A Wayside Waif. 13
'Nonsense, Pike; the poor thing is dreadfully ill. She
wants ever so much care and nursing. Just bring her where
I show you.'
Pike took Bess upon his shoulder, as if she had been a
dead fawn, and carried her into ■'^he Castle, following Lucille,
who led the way to a neat little bedchamber at the end of a
long corridor, and very near to her own rooms. It was a
room which was generally given to a visitor's maid, and had
been lately occupied by Lady Carlyon's middle-aged abigail.
Here they laid the half-unconscious girl on the bed. As
her head sank upon the pillow, her eyes closed, and she fell
into a sleep which was almost stupor.
■ Go downstairs and get me a glass of port and a piece of
sponge-cake, Pike. She must have something directly. She
has been starved.'
' Looks rather like it. Lady Lucille. But don't you think
my lord will be angry with me for bringing such oft'al into
the Castle ? She ought to have been took straight off to the
' I will take the responsibility of bringing her here. Pike,'
answered Lady Lucille. ' I : m not afraid of my father
being angry. He is more like the good Samaritan than the
' In course. Lady Lucille ; but you see in those days there
was no Unions; and a gentleman as pays poor rates to the
extent his lordship does wouldn't lay himself out to have
tramps brought into his bedrooms and laid upon his beds.'
' Will you go and get me that w. le, Pike, before this poor
thing dies ? ' asked Lucille piteously; whereuiDon Pike bolted,
like an arrow from a bow.
The ever alert Miss Marjorum, not so deep in Dante's
Inferno as to be beyond earshot of mundane voices, heard
steps in the corridor, and came tripping out to discover
what was happening. She saw Pike's receding figure, and
the half-open door of the bedroom; and she flew to ascer¬
tain the cause of this unwonted violation of the noontide
stillness. Her horror on beholding the figure on the bed,
the limp rag of gown or petticoat, the tattered shawl, the
bandaged, blood-stained foot, reduced her for the moment to
speechlessness. Then her loathing found words, and she
' Lucille, in mercy's name, what is that ?' pointing to the
' A poor girl I found in the wood—dying of hunger and