They got through with Alfred at last by the way, the Captain had effaced the dividing lines of the seven kingdoms and brought all to one in Egbert's time and now they went on with Alfred's successors. A place was found on the sand for Denmark and Norway to show themselves; and Sweyn and Canute came over; and there was no bating to the interest with which the game of human life went on. In short, Daisy and the Captain having tucked themselves away in a nook of the beach and the tenth and eleventh centuries, were lost to all the rest of the world and to the present time; till a servant at last found them with the information that the luncheon bell had rung, and Mrs. Randolph was ready to go out with the Captain. And William the Conqueror had just landed at Hastings!
"Never mind, Daisy," said the Captain; "we'll go on with it, the next chance we get."
Daisy thanked him earnestly, but the thought that Sunday must come and go first, threw a shadow over her thanks. The Captain saw it; and walked home thinking curiously about the "field of battle" not Hastings.
Daisy did not go in to luncheon. She did not like meeting all the people who felt so gay, while she felt so much trouble. Nor did she like being with her mother, whose manner all the week had constantly reminded Daisy of what Daisy never forgot. The rest of Saturday passed soberly away. There was a cloud in the air.
And the cloud was high and dark Sunday morning, though it was as fair a summer day as might be seen. Some tears escaped stealthily from Daisy's eyes, as she knelt in the little church beside her mother; but the prayers were deep and sweet and strong to her, very much. Sadly sorry was Daisy when they were ended. The rest of the service was little to her. Mr. Pyne did not preach like Mr. Dinwiddie; and she left the church with a downcast heart, thinking that so much of the morning was past.
The rest of the day Daisy kept by herself, in her own room; trying to get some comfort in reading and praying. For the dread of the evening was strong upon her; every movement of her mother spoke displeasure and determination. Daisy felt her heart beating gradually quicker and quicker, as the hours of the day wore on.
"Ye ain't well, Miss Daisy," said June, who had come in as usual without being heard.
"Yes I am, June," said Daisy. But she had started when the woman spoke, and June saw that now a tear sprang.
"Did you eat a good lunch, Miss Daisy?"
"I don't know, June. I guess I didn't eat much."
"Let me bring you something!" said the woman, coaxingly "some strawberries, with some good cream to 'em."
"No I can't, June I don't want them. What o'clock is it?"
"It is just on to five, Miss Daisy."
Five! Daisy suddenly recollected her scholar, whom she had directed to come to her at this hour. Jumping up, she seized her hat, and rushed off down stairs and through the shrubbery, leaving June lost in wonder and concern.
At a Belvedere, some distance from the house, and nearer the gate, Daisy had chosen to meet her pupil; and she had given orders at the Lodge to have her guided thither when she should come. And there she was; Daisy could see the red head of hair before she got to the place herself. Hephzibah looked very much as she did on week days; her dress partially covered with a little shawl; her bonnet she had thrown off; and if the hair had been coaxed into any state of smoothness before leaving home, it was all gone now.
"How do you do, Hephzibah?" said Daisy. "I am glad to see you."
Hephzibah smiled, but unless that meant a civil answer, she gave none. Daisy sat down beside her.
"Do you know how to read, Hephzibah?"
The child first shook her shaggy head then nodded it. What that meant, Daisy was somewhat at a loss.
"Do you know your letters?"
"What is that letter?"
Daisy had not forgotten to bring a reading book, and now put Hephzibah through the alphabet, which she seemed to know perfectly, calling each letter by its right name. Daisy then asked if she could read words; and getting an assenting nod again, she tried her in that. But here Hephzibah's education was defective; she could read indeed, after a fashion; but it was a slow and stumbling fashion; and Daisy and she were a good while getting through a page. Daisy shut the book up.
"Now, Hephzibah," said she, "do you know anything about what is in the Bible?"
Hephzibah shook her head in a manner the reverse of encouraging.
"Did you never read the Bible, nor have any one read it to you?"
Daisy thereupon began to tell her little neighbour the grand story which concerned them both so nearly, making it as clear and simple as she could. Hephzibah's eyes were fixed on her intently all the while; and Daisy, greatly interested herself, wondered if any of the interest had reached Hephzibah's heart, and made the gaze of her eyes so unwavering. They expressed nothing. Daisy hoped, and went on, till at a pause Hephzibah gave utterance to the first words (of her own) that she had spoken during the interview. They came out very suddenly, like an unexpected jet of water from an unused fountain.
"Mother says, you're the fus'ratest little girl she ever see!"
Daisy was extremely confounded. The thread of her discourse was so thoroughly broken, indeed, that she could not directly begin it again; and in the minute of waiting she saw how low the sun was. She dismissed Hephzibah, telling her to be at the Belvedere the same hour next Sunday.
As the shaggy little red head moved away through the bushes, Daisy watched it, wondering whether she had done the least bit of good. Then another thought made her heart beat, and she turned again to see how low the sun was. Instead of the sun, she saw Gary McFarlane.
"Who is that, Daisy?" said he, looking after the disappearing red head.
"A poor little girl " said Daisy.
"So I should think, very poor! looks so indeed! How came she here?"
"She came by my orders, Mr. McFarlane."
"By your orders! What have you got there, Daisy? Let's see! As sure as I'm alive! a spelling book. Keeping school, Daisy? Don't say no!"
Daisy did not say no, nor anything. She had taken care not to let Gary get hold of her Bible; the rest she must manage as she could.
"This is benevolence!" went on the young man. "Teaching a spelling lesson in a Belvedere with the thermometer at ninety degrees in the shade? What sinners all the rest of us are! I declare, Daisy, you make me feel bad."
"I should not think it, Mr. McFarlane."
"Daisy, you have plomb enough for a princess, and gravity enough for a Puritan! I should like to see you when you are grown up, only then I shall be an old man, and it will be of no consequence. What do you expect to do with that little red head? now do tell me."
"She don't know anything, Mr. McFarlane."
"No more don't I! Come Daisy have pity on me. You never saw anybody more ignorant than I am. There are half a dozen things at this moment which I don't know and which you can tell me. Come, will you?"
"I must go in, Mr. McFarlane."
"But tell me first. Come, Daisy! I want to know why is it so much more wicked to sing a song than to make somebody else sing-song? for that's the way they all do the spelling-book, I know. Eh, Daisy?"
"How did you know anything about it, Mr. McFarlane?"
"Come, Daisy, explain. I am all in a fog or else you are. This spelling-book seems to me a very wicked thing on Sunday."
"I will take it, if you please, Mr. McFarlane."
"Not if I know it! I want my ignorance instructed, Daisy. I am persuaded you are the best person to enlighten me but if not, I shall try this spelling-book on Mrs. Randolph. I regard it as a great curiosity, and an important question in metaphysics."
Poor Daisy! She did not know what to do; conscious that Gary was laughing at her all the while, and most unwilling that the story of the spelling-book should get to Mrs. Randolph's ears. She stood hesitating and troubled, when her eye caught sight of Preston near. Springing to him she cried, "Oh, Preston, get my little book from Mr. McFarlane he won't give it to me."
There began then a race of the most uproarious sort between the two young men springing, turning, darting round among the trees and bushes, shouting to and laughing at each other. Daisy another time would have been amused; now she was almost frightened, lest all this boisterous work should draw attention. At last, however, Preston got the spelling-book, or Gary let himself be overtaken and gave it up.
"It's mischief, Preston!" he said; "deep mischief occult mischief. I give you warning."
"What is it, Daisy?" said Preston. "What is it all about?"
"Never mind. Oh, Preston! don't ask anything, but let me have it!"
"There it is then; but Daisy," he said, affectionately, catching her in his arms, "you are going to sing to-night, aren't you?"
"Don't Preston don't! let me go," cried Daisy, struggling to escape from him; and she ran away as soon as he let her, hardly able to keep back her tears. She felt it very hard. Preston and Gary, and her mother and her father, all against her in different ways. Daisy kneeled down by her window-sill in her own room, to try to get comfort and strength; though she was in too great tumult to pray connectedly. Her little heart was beating sadly. But there was no doubt at all in Daisy's mind as to what she should do. "If a man love Me, he will keep My words." She never questioned now about doing that.
The dreaded tea bell rang, and she went down; but utterly unable to eat or drink through agitation. Nobody seemed to notice her particularly, and she wandered out upon the verandah; and waited there. There presently her father's arms came round her before she was aware.
"What are you going to do, Daisy?"
"Nothing, papa," she whispered.
"Are you not going to sing?"
"Papa, I can't!" cried Daisy, dropping her face against his arm. Her father raised it again, and drawing her opposite one of the windows, looked into the dark-ringed eyes and white face.
"You are not well," said he. "You are not fit to be up; and my orders to you, Daisy, are to go immediately to bed. I'll send you some medicine by and by. Good night!"
He kissed her, and Daisy needed no second bidding. She sprang away, getting into the house by another door; and lost no time. Her fear was that her mother might send for her before she could get undressed. But no summons came; June was speedy, thinking and saying it was a very good thing for Daisy to do; and then she went off, and left her alone with the moonlight. Daisy was in no hurry then. She knelt by her beloved window, where the scent of the honeysuckle was strong in the dewy air; and with a less throbbing heart prayed her prayer. But she was not at ease yet; it was very uncertain in her mind how her mother would take this order of her father's; and what would come after, if she was willing to let it pass. So Daisy could not go to sleep, but lay wide awake and fearing in the moonlight, and listening to every sound in the house that came to her ears.
The moonlight shone in peacefully, and Daisy, lying there and growing gradually calmer, began to wonder in herself that there should be so much difficulty made about anybody's doing right. If she had been set on some wrong thing, it would have made but a very little disturbance if any; but now, when she was only trying to do right, the whole house was roused to prevent her. Was it so in those strange old times that the eleventh chapter of Hebrews told of? when men, and women, were stoned, and sawn asunder, and slain with the sword, and wandered like wild animals in sheepskins and goatskins and in dens and caves of the earth? all for the name of Jesus. But if they suffered once, they were happy now. Better anything, at all events, than to deny that name!
