Citation
The captain's youngest

Material Information

Title:
The captain's youngest Piccino and other child stories
Creator:
Burnett, Frances Hodgson, 1849-1924
Birch, Reginald Bathurst, 1856-1943 ( Illustrator )
Frederick Warne and Co ( Publisher )
Woodfall and Kinder ( Publisher )
Place of Publication:
London
Publisher:
Frederick Warne and Co.
Manufacturer:
Woodfall and Kinder
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
viii, 183 p., [15] leaves of plates : ill. ; 22 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Children's stories ( lcsh )
Children's stories -- 1894 ( lcsh )
Bldn -- 1894
Genre:
Children's stories
novel ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )

Notes

General Note:
Illustrations by Birch.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections (special@uflib.ufl.edu) with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
026612359 ( ALEPH )
ALG3267 ( NOTIS )
02041627 ( OCLC )

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Full Text




University
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THE CAPTAIN'S YOUNGEST

RS ntsay

PICCINO.

AND, OTHER, CHILD STORIES



“MRS. BURNETT'S FAMOUS JUVENILE
GIFT BOOKS

In small medium 8vo, cloth gilt, price 38. 6d. each

LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY

ILLUSTRATED BY

REGINALD B. BIRCH

pe

“ The grace and tenderness of the sentiment,
the childlike natural ways of the small hero,
the happy alternation of the quaint laughable
incidents, with touches of real, though unobtru-
stve pathos, above all the pervading atmosphere
of unaffected goodness, combine to forma whole
of which the fascination zs felt by children of
an older growth as much as, tf not more than,
by juvencles for whom tt was written.” —Pall
Mall Gazette

“We have never read a prettier story.
Cedric’s simple, truthful, earnest and loving
nature ts what one would lke all children to
be, for it was just the same with or without
wealth, tn the little house at New York as in
the great castle.” —The Guardian



LITTLE SAINT ELIZABETH
AND OTHER STORIES
_ ILLUSTRATED BY
R. B. BIRCH, ALICE HAVERS, &c., &c.
pa ks
“ There ts a tenderness and beauty in these

stories and a special charm about the characters
which the author has the happy faculty of

| creating.” —Daily News

“These tales are as graceful in fancy, as
interesting in movement and as skilful in
consiruction as we naturally expect from the
author of Little Lord Fauntleroy.” —The World

“Little Saint Elizabeth is pictured with as
much power as tts predecessor, a companion life
in fact, angelac in generosity, and clothed with
qualities which elevate her to the sublime.

- Throughout all these stories there breathes a

rare subtlety of conception, noble in tone yet
faithful to youthhood of the gentlest type.”—
The Standard

SARA CREWE ann EDITHA’S BURGLAR

ILLUSTRATED BY
REGINALD B. BIRCH

—o—

_ “As an idealized portrait of a child who makes a wretched life not only endurable, but
positively engoyable, by ving tt in a world of pure imagination, Sara Crewe zs perfect.” —The

Spectator

“ One of the most artistic and delightful stories we have read.” —Morning Post









—S>
———SS——E—E——EeEEEEEE——









my mamma ts very pretty, sm't she?’”—see page 8.

he says, ‘

zt)

“¢ Rabbet

Frontispiece.
@z)



TEE
CAPTAINS YOUNGEST

-PICCINO.

AND OTHER CHILD STORIES

FRANCES HODGSON BURNETT

“THE ONE I KNEW THE BEST OF ALL,” ETC.



wil!









LONDON
FREDERICK WARNE AND €O

BEDFORD STREET, STRAND

1894
[AU Rights Reserved.)



CONTENTS

THE CAPTAINS YOUNGEST
TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO

HOW FAUNTLEROY. OCCURRED—

Cuap. I. HIS ENTRANCE INTO THE WoRLD
; II. In Waitt FRock AND SASH

» Ill. In BovHoop anp Now

LITTLE BETTY’S KITTEN TELLS HER STORY





LIST OF IELUSTRATIONS.

By REGINALD B. BIRCH,

THE CAPTAIN'S YOUNGEST—

“*Rabbett,’ he says,

‘my mamma is very pretty, isn’t
she?’”, :

“Miss Rose put her little hands on the shoulders of his
jacket, and kissed him”

““*T am very fond of you, Rabbett’ ”

IWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO—

s Many a day he had fallen asleep with his curly head on
its warm little fuzzy side” : :

“He went and showed them to the donkey ”
“He... . ran to the donkey and clung to her front leg”

“*No one is going to hurt you. You are only going to be
made clean’ ”

“*T am hungry,’ he said. ‘I have had nothing to eat.
Give me some of your bread’”

front,
Page 45

» 48

» 77



viii VISE OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

HOW FAUNTLEROY OCCURRED—

“* Are you in Society, Mrs. Wilkins?’” . : : . — Eront.
““Wow himin’er fire!’”. : : : : . Page 116
“* Lady,’ he said, ‘lady, f?ont door—want b’ead’” ye 28
“*I am very sorry for you, Mr. Wenham, about your wife

being dead’” » 138
“And how delightful it was to read the manuscript to

him”... ; : : : : : : : : ee LSO

LITTLE BETTY’S KITTEN TELLS HER STORY—

“* Kitty, Tam nearly five o’clock’’ . : 3 : 3 Lyront.

“She was lying under the white rose-bush, still asleep” . Page 175







THE CAPTAIN’S YOUNGEST






THE CAPTAINS YOUNGEST.

——++—

that’s certain. I’ve seen a good many
young gentlemen in my day, being in
the army, and under officers as was
what you may call swells, and had
families of their own, some of them,



but I never saw a young gentleman
as could hold a candle to Master Lionel; no, nor as were fit
to black his boots, for the matter of that. And I knew him,
too, from the time he were a young gentleman in long
clothes, being carried about in his ayah’s arms, and many’s
the time I’ve carried him myself, and been proud to do it.
I had no children of my own, though I’d always been taken
with them. I wasn’t a married man, and knew I never
should be, for that matter, after curly-headed little Maggie
Shea died of the fever that blazing hot year when the disease
was like a plague among us. She'd given me her promise
only a week before; and I never saw the woman I wanted
after her. Sometimes I’ve thought I was fonder of the



4 é; THE CAPTAIN’S YOUNGEST.



children because of it. She had been fond of them, and like
a little mother she was to the seven that were sisters and
brothers to her. And there was a sort of reason Master
Lionel was more to me than the rest. I’d known his father,
Captain Dalgetty, in his best days, when he first came out to
India with his regiment at the time of the Mutiny, and won
such a name by his dare-devil bravery and determination.
That was before he offended his crusty old father by
marrying pretty Miss Rosie Terence, the drunken old Irish
major’s daughter, who had nothing to her fortune but her
dimples and her big blue eyes and black lashes, except the
coaxing ways that drove the whole station wild with love for
her. It weve said as Miss Rosie’s mother sent her out to
her father to make a match, but if she did the old lady must
have been terribly disappointed, because no sooner did the
captain’s father hear of the marriage than he sent for his
lawyer, and sat down then and there and made a will cutting
the poor fellow off with a shilling, and leaving all his money
to hospitals and churches.

So the captain and Miss Rosie began life on love and
short commons; and, neither of them understanding econ-
omy, made a good many mistakes, as might have been
expected. They didn’t know how to contrive, and they got
into debt, and when the children came and expenses grew
heavier they lost spirit and patience, like a good many more,
and let things go their own way. The captain lost his temper
and the mistress grew careless and fretted, and when the

Pp



THE CAPTAIN’S VOUNGEST. 5



young master was born—the one as I’m telling about—
things were about as bad and as comfortless’as they could
be. Not wishing to say a disrespectful word, or a harmful
one; I must say as I’d even thought the captain were getting
tired of his love-match, for he was aging uncommon fast, and
his temper was getting uncommon sharp, and now and then
Mrs. Dalgetty and him would have words as would end in
him striding out of the bungalow, leaving her crying and
worriting among the children. I can't say even as he were
over fond of the children, or that they were over welcome
when they came—six, girls, one after another—though they
were pretty little things, all of them. But when Master
Lionel were born it struck me as he were rather better
pleased than he had been before, for he were the first
boy.

Well I remember the day the captain came out of his
quarters and told me about his having made his appearance
rather unexpected.

I had been so long with them, and there were so many
little things I could do as was a help, that [’d got into the

way of doing them ; and I happened. this morning to be
polishing about, and sees the captain coming out, looking
half-way pleased with something or other ; and when I drew
myself up and saluted as usual, says her

“ Rabbett,” says he, “there's a change in the programme
this time.”

I drops my swab in a minute and draws up and salutes again.



6 THE CAPTAIN'S YOUNGEST.

“What, sir?” says I. “ Boy, sir?”

“Yes,” says he. “ Boy, and a fine little fellow too.”

So in the course of the week I smartens myself up a bit
more than common, in honour of the occasion, and goes into
the house and gets the ayah to let me have a look at the
young gentleman as he lay in his cradle in the nursery, next
to the mistress’s room. They was rather fond of me in that
nursery, I may say, and it wasn’t the first time I’d been there
by many aone. But though I stepped light enough for fear
of wakening the little fellow, somehow or other he did waken
that very minute. As I bent over his cradle he opens his
eyes, and he actually stares at me as if he was asking me a
question or so. At least, it looked that way to me, and then,
as sure as I’m a living man, he does something with his face
as if he was doing his best to laugh ; and when I laughs back
and lifts his bit of a red hand, he opens it out and lets it lay
on mine, quite friendly and sociable. 7

I won't say as he knew what he were doing, but I will say
as he looked as if he did. And from that minute to the last
hour of his life Master Lionel and me was friends fast and
firm. Not being a family man, as I have said before, I took
to him all the more, and I’m happy to say he did the same
by me. When he got big enough to be carried out by his
ayah I used to meet the woman, and take him off her hands
whenever she would let me; which was often enough,
because she knew both the captain and Mrs. Dalgetty knew
I was safe to trust. I’d take him off into the shade and



THE CAPTAIN'S VOUNGEST 7



walk about with him—him a-layin’ his cheek against my red
coat, sometimes laughing at the jokes I’d make with him,
suiting them to his size, and sometimes a-staring up at me
serious, but both of us always understanding each other and
being cheerful, whatever was a-goin’ on betwixt us. The
fact was that I got that there used to him, with nursing him
so much, that when he’d have a little choke or a disturbance
of any kind, I got to be as handy as a woman about settling
him and turning him over and patting his back, and though
itmay sound like a exaggeration to outsiders, I must say
as I saw clear enough he had his own way of thanking me
and showing me his gratitude for any small favours of the
kind. Ay, and many an hour I’ve thought how it might
have been if little Maggie Shea had got through that blazing ~
summer—many and many an hour as ] walked up and down,
him nestling up against me as my own flesh and blood might
have done, but never would.

So we began by being fond of one another, and we keeps
on a-bein’ fond of one another, and what’s more, we gets
fonder and fonder of each other as we grows older.

And such a boy as he were, and such ways as he had!
There weren’t no end to him, he were that manly and hand-
some and well-grown and ready, by the time he were seven
or eight year old. People as never looked at a child looked
at him and was took by him, and the ladies at the station
run wild about his beauty. Tall he was and well set up, and
with a way of carrying himself a brigadier-general might



8 THE CAPTAIN'S YOUNGEST:



have been proud of. And a fine-cut face, and a big, brave
black eye as looked at a man as if he was equal to leading a
regiment; and yet was thoughtful and loving, and had a
softness, too, when he was talking to a friend. And that
quick he were to notice things as others of his age would
never have seen. Why, he was only six years when one
day, as he was standing by watching me at work, he looks
up at me all at once and says he:

“ Rabbett,” he says, “ my mamma is very pretty, isn’t she?”

“Well,” says I, ‘‘ Master Lionel, | should say she were /”

“JT thought so,” he says; “I thought everybody must
think she was pretty, just as I do, only I am very fond of
her, you see.” And he rather puzzles me by looking at me
again in a wistful, questioning sort of way.

“Just so, Master Lionel,” I answers, ‘‘ just so, sir.”

“Yes,” he goes on, “I am very fond of her, and—and I
suppose my papa is very fond of her too.”

Being a trifle upset by-this, I polished away at the
captain’s sabre for a minute or so, and even then I could
only say :

“Yes, sir; nat’'rally, sir, of course.” For the truth were
as things had been getting worse and worse, and the tiffs
had been growing into rows—-rows as couldn’t go on without
being heard in a bungalow, where walls was thin and rooms
not over far from each other. And what he had heard the
Lord only knows, but it had been a-workin’ in his innercent
mind and troubling him, and he was coming to me for



THE CAPTAIN'S VOUNGEST. 9



comfort, and that I saw in his fine, loving, wistful black eye,
and in his handsome little chin, as was not quite steady.

“Yes, of course, he is very fond of her,” he said, “and
she is very fond of him; because peop!e who are married —
people who are married always are, aren't they, Rabbett ?”

“Ah, sir,” says I, “that they are; there ain’t nothin’
like it.” | :

“No,” he says, his little face trying to keep itself steady,
“and I’m very glad of—of that—I’m very glad of that.”
And quite sudden he faces round and walks off, a-holding
his head up like a field officer. But well I knowed why he’d
gone. Something had hurt his little heart and set him to
thinking, so that he could not manage his looks even before
Rabbett. And, gentleman as he was, he was not willing to
let it be known what his child’s trouble was.

When the family began to grow up the regiment was
ordered back to England; and I came back with them, you
see. The captain was not rich, and as the family expenses
got bigger, year by year, money got scarcer with him, and
they couldn’t live as they did before; and so, somehow—I
think it was because I liked the children, and especially my
young master—I fell into a way of being part valet, part
waiter, part man-of-all-work for the captain and his.

This wasn’t all. The captain’s fine way—for he was
handsome still, and a gentleman born, and no mistake—
brought him fine friends; and his fine friends brought him
debt, because he was obliged to keep up with them. Every-

c



ro - THE CAPTAIN'S YOUNGEST.



thing was badly managed, because Mrs.-Dalgetty, as I said,
knew. nothing about: managing; so the servants ran wild,
and were nothing but trouble and expense, and there were
nothing but struggling to keep up, and threatening to break
down, from day to day.

“The captain is worse than ever,’ Mrs. Dalgetty would
say, sometimes, when things looked bad, and she had a
crying fit on. “And Rose is so expensive, and the other
girls are growing up. I wish Lionel was older. He is
the only one who seems to feel for me at all.”

The real truth were, as Lionel were that sweet-natured
he felt for them all; and I must say as they couldn't help.
being as fond of him in their way as he was of them in his.

“ Rabbett,” says he to me once, when they was all going
out—he was about nine years old then, or thereabout—.
« Rabbett, if you would like to see Rose before she goes,
just stand in the passage when I go into the drawing-room
with her cloak and handkerchief. She has just sent me
for them.”

Now my young master loved his mother dearly, but he
loved Rose even better; he was allers talking to me of her
beauty.

So says: 1-1 vould like to see her.” And he runs
upstairs, quite pleased, and is down again in a minute.

[ll leave the door open,” he says. And in he goes,
with the cloak over his arm, and does leave it open, quite

wide enough for me to see through.





piste vice
lh

Wh,

lye

| fe Wot
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“Miss Rose put her little hands on the shoulders of his jacket, and kissed him.”
—page Il.



THE CAPTAIN'S VOUNGEST. ; II



Miss Rose was standing by the fire, and beautiful she
looked, in her grand evening dress, and so like what her
mother had been that it gave me quite a start. There was
a gentleman at her side, a-laughing and talking to her, and
when Master Lionel goes in this party turns toward the.
door, to look at him, and I sees his face, and I gives a start
again, for it were Captain Basil Roscoe.

Now I knew sum/’at of Captain Basil Roscoe, you see,
and that’s what made me givea start. If ever there was a
villain, and he to be called a gentleman, Captain Basil
Roscoe were one. I knew things of him that he little
guessed ; we servants get to know many queer things. I
felt, when I sees him, as if I saw a snake.

“ Here comes the wrap,” says Captain Basil, and he held
out his hand, as if he meant to put it on for himself, but
Miss Rose laughs and stops him.

“No,” says she. ‘Lionel wouldn’t like rae Would
you, Lionel? He always puts my cloak on for me.”

The captain drew back a bit, and gave the boy a sharp
glance, but Miss Rose did not see it, for she was bending
down to have the cloak put over her white shoulders, and
Master Lionel was a-folding it around her, as pleased as
could be, laughing, too, boy-like, but, for all that, doing it as
deft and graceful as if he’d been born to it.

And then, when it was done, Miss Rose put her little
hands on the shoulders of his jacket, and kissed him half-a-
dozen times, so coaxing and merry and happy that I could



12 THE CAPTAIN’S YOUNGEST.

not bear to think the time would ever come when life would
look harder to her than it did just then—going out to a
grand ball, in a pretty dress, and with her lover by her side.

Unless it is true that the devil shrinks from and hates
them as has no sins of their own, I should like to know why
it was that Basil Roscoe were so ready in taking a dislike to
an innocent-faced boy, as never harmed or differed with him ;
for nothing is more certain than that from ‘the first he did
take a dislike to Master Lionel. It struck me, once or twice,
as he not only couldn't bear the sight of him, but that, if he
had had the chance, he would not have been sorry to do him
-aharm. His sneering manner showed it, and his ill-looking,
handsome face showed it, apart from a hundred other bits of
things. Master Lionel himself found it out soon enough.

“ Rabbett,” says he, private and confidential, “ he doesn’t
like me and I don’t like him, and I wish he wasn’t so fond
of Rose. I never did him any harm, you know, Rabbett.”

Natural enough, his spirit is hurt about it, and he takes.
it a bit hard. But he never says much about it, until one
night he comes to me, and I sees he is wonderful quiet, and
after a while I made bold to ask what ails him. And the
minute I asks him I sees, by the look in his eyes, that what
ails him is something uncommon.

“Tt’s something about Rose,” he says, “ and it’s something
about Captain Roscoe ” :

A slight huskiness comes in my throat, as makes it neces-
sary for me to clear it.



THE CAPTAIN’S VOUNGEST. 13



“Oh!” I says. © “Indeed, sir?”

“Yes,” he answers. “As I was coming here I passed
him, standing at the corner of the street with a gentleman,
and they were both talking aloud, Rabbett, and laughing.
And they were talking about Rose.”

Iknowing the-man so well, and having heard so much
of his villany, my blood fairly boiled at the thought of what
he might have been saying; but I made up my mind to
speak quietly.

“Did you hear what they said, sir?” I asked. <“ Are
you sure it was her they were speaking of ?”

“Yes,” says he, “sure, for I heard the gentleman say,
‘What? Pretty Rose Dalgetty?’ And then Roscoe
answered, ‘Even she might get tiresome.’ And they both
laughed. Rabbett ’—and he turned his troubled, questioning
boy’s face to me, as if he was just awakening to some sort
of bewildered fear, and wanted help—“‘what did he mean
when he said she might get tiresome? And what made
them laugh as they did? They were laughing at a
sister Rose.”

“No gentleman would faye done it, sir,’ I answered, not
knowing what else to say.

‘‘T know that,” he says. “But what did they mean?
You are older than me, Rabbett, and perhaps you can under-
stand more than that it was not what a gentleman would
have done.”

But of course I could not tell him that. If it meant



14 THE CAPTAIN'S YOUNGEST.

nothing worse, it at least did mean as Miss Rose’s lover had _
so little respect for her that he could bandy her name
among his companions with something like a sneer; so I
tried my best to lead him away from the subject. If he’d
been an ordinary kind of young gentleman, and he so very
young yet, I might have managed it; but being the little
fellow he was, the suspicion that his sister had been some-
what slighted stuck to him, and settled itself deep in his
mind, and made him thoughtful beyond his years.

And this was far from being the end of it. Little by little
I began to hear a whisper here and there, even among the
men, about what people said of Captain Roscoe being so
friendly with the Dalgettys, and partic’ler with Miss Rosie.
There was not one of them but said that it would do the |
pretty young creature no good, if it did her no harm, to be
so ready to let him be attentive. He had been such an
open rascal in his time, and his character was so well known,
that no careful mother would have let her daughter be seen
with him, and he was only tolerated in his own set, and
among those who were as bad as himself. But Mrs. Dal-
getty was too thoughtless and indifferent to see the wrong in
him, or to be troubled by what she heard, and the captain was
rarely at home; so Miss Rose was left to herself, and, of
course, did as any other innocent girl would have done, fell
in love with a handsome face, and believed in it.

But at last so much was said by outsiders that something

came to the captain’s ears as must have roused him, for one



THE CAPTAIN'S YOUNGEST. 15



evening he comes up to the house in a towering rage, and
shuts himself up with Miss Rose and her mother in the
parlour, and has a tremendous row, and makes them both
cry, and ends up by forbidding them to speak to Roscce
again. |

But though Mrs. Dalgetty gave in, as she always did
when the captain gave his orders, of course Miss Rose
would not believe anything against her lover. Things had
gone so far by that time that she would have stood out for
him against the whole world; and as she dared not openly
disobey her father, she fretted until she lost her pretty colour
_and bright spirits, and went about the house looking ill and
wretched.

But the matter was not put an end to, as you may
imagine. Once or twice, in going from the house to the
barracks, I found Captain Basil Roscoe loitering about not
far from the street’s end, and more than once I could have
sworn that I passed him at dusk with a familiar little figure
clinging to his arm. And one night Miss Rosie calls her
brother to her, as he was going out on an errand, and, as
she bends. over him in the doorway, slips a note into his
hand, crying pitifully.

“You will take that for me, won’t you, dear?” she says.
“He is waiting in the square for it, and he does want it so—
so much.” And she kisses him, and gives a little sob and
runs upstairs.

I don’t think it could have been more than three minutes



16 THE CAPTAIN’S YOUNGEST.

after that when he comes to me, all pale and breathless. with.
running, and lays that there note on the table.

“She wants me to take it to him, Rabbett,” he gays,
‘and she was crying when she asked me, and—what must
we do?”

It is not to be expected as we two hadn't talked things
over, being the friends we were. I got up and took the note:
from the table, making a resolution all of a sudden.

‘Tf you'll stay here, sir,” I said, “I'll take it myself.”

And take it I did, and found the rascal waiting, as Miss
Rose had said he would be. He gave a black enough scowl
when he saw it were me, and it certainly didn’t die out when
I spoke to him.

“Sir,” says I, “I’ve come here on a poor errand, and I’ve
come unwilling enough, God knows. I’ve got a note in my
hand here—a pitiful little letter from a trusting, innocent girl
to a man who, if he does not mean her harm, surely cannot
mean her good, or he would not be leading her to meet him,
and write to him in underhand ways. And I've been making
up my mind, as I came along, to make a appeal to that man,
as surely he’ll listen to if he has a man’s heart in his breast.
She is scarcely more than a child, sir, and she knows nothing
of the world. Leave her alone, and she may be a happy
woman ; go on as you've begun, and it will be death and

heartbreak to her, and her wrongs will lie at your door.”

He stands there and looks at me, and by the light of the
lamp we was. standing under I sees his handsome, devilish



THE CAPTAIN’S VOUNGEST. 17



face, sneering and triumphing and scorning me, as if I was
a worm in the dirt under his feet,

“My good fellow,” he says, « you are a little too late.
Hand me that letter, and be off, before I find it necessary to
help you. How you got hold of the note I don’t know, but
I do know it was never given to you to deliver, and that I
should be well warranted in kicking you back to your
quarters, for your deuced impudence and presumption,”

But I held to the letter tight.

“ Very well, sir,” I answers, respectful, but firm as a rock,
“This letter goes back to the house, and before night is over
the captain will have read it himself, and can judge for
himself what is best 5

I didn’t finish, for the next thing I knew was that he
strode up to me and grasped hold of me by my collar, and
the minute I saw what he meant to do I felt I had made a
mistake in bringing the letter at all, and in fancying that any
appeal could touch or move him. There was a struggle
between us, but it did not last long; he being strong and
lithe, and so much the younger man, gave me no chance;



and it were scarcely three seconds before he threw me on
the pavement, and leaving me there, a trifle stunned, walked
off with the letter in his hand.

I knew things must be pretty bad then. He would never
have been so desperate and determined if he had not meant
to do his worst, and when I made my way back I felt sick
with fear. Master Lionel was sitting by the bit-of fire in the

D°:



18 THE CAPTAIN'S YOUNGEST.



grate when I opened the door, and he turns round and looks
at me, and changes colour.

“ Rabbett,” he ay “there is blood on your face.”

«Perhaps so, sir,” I says. “Tve had a fall.” _

And then I sits down and tells him all about it; about
what I had meant to do, and what I had done, and I ends
up by asking him what he thinks we had better do, now
that my plans had failed. e

“Master Lionel,” I says, “it would seem a dreadful hard
sort of thing to do, if we spoke to the captain.”

He turns quite pale at the thought of it.

“Oh, no,” he says, “ Rabbett, I wouldn’t do it. He would
be so angry with Rose, and even with mamma. You
remember my telling you what he said before.”

I remembered well enough, and a pretty hard thing it was
to say, evenif it had been said ina passion, and not half
meant. He had threatened to turn Miss Rose out of doors
if she spoke to Roscoe again. He must have heard some-
thing bad enough, to have been so roused.

« Well,” I ventures, ‘what can we do, sir ?”

“Watch,” says he. “I can think of nothing else to do
just yet, Rabbett. I will watch Rose, and you shall watch
Roscoe; and if the worst comes, and we must tell papa, we.
must. I suppose, Rabbett, that Roscoe will try to run away
with Rose, as Farquhar ran away with that pretty Miss
Lewis?”

“Yes, sir,’ I answers, “I’m afraid he will. But he is a



THE CAPTAIN’S YOUNGEST. 19



worse man than Farquhar; and if Miss Rose goes away
with him, I’m afraid he’ll treat her hard enough when he
tires of her, as such men as him always tires of young
ladies.”

“Tt would be better, Rabbett,” says he, fixing his dark
eyes solemnly on the fire, “it would be better that Rose
should die. I know that.”

“Tam afeard, sir,” says I, “that you are right.”

God knows how he had learned to understand, but under-
stand he did, and he were that sad and wise about it that my
very heart ached. He had seen an old enough side of life,
had Master Lionel, living among the set he did, but he were
a young gentleman as nothing could spoil, his nature were
that fine-grained.

We kept our watch faithful all that week and part of the
next, but we found out very little, though we had our
suspicions, Master Lionel and me, as things was going on
pretty badly in a secret way. But at last the very worst
thing as could have happened burst upon us all at once.

I was up at the house one evening, doing something or
other for Mrs. Dalgetty, when of a sudden I heard a
tremendous loud ring at the door-bell ; and, going in a hurry
to answer it, the captain himself strode past me into the
hall, allin a flame with the wine he had been drinking and
the passion he were in. I had seen him in towering enough
tempers often before, but I had never seen him look as he

did then. It was my impression he were pretty near mad;



20 THE CAPTAIN’S YOUNGEST.

indeed, I thought so then, and have thought so since. How
could he have done what he did that night, unless he had
not been quite himself ?

“ Rabbett,” says he, ‘“where’s Miss Rose?” e

“Tn her own room, sir,’ says J, wishing with all my heart
that I could have told him she were not in.

“ Rabbett,” says he, “ where’s Mrs. Dalgetty ?”

“In Zer own room,” says I, “lying down, a-trying to get
rid of a headache.”

“Then,” says he, “go and tell Miss Rose to come down
to me at once.”

I think I must have looked upset, myself, when I knocked
at Miss Rose’s door to deliver the captain’s message, for the
minute the words were out of my mouth she turned quite
pale and scared-looking, and began to tremble.

“Qh, Rabbett,” she says, the tears coming into her great,
pretty dark eyes, “is anything the matter? does he look
angry?”

“T must say, miss,” I answers, ‘‘as he seems a bit more
pepperyer than common, but I hope it’s nothing much.”

“Oh, Rabbett,” she says, beginning to cry, and wringing ©
her poor little helpless hands, “I know it is something
dreadful. I daren’t go down. Iam so frightened.”

But she were obliged to go down, and go down she did,
a-trembling all over, and out-and-out faint with fear. She
had always been a timid little affectionate creature, and the
captain were pretty hard to face when his temper were up.



THE CAPTAIN’S VOUNGEST. 21



Iam not ashamed to confess as I stayed as near within
hearing distance as I could, without positively eavesdropping.
I own up as I had my fears as to what the end of it all
would be, knowing the captain were. drove too wild to be
wise, or even reasonable, and I wanted to be near enough to
see Miss Rose when she came out of the room, and say a
comforting word to her, if she seemed to need one.

But she came out of the room in a different manner to
what even I had expected. The minute she went in I heard
the sound of Mrs. Dalgetty crying and the captain storm-
ing, and for a quarter of an hour after the storm fairly raged.
The captain stamped and swore, Mrs. Dalgetty sobbed, and
tried to put in a word now and then, but Miss Rose seemed
to be too much stunned to speak. I never heard her voice
after the first few moments, and at last the door opened
again, and she came running out, her beautiful dark eyes
wide open, her innocent face as white as death. She did not
see me, but ran past where I stood, up to her own bedroom,
and there was that in her look as brought my heart into my
mouth, and, queer as it may seem to you, the first thing I
thought of was Master Lionel.

“There’s harm been done,” says I to myself, “deadly
harm, and no one can undo it but one as loves her, and
that she’s fond of herself in her girl’s way ; the one as she
needs now is that there fine little fellow as was almost like a
little lover to her.”

And when she came down I feels surer of it than ever ;



22 THE CAPTAIN’S YOUNGEST.



for in three minutes more she did come: down, with her hat
and jacket on, ready to go out. And her face was even
whiter than before; and when she sees me, she holds out
her hand, her eyes looking big and bright with a dangerous
sort of shine.

‘Good-bye, Rabbett,” she says. “I am going.”

“Miss Rose,” says I, “ where are you going to?”

Then she smiles sad and bitter, and a bit hard.

‘Ask papa,” she answers. “He ought to know. He sent
me away. I don’t exactly know myself, unless—unless one
person in the world loves me well enough to take me.”

“ Miss Rose,” I breaks out, ‘‘for God’s sake don’t go to
Basil Roscoe!”

She dragged her hand away from mine, and her eyes
flashed fire.

“You all hate him!” she cried; “but I have chosen him
before all the world. Papa said I must choose, and I have
chosen. I am going to Basil Roscoe!”

And before I could speak another word she had darted
out of the door, all on fire, and desperate, as one might say,
and was gone.

I knew ‘it would be of no use spcaking to the captain.
Since he had as good as turned the poor innocent creature
out ef house and home, he was not the one to go to for
help. When he was cooler he would see his mistake, and
repent it bitter enough; but just now to go to him would
only make him madder than ever.



THE CAPTAIN’S YO UNGEST. 23



Well, just at that very minute in come Master Lionel.
There might have been some sort of a fate in it. He.
jumps up them stone steps two at a time, and bangs at
that open front door, clean out of breath, and locking
wonderful like his sister, in his excitement.

““Where’s Rose gone to, Rabbett ?” he says. “I have
just seen her walking fast—almost running—down the street,
and she would not stop for me. What has been the matter?”

I ups and tells him. I weren't afeard of doing it. I
knew him to be that there ready and brave and affectionate.

“ Rabbett,” he said, in a jiffy, “come along with me.”

“Master Lionel,” I asks, “where to?” For the fact were
my head weren't as clear as his, and I were a bit bothered:as
to what would be the best thing to be done first.

“Tam going to Captain Roscoe’s lodgings,” he answers,
as steady as you please.

And so, if you'll believe me, off we goes, out into the
- street, him a-keeping step beautiful, as he always did, but
not saying a word until at last I speak to him.

“Master Lionel,” I says, “what are you thinking about ?”

d

“T am thinking,” he answers, his dark eyes shining,
“about what I am going to say to Roscoe.”

But it weren’t so easy to find Roscoe. We did not know
exactly where his lodgings were, and so we had to inquire in
first one place and then another. The people we fancied
could tell us knew nothing definite, when we went to them;

and when we got the name of the street it were hard to



24 THE CAPTAIN’S YOUNGEST.



find. But we did find it at last, after a great deal of
trouble and a great deal of delay, which was worse. The
delay was what upset us, for both of us felt pretty certain
that Captain Basil Roscoe would lose very little time in
getting Miss Rose away out of the reach of her friends,
if he once found her willing to go with him.

By the time we reached the end of the street where he
lived Master Lionel were that worked up and excited that
he was growing paler and paler, and his eyes were like
lanterns in his face, and he caught hold of my hand and
held it hard and fast.

“ Rabbett,” he says, “ what if we should be too late?”

“T can’t think such bad luck could happen to us, sir,” I
answers him back,

And then it were—just at that instant—as his sharp
young eyes spied something out ahead of us, for he drew
his hand away, and started running, just throwing back a
word or so to me.

“There's a carriage before the door,” he said, “and
they are getting into it.”

He were up that street like a deer, and in half a minute
I were with him; but when I comes up, all out of breath,
he were on the carriage-step, holding the door open ; and,
what’s more, holding at bay the black rascal who stood
near, sneering and raging at him by turns. ‘‘ Rabbett,” he
cries out, “help me to hold the door open. No—go to
the horses’ heads. Now, Rose, get out.”



THE CAPTAIN’S YOUNGEST. 25



I went to the horses’ heads, as I would have done if the
captain himself had given the order, instead of “The Cap-
tain’s Youngest.” It made. my heart ache, too, to hear the
ring in the little chap’s voice, so like his father’s, and then
to remember what the captain might have been—and what
he were. Even the driver were struck all of a heap by the
youngster’s pluck, and were so busy locking at him that
he let me take my stand, without a word against it.

“Look here, mate,” he says to me, “here’s a rum goles

“Tt’s bad enough,” says I. “Perhaps you'll oblige me
with them reins?”

“Tf you don’t come down from that step,” says Roscoe,
saying every word slow, as if he was trying to hold him-
self back from striking the boy a blow as would kill him,
‘you impudent young devil, I will take the whip from the
box there and cut you to pieces!”

Then Miss Rose bends forward. It is my impression
as the cruel, murderous sound in the fellows voice was
something she had never heard before, and it frightened her.

“Don’t speak to him in that way, Basil,” she says. 7
“Oh, Lionel, dear, you shouldn't have come. You must
go back. You must, indeed. I shall hever come home
again, Lionel.” And she burst out crying.

“T shall go back, Rose,” says the boy, “but you must
come with me. Rabbett and I came to fetch you, and
we shall not leave you.” And then he looks at Roscoe
square. “JI am not afraid of your cutting me to pieces

E



26 THE CAPTAIN'S YOUNGEST.



with your whip, sir,” he says. ‘ Rabbett will see to that.
But,” and the fire blazed up in his voice and his face and
his eyes, as grand as if he had been the captain himself,
“if I had come alone I would not have left this carriage
door unless Rose had come with me, You might have
used your whip, but you couldn’t have made me do that.”

‘Am I,” says Roscoe, panting with the passion he dare
not let out, ‘‘am I to throw you into the street under the
horses’ hoofs, you impudent young devil ?”

But Master Lionel’s back was turned to him. He was
pleading with his sister. |

“ Rose, dear,’ he says, ‘‘come home with me. You will
come home with me, I know.” And he caught hold of
her hand.

God knows how it all happened—I don’t. If I had
only been quick enough to see in time, the captain’s
youngest might have been alive this day, a brave young
fellow, such as the captain had been in those first days
in India—a brave, handsome young soldier, as would
have been a honour to his country, and a stanch friend
yet to me.

But that weren’t to be. Just as he stood there, his
foot on the carriage-step, a-holding his sister’s hand, the
passion in the heart of the rascal watching him broke forth.
He caught lim by the shoulder, there were a short struggle
as the boy tried to free himself, and before I could reach
them he had whirled him away from the door—with



THE CAPTAIN’S YOUNGEST. 27



greater force than he intended, I’ve tried to believe. The
frightened horses lashed out their hoofs and sprang forward,
struggling over the child’s very bare as he lay stunned
under their feet.

Scoundrel as he was, I never could make it look square to
myself as the man meant the harm he did. His face was
out-and-out deathly, as he leaped forward to save him as
quick as I did myself. But we were both too late. We
could only drag at the reins, and stop the horses in time
to prevent the wheels passing over him—that were all.

We had him out in a minute, and Miss Rose was out
of the carriage, kneeling on the pavement by him, and the
driver was down off his box.

“Great God!” says Roscoe, “‘I never meant to do him
such a harm. He’s dead!” And he shuddered all over,
with fear, perhaps, as much as anything else.

But he weren’t dead, and he hadn’t even fainted, though
he were stunned at first. I had lifted him in my arms, and
he lay ‘against me, panting a bit, and stone-white, all but
for a stain of blood on one temple. It weren't his head as
was so badly hurt, it were his side, where one of the horses
had lashed out and struck him. And as sure as I’m a
living man, in a few minutes he opens his eyes and lays
hold of- his sister's hand.

“ Rose,” he says, ‘ will you—go home—with me—now ?”

She knelt over. him, wringing her hands, and sobbing
as if her heart would break. She would not let her lover



28 THE CAPTAIN’S YOUNGEST.



come near her. When he tried to speak, she shrank away,
shuddering.

It’s my belief as what she had seen in his face during
the last ten minutes would have broke her faith in
him, even if the young master had met no hurt. And
now she were that terrified that she were as helpless as
a child.

