Fifty-Two Stories For Girls
302 Pages
English
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Fifty-Two Stories For Girls

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302 Pages
English

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Fifty-Two Stories For Girls, by Various
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Title: Fifty-Two Stories For Girls
Author: Various
Editor: Alfred H. Miles
Release Date: July 2, 2008 [EBook #25948]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK FIFTY-TWO STORIES FOR GIRLS ***
Produced by Steven desJardins and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net
THE KING'S TRAGEDY. [See p. 434.
FIFTY-TWO STORIES FOR GIRLS
Edited by ALFRED H. MILES
NEW YORK AND LONDON
D. APPLETON & CO. 1912
Published September, 1905
Printed in the United States of America
TABLE OF AUTHORS.
EVELYN EVERETT-GREEN SARAH DOUDNEY ARMAND CAUMONT ALICE F. JACKSON NELLIE HOLDERNESS MARGARET WATSON JENNIE CHAPPELL MARION DICKEN LUCY HARDY MARIE DELBRASSINE HELEN BOURCHIER NORA RYEMAN KATE GODKIN LUCIE E. JACKSON
MAUD HEIGHINGTON DOROTHY PINHO GORDON STABLES, M.D., R.N. ROBERT OVERTON CLUCAS JOUGHIN ALBERT E. HOOPER CHARLES E. PEARCE S. LE SOTGILLE H. G. BELL THOMAS ARCHER ALFRED G. SAYERS ROBERT GUILLEMARD F. B. FORESTER ALFRED H. MILES
AND OTHER WRITERS.
INDEX.
SCHOOL AND HOME.
SUBJECT GLORIA DENE'S SCHOOLFELLOWS: I. NARDA: THE NIGHTINGALE II. ESTELLA: THE HEIRESS III. MAURA: THE MUNIFICENT IV. MARGOT: THE MARTYR V. IRENE: THE SNOW FLOWER VI. NADINE: THE PRINCESS MY YEAR AT SCHOOL THE SILVER STAR UNCLE TONE A NIGHT ON THE ROAD THE MISSING LETTER "THE COLONEL" NETTIE
AUTHOR Nora Ryeman " " " " " " Margaret Watson Nellie Holderness Kate Godkin Margaret Watson Jennie Chappell Marion Dicken Alfred G. Sayers
PAGE 11 16 22 29 35 39 48 57 67 77 83 93 97
THE MAGIC CABINET
Albert E. Hooper
GIRLHOOD AND YOUTH. ONLY TIMSarah Doudney SMITH'S SISTERRobert Overton THE COLONEL'S BOYH. Hervey 'TWIXT LIFE AND DEATHClucas Joughin ROSE'S BIRTHDAY PRESENTMarie E. C. Delbrassine DOLLY HARDCASTLE'S ROSEBUDSCharles E. Pearce A TALE OF SIMLADr. Helen Bourchier THE TREVERN TREASURELucy Hardy A MEMORABLE DAYSarah Doudney DORAAlfred H. Miles LITTLE PEACENora Ryeman THE STORY OF WASSILI AND DARIARobert Guillemard
PLUCK, PERIL, AND ADVENTURE. Evelyn Everett-Green Gordon Stables, M.D., R.N. Lucie E. Jackson F. B. Forester Alice F. Jackson " Maud Heighington Lucy Hardy Dorothy Pinho Alfred H. Miles Lucie E. Jackson Alfred H. Miles Lucie E. Jackson S. Le Sotgille
MARJORIE MAY FOURTH COUSINS THE PEDLAR'S PACK THE UNBIDDEN GUEST THE WRECK OF THE MAY QUEEN ADRIFT ON THE PACIFIC A STRANGE VISITOR THE THIRD PERSON SINGULAR "HOW JACK MINDED THE BABY" MY GRANDMOTHER'S ADVENTURE A TERRIBLE CHRISTMAS EVE A NIGHT OF HORROR AUNT GRIEVES' SILVER BILLJIM
IN THE WORLD OF FAERY. THE LEGENDS OF LANGAFFERArmand Caumont I. THE TINY FOLK OF LANGAFFER " II. THE KINGFISHER " III. CASPAR THE COBBLER " IV. DAME DOROTHY'S DOG " V. THE LITTLE LOCKSMITH "
ROMANCE IN HISTORY. HOW CICELY DANCED BEFORE THE Thomas Archer KING A MOTHER OF QUEENSFrom "Old Romance" THE STORY OF GRIZEL COCHRANEW. R. C. A WIFE'S STRATAGEMLucy Hardy THE KING'S TRAGEDYAlfred H. Miles THE STRANGERH. G. Bell
103
121 139 148 155 164 171 177 189 196 202 211 215
225
238
245 264 275 285 295 301 307 310 315 326 329 341
353 364 380 391 397
403
410 418 427 434 439
LOVE WILL FIND A WAY
Lady Nithsdale's Records
SCHOOL AND HOME.
