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   Chapter 5 ONLY A DOG.

A Flight with the Swallows; Or, Little Dorothy's Dream By Emma Marshall Characters: 6408

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02

"It is only a dog!" the passengers on the steamer exclaimed, some with a sigh of relief, for at first it was rumoured it was a child.

"Only a dog!" and Canon Percival said that to stop the steamer and lower a boat was out of the question. They were much behind as it was, and there would be barely time to catch the train to Paris.

There was no sign of Nino, and the surging waters had closed over him. Poor Nino! Two or three fishing smacks were in sight, and almost within speaking distance, but there was no hope of saving him.

"Only a dog!" but the heart of his little mistress felt as if it would break. She rushed down into the cabin, and with a wild cry of distress threw herself into her mother's arms.

"Nino! my Nino is drowned. Oh, Nino! Nino!"

Poor Ingleby roused herself from her sickness to comfort her darling.

"Oh! Miss Dorothy, perhaps it is all for the best; he would have been unhappy, and in the way, and--"

But Dorothy refused comfort; and by the time they were in the train, which there was a great rush to catch at Boulogne, Dorothy was exhausted with crying, and was only too glad to be tucked up on a seat near her mother, and soothed to sleep and forgetfulness of her trouble.

Irene felt very sorry for Dorothy, but she had never had a home and pets, either dogs or cats; and she could not therefore enter into the extent of Dorothy's grief. Having offered all the consolation in her power, which had been repulsed, Irene resigned herself to a book that Ingleby had given her out of her well-stocked basket, and before long she, too, was asleep.

"Perhaps we can buy another white dog in Paris," Mrs. Acheson suggested to Canon Percival.

"Oh no! that would not answer. I don't think you want any more trouble, and if poor old Nino was troublesome sometimes, a young successor would be certain to be ten times more troublesome. As a rule, dogs are unwelcome visitors in other people's houses, and Lady Burnside may dislike the race. I am sorry for Dorothy's trouble, and for the poor little creature's end, but, as Ingleby says, there are worse sorrows than the loss of a dog."

"I suppose he was drowned at once," Mrs. Acheson said; "I do hope he did not struggle long for life."

"He was probably sucked under the steamer, and it would be over directly, let us hope." Then Canon Percival pulled his travelling-cap over his eyes, and was soon wrapped in profound slumber.

When the party arrived at Paris at Meurice's Hotel, Dorothy's tears broke forth afresh, and she had to be conveyed to her room by poor Ingleby, followed by Irene, who carried Miss Belinda and a number of other miscellaneous articles.

Mrs. Acheson, tired and worn out, was forbidden by Canon Percival to go to Dorothy, and again and again did Mrs. Acheson wish that she had followed her brother's advice, and left poor Nino at home.

It was not till the two children were left together, after partaking of crescent-shaped rolls and coffee, that Irene ventured to say anything to Dorothy.

"Don't cry any more, Dorothy; it makes other people so unhappy-and," said Irene, wisely, "it won't bring Nino back!"

"I know that! I know that! What do you tell me that for?

Oh, dear! oh, dear!"

"Well," Irene said, "I want to tell you anything which will make you try to stop crying."

"That won't," said Dorothy, crossly; "you never, never had a dog; how should you know what I feel?"

"I am not thinking so much about what you feel," Irene said, with refreshing frankness; "I am thinking of your mamma, and how vexed and grieved she is about you."

At this moment a door from another room opened, and, rattling a big bunch of keys, a pretty, bright femme de chambre came in.

"Ah!" she said, in her broken English, "Ah! what pains little ma'm'selle? Is she ill? Does she want a doctor?"

"No," Irene said; "her favourite little dog was drowned as we crossed the sea. He fell over the edge of the steamer, and we never saw him again."

"Ah! but that is sad; but oh! dear petite," the kind woman said, going up to Dorothy, "think what grief my poor mother has, for my little brother Antoine fell into the river when all the flowers were coming out in May, and was dragged out cold and dead. Ah! but that was grief."

"How old was he?" Dorothy said.

"Five years old, ma'm'selle, and as lovely as an angel."

"What did your mother do?" Irene asked; "your poor mother!"

"She comforted my poor father, for it was when cutting the rushes with him that Antoine fell into the water. She dried her eyes, and tried to be cheerful for his, my father's, sake. The pain at her poor heart was terrible, terrible, but she said to me, 'Jeanette, I must hide the pain for the sake of the dear father. I only tell it to God.'"

Both the children listened to Jeanette's story with keen interest, and Irene asked,-

"How is your poor mother now?"

"She is calm, she is quiet; she does her work for them all, and her face has a look of peace. M. le Curé says it is the peace that comes of bearing sorrow, as the Lord Jesus bore the cross, and that is the way for us all; little and young, or old, it is the same. But I must go; there is so much work, night and day, day and night. See, dear little ma'm'selle"-and Jeanette foraged in the deep pocket of her white apron-"here are some bon-bons, chocolate of the best; see, all shining like silver."

She laid some round chocolate balls, covered with silver paper, in Dorothy's hand, and said,-

"Try to sleep away your sorrow, ma'm'selle, and wake fresh and happy for madame's sake."

"Every one tells me that," said Dorothy, "except mother. She does not tell me I don't care for her; she does not tell me to be happy for her sake. As if I could-could-forget my Nino!"

"No one thinks you can forget him," Irene said; "but if crying makes you ill, and makes your mamma miserable, you should try to stop."

Dorothy began to taste the excellence of Jeanette's chocolate, and offered some to Irene, saying,-

"That was a pretty story of Jeanette's about her poor little brother. Didn't you think so, Irene?"

"Yes," Irene said, thoughtfully; "I hope God will comfort Antoine's poor father."

"It's the mother that cared the most-it was the mother who was so miserable."

"Ah! but it was the father who let the little boy slip into the water; it was a thousand times worse for him," Irene said.

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