“Ts he much hurt?” she kept saying. ‘“ Rabbett, oh,
Rabbett ! let me take him home to mamma. Put him into
the carriage.” And then she turned upon Roscoe, fierce
and wild. ‘Go away,” she cried out. “You have killed
him! Go away, and never let me see you again!”

There were a dreadful house when we took him home.
Mrs. Dalgetty went out of one faint into another, as she
always did when she was frightened. The servants ran
backward and forward, doing nothing, the children crowded
round us, crying, and the captain looked on at all we did
like a man in a dream.

He were hurt and bruised and broken that bad—poor
little fellow!—that when the doctor came, and were be-
ginning to go to work on him, he looks up at me with his
bright, troubled eye, and says to me:

‘““Rabbett, please take hold of my hand.”

I were that near breaking down and sobbing out loud
that I were ashamed of myself. It were a comfort to me,
in many a day after, to think I had took hold of his hand,
and that he had asked me to do it.



THE CAPTAIN’S YOUNGEST. 29



And when the hard job was over, the doctor put his
hands into his coat-pockets, and stands looking at him for
a minute or so, and then he turns to me and beckons me
out of the room.

“Sir,” I ventured to say, “ Master Lionel—will he——
But I could not finish, somehow. I meant to say, “ Will

?



he get over it?”

“No,” sayshe. ‘I am very sorry to say it; but he will
not.”

Will you believe me as the words struck me like a
slung-shot. Not having no family of my own, and never
having clung to nothing on earth as I had clung to that
there generous, neglected little fellow, just at that minute
I felt as if I'd got a blow as was too hard to stand up
against. I couldn’t face it straight. When 1 had== been
lonely in my way he had been lonely in his, and we had
been a help and a comfort to each other in ways as out-
siders never understood.

“Sir,” I puts it to him, quite hoarse when I gets my
voice back, ‘‘when——” And I couldn’t finish that ques-
tion neither.

“Well,” he answers me back, “I am afraid before
morning.’

-I went back to the room and stayed there all
night.

It seemed a strange sort of thing that at the very last
him and me was together alone, as we always had seemed



30 THE CAPTAIN’S YOUNGEST.



to be. He had coaxed Miss Rose to go to bed; he would
not rest until she went; and when she bent down to kiss
him he says to her, in a whisper, quite bright and cheer-
ful: “Don’t cry, Rose.‘ It’s all right.”

And then the captain gets tired, and begins to doze,
and Mrs. Dalgetty falls asleep on the sofa; and so Master
Lionel and me was left together; me watching him, and
listening to the clock ticking; him lying quiet, with his
eyes shut.

But toward daybreak he gets a bit restless, and stirs,
and the next thing I sees him looking at me, quite wide
awake. :

‘“Rabbett,” says he, in a bit of a hurry, “open the
window.”

And when I goes and does it, and comes back, he
puts out his hand.

‘“ Rabbett,” he says, “I’m very fond of you;” and some-
thing wistful comes into his eyes, and I sees a faint gray
shadow creeping up over his face. “I was always fond
of you, and I always shall be fond of you,” says he.
“Don’t let my hand go, Rabbett.”

And the next minute the gray .shadow has changed his
brave, handsome, childish face all at once and altogether.
He gives me a innercent, bright look—just one, as if he
were wondering why I shook so—and shuts his eyes.. He
would never open them again on me, as was so fond and

proud of him in my poor.way. When they opened again.



THE CAPTAIN’S VOUNGEST. 31



- he would see something brighter than the morning sky,
as was just growing red and golden before the east
window.

Of course they fretted over him for a while, finding
out most likely as he’d made himself dearer than they’d
thought before he were gone. They could not have helped
missing him if they had been more careless than they were.
Sometimes I fancied the captain was checked a bit and
sad, and blamed himself in secret, but his days of being
open and soft-hearted was over, and it were hard to tell.
I know it was a long time before he. forgave Miss Rosie,
though for her sake the matter was hushed up, and no one
but themselves knew exactly how the accident happened.
Miss Rose could never bear the sound of Basil Roscoe's
name again, and she married a good man a few years after, _
and madé him a good wife. So the poor little fellow as
gave his life for her did not lose it for nothing, though, if
you were to ask me which of the two—but, there, it’s not
for me to take on myself to argue out! But he were only
a boy to them—only a child. They didn’t know him as
I did, and so after a while their grief died out, and in a
year or so he was half forgotten.

But it weren’t so easy for me. His handsome little face
and his pleasant ways is as clear to me to-day as they
ever was. When I sit lonely over my fire of a winter's

night—and I am a lonely man, things being as they are



32 THE CAPTAIN'S VOUNGEST.



and the years going on—I think of him for hours in a
way of my own, and make a sort of dream of him. I
think of him as he lay in his cradle and we made friends
when he wasn’t but a week old. I think of him as he was,
with his little soldier ways about the quarters, carrying
himself as military as if he’d been twenty ; a-helping me
in one way and another, and finding out he might be con-
fidential, though I wasn’t nothing but a private and him a
officer's son. I think about him as he looked when he came
to me in his innercent trouble that night and told me about
his sister’s lover. And then I see him lying there, with the
light from the east window falling on him, and I hear him
_ saying:

“JT am very fond of you, Rabbett. I always was fond
of you, and | always shall be fond of you. Don't let my
hand go, Rabkett.”

Ay—and that ain't all, I make a picture of what might
have been. I sees him grown into a young man—a hand-
some, smart young officer—-and make a picture of some
beautiful young girl, and tells myself what a pretty love
_ story they would have had betwixt them, and what a lover,
and what a young husband he would have been! Why,
there’s been nights when I’ve even seen little children
like him, and thought they would have been fond of me,
as he was. It’s made me forget where I was, and
when I’d be roused up by something or other I’ve found
myself choke up with something as might almost have



























THE CAPTAIN'S YOUNGEST. 33



been my heart in my throat, to think as it were only a
sort of dream afterall. And the captain’s youngest lies
out under the stars in the churchyard, the wind a-blowing
over the snow as lies on a grave as is only the. grave

of a child.













TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO





“Many a day he had fallen asleep with his curly head on its warne little Suszy
side.’ —see page 45.

frontispiece.

(@)



TWO DAYS

IN

THE LIE OF PICCINO



dreadful days.
When sometimes he spoke of them to such of his play-

as Giuseppe, who was little Roberto’s
great-grandfather, and could only move
when he was helped, and. sat in the sun

-and played with bits of string—if he lived

to be as old as that, he could never
forget them — those two strange and

mates as were older than himself—especially to Carlo, who

tended sheep and was afraid of nothing, even making jokes
about the forestier, they said they thought he had been
foolish—that as it seemed that the people had been ready to

give him anything, it could not have been so bad but one
could have tried to bear it, though they all agreed that it
was dreadful about the water.



38 TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



It is true, too, that as he grew older himself, after his
mother died and his father married again the big Paula, who
flew into such rages and beat him—and when he had to tend
sheep and goats himself and stay out on the hills all day in such
ragged jackets and with so little food because Paula said he
had not’ earned his salt, and she had her own children
to feed, then he longed for some of the food he would not
eat during those two days, and wondered if he would do
quite the same thing again under the same circumstances.
But this was only when he was very hungry and the mistral
was blowing, and the Mediterranean looked grey instead of
blue. ‘

He was such a tiny fellow when it happened. He was
not yet six years old, and when a child is under six he
has not reached the age when. human creatures have begun
to face life for themselves altogether, and even a little
Italian peasant who tumbles about among sheep and
donkeys, which form part of his domestic circle, is still in
a measure a sort of baby whose mother or brother or sister
has to keep an occasional eye on him to see that he does

not kill himself. And then also Piccino had been regarded
by his family as a sort of capital, and had consequently had
“more attention paid to him than he would have had under
ordinary circumstances. —

It was like this. He was so pretty—so wonderfully
pretty. His brothers and sisters were not beauties, but he
was a beauty from his first day, and with every day



TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. . 39



that passed he grew prettier. When he was so tiny that
he was packed about like a bundle wound up in un-
attractive looking bandages, he had already begun to show
what his eyes were going to be—his immense soft black
eyes with lashes which promised to be velvet fringes. And
as soon as his hair began to show itself it was lovely silk,
which lay in rings one over the other on his beautiful little
- round head. Then his soft cheeks and chin were of exquisite
roundness, and in each he had a deep dimple which came and
went as he laughed.

He was always being looked at and praised. A ‘Gesu
Bambino ”
they always said when a child had wonderful beauty—their
idea of supreme child loveliness being founded on the pictures
and waxen richly-dressed figures they saw in the churches.

But it was the foresézert who admired him most, and that
was why he was so valuable. His family lived near a strange
little old city in the hills which spread out behind one of the
fashionable seaside towns on the Italian Riviera. The
strange little old city, which was a relic of centuries gone by,
was one of the places the rich foreigners made excursions to
see. It was a two or three hours’ drive from the fashionable

the peasant women called him. That was what

resort, and these gay rich people, who seemed to do nothing
~ but enjoy themselves, used to form parties and drive in
carriages up the road which wound its way up from the
shore through the olive vineyards and back into the hills.
Tt was their habit to bring servants with them and hampers



40 TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



of wonderful things to eat, which would be unpacked by
the servants and spread on white cloths on the grass in
some spot shaded by the trees. Then they would eat,
and drink wine, and laugh, and afterwards wander about
and explore the old city of Ceriani, and seem to find
the queer houses and the inhabitants and everything about
it interesting.

To the children of Ceriani and its outskirts these
excursion parties were delightful festivities. When they
heard of the approach of one they gathered themselves
together and went forth to search for its encampment. When
they had found it they calmly seated themselves in rows
quite near and watched it as if it were a kind of theatrical
entertainment to which they had paid for admission. They
were all accomplished in the art of begging, and knew that
the forestzert always had plenty of small change, and would
give, either through good nature or to avoid being annoyed.
Then they knew from experience that the things that were
not eaten were never repacked into the hampers if there was
someone to ask for them. So they kept their places quite
cheerfully and looked on at the festivities, and talked to each
other and showed their white teeth in generous grins, quite
-amiably sure of reaping a pleasant harvest before the
carriages drove back again down the winding road ending
at the sea and San Remo, and the white many-balconied
hotels.

And it was through these excursion parties that Piccino’s



TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 4I



market value was discovered. When he was a baby and his
sister Maria, who was his small nurse—being determined not
to be left behind by her comrades, toiled after the rest of the
children with her little burden in her arms or over her
shoulder—it was observed that the forestier’ always saw the
pretty round black baby head and big soft dark eyes before
they saw anything else, and their attention once being
attracted by Piccino very pleasant things were often the
result. The whole party got more cakes and sandwiches and
legs of chickens and backs of little birds, and when bits of
silver were given to Maria for Piccino, Maria herself some-
times even had whole francs given to her because it was she
who was his sister and took care of him. And then having
begun giving, the good-natured ones among the party of
ladies and gentlemen did not like to quite neglect the other
children, and so scattered soldi among them, so that some.
times they all returned to Ceriani feeling that they had done
a good day’s work. Their idea of a good day’s work
was one when they had not run after carriages for nothing,
or had heads shaken at them when they held out their
hands and called imploringly, “Uno soldino, bella
Signora—bella Signora!” Piccino had been born one
of the class which in its childhood, and often even later,
never fails in the belief that the English and Americans
who come to the beautiful Riviera come there to be

begged from, or in some way beguiled out of their small
coin.



42 TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



Maria was a sharp child. She had not lugged her little
brothers and sisters about all through the working time of her
twelve years without learning a few things. She very soon
found out what it was that brought in the so/dz and the nice
scraps from the hampers.

“Tt is Piccino they give things to, Ecco,” she _ said.
“ They see his eyes and they want to look at him and touch
his cheeks. They like to see the dimples come when he
laughs. They would not look at me like that—or at you,
Carmela. They would not come near us.”

This was quite true. The row of little spectators watching
the picnics might be picturesque, but it was exceedingly dirty,
and not made of the material it is quite safe to come near.
It was a belief current among the parties who drove up from
San Remo that soap had never been heard of in the vicinity
of Ceriani, and that water was avoided as a poisonous
element, and this belief was not founded upon mere
nothings. |

‘They are as dirty as they are cheerful and impudent,”
someone had said, “and that is saying a great deal. I wonder
what would happen if one of them were caught and washed all
over?”

Nobody could have been dirtier than Piccino was. Pretty
as he looked, there were days when the most enthusiastic of
the ladies dare not have taken him in her arms. In fact
there were very few days when anyone would have liked
to go quite that far—or any farther indeed than looking at



TWO DAVS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 43



his velvet eyes and throwing him soldi and cakes. But his
eyes always won him the so/dz and cakes, and the older he
grew the more he gained, so that not only Maria and her
companions but his mother herself began to look upon him as
a source of revenue.

“Tf he can only sing when he grows a little older,” his
mother said, “he can fill his pockets full by going and
singing before the hotels and in the gardens of the villas.
Everyone will give him something. They are a queer lot
these foreigners, who are willing to give good money to a
child because he has long eyelashes. His are long enough,
thanks to the Virgin. Sometimes I wonder they are’not in
his way.”

His mother was the poorest of the poor. She had seven
children and a mere hovel to put them in, and nothing to
feed and clothe them with. Her husband was a good-for-
nothing who never worked if he could help it, and who, if he
earned a few so/dz, got rid of them at once before they could
be scolded out of him and spent.on such extravagances as
food and fire. If Piccino had not been a little Italian peasant
he would no doubt have starved to death or died of cold long
before he had his adventure, but on the Riviera the sun
shines and the air is soft, and people seem born with a sort
of gay carelessness of most things that trouble the serious
world.

As for Piccino he was as happy as a soft little rabbit or a
young bird, or a baby fawn. When he was old enough to run



44 TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



about he had the most beautiful days. They seemed to him
to be made up of warm sunshine and warm grass, flowers
looking at him as he toddled round, light filtering through
vines and the branches of olive trees, nice black bread and figs,
which he lay on his back and munched delightedly, and days
when Maria dragged him along the road to some green place
where grand people sat and ate good things, and who after-
wards gave him cakes and delicious little bones and sold,
saying over and over again to each other that he was the
prettiest little boy they had ever seen, and had the most
beautiful eyes and—oh ! his eyelashes!

“Look at his eyelashes!” they would exclaim. “ They are
as thick as rushes round a pool, and they must be half an
inch long.”

Sometimes Piccino got rather tired of his eyelashes and
wore a resigned expression, but he was little Italian enough
to feel that they must be rather a good thing as they brought
such luck. Once, indeed, a man came all by himself to
Ceriani and persuaded his mother to make him sit on a stone
while he put him in a picture, and when it was over he gave
his mother several francs, and she was delighted, but Piccino
was not so pleased, because he had thought it rather tiresome
to sit so long on one stone.

This was the year before the dreadful two days came.

When they came he had been put into queer little trousers
which were much too big for him. One of his brothers had
outgrown them and given them good wear. They were, in

%



















































































































































































“ He went and showed them to the donkey.” —page 45.



TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 45



- fact, as ragged as they were big, and as dirty as they were
ragged, but Piccino was very proud of them. He went and
showed them to the donkey, whose tumble-down sleeping
apartment was next to his own, and who was his favourite
playmate and companion. It was such a little donkey, but
such a good one. It could carry a burden almost as big
as its stable, and it had soft furry ears and soft furry sides,
and eyes and eyelashes as pretty for a donkey as Piccino’s
were for a boy. It was nearly always at- work, but when
it was at home Piccino was nearly always with it. On
wet and cold days he stayed with it in its tiny broken
stable playing and talking to it, and many a day he had
fallen asleep with his curly head on its warm little fuzzy
side. When it was fine they: strolled about together and
were companions, the donkey cropping the grass and Piccino
pretending it was a little flock of sheep, and that he was
big enough to be a shepherd. In the middle of the night
he used to like to waken and hear it move and make
little sounds. It was so close to him that he felt as if
they slept together.

So he went to show it his trousers, of course.

“Now I am a man,” he said, and he stood close by its
head, and the two pairs of lustrous eyes looked affection-.
ately into each other.

After that they sauntered out together into the beautiful
early morning. When Piccino was with the donkey his
mother and Maria knew he was quite safe, and so was



46 TWO DAVS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



the donkey, so they were allowed to ramble about. They
never went far, it is true. Piccino was too little, and be-
sides there were such nice little rambles quite near. This
time was the loveliest of all the year. The sun was sweetly
warm, but not hot, and there were anemones and flaming
wild tulips in the grass.

Piccino did not know how long they were out together
before Maria came to find them. The donkey had a
beautiful breakfast, and Piccino ate his piece of black
bread without anything to add to its flavour, because his
mother was at the time in great trouble and very poor,
and there was scarcely the bread itself to eat. Piccino
toddled along quite peacefully, however, and when he
came upon a space where there were red and yellow
tulips swaying in the soft air he broke off a fine handful,
and when the donkey lay down he sat by it and began
to stick the beautiful flaring things round his hat as he
had seen Maria stick things round hers. It was a torn
soft felt hat, with a pointed crown and a broad rim, and
when he put it on again with its adornment of red
and yellow flowers sticking up and down and _ falling
on his soft, thick curls, he was a strangely beautiful little
thing to see, and so like a picture that he scarcely
seemed like a real child at all, but like a lovely fan-
astic little being some artist had arranged to put on
‘canvas.

He was sitting in this way looking out to where he



TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 47



could see a bit of blue sea through a break in the hills,
when Maria came running towards him.

“The donkey!” she cried, “the donkey!”

She had been crying, and looked excited, and took him by
the hand, dragging him towards home. His legs were so
short and he was so little that it always seemed as if she
dragged him. She was an excitable child, and always went
fast when she had an object in view. Piccino was used
to excitement. They all shouted and screamed and gesticu-
lated at each other when any trifling thing happened. His
mother and her neighbours were given to tears and cries
and loud ejaculations upon the slightest provocation, as
all Italian peasants are, so he saw nothing unusual in
Maria’s coming upon him like a whirlwind and exclaiming
disjointedly with tears. He wondered, however, what the
donkey could have to do with it, and evidently the donkey
wondered too, for she got up and trotted after them down
the road. .

But when they reached the house it was very plain that
the thing which had occurred was not a trifle or usual.

Piccino saw an old man standing before the door talking
to his mother. At least he was trying to get in a word
edgeways now and then, while the mother wept and
beat her breast and poured forth a torrent of bewailing,
mingled with an avalanche of scolding addressed to her

husband, who stood near her looking at once sheepish and
ill-tempered.



48 TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



‘Worthless brute and pig,” she proclaimed ; “‘idle, wicked
animal who will not work to help me to feed his children.
It is only I who work and the donkey who helps me. With-
out her we should starve—starve! And he sells her—
poor beast—sells her to get money for his wickedness
and gluttony! And I am to starve without her. A fine
thing—and he brings to my door the thief he has sold
her to!”

Baby as he was, Piccino began to understand. His father
had sold the donkey and it would be taken away. He lifted
up his voice in a wail of bitter lamentation, and breaking
away from Maria, ran to the donkey and clung round
her. front leg, rubbing his cheek wofully against her grey
shoulder.

For an hour or so they all wept and lamented, while their
mother alternately wept and raved. She abused her hus-
band, and the old man who had bought the donkey, by turns.
Stray neighbours dropped in and helped her. They all
agreed that old Beppo was a usurer and a thief, who had
somehow got the better of Annibale, who was also a drunken
shameless brute. Old Beppo was so overwhelmed by the
storm of hard words and bad names raging about him that
he actually was stunned into allowing that the donkey should
remain where she was for two days, that she might finish
some work her mistress had promised to do with her aid.
And he went away grumbling with his piece of rope over his
arm.



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‘He... ran to the donkey and clung to her front leg.” —page 48,



TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 49

There was nothing to eat in the house, and if there
had been the mother was too prostrate with grief and
rage to have prepared anything like a meal. And so
it seemed a great piece of good luck when dirty little
Filippo burst upon them with the news that three grand
carriages, full of illustrious-looking forestier? and inviting
hampers, were unloading themselves at a certain turn of
the road where the grass was thick and the trees big and
close together.

“Come!” said Maria, catching at Piccino’s hand. She
gave hima look over. His crying had left a flush in his
soft cheeks and a little pathetic curve on his baby mouth,
which was always like a tiny vermilion bow. His hat, with
the tulips tumbling round it, was set on the back of his head,
andthe red and yellow things made his eyes look bigger
and lovelier than ever by contrast. In these respects Maria
saw that he was good for more cakes and so/dz than ever.
And it would never have occurred to her that tears and
rubbing against the donkey had left him dirtier than ever.
In Maria’s world nobody troubled themselves about dirt.
Washing oneself amounted almost to a religious ceremony.
But ah! that little love of a Piccino was dirty—as
dirty as he was soft and dimpled, and rich-coloured and
beautiful.

Near the place where the pleasure-seekers had spread their

feast upon the grass there was a low rough stone wall at the
side of the road.



50 TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



When the servants had spread the bright rugs and
cushions upon the ground the party sat down in little groups.
No sooner had they done this than one of the ladies looked
up and broke into a little laugh.

“ Look there!” she said, nodding in the direction of the
low wall, which was only a few yards from them.

And those near her looked and saw a little boy peasant

sitting with his legs dangling and gazing at them with the
interest and satisfaction of a person who has had the good
fortune to secure the best seat at a theatre.
_ “He isa sharp one,” said the lady. “He has got here
first. There will be others directly. They are like a swarm
of little vultures. The Bothwicks, who have the Villa des
Palmier, were here a week ago, and they said children seemed
to start up from the earth.”

The servants moved about in dexterous silence unpacking
the hampers and spreading white cloths. The gentlemen
sat at the ladies’ feet, and everybody laughed and talked
gaily. In a few minutes the lady looked up and laughed
again.

“ Look,” she said, ‘“‘now there are three

And there were six legs dangling, and the second and
third pair were little girls’ legs, and their owners looked on

[E22

at the strangers with cheerful composure, as if their assistance
at the festive scene were the most proper and natural thing

in the world.
The lady who had seen them first was a tall and handsome



TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 5



_Englishwoman. She had big coils of reddish-brown hair
and large bright eyes, which looked restless and tired at the
same time. Everybody seemed to pay her a great deal of
attention. The party was hers, the carriages were hers, the
big footmen were hers. Her guests called her Lady
Aileen. She was a very rich young widow with no
children, and though she had everything that wealth and
rank could give she found it rather hard to amuse herself.
Perhaps this was because she had given everything to Lady
_ Aileen Chalmer that she could, and it had not yet occurred
to her that anyone else in the world was any affair of
hers.

“The Bothwicks came home in raptures over a child
they had seen,” she said. “They talked of. him until it
was fatiguing. They said he was as dirty as a pig and
as beautiful as an angel. The rest of the children seemed
to use him as a bait. I wish they would bring him
to-day. I should like to see him. I must say I don't
believe he was as beautiful as they said. You know
Mary Bothwick is by way of being artistic and is given
to raptures.”

“Are you fond of children, Lady Aileen?” asked the
man nearest to her.

“T don’t know,” she answered, ‘‘I never had one. But
I think they are amusing. And these little Italian beggars
are sometimes very handsome. Perhaps I should not be
so bored if I had a very good-looking child. I should



52 TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



want a boy. I believe I will buy one from a peasant
some day. They will give you anything for money.” She
turned her face a little and laughed as she had done
before.
“There are quite twelve on the wall now,” she said,
‘perhaps more. I must count them.” When they counted
: all
with dangling feet, all dirty, and all staring at what was

them they found there were fourteen. All in a row



going on with a composure which had no shadow of
embarrassment touching it.

The row, having gained in numbers, was also beginning

to be a little more lively. The young spectators had
begun to exchange conversational and lively remarks upon
the party, the big footmen, uu the ae things being
handed about and eaten.
In ten minutes from that time Lady Aileen counted
again and found there were twenty-two lookers-on, and
when she reached the twenty-first she gave a-slight
start.

“Dear me!” she exclaimed, and laid down her fork.

‘What is it, Lady Aileen?” asked a girl who sat at
her side.

“T am perfectly certain the twenty-first one is the child
the Bothwicks were talking about. And he zs a handsome
creature |”

“Which one?” the girl exclaimed, leaning forward to
look. ‘The twenty-first. Oh, I am sure you mean the



TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 53



one next to the end. What a beauty, Mr. Gordon, look
at him!”

And Maria had the encouragement of seeing half a
dozen people turn to look at Piccino, sitting by her on
the wall, a marvel of soft-roundness and rich colour, his
velvet eyes dreamily wide open as he gazed fixedly at
the good things to eat, his crimson bow of a mouth with
parted lips, his flaming tulips nodding round his torn
felt hat.

Lady Aileen looked quite interested.

“T never saw such a beautiful little animal,” she said.
“I had no idea children were ever really like that. He
looks as if he had been deliberately made to order. But
I should never have had the imagination to order DY;
thing so perfect.”

In a very few minutes everybody was feeling at him and
discussing him. Maria saw them, and all the other children
saw them, and the whole party began to congratulate itself
and feel its spirits exhilarated, because it knew how the
matter would end. The only one who was not exactly
exhilarated was, it must be confessed, Piccino himself. He
felt a certain shy awkwardness when he was looked at and
talked about so much. He was not much more than a baby
after all, and he liked the cakes and little birds’ backs much
better than he liked being looked at by so many grand ladies
and gentlemen all at once. Perhaps too,, if the truth were
told, he was not as thrifty as Maria and her companions.



54 TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



He liked the good things, but he did not like to ask for them,
whereas the others did not objeet to begging at all. It was
second nature to them.

On this occasion Maria, seeing what effect he had produced,
wanted to lift him down from the wall and put him on the
grass and make him go among the signord and hold out his
hand,

But he clung to her and shook his head, and stuck out his
vermilion under lip and would not go.

It was when he was doing this and Maria was whispering
to him and scolding and coaxing, that Lady Aileen called to
one of her footmen and told him to bring her a plateful of
cakes and some marrons glacées.

“Does your ladyship wish me to take them to the beggar
children ?” asked Thomas, his distaste suppressed by re-
spectful civility.

“No,” Lady Aileen answered, i isng to her feet. “Tam
going to take them myself.”

“Ves, my lady,” said Thomas, and stepped back.
“Jt would have been safer to have let me do it,”
he remarked, in a discreet undertone when he returned
to his fellows; ‘ladies’ dresses are more liable to touch
them by accident. And one wouldn’t want to éouch
them.”

Lady Aileen carried her plate to the line of spectators on
the wall. Mr. Gordon and two or three others of the party
followed her. All along the row eyes began to glisten and



TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 55



mouths to water, but Lady Aileen went straight to Piccino.
She spoke to him in Italian.

‘‘ What is your name 2?” she asked.

He hung back a little, keeping close to Maria. This was
just what he did not like at all—that they would come and
ask him his name and try to make him talk. He had nothing
to say to people like them. He could talk to the donkey, but
then the donkey was of his own world and they knew each
other's language.

“Tell the Signora your name,” whispered Maria, furtively
pushing him. oe

“Piccino,” he said at length—the word coming through a
little reluctant pout.

Lady Aileen laughed.

“He says his name is Piccino,” she said to her companions.
“That means ‘little one, so I suppose it is a sort of pet
name. How old is he?” she asked Maria.

Piccino was so tired of hearing that. They always asked
it. He never asked how old they were. He did not want
to know.

“He will be six in three months,” said Maria.

“Will you have some cakes ?” said Lady Aileen. Piccino
held out his horribly dirty dimpled hands, but Maria took
off his hat with the tulips round it and held it out for
him. .

“If the [lustrissima will put them in here,” she said, “he
can carry them better.”



56 TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



_ Lady Aileen gave a little shudder, but she emptied the
plate. :
“What an awful hat!” she said to her friends. ‘“ They
are quite like little pigs—but he looks almost prettier without
it. Look how wonderful his hair is! It has dark red lights.
in it and is as thick asa mat. The curls are like the cherubs
of the Sistine Madonna. If it were not so dirty I should like
to put my hand on it.”

She spoke in English, and Piccino wondered what she was
saying about him. He knew it was about him, and he looked
at her from under his veil of lashes.

“Tt would please me to have a child as handsome as that
about me,” she said.

“Why don't you buy him?” said Mr. Gordon. “You
spoke of buying one just now. It would be like buying a
masterpiece.”

“So it would,” said Lady Aileen. ‘“ That’s an idea. I
think I will buy him. I believe he would amuse me.”

“ For a while at least,” said Mr. Gordon.

“ He would always be well taken care of,” said her lady-
ship, with a practical air. ‘‘ He would be infinitely better oft
than he is now.”

She was a person who through all her life had cultivated
the habit of getting all she had a fancy for. If one cultivates
the habit, and has plenty of money, there are not many
things one cannot have. There are some, it is true, but not



TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 57



many. Lady Aileen had not found many. Just now she
was rather more bored than usual. Before she had left
England something had occurred which had rather troubled
her. In fact she had come to the Riviera to forget it in
change of surroundings. She had been to Monte Carlo,
and had found it too excited and not new enough, as she
had been there often before. She had been to Nice, and
_had said it was too much like a seaside Paris, and that
there were so many English people, that walking down the
Promenade des Anglais was like walking down Bond Street.
She had tried San Remo because it was quiet, and she had
a temporary fancy for being quiet, and then she had
chanced to meet some people she liked. So she had taken
a snow-white villa high above the sea, and with palms and
orange-trees, and slender yellow green bamboos in the
garden. And she had invited her new acquaintances ‘to
dinner and afternoon tea, and had made up excursions,
Still she was often bored, and wanted some new trifle to
amuse her. And actually, when she saw Piccino and Mr.
Gordon suggested to her that she should buy him, it
occurred to her that she would try it. If she had chanced
to come upon a tiny, pretty, rare monkey, or toy -terrier,
or an unheard-of kind of parrot or cockatoo, she would
have tried the experiment of buying it, and Piccino, with
his dirty, beautiful little face, and his half-inch eyelashes, did
not seem much more serious to her. He would cost more
money, of course, as she would have to provide for him in

I



58 TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



some way after he had grown too big to amuse her, but she
had plenty of money, and she need not trouble herself
about him. She need not see him if she did not wish to,
after she had sent him to school—or to be trained into
some kind of superior servant. Lady Aileen was not a
person whose conscience disturbed her and caused her to feel
responsibilities. And so after the party had been to explore
Ceriani and the things that otherwise interested them,
she asked Mr. Gordon to go with her to the poor little
tumble-down house which Maria had pointed out to her _
as the home of Piccino. Maria had in fact had a rich
"harvest. Everybody had returned full of good things, and
Piccino’s small pocket was rich with so/dz.

“Tam going to carry out your suggestion,” Lady Aileen
said to Mr. Gordon as they walked down the road.

« What was it?” Mr. Gordon asked.

“ That I should buy the child.”

“Indeed,” said Mr. Gordon. “You find you can always
buy what you have a fancy Ota

“Nearly always,” said Lady Aileen, knitting her hand-
some white forehead alittle. “I have no doubt I can buy
this thing I have a fancy for.”

It chanced that she came exactly at the right moment.
As they approached the house they heard even louder cries
and lamentations and railings than Piccino had heard in the
morning.

It appeared that old Beppo had repented his leniency, and



TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF .PECCINO. 59



had come back for the donkey. He would not let it stay
another night. He wanted to work it himself. He
had brought his piece of rope, and had fastened it to the
pretty grey head already—while Piccino’s mother Rita
wept and gesticulated and poured forth maledictions. The
neighbours had come back to sympathize with her, and
find out what would happen, and the children had begun
to cry, and Annibale to swear, so that there was such
a noise filling the air that if Lady Aileen had not
. been a cool and determined person she might have been
alarmed, :

But she was not. She did not wait for Mr. Gordon to
command order, but walked straight into the midst of the
altercation.

“What is the matter?” she demanded in Italian. “What
is all this noise about ?”

Then, after their first start of surprise at seeing the grand
lady who was so plainly one of the rich Jorestiert—Rita and
all her neighbours began to explain their wrongs at once.
They praised the donkey, and reviled Annibale, and
proclaimed that old Beppo was a malefactor without a soul,
and a robber of the widow and the fatherless.

“Far better,” cried Rita, “that my children should be
without a father—an idle ugly brute who takes their bread
out of their poor mouths. To sell their one friend who
keeps them—the donkey !”

Old Beppo looked both sheepish and frightened when



60 TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



Lady Aileen turned upon him as he was beginning to
try to shuffle away with his property at the end of his rope
halter.

” Stay where you are!” she said.

“ Tllustrissima,” mumbled Beppo, “a thousand excuses.
But I have work to do, and the donkey is mine. I have
bought it. It is my donkey, Illustrissima.”

Lady Aileen knew Italy very well. She drew out her
purse that he might see it in her hand before. she turned
away from him.

«Stay where you are,” she said, “I shall have something
to say to you later.” ;

Then she turned to Rita.

“Stop making a noise,” she said, “1 want to talk to
you.”

What could the Illustrious Signora have to say. to a
wretched woman? Rita wept. All her children must starve,
she must starve herself, death from cold and hunger lay
before them!

“No such thing,” said Lady Aileen. “I will buy your
donkey back, and give you food and fuel for the winter
—for more than one winter—if you will let me have what
I want.” |

Rita and the neighbours exclaimed in chorus. If she
could have what she wanted, the Most Illustrious Signora !
What could she want that a hovel could hold, and what
could such poor creatures refuse her ?



TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 61°

Lady Aileen made a gesture towards Piccino, who had
gone to stand by the donkey, and had big tears on his
eyelashes as he fondled its nose.

“TI want you to lend me your little boy,” she said; “I
want to take him home with me and keep him. It will be
much better for him.”

The neighbours all exclaimed in chorus. Rita for a
moment only stared.

“Piccino.!” she said at length, “you want to take him—
to make him your child!” And aside she exclaimed,
“ Mother of God! it is his eyelashes ! ”

Lady Aileen shrugged her shoulders slightly. “I cannot
make him my child,” she said, “but I will take care of
him. He shall live with me, and be fed and clothed, and
shall enjoy himself.”

Maria clutched at her mother’s apron.

“ Mother,” she said, “he will be a Signorine. He will
ride in the carriage of the IIlustrissima. It will be as if he
were a Prince!”

“As if he were a Prince!” the neighbours echoed. “ As if
. he were a King’s son!” And they all looked at dirty little
Piccino with a growing awe.

Rita looked at him too. She had never been a very
motherly person, and these children, who had given her
such hard work and hard fare, had been a combined trial
and burden to her. She had never felt it fair that they
should have come upon her. Each one had seemed an



62 TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



added calamity, and when Piccino had been born he had
seemed a heavier weight than all the rest. It was, indeed,
well for him that his eyelashes had begun to earn his
living so early. And now, if he could save their daily bread
and the donkey for them, it would be a sort of excuse for his
having intruded himself upon the world. But Rita was not
the woman to let him go for a nothing.

“He is as beautiful as an angel!” she said; “he has
brought in many a “ve only because the forestzerd admire
him so. His eyelashes are an inch long. When he is
old enough to sing e

Lady Aileen spoke aside to Mr. Gordon.

“TI told you that I believed I could buy this thing I
fancied,” she said.

To Rita she said,—

“Tell me what you want. I will give you a reason-
able sum. But you will be foolish if you try to be
extortionate. I want him—but not so much that I will be
robbed.”

“I should be a foolish woman if I tried to keep him,”
said Rita; “he will have nothing to eat to-night if he stays
here—nor to-morrow—nor the day after, unless a miracle
happens. The Illustrious Signora will give him a good
home, and will buy back the donkey and save us from
starvation? I can come sometimes to the villa of the



Signora and see him ?”
“Yes,” said Lady Aileen practically, “and the servants



TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 63



will always give you a good meal and something to carry
home with you. You can have him back at any time if
you want him.”

She said this for two reasons... One was because she
knew his mother was not likely to want him back, because
he would always be a source of small revenue. And then
she herself was not a person of the affections, and if the
woman made herself in the least tiresome she was not
likely to feel it a grief to part with the child. She only
wanted him to amuse her.

How it was all arranged Piccino did not in the least
know. As he stood by the donkey, his mother and the
neighbours, his father and Beppo, and the illustrious lady
all talked together. He knew they were talking of him
because he heard his own name, but he was too little to
listen or care.

Maria listened to good*purpose however. She was wildly
excited and exhilarated. Before the bargain was half
concluded: she slipped over to Piccino’s side, and tried to
make him understand.

“The Signora is going to buy back the donkey,” she said,
“and give us money besides ; and you are going back in her
beautiful carriage to San Remo, to live in her magnificent
villa, and be a Signorine, and have everything you want.
You will be dressed like the King’s son, and have servants,
You will be as rich as the forestzert.”

Piccino gave her a rather timid look. He was not a



64. TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



beloved nursery darling, he was only a pretty little animal
who was only noticed because he was another mouth to feed,
he was not of half as much consequence as the donkey. But
the dirty place where he ate and slept was his home, and it
gave him a queer feeling to think of tumbling about in a
strange house.

But Maria was so delighted, and seemed to think he had
such luck, and everybody got up a sort of excitement about
him, and he did not want the donkey to be sold, and he was
too young to realize that he could not come back as often as
he liked. And in the end, when the matter was actually
settled, he found himself part of a sort of triumphal
procession, which escorted him back to the place where the
carriages were. His mother and Maria, and several of the
neighbours, walked quite proudly along the road with him,
and even old Beppo followed at a distance, and the
donkey having been freed from the halter and taking an
interest in her friends, loitered along also, cropping grass
as she went.

