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sharp incisors. In one moment Poppie was free, and scudding. Thus ended her introduction to civilized life.
Poppie did not find it nice. She preferred all London to the biggest house and garden in it. True, there was that marvellous rose-tree. But free-born creatures cannot live upon the contemplation of roses. After all, the thing she had been brought up to, the streets, the kennels, with their occasional crusts, pennies, and bits of glass, the holes to creep into, and the endless room for scudding, was better. And her unsuitable dress, which did attract the eyes of the passers-being such as was seldom seen in connexion with bare hair and legs-would soon accommodate itself to circumstances, taking the form of rags before a week would be over, to which change of condition no care of Poppie's would interpose an obstacle. For like the birds of the air and the lilies of the field, she had no care. She did not know what it meant. And possibly the great One who made her may have different ideas about respectability from those of dining aldermen and members of Parliament for certain boroughs that might be named.
At the porter's cry, Lucy started, and found to her dismay that her charge was gone. She could not, however, help a certain somewhat malicious pleasure at the man's discomfiture, and the baby-like way in which he lamented over his bitten hand. He forgot himself so far as to call her “the little devil "-which was quite in accordance with his respectable way of thinking. Both Mrs. Morgenstern and Lucy, after the first disappointment and vexation were over, laughed heartily at the affair ; and even Miriam was worked up to a smile at last. But she continued very mournful, notwithstanding, over the loss of her sister, as she would call her.
Mr. Sargent did his best to enliven the party. He was a man of good feeling, and of more than ordinary love for the right. This, however, from a dread of what he would have called sentimen. tality, he persisted in regarding as a mere peculiarity, possibly a weakness. If he made up his mind to help any one who was wronged, for which, it must be confessed, he had more time than he would have cared to acknowledge, he would say that he had “ taken an interest in such or such a case;" or that the case involved “points of interest” which he was willing to see settled.” He never said that he wanted to see right done : that would have been enthusiastic, and unworthy of the cold dignity of a lawyer. So he was one of those false men, alas too few! who always represent themselves as inferior to what they are. Many and various were the jokes he made upon Poppie and Jeames, ever, it must be confessed, with an eye to the approbation of Miss Burton. He declared, for instance, that the Armageddon of class-legislature would be fought between those of whom the porter and Poppie were the representatives, and rejoiced that, as in the case of the small
quarrel between Fitz James and Roderick Dhu, Poppie had drawn the first blood, and gained thereby a good omen. And Lucy was pleased with him, it must be confessed. She never thought of comparing him with Thomas, which was well for Thomas. But she did think he was a very clever, gentlemanly fellow, and knew how to make himself agreeable.
He offered to see her home, which she declined, not even per. mitting him to walk with her to the railway.
THE TWO OLD WOMEN. SHE found the two old women, of whom Mattie still seemed the older, seated together at their tea. Not a ray of the afternoon sun could find its way into the room. It was dusky and sultry, with a smell of roses. This, and its strange mingling of furniture, made it like a room over a broker's in some country town.
“Well, Miss Burton, here you are at last !” said Mattie, with a half-smile on the half of her mouth.
“Yes, Mattie, here I am. Has grandmother been good to
“Of course she has-very good. Everybody is good to me. I am a very fortunate child, as my father says, though he never seems to mean it."
“And how do you think your patient is ?” asked Lucy, while Mrs. Boxall sat silent, careful not to obstruct the amusement which the child's answers must give them. “Well, I do not think Mrs. Boxall is worse.
She has been very good, and has done everything I found myself obliged to recommend. I would not let her get up so soon as she wanted to."
“And what did you do to keep her in bed ?” asked Lucy.
“Well, I could not think of a story to tell her just then, so I got the big Bible out of the book-case, and began to show her the pictures. But she did not care about that. I think it was my fault, though, because I was not able to hold the book so that she could see them properly. So I read a story to her, but I do not think I chose a very nice one.".
Mrs. Boxall made a deprecating motion with her head and hands, accompanied by the words,
“ She will say what she thinks--Bible or Prayer-book.”
“Well, and where's the harm, when I mean none? Who's to be angry at that? I will say,” Mattie went on, “ that it was an ugly trick of that woman to serve a person that never did her any harm; and I wonder at two sensible women like Mrs. Boxall and Deborah sticking up for her.”
“ Is it Jael she means, grannie ?" asked Lucy very softly.
“Yes, it is Jael she means," answered Mattie for herself, with some defiance in her tone.
“For my part,” she continued, “I think it was just like one of Syne's tricks.”
“ Have you seen Mr. Spelt to-day, Mattie ? " asked Lucy, desirous of changing the subject, because of the direction the child's thoughts had taken.
“Well, I haven't," answered Mattie," and I will go and see now whether he's gone or not. But don't you fancy that I don't see through it for all that, Miss Burton," she continued. "I shouldn't have been in the way, though-not much, for I like to see young people enjoying themselves."
What do you mean, Mattie ? " asked Lucy, with a bewilderment occasioned rather by the quarter whence the words proceeded than by the words themselves ; for she did expect to see Thomas that evening.
Mattie vouchsafed no reply to the question, but bade them goodnight, the one and the other, with an evident expression of hauteur, and marched solemnly down the stairs, holding carefully by the balusters, for she was too small to use the handrail comfortably.
