"And what did you get at market, Daisy?" suddenly asked the gentleman whom her mother called "Gary."
"I went to buy baskets," said Daisy, concisely.
"What else did you get at market?"
"I didn't go to market, sir."
"She told me she did" said Mr. Gary, looking at her father.
"Did you buy anything else, Daisy?" said her father, carelessly.
"Papa," said Daisy, colouring, "Mr. McFarlane asked me, I thought, where we went to market, and I told him New York. I did not mean that I went myself."
"Didn't you get anything but baskets?" said Mr. McFarlane mischievously.
"Papa," said Daisy, making a brave push, "if I only spend what you give me for my birthday, don't you think it would be considerate in Mr. McFarlane not to ask me any more?" But this speech set the gentlemen to laughing.
"Daisy, you make me curious," said her father. "Do you think it would be inconsiderate in me to ask?"
"Papa, I think it would."
"Answer, Daisy, directly, and don't be ridiculous," said her mother.
Daisy's face clouded, coloured, and the tears came into her eyes.
"Answer, Daisy, since it is put so," said her father, gravely.
"I bought a ham, papa."
But the shout that was raised at this was so uproarious that Daisy was almost overcome. She would certainly have made her escape, only she knew such a thing would not be permitted. She sat still, and bore it as well as she could.
"The baskets held eggs, no doubt," said Captain Drummond, the other gentleman.
"Roast potatoes would be better for your Irish friends, Daisy," said McFarlane. "Ham and eggs is good for the Yankees. It would be the best plan to make a fire out-of-doors and let each one cook for himself, according to his country. How do you expect to please everybody?"
"Come here, Daisy," said her father, kindly, and he put his arm round her and kissed her; "did you have money enough for your ham and your other purchases too?"
"Plenty, papa," said Daisy, gratefully.
"And why didn't you go yesterday afternoon, as I thought you intended?" Daisy's and Ransom's eyes met.
"Papa, it was a great deal pleasanter this morning than it would have been then; I never had such a nice ride."
"And what do you want done now? Is your table ready?"
"It will be ready Mr. Stilton is getting it ready."
"Who is invited, Daisy?" inquired Mr. McFarlane. "Do you intend to receive any except those who are not your friends?"
"I don't think those of a different class had better come," said Daisy.
"Daisy is quite right," said Mrs. Randolph.
"Do you not intend to show yourself?" said her husband, with some meaning.
"I? No! Certainly not. At her age, since you choose to indulge Daisy in her whim, she may do what she pleases."
Was this what the man meant by Randolph's people being "stuck up?" Daisy looked grave, and her father bade her run away and attend to her preparations.
Even then she went slowly and a little puzzled, till she reached the housekeeper's room; and there the full beauty of the occasion burst upon her. Such nice things as Joanna was making ready!
Daisy ran off at full speed to Logan to get a supply of greens and flowers to trim her baskets. Nora was coming to help her and be with her all day, and arrived just in time. With aprons and baskets full, the two children sought a hidden spot on the bank under the trees, and there sat down, with strawberry baskets in one heap, and the sprigs and leaves to dress them in another.
"Now throw off your hat," said Daisy. "It's shady enough, and you'll feel cooler. Now Nora. how shall we do? You try one, and I'll try one; that will be best; and then we can see. I want them to look very pretty, you know; and they are to be filled with strawberries to send home to the children; if we make them very nice they will go on the table, I think, and help dress it up."
For a time there was comparative silence, while the little hands turned and twisted the mosses and bits of larch and cedar and hemlock in and out of the openings of the baskets. It was not found easy at first to produce a good effect; hands were unused to the work; and Nora declared after half an hour she believed the baskets would look best plain, just as they were. But Daisy would not give up. She grew very warm indeed with the excitement of her efforts, but she worked on. By and by she succeeded in dressing a basket so that it looked rich with green; and then a bit or two of rosebuds or heath or bright yellow everlasting made the adornment gay and pretty enough. It was taken for a model; and from that time tongues and fingers worked together, and heat was forgotten.
"Isn't this pleasant!" exclaimed Daisy at length, dropping her work into her lap. "Isn't it just as pleasant as it can be, Nora?"
"Yes," said Nora, working away.
"Just see the river it's so smooth. And look up into the leaves; how pretty they are! and every one of them is trembling a little; not one of them is still, Nora. How beautiful the green is, with the sun shining through! Wouldn't you like to be a bird up there?"
"No," said Nora; "I'd rather be down here."
"I think it would be nice to be a bird," said Daisy; "it must be pleasant up in those branches only the birds don't know anything, I suppose. What do you think heaven must be like, Nora?"
"Daisy, you're so funny. What makes you think about heaven?"
"Why, you know," said Daisy slowly, "I expect to go there. Why shouldn't I think about it?"
"But you won't go there till you die," said Nora.
"I don't see what that has to do with my thinking about it. I shall die, some time."
"Yes, but Daisy, don't be so queer. You are not going to die now."
"I don't know about that," said Daisy; "but I like to think of heaven. Jesus is there. Isn't it pleasant, Nora, that He can see us always, and knows what we are doing?"
"Daisy, Marmaduke said he wished you would invite him to your party."
The turn Nora wished to give to Daisy's thoughts took effect for the moment. It was grievous; to wish so much for her friend and to have him join in the wish, and all in vain. But, characteristically, Daisy said nothing. She was only silent a moment.
"Nora, did you ever hear Mr. Dinwiddie say that poor people disliked rich people?"
"No. They don't dislike him, I know."
"Is Mr. Dinwiddie rich too?"
"Of course he is," said Nora.
"I shouldn't think anybody would dislike him," said Daisy; "but then he never seemed like rich people." She went into a muse about it.
"Well, he is," said Nora. "He has got as much money as he wants, I know."
"Nora, you know the parable of the servants and the talents?"
"Are you one of the good servants?"
Nora looked up very uneasily. Daisy's face was one of quiet inquiry. Nora fidgeted.
"Daisy, I wish you would be like yourself, as you used to be, and not talk so."
"But are you, Nora?"
"No, I don't suppose I am! I couldn't do much."
"But would you like to have the King say to you what He said to the servant who had one talent and didn't do anything?"
"Daisy, I don't want to have you talk to me about it," said Nora, a little loftily. "I have got Marmaduke to talk to me, and that's as much as I want."
"I mean to be one of them!" said Daisy gently. "Jesus is the king; and it makes me so glad to think of it! so glad, Nora. He is my King, and I belong to Him; and I love to give Him all I've got; and so would you, Nora. I only want to find out all I have got, that I may give it to Him."
Nora went on very assiduously with the covering of the baskets, and Daisy presently followed her example. But the talk was checked for a little.
"Nora, Jesus is your King, though," said Daisy again. "He made everything, and He made you; and He is your King. I wish you would be His servant too."
Daisy was greatly astonished at the effect of this speech; for Nora without speaking arose, left her baskets and greens on the ground, and set off from the spot with an air that said she did not mean to return to it. Daisy was too bewildered to speak, and only looked after her till she was too far to be recalled. What was the matter? Greatly puzzled and dismayed, she tried to find a possible answer to this question. Left alone on her birthday in the midst of her business, by her best friend, what could have brought about so untoward a combination of circumstances? Daisy could not understand it; and there was no time to go after Nora to get an understanding. The baskets must be finished. Luckily there did not much remain to be done, for Daisy was tired. As soon as her work was out of her hand, she went to see about the success of her table. It was done; a nice long, neat table of boards, on trestles; and it was fixed under a beautiful grove of trees, on the edge of a bank from which the view over the grounds was charming. Mr. Stilton was just gathering up his tools to go away, and looked himself so smiling and bright that Daisy concluded there was reason to hope her party was going to be all right; so with fresh spirit she went in to her own dinner.
After that it was busy times. The long table was to be spread with a table-cloth, and then the cups and plates in proper number and position, leaving the places for the baskets of strawberries. It was a grave question whether they should be arranged in a pyramid, with roses filling the spaces, or be distributed all round the table. Daisy and Joanna debated the matter, and decided finally on the simpler manner; and Logan dressed some splendid bouquets for the centre of the table instead. Daisy saw that the maids were bringing from the house pretty china dishes and cups; and then she ran away to get dressed herself. Just as this was almost done she saw her mother driving off from the house with several gentlemen in her party. It suddenly struck Daisy, who was to do the honours of the strawberry feast? She ran down stairs to find her father; she could not find him, he was out; so Daisy went to see that the setting the table was going on all right, and then came and planted herself in the library, to wait for Mr. Randolph's coming in. And while she waited eagerly, she began to think about its being her birthday.
"Nine years old," thought Daisy; "there isn't much of my life passed. Perhaps, if I live a good while, I may do a great deal to serve the Lord. I wonder if I know all the things I can do now! all my 'talents'? I am afraid of missing some of them for not knowing. Everything I have, Mr. Dinwiddie said, so Nora said, is a talent of some sort or other. How strange Nora was to-day! But I suppose she will come and tell me what was the matter. Now about the talents I wish papa would come! This birthday was one talent, and I thought it would be a good thing if papa's people could be made to know that he is not 'stuck up,' if he is rich, but if neither he nor mamma come out to speak to them at all, I wonder what they will think?"
Daisy ran out again to view the table. Yes, it was looking very handsome. Joanna was there herself, ordering and directing; and china and glass, and flowers, and silver, made a very brilliant appearance, though none of the dishes were on the table as yet.
"But who is going to pour out the coffee and the tea, Joanna?" said Daisy. "Aren't you going to dress and come and do it for me?"
