Melbourne House, Volume 2
Part 6 out of 7
"I don't think it would be convenient," said Daisy. "I think a white
frock is nicer."
"O but it makes people look so handsome! Frederica looks like--she is a
real beauty! I should like to be dressed so. Daisy, don't you suppose
queens and ladies, like those in the pictures, _are_ always dressed so?"
"I suppose they put on nightgowns when they go to bed," said Ella
Stanfield soberly. "They can't _always_ be dressed so."
"O but, I mean, when they are up. And I dare say they wear beautiful
nightgowns--Daisy, don't you think they do? I dare say they have
splendid lace and ribands; and you can make a white dress very
handsome, if you put plenty of lace and ribands."
"O it's gone!" exclaimed Jane and Ella. The curtain had fallen. The
company clapped their hands and cheered.
"What's that for?" said Nora.
"That means that they like it, I suppose," said Daisy. "You will have to
go now, Nora, I know. Little Red Riding-Hood comes next. Come--we'll all
"Horrid Little Red Riding-Hood!" said Nora. "I hate that picture!"
"Why do you hate it?"
"Because!--It is nothing but a red hood."
Mrs. Sandford's bell sounded.
"O Daisy!" said Nora as they went, "won't you get them to leave Esther
to the last? They will do whatever you ask them. Do!"
What Nora's "because" meant, Daisy did not know; that it had reference
to some supposed advantage of place, was pretty certain. Daisy stood
thinking about it while she saw Nora dressed, and then ran into the
drawing-room to take the effect of the tableau. The curtain was
withdrawn; Daisy was astonished; she had no idea that Nora could be so
changed by a little arrangement of lights and dress. The picture was
exceeding pretty. Nora's black hair and bright cheeks peeped out from
under the shadowing red cardinal, which draped her arms also--Mrs.
Sandford had mysteriously managed it. She had got over her hatred of the
part, for she looked pleased and pleasant; and the little basket in her
hand and the short petticoat and neat little feet completed a tidy Red
Riding-Hood. The applause was loud. "Lovely!" the ladies said. "What a
sweet little thing! how beautiful she looks!" Nora did not smile, for
that would have hurt her picture; but she stood with swelling
complacency and unchanging red cheeks as long as the company were
pleased to look at her.
"Who is that, Daisy?" asked her father, near whom Daisy had stationed
"It is Nora Dinwiddie, papa."
"She is a pretty little girl. When does your turn come?"
"I do not know, papa."
"Not know! Why I thought all this was your affair."
"O no, papa; it is Preston's affair."
Off ran Daisy however when the curtain fell, or rather when it was
drawn, to see the getting ready of the next tableau. There was something
of a tableau on hand already. June stood holding up a small featherbed,
and two little figures in white nightgowns were flying round, looking
and laughing at two exceedingly fierce, bearded, moustached,
black-browed individuals, on whose heads Mrs. Sandford was setting some
"Who are those, Nora?" said Daisy to Little Red Riding-Hood.
"Daisy, did you like it? did I stand well?"
"Yes, I liked it very much; it was nice. Nora, who are those two?"
"Why one of 'em is Preston--I don't know who the other is. Daisy, did
you ask about Esther?"
Could it be possible that Preston had so transformed himself? Daisy
could hardly see that it was he. His fellow she did not recognize at
all. It was big George Linwood.
"Now are the little princes ready?" said Preston. "Because we will
finish up this business."
"O you won't let the featherbed come down on us?" cried Jane Linwood.
"If you don't be quiet and keep still, I will," said Preston. "Let only
your eye wink or your mouth move to smile--and you are an unlucky
prince! I am a man without mercy."
"And I am another," said George. "I say, old fellow, I suppose I'm all
right for that French pikeman now, hey? After this smothering business
is attended to."
"You think the trade is the thing, and the costume a matter of
indifference?" said Preston. "In the matter of morals I dare say you are
right;--in tableaux before spectators it's not exactly so. Here
June--hand on your big pillow there--"
Mrs. Sandford was laughing at him, and in fact there was a good deal of
hilarity and some romping before the actors in the tableau could be
settled in their places.
"Don't keep us long," said Preston. "I never knew before what an
uninteresting thing a featherbed is--when you are obliged to hold it in
your arms. Everything in its place, I find. I used to have a good
opinion of them."
Daisy ran back to the drawing-room, and was utterly struck with wonder
at the picture over which all this fun had been held. It was beautiful,
she thought. The two children lay so naturally asleep, one little bare
foot peeping out from under the coverings; and the grim faces that
scowled at them over the featherbed with those strange hats
overshadowing, made such a contrast; and they were all so breathlessly
still, and the lights and shadows were so good; Daisy was disposed to
give her verdict that there never was a play like this play. The
"Princes in the Tower" was greatly applauded.
"Have you asked about my picture?" said Nora, who stood beside Daisy.
"No, I have not had a chance."
"Do, Daisy! I want that to be the last."
Daisy thought she was unreasonable. Why should Nora have the best place,
if it was the best. She was not pleased with her.
The next picture was Marie Antoinette; and that drew down the house.
Frederica Fish had nothing to do but to stand as she was put, and Mrs.
Sandford had seen to it that she stood right; another person might have
done more in the picture, but that was all that could be got from
Frederica. Her face was coldly impassive; she could come no nearer to
the expression of the indignant queen. But Preston's old woman, and
Theresa's pretty young French girl; one looking as he had said, with
eyes of coarse fury, the other all melting with tenderness and reverent
sympathy; they were so excellent that the company were delighted.
Frederica's handkerchief, it is true, hung daintily in her fingers,
shewing all the four embroidered corners; Mrs. Sandford had not seen it
till it was just too late; and Preston declared afterwards the "fury" in
his face was real and not feigned as he glared at her. But the company
overlooked the handkerchief in favour of the other parts of the picture;
and its success was perfect.
"Alfred in the neat-herd's cottage" followed next, and would have been
as good; only that Nora, whose business it was to blow her cheeks into a
full moon condition over the burnt cakes, would not keep her gravity;
but the full cheeks gave way every now and then in a broad grin which
quite destroyed the effect. Preston could not see this, but Daisy took
her friend to task after it was over. Nora declared she could not help
"You don't know how it felt, Daisy, to keep my cheeks puffed out in that
way. I couldn't do it; and whenever I let them go, then I couldn't help
laughing. O, Daisy! is my picture to be the last?"
"I will see, as soon as I can, Nora." Daisy said gravely. It was her own
turn now, and while Mrs. Sandford was dressing her she had no very good
chance to speak of Esther. How wonderfully Mrs. Sandford arranged the
folds of one or two long scarfs, to imitate Sir Joshua Reynolds'
draperies. Preston declared it was beautiful, and so did Hamilton Rush;
and when the little helmet with its plumes was set on Daisy's head, Mrs.
Sandford smiled and Preston clapped his hands. They had still a little
trouble to get Dolce into position. Dolce was to enact the lion, emblem
of courage and strength, lying at Fortitude's feet. He was a sensible
dog, but knowing nothing about playing pictures, naturally, did not
immediately understand why it should be required of him to lie down
there, on that platform of green baize, with his nose on his paws.
However, more sensible than some animals of higher order are apt to be,
he submitted patiently to the duty of obedience where he did not
understand; and laid down accordingly his shaggy length at Daisy's feet.
The curtain was drawn aside, and the company shouted with delight. No
picture had been so good yet as this one. The little grave figure, the
helmet with its nodding plumes in mock stateliness; the attitude, one
finger just resting on the pedestal of the broken column, (an ottoman
did duty for it) as if to shew that Fortitude stood alone, and the
shaggy St. Bernard at her feet, all made in truth an extremely pretty
spectacle. You could see the faintest tinge of a smile of pleasure on
the lips of both Mr. and Mrs. Randolph; they were silent, but all the
rest of the people cheered and openly declared their delight. Daisy
stood like a rock. _Her_ mouth never gave way; not even when Dolce,
conceiving that all this cheering called upon him to do something, rose
up and looking right into Daisy's face wagged his tail in the blandest
manner of congratulation. Daisy did not wince; and an energetic "Down,
Dolce, down!"--brought the St. Bernard to his position again, in the
very meekness of strength; and then the people clapped for Daisy and the
dog together. At last the curtain fell.
"Well, that will do," said Mrs. Sandford.
"Dolce--you rascal!" said Preston, as the great creature was now wagging
his tail in honour of his master,--"how came you to forget your business
in that style, sir?"
"I do not think it really hindered the effect at all, Preston," said
Mrs. Sandford. "Daisy kept her countenance so well."
"Yes,--if Fortitude had smiled!--" said Theresa, "Mrs. Sandford, is it
out of character for Fortitude to smile?"
"It would be out of character for Portia, just at this crisis--so take
care of her."
"What made them make such a great noise, Daisy?" said Nora while Daisy
was getting undressed.
