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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesSue, A Little Heroine - Chapter 21. Safe Home At Last
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Sue, A Little Heroine - Chapter 21. Safe Home At Last Post by :noniman Category :Long Stories Author :L. T. Meade Date :May 2012 Read :1487

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Sue, A Little Heroine - Chapter 21. Safe Home At Last


When Harris parted from Sue he ran quickly in his cowardly flight. He did not stay his fleet steps until he had gained a very quiet street. Then, knowing that he was now quite safe, he exchanged his running for a rapid walk. He suddenly remembered that he was to meet the detectives, who were moving heaven and earth to get Connie back for him, not later than three o'clock.

They were to meet by appointment in a certain street, and the hour of rendezvous was quickly approaching. He got there in good time; but what was his amazement to see, not only the two detectives--ordinary-looking men in plain clothes--but also the street preacher?

The street preacher came up to him eagerly. The detectives also followed close.

"Harris," said Atkins, "you can thank God on your knees--your child is safe at home."

"Wot?" said Harris.

In that instant something sharp as a sword went through his heart. Oh, what a mean, terrible, horrible wretch he was! What a cowardly deed he had just committed! And yet God was kind, and had given him back his child.

"Connie is in your room, waiting for you," said Atkins. "I went in not an hour ago, hoping to find you, and there she was."

"It's very queer," said Detective Z. "You should have been there also, and have questioned the girl. There isn't the least doubt that she could give the most valuable information, but she won't utter a word--not a word."

"Won't she, now?" said Harris. "Perhaps not to you, but she wull, quick enough, to her own father."

The entire party then turned in the direction of Harris's rooms. They went up the stairs, and Harris flung the door wide. A little, slight girl, in the identical same dark-blue dress which Harris had bought for her with such pride not many weeks ago, was standing near the fire. Already her womanly influences had been at work.

The fire burned brightly. The room was tidy. The girl herself was waiting--expectation, fear, longing, all expressed in her sensitive face.

"Father!" she cried as Harris--brutal, red of face, self-reproachful, at once the most miserable and the gladdest man on earth--almost staggered into the room.

He took the slim little creature into his arms, gave her a few fierce, passionate kisses; then saying, "It is good to have yer back, wench," pushed her from him with unnecessary violence. He sank into a seat, trembling all over. The two detectives marked his agitation and were full of compassion for him. How deeply he loved his child, they felt. But Father John read deeper below the surface.

The man was in a very queer state. Had anything happened? He knew Harris well. At such a moment as this, if all were right, he would not be so overcome.

The detectives began to question Connie.

"We want to ask you a few questions, my dear," said Constable Z. "Who dragged you into that court last night?"

"I won't say," answered Connie.

"You won't say? But you know."

"I won't say nothing," said Connie.

"That is blamed nonsense!" cried Harris, suddenly rousing himself. "Yer've got to say--yer've got to make a clean breast of it. Wot's up? Speak!"

"I wouldn't be here, father," said Connie, "'ef I'd not promised most faithfully not _iver to tell, and I won't iver, iver, iver tell, not to anybody in all the world."

There was a decidedly new quality in the girl's voice.

"I wouldn't do it for nobody," continued Connie. She drew herself up, and looked taller; her eyes were shining. The detectives glanced at each other.

"If you was put in the witness-box, missy," said one, "yer'd have to break that promise o' yourn, whoever you made it to, or you'ud know what contempt of the law meant."

"But I am not in the witness-box," said Connie, her tone suddenly becoming gay. "It was awful kind of people to look for me, but they might ha' looked for ever and niver found me again. I'm 'ere now quite safe, and nothing 'as 'appened at all, and I'm niver goin' to tell. Please, Father John, _you won't ask me?"

"No, my child," said Father John. "You have made a promise, perhaps a rash one, but I should be the last to counsel you to break it."

Nothing more could be gained from Connie at present; and by-and-by Father John and the two detectives left her alone with Harris. When the door closed behind the three men a timid expression came into Connie's gentle eyes. Beyond doubt her father was sober, but he looked very queer--fearfully red in the face, nervous, trembling, bad in his temper. Connie had seen him in many moods, but this particular mood she had never witnessed in him before. He must really love her. He knew nothing about that terrible time last night when he had turned her away. Then he did not know what he was doing.

Connie was the last to bear him malice for what--like many other little girls of her class--she considered he could not help. Most of the children in the courts and streets around had fathers who drank. It seemed to Connie and to the other children that this was a necessary part of fathers--that they all took what was not good for them, and were exceedingly unpleasant under its influence.

