A little girl in old pit.., p.1
Larger Font   Reset Font Size   Smaller Font       Night Mode Off   Night Mode

       A Little Girl in Old Pittsburg, p.1

           Amanda M. Douglas
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23
A Little Girl in Old Pittsburg

  Produced by Melissa McDaniel and the Online DistributedProofreading Team at https://www.pgdp.net (This file wasproduced from images generously made available by TheInternet Archive)

  Transcriber's Note:

  Inconsistent hyphenation and spelling in the original document have been preserved. Examples include peddler and peddlar, grandmere and gran'mere, Mr. de Ronville and M. de Ronville.

  Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

  Italic text is denoted by _underscores_ and bold text by =equal signs=.

  A Little Girl in Old Pittsburg

  The "Little Girl" Series


  In Handsome Cloth Binding

  Price, per Volume 60 Cents

  A Little Girl in Old New York A Little Girl of Long Ago A sequel to "A Little Girl in Old New York" A Little Girl in Old Boston A Little Girl in Old Philadelphia A Little Girl in Old Washington A Little Girl in Old New Orleans A Little Girl in Old Detroit A Little Girl in Old St. Louis A Little Girl in Old Chicago A Little Girl in Old San Francisco A Little Girl in Old Quebec A Little Girl in Old Baltimore A Little Girl in Old Salem A Little Girl in Old Pittsburg

  For Sale by all Booksellers or will be sent postpaid on receipt of price.

  A. L. BURT COMPANY, PUBLISHERS 52, 58 Duane Street New York





  Copyright, 1909, by DODD, MEAD AND COMPANY Published, September, 1909























  "Oh, what is it, grandad! Why is Kirsty ringing two bells and oh, whatis he saying?"

  Grandfather Carrick had come out of his cottage and stood in the smallyard place that a young oak had nearly filled with a carpet of leaves.He was a medium-sized man with reddish hair streaked with white, and aspare reddish beard, rather ragged, bright blue eyes and a nose_retrousse_ at the best, but in moments of temper or disdain it turnedalmost upside down, as now.

  "What is he sayin'. Well, it's a dirty black lee! Lord Cornwallisisn't the man to give in to a rabble of tatterdemalions with not ashoe to their feet an' hardly a rag to their back! By the beard of St.Patrick they're all rags!" and he gave an insolent laugh! "It's ablack lee, I tell you!"

  He turned and went in the door with a derisive snort. Daffodil stoodirresolute. Kirsty was still ringing his two bells and now people werecoming out to question. The street was a rather winding lane with thehouses set any way, and very primitive they were, built of logs, someof them filled in with rude mortar and thatched with straw.

  Then Nelly Mullin came flying along, a bright, dark-haired,rosy-cheeked woman, with a shawl about her shoulders. She caught upthe child and kissed her rapturously.

  "Oh, isn't it full grand!" she cried. "Cornwallis has surrendered toGeneral Washington! Our folks caught him in a trap. An' now the menfolks will come home, my man an' your father, Dilly. Thank the Saintsthere wasna a big battle. Rin tell your mither!"

  "But grandad said it was a--a lee!" and the child gave a questioninglook.

  "Lie indeed!" she laughed merrily. "They wouldna be sending all overthe country such blessed news if it was na true. Clear from Yorktownan' their Cornwallis was the biggest man England could send, a raleLord beside. Rin honey, I must go to my sisters."

  The little girl walked rather slowly instead, much perturbed in hermind. The Duvernay place joined the Carrick place and at present theywere mostly ranged round the Fort. That was much smaller, but betterkept and there were even some late hardy flowers in bloom.

  "What's all the noise, Posy?" asked Grandfather Duvernay. He was anold, old man, a bright little Frenchman with snowy white hair, butbright dark eyes. He was a good deal wrinkled as became agreat-grandfather, and he sat in a high-backed chair at one corner ofthe wide stone chimney that was all built in the room. There was afine log fire and Grandmother Bradin was stirring a savory mass ofherbs. The real grandfather was out in the barn, looking after thestock.

  "It was Kirsty ringing two bells. Cornwallis is taken."

  "No!" The little man sprang up and clasped his hands. "You are sureyou heard straight! It wasn't Washington?"