"I suppose they liked the picture," said Daisy.
"But they made a great deal more noise than they did for anybody else,"
"I suppose they liked the picture better than they liked any of the
others," said Ella Stanfield. "I know they did, for I was in the other
room. Come, let's go see this picture!"
"Not you, Daisy," said Mrs. Sandford as the children were running
off--"I want you. Priscilla comes next."
So Daisy had to stay and be dressed for Priscilla. She missed Portia and
Bassanio. It was not much missed, for her little heart began to be
beating with excitement; and she wished very much that Priscilla might
be as much liked as Fortitude. The dressing was an easy matter, for the
costume had been prepared for her and a gown and vandyke made on
purpose. Would Alexander dare to wink this time, she wondered? And then
she remembered, to her great joy, that he could not; because his face
would be in full view of the people behind the scenes in the library.
The little brown spinning-wheel was brought on the platform; a heap of
flax at which Priscilla is supposed to have been working, was piled
together in front of it; and she and Alexander took their places. The
curtain was drawn aside, and a cry of pleasure from the company
testified to the picturesque prettiness of the representation. It was
according to the fact, that Priscilla should be looking in John Alden's
face; it was just at the moment when she is supposed to be rebuking him
for bringing to her his friend's suit and petition. Thinking herself
safe, and wishing to have the picture as good as possible, Daisy had
ventured to direct her eyes upon the face of Alexander Fish, who
personified the Puritan suitor. To her horror, Alexander, wholly
untouched by the poetry of the occasion and unawed by its hazards, dared
to execute a succession of most barefaced and disagreeable winks right
at Priscilla's eyes. Poor Daisy could not stand this. Forgetting her
character and the picture and everything, her eyes went down; her
eyelids drooped over them; and the expression of grave displeasure would
have done for a yet more dissatisfied mood of mind than Priscilla is
supposed to have known at the time. The company could not stand this,
either; and there burst out a hearty chorus of laughter and cheers
together, which greatly mortified Daisy. The curtain was drawn, and she
had to face the laughing comments of the people in the library. They
were unmerciful, she thought. Daisy grew very pink in the face.
Cinderella was the next picture, in which she had also to play. Dresses
were changed in haste; but meanwhile Daisy began to think about
herself. Was she all right? Mortified at the breaking of her picture;
angry at Alexander; eager to get back praise enough to make amends for
this loss;--whom was little Daisy trying to please? Where was the
ornament of a meek and quiet spirit now? was it on?
They had after all given her place in the Cinderella tableau; she was
one of the two wicked sisters; and she looked dissatisfied enough for
the character. She wanted to get away to be alone for two minutes; but
she had this part to fill first. It is very hard to play when one's
heart is heavy. Daisy could not go on so. She could not bear it. Without
waiting till June could undress her, she slipped away, the moment the
curtain was drawn, and ran across the hall to the dressing room. People
were coming and going everywhere; and Daisy went out upon the piazza.
There, in a dark spot, she kneeled down and prayed; that this terrible
spirit of pleasing herself might be put away from her. She had but a
minute; she knew she must be back again immediately; but she knew too it
takes but a minute for ever so little a prayer to go all the way to
heaven; and the answer does not take any longer to come, if it pleases
God. Daisy was very much in earnest, and quite well knew all that. She
went back to the library feeling humbled and ashamed, but quiet. The
library was all in commotion.
Nora was begging that Esther might be put off till the last. Mrs.
Sandford and Preston objected. They chose that it should come next.
"Here is Priscilla," said Hamilton Rush,--"I beg pardon! it is
Cinderella's wicked sister--I don't know what _her_ name was. Let us
have your vote, my angel; I will address you in your prospective
character; will you put on your wings at once? Or shall we get done with
the terrestrial first? What do you say?--I hope you are going to make
Miss Stanfield the queen, Mrs. Sandford; she has done one part so well
that I should like to see her in another."
"Why, you are going to be Ahasuerus yourself!" said the lady.
"Am I?" said Hamilton; who it must be noticed had not met for the
practisings as often as the other people, being held not to need them.
"Then I must respectfully be allowed to choose my own queen. I vote for
"It is a capital idea," said Preston.
"I think so too," said Mrs. Sandford. "Theresa, my dear, I wonder we did
not think before of something so much to our advantage; but these
children seemed to have got the picture into their own hands. You will
do it far better. Come! let me robe you."
"I would rather be Vashti," murmured Theresa. "I don't like submissive
characters. Mrs. Sandford, Vashti is far more in my line. Go off, boys,
and get ready! What a pity we didn't think of having Vashti, Mrs.
However, Theresa made no objection to be dressed for Esther.
"Who will be your supporters? Ella is too short. Jane and Nora?--Where
Nora was in the furthest corner of the room, seated in gloom.
"I am not going to play any more--" said Nora.
"You must come and be one of the queen's women--I want you for that."
"I am not going to play--" repeated Nora; but nobody heard except Daisy.
"I am Esther myself! nobody else has any right to be it. I have
practised it, and I know how to do it; and I am Esther myself. Nobody
else has any right to be Esther!"
Daisy stood by in dismay. She did not know what comfort to bring to this
"I won't play at all!" said Nora. "If I can't be Esther I won't be
anything. You have all the good things, Daisy! you have all the
prettiest pictures; and I might have had just this one. Just Esther. I
just wanted to be Esther! It's mean."
"Why you've been plenty of things I think," said Jane Linwood, coming
near this corner of gloom.
"I haven't! I have been that hateful prince in the tower and
Cinderella's ugly sister--only hateful things."
"But you were Little Red Riding-Hood."
"Red Riding-Hood!" exclaimed Nora in unspeakable disdain. "Red
Riding-Hood was nothing at all but a red cloak! and Daisy wore feathers,
and had the dog--"
And the vision of Queen Esther's jewels and satin gown and mantle here
overcame Nora's dignity if not her wrath: she began to cry.
"But won't you come and be one of the queen's maids? _they_ will be very
nicely dressed too," Daisy ventured gently.
"No!--I won't be anybody's maid, I tell you," sobbed the disconsolate
"Bring her along, Daisy," Mrs. Sandford called from the other side of
the room.--"I am almost ready for her."
Daisy made another vain effort to bring Nora to reason, and then went
sorrowfully to Mrs. Sandford. She thought tableaux were on the whole a
somewhat troublesome amusement.
"Will I do, Mrs. Sandford?" she said. "Nora does not want to play."
"In dudgeon, hey?" said the lady. "I expected as much. Well Daisy--I
will take you. I might perch you up on a foot-cushion to give you a
little more altitude. However--I don't know but it will do. Theresa will
be letting down her own height."
"I think I am letting myself down altogether, Mrs. Sandford, in allowing
Ahasuerus to pick me out in that lordly style. But never mind--I shan't
touch his sceptre any way. Boys, boys!--are you ready?"
"Splendid, Theresa!" said Preston as he came in. "Splendid! You are the
"I am diamonds and satin, you mean. I thank you. I know that is what I
am at present."
"You look the character," said Hamilton.
Theresa made him a mock little courtesy. It was admirably done. It was
the slightest gesture of supercilious disdain--excellent pantomime. The
boys laughed and shouted, for Theresa's satin and diamonds gave effect
to her acting, and she was a good actor.
This picture had been delayed so long, that at last hearing the shout of
applause behind the scenes, the audience began to call for their share.
In haste, but not the less effectively, Theresa and the rest threw
themselves into attitude and the curtain was pulled aside. Daisy wished
she could have been in the drawing-room, to see the picture; she knew it
must be beautiful; but she was supporting one jewelled arm of Queen
Esther and obliged by her duty to look only at the Queen's face. Daisy
thought even that was a good deal to look at, it was so magnificently
surrounded with decoration: but at the same time she was troubled about
Nora and sorry for her own foolishness, so that her own face was
abundantly in character for the grave concern that sat upon it. This
picture met with, great favour. The people in the library were in much
glee after it was over; all but Daisy and Nora.
"It is all spoiled!" said the latter. "The evening has been hateful. I
wish I hadn't come."
"O Nora! don't say that," Daisy urged. "The pictures are almost over
now; and then we shall have supper."
"I don't want supper! I only wanted to be Queen Esther and you said I
might. It was the prettiest picture of the whole lot."
"But I couldn't help it, Nora."
"I could have done it just as well as Theresa! She didn't look handsome
"O Nora, I think she did--for a picture."
"She didn't a bit; the things she had on looked handsome."
Daisy was called away. Her last dressing was to be done now, and the one
of which Daisy was most doubtful. She was to stand for the angel in the
"Game of Life." Other people had no doubt about it. Mrs. Sandford was
sure that the angel's wings would make a good representation, which
Daisy was slow to believe; near by, they looked so very like gauze and
pasteboard! They were arranged, at any rate, to appear as if they grew
out of her shoulders; she was arrayed in flowing white draperies over
her own little cambrick frock; and then she was ready. Hamilton came in.
