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than herself, the daughter of one of her father's favourite pupils, who had married a rich merchant ; and these lessons she continued. She was a favourite with the family, who were Jews, 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. LUCY was just leaving her home one morning to go to her pupil, and had entered the flagged 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 ininutes ago.”
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.
“ 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,
Pillows his chin upon an orient wave. 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.
Lucy let her have her way, for she did not quite understand her. Only she knew that the child's mother had died two or three years ago.
"Well,” resumed the child,“my father is quite well, thank God; and so is my mother. There he is, looking down at us."
“Who do you mean, Mattie ?” asked Lucy, now bewildered.
“Well, my mother," answered the child, with a still odder halfsmile.
Lucy looked up, and saw- But a little description is necessary. They were standing, as I have said already, in the flagged passage which led to, and post-officially considered, formed part of Guild Court. The archway from Bagot-street into this passage was as it were tunnelled through a house facing the street, and from this house a wall, stretching inwards to the first house in the court proper, formed one side of the passage. About the middle this wall broke into two workshops, the smallest and strangest ever seen out of the east. There was no roof visible-that lay behind the curtainwall ; but from top to bottom of the wall, a height of about nine feet, there was glass, divided in the middle so as to form two windows, one above the other. So likewise on the right-hand side of the glass were two doors, or hatches, one above the other. The tenement looked as if the smallest of rooms had been divided into two horizontally by a floor in the middle, thus forming two cells, which could not have been more than five feet by four, and four feet in height. In the lower, however, a little height had been gained by sinking the floor, to which a single step led down. In this under cell a cobbler sat, hammering away at his lap-stone-a little man, else he could hardly have sat there, or even got in without discomfort. Every now and then he glanced up at the girl and the child, but never omitted a blow in consequence. Over his head, on the thin floor between, sat a still smaller man, cross-legged like a Turk, busily “plying his needle and thread." His hair, which standing straight up gave a look of terror to his thin pale countenance, almost touched the roof. It was the only luxuriance about him. As plants run to seed, he seemed to have run to hair. A calm keen eye underneath its towering forest, revealed observation and peacefulness. He, too, occasionally looked from his work, but only in the act of drawing the horizontal thread, when his eyes had momentary furlough, moving in alternate oscillation with his hand. But at the moment when the child said so, he was looking down in a pause in which he seemed to have forgotten his work in his interest in the pair below. He might be forty, or fifty, or sixty-no one could tell which.
Lucy looked up and said, “That is Mr. Spelt; that is not your mother.”
“Well, but I call him my mother. I can't have two fathers, you know. So I call Mr. Spelt my mother; and so he is.”
Here she looked up and smiled knowingly to the little tailor, who, leaning forward to the window, through which, reaching from roof to floor of his cage, his whole form was visible, nodded friendlily to the little girl in acknowledgınent of her greeting. But it was now time for Lucy to go.
As soon as she had disappeared beyond the archway, Mattie turned towards the workshops. Mr. Spelt saw her coming, and before she had reached them, the upper half of the door was open, and he was stretching down his arms to lift her across the shoemaking region, into his own more celestial realm of tailoring. In a moment she was sitting in the furthest and snuggest corner, not cross-legged, but with her feet invisible in a heap of cuttings, from which she was choosing what she would-always with a reference to Mr. Spelt-for the dressing of a boy-doll which he had given her.
This was a very usual proceeding-so much so that Mattie and the tailor sat for nearly an hour without a word passing between them beyond what sprung from the constructive exigencies of the child. Neither of them was given to much utterance, though each had something of the peculiar gift of the Ancient Mariner, namely, s strange power of speech." They would sit together sometimes for half a day without saying a word ; and then again there would be an oasis of the strangest conversation in the desert of their silence—a bad simile, for their silence must have been a thoughtful one to blossom into such speech. But the first words Mattie uttered on this occasion, were of a somewhat mundane character. She heard a footstep pass below. She was too far back in the cell to see who it was, and she did not lift her eyes from her work.
“ When the cat's away the mice will play,” she said.
“Well, wasn't that Mr. Worboise that passed ? Mr. Boxall must be out. But he needn't go there, for Miss Burton's always out this time o' day.”
“What do you mean, Mattie ?" again asked the tailor. “Well, perhaps you don't understand such things, Mr. Spelt, not being a married man."
Poor Mr. Spelt had had a wife who had killed herself by drinking all his earnings; but Mattie knew nothing about that.
“No more I am. You must explain it to me.”
“Old Mrs. Boxall says so. And that's why Mr. Worboise goes to see Miss Burton, I know.-I told you so," she added, as she heard his step returning.
But Thomas bore a huge ledger under his arm, for which Mr. Stopper had sent him round to the court. Certainly, however, had Lucy been at home, he would have laid a few minutes more to the account of the errand.
“ So, so !” said the tailor. “That's it, is it, Mattie ?" “ Yes; but we don't say anything about such things, you know."
“Oh ! of course not,” answered Mr. Spelt; and the conversation ceased.
After a long pause, the child spoke again.
To this question the tailor did not know what to reply, and therefore, like a wise man, did not make the attempt. He asked her instead, as he had often occasion to do with Mattie, what she meant.
“Don't you know what I mean, mother? Don't you know God's better to us some days than others? Yes; and he's better to some people than he is to others."
“I am sure he's always good to you and me, Mattie.”
“Because I'm not sure about it. Now to-day it's all very well. But yesterday the sun shone in at the window a whole hour."
“And I drew down the blind to shut it out,” said Mr. Spelt, thoughtfully.
“Well," 'Mattie went on, without heeding her friend's remark, “ he could make the sun shine every day, if he liked. I suppose he could,” she added, doubtfully.
“ I don't think we should like it, if he did," returned Mr. Spelt; “ for the drain down below smells bad in the hot weather.”
“ But the rain might come-at night, I mean, not in the daytime —and wash it all out. Mightn't it, mother?”
“ Yes ; but the heat makes people ill. And if you had such hot weather as they have in some parts, as I am told, you would be glad enough of a day like this.”
“Well, why haven't they a day like this when they want it?"
“ God knows,” said Mr. Spelt, whose magazine was nearly ex. hausted, with the enemy pressing on vigorously.
“Well, that's what I say. God knows, and why doesn't he help it?"
And Mr. Spelt surrendered, if silence was surrender. Mattie did not press her advantage, however, and again the besieged plucked up heart a little.
“I fancy, perhaps, Mattie, he leaves something for us to do. You know they cut out the slop-work at the shop, and I can't do much more with that but put the pieces together. But when a repairing job comes in, I can contrive a bit then, and I like that better."
Mr Spelt's meaning was not very clear, either to himself or to Mattie.' But it involved the shadow of a great truth-that all the discords we hear in the universe around us, are God's trumpets sounding a reveillée to the sleeping human will, which, once working harmoniously with his, will soon bring all things into a pure and healthy rectitude of operation. Till a man has learned to be happy without the sunshine, and therein becomes capable of enjoying it perfectly, it is well that the shine and the shadow should be mingled, so as God only knows how to mingle them. To effect the blessedness for which God made him, man must become a fellow-worker with God.
After a little while Mattie resumed operations.
“ But you can't say, mother, that God isn't better to some people than to other people. He's surely gooder to you and me than He is to Poppie."
“Who's Poppie ?” asked Mr Spelt, sending out a flag of negotiation.
* Well, there she is-down in the gutter, I suppose, as usual," answered Mattie, without lifting her eyes.
The tailor peeped out of his house-front, and saw a bare-footed child in the court below. What she was like I shall take a better opportunity of informing my reader. For at this moment the