"I have read your book, now read mine." He drew off his coat andshowed his wrists and arms, blue and waled. "Can you read ttron bandwidth or energyhat,sir?""No.""All the better for you: Spanish fetters, general." He showed awhite scar on his shoulder. "Can you read that? This is what I cutout of it," and he handed the governor a little round stone as bigand almost as regular as a musket-ball.
Aubertin; she sat quietly down; but at the first opportunity madeJosephine one of those imperceptible signals which women, and aboveall, sisters, have reduced to so subtle a system. This done, shewent carelessly out: and Josephine in due course followed her, andfound her at the door.bitcoin core gpu mining"What is it?" said Josephine, earnestly.
"Have you courage?" was Rose's reply."He is dead?" said Josephine, turning pale as ashes."No, no;" said Rose hastily; "he is alive. But you will need allyour courage.""Since he lives I fear nothing," said Josephine; and stood there andquivered from head to foot. Rose, with pitying looks, took her bythe hand and drew her in silence towards the kitchen.Josephine yielded a mute submission at first; but at the very doorhung back and faltered, "He loves another; he is married: let mego." Rose made no reply, but left her there and went into thekitchen and found two dragoons seated round a bottle of wine. Theyrose and saluted her."Be seated, my brave men," said she; "only please tell me what youtold Jacintha about Captain Dujardin.""Don't stain your mouth with the captain, my little lady. He is atraitor.""How do you know?""Marcellus! mademoiselle asks us how we know Captain Dujardin to bea traitor. Speak."Marcellus, thus appealed to, told Rose after his own fashion that heknew the captain well: that one day the captain rode out of the campand never returned: that at first great anxiety was felt on hisbehalf, for the captain was a great favorite, and passed for thesmartest soldier in the division: that after awhile anxiety gaveplace to some very awkward suspicions, and these suspicions it washis lot and his comrade's here to confirm. About a month later heand the said comrade and two more were sent, well mounted, toreconnoitre a Spanish village. At the door of a little inn theycaught sight of a French uniform. This so excited their curiositythat he went forward nearer than prudent, and distinctly recognizedCaptain Dujardin seated at a table drinking between two guerillas;then he rode back and told the others, who then came up andsatisfied themselves it was so: that if any of the party hadentertained a doubt, it was removed in an unpleasant way; he,Marcellus, disgusted at the sight of a French uniform drinking amongSpaniards, took down his carabine and fired at the group ascarefully as a somewhat restive horse permitted: at this, as if bymagic, a score or so of guerillas poured out from Heaven knowswhere, musket in hand, and delivered a volley; the officer incommand of the party fell dead, Jean Jacques here got a broken arm,and his own horse was wounded in two places, and fell from loss ofblood a few furlongs from the French camp, to the neighborhood ofwhich the vagabonds pursued them, hallooing and shouting and firinglike barbarous banditti as they were.
"However, here I am," concluded Marcellus, "invalided for awhile, mylady, but not expended yet: we will soon dash in among them againfor death or glory. Meantime," concluded he, filling both glasses,"let us drink to the eyes of beauty (military salute); and to therenown of France; and double damnation to all her traitors, likethat Captain Dujardin; whose neck may the devil twist."Ere they could drink to this energetic toast, a low wail at thedoor, like a dying hare's, arrested the glasses on their road, andthe rough soldiers stood transfixed, and looked at one another insome dismay. Rose flew to the door with a face full of concern.Josephine was gone."That was a home shot. You know how I dote on everybody's absence, even Jane's."
"You dote on butter. See how firm and yellow it's getting. You wouldn't think it was milk-white cream a little while ago, would you? Now I'll put in the salt and you must taste it, for you're a connoisseur.""A what?""Judge, then.""You know a sight more than I do, Alida."
"I'm learning all the time.""So am I--to appreciate you."
