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The Money Moon(Chapter23)

2006-08-28 23:18

  Chapter XXIII. How Small Porges, in his hour of need, was deserted by his Uncle

  "Ruined, sir!——Done for!——Lord love me! they ain't worth the trouble o? gatherin'——w'ot's left on 'em, Mr. Belloo sir."

  "So bad as that, Adam?"

  "Bad!——ah, so bad as ever was, sir!" said Adam, blinking suspiciously, and turning suddenly away.

  "Has Miss Anthea seen,——does she know?"

  "Ah! she were out at dawn, and Oh Lord, Mr. Belloo sir! I can't never forget her poor, stricken face,——so pale and sad it were. But she never said nothing, only: 'Oh, Adam!——my poor hops!' An' I see her lips all of a quiver while she spoke. An' so she turned away, an' came back to the 'ouse, sir. Poor lass! Oh poor lass!" he exclaimed, his voice growing more husky. "She's made a brave fight for it, sir,——but it weren't no use, ye see,——it'll be 'Good-bye' for her to Dapplemere, arter all, that there mortgage can't never be paid now,——nohow."

  "When is it due?"

  "Well, according to the bond, or the deed, or whatever they calls it,——it be doo——tonight, at nine o'clock, sir,——though Old Grimes,——as a special favour, an' arter much persuading,——'ad agreed to hold over till next Saturday,——on account o' the 'op-picking. But now——seeing as there ain't no 'ops to be picked,——why he'll fore-close to-night, an' glad enough to do it, you can lay your oath on that, Mr. Belloo sir."

  "To-night!" said Bellew, "to-night!" and he stood, for a while with bent head, as though lost in profound thought. "Adam," said he, suddenly, "help me to harness the mare, I must drive over to the nearest rail-road depot,——hurry, I must be off, the sooner, the better."

  "What!——be you——goin' sir?"

  "Yes;——hurry, man,——hurry!"

  "D'ye mean as you're a-goin' to leave her——now, in the middle o' all this trouble?"

  "Yes, Adam,——I must go to London——on business,——now hurry, like a good fellow." And so, together they entered the stable, and together they harnessed the mare. Which done, staying not for breakfast, Bellew mounted the driver's seat, and, with Adam beside him, drove rapidly away.

  But Small Porges had seen these preparations, and now came running all eagerness, but ere he could reach the yard, Bellew was out of ear-shot.

  So there stood Small Porges, a desolate little figure, watching the rapid course of the dogcart until it had vanished over the brow of the hill. And then, all at once the tears welled up into his eyes hot, and scalding, and a great sob burst from him, for it seemed to him that his beloved Uncle Porges had failed him at the crucial moment,——had left him solitary just when he needed him most.

  Thus Small Porges gave way to his grief, hidden in the very darkest corner of the stable, whither he had retired lest any should observe his weakness, until having once more gained command of himself, and wiped away his tears with his small, and dingy pocket-handkerchief, he slowly re-crossed the yard, and entering the house went to look for his Auntie Anthea.

  And, after much search, he found her——half-lying, half-kneeling beside his bed. When he spoke to her, though she answered him, she did not look up, and he knew that she was weeping.

  "Don't, Auntie Anthea,——don't!" he pleaded. "I know Uncle Porges has gone away, an' left us, but you've got me left, you know,——an' I shall be a man——very soon,——before my time, I think. So——don't cry,——though I'm awful' sorry he's gone, too——just when we needed him the most, you know!"

  "Oh Georgy!" she whispered, "my dear, brave little Georgy! We shall only have each other soon,——they're going to take Dapplemere away from us,——and everything we have in the world,——Oh Georgy!"

  "Well, never mind!" said he, kneeling beside her, and drawing one small arm protectingly about her, "we shall always have each other left, you know,——nobody shall ever take you away from me. An' then——there's the——Money Moon! It's been an awful' long time coming,——but it may come to-night, or tomorrow night. He said it would be sure to come if the storm came, an' so I'll find the fortune for you at last. I know I shall find it some day a course——'cause I've prayed, an' prayed for it so very hard, an' He said my prayers went straight up to heaven, an' didn't get blown away, or lost in the clouds. So——don't cry, Auntie Anthea let's wait——just a little longer——till the Money Moon comes."

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