, _that_ had
lived and flourished so many ages ago! Once more she looked up
into the Captain's face — to see if he were trifling with her.
He shook his head.

"True as a book, Daisy."

"But, Captain Drummond, please, how do you know it?"

"Just think, Daisy, — this little fellow frolicked away in the
mud at the bottom of the sea, with his half-moons of eyes —
and round him swam all sorts of fishes that do not live
nowadays; fishes with plate armour like himself; everybody was
in armour."

"Half-moons of eyes, Captain Drummond?"

"Yes. He had, or some of them had, two semi-circular walls of
eyes — one looked before and behind and all round to the
right, and the other looked before and behind and all round at
the left; and in each wall were two hundred eyes."

The Captain smiled to himself to see Daisy's face at this
statement, though outwardly he kept perfectly grave. Daisy's
own simple orbs were so full and intent. She looked from him
to the fossil.

"But, Captain Drummond —" she began, slowly.

"Well, Daisy? After you have done, I shall begin."

"Did you say that this thing lived at the bottom of the sea."

"Precisely."

"But then how could he get up here?"

"Seems difficult, don't it?" said the Captain. "Well, Daisy,
the people that know, tell us that all the land we have was
once at the bottom of the sea; so these rocks had their turn."

"All the land?" said Daisy. "Oh, that is what the Bible says!"

"The Bible!" said the Captain, in his turn. "Pray where, if
you please?"

"Why, don't you know, Captain Drummond? — when God said, 'Let
the waters be gathered together into one place, and let the
dry land appear.' "

The Captain whistled softly, — with an amused face, and
stealthily watched Daisy, whose countenance was full of the
most beautiful interest. Almost lovingly she bent over the
trilobite, thinking her own thoughts; while her friend
presently, from observing the expression of her face, began to
take notice anew of the thin and pale condition of the cheeks,
that had been much healthier a week ago.

"You like to look at armour, Daisy?" he said.

She made no answer.

"Are you still in the mind to 'die on the field of battle'?"

He guessed the question would touch her, but curiosity got the
better of sympathy with him. He was not prepared for the
wistful, searching look that Daisy gave him instantly, nor for
the indescribable tenderness and sorrow that mingled in it. As
before, she did not answer.

"Forgive me, Daisy," said the Captain, involuntarily "You know
you told me you were a soldier."

Daisy's heart was very tender, and she had been living all the
morning in that peculiar nearness to Christ which those know
who suffer for Him. She looked at the Captain, and burst into
tears.

"You told me you were a soldier —" he repeated, not quite
knowing what to say.

"Oh, Captain Drummond!" said Daisy, weeping, — "I wish you
were!"

It stung the Captain. He knew what she meant. But he quietly
asked her why?

"Because then," said Daisy, "you would know Jesus; and I want
you to be happy."

"Why, Daisy," said Captain Drummond, though his conscience
smote him, — "you don't seem to me very happy lately."

"Don't I?" she said. "But I am happy. I only wish everybody
else was happy too."

She presently wiped her eyes, and stood up. "Captain
Drummond," said she, "don't you think we can find another of
these things?"

Anything to change the course matters had taken, the Captain
thought, so he gave ready assent; and he and Daisy entered
upon a most lively renewed quest among the rocks that covered
all that mountain-side. Daisy was more eager than he; she
wanted very much to have a trilobite for her own keeping; the
difficulty was, she did not know how to look for it. All she
could do was to follow her friend, and watch all his doings,
and direct him to new spots in the mountain that he had not
tried. In the course of this business the Captain did some
adventurous climbing; it would have distressed Daisy if she
had not been so intent upon his object; but as it was she
strained her little head back to look at him, where he picked
his way along at a precipitous height above her, sometimes
holding to a bramble or sapling, and sometimes depending on
his own good footing and muscular agility. In this way of
progress, while making good his passage from one place to
another, the Captain's foot in leaping struck upon a loosely
poised stone or fragment of rock. It rolled from under him. A
spring saved the Captain, but the huge stone, once set a-
going, continued its way down the hill.

"Daisy — look out!" he shouted.

"Have you got one?" said Daisy, springing forward. She
misunderstood his warning; and her bound brought her exactly
under the rolling stone. She never saw it till it had reached
her, and knocked her down.

"Hollo, Daisy!" shouted Captain Drummond, — "is all right?"

He got no answer, listened, shouted again, and then made two
jumps from where he stood to the bottom. Daisy lay on the
ground, her little foot under the stone; her eyes closed, her
face paler than ever. Without stopping to think how heavy the
stone was, with a tremendous exertion of strength the young
man pushed it from where it lay, and released the foot; but he
was very much afraid damage was done. "I couldn't help it" —
said the Captain to himself, as he looked at the great piece
of rock; but the first thing was to get Daisy's eyes open.
There was no spring near that he knew of; he went back to
their lunch basket and brought from it a bottle of claret —
all he could find — and with it wetted Daisy's lips and brow.
The claret did perhaps as well as cold water; for Daisy
revived; but as soon as she sat up and began to move, her
words were broken off by a scream of pain.

"What is it, Daisy?" said the Captain. "Your foot? — that
confounded stone! — can't you move it?"

"No," — said Daisy, with a short breath, "I can't move it.
Please excuse me, Captain Drummond — I couldn't help crying
out that minute; it hurt me so. It doesn't hurt me so much now
when I keep still."

The Captain kept still too, wishing very much that he and
Daisy and the trilobites were all back in their places again.
How long could they sit still up there on the mountain? He
looked at the sun; he looked at his watch. It was three
o'clock. He looked at Daisy.

"Let me see," said he, "if anything is the matter. Hard to
find out, through this thick boot! How does it feel now?"

"It pains me very much, these two or three minutes."

The Captain looked at Daisy's face again, and then, without
more ado, took his knife and cut the lacings of the boot. "How
is that?" he asked.

"That is a _great_ deal better."

"If it hadn't been, you would have fainted again directly. Let
us see — Daisy, I think I had better cut the boot off. You
have sprained the ankle, or something, and it is swollen."

Daisy said nothing, and the Captain went on very carefully and
tenderly to cut the boot off.

It was a very necessary proceeding. The foot was terribly
swollen already. Again the Captain mused, looking from the
child's foot to her face.

"How is the pain now?"

"It aches a good deal."

He saw it was vastly worse than her words made it.

"My little soldier," said he, "how do you suppose I am going
to get you down the hill, to where we left our carriage?"

"I don't know," said Daisy. "You can't carry me."

"What makes you think so?"

"I don't _know_," said Daisy, — "but I don't think you can." And
she was a little afraid, he saw.

"I will be as careful as I can, and you must be as brave as
you can, for I don't see any other way, Daisy. And I think,
the sooner we go the better; so that this foot may have some
cold or hot lotion or something."

"Wait a minute," said Daisy, hastily.

And raising herself up to a sitting position, she bent over
her little head, and covered her eyes with her hand. The
Captain felt very strangely. He guessed in a minute what she
was about; that in pain and fear, Daisy was seeking an unseen
help, and trusting in it; and in awed silence the young
officer was as still as she, till the little head was raised.

"Now," she said, "you may take me."

The Captain always had a good respect for Daisy; but he
certainly felt now as if he had the dignity of twenty-five
years in his arms. He raised her as gently as possible from
the ground; he knew the changed position of the foot gave her
new pain, for a flush rose to Daisy's brow, but she said not
one word either of suffering or expostulation. Her friend
stepped with her as gently as he could over the rough way;
Daisy supported herself partly by an arm round his neck, and
was utterly mute, till they were passing the place of
luncheon; then she broke out, —

"Oh! the trilobite!"

"Never mind the trilobite."

"But are you going to lose it, Captain Drummond?"

"Not if you want it. I'll come back for it another day — if I
break my furlough."

"I could hold it in my other hand — if I had it."

The Captain thought the bottle of claret might chance to be
the most wanted thing; nevertheless he stopped, stooped, and
picked up the fossil. Daisy grasped it; and they went on their
way down the mountain. It was a very trying way to both of
them. The Captain was painfully anxious to step easily, which
among rocks and bushes he could not always do, especially with
a weight in his arms; and Daisy's foot hanging down, gave her
dreadful pain because of the increased rush of blood into it.
Her little lips were firmly set together many a time, to avoid
giving her friend the distress of knowing how much she
suffered; and once the Captain heard a low whisper not meant
for his ear but uttered very close to it, — "O Lord Jesus,
help me." It went through and through the Captain's mind and
heart. But he only set his teeth too, and plunged on, as fast
as he could softly, down the rough mountain side. And if ever
anybody was glad, that was he when they reached the wagon.

There was a new difficulty now, for the little vehicle had no
place in which Daisy could remain lying down. The seat was
fast; the Captain could not remove it. He did the best he
could. He put Daisy sideways on the seat, so that the hurt
foot could be stretched out and kept in one position upon it;
and he himself stood behind her, holding the reins. In that
way he served as a sort of support for the little head, which
he sometimes feared would sink in a swoon; for while she lay
on the ground, and he was trying measures with the wagon, the
closed eyes and pale cheeks had given the Captain a good many
desperately uneasy thoughts. Now Daisy sat still, leaning
against him, with her eyes open; and he drove as tenderly as
he could. He had a frisky horse to manage, and the Captain
congratulated himself for this occasion at least that he was a
skilled whip. Still the motion of the wagon was very trying to
Daisy, and every jar went through the Captain's foot up to his
heart.

"How is it, Daisy?" he asked, after they had gone some
distance.

"It isn't good, Captain Drummond," she said, softly.

"Bad, isn't it?"

"Rather."

"I have to make this fellow go slowly, you see, or he would
shake you too much. Could you bear to go faster?"

"I'll try."

The Captain tried, cautiously. But his question, and possibly
Daisy's answer, were stimulated by the view of the western
horizon, over which clouds were gathering thick and fast.
Could they get home in time? That was the doubt in both minds.

"Captain Drummond," said Daisy, presently, "I can't bear this
shaking."

"Must I go slower?"

"If you please."

"Daisy, do you see how the sky bodes yonder? What do you
suppose we shall do if those clouds come up?"

"I don't know," she answered. But she said it with such a
quiet tone of voice, that the Captain wondered anew. He had
hoped that her fears might induce her to bear the pain.

"Daisy, do you think it will come up a storm?"

"I think it will."

"How soon? you know the signs better than I do. How soon will
it be here?"

"It will come soon, I think."

Yet there was no anxiety in Daisy's voice. It was perfectly
calm, though feeble. The Captain held his peace, looked at the
clouds, and drove on; but not as fast as he would have liked.
He knew it was a ride of great suffering to his little charge,
for she became exceedingly pale; still she said nothing,
except her soft replies to his questions. The western clouds
rolled up in great volumes of black and grey, rolling and
gathering and spreading at a magnificent rate. The sun was
presently hid behind the fringe of this curtain of blackness;
by and by the mountains were hid beneath a further fringe of
rain; a very thick fringe. Between, the masses of vapour in
the sky seemed charging for a tremendous outburst. It had not
come yet when the slow-going little wagon passed through Crum
Elbow; but by this time the Captain had seen distant darts of
lightning, and even heard the far-off warning growl of the
thunder. A new idea started up in the Captain's mind; his
frisky horse might not like lightning.

"Daisy," said he, "my poor little Daisy — we cannot get to
Melbourne — we must stop and wait a little somewhere. Is there
any house you like better than another? I had best turn back
to the village."

"No, don't, — stop!" cried Daisy, "don't go back, Captain
Drummond; there is a place nearer. Turn up that road — right
round there. It is very near."

The Captain obeyed, but pulled in the reins presently as he
heard a nearer growl of the coming thunder.

"Daisy, where is it? I don't see anything."

"There it is, Captain Drummond — that little house."

"_That?_" said the Captain; but there was no more time now for
retreat or question. He sprang out, threw the reins two or
three times over the gate-post; then executed the very
difficult operation of taking Daisy out of the wagon. He could
not do it without hurting her; she fainted on his shoulder;
and it was in this state, white and senseless, that he carried
her into Mrs. Benoit's cottage. The old woman had seen them,
and met him at the door. Seeing the state of the case, she
immediately, and with great quickness, spread a clean covering
over a comfortable chintz couch which stood under the window,
and Daisy was laid there from her friend's arms. Juanita
applied water and salts, too, deftly; and then asked the
Captain, "What is it, sir?"

"There's a foot hurt here," said the Captain, giving more
attention to the hurt than he had had chance to do before.
"Pray heaven it is not broken! I am afraid it is, the ankle, —
or dislocated."

"Then Heaven knows _why_ it is broken," said the old woman,
quietly. "The gentleman will go for a doctor, sir?"

"Yes, that must be the first thing," said Captain Drummond,
gravely. "Where shall I find him?"

"Dr. Sandford — the gentleman knows the road to Mr. St.
Leonard's?"

"Yes — the Craigs — I know."

"Dr. Sandford is half way there — where the gentleman
remembers a great brown house in the middle of the cedar
trees."

The Captain beat his brain to remember, thought he did, and
was starting away, but turned back to see Daisy's eyes open
first; fearing lest she might be alarmed if he were not by her
when she came to herself. There was a bright flash and near
peal of thunder at the moment. Juanita looked up.

"The gentleman will not fear the storm? There is work _here_" —
touching the foot.

The Captain remembered that Daisy herself had directed him to
the house, and dashed away again. The clouds were growing
blacker every moment. In the darkening light, Juanita bent
over Daisy and saw her eyes open.

"Does my little lady know Juanita?"

Daisy sighed, looked round the room, and then seemed to
recollect herself.

"Oh, I am here!" she said. "Where is Captain Drummond?"

"The gentleman is gone for the doctor, to see to the hurt
foot. How is it now, dear?"

"It hurts me a good deal."

Juanita's first business was to take off the stocking; this
could only be done by cutting it down. When it was removed, a
very sorrowful-looking little foot was seen. Juanita covered
it up lightly, and then turned her attention again to Daisy's
pale face.

"What can I give my little lady?"

"I am Daisy Randolph."

"What may I do for Miss Daisy, to give her some comfort?"

"Juanita, — I wish you would pray for me again."

"What does Miss Daisy want of the Lord?"

"My foot hurts me very much, and I want to be patient. And,
Juanita, I want to thank Him too."

"What for, Miss Daisy?"

"Because — I love Him; and He has made me so happy."

"Praise the Lord!" came with a most glad outburst from
Juanita's lips; but then she knelt down, and so uttered her
warm petitions for help needed, and so her deep thanksgiving
for help rendered, that Daisy was greatly overcome, and poured
out her tears as the prayer went on. When it was ended,
Juanita went about her room for a little while, making certain
arrangements that she foresaw would be necessary; then came
and sat down. All this while the storm had been furious; the
lightning hardly ceased, or the thunder, and both were near;
but the two inmates of the little cottage seemed hardly to be
conscious what was going on outside its walls. There was a
slight lessening now of the storm's fury.

"Has it gone well with my little lady then, since she gave
Juanita the rose-branch?"

This was the new opening of conversation. Daisy hesitated a
little what to answer; not for want of confidence, for there
was something about the fine old woman that had won her
completely.

"I don't know" — she said at length, slowly. "It has been very
hard to do right, Juanita."

"But has my little lady kept her Lord's words?"

"Yes, Juanita, I did; but I don't know whether I should, if it
hadn't been for what you said."

"And did she meet the trouble too."

Juanita saw that she had, for a flush rose on Daisy's poor
pale cheeks, and her face was strangely grave. She did not
answer the question, either; only as the flush passed away she
looked placidly up and said, "I am not in trouble now,
Juanita."

"Bless the Lord!" was the utterance of Juanita's heart. "The
Lord knows how to deliver out of trouble, Miss Daisy."

"Yes," said Daisy. "Oh!" — she exclaimed, suddenly, with a new
light breaking all over her face — but then she stopped.

"What is it, my love?"

"Nothing — only I am so glad now that my foot is hurt."

Juanita's thanksgiving rose to her lips again, but this time
she only whispered it; turning away, perhaps to hide the
moisture which had sprung to her eyes. For she understood more
of the case than Daisy's few words would have told most
people.

Meantime, Captain Drummond and his frisky horse had a ride
which was likely to make both of them remember that
thunderstorm. They reached Dr. Sandford's house; but then the
Captain found that the doctor was not at home; where he was,
the servant could not say. The only other thing to do seemed
to be to go on to Melbourne, and at least let Daisy have the
counsel of her father and mother. To Melbourne the Captain
drove as fast as his horse's state of mind would permit.

The drawing room was blazing with lights as usual, and full of
talkers.

"Hollo!" cried Gary McFarlane, as the Captain entered, — "here
he is. We had given you up for a fossil, Drummond — and no
idea of your turning up again for another thousand years.
Shouldn't have known where to look for you either, after this
storm — among the aqueous or the igneous rocks. Glad to see
you! Let me make you acquainted with Dr. Sandford."

"I am glad to see you, sir," said the Captain, involuntarily,
as he shook hands with this latter.

"You haven't left Daisy somewhere, changed into a stone lily?"
pursued McFarlane.

"Yes," said the Captain. "Dr. Sandford, I am going to ask you
to get ready to ride with me. Mr. Randolph, I have left Daisy
by the way. She has hurt her foot — I threw down a stone upon
it — and the storm obliged her to defer getting home. I left
her at a cottage near Crum Elbow. I am going to take Dr.
Sandford to see what the foot wants."

Mr. Randolph ordered the carriage, and then told his wife.

"Does it storm yet?" she asked.

"The thunder and lightning are ceasing, but it rains hard."

The lady stepped out of the room to get ready, and in a few
minutes she and her husband, Captain Drummond and the doctor,
were seated in the carriage and on their way to Mrs. Benoit's
cottage. Captain Drummond told how the accident happened;
after that he was silent; and so were the rest of the party,
till the carriage stopped.

Mrs. Benoit's cottage looked oddly, when all these grand
people poured into it. But the mistress of the cottage never
looked more like herself, and her reception of the grand
people was as simple as that she had given to Daisy. Little
Daisy herself lay just where her friend the Captain had left
her, but looked with curious expression at the others who
entered with him now. The father and mother advanced to the
head of the couch; the Captain and Juanita stood at the foot.
The doctor kept himself a little back.

"Are you suffering, Daisy?" Mr. Randolph asked.

The child's eyes went up to him. "Papa — _yes!_"

She had begun quietly, but the last word was given with more
than quiet expression, and the muscles about her lips
quivered.

Mr. Randolph stooped and pressed his own lips upon them.

"I have brought Dr. Sandford to look at your foot, Daisy. He
will see what it wants."

"Will he hurt me, papa?" said the child, apprehensively.

"I hope not. No more than is necessary."

"It hurts to have anybody touch it, papa."

"He must touch it, Daisy. Can't you bear it bravely?"

"Wait, papa!"

And again the child clasped her two hands over her face, and
was still. Mr. Randolph had no idea what for, though he
humoured her, and waited.

The Captain knew, for he had seen more of Daisy that day, and
he looked very grave indeed. The black woman knew, for as
Daisy's hands fell from her face, she uttered a deep, soft
"Amen!" which no one understood but one little heart.

"Papa — I am ready. He may look now."

Juanita removed the covering from the foot, and the doctor
stepped forward. Daisy's eyes rested on him, and she saw
gratefully a remarkably fine and pleasant countenance. Mrs.
Randolph's eyes rested on the foot, and she uttered an
exclamation. It was the first word she had uttered. Everybody
else was still, while the doctor passed his hands over and
round the distressed ankle and foot, but tenderly, and in a
way that gave Daisy very little pain. Then he stepped back and
beckoned Juanita to a consultation. Juanita disappeared, and
Dr. Sandford came up to Mr. Randolph, and spoke in a low tone.
Then Mr. Randolph turned again to Daisy.

"What is it, papa?" asked the child.

"Daisy, to make your foot well, Dr. Sandford will be obliged
to do something that will hurt you a little — will you try and
bear it? He will not be long about it."

"What is the matter with my foot, papa?"

"Something that the doctor can set right in a few minutes — if
you will try and bear a little pain."

A little pain! And Daisy was suffering so much all the while!
Again her lip trembled.

"Must he touch me, papa?"

"He must touch you."

Daisy's hands were clasped to her face again for a minute;
after that she lay quite still and quiet. Mr. Randolph kept
his post, hardly taking his eye off her; Mrs. Randolph sat
down where she had stood; behind the head of Daisy's couch,
where her little daughter could not see her; and all the party
indulged in silence. At length the doctor was ready, and came
to the foot, attended by Juanita; and Mr. Randolph took one of
Daisy's hands in his own. With the other the child covered her
eyes, and so lay, perfectly still, while the doctor set the
ankle-bone which had been broken. As the foot also itself had
been very much hurt, the handling of necessity gave a great
deal of pain, more than the mere setting of the broken bone
would have caused. Mr. Randolph could feel every now and then
the convulsive closing of Daisy's hand upon his; other than
that she gave no sign of what she was suffering. One sign of
what another person was feeling, was given as Dr. Sandford
bound up the foot and finished his work. It was given in
Juanita's deep breathed "Thank the Lord!" The doctor glanced
up at her with a slight smile of curiosity. Captain Drummond
would have said "Amen," if the word had not been so
unaccustomed to his mouth.

Mrs. Randolph rose then, and inquired of the doctor what would
be the best means of removing Daisy?

"She must not be moved," the doctor said.

"Not to-night?"

"No, madam; nor to-morrow, nor for many days."

"Must she be left _here?_"

"If she were out in the weather, I would move her," said the
doctor; "not if she were under a barn that would shed the
rain."

"What harm would it do?"

The doctor could not take it upon him to say.

"But I cannot be with her here," said Mrs. Randolph; "nor
anybody else, that I can see."

"Juanita will take care of her," said the doctor. "Juanita is
worth an army of nurses. Miss Daisy cannot be better cared for
than she will be."

"Will you undertake the charge?" said Mrs. Randolph, facing
round upon Daisy's hostess.

"The Lord has given it to me, madam, — and I love to do my
Lord's work," was Juanita's answer. She could not have given a
better one, if it had been meant to act as a shot, to drive
Mrs. Randolph out of the house. The lady waited but till the
doctor had finished his directions which he was giving to the
black woman.

"I don't see," then she said to her husband, "that there is
anything to be gained by my remaining here any longer; and if
we are to go, the sooner we go the better, so that Daisy may
be quiet. Dr. Sandford says that is the best thing for her."

"Captain Drummond will see you home," said her husband. "I
shall stay."

"You can't do anything, in this box of a place."

"Unless the child herself desires it, there is no occasion for
your remaining here over night," said the doctor. "She will be
best in quiet, and sleep, if she can. You might hinder, if
your presence did not help her to this."

"What do you say, Daisy?" said her father tenderly, bending
over her; — "shall I stay or go? Which do you wish?"

"Papa, you would not be comfortable here. I am not afraid."

"Do you want me to go?" said her father, putting his face down
to hers.

Daisy clasped her two arms round his neck and kissed him, and
held him while she whispered, "No, papa, but maybe you had
better. There is no place for you, and I am not afraid."

He kissed her silently and repeatedly, and then rose up and
went to look at the storm. It had ceased; the moon was
struggling out between great masses of cloud driving over the
face of the sky. Mrs. Randolph stood ready to go, putting on
her _capuche_ which she had thrown off, and Juanita laying her
shawl round her shoulders. The doctor stood waiting to hand
her to the carriage. The Captain watched Daisy, whose eye was
wistfully fixed on her mother. He watched, and wondered at its
very grave, soft expression. There was very little affection
in the Captain's mind at that moment towards Mrs. Randolph.

The carriage was ready, and the lady turned round to give a
parting look at the child. A cold look it was, but Daisy's
soft eye never changed.

"Mamma," said she, whisperingly, "won't you kiss me?"

Mrs. Randolph stooped instantly, and gave the kiss; it could
not be refused, and was fully given; but then she immediately
took Doctor Sandford's arm, and went out of the house. The
Captain reverently bent over Daisy's little hand, and followed
her.

The drive was a very silent one, till Dr. Sandford was left at
his own door. So soon as the carriage turned again, Mrs.
Randolph broke out.

"How long did he say, Mr. Randolph, the child must be left at
that woman's cottage?"

"He said she must not be moved for weeks."

"She might as well stay forever," said Mrs. Randolph, — "for
the effect it will have. It will take a year to get Daisy back
to where she was! I wish fanatics would confine their efforts
to children that have no one else to care for them."

"What sort of fanaticism has been at work here, Mrs.
Randolph?" the Captain enquired.

"The usual kind, of course; religious fanaticism. It seems to
be catching."

"I have been in dangerous circumstances to day, then," said
the Captain. "I am afraid I have caught it. I feel as if
something was the matter with me."

"It will not improve you," said Mrs. Randolph, dryly.

"How has it wrought with Daisy?"

"Changed the child so that I do not recognise her. She never
set up her own will before; and now she is as difficult to
deal with as possible. She is an impersonation of obstinacy."

"Perhaps, after all, she is only following orders," said the
Captain, with daring coolness. "A soldier's duty makes him
terribly obstinate sometimes. You must excuse me, — but you
see I cannot help appreciating military qualities."

"Will you be good enough to say what you mean?" the lady
asked, with sufficient displeasure of manner.

"Only, that I believe in my soul Daisy takes her orders from
higher authority, than we do. And I have seen today — I
declare! I have seen a style of obedience and soldierly
following, that would win any sort of a field — ay, and die in
it!" added the Captain, musingly. "It is the sort of thing
that gets promotion from the ranks."

"How did all this happen to-day?" asked Mr. Randolph, as the
lady was now silent. "I have heard only a bit of it."

In answer to which, Captain Drummond went into the details of
the whole day's experience; told it point by point, and bit by
bit; having a benevolent willingness that Daisy's father and
mother should know, if they would, with what sort of a spirit
they were dealing. He told the whole story; and nobody
interrupted him.

"It is one thing," said the Captain, thoughtfully, as he
concluded, — "it is one thing to kneel very devoutly and say
after the minister, 'Lord, have mercy upon us, and write all
these laws in our hearts;' — I have done that myself; but it
gives one an entirely different feeling to see some one in
whose heart they are written!"

"There is only one thing left for you, Captain Drummond," said
Mrs. Randolph slightly; "to quit the army and take orders."

"I am afraid, if I did, you would never want to see me settled
in Mr. Pyne's little church over here," the Captain answered,
as he helped the lady to alight at her own door.

"Not till Daisy is safely married," said Mrs. Randolph
laughing.


CHAPTER XVI.

JUANITA'S COTTAGE.


Till the sound of the carriage wheels had died away in the
distance, Juanita stood at the door looking after them;
although the trees and the darkness prevented her seeing
anything along the road further than a few yards. When the
rustle of the breeze among the branches was the only thing
left to hear, beside the dripping of the rain drops shaken
from the leaves, Juanita shut the door, and came to Daisy. The
child was lying white and still, with her eyes closed. Very
white and thin the little face looked, indeed; and under each
eyelid lay a tear glistening, that had forced its way so far
into notice. Juanita said not a word just then; she bustled
about and made herself busy. Not that Juanita's busy ways were
ever bustling in reality; she was too good a nurse for that;
but she had several things to do. The first was to put up a
screen at the foot of Daisy's couch. She lay just a few feet
from the door, and everybody coming to the door, and having it
opened, could look in if he pleased; and so Daisy would have
no privacy at all. That would not do; Juanita's wits went to
work to mend the matter. Her little house had been never
intended for more than one person. There was another room in
it, to be sure, where Mrs. Benoit's own bed was; so that Daisy
could have the use and possession of this outer room all to
herself. Juanita went about her business too noiselessly to
induce even those closed eyelids to open. She fetched a
tolerably large clothes-horse from somewhere — some shed or
out-building; this she set at the foot of the couch, and hung
an old large green moreen curtain over it. Where the curtain
came from, one of Mrs. Benoit's great locked chests knew;
there were two or three such chests in the inner room, with
more treasures than a green moreen curtain stowed away in
them. The curtain was too large for the clothes-horse to hold
up; it lay over the floor. Juanita got screws and cords; fixed
one screw in the wall, another in the ceiling, and at last
succeeded in stretching the curtain neatly on the cords and
the clothes-horse, where she wanted it to hang. That was done;
and Daisy's couch was quite sheltered from any eyes coming to
the door that had no business to come further. When it was
finished, and the screws and cords put away, Juanita came to
Daisy's side. The eyes were open now.

"That is nice," said Daisy.

"It'll keep you by yourself, my little lady. Now what will she
have?"

"Nothing — only I am thirsty," said Daisy.

Juanita went to the well for some cold water, and mixed with
it a spoonful of currant jelly. It was refreshing to the poor
little dry lips.

"What will my love have next?"

"I don't know," said Daisy — "my foot aches a good deal, and
all my leg. I think — Juanita — I would like it if you would
read to me."

Juanita took a somewhat careful survey of her, felt her hands,
and finally got the book.

"Is there too much air for my love from that window?"

"No, it is nice," said Daisy. "I can see the stars so
beautifully, with the clouds driving over the sky. Every now
and then they get between me and the stars — and then the
stars look out again so bright. They seem almost right over
me. Please read, Juanita."

Mrs. Benoit did not consider that it made much difference to
Daisy where she read; so she took the chapter that came next
in the course of her own going through the New Testament. It
was the eighth chapter of Mark. She read very pleasantly; not
like a common person; and with a slight French accent. Her
voice was always sweet, and the words came through it as loved
words. It was very pleasant to Daisy to hear her; the long
chapter was not interrupted by any remark. But when Mrs.
Benoit paused at the end of it, Daisy said, "How can anybody
be _ashamed_ of Him, Juanita?"

The last verse of the chapter has these words "Whosoever
therefore shall be ashamed of Me, and of My words, in this
adulterous and sinful generation; of Him also shall the Son of
man be ashamed, when He cometh in the glory of His Father with
the holy angels."

"How can anybody be ashamed of him, Juanita?"

"They not see the glory of the Lord, my lady."

"But we do not see it yet."

"My love will see it. Juanita has seen it. This little house
be all full of glory sometimes, when Jesus is here."

"But that is because you love Him, Juanita."

"Praise the Lord!" echoed the black woman. "He do show His
glory to His people, before He come with the holy angels."

"I don't see how anybody can be ashamed of Him," Daisy
repeated, uttering the words as if they contained a simple
impossibility.

"My little lady not know the big world yet. There be ways,
that the Lord know and that the people not know."

"What do you mean, Juanita?"

"My lady will find it," said the black woman folding her arms.
"When all the world go one way, then folks not like to go
another way and be looked at; they be ashamed of Christ's
words then, and they only think they do not want to be looked
at."

A colour came all over Daisy's face — a suffusion of colour;
and tears swam in her eyes. "I didn't like to be looked at,
the other night!" she said, in a self-accusing tone.

"Did my love turn and go with the world?"

"No, I didn't do that."

"Then Jesus won't turn away neither," said the black woman.

"But I ought not to have felt so, Juanita."

"Maybe. My love is a little child. The good Lord shall
'stablish her, and keep her from evil. Now she must not talk
no more, but trust the Lord, and go to sleep."

"I can't sleep, Juanita — my leg aches so."

"That will be better. Is my love thirsty again?"

"Very thirsty! I wish I had some oranges."

"They would be good," said Juanita, bringing another glass of
jelly and water for Daisy.

And then she sat down, and sang softly; hymns in French and
English; sweet and low, and soothing in their simple and
sometimes wild melody. They soothed Daisy. After a time,
wearied and exhausted by all her long day of trial, she did
forget pain in slumber. The eyelids closed, and Juanita's
stealthy examination found that quiet soft breathing was
really proving her fast asleep. The singing ceased; and for a
while nothing was to be heard in the cottage but the low rush
and rustle of the wind which had driven away the storm clouds,
and the patter of a dislodged rain drop or two that were
shaken from the leaves. Daisy's breathing was too soft to be
heard, and Juanita almost held her own lest it should be too
soon disturbed. But the pain of the hurt foot and ankle would
not suffer a long sleep. Daisy waked up with a sigh.

"Are you there, Juanita?"

"I am here."

"What o'clock is it?"

Juanita drew back the curtain of the window by Daisy's couch,
that the moonlight might fall in and show the face of the
little clock. It was midnight.

"It won't be morning in a great while, will it?" said Daisy.

"Does my lady want morning?"

"My foot hurts me dreadfully, Juanita — the pain shoots and
jumps all up my leg. Couldn't you do something to it?"

"My dear love, it will be better by and by — there is no help
now for it, unless the Lord sends sleep. I s'pose it must
ache. Can't Miss Daisy remember who sends the pain?"

The child answered her with a curious smile. It was not
strange to the black woman; she read it, and knew it, and had
seen such before; to anybody that had not, how strange would
have seemed the lovingness that spread over all Daisy's
features, and brightened on her brow as much as on her lips.
It was not patient submission; it was the light of joyful
affection shining out over all Daisy's little pale face.

"Ay, it isn't hard with Jesus," said the black woman with a
satisfied face. "And the Lord is here now, — praise his name!"

"Juanita — I have been very happy to-day," said Daisy.

"Ay? how has that been, my love?"

"Because I knew He was taking care of me. It seemed that Jesus
was so near me all the time. Even all that dreadful ride."

"The Lord is good!" said the black woman, with strong
expression. "But my love must not talk."

She began to sing again. —


"Oh, what shall I do, my Saviour to praise,
So faithful and true, so plenteous in grace.
So good to deliver, so strong to redeem
The weakest believer that hangs upon him."


"Oh, that's good, Juanita!" said Daisy. "Hush! — Juanita, it
is very late for anybody to be out riding!"

"Who is out riding, Miss Daisy?"

"I don't know — I hear a horse's feet. Don't you hear. —
there!"

"It's some young gentleman, maybe, going home, from a dinner-
party."

"Don't draw the curtain, Juanita, please! I like it so, I can
look out. The moonlight is nice. Somebody is very late, going
home from a dinner party."

"They often be. Miss Daisy, the moonlight will hinder you
sleeping, I am afraid."

"I can't sleep. It's so good to look out! Juanita — there's
that horse's feet, stopping just here."

Juanita went to her door, and perceived that Daisy spoke
truth. Somebody down at her little wicket had dismounted, and
was fastening his horse to the fence. Then a figure came up
the walk in the moonlight.

"Juanita!" cried Daisy, with an accent of joy, though she
could not see the figure from where she lay, — "it's papa!"

"Is she asleep?" said the voice of Mr. Randolph the next
minute softly.

"No, sir. She knows it's you, sir. Will his honour walk in?"

Mr. Randolph, with a gentle footfall, came in and stood by the
side of the couch.

"Daisy — my poor little Daisy!" — he said.

"Papa! —"

This one word was rich in expression; joy and love so filled
it. Daisy added nothing more. She put her arms round her
father's neck as he stooped his lips to her face, held him
fast and returned his kisses.

"Cannot you sleep?" The question was very tenderly put.

"I did sleep, papa."

"I did not wake you?"

"No, papa. I was awake, looking at the moonlight."

"Pain would not let you sleep, my poor darling?"

The sympathy was a little too trying. Tears started to the
child's eyes. She said with a most gentle, loving accent, "I
don't mind, papa. It will be better by and by. I am very
happy."

An indignant question as to the happiness which had been so
rudely shaken, was on Mr. Randolph's lips. He remembered Daisy
must not be excited; nevertheless, he wondered, for he saw the
child's eyes full, and knew that the brow was drawn with pain;
and the poor little thin face was as white as a sheet. What
did she mean by talking about being happy?

"Daisy, I have brought you some oranges."

"Thank you, papa! — May I have one now?"

Silently, and almost sternly, Mr. Randolph stood and pared the
orange with a fruit knife — he had thought to bring that too —
and fed Daisy with it, bit by bit. It was pleasant and novel
to Daisy to have her father serve her so; generally others had
done it when there had been occasion. Mr. Randolph did it
nicely, while his thoughts worked.

"What are you going to do to-night, papa?" she said, when the
orange was finished and he stood looking at her.

"Stay here with you."

"But, papa, how can you sleep?"

"I can do without sleeping, if it is necessary. I will take a
chair here in the doorway, and be near if you want anything."

"Oh, I shall not want anything, papa, except what Juanita can
give me."

He stood still, watching her. Daisy looked up at him with a
loving face; a wise little face it always was; it was gravely
considerate now.

"Papa, I am afraid you will be uncomfortable."

"Can nobody bear that but you?" said Mr. Randolph, stooping
down to kiss her.

"I am very happy, papa," said the child, placidly; while a
slight tension of her forehead witnessed to the shooting pains
with which the whole wounded limb seemed to be filled.

"If Mr. Randolph pleases," said the voice of Juanita, — "the
doctor recommended quiet, sir."

Off went Mr. Randolph at that, as if he knew it very well, and
had forgotten himself. He took a chair, and set it in the open
doorway, using the door-post as a rest for his head; and then
the cottage was silent. The wind breathed more gently; the
stars shone out; the air was soft after the storm; the
moonlight made a bright flicker of light and shade over all
the outer world. Now and then a grasshopper chirruped, or a
little bird murmured a few twittering notes at being disturbed
in its sleep; and then came a soft sigh from Daisy.

On noiseless foot the black woman stole to the couch. Daisy
was weeping; her tears were pouring out and making a great wet
spot on her pillow.

"Is my love in pain?" whispered the black woman.

"It's nothing — I can't help it," said Daisy.

"Where is it — in the foot?"

"It's all over, I think; in my head and everywhere. Hush,
Juanita; never mind."

Mrs. Benoit, however, tried the soothing effect of a long
gentle brushing of Daisy's head. This lasted till Daisy said
she could bear it no longer. She was restless.

"Will my love hear a hymn?"

"It will wake papa."

Mrs. Benoit cared nothing for that. Her care was her poor
little charge. She began immediately one of the hymns that
were always ready on her tongue, and which were wonderfully
soothing to Daisy. Juanita was old, but her voice was sweet
yet and clear; and she sang with a deal of quiet spirit.


"A few more days or years at most,
My troubles sell be o'er;
I hope to join the heavenly host
On Canaan's happy shore.
My raptured soul shall drink and feast
In love's unbounded sea;
The glorious hope of endless rest
Is ravishing to me."


Mr. Randolph raised his head from leaning against the door-
post, and turned it to listen; with a look of lowering
impatience. The screen of the hanging curtain was between him
and the couch, and the look did nobody any harm.


"Oh, come, my Saviour, come away,
And bear me to the sky!
Nor let thy chariot wheels delay —
Make haste and bring it nigh:
I long to see Thy glorious face,
And in Thy image shine;
To triumph in victorious grace,
And be forever Thine."


Mr. Randolph's chair here grated inharmoniously on the floor,
as if he were moving; but Juanita went on without heeding it.


"Then will I tune my harp of gold
To my eternal King.
Through ages that can ne'er be told
I'll make Thy praises ring.
All hail, eternal Son of God,
Who died on Calvary!
Who bought me with His precious blood,
From endless misery."


Mr. Randolph stood by Mrs. Benoit's chair. "My good woman," he
said, in suppressed tones, "this is a strange way to put a
patient to sleep."

"As your honour sees!" replied the black woman, placidly.

Mr. Randolph looked. Daisy's eyes were closed; the knitted
brow had smoothed itself out in slumber; the deep breath told
how profound was the need that weakness and weariness had
made. He stood still. The black woman's hand softly drew the
curtain between Daisy's face and the moonlight, and then she
noiselessly withdrew herself almost out of sight, to a low
seat in a corner. So Mr. Randolph betook himself to his
station in the doorway; and whether he slept or no, the hours
of the night stole on quietly. The breeze died down; the moon
and the stars shone steadily over the lower world; and Daisy
slept, and her two watchers were still. By and by, another
light began to break in the eastern horizon, and the stars
grew pale. The morning had come.

The birds were twittering in the branches before Daisy awoke.
At the first stir she made, her father and Mrs. Benoit were
instantly at her side. Mr. Randolph bent over her, and asked
tenderly how she felt.

"I feel hot, papa."

"Everybody must do that," said Mr. Randolph. "The breeze has
died away, and the morning is very close."

"Papa, have you been awake all night?"

He stooped down and kissed her.

"You must go home and get some breakfast, and go to sleep,"
Daisy said, looking at him lovingly with her languid eyes.

"Shall I bring you anything from home, Daisy?" he said,
kissing her again.

The child looked a little wistfully, but presently said no;
and Mr. Randolph left her, to do as she had said. Mrs. Benoit
was privately glad to have him out of the way. She brought
water, and bathed Daisy's face and hands, and gave her a
delicate breakfast of orange; and contrived to be a long while
about it all, so as to rest and refresh her as much as
possible. But when it was all done, Daisy was very hot and
weary and in much pain. And the sun was only in the tops of
the trees yet. The black woman stood considering her.

"It will be a hot day, Miss Daisy — and my little lady is
suffering already, when the dew is not dried off the grass.
Can she say, 'Thank the Lord'?"

Daisy first smiled at her; then the little pale face grew
grave, the eyelids fell, and the black woman saw tears
gathering beneath them. She stood looking somewhat anxiously
down at the child; till, after a few minutes, the eyelids were
raised again, and the eyes gave her a most meek and loving
response, while Daisy said faintly, "Yes, Juanita."

"Bless the Lord!" said Juanita, with all her heart. "Then my
love can bear it, the hot day and the pain and all. When His
little child trust Him, Jesus not stay far off. And when He
giveth quietness, then who can make trouble?"

"But I have a particular reason, Juanita. I am very glad of my
hurt foot; though it does ache."

"The aching will not be so bad by and by," said the woman, her
kindly face all working with emotion.

She stood there by Daisy's couch and prayed. No bathing nor
breakfast could so soothe and refresh Daisy as that prayer.
While she listened and joined in it, the feeling of yesterday
came all back again; that wonderful feeling that the Lord
Jesus loves even the little ones that love Him; that He will
not let a hair of their heads be hurt; that He is near, and
keeps them, and is bringing them to Himself by everything that
He lets happen to them.

Greatly refreshed and comforted, Daisy lay quiet looking out
of the open window, while Juanita was busy about, making a
fire and filling her kettle for breakfast. She had promised
Daisy a cup of tea and a piece of toast; and Daisy was very
fond of a cup of tea, and did not ordinarily get it; but Mrs.
Benoit said it would be good for her now. The fire was made in
a little out-shed, back of the cottage, where it would do
nobody any harm, even in hot weather.

Daisy was so quieted and comforted, though her leg was still
aching, that she was able to look out and take some pleasure
in the sparkling morning light which glittered on the leaves
of the trees and on the blades of grass; and to hearken to the
birds which were singing in high feather all around the
cottage. The robins especially were very busy, whistling about
in and under the trees; and a kildeer, quite near, from time
to time sung its soft sweet song; so soft and tender, it
seemed every time to say in Daisy's ears, "What if I am sick
and in pain and weary? Jesus sends it — and He knows — and He
is my dear Saviour." It brought the tears into Daisy's eyes at
length; the song of the kildeer came so close home into her
heart.

Juanita had gone to make the tea. While the kettle had been
coming to a boil, she had put her little cottage into the
nicest of order; and even filled a glass with some roses and
set it on the little table. For, as she said to Daisy, they
would have company enough that day, and must be in trim. She
had gone now to make the tea, and Daisy lay contentedly
looking out of the window, when she heard the swift tread of
horses' feet again. Could her father be back from Melbourne
already? Daisy could not raise herself up to look. She heard
the feet stop in the road before the cottage; then listened
for somebody's step coming up to it. She heard the step, but
it was none of Mr. Randolph's; it was brisk and firm and
measured. She guessed it was somebody's step whose feet had
been trained.

Juanita came to open the door at the knock, and Daisy heard
her saying something about the doctor's orders, and keeping
quiet, and no excitement. Daisy could not stand that.

"Oh, Captain Drummond — come in! come in!" she cried. And in
came the Captain. He looked wonderfully sober at his poor
little playfellow. But Daisy looked all smiles at him.

"Is your furlough over? Are you going, Captain Drummond?"

"I am off, Daisy."

"I am so glad you came to see me," she said, putting out her
little hand to him.

The Captain took it, and held it, and seemed almost unable to
speak. "Daisy, I would have run the risk of being cashiered,
rather than not have done it."

"What is that?"

"Cashiered? Having my epaulettes pulled off."

"Do you care a great deal for your epaulettes?" said Daisy.

The Captain laughed, with the water standing in his eyes. Yes,
absolutely, his bright sparkling eyes had drops in them.

"Daisy, I have brought you our land fish — that we had such
trouble for."

"The trilobite! Oh, did you?" exclaimed Daisy, as he placed it
before her. "I wanted to see it again, but I was afraid you
wouldn't have time before you went." She looked at it eagerly.

"Keep it Daisy; and keep a little bit of friendship for me
with it — will you? in case we meet again some day."

"Oh, Captain Drummond — don't you want it?"

"No; but I want you to remember the conditions."

"When will you come to Melbourne again?"

"Can't say, Daisy; I am afraid, not till you will have got the
kingdom of England quite out of all its difficulties. We were
just going into the battle of Hastings, you know; don't you
recollect?"

"How nice that was!" said Daisy, regretfully. "I don't think I
shall ever forget about the Saxon Heptarchy, and Egbert, and
Alfred."

"How about forgetting me?"

"You know I couldn't," said Daisy, with a most genial smile.
"Oh, Captain Drummond!" — she added, as a flash of sudden
thought crossed her face.

"What now, Daisy?"

The child looked at him with a most earnest, inquisitive
wistful gaze. The Captain had some difficulty to stand it.

"Oh, Captain Drummond," she repeated, — "are you going to be
ashamed of Christ?"

The young soldier was strangely enough confused by this simple
question. His embarrassment was even evident. He hesitated for
a reply, and it did not readily come. When it came, it was an
evasion.

"That is right, Daisy," he said; "stand by your colours. He is
a poor soldier that carries them behind his back in the face
of the enemy. But whatever field you die in, I should like to
be alongside of you."

He spoke gravely. And he asked no leave this time, but,
clasping Daisy's hand, he bent down and kissed her forehead
twice, and earnestly; then he did not say another word, but
strode away. A little flush rose on Daisy's brow, for she was
a very particular little lady as to who touched her; however
she listened attentively to the sound of the retreating hoofs
which carried the Captain off along the road; and when Juanita
at last came in with her little tray and a cup of tea, she
found Daisy's face set in a very thoughtful mood, and her eyes
full of tears. The face did not even brighten at her approach.

"Miss Daisy," said the black woman, "I thought you wanted a
cup of tea?"

"So I do, Juanita. I want it very much."

Mrs. Benoit made remarks to herself upon the wise little face
that met her with such a sober greeting. However, she made
none aloud; she supported Daisy nicely with one arm, and set
the little tray before her. The tea was excellent; the toast
was in dainty, delicate, thin brown strips. Daisy took it
soberly.

"Does it seem good to my love?"

"Oh, yes, Juanita!" said the child, looking up gratefully; "it
is very good; and you make the prettiest toast I ever saw."

The black woman smiled, and bade her eat it, and not look at
it.

"But I think it tastes better for looking pretty, Juanita."

"The Lord knows," said the woman; "and He made the trees in
the garden of Eden to be pleasant to the eyes, as well as good
for food."

"I am glad He did," said Daisy. "How pleasant the trees have
been to my eyes this morning. Then I was sick, and could not
do anything but look at them; but they are pleasant to my eyes
too when I am well. It is very painful to have one's friends
go away, Juanita."

"Has my love lost friends?" said Mrs. Benoit, wondering at
this speech.

"Yes," said Daisy. "Mr. Dinwiddie is gone; and now Captain
Drummond. I have got hardly anybody left."

"Was Mr. Dinwiddie Miss Daisy's friend?"

Such a bright, warm, glad flash of a smile as Juanita got in
answer! It spoke for the friendship on one side.

"But he is gone," said Daisy. "I wish I could see him again.
He is gone, and I never shall!"

"Now, Miss Daisy, you will lie still and be quiet, my love,
until somebody else comes. The doctor says that's the way.
]Mr. Dinwiddie is about his Master's work, wherever he is; and
you want to do the same."

"How can I, Juanita, lying here? I cannot do anything."

"Does my love think the good Lord ever give His servants no
work to do for Him?"

"Why _here_, Juanita — I can only lie here and be still. What
can I do?"

"My love pray the dear Master to show her; and now not talk
just now." Daisy lay still.

The next comer was the doctor. He came while the morning was
still early; made his examinations; and Daisy made hers. He
was a very fine-looking man, Thick locks of auburn hair,
thrown back from his face; a noble and grave countenance; blue
eyes, keen and steady; and a free and noble carriage; there
was enough about Dr. Sandford to engage all Daisy's attention
and interest. She gave him both, in her quiet way; while he
looked not so much at her as at her condition and
requirements.

"It is going to be a hot day," he remarked to Juanita, who
attended upon him. "Keep her quiet. Do not let more than one
other person be here at once. Say I order it."

"Will his honour say it to Miss Daisy's father and mother?"

"I shall not see them this morning. You are armed with my
authority, Juanita. Nobody is to be here to talk and excite
her; and only one at a time beside you. Have you got fruit for
her? Let her live on that as much as she likes; and keep the
house empty."

"I will tell papa," said Daisy.

"How do you do?" said the doctor. It was the first question he
had addressed to her; and the first attention he had given her
otherwise than as a patient. Now the two looked at each other.

"I am better, a little, thank you," said the child. "May I ask
something?"

"Ask it."

"Shall I be a long while here?"

"You will be a week or two — till your foot gets strong
again."

"Will a week or two make it strong?"

The two pairs of eyes looked into each other. The thoughtful
grey eyes of the child, and the impenetrable blue orbs of the
man. There was mutual study; some mutual recognition.

"You must be a good child and try to bear it."

"Will you come and see me again?" said Daisy.

"Do you desire it?"

"You would not come unless it was necessary," said Daisy; "and
if it is necessary, I should like to have you."

The lips of the young man curled into a smile that was very
pleasant, albeit a little mocking in its character.

"I think it will be necessary, little one; but if I come to
see you, you must be under my orders."

"Well, I am," said Daisy.

"Keep still, then; do not talk to anybody any more than is
needful to relieve your impatience."

The doctor went away, and Daisy lay still musing. The morning
had gone on a little further, when carriage-wheels stopped at
the gate.

"There's mamma —" said Daisy.

It was very unconsciously on her part that the tone of these
two words conveyed a whole volume of information to Juanita's
keen wits. It was no accent of joy, like that which had
announced her father last night; neither was it fear or dread;
yet the indefinable expression of the two words said that
"mamma" had been a trouble in Daisy's life, and might be
again.

Juanita went to have the door open; and the lady swept in. Mr.
Randolph was behind her. She came to Daisy's side, and the
mother and child looked at each other; Daisy with the tender,
wistful eyes of last night, Mrs. Randolph with a vexed air of
dissatisfaction. Yet, after looking at her a moment, she
stooped down and kissed Daisy. The child's eye went to her
father then. Mrs. Randolph stood in his way; he came round to
the head of the couch, behind Daisy, and bent over her.

"Papa, I can't see you there."

"You can feel, Daisy —" said Mr. Randolph, putting his lips to
her face. "How do you do?"

"This is a most maladroit arrangement of Captain Drummond's!"
said the lady. "What can we do to rectify it? A most stupid
place for the child to be."

"She will have to bear the stupidity — and we too. Daisy, what
would you like to have to help it along."

"Papa, I am not stupid."

"You will be, my little daughter, I am afraid, before the
weeks are over. Will you have June come to be with you?"

"Papa," said Daisy, slowly, — "I think it would not be
considerate."

"Are you comfortable?" said Mr. Randolph, smiling, though his
looks expressed much concern.

"No, papa."

"What is the matter?"

"It is hot, papa; and my leg aches; not so much as it did last
night sometimes; but it aches."

"It is a cool, fresh morning," said Mrs. Randolph. "She is hot
because she is lying in this place."

"Not very cool, with the mercury at eighty-four before eight
o'clock You are cool because you have been driving fast."

"Mr. Randolph, this is no proper place for the child to be. I
am convinced she might be moved with safety."

"I cannot risk the doctor's convictions against yours,
Felicia. That question must be given up."

"He says I am under his orders, papa."

"Undeniable, Daisy. That is true doctrine. What orders does he
give you?"

"To eat fruit, and keep quiet, papa. He says there must not be
more than one person here at a time, besides Juanita."

"I suppose he does not mean to forbid your mother," said Mrs.
Randolph, a good deal incensed. "I will see about that. Here,
my good woman — where are you? Will you let your cottage to me
for the time that this child is confined here — and remove
somewhere else yourself, that I may put the people here I want
about her?"

"Oh, mamma! —" said Daisy. But she stopped short; and Mrs.
Randolph did not attend to her. Mr. Randolph looked round to
see Juanita's answer.

"My lady shall put here who she will please," the woman said,
standing before her visitors with the most unruffled face and
demeanour.

"And you will leave me the house at once?"

"No, my lady. My lady shall have the house. Juanita will not
be in the way."

"You do not seem to understand, my good woman, that I want to
be here myself, and have my people here. I want the whole
house."

"My lady shall have it — she is welcome — nobody shall find
Juanita trouble them," the black woman said, with great
sweetness.

"What will you do with yourself?"

"A little place be enough for me, my lady. My spirit lives in
a large home."

Mrs. Randolph turned impatiently away. The manner of the woman
was so inexpressibly calm and sweet, the dignity of her
beautiful presence was so immovable, that the lady felt it in
vain to waste words upon her. Juanita was a hopeless case.

"It is no use for me to be here then," she said. "Mr.
Randolph, you may make your own arrangements."

Which Mr. Randolph did. He held a consultation with Juanita,
as to what was wanting, and what she would do; a consultation
with which he was satisfied. Juanita was left in full charge,
with authority to do for Daisy precisely according to Dr.
Sandford's instructions, in all matters. Mrs. Randolph
meanwhile had a talk with her poor pale little daughter, upon
more or less the same subjects; and then the father and mother
prepared to go home to breakfast.

"Shall I send you June?" said Mrs. Randolph.

"No, mamma; I think not."

"Be patient a little while, Daisy," said her father, kissing
her; "and you will be able to have books and company too. Now
for a little while you must keep quiet."

"Juanita will keep me quiet, papa."

"I will come and see you again by and by."

"Papa, I want to tell you one thing. I want to speak to you
and mamma before you go."

Mr. Randolph saw that the child's face flushed as if she were
making some effort. He bent down over her again.

"Is it something of interest, Daisy?"

"Yes, papa. To me."

"Don't talk of it now then. Lie still, and do not talk at all.
By and by you will tell me what it is."


CHAPTER XVII.

THE LITTLE CONFESSOR.


Mr. and Mrs. Randolph departed.

"Daisy will be ruined forever!" So said the lady as soon as
she was in the carriage.

"I hope not."

"You take it coolly, Mr. Randolph. That woman is exactly the
sort to infect Daisy; and you have arranged it so that she
will have full chance."

"What is the precise danger you apprehend?" said Mr. Randolph.
"I have not heard it put into words."

"Daisy will be unmanageable. She is nearly that now."

"I never saw a more docile child in my life."

"That is because you take her part, Mr. Randolph. You will
find it out in time, when it is too late; and it will be your
own doing."

"What?"

"Daisy will be a confirmed piece of superstition. You will
see. And you will not find her docile then. If she once takes
hold of anything, she does it with great obstinacy."

"But what is she taking hold of now? After all, you do not
tell me," said Mr. Randolph, carelessly.

"Of every sort of religious fanatical notion, you will find,
Mr. Randolph! She will set herself against everything I want
her to do, after the fashion of those people, who think
nothing is right but their own way. It will be a work of
extreme difficulty, I foresee, to do anything with her after
these weeks in this black woman's house. I would have run any
risk in removing her, rather than let it be so."

"Well, we shall see," said Mr. Randolph. "I cannot quite take
your view of the matter. I would rather keep the child — even
for my own private comfort — than lose her to prevent her from
becoming religious."

Mrs. Randolph indignantly let this statement of opinion alone.

Little Daisy had a quiet day, meanwhile. The weather grew
excessively hot; her broken ankle pained her; it was a day of
suffering. Obliged to lie quite still; unable to change her
position even a little, when the couch became very hot under
her; no air coming in at the open window but what seemed laden
with the heats of a furnace, Daisy lay still, and breathed as
well as she could. All day Juanita was busy about her;
moistening her lips with orange juice, bathing her hands,
fanning her, and speaking and singing sweet words to her, as
she could attend to them. The child's eyes began to go to the
fine black face that hovered near her, with an expression of
love and trust that was beautiful to behold. It was a day that
tried poor little Daisy's patience; for along with all this
heat, and weary lying still in one position, there were shoots
and twitches of pain that seemed to come from the broken ankle
and reach every part of her body; and she could not move about
or turn over to ease them by some change.

At last the weary hours began to grow less oppressive. The sun
got low in the sky; the air came with a little touch of
freshness. How good it was to see the sun lost behind the
woods on the other side the road. Juanita kindled her fire
again, and put on the kettle; for Daisy was to have another
cup of tea, and wanted it very much. Then, before the kettle
had boiled, came the doctor.

It was a pleasant variety. Dr. Sandford's face was a good one
to see come in anywhere, and in Daisy's case very refreshing.
It was so noble a face; the features fine, manly, expressive;
with a sedate gravity that spoke of a character above
trifling. His calm, forceful eye was very imposing; the thick
auburn locks of his hair, pushed back as they were from his
face, were beautiful to Daisy's imagination. Altogether he
fastened her attention whenever he came within reach of it;
she could not read those grave lines of his face; she puzzled
over them. Dr. Sandford's appearance was in some way
bewitching to her. Truly many ladies found it so.

He examined now the state of her foot; gave rapid
comprehensive glances at everything; told his orders to Mrs.
Benoit. Finally, paused before going, and looked into the very
wise little eyes that scanned him so carefully.

"Is there anything you want, Daisy?" he said, with a
physician's familiarity.

"No, sir, — I thank you."

"Mrs. Benoit takes good care of you?"

"Very good."

The manner of Daisy's speech was like her looks; childlike
enough, and yet with a deliberate utterance unlike a child.

"What do you think about, as you lie there all day?" he said.

The question had been put with a somewhat careless curiosity;
but at that he saw a pink flush rise and spread itself all
over Daisy's pale face; the grey eyes looked at him steadily,
with no doubt of some thoughts behind them. Dr. Sandford
listened for her answer. What was the child thinking about?
She spoke at last with that same sweet deliberateness.

"I have been thinking, Dr. Sandford, about what Jesus did for
me."

"What was that?" said the doctor, in considerable surprise.

"Because it was so hard for me to keep still to-day, I thought
— you know — how it must have been —" The flush deepened on
the cheeks, and Daisy's eyes were swimming full of tears.

Dr. Sandford looked, in much surprise; perhaps he was at some
pains to comprehend what all this meant.

"How it must have been when?" said he, bending over Daisy's
couch.

"You know, Dr. Sandford," she said, tenderly. "When He was on
the cross — and couldn't move —"

Daisy gave way. She put her hands over her face. The doctor
stood erect, looking at her; glanced his grave eyes at Mrs.
Benoit, and at her again; then made a step towards Juanita.

"No excitement is permitted," he said. "You must keep her from
it. Do you understand?"

"Yes, sir," Juanita said. But her face was all alight.

"Have you been reading some of those stories to her?"

"I have not been reading to her at all to-day, if his honour
pleases."

"Daisy," said Dr. Sandford, coming back to the couch, "what
put such thoughts into your head?"

"I felt so badly to-day." She spoke with her usual
collectedness again.

"Well, try and not mind it. You will feel better in a day or
two. Do you know when that happened that you were talking
about?"

"Yes, sir."

"When was it?"

"More than eighteen hundred years ago."

"Do you think it is worth your while to be troubled for what
happened eighteen hundred years ago?"

"I think it is just the same as if it happened now," said
Daisy, without moving her eyes.

"Do you? By what power of reasoning?"

"I don't think I know how to reason," said Daisy. "It is
feeling."

"How does feeling manage it?"

Daisy discerned the tone of the question, looked at her
questioner, and answered with tender seriousness: "I know the
Lord Jesus did that for me; and I know He is in heaven now."

The doctor kept silence a minute. "Daisy," said he, "you are
under my orders at present. You must mind me. You are to take
a cup of tea, and a piece of toast, if you like; then you are
to go to sleep and keep quiet, and not think of anything that
happened more than an hour ago. Will you?"

"I will try to be quiet," said Daisy.

She and the doctor looked at each other in a dissatisfied
manner, she wistfully, he disapprovingly, and then the doctor
went out. Daisy's eyes followed, straining after him as long
as they could; and when she could see him no longer they
filled with tears again. She was looking as intent and wistful
as if she might have been thirty years old instead of nine or
ten, when Juanita came to her side with the tea she had been
making.

The tea and toast did Daisy good; and she was ready to enjoy a
visit from her father, who spent the evening with her. But he
would not let her talk.

The next day was hot again; however, Daisy felt better. The
heat was more bearable. It was a very quiet day. Both she and
Juanita obeyed orders, and did not talk much; nevertheless,
Juanita sang hymns a great deal, and that was delightful to
Daisy. She found Juanita knew one hymn in particular that she
loved exceedingly; it was the one that had been sung in the
little church the day she had heard Mr. Dinwiddie preach; it
fell in with the course of Daisy's thoughts; and several times
in the day she had Juanita sing it over. Daisy's eyes always
filled when she heard it; nevertheless Juanita could not
resist her pleading wish.


"Oh, the Lamb! the loving Lamb!
The Lamb on Calvary!
The Lamb that was slain, but lives again,
To intercede for me."


"I am so happy, Juanita," Daisy said, after one of these
times. "I am so happy!"

"What makes it so, my love?"

"Oh, because that is true — because He lives up there to take
care of me."

"Bless the Lord!" said the black woman.

Towards evening of that day, Juanita had left the room to make
her fire and attend to some other things, when Daisy heard her
own name hailed softly from the window. She turned her head,
and there was Preston's bright face.

"My poor, poor little Daisy!"

"How do you do, Preston?" said Daisy, looking as clear as a
moonbeam.

"There you are a prisoner!"

"It is a very nice prison."

"Don't, my dear Daisy! I'll believe you in anything else, you
know; but in this I am unable. Tied by your foot for six
weeks, perhaps! I should like to shoot Captain Drummond."

"It was not Captain Drummond's fault."

"Is it bad, Daisy?"

"My foot? It has been pretty bad."

"Poor Daisy! And that was all because you would not sing."

"Because I would not sing, Preston!"

"Yes, that is the cause of all the trouble that has been in
the house. Now, Daisy, you'll give it up?"

"Give what up?"

"Give up your nonsense, and sing."

"_That?_" said Daisy, and a slight flush came into the pale
cheeks.

"Aunt Felicia wants you to sing it, and she will make you do
it, when you get well."

Daisy made no answer.

"Don't you see, my dear Daisy, it is foolish not to do as
other people do?"

"I don't see what my broken ankle has to do with what you are
saying, Preston."

"Daisy, what will become of you all these six weeks? We cannot
go a fishing, nor have any fun."

"You can."

"What will you do?"

"I guess I can have books and read, by and by. I will ask Dr.
Sandford."

"Suppose I bring some books, and read to you?"

"Oh, Preston! how nice."

"Well, I'll do it then. What shall I bring?"

"I wish you could bring something that would tell about these
things."

"These things? What is that?"

"It is a trilobite. Captain Drummond got it the other day. It
was a fish once, and now it is a stone; and I would like very
much to know about it."

"Daisy, are you serious?"

"Why, yes, Preston."

"My dear little Daisy, do _not_ you go and be a philosopher!"

"Why, I can't; but why shouldn't I?"

"Philosophers are not 'nice,' Daisy, when they are ladies,"
said Preston, shaking his head.

"Why not?"

"Because ladies are not meant to be philosophers."

"But I want to know about trilobites," said Daisy.

"I don't think you do. You would not find the study of fossils
interesting."

"I think I should — if you would help me, Preston."

"Well, we will see, Daisy. I will do anything for you, if you
will do one thing for me. Oh, Daisy, do! Aunt Felicia has not
given it up at all."

"Good-bye, Preston," said Daisy. "Now you must go, and not
talk to me any more this time."

Preston ran off.

He was not allowed to come again for a day or two; and Daisy
was not allowed to talk. She was kept very quiet, until it was
found that the broken bone was actually healing, and in a fair
way to get well. The pains in it were no longer so trying; the
very hot days had given place to a time of milder weather; and
Daisy, under the care of the old black woman, enjoyed her
solitary imprisonment well enough. Twice a day always her
father visited her; once a day, Mrs. Randolph. Her stay was
never very long; Juanita's house was not a comfortable place
for her; but Mr. Randolph gave a large piece of his time and
attention to his suffering little daughter, and was indeed the
first one to execute Preston's plan of reading aloud for her
amusement. A new and great delight to Daisy. She never
remembered her father taking such pains with her before. Then,
when her father and mother were gone, and the cottage was
still, Juanita and Daisy had what the latter called their
"good time." Juanita read the Bible and sang hymns, and
prayed. There was no time nor pleasure in all the day that
Daisy liked so well.

She had gained strength, and was in a good way to be well
again. The first morning this was told her, Daisy said: "Papa,
may I speak to you now?"

"About something important, Daisy?"

"Yes, papa, I think so."

"Go on. What is it?"

Juanita was standing near by. The child glanced at her, then
at her father.

"Papa," she said, speaking slowly, and with some hesitation, —
"I want you to know — I want to tell you — about me, so that
you may understand."

"Are you so difficult to understand, Daisy?"

"No, papa; but I want you to know something. I want you to
know that I am a Christian."

"Well, so are we all," said Mr. Randolph, coolly.

"No, papa, but I don't mean that."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, papa, — that I belong to the Lord Jesus, and must do
what He tells me."

"What am I to understand by that, Daisy?"

"Nothing, papa; only I thought you ought to know."

"Do you understand what you are saying yourself, my child?"

"Yes, papa."

"What does it mean, Daisy?"

"Only, papa, I want you to know that I belong to the Lord
Jesus."

"Does that imply that you will not belong to me any more?"

"Oh, no, papa!"

"Why do you tell it me, then?"

"Papa, Jesus says He will be ashamed of those who are ashamed
of Him; I will not be ashamed of Him; so I want you to know
what I am."

"But, Daisy, you and I must come to an understanding about
this," said Mr. Randolph, taking a chair. "Does this
declaration mean that you are intending to be something
different from what I like to see you?"

"I do not know, papa."

"You do not! Does it mean that you are proposing to set up a
standard of action for yourself, independent of me?"

"No, papa."

"What then, Daisy?"

"Papa, I do not quite know what you mean by a _standard_."

"I will change the word. Do you mean that your purpose is to
make, henceforward, your own rules of life?"

"No, papa; I do not mean that."

"What do you mean?"

"Papa," said Daisy, very deliberately, "if I belong to my
Saviour, — you know, — I must follow His rules."

"Daisy, I shall not cease to require obedience to mine."

"No, papa, — but —" said Daisy, colouring.

"But what?"

"I don't know very well how to say what I want, papa; it is
difficult."

"Try."

"Papa, you will not be displeased?"

"That depends upon what you have to say, Daisy."

"Papa, I do not _mean_ to displease you," said the child, her
eyes filling with tears. "But — suppose —"

"Well, — suppose anything."

"Suppose _those_ rules should be different from your rules?"

"I am to be the judge, Daisy. If you set up disobedience to
me, on any pretext, you know the consequences."

Daisy's lip trembled; she put up her hands to her face, and
burst into tears. She could not bear that reminder. Her father
took one of her hands down, and kissed the little wet cheek.

"Where are you going to find these rules, Daisy," he said,
kindly, "which you are going to set up against mine?"

"Papa, I do not set them up."

"Where do you get them?"

"Only in the Bible, papa."

"You are a little child, Daisy; you are not quite old enough
to be able to judge properly for yourself what the rules of
that book are. While you are little and ignorant, I am your
judge, of that and everything else; and your business is to
obey me. Do you understand that?"

"But, papa."

"Well — what?"

"Papa, I am afraid you will be angry."

"I do not think I shall. You and I had better come to an
understanding about these matters Say on, Daisy."

"I was going to say, papa —"

Daisy was afraid to tell what. Mr. Randolph again stooped and
kissed her; kissed her two or three times.

"Papa, I do not _mean_ to make you angry," said the child, with
intense eagerness, — "but — suppose — papa, I mean, — are you
a servant of the Lord Jesus?"

Mr. Randolph drew back. "I endeavour to do my duty, Daisy," he
said, coldly. "I do not know what you include in the terms you
use."

"Papa, that is what I mean," said Daisy, with a very meek
face. "Papa, if I _am_, and you are _not_, then perhaps you would
not think the things that I think."

"If you are, and I am not, what?"

"_That_, papa — which I wanted you to know I am. A servant of
Jesus."

"Then, what?"

"Then, papa, if I am, and you are not, — wouldn't you perhaps
not think about those rules as I must think of them?"

"You mean that our thoughts would disagree?"

"Papa — they might."

"What shall we do, then, Daisy?"

Daisy looked wistfully and somewhat sadly at him. There was
more weight of thought under the little brow than he liked to
see there. This would not do; yet matters must be settled.

"Do you want to be a different little person from what you
have been, Daisy, hitherto?"

"I don't know, papa — I think so."

"How do you wish to be different?"

"I can't tell, papa. I might have to be."

"I want you just as you are, Daisy."

Mr. Randolph stooped his head down again to the too thoughtful
little face. Daisy clasped her arms around his neck, and held
him close. It was only by her extraordinary self-command that
she kept from tears; when he raised his head her eyes were
perfectly dry.

"Will you be my good little Daisy — and let me do the thinking
for you?" said Mr. Randolph, tenderly.

"Papa — I _can't_."

"I will not have you different from what I like you, Daisy."

"Then, papa, what shall I do?"

"Obey me, and be satisfied with that."

"But, papa, I am a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ," said the
child, looking unutterably sober.

"I do not intend my commands shall conflict with any of higher
authority."

"Papa — suppose — they _might?_"

"I must be judge. You are a little child; you must take the
law from my mouth, until you are older."

"But, papa, suppose I _thought_ the Bible told me to do what you
did not think it said?"

"I advise you to believe my judgment, Daisy, if you wish to
keep the peace between us. I will not have any more calling of
it in question."

Daisy struggled plainly, though she would not cry; her colour
flushed, her lip quivered. She was entirely silent for a
little while, and Mr. Randolph sat watching her. The struggle
lasted some minutes — till she had overcome it somewhat she
would not speak — and it was sharp. Then the child closed her
eyes, and her face grew calm. Mr. Randolph did not know what
to think of her.

"Daisy."

"What, papa?"

"I do not think we have settled this question yet."

"I do not think we have, papa."

"What is to be done? It will not answer, my little daughter,
for you to set up your will against mine."

"Papa, it is not my will."

"What do you call it, then?"

"Papa, it is not my will at all. It is the will of God."

"Take care, Daisy," said her father. "You are not to say
that. My will will never oppose itself to that authority you
speak of."

"Papa, I only want to obey that."

"But remember, I must be the judge."

"Papa," said Daisy, eagerly, "won't this do? If I think
something is in the Bible, mayn't I bring it to you to see?"

"Yes."