She stood now by the window, and Harris sank into a chair. Then he got up restlessly.

"I be goin' out for a bit, lass," he said. "You stay 'ere."

"Oh, please, father," said Connie, "ef you be goin' out, may I go 'long and pay Giles a wisit? I want so much to have a real good talk with him."

When Connie mentioned the word Giles, Harris gave quite a perceptible start. Something very like an oath came from his lips; then he crushed back his emotion.

"Hall right," he said; "but don't stay too long there. And plait up that 'air o' yourn, and put it tight round yer 'ead; I don't want no more kidnappin' o' my wench."

There was a slight break in the rough man's voice, and Connie's little sensitive heart throbbed to the tone of love. A minute later Harris had gone out, and Connie, perceiving that it was past four o'clock, and that it would not be so very long before Sue was back from Cheapside, prepared to set off in quite gay spirits to see little Giles.

She went into her tiny bedroom. It was a very shabby room, nothing like as well furnished as the one she had occupied at Mammy Warren's. But oh, how glad she was to be back again! How sweet the homely furniture looked! How dear was that cracked and handleless jug! How nice to behold again the wooden box in which she kept her clothes!

The little girl now quickly plaited her long, thick hair, arranged it tightly round her head, and putting on a shabby frock and jacket, and laying the dark blue, which had seen such evil days, in the little trunk, she hastily left the room.

She was not long in making her appearance in Giles's very humble attic. Her heart beat as she mounted the well-worn stairs. How often--oh, how often she had though of Giles and Sue! How she had longed for them! The next minute she had burst into the room where the boy was lying, as usual, flat on his back.

"Giles," she said, "I've come back."

"Connie!" answered Giles. He turned quickly to look at her. His face turned first red, then very pale; but the next minute he held up his hand to restrain further words.

"Don't say anything for half a minute, Connie, for 'e's goin' to speak."

"Big Ben? Oh!" said Connie.

She remembered what Big Ben had been to her and to Ronald in Mammy Warren's dreadful rooms. She too listened, half-arrested in her progress across the room. Then, above the din and roar of London, the sweet chimes pealed, and the hour of five o'clock was solemnly proclaimed.

"There!" said Giles. "Did yer 'ear wot he said now?"

"Tell us--do tell us!" said Connie.

"'The peace of God which passeth all understanding.'" said Giles. "Ain't it fine?"

"Oh yus," said Connie--"yus! Giles--little Giles--'ow I ha' missed yer! Oh Giles, Giles! this is the peace o' God come back to me again."

Giles did not answer, and Connie had time to watch him. It was some weeks now since she had seen him--weeks so full of events that they were like a lifetime to the child; and in those weeks a change had come over little Giles. That pure, small, angel face of his looked smaller, thinner, and more angelic than ever. It seemed as if a breath might blow him away. His sweet voice itself was thin and weak.

"I did miss yer, Connie," he said at last. "But then, I were never frightened; Sue were--over and over."

"And w'y weren't yer frightened, Giles?" said Connie. "You 'ad a reason to be, if yer did but know."

"I did know," said Giles, "and that were why I didn't fret. I knew as you were safe--I knew for sartin sure that Big Ben 'ud talk to yer--_'e'd bring yer a message, same as 'e brings to me."

"Oh--he did--he did!" said Connie. "I might ha' guessed that you'd think that, for the message were so wery strong. It were indeed as though a Woice uttered the words. But oh, Giles--I 'ave a lot to tell yer!"

"Well," said Giles, "and I am ready to listen. Poke up the fire a bit, and then set near me. Yer must stop talking _w'en 'e speaks, but otherwise you talk and I listen."

"Afore I do anything," said Connie--"'ave you 'ad your tea?"

"No. I didn't want it. I'll 'ave it w'en Sue comes 'ome."

"Poor Sue!" said Connie. "I'm that longin' to see her! I 'ope she won't be hangry."

"Oh, no," said Giles. "We're both on us too glad to be angry. We missed yer sore, both on us."

While Giles was speaking Connie had put on the kettle to boil. She had soon made a cup of tea, which she brought to the boy, who, although he had said he did not want it, drank it off with dry and thirsty lips.

"Dear Connie!" he said when he gave her the cup to put down.

"Now you're better," said Connie, "and I'll speak."

She began to tell her story, which quickly absorbed Giles, bringing color into his cheeks and brightness into his eyes, so that he looked by no means so frail and ill as he had done when Connie first saw him. She cheered up when she noticed this, and reflected that doubtless Giles was no worse. It was only because she had not seen him for so long that she was really frightened.

