Melbourne House, Volume 2
Part 1 out of 7
Produced by Karen Lofstrom and PG Distributed Proofreaders
[Transcriber's note: The source text contained no Chapter VIII or
[Illustration: SILVER LAKE]
AUTHOR OF THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD.
"Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and
whether it be right."--PROV. xx. II.
* * * * *
ROBERT CARTER & BROTHERS,
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1864, by
ROBERT CARTER AND BROTHERS,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the
Southern District of New York.
Stereotyped by SMITH & MCDOUGAL, 82 & 81 Beekman St.
Printer: by E.O. JENKINS, 20 North William St.
* * * * *
The next day turned out so warm, that the carriage was not brought for
Daisy till late in the afternoon. Then it came, with her father and Dr.
Sandford; and Daisy was lifted in Mr. Randolph's arms and carefully
placed on the front seat of the carriage, which she had all to herself.
Her father and the doctor got in and sat opposite to her; and the
carriage drove away.
The parting with Juanita had been very tenderly affectionate and had
gone very near to Daisy's heart. Not choosing to shew this more than she
could help, as usual, Daisy at first lay still on the cushions with an
exceedingly old-fashioned face; it was as demure and sedate as if the
gravity of forty years had been over it. But presently the carriage
turned the corner into the road to Melbourne; Daisy caught sight for a
second of the houses and church, spires of Crum Elbow, that she had not
seen for so long. A pink flush rose over her face.
"What is it, Daisy?" said Mr. Randolph, who had been watching her.
"Papa--it's so nice to see things again!"
"You had a pretty dull time of it at Mrs. Benoit's?" remarked the
"No--O no, I didn't. I did not have it dull at all."
"How did you escape that, Daisy?"
"I do not know, Dr. Sandford. There was no room for dulness."
The gentlemen smiled, but Daisy's father with a not altogether satisfied
expression. He grew satisfied, as he marked the changes in Daisy's face.
The ride was delightful to her. The carriage was easy; she was nicely
placed; and through the open glass before her she could look out quite
uninterruptedly. It was so pleasant, she thought, even to see the road
and the fences again. That little bit of view before Mrs. Benoit's
window she had studied over and over till she knew it by heart. Now
every step brought something new; and the roll of the carriage wheels
was itself enlivening. There was a reaped grain field; there a meadow
with cattle pasturing. Now they passed a farm wagon going home, laden
with sheaves; next came a cottage, well known but not seen for a long
time, with its wonted half door open and the cottager's children playing
about. Then came patches of woodland, with the sun shining through; and
a field of flourishing Indian corn with the sunlight all over it; then
more meadows with cattle.
"Do you ride comfortably, Daisy?" her father asked, bending over to her.
"Yes, papa. It is so nice!"
Mr. Randolph gave up care about Daisy, and the two gentlemen fell into a
conversation which did not regard her, and lasted till the carriage
stopped at the door of Melbourne House. And there was her mother, and
there were Preston and his mother and sister, and Gary McFarlane, who
had been away and come back again, all waiting to welcome her; besides
some other guests who were now at Melbourne.
Mr. Randolph, got out of the carriage first. Dr. Sandford followed him;
but then without giving place to anybody else, he himself took Daisy
carefully off the seat where she lay, lifted her out in his arms, and
carried her into the house. All the others trooped around and after
him, through the hall and into the drawing room, where the doctor laid
his little charge on the sofa and put the pillows behind her so that she
could sit up comfortably. Then he stood back and let the others come to
her. Mrs. Randolph gave her some very contented kisses; so did Mr.
Randolph. Very glad and tender his were, at having his little daughter
back there again.
"We are very much pleased to see you here, Daisy," her aunt said.
"Poor Daisy," said Eloise.
"Glad to come back to life and the world again, Daisy?" said Preston,
standing at the back of her sofa and drumming on it.
"I understand, Daisy," said McFarlane, "that you have been an enchanted
beauty, or a sleeping princess, during these weeks of my absence--under
the guardianship of an old black witch, who drew incantations and water
together from her well every morning."
"I can answer for the incantations," said Preston. "I have heard 'em."
Daisy's face flushed all over. "Preston, you do very wrong," she said,
turning her head round to him. But Preston only burst into a fit of
laughter, which he turned away to hide. Others of the company now came
up to take Daisy's hand and kiss her and say how glad they were to see
her; these people were very much strangers to Daisy and their greeting
was no particular pleasure; but it had to be attended to. Then tea came
in, and Daisy was well petted. It was very pleasant to have it so; after
the silence and quiet of Juanita's little cottage, the lights and
dresses and people and silver urn and tea service and flowers made quite
a picture. Flowers had been in the cottage too, but not such wealth of
them. Just opposite to Daisy in the middle of the floor stood a great
stone basket, or wide vase, on a pedestal; and this vase was a mass of
beautiful flowers. Trailing wreaths of roses and fuchsias and geraniums
even floated down from the edges of the vase and sought the floor; the
pedestal was half draped with them. It was a very lovely sight to
Daisy's eyes. And then her mother ordered a little stand brought to the
sofa's side; and her father placed it; and Gary brought her cup of tea,
and Dr. Sandford spread her slice of toast. Daisy felt as if she loved
everybody, and was very happy. The summer air floated in at the long
windows, just as it used to do. It was _home_. Daisy began to realize
Meanwhile attention ceased to be filled with her particular affairs, and
conversation flowed off as usual, away from her. Preston still held his
station at the back of the sofa, where he dipped sponge cake in tea with
a wonderful persistency; in fact the question seemed to be whether he or
the cake basket would give out first; but for a while Daisy eat her
toast in happy quiet; watching everybody and enjoying everything. Till
Gary McFarlane drew near, and took a seat, as if for a regular siege.
"So what about those incantations, Daisy?" he said.
"I do not know what you mean, Mr. McFarlane."
"No? don't you? That's odd. You have been so long in the witch's
precincts. You have heard them, of course?"
"I do not know what you mean, Mr. McFarlane."
"Why you must have been bewitched. I wonder, now, if the witch's house
did not seem to you a palace?"
"It seemed a very nice place."
"And the witch herself a sable princess?"
"I think she is a great deal better than a princess."
"Exactly so," said Gary with a perfectly sober face. "The witch drew
water, didn't she?"
"I don't know what you mean. Mrs. Benoit used to bring pails of water
from her well."
"Very good. And you never heard her incantations, muttering in the
morning before the dew was off the grass, or at night just as the first
beams of the moon, lighted on the topmost boughs of the trees?"
Daisy was confounded. "Mr. McFarlane," she said after a moment's looking
at him--"I hope I do not know what you mean."
At that, Gary McFarlane went off into an ecstacy of laughter, delighted
and amused beyond count. Preston interrupted the sponge cake exercise,
and Daisy felt her sofa shaking with his burden of amusement. What had
she done? Glancing her eye towards Dr. Sandford, who sat near, she saw
that a very decided smile was curling the corners of _his_ mouth. A
flush came up all over Daisy's face; she took some tea, but it did not
taste good any longer.
"What did you think I meant?--come Daisy, tell me," said Gary, returning
to Daisy as soon as he could get over his paroxysm of laughter. "What
did you think I meant? I shouldn't wonder if you had some private
witchcraft of your own. Come! what did you _think_ I meant?"
While he had been laughing, Daisy had been trying to get command of
herself and to get her throat clear for talking; there had been a very
uncomfortable thick feeling in it at first. Now she answered with simple
dignity and soberness,
"I did not know, Mr. McFarlane, but you meant Juanita's prayers."
"Does she pray?" said Gary innocently.
"Long prayers, Daisy?"
"Yes," (unwillingly now.)
"Then that must have been what you heard!" Gary said looking up to
Preston. No answer came from him. Gary was as sober now as seven judges.
"Did she speak her prayers where you could hear her, Daisy?"
"I used to hear her--"
"Mornings and evenings?"
"But you heard her in broad day, Preston?"
"Yes; one afternoon it was. I heard her as soon as I got near the house.
Daisy was asleep, and I went away as wise as I came."
"This grows interesting," said Gary returning to Daisy. "Could you hear
the words that were said?"
"Only a muttering?"
Daisy was silent. The tears came into her eyes.
"Depend upon it, Daisy, it was incantations you heard. Description
agrees exactly. Confess now, didn't a sort of feeling grow over
you--creep over you--whenever you heard that muttering sound, as if you
would do anything that black woman told you?"
Daisy was silent.
"Don't you know it is not proper to pray so that people can hear you?
'tisn't the way to do. Witches pray that way--not good Christian people.
I regard it as a very fortunate thing, Daisy, that we have got you safe
out of her hands. Don't you think that prayer ought to be private?"
"Yes," said Daisy. She was overwhelmed with the rapidity and liveliness
of Gary's utterances, which he rattled forth as lightly as if they had
been the multiplication table.