  "I'm quite sure. And Nelly Mullin said 'run and tell your mother, yourfather'll be coming home.'"

  "Thank the good God." He dropped down in the chair again and closedhis eyes, bent his head reverently and prayed.

  "Your mother's asleep now. She's had a pretty good night. Run out andtell gran."

  Grandfather Bradin kissed his little girl, though he was almost afraidto believe the good news. Three years Bernard Carrick had beenfollowing the fortunes of war and many a dark day had intervened.

  "Oh, that won't end the war. There's Charleston and New York. ButCornwallis! I must go out and find where the news came from."

  "Grandad don't believe it!" There was still a look of doubt in hereyes.

  Bradin laughed. "I d' know as he'd believe it if he saw the articlesof peace signed. He'll stick to King George till he's laid in hiscoffin. There, I've finished mending the steps and I'll slip on mycoat and go."

  "I couldn't go with you?" wistfully.

  "No, dear. I'll run all about and get the surest news. I s'pose itcame to the Fort, but maybe by the South road."

  He took the child's hand and they went into the house. The streetswere all astir. Grandfather stood by the window looking out, but heturned and smiled and suddenly broke out in his native French. Hisface then had the prettiness of enthusiastic old age.

  "We'll shake hands on it," said Bradin. "I'm going out to see. Therecouldn't be a better word."

  The autumnal air was chilly and he wrapped his old friese cloak aroundhim.

  "Mother's awake now," said Mrs. Bradin. "You may go in and see her."

  The door was wide open now. It was as large as the living room, butdivided by a curtain swung across, now pushed aside partly. There wasa bed in each corner. A light stand by the head of the bed, a chest ofdrawers, a brass bound trunk and two chairs completed the furnishingof this part. The yellow walls gave it a sort of cheerful, almostsunshiny look, and the curtain at the window with its hand-made lacewas snowy white. The painted floor had a rug through the centre thathad come from some foreign loom. The bedstead had high slen
der carvedposts, but was without a canopy.

  A woman still young and comely as to feature lay there. She was thin,which made the eyes seem larger and darker. The brown hair had acertain duskiness and was a curly fringe about the forehead. Shesmiled up at the little girl, who leaned over and kissed her on thecheek.

  "You are better, mother dear," she said as she seated herself with alittle spring on the side of the bed. "But you said so yesterday. Whenwill it be real, so you can get up and go out?" and a touch ofperplexity crossed the child's face.

  "Gra'mere thinks I may sit up a little while this afternoon. I had nofever yesterday nor last night."

  "Oh, mother, I was to tell you that Cornwallis has--it's a long wordthat has slipped out of my mind. Nelly Mullin said her husband wouldcome home and my father. Kirsty Boyle rang two bells----"

  "Oh, what was it? Go and ask grandfather, child," and the mother halfrose in her eagerness.

  "It was 'sur-ren-dered' with his army. Father has gone to see. Andthen the war will end."

  "Oh, thank heaven, the good God, and all the saints, for I think theymust have interceded. They must be glad when dreadful wars come to anend."

  She laid her head back on the pillow and the tears fringed her darklashes.

  The child was thinking, puzzling over something. Then she saidsuddenly, "What is my father like? I seem to remember just alittle--that he carried me about in his arms and that we all cried agood deal."

  "It was three years and more ago. He loved us very much. But he feltthe country needed him. And the good Allfather has kept him safe. Hehas never been wounded or taken prisoner, and if he comes back tous----"

  "But what is surrendered?"

  "Why, the British army has given up. And Lord Cornwallis is a greatman. England, I believe, thought he could conquer the Colonies. Oh,Daffodil, you are too little to understand;" in a sort of helplessfashion.

  "He isn't like grandad then. Grandad wants England to beat."

  "No, he isn't much like grandad. And yet dear grandad has been verygood to us. Of course he was desperately angry that your father shouldgo for a soldier. Oh, if he comes home safe!"

  "Dilly," said gran'mere, pausing at the door with a piece of yellowpumpkin in her hand which she was peeling, "you must come away now.You have talked enough to your mother and she must rest."

  The child slipped down and kissed the pale cheek again, then came outin the living-room and looked around. The cat sat washing her face andat every dab the paw went nearer her ear.

