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首页 » 英文短篇小说 » The Actress' Daughter » CHAPTER XXII. THE SUN RISES.
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CHAPTER XXII. THE SUN RISES.
 "Radiant daughter of the sun,
Now thy living wreath is won,
Crowned with fame! Oh! art thou not
Happy in that glorious lot?
Happier, happier far than thou,
With the laurel on thy brow,
She that makes the humblest
Lovely but to one on earth."
Mrs. Hemans.
 
T
he wise counsel and impressive instructions of her old acquaintance, the now calm, dignified, and subdued Rev. Mr. Wildair, soon brought forth good fruit. Georgia began to find the "peace which passeth all understanding." Now she looked forward with calm, patient expectation to her meeting with her husband, with the sweet promise ever in her mind, "seek first the kingdom of God, and all else shall be added unto you." With a sad heart Georgia noticed her old companion's thin, wasted face and form, the striking brilliancy of his eyes, the hectic flush of his pale cheek, and the short, hacking cough that impeded his speech, and felt that the inspired young missionary's days were numbered.
The day came at last when the decision regarding Georgia's picture was to be announced.
 
She tried to be calm and patient, but notwithstanding all her efforts in this direction, when Mr. Leonard started[Pg 331] off to hear the decision that was to condemn or accept her picture, she was in a perfect fever of anxiety. She could not sit still, she could not taste breakfast; she walked up and down her room in irrepressible impatience, with two hot spots, all unusual there, burning on either cheek, and a wild, feverish light streaming from her eyes.
 
Noon came—twelve o'clock—Georgia looked at her watch unceasingly. He had promised to return between twelve and one, but one passed and he came not; two, and he was absent still; three, and in her burning impatience she was about to throw on her hat and shawl and hasten out in search of news, when the door was flung open, and Mr. Leonard, flushed, and panting, and perspiring, rushed in.
 
"Hurrah! you've done it! you've done it! you've got the prize, Miss Randall! Hagar's electrifying the whole of 'em and got herself to the top of the tree. If Abraham was around he'd feel pretty cheap just now, to see the fuss they're making about her. I knew you would get it, Miss Randall! Let me congratulate you! Hurrah!"
 
And Mr. Leonard, in his delight, waved his hat and gave a cheer that sent the widow shrieking into the room to see what was the matter. And there she found Mr. Leonard grasping Georgia by both hands, and shaking them with a zeal and vehemence quite startling, while Georgia herself, forgetting everything, even her success, in her sense of the ludicrous, was laughing until her cheeks were crimson.
 
[Pg 333]
 
[Pg 332]
 
Georgia smiled, but her cheek was flushed and her eye flashing with triumph. Never had she looked so beautiful before, and the old gentleman gazed at her with profound admiration as she stood like a triumphant young queen before him.
 
"You are right, Mr. Leonard, wonders never will cease. Some day, very shortly, I intend to give you a still greater surprise."
 
"Eh—how—what is it?" said the old man, puzzled by her radiant face.
 
"Never mind, sir. You shall know in good time. To-morrow I will go with you to 'receive my reward of merit.' I have never got one since I left school, but I don't know but that I rather like the idea after all."[Pg 334]
 
As she spoke the door was opened, and the widow re-entered.
 
"Well?" said Georgia, inquiringly.
 
"There are two gentlemen in the next room who want to see you, if you please," she said.
 
"To see me!" said Georgia, in surprise.
 
"Yes'm; they asked for Miss Randall."
 
Georgia's heart throbbed, and her color came and went. A sudden faintness seized her, and she sank into a chair.
 
"Why, bless my heart! what's the matter?" said Mr. Leonard, in surprise; "it can't be the artists, you know, because they don't know your name or address. What does ail you, Miss Randall?"
 
"Show them in here. I will see them," said Georgia, faintly, raising her head and laying her hand on her heart to still its tumultuous throbbings.
 
Georgia's hour had come.
 
The door opened, and Georgia rose to her feet, deadly pale, with many emotions, as Dick Curtis and Mr. Randall entered.
 
