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they become fit for God's mercy ; for such is the trick which the old Adam and the Enemy together are ready enough to play the most orthodox, in despite of the purity of their creed.
LTHOUGH Mrs. Boxall, senior, was still
far from well, yet when the morning of Mrs. Morgenstern's gathering dawned, lovely even in the midst of London, and the first sun-rays, with green tinges and rosy odours hanging about their golden edges, stole into her room, reminding her of the old paddock and the feeding cows at Bucks Horton, in Buckinghamshire, she resolved that Lucy should go to Mrs. Morgenstern's, So the good old lady set herself to feel better in order that she might be better, and by the time Lucy, who had slept in the same room with her grandmother since her illness, awoke, she was prepared to persuade her that she was quite well enough to let her have a holiday.
“But how am I to leave you, grannie, all alone ?" objected Lucy.
« Oh! I daresay that queer little Mattie of yours will come in and keep me company. Make haste and get your clothes on, and go and see.”
Now Lucy had had hopes of inducing Mattie to go with her, as I indicated in a previous chapter; but she could not press the child after the reason she gave for not going. And now she might as well ask her to stay with her grandmother. So she went round the corner to Mr. Kitely's shop, glancing up at Mr. Spelt's nest in the wall as she passed, to see whether she was not there.
When she entered the wilderness of books she
saw no one; but peeping round one of the many screens, she spied Mattie sitting with her back towards her, and her head bent downward. Looking over her shoulder, she saw that she had a large folding-plate of the funeral of Lord Nelson open before her, the black shapes of which, with their infernal horror of plumes—the hateful flowers that the buried seeds of ancient paganism still shoot up into the pleasant Christian fieldsshe was studying with an unaccountable absorption of interest.
“What have you got there, Mattie ?” asked Lucy.
“Well, I don't ezackly know, miss," answered the child, looking up, very white-faced and serious.
“Put the book away, and come and see grannie. She wants you to take care of her to-day, while
I go out.”
“Well, miss, I would with pleasure; but you see father is gone out, and has left me to take care of the shop till he comes back.”
“ But he wont be gone a great while, will he ?
“No, miss. He knows I don't like to be left too long with the books. He'll be back before St. Jacob strikes nine—that I know."
Well, then, I'll go and get grannie made comfortable; and if you don't come to me by half-past nine, I'll come after you again."
“Do, miss, if you please ; for if father aint come by that time—my poor head
“ You must put that ugly book away,” said Lucy," and take a better one."
“Well, miss, I know I oughtn't to have taken this book, for there's no summer in it; and it talks like the wind at night.”
“Why did you take it then ?”
“ Because Syne told me to take it. But that's just why I oughtn't to ha' taken it.”
And she rose and put the book in one of the shelves over her head, moving her stool when she had done so, and turning her face towards the spot where the book now stood. Lucy watched her uneasily.
“What do you mean by saying that Syne told you?" she asked.
“ Who is Syne?” " Don't you know Syne, miss ? Syne is— you know 'Lord Syne was a miserly churl 'don't you?”
Then before Lucy could reply, she looked up in her face, with a smile hovering about the one side of her mouth, and said :