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do with her. I took her home, of course, but mother turned her out
of the house, and I'm in a quandary."
"Is that her baggage?" asked Rose, pointing with her whip to the
large bundle which he held while the wild idea flashed through her
head that perhaps he really had done some rash deed of this sort.
"No, this is the young lady herself." And, opening a corner of the
brown shawl, he displayed a child of three so pale, so thin and tiny
that she looked like a small scared bird just fallen from the nest as
she shrank away from the light with great frightened eyes and a
hand like a little claw tightly clutched a button of Mac's coat.
"Poor baby! Where did it come from?" cried Rose, leaning down to
"I'll tell you the story, and then you shall advise me what to do. At
our hospital we've had a poor woman who got hurt and died two
days ago. I had nothing to do with her, only took her a bit of fruit
once or twice, for she had big, wistful sort of eyes that haunted me.
The day she died I stopped a minute, and the nurse said she'd been
wanting to speak to me but didn't dare. So I asked if I could do
anything for her and, though she could hardly breathe for pain
being almost gone she implored me to take care of baby. I found
out where the child was, and promised I'd see after her for the poor
soul couldn't seem to die till I'd given her that comfort. I never can
forget the look in her eyes as I held her hand and said, 'Baby shall
be taken care of.' She tried to thank me, and died soon after quite
peacefully. Well, I went today and hunted up the poor little wretch.
Found her in a miserable place, left in the care of an old hag who
had shut her up alone to keep her out of the way, and there this
mite was, huddled in a corner, crying 'Marmar, marmar!' fit to
touch a heart of stone. I blew up at the woman and took the baby
straightaway, for she had been abused. It was high time. Look
there, will you?"
Mac turned the little skinny arm and showed a blue mark which
made Rose drop her reins and stretch out both hands, crying with a
tender sort of indignation: "How dared they do it? Give her to me,
poor little motherless thing!"
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