The Story of the Red Cross as told to The Little Colonel

by: John Goss

Publisher: DigiLibraries.com
ISBN: N/A
Language: English
Published: 1 month ago
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Excerpt

CHAPTER I

LLOYD MEETS HERO

It was in Switzerland in the old town of Geneva. The windows of the big hotel dining-room looked out on the lake, and the Little Colonel, sitting at breakfast the morning after their arrival, could scarcely eat for watching the scene outside.

Gay little pleasure boats flashed back and forth on the sparkling water. The quay and bridge were thronged with people. From open windows down the street came the tinkle of pianos, and out on the pier, where a party of tourists were crowding on to one of the excursion steamers, a band was playing its merriest holiday music.

Far away in the distance she could see the shining snow crown of Mont Blanc, and it gave her an odd feeling, as if she were living in a geography lesson, to know that she was bounded on one side by the famous Alpine mountain, and on the other by the River Rhône, whose source she had often traced on the map. The sunshine, the music, and the gay crowds made it seem to Lloyd as if the whole world were out for a holiday, and she ate her melon and listened to the plans for the day with the sensation that something very delightful was about to happen.

"We'll go shopping this morning," said Mrs. Sherman. "I want Lloyd to see some of those wonderful music boxes they make here; the dancing bears, and the musical hand-mirrors; the chairs that play when you sit down in them, and the beer-mugs that begin a tune when you lift them up."

Lloyd's face dimpled with pleasure, and she began to ask eager questions. "Could we take one to Mom Beck, mothah? A lookin'-glass that would play 'Kingdom Comin',' when she picked it up? It would surprise her so she would think it was bewitched, and she'd shriek the way she does when a cattapillah gets on her."

Lloyd laughed so heartily at the recollection, that an old gentleman sitting at an opposite table smiled in sympathy. He had been watching the child ever since she came into the dining-room, interested in every look and gesture. He was a dignified old soldier, tall and broad-shouldered, with gray hair and a fierce-looking gray moustache drooping heavily over his mouth. But the eyes under his shaggy brows were so kind and gentle that the shyest child or the sorriest waif of a stray dog would claim him for a friend at first glance.

The Little Colonel was so busy watching the scene from the window that she did not see him until he had finished his breakfast and rose from the table. As he came toward them on his way to the door, she whispered, "Look, mothah! He has only one arm, like grandfathah. I wondah if he was a soldiah, too. Why is he bowing to Papa Jack?"

"I met him last night in the office," explained her father, when the old gentleman had passed out of hearing. "We got into conversation over the dog he had with him—a magnificent St. Bernard, that had been trained as a war dog, to go out with the ambulances to hunt for dead and wounded soldiers. Major Pierre de Vaux is the old man's name. The clerk told me that when the Major lost his arm, he was decorated for some act of bravery....