"Listen to the sound of the rain and the water as it runs into the milk-cooler. It's like low music, isn't it?"Poor Holcroft could make no better answer than a sneeze."Oh-h," she exclaimed, "you're catching cold? Come, you must go right upstairs. You can't stay here another minute. I'm nearly through.""I was never more contented in my life."
"You've no right to worry me. What would I do if you got sick? Come, I'll stop work till you go.""Well then, little boss, goodbye."With a half suppressed smile at his obedience Alida watched his reluctant departure. She kept on diligently at work, but one might have fancied that her thoughts rather than her exertions were flushing her cheeks.It seemed to her that but a few moments elapsed before she followed him, but he had gone. Then she saw that the rain had ceased and that the clouds were breaking. His cheerful whistle sounded reassuringly from the barn, and a little later he drove up the lane with a cart.
She sat down in the kitchen and began sewing on the fine linen they had jested about. Before long she heard a light step. Glancing up, she saw the most peculiar and uncanny-looking child that had ever crossed her vision, and with dismal presentiment knew it was Jane.Chapter 28 Another Waif
It was indeed poor, forlorn little Jane that had appeared like a specter in the kitchen door. She was as wet and bedraggled as a chicken caught in a shower. A little felt hat hung limp over her ears; her pigtail braid had lost its string and was unraveling at the end, and her torn, sodden shoes were ready to drop from her feet. She looked both curiously and apprehensively at Alida with her little blinking eyes, and then asked in a sort of breathless voice, "Where's him?""Mr. Holcroft?"
Jane nodded."He's gone out to the fields. You are Jane, aren't you?"Another nod."Oh, DEAR!" groaned Alida mentally; "I wish she hadn't come." Then with a flush of shame the thought crossed her mind, "She perhaps is a friendless and homeless as I was, and , and 'him' is also her only hope. "Come in, Jane," she said kindly, "and tell me everything.""Be you his new girl?""I'm his wife," said Alida, smiling.
Jane stopped; her mouth opened and her eyes twinkled with dismay. "Then he is married, after all?" she gasped."Yes, why not?"
"Mother said he'd never get anyone to take him.""Well, you see she was mistaken."
"She's wrong about everything. Well, it's no use then," and the child turned and sat down on the doorstep.Alida was perplexed. From the way Jane wiped her eyes with her wet sleeve, she was evidently crying. Coming to her, Alida said, "What is no use, Jane? Why are you crying?"
"I thought--he--might--p'raps--let me stay and work for him."Alida was still more perplexed. What could be said by way of comfort, feeling sure as she did that Holcroft would be bitterly hostile to the idea of keeping the child? The best she could do was to draw the little waif out and obtain some explanation of her unexpected appearance. But first she asked, "Have you had any breakfast?"Jane shook her head."Oh, then you must have some right away."
"Don't want any. I want to die. I oughtn' ter been born.""Tell me your troubles, Jane. Perhaps I can help you."
"No, you'd be like the rest. They all hate me and make me feel I'm in the way. He's the only one that didn't make me feel like a stray cat, and now he's gone and got married," and the child sobbed aloud.Her grief was pitiful to see, for it was overwhelming. Alida stooped down, and gently lifting the child up, brought her in. Then she took off the wet hat and wiped the tear-stained face with her handkerchief. "Wait a minute, Jane, till I bring you something," and she ran to the dairy for a glass of milk. "You must drink it, she said, kindly but firmly.
The child gulped it down, and with it much of her grief, for this was unprecedented treatment and was winning her attention."Say," she faltered, "will you ask him to let me stay?"
"Yes, I'll ask him, but I can't promise that he will.""You won't ask him 'fore my face and then tell him not to behind my back?" and there was a sly, keen look in her eyes which tears could not conceal."No," said Alida gravely, "that's not my way. How did you get here, Jane?""Run away."
Alida drew a quick breath and was silent a few moments. "Is--is your mother there?" she asked at length."Yes. They wouldn't let us visit round any longer."
"Didn't your mother or anyone know you were coming?"Jane shook her head.