The evening seemed excessively long to Daisy, lying there on her bed awake, and listening with strained ears for any sound near her room. She heard none; the hours passed, though so very slowly, as they do when all the minutes are watched; and Daisy heard nothing but dim distant noises, and grew pretty quiet. She had heard nothing else, when, turning her head from the moonlight window, she caught the sight of a white figure at her bedside; and by the noble form and stately proportions Daisy knew instantly whose figure it was. Those soft flowing draperies had been before her eyes all day. A pang shot through the child, that seemed to go from the crown of her head to the soles of her feet.
"Are you awake, Daisy?"
"Yes, mamma," she said, feebly.
"Get up. I want to speak to you."
Daisy got off the bed, and the white figure, in the little night dress, stood opposite the other white figure, robed in muslin and laces that fell around it like a cloud.
"Why did you come to bed?"
"Papa papa ordered me."
"It's all the same. If you had not come to bed, Daisy if you had been well, would you have sung when I ordered you to- night?"
Daisy hesitated, and then said in a whisper
"No, mamma not that."
"Think before you answer me, for I shall not ask twice. Will you promise to sing the gypsy-song, because I command you, next Sunday in the evening? Answer, Daisy."
Very low it was, for Daisy trembled so that she did not know how she could speak at all, but the answer came, "I can't, mamma."
Mrs. Randolph stepped to the bell, and rang it. Almost at the same instant June entered, bearing a cup in her hand.
"What is that?" said Mrs. Randolph.
"Master sent Miss Daisy some medicine."
"Set it down. I have got some here better for her. June, take Daisy's hands."
"Oh, mamma, no!" exclaimed Daisy. "Oh, please send June away!"
The slight gesture of command to June which answered this, was as imperious as it was slight. It was characteristically like Mrs. Randolph; graceful and absolute. June obeyed it, as old instinct told her to do; though sorely against her will. She had held hands before, though not Daisy's; and she knew very well the look of the little whip with which her mistress stepped back into the room, having gone to her own for it. In a Southern home that whip had been wont to live in Mrs. Randolph's pocket. June's heart groaned within her.
The whip was small, but it had been made for use, not for play; and there was no play in Mrs. Randolph's use of it. This was not like her father's ferule, which Daisy could bear in silence, if tears would come; her mother's handling forced cries from her; though smothered and kept under in a way that showed the child's self-command.
"What have you to say to me?" Mrs. Randolph responded, without waiting for the answer. But Daisy had none to give. At length her mother paused.
"Will you do what I bid you?"
Daisy was unable to speak for tears and perhaps for fear. The wrinkles on June's brow were strangely folded together with agitation; but nobody saw them.
"Will you sing for me next Sunday?" repeated Mrs. Randolph.
There was a struggle in the child's heart, as great almost as a child's heart can bear. The answer came, when it came, tremblingly: "I can't, mamma."
"You cannot?" said Mrs. Randolph.
"I can't, mamma."
The chastisement which followed was so severe, that June was moved out of all the habits of her life, to interfere in another's cause. The white-skinned race were no mark for trouble in June's mind; least of them all, her little charge. And if white skin was no more delicate in reality than dark skin, it answered to the lash much more speakingly.
"Missus, you'll kill her!" June said, using in her agitation a carefully disused form of speech; for June was a freed-woman.
A slight turn of the whip brought the lash sharply across her wrist, with the equally sharp words, "Mind your own business!"
A thrill went through the woman, like an electric spark, firing a whole life-train of feeling and memory; but the lines of her face never moved, and not the stirring of a muscle told what the touch had reached, besides a few nerves. She had done her charge no good by her officiousness, as June presently saw with grief. It was not till Mrs. Randolph had thoroughly satisfied her displeasure at being thwarted, and not until Daisy was utterly exhausted, that Mrs. Randolph stayed her hand.
"I will see what you will say to me next Sunday!" she remarked, calmly. And she left the room.
It was not that Mrs. Randolph did not love her daughter, in her way; for in her way she was fond of Daisy; but the habit of bearing no opposition to her authority was life-strong, and probably intensified in the present instance by perceiving that her husband was disposed to shield the offender. The only person in whose favour the rule ever relaxed, was Ransom. June was left with a divided mind, between the dumb indignation which had never known speech, and an almost equally speechless concern.
Daisy, as soon as she was free, had made her way to the window; there the child was, on her knees, her head on her window sill, and weeping as if her very heart were melting and flowing away drop by drop. And June stood like a dark statue, looking at her; the wrinkles in her forehead scarce testifying to the work going on under it. She wanted first of all to see Daisy in bed; but it seemed hopeless to speak to her; and there the little round head lay on the window-sill, and the moonbeams poured in lovingly over it. June stood still and never stirred.
It was a long while before Daisy's sobs began to grow fainter, and June ventured to put in her word, and got Daisy to lay herself on the bed again. Then June went off after another sort of medicine of her own devising, despising the drops which Mr. Randolph had given her. Without making a confidant of the housekeeper, she contrived to get from her the materials to make Daisy a cup of arrowroot, with wine and spices. June knew well how to be a cook when she pleased; and what she brought to Daisy was, she knew, as good as a cook could make it.
She found the child lying white and still on the bed, and not asleep, nor dead, which June had almost feared at first sight of her. She didn't want the arrowroot, she said.
"Miss Daisy, s'pose you take it?" said June. "It won't do you no hurt maybe it'll put you to sleep."
Daisy was perhaps too weak to resist. She rose half up and eat the arrowroot, slowly, and without a word. It did put a little strength into her, as June had said. But when she gave back the cup, and let herself fall again upon her pillow, Daisy said, "June, I'd like to die."
"Oh, why, Miss Daisy?" said June.
"Jesus knows that I love Him now; and I'd like " said the child, steadying her voice "I'd like to be in heaven!"
"Oh, no, Miss Daisy not yet; you've got a great deal to do in the world first."
"Jesus knows I love Him " repeated the child.
"Miss Daisy, He knowed it before He's the Lord."
"Yes, but He wants people to show they love Him, June."
"Do, don't! Miss Daisy," said June, half crying. "Can't ye go to sleep? Do, now!"
It was but three minutes more, and Daisy had complied with her request. June watched, and saw that the sleep was real; went about the room on her noiseless feet; came back to Daisy's bed, and finally went off for her own pillow, with which she lay down on the matting at the foot of the bed, and there passed the remainder of the night.
The sun was shining bright the next morning, and Daisy sat on one of the seats under the trees, half in sunshine, half in shadow. It was after breakfast, and she had been scarcely seen or heard that morning before. Ransom came up.
"Daisy, do you want to go fishing?"
"No, I think not."
"You don't! What are you going to do?"
"I am not going to do anything."
"I don't believe it. What ails you? Mother said I was to ask you and there you sit like a wet feather. I am glad I am not a girl, however!"
Ransom went off, and a very faint colour rose in Daisy's cheek.
"Are you not well, Daisy?" said Mr. Randolph, who had also drawn near.
"I am well, papa."
"You don't look so. What's the matter, that you don't go a- fishing, when Ransom has the consideration to ask you?"
Daisy's tranquillity was very nearly overset. But she maintained it, and only answered without the change of a muscle, "I have not the inclination, papa." Indeed her face was too quiet; and Mr. Randolph, putting that with its colourless hue, and the very sweet upward look her eyes had first given him, was not satisfied. He went away to the breakfast room.
"Felicia," said he, in a low tone, bending down by his wife, "did you have any words with Daisy last night?"
"Has she told you about it?" said Mrs. Randolph.
"Told me what? What is there to tell?"
"Nothing, on my part," answered the lady, nonchalantly. "Daisy may tell you what she pleases."
"Felicia," said Mr. Randolph, looking much vexed, "that child has borne too much already. She is ill."
"It is her own fault. I told you, Mr. Randolph, I would as lief not have a child as not have her mind me. She shall do what I bid her, if she dies for it."
"It won't come to that," said Mrs. Gary. Mr. Randolph turned on his heel.
Meantime, another person who had seen with sorrow Daisy's pale face, and had half a guess as to the cause of it, came up to her side and sat down.
"Daisy, what is to be done to-day?"
"I don't know, Captain Drummond."
"You don't feel like storming the heights, this morning?"
Again, to him also, the glance of Daisy's eye was so very sweet, and so very wistful, that the captain was determined in a purpose he had half had in his mind.
"What do you say to a long expedition, Daisy?"
"I don't feel like driving, Captain Drummond."
"No, but suppose I drive, and we will leave Loupe at home for to-day. I want to go as far as Schroeder's Hill, to look after trilobites; and I do not want anybody with me but you. Shall we go?"
"What are those things, Captain Drummond?"
"Yes. What are they?"
"Curious things, Daisy! They are a kind of fish that are found on land."
"Fish on land! But then they can't be fish, Captain Drummond?"
"Suppose we go and see," said the captain; "and then, if we find any, we shall know more about them than we do now."
"But how do you catch them?"
"With my hands, I suppose."
"With your hands, Captain Drummond?"
"Really I don't know any other way, unless your hands will help. Come! shall we go and try?"
Daisy slowly rose up, very mystified, but with a little light of interest and curiosity breaking on her face. The Captain moved off on his part to get ready, well satisfied that he was doing a good thing.