"And if you think it _is_ there, then will you let me do it?"

"Do what?"

"Do what the Bible says, papa."

"I think I may promise that, Daisy," said Mr. Randolph; though
dubiously, as not quite certain what he was promising; "so
long as I am the judge."

"Then that will do, papa! That is nice."

Daisy's countenance expressed such utter content at this
arrangement, that Mr. Randolph looked grave.

"Now you have talked and excited yourself enough for to-day,"
he said. "You must be quiet."

"Mayn't I tell mamma when she comes?"

"What, Daisy?"

"I mean what I have told you, papa."

"No. Wait till to-morrow. Why do you wish to tell her, Daisy?"

"Papa, I think I ought to tell her. I want her to know."

"You have very uncompromising notions of duty. But this duty
can wait till another day."

Daisy had to wait more than a day for her opportunity; her
mother's next visits were too bustling and unsatisfactory, as
well as too short, to promise her any good chance of being
heard. At last came a propitious morning. It was more moderate
weather; Daisy herself was doing very well, and suffering
little pain; and Mrs. Randolph looked in good humour, and had
sat down with her tetting-work, as if she meant to make her
daughter something of a visit. Mr. Randolph was lounging at
the head of the couch, out of Daisy's sight.

"Mamma," began the child, "there is something I wish to say to
you."

"You have a favourable opportunity, Daisy. I can hear."

Yet Daisy looked a minute at the white hand that was flying
the bobbin about. That white hand.

"It isn't much, mamma. It is only — that I wish you to know —
that I am a Christian."

"That you are _what?_" said Mrs. Randolph, coldly.

"A Christian, mamma."

"Pray, what does that mean?"

"That I am a servant of Christ, mamma."

"When did you find it out, Daisy?"

"Some time ago, mamma. Some time — a little while — before my
birth-day."

"You did! What do you think _me?_"

Daisy kept silence.

"Well! why don't you speak? Answer me."

"Mamma, I don't know how to answer you," said Daisy, flushing
for an instant. Her mother's eyes took note of her.

"I shall not ask you a third time, Daisy."

"Mamma," said the child low, — "I do not think you are what I
mean by a Christian."

"You do not. I supposed that. Now you will go on and tell me
what you mean by a Christian."

"It means," said Daisy, her eyes filling with tears, "it means
a person who loves the Lord Jesus and obeys Him."

"I hope you are gratified, Mr. Randolph," said the lady, "with
this specimen of the new Christianity. Dutiful and respectful
are happily united; along with a pleasant mixture of modesty.
What do you expect me to do, Daisy, with this announcement of
yours?"

"Nothing, mamma," said Daisy, faintly.

"I suppose you think that my Christianity must accommodate
itself to yours? Did you expect that?"

"No, mamma."

"It would be very foolish of you; for the fact will be the
other way. Yours must accommodate itself to mine."

"I only wanted you to know what mine is, mamma."

"Yours is what mine is, Daisy. What I think right for you,
that you are to do. I will not hear a whimper from you again
about what you are — do you understand? Not again. I have
listened to you this time, but this is the last. If I hear
another syllable like this, about what you are or your
Christianity, I shall know how to chastise it out of you. You
are nothing at all, but my Daisy; you are a Jewess, if I
choose to have it so."

Mr. Randolph made an uneasy movement; but the lady's white
fingers flew in and out of her tetting-work without regarding
him.

"What do you want to do, that you are asking my permission in
this roundabout way? What do you want to do, that you think
will not please me."

Daisy at first hesitated; then Mr. Randolph was surprised to
hear her say boldly, "I am afraid, a great many things,
mamma."

"Well, you know now what to expect. Mr. Randolph," said the
lady, letting fall her tetting-work, "if you please, I will go
home. The sun will only be getting hotter, if I stay."

Mr. Randolph stood behind Daisy, bending down, and holding her
face in his two hands.

"What would you like me to send you from home, Daisy?"

"Nothing, papa."

"Would you like to have Preston come and see you?"

"If he likes to come, papa."

"He has been only waiting for my permission, and if you say
so, I will give him yours."

"He may come. I should like to see him very much."

"You may have books too, now, Daisy. Do you not want some
books?"

"I should like 'Sandford and Merton,' papa; and when Preston
comes I'll tell him what else I want."

Mr. Randolph stood still, smoothing down the hair on each side
of the little round head, while Mrs. Randolph was adjusting
herself for her drive.

"Are you ready, Mr. Randolph?"

"Cannot say that I am," said the gentleman, stooping to kiss
Daisy's forehead, — "but I will go with you. One thing I
should like understood. For reasons which are sufficient with
me, Daisy is to consider herself prohibited from making any
music on Sundays henceforward, except she chooses to do it in
church. I mention it, lest you should ask her to do what I
have forbidden, and so make confusion."

Mrs. Randolph gave no sort of answer to this speech, and
walked off to the door. Daisy, whose eyes had brightened with
joy, clasped her arms around her father's neck when he stooped
again, and whispered, with an energetic pressure, "Thank you,
papa!"

Mr. Randolph only kissed her, and went off after his wife. The
drive home was remarkably silent.


CHAPTER XVIII.

WONDERFUL THINGS.


It happened that day that Juanita had business on hand which
kept her a good deal of the morning in the out-shed which
formed part of her premises. She came in every now and then to
see how Daisy was doing; yet the morning was on the whole
spent by Daisy alone; and when Juanita at last came in to
stay, she fancied the child was looking pale and worn more
than usual.

"My love do not feel well?"

"Yes I do, Juanita — I am only tired. Have you done washing?"

"It is all done. I am ready for whatever my love pleases."

"Isn't washing very disagreeable work, Juanita?"

"I do not think what it be, while it is mine," the woman said,
contentedly. "All is good work that I can do for the Lord."

"But _that_ work, Juanita? How can you do that work so?"

"When the Lord gives work, He give it to be done for Him.
Bless the Lord!"

"I do not understand, though, Juanita. Please tell me. How can
you?"

"Miss Daisy, I don't know. I can do it with pleasure, because
it is my Lord's command. I can do it with thanksgiving,
because He has given me the strength and the power. And I can
do it the best I can, so as nobody shall find fault in His
servant. And then, Miss Daisy, I can do it to get money to
send His blessed word to them that sit in darkness — where I
come from. And I can do it with prayer, asking my Lord to make
my heart clean for His glory; like as I make soiled things
white again. And I do it with joy, because I know the Lord
hear my prayer."

"I think you are very happy, Juanita," said Daisy.

"When the Lord leads to living fountains of waters, then no
more thirsting," — said the black woman, expressively.

"Then, Juanita, I suppose — if I get tired lying here, — I can
do patience-work?"

"Jesus will have His people do a great deal of that work,"
said Mrs. Benoit, tenderly. "And it is work that pleases Him,
Miss Daisy. My love is very weary?"

"I suppose, Juanita, if I was really patient, I shouldn't be.
Should I? I think I am impatient."

"My love knows who carries the lambs in His bosom."

Daisy's tired face smoothed itself out at this. She turned her
eyes to the window with a placid look of rest in them.

"Jesus knows where the trouble is," said the black woman. "He
knows all. And He can help too. Now I am going to get
something to do Miss Daisy good."

Before this could be done, there came a heavy clumping step up
to the house, and a knock at the door; and then a person
entered whom Juanita did not know. — A hard-featured woman, in
an old-fashioned black straw bonnet, and faded old shawl drawn
tight round her. She came directly forward to Daisy's couch.

"Well, I declare if it ain't true! Tied by the heels, ain't
ye?" — was her salutation. Juanita looked, and saw that Daisy
recognised the visitor; for she smiled at her, half pleasure,
half assent to what she said.

"I heerd of it — that is, I heerd you'd gone up to the
mountain and broke something; I couldn't find out what 'twas;
and then Hephzibah she said she would go down to Melbourne
Sunday. I said to her, says I, 'Hephzibah, I wouldn't go all
that ways, child, for to do nothing; 'tain't likely but that
some part of the story's true, if you and me can't find out
which;' but Hephzibah she took her own head and went; and
don't you think, she came back a cryin'?"

"What was that for?" said Daisy, looking very much interested.

"Why, she couldn't find you, I guess; and she thought you was
killed. But you ain't, be you?"

"Only my foot and ankle hurt," said Daisy, smiling; "and I am
doing very well now."

"And was you broke anywheres?"

"My ankle was broken."

"I declare! And you couldn't be took home?"

"No."

"So the folks said; only they said that young soldier had
killed you. I hope he got hurted himself."

"Why Mrs. Harbonner, _he_ did not do it. It was an accident. It
wasn't anybody's fault."

"It wouldn't ha' happened if _I_ had been there, I can tell
you!" said Hephzibah's mother. "I don't think much of a man if
he ain't up to taking care of a woman; — and a child above
all. Now how long are you goin' to be in this fix?"

"I don't know. I suppose I shall have to lie still for four or
five weeks more, before my foot is well."

"It's tiresome, I guess, ain't it?"

"Yes — sometimes."

"Well, I used to think, if folks was good, things wouldn't
happen to 'em. That's what I thought. That was my study of
divinity. And when everything on earth happened to me, I just
concluded it was because I warn't a bit too good to deserve
it. Now I'm beat — to see you lie there. I don't see what is
the use of being good, if it don't get none."

"Oh, Mrs. Harbonner!" said Daisy, "I am glad my foot was
broken."

"Well, I'm beat!" was all Mrs. Harbonner could say. "You air,
be you?"

"It hasn't done me any harm at all; and it has done me a great
deal of good."

Mrs. Harbonner stood staring at Daisy.

"The promise is sure," said Mrs. Benoit. "All things shall
work together for good to them that love God!"

The other woman wheeled about, and looked at her for an
instant with a sharp keen eye of note-taking; then she
returned to Daisy.

"Well, I suppose I'll tell Hephzibah she won't see you again
till summer's over; so she may as well give over thinking
about it."

"Do you think Hephzibah wants to learn, Mrs. Harbonner?"

"Well, I guess she does."

"Wouldn't she come here and get her lessons? Couldn't she come
to see me every day, while I am here?"

"I 'spose she'd jump out of her skin to do it," said Mrs.
Harbonner. "Hephzibah's dreadful set on seeing you."

"Mrs. Benoit," said Daisy, "may I have this little girl come
to see me every day, while I am here?"

"Miss Daisy shall have all, who she will," was the answer; and
it was arranged so; and Mrs. Harbonner took her departure.
Lingering a minute at the door, whither Juanita attended her,
she made one or two enquiries and remarks about Daisy,
answered civilly and briefly by Mrs. Benoit.

"Poor little toad!" said Mrs. Harbonner, drawing her shawl
tight round her for the last time. "But ain't she little
_queer?_"

These words were spoken in a low murmur, which just served to
draw Daisy's attention. Out of sight behind the moreen
curtain, Mrs. Harbonner forgot she was not beyond hearing; and
Daisy's ears were good. She noticed that Juanita made no
answer at all to this question, and presently shut the door.

The business of giving Daisy some fruit was the next thing
attended to; in the course of eating which Daisy marvelled a
little to herself what possible likeness to a _toad_ Mrs.
Harbonner could have discovered in her. The comparison did not
seem flattering; also she pondered somewhat why it could be
that anybody found her queer. She said nothing about it;
though she gave Mrs. Benoit a little account of Hephzibah, and
the reason of the proposed series of visits. In the midst of
this came a cheery "Daisy" — at the other side of her; and
turning her head, there was Preston's face at the window.

"Oh, Preston!" — Daisy handed to Mrs. Benoit her unfinished
saucer of strawberries — "I am so glad! I have been waiting
for you. Have you brought my books?"

"Where do you think I have been, Daisy?"

"I don't know. Shooting! — Have you?"

Daisy's eye caught the barrel of a fowling-piece showing its
end up at the window. Preston, without replying, lifted up his
game-bag, and let her see the bright feathers of little birds
which partly filled it.

"You have! — Shooting!" — Daisy repeated, in a tone between
disapprobation and dismay. "It isn't September!"

"Capital sport, Daisy," said Preston, letting the bag fall.

"I think it is very poor sport," said Daisy. "I wish they were
all alive and flying again."

"So do I — if I might shoot them again."

"It's cruel, Preston!"

"Nonsense, Daisy. Don't you be too tender. Birds were made to
kill. What are they good for?"

With a wit that served her instead of experience, Daisy was
silent, looking with unspoken abhorrence at the wicked muzzle
of the fowling-piece.

"Did you bring me 'Sandford and Merton,' Preston?" she said,
presently.

" 'Sandford and Merton'! My dear Daisy, I have been going all
over the world, you know — this part of it — and I was too far
from Melbourne to go round that way for your book; if I had,
it would have been too late to get here. You see the sun's
pretty well down."

Daisy said no more; but it was out of her power not to look
disappointed. She had so counted upon her book; and she was so
weary of lying still and doing nothing. She wanted very much
to read about the house that Harry and Tommy built; it would
have been a great refreshment.

"Cheer up, Daisy," said Preston; "I'll bring you books to-
morrow — and read to you too, if you like it. What shall I
bring?"

"Oh, Preston, I want to know about trilobites!"

"Daisy, you might as well want to know about the centre of the
earth! That's where they belong."

"I should like to know about the centre of the earth," said
Daisy. "Is there anything there."

"Anything at the centre of the earth? I suppose so."

"But I mean, anything _but_ earth," said Daisy.

Preston burst out laughing. "Oh, Daisy, Daisy! — Hadn't you
better learn about what is on the outside of the earth, before
we dig down so deep into it?"

"Well, Preston, my trilobite was on the outside."

"Daisy, it wouldn't interest you," said Preston, seriously;
"you would have to go deep into something else besides the
earth — so deep that you would get tired. Let the trilobite
alone, and let's have Grimm's Tales to-morrow — shall we? or
what will you have?"

Daisy was patiently silent a minute; and then in came Dr.
Sandford. In his presence Preston was mute; attending to the
doctor's manipulations as gravely as the doctor himself
performed them. In the midst of the general stillness, Dr.
Sandford asked, "Who was speaking about trilobites as I came
up?"

"Preston was speaking," said Daisy, as nobody else seemed
ready to answer.

"What about them."

"He thinks they would not interest me," said Daisy.

"What do you know about trilobites?" said Dr. Sandford, now
raising his blue eyes for a good look into the child's face.
He saw it looked weary.

"I have got a beautiful one. Juanita, will you bring it here,
please?"

The doctor took it up, and handled it with an eye that said,
Daisy knew, that it was a fine specimen. The way he handled it
gratified her.

"So this is one of your playthings, is it, Daisy?"

"No, sir; it is not a plaything, but I like to look at it."

"Why?"

"It is so wonderful, and beautiful, I think."

"But do tell Daisy, will you, doctor," said Preston, "that it
is a subject she cannot understand yet. She wants me to bring
her books about trilobites."

"Time hangs heavy, Daisy?" said the doctor.

"No, sir — only when I have nothing to do."

"What have you done to-day?"

"Nothing, sir; except talking to papa and mamma, — and some
business about a little girl."

The sedateness of this announcement was inexpressible, coming
as it did after a little thoughtful pause. Preston burst out
laughing. Dr. Sandford did not so far forget himself. He only
gave Daisy a rapid look of his grave blue eyes.

"It would be a charity to give you more employment than that,"
he said. "You like wonderful things, Daisy?"

"Very much, when I understand about them."

"I will agree to tell you anything you please — that I know —
about any wonderful things you can see to-morrow, looking from
your window."

The Doctor and Preston went off together, and left Daisy,
though without books, in a high state of excitement and
gratification. The rest of the evening her little head was
busy by turns with fancying the observations of the next day,
and wondering what she could possibly find from her window to
talk to the doctor about. A very unpromising window Daisy
considered it. Nothing was to be seen beside trees and a
little strip of road; few people passed by that way; and if
there had, what wonder could there have been in that. Daisy
was half afraid she should find nothing to talk to the doctor
about; and that would be a mortification.

Daisy and Juanita were both apt to be awake pretty early.
Lying there on her back all day, without power to run about
and get tired, Daisy's sleep was light; and her eyes were
generally open before the sun got high enough to look at them.
Juanita was always up and dressed earlier even than that; how
much earlier Daisy had no means of knowing; but she was sure
to hear the murmur of her friend's voice at her prayers,
either in the other room or outside of the house. And Juanita
did not come in to see Daisy till she had been awake a good
while, and had had leisure to think over a great many things.
Daisy found that was a good time for her own prayers; there
was nothing to disturb her, and nothing to be heard at all,
except that soft sound of Juanita's voice, and the clear
trills and quavers of the little birds' voices in the trees.
There was no disturbance in any of those sounds; nothing but
joy and gladness and the voice of melody from them all.

By and by, when the light began to kindle in the tops of the
trees, and Daisy was sure to be watching it and trying to get
sight of some of the bird singers which were so merry up
there, she would hear another sound by her bedside, or feel a
soft touch; and there would be Juanita, as bright as the day,
in her way of looking bright, bending over to see and find out
how Daisy was. Then, having satisfied herself, Juanita would
go about the business of the morning. First her fire was made,
and the kettle put on for breakfast. Daisy used to beg her to
leave the door open, so that, though she could not follow her
with her eyes and see, she could yet hear what Juanita was
doing. She used to listen to hear the kindling put in the
stove, and the wood; she knew the sound of it; then, when the
match was lit and applied, she liked the rushing sound of the
blaze and kindling fire; it gave pleasant token that the
kettle would be boiled by and by. But first she listened to
Juanita's feet brushing through the grass to get to the well;
and Daisy listened so hard, she could almost tell after a
while whether the grass was dry or whether it was heavy with
dew. Juanita always carried the kettle to the well; and when
she came back, Daisy could hear the iron clink of the stove as
the kettle was put on. Presently Juanita came in then from her
kitchen, and began the work of putting the house in order. How
nicely she did it! like the perfection of a nurse, which she
was. No dust, no noise, no bustle; still as a mouse, but
watchful as a cat, the alert old woman went round the room,
and made all tidy, and all clean and fresh. Very likely
Juanita would change the flowers in a little vase which stood
on the mantelpiece or the table, before she felt that
everything was as it ought to be.

When all that was done, her next attention was to Daisy
herself; and Daisy never in her life had nicer tending than
now. If Juanita was a nurse, she was a dressing-maid too, of
first-rate qualifications. It was a real pleasure to have her
ministering about the couch; and for that matter, the whole
work of the morning, as Juanita managed it, was a regular and
unfailing piece of amusement to Daisy. And in the midst of it,
every look at the black woman's noble, sweet face, warmed
Daisy's heart with something better than amusement. Daisy grew
to love her very much.

This morning all these affairs had been gone through as usual;
and leaving Daisy in a happy, refreshed state, Mrs. Benoit
went off to prepare her breakfast. Like everything else, that
was beautifully done. By and by, in she came with a tray and
white napkin, white as napkin could be, and fine damask too.
For Juanita had treasures of various sorts, besides old moreen
curtains. On this tray, for instance, there was not only a
fine napkin of damask; there was a delicate cup and saucer of
fine china, which Daisy thought very beautiful. It was as thin
and fine as any cup at Melbourne House, and had a dainty vine
of leaves and flowers running round it, in a light red brown
colour. The plate was not to match; it was a common little
white plate; but that did not matter. The tea was in the
little brown cup, and Daisy's lips closed upon it with entire
satisfaction. Juanita had some excellent tea too; and if she
had not, there was a sufficient supply sent from Melbourne; as
well as of everything else. So today there was not only the
brown toast in strips, which Daisy fancied; but there were
great red Antwerp raspberries for her; and that made, Daisy
thought, the very best breakfast that could be eaten. She was
very bright this morning.

"Juanita," she said, "I have found something for Dr. Sandford
already."

"What does Miss Daisy mean?"

"Don't you know? Didn't you hear him yesterday? He gave me
something to do. He said he would tell me about anything
wonderful I could see in the course of the day; and I have
found something already."

"Seems to me as all the Lord has made is wonderful," said the
black woman. "Does Miss Daisy think Dr. Sandford can tell her
all about it?"

"Why, I suppose he knows a great deal, Juanita."

"If he knowed one thing more," — said the black woman. "Here
he is, Miss Daisy. He's early."

Certainly he was; but Dr. Sandford had a long ride to take
that morning, and could only see Daisy then on his way. In
silence he attended to her, and with no delay; smiled at her;
put the tips of his fingers to her raspberry dish, and took
out one for his own lips; then went quick away. Daisy smiled
curiously. She was very much amused at him. She did not ask
Juanita what she meant by the "one thing more." Daisy knew
quite well; or thought she did.

All that day she was in an amused state, watching to see
wonderful things. Her father's and mother's visits came as
usual. Preston came and brought her some books. Hephzibah
came, too, and had a bit of a lesson. But Hephzibah's wits
were like her hair, straying all manner of ways. It was very
difficult to make her understand the difference between a, b,
ab, — and b, a, ba; and that was discouraging. Daisy toiled
with her till she was tired; and then was glad to lie still
and rest? without even thinking of wonderful things, till
Juanita brought her her dinner.

As the doctor had been early, so he was late to-day. It was
near sunset when he came, and Daisy was a little disappointed,
fancying that he was tired. He said nothing at first; attended
to Daisy's foot in the profoundest gravity; but in the midst
of it, without looking up, he asked, "What wonderful things
have you seen to-day?"

"I am afraid you are tired, Dr. Sandford," said Daisy, very
gently.

"What then?"

"Then it might tire you more to talk to me."

"You have seen something wonderful, have you?" said he doctor,
glancing at her.

"Two or three things, sir."

"One at a time," said the doctor. "I am tired. I have ridden
nearly seventy miles to-day, one way and another. Have you got
a cup of milk for me, Mrs. Benoit?"

Daisy eagerly beckoned Juanita, and whispered to her, and the
result was that with the cup of milk came a plate of the
magnificent raspberries. The doctor opened his grave eyes at
Daisy, and stood at the foot of her couch, picking up
raspberries with his finger and thumb, as he had taken that
one in the morning.

"Now what are the wonderful things?" said he.

"You are too tired to-night, Dr. Sandford."

"Let us have number one. Promises must be kept, Daisy.
Business is business. Have you got such hard work for me? What
was the first thing?"

"The first wonderful thing that I saw — or at least that I
thought of —" said Daisy, "was the sun."

The doctor eat half a dozen raspberries without speaking,
giving an odd little smile first in one corner of his mouth,
and then in the other.

"Do you expect me to tell you about that?" said he.

"You said business was business," Daisy replied, with equal
gravity to his own.

"I am glad the idea of the universe did not occur to you,"
said the doctor. "That might have been rather inconvenient for
one evening's handling. What would you like me to tell you
about the sun?"

"I do not know anything at all about it," said Daisy. "I would
like to know everything you can tell me."

"The thought that first comes to me," said the doctor, "is,
that it ripened these raspberries."

"I know _that_," said Daisy. "But I want to know what it is."

"The sun! Well," said the doctor, "it is a dark, round thing,
something like this earth, only considerably bigger."

"_Dark!_" said Daisy. "Certainly. I have no reason to believe it
anything else."

"But you are laughing at me, Dr. Sandford," said Daisy,
feeling very much disappointed and a little aggrieved.

"Am I? No, Daisy — if you had ridden seventy miles to-day, you
might be tempted, but you would not feel like laughing.
Business is business, I must remind you again."

"But you do not mean that the sun is dark?" said Daisy.

"I mean precisely what I say, I assure you."

"But it is so bright we cannot look at it," said Daisy.

"Something is so bright you cannot look at it. The something
is not the body of the sun."

"Then it is the light that comes from it."

"No light comes from it, that I know. I told you, the sun is a
dark body."

"Not laughing?"

"No," said Dr. Sandford, though he did laugh now; "the sun,
you see, is a more wonderful thing than you imagined."

"But sir, may I ask any question I have a mind to ask?"

"Certainly! All in the course of business."

"How do you know that it is dark, sir?"

"Perfectly fair. Suppose that Mrs. Benoit stood behind your
curtain there, and that you had never seen her; how could you
know that she has a dark skin?"

"Why, I could not."

"Yes, you could — if there were rents in the curtain."

"But what are you talking of, sir?"

"Only telling you, in answer to your question, how I know the
sun to be a dark body."

"But there is no curtain over the sun."

"That proves you are no philosopher, Daisy. If you were a
philosopher, you would not be so certain of anything. There is
a curtain over the sun; and there are rents or holes in the
curtain sometimes, — so large that we can see the dark body of
the sun through them."

"What is the curtain? Is _that_ the light?"

"Now you are coming pretty near it, Daisy," said the doctor.
"The curtain, as I call it, is not light, but it is what the
light comes from."

"Then what _is_ it, Dr. Sandford?"

"That has puzzled people wiser than you and I, Daisy. However,
I think I may venture to say, that it is something like an
ocean of flame, surrounding the dark body of the sun."

"And there are holes in it?"

"Sometimes."

"But they must be very large holes to be seen from this
distance?"

"Very," said the doctor. "A great many times bigger than our
whole earth."

"Then how do you know but they are dark islands in the ocean?"

"For several reasons," said the doctor, looking gravely funny;
"one of which reasons is, that we can see the deep ragged
edges of the holes, and that these edges join together again."

"But there could not be holes in _our_ ocean?" said Daisy.

Dr. Sandford gave a good long grave look at her, set aside his
empty plate which had held raspberries, and took a chair. He
talked to her now with serious, quiet earnest, as if she had
been a much older person.

"Our ocean, Daisy, you will remember, is an ocean of fluid
matter. The ocean of flame which surrounds the sun is gaseous
matter — or a sort of ocean of air, in a state of
incandescence. This does not touch the sun, but floats round
it, upon or above another atmosphere of another kind — like
the way in which our clouds float in the air over our heads.
You know how breaks come and go in the clouds; so you can
imagine that this luminous covering of the sun parts in
places, and shows the sun through, and then closes up again."

"Is that the way it is?" said Daisy.

"Even so."

"Dr. Sandford, you said a word just now I did not understand."

"Only one?" said the doctor.

"I think there was only one I did not know in the least."

"Can you direct me to it?"

"You said something about an ocean of air in a state — what
state?"

"Incandescence?"

"That was it."

"That is a state where it gives out white heat."

"I thought everything at the sun must be on fire," said Daisy,
looking meditatively at the doctor.

"You see you were mistaken. It has only a covering of clouds
of fire — so to speak."

"But it must be very hot there."

"It is pretty hot _here_," said the doctor, shrugging his
shoulders, — "ninety five millions of miles away; so I do not
see that we can avoid your conclusion."

"How much is ninety five millions?"

"I am sure I don't know," said Dr. Sandford, gravely. "After I
have gone as far as a million or so, I get tired."

"But I do not know much about arithmetic," said Daisy, humbly.
"Mamma has not wanted me to study. I don't know how much one
million is."

"Arithmetic does not help one on a journey, Miss Daisy," said
the doctor, pleasantly. "Counting the miles did not comfort me
to-day. But I can tell you this. If you and I were to set off
on a railway train, straight for the sun, and go at the rate
of thirty-two miles an hour, — you know that is pretty fast
travelling?"

"How fast do we go on the cars from here to New York?"

"Thirty miles an hour."

"Now I know," said Daisy.

"If we were to set off and go straight to the sun at that rate
of speed, keeping it up night and day, it would take us — how
long do you guess? It would take us three hundred years and
more; — nearly three hundred and fifty years, — to get there."

"I cannot imagine travelling so long," said Daisy, gravely. At
which Dr. Sandford laughed; the first time Daisy had ever
heard him do such a thing. It was a low, mellow laugh now; and
she rather enjoyed it.

"I should like to know what a million is," she observed.

"Ten hundred thousand."

"And how many million miles did you say the sun is?"

"Ninety-five millions of miles away."

Daisy lay thinking about it.

"Can you imagine travelling faster? And then we need not be so
long on the journey," said Dr. Sandford. "If we were to go as
fast as a cannon ball, it would take us about seven years —
not quite so much — to get to the sun."

"How fast does a cannon ball go?"

"Fifty times as fast as a railway train."

"I cannot imagine that either, Dr. Sandford."

"Give it up, Daisy," said the doctor, rising, and beginning to
put himself in order for travelling.

"Are you going?" said Daisy.

"Not till you have done with me!"

"Dr. Sandford, have you told me all there is to tell about the
sun?"

"No."

"Would it take too long this evening?"

"Considering that the sun will not stay to be talked about,
Daisy," said the doctor, glancing out of the window, "I should
say it would."

"Then I will ask only one thing more. Dr. Sandford, how can
you tell so exactly how long it would take to go to the sun?
How do you know?"

"Quite fair, Daisy," said the doctor, surveying her gravely.
"I know, by the power of a science called mathematics, which
enables one to do all sorts of impossible things. But you must
take that on my word; I cannot explain so that you would
understand it."

"Thank you, sir," said Daisy.

She wanted further to ask what sort of a science mathematics
might be; but Dr. Sandford had answered a good many questions,
and the sun was down, down, behind the trees on the other side
of the road. Daisy said no more. The doctor, seeing her
silent, smiled, and prepared himself to go.

"Shall we finish the sun to-morrow, Daisy?"

"Oh, if you please."

"Very well. Good-bye."

The doctor went, leaving Daisy in a very refreshed state; with
plenty to think of. Daisy was quite waked out of her weariness
and disappointment, and could do well enough without books for
one day longer. She took her own raspberries now with great
spirit.

"I have found two more wonderful things to talk to Dr.
Sandford about, Juanita; that is three to-day."

"Does Miss Daisy think the doctor can tell her all?"

"I don't know. He knows a great deal, Juanita."

"Seems he knows more than Job did," said Mrs. Benoit, who had
her private misgivings about the authenticity of all Dr.
Sandford's statements.

Daisy thought a little. "Juanita, Job lived a great while
ago."

"Yes, Miss Daisy."

"How much did he know about the sun? does the Bible tell?"

"It tells a little what he didn't know, Miss Daisy."

"Oh, Juanita, after I get through my tea, and when you have
had yours, won't you read me in the Bible all about Job and
the sun?"

Mrs. Benoit liked nothing better; and whatever other
amusements failed, or whatever other parties anywhere in the
land found their employments unsatisfactory, there was one
house where intent interest and unflagging pleasure went
through the whole evening; it was where Daisy and Mrs. Benoit
read "about Job and the sun." Truth to tell, as that portion
of Scripture is but small, they extended their reading
somewhat.

Daisy's first visitor the next day was her father. He came
with fresh flowers and fresh fruit, and with "Sandford and
Merton," too, in which he read to her; so the morning went
well.

"Papa," said Daisy, when he was about leaving her, "do you not
think Dr. Sandford is a very interesting man?"

"It is the general opinion of ladies, I believe, Daisy; but I
advise you not to lose your heart to him. I am afraid he is
not to be depended on."

"Oh, papa," said Daisy, a little shocked, "I do not mean that
he is a man one would get _fond_ of."

"Pray who do you think is, Daisy?" said Mr. Randolph,
maintaining his gravity admirably.

"Papa, don't you think Captain Drummond is — and —"

"And who, Daisy?"

"I was thinking — Mr. Dinwiddie, papa." Daisy did not quite
know how well this last name would be relished, and she
coloured a little apprehensively.

"You are impartial in your professional tastes, I am glad to
see," said Mr. Randolph. Then, observing how innocent of
understanding him was the grave little face of Daisy, he bent
down to kiss her.

"And you are unfortunate in your favourites. — Both at a
distance! How is Gary McFarlane?"

"Papa, I think he has good nature; but I think he is rather
frivolous."

Mr. Randolph looked soberly at the little face before him, and
went away, thinking his own thoughts. But he had the cruelty
to repeat to Dr. Sandford so much of this conversation as
concerned that gentleman; in doing so he unwittingly laid the
foundation of more attention to Daisy on the doctor's part,
than he probably would ever otherwise have given her. To say
truth — the idea propounded by Daisy was so very novel to the
doctor that it both amused and piqued him.

Mr. Randolph had hardly gone out, when Hephzibah came in. And
then followed a lesson the like of which Daisy had not given
yet. Hephzibah's attention was on everything but the business
in hand. Also, she had a little less awe of Daisy lying on
Mrs. Benoit's couch in a loose gown, than when she met her in
the Belvedere at Melbourne, dressed in an elegant cambric
frock, with a resplendent sash.

"C, a, spells ca, Hephzibah. Now what is that?"

"Over your finger?"

"Yes."

"That's — C."

"C, a. And what does it spell?"

"Did the stone fall right onto your foot?"

"Yes — partly on."

"And was it broke right off?"

"No. Oh, no. Only the bone of my ankle was broken."

"It smarted some, I guess; didn't it?"

"No. Now Hephzibah, what do those two letters spell?"

"C, a, ca. That don't mean nothin'."

" Now the next. D, a —"

"What's D, a?"

"D, a, da."

"What's that?"

"Nothing; only it spells that."

"How soon'll you be up again?"

"I do not know. In a few weeks."

"Before the nuts is ripe?"

"Oh, yes, I hope so."

"Well, I'll show you where there's the biggest hickory nuts
you ever see! They're right back of Mr. Lamb's barn — only
three fields to cross — and there's three hickory trees; and
the biggest one has the biggest nuts, mother says, she ever
see. Will you go and get some?"

"But, Hephzibah, those are Mr. Lamb's nuts, aren't they?"

"I don't care."

"But," said Daisy, looking very grave, "don't you know,
Hephzibah, it is wrong to meddle with anything that belongs to
other people?"

"He hain't no right to 'em, I don't believe."

"I thought you said they were in Mr. Lamb's field?"

"So they be."

"Then they are his nuts. You would not like anybody to take
them, if they belonged to you."

"It don't make no odds," said Hephzibah, sturdily, but looking
down at the same time. "He'll get it out of us some other
way."

"Get it out of you?" said Daisy.

"Yes."

"What do you mean?"

"He gets it out of everybody," said Hephzibah. "Tain't no
odds."

"But, Hephzibah, if those trees were yours, would you like to
have Mr. Lamb come and take the nuts away?"

"No. I'd get somebody to shoot him."

Daisy hardly knew how to go along with her discourse;
Hephzibah's erratic opinions started up so fast. She looked at
her little rough pupil in absolute dismay. Hephzibah showed no
consciousness of having said anything remarkable. Very sturdy
she looked; very assured in her judgment. Daisy eyed her rough
bristling hair, with an odd kind of feeling that it would not
be more difficult to comb down into smoothness than the
unregulated thoughts of her mind. She must begin gently. But
Daisy's eyes grew most wistfully earnest.

"Would you shoot Mr. Lamb for taking away your nuts?"

"Just as lieves."

"Then, how do you think he would feel about your taking his
nuts?"

"I don't care!"

"But, Hephzibah, listen. Do you know what the Bible says? It
says, that we must do to other people just what we would like
to have them do to us in the same things."

"Then he oughtn't to have sot such a price on his meat," said
Hephzibah.

"But, then," said Daisy, "what would it be right for you to do
about his nuts?"

"I don't care," said Hephzibah. " 'Tain't no odds. I'm a going
to get 'em. I guess it's time for me to go home."

"But, Hephzibah, — you have not done your lesson yet. I want
you to learn all this row to-day. The next is, f, a, fa."

"That don't mean nothin'," said Hephzibah.

"But you want to learn it, before you can go on to what does
mean something."

"I don't guess I do," said Hephzibah.

"Don't you want to learn to read?"

"Yes, but that ain't reading'."

"But you cannot learn to read without it," said Daisy.

Under this urging, Hephzibah did consent to go down the column
of two-letter syllables.

"Ain't you going with me after them nuts?" she said, as soon
as the bottom of the page was reached. "I'll show you a
rabbit's nest. La! it's so pretty!"

"I hope you will not take the nuts, Hephzibah, without Mr.
Lamb's leave."

"I ain't going to ask his leave," said Hephzibah. "He
wouldn't give it to me, besides. It's fun, I tell you."

"It is wrong," said Daisy. "I don't think there's any fun in
doing what's wrong."

"It is fun, though, I tell you," said Hephzibah. "It's real
sport. The nuts come down like rain; and we get whole baskets
full. And then, when you crack 'em, I tell you, they are
sweet."

"Hephzibah, do you know what the Bible says?"

"I don't want to learn no more to-day," said the child. "I'm
going. Good bye, Daisy."

She stayed no further instruction of any kind; but caught up
her calico sun-bonnet, and went off at a jump, calling out
"Good bye, Daisy!" when she had got some yards from the house.

Daisy lay still, looking very thoughtful.

"The child has just tired you, my love!" said the black woman.

"What shall I do, Juanita? She doesn't understand."

"My love knows who opened the eyes of the blind," said
Juanita.

Daisy sighed. Certainly teaching seemed to take very small
hold on her rough little pupil. These thoughts were suddenly
banished by the entrance of Mrs. Randolph.

The lady was alone this time. How like herself she looked,
handsome and stately, in characteristic elegance of attire and
manner both. Her white morning dress floated off in soft edges
of lace from her white arms; a shawl of precious texture was
gathered loosely about them; on her head, a gossamer web of
some fancy manufacture fell off on either side, a mock
covering for it. She came up to Daisy and kissed her, and then
examined into her various arrangements, to see that she was in
all respects well and properly cared for.

Her mother's presence made Daisy feel very meek. Her kiss had
been affectionate, her care was motherly; but with all that
there was not a turn of her hand nor a tone of her calm voice,
that did not imply and express absolute possession, perfect
control. That Daisy was a little piece of property belonging
to her in sole right, with which she did and would do
precisely what it might please her, with very little concern
how or whether it might please Daisy. Daisy was very far from
putting all this in words, or even in distinct thoughts;
nevertheless, she felt and knew every bit of it; her mother's
hand did not touch Daisy's foot or her shoulder, without her
inward consciousness what a powerful hand it was. Now it is
true that all this was in one way no new thing; Daisy had
always known her mother's authority to be just what it was
now; but it was only of late that a question had arisen about
the bearing of this authority upon her own little life and
interests. With the struggle that had been, and the new
knowledge that more struggles in the future were not
impossible, the consciousness of her mother's power over her
had a new effect. Mrs. Randolph sat down and took out her
tetting-work; but she only did a few stitches.

"What child was that I met running from the house as I came
up?" she asked, a little to Daisy's discomfiture.

"It was a little girl who belongs in the village, mamma."

"How comes she to know you?"

"It happened by accident partly, in the first place."

"What accident?"

"Mamma, I will tell you another time, if you will let me." For
Daisy knew that Juanita was not far off.

But Mrs. Randolph only said, "Tell me now."

"Mamma — it was partly an accident," Daisy repeated. "I found
out by accident that they were very poor — and I carried them
something to eat."

"Whom do you mean by 'them'?"

"That little girl and her mother — Mrs. Harbonner."

"When did you do this?"

"About the time of my birthday."

"And you have kept up the acquaintance since that time?"

"I carried the woman work once, mamma. I had papa's leave to
go."

"Did you ask mine?"

"No, mamma. It was papa who had forbidden me to go into any
house without leave; so I asked him to let me tell her about
the work."

"What was — this child here for, to-day?"

"Mamma — she is a poor child, and could not go to school; and
— I was trying to teach her something."

"What were you trying to teach her?"

"To read, mamma — and to do right."

"Have you ever done this before."

"Yes, mamma — a few times."

"Can it be that you have a taste for low society, Daisy?"

Mrs. Randolph had been asking questions calmly while going on
with her tetting-work: at this one she raised her eyes and
bent them full, with steady, cold inquiry, on Daisy's face.
Daisy looked a little troubled.

"No, mamma — I do not think I have."

"Is not this child very rude and ill-mannered?"

"Yes, ma'am, but —"

"Is she even a clean child?"

"Not _very_, mamma."

"You are changed, Daisy," said Mrs. Randolph, with a slight
but keen expression of disdain. The child felt it, yet felt it
not at all to the moving of her steadfastness.

"Mamma — it was only that I might teach her. She knows nothing
at all, almost."

"And does Daisy Randolph think such a child is a fit companion
for her?"

"Not a _companion_, mamma."

"What business have you with a child who is not a fit
companion for you?"

"Only, mamma, to try to be of some benefit to her."

"I shall be of some benefit to you, now. Since I cannot trust
you, Daisy — since your own delicacy and feeling of what is
right does not guide you in such matters, I shall lay my
commands on you for the future. You are to have nothing to do
with any person, younger or older, without finding out what my
pleasure is about it. Do you understand me?"

"Yes, mamma."

"You are to give no more lessons to children who are not fit
companions for you. You are not to have anything to do with
this child in particular. Daisy, understand me — I forbid you
to speak to her again."

"Oh, mamma —"

"Not a word," said Mrs. Randolph.

"But, mamma, please! just this. May I not tell her once, that
I cannot teach her? She will think me so strange!"

Mrs. Randolph was silent.

"Might I not, just that once, mamma?"

"No."

"She will not know what to think of me," said Daisy; her lip
trembling, her eye reddening, and only able by the greatest
self-control to keep from bursting into tears.

"That is your punishment" — replied Mrs. Randolph, in a
satisfied, quiet sort of way.

Daisy felt crushed. She could hardly think.

"I am going to take you in hand, and bring you into order,"
said Mrs. Randolph, with a smile, bending over to kiss Daisy,
and looking at her lips and eyes in a way Daisy wished she
would not. The meek little face certainly promised small
difficulty in her way, and Mrs. Randolph kissed the trembling
mouth again.

"I do not think we shall quarrel," she remarked. "But if we
do, Daisy, I shall know how to bear my part of it."

She turned carelessly to her tetting again, and Daisy lay
still; quiet and self-controlled, it was all she could do. She
could hardly bear to watch her mother at her work; — the
thought of "quarrels" between them was so inevitable and so
dreadful. She could hardly bear to look out of her window; the
sunshine and bright things out there seemed to remind her of
her troubles; for they did not look bright now, as they had
done in the early morning. She lay still and kept still; that
was all; while Mrs. Randolph kept at her work, amusing herself
with it an uncommonly long time. At last she was tired; threw
her shawl round her shoulders again, and stood up to go.

"I think we can soon have you home, Daisy," she said, as she
stooped to kiss her. "Ask Dr. Sandford when he comes, how
soon it will do now to move you; ask him tonight; will you?"

Daisy said, "Yes, mamma," and Mrs. Randolph went.


CHAPTER XIX.

THE DOCTOR.


The day was a heavy one to Daisy and Juanita after that. The
little cottage was very silent. Daisy lay still, saying
nothing, and generally keeping her face turned towards the
window so that her friend could not see it; and when Mrs.
Benoit proposed, as she several times did, to read to Daisy or
sing to her, she was always answered by a gentle, "No,
Juanita," which was as decided as it was gentle. The last
time, indeed, Daisy had yielded, and given assent to the
proposition; but Mrs. Benoit did not feel sure that she gave
anything else; either attention or approbation. Daisy's dinner
she had prepared with particular care; but it was not enjoyed;
Mrs. Benoit knew that. She sighed to herself, and then sang to
herself, in a softly kind of way; Daisy gave no heed, and only
lay still with her face turned to the window.

By and by, late in the afternoon, the doctor came in. He was
not a favourite of Mrs. Benoit, but she was glad to see him
now. She withdrew a little out of the way and watched to see
what he would say.

The doctor's first care as usual was the foot. That was going
on well. Having attended to that, he looked at Daisy's face.
It did not seem to him satisfactory, Mrs. Benoit saw; for his
next move was to the head of the couch, and he felt Daisy's
hand, while his eyes studied her.

"How do you do to-day?"

"I am getting better," said Daisy.

"Are you? Your voice sounds weak to-night."

"I do not suppose I am very strong."

"How many wonderful things have you found to-day?"

"I have not thought about them — I have not found any."

Doctor Sandford bent a little over Daisy's couch, holding her
hand still, and examining her.

"What is the matter, Daisy?" said he.

Daisy fidgeted. The doctor's fine blue eyes were too close to
her and too steady to be escaped from. Daisy turned her own
eyes uneasily away, then brought them back; she could not help
it. He was waiting for her to speak.

"Dr. Sandford," she said, humbly, "won't you please excuse
me?"

"Excuse you what, Daisy?"

"From telling you what you want to know."

"Pray, why should I?"

"It is something that is quite private to myself."

If the doctor's lips remained perfectly still for some
moments, it was because they had a private inclination to
smile, in which he would not indulge them. Daisy saw nothing
but the most moveless gravity.

"Private from all but your physician, Daisy," he said at last.
"Do not you know he is an exception to general rules?"

"Is he?" said Daisy.

"Certainly. I always become acquainted with people's private
affairs."

"But I do not want that you should be acquainted with mine."

"No matter. You are under my care," said the doctor. Then
after a minute, he added, in a lower tone, "What have you been
shedding tears about to-day?"

Daisy's face looked intensely grave; wise and old beyond her
days, though the mouth was also sweet. So she faced the
doctor, and answered him with the sedateness of fifty years —
"I can't very well tell you, Dr. Sandford."

"You have been shedding tears to-day?"

"Yes, sir —" said Daisy, softly.

"A good many of them? You have been lying here with your face
to the window, crying quietly, a good part of the afternoon —
have you not?"

"Yes, sir," said Daisy, wondering at him.

"Now, I am your physician, and must know what was the matter."

"It is something I cannot tell about, Dr. Sandford."

"Yes, Daisy, you are mistaken. Whatever concerns you, concerns
me; if it is the concern of nobody else. Were you tired of
lying here so long, day after day?"

"Oh, no, sir! I don't mind that at all. I mean — I don't mind
it at all, much."

"You do not?" said the doctor. "Have you lost a pet kitten, or
a beloved lap-dog?"

"I haven't any, either a kitten or a dog," said Daisy.

"Has that young cavalier, Preston Gary, neglected you?"

"He would not do that," said Daisy; "but he is very fond of
shooting."

"He is!" said Dr. Sandford. "Most boys are. You have not felt
lonely, then, Daisy?"

"Oh, no, sir."

"I believe I should, in your place. What is the matter, then?
I ask as your friend and physician; and you must tell me,
Daisy. Who has been to see you to-day?"

"Papa —he came and read to me. Then a little girl — and
mamma."

"Did the little girl trouble you?"

"Not much —" said Daisy, hesitatingly.

"In what way?"

"She only would not learn to read as fast as I wanted."

"You were the teacher?"

"Yes, sir — I was trying — I wanted to teach her."

"And has her obduracy or stupidity caused all this sorrow and
annoyance?"

"Oh, no, sir —" But Daisy's eyes filled.

"Then has Mrs. Randolph been the trouble-maker?"

Now Daisy flushed, her lip worked tremblingly; she turned her
little head to one side, and laid her hand over her brow, to
baffle those steady blue eyes of the doctor's. But the doctor
left the side of the couch, and took a step or two towards
where Juanita was sitting.

"Mrs. Benoit," said he, "has this little patient of yours had
her tea?"

"No, sir. His honour knows, it's early yet in the afternoon."

"Not so very. Do you mean she took enough for dinner to last
her till to-morrow?"

"No, sir; her dinner was little better than nothing."

"Then make a cup, in your best style, Mrs. Benoit — and
perhaps you will give me one. And have you got any more of
those big raspberries for her? bring them, and a bit of
toast."

While Juanita was gone on this business, which took a little
time, the doctor slowly paced back and forth through the small
cottage room, with his hands behind him, and a thoughtful
face. Daisy fancied he was considering her affair; but she was
very much mistaken; Dr. Sandford had utterly forgotten her for
the moment, and was pondering some difficult professional
business. When Juanita appeared with her tea tray, he came out
of his abstraction; and, though still with a very unrelaxed
face, he arranged Daisy's pillows so that she might be raised
up a little, and feel more comfortable. His hands were strong
and skilful, and kind too; there was a sort of pleasure in
having them manage her; but Daisy looked on with a little
wonder to see him take the charge of being her servitor in
what came afterwards. He made her a cup of tea; let her taste
it from his hands; and gave the plate of raspberries into her
own.

"Is it good?" he asked her.

"Very good!" Daisy said, with so gentle and reverential a look
at him, that the doctor smiled. He said nothing, however, at
present, but to take care that she had her supper; and looked
meanwhile to see the colour of Daisy's cheeks change a little,
and the worn, wearied lines of her face take a more natural
form. His own ministrations were more effectual than the
eating and drinking; it was so very odd to have Dr. Sandford
waiting upon her that Daisy was diverted, and could not help
it.

"Will you take some tea too, Dr. Sandford?" she said, in the
midst of this. "Won't you take it now, while it is hot?"

"I take my tea cold, Daisy, thank you. I'll have it
presently."

So he poured out his own cup, and left it to cool, while he
attended to Daisy; and when she would have no more, he took
the cup from the tray, and sent Mrs. Benoit off with the rest
of the things.

"Now, Daisy," said he, as he took away her bolstering pillows,
and laid her nicely down again, "now, Daisy, I am your
confidential friend and physician, and I want to know what
command Mrs. Randolph has given to trouble you. It is my
business to know, and you must tell me."

He was so cool about it, and so determined, that Daisy was
staggered. He stood holding her hand, and waiting for her
answer.

"Mamma —"

Daisy came to a great stop. The doctor waited.

"It was about the little girl."

"Very well. Go on, Daisy." He took up his cup of tea now and
began to sip it.

Poor Daisy! She had never been more bewildered in her life.

"What about the little girl?"

"Mamma — doesn't want me to teach her."

"Is it so favourite an amusement?"

"No, sir —" said Daisy, hesitatingly.

"Was that all the trouble?"

"No, sir."

The doctor sipped his cup of tea, and looked at Daisy. He did
not say anything more; yet his eyes so steadily waited for
what further she had to say, that Daisy fidgeted; like a
fascinated creature, obliged to do what it would not. She
could not help looking into Dr. Sandford's face, and she could
not withstand what she saw there.

"Dr. Sandford," she began in her old-fashioned way, "you are
asking me what is private between my mother and me."

"Nothing is private from your physician, Daisy. I am not Dr.
Sandford; I am your physician."

"But you are Dr. Sandford to mamma."

"The business is entirely between you and me."

Daisy hesitated a little longer, but the power of fascination
upon her was irresistible.

"I was sorry not to teach the little girl," she said at
length; "but I was particularly troubled because — because —"

"Mrs. Randolph was displeased with your system of
benevolence?"

"No — not that. Yes, I was troubled about that too. But what
troubled me most was — that mamma would not let me speak to
her, to tell her why I must not teach her. I must not say
anything to her again, at all."

Dr. Sandford's eyes, looking, saw that Daisy had indeed spoken
out her trouble now. Such a cloud of sorrow came over her
brow; such witnessing redness about her eyelids, though Daisy
let the witness of tears get no further.

"What do you suppose was your mother's purpose in making that
last regulation?" he went on, in a cool, business tone.

"I don't know — I suppose to punish me," — Daisy said,
faintly.

"Punish you for what?"

"Mamma did not like me to teach that little girl — and I had
done it, I mean I had begun to do it, without asking her."

"Was it a great pleasure?" said the doctor.

"It would have been a great pleasure if I could have taught
her to read," Daisy said, with her face brightening at the
idea.

"I presume it would. Well, Daisy, now you and I will arrange
this affair. I do not consider it wholesome for you to engage
in this particular amusement at this particular time; so I
shall endorse Mrs. Randolph's prohibition; but I will go round
— where does this girl live, and who is she?"

"Her name is Hephzibah Harbonner; she lives in the village, on
the road where the Episcopal church is — you know; — a little
way further on. I guess it's a quarter of a mile."

"South, eh? Well, I will go round by her house, and tell the
girl that I cannot let you do any such kindnesses just now,
and that, till I give her leave, she must not come to see you.
How will that do, Daisy."

"Thank you, Dr. Sandford!"

He saw it was very earnestly spoken, and that Daisy's brow
looked clearer.

"And instead of that amusement, you must study wonderful
things to-morrow. Will you?"

"Oh, yes, Dr. Sandford! But we have not finished about the sun
yet."

"No. Well — to-morrow, then, Daisy."

"Thank you, sir. Dr. Sandford, mamma wanted me to ask you a
question before you go."

"Ask it."

"How soon I can be moved home?''

"Are you in a great hurry?"

"No, sir, but I think mamma is."

"You call bear to wait a little longer, and study wonderful
things from your window?"

"Oh, yes, sir! I think I can do it better here than at home,
because my bed is so close to the window, I can look right
out."

"I shall not let you be moved just yet, Daisy. Good-night. I
will see — what's her name?"

"Harbonner — Hephzibah Harbonner."

"Good-night."

And Daisy watched the doctor as he went down the path, mounted
his horse, and rode away, with great admiration; thinking how
handsome and how clever and how chivalric he was. Daisy did
not use that word in thinking of him; nevertheless, his
skilful nursing, and his taking up her cause so effectually,
had made a great impression upon her. She was greatly
comforted. Juanita, watching her face, saw that it looked so;
there was even a dawning smile upon Daisy's lips at one time.
It faded however into a deep gravity; and one or two long
drawn breaths told of heavy thoughts.

"What troubles has my love?" said the old woman.

Daisy turned her head quick round from the window, and smiled
a very sweet smile in her face.

"I was thinking, Juanita."

"My little lady has a cloud come over her again."

"Yes, Juanita, I think I have. Oh, Juanita, I might tell you!
What shall I do, when everybody wants me to do what — what I
don't think is right? What shall I do, Juanita? I don't know
what I shall do."

"Suppose Miss Daisy take the Bible to her pa' — Miss Daisy
knows what her pa' promised."

"So he did, Juanita! thank you; I had forgotten that."

In five minutes more, Daisy was fast asleep. The black woman
stood looking at her. There was no cloud on the little face
now, but the signs of the day's work were there. Pale cheeks,
and weary features, and the tokens of past tears. Juanita
stood and looked, and twinkled away one or two from her own
eye-lashes; and then knelt down at the head of the bed, and
began a whispered prayer. — A prayer for the little child
before her, in which her heart poured itself out, that she
might be kept from evil, and might walk in the straight path,
and never be tempted or driven from it. Juanita's voice grew
louder than a whisper in her earnestness; but Daisy slept on.


CHAPTER XX.

SUN AND MOON.


The next day was an exceedingly hot and sultry one. Daisy had
no visitors until quite late in the afternoon; however it was
a peaceful day. She lay quiet and happy, and Juanita was quite
as well contented that the house should be empty, and they two
alone. Late in the afternoon, Preston came.

"Well, my dear little Daisy! so you are coming home?"

"Arm I?" said Daisy.

"To be sure; and your foot is going to get well, and we are
going to have all sorts of grand doings for you."

"My foot is getting well."

"Certainly. Don't be a Quaker, Daisy."

"What sort of doings are you going to have, Preston?"

"First thing — as soon as you are well enough for it — we are
going to have a grand pic-nic party to Silver Lake."

"Silver Lake? what, on the other side of the river?"

"Yes."

"Oh, how delightful! But I shall not be able to go in a long
time, Preston."

"Yes, you will. Aunt Felicia says you are coming back to
Melbourne now; and once we get you there, we'll cure you up.
Why, you must have moped half your wits away by this time. I
don't expect to find more than two-thirds of the original
Daisy left."

"I haven't moped at all."

"There! that is proof the first. When people are moping, and
do not know they are moping, that is the sign their wits are
departing. Poor Daisy! I don't wonder. We'll get you to rights
at Melbourne."

"Doctor Sandford will not let me be moved."

"Doctor Sandford cannot help himself. When aunt Felicia says
so, he will find ways and means."

"Preston," said Daisy, "I do not think you understand what
sort of a man Dr. Sandford is."

"Pray enlighten me, Daisy. I thought I did."

But Daisy was silent.

"What sort of a man is he?"

"Preston," said Daisy, abruptly, "I wish you would bring me
from Melbourne that tray filled with something, — plaster, — I
don't know what it is, — on which Captain Drummond and I
studied geography, and history."

"Geography and history on a tray!" said Preston. "That would
be one's hands full to carry!"

"Well, but it was," said Daisy. "The tray was smooth filled
with something, something a little soft, on which you could
mark; and Captain Drummond drew the map of England on it; and
we were just getting into the battle — what battle was it? —
when William came over from France, and King Harold met him?"

"Hastings?"

"We were just come to the battle of Hastings, before Captain
Drummond went away; and I should like so much to go on with
it!"

"But was the battle of Hastings on the tray?"

"No, Preston, but the place was; and Captain Drummond told me
about the battles."

"Who is here to tell you about them now, Daisy?"

"Couldn't you? — sometimes, now and then?"

"I might; but you see, Daisy, you are coming to Melbourne now,
and there will be Silver Lake, and lots of other things to do.
You won't want the tray here."

Daisy looked a little wistfully at her cousin. She said
nothing. And Preston turned sharply, for he heard a soft
rustle coming up the path, and was just in time to spring to
the door and open it for his aunt.

"How insufferably hot!" was Mrs. Randolph's remark. "How do
you do, Daisy?"

"I think she is bewitched to stay in banishment, aunt Felicia;
she will have it she is not coming home."

Mrs. Randolph's answer was given to the doctor, who entered at
the instant behind Preston.

"How soon can Daisy be moved, doctor?"

The doctor took a leisurely view of his little patient before
he replied. "Not at present."

"How soon —"

"If I think her fit for it, in a fortnight; possibly earlier."

"But that is, not till September!"

"I am afraid you are correct," said the doctor, coolly.

Mrs. Randolph stood pondering the question, how far it was
needful to own his authority. "It is dreadfully hot here, in
this little place! She would be much better if she were out of
it."

"How have you found it at Melbourne to-day?"

"Insufferable!"

"How has it been with you, Daisy?"

"It has been a nice day, Dr. Sandford."

The contrast was so extreme between the mental atmosphere of
one speaker and of the other, that Dr. Sandford smiled. It was
ninety degrees of Fahrenheit — and the fall of the dew.

"I have heard nobody say as much for the day before," he
remarked.

"But she would be much better at Melbourne."

"As soon as I think that, she shall go."

The doctor was absolute in his sphere, and Mr. Randolph,
moreover, she knew, would back him; so Mrs. Randolph held her
peace, though displeased. Nay, she entered into a little
conversation with the doctor on other subjects, as lively as
the day would admit, before she de parted. Preston stayed
behind, partly to improve his knowledge of Dr. Sandford.

"All has gone well to-day, Daisy?" he asked her, pleasantly.

"Oh, yes. And Dr. Sandford, shall we finish the sun?"

"By all means. What more shall I tell you?"

"How much more do you know, sir?"

"I know that it is globe — shaped — I know how big it is — I
know how heavy it is; and I know that it turns round and round
continually."

"Oh, sir, do you know all these things?"

"Yes."

"Please, Dr. Sandford, how can you?"

"You would mature into a philosopher, in time, Daisy."

"I hope not," muttered Preston.

"I know that it is globe-shaped, Daisy, because it turns round
and lets me see all sides of it."

"Is one side different from another."

"Only so far, as that there are spots here and there," Dr.
Sandford went on, looking at the exceeding eagerness in
Daisy's eyes. "The spots appear at one edge — pass over to the
other edge, and go out of sight. After a certain time I see
them come back again where I saw them first."

"Oh, I should like to see the spots on the sun!" said Daisy.
"You said they were holes in the curtain, sir?"

"Yes."

"What curtain?" said Preston.

"You are not a philosopher," said the doctor.

"How long does it take them, — the spots, — Dr. Sandford, to
go round and come back again?"

"A little more than twenty-five days."

"How very curious!" said Daisy. "I wonder what it turns round
for — the sun, I mean?"

"You have got too deep there," said the doctor. "I cannot tell
you."

"But there must be some reason," said Daisy; "or it would
stand still."

"It is in the nature of the thing, I suppose," said Dr.
Sandford; "but we do not fully know its nature yet. — Only
what I am telling you."

"How came people to find these things out?"

"By watching — and experimenting — and calculating."

"Then, how big is the sun, Dr. Sandford?"

"How big does it look?"

"Not very large — I don't know — I can't think of anything it
looks like."

"It looks just about as big as the moon does."

"Is it just the same size as the moon? But Dr. Sandford, it is
a great deal further off, isn't it?"

"Four hundred times as far."

"Then, it must be four hundred times as large, I should
think."

"It is just about that."

"But I do not know how large that would be. I cannot think."

"Nor can I, Daisy. But I can help you. Suppose we, and our
earth, were in the centre of the sun; and our moon going round
us at the same distance from us that she is now; there would
be room enough for the whole concern, as far as distances are
concerned."

"In the sun, Dr. Sandford?"

"In the sun."

"And the moon as far off as she is now?"

"Yes."

"But the _moon_ would not be in the sun too?"

"Plenty of room, and to spare."

Daisy was silent now. Preston looked from her face to the
doctor's.

"Not only that, Daisy; but the moon then would be two hundred
thousand miles within the circumference of the sun; the sun's
surface would be two hundred thousand miles beyond her."

"Thank you, Dr. Sandford!"

"What for, Daisy?"

"I am so glad to know all that."

"Why?"

Daisy did not answer. She did not feel ready to tell her whole
thought, — not to both her friends together, at least; and she
did not know how to frame her reply. But then, perceiving that
Dr. Sandford was looking for an answer, and that she was
guilty of the rudeness of withholding it, she blushed and
spoke.

"It makes me understand some things better."

"What, for instance?" said the doctor, looking as grave as
ever, though Preston was inclined to laugh.

Daisy saw it; nevertheless she answered, "The first chapter of
Genesis."

"Oh, you are there, are you?" said the doctor. "What light
have I thrown upon the passage, Daisy? It has not appeared to
myself."

Now Daisy hesitated. A sure though childish instinct told her
that her thoughts and feelings on this subject would meet with
no sympathy. She did not like to speak them.

"Daisy has peculiar views, Dr. Sandford," said Preston.

But the doctor paid him no attention. He looked at Daisy,
lifted her up, and arranged her pillows; then as he laid her
back said,

"Give me my explanation of that chapter, Daisy."

"It isn't an explanation, sir; — I did not know there was
anything to explain."

"The light I have thrown on it then — out of the sun."

Preston was amused, Daisy saw; she could not tell whether the
doctor was; his blue eyes gave no sign, except of a will to
hear what she had to say. Daisy hesitated, and hesitated, and
then, with something very like the old diplomacy she had
partly learned and partly inherited from her mother, she said,
"If you will read the chapter, I will tell you."

Now Daisy did not think Dr. Sandford would care to read the
chapter, or perhaps have the time for it; but, with an unmoved
face, he swung himself round on his chair, and called on Mrs.
Benoit for a Bible. Preston was in a state of delight, and
Mrs. Benoit of wonder. The Bible was brought, Dr. Sandford
took it, and opened it.

"We have only time for a short lecture to-day," he remarked,
"for I must be off. Now, Daisy, I will read, and you shall
comment."

Daisy felt worried. She turned uneasily, and rested her face
on her hand, and so lay, looking at the doctor; at his
handsome calm features and glittering blue eyes. What could
_she_ say to him? The doctor's eye saw a grave sweet little
face, a good deal flushed, very grave, with a whole burden of
thought behind its unruffled simplicity. It may be said, that
his curiosity was as great as Daisy's unwillingness. He began,
facing her as he read. Juanita stood by, somewhat anxious.

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."

The doctor stopped, and looked down at that face of Daisy
looking up at him. He waited.

"I did not use to think how much all that meant," said Daisy,
humbly.

The doctor went on. He went on with the grand, majestic words
of the story, — which sounded very strange to Daisy from his
lips, but — very grand; — till he came to the fourteenth
verse. " 'And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of
the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be
for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years: and let
them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven, to give
light upon the earth: and it was so.' " The doctor looked at
Daisy again.

"There," said she, "that is very different now from what it
used to be — I didn't know what sort of lights those were;
it's a great deal more wonderful now. Won't you read on a
little farther?"

" 'And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the
day, and the lesser light to rule the night; He made the stars
also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven, to give
light upon the earth, and to rule over the day, and over the
night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw
that it was good.' "

"That is what I mean," said Daisy, as the doctor paused. "I
never knew before what those 'lights' meant — I thought the
sun was — I don't know what; I didn't think much about it; but
now I never shall forget again. I know now what sort of a
light was made to rule the day; and I don't wonder —"

"Do not wonder what, Daisy?"

"I do not wonder that God said that it was good. I am so much
obliged to you for telling me about it."

"Never heard a more satisfactory application of knowledge in
my life," — the doctor remarked, with a smile, as he handed
back the Bible to Mrs. Benoit.

And then he and Preston went off; but Daisy lay long very
thoughtfully looking after them out of her window. Till the
sound of the horses' feet was far out of hearing, Daisy lay
there, looking into the evening. She did not stir till Mrs.
Benoit brought her supper.

"Isn't it wonderful, Juanita," she said, with a long-drawn
breath, "how the sun divides the light from the darkness!"

"Most things is wonderful, that the Lord makes," answered the
black woman.

"Are they?" said Daisy.

"But what makes my love sigh?" said Juanita, anxiously; for
Daisy's face had not brightened up, though she was taking her
tea.

Daisy looked at her. "Oh, Juanita!" she said, — "I am afraid
that Dr. Sandford is in the darkness!"

"Where the sun don't shine it be darkness, sure!" said
Juanita. "And he do not see the Light of the world, Miss
Daisy."

Daisy's eyes filled, filled. She liked Dr. Sandford very much.
And then, who else that she loved had never seen that Light!
Daisy pushed aside her tears, and tried to drink her tea; but
at last she gave it up. Her spoon fell into her saucer, and
she lay down, and hid her face in the pillow. The black woman
stood, with a strange grave look, and with watering eyes,
silent for a little time; holding Daisy's tray in her hands,
and waiting.

"Miss Daisy —"

"What, Juanita?"

"My love take her tea, to be strong; and then see how many she
can bring out of the darkness."

"I, Juanita?" said Daisy? rousing up.

"Maybe the Lord send His message by little hands. What
hinder?"

"But, Juanita, _I_ can't do anything?"

"Carry the Lord's message, Miss Daisy."

"Can I?"

"Why not, my love? The dear Lord, He do all. And Miss Daisy
knows, He hear the prayer of His servants."

The child looked at the black woman, with a wistful, earnest,
searching look that it was curious to see. She said nothing
more; she eyed Juanita as if she were searching into the depth
of something; then she went on with her supper. She was
thoughtful all the evening; busy with cogitations which she
did not reveal; quiet and absent-minded. Juanita guessed why;
and many a prayer went up from her own secret heart.

But from about this time Daisy began to grow well again. She
could not be moved, of course; Dr. Sandford would not permit
that; neither to be carried home, nor to change her place and
position in the cottage. But she was getting ready for it. The
latter half of August cooled off from its fierce heats, and
was pleasantly warm. Daisy took the benefit of the change. She
had rather a good time, those last weeks at Juanita's house;
and perhaps that was one reason why Dr. Sandford, seeing it,
chose to let well alone, and would not have anybody take Daisy
home. Daisy had a very good time. She had the peace of
Juanita's house; and at home she knew there would be things to
trouble her. She had books, and could read now as much as she
liked; and she was very fond of reading. Preston did not find
it expedient to bring the geography tray; on the other hand,
Mr. Randolph thought it good to come every day and spend a
piece of time with his little daughter; and became better
acquainted with her than ever he had been in his life before.
He discovered that Daisy was very fond of knowledge; that he
could please her no way better than by taking up the history
of' England and reading to her, and stopping to explain
everything by the way which Daisy did not understand.

English history was certainly an old story to Mr. Randolph;
but to discuss it with Daisy was a very new thing. He found
her eager, patient, intelligent, and wise with an odd sort of
child-wisdom which yet was not despicable for older years.
Daisy's views of the feudal system, and of the wittenagemot,
and of trial by jury, and of representative legislation, were
intensely amusing to Mr. Randolph; he said it was going back
to a primitive condition of society, to talk them over with
her; though there, I think, he was mistaken. If Daisy had read
those pages of history to herself, she would have passed over
some of these matters at least with little heed; she would not
have gone to anybody with questions. But Mr. Randolph reading
to her, it was an easy thing to ask the meaning of a word as
they passed; and that word would draw on a whole little bit of
talk. In this intercourse Mr. Randolph was exceedingly gentle,
deliberate, and kind. Daisy had nothing to fear, not even that
she might weary him; so those were hours of real enjoyment to
both parties.

Preston not very seldom came and made himself agreeable;
playing an occasional game of chess, and more often regaling
Daisy with a history of his expeditions. Other visitors Daisy
had from Melbourne, now and then; but her best friend for real
service, after her father and Juanita, was Dr. Sandford. He
took great care of his little patient's comfort and happiness;
which was a pretty thing in him, seeing that he was a young
man, busy with a very good country practice, and, furthermore,
busy with the demands made upon him as an admired pet of
society. For that was Dr. Sandford, and he knew it perfectly
well. Nevertheless his kind care of Daisy never abated.

It was of course partly his professional zeal and care that
were called for; but it could not have been those that made
him keep up his lectures to Daisy on the wonderful things she
found for him, day by day. In professional care those lectures
certainly began; but Daisy was getting well now; had nothing
more to trouble her, and showed an invariably happy as well as
wise little face. Yet Dr. Sandford used to sit down and tell
her of the things she asked about, with a sort of amused
patience — if it was no more; at any rate he was never
impatient. He talked to Daisy of the stars, which, with the
moon, were very naturally the next subjects of investigation
after the sun.

At last Daisy got him upon the subject of trilobites. It was
not difficult. Dr. Sandford was far more easy to move than
Preston — in this matter at least. He only smiled, and slid
into the story very simply; the story that Daisy was so eager
to hear. And it did not seem less worth hearing than she had
expected, nor less wonderful, nor less interesting. Daisy
thought about it a great deal, while Juanita listened and
doubted; but Daisy did not doubt. She believed the doctor told
her true. That the family to which her little fossil trilobite
belonged — the particular family — for they were generally
related, he said, to the lobster and crab, — were found in the
very oldest and deepest down rocks in which any sort of
remains of living things have been found; therefore, it is
likely they were among the earliest of earth's inhabitants.
There were a great many of them, the doctor said, and many
different species; for great numbers of them are found to this
day in those particular rocks. The rocks must have been made
at the time when the trilobites lived, and have somehow shut
them in. And the doctor thought it likely that at the time
when they lived, there was no dry land in existence, but all
covered by the sea. He would not take it upon him to be
positive; but this he could tell Daisy; there was never a
stick or a leaf to be found in those old rocks that ever lived
and grew on dry ground, though there were plenty that grew in
the sea, until in the very topmost or latest of those rocks
some few bits of fern-growth began to appear.

"But what plants live under water?" said Daisy.

"Sea weeds."

"Oh! So many of them?"

"So many, that the rocks are sometimes darkened by their
fossil remains, and in some places those remains form beds of
coal several feet thick."

"And are there a great many remains of the trilobites?"

"There are whole rocks, Daisy, that are formed almost entirely
of trilobites."

"Sea-weeds and trilobites — what a strange time!" said Daisy.
"Was that all that was living?"

"No; there were other sea creatures of the lower kind, and at
last fishes. But when the fishes became very numerous, the
trilobites died out and passed away."

That old time had a wonderful charm for Daisy; it was, as she
thought, better than a fairy tale. The doctor at last let her
into the secret that he had a trilobite too; and the next time
he came he brought it with him. He was good enough to leave it
with Daisy a whole day; and Daisy's meditations over it and
her own together were numberless and profound.

