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The Dawn of A To-morrow Frances Hodgson Burnett

Chapter II

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She stopped short and drew back a pace to stare up at him.

"Well," she gave forth, "y' ARE a queer one!"

And yet in the amazement on her face he perceived a remote dawning of an understanding of the meaning of the thing he had done.

He had spoken like a man in a dream. He felt like a man in a dream, being led in the thick mist from place to place. He was led back to the coffee-stand, where now Barney, the proprietor, was pouring out coffee for a hoarse-voiced coster girl with a draggled feather in her hat, who greeted their arrival hilariously.

"Hello, Glad!" she cried out. "Got yer suvrink back?"

Glad--it seemed to be the creature's wild name--nodded, but held close to her companion's side, clutching his coat.

"Let's go in there an' change it," she said, nodding toward a small pork and ham shop near by. "An' then yer can take care of it for me."

"What did she call you?" Antony Dart asked her as they went.

"Glad. Don't know as I ever 'ad a nime o' me own, but a little cove as went once to the pantermine told me about a young lady as was Fairy Queen an' 'er name was Gladys Beverly St. John, so I called mesself that. No one never said it all at onct-- they don't never say nothin' but Glad. I'm glad enough this mornin'," chuckling again, " 'avin' the luck to come up with you, mister. Never had luck like it 'afore."

They went into the pork and ham shop and changed the sovereign. There was cooked food in the windows-- roast pork and boiled ham and corned beef. She bought slices of pork and beef, and of suet-pudding with a few currants sprinkled through it.

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"Will yer 'elp me to carry it?" she inquired. "I 'll 'ave to get a few pen'worth o' coal an' wood an' a screw o' tea an' sugar. My wig, wot a feed me an' Polly 'll 'ave!"

As they returned to the coffee-stand she broke more than once into a hop of glee. Barney had changed his mind concerning her. A solid sovereign which must be changed and a companion whose shabby gentility was absolute grandeur when compared with his present surroundings made a difference.

She received her mug of coffee and thick slice of bread and dripping with a grin, and swallowed the hot sweet liquid down in ecstatic gulps.

"Ain't I in luck?" she said, handing her mug back when it was empty. "Gi' me another, Barney."

Antony Dart drank coffee also and ate bread and dripping. The coffee was hot and the bread and dripping, dashed with salt, quite eatable. He had needed food and felt the better for it.

"Come on, mister," said Glad, when their meal was ended. "I want to get back to Polly, an' there 's coal and bread and things to buy."

She hurried him along, breaking her pace with hops at intervals. She darted into dirty shops and brought out things screwed up in paper. She went last into a cellar and returned carrying a small sack of coal over her shoulders.

"Bought sack an' all," she said elatedly. "A sack 's a good thing to 'ave."

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The Dawn of A To-morrow
Frances Hodgson Burnett

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