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A Little Rebel A Novel   By: (1855?-1897)

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A LITTLE REBEL

A NOVEL

BY THE DUCHESS

Author of "Her Last Throw," "April's Lady," "Faith and Unfaith," etc., etc.

Montreal: JOHN LOVELL & SON, 23 St. Nicholas Street.

Entered according to Act of Parliament in the year 1891, by John Lovell & Son, in the office of the Minister of Agriculture and Statistics at Ottawa.

A LITTLE REBEL.

CHAPTER I.

"Perplex'd in the extreme."

"The memory of past favors is like a rainbow, bright, vivid and beautiful."

The professor, sitting before his untasted breakfast, is looking the very picture of dismay. Two letters lie before him; one is in his hand, the other is on the table cloth. Both are open; but of one, the opening lines that tell of the death of his old friend are all he has read; whereas he has read the other from start to finish, already three times. It is from the old friend himself, written a week before his death, and very urgent and very pleading. The professor has mastered its contents with ever increasing consternation.

Indeed so great a revolution has it created in his mind, that his face (the index of that excellent part of him) has, for the moment, undergone a complete change. Any ordinary acquaintance now entering the professor's rooms (and those acquaintances might be whittled down to quite a little few), would hardly have known him. For the abstraction that, as a rule, characterizes his features the way he has of looking at you, as if he doesn't see you, that harasses the simple, and enrages the others is all gone! Not a trace of it remains. It has given place to terror, open and unrestrained.

"A girl!" murmurs he in a feeble tone, falling back in his chair. And then again, in a louder tone of dismay "A girl !" He pauses again, and now again gives way to the fear that is destroying him "A grown girl!"

After this, he seems too overcome to continue his reflections, so goes back to the fatal letter. Every now and then, a groan escapes him, mingled with mournful remarks, and extracts from the sheet in his hand

"Poor old Wynter! Gone at last!" staring at the shaking signature at the end of the letter that speaks so plainly of the coming icy clutch that should prevent the poor hand from forming ever again even such sadly erratic characters as these. "At least," glancing at the half read letter on the cloth " this tells me so. His solicitor's, I suppose. Though what Wynter could want with a solicitor Poor old fellow! He was often very good to me in the old days. I don't believe I should have done even as much as I have done, without him.... It must be fully ten years since he threw up his work here and went to Australia! ... ten years. The girl must have been born before he went," glances at letter "'My child, my beloved Perpetua, the one thing on earth I love, will be left entirely alone. Her mother died nine years ago. She is only seventeen, and the world lies before her, and never a soul in it to care how it goes with her. I entrust her to you (a groan). To you I give her. Knowing that if you are living, dear fellow, you will not desert me in my great need, but will do what you can for my little one.'"

"But what is that?" demands the professor, distractedly. He pushes his spectacles up to the top of his head, and then drags them down again, and casts them wildly into the sugar bowl. "What on earth am I to do with a girl of seventeen? If it had been a boy! even that would have been bad enough but a girl! And, of course I know Wynter he has died without a penny. He was bound to do that, as he always lived without one. Poor old Wynter!" as if a little ashamed of himself. "I don't see how I can afford to put her out to nurse." He pulls himself up with a start. "To nurse! a girl of seventeen! She'll want to be going out to balls and things at her age."

As if smitten to the earth by this last awful idea, he picks his glasses out of the sugar and goes back to the letter... Continue reading book >>




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