It went to the Captain's heart, nevertheless, for he had a kind one, to see all the way how pale and quiet Daisy's face was. She asked him no more about trilobites, she did not talk about anything; the subjects the Captain started were soon let drop. And not because she was too ill to talk, for Daisy's eye was thoughtfully clear and steady, and the Captain had no doubt but she was busy enough in her own mind with things she did not bring out. What sort of things? he was very curious to know. For he had never seen Daisy's face so exceeding sweet in its expression as he saw it now; though the cheeks were pale and worn, there was in her eye whenever it was lifted to his, a light of something hidden that the Captain could not read. It was true. Daisy had sat stunned and dull all the morning until he came with his proposal for the drive; and with the first stir of excitement in getting ready, a returning tide of love had filled the dry places in Daisy's heart; and it was full now of feelings that only wanted a chance to come out. Meanwhile she sat as still as a mouse and as grave as a judge.
The hill for which they were bound was some dozen or more miles away. It was a wild rough place. Arrived at the foot of it, they could go no further by the road; the Captain tied his horse to a tree, and he and Daisy scrambled up the long winding ascent, thick with briars and bushes, or strewn with pieces of rock, and shaded with a forest of old trees. This was hard walking for Daisy today; she did not feel like struggling with any difficulties, and her poor little feet almost refused to carry her through the roughnesses of the last part of the way. She was very glad when they reached the ground where the Captain wanted to explore, and she could sit down and be still. It was quite on the other side of the mountain; a strange-looking place. The face of the hill was all bare of trees, and seemed to be nothing but rock; and jagged and broken as if quarriers had been there cutting and blasting. Nothing but a steep surface of broken rock; bare enough; but it was from the sun, and Daisy chose the first smooth fragment to sit down upon. Then what a beautiful place! For, from that rocky seat, her eye had a range over acres and acres of waving slopes of tree tops; down in the valley at the mountain foot, and up and down so many slopes and ranges of swelling and falling hillsides and dells, that the eye wandered from one to another and another, softer and softer as the distance grew, or brighter and more varied as the view came nearer home. A wilderness all, no roof of a house nor smoke from a chimney even; but those sunny ranges of hills, over which now and then a cloud shadow was softly moving, and which finished in a dim blue horizon.
"Well, are you going to sit here?" said the Captain, "or will you help me to hunt up my fishes?"
"Oh, I'll sit here," said Daisy. She did not believe much in the success of the Captain's hunt.
"Won't you be afraid, while I am going all over creation?"
"Of what?" said Daisy.
The Captain laughed a little and went off; thinking, however, not so much of his trilobites as of the sweet fearless look the little face had given him. Uneasy about the child too, for Daisy's face looked not as he liked to see it look. But where got she that steady calm, and curious fearlessness. "She is a timid child," thought the Captain, as he climbed over the rocks; "or she was, the other night."
But the Captain and Daisy were looking with different eyes; no wonder they did not find the same things. In all that sunlit glow over hill and valley, which warmed every tree-top, Daisy had seen only another light, the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. With that love round her, over her, how could she fear anything. She sat a little while, resting and thinking; then, being weary and feeling weak, she slipped down on the ground, and like Jacob taking a stone for her pillow, she went to sleep.
So the Captain found her, every time he came back from his hunt to look after his charge; he let her sleep, and went off again. He had a troublesome hunt. At last he found some traces of what he sought; then he forgot Daisy in his eagerness, and it was after a good long interval the last time that he came to Daisy's side again. She was awake.
"What have you got?" she said, as he came up with his hands full.
"I have got my fish."
"Have you! Oh, where is it?"
"How do you do?" said the Captain, sitting down beside her.
"I do very well. Where is the fish? You have got nothing but stones there, Captain Drummond?"
The Captain, without speaking, displayed one of the stones he had in his hand. It looked very curious. Upon a smooth flat surface, where the stone had been split, there was a raised part which had the appearance of some sort of animal; but this, too, seemed to be stone, and was black and shining, though its parts were distinct.
"What is that, Captain Drummond? It is a stone."
"It is a fish."
"But you are laughing."
"Am I?" said the Captain, as grave as a senator. "It's a fish for all that."
"This curious black thing?"
"What sort of a fish?"
"Daisy, have you had any luncheon?"
"Then you had better discuss that subject first. Soldiers cannot get along without their rations, you'll find."
"What is that?" said Daisy.
"Daily bread, Daisy. Of one sort or another, as the case may be. Where is that basket?"
Daisy had charge of it, and would not let him take it out of her hands. She unfolded napkins, and permitted the Captain to help himself when she had all things ready. Then bread-and- butter and salad were found to be very refreshing. But while Daisy ate, she looked at the trilobite.
"Please tell me what it is, Captain Drummond."
"It is a Crustacean."
"But, you know, I don't know what a Crustacean is."
"A Crustacean is a fellow who wears his bones on the outside."
"Captain Drummond! What do you mean?"
"Well, I mean that, Daisy. Did you never hear of the way soldiers used to arm themselves for the fight in old times in plates of jointed armour?"
"Yes, I know they did."
"Well, these fellows are armed just so only they do not put on steel or brass, but hard plates of bone or horn, that do exactly as well, and are jointed just as nicely."
"And those are Crustaceans?"
"Those are Crustaceans."
"And was this thing armed so?"
"Splendidly. Don't you see those marks? those show the rings of his armour. Those rings fitted so nicely, and played so easily upon one another, that he could curl himself all up into a ball if he liked, and bring his armour all round him; for it was only on his back, so to speak."
"And how came he into this rock, Captain Drummond?"
"Ah! how did he?" said the Captain, looking contentedly at the trilobite. "That's more than I can tell you, Daisy. Only he lived before the rock was made, and when it was made, it wrapped him up in it, somehow; and now we have got him!"
"But, Captain Drummond! "
"What is it?"
"When do you suppose this rock was made?"
"Can't just say, Daisy. Some rocks are young, and some are old, you know. This is one of the old rocks."
"But how do you know, Captain Drummond?"
"I know by the signs," said the Captain.
"What is an old rock? how old?"
"I am sure I can't say, Daisy. Only that a young rock is apt to be a good deal older than Adam and Eve."
"How can you tell that?"
"When you see a man's hair grey, can't you tell that he is old?"
"But there are no grey hairs in rocks?" said Daisy.
"Yes, there are. Trilobites do just as well."
"But, I say," said Daisy, laughing, "how can you tell that the rock is old? You wouldn't know that grey hairs were a sign, if you saw them on young people."
"Pretty well, Daisy!" said the Captain, delighted to see her interested in something again; "pretty well! But you will have to study something better than me, to find out about all that. Only it is true."
"And you were not laughing?"
"Not a bit of it. That little fellow, I suppose, lived a thousand million years ago; may as well say a thousand as anything."
"I can't see how you can tell," said Daisy, looking puzzled.
"That was a strange old time, when he was swimming about or when most of them were. There were no trees, to speak of; and no grass or anything but sea-weed and mosses; and no living things but fishes and oysters and such creatures?"
"Where were the beasts then, and the birds?"
"They were not made yet. That's the reason, I suppose, there was no grass for them to eat."
Daisy looked down at the trilobite; and looked profoundly thoughtful. That little, shiny, black, stony thing, that had lived and flourished so many ages ago! Once more she looked up into the Captain's face to see if he were trifling with her. He shook his head.
"True as a book, Daisy."
"But, Captain Drummond, please, how do you know it?"
"Just think, Daisy, this little fellow frolicked away in the mud at the bottom of the sea, with his half-moons of eyes and round him swam all sorts of fishes that do not live nowadays; fishes with plate armour like himself; everybody was in armour."
"Half-moons of eyes, Captain Drummond?"
"Yes. He had, or some of them had, two semi-circular walls of eyes one looked before and behind and all round to the right, and the other looked before and behind and all round at the left; and in each wall were two hundred eyes."
The Captain smiled to himself to see Daisy's face at this statement, though outwardly he kept perfectly grave. Daisy's own simple orbs were so full and intent. She looked from him to the fossil.
"But, Captain Drummond " she began, slowly.
"Well, Daisy? After you have done, I shall begin."
"Did you say that this thing lived at the bottom of the sea."
"But then how could he get up here?"
"Seems difficult, don't it?" said the Captain. "Well, Daisy, the people that know, tell us that all the land we have was once at the bottom of the sea; so these rocks had their turn."
"All the land?" said Daisy. "Oh, that is what the Bible says!"
"The Bible!" said the Captain, in his turn. "Pray where, if you please?"
"Why, don't you know, Captain Drummond? when God said, 'Let the waters be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.' "
The Captain whistled softly, with an amused face, and stealthily watched Daisy, whose countenance was full of the most beautiful interest. Almost lovingly she bent over the trilobite, thinking her own thoughts; while her friend presently, from observing the expression of her face, began to take notice anew of the thin and pale condition of the cheeks, that had been much healthier a week ago.
"You like to look at armour, Daisy?" he said.
She made no answer.
"Are you still in the mind to 'die on the field of battle'?"
He guessed the question would touch her, but curiosity got the better of sympathy with him. He was not prepared for the wistful, searching look that Daisy gave him instantly, nor for the indescribable tenderness and sorrow that mingled in it. As before, she did not answer.
"Forgive me, Daisy," said the Captain, involuntarily "You know you told me you were a soldier."
Daisy's heart was very tender, and she had been living all the morning in that peculiar nearness to Christ which those know who suffer for Him. She looked at the Captain, and burst into tears.
"You told me you were a soldier " he repeated, not quite knowing what to say.
"Oh, Captain Drummond!" said Daisy, weeping, "I wish you were!"
It stung the Captain. He knew what she meant. But he quietly asked her why?
"Because then," said Daisy, "you would know Jesus; and I want you to be happy."
"Why, Daisy," said Captain Drummond, though his conscience smote him, "you don't seem to me very happy lately."
"Don't I?" she said. "But I am happy. I only wish everybody else was happy too."
She presently wiped her eyes, and stood up. "Captain Drummond," said she, "don't you think we can find another of these things?"
