Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: A Flight with the Swallows - Little Dorothy's Dream
Author: Marshall, Emma, 1830-1899
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 "A Flight with the Swallows - Little Dorothy's Dream" ***

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



A FLIGHT WITH THE
SWALLOWS

_Or, Little Dorothy's Dream_

BY

EMMA MARSHALL

_Author of "Poppies and Pansies," "Silver Chimes," etc., etc_


  [Illustration: Swallow]


LONDON
S. W. PARTRIDGE AND CO
8 & 9 PATERNOSTER ROW


  [Illustration: "YOU ARE THE YOUNG CANON." _p._ 13.]



Contents.

  Chap.                    Page

     I. DOROTHY'S DREAM       7
    II. PREPARATION          12
   III. OFF AND AWAY         20
    IV. NINO                 27
     V. ONLY A DOG           35
    VI. THE VILLA LUCIA      40
   VII. VILLA FIRENZE        48
  VIII. DOROTHY'S LESSONS    55
    IX. LOST                 66
     X. IN THE SHADOWS       72
    XI. WHAT FOLLOWED        82
   XII. THE LOST FOUND       89



A FLIGHT WITH THE SWALLOWS.



CHAPTER I.

DOROTHY'S DREAM.


In a deep window seat, hidden by crimson curtains from the room beyond,
a little girl was curled up, looking out upon a trim garden, where the
first autumn leaves were falling one September afternoon. The view was
bounded by a high wall, and above the wall, the east end of Coldchester
Cathedral stood up a dark mass against the pale-blue sky. Every now and
then a swallow darted past the window, with its forked tail and whitish
breast; then there was a twittering and chirping in the nests above, as
the swallows talked to each other of their coming flight. Little Dorothy
was an only child; she had no brothers and sisters to play with; thus
she made playmates of her two fluffy kittens, who were lying at her
feet; and she made friends of the twittering swallows and the chattering
jackdaws, as they flew in and out from the cathedral tower, and lived in
a world of her own.

The position of an only child has its peculiar pleasures and privileges;
but I am inclined to think that all little girls who have brothers and
sisters to play with are more to be envied than little Dorothy. To be
sure, there was no one to want Puff and Muff but herself; no one to
dispute the ownership of Miss Belinda, her large doll; no one to say
it was her turn to dust and tidy Barton Hall, the residence of Miss
Belinda; no one to insist on his right to spin a top or snatch away the
cup and ball just when the critical moment came, and the ball was at
last going to alight on the cup.

Dorothy had none of these trials; but then she had none of the pleasures
which go with them; for the pleasure of giving up your own way is in
the long run greater than always getting it; and it is better to have
a little quarrel, and then "make it up" with a kiss and confession of
fault on both sides, than never to have any one to care about what _you_
care for, and no one to contradict you!

As little Dorothy watched the swallows, and listened to their conversation
above her head, she became aware that some one was in the drawing-room,
and was talking to her mother.

She was quite hidden from view, and she heard her name.

"But how can I take little Dorothy?"

"Easily enough. It will do her no harm to take flight with the swallows."

"You don't think _she_ is delicate?" she heard her mother exclaim, in a
voice of alarm. "Oh, Doctor Bell, you don't think Dorothy is delicate?"

"No, she is very well as far as I see at present, but I think her life
is perhaps rather too dreamy and self-absorbed. She wants companions;
she wants variety."

Dr. Bell knew he was venturing on delicate ground.

"Dorothy is very happy," Mrs. Acheson said, "very happy. Just suppose
San Remo does not suit her, does not agree with her; then think of the
journey!"

"My dear madam, the journey is as easy in these days as if you could
fly over on the backs of the swallows--easier, if anything. You ask my
serious advice, and it is this, that you lose no time in starting for
San Remo or Mentone."

"San Remo is best," said Mrs. Acheson, "for I have a friend who has a
house there, and she will be there for the winter."

"Very well; then let me advise you to be quick in making your
preparations. I shall call again this day week, and expect to find you
are standing, like the swallows, ready for flight. Look at them now on
the coping of the old wall, talking about their departure, and
settling."

When Dr. Bell was gone, Mrs. Acheson sat quietly by the fire, thinking
over what he had said. She had tried to persuade herself that her cough
was better, that if she kept in the house all the winter it would go
away. She had felt sure that in this comfortable room, out of which her
bed-room opened, she must be as well as in Italy or the south of France.
Dr. Bell was so determined to get his own way, and it was cruel to turn
her out of her home. And then Dorothy, little Dorothy! how hard it would
be for her to leave Puff and Muff, and her nursery, and everything in
it. And what was to be done about Nino, the little white poodle, and----

A host of objections started up, and Mrs. Acheson tried to believe that
she would make a stand against Dr. Bell, and stay in Canon's House all
the winter.

Meantime little Dorothy, who had been lying curled up as I have
described, had heard in a confused way much of what Dr. Bell said.
"A flight with the swallows." The swallows, her uncle, Canon Percival,
had told her, flew away to sunshine and flowers; that the cold wind in
England gave them the ague, and that they got all sorts of complaints,
and would die of hunger, or cramp, or rheumatism if they stayed in
England!

"As easy a journey as if you were on a swallow's back," the doctor had
said; and Dorothy was wondering who could be small enough to ride on a
swallow's back, when she heard a tap at the window, a little gentle tap.

"Let me in, let me in," said a small voice, which was like a chirp or a
twitter, rather than a voice.

And then Dorothy turned the old-fashioned handle which closed the lower
square of the lattice window, and in came the swallow. She recognised it
as one she knew--the mother-bird from the nest in the eaves.

"Come to the sunny South," it said. "Come to the sunny South."

"I can't, without mother," Dorothy said.

"Oh yes, you can. Get on my back."

"I am much too big. I am nearly eight years old."

The swallow twittered, and it sounded like a laugh.

"You are not too big; just get on."

And then the swallow turned its tail towards little Dorothy; and, to her
surprise, she saw her hands were tiny hands as she put them round the
swallow's neck, and tucked a pair of tinier feet under its wings.

"Are you ready?" said the swallow.

"I don't know. Stop--I----"

But in another minute she was flying through the air on the swallow's
back. Over the great cathedral tower, over the blue hills, away, away.
Presently there was water beneath, dancing and sparkling in the western
sunshine; then there were boats and ships, looking so tiny. Everything
did look so small. Then it grew dark, and Dorothy was asleep--she felt
she was asleep--and presently the swallow put her down on something very
soft, and there was a great light, and she sat up and found herself, not
in the sunny South, but on her mother's knee by the bright fire in the
drawing-room.

"Why, Dorothy, you are quite cold," her mother said. "I did not know you
were curled up in the window seat, and so fast asleep."

"Why, mother," said Dorothy, rubbing her eyes and giving a great yawn,
"I thought I was flying off to the sunny South with the swallows. How
funny!" she exclaimed. "It was, after all, a dream! I heard Dr. Bell
talking about your taking flight with the swallows, and then I thought
I got ever so wee and tiny, and then the old mother-swallow carried me
off. _Are_ you going to fly off with the swallows, mother, to the sunny
South?"

  [Illustration: Swallows]



CHAPTER II.

PREPARATION.


"Well, Dorothy Dormouse!" exclaimed Canon Percival, when he came into
the drawing-room after dinner that evening.

"Don't call me Dorothy Dormouse, Uncle Crannie."

"Oh, but we call people what they are; and when little girls roll up
into a ball, and sleep away their time, they are like nothing so much
as--dormice."

"Mother has been telling you at dinner all about my dream, Uncle Crannie.
I know she has, else how do you know?"

"Oh, perhaps one of the swallows told me. I say, Dorothy, I have to talk
seriously to you for once. I am not joking this time."

Dorothy looked up in her uncle's face, and saw that he really did look
grave--almost sad.

"Before mother comes into the room, I want to tell you that Dr. Bell
thinks her cough is a bad cough, and that Coldchester is not the right
place for her to live in during the winter months. So poor Uncle Crannie
will be left alone all the long winter, and you must go with mother and
Ingleby to the sunny South--to Italy; think of that!"

"I don't want to go," said Dorothy. "I mean--I mean I don't want to
leave Puff and Muff and old Nino, and----"

"Poor old Uncle Crannie; but, my dear little niece, this is not a
question of what you _like_ or what you _want_. It is a question of what
is _right_ to do. Perhaps, little Dorothy, neither mother nor I have
taught you enough the meaning of the word duty. It means, what you owe
to others of service or love. Now, you owe it to your mother to be as
merry and happy as a bird; and, after all, many little girls would jump
for joy to be off to San Remo."

Dorothy was silent. "How long will it take to get there," she asked--"to
the sunny South?"

"Well, you won't go quite as fast as the swallows, but I daresay we
shall get there in less than a week; it depends upon the weather, and
upon how your mother bears the journey. You must ask God to-night to
bless your dear mother, and to make you a very good, helpful little
daughter to her. Will you do this?"

"Yes," Dorothy said--"yes, Uncle Crannie. Why won't you stay with us
there all the time?"

"Well! the cathedral might run away if I was not here to prevent it; and
what would the old Canons do if I deserted them?"

"You are the young Canon, I know," Dorothy said. "Ingleby says that's
what you are called."

"Ah!" said the Canon, rubbing his bald head, "there are degrees of
comparison, and I am afraid it is old, older, olderer, and oldest, in
the cathedral chapter. But I wanted to tell you that at San Remo you
will have playfellows--nice little girls and boys, who are living there
with their grandmother; and that is what we cannot find for you in
Coldchester."

"I don't want any little girls and boys," Dorothy said. "I shan't play
with them."

"Oh, nonsense! you will learn to play with them--Hoodman Blind, and Tom
Tickler's ground; won't that be jolly?"

Dorothy made no response, and her mother coming into the room, with her
shawl wrapped closely round her, she slipped down from her uncle's knee
and took up her position at her mother's feet, with one of the kittens
in her lap, saying--

"Read, mother; please read."

"Your mother can't read to-night, Dorothy," said the Canon, who had
taken up the _Times_. "She has coughed so much to-day, and is very
hoarse."

Dorothy pouted, and her mother, clearing her throat, said--

"Oh, I will try to finish the chapter we left unfinished last night.
That will not hurt me."

It was a pity that Dorothy was so seldom denied anything. It was simply
that there was no absolute necessity for refusing her what she asked,
and she had no idea yet that giving up her own will was a sweet gift the
youngest child may offer to her Father in heaven--the Father of the dear
Lord Jesus Christ, who offered Himself in life and in death for the
sinful, sad world He came to save. So Mrs. Acheson finished the chapter
of the story, and then it was time for Dorothy to go to bed, for Ingleby
appeared at the door, and said it was past eight o'clock, and much too
late for a little girl to be in the drawing-room.

I daresay you wish to know what Dorothy was like, and as she goes up the
wide staircase of Canon's House, she makes a very pretty picture. She
had long, silky, fair hair, which was not frizzed and crimped, but hung
down to her waist, and even below it, with soft, curled ends.

As Ingleby had no other child to look after, it was natural that she
should bestow much pains on Dorothy's appearance. She wore a pretty
white cashmere frock, with a wide rose-coloured sash, her black silk
stockings fitted her legs precisely, and her dainty shoes had pretty
buckles.

Puff and Muff had been sent to bed downstairs, and only old Nino was
allowed to come into the nursery. He was a favoured dog, and slept at
the foot of his little mistress's bed.

Dorothy went slowly upstairs, heedless of Ingleby's repeated "Come, my
dear, come!" And when at last they had reached the nursery, Dorothy
seated herself in the old rocking-chair, put her head back, and swinging
gently backwards and forwards, said seriously, almost solemnly--

"Jingle"--it was her pet name for her faithful nurse--"I hate 'playmates,'
as Uncle Crannie calls them. If I go to the sunny South, I shall not
play with any one."

"Well, that will be very uncivil, my dear, though, to be sure, you are
an odd child, for when the little Miss Thompsons and Master Benson came
to tea on your last birthday, it did not seem to make you happy."

"It made me miserable," said Dorothy. Then, with a sudden impulse, she
got up, and throwing her arms round her old friend's neck, she said, "I
want nobody but you and mother, and Puff and Muff, and Nino."

Ingleby was certainly flattered by her darling's preference, and took
her on her knee and undressed her as if she were seven months, instead
of nearly eight years old, and brushed and combed the silky hair with
great pride and pleasure. Dorothy's face was rather too thin and
colourless for childhood; but her features were regular, and her large,
blue eyes, shaded by dark lashes, were really beautiful.

"She is too much of a little woman," the Miss Thompsons' mother said;
"the child wants companions, and to be roused from her dreams;" while
Master Benson went away from the birthday party declaring it was slow
and stupid, and that Dorothy was a stiff starched little thing, and he
longed to shake her!

Dorothy could not remember her father; he had died when she was scarcely
a year old, and just at that time her uncle, Canon Percival, went to
live in Canon's House, at Coldchester, and invited his sister to come
and take up her abode there, with her little girl, and Ingleby, her
nurse.

