“Yes,” said Ida; “but she must never know that I told.”
“I promise not to tell her.”
“It was to pass bad money.”
“Ha!” exclaimed her companion, quickly. “What sort of bad money?”
“It was bad bills.”
“Did she do much in that way?”
“A good deal. She goes out every day to buy things with the money.”
“I am glad to learn this,” said John Somerville, thoughtfully.
“Why?” asked Ida, curiously; “are you glad she is wicked?”
“I am glad, because she won’t dare to come for you, knowing I can have her put in prison.”
“Then I am glad, too.”
“Ida,” said her companion, after a pause, “I am obliged to go out for a short time. You will find books on the table, and can amuse yourself by reading. I won’t make you sew, as Peg did,” he added, smiling.
“I like to read,” she said. “I shall enjoy myself very well.”
“If you get tired of reading, you can draw. You will find plenty of paper on my desk.”
Mr. Somerville went out, and Ida, as he had recommended, read for a time. Then, growing tired, she went to the window and looked out. A carriage was passing up the street slowly, on account of a press of other carriages. Ida saw a face that she knew. Forgetting her bonnet in her sudden joy, she ran down the stairs into the street, and up to the carriage window.
“Oh! Jack!” she exclaimed; “have you come for me?”
It was Mrs. Clifton’s carriage, just returning from Peg’s lodgings.
“Why, it’s Ida!” exclaimed Jack, almost springing through the window of the carriage in his excitement. “Where did you come from, and where have you been all this time?”
He opened the door of the carriage and drew Ida in.
“My child, my child! Thank God, you are restored to me!” exclaimed Mrs. Clifton.
She drew the astonished child to her bosom. Ida looked up into her face in bewilderment. Was it nature that prompted her to return the lady’s embrace?
“My God! I thank thee!” murmured Mrs. Clifton, “for this, my child, was lost, and is found.”
“Ida,” said Jack, “this lady is your mother.”
“My mother!” repeated the astonished child. “Have I got two mothers?”
“This is your real mother. You were brought to our house when you were an infant, and we have always taken care of you; but this lady is your real mother.”
Ida hardly knew whether to feel glad or sorry.
“And you are not my brother, Jack?”
“No, I am your guardian,” said Jack, smiling.
“You shall still consider him your brother, Ida,” said Mrs. Clifton. “Heaven forbid that I should seek to wean your heart from the friends who have cared so kindly for you! You may keep all your old friends, and love them as dearly as ever. You will only have one friend the more.”
“Where are we going?” asked Ida, suddenly.