"I was right—it is she!" cried Mr. Curtis, joyfully, as he sprang forward and caught both her hands in his. "Huzza! Oh, Mrs. Wildair, Mrs. Wildair! to think I should ever see you again!" said Dick, fairly ready to cry.
 
"Mrs. Wildair! Why, what the——"
 
Mr. Leonard, in his astonishment, made use of an improper word, reader, so you will excuse me for not repeating it.
 
"My dear Mr. Curtis, I am truly glad to see you again," said Georgia, in a faltering voice—"more rejoiced than I have words to say."
 
"And this gentleman! I'll bet you a dollar, now, you'll[Pg 335] say you don't know him," said Mr. Curtis, rubbing his hands gleefully.
 
"Not so, sir," said Georgia, taking a step forward and looking up in the pale agitated face of Mr. Randall, every feature of which was familiar to her now. "My dear, my long-lost brother! My dearest Warren!" And with a great cry she sprang forward and was locked in her brother's arms.
 
"Georgia! Georgia! my sister!" was all he could say, as he strained her to his breast, and tears, which did honor to his manly heart, dropped on her bowed head.
 
"Huzza! hip, hip, hurrah! it's all right now!" shouted Mr. Curtis, as he flourished round the room in a frantic extempore waltz of most intense delight, and then, in the exuberance of his joy, he seized hold of the astounded Mr. Leonard and fairly hugged him, in his ecstacy:
 
"Help! help! murder! fire!" yelled Mr. Leonard, struggling frantically in what he supposed to be the grasp of a maniac.
 
"There! take it easy, old gentleman!" said Mr. Curtis, releasing him, and cutting a pigeon's wing. "Tol-de-rol-de-riddle-lol! Don't raise such an awful row! Ain't there a picture to look at, my hearty? Hurrah! Oh, how happy I feel! And to think that I should have been the means of bringing them together—I, Dick Curtis, that never did anything right before in my life! Good gracious! Tol-de-rol—— Hello? Where are you going so fast, old gent?"
 
Mr. Leonard, the moment he found himself free, had seized his hat, and was about to decamp, in the full feeling that a lunatic asylum had broken loose somewhere, when Georgia, looking up, espied him, and said:[Pg 336]
 
"Mr. Leonard, don't go. My best friend must stay and share in my joy this happy day. Can you guess who this is?" she said, laying her hand fondly on her brother's shoulder, and looking up in his face, with a smile shining through her tears.
 
"Guess!" said Mr. Leonard, testily—"I don't need to guess, young lady. I know well enough it's young Randall, and I must say, although he is a namesake of yours, it doesn't look well to see you flying into his arms and hugging him in that manner the moment he comes into the house. No more does it look well for Dick Curtis to take hold of me like a bear, and dislocate every rib I have in the world, as he has done."
 
"No, I haven't, Mr. Leonard," interrupted Dick; "there's Mrs. Leonard, your chief rib—I haven't dislocated her, have I?"
 
Mr. Leonard's look of deepest disgust was so irresistible that Dick broke off and burst into a fit of immoderate laughter, snapping his fingers, and throwing his body into all sorts of contortions of delight, and his example proving contagious, both Mr. Randall and Georgia followed it, and all three laughed without being able to stop for nearly five minutes, during which Mr. Leonard stood, hat in hand, looking from one to the other, with a look of solemn dismay unspeakably ridiculous.
 
"Do not be shocked, Mr. Leonard," said Georgia, as soon as she could speak for laughter, "though really you are not so without cause. Did I not tell you I would surprise you oftener than you thought? Mr. Randall is my own, my only, long-lost brother."
 
"Her brother! Oh, ginger!" muttered Mr. Leonard,[Pg 337] completely bewildered. "I might have known two such geniuses must be related to one another."
 
"For all you have kindly done for my sister, Mr. Leonard, accept my thanks," said Mr. Randall, as he came forward, with a smile, and shook him heartily by the hand.
 