  "You shan't, Judy! We don't want rain, do we, grandfather?" She caughtup the cat in her arms, but not before pussy had washed over one ear.

  Grandfather laughed. "Well, it _does_ make it rain when she washesover her ear," the little girl said with a very positive air. "It didon Sunday."

  "And I guess pussy washes over her ear every day in the week."

  "It's saved up then for the big storms;" with a triumphant air.

  "Get the board and let's have a game. You're so smart I feel it in mybones that you will beat."

  She put Judy down very gently, but the cat switched her tail aroundand wondered why. She brought out the board that was marked like "Tittat toe," and a box that she rattled laughingly. Pussy came when theyhad adjusted it on their knees and put two white paws on it,preparatory to a jump.

  "Oh, Judy, I can't have you now. Come round and sit by the fire."

  Judy went round to the back of Dilly's chair and washed over both earsin a very indignant manner.

  The play was Fox and Geese. There was one red grain of corn for thefox and all the geese were white. One block at the side was leftvacant. If you could pen the fox in there without losing a goose or atthe most two or three, you were the winner. But if once you let thefox out the geese had to fly for their lives. Grandfather often letthe little girl beat.

  He was very fond of her, and he was a sweet-natured old man who likedto bestow what pleasure he could. Just now he was feeling impatientfor the news and wanted to pass away the time.

  Dilly was quite shrewd, too, for a little girl not yet seven. Sheconsidered now and moved a far off goose, and the fox knew that wassour grapes.

  "Oh, you're a sharp one!" exclaimed grandfather. "I'll have to mindhow I doze on this bout."

  But alas! On the next move she let him in a little way, then shefenced him out again, and lost one goose repairing her defences. Butit wasn't a bad move. The great art was to keep one goose behindanother for protection. He couldn't jump over but one at a time.

  She beat grandfather, who pretended to be quite put out about it andsaid she'd do for an army general. Grandmother was making a pumpkinpudding with milk and eggs and sugar and stick-cinnamon, which wasquite a luxury. Then she poured it into an iron pan that stood uponlittle feet, drew out a bed of coal, and plumped it down. The coverhad a rim around the top, and she placed some coals on the top ofthis. She baked her bread in it, too. Stoves were great luxuries andcostly. Then she laid some potatoes in the hot ashes and hung a kettleof turnips on the crane.

  Grandfather and the little girl had another game and she was the foxthis time and lost, getting penned up.

  "Grandfather," she said sagely, "if you know the good early moves anddon't make any mistake, you're sure to win."

  "I believe that is so. You're getting a stock of wisdom, Dilly. Oh,won't your father be surprised when he comes home. You were a merebaby when he went away."

  She was an oddly pretty child. Her hair was really yellow, soft andcurly, then her eyes were of so dark a blue that you often thoughtthem black. The eyebrows and lashes were dark, the nose ratherpiquant, the mouth sweet and rosy, curved, with dimples in thecorners. But in those days no one thought much about beauty inchildren.

  The door was flung open.

  "Ugh!" ejaculated Gran Bradin. "It's fairly wintry. Fire feels good!The news is just glorious! They headed off Cornwallis after havingdestroyed their fortifications and dismantled their cannon. TheBritish works were so in ruins they tried escape. One section oftroops crossed over to Glous'ter Point, but a storm set in anddispersed the boats. There was nothing left but surrender. So thegreat army and the great general who were to give us the finishingstroke, handed in their capitulation to General Washington. There arebetween seven and eight thousand prisoners and all the shipping in theharbor. Grandfather, you may be proud. We had, it is thought, seventhousand French troops, with Count De Rochambeau, and Count DeGrasse."

  He reached over and wrung grandfather's slim white hand with itstracery of blue veins. Then he kissed his wife. "They've been goodfriends to us. We'll never forget that!"

  "And the war is over?"

  "Not exactly that. We've yet to dislodge them from various places. Butthey think now England will be willing to treat. And we'll have acountry of our own! Well, it was three weeks ago."

  There were no telegraphs, and only the more important places had postroads. Pittsburg was quite out of the way. It had no dreams ofgrandeur in those days, and about its only claim to eminence wasBraddock's defeat.