"La! Miss Daisy, I don't see how I can. I expect the best plan will be to have you do it yourself. That will give the most satisfaction, I guess."
"Joanna! I don't know how."
"Yes, you do, Miss Daisy; you'll have the coffee urn, and all you have to do is to turn the faucet, you know; and Sam will wait upon you, and if you want tea poured out, he can lift it for you. It'll taste twice as good to all the party if you do it."
"Do you think so, Joanna?"
"I don't want to think about it," said Joanna; "I know without thinking."
"But, Joanna, I can't reach the things."
"I'll have a high seat fixed for you. I know what you want."
Daisy stood watching; it was such a pleasure to see Joanna's nice preparations. And now came on the great dishes of strawberries, rich and sweet to the eye and the smell; and then handsome pitchers filled with milk and ice-water, in a range down the table. Then came great fruit cakes and pound cakes, superbly frosted and dressed with strawberries and rosebuds; Joanna had spared no pains. Great store of sliced bread and butter too, and plates of ham and cold beef, and forms of jelly. And when the dressed baskets of strawberries were set in their places all round the table, filling up the spaces, there was a very elegant, flowery, and sparkling appearance of a rich feast. Why was not Nora there? and with the next thought Daisy flew back to the library to find her father. He was found.
"Oh, papa," she said, gently, though she had rushed in like a little summer wind, "are you going to come to the feast?"
"What for, my dear?"
"Papa, they will all like it; they will be pleased."
"I think they will enjoy themselves better without me."
"Papa, I am sure they would be pleased."
"I should only make it a constraint for them, Daisy. I do not think they will want anything but the strawberries especially if you look at them."
"But mamma is not here to speak to them either, papa."
"You think somebody must speak to them, eh? I don't think I can make speeches, Daisy," said Mr. Randolph, stretching himself at ease in a chaise longue. "But perhaps I may step down and look at them by and by, my dear."
There was no more to be done, Daisy knew. She went slowly off over the grounds, meditating whether the people would be satisfied with so very at-arms'-length an entertainment. Would this draw the poor nearer to the rich? or the rich nearer to the poor? Daisy had an instinctive, delicate sense of the want, which she set herself to do the best her little self could to supply. "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you" that sweet and most perfect rule of high breeding was moving her now; and already the spirit of another rule, which in words she did not yet know, was beginning to possess her heart in its young discipleship; she was ready "to do good to all men, even as she had opportunity."
She went slowly back to the table. Nobody come yet. Joanna was there, putting some last touches. Suddenly a new idea struck Daisy, as she saw what a long table it was.
"Joanna there must be somebody else to wait. Sam can never do it all."
"He'll have to. James is busy, and Hiram. Sam's all that can be spared; and that's as much as ever."
"But I must have more, Joanna. Can't some of the maids come?"
"To wait? they wouldn't, Miss Daisy."
"Yes, they would, Joanna. You must make them, Joanna. Send Maria and Ophelia down here, and I'll tell them what I want of them. And quick, Joanna; and don't you tell them, please, what I want."
"I hope you'll grow up to marry the President, some day," said Joanna, walking off; "you could help him if he got puzzled!"
Poor Daisy almost felt as if she had the affairs of a nation on her hands, when she saw Mr. and Mrs. Stilton, dressed in their best, coming near through the trees. But the spirit of kindness was so thoroughly at work in Daisy, that it made her reception of her guests just what it ought to be, and she was delighted a few minutes after to see that their eyes were kindling with gratification. Logan looked at the table as if he had some right to take an interest in it; the hay-makers were open-mouthed; the women in a flutter of ribands and propriety; and the various people who had come upon the ground with doubtful expectancy, sat down to table proud and gay. It was a pretty sight! and prettier was the sight of little Daisy perched up at one end of the board, and with tremulous fingers filling cups of coffee, and ordering cups of tea.
"Miss Daisy," said Mrs. Stilton, "it's too much trouble for you to fill all them cups sha'n't I come there, and take the responsibility? if you would delegate me."
Gladly Daisy agreed, slipped off her high chair, and saw Mrs. Stilton's full portly figure take the place. But Daisy's labours were not ended. She saw one of the Irish labourers sitting with his eyes straight before him, and nothing on his plate for them to look at. Daisy went round. It was her feast; she felt she must do the honours.
"Will you have a cup of coffee?" said a soft little voice at the man's elbow. He started.
"Ach! Sure Miss, I wouldn't be troublesome."
"It's no trouble. Will you have some tea or some coffee?"
" 'Dade, sorrow a drop ever I tuk of ary one of 'em but the one time, plase yer ladyship. It's too good for me, sure; that's why it don't agree wid me, Miss."
Very much puzzled by the confidential little nod with which this information was communicated, Daisy yet felt she could not give up the matter.
"Then what will you have? some ham? or some strawberries?"
"Sure I'll do very well, niver fear, plase yer ladyship; don't trouble yerself. The angels wouldn't want something purtier to eat, than what we have, Miss!"
Daisy gave up in despair, and charged Sam to see that the man had his supper. Then, without asking any more questions, she carried a cup of coffee down the table to a meek-looking old woman who likewise seemed to be in a state of bewilderment. It was the mother of Michael the gate-keeper. She started a little too, as Daisy's hand set down her cup, and half rose from her chair.
"Blessings on ye, for a dear little lady! It's a wonder to see the likes of you. The saints above bless the hand and the fut that wasn't above doing that same! and may ye always have plenty to wait on ye, and the angels of heaven above all!"
"Sit down, Mrs. Sullivan," said Daisy. "Do you like coffee?"
"Do I like it! It's better to me nor anything else in the worruld, when it wouldn't be a sup o' summat now and thin, if I'd have the rheumatiz."
"A sup of what?"
"Medicine, dear, medicine that I take whin the doctor says it's good for me. May you niver know the want of it, nor of anything in the wide worruld! and niver know what it is to be poor!"
Daisy managed to get the old woman to eat, supplying her with various things, every one of which was accepted with "Thank you, Miss," and "Blessings on ye!" and turning away from her at last, saw her handmaids approaching from the house. The girls, however disposed to stand upon their dignity, could not refuse to do what their little mistress was doing; and a lively time of it they and Daisy had for the next hour, with all the help Sam and Mrs. Stilton could give them. Daisy saw that strawberries and cream, cake and coffee, were thoroughly enjoyed; she saw too that the honour of being served off silver and china was duly felt. If her father had but come out to say a kind word! but he did not come. His little substitute did all a substitute could do; and at last when everybody seemed in full tide of merrymaking, she stole away that they might have no constraint upon it. Before she had got far, she was startled by a noise behind her, and looking round saw that all the tableful had risen to their feet. The next instant there was a great shout. Daisy could not imagine what they were doing, but she saw that they were all looking at her. She came back a step or two. Now there was another shout greater than the other; the women flourished handkerchiefs, the men waved their arms above their heads. "Long life to ye!" "Good luck to ye forever!" "Blessings on ye for a lady!" "Many thanks to ye, Miss Daisy!" "May ye niver want as good!" "Hurrah for the flower of Melbourne!" Shouts various and confused at last made Daisy comprehend they were cheering her. So she gave them a little courtesy or two, and walked off again as fast as she thought it was proper to go.
She went home and to the library, but found nobody there; and sat down to breathe and rest; she was tired. Presently Ransom came in.
"Hallo, Daisy! is nobody here?"
"Have you seen your things yet?"
"My things? what things?"
"Why, your things your birthday things. Of course you haven't, or you'd know. Never mind, you'll know what I mean by and by. I say, Daisy."
"You know when papa asked you this morning why you didn't go yesterday to Crum Elbow? "
"Why didn't you tell him?"
Daisy hesitated. Ransom was cutting a pencil vigorously, but as she was silent he looked up.
"Why didn't you tell him? did you tell him afterwards?"
"Why, no, Ransom!"
"Well, why didn't you? that's what I want to know. Didn't you tell anybody?"
"No, of course not."
"Why didn't you, then?"
"Ransom," said Daisy, doubtfully.
"What? I think you're turned queer."
"I don't know whether you'd understand me."
"Understand you! That's a good one! I couldn't understand you! I should rather like to have you try."
"Well, I'll tell you," said Daisy.
"Ransom, you know who the Lord Jesus Christ is."
"I used to; but I have forgotten."
"Come, go ahead, and don't palaver."
"I am His servant," said Daisy; "and He has bid me do to other people what I would like to have them do to me."
"He has bid you! What do you mean?"
"You know what I mean. It is in the Bible."
"What's in the Bible?"
"That; that I must do to other people what I would like to have them do to me."
"And I suppose you thought I wouldn't like to have you tell? Well you're out, for I don't care a shot about it there! and you may tell just as fast as you're a mind to."
"Oh, Ransom! you know "
"What do I know?"
"It's no matter," said little Daisy, checking herself.
"Go ahead, and finish! What is the use of breaking off? That's the way with girls; they don't know how to speak English. You may just as well say the whole of something ugly, as the half of it."
If Daisy was tempted to comply with the request, she did not give way to the temptation; for she was silent; and in a mood less pleasant than her own apparently, Ransom took himself out of her presence. Left alone, Daisy presently curled herself down on a couch, and being very tired fell asleep.
Daisy slept on, until a bustle and sounds of voices and laughter in the hall, and boots clattering over the marble and up the staircase, at last found their way into her ears.
The riding party had got home. Daisy sat up and rubbed her eves and looked out.
