“Rover,” he called, suddenly, as he advanced to the rear room, where, among his older pets, was a huge Newfoundland, of great sagacity. “Rover, Rover, I want you.”
In an instant the whole pack were upon him, jumping and fawning, and licking the hands which had never dealt them aught save kindness. It was only Rover, however, who was this time wanted, and leading him to the door, Hugh pointed toward the gate, and bade him see what was there. Snuffing slightly at the storm, which was not over yet, Rover started down the walk, while Hugh stood waiting in the door. At first Rover’s steps were slow and uncertain, but as he advanced they increased in rapidity, until, with a sudden bound and cry, such as dogs are wont to give when they have caught their destined prey, he sprang upon the mysterious ridge, and commenced digging it down with his paws.
“Easy, Rover—be careful,” Hugh called from the door, and instantly the half-savage growl which the wind had brought to his ear was changed into a piteous cry, as if the faithful creature were answering back that other help than his was needed there.
Rover had found something in that pile of snow.
WHAT ROVER FOUND
Unmindful of the sleet beating upon his uncovered head Hugh hastened to the spot, where the noble brute was licking a face, a baby face, which he had ferreted out from beneath the shawl trapped so carefully around it to shield it from the cold, for instead of one there were two in that rift of snow—a mother and her child! That stiffened form lying there so still, hugging that sleeping child so closely to its bosom, was no delusion, and his mother’s voice calling to know what he was doing brought Hugh back at Last to a consciousness that he must act, and that immediately.
“Mother,” he screamed, “send a servant here, quick! or let Ad come herself. There’s a woman dead, I fear. I can carry her, but the child, Ad must come for her.”
“The what?” gasped Mrs. Worthington, who, terrified beyond measure at the mention of a-dead woman, was doubly so at hearing of a child. “A child,” she repeated, “whose child?”
Hugh, made no reply save an order that the lounge should be brought near the fire and a pillow from his mother’s bed. “From mine, then,” he added, as he saw the anxious look in his mother’s face, and guessed that she shrank from having her own snowy pillow come in contact with the wet, limp figure he was depositing upon the lounge. It was a slight, girlish form, and the long brown hair, loosened from its confinement, fell in rich profusion over the pillow which ’Lina brought half reluctantly, eying askance the insensible object before her, and daintily holding back her dress lest it should come in contact with the child her mother had deposited upon the floor, where it lay crying lustily.
The idea of a strange woman being thrust upon them in this way was highly displeasing to Miss ’Lina, who haughtily drew back from the little one when it stretched its arms out toward her, while its pretty lip quivered and the tears dropped over its rounded cheek.