He was to be the young man in the picture. Daisy liked his appearance
well. But when Preston followed him, she felt unspeakably shocked.
Preston was well got up, in one respect; he looked frightful. He wore a
black mask, ugly but not grotesque; and his whole figure was more like
the devil in the picture than Daisy had imagined it could be. She did
not like the whole business at all. There was no getting out of it now;
the picture must be given; so the performers were placed.
Hamilton and Preston sat on two sides of a chess-board, and behind them
the little angel stood watching the game. Mrs. Sandford was right. By a
skilful placing and shielding of the lamps, the lights were thrown
broadly where they ought to be, on faces and draperies, leaving the
gauze wings of the angel in such obscurity that they just shewed as it
was desired they should. The effect was extremely good, and even
artistic. The little angel herself was not in full light; it was through
a shade of gloom that her grave face of concern looked down upon the
game on the chess-board. Truly Daisy looked concerned and grave. She
thought she did not like to play such things as this. One of the
figures below her was so very wicked and devilish in its look; and
Hamilton leaned over the pieces on the board with so well-given an
expression of doubt and perplexity,--his adversary's watch was so
intent,--and the meaning of the whole was so sorrowfully deep; that
Daisy gazed unconsciously most like a guardian angel who might see with
sorrow the evil one getting the better over a soul of his care. For it
was real to Daisy. She knew that the devil does in truth try to bewitch
and wile people out of doing right into doing wrong. She knew that he
tries to get the mastery of them; that he rejoices every time to sees
them make a "false move;" that he is a great cunning enemy, all the
worse because we cannot see him, striving to draw people to their ruin;
and she thought that it was far too serious and dreadful a thing to be
made a _play_ of. She wondered if guardian angels did really watch over
poor tempted souls and try to help them. And all this brought upon
Daisy's face a shade of awe, and sorrow, and fear, which was strangely
in keeping with her character as an angel, and very singular in its
effect on the picture. The expressions of pleasure and admiration which
had burst from the company in the drawing-room at the first sight of it,
gradually stilled and ceased; and it was amid a profound and curious
silence and hush that the curtain was at length drawn upon the picture.
There were some people among the spectators not altogether satisfied in
"How remarkable!" was the first word that came from anybody's lips in
the darkened drawing-room.
"Very remarkable!" somebody else said. "Did you ever see such acting?"
"It has all been good," said a gentleman, Mr. Sandford; "but this _was_
"Thanks, I suppose you know to whose management," said the soft voice of
the lady of the house.
"Management is a good thing," said the gentleman; "but there was more
than management here, Mrs. Randolph. It was uncommon, upon my word! I
suppose my wife came in for the wings, but where did the _face_ come
"Daisy," said Mr. Randolph as he found his little daughter by his side
again,--"are you here?"
Her father put his arm round her, as if to assure himself there were no
wings in the case.
"How do you like playing pictures?"
"I think I do not like them very much--" Daisy said sedately, nestling
up to her father's side.
"Not? How is that? Your performance has been much approved."
Daisy said nothing. Mr. Randolph thought he felt a slight tremor in the
"Do you understand the allegory of this last tableau, Daisy?" Dr.
"I do not know what an allegory is, Dr. Sandford."
"What is the meaning of the representation, then, as you think of it?"
"This last picture?"
"It is a trial of skill, Dr. Sandford."
The room was still darkened, and the glance of intelligence and
amusement that passed between her friend and her father, their own eyes
could scarcely catch. Daisy did not see it. But she had spoken
diplomatically. She did not want to come any nearer the subject of the
picture in talking with Dr. Sandford. His mind was different, and he
"What is the trial of skill about, Daisy?"
The child hesitated, and then said, speaking low and most unchildlike--
"It is about a human soul."
"And what do you understand are the powers at work--or at play?"
"It is not play," said Daisy.
"Answer Dr. Sandford, Daisy," said her father.
"Papa," said the child, "it isn't play. The devil tries to make people
do wrong--and if they try to do right, then there is a--"
"I don't know--a fight, papa."
Mr. Randolph again felt a tremor, a nervous trembling, pass over Daisy.
"You do not suppose, my darling," he said softly, "that such a fight
goes on with anything like this horrible figure that your cousin Preston
has made himself?"
"I do not suppose he looks like that, papa."
"I do not think there is such a personage at all, Daisy. I am sure you
need not trouble your little head with thinking about it."
Daisy made no answer.
"There is a struggle always going on, no doubt, between good and evil;
but we cannot paint good and evil without imagining shapes for them."
"But papa,--" said Daisy, and stopped. It was no place or time for
talking about the matter, though her father spoke low. She did not want
even Dr. Sandford to hear.
"What is it, Daisy?"
"Yes," said the doctor, "I should like to know what the argument is."
"Papa," said Daisy, awesomely,--"there is a _place_ prepared for the
devil and his angels."
Mr. Randolph was silent now. But he felt again that Daisy was nervously
excited, by the quiver that passed over her little frame.
"So you think, Daisy," said the doctor leaning towards her,--"that the
white and the black spirits have a fight over the people of this world?"
Daisy hesitated, struggled, quivered, with the feeling and the
excitement which were upon her, tried for self-command and words to
answer. Mr. Randolph saw it all and did not hurry her, though she
hesitated a good deal.
"You think they have a quarrel for us?" repeated the doctor.
"I don't know, Dr. Sandford--" Daisy answered in a strangely tender and
sober voice. It was strange to her two hearers.
"But you believe in the white spirits, I suppose, as well as in the
other branch of the connection?"
"Papa," said Daisy, her feeling breaking a little through her composure
so much as to bring a sort of cry into her voice--"there is joy among
the angels of heaven whenever anybody grows good!--"
She had turned to her father as she spoke and threw her arms round his
neck, hiding her face, with a clinging action that told somewhat of that
which was at work in her mind. Mr. Randolph perhaps guessed at it. He
said nothing; he held her close to his breast; and the curtain drew at
that moment for the last tableau. Daisy did not see it, and Mr. Randolph
did not think of it; though people said it was very good, it was only
the head and shoulders of Theresa Stanfield as an old country
schoolmistress, seen behind a picture frame, with her uplifted finger
and a bundle of rods. Theresa was so transformed that nobody would have
known her; and while the company laughed and applauded, Daisy came back
to her usual self; and slid out of her father's arms when the show was
over, all ready for supper and Nora Dinwiddie.
There was a grand supper, and everybody was full of pleasure and
complimentary speeches and discussion and praise of the tableaux. That
was among the elder portion of the company. The four or five children
were not disposed to such absolute harmony. Grapes and ices and
numberless other good things were well enjoyed, no doubt; but amidst
them all a spirit of criticism was rife.
"Daisy, your wings didn't look a bit like real wings--" said Jane
"No," echoed Nora, "I guess they didn't. They were like--let me see what
they were like! They were like the wings of a windmill."
"No, they weren't!" said Ella. "I was in the drawing-room--and they
didn't look like a windmill a bit. They looked queer, but pretty."
"Queer, but pretty!" repeated Nora.
"Yes, they did," said Ella. "And you laughed when you were Red
Riding-hood, Nora Dinwiddie."
"I didn't laugh a bit!"
"It is no matter if you did laugh, Nora," said Daisy;--"you got grave
again, and the picture was very nice."
"I didn't laugh!" said Nora; "and if I did, everybody else did. I don't
think the pictures I saw were at all like pictures--they were just like
a parcel of people dressed up."
Some gay paper mottoes made a diversion and stopped the little mouths
for a time; and then the people went away.
"Well Daisy," said Mrs. Gary,--"how do you like this new entertainment?"
"The pictures? I think they were very pretty, aunt Gary."
"How happened it that somebody else wore my diamonds?" said her
mother,--"and not you. I thought you were to be dressed for Queen
"Yes, mamma, so I was at first; and then it was thought best--"
"Not by me," said Preston. "It was no doing of mine. Daisy was to have
been Esther, and she herself declared off--backed out of it, and left me
to do as best I could."
"What was that for, Daisy?" said Mrs. Gary. "You would have made an
"What was that for, Daisy?" said Mrs. Randolph. "Did you not like to be
"Yes, mamma--I liked it at one time."
"And why not at another time?"
"I found out that somebody else would like it too, mamma; and I
Mrs. Randolph broke out with a contemptuous expression of displeasure.
"You thought you would put yourself in a corner! You were not manager,
Daisy; and you must remember something is due to the one that is. You
have no right to please yourself."
"Come here, Daisy," said her father, "and bid me good night. I dare say
you were trying to please somebody else. Tell mamma she must remember
the old fable, and excuse you."
"What fable, Mr. Randolph?" the lady inquired, as Daisy left the room.
"The one in which the old Grecian told the difficulty of pleasing more
people than one or two at once."
