Search      Hot    Newest Novel
HOME > Short Stories > The Children's Pilgrimage > CHAPTER XIX. THREE PLANS.
Font Size:【Large】【Middle】【Small】 Add Bookmark  
 It took Anton but a few strides to get out of the forest, at the other side away from the hut. Here, on a neatly-made road, stood a caravan; and by the side of the caravan two men. These men could not speak a word of English, and even their French was so mixed with dialect that little Maurice, who by this time knew many words of real French, did not understand a word they said. This, however, all the better suited Anton's purpose. He had a short but impressive conversation with the man who seemed to have the greatest authority. Maurice was then given over into this man's care. Anton assured him that he would return as quickly as possible with Joe. And then the bad man plunged once more into the depths of the forest.  
Yes; Anton was most truly a bad man, and bad now were the schemes at work in his evil heart. He saw once more a hope of getting that money which he longed for. He would use any means to obtain this end. After the children had escaped from him in Paris, he had wandered about for nearly a week in that capital looking for them. Then he had agreed to join a traveling caravan which was going down south. Anton could assist in the entertainments given in the different small towns and villages they passed through; but this mode of proceeding was necessarily slow, and seemed all the more so as week after week went by and he never got a clew to the lost children; he was beginning to give it up as a bad job—to conclude that Cecile and her party had never gone south after all. He had indeed all but completed arrangements to return to Paris with another traveling party, when suddenly, wandering through the forest in the early morning, he came upon little Maurice D'Albert fast asleep—his crushed violets under his pretty head. Transfixed with joy and astonishment, the bad man stood still. His game was sure—it had not escaped him.
He sat down by the child. He did not care to wake him. While Maurice slept he made his plans.
And now, having given over Maurice to the owner of the caravan, with strict directions not to let him escape, he was hurrying through the forest to meet Joe. He wanted to see Joe alone. It would by no means answer his purpose to come across Cecile or even indeed at present to let Cecile know anything about his near vicinity.
Little Maurice's directions had been simple enough, and soon Anton came in sight of the hut. He did not want to come any nearer. He sat down behind an oak tree, and waited. From where he sat, he could watch the entrance to the hut, but could not himself be seen.
Presently he saw Cecile and Joe come out. Toby also stood at their heels. Cecile and Joe appeared to be consulting anxiously. At last they seemed to have come to a conclusion; Cecile and Toby went one way, and Joe another.
Anton saw with delight that everything was turning out according to his best hopes; Cecile and Toby were going toward the village, while Joe wandered in his direction. He waited only long enough to see the little girl and the dog out of sight, then, rising from the ground, he approached Joe.
The poor boy was walking along with his eyes fixed on the ground. He seemed anxious and preoccupied. In truth he was thinking with considerable alarm of little Maurice. Anton came very close, they were almost face to face before Joe saw him.
When at last their eyes did meet Anton perceived with delight that the boy's face went very white, that his lips twitched, and that he suddenly leant against a tree to support himself. These signs of fear were most agreeable to the wicked man. He felt that in a very short time the purse would be his.
"Anton," said poor Joe, when he could force any words from his trembling lips.
"Aye, Anton," echoed the man with a taunting laugh, "you seems mighty pleased to see Anton, old chap. You looks rare and gratified, eh?"
"No, Anton, I'm dreadful, dreadful pained to see you," answered Joe. "I wor in great trouble a minute ago, but it ain't nothink to the trouble o' seeing you."
Anton laughed again.
"You ere an unceevil lad," he replied, "but strange as it may seem, I'm glad as you is sorry to see me, boy; it shows as you fears me; as you is guilty, as well you may think yerself, and you knows as Anton can bring yer to justice. You shall fear me more afore you has done, Master Joe. You 'scaped me afore, but there's no escape this time. We has a few words to say to each other, but the principal thing is as there's no escape this time, young master."
"I know," answered Joe, "I know as a man like you can have no mercy—never a bit."
"There's no good a-hangering of me wid those speeches, Joe; I ha' found you, and I means to get wot I can out o' you. And now jest tell me afore we goes any further wot you was a-doing, and why you looked so misribble afore I spoke to you that time."
"Oh!" said Joe, suddenly recalled to another anxiety by these words, "wot a fool I am to stay talking to you when there ain't a moment to spare. Little Maurice is lost. I'm terrible feared as little Maurice has quite strayed away and got lost, and............
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