"Yes, just so. It is not even a matter to be talked about--too
sacred--so I am offending even against my own laws; but I wanted to know
how far the old witch had got hold of you. Didn't you feel when you
heard her mutterings, as if some sort of a spell was creeping over you?"
Daisy wished some sort of a spell could come over _him_; but she did not
know what to say.
"Didn't you gradually grow into the belief that she was a sort of saint,
"What is a saint, Mr. McFarlane?"
Gary at that wheeled partly round, and stroked his chin and moustache
with the most comical expression of doubt and confusion.
"I declare I don't know, Daisy! I think it means a person who is too
good for this world, and therefore isn't allowed to live here. They all
go off in flames of some sort--may look like glory, but is very
uncomfortable--and there is a peculiar odour about them. Doctor, what is
that odour called?"
Gary spoke with absurd soberness, but the doctor gave him no attention.
"The odour of sanctity!--that is it!" said Gary. "I had forgot. I don't
know what it is like, myself; but it must be very disagreeable to have
such a peculiarity attached to one."
"How can anybody be too good for this world?" Daisy ventured.
"Too good to live in it! You can't live among people unless you live
like them--so the saints all leave the rest of the world in some way or
other; the children die, and the grown ones go missionaries or become
nuns--they are a sort of human meteor--shine and disappear, but don't
really accomplish much, because no one wants to be meteors. So your old
woman can't be a saint, Daisy, or she would have quitted the world long
Something called off Gary. Daisy was left feeling very thoroughly
disturbed. That people could talk so--and think so--about what was so
precious to her; talk about being saints, as if it were an undesirable
thing; and as if such were unlovely. Her thought went back to Juanita,
who seemed now half a world's distance away instead of a few miles; her
love and gentleness and truth and wisdom, her prayers and way of living,
did seem to Daisy somewhat unearthly in their beauty, compared with that
which surrounded her now; but so unearthly, that it could not be
understood and must not be talked about. Juanita could not be understood
here; could Daisy? She felt hurt and troubled and sorry; she did not
like to hear such talk, but Gary was about as easy to stop as a
Dr. Sandford, lifting his eyes from what had occupied them, though his
ears had not been stopped, saw that the face of his little charge was
flushed with pain and her eyes glistening. He came and took Gary's
place, and silently felt of her hand and looked at her; but he did not
ask Daisy what was the matter, because he pretty well knew. His own
face, as usual, shewed nothing; however, Daisy's came back to its
"Dr. Sandford," said she softly, "what is a meteor?"
"Meteors are fiery stones which fall on the earth occasionally."
"Where do they come from?"
"Doctors are divided."
"But where do _you_ think they come from?"
If Dr. Sandford's vanity could be touched by a child, it received a
touch then. It was so plain, that what satisfied him would satisfy her.
He would not give the skeptical answer which rose to his lips. Looking
at the pure, wise little face which watched his, he made answer simply,
not without a smile:
"I am inclined to think they are wandering bodies, that we fall in with
now and then, in our journey round the sun."
"Dr. Sandford, what do they look like?"
"You have seen shooting-stars?"
"Yes--are those meteors?"
"Those are meteors that do not come to the earth. Sometimes they are
nearer, and look like great fire-balls."
"Have you seen them?"
"Yes, a great many."
"And have you seen them after they fell on the ground?"
"What are they like then?"
"A very black stone, on the outside, and made up of various metals and
"But then, what makes them look like fire-balls, before they fall?"
"Can't tell, Daisy. As I said, the doctors are divided; and I really
have no opinion that you would understand if I gave it."
Daisy would have liked to hear all the opinions, but she did not ask for
them. Preston was still standing at the back of the sofa, and started a
"Dr. Sandford, how soon will Daisy's foot let her go to Silver Lake?"
"In what way do you propose to get there?"
"By boat, sir, across the river; and the rest of the way is walking."
"On plain ground?"
"Not exactly!" said Preston.
"How far do you call it?"
"Of walking! I think Daisy may walk across this floor by next week; and
in a little while after she may go up and down stairs."
"O doctor!" exclaimed Preston. "Why, at that rate, she cannot go to
Silver Lake at all!"
"Does she want to go very much?" said the doctor. The question was
really put at Daisy's face, and answered by a little flush that was not
a flush of pain this time. He saw what a depth of meaning there was in
it; what a charm, the sound of Silver Lake had for Daisy. No wonder, to
a little girl who had lain for so many weeks looking out of one window,
where there was not much to be seen, either.
"Who is going, Daisy?" said the doctor.
"Mamma means to make up a large party--I do not know exactly who."
"Then I think I can promise that you shall go too. You may count upon me
Daisy's eyes shone and sparkled, but she said not a word. Preston was
"Will you do something to make her foot strong, sir?" he asked.
"When you have studied in my profession, you will know more about a
physician's powers,"--was all the answer he got. The doctor turned off
to conversation with other people, and Daisy was left to herself again.
She was very happy; it was very pleasant to lie there comfortably on the
sofa, and feel that her long imprisonment was over; it was amusing to
look at so many people together, after having for days and days looked
at only one; and the old wonted scene, the place and the lights, and the
flowers and the dresses, yes, and the voices, gave her the new sense of
being at home. Nevertheless, Daisy mused a little over some things that
were not altogether pleasant. The faces that she scanned had none of
them the placid nobleness of the face of her black nurse; no voice
within her hearing had such sweet modulation; and Daisy felt a
consciousness that Juanita's little cottage lay within the bounds of a
kingdom which Mrs. Randolph's drawing-room had no knowledge of.
Gradually Daisy's head became full of that thought; along with the
accompanying consciousness, that a subject of that kingdom would be
alone here and find nobody to help her.
"Daisy, what's the matter?" whispered Preston. "You are as sober as a
"Am I?" said Daisy.
"What's to pay?"
"Nothing. I feel very nicely."
"Why don't you look like other people, then?"
"I suppose," said Daisy slowly, "I do not feel like other people."
"I wish you'd make haste about it, then," said Preston.
"Do be my own dear little old Daisy! Don't be grave and wise."
"Are you going to spend the night here, Daisy?" said Dr. Sandford,
coming up to the sofa.
"No, sir," said Daisy, smiling.
"I suppose, in my room, sir--up-stairs."
"I must see you there before I go; and it is time now. Shall I carry you
"If you please, sir."
"Pray do not, Dr. Sandford!" said Mrs. Randolph. "Mr. Randolph will do
it, or one of the servants. There is no occasion for you to trouble
"Thank you, ma'am, but I like to see after my patients myself. Unless
Daisy prefers other hands."
Mrs. Randolph protested. The doctor stood quiet and looked at Daisy,
waiting for her to say what she would like. Now Daisy knew, that of all
hands which had touched her, the doctor's and Juanita's were far the
best; and of those two, the doctor's; perhaps because he was the
strongest. Her father was very kind and tender, but he did not
understand the business.
"I should like Dr. Sandford to take me," she said, when she found she
"Then I will trouble you, Mrs. Randolph, for somebody to shew me the
way." And the doctor stooped and put his strong arms under Daisy, and
lifted her up.
"Quite a conquest, I declare, you have made, Dr. Sandford!" said Mrs.
Randolph, laughing. "Preston, shew the way, and I'll send June."
So the doctor marched off with Daisy, Preston going before to shew the
way. He carried her without the least jar or awkwardness, through the
company, out into the hall, and up the stairs. There June met him, and
took Preston's office from him. Into Daisy's own room at last they
came, and Dr. Sandford laid his little charge at once on her bed.
"You must not try to move, Daisy, until I see you again. Stay here till
"Good-night. Thank you, sir, for bringing me up."
Dr. Sandford smiled. "Thank you," said he, and with a wave of his hand,
away he went.
"O June!" said Daisy, "how glad I am to see you."
June had seen Daisy only once during her abode at Mrs. Benoit's cottage;
and now Daisy squeezed her hands and welcomed the sight of her with
great affection; and June on her part, though not given to
demonstrations, smiled till her wrinkles took all sorts of queer shapes,
and even shewed her deep black eyes twinkling with something like
moisture. They certainly were; and putting the smiles and the tears
together, Daisy felt sure that June was as glad to see her as she was to
see June. In truth, Daisy was a sort of household deity to June, and she
welcomed her back accordingly, in her secret heart; but her words on
that subject, as on all others, were few. The business of undressing,
however, went on with great tenderness. When it was finished, Daisy
missed Juanita. For then Juanita had been accustomed to bring her Bible,
and read and pray; and that had been a time Daisy always enjoyed
wonderfully. Now, in bed, at night, she could not see to read for
herself. She dismissed June, and was left alone in her old room, with,
as she justly thought, a great deal to pray for. And praying, little
Daisy went to sleep.