The next transition was somewhat sudden; — to a wasp or two
that had come foraging on Daisy's window-sill. But Dr.
Sandford was at home there; and so explained the wasp's work
and manner of life, with his structure and fitness for what he
had to do, that Daisy was in utter delight; though her eyes
sometimes opened upon Dr. Sandford with a grave wistful wonder
in them, that he should know all this so well, and yet never
acknowledge the hand that had given the wasp the tools and
instinct for his work, one so exactly a match for the other.
But Dr. Sandford never did. He used to notice those grave
looks of Daisy, and hold private speculation with himself what
they might mean; private amused speculation; but I think he
must have liked his little patient as well as been amused at
her, or he would hardly have kept up as he did this personal
ministering to her pleasure, which was one of the great
entertainments of Daisy's life at this period. In truth only
to see Dr. Sandford was an entertainment to Daisy. She watched
even the wave of his long locks of hair. He was a fascination
to her.

"Are you in a hurry to get home?" he would ask her every now
and then. Daisy always said, "No sir; not till you think it is
time;" and Dr. Sandford never thought it was time. No matter
what other people said, and they said a good deal; he ordered
it his own way; and Daisy was almost ready to walk when he
gave permission for her to be taken home in the carriage.
However, the permission was given at last.

"To-morrow night I shall not be here, Juanita," Daisy remarked
as she was taking her supper.

"No, Miss Daisy."

"You will be very quiet when I am gone."

It had not been a bustling house, all those weeks! But the
black woman only answered. "My love will come to see Juanita
sometimes?"

"Oh, yes. I shall come very often, Juanita — if I can. You
know when I am out with my pony, I can come very often, — I
hope."

Juanita quite well understood what was meant by the little
pauses and qualifying clauses of this statement. She passed
them over.

But Daisy shed a good many tears during Juanita's prayer that
night. I do not know if the black woman shed any; but I know
that some time afterwards, and until late in the night, she
knelt again by Daisy's bedside, while a whisper of prayer, too
soft to arouse the child's slumbers, just chimed with the
flutter and rustle of the leaves outside of the window moving
in the night breeze.


CHAPTER XXI.

TEA AT HOME.


The next day turned out so warm, that the carriage was not
brought for Daisy till late in the afternoon. Then it came,
with her father and Dr. Sandford; and Daisy was lifted in Mr.
Randolph's arms, and carefully placed on the front seat of the
carriage, which she had all to herself. Her father and the
doctor got in and sat opposite to her; and the carriage drove
away.

The parting with Juanita had been very tenderly affectionate,
and had gone very near to Daisy's heart. Not choosing to show
this more than she could help, as usual, Daisy at first lay
still on the cushions with an exceedingly old-fashioned face;
it was as demure and sedate as if the gravity of forty years
had been over it. But presently the carriage turned the corner
into the road to Melbourne; Daisy caught sight for a second of
the houses and church spires of Crum Elbow, that she had not
seen for so long. A pink flush rose over her face.

"What is it, Daisy?" said Mr. Randolph, who had been watching
her.

"Papa — it's so nice to see things again!"

"You had a pretty dull time of it at Mrs. Benoit's?" remarked
the doctor.

"No — Oh, no, I didn't. I did not have it dull at all."

"How did you escape that, Daisy?"

"I do not know, Dr. Sandford. There was no room for dulness."

The gentlemen smiled, but Daisy's father with a not altogether
satisfied expression. He grew satisfied, as he marked the
changes in Daisy's face. The ride was delightful to her. The
carriage was easy; she was nicely placed; and through the open
glass before her she could look oat quite uninterruptedly. It
was so pleasant, she thought, even to see the road and the
fences again. That little bit of view before Mrs. Benoit's
window she had studied over and over, till she knew it by
heart. Now every step brought something new; and the roll of
the carriage-wheels was itself enlivening. There was a reaped
grain-field; there a meadow, with cattle pasturing. Now they
passed a farm wagon going home, laden with sheaves; next came
a cottage, well known, but not seen for a long time, with its
wonted half-door open and the cottager's children playing
about. Then came patches of woodland, with the sun shining
through; and a field of flourishing Indian corn with the
sunlight all over it; then more meadows with cattle.

"Do you ride comfortably, Daisy?" her father asked, bending
over to her.

"Yes, papa. It is so nice!"

Mr. Randolph gave up care about Daisy, and the two gentlemen
fell into a conversation which did not regard her, and lasted
till the carriage stopped at the door of Melbourne House. And
there was her mother, and there were Preston and his mother
and sister, and Gary McFarlane, who had been away, and come
back again, all waiting to welcome her; besides some other
guests who were now at Melbourne.

Mr. Randolph got out of the carriage first. Dr. Sandford
followed him; but then, without giving place to anybody else,
he himself took Daisy carefully off the seat where she lay,
lifted her out in his arms, and carried her into the house.
All the others trooped around and after him, through the hall
and into the drawing-room, where the doctor laid his little
charge on the sofa and put the pillows behind her so that she
could sit up comfortably. Then he stood back and let the
others come to her. Mrs. Randolph gave her some very contented
kisses; so did Mr. Randolph. Very glad and tender his were, at
having his little daughter back there again.

"We are very much pleased to see you here, Daisy," her aunt
said.

"Poor Daisy," said Eloise.

"Glad to come back to life and the world again, Daisy." said
Preston, standing at the back of her sofa and drumming on it.

"I understand, Daisy," said McFarlane, "that you have been an
enchanted beauty, or a sleeping princess, during these weeks
of my absence — under the guardianship of an old black witch,
who drew incantations and water together from her well every
morning."

"I can answer for the incantations," said Preston. "I have
heard 'em."

Daisy's face flushed all over. "Preston, you do very wrong,"
she said, turning her head round to him. But Preston only
burst into a fit of laughter, which he turned away to hide.

Others of the company now came up to take Daisy's hand, and
kiss her, and say how glad they were to see her; these people
were very much strangers to Daisy, and their greeting was no
particular pleasure; but it had to be attended to. Then tea
came in, and Daisy was well petted. It was very pleasant to
have it so; after the silence and quiet of Juanita's little
cottage, the lights and dresses and people and silver urn and
tea service and flowers made quite a picture. Flowers had been
in the cottage too, but not such wealth of them. Just opposite
to Daisy, in the middle of the floor, stood a great stone
basket, or wide vase, on a pedestal; and this vase was a mass
of beautiful flowers. Trailing wreaths of roses and fuchsias
and geraniums even floated down from the edges of the vase and
sought the floor; the pedestal was half draped with them. It
was a very lovely sight to Daisy's eyes. And then her mother
ordered a little stand brought to the sofa's side; and her
father placed it; and Gary brought her cup of tea, and Dr.
Sandford spread her slice of toast. Daisy felt as if she loved
everybody, and was very happy. The summer air floated in at
the long windows, just as it used to do. It was _home_. Daisy
began to realise the fact.

Meanwhile attention ceased to be filled with her particular
affairs, and conversation flowed off as usual, away from her.
Preston still held his station at the back of the sofa, where
he dipped sponge-cake in tea with a wonderful persistency; in
fact, the question seemed to be whether he or the cake basket
would give out first; but for a while Daisy eat her toast in
happy quiet; watching everybody and enjoying everything. Till
Gary McFarlane drew near, and took a seat, as if for a regular
siege.

"So what about those incantations, Daisy?" he said.

"I do not know what you mean, Mr. McFarlane."

"No? don't you? That's odd. You have been so long in the
witch's precincts. You have heard them, of course?"

"I do not know what you mean, Mr. McFarlane."

"Why, you must have been bewitched. I wonder, now, if the
witch's house did not seem to you a palace?"

"It seemed a very nice place."

"And the witch herself a sable princess?"

"I think she is a great deal better than a princess."

"Exactly so," said Gary, with a perfectly sober face. "The
witch drew water, didn't she?"

"I don't know what you mean. Mrs. Benoit used to bring pails
of water from her well."

"Very good. And you never heard her incantations, muttering in
the morning before the dew was off the grass, or at night just
as the first beams of the moon lighted on the topmost boughs
of the trees?"

Daisy was confounded. "Mr. McFarlane," she said, after a
moment's looking at him — "I hope I do not know what you
mean."

At that, Gary McFarlane went off into an ecstasy of laughter,
delighted and amused beyond count. Preston interrupted the
sponge-cake exercise, and Daisy felt her sofa shaking with his
burden of amusement. What had she done? Glancing her eye
towards Dr. Sandford, who sat near, she saw that a very
decided smile was curling the corners of _his_ mouth. A flush
came up all over Daisy's face; she took some tea, but it did
not taste good any longer.

"What did you think I meant? — come, Daisy, tell me," said
Gary, returning to Daisy as soon as he could get over his
paroxysm of laughter. "What did you think I meant? I shouldn't
wonder if you had some private witchcraft of your own. Come!
what did you _think_ I meant?"

While he had been laughing, Daisy had been trying to get
command of herself, and to get her throat clear for talking;
there had been a very uncomfortable thick feeling in it at
first. Now she answered with simple dignity and soberness, "I
did not know, Mr. McFarlane, but you meant Juanita's prayers."

"Does she pray?" said Gary, innocently.

"Yes."

"Long prayers, Daisy?"

"Yes," — unwillingly now.

"Then, that must have been what you heard!" Gary said, looking
up to Preston. No answer came from him. Gary was as sober now
as seven judges.

"Did she speak her prayers where you could hear her, Daisy?"

"I used to hear her —"

"Mornings and evenings?"

"Yes."

"But you heard her in broad day, Preston?"

"Yes; one afternoon it was. I heard her as soon as I got near
the house. Daisy was asleep, and I went away as wise as I
came."

"This grows interesting," said Gary, returning to Daisy.
"Could you hear the words that were said?"

"No."

"Only a muttering?"

Daisy was silent. The tears came into her eyes.

"Depend upon it, Daisy, it was incantations you heard.
Description agrees exactly. Confess now, didn't a sort of
feeling grow over you — creep over you — whenever you heard
that muttering sound, as if you would do anything that black
woman told you?"

Daisy was silent.

"Don't you know it is not proper to pray so that people can
hear you? — 'tisn't the way to do. Witches pray that way — not
good Christian people. I regard it as a very fortunate thing,
Daisy, that we have got you safe out of her hands. Don't you
think that prayer ought to be private?"

"Yes," said Daisy. She was overwhelmed with the rapidity and
liveliness of Gary's utterances, which he rattled forth as
lightly as if they had been the multiplication table.

"Yes, just so. It is not even a matter to be talked about —
too sacred — so I am offending even against my own laws; but I
wanted to know how far the old witch had got hold of you.
Didn't you feel when you heard her mutterings, as if some sort
of a spell was creeping over you?"

Daisy wished some sort of a spell could come over _him_; but she
did not know what to say.

"Didn't you gradually grow into the belief that she was a sort
of saint, Daisy?"

"What is a saint, Mr. McFarlane?"

Gary at that wheeled partly round, and stroked his chin and
moustache with the most comical expression of doubt and
confusion.

"I declare I don't know, Daisy! I think it means a person who
is too good for this world, and therefore isn't allowed to
live here. They all go off in flames of some sort — may look
like glory, but is very uncomfortable — and there is a
peculiar odour about them. Doctor, what is that odour called?"

Gary spoke with absurd soberness, but the doctor gave him no
attention.

"The odour of sanctity! — that is it!" said Gary. "I had
forgot. I don't know what it is like, myself; but it must be
very disagreeable to have such a peculiarity attached to one."

"How can anybody be too good for this world?" Daisy ventured.

"Too good to live in it! You can't live among people unless
you live like them — so the saints all leave the rest of the
world in some way or other; the children die, and the grown
ones go missionaries or become nuns — they are a sort of human
meteor — shine and disappear, but don't really accomplish
much, because no one wants to be meteors. So your old woman
can't be a saint, Daisy, or she would have quitted the world
long ago."

Something called off Gary. Daisy was left feeling very
thoroughly disturbed. That people could talk so — and think so
— about what was so precious to her; talk about being saints,
as if it were an undesirable thing; and as if such were
unlovely. Her thought went back to Juanita, who seemed now
half a world's distance away instead of a few miles; her love
and gentleness and truth and wisdom, her prayers and way of
living, did seem to Daisy somewhat unearthly in their beauty,
compared with that which surrounded her now; but so unearthly,
that it could not be understood, and must not be talked about.
Juanita could not be understood here; could Daisy? She felt
hurt, and troubled, and sorry; she did not like to hear such
talk, but Gary was about as easy to stop as a cataract.

Dr. Sandford, lifting his eyes from what had occupied them,
though his ears had not been stopped, saw that the face of his
little charge was flushed with pain, and her eyes glistening.
He came and took Gary's place, and silently felt of her hand
and looked at her; but he did not ask Daisy what was the
matter, because he pretty well knew. His own face, as usual,
showed nothing; however, Daisy's came back to its accustomed
expression.

"Dr. Sandford," said she softly, "what is a meteor?"

"Meteors are fiery stones which fall on the earth
occasionally."

"Where do they come from?"

"Doctors are divided."

"But where do _you_ think they come from?"

If Dr. Sandford's vanity could be touched by a child, it
received a touch then. It was so plain, that what satisfied
him would satisfy her. He would not give the sceptical answer
which rose to his lips. Looking at the pure, wise little face
which watched his, he made answer simply, not without a smile:
"I am inclined to think they are wandering bodies, that we
fall in with now and then, in our journey round the sun."

"Dr. Sandford, what do they look like?"

"You have seen shooting-stars?"

"Yes — are those meteors?"

"Those are meteors that do not come to the earth. Sometimes
they are nearer, and look like great fire-balls."

"Have you seen them."

"Yes, a great many."

"And have you seen them after they fell on the ground?"

"Yes."

"What are they like then?"

"A very black stone, on the outside, and made up of various
metals and earths within."

"But then, what makes them look like fire-balls, before they
fall?"

"Can't tell, Daisy. As I said, the doctors are divided; and I
really have no opinion that you would understand if I gave
it."

Daisy would have liked to hear all the opinions, but she did
not ask for them. Preston was still standing at the back of
the sofa, and started a new subject.

"Dr. Sandford, how soon will Daisy's foot let her go to Silver
Lake?"

"In what way do you propose to get there?"

"By boat, sir, across the river; and the rest of the way is
walking."

"On plain ground?"

"Not exactly!" said Preston.

"How far do you call it?"

"Three miles."

"Of walking! I think Daisy may walk across this floor by next
week; and in a little while after she may go up and down
stairs."

"Oh, doctor!" exclaimed Preston. "Why, at that rate, she
cannot go to Silver Lake at all!"

"Does she want to go very much?" said the doctor. The question
was really put at Daisy's face, and answered by a little flush
that was not a flush of pain this time. He saw what a depth of
meaning there was in it; what a charm the sound of Silver Lake
had for Daisy. No wonder, to a little girl who had lain for so
many weeks looking out of one window, where there was not much
to be seen, either.

"Who is going, Daisy?" said the doctor.

"Mamma means to make up a large party — I do not know exactly
who."

"Then I think I can promise that you shall go too. You may
count upon me for that."

Daisy's eyes shone and sparkled, but she said not a word.
Preston was less sagacious.

"Will you do something to make her foot strong, sir?" he
asked.

"When you have studied in my profession, you will know more
about a physician's powers," — was all the answer he got.

The doctor turned off to conversation with other people, and
Daisy was left to herself again. She was very happy; it was
very pleasant to lie there comfortably on the sofa, and feel
that her long imprisonment was over; it was amusing to look at
so many people together, after having for days and days looked
at only one; and the old wonted scene, the place and the
lights, and the flowers and the dresses, yes, and the voices,
gave her the new sense of being at home. Nevertheless, Daisy
mused a little over some things that were not altogether
pleasant. The faces that she scanned had none of them the
placid nobleness of the face of her black nurse; no voice
within her hearing had such sweet modulation; and Daisy felt a
consciousness that Juanita's little cottage lay within the
bounds of a kingdom which Mrs. Randolph's drawing-room had no
knowledge of. Gradually Daisy's head became full of that
thought; along with the accompanying consciousness, that a
subject of that kingdom would be alone here and find nobody to
help her.

"Daisy, what's the matter?" whispered Preston. "You are as
sober as a judge."

"Am I?" said Daisy.

"What's to pay?"

"Nothing. I feel very nicely."

"Why don't you look like other people, then?"

"I suppose," said Daisy, slowly, "I do not feel like other
people."

"I wish you'd make haste about it, then," said Preston. "Do be
my own dear little old Daisy! Don't be grave and wise."

"Are you going to spend the night here, Daisy?" said Dr.
Sandford, coming up to the sofa.

"No, sir," said Daisy, smiling.

"Where then?"

"I suppose, in my room, sir — up-stairs."

"I must see you there before I go; and it is time now. Shall I
carry you up?"

"If you please, sir."

"Pray do not, Dr. Sandford!" said Mrs. Randolph. "Mr. Randolph
will do it, or one of the servants. There is no occasion for
you to trouble yourself."

"Thank you, ma'am, but I like to see after my patients myself.
Unless Daisy prefers other hands."

Mrs. Randolph protested. The doctor stood quiet, and looked at
Daisy, waiting for her to say what she would like. Now Daisy
knew, that of all hands which had touched her, the doctor's
and Juanita's were far the best; and of those two, the
doctor's; perhaps because he was the strongest. Her father was
very kind and tender, but he did not understand the business.

"I should like Dr. Sandford to take me," she said, when she
found she must speak.

"Then I will trouble you, Mrs. Randolph, for somebody to show
me the way." And the doctor stooped, and put his strong arms
under Daisy, and lifted her up.

"Quite a conquest, I declare, you have made, Dr. Sandford!"
said Mrs. Randolph, laughing. "Preston, show the way, and I'll
send June."

So the doctor marched off with Daisy, Preston going before to
show the way. He carried her, without the least jar or
awkwardness, through the company, out into the hall, and up
the stairs. There June met him, and took Preston's office from
him. Into Daisy's own room at last they came, and Dr. Sandford
laid his little charge at once on her bed.

"You must not try to move, Daisy, until I see you again. Stay
here till then."

"Yes, sir."

"Good-night."

"Good-night. Thank you, sir, for bringing me up."

Dr. Sandford smiled. "Thank you," said he, and with a wave of
his hand, away he went.

"Oh, June!" said Daisy, "how glad I am to see you."

June had seen Daisy only once during her abode at Mrs.
Benoit's cottage; and now Daisy squeezed her hands, and
welcomed the sight of her with great affection; and June on
her part, though not given to demonstrations, smiled till her
wrinkles took all sorts of queer shapes, and even showed her
deep black eyes twinkling with something like moisture. They
certainly were; and putting the smiles and the tears together,
Daisy felt sure that June was as glad to see her as she was to
see June. In truth, Daisy was a sort of household deity to
June, and she welcomed her back accordingly, in her secret
heart; but her words on that subject, as on all others, were
few. The business of undressing, however, went on with great
tenderness. When it was finished, Daisy missed Juanita. For
then Juanita had been accustomed to bring her Bible, and read
and pray; and that had been a time Daisy always enjoyed
wonderfully. Now, in bed, at night, she could not see to read
for herself. She dismissed June, and was left alone in her old
room, with, as she justly thought, a great deal to pray for.
And praying, little Daisy went to sleep.


CHAPTER XXII.

BEING ROBBED.


The next day Daisy felt very much at home. Her orders were not
to stir till the doctor came. So after breakfast, and after
receiving visits from everybody in the house, she was left to
her own devices, for it happened that everybody had something
on hand that morning, and nobody staid with her.

Left with June, Daisy lay for awhile feasting her eyes on all
the pleasant wonted objects around her. She was a particular
little body, and very fond of her room and its furniture and
arrangements. Then came a hankering for the sight of some of
her concealed treasures from which she had been separated so
long.

"June, I wish you would open the drawer of my bureau, the
second drawer from the top, and put your hand back at the left
side, and give me a book that lies there."

June got the key and rummaged. "Don't feel nothing, Miss
Daisy."

"Quite back, June, under everything."

"Why, Miss Daisy, it's tucked away as though you didn't mean
nobody should never find it!"

Precisely what Daisy did mean. But there it was, safe enough —
Mr. Dinwiddie's Bible. Daisy's hands and eyes welcomed it. She
asked for nothing more in a good while after that; and June
curiously watched her, with immense reverence. The thin pale
little face, a little turned from the light, so that she could
see better; the intent eyes; the wise little mouth, where
childish innocence and oldish prudence made a queer meeting;
the slim little fingers that held the book; above all, the
sweet calm of the face. June would not gaze, but she looked
and looked, as she could, by glances; and nearly worshipped
her little mistress in her heart. She thought it almost
ominous and awful to see a child read the Bible so. For Daisy
looked at it with loving eyes, as at words that were a
pleasure to her. It was no duty-work, that reading. At last
Daisy shut the book, to June's relief.

"June, I want to see my old things. I would like to have them
here on the bed."

"What things, Miss Daisy?"

"I would like my bird of paradise first. You can put a big
book here for it to stand on, where it will be steady."

The bird of paradise June brought, and placed as ordered. It
was a bird of spun glass only, but a great beauty in Daisy's
eyes. Its tail was of such fine threads of glass that it waved
with the least breath.

"How pretty it is! You may take it away, June, for I am afraid
it will get broken; and now bring me my Chinese puzzle, and
set my cathedral here. You can bring it here without hurting
it, can't you?"

"Where is your puzzle, Miss Daisy?"

"It is in the upper drawer of my cabinet," — so Daisy called a
small chest of drawers which held her varieties — "and the
cathedral stands on the top, under the glass shade. Be very
careful, June."

June accomplished both parts of her business. The "cathedral"
was a beautiful model of a famous one, made in ivory. It was
rather more than a foot long, and high, of course, in
proportion. Every window and doorway and pillar and arcade was
there, in its exact place and size, according to the scale of
the model; and a beautiful thing it was to look upon for any
eyes that loved beauty. Daisy's eyes loved it well, and now
for a long time she lay back on her pillow watching and
studying the lights among those arcades, which the rich colour
of the ivory, grown yellow with time, made so very pleasant to
see. Daisy studied and thought. The Chinese puzzle got no
attention. At last she cried, "June, I should like to have my
Egyptian spoon."

"What is that, miss Daisy?"

"My Egyptian spoon; it is a long, carved, wooden thing, with
something like a spoon at one end; it is quite brown. Look for
it in the next drawer, June, you will find it there. It don't
look like a spoon."

"There is nothing like it in this drawer, Miss Daisy."

"Yes, it is. It is wrapped up in paper."

"Nothing here wrapped in paper," said June, rummaging.

"Aren't my chessmen there? and my Indian canoe? and my
moccasins? —"

"Yes, Miss Daisy, all them's here."

"Well, the spoon is there too, then; it was with the canoe and
the moccasins."

"It ain't here, Miss Daisy."

"Then look in all the other drawers, June."

June did so; no spoon.

Daisy half raised herself up for a frightened look towards her
"cabinet." "Has anybody done anything to my drawers while 1
have been away?"

"No, Miss Daisy, not as I know of."

"June, please, look in them all — every one."

" 'Taint here, Miss Daisy."

Daisy lay down again and lay thinking. "June, is mamma in her
room?"

"Yes, Miss Daisy."

"Ask her — tell her I want to speak to her very much."

Mrs. Randolph came.

"Mamma," said Daisy, "do you know anything about my Egyptian
spoon?"

"Do you want it, Daisy?"

"Oh, yes, mamma! I do. June cannot find it. Do you know where
it is?"

"Yes — it is not a thing for a child like you, Daisy, and I
let your aunt Gary have it. She wanted it for her collection.
I will get you anything else you like in place of it."

"But, mamma, I told aunt Gary she could not have it. She asked
me, and I told her she could not have it."

"I have told her she might, Daisy. Something else will give
you more pleasure. You are not an ungenerous child."

"But, mamma! it was _mine_. It belonged to me."

"Hush, Daisy; that is not a proper way to speak to me. I allow
you to do what you like with your things in general; this was
much fitter for your aunt Gary than for you. It was something
beyond your appreciation. Do not oblige me to remind you that
your things are mine."

Mrs. Randolph spoke as if half displeased already, and left
the room. Daisy lay with a great flush upon her face, and in a
state of perturbation.

Her spoon was gone; that was beyond question, and Daisy's
little spirit was in tumultuous disturbance — very uncommon
indeed with her. Grief, and the sense of wrong, and the
feeling of anger strove together. Did she not appreciate her
old spoon? when every leaf of the lotus carving and every
marking of the duck's bill had been noted and studied over and
over, with a wondering regard to the dark hands that so many,
many years and ages ago had fashioned it. Would Mrs. Gary love
it as well? Daisy did not believe any such thing. And then it
was the gift of Nora and Mr. Dinwiddie, and precious by
association; and it was _gone_.

Daisy lay still on her pillow, with a slow tear now and then
gathering in her eyes, but also with an ominous line on her
brow. There was a great sense of injustice at work — the
feeling that she had been robbed; and that she was powerless
to right herself. Her mother had done it; in her secret
thought Daisy knew that, and that she would not have done it
to Ransom. Yet in the deep-fixed habit of obedience and awe of
her mother, Daisy sheered off from directly blaming her as
much as possible, and let the burden of her displeasure fall
on Mrs. Gary.

She was bitterly hurt at her mother's action, however; doubly
hurt, at the loss and at the manner of it; and the slow tears
kept coming and rolling down to wet her pillow. For a while
Daisy pondered the means of getting her treasure back; by a
word to her father, or a representation to Preston, or by
boldly demanding the spoon of Mrs. Gary herself. Daisy felt as
if she must have it back somehow. But any of these ways, even
if successful, would make trouble; a great deal of trouble;
and it would be, Daisy had an inward consciousness all the
time, unworthy of a Christian child. But she felt angry with
Mrs. Gary, and as if she could never forgive her. Daisy,
though not passionate, was persistent in her character; her
gentleness covered a not exactly yielding disposition.

In the midst of all this, Dr. Sandford came in, fresh from his
morning's drive, and sat down by the bedside.

"Do you want to go downstairs, Daisy?"

"No, sir; I think not."

"Not? What's the matter? Are you of a misanthropical turn of
mind?"

"I do not know, Dr. Sandford; I do not know what that is."

"Well, now you have got back to human society and fellowship,
don't you want to enjoy it?"

"I should not enjoy it to-day."

"If I do not see you downstairs, you will have to stay up till
another day."

"Yes, sir."

"What is the matter, Daisy?" And now the doctor bent over and
looked hard in her face. The wet spot in her pillow no doubt
he had seen long ago. Daisy's eyes drooped.

"Look up here, and give me an answer.

"I can't very well tell you, sir."

"Why do you not want to go downstairs?"

"Because, Dr. Sandford, I am not good."

"Not good!" said he. "I thought you always were good."

Daisy's eye reddened, and her lip twitched. He saw that there
was some uncommon disturbance on hand; and there was the wet
spot on the pillow.

"Something has troubled you," he said; and with that he laid
his hand — it was a fresh, cool hand, pleasant to feel — upon
Daisy's forehead, and kept it there; sometimes looking at her,
and as often looking somewhere else. It was very agreeable to
Daisy; she did not stir her head from under the hand; and
gradually she quieted down, and her nerves, which were all
ruffled, like a bird's feathers, grew smooth. There were no
lines in her forehead when Dr. Sandford took away his hand
again.

"Now tell me," said he, smiling, "what was the matter? Shall I
take you down to the library now?"

"Oh, no, sir, if you please. Please do not, Dr. Sandford! I am
not ready. I am not fit."

"Not fit?" said the doctor, eyeing her, and very much at a
loss what to make of this. "Do you mean that you want to be
more finely attired before you make your appearance in
company?"

"No, sir," said Daisy. It struck her with a great sorrow, his
saying this. She knew her outward attire was faultless; bright
and nice as new silver was every bit of Daisy's dress, from
her smooth hair to her neat little slippers; it was all white
and clean. But the inward adorning which God looked at — in
what a state was that? Daisy felt a double pang; that Dr.
Sandford should so far mistake her as to think her full of
silly vanity, and, on the other hand, that he should so much
too well judge of her as to think her always good. The
witnessing tinge came about Daisy's eyelids again.

"Dr. Sandford, if people tell you their private affairs, of
course it is confidential?"

"Of course," said the doctor, without moving a muscle.

"Then I will tell you what I meant. I am not good. I am
dressed well enough; but I have anger in my heart."

Dr. Sandford did not say how much he was surprised; for Daisy
looked as meek as a lamb. But he was a philosopher, and
interested.

"Then I am sure you have had reason, Daisy."

"I think I had," sail Daisy, but without looking less
sorrowful.

"Do you not consider that one has a right to be angry when one
has a reason?"

"But one shouldn't stay angry," said the child, folding her
hands over her heart.

"How are you going to help it, Daisy?"

"There is a way, Dr. Sandford."

"Is there? But you see I am in the dark now. I am as much
abroad about that, as you were about a journey of three
hundred years to the sun. When I am angry I never find that I
can help it. I can maybe help using my horsewhip; but I cannot
manage the anger."

"No —" said Daisy, looking up at him, and thinking how
terrible it must be to have to encounter anger from his blue
eye.

"What then, Daisy? how do you make out your position."

Daisy did not very well like to say. She had a certain
consciousness — or fear — that it would not be understood, and
she would be laughed at — not openly, for Dr. Sandford was
never impolite; but yet she shrunk from the cold glance of
unbelief, or of derision, however well and kindly masked. She
was silent.

"Haven't we got into a confidential position yet?" said the
doctor.

"Yes, sir, but —"

"Speak on."

"Jesus will help us, Dr. Sandford, if we ask Him." And tears,
that were tears of deep penitence now, rushed to Daisy's eyes.

"I do not believe, Daisy, to begin with, that you know what
anger means."

"I have been angry this morning," said Daisy, sadly. "I am
angry now, I think."

"How do you feel when you are angry?"

"I feel wrong. I do not want to see the person — I feel she
would be disagreeable to me, and if I spoke to her I should
want to say something disagreeable."

"Very natural," said the doctor.

"But it is wrong."

"If you can help it, Daisy. I always feel disagreeable when I
am angry. I feel a little disagreeable now that you are
angry."

Daisy could not help smiling at that.

"Now, suppose we go downstairs."

"Oh, no, sir. Oh, no, Dr. Sandford, please! I am not ready — I
would rather not go downstairs to-day. Please don't take me!"

"To-morrow you must, Daisy. I shall not give you any longer
than till then."

Away went Dr. Sandford to the library; kept Daisy's counsel,
and told Mrs. Randolph she was to remain in her room to-day.

"She thinks too much," he said. "There is too much self-
introversion."

"I know it! but what can we do?" said Mr. Randolph. "She has
been kept from books as much as possible."

"Amusement, and the society of children."

"Ay, but she likes older society better."

"Good-morning," said the doctor.

"Stay! Dr. Sandford, I have great confidence in you. I wish
you would take in hand not Daisy's foot merely, but the
general management of her, and give us your advice. She has
not gained, on the whole, this summer, and is very delicate."

"Rather —" said the doctor. And away he went.


CHAPTER XXIII.

THE MAP OF ENGLAND.


Meanwhile Daisy turned away from her beautiful little ivory
cathedral, and opened Mr. Dinwiddie's Bible. Her heart was not
at all comforted yet; and indeed her talk with Dr. Sandford
had rather roused her to keener discomfort. She had confessed
herself wrong, and had told him the way to get right; yet she
herself, in spite of knowing the way, was not right, but very
far from it. So she felt. Her heart was very sore for the hurt
she had suffered; it gave her a twinge ever time she thought
of the lotus carving of her spoon handle, and those odd
representations of fish in the bowl of it. She lay over on her
pillow, slowly turning and turning the pages of her Bible, and
tear after tear slowly gathering one after another, and
filling her eyes, and rolling down to her pillow to make
another wet spot.

There was no harm in that, if that had been all. Daisy had
reason. But what troubled her was, that she was so strongly
displeased with her aunt Gary. She did not want to see her or
hear her, and the thought of a kiss from her was unendurable.
Nay, Daisy felt as if she would like to punish her, if she
could; or at least to repossess herself of her stolen property
by fair means or by foul. She was almost inclined to think
that she must have it at all events. And at the same time, she
had told Dr. Sandford that she was not right. So Daisy lay
slowly turning the pages of her Bible, looking for some word
that might catch her eye and be a help to her.

There were a good many marks in the Bible, scattered here and
there, made by its former owner. One of these stopped Daisy's
search, and gave her something to think of. It stood opposite
these words: "I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech
you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are
called." Daisy considered that. What "vocation" meant, she did
not know, nor who was "the prisoner of the Lord," nor what
that could mean; but yet she caught at something of the sense.
"Walk worthy," she understood that; and guessed what
"vocation" stood for. Ay! that was just it, and that was just
what Daisy was not doing. The next words, too, were plain
enough. "With all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering,
forbearing one another in love."

"Forbearing one another" — easy to read, how hard to do! Mrs.
Gary's image was very ugly yet to Daisy. Could she speak
pleasantly to her aunt? could she even look pleasantly at her?
could she "forbear" all unkindness, even in thought? Not yet!
Daisy felt very miserable, and very much ashamed of herself,
even while her anger was in abiding strength and vigour.

She went on, reading through the whole chapter; not because
she had not enough already to think about, but because she did
not feel that she could obey it. Some of the chapter she did
not quite understand; but she went on reading, all the same,
till she came to the last verse. That went through and through
Daisy's heart, and her eyes filled so full that by the time
she got to the end of it she could not see to read at all.
These were the words: "And be ye kind one to another, tender-
hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake
hath forgiven you."

That quite broke Daisy's heart. She rolled herself over upon
her open Bible, so as to hide her face in her pillow, and
there Daisy had a good cry. She standing out about a little
thing, when Jesus was willing to forgive such loads and loads
of naughtiness in her! Daisy would have no friendship with her
resentment any more. She turned her back upon it, and fled
from it, and sought eagerly that help by which, as she had
told Dr. Sandford, it might be overcome. And she had said
right. He who is called Jesus because He saves His people from
their sins, will not leave anybody under their power who
heartily trusts in Him for deliverance from them.

Daisy received several visits that day, but they were all
flying visits; everybody was busy. However, they put to the
proof the state of her feeling towards several persons. The
next day, the first person she saw was the doctor.

"How do you do, Daisy? Ready to go downstairs to-day?"

"Yes, sir."

"Have you got the better of your anger?"

"Yes, sir."

"Pray, at what hour did your indignation take flight?" said
the doctor, looking at the gentle little face before him.

"I think — about three hours after you were here yesterday,"
said Daisy, soberly.

The doctor looked at her, and his gravity gave way, so far at
least as to let the corners of his lips curl away from some
very white teeth. Dr. Sandford rarely laughed. And there was
nothing mocking about his smile now, though I have used the
word "curl;" it was merely what Daisy considered a very
intelligent and very benign curve of the mouth. Indeed she
liked it very much.

"Have you seen the offending party since that time, Daisy?"

"Yes, sir."

"And did you feel no return of displeasure?"

"No, sir."

There was something so exceedingly sweet in Daisy's expression
of face, so unruffled in its loving calm and assurance, that
Dr. Sandford received quite a new impression in his views of
human character.

"I shall have an account to settle with that young Preston one
of these days," he remarked, as he took Daisy's little form in
his arms.

"Oh, he did nothing!" said Daisy. "It wasn't Preston at all.
He had nothing to do with it!"

"He had not?" said the doctor.

"Not at all; nor any other boy."

"Beyond my management, then!" said the doctor; and he moved
off.

He had stood still to say that word or two; Daisy's arm was
round his neck to help support herself; the two looked into
each other's faces. Certainly that had come to pass which at
one time she had thought unlikely; Daisy was very fond of the
doctor.

He carried her now down to the library, and laid her on a
sofa. Nobody at all was there. The long windows were standing
open; the morning sweet air blew gently in; the books, and
chairs, and tables which made the room pretty to Daisy's eyes,
looked very pleasant after the long weeks in which she had not
seen them. But along with her joy at seeing them again was
mixed a vivid recollection of the terrible scene she had gone
through there, a few days before her accident. However,
nothing could make Daisy anything but happy just now.

"You must remain here until I come again," said the doctor;
"and now I will send some of the rest of the family to you."

The first one that came was her father. He sat down by the
sofa, and was so tenderly glad to have her there again, that
Daisy's little heart leaped for joy. She put her hand in his,
and lay looking into his face.

"Papa, it is nice," she said.

"What?"

"Oh, to be here, and with you again."

Mr. Randolph put his lips down to Daisy's, and kissed them a
good many times.

"Do you know we are going to Silver Lake with you as soon as
you are strong enough?"

"Oh, yes, papa! Dr. Sandford says he can manage it. But I
don't know when."

"In a week or two more."

"Papa, who is going?"

"Everybody, I suppose."

"But I mean, is anybody to be invited?"

"I think we must ask Dr. Sandford."

"Oh, yes, papa! I wish he would go. But is anybody else to be
asked?"

"I do not know, Daisy. Whom would you like to have invited?"

"Papa, I would like very much to have Nora Dinwiddie. She has
come back."

"Well, tell your mother so."

Daisy was silent a little; then she began on a new theme.

"Papa, what is a 'vocation'?"

"What is what, Daisy?"

"Vocation, papa."

"Where did you get that word?"

"I found it in a book."

"It means commonly a person's business or employment."

"Only that, papa?"

"There is another sense in which it is used, but you would
hardly understand it."

"Please tell me, papa."

"Why?"

"Papa, I like to know the meanings of things. Please tell me."

"Daisy, it means a 'calling' — in the idea that some persons
are particularly appointed to a certain place or work in the
world."

Daisy looked a little hard at him, and then said, "Thank you,
papa."

"Daisy, I hope you do not think you have a 'vocation,' " said
Mr. Randolph, half smiling.

"Papa," said the child, "I cannot help it."

"No, perhaps not," said Mr. Randolph, stooping again to
Daisy's lips. "When you are older and wiser you will know
better. At present your vocation is to be a good little
daughter. Now what are you going to do to-day? Here is Preston
— if you want him; or I will do for you what you please."

"Yes, Daisy, what shall we do?" said Preston.

"Oh, are you at leisure?"

"All your own, Daisy, for this morning at any rate. What shall
we do?"

"Preston, would you mind getting my tray for me; and let us go
on with the battle of Hastings?"

"With what?" said Mr. Randolph, laughing.

"The battle of Hastings, papa — English history, you know.
Captain Drummond and I got just there, and then we stopped.
But Harold was killed — wasn't he, papa?"

"I believe he was, Daisy."

"Good for him, too," said Preston. "He was nothing but a
usurper. William the Conqueror was a great deal more of a
man."

"But he was just as much of a usurper, wasn't he?" said Daisy.

"You must mind your ethics, Preston," Mr. Randolph said,
laughing. "Daisy is on the Saxon side."

"Preston, will you get the tray, please? June will give it to
you."

Preston did not quite understand the philosophy of the tray;
however, Daisy must be humoured. It was brought. By Daisy's
order it had been carefully protected from dust and danger;
and the lineaments of England, as traced by the captain some
time ago, were fresh and in good order.

Daisy hung over the map with great interest, renewing her
acquaintance with various localities, and gradually getting
Preston warmed up to the play. It was quite exciting; for,
with every movement of William's victorious footsteps, the
course of his progress had to be carefully studied out on a
printed map, and then the towns and villages which marked his
way noted on the clay map, and their places betokened by
wooden pins. Daisy suggested that these pins should have
sealing-wax heads of different colours to distinguish the
cities, the villages, and the forts from each other. Making
these, interrupted doubtless the march of the Conqueror and of
history, but in the end much increased Daisy's satisfaction,
and if the truth be told, Preston's too.

"There, — now you can see at a glance where the castles are;
don't their red heads look pretty! And, Oh, Preston! we ought
to have some way of marking the battle-fields; don't you think
so?"

"The map of England will be nothing but marks then, by and
by," said Preston.

"Will it? But it would be very curious. Preston, just give me
a little piece of that pink blotting paper from the library
table; it is in the portfolio there. Now I can put a little
square bit of this on every battle-field, and pressing it a
little, it will stick, I think. There! — there is Hastings. Do
you see, Preston? That will do nicely."

"England will be all pink blotting paper by and by," said
Preston.

"Then it will be very curious," said Daisy. "Were new kings
_always_ coming to push out the old ones?"

"Not like William the Conqueror. But yet it was something very
like that, Daisy. When a king died, two of his children would
both want the place; so they would fight."

"But two men fighting would not make a battlefield."

"Oh, Daisy, Daisy!" cried Preston; "do you know no better than
that?"

"Well, but who else would fight with them?"

"Why, all the kingdom! Part would fight for the right, you
know, as the Saxons did with Harold; and part would fight to
be the best fellows, and to get the fat places."

"Fat places?" said Daisy. At which Preston went off into one
of his laughs. Daisy looked on. How could she be expected to
understand him?

"What is the matter, my dear? What are you doing?" Daisy
started. "We are studying English history, aunt Gary."

"_History_, my dear? And what is all this muss, and these red
and black spots? does your mamma allow this in the library?"

"Just the place to study history, I am sure, mamma," said
Preston; "and you cannot have less muss than this where people
are fighting. But I really don't know what you mean, ma'am;
there cannot be a cleaner map, except for the blood shed on
it."

"Blood?" said Mrs. Gary. "My dear" — as Preston burst into
another laugh — "you must not let him tease you."

Daisy's look was so very unruffled and gentle that perhaps it
put Mrs. Gary in mind of another subject.

"Did you know, Daisy, that I had robbed you of your old-
fashioned spoon?"

"I found it was not among my things," said Daisy.

"My dear, your mother thought you would not value it; and it
was very desirable to my collection. I took it with her
consent."

"I am willing you should have it, aunt Gary."

"Were you very angry, my dear, when you found where it had
gone?"

"I am not angry now, aunt Gary."

Certainly Daisy was not; yet something in the child's look or
manner made the lady willing to drop the subject. Its very
calm gentleness did not testify to anything like unconcern
about the matter; and if there had been concern, Mrs. Gary was
not desirous to awaken it again. She kissed Daisy, said she
was a good girl, and walked off. Daisy wondered if her aunt
had a fancy for trilobites.

"What was all that about, Daisy?" Preston asked.

"Oh, never mind — let us go on with William the Conqueror."

"What spoon of yours has she got?"

"My Egyptian spoon."

"That old carved thing with the duck's bill?"

"Yes. Now, Preston, what comes next?"

"Didn't you say she could not have it?"

"No matter what I said, if I say that she can have it now."

"Did you give it to her?"

"Preston, that has nothing to do with William the Conqueror.
Please let us go on."

"Daisy, I want to know. Did you give it to her?"

"I am willing she should have it. Now, Preston, go on."

"But, I say, did you give my mother that spoon."

"Preston," said Daisy, "do you think it is quite proper to
question me in that manner about what you see I do not wish to
have you know?"

Preston laughed, though he looked vexed, and kissed her,
nobody being in the library; he was too big a boy to have done
it if anybody had been looking on. And after that he played
the historico-geographical play with her for a very long time;
finding it, with Daisy's eagerness and freshness, a very good
play indeed. Only he would persist in calling every cause of
war, every disputed succession, every rivalry of candidates,
an _Egyptian spoon_. Daisy could not prevent him.

She had a very happy morning; and Dr. Sandford was well
satisfied with her bright face when he came, towards night,
and carried her up stairs again.

But Daisy was getting well now. It was only a few days more,
and Dr. Sandford permitted her to walk a little way herself on
her own feet. A little way at first, across the floor and
back; no more that day; but from that time Daisy felt whole
again. Soon she could walk to please herself, up and down
stairs, and everywhere; though she was not allowed to go far
enough to tire her foot while it was yet unused to exercise.

Now all her home ways fell again into their accustomed order.
Daisy could get up, and be dressed; nobody knows what a luxury
that is unless he has been hindered of it for a good while.
She could stand at her window and look out; and go down on her
own feet to join the family at breakfast. Her father procured
her a seat next himself now, which Daisy did not use to have;
and she enjoyed it. She knew he enjoyed it too; and it made
breakfast a very happy time to Daisy. After breakfast she was
at her own disposal, as of old. Nobody wished her to do
anything but please herself.

At this moment nothing pleased Daisy better than to go on with
English history. With Preston, if she could get him; if not,
alone, with her book and her tray map. Poring over it, Daisy
would lie on the sofa, or sit on a little bench with the tray
on the floor; planting her towns and castles, or going back to
those already planted with a fresh interest from new
associations. Certain red-headed and certain black-headed and
certain green-headed pins came to be very well known and
familiar in the course of time. And in course of time, too,
the soil of England came to be very much overspread with
little squares of pink blotting-paper. To Daisy it grew to be
a commentary on the wickedness of mankind. Preston remarked on
the multitude there was of Egyptian spoons.

"What do you mean by that, Preston?" said his aunt.

"Causes of quarrel, ma'am."

"Why do you call them Egyptian spoons?"

"Causes of trouble, I should say, ma'am."

"And again I say, why do you call them Egyptian spoons?"

"I beg your pardon, aunt Felicia. Egypt was always a cause of
trouble to the faithful; and I was afraid little Daisy had had
just a spoonful of it lately."

"Daisy, what have you been saying to your cousin?"

"Nothing, mamma, about that; only what Preston asked me."

"I am sure you did not say what I asked of you, Daisy. She
told me nothing at all, aunt Felicia, except by what she did
not tell me."

"She behaved very sweetly about it, indeed," said Mrs. Gary.
"She made me feel quite easy about keeping it. I shall have to
find out what I can send to Daisy that she will like."

"What are you and Preston doing there?" Mrs. Randolph asked
with a cloudy face.

"Studying, mamma; I am. English history."

"That is no way of studying; and that tray — what have you got
in it?"

"England, mamma!"

Preston laughed. Mrs. Randolph did not join him.

"What have you got in that thing, Daisy? sand?"

"Oh, no, mamma — it's something — it's prepared clay, I
believe."

"Prepared!" said Mrs. Randolph. "Prepared for something
besides my library. You are hanging over it all day, Daisy — I
do not believe it is good for you."

"Oh, mamma, it is!"

"I think I shall try whether it is not good for you to be
without it."

"Oh, no, mamma." Daisy looked in dismay. "Do ask Dr. Sandford
if he thinks it is not good for me."

"There he is, then," said Mrs. Randolph. "Doctor, I wish you
would see whether Daisy is occupying herself, in your
judgment, well, when she is hanging over that thing half the
day."

Dr. Sandford came up. Daisy was not afraid of his decision,
for she knew he was on her side. Mrs. Randolph, on the other
hand, did not wish to dispute it, for she was, like most other
people, on the doctor's side. He came up and looked at the
tray.

"What is this?"

"The map of England, sir."

"Pray, what are you doing with it?"

"Making it, sir, and studying English history."

"What are these pins? armies? or warriors? they are in
confusion enough."

"Oh, there is no confusion," said Daisy. "They are castles and
towns."

"For instance? —"

"This is Dover Castle," said Daisy, touching a redheaded pin;
"and this is Caernarvon, and Conway; and these black ones are
towns. There is London — and Liverpool — and York — and Oxford
— don't you see?"

"I see, but it would take a witch to remember. What are you
doing?"

"Studying English history, sir; and as fast as we come to a
great town or castle we mark it. These bits of paper show
where the great battle-fields are."

"Original!" said the doctor.

"No sir, it is not," said Daisy. "Captain Drummond taught it
to me."

"What, the history?"

"No; but this way of playing."

Preston was laughing and trying to keep quiet. Nothing could
be graver than the doctor.

"Is it interesting, this way of playing."

"Very!" said Daisy, with a good deal of eagerness, more than
she wished to show.

"I wish you would forbid it, Dr. Sandford," said Daisy's
mother. "I do not believe in such a method of study, nor wish
Daisy to be engrossed with any study at all. She is not fit
for it."

"Whereabouts are you?" said the doctor to Daisy.

"We are just getting through the wars of the Roses."

"Ah! I never can remember how those wars began — can you?"

"They began when the Duke of York tried to get the crown of
Henry the Sixth. But I think he was wrong — don't you?"

"Somebody is always wrong in those affairs," said the doctor.
"You are getting through the wars of the Roses. What do you
find was the end of them?"

"When the Earl of Richmond came. We have just finished the
battle of Bosworth Field. Then he married Elizabeth of York,
and so they wore the two roses together."

"Harmoniously?" said the doctor.

"I don't know, sir. I do not know anything about Henry the
Seventh yet."

"What was going on in the rest of the world while the Roses
were at war in England?"

"Oh, I don't know, sir!" said Daisy, looking up with a sudden
expression of humbleness. "I do not know anything about
anywhere else."

"You do not know where the Hudson River was then."

"I suppose it was where it is now?"

"Geographically, Daisy; but not politically, socially, or
commercially. Melbourne House was not thinking of building;
and the Indians ferried their canoes over to Silver Lake,
where a civilised party are going in a few days to eat chicken
salad under very different auspices."

"Were there no white people here?"

"Columbus had not discovered America, even. He did that just
about seven years after Henry the Seventh was crowned on
Bosworth Field."

"I don't know who Columbus was," Daisy said, with a glance so
wistful and profound in its sense of ignorance, that Dr.
Sandford smiled.

"You will hear about him soon," he said, turning away to Mrs.
Randolph.

That lady did not look by any means well pleased. The doctor
stood before her looking down, with the sort of frank, calm
bearing that characterised him.

"Are you not, in part at least, a Southerner?" was the lady's
first question.

"I am sorry I must lose so much of your good opinion as to
confess myself a Yankee," said the doctor, steadily.

"Are you going to give your sanction to Daisy's plunging
herself into study, and books, and all that sort of thing, Dr.
Sandford?"

"Not beyond _my_ depth to reach her."

"I do not think it is good for her. She is very fond of it,
and she does a great deal too much of it when she begins; and
she wants strengthening first, in my opinion. You have said
enough now to make her crazy after the history of the whole
world."

"Mrs. Randolph, I must remind you that though you can hinder
a tree from growing, in a particular place, you cannot a
fungus; if the conditions be favourable."

"What do you mean?"

"I think this may be a good alternative."

The lady looked a little hard at the doctor. "There is one
book I wish you could hinder her from reading," she said,
lowering her tone.

"What is that, madam?"

"She is just the child not to bear it; and she is injured by
poring over the Bible."

"Put the Bibles out of her way," suggested the doctor.

"I have, as much as I can; but it is not possible to do it
perfectly."

"Then I counsel you to allow her the use of this medicine,"
said Dr. Sandford, glancing towards the tray, which no longer
held Daisy's attention. For, together with her mother's
lowering of voice, the one word "Bible" had come to her
consciousness.

Daisy was at no loss to guess what it meant. The low tones of
the speakers gave her sufficient information. Thus far; that
her Bible was reckoned an undesirable treasure for her by her
mother. Was her own dear little particular Bible in danger?
the one that Mr. Dinwiddie had given her? Daisy was alarmed.
She did not enjoy any more battle-fields, nor enter with good
heart into her history work from that time, until she could
get up stairs again and see that it was safe, and contrive
some way or place to keep it safe in time to come. Where could
such a place be? It was a puzzle, because all Daisy's things
were, of course, open to her mother. Perhaps Daisy's fears
were needless; but, after the affair of her Egyptian spoon,
she looked with jealous eyes not only on her Bible, but on her
trilobite.

She sat down with a dismayed little face, to think where she
could find a hiding-place. She thought of putting the Bible
under her bed or pillow; but the bed was turned over every
morning, and the servants would find it. None of her bureau
drawers or cabinet drawers were secure. Daisy pondered all
manner of impossible places. At last fixed upon a spot of the
floor covered by an ottoman. The ottoman was hollow and not
very heavy, and never moved after the room was put in order
every day. Till the room was put in order Daisy hid her Bible
in a drawer; then took it out, and consigned it to the
obscurity of the ottoman.

She was greatly afraid, then, of being found reading it. She
had not heard the words which passed between the doctor and
her mother; only the word "Bible;" but the low tones made her
well enough aware that the matter of their talk was somehow
adverse; it boded nothing kindly to her and the Bible. So
Daisy was in another perplexity; and resolved that to be as
safe as she could, she would read with locked doors for the
future. And as doors must not be locked at times when her
mother might be coming and going, Daisy chose early morning
and late evening for her Bible-reading. She used to let June
undress her, and finish all her duties of dressing-maid; then
she sent her away, and locked her doors, and read in comfort.
This lasted a little while; then one unlucky night Daisy
forgot to unlock her doors. The morning came, and June with
it; but June could neither get in nor dare knock loud enough
to make Daisy hear; she was obliged to come round through her
mistress's dressing-room. But Daisy's door on that side was
locked too! June was going softly away.

"What do you want?" said her mistress.

"If you please, ma'am," said June, stopping very unwillingly —
"I thought it was time to wake Miss Daisy."

"Why do you not go in, then?"

"Ma'am — the door is locked," said June, in a scarce audible
undertone.

"Locked? — knock." June went back and knocked.

"Louder," said Mrs. Randolph, who was under her maid's hands;
"you would not waken a cat at that rate. Make yourself heard."

June's taps, however, continued so fearfully gentle, that Mrs.
Randolph arose and came to the door herself. One or two of the
touches of her imperative fingers brought a little figure in
white night-dress and just-awakened face, to open the door.

"Daisy," said her mother, "what is your door fast for?"

"Mamma — I wanted it fast for a few minutes."

"Did you lock it last night or this morning?"

"Last night — I thought — I meant to have opened it."

"Both your doors?"

"Yes, mamma."

"All night locked! Now, Daisy, I forbid you ever to turn the
key in your door again, night or day."

"Oh, mamma! — I want it shut sometimes."

"Hush. Go and let June dress you."

June was vexed enough with herself to have inflicted some
punishment on her awkward tongue and head, when she saw that
Daisy was for some reason or other deeply grieved. The tears
gathered and fell, quietly, all through the process of
dressing; and a sort of sob heaved from the child's breast now
and then, without words and most involuntary. Juanita's
cottage was a palace to Melbourne House, if peace made the
furniture. But June did not know what to say; so she was
silent too.

When June was gone, Daisy went to her beloved window, and
stood there. She did not like to kneel, because her mother
might come in, or even June, while she was doing so. She stood
at the sweet open window, and prayed that the Lord would take
care of her, and help her to pray however she could. And then
the thought of those words came to Daisy: — "Thou, therefore,
endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ." She
remembered very well how Captain Drummond had described the
way a good soldier takes things — hard and disagreeable
things, as well as others. It is part of his business to
endure them; he expects them, and minds them not at all in
comparison with the service in which he is engaged. And a
soldier of Jesus Christ has only to obey Him, and take
willingly whatever comes in the line of his service. What
matter? The only thing was to obey orders, and do the work she
was set upon. Hardships did not seem much like hardships when
she thought of them in this way. And then it occurred to
Daisy, that, if she _could_ not fasten her doors, she had better
just kneel down as usual with them open. She could not do
without praying; and if she must be intruded upon, why, it was
a little hardship that she had better not mind. And when she
had thought that, Daisy kneeled down; and she never had any
more trouble about it. She did fancy, even that first morning,
that she heard the lock of her door turn; but she did not move
to see, and hearing nothing more, she soon forgot it. Nobody
wore such a bright and fresh face at the breakfast-table as
Daisy; such a glad and uncareful face; and Mrs. Randolph,
seeing it, was reassured; though she had just seen her little
daughter at her prayers, on her knees, by the window. She
looked so happy now, that the lady was inclined to hope her
religion was a childish folly, which would pass away and be
forgotten in time.

But for the present Daisy was a soldier; and meditating much
on a service which she had to perform. That very day, if you
had been there, and worn an invisible cap, you might have gone
into her room, and seen what she was about. On the ottoman
aforesaid Daisy's writing-desk was placed; and before it, on a
cricket, sat Daisy, with a face, oh, how grave and busy! A
very weight of care of some sort seemed to lie under her
childish little brow. She was opening her desk and looking out
paper; some she felt and rejected — it was too thin or too
blue, or something; she tried her pen on another kind; it did
not go well. At last a thick little sheet of note paper was
chosen; and Daisy began to write. Or rather, sat over the
paper with her pen in her fingers, thinking how to write. She
looked very anxious; then took bits of paper and a pencil, and
tried different forms of a sentence. At last, with slow care,
and fingers that trembled, a line or two was inscribed on the
beautiful thick little sheet of English note-paper.


"Dear papa, won't you think about being a Christian? Do not be
displeased with

"DAISY."


It was written all out, as fair as she could; and then you
might have seen Daisy's little round head go down on her hands
on the desk. It did not move for a good while. When it was
lifted up, she sought out an envelope rather hurriedly,
directed it, folded and put in her note, and sealed it.

Daisy shut her desk then, and with a manner not quite as calm
and careless as usual, went to her father's dressing table,
and stood considering where she should put the note. Under the
cushion, it might be seen first by a servant, and then
delivered to Mr. Randolph in the midst of company. Under his
dressing-box, the same fate threatened it. Daisy peered about,
and thought, and trembled for several minutes. She had a fancy
that she did not want him to get it before the next morning,
when he would be quietly dressing here alone. He would
certainly be opening his dressing-box before that. The only
place Daisy could be sure would not be invaded before that,
was the place she chose; she took off the cover of his box of
shaving soap, and with some trouble squeezed the note in so
that it would lie safely hid; then put on the cover, and put
the box in its place, and went away with light hands and a
heavy heart. — Heavy, that is, with a burden of doubt mingled
with fear. Would Mr. Randolph be angry? Daisy could not feel
sure that that would not be the consequence of her proceeding.
Perhaps he would be very much displeased, and think it very
disrespectful and improper that his little daughter should
take so much upon herself. Daisy knew quite well all that. But
who else in the world would take the responsibility if she did
not? No one; and Daisy with all her fear did not once think of
going to get her note away again before it should be read.

Her heart yearned towards her father. He was so very gentle
and tender in his manner with her, more than ever, Daisy
thought; she felt that the love between them was growing,
strong and deep, even beyond what it used to be. And while he
knew nothing of the joy that filled her own heart, and while
he refused obedience to the laws that she knew were binding on
him as well as on her, he must be also, she knew, without the
favour and blessing of God. He had no part in it; nothing to
do with it; and Daisy's heart swelled with childish sorrow and
longing. She had thought a great deal about it, and concluded
that she must bear "the message," even plainly in words, to
her father, before she could feel satisfied. Little hands
might take the message, Juanita had said; so humbly Daisy's
took it; and then she prayed that it might not be for nothing.

She knew all her hands could do was not much. All the
remainder of that day, Daisy never forgot her note in the box
of shaving soap. She knew it was extremely unlikely that the
box would be opened sooner than the next morning;
nevertheless, whenever Mr. Randolph came near where she was,
Daisy looked up with something like a start. There was nothing
in his face to alarm her; and so night came, and Daisy kissed
him twice for good night, wondering to herself whether he
would feel like kissing her when they met again. Never mind,
the message must be delivered, cost what it might. Yes, this
was soldier's service. Daisy was going into the enemy's
country.

Mr. Randolph had felt the lingering touch of Daisy's lips, and
the thought of it came to him more than once in the course of
the evening — "like the wind that breathes upon a bank of
violets" — with a breath of sweetness in the remembrance.
Nevertheless, he had pretty well forgotten it, when he pulled
off the cover of his box of shaving soap the next morning. He
was belated, and in something of a hurry. If ever a man
suddenly forgot his hurry, Mr. Randolph did, that morning. He
knew the unformed, rather irregular and stiff handwriting in a
moment; and concluded that Daisy had some request to make on
her own account which she was too timid to speak out in words.
That was what he expected when he opened the paper; but Eve
could not have been much more surprised when the serpent spoke
to her in the garden of Eden, than was Mr. Randolph at finding
that his little lamb of a child had dared to open her mouth to
him in this fashion.

"Mr. Randolph, you will be late," said the lady who owned that
name, coming to his door. And, seeing her husband standing
still, with his elbow leaning on his dressing-table, she
walked in.

"You will assuredly be late! what have you got there?"

The little sheet of English note-paper lay spread out on the
dressing-table. Mr. Randolph was looking at it. He did not
answer, and the lady bent nearer for a moment and then stood
upright.

"Daisy!" — exclaimed Mrs. Randolph.

Her husband made an inarticulate sort of a noise, as he turned
away and took up his neglected shaving soap.

"What is this?" said the lady, in astonishment.

"What you see —" said Mr. Randolph.

"Where did it come from?"

"The signature tells you."

"But where did you get it?"

"Here — this moment."

"The impertinent little minx!"

"Hush. She does not mean to be impertinent, Felicia."

"Do you like misbehaviour that is not meant, Mr. Randolph?"

"Better than that which is meant."

"I told you the child would get ruined in that place," said
Mrs. Randolph, after musing a few minutes over the little
sheet of note-paper.

Mr. Randolph made a lather, and applied it. That might be the
reason why he made no answer.

"I call it impertinence," the lady went on, "and very well-
grown impertinence too — from a child like that! It is the
trick of all religious people, to think themselves better and
wiser than the rest of the world; but I think Daisy has learnt
the lesson early!"

Still silence on Mr. Randolph's part, and steady attention to
his toilet duties.

"What notice do you mean to take of this?"

"I think, none at all."

"Mr. Randolph, Daisy is ruined!"

"I do not quite see it yet."

"I wish you would see it. She is full of stupid stiff ways,
which will be habits fixed as iron in a little time, if we do
not break them up. She does not act like a child."

"She is very like a child to me," said Mr. Randolph.

"You do not see. Do you observe her way whenever she sits
down to table? She covers her face, and remains in silent
prayer, I suppose, a minute or so." A slight laugh came from
Mrs. Randolph with the words.

Mr. Randolph could not well laugh, for he was shaving. He
remarked that he had never seen it.

"I wish you would remember and take notice. She does it
regularly. And she is not a docile child any longer, I give
you warning. You will find it very difficult to do anything
with her in the way of breaking up this religious stiffness of
hers."

Mr. Randolph was silent a while, and Mrs. Randolph looked
vexed. At length he remarked that indirect ways were the best.

"It will take both," said his wife; "direct and indirect." And
after that they went down to breakfast.

Mr. Randolph was the last, and he was not early; but this
morning Daisy was later still. Her father watched for her
coming, and did not see it after all; Daisy stole in so
quietly, she was in her seat by his side before he had noticed
her. Then, perceiving the gentle, sweet, quiet little face
beside him, and recognising the timid feeling which made Daisy
afraid to meet his eye, he could not refrain; — he bent down
and gave her a kiss. He was very much touched by the little
fluttering start and glance which Daisy returned to this
salutation, and he saw that a pink flash of pleasure came into
her cheeks. Perhaps all this put the subject of watching her
out of Mr. Randolph's head; he certainly did not see the
minute, a few minutes later, when Daisy's hand stole to her
brow, and her eyes were for a short space hidden and her hand
moveless. Mrs. Randolph saw it, and saw that he did not. Daisy
had forgotten that anybody could see her. The thanksgiving of
her heart had more burden to-day than the ordinary gifts of
the morning which she was wont to remember. Her father was not
angry with her! It took a load off Daisy's heart; and she
looked so happy all breakfast time that Mr. Randolph was very
much inclined to slight his wife's fears.

Juanita's constant habit of thankfulness and of expressing her
thankfulness, during the weeks Daisy had spent with her, had
gone down into the child's heart. With every meal, though
taken by herself all alone, Daisy had seen the old woman
acknowledging gratefully from whose hand she got it. And with
other things beside meals; and it had seemed sweet and
pleasant to Daisy to do so. At home, when she was suddenly
transferred to her father's stately board, — where every
beauty and luxury were gathered together, and an array of
friends to help each other enjoy it; and no one remembered, no
one acknowledged that any gratitude was due to the hand that
had supplied the board and given the friends, — Daisy's heart
was pained by a great sense of want. Not thank God for all
these things? give no acknowledgment of praise to Him? She
could not bear to have it so.

She thought nobody would notice her, or know what she was
doing if they did notice her; and she used to put her hand
over her brow, and comfort her own heart with giving the
thanks she wanted to express. She soon forgot to be afraid
anybody would notice her. But Mrs. Randolph marked it all, and
now never missed the minute when Daisy's face was shielded.


CHAPTER XXIV.

THE PIC-NIC PARTY.


The thing on hand now was the expedition to Silver Lake.
Daisy's foot and ankle were getting sufficient strength to
bear all the work that need be asked of them; and it was best
to go while the hot weather still lingered. It was early in
September, and the day was fixed. Quite a party was going.
There were no visitors at Melbourne House now except Mrs. Gary
and her children; but that brought the home party up to seven.
Dr. Sandford was going, of course. Then some other neighbours.
Mrs. Stanfield had promised to go, with her little daughter
Ella, and her older daughter Theresa. Mrs. Fish was coming
from another quarter of the country, with her children,
Alexander and Frederica. Mr. Fish and Mr. Stanfield were to go
too; and Mr. and Mrs. Sandford, the doctor's brother and
sister-in-law. However, though this was to be such a strong
muster, Daisy thought of only two or three of the number that
concerned her personally. Preston and Ransom, of course;
Alexander Fish; though the two latter she thought of as likely
to make disturbance more than anything else; and Daisy liked a
most lady-like quietness and propriety in everything in which
she was engaged. But, besides these, there was only Ella
Stanfield whose age would bring her into contact with Daisy;
and Daisy, very much of late accustomed to being alone or with
older people, looked with some doubtfulness at the prospect of
having a young companion to entertain. With that exception,
and it hardly made one, nothing could look brighter in the
distance than Silver Lake.

Several days passed between Daisy's giving the note to her
father and the one fixed on for the expedition. In all that
time Daisy was left to guess whether or not it had been seen
and read by him. No sign or token told her; there was none;
and Daisy could only conclude that he _must_ have seen it,
because he could not very well help doing so. But she was not
at all discouraged. Rather the contrary; seeing that certainly
her father was not displeased with her.

In all these days too, Mr. Randolph had ample time and chance
to observe Daisy's action which had so disturbed her mother at
meal times. Yet hitherto he had never spoken of it. In fact it
was so quietly done that often the moment escaped him; and at
other times, Daisy's manner so asked for a shield rather than
a trumpet, and the little face that looked up from being
covered with her hand was so bright and sweet, that perhaps
his heart shrank from saying anything that would change the
expression. At any rate, Daisy had been safe thus far.

Great preparations were making for the Silver Lake day.
Thursday it was to be. Wednesday evening, Dr. Sandford was at
Melbourne. Daisy was considering the arrangements of a little
packed basket of her own.

"Are you expecting to have a good time to-morrow, Daisy?" he
asked.

Daisy smiled as she said yes.

"But you will have to keep quiet. I shall not let you run
about like the rest."

"I can sit quiet and look at the lake," said Daisy; with so
absolutely contented a face, that the doctor smiled.

"But in parties of pleasure, do you know, my friend, it
generally happens that people cannot do what they expected to
do."

"Then I can do something else," said Daisy, looking very
fearless of anything disagreeable.

"Will you let your old friend, Nora Dinwiddie, join the
party?"

"Nora! Oh, is Nora coming?" exclaimed Daisy.

"Mrs. Sandford commissioned me to make the enquiry, Mrs.
Randolph, whether one more would be too many? Her little
relation, Daisy's friend I believe, has returned to her for
the rest of the season."

"Certainly!" Mrs. Randolph said, — "there was room for
everybody."

The lady's manner told nothing; but, nevertheless, Daisy did
not venture to show her joy. She did not say another word
about Nora. The hour of meeting was determined, and the doctor
withdrew. Daisy looked over the contents of her basket again
with fresh satisfaction, made sure that all was right and
everything there; and went to bed happy.

Thursday morning broke fair as eye could see. The September
sun rose in a haze of warm rays; promising, as Mrs. Randolph
said, that the heat would be stifling by and by. Daisy did not
care, for her part. They had breakfast earlier than usual; for
the plan was to get on the other side of the river before the
sun should be too oppressive. They had scarcely risen from the
table when the Sandford party drove up to the door. These were
to go in a boat with the party from Melbourne House. Mr. and
Mrs. Fish, from higher up the river, were to cross in their
own boat, and join the rest at the spot appointed on the
opposite shore. The Stanfields were to do the same, starting
from a different point; friends having arrived that would
swell their numbers beyond the original four.

Of all this, Daisy cared just for one thing; — that Nora was
come, and was to go in the boat with her, and no other. The
meeting between the two children, on the steps at Melbourne,
was most joyous. "Oh, Nora! I'm so glad you have come!" — and,
"Oh Daisy! I'm so glad to be here!" — and a small host of
small questions and answers, that indeed meant a great deal,
but would not read for much.

"Oh, Nora, isn't it nice!" said Daisy, as they stood on the
steps, while the carriages waited below before the door.

"It's grand," said Nora. "Why, aunt Frances says we shall be
gone all day."

"To be sure, we shall," said Daisy. "Papa is going to fish;
and so is Preston, and Dr. Sandford, and other people, I
suppose; and some of the men take their tackle along too.
There is nice fish in the Lake."

"What men do you mean?" said Nora.

"Oh, the men that manage the boat, and carry the baskets;
there are ever so many baskets to go, you know; and the men
must carry them; because the path won't let a wagon go."

"Who is going to carry you?" said Dr. Sandford coming out
behind them.

"Me?" said Daisy.

"Yes."

"Why, I do not want anybody to carry me, Dr. Sandford."

"Don't you? I do. And I shall want two men to do it. Whom will
you have? I have arranged a mountain chair for you, Daisy."

"A chair!" said Daisy. How could that be? And then she saw in
Dr. Sandford's wagon, a chair to be sure; a common, light,
cane-bottomed arm-chair; with poles sticking out before and
behind it very oddly. She looked up at the doctor, and Nora
demanded what that was?

"Something like the chairs they use in the mountains of
Switzerland, to carry ladies up and down."

"To carry me?" said Daisy.

"For that purpose. Now see whom you will have to do it."

Daisy and Nora ran away together to consult her father. The
matter was soon arranged. James the footman, and Michael the
coachman, were to go to carry baskets, and help manage the
boat; James being something of a sailor. Now Logan and Sam
were pressed into the service; the latter to take James's
business, as porter, and leave the latter free to be a chair-
bearer.

"I don't see how the boat is to carry all the people," Nora
remarked.

"Oh, yes," said Daisy, "it is a big boat; it will hold
everybody, I guess; and it goes with a sail, Nora. Won't that
be nice? Papa knows how to manage it."

"It will want a very large boat to take us all," Nora
persisted. "I went out with Marmaduke in a sail-boat once — he
knows how to manage a sail-boat too; — and I am sure it
wouldn't have held half as many people as we have got here.
No, nor a quarter as many."

"Oh, yes, but our boat is bigger, I suppose," said Daisy.
"Don't you like to go in a boat, Nora?"

"I like it if it don't lean over too far," said Nora. "I
thought it was going to turn over once or twice, when I was
out with Marmaduke that time. I was afraid."

"I am not afraid with papa," said Daisy. "I know he can manage
it."

"Why, so can Marmaduke manage it," said Nora; "and he said I
needn't be afraid; but I was."

The carriages took the whole party down to the shore in a few
minutes. There lay the sail-boat all ready, her sails shaken
out; and James and Sam, on board already, received basket
after basket from the hands of Logan and the coachman, and
stowed them away in what seemed to be a place of ample
accommodations.

