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قراءة كتاب Honey-Sweet

تنويه: تعرض هنا نبذة من اول ١٠ صفحات فقط من الكتاب الالكتروني، لقراءة الكتاب كاملا اضغط على الزر “اشتر الآن"

‏اللغة: English


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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 1


MACMILLAN & CO., Limited


Anne sat pale and wordless





New York
All rights reserved
Copyright, 1911,
Set up and electrotyped. Published September, 1911. Reprinted June, 1913; August, 1914.
Norwood Press
J.S. Cushing Co.—Berwick & Smith Co.
Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.





Anne and her uncle were standing side by side on the deck of the steamship Caronia due to sail in an hour. Both had their eyes fixed on the dock below. Anne was looking at everything with eager interest. Her uncle, with as intent a gaze, seemed watching for something that he did not see. Presently he laid his hand on Anne's shoulder.

"I'm going to walk about, Nancy pet," he said. "There's your chair and your rug. If you get tired, go to your stateroom—where your bag is, you know."

"Yes, uncle." Anne threw him a kiss as he strode away.

She felt sure she could never tire of that busy, changing scene. It was like a moving-picture show, where one group chased away another. Swift-footed stewards and stewardesses moved busily to and fro. In twos and threes and larger groups, people were saying good-bys, some laughing, some tearful. Messenger boys were delivering letters and parcels. Oncoming passengers were jostling one another. Porters with armfuls of bags and bundles were getting in and out of the way. Trunks and boxes were being lowered into the hold. Anne tried to find her own small trunk. There it was. No! it was that—or was it the one below? Dear me! How many just-alike brown canvas trunks were there in the world? And how many people! These must be the people that on other days thronged the up-town streets. Broadway, she thought, must look lonesome to-day.

Every minute increased the crowd and the confusion.

There came a tall, raw-boned man with two heavy travelling bags, following a stout woman dressed in rustling purple-red silk. She spoke in a shrill voice: "Sure all my trunks are here? The little black one? And the box? And you got the extra steamer rug? Ed-ward! And I dis-tinct-ly told you—"

"The very best possible. Positively the most satisfactory arrangements ever made for a party our size." This a brisk little man with a smile-wrinkled face was saying to several women trotting behind him, each wearing blue or black serge, each lugging a suit-case.

A porter was wheeling an invalid chair toward the gang-plank. By its side walked a gentlewoman whom fanciful little Anne likened to a partridge. In fact, with her bright eyes and quick movements, she was not unlike a plump, brown-coated bird.

She fluttered toward the chair and said in a sweet, chirpy voice: "Comfortable, Emily? Lean a little forward and let me put this pillow under your shoulders. There, dear! That's better, I'm sure. Just a little while longer. How nicely you are standing the journey!"

A man in rough clothes stopped to exchange parting words with a youth in paint-splotched overalls.

—"Take it kind ye're here to see me off. I been a saying to mesilf four year I'd get back to see the folks in the ould counthry. And here I am at last wid me trunk in me hand—" holding out a bulging canvas bag. "Maybe so I'll bring more luggage back. There's a tidy girl I used to know—"

Beyond this man, Anne's roving eyes caught a glimpse of a familiar, gray-clad figure. She waved her hand eagerly but it attracted no greeting in return. Her uncle looked worried and nervous. Indeed, he started like a hunted wild creature, when a boy spoke suddenly to him. It was Roger, an office boy whom Anne had seen on the holiday occasions when she had met her uncle down-town. Roger held out a yellow envelope. Her uncle snatched it, and—just then there came between him and Anne a group of hurrying passengers—a stout man in a light gray coat and a pink shirt, a stout woman in a dark silk travelling coat, and two stout, short-skirted girls with good-natured faces, round as full moons. The younger girl was dragging a doll carriage carelessly with one hand. The doll had fallen forward so that her frizzled yellow head bounced up and down on her fluffy blue skirts.

"Oh! Poor dollie!" exclaimed Anne to herself. "I do wish uncle—" she caught a fleeting glimpse of him beside the workman with the canvas bag—"if just he hadn't hurried so. How could I forget Rosy Posy? I wish that fat girl would let me hold her baby doll. She's just dragging it along."

Presently the Stout family, as Anne called it to herself, came sauntering along the deck near her. She started forward, wishing to beg leave to set the fallen doll to rights, and then stopped short, too shy to speak to the strange girl.

A lean, sour-faced man in black bumped against her. "What an awkward child!" he said crossly.

Anne reddened and retreated to the railing. Feeling all at once very small and lonely, she searched the dock for her uncle but he was nowhere to be seen.

Then a bell rang. People hurried up the gang-plank. Last of all was a workman in blue overalls, with a soft hat jammed over his eyes. Orders were shouted. The gang-plank was drawn in. Then the Caronia wakened up, churned the brown water into foam, crept from the dock, picked her way among the river vessels, and sped on her ocean voyage.


It was eight o'clock and a crisp, clear morning. A stewardess was offering tea and toast to Mrs. Patterson, the frail little lady whom Anne had observed in a wheel-chair the afternoon before. Seen closely, her face had a pathetic prettiness. With the delicate color in her soft cheeks, she looked like a fading tea rose. Yet one knew at a glance that she and bird-like Miss Sarah Drayton were sisters. There was the same oval face—this hollowed and that plump; the same soft brown hair—this wavy and that sleek; the same wide-open hazel eyes—these soft and sombre, those bright as beads.

"If you drink a few spoonfuls, dear, you may feel more like eating," Miss Drayton's cheery voice was saying. "And do taste the toast. If it's as good as it looks, you'll devour the last morsel."

Mrs. Patterson sipped the tea and nibbled a piece of toast. "It lacks only one thing—an appetite," she announced, smiling at her sister as she pushed aside the tray. "Did you hear that? I thought I heard—is it a child crying?"

The stewardess started. "Gracious! I forgot her! A little girl's just across from you, ma'am—an orphant, I guess. She's travelling alone with her uncle. And he charged me express when he came on board to look after her. Of course I forgot. My hands are that full my head won't hold it. It's 'Vaughan here' and it's 'Vaughan there,' regular as clockwork. Why ain't he called on me again?"

She trotted out and tapped on the door of the stateroom opposite. There was a brief silence. Vaughan was about to knock again when the door opened slowly. There stood a slim little girl struggling for self-control, but her fright and misery were too much for her, and in spite of herself tears trickled down her