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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 465 pages of information about Sparrows.
of its birth, the little one might presently be deprived of many of life’s advantages, it should at least be appropriately clad in the early days of its existence.  She had already selected the intended purchase, and was rejoicing in its richness and variety, when the reply came to her letter to Perigal that returned the five-pound note.  This told Mavis what straitened circumstances her lover was in.  He asked what she had done with the gold-mounted dressing case, and, if it were still in her possession, if she could possibly let him have the loan of it in order to weather an impending financial storm.  With a heart that strove valiantly to be cheerful, Mavis renounced further thought of the contemplated layette, and sent off the dressing case to her lover.  It was a further (and this time a dutiful) sacrifice of self on the altar of the loved one.  Most of her spare time was now devoted to the making of the garments, which, in the ordinary course of nature, would be wanted in about two months.  Sometimes, while working, she would sing little songs that would either stop short soon after they were started, or else would continue almost to the finish, when they would end abruptly in a sigh.  Often she would wonder if the child, when born, would resemble its father or its mother; if her recent experiences would affect its nature:  all the thousand and one things that that most holy thing on earth, an expectant, loving mother, thinks of the life which love has called into being.

At all times she told herself that, if her wishes were consulted, she would prefer the child to be a boy, despite the fact that it was a more serious matter to launch a son on the world than a daughter.  But she knew well that, if anything were to happen to her lover (this was now her euphemism for his failing to keep his promise), a boy, when he came to man’s estate, might find it in his heart to forgive his mother for the untoward circumstances of his birth, whereas a daughter would only feel resentment at the possible handicap with which the absence of a father and a name would inflict her life.  Thus Mavis worked with her needle, and sang, and thought, and travailed; and daily the little life within her became more insistent.

CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN

THE NURSING HOME

A day came when Mavis’s courage failed.  Acting on the advice of kindly Mrs Scatchard, she had bought, for the sum of one guinea, a confinement outfit from a manufacturer of such things.  She unpacked her purchase fearfully.  Her heart beat painfully at the thought of the approaching ordeal that the sight of the various articles awakened.

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