Lady Aileen and Mr. Gordon had gone on before them.
When they reached the place where the rest of the party was
waiting Lady Aileen explained the rather remarkable thing
she had done, and did so with her usual direct coolness.

“T have bought the child with the eyelashes,” she said,
“and I am going to take him back to San Remo on the box
with the coachman. He is too dirty to come near us until
he is washed.”



TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 65



She was.a person whom nobody thought of questioning,
because she never questioned herself. She simply did what
it occurred to her to do, and felt her own wish quite enough
reason. She did not care in the least whether’ people
thought her extraordinary or not. That was their affair and
not hers.

“You have bought Piccino!” one of her friends
exclaimed. “Does that mean you are going to adopt
him?”

“T have not thought of it as seriously as that,” said Lady
Aileen. “I am goingto take him home and have him
thoroughly washed, however. When he is clean I will
decide what I shall do next. The thing that interests me at
present is that I am curious to see what he will look like
when he has had a warm bath all over, and has been puffed
with violet powder and had his hair combed. I want to see
it done. I wonder what he will think is happening to him.
Nicholson will have to take care of him until I find him a
nurse. Look at his relatives and friends escorting him in
procession down the road. They have already begun to
regard him with veneration.”

She beckoned to one of the men-servants.

“ Greggs,” she said, “ you and Hepburn must put the child
between you on the box. He is going back to San Remo’
with me. See that he does not fall off.”

Greggs went to the coachman, with a queer expression of
the nostrils,



66 - TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



“We've got a nice bunch of narcissuses to carry back
between us. Her ladyship says the boy is to go with us on

the box.”
“A nice go that is for two men that’s a bit particular them-

selves!” said the coachman. ‘‘Let’s hope he won't give us

both typhus fever.”
And under these auspices Piccino went forth to his strange

experience.





67



CHAPTER II.

E was too well accustomed to his dirt to
think of it as being objectionable, so the
way in which Greggs lifted him up on to
the seat on the box did not at all explain
itself to him. He did not realize that in
exactly the same manner the excellent
Greggs would have handled an extremely
dirty little dog her ladyship. had chosen
to pick up by the wayside and order
him to take charge of.

But though he did not aideciand how
he was regarded by the illustrious signori
in livery who sat near him, he was conscious that he was
not comfortable, and felt that somehow they were not
exactly friendly. His place on the box seemed at an
enormous height from the ground, and as they went down
hill over the winding road he was rather frightened,
particularly when they rounded a sharp curve. It seemed
so probable that he might fall off, and he was afraid to
clutch at Greggs, who kept as far from him as. possible
under the circumstances.





68 TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.

It was a long, long drive back to San Remo, and it
seemed longer to Piccino than it really was. San Remo to
him appeared a wonderful foreign country. He had never
been there, and only knew of it what Maria had told him.
Maria had once gone there in a small cart drawn by the
donkey, and she had never forgotten the exaltation of the
adventure. She was always willing to describe over again
the streets, the white villas, the shops, and the grand hotels.

Piccino was so tired that he fell asleep before the carriage
had left the curving road, but when it reached the city the
jolting of the wheels wakened him, and he opened his
beautiful drowsy eyes and found them dazzled by the lights.
They were not very bright or numerous lights, but they
seemed so very dazzling to him, that he felt bewildered by
them. If Maria had been with him he would have clung to
her and asked questions about everything ; but even if he
had not been too much a baby, and too shy, he could not
have asked questions of Greggs, who was sufficiently
English to feel his own language quite enough for a sensible
footman. If the Italians wished to speak Italian that was
their own taste, and they might bear the consequences of not
being able to make him understand them. English was
enough for Greggs.

So Piccino was borne through the amazing streets in
silence. The people in the carriage had also become rather
silent, having been lulled, as it were, by the long drive
through the woods and olive groves. Lady Aileen, in fact,



TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 69



had had time to begin to wonder if her new plan would
prove as satisfactory and amusing as she had fancied it
might. Mr. Gordon was quietly speculating about it him-
self; the other man in the carriage was thinking of the Battle
of Flowers at Nice, and inventing a new scheme of floral
decoration for a friend’s victoria. The only person who was
really thinking of Piccino himself was the girl who sat by
Lady Aileen. She was a clever girl and kind, and she was
wondering how he would like the change in his life, and if
he had begun to feel homesick.

The carriage had to go uphill again before it reached Lady
Aileen’s villa. It was a snowy-white villa on an eminence,
and it had a terraced garden and looked out over the sea.
When they drove through the stately gateway Piccino felt
his small heart begin to thump, though he did not know why
at all. There were shadows of trees, and scents of roses
and orange-blossom and heliotrope. And on- the highest
terrace the white house stood, with a glow of light in its
portico, and gleams in its windows. Poor little dirty peasant
baby, how could it be otherwise than that all this grandeur
and whiteness should alarm him!

But there was just one thing that gave him a homely feel-
ing. And oh, he felt it so good that it was so! As they
turned in at the gate he heard a familiar sound. It was the
hysteric sniffing, and jumping, and yelping whines. of wetcome
of a close by the gate—probably to guard it. He was fastened



70 TWO DAVS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



by achain, and evidently being a friendly, sociable creature,
did not like being kept in this lonely place, and not allowed
to roam with the world. He could not have friendly fights
and associates, and he could not rush about and jump on
ladies’ dresses and gentlemen’s clothes, and leave his dusty
or muddy affectionate paw-marks all over them. And so he
was not happy, and when he heard footsteps approaching
always strained at his chain and sniffed and whined. As
these returning carriages belonged to his own domestic circle
he almost went wild with joy, and leaped and yelped, and did
his best to make somebody speak to him. He was adoringly
fond of Lady Aileen, who scarcely ever noticed him at all,
but once or twice had said, “Good fellow! Nice dog!” as
she went by, and once had come and looked at him and given
him two whole pats, while he had wriggled and fawned him-.
self nearly into hysterics of dog delight.

And so it happened that as the carriage turned into the
beautiful gateway Piccino heard this sound he knew—that
loving, eager, pleading dog-voice which is as much Italian as
it is English, and as much peasant as it is noble. The dogs
in the hovels near Ceriani spoke just as Lady Aileen’s dog
did, and asked for just the same thing—that human things
should love them a little and believe that they themselves
love a great deal. And Piccino, who was only a beautiful
little baby animal himself, understood it vaguely, and was
somehow reminded of his friend the donkey, and felt not
quite so many hundred miles from home and the tumble-



TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 71



down stable and Maria. He involuntarily lifted his soft,
dirty, blooming face to Greggs in the dark. —

“A chi il cane?” he said (Whose dog is that ?).

“What's that he’s saying ?” said Greggs to the coachman.

“Must be something about the dog,” answered Hepburn.
“He said something or other about a carney, and carney
means dog. It’s a deuce of a language to make out.”

And so, not being answered, Piccino could only resign
himself, and, as the carriage rolled up the drive, listen to the
familiar homely dog-sound and wish he could get down and
go to the kennel. And then the carriage stopped before
the door, and the door was thrown open by a liveried servant
and showed the brilliantly lighted hall, where there were
beautiful pictures and ornaments and curious things hung on
the walls, and rich rugs on the floor, and quaint seats and
bits of furniture about, so that to Piccino it looked like a
grand room.

Lady Aileen spoke to the footman at the door.

“Send Nicholson to me,” she said. ‘ Bring the child into
the hall,” she said to Greggs.

So Piccino was taken down in as gingerly a manner as he
had been put up, and Greggs set him discreetly on a bit of
the floor not covered by rugs.

He stood there without moving, his luminous eyes resting
on Lady Aileen.

Lady Aileen spoke to her companions, but he did not
know what she was saying, because she spoke English.



72 TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



“He is exactly like some little animal,” she said. ‘‘ He
does not-know what to make of it all. I am afraid he is
rather stupid—but what a beauty !”

“ Poor little mite,” said the girl, ‘I daresay he is tired.”

Nicholson appeared almost immediately. She was a neat,
tall, prim young woman, who wore black cashmere and collar
and apron of snow.

Lady Aileen made a gesture towards Piccino.

“T have brought this child from Ceriani,” she said.
«Take him upstairs and take his rags off and burn them.
Give him a bath—perhaps two or three will be necessary.
Get his hair in order. Modesta can change my dress for
me. I shall come into the bath-room myself presently.”

Piccino was watching her fixedly. What was she saying ?
What were they going to do to him ?

She turned away and went into the sa/oz with her guests,
and Nicholson came towards him. She gave him the same
uncomfortable feeling Greggs had given him. He felt that
she did not ike him—and she spoke in English.

“Come upstairs with me. I am going to wash you,” she
said.

But Piccino did not understand and did not move. So she
had to take hold of his hand to lead him, which she objected
very much to doing. She took him up the staircase and
through landings and corridors, where he caught glimpses of
wonderful bedrooms that were of dainty colours, and had silk
and lace and frills and cushions in them, and made him feel



TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 73



more strange than ever. And at last she opened a door and
took him into a place which was all blue and white porcelain
—walls and floors and everything else—including a strange
large object in one corner, which had shining silver things at
one end. And she released his hand and went to the silver
things and twisted them round, and, as if by magic, two
streams of clear water gushed out and began to fill the blue
and white trough as the bed of a torrent is filled by the
Spring rains.

Piccino’s eyes grew bigger and more lustrous every second
as he stared. Was she doing this interesting but rather
alarming thing to amuse him? Maria had never seen any-
thing like this in Sam Remo or she would certainly have told .
him. He was seeing more than Maria. For a moment or
so he was not sorry he had come. If the rich forestierz had
things like this to play with they must have other things
as amusing. And somehow the water was hot. He could
see the pretty white steam rise from it. He came a little
closer to look. “Nicola,” as he called her in his mind,
having heard Lady Aileen speak to her as “ Nicholson ”»—
Nicola moved to and fro and collected curious things together
—a white cake of something, a big light round thing made of
holes, large pieces of thick soft white cloth, with fringe at
the ends—something, these last, which must be like the things
Maria had heard of as being used in churches by the priests.

‘Che fai?” (What are you doing ?) he said to Nicola.

But she did not understand him, and only said something
2



74 - TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.

in English as she took off her white cuffs and rolled up her
sleeves.

By this time the two rushing streams had splashed and
danced into the bed of the torrent until it was nearly full.
Nicola twisted the silver things as before, and by magic
again the rushing ceased and the clear pool was still, the
light vapour rising from it.

Nicola came to him and began to take off his clothes

with the very tips of her fingers, speaking in English as she
did it. He did not know what she was saying.
- “A pretty piece of work for a lady’s maid to do! My
own clothes may go into the wash-tub and the rag-bag
after it. The filth of such people is past bearing. And
it’s her ladyship all over to have such a freak. There’s
no end to her whims. Burn them! she might well say burn
them. The sooner they are in the fire the better.” She took
off the last rag and kicked it aside with her foot. Piccino
stood before her, a little soft brown cherub without wings.

“Upon my word,” she said, “he is pretty! I suppose
that’s the reason.”

Piccino was beginning to feel very queer indeed. The
rushing water was amusing, but what was her intention in
taking off all his clothes? That was not funny. Surely
the forestzert wore clothes when they were in San Remo.
And besides she had given his cherished trousers—the
beautiful trousers of Sandro which had been given him for
his own—a kick which had no respect in it, and which sent



TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 75



them flying into a corner. His little red mouth began to
look unsteady at the corners.

“Yes, that’s the reason,” she said. “It's because he’s so
pretty.” And she picked him up in her arms and bore him
to the bath.

Piccino looked down into the blue and white pool which
seemed to him so big and deep. He felt himself being
lowered into it and uttered a wild shriek. They were going
to drown him—to drown him—to drown him!

He was in the water. He felt it all around him—nearly
up to his shoulders. He clung to Nicola and uttered shriek
after shriek, he kicked and splashed and beat with his feet,
the water leaped and foamed about him and flew into his eyes
and nose and mouth.

“Lasciatemi! Lasciatemi!” (Let me go! Let me go!) he
screamed.

Nicholson tried her best to hold him.

“My goodness!” she exclaimed, “J can’t manage him. He
is like a little wild cat. Keep quiet, you naughty boy! - Be
still, you bad little pig, and let me wash you! Good gracious!
what am I to do?”

But Piccino would not be drowned without a struggle.
To be held in water like that! to be suffocated by its
splashing in his. nose and mouth, and blinded by its dashing
in his eyes. He fought with feet and teeth, used his
head like a battering ram, and shrieked and shrieked
for aid.



705. TWO DAVS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.

‘To non ho fatto niente! Io non ho fatto niente! (I have
done nothing.) - Maria! Maria!”

And the noise was so appalling that almost immediately
footsteps were to be heard upon the stairs, swift movement in
the corridor, and the bath-room door opened.

It was Lady Aileen, who came in amazed, frowning and
rather alarmed. The girl-friend who had wondered if
Piccino would like his surroundings was with her.

Piccino threw back his head at sight of them and battled
and shrieked still more wildly. He thought they must have
come to his aid.

‘“M’amazza! M’amazza! Aiuto!” he wailed.

“ Bless me, what is the matter?” exclaimed Lady Aileen,
and came towards the bath.

“ He.doesn’t like to be washed, my lady,” panted Nichol-
son, struggling. ‘“ He seems quite frightened.”

Suddenly Lady Aileen began to laugh. ©

“Take him out fora moment, Nicholson,” she said. “ Take
him out. Isobel,” to the girl, her words broken with laughter,
“he thinks Nicholson is drowning him. Soap and water are
such unknown quantities to him that he thinks that in this
proportion they mean death.”

Nicholson had lifted her charge out at once, only too glad
of the respite. Piccino stood wet and quaking and sobbing
by the bath-tub.

Lady Aileen began to take off her gloves and bracelets.

“Give me an apron,” she said to Nicholson. And on





















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TWO DAVS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.

~~
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having one handed to her she tied it over her dress and
knelt down before her new plaything.

“ Little imbecile!” she said in Italian, taking hold of his
wet shoulders. “No one is going to hurt you. You are
only going to be made clean. You are too dirty to be
touched, and the water will wash the dirt off.”

Piccino only looked up at her, sobbing. At ee she had
had him taken out of the great pool—but what did she mean
by wanting his dirt removed by such appalling means ?

“T am going to wash you myself,” said Lady ‘Aileen,
lifting him in her strong, white arms. “ Don’t let me have
any nonsense. If you make a noise and fight I wzd/ drown
you.” She was laughing, but Piccino was struck dumb with
fear. She looked so tall and powerful, and such a grand lady,
that he did not know what she might feel at liberty to do in
her powerfulness.

“Tt is only a bath,” said the girl Isobel in a kind voice ;
“the water won't go over your head. Don’t be frightened.
It won't hurt.”

Lady Aileen calmly put him back in the tub.

Her white hands were so firm and steady that he felt the use-
lessness of the struggle. And if he fought she might drown him.
He looked up piteously at the Signorina with the encouraging
face and voice and stood in the water aghast, and with big
tears rolling down his cheeks, but passive in helpless despair.

But, ah! what strange things were done to him!

_ The Illustrious Signora took the cake of white stuff and the



78 TWO DAVS IN THE LIFE OF PICCLNO.

big porous thing and rubbed them together in the water and
made quantities of snow-white froth, then she rubbed him
over and over and over, then she splashed the water over
him until she washed the foam off his body, then she scrubbed
him with something, then she did strange things to his ears,
then she took a little brush and scrubbed his finger-nails—
covering them with the white froth and then washing it off—
then she did the same to his feet and rubbed them with a
piece of stone.

Then she began with his head. Poor neglected little mop
of matted silk—what did she not do to it? She rubbed it
with the cake of white stuff till it was a soft slippery ball of
foam, then she scrubbed and scrubbed and thrust her hands
in it and shook it about and almost drowned him with the
water she poured on it. If he had not been so frightened he
would have yelled. But people who will do such things to
you, what will they not do if you make them angry! Under
this avalanche of snowy stuff, and this torrent of water, a
wild, despairing memory of Maria and the donkey came back
to him. Only last night he had fallen asleep in his corner
among all the familiar sights and sounds and smells, and
without water coming near him. And now he was nearly up
to his neck in it; it was streaming from his hair, his ears, his
body, he could hear and see and taste nothing else. Oh!
could it be possible that he had been all wrong in that first
imagining, that perhaps the rushing streams were to amuse
him? Could it be that this was all to amuse the /orestzerz



TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 79

themselves—that they had brought him to San Remo to
make him live in water like a fish—that they would never
let him out? AN

Suddenly the magnificent Signora lifted him out of the
pool. -She set him streaming upon something soft, and
white, and dry, which Nicola had spread upon the blue and
white tiles of the floor.

“There!” she said, “now I think he is clean for the first
time in his life. Nicholson, you may rub him dry.”

She stood up laughing and rather flushed with exertion.

“Jt has amused me,” she said to Isobel; “I would not
have believed it, but it Zas amused me. Almost anything
new will amuse one the first time one does it. When you
have brushed his hair, Nicholson, put him to bed.”

She laid aside the apron and picked up her gloves.

She went out of the room smiling, and Piccino was left
to the big white cloths and Nicola.

What happened then was even more tiresome than the
bath, though it was not so alarming. He was rubbed as if
he were a little horse, and his hair received treatment which
seemed to him incredible. When it was dry, strange
instruments were used upon it. “The knots and tangles were
struggled with and dragged out. Sometimes it seemed as if
his curls were being pulled out by the roots, sometimes as
if his head itself was to be taken off. It seemed to him
that he stood hours by Nicola’s knee whimpering. . If Maria
had been rash enough to attempt to subject him to such in-



80 TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



dignities he would have kicked and screamed and fought, but
in this wonderful house, among these wonderful people, who
were all forestierz, he was terror-stricken by his sense of
strangeness. To be plunged into water—to be rubbed and
scrubbed—to have the hair dragged from one’s head—who
would not be terrified? Suddenly he buried his face in
Nicola’s lap and broke into woful weeping. ‘“ Voglio andare
acasa. Lasciammiandare a Maria e il ciuco! (I want’to go
home. Let me go home to Maria—and the donkey! )” he cried.

“Well, well, it is nearly done now,” said Nicholson.
“Anda nice job it has been! And what I am to put you
to bed in I don’t know, unless in one’ of her ladyship’s own
dressing jackets.”

“Voglio andare a casa!” he wept. But Nicholson did not
understand him in the least. She went and found one of
the dressing jackets and brought it back to the bath-room.
It was covered with rich lace and tied with ribbons; it
was too big and he was lost in it; but when Nicholson
bundled him up in it, and he stood. with the lace frills
dangling over his hands, and his beautiful little face and
head rising above the great rich ruff they made, he was a
wonderful sight to see.

But he was not aware of it, and only felt as if he were
dressed in strange trickery, and when he was picked up and
carried out of the room—the beautiful trousers of Sandro
being left on the floor in the corner—he felt that the final
indignity had been offered.



TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 81



She carried him into one of the wonderful rooms he had
caught a glimpse of. It was all blue, and was so amazing
with its frills and blue flowers and lace and ornaments that
he thought it must be a place where some other strange
thing was to be done to him. But Nicola only put him
down on a soft place covered with lace, and with a sort of
tent of lace and silk at the top of it.

She said something to him in English and went away
and left him.

He sat and stared about him. Was it a place where
people slept? Did the forestzerc lay their heads on those
white things? Was this soft wonder he sat on a bed?
He looked up above him at the beautiful tent and felt so lost
and strange that he could almost have shouted for Maria
again. If she had been there, or if he could have under-
stood what Nicola said it would not have been so awful.
But it was so grand and strange, and Ceriani and Maria
and the donkey seemed in another world thousands of miles
away. It was as if suddenly he had been taken to Paradise
and had found himself frightened and homesick because it
was so far from Ceriani and so different.

Nicola came back with a plate. There were things to eat
on it, and she offered them to him. And then he realized
that a strange thing had happened to him which had never
happened before in his life. There, before him, was a plate-
ful of good things—things such as the forestier? brought in
their hampers, and he did not want them! Something

M



82 TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.





seemed to have filled up his throat and he could not eat.
He—Piccino—actually could not eat. The tears came into
his eyes and he shook his head.

“Non ho fame” (I am not hungry), he whimpered. And

-he poked the plate away.

“T suppose he has been stuffed with cakes all day,” said
Nicholson, ‘and he is too sleepy. Good gracious, how pretty
he is!”

She turned down the frilled and embroidered sheets and
gave the pillows a little thump. Then she picked Piccino up
again, put him into the bed and covered him up. He lay
among the whiteness, a lovely picture put to bed, his eyes
wide open and shining with his awe.

“Go to sleep!” she said, “and don't be a bad boy.” And
then she turned out the light and walked out of the room,
leaving the door a little open.

Piccino lay among the softness, his eyes growing bigger
and bigger in the dark. He was so little, and everything
around him seemed so large and magnificent. This was the
way the King’s son was put to bed—bundled up in a strange
garment, with lace frills tickling his ears and cheeks, and
with big sleeves which prevented his using his hands. And
he could not hear the donkey in her stable—the donkey
who must be there this very moment, because she had
not been taken away, but had been bought back from
Beppo. Oh, if he could hear her now—but perhaps—
perhaps he never could get to the stable again—the



TWO DAVS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 83



fovestieri—the strange rich lady would never let him go back
—never !

A little sob broke from him—under Lady Aileen’s dressing
jacket his breast heaved piteously, he turned and buried his
face upon the pillow, and wept, and wept, and wept.

He cried so that he found he was beginning to make little
sounds in spite of himself, and he tried to smother them,
because he did not know what the forestzert did to children
who made a noise—perhaps held them under the rushing
streams of water. But just at the moment when he was
trying to stifle his sobs and prevent their becoming wails a
strange thing happened. The door was pushed open, and
someone came into the room. At least he heard a sound of
feet on the floor, though he did not see anyone even when
he peeped. Feet? They were not Nicola’s feet, but softer
and more pattering. He held his breath to listen. They
came to his bed and stopped, And then he heard something
else—a soft familiar panting, almost as familiar as the
donkey’s stirring in the stable. He sat up in bed.

“FE un cane” (It is a dog), he cried.

And the answer was a leap, and a rough, dear hairy body
was beside him, while a warm, excitedly lapping, affectionate
tongue caressed his hand, his face, his neck.

For in some mysterious way the lonely dog at the
entrance gate had slipped his collar, and in rushing through
the house to find someone to love and rejoice over had
heard the little smothered sobs, and come in at once to



84 TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.

answer and comfort him, knowing in his dog heart that here
was one who was lonely and exiled too.

And Piccino fell upon him and caught him in his arms,
dragging him close to his side, rubbing his wet cheeks upon
the rough, hairy coat, and so holding him, nestled against
and pillowed his head upon him, rescued from his loneliness
and terror almost as he might have been if he had been the
donkey. — :





85

CHARTER Ti:

was a great comfort to go to sleep em-
bracing and embraced by a shaggy friend
of one’s own world, but when the morn-
ing came it seemed that somehow to the
forestiert it appeared a different thing.
When Nicola came in she uttered an



exclamation of horror.

“The dirty little thing!” she cried. “Ah, my goodness,
he has been asleep all night with that dusty, muddy dog!
What w2d/ my lady say ? Look at his face and the sheets, and
her ladyship’s jacket !”

Piccino sat up in his silk and lace tent, holding on to the
dog. Something was wrong, he saw, though he understood
nothing. What could it be ?

“Get out!” cried Nicholson, slapping the dog vigorously.
“Get out! How in the world did you get here?” And she
pushed the shaggy friend off the bed, and ran after him,
driving him out of the room.

Lady Aileen met her on the threshold.

“What is that animal doing here?” she asked.



Full Text

University
of

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RmB



THE CAPTAIN'S YOUNGEST

RS ntsay

PICCINO.

AND, OTHER, CHILD STORIES
“MRS. BURNETT'S FAMOUS JUVENILE
GIFT BOOKS

In small medium 8vo, cloth gilt, price 38. 6d. each

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—S>
———SS——E—E——EeEEEEEE——









my mamma ts very pretty, sm't she?’”—see page 8.

he says, ‘

zt)

“¢ Rabbet

Frontispiece.
@z)
TEE
CAPTAINS YOUNGEST

-PICCINO.

AND OTHER CHILD STORIES

FRANCES HODGSON BURNETT

“THE ONE I KNEW THE BEST OF ALL,” ETC.



wil!









LONDON
FREDERICK WARNE AND €O

BEDFORD STREET, STRAND

1894
[AU Rights Reserved.)
CONTENTS

THE CAPTAINS YOUNGEST
TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO

HOW FAUNTLEROY. OCCURRED—

Cuap. I. HIS ENTRANCE INTO THE WoRLD
; II. In Waitt FRock AND SASH

» Ill. In BovHoop anp Now

LITTLE BETTY’S KITTEN TELLS HER STORY


LIST OF IELUSTRATIONS.

By REGINALD B. BIRCH,

THE CAPTAIN'S YOUNGEST—

“*Rabbett,’ he says,

‘my mamma is very pretty, isn’t
she?’”, :

“Miss Rose put her little hands on the shoulders of his
jacket, and kissed him”

““*T am very fond of you, Rabbett’ ”

IWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO—

s Many a day he had fallen asleep with his curly head on
its warm little fuzzy side” : :

“He went and showed them to the donkey ”
“He... . ran to the donkey and clung to her front leg”

“*No one is going to hurt you. You are only going to be
made clean’ ”

“*T am hungry,’ he said. ‘I have had nothing to eat.
Give me some of your bread’”

front,
Page 45

» 48

» 77
viii VISE OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

HOW FAUNTLEROY OCCURRED—

“* Are you in Society, Mrs. Wilkins?’” . : : . — Eront.
““Wow himin’er fire!’”. : : : : . Page 116
“* Lady,’ he said, ‘lady, f?ont door—want b’ead’” ye 28
“*I am very sorry for you, Mr. Wenham, about your wife

being dead’” » 138
“And how delightful it was to read the manuscript to

him”... ; : : : : : : : : ee LSO

LITTLE BETTY’S KITTEN TELLS HER STORY—

“* Kitty, Tam nearly five o’clock’’ . : 3 : 3 Lyront.

“She was lying under the white rose-bush, still asleep” . Page 175




THE CAPTAIN’S YOUNGEST
THE CAPTAINS YOUNGEST.

——++—

that’s certain. I’ve seen a good many
young gentlemen in my day, being in
the army, and under officers as was
what you may call swells, and had
families of their own, some of them,



but I never saw a young gentleman
as could hold a candle to Master Lionel; no, nor as were fit
to black his boots, for the matter of that. And I knew him,
too, from the time he were a young gentleman in long
clothes, being carried about in his ayah’s arms, and many’s
the time I’ve carried him myself, and been proud to do it.
I had no children of my own, though I’d always been taken
with them. I wasn’t a married man, and knew I never
should be, for that matter, after curly-headed little Maggie
Shea died of the fever that blazing hot year when the disease
was like a plague among us. She'd given me her promise
only a week before; and I never saw the woman I wanted
after her. Sometimes I’ve thought I was fonder of the
4 é; THE CAPTAIN’S YOUNGEST.



children because of it. She had been fond of them, and like
a little mother she was to the seven that were sisters and
brothers to her. And there was a sort of reason Master
Lionel was more to me than the rest. I’d known his father,
Captain Dalgetty, in his best days, when he first came out to
India with his regiment at the time of the Mutiny, and won
such a name by his dare-devil bravery and determination.
That was before he offended his crusty old father by
marrying pretty Miss Rosie Terence, the drunken old Irish
major’s daughter, who had nothing to her fortune but her
dimples and her big blue eyes and black lashes, except the
coaxing ways that drove the whole station wild with love for
her. It weve said as Miss Rosie’s mother sent her out to
her father to make a match, but if she did the old lady must
have been terribly disappointed, because no sooner did the
captain’s father hear of the marriage than he sent for his
lawyer, and sat down then and there and made a will cutting
the poor fellow off with a shilling, and leaving all his money
to hospitals and churches.

So the captain and Miss Rosie began life on love and
short commons; and, neither of them understanding econ-
omy, made a good many mistakes, as might have been
expected. They didn’t know how to contrive, and they got
into debt, and when the children came and expenses grew
heavier they lost spirit and patience, like a good many more,
and let things go their own way. The captain lost his temper
and the mistress grew careless and fretted, and when the

Pp
THE CAPTAIN’S VOUNGEST. 5



young master was born—the one as I’m telling about—
things were about as bad and as comfortless’as they could
be. Not wishing to say a disrespectful word, or a harmful
one; I must say as I’d even thought the captain were getting
tired of his love-match, for he was aging uncommon fast, and
his temper was getting uncommon sharp, and now and then
Mrs. Dalgetty and him would have words as would end in
him striding out of the bungalow, leaving her crying and
worriting among the children. I can't say even as he were
over fond of the children, or that they were over welcome
when they came—six, girls, one after another—though they
were pretty little things, all of them. But when Master
Lionel were born it struck me as he were rather better
pleased than he had been before, for he were the first
boy.

Well I remember the day the captain came out of his
quarters and told me about his having made his appearance
rather unexpected.

I had been so long with them, and there were so many
little things I could do as was a help, that [’d got into the

way of doing them ; and I happened. this morning to be
polishing about, and sees the captain coming out, looking
half-way pleased with something or other ; and when I drew
myself up and saluted as usual, says her

“ Rabbett,” says he, “there's a change in the programme
this time.”

I drops my swab in a minute and draws up and salutes again.
6 THE CAPTAIN'S YOUNGEST.

“What, sir?” says I. “ Boy, sir?”

“Yes,” says he. “ Boy, and a fine little fellow too.”

So in the course of the week I smartens myself up a bit
more than common, in honour of the occasion, and goes into
the house and gets the ayah to let me have a look at the
young gentleman as he lay in his cradle in the nursery, next
to the mistress’s room. They was rather fond of me in that
nursery, I may say, and it wasn’t the first time I’d been there
by many aone. But though I stepped light enough for fear
of wakening the little fellow, somehow or other he did waken
that very minute. As I bent over his cradle he opens his
eyes, and he actually stares at me as if he was asking me a
question or so. At least, it looked that way to me, and then,
as sure as I’m a living man, he does something with his face
as if he was doing his best to laugh ; and when I laughs back
and lifts his bit of a red hand, he opens it out and lets it lay
on mine, quite friendly and sociable. 7

I won't say as he knew what he were doing, but I will say
as he looked as if he did. And from that minute to the last
hour of his life Master Lionel and me was friends fast and
firm. Not being a family man, as I have said before, I took
to him all the more, and I’m happy to say he did the same
by me. When he got big enough to be carried out by his
ayah I used to meet the woman, and take him off her hands
whenever she would let me; which was often enough,
because she knew both the captain and Mrs. Dalgetty knew
I was safe to trust. I’d take him off into the shade and
THE CAPTAIN'S VOUNGEST 7



walk about with him—him a-layin’ his cheek against my red
coat, sometimes laughing at the jokes I’d make with him,
suiting them to his size, and sometimes a-staring up at me
serious, but both of us always understanding each other and
being cheerful, whatever was a-goin’ on betwixt us. The
fact was that I got that there used to him, with nursing him
so much, that when he’d have a little choke or a disturbance
of any kind, I got to be as handy as a woman about settling
him and turning him over and patting his back, and though
itmay sound like a exaggeration to outsiders, I must say
as I saw clear enough he had his own way of thanking me
and showing me his gratitude for any small favours of the
kind. Ay, and many an hour I’ve thought how it might
have been if little Maggie Shea had got through that blazing ~
summer—many and many an hour as ] walked up and down,
him nestling up against me as my own flesh and blood might
have done, but never would.

So we began by being fond of one another, and we keeps
on a-bein’ fond of one another, and what’s more, we gets
fonder and fonder of each other as we grows older.

And such a boy as he were, and such ways as he had!
There weren’t no end to him, he were that manly and hand-
some and well-grown and ready, by the time he were seven
or eight year old. People as never looked at a child looked
at him and was took by him, and the ladies at the station
run wild about his beauty. Tall he was and well set up, and
with a way of carrying himself a brigadier-general might
8 THE CAPTAIN'S YOUNGEST:



have been proud of. And a fine-cut face, and a big, brave
black eye as looked at a man as if he was equal to leading a
regiment; and yet was thoughtful and loving, and had a
softness, too, when he was talking to a friend. And that
quick he were to notice things as others of his age would
never have seen. Why, he was only six years when one
day, as he was standing by watching me at work, he looks
up at me all at once and says he:

“ Rabbett,” he says, “ my mamma is very pretty, isn’t she?”

“Well,” says I, ‘‘ Master Lionel, | should say she were /”

“JT thought so,” he says; “I thought everybody must
think she was pretty, just as I do, only I am very fond of
her, you see.” And he rather puzzles me by looking at me
again in a wistful, questioning sort of way.

“Just so, Master Lionel,” I answers, ‘‘ just so, sir.”

“Yes,” he goes on, “I am very fond of her, and—and I
suppose my papa is very fond of her too.”

Being a trifle upset by-this, I polished away at the
captain’s sabre for a minute or so, and even then I could
only say :

“Yes, sir; nat’'rally, sir, of course.” For the truth were
as things had been getting worse and worse, and the tiffs
had been growing into rows—-rows as couldn’t go on without
being heard in a bungalow, where walls was thin and rooms
not over far from each other. And what he had heard the
Lord only knows, but it had been a-workin’ in his innercent
mind and troubling him, and he was coming to me for
THE CAPTAIN'S VOUNGEST. 9



comfort, and that I saw in his fine, loving, wistful black eye,
and in his handsome little chin, as was not quite steady.

“Yes, of course, he is very fond of her,” he said, “and
she is very fond of him; because peop!e who are married —
people who are married always are, aren't they, Rabbett ?”

“Ah, sir,” says I, “that they are; there ain’t nothin’
like it.” | :

“No,” he says, his little face trying to keep itself steady,
“and I’m very glad of—of that—I’m very glad of that.”
And quite sudden he faces round and walks off, a-holding
his head up like a field officer. But well I knowed why he’d
gone. Something had hurt his little heart and set him to
thinking, so that he could not manage his looks even before
Rabbett. And, gentleman as he was, he was not willing to
let it be known what his child’s trouble was.

When the family began to grow up the regiment was
ordered back to England; and I came back with them, you
see. The captain was not rich, and as the family expenses
got bigger, year by year, money got scarcer with him, and
they couldn’t live as they did before; and so, somehow—I
think it was because I liked the children, and especially my
young master—I fell into a way of being part valet, part
waiter, part man-of-all-work for the captain and his.

This wasn’t all. The captain’s fine way—for he was
handsome still, and a gentleman born, and no mistake—
brought him fine friends; and his fine friends brought him
debt, because he was obliged to keep up with them. Every-

c
ro - THE CAPTAIN'S YOUNGEST.



thing was badly managed, because Mrs.-Dalgetty, as I said,
knew. nothing about: managing; so the servants ran wild,
and were nothing but trouble and expense, and there were
nothing but struggling to keep up, and threatening to break
down, from day to day.

“The captain is worse than ever,’ Mrs. Dalgetty would
say, sometimes, when things looked bad, and she had a
crying fit on. “And Rose is so expensive, and the other
girls are growing up. I wish Lionel was older. He is
the only one who seems to feel for me at all.”

The real truth were, as Lionel were that sweet-natured
he felt for them all; and I must say as they couldn't help.
being as fond of him in their way as he was of them in his.

“ Rabbett,” says he to me once, when they was all going
out—he was about nine years old then, or thereabout—.
« Rabbett, if you would like to see Rose before she goes,
just stand in the passage when I go into the drawing-room
with her cloak and handkerchief. She has just sent me
for them.”

Now my young master loved his mother dearly, but he
loved Rose even better; he was allers talking to me of her
beauty.

So says: 1-1 vould like to see her.” And he runs
upstairs, quite pleased, and is down again in a minute.

[ll leave the door open,” he says. And in he goes,
with the cloak over his arm, and does leave it open, quite

wide enough for me to see through.


piste vice
lh

Wh,

lye

| fe Wot
ys









































































“Miss Rose put her little hands on the shoulders of his jacket, and kissed him.”
—page Il.
THE CAPTAIN'S VOUNGEST. ; II



Miss Rose was standing by the fire, and beautiful she
looked, in her grand evening dress, and so like what her
mother had been that it gave me quite a start. There was
a gentleman at her side, a-laughing and talking to her, and
when Master Lionel goes in this party turns toward the.
door, to look at him, and I sees his face, and I gives a start
again, for it were Captain Basil Roscoe.

Now I knew sum/’at of Captain Basil Roscoe, you see,
and that’s what made me givea start. If ever there was a
villain, and he to be called a gentleman, Captain Basil
Roscoe were one. I knew things of him that he little
guessed ; we servants get to know many queer things. I
felt, when I sees him, as if I saw a snake.

“ Here comes the wrap,” says Captain Basil, and he held
out his hand, as if he meant to put it on for himself, but
Miss Rose laughs and stops him.

“No,” says she. ‘Lionel wouldn’t like rae Would
you, Lionel? He always puts my cloak on for me.”

The captain drew back a bit, and gave the boy a sharp
glance, but Miss Rose did not see it, for she was bending
down to have the cloak put over her white shoulders, and
Master Lionel was a-folding it around her, as pleased as
could be, laughing, too, boy-like, but, for all that, doing it as
deft and graceful as if he’d been born to it.

And then, when it was done, Miss Rose put her little
hands on the shoulders of his jacket, and kissed him half-a-
dozen times, so coaxing and merry and happy that I could
12 THE CAPTAIN’S YOUNGEST.

not bear to think the time would ever come when life would
look harder to her than it did just then—going out to a
grand ball, in a pretty dress, and with her lover by her side.