  "Lang brought some copies of the Philadelphia _Gazette_, but youcouldn't get near one, they were rushed off so. But we'll hear it allin a few days. Too much good news might puff us up with vain glory.We may look for letters any day. Such a splendid victory!"

  Grandfather was wiping the tears from his eyes. Marc Bradin went in tocomfort his daughter, though he could hardly forbear smiling with asense of inward amusement as he thought of Sandy Carrick, who had asgood as disowned his son for joining the Colonial army. He'd be gladenough to have him back again. Though he had been rather disgruntledat his marrying Barbe Bradin because she had French blood in herveins, as if the Irish Bradin could not in some degree counteractthat!

  Sandy Carrick had been in the sore battle of Braddock's defeat. Butafter all the cowardly French had thought retreat the better part ofvalor and left the Fort that had been partly burned, left that sectionas well, and the government had erected the new Fort Pitt. He insistedthat the French had been really driven
out. They certainly had beenchecked in their advance to the Mississippi.

  Pittsburg was a conglomerate in these early days. Welsh, Irish, andEnglish had contributed to its then small population of the fewhundreds whose history and beginning were like so many otheremigrants. The houses were ranged largely about the Fort forprotection from the Indians. There were small crooked lanes, a fewdignified by-streets, Penn Street, Duquesne way, Water and Ferrystreets. Colonel George Morgan had built a double-hewn log house ofconsiderable dimensions, the first house in the settlement to have ashingle roof. Though the "Manor of Pittsburg" had been surveyed andFort Pitt had been abandoned by the British under orders of GeneralGage and occupied by Virginia troops under Captain John Neville.

  There were some French residents, some Acadians as well, and a fewVirginians who were mostly refugees. The houses were of very primitiveconstruction, generally built of logs, but made comfortable on theinside. The emigrants had brought their industries with them. Thewomen spun and knit, there were several rude looms, but they dependedlargely on Philadelphia for supplies.

  Pierre Duvernay had fled to Ireland in one of the Huguenotpersecutions, but more fortunate than many, he had been able to takesome of his worldly possessions. Here his only daughter had marriedMarc Bradin, his only son had died, and his wife had followed.Broken-hearted he had accompanied his daughter and son-in-law to thenew Colonies. They had spent a few years in Virginia, then with someFrench friends had come to Pittsburg and bought a large holding, whichseemed at the time a misadventure, and so they had built in nearer tothe Fort. Here pretty Barbe Bradin had grown up and married BernardCarrick, their neighbor's son, but they had not let the hospitableBradin home. Here Daffodil had been born, and the French and Irishblended again.

  "What made you call me Daffodil?" the child said one day to hermother. "You were named after your mother and gran'mere after hers,and you should have called me Barbe."

  "It would have made no end of confusion. You see it does withgreat-grandfather. And when you were born it was lovely sunshinyweather and the daffodils were in bloom with their tender gold. Thenyou had such a funny fuzzy yellow head. I loved the Daffodils so. Theycome so early and look so cheerful, and you were such a cheerful baby,always ready to smile."

  "Do you suppose my hair will always stay yellow?"

  "Oh, no. It will grow darker."

  "Like yours?"

  "Well, perhaps not quite as dark. I like it. You are my spring. If Iwere in any sorrow, your brightness would comfort me."

  Then the sorrow came. The young husband felt it his duty to join thestruggling army and fight for his country. It was in doubtful times.

  This queer, rural, primitive settlement knew little about the greatcauses. Since the new fort had been built and the French repulsed,absolutely driven out of their strongholds, there had been only theinfrequent Indian encounters to rouse them. The stern resolves, themighty enthusiasm of the Eastern Colonies had not inspired them. Eventhe Declaration of Independence, while it had stirred up their alienand contradictory blood, had not evoked the sturdy patriotism of thelarger towns having so much more at stake. They added to their flocksand herds, they hunted game and wild animals, and on the whole enjoyedtheir rural life.

  Sandy Carrick had never known which side to affiliate with the moststrongly. There was the brave old Scottish strain that his mother hadhanded down in many a romantic tale, there was the Irish of his fatherthat had come down almost from royalty itself, from the famous Dukesthat had once divided Ireland between them. Why the Carricks hadespoused the English side he could not have told. He was glad to cometo the new countries. And when, after being a widower for severalyears, he married pretty buxom widow Boyle, he was well satisfied withhis place in life.