Daisy and Nora, hand in hand, stood on the shore looking at
all that was done, and with eager eyes. The summer breeze just
played lightly and rippled the water, on which the morning sun
made a warm glow, early in the day as it was.

"What _could_ so many baskets be wanted for?" said Nora.

"Why, to carry all the things. You know there will be a great
many people to eat dinner at Silver Lake."

"Dinner?" said Nora; "do people eat dinner when they go to a
pic-nic?"

"Why, yes. What do you think they do?"

"I thought it was just a pie-nic."

"What is that?" said Daisy, curiously.

But just then there was a stir; the ladies and gentlemen were
getting into the boat, and the children had to be ready for
their turn. It came; and Mr. Randolph handed one after other
safe over the gunwale of the big sail-boat, and placed them
happily beside each other in the middle space, where they
could have an excellent time for talking. But they wanted no
talking at first.

When all were aboard and ready, the boat was cast loose from
the shore, and her sail trimmed to catch the soft northerly
air that came blowing down the river. Slowly the sail caught
the breeze — would it be strong enough to take her? the
children thought — slowly, very slowly, the boat edged its way
out from the shore — then the breeze filled the sail full,
took good hold, and began to push the little vessel with a
sensible motion out towards the river channel. Steady and
sweet the motion was, gathering speed. The water presently
rippled under the boat's prow, and she yielded gently a little
to the pressure on the sail, tipped herself gracefully a
little over, and began to cleave her way through the rippling
water in good earnest. Then how the waves sparkled! how cheery
the movement was! how delicious the summer air over the water!
although the sun was throwing down his beams with great power
already, and the day promised to be sultrily hot.

"It is going to be intense," said Mrs. Randolph.

"Melting!" — said Mrs. Gary.

"You will have enough of it before the end of the day —"
remarked Mr. Sandford.

Mr. Sandford was a good-humoured looking gentleman, with a
sensible face and black whiskers; but he was a gentleman, and
Daisy approved of him. He was very unlike his brother. His
wife was a very plain person, in feature, and not very
talkative; letting her husband do that for her; but kindly and
pleasant, nevertheless; and Daisy approved of her too.

"At what hour do you expect the day _will_ end, practically?"
inquired Mrs. Randolph of her husband.

He smiled. "I should say — judging from present tokens — not
till the sun gets well down on his western way."

"First-rate!" said Preston, aside. "We'll have a good time for
fishing."

"But that will make it very late crossing the river, Mr.
Randolph? will it not?"

"It may."

"There is a moon," said Mrs. Sandford.

"Moon! I hope we are not to be beholden to the moon's good
offices!" exclaimed the other lady. "It is only ten o'clock
now — not that. We shall be tired to death of the woods before
we have done with them."

"You must try fishing, aunt Felicia," said Preston.

"Yes — a good idea," remarked Mr. Sandford. "I do not know how
the ladies can get along without some sport — ha, ha! There is
a boat on the lake — isn't there?"

"They say so," Mr. Randolph returned. "I have not been there
for a long time."

"Then I shall take the charge of your entertainment, Mrs.
Randolph," Mr. Sandford went on. "I shall persuade you to put
yourself under my guidance, and let me initiate you into the
mysteries of pickerel catching."

"I do not think you can persuade me out of the shade — if once
I get in it again —" said the lady.

"Why, mamma," said Ransom, "pickerel-fishing is splendid!"

Mr. Randolph looked at Daisy. No heat nor shadow too much for
her! With one hand clasped in Nora's, her little face was a
pattern of perfect content; nay, it was full of delighted joy.
Mr. Randolph thought he could endure his portion of the heat.

"Nora," said Daisy, "isn't it nice?"

"It goes nicely now," said Nora.

"But isn't it pleasant?"

"Yes. It is a great deal pleasanter than in a little boat.
This one is good and large."

"Isn't the water pretty?"

"I like the green grass better," said Nora.

"Oh, yes! but then I like this too. I like it very much. Nora,
what did you mean by a pic-nic?"

"A pic-nic?" said Nora.

"Yes; you said you thought people did not eat dinner, but it
was a pic-nic."

"Well, I thought they didn't."

"What did you mean by a pic-nic?"

"Why I meant just that. You know what a pic-nic is."

"We always have dinner when we go on a pie-nic," said Daisy.

"Then I don't think it is a pic-nic."

"What is it?"

"I don't know. Daisy, are you going to ride in that queer
chair?"

"I suppose so. My ankle isn't quite strong yet, you know.
Wasn't it nice of Dr. Sandford to prepare it for me?"

"I don't know. _I_ don't think he is nice," said Nora. — Which
expression of opinion was so very startling to Daisy that it
took her some time to recover from it. She sought out the
doctor with her eye where he was sitting forward of the mast,
somewhat hid from her by a piece of the sail; she scanned his
countenance, with its calm nobleness of feature, and
steadfast, reserved, beautiful blue eyes. Doubtless, he was
not everything Daisy wished him; nevertheless, to her he was
very "nice" indeed. Her eye came back satisfied.

At the other end of the boat the party were talkative and gay.
Mr. Randolph held the main sheet in his own hand; Mr. Sandford
had the rudder; neither of them had much to do; for the wind
was gentle and fair, and the boat kept her straight course for
the opposite shore. The river was wide, however, at this
place; the other shore was an object in view for a good while
before they reached it. Slowly and steadily the little skiff
skimmed over; they got to the middle of the river; then the
trees before them on the other side, with the cleared fields
in one or two spots, began to show in more distinct forms and
colours. The sun was very hot! So hot, that it seemed to kill
the breeze. As they drew near their place of disembarkation,
the motion of the vessel grew slack; the sail fluttered now
and then; the propelling force just lasted till they got to
shore, and then nobody said anything more of any air felt to
be stirring.

"I think we had better stay on the water," said Mrs. Gary. "It
is positively stifling here."

"It will be better when we get in the woods," suggested Mr.
Sandford.

"No, — begging your pardon," Mr. Randolph answered.

"No? — will it be worse, Mr. Randolph?" said his wife.

"I hope not — for I think you could broil a beefsteak here in
another hour; when the sun gets on the meridian."

"Then do let us move away from here at once! it is oppressive.
I do not know how we are going to walk, but I suppose we shall
find out. We may hope there will be a little freshness by the
lake."

Mr. Stanfield's boat however had to be waited for a few
minutes. It got to shore just as Mr. Fish's skiff appeared in
sight coasting down on the same side, from behind a point. The
whole party were soon together, exchanging shakes of the hand
and puffs of condolence on the state of the atmosphere. There
was presently a division of forces. All the boys, Preston,
Ransom, and Alexander Fish, compared notes and fishing tackle.
The ladies and gentlemen, with one or two elder girls,
Frederica Fish and Theresa Stanfield and Eloise Gary,
congregated into a moving mass of muslins and parasols. While
Daisy and Nora were joined by Ella Stanfield; and a great
constraint fell upon all three. Ella was a comparative
stranger; a nice-looking child, thoughtful and old beyond her
years. She looked like gravity; Nora liked gaiety; while Daisy
was most like the thing that bears her name.

They stood like little pinks of propriety, without saying
anything to each other. This constraint was soon broken up by
the preparations for the march. On enquiry it was found I that
there were two or three ways to the lake. One was short and
easy — in comparison — but very narrow; a mere footpath
through the woods. Another had a wider track; but it had also
a rough footing of rocks and stones, and was much longer;
taking a circuit to reach the place. Another still was only
used by eager lovers of the picturesque, though it was said to
reward them.

As soon as all this was explained to the understanding of the
company, the larger division set off immediately for the
easiest and quickest road to the lake; no other recommendation
was worth a moment's considering. With quick disappearance one
after another muslin dress and gay parasol was lost within the
edge of the woods which their chosen path immediately entered.
They vanished from the shore. Every one of them was presently
out of sight. Mr. Randolph had seen that Dr. Sandford was
putting Daisy into her travelling conveyance; and thinking no
attention of his own could be needful, he had gone on in
advance of the party with Mrs. Stanfield. The very last of
them, muslins and parasols and all, was swallowed up in the
enclosing woods, almost before Daisy was established in her
chair. Her bearers lifted it then to receive instructions from
Dr. Sandford as to their method of playing their part. They
were Logan and Sam; James was devoted to his own particular
charge.

"Why, where are Nora and Ella?" Daisy suddenly exclaimed.

"Everybody seems to have gone on," answered the doctor.
"Except the boys. Now Daisy, are you comfortable? is it all
right?"

"It is nice, Dr. Sandford!" — But at the same time Daisy
wondered much, and grieved not a little that her companions
should have left her to go alone. Was that kindness? or good
manners?

"Did they know which way I was going?" she said.

"I fancy so," said the doctor; "they have done as everybody
else does — gone with the crowd. Now, you fellows, you know
the way."

"Yes, sir."

"When you come to a house, remember, you must turn sharp to
the right. Boys, you must go with the chair as a body-guard."

"Why must we?" said Ransom.

"You would not have your sister go alone?"

"You are going that way."

"You are mistaken. I am not."

"She has got Logan and Sam to take care of her. Girls always
have to be taken care of!" exclaimed Ransom, in disgust.

"I am astonished at your want of gallantry. Preston, I shall
depend on you to see that the chair is properly attended."

"Which way are you going, sir?"

"By myself — to see if I can get a shot at something."

Preston did not look delighted, Daisy saw, though he accepted
the charge the doctor gave him. The doctor himself strode off
with his gun, disappearing in the woods at the nearest point.
Daisy was left with her two bearers and her three attendants.

"Well, boys, we may as well get along," said Ransom,
discontentedly. "There is no occasion that we should keep
poking on behind this concern."

They passed it and took the lead. Preston as he passed asked
Daisy how it went, and if she were comfortable. It went very
nicely, and she was very comfortable; and receiving this
assurance, Preston sprang forward to regain Alexander Fish's
company, with whom he was holding an animated discourse on the
making and using of artificial flies. The three boys trudged
along in advance; the motions of their busy heads, and of
their active feet, telling that there was no lack of interest
or excitement there.

The chair followed steadily with its little burden. It went
nicely; she was very comfortable; it was a new and most
pleasant mode of getting over the ground; and yet — there was
something at work in Daisy's heart that was not pleasure. She
was sadly disappointed. She was left alone. It had tried her a
good deal that Nora and Ella should have run after the larger
party with so cavalier an abandonment of her, when they knew
her chair must go another road. Then she was very sorry that
the doctor had seen good to forsake her; and felt that from
the thoughtfulness or unselfishness of boys she had little to
hope for. Look at them! there they went before her, putting
more and more distance between them and the chair every
minute. Perhaps they would entirely forget their little
convoy? and be out of sight in a trifle more time. And in all
that big party of pleasure, everybody engaged with somebody
else, she was left with no one to speak to her, and no company
at all but that of Logan and Sam. Daisy two or three times put
up her hand stealthily to her face to get rid of a tear that
had found its way there.

Daisy thought at first that she would not have done so to her
friends, as they had done to her; but then presently she
reflected what reason she had to know better and to do better,
that they had not; and instead of anything like resentment, a
very gentle and tender feeling of pity and kindness arose in
Daisy's mind toward them.

Her hurt sense of unfriendliness quite soothed itself away;
and now Daisy began to enjoy herself and the day and the party
of pleasure. — Her share of it, at least. Her chair was under
shadow of the tall woods now. It is true, it was very hot
there. No air seemed moving. The chair-bearers often raised an
arm to their brows to wipe away the heated moisture that stood
there and ran down their faces. But Daisy had no exertion to
make; and instead of that, her own motion seemed to give a
little life to the lifeless air. Then she was at leisure to
look and enjoy; not having even to take care of her own
footing. The depth of green leafage over her head when she
looked up; the depth of green shade on either hand of her,
pierced by the endless colonnade of the boles of trees; how
wildly beautiful it was!

Daisy thought of a good many things she would like to ask Dr.
Sandford — if she had the liberty; but he did not talk about
wonderful things to her now that she was well, and had her own
means of amusement.

Now and then Daisy had the sight of a red squirrel, running
along a tree bough, or scampering over the ground from one
rock to another. What jumps he would make to get out of her
way! And birds were singing too, sometimes; and mosses were
spread out in luxuriant patches of wood carpeting in many
places; and rocks were brown and grey, and grown with other
mosses and ferns; and through all this fairy work of beauty,
Daisy's chair went at an easy, quiet pace, with a motion that
she thought it very pleasant to feel.

It was a wild old wood, which nobody had ever meddled with.
Things were just as nature's work had made them. The path the
little party were travelling was a wood road merely, where
country wagons had made a track; or more properly, where the
country people had made a track for their wagons. It was but a
rough way; stumps of trees that had been cut down stood right
in the middle of it; and rocks and stones were in some places
very thickly strewn over it. After some time of wandering over
level ground, the path took a turn and began to get among the
hills. It wound up and down, and was bordered now by steep
hillsides and sharp-rising rocks. It was all the wilder and
prettier. The house Dr. Sandford spoke of had been passed; the
turn had been taken; there was nothing to do now but follow on
till they found the lake; but there were no signs of it yet,
nor any sound of voices to be heard in the distance. Even the
boys were gone on out of sight; the stillness of summer noon
was all through the deep woods, for it is a time of day when
the birds do not feel like singing much. Daisy enjoyed it. She
thought no one of all their company was having a better time
probably than she.

Suddenly Sam, who was foremost of the bearers, gave a great
shout; and at the same instant dropped his end of Daisy's
chair and sprang to one side. Then stood still.

"What for air ye playing capers like that?" inquired Logan,
with an ail of great disgust and a strong Scotch accent.

Sam stood still, drawing his countenance into all manner of
grimaces.

"Speak then, can't ye! What ails ye? Don't stand there like a
Merry Andrew, boy!"

"I've hurted myself!" Sam groaned.

"And how did ye hurt yourself? When ye were walking along,
couldn't ye go for'rard quietly? Where's the hurt?"

"My foot!" said Sam, bending down to it. "I can't stir it.
Oh!"

"Did ye hurt yourself before or after ye gave such a loup?"
Logan grunted, going over, however, now to bring his own
wisdom to bear on Sam's causes of trouble. "Whatever possessed
ye, boy, with the end of the chair in your hand?"

"I see a sarpent —" said Sam, submissively.

"A sarpent!" echoed Logan — "it's not your pairt to be
frighted if you see a sarpent. What hurt would the sight of
the brute do ye? There's no harm come to ye, boy, but the
start."

"I can't move it —" repeated Sam, under his breath.

"Logan, perhaps he has sprained his ankle," said Daisy from
her chair; where at first she had been pretty well frightened.

"Weel — I don't see it," replied Logan, slowly and
unbelievingly.

"How does it feel, Sam?" Daisy asked.

"It don't feel without I stir it, Miss Daisy — and then, it's
like a knife."

"He has sprained it, I am afraid, Logan," said Daisy, getting
out of her chair and coming to the consultation. "I think it
is swelling now."

Sam had bared his unfortunate ankle. Logan looked up from it
to the little speaker whose words were so quietly wise, with
unspoken admiration.

"Can't ye walk then, Sam?" he urged. "Here is Miss Daisy in
the middle of the road, and wanting to be at the Lake — and
how much further it may be to the Lake is a subject unknown to
me. Can't ye bear your foot surely?"

Sam's reply was sorrowful but decided; he could not bear it at
all, with any weight upon it.

"Never mind, Logan," said Daisy; "I can wait. You had better
go forward and see if you can find the boys. They can take
care of me."

Logan felt the justness of this proposition, and at once put
his long legs in swift motion to overtake the advance party;
exercising a good strong voice too presently in hallooing to
them. Daisy was left with Sam. The thought crossed her mind
that this was getting to be an odd party of pleasure; but her
real concern was for the sprained ankle. That, she was very
sorry for. Her own delay and disappointment she took
patiently.

Logan's halloos brought the boys to a stand. They waited till
he came up to them, not deeming it necessary on their part to
go back to see what was the matter. When they heard his news
there was a disagreeable pause. What was to be done?

"Daisy can walk the rest of the way," was the decision of her
brother.

"How far is it?" said Preston.

"I don't know! — it's no great things of a walk anyhow. Girls
are always getting into trouble!"

"But what has got to be done with Sam?" said Preston.

"He can take care of himself," said Sam's young master

"He can't move, sir, on his own feet," said Logan.

"You'll have to carry him, then. I suppose we cannot leave him
in the woods, for humanity."

"There's Miss Daisy, sir."

"What a plague!" exclaimed Ransom. "Daisy can walk. She must,
at any rate; and you can bring her chair along to make
firewood. Boys, we ought to be there this minute — at the
Lake. We shall be cheated out of all our fishing before
dinner. That's along of mounting guard on a girl! And after
dinner there won't be two inches of time."

"Hush, Ransom!" said Preston.

At this point the consultation was enlarged, and its character
somewhat modified by the coming of Dr. Sandford upon the
scene. From a height not far off, where he was roaming with
his gun, he had perceived the group, discerned that something
was wrong, and come down with a quick step to reach them. His
eye rather than his voice asked what was the matter. He was
answered in various styles by the different members of the
group.

"Here is a muss!" said Ransom.

"Miss Daisy, sir — she is left standing in the middle o' the
forest!" — said Logan.

"Sam has very stupidly sprained his ankle," said Preston, "and
cannot move."

The doctor without a word turned in the direction from which
Logan had come. "Follow me, young gentlemen," said he, looking
over his shoulder, — "I shall need your help." So, unwillingly
enough, the boys, fishing tackle and all, turned back upon
their steps, and followed. They soon came to Daisy's emptied
chair, where she stood mounting guard over Sam.

The ankle was badly sprained; there was no doubt of that. Sam
not only could carry nobody; he must himself be carried. The
doctor ordered that Logan should take him on his back and
convey him as far as the poor little house they had passed on
the way. A good lift it was, for Sam was a well grown, stout
fellow; but Logan was a long-limbed, sinewy, brawny Scotchman,
and he made no difficulty of the job. The doctor in the first
place deposited his gun against a tree, and did what was
needful for the hurt ankle.

"Now," said he to Daisy, "how are you going to get forward?"

"I can walk the rest of the way," said Daisy.

"Pardon me. Not with my leave. Boys, which of you will take
the honour of being chair-bearers? I have my gun to care for."

"I will be one," said Preston.

"And Ransom will be the other. Come, sir!"

"Honour!" — said Ransom, as he moved sullenly forward. "I
think girls ought to stay at home when there is anything going
on. They are plaguily in one's way!"

"That is a very womanish speech," said the doctor; "in so far
as that it is very unmanly."

Ransom's temper nowise improved by this reply, he took up
sulkily his ends of the chair-poles; and once more the party
set forward. It was not quite so pleasant now for Daisy; her
chair was no longer carried smoothly. Preston, who was in
advance, did his part perfectly well; but Ransom, behind her,
let the chair go up and go down and sway about very
unsteadily, besides that every step was with a jolting motion.
It kept Daisy in constant uneasiness. Dr. Sandford walked on
just before with his gun; Alexander Fish came after, laughing
and jesting with the other boys.

"How does it go, Daisy?" said the doctor, stopping after a
while to inquire.

"Mayn't I get out and walk, Dr. Sandford?"

"What for?"

"I should like it very much!"

"Do you not ride easily."

"Not quite," said Daisy. "It throws me about a good deal."

"Ah! Did it do so when Logan and Sam carried you?"

"I did not feel it then," said Daisy, unwillingly.

"Your porters are unskilled."

The doctor took his station by Ransom's hand, remarking that
he would see that he did his work well. And he was as good as
his word. He kept a constant eye on the management of the
chair; and when Ransom neglected his duty, gave him a word of
admonition or advice, so keen and contemptuous in its rebuke,
though slight and dry, that even Ransom's thickness of
apprehension felt it, and sheered off from meeting it. The
last part of the distance Daisy was thoroughly well cared for,
and in silence; for the doctor's presence had put a stop to
all bantering between the boys. In furious silence on Ransom's
part this last portion of the way was accomplished.

At the lake at last! And in Daisy's breast at least,
everything but pleasure was now forgotten. A very beautiful
sheet of water, not very small either, with broken shores, lay
girdled round with the unbroken forest. Close to the edge of
the lake the great trees rose up and flung their arms over;
the stems and trunks and branches were given back again in the
smooth mirror below. Where the path came out upon the lake, a
spread of greensward extended under the trees for a
considerable space; and this was spotted and variegated now
with the scattered members of the pleasure party. Blue and
pink and white and green, the various light muslins contrasted
with the grey or the white dresses of the gentlemen; while
parasols were thrown about, and here and there a red shawl lay
upon the ground, for somebody's reclining carpet. To add to
all this, which made already a very pretty picture under the
canopy of the great trees, a boat lay moored at a little point
further on; baskets and hampers congregated with great promise
in another quarter under guard of James and one or two of his
helpers; and upon it all the sunlight just peeped through the
trees, making sunny flecks upon the ground. Nobody wanted more
of it, to tell the truth; everybody's immediate business upon
reaching the place had been to throw himself down and get
cool. Daisy and Dr. Sandford were the two signal exceptions.

Nora and Ella came running up, and there was a storm of
questions. "Oh, Daisy, isn't it beautiful?" "How came you to
be so long getting here?" "Did you have a nice ride?" "Oh,
Daisy, what are we going to do, you and Ella, and I? Everybody
else is going to do something."

"What are they going to do?" said Daisy.

"Oh, I don't know! everything. Mr. Randolph is going out in
the boat to fish, and all the ladies are going with him. —
Mrs. Sandford and Mrs. Stanfield and your mother; only Mrs.
Fish isn't going; but Mr. Sandford is. And Eloise, your
cousin, is going to see about having the dinner ready; and
Theresa Stanfield is in that too; I think they have got the
most fun; but nobody is doing anything yet. It's too hot. Are
you hot, Daisy?"

"Not very."

"Oh, Daisy," said Ella Stanfield, "couldn't we fish?"

"There are so many boys —" said Daisy; "I do not believe there
will be any fishing tackle for us."

"Can you fish, Daisy?" asked the doctor, who stood near,
looking after his gun.

"No, sir. I did catch a fish once — but it was only my line
caught it."

"Not your hand at the end of the line?"

"My hand was not there. The line was lying on the bank and my
hook in the water."

"Oh! that was it!"

Away went the doctor with his gun, and the boys sped off with
their fishing rods. The heat was too great for anybody else to
move. Nevertheless, what are parties of pleasure for _but_
pleasure? they must not let the whole day slip away with
nothing done but lying in the shade of the trees. There was a
little island in the lake, well wooded like its shores. It was
proposed that the ladies' fishing party should row over to the
island, and there, under another shady grove, carry on their
designs against the pickerel. Daisy's wish was to go with that
party in the boat and watch their sport; especially as Mr.
Randolph was the leader and manager of it. She was not asked
to go — there was no room for the little people; so they stood
on the shore and saw the setting off, and watched the bright
dimples every stroke of the oars made in the surface of the
lake.

The people were pretty well scattered now. Nobody was left on
the ground but Mrs. Gary and Mrs. Fish, sitting under a tree
at some distance, talking; and Eloise and Theresa, who were
charged to superintend the laying of the cloth. Having nothing
particular to do, the three children became hangers-on, to
watch how this business would be conducted; ready to help if
they got a chance.

It was found a difficult business to arrange places for so
many people on the grass; and the girls finally and wisely
gave it up. They determined to set out the eatables only, on a
tablecloth spread to receive them; but to let everybody eat
where he felt disposed, or where he could find the best bit of
shade. Shade was the best thing that day, Theresa Stanfield
declared. But the first thing of all was to light a fire; for
coffee must be boiled, and tea made. The fire was not a
troublesome thing to have, for dead wood was in plenty for the
gathering. James and Logan, who had come to the scene of
action, soon had that going; and the children forgot that it
was hot, in the beauty and the novelty of the thing, and
laughed at Theresa's red cheeks as she stooped over the coals
with her coffee-pot. About coffee Daisy was ignorant. But tea
had been made in her behalf by Juanita too many times for her,
not to have the whole proceeding fixed in her memory.

"Oh, Eloise, you must not make that tea now!" she exclaimed.

"Mustn't I!"

"No. It will be spoiled."

"Some other things have had the same fate," said Eloise.

"It will not be good for anything, Eloise," Daisy persisted,
gently. "It should not be made but just before you want it —
just a few minutes."

"You are wise, Daisy," returned her cousin. "I do not know so
much as you do, you see."

Daisy fell back a little. Eloise and Theresa went to unpacking
the hampers; and James, acting under their direction, carried
and placed the various articles they took out, placed and
replaced; for as new and unlooked-for additions were made to
the stock of viands, the arrangement of those already on the
tablecloth had to be varied. There was a wonderful supply; for
a hamper had come from every house that had sent members to
the party.

"What shall we do with it all?" said Eloise. "Find out what
people like — or are expected to like. Just look at the cold
chickens! and the ham! I am so thankful for that red lobster,
to make a variety. There are three boxes of sardines — and
what is that?"

"Anchovy paste."

"Well! — and look at the other things! We want an army to eat
them. There is a dog, to begin with."

Theresa said it with comical coolness; but Eloise screamed, as
a little spaniel was perceived to be snuffing round the
tablecloth.

"It's Ransom's dog! Run, Daisy, run, and keep him off. Just
stay there and keep watch of him, or he'll be all over
everything. Daisy, run!"

Daisy left the hampers, and walked, or indeed obeyed orders
and ran, to where the little spaniel was threatening a rout
among the whole army of cold chickens. Daisy called him off,
and then stood by to take care of him. It was very amusing to
see Eloise and Theresa unpack the hampers; and Ella and Nora,
finding it so, made no move to join Daisy in her distant
watch. The men were busy running to and fro with the unpacked
eatables, and keeping up the fire, and setting piles of plates
everywhere, and laying glasses all round the tablecloth — for
they would not stand up — and putting wine in coolers, that is
to say, in pails of ice water. Daisy felt alone again, left
out of the play. She looked at Nora and Ella in the distance —
that is, just far enough away to be out of her society,
eagerly standing over the hampers; and for a moment felt not
very well pleased, either with them or her cousin Eloise. But
then she remembered that she was tired, and sat down with her
back against a tree; resolved to take all things patiently, if
she could; and she very soon found enough to do, and amusing
enough, in ordering the arrangement of the dishes on the
tablecloth. Logan was sure to set a thing down in the wrong
place, if he set it anywhere; and even James was confused in
such a very novel state of his department. Daisy found
exercise for all her wisdom, and full content came with full
employment, naturally.

You can make pleasure out of almost anything, if you set about
it. In the intervals, she rested, and watched the distant
figures of the fishing party on the island; and gladdened
herself with the beauty and the sweet air of the wood, and the
flecks of sunshine and moving shadow on the ground beneath the
trees. I am afraid nobody else found the air sweet, unless it
were the doctor. He was hardy, and besides had a philosophical
way of looking at things. Daisy watched for his coining,
afraid that he might wander off beyond luncheon time; but he
did not come. The three boys, however, a less welcome sight,
had recollected that there was something forward besides
fishing; and came strolling along through the trees towards
the tablecloth. Preston was stopped to speak to his mother;
the other two approached Daisy.

"Hollo!" said Ransom, "here we are! now where's everybody
else? I'm furious as a lion."

"A hungry lion," said Alexander Fish. "I wish we had got some
fish for the people to cook. That's fun. I tell you, Ransom,
it's fun to see the work they make with it."

"Fish is no count, I think," said Ransom. "Its only good to
catch. I can stand a lobster salad, though. But I can't stand
long without something. What's the use of waiting? They aren't
coming back yonder till night. They haven't stirred yet."

Ransom's eyes indicated the party on the island. And acting
upon his announced opinion, Ransom paid his respects in a
practical form, not to cold chicken and bread, but to a dish
of cream cakes which stood conveniently near. And having eaten
one, in three mouthfuls, he stretched out his hand, and took
another. Happily then, some meringues attracted his attention;
and he stood with a cream cake in one hand, and a meringue in
the other, taking them alternately, or both together. The
meringues began to disappear fast. Daisy warned him that the
only dish of those delicacies in all the entertainment was the
one into which he was making such inroads. Ransom paid her no
heed, and helped himself to another.

"Ransom, — that is not fair," said his sister. "There are no
more but those, and you will have them all gone. Just look,
now, how the dish looks!"

"How the dish looks!" said Ransom, mockingly. "None of your
business."

"It is not right. Don't, Ransom!" Daisy said, as his hand was
extended for a fourth meringue.

"Want 'em for yourself?" said Ransom, sneeringly. "I say,
Alexander — here's a game! Here's something just fit for a
man's luncheon in a summer day — something nice and light and
nourishing. Here's a lark pie — I know what it is, for I saw
Joanna making it. Now we'll have this and be off."

"You must not, Ransom," Daisy urged, anxiously.

But Ransom seized the pie from its place, and proceeded to cut
into it, seeing that nobody was near to hinder him.

"Ransom, you ought not to do it," pleaded Daisy. "You ought to
wait your turn. You are worse than Fido."

"Am I?" said Ransom, fiercely. "Take that! Mind your own
affairs, and let mine alone. You are not queen here yet, if
you think you are."

A tolerably smart box on the ear was the accompaniment to this
speech. Nobody was near. Alexander, after joining his friend
in a meringue or two with a cream cake, not feeling quite
comfortable in the connection, had moved off. So did Ransom
now, but he carried his pie with him, and called the other two
boys to bear him company in making lunch of it. Preston was
much too gentlemanly a fellow to take part even of a lark pie
in such circumstances; he walked off in disdain, leaving
Ransom and Alexander to do what they liked. And they liked the
pie, so well that I am bound to say nothing of it remained
very soon excepting the dish. Even the bones were swallowed by
Fido.

Daisy was left alone under the tree with her occupation gone;
for Fido was after the lark bones. Her ear rang a few minutes
from the application of Ransom's hand; but that effect had
passed off long before Daisy's mind was quieted. For, gentle
as she was, Daisy was a little lady who had a very deep and
particular sense of personal dignity; she felt wronged as well
as hurt. Her father and mother never indulged in that method
of punishment; and if they had, Ransom's hand was certainly
not another one to inflict it.

Daisy was quite as much stung by the insult as by the
unkindness; but she felt both. She felt both so much that she
was greatly discomposed. Her watch over the feast was entirely
forgotten; luckily Fido had gone off with his master, and
chickens were no longer in immediate danger. Daisy rubbed away
first one tear and then another, feeling a sort of bitter fire
hot at her heart; and then she began to be dissatisfied at
finding herself so angry. This would not do; anger was
something she had no business with; how could she carry her
Lord's message, or do anything to serve Him, in such a temper?
It would not do; but there it was, offended dignity and pride,
hot at her heart. Nobody would have thought perhaps that Daisy
was proud; but you never can tell what is in a person's heart
till it is tried; and then the kinds of pride are various. It
does not follow because you have none of one sort that you
have not plenty of another sort. However, finding this fire at
her heart quite too much for her to manage, Daisy went away
from her watching-place; crept away among the trees without
any one's observing her; till she had put some distance
between her and the party, and found a further shelter from
them in a big moss-grown rock and large tree. There was a bed
of moss, soft and brown, on the other side of the rock; and
there Daisy fell down on her knees and began to remember —
"Thou therefore endure hardship, as a good soldier of Jesus
Christ."


CHAPTER XXV.

A SHOWER.


Certainly the sun was very hot that day. The fishers on the
island found it so, notwithstanding that they had sought out
every one for himself the shadiest, freshest nook that could
be found. Nothing was fresh; and if the trees did hinder the
sunshine from falling on some parts of the ground, they kept
off none of it from the water; and the glare from that was
said to be unendurable. Even where there was not much glare
strictly speaking; people were not particular in their speech
that day. At last they voted that holding lines in the water
was of no use; fish could not be expected to leave their cool
depths below to seek the sunny regions near the surface of the
water; — "they would be fools if they did," one of the ladies
remarked. Fish never were supposed to be very wise creatures,
Mr. Sandford informed her; but, nevertheless, it was resolved
not to reckon upon their want of wisdom at this time, but to
put up and go back to shore, and try what cold chicken would
do. So just about the hour when the sun's work for the day
verges towards the hottest, the little boat was seen again
stealing over the sunny surface of the lake, back to where the
tablecloth lay spread for the tired people.

A little while before it reached that place, Dr. Sandford
arrived upon the scene. He locked a little warm in the face;
but his white shooting coat did not seem less affected by the
state of the weather than the doctor's temper. Mrs. Gary and
Mrs. Fish he found sunk in somnolency at the foot of the tree
where they had been talking. The young ladies were sitting by
the emptied hampers, deep in confab. The boys and Fido, over
against the outspread feast, were arranging fishing-tackle,
and watching the return of the boat; with eyes of
anticipation. To them came the doctor.

"Where is your sister, Ransom?"

"I don't know." The tone meant, "I don't care."

"I do not see her anywhere."

"No more do I," said Ransom, without raising his eyes from his
fishing line.

"Where is she?"

"I told you, I don't know."

"Did she go with the fishing party?"

"No, sir; she was here when we came," Alexander Fish spoke up.

"Yes, I remember she was here," said Preston. "I remember
seeing her. She cannot be far off. It's hot enough to keep
people from straying far."

The doctor, being not absolutely satisfied with this
reasoning, and having nothing better to do, occupied himself
with a search after the missing Daisy. It lasted some time,
and he was beginning to be not quite easy in his mind; when,
being a sportsman, his eye detected something at a distance
which was not moss nor stone. In two minutes the doctor came
up with it. It was Daisy, fast asleep on her moss bed behind
the rock. Her head lay on her arm which was curled up under
it; and profound slumber had left the little pale face as
serene as usual. The doctor was warm by this time. He sat down
on the moss beside her; and putting his arm under Daisy's
shoulders lifted her up, by way of waking her, speaking to her
at the same moment. But to his amusement, Daisy no sooner got
her eyes well open than she shook herself free of him, and sat
as demure as possible opposite to him on the moss.

"Dr. Sandford! — I believe — I got asleep," she said, in a
bewildered kind of way.

"How did you get _here_, Daisy?"

"I came here, sir."

"What for did you come here?"

Daisy looked troubled; glanced at the doctor's face, and then
rested her head on her hand.

"Who has been vexing you now?" said he at haphazard.

"I am not vexed," said Daisy, in the gentlest of all possible
tones.

"Tired?"

"I think I am tired."

"Honour bright, Daisy! — has not some one been vexing you?"

"I ought not to have been vexed," said Daisy, slowly.

"I will wager that you are wrong there, and that you ought to
have been vexed. Who was it, Daisy?"

"Never mind, please, Dr. Sandford! It is no matter at all
now."

She put her little hand confidingly in the doctor's as she
spoke, and looked very earnest. He could not resist her.

"I wish I had come sooner," he said. "I shall be suspicious of
everybody, Daisy. Come — you and I must go to dinner, or there
will be a hue and cry after us."

Indeed by this time the whole party were gathered, and in
impatient expectation that the dinner would make up to them in
some degree for the various disappointments of the morning.

All were gathered and had arranged themselves conveniently
upon the grass, around the feast which was spread out upon the
tablecloth, before anybody knew that two of their number were
wanting. The cry was just raised, "Where is the doctor?" —
when the doctor hove in sight, with Daisy by his side.
Everybody was placed already; and it was very natural that the
doctor, keeping hold of Daisy's hand, led her with him to the
spot that seemed to be left for his occupancy, and seated her
there beside him. On the other side of Daisy was Mrs.
Stanfield. She was very well satisfied with this arrangement,
seeing that her father was surrounded by people, and busy
besides; and that Nora and Ella were with Alexander and
Ransom.

What a gay tableful they were! all talking and laughing,
though everybody declared himself exceeded by the heat, and
bored by the fishing, and generally tired of everything but
eating and drinking. But iced champagne was now at the parched
lips, and boned turkey and jellied ham were waiting attention,
and a good time had come.

It was some while, of course, before Daisy could be served.
She waited, feeling very happy and amused; for a party of
people taking a cold dinner out of doors do not look nor act
exactly like the same people taking a hot dinner in the house.
Daisy never dreamed that anybody was noticing her. She had a
disagreeable surprise.

"Daisy," said Mrs. Randolph, from a little distance, and
across several people, — "Daisy, what did you do that for?"

"Mamma!" — said Daisy. "What, mamma?"

"Have you a headache?"

"Oh, no, mamma."

"What did you put up your hand to your brow for?"

"Mamma?" — said Daisy, very much bewildered. For she knew
nothing was the matter, and she could not guess what her
mother was thinking of. Moreover, somehow, Mrs. Randolph's
words or manner had acted to stop the voices of all the
company in her neighbourhood; and everybody was waiting and
looking to see what the subject of interest might be. Mrs.
Randolph's words could come now with their usual calm
distinctness; and Daisy's answers, no matter how softly
spoken, could be well heard. In a good deal of wonder Daisy
repeated, "Mamma?"

"You put up your hand and sat with your eyes covered — did you
not, just now?"

"Yes, mamma." —

No need to bid anybody look and listen now; the rosy flush
that had spread itself all over Daisy's pale cheeks
sufficiently aroused curiosity.

"I notice that you do so before every meal — is it not the
case?"

"Yes, mamma."

Dr. Sandford could hear the caught breath. He did not look,
except by a glance, but he listened.

"What does that mean, Daisy?"

"Mamma?" — said the child in distress.

"I ask you, what that means? what is it for?"

"Mamma — may I come round there and speak to you?"

"Certainly not. Sit still in your place and answer."

But Daisy was silent, very flushed.

"Do you hear, Daisy? what does that action mean? I wish to
know."

"Mamma, may I speak to you in private and tell you?"

"Are you ashamed of it? are you ashamed to tell me?"

"No, mamma."

"Then, do it at once."

But everybody waited in vain to hear the answer. It did not
come.

"I shall not ask you again, Daisy."

"Mamma," said the child, low and modestly, but with
steadiness, — "I was praying."

"Praying! were you! Why do you choose that particular time for
your private devotions?"

It was almost too much. The tears started in Daisy's eyes; but
presently she answered, — "Because God is good to us, mamma."

"He is always good," said Mrs. Randolph. "That is a very silly
practice of yours, Daisy, and very unbecoming. There is a
proper way of doing everything."

The lady's manner said that the subject was dismissed, and her
guests returned to their ordinary conversation. — Except the
doctor and Daisy. She was overwhelmed, and he was gravely
unsocial.

Was it silly? — that bound her heart had made up to the feet
of her King? That joyful thanksgiving, and expression of love,
and pledge of obedience, and prayer for help? It was something
better than the meal often to Daisy; something sweeter and
happier. Was it silly? and must she do so no more except when
she was alone?

Daisy had quite forgotten that eating and drinking was part of
the present matter in hand, when Dr. Sandford softly asked her
what she would like to have. Daisy said anything he pleased;
not caring herself, and indeed in too much confusion of mind
yet to know or think about the business. And her appetite was
gone. Dr. Sandford provided for her with kind care, what she
liked too; but nothing was good to Daisy. She broke bread and
swallowed milk mechanically; the more substantial food she
refused utterly. Bread and milk and grapes were Daisy's
dinner.

"It's good to be somebody's favourite," Ransom said to her
after the meal was over. "Nobody got any grapes but you."

"Nobody? Why, Ransom, I thought everybody had them."

"_I_ didn't, — nor Preston, nor Alexander — not a berry; and
Nora and Ella Stanfield didn't. You are the favourite."

"Oh, Nora," said Daisy, "didn't you have any grapes? I'm
sorry!"

"I had peaches," said Nora. "I like peaches a great deal the
best. Daisy, what shall we do now?"

"Suppose we sit down, and have a talk."

"A talk?" said Nora. "Suppose we have a game of hide and seek?
It's such a good place."

"Or forfeits?" said Ella. "It is too hot to play hide and
seek."

"I don't think it is hot," said Nora. "The sun don't shine
now."

"Daisy, don't you want to go out with me in the boat?" said
Preston, coming up. "We'll get in the shade, and see if you
can catch a pickerel as well as you did a trout."

"Oh, I should like that!" said Daisy, eagerly. She saw the
kindness of Preston's meaning. He wanted to make her forget
her vexations.

"And may we go too?" Nora asked.

"Certainly; but Daisy and I are going to do the fishing. You
must be content to look on. We will go round to the other side
of the island, Daisy; it is pretty there, I know. And we shall
have a better chance for the pickerel, for the sun is gone
under a cloud."

So the sun had; but at that very moment the cloud passed off
and the brilliant hot beams fell with what seemed renewed
brilliancy on the lake, and on all the ground which they could
touch.

"It will go under again," said Preston. "We do not mind
trifles. Come, Daisy."

"Daisy, you must not go," said Dr. Sandford, looking round. He
was just moving away to see some one else, and was gone in a
minute.

"The doctor is all very well when one is sick," said Preston;
" but I never heard he had a right to command people when they
are well. Daisy, we will not mind him."

"I must," said Daisy, meekly. "But you can go without me, if
you want to."

"Nonsense, dear little Daisy! you are not obliged to do what
_everybody_ says," her cousin urged. "Dr. Sandford has no more
business to say what you shall do than what I shall do. I will
not let him rule you so. Come! we will go try for the
pickerel. Go, Nora and Ella, run away with the baskets to the
boat. Come, Daisy, come!"

"No, Preston, I cannot."

"Because of what that stupid man says? or don't you want to
go!"

"I would like to go very much, thank you, Preston."

"Then you shall!"

"No. I cannot."

"Daisy, you might as well obey me as Dr. Sandford."

"I do not think so."

"Nora and Ella are going. You will be left alone."

"I hope you will catch some pickerel," said Daisy, steadily.

But Preston was vexed. He did not like it that his word should
not have as much weight with his little cousin as any other
person's, after her father and mother. Like other boys, and
men, for the most part, he was fond of having his own way even
in little things; though he sought it in a polite fashion. And
Daisy was very fond of him, and always followed his lead; but
now he could not move her. He went off at a bound, and soon
was out upon the water, with the girls, and Alexander and
Ransom also who had joined him.

Daisy would have liked the shelter of her mossy hiding-place
again. She stood in the shade of a tree looking after the
boat; feeling very much left alone and greatly disposed to
have a good crying time; but that was not her way of meeting
trouble. What a strange day of pleasure this Silver Lake
business had turned out! Yet Daisy had enjoyed many things in
it; but her mother's attack upon her at luncheon had sobered
her completely. It was such a sign of what she might expect.
Daisy presently fell to considering what she should do; and
then remembered her old refuge, prayer; and then concluded
that she was a very happy little girl after all. And instead
of being hurt that Nora had been with her so little that day,
it was very natural, Daisy said to herself. Of course, Nora
wanted to go in the boat with Preston after fish; it was too
good an opportunity to be lost; and of course she had liked
the walk in the morning with the larger and gayer party. It
was all right, Daisy decided, although not what she herself
would have done ill the circumstances. Would her note to her
father have been reckoned "silly" too? Very likely. Daisy
turned her wistful eyes to where he was; sitting in a group of
ladies and gentlemen, talking. Daisy could not go to him.
Further along, Mrs. Gary was fighting the heat under a tree by
herself. No attraction there. Still further — the doctor was
standing talking to the two young ladies. As Daisy looked, he
quitted them and came towards her.

"Have I spoiled all your pleasure, Daisy?"

"No, sir."

"Are you angry with me?"

The answer this time was given with such an affectionate
bright smile that the doctor must have been hard not to feel
it.

"You do not seem to have much pleasure on hand just now," said
he; "would you like to take a little walk with me, and see if
we can find any wonderful things?"

Daisy's face was quite answer enough, it was so full of
content. The doctor had no intention to tire her; he strolled
along the borders of the lake, which was wild and lovely all
the more as they got further away from the picnic ground. Firs
and oaks stood thick all along, with many other trees also;
the ground was carpeted with layers of moss; great rocks rose
up by the water's edge, grey and brown with lichens. It was
not so hot now. The sun's glare was shielded off. On a mossy
carpet beside the water's edge the doctor and Daisy sat down.

Undoubtedly the doctor had never taken so much trouble with a
child before; but Daisy was a study to him.

"We do not find the wonderful things, Daisy," he remarked,
throwing himself back upon the moss with his hands under his
head. His cap fell off; his blue eyes looked at her with a
sort of contented laziness; never sleepily.

Daisy smiled at him. "I do," she said.

"You do! What have you found?"

"I think everything is wonderful."

"A profound truth," said the doctor; "but you are very young
to find it out. Instance, Daisy."

"But you want to go to sleep, sir."

"How dare you say so? No, I don't. I want to have a talk with
you about something wonderful."

Daisy thought he looked a little sleepy, for his eyelids
drooped well over his eyes; nevertheless, the eyes saw keenly
enough the start of pleasure into hers. And they had seen the
pale, subdued look of the face that it had worn before.
Nevertheless, in spite of that start, Daisy remained as quiet
as a mouse, looking at him.

"Don't you think I can talk while I am enjoying myself in this
fashion?" said the doctor.

"I think you can talk any way," said Daisy; "but you look a
great deal more like sleeping, sir."

"None of that. Go on, Daisy. Only do not say anything about
the sun, now that it has gone under a cloud. Let us forget it
for a little while."

"What shall I take, then?"

"I don't care. Something green and refreshing."

Daisy looked around her. On every side she saw things that she
had no doubt would be very interesting to talk about; she did
not know which to choose. There were the trees; the firs and
hemlocks, and the oaks and maples, growing thick on every
hand. No doubt those beautiful structures had uses and
characters of wonder; she had a great mind to ask the doctor
to tell her about them. But the great boulder beside which
they were hid from view, divided her attention; it was very
large, and rounded off on all sides, lying quietly on the
ground; and Daisy was curious to know how it came to be so
grown over with green things; mosses and ferns draped it all
over; how could they grow on the bare rock?

"Well, Daisy?" said her friend, watching how Daisy's
countenance woke up from its subdued expression.

"Dr. Sandford, how could these things grow on the rock? these
green things?"

"What green things?"

"Why, ever so many sorts. Here is moss, a great deal of it, of
different kinds; and there is beautiful brake at the top, like
plumes of feathers. How can they grow there?"

"Why not?"

"I thought everything wanted some earth to grow in."

"Have they none?"

"I don't know. I thought not. They must have very little
indeed, Dr. Sandford."

"Very little will do, I suppose."

"But I do not see how any earth got there," said Daisy. "It
was only a bare rock at first, of course."

"At first," repeated the doctor. "Well, Daisy, I suppose it
was no more. But there is something else growing there, which
you have not spoken of."

"Is there?" said Daisy. "I do not see anything else."

"Pardon me — you do see it."

"Then I do not know what it is," said Daisy, laughing.
Absolutely, the sober, sober little face had forgotten its
care, and the eyes were alight with intelligence and
curiosity, and the lips were unbent in good honest laughter.
The doctor raised himself up to a sitting posture.

"What do you call those grey and brown patches of colour that
hide your rock all over?"

"Grey and brown?" said Daisy, wistfully — "those are just the
colours of the rock, aren't they?"

"No. Look close.

"Why, Dr. Sandford, what is it? It is not the rock — some of
it is not — but here is a spot of yellow that is nothing else,
I think."

"You must learn not to trust your eyes, Daisy. That is
something that grows; it is not rock; it is a vegetable. If I
had my pocket lens here I would show you; but I am afraid —
yes, I have left it at home."

"Why, it is!" cried Daisy. "I can see now — it is not rock.
What is it, Dr. Sandford?"

"Lichen."

"What is that, sir?"

"It is one of the lowest forms of vegetable life. It is the
first dress the rocks wear, Daisy."

"But what does it live on?"

"Air and water, I suppose."

"I never knew that was a vegetable," said Daisy, musingly. "I
thought it was the colour of the rock."

"That goes to prepare soil for the mosses, Daisy."

"Oh, how, Dr. Sandford?"

"In time the surface of the rock is crumbled a little by its
action; then its own decay furnishes a very little addition to
that. In favourable situations a stray oak leaf or two falls
and lies there, and also decays, and by and by there is a
little coating of soil or a little lodgment of it in a crevice
or cavity, enough for the flying spores of some moss to take
root and find home."

"And then the moss decays and makes soil for the ferns?"

"I suppose so."

Daisy stood looking with a countenance of delighted
intelligence at the great boulder, which was now to her a
representative and witness of natural processes she had had no
knowledge of before. The mosses, the brakes, the lichen, had
all gained new beauty and interest in her eyes. The doctor
watched her, and then scrambled up to his feet and came to her
side.

"Look here, Daisy," said he, stooping down at the foot of the
rock, and showing her where tufts of a delicate little green
plant clustered, bearing little umbrella-like heads on tiny
shafts of handles.

"What is that, Dr. Sandford?"

"Something wonderful."

"Is it? It is pretty. What is it, sir?"

"It is a plant somewhere between the mosses and the lichens in
its character — it is one of the liverworts, and they are some
of the first plants to go in advance of superior vegetation.
This is called _Marchantia_."

"And is it wonderful, Dr. Sandford?"

"If I could show it to you, you would think so. Look here,
Daisy — on the surface of this leaf do you see little raised
spots here and there?"

"Yes, I see them."

"Those are, when they are finished, little baskets."

"Baskets?" exclaimed Daisy, delightedly. "I can't see anything
like a basket now."

"No, it is too small for you to see; you must take it on my
word, who have seen it. They are baskets, and such baskets as
you never dreamed of. The shape is elegant, and round the
edge, Daisy, they are cut into a fringe of teeth, and each
tooth is cut again into teeth, making a fringe around its tiny
edge.

"I wish I could see it," said Daisy.

"Now if you were my little sister, and lived with me, I could
show you these things in the evenings."

Daisy responded to this with a very grateful and somewhat
wistful smile, but immediately went on with the business in
hand.

"Do these little baskets hold anything, Dr. Sandford?"

"Yes. Baskets are always made to hold something."

"What do they hold?"

"They hold what are called _spores;_ that is, little bits of
things which, whenever they get a chance, begin to grow and
make new plants."

"Seeds?" said Daisy.

"They answer the purpose of seeds."

"How do they get out of the basket? Do the winds blow them
out."

"Or the rain washes them out. If they lie long enough in the
basket, they will take root there, and then there is a new
plant seen growing out of the old one."

"How wonderful it is!" said Daisy.

"There is another wonder about it. It does not matter which
way these little spores lie on the ground or in the basket;
but the side that happens to be exposed to the light, after a
time, prepares itself to expand into the surface of a frond,
while the dark side sends down a tiny root."

"And it does not matter which side lies uppermost?"

"No, not in the beginning."

"What is a _frond_, Dr. Sandford?"

"This sort of seed-bearing leaf is called so."

"How pretty it is!" said Daisy. "What are these little things
like umbrellas?"

"These carry the real seed vessels of the plant."

"Other seeds. Dr. Sandford, is _everything_ wonderful?"

"What do you think about it?"

"I do not know but a very little," said Daisy; "but I never
should have thought this little green moss — or what did you
say it was?"

"Liverwort. Its name is Marchantia."

"This liverwort; I never should have supposed it was anything
but pretty, and of course good for something; but now I never
heard anything so wonderful."

"More than the sun?" said Dr. Sandford, smiling.

"It is more surprising, I think," said Daisy.

"Pray, what makes you conclude so securely that this little
Marchantia is _good for something?_"

Daisy gave him a quick look of wisdom and suspicion mingled.
The doctor was getting a very good amusement himself, and
quite entered into the matter. He waited for Daisy's answer.
It came diplomatically.

"_Isn't_ everything good for something, sir?"

" 'Pon my word, I don't know," said the doctor. "My enquiry was
for the grounds of your opinion, Daisy."

"It was not an opinion. I do not think I am old enough to have
an opinion."

"What was it, Daisy?"

The doctor was still crouching down by the side of the rock,
examining carelessly whatever he found there. Daisy looked at
him, and waited, and felt at last that good manners required
her to speak.

"You said, sir, that baskets were made to hold something."

"So your remark was an inference from mine."

"No, sir."

"Go on, Daisy."

"I only said it, sir, because I knew it was true."

There was an odd contrast between the extreme modesty of
Daisy's manner and the positiveness of her words.

"It is said to be a great philosophical truth, Daisy; but what
I want to know is how you, not being a philosopher, have got
such firm hold of it?"

He faced Daisy now, and she gave way as usual before the
searching blue eyes. One soft look, and her eyes fell away.

"I only thought it, Dr. Sandford, because in the beginning —
when God had made everything — the Bible says he saw that it
was all good."

"Daisy, how came you to be such a lover of the Bible?"

Daisy did not speak at once, and when she did it was a
departure from the subject.

"Dr. Sandford, I felt a drop of rain on my face!"

"And here is another," said the doctor, getting up. "This is
what I have expected all day. Come, Daisy — you must be off in
your chaise-à-porteurs without delay."

"But Nora, and Ella, and the boys! — they are away off on the
lake."

"They will scuttle home now," said the doctor, "but I have
nothing to do with them. You are my business, Daisy."

Accordingly he carried her back to the lunching-place, not
indeed in his arms, but with a strong hand that made her
progress over the stones and moss very rapid, and that gave
her a great flying leap whenever occasion was, over any
obstacle that happened to be in the way. There was need enough
for haste. The light veil of haze that had seemed to curtain
off the sunlight so happily from the lake and the party,
proved now to have been only the advancing soft border of an
immense thick cloud coming up from the west. No light veil
now; a deep, dark covering was over the face of the sky,
without break or fold; the drop or two of rain that had been
felt were merely the outriders of an approaching storm. Low,
threatening, distant mutterings of thunder from behind the
mountains, told the party what they might expect before long.

There was sudden confusion. Nobody wanted to be out in the
storm, and to avoid it seemed a difficult problem. Hastily the
ladies caught up their scarfs and bags, and set off upon a
scattering flight through the woods to the shore, those who
were nearest or first ready not stopping to wait for the
others. Quickly the luncheon-ground was deserted; fast the
blue and white flutter of muslins disappeared in the
enveloping woods; hastily the remainder of the packing went on
to get the hampers again in readiness to move. In the midst of
all this, who was to carry Daisy's chair?

"You say there is a house somewhere on the way," said Mr.
Randolph to the doctor. "If you will go forward with Daisy at
once, I will stay to look after those children in the boat.
They are coming now as fast as they can."

"Can you carry my gun?"

"Certainly. Doctor, I will take that office, if you will stay
behind till the boat gets to land."

"Thank you — it is better arranged the other way. The storm
will be upon us before the ladies get to the shore, I fear."

"Then they had better take the other route."

Mr. Randolph in haste despatched one of the men to recall the
fleeing members of the party, and bring them round by the
other road to the house. But before that, the doctor had put
Daisy in her chair, and with Logan at the other end of it, had
set off to reach shelter. It grew very dark; and it was
sultrily still in the woods. Not a leaf trembled on its stem.
The steps of the two chair-bearers sounded ominously in the
entire hush of everything. The gloom still deepened. The
doctor and Logan with swift, steady strides carried the chair
along at a goodly rate; not as it had come in the morning. In
the midst of this, and after it had gone on some time in
silence, Daisy twisted herself round to look at the doctor and
give him a smile.

"You do not seem concerned, Daisy, in the view of getting
wet?"

"Why, no," said Daisy, twisting round again, "it is nice. I am
only sorry for the people who are so frightened."

"What is nice? getting wet?"

"Oh, no," said Daisy. "Maybe I shall not get wet — you go so
fast."

But at this moment there came a nearer growl of thunder, and
the leaves in the tops of the trees rustled as if a breath had
passed over them. Then were still.

"Can you mend your pace, Logan?" said the doctor.

"Ay, sir!" — came in the deep, cheery utterance of Logan's
Scotch voice.

"Hold fast, Daisy" — said the doctor; and the two chair-
bearers changed their pace for a swinging trot. It was needful
to hold on now indeed, for this gait jolted the chair a good
deal; but it got over the ground, and Daisy found it
excessively amusing. They passed the thick-standing tree-stems
in quick succession now; the rocks uprising from the side of
the path were left behind one after another; they reached the
sharp bend in the road; and, keeping up the swinging trot with
a steadiness which showed good wind on the part of both the
chair-bearers, at last the little house where Sam had been
left hove in view. Time it was; — full time. One and another
sough of the wind had bowed the tree-tops with a token of what
was coming; one and another bright flash of lightning had
illumined the woody wilderness; and now, just as the chair
stopped, drops began to fall which seemed as large as cherry-
stones, mingled with hail a good deal larger. Their patter
sounded on the leaves a minute or two; then ceased.

"That will do, Logan," said the doctor. "Bring the chair in
under shelter if you can; and come in yourself. This will be a
shower." And he led Daisy into the house.

If ever you saw a dark-looking place, that was the room into
which the house-door admitted them. Two little windows seemed
at this instant to let in the darkness rather than the light;
they were not very clean, besides being small — a description
which Daisy would have said applied to the whole room. She
stood still in the middle of the floor, not seeing any place
to sit down, that she could make up her mind to take. The
doctor went to the window. Logan took a chair. Sam was sitting
disconsolately in a corner. It was hard to say to what class
of people the house belonged; poor people they were of course;
and things looked as if they were simply living there because
too poor to live anywhere else. A slatternly woman stared at
the intruders; a dirty child crawled over the hearth. Daisy
could not endure to touch anything, except with the soles of
her shoes. So she stood upright in the middle of the floor;
till the doctor turned round.

"Daisy! — are you going to stand there till the shower is
over?"

"Yes, sir," — Daisy answered, patiently. A smile curled the
doctor's lips. He opened the door and lifted in the chair with
its long poles, which indeed half filled the little room; but
Daisy sat down. The woman looked on in astonishment.

"Be she weakly, like?" she asked at length of the doctor.

"Has been —" he answered.

"And what be that thing for?"

"It is for going up and down mountains."

"Have you come from the mountings!" she asked, in great
surprise. The doctor was in for it. He was obliged to explain.
Meanwhile the darkness continued, and the rain did not yet
fall. A breath of wind now and then brushed heavily past the
house, and sunk into silence. The minutes passed.

"It will be a happiness if they get here before it begins,"
said Dr. Sandford; "it will come when it comes!"

"Be there _more_ comin'?" said the woman.

"A housefull. We are only the beginning."

She moved about now with somewhat of anxiety to get sundry
things out of the way, which yet there seemed no other place
for; a frying-pan was set up in a corner; a broom took
position by the fire place; a pail of water was lifted on the
table; and divers knives and forks and platters hustled into a
chimney cupboard. Little room enough when all was done. At
last the woman caught up the sprawling baby and sat down with
it opposite the broom, on the other side the fire, in one of
the three chairs the place contained. Sam had another. Logan
was on a box. The woman's eyes said, "Now I am ready to see
all that comes."


CHAPTER XXVI.

DAISY'S SUPPER.


It was some time first, and the rain still did not fall. It
was very black, and flashes from distant lightning with
mutterings of the thunder were frequent and threatening; still
no rain unless a few ominous drops. At last voices and
fluttering muslins came down the road; the flutter came near,
and in poured a stream of gay people at the door of the poor
little room. Gay as to their dress and attire, that is; for
gaiety was not to be found at present in their words and
behaviour. The woman in the chimney corner hugged up closer
her dirty baby with the delight of so unwonted a feast to her
eyes.

"Is there nothing better than _this_ to be had?" said Mrs. Fish.
And her tone was indescribable.

"How long have we got to remain here, doctor?" said a more
cheery voice.

"Mrs. Stanfield, until the rain has come, and gone."

"It would be better to be out in it," whispered Theresa to her
mother.

"My love, there is no other shelter on this side the river."

"There will not be standing room for us all presently —" said
Eloise Gary.

Pretty nearly so; for when the second detachment of the party
arrived, in a minute more, people looked at each other across
a throng of heads. They got in; that was all. To sit down or
to move much was out of the question.

"Daisy, you can't have this big chair of yours in here," said
Ransom in an energetic whisper. "Don't you see there is no
room for it?"

Daisy saw there was very little. She got up patiently and
stood, though feeling very tired; while her chair was got out
of the door with a good deal of difficulty.

"Are you tired, my darling?" said her father, bending down to
the pale little face.

"A little, papa," said Daisy, sighing.

No more words, but Mr. Randolph lifted Daisy in his arms and
gave her a resting place there. Daisy was afraid she was too
heavy for him, but it was very comfortable to sit there, with
her arm on his shoulder. Her face looked its content; the only
face in which such an expression could be seen at present;
though the gentlemen took the thing coolly, and Mr. Randolph
and the two Sandfords looked as usual. But now the delayed
storm drew near. The thunder notified with every burst the
fact that it was coming speedily; the lightning became vivid
and constant. A premonitory sweep of the wind — and the clouds
gave out their treasures of rain and hail with tremendous
fury. The lightning was terrible now, and the darkness of the
intervals between so great that the company could scarcely see
each other's faces. This was more than some of the party had
bargained for, and there was a degree of confusion. Screams
from a few of the ladies and exclamations of terror from
others were mixed now and then with words that sounded very
like an oath to Daisy's ear, though they were not spoken in
levity. She bent her head round to look in the face of the
lady who had last used them, as if to assure herself what was
meant; and then her head went down on Mr. Randolph's shoulder
and her face was hidden.

"Daisy —" whispered her father.

"Yes, papa."

"Are you afraid?"

"No, papa — not for myself."

"What? Look up here, Daisy."

She lifted her face; it was wistful and troubled.

"Are you concerned about the storm, my darling?"

"No, papa; not myself."

"How then, Daisy?"

She shuddered. "Papa, I wish they would not scream so!"

"Why does that trouble _you?_" said Mr. Randolph, smiling.

But Daisy's face was unutterably grave, as a new brilliant
band of forked lightning glittered outside the windows, and
the burst of the thunderbolt sounded as if at their very feet,
making a renewal of the same cries and exclamations.

"Why does it trouble you, Daisy?" said Mr. Randolph,
soothingly, feeling the quiver of the child's frame.

"Papa," said Daisy, with intense expression, — "they do not
love Jesus!" — And her head went down again to be hid on her
father's shoulder.

Mr. Randolph did nothing to bring it up again; and Daisy lay
quite still, while the storm raged in full fury, and the
screams and ejaculations of the ladies were joined now and
then by a word of impatience from one of the gentlemen, or a
"Hech, sirs!" in Logan's smothered Scotch brogue. Once Mr.
Randolph felt Daisy's lips pressed against his face, and then
her other arm came round his neck, and nestling there closely
she was after that as still as a mouse. The storm lasted a
long time. The lightning and thunder at last removed their
violence some distance off; then the wind and the rain did
their part, which they had not fully done before. And all the
while the poor party of pleasure sat or stood as thick as bees
in a hive, in the miserable shelter of the cottage. —
Miserable, yet welcome. Very tired and impatient the people
became as they grew less frightened. Daisy had long been fast
asleep. The day waned and drew near its ending. When sunset
was, nobody could tell by the light; but that night was at
hand was at last evident from the darkness.

"Your arms must be weary, Mr. Randolph," said Dr. Sandford.
"Let me relieve you of your burden."

"I cannot let you do that."

"I will," said the doctor. "Daisy being my charge as well as
yours, gives me a right." And the transfer was actually made
before Daisy was aware of it. She waked up however, with a
feeling of some change and a doubt upon her mind as to what
custody she was in; but she was not sure, till the woman of
the house lit a miserable dip candle, which threw a light that
mocked the darkness over the weary company. Daisy did not like
the arrangement at all.

"Dr. Sandford!" she exclaimed. "I shall tire you. Please put
me on the floor and let me stand."

"No, you cannot," said the doctor, decidedly. "Be a good
child, Daisy. Lay your head down and go to sleep again."

And greatly to Daisy's astonishment the doctor's moustache
brushed her lip. Now Daisy had always thought to herself that
she would never allow anybody that wore a moustache to kiss
her; here it was done, without leave asked; and if the doctor
was so independent of rules as that, she thought she had best
not provoke him. Besides, she remembered that her father must
be tired with carrying her so long; and moreover, if Dr.
Sandford liked her well enough to kiss her, maybe he would not
care for the trouble of holding her for a while. At any rate
Daisy submitted peaceably to the necessity; put her arm over
the doctor's shoulder to support herself, and laid her head
down; though not to sleep. She watched everything that was
going on now. What a roomful of weary and impatient people
they were! packed like cattle in a pen, for closeness; and how
the rain poured and beat outside the house! The shelter was
something to be thankful for, and yet how unthankful everybody
looked. Some of the gentlemen showed calm fortitude under
their trials; but the poor ladies' chagrined faces said that
days of pleasure were misnamed. Alexander Fish had gone to
sleep; Ransom looked cross; Preston as usual gentlemanly,
though bored. From one to another Daisy's eye roved. Nora and
Ella were sitting on the table; in full confab. Other people
were sitting there too; the table was full.

"The storm is slackening —" Mr. Randolph remarked to the
doctor.

"It will be over in a little while more."

"What do you think of it, Daisy?" said her father, noticing
her look.

"Of what, papa?"

"Parties of pleasure in general."

"Papa, — I have had a very nice time."

"You have had a nice sleep," said her father, laughing; "and
that colours your views of things. The rest of us have not had
that advantage."

"Daisy, I am surprised to hear you say what you do," the
doctor remarked as Mr. Randolph turned away. He spoke softly.

"Why, sir?"

"I thought your day had not been _altogether_ agreeable?"

"Do you think anything is apt to be altogether agreeable, Dr.
Sandford?" Daisy said, with a demure waiving of the subject
which was worthy of much older years. The quaintness of this
remark was infinite.

"What has been the agreeableness to-day, for instance?"

"Oh, a great deal; my ride in the chair, — that was nice! and
all our walk, and what, you were telling me; and coming over
the river —" Daisy paused.

"And what do you think of being carried in the arms of
gentlemen," said Mrs. Gary, who had overheard a few words, —
"while other little girls have to get along as they can? as
tired as you are, I dare say."

"I cannot help it, aunt Gary," said Daisy. But the remark
served to justify her view of things; for what had in truth
been altogether agreeable up to that minute was so no longer.
Daisy was uneasy.

"Dr. Sandford," she whispered after a few moments, "I am
rested — I can stand now. I am tiring you. Please set me
down."

"No. Be quiet, Daisy," said her friend, peremptorily. And as
the little head went down again obediently on his shoulder, he
gave again a gentle kiss to her lips. Daisy did not mind Mrs.
Gary after that.

The storm slackened off now rapidly. The patter of the rain
lessened and grew still; a sweet reviving air blew in at the
windows. Of course the road was drenched with wet and every
tree dripping; nevertheless the journey must be made to the
boats, and the poor ladies were even glad to set out to
undertake it. But it would not be an easy journey either, on
the whole. Some time before this the doctor had despatched
Logan on an errand. He now declared he must wait for his
return; and desired Mr. Randolph to go forward and help take
care of the rest of the party and have no concern about Daisy;
he would keep her in charge.

"Shall I do that, Daisy?" said Mr. Randolph, fearing it might
trouble her.

But Daisy said, "Yes, papa" — with no hesitation; and the plan
was acted upon. Gathering up their floating muslin dresses,
tying handkerchiefs over their heads, with shrinking and yet
eager steps, one by one they filed out at the door of the
little hut. Just as the last one went, Logan came; he had been
to the boats and brought thence the doctor's cloak, which,
with more providence than the rest of the party who were less
used to travelling, he had taken the precaution to bring. Now
this, by the doctor's order, was spread over Daisy's chair,
which having been pushed out of doors, had got wet; she was
placed in it then, and the folds of the cloak brought well
round and over her, so that nothing could be more secure than
she was from the wet with which every leaf and bough was
dripping overhead, and every foot of soil loaded underneath.
Dr. Sandford took one end of the poles and Logan the other,
and the last of the party they set forth. Why Dr. Sandford had
made this arrangement, was best known to himself. Perhaps he
preferred it to having Mrs. Fish on his arm, who was a very
fine lady; perhaps he preferred it to the attentions he might
have had to pay to the younger damsels of the party, who would
all three have been on his hands at once, very likely. At all
events he did prefer to be one of the chair-bearers, and Daisy
was very glad of it.

The rest of the party were well in advance, out of sight and
hearing. Tramp, tramp, the steady regular footfall of her
bearers, and the light plashing of rain drops as they fell,
and the stir of the wind in the leaves, were all the sounds
that Daisy heard. No rain fell now; on the contrary the heaven
was clear as a bell, and light enough came through the woods
to show the way with comfortable certainty. Overhead, the
stars were shining down with wonderful brilliancy, through the
air which the storm had cleansed from all vapours; the moon
was coming up somewhere, too. The smell of the trees and other
green things was exceedingly sweet after the rain; and the
delicious soft air was very delicious after the sultry day.
Never in her life after did Daisy forget that night's work.
This ride from the cottage to the shore was something she
enjoyed with all her might. It was so wild and strange as well
as sweet. Rocks and tree-trunks, and the turnings of the road
had all such a mysterious new look, different from what
daylight showed them; it was an endless pleasure. Till the
walk ended. It came out at last upon the shore of the river
and into the moonlight. High in the eastern sky the moon hung,
shedding her broad light down all over the river, which
crisped and sparkled under it; and there by the water's edge
the members of the party of pleasure were huddled together
preparing to embark. Over their heads the sails of Mr.
Randolph's boat stood up in the moonlight. The doctor and
Logan set down their burden and waited. The Fish's were
getting on board their little vessel, which was moved by oars
alone.

"Mrs. Stanfield, you had better come with us," Mr. Randolph
said. "There is plenty of room. Your boat is too small. You
would find it unpleasantly rough in mid-channel."

"Oh, is it rough?" exclaimed the lady.

"For your little row-boat — I am afraid you would find it so.
The wind has roughened the water considerably, and it has not
had time to get quiet. Come with us, and we will all take
supper together at Melbourne."

It was arranged so. The party were stowed away in the large
sail-boat, which held them all well enough; the children being
happy at finding themselves seated together.

"What are we waiting for?" said Mrs. Gary when all had been in
their places some minutes, and conversation was the only thing
moving. "What are we staying here for?"

"Sam."

"Where's Sam?"

"He is yonder — in our late place of shelter. James and
Michael have gone to fetch him with Daisy's chair."

"Sam! Why, he might have stayed there till to-morrow and no
hurt. Have we got to wait till the men go there and bring him
back? We shall be late at supper!"

"The river will be all the quieter, Mrs. Gary," said Mr.
Randolph, mischievously.

"The river? You don't mean to say it is not quiet?"

"It was not quiet a while ago, I assure you."

"Well, I do think, if ever there was a misnamed thing, it is a
party of pleasure," said the lady, disconsolately.

"They are very pleasant when they are over, sister Gary," said
Mr. Randolph.

"Daisy," Nora whispered, "are you afraid?"

"No."

"Your father says it is rough."

"He knows how to manage the boat," said Daisy.

"It isn't rough, I don't believe," said Ella Stanfield. "It
isn't rough now."

"I wish we were at the other side," said Nora.

"Oh, Nora, I think it is nice," said Daisy. "How bright the
moonlight is! Look! — all over the river there is a broad
strip. I hope we shall sail along just in that strip. Isn't it
wonderful, Nora?"

"No. What?" said Nora.

"That there should be something like a looking-glass up in the
sky to catch the sunlight and reflect it down to us when we
cannot see the sun itself."