Unless it is true that the devil shrinks from and hates
them as has no sins of their own, I should like to know why
it was that Basil Roscoe were so ready in taking a dislike to
an innocent-faced boy, as never harmed or differed with him ;
for nothing is more certain than that from ‘the first he did
take a dislike to Master Lionel. It struck me, once or twice,
as he not only couldn't bear the sight of him, but that, if he
had had the chance, he would not have been sorry to do him
-aharm. His sneering manner showed it, and his ill-looking,
handsome face showed it, apart from a hundred other bits of
things. Master Lionel himself found it out soon enough.

“ Rabbett,” says he, private and confidential, “ he doesn’t
like me and I don’t like him, and I wish he wasn’t so fond
of Rose. I never did him any harm, you know, Rabbett.”

Natural enough, his spirit is hurt about it, and he takes.
it a bit hard. But he never says much about it, until one
night he comes to me, and I sees he is wonderful quiet, and
after a while I made bold to ask what ails him. And the
minute I asks him I sees, by the look in his eyes, that what
ails him is something uncommon.

“Tt’s something about Rose,” he says, “ and it’s something
about Captain Roscoe ” :

A slight huskiness comes in my throat, as makes it neces-
sary for me to clear it.
THE CAPTAIN’S VOUNGEST. 13



“Oh!” I says. © “Indeed, sir?”

“Yes,” he answers. “As I was coming here I passed
him, standing at the corner of the street with a gentleman,
and they were both talking aloud, Rabbett, and laughing.
And they were talking about Rose.”

Iknowing the-man so well, and having heard so much
of his villany, my blood fairly boiled at the thought of what
he might have been saying; but I made up my mind to
speak quietly.

“Did you hear what they said, sir?” I asked. <“ Are
you sure it was her they were speaking of ?”

“Yes,” says he, “sure, for I heard the gentleman say,
‘What? Pretty Rose Dalgetty?’ And then Roscoe
answered, ‘Even she might get tiresome.’ And they both
laughed. Rabbett ’—and he turned his troubled, questioning
boy’s face to me, as if he was just awakening to some sort
of bewildered fear, and wanted help—“‘what did he mean
when he said she might get tiresome? And what made
them laugh as they did? They were laughing at a
sister Rose.”

“No gentleman would faye done it, sir,’ I answered, not
knowing what else to say.

‘‘T know that,” he says. “But what did they mean?
You are older than me, Rabbett, and perhaps you can under-
stand more than that it was not what a gentleman would
have done.”

But of course I could not tell him that. If it meant
14 THE CAPTAIN'S YOUNGEST.

nothing worse, it at least did mean as Miss Rose’s lover had _
so little respect for her that he could bandy her name
among his companions with something like a sneer; so I
tried my best to lead him away from the subject. If he’d
been an ordinary kind of young gentleman, and he so very
young yet, I might have managed it; but being the little
fellow he was, the suspicion that his sister had been some-
what slighted stuck to him, and settled itself deep in his
mind, and made him thoughtful beyond his years.

And this was far from being the end of it. Little by little
I began to hear a whisper here and there, even among the
men, about what people said of Captain Roscoe being so
friendly with the Dalgettys, and partic’ler with Miss Rosie.
There was not one of them but said that it would do the |
pretty young creature no good, if it did her no harm, to be
so ready to let him be attentive. He had been such an
open rascal in his time, and his character was so well known,
that no careful mother would have let her daughter be seen
with him, and he was only tolerated in his own set, and
among those who were as bad as himself. But Mrs. Dal-
getty was too thoughtless and indifferent to see the wrong in
him, or to be troubled by what she heard, and the captain was
rarely at home; so Miss Rose was left to herself, and, of
course, did as any other innocent girl would have done, fell
in love with a handsome face, and believed in it.

But at last so much was said by outsiders that something

came to the captain’s ears as must have roused him, for one
THE CAPTAIN'S YOUNGEST. 15



evening he comes up to the house in a towering rage, and
shuts himself up with Miss Rose and her mother in the
parlour, and has a tremendous row, and makes them both
cry, and ends up by forbidding them to speak to Roscce
again. |

But though Mrs. Dalgetty gave in, as she always did
when the captain gave his orders, of course Miss Rose
would not believe anything against her lover. Things had
gone so far by that time that she would have stood out for
him against the whole world; and as she dared not openly
disobey her father, she fretted until she lost her pretty colour
_and bright spirits, and went about the house looking ill and
wretched.

But the matter was not put an end to, as you may
imagine. Once or twice, in going from the house to the
barracks, I found Captain Basil Roscoe loitering about not
far from the street’s end, and more than once I could have
sworn that I passed him at dusk with a familiar little figure
clinging to his arm. And one night Miss Rosie calls her
brother to her, as he was going out on an errand, and, as
she bends. over him in the doorway, slips a note into his
hand, crying pitifully.

“You will take that for me, won’t you, dear?” she says.
“He is waiting in the square for it, and he does want it so—
so much.” And she kisses him, and gives a little sob and
runs upstairs.

I don’t think it could have been more than three minutes
16 THE CAPTAIN’S YOUNGEST.

after that when he comes to me, all pale and breathless. with.
running, and lays that there note on the table.

“She wants me to take it to him, Rabbett,” he gays,
‘and she was crying when she asked me, and—what must
we do?”

It is not to be expected as we two hadn't talked things
over, being the friends we were. I got up and took the note:
from the table, making a resolution all of a sudden.

‘Tf you'll stay here, sir,” I said, “I'll take it myself.”

And take it I did, and found the rascal waiting, as Miss
Rose had said he would be. He gave a black enough scowl
when he saw it were me, and it certainly didn’t die out when
I spoke to him.

“Sir,” says I, “I’ve come here on a poor errand, and I’ve
come unwilling enough, God knows. I’ve got a note in my
hand here—a pitiful little letter from a trusting, innocent girl
to a man who, if he does not mean her harm, surely cannot
mean her good, or he would not be leading her to meet him,
and write to him in underhand ways. And I've been making
up my mind, as I came along, to make a appeal to that man,
as surely he’ll listen to if he has a man’s heart in his breast.
She is scarcely more than a child, sir, and she knows nothing
of the world. Leave her alone, and she may be a happy
woman ; go on as you've begun, and it will be death and

heartbreak to her, and her wrongs will lie at your door.”

He stands there and looks at me, and by the light of the
lamp we was. standing under I sees his handsome, devilish
THE CAPTAIN’S VOUNGEST. 17



face, sneering and triumphing and scorning me, as if I was
a worm in the dirt under his feet,

“My good fellow,” he says, « you are a little too late.
Hand me that letter, and be off, before I find it necessary to
help you. How you got hold of the note I don’t know, but
I do know it was never given to you to deliver, and that I
should be well warranted in kicking you back to your
quarters, for your deuced impudence and presumption,”

But I held to the letter tight.

“ Very well, sir,” I answers, respectful, but firm as a rock,
“This letter goes back to the house, and before night is over
the captain will have read it himself, and can judge for
himself what is best 5

I didn’t finish, for the next thing I knew was that he
strode up to me and grasped hold of me by my collar, and
the minute I saw what he meant to do I felt I had made a
mistake in bringing the letter at all, and in fancying that any
appeal could touch or move him. There was a struggle
between us, but it did not last long; he being strong and
lithe, and so much the younger man, gave me no chance;



and it were scarcely three seconds before he threw me on
the pavement, and leaving me there, a trifle stunned, walked
off with the letter in his hand.

I knew things must be pretty bad then. He would never
have been so desperate and determined if he had not meant
to do his worst, and when I made my way back I felt sick
with fear. Master Lionel was sitting by the bit-of fire in the

D°:
18 THE CAPTAIN'S YOUNGEST.



grate when I opened the door, and he turns round and looks
at me, and changes colour.

“ Rabbett,” he ay “there is blood on your face.”

«Perhaps so, sir,” I says. “Tve had a fall.” _

And then I sits down and tells him all about it; about
what I had meant to do, and what I had done, and I ends
up by asking him what he thinks we had better do, now
that my plans had failed. e

“Master Lionel,” I says, “it would seem a dreadful hard
sort of thing to do, if we spoke to the captain.”

He turns quite pale at the thought of it.

“Oh, no,” he says, “ Rabbett, I wouldn’t do it. He would
be so angry with Rose, and even with mamma. You
remember my telling you what he said before.”

I remembered well enough, and a pretty hard thing it was
to say, evenif it had been said ina passion, and not half
meant. He had threatened to turn Miss Rose out of doors
if she spoke to Roscoe again. He must have heard some-
thing bad enough, to have been so roused.

« Well,” I ventures, ‘what can we do, sir ?”

“Watch,” says he. “I can think of nothing else to do
just yet, Rabbett. I will watch Rose, and you shall watch
Roscoe; and if the worst comes, and we must tell papa, we.
must. I suppose, Rabbett, that Roscoe will try to run away
with Rose, as Farquhar ran away with that pretty Miss
Lewis?”

“Yes, sir,’ I answers, “I’m afraid he will. But he is a
THE CAPTAIN’S YOUNGEST. 19



worse man than Farquhar; and if Miss Rose goes away
with him, I’m afraid he’ll treat her hard enough when he
tires of her, as such men as him always tires of young
ladies.”

“Tt would be better, Rabbett,” says he, fixing his dark
eyes solemnly on the fire, “it would be better that Rose
should die. I know that.”

“Tam afeard, sir,” says I, “that you are right.”

God knows how he had learned to understand, but under-
stand he did, and he were that sad and wise about it that my
very heart ached. He had seen an old enough side of life,
had Master Lionel, living among the set he did, but he were
a young gentleman as nothing could spoil, his nature were
that fine-grained.

We kept our watch faithful all that week and part of the
next, but we found out very little, though we had our
suspicions, Master Lionel and me, as things was going on
pretty badly in a secret way. But at last the very worst
thing as could have happened burst upon us all at once.

I was up at the house one evening, doing something or
other for Mrs. Dalgetty, when of a sudden I heard a
tremendous loud ring at the door-bell ; and, going in a hurry
to answer it, the captain himself strode past me into the
hall, allin a flame with the wine he had been drinking and
the passion he were in. I had seen him in towering enough
tempers often before, but I had never seen him look as he

did then. It was my impression he were pretty near mad;
20 THE CAPTAIN’S YOUNGEST.

indeed, I thought so then, and have thought so since. How
could he have done what he did that night, unless he had
not been quite himself ?

“ Rabbett,” says he, ‘“where’s Miss Rose?” e

“Tn her own room, sir,’ says J, wishing with all my heart
that I could have told him she were not in.

“ Rabbett,” says he, “ where’s Mrs. Dalgetty ?”

“In Zer own room,” says I, “lying down, a-trying to get
rid of a headache.”

“Then,” says he, “go and tell Miss Rose to come down
to me at once.”

I think I must have looked upset, myself, when I knocked
at Miss Rose’s door to deliver the captain’s message, for the
minute the words were out of my mouth she turned quite
pale and scared-looking, and began to tremble.

“Qh, Rabbett,” she says, the tears coming into her great,
pretty dark eyes, “is anything the matter? does he look
angry?”

“T must say, miss,” I answers, ‘‘as he seems a bit more
pepperyer than common, but I hope it’s nothing much.”

“Oh, Rabbett,” she says, beginning to cry, and wringing ©
her poor little helpless hands, “I know it is something
dreadful. I daren’t go down. Iam so frightened.”

But she were obliged to go down, and go down she did,
a-trembling all over, and out-and-out faint with fear. She
had always been a timid little affectionate creature, and the
captain were pretty hard to face when his temper were up.
THE CAPTAIN’S VOUNGEST. 21



Iam not ashamed to confess as I stayed as near within
hearing distance as I could, without positively eavesdropping.
I own up as I had my fears as to what the end of it all
would be, knowing the captain were. drove too wild to be
wise, or even reasonable, and I wanted to be near enough to
see Miss Rose when she came out of the room, and say a
comforting word to her, if she seemed to need one.

But she came out of the room in a different manner to
what even I had expected. The minute she went in I heard
the sound of Mrs. Dalgetty crying and the captain storm-
ing, and for a quarter of an hour after the storm fairly raged.
The captain stamped and swore, Mrs. Dalgetty sobbed, and
tried to put in a word now and then, but Miss Rose seemed
to be too much stunned to speak. I never heard her voice
after the first few moments, and at last the door opened
again, and she came running out, her beautiful dark eyes
wide open, her innocent face as white as death. She did not
see me, but ran past where I stood, up to her own bedroom,
and there was that in her look as brought my heart into my
mouth, and, queer as it may seem to you, the first thing I
thought of was Master Lionel.

“There’s harm been done,” says I to myself, “deadly
harm, and no one can undo it but one as loves her, and
that she’s fond of herself in her girl’s way ; the one as she
needs now is that there fine little fellow as was almost like a
little lover to her.”

And when she came down I feels surer of it than ever ;
22 THE CAPTAIN’S YOUNGEST.



for in three minutes more she did come: down, with her hat
and jacket on, ready to go out. And her face was even
whiter than before; and when she sees me, she holds out
her hand, her eyes looking big and bright with a dangerous
sort of shine.

‘Good-bye, Rabbett,” she says. “I am going.”

“Miss Rose,” says I, “ where are you going to?”

Then she smiles sad and bitter, and a bit hard.

‘Ask papa,” she answers. “He ought to know. He sent
me away. I don’t exactly know myself, unless—unless one
person in the world loves me well enough to take me.”

“ Miss Rose,” I breaks out, ‘‘for God’s sake don’t go to
Basil Roscoe!”

She dragged her hand away from mine, and her eyes
flashed fire.

“You all hate him!” she cried; “but I have chosen him
before all the world. Papa said I must choose, and I have
chosen. I am going to Basil Roscoe!”

And before I could speak another word she had darted
out of the door, all on fire, and desperate, as one might say,
and was gone.

I knew ‘it would be of no use spcaking to the captain.
Since he had as good as turned the poor innocent creature
out ef house and home, he was not the one to go to for
help. When he was cooler he would see his mistake, and
repent it bitter enough; but just now to go to him would
only make him madder than ever.
THE CAPTAIN’S YO UNGEST. 23



Well, just at that very minute in come Master Lionel.
There might have been some sort of a fate in it. He.
jumps up them stone steps two at a time, and bangs at
that open front door, clean out of breath, and locking
wonderful like his sister, in his excitement.

““Where’s Rose gone to, Rabbett ?” he says. “I have
just seen her walking fast—almost running—down the street,
and she would not stop for me. What has been the matter?”

I ups and tells him. I weren't afeard of doing it. I
knew him to be that there ready and brave and affectionate.

“ Rabbett,” he said, in a jiffy, “come along with me.”

“Master Lionel,” I asks, “where to?” For the fact were
my head weren't as clear as his, and I were a bit bothered:as
to what would be the best thing to be done first.

“Tam going to Captain Roscoe’s lodgings,” he answers,
as steady as you please.

And so, if you'll believe me, off we goes, out into the
- street, him a-keeping step beautiful, as he always did, but
not saying a word until at last I speak to him.

“Master Lionel,” I says, “what are you thinking about ?”

d

“T am thinking,” he answers, his dark eyes shining,
“about what I am going to say to Roscoe.”

But it weren’t so easy to find Roscoe. We did not know
exactly where his lodgings were, and so we had to inquire in
first one place and then another. The people we fancied
could tell us knew nothing definite, when we went to them;

and when we got the name of the street it were hard to
24 THE CAPTAIN’S YOUNGEST.



find. But we did find it at last, after a great deal of
trouble and a great deal of delay, which was worse. The
delay was what upset us, for both of us felt pretty certain
that Captain Basil Roscoe would lose very little time in
getting Miss Rose away out of the reach of her friends,
if he once found her willing to go with him.

By the time we reached the end of the street where he
lived Master Lionel were that worked up and excited that
he was growing paler and paler, and his eyes were like
lanterns in his face, and he caught hold of my hand and
held it hard and fast.

“ Rabbett,” he says, “ what if we should be too late?”

“T can’t think such bad luck could happen to us, sir,” I
answers him back,

And then it were—just at that instant—as his sharp
young eyes spied something out ahead of us, for he drew
his hand away, and started running, just throwing back a
word or so to me.

“There's a carriage before the door,” he said, “and
they are getting into it.”

He were up that street like a deer, and in half a minute
I were with him; but when I comes up, all out of breath,
he were on the carriage-step, holding the door open ; and,
what’s more, holding at bay the black rascal who stood
near, sneering and raging at him by turns. ‘‘ Rabbett,” he
cries out, “help me to hold the door open. No—go to
the horses’ heads. Now, Rose, get out.”
THE CAPTAIN’S YOUNGEST. 25



I went to the horses’ heads, as I would have done if the
captain himself had given the order, instead of “The Cap-
tain’s Youngest.” It made. my heart ache, too, to hear the
ring in the little chap’s voice, so like his father’s, and then
to remember what the captain might have been—and what
he were. Even the driver were struck all of a heap by the
youngster’s pluck, and were so busy locking at him that
he let me take my stand, without a word against it.

“Look here, mate,” he says to me, “here’s a rum goles

“Tt’s bad enough,” says I. “Perhaps you'll oblige me
with them reins?”

“Tf you don’t come down from that step,” says Roscoe,
saying every word slow, as if he was trying to hold him-
self back from striking the boy a blow as would kill him,
‘you impudent young devil, I will take the whip from the
box there and cut you to pieces!”

Then Miss Rose bends forward. It is my impression
as the cruel, murderous sound in the fellows voice was
something she had never heard before, and it frightened her.

“Don’t speak to him in that way, Basil,” she says. 7
“Oh, Lionel, dear, you shouldn't have come. You must
go back. You must, indeed. I shall hever come home
again, Lionel.” And she burst out crying.

“T shall go back, Rose,” says the boy, “but you must
come with me. Rabbett and I came to fetch you, and
we shall not leave you.” And then he looks at Roscoe
square. “JI am not afraid of your cutting me to pieces

E
26 THE CAPTAIN'S YOUNGEST.



with your whip, sir,” he says. ‘ Rabbett will see to that.
But,” and the fire blazed up in his voice and his face and
his eyes, as grand as if he had been the captain himself,
“if I had come alone I would not have left this carriage
door unless Rose had come with me, You might have
used your whip, but you couldn’t have made me do that.”

‘Am I,” says Roscoe, panting with the passion he dare
not let out, ‘‘am I to throw you into the street under the
horses’ hoofs, you impudent young devil ?”

But Master Lionel’s back was turned to him. He was
pleading with his sister. |

“ Rose, dear,’ he says, ‘‘come home with me. You will
come home with me, I know.” And he caught hold of
her hand.

God knows how it all happened—I don’t. If I had
only been quick enough to see in time, the captain’s
youngest might have been alive this day, a brave young
fellow, such as the captain had been in those first days
in India—a brave, handsome young soldier, as would
have been a honour to his country, and a stanch friend
yet to me.

But that weren’t to be. Just as he stood there, his
foot on the carriage-step, a-holding his sister’s hand, the
passion in the heart of the rascal watching him broke forth.
He caught lim by the shoulder, there were a short struggle
as the boy tried to free himself, and before I could reach
them he had whirled him away from the door—with
THE CAPTAIN’S YOUNGEST. 27



greater force than he intended, I’ve tried to believe. The
frightened horses lashed out their hoofs and sprang forward,
struggling over the child’s very bare as he lay stunned
under their feet.

Scoundrel as he was, I never could make it look square to
myself as the man meant the harm he did. His face was
out-and-out deathly, as he leaped forward to save him as
quick as I did myself. But we were both too late. We
could only drag at the reins, and stop the horses in time
to prevent the wheels passing over him—that were all.

We had him out in a minute, and Miss Rose was out
of the carriage, kneeling on the pavement by him, and the
driver was down off his box.

“Great God!” says Roscoe, “‘I never meant to do him
such a harm. He’s dead!” And he shuddered all over,
with fear, perhaps, as much as anything else.

But he weren’t dead, and he hadn’t even fainted, though
he were stunned at first. I had lifted him in my arms, and
he lay ‘against me, panting a bit, and stone-white, all but
for a stain of blood on one temple. It weren't his head as
was so badly hurt, it were his side, where one of the horses
had lashed out and struck him. And as sure as I’m a
living man, in a few minutes he opens his eyes and lays
hold of- his sister's hand.

“ Rose,” he says, ‘ will you—go home—with me—now ?”

She knelt over. him, wringing her hands, and sobbing
as if her heart would break. She would not let her lover
28 THE CAPTAIN’S YOUNGEST.



come near her. When he tried to speak, she shrank away,
shuddering.

It’s my belief as what she had seen in his face during
the last ten minutes would have broke her faith in
him, even if the young master had met no hurt. And
now she were that terrified that she were as helpless as
a child.

“Ts he much hurt?” she kept saying. ‘“ Rabbett, oh,
Rabbett ! let me take him home to mamma. Put him into
the carriage.” And then she turned upon Roscoe, fierce
and wild. ‘Go away,” she cried out. “You have killed
him! Go away, and never let me see you again!”

There were a dreadful house when we took him home.
Mrs. Dalgetty went out of one faint into another, as she
always did when she was frightened. The servants ran
backward and forward, doing nothing, the children crowded
round us, crying, and the captain looked on at all we did
like a man in a dream.

He were hurt and bruised and broken that bad—poor
little fellow!—that when the doctor came, and were be-
ginning to go to work on him, he looks up at me with his
bright, troubled eye, and says to me:

‘““Rabbett, please take hold of my hand.”

I were that near breaking down and sobbing out loud
that I were ashamed of myself. It were a comfort to me,
in many a day after, to think I had took hold of his hand,
and that he had asked me to do it.
THE CAPTAIN’S YOUNGEST. 29



And when the hard job was over, the doctor put his
hands into his coat-pockets, and stands looking at him for
a minute or so, and then he turns to me and beckons me
out of the room.

“Sir,” I ventured to say, “ Master Lionel—will he——
But I could not finish, somehow. I meant to say, “ Will

?



he get over it?”

“No,” sayshe. ‘I am very sorry to say it; but he will
not.”

Will you believe me as the words struck me like a
slung-shot. Not having no family of my own, and never
having clung to nothing on earth as I had clung to that
there generous, neglected little fellow, just at that minute
I felt as if I'd got a blow as was too hard to stand up
against. I couldn’t face it straight. When 1 had== been
lonely in my way he had been lonely in his, and we had
been a help and a comfort to each other in ways as out-
siders never understood.

“Sir,” I puts it to him, quite hoarse when I gets my
voice back, ‘‘when——” And I couldn’t finish that ques-
tion neither.

“Well,” he answers me back, “I am afraid before
morning.’

-I went back to the room and stayed there all
night.

It seemed a strange sort of thing that at the very last
him and me was together alone, as we always had seemed
30 THE CAPTAIN’S YOUNGEST.



to be. He had coaxed Miss Rose to go to bed; he would
not rest until she went; and when she bent down to kiss
him he says to her, in a whisper, quite bright and cheer-
ful: “Don’t cry, Rose.‘ It’s all right.”

And then the captain gets tired, and begins to doze,
and Mrs. Dalgetty falls asleep on the sofa; and so Master
Lionel and me was left together; me watching him, and
listening to the clock ticking; him lying quiet, with his
eyes shut.

But toward daybreak he gets a bit restless, and stirs,
and the next thing I sees him looking at me, quite wide
awake. :

‘“Rabbett,” says he, in a bit of a hurry, “open the
window.”

And when I goes and does it, and comes back, he
puts out his hand.

‘“ Rabbett,” he says, “I’m very fond of you;” and some-
thing wistful comes into his eyes, and I sees a faint gray
shadow creeping up over his face. “I was always fond
of you, and I always shall be fond of you,” says he.
“Don’t let my hand go, Rabbett.”

And the next minute the gray .shadow has changed his
brave, handsome, childish face all at once and altogether.
He gives me a innercent, bright look—just one, as if he
were wondering why I shook so—and shuts his eyes.. He
would never open them again on me, as was so fond and

proud of him in my poor.way. When they opened again.
THE CAPTAIN’S VOUNGEST. 31



- he would see something brighter than the morning sky,
as was just growing red and golden before the east
window.

Of course they fretted over him for a while, finding
out most likely as he’d made himself dearer than they’d
thought before he were gone. They could not have helped
missing him if they had been more careless than they were.
Sometimes I fancied the captain was checked a bit and
sad, and blamed himself in secret, but his days of being
open and soft-hearted was over, and it were hard to tell.
I know it was a long time before he. forgave Miss Rosie,
though for her sake the matter was hushed up, and no one
but themselves knew exactly how the accident happened.
Miss Rose could never bear the sound of Basil Roscoe's
name again, and she married a good man a few years after, _
and madé him a good wife. So the poor little fellow as
gave his life for her did not lose it for nothing, though, if
you were to ask me which of the two—but, there, it’s not
for me to take on myself to argue out! But he were only
a boy to them—only a child. They didn’t know him as
I did, and so after a while their grief died out, and in a
year or so he was half forgotten.

But it weren’t so easy for me. His handsome little face
and his pleasant ways is as clear to me to-day as they
ever was. When I sit lonely over my fire of a winter's

night—and I am a lonely man, things being as they are
32 THE CAPTAIN'S VOUNGEST.



and the years going on—I think of him for hours in a
way of my own, and make a sort of dream of him. I
think of him as he lay in his cradle and we made friends
when he wasn’t but a week old. I think of him as he was,
with his little soldier ways about the quarters, carrying
himself as military as if he’d been twenty ; a-helping me
in one way and another, and finding out he might be con-
fidential, though I wasn’t nothing but a private and him a
officer's son. I think about him as he looked when he came
to me in his innercent trouble that night and told me about
his sister’s lover. And then I see him lying there, with the
light from the east window falling on him, and I hear him
_ saying:

“JT am very fond of you, Rabbett. I always was fond
of you, and | always shall be fond of you. Don't let my
hand go, Rabkett.”

Ay—and that ain't all, I make a picture of what might
have been. I sees him grown into a young man—a hand-
some, smart young officer—-and make a picture of some
beautiful young girl, and tells myself what a pretty love
_ story they would have had betwixt them, and what a lover,
and what a young husband he would have been! Why,
there’s been nights when I’ve even seen little children
like him, and thought they would have been fond of me,
as he was. It’s made me forget where I was, and
when I’d be roused up by something or other I’ve found
myself choke up with something as might almost have





















THE CAPTAIN'S YOUNGEST. 33



been my heart in my throat, to think as it were only a
sort of dream afterall. And the captain’s youngest lies
out under the stars in the churchyard, the wind a-blowing
over the snow as lies on a grave as is only the. grave

of a child.







TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO


“Many a day he had fallen asleep with his curly head on its warne little Suszy
side.’ —see page 45.

frontispiece.

(@)
TWO DAYS

IN

THE LIE OF PICCINO



dreadful days.
When sometimes he spoke of them to such of his play-

as Giuseppe, who was little Roberto’s
great-grandfather, and could only move
when he was helped, and. sat in the sun

-and played with bits of string—if he lived

to be as old as that, he could never
forget them — those two strange and

mates as were older than himself—especially to Carlo, who

tended sheep and was afraid of nothing, even making jokes
about the forestier, they said they thought he had been
foolish—that as it seemed that the people had been ready to

give him anything, it could not have been so bad but one
could have tried to bear it, though they all agreed that it
was dreadful about the water.
38 TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



It is true, too, that as he grew older himself, after his
mother died and his father married again the big Paula, who
flew into such rages and beat him—and when he had to tend
sheep and goats himself and stay out on the hills all day in such
ragged jackets and with so little food because Paula said he
had not’ earned his salt, and she had her own children
to feed, then he longed for some of the food he would not
eat during those two days, and wondered if he would do
quite the same thing again under the same circumstances.
But this was only when he was very hungry and the mistral
was blowing, and the Mediterranean looked grey instead of
blue. ‘

He was such a tiny fellow when it happened. He was
not yet six years old, and when a child is under six he
has not reached the age when. human creatures have begun
to face life for themselves altogether, and even a little
Italian peasant who tumbles about among sheep and
donkeys, which form part of his domestic circle, is still in
a measure a sort of baby whose mother or brother or sister
has to keep an occasional eye on him to see that he does

not kill himself. And then also Piccino had been regarded
by his family as a sort of capital, and had consequently had
“more attention paid to him than he would have had under
ordinary circumstances. —

It was like this. He was so pretty—so wonderfully
pretty. His brothers and sisters were not beauties, but he
was a beauty from his first day, and with every day
TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. . 39



that passed he grew prettier. When he was so tiny that
he was packed about like a bundle wound up in un-
attractive looking bandages, he had already begun to show
what his eyes were going to be—his immense soft black
eyes with lashes which promised to be velvet fringes. And
as soon as his hair began to show itself it was lovely silk,
which lay in rings one over the other on his beautiful little
- round head. Then his soft cheeks and chin were of exquisite
roundness, and in each he had a deep dimple which came and
went as he laughed.

He was always being looked at and praised. A ‘Gesu
Bambino ”
they always said when a child had wonderful beauty—their
idea of supreme child loveliness being founded on the pictures
and waxen richly-dressed figures they saw in the churches.

But it was the foresézert who admired him most, and that
was why he was so valuable. His family lived near a strange
little old city in the hills which spread out behind one of the
fashionable seaside towns on the Italian Riviera. The
strange little old city, which was a relic of centuries gone by,
was one of the places the rich foreigners made excursions to
see. It was a two or three hours’ drive from the fashionable

the peasant women called him. That was what

resort, and these gay rich people, who seemed to do nothing
~ but enjoy themselves, used to form parties and drive in
carriages up the road which wound its way up from the
shore through the olive vineyards and back into the hills.
Tt was their habit to bring servants with them and hampers
40 TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



of wonderful things to eat, which would be unpacked by
the servants and spread on white cloths on the grass in
some spot shaded by the trees. Then they would eat,
and drink wine, and laugh, and afterwards wander about
and explore the old city of Ceriani, and seem to find
the queer houses and the inhabitants and everything about
it interesting.

To the children of Ceriani and its outskirts these
excursion parties were delightful festivities. When they
heard of the approach of one they gathered themselves
together and went forth to search for its encampment. When
they had found it they calmly seated themselves in rows
quite near and watched it as if it were a kind of theatrical
entertainment to which they had paid for admission. They
were all accomplished in the art of begging, and knew that
the forestzert always had plenty of small change, and would
give, either through good nature or to avoid being annoyed.
Then they knew from experience that the things that were
not eaten were never repacked into the hampers if there was
someone to ask for them. So they kept their places quite
cheerfully and looked on at the festivities, and talked to each
other and showed their white teeth in generous grins, quite
-amiably sure of reaping a pleasant harvest before the
carriages drove back again down the winding road ending
at the sea and San Remo, and the white many-balconied
hotels.

And it was through these excursion parties that Piccino’s
TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 4I



market value was discovered. When he was a baby and his
sister Maria, who was his small nurse—being determined not
to be left behind by her comrades, toiled after the rest of the
children with her little burden in her arms or over her
shoulder—it was observed that the forestier’ always saw the
pretty round black baby head and big soft dark eyes before
they saw anything else, and their attention once being
attracted by Piccino very pleasant things were often the
result. The whole party got more cakes and sandwiches and
legs of chickens and backs of little birds, and when bits of
silver were given to Maria for Piccino, Maria herself some-
times even had whole francs given to her because it was she
who was his sister and took care of him. And then having
begun giving, the good-natured ones among the party of
ladies and gentlemen did not like to quite neglect the other
children, and so scattered soldi among them, so that some.
times they all returned to Ceriani feeling that they had done
a good day’s work. Their idea of a good day’s work
was one when they had not run after carriages for nothing,
or had heads shaken at them when they held out their
hands and called imploringly, “Uno soldino, bella
Signora—bella Signora!” Piccino had been born one
of the class which in its childhood, and often even later,
never fails in the belief that the English and Americans
who come to the beautiful Riviera come there to be

begged from, or in some way beguiled out of their small
coin.
42 TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



Maria was a sharp child. She had not lugged her little
brothers and sisters about all through the working time of her
twelve years without learning a few things. She very soon
found out what it was that brought in the so/dz and the nice
scraps from the hampers.

“Tt is Piccino they give things to, Ecco,” she _ said.
“ They see his eyes and they want to look at him and touch
his cheeks. They like to see the dimples come when he
laughs. They would not look at me like that—or at you,
Carmela. They would not come near us.”

This was quite true. The row of little spectators watching
the picnics might be picturesque, but it was exceedingly dirty,
and not made of the material it is quite safe to come near.
It was a belief current among the parties who drove up from
San Remo that soap had never been heard of in the vicinity
of Ceriani, and that water was avoided as a poisonous
element, and this belief was not founded upon mere
nothings. |

‘They are as dirty as they are cheerful and impudent,”
someone had said, “and that is saying a great deal. I wonder
what would happen if one of them were caught and washed all
over?”

Nobody could have been dirtier than Piccino was. Pretty
as he looked, there were days when the most enthusiastic of
the ladies dare not have taken him in her arms. In fact
there were very few days when anyone would have liked
to go quite that far—or any farther indeed than looking at
TWO DAVS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 43



his velvet eyes and throwing him soldi and cakes. But his
eyes always won him the so/dz and cakes, and the older he
grew the more he gained, so that not only Maria and her
companions but his mother herself began to look upon him as
a source of revenue.

“Tf he can only sing when he grows a little older,” his
mother said, “he can fill his pockets full by going and
singing before the hotels and in the gardens of the villas.
Everyone will give him something. They are a queer lot
these foreigners, who are willing to give good money to a
child because he has long eyelashes. His are long enough,
thanks to the Virgin. Sometimes I wonder they are’not in
his way.”

His mother was the poorest of the poor. She had seven
children and a mere hovel to put them in, and nothing to
feed and clothe them with. Her husband was a good-for-
nothing who never worked if he could help it, and who, if he
earned a few so/dz, got rid of them at once before they could
be scolded out of him and spent.on such extravagances as
food and fire. If Piccino had not been a little Italian peasant
he would no doubt have starved to death or died of cold long
before he had his adventure, but on the Riviera the sun
shines and the air is soft, and people seem born with a sort
of gay carelessness of most things that trouble the serious
world.

As for Piccino he was as happy as a soft little rabbit or a
young bird, or a baby fawn. When he was old enough to run
44 TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



about he had the most beautiful days. They seemed to him
to be made up of warm sunshine and warm grass, flowers
looking at him as he toddled round, light filtering through
vines and the branches of olive trees, nice black bread and figs,
which he lay on his back and munched delightedly, and days
when Maria dragged him along the road to some green place
where grand people sat and ate good things, and who after-
wards gave him cakes and delicious little bones and sold,
saying over and over again to each other that he was the
prettiest little boy they had ever seen, and had the most
beautiful eyes and—oh ! his eyelashes!

“Look at his eyelashes!” they would exclaim. “ They are
as thick as rushes round a pool, and they must be half an
inch long.”

Sometimes Piccino got rather tired of his eyelashes and
wore a resigned expression, but he was little Italian enough
to feel that they must be rather a good thing as they brought
such luck. Once, indeed, a man came all by himself to
Ceriani and persuaded his mother to make him sit on a stone
while he put him in a picture, and when it was over he gave
his mother several francs, and she was delighted, but Piccino
was not so pleased, because he had thought it rather tiresome
to sit so long on one stone.

This was the year before the dreadful two days came.

When they came he had been put into queer little trousers
which were much too big for him. One of his brothers had
outgrown them and given them good wear. They were, in

%
















































































































































































“ He went and showed them to the donkey.” —page 45.
TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 45



- fact, as ragged as they were big, and as dirty as they were
ragged, but Piccino was very proud of them. He went and
showed them to the donkey, whose tumble-down sleeping
apartment was next to his own, and who was his favourite
playmate and companion. It was such a little donkey, but
such a good one. It could carry a burden almost as big
as its stable, and it had soft furry ears and soft furry sides,
and eyes and eyelashes as pretty for a donkey as Piccino’s
were for a boy. It was nearly always at- work, but when
it was at home Piccino was nearly always with it. On
wet and cold days he stayed with it in its tiny broken
stable playing and talking to it, and many a day he had
fallen asleep with his curly head on its warm little fuzzy
side. When it was fine they: strolled about together and
were companions, the donkey cropping the grass and Piccino
pretending it was a little flock of sheep, and that he was
big enough to be a shepherd. In the middle of the night
he used to like to waken and hear it move and make
little sounds. It was so close to him that he felt as if
they slept together.

So he went to show it his trousers, of course.

“Now I am a man,” he said, and he stood close by its
head, and the two pairs of lustrous eyes looked affection-.
ately into each other.

After that they sauntered out together into the beautiful
early morning. When Piccino was with the donkey his
mother and Maria knew he was quite safe, and so was
46 TWO DAVS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



the donkey, so they were allowed to ramble about. They
never went far, it is true. Piccino was too little, and be-
sides there were such nice little rambles quite near. This
time was the loveliest of all the year. The sun was sweetly
warm, but not hot, and there were anemones and flaming
wild tulips in the grass.

