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Hetty Gray Nobody's Bairn   By: (1841-1921)

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First Page:

HETTY GRAY

or, Nobody's Bairn

by

ROSA MULHOLLAND (LADY GILBERT)

CONTENTS

I. FOUR YEARS OLD

II. UNDER THE HORSES' FEET

III. ADOPTED

IV. MRS. KANE IN TROUBLE

V. A LONELY CHILD

VI. HETTY AND HER "COUSINS"

VII. HETTY'S FIRST LESSONS

VIII. HETTY DESOLATE

IX. WHAT TO DO WITH HER?

X. THE NEW HOME

XI. HETTY TURNS REBEL

XII. A COTTAGE CHILD AGAIN

XIII. A TRICK ON THE GOVERNESS

XIV. HETTY'S CONSTANCY

XV. THE CHILDREN'S DANCE

XVI. A TRIAL OF PATIENCE

XVII. HETTY'S FUTURE IS PLANNED

XVIII. REINE GAYTHORNE

XIX. IF SHE WAS DROWNED, HOW CAN SHE BE HETTY?

XX. HAPPY HETTY

CHAPTER I.

FOUR YEARS OLD.

In all England there is not a prettier village than Wavertree. It has no streets; but the cottages stand about the roads in twos and threes, with their red tiled roofs, and their little gardens, and hedges overrun with flowering weeds. Under a great sycamore tree at the foot of a hill stands the forge, a cave of fire glowing in the shadows, a favourite place for the children to linger on their way to school, watching the smith hammering at his burning bars, and hearing him ring his cheery chimes on the anvil. Who shall say what mystery surrounds the big smith, as he strides about among his fires, to the wide bright eyes that peer in at him from under baby brows, or what meanings come out of his clinking music to four year old or eight year old ears?

Little Hetty was only four years old when she stood for five or ten minutes of one long summer day looking in at the forge, and watching and listening with all the energy that belonged to her. She had a little round pink face with large brown eyes as soft as velvet, and wide open scarlet lips. Her tiny pink calico frock was clean and neat, and her shoes not very much broken, though covered with dust. Altogether Hetty had the look of a child who was kindly cared for, though she had neither father nor mother in the world.

Two or three great strong horses, gray and bay, with thick manes and tails, came clattering up to the door of the forge, a man astride on one of them. Hetty knew the horses, which belonged to Wavertree Hall, and were accustomed to draw the long carts which brought the felled trees out of the woods to the yard at the back of the Hall. Hetty once had thought that the trees were going to be planted again in Mrs. Enderby's drawing room, and had asked why the pretty green leaves had all been taken off. She was four years old now, however, and she knew that the trees were to be chopped up for firewood. She clapped her hands in delight as the great creatures with their flowing manes came trotting up with their mighty hoofs close to her little toes.

"You little one, run away," cried the man in care of the horses; and Hetty stole into the forge and stood nearer to the fire than she had ever dared to do before.

"Hallo!" shouted Big Ben the smith; "if this mite hasn't got the courage of ten! Be off, you little baggage, if you don't want to have those pretty curls o' yours singed away as bare as a goose at Michaelmas! As for sparks in your eyes, you sha'n't have 'em, for you don't want 'em. Eyes are bright enough to light up a forge for themselves."

"Aye," said the carter, "my missus and I often say she's too pretty a one for the likes of us to have the bringing up of on our hands. And she's a rare one for havin' her own way, she is. Just bring her out by the hand, will you, Ben, while I keep these horses steady till she gets away?"

Big Ben led the little maid outside the forge, and said, "Now run away and play with the other children"; and then he went back to set about the shoeing of John Kane's mighty cart horses, or rather the cart horses of Mr. Enderby of Wavertree Hall.

Little Hetty, thus expelled, dared not return to the forge, but she walked backwards down the road, gazing at the horses as long as she could see them. She loved the great handsome brutes, and if she had had her will would have been sitting on one of their backs with her arms around his neck... Continue reading book >>




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