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Mr. Fuller did not give him time to make it, for he walked at once into the room, and found Mattie sitting alone in a half twilight, for the day was cloudy. Even the birds were oppressed, for not one of them was singing. A thrush hopped drearily about under his load of speckles, and a rose-ringed paroquet, with a very red nose, looked ashamed of the quantity of port wine he had drunk. The child was reading the same little old book mentioned before. She laid it down, and rose from the window-sill to meet Mr. Fuller.
“Well, how do you do, sir ?” she said. “I am glad you are come.”
Any other child of her age Mr. Fuller would have kissed, but there was something about Mattie that made him feel it an unfit proceeding. He shook hands with her, and offered her a white camellia.
“Thank you, sir," said Mattie, and laid the little transfiguration upon the table.
" Don't you like flowers ?” asked Mr. Fuller, somewhat disappointed. “Isn't it beautiful, now?”.
“ Well, where's the good ?” answered and asked Mattie, as if she had been a Scotchwoman. “It will be ugly before to-morrow."
“Oh, no ; not if you put it in water directly." “ Will it live for ever, then ?" asked Mattie. “ No, only a few days."
“Well, where's the odds, then? To-morrow or next weekwhere's the difference? It looks dead now when you know it's dying."
“Ah!" thought Mr. Fuller, “I've got something here worth looking into.” What he said was, “ You dear child !”
“ You don't know me yet,” returned Mattie. “I'm not dear at all. I'm cross and ill-natured. And I won't be petted.”
“ You like the birds though, don't you ?" said Mr. Fuller.
“Well, yes. Mr. Kitely likes them, and I always like what he likes. But they are not quite comfortable, you know. They won't last for ever, you know. One of them is dead since I was taken ill. And father meant it for Miss Burton.”
“Do you like Miss Burton, then?”
“Yes, I do. But she'll live for ever, you know.-I'll tell you something else I like."
“ What is that, my child ?”
“Oh, I'm no such a child! But I'll tell you what I like. There."
And she held out the aged little volume, open at the hymn about blind Bartimeus.
“Will this last for ever, then ?” he asked, turning the volume over in his hand, so that its withered condition suggested itself at once to Mattie.
“Now you puzzle me," answered Mattie. “But let me think. You know it's not the book I mean; it's the poem. Now I have
it. If I know that poem by heart, and I live for ever, then the poem will live for ever. There !"
“Then the book's the body, and the poem the soul,” said Mr. Fuller.
“One of the souls ; for some things have many souls. I have two, at least."
Mr. Fuller felt instinctively, with the big forehead and the tiny body of the child before him, that they were getting on rather dangerous ground. But he must answer.
“Two souls! That must be something like what King David felt, when he asked God to join his heart into one. But you do like this poem ?” he hastened to add. “May I read it to you?”
Oh yes ; please do. I am never tired of hearing it.' It will sound quite new if you read it.”
So Mr. Fuller read slowly—“As Jesus went into Jericho town." And from the way Mattie listened he knew what he must bring her next-not a camellia, but a poem. Still, how sad it was that a little child should not love flowers !
" When were you in the country last, Miss Kitely ?"
“I never was the country that I know of. My name's Mattie.”
“Wouldn't you like to go, Mattie ? " “No, I shouldn't-not at all.” “Why?" “Well, because—because-it's not in my way, you see.” “ But surely you have some reason for not liking the country.”
“Well, now, I will tell you. The country, by all I can hear, is full of things that die, and I don't like that. And I think people can't be nice that like the country.”
Mr. Fuller resolved in his heart that he would make Mattie like the country before he had done with her. But he would say no more now, because he was not sure whether Mattie as yet regarded him with a friendly eye ; and he must be a friend before he would speak about religion. He rose, therefore, and held out his hand.
Mattie looked at him with dismay.
“But I wanted you to tell me about the man that sat at Somebody's feet in his Sunday clothes."
Happily for his further influence with her, Mr. Fuller guessed at once what she meant, and taking a New Testament from his pocket, read to her about the demoniac, who sat at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind. He had not known her long before he discovered that all these stories of possession had an especial attraction for Mattie : she evidently associated them with her own visions of Syne and his men.
Well, I was wrong. It wasn't his Sunday clothes," she said. “Or, perhaps, it was, and he had torn the rest all to pieces."
“ Yes ; I think that's very likely," responded Mr. Fuller.
“I know: it was Syne that told him, and he did it. But he wouldn't do it any more, would he, after he saw Somebody?”.
“I don't think he would," answered Mr. Fuller, understanding her just enough to know the right answer to make.—“But I will come and see you again to-morrow," he added, “and try whether I can't bring something with me that you will like.”
“ Thank you,” answered the old-fashioned creature. “But don't be putting yourself to any expense about it, for I am not easy to please." And she lifted her hand to her head and gave a deep sigh, as if it was a very sad fact indeed. “I wish I was easier to please,” she added to herself—but Mr. Fuller heard her as he left the room.