Piccino did not know how long they were out together
before Maria came to find them. The donkey had a
beautiful breakfast, and Piccino ate his piece of black
bread without anything to add to its flavour, because his
mother was at the time in great trouble and very poor,
and there was scarcely the bread itself to eat. Piccino
toddled along quite peacefully, however, and when he
came upon a space where there were red and yellow
tulips swaying in the soft air he broke off a fine handful,
and when the donkey lay down he sat by it and began
to stick the beautiful flaring things round his hat as he
had seen Maria stick things round hers. It was a torn
soft felt hat, with a pointed crown and a broad rim, and
when he put it on again with its adornment of red
and yellow flowers sticking up and down and _ falling
on his soft, thick curls, he was a strangely beautiful little
thing to see, and so like a picture that he scarcely
seemed like a real child at all, but like a lovely fan-
astic little being some artist had arranged to put on
‘canvas.

He was sitting in this way looking out to where he
TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 47



could see a bit of blue sea through a break in the hills,
when Maria came running towards him.

“The donkey!” she cried, “the donkey!”

She had been crying, and looked excited, and took him by
the hand, dragging him towards home. His legs were so
short and he was so little that it always seemed as if she
dragged him. She was an excitable child, and always went
fast when she had an object in view. Piccino was used
to excitement. They all shouted and screamed and gesticu-
lated at each other when any trifling thing happened. His
mother and her neighbours were given to tears and cries
and loud ejaculations upon the slightest provocation, as
all Italian peasants are, so he saw nothing unusual in
Maria’s coming upon him like a whirlwind and exclaiming
disjointedly with tears. He wondered, however, what the
donkey could have to do with it, and evidently the donkey
wondered too, for she got up and trotted after them down
the road. .

But when they reached the house it was very plain that
the thing which had occurred was not a trifle or usual.

Piccino saw an old man standing before the door talking
to his mother. At least he was trying to get in a word
edgeways now and then, while the mother wept and
beat her breast and poured forth a torrent of bewailing,
mingled with an avalanche of scolding addressed to her

husband, who stood near her looking at once sheepish and
ill-tempered.
48 TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



‘Worthless brute and pig,” she proclaimed ; “‘idle, wicked
animal who will not work to help me to feed his children.
It is only I who work and the donkey who helps me. With-
out her we should starve—starve! And he sells her—
poor beast—sells her to get money for his wickedness
and gluttony! And I am to starve without her. A fine
thing—and he brings to my door the thief he has sold
her to!”

Baby as he was, Piccino began to understand. His father
had sold the donkey and it would be taken away. He lifted
up his voice in a wail of bitter lamentation, and breaking
away from Maria, ran to the donkey and clung round
her. front leg, rubbing his cheek wofully against her grey
shoulder.

For an hour or so they all wept and lamented, while their
mother alternately wept and raved. She abused her hus-
band, and the old man who had bought the donkey, by turns.
Stray neighbours dropped in and helped her. They all
agreed that old Beppo was a usurer and a thief, who had
somehow got the better of Annibale, who was also a drunken
shameless brute. Old Beppo was so overwhelmed by the
storm of hard words and bad names raging about him that
he actually was stunned into allowing that the donkey should
remain where she was for two days, that she might finish
some work her mistress had promised to do with her aid.
And he went away grumbling with his piece of rope over his
arm.
fal =f i mn
“gl vn eee aA:
Mi i,

“We

i “A

at lt

LT, ie |







2



















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Mahe PL wigs (it

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i, aul an



































































| i V = oe
Mh ) GZ |
Ng LN
| / i Ni A \ ) HK WV)
| H SH My \ WY);
WZ, 2 Hi 2
AWA BAP We He
e = Be —— a



‘He... ran to the donkey and clung to her front leg.” —page 48,
TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 49

There was nothing to eat in the house, and if there
had been the mother was too prostrate with grief and
rage to have prepared anything like a meal. And so
it seemed a great piece of good luck when dirty little
Filippo burst upon them with the news that three grand
carriages, full of illustrious-looking forestier? and inviting
hampers, were unloading themselves at a certain turn of
the road where the grass was thick and the trees big and
close together.

“Come!” said Maria, catching at Piccino’s hand. She
gave hima look over. His crying had left a flush in his
soft cheeks and a little pathetic curve on his baby mouth,
which was always like a tiny vermilion bow. His hat, with
the tulips tumbling round it, was set on the back of his head,
andthe red and yellow things made his eyes look bigger
and lovelier than ever by contrast. In these respects Maria
saw that he was good for more cakes and so/dz than ever.
And it would never have occurred to her that tears and
rubbing against the donkey had left him dirtier than ever.
In Maria’s world nobody troubled themselves about dirt.
Washing oneself amounted almost to a religious ceremony.
But ah! that little love of a Piccino was dirty—as
dirty as he was soft and dimpled, and rich-coloured and
beautiful.

Near the place where the pleasure-seekers had spread their

feast upon the grass there was a low rough stone wall at the
side of the road.
50 TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



When the servants had spread the bright rugs and
cushions upon the ground the party sat down in little groups.
No sooner had they done this than one of the ladies looked
up and broke into a little laugh.

“ Look there!” she said, nodding in the direction of the
low wall, which was only a few yards from them.

And those near her looked and saw a little boy peasant

sitting with his legs dangling and gazing at them with the
interest and satisfaction of a person who has had the good
fortune to secure the best seat at a theatre.
_ “He isa sharp one,” said the lady. “He has got here
first. There will be others directly. They are like a swarm
of little vultures. The Bothwicks, who have the Villa des
Palmier, were here a week ago, and they said children seemed
to start up from the earth.”

The servants moved about in dexterous silence unpacking
the hampers and spreading white cloths. The gentlemen
sat at the ladies’ feet, and everybody laughed and talked
gaily. In a few minutes the lady looked up and laughed
again.

“ Look,” she said, ‘“‘now there are three

And there were six legs dangling, and the second and
third pair were little girls’ legs, and their owners looked on

[E22

at the strangers with cheerful composure, as if their assistance
at the festive scene were the most proper and natural thing

in the world.
The lady who had seen them first was a tall and handsome
TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 5



_Englishwoman. She had big coils of reddish-brown hair
and large bright eyes, which looked restless and tired at the
same time. Everybody seemed to pay her a great deal of
attention. The party was hers, the carriages were hers, the
big footmen were hers. Her guests called her Lady
Aileen. She was a very rich young widow with no
children, and though she had everything that wealth and
rank could give she found it rather hard to amuse herself.
Perhaps this was because she had given everything to Lady
_ Aileen Chalmer that she could, and it had not yet occurred
to her that anyone else in the world was any affair of
hers.

“The Bothwicks came home in raptures over a child
they had seen,” she said. “They talked of. him until it
was fatiguing. They said he was as dirty as a pig and
as beautiful as an angel. The rest of the children seemed
to use him as a bait. I wish they would bring him
to-day. I should like to see him. I must say I don't
believe he was as beautiful as they said. You know
Mary Bothwick is by way of being artistic and is given
to raptures.”

“Are you fond of children, Lady Aileen?” asked the
man nearest to her.

“T don’t know,” she answered, ‘‘I never had one. But
I think they are amusing. And these little Italian beggars
are sometimes very handsome. Perhaps I should not be
so bored if I had a very good-looking child. I should
52 TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



want a boy. I believe I will buy one from a peasant
some day. They will give you anything for money.” She
turned her face a little and laughed as she had done
before.
“There are quite twelve on the wall now,” she said,
‘perhaps more. I must count them.” When they counted
: all
with dangling feet, all dirty, and all staring at what was

them they found there were fourteen. All in a row



going on with a composure which had no shadow of
embarrassment touching it.

The row, having gained in numbers, was also beginning

to be a little more lively. The young spectators had
begun to exchange conversational and lively remarks upon
the party, the big footmen, uu the ae things being
handed about and eaten.
In ten minutes from that time Lady Aileen counted
again and found there were twenty-two lookers-on, and
when she reached the twenty-first she gave a-slight
start.

“Dear me!” she exclaimed, and laid down her fork.

‘What is it, Lady Aileen?” asked a girl who sat at
her side.

“T am perfectly certain the twenty-first one is the child
the Bothwicks were talking about. And he zs a handsome
creature |”

“Which one?” the girl exclaimed, leaning forward to
look. ‘The twenty-first. Oh, I am sure you mean the
TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 53



one next to the end. What a beauty, Mr. Gordon, look
at him!”

And Maria had the encouragement of seeing half a
dozen people turn to look at Piccino, sitting by her on
the wall, a marvel of soft-roundness and rich colour, his
velvet eyes dreamily wide open as he gazed fixedly at
the good things to eat, his crimson bow of a mouth with
parted lips, his flaming tulips nodding round his torn
felt hat.

Lady Aileen looked quite interested.

“T never saw such a beautiful little animal,” she said.
“I had no idea children were ever really like that. He
looks as if he had been deliberately made to order. But
I should never have had the imagination to order DY;
thing so perfect.”

In a very few minutes everybody was feeling at him and
discussing him. Maria saw them, and all the other children
saw them, and the whole party began to congratulate itself
and feel its spirits exhilarated, because it knew how the
matter would end. The only one who was not exactly
exhilarated was, it must be confessed, Piccino himself. He
felt a certain shy awkwardness when he was looked at and
talked about so much. He was not much more than a baby
after all, and he liked the cakes and little birds’ backs much
better than he liked being looked at by so many grand ladies
and gentlemen all at once. Perhaps too,, if the truth were
told, he was not as thrifty as Maria and her companions.
54 TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



He liked the good things, but he did not like to ask for them,
whereas the others did not objeet to begging at all. It was
second nature to them.

On this occasion Maria, seeing what effect he had produced,
wanted to lift him down from the wall and put him on the
grass and make him go among the signord and hold out his
hand,

But he clung to her and shook his head, and stuck out his
vermilion under lip and would not go.

It was when he was doing this and Maria was whispering
to him and scolding and coaxing, that Lady Aileen called to
one of her footmen and told him to bring her a plateful of
cakes and some marrons glacées.

“Does your ladyship wish me to take them to the beggar
children ?” asked Thomas, his distaste suppressed by re-
spectful civility.

“No,” Lady Aileen answered, i isng to her feet. “Tam
going to take them myself.”

“Ves, my lady,” said Thomas, and stepped back.
“Jt would have been safer to have let me do it,”
he remarked, in a discreet undertone when he returned
to his fellows; ‘ladies’ dresses are more liable to touch
them by accident. And one wouldn’t want to éouch
them.”

Lady Aileen carried her plate to the line of spectators on
the wall. Mr. Gordon and two or three others of the party
followed her. All along the row eyes began to glisten and
TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 55



mouths to water, but Lady Aileen went straight to Piccino.
She spoke to him in Italian.

‘‘ What is your name 2?” she asked.

He hung back a little, keeping close to Maria. This was
just what he did not like at all—that they would come and
ask him his name and try to make him talk. He had nothing
to say to people like them. He could talk to the donkey, but
then the donkey was of his own world and they knew each
other's language.

“Tell the Signora your name,” whispered Maria, furtively
pushing him. oe

“Piccino,” he said at length—the word coming through a
little reluctant pout.

Lady Aileen laughed.

“He says his name is Piccino,” she said to her companions.
“That means ‘little one, so I suppose it is a sort of pet
name. How old is he?” she asked Maria.

Piccino was so tired of hearing that. They always asked
it. He never asked how old they were. He did not want
to know.

“He will be six in three months,” said Maria.

“Will you have some cakes ?” said Lady Aileen. Piccino
held out his horribly dirty dimpled hands, but Maria took
off his hat with the tulips round it and held it out for
him. .

“If the [lustrissima will put them in here,” she said, “he
can carry them better.”
56 TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



_ Lady Aileen gave a little shudder, but she emptied the
plate. :
“What an awful hat!” she said to her friends. ‘“ They
are quite like little pigs—but he looks almost prettier without
it. Look how wonderful his hair is! It has dark red lights.
in it and is as thick asa mat. The curls are like the cherubs
of the Sistine Madonna. If it were not so dirty I should like
to put my hand on it.”

She spoke in English, and Piccino wondered what she was
saying about him. He knew it was about him, and he looked
at her from under his veil of lashes.

“Tt would please me to have a child as handsome as that
about me,” she said.

“Why don't you buy him?” said Mr. Gordon. “You
spoke of buying one just now. It would be like buying a
masterpiece.”

“So it would,” said Lady Aileen. ‘“ That’s an idea. I
think I will buy him. I believe he would amuse me.”

“ For a while at least,” said Mr. Gordon.

“ He would always be well taken care of,” said her lady-
ship, with a practical air. ‘‘ He would be infinitely better oft
than he is now.”

She was a person who through all her life had cultivated
the habit of getting all she had a fancy for. If one cultivates
the habit, and has plenty of money, there are not many
things one cannot have. There are some, it is true, but not
TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 57



many. Lady Aileen had not found many. Just now she
was rather more bored than usual. Before she had left
England something had occurred which had rather troubled
her. In fact she had come to the Riviera to forget it in
change of surroundings. She had been to Monte Carlo,
and had found it too excited and not new enough, as she
had been there often before. She had been to Nice, and
_had said it was too much like a seaside Paris, and that
there were so many English people, that walking down the
Promenade des Anglais was like walking down Bond Street.
She had tried San Remo because it was quiet, and she had
a temporary fancy for being quiet, and then she had
chanced to meet some people she liked. So she had taken
a snow-white villa high above the sea, and with palms and
orange-trees, and slender yellow green bamboos in the
garden. And she had invited her new acquaintances ‘to
dinner and afternoon tea, and had made up excursions,
Still she was often bored, and wanted some new trifle to
amuse her. And actually, when she saw Piccino and Mr.
Gordon suggested to her that she should buy him, it
occurred to her that she would try it. If she had chanced
to come upon a tiny, pretty, rare monkey, or toy -terrier,
or an unheard-of kind of parrot or cockatoo, she would
have tried the experiment of buying it, and Piccino, with
his dirty, beautiful little face, and his half-inch eyelashes, did
not seem much more serious to her. He would cost more
money, of course, as she would have to provide for him in

I
58 TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



some way after he had grown too big to amuse her, but she
had plenty of money, and she need not trouble herself
about him. She need not see him if she did not wish to,
after she had sent him to school—or to be trained into
some kind of superior servant. Lady Aileen was not a
person whose conscience disturbed her and caused her to feel
responsibilities. And so after the party had been to explore
Ceriani and the things that otherwise interested them,
she asked Mr. Gordon to go with her to the poor little
tumble-down house which Maria had pointed out to her _
as the home of Piccino. Maria had in fact had a rich
"harvest. Everybody had returned full of good things, and
Piccino’s small pocket was rich with so/dz.

“Tam going to carry out your suggestion,” Lady Aileen
said to Mr. Gordon as they walked down the road.

« What was it?” Mr. Gordon asked.

“ That I should buy the child.”

“Indeed,” said Mr. Gordon. “You find you can always
buy what you have a fancy Ota

“Nearly always,” said Lady Aileen, knitting her hand-
some white forehead alittle. “I have no doubt I can buy
this thing I have a fancy for.”

It chanced that she came exactly at the right moment.
As they approached the house they heard even louder cries
and lamentations and railings than Piccino had heard in the
morning.

It appeared that old Beppo had repented his leniency, and
TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF .PECCINO. 59



had come back for the donkey. He would not let it stay
another night. He wanted to work it himself. He
had brought his piece of rope, and had fastened it to the
pretty grey head already—while Piccino’s mother Rita
wept and gesticulated and poured forth maledictions. The
neighbours had come back to sympathize with her, and
find out what would happen, and the children had begun
to cry, and Annibale to swear, so that there was such
a noise filling the air that if Lady Aileen had not
. been a cool and determined person she might have been
alarmed, :

But she was not. She did not wait for Mr. Gordon to
command order, but walked straight into the midst of the
altercation.

“What is the matter?” she demanded in Italian. “What
is all this noise about ?”

Then, after their first start of surprise at seeing the grand
lady who was so plainly one of the rich Jorestiert—Rita and
all her neighbours began to explain their wrongs at once.
They praised the donkey, and reviled Annibale, and
proclaimed that old Beppo was a malefactor without a soul,
and a robber of the widow and the fatherless.

“Far better,” cried Rita, “that my children should be
without a father—an idle ugly brute who takes their bread
out of their poor mouths. To sell their one friend who
keeps them—the donkey !”

Old Beppo looked both sheepish and frightened when
60 TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



Lady Aileen turned upon him as he was beginning to
try to shuffle away with his property at the end of his rope
halter.

” Stay where you are!” she said.

“ Tllustrissima,” mumbled Beppo, “a thousand excuses.
But I have work to do, and the donkey is mine. I have
bought it. It is my donkey, Illustrissima.”

Lady Aileen knew Italy very well. She drew out her
purse that he might see it in her hand before. she turned
away from him.

«Stay where you are,” she said, “I shall have something
to say to you later.” ;

Then she turned to Rita.

“Stop making a noise,” she said, “1 want to talk to
you.”

What could the Illustrious Signora have to say. to a
wretched woman? Rita wept. All her children must starve,
she must starve herself, death from cold and hunger lay
before them!

“No such thing,” said Lady Aileen. “I will buy your
donkey back, and give you food and fuel for the winter
—for more than one winter—if you will let me have what
I want.” |

Rita and the neighbours exclaimed in chorus. If she
could have what she wanted, the Most Illustrious Signora !
What could she want that a hovel could hold, and what
could such poor creatures refuse her ?
TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 61°

Lady Aileen made a gesture towards Piccino, who had
gone to stand by the donkey, and had big tears on his
eyelashes as he fondled its nose.

“TI want you to lend me your little boy,” she said; “I
want to take him home with me and keep him. It will be
much better for him.”

The neighbours all exclaimed in chorus. Rita for a
moment only stared.

“Piccino.!” she said at length, “you want to take him—
to make him your child!” And aside she exclaimed,
“ Mother of God! it is his eyelashes ! ”

Lady Aileen shrugged her shoulders slightly. “I cannot
make him my child,” she said, “but I will take care of
him. He shall live with me, and be fed and clothed, and
shall enjoy himself.”

Maria clutched at her mother’s apron.

“ Mother,” she said, “he will be a Signorine. He will
ride in the carriage of the IIlustrissima. It will be as if he
were a Prince!”

“As if he were a Prince!” the neighbours echoed. “ As if
. he were a King’s son!” And they all looked at dirty little
Piccino with a growing awe.

Rita looked at him too. She had never been a very
motherly person, and these children, who had given her
such hard work and hard fare, had been a combined trial
and burden to her. She had never felt it fair that they
should have come upon her. Each one had seemed an
62 TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



added calamity, and when Piccino had been born he had
seemed a heavier weight than all the rest. It was, indeed,
well for him that his eyelashes had begun to earn his
living so early. And now, if he could save their daily bread
and the donkey for them, it would be a sort of excuse for his
having intruded himself upon the world. But Rita was not
the woman to let him go for a nothing.

“He is as beautiful as an angel!” she said; “he has
brought in many a “ve only because the forestzerd admire
him so. His eyelashes are an inch long. When he is
old enough to sing e

Lady Aileen spoke aside to Mr. Gordon.

“TI told you that I believed I could buy this thing I
fancied,” she said.

To Rita she said,—

“Tell me what you want. I will give you a reason-
able sum. But you will be foolish if you try to be
extortionate. I want him—but not so much that I will be
robbed.”

“I should be a foolish woman if I tried to keep him,”
said Rita; “he will have nothing to eat to-night if he stays
here—nor to-morrow—nor the day after, unless a miracle
happens. The Illustrious Signora will give him a good
home, and will buy back the donkey and save us from
starvation? I can come sometimes to the villa of the



Signora and see him ?”
“Yes,” said Lady Aileen practically, “and the servants
TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 63



will always give you a good meal and something to carry
home with you. You can have him back at any time if
you want him.”

She said this for two reasons... One was because she
knew his mother was not likely to want him back, because
he would always be a source of small revenue. And then
she herself was not a person of the affections, and if the
woman made herself in the least tiresome she was not
likely to feel it a grief to part with the child. She only
wanted him to amuse her.

How it was all arranged Piccino did not in the least
know. As he stood by the donkey, his mother and the
neighbours, his father and Beppo, and the illustrious lady
all talked together. He knew they were talking of him
because he heard his own name, but he was too little to
listen or care.

Maria listened to good*purpose however. She was wildly
excited and exhilarated. Before the bargain was half
concluded: she slipped over to Piccino’s side, and tried to
make him understand.

“The Signora is going to buy back the donkey,” she said,
“and give us money besides ; and you are going back in her
beautiful carriage to San Remo, to live in her magnificent
villa, and be a Signorine, and have everything you want.
You will be dressed like the King’s son, and have servants,
You will be as rich as the forestzert.”

Piccino gave her a rather timid look. He was not a
64. TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



beloved nursery darling, he was only a pretty little animal
who was only noticed because he was another mouth to feed,
he was not of half as much consequence as the donkey. But
the dirty place where he ate and slept was his home, and it
gave him a queer feeling to think of tumbling about in a
strange house.

But Maria was so delighted, and seemed to think he had
such luck, and everybody got up a sort of excitement about
him, and he did not want the donkey to be sold, and he was
too young to realize that he could not come back as often as
he liked. And in the end, when the matter was actually
settled, he found himself part of a sort of triumphal
procession, which escorted him back to the place where the
carriages were. His mother and Maria, and several of the
neighbours, walked quite proudly along the road with him,
and even old Beppo followed at a distance, and the
donkey having been freed from the halter and taking an
interest in her friends, loitered along also, cropping grass
as she went.

Lady Aileen and Mr. Gordon had gone on before them.
When they reached the place where the rest of the party was
waiting Lady Aileen explained the rather remarkable thing
she had done, and did so with her usual direct coolness.

“T have bought the child with the eyelashes,” she said,
“and I am going to take him back to San Remo on the box
with the coachman. He is too dirty to come near us until
he is washed.”
TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 65



She was.a person whom nobody thought of questioning,
because she never questioned herself. She simply did what
it occurred to her to do, and felt her own wish quite enough
reason. She did not care in the least whether’ people
thought her extraordinary or not. That was their affair and
not hers.

“You have bought Piccino!” one of her friends
exclaimed. “Does that mean you are going to adopt
him?”

“T have not thought of it as seriously as that,” said Lady
Aileen. “I am goingto take him home and have him
thoroughly washed, however. When he is clean I will
decide what I shall do next. The thing that interests me at
present is that I am curious to see what he will look like
when he has had a warm bath all over, and has been puffed
with violet powder and had his hair combed. I want to see
it done. I wonder what he will think is happening to him.
Nicholson will have to take care of him until I find him a
nurse. Look at his relatives and friends escorting him in
procession down the road. They have already begun to
regard him with veneration.”

She beckoned to one of the men-servants.

“ Greggs,” she said, “ you and Hepburn must put the child
between you on the box. He is going back to San Remo’
with me. See that he does not fall off.”

Greggs went to the coachman, with a queer expression of
the nostrils,
66 - TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



“We've got a nice bunch of narcissuses to carry back
between us. Her ladyship says the boy is to go with us on

the box.”
“A nice go that is for two men that’s a bit particular them-

selves!” said the coachman. ‘‘Let’s hope he won't give us

both typhus fever.”
And under these auspices Piccino went forth to his strange

experience.


67



CHAPTER II.

E was too well accustomed to his dirt to
think of it as being objectionable, so the
way in which Greggs lifted him up on to
the seat on the box did not at all explain
itself to him. He did not realize that in
exactly the same manner the excellent
Greggs would have handled an extremely
dirty little dog her ladyship. had chosen
to pick up by the wayside and order
him to take charge of.

But though he did not aideciand how
he was regarded by the illustrious signori
in livery who sat near him, he was conscious that he was
not comfortable, and felt that somehow they were not
exactly friendly. His place on the box seemed at an
enormous height from the ground, and as they went down
hill over the winding road he was rather frightened,
particularly when they rounded a sharp curve. It seemed
so probable that he might fall off, and he was afraid to
clutch at Greggs, who kept as far from him as. possible
under the circumstances.


68 TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.

It was a long, long drive back to San Remo, and it
seemed longer to Piccino than it really was. San Remo to
him appeared a wonderful foreign country. He had never
been there, and only knew of it what Maria had told him.
Maria had once gone there in a small cart drawn by the
donkey, and she had never forgotten the exaltation of the
adventure. She was always willing to describe over again
the streets, the white villas, the shops, and the grand hotels.

Piccino was so tired that he fell asleep before the carriage
had left the curving road, but when it reached the city the
jolting of the wheels wakened him, and he opened his
beautiful drowsy eyes and found them dazzled by the lights.
They were not very bright or numerous lights, but they
seemed so very dazzling to him, that he felt bewildered by
them. If Maria had been with him he would have clung to
her and asked questions about everything ; but even if he
had not been too much a baby, and too shy, he could not
have asked questions of Greggs, who was sufficiently
English to feel his own language quite enough for a sensible
footman. If the Italians wished to speak Italian that was
their own taste, and they might bear the consequences of not
being able to make him understand them. English was
enough for Greggs.

So Piccino was borne through the amazing streets in
silence. The people in the carriage had also become rather
silent, having been lulled, as it were, by the long drive
through the woods and olive groves. Lady Aileen, in fact,
TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 69



had had time to begin to wonder if her new plan would
prove as satisfactory and amusing as she had fancied it
might. Mr. Gordon was quietly speculating about it him-
self; the other man in the carriage was thinking of the Battle
of Flowers at Nice, and inventing a new scheme of floral
decoration for a friend’s victoria. The only person who was
really thinking of Piccino himself was the girl who sat by
Lady Aileen. She was a clever girl and kind, and she was
wondering how he would like the change in his life, and if
he had begun to feel homesick.

The carriage had to go uphill again before it reached Lady
Aileen’s villa. It was a snowy-white villa on an eminence,
and it had a terraced garden and looked out over the sea.
When they drove through the stately gateway Piccino felt
his small heart begin to thump, though he did not know why
at all. There were shadows of trees, and scents of roses
and orange-blossom and heliotrope. And on- the highest
terrace the white house stood, with a glow of light in its
portico, and gleams in its windows. Poor little dirty peasant
baby, how could it be otherwise than that all this grandeur
and whiteness should alarm him!

But there was just one thing that gave him a homely feel-
ing. And oh, he felt it so good that it was so! As they
turned in at the gate he heard a familiar sound. It was the
hysteric sniffing, and jumping, and yelping whines. of wetcome
of a close by the gate—probably to guard it. He was fastened
70 TWO DAVS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



by achain, and evidently being a friendly, sociable creature,
did not like being kept in this lonely place, and not allowed
to roam with the world. He could not have friendly fights
and associates, and he could not rush about and jump on
ladies’ dresses and gentlemen’s clothes, and leave his dusty
or muddy affectionate paw-marks all over them. And so he
was not happy, and when he heard footsteps approaching
always strained at his chain and sniffed and whined. As
these returning carriages belonged to his own domestic circle
he almost went wild with joy, and leaped and yelped, and did
his best to make somebody speak to him. He was adoringly
fond of Lady Aileen, who scarcely ever noticed him at all,
but once or twice had said, “Good fellow! Nice dog!” as
she went by, and once had come and looked at him and given
him two whole pats, while he had wriggled and fawned him-.
self nearly into hysterics of dog delight.

And so it happened that as the carriage turned into the
beautiful gateway Piccino heard this sound he knew—that
loving, eager, pleading dog-voice which is as much Italian as
it is English, and as much peasant as it is noble. The dogs
in the hovels near Ceriani spoke just as Lady Aileen’s dog
did, and asked for just the same thing—that human things
should love them a little and believe that they themselves
love a great deal. And Piccino, who was only a beautiful
little baby animal himself, understood it vaguely, and was
somehow reminded of his friend the donkey, and felt not
quite so many hundred miles from home and the tumble-
TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 71



down stable and Maria. He involuntarily lifted his soft,
dirty, blooming face to Greggs in the dark. —

“A chi il cane?” he said (Whose dog is that ?).

“What's that he’s saying ?” said Greggs to the coachman.

“Must be something about the dog,” answered Hepburn.
“He said something or other about a carney, and carney
means dog. It’s a deuce of a language to make out.”

And so, not being answered, Piccino could only resign
himself, and, as the carriage rolled up the drive, listen to the
familiar homely dog-sound and wish he could get down and
go to the kennel. And then the carriage stopped before
the door, and the door was thrown open by a liveried servant
and showed the brilliantly lighted hall, where there were
beautiful pictures and ornaments and curious things hung on
the walls, and rich rugs on the floor, and quaint seats and
bits of furniture about, so that to Piccino it looked like a
grand room.

Lady Aileen spoke to the footman at the door.

“Send Nicholson to me,” she said. ‘ Bring the child into
the hall,” she said to Greggs.

So Piccino was taken down in as gingerly a manner as he
had been put up, and Greggs set him discreetly on a bit of
the floor not covered by rugs.

He stood there without moving, his luminous eyes resting
on Lady Aileen.

Lady Aileen spoke to her companions, but he did not
know what she was saying, because she spoke English.
72 TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



“He is exactly like some little animal,” she said. ‘‘ He
does not-know what to make of it all. I am afraid he is
rather stupid—but what a beauty !”

“ Poor little mite,” said the girl, ‘I daresay he is tired.”

Nicholson appeared almost immediately. She was a neat,
tall, prim young woman, who wore black cashmere and collar
and apron of snow.

Lady Aileen made a gesture towards Piccino.

“T have brought this child from Ceriani,” she said.
«Take him upstairs and take his rags off and burn them.
Give him a bath—perhaps two or three will be necessary.
Get his hair in order. Modesta can change my dress for
me. I shall come into the bath-room myself presently.”

Piccino was watching her fixedly. What was she saying ?
What were they going to do to him ?

She turned away and went into the sa/oz with her guests,
and Nicholson came towards him. She gave him the same
uncomfortable feeling Greggs had given him. He felt that
she did not ike him—and she spoke in English.

“Come upstairs with me. I am going to wash you,” she
said.

But Piccino did not understand and did not move. So she
had to take hold of his hand to lead him, which she objected
very much to doing. She took him up the staircase and
through landings and corridors, where he caught glimpses of
wonderful bedrooms that were of dainty colours, and had silk
and lace and frills and cushions in them, and made him feel
TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 73



more strange than ever. And at last she opened a door and
took him into a place which was all blue and white porcelain
—walls and floors and everything else—including a strange
large object in one corner, which had shining silver things at
one end. And she released his hand and went to the silver
things and twisted them round, and, as if by magic, two
streams of clear water gushed out and began to fill the blue
and white trough as the bed of a torrent is filled by the
Spring rains.

Piccino’s eyes grew bigger and more lustrous every second
as he stared. Was she doing this interesting but rather
alarming thing to amuse him? Maria had never seen any-
thing like this in Sam Remo or she would certainly have told .
him. He was seeing more than Maria. For a moment or
so he was not sorry he had come. If the rich forestierz had
things like this to play with they must have other things
as amusing. And somehow the water was hot. He could
see the pretty white steam rise from it. He came a little
closer to look. “Nicola,” as he called her in his mind,
having heard Lady Aileen speak to her as “ Nicholson ”»—
Nicola moved to and fro and collected curious things together
—a white cake of something, a big light round thing made of
holes, large pieces of thick soft white cloth, with fringe at
the ends—something, these last, which must be like the things
Maria had heard of as being used in churches by the priests.

‘Che fai?” (What are you doing ?) he said to Nicola.

But she did not understand him, and only said something
2
74 - TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.

in English as she took off her white cuffs and rolled up her
sleeves.

By this time the two rushing streams had splashed and
danced into the bed of the torrent until it was nearly full.
Nicola twisted the silver things as before, and by magic
again the rushing ceased and the clear pool was still, the
light vapour rising from it.

Nicola came to him and began to take off his clothes

with the very tips of her fingers, speaking in English as she
did it. He did not know what she was saying.
- “A pretty piece of work for a lady’s maid to do! My
own clothes may go into the wash-tub and the rag-bag
after it. The filth of such people is past bearing. And
it’s her ladyship all over to have such a freak. There’s
no end to her whims. Burn them! she might well say burn
them. The sooner they are in the fire the better.” She took
off the last rag and kicked it aside with her foot. Piccino
stood before her, a little soft brown cherub without wings.

“Upon my word,” she said, “he is pretty! I suppose
that’s the reason.”

Piccino was beginning to feel very queer indeed. The
rushing water was amusing, but what was her intention in
taking off all his clothes? That was not funny. Surely
the forestzert wore clothes when they were in San Remo.
And besides she had given his cherished trousers—the
beautiful trousers of Sandro which had been given him for
his own—a kick which had no respect in it, and which sent
TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 75



them flying into a corner. His little red mouth began to
look unsteady at the corners.

“Yes, that’s the reason,” she said. “It's because he’s so
pretty.” And she picked him up in her arms and bore him
to the bath.

Piccino looked down into the blue and white pool which
seemed to him so big and deep. He felt himself being
lowered into it and uttered a wild shriek. They were going
to drown him—to drown him—to drown him!

He was in the water. He felt it all around him—nearly
up to his shoulders. He clung to Nicola and uttered shriek
after shriek, he kicked and splashed and beat with his feet,
the water leaped and foamed about him and flew into his eyes
and nose and mouth.

“Lasciatemi! Lasciatemi!” (Let me go! Let me go!) he
screamed.

Nicholson tried her best to hold him.

“My goodness!” she exclaimed, “J can’t manage him. He
is like a little wild cat. Keep quiet, you naughty boy! - Be
still, you bad little pig, and let me wash you! Good gracious!
what am I to do?”

But Piccino would not be drowned without a struggle.
To be held in water like that! to be suffocated by its
splashing in his. nose and mouth, and blinded by its dashing
in his eyes. He fought with feet and teeth, used his
head like a battering ram, and shrieked and shrieked
for aid.
705. TWO DAVS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.

‘To non ho fatto niente! Io non ho fatto niente! (I have
done nothing.) - Maria! Maria!”

And the noise was so appalling that almost immediately
footsteps were to be heard upon the stairs, swift movement in
the corridor, and the bath-room door opened.

It was Lady Aileen, who came in amazed, frowning and
rather alarmed. The girl-friend who had wondered if
Piccino would like his surroundings was with her.

Piccino threw back his head at sight of them and battled
and shrieked still more wildly. He thought they must have
come to his aid.

‘“M’amazza! M’amazza! Aiuto!” he wailed.

“ Bless me, what is the matter?” exclaimed Lady Aileen,
and came towards the bath.

“ He.doesn’t like to be washed, my lady,” panted Nichol-
son, struggling. ‘“ He seems quite frightened.”

Suddenly Lady Aileen began to laugh. ©

“Take him out fora moment, Nicholson,” she said. “ Take
him out. Isobel,” to the girl, her words broken with laughter,
“he thinks Nicholson is drowning him. Soap and water are
such unknown quantities to him that he thinks that in this
proportion they mean death.”

Nicholson had lifted her charge out at once, only too glad
of the respite. Piccino stood wet and quaking and sobbing
by the bath-tub.

Lady Aileen began to take off her gloves and bracelets.

“Give me an apron,” she said to Nicholson. And on


















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You are only going to be made clean?

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TWO DAVS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.

~~
~

having one handed to her she tied it over her dress and
knelt down before her new plaything.

“ Little imbecile!” she said in Italian, taking hold of his
wet shoulders. “No one is going to hurt you. You are
only going to be made clean. You are too dirty to be
touched, and the water will wash the dirt off.”

Piccino only looked up at her, sobbing. At ee she had
had him taken out of the great pool—but what did she mean
by wanting his dirt removed by such appalling means ?

“T am going to wash you myself,” said Lady ‘Aileen,
lifting him in her strong, white arms. “ Don’t let me have
any nonsense. If you make a noise and fight I wzd/ drown
you.” She was laughing, but Piccino was struck dumb with
fear. She looked so tall and powerful, and such a grand lady,
that he did not know what she might feel at liberty to do in
her powerfulness.

“Tt is only a bath,” said the girl Isobel in a kind voice ;
“the water won't go over your head. Don’t be frightened.
It won't hurt.”

Lady Aileen calmly put him back in the tub.

Her white hands were so firm and steady that he felt the use-
lessness of the struggle. And if he fought she might drown him.
He looked up piteously at the Signorina with the encouraging
face and voice and stood in the water aghast, and with big
tears rolling down his cheeks, but passive in helpless despair.

But, ah! what strange things were done to him!

_ The Illustrious Signora took the cake of white stuff and the
78 TWO DAVS IN THE LIFE OF PICCLNO.

big porous thing and rubbed them together in the water and
made quantities of snow-white froth, then she rubbed him
over and over and over, then she splashed the water over
him until she washed the foam off his body, then she scrubbed
him with something, then she did strange things to his ears,
then she took a little brush and scrubbed his finger-nails—
covering them with the white froth and then washing it off—
then she did the same to his feet and rubbed them with a
piece of stone.

Then she began with his head. Poor neglected little mop
of matted silk—what did she not do to it? She rubbed it
with the cake of white stuff till it was a soft slippery ball of
foam, then she scrubbed and scrubbed and thrust her hands
in it and shook it about and almost drowned him with the
water she poured on it. If he had not been so frightened he
would have yelled. But people who will do such things to
you, what will they not do if you make them angry! Under
this avalanche of snowy stuff, and this torrent of water, a
wild, despairing memory of Maria and the donkey came back
to him. Only last night he had fallen asleep in his corner
among all the familiar sights and sounds and smells, and
without water coming near him. And now he was nearly up
to his neck in it; it was streaming from his hair, his ears, his
body, he could hear and see and taste nothing else. Oh!
could it be possible that he had been all wrong in that first
imagining, that perhaps the rushing streams were to amuse
him? Could it be that this was all to amuse the /orestzerz
TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 79

themselves—that they had brought him to San Remo to
make him live in water like a fish—that they would never
let him out? AN

Suddenly the magnificent Signora lifted him out of the
pool. -She set him streaming upon something soft, and
white, and dry, which Nicola had spread upon the blue and
white tiles of the floor.