"What looking-glass?"

"Well, the moon catches the sunlight just so, as a looking-
glass would."

"How do you know, Daisy? _I_ think it shines."

"I know because I have been told. It does not shine, any more
than a looking-glass."

"Who told you?"

"Dr. Sandford," Daisy whispered.

"Did he! Then why don't we have the moon every night?"

"Because the looking-glass, if you can imagine that it is a
looking-glass, does not always hang where it can catch the
sun."

"Don't it? I don't like to think it is a looking-glass," said
Nora. "I would a great deal rather think it is the moon."

"Well, so it is," said Daisy. "You can think so."

"Daisy, what should we do if it should be rough in the middle
of the river?"

"_I_ like it," said Ella Stanfield.

"Perhaps it will not be very rough," said Daisy.

"But suppose it should? And where the moon don't shine it is
so dark!"

"Nora," said Daisy, very low, "don't you love Jesus?"

Nora at that flounced round, and turning her face from Daisy.
and the moonlight, began to talk to Ella Stanfield on the
other side of her. Daisy did not understand what it meant.

All this while, and a good while longer, the rest of the
people were waiting with various degrees of patience and
impatience for the coming of Sam and the men. It was pretty
there by the shore, if they had not been impatient. The
evening breeze was exceedingly fragrant and fresh; the light
which streamed down from the moon was sparkling on all the
surface of the water, and laid a broad band of illumination
like a causeway across the river. In one or two places the
light showed the sails of a sloop or schooner on her way up or
down; and along the shore it grew daintily hazy and soft. But
impatience was nevertheless the prominent feeling on board the
sail-boat; and it had good time to display itself before
Michael and James could go all the distance back to the house
and bring Sam away from it.

"Here he is!" "There they are at last!" were the words of hail
with which their appearance was greeted. "Now off" — and with
all haste the three were received on board and the vessel
pushed out into the stream. Immediately her sail caught the
breeze which came fair down the river, and careening a little
as she took it, her head began to make good speed across the
causeway of moonlight. But then the ladies began to scream;
for in mid-channel the wind was fresh and the waters had not
quite forgotten yet the tumult of the late storm, which had
tossed them well. The sail-boat danced bravely, up and down,
going across the waves. Among the frightened people was Nora,
who, grasping Daisy's dress with one hand and some part of the
boat with the other, kept uttering little cries of "Oh Daisy —
" "Oh! Daisy," — with every fresh lurch of the vessel. Ella
Stanfield had thrown herself down in her mother's lap. Daisy
was very much tried.

"Nora," she said, "I wish you would not cry so!"

"But I am afraid!"

"I wish you would be comforted, and not cry out so," sighed
Daisy. "Papa says there is no danger — didn't you hear him?"

"But, oh, I am afraid!" re-echoed Nora.

Daisy folded her hands, and tried to bide patiently the time
of smooth water. It came, partially at least, as they neared
the opposite bank. The boat went steadily; spirits revived;
and soon the passage was brought to an end and the sail-boat
laid alongside the little jetty, on which the party, men,
women and children, stepped out with as sincere a feeling of
pleasure as had moved them all day. Carriages were in waiting;
a few minutes brought the whole company to Melbourne House.

Here they were to stay supper; and the ladies and gentlemen
dispersed to various dressing rooms to prepare for it. Soonest
of all ready and in the drawing-room were the three children.

"I am so hungry!" said Nora.

"So am I!" said Ella Stanfield.

"We shall have supper presently," said Daisy.

"Oh, Daisy, weren't you afraid in the boat, when it went up
and down so?"

"I do not think I was afraid," said Daisy, "if other people
had not been so disturbed."

"I don't see how they could help being disturbed," said Ella
Stanfield. "Why, the boat didn't sail straight at all."

"But _that_ does not do any harm," said Daisy.

"How do you know?" said Nora. "_I_ think it does harm; I do not
think it is safe."

"But you know, Nora, when the disciples were in the boat, and
thought it was not safe — the wind blew so, you know — they
ought to have trusted Jesus, and not been afraid."

Nora and Ella both looked at Daisy for a minute after this
speech, and then by some train of association Nora started
another subject.

"Daisy, have you got my Egyptian spoon yet?"

Now was Daisy in a great difficulty. She flushed; the little
face which had been pale enough before, became of a delicate
pink hue all over. Not knowing what to say, she said nothing.

"Have you got it yet?" repeated Nora, curiously.

"No, Nora. I have not."

"You have not? What have you done with it?"

"Nothing."

"My Egyptian spoon! that Marmaduke gave me to give to you! You
have not kept it! What did you do with it, Daisy?"

"I did nothing with it."

"Did you break it?"

"No."

"Did you give it away?"

"Oh, Nora, I loved it very much," said poor Daisy; "but I
could not keep it. I could not!"

"Why couldn't you? I would not have given it to you, Daisy, if
I had thought you would not have kept it."

"I wanted to keep it very much — but I could not," said Daisy,
with the tears in her eyes.

"Why 'could not'? why couldn't you? Did you give it away,
Daisy? — that spoon I gave you?"

"Nora, I could not help it! Somebody else wanted it very much,
and I was obliged to let her have it. I could not help it."

"I shall tell Marmaduke that you did not care for it," said
Nora in an offended tone. "I wish I had kept it myself. It was
a beautiful spoon."

Daisy looked very much troubled.

"Who has got it?" Nora went on.

"It is no matter who has got it," said Daisy. "I couldn't keep
it."

"She is right, Nora," said Preston, who came up just then, at
the same time with the doctor. "She could not keep it, because
it was taken away from her without any leave asked. I mean she
shall have it back, too, one of these days. Don't you say
another word to Daisy! — she has behaved like a little angel
about it."

Preston's manner made an impression, as well as his words.
Nora was checked.

"What is all that, Nora?" the doctor asked.

Now Nora had a great awe of him. She did not, dare not answer.

"It is about a spoon I gave Daisy, that she gave away."

"She did not, I tell you!" said Preston.

"A spoon?" said the doctor. "Silver?"

"Oh, no! A beautiful, old, very old, carved, queer old spoon,
with a duck's bill, that came out of an old Egyptian tomb, and
was put there ever so long ago."

"Did your brother give it to you?"

"Yes, to give to Daisy, and she gave it to somebody else."

"Nora, I did not give it as you think I did. I loved it very
much. I would not have let anybody have it if I could have
helped it."

"Who has got it, Daisy?" asked the doctor.

Daisy looked at him, looked perplexed, flushed a little,
finally said with demure gentleness, "Dr. Sandford, I think I
ought not to tell."

The doctor smiled, took Daisy's hand, and led her off to the
supper room, whither they were now invited. So it happened
that her seat at the table was again by his side. Daisy liked
it. Just then she did not care about being with Nora.

The people gathered, bright and fresh, around the supper
table, all seeming to have forgotten their fatigues and
frights; and every face looked smiling or gracious. The day
was over, the river was crossed; the people were hungry; and
the most dainty and perfectly arranged supply of refreshments
stood on the board. Coffee and tea steamed out their grateful
announcements; ice cream stood in red and white pyramids of
firmness; oysters and cold meats and lobster salad offered all
that hungry people could desire; and everybody was in a
peculiar state of gratified content and expectation.

Daisy was no exception. She had let slip her momentary trouble
about the Egyptian spoon; and in her quiet corner, quite
unnoticed as she thought, looked at the bright scene and
enjoyed it. She liked being under the doctor's care too, and
his care of her was very thoughtful and kind. He did not
forget the little quiet mouse at his elbow; but after he had
properly attended to the other people whose claims came first,
he served her nicely with whatever was good for her. Was Daisy
going to omit her usual giving of thanks? She thought of her
mother's interference with a moment's flash of hesitancy; but
resolved to go on just as usual. She did not think she would
be noticed, everybody was so busy; and at any rate there was a
burden of gladness in her little heart that must speak. While
the talking and laughing and click of knives and forks was
thick all around her, Daisy's little head bent in a moment's
oblivion of it all behind her hand.

She had raised her head and just taken her fork in her fingers
when she heard her own name. She looked up.

"Daisy —" said her mother, quietly — "come here."

Daisy left her seat, and went round to her mother's side.

"You may go up stairs," said Mrs. Randolph.

"Mamma?"

"Go — and remain till I send for you."

Daisy slipped away quietly, before anybody could notice that
she was gone or going. Then slowly went up the stairs and
along the passages to her own room. It was empty and dark,
except for the moonlight without; June had not expected her to
be there, and had not made preparation. Daisy went, and
kneeled down in her old place by her window; her eyes filled
as full of tears as they could hold. She bent her little head
to brush them away, but they came again. Daisy was faint and
tired; she wanted her supper very much; and she had enjoyed
the supper-table very much; it was a great mortification to
exchange it for the gloom and silence of her moonlit room. She
had not a bit of strength to keep her spirits up. Daisy felt
weak. And what was the matter? Only — that she had, against
her mother's pleasure, repeated her acknowledgment of the hand
that had given her all good things. How many good things that
day! And was she not to make such acknowledgment any more?
Ought she to please her mother in this? Had she really done
wrong? Daisy could not tell; she thought not; she could not
wish she had not done what she did; but at the same time it
was very miserable to have Mrs. Randolph at odds with her on
such a point as this.

Daisy shed some tears about it; yet not a great many, and
without the least bitterness in them. But she felt faint and
tired and disappointed. Here, however, at her own room-window,
and alone, there was no bar to thanksgivings; and Daisy had
them in her heart, as well as prayers for the people who had
them not. She was too tired to pray at last; she only knelt at
the window with her arms on the sill, — Daisy was raised up on
an ottoman — and looked out at the moonlight, feeling as if
she was going into a dream.

"Miss Daisy!" — said the smothered voice of June behind her —
"are you there, Miss Daisy?"

June's accent was doubtful and startled. Daisy turned round.

"Miss Daisy! — I thought you was in the supper-room."

"No, June — I'm here."

"Will you go to bed, Miss Daisy?"

"I wish, June, you would get me something to eat, first," said
Daisy, languidly.

"Didn't you get your supper, Miss Daisy?"

"No, and I'm hungry. I haven't had anything since the dinner
at the lake. I wish you'd make haste, June."

June knew from Daisy's way of speaking, as well as from the
facts of the case, that there was some trouble on foot. She
went off to get supper, and as she went along the passages the
mulatto woman's hand was clenched upon itself, though her face
showed only its usual wrinkles.

Small delay was there before she was back again, and with her
June had brought a supply of very nearly everything there had
been on the supper-table. She set down her tray, prepared a
table for Daisy, and placed a chair. The room was light now
with two wax candles. Daisy sat down and took a review.

"What will you have now, Miss Daisy? Here's some hot oysters —
nice and hot. I'll get you some ice-cream when you're ready to
eat it — Hiram's got it in the freezer for you. Make haste,
Miss Daisy — these oysters is good."

But Daisy did not make haste. She looked at the supper tray
thoughtfully.

"June," she said, with a very gentle pure glance of her eyes
up at the mulatto woman's face — "I am very much obliged to
you — but I don't think mamma means me to eat these things to-
night — Will you just get me some milk and some bread? I'll
take some bread and milk!"

"Miss Daisy, these oysters is good for you," said June.

"I'll take some bread and milk to-night — if you will please
make haste. Thank you, June."

"Miss Daisy, then, maybe take a sandwich."

"No — I will have nothing but bread and milk. Only quick,
June."

June went off for the bread and milk, and then very
unwillingly carried her supper-tray down stairs again. Going
through one of the passages she was met by her master.

"Where is that coming from, June?" he asked her, in surprise.

"From Miss Daisy's room, sir."

"Has she been taking supper up there?"

"No, sir — Miss Daisy wouldn't touch nothing."

"Is she unwell?" — Mr. Randolph asked, in a startled tone.

"No, sir." June's tone was dry.

Mr. Randolph marched at once to the room in question, where
Daisy was eating her bread and milk.

"What are you doing, Daisy?"

"Papa!" — said the child, with a start; and then quietly, "I
am taking my supper."

"Were you not at the table down stairs?"

"Yes, papa."

"How came you not to have your supper there?"

"I had to come away, papa."

"Are you not well, Daisy?" said Mr. Randolph, tenderly,
bending down over her chair.

"Yes, papa — quite well."

"Then, why did you come away?"

Daisy's spoon lay still in her fingers and her eyes reddened.
"Mamma sent me."

If the child was to have any supper at all, Mr. Randolph saw,
he must forbear his questioning. He rose up from leaning over
her chair. "Go on, Daisy —" he said; and he left her, but did
not leave the room. He walked up and down the floor at a
little distance, while Daisy finished her bread and milk She
was too much in want of it not to do that. When it was done
she got out of her chair and stood on the floor looking at her
father, as gentle as a young sparrow. He came and wheeled her
chair round and sat down upon it.

"What is the matter, Daisy?"

"Mamma was displeased with me." The child dropped her eyes.

"What about?"

"Papa" — said Daisy, slowly, trying for words and perhaps also
for self-command — "mamma was displeased with me because — I —
"

"What?"

"Papa — because I did what she did not like at dinner."

"At dinner? what was that?"

The child lifted her eyes now to her father's face, a little
wistfully.

"Papa — don't you know? — I was only praying a minute."

Mr. Randolph stretched out his arm, drew Daisy up to him,
placed her on his knee, and looked down into her face.

"Did you have no supper downstairs?"

"No, sir."

"Do you like bread and milk better than other things?"

"No, papa."

"I met June with a great tray of supper things, and she said
you would not eat them. Why was that?"

"Papa," said Daisy, "I thought mamma did not mean me to have
those things to-night."

"She did not forbid you?"

"No, papa."

Mr. Randolph's arm was round Daisy; now he wrapped both arms
about her, bringing her up close to his breast, and putting
down his lips to her face, he kissed her over and over, with a
great tenderness.

"Have you had a pleasant day?"

"Papa, I have had a great many pleasant things," said Daisy,
eagerly. Her voice had changed and a glad tone had come into
it.

"Dr. Sandford took proper care of you?"

"Papa, he is _very_ good!' said Daisy, strongly.

"I rather think he thinks you are."

"He is nice, papa."

"Nice —" said Mr. Randolph. "He is pretty well. But now,
Daisy, what do you think of going to bed and to sleep?"

"Yes, papa."

"And to-morrow, if you have got into any difficulty, you may
come to me and talk about it."

Daisy returned a very earnest caress to her father's good-
night kiss, and afterwards had no difficulty in doing as he
had said. And so ended the day on Silver Lake.


CHAPTER XXVII.

RANSOM AND FIDO.


Daisy reflected the next morning as to what was her right
course with respect to the action that had troubled her mother
so much. Ought she to do it? In the abstract it was right to
do it; but ought _she_ in these circumstances? And how much of a
Christian's ordinary duty might she be required to forego? and
where must the stand be made? Daisy did not know; she had
rather the mind of a soldier, and was much inclined to obey
her orders, as such, come what might. That is, it seemed to
her that so she would be in the sure and safe way; but Daisy
had no appetite at all for the fighting that this course would
ensure. One thing she knew by experience; that if she drew
upon herself a direct command to do such a thing no more, the
order would stand; there would be no dealing with it
afterwards except in the way of submission. That command she
had not in this case yet received, and she judged it prudent
not to risk receiving it. She went down to breakfast as usual,
but she did not bow her little head to give any thanks or make
any prayers. She hoped the breakfast would pass off quietly.
So it did as to that matter. But another subject came up.

"What became of you last night at supper, Daisy?" her aunt
asked. "Dr. Sandford was enquiring for you. I think you
received quite your share of attention, for so young a lady,
for my part."

"Daisy had more than anybody else, yesterday," remarked
Eloise.

"A sprained or a broken ankle is a very good thing
occasionally," said Mr. Randolph.

"Yes," said Mrs. Gary — "I think Daisy had quite the best time
of anybody yesterday. A palanquin with gentlemen for her
porters, and friendly arms to go to sleep in — most devoted
care!"

"Yes, I was one of her porters," — said Ransom. "I think Dr.
Sandford takes rather too much on himself."

"Did he take _you?_" said Mr. Randolph.

"Yes, sir, — when there was no occasion."

"Why, Ransom," said Daisy, "there was no one else to carry my
chair but Preston and you."

"Did Preston feel aggrieved?" asked his uncle.

"Certainly not, sir," replied the boy. "It was a pleasure."

"It was not Ransom's business," said Mrs. Randolph.

"I suppose it was not the doctor's business either," said Mr.
Randolph — "though he made it so afterwards."

"Oh, I dare say it was a pleasure to him, too," said Mrs.
Gary. "Really, the doctor did not take care of anybody
yesterday, that I saw, except Daisy. I thought he admired
Frederica Fish — I had heard so — but there was nothing of it.
Daisy was quite queen of the day."

Mr. Randolph smiled.

Ransom seemed to consider himself insulted. "I suppose that
was the reason," he said, "that she called me worse than a
dog, because I took a meringue from the dinner-spread."

"Did you do that, Daisy?" asked her mother.

"No, mamma," said Daisy, low. Her face had flushed with
astonishment and sorrow.

"You did," said Ransom. "You said just that."

"Oh, no, Ransom — you forget."

"What _did_ you say, Daisy?" asked her mother.

"Mamma, I did not say _that_. I said something — I did not mean
it for anything like that."

"Tell me exactly what you did say — and no more delay."

"Wait till after breakfast," said Mr. Randolph. "I wish to be
present at the investigation of this subject, Felicia — but I
would rather take it by itself than with my coffee."

So there was a lull in the storm which seemed to be gathering.
It gave Daisy time to think. She was in a great puzzle. How
she could get through the matter without exposing all Ransom's
behaviour, all at least which went before the blow given to
herself, Daisy did not see; she was afraid that truth would
force her to bring it all out. And she was very unwilling to
do that, because in the first place she had established a full
amnesty in her own heart for all that Ransom had done, and
wished rather for an opportunity to please than to criminate
him; and, in the second place, in her inward consciousness she
knew that Mrs. Randolph was likely to be displeased with her,
in any event. She would certainly, if Daisy were an occasion
of bringing Ransom into disgrace; though the child doubted
privately whether her word would have weight enough with her
mother for that. Ransom also had time to think, and his brow
grew gloomy. An investigation is never what a guilty party
desires; and judging her by himself, Ransom had reason to
dread the chance of retaliation which such a proceeding would
give his little sister. So Daisy and Ransom wore thoughtful
faces during the rest of breakfast-time; and the result of
Ransom's reflections was that the investigation would go on
most pleasantly without him. He made up his mind to slip away,
if he had a chance, and be missing. He had the chance; for Mr.
and Mrs. Randolph were engaged with a call of some neighbours
immediately after breakfast; all thought of the children's
affairs seemed to be departed. Ransom waited a safe time, and
then departed too, with Preston, on an expedition which would
last all the morning. Daisy alone bided the hour, a good deal
disturbed in the view of what it might bring.

She was summoned at last to the library. Her father and mother
were there alone; but just after Daisy came in she was
followed by Dr. Sandford. The doctor came with a message. Mrs.
Sandford, his sister, he said, sent by him to beg that Daisy
might come to spend the day with Nora Dinwiddie, who much
desired her presence. In the event of a favourable answer, the
doctor said he would himself drive Daisy over, and would call
for that purpose in another hour or two. He delivered his
message, and Mrs. Randolph replied at once that Daisy could
not go; she could not permit it.

Mr. Randolph saw the flush of hope and disappointment on
Daisy's face and the witness of another kind in her eyes;
though with her characteristic steady self-control she neither
moved nor spoke, and suffered the tears to come no further.
Dr. Sandford saw it too, but he said nothing. Mr. Randolph
spoke.

"Is that decision on account of Daisy's supposed delinquency
in that matter?"

"Of course —" Mrs. Randolph answered, dryly.

"Can you explain it, Daisy?" her father asked, gravely, and
kindly drawing her up to his side. Daisy struggled with some
thought.

"Papa," she said, softly, "will mamma be satisfied to punish
me and let it go so?"

"Let it go how?"

"Would she be satisfied with this punishment, I mean, and not
make me say anything more about it?"

"I should not. I intend to know the whole. Can you explain
it?"

"I think I can, papa," Daisy said, but with a troubled
unwillingness, her father saw. He saw too that it was not the
unwillingness of a troubled conscience.

"Dr. Sandford, if you are willing to take the trouble of
stopping without the certainty of taking Daisy back with you,
I have some hopes that the result may be satisfactory to all
parties."

"_Au revoir_, then," said the doctor, and he strode off.

"Now, Daisy," said her father, still having his arms about her
— "what is it?"

Mrs. Randolph stood by the table and looked coldly down at the
group. Daisy was under great difficulty; that was plain.

"Papa — I wish Ransom could tell you!"

"Where is the boy?"

Mrs. Randolph rang the bell.

"It is no use, mamma; he has gone off with Preston somewhere."

"That is a mere subterfuge, Daisy, to gain time."

Daisy certainly looked troubled enough, and timid also; though
her meek look at her mother did not plead guilty to this
accusation.

"Speak, Daisy; the telling whatever there is to tell must come
upon you," her father said. "Your business is to explain the
charge Ransom has brought against you."

All Daisy's meditations had not brought her to the point of
knowing what to say in this conjuncture. She hesitated.

"Speak, Daisy!" her father said, peremptorily.

"Papa, they had put me — Eloise and Theresa Stanfield — they
had put me to watch the things."

"What things?"

"The dinner —the things that had been taken out of the hampers
and were spread on the tablecloth, where we dined."

"Watch for fear the fishes would carry them off?"

"No, sir, but Fido; Ransom's dog; he was running about."

"Oh! Well? —"

"I kept Fido off, but I could not keep Ransom —" Daisy said,
low. "He was taking things."

"And why should he not?" said Mrs. Randolph, coldly. "Why
should not Ransom take a sandwich, or a peach, if he wanted
one? or anything else, if he was hungry. There was enough
provision for everybody."

Daisy looked up at her mother, with a quick refutation of this
statement of the case in her mind, but something stayed her
lips. Mr. Randolph saw and read the look. He put his arm round
Daisy and drew her up to him, speaking with grave decision.

"Daisy, say all you have to say at once — do you hear me? and
spare neither for Ransom nor yourself. Tell all there is to be
told, without any shuffling."

"Papa, I should not have objected to his having a sandwich —
or as many as he liked. I should have thought it was proper.
But he took the meringues — and so many that the dish was left
very small; and then he carried off Joanna's lark pie, the
whole of it; and he did not mind what I said; and then, I
believe — I suppose that is what Ransom meant — I believe I
told him he was worse than Fido."

"Was Ransom offended at that?"

"Yes, papa. He did not like my speaking to him at all."

"Of course not," said Mrs. Randolph. "Boys never like to be
tutored by girls; and Daisy must expect her brother will not
like it if she meddles with him; and especially if she
addresses such language to him."

"I said only exactly that, mamma."

"Ransom put it differently."

A flush came up all over Daisy's face; she looked at her
mother appealingly, but said nothing and the next moment her
eyes fell.

"Did Ransom answer you at the time, Daisy?"

"Yes, sir," Daisy said, in a low voice.

"How?"

"Papa! —" said Daisy, confounded.

"What did he say to you?"

"He did not say much —" said Daisy.

"Tell me what his answer was?"

"Papa, he struck my ears," said Daisy. A great crimson glow
came all over her face, and she hid it in her father's breast;
like an injured thing running to shelter. Mr. Randolph was
lying on a sofa; he folded his arm round Daisy, but spoke
never a word. Mrs. Randolph moved impatiently.

"Boys will do such things," she said. "It is very absurd in
Daisy to mind it. Boys will do such things — she must learn
that it is not her place or business to find fault with her
brother. I think she deserved what she got. — It will teach
her a lesson."


"Boys shall not do such things in my house," said Mr.
Randolph, in his usual quiet manner.

"As you please!" said the lady, in a very dissatisfied way;
"but I think it is only what all boys do."

"Felicia, I wish to reverse your decision about this day's
pleasure. Seeing Daisy has had her lesson, do you not think
she might be indulged with the play after it?"

"As you please!" returned the lady, very dryly.

"Do you want to go, Daisy?"

"If you please, papa." Daisy spoke without showing her face.

"Is Mr. Dinwiddie at Mrs. Sandford's?" inquired Mrs. Randolph.

"Oh, no, mamma!" Daisy looked up. "He is not coming. He is
gone a great way off. I do not suppose he is ever coming here
again; and Nora is going away soon."

Mrs. Randolph moved off.

"Felicia —" said her husband. The lady paused. "I intend that
Ransom shall have a lesson, too. I shall take away the
remaining week of his vacation. To-morrow he goes back to
school. I tell you, that you may give the necessary orders."

"For this boy's freak, Mr. Randolph?"

"For what you please. He must learn that such behaviour is not
permitted here."

Mrs. Randolph did not share the folly with which she charged
Daisy; for she made no answer at all, and only with a slight
toss of her haughty head resumed her walk out of the room.
Daisy would fain have spoken, but she did not dare; and for
some minutes after they were left alone her father and she
were profoundly silent. Mr. Randolph revolving the behaviour
of Daisy as he now understood it; her willing silence and
enforced speech, and the gentleness manifested towards her
brother, with the meek obedience rendered to her mother and
himself. Perhaps his thoughts went deeper still. While Daisy
reflected with sorrow on the state of mind sure to be produced
now both in Ransom and Mrs. Randolph towards her. A matter
which she could do nothing to help. She did not dare say one
word to change her father's purpose about Ransom; she knew
quite well it would be no use. She stood silent by his sofa,
one little hand resting fondly on his shoulder, but profoundly
quiet. Then she remembered that she had something else to talk
about.

"Papa—" she said, wheeling round a little to face him.

"Well, Daisy?"

"Do you feel like talking?"

"Hardly — it is so hot," said Mr. Randolph. "Set open that
sash-door a little more, Daisy. Now come here. What is it?"

"Shall I wait till another time, papa?"

"No."

He had passed an arm round her, and she stood as before with
one hand resting on his shoulder.

"Papa — it was about — what last night you said I might talk
to you about."

"I remember. Go on, Daisy."

"Papa," said the child, a little in doubt how to go on — "I
want to do what is right."

"There is generally little difficulty in doing that, Daisy."

Daisy thought otherwise!

"Papa, I think mamma does not like me to do what I think is
right," she said, very low and humbly.

"Your mother is the best judge, Daisy. What are you talking
about?"

"_That_, papa — that you said I might talk to you about."

"What is it? Let us understand one another clearly."

"About — it was only that I liked to pray and give thanks a
minute at meal times." Daisy spoke very softly and as if she
would fain not have spoken.

"That is a mere indifferent ceremony, Daisy, which some people
perform. It is not binding on you, certainly, if your mother
has any objection to your doing it."

"But, papa," — Daisy began eagerly, and then checked herself,
and went on slowly — "you would not like it if you were to
give me anything, and I should not thank you?"

"Cases are not parallel, Daisy."

She wondered in her simplicity why they were not; but her
questions had already ventured pretty far; she did not dare
count too much upon her father's gentleness. She stood looking
at him with unsatisfied eyes.

"In one sense we receive everything we have from the bounty of
Heaven."

"Yes, papa."

"If your wish were carried out, we should be covering our
faces all the time — if that formality is needed in giving
thanks."

Daisy had thoughts, but she was afraid to utter them. She
looked at Mr. Randolph with the same unsatisfied eyes.

"Do you see, Daisy?"

"No, papa."

"Don't you!" said Mr. Randolph, smiling. "Difficulties still
unsolved. Can you state them, Daisy?"

"Papa, you said I might show you in the Bible things — do you
remember?"

"Things? What things?"

"Papa, if I wanted to do things that I thought were right —
you promised that if you thought they were in the Bible, I
might do as it said."

"Humph!" — said Mr. Randolph, with a very doubtful sort of a
grunt, between displeasure at his own word, and annoyance at
the trouble it might bring upon him. Nevertheless, he
remembered the promise. Daisy went on timidly.

"When you get up — by and by, papa, — may I show you what is
in the Bible?"

"You need not wait till I get up — show it to me now."

"I cannot lift that big Bible, papa."

Mr. Randolph rose up from the sofa, went to the shelves where
it lay, and brought the great Bible to the library table. Then
stood and watched Daisy, who kneeled in a chair by the table
and busily turned over the large leaves, her little face very
wise and intent, her little hands small to manage the big book
before her. Had such a child and such a book anything to do
with each other, Mr. Randolph thought. But Daisy presently
found her place, and looking up at him drew a little back that
her father might see it. He stooped over Daisy and read, "In
everything give thanks."

"Do you see it, papa?"

"Yes."

"Then here is another place — I know where to find it —"

She turned over more leaves, stopped again, and Mr. Randolph
stooped and read, "Giving thanks always for all things unto
God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Mr. Randolph read, and went and threw himself on his sofa
again. Daisy came beside him. A wistful earnestness in the one
face; a careless sort of embarrassment on the other.

"You are led astray, little Daisy, by a common mistake of
ignorant readers. You fancy that these words are to be taken
literally — whereas they mean simply that we should cultivate
a thankful spirit. That, of course, I agree to."

"But, papa," said Daisy, "is a thankful spirit the same thing
quite as giving thanks?"

"It is a much better thing, Daisy, in my opinion."

"But, papa, would not a thankful spirit like to _give_ thanks?"

"I have no objection, Daisy."

The tears came into Daisy's eyes. Her mother _had_.

"Papa —"

"Well? Let us get to the end of this difficulty if we can."

"I am afraid we cannot, papa. Because if you had told me to do
a thing so, you would mean it just so, and I should do it."

Mr. Randolph wrapped his arms round Daisy and brought her
close to his breast. "Look here, Daisy," said he — "tell me.
Do you really try to give thanks everywhere, and for all
things, as the word says?"

"I do not _try_, papa — I like to do it."

"Do you give thanks for _everything?_"

"I think I do, papa; for everything that gives me pleasure."

"For Mrs. Sandford's invitation to-day, for instance."

"Oh, yes, papa," said Daisy, smiling.

He brought the little head down within reach of his lips and
kissed it a good many times.

"I wish my little Daisy would not think so much."

"I think only to know what is right to do, papa."

"It is right to mind mamma and me, and let us think for you."

"And the Bible, papa?"

"You are quite growing an old woman a good while before the
time."

Daisy kissed him with good childlike kisses, laying her little
head in his neck and clasping her arms around him; for all
that, her heart was busy yet.

"Papa," she said, "what do you think is right for me to do?"

"Thinking exhausts me, Daisy. It is too hot to-day for such an
exercise."

Daisy drew back and looked at him, with one hand resting on
his shoulder. She did not dare urge any more in words; her
look spoke her anxious, disappointed questioning of her
father's meaning. Perhaps he did not care to meet such a gaze
of inquiry, for he pulled her down again in his arms.

"I do not want you to be an old woman."

"But, papa — that is not the thing."

"I will not have it, Daisy."

"Papa," she said with a small laugh, "what shall I do to help
it? I do not know how I came to be an old woman?"

"Go off and play with Nora Dinwiddie. Are you ready to go?"

"Yes, papa — except my hat and gloves."

"Do not think any more to-day. I will think for you by and by.
But, Daisy, why should you and I set ourselves up to be better
than other people?"

"How, papa?"

"Do you know anybody else that lives up to your views on the
subject of thanksgiving?"

"Oh, yes, papa."

"Who?"

Daisy softly said, "Juanita does, papa, I think."

"A poor ignorant woman, Daisy, and very likely full of
superstitions. Her race often are."

"What is a superstition, papa?"

"A religious notion which has no foundation in truth."

"Then papa, can it be superstition to do just what God tells
us to do?"

"You are too deep for me, Daisy," said Mr. Randolph,
languidly. "Go and get ready for Dr. Sandford. He will be here
presently."

So Daisy went, feeling very uncertain of the result of her
talk, but doubtful and discouraged. Mr. Randolph had a book in
hand when she returned to the library: she could not speak to
him any more; and soon indeed the doctor came, helped her into
his gig, and drove off with her.

Now it was pleasant. The fine gravelled roads in the grounds
of Melbourne were in beautiful order after the rain; no dust
rose yet, and all the trees and flowers were in a refreshed
state of life and sweetness. Truly it was a very hot day, but
Daisy found nothing amiss. Neither, apparently, did the
doctor's good horse. He trotted along without seeming to mind
the sun; and Daisy in a good deal of glee enjoyed everything.
It was private glee — in her own mind; she did not offer any
conversation; and the doctor, of Mr. Randolph's mind, perhaps,
that it was a warm day, threw himself back in his seat and
watched her lazily. Daisy on the contrary sat up and looked
busily out. They drove in the first place for a good distance
through her own home grounds, coming out to the public road by
the church where Mr. Pyne preached, and near which the
wintergreens grew. It looked beautiful this morning, with its
ivy all washed and fresh from the rain. Indeed all nature was
in a sort of glittering condition. When they came out on the
public way it was still beautiful; no dust, and fields and
grass and trees all shining.

The road they travelled now was one scarce known to Daisy; the
carriages from Melbourne never went that way; another was
always chosen at the beginning of all their excursions whether
of business or pleasure. No gentlemen's seats were to be seen;
an occasional farmhouse stood in the midst of its crops and
meadows; and more frequently a yet poorer sort of house stood
close by the roadside. The road in this place was sometimes
rough, and the doctor's good horse left his trot and picked
his way slowly along, giving Daisy by this means an
opportunity to inspect everything more closely. There was
often little pleasure in the inspection. About half a mile
from the church, Daisy's attention was drawn by one of these
poor houses. It was very small, unpainted and dreary-looking,
having a narrow court-yard between it and the road. As the gig
was very slowly going past, Daisy uttered an exclamation, the
first word she had uttered in a long while.

"Oh, Dr. Sandford! — what is that? Something is the matter!"

"No," said the doctor coolly, "nothing is the matter — more
than usual."

"But a woman was on her hands and knees on the ground? Wasn't
it a woman?"

"Yes. She cannot move about in any other way. She is a
cripple."

"She cannot stand up?" said Daisy, looking distressed and
horrified.

"No. She has no use of her lower limbs. She is accustomed to
it, Daisy; she never had the use of them, or never for a very
long while."

"Is she _old?_"

"Pretty old, I fancy. But she does not know her age herself,
and nobody else knows it."

"Has she got nice people to take care of her?"

The doctor smiled at the earnest little face. "She has
nobody."

"No one to take care of her?" said Daisy.

"No. She lives there alone."

"But, Dr. Sandford, how does she do — how does she manage?"

"In some way that would be difficult for you and me to
understand, I suppose — like the ways of the beavers and
wasps."

"I can understand those," said Daisy, "they were made to get
along as they do; they have got all they want."

Daisy was silent, musing, for a little time; then she broke
out again.

"Isn't she very miserable, Dr. Sandford?"

"She is a very crabbed old thing, so the inference is fair
that she is miserable. In fact, I do not see how she can avoid
it."

Daisy pondered perhaps this misery which she could so little
imagine; however, she let the subject drop as to any more
words about it. She was only what the doctor called "quaintly
sober," all the rest of the way.

"Why, she looks child-like and bright enough now," said Mrs.
Sandford, to whom he made the remark.

Daisy and Nora were exchanging mutual gratulations. The doctor
looked at them.

"At the rate in which she is growing old," said he, "she will
have the soul of Methuselah in a body of twenty years."

"I don't believe it," said Mrs. Sandford.

Nora and Daisy had a great day of it. Nothing broke the full
flow of business and pleasure during all the long hours; the
day was not hot to them, nor the shadows long in coming.
Behind the house there was a deep grassy dell through which a
brook ran. Over this brook in the dell a great black walnut
tree cast its constant flickering shadow; flickering when the
wind played in the leaves and branches, although to-day the
air was still and sultry, and the leaves and the shadows were
still too, and did not move. But there was life enough in the
branches of the old walnut, for a large family of grey
squirrels had established themselves there. Old and young,
large and small; it was impossible to tell, by counting, how
many there might be in the family; at least now, while they
were going in and out and running all over; but Nora said Mrs.
Sandford had counted fifteen of them at one time. That was in
cold weather, when they had gathered on the piazza to get the
nuts she threw to them. This kind of intercourse with society
had made the squirrels comparatively tame, so that they had no
particular objections to show themselves to the two children;
and when Nora and Daisy kept quiet they had great
entertainment in watching the gambols of the pretty grey
creatures. One in particular, — the mother of the family, Nora
said, — was bolder or more familiar than the rest; and came
often and came pretty near, to look at the children with her
bright little eyes, and let them see her beautiful feathery
tail and graceful motions. It was a great delight to Daisy.
Nora had seen them before, as she said, and did not care quite
so much about the sight.

"I wonder what use squirrels are?" said Daisy.

"I guess they are not of any use," said Nora.

"Oh, I guess everything is of use."

"Why, no, it isn't," said Nora. "Grass is not of any use."

"Oh, Nora! Think — what would the cows and horses do?"

"Well, then, stones are not of any use."

"Yes, they are — to build houses — don't you know?"

"Houses might be built of wood," said Nora.

"So they might. But then, Nora, wooden houses would not last
so long as stone ones."

"Well — people could build new ones."

"But houses might be wanted where there was not wood enough to
build them."

"I never saw such a place," said Nora. "I never saw a place
where there was not wood enough. And if there is such a place
anywhere, people could not live in it, because they would have
nothing to make fires with."

Daisy considered.

"But Nora, I think it cannot be so. I guess everything is made
for some use. Dr. Sandford told me yesterday what the use is
of those queer brown leaves that grow upon rocks — you know —
and the use of little mosses, that I never thought before were
good for anything. They are to begin to prepare a place on the
rocks where things can grow."

"Why, they grow themselves," said Nora.

"Yes, but I mean other things — ferns and flowers and other
things."

"Well, what is the use of _them?_" said Nora.

"Oh, Nora — just think how pretty they are."

"But prettiness isn't use."

"I think it is," said Daisy; "and I dare say they have other
uses that we do not know. And I think, Nora, that God would
not have taken such care to dress up the old rocks if the
rocks were no good."

"Did He do it?" said Nora.

"Why, certainly. He did everything, you know."

"Of course; but I thought they just grew," said Nora.

The children were silent a little, watching the squirrels.
Daisy began again abruptly.

"Nora, did you ever see that crippled woman that lives on the
mill road a little way from our church?"

"Old Molly Skelton, do you mean?"

"I do not know what her name is — she cannot walk; she creeps
about as if she had no legs."

"I've seen her. Isn't she horrid?"

"Did you ever see her near by?"

"No, I guess I haven't. I have heard Duke tell about her."

"What? do tell me."

"Oh, she's a horrid old thing — that is all I know."

"How, horrid?"

"Why, she is wicked, and she don't know anything. She would
hardly listen to Marmaduke when he wanted to talk to her."

"Has she got a Bible, I wonder?" said Daisy, in an awestruck
voice.

"She? She can't read. She don't know anything; and she is as
ugly and cross as she can be."

"Was she cross to Mr. Dinwiddie?"

"Yes, indeed. He said he never saw such a crabbed old thing.
Oh, she's horrid. I don't like to ride by that way."

The children were called in to dinner, and kept in the house
by Mrs. Sandford during the intensest heat of the day. But
when the afternoon was cooling off, or at least growing less
oppressive, the two children again sought the shade under the
walnut tree, where the gurgle of the water over the stones,
and the company of the squirrels in the tree, made the place
pleasant. And there they sat down in a great state of mutual
contentment. Nora's feet were swinging about for very jollity.
But Daisy sat still. Perhaps she was tired. Nevertheless it
could not be that which made her little face by and by take on
it as profound an expression as if she had been looking over
all Methuselah's years.

"Nora —" said Daisy, and stopped.

"What?" said Nora, kicking her heels.

"You know that poor old crippled woman — what did you call
her?"

"Molly Skelton."

"Suppose you were in her place — what do you think you would
wish for,"

"In her place!" said Nora. "I should wish for everything."

"Yes, but I mean, things that you could have."

"I should wish some doctor would come and make me straight,
the first thing; and then —"

"No, Nora, but I mean, things that might be possible, you
know. I do not mean things like a fairy tale."

"I don't know," said Nora. "I don't believe Molly Skelton
wishes for anything."

"But what would you wish for, in her place?"

"I should want to be straight, and stand and go about like
other people."

"Yes, Nora, but I say! I mean, what would you wish for that
would not be impossible?"

"Why, Daisy, how funny! Let me see. I should wish that
somebody would come and be good to me, I think."

"How?"

"Oh — tell me stories and read to me, and take tea with me —
and I don't know what!"

"Do you suppose nobody ever does take tea with her?" said
Daisy, upon whose fancy a new shadow of wretchedness darkened.

"I guess not," said Nora. "I don't believe anybody would. I
guess nobody likes her well enough, she is so bad."

"Who gets her tea for her then?"

"Why, nobody. She does it herself."

"How can she?"

"I don't know. Marmaduke says she keeps her house clean too,
though she only goes about on her hands and knees."

"Nora," said Daisy, "that isn't like the Bible."

"What isn't?"

"Don't you remember what the Bible says? that whatever we
would like other people to do to us, we should do so to them."

"What do you mean, Daisy?"

"I mean just so."

"But what isn't like the Bible?"

"Why — to let that poor old woman go without what we would
like if we were in her place."

"Why, Daisy! Molly Skelton! The Bible does not mean that we
ought to go and make visits to such horrid people as that."

"You said you would like it if you were in her place,"
observed Daisy, "and I know I should. I thought so when you
told me."

"But, Daisy, she is wicked!"

"Well, Jesus loves wicked people," said Daisy, calmly. "Maybe
she will wear a white robe in heaven, and have a crown of gold
upon her head."

"Daisy! — she is wicked," exclaimed Nora, indignantly. "Wicked
people do not go to heaven."

"Yes, but if Jesus gives them His white robe, they do," said
Daisy. "He came to save wicked people."

"I don't want to talk any more about Molly Skelton," said
Nora. "Look, Daisy! — there's the old mother squirrel peeping
out of her hole. Do you see? Now she is coming out — see her
black eyes! now there's her beautiful feather tail!"

This subject was to the full as interesting to Daisy as it was
to her friend; and in watching the grey family in the walnut
tree, and trying to induce them to come near and get some
almonds, the rest of the afternoon flew by. Only the "mother
squirrel" could be tempted near; but she, older in experience
and wisdom than her young ones, did venture into the
neighbourhood of the children, attracted by the nuts they
threw down; and getting pretty close to them, before she would
venture quite so far as where the nuts lay, she sat down on
her haunches to look and see whether all were safe; curling
her thick, light plume of a tail up along her back, or
whisking it about in various lines of beauty, while her bright
little black eyes took all the observations they were equal
to. It was unending amusement for the children; and then to
see Mrs. Bunny finally seize an almond and spring away with
it, was very charming. So the afternoon sped; nor ever brought
one moment of weariness, until the summons came to bid the
children into the house again to tea.


CHAPTER XXVIII.

MRS. GARY'S PRESENT.


After tea the doctor took Daisy in his gig and drove her home.
The drive was unmarked by a single thing; except that just as
they were passing the cripple's house Daisy broke silence and
asked, "Is that woman — Molly Skelton — is she very poor, Dr.
Sandford?"

"If to live on charity be poor. I do not suppose the
neighbours let her suffer."

"Is she cross to everybody, Dr. Sandford?"

"She has the name of it, I believe, Daisy. I really do not
remember whether she was cross to me or not."

"Then you know her?"

"Yes. I know everybody."

The family at Melbourne were found just taking their late tea
as the doctor and Daisy entered. They were met with complaints
of the heat; though Daisy thought the drawing room was
exceeding pleasant, the air came in at the long windows with
such gentle freshness from the river.

The doctor took a cup of tea and declared the day was
excellent if you only rode fifty miles through the heat of it.
"Coolness is coolness, after that," he said.

Daisy sat in a corner and wondered at the people. Hot? and
suffocating? she had no recollection of any such thing all
day. How delicious it had been in that green dell under the
walnut tree, with the grey squirrels!

"How has it been with you, Daisy?" said her aunt at last.

"Nice, aunt Gary."

Two or three people smiled; Daisy's favourite word came out
with such a dulcet tone of a smooth and clear spirit. It was a
syrup drop of sweetness in the midst of flat and acid
qualities.

"It has been satisfactory, has it?" said her aunt, in a tone
which did not share the character. "Come here, Daisy — I have
got something for you. You know I robbed you a little while
ago, and promised to try to find something to make amends. Now
come and see if I have done it. Preston, fetch that box here."

A neat wooden case of some size was brought by Preston and set
at his mother's feet. Mrs. Gary unlocked it, and went on to
take out of its enveloping coverings a very elegant French
doll; a real empress Eugénie. The doll's face was even
modelled into some likeness to the beauty she was named after;
a diadem sat gracefully on her head, and her robes were a
miniature imitation of royalty, but very exquisitely
fashioned. Everybody exclaimed at the perfection of the
beautiful toy, except Daisy herself who stood quite still and
quiet looking at it. Mrs. Gary had not done yet. The empress
had a wardrobe; and such variety and elegance and finish of
attire of all sorts rarely falls to the lot of a doll. A very
large wardrobe it was, and every article perfectly finished
and well made as if meant for actual wear. Mrs. Gary displayed
her present; Daisy looked on, standing by her father's knee
and with one hand resting on it.

"Have you nothing to say to express your pleasure, Daisy?" —
This was Mrs. Randolph's question.

Daisy at the word pronounced a sober "I thank you, aunt Gary."
But it was so very sober and passionless that Mrs. Randolph
grew impatient.

"I do not hear you express any pleasure, Daisy," she said,
meaningly.

Daisy turned her face towards her mother with a doubtful look,
and was silent.

"Speak!" said Mrs. Randolph.

"What, mamma?"

"Whatever you choose, to show your sense of your aunt's
kindness."

"Do not concern yourself, my dear," said her sister. "I am
sorry if I have failed in meeting Daisy's taste — that is
all."

"Daisy, speak, or leave the room" — said Mrs. Randolph.

"Mamma," said Daisy, pushed into a corner, "I would speak, but
I do not know what to say."

"Tell your aunt Gary she has given you a great deal of
pleasure."

Daisy looked again mutely at her mother, somewhat distressed.

"Tell her so, Daisy!" Mrs. Randolph repeated, in a tone of
command.

"I cannot, mamma —" the child answered, sorrowfully.

"Do you mean to tell your aunt that her exquisite present
gives you _no_ pleasure?"

"I did not intend to tell her so," Daisy answered, in a low
voice. Another storm rising! Storms seemed to get up very
easily in these days.

"My dear," said Mrs. Gary, "do not concern yourself. It is not
of the least consequence, as far as I am concerned. Preston,
remove this box. If Daisy chooses to receive it, perhaps it
will find more favour at another time."

Mrs. Gary got up and moved off.

"Mr. Randolph, I will trouble you to dismiss Daisy," said his
wife. "If she cannot behave properly she cannot be in the room
with me."

Daisy was still standing with her hand on her father's knee.
The other little hand came for a moment across her brows and
rested there; but she would not cry; her lip did not even
tremble.

"First let me understand," said her father; and he lifted
Daisy on his knee kindly. "Daisy, I never saw you uncivil
before."

"Papa, I am very sorry —" said the child.

"Can you explain it?"

"Papa, I would have been civil if I could; but I had nothing
to say."

"That is the very place where a person of good manners shows
himself different from a person who has no manners at all.
Good manners finds something to say."

"But, papa, there was nothing _true_."

"The doll gave you no pleasure?"

"No, papa," said Daisy, low.

"And you felt no obligation for the thoughtfulness and
kindness of your aunt in getting for you so elegant a
present?"

Daisy hesitated and flushed.

"Daisy, answer," said her father, gravely.

"No, papa," — Daisy said, low as before.

"Why not?"

"Papa," said Daisy, with a good deal of difficulty and
hesitation — "that is all passed — I do not want to say
anything more about it."

"About what?"

"About — papa, I do not think mamma would like to have me talk
about it."

"Go on, Daisy. — About what?"

"All that trouble we had, papa."

"What I want to know is, why you did not feel grateful for
your aunt's kindness just now, which she had been at some
pains to show you."

"Papa," said Daisy, wistfully, — "it was not kindness — it was
pay; and I did not want pay."

"Pay? For what?"

"For my Egyptian spoon, papa."

"I do not understand what you are talking of, Daisy."

"No, papa," said Daisy; so simply showing her wish that he
should not, as well as her knowledge that he did not, that Mr.
Randolph could not forbear smiling.

"But I mean to understand it," he said.

"It was my old Egyptian spoon, papa; the doll was meant to be
pay for that."

A little explanation was necessary in order to bring to Mr.
Randolph's mind the facts Daisy referred to, the spoon itself
and the time and occasion when it was bestowed on her.

"Did you give your Egyptian spoon to your aunt Gary?"

"I said she might have it, papa."

"Unwillingly?"

"No, papa — willingly."

"In exchange for this doll?"

"Oh, no, papa — not in exchange for anything. I did not want
any exchange."

"If I remember, Daisy," said Mr. Randolph, "your aunt Gary
desired to have that spoon the very day it was given to you;
and I thought you did not wish she should have it?"

"No, papa — so I didn't."

"Your mind changed afterward?"

"I do not think my mind changed," said Daisy, slowly — "but I
was willing she should have it."

"Daisy, this whole affair is a mystery to me yet. In this
case, why was it not kind in your aunt to bestow this French
doll upon you? It seems to me very kind."

"Yes papa — you do not understand."

"Make me understand. Daisy, I command you to tell me all that
you have not told me. You need not think of anything now,
except my command."

Daisy did, perhaps; for now her lip quivered slightly; and for
a moment she hid her face, in her father's bosom. Mr. Randolph
wrapped his arms round her and stooped his head to hear the
story which Daisy was obliged to give. She gave it fully, and
he heard it quite through in silence. And he made no
observation upon it when it was finished; he only asked her,
"Was there no resentment in your refusal of thanks to your
aunt just now?"

"No, papa" — said Daisy; with too sweet and artless utterance
for him to doubt her.

"But, then, Daisy, we come back to the cause of your mother's
displeasure. Good breeding requires that people should not be
rude, even by silence."

"Papa, I did not know how to be polite with truth."

"You could have said you were very much obliged to your aunt."

"But, I was _not_, papa."

"Not obliged to her?"

"No, sir."

"But, Daisy, that is a civil form of expression which it is
usual to avail oneself of upon such occasions. It does not
necessarily mean much."

"But, papa, would she not have thought I meant it, if I had
said so?"

"Very likely. That is the polite advantage gained."

"But papa, _I_ should have known that I did not mean it; and it
would not have been true."

"This is getting to be too deep a question for you to discuss
to-night — it is time for you to go to bed. But I cannot have
you rude."

Daisy kissed her father, who had been extremely gentle and
tender with her, and went off to her room. Mr. Randolph's brow
looked moody.

"Have you brought Daisy's ideas into order?" asked his wife,
who had been engaged in conversation with Dr. Sandford.

"She has rather brought confusion into mine," said the
gentleman.

"What is the matter?"

"Truth and Daisy, _versus_ civility and the world. And it is not
so easy to make a child comprehend some of the fine
distinctions we are accustomed to draw. White and black are
_very_ white and black, to such eyes, and no allowance is made
for a painter's lights and shades."

"She must make allowance for what your eyes see," said Mrs.
Randolph.

Mr. Randolph made no answer.

"Daisy is entirely changed," her mother went on, — "and is
become utterly obstinate and unmanageable. Perfectly self-
important too — she thinks there is no wisdom now but her own.
I may thank you for it, Dr. Sandford."

"You do me too much honour," said the doctor.

"It is an honour you share with Mr. Dinwiddie."

"I did not know I shared anything with Mr. Dinwiddie."

"He has infected the child with a set of perfectly fanatical
notions; and you persisted in keeping her under that
creature's care, where they had time to grow strong."

"I will do all I can to repair mischief done," said the
doctor. "Mrs. Benoit is a good nurse for the body, and you
will bear me witness it was for repairs of _that_ I was called
in. What is the other damage referred to?"

"Fanaticism."

"Rather young for that disease to take deep root," said the
doctor.

"Anything takes deep root in Daisy; whatever she takes up she
holds to."

"I advise you to let her be fanatical then a little while
longer," said the doctor, "till she has time to lay up some
strength."

And the doctor took his departure.

"I am sure that is wise counsel, Felicia," Mr. Randolph said.
But the lady made him no answer.

Ransom went off to school the next day, as his father had
promised. Mrs. Randolph looked very gloomy; Mrs. Gary looked
lot otherwise; and Daisy thought the mental and social horizon
foreboded stormy weather. But very happily, as it seemed to
her, before dinner there was an arrival of some expected
visitors, coming to stay for a time in the house. They had
been desired as well as expected; there was a famous lady and
a learned gentleman among them; and every eye and ear were
taken up with attending to their words or waiting upon their
movements. Daisy and her concerns were, she thought,
forgotten.

She enjoyed the feeling of this for a little while; and then
ordered her pony chaise. And presently you might have seen a
little figure in a white frock come out upon the front steps,
with a large flat on her head, and driving gloves on her
hands, and in one of them a little basket. Down the steps she
came and took her place in the chaise and gathered up the
reins. The black pony was ready, with another boy in place of
Sam; nobody interfered with her; and off they went, the wheels
of the little chaise rolling smoothly over the gravel, Loupe
in a gentle waddling trot, and Daisy in a contented state of
mind. It was very pleasant! Clear sunny air, yet not too hot,
and the afternoon shadows beginning to make all things look
lovely. Daisy took the way to the church, passed out upon the
high road, and turned the pony's head in the direction which
she had taken with Dr. Sandford the day before. She did not go
quite so fast, however; so that it was a little time before
she came in sight of the poor old house which she recognised
as Molly Skelton's. Daisy drew the reins then, and let Loupe
walk slowly up a slight ascent in the road which led to it.
But when the chaise was fairly opposite the house door, Daisy
drew the reins still more and brought Loupe to a standstill.
She peered forth then anxiously to see if the poor old inmate
of the house were to be seen anywhere.

As she looked, the house door opened; and with a very
straitened and touched heart Daisy watched the crippled old
creature come from within, crawl down over the door step, and
make her slow way into the little path before the house. A
path of a few yards ran from the road to the house door, and
it was bordered with a rough-looking array of flowers. —
Rough-looking, because they were set or had sprung up rather
confusedly, and the path between had no care but was only worn
by the feet of travellers and the hands and knees of the poor
inhabitant of the place. Yet some sort of care was bestowed on
the flowers themselves, for no weeds had been suffered to
choke them; and even the encroaching grass had been removed
from trespassing too nearly on their little occupation of
ground. The flowers themselves shot up and grew as they had a
mind. Prince's feather was conspicuous, and some ragged
balsams. A few yellow marigolds made a forlorn attempt to look
bright, and one tall sunflower raised its great head above all
the rest; proclaiming the quality of the little kingdom where
it reigned.

The poor cripple moved down a few steps from the house door,
and began grubbing with her hands around the roots of a bunch
of balsams. Daisy looked a minute or two, very still, and then
bade the boy hold her pony; while, without troubling herself
about his mystification, she got out of the chaise, and,
basket in hand, opened the wicket, and softly went up the
path. The neat little shoes and spotless white dress were
close beside the poor creature grubbing there in the ground
before she knew it, and there they stood still; Daisy was a
good deal at a loss how to speak. She was not immediately
perceived; the head of the cripple had a three-cornered
handkerchief thrown over it to defend it from the sun, and she
was earnestly grubbing at the roots of her balsam; the earth-
stained fingers and the old brown stuff dress, which was of
course dragged along in the dirt too, made a sad contrast with
the spotless freshness of the little motionless figure that
was at her side, almost touching her. Daisy concluded to wait
till she should be seen, and then speak, though how to speak
she did not very well know, and she rather dreaded the moment.

It came, when, in throwing her weeds aside, a glance of the
cripple saw, instead of stones and grass, two very neat and
black and well-shaped little shoes planted there almost within
reach of her hand. She drew herself back from the balsam, and
looked sideways up, to see what the shoes belonged to. Daisy
saw her face then; it was a bad face; so disagreeable that she
looked away from it instantly to the balsams.

"What are you doing to your flowers?" she asked, gently.

The gentle little child-voice seemed to astonish the woman,
although after an instant she made surly answer, "Whose
business is it?"

"Wouldn't it be easier," said Daisy, not looking at her, "if
you had something to help you get the weeds up? Don't you want
a fork, or a hoe, or something?"

"I've got forks," said the cripple, sullenly. "I use 'em to
eat with."

"No, but I mean, something to help you with the weeds," said
Daisy — "that sort of fork, or a trowel."

The woman spread her brown fingers of both hands, like birds'
claws, covered with the dirt in which she had been digging.
"I've got forks enough," she said, savagely — "there's what
goes into my weeds. Now go 'long! —"

The last words were uttered with a sudden jerk, and as she
spoke them she plunged her hands into the dirt, and bringing
up a double handful, cast it with a spiteful fling upon the
neat little black shoes. Woe to white stockings, if they had
been visible; but Daisy's shoes came up high and tight around
her ankle, and the earth thrown upon them fell off easily
again; except only that it lodged in the eyelet holes of the
boot-lacing and sifted through a little there, and some had
gone as high as the top of the boot and fell in. — Quite
enough to make Daisy uncomfortable, besides that the action
half frightened her. She quitted the ground, went back to her
pony chaise without even attempting to do anything with the
contents of her basket. Daisy could go no further with her
feet in this condition She turned the pony's head, and drove
back to Melbourne.


CHAPTER XXIX.

THE ROSE-BUSH.


"Will I take him to the stable, Miss Daisy?" inquired the boy,
as Daisy got out at the back door.

"No. Just wait a little for me, Lewis."

Upstairs went Daisy; took off her boots and got rid of the
soil they had brought home; that was the first thing. Then, in
spotless order again, she went back to Lewis and inquired
where Logan was at work. Thither she drove the pony chaise.

"Logan," said Daisy, coming up to him — she had left Loupe in
Lewis's care — "what do you use to help you get up weeds?"

"Maybe a hoe, Miss Daisy; or whiles a weeding fork."

"Have you got one here."

"No, Miss Daisy. Was it a fork you were wanting?"

"Yes, I want one, Logan."

"And will you be wanting it now?"

"Yes, I want it now, if you please."

"Bill, you go home and get Miss Daisy one o' them small hand
forks — out o' that new lot — them's slenderer."

"And Logan, I want another thing. I want a little rose-bush —
and if you can, I want it with a rose open or a bud on it."

"A rose-bush!" said Logan. "Ye want it to be set some place,
nae doute?"

"Yes, I do; but I want to set it out myself, Logan; so it must
not be too big a bush, you know, for I couldn't manage it."

"Perhaps Miss Daisy had better let me manage it. It's dirty
work, Miss Daisy."

"No; I only want the rose bush. I will take care of it, Logan.
Have you got one that I can have?"

"Ou, ay, Miss Daisy! there's a forest of rose bushes — ye can
just please yourself."

"Where is it?"

Seeing his little mistress was greatly in earnest and must be
presently satisfied, Logan cast a wistful glance or two at his
own proper work in hand which he was abandoning, and walked
away with Daisy. The flower garden and nursery were at some
distance; but Daisy trudged along as patiently as he. Her
little face was busy-looking now and eager, as well as wise;
but no tinge of colour would yet own itself at home in those
pale cheeks. Logan glanced at her now and then and was, as she
said, "very good." He thought he was about the best business,
after all, that could occupy him. He directed his steps to a
great garden that yet was not the show garden, but hid away
behind the plantations of trees and shrubbery. There were a
vast number of plants and flowers here, too; but they were not
in show order, and were in fact only the reserve stock, for
supplying vacancies or preparing changes, or especially for
furnishing cut flowers to the house; of which a large quantity
must every day be sent in. There was a very nursery of rose
trees, smaller and larger. Logan peered about, very particular
in his own line as to how every thing should be done; at last
he found and chose just the right thing for Daisy. A slender,
thrifty young plant, with healthy strong leaves and shoots,
and at the top a bud showing red, and a half opened sweet
rose. Daisy was quite satisfied.

"Now where is it going, Miss Daisy?" Logan inquired.

"I am going to plant it out myself, Logan; it is going in a
place — where I want it."

"Surely! but does Miss Daisy know how to plant a rose tree?"

"Won't you tell me how, Logan?"

"Weel, Miss Daisy, there must be a hole dug for it, in the
first place; you must take a trowel and make a hole for it —
But your dress will be the waur!" he exclaimed, glancing at
his little mistress's spotless draperies.

"Never mind; only go on and tell me exactly how to manage,
Logan."

"Does Miss Daisy intend to do it this afternoon?"

"Yes."

"Aweel, you must take a trowel and make a hole," said Logan,
nipping off some useless buds and shoots from the plants in
his neighbourhood as he was speaking — "and be sure your hole
is deep as it should be; and make the bottom soft with your
trowel, or throw in a little earth, well broken, for the roots
to rest on —"

"How shall I know when my hole is deep enough?"

"Weel, Miss Daisy, it depends on the haighth of the roots — ye
must even try and see till ye get it deep enough; but whatever
ye do, keep the crown of the plant above ground."

"And what is the crown of the plant, Logan?"

Logan stooped down, and put his fingers to the stem of a rose
tree.

"It's just called the crown o' the plant, Miss Daisy, here
where the roots goes one way and the stem springs up another.
Miss Daisy sees, there's a kind o' shouther there."

"No, I don't see," said Daisy.

Logan put in his spade, and, with a turn or two, brought up
the little rose bush he had chosen for her purpose; and
holding the ball of earth in his hand, showed her the part of
the plant he spoke of, just above the surface of the soil.

"It's the most tenderest pairt of the vegetable nature," he
said; "and it must be kept out of the ground, where it can
breathe, like; it won't answer to cover it up."

"I will not," said Daisy. "Then? —"

"Then, when ye have gotten the place prepared, ye must set in
this ball of earth, as haill as ye can keep it; but if it gets
broken off, as it's like it will! —then ye must set the roots
kindly in on the soft earth, and let them lie just natural;
and put in the soft earth over them; and when ye have got a
little in press it clown a bit; and then more, after the same
manner, until it's all filled up."

"Why must it be pressed down?"

"Weel, Miss Daisy, it must be dune; the roots is accustomed to
have the soil tight round them, and they don't like it unless
they have it so. It's a vara good way, to have a watering pot
of water and make a puddle in the bottom of the hole, and set
the roots in that, and throw in the soil; and then it settles
itself all round them, and ye need not to coax it with your
fingers. But if ye don't puddle the roots, the bush must be
well watered and soaked when ye have dune."

"Very well, Logan — thank you. Now please put it in a basket
for me, with a trowel, and let me take a watering pot of water
too; or Lewis can carry that, can't he?"

"He can take whatever ye have a mind," said Logan; "but where
is it going?"

"I'll take the basket with the rose," said Daisy — "it's going
a little way — you can set it just here, in my chaise, Logan."

The gardener deposited the basket safely in the chaise, and
Daisy got in and shook the reins. Lewis, much wondering and a
little disgustful, was accommodated with a watering pot full
of water, by the grinning Logan.

"See ye ride steady now, boy," he said. "Ye won't want to show
any graces of horsemanship, the day!"

Whatever Lewis might have wanted, the necessity upon him was
pretty stringent. A watering pot full of water he found a very
uncomfortable bundle to carry on horseback; he was bound to
ride at the gentlest of paces, or inflict an involuntary cold
bath upon himself every other step. Much marvelling at the
arrangement which made a carriage and horses needful to move a
rose-bush, Lewis followed, as gently as he could, the progress
of his little mistress's pony-chaise; which was much swifter
than he liked it; until his marvelling was increased by its
turning out of Melbourne grounds and taking a course up the
road again. Towards the same place! On went Daisy, much too
fast for the watering pot; till the cripple's cottage came in
sight a second time. There, just at the foot of the little
rise in the road which led up to the cottage gate, Loupe
suddenly fell to very slow going. The watering pot went easily
enough for several yards; and then Loupe stopped. What was the
matter?

Something was the matter, yet Daisy did not summon Lewis. She
sat quite still, looking before her up to the cottage, with a
thoughtful, puzzled, troubled face. The matter was, that just
there, and not before, the remembrance of her mother's command
had flashed on her — that she should have nothing to do with
any stranger out of the house unless she had first got leave.
Daisy was stopped short. Get leave? She would never get leave
to speak again to that poor crabbed, crippled, forlorn
creature; and who else would take up the endeavour to be kind
to her? Who else would even try to win her to a knowledge of
the Bible and Bible joys? and how would that poor ignorant
mortal ever get out of the darkness into the light? Daisy did
not know how to give her up; yet she could not go on. The
sweet rose on the top of her little rose-tree mocked her, with
kindness undone and good not attempted. Daisy sat still,
confounded at this new barrier her mother's will had put in
her way.

Wheels came rapidly coursing along the road in front of her,
and in a moment Dr. Sandford's gig had whirled past the
cottage and bore down the hill. But recognizing the pony
chaise in the road, he too came to a stop as sudden as Daisy's
had been. The two were close beside each other.

"Where away, Daisy?"

"I do not understand, Dr. Sandford."

"Where are you going? or rather, why are you standing still
here?"

"Because I was in doubt what to do."

"Did the doubt take you here, in the middle of the road?"

"Yes, Dr. Sandford."

"What is it, Daisy? To whom are you carrying a rose-bush?"

"I am afraid — nobody."

"What is the matter — or the doubt?"

"It is a question of duty, Dr. Sandford."

"Then I will decide it for you. Go on and do what you wish to
do. That will be right."

"Oh, no, sir," said Daisy, smiling at her adviser — that is
just what would be wrong. I cannot."

"Cannot what?"

"Do that, sir; do what I wish to do." And Daisy sighed withal.

"What do you wish to do?"

The doctor was quite serious, and as usual a little imperative
in his questions, and Daisy knew him to be trusted.

"I wanted to take this little rose-bush and set it out in the
garden up there."

"_There?_ do you mean the garden of that cottage?" said the
doctor, pointing with his whip.

"Yes, sir."

"Are you bound thither now?"

"No, sir — I am going home."

"Rose-bush and all? Daisy, let Lewis get Loupe home, and you
come here and ride with me. Come! I want you."

Truly Daisy wanted nothing else. She left rose-bush and
watering pot, chaise and pony, to Lewis's management, and
gladly let the doctor take her up beside him. She liked to
drive with him; he had a fine horse and went fast; and there
were other reasons.

Now they drove off in fine style; fast, over the good roads;
whisked by Melbourne, sped away along south, catching glimpses
of the river from time to time, with the hills on the further
side hazily blue and indistinct with the September haze of
sunbeams. Near hand the green of plantations and woodland was
varied with brown grainfields, where grain had been, and with
ripening Indian corn and buckwheat; but more especially with
here and there a stately roof-tree or gable of some fine new
or old country house. The light was mellow, the air was good;
in the excitement of her drive Daisy half forgot her
perplexity and discomfiture. Till the doctor said, suddenly
looking round at her with a smile, "Now I should like to know
the history of that rose-bush."

"Oh, there is no history about it," said Daisy, quite taken by
surprise.

"Everything has a beginning, a middle, and an end," said the
doctor. "What was the beginning of this?"

"Only, Dr. Sandford," said Daisy, doubtfully, — "I was sorry
for that poor woman, after what you told me about her."

"Molly Skelton?"

"Yes, sir."

"And you thought to comfort her with rose-bushes?"

"No sir, — but — I wanted to get on good terms with her."

"Are you on any other terms?"

"She does not know me, you know, sir," said Daisy, lifting to
her friend a face that was beyond his comprehension, — "and I
do not think she was very well pleased to see me in her garden
a little while ago."

"You have been in her garden, then?"

"Yes, sir."

"Daisy, will you excuse me for asking, why you should be on
any terms whatever with Molly Skelton?"

"She is so unhappy, Dr. Sandford," — Daisy said, looking up
again.

"And do you think you can do anything to make her less
unhappy?"

"I thought" — Daisy did not look up now, but the doctor
watching her saw a witnessing tinge that he knew coming about
her eyelids, and a softened line of lip, that made him listen
the closer, — "I thought — I might teach her something that
would make her happy, — if I could."

"What would you teach her, Daisy?"

"I would teach her to read — perhaps — I thought; if she would
like me and let me."

"Is reading a specific for happiness?"

"No sir — but — the Bible!" Daisy said, with a sudden glance.
And so clear and sure the speech of her childish eye was, that
the doctor, though believing nothing of it, would not breathe
a question of that which she believed.

"Oh, that is it!" he said. "Well, Daisy, this is the
beginning; but though I came in upon the middle of the subject
I do not understand it yet. Why did not the rose-tree get to
its destination!"

"Because — I remembered, just when I had got to the bottom of
the hill, that mamma would not let me."

Daisy's tone of voice told more than she knew of her subdued
state of disappointment.

"Mrs. Randolph had forbidden you to go to Molly's cottage?"

"No sir; but she had forbidden me to speak to anybody without
having her leave. I had forgotten it till just that minute."

"Ask her leave, and then go. What is the difficulty in that,
Daisy?"

"She will not give me leave, Dr. Sandford. Mamma does not like
me to do such things."

"Do you care much about it?"

"Yes, sir."

"Present your request to Mrs. Randolph to-morrow, Daisy — that
is my advice to you."

"It would be no use, Dr. Sandford."

"Perhaps not; but I advise you to take my advice; and lay the
rose-bush by the heels till to-morrow afternoon."

"By the heels, sir."

"Yes. Logan will tell you what that means."

Daisy looked with such a gaze of steadfast inquiry up in the
doctor's face, that he had hard work to command his
countenance. She could not make out anything from his face,
except that somehow she got a little encouragement from it;
and then they whirled in at the gate of Melbourne, and in
another minute were at home. Daisy went off to see after her
rose-bush, find Logan, and have it laid by the heels. The
doctor marched in through the hall, into the library, and then
catching sight of Mr. Randolph on the piazza, he went out
there. Mr. Randolph was enjoying the September sunlight, and
seemed to be doing nothing else.

"Good afternoon!" said the doctor.

"How do you do?" said Mr. Randolph. "Can you, possibly have
business on hand, doctor, in this weather?"

"Very good weather for business," said the doctor.

"Too good. It is enough to look and breathe."

All Mr. Randolph was doing, apparently. He was lounging on a
settee, with a satisfied expression of countenance. The doctor
put himself in a great cane chair and followed the direction
of his host's eyes, to the opposite river and mountains; over
which there was a glory of light and atmosphere. Came back to
Mr. Randolph's face with an air of the disparaged business.

"It is not bad, driving."

"No, I suppose not!"

"Your little daughter likes business better than you do."

A smile came over Mr. Randolph's face, a smile of much
meaning.

"She likes it too well, doctor. I wish I could infuse some
degree of nonchalant carelessness into Daisy's little wise
head."

"We must deal with things as we find them," said the doctor.
"I met her this afternoon in the road, with a carriage-load of
business on hand; but what was very bad for her, it was
arrested business."

"How do you mean?"

The doctor rose here to give his chair to Mrs. Randolph, who
stepped out through the library window. He fetched another for
himself, and went on.