Mr. Spelt's roost was shut up for the night : he had gone to take some work home. Mattie therefore turned towards her father's shop.
In the archway she ran against Thomas, or more properly, Thomas ran against her; for Mattie never ran at all, so that he had to clasp her to prevent her from falling.
“Well, you needn't be in such a hurry, Mr. Thomas, though she is a-waiting for you. She won't go till you come, I know.”.
“You're a cheeky little monkey," said Thomas, good-naturedly. But the words were altogether out of tune with the idea of Mattie, who again feeling her dignity invaded, walked into the shop with her chin projecting more than usual.
Come, my princess," said her father, seating himself in an old chair, and taking the child on his knee.
« I haven't seen my princess all day. How's your royal highness this night?"
Mattie laid her head on his shoulder, and burst into tears.
“What's the matter with my pet ?” said her father, fondling and soothing her with much concern. “ Has anybody been unkind to
“No, Mr. Kitely,” said the child; "but I feel that lonely! I wish you would read to me a bit; for Mr. Spelt ain't there, and I read something in the Bible this morning that ain't done me no good.”
“ You shouldn't read such things, Mattie," said the bookseller. “They ain't no good. I'll go and get a candle. Sit you there till I come back."
“No, no, father. Don't leave me here. I dont like the books to-night. Take me with you. Carry me.”
The father obeyed at once, took' his child on his arm, got a candle from the back-room, for the place was very dusky-he did not care to light the gas this time of the year-and sat down with Mattie in a part of the shop which was screened from the door, where he could yet hear every footstep that passed.
“What shall I read now, my precious ?” he asked.
“Well, I don't think I care for anything but the New Testament to-night, father."
"Why, you've just been saying it disagreed with you, this very morning," objected Mr. Kitely.
“No, father. It wasn't the New Testament at all. It was the very Old Testament, I believe ; for it was near the beginning of it, and told all about a horrid murder. I do believe,” she added, reflectively, “ that that book yrows better as it gets older-younger, I mean."
The poor child wanted some one to help her out of her Bibledifficulties, and her father certainly was not the man to do so, for he belived nothing about or in it. Like many other children far more carefully taught of man, she was labouring under the misery of the fancy that everything related in the Old Testament without remark of disapprobation is sanctioned by the divine will. If parents do not encourage their children to speak their minds about what they read generally, and especially in the Bible, they will one day be dismayed to find that they have not merely the strangest but the most deadly notions of what is contained in that book-as, for instance, besides the one in hand, that God approved of all the sly tricks of Jacob-for was not he the religious one of the brothers, and did not all his tricks succeed? They are not able without help to regard the history broadly, and see that just because of this bad that was in him, he had to pass through a life of varier and severe suffering, punished in the vices which his children inherited from himself, in order that the noble part of his nature might be burned clean of the filth that clung to it.
But such was Mr. Kitely's tenderness over his daughter, increased by some signs he had begun to see of the return of an affection of the brain from which he had been on the point of losing her some years before, that he made no further opposition. He rose again, brought an old “ breeches bible” from a shelf, and taking her once more on his knee, supported her with one hand and held the book with the other.
Well, I don't know one chapter from another,” reflected Mr Kitely aloud. “I wonder where the child would like me to read. I'm sure I can't tell what to read.”
“Read about Somebody," said Mattie. From the peculiar expression she gave to the word, her father
guessed at her meaning, and opening the gospel part of the book at random, began to read.
He read, from the Gospel by St. Matthew, the story of the Transfiguration, to which Mattie listened without word or motion. He then went on to the following story of the lunatic and apparently epileptic boy. As soon as he began to read the account of how the child was vexed, Mattie said conclusively:
“That was Syne. I know him. He's been at it for a long time.”
“. And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him ; and the child was cured from that very hour,” the bookseller went on reading in a subdued voice, partly because he sat in his shop with the door open, partly because not even he could read “the ancient story, ever new without feeling a something he could not have quite accounted for if he had thought of trying. But the moment he had read those words, Mattie cried,
“ There! I knew it !”
It must be remembered that Mattie had not read much of the New Testament. Mr. Spelt alone had led her to read any. Every. thing came new to her, therefore; every word was like the rod of Moses that drew the waters of response.
“What did you know, princess ?" asked her father.
“I knew that Somebody would make him mind what he was about-I did. I wonder if he let a flash of that light out on him that he had just shut up inside him again. I shouldn't wonder if that was it. I know Syne couldn't stand that-no, not for a moment.--I think I'll go to bed, Mr. Kitely."
ON THE RIVER.
NOTWITHSTANDING the good-humoured answer Thomas had made to Mattie, her words stuck to him, and occasioned him a little discomfort. For if the bookseller's daughter, whose shop lay between the counting-house and the court, knew so well of his visits to Lucy, how could he hope that they would long remain concealed from other and far more dangerous eyes? This thought oppressed him so much, that instead of paying his usual visit to Mr. Molken, he went to Mrs. Boxall's at once. There, after greetings, he threw himself on the cushions of the old settle, and was gloomy. Lucy looked at him with
Mrs. Boxall murmured something about his being in the doldrums, a phrase she had learnt from her son John.
* Let's go out, Lucy," said Thomas; "it is so sultry."