Canon Percival was a bachelor, and till Dorothy came he had never had
much to do with children. His friends pitied him, and said that for the
most part children were noisy and troublesome, and that he would find
the peace of his house disturbed. But Dorothy--Dorothy Dormouse, as
he liked to call her--set these preconceived notions at defiance. She
was quiet and gentle, and she and her uncle Cranstone--Crannie, as she
called him--were great friends. She would sit on one of the red leather
chairs by her uncle, at his great writing table, and draw pictures by
the hour of birds, and butterflies, and flowers, and portraits, too--of
Miss Belinda, and Puff and Muff, and even of her uncle himself. Then she
would walk with him to the service in the cathedral, and sit demure and
quiet while the prayers were said and the organ rolled its waves of
music overhead.

The Canon's little niece was a great favourite with the old vergers,
though they would say, one to the other, that she was too wise and
knowing for a little one.

"It all comes of being with old people. There ain't enough of young life
about her. It's a thousand pities she has not some playmate."

So it seemed, you see, a general opinion that Dorothy wanted companions;
and when she got to the sunny South the companions were ready for her.

But it took some time to prepare for flight. People can get to the south
of France and Italy very quickly, it is true; but they are not like the
swallows, who don't want any luggage, and fly with no encumbrance.

Ingleby's preparations were very extensive indeed, and Dorothy had also
a great deal in hand. She had to put Barton Hall in order, for one
thing, and to put up a notice on the door that this house was to let
furnished. Then Belinda had to have a little travelling ulster and
warm hat, like her mistress's, and Puff and Muff had to be settled
comfortably in their new quarters; for though they did not sleep in
the nursery, they were there all day, and were carried about the house
by their little mistress, while Nino trotted behind. The preparations
were an amusement to Dorothy, and she began to feel that if anything
prevented her going to the sunny South, she would feel sorry and
disappointed after all!

Ingleby grew more and more serious as the time drew near. She murmured
a good deal about "foreign parts," and once Dorothy felt sure she heard
her say something about going away to die. Could these words possibly
refer to her mother? Poor little girl! She had lived so securely with
her mother, and had never been accustomed to think of her as apart from
her own comfort and pleasure, that a sharp pain shot through her heart
as she heard Ingleby's murmured words.

Once, too, when Ingleby thought she was asleep in the inner nursery, she
heard her talking in low tones to the housemaid.

"The child has no notion that her mamma is so ill. Childlike!" said
Ingleby.

"Well, I don't call it childlike," was the reply. "Miss Dorothy is not
childlike; she is just eaten up with herself."

"She is as dear a lamb as you could find anywhere," said Ingleby,
wrathfully; "a dear, sweet lamb. I suppose you like rampaging, noisy
children, like your own brothers and sisters in your mother's farmhouse?"

"I like children," said Susan, bravely, "to think of other folks a
little, as well as themselves. But there! it's not the poor child's
fault; everyone in the house spoils her, and you are the worst of all,
Mrs. Ingleby."

"I tell you what, Susan, I'd advise you, as a friend, to mind your own
business. If you are such a blind bat as not to see what Miss Dorothy
is--well, I am sorry for you, and I can't help it."

"I did not mean any offence, I am sure," said Susan, as she left the
nursery. "As I said, it's not the child's fault; but it would be hard
lines for her if she lost her mamma, and you too, Mrs. Ingleby."

A few minutes later, Ingleby was startled by the appearance of a little
white figure in the doorway.

"Jingle," she said, in a low, choking voice, "is--my--mamma so very ill?
I want to know."

"Ill? why, no. She has got a cough which shakes her rather. But, bless
your little heart--don't, Miss Dorothy, my sweet, don't."

For, in a passion of weeping, Dorothy had thrown herself into her
nurse's arms.

"Am I such a spoiled child?--am I, Jingle?"

"You are a dear little creature; nothing could spoil you. There, there;
let me put you back to bed. Don't cry."

But Dorothy did cry, and when Ingleby had left her at last, she buried
her face in the pillow, saying over to herself--

"Oh, is my mamma so ill? Will she die? Will she die? And I am such a
spoiled child. Oh dear, oh dear! I never thought of it before--never,
never."

There are times when many older people than little Dorothy catch
suddenly, as it were, a glimpse of their true selves, and are saddened
at the sight, with what results for the future depends upon the means
they take to cure themselves of their faults.

There is but one way for the children and for those who have left
childhood far behind--only one way--to watch and pray, lest they enter
into temptation.

  [Illustration: Cat in a Basket]



CHAPTER III.

OFF AND AWAY.


The excitement of preparation for departure is always infectious, and,
however much Mrs. Acheson and little Dorothy had at first disliked the
idea of leaving home for the winter, before the actual day for saying
good-bye arrived, they were both in a measure reconciled to the coming
change.

Dorothy had packed a large box, with things she _must_ take, and Ingleby,
glad she should be so amused, did not prevent her, as she really ought
to have done; for such a strange medley as that box contained had surely
scarcely ever been collected for transportation across the Channel:
paint-boxes; new and old picture-books, coloured by her own hand;
Belinda's wardrobe--an extensive one; pencils; india-rubber; her desk;
her workbox (which last, by-the-bye, was seldom used); her "Little
Arthur's History" and "Mrs. Markham's History;" boxes of dominoes and
draughts; magnetic ducks and geese and fish; and many more things of the
like kind, which would take me far too long to enumerate.

When the luggage stood in the hall on the morning of departure, Canon
Percival shrugged his shoulders, and gave a low whistle. "As I am
courier," he said, "and must look after the luggage, I am rather alarmed
to see so many boxes. What is that old box with brass nails, Ingleby?"

"Oh, that is Miss Dorothy's, sir; she packed it herself."

"With toys, I suppose, and rubbish. No, I shall not be answerable for
that. If we take Nino and Belinda, that must suffice."

Ingleby looked doubtful. "The best way will be, sir, to get it carried
into the servants' hall before the poor child comes down; she is
breaking her heart, as it is, over Puff and Muff."

"Nonsense!" said Canon Percival, impatiently. "Dorothy must be more
reasonable; we have spoilt her long enough."

Ingleby dreaded a scene, and began to drag away the box into a remote
region behind the red baize door, hoping to get it out of sight, and out
of mind, before Dorothy and her mother appeared.

She had just succeeded, and was returning breathless, when Dorothy, with
Belinda in her arms and Nino toddling behind, came downstairs.

The luggage was packed on a fly, and Mrs. Acheson, Dorothy, and Canon
Percival drove to the station in the carriage. All the servants were
gathered in the hall, and were saying good-bye, with many wishes that
Mrs. Acheson would come back soon quite well. A little telegraph boy,
with his bag strapped across his shoulder, came gaily up to the door.
Then he took out of his bag the dark orange envelope which often sends
a thrill of fear through the hearts of those whose nearest and dearest
ones are separated from them, and handed it to Canon Percival.

"A paid answer, sir," said the messenger.

And Canon Percival, after scanning the few words, took out his pencil
and wrote--

"Yes, with pleasure."

"What is it, Cranstone? nothing wrong?"

"Oh no, only that our travelling party is to be enlarged in London.
Little Irene Packingham is to spend the winter at San Remo with her
grandmother, and the telegram is from Mrs. Baker, the child's
schoolmistress, saying Lady Burnside had telegraphed to her to
communicate with me."

"How very odd not to write! It must be a sudden determination."

"Yes; but we shall not get to Paddington, much less to San Remo, if we
dawdle about here any longer; come, make haste."

They were off at last, and at the station several friends appeared,
who came to wish them a safe journey. Ingleby and the footman had got
the luggage labelled and in the van; and Dorothy and her mother were
comfortably seated in a first-class carriage, while Canon Percival stood
by the door, exchanging a few last words with a gentleman; and then the
guard came up with the familiar question--"Any more going?" Canon Percival
jumped in, and they were gliding quietly out of the station and leaving
Coldchester far behind.

For the convenience of early crossing the English Channel the next
morning, the party were to sleep at the Charing Cross Hotel; and here,
under the charge of one of Mrs. Baker's governesses, little Irene
Packingham was waiting for them.

Dorothy's curiosity had been roused when her mother told her of a
little travelling companion, but the two children stood looking at each
other, shy and speechless, while Canon Percival and Mrs. Acheson were
engaged talking to the governess.

She was a prim, stiff-looking, elderly woman, who was the useful
governess in Mrs. Baker's school. She only taught the little girls,
looked after the servants, and met girls at the station, or, as in this
instance, accompanied one who was leaving the school.

"Irene has not been very well of late," Miss Pearce was saying; "and
Colonel Packingham seems to have written to Lady Burnside that he wished
her to spend the rest of the term till after the Christmas holidays at
San Remo. Mrs. Baker had a letter from Lady Burnside, requesting us to
prepare Irene to start with you to-morrow morning. It is very short
notice, but I hope she has her things all right."

After a few more words of a like kind, Miss Pearce said she must hasten
back to St. John's Wood, and bade her little charge good-bye.

"Good-bye, Irene; I hope you will be a very good girl, and give no
trouble; you have your keys in your pocket, and mind you keep the
comforter well round your neck on the boat."

Then a kiss was exchanged, not a very warm one on either side, and Miss
Pearce departed.

Rooms had been engaged on the upper floor of the big hotel through which
so many people pass coming and going from the Continent. The party went
up in a lift, which was a great novelty to Dorothy, who all this time
had not spoken a single word to Irene.

A little bedroom next the one which had been arranged by Ingleby for
her mistress was found for Irene. And in a very independent, methodical
way she began to lay aside her hat and jacket, take out her keys, and
unlock her small travelling-bag.

Dorothy, who had seated herself by the window, and was looking down into
the square below, watching with deep interest the rapid passing and
repassing of cabs and carriages in and out the station, did not invite
any conversation.

The contrast between the two children was a very strong one, such as we
generally notice between those who from their babyhood have been, as it
were, little citizens of the world, and those who have been brought up,
as Dorothy had been till nearly her eighth birthday, with every care and
every luxury, in a happy, quiet home.

Irene was tall for her age--nearly ten; and she had a determined
expression on her face, as if she knew there were rough places and
troubles to meet in her daily life, and that she had set herself to
overcome them. She had heard a murmur of Ingleby's--"Another child to
look after on the journey." And she was determined to give no trouble;
she had no long hair to smooth and comb, for her hair was cut short,
and her plain blue serge dress was quite free from any adornment. After
Dorothy had done with the square, she turned to watch Irene's movements,
and regarded her companion with a mingled wonder, and a feeling that was
certainly not admiration.

Presently Dorothy called to Ingleby in the next room--

"When are you coming to undress me, Jingle? and when are we to have our
tea?"

"I'll come directly, but I am busy getting your mamma's things put for
the night; she must go to bed early, and so must you."

"Where's mother?" was the next question asked.

"In the sitting-room opposite."

"I want to go to her."

"Wait a few minutes; she is lying on the sofa, and I want her to rest."

"Where's Belinda to sleep, and Nino?"

"Dear me," said Ingleby, impatiently, "I don't know; here's the cork
come out of your mamma's eau-de-Cologne flask, and everything in the
travelling basket is soaked. Dear, dear!"

Dorothy now began to snatch at the buttons of her travelling ulster, and
threw off the scarf round her neck.

"Let me help you," said Irene. "I am quite ready."

Dorothy was not very gracious, and as Irene tugged at the sleeves of the
ulster, a lock of the silky hair caught in a button, and Dorothy
screamed--

"Oh, don't! you hurt me. Oh, Jingle!"

Ingleby came running in at the cry of distress, and began to pity and
console.

"I am very sorry," Irene said, moving away to the window, where, through
the gathering haze of tears, she saw the gas-lights beginning to start
out all round the square below.

A sense of desolation oppressed her; and she wished--oh, how she wished
she had stayed at Mrs. Baker's! At first it had seemed delightful to go
to grannie, but now she thought anything was better than being where she
was not wanted. She was roused by Ingleby's voice--

"You are to have tea in the sitting-room with Mrs. Acheson. The Canon is
gone out to dine at St. Paul's Deanery; and as soon as you have had your
tea, you are to go to bed."

Dorothy, shaking back her beautiful hair, ran away to a room at the end
of the passage, never thinking of Irene, who followed her with the same
uneasy sense of "not being wanted" which is hard for us all to bear.

  [Illustration: Bay Window]



CHAPTER IV.

NINO.


Mrs. Acheson roused herself to talk to the little girls, and was kindly
anxious that Irene should not feel strange and unhappy. But Irene was
not a child to respond quickly, and Mrs. Acheson could but contrast her
with her own little Dorothy, who was so caressing and tender in her
ways, and had a gentle voice, while Irene had a quick, decided way of
speaking.

"Have you been unwell long, my dear?" Mrs. Acheson asked.

"I have had a cough, and--and father does not wish me to keep a cough,
because of mother."

"You don't remember your mother?"

"No. I have a stepmother, you know, and two little brothers."

"You will like being with your grandmamma and your cousins at San Remo.
Your grandmamma is such a dear old lady. Do you know, the thought of
being near her reconciled me to spending the winter abroad."

Irene's face brightened at this.

"I am glad you know grannie," she said. "Your cough is very bad, I am
afraid," Irene continued, as Mrs. Acheson was interrupted by a fit of
coughing.

"Mother's cough is much better," Dorothy said, hotly. "Jingle says so,
and _she_ knows better than _you_ do."