“There!” she said, “now I think he is clean for the first
time in his life. Nicholson, you may rub him dry.”

She stood up laughing and rather flushed with exertion.

“Jt has amused me,” she said to Isobel; “I would not
have believed it, but it Zas amused me. Almost anything
new will amuse one the first time one does it. When you
have brushed his hair, Nicholson, put him to bed.”

She laid aside the apron and picked up her gloves.

She went out of the room smiling, and Piccino was left
to the big white cloths and Nicola.

What happened then was even more tiresome than the
bath, though it was not so alarming. He was rubbed as if
he were a little horse, and his hair received treatment which
seemed to him incredible. When it was dry, strange
instruments were used upon it. “The knots and tangles were
struggled with and dragged out. Sometimes it seemed as if
his curls were being pulled out by the roots, sometimes as
if his head itself was to be taken off. It seemed to him
that he stood hours by Nicola’s knee whimpering. . If Maria
had been rash enough to attempt to subject him to such in-
80 TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



dignities he would have kicked and screamed and fought, but
in this wonderful house, among these wonderful people, who
were all forestierz, he was terror-stricken by his sense of
strangeness. To be plunged into water—to be rubbed and
scrubbed—to have the hair dragged from one’s head—who
would not be terrified? Suddenly he buried his face in
Nicola’s lap and broke into woful weeping. ‘“ Voglio andare
acasa. Lasciammiandare a Maria e il ciuco! (I want’to go
home. Let me go home to Maria—and the donkey! )” he cried.

“Well, well, it is nearly done now,” said Nicholson.
“Anda nice job it has been! And what I am to put you
to bed in I don’t know, unless in one’ of her ladyship’s own
dressing jackets.”

“Voglio andare a casa!” he wept. But Nicholson did not
understand him in the least. She went and found one of
the dressing jackets and brought it back to the bath-room.
It was covered with rich lace and tied with ribbons; it
was too big and he was lost in it; but when Nicholson
bundled him up in it, and he stood. with the lace frills
dangling over his hands, and his beautiful little face and
head rising above the great rich ruff they made, he was a
wonderful sight to see.

But he was not aware of it, and only felt as if he were
dressed in strange trickery, and when he was picked up and
carried out of the room—the beautiful trousers of Sandro
being left on the floor in the corner—he felt that the final
indignity had been offered.
TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 81



She carried him into one of the wonderful rooms he had
caught a glimpse of. It was all blue, and was so amazing
with its frills and blue flowers and lace and ornaments that
he thought it must be a place where some other strange
thing was to be done to him. But Nicola only put him
down on a soft place covered with lace, and with a sort of
tent of lace and silk at the top of it.

She said something to him in English and went away
and left him.

He sat and stared about him. Was it a place where
people slept? Did the forestzerc lay their heads on those
white things? Was this soft wonder he sat on a bed?
He looked up above him at the beautiful tent and felt so lost
and strange that he could almost have shouted for Maria
again. If she had been there, or if he could have under-
stood what Nicola said it would not have been so awful.
But it was so grand and strange, and Ceriani and Maria
and the donkey seemed in another world thousands of miles
away. It was as if suddenly he had been taken to Paradise
and had found himself frightened and homesick because it
was so far from Ceriani and so different.

Nicola came back with a plate. There were things to eat
on it, and she offered them to him. And then he realized
that a strange thing had happened to him which had never
happened before in his life. There, before him, was a plate-
ful of good things—things such as the forestier? brought in
their hampers, and he did not want them! Something

M
82 TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.





seemed to have filled up his throat and he could not eat.
He—Piccino—actually could not eat. The tears came into
his eyes and he shook his head.

“Non ho fame” (I am not hungry), he whimpered. And

-he poked the plate away.

“T suppose he has been stuffed with cakes all day,” said
Nicholson, ‘and he is too sleepy. Good gracious, how pretty
he is!”

She turned down the frilled and embroidered sheets and
gave the pillows a little thump. Then she picked Piccino up
again, put him into the bed and covered him up. He lay
among the whiteness, a lovely picture put to bed, his eyes
wide open and shining with his awe.

“Go to sleep!” she said, “and don't be a bad boy.” And
then she turned out the light and walked out of the room,
leaving the door a little open.

Piccino lay among the softness, his eyes growing bigger
and bigger in the dark. He was so little, and everything
around him seemed so large and magnificent. This was the
way the King’s son was put to bed—bundled up in a strange
garment, with lace frills tickling his ears and cheeks, and
with big sleeves which prevented his using his hands. And
he could not hear the donkey in her stable—the donkey
who must be there this very moment, because she had
not been taken away, but had been bought back from
Beppo. Oh, if he could hear her now—but perhaps—
perhaps he never could get to the stable again—the
TWO DAVS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 83



fovestieri—the strange rich lady would never let him go back
—never !

A little sob broke from him—under Lady Aileen’s dressing
jacket his breast heaved piteously, he turned and buried his
face upon the pillow, and wept, and wept, and wept.

He cried so that he found he was beginning to make little
sounds in spite of himself, and he tried to smother them,
because he did not know what the forestzert did to children
who made a noise—perhaps held them under the rushing
streams of water. But just at the moment when he was
trying to stifle his sobs and prevent their becoming wails a
strange thing happened. The door was pushed open, and
someone came into the room. At least he heard a sound of
feet on the floor, though he did not see anyone even when
he peeped. Feet? They were not Nicola’s feet, but softer
and more pattering. He held his breath to listen. They
came to his bed and stopped, And then he heard something
else—a soft familiar panting, almost as familiar as the
donkey’s stirring in the stable. He sat up in bed.

“FE un cane” (It is a dog), he cried.

And the answer was a leap, and a rough, dear hairy body
was beside him, while a warm, excitedly lapping, affectionate
tongue caressed his hand, his face, his neck.

For in some mysterious way the lonely dog at the
entrance gate had slipped his collar, and in rushing through
the house to find someone to love and rejoice over had
heard the little smothered sobs, and come in at once to
84 TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.

answer and comfort him, knowing in his dog heart that here
was one who was lonely and exiled too.

And Piccino fell upon him and caught him in his arms,
dragging him close to his side, rubbing his wet cheeks upon
the rough, hairy coat, and so holding him, nestled against
and pillowed his head upon him, rescued from his loneliness
and terror almost as he might have been if he had been the
donkey. — :


85

CHARTER Ti:

was a great comfort to go to sleep em-
bracing and embraced by a shaggy friend
of one’s own world, but when the morn-
ing came it seemed that somehow to the
forestiert it appeared a different thing.
When Nicola came in she uttered an



exclamation of horror.

“The dirty little thing!” she cried. “Ah, my goodness,
he has been asleep all night with that dusty, muddy dog!
What w2d/ my lady say ? Look at his face and the sheets, and
her ladyship’s jacket !”

Piccino sat up in his silk and lace tent, holding on to the
dog. Something was wrong, he saw, though he understood
nothing. What could it be ?

“Get out!” cried Nicholson, slapping the dog vigorously.
“Get out! How in the world did you get here?” And she
pushed the shaggy friend off the bed, and ran after him,
driving him out of the room.

Lady Aileen met her on the threshold.

“What is that animal doing here?” she asked.
86 TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



“Indeed, my lady, I don’t know,” said Nicholson. “He
never did such a thing before. He must have sniffed out
the child. He has been sleeping with him all night.”

“Sleeping with him!” exclaimed Lady Aileen. She
stepped into the bedroom and stood for a moment gazing
at Piccino.

The dog had been both muddy and dusty. (Both Piccino
and the bed revealed unmistakable signs of the fact.)

“Dear me!” said her ladyship. “ Nicholson, take him at
once and wash him.”

And so he was taken again into the blue and white
porcelain bath-room. He could not believe the evidence
of his senses when Nicola turned the silver things again,
and the streams came rushing forth. He stood and looked
at her, quaking. And she came and took off his fantastic
night-gown as she had taken off his rags the night before.
And she lifted him up and put him into the deep water again,
and soaped, and splashed, and washed him, almost as hard as
she had done it the first time.

He began to feel stunned and dazed. He did not scream,
or fight, or struggle. He simply gave himself up, and
stared into space. Moment by moment Ceriani removed
itself farther and farther. The dog had brought it nearer,
but the dog had been torn away from him. And here he
was in the water being scrubbed once more.

He was taken out and rubbed dry, and Nicola left him for
a moment again. When she came back she carried white
LWO DAVS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 87



things. She began to put them on. A strange little fine
shirt with lace—curious little short things for his legs—not
the beautiful masculine trousers of Sandro, alas! but short
white things trimmed with embroidery, and only just
reaching to his knees. And then—a petticoat! Yes, it
was a petticoat! Just as if he had never been a man at all!
He pushed it aside, his cheeks crimson with indignation.

“Roba di donna! No! No! Dove sono miei pantaloni!
Io porto pantaloni!” (Not women’s clothes. Where are
my trousers >—] wear trousers.)

Nicholson gave him a sharp slap. She was tired of his
Italian exclaimings.

“You naughty child!” she said. ‘Behave yourself! I
don’t know what you mean, but I won't have it!” And s0,
in spite of himself, the indignity was put upon him. He
was dressed in voda dz donna just like a girl. And round his
waist was tied a broad sash, and round his neck was put a
lace collar, and on his brown legs short socks, which did not
reach his calves. And at his back there was a big bow, and
under his chin a smaller one—and combs were dragged
through his hair as before, and brushes plied on it. And
when it was all done he stood feeling like a mountebank, and
dumb and scarlet under his sense of insult.

Let him once get away—let him once get away, and
he would show them whether they would get him again!
He did not know how far it was to Ceriani, but if he
could steal out of a door when no one-was looking and
83 TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



walk back, they might take the donkey if they liked, but he
would scream and kick, and fight and bite, until they were
afraid to touch him, before they should buy him again!

This was rankling in his mind as Nicholson pulled him
after her down the staircase and through the hall to the
breakfast-room. Nicholson was getting rather cross. She
had not been engaged as a nurse, but as a maid. And she
had had to go through all that scrubbing in the evening, and
in the morning had had to rush out and borrow clothes for the
child to wear from one of Lady Aileen’s married friends, and
she had not enjoyed having to get up and take a walk so early.

But her grievance was not so deep a one as Piccino’s.

When he was taken into the breakfast-room Lady Aileen
made him feel sulkier than ever. It was the way she looked
at him, though he did not in the least know why. If he had
been old enough he might have known that to be looked at
as if one was not a person, but only a curious little animal, is
enough to make anyone rebellious. She called him to her
just as she would have called her black poodle.

“ Come here!” she said.

He went to her sticking his red mouth out.

« What are you pouting for?” she asked. “ What is the
matter, Nicholson ?”

“JT don’t know, my lady,” answered Nicholson, with rather
acid respectfulness. “ He doesn’t like to be washed, and he
doesn’t like to be dressed. I suppose he’s not used to being
kept tidy.”
TWO DAVS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 89

“Kept tidy!” said Lady Aileen, “I should think not.
You look very nice in your new clothes,” she added to
Piccino, in Italian.

“Ma queste sono vestite di ragazza” (but these are girl’s
clothes), he said, pouting.

“Vou will wear what I wish,” said Lady Ai\jleen.
“ Nicholson, give him some porridge. I am going to feed
him as English children are fed. Heaven knows how he
will behave at table. I am curious to see.”

It was only that—she was curious to see.

And the queer breakfast was given to him. Not nice
black bread and figs, or pasta or salad, but oatmeal porridge,
which he had never seen before. He did not like it. It
seemed sloppy and flavourless to him, and he would not eat
it. He pushed it back and sat and pouted, and Lady Aileen
was amused, and sat and talked English to the visitors who
were at table with her, and they told each other how pretty
he was, and how like a picture, and how interesting it was
that, in spite of being dressed like an English child, and
given porridge to eat, he was still more than ever nothing
but a beautiful little Italian peasant.

And all the day was like that, and, baby as he was, he
raged within his little soul, knowing somehow that he was
only there to be looked at and remarked upon, and to amuse
them by being a curiosity.

They took him out in a grand carriage and drove him
about the town, taking him to shops and buying clothes for

N
go TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



him—always voda ai donna—and when they were tried
on and he looked angry Lady Aileen laughed, and
even the men or women in the shops made jokes aside.

He would have liked to fly at them and kill them, but
they were so big and he was so little—only Piccino from
Ceriani.

And then they took him back to the Villa—the poor dog
leaping and straining at his chain, by which he was fastened
again, when they passed the gate—and his face and hands
were washed once more, and his hair combed, and he was
given more strange things for dinner. A’ solid underdone
English chop without sauce seemed a horrible thing to him,
and nursery rice-pudding filled him with amazement. .He
stared at the big potato Nicola put on his plate, and won-
dered if he was to be made to starve.

“Goodness, what does the child want ?” exclaimed Nichol-
son; “I am sure he has never had such a dinner set before
him before.”

That was exactly it. He had lived on things so different
that this substantial nursery food quite revolted him.

He thought of himself only as a prisoner. He began to
feel empty and furious. He was possessed by but one
thought—how he could get away.

_In the afternoon he was dressed again—in another girl’s
frock and sash and lace collar—and a lot of ladies and
gentlemen came to see Lady Aileen. Her five-o’clock teas
were very popular, and this afternoon everyone wanted to
TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. QI



see the child she had picked up at Ceriani. People were
always curious about her whims. So Piccino was talked
about and examined and laughed over as the most charming
of jokes, and the more he hung back and pouted the more
he was laughed at until his cheeks were crimson all the time,
and he would not eat the cakes people kept giving him, just
as they would have fed a parrot to make it talk, or a poodle
to make it play tricks.

“He seems rather a sulky child,’ said Lady Aileen.
“And he evidently detests- civilization. He thought
Nicholson was going to drown him, and fought like a
little tiger when she put him in his bath. The watch-dog
broke loose and came and slept with him last night. He
has hardly eaten anything to day. I wonder if one could
civilize him.”

While all the gay people were drinking tea and chocolate,
and eating cakes in the sa/oz, and sauntering in groups
among the flowers on the terrace, some strolling musicians
came into the grounds. A man and woman and some
children who played guitars and mandolins, and sang peasant
songs, seeing the bright dresses and hearing the voices,
were attracted by them. At such places they often got
money.

When they began to play and sing Piccino ran to the
window. They sang as the people at Ceriani did, and he
was wild to see them. When he saw them he wanted to
get near them. There was a boy who sang with the father
92 TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.

and mother, and a girl about the age of Maria who was not
singing. It was she who went round to beg for money, and.
she stood aside calmly munching a piece of black bread. She
had other pieces of something tied in her apron, and she
looked so like Maria did when she had begged something
good that Piccino’s mouth watered, and a bold idea came
to him.

Everybody was so busy amusing themselves that for a
while he was forgotten. He glanced furtively about him
and slipped out of a side-door.

The next minute the girl who was ie Maria almost
jumped. From among the rose-trees and palms she stood
by there came a strange little figure. It was a child dressed
grandly, as if he belonged to the richest of the forestiert ;
but he had a beautiful little dark rich-coloured face and
immense black eyes, and he looked at her only as one little
~ peasant looks at another, and he spoke in the Italian only
spoken by peasant children.

“| am hungry,” he said. “I have had nothing to eat.
Give me some of your bread.”

The girl stared at him, bewildered.

“Some bread!” she exclaimed. “Do you live
here? *

“T live at Ceriani,” he said; “Iam Piccino. The Signora
took me away. Give me some bread.” :

She broke off a big piece, still staring wildly. She had
a vague idea that perhaps he would give her something for
& 6] y 4 i
am hungry :
hungry; he said. ‘I have had nothing to eat. Give me some of your
bread. ’—page 92.


TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. | 93



it -. (nj her apron she had a piece of Salame sausuage, well
flavoured with garlic, and she broke off a piece of that and
gave it to him too.

Piccino seized it and devoured it. Never in his life had
anything seemed so good to him. He ate like a little
wolf—alternate bites of black bread and sausage. His
face and hands became smeared and covered with grease.
He clutched his Salame so hungrily and ate in such a
hurry.

“Don’t they feed you?” asked the girl.

“They have lumps of raw meat, and I cannot eat their
pasta,” said Piccino. :

It was in this guise mutton-chops, oatmeal-porridge, and
rice-pudding appeared to him. :

Mr. Gordon, who was one of the visitors, chanced to
look out of the window. He put up his eye-glass sud-
denly.

“ Piccino is fraternizing with the little girl-musician, Lady
Aileen,” he said, with a laugh, ‘and they are eating bread
and sausage.” 2

“ Horrors!” exclaimed Lady Aileen.

She sent Greggs out to bring him in at once.

Greggs returned in a few minutes bringing him, hanging
back reluctantly, his cheeks and mouth glossy with sausage
grease, and exhaling such’ fragrance that people became
aware of him as he approached, and stepped aside, making a
pathway.
94 TWO DAVS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



“Horrors!” said Lady Aileen again. “He reeks with
garlic. Take him away at once, Greggs. Take him to
Nicholson, and—-and tell her to wash him.”

And so, for the third time that day, Piccino was deluged
with soap-and-water. But it was not possible for Nicholson
to wash away the fragrance of the garlic. Even when he
shone with cleanliness outwardly and had had still another
frock put on, he was redolent of it, and perfumed all the air
about him. He was not, of course, able to translate the
names Nicholson called him, but he knew very well that he
was being called names. He had often heard Maria scolded
at home, but he had not been exactly used to ratings himself.
But he could not mistake Nicholson. She was in a rage, and
thought him a dirty, troublesome little pig. She had been
dressed trimly for the afternoon, and had been enjoying her-
self looking on at the party in the garden, and to be called
to wash and dress again a greasy little peasant smelling of
garlic was more than her temper could stand. In fact, it
happened at last, at some movement of resentment of
-Piccino’s, she gave him a sound slap for the second time that
day.

He opened his mouth, gave one howl of rage, and then
as suddenly stopped. If he had been twenty-six instead of
six he would have stuck his knife into her, if he had had
one. He belonged to a race of people which used knives.
As it was, the look in his handsome eyes gave Nicholson a
queer feeling.
TWO DAVS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 95



He could not be taken back to the salou, and Nicholson
did not intend to sit in the room with him and inhale
garlic. So she set him smartly in an arm-chair and left
him, going out and shutting the.door after her. She was
going to stay in an adjoining chamber and look out of the
window, coming to give him a glance now and then.

And there he sat breathing passion and garlic after she
had gone. Upon the wall opposite to him there hung an
oval mirror, with a frame of flowers in Dresden china. He
could see himself in it—his beautiful little face, his flashing
eyes and fiercely-pouting mouth, his lace collar and bow,
and his vestiti at ragazza, altogether. He did not know he
was pretty, he only felt he was ridiculous—that they had
kept putting him in water, that the servants despised him
and did not want to touch him; that he had been scolded
and slapped, and that the donkey would not know him.
Suddenly big tears rushed into his eyes. Was he going to
stay here always and be put in water every few hours, and
called names, and have no one to play with, and never under-
stand anybody—and never see Maria and the donkey?
Never—never! The big tears rolled hot and angry as well
as miserable down his soft cheeks.

“Voglio andare a casa!” he sobbed. ‘ Voglio andare a
casa!” (I want to go home! I want to go home !)

When Nicholson came to look at him he was lying
against the cushioned arm of the chair fast asleep.
96 TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.

“Goodness knows I am not going to waken him!”
she said. “I shall let him sleep until I have had
my dinner and it is time to give him his. If her
ladyship intends to keep him she must have a regular
nurse.”


97





he wakened. Lady



Aileen’s callers had departed some time
ago, and Lady Aileen herself had de-
‘parted to take a twilight drive, which
was a thing she was fond of doing. The
servants were enjoying themselves in their
own fashion in the kitchen, and all the
house seemed very. quiet.

It seemed so still to Piccino when he slipped on his chair
and stood on his feet rubbing his eyes that for a moment
he felt a little frightened. He was so accustomed to living
in a hovel crowded with children and only partitioned off
from the donkey that Lady Aileen’s villa seemed enormous
to him. It was not enormous, but it seemed so. He
looked round him and listened.

‘““ Nobody is here!” he said. ‘Everyone has gone away
—Nicola has gone away.”

He certainly did not want Nicholson, but his sense of
desolation overwhelmed him.

And then, as he stood there, there came a sound which
seemed to alter everything. It came through the window,

0
98 TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



which was open, and which he ran towards at once. It was
the voice of the friend who had come to him the night before
—the dog who lived in the fine kennel at the gate and
wanted human things so much and was so unhappy.

Piccino listened to him a moment, and his breath began
to come quickly. He turned round and went to the door.
It was not locked—Nicholson had not thought of that. It
was easy enough to open, and when he had opened it he
made his way quickly towards the stairs.

He did not go out at the big front door at which he
had been brought in. That was shut, and he knew he
was too little to open it; but he remembered the side
entrance into the garden, out of which he had slipped
when he went to the girl who looked like Maria. He
found it again, and passed through it, and was out among
the flowers in a moment, running quickly down the broad
drive to the gate.

How the dog jumped and yelped and covered him with
caresses when he reached the kennel! He knew his small
bed-fellow again well enough. Perhaps, too, he liked the
fragrance of the garlic, which was still as perceptible as ever.
The two embraced and rubbed against each other, and
tumbled affectionately about, until Piccino was quite dirty
enough for the bath-tub again. But there was to be no
more bath-tub if he could help it. He wanted the dog to
come with him, though, and help him to find his way, and
he fumbled and struggled with the chain and collar, until
TWO DAVS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 99



his friend was loose, and finding that nothing held him,
began to race up and down in breathless rapture and run
in circles, darting like a wild thing.

“Come,” said Piccino. ‘Come with me. I am going
home.”

He did not realize the number of chances there might
be that he would be caught and carried back into bondage.
He was not old enough to think much of that, but he just
knew enough to teach him that it was best to keep in the
shade when he saw anyone coming. He trudged along,
keeping under trees and near walls, and he was clever
enough to do it until he turned off the highway which
led through the city. He passed by houses, and shops, and
villas, and gardens, but at last he turned into the road which
sloped up among the olive vineyards, into the hills. Then
he felt that he was at home. He did not know that he
was still miles and miles away from Ceriani; he only
knew that the big trees and the little ones were familiar
things, that when he lifted his face he could see the sky
he knew so well, and that the wind that blew softly
up from the sea among his curls was something he
seemed to have been far away from during these last
strange two days. These things made him feel that Ceriani
must be near.

He was used to running about and being on his legs all
day or he would have been tired out long before he was.
When he did begin to be tired he sat down on the
TOO TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



grass, and the dog sat with him. In their own way they
talked to each other. Then they would get up and
trudge on.

They had rested and trudged on many times before he
began to be really discouraged. But his legs were so short,
and in time he began to feel as if Ceriani was too far
away! Stars were beginning to come out, and he suddenly
realized that he was very little, and it had taken the big
carriages of the forestier? quite a long time to return to
San Remo after their picnic. He sat down suddenly and
began to cry.

“We can’t find it,” he said to the dog, “we can’t find it!”

The dog looked very much grieved. It is probable that
he knew quite well what Piccino said. He shook his head
until his ears made a flapping noise. Then he pushed close
to Piccino and kissed him, lapping the salt tears off his soft
cheeks as they rolled down. He knew he could have found
the place all by himself and got there without any particular
trouble, but he could not leave his friend, and such a, little
friend too, by the roadside. So he pressed close to him
and looked sympathetic and kissed his tears off cheeringly.

«We can't find it,’ wailed Piccino. “ Maria! Maria!
Maria! Ma-ri-a!!”

“Up the curve of the road below there toiled a donkey
dragging a cart. It was one of the little peasant carts
floored with a lattice work of ropes, and there were three

people in it. They were a boy and two very young men,
TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. IOI



They had been to a festa, and the boy was fast asleep, and
the two young men were in very good spirits. They had
been dancing and enjoying themselves, and had had so much
wine that they were in very good spirits, and not quite sure
of what they were doing. They alternately sang songs and
made jokes and laughed at each other. One of the favourite
jokes was about a pretty peasant girl they had both been
dancing with, and as it chanced her name was Maria. After
a good deal of such joking they had both been silent for a
while, being a little stupid with the wine they had had, and
quietened a little by the motion of the cart as the donkey
jogged along with it. It was very peaceful in this place,
with the gentle wind from the sea, and the occasional
rustle of the olives and the stars shining wey, above the
many shadows.

‘What are you thinking of, Pietro?” said one to the other
at last, with a little laugh.

“Maria! Maria! Ma-ria! Ma-ri-a!!” wailed Piccino,
a few hundred feet above them.

They both burst out laughing at once.

‘Of Maria! Maria!” said Alessandro. ‘“ The very trees
call out to you!” And they found this such a beautiful
joke that they laughed until the very donkey was afraid they
would roll off the cart.

By the time they stopped they were close to Piccino, and
whether because she wanted a rest or from some queer

instinct the donkey stopped too.
102 TWO DAVS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.

“Maria!” cried Piccino. ‘“ Voglio andare a casa! Voglio
an-dar-e |”

“Tt is a child,” said Pietro! ‘“Itis lost!”

They had had wine enough to be good-natured and ready
for any adventure. Pietro got out of the cart and rather
unsteadily went to the side of the road where Piccino sat
crying with his dog.

“Who are you?” he said. “And what are you doing
here?”

Piccino answered him with sobs. He was not so clear as
he thought he was, and Pietro and Alessandro laughed a
good deal. They thought he was a great joke—all the more
when they saw how he was dressed. Their heads were not
clear enough to permit them to quite understand what was
meant by the childish rambling and disconnected story about
the forestieri and the water and Nicola and the donkey, but
they found out that somehow the young one lived near
Ceriani and wanted to get home to Maria. They them-
selves lived not far from Ceriani, and’ if they had been
quite sober might have put this and that together and
guessed something of the truth, but as it was it happened
to seem enough of a joke for them to be inclined to carry
it out.

“Let us take him in the cart as far as we go,” said
Alessandro. ‘“ He can find his way home after we leave
him. Perhaps he will talk to us about his Maria. She may
be prettier than the other one.”
TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 103



And so he was lifted into the cart, and the dog trotted
joyfully by the donkey’s side. The two probably talked to
each other confidentially, and everything was explained
between them as far as the dog could explain it. At all
events he could explain the loneliness of living in a kennel
with a chain round your neck and grand people passing you
laughing and talking and taking no notice, however much you
jumped and whined and begged to have a pat and a word,
and not seeing that you loved everybody.

Piccino sat in the cart and leaned against Pietro or the
boy, and enjoyed himself. He answered questions about
Maria, and did not know why his rescuers laughed at every-
thing he said. Maria seemed a very mature person to him,
and he did not know that the young men’s impression that
she was a pretty young woman was not the correct one.
Pietro had some good things he had brought from the festa
in a paper, and he gave him some. That he was such
a pretty, soft, rabbit-like little thing made things pleasant
for him, even when he was picked up from the road-
side by two young peasants full of cheap wine. They
laughed at his disconnected babbling, and thought him
great fun, and when he was sleepy let him cuddle down and
be comfortable.

He was very fast asleep when they wakened him, having
reached the end of their journey.

“Here!” they said, shaking him good-naturedly enough.
“You can find your way to Maria now.”
104 TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.



He stood unsteadily in the road where Pietro put him,
rubbing his eyes and feeling the dog greeting him again by
jumping at him and kissing him.

‘Where is Maria?” he said, sleepily.

Pietro and Alessandro were sleepy too by this time—
they had almost had time to forget him while he was asleep.

“Goonand you will find her,” they said. ‘‘Ceriani is
near here.”

When he saw the donkey led away Piccino was.on the
point of crying because he was to be left, but before he quite
began he saw by the light of the moon, which had risen since
he fell asleep, a familiar tree, a big twisted and huge-trunked
olive he had sat under many a time when he had strayed
down the road with Maria. - It made his heart begin to beat
fast, and his rising tears dry in their fountain. It was true!
He was near Ceriani! He was near home. He could find
it. He began to run as fast as his short legs could carry
him. The white villa and the grand signori who had joked
about him all day, the bath-tub and Nicola, and the dreadful
pasta seemed as far away now as Ceriani and the donkey had
been this morning. The tears that had dried for joy suddenly
began to rise again for joy. He did not know anything
about it himself, but it was joy which made him begin to
choke—this beautiful little savage peasant who had been taken
away to a world so much too grand for him.

He ran and ran, and at every yard he saw something that
he knew, and felt that he loved it because he knew it. The
TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 105

late moon shone down on him—a little white figure running
eagerly—the trees rustled as he passed.

“Maria! Maria!” he said; but he did not say it loud but
softly.

And at last he had reached it—his own dear hovel, which
he seemed to have left a thousand years ago. He stood and
beat on the door with his little soft fists.

“ Maria! Maria!.” he said, “open the door. I have come
home. Let me in!”

But inside they slept the heavy sleep of worn out-peasants
and of tired childhood. They could not have heard him even
if he had been able to make more noise. His child hands
could make very little. They slept so heavily that he could
hear them.

And there he stood in the moonlight, thumping on the old
door unanswered, And the dog stood by him, wagging his
tail and looking up at him with such a companionable air that
he could not feel he was alone, and actually did not begin to
cry. .At all events he had got home, and was among the
hills again, with the trees growing close around him. And
Maria and the donkey !

His whimper lost itself in a sudden sense of reliet Ves,
there was the donkey in her stable, and the door would keep
nobody out.

“The donkey will let us in,” he said to the dog, “leet
us go in there.”

And a few moments later the donkey was roused from

P
106 TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO.

her sleep by something soft stumbling against her as
she lay down, and being a donkey with a memory she
realized that a familiar friend had come to -her at this
untimely hour, and she knew the little voice that spoke,
and the little body which cuddled against her side as
if she were a pillow, and being also affectionate and
maternal she did not resent the intrusion by any unfriendly
moving.

And in the early, early morning, when Rita opened
the stable-door and let in a shaft of the gold sun-
light which was lighting up the darkness of the olive-
trees, the first thing it shone upon was the beautiful,
tired, little travel-stained figure of Piccino who lay fast
asleep against the donkey’s grey side, his arms around her
neck, and the dog’s body pressed close and lovingly
against his own.

Upon the whole Lady Aileen was not very much sur-
prised, and not at all disturbed when it was found that he
was gone. She sent someone to Ceriani, and when the
news was brought back to her that he was discovered
there, she only laughed a little. In fact she had found it
too tiresome an amusement to undertake the management
of a lovely little wild animal to whom civilization only
represented horror and dismay. She sent Rita some money
—not too much, but enough to make her feel quite rich

for a few weeks. For the rest, she only remembered
TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE OF PICCINO. 107

Piccino as part of an anecdote it was rather amusing to
tell to those of her friends in London who were entertained
by anecdotes.

“ He thought we were savages or mad,” she used to say.
“T think he might have borne anything, perhaps, but the
bath-tub. He said that we ‘put him in water!’”





HOW FAUNTLEROY OCCURRED



AUTHOR'S NOTE.

Some short time ago I was asked to contribute to a series of articles then
being published by a well-known magazine—in which a number of authors
described how they wrote certain of the best known of their books. I was
applied to for an article which was to be entitled, “How I wrote Little Lord
Fauntleroy.” When the request was first made to me, I replied that I could
really see nothing I could say on the subject which could be of any definite
interest. There had been no special process. I had simply dipped my pen
into ink and written the story. But it was considered that something further
might be said, and on reflection it occurred to me that the fact that Cedric Errol
had grown out of the memories of the every-day lovableness of a very real
little boy might have an interest. But for the existence of orie pretty loving
and delightfully amusing small boy, ‘Little Lord Fauntleroy” would never
have been written ; but for the quaint speeches and affectionate confidingness
of a real seven-year-old child, Cedric Errol would never have existed. And
as Cedric Errol is considered an ideal little fellow, it seemed worth while to
show that he had first been real. Accordingly I made a record of certain
memories of the real child on which I had founded the story of the ideal
one. And in this manner was written ‘‘ How Fauntleroy Occurred.”

Frances Hopcson BurRNETT.








“Ave you in society, Mrs. Wilkins ??”—see page 140.

Frontispiece.

(3)
HOW FAUNTLEROY
OCCURRED,
AND A VERY REAL LITTLE BOY BECAME AN IDEAL ONE.

—_++—_

CHAPTER I.

a2 HIS ENTRANCE INTO THE WORLD.
fZ



aso W eT has always been rather interesting to
| me to remember that he first presented
himself in an impenetrable disguise. It
was a disguise sufficiently artful to have
disarmed the most wary. I, who am not
at all a far-sighted person, was com-
pletely taken in by him. I saw nothing
to warrant in the slightest degree any suspicion that he
had descended to earth with practical intentions; that he
furtively cherished plans of making himself into the small
hero of a book, the picturesque subject of illustrations, the
Q
114 HOW EFAUNTLEROY OCCURRED.



inspiration of a fashion in costume, the very ewne premiere in
a play over which people in two continents would laugh and cry.

Perhaps in periods before he introduced himself to his
family that morning of April 5, 1876, in a certain house in
Paris, he may have known all this and laid out his little plans
with adroitness and deliberation ; but when I first examined
him carefully as he lay on my arm looking extremely
harmless and extremely fast asleep in his extremely long
night-gown, he did not bear at all the aspect of a crafty and
designing person; he only looked warm and comfortable and
quite resigned to his situation.

He had been clever enough to disguise himself as a baby,
a quite new baby in violet powder and a bald head and a
florid complexion. He had even put on small, indefinite
features and entirely dispensed with teeth, besides professing
inability to speak, a fastidious simplicity of taste in the
matter of which limited him to the most innocuous milk diet.
But beneath this disguise there he lurked, the small indivi-
dual who, seven years later—apparently quite artlessly and
unconsciously—presented his smiling, ingenuous little face to
the big world and was. smiled back upon by it—Little Lord
Fauntleroy. He was a quite unromantic little person. Only
a prejudiced maternal parent could have picked him out from
among seventy-five other babies of the same age; but some-
how we always felt that he had a tiny character of his own,
and somehow it was always an amusing little character, and
one’s natural tendency was to view him in rather a jocular light.
HIS ENTRANCE INTO THE WORLD. II5



In the first place he had always been thought of as a little
girl. It was the old story of “ your sister, Betsy Trotwood,”
and when he presented himself with an unflinching firmness
in the unexpected character of a little boy serious remon-
strance was addressed to him.

“This habit you have contracted of being a little boy,” his
mamma said to him, “‘is most inconvenient. Your name
was to be Vivien. ‘Vivien’ is early English and picturesque
and full of colour; Vivian, which is a boy’s name, I don’t
think so much of. It sounds like a dandy, and reminds me
of Vivian Grey; but after the way you have behaved it is
about all I can do for you, because I am too tired of thinking
of names to be equal to inventing anything else.”

If it had not been for his disguise and his determination
not to be betrayed into the weakness of speech it is quite
possible he might have responded : :

“Tf you will trust the matter to me I will manage to
reconcile you to the name, and make you feel there is some
consolation for the fact that I preferred to be myself, instead
of Vivien. Just give me time.”

We were, of course, obliged to give him time, and he
wasted none of it. One of the favourite jokes was that he
was endeavouring to ingratiate himself with us, and by a
strict attention to business to merit future patronage. We
felt it very clever of him to elect to do this quietly, to occupy
the position he had chosen for himself with such unobtrusive-
ness that no one could possibly object to him. This might
116 HOW FAUNTLEROY OCCURRED.



really have been the deepest craft. To have proved one’s
self an individual to whom no one can object on any pretext
is really an enormous step in the direction of gaining a foot-
hold. It is quite possible that he realized that the step he
had taken had been somewhat premature; that to introduce
himself to a family absorbed in study and foreign travel; and
an elder brother, aged eighteen months, had not been entirely
discreet, and that a general decorum of manner would be
required to obliterate the impression that he had been
somewhat inconsiderate.

His elder brother had decided to become a stately beauty,
and after some indeterminate months had set up as premoni-
‘tory symptoms large brown eyes, a deepening golden tinge
of hair, and a distinguished and gracefully exclusive de-
meanour. His opinion of the newcomer was that he was an
interloper. I think his private impression was that he was
vulgar, also that he was fatuous and unnecessary. He used
to stand by his nurse’s knee when she held the intruder, and
regard her with haughty reflection from under his eyelids.
She had hitherto been his sole property, and her defection
seemed to him to denote inferior taste and instability of
character. On one occasion, after standing by her in dis-
approving silence for some time while he alternately looked
at her and then at the white bundle on her knee, he waved
his hand toward the grate, remarking with more dignity of
demeanour than clearnesss of enunciation :

“ F’ow him in ’er fire!”


































AN

4, hyo ft

Yj.
WALZ



















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7

























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“<“Pow him in’er fire !’”—page 116,
HIS ENTRANCE INTO THE WORLD. 117



We were sure that the new member of the family appreci-
ated the difficulty of his position. We wondered if he had
understood when he had heard us refer to him as the “ Little
Calamity.” After a few days’ acquaintance with him we
were afraid he had, and felt a delicacy in using the term,
which we had at-first thought rather a good joke.

Dear Little Calamity, how often we have spoken of that
misnomer since! From his first hour his actions seemed
regulated by the peaceful resolve never to be in the way, and
never to make anyone uncomfortable.

