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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesOutpost, Or Dora Darling And Little Sunshine - Chapter VII - TEDDY'S LITTLE SISTER
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Outpost, Or Dora Darling And Little Sunshine - Chapter VII - TEDDY'S LITTLE SISTER Post by :kellymonaghan Category :Long Stories Author :Jane Goodwin Austin Date :January 2011 Read :3385

Click below to download : Outpost, Or Dora Darling And Little Sunshine - Chapter VII - TEDDY'S LITTLE SISTER (Format : PDF)

Outpost, Or Dora Darling And Little Sunshine - Chapter VII - TEDDY'S LITTLE SISTER

"THERE, honey!" said Mrs. Ginniss, giving the last rub to the
shirt-bosom she was polishing, and setting her flat-iron back on the
stove with a smack,--"there, honey; and I couldn't have done better
by that buzzum if ye'd been the Prisidint."

Mrs. Ginniss was alone, so that one might at first have been a
little puzzled to know whom she addressed as "honey;" but as she
continued to talk while unfolding another shirt, and laying it upon
her ironing-board, it became evident that she was addressing the
absent owner of the garments.

"And sure it's many a maner man they've made their prisidints out
on, and sorra a better one they'd find betune here and Canady. It's
yees that have the free hand and the kind way wid yees, for all your
grand looks. The good Lord save and keep ye all the days of yer
life!"

A wrinkle in the wristband here absorbed the attention of the
laundress; and, while smoothing it out, she forgot to continue what
she had been saying, but, as she once more ironed briskly upon the
sleeve, began upon a new subject.

"And it's late ye're agin, Teddy Ginniss, bad 'cess to yees! And
thin it's mesilf that should take shame for saying it; for niver a
b'y of them all is so good to his ould mother, and niver a one of
'em all that his mother's got so good a right to be proud on, as
Ted. But where is the cratur? His supper's cowld as charity wid
stannin."

At this moment a heavy step was heard upon the stairs, as of some
one climbing slowly up with a heavy burden in his arms. Mrs. Ginniss
paused to listen, holding the iron suspended over the collar she had
just smoothed ready for it.

"Murther an' all!" muttered she. "And what's the crather got wid him
anyhow? Shure an it's him; for, if it wor Jovarny with his orgin,
he'd ha' stopped below."

The heavy steps reached the top of the stairs as she spoke, and
clumped along the narrow passage to the door of Mrs. Ginniss's
garret. She was already holding it open.

"Teddy, b'y, an' is it yersilf?" asked she, peering out into the
darkness.

"Yes, mother, its meself," panted a boy's voice, as a stout young
fellow, about fifteen years old, staggered into the room, and sank
upon a chair.

"Saints an' angels, child! and what have ye got there?" exclaimed
his mother, bending over the something that filled Teddy's arms and
lap.

"It's a little girl, mother; and I'm feared she's dead!" panted
Teddy.

"A little girl, an' she's dead! Oh, wurra, wurra, Teddy Ginniss,
that iver I should be own mother to a murderer! An' is it yersilf
that kilt the purty darlint?"

"Meself, mother!" exclaimed the boy indignantly. "Sure and it
wasn't; and I wouldn't 'a thought you'd have needed to ask. I found
her on a doorstep in Tanner's Court: and first I thought she was
asleep, and so I shook her to tell her to go home before the Charley
got her; and then, when she wouldn't wake up, I saw she was either
fainted or dead; and I fetched her home to you,--and it's you that
go for to call me a murtherer! Oh, oh!"

As he uttered these last sounds, the boy's wide mouth puckered up in
a comical look of distress, and he rubbed the cuff of his jacket
across his blinking eyes. Mrs. Ginniss gave him a slap, on the
shoulder, intended to be playful, but actually heavy enough to have
thrown a slighter person out of the chair.