Irene made no reply to this, and soon after Ingleby came to put them
both to bed.

Irene had been too much accustomed to changes to be much affected by
this change, and as soon as her head touched the pillow, she was asleep.
But Dorothy tossed and fidgeted, and besought Ingleby not to leave her,
and persisted in holding her hand in hers, though her nurse sorely
wanted rest herself, and to get all things forward for the early start
the next morning.

At last Ingleby disengaged her hand from Dorothy's clinging clasp, and
went downstairs to cater for some supper. But her disappearance soon
roused Dorothy; she began to cry and call, "Jingle! Jingle!" This woke
Irene, who jumped out of her own bed in the next room, and coming to
her, said, "What do you want?"

"I don't want _you_," was the somewhat ungracious reply. "I want Jingle
or mother."

"Are you ill? have you a pain anywhere?" asked practical Irene.

"No, but I want Jingle. Oh dear, dear!"

"If nothing is the matter, I think you ought to go to sleep, and not
cry; it may frighten your mamma."

"It is so horrid here," said poor little Dorothy; "and I wonder how Puff
and Muff are; and I want Nino. Why did Jingle take him away? Oh dear,
dear! and there's such a buzzing noise in the street, and rumble,
rumble; oh dear!"

"Do you ever try saying hymns to get yourself to sleep?" Irene asked.
"If you like I'll repeat one, and then you can say it over when I get
back to my own bed."

Dorothy turned her face away on the pillow, and was not very encouraging;
but Irene repeated this beautiful evening hymn for a child, which I hope
all the little girls and boys who read my story know with their hearts
as well as their heads:--

  "On the dark hill's western side,
   The last purple gleam has died;
   Twilight to one solemn hue
   Changes all, both green and blue.

  "In the fold, and in the nest,
   Birds and lambs have gone to rest;
   Labour's weary task is o'er,
   Closely shut the cottage door.

  "Saviour, ere in sweet repose
   I my weary eyelids close,
   While my mother through the gloom
   Singeth from the outer room,

  "While across the curtain white,
   With a dim uncertain light,
   On the floor the faint stars shine,
   Let my latest thought be Thine.

  "'Twas a starry night of old
   When rejoicing angels told
   The poor shepherds of Thy birth,
   God became a Child on earth.

  "Soft and quiet is the bed
   Where I lay my little head;
   Thou hadst but a manger bare,
   Rugged straw for pillow fair.

  "Saviour, 'twas to win me grace
   Thou didst stoop to this poor place,
   Loving with a perfect love
   Child and man and God above.

  "Thou wast meek and undefiled:
   Make me gentle, too, and mild;
   Thou didst foil the tempter's power:
   Help me in temptation's hour.

  "Thou didst love Thy mother here,
   Make me gentle, kind, and dear;
   Thou didst mind her slightest word,
   Teach me to obey, O Lord.

  "Happy now, I turn to sleep;
   Thou wilt watch around me keep;
   Him no danger e'er can harm
   Who lies cradled in Thy arm."

When Ingleby came up, she found Dorothy sound asleep, and her arm round
Irene's neck. Both children were in profound slumber. Ingleby gently
lifted Irene and carried her back to her own room, Dorothy murmuring
as she turned round on her pillow, "Away with the swallows, off to the
sunny South."

They were off in good earnest the next morning--a bright and beautiful
morning. The sea was blue, and the sky clear; only a brisk wind chased
the waves shoreward, and gave just that motion which to good sailors is
so delightful.

There were, of course, some unhappy people who could not bear even that
gentle motion, and had to take flight to the cabin. Poor Ingleby was one
of these, and in spite of all her brave attempts to keep up, she was
obliged to leave the children to Canon Percival's care, and retreat with
her mistress to the lower regions.

Dorothy and Irene sat together on the middle seat of the deck, with
their faces to the dancing waves, over which some white birds were
darting, who had their nests in the face of the cliffs of Dover. It had
all the delightful sense of novelty to Dorothy, but Irene was already
a traveller. In a dim, dreamy way she was thinking of her voyage
home, four years before; she remembered the pain of parting with the
dark-skinned ayah, and her father's sad face, as they drew near England.


  [Illustration: "OH, WHAT A CROSS LITTLE DOGGIE!"]


Those white cliffs brought it all back to her, and she recalled how her
father said,--

"England was your dear mother's home, and she loved it, but she is in a
better home now; I must not wish her back again."

After that her life at Mrs. Baker's was dull and monotonous; going on
and on day after day, week after week, year after year, with but little
to mark the passing away of time.

Irene was not particularly attractive to strangers, and the passengers
who turned upon Dorothy admiring glances, and even, in that foolish way
some people have, exclaimed, "What a lovely child!" scarcely gave a
thought to her companion.

"A plain girl," one lady said; "they cannot be sisters!"

Then one of the ladies ventured to put her hand on Nino's head, who was
curled up under the rug which was tucked round both little girls' legs,
with his head and ears and black nose just appearing. Nino growled, and
Dorothy made a gesture as if to get a little farther away.

"Oh, what a cross little doggie!" was the remark.

"He is not cross," Dorothy said, pressing Nino closer.

"Don't you think so?" the lady said, in an offended tone. "Perhaps he
has learned of his mistress to be cross."

She laughed, but Dorothy did not laugh, or even smile.

"He is a spoiled little dog," said the younger of the two ladies,
reaching forward to give Nino another pat.

Another growl, followed this time by a snap.

"Horrid little beast!" was the next exclamation. "Children ought not to
be allowed to take pet dogs about with them, to the annoyance of other
people."

Dorothy edged away, closer and closer to Irene, who, to Dorothy's
surprise, spoke out boldly.

"Nino did not growl till you touched him," she said; "no one ought to
pat strange dogs."

"My dear, your opinion was neither asked for nor wanted," was the reply.
And Dorothy struggled from the rug, and hastened to call her uncle, who
was talking to a gentleman.

"Uncle Crannie, do come and move our seat; there are some very rude
ladies who hate Nino."

But Canon Percival was busy talking, and did not immediately listen to
Dorothy. Nino had toddled off to inspect the boat, and by some means,
how no one could quite tell, had slipped over the side of the steamer,
and was engulfed in the seething waves below. Irene saw what had
happened, and cried out,--

"Oh! Nino has fallen through that open place. Nino will be drowned."

Then poor little Dorothy, turning, saw Irene rushing to the place, and
called aloud,--

"Nino, Nino will be drowned! Nino, Nino, my Nino! will nobody save him?
Oh, Uncle Crannie, Uncle Crannie, save him!"

  [Illustration: Ferry]



CHAPTER V.

ONLY A DOG.


"It is only a dog!" the passengers on the steamer exclaimed, some with a
sigh of relief, for at first it was rumoured it was a child.

"Only a dog!" and Canon Percival said that to stop the steamer and lower
a boat was out of the question. They were much behind as it was, and
there would be barely time to catch the train to Paris.

There was no sign of Nino, and the surging waters had closed over him.
Poor Nino! Two or three fishing smacks were in sight, and almost within
speaking distance, but there was no hope of saving him.

"Only a dog!" but the heart of his little mistress felt as if it would
break. She rushed down into the cabin, and with a wild cry of distress
threw herself into her mother's arms.

"Nino! my Nino is drowned. Oh, Nino! Nino!"

Poor Ingleby roused herself from her sickness to comfort her darling.

"Oh! Miss Dorothy, perhaps it is all for the best; he would have been
unhappy, and in the way, and----"

But Dorothy refused comfort; and by the time they were in the train,
which there was a great rush to catch at Boulogne, Dorothy was exhausted
with crying, and was only too glad to be tucked up on a seat near her
mother, and soothed to sleep and forgetfulness of her trouble.

Irene felt very sorry for Dorothy, but she had never had a home and
pets, either dogs or cats; and she could not therefore enter into the
extent of Dorothy's grief. Having offered all the consolation in her
power, which had been repulsed, Irene resigned herself to a book that
Ingleby had given her out of her well-stocked basket, and before long
she, too, was asleep.

"Perhaps we can buy another white dog in Paris," Mrs. Acheson suggested
to Canon Percival.

"Oh no! that would not answer. I don't think you want any more trouble,
and if poor old Nino was troublesome sometimes, a young successor
would be certain to be ten times more troublesome. As a rule, dogs are
unwelcome visitors in other people's houses, and Lady Burnside may
dislike the race. I am sorry for Dorothy's trouble, and for the poor
little creature's end, but, as Ingleby says, there are worse sorrows
than the loss of a dog."

"I suppose he was drowned at once," Mrs. Acheson said; "I do hope he did
not struggle long for life."

"He was probably sucked under the steamer, and it would be over directly,
let us hope." Then Canon Percival pulled his travelling-cap over his
eyes, and was soon wrapped in profound slumber.

When the party arrived at Paris at Meurice's Hotel, Dorothy's tears
broke forth afresh, and she had to be conveyed to her room by poor
Ingleby, followed by Irene, who carried Miss Belinda and a number of
other miscellaneous articles.

Mrs. Acheson, tired and worn out, was forbidden by Canon Percival to
go to Dorothy, and again and again did Mrs. Acheson wish that she had
followed her brother's advice, and left poor Nino at home.

It was not till the two children were left together, after partaking of
crescent-shaped rolls and coffee, that Irene ventured to say anything to
Dorothy.

"Don't cry any more, Dorothy; it makes other people so unhappy--and,"
said Irene, wisely, "it won't bring Nino back!"

"I know that! I know that! What do you tell me _that_ for? Oh, dear! oh,
dear!"

"Well," Irene said, "I want to tell you anything which will make you try
to stop crying."

"_That_ won't," said Dorothy, crossly; "you never, _never_ had a dog;
how should _you_ know what I feel?"

"I am not thinking so much about what _you_ feel," Irene said, with
refreshing frankness; "I am thinking of your mamma, and how vexed and
grieved _she_ is about you."

At this moment a door from another room opened, and, rattling a big
bunch of keys, a pretty, bright _femme de chambre_ came in.

"Ah!" she said, in her broken English, "Ah! what pains little ma'm'selle?
Is she ill? Does she want a doctor?"

"No," Irene said; "her favourite little dog was drowned as we crossed
the sea. He fell over the edge of the steamer, and we never saw him
again."

"Ah! but that is sad; but oh! dear _petite_," the kind woman said, going
up to Dorothy, "think what grief my poor mother has, for my little
brother Antoine fell into the river when all the flowers were coming out
in May, and was dragged out cold and dead. Ah! but that was grief."

"How old was he?" Dorothy said.

"Five years old, ma'm'selle, and as lovely as an angel."

"What did your mother do?" Irene asked; "your poor mother!"

"She comforted my poor father, for it was when cutting the rushes with
him that Antoine fell into the water. She dried her eyes, and tried to
be cheerful for his, my father's, sake. The pain at her poor heart was
terrible, terrible, but she said to me, 'Jeanette, I must hide the pain
for the sake of the dear father. I only tell it to God.'"

Both the children listened to Jeanette's story with keen interest, and
Irene asked,--

"How is your poor mother now?"

"She is calm, she is quiet; she does her work for them all, and her
face has a look of peace. M. le Curé says it is the peace that comes of
bearing sorrow, as the Lord Jesus bore the cross, and that is the way
for us all; little and young, or old, it is the same. But I must go;
there is so much work, night and day, day and night. See, dear little
ma'm'selle"--and Jeanette foraged in the deep pocket of her white
apron--"here are some bon-bons, chocolate of the best; see, all shining
like silver."

She laid some round chocolate balls, covered with silver paper, in
Dorothy's hand, and said,--

"Try to sleep away your sorrow, ma'm'selle, and wake fresh and happy for
madame's sake."

"Every one tells me that," said Dorothy, "except mother. She does not
tell me I don't care for her; she does not tell me to be happy for her
sake. As if I could--could--forget my Nino!"

"No one thinks you can forget him," Irene said; "but if crying makes you
ill, and makes your mamma miserable, you should try to stop."

Dorothy began to taste the excellence of Jeanette's chocolate, and
offered some to Irene, saying,--

"That was a pretty story of Jeanette's about her poor little brother.
Didn't you think so, Irene?"

"Yes," Irene said, thoughtfully; "I hope God will comfort Antoine's poor
father."

"It's the _mother_ that cared the most--it was the mother who was so
miserable."

"Ah! but it was the father who let the little boy slip into the water;
it was a thousand times worse for him," Irene said.

  [Illustration: Nino]



CHAPTER VI.

THE VILLA LUCIA.


"Well, grannie, is she coming?--is Irene coming?"

The question was asked eagerly by a boy of nine years old, who came into
the pretty sitting-room of the Villa Lucia at San Remo, with his hands
full of pale lilac crocuses. "Is she coming, grannie dear?"

"Do not rush into the room before your sister, Willy. See, you have
knocked the basket out of her hand."

"And all my flowers are upset, grannie," said a little plaintive voice.
"Every one!"

"Pick them up, Willy; do not be so rough. Ah! look!"--for a third and
very important personage now toddled into the room, having struggled
down from his nurse's arms; and before any one could stop him, Baby Bob
had trampled on Ella's flowers, so that scarcely one was fit to present
to grannie.

