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HOME > Short Stories > The Children's Pilgrimage > CHAPTER I. "LOOKING FOR THE OLD COURT."
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 When Jane Parsons left the children, and they found themselves in that comfortable first-class railway carriage on their way to London, Maurice and Toby, with contented sighs, settled themselves to resume their much-disturbed sleep. But Cecile, on whom the responsibility devolved, sat upright without even thinking of slumbering. She was a little pilgrim beginning a very long pilgrimage. What right had she to think of repose? It was perfectly natural for Maurice and Toby to shut their eyes and go off into the land of dreams; they were only following in her footsteps, doing trustfully just what she told them. But for the head of the pilgrim band, the "Great Heart" of the little party, such a pleasant and, under other circumstances, desirable course was impossible.  
When the train had first moved off she had taken the precious purse, which hitherto she had held in her hand, and restored it to its old hiding place in the bosom of her frock. Had she but known it, her treasure was safe enough there, for no one could suspect so poor-looking a child of possessing so large a sum of money. After doing this Cecile sat very upright, gravely watching, with her sweet wide-open blue eyes, the darkness they rushed through, and the occasional lights of the sleepy little stations which they passed. Now and then they stopped at one of these out-of-the-way stations, and then a very weary-looking porter would come yawning up, and there would be a languid attempt at bustle and movement, and then the night mail would rush on again into the winter's night. Yes, it was mid-winter now, and bitterly cold. The days, too, were at their very shortest, for it was just the beginning of December, and by the time they reached Victoria, not a blink of real light from the sky had yet come.
Maurice felt really cross when he was awakened a second time in what seemed like the middle of the night, and even long-suffering Toby acknowledged to himself that it was very unpleasant.
But Cecile's clear eyes looked up with all kinds of thanks into the face of the big guard as he put them into a cab, and gave the cabby directions where to drive them to.
"A sweet child, bless her," he said to himself, as he turned away. The cabby had been desired to drive the children to Mrs. West's home, and the address Jane had written out was in his hand. The guard, too, had paid the fare; and Cecile was told that in about half an hour they would all find themselves in snug quarters.
"Will they give us breakfast in 'snug quarters'?" asked Maurice, who always took things literally. "I wonder, Cecile, if 'snug quarters' will be nice?"
Alas! poor little children. When the cab at last drew up at the door in C—— Street, and the cabby got down and rang the bell, and then inquired for Mrs. West, he was met by the discouraging information that Mrs. West had left that address quite a year ago. No, they could not tell where she had gone, but they fancied it was to America.
"What am I to do now with you two little tots, and that 'ere dawg?" said the cabby, coming up to the cab door. "There ain't no Mrs. West yere. And that 'ere young party"—with a jerk of his thumb at the slatternly little individual who stood watching and grinning on the steps—"her says as Mrs. West have gone to 'Mericy. Ain't there no one else as I can take you to, little uns?"
"No, thank you," answered Cecile. "We'll get out, please, Cabby. This is a nice dry street. Me, and Maurice, and Toby can walk a good bit. You couldn't tell us though, please, what's the nearest way from here to France?"
"To France! Bless yer little heart, I knows no jography. But look yere, little un. Ha'n't you no other friends as I could take you to? I will, and charge no fare. There! I'll be generous for the sake of that pretty little face."
But Cecile only shook her head.
"We don't know nobody, thank you, Cabby," she said, "except one girl, and I never learned where her home wa............
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