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|The Dawn of A To-morrow||Frances Hodgson Burnett|
|Page 5 of 6||
Glad stared at the curate. For the first time she looked disturbed and alarmed.
"Blimme," she ejaculated, " 'e 's gone off 'is nut, pore chap!--'e 's gone off it!"
"No," the man answered, "you shall come to me"--he hesitated a second while a shade passed over his eyes--"TO-MORROW. And you shall see."
He rose quietly to his feet and the curate rose also. Abnormal as the climax was, it was to be seen that there was no mistake about the revelation. The man was a creature of authority and used to carrying conviction by his unsupported word. That made itself, by some clear, unspoken method, plain.
"You are Sir Oliver Holt! And a few hours ago you were on the point of--"
"Ending it all--in an obscure lodging. Afterward the earth would have been shovelled on to a work-house coffin. It was an awful thing." He shook off a passionate shudder. "There was no wealth on earth that could give me a moment's ease-- sleep--hope--life. The whole world was full of things I loathed the sight and thought of. The doctors said my condition was physical. Perhaps it was--perhaps to-day has strangely given a healthful jolt to my nerves--perhaps I have been dragged away from the agony of morbidity and plunged into new intense emotions which have saved me from the last thing and the worst--SAVED me!"
He stopped suddenly and his face flushed, and then quite slowly turned pale.
"SAVED ME!" he repeated the words as the curate saw the awed blood creepingly recede. "Who knows, who knows! How many explanations one is ready to give before one thinks of what we say we believe. Perhaps it was--the Answer!"
The curate bowed his head reverently.
"Perhaps it was."
The girl Glad sat clinging to her knees, her eyes wide and awed and with a sudden gush of hysteric tears rushing down her cheeks.
"That 's the wye! That 's the wye!" she gulped out. "No one won't never believe--they won't, NEVER. That's what she sees, Miss Montaubyn. You don't, 'E don't," with a jerk toward the curate. "I ain't nothin' but ME, but blimme if I don't--blimme!"
Sir Oliver Holt grew paler still. He felt as he had done when Jinny Montaubyn's poor dress swept against him. His voice shook when he spoke.
"So do I," he said with a sudden deep catch of the breath; "it was the Answer."
In a few moments more he went to the girl Polly and laid a hand on her shoulder.
"I shall take you home to your mother," he said. "I shall take you myself and care for you both. She shall know nothing you are afraid of her hearing. I shall ask her to bring up the child. You will help her."
Then he touched the thief, who got up white and shaking and with eyes moist with excitement.
"You shall never see another man claim your thought because you have not time or money to work it out. You will go with me. There are to-morrows enough for you!"
Glad still sat clinging to her knees and with tears running, but the ugliness of her sharp, small face was a thing an angel might have paused to see.
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|The Dawn of A To-morrow
Frances Hodgson Burnett
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