"Daisy is ruined!" said Mrs. Randolph.
"I do not see how it appears."
"She has not entered into this thing at all as we hoped she would--not
at all as a child should."
"She looked a hundred years old, in the Game of Life," said Mrs. Gary.
"I never saw such a representation in my life. You would have said she
was a real guardian angel of somebody, who was playing his game not to
"I am glad it is over!" said Mrs. Randolph. "I am tired of it all." And
she walked off. So did Mr. Randolph, but as he went he was thinking of
Daisy's voice and her words--"There is joy among the angels of heaven
whenever anybody grows good."
It was growing late in the fall now. Mrs. Randolph began to talk of
moving to the city for the winter. Mr. Randolph more than half hinted
that he would like as well to stay where he was. But his wife said that
for Daisy's sake they must quit Melbourne, and try what new scenes, and
lessons, and dancing school would do for her. "Not improve the colour in
her cheeks, I am afraid," said Mr. Randolph; but however he did not
oppose, and Mrs. Randolph made her arrangements.
It was yet but a day or two after the tableaux, when something happened
to disturb her plans. Mr. Randolph was out riding with her, one fine
October morning, when his horse became unruly in consequence of a stone
hitting him; a chance stone thrown from a careless hand. The animal was
restive, took the stone very much in dudgeon, ran, and carrying his
rider under a tree, Mr. Randolph's forehead was struck by a low-lying
limb and he was thrown off. The blow was severe; he was stunned; and had
not yet recovered his senses when they brought him back to Melbourne.
Mrs. Randolph was in a state almost as much beyond self-management.
Daisy was out of the house. Mrs. Gary had left Melbourne; and till the
doctor arrived Mrs. Randolph was nearly distracted.
He came; and though his fine face took no gloom upon it and his blue eye
was as usual impenetrable, the eyes that anxiously watched him were not
satisfied. Dr. Sandford said nothing; and Mrs. Randolph had
self-control sufficient not to question him, while he made his
examinations and applied his remedies. But the remedies, though severe,
were a good while in bringing back any token of consciousness. It came
at last, faintly. The doctor summoned Mrs. Randolph out of the room then
and ordered that his patient should be kept in the most absolute and
profound quiet. No disturbance or excitement must be permitted to come
"How long, doctor?"
"I beg your pardon, Mrs. Randolph?--"
"How long will it be before he is better?"
"I cannot say that. Any excitement or disturbance would much delay it.
Let him hear nothing and see nothing--except you, and some attendant
that he is accustomed to."
"O doctor, can't you stay till he is better?"
"I will return again very soon, Mrs. Randolph. There is nothing to be
done at present for which I am needed."
"But you will come back as soon as you can?"
"And O, Dr. Sandford, cannot you take Daisy away?"
"Where is she?"
"I don't know--she is not come home. Do take her away!"
The doctor went thoughtfully down stairs, and checking his first
movement to go out of the front door, turned to the library. Nobody was
there; but he heard voices, and passed out upon the piazza. Daisy's pony
chaise stood at the foot of the steps; she herself had just alighted.
Preston was there too, and it was his voice the doctor had first heard,
in anxious entreaty.
"Come, Daisy!--it's capital down at the river; and I want to shew you
"I think I am tired now, Preston. I'll go another time," said Daisy.
"Daisy, I want you now. Come! come!--I want you to go now, this
"But I do not feel like a walk, Preston. I can't go till I have had my
Preston looked imploringly at the doctor, towards whom Daisy was now
mounting the steps. It is safe to say that the doctor would willingly
have been spared his present task.
"Where have you been now, Daisy?" he said.
Daisy's face brightened into its usual smile at sight of him. "I have
been to Crum Elbow, Dr. Sandford."
"Suppose you go a little further and have luncheon with Mrs. Sandford
and me? It will not take us long to get to it."
"Does mamma say so, Dr. Sandford?"
"Then I will be ready in a moment."
"Where are you going?" said her friend stopping her.
"Only up stairs for a minute. I will be ready in two minutes, Dr.
"Stop," said the doctor, still detaining her. "I would rather not have
you go up stairs. Your father is not quite well, and I want him kept
What a shadow came over Daisy's sunshine.
"Papa not well! What is the matter?"
"He does not feel quite like himself, and I wish him left in perfect
"What is the matter with him, Dr. Sandford?"
Daisy's words were quiet, but the doctor saw the gathering woe on her
cheek; the roused suspicion. This would not do to go on.
"He has had a little accident, Daisy; nothing that you need distress
yourself about; but I wish him to be quite quiet for a little."
Daisy said nothing now, but the speech of her silent face was so
eloquent that the doctor found it expedient to go on.
"He was riding this morning; his horse took him under the low bough of
a tree, and his head got a severe blow. That is all the matter."
"Was papa _thrown_?" said Daisy under her breath.
"I believe he was. Any horseman might be unseated by such a thing."
Daisy again was mute, and again the doctor found himself obliged to
answer the agony of her eyes.
"I do not think he is in much, if any, pain, Daisy; but I want him to be
still for a while. I think that is good for him; and it would not be
good that you should disturb him. Your mother is there, and that is
Daisy stood quite still for a few minutes. Then making an effort to
withdraw herself from the doctor's arm she said,
"I will not go into the room--I will not make any noise."
"Stop! Daisy, you must not go up stairs. Not this morning."
She stood still again, grew white and trembled.
"As soon as I think it will do him good to see you, I will let you into
his room. Now, shall we send June up for anything you want?"
"I think, Dr. Sandford," said Daisy struggling for steadiness, "I will
not go away from home."
Her words were inexpressibly tender and sorrowful. The doctor was
"Your mother desired it."
"Yes; she wished me to carry you home with me. Come, Daisy! It is hard,
but it is less hard after all than it would be for you to wander about
here; and much better."
Daisy in her extremity sunk her head on the doctor's shoulder, and so
remained, motionless, for more minutes than he had to spare. Yet he was
still too, and waited. Then he spoke to her again.
"I will go," said Daisy.
"You wanted something first?"
"I did not want anything but to change my gloves. It is no matter."
Very glad to have gained his point, the doctor went off with his charge;
drove her very fast to his own home, and there left her in Mrs.
Sandford's care; while he drove off furiously again to see another
patient before he returned to Melbourne.
It was a long day after that to Daisy; and so it was to Mrs. Sandford.
Nora Dinwiddie was no longer with her; there was nobody to be a
distraction or a pleasure to the grave little child who went about with
such a weird stillness or sat motionless with such unchildlike quiet.
Mrs. Sandford did not know what to do; but indeed nothing could be done
with Daisy. She could not be amused or happy; she did not wish Nora were
there; she could only keep patient and wait, and wait, with a sore,
straining heart, while the hours passed and Dr. Sandford did not come
and she had no tidings. Was she patient? It seemed to Daisy that her
heart would burst with impatience; or rather with its eager longing to
know how things were at home and to get some relief. The hours of the
day went by, and no relief came. Dr. Sandford did not return. Daisy took
it as no good omen.
It was hard to sit at the dinner-table and have Mr. and Mrs. Sandford
shewing her kindness, while her heart was breaking. It was hard to be
quiet and still and answer politely and make no trouble for her
entertainers. It was hard; but Daisy did it. It was hard to eat too; and
that Daisy could not do. It was impossible.
"Mustn't be cast down," said Mr. Sandford. He was one of the people who
look as if they never could be. Black whiskers and a round face
sometimes have that kind of look. "Mustn't be cast down! No need.
Everybody gets a tumble from horseback once or twice in his life. I've
had it seven times. Not pleasant; but it don't hurt you much, nine times
"Hush, Mr. Sandford," said his wife. "Daisy cannot feel about it just as
"Never been thrown yet herself, eh! Give her one of those peaches, my
dear--she will like that better than meats to-day. Eat one of my
red-cheeked peaches, Daisy; and tell me whether you have any so good at
Melbourne. I don't believe it."
Daisy peeled her peach. It was all she could bear to do. She peeled it
carefully and slowly; there never was a peach so long in paring; for it
was hardly more than finished when they rose from table. She had tried
to taste it too; that was all; the taste never reached her
consciousness. Mrs. Sandford knew better than her husband, and let her
Daisy could think of nothing now but to watch for the doctor; and to do
it with the most comfort and the best chance she placed herself on the
steps of the piazza, sitting down on the uppermost step. It was a fair
evening; warm and mild; and Mrs. Sandford sitting in her drawing-room
with the windows open was but a few feet from Daisy and could observe
her. She did so very often, with a sorrowful eye. Daisy's attitude
bespoke her intentness; the child's heart was wound up to such a pitch
of expectation that eye and ear were for nothing else. She sat bending
both upon the road by which she looked for the doctor to come; her
little figure did not stir; her head rested slightly on her hand with a
droop that spoke of weariness or of weakness. So she sat looking down
the road, and the sweet October light was all over her and all around
her. Mrs. Sandford watched her, till the light lost its brightness and
grew fair and faint, and then began to grow dim. Daisy sat still, and
Mrs. Sandford looked at her, till a step within the room drew her
attention on that side.