Anything to change the course matters had taken, the Captain thought, so he gave ready assent; and he and Daisy entered upon a most lively renewed quest among the rocks that covered all that mountain-side. Daisy was more eager than he; she wanted very much to have a trilobite for her own keeping; the difficulty was, she did not know how to look for it. All she could do was to follow her friend, and watch all his doings, and direct him to new spots in the mountain that he had not tried. In the course of this business the Captain did some adventurous climbing; it would have distressed Daisy if she had not been so intent upon his object; but as it was she strained her little head back to look at him, where he picked his way along at a precipitous height above her, sometimes holding to a bramble or sapling, and sometimes depending on his own good footing and muscular agility. In this way of progress, while making good his passage from one place to another, the Captain's foot in leaping struck upon a loosely poised stone or fragment of rock. It rolled from under him. A spring saved the Captain, but the huge stone, once set a- going, continued its way down the hill.
"Daisy look out!" he shouted.
"Have you got one?" said Daisy, springing forward. She misunderstood his warning; and her bound brought her exactly under the rolling stone. She never saw it till it had reached her, and knocked her down.
"Hollo, Daisy!" shouted Captain Drummond, "is all right?"
He got no answer, listened, shouted again, and then made two jumps from where he stood to the bottom. Daisy lay on the ground, her little foot under the stone; her eyes closed, her face paler than ever. Without stopping to think how heavy the stone was, with a tremendous exertion of strength the young man pushed it from where it lay, and released the foot; but he was very much afraid damage was done. "I couldn't help it" said the Captain to himself, as he looked at the great piece of rock; but the first thing was to get Daisy's eyes open. There was no spring near that he knew of; he went back to their lunch basket and brought from it a bottle of claret all he could find and with it wetted Daisy's lips and brow. The claret did perhaps as well as cold water; for Daisy revived; but as soon as she sat up and began to move, her words were broken off by a scream of pain.
"What is it, Daisy?" said the Captain. "Your foot? that confounded stone! can't you move it?"
"No," said Daisy, with a short breath, "I can't move it. Please excuse me, Captain Drummond I couldn't help crying out that minute; it hurt me so. It doesn't hurt me so much now when I keep still."
The Captain kept still too, wishing very much that he and Daisy and the trilobites were all back in their places again. How long could they sit still up there on the mountain? He looked at the sun; he looked at his watch. It was three o'clock. He looked at Daisy.
"Let me see," said he, "if anything is the matter. Hard to find out, through this thick boot! How does it feel now?"
"It pains me very much, these two or three minutes."
The Captain looked at Daisy's face again, and then, without more ado, took his knife and cut the lacings of the boot. "How is that?" he asked.
"That is a great deal better."
"If it hadn't been, you would have fainted again directly. Let us see Daisy, I think I had better cut the boot off. You have sprained the ankle, or something, and it is swollen."
Daisy said nothing, and the Captain went on very carefully and tenderly to cut the boot off.
It was a very necessary proceeding. The foot was terribly swollen already. Again the Captain mused, looking from the child's foot to her face.
"How is the pain now?"
"It aches a good deal."
He saw it was vastly worse than her words made it.
"My little soldier," said he, "how do you suppose I am going to get you down the hill, to where we left our carriage?"
"I don't know," said Daisy. "You can't carry me."
"What makes you think so?"
"I don't know," said Daisy, "but I don't think you can." And she was a little afraid, he saw.
"I will be as careful as I can, and you must be as brave as you can, for I don't see any other way, Daisy. And I think, the sooner we go the better; so that this foot may have some cold or hot lotion or something."
"Wait a minute," said Daisy, hastily.
And raising herself up to a sitting position, she bent over her little head, and covered her eyes with her hand. The Captain felt very strangely. He guessed in a minute what she was about; that in pain and fear, Daisy was seeking an unseen help, and trusting in it; and in awed silence the young officer was as still as she, till the little head was raised.
"Now," she said, "you may take me."
The Captain always had a good respect for Daisy; but he certainly felt now as if he had the dignity of twenty-five years in his arms. He raised her as gently as possible from the ground; he knew the changed position of the foot gave her new pain, for a flush rose to Daisy's brow, but she said not one word either of suffering or expostulation. Her friend stepped with her as gently as he could over the rough way; Daisy supported herself partly by an arm round his neck, and was utterly mute, till they were passing the place of luncheon; then she broke out,
"Oh! the trilobite!"
"Never mind the trilobite."
"But are you going to lose it, Captain Drummond?"
"Not if you want it. I'll come back for it another day if I break my furlough."
"I could hold it in my other hand if I had it."
The Captain thought the bottle of claret might chance to be the most wanted thing; nevertheless he stopped, stooped, and picked up the fossil. Daisy grasped it; and they went on their way down the mountain. It was a very trying way to both of them. The Captain was painfully anxious to step easily, which among rocks and bushes he could not always do, especially with a weight in his arms; and Daisy's foot hanging down, gave her dreadful pain because of the increased rush of blood into it. Her little lips were firmly set together many a time, to avoid giving her friend the distress of knowing how much she suffered; and once the Captain heard a low whisper not meant for his ear but uttered very close to it, "O Lord Jesus, help me." It went through and through the Captain's mind and heart. But he only set his teeth too, and plunged on, as fast as he could softly, down the rough mountain side. And if ever anybody was glad, that was he when they reached the wagon.
There was a new difficulty now, for the little vehicle had no place in which Daisy could remain lying down. The seat was fast; the Captain could not remove it. He did the best he could. He put Daisy sideways on the seat, so that the hurt foot could be stretched out and kept in one position upon it; and he himself stood behind her, holding the reins. In that way he served as a sort of support for the little head, which he sometimes feared would sink in a swoon; for while she lay on the ground, and he was trying measures with the wagon, the closed eyes and pale cheeks had given the Captain a good many desperately uneasy thoughts. Now Daisy sat still, leaning against him, with her eyes open; and he drove as tenderly as he could. He had a frisky horse to manage, and the Captain congratulated himself for this occasion at least that he was a skilled whip. Still the motion of the wagon was very trying to Daisy, and every jar went through the Captain's foot up to his heart.
"How is it, Daisy?" he asked, after they had gone some distance.
"It isn't good, Captain Drummond," she said, softly.
"Bad, isn't it?"
"I have to make this fellow go slowly, you see, or he would shake you too much. Could you bear to go faster?"
The Captain tried, cautiously. But his question, and possibly Daisy's answer, were stimulated by the view of the western horizon, over which clouds were gathering thick and fast. Could they get home in time? That was the doubt in both minds.
"Captain Drummond," said Daisy, presently, "I can't bear this shaking."
"Must I go slower?"
"If you please."
"Daisy, do you see how the sky bodes yonder? What do you suppose we shall do if those clouds come up?"
"I don't know," she answered. But she said it with such a quiet tone of voice, that the Captain wondered anew. He had hoped that her fears might induce her to bear the pain.
"Daisy, do you think it will come up a storm?"
"I think it will."
"How soon? you know the signs better than I do. How soon will it be here?"
"It will come soon, I think."
Yet there was no anxiety in Daisy's voice. It was perfectly calm, though feeble. The Captain held his peace, looked at the clouds, and drove on; but not as fast as he would have liked. He knew it was a ride of great suffering to his little charge, for she became exceedingly pale; still she said nothing, except her soft replies to his questions. The western clouds rolled up in great volumes of black and grey, rolling and gathering and spreading at a magnificent rate. The sun was presently hid behind the fringe of this curtain of blackness; by and by the mountains were hid beneath a further fringe of rain; a very thick fringe. Between, the masses of vapour in the sky seemed charging for a tremendous outburst. It had not come yet when the slow-going little wagon passed through Crum Elbow; but by this time the Captain had seen distant darts of lightning, and even heard the far-off warning growl of the thunder. A new idea started up in the Captain's mind; his frisky horse might not like lightning.
"Daisy," said he, "my poor little Daisy we cannot get to Melbourne we must stop and wait a little somewhere. Is there any house you like better than another? I had best turn back to the village."
"No, don't, stop!" cried Daisy, "don't go back, Captain Drummond; there is a place nearer. Turn up that road right round there. It is very near."
The Captain obeyed, but pulled in the reins presently as he heard a nearer growl of the coming thunder.
"Daisy, where is it? I don't see anything."
"There it is, Captain Drummond that little house."
"That?" said the Captain; but there was no more time now for retreat or question. He sprang out, threw the reins two or three times over the gate-post; then executed the very difficult operation of taking Daisy out of the wagon. He could not do it without hurting her; she fainted on his shoulder; and it was in this state, white and senseless, that he carried her into Mrs. Benoit's cottage. The old woman had seen them, and met him at the door. Seeing the state of the case, she immediately, and with great quickness, spread a clean covering over a comfortable chintz couch which stood under the window, and Daisy was laid there from her friend's arms. Juanita applied water and salts, too, deftly; and then asked the Captain, "What is it, sir?"
"There's a foot hurt here," said the Captain, giving more attention to the hurt than he had had chance to do before. "Pray heaven it is not broken! I am afraid it is, the ankle, or dislocated."
"Then Heaven knows why it is broken," said the old woman, quietly. "The gentleman will go for a doctor, sir?"
"Yes, that must be the first thing," said Captain Drummond, gravely. "Where shall I find him?"
"Dr. Sandford the gentleman knows the road to Mr. St. Leonard's?"
"Yes the Craigs I know."
"Dr. Sandford is half way there where the gentleman remembers a great brown house in the middle of the cedar trees."
The Captain beat his brain to remember, thought he did, and was starting away, but turned back to see Daisy's eyes open first; fearing lest she might be alarmed if he were not by her when she came to herself. There was a bright flash and near peal of thunder at the moment. Juanita looked up.