The unvarying serenity with which he devoted himself to
absorbing as much nourishment as his small system would
hold, and then sleeping sweetly for hours and most artistically
assimilating it, was quite touching.

“Look at him,” his mamma would say. ‘He is trying to
‘nsinuate himself, He intends to prove that he is really an
addition, and that no family should be without him, But
no family can have him,” she burst forth in a very short time,
“no family but ours. Nobody is rich enough to buy him.
He has made his own price, and it is five hundred thousand
million dollars!” When he had selected her as a parent he
had probably observed that she was a susceptible person—
peculiarly susceptible to the special variety of charms he had
to offer. He had analyzed her weakness and his strength, and
had known she was a fitting victim for his seductive arts.

The unflinchingness with which he applied himself to
the fine art of infant fascination was really worth reflecting
118 HOW FAUNTLEROY OCCURRED.

upon, At thirty there are numerous methods by which a
person may prove that he is worthy of affection and admira-
tion, at three months his charms and virtues are limited to
a good digestion, a tendency to somnolence and an unob-
trusive temper. The new arrival did not obtrude upon us
any ostentatiously novel attractions. He merely applied
himself to giving his family the most superior specimens of
the meritorious qualities his tender age was entitled to. He
never complained of feeling unwell; he was generally asleep,
and when he was awake he would lie upon his back without
revolt for a much longer period than is submitted to usually
by persons of his months. -And when he did so he invariably
wore the air of being engaged in sweet-tempered though pro-
found reflection.

He had not seemed to regret being born in Paris, but he
seemed agreeably impressed by America when he was taken
there at the age of six weeks. Feeling himself restored to a
land of Republican freedom he began to feel at liberty to
unfold his hitherto concealed resources. He began by giving
less time to sleep and more to agreeable, though inarticulate,
conversation, He began to sit up and look around him with
soft, shadowy and peculiarly thoughtful eyes. The expres-
sion—the dear little dreamy, reflective expression—of his
eyes was his most valuable possession. It was a Capital lt).
attracted the attention of his immediate relatives, and ensnared
them into discussing his character and wondering what he

was thinking of. His eyes were brown, and having heard
HIS ENTRANCE INTO THE WORLD. 119g



their colour remarked on in a complimentary manner, he,
with great artistic presence of mind, stealthily applied him-
self to developing upon his hitherto bald head golden hair
with a curl in it.

It was his mamma who first discovered this. She was
lying upon a grassy slope playing with him and holding
him up in the sunlight at arm’s length; she saw in the
brightness a sort of faint little nimbus of gold crowning
him.

“ Oh, the Lammie day!” she cried out. (‘‘Lammie day”
is not in the dictionary ; it was a mere maternal inspiration.)
“See what he is doing now! Heis putting out a lovely little
golden fuzz all over his head—and there is a tiny curl at the
ends—like little duck tails! He has asked somebody, or -
something, perhaps a fairy, what kind of hair I like with
brown eyes, and he is doing it on purpose.” It seemed not
improbable. that on inquiring into her character before
selecting her he had grounded himself thoroughly in the
matter of her tastes, and had found that an insistent desire for
a certain beauty in the extremely young was one of her weak-
nesses also.

From his earliest hours he considered her. He had not
anticipated walking alone at nine months old, but in their
intimate moments he discovered she had really set her heart
upon his doing so.

“Your brother walked alone beautifully when he was nine

. months old,” she would remark, “and if you wait until you
120 HOW FAUNTLEROY OCCURRED.



are ten months old I shall feel that you have dishonoured
your family and brought my reddish hair with sorrow to
the grave.”

This being the case, he applied himself to making deter-
mined, if slow, little pilgrimages upon the carpet on his hands
and knees. His reward was that the first time he essayed
this he was saluted with cries of adulation and joy, not-
withstanding the fact that his attempt was rather wobbly
in character, and its effect was marred by his losing
his balance and rolling over in a somewhat ignominious
manner.

“He is creeping!” his mamma said. ‘He has begun to

(2

creep! He is going to walk as soon as Lionel did and every-
thing available in the form of an audience was gathered together
in the room to exult with acclamations over the enrapturing
spectacle of a small thing dragging its brief white frock and
soft, plump body, accompanied and illuminated by a hopeful
smile, over a nursery carpet.

“He is so original!” his unprejudiced parent exclaimed,
with fine discrimination. ‘He's creeping, of course, and
babies have crept before, but he gives it a kind of air, as if he
had invented it, and yet was quite modest.”

Her discrimination with regard to his elder brother had
been quite as fine. There were even persons who regarded
her as being prejudiced by undue affection. It has never
been actually proved that the aspirant for pedestrian honours
had privately procured a calendar and secreted it for daily
HIS ENTRANCE INTO THE WORLD. 121



reference as to the passage of time, but if this were not the
case, it was really by arather singular coincidence that the day
before his ninth month was completed he arrested his creeping
over the carpet, and dragging himself up by a chair to a
standing position, covered himself with glory by staggering,
flushed, uncertain, but triumphant, at least six steps across
the floor unaided and alone.

He was snatched up and kissed until he was breathless.
He was ruffled and tumbled with delightful little shakes and
ecstatic little hugs. He bore it all with the modest com-
posure of a conqueror who did not deign trivial airs and
graces. His cheeks were warm and pink; he made no
remark whatever, but there was in his eyes a soft, coy little
smile which only a person of his Machiavelian depth of char-
acter could have accomplished. By that time, by adroit
machinations and an unbounded knowledge of human weak-
ness, he had assured his position in the respectable family of
which he had chosen to become a member. It would have
been impossible to oust him, or to work upon the feelings
of his relatives in any such manner as would have induced
them to listen for a moment to any animadversions upon
his conduct. His eyelashes, his indefinite features, his totter,
his smile were considered to become matters of the most
thrilling national importance. On the magnificent occasion
when he first decided to follow his mamma upstairs, and con-
sequently applied himself to the rather prolonged and serious
athletic task of creeping up step by step on his dusty little

R
122 HOW FAUNTLEROY OCCURRED.



hands and soft knees, and electrifying her by confronting her
when she turned and saw him, with a sweetly smiling and
ardent little upturned face, on that occasion it seemed really
that it could only be by the most remarkable oversight that
there were not columns of editorials on the subject in the
London 77zmes. te!

“They write about the passing of Bills in Parliament,”
his parent remarked, ‘and about wars and royal marriages,
why don’t they touch on things of really vital impor-
tance?” It was at this period of existence that his papa
was frequently distracted in moments of deep absorption
in scientific subjects by being implored to leave his
essay upon astigmatism and fix his attention upon his
offspring.

“Don't waste him!” he was besought. ‘He could not
possibly keep up this degree of fascination always. He
might grow out of it, and then just think how you would
feel when you reflected that you had read medical books
when you might have been watching him pretending to be
looking at pictures. He ought to be economized every
moment!”

But the most charming feature of his character was that
his knowledge of the possession of glittering accomplish-
ments, which were innumerable, never betrayed him into for-
getting his attitude toward the entire world was one of the
most perfect good fellowship. When he was spoken to he
smiled, when he was kissed, even by unprepossessingly
HIS ENTRANCE INTO THE WORLD. 123



familiar persons, he always comported himself with graceful
self-control and dignity. The trying fact, which J am sure
was more apparent to no one than to himself, that there were
individuals whose idea of entertaining him was to make
blatant idiots of themselves, was never resented by him
openly. When they uttered strange sounds and poked his
soft cheeks, or tumbled him about in an unseemly manner,
it was his habit to gaze, at them with deep but not dis-
dainful curiosity and interest, as if he were trying to be
just toward them and explain to himself their point of
view.

“Tt really must be rather fatiguing to him not to be able t
express himself,” was his mamma’s opinion. “He has evi-
dently so many opinions in reserve.”

He was so softly plump, he was so sweet-tempered, he
was so pretty! One forgot all about his early English sister
Vivien. It was as if she had never been contemplated for a
moment. The word “calamity” was artfully avoided in
conversation. One felt unworthy, and rather blushed if
one caught sight of it in literature. When he invented
a special little habit of cuddling up to his mamma in a
warm, small heap, and in his sleep making for her a
heavenly downy necklace of both his arms, with his
diminutive palms locked together to hold her prisoner
through the night, she began to feel it quite possible
that his enslaving effect upon her might be such as
to enfeeble an intellect never of the most robust. But
124 HOW FAUNTLEROV OCCURRED.



she knew him by this time well enough to realize that
it would be useless to rebel, and that she might as well
succumb,

She succumbed more and more as the days went by. But
she also observed that everybody else succumbed. While
making the most of his mental charms and graces he gave a
great deal of attention to his physical attractions. It was
believed that he concentrated his attention’ upon his hair.
He encouraged it to develop from the golden fuzz into
a golden silk, from the tiny duck tails to shining
rings, from rings to a waving aureole, from the aureole
to an entrancing mop of yellow, which tumbled over his
forehead and gave his up-looking eyes a prettiness of ex-
pression.

And how like him it was to make a point of never. ob-
jecting to have this wayward, though lovely growth brushed
What a supplice he might have made of the ceremony for his
family if he had resented it and rebelled. But, on the con-
trary, it was believed that he seized upon the opportunity
offered by it to gild the refined gold of his amiability of
disposition as it were. Speaking as a person with some
knowledge of the habits of the extremely young, | should
say that there may be numbers of maternal parents
who will scarcely believe that one of the most enchant-
ing hours of the day was a certain time in the morning
when he leaned against his mamma's knee and gave

himself up to engaging conversation while his tangles
HIS ENTRANCE INTO THE WORLD. 125



were being taken out. He made not the slightest
objection to being curled and brushed and burnished up
and made magnificent. His soft, plump body rested con-
fidingly against the supporting knee, and. while the
function proceeded he devoted himself to agreeable remark
and analytical observation.

There was an expression of countenance it was his habit to
wear at such times which was really a matter of the finest
art. It combined philosophic patience, genial leniency, and
a sweet determination to make the very best of a thing which
was really beautiful to behold. It was at these times that a
series of nursery romances, known as “The Hair-Curling
Series,” was invented and related. They were notable
chiefly for good, strong dramatic colouring, and their point
was the illustration of the useful moral that little boys with a
great deal of beautiful curly hair are naturally rewarded—if
they are always good when it is brushed—by delightful
adventures, such as being played with by fairies and made
friends with by interesting wild animals, whose ravenous
propensities are softened to the most affectionate mildness by
the sight of such high-mindedness in tender youth. There
was one story, known as “The Good Wolf,” which lasted for
months and was a never-ending source: of delight, as it
rejoiced in features which could be varied to adapt them-
selves to any circumstance or change of taste in playthings.
It was the laudable habit of the good wolf to give presents

to little boys who were deserving, besides taking them
126 HOW FAUNTLEROY OCCURRED.

delightful rides in a little sleigh, and one could vary the
gifts and excursions to an unlimited extent. Another,
known as ‘The Mournful Story of Benny,” was a fearful
warning, but ended happily, and as it was not of a personal
nature was not disapproved of, and was listened to with
respectful and sympathizing interest, though “The Good
Wolf” was preferred.

A delightfully intelligent little expression, and an
occasional dear little gurgling laugh when the best
points were made, convinced me that the point of view
of the listener had an appreciation of the humour between -
the lines quite as clear in a four-year-old way as that
of the relater of the incidents. He revelled in the good
wolf, and was concerned by the misfortunes of Benny,
who had brought tragedy upon himself by being so lost
to all sense of virtue as to cut off his curls; but he knew
they were highly-coloured figures, and part of a subtle and
delightful joke.

But long before this he had learned to talk, and it was
then that we were introduced to the treasures of his
mind.

What was the queer little charm which made everyone
like him so much, which made everyone smile when he
looked at them, which made everyone listen when he
spoke, which made arms quite involuntarily close around
his small body when he came within reach ?

The person who made the closest study of his character
AIS ENTRANCE INTO THE WORLD. 127.



devoted five or six years to it before she was quite sure
what this charm consisted in. Then she decided that it
was formed of a combination of fortunate characteristics,
which might have lost all their value of fascination but
for their being illumined by the warmth and brightness of a
purely kind little heart full of friendliness to the whole
world.

He was pretty, but many little boys were pretty; he
was quaint and amusing, but so are many scores. The
difference between this one tiny individuality and others
was that he seemed to have been born without sense
of the existence of any barrier between his own innocent
heart and any other.

I think it had never occurred to him that anyone could
possibly be unfriendly or unloving to him. He was a
-perfectly human little thing, not a young cherub, but a
rational baby, who made his frocks exceedingly dirty, and
rejoiced sweetly in the making of mud pies. But, somehow,
his radiant smile of belief in one’s sympathy, even with his
mud pies, minimized the trouble of contending with the
earthly features of him.

His opinion evidently was that the world was made of
people who loved him and smiled if they saw him, of things
one could play with, and stories one could listen to, and of
friends and relations who were always ready to join in the
play and tell the stories. He went peacefully to the curl-
brushing ordeal, perhaps, because of this confiding sureness
128 HOW FAUNTLEROY OCCURRED.



that any hand that dealt with him would touch him tenderly.
He never doubted it. |

One morning, before he was three years old, he trotted
into. the dining-room with a _ beautifully preoccupied
expression, evidently on business thoughts intent. The
breakfast was over, but his mamma was still sitting at the
‘ table reading.

She heard the tiny pattering of feet coming down the hall
before he entered. She had thought him with his nurse, but
he appeared to be returning from some unusual expedition to
the front door, which, as it was a warm, early summer
morning, stood open.

She was always curious about his mental processes,
and so when he trotted to the table with his absorbed
air, and stood upon his tiptoes making serious efforts to
gain possession of a long loaf of French bread, she re-
garded him with interest. He was so little and the roll
of bread was so long, and his intentions to do something
practical with it were so evident. Somehow one of his
allurements was that he was always funny, and he was so,
purely because his small point of view was always so
innocently serious.

“What does mamma’s baby want ?” she asked.

He looked at her with’an air of sweet good faith, and
secured the bread, tucking it in all its dignity of proportion
under the very shortest possible arm.

“Lady,” he said, “lady, font door—want b’ead.”




























‘Lady; he said, ‘ lady, Ff ‘ont door—want Vead. —page 128.
HIS ENTRANCE INTO THE WORLD. 129



And he trotted off with .a simple security in the sense of
doing the right and only admissible thing, which it was
reposeful to behold.

His mamma left her book hurriedly and trotted after
him. Such a quaint baby figure he was with the long
French roll under his arm! And he headed straight for
the front door. :

Standing upon the top step was an exceedingly dilapidated
and disreputable little negro girl with an exceedingly dirty
and broken basket on her arm. This basket was intended to
contain such scraps of food as she might beg for. She was
grinning a little, and at the same time looking a little anxious
as the baby came toddling to her, the sun on his short curls,
the loaf under his short arm.

He dropped the loaf into her basket with sweet friend-
liness.

‘Bead, lady,” he said.

And as she scurried away he turned to smile at his
approaching mamma with the confidence of a two-year-old
angel. —

“Lady, b’ead,” he remarked succinctly, and the situation
was explained. ~

The dirty little coloured . girl was a human thing in
petticoats, consequently she was a lady. His tender mind
saw no other conclusion to be arrived at. She had expressed _
a desire for bread. On his mamma’s breakfast-table there

was a beautiful long loaf Of course it must be given
—
130 HOW FAUNTLEROY OCCURRED.

to her. The question of demand and supply was so easily
settled, so he trotted after the bread. The mere circum-
stances of short legs and short arms did not deter a spirit

like his.
And it was this simple and unquestioning point of view

which made him adorable.


131

CHAPTER

white frock and big sash, he was the spirit
of innocent and friendly hospitality, in the
nursery he was a brilliant entertainment,
below stairs he was the admiration and
delight of the domestics. The sweet temper



which prompted him to endeavour to sustain
agreeable conversation with the guest who admired him led
him, also, to enter into friendly converse with the casual
market-man at the back door; and to entertain with lively
anecdote and sparkling repartee the extremely stout coloured
cook in the kitchen. He endeavoured to assist her in the
performance of her more arduous culinary duties, and by
his sympathy and interest sustained her in many trying
moments. When he was visiting her department chuckles
and giggles might be heard issuing from the kitchen when
the door opened. Those who heard them always knew
that they were excited by the moral or social observations
132 HOW FAUNTLEROV OCCURRED.

or affectionate advice and solace of the young but distin-
guished guest.

“Me an’ Carrie made that pudding,” he would kindly
explain at dinner. ‘It's a very good pudding. Carrie’s
such a nice cook. She lets me help her.”

And his dimples would express such felicity, and his eyes
beam from under his tumbling love locks with such pleasure
at his confidence in the inevitable rapture of his parents at
the announcement of his active usefulness, that no one
possessed sufficient strength of mind to correct the grammati-
cal structure of his remarks.

There is a picture—not one of Mr. Birch’s—which I think
will always remain with me. It is ten years since I saw it,
but I see it still. It is the quaint one of a good-looking,
stout, coloured woman climbing slowly up a back staircase
with a sturdy little fellow on her back, his legs astride her
spacious waist, his arms clasped round her neck, his lovely
mop of yellow hair tumbling over her shoulder, upon which
_ his cheek affectionately and comfortably rests.

It does not come within the province of cooks to toil up
stairs with little boys on their backs, especially when the
little boys have stout little legs of their own, and are old
enough to wear Jersey suits and warlike scarfs of red; but in
this case the carrying upstairs was an agreeable ceremony,
partly jocular and wholly affectionate, engaged in by two
confidants, and the bearer enjoyed it as much as did her
luxurious burden.
IN WHITE FROCK AND SASH. 133



«We're friends, you know,” he used to say. “Carrie's
my friend and Dan’s my friend, Carrie’s such a kind cook
and Dan’s such a nice waiter.”

That was the whole situation in a nutshell. They were
his friends, and they formed together a mutual admiration
society.

His conversation with them we knew was enriched by
gems of valuable and entertaining information. Among his
charms was his desire to acquire information, and the amiable
readiness with which he imparted it to his acquaintances.
We gathered that while assisting in the making of pudding
he was lavish in the bestowal of useful knowledge. Intimate
association and converse with him had revealed to his
mamma that there was no historical, geographical or scientific
fact which might not be impressed upon him in story form,
and fill him with rapture. Monsoons and typhoons, and the
crossing of the Great Desert on camels he found absorbing ;
the adventures of Romulus and Remus and their good wolf,
and the founding of Rome held him spellbound. He found
the vestal virgins and their task of keeping up the sacred
fires in the temple sufficiently interesting to be made into a
species of dramatic entertainment during his third year. It
was his habit to creep out of his crib very early in the morn-
ing, and entertain himself agreeably in the nursery until other
people got up. One morning his mamma, lying in her room,
which opened into the nursery, heard a suspicious sound of
unlawful poking at the fire.
134 HOW FAUNTLEROY OCCURRED.



“ Vivvie,” she said, “is that you?”

The poking ceased, but there was no reply. Silence
reigned fora few moments, and then the sound was heard
again.

“ Vivian,” said his anxious parent, “you are not allowed
to touch the fire.”

. Small, soft feet came pattering hurriedly into the room ;
round the footboard of the bed a ruffled head and seriously
expostulatory little countenance appeared.

‘Don’t you know,” he said with an air of lenient remon-
strance, “don’t you £zow I's a westal wirgin?”

It would be impossible to explain him without relating
anecdotes. Is there not an illustration of the politeness of
his demeanour and the grace of his infant manners in the
reply renowned in his history, made at the age of four, when
his mamma was endeavouring to explain some interesting
point in connection with the structure of his small, plump
body? It was his habit to ask so many searching
questions that it was necessary for his immediate rela-
tives to endeavour to render their minds compact
masses of valuable facts. But on this occasion his in-
quiries had led him into such unknown depths as were
beyond him for the moment — only for the moment of
course. He listened to the statement made, his usual
engaging expression of delighted interest gradually be-
coming tinged with polite doubtfulness. When the
effort at explanation was at an end he laid his hand
IN WHITE FROCK AND SASH. 135

upon his mamma’s knee with apologetic but firm gentle-
ness.

“Well, you see,” he said, “of course you know I delzeve
you, dearest” (the most considerate stress was laid upon
the “believe”), ‘but ascuse me,” with infinite delicacy,
“ascuse me, I do xo¢t think it is true.”

The tender premonitory assurance that his confidence was
unimpaired, even though he was staggered by the statement
made, was so affectionately characteristic of him, and the
apologetic grace of the “ascuse me, dearest,” was all his
own.

There might be little boys who were oblivious of, and
indifferent to the attractions of simoons who saw no charm
in the interior arrangements of camels, and were indifferent
to the strata of the earth, but in his enterprising mind such
subjects wakened the liveliest interest, and a little habit he
had of suddenly startling his family by revealing to them the
wealth of his store of knowledge by making casual remarks
was at once instructive and enlivening.

‘A camel has ever so many stomachs,” he might sweetly
announce while sitting in his high chair and devoting himself
to his breakfast, the statement appearing to evolve itself
from dreamy reflection. ‘‘It fills them with water. Then it
goes across the desert and carries things. Then it isn’t
thirsty.”

He was extremely pleased with the camel, and was most
exhaustive in his explanations of him. It was not unlikely
136 HOW FAUNTLEROY OCCURRED.



that Carrie and Dan might have passed a strict examination
on the subject of incidents connected with the crossing of
the Great Desert. He also found his bones interesting, and
was most searching in his inquiries as to the circulation of
his blood. But he had been charmed with his bones from
his first extremely early acquaintance with them, as witness
an incident of his third year which is among the most
cherished by his family of their recollections of him.

He sat upon his mamma’s knee before the nursery fire, a
small, round, delightful thing, asking questions. He had
opened up the subject of his bones by discovering that his
short, plump arm seemed built upon something solid, which
he felt at once necessary to investigate.

“Jt isa little bone,” his mamma said, ‘and there is one
in your other arm, and one in each of your legs. Do you
know,” giving him a caressing little shake, ‘if I could see
under all the fat on your little body I should find a tiny,
weenty skeleton ?”

He looked up enraptured. Hig dimples had a power of
expressing delight never equalled by any other baby’s
dimples. His eyes and his very curls themselves seemed
to have something to do with it.

“Tf you did,” he said, “if you did would you gwe ut to me
to play with 2?”

He was a very fortunate small person in the fact that
nature had been extremely good to him in the matter of
combining his mental sweetness and quaintness with the
IN WHITE FROCK AND. SASH. 137



great charm of physical picturesqueness. AH his little
attitudes and movements were picturesque. When he stood
before one to listen he fell unconsciously into some quaint
attitude, when he talked he became ingenuously dramatic,
when he sat down to converse he mentally made a droll or
delightful and graceful little picture of himself. His childish
body was as expressive as his glowing little face. Any
memory of him is always accompanied by a distinct recolléc-
tion of the expression of his face and some queer or pretty
position which seemed to be part of his mental attitude.
When he wore frocks his habit of standing with his hands
clasped behind his back in the region of a big sash, and his
trick of sitting down with a hand upon each of the plump
knees, a brevity of skirt disclosed, were things to be remem-
bered ; when he was inserted into Jersey suits and velvet
doublet and knickerbockers his manly little fashion of
standing hands upon hips, and sitting in delicious, all uncon-
sciously esthetic poses were positively features of his
character. What no dancing-master could have taught him
his graceful, childish body fell into with entire naturalness,
merely because he was a picturesque, small person in both
_ body and mind. ;

Could one ever forget him as he appeared one day at the
seaside when coming up from the beach with his brief
trousers rolled up to his stalwart little thighs? He stood
upon the piazza, spade and bucket in hand, looking with
deep, sympathetic interest at a male visitor who was on the

aT
138 HOW FAUNTLEROYV OCCURRED.

point of leaving the house. This visitor was a man who
had recently lost his wife suddenly. He was a near relative
of a guest in the house, and the young friend of all the
world had possibly heard his bereavement discussed. But at
six years old it is not the custom of small boys to concern
themselves about such events. It seems that this one did,
however, though the caller was not one of his intimates. He
stood apart for a few moments looking at him with a tenderly
reflective countenance. His mamma seeing his absorption
privately wondered what he was thinking of. But presently
he transferred both spade and bucket to one hand, and came
forward holding out the other. I do not think anything
could have been quainter and more sweet than the kind little
face which uplifted itself to the parting guest.

“Mr. Wenham,” he said, “I’m very sorry for you, Mr.
Wenham, about your wife being dead. I’m very sorry for’
you. I know how you must miss her.”

‘Even the sympathy of six years old does not go for
nothing. There was a slight moisture in Mr. Wenham’s’
eyes as he shook the small, sandy hand, and his voice was
not quite steady as he answered, “ Thank you, Vivvie, thank
you.”

It was when he was spending the summer at this place
that he made the acquaintance of the young lady whose pony
he regarded.as a model of equine strength and beauty. It
was the tiniest possible pony, whose duty it was to draw a
small phaeton containing a small girl and her governess.


‘Lam VERY sorry for you, Mr. Wenham, about your wife being dead?” —page 138.
IN WHITE FROCK AND SASH. eG



But I was told it was -a fine sight to behold the blooming
little gentleman caller standing before this stately equipage,
his hands on his hips, his head upon one side, regarding
the steed with quite the experienced air of an aged
jockey.

“That's a fine horse,” he said. “You see it’s got
plenty of muscle. What I like is a horse. with plenty of
muscle.”

And when we drove away from the cottage at the end of
the summer, I myself perhaps a shade saddened, as one
often is by the thought that the days of sunshine and roses
are over, he put his small hand in mine and looked up at me
wistfully.

“We liked that little house, didn’t we, dearest.?” he said.
“We will always like it, won’t we ?”

“Do you know my friend Mrs. Wilkins?” he inquired
one day when he was still small enough to wear white frocks,
and not old enough to extend his explorations further than
the part of the quiet street opposite the house he lived in. .

‘“And who is your friend Mrs. Wilkins?” his mamma
inquired. .

“She is a very nice lady that saw me through her window
when I was playing on the pavement, and we talked to each
other, and she asked me to come into her house. She’s such
a kind lady, and she paints beautiful cups and saucers.
She’s my friend. And her cook is a nice lady too. She
lives in the basemen’ and she talks to me through the
140 HOW FAUNTLEROY OCCURRED.



window. She likes little boys. I have two friends in that
house.” oo

“My friend Mrs. Wilkins” became one of his cher-
ished intimates. His visits to her were frequent and pro-
longed.

“ve just been to see my friend Mrs. Wilkins,” he would
say, or, “My friend Mrs. Wilkins’ husband is very kind to
me. We go to his store, and he gives me oranges.”

It is not improbable that he also painted china during his
calls upon his friend Mrs. Wilkins. It is certain that if he
did not otherwise assist his attitude was that of an enthu-
siastic admirer of the art. That his conversation with the
lady embraced many subjects we have evidence in an
anecdote frequently related with great glee by those to whom
the incident was reported. I myself was not present during
the ingenuous summing up of the charm of social life, but I
have always mentally seen him taking his part in the scene
in one of his celebrated conversational: attitudes, in which
he usually sat holding his plump knee in a manner
which somehow seemed to express deep, speculative
thought.

“Are you in society, Mrs. Wilkins?” he inquired in-
genuously.

‘What zs being in society, Vivvie?” Mrs, Wilkins replied,
probably with the intention of drawing forth his views.

“ Tt’s—well—there are a great many carriages, you know,
and a great many ladies come to see you. And they say
IN WHITE FROCK AND SASH. 141



‘How are you, Mrs. Burnett? So glad to find you at
home.’ Gabble, gabble, gabble, gabble. ‘Good morning!’
And they go away. That's it.”

I am not quite sure that I repeat the exact phrasing, but
the idea is intact, and the point which inspired the hearers
with such keen joy was that he had absolutely no intention
of making an unfriendly criticism. He was merely painting
an impressionist’s picture. On his own part he was fond of
society. It delighted him to be allowed to come into the
drawing-room on the days when his mamma was “at home.”
This function impressed him as an agreeable festivity. As
he listened to the “‘gabble, gabble, gabble,” he beamed with
friendly interest. He admired the ladies, and regarded them»
as beautiful and amiable. It was his pleasure to follow the
departing ones into the hall and render them gallant assist-
ance with their wraps.

“T like ladies, dearest,” he would say. “They are so
pretty.”

At what age he became strongly imbued with the
staunchest Republican principles it would be difficult to say.
He was an unflinching Republican.

“My dearest. Mamma,” he wrote me in one of the
splendid epistolary efforts of his earliest years,—

“T am sorry that I have not had time to write to you
before. I have been so occupied with the presidential
election. The boys in my school knock me down and jump

on me because they want me to go Democrat. But I am
142 HOW FAUNTLEROY OCCURRED.



still a strong Republican. I send you a great many hugs
and kisses.
“YVour obedient and humble son and servant,
“VIVIAN.”

He was given to inventing picturesque terminations to his
letters, and he seemed particularly pleased with the idea of
being my humble or obedient son and servant. The picture
the letter brought to my mind of a flushed and tumbled but
staunch little Republican engaged in asort of kindergarten
political tussle with equally flushed and tumbled little
Democrats wore an extremely American aspect. Figura-
tively speaking, he plunged into the thick of the electioneer-
ing fray. He engaged in political argument upon all
available occasions. Fortunately for his peace of mind,
Carrie and Dan favoured the Republican party. Dan took
him to see Republican torchlight processions, and held him
upon his shoulders while he waved his small hat, his hair
flying about his glowing face while he shouted himself
hoarse. No unworthy party cry of ‘’Rah for Hancock!”
went unanswered by the clarion response. At the sound of
such a cry in the street the nursery windows flew open with
a bang, and two ecstatic Republicans (himself and brother)
almost precipitated themselves into space shouting “’Rah for
Garfield!” Without such precautions he felt his party
would be lost. [think he was six when he discovered that

he was a supporter°of the movement in favour of female
IN WHITE FROCK AND SASH. 143

suffrage. It was rather a surprise to us when this revealed
itself, but his reasons were of such a serious and definite
nature that they were arguments not to be refuted. |

When he gave them he was leaning against a window-
ledge in a room in a seaside home, his hands in his red sash,
his countenance charming with animation.

‘‘T believe they ought to be allowed to vote if they like it,”
he said, ‘’cause what should we do if there were no ladies ?
Nobody would have any mothers or any wives.”

‘“That is true,” his maternal audience encouraged him by
saying. “The situation would be serious.”

‘And nobody could grow up,” he proceeded. ‘ When
anyone’s a baby, you know, he hasn’t any teeth, and he
can’t eat bread and things. And if there were no ladies to
take care of him when he was very first born he’d die. |
think people ought to let them vote if they want to.”

This really seemed so to go to the root of things that the
question appeared disposed of.

One laughed, and laughed at him. All his prettiness was
quaint, and so innocent that its unconsciousness made one
smile. Only sometimes—quite often—while one was smiling -
one was queerly touched and stirred.

What a picture of a beautiful, brave little spirit, aflame
with young, young fervour, he was the day I went-into a
room and found him reading for the first time in his brief life
the story of the American Revolution.

He sat in a large chair, one short leg tucked under him, a
144 HOW FAUNTLEROY OCCURRED.



big book on his knee, his love locks tumbling over his
ecstazied child face. He looked up glowing when I entered.
His cheeks were red, his eyes were beautiful.

“ Dearest,” he said, ‘‘ dearest, listen. Mere’s a brave man,
here's a brave man! This is what he says, ‘Give me liberty
or give medeath!’” It was somehow so movingly incon-
gruous. This “pretty page with dimpled chin,” stirred so
valiantly by his “liberty or death.” I kissed his golden

thatch, laughing and patting it; but a little lump was in my
throat.

Where did he learn—faithful and tender heart—to be such
a lover as he was? Surely no woman ever had such a lover
before! What taught him to pay such adorable, childish
court, and to bring the first fruits of every delight to lay
upon one shrine? In the small garden where he played—a
toddling thing accumulating stains of grass and earth in truly
human fashion on his brief white frock—the spring scattered
sparsely a few blue violets. How he applied himself to
searching for them, to gather them with pretty laboriousness
until he had collected a small, warm handful, somewhat
dilapidated before it was large enough to be brought upstairs
‘in the form of a princely floral gift.

It is nearly fourteen years since they were first laid at my
feet—these darling little grubby handfuls of exhausted violets
—but I can hear yet the sound of the small feet climbing the
staircase stoutly but carefully, the exultant voice shouting at
intervals all the way up from the first flight, “Sweet dearest |!
IN WHITE FROCK AND SASH. 145



Sweet de-ar-est! I got somefin’ for you! Please le’ me
ine

So many beautiful names had been tried by turns by him-
self and brother, but they found “sweetest” and “sweet
dearest” the most satisfactory. Finally they decided upon
“dearest” as combining and implying the sentiment they
were inspired by.

There was in a certain sacred workroom at the top of the
house a receptacle known as the “treasure drawer.” It was
always full of wonderful things, rich gifts brought carefully
and with lavish generosity from the grass in the back yard,
from dust heaps, from the street, from anywhere ; bits of glass
or pebble, gorgeous advertising cards, queerly-shaped twigs
or bits of wood, pictures out of papers, small, queer toys,
possessing some charm which might make them valuable to
an appreciative maternal relative. And just before they
were presented I always heard the small feet on the stairs,
the knock on the door, and the delightful, confiding voice
outside,—

“Please may I come in? I’ve brought a treasure for you,
_ dearest.”

We always spoke of them as “treasures.” They seemed so
beautiful and valuable to the donor that love brought them at
once asa gift to love, and the recipient saw them with his eyes.

The very first bud which appeared on the old-fashioned
rose-bushes at the back of the house was watched for and
discovered when it was a tiny, hard, green thing.
146 HOW FAUNTLEROVY OCCURRED.



“There’s a bud,” he would say, “‘and I’m watching till it
is a rose, so that I can give it to you.”

There is nothing so loving as a child who is loved. What
valuable assistance he rendered in the matter of toilette,
How charmed he was with any pretty new thing. How
delighted to be allowed to put on slippers or take them off,
stand by the dressing-table and hand pins, and give the
benefit of his admiring advice. And how adorable it was to
come home late from a party and find the pin-cushion
adorned with a love-letter scrawled boldly in lead pencil and
secured by a long pin. In conjunction with his brother—
who was the troubadour of love from his infancy, and who
has a story of his own—he invented the most delightful
surprises for those late returns. Sometimes pieces of candy
wrapped in paper awaited the arrival, sometimes d2//e¢s doux,
sometimes singular rhymes courageously entitled, “A
Valentine.” The following was the fine flower of all :—

“MY MAMA.

“O my swetest little mama,
Sweteness that can ne’er be told
Dwells all decked in glory behind thy bosom folds.
In love and tender sweteness
Thy heart has no compare
And as through the path of sorrow
Thy heart goes wangering on
‘Thow always lend a helping hand
To all who are alone.
“Esex Essex.”
IN WHITE FROCK AND SASH. 147

«What does ‘Essex’ mean, darling?” I asked,

“T don't know what it means,” he said sweetly, “and I
didn’t spell it right at first. But you know when anyone
writes poetry they nearly always put another name at the
end, and I thought Essex would do.” He was so desirous of
making it complete!


148



CHAPTER III.

S a travelling companion what a suc-
cess he was! How he made friends
in the train, at railway stations, on
steamers. How, if one lost sight
of him for a moment, he invariably



reappeared full of delight with the
information that he had “found a friend.”

As I was struggling in the usual manner up the crowded
gangway of an ocean steamer on one occasion his flushed
and radiant countenance appeared over the rail where he had
climbed.

“ Dearest, dearest,” he said, “I’ve found a friend. He’s a
French gentleman and can’t speak English.”

He had found him on the tug, and they. had apparently
sworn eternal amity between the wharf and the steamer,
though how this had been accomplished I was never quite
able to determine, as he had only just begun to attack
valiantly a verb or so of the first conjugation. But with the
assistance of “donner,” “aller,” “aimer,” and a smile like

his nothing was impossible.
IN BOYHOOD AND NOW. 149

His circle of acquaintances during an oceai voyage was
choice and large. And one languid passenger lying in her
steamer chair with cushions behind her and fur robes over
her was never passed without the affectionate, inquiring
smiles of a protector, and at intervals through all the day he
presented himself to “look after” her. ;

“Are you all right, dearest?” he would say. ‘Do you
want your feet tucked in? Did the deck-steward bring you
your lunch? Are your cushions comfortable?” And these
matters being attended to he would kiss her gaily and run off
to explore engines, or gather valuable information about
walking beams.

On several occasions he and his brother made some rather
long railway journeys alone. It was quite safe to send them.
If they had not been able to take care of themselves half the
world would have taken care of them. Conductors con-
versed with them, passengers were interested in them, and
they arrived at the end of their travels laden with tribute.
After one such journey taken together between Washington
and Boston with what joy they performed their toilettes
through an entire summer, with the assistance of a large box
of wonderful soaps and perfumes sent to them by an acquaint-
ance made ez voyage.

“He was Lionel’s friend,? Vivian explained. “I think
he said he was a drummer. He was so nice to us. My
friend that I made was a professor in a college, I believe,

and he gave me this to remember him by.”
150 HOW FAUNTLEROV OCCURRED.



“This” was a pretty nugget of gold, and was accompanied
by a card, on which the donor had written the most affection-
ately kind things of the pleasure he had had in his brief
acquaintance with his young travelling companion, whose
bonne mane he should not soon forget.