The sun was low, and shining from the western mountains over the tops of all the trees. It was certainly near dinner-time; the cool glittering look of the light on the trees and shrubs could not be earlier than that. What had become of the strawberry feast? It seemed like a dream. Daisy shook off the remains of her sleep and hurried out by one of the glass doors to go and see. She ran down to the bank where the table was spread. It was a feast over. The company were gone, so were the baskets of strawberries; yes, and the very bouquets of flowers had been taken away. That was a sign of pleasure. Nothing was left but the disordered table. Daisy hoped the people had had a good time, and slowly went back towards the house. As she came near the library window she saw her father, standing in it.
"How has the feast gone off?"
"I don't know, papa. There's nothing left but the boards and the cups and saucers."
Mr. Randolph sat down and drew his little daughter up to his side.
"Have you enjoyed it, Daisy?"
"Yes papa I have enjoyed it pretty well."
"Only pretty well! for your birthday! Do you think now you made a good choice, Daisy?"
"Yes, sir I think I did."
"What has been wanting? I am afraid your ham did not figure on the board, if it is so empty?"
Daisy did not answer, but her father, watching her, saw something in her face which made him pursue the subject.
"No, papa," said Daisy, colouring a little.
"How was that?"
"Joanna arranged everything that was to go on the table."
"And left the ham out of the question? It seems to me that was a mistake, though I am not much of a housekeeper. Why was that?"
"Papa," said Daisy, "do you think I would make a wrong use of a ham?"
Mr. Randolph laughed. "Why, Daisy, unless you are a finished economist, that might be. Do you mean that I am not to know the particular use made of this ham."
"Papa, I wish you would not desire to know!"
But Daisy's face was too much in earnest. "I think I cannot grant that request," said her father. "You must tell me."
Daisy looked distressed. But she dared not evade the order, though she feared very much what might come of it.
"I didn't buy the ham for the party, papa."
"Then for what?"
"I bought it, papa, for a little girl who was going without her breakfast. She came to Mr. Lamb's to buy ham, and she had no money, and he wouldn't let her have any."
"And what became of your baskets?"
"Oh, I got them, papa; I got cheaper ones; and Nora and I dressed them with greens. I had money enough."
Mr. Randolph took his little daughter on his knee, and softly put down his lips to kiss her.
"But Daisy, after all, why did you not go to Crum Elbow yesterday afternoon, as you meant to do?"
"Papa, this morning did better, for it was pleasanter."
"Do you call that an answer?" said Mr. Randolph, who was still softly kissing her.
"Papa, if you would be so very good as not to ask me that?"
"I am not good at all, Daisy. I ask, and I mean to know."
Daisy was in trouble. No entreaty was worth a straw after that. She was puzzled how to answer.
"Papa," she ventured, "I don't like to tell you, because Ransom would not like I should."
"Ransom's pleasure must give way to mine, Daisy."
"He wanted the pony-chaise," said Daisy, looking very downcast.
"And you gave it him?"
"What then? Daisy," said Mr. Randolph, bringing her head round to face him, "tell me what I want to know without any more questions."
"He took the chaise, papa, that was all, so I went this morning."
"Ransom knew you wanted it?"
"Then, Daisy, tell me further, why you did not give me this information when I asked about your drive this morning at breakfast?"
"Papa, I thought Ransom would not like to have it told."
"Were you afraid he would revenge himself in any way if you did?"
"Oh, no, papa! not at all."
"Then what moved you to silence?"
"Why, papa, I did not want to trouble Ransom. I was afraid you would be displeased with him perhaps, if I told."
"Were you not displeased when he took the chaise?"
"Yes, papa," said Daisy, softly.
"And had your displeasure all gone off by this morning?"
Mr. Randolph was not quite satisfied. There was no doubting Daisy; but he had reasons of his own for knowing that she had not said to him quite all that she had confessed to her brother. He would have liked the whole confession; but did not see how he could get at it just now. He took a little gold piece out of his pocket, and quietly slipped it into Daisy's hand.
"Papa! what is this for?"
"For your poor woman, if you like. You can send it to her by Sam."
"Oh, thank you, papa! But, papa, she won't take it so she will not take the least thing without working to pay for it."
"How do you know?"
"She told me so, papa."
"Who told you so?"
"The poor woman Mrs. Harbonner."
"Where did you see her?"
"I saw her at her house, papa."
"Why did you go to her house?"
"To take her the ham, sir."
"And she told you she wouldn't have anything without doing work for it eh?"
"Yes, papa she wouldn't even take the ham any other way."
"What work did you engage her to do, Daisy?"
"I thought Joanna could find her some, papa."
"Well, let Joanna manage it. You must not go there again, nor into any strange house, Daisy, without my leave. Now go and get ready for dinner, and your part of your birthday."
Daisy went very soberly. To see Mrs. Harbonner and her daughter again, and to do them all sorts of good, had been a dream of hers, ever since the morning. Now this was shut off. She was very sorry. How were the rich to do good to the poor, if they never came together? A question which Daisy thought about while she was dressing. Then she doubted how her feast had gone; and she had been obliged to tell of Ransom. Altogether, Daisy felt that doing good was a somewhat difficult matter, and she let June dress her in very sober silence. Daisy was elegantly dressed for her birthday and the dinner. Her robe was a fine beautifully embroidered muslin, looped with rose ribands on the shoulder and tied with a broad rose-coloured sash round the waist. There was very little rose in Daisy's cheeks, however; and June stood and looked at her when she had done, with mingled satisfaction and dissatisfaction.
"You've tired yourself to-day, Miss Daisy, with making that party for the men!" she said.
"Have you done? Now, June, will you go away, please, and leave me my room for a few minutes?"
"Yes, Miss Daisy but it's most time for you to go down."
June went, and Daisy locked her doors, and dropped on her knees by her little bed. How was she to know what was right to do? and still more, how was she to do it wisely and faithfully? Little Daisy went to her stronghold, and asked for help; and that she might know what her talents were.
"Miss Daisy," said the voice of June at the door, "you are wanted in the library."
Down went Daisy in a hurry. There was her father; and there also, to her great surprise, were Nora and Mr. Dinwiddie!
"I have brought Nora to make her peace with you, Daisy," said Mr. Dinwiddie. "I found her in great trouble because, she said, you were offended with her. Will you love her again?"
Daisy put her arms round Nora, who looked a little ashamed, and gave her a very peaceful and reassuring kiss. The gentlemen both smiled at her action. It was too graceful to need the aid of words.
"My mission is successful," said Mr. Dinwiddie.
"But I was not offended the least bit, Mr. Dinwiddie," said Daisy.
"I believe it; but Nora thought you had so much reason, that she would not come alone to make her apology."
The young man looked towards Mr. Randolph, whose attention was just then taken by somebody who had come to him on business. He waited.
"Won't you sit down, Mr. Dinwiddie." said Daisy.
"I must go."
"But I want to ask you a question, sir."
Mr. Dinwiddie sat down.
"Mr. Dinwiddie," said Daisy with a grave face, "what are my talents?"
"What is the question, Daisy? I do not understand."
"You know, sir one servant had ten and another had five. What are my talents?"
"I do not know."
"But how can I tell, Mr. Dinwiddie?"
Then the young man's eyes glowed, as Daisy had a few times seen them do before.
"Ask the Lord, Daisy. See what His word tells you to do."
"But Mr. Dinwiddie, I am little; I can't do much."
"You cannot do anything. But Jesus can use you, to do what He pleases, if you will be His little servant. Give me that spoon, Nora."
"But, Marmaduke "
"Yes I know," said her brother. He took from Nora's hand? and unfolded from its wrapping-paper a very curious thing, which he told Daisy was an Egyptian spoon. He did not give her time to look at it, only he held it so that she saw what it was.
"You see that spoon, Daisy. It cannot do anything. But in your hand it might carry drops of comfort to somebody's lips."
Daisy looked earnestly at the spoon, then at the bright eyes that were fixed on her; and taking his meaning, she smiled, a bright, satisfied smile. It satisfied Mr. Dinwiddie too. He wrapped up the spoon again, handed it to Nora, and rose up to make his adieus to Mr. Randolph.
"Daisy," whispered Nora, "this spoon is for you. Will you take it for my birthday present? Marmaduke says it is very handsome. It is his he gave it to me to give to you."
"It is very, very old," said Mr. Dinwiddie, coming to Daisy. "It was found in an old Egyptian tomb, and was made and put there perhaps before the Israelites came out of Egypt. Good bye!"
He took Daisy's hand with a strong, kindly grasp, and went away with his little sister just as the dinner-bell rang. Daisy had not time to look at her present. She held it tight, and went in to dinner with it in her hand.
Daisy did not generally dine with her father and mother. To- day was a great exception to the rule. Even to-day she was not expected to eat anything till the dessert came on; she had had her dinner; so she had the more time for other things. Her place was by her mother; Captain Drummond on the other side, and Gary McFarlane opposite. Then her aunt, Mrs. Gary, had arrived, just an hour before dinner; and she and her children and one or two other friends filled the table, and the talking and laughing went round faster than the soup. Daisy looked and listened, very much pleased to see her aunt and cousins, and amused; though, as usual, in her quiet fashion, she gave no sign of it.
"How did that party come off, Daisy?" said Mr. Gary McFarlane.
"What party?" said Mrs. Gary.
"Daisy's birthday entertainment."
"Daisy invited all the gardeners and haymakers to take supper and strawberries with her, Aunt Gary," said Ransom.
"What is that?" said Mrs. Gary, looking to her sister.
"Ransom has stated the matter correctly."
"Gardeners and haymakers! What was that for, Daisy?"
"I thought it would give them pleasure, aunt Gary, " said Daisy.
