Search      Hot    Newest Novel
HOME > Short Stories > The Children's Pilgrimage > CHAPTER IV. THE WORD THAT SETTLED JOE BARNES.
Font Size:【Large】【Middle】【Small】 Add Bookmark  
 From London to Paris is no distance at all. The most delicate invalid can scarcely be fatigued by so slight a journey.  
So you say, who go comfortably for a pleasure trip. You start at a reasonably early hour in the morning, and arrive at your destination in time for dinner. A few of you, no doubt, may dread that short hour and a half spent on the Channel. But even its horrors are mitigated by large steamers and kind and attentive attendants, and as for the rest of the journey, it is nothing, not worth mentioning in these days of rushing over the world.
Yes, the power of steam has brought the gay French capital thus near. But if you had to trudge the whole weary way on foot, you would still find that there were a vast number of miles between you and Paris. That these miles were apt to stretch themselves interminably, and that your feet were inclined to ache terribly; still more would you feel the length of the way and the vast distance of the road, if the journey had to be made in winter. Then the shortness of the days, the length of the nights, the great cold, the bitter winds, would all add to the horrors of this so-called simple journey.
This four little pilgrims, going bravely onward, experienced.
Toby, whose spirits rather sank from the moment Joe Barnes took the management of affairs, had the further misfortune of running a thorn into his foot; and though the very Joe whom he disliked was able to extract it, still for a day or two the poor dog was lame. Maurice, too, was still such a baby, and his little feet so quickly swelled from all this constant walking, that Joe had to carry him a great deal, and in this manner one lad felt the fatigue nearly as much as the other. On the whole, perhaps it was the little Queen of the party, the real Leader of the expedition, who suffered the least. Never did knight of old go in search of the Holy Grail more devoutly than did Cecile go now to deliver up her purse of gold, to keep her sacred promise.
Not a fresh day broke but she said to herself: "I am a little nearer to Lovedy; I may hear of Lovedy to-day." But though Joe did not fail to air his French on her behalf, though he never ceased in every village inn to inquire for a fair and blue-eyed English girl, as yet they had got no clew; as yet not the faintest trace of the lost Lovedy could be heard of.
They were now over a week in France, and were still a long, long way from Paris. Each day's proceedings consisted of two marches—one to some small village, where Joe played the fiddle, made a couple of sous, and where they had dinner; then another generally shorter march to another tiny village, where they slept for the night. In this way their progress could not but be very slow, and although Joe had far more wisdom than his little companions, yet he often got misdirected, and very often, after a particularly weary number of miles had been got over, they found that they had gone wrong, and that they were further from the great French capital than they had been the night before.
Without knowing it, they had wandered a good way into Normandy, and though it was now getting quite into the middle of February, there was not a trace of spring vegetation to be discovered. The weather, too, was bitter and wintry. East winds, alternating with sleet showers, seemed the order of the day.
Cecile had not dared to confide her secret to Mr. Danvers, neither had all Mrs. Moseley's motherly kindness won it from her. But, nevertheless, during the long, long days they spent together, she was not proof against the charms of the tall boy whom she believed Jesus had sent to guide her, and who was also her own fellow-countryman.
All that long and pathetic interview which Cecile and her dying stepmother had held together had been told to Jography. Even the precious leather purse had been put into his hands, and he had been allowed to open it and count its contents.
For a moment his deep-black eyes had glittered greedily as he felt the gold running through his fingers, then they softened. He returned the money to the purse, and gave it back, almost reverently, to Cecile.
"Little Missie," he said, looking strangely at her and speaking in a sad tone, "you ha' showed me yer gold. Do you know what yer gold 'ud mean to me?"
"No," answered Cecile, returning his glance in fullest confidence.
"Why, Missie, I'm a poor starved lad. I ha' been treated werry shameful. I ha' got blows, and kicks, and rough food, and little of that same. But there's worse nor that; I han't no one to speak a kind word to me. Not one, not one kind word for seven years have I heard, and before that I had a mother and a brother. I wor a little lad, and I used to sleep o' nights with my mother, and she used to take me in her arms and pet me and love me, and my big brother wor as good to me as brother could be. Missie, my heart has starved for my mother and my brother, and ef I liked I could take that purse full o' gold and let you little children fare as best you might, and I could jump inter the next train and be wid my mother and brother back in the Pyrenees in a werry short time."
"No, Joe Barnes, you couldn't do that,&q............
Join or Log In! You need to log in to continue reading

Login into Your Account

  Remember me on this computer.

All The Data From The Network AND User Upload, If Infringement, Please Contact Us To Delete! Contact Us
About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Tag List | Recent Search  
©2010-2018, All Rights Reserved