Son of Hagar She's All The World to Me by Hall Caine Hard Cover
Son of Hagar She's All The World to Me by Hall Caine Hard Cover
Son of Hagar She's All The World to Me by Hall Caine Hard Cover
Son of Hagar She's All The World to Me by Hall Caine Hard Cover
Son of Hagar She's All The World to Me by Hall Caine Hard Cover

Son of Hagar She's All The World to Me by Hall Caine Hard Cover

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Son of Hagar She's All The World to Me by Hall Caine Hard Cover
A Son of Hagar Shes All The World to Me by Hall Caine Hard Cover 480 Pages Hall Caine's Best Books in 3 volumes  Volume 3.  Date Unknown   Illustrated.  
IT was a chill December morning. The atmosphere was dense with fog in the dusky chamber of a London police-court; the lights were bleared and the voices drowsed. A woman carrying a child in her arms had been half dragged, half pushed into the dock. She was young; beneath her disheveled hair her face showed almost girlish. Her features were pinched with pain; her eyes had at one moment a serene look, and at the next moment a look of defiance. Her dress had been rich; it was now torn and damp, and clung in dank folds to her limbs. The child she carried appeared to be four months old. She held it convulsively at her breast, and when it gave forth a feeble cry she rocked it mechanically.
"Your worship, I picked this person out of the river at ha'-past one o'clock this morning," said a constable. "She had throwed herself off the steps of Blackfriars Bridge."
"Had she the child with her ?" asked the bench.
"Yes, your worship; and when I brought her to land I couldn't get the little one out of her arms nohow-she clung that tight to it. The mother, she was insensible; but the child, it opened its eyes and cried."
"Have you not learned her name?"
"No, sir; she won't give us no answer when we ask her that."
"I am informed," said the clerk, "that against all inquiries touching her name and circumstances she keeps a rigid silence. The doctor is of opinion, your worship, that the woman is not entirely responsible."
"Her appearance in court might certainly justify that conclusion," said the magistrate.
The young ,woman had gazed vacantly about her with an air of indifference. She seemed scarcely to realize that through the yellow vagueness the eyes of a hundred persons were centred on her haggard face.
"Anybody here who knows her ?" asked the bench.
"Yes, your worship ; I found out the old woman alonger she lodged."
"Let us hear the old person."
A woman in middle life-a little, confused, aimless, uncomfortable body-stepped into the box. She answered to the name of Drayton. Her husband was a hotel porter. She had a house in Pimlico. A month ago one of her rooms on the first floor back had been to let. She put a card in her window, and the prisoner applied. Accepted the young lady as tenant, and had been duly paid her rent. Knew nothing of who she was or where she came from. Couldn't even get her name. Had heard her call the baby Paul. That was all she knew.
"Her occupation, my good woman, what was it ?"
"Nothing; she hadn't no occupation, your worship." "Never went out ? Not at night?"
"No, sir; leastways not at night, sir. I hopes your worship takes me for an honest woman, sir."
"Did nothing for a living, and yet she paid you. Did you board her?"
"Yes, your worship ; she could cook her wittles, but the poor young thing seemed never to have heart for nothing, sir." "Never talked to you?"
"No, sir ; nothing but cried. She cried, and cried, and cried, 'cept when she laughed, and then it were awful, your worship. My man always did say as how there was no knowing what she'd be doing of yet."
"Is she married, do you know ?"
"Yes, your worship ; she wears her wedding-ring quite regular -only once plucked it off and flung it in the fire-I saw it with my own eyes, sir, or I mightn't ha' believed it; and I never did see the like-but the poor creature's not responsible at whiles-that's what my husband says."
"What was her behavior to the child ? Did she seem fond of it ?"
"Oh yes, your worship; she used to hug, and hug, and hug it, and call it her darling, and Paul, and Paul, and Paul, and all she had left in the world."
"When did you see her last before to-day ?"
"Yesterday, sir ; she put on her bonnet and cape and drew a
shawl around the baby, and went out in the afternoon. 'It will do you a mort of good,' says I to her. 'Yes, Mrs. Drayton,' says she, `it will do us both a world of good.' That was on the front doorsteps, your worship, and it was a nice afternoon, but I had never no idea what she meant to be doing of; but she's not responsible, poor young thing, that's what my-"
"And when night came and she hadn't got home, did you go in search of her ?"
"Yes, your worship; for I says to my husband, says I, 'Poor young thing, I can't rest in my bed, and knowing nothing of what's come to her.' And my man he says to me, 'Maggie,' he says, 'you go to the station and give the officers her description,' he says-, `a tall young woman as might ha' been a lady, a-carrying a baby-that'll be good enough,' he says, and I went. And this morning the officer came, and I knew by his face as something had happened, and-"
"Let us hear the doctor. Is he in court ?"
"Yes, your worship," said the constable.
Mrs. Drayton was being bustled out of the box. She stopped on the first step down:
"And I do hope as no harm will come to her-she's not responsible-that's what my hus-"
"All right, we know all that; down with you ; this way; don't bother his worship !"
At the bottom of the steps the woman stopped again, with a handkerchief to her eyes.
"And it do make me cry to see her, poor thing, and the baby, too, and innocent as a kitten-and I hopes if anything is done to her as-"
Mrs. Drayton's further hopes and fears were lost in the bustle of the court. The young woman in the dock still gazed about her vacantly. There was strength in her firmly molded lip, sensibility in her large dark eyes, power in her broad, smooth brow, and a certain stateliness in the outlines of her tall, slim figure.