GLORIA DENE'S SCHOOLFELLOWS.
BY NORA RYEMAN.
I.—NARDA: THE NIGHTINGALE.
I.
447
"Here you are, miss," said the red-faced cabby, putting his head in at the cab window, "this is Miss Melford's school."
It was a large, many windowed, white house on Hertford Green, in sight of the famous spires of Silverbridge, and was for some six months to be both home and school to me, Gloria Dene.
I was late in my arrival, and I was tired, for I had come all the way from Erlingham in the heart of Norfolk, and moreover, I was hungry, and just a little homesick, and already wanted to return to the old homestead and to Uncle Gervase and Aunt Ducie, who had taken the place of my parents.
The cabman gave a loud rat-a-tat with the lion-headed knocker, and in due course a rosy-faced servant maid opened the door and ushered me in.
Then she preceded me through a broad flagged hall, lit by crimson lamps. And as I went I heard a sweet and thrilling voice singing,
"Home, home, sweet, sweet home, Be it ever so humble there's no place like home."
The words naturally appealed to me, and I exclaimed:
"How lovely! Who is singing?" only to be told that it was Mamselle Narda, the music mistress.
I thought of the nightingale which sang in our rose bush on summer nights at
home, and found myself wondering what Mamselle was like.
The next day I saw her—Bernarda Torres; she was a brown beauty, with dark rippling hair, soft dark eyes, and a richly soft complexion, which put one in mind of a ripe peach on a southern wall.
She was of Spanish extraction, her father (a fruit merchant) hailing from Granada, her mother from Seville. Narda's path had been strewn with roses, until a bank failure interrupted a life of happiness, and then sorrows had come in battalions. Mamselle had really turned her silver notes into silver coins for the sake of "Home, Sweet Home."
This love of home it was which united Narda and myself. She told me all about the house at home, about her brother, Carlos, and his pictures, andmaman, who made point lace, and Olla Podrida, and little Nita, who wasdouce et belle. And I, in my turn, told her of the thatched homestead near the Broads, of the bay and mulberry trees, of Aunt Ducie's sweet kind face, and Uncle Gervase's early silvered hair.
And she called me "little sister," and promised to spend her next vacation where the heron fishes and the robin pipes in fair and fresh East Anglia.
But one May morning, when the lilacs in our playground were full of sweet-scented, purple plumes, a bolt fell from the blue. A letter came to Narda telling her of her mother's failing health, her father's apathy, her brother's despair.
"It is enough," said Mamselle, "I see my duty! An impresario once told me that my destiny was to sing in public. I will do it for 'Home, Sweet Home,' I will be La Narda the singer, instead of Miss Melford's Mamselle. God who helps the blind bird build its nest will help me to save mine."
II.
There had been the first fall of the snow, and "ye Antiente Citie" looked like some town in dreamland, or in fairyland, as Miss Melford's boarders (myself amongst the number) went through its streets and wynds to the ballad concert (in aid of Crumblebolme's Charity), at which Mamselle, then La Narda, the cantatrice, was announced to sing. We were naturally much excited; it seemed, as Ivy Davis remarked, almost as though we were all going to sing in public.