When her story was finished Giles spoke:

"You're back, and you're safe--and it were the good Lord as did it. Yer'll tell me 'bout the fire over agin another day; and yer'll tell me 'bout that little Ronald, wot 'ave so brave a father, another day. But I'm tired now a bit. It's wonnerful, all the same, wot brave fathers do for their children. W'en I think o' mine, an' wot 'e wor, an' 'ow 'e died, givin' up his life for others, I'm that proud o' him, an' comforted by him, an' rejoiced to think as I'll see 'im agin, as is almost past talkin' on. But there! you'd best go 'ome now; you're quite safe, for 'E wot gives Big Ben 'is message 'ull regard yer."

"But why mayn't I wait for Sue?" said Connie.

"No," said Giles in a faint tone; "I'm too tired--I'm sort o' done up, Connie--an' I can't listen, even to dear Sue axin' yer dozens and dozens o' questions. You go 'ome now, an' come back ef yer like later on, w'en Sue 'ull be 'ome and I'll ha' broke the news to her. She knows she must be very quiet in the room with me, Connie."

So Connie agreed to this; first of all, however, placing a glass with a little milk in it by Giles's side. She then returned to her own room, hoping that she might find her father there before her.

He was not there; his place was empty. Connie, however, was not alarmed, only it had struck her with a pang that if he really loved her half as much as she loved him he would have come on that first evening after her return. She spent a little time examining the room and putting it into ship-shape order, and then suddenly remembered that she herself was both faint and hungry.

She set the kettle on, therefore, to boil, and made herself some tea. There was a hunch of bread and a piece of cold bacon in the great cupboard, which in Connie's time was generally stored with provisions. She said to herself:

"I must ax father for money to buy wittles w'en he comes in." And then she made a meal off some of the bacon and bread, and drank the sugarless and milkless tea as though it were nectar. She felt very tired from all she had undergone; and as the time sped by, and Big Ben proclaimed the hours of seven, eight, and nine, she resolved to wait no longer for her father. She hoped indeed, he would not be tipsy to-night but she resolved if such were the case, and he again refused to receive her, to go to Mrs. Anderson and beg for a night's lodging.

First of all, however, she would visit Giles and Sue. Giles would have told Sue the most exciting part of the story, and Sue would be calm and practical and matter-of-fact; but of course, at the same time, very, very glad to see her. Connie thought how lovely it would be to get one of Sue's hearty smacks on her cheek, and to hear Sue's confident voice saying:

"You _were a silly. Well, now ye're safe 'ome, you'll see as yer stays there."

Connie thought no words would be quite so cheerful and stimulating to hear as those matter-of-fact words of Sue's. She soon reached the attic. She opened the door softly, and yet with a flutter at her heart.

"Sue," she said. But there was no Sue in the room; only Giles, whose face was very, very white, and whose gentle eyes were full of distress.

"Come right over 'ere, Connie," he said. She went and knelt by him.

"Ye're not well," she said. "Wot ails yer?"

"Sue ain't come 'ome," he answered--"neither Sue nor any tidin's of her. No, I ain't frightened, but I'm--I'm lonesome, like."

"In course ye're not frightened," said Connie, who, in the new _role of comforter for Giles, forgot herself.

"I'll set with yer," she said, "till Sue comes 'ome. W'y, Giles, anythink might ha' kep' her."

"No," said Giles, "not anythink, for she were comin' 'ome earlier than usual to-night, an' we was to plan out 'ow best to get me a new night-shirt, an' Sue herself were goin' to 'ave a evenin' patchin' her old brown frock. She were comin' 'ome--she 'ad made me a promise; nothin' in all the world would make her break it--that is, _ef she could 'elp herself."

"Well, I s'pose she couldn't 'elp herself," said Connie. "It's jest this way. They keep her in over hours--they often do that at Cheadle's."

"They 'aven't kep' 'er in to-night," said Giles.

"Then wot 'ave come to her?" "I dunno; only Big Ben----"

"Giles dear, wot _do yer mean?"

"I know," said Giles, with a catch in his voice, "as that blessed Woice comforts me; but there! I must take the rough with the smooth. 'E said w'en last 'e spoke, 'In all their affliction 'E were afflicted.' There now! why did those words sound through the room unless there _is trouble about Sue?"