The next day Daisy felt very much at home. Her orders were not to stir
till the doctor came. So after breakfast and after receiving visits from
everybody in the house, she was left to her own devices, for it happened
that everybody had something on hand that morning and nobody staid with
Left with June, Daisy lay for awhile feasting her eyes on all the
pleasant wonted objects around her. She was a particular little body,
and very fond of her room and its furniture and arrangements. Then came
a hankering for the sight of some of her concealed treasures from which
she had been separated so long.
"June, I wish you would open the drawer of my bureau, the second drawer
from the top, and put your hand back at the left side and give me a book
that lies there."
June got the key and rummaged. "Don't feel nothing, Miss Daisy."
"Quite back, June, under everything--"
"Why, Miss Daisy, it's tucked away as though you didn't mean nobody
should never find it!"
Precisely what Daisy did mean. But there it was, safe enough--Mr.
Dinwiddie's Bible. Daisy's hands and eyes welcomed it. She asked for
nothing more in a good while after that; and June curiously watched her,
with immense reverence. The thin pale little face, a little turned from
the light, so that she could see better; the intent eyes; the wise
little mouth, where childish innocence and oldish prudence made a queer
meeting; the slim little fingers that held the book; above all, the
sweet calm of the face. June would not gaze, but she looked and looked,
as she could, by glances; and nearly worshipped her little mistress in
her heart. She thought it almost ominous and awful to see a child read
the Bible so. For Daisy looked at it with loving eyes, as at words that
were a pleasure to her. It was no duty-work, that reading. At last Daisy
shut the book, to June's relief.
"June, I want to see my old things. I would like to have them here on
"What things, Miss Daisy?"
"I would like my bird of paradise first. You can put a big book here for
it to stand on, where it will be steady."
The bird of paradise June brought, and placed as ordered. It was a bird
of spun glass only, but a great beauty in Daisy's eyes. Its tail was of
such fine threads of glass that it waved with the least breath.
"How pretty it is! You may take it away, June, for I am afraid it will
get broken; and now bring me my Chinese puzzle, and set my cathedral
here. You can bring it here without hurting it, can't you?"
"Where is your puzzle, Miss Daisy?"
"It is in the upper drawer of my cabinet," (so Daisy called a small
chest of drawers which held her varieties) "and the cathedral stands on
the top, under the glass shade. Be very careful, June."
June accomplished both parts of her business. The "cathedral" was a
beautiful model of a famous one, made in ivory. It was rather more than
a foot long, and high, of course, in proportion. Every window and
doorway and pillar and arcade was there, in its exact place and size,
according to the scale of the model; and a beautiful thing it was to
look upon for any eyes that loved beauty. Daisy's eyes loved it well,
and now for a long time she lay back on her pillow watching and studying
the lights among those arcades, which the rich colour of the ivory,
grown yellow with time, made so very pleasant to see. Daisy studied and
thought. The Chinese puzzle got no attention. At last she cried, "June,
I should like to have my Egyptian spoon."
"What is that, Miss Daisy?"
"My Egyptian spoon--it is a long, carved, wooden thing, with something
like a spoon at one end; it is quite brown. Look for it in the next
drawer, June, you will find it there. It don't look like a spoon."
"There is nothing like it in this drawer, Miss Daisy."
"Yes, it is. It is wrapped up in paper."
"Nothing here wrapped in paper," said June, rummaging.
"Aren't my chessmen there? and my Indian canoe? and my moccasins?--"
"Yes, Miss Daisy, all them's here."
"Well, the spoon is there too, then; it was with the canoe and the
"It ain't here, Miss Daisy."
"Then look in all the other drawers, June."
June did so; no spoon. Daisy half raised herself up for a frightened
look towards her "cabinet."
"Has anybody done anything to my drawers while I have been away?"
"No, Miss Daisy, not as I know of."
"June, please look in them all--every one."
"'Taint here, Miss Daisy."
Daisy lay down again and lay thinking.
"June, is mamma in her room?"
"Yes, Miss Daisy."
"Ask her--tell her I want to speak to her very much."
Mrs. Randolph came.
"Mamma," said Daisy, "do you know anything about my Egyptian spoon?"
"Do you want it, Daisy?"
"O yes, mamma! I do. June cannot find it. Do you know where it is?"
"Yes--it is not a thing for a child like you, Daisy, and I let your aunt
Gary have it. She wanted it for her collection. I will get you anything
else you like in place of it."
"But mamma, I told aunt Gary she could not have it. She asked me, and I
told her she could not have it."
"I have told her she might, Daisy. Something else will give you more
pleasure. You are not an ungenerous child."
"But, mamma! it was _mine_. It belonged to me."
"Hush, Daisy; that is not a proper way to speak to me. I allow you to do
what you like with your things in general; this was much fitter for your
aunt Gary than for you. It was something beyond your appreciation. Do
not oblige me to remind you that your things are mine."
Mrs. Randolph spoke as if half displeased already, and left the room.
Daisy lay with a great flush upon her face, and in a state of
Her spoon was gone; that was beyond question, and Daisy's little spirit
was in tumultuous disturbance--very uncommon indeed with her. Grief, and
the sense of wrong, and the feeling of anger strove together. Did she
not appreciate her old spoon? when every leaf of the lotus carving and
every marking of the duck's bill had been noted and studied over and
over, with a wondering regard to the dark hands that so many, many years
and ages ago had fashioned it. Would Mrs. Gary love it as well? Daisy
did not believe any such thing. And then it was the gift of Nora and Mr.
Dinwiddie, and precious by association; and it was _gone_. Daisy lay
still on her pillow, with a slow tear now and then gathering in her
eyes, but also with an ominous line on her brow. There was a great sense
of injustice at work--the feeling that she had been robbed; and that she
was powerless to right herself. Her mother had done it; in her secret
thought Daisy knew that, and that she would not have done it to Ransom.
Yet in the deep fixed habit of obedience and awe of her mother, Daisy
sheered off from directly blaming her as much as possible, and let the
burden of her displeasure fall on Mrs. Gary. She was bitterly hurt at
her mother's action, however; doubly hurt, at the loss and at the manner
of it; and the slow tears kept coming and rolling down to wet her
pillow. For a while Daisy pondered the means of getting her treasure
back; by a word to her father, or a representation to Preston, or by
boldly demanding the spoon of Mrs. Gary herself. Daisy felt as if she
must have it back somehow. But any of these ways, even if successful,
would make trouble; a great deal of trouble; and it would be, Daisy had
an inward consciousness all the time, unworthy of a Christian child.
But she felt angry with Mrs. Gary, and as if she could never forgive
her. Daisy, though not passionate, was persistent in her character; her
gentleness covered a not exactly yielding disposition.
In the midst of all this, Dr. Sandford came in, fresh from his morning's
drive, and sat down by the bedside.
"Do you want to go down stairs, Daisy?"
"No, sir; I think not."
"Not? What's the matter? Are you of a misanthropical turn of mind?"
"I do not know. Dr. Sandford; I do not know what that is."
"Well, now you have got back to human society and fellowship, don't you
want to enjoy it?"
"I should not enjoy it to-day."
"If I do not see you down stairs, you will have to stay up till another
"What is the matter, Daisy?" And now the doctor bent over and looked
hard in her face. The wet spot in her pillow no doubt he had seen long
ago. Daisy's eyes drooped.
"Look up here, and give me an answer."
"I can't very well tell you, sir."
"Why do you not want to go down stairs?"
"Because, Dr. Sandford, I am not good."
"Not good!" said he. "I thought you always were good."
Daisy's eye reddened and her lip twitched. He saw that there was some
uncommon disturbance on hand; and there was the wet spot on the pillow.
"Something has troubled you," he said; and with that he laid his
hand--it was a fresh, cool hand, pleasant to feel--upon Daisy's
forehead, and kept it there; sometimes looking at her, and as often
looking somewhere else. It was very agreeable to Daisy; she did not stir
her head from under the hand; and gradually she quieted down, and her
nerves, which were all ruffled, like a bird's feathers, grew smooth.
There were no lines in her forehead when Dr. Sandford took away his hand
"Now tell me," said he smiling, "what was the matter? Shall I take you
down to the library now?"
"O no, sir, if you please. Please do not, Dr. Sandford! I am not ready,
I am not fit."
"Not fit?" said the doctor, eyeing her, and very much at a loss what to
make of this. "Do you mean that you want to be more finely attired
before you make your appearance in company?"
"No, sir," said Daisy. It struck her with a great sorrow, his saying
this. She knew her outward attire was faultless; bright and nice as new
silver was every bit of Daisy's dress, from her smooth hair to her neat
little slippers; it was all white and clean. But the inward adorning
which God looked at--in what a state was that? Daisy felt a double pang;
that Dr. Sandford should so far mistake her as to think her full of
silly vanity, and on the other hand, that he should so much, too well
judge of her as to think her always good. The witnessing tinge came
about Daisy's eyelids again.