We had front seats, quite near the tapestried platform from whence we took note of the audience.
"Look, look!" whispered Milly Reed eagerly. "The Countess of Jesmond, and the house-party at Coss have come to hearourMamselle. That dark, handsome man next the countess is Count Mirloff, the Russian poet. Just think I——"
What more Milly would have said I really cannot say, for just then there was a soft clapping of hands, and La Narda came down the crimson steps of the Justice Room, and advanced to the footlights.
"She's like a fairy queen! She's just too lovely!" said the irrepressible Ivy. And though Miss Melford shook her head, I am sure she also was of the same
opinion, and was proud of my dear brown nightingale.
Thepetitefigure was robed in white silk, trimmed with frosted leaves and pink roses, and wore a garland of the same on her dark bright head.
"Tell me, thou bonnie bird, When shall I marry me? When three braw gentlemen Churchward shall carry ye,"
sang the sweet full voice, and we listened entranced. The next song was "Robin Adair."
Then came an encore, and as Narda acknowledged it, an accident occurred which (as the newspapers say) might have had a fatal termination.
A flounce of the singer's dress touched the footlights, and the flame began to creep upwards like a snake of fire.
Narda glanced downward, drew back, and was about to try to crush it out with her hands, when in less time than it takes to tell it, the Russian gentleman sprang forward, wrapped his fur-lined coat about her, and extinguished the flame.
The poet had saved the nightingale, and Miss Melford's romantic girls unanimously resolved "that he ought to marry her."
III.
And he did shortly after. Our some time music-teacher who was good enough for any position became agrande damewith a mansion in St. Petersburg, and a country house in Livania. She went to balls at the Winter Palace, and was present at all the court ceremonies.
Yet was she still our Narda, she sent us girls presents of Viennese bonbons and French fruit, bought brother Carlo's paintings, sentpetiteNita as a boarder to Miss Melford's, and studied under a greatmaestro.
When a wee birdie came into the Russian nest she named it Endora Gloria, and her happiness and my pride were complete.
Then came a great—a terrible blow. The count, whose opinions were liberal, was accused of being implicated in a revolutionary rising. He was cast into prison, and sent to the silver mines to work in the long underground passages for twenty years.
Ivy Davis, who was very romantic, was grievously disappointed because the countess returned to her profession instead of sharing her husband's exile. But there came a day and an hour when she honoured as well as loved the cantatrice; for she with Heaven's help freed the count, and obtained his pardon from the Czar—she herself shall tell you how she gained it.
Read the letter she sent to me:—
"Gloria, Alexis is free; he is nursing Endora as I write.
"When the officers took him from me I felt half mad, and knew not where to go.
"One morning as I knelt by my little one's white bed an inspiration came; over the mantel was a picture of 'The Good Shepherd,' and I clasped my hands, and cried aloud:
"'O bon Pasteur, help me to free Thy sheep.'
"And lo, a voice seemed to answer: 'Daughter, use the talent that you have.'
"I rose from my knees knowing what course to pursue. I sought new opportunities for the display of my one talent, I was more than successful, I became Narda the prima donna, and won golden guineas and opinions.
"At last came my opportunity. I was to sing at Bayreuth in Wagner's glorious opera, I was to sing the Swan Song, and the Czar was to be present.
"The house was crowded, there was row upon row, tier after tier of faces, but I saw one only—that of the Czar in his box.
"I stood there before the footlights in shining white, and sang my song.
"The heavenly music rose and fell, died away and rose again, and I sang as I had never done before. I sang for home, love, and child.
"When the curtain fell the Czar sent for me and complimented me graciously, offering me a diamond ring which I gratefully refused.
"'Sire,' I said, 'I ask for a gift more costly still.'
"'Is it,' he asked, 'a necklace?'
"'No, sire, it is my husband's pardon. Give my little daughter her father back.'