Quite unrepentant, and, indeed, unheeding of the cry--"Oh! Baby Bob!
what are you doing?"--Baby Bob stumped up to grannie, and deposited in
her lap a very much crushed and flattened crocus, saying--

"Kiss me for it; it's for _you_."

"You darling!" Lady Burnside said. "Thank you. The poor little flower
is sadly squeezed; but it is a token of baby's love all the same."

"Now, grannie," exclaimed Willy, "I want to hear about the cousin,
because, you see, I never even thought about her till the other day,
and I want to be ready--what do you call it?--_prepared_ for her."

"After all, Willy," said a grave-eyed maiden of twelve, who was lying
on a couch in the window, "it won't make much difference to _you_ what
Irene is like. A rough and noisy boy like you can't expect a stranger to
put up with him as _we_ do."

"She's not a stranger," said Willy. "She is a _cousin_, and who knows?
she may like me better than anybody. She may be a jolly girl, who isn't
made of sugar and salt, like Ella!"

"I am not made of sugar and salt," pleaded Ella, who had patiently
gathered up her flowers, and was answering the call of their nurse to go
with Baby Bob to take off his jacket and hat.

"No, that's true," said Willy; "you are all salt and vinegar, no sugar.
Now, grannie, as the little ones are cleared off at last, tell me about
the cousin."

But Lady Burnside said gravely, "Willy, I wish you would try to please
me by being more considerate and gentle to your sisters."

"Ella is so whiny piny! she is always saying '_Don't_', and 'You
_shan't_!'"

"Not always, Willy. Do you remember how ready she was to give up
her turn to you to play draughts with Constance last evening? Do you
remember how kindly she helped you to find those places in the map for
Mr. Martyn?"

"Yes, grannie," Willy said. "I will go and tell her I am sorry I
have been so cross; but she _is_ provoking, and you don't know _how_
provoking."

"Well, making all allowance for that, I still think that you should
never forget you are a boy and she is a little girl, and should for that
very reason be gentle and forbearing, because it is a rule, which all
noble-hearted people recognise, that the weak should be protected by the
strong."

Willy gave his grandmother a rather rough kiss, and said,--

"I'll go and stroke Ella the right way, and _when_ I come back you
_will_ tell me about the cousin."

When Willy was gone, Constance laid down the book she had been reading,
and said,--

"I do not envy Irene Packingham coming here. Willy is an awful tease,
and if she is a prim little thing, turned out by a boarding-school, she
will have a bad time of it."

"I think you are hard upon Willy, dear Constance," was the gentle reply.
"He is a very high-spirited boy, very much like what your father was;
and then Willy has the great disadvantage of having no brother near his
own age."

"I think," said Constance, "he ought to go to school. Mr. Martyn thinks
so also, I know. It is such a pity mother is so set against schools."

"There is a reason for it, and you must remember your mother's great
grief."

"Poor Arthur's dying at school, you mean; but he was a very delicate
boy, and Willy is as strong as a horse. I wish I were strong--half as
strong! Here I lie, week after week, and my back does not get a bit
better. I had the old pain this morning when I just moved to take my
work from the little table;" and Constance's eyes filled with tears.

She was the eldest living child of Lady Burnside's eldest daughter, who
had married a gentleman high in the Civil Service in India, and who had
always lived there. As so often happens, the children could not bear
the climate after a certain age, and they had been committed to their
grandmother's care, who lived during the winter at San Remo, and of late
years had not returned to England in the summer, but had spent the hot
season in Switzerland.

The first detachment of children had been Arthur and Constance, both
very delicate. Arthur had been sent to school near London, and had died
there, to the great grief of his father and mother. He had caught a
chill after a game of cricket, and died before any of his relations
could reach him. Although no one was really to blame, poor Mrs. Montague
found it hard to think so, and she lived in perfect dread of sending
Willy to school, although he was a robust, vigorous boy.

The next detachment which came to be committed to Lady Burnside's care
were little Ella and Baby Bob. Mrs. Montague had brought them to San
Remo herself, now more than two years before this time, and with the
help of Mrs. Crawley, the old and trusted nurse, who had lived with Lady
Burnside for many years, their grandmother had been able to bear the
burden of responsibility. Constance had lately complained of a pain in
her back, and had been condemned to lie down on an invalid couch for
the greater part of the day; but Willy and the baby were as healthy as
could be desired, and Ella, although not strong, had seldom anything
really amiss. She was a gentle, sensitive child, and apt to take a low
view of herself and everybody else. But Lady Burnside did not encourage
this, and while she held Willy in check, she was too wise to let Ella
look upon herself as a martyr to her brother's teasing and boisterous
mirth.

Presently Constance said,--

"Is Irene like Aunt Eva, I wonder?"

"Not if I may judge by her photograph," Lady Burnside said.

"Why did not Uncle Packingham let Irene live with you, grannie, as we
do?"

"Perhaps he thought I could hardly undertake another grandchild, and you
know Irene has a second mother; and her home will be eventually with her
and her little brothers when her father leaves the service."

"And our home will be with father and mother one day," Constance said.
"Not that I wish to leave you, dear grannie," Constance added. "Indeed,
I often think I have the grandmotherly sort of feeling about mamma, and
the motherly one about you!"

Lady Burnside laughed.

"Your mamma would be amused to hear that. I always think of her as so
young and bright, and she and Aunt Eva were the light of my eyes."

"I hope Irene will be nice," Constance said; "and then there is another
girl coming. We forget that."

"I do not forget it. I have been with Crawley this morning to look at
the Villa Firenze; it is all in nice order for Mrs. Acheson, and there
are two good Italian servants, besides Stefano and his wife, who,
being an Englishwoman, understands the ways of the English thoroughly,
especially of invalids, so I hope the travellers will be pleased when
they arrive."

"What is the girl's name? do you remember, grannie?"

"Yes, her name is Dorothy. I saw her when she was a very little girl,
and I remember she had beautiful silky hair; she was a pale, delicate
child."

"Dear me!" said Constance. "Every one seems to be delicate. Irene
Packingham is coming because of a cough, and so is Mrs. Acheson, and
really the only strong ones are the boys. I suppose Irene takes after
Aunt Eva in being delicate?"

"Yes; her father thought she would do well to escape the fogs of London,
and have the advantage of the sunshine here; but I hope we shall send
her back in the spring quite well."

"_Take_ her back, grannie, say take her back, for I should so like to go
to England."

Lady Burnside shook her head. "I do not think I shall return to England
next spring with the swallows. What a flight that is!" she said, looking
out of the window, where a long line of birds could be seen flying
across the blue sea.

"Happy birds!" said Constance, wearily; "I wish I could fly with them!"

Lady Burnside made no rejoinder to this, and sat knitting quietly by the
wood fire, which was pleasant at sunset, when the chill is always great
in southern countries. After half an hour's quiet, there were sounds of
coming feet, and Baby Bob, in all the glory of a very short frock and
wide sash, came in with a shout, which would have shaken the nerves of
any one less accustomed to children than Lady Burnside.

Behind him came Ella, with a little work-basket in her hand, with which
she went up to Constance's couch, and seating herself there, took out
her little bit of cross-stitch, and settled herself to work.

Baby Bob took possession of his grandmother, and she had to go over
one of his picture-books, and tell for the hundredth time the story of
Mother Hubbard, which, illustrated with large coloured pictures, was
Baby Bob's great favourite.

He would ponder over the pictures with wondering interest, and wish that
the dog had not cheated, and made believe to be dead, because no good
people or dogs could cheat. Crawley said so, and Maria said so, and
Willy said so, Willy being the great authority to which Baby Bob always
referred in any difficulty.

Willy was doing his work for Mr. Martyn in the study, and making up for
lost time. This was his general habit. He would put off his lessons
to the last moment, and then, as he said, "clear them all off in a
twinkling."

Willy was clever and quick at everything, but this way of getting over
work is not really satisfactory. Time and thought are necessary to
fasten what is learned on the mind, and what is gathered up in haste,
or, rather, sown in haste, does not take deep root.

That night, when Ella was getting ready for bed, she consulted Crawley
about the new-comer.

"How is it we know so little of the cousin, Crawley?"

"Well, my dear, her papa married a lady who thinks schools and all that
sort of thing necessary. At least, that's what your dear grandmamma has
told me, and I daresay you'll find little Miss Packingham very forward
with her books. So you must make haste and learn to read better. For you
are getting on for eight years old."

Ella sighed.

"I _can_ read," she said, "and I can speak French and Italian; I daresay
Irene can't do that."

"Well, _that's_ nothing," said Crawley, "for I can talk French after my
fashion, just because I have lived with my dear mistress out of England
so long. But there's another little lady coming, you know. Her mamma
knew your mamma. She used to be a pretty creature, and I daresay she's
like her."

"She mayn't be like her, for grannie says Irene isn't like Aunt Eva. I
want to see her. I wish to-morrow would come."

And Baby Bob murmured from his little bed in the corner, "Wish 'morrow
would come."

  [Illustration: Sleeping Baby]



CHAPTER VII.

VILLA FIRENZE.


To-morrow came, and brought with it the tired travellers, who arrived at
San Remo, after a night journey from Marseilles, as Ingleby said, "more
dead than alive."

This was a figure of speech on Ingleby's part, but there is no doubt
that the two sleepy, tired, way-worn children who were lifted out of
the carriage which had been sent to the station to meet them gave very
little sign of life or interest in what happened.

Canon Percival, who took the management of everything, promptly ordered
a bath and bed, and the kind English wife of Stefano showed every wish
to be accommodating, and carried Dorothy herself to the room prepared
for her and Irene.

Two little beds stood there, with a white net cage let down over them.
The children were too sleepy to notice them then, but when Dorothy
opened her eyes, she was greatly amused to see that she was looking
through fine net, like the net she had seen made for fruit in England
to protect it from wasps.

The western sun was lying across the garden before the villa when
Dorothy felt it was time to get up. She called Irene, who answered at
once,--

"Yes! what do you want? Can I help you?"

"I want to get up," said Dorothy, "but I can't get out of this white
cage."

"Oh yes, you can," said Irene, who drew a bit of narrow ribbon, which
hung inside her own bed, and then the net curtain was lifted, and she
said,--

"Look! you have the same bit of ribbon; pull it!"

Dorothy did as she was told, and, to her delight, the net was raised in
a pretty festoon.

"Isn't it funny?" she said; "what can the curtains be for? Are they just
for prettiness?"

"No, for use; they are mosquito curtains; and I remember some very like
them in India."

"What are mosquitoes?"

"Little gnats, very, very thin and small, but they sting dreadfully,
and especially at night, and make big bumps on your forehead, and the
curtains shut them out. I should like to get up now," Irene said; "for
I ought to go to grannie."

"Oh, I don't want you to go to your grannie; you must stay with me."

"I don't think that would do," Irene said, "for father wished me to live
with grannie and the cousins."

"I'm so sorry," Dorothy exclaimed, "for I know I shan't like the
cousins. I think--I really do--you are the only playmate I ever cared
for; not that we've _played_ together, but that's the word every one
uses. Dr. Bell said I wanted playmates; and Ingleby says so; and Uncle
Crannie says so; and so did that dreadful Mrs. Thompson. Ah! when I had
my Nino, and Muff and Puff, I wanted nobody;" and Dorothy was beginning
to cry, when Ingleby, hearing the children's voices, now came from
another room, where she had begun unpacking, bearing in her arms a
bundle of clean, fresh clothes for Dorothy.

"Well, you have been asleep ever since eleven, and it is nearly four
o'clock. You must want your dinner, I am sure; and then Miss Packingham
is to go to her grandmamma's house. Your box was taken there, my dear,
and so I cannot give you fresh things, but I must brush your frock and
bend your hat straight."

The children were ready in a few minutes, and presented a strong
contrast, as usual.

Dorothy was a little _too_ smart in her pale blue cashmere with grebe
trimming, and it was hard to believe she had been in the train all
night; for they had left Paris in the morning of the preceding day,
and had reached San Remo at half-past ten. Irene, on the contrary,
looked travel-worn, and she was a good deal more tired than Dorothy,
who had slept off her fatigue and her sorrow for poor Nino's loss,
and looked--so Ingleby said to herself--"as fresh as any daisy."

When the two little girls reached the sitting-room, which, like Lady
Burnside's, opened on a verandah, they heard voices outside, and
presently a boy and a girl stepped into the room.

Ella shrank back, but Willy, who never knew what shyness meant, said,--

"Grannie said we might come and fetch Irene--she is to come home now, if
she is ready."

As Willy surveyed the two girls, he wondered which was his cousin. The
thought passed through his mind, "I hope it is the pretty one!" and
advancing, he said to Dorothy,--

"Grannie has sent us to take you to the Villa Lucia; are you ready?"

Ingleby, who was busy looking after the travelling basket, from which
she was taking some of Dorothy's favourite biscuits, said,--

"Your cousin, Miss Packingham, had better take her dinner before she
goes with you; perhaps you will sit down with her and Miss Dorothy. Now,
my dear," Ingleby continued, addressing Dorothy, "I hope you will be
able to fancy something," as Stefano brought in a tray with coffee and
crescent-shaped rolls, and a dainty omelette done to a turn by his wife.

Willie now put his hand out to Irene, and said, in a tone in which there
was a little ring of disappointment,--

"Then _you_ are my cousin?"