"Dr. Sandford, if people tell you their private affairs, of course it is
"Of course," said the doctor, without moving a muscle.
"Then I will tell you what I meant. I am not good. I am dressed well
enough; but I have anger in my heart."
Dr. Sandford did not say how much he was surprised; for Daisy looked as
meek as a lamb. But he was a philosopher, and interested.
"Then I am sure you have had reason, Daisy."
"I think I had," said Daisy, but without looking less sorrowful.
"Do you not consider that one has a right to be angry when one has a
"But one shouldn't stay angry," said the child, folding her hands over
"How are you going to help it, Daisy?"
"There is a way, Dr. Sandford."
"Is there? But you see I am in the dark now. I am as much abroad about
that, as you were about a journey of three hundred years to the sun.
When I am angry I never find that I can help it. I can maybe help using
my horsewhip; but I cannot manage the anger."
"No--" said Daisy, looking up at him, and thinking how terrible it must
be to have to encounter anger from his blue eye.
"What then, Daisy? how do you make out your position?"
Daisy did not very well like to say. She had a certain consciousness--or
fear--that it would not be understood, and she would be laughed at--not
openly, for Dr. Sandford was never impolite; but yet she shrunk from the
cold glance of unbelief, or of derision, however well and kindly masked.
She was silent.
"Haven't we got into a confidential position yet?" said the doctor.
"Yes, sir, but--"
"Jesus will help us, Dr. Sandford, if we ask him." And tears, that were
tears of deep penitence now, rushed to Daisy's eyes.
"I do not believe, Daisy, to begin with, that you know what anger
"I have been angry this morning," said Daisy sadly. "I am angry now, I
"How do you feel when you are angry?"
"I feel wrong. I do not want to see the person--I feel she would be
disagreeable to me, and if I spoke to her I should want to say something
"Very natural," said the doctor.
"But it is wrong."
"If you can help it, Daisy. I always feel disagreeable when I am angry.
I feel a little disagreeable now that you are angry."
Daisy could not help smiling at that.
"Now suppose we go down stairs."
"O no, sir. O no, Dr. Sandford, please! I am not ready--I would rather
not go down stairs to-day. Please don't take me!"
"To-morrow you must, Daisy. I shall not give you any longer than till
Away went Dr. Sandford to the library; kept Daisy's counsel, and told
Mrs. Randolph she was to remain in her room to-day.
"She thinks too much," he said. "There is too much self-introversion."
"I know it! but what can we do?" said Mr. Randolph. "She has been kept
from books as much as possible."
"Amusement and the society of children."
"Ay, but she likes older society better."
"Good morning," said the doctor.
"Stay! Dr. Sandford, I have great confidence in you. I wish you would
take in hand not Daisy's foot merely but the general management of her,
and give us your advice. She has not gained, on the whole, this summer,
and is very delicate."
"Rather--" said the doctor. And away he went.
Meanwhile Daisy turned away from her beautiful little ivory cathedral,
and opened Mr. Dinwiddie's Bible. Her heart was not at all comforted
yet; and indeed her talk with Dr. Sandford had rather roused her to
keener discomfort. She had confessed herself wrong, and had told him the
way to get right; yet she herself, in spite of knowing the way, was not
right, but very far from it. So she felt. Her heart was very sore for
the hurt she had suffered; it gave her a twinge every time she thought
of the lotus carving of her spoon handle, and those odd representations
of fish in the bowl of it. She lay over on her pillow, slowly turning
and turning the pages of her Bible, and tear after tear slowly gathering
one after another, and filling her eyes and rolling down to her pillow
to make another wet spot. There was no harm in that, if that had been
all. Daisy had reason. But what troubled her was, that she was so
strongly displeased with her aunt Gary. She did not want to see her or
hear her, and the thought of a kiss from her was unendurable. Nay, Daisy
felt as if she would like to punish her, if she could; or at least to
repossess herself of her stolen property by fair means or by foul. She
was almost inclined to think that she must have it at all events. And at
the same time, she had told Dr. Sandford that she was not right. So
Daisy lay slowly turning the pages of her Bible, looking for some word
that might catch her eye and be a help to her. There were a good many
marks in the Bible, scattered here and there, made by its former owner.
One of these stopped Daisy's search, and gave her something to think of.
It stood opposite these words:
"I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy
of the vocation wherewith ye are called."
Daisy considered that. What "vocation" meant, she did not know, nor who
was "the prisoner of the Lord," nor what that could mean; but yet she
caught at something of the sense. "Walk worthy," she understood that;
and guessed what "vocation" stood for. Ay! that was just it, and that
was just what Daisy was not doing. The next words, too, were plain
"With all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one
another in love."
"Forbearing one another"--easy to read, how hard to do! Mrs. Gary's
image was very ugly yet to Daisy. Could she speak pleasantly to her
aunt? could she even look pleasantly at her? could she "forbear" all
unkindness, even in thought? Not yet! Daisy felt very miserable and very
much ashamed of herself, even while her anger was in abiding strength
She went on, reading through the whole chapter; not because she had not
enough already to think about, but because she did not feel that she
could obey it. Some of the chapter she did not quite understand; but she
went on reading, all the same, till she came to the last verse. That
went through and through Daisy's heart, and her eyes filled so full that
by the time she got to the end of it she could not see to read at all.
These were the words:
"And be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another,
even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."
That quite broke Daisy's heart. She rolled herself over upon her open
Bible, so as to hide her face in her pillow, and there Daisy had a good
cry. _She_ standing out about a little thing, when Jesus was willing to
forgive such loads and loads of naughtiness in her! Daisy would have no
friendship with her resentment any more. She turned her back upon it,
and fled from it, and sought eagerly that help by which, as she had told
Dr. Sandford, it might be overcome. And she had said right. He who is
called Jesus because be saves his people from their sins, will not leave
anybody under their power who heartily trusts in him for deliverance
Daisy received several visits that day, but they were all flying visits;
everybody was busy. However they put to the proof the state of her
feeling towards several persons. The next day the first person she saw
was the doctor.
"How do you do, Daisy? Ready to go down stairs to-day?"
"Have you got the better of your anger?"
"Pray, at what hour did your indignation take flight?" said the doctor,
looking at the gentle little face before him.
"I think--about three hours after you were here yesterday," said Daisy
soberly. The doctor looked at her, and his gravity gave way, so far at
least as to let the corners of his lips curl away from some very white
teeth. Dr. Sandford rarely laughed. And there was nothing mocking about
his smile now, though I have used the word "curl;" it was merely what
Daisy considered a very intelligent and very benign curve of the mouth.
Indeed she liked it very much.
"Have you seen the offending party since that time, Daisy?"
"And did you feel no return of displeasure?"
There was something so exceedingly sweet in Daisy's expression of face,
so unruffled in its loving calm and assurance, that Dr Sandford
received quite a new impression in his views of human character.
"I shall have an account to settle with that young Preston one of these
days," he remarked as he took Daisy's little form in his arms.
"O he did nothing!" said Daisy. "It wasn't Preston at all. He had
nothing to do with it!"
"He had not?" said the doctor.
"Not at all; nor any other boy."
"Beyond my management, then!" said the doctor; and he moved off. He had
stood still to say that word or two; Daisy's arm was round his neck to
help support herself; the two looked into each other's faces. Certainly
that had come to pass which at one time she had thought unlikely; Daisy
was very fond of the doctor.
He carried her now down to the library, and laid her on a sofa. Nobody
at all was there. The long windows were standing open; the morning sweet
air blew gently in; the books, and chairs, and tables which made the
room pretty to Daisy's eyes, looked very pleasant after the long weeks
in which she had not seen them. But along with her joy at seeing them
again was mixed a vivid recollection of the terrible scene she had gone
through there, a few days before her accident. However, nothing could
make Daisy anything but happy just now.
"You must remain here until I come again," said the doctor; "and now I
will send some of the rest of the family to you."
The first one that came was her father. He sat down by the sofa, and was
so tenderly glad to have her there again, that Daisy's little heart
leaped for joy. She put her hand in his, and lay looking into his face.
"Papa, it is nice," she said.
"O to be here, and with you again."
Mr. Randolph put his lips down to Daisy's, and kissed them a good many
"Do you know we are going to Silver Lake with you as soon as you are
"O yes, papa! Dr. Sandford says he can manage it. But I don't know
"In a week or two more."
"Papa, who is going?"
"Everybody, I suppose."
"But I mean, is anybody to be invited?"
"I think we must ask Dr. Sandford."
"O yes, papa! I wish he would go. But is anybody else to be asked?"
"I do not know, Daisy. Whom would you like to have invited?"
"Papa, I would like _very_ much to have Nora Dinwiddie. She has come
"Well, tell your mother so."
Daisy was silent a little; then she began on a new theme.
"Papa, what is a 'vocation'?"
"What is _what_, Daisy?"