"He frowned, hesitated, then said that he would inquire into the matter.
"Gloria, he did, God be praised! The evidence was sifted, much of it was found to be false. The pardon was made out. Your nightingale had sung with her breast against a thorn, 'her song had been a prayer which Heaven itself had heard.'"
II—ESTELLA: THE HEIRESS.
Her Christian name Estella Marie, her starry eyes and pale, earnest face, and her tall, lissom figure were the only beautiful things about Estella Keed. Everything else, dress, home, appointments, were exceeding plain. For her grandfather in whose house she lived was, though reputedly wealthy, a miserly man.
He lived in a large and antique house, with hooded windows, in Mercer's Lane, and was a dealer in antiques and curios. And his popular sobriquet was Simon the Saver (Anglicè, miser).
Stella was the only child of his only son, a clever musician, who had allied himself with a troupe of wandering minstrels, and married a Spaniard attached to the company, and who, when he followed his wife into the silent land, bequeathed his little girl to his father, beseeching him to overlook the estrangement of years, and befriend the orphan child. She inherited her name Estella from her Spanish mother, but they called her Molly in her new home—it was part of her discipline.
Simon Keed had accepted, and fulfilled the trust in his own peculiar way. That is to say, he had sheltered, fed, and clothed Estella, and after some years' primary instruction in a elementary school, had sent her to Miss Melford's to complete her studies.
Farther than this he had not gone, for she was totally without a proper outfit. In summer her patched and faded print frocks presented a pathetic contrast to the pink and blue cambrics, and floral muslins, of the other girls; and in winter, when velvets and furs were in evidence, the contrast made by her coarse plain serge, and untrimmed cape of Irish frieze, was quite as strong; indeed, her plainness was more than Quakerish, it was Spartan, she was totally destitute of the knicknacks so dear to the girlish heart, and though she had grown used to looking at grapes like Reynard in the fable, I am sure she often felt the sting of her grandfather's needless, almost cruel, economy. This was evidenced by what was ever after spoken of by us girls as the garden-party episode.
Near the old city was a quaint and pretty village, one famed in local history as having in "teacup," Georgian, times been honoured by a visit by Mrs. Hannah More, who described it as Arcadian.
It had a fine, well-timbered park, full of green hollows in which grew the "'rath primrose," and which harboured a large, Jacobean mansion, occupied, at the period of this story, by Dr. Tempest as a Boys' Preparatory School, and as Mrs. Tempest was an old friend of Miss Melford's, the senior pupils (both boarders and day scholars) were always invited to their annual garden- or breaking-up party, which was held in the lovely park.
Stella, as one of the senior girls, was duly invited; but no one deemed that she would accept the invitation, because her grandfather had been heard to say that education was one thing, and frivolity another.
"I supposeyouwon't go to the party," said impulsive Ivy Davis, and Estella had answered with a darkened face:
"I cannot say. When I'm not here I have to stay in that gloomy old house, like a mouse in its hole. But if I can go anyhow, Ivy, I shall, you may depend upon that."
Then we heard no more about the matter until the eventful day, when, to our surprise, Estella presented herself with the other day scholars, in readiness to go.
"Look, Gloria, look," said Ivy, in a loud whisper, as we filed through the hall, "Stella's actually managed to come, and to make herself presentable.However did she do it?"
"Hush," I whispered back, but, all the same, I also marvelled at the girl's
appearance.
Her heliotrope and white muslin skirt was somewhat faded, it was true, but still, it was good material, and was pretty. The same could be said of her cream blouse. The marvel and the mystery lay in hat, necklet, and shoes.
The hat was of burnt straw, broad brimmed, low crowned, and of the previous summer's fashion. It was simply trimmed with a garland or band of dull black silk, and large choux of the same, all of which might have been fresher; but in front was an antique brooch, or buckle, of pale pink coral and gold, which was at once beautiful and curiously inconsistent with the rest of the costume. Round Estella's throat was a lovely gold and coral necklace, and her small, worn shoes boasted coral and gold buckles. She had got a coral set from somewhere, where and how we all wondered.
