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recumbent position, pushed back her hair and stood beside the other
young girl, with eyes that glowed, and yet brimmed over with tears.

"Oh, what a load you have taken off my heart!" she exclaimed. "Oh, what
a darling you are! Kiss me, Maggie, kiss me, dear, dear Maggie."

"All right, Miss. You was angry with me afore, and now you're a-hugging
of me, and I don't see no more sense in one than t'other. Ef you'll hold
the baby up warm to you, Miss, and breathe ag'in her cheek werry
gentle-like, you'll be a-doing more good than a-kissing of me. I must
find sticks, and I must light up a fire, and I must do it this minute,
or we won't have no baby to talk about, nor fuss over."

Maggie's rough and practical words were perhaps the best possible tonic
for Flower at this moment. She had been on the verge of a fit of
hysterics, which might have been as terrible in its consequences as
either her passion or her despair. Now trembling slightly, she sat down
on the little stool which Maggie had pulled forward for her, took the
baby in her arms, and partly opening the shawl which covered it,
breathed on its white face.

The little one certainly was alive, and when Flower's breath warmed it,
its own breathing became stronger.

Meanwhile, Maggie bustled about. The hermit's hut, now that she had
something to do in it, seemed no longer at all terrible. After a good
search round she found some sticks, and soon a bright fire blazed and
crackled, and filled the tiny house with light and warmth. A pot of
water was put on the fire to warm, and then Maggie looked round for a
vessel to bathe the baby in. She found a little wooden tub, which she
placed ready in front of the fire.

"So far, so good!" she exclaimed; "but never a sight of a towel is there
to be seen. Ef you'll give me the baby now, Miss, I'll warm her limbs a
bit afore I put her in the bath. I don't know how I'm to dry her, I'm
sure, but a hot bath she must have."

"I have got a white petticoat on," said Flower. "Would that be any use?"

"Off with it this minute, then, Miss; it's better nor nought. Now, then,
my lamb! my pretty! see ef Maggie don't pull you round in a twinkling!"

She rubbed and chafed the little creature's limbs, and soon baby opened
her eyes, and gave a weak, piteous cry.

"I wish I had something to give her afore I put her in the bath," said
Maggie. "There's sure to be sperits of some sort in a house like this.
You look round you and see ef you can't find something, Miss Flower."

Flower obediently searched in the four corners of the hut.

"I can't see anything!" she exclaimed. "The place seems quite empty."

"Eh, dear!" said Maggie: "you don't know how to search. Take the baby,
and let me."

She walked across the cabin, thrust her hand into some straw which was
pressed against the rafters, pulled out an old tin can and opened it.

"Eh, what's this?" she exclaimed. "Sperits? Now we'll do. Give me the
baby back again, Miss Flower, and fetch a cup, ef you please."

Flower did so.

"Put some hot water into it. Why, you ain't very handy! Miss Polly's
worth a dozen of you! Now pour in a little of the sperit from the tin
can - not too much. Let me taste it. That will do. Now, baby - now, Miss
Polly's darling baby! - I'll wet your lips with this, and you'll have
your bath, and you'll do fine!"

The mixture was rubbed on the blue lips of the infant, and Maggie even
managed to get her to swallow a few drops. Then, the bath being prepared
by Flower, under a shower of scathing ridicule from Maggie, who had very
small respect, in any sense of the word, for her assistant, the baby was
put into it, thoroughly warmed, rubbed up, and comforted, and then, with
the white fleecy shawl wrapped well around her, she fell asleep in
Maggie's arms.

"She'll do for the present," said the kitchen-maid, leaning back and
mopping a little moisture from her own brow. "She'll do for a time, but
she won't do for long, for she'll want milk and all kinds of comforts.
And I tell you what it is, Miss Flower, that my master and Miss Polly
can't be kept a-fretting for this child until the morning. Some one must
go at once, and tell 'em where she is, and put 'em out of their misery,
and the thing is this: is it you, or is it me, that's to do the job?"

"But," said Flower - she had scarcely spoken at all until now - "cannot
we both go? Cannot we both walk home, and take the baby with us?"

"No, Miss, not by no means. Not a breath of night air must touch the
cheeks of this blessed lamb. Either you or me, Miss Flower, must walk
back to Sleepy Hollow, and tell 'em about the baby, and bring back
Nurse, and what's wanted for the child. Will you hold her, Miss? and
shall I trot off at once? - for there ain't a minute to be lost."

