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The Argosy Vol. 51, No. 4, April, 1891

Penelope waited to take off his hat and pelisse


"I

believe it is _this_ house she is gazing at so attentively--and at _me_," thought Mrs. Hamlyn. "What can she possibly want?"

The woman did not move away and Mrs. Hamlyn did not move; they remained staring at one another. Presently Walter burst into the room, laughing in glee at having distanced his nurse. His mother turned, caught him in her arms and kissed him passionately. Wilful though he was by disposition, and showing it at times, he was a lovable, generous child, and very pretty: great brown eyes and auburn curls. His life was all sunshine, like a butterfly's on a summer's day; his path as yet one of roses without their thorns.

"Mamma, I've got a picture-book; come and look at it," cried the eager little voice, as he dragged his mother to the hearthrug and opened the picture-book in the light of the blaze. "Penelope bought it for me."

She sat down on a footstool, the book on her lap and one arm round him, her treasure. Penelope waited to take off his hat and pelisse, and was told to come for him in five minutes.

"It's not my tea-time yet," cried he defiantly.

"Indeed, then, Master Walter, it is long past it," said the nurse. "I couldn't get him in before, ma'am," she added to her mistress. "Every minute I kept expecting you'd be sending one of the servants after us."

"In

five minutes," repeated Mrs. Hamlyn. "And what's _this_ picture about, Walter? Is it a little girl with a doll?"

"Oh, dat bootiful," said the eager little lad, who was not yet as quick in speech as he was in ideas. "It says she--dere's papa!"

In came Philip Hamlyn, tall, handsome, genial. Walter ran to him and was caught in his arms. He and his wife were just a pair for adoring the child.

But nurse, inexorable, appeared again at the five minutes' end, and Master Walter was carried off.

"You came home in a cab, Philip, did you not? I thought I heard one stop."

"Yes; it is a miserable evening. Raining fast now."

"Raining!" she repeated, rather wondering to hear it was not snowing. She went to the window to look out, and the first object her eyes caught sight of was the woman; leaning in the old place against the railings, in the growing dusk.

"I'm not sorry to see the rain; we shall have it warmer now," remarked Mr. Hamlyn, who had drawn a chair to the fire. "In fact, it's much warmer already than it was this morning."

"Philip, step here a minute."

His wife's tone had dropped to a half-whisper, sounding rather mysterious, and he went at once.

"Just look, Philip--opposite. Do you see a woman standing there?"


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