Even Miss Melford was astonished and impressed by Estella's unwonted splendour, for touching the necklet, I overheard her say:
"Very pretty, my dear! Your grandfather, I presume, gave you the set? Very kind of him!"
Stella, with a flushed face, replied:
"He did not give it, ma'am," and the matter dropped.
Miss Melford and I presumed that Mr. Keed had simply lent his grand-daughter the articles—which likely enough belonged to his stock of antiquities—for the day.
It was a delightful fête—one of those bright and happy days which are shining milestones along the road of life. The peacocks strutted about on the terrace and made us laugh when they spread out their tails. We ate strawberries and cream under the elms, played all kinds of outdoor games on the greensward, and when we were tired rested in the cool, pot-pourri scented parlours.
I am of opinion that Estella enjoyed herself as much as any of us, though she became strangely quiet and downcast on our way home. But, as Ivy truly remarked, it was not to be wondered at; the fairy palace was left behind, and the rôle of Cinderella awaited her on the morrow.
Upon the day succeeding the party, we broke up. I went home to spend the vacation with my uncle and aunt, and when I returned to school I found as usual, on reassembling, that there were a few vacant places, amongst them that of Estella Keed. I wondered how this was, though I did not presume to question Miss Melford on the subject; but one autumn morning, when passing through Mercer's Lane, I came across Estella. She looked shabby and disconsolate, in her faded gown and worn headgear, and I asked her if she had been unwell.
"Oh dear no," was the response, "only very dull. I never go anywhere, or see any one—how can I help being so? I am only Molly now. No one calls me by my beautiful mother's name, Estella. I want to learn to be a typewriter, or something, and go and live in a big city, but grandpa says I must wait, and then he'll see about it! I detest this horrid lane!" she added passionately.
I looked down the long, mediæval street, with its gabled houses, and then at the
old church tower (round which the birds were circling in the distance), and replied with truth that it was picturesque, and carried one back into the storied past.
"I am tired of the past—it's all past at ours—the jewels have been worn by dead women, the old china, and bric-à-brac, has stood in empty houses! It's all of the dead and gone. So is the house, all the rooms are old. I should like to live in a new house."
"Perhaps you want a change?" I said. "Why don't you come back to school?"
She shook her head, and glanced away from me—up at the old Gothic church tower, and then said hurriedly:
"I must hurry on now, Gloria—I am wanted—at home."
One December evening not long after, during Miss Melford's hour with us, at recreation, she said:
"Young ladies, you will be pleased to hear that your old schoolmate, Estella Keed, returns to us to-morrow."
On the morrow Estella came, but how different was she from the old and the former Estella!
She wore a suitable and becoming costume of royal blue, and was a beautiful and pleasant looking girl! Her own natural graces had their own proper setting. It seemed indeed as if all things had become new to her, as if she lived and breathed in a fresher and fairer world than of yore!
Perhaps because I had been sympathetic in the hour of trouble, she attached herself to me, and one day, during recess, she told me why she had been temporarily withdrawn from school.
"Gloria," she said, "grandfather never gave me his permission to go to the garden-party—indeed, I never asked for it, for I was quite sure that he would not give it.
"But I meant to go all the same, and persuaded Mrs. Mansfield, the housekeeper, to help me. She it was who altered and did up an old gown of mother's for me to wear. But without the coral set I should not have been able to go; for, as you know, I had no adornments. I'd often seen them when on sale and wished for them; but I knew that they would neither be given nor lent for the party.
"Then Fate, as it seemed, befriended me; my grandfather had to go to London about some curios on the date fixed for the party, and I determined to borrow the set and make myself look presentable. All I had to do was to go to the window and take them out of their satin-lined case.
"I hoped to replace them before my grandfather returned from town, but when I got home from the fête I found that he had returned by an earlier and quicker train than he himself had expected to. He looked at me from head to foot, then touched the necklace and the clasp, and demanded of me sternly where I had been.