"Give them pleasure! of course, I suppose it would; but are we to give everybody pleasure that we can? At that rate, why not invite our footmen and chambermaids too? Why stop?"
"I suppose that will be the next thing," said Mrs. Randolph. "Daisy, you must not eat that cheese."
"What's Daisy's notion?" said Mrs. Gary, appealing to her brother-in-law.
"A child's notion," said Mr. Randolph. "The worst you can say of it is, that it is Arcadian."
"How did it go off, Daisy?" said Gary McFarlane.
"I don't know," said Daisy. "I think it went off pretty well."
"How did the hob-nails behave themselves?"
"They had lots of things to eat," said Ransom. "I don't believe we shall have any strawberries for a day or two ourselves."
"Did you give them strawberries?" said Mrs. Gary.
"A tableful," said Ransom; "and baskets and baskets to take home."
"Something new, " said Mrs. Gary, eating her salad.
"But how did the company behave?" said Mr. McFarlane.
"I saw no behaviour that was not proper," Daisy answered, gravely. She thought as much could not be said of the present company, seeing that servants were present.
"What have you there, Daisy?" said her mother.
"It is a birthday present, mamma. It is an Egyptian spoon."
"An Egyptian spoon! Where did you get it?"
"Mr. Dinwiddie I mean, Nora gave it to me."
"What about Mr. Dinwiddie?"
"Then why did you speak his name?"
"I don't know. He brought Nora to see me just now."
"Where did you see him?"
"In the library."
"Mr. Randolph" said the lady "did Mr. Dinwiddie call to see you?"
"He did me that honour," said Mr. Randolph; "but I think primarily his visit was to Daisy."
"Who is Mr. Dinwiddie?" said Mrs. Gary, seeing a contraction in her sister's brow. "It's a Virginian name."
"He is a fanatic," said Mrs. Randolph. "I don't know what else he is."
"Let us see the fanatic's spoon," said Gary McFarlane. "Egyptian, is it, Daisy? Curious, upon my word!"
"Beautiful!" said Captain Drummond, taking the spoon in his turn across the table. "Beautiful! This is a nice piece of carving and very old it undoubtedly is. This is the lotus, Daisy this stem part of the spoon; and do you see, in the bowl here is the carving of a lake, with fish in it?"
"Is it?" said Daisy; "and what is a lotus, Captain Drummond?"
"If you will put me in mind to-morrow, privately, I will tell you about it," said he.
"Let me look at that, Captain Drummond," said Mrs. Gary. "Why, here's a duck's head at the end of the handle. What a dear old thing! Who is this Mr. Dinwiddie, pray?"
"The duck's bill makes the spoon, aunt Gary," said Daisy.
"If you asked me what he is, I have told you," said Mrs. Randolph.
"He is a young man, of good family I believe, spending the summer with a neighbour of ours who is his relation," Mr. Randolph answered.
"What is he a fanatic about?"
This question did not get an immediate answer; the conversation diverged, and it was lost. Daisy's spoon made the round of the company. It was greatly admired, both from its oddness and from the beauty of its carving.
"Daisy, I will buy this spoon of you," said her aunt.
Daisy thought not; but she said, "With what, aunt Gary?"
"With anything you please. Do you set a high value on it? What is it worth?"
Daisy hesitated; and then she said, "I think it is worth my regard, aunt Gary!"
She could not guess why there was a general little laugh round the table at this speech.
"Daisy, you are an original," said Mrs. Gary. "May I ask, why this piece of old Egypt deserves your regard?"
"I think anything does, aunt Gary, that is a gift," Daisy said, a little shyly.
"If your first speech sounded forty years old, your second does not," said the lady.
"Arcadian again, both of them," Mr. Randolph remarked.
"You always take Daisy's part," said the lady briskly. But Mr. Randolph let the assertion drop.
"Mamma," said Daisy, "what is an original?"
"Something your aunt says you are. Do you like some of this biscuit, Daisy?"
"If you please, mamma. And mamma, what do you mean by a fanatic?"
"Something that I will not have you," said her mother, with knitting brow again.
Daisy slowly eat her biscuit-glac and wondered wondered what it could be that Mr. Dinwiddie was, and that her mother was determined she should not be.
Mr. Dinwiddie was a friend of poor people was that what her mother meant? He was a devoted, unflinching servant of Christ; "so will I be," said Daisy to herself; "so I am now; for I have given the Lord Jesus all I have got, and I don't want to take anything back. Is that what mamma calls being a fanatic?" Daisy's meditations were broken off; for a general stir round the table made her look up.
The table was cleared, and the servants were bringing on the fruit; and with the fruit they were setting on the table a beautiful old fashioned silver pergne, that was never used but for great occasions. Generally it was adorned with fruit and flowers; to-day it was empty, and the attendants proceeded to arrange upon it very strange looking things; packages in white paper, books, trinkets, what not; and in the middle of all a little statuette of a Grecian nymph, which was a great favourite of Daisy's. Daisy began to guess that the pergne had something to do with her birthday. But the nymph? perhaps she came there by her beauty to dignify this use made of the stately old thing. However, she forgot all about fanatics and Mr. Dinwiddie for the present. The looks and smiles of the company were unmistakable. Who would speak first?
"How are you to reach the pergne, Daisy?" said her father.
"Shall I be the medium?" said Mrs. Gary. "These things are to travel up to Daisy, I suppose."
"I will represent the rolling stock of this road, and undertake to carry parcels safely," said Mr. McFarlane. "Any message with the goods, Mrs. Gary?"
"I believe they carry their own message with them," said the lady; "or else I don't see what is the use of these little white tickets. Where shall I begin, Mr. Randolph?"
"I do not think the order of proceedings will be criticized, provided it does not delay," said Daisy's father.
"Then transmit this, Gary."
"Literary freight" said Gary McFarlane, handing over to Daisy a little parcel of books. Five or six little volumes, in pretty binding Daisy looked eagerly to see what they might be. "Marmion" "The Lady of the Lake" "Scott's Poetical Works."
"Oh, thank you, papa!" said Daisy, looking delighted.
"Not me," said Mr. Randolph. "I am not to be thanked."
"There's no name in them " said Daisy.
"That's Preston's gift," said her aunt. Preston was Daisy's oldest cousin; a fine boy of sixteen.
"I like it so much, Preston!" said Daisy, sending a grateful look down the table to where he sat.
"Is Daisy fond of poetry?" inquired Mr. McFarlane, with a grave look.
"Very fond," Mrs. Randolph said.
"Dangerous taste!" said Gary. "What is this new consignment?"
"Something valuable take care of it."
"To be taken with care right side up," said Gary, putting before Daisy by a stretch of his long arm a little paper covered package. Daisy's cheeks were beginning to grow pink. She unfolded the package.
A little box then white cotton then a gold bracelet.
"Mamma? " said Daisy instantly. Mrs. Randolph stooped and kissed her. "It's beautiful, mamma!" Daisy spoke very earnestly; however, her face did not show the light of pleasure which the first gift had called into it.
"How did you know so well?" said Mr. McFarlane. "Mrs. Randolph, I am afraid you are not literary. Now Daisy, exercise your discernment upon that."
It was a little box containing a Chinese puzzle, with the plans and keys belonging to it.
"Where do you think that comes from?"
Daisy looked up. "I think perhaps from you, Mr. McFarlane."
"Do you think I am anything like a puzzle?"
"I think perhaps you mean to be," Daisy said, innocently. But a shout from the whole tableful answered to this chance hit. Daisy didn't know what they could mean.
"I have done!" said Gary. "I have got more than my match. But I know who will plague people worse than a puzzle, if she gets well educated. There's a pair of gloves, you little fencer."
It was a nice little thick pair of riding or driving gloves; beautifully made and ornamented. These came from Eloise, Daisy's other cousin. Mrs. Gary had brought her two beautiful toilet bottles of Bohemian glass. Daisy's end of the table was growing full.
"What is this?" said Mrs. Gary, taking from the pergne a sealed note directed to Daisy.
"That is Ransom's present. Give her mine first," said Mr. Randolph.
"Which is yours? I don't see anything more."
"That little Proserpine in the middle."
"This? Are you going to give this to Daisy? But why is she called Proserpine? I don't see."
"Nor I," said Mr. Randolph, "only that everything must have a name. And this damsel is supposed to have been carrying a basket, which might easily have been a basket of flowers, I don't see how the statement could be disproved. And Daisy is fonder of the little nymph, I believe, than any one else in the house.
"Oh, papa! thank you," exclaimed Daisy, whose eyes sparkled. "I like to have her very much!"
"Well, here she goes," said Mrs. Gary. "Hand her over. You have a variety, Daisy. Chinese playthings and Grecian art."
"Some modern luxury," said Gary McFarlane. "Just a little."
"Egyptian art, too," said Captain Drummond.
"Oh, where's my spoon?" cried Daisy. "Has papa got it?"
"Here is Ransom's present," said her aunt, handing the note. "Nobody knows what it is. Are we to know?"
Daisy opened and read, read over again, looked very grave, and finally folded the note up in silence.
"What is it?" said her aunt.
Daisy hesitated, wishing, but in doubt if she would be permitted to keep it to herself. Her father answered for her.
"It is all of Ransom's part, share, and possession in a certain small equipage known about these premises; the intent and understanding being, that henceforth the pony carriage and pony are Daisy's sole property, and to be by her used and appropriated without any other person's interference whatever."
"But, papa " Ransom began.
"I think it is a very poor arrangement, Mr. Randolph," said Ransom's mother. "Daisy cannot use the pony half enough for his good."
