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The Picciola's large black eyes were lifted in unmistakeable recognition to Halifax's face, and she gave him her little hand at once, and received his kiss with grave demureness.

“You know me, I think,” said Halifax, in a whisper, as he put back her glittering hair.

Yes, sir, you bought flowers of me when I was sittin' on the church step in Regent Street." “And won't

you_bave anything to say to me, little missy ?" said Dr. Everett, who had seated himself on the sofa, and Angelo, standing beside him, saw the grave shadow that passed over his face as the child went up to him. He took her on his knee and asked her several questions about her health and how she felt, questions which made the child


but which she answered without hesitation. And

you cough often ?” said Dr. Everett. "No, sir, not often, sometimes at night, and when I am whacked.”

"What!" said the physician in wonderment, and he looked to the priest as if for explanation, adding almost directly, "Do this child's nurses strike her, Mr. Stewart ?”

“She has no nurses, and never had, she is an orphan, Dr. Everett, and her life till now has been the life of a City Arab.' I knew nothing of her till she came to my school."

She is no relation of yours, then ?” “No, I bave adopted her.”

He spoke in a quiet matter-of-course tone calculated rather to increase the old physician's surprise. A young man, not thirty, adopting a street child! and yet despite the irregularities in grammar, which had astonished the physician, was she a street child ? her looks, the intonation of her voice, proclaimed gentle blood; but whatever she might be, what man could fail to be touched by the kindness which passing by many apparently brighter and nobler objects, had singled out a lonely outcast child, who had nothing but the rare gifts of her Creator.

“Mr. Stewart,” said Dr. Everett, after a short silence, "you will acquit me of curiosity, I hope, in the question


I am about to ask. Do you know anything of this child's parentage ?"

The Picciola lifted her eyes eagerly to Stewart's face; he smiled sadly as he met that look, and answered at once, “I know only what I ascertained from the woman who had charge of her; her mother was a lady and died the night she was born, without having uttered one word which could lead to identification. She was found senseless in the street by a poor woman, since dead, and never spoke from that moment to her death."

"Ah! poor thing, poor thing," said the physician, shaking his head, an old, old story, I fear;" and be drew forth from his pocket as he spoke, an instrument which the child stared at, and stared still more when the physician bade her unfasten part of her dress, and applied the strange looking instrument to her chest. She looked to Angelo again, seeking mutely an explanation of the mystery, but Angelo stood with his arms folded, and his eyes fixed steadily on the face of the physician. It was very grave, and when he had returned the stethoscope to his pocket, he put the child gravely on the ground, and rose.

Halifax's ready tact made him beckon the Picciola to him, and taking her in his arms, talk to her, and make Rough play antics, while Dr. Everett drew Stewart aside.

“Mr. Stewart,” said the physician, in a low voice, " it would be equally useless and dishonourable in me to try and deceive you. One of that child's lungs is very much affected, the other slightly so. I do not say—and rely on me, I am speaking as I would speak to a brother physician—that she is past hope ; far from it; while there is youth there is hope, and time and care may

do wonders; but I fear that the life she led before she came under this roof has done its work, if indeed she did not inherit such a tendency from her mother. Still while I do not decidedly hold out hope, I could not say that there is no room for hope. This is my candid opinion."

Self-control had been too much a part of Angelo Stewart's training from his boyhood, to fail him even when a blow like this fell upon him; it was not that be

did not anticipate it, but when our fears are confirmed by the verdict of one who speaks from positive knowledge it falls with hardly a less crushing weight than when we have seen no shadow, and feared no cloud. True, the physician had not forbidden hope, but Angelo Stewart had seen so much of that fatal disease that the words of hope seemed to him little more than the flowers that deck a coffin. He thanked the physician calmly and gracefully for his kindness and frankness, and placed the Picciola under his care, for he knew him to be, especially as regarded children, perhaps the most eminent physician in London. Dr. Everett's orders for this summer weather were simple and few, good feeding, rest, and keeping from the danger of catching cold.

“She might in the winter,” he said, "need a warmer climate, but we will see what care and summer will do first."