The doctor who had examined her gave his report in a few words: the woman should be under control, though she was dangerous to no one but herself. Her attempt at suicide was one of the common results of disaster in affairs of love. Perhaps she was a married woman, abandoned by her husband ; more likely she was an unfortunate lady in whom the shame of pregnancy had produced insanity. She was obviously a person of education and delicacy of feeling.
"She must have connections of some kind," said the magistrate; and, turning to the dock, he said quietly, "Give us your name, my good lady."
The woman seemed not to hear, but she pressed her child yet closer to her breast, and it cried feebly.
The magistrate tried again :
"Your baby's name is Paul, isn't it ? Paul-what ?"
She looked around, glanced at the magistrate and back at the people in the court, but said nothing.
Just then the door opposite the bench creaked slightly, and a gentleman entered. The woman's wandering eyes passed over him. In an instant her torpor was shaken off. She riveted her gaze on the new-comer. Her features contracted with lines of pain. She drew the child aside, as if to hide it from sight. Then her face twitched, and she staggered back into the arms of the constable behind her. She was now insensible. Through the dense folds of the fog the vague faces of the spectators showed an intent expression.
It was observed that the gentleman who had entered the court a moment before immediately left it. The magistrate saw him pass out of the door merely as a distorted figure in the dusky shadows.
"Let her be removed to the Dartford asylum," said the magistrate ; "I will give an order at once."
A voice came from the body of the court. It was Mrs. Dray-ton's voice, thick with sobs.
"And if you please, your worship, may me and my husband take care of the child until the poor young thing is well enough to come for it ? We've no children of our own, sir, and my husband and me, we'd like to have it, and no one would do no better by it, your worship."
"I think you are a good woman, Mrs. Drayton," said the magistrate. Then, turning to the clerk, he added, "Let inquiries be made about her, and, if all prove satisfactory, let the child be given into her care."
"Oh, thank your worship ; it do make me cry-"
"Yes, all right-never mind now-we know all about it-come along."
The prisoner recovered consciousness in being removed from the dock : the constable was taking the child out of her arms. She clung to it with feverish hands.
"Take me away," she said in a deep whisper, and her eyes wandered to the door.
"Stop that man," said the magistrate, pointing to the vague recesses into which the spectator had disappeared. An officer of the court went out hastily. Presently returning: "He is gone," said the officer.
"Take me away, take me away !" cried the prisoner in a tense voice. "Paul, Paul, my own little Paul !" The woman's breath came and went in gusts, and her child cried from the convulsive pressure to her breast.
"Remove them," said the bench.
There was a faint commotion. Among the people in the court, huddled like sheep, there was a harsh scraping of feet, and some suppressed whispering. The stolid faces on the bench turned and smiled slightly in the yellow gleam of the gas that burned in front of them. Then the momentary bustle ended, the woman and child were gone, and the calm monotony of the court was resumed.
Six months later a handsome woman, still little more than a girl, yet with the eyes of suffering, stepped up to the door of a house in Pimlico and knocked timidly.
"I wish to see Mrs. Drayton," she said, when the door was opened by an elderly person.
"Bless you, they're gone, Mrs. Drayton and her husband." "Gone !" said the young woman, "gone ! What do you mean?" "Why, gone-removed--shifted."
"Removed-shifted ?" The idea seemed to struggle its slow way, into her brain.
"In course-what else, when the big hotel fails and he loses his job ? Rents can't be paid on nothing a week, and something to put in the mouth besides."
"Gone ? Are you mad ? Woman, think what you're saying. Gone where ?"
"How do I know where? Mad, indeed! I'll not say but other folk look a mort madder nor ever I looked."
The young woman took her by the shoulder.
"Don't say that-don't say you don't know where they're gone. They've got my child, I tell you; my poor little Paul."
"Oh, so you're the young party as drownded herself, are you? Well, they're gone anyways, and the little chit with them, and there's no saying where. You may believe me. Ask the neighbors else."
The young woman leaned against the door-jamb with a white face and great eyes.
"Well, well, how hard she takes it ! Deary me, deary me. She's not a bad sort, after all. Well, well, who'd ha' thought it !
There, there, come in and sit awhile.It is cruel to lose one's babby-and me to tell her, too. Misbegotten or not, it's one's own flesh and blood, and that's what I always says."
The young woman had been drawn into the house and seated on a chair. She got up again with the face of an old woman.
"Oh, I'm choking!" she said.
"Rest awhile, do now, my dear-there-there."
"No, no, my good woman, let me go."
"Heaven help you, child ; how you look !"
"Heaven has never helped me," said the young woman. "I was a sister of charity only two years ago. A man found me and wooed me; married me and abandoned me; I tried to die and they rescued me; they separated me from my child and put me in an asylum; I escaped, and have now come for my darling, and he is gone."
"Deary me, deary me !" and the old woman stroked her consolingly.
"Let me go," she cried, starting up afresh. "If Heaven has done nothing for me, perhaps the world itself will have mercy."
The ghastly face answered ill to the grating laugh that followed as she jerked her head aside and hurried away.

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