"She will make more use of him now," said Mr. Randolph.
Ransom looked very glum. His mother rose, with the ladies, and went to the drawing-room.
A day or two after the birthday, it happened that Captain Drummond was enjoying the sunshine in a way that gentlemen like to enjoy it; that is, he was stretched comfortably on the grass under the shade of some elm trees, looking at it. Perhaps it was not exactly the sunshine that he was enjoying, but the soft couch of short grass, and the luxurious warm shadow of the elms, and a little fanciful breeze which played and stopped playing, and set the elm trees all a flutter and let them be still, by turns. But Captain Drummond was having a good time there, all by himself, and lying at length in a most lazy luxurious fashion; when he suddenly was "ware" of a fold of white drapery somewhere not very far from his left ear. He raised himself a little up, and there to be sure, as he had guessed, was Daisy. She was all alone too, and standing there looking at him.
Now Captain Drummond was a great favourite of Daisy's. In the first place he was a handsome fellow, with a face which was both gentle and manly; and his curly light brown hair and his slight well-trimmed moustache set off features that were pleasant for man or woman to look upon. Perhaps Daisy liked him partly for this, but I think she had other reasons. At any rate, there she stood looking at him.
"Can you command me, Daisy?" said the young officer.
"Are you at leisure, Captain Drummond?"
"Looks like it!" said the gentleman rousing himself. "What shall I give you? a camp-chair? or will you take the Oh! that is a better arrangement."
For Daisy had thrown on the ground a soft shawl for a carpet, and took her place upon it beside Captain Drummond, who looked at her in a pleased kind of way.
"Are you quite at leisure, Captain Drummond?"
"Gentlemen always are when ladies' affairs are to be attended to."
"Are they?" said Daisy.
"They ought to be!"
"But I am not a lady."
"What do you call yourself?"
"I don't know," said Daisy, gravely. "I suppose I am a little piece of one."
"Is that it?" said Captain Drummond, laughing. "Well, I will give you as large a piece of my leisure as you can make use of without regard to proportions. What is on hand, Daisy?"
"Captain Drummond," said Daisy, with a very serious face, "do soldiers have a very hard time?"
"Not always. Not when they are lying out under the trees at Melbourne, for example."
"But I mean, when they are acting like soldiers?"
He was ready with a laughing answer again, but seeing how earnest Daisy's face was, he controlled himself; and leaning on his elbow, with just a little smile of amusement on his face, he answered her.
"Well, Daisy sometimes they do."
"How, Captain Drummond?"
"In a variety of ways."
"Will you please tell me about it?"
He looked up at her. "Why, Daisy, what makes you curious in the matter? Have you a friend in the army?"
"No other but you," said Daisy.
"That is a kind speech. To reward you for it, I will tell you anything you please. What is the question, Daisy?"
"I would like to know in what way soldiers have a hard time?"
"Well, Daisy, to begin with, a soldier can't do what he has a mind."
"Not about anything?"
"Well no; not unless he gets leave. I am only at Melbourne now because I have got leave; and I must go when my leave is up. A soldier does not belong to himself."
"To whom does he belong?"
"To his commander! He must go and come, do or not do things, just as his General bids him; and ask no questions."
"Ask no questions?" said Daisy.
"No; only do what he is ordered."
"But why mayn't he ask questions?"
"That isn't his business. He has nothing to do with the reason of things; all he has got to do is his duty. The reason is his General's duty to look after."
"But suppose he had a very good General then that wouldn't be much of a hardship," said Daisy.
"Well, that is a very material point," said the Captain. "Suppose he has a good General as you say; that would make a great difference, certainly."
"Is that all, Captain Drummond?"
"Not quite all."
"Well, Daisy, a soldier, even under a good General, is often ordered to do hard things."
"What sort of things?"
"What do you think," said the Captain, lolling comfortably on the green bank, "of camping out under the rain-clouds with no bed but stones or puddles of mud and wet leaves and rain pouring down all night, and hard work all day; and no better accommodations for week in and week out?"
"But Captain Drummond!" said Daisy, horrified, "I thought soldiers had tents?"
"So they do in fine weather " said the Captain. "But just where the hardest work is to do, is where they can't carry their tents."
"Couldn't that be prevented?"
"I'm afraid not."
"I should think they'd get sick?"
"Think they would! Why, they do, Daisy, by hundreds and hundreds. What then? A soldier's life isn't his own; and if he has to give it up in a hospital instead of on the field, why it's good for some other fellow."
So this it was, not to belong to oneself! Daisy looked on the soldier before her who had run, or would run, such risks, very tenderly; but nevertheless the child was thinking her own thoughts all the while. The Captain saw both things.
"What is the 'hard work' they have to do?" she asked, presently.
"Daisy, you wouldn't like to see it."
"Poor fellows digging and making walls of sand or sods to shelter them from fire when every now and then comes a shot from the enemy's batteries, ploughs up their work, and knocks over some poor rascal who never gets up again. That's one kind of hard work."
Daisy's face was intent in its interest; but she only said, "Please go on."
"Do you like to hear it?"
"Yes, I like to know about it."
"I wonder what Mrs. Randolph would say to me?"
"Please go on, Captain Drummond!"
"I don't know about that. However, Daisy, work in the trenches is not the hardest thing nor living wet through or frozen half through nor going half fed about the hardest thing I know, is in a hurried retreat to be obliged to leave sick and wounded friends and poor fellows to fall into the hands of the enemy. That's hard."
"Isn't it hard to fight a battle?"
"You would not like to march up to the fire of the enemy's guns, and see your friends falling right and left of you struck down?"
"Would you?" said Daisy.
"Would I what?"
"Don't you think it is hard, to do that?"
"Not just at the time, Daisy. It is a little tough afterwards, when one comes to think about it. It is hard to see fellows suffer too, that one cannot help."
Daisy hardly knew what to think of Captain Drummond. His handsome pleasant face looked not less gentle than usual, and did look somewhat more sober. Daisy concluded it must be something about a soldier's life that she could not understand, all this coolness with which he spoke of dreadful things. A deep sigh was the testimony of the different feelings of her little breast. Captain Drummond looked up at her.
"Daisy, women are not called to be soldiers."
Daisy passed that.
"Have you told me all you can tell me, Captain Drummond?"
"I should not like to tell you all I could tell you."
"Why? Please do! I want to know all about soldiers."
He looked curiously at her. "After all," he said, "it is not so bad as you think, Daisy. A good soldier does not find it hard to obey orders."
"What sorts of orders does he have to obey?"
"But suppose they were wrong orders?"
"Makes no difference."
"Yes," said Captain Drummond, laughing. "If it is something he can do, he does it; if it is something he can't do, he loses his head trying."
"Loses his head, sir?"
"Yes by a cannon ball; or his heart, by a musket ball; or maybe he gets off with losing a hand or a leg; just as it happens. That makes no difference, either." He watched Daisy as he spoke, seeing a slight colour rise in her cheeks, and wondering what made the child's quiet grey eyes look at him so thoughtfully.
"Captain Drummond, is he ever told to do anything he can't do?"
"A few years ago, Daisy, the English and the French were fighting the Russians in the Crimea. I happened to be there on business, and I saw some things. An order was brought one day to an officer commanding a body of cavalry you know what cavalry is?"
"Yes, I know."
"The order was brought in Hallo! what's that?" For a voice was heard shouting at a little distance, "Drummond! Ho, Drummond! Where are you?"
"It's Mr. McFarlane!" said Daisy. "He'll come here. I'm very sorry."
"Don't be sorry," said the Captain. "Come, let us disappoint him. He can't play hide and seek."
He jumped up and caught Daisy's willing hand, with the other hand caught up her shawl, and drew her along swiftly under cover of the trees and shrubbery towards the river, and away from the voice they heard calling. Daisy half ran, half flew, it seemed to her; so fast the strong hand of her friend pulled her over the ground. At the edge of the bank that faced the river, at the top of a very steep descent of a hundred feet or near that, under a thick shelter of trees, Captain Drummond called a halt and stood listening. Far off, faint in the distance, they could still hear the shout, "Drummond! where are you? Hallo!"
"We'll go down to the river," said the Captain; "and he is too lazy to look for us there. We shall be safe. Daisy, this is a retreat but it is not a hardship, is it?"
Daisy looked up delighted. The little face so soberly thoughtful a few minutes ago was all bright and flushed. The Captain was charmed too.
"But we can't get down there," said Daisy, casting her eye down the very steep pitch of the bank.
"That is something," said the Captain, "with which as a soldier you have nothing to do. All you have to do is to obey orders; and the orders are that we charge down hill."
"I shall go head first, then," said Daisy, "or over and over. I couldn't keep my feet one minute."
"Now you are arguing," said the Captain; "and that shows insubordination, or want of discipline. But we have got to charge, all the same; and we'll see about putting you under arrest afterwards."
Daisy laughed at him, but she could not conceive how they should get to the bottom. It was very steep, and strewn with dead leaves from the trees which grew thick all the way. Rolling down was out of the question, for the stems of the trees would catch them; and to keep on their feet seemed impossible. Daisy found, however, that Captain Drummond could manage what she could not. He took hold of her hand again; and then Daisy hardly believed it while she was doing it, but there she was, going down that bank in an upright position; not falling nor stumbling, though it is true she was not walking neither. The Captain did not let her fall, and his strong hand seemed to take her like a feather over the stones and among the trees, giving her flying leaps and bounds down the hill along with him. How he went and kept his feet remained always a marvel to Daisy; but down they went, and at the bottom they were in a trifle of time.