Connie argued and talked, and tried to cheer the poor little fellow. She saw, however, that he was painfully weak, and when ten o'clock struck from the great clock, and the boy--his nerves now all on edge--caught Connie's hand, and buried his face against it, murmuring, "The Woice has said them words agin," she thought it quite time to fetch a doctor.

"You mustn't go on like this, Giles," she said, "or yer'll be real ill. I'm goin' away, and I'll be back in a minute or two."

She ran downstairs, found a certain Mrs. Nelson who knew both Sue and Giles very well, described the state of the child, and begged of Mrs. Nelson to get the doctor in.

"Wull, now," said that good woman, "ef that ain't wonnerful! Why, Dr. Deane is in the 'ouse this very blessed minute attending on Hannah Blake, wot broke her leg. I'll send him straight up to Giles, Connie, ef yer'll wait there till he comes. Lor, now!" continued Mrs. Nelson, "w'y hever should Sue be so late--and this night, of all nights?"

Connie, very glad to feel that the doctor was within reach, returned to the boy, who now lay with closed eyes, breathing fast. Dr. Deane was a remarkably kind young man. He knew the sorrows of the poor, and they all loved him, and when he saw Giles he bent down over the little fellow and made a careful examination. He then cheered up the boy as best he could, and told him that he would send him a strengthening medicine, also a bottle of port-wine, of which he was to drink some at intervals, and other articles of food.

"Wen 'ull Sue come back?" asked Giles of the doctor.

"Can't tell you that, my dear boy. Your sister may walk in at any minute, but I am sure this little friend will stay with you for the night."

"Yus, if I may let father know," said Connie.

"You mustn't fret, Giles; that would be very wrong," said the doctor. He then motioned Connie on to the landing outside. "The boy is ill," he said, "and terribly weak--he is half-starved. That poor, brave little sister of his does what she can for him, but it is impossible for her to earn sufficient money to give him the food he requires. I am exceedingly sorry for the boy, and will send him over a basket of good things."

"But," said Connie, her voice trembling, "is he wery, wery ill?"

"Yes," said the doctor--"so ill that he'll soon be better. In his case, that is the best sort of illness, is it not? Oh, my child, don't cry!"

"Do yer mean that Giles is goin'--goin' right aw'y?" whispered Connie.

"Right away--and before very long. It's the very best thing that could happen to him. If he lived he would suffer all his life. He won't suffer any more soon. Now go back to him, and cheer him all you can."

Connie did go back. Where had she learnt such wonderful self-control--she who, until all her recent trials, had been rather a selfish little girl, thinking a good deal of her pretty face and beautiful hair, and rebelling when trouble came to her? She had chosen her own way, and very terrible trials had been hers in consequence. She had learned a lesson, partly from Ronald, partly from Big Ben, partly from the words of her little Giles, whom she had loved all her life. For Giles's sake she would not give way now.

"Set you down, Connie--right here," said Giles.

She sat down, and he looked at her.

"Wot do doctor say?" said Giles.

"Oh, that ye're a bit weakly, Giles. He's goin' to send yer a basket o' good wittles."

Giles smiled. Then he held out his shadowy little hand and touched Connie.

"Niver mind," he said softly; "I know wot doctor said."

A heavenly smile flitted over his face, and he closed his eyes.

"It won't be jest yet," he said. "There'll be plenty o' time. Connie, wull yer sing to me?"

"Yus," said Connie, swallowing a lump in her throat.

"Sing ''Ere we suffer.'"

Connie began. How full and rich her voice had grown! She remembered that time when, out in the snow, she had sung--little Ronald keeping her company:

"Here we suffer grief and pain,
Here we meet to part again,
In Heaven we part no more.
Oh! that will be joyful,
When we meet to part no more."

The words of the hymn were sung to the very end, Giles listening in an ecstasy of happiness.

"Now, 'Happy Land,'" he said.

Connie sang:

"There is a Happy Land,
Far, far away,
Where saints in glory stand,
Bright, bright as day."

The second hymn was interrupted by the arrival of a messenger, who brought a bottle of medicine and a large basket. The contents of the basket were laid on the table--a little crisp loaf of new bread, a pat of fresh butter, half a pound of tea, a small can of milk, a pound of sugar, half-a-dozen new-laid eggs, and a chicken roasted whole, also a bottle of port-wine.

"Now then," said Connie, "look, Giles--look!"

The messenger took away the basket. Even Giles was roused to the semblance of appetite by the sight of the tempting food. Connie quickly made tea, boiled an egg, and brought them with fresh bread-and-butter to the child. He ate a little; then he looked up at her.