"She was in the middle of the road, her chaise loaded with
baskets and greenhouse plants, and with a general distribution
of garden tools between herself and her outrider. All in the
middle of the road at a stand-still — chaise and pony and all,
— and Daisy herself in particular. I found it was an
interrupted expedition, and invited Daisy to take a ride with
me; which she did, and I got at the rationale of the affair.
And I come now to make the request, as her physician, not as
her friend, that her expeditions may be as little interfered
with as possible. Let her energies work. The very best thing
for her is that they should find something to work upon, and
receive no interruption."

"What interrupted her this afternoon."

"Conscience — as I understand it."

"There is no dealing with Daisy's conscience, doctor," said
Mr. Randolph, with a smile. "What _that_ says, Daisy feels
herself bound to do."

"Do not burden her conscience then," said the doctor. "Not
just now — till she gets stronger."

"Where was she going this afternoon?" Mrs. Randolph asked in
her calm voice.

"On an errand of the most Utopian benevolence —"

"Having what for its object?"

"A miserable old crippled creature, who lives in a poor
cottage about half a mile from your gate."

"What was Daisy desiring to do, doctor?"

"Carry some comfort to this forlorn thing, I believe; whom
nobody else thinks of comforting."

"Do you know what shape the comfort was to take?"

"I think," said the doctor, — "I am not quite sure, but I
think, it was a rose-bush."

Mr. Randolph looked at his wife and straightened himself up to
a sitting posture.

"And what hindered her, Dr. Sandford?"

"I think, some understanding that she had not liberty to go
on."

"Very proper in Daisy," said Mrs. Randolph.

"That is your child who is wanting in docility," remarked Mr.
Randolph.

"She might have remembered my orders before she got so far," —
said the lady.

"I wish you would change the orders," said Dr. Sandford,
boldly.

"Not even to oblige you, doctor," said Mrs. Randolph. "Daisy
has an idea that the companions who are not fit for her are
precisely the ones whom she should cultivate."

"I think Daisy would state the question differently, however,"
Mr. Randolph remarked.

"She has a tinge of the wildest fanaticism," Mrs. Randolph
went on, dropping her work, and facing the doctor. "Wherever
there are rags and dirt, there, by force of contrast, Daisy
thinks it is her business to go. This is a miserable place, I
suppose, that she was aiming for this afternoon — is it not?"

"Very miserable. But the point is, to visit it would have made
Daisy happy."

"It is sheer fanaticism!" said Mrs. Randolph. "I cannot let
her encourage it. If I did, she would not be fit for anything
by and by. She is fit for very little now."

"You will of course judge as you please about it," said the
doctor; "but it is my duty to tell you that the danger in that
line is far more than compensated by the advantage to be
gained. For Daisy's health, she should be checked in nothing;
let her go where she will and do what she will; the more
business on hand the better, that carries her out of doors and
out of herself. With a strong body and secure health, you will
find it far easier to manage fanaticism."

"I am sure Dr. Sandford is right, Felicia," said Mr. Randolph.

"I know Daisy —" said the lady.

"I think I know fanaticism," said the doctor; "and if I do,
the best thing you can do with it is to give it plenty of sun
and air."

"Is it quite safe for Daisy to go to this cottage you speak
of?" Mr. Randolph asked.

"Quite safe."

"I cannot think of letting Daisy go there, Mr. Randolph!" said
his wife.

"What danger do you apprehend, Felicia?"

It was not quite so easy to say. The lady handled her tetting-
pins, which were in her fingers, for a moment or two in
silence; then let them fall, and raised her handsome head.

"Daisy must be withdrawn entirely from the associations which
have taken possession of her — if it is possible. The very
best thing for her in my opinion would be to send her to a
boarding-school. — Unless you wish your daughter to grow up a
confirmed _religieuse_, Mr. Randolph. Do you wish that?"

"I have not considered it. What do you suppose Daisy will do
to harm herself at this place Dr. Sandford speaks of?"

"Some absurdity, that just cherishes the temper she is in."

"Quite as likely" — to wear it out, Mr. Randolph was going to
say; but some remembrance of Daisy came up and stopped him.

"Good evening!" said the doctor, rising to his feet.

"Are you going, Dr. Sandford?"

"Yes."

"Then you recommend that we let Daisy go to this place, and
alone?"

"In my capacity of physician I _should_ order it," said the
doctor, with a smile; "only, I do not like to give orders and
have them dishonoured."

Off he went.

"Felicia," said Mr. Randolph, "I believe he is right."

"I am sure he knows nothing about it," said the lady.

"Do you? Daisy is very delicate."

"She will never die of want of resolution."

"Felicia, I mean to enquire into Daisy's wishes and purposes
about this matter; and if I find them unobjectionable, I shall
give her leave to go on with it."

"You do not know what you are about, Mr. Randolph."

"I shall find out, then," said the gentleman. "I would rather
she would be a _religieuse_ than a shadow."


CHAPTER XXX.

MOLLY'S GARDEN.


Daisy pondered over the doctor's counsel. It was friendly; but
she hardly thought well advised. He did not know her father
and mother so well as she did. Yet she went to find out Logan
that afternoon on her return from the drive, and saw the rose-
bush laid by the heels; with perhaps just a shadow of hope in
her heart that her friend the doctor might mean to put in a
plea for her somewhere. The hope faded when she got back to
the house, and the doctor was gone, and Mrs. Randolph's
handsome face looked its usual calm impassiveness. What use to
ask her such a thing as leave to go to the cripple's cottage?
No use at all, Daisy knew. The request alone would probably
move displeasure. Every look at her mother's face settled this
conviction more and more deeply in Daisy's mind; and she ended
by giving up the subject. There was no hope. She could do
nothing for any poor person, she was sure, under her mother's
permission, beyond carrying soup and jelly in her pony-chaise,
and maybe going in to give it. And that was not much; and
there were very few poor people around Melbourne that wanted
just that sort of attention.

So Daisy gave up her scheme. Nevertheless next morning it gave
her a twinge of heart to see her rose-bush laid by the heels,
exactly like her hopes. Daisy stood and looked at it. The
sweet half-blown rose at the top of the little tree hung
ingloriously over the soil, and yet looked so lovely and smelt
so sweet; and Daisy had hoped it might win poor Molly
Skelton's favour, or at least begin to open a way for it to
come in due time.

"So ye didn't get your bush planted —" said Logan, coming up.

"No."

"Your hands were not strong enough to make the hole deep for
it, Miss Daisy?"

"Yes, I think they could; but I met with an interruption
yesterday, Logan."

"Weel — it'll just bide here till ye want it."

Daisy wished it was back in its old place again; but she did
not like to say so, and she went slowly back to the house. As
she mounted the piazza steps she heard her father's voice. He
was there before the library windows.

"Come here, Daisy. What are you about?" he said, drawing her
up in his arms.

"Nothing, papa."

"How do you like doing nothing?"

"Papa, I think it is not at all agreeable."

"You do! So I supposed. What were you about yesterday
afternoon?"

"I went to ride with Dr. Sandford."

"Did that occupy the whole afternoon?"

"Oh, no, papa."

"Were you doing nothing the rest of the time?"

"No sir, not _nothing_."

"Daisy, I wish you would be a little more frank. Have you any
objection to tell me what you were doing?"

"No, papa; — but I did not think it would give you any
pleasure. I was only trying to do something."

"It would give me pleasure to have you tell about it."

"I must tell you more then, papa." And standing with her arm
on her father's shoulder, looking over to the blue mountains
on the other side of the river, Daisy went on.

"There is a poor woman living half a mile from here, papa,
that I saw one day when I was riding with Dr. Sandford. She is
a cripple. Papa, her legs and feet are all bent up under her,
so that she cannot walk at all; her way of moving is by
dragging herself along over the ground on her hands and knees;
her hands and her gown all clown in the dirt."

"That is your idea of extreme misery, is it not, Daisy?"

"Papa, do you not think it is — it must be — very
uncomfortable?"

"Very, I should think."

"But that is not her worst misery. Papa, she is all alone; the
neighbours bring her food, but nobody stops to eat it with
her. She is all alone by night and by day; and she is
disagreeable in her temper, I believe, and she has nobody to
love her and she loves nobody."

"Which of those two things is the worst, Daisy?"

"What two things, papa?"

"To love nobody, or to have nobody to love her?"

"Papa — I do not know." Then, remembering Juanita, Daisy
suddenly added, — "Papa, I should think it must be the worst
to love nobody."

"Do you? Pray why?"

"It would not make her happy, I think, to have people love her
if she did not love them."

"And you think loving others would be better, without anybody
to give love back?"

"I should think it would be very hard!" — said Daisy, with a
most profound expression of thoughtfulness.

"Well — this poor cripple, I understand, lacks both these
conditions of happiness?"

"Yes, papa."

"What then? You were going to tell me something about her."

"Not much about _her_," said Daisy, "but only about myself."

"A much more interesting subject to me, Daisy."

You could only see the faintest expression of pleasure in the
line of Daisy's lips; she was looking very sober and a trifle
anxious.

"I only thought, papa, I would try if I could not do something
to make that poor woman happier."

"What did you try?"

"The first thing was to get her to know me and like me, you
know, papa; because she is rather cross, and does not like
people generally, I believe."

"So you went to see her?"

"I have never spoken much to her, papa. But I went inside of
her gate one day, and saw her trying to take care of some poor
flowers; so then I thought, maybe, if I took her a nice little
rose-bush, she might like it."

"And then like you? Well — you tried the experiment?"

"No, papa. I did get a rose-bush from Logan, and he told me
how to plant it; and I was on my way to the cottage, and had
almost got there; and then I recollected mamma had said I must
not speak to anybody without her leave."

"So you came home?"

"Yes, papa. No, papa, I went to ride with Dr. Sandford."

"Have you asked leave of your mother?"

"No, papa," — said Daisy, in a tone of voice which
sufficiently expressed that she did not intend it.

"So, my dear little Daisy," said her father, drawing his arm
round her a little more closely — "you think a rose-bush would
serve instead of friends to make this poor creature happy?"

"Oh, no, papa!"

"What was the purpose of it, then?"

"Only — to get her to like me, papa."

"What were _you_ going to do to make her happy?"

"Papa, if you lived in such a place, in such a way, wouldn't
you like to have a friend come and see you sometimes?"

"Certainly! — if you were the friend."

"I thought — by and by — she might learn to like it," Daisy
said, in the most sedately meek way possible.

Her father could not forbear a smile.

"But, Daisy, from what you tell me, I am at a loss to
understand the part that all this could have had in your
happiness."

"Oh, papa — she is so miserable!" was Daisy's answer.

Mr. Randolph drew her close and kissed her.

"_You_ are not miserable?"

"No, papa — but —"

"But what?"

"I would like to give her a little bit of comfort."

There was much earnestness, and a little sorrow, in Daisy's
eyes.

"I am not sure that it is right for you to go to such places."

"Papa, may I show you something?" said the child, with sudden
life.

"Anything, Daisy."

She rushed away; was gone a full five minutes; then came
softly to Mr. Randolph's shoulder with an open book in her
hand. It was Joanna's Bible, for Daisy did not dare bring her
own; and it was open at these words —


"Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so
to them."


"What does this mean, Daisy? It seems very plain; but what do
I want with it?"

"Only, papa, that is what makes me think it is right."

"What is right?"

"To do this, papa."

"Well, but, are you in want of somebody to come and make you
happy?"

"Oh, no, papa — but if I were in her place, then I should be."

"Do you suppose this commands us to do in every case what we
would like ourselves in the circumstances?"

"Papa — I suppose so — if it wouldn't be something wrong."

"At that rate, I should have to let you go with your rose-
bush," said Mr. Randolph.

"Oh, papa!" said Daisy, "do you think, if you asked her, mamma
would perhaps say I might?"

"Can't tell, Daisy — I think I shall try my powers of
persuasion."

For answer to which, Daisy clasped her arms round his neck and
gave him some very earnest caresses, comprised in one great
kiss and a clinging of her little head in his neck for the
space of half a minute. It meant a great deal; so much that
Mr. Randolph was unable for the rest of the day to get rid of
a sort of lingering echo of Daisy's Bible words; they haunted
him, and haunted him with a strange sense of the house being
at cross purposes, and Daisy's line of life lying quite
athwart and contrary to all the rest. "Whatsoever ye would
that men should do unto you;" — who else at Melbourne
considered that for one moment?

However, Mr. Randolph had a fresh talk with his wife; the end
of which was that he gave Daisy leave to do what she liked in
the matter of Molly Skelton; and was rewarded on the spot by
seeing the pink tinge which instantly started into the pale
cheeks.

No lack of energy had Daisy for the rest of that day. She went
off first to see what was the condition of her rose-bush;
pretty fair; lying by the heels seemed to agree with it quite
well. Then the pony chaise was ordered, and a watering-pot of
water again; much to the boy's disgust who was to carry it;
and Daisy took her dinner with quiet satisfaction. So soon as
the afternoon had become pleasantly cool, Daisy's driving
gloves and hat went on, the chaise was summoned, and rose-bush
and all she set forth on her expedition. Mr. Randolph watched
her off; acknowledging that certainly for the present the
doctor was right; whether in the future Mrs. Randolph would
prove to have been right also, he was disagreeably uncertain.
Still, he was not quite sure that he wished Daisy anything
other than she was.

Troubled by no fears or prognostications, meanwhile, the pony-
chaise and its mistress went on their way. No, Daisy had no
fears. She did doubt what Molly's immediate reception of her
advances might be; her first experience bade her doubt; but
the spirit of love in her little heart was overcoming; it
poured over Molly a flood of sunny affections and purposes, in
the warmth and glow of which the poor cripple's crabbedness
and sourness of manner and temper were quite swallowed up and
lost. Daisy drove on, very happy and thankful, till the little
hill was gained, and slowly walking up it Loupe stopped,
nothing loth, before the gate of Molly Skelton's courtyard.

A little bit of hesitation came over Daisy now, not about what
was to be done, but how to do it. The cripple was in her
flowery bit of ground, grubbing around her balsams as usual.
The clear afternoon sunbeams shone all over what seemed to
Daisy all distressing together. The ragged balsams — the
coarse bloom of prince's feather and cockscomb — some
straggling tufts of ribband grass and four-o'clocks and
marigolds — and the great sunflower nodding its head on high
over all; while weeds were only kept away from the very growth
of the flowers and started up everywhere else, and grass grew
irregularly where grass should not; and in the midst of it all
the poor cripple on her hands and knees in the dirt, more
uncared-for, more unseemly and unlovely than her little plot
of weeds and flowers. Daisy looked at her, with a new tide of
tenderness flowing up in her heart, along with the doubt how
her mission should be executed or how it would be received;
then she gave up her reins, took the rose-tree in her hands,
and softly opened the little wicket gate. She went up the path
and stood beside the cripple, who hearing the gate shut had
risen from her grubbing in the earth and sat back looking at
who was coming. Daisy went on without hesitation now. She had
prayed out all her prayer about it before setting out from
home.

"I have brought you a rose-bush," she said simply. "Do you
like roses? this is very sweet. I thought maybe you would like
a rose. Where would you like to have it go?"

The answer was a very strange sort of questioning grunt —
inarticulate — nevertheless expressive of rude wonder and
incredulity, as far as it expressed anything. And Molly
stared.

"Where shall I put this rose-tree?" said Daisy. "Where would
it look prettiest? May I put it here, by these balsams?"

No answer in words; but instead of a sign of assent, the
cripple after looking a moment longer at Daisy and the rose-
tree, put her hand beyond the balsams and grubbed up a tuft of
what the country people call "creepin' Charley;" and then
sitting back as before, signified to Daisy by a movement of
her hand that the rose-bush might go in that place. That was
all Daisy wanted. She fell to work with her trowel, glad
enough to be permitted, and dug a hole, with great pains and
some trouble; for the soil was hard as soon as she got a
little below the surface. But with great diligence Daisy
worked and scooped, till by repeated trials she found she had
the hole deep enough and large enough; and then she tenderly
set the roots of the rose-tree in the prepared place and shook
fine soil over them, as Logan had told her; pressing it down
from time to time, until the job was finished and the little
tree stood securely planted. A great feat accomplished. Daisy
stayed not, but ran off to the road for the watering-pot, and
bringing it with some difficulty to the spot without soiling
herself, she gave the rose-bush a thorough watering; watered
it till she was sure the refreshment had penetrated down to
the very roots. All the while the cripple sat back gazing at
her; gazing alternately at the rose-bush and the planting, and
at the white delicate frock the child wore and the daintily
neat shoes and stockings, and the handsome flat hat with its
costly ribband. I think the view of these latter things must
in some degree have neutralised the effect of the sweet rose
looking at her from the top of the little bush; because Molly
on the whole was not gracious.

Daisy had finished her work and set down her empty watering
pot, and was looking with great satisfaction at the little
rose-bush; which was somewhat closely neighboured by a ragged
bunch of four-o'clocks on one side and the overgrown balsams
on the other; when Molly said suddenly and gruffly, "Now go
'long!"

Daisy was startled, and turned to the creature who had spoken
to see if she had heard and understood aright. No doubt of it.
Molly was not looking at her, but her face was ungenial; and
as Daisy hesitated she made a little gesture of dismissal with
her hands. Daisy moved a step or two off, afraid of another
shower of gravel upon her feet.

"I will come to-morrow and see how it looks" — she said
gently.

Molly did not reply yes or no, but she repeated her gesture of
dismissal, and Daisy thought it best and wisest to obey. She
bid her a sweet "good-bye," to which she got no answer, and
mounted into her chaise again. There was a little
disappointment in her heart; yet when she had time to think it
all over she was encouraged too. The rose-tree was fairly
planted; that would keep on speaking to Molly without the fear
of a rebuff; and somehow Daisy's heart was warm towards the
gruff old creature. How forlorn she had looked, sitting in the
dirt, with her grum face!

"But perhaps she will wear a white robe in heaven!" thought
Daisy.

Seeing that the rose-tree had evidently won favour, Daisy
judged she could not do better than attack Molly again on her
weak side, which seemed to be the love of the beautiful! — in
one line at least. But Daisy was not an impatient child; and
she thought it good to see first what sort of treatment the
rose-bush got, and not to press Molly too hard. So the next
day she carried nothing with her; only went to pay a visit to
the garden. Nothing was to be seen but the garden; Molly did
not show herself; and Daisy went in and looked at the rose.
Much to her satisfaction, she saw that Molly had quite
discarded the great bunch of four-o'clocks which had given the
little rose tree no room on one side; they were actually
pulled up and gone; and the rose looked out in fair space and
sunshine, where its coarse-growing neighbour had threatened to
be very much in its way. An excellent sign. Molly clearly
approved of the rose. Daisy saw with great pleasure that
another bud was getting ready to open and already showing red
between the leaves of its green calyx; and she went home
happy.

Next morning she went among the flower-beds, and took a very
careful survey of all the beauties there to see what best she
might take for her next attack upon Molly. The beauties in
flower were so very many, and so very various, and so
delicious all to Daisy's eye, that she was a good deal
puzzled. Red and purple, and blue and white and yellow, the
beds were gay and glorious. But Daisy reflected that anything
which wanted skill in its culture or shelter from severities
of season would disappoint Molly, because it would not get
from her what would be necessary to its thriving. Some of the
flowers in bloom, too, would not bear transplanting. Daisy did
not know what to do. She took Logan into her confidence, so
far as she could without mentioning names or circumstances.

"Weel, Miss Daisy," said the gardener, "if ye're bent on being
a Lady Flora to the poor creature, I'll tell ye what ye'll do
— ye'll just take her a scarlet geranium."

"A geranium?" said Daisy.

"Ay. Just that."

"But it would want to be in the greenhouse when winter comes."

"Any place where it wouldn't freeze," said Logan. "You see,
it'll be in a pot e'en now, Miss Daisy — and you'll keep it in
the pot; and the pot you'll sink in the ground till frost
comes; and when the frost comes, it'll just come up as it is
and go intil the poor body's house, and make a spot of summer
for her in her house till summer comes again."

"Oh, Logan, that is an excellent thought!"

"Ay, Miss Daisy — I'm glad ye approve it."

"And then she would have the flowers all winter."

"Ay — if she served it justly."

The only thing now was to choose the geranium. Daisy was some
time about it, there were so many to choose from. At last she
suited herself with a very splendid new kind called the
"Jewess" — a compact little plant with a store of rich purple-
red blossoms. Logan murmured as he took up the pot in which it
was planted — "Less than the best will never serve ye, Miss
Daisy" — but he did not grumble about it after all, and Daisy
was content.

She was very content when she had got it in her pony-chaise
and was driving off, with the magnificent purple-red blossoms
at her feet. How exquisitely those delicate petals were
painted, and marked with dashes of red and purple deeper than
the general colour. What rich clusters of blossoms. Daisy gave
only half an eye to her driving; and it was not till she had
almost reached Melbourne gate that she discovered her trowel
had been forgotten. She sent her attendant back for it and
waited.

Loupe was always willing to stand, lazy little fat fellow that
he was; and Daisy was giving her undivided attention to the
purple "Jewess," with a sort of soft prayer going on all the
while in her heart that her errand might be blessed; when she
was suddenly interrupted.

"Why, where are you going, Daisy?"

"Where have you been, Preston?" said Daisy, as suddenly
drawing up.

"Little Yankee!" said Preston. "Answer one question by another
in that fashion? You mustn't do it, Daisy. What are you
doing?"

"Nothing. I am waiting."

"What are you going to do, then?"

"I am going to drive."

"Do you usually carry a pot of geraniums for company?"

"No, not usually," said Daisy, smiling at him.

"Well, set out the pot of geraniums, and we will have a
glorious ride, Daisy. I am going to the Fish's, to see some of
Alexander's traps; and you shall go with me."

"Oh, Preston — I am sorry; I cannot."

"Why?"

"I cannot this afternoon."

"Yes, you can, my dear little Daisy. In fact you _must_.
Consider — I shall be going away before very long, and then we
cannot take rides together. Won't you come?"

"Not now — I cannot, Preston! I have got something to do
first."

"What?"

"Something which will take me an hour or two. After that I
could go."

"Scarcely, this afternoon. Daisy, it is a long drive to the
Fish's. And they have beautiful things there, which you would
like to see, I know you would. Come! go with me — that's my
own little Daisy."

Preston was on horseback, and looked very much in earnest. He
looked very gay and handsome too, for he was well mounted, and
knew how to manage himself and his horse. He wanted to manage
Daisy too; and that was difficult. Daisy would have been
tempted, and would have gone with him at the first asking; but
the thought of Molly and her forlornness, and the words warm
at her heart, "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you"
— and a further sense that her visitations of Molly were an
extraordinary thing and very likely to be hindered on short
notice, kept her firm as a rock. She had an opportunity now in
hand; she would not throw it away; not for any self-
gratification. And to tell the truth, no sort of self-
gratification could balance for a moment in Daisy's mind the
thought of Molly's wearing a crown of gold in heaven.. That
crown of gold was before Daisy's eyes; nothing else was worth
a thought in comparison.

"Are you going to see that wretched old being?" said Preston,
at last.

"Yes."

"Daisy — dear Daisy — I do not know what to do with you. Do
you like, is it possible that you can like, dirt and
vulgarity?"

"I don't think I do," Daisy said, gently; "but, Preston, I
like the poor people."

"You do!" said Preston. "Then it is manifest that you cannot
like me." And he dashed spurs into his horse and sprung away,
with a grace and life that kept Daisy looking after him in
admiration, and a plain mood of displeasure which cast its
shadow all over her spirit.

"Here is the trowel, Miss Daisy."

Her messenger had come back, and Daisy, recalled to the
business in hand, took up her reins again and drove on; but
she felt deeply grieved. Now and then her gauntleted hand even
went up to her face to brush away a tear that had gathered. It
was not exactly a new thing, nor was Daisy entirely surprised
at the attempt to divert her from her purpose. She was wise
enough to guess that Preston's' object had been more than the
pleasure of her company; and she knew that all at home, unless
possibly her father might be excepted, neither liked nor
favoured her kindness to Molly, and would rejoice to interrupt
the tokens of it. All were against her; and Daisy's hand went
up again and again. "It is good I am weak and not very well,"
she thought; "as soon as I grow strong mamma will not let me
do this any more. I must do all I can now."

So she came to the cripple's gate; and by that time the tears
were all gone.

Nobody was in the little courtyard; Daisy went in first to see
how the rose looked. It was all safe and doing well. While she
stood there before it, the cottage door opened and the poor
inmate came out. She crawled down the walk on hands and knees
till she got near Daisy, and then sat back to look at her.

"What do you want?" she said, in a most uninviting and
ungracious tone of voice.

"I came to see you," said Daisy, venturing to let her eyes
rest for the first time on those poor, restless, unloving eyes
opposite her — "and I wanted to see the rose, and I have
brought you another flower — if you will let me bring it in."

Her words were sweet as honey. The woman looked at her, and
answered again with the unintelligible grunt, of unbelieving
wonder, which Daisy had heard once before. Daisy thought on
the whole the safest way was not to talk, but to fetch her
beautiful "Jewess" flowers to speak for themselves. So she ran
off and brought the pot, and set it on the ground before
Molly. It was a great attraction; Daisy could see that at
once. The cripple sat back gazing at it. Daisy prudently
waited till her eyes came round again from the flowers and
rested on her little visitor's face.

"Where shall I put it?" said Daisy. "Where would you like to
have it go?"

Molly's eyes presently followed hers, roaming over the little
flower plot in search of room for the geranium, which did not
appear; prince's feather and marigolds so choked up the ground
where balsams did not straggle over it. Molly looked as Daisy
did at the possibilities of the case, looked again at the
strange sweet little face which was so busy in her garden; and
then made a sudden movement. With two or three motions of
hands and knees she drew herself a few steps back to one of
the exclusive bunches of balsams, and began with her two hands
to root it up. Actually she was grubbing, might and main, at
the ungainly stalks of the balsams, pulling them up as fast as
she could and flinging them aside, careless where. Daisy came
to help with her trowel, and together they worked, amicably
enough but without a word, till the task was done. A great
space was left clear, and Molly threw herself back in her
wonted position for taking observations. Daisy wasted no time.
In hopeful delight she went on to make a hole in the ground in
which to sink the pot of geraniums. It was more of a job than
she thought, and she dug away stoutly with her trowel for a
good while before she had an excavation sufficient to hold the
pot. Daisy got it in at last; smoothed the surface nicely all
round it; disposed of the loose soil till the bed was trim and
neat, as far as that was concerned; and then stood up and
spoke. Warm, — how warm she was! her face was all one pink
flush, but she did not feel it, she was so eager.

"There," she said, "that will stand there nicely; and when the
cold weather comes, you can take the pot up and take it into
the house, just as it is; and if you do not let it freeze, it
will have flowers for you in the winter."

"Cold?" said Molly.

"Yes — by and by, when the cold weather comes, this must be
taken up. The cold would kill it, if it was cold enough to
freeze. It would have to go in the house. The rose can stay
out all winter if you like; but this must be kept warm. This
is a geranium. And it will give you flowers in the winter."

"J'anium?" said Molly.

"Yes. This is called the 'Jewess' — there are so many kinds
that they have to be named. This is the 'Jewess' geranium."

"Water?" — said Molly.

"Water? No, this does not need water, because the roots are in
a pot, you know, and have not been disturbed. It will want
water if rain don't come, by and by."

"What's you?" was Molly's next question, given with more
directness.

"Me? I am Daisy Randolph. And I love flowers; and you love
flowers. May I come and see you sometimes? Will you let me?"

Molly's grunt this time was not unintelligible. It was queer,
but there was certainly a tone of assent in it. She sat
looking now at the "Jewess" blossoms and now at Daisy.

"And I love Jesus," the child went on. "Do you love Him?"

The grunt was of pure question, in answer to this speech.
Molly did not understand. Daisy stooped down to face her on
more equal terms.

"There is a great King up in heaven, who loves you, Molly. He
loves you so well that He died for you. And if you love Him,
He will take you there when you die and give you a white robe
and a crown of gold, and make you blessed."

It is impossible to describe the simple earnestness of this
speech. Daisy said it, not as a philosopher nor as even a
preacher would have done; she said it as a child. As she had
received, she gave. The utter certainty and sweetness of her
faith and love went right from one pair of eyes to the other.
Nevertheless, Molly's answer was only a most ignorant and
blank, "What?" — but it told of interest.

"Yes," said Daisy. "Jesus loved us so well that He came and
died for us — He shed His blood that we might be forgiven our
sins. And now He is a Great King up in heaven; and He knows
all we do and all we think; and if we love Him He will make us
good and take us to be with Him, and give us white robes and
crowns of gold up there. He can do anything, for He raised up
dead people to life, when He was in the world."

That was a master-stroke of Daisy's. Molly's answer was again
a grunt of curiosity; and Daisy, crouching opposite to her,
took up her speech, and told her at length and in detail the
whole story of Lazarus. And if Daisy was engaged with her
subject, so certainly was Molly. She did not stir hand or
foot; she sat listening movelessly to the story, which came
with such loving truthfulness from the lips of her childish
teacher. A teacher exactly fitted, however, to the scholar;
Molly's poor closed-up mind could best receive any truth in
the way a child's mind would offer it; but in this truth, the
undoubting utterance of Daisy's love and belief won entrance
for her words where another utterance might not. Faith is
always catching.

So Daisy told the wonderful story, and displayed the power and
love and tenderness of the Lord with the affection of one who
knew Him _her_ Lord, and almost with the zeal of an eye-witness
of his work. It was almost to Daisy so; it seemed to her that
she had beheld and heard the things she was telling over; for
faith is the substance of things not seen; and the grief of
the sisters, and their joy, and the love and tenderness of the
Lord Jesus, were all to her not less real than they were to
the actors in that far distant drama. Molly heard her
throughout, with open mouth and marvelling eyes.

Neither of them had changed her position, and indeed Daisy had
scarce finished talking, when she heard herself hailed from
the road. She started. Preston was there on horseback, calling
to her. Daisy got up and took up her trowel.

"Good-bye," she said, with a little sigh for the lost vision
which Preston's voice had interrupted — "I'll come again, I
hope." And she ran out at the gate.

"It is time for you to go home, Daisy. I thought you did not
know how late it is."

Daisy mounted into her pony-chaise silently.

"Have I interrupted something very agreeable?"

"You would not have thought it so," said Daisy,
diplomatically.

"What were you doing, down there in the dirt?"

"Preston, if you please, I cannot talk to you nicely while you
are so high and I am so low."

Preston was certainly at some height above Daisy, being
mounted up in his saddle on a pretty high horse, while the
pony-chaise was hung very near the ground. He had been beside
her; but at her last words he laughed and set off at a good
pace in advance, leaving the chaise to come along in Loupe's
manner. Daisy drove contentedly home through the afternoon
sunlight, which laid bands of brightness across her road all
the way home. They seemed bands of joy to Daisy.

Preston had galloped ahead, and was at the door ready to meet
her. "What kept you so long at that dismal place?" he asked,
as he handed her out of the chaise.

"You were back very soon from the Fish place, I think," said
Daisy.

"Yes — Alexander was not at home; there was no use in my
staying. But what were you doing all that while, Daisy?"

"It was not so very long," said Daisy. "I did not think it was
a long time. You must have deceived yourself."

"But do you not mean to tell me what you were about? What
_could_ you do, at such a place?"

Daisy stood on the piazza, in all the light of the afternoon
sunbeams, looking and feeling puzzled. How much was it worth
while to try to tell Preston of her thoughts and wishes?

"What was the attraction, Daisy? only tell me that. Dirt and
ignorance and rudeness and disorder — and you contented to be
in the midst of it! Down in the dirt! What was the
attraction?"

"She is very unhappy, Preston."

"I don't believe it. Nonsense! All that is not misery to such
people, unless you make it so by showing them something
different. Marble tables are not the thing for them, Daisy."

"Marble tables!" echoed Daisy.

"Nor fuchsias and geraniums either. That old thing's old
flowers do just as well."

Daisy was silent. She could have answered this. Preston went
on.

"She won't be any better with her garden full of roses and
myrtles, than she is with her sunflowers now. What do you
expect to do, little Daisy?"

"I know what I would like if I were in her place," said Daisy.

"_You_, — but she is not you. She has not your tastes. Do you
mean to carry her a silver cup and fork, Daisy? You would
certainly like that, if you were in her place. Dear little
Daisy, don't you be a mad philosopher."

But Daisy had not been thinking of silver cups and forks, and
she was not misled by this argument.

"Daisy, do you see you have been under a mistake?"

"No, Preston," — she said, looking up at him.

"Daisy, do you think it is _right_ for you to go into houses and
among people where my uncle and aunt do not wish you to go?
You know they do not wish it, though they have given consent,
perhaps because you were so set upon it."

Daisy glanced behind her at the windows of the library; for
they were at the back entrance of the house; and then seizing
Preston's hand, and saying, "Come with me," she drew him down
the steps and over the grass till she reached one of the
garden seats under the trees, out of hearing of any one. There
they sat down; Preston curious, Daisy serious and even
doubtful.

"Preston" — she began with all her seriousness upon her, — "I
wish I had the book here, but I will tell you. When the Lord
Jesus comes again in glory, and all the angels with Him, He
will have all the people before Him, and He will separate them
into two sets. One will be on the right and one on the left.
One set will be the people that belong to Him, and the other
set will be the people that do not belong to Him. Then He will
welcome the first set, and bless them, because they have done
things to the poor and miserable such as they would have liked
to have done to themselves. And He will say — 'Inasmuch as ye
have clone it to one of the least of these, ye have done it
unto Me.' " Daisy's eyes were full of water by this time.

"So you are working to gain heaven, Daisy?" said Preston, who
did not know how to answer her.

"Oh, no!" said the child. "I don't mean that."

"Yes, you do."

"No, — that would be doing it for oneself, not for the Lord
Jesus" — said Daisy, gravely looking at Preston.

"Then I don't see what you mean by your story."

"I mean only, that Jesus likes to have us do to other people
what we would want in their place."

"Suppose you were in my aunt and uncle's place — do you not
think you would like to have a little daughter regard their
wishes?"

Daisy looked distressed.

"I think it is time to go in and get ready for dinner,
Preston," she said.

If she was distressed, Preston was displeased. They went in
without any more words. But Daisy was not perplexed at all.
She had not told Preston her innermost thought and hope — that
Molly Skelton might learn the truth and be one of that blessed
throng on the right hand in the Great Day; but the thought and
hope were glowing at her heart; and she thought she must carry
her Master's message, if not positively forbidden, to all whom
she could carry it to. Preston's meditations were different.

"I have tried my best," he said that evening, when Daisy was
gone to bed, — "and I have failed utterly. I tried my best —
and all I got was a rebuke and a sermon."

"A sermon!" said Mrs. Randolph.

"An excellent one, aunt Felicia. It was orderly, serious, and
pointed."

"And she went to that place?"

"Yes, ma'am. The sermon was afterwards."

"What do you mean, Preston! Speak intelligibly."

"Daisy did, ma'am. I am speaking sober truth, aunt Felicia."

"What is her motive in going to that horrid place? can you
understand?"

"Its disagreeableness, ma'am — so far as I can make out."

"It is very singular," said Mrs. Gary.

"It is very deplorable," said Mrs. Randolph. "So at least it
seems to me. There will be nothing in common soon between
Daisy and her family."

"Only that this kind of thing is apt to wear out, my dear. You
have that comfort."

"No comfort at all. You do not know Daisy. She is a persistent
child. She has taken a dose of fanaticism enough to last her
for years."

"I am sure nevertheless that Dr. Sandford is right in his
advice," said Mr. Randolph; — "both as a physician and as a
philosopher. By far the best way is not to oppose Daisy, and
take as little notice as possible of her new notions. They
will fade out."

"I do not believe it," said the lady "I do not believe it in
the least. If she had not your support, I would have an end of
this folly in a month."

"Indirect ways" — said Mrs. Gary — "indirect ways, my dear;
those are your best chance. Draw off Daisy's attention with
other things. That is what I would do."

And then the ladies put their heads together and concerted a
scheme; Preston joining eagerly in the discussion, and
becoming the manager-in-chief intrusted with its execution.
Mr. Randolph heard, but he gave no help and made no
suggestion. He let the ladies alone.


CHAPTER XXXI.

THE PICTURES.


Daisy came down to breakfast the next morning, looking so very
bright and innocent and fresh, that perhaps Mr. Randolph
thought his wife and sister were taking unnecessary trouble
upon themselves. At least Mrs. Randolph so interpreted his
manner, as she saw him put his arm round Daisy and bend down
his head to hers. The gay visitors were still at Melbourne,
but they had not come down yet to breakfast that morning.

"Did you go to see your old woman yesterday?" Mr. Randolph
said.

"Yes, papa."

"Did you enjoy your visit?"

"Very much, papa."

Mrs. Randolph's head made a motion of impatience, which
however those two did not see.

"How was that, Daisy? I do not comprehend in this instance the
sources of pleasure."

"Papa" — said Daisy, hesitating — "I think I gave pleasure."

She could not explain to him much more, but Mr. Randolph at
least understood that. He gave Daisy another kiss, which was
not disapproving, the child felt. So her breakfast was
extremely happy.

She had a new plan in her head now about Molly. She wanted to
get established on the footing of a friend in that poor little
house; and she thought she had better perhaps not confine her
line of advance to the garden. After breakfast she sought the
housekeeper's room, and let Joanna know that she was in want
of a nice little cake of some sort to carry to a poor creature
who could make nor buy none. Daisy was a great favourite with
Miss Underwood, especially ever since the night when she had
been summoned in her night dress to tell the child about the
words of the minister that day. Joanna never said "no" to
Daisy if it was possible to say "yes;" nor considered anything
a trouble that Daisy required. On this occasion she promised
that exactly what Daisy wanted should be in readiness by the
afternoon; and having thus secured her arrangements Daisy went
with a perfectly light heart to see what the morning was to
bring forth.

"Daisy!" shouted Preston, as she was going down the piazza
steps, — "Daisy! where are you bound?"

"Out —" said Daisy, who was vaguely seeking the September
sunshine.

"Well, 'out' is as good as anywhere. Wait till I get my hat.
Come, Daisy! — we have business on hand."

"What business?" said Daisy, as she was led along through the
trees.

"Great business," said Preston, — "only I shall want help,
Daisy — I want a great deal of help. I cannot manage it alone.
Wait till we get to a real good place for a talk. — Here, this
will do. Now sit down."

"How pretty it is to-day!" said Daisy.

For indeed the river opposite them looked a bright sheet of
glass; and the hills were blue in the morning light, and the
sunshine everywhere was delightsome. The beautiful trees of
Melbourne waved overhead; American elms hung their branches
towards the ground; lindens stood in masses of luxuriance;
oaks and chestnuts spotted the rolling ground with their round
heads; and English elms stood up great towers of green. The
September sun on all this and on the well kept greensward; no
wonder Daisy said it was pretty. But Preston was too full of
his business.

"Now, Daisy, we have got a great deal to do!"

"Have we?" said Daisy.

"It is this. Aunt Felicia has determined that she will give a
party in two or three weeks."

"A party! But I never have anything to do with parties —
mamma's parties — Preston."

"No. But with this one I think you have."

"How can I?" said Daisy. She was very pleasantly unconcerned
as yet, and only enjoying the morning and Preston and the
trees and the sunshine.

"Why, little Daisy, I have got to furnish part of the
entertainment; and I can't do it without you."

Daisy looked now.

"Aunt Felicia wants me to get up some tableaux."

"Some what?" said Daisy.

"Tableaux. — Tableaux vivants. Pictures, Daisy; made with
living people."

"What do you mean, Preston?"

"Why, we will choose some pictures, some of the prettiest
pictures we can find; and then we will dress up people to
represent all the figures, and place them just as the figures
are grouped in the engraving; and then they look like a most
beautiful large painted picture."

"But pictures do not move?"

"No more do the people. They hold still and do not stir, any
more than if they were not real."

"I should think they would look like people though, and not
like a picture," said Daisy. "No matter how still you were to
keep, I should never fancy you were painted."

"No," said Preston, laughing; "but you do not understand. The
room where the spectators are is darkened, and the lights for
the picture are all set on one side, just as the light comes
in the picture, and then it all looks just right. And the
picture is seen behind a frame, too, of the folding doors or
something."

Daisy sat looking at Preston, a little curious but not at all
excited.

"So I shall want your help, Daisy."

"About what?"

"First, to choose what pictures we will have. We must look
over all the books of engravings in the house, and see what
would do. Shall we go at it?"

Daisy consented. They repaired to the library and took
position by a large portfolio of engravings.

" 'Fortitude'! Capital!" cried Preston, as he turned over the
first sheet in the portfolio. "Capital; Daisy! That's for you.
You would make an excellent 'Fortitude.' "

"I! —" said Daisy.

"Capital — couldn't be better. This is Sir Joshua Reynolds'
'Fortitude' — and you will do for it wonderfully well. You
have half the look of it now. Only you must be a little more
stern."

"Why must Fortitude look stern?" said Daisy.

"Oh, because she has hard work to do, I suppose."

"What is Fortitude, Preston?"

"Oh, Daisy, Daisy! are you going through life like that? Why
you'll turn all your play into work."

"Why? — But what _is_ it?"

"Fortitude? Why, it is, let me see, — it is the power of
endurance."

"The power of bearing pain, Daisy," said Mr. Randolph, who was
walking through the room.

"I do not think Fortitude ought to look stern."

"The old gentleman thought so. I suppose he knew. You must,
anyhow, — like the picture."

"But, Preston, how could I look like that? My dresses are not
made so."

"I hope not!" said Preston, laughing. "But, Daisy, we'll get
some of aunt Felicia's riggings and feathers, and set you out
in style."

"But you can't put feathers on my head like those," said
Daisy. "They wouldn't stay on. And I don't see why Fortitude
should be dressed in feathers."

"Why, it is the crest of her helmet, Daisy! Fortitude must
have something strong about her, somewhere, and I suppose her
head is as good a place as any. We'll make a helmet for you.
And I will make Dolce lie down at your feet for the lion."

"You couldn't, Preston."

"I could make him do anything." Dolce was Preston's dog; a
great shaggy St. Bernard.

"Well! —" said Daisy, with a half-sigh.

"I think you'll make a beautiful Fortitude. Now let us see
what next. That is for one."

"How many pictures do you want?" said Daisy.

"Oh, a good many. Plenty, or it wouldn't be worth taking all
the trouble, and shutting the people up in a dark room.
'Alfred in the neat-herd's cottage' — getting a scolding for
his burnt cakes. How splendid that would be if we could get
Dr. Sandford to be Alfred!"

"Who would be that scolding old woman?"

"No matter, because we can't get Dr. Sandford. We are not to
have grown folks at all. It is a pity Ransom is not here. We
shall have to get Alexander Fish — or Hamilton! Hamilton will
do. He's a good-looking fellow."

"You would do a great deal better," said Daisy. "And Alexander
would not do at all. He has not a bit the look of a king about
him."

"I must be that old man with the bundle of sticks on his
head," said Preston, who was, however, immensely flattered.

"But his beard?" said Daisy.

"Oh, I'll put that on. A false beard is easy. You won't know
me, Daisy. That will be an excellent picture. See that girl
blowing the burnt cakes and making her face into a full moon!"

"Will you have her in the picture?"

"Certainly! Most assuredly."

"But, who will you get to do that, Preston?"

"Nora Dinwiddie, I reckon."

"Will _she_ come?"

"We shall want all we can get. All Mrs. Stanfield's young
ones, and Mrs. Fish's and Linwood's and everybody. Now, Daisy,
here you are! This is the very thing."

"For what?" said Daisy.

"Don't you see? For you. This is Queen Esther before Ahasuerus
— you know the story?"

"Oh, yes! — when he stretched out the golden sceptre to her.
She is fainting, isn't she?"

"Exactly. You can do that glorious, because you have always a
pair of pale cheeks on hand."

"I?" — said Daisy, again. "Do you want me to be two things?"

"A dozen things, perhaps. You must be Queen Esther at any
rate. Nobody but you."

"And who will be Ahasuerus?"

"I don't know. Hamilton Rush, I reckon; he's a nice fellow."

"Oh, Preston, why don't you be Ahasuerus?"

"I am manager, you know, Daisy; it won't do for the manager to
take the best pieces for himself. Ahasuerus is one of the
best. See how handsome the dress is — and the attitude, and
everything."

"I don't see where you will find the dresses," said Daisy.
"All those are robes of silk and velvet and fur; and then the
jewels, Preston!"

"Nonsense, Daisy. Aunt Felicia will let us take all her stores
of satins and velvets and feathers, and jewellery too. It
won't hurt them to be looked at."

"I think," said Daisy, slowly, — "I think I will not be Queen
Esther."

"Why not? don't you like her looks?"

"Oh, yes. _That's_ no matter; but I would rather somebody else
would be it."

"Why, little Daisy? You are the one; nobody can be Esther but
you."

"I think I will not," said Daisy, thoughtfully.

"What's the matter, Daisy? You _must_. I want you for Esther and
nobody else. What is the objection?"

"I would rather not," said Daisy. "I don't know Hamilton Rush
much."

This was said with extreme demureness, and Preston bit his
lips almost till the blood came to prevent the smile which
would have startled Daisy.

"You won't know him at all when he is dressed and with his
crown on. It's all a play. You can imagine he is the real old
Persian king, who looked so fiercely on the beautiful Jewess
when she ventured unsummoned into his presence."

"I could not stand like that," said Daisy.

"Yes, you could. That's easy. You are fainting in the arms of
your attendants."

"Who will the attendants be?"

"I don't know. Who do you think?"

"I think I would rather not be in this picture, —" said Daisy.

"Yes, you will. I want you. It is too good to be given to
somebody else. It is one of the prettiest pictures we shall
have, I reckon."

"Then you must be the king."

"Well — we will see," said Preston. "What comes next? 'Canute
and his courtiers.' That won't do, because we could not have
the sea in."

"Nor the horse," said Daisy.

"Not very well. — What a stupid collection of portraits!
Nothing but portraits."

"There are fortune-tellers."

"That won't do — not interest enough. There! here's one.
'Little Red Riding-hood.' That will be beautiful for you,
Daisy."

"But, Preston, I mustn't be everything."

"Plenty more things coming. You don't like Red Riding-hood?
Then we will give it to Nora or Ella."

"Oh, I like it," said Daisy. "I like it much better than
Esther — unless you will play Ahasuerus."

"Well, I will put you down for both of 'em."

"But who's to be anything else?"

"Lots. Here. — Splendid! 'Marie Antoinette going from the
revolutionary tribunal' — that will be capital."

"Who will take that?" said Daisy.

"Let me see. I think — I think, Daisy, it must be Theresa
Stanfield. She is a clever girl, and it must be a clever girl
to do this."

"But she will not look as old as she ought."

"Yes, she will, when she is dressed. I know who will be our
dresser, too; Mrs. Sandford."

"Will she?" said Daisy.

"Yes. She knows how, I know. You and I must go and give
invitations, Daisy."

"Mamma will send the invitations."

"Yes, of course, to the party; but we have got to beat up
recruits and get contributions for the tableaux. You and I
must do that. I engaged to take all the trouble of the thing
from aunt Felicia."

"Contributions, Preston?"

"Of people, Daisy. People for the tableaux, We must have all
we can muster."

"I can't see how you will make Theresa Stanfield look like
that."

"I cannot," said Preston, laughing, — "but Mrs. Sandford will
do part, and Theresa herself will do the other part. She will
bring her face round, you will see. The thing is, who will be
that ugly old woman who is looking at the queen with such eyes
of coarse fury — I think I shall have to be that old woman."

"You, Preston!" And Daisy went off into a fit of amusement.
"Can you make your eyes look with coarse fury?"

"You shall see. That's a good part. I should not like to trust
it to anybody else. Alexander and Hamilton Rush will have to
be the Queen's guards — how we want Ransom! Charley Linwood is
too small. There's George, though."

"What does that woman look at the queen so for?"

"Wants to see her head come down — which it did soon after."

"Her head come down?"

"It had come down pretty well then, when the proud, beautiful
queen was exposed to the looks and insults of the rabble. But
they wanted to see it come down on the scaffold."

"What had she been doing, to make them hate her?"

"She had been a queen; — and they had made up their minds that
nobody ought to be queen, or anything else but rabble; so her
head must come off. A great many other heads came off; for the
same reason."

"Preston, I don't think the poor would hate that kind of thing
so, if the rich people behaved right."

"How do you think rich people ought to behave." said Preston,
gravely, turning over the engravings.

Daisy's old puzzle came back on her; she was silent.

"Common people always hate the uncommon, Daisy. Now what next?
— Ah! here is what will do. This is beautiful."

"What is it?"

"Portia and Bassanio. He has just got that letter, you know."

"What letter?"

"Why, Antonio's letter. Oh, don't you know the story? Bassanio
was Antonio's friend, and — Oh, dear, it is a long story,
Daisy. You must read it."

"But what is the picture about?"

"This: Bassanio has just this minute been married to Portia,
— the loveliest lady in all the world; that he knew of; and
now comes a letter, just that minute, telling him that his
dear friend Antonio is in great danger of being cut to pieces
through the wickedness of a fellow that he had borrowed money
from. And the money had been borrowed for Bassanio, to set him
up for his courtship — so no wonder he feels rather bad."

"Does she know?"

"No; she is just asking what is the matter. That will be a
capital picture."

"But you couldn't stand and look like that," said Daisy.

"I shall not," said Preston, "but Hamilton Rush will. I shall
give it to him. And — let me see — for Portia — that Fish girl
cannot do it, she is not clever enough. It will have to be
Theresa Stanfield."

"I should like to see anybody look like _that_," said Daisy.

"Well, you will. We shall have to go to another book of
engravings. — Hollo! here you are again, Daisy. This will do
for you exactly. — Exactly!"

"What is it?"

"Why, Daisy, these are two old Puritans; young ones, I mean,
of course; and they are very fond of each other, you know, but
somehow they don't know it. Or one of them don't, and he has
been goose enough to come to ask Priscilla if she will be his
friend's wife. Of course she is astonished at him."

"She does not look astonished."

"No, that is because she is a Puritan. She takes it all
quietly, only she says she has an objection to be this other
man's wife. And then John finds what a fool he is. That's
capital. You shall be Priscilla; you will do it and look it
beautifully."

"I do not think I want to be Priscilla," — said Daisy, slowly.

"Yes, you do. You will. It will make such a beautiful picture.
I reckon Alexander Fish will make a good John Alden — he has
nice curly hair."

"So have you," said Daisy; "and longer than Alexander's, and
more like the picture."

"I am manager, Daisy. That wouldn't do."

"I shall not be in that picture if Alexander is the other
one," said Daisy.

"Well — we will see. But Daisy, it is only playing pictures,
you know. It will not be Daisy and Alexander Fish — not at all
— it will be Priscilla and John Alden."

"_I_ should think it was Alexander Fish," said Daisy.

Preston laughed.

"But Preston, what is that word you said just now? what is a
Puritan?"

"I don't know. I think you are one. I do not know another."

"You said these were Puritans?"

"Yes, so they were. They were very good people, Daisy, that
liked wearing plain dresses. We shall have to have a stuff
dress made for you — I reckon you have not one of anything
like a Puritan cut."

"Then, how am I a Puritan, Preston?"

"Sure enough. I mean that you would be one, if you got a
chance. How many pictures have we chosen out? Six? That is not
half enough."

The search went on, through other books and portfolios. There
was good store of them in Mr. Randolph's library, and Daisy
and Preston were very busy the whole morning till luncheon-
time. After Daisy's dinner, however, her mind took up its
former subject of interest. She went to Joanna, and was
furnished with a nice little sponge-cake and a basket of
sickle pears for Molly Skelton. Daisy forgot all about
tableaux. This was something better. She ordered the pony-
chaise and got ready for driving.

"Hollo, Daisy!" said Preston, as she came out upon the piazza;
— "what now?"

"I am going out."

"With me."

"No, I have business, Preston."

"So have I; a business that cannot wait, either. We must go
and drum up our people for the tableaux, Daisy. We haven't
much time to prepare, and lots of things to do."

"What?"

"First, arrange about the parts everybody is to take; and then
the dresses, and then practising."

"Practising what, Preston?"

"Why, the pictures! We cannot do them at a dash, all right; we
must drill, until every one knows exactly how to stand and how
to look, and can do it well."

"And must the people come here to practise?"

"Of course. Where the pictures and the dresses are, you know.
Aunt Felicia is to give us her sewing woman for as much time
as we want her; and Mrs. Sandford must be here to see about
all that; and we must know immediately whom we can have, and
get them to come. We must go this afternoon, Daisy."

"Must I ?"

"Certainly. You know — or you would know if you were not a
Puritan, little Daisy, that I cannot do the business alone.
You are Miss Randolph."

"Did the Puritans not know much?" inquired Daisy.

"Nothing — about the ways of the world."

Daisy looked at the pony-chaise, at the blue hills, at her
basket of pears; and yielding to what seemed necessity, gave
up Molly for that day. She went with Preston, he on horseback,
she in her pony-chaise, and a very long afternoon's work they
made of it. And they did not get through the work, either. But
by dint of hearing the thing talked over, and seeing the great
interest excited among the young folks, Daisy's mind grew
pretty full of the pictures before the day was ended. It was
so incomprehensible, how Theresa Stanfield could ever bring
her merry, arch face, into the grave proud endurance of the
deposed French queen; it was so puzzling to imagine Hamilton
Rush, a fine, good-humoured fellow, something older than
Preston, transformed into the grand and awful figure of
Ahasuerus; and Nora was so eager to know what part she could
take; and Mrs. Sandford entered into the scheme with such
utter good-nature and evident competence to manage it. Ella
Stanfield's eyes grew very wide open; and Mrs. Fish was full
of curiosity, and the Linwoods were tumultuous.

"We shall have to tame those fellows down," Preston remarked
as he and Daisy rode away from this last place, — "or they
will upset everything. Why cannot people teach people to take
things quietly!"

"How much that little one wanted to be Red Riding-hood," said
Daisy.

"Yes. Little Malapert!"

"You will let her, won't you?"

"I reckon I won't. You are to be Red Riding-hood — unless, — I
don't know; perhaps that would be a good one to give Nora
Dinwiddie. I shall see."

That day was gone. The next day there was a great overhauling,
by Preston and his mother and Daisy, of the stores of finery
which Mrs. Randolph put at their disposal. Mrs. Randolph
herself would have nothing to do with the arrangements; she
held aloof from the bustle attending them; but facilities and
materials she gave with unsparing hand. Daisy was very much
amused. Mrs. Gary and Preston had a good deal of consultation
over the finery, having at the same time the engravings spread
out before them. Such stores of satin and lace robes, and
velvet mantles, and fur wrappings and garnishings, and silken
scarfs, and varieties of adornment, old and new, were gathered
into one room and displayed, that it almost tired Daisy to
look at them. Nevertheless, she was amused. And she was amused
still more, when later in the day, after luncheon, Mrs.
Sandford arrived, and was taken up into the tiring room, as
Preston called it. Here she examined the pictures, and made a
careful survey of the articles with which she must work to
produce the desired effects. Some of the work was easy. There
was an old cardinal, of beautiful red cloth, which doubtless
would make up Red Riding-hood with very little trouble. There
were beautiful plumes for Fortitude's head; and Daisy began to
wonder how she would look with their stately grace waving over
her. Mrs. Sandford tried it. She arranged the plume on Daisy's
head; and with a turn or two of a dark cashmere scarf imitated
beautifully the classic folds of the drapery in the picture.
Then she put Daisy in the attitude of the figure; and by that
time Daisy felt so strange that her face was stern and grave
enough to need no admonishing. Preston clapped his hands.

"If you will only look like that, Daisy, in the tableau!"

"Look how?" said Daisy.

"Mrs. Sandford, did you ever see anything so perfect?"

"It is excellent," said that lady.

"If they will all do as well, we shall be encored. But there
is no dress here for Bassanio, Mrs. Sandford."

"You would hardly expect your mother's or your aunt's wardrobe
to furnish that."

"Hardly. But I am sure uncle Randolph's wardrobe would not do
any better. It will have to be made."

"I think I have something at home that will do — something
that was used once for a kindred purpose. I think I can dress
Bassanio — as far as the slashings are concerned. The cap and
plume we can manage here — and I dare say your uncle has some
of those old-fashioned long silk hose."

"Did papa ever wear such things?" said Daisy.

"Portia will be easy," said Preston, looking round the room.

"Who is to be Portia?"

"Theresa Stanfield, I believe."

"That will do very well, I should think. She is fair — suppose
we dress her in this purple brocade."

"Was Portia married in purple?" said Preston.

Mrs. Sandford laughed a good deal. "Well" — she said — "white
if you like; but Theresa will look most like Portia if she
wears this brocade. I do not believe white is _de rigueur_ in
her case. You know, she went from the casket scene to the
altar. If she was like me, she did not venture to anticipate
good fortune by putting on a bridal dress till she knew she
would want it."

"Perhaps that is correct," said Preston.

"How come you to know so much about the dresses?" said the
lady. "That is commonly supposed to be woman's function."

"I am general manager, Mrs. Sandford, and obliged to act out
of character."

"You seem to understand yourself very well. Priscilla! — we
have no dress for her."

"It will have to be made."

"Yes. Who is there to make it?"

The seamstress was now summoned, and the orders were given for
Priscilla's dress, to be made to fit Daisy. It was very
amusing, the strait-cut brown gown, the plain broad vandyke of
white muslin, and etceteras that Mrs. Sandford insisted on.

"She will look the part extremely well. But are you going to
give her nothing but Fortitude and Prudence, Preston? is Daisy
to do nothing gayer."

"Yes ma'am — she is to be the queen of the Persian king here —
what is his name? Ahasuerus! She is Esther."

Daisy opened her lips to say no, but Preston got her into his
arms, and softly put his hand upon her mouth before
she could speak the word. The action was so coaxing and
affectionate, that Daisy stood still, silent, with his arms
round her.

"Queen Esther!" said Mrs. Sandford. "That will tax the utmost
of our resources. Mrs. Randolph will lend us some jewels, I
hope, or we cannot represent that old Eastern court."

"Mrs. Randolph will lend us anything — and everything," said
Preston.

"Then we can make a beautiful tableau. I think Esther must be
in white."

"Yes ma'am — it will add to the fainting effect."

"And we must make her brilliant with jewels; and dress her
attendants in colours, so as to set her off; but Esther must
be a spot of brilliancy. Ahasuerus rich and heavy. This will
be your finest tableau, if it is done well."

"Alfred will not be bad," said Preston.

"In another line. Your part will be easy, Daisy — you must
have a pair of strong-armed handmaidens. What do you want Nora
for, Preston?"

"Could she be one of them, Mrs. Sandford?"

"Yes, — if she can be impressed with the seriousness of the
occasion; but the maids of the queen ought to be wholly in
distress for their mistress, you know. She could be one of the
princes in the tower, very nicely."

"Yes, capitally," said Preston. "And — Mrs. Sandford —
wouldn't she make a good John Alden?"

"Daisy for Priscilla! Excellent!" said Mrs. Sandford. "If the
two could keep their gravity, which I very much doubt."

"Daisy can keep anything," said Preston. "I will tutor Nora."

"Well, I will help you as much as I can," said the lady. "But,
my boy, this business takes time! I had no notion I had been
here so long. I must run."


CHAPTER XXXII.

THE BASKET OF SPONGE-CAKE.


As she made her escape one way, so did Daisy by another. When
Preston came back from attending Mrs. Sandford to her carriage
he could find nothing of his little co-worker. Daisy was gone.

In all haste, and with a little self-reproach for having
forgotten it, she had ordered her pony-chaise; and then
examined into the condition of her stores. The sponge-cake was
somewhat dry; the sickle pears wanted looking over. Part of
them were past ripe. Indeed so many of them, that Daisy found
her basket was no longer properly full, when these were culled
out. She went to Joanna. Miss Underwood soon made that all
right with some nice late peaches; and Daisy thought with
herself that sponge-cake was very good a little dry, and would
probably not find severe criticism at Molly's house. She got
away without encountering her cousin, much to her
satisfaction.

Molly was not in her garden. That had happened before. Daisy
went in, looked at the flowers, and waited. The rose-tree was
flourishing; the geranium was looking splendid; with nothing
around either of them that in the least suited their
neighbourhood. So Daisy thought. If all the other plants — the
ragged balsams and "creeping Charley" and the rest — could
have been rooted up, then the geranium and the rose would have
shown well together. However, Molly did not doubtless feel
this want of suitability; to her the tall sunflower was, no
question, a treasure and a beautiful plant. Would Molly come
out?

It seemed as if she would not. No stir, and the closed house
door looking forbidding and unhopeful. Daisy waited, and
waited, and walked up and down the bit of a path, from the
gate quite to the house door; in hopes that the sound of her
feet upon the walk might be heard within. Daisy's feet did not
make much noise; but however that were, there was no stir of a
sound anywhere else. Daisy was patient; not the less the
afternoon was passing away, and pretty far gone already, and
it was the first of October now. The light did not last as
long as it did a few months ago. Daisy was late. She must go
soon, if she did not see Molly; and to go without seeing her
was no part of Daisy's plan. Perhaps Molly was sick. At any
rate, the child's footsteps paused at the door of the poor
little house, and her fingers knocked. She had never been
inside of it yet, and what she saw of the outside was not in
the least inviting. The little windows, lined with paper
curtains to keep out sunlight and curious eyes, looked dismal;
the weatherboards were unpainted; the little porch broken.
Daisy did not like such things. But she knocked without a bit
of fear or hesitation, notwithstanding all this. She was
charged with work to do; so she felt; it was no matter what
she might meet in the discharge of it. She had her message to
carry, and she was full of compassionate love to the creature
whose lot in life was so unlike her own. Daisy went straight
on in her business.

Her knock got no answer, and still got none though it was
repeated and made more noticeable. Not a sign of an answer.
Daisy softly tried the door then to see if it would open.
There was no difficulty in that; she pushed it gently, and
gently stepped in.

It looked just like what she expected, though Daisy had not
got accustomed yet to the conditions of such rooms. Just now,
she hardly saw anything but Molly. Her eyes wandering over the
strange place, were presently caught by the cripple, sitting
crouching in a corner of the room. It was all miserably
desolate. The paper shields kept out the light of the
sunbeams; and though the place was tolerably clean, it had a
close, musty, disagreeable, shut-up smell. But all Daisy
thought of at first was the cripple. She went a little towards
her.

"How do you do, Molly?" her little soft voice said. Molly
looked glum, and spoke never a word.

"I have been waiting to see you," Daisy said, advancing a step
nearer — "and you did not come out. I was afraid you were
sick."

One of Molly's grunts came here. Daisy could not tell what it
meant.

"_Are_ you sick, Molly?"

"It's me and not you" — said the cripple, morosely.

"Oh, I am sorry!" said Daisy, tenderly. "I want to bring in
something for you —"

She ran away for her basket. Coming back, she left the door
open to let in the sweet air and sun.

"What is the matter with you, Molly?"

The cripple made no answer, not even a grunt; her eyes were
fastened on the basket. Daisy lifted the cover and brought out
her cake, wrapped in paper. As she unwrapped it and came up to
Molly, she saw what she had never seen before that minute, — a
smile on the cripple's grum face. It was not grum now; it was
lighted up with a smile, as her eyes dilated over the cake.

"I'll have some tea!" she said.

Daisy put the cake on the table and delivered a peach into
Molly's hand. But she lifted her hand to the table and laid
the peach there.

"I'll have some tea."

"Are you sick, Molly?" said Daisy again; for in spite of this
declaration, and in spite of her evident pleasure, Molly did
not move.

"I'm aching all through."

"What is the matter?"

"Aching's the matter — rheumatiz. I'll have some tea."

"It's nice and warm out in the sun," Daisy suggested.

"Can't get there," said Molly. "Can't stir. I'm all aches all
over."

"How can you get tea, then, Molly? Your fire is quite out."

"Ache and get it —" said the cripple, grumly.

Daisy could not stand that. She at first thought of calling
her groom to make a fire; but reflected that would be a
hazardous proceeding. Molly perhaps, and most probably, would
not allow it. If she would allow her, it would be a great step
gained. Daisy's heart was so full of compassion she could not
but try. There was a little bit of an iron stove in the room,
and a tea-kettle, small to match, stood upon it; both cold of
course.

"Where is there some wood, Molly?" said Daisy, over the stove;
— "some wood and kindling? I'll try if I can make the fire for
you, if you will let me, please."

"In there —" said the cripple, pointing.

Daisy looked, and saw nothing but an inner door. Not liking to
multiply questions, for fear of Molly's patience, she ventured
to open the door. There was a sort of shed-room, where Daisy
found stores of everything she wanted. Evidently the
neighbours provided so far for the poor creature, who could
not provide for herself. Kindling was there in plenty, and
small wood stacked. Daisy got her arms full and came back to
the stove. By using her eyes carefully she found the matches
without asking anything, and made the fire, slowly but nicely;
Molly meanwhile having reached up for her despised peach was
making her teeth meet in it with no evidence of
disapprobation. The fire snapped and kindled and began
immediately to warm up the little stove. Daisy took the kettle
and went into the same lumber shed to look for water. But
though an empty tin pail stood there, the water in it was no
more than a spoonful. Nothing else held any. Daisy looked out.
A worn path in the grass showed the way to the place where
Molly filled her water-pail — a little basin of a spring at
some distance from the house. Daisy followed the path to the
spring, filled her pail and then her kettle, wondering much
how Molly ever could crawl to the place in rainy weather; and
then she came in triumphant and set the tea-kettle on the
stove.

"I am very sorry you are sick, Molly," said Daisy, anew.

Molly only grunted; but she had finished her peach, and sat
there licking her finger.

"Would you like to see Dr. Sandford? I could tell him."

"No!" — said the poor thing, decidedly.

"I'll pray to the Lord Jesus to make you well."

"Humph?" — said Molly, questioning.

"You know, He can do everything. He can make you well; and I
hope He will."

"He won't make me well —" said Molly.

"He will make you happy, if you will pray to Him."

"Happy!" said Molly; as if it were a yet more impossible
thing.

"Oh, yes. Jesus makes everybody happy that loves Him. He makes
them good too, Molly; He forgives all their sins that they
have done; and in heaven He will give them white robes to
wear, and they will not do wrong things nor have any pain any
more."

One of Molly's grunts came now; she did not understand this,
or could not believe. Daisy looked on, pitiful and very much
perplexed.

"Molly, you have a great Friend in heaven," said the child;
"don't you know it? Jesus loves you."

"H—n?" —said Molly again.

"Don't you know what He did, for you and me and everybody!"

Molly's head gave sign of ignorance. So Daisy sat down and
told her. She told her the story at length; she painted the
love of the few disciples, the enmity of the world, the things
that infinite tenderness had done and borne for those who
hated goodness and would not obey God. Molly listened, and
Daisy talked; how, she did not know, nor Molly neither; but
the good news was told in that poor little house; the
unspeakable gift was made known. Seeing Molly's fixed eyes and
rapt attention, Daisy went on at length and told all. The
cripple's gaze never stirred all the while, nor stirred when
the story came to an end. She still stared at Daisy. Well she
might!

"Now, Molly," said the child, "I have got a message for you."

"H—n?" said Molly, more softly.

"It is from the Lord Jesus. It is in His book. It is a
message. The message is, that if you will believe in Him and
be His child, He will forgive you and love you; and then you
will go to be with Him in heaven."

"Me?" said Molly.

"Yes," said Daisy, nodding her little head with her eyes full
of tears. "Yes, you will. Jesus will take you there, and you
will wear a white robe and a crown of gold, and be with Him."

Daisy paused, and Molly looked at her. How much of the truth
got fair entrance into her mind, Daisy could not tell. But
after a few minutes of pause, seeing that Daisy's lips did not
open, Molly opened hers, and bade her "Go on."

"I am afraid I haven't time to-day," said Daisy. "I'll bring
my book next time and read you the words. Can you read,
Molly?"

"Read? no!"

Whether Molly knew what reading was, may be questioned.

"Molly," said Daisy, lowering her tone in her eagerness,
"would you like to learn to read yourself? — Then, when I am
not here, you could see it all in the book. Wouldn't you like
it?"

"Where's books?" said the cripple.

"I will bring the book. And now I must go."

For Daisy knew that a good while had passed; she did not know
how long it was. Before going, however, she went to see about
the fire in the stove. It was burnt down to a few coals; and
the kettle was boiling. Daisy could not leave it so. She
fetched more wood and put in, with a little more kindling; and
then, leaving it all right, she was going to bid Molly good-
bye, when she saw that the poor cripple's head had sunk down
on her arms. She looked in that position so forlorn, so lonely
and miserable, that Daisy's heart misgave her. She drew near.

"Molly —" said her sweet little voice, "would you like your
tea now? the water is boiling."

Molly signified that she would.

"Would you like to have me make it?" said Daisy, doubtfully,
quite afraid of venturing too far or too fast. But she need
not have been afraid. Molly only pointed with her finger to a
wall cupboard, and said as before, — "In there."

The way was clear for Daisy, time or no time. She went to the
cupboard. It was not hard to find the few things which Molly
had in constant use. The tea-pot was there, and a paper of
tea. Daisy made the tea, with a good deal of pleasure and
wonder; set it to draw, and brought out Molly's cup and saucer
and plate and knife and spoon. A little sugar she found too;
not much. She put these things on the low table which was made
to fit Molly's condition. She could have it before her as she
sat on the floor.

"I don't see any milk for your tea, Molly."

"Milk? no. It's all gone," said Molly.

"I am sorry. You'll have to take your tea without milk then.
Here it is. I hope it is good."

Daisy poured out a cup, set the sugar beside it, and cut
slices of sponge-cake. She was greatly pleased at being
allowed to do it. Molly took it as a very natural thing, and
Daisy sat down to enjoy the occasion a few minutes longer, and
also to give such attentions as she could.

"Won't you have some?" said Molly.

"No, I thank you. Mamma does not let me drink tea, except when
I am sick."

Molly had discharged her conscience, and gave herself now to
her own enjoyment. One cup of tea was a mere circumstance;
Daisy filled and refilled it; Molly swallowed the tea as if
cupfuls had been mouthfuls. It was a subject of question to
Daisy whether the poor creature had had any other meal that
day; so eager she was, and so difficult to satisfy with the
sponge-cake. Slice after slice; and Daisy cut more, and put a
tiny fresh pinch of tea into the teapot, and waited upon her
with inexpressible tenderness and zeal. Molly exhausted the
tea-pot and left but a small remnant of the cake. Daisy was
struck with a sudden fear that she might have been neglected
and really want things to eat. How could she find out?

"Where shall I put this, Molly?" she said, taking the plate
with the morsel of cake. "Where does it go?"

"In there —" said Molly.

"Here? — or here?" touching the two doors of the cupboard.

" 'Tother one."

So Daisy opened the other door of the cupboard, just what she
wanted to do. And there she saw indeed some remnants of food,
but nothing more than remnants; a piece of dry bread and a
cold muffin, with a small bit of boiled pork. Daisy took but a
glance, and came away. The plate and cup and saucer she set in
their place; bid good-bye to Molly, and ran out.

Time indeed! The sun was sending long slant bright beams
against the cottage windows and over the pony-chaise, and the
groom had got the pony's head turned for home, evidently under
the impression that Daisy was staying a long time. A little
fearful of consequences if she got home after sundown, Daisy
gathered up her reins and signified to Loupe that he was
expected to move with some spirit.