"The gentleman will not fear the storm? There is work here" touching the foot.
The Captain remembered that Daisy herself had directed him to the house, and dashed away again. The clouds were growing blacker every moment. In the darkening light, Juanita bent over Daisy and saw her eyes open.
"Does my little lady know Juanita?"
Daisy sighed, looked round the room, and then seemed to recollect herself.
"Oh, I am here!" she said. "Where is Captain Drummond?"
"The gentleman is gone for the doctor, to see to the hurt foot. How is it now, dear?"
"It hurts me a good deal."
Juanita's first business was to take off the stocking; this could only be done by cutting it down. When it was removed, a very sorrowful-looking little foot was seen. Juanita covered it up lightly, and then turned her attention again to Daisy's pale face.
"What can I give my little lady?"
"I am Daisy Randolph."
"What may I do for Miss Daisy, to give her some comfort?"
"Juanita, I wish you would pray for me again."
"What does Miss Daisy want of the Lord?"
"My foot hurts me very much, and I want to be patient. And, Juanita, I want to thank Him too."
"What for, Miss Daisy?"
"Because I love Him; and He has made me so happy."
"Praise the Lord!" came with a most glad outburst from Juanita's lips; but then she knelt down, and so uttered her warm petitions for help needed, and so her deep thanksgiving for help rendered, that Daisy was greatly overcome, and poured out her tears as the prayer went on. When it was ended, Juanita went about her room for a little while, making certain arrangements that she foresaw would be necessary; then came and sat down. All this while the storm had been furious; the lightning hardly ceased, or the thunder, and both were near; but the two inmates of the little cottage seemed hardly to be conscious what was going on outside its walls. There was a slight lessening now of the storm's fury.
"Has it gone well with my little lady then, since she gave Juanita the rose-branch?"
This was the new opening of conversation. Daisy hesitated a little what to answer; not for want of confidence, for there was something about the fine old woman that had won her completely.
"I don't know" she said at length, slowly. "It has been very hard to do right, Juanita."
"But has my little lady kept her Lord's words?"
"Yes, Juanita, I did; but I don't know whether I should, if it hadn't been for what you said."
"And did she meet the trouble too."
Juanita saw that she had, for a flush rose on Daisy's poor pale cheeks, and her face was strangely grave. She did not answer the question, either; only as the flush passed away she looked placidly up and said, "I am not in trouble now, Juanita."
"Bless the Lord!" was the utterance of Juanita's heart. "The Lord knows how to deliver out of trouble, Miss Daisy."
"Yes," said Daisy. "Oh!" she exclaimed, suddenly, with a new light breaking all over her face but then she stopped.
"What is it, my love?"
"Nothing only I am so glad now that my foot is hurt."
Juanita's thanksgiving rose to her lips again, but this time she only whispered it; turning away, perhaps to hide the moisture which had sprung to her eyes. For she understood more of the case than Daisy's few words would have told most people.
Meantime, Captain Drummond and his frisky horse had a ride which was likely to make both of them remember that thunderstorm. They reached Dr. Sandford's house; but then the Captain found that the doctor was not at home; where he was, the servant could not say. The only other thing to do seemed to be to go on to Melbourne, and at least let Daisy have the counsel of her father and mother. To Melbourne the Captain drove as fast as his horse's state of mind would permit.
The drawing room was blazing with lights as usual, and full of talkers.
"Hollo!" cried Gary McFarlane, as the Captain entered, "here he is. We had given you up for a fossil, Drummond and no idea of your turning up again for another thousand years. Shouldn't have known where to look for you either, after this storm among the aqueous or the igneous rocks. Glad to see you! Let me make you acquainted with Dr. Sandford."
"I am glad to see you, sir," said the Captain, involuntarily, as he shook hands with this latter.
"You haven't left Daisy somewhere, changed into a stone lily?" pursued McFarlane.
"Yes," said the Captain. "Dr. Sandford, I am going to ask you to get ready to ride with me. Mr. Randolph, I have left Daisy by the way. She has hurt her foot I threw down a stone upon it and the storm obliged her to defer getting home. I left her at a cottage near Crum Elbow. I am going to take Dr. Sandford to see what the foot wants."
Mr. Randolph ordered the carriage, and then told his wife.
"Does it storm yet?" she asked.
"The thunder and lightning are ceasing, but it rains hard."
The lady stepped out of the room to get ready, and in a few minutes she and her husband, Captain Drummond and the doctor, were seated in the carriage and on their way to Mrs. Benoit's cottage. Captain Drummond told how the accident happened; after that he was silent; and so were the rest of the party, till the carriage stopped.
Mrs. Benoit's cottage looked oddly, when all these grand people poured into it. But the mistress of the cottage never looked more like herself, and her reception of the grand people was as simple as that she had given to Daisy. Little Daisy herself lay just where her friend the Captain had left her, but looked with curious expression at the others who entered with him now. The father and mother advanced to the head of the couch; the Captain and Juanita stood at the foot. The doctor kept himself a little back.
"Are you suffering, Daisy?" Mr. Randolph asked.
The child's eyes went up to him. "Papa yes!"
She had begun quietly, but the last word was given with more than quiet expression, and the muscles about her lips quivered.
Mr. Randolph stooped and pressed his own lips upon them.
"I have brought Dr. Sandford to look at your foot, Daisy. He will see what it wants."
"Will he hurt me, papa?" said the child, apprehensively.
"I hope not. No more than is necessary."
"It hurts to have anybody touch it, papa."
"He must touch it, Daisy. Can't you bear it bravely?"
And again the child clasped her two hands over her face, and was still. Mr. Randolph had no idea what for, though he humoured her, and waited.
The Captain knew, for he had seen more of Daisy that day, and he looked very grave indeed. The black woman knew, for as Daisy's hands fell from her face, she uttered a deep, soft "Amen!" which no one understood but one little heart.
"Papa I am ready. He may look now."
Juanita removed the covering from the foot, and the doctor stepped forward. Daisy's eyes rested on him, and she saw gratefully a remarkably fine and pleasant countenance. Mrs. Randolph's eyes rested on the foot, and she uttered an exclamation. It was the first word she had uttered. Everybody else was still, while the doctor passed his hands over and round the distressed ankle and foot, but tenderly, and in a way that gave Daisy very little pain. Then he stepped back and beckoned Juanita to a consultation. Juanita disappeared, and Dr. Sandford came up to Mr. Randolph, and spoke in a low tone. Then Mr. Randolph turned again to Daisy.
"What is it, papa?" asked the child.
"Daisy, to make your foot well, Dr. Sandford will be obliged to do something that will hurt you a little will you try and bear it? He will not be long about it."
"What is the matter with my foot, papa?"
"Something that the doctor can set right in a few minutes if you will try and bear a little pain."
A little pain! And Daisy was suffering so much all the while! Again her lip trembled.
"Must he touch me, papa?"
"He must touch you."
Daisy's hands were clasped to her face again for a minute; after that she lay quite still and quiet. Mr. Randolph kept his post, hardly taking his eye off her; Mrs. Randolph sat down where she had stood; behind the head of Daisy's couch, where her little daughter could not see her; and all the party indulged in silence. At length the doctor was ready, and came to the foot, attended by Juanita; and Mr. Randolph took one of Daisy's hands in his own. With the other the child covered her eyes, and so lay, perfectly still, while the doctor set the ankle-bone which had been broken. As the foot also itself had been very much hurt, the handling of necessity gave a great deal of pain, more than the mere setting of the broken bone would have caused. Mr. Randolph could feel every now and then the convulsive closing of Daisy's hand upon his; other than that she gave no sign of what she was suffering. One sign of what another person was feeling, was given as Dr. Sandford bound up the foot and finished his work. It was given in Juanita's deep breathed "Thank the Lord!" The doctor glanced up at her with a slight smile of curiosity. Captain Drummond would have said "Amen," if the word had not been so unaccustomed to his mouth.
Mrs. Randolph rose then, and inquired of the doctor what would be the best means of removing Daisy?
"She must not be moved," the doctor said.
"No, madam; nor to-morrow, nor for many days."
"Must she be left here?"
"If she were out in the weather, I would move her," said the doctor; "not if she were under a barn that would shed the rain."
"What harm would it do?"
The doctor could not take it upon him to say.
"But I cannot be with her here," said Mrs. Randolph; "nor anybody else, that I can see."
"Juanita will take care of her," said the doctor. "Juanita is worth an army of nurses. Miss Daisy cannot be better cared for than she will be."
"Will you undertake the charge?" said Mrs. Randolph, facing round upon Daisy's hostess.
"The Lord has given it to me, madam, and I love to do my Lord's work," was Juanita's answer. She could not have given a better one, if it had been meant to act as a shot, to drive Mrs. Randolph out of the house. The lady waited but till the doctor had finished his directions which he was giving to the black woman.
"I don't see," then she said to her husband, "that there is anything to be gained by my remaining here any longer; and if we are to go, the sooner we go the better, so that Daisy may be quiet. Dr. Sandford says that is the best thing for her."
"Captain Drummond will see you home," said her husband. "I shall stay."
"You can't do anything, in this box of a place."
"Unless the child herself desires it, there is no occasion for your remaining here over night," said the doctor. "She will be best in quiet, and sleep, if she can. You might hinder, if your presence did not help her to this."
"What do you say, Daisy?" said her father tenderly, bending over her; "shall I stay or go? Which do you wish?"
"Papa, you would not be comfortable here. I am not afraid."
"Do you want me to go?" said her father, putting his face down to hers.
Daisy clasped her two arms round his neck and kissed him, and held him while she whispered, "No, papa, but maybe you had better. There is no place for you, and I am not afraid."