"Yes," Irene said, "and I am very glad to come and see you all--and
grannie."

"Do you remember her?" Willie asked.

"Just a _very_ little, but she always writes me very kind letters, so I
feel as if I remembered her."

"Come, Ella, don't be so silly," Willy said, pushing his sister forward;
"go and speak to Irene."

Irene took Ella's hand, and then, at Ingleby's advice, they all sat down
to their meal together.

Two thick-edged white cups were brought by Stefano, and Willy and Ella
enjoyed the good things more than the two tired travellers did.

Irene could scarcely touch the omelette, and Dorothy, in spite of
Ingleby's entreaties, only nibbled a quantity of her own biscuits, which
were, as Ingleby said, "not fit to make a meal of." They were those
little pink and white fluffy light balls, flavoured with vanilla and
rose, a large tin of which had been bought in Paris, and were Dorothy's
favourite food just then.

They found favour with Willy, and he took a handful from the box several
times. Dorothy did not approve of this, and said to Ingleby,--

"Put the lid on the box, Jingle; there won't be any biscuits left."

This was not very polite, and Willy shrugged his shoulders, and said to
himself, "After all, I am glad she is _not_ my cousin."

Irene was really thankful when Willy said it was time to go, for her
head ached, and she was far more tired than Dorothy was.

And now poor Dorothy began to cry, and say she did not want Irene to go
away--that she must stay with her, and not go and live with that big boy
who was so greedy.

"Hush! hush! my dear," said Ingleby; "you must not forget yourself."

"I don't mind," said Willy, good-temperedly; "she is only a baby, and is
tired."

"A baby!" sobbed Dorothy. "I am _not_ a baby, and I love Irene, and she
is _not_ to go away with you."

Ingleby was anxious to cut the parting short, and said to Irene, who was
trying to comfort Dorothy,--

"Make haste and have it over. She will forget it, and----"

"I shan't forget Irene. You said I should forget Nino--dear, dear Nino.
I don't forget him, and now--now I have lost him, I want Irene, I do!"

"I shall see you very often," Irene said, kissing her; "don't begin to
cry again."

"Dear me!" Willy said, as they left the house; "she is worse than you,
Ella. At first I thought her so pretty, and now I find she is only a
little spoiled thing. However, we will soon teach her better, won't we,
Ella?"

Ella, who had possessed herself of Irene's hand, said,--

"You must not be so rude to Dorothy as you are to me, Willy, or you will
make her cry."

"No, I'll cure her of crying. But here we are. This is Villa Lucia."

Irene followed Willy into the house, and very soon Irene felt she was no
longer lonely--a stranger in a strange land.

Irene had not seen her grannie for some years, and, with the instinct of
childhood, she had discovered, without being told, that her father did
not care much for her grannie. He rarely mentioned her, and, indeed, he
always called her step-mother's mother "grannie" when he had occasion to
write of her.

Till Irene had seen Lady Burnside she felt no difference between them.
Mrs. Roscoe was a very grand, fashionable lady, who had called on her at
Mrs. Baker's sometimes, and sent her large boxes of chocolate and French
sweets.

But _that_ did not make Irene feel as if she belonged to her; and now,
when the gentle lady by the fire rose to greet her and folded her in a
warm embrace, Irene felt a strange choking sensation in her throat, and
when she looked up at her grannie she saw tears were on her cheeks.

"I feel as if I had come home," she said, simply, "and it _is_ so nice."

Happily for every one, a loud voice was heard at the door--"Let me in!
let me in!" And when Ella ran to open it, there was Baby Bob, who came
trotting across the room to Lady Burnside, and said,--

"I want the cousin; is that the cousin?"

"Yes. Go and give her a kiss, and say you are glad to see her."

But Baby Bob sidled back towards his grannie, and suddenly oppressed
with the solemnity of the occasion, hid his round, rosy face in her
gown, and beat a tattoo with his fat legs by way of expressing his
welcome, in a manner, it must be said, peculiar to himself.

  [Illustration: Mountain Scene]



CHAPTER VIII.

DOROTHY'S LESSONS.


Every child who reads my story must have felt how quickly strange things
begin to grow familiar, and before we are reconciled to what is new it
becomes almost old.

So it was with Dorothy, and in a less degree with Irene.

It was New Year's Day, and Dorothy was seated at the table in the
schoolroom at Villa Lucia, writing to her uncle Cranstone.

She wrote a very nice round hand, between lines, thanks to the patient
teaching which Irene bestowed on her. To be sure, the thin foreign paper
was rather a trial, as the pen was so apt to stick when a thin up-stroke
followed a firm down-stroke; but still the letter, when finished, was a
very creditable performance to both mistress and pupil.

Lady Burnside had wisely decreed that Irene should have no lessons while
she was at San Remo, for she was very forward for her age, having gone
through the regular routine of school, and writing at ten years old
almost a formed hand, while Dorothy had only _printed_ words when Irene
took her up as a pupil.

"It will be a nice occupation for Irene to help Dorothy with her
lessons," Lady Burnside said; and Dorothy felt the importance of going
to school when, every morning at ten o'clock, she was escorted by
Ingleby to the Villa Lucia, and joined the party in the schoolroom.

Dorothy had a great deal to learn besides reading and writing and
arithmetic, and as she had never had any one to give up to, she found
that part of her daily lessons rather hard.

Baby Bob, in whom Irene delighted, tried Dorothy's patience sorely, and,
indeed, he was a young person who required to be repressed.

Dorothy had just finished her letter to her uncle, and with aching
fingers had written her name at the bottom of the second sheet, when
Baby Bob appeared, followed by Ella.

"We are to have a holiday, because it is New Year's Day, and go on
donkeys to La Colla."

"Yes," said Willy; "I have been to order Marietta's donkeys--the big
brown one for me, the little white one for Dorothy, the little grey one
for Ella, and the old spotted one for Irene. It's such fun going to La
Colla, and we'll put Ingleby and Crawley on as we come down, and----"

But Willy was interrupted by a cry from Dorothy--

"He's got my letter! Oh, my letter!" and a smart slap was administered
to Baby Bob, who, I am sorry to say, clenched his fat fist, and hit
Dorothy in the mouth.

"Put the letter down at once, you naughty child!" Crawley said. "How
dare you touch Miss Dorothy?"

The letter was with difficulty rescued from Baby Bob, in a sadly
crumpled condition, and Irene smoothed the sheet with her hand and put
it into a fresh envelope.


  [Illustration: THE DONKEY EXPEDITION TO LA COLLA.]


"I was only going to the post," Baby Bob said. "Grannie lets me drop her
letters in the post, o' course."

"Well, wait till you are asked another time, Bob; then you won't get
into trouble; but I don't think you deserved the hard slap," Ella said.

Dorothy, who was still crying and holding her apron up to her mouth, now
drew herself up and said, "I shall go home to mother, I shall. I shan't
stay here, to be ill-treated. Mother says Bob is the naughtiest spoiled
boy _she_ ever knew."

"She has known a girl as much spoiled, anyhow," said Willy.

"Come, Dorothy, forget and forgive," said Irene; "and let us go and get
ready for our donkey ride."

"I shan't go," persisted Dorothy; "I don't want to go; and just look!"

There was undoubtedly a tiny crimson spot on Dorothy's apron, and she
began to sob again at the sight, and say she must go home that minute to
Ingleby.

"Go along, then," said Willy, roughly; "we don't want a cry-baby with
us. Look at Bob; he has quite forgotten the thump you gave him, and
wants to kiss you."

I am sorry to say Dorothy turned a very unwilling cheek towards Baby
Bob, who said--

"I'll never take _your_ letter no more, Dolly."

Dorothy had, as we know, several nicknames from her uncle, but she had a
particular aversion to that of "Dolly," and just touching Baby Bob with
her lips, she said, "I hate to be called Dolly."

"Well," Willy said, "here come the donkeys, and Marietta and Francesco,
and no one is ready. Come, make haste, girls."

"Come, Dorothy," Irene said, "let me put on your skirt." For the
children had each a neat little blue serge skirt which they wore for
their donkey expeditions. "Come, Dorothy," Irene pleaded. But Dorothy
said she should stay with Lady Burnside till Ingleby came for her.

"You can't stay with grannie--she is very _busy_ with _business_; and
Constance has one of her headaches, and is in bed."

"Then I'll wait here till Jingle comes."

There was a wonderful amount of obstinacy expressed in that pretty, fair
little face; and then Crawley came in to say the donkeys must not be
kept waiting. Irene, finding it useless to say more, went to get ready,
as Ella had already done, and left Dorothy in the sitting-room playing a
tattoo on the window as she curled herself up in a circular straw chair.

Ella made one more attempt when she was dressed for the ride.

"_Do_ come, Dorothy dear. We have got three baskets full of nice things
to eat at La Colla, and the sun is so bright, and----"

"Go away," said Dorothy; adding, "Good-bye; I hope you'll enjoy jogging
down over those hard rough stones on the donkeys."

A little girl, the daughter of a friend of Lady Burnside, came with her
brother to join the party, and Dorothy watched them all setting off,
Crawley holding Bob before her on the sturdy old brown donkey; Willy
and Jack Meredith riding off with Francesco running at their heels, with
his bare brown feet and bright scarlet cap; then Ella and Irene under
Marietta's guidance; Ella looking back and kissing her hand to as much
as she could see of Dorothy's hair, as she sat by the window under the
verandah.

Then Dorothy was alone; it was no punishment to her, and she fell into
one of her old meditations.

The chirp and twitter of swallows were heard, for, as we know, Dorothy
had taken flight from England with them. And as one perched for a moment
on the big aloe which grew just outside the verandah, Dorothy said, "I
wonder if that's my old mother swallow; it looks just like her."

Presently another joined her, and the two twittered, and chirped, and
wagged their restless forked tails, and turned their little heads from
side to side, and then darted off in the warm sunshine. Glancing at the
little timepiece which stood on the table, Dorothy saw it was not yet
eleven, and Ingleby never came till twelve o'clock.

After all it was rather dull, and there was no need for her to wait for
Ingleby, who often did not come till half-past twelve. A little more
meditation, and then Dorothy uncurled herself and put down her legs
slowly, first one, then the other, and then, with something very like a
yawn, which ended in "Oh, dear!" her eyes fell on the letter which had
been put into the envelope by Irene. It had a stamp on it, but was not
addressed.

So Dorothy thought she would address it herself, and taking the pen,
made a great blot to begin with, which was not ornamental; then she
made a very wide C, which quite overshadowed the "anon" for "Canon."
"Percival" would by no means allow itself to be put on the same line,
and had to go beneath it. As to "Coldchester," it was so cramped up in
the corner that it was hardly legible, but imitating a letter which
she had seen Mr. Martyn address one day, she made up for it by a big
"England" at the top. The envelope was not fastened down, and Dorothy
remembered Irene said she had seen some dear little "Happy New Year"
cards at a shop in the street, and that she would ask Ingleby to take
her with Dorothy to buy one, and put it in the letter before it was
posted.

"I'll go and get a card," Dorothy thought, "and post my own letter, and
then come back, or go home to mother. I'll go and get ready directly."

As it happened, Dorothy's hat and pretty velvet jacket, trimmed with
lovely soft fur, were kept in a little closet, with a window in it,
behind the schoolroom. They were put there when she came to the Villa
Lucia every morning by Ingleby, who never failed to send her in to see
Lady Burnside, drawing secret comparisons between the appearance of her
darling and that of Miss Packingham or little Miss Ella Montague.

Dorothy had some difficulty in getting herself into her jacket, and her
hair notched into the elastic of her hat, which, springing back, caught
her in the eyes, and made them water. Then, when she thought she was
ready, she remembered she had not taken off the apron which was stained
with the little crimson spot. A little rim of white showed under the
jacket between the fur and the edge of her frock, but she pushed it up
under the band, and then went softly down the hall to the glass door,
and lifting the _portière_, or thick curtain, which hung over the outer
door, she found herself in the road. For the Villa Lucia did not open
into the garden which lay between the Villa and sloping ground and the
blue sea, but from the back, into a road which led towards the old town
of San Remo.

Dorothy held the letter firmly in her hand, and walked on with some
dignity. It was rather nice to go to the post by herself, and she
measured the distance in her own mind, as she had often been there
with Ingleby and Crawley.

The shop where the New Year's cards were sold was near the post-office,
and she had two shillings in her little leather purse at the bottom of
her pocket.

Several Italian women, carrying heavy burdens on their heads, passed her
and smiled, and said in a pleasant voice, "Buon gionno!" and one young
woman, with a patient baby tightly swathed and fastened to her back,
called out,--

"Ah, la piccola bella!"

Somehow Dorothy was so lost in meditation upon herself and her own
cleverness in finding the way to the post, that she missed the first
turning which would have led her down to the English part of the town.
She took the next, but that brought her out beyond the shops and the
post-office.

She did not at first notice this, and when she found she was much
farther from home than she expected, she began to run, but still she did
not get any nearer the shops and the post-office. Now the street of the
English part of San Remo runs almost parallel with the sea, and there
are several narrow lanes between the houses, which lead down to the
quay, where all the boats sail from the pier, and where a great many
women are mending the holes in the brown nets.