But Daisy was very happy. She was thoroughly at home now with
Molly; she was fairly admitted within the house and welcome
there; and already she had given comfort. She had almost done
as Nora said; as near as possible she had taken tea with
Molly. Besides, Daisy had found out what more to do for her.
She thought of that poor cupboard with mixed feelings; not
pity only; for next day she would bring supplies that were
really needed. Some nice bread and butter — Daisy had seen no
sign of butter, — and some meat. Molly needed a friend to look
after her wants, and Daisy now had the freedom of the house
and could do it; and joyfully she resolved that she would do
it, so long as her own stay at Melbourne should be prolonged.
What if her getting home late should bring on a command that
would put a stop to all this!

But nobody was on the piazza or in the library when she got
home. Daisy went safely to her own room. There was June all
ready to dress her; and making good speed, that business was
finished and Daisy ready to go down to the dinner-table at the
usual time.


CHAPTER XXXIII.

SATIN AND FEATHERS.


She was a little afraid of questions at the dinner-table; but
it happened that the older people were interested about some
matter of their own and she was not noticed at all. Except in
a quiet way by Mr. Randolph, who picked out nuts for her; and
Daisy took them and thought joyfully of carrying a Testament
to Molly's cottage and teaching her to read it. If she could
do but that — Daisy thought she would be happy.

The evening was spent by her and Preston over engravings
again. Some new ones were added to the stock already chosen
for tableaux; and Preston debated with her very eagerly the
various questions of characters and dresses. Daisy did not
care how he arranged them, provided she only was not called
upon to be Priscilla to Alexander Fish, or Esther to Hamilton
Rush. "I will not, Preston —" she insisted quietly; and
Preston was in difficulty; for as he truly said, it would not
do to give himself all the best pieces.

The next day, after luncheon, a general conclave assembled, of
all the young people, to determine the respective parts and
hold a little rehearsal by way of beginning. Mrs. Sandford was
there too, but no other grown person was admitted. Preston had
certainly a troublesome and delicate office in his capacity of
manager.

"What are you going to give me, Preston?" said Mrs.
Stanfield's lively daughter, Theresa.

"You must be Portia."

"Portia? let me see — Oh, that's lovely! How will you dress
me, Mrs. Sandford? I must be very splendid — I have just been
married, and I am worth any amount of splendour. Who's to be
Bassanio? —"

"George Linwood, I think. He must have dark hair, you know."

"What are wigs good for?" said Theresa. "But he has nothing to
do but to hold the letter and throw himself backward — he's
surprised, you know, and people don't stand straight when they
are surprised. Only that, and to look at Portia. I guess he
can do it. Once fix him and he'll stay — that's one thing. How
will you dress Portia, Mrs. Sandford? Ah, let me dress her!"

"Not at all; you must be amenable to authority, Miss
Stanfield, like everybody else."

"But what will you put on her, Mrs. Sandford? The dress is
Portia."

"No, by no means; you must look with a very delicate
expression, Miss Theresa. Your face will be the picture."

"My face will depend on my dress, I know. What will it be,
Mrs. Sandford?"

"I will give you a very heavy and rich purple brocade."

"Jewels?"

"Of course. Mrs. Randolph lets us have whatever we want."

"That will do!" said Theresa, clapping her hands softly. "I am
made up. What are you going to do with Frederica?"

"She has a great part. She must be Marie Antoinette going
from the revolutionary tribunal."

"De la Roche's picture!" said Theresa.

"She's not dressed at all," — remarked Frederica, coldly
looking at the engraving.

"Marie Antoinette needed no dress, you know," Theresa
answered.

"But she isn't handsome there."

"You will be standing for her," said Mrs. Sandford. "The
attitude is very striking, in its proud, indignant
impassiveness. You will do that well. I must dress your hair
carefully, but you have just the right hair and plenty of it."

"Don't she flatter her!" whispered Theresa to Preston; — then
aloud, "How will you make up the rest of the tableau,
Preston?"

"I am going to be that old cross-eyed woman — Alexander will
be one of the guards — George Linwood another, I think.
Hamilton Rush must shake his fist at the queen over my head;
and Theresa, you must be this nice little French girl, looking
at her unfortunate sovereign with weeping eyes. Can you get a
tear on your cheek?"

"Might take an uncommon strong spoonful of mustard —" said
Theresa — "I suppose that would do it. But you are not going
to let the spectators come so near as to see drops of tears, I
hope?"

"No matter — your eyes and whole expression would be affected
by the mustard; it would tell, even at a distance."

When they got through laughing, some one asked, "What is Daisy
to be?"

"Oh, she is to be Priscilla here — I thought nobody but Daisy
would care about being a Puritan; but it is her chosen
character."

"It'll be a pretty tableau," said Theresa.

"And what am I to be, Preston?" said Nora.

"You are to be several things. You and Ella must be the two
young princes in the tower."

"What tower ?" said Nora.

There was another general laugh, and then Daisy, who was well
at home in English history, pulled her little friend aside to
whisper to her the story and show her the picture.

"What are those men going to do?" said Nora.

"They are going to kill the little princes. They have got a
feather-bed or something there, and they are going to smother
them while they are asleep."

"But I don't want the feather-bed on top of me!" said Nora.

"No, no, — it is not to come down on you; but that is the
picture; they will hold it just so; it will not come down."

"But suppose they should let it fall?"

"They will not let it fall. The picture is to have it held
just so, as if they were going to smother the poor little
princes the next minute."

"I think it is a horrid picture!" said Nora.

"But it will only last a little while. All you will have to do
will be to make believe you are asleep."

"I don't want to make believe I am asleep. I would rather have
my eyes open. What else am I going to be, Daisy?"

"Preston will tell. I believe — you are to be one of Queen
Esther's women, to hold her up when she fainted, you know."

"Let me see. Where is it?"

Daisy obtained the picture. Nora examined it critically.

"I would like to be the king, he is so handsome. Who will be
the queen?"

"I don't know yet," said Daisy.

"Are you going to have any part where you will be dressed up?"

"We shall have to be dressed for them all. We cannot wear our
own dresses, you know; it would not be a picture."

"But, I mean, are you going to be dressed up with nice
things? — not like this."

"This will be dressed up," said Daisy; "she will be very
nicely dressed — to be one of the queen's ladies, you know."

"Daisy! Daisy! —" was now called from the larger group of
counsel-takers, Daisy and Nora having separated themselves for
their private discourse. "Daisy! look here — come here! see
what you are to be. You are to be an angel."

"You are to be an angel, Daisy," Theresa repeated, "with
wonderful wings made of gauze on a light frame of whalebone."

Daisy came near, looking very attentive; if she felt any more
she did not show it in her face.

"Daisy, you will do it delightfully," said Mrs. Sandford.
"Come and look. It is this beautiful picture of the Game of
Life."

"What is it, ma'am?" said Daisy.

"These two figures, you see, are playing a game of chess. The
stake they are playing for, is this young man's soul; he is
one of the players, and this other player is the evil one. The
arch-fiend thinks he has got a good move; the young man is
very serious but perplexed; and there stands his guardian
angel watching how the game will go."

Daisy looked at the picture in silence of astonishment. It
seemed to her impossible that anybody could play at such a
subject as that.

"Whom will you have for the fiend, Preston?" the lady went on.

"I will do it myself, ma'am, I think."

Daisy's "Oh, no, Preston!" — brought down such a shower of
laughter on all sides, that she retreated into herself a
little further than ever. They pursued the subject for a
while, discussing the parts and the making of the angels
wings; deciding that Daisy would do excellently well for the
angel and would look the part remarkably.

"She has a good deal that sort of expression in ordinary
times," said Mrs. Sandford — "without the sadness; and that
she can assume, I day say."

"I would rather not do it —" Daisy was heard to say, very
gently but very soberly. There was another laugh.

"Do what, Daisy? assume a look of sadness?" said Preston.

"I would rather not be the angel."

"Nobody else could do it so well," said Mrs. Sandford. "You
are the very one to do it. It will he admirable."

"_I_ should like to be the angel —" murmured Nora, low enough to
have no one's attention but Daisy's. The rest were agreeing
that the picture would be excellent and had just the right
performers assigned to it. Daisy was puzzled. It seemed to her
that Nora had a general desire for everything.

"Ella will be one of the princes in the tower," Preston went
on. "Nora will be Red Riding-Hood."

"I won't be Red Riding-Hood —" said Nora.

"Why not? Hoity, toity!"

"It isn't pretty. And it has no pretty dress."

"Why, it is beautiful," said Mrs. Sandford; "and the dress is
to be made with an exquisite red cashmere cardinal of Mrs.
Randolph's. You will make the best Red Riding-Hood here.
Though Daisy would be more like the lamb the wolf was after,"
— continued the lady, appealing to the manager; "and you might
change. Who is to be queen Esther? Nora would do that well —
with her black eyes and hair — she is more of a Jewess than
any other of them."

"Esther is fainting," said Preston. "Daisy's paleness will
suit that best. Nora could not look faint."

"Yes, I could," said that damsel, promptly.

"You shall blow the cakes that Alfred has let burn," said
Preston. "Capital! Look here, Nora. You shall be that girl
taking up the burnt cakes and blowing to cool them; and you
may look as fierce as you like. You will get great applause if
you do that part well. Eloise is going to be the scolding old
woman. She and I divide the old women between us."

"Too bad, Preston!" said Mrs. Sandford, laughing. "What else
are you going to be?"

"I am going to be one of those fellows coming to murder the
little princes."

"Who is Bassanio?"

"Hamilton says he will undertake that. George declines."

"Suppose we do some work, instead of so much talking," said
the former person; who had hitherto been a very quiet
spectator and listener. "Let us have a little practice. We
shall want a good deal before we get through."

All agreed; agreed also that something in the shape of
artistic draperies was needed for the practice. "It helps," —
as Hamilton Rush remarked. So Daisy went to desire the
attendance of June with all the scarfs, mantles and shawls
which could be gathered together. As Daisy went, she thought
that she did not wish Nora to be queen Esther; she was glad
Preston was firm about that.

The practising of Bassanio and Portia was so very amusing that
she fairly forgot herself in laughter. So did everybody else;
except Mrs. Sandford, who was intent upon draperies, and
Preston whose hands held a burden of responsibility. Hamilton
was a quiet fellow enough in ordinary; but now nobody was more
ready for all the life of the play. He threw himself back into
an attitude of irresolution and perplexity, with the letter in
his hand which had brought the fatal news; that is, it was the
make-believe letter, though it was in reality only the New
York _Evening Post_. And Daisy thought his attitude was very
absurd; but they all declared it was admirable and exactly
copied from the engraving. He threw himself into all this in a
moment, and was Bassanio at once; but Theresa was much too
well disposed to laugh to imitate his example. And then they
all laughed at Theresa, who instead of looking grave and
inquiring, as Portia should, at her lord's unusual action and
appearance, flung herself into position and out of position
with a mirthfulness of behaviour wholly inconsistent with the
character she was to personify. How they all laughed!

"What is it, Daisy?" whispered Nora.

"Why, he has got a letter," — said Daisy.

"Is that newspaper the letter?"

"Make believe it is," said Daisy.

"But what are they doing?"

"Why, this man, Bassanio, has just got a letter that says his
dearest friend is going to be killed, because he owes money
that he cannot pay; and as the money was borrowed for his own
sake, of course he feels very badly about it."

"But people are not killed because they cannot pay money,"
said Nora. "I have seen people come to papa for money, and
they didn't do anything to him because he hadn't it."

"No, but those were different times," said Daisy, "and
Bassanio lived in a different country. His friend owed money
to a dreadful man, who was going to cut out two pounds of his
flesh to pay for it. So of course that would kill him."

"Oh, look at Theresa now!" said Nora.

The young lady had brought her muscles into order; and being
clever enough in her merry way, she had taken the look of the
character and was giving it admirably. It was hardly Theresa;
her moveable face was composed to such an expression of simple
inquiry and interest and affectionate concern. The spectators
applauded eagerly; but Nora whispered, "What does she _look_
like that, for?"

"Why, it's the picture," said Daisy.

"But what does she _look_ so for?"

"She is Bassanio's wife — they have just got married; and she
looks so because he looks so, I suppose. She does not know
what is in the letter."

"Is he going to tell her?"

"Not in the picture —" said Daisy, feeling a little amused at
Nora's simplicity. "He did tell her in the story."

"But why don't we have all the story?" insisted Nora.

"Oh, these are only pictures, you know; that is all; people
dressed up to look like pictures."

"They don't look like pictures a bit, _I_ think," said Nora;
"they look just like people."

Daisy thought so too, but had some faith in Preston's and Mrs.
Sandford's powers of transforming and mystifying the present
very natural appearance of the performers. ]However, she was
beginning to be of the opinion that it was good fun even now.

"Now, Daisy, — come, we must practise putting _you_ in
position," said Mrs. Sandford. "We will take something easy
first — what shall it be? — Come! we will try Priscilla's
courtship. Where is your John Alden, Preston?"

Preston quietly moved forward Alexander Fish and seated him.
Daisy began to grow warm with trepidation.

"You must let your hair grow, Sandie — and comb out your long
curls into your neck; so, — do you see? And you will have to
have a dress as much as Priscilla. This tableau will be all in
the dress, Mrs. Sandford."

"We will have it. That is easy."

"Now, Alexander, look here, at the picture. Take that attitude
as nearly as you can, and I will stroke you into order. — That
is pretty well, — lean over a little more with that elbow on
your knee, — you must be very much in earnest."

"What am I doing?" said Alexander, breaking from his
prescribed attitude to turn round and face the company.

"You are making love to Priscilla; but the joke is, you have
been persuaded to do it for somebody else, when all the time
you would like to do it for yourself."

"I wouldn't be such a gumph as that!" muttered Alexander, as
he fell back into position. "Who am I, to begin with?"

"A highly respectable old Puritan. The lady was surprised at
him and he came to his senses, but that is not in the picture.
Now Daisy — take that chair — a little nearer — you are to
have your hand on your spinning wheel, you know; I have got a
dear little old spinning wheel at home for you, that was used
by my grandmother. You must look at Alexander a little
severely, for he is doing what you did not expect of him, and
you think he ought to know better. That attitude is very good.
But you must look at him, Daisy! Don't let your eyes go down."

There was a decided disposition to laugh among the company
looking on, which might have been fatal to the Puritan picture
had not Preston and Mrs. Sandford energetically crushed it.
Happily Daisy was too much occupied with the difficulty of her
own immediate situation to discover how the bystanders were
affected; she did not know what was the effect of her pink
little cheeks and very demure downcast eyes. In fact Daisy had
gone to take her place in the picture with something scarcely
less than horror; only induced to do it, by her greater horror
of making a fuss and so showing the feeling which she knew
would be laughed at if shown. She showed it now, poor child;
how could she help it? she showed it by her unusually tinged
cheeks and by her persistent down-looking eyes. It was very
difficult indeed to help it; for if she ventured to look at
Alexander she caught impertinent little winks, — most unlike
John Alden or any Puritan, — which he could execute with
impunity because his face was mostly turned from the audience;
but which Daisy took in full.

"Lift your eyes, Daisy! your eyes! Priscilla was too much
astonished not to look at her lover. You may be even a little
indignant, if you choose. I am certain she was."

Poor Daisy —it was a piece of the fortitude that belonged to
her — thus urged, did raise her eyes and bent upon her winking
coadjutor a look so severe in its childish distaste and
disapproval that there was a unanimous shout of applause.
"Capital, Daisy! — capital!" cried Preston. "If you only look
it like that, we shall do admirably. It will be a tableau
indeed. There, get up — you shall not practise any more just
now."

"It will be very fine," said Mrs. Sandford.

"Daisy, I did not think you were such an actress," said
Theresa. "It would have overset _me_, if I had been John Alden —
" remarked Hamilton Rush.

Daisy withdrew into the background as fast as possible, and as
far as possible from Alexander.

"Do you like to do it, Daisy?" whispered Nora.

"No."

"Are you going to have a handsome dress for that?"

"No."

"What sort, then?"

"Like the picture."

"Well — what is that?"

"Brown, with a white vandyke."

"Vandyke? what is a vandyke?"

"Hush," said Daisy; "let us look."

Frederica Fish was to personify Lady Jane Grey, at the moment
when the nobles of her family and party knelt before her to
offer her the crown. As Frederica was a, fair, handsome girl,
without much animation, this part suited her; she had only to
be dressed and sit still. Mrs. Sandford threw some rich
draperies round her figure, and twisted a silk scarf about the
back of her head; and the children exclaimed at the effect
produced. That was to be a rich picture, for of course the
kneeling nobles were to be in costly and picturesque attire;
and a crown was to be borne on a cushion before them. A book
did duty for it just now, on a couch pillow.

"That is what I should like —" said Nora. "I want to be
dressed and look so."

"You will be dressed to be one of the queen's women in Esther
and Ahasuerus, you know."

"But the queen will be dressed more — won't she?"

"Yes, I suppose she will."

"I should like to be the queen; that is what I should like to
be."

Daisy made no answer. She thought she would rather Nora should
not be the queen.

"Doesn't she look beautiful?" Nora went on, referring again to
Frederica.

Which Frederica did. The tableau was quite pretty, even
partially dressed and in this off-hand way as it was.

Next Mrs. Sandford insisted on dressing Daisy as Fortitude.
She had seen, perhaps, a little of the child's discomposure,
and wished to make her forget it. In this tableau Daisy would
be quite alone; so she was not displeased to let the lady do
what she chose with her. She stood patiently, while Mrs.
Sandford wound a long shawl skilfully around her, bringing it
into beautiful folds like those in Sir Joshua Reynolds'
painting; then she put a boy's cap, turned the wrong way, on
her head, to do duty for a helmet, and fixed a nodding plume
of feathers in it. Daisy then was placed in the attitude of
the picture, and the whole little assembly shouted with
delight.

"It will do, Mrs. Sandford," said Preston.

"Isn't it pretty?" said the lady.

"And Daisy does it admirably," said Theresa. "You are a fairy
at dressing, Mrs. Sandford; your fingers are better than a
fairy's wand. I wish you were my godmother; I shouldn't
despair to ride yet in a coach and six. There are plenty of
pumpkins in a field near our house, and plenty of rats in the
house itself. Oh, Mrs. Sandford! let us have Cinderella!"

"What, for a tableau?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"You must ask the manager. I do not know anything about that."

Preston and Theresa and Hamilton and Alexander now went into
an eager discussion of this question, and before it was
settled the party discovered that it was time to break up.


CHAPTER XXXIV.

CHARITY AND VANITY.


"Well, Daisy," said Mr. Randolph that evening, "how do you
like your new play that you are all so busy about?"

"I like it pretty well, papa."

"Only pretty well! Is that the most you can say of it? I
understood that it was supposed to be an amusement of a much
more positive character."

"Papa, it is amusing — but it has its disagreeablenesses."

"Has it? What can they be? Or has everything pleasant its dark
side?"

"I don't know, papa."

"What makes the shadows in this instance?"

It seemed not just easy for Daisy to tell, for her father saw
that she looked puzzled how to answer.

"Papa, I think it is because people do not behave perfectly
well."

It was quite impossible for Mr. Randolph to help bursting into
a laugh at this; but he put his arms round Daisy and kissed
her very affectionately at the same time.

"How does their ill behaviour affect your pleasure, Daisy?"

"Papa — you know I have to play with them."

"Yes, I understand that. What do they do?"

"It isn't _they_, papa. It is only Alexander Fish — or at least
it is he most."

"What does _he_ do?"

"Papa — we are in a tableau together."

"Yes. You and he?"

"Yes, papa. And it is very disagreeable."

"Pray how, Daisy?" said Mr. Randolph, commanding his features
with some difficulty. "What is the tableau?"

"Papa, you know the story of Priscilla?"

"I do not think I do. What Priscilla?"

"Priscilla and John Alden. It is in a book of engravings."

"Oh! — the courtship of Miles Standish?"

"Miles Standish was his friend, papa."

"Yes, I know now. And are you Priscilla?"

"Yes, papa."

"And who is Miles Standish?"

"Oh, nobody; he is not in the picture; it is John Alden."

"I think I remember. Who is John Alden, then?"

"Papa, they have put Alexander Fish in, because he has long
curling hair; but I think Preston's hair would do a great deal
better."

"Preston is under some obligation to the others, I suppose,
because he is manager. But how does Alexander Fish abuse his
privileges?"

"Papa," said Daisy, unwillingly, — "his face is turned away
from the other people, so that nobody can see it but me; — and
he winks."

Daisy brought out the last word with an accession of gravity
impossible fully to describe. Mr. Randolph's mouth twitched;
he bent his head down upon Daisy's, that she might not see it.

"That is very rude of him, Daisy," he said.

"Papa," said Daisy, who did not relish the subject, and chose
a departure, — "what is a _Puritan?_"

"A Puritan!"

"Yes, papa. What is it? Priscilla was a Puritan."

"That was a name given to a class of people in England a long
time ago."

"What did it mean?"

"They were a stiff set of people, Daisy; good enough people in
their way, no doubt, but very absurd in it also."

"What did they do, papa?"

"Concluded to do without whatever is graceful and beautiful
and pleasant, in dress or arts or manners. The more
disagreeable they made life, they thought it was the better."

"Why were they called that name? Were they purer than other
people?"

"I believe they thought themselves so."

"I think they look nice in the picture," said Daisy,
meditatively. "Are there any Puritans now, papa?"

"There are people that are called Puritans. It is a term apt
to be applied to people that are stiff in their religion."

"Papa," said Daisy when an interval of five minutes had
passed, — "I do not see how people can be stiff in their
religion."

"Don't you. Why not?"

"Papa, I do not see how it can be _stiff_, to love God and do
what He says."

"No —" said Mr. Randolph; "but people can be stiff in ways of
their own devising."

"Ways that are not in the Bible, papa?"

"Well — yes."

"But papa, it cannot be _stiff_ to do what God says we must do?"

"No, — of course not," said Mr. Randolph, getting up.

He left her, and Daisy sat meditating; then with a glad heart
ran off and ordered her pony-chaise. If tableaux were to be
the order of the day every afternoon, she must go to see Molly
in the morning. This time she had a good deal to carry and to
get ready. Molly was in want of bread. A nice little loaf,
fresh baked, was supplied by Joanna, along with some cold
rolls.

"She will like those, I dare say," said Daisy. "I dare say she
never saw rolls in her life before. Now she wants some meat,
Joanna. There was nothing but a little end of cold pork on the
dish in her cupboard."

"Why, I wonder who cooks for the poor wretch?" said Joanna.

"I think she cooks for herself, because she has a stove, and I
saw iron things and pots to cook with. But she can't do much,
Joanna, and I don't believe she knows how."

"Sick, is she too?" said Joanna.

"Sick with rheumatism, so that she did not like to stir."

"I guess I must go take a look at her; but maybe she mightn't
let me. Well, Miss Daisy, the way will be for you to tell me
what she wants, if you can find out. She must have neighbours,
though, that take care of her."

"We are her neighbours," said Daisy.

Joanna looked, a look of great complacency and some wonder, at
the child; and packed forthwith into Daisy's basket the half
of a cold chicken and a broken peach-pie. A bottle of milk
Daisy particularly desired, and a little butter; and she set
off at last, happier than a queen — Esther or any other — to
go to Molly with her supplies.

She found not much improvement in the state of affairs. Molly
was gathered up on her hearth near the stove, in which she had
made a fire; but it did not appear, for all that Daisy could
see, that anything else had been done, or any breakfast eaten
that morning. The cripple seemed to be in a down-hearted and
hopeless state of mind; and no great wonder.

"Molly, would you like another cup of tea?" said her little
friend.

"Yes, it's in there. You fix it," — said the poor woman,
pointing as before to the cupboard, and evidently comforted by
Daisy's presence and proposal. Daisy could hear it in the tone
of her voice. So, greatly pleased herself, Daisy went to work
in Molly's house just as if she was at home. She fetched water
in the kettle again and made up the fire. While that was
getting ready, she set the table for breakfast. The only table
that Molly could use was a piece of board nailed on a chair.
On this Daisy put her plate and cup and saucer, and with
secret glee arranged the cold chicken and loaf of bread. For
the cupboard, as she saw, was as empty as she had found it two
days before. What Molly had lived on in the mean time was
simply a mystery to Daisy. To be sure, the end of cold pork
was gone, the remains of the cake had disappeared, and nothing
was left of the peaches but the stones. The tea-kettle did not
boil for a time; and Daisy looked uneasily at Molly's cup and
saucer and plate meanwhile. They had not been washed, Daisy
could not guess for how long; certainly no water had touched
them since the tea of two nights ago, for the cake crumbs and
peach stones told the tale. Daisy looked at them with a great
feeling of discomfort. She could not bear to see them so; they
ought to be washed; but Daisy disliked the idea of touching
them for that purpose more than I can make you understand. In
all matters of nicety and cleanliness Daisy was notional;
nothing suited her but the most fastidious particularity. It
had been a trial to her to bring those unwashed things from
the cupboard. Now she sat and looked at them; uneasily
debating what she should do. It was not comfortable, that
Molly should take her breakfast off them as they were; and
Molly was miserable herself, and would do nothing to mend
matters. And then — "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to
you," — As soon as that came fairly into Daisy's head, she
knew what she ought to be about. Not without an inward sigh,
she gathered up the pieces again.

"What you going to do?" said Molly.

"I'll bring them back," said Daisy. "I will be ready directly.
The water is not boiling yet."

For she saw that Molly was jealously eager for the hoped-for
cup of tea. She carried the things out into the shed, and
there looked in vain for any dish or vessel to wash them in.
How could it be that Molly managed? Daisy was fain to fetch a
little bowl of water and wash the crockery with her fingers,
and then fetch another bowl of water to rinse it. There was no
napkin to be seen. She left the things to drain as they could,
and went to the spring to wash her own fingers; rejoicing in
the purifying properties of the sweet element. All this took
some time, but Daisy carried in her clean dishes with a
satisfied heart.

"It's bi'lin', —" said Molly, as soon as she entered.

So the little kettle was. Daisy made tea, and prepared Molly's
table with a little piece of butter and the bottle of milk.
And no little girl making an entertainment for herself with
tiny china cups and tea-set, ever had such satisfaction in it.
Twenty dinners at home could not have given Daisy so much
pleasure, as she had now to see the poor cripple look at her
unwonted luxuries, and then to see her taste them. Yet Molly
said almost nothing; but the grunt of new expression with
which she set down the bottle of milk the first time, went all
through and through Daisy's heart with delight. Molly drank
tea and spread her bread with butter, and Daisy noticed her
turning over her slice of bread to examine the texture of it;
and a quieter, soothed, less miserable look, spread itself
over her wrinkled features. They were not wrinkled with age;
yet it was a lined and seamed face generally, from the working
of unhappy and morose feelings.

"Ain't it good! —" was Molly's single word of comment as she
finished her meal. Then she sat back and watched Daisy putting
all the things nicely away. She looked hard at her.

"What you fetch them things here for?" she broke out suddenly.
"H — n?"

The grunt with which her question concluded was so earnest in
its demand of an answer, that Daisy stopped.

"Why, I like to do it, Molly," she said. Then seeing the
intent eyes with which the poor creature was examining her,
Daisy added, — "I like to do it; because Jesus loves you."

"H — n?" — said Molly, very much at a loss what this might
mean, and very eager to know. Daisy stood still, with the
bread in her hands.

"Don't you know, Molly?" she said. "He does. It is. Jesus,
that I told you about. He loves you, and He came and died for
you, that He might make you good and save you from your sins;
and He loves you now, up in heaven."

"What's that?" said Molly.

"Heaven? that is where God lives, and the angels, and good
people."

"There ain't none," said Molly.

"What?"

"There ain't no good people."

"Oh, yes, there are. When they are washed in Jesus' blood,
then they are good. He will take away all their sins."

Molly was silent for a moment, and Daisy resumed her work of
putting things away; but as she took the peach pie in her
hands, Molly burst out again.

"What you bring them things here for?"

Daisy stopped again.

"I think it is because Jesus is my King," she said, "and I
love Him. And I love what He loves, and so I love you, Molly."

Daisy looked very childish and very wise, as she said this;
but over Molly's face there came a great softening change. The
wrinkles seemed to disappear; she gazed at Daisy steadily, as
if trying to find out what it all meant: and when the eyes
presently were cast down, Daisy almost thought there was a
little moisture about them. She had no further interruption in
her work. The dishes were all put away, and then she brought
her book. Daisy had her Bible with her this time, that she
might give Molly more than her own words. And Molly she found
as ready to listen as could be desired. And she was persistent
in desiring to hear only of that incredible Friend of whom
Daisy had told her. That name she wanted; wherever that name
came in, Molly sat silent and attentive; if the narrative lost
it, she immediately quickened Daisy's memory to the knowledge
of the fact that nothing else would do. At last Daisy proposed
that Molly herself should learn to read. Molly stared very
hopelessly at first; but after getting more accustomed to the
idea, and hearing from Daisy that it was by no means an
impossible thing, and further that, if she could learn to
read, the Bible would be forthcoming for her own use, she took
up the notion with an eagerness far exceeding all that Daisy
had hoped for. She said very little about it; nevertheless it
was plain that a root of hope had struck down into the
creature's heart. Daisy taught her two letters, A and B, and
then was obliged to go home.

It was quite time, for little Daisy was tired. She was not
accustomed to making fires and boiling kettles, neither to
setting tables and washing dishes. Yet it was not merely, nor
so much, the bodily exertion she had made, as the mind work. —
The excitement both of pleasure and responsibility and eager
desire. Altogether, Daisy was tired; and sat back in her
chaise, letting the reins hangs languidly in her hands and
Loupe go how he would. But Loupe judged it was best to get
home and have some refreshment, so he bestirred himself. Daisy
had time to lie down a little while before her dinner;
nevertheless she was languid and pale, and disposed to take
all the rest of the day very quietly.

The rest of the day was of course devoted to the tableaux. The
little company had got warmed to the subject pretty well at
the first meeting; they all came together this fine afternoon
with spirits in tone for business. And Daisy, though she was
tired, presently found her own interest drawn in. She was not
called upon immediately to take any active part; she perched
herself in the corner of a couch, and looked on and listened.
Thither came Nora Dinwiddie, too much excited to sit down, and
stood by Daisy's elbow. They had been practising "Alfred in
the neatherd's cottage;" Nora had been called upon to be the
girl blowing the burnt cakes; she had done it, and everybody
had laughed, but the little lady was not pleased.

"I know I look horrid!" she said to Daisy, — "puffing out my
cheeks till they are like a pair of soapbubbles!"

"But soapbubbles are not that colour," said Daisy. "Your
cheeks didn't look like soapbubbles."

"Yes, they did. They looked horrid, I know."

"But the picture is so," urged Daisy, quietly. "You want to be
like the picture."

"No, I don't. Not that picture. I would like to be something
handsome. I don't like that picture."

Daisy was silent, and Nora pouted.

"What are you going to be, Daisy?" said Ella Stanfield.

"I am going to be Priscilla. No, I don't know whether I am or
not; but I am going to be Fortitude, I believe."

"That's pretty," said Ella. "What else? Oh, you are going to
be the angel, aren't you? I wonder if that will be pretty. It
will be queer. Nora, shall you like to be one of the little
princes in the Tower? with that feather-bed coming over us?
But we shall not see it, I suppose, because our eyes have got
to be shut; but I shall be afraid every minute they will let
it fall on us."

"My eyes won't be shut," said Nora.

"Oh, they must. You know, the little princes were asleep, when
the men came to kill them. Your eyes must be shut and you must
be asleep. Oh, what are they doing to Theresa?"

"Dressing her —" said Daisy.

"What is she going to be?"

"Portia —" said Daisy.

"Isn't that beautiful! —" said Nora, with a deep breath. "Oh,
what a splendid dress! How rich-looking it is. What a lovely
purple. Oh, how beautiful Theresa is in it. Oh! Isn't that
splen — did?"

A very prolonged, though low, breath of admiring wonder
testified to the impressive power, upon the children at least,
of Theresa's new habiliments. The purple brocade was upon her;
its full draperies swept the ground in gorgeous colouring; a
necklace of cameos was bound with great effect upon her hair;
and on the arms, which were half bare, Mrs. Sandford was
clasping gold and glittering jewels. Theresa threw herself
slightly back in her prescribed attitude, laid her arms
lightly across each other, and turned her head with a very
saucy air towards the companion figure, supposed to be
Bassanio. All the others laughed and clapped her.

"Not that, Theresa, not that; you have got the wrong picture.
You are going with the Prince of Arragon now, to the caskets;
and you ought to be anxiously asking Bassanio about his
letter."

Theresa changed attitude and expression on the instant; bent
slightly forward, lost her sauciness, and laid her hand upon
Bassanio's arm with a grave, tender look of inquiry. They all
shouted again.

"Bravo, Theresa! capital!" said Preston.

"Hamilton, can you act up to that?" said Mrs. Sandford.

"Wait till I get my robes on, ma'am. I can make believe a
great deal easier when I am under the persuasion that it is
not me — Hamilton Rush."

"I'd like to see Frederica do as well as that," said Alexander
Fish, in a fit of brotherly concern.

"Let us try her —" said good-natured Mrs. Sandford. Mrs.
Sandford certainly was good-natured, for she had all the
dressing to do. She did it well, and very patiently.

"There," said Nora, when Ella had left the couch to go to her
sister, — "that is what I like. Didn't she look beautiful,
Daisy?"

"Her dress looked beautiful —" said Daisy.

"Well, of course; and that made _her_ look beautiful. Daisy, I
wish I could have a nice part. I would like to be the queen in
that fainting picture."

"You are going to be in that picture."

"But, I mean, I would like to be the queen. She will have the
best dress, won't she?"

"I suppose she will be the most dressed," said Daisy.

"I don't want to be one of the women — I want to be the queen.
Hamilton Rush said I would be the best one for it, because she
was a Jewess; and I am the only one that has got black eyes
and hair."

"But her eyes will not be seen," said Daisy. "She is fainting.
When people faint, they keep their eyes shut."

"Yes, but I am the only one that has got black hair. That will
show. Her hair ought to be black."

"Why, will not other hair do just as well?" said Daisy.

"Why, because she was a Jewess."

"Do Jewesses always have black hair?"

"Of course they _ought_ to have black hair," said Nora; "or
Hamilton Rush would not have said that. And my hair is black."

Daisy was silent. She said nothing to this proposition. The
children were both silenced for a little while the practising
for "Marie Antoinette" was going on. The principal part in
this was taken by Frederica, who was the beauty of the
company. A few touches of Mrs. Sandford's skilful hands
transformed her appearance wonderfully. She put on an old-
fashioned straight gown, which hung in limp folds around her;
and Mrs. Sandford arranged a white handkerchief over her
breast, tying it in the very same careless loose knot
represented in the picture; but her management of Frederica's
hair was the best thing. Its soft fair luxuriance was, no one
could tell how, made to assume the half-dressed, half-
undressed air of the head in Delaroche's picture; and
Frederica looked the part well.

"She should throw her head a little more back," — whispered
Hamilton Rush to the manager; — "her head or her shoulders.
She is not quite indignant enough."

"That handkerchief in her hand is not right —" said Preston,
in a responding whisper. "You see to it — while I get into
disguise.

"That handkerchief, Mrs. Sandford —" Hamilton said, softly.

"Yes. — Frederica, your hand with the pocket-handkerchief, —
it is not quite the thing."

"Why not?"

"You hold it like a New York lady."

"How _should_ I hold it?"

"Like a French queen, whose Austrian fingers may hold anything
any way." This was Hamilton's dictum.

"But how _do_ I hold it?"

"You have picked it up in the middle, and show all the flower
work in the corners."

"You hold it too daintily, Frederica," said Theresa. "You must
grasp it — grasp it loosely — but as the distinguished critic
who has last spoken has observed."

Frederica dropped her handkerchief, and picked it up again
exactly as she had it before.

"Try again —" said Mrs. Sandford. "Grasp it, as Theresa says.
Never mind how you are taking it up."

"Must I throw it down again?"

"If you please."

"Take it up any way but in the middle," said Hamilton.

Down went the handkerchief on a chair, and then Frederica's
fingers took it up, delicately, and with a little shake
displayed as before what Hamilton called the flowers in the
corners. It was the same thing. They all smiled.

"She can't hold a handkerchief any but the one way — I don't
believe," said her brother Alexander.

"Isn't it right?" said Frederica.

"Perfect, I presume, for Madison Square or Fifth Avenue — but
not exactly for a revolutionary tribunal," said Hamilton.

"What is the difference?"

"Ah, that is exactly what it is so hard to get at. Hollo!
Preston — is it Preston? Can't be better, Preston. Admirable!
admirable!"

"Well, Preston, I do not know you!" said Mrs. Sandford.

Was it Preston? Daisy could hardly believe her ears. Her eyes
certainly told her another story. Was it Preston? in the guise
and with the face of an extremely ugly old woman — vicious and
malignant, — who? taking post near the deposed queen, peered
into her face with spiteful curiosity and exultation. Not a
trace of likeness to Preston could Daisy see. She half rose up
to look at him in her astonishment. But the voice soon
declared that it was no other than her cousin.

"Come," — said he, while they were all shouting, — "fall in.
You, Hamilton, —and Theresa, — come and take your positions."

Hamilton, with a glance at the picture, went behind Preston;
and putting on a savage expression, thrust his clenched fist
out threateningly towards the dignified figure of Frederica;
while Theresa, stealing up into the group, put her hands upon
a chair-back to steady herself and bent towards the queen a
look of mournful sympathy and reverence, that in the veritable
scene and time represented would undoubtedly have cost the
young lady her life. The performers were good; the picture was
admirable. There was hardly anybody left to look when George
Linwood and Alexander had taken post as the queen's guards;
and to say truth they did not in their present state of
undisguised individuality add much to the effect; but Mrs.
Sandford declared the tableau was very fine, and could be made
perfect.

The question of Cinderella came up then; and there was a good
deal of talk. Finally it was decided that little Ella should
be Cinderella, and Eloise the fairy godmother, and Jane
Linwood and Nora the wicked sisters. A little practising was
tried, to get them in order. Then Esther was called for. Daisy
submitted.

Hamilton Rush was made magnificent and kingly by a superb
velvet mantle and turbaned crown — the latter not perfect, but
improvised for the occasion. For a sceptre he held out a long
wooden ruler this time; but Preston promised a better one
should be provided. The wooden ruler was certainly not quite
in keeping with the king's state, or the queen's. Daisy was
robed in a white satin dress of her mother's; much too long,
of course, but that added to the rich effect; it lay in folds
upon the floor. Her head was covered with a rose-coloured
silken scarf wound artistically round it, and the ends
floating away; and upon this drapery diamonds were bound, that
sparkled very regally over Daisy's forehead. But this was only
the beginning. A zone of brilliants at her waist made the
white satin dazzling, and gathered its folds together;
bracelets of every colour and of great beauty loaded Daisy's
little arms; till she was, what Mrs. Sandford had said Esther
must be, a spot of brilliancy. Her two maids, Nora and Jane
Linwood, at this time were not robed in any other than their
ordinary attire; perhaps that was one reason why their
maintenance of their characters was not quite so perfect as
that of the principal two. Hamilton stretched forward his
wooden sceptre to the queen with benignant haste and dignity.
Daisy, only too glad to shrink away, closed her eyes and lay
back in the arms of her attendants in a manner that was really
very satisfactory. But the attendants themselves were not in
order.

"Jane, you must not laugh —" said her brother.

"I ain't laughing!"

"Yes, but you were."

"The queen is fainting, you know," said Mrs. Sandford. "You
are one of her maids, and you are very much distressed about
it."

"I am not distressed a bit. I don't care."

"Nora, do not forget that you are another attendant. Your
business is with your mistress. You must be looking into her
face, to see if she is really faint, or if you can perceive
signs of mending. You must look very anxious."

But Nora looked very cross; and as Jane persisted in giggling,
the success of that picture was not quite excellent this time.

"Nora is the most like a Jewess —" Theresa remarked.

"Oh, Nora will make a very good maid of honour by and by,"
Mrs. Sandford replied.

But Nora had her own thoughts.

"Daisy, how shall I be dressed?" she inquired, when Daisy was
disrobed of her magnificence and at leisure to talk.

"I don't know. Oh, in some nice way," said Daisy, getting into
her corner of the couch again.

"Yes, but shall I — shall Jane and I have bracelets, and a
girdle, and something on our heads too?"

"No, I suppose not. The queen, of course, is most dressed,
Nora; you know she must be."

"I should like to have _one_ dress," said Nora. "I am not
anything at all. All the fun is in the dress. You are to have
four dresses."

"Well, so are you to have four."

"No, I am not. What four?"

"This one, you know; and Red Riding-hood — and the Princes in
the Tower — and Cinderella."

"I am to be only one of the ugly sisters in Cinderella — I
don't believe aunt Frances will give her much of a dress; and
I hate Red Riding-hood; and the Princes in the Tower are not
to be dressed at all. They are covered up with the bed-
clothes."

"Nora," said Daisy, softly, — "would you like to be dressed as
John Alden?"

"As _what?_" said Nora, in no very accommodating tone of voice.

"John Alden — that Puritan picture, you know, with the
spinning-wheel. I am to be Priscilla."

"A boy! Do you think I would be dressed like a boy?" cried
Nora, in dudgeon. And Daisy thought _she_ would not, if the
question were asked her; and had nothing more to answer.

So the practising went on, with good success on the whole. The
little company met every other day; and dresses were making,
and postures were studied, and costumes were considered and
re-considered. Portia and Bassanio got to be perfect. So did
Alfred in the neatherd's cottage — very nearly. Nora, however
she grumbled, blew her cakes energetically; Preston and Eloise
made a capital old man and woman, she with a mutch cap and he
with a bundle of sticks on his head; while Alexander Fish,
with his long hair and rather handsome face, sat very well at
the table hearing his rebuke for letting the cakes burn.
Alexander was to have a six-foot bow in hand, which he and
Hamilton were getting ready; and meanwhile practised with an
umbrella. But the tableau was very good. Most of the others
went very well. Still Daisy was greatly tried by John Alden's
behaviour, and continued to look so severe in the picture as
to draw out shouts of approving laughter from the company, who
did not know that; Alexander Fish was to be thanked for it.
And Nora was difficult to train in Queen Esther. She wore
obstinately a look of displeased concern for herself, and no
concern at all for her fainting mistress. Which, on the whole,
rather impaired the unity of the action, and the harmony of
the general effect.

"How is your task proceeding?" Mrs. Randolph asked one
evening, when Mrs. Sandford was staying to tea.

"Excellently well. We shall make a good thing, I confidently
expect."

"Hamilton is a good actor," said Preston.

"And Master Gary also," said Mrs. Sandford. "Your old French
wife is perfect, Preston."

"Much obliged, ma'am."

"Not to me. My dressing has nothing to do with that. But
Preston, what shall we do with Frederica's handkerchief? She
can _not_ hold it — right."

"Like a queen —" said Preston. "I do not know — unless we
could scare her out of her propriety. A good fright would do
it, I think. But then the expression would not suit. How is
the Game, Mrs. Sandford?"

"Perfect! admirable! You and Hamilton do it excellently — and
Daisy is a veritable angel."

"How does _she_ like it all?" Mrs. Randolph inquired.

"Aunt Felicia, she is as much engaged as anybody."

"And plays as well," added Mrs. Sandford.

"She has found out to-day, aunt Felicia," Preston went on,
speaking rather low, "that she ought to have a string of red
stones round her head instead of white ones."

Mrs. Randolph smiled.

"She was quite right," said Mrs. Sandford. "It was a matter of
colour, and she was quite right. She was dressed for Queen
Esther, and I made her look at herself to take the effect; and
she suggested, very modestly, that stones of some colour would
do better than diamonds round her head. So I substituted some
very magnificent rubies of yours, Mrs. Randolph; quite to
Daisy's justification."

"Doesn't she make a magnificent little 'Fortitude,' though!"
said Eloise.

"The angel will be the best," said Mrs. Sandford. "She looks
so naturally troubled. But we have got a good band of workers.
Theresa Stanfield is very clever."

"It will do Daisy a world of good," said Mrs. Gary.


CHAPTER XXXXV.

QUEEN ESTHER.


All this while Daisy's days were divided. Silks and jewels and
pictures and practising, in one part; in the other part, the
old cripple Molly Skelton, and her basket of bread and fruit,
and her reading in the Bible. For Daisy attended as regularly
to the one as to the other set of interests, and more
frequently; for the practising party met only three times a
week, but Daisy went to Molly every day.

Molly was not sick now. Daisy's good offices in the material
line were confined to supplying her with nice bread and butter
and fruit and milk, with many varieties beside. But in that
day or two of rheumatic pains, when Molly had been waited upon
by the dainty little handmaiden who came in spotless frocks
and trim little black shoes to make her fire and prepare her
tea, Daisy's tenderness and care had completely won Molly's
heart. She was a real angel in that poor house; no vision of
one. Molly welcomed her so, looked at her so, and would
perhaps have obeyed her as readily. But Daisy offered no words
that required obedience, except those she read out of the
Book; and Molly listened to them as if it had been the voice
of an angel. She was learning to read herself; really
learning: making advances every day that showed diligent
interest; and the interest was fed by those words she daily
listened to out of the same book. Daisy had got a large-print
Testament for her at Crum Elbow; and a new life had begun for
the cripple. The rose-bush and the geranium flourished
brilliantly, for the frosts had not come yet; and they were a
good setting forth of how things were going in the house.

One lovely October afternoon, when air and sky were a breath
and vision of delight, after a morning spent in dressing and
practising, Daisy went to Molly. She went directly after
luncheon. She had given Molly her lesson; and then Daisy sat
with a sober little face, her finger between the leaves of the
Bible, before beginning her accustomed reading. Molly eyed her
wistfully.

"About the crowns and the white dresses," she suggested.

"Shall I read about those?" said Daisy. And Molly nodded. And
with her little face exceedingly grave and humble, Daisy read
the seventh chapter of the Revelation, and then the twenty-
first chapter, and the twenty second; and then she sat with
her finger between the leaves as before, looking out of the
window.

"Will they all be sealed?" said Molly, breaking the silence.

"Yes."

"What is that?"

"I don't know exactly. It will be a mark of all the people
that love Jesus."

"A mark in their foreheads?"

"Yes, it says so."

"What mark?"

"I don't know, Molly; it says, 'His name shall be in their
foreheads.' " And Daisy's eyes became full of tears.

"How will that be?"

"I don't know, Molly; it don't tell. I suppose that everybody
that looks at them will know in a minute that they belong to
Jesus."

Daisy's hand went up and brushed across her eyes; and then did
it again.

"Do they belong to Him?" asked Molly.

"Oh, yes! Here it is — don't you remember? — 'they have washed
their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.' "

"So they are white, then?" said Molly.

"Yes. And His mark is on them."

"I wish," said the cripple, slowly and thoughtfully, — "I wish
'twas on me. I do!"

I do not think Daisy could speak at this. She shut her book
and got up and looked at Molly, who had put her head down on
her folded arms; and then she opened Molly's Testament and
pressed her arm to make her look. Still Daisy did not speak;
she had laid her finger under some of the words she had been
reading; but when Molly raised her head she remembered the
sense of them could not be taken by the poor woman's eyes. So
Daisy read them, looking with great tenderness in the
cripple's face.

" 'I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the
water of life freely.' That is what it says, Molly."

"Who says?"

"Why, Jesus says it. He came and died to buy the life for us —
and now He will give it to us, He says, if we want it."

"What life?" said Molly, vaguely.

"Why, _that_, Molly; that which you were wishing for. He will
forgive us, and make us good, and set His mark upon us; and
then we shall wear those robes that are made white in His
blood, and be with Him in heaven. And that is life."

"You and me?" said Molly.

"Oh, yes! Molly — anybody. It says 'whosoever is athirst.' "

"Where's the words?" said Molly.

Daisy showed her; and Molly made a deep mark in the paper
under them with her nail; so deep as to signify that she meant
to have them for present study or future reference or both.
Then, as Molly seemed to have said her say, Daisy said no more
and went away.

It was still not late in the afternoon; and Daisy drove on,
past the Melbourne gates, and turned the corner into the road
which led to Crum Elbow. The air was as clear as October could
have it; and soft, neither warm nor cold; and the roads were
perfect; and here and there a few yellow and red maple leaves,
and in many places a brown stubble field, told that autumn was
come. It was as pleasant a day for a drive as could possibly
be; and yet Daisy's face was more intent upon her pony's ears
than upon any other visible thing. She drove on towards Crum
Elbow, but before she reached it she turned another corner,
and drew up before Juanita's house.

It was not the first visit she had made here since going home;
though Daisy had in truth not come often nor stayed long. All
the more glad were Juanita and she to see each other now.
Daisy took off her flat and sat down on the old chintz couch,
with a face of content. Yet it was grave content; not joyous
at all. So Juanita's keen eyes saw, through all the talking
which went on. Daisy and she had a great deal to say to each
other; and among other things the story of Molly came in, and
was enlarged upon; though Daisy left most of her own doings to
be guessed at. She did not tell them more than she could well
help. However, talk went on a good while, and still when it
paused Daisy's face looked thoughtful and careful. So Juanita
saw.

"Is my love quite well?"

"Oh, yes, Juanita. I am quite well. I think I am getting
strong, a little."

Juanita's thanksgiving was earnest. Daisy looked very sober.

"Juanita, I have been wanting to talk to you."

Now they had been talking a good deal; but this, the black
woman saw, was not what Daisy meant.

"What is it, my love?"

"I don't know, Juanita. I think I am puzzled."

The fine face of Mrs. Benoit looked gravely attentive, and a
little anxiously watchful of Daisy's.

"The best way will be to tell you. Juanita, they are — I mean,
we are — playing pictures at home."

"What is that, Miss Daisy?"

"Why, they take pictures — pictures in books, you know — and
dress up people like the people in the pictures, and make them
stand so, or sit so, and look so, as the people in the
pictures do; and so they make a picture of living people."

"Yes, Miss Daisy."

"They are playing pictures at home. I mean, we are. Mamma is
going to give a great party next week; and the pictures are to
be all made and shown at the party. There are twelve pictures;
and they will be part of the entertainment. There is to be a
gauze stretched over the door of the library, and the pictures
are to be seen behind the gauze."

"And does Miss Daisy like the play?" the black woman inquired,
not lightly.

"Yes, Juanita — I like some things about it. It is very
amusing. There are some things I do not like."

"Did Miss Daisy wish to talk to me about those things she not
like?"

"I don't know, Juanita — no, I think not. Not about those
things. But I do not exactly know about myself."

"What Miss Daisy not know about herself?"

"I do not know exactly — whether it is right."

"Whether what be right, my love?"

Daisy was silent at first, and looked puzzled.

"Juanita — I mean — I don't know whether I am right."

"Will my love tell what she mean?"

"It is hard, Juanita. But — I don't think I am quite right. I
want you to tell me what to do."

Daisy's little face looked perplexed and wise. — And sorry.

"What troubles my love?"

"I do not know how it was, Juanita — I did not care at all
about it at first; and then I began to care about it a little
— and now —"

"What does my love care about?"

"About being dressed, Juanita; and wearing mamma's jewels, and
looking like a picture."

"Will Miss Daisy tell Juanita better what she mean?"

"Why, you know, Juanita," said the child, wistfully, "they
dress up the people to look like the pictures; and they have
put me in some very pretty pictures; and in one I am to be
beautifully dressed to look like Queen Esther — with mamma's
jewels all over me. And there is another little girl who would
like to have that part, — and I do not want to give it to
her."

Juanita sat silent, looking grave and anxious. Her lips moved,
but she said nothing that could be heard.

"And, Juanita," the child went on — "I think, somehow, I like
to look better than other people, — and to have handsomer
dresses than other people, — in the pictures, you know."

Still Juanita was silent.

"Is it right, Juanita?"

"Miss Daisy pardon me. Who Miss Daisy think be so pleased to
see her in the beautiful dress in the picture?"

"Juanita — it was not that I meant. I was not thinking so much
of that. Mamma would like it, I suppose, and papa; — but I
like it myself."

Juanita was silent again.

"Is it right, Juanita?"

"Why do Miss Daisy think it not right?"

Daisy looked undecided and perplexed.

"Juanita — I wasn't quite sure."

"Miss Daisy like to play in these pictures r"

"Yes, Juanita — and I like — Juanita, I like it!"

"And another little girl, Miss Daisy say, like it too?"

"Yes, I think they all do. But there is a little girl that
wants to take my part."

"And who Miss Daisy want to please?"

Daisy hesitated, and her eyes reddened; she sat a minute
still; then looked up very wistfully.

"Juanita, I think I want to please myself."

"Jesus please not Himself," — said the black woman.

Daisy made no answer to that. She bent over and hid her little
head in Mrs. Benoit's lap. And tears undoubtedly came, though
they were quiet tears. The black woman's hand went tenderly
over the little round head.

"And He say to His lambs — 'Follow me.' "

"Juanita" — Daisy spoke without raising her head — "I want to
please him most."

"How Miss Daisy think she do that?"

Daisy's tears now, for some reason, came evidently, and
abundantly. She wept more freely in Juanita's lap than she
would have done before father or mother. The black woman let
her alone, and there was silent counsel-taking between Daisy
and her tears for some time.

"Speak to me, Juanita" — she said at last.

"What my love want me to say?"

"It has been all wrong, hasn't it, Juanita? Oh, have I,
Juanita?"

"What, my love?"

"I know I have," said Daisy. "I knew it was not right before."

There was yet again a silence; a tearful silence on one part.
Then Daisy raised her head, looking very meek.

"Juanita, what ought I to do?"

"What my love said," the black woman replied very tenderly.
"Please the Lord."

"Yes; but I mean, how shall I do that?"

"Jesus please not Himself; and He say, 'Follow me.' "

"Juanita, I believe I began to want to please myself very soon
after all this picture work and dressing began."

"Then it not please the Lord," said Juanita, decidedly.

"I know," said Daisy; "and it has been growing worse and
worse. But Juanita, I shall have to finish the play now — I
cannot help it. How shall I keep good? Can I?"

"My love knows the Good Shepherd carry His lamb in His bosom,
if she let Him. He is called Jesus, for He save His people
from their sins."

Daisy's face was very lowly; and very touching was the way she
bent her little head and passed her hand across her eyes. It
was the gesture of penitent gentleness.

"Tell me some more, Juanita."

"Let the Lord speak," said the black woman, turning ever her
well-used Bible. "See, Miss Daisy — 'Charity suffereth long,
and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself,
is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not
her own —' "

"I was puffed up," said Daisy, "because I was to wear those
beautiful things. I will let Nora wear them. I was seeking my
own, all the time, Juanita. I didn't know it."

See, Miss Daisy — 'That women adorn themselves in modest
apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broidered
hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array.' "

"Is there any _harm_ in those pretty things, Juanita? They are
so pretty!"

"I don't know, Miss Daisy; the Lord say He not pleased with
them; and the Lord knows."

"I suppose," said Daisy — but what Daisy supposed was never
told. It was lost in thought.

"My love see here what please the Lord — 'the ornament of a
meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great
price.' "

Daisy lifted her little face and kissed the fine olive cheek
of her friend.

"I know now, Juanita," she said with her accustomed
placidness. "I didn't know what was the matter with me. I
shall have to play in the pictures — I cannot help it now —
but I will let Nora be Queen Esther."

It was quite late by this time, and Daisy after a little more
talk went home; a talk which filled the child's heart with
comfort. Daisy went home quite herself again, and looked as
happy and busy as a bee when she got there.

"Daisy! what late doings!" exclaimed her father. "Out all the
afternoon and practising all the morning — Where have you
been?"

"I have been visiting, papa."

"Pray whom?"

"Molly, papa — and Juanita," Daisy said, not very willingly,
for Mrs. Randolph was within hearing.

"A happy selection!" said she. "Go and get ready for dinner,
Daisy."

"Have you been all the afternoon at those two places, Daisy."
asked her father, within whose arms she stood.

"Yes, papa."

He let her go; and a significant look passed between him and
his wife.

"A little too much of a good thing," said Mr. Randolph.

"It will be too much, soon," the lady answered.

Nevertheless Daisy for the present was safe, thanks to her
friend Dr. Sandford; and she passed on upstairs with a spirit
as light as a bird. And after she was dressed, till it was
time for her to go in to the dinner-table, all that while a
little figure was kneeling at the open window, and a little
round head was bowed upon the sill. And after that, there was
no cloud upon Daisy's face at all.

In the drawing-room, when they were taking tea, Daisy carried
her cup of milk and cake to a chair close by Preston.

"Well, Daisy, what now?"

"I want to talk to you about the pictures, Preston."

"We did finely to-day, Daisy! If only I could get the cramp
out of Frederica's fingers."

"Cramp!" said Daisy.

"Yes. She picks up that handkerchief of hers as if her hand
was a bird's claw. I can't get a blue jay or a canary out of
my head when I see her. Did you ever see a bird scratch its
eye with its claw, Daisy?"

"Yes."

"Well, that is what she puts me in mind of. That handkerchief
kills Marie Antoinette, dead. And she won't take advice — or
she can't. It is a pity you hadn't it to do; you would hold it
right queenly. You do Esther capitally. I don't believe a
Northern girl can manage that sort of thing."

Daisy sipped her milk and eat crumbs of cake for a minute
without making any answer.

"Preston, I am going to let Nora be Queen Esther."

"What!" said Preston.

"I am going to let Nora be Queen Esther."

"Nora! Not if I know it," said Preston.

"Yes, but I am. I would like it better. And Nora would like to
be Queen Esther, I know."

"I dare say she would! Like it! Of course. No, Daisy; Queen
Esther is yours and nobody's else. What has put that into your
head?"

"Preston, I think Nora would like it; and you know, they said
she was most like a Jewess of all of us; I think it would be
proper to give it to her."

"I shall not do it. We will be improper for once."

"But I am going to do it, Preston."

"Daisy, you have not liberty. I am the manager. What has come
over you? You played Esther beautifully only this morning.
What is the matter?"

"I have been thinking about it," said Daisy; "and I have
concluded I would rather give it to Nora."

Preston was abundantly vexed, for he knew by the signs that
Daisy had made up her mind; and he was beginning to know that
his little cousin was exceedingly hard to move when once she
was fully set on a thing. He debated within himself an appeal
to authority; but on the whole dismissed that thought. It was
best not to disgust Daisy with the whole affair; and he hoped
coaxing might yet do the work. But Daisy was too quick for
him.

"Nora," she said at the next meeting, "if you like, I will
change with you in the fainting picture. You shall be the
queen, and I will be one of the women."

"Shall I be the queen?" said Nora.

"Yes, if you like."

"But why don't you want to do it?"

"I would rather you would, if you like it."

"Well, I'll do it," said Nora; "but Daisy, shall I have all
the dress you were going to wear?"

"Yes, I suppose so."

"Because, if I don't, I won't. I must have just exactly what
you were going to wear."

"Why — you will of course, I suppose," said Daisy, a good deal
astonished.

"Every bit," said Nora. "Shall I have that same white satin
gown?"

"Yes, I suppose so. Of course you will. It is only you and I
that change; not the dress."

"And shall I have the ornaments too?"

"Just the same, I suppose; unless Mrs. Sandford thinks that
something else will look better."

"I won't have anything else. I want that same splendid
necklace for my girdle — shall I?"

"I suppose so, Nora."

"You say 'I suppose so' to everything. I want to know. Shall I
have that same pink silk thing over my hair?"

"That scarf? yes."

"And the red necklace on it? and the bracelets? and the gold
and diamonds round my neck? I won't be Esther if I don't have
the dress."

"I suppose you will have the dress," said Daisy; "of course
you will. But if you say you do not want to be Esther, they
will make me do it."

A hint that closed Nora's mouth. She did not say she did not
want to be Esther. Mrs. Sandford was astonished at the change
of performers; but Daisy's resignation was so simply made and
naturally, and Nora's acceptance was so manifestly glad, that
nobody could very well offer any hindrance. The change was
made; but Preston would not suffer Daisy to be one of the
attendants. He left her out of the picture altogether, and put
Jane Linwood in Nora's vacated place. Daisy was content; and
now the practising and the arrangements went on prospering.

There was a good deal of preparation to be made, besides what
the mantua-maker could do. Mr. Stilton was called into the
library for a great consultation; and then he went to work.
The library was the place chosen for the tableaux; the
spectators to be gathered into the drawing-room, and the
pictures displayed just within the wide door of communication
between the two rooms. On the library side of this door Mr.
Stilton laid down a platform, slightly raised and covered with
green baize cloth, and behind the platform a frame-work was
raised and hung with green baize to serve as a proper
background for the pictures. A flower-stand was brought in
from the greenhouse and placed at one side, out of sight from
the drawing-room; for the purpose, as Preston informed Daisy,
of holding the lights. All these details were under his
management, and he managed, Daisy thought, very ably indeed.
Meantime the dresses were got ready. Fortitude's helmet was
constructed of pasteboard and gilt paper; and Nora said it
looked just as if it were solid gold. The crown of Ahasuerus,
and Alfred's six-foot bow were also made; and a beautiful old
brown spinning-wheel was brought from Mrs. Sandford's house
for Priscilla. Priscilla's brown dress was put together, and
her white vandyke starched. And the various mantles and robes
of velvet and silk which were to be used, were in some way
accommodated to the needs of the young wearers. All was done
well, and Preston was satisfied; except with Daisy.

Not that Daisy did not enter into the amusement of what was
going forward; for perhaps nobody took so much real share in
it. Even Mr. Stilton's operations interested her. But she was
not engrossed at all. She was not different from her usual
self. All the glory of the tableaux had not dazzled her, so
far as Preston could see. And daily, every morning, she
stepped into that little pony-chaise with a basket and drove
off — Preston was at the pains to find out — to spend a couple
of hours with Molly Skelton. Preston sighed with impatience.
And then, in the very act of dressing and practising for the
pictures, Daisy was provokingly cool and disengaged. She did
her part very well, but seemed just as much interested in
other people's parts, and as much pleased with other people's
adornment. Queen Esther in particular was Daisy's care, since
she had given up the character; and without putting herself
forward, she had once or twice made a suggestion to Mrs.
Sandford, of something that she either thought would please
Nora or that she felt called for by her own tastes; and in
each case Mrs. Sandford declared the suggestion had been an
improvement.

But with a pleasure much greater and keener, Daisy had seen
the pot containing the 'Jewess' geranium taken up out of the
ground, and set, with all the glory of its purple-red
blossoms, in Molly's poor little room. There it stood, on a
deal table, a spot of beauty and refinement, all alone to
witness for the existence of such things on the earth. And
heeded by Molly as well as by Daisy. Daisy knew that. And all
the pleasure of all the tableaux put together could give
nothing to Daisy equal to her joy when Molly first began to
read. That day, when letters began really to be put together
into words to Molly's comprehension, Daisy came home a proud
child. Or rather, for pride is a bad word, she came home with
a heart swelling with hope and exultation; hope and exultation
that looked forward confidently to the glory to be revealed.


CHAPTER XXXVI.

TABLEAUX VIVANTS.


The great day came, and the evening of the day; and June
dressed Daisy for the party. This was a simple dressing,
however, of a white cambrick frock; no finery, seeing that
Daisy was to put on and off various things in the course of
the evening. But Daisy felt a little afraid of herself. The
perfected arrangements and preparations of the last few days
had, she feared, got into her head a little; and when June had
done and was sent away, Daisy kneeled down by her bedside and
prayed a good while that God would help her not to please
herself, and keep her from caring about dress and appearance
and people's flatteries. And then she got up and looked very
wistfully at some words of the Lord Jesus which Juanita had
showed her first and which she found marked by Mr. Dinwiddie's
pencil. "The Father hath not left me alone; _for I do always
those things that please Him_."

Daisy was beginning to learn that to please God is not always
to seek one's own gratification or that of the world. She
looked steadily at the words of that Friend in heaven whom she
loved and wished to obey; and then it seemed to Daisy that she
cared nothing at all about anything but pleasing Him.

"Miss Daisy —" said June, — "Miss Nora is come."

Away went Daisy, with a bound, to the dressing-room; and
carried Nora off, as soon as she was unwrapped from her
mufflings, to see the preparations in the library.

"What is all that for?" said Nora.

"Oh, that is to show the pictures nicely. They will look a
great deal better than if all the room and the books could be
seen behind them."

"Why?"

"I suppose they will look more like pictures. By and by all
those lights on the stand will be lighted. And we shall dress
in the library, you know, — nobody will be in it, — and in the
room on the other side of the hall. All the things are brought
down there."

"Daisy," said Nora? looking at the imposing green baize
screen, "aren't you afraid?"

"Are you?" said Daisy.

"Yes — I am afraid I shall not do something right, or laugh,
or something."

"Oh, but you must not laugh. That would spoil the picture. And
Mrs. Sandford and Preston will make everything else right.
Come and see the crown for Ahasuerus!"

So they ran across the hall to the room of fancy dresses. Here
Ella presently joined them with her sister, and indeed so many
others of the performers that Preston ordered them all out. He
was afraid of mischief, he said. They trooped back to the
library.

"When are they going to begin?" said Nora.

"I don't know. Oh, by and by. I suppose we shall have tea and
coffee first. People at a party must get through that."

To await this proceeding, and indeed to share in it, the
little company adjourned to the drawing-room. It was filling
fast. All the neighbourhood had been asked, and all the
neighbourhood were very glad to come, and here they were,
pouring in. Now the neighbourhood meant all the nice people
within ten miles south and within ten miles north; and all
that could be found short of some seven or eight miles east.
There was one family that had even come from the other side of
the river. And all these people made Melbourne House pretty
full. Happily it was a very fine night.

Daisy was standing by the table, for the little folks had tea
at a table, looking with a face of innocent pleasure at the
scene and the gathering groups of people, when a hand laid
gentle hold of her, and she found herself drawn within the
doctor's arm and brought up to his side. Her face brightened.

"What is going on, Daisy?"

"Preston has been getting up some tableaux, Dr. Sandford, to
be done by the young people."

"Are you one of the young people?"

"They have got me in," said Daisy.

"Misled by your appearance? What are you going to play,
Daisy?"

Daisy ran off to a table and brought him a little bill of the
performances. The doctor ran his eye over it.

"I shall know what it means, I suppose, when I see the
pictures. What is this 'Game of Life?"

"It is Retsch's engraving," Daisy answered, as sedately as if
she had been forty years old.

"Retsch! yes, I know him — but what does the thing mean?"

"It is supposed to be the devil playing with a young man — for
his soul," Daisy said, very gravely.

"Who plays the devil?"

"Preston does."

"And who is to be the angel?"

"I am to be the angel," said Daisy.

"Very judicious. How do you like this new play, Daisy?"

"It is very amusing. I like to see the pictures."

"Not to be in them?"

"I think not, Dr. Sandford."

"Daisy, what else are you doing, besides playing tableaux, all
these days?"

"I drive about a good deal," said Daisy. Then looking up at
her friend with an entirely new expression, a light shining in
her eye and a subdued sweetness coming into her smile, she
added — "Molly is learning to read, Dr. Sandford."

"Molly!" said the doctor.

"Yes. You advised me to ask leave to go to see her, and I did,
and I got it."

Daisy's words were a little undertone; the look that went with
them the doctor never forgot as long as he lived. His
questions about the festivities she had answered with a
placid, pleased face; pleased that he should ask her; but a
soft irradiation of joy had beamed upon the fact that the poor
cripple was making a great step upwards in the scale of human
life. The doctor had not forgotten his share in the permission
Daisy had received, which he thought he saw she suspected.
Unconsciously his arm closed upon the little figure it held
and brought her nearer to him; but his questions were somehow
stopped. And Daisy offered no more; she stood quite still,
till a movement at the table seemed to call for her. She put
her hand upon the doctor's arm, as a sign that it must hold
her no longer, and sprang away.

And soon now all the young people went back again to the
library. Mrs. Sandford came with them to serve in her arduous
capacity of dresser. June attended to give her help.

"Now what are we going to do?" whispered Nora, in breathless
excitement. "What is to be the first picture? Oh, Daisy, I
wish you would get them to have my picture last of all."

"Why, Nora?"

"Oh, because. I think it ought to come last. Aren't you
afraid? Whew! I am."

"No, I don't think I am."

"But won't you want to laugh?"

"Why?" said Daisy. "No, I do not think I shall want to laugh."

"I shall be too frightened to laugh," said Jane Linwood.

"I don't see, Daisy, how you will manage those queer wings of
yours," Nora resumed.

"I have not got to manage them at all. I have only to keep
still."

"I can't think how they will look," said Nora. "They don't
seem to me much like wings. I think they will look very
funny."

"Hush, children — run away; you are not wanted here. Go into
the drawing-room — and I will ring this hand-bell when I want
you."

"What comes first, aunt Sandford?"

"Run away! you will see."

So the younger ones repaired to the drawing-room, for what
seemed a weary time of waiting. Nora expressed her entire
disapprobation of being shut out from all the fun of the
dressing; she wanted to see that. She then declared that it
would be impossible to show all the twelve pictures that
evening, if it took so long to get ready for one. However, the
time was past at length; the signal was given; the lights in
the drawing-room were put down, till the room was very shadowy
indeed; and then, amid the breathless hush of expectation, the
curtain that hung over the doorway of the library was drawn
back.

The children thought it was fairy-land.

Frederica Fish sat there facing the company, quaintly dressed
in antique costume; and before her knelt, on one knee, two
grand-looking personages, very richly attired, presenting a
gilt crown upon a satin cushion. — Lady Jane Grey and the
lords who came to offer her the kingdom. The draperies were
exceedingly well executed and did Mrs. Sandford great credit.
They were the picture.

"Isn't she _beau_-tiful!" Nora exclaimed under her breath.

"Isn't it like a picture!" said Daisy.

"How funnily those boys kneel and twist themselves round!"
said Jane. "Who are they?"

"Daisy, wouldn't you like to be dressed every day like that?"
said Nora.

"I don't think it would be convenient," said Daisy. "I think a
white frock is nicer."

"Oh, but it makes people look so handsome! Frederica looks
like — she is a real beauty! I should like to be dressed so.
Daisy, don't you suppose queens and ladies, like those in the
pictures, _are_ always dressed so?"

"I suppose they put on nightgowns when they go to bed," said
Ella Stanfield, soberly. "They can't _always_ be dressed so."

"Oh, but, I mean when they are up. And I dare say they wear
beautiful nightgowns — Daisy, don't you think they do? I dare
say they have splendid lace and ribbands; and you call make a
white dress very handsome, if you put plenty of lace and
ribbands."

"Oh, it's gone!" exclaimed Jane and Ella. The curtain had
fallen. The company clapped their hands and cheered.

"What's that for?" said Nora.

"That means that they like it, I suppose," said Daisy.

"You will have to go now, Nora, I know. Little Red Riding-Hood
comes next. Come — we'll all go."

"Horrid Little Red Riding-Hood!" said Nora. "I hate that
picture!"

"Why do you hate it?"

"Because! — It is nothing but a red hood."

Mrs. Sandford's bell sounded.

"Oh, Daisy!" said Nora, as they went, "won't you get them to
leave Esther to the last? They will do whatever you ask them.
Do!"

