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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesHow It All Came Round - Chapter 27. The Children's Great-Uncle
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How It All Came Round - Chapter 27. The Children's Great-Uncle Post by :suziegreen Category :Long Stories Author :L. T. Meade Date :May 2012 Read :3353

Click below to download : How It All Came Round - Chapter 27. The Children's Great-Uncle (Format : PDF)

How It All Came Round - Chapter 27. The Children's Great-Uncle

CHAPTER XXVII. THE CHILDREN'S GREAT-UNCLE

It was a few days after this that, the morning being very bright and sunshiny, the little maid, Anne, determined to give Daisy and the baby a long morning in the park. Mrs. Home was expected back in a few days. Harold was very much better, and Anne, being a faithful and loving little soul, was extremely anxious that Daisy and the baby should show as rosy faces as possible to greet their mother's return. Hinton, who still occupied the drawing-rooms, was absent as usual for the day. Mr. Home would not come in until tea time. So Anne, putting some dinner for the children and herself, in the back of the perambulator, and the house latch-key in her pocket, started off to have what she called to Daisy, a "picnic in the park."

The baby was now nearly ten months old. His beauty had increased with his growing months, and many people turned to look at the lovely little fellow as Anne gayly wheeled him along. He had a great deal of hair, which showed in soft golden rings under his cap, and his eyes, large and gentle as a gazelle's, looked calmly out of his innocent face. Daisy, too, was quite pretty enough to come in for her share of admiration, and Anne felt proud of both her little charges.

Reaching the park, she wheeled the perambulator under the shade of a great tree, and sitting down herself on a bench, took little Angus in her arms. Daisy scampered about and inquired when her namesakes, the starry daisies of the field, would be there for her to gather.

As the little child played and shouted with delight, and the baby and small maid looked on, a stout, florid-faced man of foreign appearance, passing slowly by, was attracted by the picturesque group. Daisy had flung off her shabby little hat. Her bright hair was in wild confusion. Her gray eyes looked black beneath their dark lashes. Running full tilt across the stranger's path, she suddenly stumbled and fell. He stooped to pick her up. She hardly thanked him, but flew back to Anne. The foreign-looking man, however, stood still. Daisy's piquant little face had caused him to start and change color.

"Good gracious! what a likeness," he exclaimed, and he turned and sat down on the bench beside Anne and the baby.

"I hope the little thing didn't get hurt by that fall," he said to the small maid.

Anne, who was accustomed to having all admiration bestowed on her baby, replied briefly that missy was right enough. As she spoke she turned baby Angus round so that the stranger might see his radiant little face. The dark eyes, however, of the pretty boy had no attraction for the man. He still watched Daisy, who had resumed her amusements at a little distance.

Anne, who perceived that Daisy had attracted the stranger's admiration, was determined to stay to watch the play out. She pretended to amuse little Angus, but her eyes took furtive glances at the foreign-looking man. Presently Daisy, who was not at all shy, came up.

"You never thanked me for picking you up from the ground," said the stranger to the little girl.

Four year old Daisy turned up her eyes to his face.

"I wor _so busy," she apologized. "T'ank 'ou now."

The light on her face, her very expression, caused this rough-looking man's heart to beat strangely. He held out his hand. Daisy put her soft little palm into his.

"Come and sit on my knee," he said.

Daisy accepted the invitation with alacrity. She dearly liked attention, and it was not often, with baby by, that she came in for the lion's share.

"What a funny red beard you have!" she said, putting up a small finger to touch it delicately.

This action, however, scandalized Anne, who, awaking to a sudden sense of her responsibilities, rose to depart.

"Come along, Miss Daisy," she exclaimed; "'tis time we was a-moving home, and you mustn't trouble the gentleman no further, missy."

"I s'ant go home, and I will stay," responded Daisy, her face growing very red as she clung to her new friend. The man put his arm round her in delight.

"Sit down, my girl," he said, addressing Anne, "the little miss is not troubling me. Quite the contrary, she reminds me of a little lassie I used to know once, and she had the same name too, Daisy. Daisy Wilson was her name. Now this little kid is so like her that I shouldn't a bit wonder if she was a relation--perhaps her daughter. Shall I tell you what your two names are, little one?"

Daisy nodded her head and looked up expectantly. Anne, hoping no harm was done, and devoured with curiosity, resumed her seat.