"Do you think he will come down there after us?" said the Captain.
"I am sure he won't," said Daisy.
"So am I sure. We are safe, Daisy. Now I am your prisoner, and you are my prisoner; and we will set each other at any work we please. This is a nice place."
Behind them was the high, steep, wooded bank, rising right up. Before them was a little strip of pebbly beach, and little wavelets of the river washing past it. Beyond lay the broad stream, all bright in the summer sunshine, with the great blue hills rising up misty and blue in the distance. Nothing else; a little curve in the shore on each side shut them in from all that was above or below near at hand.
"Why, this is a fine place," repeated the Captain. "Were you ever here before?"
"Not in a long time," said Daisy. "I have been here with June."
"June! Aren't we here with June now?"
"Now? Oh, I don't mean the month I mean mamma's black June," said Daisy, laughing.
"Well, that is the first time I ever heard of a black June!" muttered the Captain. "Does she resemble her name or her colour?"
"She isn't much like the month of June," said Daisy. "I don't think she is a very cheerful person."
"Then I wouldn't come here any more with her or anywhere else."
"I don't," said Daisy. "I don't go with her, or with anybody else much. Only I go with Sam and the pony."
"Where's Ransom. Don't he go with you?"
"Oh, Ransom's older, you know; and he's a boy."
"Ransom don't know his advantages. This is pleasant, Daisy. Now let us see. What were you and I about?"
"You were telling me something, Captain Drummond."
"What was it? Oh, I know. Daisy, you are under arrest, you know, and sentenced to extra duty. The work you are to perform, is to gather as many of these little pebbles together these white ones as you can in five minutes."
Daisy went to work; so did the Captain; and very busy they were, for the Captain gathered as many pebbles as she did. He made her fetch them to a place where the little beach was clean and smooth, and in the shadow of an overhanging tree they both sat down. Then the Captain, throwing off his cap, began arranging the white pebbles on the sand in some mysterious manner lines of them here and lines of them there whistling as he worked. Daisy waited with curious patience; watched him closely, but never asked what he was doing. At last he stopped, looked up at her, and smiled.
"Well! " he said.
"What is it all, Captain Drummond?"
"This is your story, Daisy."
"Yes. Look here these rows of white stones are the Russians; these brown stones are the English," said he, beginning to marshal another set into mysterious order some distance from the white stones. "Now what shall I do for some guns?"
Daisy, in a very great state of delight, began to make search for something that would do to stand for artillery; but Captain Drummond presently solved the question by breaking some twigs from the tree overhead and cutting them up into inch lengths. These little mock guns he distributed liberally among the white stones, pointing their muzzles in various directions; and finally drew some lines in the sand which he informed Daisy were fortifications. Daisy looked on; it was better than a fairy tale.
"Now Daisy, we are ready for action. This is the battle of Balaklava; and these are part of the lines. An order was brought to an officer commanding a body of cavalry stationed up here you know what cavalry is."
"Yes, I know."
"The order was brought to him to charge upon the enemy down there, in a place where he could do no good and must be cut to pieces; the enemy had so many guns in that place and he had so few men to attack them with. The order was a mistake. He knew it was a mistake, but his General had sent it there was nothing for him to do but to obey. So he charged."
"And his men?"
"Every one. They knew they were going to their death and everybody else knew it that saw them go but they charged!"
"Did you see it, Captain Drummond?"
"I saw it."
"And did they go to their death?" said Daisy, awe-stricken, for Captain Drummond's look said that he was thinking of something it had been grave to see.
"Why, yes. Look here, Daisy here were cannon; there were cannon; there were more cannon; cannon on every side of them but one. They went into death they knew, when they went in there."
"How many of them went there?"
"Six hundred! were they all killed?"
"No. There were a part of them that escaped and lived to come back."
Daisy looked at the pebbles and the guns in profound silence.
"But if the officer knew the order was a mistake, why must he obey it?"
"That's a soldier's duty, Daisy. He can do nothing but follow orders. A soldier can't know, very often, what an order is given for; he cannot judge; he does not know what his General means to accomplish. All he has to think of is to obey orders; and if every soldier does that, all is right."
What was little Daisy thinking of? She sat looking at her friend the Captain. He was amused.
"Well, Daisy what do you think? will it do? Do you think you will stand it and be a soldier?"
Daisy hesitated a good deal, and looked off and on at the Captain's face. Then she said very quietly, "Yes."
"You will!" he said. "I wish you would join my branch of the service. Suppose you come into my company?"
"Suppose you join mine?"
"With all my heart!" said the Captain, laughing; "if it is not inconsistent with my present duties. So you have enlisted already? Are you authorised to receive recruits?"
Daisy shook her head, and did not join in his laugh.
"Honestly, Daisy, tell me true; what did you want to know about soldiers for? I have answered you; now answer me. I am curious."
Daisy did not answer, and seemed in doubt.
"Will you not honour me so far?"
Daisy hesitated still, and looked at the Captain more than once. But Captain Drummond was a great favourite, and had earned her favour partly by never talking nonsense to her; a great distinction.
"I will tell you when we get back to the house," she said, "if you will not speak of it, Captain Drummond."
The Captain could get no nearer his point; and he and Daisy spent a good while longer by the river-side, erecting fortifications and studying the charge of the Light brigade.
The Captain was not able to claim Daisy's promise immediately. On their return to the house he was at once taken up with some of the older people, and Daisy ran off to her long delayed dinner.
The next day in the course of her wanderings about the grounds, which were universal, Daisy came upon her cousin Preston. He sat in the shade of a clump of larches under a great oak, making flies for fishing; which occupation, like a gentlemanly boy as he was, he had carried out there where the litter of it would be in nobody's way. Preston Gary was a very fine fellow; about sixteen, a handsome fellow, very spirited, very clever, and very gentle and kind to his little cousin Daisy. Daisy liked him much, and was more entirely free with him perhaps than with any other person in the family. Her seeing him now was the signal for a joyous skip and bound which brought her to his side.
"Oh, Preston, are you going fishing?"
"Perhaps if I have a good day for it."
"Who's going with you?"
"Nobody, I reckon. Unless you want to go, Daisy."
"Oh, Preston, may I go with you? Where are you going?"
"Daisy, I'm bound for the Hillsdale woods, back of Crum Elbow they say there are first-rate trout streams there; but I am afraid you can't go so far."
"Oh, I can go anywhere, Preston! with Loupe, you know. You're going to ride, aren't you?"
"Yes, but Loupe! What shall we do with Loupe? You see, I shall be gone the whole day, Daisy it's likely. You'd get tired."
"Why, we could find somewhere to put Loupe Sam could take care of him. And I should like to go, Preston, if you think I would not frighten the fish."
"Oh, if Sam's going along, that is another matter," said Preston. "You frighten the fish, Daisy! I don't believe you can do that for anything. But I won't let you get into mischief."
So it was settled, and Daisy's face looked delighted; and for some time she and Preston discussed the plan, the fish, and his flies. Then suddenly Daisy introduced another subject.
"Preston, where is the Crimea?"
"The Crimea!" said Preston.
"Yes; where the English and the French were fighting with the Russians."
"The Crimea! Why, Daisy, don't you know where it is? You'll find it in the Black Sea somewhere."
"But Preston, I don't know where the Black Sea is."
"Why, Daisy, what has become of your geography?"
"I never had much," said Daisy, humbly, and looking serious; "and lately mamma hasn't wanted me to do anything but run about."
"Well, if you take the map of Europe, and set out from the north of Russia and walk down, you'll find yourself in the Crimea after a while. Just hold that, Daisy, will you."
Daisy held the ends of silk he put in her fingers; but while he worked, she thought. Might it not be possible that a good knowledge of geography might have something to do with the use or the improvement of her talents? And if a knowledge of geography, why not also a knowledge of history, and of arithmetic, and of everything! There could not be a reasonable doubt of it. What would Preston be, what would Mr. Dinwiddie or Captain Drummond be, if they knew nothing? And by the same reasoning, what would Daisy Randolph be? What could she do with her talents, if she let them lie rusty with ignorance? Now this was a very serious thought to Daisy, because she did not like study. She liked knowledge right well, if she could get it without trouble, and if it was entertaining knowledge; but she did not think geography at all entertaining, nor arithmetic. Yet Daisy forgot all about Preston's artificial flies, and her face grew into a depth of sobriety.
"Preston " she began, slowly, "is it hard?"
"Not just that," said Preston, busy in finishing a piece of work, "it is a little ticklish to stroke this into order but it isn't hard, if you have the right materials, and know how."
"Oh, no I don't mean flies I mean geography."
"Geography!" said Preston. "Oh, you are at the Crimea yet, are you? I'll show it to you, Daisy, when we go in."
"Preston, is the use of geography only to know where places are?"
"Well, that's pretty convenient," said Preston. "Daisy, just look for that bunch of grey silk I had it here a minute ago."
"But Preston, tell me what is the use of it?"
"Why, my dear little Daisy thank you! you'd be all abroad without it."
"All abroad!" exclaimed Daisy.
"It comes to about that, I reckon. You wouldn't understand anything. How can you? Suppose I show you my pictures of the North American Indians they'll be as good as Chinese to you, if you don't know geography."
Daisy was silent, feeling puzzled.
"And," said Preston, binding his fly, "when you talk of the Crimea, you will not know whether the English came from the east or the west, nor whether the Russians are not living under the equator and eating ripe oranges."
"Don't they eat oranges?" said Daisy, seriously. But that question set Preston off into a burst of laughter, for which he atoned as soon as it was over by a very gentle kiss to his little cousin.
