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HOME > Short Stories > The Children's Pilgrimage > CHAPTER XI. A MONTH TO PREPARE.
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 Mr. Preston's visits were now supposed to have ceased. But the next afternoon, when Lydia was busy in the dairy, he came again to the farm.  
He came now with both important and unpleasant tidings.
The heir in Australia had telegraphed: "He was not coming back to England. Everything was to be sold; farm and all belongings to it were to be got rid of as quickly as possible."
Lydia clasped her hands in dismay at these tidings. No time for any more saving, no time for any more soft living, for the new owners of Warren's Grove would be very unlikely to need her services.
"And there is another thing, Mrs. Purcell," continued the lawyer, "which I confess grieves me even more than this. I have heard from France. I had a letter this morning."
"There was no check in it, I warrant," said Lydia.
"No, I am sorry to tell you there was no check in it. The children's cousin in France refuses to pay any more money to them. He says their father is dead, and the children have no claim; besides, the vineyard has been doing badly the last two years, and he considers that he has given quite enough for it already; in short, he refuses to allow another penny to these poor little orphans."
"But my sister Grace, the children's stepmother, said there was a regular deed for this money," said Lydia. "She had it, and I believe it is in an old box of hers upstairs. If there is a deed, could not the man be forced to pay, Mr. Preston?"
"We could go to law with him, certainly; but the difficulty of a lawsuit between a Frenchman and an English court would be immense; the issue would be doubtful, and the sum not worth the risk. The man owes four fifties, that is two hundred pounds; the whole of that sum would be expended on the lawsuit. No; I fear we shall gain nothing by that plan."
"Well, of course I am sorry for the children," said Lydia Purcell, "but it is nothing to me. I must take steps to get them into the workhouse at once; as it is, I have been at considerable loss by them."
"Mrs. Purcell, believe me, that loss you will never feel; it will be something to your credit at the right side of the balance some day. And now tell me how much the support of the little ones costs you here."
Lydia considered, resting her chin thoughtfully on her hand.
"They have the run of the place," she said. "In a big place like this 'tis impossible, however careful you may be, not to have odds and ends and a little waste; the children eat up the odds and ends. Yes; I suppose they could be kept here for five shillings a week each."
"That is half a sovereign between them. Mrs. Purcell, you are sure to remain at Warren's Grove for another month; while you are here I will be answerable for the children; I will allow them five shillings a week each—you understand?"
"Yes, I understand," said Lydia, "and I'm sure they ought to be obliged to you, Mr. Preston. But should I not take steps about the workhouse?"
"I will take the necessary steps when the time comes. Leave the matter to me."
That evening Lydia called Cecile to her side.
"Look here, child, you have got a kind friend in Mr. Preston. He is going to support you both here for a month longer. It is very good of him, for you are nothing, either of you, but little beggar brats, as your cousin in France won't send any more money."
"Our cousin in France won't send any more money!" repeated Cecile. Her face grew very pale, her eyes fell to the ground; in a moment she raised them.
"Where are we to go at the end of the month, Aunt Lydia Purcell?"
"To the workhouse."
"You said before it was............
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