"You must eat, too, Connie. Why, you _be white and tired!"

Connie did not refuse. She made a small meal, and then, opening the bottle of wine with a little corkscrew which had also been sent, kept the precious liquid in readiness to give to Giles should he feel faint.

Eleven o'clock rang out in Big Ben's great and solemn voice. Connie was very much startled when she heard the great notes; but, to her surprise, Giles did not take any notice. He lay happy, with an expression on his face which showed that his thoughts were far away.

"Connie," he said after a minute, "be yer really meanin' to spend the night with me?"

"Oh yus," said Connie, "ef yer'll 'ave me."

"You've to think of your father, Connie--he may come back. He may miss yer. Yer ought to go back and see him, and leave him a message."

"I were thinking that," said Connie; "and I won't be long. I'll come straight over here the very minute I can, and ef Sue has returned----"

"Sue won't come back--not yet," said Giles.

"Why, Giles--how do you know?"

"Jesus Christ told me jest now through the Woice o' Big Ben," said the boy.

"Oh Giles--wot?"

"'E said, 'Castin' all your care on God, for He careth for you.' I ha' done it, and I'm not frettin' no more. Sue's all right; God's a-takin' care of her. I don't fret for Sue now, no more than I fretted for you. But run along and tell your father, and come back." Connie went.

At this hour of night the slums of Westminster are not the nicest place in the world for so pretty a girl to be out. Connie, too, was known by several people, and although in her old clothes, and with her hair fastened round her head, she did not look nearly so striking as when Mammy Warren had used her as a decoy-duck in order to pursue her pickpocket propensities, yet still her little face was altogether on a different plane from the ordinary slum children.

"W'y, Connie," said a rough woman, "come along into my den an' tell us yer story."

"Is it Connie Harris?" screamed another. "W'y, gel, w'ere hever were yer hall this time? A nice hue and cry yer made! Stop 'ere this minute and tell us w'ere yer ha' been."

"I can't," said Connie. "Giles is bad, and Sue ain't come 'ome. I want jest to see father, and then to go back to Giles. Don't keep me, neighbors."

Now, these rough people--the roughest and the worst, perhaps, in the land--had some gleams of good in them; and little Giles was a person whom every one had a soft word for.

"A pore little cripple!" said the woman who had first spoken.--"Get you along at once, Connie; he's in."

"I be sorry as the cripple's bad, and Sue not returned," cried another. "I 'ope Sue's not kidnapped too. It's awful w'en folks come to kidnappin' one's kids."

While the women were talking Connie made her escape, and soon entered her father's room. She gave a start at once of pleasure and apprehension when she saw him there. Was he drunk? Would he again turn her out into the street? She didn't know--she feared. Peter Harris, however, was sober. That had happened in one short day which, it seemed to him, made it quite impossible for him ever to drink again.

He looked at Connie with a strange nervousness.

"Wull," he said, "you _be late! And 'ow's Giles?"

He did not dare to ask for Sue. His hope--for he had a hope--was that Sue had come back without ever discovering the locket which he had transferred to her pocket. In that case he might somehow manage to get it away again without her knowing anything whatever with regard to his vile conduct. If God was good enough for that, why, then indeed He was a good God, and Harris would follow Him to his dying day. He would go to the preacher and tell him that henceforth he meant to be a religious, church-going man, and that never again would a drop of drink pass his lips. He had spent an afternoon and evening in the most frightful remorse, but up to the present he had not the most remote intention of saving Sue at his own expense. If only she had escaped unsuspected, then indeed he would be good; but if it were otherwise he felt that the very devils of hell might enter into his heart.

"'Ow's Giles? 'Ow did he take yer comin' 'ome again, wench?"

"Oh father," said Connie, panting slightly, and causing the man to gaze at her with wide-open, bloodshot eyes, "Giles is wery, wery bad--I 'ad to send for the doctor. 'E come, and 'e said--ah! 'e said as 'ow little Giles 'ud soon be leavin' us. I can't--can't speak on it!"

Connie sat down and covered her face with her hands. Harris drew a breath at once of relief and suspicion. He was sorry, of course, for little Giles; but then, the kid couldn't live, and he had nothing to do with his death. It was Sue he was thinking about. Of course Sue was there, or Connie would have mentioned the fact of her not having returned home.

Connie wept on, overcome by the strange emotions and experiences through which she had so lately passed.

"Connie," said her father at last, when he could bear the suspense no longer, "Sue must be in great takin'--poor Sue!"

