But nurse, aunts, all the troubles and disappointments of this world had vanished from Angelina’s heart and soul. She had seen, at that first glimpse that her nurse had so rudely given her, that here at last, after long, long waiting, was the blessing that she had so desired. She had had other dolls—quite a number of them. Even now Lizzie (without an eye) and Rachel (rather fine in bridesmaid’s attire) were leaning their disconsolate backs against the boarding beneath the window seat. There had been, besides Rachel and Lizzie, two Annies, a Mary, a May, a Blackamoor, a Jap, a Sailor, and a Baby in a Bath. They were now as though they had never been; Angelina knew with absolute certainty of soul, with that blending of will and desire, passion, self-sacrifice and absence of humour that must inevitably accompany true love that here was her Fate.
“It’s been sent you by your kind Uncle Teny,” said nurse. “You’ll have to write a nice letter and thank him.”
* * * * *
But Angelina knew better. She—a name had not yet been chosen—had been sent to her by her friend.... He had promised her last night that this should be a day of days.
Her aunts, appearing to receive thanks where thanks were due, darkened the doorway.
“Good-morning, mum. Good-morning, mum. Now, Miss ’Lina, thank your kind aunties for their beautiful presents.”
She stood up, clutching the doll.
“T’ank you, Auntie Vi’let; t’ank you, Auntie Em’ly—your lovely pwesents.”
“That’s right, Angelina. I hope you’ll use them sensibly. What’s that she’s holding, nurse?”
“It’s a doll Mr. Edward’s sent her, mum.”
“What a hideous creature! Edward might have chosen something—— Time for her to go out, nurse, I think—now, while the sun’s warm.”
But she did not hear. She did not know that they had gone. She sat there in a dreamy ecstasy rocking the red-cheeked creature in her arms, seeing, with her black eyes, visions and the beauty of a thousand worlds.
The name Rose was given to her. Rose had been kept, as a name, until some one worthy should arrive.... “Wosie Bwaid,” a very good name. Her nakedness was clothed first in Rachel’s bridesmaid’s attire—alas! poor Rachel!—but the lace and finery did not suit those flaming red cheeks and beady black eyes. Rose was, there could be no question, a daughter of the soil; good red blood ran through her stout veins. Tess of the countryside, your laughing, chaffing, arms-akimbo dairymaid; no poor white product of the over-civilised cities. Angelina felt that the satin and lace were wrong; she tore them off, searched in the heaped-up cupboard for poor neglected Annie No. 1, found her, tore from her her red woollen skirt and white blouse, stretched them about Rose’s portly body.