"Your mamma's name was Daisy Wilson. You are her dear little daughter, and your name is Daisy Harman. Well, I'm right, ain't I?" The man's face was now crimson, and he only waited for Daisy's reply to clasp her to his breast. But Daisy, in high delight at his mistake, clapped her pretty hands.

"No, no," she said, "you're quite wrong. Guess again, guess again."

Instantly his interest and excitement died out. He pushed the child a trifle away, and said,--

"I made a mistake. I can't guess."

"I'm Daisy Home," replied Daisy, "and my mamma was never no Daisy Wilson. Her name is Sarlotte Home."

The stranger put Daisy gently from his lap, and the discovery which was to affect so many people might never have been made but for Anne, who read the _Family Herald_, was burning with anxiety and wonder. Many kinds of visions were flashing before her romantic young eyes. This man might be very rich--very, very rich. He must have something to say to them all. She had long ago identified herself with the Home family. This man was coming to give them gold in abundance. He was not so beautiful to look at, but he might be just as valuable as the pretty lady of Harold's dreams. That pretty lady had not come back, though Anne had almost prayed for her return. Yes, she was sure this man was a relation. It was highly probable. Such things were always happening in the _Family Herald_. Raising her shrill, high-pitched voice, she exclaimed,--

"Miss Daisy, you're too young to know, or may be you furgets. But I think the gen'leman is near right. Yer mamma's name wos Harman afore she married yer papa, missy, and I ha' seen fur sure and certain in some old books at the house the name o' Daisy Wilson writ down as plain as could be, so maybe that wor yer grandma's name afore she married too."

At these words the stranger caught Daisy up and kissed her.

"I thought that little face could only belong to one related to Daisy Wilson," he said. "Little one, put yer arms round me. I'm your great-uncle--your great-uncle! I never thought that Daisy Wilson could have a daughter married, and that that daughter could have little ones of her own. Well, well, well, how time does fly! I'm your grandmother's brother--Sandy Wilson, home from Australia, my little pet; and when shall I see you all? It does my old heart good to see my sister over again in a little thing like you."

"My great-uncle?" repeated Daisy. She was an affectionate little thing, and the man's agitation and delight so far touched her baby heart as to induce her to give him one very slight, dainty kiss. Then she sidled down to the ground.

"Ef you please, sir," said Anne again, who felt absolutely certain that she had now made the fortune of her family, and who thought that that fact ought to be recognised--"ef you please, sir, 'tis but right as you should know as my missis's mother have long bin dead. My missis as is her living model is away, and won't be back afore Thursday. She's down by the seaside wid Master Harold wot' ad the scarlet fever, and wor like to die; and the fam'ly address, please sir, is 10, Tremins Road, Kentish Town."

At the news of his sister's death so curtly announced by Anne, the man's rough, weatherbeaten face grew white. He did not touch Daisy again, or even look at little Angus; but going up to Anne, he slipped a sovereign into her hand.

"Take those children safely home now," he said; "the day is turning chilly, and--and--thank you for what you told me of, my good lass. I'll come and see your missis on Thursday night."

Then, without another word, he hurried away.

Quickly this big, rough man, who had nearly knocked down Jasper Harman the night before, hurried through the park. The exultation had died out of his face; his heart had ceased to beat wildly. Little Daisy's pretty figure was still before his eyes; but, weatherbeaten and lifebeaten man that he was, he found himself looking at it through a mist of tears. "'Tis a bit of a shock," he said to himself. "I'll take it quietly, of course. Sandy Wilson learned long ago to take everything quietly; but it's a rare bit of a shock. I never guessed as my little Daisy would die. Five and twenty years since we met, and all that time I've never once clasped the hand of a blood-relation--never had one belonging to me. I thought I was coming back to Daisy, and Daisy has died. She was very young to die--quite five years younger than me. A pretty, pretty lass; the little 'un is her image. How odd I should have knocked up against Daisy's grandchild, and should find her out by the likeness. Well, well, I'll call at 10, Tremins Road. I'll call, of course; not that I care much now, as my little sister Daisy Wilson is dead."

He pressed his hand before his eyes; they felt weak and dim. The rough man had got a considerable shock; he did not care to look at London sights again to-day; he returned to the Commercial Hotel in the Strand, where for the present he was staying.

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