One could always be quite sure that he would give no
trouble during a journey, that he would always be ready to
perform any service, that no railroad nor ocean boat official
could withstand him when he presented himself with a
smiling request.

It is easy to call to mind, at any moment, some memory of
him, his face flushed, his hair damp on his forehead, his eyes
courageous, as he struggled with something too big for him
he had felt it his duty to take charge of, as he swayed with
the crowd down the gangway of some steamer at South-
ampton or some paguedot at Calais.

“It is too heavy for you, darling,” one would say. “You
look so hot. Let me carry it.”

“Oh, no,” would be his valiant answer. “I’m all right,
dearest. It’s rather a warm day, but a boy doesn’t mind
being warm.”

Even foreign languages did not appal him.

“I'm only a little boy, you know,” he would say,
cheerfully. “It doesn’t matter if it does sound funny, just
so that they understand me. I like to talk to them.”

So he conversed with Annunciata in the kitchen and Luigi
in the dining-room, as it had been his habit to converse with
I51

IN BOVHOOD AND NOW.

Carrie and Dan years before, for by this time his love-locks
had been cropped and had changed to brown; but he still
remained the same charming and engaging little person.

“ Boys are sometimes a great trouble,” commented Luigi,
in referring to him and his brother, “but these—they are
little szenorent.”

Fauntleroy had “occurred” nearly four years before the
time when he exhausted all the resources of the Paris
Exposition ; but it was still Fauntleroy, though a taller one
in schoolboy suit and Eton collar, and shorn of his doucles
blonde, who marched off at nine o'clock. every morning for
two weeks, and spent the day exploring the treasures of the
Exhibition. Sometimes he was quite alone, sometimes he
had appointments with some “ friends” he had made in the
passage from New York to Havre—three interesting men
whose connection with the electrical exhibit inspired him
with admiration and delight. My impression is that they
did not speak French, and that it enraptured him to place
his vocabulary at their disposal.

“ They are so kind to me, dearest,” he said, just as he had
said it at three years old when he visited his “friend Mrs.
Wilkins.”

“Tt must be an entertaining spectacle,” I often thought,
“to see him walk into the restaurant quite unattended, order
his little deuner & la fourchette, dispose of it in dignified
solitude at a small table, and present the garcon with a
fourboire as if he were forty. I should like to be a spectator
152 HOW FAUNTLEROY OCCURRED.



from afar. No doubt the waiters know him and make
jocular remarks among themselves.”

But it was when he was only seven that Fauntleroy really
occurred. He had been so amusing and interesting that
summer, and I had reflected upon him so much. Every few
days I heard some delightful anecdote about him, or saw him
do something incomparably quaint. What led me most into
speculation was the effect he invariably produced upon
people, touching little fascinations he exercised.

“Do you know I never saw a child like him?” said a
clever man of the world who had spent an hour talking to him.

And curiously enough it was exactly the idea expressed by
an old coloured aunty years before.

“Dat chile,” she said, “he suttanly ain’t like no other
chile, ’Tain’t jest dat he’s smart—though cose he’s smart,
smart as they make’em. It’s sump’n else. An’ he’s the
frien’liest little human I ever seed—he suttanly is! ”

I had been ill that year and the year before it, and of that
illness I have many memories which are beautiful and
touching things. One is of many disturbed and weary
nights when the door of my room opened quietly and a little
figure entered; such an adorable little figure, in a white
night-gown, and with bright hair tumbled by sleep falling
about a serious small face.

“ Pve come to take care of you, dearest,” he would say |
with his indescribable protecting and comforting air. “I'll
sit by you and make you go to sleep.”
IN BOYHOOD AND NOW. 153



And somehow there seemed to emanate from his childish
softness a sort of soothing which could not have been put
into words.

It was his special province to put me to sleep when I was
restless. He assumed it as a sacred duty, and had the
utmost confidence in his power to do it.

“Tll put you to sleep,” he would say. “J will just sit by
you and hold your hand and make you quiet.”

How long had he sat by me on that one night which I
shall always remember? [donot know. But he had been
so quiet and had sat holding my hand so long that I could
not find it in my heart to let him know that the charm had
not worked and that I was not really asleep. I pretended
that I was, lying very still and breathing with soft regularity.

He stayed quite a long time after I knew he thought I
was quiet for the night, he was so determined to be quite
sure that nothing would disturb me. At last he began with
the most cautious softness to take his hand away. When he
had been a baby I had sometimes laid him down to sleep
with just such cautious movement. How gradually and
softly the small fingers released themselves one by one, how
slowly, with what infinite precaution of slowness the warm,
kind little palm was detached from mine. Then there was a
mysterious, careful movement, and I knew he was leaving
his chair. I dared not open my eyes for fear he would see
me and be heartbroken because I was awake. What was he
doing? There were no footsteps, and yet he was moving a

x
154 HOW FAUNTLEROY OCCURRED.



little—a very little it seemed. And the movement was so
slow and interrupted by such pauses that the length of time
it lasted added to my curiousness. What idea had he been
inspired by? Whatsoever he was doing he was putting his
entire soul into, and he should not be crushed by the thought
that it was all in vain. When I could hear that he had
reached the door I opened an eye very cautiously. The
opening of the door was as clever and quiet as the mysterious
movement. It was opened only a little, there was more
careful movement, and then it was drawn to. But though I
had been looking directly at the slip of light I had not seen
him. Somehow he had passed through without coming
within my line of vision.

I lay mystified. The incomprehensibleness of it gave
me something to think about. His room was near my own,
and I knew that he went to it and got into bed. I knew,
also, that he would be asleep as soon as his curly head
touched the pillow.

He had been asleep perhaps an hour when his brother
came in. He had been spending the evening at the house
of a friend. He was usually a tender and thoughtful thing
himself, but this night the excitement of festivity had
intoxicated him and made him forgetful. He came up the
staircase and ran into the bedroom with a childish rush.

‘Exactly what happened I could only guess at. I had
reason to suppose that my young protector and medical
attendant was wakened with some extra sense of flurry
IN BOYHOOD AND NOW. 155



taking place. He evidently sat up in bed in reproachful
despair.

“What have I done?” said his brother. “What is the
matter ?” :

I heard tears in the plaintive little voice that answered
-—actual tears.

“Oh!” he said. ‘I know you’ve wakened her! I know
you have! It was so hard to get her to sleep. And at
last I did, and then I was so afraid of wakening her that
I went down on the floor and crawled out of the room
on my hands and knees. And I think it took an hour.”

“Darling,” I murmured in the drowsiest possible tone
when he crept into the room to look at me, “I’ve had a
lovely sleep, and I’m going to sleep again. You made me
so quiet.” But with the most serious difficulty I restrained
myself from clutching him in my arms with a force which
would have betrayed to him all my adoring duplicity.

It was things such as these I remembered when he was
so deliciously amusing, and I heard stories of him every day.

Sometimes when swinging in my hammock on the piazza
I caught sight of him flying on his small bicycle down the
tree-shaded avenue, a delightful, animated picture, his strong,
graceful child body beautifully defined in his trim, close-
fitting Jersey suit, his red scarf and fez brilliant touches of
colour, his waving, flying hair brightened to gold as he
darted through the sunshine and into the shade. I used to
say to myself :
156 HOW FAUNTELROY OCCURRED.



“He is so good to look at! He is so pretty; that is why
every one likes him so.” And then when I heard him say
some quaint thing which was an actual delight through its
droll ingenuousness, I said: “It is because he is so
amusing!”

So I studied him day after day, often trying to imagine

the effect his fearless candour and unsophisticated point of
view would have upon certain persons who did not know his
type.
I was convalescing from my long illness and had plenty of
time to amuse myself with such speculations. He was such
a patriotic young American; he was so engaged in an
impending presidential election at the time; his remarks
were so well worth hearing. I began, among other fancies
about him, to imagine. his making them with that frankly
glowing face to conservative English people. He had
English blood in his veins, and things more unheard of had
occurred than that through a combination of circumstances
he might be surrounded by things very new to him.

“When a person is a duke,’ he had said to me once,
“what makes him one? What has he done?” His opinion
evidently was, that dukedoms were a species of reward for
superhuman sweetness of character and brilliant intellectual
capacity. I began to imagine the interest that would
be awakened in his mind by the contemplation of ducal
personages.

It amused me to analyze the subject of what his point of
IN BOYHOOD AND NOW. 187

view would be likely to be. I knew it would be productive
of immense entertainment to his acquaintances. 1 was sure
that the duke would be subjected to sweet but searching
cross-questioning, and that much lively interest would be felt
in the subject of coronets. He would regard them as a
species of eccentric hat. What questions he would ask,
what enthusiasm he would display when he was impressed
by things beautiful or stately and interesting! Would he
seem ‘a cheeky little beggar” to less republican minds than
his own? I asked myself this curiously. But no, I was
sure he would not. He would be so simple; he would
expect such splendour of mind and of noble friendliness that
the hypothetical duke would like him as Dan and Carrie did,
and he would end by saying “ My friend, the Duke of
Blankshire,” as alfectionatly as he had said “ My friend, the
milkman.”

It was only a thread of fancy for a while, but one day I
had an idea.

“| will write a story about him,” I said. “TI will put him
in a world quite new to him and see what he wil do. How
shall I bring a small American boy into close relationship
with an English nobleman—irascible, conservative, disagree-
able? He must live with him, talk to him, show him his
small, unconscious republican mind. He will be more
effective if ] make him a child who has lived in the simplest
possible way. Eureka! Son of younger son, separated
from ill-tempered noble father because he has married a poor
soa HOW FAUNTLEROV OCCURRED.



-young American beauty. Young father dead, elder brothers
dead, boy comes into title! How it would amaze him and
bewilder him! Yes, there it is, and Vivian shall be he—just
Vivian with his curls and his eyes, and his friendly, kind,
little soul. Little Lord Something-or-other. What a pretty
title—Little Lord—, Little Lord—, what ?”

And a day later it was Little Lord Fauntleroy. A story
like that is easily written. In part it was being lived before
my eyes.

“T can wash myself quite well, thank you,” he would say,
scrubbing vigorously one day. ‘1 can do it quite well,
dearest, if some one will just ’zamine the corners.”

He had always spoken very clearly, but there were a few
words his pronunciation of which endeared them inex-
pressibly to me. On the evening of the day before
“ Fauntleroy” spent his first morning with “ Lord
Dorincourt” he brought into my room a parlour base-ball
game to show me.

It was a lovely thing to see his delight over it, and to note
the care with which he tried to make all technical points
clear to an interested but unintelligent parent. What
vigorous little attitudes he threw himself into when he
endeavoured to show me how the ball was thrown in the real
game !

“I'm afraid that I am a very stupid little mammy,” I said.
“What-does the first base do? And what is the pitcher for ?
I’m very dull, you see.”






“ And how delightful it was to read the manuscript to him.” —page 159.
LN BOVHOOD AND NOW. 159

“Oh, no!” he said. ‘No, youre not, dearest! It’s me,
you know. I’m afraid that I’m not a very good ’splainer.
And besides, you are a lady, you know, and ladies don’t play
base-ball.”

Almost every day I recorded something he had said or
suggested.

And how delightful it was to read the manuscript to him
and his brother. He used to sit in a large arm-chair holding
his knee or with his hands in his pockets.

“Do you know,” he said to me once, “I like that boy?
There’s one thing about him, he never forgets about
dearest.”

When the first appearance of the false claimant occurred
he turned quite pale ; so did his brother.

“Oh, dearest!” they gasped, “why did you do that?
Oh, don’t do it!”

‘What will he do?” the occupant of the arm-chair asked.
“Won't he, dearest, be the Earl’s boy any more ?”

“«That other boy,’ said Fauntleroy tremulously, to Lord
Dorincourt, the next day, ‘he will have to—to be your boy
now—as I was—won't he?’

““« No, answered the Earl, and he said it so fiercely that
Cedric quite jumped.

««« Shall I be your boy even if I’m not going to be an
earl?’ he said. ‘Shall I be your boy just as I was before ?’”

But it was a real little heart that had beaten at the
thought.




160 HOW FAUNTLEROY OCCURRED.



He has been. considered such an ideal little person—
Cedric Errol, Lord Fauntleroy—and he was so real after
all. Perhaps it is worth while explaining that he was
only a simple, natural thing—a child, whose great charm
was that he was the innocent friend of the whole world.

I have reason to believe that an impression exists that
the passage of years has produced no effect whatever on
the great original, that he has still waving, golden hair,
and wears black velvet doublets and broad collars of lace.
This is an error. He is sixteen. He plays football and
tennis and battles sternly with Greek. He is anxious not
to “flunk” in geometry, and his hair is exceedingly short
and brown. He has a fine sense of humour, and his
relatives consider it rather a good joke to present him to
intimates, as he appears before them, looking particularly
cheerful and robust, in the words first heard by Mr.
Wenham :

“This is—‘ Little Lord Fauntleroy.’

”


LITE BETIVS KITTEN TELLS
HER STORY
—see page 165.



clock,”

)



“<« Kitty Lam nearly five o

(4)

Frontispiece.










Tittle BEPTVS KITTEN
TELLS TER GlORV

AM Betty’s kitten—at least I was Betty’s
kitten once. That was more than a year
ago. I amnot a kitten now, I am a little
cat, and I have grown serious, and think a

great deal as I sit on the hearth-rug,



looking at the fire and blinking my eyes.
I have so much to think about that I even
stop to: ponder things over when I am lapping my milk or
washing my face. I am very careful about lapping my milk.
I never upset the saucer. Betty told me I must not. She
used to talk to me about it when she gave me my dinner.
She said that only untidy kittens were careless. She liked
to see me wash my face, too, so] am particular about that.
It is always Betty I am thinking about when I sit on the rug
and blink at the fire. Sometimes I feel so puzzled and so
anxious that if her mamma or papa are sitting near I look up
at them and say:
164 LITTLE BETTY’S KITTEN TELLS HER STORY.



‘“Mee-azow ? Mee-aiow ?”

But they do not seem to understand me as Betty did.
Perhaps that is because they are grown-up people and she
was a little girl, But one day her mamma said:

“It sounds almost as if she were asking a question”

I was asking a question. J] was asking about Betty. I
wanted to know when she was coming back.

I know where she came from, but I do not know where
she is gone, or why she went. She usually told me things,
_ but she did not tell me that. I never knew her to go away
before. I wish she had taken me with her. I would have
kept my face and paws very clean, and never have upset my
milk.

I said I knew where she came from. She came from
behind the white rose-bush before it began to bloom, and
when it had nothing but glossy green leaves and tight little
buds on it. :

I saw her! My eyes had only been open about two
weeks, and I was lying close to my mother in our bed under
the porch that was round the house. It was a nice porch,
with vines climbing over it, and I had been born under it.
We were very comfortable there, but my mother was afraid
of people. She was afraid lest they might come and look at
us. She said I was so pretty that they would admire me
and take me away. That had happened to two or three of
my brothers and sisters before their eyes had opened, and it
had made my mother nervous. She said the same thing had _
LITTLE BETTY’S KITTEN TELLS HER STORY. 165

happened before when she had had families quite as
promising, and many of her lady friends had told her that it
continually happened to themselves. They said that people
coming and looking at you when you had kittens was a sort
of epidemic. It always ended in your losing children.

She talked to mea great deal about it. She said she felt
rather less nervous after my eyes were opened, because
people did not seem to want you so much after your eyes
were opened. There were fewer disappearances in families
after the first nine days. But she told me she preferred that
I should not be intimate with people who looked under the
porch, and she was very glad when I could use my legs and
get farther under the house when any one bent down and
said, “Pussy! pussy!” She said I must not get silly and
flattered and intimate even when they said, “ Pretty pussy,
poo’ ’ittle kitty puss!” She said it might end in trouble.

So I was very cautious indeed when I first saw Betty. I
did not intend to be caught, but I was not so much afraid as
I should have been if she had not been so very little and so
pretty. :

Not very long before she went away she said to me one
day when we were in the swing together,—

“Kitty, I am nearly five o’clock |”

So when she came from behind the white rose-bush
perhaps she was four o'clock.

I shall never forget that morning. It was such a beautiful

morning. It was in the early spring, and all the world
166 LITTLE BETTY’S KITTEN TELLS HER STORY...

seemed to be beginning to break into buds and blossoms.
There were pink and white flowers on the trees, and there
was such a delicious smell when one sniffed a little. Birds
were chirping and singing, and every now and then darting
across the garden. Flowers were coming out of the ground, ©
too; they were blooming in the garden-beds and among the
grass, and it seemed quite natural to see a new kind of flower
bloom out on the rose-bush, which had no flowers on it then,
because the season was too early. I was such a young kitten
that I thought the little face peeping round the green bush
was a flower. But it was Betty, and she was peeping at me!
She had such a pink bud of a mouth, and such pink soft
cheeks, and such large eyes, just like the velvet of a pansy
blossom! She had a tiny pink frock and a tiny white apron
with frills, and a pretty white muslin hat like a frilled daisy ;
and the soft wind made the curly soft hair falling over her
shoulder as she bent forward sway as the vines sway.
“Mother!” I whispered, “ what kind of a flower is that ?

I never saw one before.”

She looked, and began to be quite nervous.

‘Ah, dear! ah, dear!” she said, “it is not a flower at all,
it is a person, and she is looking at you!”

“Ah, mother!” I said, “how can it be a person when
it is not half as high as the rose-bush? And it is such
pretty colours. Do look again.”

“Tt is a child-person,” she said, “and I have heard they

are sometimes the worst of all—though I don’t believe they
LITTLE BETTY’S KITTEN TELLS HER STORY. 107



take so many away at a time.” The little face peeped
farther round the green of the rose-bush and looked
prettier and prettier. The pink frock and white frills
began to show themselves a little more.

“Get behind me,” said my mother, and I began to shrink
back.

Ah, how often I have wondered since then why I did
not know in a minute that it was Betty—just Betty! It
seemed so strange that I did not know it without being told.
She came nearer and nearer, and her cheeks scemed to grow
pinker and pinker, and her eyes bigger and bigger. Sud-
denly she gave a little jump and began to clap her hands
and laugh. .

“Ah,” she said, “it is a little kitty. It is surely a little
kitty.”

“Oh, my goodness!” said my mother. “ Fts—fts—ftss |
F fttss—fittssss | ”

I could not help feeling as if it was rather rude of her, but
she was so frightened.

But Betty did not seem to mind it at all. Down she went
on her little knees on the grass, bending her head down to
peep under the porch until her cheek touched the green
blades, and ker heap of curls lay on the buttercups: and
daisies. <
“Oh, you ae’ little kitty!” she said. Pretty pussy,
pussy, puss! Kitty—kitty; Poo ittle kitty. I won't hurt .

you |”
168 LITTLE BETTY’S KITTEN TELLS HER STORY.



She made a movement as if she were going to put out her
dimpled hand to stroke me, but a side window opened, and |
heard a voice call to her:

“Betty, Betty!” it said, “you mustn't put your hand
under there. The pussy is frightened, and it makes her cross,
and she might scratch you. Don’t try to stroke her, dearie.”

She turned her bright little face over her shoulder.

“J won’t hurt her, mamma,” she said. ‘I surely, surely
won't hurt her. She has sucha pretty kitty ; come and look
at it, mamma!”

“ Ffttssss-ss |” said my mother. “ More coming! Grown-
ups this time!”

“1 don’t believe they will hurt us,’ I said. ‘The little
one is such a pretty one.”

“You know nothing about it,” said my mother.

But they did not hurt us. They were as gentle as if they
had been kittens themselves. The mother came and bent
down by Betty’s side, and looked at us too, but they did
nothing which even frightened us. And they talked in quite
soft. voices.

“You see she is a wild little pussy,” the mother said.
“She must have been left behind by the people who lived
here before we came, and she has been living all by herself,
and eating just what she could steal—or, perhaps, catching
birds. Poor little cat! And now she is frightened because
evidently some of her kittens have been stolen from her, and
she wants to protect this one.”
LITTLE BETTY’S KITTEN TELLS HER STORY. 169



“But ital dont triohten hei said) Betty, © if J keep
coming to see her and don’t hurt her, and if I bring her some
milk and some bits of meat, won’t she get used to me, and
let her kitten come out.and play with me after a while ?”

‘Perhaps she will,” said the mother. “ Poor pussy, puss,
pussy, pretty pussy !”

She said it in such a coaxing voice that I quite liked her,
and then Betty began to coax too, and she was so sweet and
so like a kitten herself that I could scarcely help going a
trifle nearer to her, and I found myself saying ‘“‘ Mee-ow ”
quite softly in answer.

And from that time we saw her every day ever so many
times. She seemed never tired of trying to make friends
with us. The first thing in the bright mornings we used to
hear her pretty child-voice and see her pretty child-face.
She used to bring saucers of delightful milk to us two or
three times a day. And she always was so careful not to
frighten us. She would just call us, “ Pretty, pretty pussy ;
pretty kitty puss!” in a voice as soft as silk, and then she
would put the saucer of milk near us and go away behind the
rose-bush and let us drink in comfort and peace.

We thought at first that she went back to the house when
she set the saucer down ; but after a few days, when we were
beginning to be rather less afraid, we found out that she just
hid behind the rose-bush and peeped at us through the
branches. I saw her pink cheeks and big soft pansy eyes
one day, and I told my mother.
1700 6 LITTLE BETTY’S KITTEN TELLS HER STORY.



“Well, she is a well-behaved child-person,” mother said.
“ T sometimes begin to think she does not mean any harm.”

I was sure of it. Before I had lapped three saucers of
milk I had begun to love her a little.

A few days later she just put the saucer down near us and
stepped softly away, but stood right by the rose-bush without
hiding behind it. And ‘she said, “Pretty pussy—pussy!”
so sweetly without moving towards us, that even my mother
began to have confidence in her.

About that time I began to think it would be nice to creep
out from under the house and get to know her a little better.
It looked so pleasant and sunshiny out on the grass, and she
looked so sunshiny herself. I did like her voice so, and I
did like a ball I used to see her playing with; and when she
bent down to look under the porch and her curls showing, |
used to feel as if I should like to jump out and catch at them
with my claws. There never was anything as pretty as
Betty, or anything which looked as if it might be so nice to
play with.
~ ©] wish you would like me and come out and play, kitty,”
she used to say to me sometimes. “I do so like kitties! I
never hurt kitties. I'll give you a ball of string.”

There was a fence not far from the house, and it had a
sort of ledge on top, and it was a good deal higher than
Betty’s head—because she was so very little. She was quite
a little thing—only four o'clock.

So one morning I crept out from under my porch and
LITTLE BETTY’S KITTEN TELLS HER STORY. 17



jumped on to the top of that fence, and I was there when -
she came again to peep and say, “Pretty pussy!” When
she caught sight of me she began to laugh and clap her
little hands and jump up and down.

“Oh, there’s the kitty,” she said. ‘ There’s my kitty.
It has come out its own self. Kitty—kitty; pretty, pretty
kitty |”

She ran to me, and stood beneath me looking up with her
eyes shining and her pink cheeks full of dimples. She could
not reach me, but she was so happy because I had come out
that she could scarcely stand still. She coaxed and called
me pretty names, and stood on her tip-toes stretching her
short arm and dimpled hand to try to see if I would let her
touch me.

“J won't pull you down, pussy,” she said, “I only want to
stroke you. Oh, you pretty kitty!”

And I looked down at her and said “Meeiou” gently,
just to tell her that I wasn’t very much afraid now, and that
when I was a little more used to being outside instead of
under the house perhaps I would play with her.

“Mee-iaou!” I said, and I even put out one paw as if I
was going to give her a pat, and she danced up and down
for joy.

My dear little Betty! I wish I could see her again.
1 cannoét understand why she should go away when I
loved her so. much—and when everybody loved her so

much.
172 LITTLE BETTY’S KITTEN TELLS HER STORY.

Oh, how happy we were when I came down from the
fence! I didit in three days. She brought some milk and
coaxed me, and then she put it on the grass close to the
fence and moved away a few steps and looked at me with
such a pretty imploring look in her pansy eyes that suddenly
I made a little leap down and stood on the grass and began
to lap the milk, and even to purr! That was the beginning. |
From that time we played together always. And oh, what a
delightful playmate Betty was! And such a conversa-
tionalist! She was not a child who thought you must not
talk to a kitten because it could not talk back. She had so
many things to tell me and to show me. And she showed
me everything, and explained it all too, She had a play-
house in a box in a nice grassy, shady place, and she told me
all about it, and showed me her teacups and her dolls, and
we had tea-parties with bits of real cake and tiny cups with
flowers on them.

“They don’t hold much milk, kitty,” she said; ‘‘ but it’s a
dolls’ tea-party, so you must pretend, and I'll give you a big
saucerful afterwards.”

I pretended as hard as ever I could, and it was a beautiful
party, though I did not like the Sunday Doll, because she
looked proud, and as if she thought kittens were too young.
The Every-day Doll was much nicer, though her hair was a
little tufty and she was cracked.

How Betty did enjoy herself that lovely sunny afternoon
we had the first tea-party in the playhouse! How she
LITTLE BETTY’S KITTEN TELLS HER STORY. 173



laughed and talked and ran backwards and forwards to her
mamma for the cups of milk and bits of cake! I ran after
her every time, and she was as happy as a little bird.

“See how the kitty likes me now, mamma,” she said.
“Just watch ; it runs every time I run. It isn’t afraid of me
the leastest bit! Isn't it a pretty kitty ?”

I never left her when I could help it. She was such fun
She was a child who danced about and played a great deal,
and I was a kitten who liked to jump. We ran about and
played with balls, and we used to sit together in the swing.
I did not like the swing very much at first, but I was so fond
of Betty that I learned to enjoy it because she held me on
her knee and talked. She had such a soft cosy lap and
such soft arms, that it was delightful to be carried by her.
She was very fond of carrying me about, and she liked me
to lay my head on her shoulder so that she could touch me
with her cheek! My pretty little Betty, she loved me so!

She used to show me the flowers in the garden, and tell
me which ones were going to bloom and what colour they
would be. We were very much interested in all the flowers,
but we cared most about the white rose-bush. It was so big
and we were so little, that we could sit under it together,
and we were always trying to count the little hard green
buds, though there were so many that we never counted half
of them. Betty could only count up to ten, and all we could

do was to keep counting ten over and over.
«These little buds will grow so big soon,” she used to
174 LITTLE BETTY’S KITTEN TELLS HER STORY.

say, “that they will burst, and then there will be roses, and
more roses, and we will make a little house under here and
have a tea-party.”

We were always going to look at that rose-bush, and
sometimes, when we were playing and jumping, Betty would
think she saw a bud beginning to come out, and we would
both run.

I don’t know how many days we were so happy together
playing ball and jumping in the grass and watching the white
rose-bush to see how the buds were growing. Perhaps it
was a long time, but I was only a kitten, and I was too frisky
to know about time. But I grew faster than the rose-buds
did. Betty said so! But oh, how happy we were! If it
could only have lasted perhaps I might never have grown °
sober and sat by the fire thinking so much. —

One afternoon we had the most beautiful play we had ever
had. We ran after the ball, we swung together. Betty
knelt down on the grass and shook her curly hair so that I
could catch at it with my paws, we had a tea-party on the
box, and when it was over we went to the rose-bush and
found a bud beginning to be a rose. It was a splendid
afternoon !

After we had found the bud beginning to be a rose we sat
down together under the rose-bush. Betty sat.on the thick
green grass, and I lay comfortably on her soft lap and
purred.

«We have jumped so much that I am a little tired, and I








“She was lying under the white rose-bush, still asleep.”—page 17%.
LITTLE BETTY’S KITTEN TELLS HER STORY. 1y5

feel hot,” she said. ‘Are you tired, kitty? Isn't it nice
under the rose-bush ? and won’t it be a beautiful place for a
tea-party when all the white roses are out? Perhaps there
will be some out to-morrow. We'll come in the morning
and see!”

Perhaps she was more tired than she knew. I don’t
think she meant to go to sleep, but presently her head began
to droop and her eyes to close, and in a little while she sank
down softly and was quite gone.

I left her lap.and crept up close to the breast of her little
white frock, and curled up in her arm and lay and purred and
looked at her while she slept. I did so like to look at her.
She was so pretty and pink and plump, and she had such a
lot of soft curls. They were crushed under her warm cheek
and scattered on.the grass. I played with them a little
while she lay there, but I did it very quietly, so that I should
not disturb her.









She was lying under the white rose-bush, still asleep,
and I was curled up against her breast watching her,
when her mamma came out with her papa and they
found us.

“Oh, how pretty!” the mamma said. ‘“ What a lovely
little picture! Betty and her kitten asleep under the white
rose-bush, and just one rose watching over them. I
wonder if Betty saw it before she dropped off. She has
been looking at the buds every day to see if they were
beginning to be roses.”
176 LITTLE BETTY’S KITTEN TELLS HER STORY.



“She looks like a rose herself,” said her papa, “but it —
is a pink one. How rosy she is!”

He picked her up in his arms and carried her into the
house. She did not waken, and as I was not allowed to
sleep with her I could not follow, so I stayed behind under the
rose-bush myself a little longer before I went to bed. When
I looked at the buds I saw that there were several with
streaks of white showing through the green, and there were
three that I was sure would be roses in the morning, and I
knew how happy Betty would be, and how she would laugh
and-dance when she saw them.

I often hear people saying to each other that they should
like to understand the strange way I have of suddenly
saying “ Meeiaou! mee-iaou!” as if I was crying. It seems
strange to me that they don’t know what it means. [|
always find myself saying it when I remember that lovely
afternoon when we played so happily and Betty fell asleep
under the rose-bush, and I thought how pleased she would
be when she came out in the morning.

Ican't help it. Everything was so different from what I
had thought it would be. Betty never came out in the
morning. Oh dear! oh dear! she never came out again!

I got up early enough myself, and it was a beautiful,
beautiful morning. There was dew on the grass and on the
flowers, and the sun made it sparkle so that it was lovely to
look at. I did so want Betty to see it. Iran to the white

rose-bush, and sure enough there were four or five roses
LITTLE BETTV’S KITTEN TELLS HER STORY. 177



—such white roses, and with such sparkling drops of dew
on them. °

I ran back to the house and called to Betty, as 1 always
did. I wanted her to come.

But she did not come! She was not even at breakfast
eating her bread-and-milk. I looked for her everywhere
except in her bedroom. Her bedroom door was closed, and
I could not get in.

And though I called and called, nobody seemed to take
any notice of me. Somehow something seemed to be the
matter. The house was even quieter than usual, but I felt
as if every one was busy and in trouble. I kept asking and
asking where Betty was, but nobody would answer me.
Once I went to her closed bedroom door and called her
there, and told her about the white roses, and asked her why
she did not come out. But before I had really finished
telling her my feelings were quite hurt by her papa. He
came and spoke to me in a way that was not kind.

“Go away, kitty,” he said. ‘Don’t make such a noise,
you will disturb Betty.”

I went away waving my tail. I went out into the garden
and sat under the rose-bush. As if I could disturb Betty !
As if Betty did not always want me! She wanted me to
sleep with her in her little bed, but her mamma would not
let me.

But—ah ! how could I believe it 2—she did not come out

the next day, or the next, or even the next. It seemed as if
AA
178 LITTLE BETTY’S KITTEN TELLS HER STORY.



I should go wild. People can ask questions, but a little cat
is nothing to anybody unless to some one like Betty. She
always understood my questions and answered them.

In the house they would not answer me. They were
always busy and troubled. It did not seem like the same
house. Nothing seemed the same. The garden was a
different place. In the playhouse the Sunday Doll and the
Every-day Doll sat and stared at the teathings we had used
that happy afternoon at the party. The Sunday Doll sat
bolt upright and looked prouder than ever, as if she felt
she was being neglected; but the Every-day Doll lopped
over as if she had grieved her strength away because Betty
did not come.

I had made up my mind at the first tea-party that I would
never speak to the Sunday Doll, but one day I was so lonely
and helpless that I could not help it. :

«Oh dear!” I meeiaoued, ‘Oh dear! Do you know
anything about Betty? Do you—do you?”

And that heartless thing only sat up and stared at me
and never answered, though the tears were streaming down
my nose.

What could a poor little cat do? I looked and looked
everywhere, but I could not find her. I went round the
house and round the house and called in every room. But
they only drove me out, and said I made too much noise,
and never understood a word I said.

And the white rose-bush—it seemed as if it would break
‘LITTLE BETTY’S KITTEN TELLS HER STORY. 179

my heart. ‘There will be more roses, and more roses,”
Betty had said, and every morning it was coming true. I
used to go and sit under it, and I had to count ten over and
over and over, there were so many. It was such a great
rose-bush that it looked at last like a cloud of snow-white
bloom. And Betty had never seen it.

“ Ah, Betty, Betty!” I used to cry when I had counted so
many tens that I was tired. ‘Oh, do come and see how
beautiful it is, and let us have our tea-party! Oh, White
rose-bush, where is she ?”

They drove me out of the house so many times that I had
no courage, but one morning the white rose-bush was so
splendid that I made one desperate effort. -I went to the
bedroom door and rubbed against it and called with all my
strength.

“ Betty, if you are there—Betty, if you love me at all, oh,
speak to. me and tell me what I have done! The white rose-
bush has tens and tens and tens of flowers upon it. It is
like snow. Don’t you care about it? .Oh, do come out and
see! Betty, Betty, I am so lonely for you, and I love
you so!”

And the door actually opened, and her mamma stood
there looking at me with great tears rolling down her
cheeks. She bent down and took me in her arms and
stroked me.

‘Perhaps she will know it,” she said in a low strange
voice to some one in the room. She turned and carried me
180 LITTLE BETTY’S KITTEN TELLS HER STORY.



into the bedroom, and I saw that it was Betty’s papa she had
spoken to.

The next instant I sprang out of her arms on to the bed.
Betty was there—my Betty!

It seemed as if I felt myself lose my senses. My Betty!
I kissed her, and kissed her, and kissed her! I rubbed her
little hands, her cheeks, her curls, I kissed her and purred
and cried.

‘Betty,’ said her mamma, “ Betty, darling, don’t you
know your own little kitty ?”’

Why did not she? Why did she not? Her cheeks were
hot and red, her curls were spread out over the pillow, her
pansy eyes did not seem to see me, and her little head moved
drearily to and fro.

Her mamma took me in her arms again, and as she carried
me out of the room her tears fell on me.

- “She does not know you, kitty,” she said. “ Poor kitty,
you will have to go away.”

I cannot understand it. I sit by the fire and think and
think, but I cannot understand. She went away after that,
and I never saw her again.

I have never felt like a kitten since that time.

I went and sat under the white rose-bush all day, and slept
there all night.

The next day there were more roses than ever, and I
made up my mind that I would try to be patient and stay
LITTLE BETTY’S KITTEN TELLS HER STORY. 181



there and watch them until Betty came to see. But two or
three days after, in the fresh part of the morning, when
everything was loveliest, her mamma came out walking
slowly straight towards the bush. She stood still a few
moments and looked at it, and her tears fell so fast that
they were like dew on the white roses as she bent over.
She began to gather the prettiest buds and blossoms one
by one. Her tears were falling all the time, so that I
wondered how she could see what she was doing; but she
gathered until her arms and her dress were full—she gathered
every one! And when the bush was stripped of all but its
green leaves I gave a little heart-broken cry—because they
were Betty’s roses, and she had so loved them when they
were only hard little buds, and she looked down and
saw me, and oh! her tears fell then, not like dew, but like
rain.

“Betty,” she said, “kitty, Betty has gone—where—
where there are roses—always!”

And she went slowly back to the house, with all my
Betty’s white roses heaped up in her arms. She never told
me where my Betty had gone—no one did. And no more
roses came out on the bush. I sat under it and watched
because I hoped it would bloom again.

I sat there for hours and hours, and at last, while I was
waiting, I saw something strange. People had been going in
and out of the house all the morning. They kept coming
and bringing flowers, and when they went away most of
182 LITTLE BETTY’S KITTEN TELLS HER STORY.

them had tears in their eyes. And in the afternoon there
were more than there had been in the morning. I had
got so tired that I forgot and fell asleep. I don’t know
how long I slept, but I was awakened by hearing many
footsteps going slowly down the garden walk towards the
gate.

They all seemed to be people who were going away.
And first there walked before them two men who were
carrying a beautiful white and silver box of some kind on
- their shoulders. They moved very slowly, and their heads
were bent as they walked. But the white and silver, box
was beautiful. It shone in the sun, and—oh, how my
heart beat !—all my Betty’s snow-white roses were heaped
upon and wreathed around it. And I sat under the stripped
rose-bush breaking my heart. She had gone away, my
little Betty, and I did not know where, and all I could
think was that this was the very last I should ever see of
her, because I thought there must be something which had
belonged to her in the white and silver box under the roses,
and because she was gone they were carrying that away
too.

Oh, my Betty, my Betty! And I am only a little cat, who
sits by the fire and thinks, while nobody seems to care or
understand how lonely and puzzled I am and how I long for
some kind person to explain. And I could not bear it, but
that we loved each other so much that it comforts me to
think of it. And I loved her so much that when I say to
LITTLE BETTY’S KITTEN TELLS HER STORY. 183



myself over and over again what her mamma said to me, it
almost makes me happy again—almost—not quite, because
I'm so lonely. But if it is true, even a little cat who loved
her would be happy for her sake.

Betty has gone—where there are always roses. Betty has
gone—where there are always roses.


—_+o-——

LONDON:

PRINTED BY WOODFALL AND KINDER, 70 TO 76, LONG ACRE, W.C.

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