“She's a very remarkable child that, Mr. Kitely—too much so, I fear," he said, re-entering the shop.
“I know that,” returned the bookseller, curtly, almost angrily. “ I wish she wasn't.”
“I beg your pardon. I only wanted—”
“I only wanted,” Mr. Fuller persisted, “to ask you whether you do not think she had better go out of town for a while.”
"I daresay. But how am I to send her? The child has not a relation but me--and an aunt she can't a-bear; and that wouldn't do-would it, sir ? She would fret herself to death without some one she cared about."
“ Certainly it wouldn't do. But mightn't Miss-I forget her name”
'Miss Burton, I daresay you mean." “I mean Miss Burton. Couldn't she help you? Is she any relation of yours ?”
“None whatever. Nor she's not like it. I believe she's a stray,
“What do you mean, Mr. Kitely?" asked Mr. Fuller, quite bewildered now.
“ Well, sir, I mean that she's a stray hangel,” answered Mr. Kitely, smiling ; “for she ain't like any one else I know of but that child's mother, and she's gone back to where she came from-many's the long year.”
" I don't wonder at your thinking that of her if she's as good as she looks,” returned Mr. Fuller. And bidding the bookseller good morning, he left the shop and walked home, cogitating how the child could be got into the country.
Next morning he called-earlier, and saw Lucy leaving the court just as he was going into the shop. He turned and spoke to her.
“Fancy a child, Miss Burton," he said, “ that does not care about flowers—and her heart full of religion too! How is she to consider the lilies of the field ? She knows only birds in cages ? she has no idea of the birds of the air. The poor child has to lift every
thing out of that deep soul of hers, and the buckets of her brain can't stand such hard work.”
“I know, I know," answered Lucy. “But what can I do?"
“Besides,” Mr. Fuller continued, “what notion of the simple grandeur of God can she have when she never had more than a peep of the sky from between these wretched houses? How can the heavens declare the glory of God to her ? You don't suppose David understood astronomy, and that it was from a scientific point of view that he spoke, when he said that the firmament showed His handiwork? That was all he could say about it, for the Jewish nation was not yet able to produce a Ruskin. But it was, nevertheless, the spiritual power of the sky upon his soul- not the stars in their courses, but the stars up there in their reposeful depth of blue, their shining nest'—which, whatever theory of their construction he might have, yet impressed him with an awe, an infinitude, a shrinking and yet aspiring—made his heart swell within him, and sent him down on his knees. This little darling knows nothing of such an experience. We must get her into the open. She must love the wind that bloweth where it listeth, and the clouds that change and pass. She can't even like anything that does not last for ever; and the mind needs a perishing bread sometimes as well as the body-though it never perishes when once made use of, as Mattie told me yesterday. But I beg your pardon : I am preaching a sermon, I think. What a thing it is to have the faults of a profession in addition to those of humanity! It all comes to this, you must get that child, with her big head and her big conscience, out of London, and give her heart a chance."
“Indeed, I wish I could," answered Lucy. “I will do what I can, and let you know. Are you going to see her now, Mr. Fuller?"
“ Yes, I am. I took her a flower yesterday, but I have brought her a poem to-day. I am afraid, however, that it is not quite the thing for her. I thought I could easily find her one till I began to try, and then I found it very difficult indeed.”
They parted : Lucy to Mrs. Morgenstern's, Mr. Fuller to Mattie.
I will give the hymn--for the sake, in part, of what Mattie said, and then I will close the chapter.
“ Come unto me," the Master says.
But how? I am not good;
Nor even wish it could.
Nor able not to sin;
If once I should begin.
No action to repent?
Is all around so very fair ?
Is thy heart quite content ?
No labour to endure ?
Thou needest not His cure.
I have a nameless grief,
Can look for no relief.
Come in thyself distrest;
His part to give thee rest.
Thy grief and pain to quell;
And that will make thee well.
When Mr. Fuller had finished the hymn, he closed the book and looked towards Mattie. She responded with a sigh:
“Well, I think I know what it means. You see I have such a big head, and so many things come and go just as they please, that if it weren't for Somebody I don't know what I should do with them all. But as soon as I think about Him, they grow quieter and behave better. But I don't know all that it means. Will you lend me the book, Mr. Fuller ?”
All the child's thoughts took shapes, and so she talked like a lunatic. Still, as all the forms to which she gave an objective existence were the embodiments of spiritual realities, she could not be said to have yet passed the narrow line that divides the poet from the maniac. But it was high time that the subjects of her thoughts should be supplied from without, and that the generating power should lie dormant for a while. And the opportunity for this arrived sooner than her friends had expected.
THE “NINGPO” IS LOST.
LUCY was so full of Mattie and what Mr. Fuller had said that she told Mrs. Morgenstern all about it before Miriam had her lesson. After the lesson was over, Mrs. Morgenstern, who had, contrary to her custom, remained in the room all the time, said,
“Well, Lucy, I have been thinking about it, and I think I have arranged it all very nicely. It's clear to me that the child will go