"Where did you get that word?"
"I found it in a book."
"It means commonly a person's business or employment."
"Only that, papa?"
"There is another sense in which it is used, but you would hardly
"Please tell me, papa."
"Papa, I like to know the meanings of things. Please tell me."
"Daisy, it means a 'calling'--in the idea that some persons are
particularly appointed to a certain place or work in the world."
Daisy looked a little hard at him, and then said, "Thank you, papa."
"Daisy, I hope you do not think _you_ have a 'vocation,'" said Mr.
Randolph, half smiling.
"Papa," said the child, "I cannot help it."
"No, perhaps not," said Mr. Randolph, stooping again to Daisy's lips.
"When you are older and wiser you will know better. At present your
vocation is to be a good little daughter. Now what are you going to do
to-day? Here is Preston--if you want him; or I will do for you what you
"Yes, Daisy, what shall we do?" said Preston.
"O, are you at leisure?"
"All your own, Daisy, for this morning at any rate. What shall we do?"
"O Preston, would you mind getting my tray for me; and let us go on with
the battle of Hastings?"
"With what?" said Mr. Randolph, laughing.
"The battle of Hastings, papa--English history, you know. Captain
Drummond and I got just there and then we stopped. But Harold was
killed--wasn't he, papa?"
"I believe he was, Daisy."
"Good for him, too," said Preston. "He was nothing but a usurper.
William the Conqueror was a great deal more of a man."
"But he was just as much of a usurper, wasn't he?" said Daisy.
"You must mind your ethics, Preston," Mr. Randolph said, laughing.
"Daisy is on the Saxon side."
"Preston, will you get the tray, please? June will give it to you."
Preston did not quite understand the philosophy of the tray; however,
Daisy must be humoured. It was brought. By Daisy's order it had been
carefully protected from dust and danger; and the lineaments of England,
as traced by the captain some time ago, were fresh and in good order.
Daisy hung over the map with great interest, renewing her acquaintance
with various localities, and gradually getting Preston warmed up to the
play. It was quite exciting; for with every movement of William's
victorious footsteps, the course of his progress had to be carefully
studied out on a printed map, and then the towns and villages which
marked his way noted on the clay map, and their places betokened by
wooden pins. Daisy suggested that these pins should have sealing-wax
heads of different colours to distinguish the cities, the villages, and
the forts from each other. Making these, interrupted doubtless the march
of the Conqueror and of history, but in the end much increased Daisy's
satisfaction, and if the truth be told, Preston's too.
"There,--now you can see at a glance where the castles are; don't their
red heads look pretty! And, O Preston! we ought to have some way of
marking the battle-fields; don't you think so?"
"The map of England will be nothing but marks then, by and by," said
"Will it? But it would be very curious. Preston, just give me a little
piece of that pink blotting paper from the library table; it is in the
portfolio there. Now I can put a little square bit of this on every
battle-field, and pressing it a little, it will stick, I think.
There!--there is Hastings. Do you see, Preston? That will do nicely."
"England will be all pink blotting paper by and by," said Preston.
"Then it will be very curious," said Daisy. "Were new kings _always_
coming to push out the old ones?"
"Not like William the Conqueror. But yet it was something very like
that, Daisy. When a king died, two of his children would both want the
place; so they would fight."
"But two men fighting would not make a battle-field."
"O Daisy, Daisy!" cried Preston; "do you know no better than that?"
"Well, but who else would fight with them?"
"Why, all the kingdom! Part would fight for the right, you know, as the
Saxons did with Harold; and part would fight to be the best fellows and
to get the fat places."
"Fat places?" said Daisy. At which Preston went off into one of his
laughs. Daisy looked on. How could she be expected to understand him?
"What is the matter, my dear? What are you doing?" Daisy started.
"We are studying English, history, aunt Gary."
"_History_, my dear? And what is all this muss, and these red and black
spots? does your mamma allow this in the library?"
"Just the place to study history, I am sure, mamma," said Preston; "and
you cannot have less muss than this where people are fighting. But I
really don't know what you mean, ma'am; there cannot be a cleaner map,
except for the blood shed on it."
"Blood?" said Mrs. Gary. "My dear"--as Preston burst into another
laugh--"you must not let him tease you."
Daisy's look was so very unruffled and gentle that perhaps it put Mrs.
Gary in mind of another subject.
"Did you know, Daisy, that I had robbed you of your old-fashioned
"I found it was not among my things," said Daisy.
"My dear, your mother thought you would not value it; and it was very
desirable to my collection. I took it with her consent."
"I am willing you should have it, aunt Gary."
"Were you very angry, my dear, when you found where it had gone?"
"I am not angry now, aunt Gary."
Certainly Daisy was not; yet something in the child's look or manner
made the lady willing to drop the subject. Its very calm gentleness did
not testify to anything like unconcern about the matter; and if there
had been concern, Mrs. Gary was not desirous to awaken it again. She
kissed Daisy, said she was a good girl, and walked off. Daisy wondered
if her aunt had a fancy for trilobites.
"What was all that about, Daisy?" Preston asked.
"O never mind--let us go on with William the Conqueror."
"What spoon of yours has she got?"
"My Egyptian spoon."
"That old carved thing with the duck's bill?"
"Yes. Now, Preston, what comes next?"
"Didn't you say she could not have it?"
"No matter what I said, if I say that she can have it now."
"Did you give it to her?"
"Preston, that has nothing to do with William the Conqueror. Please let
us go on."
"Daisy, I want to know. Did you give it to her?"
"I am willing she should have it. Now, Preston, go on?"
"But I say, did you give my mother that spoon?"
"Preston," said Daisy, "do you think it is quite proper to question me
in that manner about what you see I do not wish to have you know?"
Preston laughed, though he looked vexed, and kissed her, nobody being in
the library; he was too big a boy to have done it if anybody had been
looking on. And after that he played the historico-geographical play
with her for a very long time; finding it, with Daisy's eagerness and
freshness, a very good play indeed. Only he would persist in calling
every cause of war, every disputed succession, every rivalry of
candidates, an _Egyptian spoon_. Daisy could not prevent him. She had a
very happy morning; and Dr. Sandford was well satisfied with her bright
face when he came, towards night, and carried, her up stairs again.
But Daisy was getting well now. It was only a few days more, and Dr.
Sandford permitted her to walk a little way herself on her own feet. A
little way at first, across the floor and back; no more that day; but
from that time Daisy felt whole again. Soon she could walk to please
herself, up and down stairs and everywhere; though she was not allowed
to go far enough to tire her foot while it was yet unused to exercise.
Now all her home ways fell again into their accustomed order. Daisy
could get up and be dressed; nobody knows what a luxury that is unless
he has been hindered of it for a good while. She could stand at her
window and look out; and go down on her own feet to join the family at
breakfast. Her father procured her a seat next himself now, which Daisy
did not use to have; and she enjoyed it. She knew he enjoyed it too; and
it made breakfast a very happy time to Daisy. After breakfast she was at
her own disposal, as of old. Nobody wished her to do anything but please
At this moment nothing pleased Daisy better than to go on with English
history. With Preston, if she could get him; if not, alone, with her
book and her tray map. Poring over it, Daisy would lie on the sofa, or
sit on a little bench with the tray on the floor; planting her towns and
castles, or going hack to those already planted with a fresh interest
from new associations. Certain red-headed and certain black-headed and
certain green-headed pins came to be very well known and familiar in the
course of time. And in course of time, too, the soil of England came to
be very much overspread with little squares of pink blotting-paper. To
Daisy it grew to be a commentary on the wickedness of mankind. Preston
remarked on the multitude there was of Egyptian spoons.
"What do you mean by that, Preston?" said his aunt.
"Causes of quarrel, ma'am."
"Why do you call them Egyptian spoons?"
"Causes of trouble, I should say, ma'am."
"And again I say, why do you call them Egyptian spoons?"
"I beg your pardon, aunt Felicia. Egypt was always a cause of trouble to
the faithful; and I was afraid little Daisy has had just a spoonful of
"Daisy, what have you been saying to your cousin?"
"Nothing, mamma, about that; only what Preston asked me."
"I am sure you did not say what I asked of you, Daisy. She told me
nothing at all, aunt Felicia, except by what she did not tell me."
"She behaved very sweetly about it, indeed," said Mrs. Gary. "She made
me feel quite easy about keeping it. I shall have to find out what I can
send, to Daisy that she will like."
"What are you and Preston doing there?" Mrs. Randolph asked with a
"Studying, mamma; I am. English history."
"That is no way of studying; and that tray--what have you got in it?"
Preston laughed. Mrs. Randolph did not join him.
"What have you got in that thing, Daisy? sand?"
"O no, mamma--it's something--it's prepared clay, I believe."
"Prepared!" said Mrs. Randolph. "Prepared for something besides my
library. You are hanging over it all day, Daisy--I do not believe it is
good for you."