There are streets also leading up to the old town--that quaint old town,
which was built on the steep sides of the hill, long, long before any
English people thought of erecting their new houses and villas below
it.

The streets of the old town are so steep that they are climbed by steps,
or rather ridges, of pavement, which are set at rather long intervals.
These streets are very narrow, and there are arches across them, like
little bridges, from one house to another.

The houses in old Italian towns were built with these arches or little
bridges because they formed a support to the tall houses, which were
sometimes shaken by earthquakes.

Now it happened that as Dorothy was wondering how it could be that she
had missed the post-office, she caught sight of a little white fluffy
dog, with brown ears, running up towards the opening of one of these
narrow streets.

"My Nino! my Nino!" she exclaimed. "It must be Nino." She did not stop
to consider that Nino would have answered her call, if, indeed, it had
been he. She did not stop to consider that he was old, and could never
have run so fast uphill as this little dog could run. She turned out
of the broad street into one of the narrow ones, and chased the little
white dog till she was out of breath.

There were not many people about, and no one took much notice of her;
and she never stopped till she found herself in the market square of the
old town, where, out of breath and exhausted, she sat down on a flight
of steps, hopeless of catching the dog, who had now quite disappeared.

An old and dirty-looking church was before her, and several peasant
women, with their baskets on their heads, were passing in and out. Red
and yellow handkerchiefs were bound round their dark hair, and some of
them wore pretty beads round their necks. One or two stopped to look at
Dorothy, and talked and made signs to her; but she could not understand
what they said, and they smiled at her and passed on. The streets
leading up from the market square looked very dim and very steep, and
Dorothy began to feel lonely and frightened, especially when an old
woman, who might have been a hundred years old, so wrinkled was her face
and so bowed her back, stopped before her as she sat on the steps, and
began to mumble, and make grimaces, and open her mouth, where no teeth
were to be seen, and point at Dorothy with her lean, bony, brown
fingers.

Dorothy got up and began to run down towards the town again as quickly
as she had come up, when, alas! her foot caught against the corner of a
rough stone step before one of the tall houses, and she fell with some
violence on the uneven, rugged pavement, hitting her head a sharp blow.

Poor little Dorothy! Getting her own way, and doing exactly as she
wished, had brought her now a heavy punishment. While Ella and Willy and
Baby Bob, with their two little friends, were enjoying the contents of
the luncheon basket at La Colla, Dorothy was lying all alone amongst
strangers in the old town of San Remo!

  [Illustration: Swallow and Butterfly]



CHAPTER IX.

LOST.


Ingleby arrived at the Villa Lucia at the usual time, and went, as was
her custom, to the schoolroom door, and knocked.

She was generally answered by a rush to the door by Ella and Dorothy,
and a cry of--

"Grannie says she is to stay to luncheon to-day," or, "Don't take her
away yet."

But to-day silence reigned, and when Ingleby looked in, the schoolroom
was empty.

She turned away, and met the maid who waited on Constance with a tray in
her hand and a cup of cocoa, which she was taking upstairs.

"Where is Miss Dorothy, and where are the children?"

"All gone out on donkeys to Colla," was the answer. "Her ladyship was
glad to get the house quiet, for Miss Constance has had a very bad
night."

"Talk of bad nights!" exclaimed Ingleby; "my mistress has done nothing
but cough since four o'clock this morning. Well, I hope Miss Dorothy was
well wrapped up, for the wind is cold enough out of the sun, though
Stefano is angry if I say so. I wish we were back in England. I know,
what with the nasty wood fires, and the 'squitoes, and the draughts,
and----"

Ingleby was interrupted here by Lady Burnside, who came out of the
drawing-room.

"Good-morning, Ingleby; how is Mrs. Acheson?"

"But very poorly, my lady; she has had a bad night."

"Ah! that is why you have not gone to Colla with the party. But I am
sure Crawley will take care of Miss Dorothy, and Miss Irene is quite to
be trusted."

"I knew nothing of the party going to Colla, my lady. I hope it is not
one of those break-neck roads, like going up the side of a house."

"It is very steep in some parts, but the donkeys are well used to
climbing. Give my love to Mrs. Acheson, and say I will come and see
her to-morrow."

Ingleby walked back rather sadly. She wished she had known of the
expedition, for there was safety for her darling when she could walk
behind the donkey going uphill, and by its head coming down again. What
did it matter that the fatigue was great, and that she panted for breath
as she tried to keep up? She held Dorothy's safety before her own, and
all personal fatigue was as nothing to secure that.

If any little girls who read this story have kind, faithful nurses like
Ingleby, I hope they will never forget to be grateful to them for their
patience and kindness in their childish days when childhood has passed
away, and they no longer need their watchful care. Ingleby's love was
not, perhaps, wise love, but it was very true and real, and had very
deep roots in the attachment she felt for her mistress, whom she had
served so faithfully for many years.

Between Stefano and Ingleby no great friendship subsisted, and when she
returned alone from the Villa Lucia, he said,--

"Where's the little signora, then?"

"Where? you may well ask! gone up one of those steep mountains to Colla
on a donkey."

"_Si!_ well, and why not?"

"Why not? Because it is very dangerous, and I think fellows who take
other people's children from them ought at least to give notice of it."

"_Si!_ well," was Stefano's rejoinder, "that's a fine ride up to Colla,
and there are more books there than there are days in the year, and
pictures, and----"

"Come now, Stefano," his wife called, "it is time to stop thy talking,
and to get the luncheon ready. Gone to Colla, do you say, Mrs. Ingleby?--a
very pretty excursion; and there, high up in the heart of the hills, is
a wonderful library of books, and many fine pictures, collected by a
good priest, who starved himself to buy them and store them there."

But Ingleby was not to be interested in any details of the library at
Colla, which is visited with so much delight by many who spend a winter
at San Remo. She was anxious about Dorothy, and Stefano said,--

"It will be wonderful if they are home before sunset."

"Home before sunset!" exclaimed poor Ingleby; "well, I should think Mrs.
Crawley will have sense enough for _that_, though I don't think much of
her wisdom, spoiling that baby of three years old as she does."

Stefano chuckled.

"Ah, _si!_ but others are spoiled, as well as _Bambino Bobbo_."

Ingleby had now to go to Mrs. Acheson, and tell her that Dorothy was not
coming home to luncheon.

As this often happened when she stayed at Lady Burnside's, Mrs. Acheson
was not anxious. Ingleby kept back the expedition to Colla, and Mrs.
Acheson asked no questions then.

But as the afternoon wore on, and Dorothy did not return, escorted as
usual by Willy and Irene Packingham, Mrs. Acheson told Ingleby she had
better go to Lady Burnside and bring Dorothy home with her.

"I have not seen the child to-day," she said, "except when I was half
asleep, when she came to wish me a 'Happy New Year!' And this present
has arrived for her from her uncle at Coldchester. Look, Ingleby; is
it not sweet? I could not resist peeping into the box. Won't she be
delighted!"

The box contained two little figures like dormice, with long tails and
bright eyes, in a cosy nest. The head of each little mouse opened, and
then inside one was the prettiest little scent-bottle you can imagine,
and inside the other a pair of scissors, with silver handles, and a tiny
thimble on a little crimson velvet cushion.

How Ingleby wished Dorothy Dormouse, whose name was written on the
card tied to the box, was there, I cannot tell you; but how little
did Ingleby or any one else guess _where_ she was at that moment!

Ingleby put off going to the Villa Lucia till the last moment, and
arrived at the gate just as the donkeys came merrily along the road.

Francesco could not resist the delight of sending them all at full trot
for the last quarter of a mile, and Crawley, grasping Baby Bob tightly
with one arm, and with her other hand holding the pommel of the saddle,
jogged up and down like any heavy dragoon soldier; while Irene, and
Willy, and Ella, and the Merediths came on urging their tired steeds,
and asking Crawley if it was not "jolly to canter," while poor Crawley,
breathless and angry gasped out that she had a dreadful stitch in her
side, and that she would never mount a donkey again.

Marietta came on behind, with the ends of her scarlet handkerchief
on her head flapping in the wind, and though apparently not hurrying
herself, she took such strides with her large, heavily-shod feet, that
she was soon at the gate.

There was the usual bustle of dismounting, and some scolding from
Crawley, and a few sharp raps administered by Marietta to Francesco for
making the donkeys canter; while poor Ingleby's excited questions were
not even noticed.

"Miss Dorothy--where is Miss Dorothy?--do you hear me, Miss Packingham?--do
you hear me, Master Willy?--speak, won't you?--has she fallen off one of
these brutes?--is she--is she--Master Willy--Miss Ella--Miss Irene!"

Then Ella turned from giving a parting pat to her donkey, and seeing
Ingleby's distressed face, said,--

"Dorothy did not come with us; she is not hurt?"

"Oh, Miss Ella, Miss Ella!" exclaimed poor Ingleby, holding up her hands
and sinking back against the wall. "Oh, Miss Ella, Miss Ella! oh, Miss
Irene!"

"Why, what is the matter, Mrs. Ingleby?" said Crawley, who had set down
Baby Bob to toddle into the house, and was settling the payment for the
donkeys with Marietta. "Why, you look like a ghost."

"Miss Dorothy! Miss Dorothy! Where can she be?"

"Well, she is safe enough, isn't she?"

"No," said Ingleby; "she is gone! she is lost! she is lost!--and oh,
what will become of me?"

"_Lost!_" the children all repeated; "she can't be lost."

And then they all ran into the house, and Lady Burnside, who was sitting
with Constance in the room upstairs came hurriedly down.

"What do you say?--little Dorothy has not been with you to Colla? She
must have gone home, then."

"No, no, my lady," Ingleby said. "No, no; I have been waiting for her
there till ten minutes ago. She is lost--lost--and oh! I wish we had
never, never come to these foreign places; and the mistress so ill!"

Lady Burnside was indeed greatly distressed, but she took immediate
action. She sent Willy to fetch Stefano, anxious that Mrs. Acheson
should not be alarmed and she despatched him at once to the Bureau of
Police, and told him to describe Dorothy, and to tell every one that she
was missing.

Ingleby tried to follow them, but her legs trembled, and she sat down on
a bench in the hall and burst into tears.

And this was the trouble which little Dorothy's self-will had brought
upon every one; this was the end of her determination to do as _she_
liked best, without thinking what it was right and best to do, and what
other people liked best--a sad end to a day that might have been so
happy; a hard lesson for her to learn!

  [Illustration: Swallows]



CHAPTER X.

IN THE SHADOWS.


At first Dorothy was scarcely conscious of what had happened to her, and
when she really recovered herself she found she was in a dark, low room,
where she could hardly see.

There was a great chatter going on around her, of which she could not
make out a word. As her eyes got accustomed to the dim light, she saw
the figures of two women, a boy, and an old crone sitting by a wood fire.
The room seemed very full, and was very hot; a smell of smoke, and dried
fish, and of tar, made Dorothy gasp for breath. She was lying on what
seemed to her a wooden shelf, but was in reality a bed, and she felt
something cold on her head. She put up her hand, and found her forehead
was bandaged with a wet cloth.

"I want to go home," she said, struggling to get down from the bed; but
she was seized by a pair of strong arms, and a great many words were
addressed to her as she was almost forced again to lie down.

But Dorothy now began to cry and scream, and presently the narrow
doorway was filled with inquiring faces, and the strife of tongues
became more and more loud and noisy.

Not one word could Dorothy understand, except, perhaps, "signorina,"
with which she had become familiar, and a few words which she had caught
up from Stefano.

The brown hands which held her down were firm, if gentle, and, though
she fought and struggled, she could not regain her feet. Presently she
felt something warm trickling down her cheek, and then there were fresh
exclamations, and Dorothy, putting up her finger, saw it was stained
with crimson blood.

She gave herself up for lost, poor little girl, and began to sob and cry
most bitterly; then, to her surprise, the pair of strong arms lifted
her gently from the bed, and carried her to the smoking embers on the
hearth; and, looking up, she saw a kindly face bending over her, and
she was rocked gently to and fro, just as Ingleby had often rocked her
by the nursery fire at Coldchester. More wet bandages were put to her
forehead, and the boy, drawing near, touched the long, silky hair, and
said,--

"Bella, è bella."

"Oh! do let me go home--take me home--please--please----"

But no one knew what she said, and the woman only began to sing as
she rocked, in the soft Italian language, while the rest talked and
chattered, and raised their hands in wonder, and gazed down at the child
with their large dark eyes; and if Dorothy could have understood them,
she would have known they only intended to be kind.

To be sure, they told Giulia that the little signorina must belong to
rich English, and she would get a reward; and that she ought to go down
to the town and inquire at the hotels and the villas.

A good deal passed through Dorothy's mind as she lay in the arms of the
rough though kindly Italian woman. How long ago it seemed since the
morning, since she had been angry with Baby Bob, and had refused to go
to Colla. Oh, how she wished she had gone now. How she longed to say she
was sorry, to kiss Baby Bob, to throw her arms round Irene, and to tell
mother she would never, never be naughty again! Convulsive sobs shook
her, and she clung to the kind woman's neck, praying and entreating to
be taken home.

But where _was_ home? No one knew, and no one could understand her; and
at last, worn out with crying, Dorothy fell fast asleep.