"Whisht, honey, whisht!" said she. "And it's an ould fool I am wid
me fancies an' me frights. But let us looks at the poor little
crather ye've brought home to me. Sure and it was like yees, Teddy,
b'y."

As she spoke, she took from Teddy's arms the little lifeless form,
with its pale, still face, and laid it gently upon her own bed.

"Oh thin! an' it's a shame to see the party darlint lay like that
and I'm 'feared, unless the breath's in her yet, she's dead
intirely," muttered the good woman, rubbing the little hands in her
own, and gently feeling for the beating of the heart.

"Maybe it's only the cold and the hunger that's ailing her, and
she'll come to with the fire and vittels. She can have my supper and
my breakfast too, and a welcome with it," said Teddy eagerly.

"The cowld, maybe, it is; for her clothes is nixt to nothing, an'
the flesh of her's like a stone wid the freezing: but she's got
enough to ate, or she never'd be so round an' plump. It's like she's
the child of some beggar-woman that's fed her on broken vittels,
an', whin she got tired ov trampin' wid her, jist dropped her on the
doorstep where yees got her.--Howly mother! what's this?"

Mrs. Ginniss, as she spoke, had taken the little lifeless form upon
her lap close to the stove, and was undressing it, when, among the
folds of the old shawl crossed over the bosom, she found a bracelet
of coral cameos, set in gold, and fastened with a handsome clasp.

She held it up, stared at it a moment, and then looked anxiously at
Teddy.

"An' where did this splindid armlit come from, Teddy Ginniss?" asked
she sharply.

"Sorra a bit of me knows, thin; an' is it a thafe ye'll be callin'
me as well as a murtherer!" exclaimed the boy, falling, in his
agitation, into the Irish brogue he was generally so careful to
avoid.

"Whisht, ye spalpeen! an' lave it on the mantletry till we see if
the breath's in her yit. Sure an' sich a little crather niver could
have stole it."

Teddy, with an air of dignified resentment, took the bracelet from
his mother's hand, and laid it upon the mantlepiece; while Mrs.
Ginniss, with a troubled look upon her broad face, finished
stripping the little form, and began rubbing it all over with her
warm hands.

"Power some warm wather into the biggest wash-tub, Teddy, an' I'll
thry puttin' her in it. It's what the Yankee doctor said to do wid
yees, whin yees had fits; an' it niver did no harm, anyways."

"Is it a fit she's got?" asked Teddy, with a look of awe upon his
face.

"The good Lord knows what's she's got, or who she is. Mabbe the good
folk put her where yees got her. Niver a beggar-brat before had a
skin so satin-smooth, an' hands an' feet like rose-leaves and milk.
An' look how clane she is from head to heel! Niver a corpse ready
for the wakin' was nater."

"The water's ready now," said Teddy, pushing the tub close to his
mother's side, and then walking away to the window. For some
moments, the gentle plashing of the water was the only sound he
heard; but then his mother hastily exclaimed,--

"Glory be to God an' to his saints! The purty crather's alive, and
lookin' at me wid the two blue eyes av her like a little angel! Han'
me the big tow'l till I rub her dhry."

Teddy ran with the towel; and as his mother hastily wrapped her
little charge in her apron, and reseated herself before the fire, he
caught sight of two great bright eyes staring up at him, and
joyfully cried,--

"She's alive, she's alive! and she'll be my little sister, and we'll
keep her always, won't we, mother?"

"Wait, thin, till we see if it's here she is in the morning, said
his mother mysteriously.

"And where else would she be, if not here?" asked Teddy in surprise.

"If it war the good folks, Meaning the fairies, whom the Irish
people call by this name. that browt her, it's they that will
fetch her away agin 'fore the daylight. Wait till mornin', Teddy
darlint."

But, in spite of her suspicions, Mrs. Ginniss did all for the little
stranger that she could have done for her own child, even to heating
and giving to her the cupful of milk reserved for her own "tay"
during the next day, and warming her in her own bosom all through
the long, cold night.

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