"Why there you are!" said the lady--"come the other way. What news?"
"I have no news."
"Yes, but how is Mr. Randolph?" The lady had dropped her voice very low.
"He is sensible."
"Sensible!" Mrs. Sandford said with a startled look; but then drawing
the doctor silently to her side she pointed to the watching, anxious
little figure there on the steps. It did not need that Dr. Sandford
should speak her name. Daisy had perfectly well heard and understood the
words that had passed; and now she rose up slowly and came towards the
doctor who stepped out to meet her.
"Well, Daisy--have you been looking for me?" he said. But something in
the little upturned face admonished him that no light words could be
borne. He sat down and took her hand.
"Your father looks better than he did this morning; but he feels badly
yet after his fall."
Daisy looked at him and was silent a moment.
"Will they send for me home?"
"Not to-night, I think. Mrs. Randolph thought better that you should
stay here. Can't you do it contentedly?"
Daisy made no audible answer; her lip quivered a very little; it did not
belie the singular patience which sat upon her brow. Her hand lay yet in
the doctor's; he held it a little closer and drew the child
affectionately to his side, keeping her there while he talked with Mrs.
Sandford upon other subjects; for he said no more about Melbourne. Still
while he talked he kept his arm round Daisy, and when tea was brought he
hardly let her go. But tea was not much more to Daisy than dinner had
been; and when Mrs. Sandford offered to shew her to her room if she
desired it, Daisy accepted the offer at once.
Mrs. Sandford herself wished to supply the place of June, and would have
done everything for her little guest if she could have been permitted.
Daisy negatived all such proposals. She could do everything for herself,
she said; she wanted no help. A bag of things had been packed for her
by June and brought in the doctor's gig. Daisy was somehow sorry to see
them; they looked like preparations for staying.
"We will send for June to-morrow, Daisy, if your mamma will leave you
still with me."
"O, I shall go home to-morrow--I hope," said Daisy. "I hope--" she
"Yes, I hope so," said Mrs. Sandford. She kissed Daisy and went away. It
was all Daisy wanted, to be alone. The October night was mild; she went
to the window; one of the windows, which looked out upon the grass and
trees of the courtyard, now lighted by a faint moon. Daisy sunk down on
her knees there; the sky and the stars were more homelike than anything
else; and she felt so strange, so miserable, as her little heart had
never known anything like before. She knew well enough what it all
meant, her mother's sending her away from home, her father's not being
able to bear any disturbance. Speak as lightly, look as calmly as they
would, she knew what was the meaning underneath people's faces and
voices. Her father had been very much hurt; quite well Daisy was assured
of that. He was too ill to see her, or too ill for her mother to like
her to see him. Daisy knelt down; she remembered she had a Father in
heaven, but it seemed at first as if she was too broken hearted to pray.
Yet down there through the still moonlight she remembered his eye could
see her and she knew he had not forgotten his little child. Daisy never
heard her door open; but it did once, and some time after it did again.
"I do not know what to do--" said Mrs. Sandford down stairs. There the
lamps made a second bright day; and the two gentlemen were busy over the
table with newspapers and books. Both of them looked up, at the sound of
her perplexed voice.
"That child,--" said Mrs. Sandford. "She is not in bed yet."
The lady stood by the table; she had just come from Daisy's room.
"What is she doing?" her husband asked.
"I don't know. She is kneeling by the open window. She was there an hour
ago, and she is there yet. She has not moved since."
"She has fallen asleep--" suggested Mr. Sandford. "I should say, wake
"She is too wide awake now. She is lifting her little face to the sky,
in a way that breaks my heart. And there she has been, this hour and
"Have some supper directly, and call her down,--" was the second
suggestion of the master of the house. "It will be supper-time soon.
Here--it's some time after nine."
"Grant, what is the matter with Mr. Randolph? Is it very serious?"
"Mrs. Randolph thinks so, I believe. Have you spoken to Daisy?"
"No, and I cannot. Unless I had good news to carry to her."
"Where is she?" said the doctor getting up.
"In the room next to yours."
So Mrs. Sandford sat down and the doctor went up stairs. The next thing
he stood behind Daisy at her window. She was not gazing into the sky
now; the little round head lay on her arms on the window-sill.
"What is going on here?" said a soft voice behind her.
"O! Dr. Sandford--" said the child jumping up. She turned and faced her
friend, with a face so wistful and searching, so patient, yet so
strained with its self-restraint and fear, that the doctor felt it was
something serious with which he had to do. He did not attempt a light
tone before that little face; he felt that it would not pass.
"I came up to see _you_" he said. "I have nothing new to tell, Daisy.
What are you about?"
"Dr. Sandford," said the child, "won't you tell me a little?"
The inquiry was piteous. For some reason or other, the doctor did not
answer it with a put-off, nor with flattering words, as doctors are so
apt to do. Perhaps it was not his habit, but certainly in other respects
he was not too good a man to do it. He sat down and let the moonlight
show Daisy his face.
"Daisy," he said, "your father was stunned by his blow, and needs to be
kept in perfect quiet for a time, until he is quite over it. People
after such a fall often do; but I do not know that any other
consequences whatever will follow."
"He was stunned--" repeated Daisy.
The child did not say any more, yet her eyes of searching eagerness
plainly asked for fuller information. They were not content nor at rest.
"Can't you have patience and hope for other tidings to-morrow?"
"May I?--" said Daisy.
"May you? Certainly. It was your mother's wish to send you here--not
mine. It was not needful; though if you could be content, I think it
would be well."
She looked a little relieved; very little.
"Now what are you doing? Am I to have two patients on my hand in your
"What are you doing then, up so late? Watching the stars?"
"I am your physician--you know you must tell me everything. What were
you about, Daisy?"
"Dr. Sandford," said Daisy, in difficulty how to speak,--"I was seeking
And with the word, somehow, Daisy's self-restraint failed; her head
went down on the doctor's shoulder; and when she lifted it up there were
two or three tears that needed to be brushed away. No more; but the
doctor felt the slight little frame tremble.
"Did you find comfort, Daisy?" he said kindly. "I ask as your physician;
because if you are using wrong measures for that end I shall forbid
them. What were you doing to get comfort?"
"I did not want to go to sleep, sir."
"Daisy, I am going to carry you down to have some supper."
"O, I do not want any, Dr. Sandford!"
"Are you ready to go down?"
"No sir--in a minute,--I only want to brush my hair."
"Brush it, then."
Which Daisy did; then coming to her friend with a face as smoothly in
order as the little round head, she repeated humbly,
"I do not want anything, Dr. Sandford."
"Shall I carry you down?"
"O no, sir."
"Come then. One way or the other. And Daisy, when we are down stairs,
and when you come up again, you must obey my orders."
The supper-table was laid. Mrs. Sandford expressed delight at seeing
Daisy come in, but it would maybe have been of little avail had her
kindness been the only force at work. It was not. The doctor prescribed
peaches and bread, and gave Daisy grapes and a little bit of cold
chicken; and was very kind and very imperative too; and Daisy did not
dare nor like to disobey him. She eat the supper, which tasted good when
he made her eat it; and then was dismissed up stairs to bed, with orders
to go straight to sleep. And Daisy did as she was told.
The doctor's horse was before the door, and Daisy was on the piazza. The
doctor came out, ready for his day's work.
"Do you want me to do anything for you at Melbourne, Daisy?"
"Cannot I go home to-day, Dr. Sandford?"
"I do not know. Supposing that you be still kept in banishment--what
Daisy struggled with herself--succeeded, and spoke calmly.
"I should like to have Loupe sent, Dr. Sandford, if you please."
"Loupe? what is that? What is Loupe, Daisy?"
"My pony, sir. My pony chaise."
"Oh!--Not to drive to Melbourne?"
Daisy met the doctor's blue eye full, and answered with guileless
submission. "No, sir."
"I will send Loupe. By the way--Daisy, have you business on hand?"
"So much that you can do none for me?"
"O no, sir. I have not a great deal of business. What may I do, Dr.
"Can you go to Crum Elbow?"
"Yes, sir. I have got to go there."
"All right, then. Daisy, there is a poor family down by the railway
that were burnt out a night or two ago; they have lost everything. The
neighbours will have to supply them with a few things. Will you go to
the village and buy clothing for two little children, six and seven
years old? One is a girl, the other a boy."
The doctor took out his pocket-book and began to look over bank bills.
"Dresses, do you mean, Dr. Sandford?--and a boy's dress?"
"I mean, everything they need to put on--dresses and petticoats, and
jacket and trowsers, and a shirt or two for the boy. Here is money,
Daisy; spend whatever you find needful."
