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Melbourne House, Volume 1 by Warner, Susan, 1819-1885

Melbourne House, Volume 1 by Warner, Susan, 1819-1885

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Melbourne House, Volume 1, by Susan Warner

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net

Title: Melbourne House, Volume 1
Author: Susan Warner
Release Date: July 20, 2004 [EBook #12963]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK MELBOURNE HOUSE, VOLUME 1 ***

Produced by Karen Lofstrom and PG Distributed Proofreaders

MELBOURNE HOUSE.
[Illustration: THE OLD IRISH TOMB.]
Melbourne House, Vol. I.

MELBOURNE HOUSE.
BY THE
AUTHOR OF THE "WIDE, WIDE WORLD."
"Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and
whether it be right."--PROV. XX. 11.
VOL. I.

NEW YORK:
ROBERT CARTER & BROTHERS,
530 BROADWAY.
1865.

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1864, by
ROBERT CARTER AND BROTHERS,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the
Southern District of New York.
Stereotyped by SMITH & MCDOUGAL, 82 & 84 Beekman St.
Printed by E.O. JENKINS, 20 North William St.

[Transcriber's note: This edition of the novel was badly typeset in
places. Many small errors--missing periods, missing apostrophes, missing
closing quotes--have been corrected for reading ease. When the author
spelled a word as 'ankle' nine times and 'ancle' twice, occurrences of
'ancle' have been corrected to 'ankle'--and so forth. Other errors,
such as the persistent misspelling of 'visitor' as 'visiter', have been
left, as these are more likely to represent the author's convictions as
to spelling.]

MELBOURNE HOUSE.
CHAPTER I.

A little girl was coming down a flight of stairs that led up from a
great hall, slowly letting her feet pause on each stair, while the light
touch of her hand on the rail guided her. The very thoughtful little
face seemed to be intent on something out of the house, and when she
reached the bottom, she still stood with her hand on the great baluster
that rested on the marble there, and looked wistfully out of the open
door. So the sunlight came in and looked at her; a little figure in a
white frock and blue sash, with the hair cut short all over a little
round head, and a face not only just now full of some grave concern, but
with habitually thoughtful eyes and a wise little mouth. She did not
seem to see the sunlight which poured all over her, and lit up a wide,
deep hall, floored with marble, and opening at the other end on trees
and flowers, which shewed the sunlight busy there too. The child
lingered wistfully. Then crossed the hall, and went into a matted,
breezy, elegant room, where a lady lay luxuriously on a couch, playing
with a book and a leaf-cutter. She could not be _busy_ with anything in
that attitude. Nearly all that was to be seen was a flow of lavender
silk flounces, a rich slipper at rest on a cushion, and a dainty little
cap with roses on a head too much at ease to rest. By the side of the
lavender silk stood the little white dress, still and preoccupied as
before--a few minutes without any notice.

"Do you want anything, Daisy?"
"Mamma, I want to know something."
"Well, what is it?"
"Mamma"--Daisy seemed to be engaged on a very puzzling question--"what

does it mean to be a Christian?"
"_What?_" said her mother, rousing herself up for the first time to look

at her.
"To be a Christian, mamma?"
"It means, to be baptized and go to church, and all that," said the

lady, turning back to her book.
"But mamma, that isn't all I mean."
"I don't know what you mean. What has put it into your head?"
"Something Mr. Dinwiddie said."
"What absurd nonsense! Who is Mr. Dinwiddie?"
"You know him. He lives at Mrs. Sandford's."
"And where did he talk to you?"
"In the little school in the woods. In his Sunday-school. Yesterday."
"Well, it's absurd nonsense, your going there. You have nothing to do

with such things. Mr. Randolph?--"
An inarticulate sound, testifying that he was attending, came from a
gentleman who had lounged in and was lounging through the room.

"I won't have Daisy go to that Sunday-school any more, down there in the
woods. Just tell her she is not to do it, will you? She is getting her
head full of the most absurd nonsense. Daisy is just the child to be
ruined by it."

"You hear, Daisy," said Mr. Randolph, indolently, as he lounged finally
out of the room by an open window; which, as did all the windows in the
room, served for a door also. By the door by which she had entered,
Daisy silently withdrew again, making no effort to change the resolution
of either of her parents. She knew it would be of no use; for
excessively indulgent as they both were in general, whenever they took
it upon them to exercise authority, it was unflinchingly done. Her
father would never even hear a supplication to reconsider a judgment,
especially if pronounced at the desire of her mother. So Daisy knew.

It was a disappointment, greater than anybody thought or would have
guessed, that saw her. She went out to the large porch before the door,
and stood there, with the same thoughtful look upon her face, a little
cast down now. Still she did not shed tears about the matter, unless one
time when Daisy's hand went up to her brow rather quick, it was to get
rid of some improper suggestion there. More did not appear, either
before or after the sudden crunching of the gravel by a pair of light
wheels, and the coming up of a little Shetland pony, drawing a miniature
chaise.

"Hollo, Daisy! come along; he goes splendidly!"
So shouted the driver, a boy somewhat bigger than Daisy.

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