"O mamma, it is!"
"I think I shall try whether it is not good for you to be without it."
"O no, mamma." Daisy looked in dismay. "Do ask Dr. Sandford if he thinks
it is not good for me."
"There he is, then," said Mrs. Randolph, "Doctor, I wish you would see
whether Daisy is occupying herself, in your judgment, well, when she is
hanging over that thing half the day."
Dr. Sandford came up. Daisy was not afraid of his decision, for she knew
he was on her side. Mrs. Randolph on the other hand did not wish, to
dispute it, for she was, like most other people, on the doctor's side.
He came up and looked at the tray.
"What is this?"
"The map of England, sir."
"Pray what are you doing with it?"
"Making it, sir, and studying English history."
"What are these pins? armies? or warriors? they are in confusion
"O there is no confusion," said Daisy. "They are castles and towns."
"This is Dover Castle," said Daisy, touching a red-headed pin; "and this
is Caernarvon, and Conway; and these black ones are towns. There is
London--and Liverpool--and York--and Oxford--don't you see?"
"I see, but it would take a witch to remember. What are you doing?"
"Studying English history, sir; and as fast as we come to a great town
or castle we mark it. These bits of paper shew where the great
"Original!" said the doctor.
"No sir, it is not," said Daisy. "Captain Drummond taught it to me."
"What, the history?"
"No; but this way of playing."
Preston was laughing and trying to keep quiet. Nothing could be graver
than the doctor.
"Is it interesting, this way of playing?"
"Very!" said Daisy, with a good deal of eagerness, more than she wished
"I wish you would forbid it, Dr. Sandford," said Daisy's mother. "I do
not believe in such a method of study, nor wish Daisy to be engrossed
with any study at all. She is not fit for it."
"Whereabouts are you?" said the doctor to Daisy.
"We are just getting through the wars of the Roses."
"Ah! I never can remember how those wars began--can you?"
"They began when the Duke of York tried to get the crown of Henry the
Sixth. But I think he was wrong--don't you?"
"Somebody is always wrong in those affairs," said the doctor. "You are
getting through the wars of the Roses. What do you find was the end of
"When the Earl of Richmond came. We have just finished the battle of
Bosworth Field. Then he married Elizabeth of York, and so they wore the
two roses together."
"Harmoniously?" said the doctor.
"I don't know, sir. I do not know anything about Henry the Seventh yet."
"What was going on in the rest of the world while the Roses were at war
"O I don't know, sir!" said Daisy, looking up with a sudden expression
of humbleness. "I do not know anything about anywhere else."
"You do not know where the Hudson River was then."
"I suppose it was where it is now?"
"Geographically, Daisy; but not politically, socially, or commercially.
Melbourne House was not thinking of building; and the Indians ferried
their canoes over to Silver Lake, where a civilized party are going in a
few days to eat chicken salad under very different auspices."
"Were there no white people here?"
"Columbus had not discovered America, even. He did that just about seven
years after Henry the Seventh was crowned on Bosworth Field."
"I don't know who Columbus was," Daisy said, with a glance so wistful
and profound in its sense of ignorance, that Dr. Sandford smiled.
"You will hear about him soon," he said, turning away to Mrs. Randolph.
That lady did not look by any means well pleased. The doctor stood
before her looking down, with the sort of frank, calm bearing that
"Are you not, in part at least, a Southerner?" was the lady's first
"I am sorry I must lose so much of your good opinion as to confess
myself a Yankee," said the doctor steadily.
"Are you going to give your sanction to Daisy's plunging herself into
study, and books, and all that sort of thing, Dr. Sandford?"
"Not beyond _my_ depth to reach her."
"I do not think it is good for her. She is very fond of it, and she does
a great deal too much of it when she begins; and she wants strengthening
first, in my opinion. You have said enough now to make her crazy after
the history of the whole world."
"Mrs. Randolph, I must remind you that though, you can hinder a tree
from growing, in a particular place, you cannot a fungus; if the
conditions be favourable."
"What do you mean?"
"I think this may be a good alterative."
The lady looked a little hard at the doctor.
"There is one book I wish you could hinder her from reading," she said,
lowering her tone.
"What is that, madam?"
"She is just the child not to bear it; and she is injured by poring over
"Put the Bibles out of her way," suggested the doctor.
"I have, as much as I can; but it is not possible to do it perfectly."
"Then I counsel you to allow her the use of this medicine," said Dr.
Sandford, glancing towards the tray, which no longer held Daisy's
attention. For together with her mother's lowering of voice, the one
word "Bible" had come to her consciousness. Daisy was at no loss to
guess what it meant. The low tones of the speakers gave her sufficient
Thus far; that her Bible was reckoned an undesirable treasure for her by
her mother. Was her own dear little particular Bible in danger? the one
that Mr. Dinwiddie had given her? Daisy was alarmed. She did not enjoy
any more battle-fields, nor enter with good heart into her history work
from that time, until she could get up stairs again and see that it was
safe, and contrive some way or place to keep it safe in time to come.
Where could such a place be? It was a puzzle, because all Daisy's things
were, of course, open to her mother. Perhaps Daisy's fears were
needless; but after the affair of her Egyptian spoon she looked with
jealous eves not only on her Bible, but on her trilobite. She sat down
with a dismayed little face, to think where she could find a
hiding-place. She thought of putting the Bible under her bed or pillow;
but the bed was turned over every morning, and the servants would find
it. None of her bureau drawers or cabinet drawers were secure. Daisy
pondered all manner of impossible places. At last fixed upon a spot of
the floor covered by an ottoman. The ottoman was hollow and not very
heavy, and never moved after the room was put in order every day. Till
the room was put in order Daisy hid her Bible in a drawer; then took it
out and consigned it to the obscurity of the ottoman.
She was greatly afraid, then, of being found reading it. She had not
heard the words which passed between the doctor and her mother; only the
word "Bible;" but the low tones made her well enough aware that the
matter of their talk was somehow adverse; it boded nothing kindly to her
and the Bible. So Daisy was in another perplexity; and resolved that to
be as safe as she could, she would read with locked doors for the
future. And as doors must not be locked at times when her mother might
be coming and going, Daisy chose early morning and late evening for her
Bible-reading. She used to let June undress her, and finish all her
duties of dressing-maid; then she sent her away and locked her doors,
and read in comfort. This lasted a little while; then one unlucky night
Daisy forgot to unlock her doors. The morning came, and June with it;
but June could neither get in nor dare knock loud enough to make Daisy
hear; she was obliged to come round through her mistress's
dressing-room. But Daisy's door on that side was locked too! June was
going softly away.
"What do you want?" said her mistress.
"If you please, ma'am," said June, stopping very unwillingly--"I thought
it was time to wake Miss Daisy."
"Why do you not go in, then?"
"Ma'am--the door is locked," said June, in a scarce audible undertone.
June went back and knocked.
"Louder," said Mrs. Randolph, who was under her maid's hands; "you would
not waken a cat at that rate. Make yourself heard."
June's taps, however, continued so fearfully gentle, that Mrs. Randolph,
arose and came to the door herself. One or two of the touches of her
imperative fingers brought a little figure in white night-dress and
just-awakened face, to open the door.
"Daisy," said her mother, "what is your door fast for?"
"Mamma--I wanted it fast for a few minutes."
"Did you lock it last night or this morning?"
"Last night--I thought--I meant to have opened it."
"Both your doors?"
"All night locked! Now, Daisy, I forbid you ever to turn the key in your
door again, night or day."
"O mamma!--I want it shut sometimes."
"Hush. Go and let June dress you."
June was vexed enough with herself to have inflicted some punishment on
her awkward tongue and head, when she saw that Daisy was for some reason
or other deeply grieved. The tears gathered and fell, quietly, all
through the process of dressing; and a sort of sob heaved from the
child's breast now and then, without words and most involuntary.
Juanita's cottage was a palace to Melbourne House, if peace made the
furniture. But June did not know what to say; so she was silent too.
When June was gone Daisy went to her beloved window, and stood there.
She did not like to kneel, because her mother might come in, or even
June, while she was doing so. She stood at the sweet open window, and
prayed that the Lord would take care of her, and help her to pray
however she could. And then the thought of those words came to
Daisy:--"Thou, therefore, endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus
Christ." She remembered very well how Captain Drummond had described the
way a good soldier takes things--hard and disagreeable things as well as
others. It is part of his business to endure them; he expects them, and
minds them not at all in comparison with the service in which he is
engaged. And a soldier of Jesus Christ has only to obey him, and take
willingly whatever comes in the line of his service. What matter? The
only thing was to obey orders, and do the work she was set upon.