"No," said Flower, "I won't stay in the hut. It is dreadful to me. I
will go and tell the Doctor and Polly."

"As you please, Miss. Maybe it is best as I should stay with little
Missy. You'll find it awful lonesome out on the moor, Miss Flower, and I
expect when you get near Deadman's Glen as you'll scream out with
terror; there's a bogey there with a head three times as big as his
body, and long arms, twice as long as they ought to be, and he tears up
bits of moss and fern, and flings them at yer, and if any of them, even
the tiniest bit, touches yer, why you're dead before the year is out.
Then there's the walking ghost and the shadowy maid, and the brown lady,
the same color as the bracken when it's withering up, and - and - why,
what's the matter, Miss Flower?"

"Only I respected you before you talked in that way," said Flower. "I
respected you very much, and I was awfully ashamed of not being able to
eat my dinner with you. But when you talk in such an awfully silly way I
don't respect you, so you had better not go on. Please tell me, as well
as you can, how I'm to get to Sleepy Hollow, and I'll start off at
once."

"You must beware of the brown lady, all the same."

"No, I won't beware of her; I'll spring right into her arms."

"And the bogey in Deadman's Glen. For Heaven's sake, Miss Flower, keep
to the west of Deadman's Glen."

"If Deadman's Glen is a short cut to Sleepy Hollow, I'll walk through
it. Maggie, do you want Nurse to come for little Pearl, or not? I don't
mind waiting here till morning; it does not greatly matter to me. I was
running away, you know."

"You must go at once," said Maggie, recalled to common sense by another
glance at the sleeping child. "The baby's but weakly, and there ain't
nothing here as I can give her, except the sperits and water, until
Nurse comes. I'll lay her just for a minute on the straw here, and go
out with you and put you on the track. You follow the track right on
until you see the lights in the village. Sleepy Hollow's right in the
village, and most likely there'll be a light in the Doctor's study
window; be quick, for Heaven's sake, Miss Flower?"

"Yes, I'm off. Oh, Maggie, Maggie! what do you think? That dreadful
woman has stolen my shoes. I forgot all about it until this minute. What
shall I do? I can't walk far in my stockings."

"Have my boots, Miss; they're hob-nailed, and shaped after my foot,
which is broad, as it should be, seeing as I'm only a kitchen-maid. But
they're strong, and they are sure to fit you fine."

"I could put my two feet into one of them," responded Flower, curling
her proud lip once again disdainfully. But then she glanced at the baby,
and a queer shiver passed over her; her eyes grew moist, her hands
trembled.

"I will put the boots on," she said. And she slipped her little feet, in
their dainty fine silk stockings, into Maggie's shoes.

"Good-by, Miss; come back as soon as you can," called out the faithful
waiting-maid, and Flower set off across the lonely moor.




CHAPTER IX.

AN OLD SONG.


It took a great deal to frighten Polly Maybright; no discipline, no hard
words, no punishments, had ever been able to induce the smallest
sensation of fear in her breast. As to the moor, she had been brought up
on it; she had drank in its air, and felt its kindly breath on her
cheeks from her earliest days. The moors were to Polly like dear,
valued, but somewhat stern, friends. To be alone, even at night, in one
of the small ravines of Peg-Top Moor had little in itself to alarm the
moorland child.

It took Polly some time to realize that she was absolutely unable to
stir a step. Struggle as she might, she could not put that badly-injured
foot to the ground. Even she, brave and plucky as she was, had not the
nerve to undergo this agony. She could not move, therefore she could do
nothing at present to recover little Pearl. This was really the thought
which distressed her. As to sleeping with her head pressed against the
friendly bracken, or staying on Peg-Top Moor all night, these were small
considerations. But not to be able to stir a step to find the baby, to
feel that Flower was carrying the baby farther and farther away, and
that Polly's chance of ever seeing her again was growing less and less,
became at last a thought of such agony that the poor little girl could
scarcely keep from screaming aloud.