  He had been in the fateful encounter at Braddock's defeat at his firstintroduction to the country. The French were well enough in Canada,which seemed not very far from the North Pole, and a land of eternalsnow, but when they came farther down with their forts and theirclaims it was time to drive them out, and nothing gave him greatersatisfaction than to think they were mostly out.

  He took a great fancy to his next-door neighbor, Marc Bradin, but hefought shy of the old black-eyed Frenchman. Pierre Duvernay had passedthrough too many vicissitudes and experiences to believe that any oneparty had all the right; then, too, he was a sweet-natured old man,thinking often of the time when he should rejoin friends andrelatives, not a few of whom had died for their faith.

  Sandy had not liked his son's marriage with Barbe Bradin, whocertainly was more French than Irish, but she had a winsome brightnessand vivacity, and indulged in many a laughing tilt with herfather-in-law. Nora Boyle openly favored them all. They spun and knitand made lace and wove rugs of rags and compared cookery, and she andMrs. Bradin were wildly happy over Daffodil.

  "If 't had been a boy now!" exclaimed Sandy. "A gal's good for naughtwhen it comes to handin' down the name. Though if its hair'll turn outred, an 't looks so now, it may flout t'other blood," putting a strongexpletive to it.

  "Don't now, Sandy!" said his wife's coaxing voice. "There's sorts andkinds in the world. The good Lord didn't mean us all to be alike orhe'd made 'em so to start with."

  "Did make 'em so, woman. There was only two of 'em!"

  "Well, some others came from somewhere. And Cain went off an gothimself a wife. An' when you think of the baby there's good threeparts Irish to the one French. An' I'm sure no one keeps a tidierhouse, an' the little old man sittin' by the chimney corner hurts noone. And it's handy to have a neebur to play at cards."

  When there came an urgent call for men to join what seemed almost alost cause Bernard Carrick went to Philadelphia with perhaps twentyother recruits, to the sorrow of his wife and the anger of his father.

  "For they can't win, the blunderin' fules! D'y spose King George'sgoin' to let a gran' country like this slip out of his fingers.Barbery, if you were half a woman you'd 'a' held onto him if y'd hadto spit on yer han's to do it. You'll never see him agen, an' itcomforts me for the loss of my son that you've lost your husband. Yecan git anither one, but I'll have no more sons to comfort me in myold age."

  Poor Barbe was wild with grief, yet somehow Bernard's sense of duty tohis country _had_ inspired her, and then she had her little darling,her mother, and father, and grandfather, who had not outlived acertain heroic strain if his blood had come through French channels.

  The people of Pittsburg had no tea to throw overboard. The Stamp Actbore lightly on them. They could brew good beer, they could distilwhiskey and make passable wine. Fish and game were in abundance, thefields laughed with riotous harvests, so what if a few did go to war?

  Sandy relented after a little and they took up the evenings ofcard-playing, with the cider or beer and doughnuts, or a brittle kindof spice cake that Mrs. Bradin could make in perfection. They hadarguments, to be sure: Marc Bradin was on the side of the Colonies,and he had taken pains to keep informed of the causes of disaffection.It was going to be a big country and could govern itself since it mustknow better what was needed than a king thousands of miles away!

  Sandy held his spite against the French sufficiently in abeyance tolearn to play piquet with great-grandfather. It interested himwonderfully, and since two could play a game the women could knit andsew and gossip. News came infrequently. Bradin often went to the Fortto hear. If there were reverses, he held his peace in a cheerful sortof way--if victories, there was rejoicing among themselves. For theytried not to ruffle Sandy Carrick unnecessarily.

  Daffodil went often to see grandad and Norry, as they called themerry-hearted second wife, who nearly always had some tidbit for her.And grandad took her on journeys sitting in front of him on animprovised pillion, teaching her to sit astride and buckling a straparound both bodies.

  "For you'll have to be my boy, Dilly. My other boy'll never come backto us."

  "Where will he go?" in her wondering tone.

  "The Lord only knows, child."

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23
Turn Navi Off
Turn Navi On
Scroll Up
Add comment

Add comment