Hardships did not seem much like hardships when she thought of them in
this way. And then it occurred to Daisy, that if she _could_ not fasten
her doors, she had better just kneel down as usual with them open. She
could not do without praying; and if she must be in traded upon, why it
was a little hardship that she had better not mind. And when she had
thought that, Daisy kneeled down; and she never had any more trouble
about it. She did fancy, even that first morning, that she heard the
lock of her door turn; but she did not move to see, and hearing nothing
more she soon forgot it. Nobody wore such a bright and fresh face at the
breakfast-table as Daisy; such a glad and uncareful face; and Mrs.
Randolph seeing it, was reassured; though she had just seen her little
daughter at her prayers, on her knees, by the window. She looked so
happy now, that the lady was inclined to hope her religion was a
childish folly, which would pass away and be forgotten in time.
But for the present Daisy was a soldier; and meditating much on a
service which she had to perform. That very day, if you had been
there, and worn an invisible cap, you might have gone into her room
and seen what she was about. On the ottoman aforesaid Daisy's
writing-desk was placed; and before it on a cricket sat Daisy, with
a face, O how grave and busy! A very weight of care of some sort
seemed to lie under her childish little brow. She was opening her
desk and looking out paper; some she felt and rejected--it was too
thin or too blue, or something; she tried her pen on another kind;
it did not go well. At last a thick little sheet of note paper was
chosen; and Daisy began to write. Or rather, sat over the paper with
her pen in her fingers, thinking how to write. She looked very
anxious; then took bits of paper and a pencil and tried different
forms of a sentence. At last, with slow care, and fingers that
trembled, a line or two was inscribed on the beautiful thick little
sheet of English note paper.
"Dear papa, won't you think about being a Christian? Do not be
It was written all out, as fair as she could; and then you might have
seen Daisy's little round head go down on her hands on the desk. It did
not move for a good while. When it was lifted up, she sought out an
envelope rather hurriedly, directed it, folded and put in her note, and
Daisy shut her desk then, and with a manner not quite as calm and
careless as usual, went to her father's dressing table and stood
considering where she should put the note. Under the cushion, it might
be seen first by a servant, and then delivered to Mr. Randolph in the
midst of company. Under his dressing-box, the same fate threatened it.
Daisy peered about, and thought, and trembled for several minutes. She
had a fancy that she did not want him to get it before the next morning,
when he would be quietly dressing here alone. He would certainly be
opening his dressing-box before that. The only place Daisy could be sure
would not be invaded before that, was the place she chose; she took off
the cover of his box of shaving soap and with some trouble squeezed the
note in so that it would lie safely hid; then put on the cover and put
the box in its place, and went away with light hands and a heavy heart.
Heavy, that is, with a burden of doubt mingled with fear. Would Mr.
Randolph be angry? Daisy could not feel sure that that would not be the
consequence of her proceeding. Perhaps he would be very much displeased,
and think it very disrespectful and improper that his little daughter
should take so much upon herself. Daisy knew quite well all that. But
who else in the world would take the responsibility if she did not? No
one; and Daisy with all her fear did not once think of going to get her
note away again before it should be read. Her heart yearned towards her
father. He was so very gentle and tender in his manner with her, more
than ever, Daisy thought; she felt that the love between them was
growing strong and deep even beyond what it used to be. And while he
knew nothing of the joy that filled her own heart, and while he refused
obedience to the laws that she knew were binding on him as well as on
her, he must be also, she knew, without the favour and blessing of God.
He had no part in it; nothing to do with it; and Daisy's heart swelled
with childish sorrow and longing. She had thought a great deal about it,
and concluded that she must bear "the message," even plainly in words,
to her father, before she could feel satisfied. Little hands might take
the message, Juanita had said; so humbly Daisy's took it; and then she
prayed that it might not be for nothing. She knew all her hands could do
was not much.
All the remainder of that day, Daisy never forgot her note in the box of
shaving soap. She knew it was extremely unlikely that the box would be
opened sooner than the next morning; nevertheless, whenever Mr. Randolph
came near where she was, Daisy looked up with something like a start.
There was nothing in his face to alarm her; and so night came, and Daisy
kissed him twice for good night, wondering to herself whether he would
feel like kissing her when they met again. Never mind, the message must
be delivered, cost what it might. Yes, this was soldier's service. Daisy
was going into the enemy's country.
Mr. Randolph had felt the lingering touch of Daisy's lips, and the
thought of it came to him more than once in the course of the
evening--"like the wind that breathes upon a bank of violets"--with a
breath of sweetness in the remembrance. Nevertheless he had pretty well
forgotten it, when he pulled off the cover of his box of shaving soap
the next morning. He was belated and in something of a hurry. If ever a
man suddenly forgot his hurry, Mr. Randolph did, that morning. He knew
the unformed, rather irregular and stiff handwriting in a moment; and
concluded that Daisy had some request to make on her own account which
she was too timid to speak out in words. That was what he expected when
he opened the paper; but Eve could not have been much more surprised
when the serpent spoke to her in the garden of Eden, than was Mr.
Randolph at finding that his little lamb of a child had dared to open
her mouth to him in this fashion.
"Mr. Randolph, you will be late," said the lady who owned that name,
coming to his door. And seeing her husband standing still with his elbow
leaning on his dressing-table, she walked in.
"You will assuredly be late! what have you got there?"
The little sheet of English note-paper lay spread out on the
dressing-table. Mr. Randolph was looking at it. He did not answer, and
the lady bent nearer for a moment and then stood upright.
"Daisy!" exclaimed Mrs. Randolph.
Her husband made an inarticulate sort of a noise, as he turned away and
took up his neglected shaving soap.
"What is this?" said the lady in astonishment.
"What you see--" said Mr. Randolph.
"Where did it come from?"
"The signature tells you."
"But where did you get it?"
"The impertinent little minx!"
"Hush. She does not mean to be impertinent, Felicia."
"Do you like misbehaviour that is not meant, Mr. Randolph?"
"Better than that which _is_ meant."
"I told you the child would get ruined in that place," said Mrs.
Randolph, after musing a few minutes over the little sheet of
Mr. Randolph made a lather and applied it. That might be the reason why
he made no answer.
"I call it impertinence," the lady went on, "and very well grown
impertinence too--from a child like that! It is the trick of all
religious people, to think themselves better and wiser than the rest of
the world; but I think Daisy has learnt the lesson early!"
Still silence on Mr. Randolph's part and steady attention to his toilet
"What notice do you mean to take of this?"
"I think, none at all."
"Mr. Randolph, Daisy is ruined!"
"I do not quite see it yet."
"I wish you would see it. She is full of stupid stiff ways, which will
be habits fixed as iron in a little time if we do not break them up. She
does not act like a child."
"She is very like a child to me," said Mr. Randolph.
"You do not see. Do you observe her way whenever she sits down to table?
She covers her face and remains in silent prayer, I suppose, a minute or
A slight laugh came from Mrs. Randolph with the words. Mr. Randolph
could not well laugh, for he was shaving. He remarked that he had never
"I wish you would remember and take notice. She does it regularly. And
she is not a docile child _any_ longer, I give you warning. You will
find it very difficult to do anything with her in the way of breaking up
this religious stiffness of hers."
Mr. Randolph was silent a while, and Mrs. Randolph looked vexed. At
length he remarked that indirect ways were the best.
"It will take both," said his wife; "direct and indirect." And after
that they went down to breakfast.
Mr. Randolph was the last, and he was not early; but this morning Daisy
was later still. Her father watched for her coming, and did not see it
after all; Daisy stole in so quietly, she was in her seat by his side
before he had noticed her. Then perceiving the gentle, sweet, quiet
little face beside him, and recognizing the timid feeling which made
Daisy afraid to meet his eye, he could not refrain; he bent down and
gave her a kiss. He was very much touched by the little fluttering start
and glance which Daisy returned to this salutation, and he saw that a
pink flush of pleasure came into her cheeks. Perhaps all this put the
subject of watching her out of Mr. Randolph's head; he certainly did not
see the minute, a few minutes later, when Daisy's hand stole to her brow
and her eyes were for a short space hidden and her hand moveless. Mrs.
Randolph saw it, and saw that he did not. Daisy had forgotten that
anybody could see her. The thanksgiving of her heart had more burden
to-day than the ordinary gifts of the morning which she was wont to
remember. Her father was not angry with her! It took a load off Daisy's
heart; and she looked so happy all breakfast time that Mr. Randolph was
very much inclined to slight his wife's fears.
Juanita's constant habit of thankfulness and of expressing her
thankfulness, during the weeks Daisy had spent with her had gone down
into the child's heart. With every meal, though taken by herself all
alone, Daisy had seen the old woman acknowledging gratefully from whose
hand she got it. And with other things beside meals; and it had seemed
sweet and pleasant to Daisy to do so. At home, when she was suddenly
transferred to her father's stately board, where every beauty and luxury
were gathered together and an array of friends to help each other enjoy
it; and no one remembered, no one acknowledged that any gratitude was
due to the hand that had supplied the board and given the friends,
Daisy's heart was pained by a great sense of want. Not thank God for all
these things? give no acknowledgement of praise to him? She could not
bear to have it so. She thought nobody would notice her, or know what
she was doing if they did notice her; and she used to put her hand over
her brow and comfort her own heart with giving the thanks she wanted to
express. She soon forgot to be afraid anybody would notice her. But Mrs.
