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HOME > Short Stories > The Children's Pilgrimage > CHAPTER XII. THE CUPBOARD IN THE WALL.
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 But poor Cecile had greater anxieties than the fear of her journey before her.  
Mrs. D'Albert—when she gave her that Russia-leather purse—had said to her solemnly, and with considerable fear:
"Keep it from Lydia Purcell. Let Lydia know nothing about it, for Lydia loves money so well that no earthly consideration would make her spare you. Lydia would take the money, and all my life-work, and all your hope of finding Lovedy, would be at an end."
This, in substance, was Mrs. D'Albert's speech; and Cecile had not been many hours in Lydia Purcell's company without finding out how true those words were.
Lydia loved money beyond all other things. For money she would sell right, nobleness, virtue. All those moral qualities which are so precious in God's sight Lydia would part with for that possession which Satan prizes—money.
Cecile, when she first came to Warren's Grove, had put her treasure into so secure and out-of-the-way a hiding place that she felt quite easy about it. Lydia would never, never think of troubling her head about that attic sloping down to the roof, still less would she poke her fingers into the little secret cupboard where the precious purse lay.
Cecile's mind therefore was quite light. But one morning, about a week after Mrs. Bell's funeral, as she and Maurice were preparing to start out for their usual ramble, these words smote on her ears with a strange and terrible sense of dread.
"Jane," said Lydia, addressing the cook, "we must all do with a cold dinner to-day, and not too much of that, for, as you write a very neat hand, I want you to help me with the inventory, and it has got to be begun at once. I told Mr. Preston I would have no agent pottering about the place. 'Tis a long job, but I will do it myself."
"What's an inkin-dory?" asked Maurice, raising a curious little face to Jane.
"Bless yer heart, honey," said Jane, stooping down and kissing him, "an inventory you means. Why, 'tis just this—Mrs. Purcell and me—we has got to write down the names of every single thing in the house—every stick, and stone, and old box, and even, I believe, the names of the doors and cupboards. That's an inventory, and mighty sick we'll be of it."
"Come, Jane, stop chattering," said Lydia. "Maurice, run out at once. You'll find me in the attics, Jane, when you've done. We'll get well through the attics to-day."
Aunt Lydia turned on her heel, and Maurice and Cecile went slowly out. Very slow, indeed, were Cecile's footsteps.
"How dull you are, Cecile!" said the little boy.
"I'm not very well," said Cecile. "Maurice," she continued suddenly, "you go and play with Toby, darling. Go into the fields, and not too far away; and don't stay out too late. Here's our lunch. No, I don't want any. I'm going to lie down. Yes, maybe I'll come out again."
She ran away before Maurice had even time to expostulate. She was conscious that a crisis had come, that a great dread was over her, that there might yet be time to take the purse from its hiding place.
An inventory meant that every box was looked into, every cupboard opened. What chance then had her purse in its tin box in a forgotten cupboard? That cupboard would be opened at last, and her treasure stolen away. Aunt Lydia was even now in the attics, or was she? Was there any hope that Cecile might be in time to rescue the precious purse?
She flew up the attic stairs, her heart beating, her head giddy. Oh! if she might be in time!
Alas! she was not. Aunt Lydia was already in full possession of Cecile's and Maurice's attic. She was standing on tiptoe, and taking down some musty books from a shelf.
"Go away, Cecile," she said to the little girl, "I'm very busy, and I............
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