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living in one of the older quarters of the west end of London; and they paid her handsomely, her age and experience taken into account. Every morning, except Saturday, she went by the underground railway to give an hour's lesson to Miriam Morgenstern, a gorgeous little eastern, whom her parents had no right to dress in such foggy colours as she wore.
Mattie and her Mother.
CY was just leaving her home one morn
ing to go to her pupil, and had entered the Aagged passage which led from the court through the archway, when she met a little girl of her acquaintance, whom, with her help, I shall now present to my readers. She was a child of eight, but very small for her age. Her hair was neatly parted and brushed on each side of a large smooth forehead, projecting over quiet eyes of blue, made yet quieter by the shadow of those brows. The rest of her face was very diminutive. A soberness as of complete womanhood, tried and chastened, lay upon her. She looked as if she had pondered upon life and its goal, and had made up her little mind to meet its troubles with patience. She was dressed in a cotton
frock printed with blue rose-buds, faded by many waters and much soap. When she spoke, she used only one side of her mouth for the purpose, and then the old-fashionedness of her look rose almost to the antique, so that you could have fancied her one of the time-belated good people who, leaving the green forest-rings, had wandered into the city and become a Christian at a hundred years of age.
“Well, Mattie,” said Lucy, “how are you this morning ?”
"I am quite well, I thank you, miss," answered Mattie. “I don't call this morning. The church-clock struck eleven five minutes
This was uttered with a smile from the half of her mouth which seemed to say, “I know you want to have a little fun with me by using wrong names for things because I am a little girl, and little girls can be taken in ; but it is of no use with me, though I can enjoy the joke of it.”
Lucy smiled too, but not much, for she knew the child.
“What do you call the morning, then, Mattie ?" she asked.
“Well”—she almost always began her sentences with a Well—"I call it morning before the sun is up."
“But how do you know when the sun is up ? London is so foggy, you know, Mattie.”
“Is it? I didn't know. Are there places of another sort, miss ?”
“Oh yes; many."
“Well, about the sun. I always know what he's about, miss. I've got a almanack.”
“But you don't understand the almanack, do you ?”
“Well, I don't mean to say I understand all about it, but I always know what time the sun rises and goes to bed, you know.”
Lucy had found she was rather early for the train, and from where she stood she could see the clock of St. Jacob's, which happened to be a reliable one. Therefore she went on to amuse herself with the child.
“But how is it that we don't see him, if he gets up when the almanack says, Mattie ?"
“Well, you see, miss, he sleeps in a crib, And the sides of it are houses and churches, and St. Paulses, and the likes of that."
“Yes, yes; but some days we see him, and others we don't. We don't see him to-day, now.”
"Well, miss, I daresay he's cross some mornings, and keeps the blankets about him after he's got his head up."
Lucy could not help thinking of Milton's line --for of the few poems she knew, one was the “ Ode on the Nativity:"
So, when the Sun in bed,
Curtain'd with cloudy red,
But the child laughed so queerly, that it was impossible to tell whether or how much those were her real ideas about the sunrise.
“How is your father ?” Lucy asked next.