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A Child of the Glens by Edward Newenham Hoare

As it had been told to him by Hendrick


Thus

matters might long have held their quiet course had it not been for Jim. As it has been said, he was very different in disposition from Elsie. Restless, eager, and full of curiosity, he could not understand her placid yet cheerful nature. He knew not the secret of her inner life, and of the way in which that life animated and directed the outer. The young man saw less and less of Tor Glen, having now obtained a good situation in a flax store at Ballymena.

Some little time previous Elsie and Jim had both been confirmed; and since that event the Rev. Cooper Smith and George Hendrick had had several consultations with regard to them. They were very unwilling to disturb the minds of the young people, nor had they anything definite to impart; yet it did not seem right to keep them in ignorance of what was known or suspected as to their parentage. Jim, moreover, had displayed a good deal of curiosity on the subject, and had questioned Hendrick as to the meaning of the reports that had come to his ever open ears about old McAravey's knowledge of the drowned woman.

At length it was resolved that Elsie and Jim should be invited to the rectory on a Saturday afternoon, and the whole matter fully explained. All being assembled on the day named, the rector briefly repeated what McAravey had said on his death-bed, as it had been told to him by Hendrick. It appeared that before the old man's death the locket had been

brought out from its place of concealment, and, in presence of the priest, handed over to Hendrick, who had next day brought it to the rector. Upon investigation the locket had been found to contain the portrait of a man, and also a small folded piece of paper. The face was intelligent and powerful, but by no means pleasing. The eyes were eager and piercing, the lines about the mouth firm and deep-cut; the features in general somewhat coarse, and plainly those of a man in the lower walks of life, and one accustomed to hard toil both of mind and body. The paper had proved to be the pawn ticket of a watch pledged in Belfast for the sum of one pound, the name upon it being Henderson. Mr. Smith had redeemed the watch, which now lay before him with the locket on the table.

"You see, Elsie," he said, turning to the girl, whose eyes were full of tears, "we have but slight evidence to show either that this is your father's portrait, or that the poor creature who came to so untimely an end was your mother. It is curious that the name on the ticket is Henderson, while McAravey said the person who brought you and Jim to him was called Davison or Davis, or something like that. Of course it is quite possible the poor creature did not like to give her right name at a pawn office. What do you think?"

"I have always felt as if she was my mother," said Elsie; "and I should be glad if it turned out so. It seems very probable."

"I'm sure this rough-looking fellow is no father of mine," cried Jim, who had been sadly disappointed at the unromantic character of the revelation; "but I'll find out the secret of this matter yet. Meantime, I suppose, sir, the watch is mine. Elsie may take the locket."


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