"And it was all my fault!" she moaned. "I forgot what father said about
climbing the highest mountain. When David came to me, and told me that
Flower was subject to those awful passions, I forgot all about my
mountain-climbing. I did not recognize that I had come to a dangerous
bit, so that I wanted the ropes of prayer and the memory of mother to
pull me over it. No, I did nothing but rejoice in the knowledge that I
didn't much like Flower, and that I was very, very glad to tease her.
Now I am punished. Oh, oh, what shall I do? Oh, if baby is lost! If baby
dies, I shall die too! Oh, I think I'm the most miserable girl in all
the world! What shall I do? Why did mother go away? Why did Flower come
here? Why did I want her to come? I made a mess of the housekeeping, and
now I have made a mess of the visit of the strangers. Oh, I'm the sort
of girl who oughtn't to go a step alone! - I really, really am! I think
I'm the very weakest sort of girl in all the world!"

Polly sobbed and sobbed. It was not her custom to give way thus utterly,
but she was in severe pain of body, and she had got a great shock when
the loss of little Pearl had been announced by David.

"What shall I do?" she moaned and sobbed. "Oh, I'm the sort of girl who
oughtn't to go a step alone."

While she cried all by herself on the moor, and the friendly stars
looked down at her, and the moon came out and shone on her poor forsaken
little figure, an old verse she used to say in her early childhood
returned to her memory. It was the verse of a hymn - a hymn her mother
was fond of, and used often to sing, particularly about the time of the
New Year, to the children.

Mrs. Maybright had a beautiful voice, and on Sunday evenings she sang
many hymns, with wonderful pathos and feeling, to her children. Polly,
who cared for music on her own account, had loved to listen. At these
times she always looked hungrily into her mother's face, and a longing
and a desire for the best things of all awoke in her breast. It was at
such times as these that she made resolves, and thought of climbing high
and being better than others.

Since her mother's death, Polly could not bear to listen to hymns. In
church she had tried to shut her ears; her lips were closed tight, and
she diligently read to herself some other part of the service. For her
mother's sake, the hymns, with that one beautiful voice silent, were
torture to her; but Polly was a very proud girl, and no one, not even
her father, who now came nearest to her in all the world, guessed what
she suffered.

Now, lying on the moor, her mother's favorite hymn seemed to float down
from the stars to her ears:

"I know not the way I am going,
But well do I know my Guide;
With a trusting faith I give my hand
To the loving Friend at my side."

"The only thing that I say to Him
As He takes it is, 'Hold it fast!
Suffer me not to lose my way,
And bring me home at last!'"

It did not seem at all to Polly that she was repeating these words
herself; rather they seemed to be said to her gently, slowly,
distinctly, by a well-loved and familiar voice.

It was true, then, there was a Guide, and those who were afraid to go
alone could hold a Hand which would never lead them astray.

Her bitter sobs came more quietly as she thought of this. Gradually her
eyes closed, and she fell asleep.

When Flower started across the moor it was quite true that she was not
in the least afraid. A great terror had come to her that night; during
those awful minutes when she feared the baby was dead, the terror of the
deed she had done had almost stunned her; but when Maggie came and
relieved her of her worst agony, a good deal of her old manner and a
considerable amount of her old haughty, defiant spirit had returned.

Flower was more or less uncivilized; there was a good deal of the wild
and of the untamed about her; and now that the baby was alive, and
likely to do well, overwhelming contrition for the deed she had done no
longer oppressed her.

She stepped along as quickly as her uncomfortable boots would admit. The
moonlight fell full on her slender figure, and cast a cold radiance over
her uncovered head. Her long, yellow hair floated down over her
shoulders; she looked wonderfully ethereal, almost unearthly, and had
any of the villagers been abroad, they might well have taken her for one
of the ghosts of the moor.

Flower had a natural instinct for finding her way, and, aided by
Maggie's directions, she steered in a straight course for the village.
Not a soul was abroad; she was alone, in a great solitude.

The feeling gave her a certain sense of exhilaration. From the depths of
her despair her easily influenced spirits sprang again to hope and
confidence. After all, nothing very dreadful had happened. She must
struggle not to give way to intemperate feelings. She must bear with
Polly! she must put up with Maggie. It was all very trying, of course,
but it was the English way. She walked along faster and faster, and now
her lips rose in a light song, and now again she ran, eager to get over
the ground. When she ran her light hair floated behind her, and she
looked less and less like a living creature.

Polly had slept for nearly two hours. She awoke to hear a voice singing,
not the sweet, touching, high notes which had seemed to fall from the
stars to comfort her, but a wild song:

"Oh, who will up and follow me?
Oh, who will with me ride?
Oh, who will up and follow me
To win a bonny bride?"

