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|A Little Princess||Frances Hodgson Burnett|
"It Is the Child!"
|Page 2 of 5||
"No, he wasn't really," he said.
"I am sorry for the friend," Janet said; "I can't help it. He didn't mean to do it, and it would break his heart. I am sure it would break his heart."
"You are an understanding little woman, Janet," the Indian gentleman said, and he held her hand close.
"Did you tell Mr. Carrisford," Donald shouted again, "about the little-girl-who-isn't-a-beggar? Did you tell him she has new nice clothes? P'r'aps she's been found by somebody when she was lost."
"There's a cab!" exclaimed Janet. "It's stopping before the door. It is papa!"
They all ran to the windows to look out.
"Yes, it's papa," Donald proclaimed. "But there is no little girl."
All three of them incontinently fled from the room and tumbled into the hall. It was in this way they always welcomed their father. They were to be heard jumping up and down, clapping their hands, and being caught up and kissed.
Mr. Carrisford made an effort to rise and sank back again.
"It is no use," he said. "What a wreck I am!"
Mr. Carmichael's voice approached the door.
"No, children," he was saying; "you may come in after I have talked to Mr. Carrisford. Go and play with Ram Dass."
Then the door opened and he came in. He looked rosier than ever, and brought an atmosphere of freshness and health with him; but his eyes were disappointed and anxious as they met the invalid's look of eager question even as they grasped each other's hands.
"What news?" Mr. Carrisford asked. "The child the Russian people adopted?"
"She is not the child we are looking for," was Mr. Carmichael's answer. "She is much younger than Captain Crewe's little girl. Her name is Emily Carew. I have seen and talked to her. The Russians were able to give me every detail."
How wearied and miserable the Indian gentleman looked! His hand dropped from Mr. Carmichael's.
"Then the search has to be begun over again," he said. "That is all. Please sit down."
Mr. Carmichael took a seat. Somehow, he had gradually grown fond of this unhappy man. He was himself so well and happy, and so surrounded by cheerfulness and love, that desolation and broken health seemed pitifully unbearable things. If there had been the sound of just one gay little high-pitched voice in the house, it would have been so much less forlorn. And that a man should be compelled to carry about in his breast the thought that he had seemed to wrong and desert a child was not a thing one could face.
"Come, come," he said in his cheery voice; "we'll find her yet."
"We must begin at once. No time must be lost," Mr. Carrisford fretted. "Have you any new suggestion to make--any whatsoever?"
Mr. Carmichael felt rather restless, and he rose and began to pace the room with a thoughtful, though uncertain face.
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|A Little Princess
Frances Hodgson Burnett
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