He kissed her silently and repeatedly, and then rose up and went to look at the storm. It had ceased; the moon was struggling out between great masses of cloud driving over the face of the sky. Mrs. Randolph stood ready to go, putting on her capuche which she had thrown off, and Juanita laying her shawl round her shoulders. The doctor stood waiting to hand her to the carriage. The Captain watched Daisy, whose eye was wistfully fixed on her mother. He watched, and wondered at its very grave, soft expression. There was very little affection in the Captain's mind at that moment towards Mrs. Randolph.
The carriage was ready, and the lady turned round to give a parting look at the child. A cold look it was, but Daisy's soft eye never changed.
"Mamma," said she, whisperingly, "won't you kiss me?"
Mrs. Randolph stooped instantly, and gave the kiss; it could not be refused, and was fully given; but then she immediately took Doctor Sandford's arm, and went out of the house. The Captain reverently bent over Daisy's little hand, and followed her.
The drive was a very silent one, till Dr. Sandford was left at his own door. So soon as the carriage turned again, Mrs. Randolph broke out.
"How long did he say, Mr. Randolph, the child must be left at that woman's cottage?"
"He said she must not be moved for weeks."
"She might as well stay forever," said Mrs. Randolph, "for the effect it will have. It will take a year to get Daisy back to where she was! I wish fanatics would confine their efforts to children that have no one else to care for them."
"What sort of fanaticism has been at work here, Mrs. Randolph?" the Captain enquired.
"The usual kind, of course; religious fanaticism. It seems to be catching."
"I have been in dangerous circumstances to day, then," said the Captain. "I am afraid I have caught it. I feel as if something was the matter with me."
"It will not improve you," said Mrs. Randolph, dryly.
"How has it wrought with Daisy?"
"Changed the child so that I do not recognise her. She never set up her own will before; and now she is as difficult to deal with as possible. She is an impersonation of obstinacy."
"Perhaps, after all, she is only following orders," said the Captain, with daring coolness. "A soldier's duty makes him terribly obstinate sometimes. You must excuse me, but you see I cannot help appreciating military qualities."
"Will you be good enough to say what you mean?" the lady asked, with sufficient displeasure of manner.
"Only, that I believe in my soul Daisy takes her orders from higher authority, than we do. And I have seen today I declare! I have seen a style of obedience and soldierly following, that would win any sort of a field ay, and die in it!" added the Captain, musingly. "It is the sort of thing that gets promotion from the ranks."
"How did all this happen to-day?" asked Mr. Randolph, as the lady was now silent. "I have heard only a bit of it."
In answer to which, Captain Drummond went into the details of the whole day's experience; told it point by point, and bit by bit; having a benevolent willingness that Daisy's father and mother should know, if they would, with what sort of a spirit they were dealing. He told the whole story; and nobody interrupted him.
"It is one thing," said the Captain, thoughtfully, as he concluded, "it is one thing to kneel very devoutly and say after the minister, 'Lord, have mercy upon us, and write all these laws in our hearts;' I have done that myself; but it gives one an entirely different feeling to see some one in whose heart they are written!"
"There is only one thing left for you, Captain Drummond," said Mrs. Randolph slightly; "to quit the army and take orders."
"I am afraid, if I did, you would never want to see me settled in Mr. Pyne's little church over here," the Captain answered, as he helped the lady to alight at her own door.
"Not till Daisy is safely married," said Mrs. Randolph laughing.
Till the sound of the carriage wheels had died away in the distance, Juanita stood at the door looking after them; although the trees and the darkness prevented her seeing anything along the road further than a few yards. When the rustle of the breeze among the branches was the only thing left to hear, beside the dripping of the rain drops shaken from the leaves, Juanita shut the door, and came to Daisy. The child was lying white and still, with her eyes closed. Very white and thin the little face looked, indeed; and under each eyelid lay a tear glistening, that had forced its way so far into notice. Juanita said not a word just then; she bustled about and made herself busy. Not that Juanita's busy ways were ever bustling in reality; she was too good a nurse for that; but she had several things to do. The first was to put up a screen at the foot of Daisy's couch. She lay just a few feet from the door, and everybody coming to the door, and having it opened, could look in if he pleased; and so Daisy would have no privacy at all. That would not do; Juanita's wits went to work to mend the matter. Her little house had been never intended for more than one person. There was another room in it, to be sure, where Mrs. Benoit's own bed was; so that Daisy could have the use and possession of this outer room all to herself. Juanita went about her business too noiselessly to induce even those closed eyelids to open. She fetched a tolerably large clothes-horse from somewhere some shed or out-building; this she set at the foot of the couch, and hung an old large green moreen curtain over it. Where the curtain came from, one of Mrs. Benoit's great locked chests knew; there were two or three such chests in the inner room, with more treasures than a green moreen curtain stowed away in them. The curtain was too large for the clothes-horse to hold up; it lay over the floor. Juanita got screws and cords; fixed one screw in the wall, another in the ceiling, and at last succeeded in stretching the curtain neatly on the cords and the clothes-horse, where she wanted it to hang. That was done; and Daisy's couch was quite sheltered from any eyes coming to the door that had no business to come further. When it was finished, and the screws and cords put away, Juanita came to Daisy's side. The eyes were open now.
"That is nice," said Daisy.
"It'll keep you by yourself, my little lady. Now what will she have?"
"Nothing only I am thirsty," said Daisy.
Juanita went to the well for some cold water, and mixed with it a spoonful of currant jelly. It was refreshing to the poor little dry lips.
"What will my love have next?"
"I don't know," said Daisy "my foot aches a good deal, and all my leg. I think Juanita I would like it if you would read to me."
Juanita took a somewhat careful survey of her, felt her hands, and finally got the book.
"Is there too much air for my love from that window?"
"No, it is nice," said Daisy. "I can see the stars so beautifully, with the clouds driving over the sky. Every now and then they get between me and the stars and then the stars look out again so bright. They seem almost right over me. Please read, Juanita."
Mrs. Benoit did not consider that it made much difference to Daisy where she read; so she took the chapter that came next in the course of her own going through the New Testament. It was the eighth chapter of Mark. She read very pleasantly; not like a common person; and with a slight French accent. Her voice was always sweet, and the words came through it as loved words. It was very pleasant to Daisy to hear her; the long chapter was not interrupted by any remark. But when Mrs. Benoit paused at the end of it, Daisy said, "How can anybody be ashamed of Him, Juanita?"
The last verse of the chapter has these words "Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of Me, and of My words, in this adulterous and sinful generation; of Him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when He cometh in the glory of His Father with the holy angels."
"How can anybody be ashamed of him, Juanita?"
"They not see the glory of the Lord, my lady."
"But we do not see it yet."
"My love will see it. Juanita has seen it. This little house be all full of glory sometimes, when Jesus is here."
"But that is because you love Him, Juanita."
"Praise the Lord!" echoed the black woman. "He do show His glory to His people, before He come with the holy angels."
"I don't see how anybody can be ashamed of Him," Daisy repeated, uttering the words as if they contained a simple impossibility.
"My little lady not know the big world yet. There be ways, that the Lord know and that the people not know."
"What do you mean, Juanita?"
"My lady will find it," said the black woman folding her arms. "When all the world go one way, then folks not like to go another way and be looked at; they be ashamed of Christ's words then, and they only think they do not want to be looked at."
A colour came all over Daisy's face a suffusion of colour; and tears swam in her eyes. "I didn't like to be looked at, the other night!" she said, in a self-accusing tone.
"Did my love turn and go with the world?"
"No, I didn't do that."
"Then Jesus won't turn away neither," said the black woman.
"But I ought not to have felt so, Juanita."
"Maybe. My love is a little child. The good Lord shall 'stablish her, and keep her from evil. Now she must not talk no more, but trust the Lord, and go to sleep."
"I can't sleep, Juanita my leg aches so."
"That will be better. Is my love thirsty again?"
"Very thirsty! I wish I had some oranges."
"They would be good," said Juanita, bringing another glass of jelly and water for Daisy.
And then she sat down, and sang softly; hymns in French and English; sweet and low, and soothing in their simple and sometimes wild melody. They soothed Daisy. After a time, wearied and exhausted by all her long day of trial, she did forget pain in slumber. The eyelids closed, and Juanita's stealthy examination found that quiet soft breathing was really proving her fast asleep. The singing ceased; and for a while nothing was to be heard in the cottage but the low rush and rustle of the wind which had driven away the storm clouds, and the patter of a dislodged rain drop or two that were shaken from the leaves. Daisy's breathing was too soft to be heard, and Juanita almost held her own lest it should be too soon disturbed. But the pain of the hurt foot and ankle would not suffer a long sleep. Daisy waked up with a sigh.
"Are you there, Juanita?"
"I am here."
"What o'clock is it?"
Juanita drew back the curtain of the window by Daisy's couch, that the moonlight might fall in and show the face of the little clock. It was midnight.
"It won't be morning in a great while, will it?" said Daisy.
"Does my lady want morning?"
"My foot hurts me dreadfully, Juanita the pain shoots and jumps all up my leg. Couldn't you do something to it?"
"My dear love, it will be better by and by there is no help now for it, unless the Lord sends sleep. I s'pose it must ache. Can't Miss Daisy remember who sends the pain?"
The child answered her with a curious smile. It was not strange to the black woman; she read it, and knew it, and had seen such before; to anybody that had not, how strange would have seemed the lovingness that spread over all Daisy's features, and brightened on her brow as much as on her lips. It was not patient submission; it was the light of joyful affection shining out over all Daisy's little pale face.
"Ay, it isn't hard with Jesus," said the black woman with a satisfied face. "And the Lord is here now, praise his name!"
"Juanita I have been very happy to-day," said Daisy.
"Ay? how has that been, my love?"
"Because I knew He was taking care of me. It seemed that Jesus was so near me all the time. Even all that dreadful ride."
"The Lord is good!" said the black woman, with strong expression. "But my love must not talk."
