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HOME > Short Stories > The Children's Pilgrimage > CHAPTER XIII. ON THE ROAD TO THE CELESTIAL CITY.
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 When Cecile awoke from the long swoon into which she had sunk, it was not to gaze into the hard face of Lydia Purcell. Lydia was nowhere to be seen, but bending over her, with eyes full of compassion, was Jane. Jane, curious as she was, felt now more sorrow than curiosity for the little creature struck down by some mysterious grief.  
At first the child could remember nothing.
"Where am I?" she gasped, catching hold of Jane's hand and trying to raise herself.
"In yer own little bed, honey. You have had a faint and are just coming round; you'll be all right in a minute or two. There, just one tiny sup more wine and I'll get you a nice hot cup of tea."
Cecile was too weak and bewildered not to obey. She sipped the wine which Jane held to her lips, then lay back with a little sigh of relief and returning consciousness.
"I'm better now; I'm quite well now, Jane," she murmured in a thankful voice.
"Yes, honey, you are a deal better now," answered Jane, stooping down and kissing her. "And now never don't you stir a bit, and don't worry about nothing, for Jane will fetch you a nice cup of tea, and then see how pleasant you'll feel."
The kind-hearted girl hurried away, and Cecile was left alone in the now quiet attic.
What thing had happened to her? What weight was at her heart? She had a desire, not a keen desire, but still a feeling that it would give her pleasure to be lying in the grave by her father's side. She felt that she did not much care for anyone, that anything now might happen without exciting her. Why was not her heart beating with love for Maurice and Toby? Why had all hope, all longing, died within her? Ah! she knew the reason. It came back to her slowly, slowly, but surely. All that dreadful scene, all those moments of suspense too terrible even to be borne, they returned to her memory.
Her Russia-leather purse of gold and notes were gone, the fifteen pounds she was to spend in looking for Lovedy, the forty pounds she was to give as her dead mother's dying gift to the wandering girl, had vanished. Cecile felt that as surely as if she had flung it into the sea, was that purse now lost. She had broken her promise, her solemn, solemn promise to the dead; everything, therefore, was now over for her in life.
When Jane came back with the nice hot tea, Cecile received it with a wan smile. But there was such a look of utter, unchildlike despair in her lovely eyes that, as the handmaiden expressed it, telling the tale afterward, her heart went up into her mouth with pity.
"Cecile," said the young woman, when the tea-drinking had come to an end, "I sees by yer face, poor lamb, as you remembers all about what made you drop down in that faint. And look you here, my lamb, you've got to tell me, Jane Parsons, all about it; and what is more, if I can help you I will. You tell Jane all the whole story, honey, for it 'ud go to a pagan's heart to see you, and so it would; and you needn't be feared, for she ain't anywheres about. She said as she wanted no dinner, and she's safe in her room a-reckoning the money in the purse, I guess."
"Oh, Jane!" said little Cecile, "the purse! the Russia-leather purse! I think I'll die, since Aunt Lydia Purcell has found the Russia-leather purse."
"Well, tell us the whole story, child. It do seem a wonderful thing for a bit of a child like you to have a purse of gold, and then to keep it a-hiding. I don't b'lieve as you loves gold like Miss Purcell do; it don't seem as if you could have come by so much money wrong, Cecile."
"No, Jane, I didn't come by it wrong. Mrs. D'Albert, my stepmother, gave me that Russia-leather purse, with all the gold and notes in it, when she was dying. I know exactly how much was in it, fifteen pounds in gold, and forty pounds in ten-pound Bank of England notes. I can't ever forget what was in that dreadful purse, as my stepmother told me I was never to lose until I found Lovedy."
"And who in the name of fortune is Lovedy, Cecile? You do tell the queerest stories I ever listened to."
"Yes, Jane, it is a very queer tale, and though I understand it perfectly myself, I don't suppose I can get you to understand."
"Oh, yes! my deary, I'm very smart indeed at picking up a tale. You tell me all about Lovedy, Cecile."
Thus admonished, Cecile did tell her tale. All that long sad story which the ............
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