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The Lost Prince Frances Hodgson Burnett

XIII Loristan Attends a Drill of the Squad

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``I am afraid that the servants are out,'' she answered. ``They had a holiday. Will you kindly close the door? I shall be obliged to ask you to help me into the sitting-room at the end of the hall. I shall find all I want there--if you will kindly hand me a few things. Some one may come in presently--perhaps one of the other lodgers --and, even if I am alone for an hour or so, it will not really matter.''

``Perhaps I can find the landlady,'' Marco suggested. The beautiful person smiled.

``She has gone to her sister's wedding. That is why I was going out to spend the day myself. I arranged the plan to accommodate her. How good you are! I shall be quite comfortable directly, really. I can get to my easy-chair in the sitting-room now I have rested a little.''

Marco helped her to her feet, and her sharp, involuntary exclamation of pain made him wince internally. Perhaps it was a worse sprain than she knew.

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The house was of the early-Victorian London order. A ``front lobby'' with a dining-room on the right hand, and a ``back lobby,'' after the foot of the stairs was passed, out of which opened the basement kitchen staircase and a sitting-room looking out on a gloomy flagged back yard inclosed by high walls. The sitting-room was rather gloomy itself, but there were a few luxurious things among the ordinary furnishings. There was an easy-chair with a small table near it, and on the table were a silver lamp and some rather elegant trifles. Marco helped his charge to the easy-chair and put a cushion from the sofa under her foot. He did it very gently, and, as he rose after doing it, he saw that the long, soft dark eyes were looking at him in a curious way.

``I must go away now,'' he said, ``but I do not like to leave you. May I go for a doctor?''

``How dear you are!'' she exclaimed. ``But I do not want one, thank you. I know exactly what to do for a sprained ankle. And perhaps mine is not really a sprain. I am going to take off my shoe and see.''

``May I help you?'' Marco asked, and he kneeled down again and carefully unfastened her shoe and withdrew it from her foot. It was a slender and delicate foot in a silk stocking, and she bent and gently touched and rubbed it.

``No,'' she said, when she raised herself, ``I do not think it is a sprain. Now that the shoe is off and the foot rests on the cushion, it is much more comfortable, much more. Thank you, thank you. If you had not been passing I might have had a dangerous fall.''

``I am very glad to have been able to help you,'' Marco answered, with an air of relief. ``Now I must go, if you think you will be all right.''

``Don't go yet,'' she said, holding out her hand. ``I should like to know you a little better, if I may. I am so grateful. I should like to talk to you. You have such beautiful manners for a boy,'' she

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The Lost Prince
Frances Hodgson Burnett

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