She began to sing again.
"Oh, what shall I do, my Saviour to praise, So faithful and true, so plenteous in grace. So good to deliver, so strong to redeem The weakest believer that hangs upon him."
"Oh, that's good, Juanita!" said Daisy. "Hush! Juanita, it is very late for anybody to be out riding!"
"Who is out riding, Miss Daisy?"
"I don't know I hear a horse's feet. Don't you hear. there!"
"It's some young gentleman, maybe, going home, from a dinner- party."
"Don't draw the curtain, Juanita, please! I like it so, I can look out. The moonlight is nice. Somebody is very late, going home from a dinner party."
"They often be. Miss Daisy, the moonlight will hinder you sleeping, I am afraid."
"I can't sleep. It's so good to look out! Juanita there's that horse's feet, stopping just here."
Juanita went to her door, and perceived that Daisy spoke truth. Somebody down at her little wicket had dismounted, and was fastening his horse to the fence. Then a figure came up the walk in the moonlight.
"Juanita!" cried Daisy, with an accent of joy, though she could not see the figure from where she lay, "it's papa!"
"Is she asleep?" said the voice of Mr. Randolph the next minute softly.
"No, sir. She knows it's you, sir. Will his honour walk in?"
Mr. Randolph, with a gentle footfall, came in and stood by the side of the couch.
"Daisy my poor little Daisy!" he said.
This one word was rich in expression; joy and love so filled it. Daisy added nothing more. She put her arms round her father's neck as he stooped his lips to her face, held him fast and returned his kisses.
"Cannot you sleep?" The question was very tenderly put.
"I did sleep, papa."
"I did not wake you?"
"No, papa. I was awake, looking at the moonlight."
"Pain would not let you sleep, my poor darling?"
The sympathy was a little too trying. Tears started to the child's eyes. She said with a most gentle, loving accent, "I don't mind, papa. It will be better by and by. I am very happy."
An indignant question as to the happiness which had been so rudely shaken, was on Mr. Randolph's lips. He remembered Daisy must not be excited; nevertheless, he wondered, for he saw the child's eyes full, and knew that the brow was drawn with pain; and the poor little thin face was as white as a sheet. What did she mean by talking about being happy?
"Daisy, I have brought you some oranges."
"Thank you, papa! May I have one now?"
Silently, and almost sternly, Mr. Randolph stood and pared the orange with a fruit knife he had thought to bring that too and fed Daisy with it, bit by bit. It was pleasant and novel to Daisy to have her father serve her so; generally others had done it when there had been occasion. Mr. Randolph did it nicely, while his thoughts worked.
"What are you going to do to-night, papa?" she said, when the orange was finished and he stood looking at her.
"Stay here with you."
"But, papa, how can you sleep?"
"I can do without sleeping, if it is necessary. I will take a chair here in the doorway, and be near if you want anything."
"Oh, I shall not want anything, papa, except what Juanita can give me."
He stood still, watching her. Daisy looked up at him with a loving face; a wise little face it always was; it was gravely considerate now.
"Papa, I am afraid you will be uncomfortable."
"Can nobody bear that but you?" said Mr. Randolph, stooping down to kiss her.
"I am very happy, papa," said the child, placidly; while a slight tension of her forehead witnessed to the shooting pains with which the whole wounded limb seemed to be filled.
"If Mr. Randolph pleases," said the voice of Juanita, "the doctor recommended quiet, sir."
Off went Mr. Randolph at that, as if he knew it very well, and had forgotten himself. He took a chair, and set it in the open doorway, using the door-post as a rest for his head; and then the cottage was silent. The wind breathed more gently; the stars shone out; the air was soft after the storm; the moonlight made a bright flicker of light and shade over all the outer world. Now and then a grasshopper chirruped, or a little bird murmured a few twittering notes at being disturbed in its sleep; and then came a soft sigh from Daisy.
On noiseless foot the black woman stole to the couch. Daisy was weeping; her tears were pouring out and making a great wet spot on her pillow.
"Is my love in pain?" whispered the black woman.
"It's nothing I can't help it," said Daisy.
"Where is it in the foot?"
"It's all over, I think; in my head and everywhere. Hush, Juanita; never mind."
Mrs. Benoit, however, tried the soothing effect of a long gentle brushing of Daisy's head. This lasted till Daisy said she could bear it no longer. She was restless.
"Will my love hear a hymn?"
"It will wake papa."
Mrs. Benoit cared nothing for that. Her care was her poor little charge. She began immediately one of the hymns that were always ready on her tongue, and which were wonderfully soothing to Daisy. Juanita was old, but her voice was sweet yet and clear; and she sang with a deal of quiet spirit.
"A few more days or years at most, My troubles sell be o'er; I hope to join the heavenly host On Canaan's happy shore. My raptured soul shall drink and feast In love's unbounded sea; The glorious hope of endless rest Is ravishing to me."
Mr. Randolph raised his head from leaning against the door- post, and turned it to listen; with a look of lowering impatience. The screen of the hanging curtain was between him and the couch, and the look did nobody any harm.
"Oh, come, my Saviour, come away, And bear me to the sky! Nor let thy chariot wheels delay Make haste and bring it nigh: I long to see Thy glorious face, And in Thy image shine; To triumph in victorious grace, And be forever Thine."
Mr. Randolph's chair here grated inharmoniously on the floor, as if he were moving; but Juanita went on without heeding it.
"Then will I tune my harp of gold To my eternal King. Through ages that can ne'er be told I'll make Thy praises ring. All hail, eternal Son of God, Who died on Calvary! Who bought me with His precious blood, From endless misery."
Mr. Randolph stood by Mrs. Benoit's chair. "My good woman," he said, in suppressed tones, "this is a strange way to put a patient to sleep."
"As your honour sees!" replied the black woman, placidly.
Mr. Randolph looked. Daisy's eyes were closed; the knitted brow had smoothed itself out in slumber; the deep breath told how profound was the need that weakness and weariness had made. He stood still. The black woman's hand softly drew the curtain between Daisy's face and the moonlight, and then she noiselessly withdrew herself almost out of sight, to a low seat in a corner. So Mr. Randolph betook himself to his station in the doorway; and whether he slept or no, the hours of the night stole on quietly. The breeze died down; the moon and the stars shone steadily over the lower world; and Daisy slept, and her two watchers were still. By and by, another light began to break in the eastern horizon, and the stars grew pale. The morning had come.
The birds were twittering in the branches before Daisy awoke. At the first stir she made, her father and Mrs. Benoit were instantly at her side. Mr. Randolph bent over her, and asked tenderly how she felt.
"I feel hot, papa."
"Everybody must do that," said Mr. Randolph. "The breeze has died away, and the morning is very close."
"Papa, have you been awake all night?"
He stooped down and kissed her.
"You must go home and get some breakfast, and go to sleep," Daisy said, looking at him lovingly with her languid eyes.
"Shall I bring you anything from home, Daisy?" he said, kissing her again.
The child looked a little wistfully, but presently said no; and Mr. Randolph left her, to do as she had said. Mrs. Benoit was privately glad to have him out of the way. She brought water, and bathed Daisy's face and hands, and gave her a delicate breakfast of orange; and contrived to be a long while about it all, so as to rest and refresh her as much as possible. But when it was all done, Daisy was very hot and weary and in much pain. And the sun was only in the tops of the trees yet. The black woman stood considering her.
"It will be a hot day, Miss Daisy and my little lady is suffering already, when the dew is not dried off the grass. Can she say, 'Thank the Lord'?"
Daisy first smiled at her; then the little pale face grew grave, the eyelids fell, and the black woman saw tears gathering beneath them. She stood looking somewhat anxiously down at the child; till, after a few minutes, the eyelids were raised again, and the eyes gave her a most meek and loving response, while Daisy said faintly, "Yes, Juanita."
"Bless the Lord!" said Juanita, with all her heart. "Then my love can bear it, the hot day and the pain and all. When His little child trust Him, Jesus not stay far off. And when He giveth quietness, then who can make trouble?"
"But I have a particular reason, Juanita. I am very glad of my hurt foot; though it does ache."
"The aching will not be so bad by and by," said the woman, her kindly face all working with emotion.
She stood there by Daisy's couch and prayed. No bathing nor breakfast could so soothe and refresh Daisy as that prayer. While she listened and joined in it, the feeling of yesterday came all back again; that wonderful feeling that the Lord Jesus loves even the little ones that love Him; that He will not let a hair of their heads be hurt; that He is near, and keeps them, and is bringing them to Himself by everything that He lets happen to them.
Greatly refreshed and comforted, Daisy lay quiet looking out of the open window, while Juanita was busy about, making a fire and filling her kettle for breakfast. She had promised Daisy a cup of tea and a piece of toast; and Daisy was very fond of a cup of tea, and did not ordinarily get it; but Mrs. Benoit said it would be good for her now. The fire was made in a little out-shed, back of the cottage, where it would do nobody any harm, even in hot weather.
Daisy was so quieted and comforted, though her leg was still aching, that she was able to look out and take some pleasure in the sparkling morning light which glittered on the leaves of the trees and on the blades of grass; and to hearken to the birds which were singing in high feather all around the cottage. The robins especially were very busy, whistling about in and under the trees; and a kildeer, quite near, from time to time sung its soft sweet song; so soft and tender, it seemed every time to say in Daisy's ears, "What if I am sick and in pain and weary? Jesus sends it and He knows and He is my dear Saviour." It brought the tears into Daisy's eyes at length; the song of the kildeer came so close home into her heart.