"Why, Nora?"

"Oh, because! —"

What Nora's "because" meant, Daisy did not know; that it had
reference to some supposed advantage of place, was pretty
certain. Daisy stood thinking about it while she saw Nora
dressed, and then ran into the drawing-room to take the effect
of the tableau. The curtain was withdrawn; Daisy was
astonished; she had no idea that Nora could be so changed by a
little arrangement of lights and dress. The picture was
exceeding pretty. Nora's black hair and bright cheeks peeped
out from under the shadowing red cardinal, which draped her
arms also — Mrs. Sandford had mysteriously managed it. She had
got over her hatred of the part, for she looked pleased and
pleasant; and the little basket in her hand and the short
petticoat and neat little feet completed a tidy Red Riding-
Hood. The applause was loud. "Lovely!" the ladies said. "What
a sweet little thing! how beautiful she looks!" Nora did not
smile, for that would have hurt her picture; but she stood
with swelling complacency and unchanging red cheeks as long as
the company were pleased to look at her.

"Who is that, Daisy?" asked her father, near whom Daisy had
stationed herself.

"It is Nora Dinwiddie, papa."

"She is a pretty little girl. When does your turn come?"

"I do not know, papa."

"Not know! Why, I thought all this was your affair."

"Oh, no, papa; it is Preston's affair."

Off ran Daisy, however, when the curtain fell, or rather when
it was drawn, to see the getting ready of the next tableau.
There was something of a tableau on hand already. June stood
holding up a small feather-bed, and two little figures in
white nightgowns were flying round, looking and laughing at
two exceedingly fierce, bearded, moustached, black-browed
individuals, on whose heads Mrs. Sandford was setting some
odd-looking hats.

"Who are those, Nora?" said Daisy to Little Red Riding-Hood.

"Daisy, did you like it? Did I stand well?"

"Yes, I liked it very much; it was nice. Nora, who are those
two?"

"Why, one of 'em is Preston — I don't know who the other is.
Daisy, did you ask about Esther?"

Could it be possible that Preston had so transformed himself?
Daisy could hardly see that it was he. His fellow she did not
recognise at all. It was big George Linwood.

"Now are the little princes ready?" said Preston. "Because we
will finish up this business."

"Oh, you won't let the feather-bed come down on us?" cried
Jane Linwood.

"If you don't be quiet and keep still, I will," said Preston.
"Let only your eye wink or your mouth move to smile —and you
are an unlucky prince! I am a man without mercy."

"And I am another," said George. "I say, old fellow, I suppose
I'm all right for that French pikeman now, hey? After this
smothering business is attended to."

"You think the trade is the thing, and the costume a matter of
indifference?" said Preston. "In the matter of morals I dare
say you are right; — in tableaux before spectators it's not
exactly so. Here, June — hand on your big pillow there."

Mrs. Sandford was laughing at him, and in fact there was a
good deal of hilarity and some romping before the actors in
the tableau could be settled in their places.

"Don't keep us long," said Preston. "I never knew before what
an uninteresting thing a featherbed is — when you are obliged
to hold it in your arms. Everything in its place, I find. I
used to have a good opinion of them."

Daisy ran back to the drawing-room, and was utterly struck
with wonder at the picture over which all this fun had been
held. It was beautiful, she thought. The two children lay so
naturally asleep, one little bare foot peeping out from under
the coverings; and the grim faces that scowled at them over
the feather-bed with those strange hats overshadowing, made
such a contrast; and they were all so breathlessly still, and
the lights and shadows were so good; Daisy was disposed to
give her verdict that there never was a play like this play.
The "Princes in the Tower " was greatly applauded.

"Have you asked about my picture?" said Nora, who stood beside
Daisy.

"No, I have not had a chance."

"Do, Daisy! I want that to be the last."

Daisy thought she was unreasonable. Why should Nora have the
best place, if it was the best? She was not pleased with her.

The next picture was Marie Antoinette; and that drew down the
house. Frederica Fish had nothing to do but to stand as she
was put, and Mrs. Sandford had seen to it that she stood
right; another person might have done more in the picture, but
that was all that could be got from Frederica. Her face was
coldly impassive; she could come no nearer to the expression
of the indignant queen. But Preston's old woman, and Theresa's
pretty young French girl; one looking as he had said, with
eyes of coarse fury, the other all melting with tenderness and
reverent sympathy; they were so excellent that the company
were delighted. Frederica's handkerchief, it is true, hung
daintily in her fingers, showing all the four embroidered
corners; Mrs. Sandford had not seen it till it was just too
late; and Preston declared afterwards the "fury" in his face
was real and not feigned as he glared at her. But the company
overlooked the handkerchief in favour of the other parts of
the picture; and its success was perfect.

"Alfred in the neat-herd's cottage" followed next, and would
have been as good; only that Nora, whose business it was to
blow her cheeks into a full moon condition over the burnt
cakes, would not keep her gravity; but the full cheeks gave
way every now and then in a broad grin which quite destroyed
the effect. Preston could not see this, but Daisy took her
friend to task after it was over. Nora declared she could not
help it.

"You don't know how it felt, Daisy, to keep my cheeks puffed
out in that way. I couldn't do it; and whenever I let them go,
then I couldn't help laughing. Oh, Daisy! is my picture to be
the last?"

"I will see, as soon as I can, Nora," Daisy said, gravely. It
was her own turn now, and while Mrs. Sandford was dressing her
she had no very good chance to speak of Esther. How
wonderfully Mrs. Sandford arranged the folds of one or two
long scarfs, to imitate Sir Joshua Reynolds' draperies.
Preston declared it was beautiful, and so did Hamilton Rush;
and when the little helmet with its plumes was set on Daisy's
head, Mrs. Sandford smiled and Preston clapped his hands. They
had still a little trouble to get Dolce into position. Dolce
was to enact the lion, emblem of courage and strength, lying
at Fortitude's feet. He was a sensible dog, but knowing
nothing about playing pictures, naturally, did not immediately
understand why it should be required of him to lie down there,
on that platform of green baize, with his nose on his paws.
However, more sensible than some animals of higher order are
apt to be, he submitted patiently to the duty of obedience
where he did not understand; and laid down accordingly his
shaggy length at Daisy's feet.

The curtain was drawn aside, and the company shouted with
delight. No picture had been so good yet as this one. The
little grave figure, the helmet with its nodding plumes in
mock stateliness; the attitude, one finger just resting on the
pedestal of the broken column (an ottoman did duty for it), as
if to show that Fortitude stood alone, and the shaggy St.
Bernard at her feet, all made in truth an extremely pretty
spectacle. You could see the faintest tinge of a smile of
pleasure on the lips of both Mr. and Mrs. Randolph; they were
silent, but all the rest of the people cheered and openly
declared their delight. Daisy stood like a rock. _Her_ mouth
never gave way; not even when Dolce, conceiving that all this
cheering called upon him to do something, rose up and, looking
right into Daisy's face, wagged his tail in the blandest
manner of congratulation. Daisy did not wince; and an
energetic "Down, Dolce, down!" brought the St. Bernard to his
position again, in the very meekness of strength; and then the
people clapped for Daisy and the dog together. At last the
curtain fell.

"Well, that will do," said Mrs. Sandford.

"Dolce — you rascal!" said Preston, as the great creature was
now wagging his tail in honour of his master, "how came you to
forget your business in that style, sir?"

"I do not think it really hindered the effect at all,
Preston," said Mrs. Sandford. "Daisy kept her countenance so
well."

"Yes, — if Fortitude had smiled! —" said Theresa. "Mrs.
Sandford, is it out of character for Fortitude to smile?"

"It would be out of character for Portia, just at this crisis
— so take care of her."

"What made them make such a great noise, Daisy?" said Nora,
while Daisy was getting undressed.

"I suppose they liked the picture," said Daisy.

"But they made a great deal more noise than they did for
anybody else," said Nora.

"I suppose they liked the picture better than they liked any
of the others," said Ella Stanfield. "I know they did, for I
was in the other room. Come, let's go see this picture!"

"Not you, Daisy," said Mrs. Sandford, as the children were
running off — "I want you. Priscilla comes next."

So Daisy had to stay and be dressed for Priscilla. She missed
Portia and Bassanio. It was not much missed, for her little
heart began to be beating with excitement; and she wished very
much that Priscilla might be as much liked as Fortitude. The
dressing was an easy matter, for the costume had been prepared
for her and a gown and vandyke made on purpose. Would
Alexander dare to wink this time, she wondered? And then she
remembered, to her great joy, that he could not; because his
face would be in full view of the people behind the scenes in
the library. The little brown spinning-wheel was brought on
the platform; a heap of flax, at which Priscilla is supposed
to have been working, was piled together in front of it; and
she and Alexander took their places. The curtain was drawn
aside, and a cry of pleasure from the company testified to the
picturesque prettiness of the representation. It was according
to the fact, that Priscilla should be looking in John Alden's
face; it was just at the moment when she is supposed to be
rebuking him for bringing to her his friend's suit and
petition. Thinking herself safe, and wishing to have the
picture as good as possible, Daisy had ventured to direct her
eyes upon the face of Alexander Fish, who personified the
Puritan suitor. To her horror, Alexander, wholly untouched by
the poetry of the occasion, and unawed by its hazards, dared
to execute a succession of most barefaced and disagreeable
winks right at Priscilla's eyes. Poor Daisy could not stand
this. Forgetting her character and the picture and everything,
her eyes went down; her eyelids drooped over them; and the
expression of grave displeasure would have done for a yet more
dissatisfied mood of mind than Priscilla is supposed to have
known at the time. The company could not stand this, either;
and there burst out a hearty chorus of laughter and cheers
together, which greatly mortified Daisy. The curtain was
drawn, and she had to face the laughing comments of the people
in the library. They were unmerciful, she thought. Daisy grew
very pink in the face.

Cinderella was the next picture, in which she had also to
play. Dresses were changed in haste; but meanwhile Daisy began
to think about herself. Was she all right? Mortified at the
breaking of her picture; angry at Alexander; eager to get back
praise enough to make amends for this loss; — whom was little
Daisy trying to please? Where was the ornament of a meek and
quiet spirit now? was it on?

They had after all given her place in the Cinderella tableau;
she was one of the two wicked sisters; and she looked
dissatisfied enough for the character. She wanted to get away
to be alone for two minutes; but she had this part to fill
first. It is very hard to play when one's heart is heavy.
Daisy could not go on so. She could not bear it. Without
waiting till June could undress her, she slipped away, the
moment the curtain was drawn, and ran across the hall to the
dressing-room. People were coming and going everywhere; and
Daisy went out upon the piazza. There, in a dark spot, she
kneeled down and prayed; that this terrible spirit of pleasing
herself might be put away from her. She had but a minute; she
knew she must be back again immediately; but she knew too it
takes but a minute for ever so little a prayer to go all the
way to heaven; and the answer does not take any longer to
come, if it pleases God. Daisy was very much in earnest, and
quite well knew all that. She went back to the library feeling
humbled and ashamed, but quiet. The library was all in
commotion.

Nora was begging that Esther might be put off till the last.
Mrs. Sandford and Preston objected. They chose that it should
come next.

"Here is Priscilla," said Hamilton Rush, — "I beg pardon! it
is Cinderella's wicked sister — I don't know what _her_ name
was. Let us have your vote, my angel; I will address you in
your prospective character; will you put on your wings at
once? Or shall we get done with the terrestrial first? What do
you say? — I hope you are going to make Miss Stanfield the
queen, Mrs. Sandford; she has done one part so well that I
should like to see her in another."

"Why, you are going to be Ahasuerus yourself!" said the lady.

"Am I?" said Hamilton; who it must be noticed had not met for
the practisings as often as the other people, being held not
to need them. "Then I must respectfully be allowed to choose
my own queen. I vote for Miss Theresa."

"It is a capital idea," said Preston.

"I think so too," said Mrs. Sandford. "Theresa, my dear, I
wonder we did not think before of something so much to our
advantage; but these children seemed to have got the picture
into their own hands. You will do it far better. Come! let me
robe you."

"I would rather be Vashti," murmured Theresa. "I don't like
submissive characters. Mrs. Sandford, Vashti is far more in my
line. Go off, boys, and get ready! What a pity we didn't think
of having Vashti, Mrs. Sandford."

However, Theresa made no objection to be dressed for Esther.

"Who will be your supporters? Ella is too short. Jane and
Nora? — Where is Nora?"

Nora was in the furthest corner of the room, seated in gloom.

"Nora! —"

"I am not going to play any more —" said Nora.

"You must come and be one of the queen's women — I want you
for that."

"I am not going to play —" repeated Nora; but nobody heard
except Daisy. "I am Esther myself! nobody else has any right
to be it. I have practised it, and I know how to do it; and I
am Esther myself. Nobody else has any right to be Esther!"

Daisy stood by in dismay. She did not know what comfort to
bring to this distress.

"I won't play at all!" said Nora. "If I can't be Esther I
won't be anything. You have all the good things, Daisy! you
have all the prettiest pictures; and I might have had just
this one. Just Esther. I just wanted to be Esther! It's mean."

"Why, you've been plenty of things I think," said Jane
Linwood, coming near this corner of gloom.

"I haven't! I have been that hateful prince in the tower and
Cinderella's ugly sister — only hateful things."

"But you were Little Red Riding-Hood."

"Red Riding-Hood!" exclaimed Nora, in unspeakable disdain.
"Red Riding-Hood was nothing at all but a red cloak! and Daisy
wore feathers, and had the dog —"

And the vision of Queen Esther's jewels and satin gown and
mantle here overcame Nora's dignity if not her wrath; she
began to cry.

"But won't you come and be one of the queen's maids? _They_ will
be very nicely dressed too," Daisy ventured, gently.

"No! — I won't be anybody's maid, I tell you," sobbed the
disconsolate child.

"Bring her along, Daisy," Mrs. Sandford called from the other
side of the room. — "I am almost ready for her."

Daisy made another vain effort to bring Nora to reason, and
then went sorrowfully to Mrs. Sandford. She thought tableaux
were on the whole a somewhat troublesome amusement.

"Will I do, Mrs. Sandford?" she said. "Nora does not want to
play."

"In dudgeon, hey?" said the lady. "I expected as much. Well,
Daisy — I will take you. I might perch you up on a foot-
cushion to give you a little more altitude. However — I don't
know but it will do. Theresa will be letting down her own
height."

"I think I am letting myself down altogether, Mrs. Sandford,
in allowing Ahasuerus to pick me out in that lordly style. But
never mind — I shan't touch his sceptre any way. Boys, boys! —
are you ready?"

"Splendid, Theresa!" said Preston, as he came in. "Splendid!
You are the very thing."

"I am diamonds and satin, you mean. I thank you. I know that
is what I am at present."

"You look the character," said Hamilton.

Theresa made him a mock little courtesy. It was admirably
done. It was the slightest gesture of supercilious disdain —
excellent pantomime. The boys laughed and shouted, for
Theresa's satin and diamonds gave effect to her acting, and
she was a good actor.

This picture had been delayed so long, that at last, hearing
the shout of applause behind the scenes, the audience began to
call for their share. In haste, but not the less effectively,
Theresa and the rest threw themselves into attitude, and the
curtain was pulled aside.

Daisy wished she could have been in the drawing-room to see
the picture; she knew it must be beautiful; but she was
supporting one jewelled arm of Queen Esther, and obliged by
her duty to look only at the Queen's face. Daisy thought even
that was a good deal to look at, it was so magnificently
surrounded with decoration: but at the same time she was
troubled about Nora and sorry for her own foolishness, so that
her own face was abundantly in character for the grave concern
that sat upon it. This picture met with great favour. The
people in the library were in much glee after it was over; all
but Daisy and Nora.

"It is all spoiled!" said the latter. "The evening has been
hateful. I wish I hadn't come."

"Oh, Nora! don't say that," Daisy urged. "The pictures are
almost over now; and then we shall have supper."

"I don't want supper! I only wanted to be Queen Esther; and
you said I might. It was the prettiest picture of the whole
lot."

"But I couldn't help it, Nora."

"I could have done it just as well as Theresa! She didn't look
handsome a bit."

"Oh, Nora, I think she did — for a picture."

"She didn't a bit; the things she had on looked handsome."

Daisy was called away. Her last dressing was to be done now,
and the one of which Daisy was most doubtful. She was to stand
for the angel in the "Game of Life." Other people had no doubt
about it. Mrs. Sandford was sure that the angel's wings would
make a good representation, which Daisy was slow to believe;
near by, they looked so very like gauze and pasteboard! They
were arranged, at any rate, to appear as if they grew out of
her shoulders; she was arrayed in flowing white draperies over
her own little cambrick frock; and then she was ready.
Hamilton came in. He was to be the young man in the picture.
Daisy liked his appearance well. But when Preston followed
him, she felt unspeakably shocked. Preston was well got up, in
one respect; he looked frightful. He wore a black mask, ugly
but not grotesque; and his whole figure was more like the
devil in the picture than Daisy had imagined it could be. She
did not like the whole business at all. There was no getting
out of it now; the picture must be given; so the performers
were placed.

Hamilton and Preston sat on two sides of a chess-board, and
behind them the little angel stood watching the game. Mrs.
Sandford was right. By a skilful placing and shielding of the
lamps, the lights were thrown broadly where they ought to be,
on faces and draperies, leaving the gauze wings of the angel
in such obscurity that they just showed as it was desired they
should. The effect was extremely good, and even artistic. The
little angel herself was not in full light; it was through a
shade of gloom that her grave face of concern looked down upon
the game on the chess-board. Truly Daisy looked concerned and
grave. She thought she did not like to play such things as
this, One of the figures below her was so very wicked and
devilish in its look; and Hamilton leaned over the pieces on
the board with so well-given an expression of doubt and
perplexity, — his adversary's watch was so intent, — and the
meaning of the whole was so sorrowfully deep; that Daisy gazed
unconsciously most like a guardian angel who might see with
sorrow the evil one getting the better over a soul of his
care. For it was real to Daisy. She knew that the devil does
in truth try to bewitch and wile people out of doing right
into doing wrong. She knew that he tries to get the mastery of
them; that he rejoices every time he sees them make a "false
move;" that he is a great cunning enemy, all the worse because
we cannot see him, striving to draw people to their ruin; and
she thought that it was far too serious and dreadful a thing
to be made a _play_ of. She wondered if guardian angels did
really watch over poor tempted souls and try to help them. And
all this brought upon Daisy's face a shade of awe, and sorrow,
and fear, which was strangely in keeping with her character as
an angel, and very singular in its effect on the picture. The
expressions of pleasure and admiration which had burst from
the company in the drawing-room at the first sight of it,
gradually stilled and ceased; and it was amid a profound and
curious silence and hush that the curtain was at length drawn
upon the picture. There were some people among the spectators
not altogether satisfied in their minds.

"How remarkable!" was the first word that came from anybody's
lips in the darkened drawing-room.

"Very remarkable!" somebody else said. "Did you ever see such
acting?"

"It has all been good," said a gentleman, Mr. Sandford; "but
this was remarkable."

"Thanks, I suppose you know to whose management," said the
soft voice of the lady of the house.

"Management is a good thing," said the gentleman; "but there
was more than management here, Mrs. Randolph. It was uncommon,
upon my word! I suppose my wife came in for the wings, but
where did the _face_ come from?"

"Daisy," said Mr. Randolph, as he found his little daughter by
his side again, — "are you here?"

"Yes, papa."

Her father put his arm round her, as if to assure himself
there were no wings in the case.

"How do you like playing pictures?"

"I think I do not like them very much —" Daisy said, sedately,
nestling up to her father's side.

"Not? How is that? Your performance has been much approved."

Daisy said nothing. Mr. Randolph thought he felt a slight
tremor in the little frame.

"Do you understand the allegory of this last tableau, Daisy?"
Dr. Sandford asked.

"I do not know what an allegory is, Dr. Sandford."

"What is the meaning of the representation, then, as you think
of it?"

"This last picture?"

"Yes."

"It is a trial of skill, Dr. Sandford."

The room was still darkened, and the glance of intelligence
and amusement that passed between her friend and her father,
their own eyes could scarcely catch. Daisy did not see it. But
she had spoken diplomatically. She did not want to come any
nearer the subject of the picture in talking with Dr.
Sandford. His mind was different, and he went on.

"What is the trial of skill about, Daisy?"

The child hesitated, and then said, speaking low and most un-
child-like — "It is about a human soul."

"And what do you understand are the powers at work — or at
play?"

"It is not play," said Daisy.

"Answer Dr. Sandford, Daisy," said her father.

"Papa," said the child, "it isn't play. The devil tries to
make people do wrong — and if they try to do right, then there
is a —"

"A what?"

"I don't know — a fight, papa."

Mr. Randolph again felt a tremor, a nervous trembling, pass
over Daisy.

"You do not suppose, my darling," he said, softly, "that such
a fight goes on with anything like this horrible figure that
your cousin Preston has made himself?"

"I do not suppose he looks like that, papa."

"I do not think there is such a personage at all, Daisy. I am
sure you need not trouble your little head with thinking about
it."

Daisy made no answer.

"There is a struggle always going on, no doubt, between good
and evil; but we cannot paint good and evil without imagining
shapes for them."

"But papa, —" said Daisy, and stopped. It was no place or time
for talking about the matter, though her father spoke low. She
did not want even Dr. Sandford to hear.

"What is it, Daisy?"

"Yes," said the doctor, "I should like to know what the
argument is."

"Papa," said Daisy, awesomely, — "there is a _place_ prepared
for the devil and his angels."

Mr. Randolph was silent now. But he felt again that Daisy was
nervously excited, by the quiver that passed over her little
frame.

"So you think, Daisy," said the doctor leaning towards her, —
"that the white and the black spirits have a fight over the
people of this world?"

Daisy hesitated, struggled, quivered with the feeling and the
excitement which were upon her, tried for self-command and
words to answer. Mr. Randolph saw it all and did not hurry
her, though she hesitated a good deal.

"You think they have a quarrel for us?" repeated the doctor.

"I don't know, Dr. Sandford —" Daisy answered, in a strangely
tender and sober voice. It was strange to her two hearers.

"But you believe in the white spirits, I suppose, as well as
in the other branch of the connexion?"

"Papa," said Daisy, her feeling breaking a little through her
composure so much as to bring a sort of cry into her voice —
"there is joy among the angels of heaven whenever anybody
grows good! —"

She had turned to her father as she spoke and threw her arms
round his neck, hiding her face, with a clinging action that
told somewhat of that which was at work in her mind. Mr.
Randolph perhaps guessed at it. He said nothing; he held her
close to his breast; and the curtain drew at that moment for
the last tableau. Daisy did not see it, and Mr. Randolph did
not think of it; though people said it was very good. It was
only the head and shoulders of Theresa Stanfield as an old
country schoolmistress, seen behind a picture frame, with her
uplifted finger and a bundle of rods. Theresa was so
transformed that nobody would have known her; and while the
company laughed and applauded, Daisy came back to her usual
self; and slid out of her father's arms when the show was
over, all ready for supper and Nora Dinwiddie.

There was a grand supper, and everybody was full of pleasure
and complimentary speeches and discussion and praise of the
tableaux. That was among the elder portion of the company. The
four or five children were not disposed to such absolute
harmony. Grapes and ices and numberless other good things were
well enjoyed, no doubt; but amidst them all a spirit of
criticism was rife.

"Daisy, your wings didn't look a bit like real wings —" said
Jane Linwood.

"No," echoed Nora, "I guess they didn't. They were like — let
me see what they were like! They were like the wings of a
windmill."

"No, they weren't!" said Ella. "I was in the drawing-room —
and they didn't look like a windmill a bit. They looked queer,
but pretty."

"Queer, but pretty!" repeated Nora.

"Yes, they did," said Ella. "And you laughed when you were Red
Riding-hood, Nora Dinwiddie."

"I didn't laugh a bit!"

"It is no matter if you did laugh, Nora," said Daisy; — "you
got grave again, and the picture was very nice."

"I didn't laugh!" said Nora; "and if I did, everybody else
did. I don't think the pictures I saw were at all like
pictures — they were just like a parcel of people dressed-up."

Some gay paper mottoes made a diversion and stopped the little
mouths for a time; and then the people went away.

"Well, Daisy," said Mrs. Gary, — "how do you like this new
entertainment?"

"The pictures? I think they were very pretty, aunt Gary."

"How happened it that somebody else wore my diamonds?" said
her mother, — "and not you. I thought you were to be dressed
for Queen Esther?"

"Yes, mamma, so I was at first; and then it was thought best —
"

"Not by me," said Preston. "It was no doing of mine. Daisy was
to have been Esther, and she herself declared off — backed out
of it, and left me to do as best I could."

"What was that for, Daisy?" said Mrs. Gary. "You would have
made an excellent Esther."

"What was that for, Daisy?" said Mrs. Randolph. "Did you not
like to be Esther?"

"Yes, mamma — I liked it at one time."

"And why not at another time?"

"I found out that somebody else would like it too, mamma; and
I thought —"

Mrs. Randolph broke out with a contemptuous expression of
displeasure.

"You thought you would put yourself in a corner! You were not
manager, Daisy; and you must remember something is due to the
one that is. You have no right to please yourself."

"Come here, Daisy," said her father, "and bid me good-night. I
dare say you were trying to please somebody else. Tell mamma
she must remember the old fable, and excuse you."

"What fable, Mr. Randolph?" the lady inquired, as Daisy left
the room.

"The one in which the old Grecian told the difficulty of
pleasing more people than one or two at once."

"Daisy is ruined!" said Mrs. Randolph.

"I do not see how it appears."

"She has not entered into this thing at all as we hoped she
would — not at all as a child should."

"She looked a hundred years old, in the Game of Life," said
Mrs. Gary. "I never saw such a representation in my life. You
would have said she was a real guardian angel of somebody, who
was playing his game not to please her."

"I am glad it is over!" said Mrs. Randolph. "I am tired of it
all." And she walked off.

So did Mr. Randolph, but as he went he was thinking of Daisy's
voice and her words — "There is joy among the angels of heaven
whenever anybody grows good."


CHAPTER XXXVII.

AN ACCIDENT.


It was growing late in the fall now. Mrs. Randolph began to
talk of moving to the city for the winter. Mr. Randolph more
than half hinted that he would like as well to stay where he
was. But his wife said that for Daisy's sake they must quit
Melbourne, and try what new scenes, and lessons, and dancing
school would do for her. "Not improve the colour in her
cheeks, I am afraid," said Mr. Randolph; but, however, he did
not oppose, and Mrs. Randolph made her arrangements.

It was yet but a day or two after the tableaux, when something
happened to disturb her plans. Mr. Randolph was out riding
with her, one fine October morning, when his horse became
unruly in consequence of a stone hitting him; a chance stone
thrown from a careless hand. The animal was restive, took the
stone very much in dudgeon, ran, and carrying his rider under
a tree, Mr. Randolph's forehead was struck by a low-lying
limb, and he was thrown off. The blow was severe; he was
stunned; and had not yet recovered his senses when they
brought him back to Melbourne. Mrs. Randolph was in a state
almost as much beyond self-management. Daisy was out of the
house. Mrs. Gary had left Melbourne; and till the doctor
arrived Mrs. Randolph was nearly distracted.

He came; and though his fine face took no gloom upon it, and
his blue eye was as usual impenetrable, the eyes that
anxiously watched him were not satisfied. Dr. Sandford said
nothing; and Mrs. Randolph had self-control sufficient not to
question him, while he made his examinations and applied his
remedies. But the remedies, though severe, were a good while
in bringing back any token of consciousness. It came at last,
faintly. The doctor summoned Mrs. Randolph out of the room
then, and ordered that his patient should be kept in the most
absolute and profound quiet. No disturbance or excitement must
be permitted to come near him.

"How long, doctor?"

"I beg your pardon, Mrs. Randolph? —"

"How long will it be before he is better?"

"I cannot say that. Any excitement or disturbance would much
delay it. Let him hear nothing and see nothing — except you,
and some attendant that he is accustomed to."

"Oh, doctor, can't you stay till he is better?"

"I will return again very soon, Mrs. Randolph. There is
nothing to be done at present for which I am needed."

"But you will come back as soon as you can?"

"Certainly!"

"And oh, Dr. Sandford, cannot you take Daisy away?"

"Where is she?"

"I don't know — she is not come home. Do take her away!"

The doctor went thoughtfully downstairs, and checking his
first movement to go out of the front door, turned to the
library. Nobody was there; but he heard voices, and passed out
upon the piazza. Daisy's pony chaise stood at the foot of the
steps; she herself had just alighted. Preston was there too,
and it was his voice the doctor had first heard, in anxious
entreaty.

"Come, Daisy! — it's capital down at the river; and I want to
show you something."

"I think I am tired now, Preston. I'll go another time," said
Daisy.

"Daisy, I want you now. Come! come! — I want you to go now,
this minute."

"But I do not feel like a walk, Preston. I can't go till I
have had my dinner."

Preston looked imploringly at the doctor, towards whom Daisy
was now mounting the steps. It is safe to say that the doctor
would willingly have been spared his present task.

"Where have you been now, Daisy?" he said.

Daisy's face brightened into its usual smile at sight of him.
"I have been to Crum Elbow, Dr. Sandford."

"Suppose you go a little further and have luncheon with Mrs.
Sandford and me? It will not take us long to get to it."

"Does mamma say so, Dr. Sandford?"

"Yes."

"Then I will be ready in a moment."

"Where are you going?" said her friend, stopping her.

"Only up stairs for a minute. I will be ready in two minutes,
Dr. Sandford."

"Stop," said the doctor, still detaining her. "I would rather
not have you go upstairs. Your father is not quite well, and I
want him kept quiet."

What a shadow came over Daisy's sunshine.

"Papa not well! What is the matter?"

"He does not feel quite like himself, and I wish him left in
perfect repose."

"What is the matter with him, Dr. Sandford?"

Daisy's words were quiet, but the doctor saw the gathering woe
on her cheek; the roused suspicion. This would not do to go
on.

"He has had a little accident, Daisy; nothing that you need
distress yourself about; but I wish him to be quite quiet for
a little."

Daisy said nothing now, but the speech of her silent face was
so eloquent that the doctor found it expedient to go on.

"He was riding this morning; his horse took him under the low
bough of a tree, and his head got a severe blow. That is all
the matter."

"Was papa _thrown?_" said Daisy, under her breath.

"I believe he was. Any horseman might be unseated by such a
thing."

Daisy again was mute, and again the doctor found himself
obliged to answer the agony of her eyes.

"I do not think he is in much, if any, pain, Daisy; but I want
him to be still for a while. I think that is good for him; and
it would not be good that you should disturb him. Your mother
is there, and that is enough."

Daisy stood quite still for a few minutes. Then making an
effort to withdraw herself from the doctor's arm, she said, "I
will not go into the room — I will not make any noise."

"Stop! Daisy, you must not go upstairs. Not this morning."

She stood still again, grew white and trembled.

"As soon as I think it will do him good to see you, I will let
you into his room. Now, shall we send June up for anything you
want?"

"I think, Dr. Sandford," said Daisy, struggling for
steadiness, "I will not go away from home."

Her words were inexpressibly tender and sorrowful. The doctor
was unrelenting.

"Your mother desired it."

"Did mamma? —"

"Yes; she wished me to carry you home with me. Come, Daisy! It
is hard, but it is less hard after all than it would be for
you to wander about here; and much better."

Daisy in her extremity sunk her head on the doctor's shoulder,
and so remained, motionless, for more minutes than he had to
spare. Yet he was still too, and waited. Then he spoke to her
again.

"I will go," said Daisy.

"You wanted something first?"

"I did not want anything but to change my gloves. It is no
matter."

Very glad to have gained his point, the doctor went off with
his charge; drove her very fast to his own home, and there
left her in Mrs. Sandford's care; while he drove off furiously
again to see another patient before he returned to Melbourne.

It was a long day after that to Daisy; and so it was to Mrs.
Sandford. Nora Dinwiddie was no longer with her; there was
nobody to be a distraction or a pleasure to the grave little
child who went about with such a weird stillness, or sat
motionless with such unchildlike quiet. Mrs. Sandford did not
know what to do; but indeed nothing could be done with Daisy.
She could not be amused or happy; she did not wish Nora were
there; she could only keep patient and wait, and wait, with a
sore, straining heart, while the hours passed, and Dr.
Sandford did not come, and she had no tidings. Was she
patient? It seemed to Daisy that her heart would burst with
impatience; or rather with its eager longing to know how
things were at home, and to get some relief. The hours of the
day went by, and no relief came. Dr. Sandford did not return.
Daisy took it as no good omen.

It was hard to sit at the dinner-table and have Mr. and Mrs.
Sandford showing her kindness, while her heart was breaking.
It was hard to be quiet and still, and answer politely and
make no trouble for her entertainers. It was hard; but Daisy
did it. It was hard to eat too; and that Daisy could not do.
It was impossible.

"Mustn't be cast down," said Mr. Sandford. He was one of the
people who look as if they never could be. Black whiskers and
a round face sometimes have that kind of look. "Mustn't be
cast down! No need. Everybody gets a tumble from horseback
once or twice in his life. I've had it seven times. Not
pleasant; but it don't hurt you much, nine times in ten."

"Hush, Mr. Sandford," said his wife. "Daisy cannot feel about
it just as you do."

"Never been thrown yet herself, eh! Give her one of those
peaches, my dear — she will like that better than meats to-
day. Eat one of my red-cheeked peaches, Daisy; and tell me
whether you have any so good at Melbourne. I don't believe
it."

Daisy peeled her peach. It was all she could bear to do. She
peeled it carefully and slowly; there never was a peach so
long in paring; for it was hardly more than finished when they
rose from table. She had tried to taste it too; that was all;
the taste never reached her consciousness. Mrs. Sandford knew
better than her husband, and let her alone.

Daisy could think of nothing now but to watch for the doctor;
and to do it with the most comfort and the best chance she
placed herself on the steps of the piazza, sitting down on the
uppermost step. It was a fair evening, warm and mild; and Mrs.
Sandford sitting in her drawing-room with the windows open was
but a few feet from Daisy, and could observe her. She did so
very often, with a sorrowful eye. Daisy's attitude bespoke her
intentness; the child's heart was wound up to such a pitch of
expectation that eye and ear were for nothing else. She sat
bending both upon the road by which she looked for the doctor
to come; her little figure did not stir; her head rested
slightly on her hand with a droop that spoke of weariness or
of weakness. So she sat looking down the road, and the sweet
October light was all over her and all around her. Mrs.
Sandford watched her, till the light lost its brightness and
grew fair and faint, and then began to grow dim. Daisy sat
still, and Mrs. Sandford looked at her, till a step within the
room drew her attention on that side.

"Why, there you are!" said the lady — "come the other way.
What news?"

"I have no news."

"Yes, but how is Mr. Randolph?" The lady had dropped her voice
very low.

"He is sensible."

"Sensible!" Mrs. Sandford said with a startled look; but then
drawing the doctor silently to her side, she pointed to the
watching, anxious little figure there on the steps. It did not
need that Dr. Sandford should speak her name. Daisy had
perfectly well heard and understood the words that had passed;
and now she rose up slowly and came towards the doctor, who
stepped out to meet her.

"Well, Daisy — have you been looking for me?" he said. But
something in the little upturned face admonished him that no
light words could be borne. He sat down and took her hand.

"Your father looks better than he did this morning; but he
feels badly yet after his fall."

Daisy looked at him and was silent a moment.

"Will they send for me home?"

"Not to-night, I think. Mrs. Randolph thought better that you
should stay here. Can't you do it contentedly?"

Daisy made no audible answer; her lip quivered a very little;
it did not belie the singular patience which sat upon her
brow. Her hand lay yet in the doctor's; he held it a little
closer, and drew the child affectionately to his side, keeping
her there while he talked with Mrs. Sandford upon other
subjects; for he said no more about Melbourne. Still while he
talked he kept his arm round Daisy, and when tea was brought
he hardly let her go. But tea was not much more to Daisy than
dinner had been; and when Mrs. Sandford offered to show her to
her room if she desired it, Daisy accepted the offer at once.

Mrs. Sandford herself wished to supply the place of June, and
would have done everything for her little guest if she could
have been permitted. Daisy negatived all such proposals. She
could do everything for herself, she said; she wanted no help.
A bag of things had been packed for her by June and brought in
the doctor's gig. Daisy was somehow sorry to see them; they
looked like preparations for staying.

"We will send for June to-morrow, Daisy, if your mamma will
leave you still with me."

"Oh, I shall go home to-morrow — I hope," said Daisy. "I hope
—" she repeated, humbly.

"Yes, I hope so," said Mrs. Sandford. She kissed Daisy and
went away. It was all Daisy wanted, to be alone. The October
night was mild; she went to the window; one of the windows,
which looked out upon the grass and trees of the courtyard,
now lighted by a faint moon. Daisy sunk down on her knees
there; the sky and the stars were more homelike than anything
else; and she felt so strange, so miserable, as her little
heart had never known anything like before. She knew well
enough what it all meant, her mother's sending her away from
home, her father's not being able to bear any disturbance.
Speak as lightly, look as calmly as they would, she knew what
was the meaning underneath people's faces and voices. Her
father had been very much hurt; quite well Daisy was assured
of that. He was too ill to see her, or too ill for her mother
to like her to see him. Daisy knelt down; she remembered she
had a Father in heaven, but it seemed at first as if she was
too broken-hearted to pray. Yet down there, through the still
moonlight, she remembered His eye could see her, and she knew
He had not forgotten His little child. Daisy never heard her
door open; but it did once, and some time after it did again.

"I do not know what to do —" said Mrs. Sandford, downstairs.
There the lamps made a second bright day; and the two
gentlemen were busy over the table with newspapers and books.
Both of them looked up, at the sound of her perplexed voice.

"That child, —" said Mrs. Sandford. "She is not in bed yet."

The lady stood by the table; she had just come from Daisy's
room.

"What is she doing?" her husband asked.

"I don't know. She is kneeling by the open window. She was
there an hour ago, and she is there yet. She has not moved
since."

"She has fallen asleep —" suggested Mr. Sandford. "I should
say, wake her up."

"She is too wide awake now. She is lifting her little face to
the sky, in a way that breaks my heart. And there she has
been, this hour and more."

"Have some supper directly, and call her down, —" was the
second suggestion of the master of the house. "It will be
supper-time soon. Here — it's some time after nine."

"Grant, what is the matter with Mr. Randolph? Is it very
serious?"

"Mrs. Randolph thinks so, I believe. Have you spoken to
Daisy?"

"No, and I cannot. Unless I had good news to carry to her."

"Where is she?" said the doctor, getting up.

"In the room next to yours."

So Mrs. Sandford sat down and the doctor went up stairs. The
next thing, he stood behind Daisy at her window. She was not
gazing into the sky now; the little round head lay on her arms
on the window-sill.

"What is going on here?" said a soft voice behind her.

"Oh! Dr. Sandford —" said the child, jumping up. She turned
and faced her friend, with a face so wistful and searching, so
patient, yet so strained with its self-restraint and fear,
that the doctor felt it was something serious with which he
had to do. He did not attempt a light tone before that little
face; he felt that it would not pass.

"I came up to see _you_," he said. "I have nothing new to tell,
Daisy. What are you about?"

"Dr. Sandford," said the child, "won't you tell me a little?"

The inquiry was piteous. For some reason or other, the doctor
did not answer it with a put-off, nor with flattering words,
as doctors are so apt to do. Perhaps it was not his habit, but
certainly in other respects he was not too good a man to do
it. He sat down and let the moonlight show Daisy his face.

"Daisy," he said, "your father was stunned by his blow, and
needs to be kept in perfect quiet for a time, until he is
quite over it. People after such a fall often do; but I do not
know that any other consequences whatever will follow."

"He was stunned —" repeated Daisy.

"Yes."

The child did not say any more, yet her eyes of searching
eagerness plainly asked for fuller information. They were not
content nor at rest.

"Can't you have patience, and hope for other tidings
tomorrow?"

"May I? —" said Daisy.

"May you? Certainly. It was your mother's wish to send you
here — not mine. It was not needful; though if you could be
content, I think it would be well."

She looked a little relieved; very little.

"Now what are you doing? Am I to have two patients on my hand
in your family?"

"No, sir."

"What are you doing then, up so late? Watching the stars?"

"No, sir."

"I am your physician — you know you must tell me everything,
What were you about, Daisy?"

"Dr. Sandford," said Daisy, in difficulty how to speak, — "I
was seeking comfort."

And with the word, somehow, Daisy's self-restraint failed; her
head went down on the doctor's shoulder; and when she lifted
it up there were two or three tears that needed to be brushed
away. No more; but the doctor felt the slight little frame
tremble.

"Did you find comfort, Daisy?" he said, kindly. "I ask as your
physician; because if you are using wrong measures for that
end I shall forbid them. What were you doing to get comfort?"

"I did not want to go to sleep, sir."

"Daisy, I am going to carry you down to have some supper."

"Oh, I do not want any, Dr. Sandford!"

"Are you ready to go down?"

"No sir — in a minute, — I only want to brush my hair."

"Brush it, then."

Which Daisy did; then coming to her friend with a face as
smoothly in order as the little round head, she repeated
humbly, "I do not want anything, Dr. Sandford."

"Shall I carry you down?"

"Oh, no, sir."

"Come then. One way or the other. And Daisy, when we are down
stairs, and when you come up again, you must obey my orders."

The supper-table was laid. Mrs. Sandford expressed delight at
seeing Daisy come in, but it would maybe have been of little
avail had her kindness been the only force at work. It was
not. The doctor prescribed peaches and bread, and gave Daisy
grapes, and a little bit of cold chicken; and was very kind,
and very imperative too; and Daisy did not dare nor like to
disobey him. She eat the supper, which tasted good when he
made her eat it; and then was dismissed up stairs to bed, with
orders to go straight to sleep. And Daisy did as she was told.


CHAPTER XXXVIII.

SOMETHING WRONG.


The doctor's horse was before the door, and Daisy was on the
piazza. The doctor came out, ready for his day's work.

"Do you want me to do anything for you at Melbourne, Daisy?"

"Cannot I go home to-day, Dr. Sandford?"

"I do not know. Supposing that you be still kept in banishment
— what then?"

Daisy struggled with herself — succeeded, and spoke calmly. "I
should like to have Loupe sent, Dr. Sandford, if you please."

"Loupe? what is that? What is Loupe, Daisy?"

"My pony, sir. My pony-chaise."

"Oh! — Not to drive to Melbourne?"

Daisy met the doctor's blue eye full, and answered with
guileless submission.

"No, sir."

"I will send Loupe. By the way — Daisy, have you business on
hand?"

"Yes, sir."

"So much that you can do none for me?"

"Oh, no, sir. I have not a great deal of business. What may I
do, Dr. Sandford?"

"Can you go to Crum Elbow?"

"Yes, sir. I have got to go there."

"All right, then. Daisy, there is a poor family down by the
railway that were burnt out a night or two ago; they have lost
everything. The neighbours will have to supply them with a few
things. Will you go to the village and buy clothing for two
little children, six and seven years old? One is a girl, the
other a boy."

The doctor took out his pocket-book and began to look over
bank bills.

"Dresses, do you mean, Dr. Sandford? — and a boy's dress?"

"I mean, everything they need to put on — dresses and
petticoats, and jacket and trousers, and a shirt or two for
the boy. Here is money, Daisy; spend whatever you find
needful."

"But, Dr. Sandford —"

"Well?"

"I don't believe Mr. Lamb keeps those things ready made."

"I am sure he does not. Buy the stuff, Daisy — all the stuff —
we will see about getting it made afterwards. You can consult
my sister, Mrs. Sandford, about quantities and all that; or I
dare say the storekeeper can tell you."

So away went the doctor. Daisy felt in great need of
consulting somebody; but Mrs. Sandford was busy, and so
engaged that there was no chance for several hours. — Not
indeed before the pony chaise came; and Daisy resolved then to
wait no longer, but to do some other business first.

The news that she eagerly asked for from Melbourne was not
much when she got it. Sam knew little; he believed Mr.
Randolph was better, he said; but his tone of voice was not
very encouraging, and Daisy drove off to Juanita's cottage.
There was one person, she knew, who could feel with her; and
she went with a sort of eagerness up the grassy pathway from
the road to the cottage door, to get that sympathy.

Juanita was within, busy at some ironing. The work fell from
her hands, and the iron was set down with an expression of
pleasure as she saw Daisy come in. The next minute her tone
changed and her look.

"What ails my love?"

"Juanita —" said Daisy, standing still and pale by the ironing
table, — "haven't you heard? Papa —"

"What, Miss Daisy?"

"Papa — he was knocked off his horse yesterday — and they
won't let me see _him!_"

So far Daisy's power of composure went, and no further. With
that last word her voice failed. She threw her arms around
Juanita, and hiding her face in her gown, burst into such
tears as Daisy rarely shed at all; very rarely under any one's
observation. Juanita, very much startled, sat down and drew
the child into her arms, so far as she could; for Daisy had
sunk on her knees, and with her face in Juanita's lap was
weeping all her heart out. Mrs. Benoit hardly knew how to ask
questions.

"Why must not Miss Daisy see her papa?"

"I don't know! — I suppose — he's not well enough."

Juanita breathed more freely.

"Let us pray for him, Miss Daisy."

"Oh, yes, Juanita, do! —"

There was an intensity of meaning in these words and in
Daisy's hurried assuming of another place and posture to leave
Juanita free to kneel too, that almost took away the black
woman's power of speech. She read what was breaking the
child's heart; she knew what for was that suppressed cry of
longing. For a moment Juanita was silent. But she had long
known not only trouble but the Refuge from trouble; and to
that Refuge she now went, and carried Daisy. As one goes who
has often been there; who has many a time proved it a sure
Refuge; who knows it sure and safe and unfailing. So she
prayed; while Daisy's sobs at first were excessive, and then
by degrees calmed and quieted and ceased. They were quite
still before Juanita finished; and when they rose up from
their knees Daisy's face was composed again. Then she came and
stood with her hand on Juanita's shoulder, both of them
silent; till Daisy put her lips to the fine olive-dark cheek
of the old woman and kissed it. Juanita drew her into her
arms, and Daisy sat there, nestling and tired.

"Can Miss Daisy trust the Lord?"

"Trust Him, — how, Juanita."

"That He do no harm to His little child."

"Oh, it isn't _me_, Juanita —" Daisy said, with a very tender
and sad accent.

"When Joseph — my love knows the story — when he was sold away
from his father and home, to be servant of strangers far off —
maybe he thought it was hard times. But the Lord meant it for
good, and the father and the child came together again, in a
happy day."

Daisy rose up, or rather raised her head, and looked steadily
in her friend's face as if to see what this might mean.

"The Lord knoweth them that trust in Him," said the black
woman.

Daisy's head went down again; and there was a long silence. It
was broken at last by Juanita's offering her some refreshment;
and then Daisy started up to the business on hand. She
explained to Juanita where she was staying, and what she had
that morning to do. Meanwhile Juanita made her take some bread
and milk.

"So how much must I get, Juanita? can you tell me? how much
for two little frocks, and two little petticoats, and one suit
of boy's clothes?"

"My love knows, it must be accordin' to the stuff. If the
stuff narrow, she want more; if wide, she want less."

"Then you cannot tell me; — and Mrs. Sandford could not
either. And I cannot tell. What shall I do?"

"Mrs. Sandford maybe get the things for Miss Daisy."

"No, she must not. Dr. Sandford wants me to do it. I must get
them, Juanita."

"H'm! Suppose I put up my irons and walk round to the village
— and Miss Daisy go in her shay."

"To the store!" cried Daisy. "Oh, yes, Juanita; get ready, and
I will take you with me. Then you can tell me all about it."

Juanita demurred and objected to this proposal, but Daisy was
greatly pleased and would have it so. Mrs. Benoit put up her
ironing work, and arrayed her head in a new clean bright
handkerchief, wonderfully put on; she was ready then; and Sam
grinned to see the tall fine figure of the old coloured woman
sitting in the pony-chaise by the side of his little mistress.
It was as good to Daisy as anything could have been, that day.
They drove into Crum Elbow, went to the store; and there she
and Juanita had a pretty large morning's business in choosing
the various goods Dr. Sandford had desired Daisy to get. Daisy
got excited over it. Calico for a little frock, and muslin for
the underclothes, and stuff for the boy's jacket and trousers
and shirt; Juanita knew the quantities necessary, and Daisy
had only the trouble of choice and judgment of various kinds.
But that was a great responsibility, seeing she was doing it
for Dr. Sandford. It took a good while. Then Daisy drove
Juanita home again, gave her another kiss, and with her
carriage load of dry goods, and a tired and hungry little
body, went home to Mrs. Sandford's.

It was then pretty late in the day, and the doctor not come
in. Daisy dressed, and went down to the drawing-room to wait
for him. Not long this time. There was a certain air of calm
strength about Dr. Sandford's face and cool blue eye, that
Daisy loved; she felt she loved it now, as she saw him come
in; she trusted him. He spoke first to his brother and sister;
then came where Daisy was standing, sat down on the sofa and
placed her beside him.

"I have no bad news for you, Daisy," he said, kindly, — "and
not the good news neither that you are looking for. Your
father is no worse, though it will require several days to let
him recover from the immediate effects of his accident. The
quieter he is meanwhile the better."

"And mamma — she said? —"

"She said — yes, you have guessed it; she would like to have
you remain here for a few days longer. She thinks you are
better under my care than under hers."

"Under _my_ care, I think it is," said Mrs. Sandford.

"Can you bear it, Daisy?"

She looked up meekly, and answered, "Yes, Dr. Sandford." So
meekly that the doctor's eye took special note of her.

"Have you been to Crum Elbow to-day?"

"Yes, sir. I got all the things."

"All of them?"

"Yes, sir."

"What reward shall I give you?"

She had been speaking with a sad meekness, a sober self-
restraint, unlike her years. If Dr. Sandford meant to break it
up, which I think he did, he had partial success. Daisy looked
up and smiled at him. But yet it was a meek smile, and sad
even in its composed denial of any notion of reward. Not
satisfactory to the doctor.

"I always repay anybody that does me any service," he went on.

"Ought one always to do that?" said Daisy.

"What is your judgment?"

"I think _everybody_ could not."

"Why not?"

"Some people have nothing to pay with, — for things that are
done for them."

"I do not believe that."

"_Some_ people, Dr. Sandford?"

"Whom do you know in that condition — for instance?"

"Why, I — for instance."

"You! What cannot you pay for?"

"A great many things," said Daisy, slowly. "Hardly anything. I
am only a child."

"How is it about Molly Skelton? Does she pay you for the
various attentions she receives from you?"

"Pay me, Dr. Sandford! I do not want pay."

"You are very unlike me, then," said the doctor; "that is all
I have to say."

"Why, Dr. Sandford, what pay could she give me?"

"Don't you get any, then?"

"Why, no, sir," said Daisy, eagerly answering the doctor's
blue eye. "Except — yes, of course, I get a sort of pay; but
Molly does not — yes she does give it to me; but I mean, she
does not mean to pay me."

The doctor smiled, one of those rare pleasant smiles, that
showed his white teeth in a way that Daisy liked; it was only
a glimmer.

"What sort of pay is that? — which she gives, and does not
mean to give, and you take and do not ask for?"

"Oh! — _that_ sort of pay!" said Daisy. "Is it that sort you
mean, Dr. Sandford?"

"That is one sort."

"But I mean, is it the sort that you always give, you say?"

"Always, when people deserve it. And then, do you not think it
is natural to wish to give them, if you can, some other sort
of pay?"

"I think it is," said Daisy, sedately.

"I am glad you do not disapprove of it."

"But I do not think people _want_ that other kind of pay, Dr.
Sandford."

"Perhaps not. I suppose it is a selfish gratification of
oneself to give it."

Daisy looked so earnestly and so curiously at him, as if to
see what all this was about, that the doctor must have had
good command of his lips not to smile again.

They went in to dinner just then and the conversation stopped.
But though not talked to, Daisy was looked after; and when she
had forgotten all about dinner, and was thinking mournfully of
what was going on at home, a slice of roast beef or a nice
peach would come on her plate with a word from the doctor —
"You are to eat that, Daisy" — and though he said no more,
somehow Daisy always chose to obey him. At last they went into
the drawing-room again, and were drinking coffee. Daisy was
somewhat comforted; she thought Dr. Sandford did not act as if
there were anything very dreadful the matter at home.

"Daisy," said the doctor, "you have done work for me to-day —
would you object to be paid?"

Daisy looked up smiling; it dependied on what the pay might
be, she thought; but she said nothing.

"Would it be violently against your principles?"

"I do not want pay, Dr. Sandford."

"Not if I were to offer to give you a sight of those little
baskets on the frond of the Marchantia?"

Daisy's face all changed; but she said in the quietest manner,
"Can you do that, Dr. Sandford?"

"Come with me."

He held out his hand, which Daisy willingly took, and they
went upstairs together. Just short of her room the doctor
stopped, and turned into his own. This was a very plain
apartment; there was no beauty of furniture, though it struck
Daisy there was a great deal of something. There were boxes,
and cabinets, and shelves full of books and boxes, and book-
cases, and one or two tables. Yet it was not a pretty-looking
room, like the others in Mrs. Sandford's house. Daisy was a
little disappointed. The doctor, however, gave her a chair,
and then brought one of the unlikely deal boxes to the table
and opened it. Daisy forgot everything. There appeared a
polished, very odd brass machine, which the doctor took out
and spent some time in adjusting. Daisy patiently looked on.

"Do you know what this is, Daisy?"

"No, sir."

"It is a microscope. And looking through this, you will see
what you could not see with your two eyes alone; there are
some strong magnifying glasses here — and I found to-day some
plants of Marchantia growing in a sheltered place. Here is one
of the baskets for you —"

"Is it on that bit of green leaf?"

"Yes, but you can see nothing there. Try this view."

He stood back and helped Daisy to take a kneeling position in
her chair, so that her eye could reach the eye-piece of the
microscope. Daisy looked, took her eye away to give a
wondering glance of inquiry at her friend's face, and then
applied it to the microscope again; a pink hue of delight
actually spreading over her poor little pale cheeks. It was so
beautiful, so wonderful. Again Daisy took her eye away to
examine out of the glass the coarse little bit of green leaf
that lay upon the stand; and looked back at the show in the
microscope with a bewitched mind. It seemed as if she could
never weary of looking from one to the other. The doctor bade
her take her own time, and Daisy took a good deal.

"What stuffs did you buy this morning?" the doctor asked.

Daisy drew back from the microscope.

"I got all you told me, sir?"

"Exactly. I forget what that was."

"I bought a little piece of red and green linsey-woolsey for a
frock for the little girl — and some brown strong stuff for
the boy's suit; and then white muslin to make things for the
girl, and blue check for the boy's shirt."

"Just right. Did your money hold out?"

"Oh, I had three dollars and two shillings left, Dr. Sandford.
Two shillings and sixpence, I believe."

"You did well." The doctor was arranging something else in the
microscope. He had taken out the bit of liverwort.

"I had Juanita to help me," said Daisy.

"How do you suppose I am going to get all those things made
up?" said the doctor.

"Won't Mrs. Sandford attend to it?"

"Mrs. Sandford has her own contribution to attend to. I do not
wish to give her mine too."

"Cannot the children's mother make the things?"

The doctor's lip curled in funny fashion.

"They have no mother, I think. There is an old aunt, or
grandmother, or something, that does _not_ take care of' the
children. I shall not trust the business certainly to her."

Daisy wondered a little that Mrs. Sandford, who was so good-
natured, could not do what was needful; but she said nothing.

"I think I shall turn over the whole thing in charge to you,
Daisy."

"But, Dr. Sandford, what can _I_ do?"

"Drive down with me to-morrow and see how big the children
are, and then have the things made."

"But I am afraid I do not know enough."

"I dare say you can find out. _I_ do not know enough — that is
very certain; and I have other things to attend to besides
overseeing mantua-makers."

"Our seamstress could do it, — if I could see her."

"Very well, then some other seamstress can. Now, Daisy — you
may look at this."

"What a beautiful thing! But what is it, Dr. Sandford?"

"What does it look like?"

"It does not look like anything that I ever saw."

"It is a scale from a butterfly's wing."

"Why, it is as large as a small butterfly," said Daisy.

The doctor showed her where the little scale lay, so little
that she could hardly see it out of the glass; and Daisy went
back to the contemplation of its magnified beauty with immense
admiration. Then her friend let her see the eye of a bee, and
the tongue of a fly, and divers other wonders, which kept
Daisy busy until an hour which was late for her. Busy and
delightfully amused.


CHAPTER XXXIX.

BREAKING UP.


One day passed after another, and Daisy looked longingly for
her summons home, and still she did not receive it. Her fears
and agonies were somewhat quieted; because Dr. Sandford
assured her that her father was getting better; but he never
said that her father was well, or that he had not been very
ill. Daisy knew that the matter had been very serious that had
prevented her being at Melbourne all these days. Her
imaginings of evil were doubtful and dim; but it seemed to her
that her father himself would have commanded her presence in
all ordinary circumstances; and a doubt like an ice-wind
sometimes swept over her little spirit, whether he could be
too ill to know of her absence! No word that could be said
would entirely comfort Daisy while this state of things
lasted; and it was very well for her that she had a wise and
energetic friend watching over her welfare, in the meanwhile.
If business could keep her from pining and hinder her from too
much imagining, Dr. Sandford took care that she had it. He
contrived that she should indeed oversee the making of the
dresses for the poor children, and it was a very great charge
for Daisy. A great responsibility; it lay on her mind for
days, and gave occasion for a number of drives to Crum Elbow
and to Juanita's cottage. Then at evening, after hearing her
report progress, the doctor would take Daisy up to his room
and show her many a wonder and beauty that little Daisy had
never dreamed of before; and the friendship between the two
grew closer than ever.

"Grant, you are a good fellow!" said Mrs. Sandford one night.
"I do not know what I should do with that child, if it were
not for you."

"You would do nothing. She would not be here if it were not
for me."

"I do not suppose, however, that your care for her is dictated
by a conscientious regard for that fact. It is good of you."

"She is my patient, Mrs. Sandford."

"Yes, yes; _im_patient would be the word with some young men."

"I am glad you do not class me with such young men."

"Well, no child ever gave less cause for impatience, I will
say that. Nor had more. Poor child! How she looks at you every
day when you come home! But I suppose you doctors get hard
hearts."

Dr. Sandford's lips curled a little into one of the smiles
that Daisy liked, but he said nothing.

Daisy did look hard at her friend those days, but it was only
when he came home. So she was not expecting anything the next
morning when he said to her, "Daisy — will you take a ride
with me?"

Daisy looked up. The doctor was sitting by the breakfast-
table, poring over a newspaper. Breakfast was done, and Daisy
herself busy with a book. So she only answered, "If you
please, Dr. Sandford."

"Where shall we go?"

Daisy looked surprised. "I supposed you had business, sir."

"So I have. I am going to visit a patient. Perhaps you would
like to make the visit with me."

"To one of your patients, Dr. Sandford?"

"Yes, one. Not more than one. But I think that one would like
to see you."

A light came into Daisy's face, and colour started upon her
cheeks, almost painfully.

"Dr. Sandford — do you mean—"

"I think so, Daisy," said her friend, quietly. "It will do no
harm, — if you are a good child."

He was so quiet, that it stilled Daisy's feeling, which else
might have been impetuous. There was danger of that, as the
child's eye and cheek bore witness. But she only said, "I'll
get ready, Dr. Sandford —" and went off in orderly style till
she reached the hall, and was out of sight. Then Daisy's feet
made haste up the stairs. In three minutes she was back again,
with her hat and gloves in her hand.

The doctor threw down his newspaper and drew her up to him.

"Daisy, can you be quiet?"

"I think so, Dr. Sandford."

"I think so too; therefore I tell you beforehand that I wish
it. Your father has not fully recovered his strength yet; and
it would not be good for him to be excited. You will be very
glad to see him, and he will be very glad to see you; that is
quite enough; and it would be too much, if you were to show
him how glad you are."

Daisy said nothing, but she thought within herself she could
not do that!

"Can you command yourself, Daisy?"

"I will try, Dr. Sandford."

"You _must_ do it — for my sake," added the doctor.

"Dr. Sandford," said Daisy, "was that what you meant?"

"When?"

"When you said, if I was a good child?"

"It must have been that I meant, I think. I could have said it
in no other connection."

"The pony-chaise, ma'am, for Miss Randolph —" said a servant
at the door.

"The chaise may go away again, Daisy, I suppose," said Mrs.
Sandford. "You will not want it."

"Yes, she will," said the doctor, — "to drive to Melbourne.
Go, Daisy, since you are ready; I will follow you. That little
waddling fellow can be overtaken without any great
difficulty."

"Do you want me to drive slowly, sir?"

"Not at all," said the doctor; "only drive well, for I shall
come and see."

If ever a little pride in her driving accomplishments had
lodged in Daisy's mind, she certainly did not feel it that
afternoon. She drove without knowing very well how she drove;
she did not think of Dr. Sandford's criticism, or admiration;
what she thought of, was the miles of the road to Melbourne.

They were not very many, and unconsciously the eager spirit in
Daisy's fingers made itself known to Loupe's understanding,
through the medium of the reins. He travelled better than
usual, so that they were not more than half way from Melbourne
when the doctor's gig overtook them. And then Loupe went
better yet.

"Remember, Daisy, and keep quiet —" said the doctor, as he
took her out of the chaise. Daisy trembled, but she followed
him steadily through the hall and up the stairs, and into her
father's room. Then she went before him, yet even then she
went with a moderated step, and stood by her father's couch at
last, silent and breathless. Breathless with the very effort
she made to keep silent and quiet. With excitement too; for
Mr. Randolph was looking feeble and pale, more than Daisy had
ever seen him, and it frightened her. He was not in bed, but
on a sofa; and as Daisy came to his side he put out his arm
and drew his little daughter close to him. Without a word at
first and Daisy stooped her lips to his, and then stood hiding
her face on his shoulder; perfectly quiet, though trembling
with contained emotion, and not daring to say anything, lest
she should say too much.

"Daisy," said her father, — "Daisy, — do you know I have been
ill?"

There was a little, little tone of surprise or disappointment
in the voice. Daisy felt it, knew it, but what could she do?
She was afraid to speak, to say anything. She turned her face
a little to Dr. Sandford; he saw an agony struggling in the
eye that appealed to him. This was not what he wanted.

"She knows it almost too well," he said, coming to the rescue;
"I have been her gaoler all these days; — a severe one."

"Are you glad to see me, Daisy?" said Mr. Randolph.

Daisy half raised herself, half glanced at his face, and
turning from him threw herself upon Dr. Sandford's arm with a
cry, and gave way to a deep passion of weeping. Deep and
still; her sobs could not but be heard, but they were kept
under as much as the heaving of that little breast could bear.
Mr. Randolph's pale face flushed; and the doctor saw that his
precautions had been too good.

"Why, Daisy!" he said, lightly, "is this your self-command?"

"Let me have her —" said Mr. Randolph. "Self-command is a good
thing, doctor; but people may have too much of it."

And getting hold of Daisy's hand, which the doctor brought
within his reach, he again drew the sobbing child to his
breast and folded her close in both his arms. The sobs were
very soon hushed; but during all the rest of the doctor's
visit, and through all the conversation that took place, Daisy
and her father never changed their position. The conversation
indeed was not much, being confined to a few quiet questions
and answers and remarks; and then Dr. Sandford took his
departure, leaving Daisy very unconscious of his movements. He
only waved his hand to Mr. Randolph, with a smile at Daisy who
did not see him.

"Daisy — my darling —" said Mr. Randolph, when he was gone.

"Papa! —" came in a whisper.

"What is the matter?"

Daisy lifted her face from its resting-place and kissed, with
kisses that were like velvet, first one side of her father's
mouth, and then the other.

"Papa — Dr. Sandford told me I must keep quiet."

"Well, you shall," said Mr. Randolph. "That is right enough.
You shall keep quiet, and I will go to sleep."

So he did. But he did not loose his hold of Daisy; and she
lay, still as happiness could make her, with her head upon his
breast. She knew, she was conscious, that he must be very
feeble yet, to go to sleep in that way; but she was with him
again, and in his arms, and her heart was so full of joy that
it could do nothing but overflow in silent thanksgivings and
prayers. Daisy would not have stirred till he did, no matter
how long it might have been; but there came an interruption. A
door opened, and Mrs. Randolph appeared on the threshold, and
so soon as she saw Daisy, beckoned her to come to another
room. Mr. Randolph's arms had relaxed their hold somewhat, and
Daisy obeyed the signal, and left him.

Her mother wanted then to know all the story of her days at
Mrs. Sandford's; and Daisy had a good deal to tell. That is,
Mrs. Randolph's questionings made it so. Daisy herself would
not have had it a long story. Then she must see June, and
Joanna; and then came dinner. It was not till the afternoon
was well passed that the call came for her to go to her father
again. Daisy had watched and waited for it; her mother had
forbidden her to go in without it. At last she was sent for,
and Daisy sprang away.

Mrs. Randolph was there.

"No noise! — remember," she said, lifting her finger as Daisy
came in. Daisy came near slowly. Her father held out his hand
to her, and folded her in his arms again.

"You are such a noisy child!" he said, — "your mother does
wisely to warn you."

"She is an excitable child," — said Mrs. Randolph; — "and I
think you want warning too."

"We will keep each other quiet," said Mr. Randolph.

The lady looked on, with what seemed a doubtful eye. Nobody
watched it. Her husband's eyes were often closed; Daisy's
little head lay on his breast, quiet enough, unless when she
moved it to give soft noiseless kisses to her father's cheek.
They remained so a good while, with scarce any word spoken;
and Mrs. Randolph was busy at her tetting. The light faded;
the evening drew on.

"It is time for Daisy's tea." It was the first thing that
broke a long silence.

"She and I will have it together," said Mr. Randolph.

"Will that be best for you, Mr. Randolph?"

"I hope so."

"I doubt it."

"Most things in this world are doubtful," said Mr. Randolph;
"but we will try."

"Will you choose to have tea now, then?"

"Now? — no."

"This is Daisy's time."

"Very well. She must wait for my time."

Not a word did Daisy say; only little alternate throbs of joy
and fear, as her father or her mother spoke, passed through
her heart. Mrs. Randolph gave it up; and there was another
hour of quiet, very sweet to Daisy. Then lights were brought,
and again Mrs. Randolph proposed to have the tea served; but
again Mr. Randolph negatived her proposal; and things remained
as they were. At last Mrs. Randolph was summoned to preside at
the tea-table downstairs; for even now there were one or two
guests at Melbourne. Then there was a stir in the room
upstairs. The tray came with Mr. Randolph's supper; and Daisy
had the delight of sharing it, and of being his attendant in
chief. He let her do what she would; and without being
unquiet, Daisy and her father enjoyed themselves over that
entertainment.

"Now I think I could bear a little reading," said Mr.
Randolph, as he laid his head back on his couch.

"What, papa?" said Daisy, a sudden hope starting into some
dark corner of her heart, almost without her knowing it.

"What? — what you please."

"Shall I read what I like, papa?"

"Yes. If I do not like it, I will tell you."

Daisy ran away and flew through the rooms to her own, and
there hastily sought her Bible. She could not wait to get
another; she took her own and ran back softly with it. Her
father's languid eye watched the little white figure coming
towards him, book in hand; the gentle, eager step, the slight
flush on the cheek; till she took her seat beside him.

"What have you got there, Daisy?" he asked.

"Papa — my Bible."

"Well — what are you going to read?"

"I don't know, papa —" said Daisy, doubtfully. What would come
next?

"Do you remember your picture, the 'Game of Life'?"

"Yes, papa."

"Do you remember your talk about good and evil spirits?"

"Yes, sir."

"Find me the grounds of your philosophy."

Daisy thought what that might mean, and guessed at it. She
turned to the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew, a favourite
chapter, and read the parable of the sheep and the goats. The
servant had withdrawn; Daisy and her father were alone. There
was a moment's pause when she had done.

"Is that all?" said Mr. Randolph.

"That is all of _this_, papa."

"There is nothing there about the rejoicings of the good
spirits," — said Mr. Randolph.

Daisy's fingers trembled, she hardly knew why, as she turned
over the leaves to find the place. Her father watched her.

"Are you sure it is there, Daisy?"

"Oh, yes, papa — it is in the story of the man with a hundred
sheep — I will find it directly."

So she did, and read the parable in the fifteenth chapter of
Luke. Her father listened with shut eyes, while the child's
voice gave the words in a sort of sweet clear gravity.

" 'Then drew near unto Him all the publicans and sinners for to
hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This
man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. And he spake this
parable unto them, saying, What man of you, having an hundred
sheep, in he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and
nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until
he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his
shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth
together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice
with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto
you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that
repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which
need no repentance. Either what woman having ten pieces of
silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and
sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? And
when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her
neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found
the piece which I had lost. Likewise I say unto you, there is
joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that
repenteth.' "

There Daisy stopped, and there was silence. Presently her
father opened his eyes. He saw that hers were full, but they
were not looking at her book, neither at him; they were gazing
away at the light, with an intent, very serious expression.

"Daisy! —" said her father.

She came back instantly to a sweet happy look at him.

"What were you studying?"

"Papa! — I was thinking —"

"What were you thinking."

"I was thinking, papa," said Daisy, unwillingly, — "how
strange it is that anybody should try to _hide himself from
God_."

She started a little and rose up, for her mother stood on the
other side of the light now. Mrs. Randolph's voice was a note
belonging to another chord.

"Daisy, it is your bedtime."

"Yes, mamma."

Mr. Randolph made no attempt to hinder his wife's arrangements
this time. Daisy exchanged a very tender good-night with him
and then went away. But she went away very happy. She thought
she saw good days coming.

There were good days that followed — that one, for a while.
Daisy's readings and sweet companionship with her father were
constant, and grew sweeter as he grew stronger. But the
strengthening process was not rapid. About a fortnight had
passed, when Mrs. Sandford one day made enquiry about it of
her brother-in-law.

"Slow work —" said the doctor.

"He will get over it, won't he?"

"I hope he will."

"But cannot anything be done for him, Grant?"

"He is going to do the best thing. He is going to Europe."

"To Europe! — This winter?"

"Now, in a few weeks, or less."

"It will be good for your pet Daisy."

"Doubtfully —" said the doctor, with a very complicated
expression of face; but he was taking off his boot at the
moment, and maybe it pinched him. "She will not go."

"Not go! Daisy! Does not her mother go?"

"Yes."

"And not Daisy? Why not Daisy."

"She gives so much trouble —" said the doctor.

"Trouble! — I thought her parents were so fond of her."

"Mr. Randolph is unequal to any agitation; and Mrs. Randolph
regulates everything."

"But wouldn't it be good for Daisy?"

"I think so."

"Poor child! What will they do with her?"

"Send her to a Southern plantation, under care of a governess,
as I understand."

"It will half kill Daisy," said Mrs. Sandford.

"It takes a great deal to kill people," said the doctor.

"I do not know how to believe you," said the lady. "Is it all
fixed and settled, Grant?"

"They leave Melbourne next week."



THE END



BUTLER & TANNER, THE SELWOOD PRINTING WORKS, FROME, AND
LONDON





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