"Well, what a go this is, anyway!" said Mr. Curtis, meditatively. "Only to think of it! And all through me—or, rather, through little Emily's picture! Why, it's wonderful! downright wonderful!—ain't it, Mrs. Wildair?"
 
"Mrs. Wildair!" exclaimed Mr. Leonard, looking from Dick to Georgia with wide-open eyes. Then, as a sudden light broke in upon him. "Why, Heaven bless my soul!" he ejaculated. "Sure enough, they told me Randall's sister was Wildair's wife—the one that ran away. Great Jehosaphat! to think she should turn up again in such a remarkably funny way, and should prove to be our Miss Randall! I've a good mind to swear!—upon my life, I have!"
 
"And all through me, too, Mr. Leonard," said Mr. Curtis, exultingly; "if it hadn't been for me they might have gone poking round the world till doomsday and not found one another. If I don't deserve a service of tin plate, I shall feel obliged to you to let me know who does."
 
"Land of life and blessed promise!" exclaimed Mr. Leonard, who had originally come from "away down East," and when excited always broke out into the expletives of his boyhood, "how do you like it? Do tell, Curtis."
 
"Well, you see," began Mr. Curtis, with the air of one entering into an obtuse narrative, "Randall—his name's Darrell, but that's neither here nor there; 'what's in a name,' as that nice man, Mr. Shakespeare, says, or, rather,[Pg 338] as he makes Miss Juliet Capulet say when speaking of young Mr. R. Montague, her beau. Randall, as I was saying, got hold of a picture of little Emily—I mean Miss Murray, a friend of mine—drawn by Mrs. Wildair there, while residing in your house and doing the governess dodge under the name of Randall too, which turns out to be a family name after all, and one day he accidentally showed it to me, and if I didn't jump six feet when I saw it, then call me a flat, that's all. Of course, I asked him no end of questions and found out where he got it, and then it was all as clear to me as a hole in a ladder, and I knew in a twinkling who 'Miss Randall' was. So we tore along here like a couple of forty-horse-power comets, and, after a whole day of most awful bother, we found out where she was. And here we came, and here we found her, and so, no more at present from yours respectfully, Dick Curtis." And Mr. Curtis made a feint of holding out an imaginary dress, like an old lady in a minuet, and courtesied profoundly to the company around.
 
"My dear Miss Ran—I mean my dear Mrs. Wildair, allow me to congratulate you," said Mr. Leonard, his face all in a glow of delight as he shook her warmly by the hand, "upon my life, I never was so glad in all my days. Good gracious! to think you should turn out to be such a great lady after serving as governess in our—— Well, well, well! And that you should find your brother the same day you took the prize for the best picture in the Academy of Art. G-o-o-d gracious!" said Mr. Leonard, with a perfect shake on the word.
 
"What! Georgia taken the prize? It can't be possible that you are the successful candidate whose wonderful[Pg 339] picture everybody is talking about?" exclaimed her brother, whose turn it was to be astonished.
 
"Mr. Leonard says so," said she, smiling.
 
"Oh, Jupiter!" ejaculated Mr. Curtis, thrusting his hands into his pockets and uttering a long, low whistle, indicative of an unlimited amount of amazement, "and you really and truly painted 'Hagar in the Wilderness?'"
 
"Yes, I really and truly did," smiled Georgia.
 
"Well," said Mr. Curtis, in a tone of resignation, "all I have to say is that nothing will surprise me after this. And that reminds me, I've quite forgotten an engagement down town, and must be off. Randall, don't you come. I know you have lots of things to say to your sister. Mr. Leonard, you have an engagement, too—don't say no—I'm sure you have—come along. By-by, Randall, old-fellow; good-day, Mrs. Wildair. I'll drop in again in the course of the evening. Now, Mr. Leonard, off we go!" and Mr. Curtis put his arm through Mr. Leonard's and fairly dragged him away.
 
"And so, instead of a poor unknown governess, I have found in my sister one with whose fame the whole city is already ringing," said Mr. Randall, when they were alone, as he looked proudly and fondly in her beautiful face. "Dear Georgia, how famous you are."


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