Neighbours came in and out, and looked curiously at the little
golden-haired signorina, whose head seemed to make a spot of light in
the dark dwelling.

"They will miss her, and search for her," the neighbours said, "and then
you will get a reward, Giulia. She is like an angel with the light round
her head in the window in the church."

"She is like a sorrowful little lost kid bleating for its mother," said
Giulia.

So the hours went on, and the sunset gleamed from behind the old church,
and brightened the grey walls of the houses in the square, and made the
windows glitter and shine like stars.


  [Illustration: "DOROTHY FELL FAST ASLEEP."]


But Dorothy did not wake, and still Giulia sat patiently with her in her
strong brown arms, and crooned over her the words of a hush-a-bye with
which the dark-eyed boy, who stood notching a stick by the open
fireplace, had been lulled to sleep in his turn--

  "Ninni, ninni, nanna,
   Allegrezza di la mamma!
   Addormentati, addormentati,
               Oh, mia bella!"

This answered to the "Hush-a-bye, baby," which we all know, and really
meant--

  "Joy of thy mother, sleep, sleep!
   My pretty one, sleep."

The sunset faded from the sky, and the smouldering wood ashes and embers
on the hearth now shone with only a dim red eye in the middle; and still
Dorothy slept, and still Giulia swayed her body to and fro, and sang on
in a low, soft voice.

It was really very kind of Giulia, for a heap of brown net and a ball of
stout twine, into which a huge bone netting-needle was thrust, lay by
the rough wooden bench near the small window. And Giulia did very much
want to finish that net, and send her boy down to the quay with it to
the master fisherman who had given her the order to make it.

But Giulia could not find it in her kind, motherly heart to risk waking
the child by laying her down on the bed again, and she dreaded to hear
the cries in the English tongue, which she could not understand, and so
could not heed.

It was nearly dark when at last Dorothy opened her eyes and sat up,
with a prolonged yawn. The sleep had refreshed her, and she had been so
quieted by it, that she did not resist or cry when Giulia put her down
on a low wooden stool; and throwing another bit of wood on the fire,
a flame leaped up, which was pleasant and cheerful, and made the red
petticoat which the old crone by the fire wore look bright and warm.

Then Giulia lighted a small lamp, which was hung to a hook on the
ceiling, and putting a big iron pipkin on the fire, began to prepare
some broth for the little signorina.

Dorothy watched her as if she were still dreaming, and saw how the big
gold earrings bobbed up and down, and wondered why Giulia had such a
very wide waist, and why any one who had such a shabby petticoat should
wear earrings, and have shining gold pins in the handkerchief which was
bound round her head.

Dorothy did not like the smell of the soup at all, and when Giulia
crumbled into it some dark bread, and finally offered it to her, with a
large wooden spoon, she turned away in disgust.

But Giulia persisted, and Dorothy, having tasted nothing since
breakfast, was really hungry, and swallowed a few spoonfuls.

An orange which a neighbour brought in hanging on the bough, with its
dark green leaves, was much more tempting, and when she took it from
the woman who offered it to her, she said, "Grazia"--she knew that meant
"Thank you"--for Francesco always said "Grazia" when he took the little
copper pieces of money, which seemed so many, and were worth so little,
from her hand or Irene's when they had dismounted from the donkeys.

Presently a familiar voice at the door made Dorothy stop eating the
orange, and she turned her eye anxiously towards the new-comer.

It was Francesco himself, who began to tell what grief there was in
Villa Firenze, and how a little signorina was lost, and he held up a
crumpled wisp of paper, and said he had picked it up in the market
square.

"Oh! it is mine, it is mine, Francesco. Don't you know me, Francesco?
It is my letter to Uncle Crannie. Francesco! Francesco!"

The boy began a series of jumps of joy and springs of delight, and
clapped his hands.

"Trovata! trovata!--è la piccola signorina" ("Found! found! the little
lady is found"), he said.

"Let me go with him! he knows where I live. Oh, tell them--tell them to
let me go with you!"

A voluble stream of Italian was poured forth by every one, which Dorothy
could not understand; but Giulia got Dorothy's hat, and the white scarf,
and the pretty velvet jacket, and then she was dressed--not without many
expressions of profound admiration for the soft white feather and the
velvet--and made ready to start with Francesco. Not alone. No; Giulia
was not going to trust her to the donkey-boy without her, and Francesco
made a funny face and showed his white teeth between his bright red
lips, and whispered in Dorothy's ear the one English word he perfectly
understood--

"Money! money! she get money for the signorina--ah! ah! ah!"

I will not say that there was no thought in Giulia's mind that the
mother whom Francesco had described as crying bitterly for her lost
treasure might not add some silver coins to her stock kept in the old
stone pipkin in the cupboard--a store which Giulia liked to see grow,
because, when her Anton was big and strong, she would pay it to the good
master fisherman who employed her to make and mend his nets, and had
often said her dark-eyed Anton was born to be a sailor.

Dorothy felt strangely dizzy and bewildered when she began to walk,
and though she held fast to Giulia's strong hand on one side, and to
Francesco's on the other, she tottered and tumbled about from side to
side, and was not sorry when Giulia took her up in her arms and carried
her with swift, firm steps down into the wide street of San Remo.

It would have been quite dark now if it had not been for the light of a
crescent moon, which hung like a silver bow over the sea. Just as they
reached the upper road the doctor who attended Mrs. Acheson passed them
quickly. He turned as he passed the group, and recognised Francesco, who
was a little in advance of Giulia and her burden.

"Hi! Francesco," he said; "has anything been heard of the little lady?"

"Oh, Dr. Forman! Oh, Dr. Forman!" exclaimed Dorothy.

"Why, here is the lost lamb," said the doctor. He had a little girl
of his own, and he was as delighted as possible that Dorothy was safe.
"Why, Dorothy," he said, "your poor mamma has been made quite ill with
fright; and your nurse, and Willy Montague, and that nice little friend
of yours, have been hunting for you high and low. Where have you been?"

But Dorothy was sobbing too much to speak, and Giulia told Dr. Forman,
who understood Italian as well as his own language, the story of
Dorothy's fall, the cut on her forehead, and how she had taken her into
her house and done all she could for her.

"Well, bring her home," the doctor said; "and, Francesco, run off and
try to find the searching party; they must be worn out."

"Please, Dr. Forman," Dorothy gasped, "this woman has been very, very
kind to me." Then she lifted her little hand, and stroking Giulia's
face, said,--

"Grazia, grazia."

"The little angel!" Giulia said. "She is just an angel, and I am glad I
found her; that I am."

In another five minutes the doctor and Giulia, carrying her burden,
arrived at the gate of the Villa Firenze. A group was collected there,
for, as we all know, when we are waiting for anyone about whose coming
we are anxious, we always go out to watch, and hope that every minute
they will arrive. They don't come any the quicker for this, but it is a
comfort in some unexplained way.

"Let me take her to her mother," Giulia said to Dr. Forman; and he could
not refuse. So he led the way to the drawing-room, opening the door
gently, and standing for a moment behind the screen which protected the
room from the draught of the door.

Lady Burnside, who had been with Mrs. Acheson all the afternoon, rose to
see who was coming.

Oh! what a relief it was to hear Dr. Forman saying,--

"The child is safe; here she is;" and then Giulia strode in, and
kneeling down by the sofa where poor Mrs. Acheson lay, she put Dorothy
into her arms.

You may be very sure that Giulia's store of coins in the pipkin was
increased, and that the delicate English lady put her arm round the
Italian one's neck and kissed her, saying the pretty word by which
Dorothy had won her heart--

"Grazia, grazia."



CHAPTER XI.

WHAT FOLLOWED.


The consequences of self-will do not always pass away as quickly as we
hope and expect. Sometimes we have to suffer by seeing the suffering of
others, and feel bitterly that we have caused it. I do not think any
pain is more keen than that sorrow which is caused by seeing the pain we
have given those we love.

Lady Burnside had been afraid on the first evening of Dorothy's return
that, in the rapturous joy of poor Ingleby and the general delight of
every one, Dorothy might be brought to think lightly of the fault which
had caused so much trouble.

Seated in a low chair, her hand in her mother's, and the other children
gathered round her, while Ingleby stood feasting her eyes upon her
darling, Dorothy became something of a heroine; and no one, in the first
joy of receiving her safe and sound, could find it in their hearts to
reprove her for what had passed.

Lady Burnside felt that it was not for her to speak seriously to Dorothy;
and yet, when she saw her carried away to bed by Ingleby, with her
uncle's present clasped in her arms, and heard her say, "I feel _quite_
like Dorothy Dormouse now," she did long to say more than Mrs. Acheson
did--"Dorothy will never run away by herself again and frighten poor
mother."

As it proved, the fright and long watching had a very serious effect on
Mrs. Acheson. The next day Dr. Forman ordered her to keep in bed; and
her cough increased so much that for some days there was great anxiety
about her. Dorothy was so accustomed to see her mother ill that it
did not strike her as anything unusual; but one morning, when she was
starting gaily for the Villa Lucia, Ingleby called to Stefano from the
top of the stairs that he must take Miss Dorothy, for she could not
leave her mistress.

"I can go alone," Dorothy said; for neither Stefano nor his wife were
very great favourites of hers.

"No, no," Stefano said; "the little signorina is not to be trusted;" and
taking her hand in his, he prepared to lead her along the sunny road to
the Villa Lucia.

But Dorothy snatched away her hand, and said, "You should not speak like
_that_ to me."

"Ah," Stefano said, "someone must speak, someone must speak at times to
little signorinas who give pain and trouble."

Dorothy felt her dignity much injured, and repeated, with emphasis,--

"You should not speak like that to _me_."

Stefano only shrugged his shoulders; and as they had reached the door of
the Villa Lucia, he left her, saying,--

"The little signorina will have to hear hard things, like the rest of
us, one day."

Irene met Dorothy with the question--"How is your mother? Grannie is so
anxious to know."

"Mother is not up yet," Dorothy replied. "Jingle is sitting with her."

The other children now came clustering round Dorothy with the same
question; and Irene, after helping Dorothy to take off her jacket and
hat, said,--

"Come and see grannie."

"Before my lesson?"

"Yes; she wants to speak to you."

Dorothy felt a strange misgiving at her heart, and said, sharply,--

"What for? What is she going to say?"

"I think," said Irene, gently, "she wishes to comfort you; your mamma is
very, very ill."

"No, she isn't!" said Dorothy, desperately. "No, she isn't; not a bit
more ill than she often is. I saw her last night, and she looked _quite_
better--her cheeks pink, and her eyes bright."

"Well," Irene said, "I know Dr. Forman thinks her very ill, and he has
sent for Canon Percival."

"For Uncle Crannie? for Uncle Crannie?"

"Yes," Irene said, "two days ago."

Dorothy stood irresolute for a moment, and then, with a great effort to
control herself, said,--

"Let me go to your grandmamma; let me go."

But Irene put her arms round Dorothy, and whispered,--

"I have been asking God to make your mamma better, and I think He will.
Have _you_ asked Him and told Him all about it?"

"About what?" Dorothy said.

"Everything--how sorry you are that you gave your mamma such anxiety;
and have _you_ asked to be forgiven?"

But Dorothy said,--

"I never _tell_ God anything. I say my prayers, but I did not, could
not, tell Him about such things as my slapping Baby Bob, and getting
angry, and staying at home while you went to Colla. He is so far off,
and besides----"

"Oh, Dorothy!" said Irene, seriously, "God is very near, Jesus is very
near, and He cares about every little thing."

"Are you _sure_?" said poor little Dorothy. "Then He knows and cares
about mother--mother----"

A sob choked her, and yet she tried not to give way; to cry very much
would show that she believed her mother was very, _very_ ill, and she
could not, _dare_ not believe it! But she said simply--

"I _know_ I am not good; but I love--oh! how I _do_ love mother!"

Lady Burnside received Dorothy with her calm, sweet smile, and
Constance, lying on her couch, put out her hand, and said, "Come and
kiss me, Dorothy."

Constance had not generally taken much notice of Dorothy. She had looked
upon her as a spoiled little thing, and had felt, like many invalids who
have been accustomed to be the centre of attraction and attention, a
little vexed that every one admired the child, and were, as she thought,
blind to her faults. Even Willy, though he was blunt and rough to Dorothy
sometimes, was really devoted to her. So was Jack Meredith, and as to
Irene and her own little sister Ella, they were ridiculously fond of
her. Irene particularly would always give up to Dorothy, though she was
so much younger than herself. Baby Bob had, in his own way, the same
feeling about Dorothy that Constance had. He strongly objected to anyone
who could possibly dethrone him from the position of "King of the
Nursery," which was Crawley's favourite title for her youngest child.
Baby Bob had ruled with despotic power, and was naturally unwilling to
see a rival near the throne. But Constance was now touched by the sight
of the little figure in the blue dress, over which the cloud of light
silky hair hung, when she saw the wistful questioning glance in those
blue eyes, which were turned entreatingly to Lady Burnside, as she
said,--

"Tell me _really_ about--about mother."

Then Lady Burnside drew Dorothy close to her, and said,--

"Your dear mother is very ill, Dorothy, but we must pray to God to make
her better."