"But, Dr. Sandford--"
"I don't believe Mr. Lamb keeps those things ready made."
"I am sure he does not. Buy the stuff, Daisy--all the stuff--we will see
about getting it made afterwards. You can consult my sister, Mrs.
Sandford, about quantities and all that; or I dare say the storekeeper
can tell you."
So away went the doctor. Daisy felt in great need of consulting
somebody; but Mrs. Sandford was busy, and so engaged that there was no
chance for several hours. Not indeed before the pony chaise came; and
Daisy resolved then to wait no longer, but to do some other business
The news that she eagerly asked for from Melbourne was not much when she
got it. Sam knew little; he believed Mr. Randolph was better, he said;
but his tone of voice was not very encouraging, and Daisy drove off to
Juanita's cottage. There was one person, she knew, who could feel with
her; and she went with a sort of eagerness up the grassy pathway from
the road to the cottage door, to get that sympathy.
Juanita was within, busy at some ironing. The work fell from her hands
and the iron was set down with an expression of pleasure as she saw
Daisy come in. The next minute her tone changed and her look.
"What ails my love?"
"Juanita--" said Daisy standing still and pale by the ironing table,
"--haven't you heard? Papa--"
"What, Miss Daisy?"
"Papa--he was knocked off his horse yesterday--_and they won't let me
So far Daisy's power of composure went, and no further. With that last
word her voice failed. She threw her arms around Juanita, and hiding her
face in her gown, burst into such tears as Daisy rarely shed at all;
very rarely under any one's observation. Juanita, very much startled,
sat down and drew the child into her arms, so far as she could; for
Daisy had sunk on her knees, and with her face in Juanita's lap was
weeping all her heart out. Mrs. Benoit hardly knew how to ask questions.
"Why must not Miss Daisy see her papa?"
"I don't know!--I suppose--he's not well enough."
Juanita breathed more freely.
"Let us pray for him, Miss Daisy."
"O yes, Juanita, do!--"
There was an intensity of meaning in these words and in Daisy's hurried
assuming of another place and posture to leave Juanita free to kneel
too, that almost took away the black woman's power of speech. She read
what was breaking the child's heart; she knew what for was that
suppressed cry of longing. For a moment Juanita was silent. But she had
long known not only trouble but the refuge from trouble; and to that
refuge she now went, and carried Daisy. As one goes who has often been
there; who has many a time proved it a sure refuge; who knows it sure
and safe and unfailing. So she prayed; while Daisy's sobs at first were
excessive, and then by degrees calmed and quieted and ceased. They were
quite still before Juanita finished; and when they rose up from their
knees Daisy's face was composed again. Then, she came and stood with her
hand on Juanita's shoulder, both of them silent; till Daisy put her lips
to the fine olive-dark cheek of the old woman and kissed it. Juanita
drew her into her arms, and Daisy sat there, nestling and tired.
"Can Miss Daisy trust the Lord?"
"Trust him,--how. Juanita?"
"That he do no harm to his little child?"
"O it isn't _me_, Juanita--" Daisy said with a very tender and sad
"When Joseph--my love knows the story--when he was sold away from his
father and home, to be servant of strangers far off--maybe he thought it
was hard times. But the Lord meant it for good, and the father and the
child came together again, in a happy day."
Daisy rose up, or rather raised her head, and looked steadily in her
friend's face as if to see what this might mean.
"The Lord knoweth them that trust in him," said the black woman.
Daisy's head went down again; and there was a long silence. It was
broken at last by Juanita's offering her some refreshment; and then
Daisy started up to the business on hand. She explained to Juanita where
she was staying, and what she had that morning to do. Meanwhile Juanita
made her take some bread and milk.
"So how much must I get, Juanita? can you tell me? how much for two
little frocks, and two little petticoats, and one suit of boy's
"My love knows, it must be accordin' to the stuff. If the stuff narrow,
she want more; if wide, she want less."
"Then you cannot tell me;--and Mrs. Sandford could not either. And I
cannot tell. What shall I do?"
"Mrs. Sandford maybe get the things for Miss Daisy."
"No, she must not. Dr. Sandford wants me to do it. I must get them,
"Hm! Suppose I put up my irons and walk round to the village--and Miss
Daisy go in her shay."
"To the store!" cried Daisy. "O yes, Juanita; get ready, and I will take
you with me. Then you can tell me all about it."
Juanita demurred and objected to this proposal, but Daisy was greatly
pleased and would have it so. Mrs. Benoit put up her ironing work, and
arrayed her head in a new clean bright handkerchief, wonderfully put on;
she was ready then; and Sam grinned to see the tall fine figure of the
old coloured woman sitting in the pony chaise by the side of his little
mistress. It was as good to Daisy as anything could have been that day.
They drove into Crum Elbow, went to the store; and there she and Juanita
had a pretty large morning's business in choosing the various goods Dr.
Sandford had desired Daisy to get. Daisy got excited over it. Calico for
a little frock, and muslin for the underclothes, and stuff for the boy's
jacket and trowsers and shirt; Juanita knew the quantities necessary,
and Daisy had only the trouble of choice and judgment of various kinds.
But that was a great responsibility, seeing she was doing it for Dr.
Sandford. It took a good while. Then Daisy drove Juanita home again,
gave her another kiss, and with her carriage load of dry goods and a
tired and hungry little body went home to Mrs. Sandford's.
It was then pretty late in the day, and the doctor not come in. Daisy
dressed, and went down to the drawing-room to wait for him. Not long
this time. There was a certain air of calm strength about Dr. Sandford's
face and cool blue eye, that Daisy loved; she felt she loved it now, as
she saw him come in; she trusted him. He spoke first to his brother and
sister; then came where Daisy was standing, sat down on the sofa and
placed her beside him.
"I have no bad news for you, Daisy," he said kindly,--"and not the good
news neither that you are looking for. Your father is no worse, though
it will require several days to let him recover from the immediate
effects of his accident. The quieter he is meanwhile the better."
"And mamma--she said--?"
"She said--yes, you have guessed it; she would like to have you remain
here for a few days longer. She thinks you are better under my care than
"Under _my_ care, I think it is," said Mrs. Sandford.
"Can you bear it, Daisy?"
She looked up meekly and answered, "Yes, Dr. Sandford." So meekly that
the doctor's eye took special note of her.
"Have you been to Crum Elbow to-day?"
"Yes, sir. I got all the things."
"All of them?"
"What reward shall I give you?"
She had been speaking with a sad meekness, a sober self restraint,
unlike her years. If Dr. Sandford meant to break it up, which I think he
did, he had partial success. Daisy looked up and smiled at him. But yet
it was a meek smile, and sad even in its composed denial of any notion
of reward. Not satisfactory to the doctor.
"I always repay anybody that does me any service," he went on.
"Ought one always to do that?" said Daisy.
"What is your judgment?"
"I think _everybody_ could not."
"Some people have nothing to pay with,--for things that are done for
"I do not believe that."
"_Some_ people, Dr. Sandford?"
"Whom do you know in that condition--for instance?"
"Why, I--for instance."
"You! What cannot you pay for?"
"A great many things," said Daisy slowly. "Hardly any thing. I am only a
"How is it about Molly Skelton? Does she pay you for the various
attentions she receives from you?"
"Pay me, Dr. Sandford! I do not want pay."
"You are very unlike me, then," said the doctor; "that is all I have to
"Why Dr. Sandford, what pay could she give me?"
"Don't you get any, then?"
"Why no, sir," said Daisy, eagerly answering the doctor's blue eye.
"Except--yes, of course, I get a sort of pay; but Molly does not--yes
she _does_ give it to me; but I mean, she does not mean to pay me."
The doctor smiled, one of those rare pleasant smiles, that shewed his
white teeth in a way that Daisy liked; it was only a glimmer.
"What sort of pay is that?--which she gives, and does not mean to give,
and you take and do not ask for?"
"O!--_that_ sort of pay!" said Daisy. "Is it _that_ sort you mean, Dr.
"That is one sort."
"But I mean, is it the sort that you always give, you say?"
"Always, when people deserve it. And then, do you not think it is
natural to wish to give them, if you can, some other sort of pay?"
"I think it is," said Daisy sedately.
"I am glad you do not disapprove of it."
"But I do not think people _want_ that other kind of pay. Dr. Sandford."
"Perhaps not. I suppose it is a selfish gratification of oneself to give
Daisy looked so earnestly and so curiously at him, as if to see what all
this was about, that the doctor must have had good command of his lips
not to smile again.
They went in to dinner just then and the conversation stopped. But
though not talked to, Daisy was looked after; and when she had forgotten
all about dinner and was thinking mournfully of what was going on at
home, a slice of roast beef or a nice peach would come on her plate with
a word from the doctor--"You are to eat that, Daisy"--and though he said
no more, somehow Daisy always chose to obey him. At last they went into
the drawing-room again and were drinking coffee. Daisy was somewhat
comforted; she thought Dr. Sandford did not act as if there were
anything very dreadful the matter at home.