He held out his hand as he spoke, and then turning to the Picciola, took her in his arms, kissed her tenderly, telling her he would come again and see her in a little while, -which promise the Picciola did not particularly relish, but as Angelo had sent for bim she was content to resign herself to fate, only venturing to ask timidly if she must take any medicine.

A little, pretty one; but it will taste very nice, I assure you

A statement which the Picciola did not contradict, but which she nevertheless set down as untrue, because, though she had never taken medicine, she had always heard that it was pasty;" so she crept back to Halifax's side, while Angelo himself accompanied the old physician to the door. Dr. Everett paused a moment on the threshold before crossing the pavement to his carriage, and as he once more shook hands with the man whom in his heart he honoured and respected more than any man he knew, he said,

“It is hard to tell how you feel about this, my friend, -if you will allow me to call you so, for you have been a friend to me, though unknown to yourself,—but let me again assure you that there is room for hope. have never deceived those who consulted me, and I would deceive you least of any men.”

“You are very kind, Dr. Everett," was the priest's earnest answer; “I will try and hope; but God's will be done!"

And as the old physician entered his carriage, he turned back and passed up again to the drawing-room. The Picciola sprang forward to meet him the moment he entered, and he smiled as he sat down and drew her towards him. She looked up wondering into his face, for she could not help vaguely connecting his grave expression with the physician's visit; but she was still too profoundly respectful (for it was only two days ago that she had become Angelo's Picciola,' as he called her) to ask questions, and it was Halifax who asked, but in Italian, what the physician's verdict had been.

Stewart gave Dr. Everett's answer almost word for word, and at first the writer's fine face clouded; but he knew next to nothing of disease and sickness, and having never had anything to do with children, he had an indefinite belief that with children, care would overcome almost any disease, and though looking on the child's strangely matured beauty he could almost have echoed Angelo Stewart's worst fears, he tried to hope, and to impart hope.

The priest did not express despondency; to him despondency would have seemed sin, but he replied quietly, still employing the Italian language, “Darrell

, I will not, I do not despair, but do not ask me to trust in hopehe paused a moment, and added in a low firm voice, “ He smiteth, and will bind up. Blessed be His Name."

Halifax was silent. This was a feeling which he could not fathom; he could face the world with the resolution of a noble and lofty character, and the pride of a patrician, but he could not have bowed his whole soul with this perfect submission to the Divine will, and it was with a strange and painful feeling of humiliation that he turned his face aside, while the Picciola, turning to Angelo, asked him whispering, whether the doctor had said she was ill ?

No, my child,” he answered gently," he said that you needed care; you are not strong."

The Picciola was satisfied, and when Stewart drew out

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his watch, she ventured to ask him if he was going to the church.

“Yes, little one; it is Litany to-day, and I am going this morning."

"Please, sir, may I go too ?”

“Yes, Picciola, -go to Mrs. Laurence, and tell her you are going with me.

The child turned at once to leave the room, and Rough, who had been lying down at the priest's feet, rose immediately and followed his little mistress.

Angelo,” said Halifax, as soon as the door had closed upon the child,“ do you intend to baptize the Picciola at once ?"

“No, Darrell; if she had been a child of two or three years old, I would have baptized her at once; but as she has already attained an age when she may be made to understand what she is undertaking, it is better to defer it for a week or two, so that she may fully comprehend obligations in which she is already partially instructed.”

“I understand you, Angelo; and that child is one, unless I am more mistaken in physiognomy than ever I have been before, in whom religion would find a natural home. Imagination and Veneration are prominently and unmistakeably marked, and she seems to look upon you as a tutelary saint."

Angelo Stewart suppressed a sigh as he answered, “We are al by nature idolaters,--and that child has never know, kindness till she came to our school; what wonder that she should almost worship a creature ? Even now she cannot realise that God is anywhere but in a church, and especially S. Michael's."

Halifax could not forbear smiling. “I cannot wonder at that,” he said, "and I cannot wonder, Angelo, that you love her £0; she is most fascinating, and I never saw before in a child's face such perfect beauty.”

Angelo turned quickly aside, and at that moment the door opened gently, and the little Picciola came in dressed" like a lady," with a jaunty plumed hat on her sunny curls, which seemed to her rather a “funny" headdress, for a hat was an article which until now had been an object seen only, but never felt.

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