+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

"Then I will tell it to you," said Seraphina.
"The kerchief was stolen, and
handed from one to another till it came into
the possession of a nurse in our family."

"In your family?" interrupted Witch.

"Yes," said Seraphina; "we had servants
enough, and pleasures and comforts.
We were not wretched creatures then. We
lived in a beautiful country. Your picture
is a morsel of our home. We were as
happy as young creatures could be. The
only vexation we had as children was the
quarrelling of Tabitha and Roger about
which would save up the most cherrystones
or halfpence in a drawer. Our
nurse often scolded them for that, and told
of how there had been misers in our family
once; and bade them take care lest an
evil spirit should get into them. Our
mother was dead, and she was a mother
to little Margaret, who was by many years
the youngest of us all. She loved little
Margaret as well as her own life.

"At last there came a great fortune
from India, and Tabitha and Roger
became miserable. After this they could not
endure the spending of a halfpenny. Little
Margaret was just then grown up, and as
sweet, oh as sweet as the face in your
picture. Home became terrible by-and-by,
and poor Margaret ran away from it and
made a sad marriage. She came back once
begging a little help for her sick husband
and children. But they would not give
her a penny. Our old nurse was dying at
that time, but she got up on her feet to
curse Tabitha and Roger. She was folding
and pinning the paroquet kerchiefthe
only gift she had to giveupon Margaret's
bosom with her dying hands at the same
time that she was uttering her curse. It
withered me up for evermore, that curse
did. And it seemed to pass into the colours
of that paroquet kerchief, and they seemed
to burn and burn with it. That is why it
is so dreadful to me now. I heard that
Margaret and her husband and children
all died. I never could go to seek them,
for I never had any money. And oh, what
a life I have had, all along!" moaned
Seraphina, "till it has ended like this, through
the money and the curse!"

"I tell you what it is, Miss Seraphina,"
said Witch, promptly. "My friend Barry
is your nephew, and his mother is your
sister Margaret!"

"You would not make a fool of a poor,
old, lonely wretch?" said Seraphina, with
a wistful look in Witch's face.

"Come and see," said Witch.

"Stay," said Seraphina; "are they
poor? I hope they are poor, for there is
such a heap of money in the garden!"

A bright light dawned before Witch.
Barry's good fortune shone out upon her.
And she and Seraphina made their way to

"Sister Margaret! Sister Margaret!"
cried Seraphina, "will you come and take
the curse off that Indian money? It is all
buried in the earth for your son. Let him
go and dig it up!"

Some time afterwards, a busy, active old
lady might have been seen stepping briskly
about a handsome country house. There
were the gardens to be put in order, and
Margaret's pretty rooms to be furnished.
Seraphina arranged it all, for the young
people were away on their wedding tour.
The sweep and the milkman out of a certain
dreary street could hardly have recognised
this old lady, if they had seen her.

The world has got Barry's name on the
tip of its busy tongue. Little Witch is a
great lady, and paints pictures of foreign
lands. She does not forget her kitchen,
nor her paroquet kerchief. How do they
get on at home? she will often wonder.

Oh dear! oh dear! Kathleen has to
make the tea, I am afraid. Alice has to
mend the broken stockings. Bella has to
dust the little tambourine-girl on the
chimney-piece! True, there is now a
servant, with arms much stronger than
Witch's ever were. But yet there is such a
great deal to be done, after all. Why did
little Witch go away?

On Saturday 7th August, 1869,
Will be commenced in "ALL THE YEAR ROUND:"
To be continued from week to week until completed.

Now Ready, price 5s. 6d., bound in green cloth,
To be had of all Booksellers.