For a moment Polly's heart stood still; then she started forward with a
glad and joyful cry.

"It is Flower! Flower coming back again with little Pearl!" she said, in
a voice of rapture. "That is Flower's song and Flower's voice, and she
wouldn't sing so gayly if baby was not quite, quite well, and if she was
not bringing her home."

Polly rose, as well as she could, to a sitting posture, and shouted out
in return:

"Here I am, Flower. Come to me. Bring me baby at once."

Even Flower, who in many respects had nerves of iron, was startled by
this sudden apparition among the bracken. For a brief instant she
pressed her hand to her heart. Were Maggie's tales true? Were there
really queer and unnatural creatures to be found on the moor?

"Come here, Flower, here! I have sprained my ankle. What are you afraid
of?" shouted Polly again. Then Flower sprang to her side, knelt down by
her, and took her cold hand in hers. Flower's slight fingers were warm;
she was glowing all over with life and exercise.

"Where's baby?" said Polly, a sickly fear stealing over her again when
she saw that the queer girl was alone.

"Baby? She's in the hermit's hut with Maggie. Don't scold me, Polly. I'm
very sorry I got into a passion."

Polly pushed Flower's fingers a little away.

"I don't want to be angry," she said. "I've been asking God to keep me
from being angry. I did wrong myself, I did very wrong, only you did
worse; you did worse than I did, Flower."

"I don't see that at all. At any rate, I have said I am sorry. No one is
expected to beg pardon twice. How is it you are out here, lying on the
moor, Polly? Are you mad?"

"No. I came out to look for baby, and for you."

"But why are you here? You could not find us in that lazy fashion."

"Look at my foot; the moonlight shines on it. See, it is twisted all
round. I fell from a height and hurt myself. I have been lying here for
hours."

"Poor Polly! I am really sorry. I once strained my foot like that. The
pain was very bad - very, very bad. Mother kept my foot on her knee all
night; she bathed it all night long; in the morning it was better."

"Please, Flower, don't mind about my foot now. Tell me about baby. Is
she ill? Have you injured her?"

"I don't know. I suppose I did wrong to take her out like that. I said
before, I was sorry. I was frightened about her, awfully frightened,
until Maggie came in. I was really afraid baby was dead. I don't want to
speak of it. It wasn't true. Don't look at me like that. Maggie came,
and said that little Pearl lived. I was so relieved that I kissed
Maggie, yes, actually, although she is only a kitchen-maid. Maggie got a
warm bath ready, and put baby in, and when I left the hut she was sound
asleep. Maggie knew exactly what to do for her. Fancy my kissing her,
although she is only a kitchen-maid!"

"She is the dearest girl in the world!" said Polly. "I think she is
noble. Think of her going to the hermit's hut, and finding baby, and
saving baby's life. Oh, she is the noblest girl in the world, miles and
miles above you and me!"

"You can speak for yourself. I said she behaved very well. It is
unnecessary to compare her to people in a different rank of life. Now,
do you think you can lean on me, and so get back to Sleepy Hollow?"

"No, Flower. I cannot possibly stir. Look at my foot; it is twisted the
wrong way."

"Then I must leave you, for Maggie has sent me in a great hurry to get
milk, and comforts of all sorts, for baby."

"Please don't stay an instant. Run, Flower. Why did you stay talking so
long? If father is in the house, you can tell him, and he will come, I
know, and carry me home. But, oh! get everything that is wanted for baby
first of all. I am not of the smallest consequence compared to baby. Do
run, Flower; do be quick. It frets me so awfully to see you lingering
here when baby wants her comforts."

"I shan't be long," said Flower. She gathered up her skirts, and sped
down the path, and Polly gave a sigh of real relief.




CHAPTER X.

LOOKING AT HERSELF.


That night, which was long remembered in the annals of the Maybright
family as one of the dreariest and most terrible they had ever passed
through, came to an end at last. With the early dawn Polly was brought
home, and about the same time Nurse and Maggie reappeared with baby on
the scene.

Flower, after she had briefly told her tidings, went straight up to her
own room, where she locked the door, and remained deaf to all entreaties
on David's part that he might come in and console her.

"She's always dreadful after she has had a real bad passion," he
explained to Fly, who was following him about like a little ghost. "I
wish she would let me in. She spends herself so when she is in a passion
that she is quite weak afterwards. She ought to have a cup of tea; I
know she ought."