"Never mind, Daisy," he said; "I think you are better without geography. You aren't just like everybody else that's a fact."
"Daisy," said Captain Drummond, coming upon the scene, "do you allow such things?"
"It is Preston's manner of asking my pardon, Captain Drummond," Daisy answered, looking a little troubled, but in her slow, womanly way. The Captain could not help laughing in his turn.
"What offence has he been guilty of? tell me, and I will make him ask pardon in another manner. But, Daisy, do you reckon such a liberty no offence?"
"Not if I am willing he should take it," said Daisy.
The Captain seemed much amused. "My dear little lady!" he said, "it is good for me you are not half a score of years wiser. What were you talking about the Crimea? I heard the word as I came up."
"I asked Preston to show it to me on the map or he said he would."
"Come with me, and I'll do it. You shouldn't ask anybody but me about the Crimea."
So getting hold affectionately of Daisy's hand, he and she went off to the house. No one was in the library. The Captain opened a large map of Russia; Daisy got up in a chair, with her elbows on the great library table, and leaned over it, while the Captain drew up another chair and pointed out the Crimea and Sebastopol, and showed the course by which the English ships had come, for Daisy took care to ask that. Then, finding so earnest a listener, he went on to describe to her the situation of other places on the Peninsula, and the character of the country, and the severities of the climate in the region of the great struggle. Daisy listened, with her eyes varying between Captain Drummond's face and the map. The Black Sea became known to Daisy thence and forever.
"I never thought geography was so interesting!" she remarked with a sigh, as the Captain paused. He smiled.
"Now, Daisy, you have something to tell me," he said.
"What?" said Daisy, looking up suddenly.
"Why, you wanted to know about soldiers don't you remember your promise?"
The child's face all changed; her busy, eager, animated look became on the instant thoughtful and still. Yet changed, as the Captain saw with some curiosity, not to lesser but to greater intentness.
"Captain Drummond, if I tell you, I do not wish it talked about."
"Certainly not!" he said, suppressing a smile, and watched her while she got down from her chair and looked about among the book-shelves.
"Will you please put this on the table for me?" she said "I can't lift it."
"A Bible!" said the Captain to himself. "This is growing serious." But he carried the great quarto silently and placed it on the table. It was a very large volume, fall of magnificent engravings, which were the sole cause and explanation of its finding a place in Mr. Randolph's library. He put it on the table and watched Daisy curiously, who, disregarding all the pictures, turned over the leaves hurriedly, till near the end of the book; then stopped, put her little finger under some words, and turned to him. The Captain looked and read over the little finger "Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ."
It gave the Captain a very odd feeling. He stopped, and read it two or three times over.
"But Daisy!" he said.
"What, Captain Drummond?"
"What has this to do with what we were talking about?"
"Would you please shut this up and put it away, first."
The Captain obeyed, and as he turned from the bookshelves Daisy took his hand again, and drew him, child-fashion, out of the house and through the shrubbery. He let her alone till she had brought him to a shady spot, where, under the thick growth of magnificent trees a rustic seat stood, in full view of the distant mountains and the river.
"Where is my answer, Daisy?" he said, as she let go his hand and seated herself.
"What was your question, Captain Drummond?"
"Now you are playing hide and seek with me. What have those words you showed me, what have they to do with our yesterday's conversation?"
"I would like to know," said Daisy, slowly, "what it means, to be a good soldier?"
"I think I have told you," she said.
She said it with the most unmoved simplicity. The Captain could not imagine what made him feel uncomfortable. He whistled.
"Daisy, you are incomprehensible!" he exclaimed, and, catching hold of her hand, he began a race down towards the river. Such a race as they had taken the day before. Through shade and through sun, down grassy steeps and up again, flying among the trees as if some one were after them, the Captain ran; and Daisy was pulled along with him. At the edge of the woods which crowned the river bank, he stopped and looked at Daisy who was all flushed and sparkling with exertion and merriment.
"Sit down there!" said he, putting her on the bank and throwing himself beside her. "Now you look as you ought to look!"
"I don't think mamma would think so," said Daisy, panting and laughing.
"Yes, she would. Now tell me do you call yourself a soldier?"
"I don't know whether there can be such little soldiers," said Daisy. "If there can be, I am."
"And what fighting do you expect to do, little one?"
"I don't know," said Daisy. "Not very well."
"What enemies are you going to face?"
But Daisy only looked rather hard at the Captain, and made him no answer.
"Do you expect to emulate the charge of the Light Brigade, in some tilt against fancied wrong?"
Daisy looked at her friend; she did not quite understand him, but his last words were intelligible.
"I don't know," she said, meekly. "But if I do, it will not be because the order is a mistake, Captain Drummond."
The Captain bit his lip. "Daisy," said he, "are you the only soldier in the family?"
Daisy sat still, looking up over the sunny slopes of ground towards the house.
The sunbeams showed it bright and stately on the higher ground; they poured over a rich luxuriant spread of greensward and trees, highly kept; stately and fair; and Daisy could not help remembering that in all that domain, so far as she knew, there was not a thought in any heart of being the sort of soldier she wished to be. She got up from the ground and smoothed her dress down.
"Captain Drummond," she said, with a grave dignity that was at the same time perfectly childish too, "I have told you about myself I can't tell you about other people."
"Daisy, you are not angry with me!"
"Don't you sometimes permit other people to ask your pardon in Preston Gary's way?"
Daisy was about to give a quiet negative to this proposal, when perceiving more mischief in the Captain's face than might be manageable, she pulled away her hand from him, and dashed off like a deer. The Captain was wiser than to follow.
Later in the day, which turned out a very warm one, he and Gary McFarlane went down again to the edge of the bank, hoping to get if they could a taste of the river breeze. Lying there stretched out under the trees, after a little while they heard voices. The voices were down on the shore. Gary moved his position to look.
"It's that child what under the sun is she doing! I beg pardon for naming anything warm just now, Drummond but she is building fortifications of some sort, down there."
Captain Drummond came forward too. Down below them, a little to the right, where a tiny bend in the shore made a spot of shade, Daisy was crouching on the ground apparently very busy. Back of her a few paces was her dark attendant, June.
"There's energy," said Gary. "What a nice thing it is to be a child and play in the sand!"
The talk down on the shore went on; June's voice could scarcely be heard, but Daisy's words were clear "Do, June! Please try." Another murmur from June, and then Daisy "Try, June do, please!" The little voice was soft, but its utterances were distinct; the words could be heard quite plainly. And Daisy sat back from her sand-work, and June began to sing something. What, it would have been difficult to tell at the top of the bank, but then Daisy's voice struck in. With no knowledge that she had listeners, the notes came mounting up to the top of the bank, clear, joyous and strong, with a sweet power that nobody knew Daisy's voice had.
"Upon my word, that's pretty!" said the Captain.
"A pretty thing, too, faith," said Gary. "Captain, let's get nearer the performers. Look out, now, and don't strike to windward."
They went, like hunters, softly down the bank, keeping under shelter, and winding round so as to get near before they should be seen. They succeeded. Daisy was intent upon her sand-work again, and June's back was towards them. The song went on more softly; then in a chorus Daisy's voice rang out again, and the words were plain.
"Die in the field of battle, Die in the field of battle, Die in the field of battle, Glory in your view."
"Spirited!" whispered Gary.
"I almost think it is a Swedish war song," said the Captain. "I am not sure."
"Miss Daisy!" said June "the gentlemen "
Daisy started up. The intruders came near. On the ground beside her lay an open map of Europe; in the sand before her she had drawn the same outlines on a larger scale. The shore generally was rough and pebbly; just in this little cove there was a space of very fine sand, left wetted and adhesive by the last tide. Here the battle of Inkermann had been fought, and here Daisy's geography was going on. Captain Drummond, who alone had the clue to all this, sat down on a convenient stone to examine the work. The lines were pretty fairly drawn, and Daisy had gone on to excavate to some depth the whole area of the Mediterranean and Black Seas, and the region of the Atlantic to some extent; with the course of the larger rivers deeply indented.
"What is all this gouging for, Daisy?" he said. "You want water here now, to fill up."
"I thought when the tide came, Captain Drummond, I could let it flow in here, and see how it would look."
"It's a poor rule that don't work both ways," said the Captain. "I always heard that 'time and tide wait for no man;' and we won't wait for the tide. Here Gary make yourself useful fetch some water here; enough to fill two seas and a portion of the Atlantic Ocean."
"What shall I bring it in, if you please?"
"Anything! your hands, or your hat, man. Do impossibilities for once. It is easy to see you are not a soldier."
"The fates preserve me from being a soldier under you!" said Gary "if that's your idea of military duty! What are you going to do while I play Neptune in a bucket."
"I am going to build cities and raise up mountains. Daisy, suppose we lay in a supply of these little white stones, and some black ones."
While this was done, and Daisy looked delighted, Mr. McFarlane seized upon a tin dipper which June had brought, and filled it at the river. Captain Drummond carefully poured out the water into the Mediterranean, and opened a channel through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles, which were very full of sand, into the Black Sea. Then he sent Gary off again for more; and began placing the pebbles.
"What is that for, Captain Drummond?" asked Daisy.
"These are the Alps white, as they should be, for the snow always lies on them."
"Is it so cold there?"
"No, but the mountains are so high. Their tops are always cold, but flowers grow down in the valleys. These are very great mountains, Daisy."
"And what are those black ones, Captain Drummond?"
"This range is the Pyrnes between France and Spain; they are great too, and beautiful. And here go the Carpathians and here the Ural mountains, and these must stand for the Apennines."