Juanita had gone to make the tea. While the kettle had been coming to a boil, she had put her little cottage into the nicest of order; and even filled a glass with some roses and set it on the little table. For, as she said to Daisy, they would have company enough that day, and must be in trim. She had gone now to make the tea, and Daisy lay contentedly looking out of the window, when she heard the swift tread of horses' feet again. Could her father be back from Melbourne already? Daisy could not raise herself up to look. She heard the feet stop in the road before the cottage; then listened for somebody's step coming up to it. She heard the step, but it was none of Mr. Randolph's; it was brisk and firm and measured. She guessed it was somebody's step whose feet had been trained.
Juanita came to open the door at the knock, and Daisy heard her saying something about the doctor's orders, and keeping quiet, and no excitement. Daisy could not stand that.
"Oh, Captain Drummond come in! come in!" she cried. And in came the Captain. He looked wonderfully sober at his poor little playfellow. But Daisy looked all smiles at him.
"Is your furlough over? Are you going, Captain Drummond?"
"I am off, Daisy."
"I am so glad you came to see me," she said, putting out her little hand to him.
The Captain took it, and held it, and seemed almost unable to speak. "Daisy, I would have run the risk of being cashiered, rather than not have done it."
"What is that?"
"Cashiered? Having my epaulettes pulled off."
"Do you care a great deal for your epaulettes?" said Daisy.
The Captain laughed, with the water standing in his eyes. Yes, absolutely, his bright sparkling eyes had drops in them.
"Daisy, I have brought you our land fish that we had such trouble for."
"The trilobite! Oh, did you?" exclaimed Daisy, as he placed it before her. "I wanted to see it again, but I was afraid you wouldn't have time before you went." She looked at it eagerly.
"Keep it Daisy; and keep a little bit of friendship for me with it will you? in case we meet again some day."
"Oh, Captain Drummond don't you want it?"
"No; but I want you to remember the conditions."
"When will you come to Melbourne again?"
"Can't say, Daisy; I am afraid, not till you will have got the kingdom of England quite out of all its difficulties. We were just going into the battle of Hastings, you know; don't you recollect?"
"How nice that was!" said Daisy, regretfully. "I don't think I shall ever forget about the Saxon Heptarchy, and Egbert, and Alfred."
"How about forgetting me?"
"You know I couldn't," said Daisy, with a most genial smile. "Oh, Captain Drummond!" she added, as a flash of sudden thought crossed her face.
"What now, Daisy?"
The child looked at him with a most earnest, inquisitive wistful gaze. The Captain had some difficulty to stand it.
"Oh, Captain Drummond," she repeated, "are you going to be ashamed of Christ?"
The young soldier was strangely enough confused by this simple question. His embarrassment was even evident. He hesitated for a reply, and it did not readily come. When it came, it was an evasion.
"That is right, Daisy," he said; "stand by your colours. He is a poor soldier that carries them behind his back in the face of the enemy. But whatever field you die in, I should like to be alongside of you."
He spoke gravely. And he asked no leave this time, but, clasping Daisy's hand, he bent down and kissed her forehead twice, and earnestly; then he did not say another word, but strode away. A little flush rose on Daisy's brow, for she was a very particular little lady as to who touched her; however she listened attentively to the sound of the retreating hoofs which carried the Captain off along the road; and when Juanita at last came in with her little tray and a cup of tea, she found Daisy's face set in a very thoughtful mood, and her eyes full of tears. The face did not even brighten at her approach.
"Miss Daisy," said the black woman, "I thought you wanted a cup of tea?"
"So I do, Juanita. I want it very much."
Mrs. Benoit made remarks to herself upon the wise little face that met her with such a sober greeting. However, she made none aloud; she supported Daisy nicely with one arm, and set the little tray before her. The tea was excellent; the toast was in dainty, delicate, thin brown strips. Daisy took it soberly.
"Does it seem good to my love?"
"Oh, yes, Juanita!" said the child, looking up gratefully; "it is very good; and you make the prettiest toast I ever saw."
The black woman smiled, and bade her eat it, and not look at it.
"But I think it tastes better for looking pretty, Juanita."
"The Lord knows," said the woman; "and He made the trees in the garden of Eden to be pleasant to the eyes, as well as good for food."
"I am glad He did," said Daisy. "How pleasant the trees have been to my eyes this morning. Then I was sick, and could not do anything but look at them; but they are pleasant to my eyes too when I am well. It is very painful to have one's friends go away, Juanita."
"Has my love lost friends?" said Mrs. Benoit, wondering at this speech.
"Yes," said Daisy. "Mr. Dinwiddie is gone; and now Captain Drummond. I have got hardly anybody left."
"Was Mr. Dinwiddie Miss Daisy's friend?"
Such a bright, warm, glad flash of a smile as Juanita got in answer! It spoke for the friendship on one side.
"But he is gone," said Daisy. "I wish I could see him again. He is gone, and I never shall!"
"Now, Miss Daisy, you will lie still and be quiet, my love, until somebody else comes. The doctor says that's the way. ]Mr. Dinwiddie is about his Master's work, wherever he is; and you want to do the same."
"How can I, Juanita, lying here? I cannot do anything."
"Does my love think the good Lord ever give His servants no work to do for Him?"
"Why here, Juanita I can only lie here and be still. What can I do?"
"My love pray the dear Master to show her; and now not talk just now." Daisy lay still.
The next comer was the doctor. He came while the morning was still early; made his examinations; and Daisy made hers. He was a very fine-looking man, Thick locks of auburn hair, thrown back from his face; a noble and grave countenance; blue eyes, keen and steady; and a free and noble carriage; there was enough about Dr. Sandford to engage all Daisy's attention and interest. She gave him both, in her quiet way; while he looked not so much at her as at her condition and requirements.
"It is going to be a hot day," he remarked to Juanita, who attended upon him. "Keep her quiet. Do not let more than one other person be here at once. Say I order it."
"Will his honour say it to Miss Daisy's father and mother?"
"I shall not see them this morning. You are armed with my authority, Juanita. Nobody is to be here to talk and excite her; and only one at a time beside you. Have you got fruit for her? Let her live on that as much as she likes; and keep the house empty."
"I will tell papa," said Daisy.
"How do you do?" said the doctor. It was the first question he had addressed to her; and the first attention he had given her otherwise than as a patient. Now the two looked at each other.
"I am better, a little, thank you," said the child. "May I ask something?"
"Shall I be a long while here?"
"You will be a week or two till your foot gets strong again."
"Will a week or two make it strong?"
The two pairs of eyes looked into each other. The thoughtful grey eyes of the child, and the impenetrable blue orbs of the man. There was mutual study; some mutual recognition.
"You must be a good child and try to bear it."
"Will you come and see me again?" said Daisy.
"Do you desire it?"
"You would not come unless it was necessary," said Daisy; "and if it is necessary, I should like to have you."
The lips of the young man curled into a smile that was very pleasant, albeit a little mocking in its character.
"I think it will be necessary, little one; but if I come to see you, you must be under my orders."
"Well, I am," said Daisy.
"Keep still, then; do not talk to anybody any more than is needful to relieve your impatience."
The doctor went away, and Daisy lay still musing. The morning had gone on a little further, when carriage-wheels stopped at the gate.
"There's mamma " said Daisy.
It was very unconsciously on her part that the tone of these two words conveyed a whole volume of information to Juanita's keen wits. It was no accent of joy, like that which had announced her father last night; neither was it fear or dread; yet the indefinable expression of the two words said that "mamma" had been a trouble in Daisy's life, and might be again.
Juanita went to have the door open; and the lady swept in. Mr. Randolph was behind her. She came to Daisy's side, and the mother and child looked at each other; Daisy with the tender, wistful eyes of last night, Mrs. Randolph with a vexed air of dissatisfaction. Yet, after looking at her a moment, she stooped down and kissed Daisy. The child's eye went to her father then. Mrs. Randolph stood in his way; he came round to the head of the couch, behind Daisy, and bent over her.
"Papa, I can't see you there."
"You can feel, Daisy " said Mr. Randolph, putting his lips to her face. "How do you do?"
"This is a most maladroit arrangement of Captain Drummond's!" said the lady. "What can we do to rectify it? A most stupid place for the child to be."
"She will have to bear the stupidity and we too. Daisy, what would you like to have to help it along."
"Papa, I am not stupid."
"You will be, my little daughter, I am afraid, before the weeks are over. Will you have June come to be with you?"
"Papa," said Daisy, slowly, "I think it would not be considerate."
"Are you comfortable?" said Mr. Randolph, smiling, though his looks expressed much concern.
"What is the matter?"
"It is hot, papa; and my leg aches; not so much as it did last night sometimes; but it aches."
"It is a cool, fresh morning," said Mrs. Randolph. "She is hot because she is lying in this place."
"Not very cool, with the mercury at eighty-four before eight o'clock You are cool because you have been driving fast."
"Mr. Randolph, this is no proper place for the child to be. I am convinced she might be moved with safety."
"I cannot risk the doctor's convictions against yours, Felicia. That question must be given up."
"He says I am under his orders, papa."
"Undeniable, Daisy. That is true doctrine. What orders does he give you?"
"To eat fruit, and keep quiet, papa. He says there must not be more than one person here at a time, besides Juanita."
"I suppose he does not mean to forbid your mother," said Mrs. Randolph, a good deal incensed. "I will see about that. Here, my good woman where are you? Will you let your cottage to me for the time that this child is confined here and remove somewhere else yourself, that I may put the people here I want about her?"
"Oh, mamma! " said Daisy. But she stopped short; and Mrs. Randolph did not attend to her. Mr. Randolph looked round to see Juanita's answer.
"My lady shall put here who she will please," the woman said, standing before her visitors with the most unruffled face and demeanour.
"And you will leave me the house at once?"
"No, my lady. My lady shall have the house. Juanita will not be in the way."
"You do not seem to understand, my good woman, that I want to be here myself, and have my people here. I want the whole house."
"My lady shall have it she is welcome nobody shall find Juanita trouble them," the black woman said, with great sweetness.