But it was in vain that David knocked, and that little Fly herself, even
though she felt that she hated Flower, brought the tea. There was no
sound at the other side of the locked door, and after a time the anxious
watchers went away.

At that moment, however, had anybody been outside, they might have seen
pressed against the window-pane in that same room a pale but eager face.
Had they looked, too, they might have wondered at the hard lines round
the young, finely-cut lips, and yet the eager, pleading watching in the
eyes.

There was a stir in the distance - the far-off sound of wheels. Flower
started to her feet, slipped the bolt of her door, ran downstairs, and
was off and away to meet the covered carriage which was bringing baby
home.

She called to George, who was driving it, to stop. She got in, and
seated herself beside Nurse and baby.

"How is she? Will she live?" she asked, her voice trembling.

"God grant it!" replied the Nurse. "What are you doing, Miss Flower? No,
you shan't touch her."

"I must! Give her to me this moment. There is Dr. Maybright. Give me
baby this moment. I must, I _will_, have her!"

She almost snatched the little creature out of Nurse's astonished arms,
and as the carriage drew up at the entrance steps sprang out, and put
the baby into Dr. Maybright's arms.

"There!" she said; "I took her away, but I give her back. I was in a
passion and angry when I took her away; now I repent, and am sorry, and
I give her back to you? Don't you see, I can't do more than give her
back to you? That is our way out in Victoria. Don't you slow English
people understand? I was angry; now I am sorry. Why do you all stand
round and stare at me like that? Can anybody be more than sorry, or do
more than give back what they took?"

"It is sometimes impossible to give back what we took away, Flower,"
replied the Doctor, very gravely.

He was standing in the midst of his children; his face was white; his
eyes had a strained look in them; the strong hands with which he clasped
little Pearl trembled. He did not look again at Flower, who shrank away
as if she had received a blow, and crept upstairs.

For the rest of the day she was lost sight of; there was a great deal of
commotion and excitement. Polly, when she was brought home, was
sufficiently ill and suffering to require the presence of a doctor;
little Pearl showed symptoms of cold, and for her, too, a physician
prescribed.

Why not Dr. Maybright? The children were not accustomed to strange faces
and unfamiliar voices when they were ill or in pain. Polly had a curious
feeling when the new doctor came to see her; he prescribed and went
away. Polly wondered if the world was coming to an end; she was in
greater pain than she had ever endured in her life, and yet she felt
quiet and peaceful. Had she gone up a step or two of the mountain she so
longed to climb? Did she hear the words of her mother's favorite song,
and was a Guide - _the_ Guide - holding her childish hand?

The hour of the long day passed somehow.

If there was calm in Polly's room, and despair more or less in poor
Flower's, the rest of the house was kept in a state of constant
excitement. The same doctor came back again; doors were shut and opened
quickly; people whispered in the corridors. As the hours flew on, no one
thought of Flower in her enforced captivity, and even Polly, but for
Maggie's ceaseless devotion, might have fared badly.

All day Flower Dalrymple remained in her room. She was forgotten at
meal-times. Had David been at home, this would not have been the case;
but Helen had sent David and her own little brothers to spend the day at
Mrs. Jones's farm. Even the wildest spirits can be tamed and brought to
submission by the wonderful power of hunger, and so it came to pass that
in the evening a disheveled-looking girl opened the door of her pretty
room over the porch, and slipped along the passages and downstairs.
Flower went straight to the dining-room; she intended to provide herself
with bread and any other food she could find, then to return to her
solitary musings. She thought herself extremely neglected, and the
repentance and sense of shame which she had more or less experienced in
the morning and the memory of Dr. Maybright's words and the look in has
grave eyes had faded under a feeling of being unloved, forsaken,
forgotten. Even David had never come near her - David, who lived for
her. Was she not his queen as well as sister? Was he not her dutiful
subject as well as her little brother?

All the long day that Flower had spent in solitude her thoughts grew
more and more bitter, and only hunger made her now forsake her room. She
went into the dining-room; it was a long, low room, almost entirely
lined with oak. There was a white cloth on the long center table, in the
middle of which a lamp burnt dimly; the French windows were open; the
blinds were not drawn down. As Flower opened the door, a strong cold
breeze caused the lamp to flare up and smoke, the curtains to shake, and
a child to move in a restless, fretful fashion on her chair. The child
was Firefly; her eyes were so swollen with crying that they were almost


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