Darkness and Daylight eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 378 pages of information about Darkness and Daylight.

“A great many years ago, nearly eighteen, we will say, a beautiful little girl, eight years old, I guess, with curls like yours, waited one night in just such a house as this, for her father, who had been long in Europe, and who was to bring her a new mother, and a dear baby sister, two years old or thereabouts.”

“Didn’t I wear my blue dress, trimmed with white?” Nina asked suddenly, her mind seeming to have followed Edith’s, and grasped the meaning of what she heard.

“I dare say you did,” Edith answered; “at all events this little girl was very beautiful as she waited in the twilight for the travellers.”

“Call the little girl Nina, please, I’ll get at it better then,” was the next interruption; and with a smile, Edith said,

“Nina, then, waited till they came—­her father, her new mother Petrea, and—­”

“Beautiful Petrea,” Nina exclaimed, “la belle Petrea, black hair like yours, Miggie, and voice like the soft notes of the piano.  She taught me a heap of tunes which I never have forgotten, but tell me more of the black-eyed baby, Nina’s precious sister.  I did hug and squeeze her so—­’la jolie enfant,’ Marie called her.”

Nina seemed to have taken the story away from Edith, who, when she ceased speaking, again went on: 

“Eloise Marguerite was the baby sister’s name; Eloise, for a proud aunt, who, after they came home, would not suffer them to call her so, and she was known as Marguerite, which Nina shortened into Miggie, Nina darling,” and Edith spoke sadly now.  “Was your father always kind to Petrea?”

There was a look in Nina’s face like a scared bird, and raising her hands to her head, she said,

“Go away, old buzzing.  Let Nina think what it was they used to do--pa and grandma and aunt Eloise.  I know now; grandma and auntie were proud of the Bernard blood, they said, and they called Petrea vulgar, and baby sister a brat; and pa—­oh, Miggie, I reckon he was naughty to the new mother.  He had a buzz in his head most every night, not like mine, but a buzz that he got at the dinner and the side-board, where they kept the bottles, and he struck her, I saw him, and Marie, she was here, too, she stepped between them, and called him a drunken, deceitful beast, and a heap more in French.  Then one morning when he was gone to New Orleans, and would come home pretty soon, mother and Marie and Miggie went a visiting to Tallahassee, or somewhere, and they never came back again, though pa went after them as soon as he got home.  Why didn’t they, Miggie?”

“Petrea was very unhappy here,” Edith answered.  “Mr. Bernard abused her, as did his haughty mother, and once when he was gone Petrea said she would go to Tallahassee to see a lady who had visited her at Sunnybank.  So she went with Marie, and Miggie, then three years old, but did not stop in Tallahassee.  They ran away to New York, where Marie’s sister lived.  Here Petrea was taken sick and died, making Marie promise that

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Darkness and Daylight from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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