"But, father," said Connie, suddenly suppressing her tears, "that's the most dreadful part of all--Sue ain't there!"

"Not there? Not to 'ome?" thundered Harris.

"No, father--she ha' niver come back. It's goin' on for twelve o'clock--an' Giles expected her soon arter six! She ain't come back, 'ave Sue. Wottever is to be done, father?"

Harris walked to the fire and poked it into a fierce blaze. Then he turned his back on Connie, and began to fumble with his neck-tie, tightening it and putting it in order.

"Father," said Connie.


"Wot are we to do 'bout Sue?"

"She'll be back come mornin'."

"Father," said Connie again, "may I go and spend the night 'long o' Giles? He's too weakly to be left."

"No," said Harris; "I won't leave yer out o' my sight. Ef there's kidnappin' about an' it looks uncommon like it--you stay safe within these four walls."

"But Giles--Giles?" said Connie.

"I'll fetch Giles 'ere."

"Father! So late?"

"Yus--why not? Ef there's kidnappin' about, there's niver any sayin' w'en Sue may be back. I'll go and fetch him now, and you can get that sofy ready for him; he can sleep on it. There--I'm off! Sue--God knows wot's come o' Sue; but Giles, e' sha'n't want."

Harris opened the door, went out, and shut it again with a bang. Connie waited within the room. She was trembling with a strange mixture of fear and joy. How strange her father was--and yet he was good too! He was not drunk to-night. That was wonderful. It was sweet of him to think of bringing Giles to Connie's home, where Connie could look after him and give him the best food, and perhaps save his life. Children as inexperienced as Connie are apt to take a cheerful view even when things are at their lowest. Connie instantly imagined that Giles in his new and far more luxurious surroundings would quickly recover.

She began eagerly to prepare a place for him. She dragged a mattress from her own bed, and managed to put it on the sofa; then she unlocked a trunk which always stood in the sitting-room; she knew where to find the key. This trunk had belonged to her mother, and contained some of that mother's clothing, and also other things.

Connie selected from its depths a pair of thin and very fine linen sheets. These she aired by the fire, and laid them over the mattress when they were quite warm. There was a blanket, white and light and very warm, which was also placed over the linen sheets; and a down pillow was found which Connie covered with a frilled pillow-case; and finally she took out the most precious thing of all--a large crimson and gold shawl, made of fine, fine silk, which her mother used to wear, and which Connie dimly remembered as thinking too beautiful for this world. But nothing was too beautiful for little Giles; and the couch with its crimson covering was all ready for him when Harris reappeared, bearing the boy in his arms.

"I kivered him up with his own blanket," he said, turning to Connie. "Ain't that sofy comfor'ble to look at? You lie on the sofa, sonny, an' then yer'll know wot it be to be well tended."

Little Giles was placed there, and Connie prepared a hot bottle to put to his feet, while Harris returned to the empty room to fetch away the medicine and get the things which Dr. Deane had ordered. He left a message, too, with Mrs. Nelson, telling her what had become of the boy, and asking Dr. Deane to call at his house in the future.

"You be a good man," said Mrs. Nelson in a tone of great admiration. "My word, now! and ain't it lucky for the kid? You be a man o' money, Mr. Harris--he'll want for nothing with you."

"He'll want for nothing no more to the longest day he lives," answered Harris.

"Ah, sir," said Mrs. Nelson, "he--he won't live long; he'll want for nothing any more, sir, in the Paradise of God."

"Shut up!" said Harris roughly. "Ye're all with yer grumblin's and moans jest like other women."

"And what message am I to give to Sue--poor girl--when she comes 'ome?" called Mrs. Nelson after him.

But Harris made no reply to this; only his steps rang out hard and firm and cruel on the frosty ground.

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Sue, A Little Heroine - Chapter 20. Caught Again Sue, A Little Heroine - Chapter 20. Caught Again

Sue, A Little Heroine - Chapter 20. Caught Again
CHAPTER XX. CAUGHT AGAINWhen Connie awoke the next morning, it was to see the ugly face of Agnes bending over her."Stylites is to 'ome," she said briefly. "Yer'd best look nippy and come into the kitchen and 'ave yer brekfus'.""Oh!" said Connie."You'll admire Stylites," continued Agnes; "he's a wery fine man. Now come along--but don't yer keep him waiting."Connie had not undressed. Agnes poured a little water into a cracked basin for her to wash her face and hands, and showed her a comb, by no means specially inviting, with which she could comb out her pretty hair. Then, again enjoining