"Daisy," said the doctor, "you have done work for me to-day--would you
object to be paid?"
Daisy looked up smiling; it depended on what the pay might be, she
thought; but she said nothing.
"Would it be violently against your principles?"
"I do not want pay, Dr. Sandford."
"Not if I were to offer to give you a sight of those little baskets on
the frond of the _Marchantia_?"
Daisy's face all changed; but she said in the quietest manner, "Can you
do that, Dr. Sandford?"
"Come with me."
He held out his hand, which Daisy willingly took, and they went up
stairs together. Just short of her room the doctor stopped, and turned
into his own. This was a very plain apartment; there was no beauty of
furniture, though it struck Daisy there was a great deal of something.
There were boxes, and cabinets, and shelves full of books and boxes, and
bookcases, and one or two tables. Yet it was not a pretty-looking room,
like the others in Mrs. Sandford's house. Daisy was a little
disappointed. The doctor however gave her a chair, and then brought one
of the unlikely deal boxes to the table and opened it. Daisy forgot
everything. There appeared a polished, very odd brass machine, which the
doctor took out and spent some time in adjusting. Daisy patiently looked
"Do you know what this is, Daisy?"
"It is a microscope. And looking through this, you will see what you
could not see with your two eyes alone; there are some strong magnifying
glasses here--and I found to-day some plants of Marchantia growing in a
sheltered place. Here is one of the baskets for you--"
"Is it on that bit of green leaf?"
"Yes, but you can see nothing there. Try this view."
He stood back and helped Daisy to take a kneeling position in her chair,
so that her eye could reach the eye-piece of the microscope. Daisy
looked, took her eye away to give a wondering glance of inquiry at her
friend's face, and then applied it to the microscope again; a pink hue
of delight actually spreading over her poor little pale cheeks. It was
so beautiful, so wonderful. Again Daisy took her eye away to examine out
of the glass the coarse little bit of green leaf that lay upon the
stand; and looked back at the show in the microscope with a bewitched
mind. It seemed as if she could never weary of looking from one to the
other. The doctor bade her take her own time, and Daisy took a good
"What stuffs did you buy this morning?" the doctor asked. Daisy drew
back from the microscope.
"I got all you told me, sir?"
"Exactly. I forget what that was."
"I bought a little piece of red and green linsey-woolsey for a frock
for the little girl--and some brown strong stuff for the boy's suit; and
then white muslin to make things for the girl, and blue check for the
"Just right. Did your money hold out?"
"O I had three dollars and two shillings left, Dr. Sandford. Two
shillings and sixpence, I believe."
"You did well." The doctor was arranging something else in the
microscope. He had taken out the bit of liverwort.
"I had Juanita to help me," said Daisy.
"How do you suppose I am going to get all those things made up?" said
"Won't Mrs. Sandford attend to it?"
"Mrs. Sandford has her own contribution to attend to. I do not wish to
give her mine too."
"Cannot the children's mother make the things?"
The doctor's lip curled in funny fashion.
"They have no mother, I think. There is an old aunt, or grandmother, or
something, that does _not_ take care of the children. I shall not trust
the business certainly to her."
Daisy wondered a little that Mrs. Sandford, who was so good-natured,
could not do what was needful; but she said nothing.
"I think I shall turn over the whole thing in charge to you, Daisy?"
"But, Dr. Sandford, what can _I_ do?"
"Drive down with me to-morrow and see how big the children are, and then
have the things made."
"But I am afraid I do not know enough."
"I dare say you can find out. _I_ do not know enough--that is very
certain; and I have other things to attend to besides overseeing
"Our seamstress could do it,--if I could see her."
"Very well, then some other seamstress can. Now, Daisy--you may look at
"What a beautiful thing! But what is it, Dr. Sandford?"
"What does it look like?"
"It does not look like anything that I ever saw."
"It is a scale from a butterfly's wing."
"Why, it is as large as a small butterfly," said Daisy.
The doctor shewed her where the little scale lay, so little that she
could hardly see it out of the glass; and Daisy went back to the
contemplation of its magnified beauty with immense admiration. Then her
friend let her see the eye of a bee, and the tongue of a fly, and divers
other wonders, which kept Daisy busy until an hour which was late for
her. Busy and delightfully amused.
One day passed after another, and Daisy looked longingly for her summons
home, and still she did not receive it. Her fears and agonies were
somewhat quieted; because Dr. Sandford assured her that her father was
getting better; but he never said that her father was well, or that he
had not been very ill. Daisy knew that the matter had been very serious
that had prevented her being at Melbourne all these days. Her imaginings
of evil were doubtful and dim; but it seemed to her that her father
himself would have commanded her presence in all ordinary circumstances;
and a doubt like an ice-wind sometimes swept over her little spirit,
whether he could be too ill to know of her absence! No word that could,
be said would entirely comfort Daisy while this state of things lasted;
and it was very well for her that she had a wise and energetic friend
watching over her welfare, in the meanwhile. If business could keep her
from pining and hinder her from too much imagining, Dr. Sandford took
care that she had it. He contrived that she should indeed oversee the
making of the dresses for the poor children, and it was a very great
charge for Daisy. A great responsibility; it lay on her mind for days,
and gave occasion for a number of drives to Crum Elbow and to Juanita's
cottage. Then at evening, after hearing her report progress, the doctor
would take Daisy up to his room, and shew her many a wonder and beauty
that little Daisy had never dreamed of before; and the friendship
between the two grew closer than ever.
"Grant, you are a good fellow!" said Mrs. Sandford one night. "I do not
know what I should do with that child, if it were not for you."
"You would do nothing. She would not be here if it were not for me."
"I do not suppose, however, that your care for her is dictated by a
conscientious regard for that fact. It is good of you."
"She is my patient, Mrs. Sandford."
"Yes, yes; _im_patient would be the word with some young men."
"I am glad you do not class me with such young men."
"Well, no child ever gave less cause for impatience, I will say that.
Nor had more. Poor child! How she looks at you every day when you come
home! But I suppose you doctors get hard hearts."
Dr. Sandford's lips curled a little into one of the smiles that Daisy
liked, but he said nothing.
Daisy did look hard at her friend those days, but it was only when he
came home. So she was not expecting anything the next morning when he
said to her,
"Daisy--will you take a ride with me?"
Daisy looked up. The doctor was sitting by the breakfast-table, poring
over a newspaper. Breakfast was done, and Daisy herself busy with a
book. So she only answered,
"If you please, Dr. Sandford."
"Where shall we go?"
Daisy looked surprised. "I supposed you had business, sir."
"So I have. I am going to visit a patient. Perhaps you would like to
make the visit with me."
"To one of your patients, Dr. Sandford?"
"Yes, one. Not more than one. But I think that one would like to see
A light came into Daisy's face, and colour started upon her cheeks,
"Dr. Sandford--do you mean--"
"I think so, Daisy," said her friend quietly. "It will do no harm,--if
you are a good child."
He was so quiet, that it stilled Daisy's feeling, which else might have
been impetuous. There was danger of that, as the child's eye and cheek
bore witness. But she only said, "I'll get ready, Dr. Sandford--" and
went off in orderly style till she reached the hall and was out of
sight. Then Daisy's feet made haste up the stairs. In three minutes she
was back again, with her hat and gloves in her hand.
The doctor threw down his newspaper and drew her up to him.
"Daisy, can you be quiet?"
"I think so, Dr. Sandford."
"I think so too; therefore I tell you beforehand that I wish it. Your
father has not fully recovered his strength yet; and it would not be
good for him to be excited. You will be very glad to see him, and he
will be very glad to see you; that is quite enough; and it would be too
much, if you were to shew him _how_ glad you are."
Daisy said nothing, but she thought within herself she could not do
"Can you command yourself, Daisy?"
"I will try, Dr. Sandford."
"You _must_ do it--for my sake," added the doctor.
"Dr. Sandford," said Daisy, "was that what you meant?"
"When you said, if I was a good child?"
"It must have been that I meant, I think. I could have said it in no
"The pony-chaise, ma'am, for Miss Randolph--" said a servant at the
"The chaise may go away again, Daisy, I suppose," said Mrs. Sandford.
"You will not want it."
"Yes, she will," said the doctor,--"to drive to Melbourne. Go, Daisy,
since you are ready; I will follow you. That little waddling fellow can
be overtaken without any great difficulty."
"Do you want me to drive slowly, sir?"
"Not at all," said the doctor; "only drive well, for I shall come and
If ever a little pride in her driving accomplishments had lodged in
Daisy's mind, she certainly did not feel it that afternoon. She drove
without knowing very well how she drove; she did not think of Dr.
