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Beechcroft at Rockstone   By: (1823-1901)

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Charlotte M Yonge


'A telegram! Make haste and open it, Jane; they always make me so nervous! I believe that is the reason Reginald always will telegraph when he is coming,' said Miss Adeline Mohun, a very pretty, well preserved, though delicate looking lady of some age about forty, as her elder sister, brisk and lively and some years older, came into the room.

'No, it is not Reggie. It is from Lily. Poor Lily! Jasper accident Come.'

'Poor dear Lily! Is it young Jasper or old Jasper, I wonder?'

'If it were young Jasper she would have put Japs. I am afraid it is her husband. If so, she will be going off to him. I must catch the 11.20 train. Will you come, Ada?'

'Oh no; I should be knocked up, and on your hands. The suspense is bad enough at home.'

'If it is old Jasper, we shall see in the paper to day. I will send it down to you from the station. Supposing it is Sir Jasper, and she wants to go out to him, we must take in some of the children.'

'Oh! Dear little Primrose would be nice enough, but what should we do with that Halfpenny woman? If we had the other girls, I suppose they would be at school all day; but surely some might go to Beechcroft. And mind, Jane, I will not have you overtasking yourself! Do not take any of them without having Gillian to help you. That I stipulate.'

Jane Mohun seemed as if she did not hear as these sentences were uttered at intervals, while she stood dashing off postcards at her davenport. Then she said, on her way to the door

'Don't expect me to night. I will send Fanny to ask one of the Wellands to come in to you, and telegraph if I bring any one home with me.'

'But, Jane dear '

However, the door was shut, and by the time Miss Adeline had reached her sister's room, the ever ready bag was nearly packed.

'I only wanted to say, dear Jane, that you must give my love to dear Lily. I am grieved grieved for her; but indeed you must not undertake anything rash.' (A shake of the head, as the shoes went into their neat bag.) 'Do not let her persuade you to stay at Silverfold in her absence. You cannot give up everything here'

'Yes, yes, Ada, I know it does not suit you. Never fear.'

'It is not that, but you are much too useful here to drop everything, especially now every one is away. I would willingly sacrifice myself, but '

'Yes, I know, Ada dear. Now, good bye, and take care of yourself, and don't be nervous. It may mean only that young Japs has twisted his little finger.'

And with a kiss, Miss Mohun ran downstairs as fast and lightly as if her years had been half their amount, and accomplished her orders to Fanny otherwise Mrs. Mount a Beechcroft native, who, on being left a widow, had returned to her former mistresses, bringing with her a daughter, who had grown up into an efficient housemaid. After a few words with her, Miss Mohun sped on, finding time at the station to purchase a morning paper just come down, and to read among the telegrams

'COLOMBO, Sept. 3rd. 'Lieutenant General Sir Jasper Merrifield, G.C.B., has been thrown from his horse, and received severe injuries.'

She despatched this paper to her sister by a special messenger, whom she had captured by the way, and was soon after in the train, knitting and pondering.

At Silverton station she saw the pony carriage, and in it her niece Gillian, a girl not quite seventeen, with brown eyes showing traces of tears.

'Mamma knew you would come,' she said.

'You have heard direct, of course.'

'Yes; Claude telegraphed. The horse fell over a precipice. Papa's leg and three ribs are broken. Not dangerous. That is all it says; and mamma is going out to him directly.'

'I was quite sure she would. Well, Gillian, we must do the best we can. Has she any plans?'

'I think she waited for you to settle them... Continue reading book >>

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