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Little Folks (November 1884) A Magazine for the Young   By:

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Transcriber's Note: Phrases printed in italics in the original version are indicated in this electronic version by (underscore). A list of amendments are given at the end of the book.


A Magazine for the Young.







By the Author of "Pen's Perplexities," "Margaret's Enemy," "Maid Marjory," &c.



"What is the meaning of this this gross outrage?" stammered Grandpapa Donaldson, growing very red and angry. "By what right do you molest peaceful travellers? Go on, my dear," he added, addressing Mrs. Donaldson. "You and Effie go on; I will join you directly."

"We will wait for you, father," Mrs. Donaldson said, in a sweet, pensive voice. "What do these gentlemen want?"

"You cannot leave the carriage, madam," one of the men said, placing himself firmly against the door, and drawing a paper from his pocket. "I hold here a warrant for the apprehension of John and Lucy Murdoch, who put up last night at the 'Royal Hotel' at Edinburgh, and engaged a first class compartment by the Scotch morning express."

"You are making a mistake," Mrs. Donaldson said quietly. "Our name is not Murdoch."

"A mistake you will have to pay dearly for!" the old gentleman cried irascibly. "It is preposterous, perfectly preposterous!"

Elsie stood by, listening with all her ears, quite unable to understand the meaning of this strange scene, any more than that old Mr. Donaldson was evidently very annoyed and angry about it. When the words "John and Lucy Murdoch" fell on her ear, she gave a little start, for Meg's remarks came back to her mind, filling her with curiosity. Fortunately, no one was observing her, and her momentary confusion passed unobserved in the gloom of the carriage. Not for worlds would she have betrayed Meg.

"Effie dear," Mrs. Donaldson said sweetly, "have you the book grandpapa gave you, and my umbrella?"

"Yes, mamma; here they are," Elsie returned, as readily as she could. Never before had it seemed so difficult to bring out the word "mamma" naturally.

It was the answer that Mrs. Donaldson wanted.

"Then we are quite ready," she returned. "Please do not detain us any longer than you are obliged," she said haughtily to the man who held the carriage door; "my little girl is very tired."

"Sorry for that," the stranger said, eyeing Elsie curiously. The officer had been examining the various items of luggage, peering under the seats, taking stock of everything. They seemed a trifle undecided about something, Elsie thought.

When the man had completed his search, he turned to Elsie. "What is your name, my little girl?" he asked kindly, but with his eyes fixed upon her face.

"Effie Donaldson," Elsie replied, not daring for Duncan's sake to speak the truth.

"How long have you known this lady?" he asked.

"It is mamma," Elsie answered, slowly and timidly, "and my Grandpapa Donaldson."

The man said a few words in a low tone to the other, and then turned again to the old gentleman.

"I am sorry to be obliged to detain you," he said, more respectfully than he had hitherto spoken. "My directions are to take into custody a lady and gentleman travelling from Edinburgh in a specially engaged compartment. The little girl is not mentioned in my warrant, but I regret that she must be included. No doubt you will be able to set it straight. I advise you to come quietly, and then no force will be used."

"Come quietly, indeed! I refuse to come at all!" the old gentleman exclaimed. "You are exceeding your authority, and will get yourself into trouble. Read me your warrant."

Elsie listened silently while the officer read out something about a lady dressed as a widow passing under the name of Thwaites, and a gentleman, calling himself her brother, who had left the "Royal Hotel" that morning, and travelled to London in a specially engaged carriage... Continue reading book >>

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