"Are they beautiful too?"
"I suppose so but I can't say, never having been there. Now what shall we do for the cities? As they are centres of wealth, I think a three-cent piece must mark them. Hand over, Gary; I have not thrips enough. There is St. Petersburg here is Constantinople here is Rome now here is Paris. Hallo! we've no England! can't leave London out. Give me that spoon, Daisy " and the Captain, as he expressed it, went to work in the trenches. England was duly marked out, the channel filled, and a bit of silver planted for the metropolis of the world.
"Upon my word!" said Gary, "I never knew geography before. I shall carry away some ideas."
"Keep all you can get," said the Captain. "Now, there's Europe."
"And here were the battles," said Daisy, touching the little spot of wet sand which stood for the Crimea.
"The battles!" said Gary. "What battles?"
"Why, where the English and French fought the Russians."
"The battles! Shades of all the heroes! Why, Daisy, Europe has done nothing but fight for a hundred thousand years. There isn't a half inch of it that hasn't had a battle. See, there was one, and there was another tremendous; and there, and there, and there, and there, and all over! This little strip here that is getting swallowed up in the Mediterranean there has been blood enough shed on it to make it red from one end to the other, a foot deep. That's because it has had so many great men belonging to it."
Daisy looked at Captain Drummond.
"It's pretty much so, Daisy," he said; "all over the south of Europe, at any rate."
"Why over the south and not the north?"
"People in the north haven't anything to fight for," said Gary. "Nobody wants a possession of ice and snow more than will cool his butter."
"A good deal so, Daisy," said Captain Drummond, taking the silent appeal of her eyes.
"Besides," continued Gary, "great men don't grow in the north. Daisy, I want to know which is the battle-field you are going to die on."
Daisy sat back from the map of Europe, and looked at Gary with unqualified amazement.
"Well?" said Gary. "I mean it."
"I don't know what you mean."
"I hear you are going to die on the field of battle and I want to be there that I may throw myself after you, as Douglas did after the Bruce's locket; saying 'Go thou first, brave heart, as thou art wont, and I will follow thee!' "
"Daisy," said the Captain, "you were singing a battle-song as we came down the hill that is what he means."
"Oh! " said Daisy, her face changing from its amazed look. But her colour rose, too, a little.
"What was it?"
"That?" said Daisy. "Oh, that was a hymn."
"A hymn!" shouted Gary. "Good! A hymn! That's glorious! Where did you get it, Daisy? Have you got a collection of Swedish war-songs? They used to sing and fight together, I am told. They are the only people I ever heard of that did except North American Indians. Where did you get it?"
"I got it from June."
"June! what, by inspiration? June is a fine month, I know for strawberries but I had no idea "
"No, no," said Daisy, half laughing, "I mean my June there she is; I got it from her."
"Hollo!" cried Gary. "Come here, my good woman Powers of Darkness! Is your name June?"
"Yes sir, if you please," the woman said, in her low voice, dropping a courtesy.
"Well, nobody offers more attractions in a name," said Gary; "I'll say that for you. Where did you get that song your little mistress was singing when we came down the hill? Can you sing it?"
June's reply was unintelligible.
"Speak louder, my friend. What did you say?"
June made an effort. "If you please, sir, I can't sing," she was understood to say. "They sings it in camp meeting."
"In camp meeting!" said Gary. "I should think so! What's that! You see I have never been there, and don't understand."
"If you please, sir the gentleman knows" June said, retreating backwards as she spoke, and so fast that she soon got out of their neighbourhood. The shrinking, gliding action accorded perfectly with the smothered tones and subdued face of the woman.
"Don't she know!" said Gary. "Isn't that a character now? But, Daisy, are you turning Puritan?"
"I don't know what that is," said Daisy.
"Upon my word, you look like it! It's a dreadful disease, Daisy; generally takes the form of I declare I don't know! fever, I believe, and delirium; and singing is one of the symptoms."
"You don't want to stop her singing?" said Captain Drummond.
"That sort? yes I do. It wouldn't be healthy, up at the house. Daisy, sing that gipsy-song from 'The Camp in Silesia,' that I heard you singing a day or two ago."
" 'The Camp in Silesia'?" said Captain Drummond. "Daisy, can you sing that?"
"Whistles it off like a gipsy herself," said Gary. "Daisy, sing it."
"I like the other best," said Daisy.
But neither teasing nor coaxing could make her sing again, either the one or the other.
It was bright morning, the pony-chaise at the door, and Daisy in it; standing to arrange matters.
"Now, Daisy, have you got all in there? I don't believe it."
"Why don't you believe it?"
"How much will that concern hold?"
"A great deal more than you want. There's a big box under all the seat."
"What have you got in it?"
Daisy went off into a laugh, such a laugh of glee as did her father's heart good. Mr. Randolph was standing in the doorway to see the expedition set forward.
"What's the matter, Daisy?" he said.
"Papa, he don't think anybody is a person of forethought but himself."
It was Preston's turn to laugh, and Mr. Randolph joined him.
"Shows he don't know you, Daisy, as well as I do. When do you expect to be home again?"
Mr. Randolph had come down to the side of the chaise, and was looking with a very pleased face at what was in it. Daisy said she supposed they would stay till Preston had caught as many fish as he wanted.
"And won't you be tired before that?"
"Oh, no, papa! I am going to fish too."
"I'll have all you catch, Daisy, for my own eating!"
He bent his head down as he spoke, to kiss the little fisherwoman; but Daisy, answering some unusual tenderness of face or manner, sprung up and threw her arms round his neck, and only released him after a very close pressure.
"She is in a fair way to be cured of her morbid seriousness," Mr. Randolph thought as he saw the cavalcade set forth; and, well pleased, he went in to breakfast. Daisy and Preston had breakfasted already, before the family; and now were off to the hills just as other people were stirring sugar into cups of coffee.
Preston led the way on a fine bay of his uncle's; taking good gallops now and then to ease his own and his horse's spirits, and returning to go quietly for a space by the side of the pony-chaise. Loupe never went into anything more exciting than his waddling trot; though Daisy made him keep that up briskly.
"What a thing it is, to have such short legs!" said Preston, watching the movements of the pony.
"You go over the road without seeing it," said Daisy.
"I don't want to see it. What I want to see is Hillsdale."
"So do I; but I want to see everything."
Preston smiled, he could not help it, at the very happy and busy little face and spirit down in the pony-chaise.
"What do you see, Daisy, that you have not seen a hundred times before?"
"That makes no difference," said Daisy. "I have seen you a hundred times before."
Preston laughed, set spurs to his horse, and went off for another gallop.
Daisy enjoyed her morning's drive. The light was clear and the air was fresh; Preston galloping before and Sam jogging on behind; everything was fine! Then it was quite true that she liked to see everything; those grey eyes of hers were extremely busy. All the work going on in the fields had interest for her, and all the passers-by on the road. A strange interest, often, for Daisy was very apt to be wondering whether any of them knew and loved the name she loved best; wondering who among all those rough-looking, unknown people, might be her fellow-servants. And with that a thought which, if Mr. Randolph had known it, would have checked his self-congratulations. He had not guessed what made the clasp of Daisy's arms round his neck so close that morning.
Till they passed through Crum Elbow everything had been, as Preston said, seen a hundred times before. A little way beyond that everything became new. Mrs. Randolph's carriage never came that road. The country grew more rough and broken, and the hills in their woody dress showed more and more near.
"Do you see that break in the woods?" said Preston, pointing with his whip; "that is where the brook comes out, that is where we are going."
"What time is it, Preston?"
"Time? it is half past nine. What about it?"
"I'm hungry that's all. I wanted to know what time it was."
"Hungry! Oh, what a fisher you will make, Daisy! Can't stand fasting for two hours and a half."
"No, but Preston, I didn't eat much breakfast. And I've had all this ride since. I am going to stand fasting; but I am going to be hungry too."
"No, you aren't," said Preston. "Just let Loupe take you up to that little gate, will you? I'll see if we can leave the horses here. Sam! take this fellow!"
Preston jumped down from the saddle and went into the house, to the front yard of which the little gate opened. Daisy looked after him. It was a yard full of grass and weeds, among which a few poppies and hollyhocks and balsams grew straggling up where they could. Nothing kept them out of the path but the foot-tread of the people that went over it; hoe and rake were never known there since the walk was first made. The house was a little, low, red-front house, with one small window on each side the door.
"All right!" said Preston, coming back. "Sam, take the horses round to the barn; and bring the baskets out of the chaise- box, and wait at this gate for us."
"Why is he to wait? where are we going?"
"Going in to get some breakfast."
"Here, Preston? Oh, I can't."
"What's the matter?"
"I can't eat anything in there. I can wait."
"Why, it looks clean," said Preston; "room and table and woman and all." But Daisy still shook her head, and was not to be persuaded; and Preston, laughing, went back to the house. But presently he came out again, bearing a tray in his hand, and brought it to Daisy. On the tray was very nice looking brown and white bread, and milk and cheese and a platter of strawberries. Preston got into the chaise and set the tray on his knees. After him had come from the house a woman in a fly- away cap and short-gown. She stood just inside the gate, leaning her arms on it. If she had not been there, perhaps Daisy would still have refused to touch the food; but she was afraid of offending or hurting the woman's feelings; so first she tried a strawberry, and found it of rare flavour; for it was a wild one; then she broke a morsel of bread, and that was excellent. Daisy discovered that breakfast in a pony-chaise, out in the air, was a very fine thing. So did Preston.