Sandford's criticism, or admiration; what she thought of, was the miles
of the road to Melbourne.
They were not very many, and unconsciously the eager spirit in Daisy's
fingers made itself known to Loupe's understanding, through the medium
of the reins. He travelled better than usual, so that they were not more
than half way from Melbourne when the doctor's gig overtook them. And
then Loupe went better yet.
"Remember, Daisy, and keep quiet--" said the doctor as he took her out
of the chaise. Daisy trembled, but she followed him steadily through the
hall and up the stairs and into her father's room. Then she went before
him, yet even then she went with a moderated step, and stood by her
father's couch at last silent and breathless. Breathless with the very
effort she made to keep silent and quiet. With excitement too; for Mr.
Randolph was looking feeble and pale, more than Daisy had ever seen him,
and it frightened her. He was not in bed but on a sofa and as Daisy came
to his side he put out his arm and drew his little daughter close to
him. Without a word at first and Daisy stooped her lips to his, and then
stood hiding her face on his shoulder; perfectly quiet, though
trembling with contained emotion, and not daring to say anything lest
she should say too much.
"Daisy," said her father,--"Daisy,--do you know I have been ill?"
There was a little, little tone of surprise or disappointment in the
voice. Daisy felt it, knew it, but what could she do? She was afraid to
speak to say anything. She turned her face a little to Dr. Sandford; he
saw an agony struggling in the eye that appealed to him. This was not
what he wanted.
"She knows it almost too well," he said, coming to the rescue; "I have
been her gaoler all these days; a severe one."
"Are you glad to see me, Daisy?" said Mr. Randolph.
Daisy half raised herself, half glanced at his face, and turning from
him threw herself upon Dr. Sandford's arm with a cry and gave way to a
deep passion of weeping. Deep and still; her sobs could not but be
heard, but they were kept under as much as the heaving of that little
breast could bear. Mr. Randolph's pale face flashed; and the doctor saw
that his precautions had been too good.
"Why Daisy!" he said lightly, "is this your self-command?"
"Let me have her--" said Mr. Randolph. "Self-command is a good thing,
doctor; but people may have too much of it."
And getting hold of Daisy's hand, which the doctor brought within his
reach, he again drew the sobbing child to his breast and folded her
close in both his arms. The sobs were very soon hushed; but during all
the rest of the doctor's visit and through all the conversation that
took place, Daisy and her father never changed their position. The
conversation indeed was not much, being confined to a few quiet
questions and answers and remarks; and then Dr. Sandford took his
departure, leaving Daisy very unconscious of his movements. He only
waved his hand to Mr. Randolph, with a smile at Daisy who did not see
"Daisy--my darling--" said Mr. Randolph, when he was gone.
"Papa!--" came in a whisper.
"What is the matter?"
Daisy lifted her face from its resting place and kissed, with kisses
that were like velvet, first one side of her father's mouth and then the
"Papa--Dr. Sandford told me I must keep quiet."
"Well, you shall," said Mr. Randolph. "That is right enough. You shall
keep quiet, and I will go to sleep."
So he did. But he did not loose his hold of Daisy; and she lay, still as
happiness could make her, with her head upon his breast. She knew, she
was conscious, that he must be very feeble yet, to go to sleep in that
way; but she was with him again, and in his arms, and her heart was so
full of joy that it could do nothing but overflow in silent
thanksgivings and prayers. Daisy would not have stirred till he did, no
matter how long it might have been; but there came an interruption. A
door opened, and Mrs. Randolph appeared on the threshold, and so soon as
she saw Daisy beckoned her to come to another room. Mr. Randolph's arms
had relaxed their hold somewhat, and Daisy obeyed the signal and left
Her mother wanted then to know all the story of her days at Mrs.
Sandford's; and Daisy had a good deal to tell. That is, Mrs. Randolph's
questionings made it so. Daisy herself would not have had it a long
story. Then, she must see June, and Joanna; and then came dinner. It was
not till the afternoon was well passed that the call came for her to go
to her father again. Daisy had watched and waited for it; her mother had
forbidden her to go in without it. At last she was sent for, and Daisy
Mrs. Randolph was there.
"No noise!--remember," she said, lifting her finger as Daisy came in.
Daisy came near slowly. Her father held out his hand to her, and folded
her in his arms again.
"You are such a noisy child!" he said,--"your mother does wisely to warn
"She is an excitable child,"--said Mrs. Randolph;--"and I think you want
"We will keep each other quiet," said Mr. Randolph.
The lady looked on, with what seemed a doubtful eye. Nobody watched it.
Her husband's eyes were often closed; Daisy's little head lay on his
breast, quiet enough, unless when she moved it to give soft noiseless
kisses to her father's cheek. They remained so a good while, with scarce
any word spoken; and Mrs. Randolph was busy at her tetting. The light
faded; the evening drew on.
"It is time for Daisy's tea." It was the first thing that broke a long
"She and I will have it together," said Mr. Randolph.
"Will that be best for you, Mr. Randolph?"
"I hope so."
"I doubt it."
"Most things in this world are doubtful," said Mr. Randolph; "but we
"Will you choose to have tea now, then?"
"This is Daisy's time."
"Very well. She must wait for my time."
Not a word did Daisy say; only little alternate throbs of joy and fear,
as her father or her mother spoke, passed through her heart. Mrs.
Randolph gave it up; and there was another hour of quiet, very sweet to
Daisy. Then lights were brought, and again Mrs. Randolph proposed, to
have the tea served; but again Mr. Randolph negatived her proposal; and
things remained as they were. At last Mrs. Randolph was summoned to
preside at the tea-table down stairs; for even now there were one or two
guests at Melbourne. Then there was a stir in the room up stairs. The
tray came with Mr. Randolph's supper; and Daisy had the delight of
sharing it and of being his attendant in chief. He let her do what she
would; and without being unquiet, Daisy and her father enjoyed
themselves over that entertainment.
"Now I think I could bear a little reading," said Mr. Randolph, as he
laid his head back on his couch.
"What, papa?" said Daisy, a sudden hope starting into some dark corner
of her heart, almost without her knowing it.
"What?--what you please."
"Shall I read what, I like, papa?"
"Yes. If I do not like it, I will tell you."
Daisy ran away and flew through the rooms to her own, and there hastily
sought her Bible. She could not wait to get another; she took her own
and ran back softly with it. Her father's languid eye watched the little
white figure coming towards him, book in hand; the gentle eager step,
the slight flush on the cheek; till she took her seat beside him.
"What have you got there, Daisy?" he asked.
"Well--what are you going to read?"
"I don't know, papa--" said Daisy doubtfully. What would come next?
"Do you remember your picture, the 'Game of Life'?"
"Do you remember your talk about good and evil spirits?"
"Find me the grounds of your philosophy."
Daisy thought what that might mean, and guessed at it. She turned to the
twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew, a favourite chapter, and read the
parable of the sheep and the goats. The servant had withdrawn; Daisy
and her father were alone. There was a moment's pause when she had done.
"Is that all?" said Mr. Randolph.
"That is all of _this_, papa."
"There is nothing there about the rejoicings of the good spirits,"--said
Daisy's fingers trembled, she hardly knew why, as she turned over the
leaves to find the place. Her father watched her.
"Are you sure it is there, Daisy?"
"O yes, papa--it is in the story of the man with a hundred sheep--I will
find it directly."
So she did, and read the parable in the fifteenth chapter of Luke. Her
father listened with shut eyes, while the child's voice gave the words
in a sort of sweet clear gravity.
"'Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.
And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth
sinners, and eateth with them. And he spake this parable unto them,
saying, What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of
them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after
that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he
layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he
calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice
with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that
likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more
than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. Either
what woman, having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not
light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find
it? And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her
neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with, me; for I have found the
piece which I had lost. Likewise I say unto you, there is joy in the
presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.'"
There Daisy stopped, and there was silence. Presently her father opened
his eyes. He saw that hers were full, but they were not looking at her
book, neither at him; they were gazing away at the light, with an
intent, very serious expression.
"Daisy!--" said her father.
She came back instantly to a sweet happy look at him.
"What were you studying?"
"Papa!--I was thinking--"
"What were you thinking?"
"I was thinking, papa," said Daisy unwillingly,--"how strange it is that
anybody should try to _hide himself from God_."
She started a little and rose up, for her mother stood on the other side
of the light now. Mrs. Randolph's voice was a note belonging to another
"Daisy, it is your bedtime."
Mr. Randolph made no attempt to hinder his wife's arrangements this
time. Daisy exchanged a very tender good-night with him and then went
away. But she went away very happy. She thought she saw good days
There were good days that followed that one, for a while. Daisy's
readings and sweet companionship with her father were constant, and grew
sweeter as he grew stronger. But the strengthening process was not
rapid. About a fortnight had passed, when Mrs. Sandford one day made
enquiry about it of her brother-in-law.
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