Randolph marked it all, and now never missed the minute when Daisy's
face was shielded.
The thing on hand now was the expedition to Silver Lake. Daisy's foot
and ankle were getting sufficient strength to bear all the work that
need be asked of them; and it was best to go while the hot weather still
lingered. It was early in September, and the day was fixed. Quite a
party was going. There were no visitors at Melbourne House now except
Mrs. Gary and her children; but that brought the home party up to seven.
Dr. Sandford was going, of course. Then some other neighbours. Mrs.
Stanfield had promised to go, with her little daughter Ella and her
older daughter Theresa. Mrs. Fish was coming from another quarter of the
country, with her children, Alexander and Frederica. Mr. Fish and Mr.
Stanfield were to go too; and Mr. and Mrs. Sandford, the doctor's
brother and sister-in-law. However, though this was to be such a strong
muster, Daisy thought of only two or three of the number that concerned
her personally. Preston and Ransom, of course; Alexander Fish; though
the two latter she thought of as likely to make disturbance more than
anything else; and Daisy liked a most lady-like quietness and propriety
in everything in which she was engaged. But besides these there was only
Ella Stanfield whose age would bring her into contact with Daisy; and
Daisy, very much of late accustomed to being alone or with older people,
looked with some doubtfulness at the prospect of having a young
companion to entertain. With that exception, and it hardly made one,
nothing could look brighter in the distance than Silver Lake.
Several days passed between Daisy's giving the note to her father and
the one fixed on for the expedition. In all that time Daisy was left to
guess whether or not it had been seen and read by him. No sign or token
told her; there was none; and Daisy could only conclude that he _must_
have seen it, because he could not very well help doing so. But she was
not at all discouraged. Rather the contrary; seeing that certainly her
father was not displeased with her.
In all these days too, Mr. Randolph had ample time and chance to observe
Daisy's action which had so disturbed her mother at meal times. Yet
hitherto he had never spoken of it. In fact it was so quietly done that
often the moment escaped him; and at other times, Daisy's manner so
asked for a shield rather than a trumpet, and the little face that
looked up from being covered with her hand was so bright and sweet, that
perhaps his heart shrank from saying anything that would change the
expression. At any rate, Daisy had been safe thus far.
Great preparations were making for the Silver Lake day. Thursday it was
to be. Wednesday evening Dr. Sandford was at Melbourne. Daisy was
considering the arrangements of a little packed basket of her own.
"Are you expecting to have a good time to-morrow, Daisy?" he asked.
Daisy smiled as she said yes.
"But you will have to keep quiet. I shall not let you run about like the
"I can sit quiet and look at the lake," said Daisy; with so absolutely
contented a face that the doctor smiled.
"But in parties of pleasure, do you know, my friend, it generally
happens that people cannot do what they expected to do?"
"Then I can do something else," said Daisy, looking very fearless of
"Will you let your old friend, Nora Dinwiddie, join the party?"
"Nora! O is Nora coming?" exclaimed Daisy.
"Mrs. Sandford commissioned me to make the enquiry, Mrs. Randolph,
whether one more would be too many? Her little relation, Daisy's friend
I believe, has returned to her for the rest of the season."
"Certainly!" Mrs. Randolph said,--"there was room for everybody." The
lady's manner told nothing; but nevertheless Daisy did not venture to
shew her joy. She did not say another word about Nora. The hour of
meeting was determined, and the doctor withdrew. Daisy looked over the
contents of her basket again with fresh satisfaction, made sure that all
was right and everything there; and went to bed happy.
Thursday morning broke fair as eye could see. The September sun rose in
a haze of warm rays; promising, as Mrs. Randolph said, that the heat
would be stifling by and by. Daisy did not care, for her part. They had
breakfast earlier than usual; for the plan was to get on the other side
of the river before the sun should be too oppressive. They had scarcely
risen from the table when the Sandford party drove up to the door. These
were to go in a boat with the party from Melbourne House. Mr. and Mrs.
Fish, from higher up the river, were to cross in their own boat and join
the rest at the spot appointed on the opposite shore. The Stanfields
were to do the same, starting from a different point; friends having
arrived that would swell their numbers beyond the original four. Of all
this, Daisy cared just for one thing; that Nora was come and was to go
in the boat with her, and no other. The meeting between the two
children, on the steps of Melbourne, was most joyous.
"O Nora! I'm so glad you have come!"--and, "O Daisy! I'm so glad to be
here!"--and a small host of small questions and answers, that indeed
meant a great deal, but would not read for much.
"O Nora, isn't it nice!" said Daisy, as they stood on the steps, while
the carriages waited, below before the door.
"It's grand," said Nora. "Why aunt Frances says we shall be gone all
"To be sure we shall," said Daisy. "Papa is going to fish; and so is
Preston, and Dr. Sandford and other people, I suppose; and some of the
men take their tackle along too. There is nice fish in the Lake."
"What men do you mean?" said Nora.
"O, the men that manage the boat and carry the baskets; there are ever
so many baskets to go, you know; and the men must carry them; because
the path won't let a wagon go."
"Who is going to carry you?" said Dr. Sandford coming out behind them.
"Me?" said Daisy.
"Why I do not want anybody to carry me, Dr. Sandford."
"Don't you? I do. And I shall want two men to do it. Whom will you have?
I have arranged a mountain chair for you, Daisy."
"A chair!" said Daisy. How could that be? And then she saw in Dr.
Sandford's wagon, a chair to be sure; a common, light, cane-bottomed
arm-chair; with poles sticking out before and behind it very oddly. She
looked up at the doctor, and Nora demanded what that was?
"Something like the chairs they use in the mountains of Switzerland, to
carry ladies up and down."
"To carry me?" said Daisy.
"For that purpose. Now see whom you will have to do it."
Daisy and Nora ran away together to consult her father. The matter was
soon arranged. James the footman, and Michael the coachman, were to go
to carry baskets and help manage the boat; James being something of a
sailor. Now Logan and Sam were pressed into the service; the latter to
take James's business, as porter, and leave the latter free to be a
"I don't see how the boat is to carry all the people," Nora remarked.
"O yes," said Daisy, "it is a big boat; it will hold everybody, I guess;
and it goes with a sail, Nora. Won't that be nice? Papa knows how to
"It will want a very large boat to take us all," Nora persisted. "I went
out with Marmaduke in a sail-boat once--_he_ knows how to manage a
sail-boat too;--and I am sure it wouldn't have held half as many people
as we have got here. No, nor a quarter as many."
"O yes, but our boat is bigger, I suppose," said Daisy. "Don't you like
to go in a boat, Nora?"
"I like it if it don't lean over too far," said Nora. "I thought it was
going to turn over once or twice, when I was out with Marmaduke that
time. I was afraid."
"I am not afraid with papa," said Daisy. "I know he can manage it."
"Why so can Marmaduke manage it," said Nora; "and he said I needn't be
afraid; but I was."
The carriages took the whole party down to the shore in a few minutes.
There lay the sail-boat all ready, her sails shaken out; and James and
Sam, on board already, received basket after basket from the hands of
Logan and the coachman and stowed them away in what seemed to be a place
of ample accommodations. Daisy and Nora, hand in hand, stood on the
shore looking at all that was done, and with eager eyes. The summer
breeze just played lightly and rippled the water, on which the morning
sun made a warm glow, early in the day as it was.
"What _could_ so many baskets be wanted for?" said Nora.
"Why, to carry all the things. You know there will be a great many
people to eat dinner at Silver Lake."
"Dinner?" said Nora; "do people eat dinner when they go to a pic-nic?"
"Why yes. What do you think they do?"
"I thought it was just a pic-nic."
"What is that?" said Daisy curiously. But just then there was a stir;
the ladies and gentlemen were getting into the boat, and the children
had to be ready for their turn. It came; and Mr. Randolph handed one
after the other safe over the gunwale of the big sail-boat and placed
them happily beside each other in the middle space, where they could
have an excellent time for talking. But they wanted no talking at first.
When all were aboard and ready, the boat was cast loose from the shore
and her sail trimmed to catch the soft northerly air that came blowing
down the river. Slowly the sail caught the breeze--would it be strong
enough to take her? the children thought--slowly, very slowly, the boat
edged its way out from the shore--then the breeze filled the sail full,
took good hold, and began to push the little vessel with a sensible
motion out towards the river channel. Steady and sweet the motion was,
gathering speed. The water presently rippled under the boat's prow, and
she yielded gently a little to the pressure on the sail, tipped herself
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