Daisy was certainly very weak. She tried to expostulate with Hannah—she tried to say that her one and only duty was to try and get tidings of Mrs. Ellsworthy’s whereabouts, and then to follow her on foot if necessary; but if the little spirit was willing, the flesh was weak. The comfort of seeing her nurse again was too much for Daisy—the knowledge that those were the very arms which had carried her as a baby, and soothed her and tended her as a little child, was quite too cheering to be resisted. Daisy made a valiant effort to say “No,” but instead, her lips formed a faint “Yes, Hannah, take me to your home,” and then Hannah, who was a strongly-built woman, lifted the slight little girl in her arms, and carried her across the fields to her tiny cottage at Teckford. All the time, while she was being carried in those kind arms, Daisy kept repeating to herself, “I’ll have some bread and milk, for I am a little hungry, and I’ll rest for perhaps an hour, and then I’ll go away on foot with my dear Pink to find Mrs. Ellsworthy.”
But when the child and the woman reached the house in the village Daisy was too faint and weary to take more than a spoonful or two of bread and milk, and long before the night arrived she had forgotten that she meant to undertake any journey, and lay with burning cheeks and bright, feverish eyes on Hannah’s bed in her little home.
TOO MUCH FOR DOVE.
Mrs. Dredge’s remarks had by no means been lost on Noel. When he left Miss Egerton’s house he consulted his watch, and found that he had still an hour to spare before he need try to catch his train. He thought for a moment or two, recalled certain expressions on Daisy’s face, certain words which dropped from her lips, and, above all, a look which had filled her pretty eyes on the one and only occasion when they had met Dove together.
Noel began to feel more and more certain that this man, to whom he had taken a great dislike, had something to say to all the child’s misery. Noel knew, however, that suspicion in such a case would be of little avail—he must have certainty, and certainty could only be his by cautious and wary movements.
Again he consulted his watch, and now he determined on a bold course. He remembered that the girls had once told him that Dove was a painter by trade, but that he seldom or never had anything to do. Noel was extremely fastidious, and, if possible, almost over-refined in the arrangements of his own home. He made his little plan with a sigh, but he would have done more than this for the sake of pretty little Daisy.
Walking quickly, he soon found himself at the Doves’ address in Eden Street. His knock at the hall door was answered by Tommy Dove, who assured him that both his father and mother were having high tea with shrimps and watercresses in the back parlor.
Noel said he wanted to see Dove on business, and Tommy, remarking that the back parlor was as good a place as any other for this purpose, ushered the visitor in direct.