Dorothy stood with Lady Burnside's arm round her, still gazing up at the
dear, kind face bending over her; and then, after a pause, she said, in
a low tone,--

"Is it _my_ fault? Is it all my fault?"

Lady Burnside made Dorothy sit down on a low chair by her side, and
talked so kindly and wisely to her. She told her that her mother had
passed a very bad night of coughing the night before New Year's Day;
that when the news came of her loss, which Stefano had abruptly told
her, Mrs. Acheson had, forgetting how easily she was chilled, run out
into the garden with only a shawl thrown over her; that it was with
great difficulty she had been persuaded not to go herself to look for
Dorothy; that she had paced up and down the room in her distress; and
that that night, after the excitement and joy of her return were over,
she had been very faint and ill, and now she had inflammation of her
lungs, which she was very weak to bear up against.

Lady Burnside had gone through many troubles herself, and she had the
sympathetic spirit which children, as well as grown-up people, feel to
be so sweet in sorrow. There were no reproaches, and no hard words, but
I think little Dorothy never forgot the lesson which she learned from
Lady Burnside that morning, and often when she was beginning to be
self-willed and irritable, if that self-will was crossed, she would
think of Lady Burnside's words,--

"Take care when the first temptation comes to pray to resist it."

She did not return to the Villa Firenze that night, nor did Irene take
her into the schoolroom that day. She read to her, and amused her by
dressing a doll and teaching her how to crochet a little frock for it.

Early the next morning Canon Percival arrived, and Dorothy was taken by
him to see her mother.

As they were walking up the road together, Dorothy said,--

"Uncle Crannie, do you know _all_, all that happened on New Year's Day?"

"Yes, Dorothy; I have heard all."

"Oh, Uncle Crannie, to think of Baby Bob's taking my letter to you
beginning all the trouble!"

"Nay, my little Dorothy, it was not Baby Bob who began the trouble; it
was _you_. We must never shift the blame from our own shoulders, and
say, if _he_ had not said that, or she had not provoked me, _I_ should
not have done what I did."

"But it _was_ tiresome to squeeze up your letter, which I had taken such
pains to write."

"Yes, very tiresome; but _that_ does not alter your fault."

"Oh, Uncle Crannie, Uncle Crannie! I _wish_ I had not run off; but then
I thought I saw Nino."

"Poor Nino!" exclaimed Canon Percival; "in all the trouble and sorrow I
have found here I forgot about Nino. I have something to tell you about
him, but----"

Canon Percival was interrupted by meeting Dr. Forman.

A few words were exchanged between them, and then little Dorothy, with a
sad, serious face, was taken by her uncle into her mother's room.

  [Illustration: Lake Scene]



CHAPTER XII.

THE LOST FOUND.


Many days of deep anxiety followed, and poor little Dorothy's heart
was sad and troubled. Irene proved a true and loving friend, and, with
wisdom far beyond her years, encouraged Dorothy to go on with her little
lessons, and learn to knit and crochet. "To make a shawl for mother by
the time she gets well" became an object of ambition; and Irene helped
her out of difficulties, and turned the troublesome corners at the four
parts of the square, and would read to her and Ella while she pulled the
soft Pyrenean wool in and out the long treble stitches.

They were very busy one morning a week after Canon Percival's arrival,
when they saw his tall figure coming up the garden. He looked happier
than he had done for some time, and when Dorothy ran to meet him, he
said,--

"Good news to-day; mother is really better; and Dr. Forman thinks she
may soon be as well as she was before this last attack of illness."

Good news indeed! If any little girl who reads Dorothy's story has ever
had to feel the weight upon her heart which a dear father's or mother's
illness has caused, she will know how, when the burden is lifted, and
the welcome words are spoken, like Canon Percival's, all the world
seems bright and joyful, and hope springs up like a fountain within.

"Yes," Canon Percival said, as Dorothy threw her arms round his neck,
"we may be very thankful and glad; and now, while I go and see Lady
Burnside, will you get ready to take me to visit the old town, and----"

"Giulia, and the old woman, and Anton!" exclaimed Dorothy.

Oh yes! the children were soon ready, and they all set off towards
the old town, all except Willy, who had to wait for Mr. Martyn, and who
looked with longing eyes at the party as they walked away.

"_Bother_ this horrid sum!" he said; "it _won't_ come right. What's the
use of asking such ridiculous questions? Who cares about the answer?"

But Willy got the answer right in spite of his grumbling, and had the
pleasure of hearing Mr. Martyn tell his grandmother that he had improved
very much of late, and that he would take a good place at a school when
he was sent to one.

It was a lovely spring morning, that beautiful spring of the sunny
South, which comes early in the year with a sudden burst of flowers
of all colours. All the acacias and mimosas in the gardens before the
villas were waving their golden tassels in the breeze, and the scarlet
anemones and the yellow narcissi were making a carpet under foot.

Dorothy danced along in the gladness of her heart, and Canon Percival,
when he thought of what _might_ have been, felt thankful and glad also.
As they climbed the steep street leading to the square before the big
church, a little white dog with brown ears toddled out.

"Oh, that is the dog I thought was Nino! How could I think so?" Dorothy
exclaimed; "his legs are so ugly, and he has such a mean little tail.
Ah! my poor Nino was beautiful when compared with _you_," she said,
stooping down to pat the little dog. "And, Uncle Crannie," she said, "do
you remember that sad, dreadful day, when you took me to see mother, you
said you had something to tell me about Nino, and then you left off."

"Ah!" Canon Percival said, "I believe I did say so, but, Dorothy, can
you wait to hear what it is?"

"I don't know," Dorothy said, doubtfully, "I don't know; it can't be
anything very happy."

"Well, I advise you to wait," Canon Percival said.

Dorothy looked up at her uncle, and said,--

"Is it that his dear dead little body has been found?"

But Canon Percival only repeated, "I advise you to _wait_."

"How long?"

"Till we all go back to England."

They were at Giulia's house now. She was sitting on the doorstep,
netting so fast, and such a big brown net lay in a heap behind her.
Anton was the first to see the visitors, and exclaimed,--

"Madre! madre mia! la signorina!"

Giulia flung down her netting, and starting up, to Dorothy's surprise,
caught her in her strong arms once more, and kissed her.

And now, what seemed to the children very wonderful, Canon Percival
began to talk to Giulia as fast in Italian as he did in English. And
such a history was poured forth by Giulia, and then followed such
gestures, and such exclamations! and Anton was caught by the arm, and
shaken by his mother, and then she pointed to Canon Percival, and when
Dorothy caught the word "Grazia," she knew that her uncle was promising
to do some kind thing. Ella, who from long habit could understand a
great deal of what passed, told Irene and Dorothy that Canon Percival
was promising to pay the money for Anton's apprenticeship to the master
boatman, and that he was writing the name in his pocket-book, and that
he said he would go down to the quay and harbour to find him, and if
he gave a good character of mother and son, he would have an agreement
made, and the boy should be made an apprentice, without touching that
store of silver pieces in the old pipkin in the cupboard.

Then they all went into the house, and Dorothy showed the bed where she
had been placed, and Ella and Irene quite agreed with her that it was
very stuffy in the little low room, and the smell of tar and smoke
anything but nice.

Then there was the old crone by the chimney-corner, who muttered and
murmured, and beckoned Dorothy to her side.

Poor little Dorothy bore the kiss which was given her with great
composure, but she could not help giving a little shudder, and told Ella
afterwards the smell of garlic and tobacco was "dreadful."

Canon Percival said a few words which were not intelligible to Dorothy,
but Irene whispered to her--

"He is speaking to them all about the Lord Jesus; that's why Giulia is
crossing herself. That is her way of showing reverence."

Poor Giulia's eyes were full of tears as Canon Percival went on. He was
telling the story of the Cross, simply and earnestly, to these poor
people, as they seldom, if ever, heard it, in their own tongue, the
soft Italian tongue, which is so musical.

When they left the house they were all very quiet, and could Dorothy
have understood what Giulia was saying as she stood on the large stone
step, watching them down the narrow street, she would have known she was
praying in her own fashion that blessings might follow them.

Canon Percival next went down to the harbour, and there, from the pier,
is a most beautiful view of the old town, rising up, higher and higher,
to the crest of the hill till it reaches the large church which belongs
to the lepers' hospital. Canon Percival inquired for Angelo Battista,
the master fisherman; and a fine sailor, with a face as brown as a
chestnut, and big dark eyes, smiled when Canon Percival disclosed his
errand.

"Yes, Anton was a good boy; his mother had a long tongue, but she was
very industrious--industrious with tongue and fingers alike," he said,
and then he laughed heartily, and two or three men standing near joined
in.

At last all was settled, and Angelo Battista was to bring up a written
document that evening to the Villa Firenze, and bring little Anton with
him, to make the needful declaration required in such cases by the
notary, that he agreed to the terms proposed.

Canon Percival left San Remo the next day, saying that Coldchester
Cathedral could not get on without him. He was so cheery and so kind,
the children all lamented his loss.

But now golden days came for them all, as Mrs. Acheson got, as Ingleby
expressed it, "nearer well" than she had been for years. She took long
drives in the neighbourhood, and they visited several old Italian towns,
such as Taggia and Poggio.

The road to them led along the busy shore of the blue Mediterranean, and
then through silvery olive groves, where flowers of every brilliant
colour were springing.

And when May came, and the swallows twittered on the roofs of the
villas, and were seen consulting for their flight northward, the whole
party set off with them, _homewards_.

Canon Percival met them at Paris, and they stayed there a week, and saw
many of its wonders--the beautiful pictures in the Louvre, and the noble
galleries at Versailles, where the fountains play, and the long, smooth
avenues which lead to La Petite Trianon, which are full of memories of
poor Marie Antoinette.

Nothing made more impression on the children than the sight of her
boudoir in the palace at Versailles, where whoever looks up at the glass
panels sees, by their peculiar arrangement in one corner, the whole
figure without the head. It is said the young girl Dauphiness glanced up
at this, and starting back with horror, said--"Ah! J'ai perdu ma tête!"
A strange coincidence, certainly, when one remembers how her head was
taken off by the cruel guillotine in later years--the bright hair grey,
the head bowed with sorrow, and the heart torn with grief for her
husband, who had preceded her, and still more for the children she left
behind.

       *       *       *       *       *

At last the time came to cross the Channel once more, and the passage
was calm, and the children enjoyed the short voyage.

At Folkestone a very great surprise awaited Dorothy. She hardly knew
whether she was dreaming or awake when in the waiting-room at the
station she saw a man in a fisherman's blouse with a white dog in his
arms.

"Nino! Nino! Oh, it must be my Nino!"

There could be no doubt of it this time, for the little dog grew frantic
and excited, and leaped whining out of the fisherman's arms, and was in
ecstasies at again meeting his mistress.

This, then, was Canon Percival's secret. And he told the story of Nino's
discovery in a few words.

The day when he was at Folkestone, on his way to San Remo--summoned
there by Mrs. Acheson's illness--he saw a fisherman on the pier with
a little white dog by his side. It seemed hardly possible, but the
fisherman explained that, near one of the Channel steamers, in his
smack, he had seen a little white dog fall over the side, that he had
looked out for him as they crossed the precise place, and found his
little black nose just above the water, making a gallant fight for life.
They lowered a little boat and picked him up, and read the name on his
collar, "Nino."

That collar he still wore, and it was evident that the sovereign Canon
Percival gave him did not quite reconcile the man to the parting. "His
children had grown so fond of the little beast," he said.

But Nino, though he gave the fisherman a parting lick of gratitude,
showed his _old_ love was the stronger; and I do think it would be hard
to say which was the happier at the renewal of affection--Dorothy or her
dog Nino.

Certain it is, we always value anything more highly when we _recover_
possession of it, and Nino went back to Coldchester full of honours;
and the story of his adventures made a hero of him in the eyes of the
vergers of the Cathedral, who in past times had been wont to declare
this little white dog was a deal of trouble, rushing about on the
flower-beds of the Cathedral gardens.

       *       *       *       *       *

With the homeward flight of the swallows we must say good-bye to
Dorothy. A very happy summer was passed in the Canon's house, brightened
by the companionship of Irene, and sometimes of Ella and Willy and Baby
Bob. For Lady Burnside took a house for a few months in the neighbourhood
of Coldchester, and the children continually met. But it was by Mrs.
Acheson's express desire that Irene did not return to Mrs. Baker's
school. She pleaded with Colonel Packingham that she might have her as
a companion for her only child; and they shared a governess and lessons
together.

Irene had the influence over Dorothy which could not fail to be noticed
in its effects--the influence which a child who has a simple desire
to follow in the right way _must_ have over those with whom she is
associated.

Dorothy's flight with the swallows had taught her many things, and with
Irene for a friend, she had long ceased to say she did not care for
playmates. She was even known to devote herself for an hour at a time to
share some rioting game with _Baby Bob_, while Nino raced and barked at
their heels.

THE END.



TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE:

Inconsistencies in hyphenation have been retained. One change was made
to the text. The word "to" was added before the word "Dorothy's" in the
sentence:

Dorothy edged away, closer and closer to Irene, who, to Dorothy's
surprise, spoke out boldly.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Flight with the Swallows - Little Dorothy's Dream" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home