Jack's Ward eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 146 pages of information about Jack's Ward.

“What name did she give you?”

“Haven’t I told you?  It was the name that made me think of telling you.  She called herself Ida Hardwick.”

“Ida Hardwick?” repeated Jack.

“Yes, Ida Hardwick.  But that hasn’t anything to do with your Ida, has it?”

“Hasn’t it, though?” said Jack.  “Why, Mrs. Hardwick was the woman who carried her away.”

“Mrs. Hardwick—­her mother?”

“No; not her mother.  She said she was the woman who took care of Ida before she was brought to us.”

“Then you think this Ida Hardwick may be your missing sister?”

“That’s what I don’t know yet,” said Jack.  “If you would only describe her, Uncle Abel, I could tell better.”

“Well,” said the baker, thoughtfully, “I should say this little girl was seven or eight years old.”

“Yes,” said Jack, nodding; “what color were her eyes?”

“Blue.”

“So are Ida’s.”

“A small mouth, with a very sweet expression, yet with something firm and decided about it.”

“Yes.”

“And I believe her dress was a light one, with a blue ribbon round the waist.”

“Did she wear anything around her neck?”

“A brown scarf, if I remember rightly.”

“That is the way Ida was dressed when she went away with Mrs. Hardwick.  I am sure it must be she.  But how strange that she should come into your shop!”

“Perhaps,” suggested his uncle, “this woman, representing herself as Ida’s nurse, was her mother.”

“No; it can’t be,” said Jack, vehemently.  “What, that ugly, disagreeable woman, Ida’s mother?  I won’t believe it.  I should just as soon expect to see strawberries growing on a thorn bush.”

“You know I have not seen Mrs. Hardwick.”

“No great loss,” said Jack.  “You wouldn’t care much about seeing her again.  She is a tall, gaunt, disagreeable woman; while Ida is fair and sweet-looking.  Ida’s mother, whoever she is, I am sure, is a lady in appearance and manners, and Mrs. Hardwick is neither.  Aunt Rachel was right for once.”

“What did Rachel say?”

“She said the nurse was an impostor, and declared it was only a plot to get possession of Ida; but then, that was to be expected of Aunt Rachel.”

“Still it seems difficult to imagine any satisfactory motive on the part of the woman, supposing her not to be Ida’s mother.”

“Mother or not,” returned Jack, “she’s got possession of Ida; and, from all that you say, she is not the best person to bring her up.  I am determined to rescue Ida from this she-dragon.  Will you help me, uncle?”

“You may count upon me, Jack, for all I can do.”

“Then,” said Jack, with energy, “we shall succeed.  I feel sure of it.  ‘Where there’s a will there’s a way.’”

“I wish you success, Jack; but if the people who have got Ida are counterfeiters, they are desperate characters, and you must proceed cautiously.”

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Jack's Ward from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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